WOOF! Watchdogs of Our Freedom

THE RETURN OF THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN (or) How Liberalism put White Privilege in charge of deciding when Black Lives Matter…try to keep up!

In "Tastefully avoiding puns with the word 'race' in them" forum on September 19, 2016 at 2:06 pm

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Do you like Kipling?

As every educated westerner knows, the proper response to “Do you like Kipling?” is “I don’t know, I’ve never kippled!” But seriously, the man whom Orwell labeled “the prophet of British imperialism” is a profoundly misunderstood chap, especially in our age wherein berating old dead White guys is considered proof of intellectual sophistication. In fact, ranting against someone like Kipling will probably get you more respect on most college campuses than actually reading him! But because he gave us the “hook” for this month’s tumid screed, let’s begin with a brief overview of the writer’s extraordinary fall from grace—a reputational tumble so vertiginous that he is rarely recalled nowadays for his narrative genius and almost never for his intuitive appreciation of certain throne-and-alter conventions that bore the protoplasmic essence of philosophical conservatism. Nobody today echoes Henry James’s assessment of Kipling as “the most complete man of genius…I have ever known,” yet he was England’s most widely read and respected author at the close of the 19th century and the dawn of the 20th.

Kipling for beginners….

rudyard kiplingBorn in Bombay, India, Kipling’s world was the British Raj—the colonizing (and civilizing) vanguard of Victorian cultural refinement following fast upon the impact of British arms.  Later in his life, Kipling returned to India where he worked from 1883–89 writing for local newspapers. When personal differences with his editors resulted in demands for his resignation, he returned to England by way of Rangoon, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and America. Traveling through the United States he befriended Mark Twain, golfed with Arthur Conan Doyle, and settled for quite some time in Vermont.

Shifting the burden in Kipling…

"Mmmm---we think we like the other poem better!"

“Mmmm—We think We like the other poem better!”

Repatriated to England, Kipling set about writing a poem in honor of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee, thus The White Man’s Burden was set to paper. But Her Majesty preferred a different Kipling composition, and Burden was shelved for the moment. It was later–following America’s seizure of the Philippines from Spanish Imperial rule in 1898– that Kipling saw a new role for his poem.

Kipling rewrote portions of the poem to reflect the American situation rather than Great Britain’s. Of course, the perception that the United States is an imperialist power (greedily squeezing the wealth out of the undeveloped world for the benefit of a small cartel of selfish industrialists) is so beloved on the dyspeptic Left from Alinsky to Zinn to Obama, we hardly have the heart to invalidate it here—let us rather agree that what halfhearted efforts America put into colonization came during this expansionary epoch.

When Kipling caught on in the States….

In the refurbished poem, Kipling exhorts America (the colonizing power formerly intended to be Great Britain) to seek empire, yet philosophizes concernedly about the inherent costs of doing so:

Take up the White Man’s burden—And reap his old reward: The blame of those ye better
The hate of those ye guard—The cry of hosts ye humour (Ah slowly) to the light:
“Why brought ye us from bondage, Our loved Egyptian night?”

Moro warriors--just not feeling the gratitude!

That’s gratitude for you! Liberated Moro tribesmen resist Uncle Sam’s benign governance.

As a revised cri de coeur meant to inspire Americans to share the responsibility for spreading Christianity, medicine, governance and lawfulness across the globe, Kipling’s verse retained some rough edges. Obviously, no American forces were deployed to Africa, thus references to Egyptian nights seemed bizarre. Besides, accepting the Philippines as a going away gift from their previous owner almost accidentally embroiled U.S. Forces in armed contestations with violently disapproving native populations. (Spain may have neglected to mention that problem in its haste to decamp.) As the United States tinkered awkwardly with the concept of empire building, ferocious fighting erupted in response to the American presence; in fact the Moro and other indigenous people of the islands– incensed at not being consulted–declared war on the United States.  American forces repeatedly defeated the indigenous fighters, but even after the Philippine Republic officially surrendered in 1902, guerilla warfare was waged by the Tagalog, Pulahanes and Moro peoples, all of whom maintained proud warrior traditions, many of whom attacked half-crazed on dope, and the majority of whom seemed utterly resistant to anything Kipling had to say about the matter. The resistance was not entirely subdued until 1913 and required the invention of the .45 Colt automatic pistol, which John Browning developed specifically to stop berserk Moros who proved insufficiently daunted by the army’s .38s.

Without the Moros, there might never have been a 1911 .45 ACP pistol--so at least some good came out of the whole business.

Without the Moros, there might never have been a 1911 .45 ACP handgun–so at least some good came out of the whole business.

Nothing in America’s foundational enzymes conduced toward these sorts of enterprises—besides which–or perhaps on account of which–we have always evinced a terribly un-imperialistic tendency to prevail militarily, spread all the gifts of civilization as lavishly as circumstances permit, and then leave.

TR peruses Kipling, despite stylistic reservations.

TR peruses Kipling, despite stylistic reservations.

This is hardly to suggest that large subsets of Americans did not perceive imperialism to represent the next evolutionary step for the Republic. Progressivism, as we shall see plainly in due course, has always maintained an ardor for subjugating and controlling the darker races, and Theodore Roosevelt, whose most regrettable attribute was surely his progressive streak, saw Kipling’s poem as a call for territorial conquest. Writing to his friend, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Teddy exhorted Lodge to read Kipling’s verse, declaring that it was “rather poor poetry, but good sense from the expansion point of view.” Kipling’s reaction to TR’s literary critique, if any, is lost to history.

Kipling breaks bad…..

Senator Tillman--not a fan!

Senator Tillman–not a fan!

Many Americans–perhaps the majority—were less fired by the poem than disquieted. It rang with pretensions to racial superiority that seemed–especially given the significance of the Civil War—disturbingly reminiscent of the antebellum south’s assumptions about American Negroes. Somewhat perversely, also, Senator “Pitchfork” Benjamin Tillman took exception, reading Kipling aloud to his peers in the Capital to reinforce his argument for scrapping the Treaty of Paris, asking “Are we to spread the Christian religion with the bayonet point as Mahomet spread Islam with a scimitar?” Pitchfork, himself a fire breathing racist, was opposed to bringing any more “racial inferiors” under the wing of the United States. Kipling struck him as a bleeding-heart trouble maker.  Others, who grasped the author’s mindset more discerningly, nevertheless scoffed at Kipling’s theme of implicit altruism.

Before Kipling was invented….

Others in the United States opposed the poem because it seemed remindful of “manifest destiny,” support for which was always scattered in American politics. Long before Kipling set verse to paper, the concept of Manifest Destiny was abroad in the land. The American Whig party argued, unimaginatively enough, that America’s destiny lay in staying put and offering the world an example of morality and democracy rather than territorial expansion. Of course, the Whigs soon became extinct.

The “Muddy Waters Doctrine”

The man, the myth, the doctrine that we just invented!

The man, the myth, the doctrine that we just invented!

Manifest destiny was also much ballyhooed when events, some glorious, others less so, and still others so labyrinthine as to elude classification, led to what Historians and  Mexicans like to call the “annexation of Texas.” In fact, following his humiliation at the Battle of Santa Jacinto, Santa Ana (not so fresh from overrunning the Alamo) signed treaties requiring his forces to retreat south of the Rio Grande and promised a thoroughly peeved Sam Houston he would instruct the Mexican Congress to recognize the Rio Grande as the border between the two countries. Thus, Texas, to the extent that it was annexed at all, was annexed fair and square, paid for in blood by Bowie, Travis, Crockett, and countless other Texians.  [And yes, we know, Mexico changed its mind about Santa Ana’s bargain when Texas became our 28th state, and the Mexican/American War ensued, during which Mexico was again defeated—but if Muddy Waters was correct in saying “you can’t lose what you ain’t never had,” surely some American academicians can be won over to the equally logical proposition that you can’t annex what you’ve already got.]

Feel the inevitability!

downloadBeginning with Jefferson’s purchase of the Louisiana Territory and his support for the Lewis and Clark expedition, it seemed evident that North America was set upon a process of civilized expansion into contiguous regions unbounded by borders. It seemed manifest. Our misguided efforts to expand northward (where there were, in fact, borders) were stymied during both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 by British and Canadian soldiers who seemed on both occasions adimant about declining statehood.

On the other hand, expanding toward the Pacific struck investors, entrepreneurs, explorers, and frontiersmen, as an ineluctable undertaking; and except in Texas, no foreign armies or contending powers were involved in the country’s Westward march—the obvious exception being the Indians regarding whom White settlers only rarely approached the standards of Kipling’s vision. This fact, unpleasant though it be, illustrates another distinction between Imperial colonization and Manifest Destiny. Kipling’s poem begins with the lines:

          Take up the White Man’s burden, Send forth the best ye breed
          Go bind your sons to exile, to serve your captives’ need…

As Custer discovered when he took command of the Seventh Cavalry, the American war department made no effort to send the best of our breed to its far western outposts— and nobody, no matter how supportive of our sweep toward the pacific, ever rationally argued that our soldiers or settlers were there to serve the needs of the Indians. One could argue, in fact, that western expansion might have been slightly less brutal if Grant and several hundreds of others in the East had been able to read Kipling.

The war to end econo-federalism?

civil-war-cartoon-1862-grangerQuite distinct from the extension of American dominance spreading across the plains, was the morally requisite growth of hostility toward the institution of slavery. It should suffice to comment that slavery became so heated an issue that ultimately, bereft of alternatives in law and threatened by the attempted secession of 11 states, the nation became involved in a vast civil war resulting in 1,100,000 casualties and the sacrifice of 625,000 American lives, not counting Lincoln’s. We realize that readers who are unwitting victims of the sophisticated opinionists currently ensconced in the history departments of higher academe will immediately object when we write the war was waged to settle the issue of slavery—but come off it. The alternative explanations enjoying academic currency wither as soon as they are subjected to the primary test. Go ahead, bounce your enlightened explications off us—each of them can be shown to be vapid unless supported by the dark tradition of human bondage. Economics? Economics based on what—or rather, on whom? States’ rights? States rights to do what? The Missouri Compromise? Gee, what was that about? The election of Lincoln? Don’t make it so easy.

It suits the purpose of liberalism to skirt the issue, in order that America seem less praiseworthy.  Leftist academics achieve this by disguising tautology as sophistication. Urban civil rights activist likewise prefer to ignore this central truth because they can claim grievances more persuasively once ridded of the burden of gratitude (Kipling, anyone?) We bear Southern apologists no ill will, but the civil war was about slavery, gentle readers, and slavery is evil, and the South lost.  Indeed, in the truest sense of Kipling’s verse, the North marched  “To seek another’s profit, And work another’s gain.” Obviously the average Union soldier didn’t think such things, nor did many of his officers and generals–just as many of the South’s finest from Lee to Stuart to Jackson fought for reasons of regional allegiance without any love for slavery; but without the enslavement of Africans in the South, the Confederacy would never have congealed, and Fort Sumter would be a name lost to history.economic-disagreements

Despite all the subversive anecdotage readers may have been compelled to absorb from Howard Zinn and his clones, the United States immersed itself in an internecine conflict so bloody that no war before or since resulted in so many American deaths, and slavery was, in fact, the fundamental issue compelling the states to divide and do battle. No other nation in the entirety of human history has engaged in so monumental a blood sacrifice to such purpose, let alone done so even as that abhorrent institution flourished in most of the rest of the world.  Without making this point emphatically, we cannot accurately relate the American narrative to Kipling’s vision.

Flunking Imperialism

samimagesNow we are at the part of this screed where, were it a motion picture, moviegoers would be shown the legend: “One hundred years later…” And we find that the Philippines are a proudly independent if dysfunctional nation, that Nicaraguans (whom we bedeviled during the same general period) were liberated from a right wing dictator by a half-witted communist and shortly afterward liberated from half-witted communist oppression by President Reagan, Ollie North, and the Contras—following which Nicaragua held free elections, ultimately electing the same half-witted communist as their president, but  hey, that’s Central America.  Elsewhere, many locations where America once fleetingly planted Old Glory and subsequently rethought the matter seem more inclined to pester us for statehood than rage against our tyrannies.

Creative equivocation….

Our national conversation has been hampered by various aspects of militancy, including duck tape.

Our national conversation has been hampered by various aspects of militancy, including duck tape.

Our ambivalence up to this point in advancing our thoughts about Kipling’s opus is not (at least entirely) ascribable to moral cowardice. President Obama wowed the swooning  network newsies 8 years ago and famously set Chris Matthews’s leg aquiver, by encouraging a national conversation about race. At the time, it seemed only vaguely necessary; but after two terms of Obama, Holder, Lynch, and their race-baiting minions conflagrating racial tensions, it seems obvious that such a conversation is overdue. And in any such conversation, Rudyard Kipling is owed a seat at the table.  We know, we know, our liberal and “independent” readers (all seven or eight of them) will feel obliged to send us emails objecting that no liberal in the history of American liberalism ever declared an affinity for Kipling’s obscenely supremacist ravings–and we hereby relieve them of that obligation by replying preemptively, “so what?”  The fact that leftists approach race relations in this day and age from a remarkably Kipling-esque standpoint, and that American Blacks do likewise, is no less a fact for the Left’s inability to perceive it.  Thus, we contend that viewed through a contemporary lens, the themes of The White Man’s Burden are entirely consonant with liberal civil rights initiatives, and have been for decades. How can such an irony endure unchallenged?

_________________________________________

It’s the media, cupcake!

"Steffy"the Journalist

“Steffy”the Journalist

Everyone who owns a television set. reads newspapers, or frequents the leftwing blogosphere knows that Republicans and conservatives despise minorities and want to drag them around by chains, or turn fire hoses on them in the streets– right?  Of course the image is pure sophistry, but that is what many Americans persist in believing, especially seeming majorities of people of color. How can this ridiculous perception persist?  It’s the media, cupcake! Want an example?  To avoid aggravating anyone, we shall call only one witness, George Stefanopoulos.

"Uh...oh, right...my Christian faith..."

“Uh…oh, right…my Christian faith…”

Readers will recall when Barack Obama, running for president back in 2008, appeared on ABC and complimented his opponent’s religious tolerance, telling Stephanopoulos,”John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith.”  Anyone familiar with the incident will recall that Stephanopoulos interrupted Obama at that moment, interjecting “Your Christian faith!” to which Obama flatly replied, “My Christian Faith.”  Oops. Well, anyone can make a darn mistake. How many times have most of us made similar slips?—you know—starting to call ourselves Christian or Jewish but accidentally blurting out “Zoroastrian,” or “Hindu?”

Governor Wallace is famous for declaring, "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,” Governor George Wallace of Alabama.

TRUE FACT:.Governor Wallace is famous for declaring, “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,” a phrase so admired by the New Black Panthers that they adopted it and use it today!

But more to our point, here was the familiar example of George Stephanopoulos (“Steffy” to the elites)  simply exerting himself to assist a fellow Democrat—and isn’t that what the media are all about?  So what went wrong on ABC Sunday last July 24th, when Representative Keith Ellison (D. Minn) began comparing donald Trump to the late George Wallace–you know–the Alabama governor who stood in the school house door to keep Black students from registering in 1962.

"...and I'd've gotten away with it too, if wasn't for that pesky Republican!"

Rep. Ellison reconsiders: “…and I’d have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for that meddling cowboy!”

Ellison, who is Black, and ought to know better, explained to Steffy that Donald Trump would be “the worst Republican nominee since George  Wallace.” And here’s the really strange part– Steffy Stephanopoulos just sat there nodding. His long streak of helpfully band-aiding gaffes issuing from his fellow leftists came to a sudden stop.   Ellison betrayed an embarrassing ignorance of civil-rights history, and  Steffy Stephanopoulos, who surely noted the Congressman’s mistake, said nothing. Why not? Is Stephanopoulos racist? Did he want the Black politician to look stupid? Fortunately, ABC Sunday’s other guest was Congressman Tom Cole (R-Okla) who took a moment to inform Ellison that George Wallace was a Democrat.  Ellison stared glumly at his desk, and Stephanopoulos moved things in another, though equally slanted, direction.  Steffy knew that Wallace was a Democrat, like Bull Conner, Robert Byrd (a high-level Klansman), and so many other segregationist Dixiecrats. So why didn’t he nudge Ellison as he had Obama?  The reason is obvious, of course–Ellison’s poor comprehension of history served the leftist narrative that Stefanopoulos strives to advance– and Steffy assumed his viewership wouldn’t know any better.  He reckoned without Representative Cole, however, who spoiled the moment.

racmix

Famous segregationists, George Wallace, Bull Connor, Lester Maddox, and Robert Byrd are typical of the Democrat Party’s racist heritage. Today, a more subtle racism has swept that Party– Lyndon Johnson’s tactical focus on keeping Americans of color beholden to White Liberal generosity became a less obvious but far more efficient guarantor of servitude than Jim Crow.

So powerful is the Liberal Establishment, gushing similar propaganizements from nearly all available conduits of contemporary culture, it is hardly surprising that Black voters file dutifully to the polls whenever required, to elect or re-elect liberal politicians despite the fact that it is impossible to point to any advantage they have ever gained thereby. Worse, in weirdly self-destructive conformity, Blacks vote overwhelmingly to keep liberal Democrats in charge of cities that are bankrupt or becoming so, violent to degrees that would approach genocide except for the fact that Blacks are also doing most of the killing, and where any possibility of rejuvenation is thwarted by excessive taxation and overt graft combined with street-level anarchy repelling any investors other than the Federal Government, which lavishly incentivizes the very behaviors that immiserate Black communities, including unemployment, single parenthood, and disastrous school systems. Murders in Chicago, meanwhile, are up 72 percent over this time last year, while shootings are 88 percent ahead of 2015. March alone accounted for 45 murders and 271 shooting incidents. Chicago has not elected a Republican mayor since 1927. The archetypically sleazy Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff, became the Windy City’s mayor in 2011 and easily won re-election in 2015. Chicagoans must be pleased with their city’s direction.

Rahm Emanuel's Chicago--where at least the WPA would prove superfluous since despair and terror produce more art than the New Deal ever could!

Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago–where the WPA would prove superfluous since despair and terror produce more art than the New Deal ever could!  Ah, culture!

Detroiters love Democrats too. The Motor City has been run almost exclusively by liberal Democrats since 1962. A recent Washington Post article sneered at what the author called “the Republican obsession with Detroit,” making the case that “Detroit does not vote for Republicans.” In a burst of editorial perversity, the Post writer argued that Republicans were daft to consider solutions for a city that clearly spurned their attentions. Gloatingly, the author added that “In 2012, 97.5 percent of the city went for Barack Obama. The county sheriff is a Democrat, as are the three U.S. representatives whose districts surround the city. The current mayor, the previous mayor, the six mayors before that guy: all Democrats, too.” And Detroit has a higher murder rate than Chicago–almost exclusively Black on Black crime. It is also a fiscal black hole (no pun intended, honestly) into which bail-out dollars vanish ineffectually. It may be recalled that Detroit went bankrupt shortly following Barack Obama’s vow that he would never permit Detroit to go bankrupt.

Barack Obama boasted during the 2012 election that his policies saved Detroit from going bankrupt. Following the election, Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. Where's the white Man's Burden when you need it, right?

Obama boasted during the 2012 election that his policies saved Detroit from going bankrupt. Following the election, Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. Where’s that White Man’s Burden when you need it, right?

The most violent cities in America, listed in descending order of homicidal intensity, are Detroit, MI;  Memphis, TN;  Oakland, CA: St. Louis, MO; Milwaukee, WI, and Baltimore, MD. Each city has been ruled by liberal Democrats for as long as citizens can recall–and each has a Democrat mayor.  Many have been sites of racial violence in which the Black Lives Matter movement played a role. This role will now expand considerably. The perfidious George Soros just poured $650,000 into BLM’s coffers, and the subversive Ford Foundation is preparing, even now, to up Soros’s ante by several million. Being on the trickle-down side of the White Man’s Burden may not provide much enlightenment nowadays, but enrichment there is aplenty!

Be afraid--be very afraid!

Be afraid–be very afraid!

___________________________________

Let Elvis explain.

seriously

Seriously?

The Memphis Coalition of Concerned Citizens is a collection of various activist groups — Black Lives Matter Memphis Chapter, Memphis Voices for Palestine [WOOF is not making this up], the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense & Inward Journey, and the Memphis Grass Roots Organization. This illustrious conglomeration recently announced its plans for a “show of solidarity” at Graceland, home to the late Elvis Presley. The singer’s mansion has been maintained in its original condition with furnishings and decor as Elvis left them, and also functions as a kind of museum, shrine, gift shop and popular Memphis landmark. Thus, upon reading that the CCC was planning a “demonstration of solidarity” we wondered what admirable traits of Mr. Presley’s, in particular,  had bestirred so massive a display of empathy…but, of course, we soon recognized our error.

The Concerned Coalition of Citizens intended to show solidarity mainly with Black Lives Matter, and with any other scowling malcontents willing to attachblmimages the issues of race, poverty, and White privilege to Presley’s estate. Their announced intention was to “shut down Graceland” during Elvis Week. Prior to these announcements, WOOF was unaware that Elvis Week was even a thing, much less a thing that any band of self-described civil rights activists could possibly find threatening. One might say our consciousness was raised, or at least augmented, by the Coalition’s statement on the matter, which, in part, read as follows:

 “The demonstration, set for Monday at 6:00pm, is planned as a peaceful show of solidarity, unifying the people of Memphis against systems that promote poverty, violence and economic disparity. Graceland… demonstrates one of Memphis’s most common forms of financial inequity. Graceland recently opened The Guest House, a new 450 room resort style hotel in the heart of the African American community of Whitehaven. The project cost more than $120 million dollars to build and received upwards of 78 million dollars in public funding and tax breaks. Project developers and city officials promised Whitehaven residents the project would be an economic boon to the community, but as has been case for decades, residents have seen little if any of that money ‘trickle down’ into the middle class neighborhood’s economy.”

True, it might have been simpler to admit that ruining the vacations of hundreds of Elvis fans, most of whom drove from out of state to peacefully peruse their idol’s manse and reminisce with fellow Elvis devotees, was a surefire way to get themselves onto the local and national news while creating a big enough impingement on the normal flow of events that some of the singer’s redneck cracker fan base was likely to lose its cool and yell some deliciously microaggressive slurs and maybe even become violent—but we would do the Coalition and its allies an injustice if we failed to parse their official statement for insight, because therein we will discover the continuing relevance of the hero of this month’s screed.

We checked--not an Elvis song!

We checked–not an Elvis song!

First, let’s consider the idea that marching into Graceland with the sole purpose of creating an annoyance is somehow “unifying the people of Memphis against the systems that create poverty” and “economic disparity.” What systems are we intended to infer here? The governance of White Democrat Jim Strickland, who besides joining the NAACP and showing up for photo ops at soup kitchens has done nothing whatsoever to meaningfully improve the lives of Black Memphians?  Or are we intended to think inculpatory thoughts about the all-Democrat, (mostly Black) city council? Because, clearly, all the relevant “systems” are entirely liberal Democrat, and largely African American—and while it is exactly true that they continue to promote poverty, it is difficult to imagine any connection to Elvis. Why not picket the people in power who bear the actual responsibility for mismanagement, incompetence, and to no small degree, graft?  Here’s a thought: Why not stop voting for them? But back to reality: Nobody in the Black community, or in the White liberal community, ever thinks of this–not only because liberalism is incapable of critical introspection, but also because Kipling has liberalism in a philosophical vice grip!

exactlyimages

Finally! Someone gets our point! Lead them to personal responsibility and political independence, sister!!!

Apparently “Graceland…represents one of Memphis’s most common forms of economic inequity” Really? First, what on earth can be intended by calling the fortune compiled by Elvis Presley “common?” Does the upper crust in Memphis consist mainly of Rock and Roll singers swept to fame on the wings of social upheaval arguably engendered by their musical performances?  Can we just assume that question is patently rhetorical?

sammyjrelvis1

Early Elvis, seen here with Sammy Davis Jr., probably apologizing for all the financial inequity.

No, the only economic inequity generated by Presley was the natural result of his marketable abilities. The idea that talented performers earning large salaries in proportion to  how much approval they generate among the record-buying or movie-going public somehow constitutes unfairness makes sense only on the most sophomoric levels of pop collectivism…but of course, nowadays, that’s most of them.

No inequity, no White Privilege, no problem!

No inequity here, no White Privilege, no problem!

Graceland represents economic diversity, not inequity. It stands as evidence of a fundamental precept of the capitalist system—that some people will provide goods and services so eagerly received and widely demanded that they will amass wealth as a result—and with that wealth they may choose to erect homes, acquire land, obtain automobiles, fly in private jets to get pizza, shoot an occasional TV set, and generally pursue enthusiasms on a scale not available to those whose gifts are more pedestrian and whose surroundings are consequently less opulent. Rap artists are perfect examples of this sort of “economic inequity,” but no BLM protester would dream of considering the fact, nor any White Leftist—because the power structure targeted for destruction by these entities must be perceived and described as White. Otherwise, what’s the point? Otherwise, where’s Kipling?

The Coalition of Concerned Citizens complains that “78 million dollars in public funding and tax breaks” contributed to building a ‘guest house’” (in fact a luxury hotel where tourists may elect to reside while visiting Graceland). Apparently, the outlay of public funds was approved only because developers and politicians promised residents that erecting the hotel would spread economic growth throughout the surrounding community. The Coalition contends that no such benefits ‘trickled down.’ [Their phrase, naturally.]  If such were the case, surely the wrath of BLM and the CCC would be better focused on the city planners, office holders, and organizers who lied about the benefits and are therefore quite possibly liable for their deceptions. Certainly pursuing these culprits would make more sense than assailing the fans of Elvis Presley, who had nothing to do with duping the Black community, and nothing to do with maintaining in office the legions of mainly Black, entirely liberal municipal hacks whose promises routinely prove empty.

epmagesBut no. The overriding symbolism and subtext of the Coalition’s complaint in no respect inculpates the actual villains, because doing so would not serve the template. Instead, the leadership implies that minorities in the vicinity are somehow victims of the White power elite, personified, however awkwardly, by Elvis. The impression given is that every economic woe the underprivileged confront is directly linked to White exploitation. In this popular weltanschauung, the Whites crowding into Graceland are the beneficiaries of an unequal distribution of income that allows them to traipse through the Jungle Room and mill about the trophy building, so immersed in their bourgeois pursuits that they never pause to think of the hardships their very existence imposes upon minorities…or the moral obligations (the Burden) this places upon them!

Police brutality was not much in evidence during the protest.

Police brutality was not much in evidence during the protest.

Properly understood, the message BLM & CCC sent from Graceland is simple. Blacks in the African American community of Whitehaven (which seems  unfortunately appellated, we’d submit) are miserable, and their immiseration is ascribable to Elvis Presley, more or less, and his sneering minions. Ridiculous?  Not once you realize that in BLM’s cosmology it is not acceptable to blame city officials, coordinators, the mayor, or any municipal official, or anyone who repeatedly votes for these sinecurists, because only White racism is allowable as the casual factor,  never the miscreancies of liberal Democrats. It follows therefore that residents of Whitehaven have no means of bettering themselves apart from their reliance on hotels being built for Elvis Presley’s fans. Further, the protestors wish it understood, the hotel was built, and the oppressed minorities of Whitehaven got zip. In fact, we are told, they were materially damaged by the project.

Never mind?

graceland_guest-house-a

A guest house room, featuring a gold lamé momento symbolic of economic disparity, one assumes.

Except that employment, by every measure possible, leapt upwards with the project’s arrival. Whitehaven Kiwanis Club official, Calvin Burton, who appears authentically Black, called the hotel “a goldmine,” adding that Graceland’s Guest House was “about to start a large snowball effect [in which] people get jobs at Graceland, crime goes down, more businesses move in, and that means more jobs move in, this is the snowball effect residents in Whitehaven are welcoming.” Marvin Newsum, also persuasively Black, added that  he has lived in Whitehaven more than 30 years “and could not be happier,” Both men hailed the 450 jobs already created by the project and a coming jobs fair aimed at making employment available to still more residents. Did someone forget to tell Black Lives Matter? Should the glad tidings be rushed to the leadership of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens post haste?  Don’t be silly!

Who was Darrius Stewart?

stewartCoalition leaders also chose Graceland because “the site has ties to…the death of unarmed teen Darrius Stewart,” although Stewart’s only known association with Graceland is that he was killed in its arguable proximity. Detained by Memphis police officer Connor Shilling, Stewart overheard radio transmissions cautioning Shilling to hold him on several out-of-state warrants stemming from—among other things–charges of sexual abuse of minors. At this point, Connor testified, Stewart, who had not been handcuffed, attacked him. A struggle ensued, much of which is captured on video, during which Stewart seized Connor’s handcuffs and lashed him about the head. Schilling emerged from the struggle with bite marks, bruises, and Stewart’s DNA all over his uniform. Stewart, on the other hand, did not survive the melee during which Connor reached his service pistol and fired two rounds, one of which proved fatal to his assailant. Forensics proved the shots were fired only feet from Stewart, verifying that Shilling fired them in the heat of a struggle and thus “acted in reasonable fear that his life or the lives of others were in jeopardy,” making the use of lethal force permissible. A grand jury refused to indict Shilling, who was nevertheless removed from active duty. As is so often the case, it again appears that a youthful Black male, mythologized by the community as yet another innocent victim of a willfully homicidal police force, might have been spared martyrdom had he simply elected to refrain from physically assaulting a policeman.

Check your “social formations!”

On August 16th, the 39th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley, Black Lives Matter protesters staged a protest calling for increases in the minimum wage (of course), relief from unemployment (which goes hand in hand, they seem to believe, with increasing the minimum wage), and an end to police brutality in the city.  The police demonstrated their brutality by fencing protesters off to the degree that they could not obstruct visitors to Elvis’s home, and making only three arrests during the entire protest, and this despite the fact that BLM neglected to apply for a permit. Elvis devotees were not significantly obstructed, and the media didn’t get a bloodbath, but no news cycle is perfect.

And as it turned out, the three arrested protesters poorly represented the oppressed classes. What were the police thinking?"

As it turned out, the three arrested protesters only partially represented the oppressed classes. What were the police thinking?

So what else did BLM want? Actually, the organization has listed nearly 400 demands phrased in what one might nowadays call paleo-revolutionary argot almost plangently familiar to anyone who dealt with campus radicalism during the militant ‘60s. Most demands are ludicrously divorced from reality, demanding on the one hand the abolition of police forces, and on the other, “increased protection…for black institutions like historically black colleges and ‘social formations.’” Many demands follow florid prologizing, the idea being—it seems—that the demand will seem all the more sensible given the premise provided.  To the contrary, the prefatory rhetoric simply numbs the eyeballs with such fatuities as, “Until we achieve a world where cages are no longer used against our people, we demand an immediate change in conditions and an end to public jails, detention centers, youth facilities and prisons as we know them.”

Kipling rides again

imagesWhat is germane to our theme in each of these demands is the implicit appeal to authority, invariably envisioned as White, (facts to the contrary notwithstanding) to make concessions, however implausible, to people who are Black. These concessions, were any made, would be heralded by the Coalition as capitulations to “the people”—to the community’s righteous demands for social justice; but that would be sheer dissimilation. Concessions, were any made, would exemplify noblesse oblige—the felt responsibility of the dominant culture. The burden, in other words, of the privileged class. Rudyard Kipling, please call your office—the tenor of the poet’s sentiments is altered only slightly by the militancy with which favors are sought, and the fact that those empowered to consider granting them are driven less by altruism than assimilated guilt (or political expedience). But amazingly, Kipling’s burden has not shifted an iota…it is still up to the White Man to give to the Black Man the means of socioeconomic sustenance.

The Milwaukee Riot

Smith, in happier days.

Smith and gun, in happier days.

On the 13th of August, a piteously distraught Mildred Haynes told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  “My son is gone due to the police killing my son.”And that was a concise summation of events, if not as detailed or nuanced as subsequent accounts. The deceased in this instance was Sylville Smith, known already to police as a suspect in a shooting soon after which he was charged with witness intimidation when he endeavored to coerce the victim into withdrawing his testimony. In fact, Smith’s police record was extensive, including a concealed weapon charge from 2014 and a citation for operating a motor vehicle without a license while speeding and with open intoxicants in view.

milimages

On the night of the 13th, Smith was pulled over in a rental car that flagged as stolen. The entire event lasted 25 seconds. For reasons he is unavailable to explain, Smith exited his vehicle. fled on foot, and pulled a handgun as he ran. Officers pursued Smith who at some point during the chase made the additionally puzzling decision to pivot and level his handgun (which was afterwards determined to be stolen) at the foremost police officer, who was Black. The officer thereupon drew his weapon and ordered Smith twice to drop his gun. Smith, as clearly shown on the officer’s body cam, preferred not to. Consequently, the officer shot and killed him. Smith’s gun was loaded—in fact it contained 23 rounds—and the officer’s response was entirely lawful, and may well have averted his own demise. Moreover, the officer who shot Smith was a local rap performer and, it transpired, a classmate of Smith’s in high school.  But no matter any of that—another innocent Black youth (okay, Smith was 23) had been gunned down by the genocidal janissaries of White Racial Supremacy, and a riot almost necessarily ensued.

Say what you will, Detroit really knew how to have a riot!

Say what you will, Detroit really knew how to have a riot!

Okay, riots have happened for far less inflammatory reasons—the Detroit riot of 1967 started over a raided poker game. Milwaukee’s Black population was already chafing under the weight of several recent encounters involving questionable conduct by police, some of which appear substantive. And information is hard to come by at first, so passions are inflamed well before facts are circulated. To the BLM leadership, of course, facts are irrelevant to the narrative, and that narrative sufficed to spark the Milwaukee riot of 2016 which began with approximately one-hundred Black protesters gathering at North Sherman and Auer to confront a line of about twenty police officers as the “community organizers” at BLM set to work ginning up further outrage via social media. Predictably, things got violent.

As riots go, this one was par for the course. Cars, including some police cruisers, were smashed or set ablaze, a gas station was looted and torched, and firefighters proved unable to approach the blaze owing to scattered gunshots and a barrage of bricks. One officer was hit by a brick and rushed to treatment while other protesters, incognizant of the alliances implicit in such events, attacked reporters and photographers who were merely attempting to “get their story out.” But the evening’s festivities ended with only 4 officers injured, all the fires finally subdued, and only the usual number of liquor stores and supermarkets looted and/or demolished. For a time it appeared that peace might be restored and a dialogue opened.

Support trouble-free revolution!

Comrade Dix likes to wear Mao on his chest, so people don't forget he's a communist.

Comrade Dix likes to wear Mao on his chest, so people don’t forget he’s a communist.

But city authorities reckoned without the appearance of a far older, more practiced and calculated malignancy. The Chicago based (go figure!) Revolutionary Communist Party dispatched operatives to Milwaukee who proved so successful at stimulating a second day of wanton destruction that Police chief Ed Flynn singled them out for credit, telling the press on the second day “the communist group showed up, and actually they’re the ones who started to cause problems.”

Reached by phone, comrade Carl Dix, co-founder of the Revolutionary Communist Party, blamed the “righteous rebellion” on Smith’s death, helpfully adding that “This system sees police wantonly murdering people as part of the normal order of things.” Dix took the opportunity to advocate dismantling the police, but feigned astonishment at Chief Flynn’s accusations. “If anybody wants to allege that our people were actually committing those acts, they should bring that to us. That wasn’t what we went up there to do,” Dix said, insisting that his people “did go there to support a revolution but didn’t set out to cause trouble.”

What is to be done?

So now that the bricks have stopped flying and the streets have been swept free of debris, now that the communists have returned to Chicago, what acts of contrition and profferings of largesse can the sectors of White Privilege supply to ablute their guilt?  Yes, we know, the police should be dismantled, and the killer cops thrown to the mob, but seriously, beyond these puerilities, in a phrase Comrade Dix might resonate to, what is to be done?

Reporter Aaron Mak was nearly beaten to death, but the mob let him go when they realized he was Asian. which is kind of heart warming, really.

Reporter Aaron Mak was nearly beaten to death, but the mob let him go when they realized he was Asian. which is kind of heart warming, really.

During the riot’s second day, an intrepid crew of  TV reporters evaded pummeling long enough to perform a man-in-the-street interview with an  unidentified Black gentleman on the periphery of the violence, “It’s sad,” the man explained, “because, you know, this is what happen because they not helping the black community. The rich people they got all this money and they not, like you know, trying to give us none.”  The gentleman, whoever he was, exhibited an uncanny gift for synopsis. The same essential lamentation seemed on the lips of every resident the press managed to buttonhole.

The Raj is where the heart bleeds!

the Raj is where the heart bleeds...

The Hollywood Reporter ran a story recently about Opera Winfrey’s forthcoming TV series Queen Sugar, which in and of itself would matter not a wit to us at this remove, except that during the extensive interview, Ava DuVernay, the series’ authentically Black director, experienced one of those epiphanic moments that beset we mortals on quirkish occasion, and told the Reporter, “If you treat being Black as a plight, it affects your creativity.”  Think about that, gentle readers! Roll it around your frontal lobes for a bit.

Granted, were Ava DuVernay by the remotest chance to discover this screed, she might angrily insist that we have taken her out of context, but we contend that her statement is of that rare caliber that functions in virtually any context—making it worthy of inclusion among The Eternal Verities, postmodernism notwithstanding. And mindful though we be, here in the WOOF cave, of the invidious threat posed by dread cultural appropriation, we believe DuVernay’s insight works equally well for Whites—insofar as they too should desist from viewing “being Black as a plight,” and find more creative ways of addressing issues of inclusion. Sadly, however, nobody from the political left is prepared to do this, nobody to the center-right has the courage, and nobody to the right of the center-right could attempt it without being pulverized by media billingsgate.

TRUE FACT: Even though the terms "Black" and African American were yet to be populkarized, President Johnson never learned to correctly pronounce the word 'Negro.'

TRUE FACT: Even though the terms “Black” and “African American” were yet to be popularized, President Johnson never learned to correctly pronounce the word ‘Negro.’

Instead, American liberalism has created a new Raj in the United States, where White Privilege is seen as a kind of self-accusatory parallel to the old Kiplingism–and one that obliges the dispensation of favors to the perceived underclasses who prefer victimhood to self-efficacy–and who ceaselessly harangue the despised Imperialists (read: White Americans) for more and more contributions in the name of social justice.  It is not really WOOF’s purpose here to say categorically that this is wrong, or even improper. It is our purpose to say only that it is happening, in a weird homage to Kipling, and once again the entire burden of responsibility for the raising up of the underprivileged is placed squarely upon the shoulders of White, largely European elites.  It is placed there by America’s Black population–but they learned the gimmick from Lyndon Baines Johnson. And that says a lot about why liberalism now owns the White Man’s Burden.

And for peace in Southeast Asia, too; remember?

And peace in Southeast Asia, too; remember?

Johnson’s “Great Society” subsidized every social affliction detectable in the Black populations of America’s cities, and by subsidizing such difficulties, caused them to multiply. Liberal exertions destroyed the Black middle class, the Black nuclear family, and Black education  (which prior to Johnson’s meddling often scored higher on national tests than predominantly White school systems).  Once Johnson’s “Great Society” was fully implemented, Black unemployment soared, the Black nuclear family disintegrated, and the new Black dependency on government caused Johnson to infamously remark, “I’ll have those ni**ers voting Democratic for the next 200 years!” [NB: WOOF dutifully reports here that SNOPES, while going so far as to admit that “There’s no question that Lyndon Johnson…was…a sometime racist and notorious vulgarian who rarely shied away from using the N-word in private,” still doesn’t think Johnson said this, because nobody at SNOPES has seen enough evidence. WOOF has, but we like to give SNOPES equal time. Also, we will let readers know if SNOPES replies to our request for information regarding what a “sometime racist” might be.]

Kemp contra Kipling?

Remember Jack Kemp’s urban enterprise zones? Probably not. The whole concept was doomed to perish as soon as liberalism retrieved the Oval Office.

kempOne of the most hideously malformed proofs of the hopelessly advancing political sclerosis besetting the GOP was its 1996 presidential ticket, which may be recalled with effort by the mnemonically gifted as advancing the proposition that Bob Dole would make a terrific president, and that Jack Kemp might come in handy as his running mate. In terms of vitality, creativity, and salability to the public, this match-up might be likened to having the Beatles open for Herman’s Hermits. Kemp, the congressional leader of the brain trust behind Reaganomics, was ushered into the number two slot behind the prehistoric Dole, a man who used to tell dead supply-sider jokes on the floor of congress. The result, predictably was another four years of Bill Clinton…but at least good old Bob had his turn in the grand Republican tradition.

So they nominated Bush Senior--really?

So they nominated Bush Senior–really?

But the American Presidency wasn’t the only slot Kemp would have excelled in but never got offered. A few years earlier, he’d come up with a means of bailing out America’s failing cities and the minority populations that inhabited them. Of course, pundits will cluck their tongues and insist that Kemp’s plan for urban enterprise zones was tried and failed—and that is, indeed, the urban myth surrounding the initiative. But like a lot of things everybody knows, it isn’t so.

During his career, Kemp was bored stiff by the mediocre, and the near-mediocre.

During his career, Kemp was often bored stiff by the mediocre, and the near-mediocre.

True, in 1993 Congress passed Kemp’s plan, which the Clinton administration attempted to enact, and, true again, it didn’t work. But Kemp’s proposal bore scant resemblance to the hodge-podge deployed by the Clinton administration. Predictably, Clinton’s version proceeded from a vision of government’s role in the creation of economic growth that was diametrically distinct to Kemp’s. Kemp’s original intent was to promote the entrepreneurial development of abandoned urban areas by laying them open to the creative energies of local residents unbound by governmental red tape and boosted by Federal funds.. True to form, Clinton restructured the entire process as a hand-out to major corporate participants awash in a veritable sea of regulatory provisions certain to exclude local participation except at the most menial levels.  Worked Kemp’s way, the gift of personal responsibility and creativity would have been offered the inner city, and incentivized by Federal dollars ultimately recoverable as revenue.  Urban denizens might well have flourished. Run Clinton’s way, well….the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. And therein lies an important lesson:

Concerning rats…

wfbDecades ago, William F. Buckley, Jr. was debating Black civil rights leaders on his television program, Firing Line, when one of them glared in his direction and offered, as a kind of pre-emptive condemnation of White insouciance, the datum that “There are rats in Harlem!” Buckley agreed that Harlem was overrun with rats, but added, “You make it seem as though I personally sneak into Harlem every night and with a sort of gleeful chuckle, plop down a rat.” His point bollixed his guest. If Harlem has rats, he seemed to suggest, why haven’t the residents of Harlem taken the necessary eradicative measures? Or failing this, why haven’t they prevailed upon their own recurrently-elected yet notoriously phlegmatic officials to allocate funds and personnel toward this end?  This is exactly the line of reason–exactly the part of the “conversation on race”–that the Liberal Church of Sanctified Victimization cannot abide.  The moment personal responsibility enters the dialogue, Kipling’s worldview vanishes. So long as personal responsibility is banished from the dialogue, Kipling’s worldview is inescapable.  So, gentle readers–you probably figure we’re going to let our beloved William F. have the last word on this matter–but no!  When we at WOOF decide to discuss rats, we aren’t messing around.

stalin-trotsky

It would be churlish to call this Leon’s finest moment…we suppose.

The Russian word расистов is a translation of racist, or rather, vice versa. The coinage is often attributed to Leon Trotsky, and while WOOF cannot state with certitude that the communist revolutionary with the ice axe sticking in his head is the progenitor of the term, he certainly made fond use of it.  And there is no doubt that word has obtained a utility beyond its justifiable applications in denouncing anyone who suggests anything related to race relations that might lie outside the purview of political correctitude as daily upgraded by the powers of the liberal academy. We know full well, therefore, that a conga line of shatterpated commenters will form almost immediately to denounce your humble editors and authors as “RACIST!” for daring to suggest that Black Americans take charge of their own future, and give up the idea that it is best dictated to them by the White Leftist Elite and their loyal crew of race-bating “civil rights leaders” who maintain status in accordance with how satisfactorily the Democrat party rates their performances.  Unless they do so, the American liberal and the DNC will eternally assume the White Man’s Burden as a feigned moral necessity, continually employ it as a political lever, and continually deliver nothing except poverty, division, acrimony, and distrust whenever that lever is pulled.  It’s been going on since LBJ invented high-rise housing for Black families– does anyone realistically suppose it will change?

The Great Society

The Great Society

So Trotsky gets the last word, and that word is “racist.” Trotsky used the term as a propagandistic utensil,, and it certainly caught on. We at WOOF dislike to be called racists because we aren’t–but we’re used to it.  We also know that a lot of people really are racist, and we hate that.  But beyond the looney blatherings of Klansmen, Skin Heads, certain of the “Alt Right,” “liberals” like LBJ and those thousands of DNC functionaries who even today deprecate Blacks privately while fawning over them publically, surely the most racist concept in today’s America is the notion that Blacks cannot succeed without Whites showing the way, paying the expenses, handing out largesse and directing the show. This message comes relentlessly from the Left. For decades it was disguised as compassion, but nowadays, as Americans of European ancestry are charged with confessing and lamenting their “White Privilege,” it proceeds equally from an assumption of ethnic guilt–a guilt that may be expiated only by dispensing massive sums of money and promises of preferential treatment to properly certified victims populating the Racial Left.

Hyphens away!

We believe that Americans of African descent will begin to awaken to this fact, not by tumult, but slowly and increasingly. The Left, of course,  is betting they never catch on. Until they do, Kipling’s poesy will remain a perversely applicable fact of life for all of us– in a way Kipling never perceived nor intended, with ramifications the White liberal establishment must conceal in order to maintain its electability. WOOF calls on all Americans to free Kipling of his unforeseen roll in our national approach to race relations, to free American minorities of decades of tyranny imposed in the name of Federal assistance, and to cast off the chains of “multicultural” dogma imprisoning us in isolated social redoubts wherein we are so easily manipulated.  We especially say to the nation’s minorities, cast off victimhood and  unite with us in the American adventure! You have nothing to lose but your hyphens!WOOF PRINT

kipling-endpiece

 

Save the Mastodon! Oh, wait…on second thought, don’t bother! (Why Conservatism and the GOP Don’t Play Well Together.)

In "Dead Elephant in the Room" forum on July 5, 2016 at 11:23 am

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Few would take us to task for observing that conservatives are currently more disillusioned with the Republican Party than during any previous time in the GOP’s history. And for us to say something that few would take us to task for is nearly unprecedented, so permit us to bask in the moment. Okay, done. Now, allow us two additional points: First, that the GOP is about to implode, and second, no matter what immediate alarm this may cause conservatism, the ultimate result may be benign—even providential—for the American Right. To these auguries we boldly add our conviction that the GOP has never been a natural abode of conservatism, and is in most respects no less hostile to its doctrines than are the Democrats. See, now we went and made a lot of people angry—but we’re still the same lovable band of good-natured counterrevolutionaries we always were, so why not have a stiff drink and bear with us?

scatter chart for use

Scientific proof of Republican mendacity–or at least it would be, except we just pasted in a positive scattergram off the Internet–but you get the idea.

Consider the folly of assuming that most Republican candidates intend to pursue the programs of action they advocate while campaigning, or adhere to the broadly conservative philosophies they grandly enunciate.  We contend that a scatter chart depicting the relationship between conservative assertions made by Republicans during campaigns with the levels of empirically demonstrable deception assignable to each assertion viewed in retrospect, would produce, in the majority of cases, an impressively positive correlation. That’s from a Cartesian standpoint. From the standpoint of a concerned voter whose beliefs lie in the conservative arena, such correlations are neither impressive nor positive–they are downright infuriating.  Conservatives may also wish to consider the pathological implications of remaining, of their own volition, in a political “family” that not only deceives them in this fashion, but scorns and ridicules them whenever their backs are turned; a family that pesters them routinely for cash, promising specific outcomes, but having received the cash fulfills none of its promises and repays the contributors by pursuing outcomes antithetic to their  wishes and contrary to the understandings upon which the funds were solicited.  Put another way, American conservatives are treated by the GOP in a manner analogous to how Black Americans are treated by the DNC.

F.D.

Why was Frederick Douglass so much smarter than Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, John Lewis, and President Obama? (Even put together.)

Birth of a Notion

Henry_Clay

Henry Clay ran for president as a Whig but Jackson defeated him, For one thing, Jackson had better hair. Clay should have tried a wig.

The creation of the Republican Party was largely a result of the collapse of the Whig Party. Seen any Whigs lately? No you haven’t—and that’s because they vanished from the political landscape, victims of rancorous internecine conflicts that eroded their foundational vision until it became unrecognizable and unserviceable. And doesn’t that sound familiar? When we think of Whigs nowadays, which mostly we don’t, we tend to imagine a quirkish, ephemeral batch of regional lightweights who faded mainly because they had a dopey name and got no traction—but this is largely untrue. Initially founded in opposition to the populist caprices of Andrew Jackson whom they (quite sensibly) considered a dangerous mountebank spreading newfangled socioeconomic ideas by force of personality rather than Constitutional law, the Whigs sought to limit the powers of the executive and expand those of congress. Their numbers included Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, and William Henry Harrison.

Harrison won the presidency in 1840, pledging to serve only one term in keeping with the Whigs’ conviction that constitutional governance demanded strictly limited tenures in office. Harrison proved better than his word, delivering the longest inaugural address in American history (lasting two full hours despite frantic editing by Daniel Webster) and is popularly reputed to have caught cold during the event leading to his death three weeks later of pneumonia, or pleurisy, or enteric fever, depending on which historians one deems credible; but in any case, well within his self-imposed term limit.

zachary and horse

“Old Rough and Ready” (Zachary Taylor), with “Old Whitey,” his beloved horse. Whitey, who preferred to graze on the White House lawn, passed on the fruit and milk and lived to a ripe old age.

Whig Zachary Taylor lasted longer in the presidency, but he too met an ignominious end. Independence Day in Washington, (1850), was a scorcher, and while celebrating the holiday Taylor reportedly consumed “raw fruit and iced milk” and fell ill. His doctor diagnosed him with “cholera morbus,” and despite intensive medical treatment, or possibly because of it, he died. Whig Millard Fillmore thereupon assumed office where he earned the distinction of being the only Whig president who didn’t die there.

Thanks, Millard Fillmore!

Thanks, Millard Fillmore!

He didn’t do much else, however, unless one counts ordering Commodore Matthew Perry to open trade routes with Japan, which, as we now know, ultimately resulted in the tragic death by suicide of Madame Butterfly, to say nothing of World War II. Also at this time, a young Illinois Whig named Abraham Lincoln (you knew we were getting there, right?) first gained attention as an outspoken opponent of expansion into Texas. But Abe soon abandoned politics, possibly after realizing how drastically misguided were his criticisms of the whole Texas thing, and returned to practicing law–during which period he famously appeared as Henry Fonda in John Ford’s Young Mr. Lincoln.

The Grand New Party!

But more to our point, as even the most benighted graduates of our annihilative educational system must be dimly aware, Mr. Lincoln soon returned to the political arena, and this time it was personal…

lincoln images

Today’s Republican Party was founded in 1854 by a confluence of ex-Whigs, Free Soilers (a short-lived single issue party whose purpose was to prevent slavery from expanding into the western territories), and other anti-slavery factions.  The Whig Party was by then so riven with acrimony, ambivalence and dissent that it barely registered as a speed bump on the Republicans’ path to the schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin, where their firm abolitionist policies and unyielding belief that slavery was an intolerable evil sufficed to unify the young party.

fremont

Fremont: First GOP nominee, first GOP loser, got a whole state named after him in James Michener’s novel “Space.” How does that even work, really?

The first Republican convention began and ended on July 6th, 1854 in Jackson, Michigan. John C. Fremont actually won the first-ever Republican nomination and rallied the Northern states. He lost, however, to James Buchanan who managed to woo the support of a large segment of the “Know Nothing Party” despite the Republican Party’s vastly superior campaign slogan, to wit: “Free Soil, Free Men, and Fremont” which might have proved more effective had there been bumpers in 1856.

Team Abe

Lincoln's supporters took full advantage oof the fact that the uv light was not yet invented, meaning the absent security strips on forged tickets went unnoticed! l

Lincoln’s supporters took full advantage of the fact that the uv light was not yet invented, meaning the absent security strips on forged tickets went unnoticed!

By contrast, Lincoln’s presidential campaign of 1860 was encumbered with the slogan “He’s the rail candidate!” But before you scoff, consider that besides bolstering the case for hanging inept punsters, this conspicuously flawed attempt at drollery served to further publicize the lanky Kentuckian’s image as a wood-splitting, incorruptible rustic. Historians generally agree the electorate’s fascination with Honest Abe’s back-story (embellished though it were) played a substantial part in securing his eventual nomination. We say eventual because Abe owed his nomination to the vagaries of a brokered convention. Yes, gentle readers, Lincoln secured his party’s nomination on the third ballot, thanks largely to a good deal of connivance, agitation, and back-room bargaining orchestrated by his devoted (and crafty) supporters, many of whom crept into the convention with counterfeited tickets. Withal, Team Abe pioneered groundbreaking techniques of skullduggery that took behind-the-scenes intrigue to a level that, in retrospect, seems almost visionary…thus the “Man from Hardin County” finished ahead of William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, and a sprinkling of less eminent contenders.

chase on bill

Salmon Chase had the best name, though–kind of American Indian-sounding, only not. At least he got to be on the ten-thousand dollar bill.  No, really.

President Abe

Given the well-known intellectual superiority of our loyal readership, it embarrasses us to rehearse such absurdly obvious particulars as the fact that Lincoln proceeded to win the general election, but we are obliged to risk incurring your displeasure for the sake of keeping our casual readers informed, some of whom may be Common Core products. Everyone else presumably knows that Lincoln defeated Douglas—and as a matter of fact, simultaneously defeated John C. Breckenridge, the breakaway southern Democrat, and the Constitutional Party’s John Bell. Of all the candidates, Lincoln was the only one who gave no speeches during the campaign, which may account for his success.

War torn Abe

abe_lincoln_riding_a_grizzly_by_sharpwriter-d33u2nl

We discovered this photo at Deviant Art, & while we have been unable to authenticate it, it would have been difficult to hoax as there was no Photoshop in the 1860s.

Lincoln’s election so offended his southern states that they seceded from the Union. Lincoln took the view that secession was impermissible, thus necessitating the Civil War, which was really about slavery, but keep that to yourself. The Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in territories not under Union control. As “Uncle Billy” Sherman advanced farther south, more slaves were freed until all three million slaves held by the Confederacy were emancipated. Lincoln’s outspoken support contributed to the passage of the 13th Amendment, which criminalized slavery throughout the Republic even as Lincoln became the first president to blockade portions of his own country, or to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, an action that continues to draw criticism as unconstitutional, although Article I, Section 9, Clause 2 indicates (WOOF submits) otherwise.

Dead Abe

Obviously, Lincoln secured his legacy while avoiding extensive criticism of his wartime executive actions by attending a performance of “Our American Cousin” at Ford Theater where John Wilkes Booth fired a single ball from a .44 caliber derringer into the back of Mr. Lincoln’s head. As the smoke cleared, Lincoln’s mootable abuses of constitutional writ as well as his ostensibly ambivalent civil-rights utterances became the province of obscure professors and historians—who argue the fine points to this day, unnoticed. The popular takeaway included freeing the slaves, reunifying the country, compassion for the South in defeat, and a persona of wit and wisdom. Oh, and a lot of really fascinating ghostly-slash-paranormal occurrences into which we have no time delve; but that’s why we have the History Channel, after all.

Booth imagined that shooting Lincoln would make him wildly popular, which may explain why he auditioned for the stage version of 'Peter Pan' immediately afterward.

Booth imagined that shooting Lincoln would make him wildly popular, which may explain why he took a moment to audition for the stage version of ‘Peter Pan’ immediately afterward.

________________________________________

Fast forwarding….or the part you can skip if you already know it all.

To avoid unnecessarily boring anyone, we will now breeze swiftly through the list of Republican presidents who followed Lincoln, pausing here and there for lengthier discussion should their tenures warrant.

grant imagesUlysses Simpson Grant, 1869-1877: arguably conservative in his support of  gold-based, anti-inflationary hard money and paying off the national debt with gold. He reduced government spending and limited the federal work force. His active reliance on the military to enforce civil rights laws and protect African Americans may be understood in terms of the postwar environment, especially since James West and Artemus Gordon didn’t really exist. Grant drank a lot and enjoyed cigars, which may explain Mark Twain’s support. His administration was organizationally corrupt, but like we said, he drank a lot and probably didn’t notice.

Rutherford B. Hayes, 1877-1881: Lost the popular vote but won an acrimoniously contested electoral victory when a Congressional commission ceded him 20 votes intensely disputed by Democrats. Unable to blame the Supreme Court until approximately the same thing occurred in 2000, Democrats conceded the election only because Hayes agreed to pull the military out of the Southern states, where Democrats strongly preferred leaving civil rights issues to the KKK.  He may be credited with a Reagan-esque affirmation of the Monroe Doctrine in denouncing France’s efforts to build the Suez Canal, which didn’t matter that much because France proved unable to build it. He is occasionally described as a “fiscal conservative,” but the evidence is tepid.

James A. Garfield, 1881 – 1881: Strove to enhance free trade and modernize the navy but was interrupted in these endeavors through no fault of his own.  A disgruntled underling concealed himself, progressively enough, by hiding in the ladies’ room at the Sixth Street Railroad Station whither Garfield expected to depart on vacation. Instead, he was shot in the back, following which the exertions of his physicians finished him off.

Chester A. Arthur, 1881-1885: Assumed the presidency after Garfield’s unscheduled departure. During his single term, the New York Sun wrote, “no adventurous project alarmed the nation,” and while that may not seem a solely conservative encomium, one can hardly avoid reflecting that no such comments will be uttered at the terminus of the current office-holder’s tenure.

Benjamin Harrison, 1889-1893: Son of William Henry Harrison, (who caught cold and died earlier, remember?). Harrison drove through the McKinley Tariff, imposing unprecedented protections on trade, while simultaneously attempting to federalize educational funding (at which he failed—but those were the good old days). He nevertheless managed to hike federal spending to the tune of one-billion dollars.

William McKinley, 1897-1901:Fought what were aptly entitled the Inflationary Acts and kept America on the gold standard, but imposed more tariffs on trade. McKinley is best known for getting shot to death by Paul Czolgosz, an Anarchist from Detroit who approached the President in Buffalo, opening fire with a .32 caliber Iver Johnson revolver, not the “Johnson .41,” immortalized by Charlie Poole’s 1926 folk tune. Glad we could clear that up.

trimagesTR: 1901-1809: Nowadays Theodore Roosevelt is criticized by conservative theorists for his trust busting progressivism and support for labor unions, perhaps without appropriate consideration given the zeitgeist. That aside, TR enlarged and brandished the Great White Fleet, settled the Russo-Japanese war back in the day when if a President won the Nobel Peace Prize it was for actually accomplishing something, and built the Panama Canal after creating Panama. While it is difficult to view TR’s crusades against the railroads and other perceived monopolies as conservative, his ebullient patriotism, full throated support for American exceptionalism and military might, his abhorrence of “hyphenated” Americanism, and his zealous support of the Second Amendment deliver him from the liberal camp. He also despised Woodrow Wilson, which is always an indication of sound judgment. Readers who doubt TR’s red-white-and-blue bonafides are advised to view John Milius’s 1975 masterpiece, The Wind and the Lion, in which Brian Keith “becomes” (as gushy film critics like to say) President Roosevelt.  And if you can’t base your opinions on John Milius movies, what’s left, right?

William Howard Taft, 1909-1913: Roosevelt’s protégé, began office as a trust-busting, conservationist in the TR mold, but swung a bit starboard for Teddy’s tastes even as the former president swung further toward progressivism.  Taft dabbled at trust busting, but directed his energies toward U.S. Steel, which TR had guaranteed immunity from such matters. The two men soon became enemies. Teddy therefore ran to Taft’s social left in the next election in an effort to unseat his former disciple. His plan was a partial success, since TR’s Bull Moose Party split the vote, ousting Taft but ensuring an easy path to the White House for the execrable Woodrow Wilson. Oops.

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Harding always looks kind of angry in his photos, but in reality he really knew how to enjoy himself.

Warren G. Harding, 1921-1923: After Wilson gave us big labor, the federal income tax, World War I, a failed military adventure in Mexico, a failed military adventure in Russia,   the Federal Reserve, abject racism in the Oval Office and prohibition, Harding seemed like a breath of fresh air…if not exactly presidential in the strict sense.  At his inaugural he confused pretty much everybody by declaring “”Our most dangerous tendency is to expect too much from the government and at the same time do too little for it.” Immediately afterward, he left for Texas on vacation, after which he took a lengthy cruise. He drank in the Oval Office, engaged in open cronyism, invented the previously unknown word “normalcy,” enjoyed cards, cigars, and mistresses, but revitalized the executive branch’s support for civil rights. He died—probably of heart failure—during his first term. He was in no significant respect a conservative, but we still kind of like him.

Calvin Coolidge, 1923-1929: This is the man whose portrait graced the walls of Reagan’s White House because his presidency embodied the economic concept of laissez-faire. As was the case with most of his Republican predecessors, Coolidge strove to enhance the civil rights of Black Americans; while his staunch advocacy of small government, free-market economics, and a foreign policy unfettered by unnecessary entanglements and alliances, established the template for 20th century conservatism. He and Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon even advanced the novel hypothesis that lowering taxes would increase federal revenues, making Coolidge America’s first supply-sider.

1927, Washington, DC, USA --- 1927-Calvin Coolidge, named Chief Leading Eagle by the Sioux. 1927. BPA2# 2387 --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

In 1927 the Sioux bestowed the tribal name “Chief Leading Eagle” on Coolidge and gave him a war bonnet. It must be born in mind that the native peoples of that era were poorly educated and had yet to be taught by the white man of the evils of cultural appropriation.

_________________________________

Let us pause here, in the fond afterglow of Calvin Coolidge, gentle readers, to ask ourselves: What discernible lineaments of something we might call American Conservatism are detectable in this chronology? Occasional tropisms manifest themselves here and there, but the idea that the Republican Party is consanguine with conservatism in North America is a myth, and the swing of the Democratic Party toward the extreme left is as much responsible for it as anything accomplished by Republican office holders.  If that seems an odd assertion, consider: Nothing more effectively vouchsafes the good standing of one sibling than the misbehavior of another—and the radical descent of the Democrat party into overt collectivism is as much responsible for the chimera of Republican conservatism as anything done or uttered by Taft or Coolidge, even if anybody in the GOP remembered anything uttered by Taft or Coolidge.

_________________________________

The notorious Herbert Hoover

The first Republican widely identified as “conservative” is, of course, the notorious Herbert Hoover, whose stars so aligned that his presidency collided with the Great Depression, meaning that the Liberal Establishment Media have made his name synonymous with food lines, joblessness, and  conservative indifference. School children in the United States do not know much nowadays, but if they know anything at all about the depression, they know Hoover caused it, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt saved us from it. Ever since the smoke cleared from the Second World War, Americans have been deluged by entertainments and histories of every description dedicated to propounding this humbug.

Herbert Hoover-one thing everyone agrees on is that he lacked FDR's genial panache.

Herbert Hoover-one thing everyone agrees on is that he lacked FDR’s genial panache.

Poor Hoover—even Coolidge disliked him, resisting his candidacy at first, telling friends that “for six years that man has given me unsolicited advice—all of it bad.” It didn’t help that shortly after his election, awash in the post-war boom that characterized the “Roaring Twenties,” Hoover boldly predicted the end of scarcity in America, telling an audience: “We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land.”  Perhaps in anticipation, Hoover set about closing tax loopholes for the wealthy, enlarging the civil service, signing the inflationary Glass-Steagall Act allowing prime rediscounting at the Federal Reserve, doubling estate taxes and hiking corporate rates by 15 percent. When the depression hit, Hoover sought to counteract it by enacting the largest peacetime tax increase in history. He signed the Smoot Hawley Tariffs, which incurred a wave of international protectionism and deepened the panic.

The brilliant Murray Rothbard. Hey, Franklin, we got your anarcho-economics right here!"

The brilliant Murray Rothbard, father of anarcho-economics.

He next championed the Emergency Relief and Construction Act, authorizing a flood of funds for public works programs, and created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, putting government into the business of bailing out business. Hoover, in other words, was by no means the aloof  practitioner of laissez-faire economics he is remembered as. In fact, Libertarian historian Murray Rothbard dubbed him the true father of the New Deal—a characterization Rothbard did not intend politely. Plainly, it is as ridiculous to view Hoover as the trickle-down free-marketeer who tried to ignore the Depression and pursue business as usual, as it is to portray FDR as the visionary egalitarian who saved us from it.  In fact, the Depression demonstrably worsened under FDR’s presidency. It was ended in 1941 by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who planned and oversaw the bombing of Pearl Harbor…but he never gets any credit.

admiral yamamota

Yamamoto gets little praise for awakening an industrial base FDR nearly suffocated–but we guess Shakespeare was right: “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with the Arizona and the Oklahoma.”

“Boy the way Glenn Miller played…”

all in the familyIn 1971, leftist TV producer Norman Lear introduced America to Archie Bunker, the cigar-champing, racist, ill-educated patriarch of the Bunker family on the wildly popular sitcom All in the Family. Archie (actor Carroll O’Connor) was intended by Lear to epitomize American conservatism, a perception that took root mainly among liberals (making them even easier to defeat in debate). Each week, Archie and wife Edith were viewed crooning the show’s opening theme, “Those Were the Days,” during which, Archie musically averred, “Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again!” This by way of shoring up our 31st president’s painstakingly artifiicialized legacy in which the name Hoover is deemed synonymous with right-wing indifference to the little guy.

Still today, Hoover’s main function in U.S. history is to exemplify the heartlessness of unchecked capitalism, and to serve as a heuristic juxtaposition to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose New Deal policies are portrayed as a knick-of-time intervention that rescued Americans from the death grip of the free market.

The rehabilitation of Annie….

anie one

Annie may have grown up in an orphanage, but she obviously kept the complete works of Friedrich Hayek under her pillow!

Who doesn’t resonate to the sardonic strains of “We’d Like to Thank You, Herbert Hoover!” from the musical Annie? But Annie exemplifies the distortion of reality imperative to liberal revisionism. Besides reinforcing the nonsense about Hoover, it blithely ignores the fact that Harold Gray’s original cartoon heroine despised FDR and all his works. In fact, Gray’s “Little Orphan Annie” strip, although massively popular, was banned by several major newspapers because it was deemed too critical of Roosevelt and his policies. The Broadway musical and subsequent film recast Annie as a worshipful moppet cuddled adoringly in Roosevelt’s lap, while Daddy Warbucks chuckles in good-natured acquiescence. (O, the infamy!)

Is nothing sacred?

Ugh! Is nothing sacred?

A final layer of irony atop these falsities is the Right’s naive readiness to suppose, in keeping with the leftist agitprop, that Hoover’s legacy somehow anchored conservatism to the Republican brand.

“Irritable mental gestures…”

Lionel Trilling--never one to gesture

Lionel Trilling–never one to gesture irritably; always sophisticatedly mental.

In 1950, Lionel Trilling assured his sophisticated readership that “in the United States at this time liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition…. It is the plain fact [that] there are no conservative or reactionary ideas in general circulation.” Trilling is often derided for his obtuseness in this regard, but unjustly. At the time, conservatism as an ideological influence in American politics was virtually undetectable. Trilling covered his bet slightly by adding that occasional conservative grumblings were more probably attributable to “irritable mental gestures which seem to resemble ideas.” Thus, the sprinkling of radio and newspaper commentators who took identifiably right-of-center positions were consigned to a kind of menagerie of idiosyncratic oddballs–but Trilling’s smugness was short-lived.

Have your next cup of steaming java in your very own Julius & Ethel Rosenberg commemorative mug! (It's the bomb!)

Have your next cup of morning java in your very own Ethel & Julius Rosenberg commemorative mug! (It’s the bomb!)

As the Cold War dawned in stark confutation of the carefully concocted fantasy that Mother Russia was our good friend and noble ally, it became inconveniently obvious that Democrats played the chief role in accommodating Stalin while placing America’s interests on hold (when not selling them out completely). Despite this, the anti-Communist reaction to the New Deal’s betrayals was surprisingly bipartisan.  Today, of course, our children learn that this was that silly “Red Scare,” when otherwise sensible Americans began to hallucinate en masse, seeing agents of the Kremlin behind every tree and shrub. In fact, there were plenty of Reds to be scared of; communists practically owned the state department and guided presidential policies throughout the war and afterwards. They worked largely undetected as China fell to Mao and our nuclear secrets were channeled to Russia by “atom spies,” most of whom are now American folk heroes.

About HUAC: try to remember the good times!

Protest

HUAC is perhaps most reviled for grilling the Hollywood writers and directors they suspected of subversion–so here’s a good parlor game: Can you pick out members of the “Hollywood 10” who were not communists? Answer: No, you can’t.

The villains, of course, were the right-wing nutjobs manning the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), which, while certainly subject to a variety of legitimate criticisms, was often an important vehicle of information, and never the Republican monopoly it is nowadays remembered as. Chairman Martin Dies was a Democrat, as was Joe Starnes of Alabama who memorably asked a witness during an investigation of the Federal Theater Project whether the Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe was a member of the Communist Party. John Rankin, Democrat from Mississippi, once explained that HUAC would not investigate the KKK because “after all, [it] is an old American institution.” Edward J. Hart, Democrat from New Jersey, headed the Committee in its vital investigation of Alger Hiss, although Richard Nixon (R) played a key roll in helping Whittaker Chambers expose Hiss as a Red agent.  Nixon’s part in the pursuit of Hiss, immortalized for history by photos of Nixon staring fixedly into a hollow pumpkin (Chambers having hidden his photographic evidence of Hiss’s guilt in a pumpkin patch on his Maryland farm), seems to give liberals license to brand HUAC a Republican star chamber. Still more perplexingly, it is a rare liberal who won’t proceed to complain that the nefarious Joe McCarthy (Republican Junior Senator from Wisconsin) helmed the operation, driving it to ever-more-infernal excesses against the helplessly innocent. Even Bill O’Reilly once named Senator McCarthy as the House Committee’s chief villain, which, given a moment’s thought, is clearly impossible.

Remembering the Great Terror….

"I dunno, Roy, I think I'm sticking with the side of fries and the salad."

“I dunno, Roy, I think I’m sticking with the side of fries and the salad.”

It is also curiously difficult to find liberals who recall the early ’50s who do not thereupon pause to lament the tragic death of an uncle, close friend, or treasured professor, who is always said to have leapt from an  11th story window “because of Joe McCarthy!” To hear liberals tell it, one might reasonably assume that walking a municipal street in 1953 meant hazarding one’s life, given the cascade of bodies steadily thudding into the pavement.   In truth, the only corpse McCarthy’s exertions can reasonably be linked to is McCarthy’s. During HUAC’s primacy and throughout McCarthy’s supposed reign of terror, let’s say between 1947 to 1957, no American citizen was interrogated without benefit of legal counsel, no witness or suspect was arrested or detained without due judicial process, nor faced imprisonment without trial.  Compare this to the complaints from Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) only last June that citizens cannot be effectively disarmed because “due process is what’s killing us right now!” Joe McCarthy never arrested anyone, sent anyone to prison, or forced anybody out a window. In fact, the only death by suicide related to the McCarthy committee was the mysterious suicide of Ray Kaplan, who (apparently) jumped in front of a truck prior to testifying—but historians rarely mention that Kaplan was a friendly witness looking forward to testifying before the Subcommittee.  Hmmm.

Evel Knievel

Maybe learning golf might have helped...?

Farm boy arrives in the big city. Maybe learning golf might have helped…?

If McCarthy’s early popularity represented an identifiably conservative backlash against the perfidies of the New Deal and the architects of postwar accommodationism, it hardly represented the Republican Party. It was, after all, Mr. Republican himself, Dwight David Eisenhower, who orchestrated McCarthy’s demise, and who did so by enlisting his vice president’s talents as a backstage cutthroat. Disbelievers may check out William Bragg Ewald’s  Who Killed Joe McCarthy? which documents Ike’s issuance of a confidential fatwa against the Senator, prosecuted behind the scenes mainly by Nixon.  It is one of history’s hidden ironies that Nixon, whom liberals loathed as “the man who got Alger Hiss,” also got Tailgunner Joe.  In the establishment’s cherished tellings. the glory goes to Edward R. Murrow (first American to pioneer disguising maliciously edited propaganda as TV journalism). But in reality, McCarthy’s kamikaze-like dedication to anti-communism–his Black-Irish refusal to give an inch no matter the cost to himself or his career–worked in combination with his late-phase alcoholism to end his career and his life, leaving the Left to synonymize his name with the vilest infamies ever after. Somebody once asked Victor Gold whom McCarthy most reminded him of, and Gold replied without hesitating: “Evel Knievel!” Mister, we could use a man like Evel Knievel again.

evel aloft

Daddy’s dead.

daddyIn the aftermath of the New Deal, the renegade right-wing  Ivy League professor Willmoore Kendall explained in a letter: “It is not, in short, my faith in the majority which I’ve lost. The majority has, in sober truth, arrived at no conclusions in the last couple of years that, on the evidence offered to it, I could fairly have expected it to reject. My concern, and disillusionment, is with the people who could have given them evidence of another kind.”  He accused the wealthy and intellectual elites of “the most gigantic and unpardonable trahison des clercs of which History offers any record.”  It’s only gotten worse. The idea of an enlightened aristocracy is wonderfully Jeffersonian. One can relate it to Ayn Rand’s ideal of the creative titan who bemoans our collectivist stumblings and takes us grandly to task. But, as Kendall presaged, another sort of aristocracy now holds sway–a ruling class of anti-American academics, wealthy capitalists who embarrassedly denounce capitalism, slavishly liberal media morons, and a compliantly leftwing glitteratti. In other words, Howard Rourke turned out to be Mark Zuckerberg, and Daddy Warbucks is dead.

The Golfer….

ike the golferBut what about Eisenhower? Remembered now as the Republican conservative who gave us America’s golden era of postwar prosperity, he seems a likely mantle bearer for the Right; surely we can like Ike in confidence?  In his 1959 primer Up from Liberalism, William F. Buckley, Jr. denounced the Eisenhower administration passionately and, we submit, accurately. On one occasion, Eisenhower, buffeted by predictable Marxist denunciations from Soviet Defense Minister Georgy Zhukov, became frazzled, remarking that it was difficult to defend Western civilization against such claims. Buckley rightly reproved the President’s ambivalence, writing that Ike  “clearly did not know what he was defending, how to defend what he defended, or even whether what he defended was defensible.” Indeed, Eisenhower’s marked inability to stand against any communist demand in the European theater during and following, the war, bespeaks exactly such an absence of insight and conviction.

up indexBut Buckley wasn’t finished; he went on to denounce Eisenhower’s vision as: “…an attitude…undirected by principle, unchained to any coherent ideas as to the nature of man and society, uncommitted to any sustained estimate of the nature or potential of the enemy.” Eisenhower, Buckley lamented, seemed “to govern in a fashion as to more or less please more or less everybody.” This may explain why everybody liked Ike, but it also confirms that he was in no strict sense a conservative. It also explains why Richard Welsh of the John Birch Society accused Eisenhower of being a communist, a charge he demanded Buckley address at a conservative banquet. Welsh listed his compilation of Ike’s sins of omission, each of which, he noted, advanced the cause of international communism, and demanded, “So Bill, doesn’t that make him a communist?” Buckley replied, “No, Richard, it makes him a golfer.”

Stolen convention!!

goldwater“What in God’s name has happened to the Republican Party?” angsted Henry Cabot Lodge as he staggered out of the febrile 1964 Republican Convention, “I hardly know any of these people!” And the most important person he didn’t know was Clif White. White parked himself in a trailer outside California’s Cow Palace and operated like a chess master. He had already led stunningly successful grassroots movements in several states recruiting delegates for the conservative cause, and now he orchestrated through a battery of telephones and walkie talkies, the seizure of the GOP convention for the advancement of an authentic conservative, Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater.

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Clif White, with time stamp because he was so frenetic they only have videos of him!

White opened a meeting of his right-wing irregulars by explaining “We’re going to take over the Republican Party!” He didn’t say “take it back,” because he knew better. And he succeeded. But only for one election season. Goldwater’s repudiation at the polls made conservatism a dirty word to the GOP establishment, which reasserted its authority firmly in 1968.  Barry Goldwater scared the bejabbers out of the Democrats and the Republicans.  Eisenhower despised him and the Rockefeller Wing of the party hated his guts. Beyond that, the GOP elite never got past the drubbing Goldwater endured on election day, which occurred in part because of the candidate’s hopelessly bluff campaign style. “Sometimes,” he casually remarked, “I think we oughta just lob one into the men’s room at the Kremlin.” Offered a swig of a campaign soda beverage named in his honor (“Goldwater”), the Senator winced and opined: “This tastes like piss!” Meanwhile, the incumbent, Lyndon Johnson, was successfully persuading millions of voters that his opponent was a psychotic nuclear Napoleon who hated Blacks, hated the poor, and yearned to plunge us–horror of horrors–into a war in Vietnam. Most of all, RINOs resent to this day that Goldwater’s candidacy laid down stakes for conservatism under their “big tent.”

Or...not.

Or…not.

Even now, the liberal establishment continues to complain about Goldwater, generally maintaining the same standard of zany implausibility. A writer for Politico relates in all apparent earnestness, that “Goldwater had once proposed literally—to saw off the eastern seaboard and let it float out to sea. This was no mere figure of speech.” (Dear Lord, what a maniac!) Fifty-two years after Goldwater’s flippant crack, and eighteen years after the man’s death, the liberal media are still spouting absurdities about him. Meanwhile, his warnings about social security’s insolvency, big government’s encroachments on our liberties, and liberalism’s assault on our Constitution and ethical standards have reified.  It is our contention that any authentic conservatism in American presidential politics began with Barry Morris Goldwater’s Quixotic 1964 campaign. It may have been a disaster, but it sewed the seeds of a powerful conservative movement–and one as savagely disparaged by the GOP elitists as by their Democrat counterparts.

The Keynesian

rmnAnd next comes….Richard Nixon.  Yes, he faced impeachment for offenses that fade to insignificance juxtaposed to the enormities routinely committed by the Obama Administration, and yes, G. Gordon Liddy and Pat Buchanan supported him, but his presidency bore few conservative earmarks. He ended the conflict in Vietnam and might well have saved South Vietnam from being overwhelmed by the communist north had he remained in office—but he didn’t.  His Kissinger-inspired mission of diplomacy to communist China during which he legitimated Mao Tse Tung on the world stage was, put succinctly, nauseous. He next unveiled his ultra-leftist “New Economic Plan,” featuring wage and price controls that exceeded Teddy Kennedy’s wildest dreams, explaining,“We are all Keynesians now.” Nixon also implemented federal affirmative action, proposed a single payer healthcare system almost 40 years before Barack Obama, and proposed a guaranteed annual income. He created the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration without whose assistance we might never have invented global warming. Three of four of Nixon’s Supreme Court appointees supported Roe vs. Wade.  Worse, he paranoiacally placed himself in a position that ultimately required his resignation and ramified in the elevation to office of Jerry Ford—a man whom David Susskind described with unaccustomed acuity as a “well-intentioned mediocrity.”

elvis and dick

Fun parlor game: Can you pick out the conservative in this picture? HINT: If there’s a liberal in the room, ask him which is the conservative, and pick the other guy!

LBJ liked to explain Ford's intellectual deficiencies as the result of playing college football without a helmet. Everyone thought he was kidding, but recently discovered photographic evidence seems to lend credence to Johnson's anecdote.

LBJ liked to explain Ford’s intellectual deficiencies as the result of playing college football without a helmet. Everyone thought he was kidding, but recently-discovered photographic evidence lends credence to Johnson’s anecdotes.

About Ford it may be said that he was indeed well-intentioned, and predispositionally less liberal than Nixon proved, but he is also the man who, as a Michigan Congressman, informed Lyndon Johnson that he and wife Betty were about to embark on a fact-finding mission to Vietnam whereupon Johnson took Ford’s hand in that warmly crocodilian way of his, and oiled “Jerry, while you’re there-be sure to visit the pagodas, they’re beautiful!” Ford replied, “Mr. President, we’re not only going to visit the Pagodas–Betty and I are going to have dinner with them!” In other words, Ford was unequipped to grasp the intricacies of any profoundly felt political philosophy, in consequence of which he was, of course, a moderate. He might be viewed as reminiscent of Eisenhower in this respect, sans Ike’s familiarity with command, or favorable zeitgeist. While debating Jimmy Carter in 1976, Ford insisted his presidency had kept Eastern Europe free of Soviet domination (a lapsus lingua he might easily have walked back, but regrettably chose to to defend–ineptly–giving Carter the win).  Carter pulled well ahead in the polls, especially with every news outlet in America proclaiming him a genius of previously unimagined proportions. Sound familiar?

rwr posterAs everyone now knows, Jimmy Carter’s only real genius turned out to be for messing the country up so badly that the only good thing about his term in office was that it virtually assured  the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Reagan was our finest 20th Century president, a fact the Liberal Establishment remains devoted to obscuring by every means at its disposal. It remains mandatory liberal group think that Reagan was a clueless imbecile, but if so, he was an imbecile who saved the economy, made the energy crisis disappear, resurrected the military, cut taxes, rolled back the Brezhnev Doctrine in Grenada, bombed Gaddafi into reasonableness, and–yes–ended the Cold War, which particularly irritates liberals whose foreign-affairs gurus of that era uniformly preached the irresistible expansion of Soviet power and the absolute necessity of accommodation rather than confrontation. Asked what his strategy for managing Cold War tensions might be, Reagan smiled and rasped, “My strategy is pretty simple, really. We win, they lose.” Obviously, the Left hated him and hates him no less today–but it requires our attention here that the Republican party hated him almost as much, thwarting his 1976 effort to seize the nomination from President Ford, and resisting his 1980 campaign tooth and nail. Had it been left up to the GOP cognoscente, Jerry Ford would have once again led the ticket in 1980 despite his previously demonstrated inability to defeat Carter even as an incumbent.  As with Goldwater, the party brass thought Reagan was insane. These are the voices that today prod Republican voters, in condescendingly avuncular tones, to accept Reagan’s inappositeness to our current situation.

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Jennifer Rubin –The Washington Post’s staff is prevailing on new owner Jeff Bezos to fire her–they think she’s much too conservative.

Take Jennifer Rubin, a faux-conservative on the Washington Post’s payroll, who mocks opposition to same sex marriage, higher taxes, and come-one-come-all immigration as “the conservatism of yesterday.” “In fact,” she counsels, these “conservative“ positions are not necessarily conservative; they are part of an effort to avert the party’s eyes from the dramatic economic, social, demographic and cultural changes that have taken place over the past 30 years. They confuse the Reagan-era expression of conservatism with conservatism itself.” This is essentially a Maoist brainwashing technique–the manipulation of meaning and narrative to, in this case, make conservatism appear to be something conservatism cannot be, otherwise known as liberalism.  Douglas MacArthur once reminded FDR that “the things I value never change,” and if this conservative axiom is replaceable by a pragmatism of the nonce, than nothing remains to conserve. Rubin goes on to lament that “reactionary” organizations like the Heritage Foundation have failed to evolve as she prescribes. Heritage has gone so astray, she says, that it now attempts to “insulate the party from heretics and cement an agenda it advanced 30 years ago.” Insulate the party? Is Rubin daft? The Party qua the Party fully expected to put Jeb Bush up against Hillary. It reviled Ted Cruz, whom Boehner called the spawn of Satan. Jennifer, your brand of “conservatism” is alive and well in the GOP. It is the conservative movement that is insulated from it. Your essential error, besides misunderstanding the conservative ethos, is confusing it with the Republican Party.

George the First

george 1George Herbert Walker Bush—what can we say? The man who said “read my lips, no new taxes,” and then forgot he said it, (possibly because he couldn’t tell Reaganomics from “Voodoo”–or maybe because he forgot to read his own lips) may at least be remembered as leading us to a crushing victory over Iraq in 1991, even though the bad guy got away…and despite the fact that the Presidential nerve might have failed, had Margaret Thatcher not insisted at an auspicious moment, “Oh, George, this is no time to go all wobbly!” (Thanks for that, Mrs. Thatcher!)

George, son of George

imagesNow about “W”—George 43 still enjoys a lot of right-of-center affection, and his support in general has grown considerably now that Americans have Obama to compare him to, but when you think about it, any American president compares favorably to the current office holder. And while “W” gets high points for tax cuts, supporting the sanctity of traditional marriage, opposing partial-birth abortion, and for his noble effort to reform social security through privatization (opposed by the Democrats who used their media machine to persuade Americans it was a crazed attempt to starve old people), it remains difficult to call his presidency conservative, especially given enthusiastic funding hikes for various government programs including the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health combined with “W’s” seeming unfamiliarity with the concept of the veto, creating spending explosions rivaling those incurred by Lyndon Johnson’s “Great-Society.” He must also be viewed as condoning illegal immigration–a blithe acceptance of foreign nationals streaming  across our southern border that amounted then, as now, to dereliction of duty by the executive branch.

A brief apostrophe to the unhinged:

It is also necessary, we suppose, to observe Bush’s involvement in 911, when he and Dick Cheney posed as elevator repairmen in order to dump massive volumes of Thermite into the elevator shafts of the World Trade Center, and then, having some left over, decided arbitrarily to do the same thing in Building Number 7,  which otherwise could not possibly have collapsed. Moreover, many consider Bush’s decision during Hurricane Katrina to blow up the dike system protecting New Orleans in order to drown Black people unacceptably racist and meanspirited. There, we got that out of the way, and now back to reality:

lizards

Oh, except to add: the whole Bush family and its chief advisers are reptile aliens from the Draco constellation– that’s right!–here’s photographic proof from the Internet!

Culling all curs….

rimagesIn examining current efforts to drive conservatism from the ranks of the GOP, let’s look at the term RINO and consider its inherent inaccuracy. Calling left-leaning Republicans “Republican In Name Only” bolsters the misapprehension that Republican officials are conservative except for rare instances of apostasy when this or that misguided freshman may utter some sentiment at odds with his party’s profoundly dextral values. We have spent quite a few paragraphs demonstrating the ludicrosity of this characterization, so why not adjust the terminology to better fit the phenomenon?  A Republican majority capable of surrendering its power of the purse, rubber stamping Obama’s trade and budgetary disasters, cheerfully backing his errant globalism, “crossing the aisle” to seek “immigration reform,” ignoring its constitutional role in treaty ratification while permitting rule by fiat to continue unchallenged, and which preceded all this with a promise not to impeach the president no matter what–is in no respect a party of conservative opposition. It isn’t any sort of opposition. It is a confederacy of jelly fish…and the natural abode of John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Susan Collins, Paul Ryan, and of course, Lindsey Graham, as the Beaver.

Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Bierce

In his Devil’s Dictionary (1911), Ambrose Bierce reviewed the traditional parliamentary use of “honorable,” informing his readers that “In legislative bodies it is customary to mention all members as honorable.” To demonstrate, Bierce offered his readers a sample locution, namely, “the honorable gentleman is a scurvy cur.” A “cur,” of course, is a dog, or, according to Merriam Webster, “a dog that is a mix of different breeds : a low, bad, or disliked dog,” and by metaphoric extension, ” a surly or cowardly fellow.” This serves nicely, we think, as a more descriptive acronym for Republican hacks who hide their progressive identities and play at conservatism until the rubes send them back to Washington.  Such politicians may be 100% Republican–but they are only Conservatives Until Reelected. 

The CURs, we submit, have damaged the GOP beyond repair.  The new media have made it impossible for them to win elections pretending to be Barry Goldwater only to serve out their terms as Lowell Weicker; and simply  having an “R” after one’s name no longer beguiles the yokels.  As Romney’s loss in 2012 proved, faced with the option of voting for the lesser of two evils, at least 3 million registered Republicans won’t vote at all. Thus, while it may be perfectly defensible to say Republicans have no obligation to be conservative, it is equally true that without its conservative base, the GOP has no hope of winning elections, and conservatives have no obligation to be Republicans.

A quantum of solace…

quantum

The title is from a James Bond short story by Fleming, recently coopted as the title of a Bond film which, keeping with tradition, bore no recognizable resemblance to the short story.

The CURs (or RINOs) have yet to absorb this reality. When they do, they will not attempt to be more authentically conservative–they will blame conservative talk radio–which they already hate with a passion– and “cross the aisle” to look statesmanlike in their eagerness to help rid America of it.  It won’t help.  The rubes are hip, and the GOP elites have already exhausted what Ian Fleming might call the electorate’s quantum of solace. Promising to be good over and over won’t work in most districts–but even if voters in some states are preternaturally forgiving, other factors threaten destruction for other reasons.

The Trump card….

trump card Talk radio is also widely blamed by the GOP for Donald Trump, an irony of near-Sophoclean proportions. Trump, no matter what else may be said of  him, is a sort of political tulpa conjured in wrath by a scorned electorate. As such, he may wittingly or unwittingly become the agent of doom for the GOP. One may freely despise, love, or wax indifferent to Donald Trump personally and still see three ways he could terminate the Republicans. First, and most topically, the GOP may yet contrive to deny Trump the party’s nomination by steamrolling him at the convention and replacing him with some acceptable CUR–somebody they know we’d prefer, too, if we weren’t so stupid.  The immediate result in Cleveland, obviously, would be blood on the walls–but this eludes the CURs, so nestled are they within the Beltway bubble. Besides, if Trump is unseated, he will run independently–and the GOP will come in third. If he wins the  floor fight at the convention, he will run as a Republican, but the entire Republican infrastructure will go up in flames. The third possibility is one in which Trump receives the GOP nomination, runs against Hillary, and loses. This would entail substantial numbers of big-name Republicans siding with Hillary, some overtly, others implicitly or secretly. WOOF knows the Republican “leadership” currently favors this option–a gambit, they believe, in which a tactical sacrifice (the White House) conduces toward a strategic victory (the party leadership remains intact and retains its power).  But a party that prefers keeping its Good Old Boys unruffled to winning the presidency is functionally moribund.  The GOP is wilfully embracing extinction–a mastodon strolling heedlessly toward the La Brea Tar Pits, contemplating lunch.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell--our man crushing the Tea Party

Senate Majority Leader McConnell–protecting us from the Tea Party.

For the time being, Mitch McConnell may be able to wheel, deal, backstab and fundraise on such a scale that his vow to “crush [the Tea Party] everywhere” seems plausible, but this is hardly to say rational.   Once conservatives awaken to the level of philosophical rejection such rantings embody, and the chilling degree of amoral self-absorption they betray–  they will storm the exits. Without them, the GOP cannot win elections. Trump supporters, taken as another subset of GOP voters, may overlap the conservatives, but in many important respects they are a distinct species. Lose the Trumpites and the party loses not only their passion and sheer numbers– it simultaneously writes off many freshly recruited Independents, Hispanics, Blacks, and yes, Gays, who arrived with Trump. At some juncture the CUR leadership may realize that saving the party from “threats” like Cruz, Paul, Lee, and such embarrassing rustics as Sarah Palin, leaves them with tickets exclusively featuring their squishy, unprincipled “moderate” chums, whom millions of registered Republicans rightly despise.

A cautionary prehistoric tale… 

spear tipThe precursor to the elephant, the mastodon, disappeared from the North American continent at the end of the Pleistocene period, around 11,000 years ago. Most contemporary theorists now agree that the population dwindled over centuries rather than vanishing as the result of some sudden catastrophe. It is increasingly theorized, moreover, that humans may have played a key role–a theory that met with establishment scorn until a 13,800-year-old spear tip was found embedded in a Mastodon’s ribs. Soon more spear tips showed up in Mastodon skulls and ribcages.

Did cavemen kill the mastodons and then dump them in tar pits as a counter-forensic ploy? Whatever the case, those little cave dwellers who were not even supposed to exist before the Clovis period, hunted the Mastodon, possibly to extinction, or at least assisted nature in effecting its demise. And despite growing evidence to this effect, many archeologists persist in RINO-like levels of denial.”Maybe,” one expert told London’s Daily Mail, “the reason was something completely different, for instance the climate.” And we suspect the Mastodons were just as dismissive of those pesky pre-Clovisians in their day. Perhaps they concocted derogatory nicknames for them– although nobody at this remove can recall the pre-Clovisian term for “tea bagger.”

"That does it, I'm not doing any more of these town hall appearances!"

“That does it, I’m not doing any more of these town hall appearances!”

thumbnail_largeSoon, we predict, the GOP will go the way of the Mastodon– a victim of its inability to adjust to unexpected phenomena like Donald Trump, and its failure to realize the stupidity of brushing off all those pesky neanderthalic tribespeople in flyover country. Something new and better suited to our epoch and our cause will emerge from the bone pile–necessarily a movement less dismissive of conservative and libertarian beliefs; a party free of fossils like Boehner, Ryan, McCain, Graham, and Jeb!–all evolutionary rejects writ large. Conservatism and pro-Constitutionalism will regroup and flourish beneath some more vibrant banner while the Republican Party follows the Whigs, the Know-Nothings, the Anti-Masonic Party, the American Vegetarian Party,and the never-to-be-forgotten Rent is Too Damn High Party, into obscurity.

In fact, years hence, when some intrepid reporter asks Boehner or Graham whether selling out the American Right, tantruming over primary results not to their liking, abdicating their constitutional authority, and consistently misrepresenting their intentions to voters might have contributed to their party’s undoing, we fully expect the interviewee to reply, “Maybe the reason was something completely different, for instance the climate.” WOOF PRINT

annie annie4

 

 

KNIFE VIOLENCE: IT’S TIME TO RECOGNIZE THE THREAT! (WOOF calls for common-sense knife laws to control this silent killer in our midst!)

In "April is the cruelest month" forum on April 1, 2016 at 1:25 am
Girl-With-Knife-830x550

Has America’s romance with the knife gone too far?

Back to Blood

In a scene that seemed borrowed from the pages of a Tom Wolfe novel, the edgy/arty patrons of the ultra-chic Art Basel Miami Beach exhibition at the Miami Beach Convention Center watched in rapt fascination as a woman amongst them was stabbed repeatedly in the neck and arms during the show’s main event. Initially, witnesses uniformly assumed they were being entertained, mistaking the assault for a theatrical enactment. The stabbing occurred adjacent to the collected works of Naomi Fisher and Agatha Wara, two artists whose presentation was collectively entitled “The Swamp of Sagittarius.” Artist Fisher subsequently explained that “A guy walked up to me and said, ‘I thought I saw a performance, and I thought it was fake blood, but it was real blood!’”

Miami stabbing victim suffers for art.

Miami stabbing victim suffers for art.

As it dawned on Fisher the stabbing was not a guerilla theater recital, she exclaimed, “It’s horrible … I’m so freaked out…I feel nauseous.”  But it was no time to quibble over grammar. As local artist Rudy Perez casually snapped cell phone photos of the victim slumping to the floor with bloodstains spreading across her white blouse, security guards hastened to cordon off the scene. Attendees showed no signs of panic, however, since the majority of them misconstrued the newly strung police tape as part of the show. Enthralled by the spectacle, two Coconut Grove women stood at the tape’s edge and sipped champagne until a reporter convinced them that the stabbing was genuine. “It makes me very nervous,” declared onlooker Sune Smith, whose friend, Amanda DeSeta added “It’s a very strange place for something like this to happen.” Gregg Hill, a visiting New York sculptor, agreed. “I never would have thought there would be a stabbing at Art Basel,” he told reporters. “People didn’t really know what had happened. It was calm and everyone was milling around and talking.”

"Inhale, Exhale" by artist Naomi Fisher--who becomes

“Inhale, Exhale” by artist Naomi Fisher–who apparently only becomes “freaked out” and “nauseous” when the violence is three dimensional.

The victim was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. Her assailant was arrested at the scene. Calm has returned to the brie-and-chablis sybarites of Dade County’s art community—but the events of that bloody December 4th remain of the utmost moment, symbolizing as they do an unchecked reign of violence both in America and abroad attributable to a weapon statistically proven to be five times deadlier than the nefarious ‘assault rifle.’ Absolutely silent, concealable, and capable of inflicting an infinite number of wounds without reloading, this historically fabled instrument of death may have flown for decades below the radar of the liberal establishment, but it has not escaped the keen eye of WOOF, and we devote ourselves in this article to exposing it as the societal menace it is. Yes, Woofketeers, we refer here to that most insidious, most commonly employed, widely disseminated and historically favored of all murderous utensils— the knife!

Avoid the jelly!

Fasail Mohammed--just another schoolyard juvenile delinquent.

Fasail Mohammed–just another schoolyard juvenile delinquent.

Faisal Mohammed was a computer science and engineering major at University of California, Merced; but on November 4th he forgot about all that and, with a broad smile on his face according to witnesses, set about stabbing and slashing people in the vicinity of his freshman general education class. Faisal had carved up four victims by the time police arrived on the scene and shot him dead. Wounded were two of Faisal’s fellow students, a university employee, and a construction worker. Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke was the first public official to remind reporters that Mohammed’s actions should in no respect be considered terroristic, pointing out that young Faisal was merely upset with certain persons on campus.

Sheriff Warnke shows obvious relief at the discovery that Mohammed’s attacks were unrelated to terrorism.

Nothing in Mohammad’s history, Warnke assured the press, nor on his computer, nor in his belongings, indicated anything other than “personal motivations” for the attack. Nor did Sheriff Warnke consider the fact that Mohammad’s backpack contained zip-tie handcuffs, petroleum jelly, a night scope, and a hammer to break windows, indicative of anything other “than a teenage boy that got upset with fellow classmates and took it to the extreme.” True, Sheriff Warnke later  confirmed that a printout of the Islamic State (ISIS) flag was prominent among Faisal’s belongings and yes, Faisal also jotted notes to himself reminding himself to, “continually praise Allah,” while knifing his classmates, and yes, he left a manifesto that prominently averted to Allah as well as the author’s desire to behead quite a few people, but investigators insisted there were no indications of any associations with terror. The petroleum jelly, by the way, was to squirt on the floor, causing first responders to slip and fall. In the event, it seems not to have worked, but we knew you were probably wondering.

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“Exceptionally rare!”

dylan quick

Dylan Quick fantasized about stabbing people since childhood.

An attack by a knife-wielding student on a college campus near Houston back in 2013 left 14 people wounded – two of them seriously – and might have sufficed to put authorities on alert  regarding the potential dangers of knife ownership in America, but the Liberal Establishment shrugged off the attack in which Dylan Quick, 20, ran the breadth of the Lone Star College’s CyFair campus, slashing fourteen students as he went.  The local  newspaper accurately denounced the knife attack as “yet another brazen daytime assault” but authorities quickly trotted out criminologist Grant Duwe, flown in all the way from the Minnesota Department of Corrections, to explain that such concerns were unwarranted. “Mass stabbings are exceptionally rare,” Duwe told reporters, adding that since 1901 there have only been seven mass stabbings in a public place in the USA where four or more victims were killed. ” Duwe omitted any discussion of knife attacks before 1901, knife attacks wounding less than four people, and knife attacks occurring in other-than-public settings. With a bit of prompting from reporters, however, he recalled that “Mass stabbings usually occur in the home, where the suspect uses a knife on unsuspecting family members.”  (Oh, those! ) James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University, Boston, explained that Mr. Quick’s slashing spree was “unlikely to lead to anything resembling a national debate on knife safety or tighter regulations on their sales,”  because “knives just don’t create that same sense of fear.” Well, gentle readers, WOOF is here to change all that!

Stabbing people often seems to appeal to couples. Andrew and Alecia Schmuhl (above) are charged with a torture-and-stabbing home intrusion in Virginia. Both Schmuhls were arrested following a 4 mile car chase. Andrew was wearing only a diaper. WOOF is not making this up.

Stabbing people often seems to appeal to couples. Andrew and Alecia Schmuhl (above) are charged with a torture-and-stabbing home intrusion in Virginia. Both Schmuhls were arrested following a 4 mile car chase. Andrew was wearing only a diaper.

According to Duwe (rhymes with Bowie– Jim that is, not David), the “first major high-profile mass stabbing” in the USA was the 1989 case of Ramon Salcido, a vineyard worker in California who killed seven people, including his wife and two small daughters, before fleeing to Mexico. Salcido was later extradited and convicted of the murders. Indeed, these slayings constituted a vicious example of knife violence—but Duwe’s assertion that the Salcido case was the first high profile stabbing incident is ridiculous.

swirchblade knifeOne of America’s most notorious mass murderers, Richard Speck, began his criminal career on January 9, 1965, when he assaulted a woman in a parking lot in Alabama, brandishing a 17-inch carving knife and demanding she keep quiet and  yield to him sexually. The lady, being a Texan, chose to struggle and yell instead, so Speck fled and was subsequently arrested and briefly imprisoned.  In 1966 Speck stabbed a man in a barroom brawl but was freed after paying a ten dollar fine for  disturbing the peace. Next, he raped a 65 year old woman at knife point and committed several additional felonies before finding his way to the  townhouse at 2319 E. 100th Street in Chicago where he famously proceeded to kill nursing students Patricia Matusek, Nina Jo Schmale, Pamela Wilkening, Suzanne Farris, Mary Ann Jordan, Merlita Gargullo, and Valentina Pasion, with a switchblade. Suffice it that knife slayings were prominent in the news during the early ’60s.

Orhan Cerimagic and Brittney Mitchell are charged with a stabbing home invasion in a Chicago that authorities say left two people dead on Friday, Sept. 5, 2014. Otherwise, they make a cute enough couple...but we don't think he's good enough for her.

Orhan Cerimagic and Brittney Mitchell are charged with a stabbing home invasion in a Chicago that authorities say left two people dead on Friday, Sept. 5, 2014. Otherwise, they make a cute enough couple…but we don’t think he’s good enough for her.

Among many sordid crimes that rounded out that twisted epoch, the whole Charlie Manson imbroglio was a stab-and-slash fest.  True, one assailant brought along a 22-caliber “Buntline Special” and used it here and there to partial effect, but almost everyone murdered during the Tate and LaBianca killings was hacked, slashed or stabbed to death by everything from kitchen knives to a chrome-plated bayonet, contributed by Manson.  For that matter, so-called “serial killers” tend overwhelmingly to prefer  knives over other available weaponry. The sundry murders of young females committed by Edmund Emil Kemper III (who served as the basis for “Buffalo Bill” in Silence of the Lambs); the ritualistic slayings performed by dedicated Satanist Ricardo Leyva Muñoz Ramírez (nicknamed “The Night Stalker” by Los Angeles tabloids in the mid ’80s); and the bloody trail of corpses left by Tommy Lynn Sells, a Texan who may have killed as many as 70 people before his capture in 1999, provide only a minute sample of such crimes–each directly traceable to an abnormal fascination with knives!  

manson family

The “Manson Family” in 1968–apparently they literally crawled out from under a rock.

Serial Butt Stabber remains at large…

Victim of parking lot poker undergoes treatment in Maryland.

Victim of the parking lot poker undergoes treatment in Fairfax, VA.

The sado-sexual fixation many assailants exhibit with regard to penetrating a victim’s flesh by stabbing or cutting is a documented psychological aberration. In his 2002 compilation The  Concise   Dictionary of Crime and Justice, Mark S. Davis refers to this obsession as “piquerism,” which the author defines as a “sexual interest [in] penetrating the skin of another person, sometimes seriously enough to cause death…a paraphilia and a form of sadism.” Often, these tendencies surface in less than homicidal intensity. Over the summer of 2011, numerous shoppers at the mall in Fairfax, Virginia were assaulted by a felon local newscasters dubbed the Serial Butt Stabber. The mystery stabber repeatedly assailed  female shoppers in the mall’s parking lot, jabbing their buttocks through their clothing and then making good his escape.

Piquerism–a looming epidemic?

"Hmmmm..."

“Hmmmm…”

Or, take the sad case of Frank Ranieri. Long before the mysterious butt slasher of Fairfax Virginia entered the picture, Frank Ranieri was arrested in the Arden Heights section of Staten Island and charged with assault. The police report states that Mr. Ranieri was in the habit of paying women “large amounts of money,” in receipt of which, the ladies agreed to allow Mr. Ranieri to jab their posteriors with “sharp objects.”  In the end (no pun intended) Mr. Ranieri got off with ten years probation.

Dr. Mark Griffiths is Mark D. Griffiths is an English chartered psychologist focusing in the field of behavioural addictions. If he discovers us, he'll probably loaths us, but he has a swell blog--and besides, we love everybody!!

Dr. Mark Griffiths is an English chartered psychologist focusing on the field of behavioural addictions. If he discovers us, he’ll probably loaths us, but he has a swell blog–and besides, we love everybody!!

Let’s move on to Dr. Mark Griffiths who maintains a fascinating website devoted to “addictive, obsessional, compulsive and/or extreme behaviours.” In an article on thesubject  of piquerism, Dr. Griffiths first notes “the relatively regular incidence of piquerism in the popular media,” and then admits he “was quite surprised to find next to nothing academically” despite the fact that “there are numerous examples of such practices.” He further laments that “There are passing references to piquerism in the clinical and forensic science literature but nothing…on the prevalence or etiology of the disorder.” Well, see, Dr. Griffith? That’s just where we here at WOOF come in handy–alerting the public to what academia won’t acknowledge…take, for example, the article in which we exposed “liberal delirium” as a mental disorder. (The casually or intensely curious may locate our article by clicking here. Those who find most WOOF articles annoyingly turgid may wish to scroll down to the heading “Bury my Heart at U of C ” and save time!)

teen with knifeHappily, Dr. Griffiths finds some solace in the book  Juvenile Sexual Homicide  (2002) by Dr. Wade Myers,  Dr. Myers having devoted an entire section to the topic. Suffice it for our purposes that Myers’s accounts of sado-sexual teenage murder are too appalling for the genteel eyes of our readership, but would prove more than sufficient, if consulted, to establish to any reasonable person’s satisfaction that piquerism often attains a homicidal intensity reflecting  sexual motivation. Those among our gentle readers who are willing to risk being appalled in the name of science may view the entire story on Dr. Griffith’s excellent blog site by clicking here.  Chillingly, after consulting Dr. Richard Walters (Omega Crime Assessment Group, and former prison psychologist for the Michigan Department of Corrections) Dr. Myers concluded that: “The prevalence rate of piquerism is unknown.” Yipes. And this fact alone suggests that it is time we have a national discussion about—knives!  

Do androids dream of electric carving knives?

And this thought necessarily leads us to Sigmund Freud. We know. We are asking a lot of our beloved readers–expecting them to keep up with this screed’s weaponological sardonicism, and  simultaneously abide a revisitation of Freud’s largely superannuated hypotheses. But we are interested here only in the Viennese cokie’s theorizations pertinent to knives–or put more subtly, the meaning of phallic symbolism in his writings on the unconscious.  Restricting ourselves (so as not to unduly tax the patience of our beloved readers) to Freud’s theories of dream analysis, we offer this portion from the Shrink Meister’s  A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis (1920), which we have severely truncated, first in order to maintain pertinence, and second, as a further gesture of considerateness toward our readers:

Am early 20th century hanging lamp. What was Sigmund thinking?

Am early 20th century hanging lamp. What was Sigmund thinking?

“The dream has a number of representations for the male genital that may be called symbolic… the male organ has a symbolical substitute in objects of like form… symbolized by objects that have the characteristic, in common with it, of penetration into the body and consequent injury, hence pointed weapons of every type, knives, daggers, lances, swords… as well as its representation by other objects that have the power of elongation, such as hanging lamps, collapsible pencils, etc.”

Salvador Dali designed the scenery for Gregory Peck’s symbolic dream sequences in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1945 “Spellbound,” a thriller immersed in psychiatric theory that otherwise makes only slightly more sense than most of what Freud wrote.

Salvador Dali designed the scenery for the symbolic dream sequences in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1945 “Spellbound,” a thriller immersed in psychiatric theory that otherwise makes only slightly more sense than most of what Freud wrote.

Thus spake Freud. The overly punctilious may complain that we are leaving hanging lamps and collapsible pencils out of our discussion, but one can search the available records extensively and find no data indicating that either of these devices has been employed to commit murder, or to advance anyone’s fetishistic obsession with bodily penetration in such a way as to constitute a menace to the public. Similarly, we omitted Freud’s lengthy analysis of zeppelins, which have it in common with lances and swords that they are rarely problematic nowadays. But we are certain that the larger portion of our readership already knew most of this stuff, so, many among you may be wondering, what are we up to here? Let us speak frankly on that point (no pun intended):

By the way, Freud thought water emitting devices such as showers were all male symbols, so Janet Leigh was sort of double-maled in "Psycho."

By the way, Freud thought water emitting devices such as showers were male symbols, so Janet Leigh was sort of double-maled in “Psycho.”

Freud is derided nowhere any more enthusiastically than in the archives of WOOF, but we maintain that the phallic implications of penetrative weaponry are among the few clearly reasonable interpretations offered in his theories. Thus, we ought not to discard the baby with the bathwater as we dismiss the questionable, highly unlikely, and patently ludicrous components of Freudian teachings.  Or, to offer a Chestertonian inversion of our own devising, “Sometimes a cigar is absolutely not  a cigar.”  But knowing that knife violence is almost certainly a physical expression of humankind’s hellbroth of unconscious impulses and repressions is only to say that a deep, ungovernable, and trans-cultural fixation on the sexual symbolism of knives must be acknowledged as a driving factor in the ever-increasing incidence of stabbings and slashings.  Also, even more forebodingly, the realization that knives represent an all-too-frequently irrepressible expression of man’s most deeply concealed urges underscores the need to wipe out knives altogether as the only means of rescuing our civilization.

And all this having been said, we have addressed only the psychoanalytic explanation of knife violence.  A more complete understanding of the problem requires us to examine the more obvious inducements provoking wave after wave of these attacks.  Sadly, this will oblige us to (briefly) avert to behavioral psychology, which contains all the theoretic excessiveness of psychoanalysis and none of the charm.

Could a Bobo doll stand up to Anthony Perkins?

tony perkinsIf you paid attention the time you had to take that Intro to Psych class, you will recall the world-famous Bobo doll experiment. It made a behavioral-psychology superstar out of Albert Bandura and proved  that even the simplest and most  predictable result can pass for revelation if documented in the proper patois. Here is the basic idea: the experiment began with a Bobo doll placed in a room–Bobo dolls being those inflatable punching bags that are weighted at the bottom so that no matter how often they are punched or shoved they always return to the upright position.  For reasons that remain obscure, they usually bear the image of a clown. Anyway, the Bobo toy was in placed in a room and then 36 boys and 36 girls from the Stanford University nursery school were hauled in. One by one they were placed in a the room and given some toys to play with; but they were warned that the Bobo doll was only for grownups. In half the cases, an adult entered the room and by pre-calculated degrees began to show more and more aggression toward the doll, hitting it with his fists, bashing it with a mallet, slapping it, sitting on it, and all the while verbally abusing it.  But in the second group, the other half of the kids were placed one-by-one in the same room, the difference being that the attending Bobo Doll was spared any indignities since the adult was instructed to refrain from any aggressive actions or utterances.

A Bobo Doll

A Bobo Doll

In case you aren’t already way ahead of us, the results showed that children exposed to the aggressive adult models were far more likely to act out violently than those who were not.  Put less decorously, the children in the first group, once isolated with Bobo Dolls of their own, proceeded to beat the holy bejesus out of them at rates in considerable excess of children in the second, non-violent group. In fact, the children who not did observe an adult modelling violence or hurling obloquy at a Bobo Doll treated their own dolls humanely by an overwhelming majority.  Are you surprised, gentle readers?  Of course not–anyone with a functioning brain could have predicted Bandura’s findings, so why did he bother?  He had two unspoken motives. First, he wished to scientifically verify that observing violent actions induced children to behave violently because doing so would make his research irresistibly topical. It was 1961, and concerns were ballooning that violent television programs might be creating armies of little hoodlums all over America. Obviously, Bandura’s findings no longer exercise any restraint whatsoever on televised violence, the current levels of which  make laughable the concerns of parents, pastors, and politicians who, in the dawning ’60s, worried that kids might go psycho watching  Gunsmoke, or  Bonanza. But Bandura is useful to our current purpose, since his findings lend scientific credence to the argument that knife violence is partly promoted by depictions of such violence in media, and has been for quite some time.

batman talks bobo dollThe second unspoken motive we confidently attribute to Bandura was his desire to make a splash in the field of behavioral psychology by establishing his theory of “social learning.” This theory, that people learn through observing and imitating modeled behaviors, may again strike readers as so dumbfoundingly obvious that even the dimmest percipient could have confirmed it without involving a single Bobo Doll or nursery-school pupil.  But pause here to consider that the entire behavioral school of psychology was in that day dominated by the preternaturally unimaginative B. F. Skinner (you know, the guy who conditioned pigeons to play ping pong). Bandura’s study and theory of social learning demonstrated that Skinner’s hypothesis–that all human and animal behavior results from reinforcement or punishment and nothing else–was actually kind of moronic. And this achievement alone justifies the Bobo doll experiments in our view! But the next obvious question related to our current discussion remains unresolved–namely,  how do these seemingly disparate theories combine to explain the raging epidemic of knife attacks in our own time?  But wait, there’s more!

gang debsWhat is the real cause of knife violence?  We owe it in fairness to the pundits of the Left to factor in the liberal belief in “the instrumentality effect hypothesis.” That is, the notion that the mere presence of the object somehow induces an adjacent person to employ it violently.  On the Left this has long meant that even if one concedes–however briefly and purely for the sake of argument– that people occasionally kill people, the onus is otherwise instantly transferred to the weapon itself.  It is canonical in liberal lore, therefore, that guns somehow encourage otherwise placid individuals to pick them up and shoot people. So in the name of socio-scientific consistency, we must conclude that knives, too, somehow seduce vast numbers of otherwise normal Americans to perpetrate mayhem. It seems we’ve only to pick them up, say, to peel an onion or  fillet a mackerel, and all too often the unintended result is an otherwise inexplicable surge of psychopathic homicidality.  Thus, in applying the liberal template to our quest for knife control,  it seems incumbent on us to acknowledge forthrightly that the cause of knife violence is quite possibly knives. That said….

Ouch! West Side Story made knife violence high-brow--after all, they danced in between stabbings.

Ouch! “West Side Story” made knife violence high-brow–after all, they danced to Stephen Sondheim arrangements between stabbings.

No matter how ardently one subscribes to the instrumentality effect hypothesis, certain societal trends must be taken into consideration as well.  From a “social learning” perspective, numerous cultural factors appear to stimulate knife violence nowadays quite apart from the simplistic supposition that mere availability impels otherwise  average citizens to snatch up a blade and succumb to homicidal mania. Thus, the influence of pop culture would seem an obvious component of our national proneness to piquerism, and this influence is supported by Bandura’s experiment. The knife as an instrument of salaciously vicious bloodletting has long been the stuff of tawdry paperbacks, sleazy comic books, and innumerable films over the decades. While the “classic” West Side Story romanticized teenage violence for generations to come, Rebel Without a Cause conjoined the switchblade in the popular psyche with the magnetic screen persona of James Dean. Countless films from the ’50s to our present time sensationalize the knife as an expression of post-adolescent rebellion.

James Dean's knife fight in "Rebel Without a Cause" happens at the Griffith Observatory--that just has to be symbolic of something, right?

James Dean’s knife fight in “Rebel Without a Cause” happens at the Griffith Observatory–symbolizing that we cannot escape what our stars ordain, or maybe that the universe will end “at dawn”–or–something really meaningful along those lines…

The imagery of nihilistic youths clicking their switchblades open to initiate violent confrontations is enshrined in films such as Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (the book was better), Walter Hill’s The Warriors, (Last Man Standing was better) Glenn Ford in 1955’s seminal Blackboard Jungle (which recurrently touched off riots among teenagers in the audience) and even Burt Lancaster (sporting a crew cut!)  in The Young Savages. These relatively polished efforts did not differ in their depictions of the knife as an instrument of empowerment from countless low-budget teen-sploitation mellers like  Naked YouthKey WitnessHigh School Confidential, Juvenile Jungle and the never-to-be-forgotten Switchblade Sisters.

Into our living rooms!

children and TVEven as the movies manufactured lurid tales of switchblade duels and rumbling teenage gangs, the TV screen began to offer Americans a variety of knife-related entertainments. The most relentless barrage, ironically, came from the highly successful Christian programming of the mid ’50s and early ’60s. Yes, Christian. Few today remember This is the Life, a show so ancient it actually began its first season on the now-long-defunct Dumont Network. The idea was a simple one: every week some character or characters who resided in the fictional city of Middleburg would get into a deeply disturbing personal dilemma, usually ethical, criminal, marital, or grief-related.  Things would look pretty hopeless, but in the nick of time the kindly, and uncannily sagacious Pastor Martin (Lutheran church, Missouri Synod) would appear and put folks back on the track for spiritual deliverance. The show’s willingness to deal with controversial subjects of that era was often applauded as courageous.

“Don’t do anything rash, now, son! Whata-ya-say I give Pastor Martin a call?”

But the issue This is the Life seemed to deal with more often than any other was juvenile delinquency, and that usually came with switchblades!  In fact you could reasonably anticipate a televised  dose of knife-brandishing delinquency courtesy of the Lutheran church just about any Sunday morning before the indefatigable Pastor Martin stepped in to lead everyone to God.  And if that didn’t pay off,  you could check out the show’s various imitators. Yes, other churches took note of the recruiting power of the Lutherans’ popular TV series and began shooting their own versions. The Southern Baptist Convention hit the airwaves with This Is the Answer (1958-1961), while Insight drew on the Catholic perspective. Frontiers of Faith and The Eternal Light soon appeared on NBC and the ecumenical anthology Crossroads often included Hollywood personalities in stories drawn from the putatively true-life experiences of priests, ministers, and rabbis. Naturally each of these programs took note of the ratings boost teenagers in leather jackets commonly produced, so if you couldn’t find knife crazy delinquents on one program, you could reasonably expect them to pop up on one or more of its competitors.

Scott Forbes played JIm Bowie with verve and wit--but the real star was that great big knife!

Scott Forbes played JIm Bowie with verve and wit–but the real star was that great big knife!

Besides the Christian onslaught, there were shows like The Adventures of Jim Bowie and Northwest Passage that made knives a central theme every week…as well as a variety of detective and police dramas that often dealt with nefarious stabbers and slashers. Today, of course, the carnography on television is hyperbolized to an extent that would affright Sam Peckinpah, galvanizing our latent national piquerism and interacting symbiotically with “the instrumentality effect hypothesis.” The obvious result is our climbing rate of knife violence–and  TV is only getting worse.

In NBC's "Northwest Passage" Keith Larson even pointed at maps with his knife--he just couldn't keep his hands off the things!

In NBC’s “Northwest Passage” Keith Larson even pointed at maps with his knife–he just couldn’t keep his hands off the thing!

Reaping a harvest of Karo Syrup and RFD 40.

We have already established that television violence in the time of the Bobo experiments was almost genteel by comparison to the contemporary product. Today, knife attacks are fake blooddepicted much more extravagantly and in lingering, almost fetishistic detail.  Owing to the modern ubiquity of  color TV (we hear they even have it in Russia now) the current exploiters of our national obsession with slash-and-stab entertainments are able to fill our screens with riveting spurts of carefully contrived scarlet. Today’s network, cable, and dish dramas spray the camera lens with color-conscious concoctions–usually variations on Sam Peckinpah’s Karo Syrup and red food dye recipes. All of these advances, sadly, must be viewed also as a national exposure to Bandura-style”social learning” courtesy of an industry that constantly floods our living rooms with one big, never-ending Bobo-doll experiment.

...Remaining scrupulously devoid of any redeeming social value...

…Remaining scrupulously devoid of any redeeming social value…

We realize that many of our readers do not watch much television and may therefore hike an eyebrow at our assertion that the situation has reached paraphilic proportions. We pause, therefore, to offer a few prime examples, and prime examples must suffice since a complete catalog of similar programs would quickly swell to encyclopedic proportions. For starters, unless we’ve missed something worse, the most unabashedly brutal program devoted to little other than massive displays of slashing and stabbing while remaining scrupulously devoid of any redeeming social value is the recently cancelled but unforgettably nauseous The Following.  To add more gore to this show than Fox’s Standards-and- Practices committee would ordinarily approve, Executive Producer Kevin Williamson boasted he used “certain tricks” to outfox Fox, and they must have been good ones, because the show’s violent ends seemed endless, supplying enough Karo Syrup and food dye to distract viewers from the absurdity of the story line and the absence of anything resembling character development or engaging dialogue. Permit us, gentle readers, to belabor the example of The Following despite it’s removal from Fox’s schedule, not because it deserves commemoration, but rather because it typifies the kind of “social learning” to which national audiences are more and more subjected.

Emma Hill (Valorie Curry) comes in second in a knife fight.

Emma Hill (Valorie Curry) comes in second in a knife fight.

Perhaps character development was deemed pointless (no pun intended) since almost nobody goes more than a few episodes before getting slaughtered.Actually, the show’s most nuanced (though conformingly psychopathic) character, Emma (Valorie Curry), lasted two seasons before being knifed to death in a knife fight with Claire (Natalie Zea), who was knifed to death in the first season but returned (don’t ask!) to out-knife Emma in the second.  For most of those seasons the driving plot line consisted of Kevin Bacon, an alcoholic agent recalled to FBI duty because he is the only person capable of tracking down the diabolical serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), chasing his nemesis.  But Bacon can’t catch him either, largely because like almost all protagonists of his ilk he never remembers to call for back up, and when he does his reinforcements always get there too late, or get there on time only to be duped by the killer’s brilliant machinations.

following promo

Purefoy and Bacon, both obviously immersed in their characters!!

Besides the fact that Purefoy as Carroll isn’t interesting enough for the role, the character of Carroll isn’t interesting enough either, Carroll being a failed writer and a college lit professor whose obsession is Edgar Allen Poe. Really? Would the Marquis de Sade be too highbrow? Baudelaire?  Anyway, to distract us from these deficiencies, producer Williamson has Joe kill a bunch of people, and also asks us to believe that while in prison, via the Internet, Joe established an army of fanatical supporters–an army, seemingly, at least the size of China’s. Members of this underground force are perfectly okay with undertaking suicidal missions of mass mayhem on cue; hence the series title, and a great excuse for having almost any background character or passerby suddenly pull an ice pick or a butcher’s knife and pounce on some blood-squirting cast member about whom we might care a bit had he or she ever been presented as more dimensional than a cardboard cutout (no pun intended).

The-Following-eye-stabbing-ep-1.nocrop.w670.h343

Members of serial killer Joe Carroll’s army of brainwashed psychos even stab themselves in the eyes when short of options.. (Warning: You may contemplate doing likewise if you attempt to binge watch “The Following,”)

criminal mindsA similar, though far more skillfully crafted killer-of-the-week program is Criminal Minds, on CBS.  Our heros are members of an FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) devoted to psychologically profiling criminals, almost always blade-crazy serial killers.  The  series follows a personality-rich group of profilers as they set about catching various criminals by psychologically profiling them with mind-boggling proficiency. Despite the fact that none of the lead characters has a degree in psychology, (except the boyish Dr. Reid, resident genius, who holds three PhDs, but only a BA in psychology), the team never misses, solving one case every week and usually killing the evil doer(s) just in time to fly home to Quantico in their private jet while one of them overdubs a profound quote from somebody or other, usually at least vaguely pertinent to the hour’s events.

Taking time to flesh out its characters and infuse small doses of psychiatric and  philosophical wisdom has made the show’s graphic immersions in blood, guts, skinnings,dismemberments, beheadings, disembowelings, and exsanguinations seem socially justified, or so the audience seems to feel– Criminal Minds is well into its 12th season.

lizzie with knife

Lifetime’s  Lizzie can barely stop stabbing people long enough to catch her breath.

Not to be outdone, the Lifetime channel opted to reboot the legend of Lizzie Borden–a legend that required a positively surreal amount of embellishment before it could serve as the basis for a weekly television drama. Armchair criminologists will recall that Miss Borden’s family occupied a relatively upscale residence in the pastoral township of Fall River–a sleepy Massachusetts hamlet where nothing out of the ordinary ever happened–until Lizzie’s father and mother were found brutally axe murdered in their home. Lizzie was arrested and tried for the murders, but acquitted. The only additional crime of which she was ever accused was shoplifting, and those charges were dropped without the issuance of a warrant. These facts notwithstanding, Lifetime’s series portrays the reclusive spinstress as a female Hannibal Lector, except that she doesn’t eat anybody. Perhaps by way of sublimating this omission, Lizzie slashes, hacks, and stabs people to death at a rate Hannibal would frown upon as distastefully wanton. Despite the program’s devotion to serving up scene upon scene of blade thrusting, hatchet hewing, blood spurting slaughter, viewers seemed to prefer their mayhem in that time slot on the contemporary side (Revenge on USA), or zombified (The Waking Dead on AMC), or dissembled as haute cuisine (Cut Throat Kitchen on the Food Channel). Lifetime cancelled Chronicles after one season, citing low ratings as the determining factor and giving dozens of hack reviewers (no pun intended) the opportunity to observe that Lizzie got the axe.

lizzie with axe

We haven’t room here, of course, to discuss every TV program currently contributing to America’s rising tide of piquerism.  It would seem negligent, however, to omit certain exemplary titles from our discussion. Consider the recently cancelled Dexter, featuring a lovably picaresque serial killer who, for eight full seasons, only chopped up bad guys, so nobody was too bothered by it. Wives with Knives brought us three seasons of true stories, each featuring wives who used knives on their husbands. Fargo, The Sons of AnarchyThe Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Vikings, Stalker, Game of Thrones–all deserve mention.

"Wives with Knives"

“Wives with Knives”

A problem of international magnitude!

Looks like this Israeli picked the wrong day to leave his Uzi at home.

America is not alone in its seeming insouciance to the threat posed by unregulated knife possession. Many of the countries that most comprehensively restrict gun ownership exhibit the highest rates of violent crime, particularly stabbings. Great Britain has long been lax in its efforts to control knives.  In May of 2013 two Muslims hacked a British soldier to death in east London. The assailants had time to tell stunned onlookers “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you,” before police arrived and shot them. Terror-related knife violence surfaced again in east London this December 5th when a blade wielding man yelling “This is for Syria!” and “All of your blood will be spilled!” slashed the throat of a hapless commuter in the Leytonstone tube station, and was about to wade into a cluster of cowering women and children when he was tackled and subdued by angry commuters.

Better life? Surrender your knife!

concerned ladies

Can the U..S. afford to let England and Europe take the lead in promoting knife-violence awareness?

Britain, however, has lately taken a convincing lead in controlling the situation! Enlightened organizations now wage private advocacy campaigns to eliminate the threat of knives in the United Kingdom. The visionary members of “Save A Life, Surrender Your Knife” are even placing knife-collection bins throughout the UK so that conscientious English citizens can anonymously divest themselves of any potentially lethal cutlery.  The Scotland-based national initiative “No Knives/Better Lives” maintains a substantial web presence advocating the elimination of bladed weaponry across Great Britain, with major youth programs driven by catchy slogans like “Choose life, not a knife!” and “Remember, there is no safe place to stab someone!”  Why can’t America get on board with some equally inventive policies?

kitchen imagesAnd let’s set aside the myth that “tactical” or Assault Knives are the only kind used in the commission of crime—far from it! In 2005, the BBC reported a study by the British Medical Journal including a statistical analysis proving that  kitchen knives are used in as many as half of all stabbings committed in the UK. Apparently, a shocking number of homicides occur in British kitchens owing, perhaps, to the widespread use of alcohol while cooking is underway. The resultant diminishment of self control and rise in impulsivity lead to a startling number of slayings linked to meal preparation because, as the BBC so starkly observed, “a kitchen knife often makes an all-too-available weapon.”  A team from West Middlesex University Hospital notes violent crime is on the increase in Britain – and kitchen knives are used in half of all recorded stabbings!

Of course certain chefs like Eric Ripert (depicted) will flout these common-sense efforts at publis saftey--but can't they be charged under the RICO act or something?

Of course certain chefs like Eric Ripert (depicted) may flout these common-sense efforts to promote public safety–but maybe they can be charged under the RICO statutes.

Arguments that knives are necessary for cooking have been dismissed by experts. The BBC consulted ten top chefs from around the UK, and  learned that “pointy” knives “have little practical  value in the kitchen.” None of the chefs consulted by the BBC thought that knives were particularly necessary to their craft, and all agreed that big pointy knives were utterly uncalled for “since the point of a short blade was just as useful when a sharp end was needed.” True, researchers found that even stubby knives can cause “a substantial superficial wound if used in an assault” but remained unlikely to “penetrate inner organs.” By comparison, a pointy kitchen blade pierces the body like “cutting into a ripe melon.” Thus researchers want to impose bans on pointy knives to curb the waves of culinary violence in England and Scotland.  Indeed, consider all those fabulously popular cook-off shows that are everywhere nowadays–those seemingly innocent culinary entertainments that are cast more and more as gang rivalries with huge, flashing knives chopping, slicing, and dicing in nearly every scene!  No matter how innocently intended, these shows too must be viewed as part of the problem–sending Bobo-style  messages spreading waves of of piquerism among countless unwitting gourmandes and  other unwitting viewers.

Seemingly innocent? Think again, America!

Just harmless kitchen fun?  Mais non! Think again, America!

Ironically, Red China remains oblivious of the threat posed by unregulated knife ownership even as it spares no effort cracking down on free-enterprise ventures such as this privately owned and operated gun factory in Shanghai!

Ironically, Red China remains oblivious of the threat posed by unregulated knife ownership even as it spares no effort cracking down on free-enterprise ventures such as this privately owned and operated gun factory in Shanghai!

Red Chinese police destroyed 113 illegal gun factories and shops during a three-month crackdown in 2006. Police seized 117,000 guns, but the Communist government has been slow to address the elephant in the room, namely that outbreaks of knife violence occur in China with an almost uncanny regularity. Despite the horrifying nature of these mass slayings, Chinese authorities have proved slow to seize knives from the citizenry, and slow to criminalize their possession! Stranger still, the ruling communist oligarchy actively encourages mainland youth, both male and female, to learn knife fighting. Because of this it is no exaggeration to report that knife attacks constitute a problem of near-epidemic proportions in Communist China. To list these assaults and review them in detail would require more space than can be spared here, but a couple of examples may suffice to underscore the situation’s gravity. Back in 2014, the Chinese city of Kunming in the Yunnan province came under attack by eight screaming men and women, all armed with knives. The killers focused their efforts on commuters milling about the railway station at 9:20 am. Before the police arrived and “neutralized” them, the attackers managed to slash and stab 143 civilians, 33 of whom died.

According to a Red Chinese news source The People's Daily, Chinese high school girls shout “'kill, stab, slash and jab” as they learn knife fighting, which is part of their standard curriculum. Clearly, China’s paraphilic obsession with knives has spread far beyond the criminal element!

According to a Red Chinese news source The People’s Daily, Chinese high school girls shout “’kill, stab, slash and jab” as they learn knife fighting, which is part of their standard curriculum. Clearly, China’s paraphilic obsession with knives has spread far beyond the criminal element!

China is plagued by the problem of unprovoked, seemingly motiveless attacks on its population, most often carried out by seemingly deranged citizens brandishing knifes or meat cleavers. Recently, a September 2015 attack by nine assailants left 50 workers dead at a Chinese coal operation in Aksu, Xinjiang, China. After carving up the government security guards, the assailants swarmed into off-duty bunkhouses filled with sleeping coal miners, and mercilessly stabbed and slashed them. Besides the fifty dead, an additional fifty were left horribly wounded. The killers escaped into the mountains and ravines surrounding the camp site and remain at large.

The ideal solution

spork

A nation that invented the “spork” can certainly be relied upon to create new, 21st century kitchen implements able to apportion a pizza or sunder a juicy steak without the potential to disembowel, slash, stab, or amputate built into our current dinnerware.

Obviously, the surest way to end this floodtide of knife violence in our own country is to ban all knives. There is a general misconception on the part of the public that only certain knives are used in attacks on humans, but as we have clearly demonstrated, this is far from the case.  Ideally, therefore, we should strive to eliminate all knives from production, purchase, or private ownership. To compensate for this absence in the kitchen and at the table, American ingenuity can be relied upon to produce a solution that satisfies legitimate cutting needs without providing death-dealing instrumentation to the ever-increasing swarms of piquerists and other varieties of stabbers and slashers in our midst! After all, the same free-enterprise system that gave us the “spork,” can presumably deliver the “spife,” or the “nork,” or the “fornifoon”, or some equally viable means of circumventing knife ownership while providing options for chefs and diners who find it occasionally necessary to sever a food item! Meanwhile a massive public information program would be required to create public awareness–and to launch knife buy-back programs on a national scale.

knives compilation

All knives can be put to lethal use–including each of these deadly but widely distributed models. From left to right top: Military knife; special forces “assault” knife; “Bowie” knife, knife commonly distributed to militarized youth groups. Lower left to right: “chef’s” special; standard “butter” knife, painter’s utility knife; so-called butterfly knife; and rubber knife–which often serves to lure children into full blown piquerism! All these models and many more are proven to be completely unnecessary to civilized living and should be banned from manufacture and private ownership!

The grim reality…

Confiscation could result in a lucrative knife smuggling epidemic.

Confiscation could result in a lucrative knife smuggling epidemic.

But let’s face the facts, gentle readers, it would prove impossible to confiscate every knife owned by every citizen of the United States, besides which, of course, some families maintain hunting and fishing traditions that may legitimately be argued to require some degree of knife usage. Add to this the grim reality that knife smuggling from Canada and across the wide open Mexican border would soon foster mammoth black-market enterprises likely to exacerbate the situation–even as knife registration would end in a morass of paperwork impacting overextended government knife registrars while providing no sure means of authenticating who had genuinely given up every knife, and who might be secreting knives within the home or burying them in the rose garden.  Sadly, confiscation, while it might work in England, or  possibly even Canada, must be set aside as utterly impracticable in America. So what is to be done?

Figures don’t lie!f5860e35dd3a76303af33c639c0e3cdd

Let’s re-examine the record, straight from the data banks of the FBI, shall we?  According to the Bureau, knives or other cutting instruments were used to kill 1,490 victims in the United States in 2013 whereas rifles (including what Liberals like to call ‘assault rifles’) were associated with only 285 murders. More recent statistics from 2014 reveal that 1,567 people were murdered with knives in the United States, versus a mere 248 murders committed with any sort of rifle, assault-type or otherwise.  Gentle readers, a grotesque trend is obvious! If we cannot eradicate knives from our culture, we owe it to ourselves and our communities to obtain protection for our families and our fellow citizens. Clearly, to paraphrase NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, the surest way to stop a bad guy with a knife, is a good guy with an assault rifle! Here are some suggestions on how to ready yourselves, supplied by WOOF’s very own “Guns and Whamo” editor, Bang Gunley (not his real name).  Even if you have never considered owning an “assault rifle” before, we beg you to reconsider before you and your loved ones are mercilessly hacked to pieces by some psychopath transmuting his unbearable levels of sexual dysmorphia into a homicidal rampage and clutching a big, sharp, knife!  Right now, as we polemicize, New York City is experiencing a 20 percent increase in stabbings and police say they cannot explain the sudden upswing and aren’t certain how to combat it. As of March 13th of this year, police records disclosed 809 such incidents in the Big Apple, compared to 673 a year ago.

__________________________________________________

Don’t be caught unprepared! –byline: Bang Gunley)

This segement courtesy of WOOF's firearms editor and technical adviser, Bang Gunley (not his real name). Mr. Gunley's face is intentionally not shown as his various services to American clandestined and security personnel make him a target for evil doers should his identity become known.

This segment courtesy of WOOF’s firearms editor, Bang Gunley (not his real name). As always Mr. Gunley’s face is intentionally not shown as his various services to American clandestined and security personnel make him a target for evil doers should his identity become known.

As should be evident from everything that’s been said above, knife wielding felons are a major and ever-increasing problem in 21st Century America–and anyone who can understand simple math must be persuaded by this point that a far safer possession than a knife, yet a possession that has the fire power and the magazine capacity to defeat any aggressor armed with a knife, is the good old American assault rifle. Awhile back, we of the Guns-and-Whamo division of WOOF proved that assault rifles aren’t readily available in our country–sad to say–even though liberals think they see them everywhere. But the tried and true guns available in all rational states of the Union–the kind that liberals call assault rifles–and others that while less criticized by Senator Feinstein can be just as useful–are more than enough to protect ourselves from all those blade-crazy assailants the FBI tells us are out there! So to obtain protection that the government’s own research has proven to be comparatively safe, yet more than sufficient to deter maniacs with anything from letter openers to machetes, let’s check out some options!

Sir Winston Churchill didn't let bad press keep him from proudly displaying his own drum-fed Thompson from time to time.

Sir Winston Churchill didn’t let bad press keep him from proudly displaying his own drum-fed Thompson from time to time.

Many contemporary semiautomatic firearms have seeped into the public’s consciousness because of sensationalized news coverage of crimes involving them (or allegedly involving them) and may therefore seem tainted by association. You’ve probably heard of the Bushmaster, for instance. (I recommend their 16″ A2 Heavy Carbine.) Concerned about the weapon’s image? Remember, no gun was more associated with massive criminality than the Thompson submachine gun during the “roaring ’20’s.”  Every gangster movie showed Thompsons blasting from automobile windows, obliterating storefronts, or mowing down rows of screaming, writhing thugs in portrayals of the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. Even movies about Bonnie and Clyde routinely showed the outlaw couple brandishing twin tommy guns despite the fact that the Barrow Gang didn’t use them. Clyde preferred a sawed-down Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) and made one for Bonnie too, who became highly proficient with it.

Yet despite its reputation as a gangster gun–the infamous “Chicago typewriter,” favored by Capone’s mob, Pretty Boy Floyd, Dillinger and Machine Gun Kelly, the Thompson served admirably in World War II and Korea and won universal respect as the close-quarters firearm of choice for several decades. By the same token, the classic silhouette of the all-American AR-style rifle or carbine should bestir a sense of pride and independence in the hearts of patriots despite progressive efforts to tear these extraordinary firearms from our grasp and smear them at every opportunity!

And when it comes to keeping the American spirit alive, hopeless romantics may prefer to own a classic Colt product, and there are plenty available.  (I recommend the Match Target HBAR model for lovers of the rampant pony!) Most contemporary “assault rifles” of this type come chambered for readily obtainable .223 ammo, and besides the noble Colt and infamous Bushmaster, Les Baer, Mossberg, Del-Ton, Windham, and Smith and Wesson all offer excellent guns of this type!

ar2

Despite its association in the public mind with violent crime, the Bushmaster is a first rate performer as a self-defense tool, and makes a dandy door prize too!

Looking for a little more punch in case of especially burly psychopaths? Try the new, improved AR-10 from Armalite, the folks who started it all! Bored for the powerful .308 Winchester cartridge, this beauty combines updated striking power with all the traditional charm of the classic M-16! Prefer something in designer camouflage from a legendary maker of sporting guns? Why not snag a Remington R-15 Predator carbine in .223 caliber or in optional  .204 Ruger? Both versions sport a magnificent coat of spritely MAX-1 HD camouflage that will have you exclaiming, “Out of sight!” And by the way, most manufacturers now offer a variety of pink and other exotic DuraCoat finishes sure to win favor with the ladies.  You say you prefer a shorter, more maneuverable gun but crave the classic look of the M-16?  The AR-15 carbine was the personification of these features in Vietnam, except it almost always jammed and suffered other inbuilt deficiencies. Fear not, however, because the good folks at Armalite now offer the new improved M15 Carbine series– the spitting image of the original with none of the bugs!

Yes, some ingenious entrepreneur has even created the "Hello Kitty" AR-15.

Yes, some ingenious entrepreneur has even created the “Hello Kitty” AR-15.

Those seeking a Cadillac AR experience will find Sabre Defence provides its classy new M4 Tactical model ready to accessorize with optic sights, but with  with flip-up iron sights for those who prefer them. This model also boasts a free-floated quad-rail fore-end, the CTR collapsible buttstock, and an Ergo pistol grip. And for the lady of the house, I recommend the optional Tactical Gill Brake, which cuts way back on unseemly recoil! How can you resist?

21 foot rule

even the loudest proponents of the “21 foot rule” would rather be holding a .357 than a knife if things got real!

But no matter what firearm you choose, you will be arming yourself and your family with peace of mind, knowing that despite all the baloney on the Internet, nobody really wants to bring a knife to a gunfight– and unlike the helpless masses of Europe and the British Isles, you have a second amendment that allows you to take the  necessary steps to thwart any slicing, slashing head cases that lurch your way!  We hope the government soon awakens to the need to provide poorer Americans, or those who are retired and living on fixed incomes, with free or partially subsidized AR-15 style weapons. Surviving knife violence shouldn’t depend on your income. Not in America. But in the meantime, see your local gun shop owner for advice on obtaining protection with a weapon that is not only five times less dangerous than a knife by the FBI’s own admission, but also part of what America is all about:  guns! WOOF PRINT 

cowgirl