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Postscript: Lesson Redux

April 18th, 2014 - 11:45 am

Composed on election eve 2008.


I wandered the beach at midnight by the hamlet of Oyster Bay,
A fugitive from the fell report that would come on Election Day.
And upon a hill in the distance I espied a flickering light
Where the shade of Rudyard Kipling kept its vigil through the night.
And the shade of Kipling chortled through the dank November chill
To the ghost of Theodore Roosevelt there on the porch at 
 Sagamore Hill:

“You ought to admit it fairly, as a business people will:
You have had no end of a lesson: it will do you nothing but ill,
Not on a single issue, or in one direction or twain,
But conclusively, comprehensively, and several times and again.

“You have lived too long with the stink of your sweat, and mistaken it for a perfume;
Beyond the horizon there rose a mirage, and it lured you along to your doom.
The mirage showed an ersatz American world from Tokyo to Timbuktu
In which every belligerent nation and tribe would look and think like you,
Where Shi’ite and Sunni and Turkmen and Druze, and Yazidi and Shabak and Kurd,
Would settle their problems by voting, instead of by massacre as they preferred,
Where the Taliban killers of Kandahar, and the mullahs who govern Iran,
And the suicide bombers of Hezbollah, and each sev’ral religion and clan,
Would stack up their guns by the parliament’s door, and embrace those whom they detest
‘Til the murderous hordes of the bloody Mideast look like Methodists in the Midwest.
In fact they all hate their neighbors more than ever they hated you,
Which is why they invest in your government bonds, just like any Christian or Jew.
You were taught an imperial lesson there on the Mesopotamian plain,
I fear it will profit you hardly at all; you will live in a planet of pain.
Your citizens ought to recite this verse, whenever your flag is unfurled:
‘O, we are an almost-chosen Land, the swankiest club in the world,
The club of survivors who left the Old World to sink in Eternity’s sand, And founded the New.’

That was then. Alas for your almost-Chosen Land!” 

The specter of Roosevelt boomed out in reply, “I fear it is even worse:
Where an almost-Blessing has succored this land, now there follows an almost-Curse,
A Biblical curse from Him with Whom we find ourselves at odds,
And chastens the almost-Chosen folk that whored after foreign gods.
I fear that the land will expectorate us, like the heathen who lived here before us,
And we will die out like the Romans of old, or the dodo and brontosaurus.
We have builded an idol offensive to God as the Israelites’ Golden Calf,
But stupider still, and with poorer excuse, and more obnoxious by half.
We have named the idol ‘Inclusiveness’, but forgot what inclusion entails:
The nations are drops of the bucket, and specks of small dust on the scales.
We included the remnant that left its past to rot on a distant strand,
And made them an almost-Chosen folk for an almost-Chosen land,
That was the source of our Blessing, but today the source of our Cuss
Is the foolish idea that the rest of the world is exactly the same as us.
We never have done stupider things in the past than were done by this President George,
And the very same God who sustained us so long has sent us instead a scourge
In the form of Barack Obama, a malevolent fellow with smarts,
Who took our measure with malice and gazed too deeply into our hearts.
We hail him the God of Inclusiveness, this self-promoting know-it-all,
The way Moctezuma mistook Cortes for the deity Quetzalcoatl!
The Aztecs invited their conqueror in, and that put an end to their drama,
And tomorrow, America does the same thing by electing Barack Obama.
Generations to come (if any there are) will condemn us for losing the scrimmage,
And we’ve no one to blame but ourselves for the sin of adoring our own silly image.”

And that was the answer that Roosevelt made without regret or apology;
If Kipling were still alive you would find it reprinted in every anthology.

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All Comments   (5)
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The reference to Kipling is appropriate, but I find TR questionable. He was the first Progressive president, and his running independently on the Bull Moose in 1912 ensured the victory of fellow Progressive Wilson over the Conservative Taft. This, in my opinion, was an earth-changing event, leading directly to the income tax, direct election of US senators, US participation in WW1 and the many unfortunate policies, decisions and settlements that followed.

In my book, Kipling stands for much that was wise and good, but TR is no hero.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment

I know it hurts when what has loved so passionately passes into memory. At least you have finally accepted this fact. Acceptance of loss prepares us for the coming battle with those who believe they are ascendant. Let the pain of loss numb you to what must be done. Better dead than red.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
gold hits $2,400

While the bad cultural stuff goes on apace--the USA still is blessed economically by providence--or miracles if you will or God if you must. At just the right moment (thank you george mitchell, mitchell energy and friends)the fracking revolution is recapitalizing the USA. Its adding an extra 300-400 billion to the economy. That number will grow to 1 trillion dollars in three years. Oil is shrinking the federal deficit and the trade deficit. All the weak dollar plays by the fed are being backstopped by annual oil output growth on the order of 1 million barrels a day. Afraid of the fed adding 10 trillion worth of fiat money ex nihilo from nothing to its reserves. How about the fracking revolution adding 30 trillion worth of oil and gas backing the dollar--ex nihilo-from nothing. It won't be long before this growth surpasses that of the Saudis from 1969-1975 that changed the world. The world was again changed when russian oil production moved up annually by nearly a million barrels a day from 2002 to 2006. That changed ronald reagans great gambit of the 1980's when he convinced the Saudis to jack up their production to collapse the price of oil. That bankrupted the old soviet union because then as now the russians are wholly dependent on oil for their revenues. Same with the saudis but back in 1980's they had enormous reserve capacity and their costs of production per barrel was measured in cents and not dollars. Neither of those are true now. To defeat the Iranians the saudis the russians and discourage the chinese from drilling in their coastal waters--guess what what the one solution would be to all guessed it. do what ronald reagan did: collapse the cost of oil. (actually all the strategic moves are in place to do this. But it won't happen for ahother 10-15 years.)

44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
all that said. Obama is a culture killer. he is quite capable of destroying the USA. the means to do it currently is by amnesty. anyone with a half a political ear knows that much of the USA is governed by elites who stand in relationship to foreign interests in about the same way that 19th century elites in africa and asia stood to european imperial powers. If amnesty goes through, the already weak ability of the USA to act in its own enlightened self interest will be pretty much dissipated because the people who most passionately believe in this country and all it represents --will be defeated.

For people who are more pro israeli than pro american--this danger is far graver for the long term interests of Israel than the problems of Iran.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Composed (by Mr. Goldman) on election eve 2012: "I’m a betting man. I’ll bet that real GDP growth is zero in the first year of a second Obama adminstration, and that in the second year, gold hits $2,400 and the 10-year Treasury yield is above 4%." ( Still another year to go, obviously.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
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