Belmont Club


A picture doing the rounds of Facebook  shows a picture of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas and actor George Takei, who called Thomas “a clown in blackface” for dissenting with the majority decision on gay marriage.  The caption says: “Thomas votes for the party that freed his ancestors.  Takei votes for the party that put him, personally, in an internment camp.”  The irony comes from the fact that there is often something more powerful than experience.  That impulse is the need to belong.  Intern me, only let me belong.

The Hill has an article showing Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders drawing a huge crowd in Madison, Wisconsin.  His popularity among Democrats is an indication that the grassroots liberals are dissatisfied with the leftist status quo. Contrary to the administration’s claims, things are not going well for most people.  Many of those who vote Democratic don’t want Obamacare, but think Single Payer is the answer. They know Obama’s foreign policy isn’t working yet believe that even more appeasement provides the solution. They understand times are tough yet are convinced that more “free government” programs will help.

In short they are like patients feeling the symptoms of a dread disease but think that Doctor Miraculo’s Wonder Elixir holds the cure. Things are not hunky dory. Quite the contrary. The disease is real; it’s the nostrum that’s fake.  Yet the rapturous crowds are unlikely snap out of the spell, no matter how many times they beggared, interned or lied to. The true believers never came to a moment realization in Jonestown and they won’t in Greece. Those who survived Jonestown  couldn’t convince their fellows to stop chugging the Kool-Aid, they just edged away into the jungle and ran for their lives.

Powerful social movements do not promote diversity, except superficially.  What they sell is membership in a group.  That is the core product of religions, clubs, political parties — and until recently, nations.  The left is no different.  It doesn’t want its members to think independently but follow the party line, to parrot the narrative. The party line must be served, no matter when, no matter what.

Just a few hours ago an illegal immigrant gunned down a young female tourist on Embarcadero wharf.  “The man … was in a Bay Area jail less than four months ago and should have been turned over to federal immigration officials upon his release, instead of being set free, according to the Department of Homeland Security.”  But Bay Area authorities couldn’t turn him over they explained, because it would have run counter to the prevailing political narrative.

But that’s not the way the San Francisco County Sheriff’s Legal Counsel Freya Horne sees it. In an interview Friday with NBC Bay Area, she said the city and county of San Francisco are sanctuaries for immigrants, and they do not turn over undocumented people – if they don’t have active warrants out for them – simply because immigration officials want them to….

Sanchez, who law enforcement say is either 45 or 46 and has about a dozen aliases, was taken into custody after witnesses described him to police. According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he is an undocumented immigrant with a long criminal history who has previously been deported to Mexico five times, the last time in 2008.

“It’s a tragedy,” Horne said. “We all recognize that. But we followed city policy.”

The Bay Area defense for allowing a killer to run loose is compulsion, citing “city policy”.  We had to do it. Diversity became the right to wear different colors of the same handcuffs. The phrase “government is a word for things we choose to do together” is really one step from asserting that from here on, things will be governed by policy, by unwritten club rules.

What matters is not what you do, but who sent you.  Governors that round up illegal immigrants are accused of infringing on the federal government’s prerogative to control the borders.  But not so officials  who let illegal immigrant killers stick around to murder following “city policy”. Anyone who maintains that Obamacare is a failure will be accused of criminal right wing delusions, unless of course you’re Bernie Sanders and want to replace a failing Affordable Care Act with Single payer.  Then it’s okay. The different lies not in the act, but in the actor.

Get the credentials right and you can do no wrong. Chief Justice John Roberts argued that the same sex marriage decision in Obergefell was less about the right of certain groups to form clubs as it was about compelling everyone to join one club.  It was not about diversity but enforcing homogeneity.  Roberts wrote:

Our Constitution does not enact any one theory of marriage. The people of a State are free to expand marriage to include same-sex couples, or retain the historic definition.

Today, however, the Court takes the extraordinary step of ordering every State to license and recognize same-sex marriage… that ends today. Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law.

Some will argue that “best practice” should be made mandatory, therefore Kennedy was right to prescriable.  The answer, aside from whether something is really best practice,  comes from natural selection. The future of any species frequently lies among the mutants, from those who don’t follow “best practice”.  It is to the advantage of a species to  limit the power of the club to allow for variability.  We call this condition  “liberty”.  Its true contribution to the system is that it permits experiments.  Before Obergefell  there were multiple definitions of marriage.  Now there is only one.

The Founding Fathers of America knew that liberty was necessary to avoid tyranny and stagnation.  In order to obtain liberty without intolerable disorder they adopted a federal structure.  Those 18th century men discovered, far in advance of computer scientists, the concept of a sandbox, a method of controlled experimentation.

For those who have never heard of it, a programming sandbox  “is a security mechanism for separating running programs. It is often used to execute untested code, or untrusted programs from unverified third parties, suppliers, untrusted users and untrusted websites … In the sense of providing a highly controlled environment, sandboxes may be seen as a specific example of virtualization. Sandboxing is frequently used to test unverified programs that may contain a virus or other malignant code, without allowing the software to harm the host device.”

The states function as political sandboxes.  They are places where ideas can be tested in relative isolation from the national current.  Back in the 1960s, the Bay Area functioned as a sandbox for ideas that are themselves now attempting to abolish sandboxes.  One of the genuine paradoxes of decisions like Obergefell  is that they could not have philosophically survived themselves.

Elitism thinks it knows all the answers and therefore prefers the unitary state.  Dylan Matthews at Vox says, “this July 4th, I’m celebrating by taking a plane from the US to the United Kingdom. The timing wasn’t intentional, but I embrace the symbolism. American independence in 1776 was a monumental mistake. We should be mourning the fact that we left the United Kingdom, not cheering it.”  Matthews advances 3 arguments for declaring July 4 a day of mourning.

  1. Abolition would have come faster without independence
  2. Independence was bad for Native Americans
  3. America would have a better system of government if we’d stuck with Britain

But it doesn’t even know all the questions. The United States was to a large degree founded by those who wanted to get away from people like Dylan Matthews; not because they objected to him living the sort of life he preferred, rather because they wanted their own virtual space to try out ideas which time and experience, not kings and self-appointed intellectuals, would judge.  They didn’t want Dylan Matthew’s life.  They wanted their own.

The reason “give me liberty or give me death” is true is because it is equivalent to the phrase “give me Darwin or give me stagnation”.  Liberty with its degrees of freedom are necessary for survival.  Enforced confirmity leads to extinction.  Since one can’t convince Bernie Sanders he’s headed for disaster, those determined to escape his fate must, like the inmates of Jonestown, keep running till the sound of the rants fades into the background murmur of the world.

Life is, if it is nothing else, the chance to try something new. Death is blindly following “city policy”. We are now living through a great period of extinction, through an epoch of idea-death.  Christianity, the nuclear family, individual initiative, the notion of country, the very idea of gender, even the primacy of survival are in the process being declared surplus to requirements.  A thousand ideas, the bloom of the forest, are being bulldozed into the soil by those all too certain of themselves. Assent or to your scattered sandboxes go.

Recently purchased by readers:
A Mathematical Nature Walk, Hardcover May 10, 2009 by John A. Adam
A Short History of Nearly Everything, Hardcover by Bill Bryson
A Week in Winter Audio CD, Audiobook, by Maeve Binchy
Code-Name Downfall, The Secret Plan to Invade Japan-And Why Truman Dropped the Bomb Hardcover by Thomas B. Allen
The Dadly Virtues, Adventures from the Worst Job You’ll Ever Love Hardcover by Jonathan V. Last
The Dead and Those About to Die: D-Day, The Big Red One at Omaha Beach by John C. McManus
The Joy of Not Working, A Book for the Retired, Unemployed and Overworked- 21st Century Edition Paperback – by Ernie J. Zelinski

Possibly worth buying:
The Normandy Battlefields, D-Day and the Bridgehead Hardcover by Leo Marriott
Shadows on the Koyukuk, An Alaskan Native’s Life Along the River
Drinking with the Saints, The Sinner’s Guide to a Holy Happy Hour Hardcover by Michael P. Foley
Operation Ivy Bells, A novel of the Cold War Kindle Edition by Robert Williscroft

Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.
The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.
Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific
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