Monday, May 31, 2010
As one drives through the bushveldt of East Africa it is easy to spot herds of baboons grazing on the ground. But not by looking at the ground. Instead you look up and spot the lookout, and adult male posted on a limb of a tree where he has a clear view all around him — which is why you can spot him; he has to be where he can see a leopard in time to give the alarm. On the ground a leopard can catch a baboon. . .but if a baboon is warned in time to reach the trees, he can out-climb a leopard.
The lookout is a young male assigned to that duty and there he will stay, until the bull of the herd sends up another male to relieve him.
Keep your eye on that baboon; we’ll be back to him.
Today, in the United States, it is popular among self-styled “intellectuals” to sneer at patriotism. They seem to think that it is axiomatic that any civilized man is a pacifist, and they treat the military profession with contempt. “Warmongers” — “Imperialists” — “Hired killers in uniform” — you have all heard such sneers and you will hear them again. One of their favorite quotations is: “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”
What they never mention is that the man who made that sneering remark was a fat, gluttonous slob who was pursued all his life by a pathological fear of death.
I propose to prove that that baboon on watch is morally superior to that fat poltroon who made that wisecrack.
Patriotism is the most practical of all human characteristics.
But in the present decadent atmosphere patriots are often too shy to talk about it — as if it were something shameful or an irrational weakness.
But patriotism is NOT sentimental nonsense. Nor something dreamed up by demagogues. Patriotism is as necessary a part of man’s evolutionary equipment as are his eyes, as useful to the race as eyes are to the individual.
A man who is NOT patriotic is an evolutionary dead end. This is not sentiment but the hardest of logic.
To prove that patriotism is a necessity we must go back to fundamentals. Take any breed of animal — for example, tyrannosaurus rex. What is the most basic thing about him? The answer is that tyrannosaurus rex is dead, gone, extinct.
Which brings us to the second fundamental question: Will homo sapiens stay alive? Will he survive?
We can answer part of that at once: Individually h. sapiens will NOT survive. It is unlikely that anyone here tonight will be alive eighty years from now; it approaches mathematical certainty that we will all be dead a hundred years from now as even the youngest plebe here would be 118 years old by then — if still alive.
Some men do live that long but the percentage is so microscopic as not to matter. Recent advances in biology suggest that human life may be extended to a century and a quarter, even a century and a half — but this will create more problems than it solves. When a man reaches my age or thereabouts, the last great service he can perform is to die and get out of the way of younger people.
Very well, as individuals we all die. This brings us to the second half of the question: Does homo sapiens AS A BREED have to die? The answer is: No, it is NOT unavoidable.
We have two situations, mutually exclusive: Mankind surviving, and mankind extinct. With respect to morality, the second situation is a null class. An extinct breed has NO behavior, moral or otherwise.
Since survival is the sine qua non, I now define “moral behavior” as “behavior that tends toward survival.” I won’t argue with philosophers or theologians who choose to use the word “moral” to mean something else, but I do not think anyone can define “behavior that tends toward extinction” as being “moral” without stretching the word “moral” all out of shape.
We are now ready to observe the hierarchy of moral behavior from its lowest level to its highest.
The simplest form of moral behavior occurs when a man or other animal fights for his own survival. Do not belittle such behavior as being merely selfish. Of course it is selfish. . .but selfishness is the bedrock on which all moral behavior starts and it can be immoral only when it conflicts with a higher moral imperative. An animal so poor in spirit that he won’t even fight on his own behalf is already an evolutionary dead end; the best he can do for his breed is to crawl off and die, and not pass on his defective genes.
The next higher level is to work, fight, and sometimes die for your own immediate family. This is the level at which six pounds of mother cat can be so fierce that she’ll drive off a police dog. It is the level at which a father takes a moonlighting job to keep his kids in college — and the level at which a mother or father dives into a flood to save a drowning child. . .and it is still moral behavior even when it fails.
The next higher level is to work, fight, and sometimes die for a group larger that the unit family — an extended family, a herd, a tribe — and take another look at that baboon on watch; he’s at that moral level. I don’t think baboon language is complex enough to permit them to discuss such abstract notions as “morality” or “duty” or “loyalty” — but it is evident that baboons DO operate morally and DO exhibit the traits of duty and loyalty; we see them in action. Call it “instinct” if you like — but remember that assigning a name to a phenomenon does not explain it.
But that baboon behavior can be explained in evolutionary terms. Evolution is a process that never stops. Baboons who fail to exhibit moral behavior do not survive; they wind up as meat for leopards. Every baboon generation has to pass this examination in moral behavior; those who bilge it don’t have progeny. Perhaps the old bull of the tribe gives lessons. . .but the leopard decides who graduates — and there is no appeal from his decision. We don’t have to understand the details to observe the outcome; Baboons behave morally — for baboons.
The next level in moral behavior higher than that exhibited by the baboon is that in which duty and loyalty are shown toward a group of your kind too large for an individual to know all of them. We have a name for that. It is called “patriotism.”
Behaving on a still higher moral level were the astronauts who went to the Moon, for their actions tend toward the survival of the entire race of mankind. The door they opened leads to hope that h. sapiens will survive indefinitely long, even longer than this solid planet on which we stand tonight. As a direct result of what they did, it is now possible that the human race will NEVER die.
Many short-sighted fools think that going to the Moon was just a stunt. But that astronauts knew the meaning of what they were doing, as is shown by Neil Armstrong’s first words in stepping down onto the soil of Luna: “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Let us note proudly that eleven of the Astronaut Corps are graduates of this our school.
And let me add that James Forrestal was the FIRST high-ranking Federal official to come out flatly for space travel.
I must pause to brush off those parlor pacifists I mentioned earlier. . .for they contend that THEIR actions are on this highest moral level. They want to put a stop to war; they say so. Their purpose is to save the human race from killing itself off; they say that too. Anyone who disagrees with them must be a bloodthirsty scoundrel — and they’ll tell you that to your face.
I won’t waste time trying to judge their motives; my criticism is of their mental processes: Their heads aren’t screwed on tight. They live in a world of fantasy.
Let me stipulate that, if the human race managed its affairs sensibly, we could do without war.
Yes — and if pigs had wings, they could fly.
I don’t know what planet those pious pacifists are talking about but it can’t be the third one out from the Sun. Anyone who has seen the Far East — or Africa — or the Middle East — knows are certainly should know that there is NO chance of abolishing war in the foreseeable future. In the past few years I have ben around the world three times, traveled in most of the communist countries, visited many of the so-called emerging countries, plus many trips to Europe and to South America; I saw nothing that cheered me as to the prospects for peace. The seeds of war are everywhere; the conflicts of interest are real and deep, and will not be abolished by pious platitudes.
The best we can hope for is a precarious balance of power among the nations capable of waging total war — while endless lesser wars break out here and there.
I won’t belabor this. Our campuses are loaded with custard-headed pacifists but the yard of the Naval Academy is not on place where I will encounter them. We are in agreement that the United States still needs a navy, that the Republic will always have need for heroes — else you would not be here tonight and in uniform.
Patriotism — Moral behavior at the national level. Non sibi sed Patria. Nathan Hale’s last words: “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” Torpedo Squadron Eight making its suicidal attack. Four chaplains standing fast while the water rises around them. Thomas Jefferson saying, “The Tree of Liberty must be refreshed form time to time with the blood of patriots–” A submarine skipper giving the order “Take her DOWN!” while he himself is still topside. Jonas Ingram standing on the steps of Bancroft Hall and shouting, “The Navy has no place for good losers! The Navy needs tough sons of bitches who can go out there an WIN!”
Patriotism — An abstract word used to describe a type of behavior as harshly practical as good brakes and good tires. It means that you place the welfare of your nation ahead of your own even if it costs you your life.
Men who go down to the sea in ships have long had another way of expressing the same moral behavior tagged by the abstract expression “patriotism.” Spelled out in simple Anglo-Saxon words “Patriotism” reads “Women and children first!”
And that is the moral result of realizing a self-evident biological fact: Men are expendable; women and children are not. A tribe or a nation can lose a high percentage of its men and still pick up the pieces and go on. . .as long as the women and children are saved. But if you fail to save the women and children, you’ve had it, you’re done, you’re THROUGH! You join tyrannosaurus rex, one more breed that bilged its final test.
I must amplify that. I know that women can fight and often have. I have known many a tough old grandmother I would rather have on my side in a tight spot than any number of pseudo-males who disdain military service. My wife put in three years and a butt active duty in World War Two, plus ten years reserve, and I am proud — very proud! — of her naval service. I am proud of every one of our women in uniform; they are a shining example to us men.
Nevertheless, as a mathematical proposition in the facts of biology, children, and women of child-bearing age, are the ultimate treasure that we must save. Every human culture is based on “Women and children first” — and any attempt to do it any other way leads quickly to extinction.
Possibly exctinction is the way we are headed. Great nations have died in the past; it can happen to us.
Nor am I certain how good our chances our. To me it seems self-evident that any nation that loses its patriotic fervor is on the skids. Without that indispensable survival factor the end is only a matter of time. I don’t know how deeply the rot has penetrated — but it seems to me that there has been a change for the worse in the last fifty years. Possibly I am misled by the offensive behavior of a noisy but unimportant minority. But it does seem to me that patriotism has lost its grip on a large percentage of our people.
I hope I am wrong. . .because if my fears are well grounded, I would not bet two cents on this nation’s chance of lasting even to the end of this century.
But there is now way to force patriotism on anyone. Passing a law will not create it, nor can we buy it by appropriating so many billions of dollars.
You gentlemen of the Brigade are most fortunate. You are going to a school where this basic moral virtue is daily reinforced by precept and example. It is not enough to know what Charlie NOble does for a living, or what makes the wildcat wild, or which BatDiv failed to splice the main brace and why — nor to learn matrix algebra and navigation and ballistics and aerodynamics and nuclear engineering. These things are merely the working tools of your profession and could be learned elsewhere; they do not require “four years together by the Bay where the Severn joins the tide.”
What you do have here is a tradition of service. Your most important classroom is Memorial Hall. Your most important lesson is the way you feel inside when you walk up those steps and see that shot-torn flag framed in the arch of the door: “Don’t Give Up the Ship.”
If you feel nothing, you don’t belong here. But if it give you goose flesh just to see that old battle flag, then you are going to find that feeling increasing every time you return here over the years. . .until it reaches a crescendo the day you return and read the list of your own honored dead — classmates, shipmates, friends — read them with grief and pride while you try to keep your tears silent.
The time has come for me to stop. I said that “Patriotism” is a way of saying “Women and children first.” And that no one can force a man to feel this way. Instead he must embrace it freely. I want to tell about one such man. He wore no uniform and no one knows his name, or where he came from; all we know is what he did.
In my home town sixty years ago when I was a child, my mother and father used to take me and my brothers and sisters out to Swope Park on Sunday afternoons. It was a wonderful place for kids, with picnic grounds and lakes and a zoo. But a railroad line cut straight through it.
One Sunday afternoon a young married couple were crossing these tracks. She apparently did not watch her step, for she managed to catch her foot in the frog of a switch to a siding and could not pull it free. Her husband stopped to help her.
But try as they might they could not get her foot loose. While they were working at it, a tramp showed up, walking the ties. He joined the husband in trying to pull the young woman’s foot loose. No luck –
Out of sight around the curve a train whistled. Perhaps there would have been time to run and flag it down, perhaps not. In any case both men went right ahead trying to pull her free. . .and the train hit them.
The wife was killed, the husband was mortally injured and did later, the tramp was killed — and testimony showed that neither man made the slightest effort to save himself.
The husband’s behavior was heroic. . .but what we expect of a husband toward his wife: his right, and his proud privilege, to die for his woman. But what of this nameless stranger? Up to the very last second he could have jumped clear. He did not. He was still trying to save this woman he had never seen before in his life, right up to the very instant the train killed him. And that’s all we’ll ever know about him.
THIS is how a man dies.
This is how a MAN. . .lives!
Robert A. Heinlein, April 5, 1973, address at his alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy.
Those self-styled "intellectuals" of the third paragraph above control the executive and legislative branches of our government, soon they are going to add the media (education was only half of the propaganda effort) that they also control as a government bureaucracy. I believe that all that remains is the implementation of FDR,s plan to "pack the court" and our last hope will be The Oathkeepers.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
When you make the argument that the South was angry with the North for "invading" its "homeland," Osama bin Laden has said the same about U.S. soldiers being on Arab soil. He has objected to our bases in Saudi Arabia, and that's one of the reasons he has launched his jihad against us. Is there really that much of a difference between him and the Confederates? Same language; same cause; same effect.
If a Confederate soldier was merely doing his job in defending his homeland, honor and heritage, what are we to say about young Muslim radicals who say the exact same thing as their rationale for strapping bombs on their bodies and blowing up cafes and buildings?
A commenter on Confederate Yankee stated:
However, you have to realize you leave yourself open to this sort of thing when you call Iraqi men who fire upon the US Army in Baghdad terrorists, but want to call the men who fired upon the US Army at Ft. Sumter heros.(sic)My reply to this,
Whoever is using the term terrorists in the way you describe is obviously using the wrong term. Insurgents or rebels (since they are against their own country also)would be proper phraseology until they set off the bomb in a market to kill civilians in order to make civilians fear their actions. Then they are terrorists because their actions are not targeted at opposing military forces or industrial capacities for the production of war material. In this vein (and the laws of war at the time) the better example of terrorism in the civil war would be "Sherman's March to the Sea" in which the civilians were purposely targeted.
South Carolina had formally seceded (thus meeting the standard of the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence). Federal troops were not in Ft. Sumter when South Carolina seceded. On 21 Dec 1860 (just after the secession) an editorial in the "Philadelphia Press" stated:
"The government cannot well avoid collecting the federal revenues at all southern ports, even after the passage of succession ordinances..."
On Christmas night 1860, a small garrison of 100 men were moved from Ft. Moultrie to Ft. Sumter. As Lincoln stated in his inaugural address, taxes were foremost in his mind. He would collect the taxes. (please note that the tariff on goods imported to the south was the primary source of funds for redistribution to the north such as the fishing subsidies for New England). On April 12th, 1861 (the inaugural address was 4 March), South Carolina conducted an artillery bombardment on Ft. Sumter that while resembling a gigantic fireworks display in Charlestn's harbor, killed absolutely no one. When the troops in Ft. Sumter ran out of ammunition shooting back, they surrendered the fort and South Carolina shipped them home.
So, I fail to see much of anything to compare.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Miraculously, a parking place appeared.
Paddy looked up again and said, 'Never mind, I found one.'
Paddy was in New York. He was patiently waiting and watching the traffic cop on a busy street crossing. The cop stopped the flow of traffic and shouted, 'Okay, pedestrians.' Then he'd allow the traffic to pass.
He'd done this several times, and Paddy still stood on the sidewalk..
After the cop had shouted, 'Pedestrians!' for the tenth time, Paddy went over to him and said, 'Is it not about time ye let the Catholics across?'
Gallagher opened the morning newspaper and was dumbfounded to read in the obituary column that he had died. He quickly phoned his best friend, Finney.
'Did you see the paper?' asked Gallagher. 'They say I died!!'
'Yes, I saw it!' replied Finney. 'Where are ye callin' from?'
An Irish priest is driving down to New York and gets stopped for speeding in Connecticut . The state trooper smells alcohol on the priest's breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car.
He says, 'Sir, have you been drinking?'
'Just water,' says the priest.
The trooper says, 'Then why do I smell wine?'
The priest looks at the bottle and says, 'Good Lord! He's done it again!'
Walking into the bar, Mike said to Charlie the bartender, 'Pour me a stiff one - just had another fight with the little woman.'
'Oh yeah?' said Charlie, 'And how did this one end?'
'When it was over,' Mike replied, 'She came to me on her hands and knees.'
'Really,' said Charles, 'Now that's a switch! What did she say?'
She said, 'Come out from under the bed, you little chicken.'
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
From the "Healthcare Summit":
When I was young, just got out of college, I had to buy auto insurance. I had a beat-up old car. And I won’t name the name of the insurance company, but there was a company — let’s call it Acme Insurance in Illinois. And I was paying my premiums every month. After about six months I got rear-ended and I called up Acme and said, I’d like to see if I can get my car repaired, and they laughed at me over the phone because really this was set up not to actually provide insurance; what it was set up was to meet the legal requirements. But it really wasn’t serious insurance.
Now, it’s one thing if you’ve got an old beat-up car that you can’t get fixed. It’s another thing if your kid is sick, or you’ve got breast cancer.
That statement makes it obvious that he does not understand that the "mandatory insurance law" for driving a car on public roads is not designed to protect the purchaser, but rather the person injured (body or property) by that driver. Obama explained in this clip that he only bought the legal minimum, not collision or comprehensive, which would have covered his damage. When people buy insurance, it’s made very clear exactly what it covers. Most drivers can understand it, even the Harvard Law grads. Small wonder he was laughed at.
This anecdote proves that Obama never learned a thing about insurance — so why would we want to have someone who understands so little remaking the entire health-insurance sector.
If he does know better, maybe in his arrogance, he thinks the "great unwashed" (that's us) don't. Which way makes you more comfortable?
Crossposted @ Insurance Q&A
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
And we need to harvest embryonic stem cells, why?
Cells from people with premature aging disease get "younger" with the help of stem cell technology.
Remember Joe the Plumber?
He was the blue-collar dude who confronted Barack Obama late in the 2008 campaign with this challenge: “Your new tax plan’s going to tax me more, isn’t it?”
Nonsense, replied the candidate: “From 250 [thousand dollars a year] down, your taxes are going to stay the same.”
Indeed, he insisted, 95 percent of “working people” would see their taxes go down in his administration.
Well, think again.
A year into his presidency, Obama now says he’s “agnostic” on what was the principal plank in his economic platform: No tax hikes for individuals making $200,000 a year or less — or for households with a combined annual income under $250,000.
Every Obama promise comes with an expiration date. Every single one.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Link to the Daily Mail article pictured above:
Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995.
The academic at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ affair, whose raw data is crucial to the theory of climate change, has admitted that he has trouble ‘keeping track’ of the information.Plus from The Times Online , World May Not Be Warming, Say Scientists.
Colleagues say that the reason Professor Phil Jones has refused Freedom of Information requests is that he may have actually lost the relevant papers.
Professor Jones told the BBC yesterday there was truth in the observations of colleagues that he lacked organisational skills, that his office was swamped with piles of paper and that his record keeping is ‘not as good as it should be’.
The data is crucial to the famous ‘hockey stick graph’ used by climate change advocates to support the theory.
Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.
And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.
Why do you suppose there is scant coverage in the US Lame Stream Media? The word "Tool" comes to mind.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Thursday, February 04, 2010
AN ODD STATEMENT BY OBAMA:
Obama said he would attempt to convince his party’s left wing to take a less ideological approach to economic challenges.
“We’ve got to make sure that our party understands that, like it or not, we have to have a financial system that is healthy and functioning, so we can’t be demonizing every bank out there,” Obama said. “We’ve got to be the party of business, small business and large business, because they produce jobs.”
Like it or not? Who wouldn’t like a “healthy and functioning” financial system? According to Obama, the answer is . . . Democrats.
Now click this link to the Cloward and Pivens plan to fundamentally transform the nation.
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
The U.S. may lose 824,000 jobs when the government releases its annual revision to employment data on Feb. 5, showing the labor market was in worse shape during the recession than known at the time.According to the interactive chart, figures will be revised for the period of April 2008 to March 2009, so they can still blame Bush, which you know they will surely do.
I wonder how this will affect those nonexistent jobs Obama has saved or created?