Category Archives: Internal

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The pilgrimage of Martin Luther King: an antidote to amnesia about our history

We tend to memorialize our history by stripping it of deep meaning, preventing us from learning from it. On the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. let’s remember not just what he did but how America — Black and White — responded to him. This from the archives does that better than anything else I’ve read.


Summary: Racism stained the American experiment at its formation, and has warped its evolution at every stage since. The civil war could have purged it, but the Union abandoned Reconstruction unfinished — allowing the South’s whites to stage one of the most effective insurgencies in history and regain control (a key part of this was construction of a faux history). Only a century after the Civil War was it defeated. Today we look at a review by Michael Rogin of two books looking at that period, and the central figure in bringing it nonviolently to a success. Our amnesia about this history prevents us from owning our past. Works like this, and the books he reviews, help us to close this painful gap in our minds, and so move forward.


The Ugly Revolution

Book review by the late Michael Rogin

London Review of Books, 10 May 2001
Reposted with their generous permission

Red emphasis added


Books reviewed:

Conceived in slavery and dedicated to the proposition that black men are created unequal, the United States has attempted to come to terms with its longue durée of white supremacy only twice in its history.

The first effort, made by black and white abolitionists in the period of nationalist expansion, and caught up in the conflict between slave and free labour modes of production, brought hereditary legal servitude to an end. Its national hero, Abraham Lincoln, announced at Gettysburg that a nation ‘conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal’ had experienced ‘a new birth of freedom’ in civil war. But with the defeat of Reconstruction a decade after Lincoln’s assassination, the 14th Amendment that was supposed to guarantee former slave ‘persons’ equality before the law came instead to insulate corporations, designated ‘artificial persons’, from popular political control.

Deprived of the right to vote throughout the former Confederacy, freedmen and women were forced to work in repressive systems of labour, on farms, in mines and in chain-gangs; subject to arbitrary arrest, imprisonment and debt peonage; terrorised, brutalised and murdered in the thousands of lynchings often advertised in advance as public entertainments; confined to Jim Crow schools, public accommodation, restaurants and hotels (where any were available at all); made involuntary participants in sterilisation and other medical experiments; and confronted with residential apartheid and job discrimination as they moved North. A falsification that held more universal sway among whites than did any Stalinist rewriting of history in the Soviet Union transformed black Americans in the post-bellum South from victims of re-subjugation into political and sexual predators.

A century after the Civil War, a massive, non-violent black revolution brought three centuries of legally enshrined, lethally enforced white supremacy to an end. Its national hero is Martin Luther King Jr. Far from giving way in the face of moral example and legal right, racial injustice rose to fever pitch during the 1960s.

Click here to read the full article. It’s well-worth your time.

Looking at the FM website project after six million views and 40 thousand comments.

Summary: Last week the FM website had its six millionth page view since starting in November 2007. Over 33 thousand posts, over 40 thousand comments.  Here are our top hits for 2015 so far, plus a few thoughts about the project.  {2nd of 2 posts today.}


Top hits for 2015

Here are the top 16 posts for this year to date. Some of these are oldies (i.e., the posts about inspiration, the bloat of generals, and Germany’s invasion). Some are recent posts ( (i.e., the 3 climate science posts). Most traffic to posts after the first week comes through the grace of Google.

The FBI told their story about North Korea attacking Sony. Before we retaliate, read what they didn’t tell you. 36,950
The 97% consensus of climate scientists is only 47% 10,716
For your New Year’s Eve festivities: an inspirational speech from a great leader 09,859
The Texas drought ends; climate alarmists wrong again! 06,278
How close are we to the next recession? 06,144
How bad is our bloat of generals? How does it compare with other armies? 05,832
A Destiny of Failure – Germany’s plans to invade England during WWII 05,545
Is the profession of science broken (a possible cause of the great stagnation)? 05,414
Prepare now, for oil prices will rise again. 05,010
How we broke the climate change debates. Lessons learned for the future. 03,977

Some TV and film reviews were popular

Continue reading

Politifact tells us about American politics and science. We should pay attention.

Summary: This vignette illustrates important aspects of the climate change debate, and why it has failed to gain sufficient support from Americans to pass large-scale public policy measures. For two decades journalists and scientists have cooperated to produce political propaganda, exaggerating and misrepresenting the work of the IPCC. Their failure should inspire us, showing a resistance to manipulation greater than many people expected (it surprises me).

Orwell: truth as revolutionary act

My post, which started this kerfuffle

In July I published The 97% consensus of climate scientists is only 47%, which showed the hidden results of an excellent survey of scientists’ agreement with the IPPC’s attribution statements about the role of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in global warming. It was high, but lower than usually described — and below the standard for significance. The question has important implications; Obama’s sweeping Clean Power Plan rests on this finding (details here).

it attracted some attention on skeptics’ websites, and pushback from climate activists (both laypeople and scientists). Then GOP presidential candidate Rich Santorum cited this information, and the activists began their usual smear campaign. The facts are quite simple, for those who want to know.

The article at Politifact

Politifact started the cover-up with “Santorum cites flawed climate change figure, and misquotes it” by Linda Qui. She asked me for information. I gave her several thousand words (which I’ll publish tomorrow). She didn’t find anything useful for smearing me, so she ignored it.

Below are the relevant parts of her hit job. My responses follow each quote. Qui tells me she consulted Verheggen and “6 other climate scientists/people who study the consensus issue” “and they all agreed with the survey author”. As you will see below, all that work produced only the weakest of rebuttals. But we can learn much from their attempt.

This is a duplicate copy of this post, published in error. Read the full post here.
I believe you will find it of use.


Western culture will win the Long War. We need only a strong defense, and time.

Summary;  What will America look like in 2025, after another decade of our long war? Last week William Lind described Saudi Arabia nuking America, a challenge that we might or might not successfully meet. This week I describe an opposite ending: western culture will crush our foes, as it did in the Cold War. We need only remain strong and avoid bold errors that bring defeat (as the Syracuse expedition did to Athens). I intended to revise my May 2015 explanation of why and how we’ll win, but could not improve it and so I repost it. It’s the most optimistic geopolitical analysis you will read today — perhaps this year.

“They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.”
Speech by President Bush, 20 September 2001.

Crusade vs Jihad

We attack them with invincible weapons

The people of fundamentalist Islamic regimes suffer an unrelenting bombardment by a callous great power that casually and thoughtlessly destroys their society with high-tech weapons against which they have no defense. It attacks at a people’s most vulnerable point: their children, interrupting the delicate transfer of beliefs from one generation to another.

Radio, television, rock music, Hollywood blockbusters, video games, the internet — all bombard their children with images of affluence, of easy sex, of enjoyable booze and drugs, of freedom from patriarchal authority — showing them a more attractive way of life. We attack them like a high-tech Pied Piper.

Western culture acts as a virus, with the American strain its most virulent. A more accurate analogy is that our culture acts as a mass meme displacing weaker ones. In Silicon Valley they speak of “mindspace.” America exports our ways to fill the minds of the world’s people — crowding out their native culture. Martin van Creveld describes this as “colonizing the future.”

The vital centers of Middle Eastern Islamic culture — Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Syria — adapt, albeit slowly and painfully. But what of the more fragile and rigid societies? Such as Saudi Arabia (and the other Gulf States)?

To survive in the 21st century their leadership class must understand western methods. So they send their young men to western schools, from which most return infected with western values. They hide their vices behind the walls of their wealth, with weekends in Paris and Bahrain — but their people nonetheless know — undermining the Princes’ shallow authority and inevitably weakening their alliance with the Wahhabi ulema, the state’s foundation.

Click here to read the rest.

A report card for the Republic on Independence Day!

Summary:  For the second post on this Independence Day, see this post from 4 July 2008. Written at the start of that presidential campaign, it remains as true today as then. We have to learn from these experiences and do better if we are to have a free and prosperous future.  {2nd of 2 posts today.}


The salons of our Versailles-on-the-Potomac ring with gossip about the election.  Every day brings exciting news… about Michelle’s and Cindy’s dresses, changes in the lineups of each team’s gladiators, the daily score of money raised, and new fantasies about the “true” values and beliefs of each candidate.

Listening to this bustle, I wonder if we remain capable of self-government?  Or, like the Romans of the late Republic, have we grown weary of the burden — and wait for someone to govern us?  To shed light on this, let’s compare the political rhetoric and literature of America’s past with today’s.

  1. The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
  2. The Federalist Papers
  3. Presidential inaugural addresses and State of the Union Speeches

(1) The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858:  7 debates, 3 hours each

Take a look at the transcripts of the Lincoln-Douglas debates (also see Wikipedia). They read like term papers of today’s college sophomores.  They are longer, more complex and sophisticated than the “debates” of today, in which candidates volley sound-bites with journalists.

(2) The Federalist Papers, 1787-88  (see the text)

Consider the Federalist Papers.  Originally published as 77 articles, the demand was so great that they were reprinted and eventually published in book form (with 8 new chapters).  They were political literature directed at the American people:  merchants, farmers, and professionals (as defined at the time, male and white).

What if the New York Times were to publish the Federalist Papers, one chapter every Sunday for 85 weeks?  Would they have a large audience?  More likely they would have to donate the advertising space to Public Service advertisements and charities.

Our interests run more to 30 second attack ads (the candidates media advisers run these because they work).  What does that say about us, our minds and nature?  Perhaps this is not what the Founders hoped for, as the raw material on which to build a Republic.  They gave much thought to the character required of America’s citizens if the Republic was to survive.  Here is the conclusion to Article 55:

{Read the rest here.}

The philosophy behind the legend of Batman

Summary: Like all myths, the Batman saga about the dystopia of Gotham City has a philosophy. Of course, it’s quite dark. The popularity of these stories proves that they’re a dark mirror showing that we sense the decay of our society as it drifts away from its roots. Here we turn for analysis of these things to the late Allan Bloom.  This post heavily revises one written in 2008.

Batman logo


  1. A new era of chaos.
  2. The Joker, the ambassador of Chaos.
  3. Bruce Wayne decides to be Batman.
  4. What is Bruce Wayne fighting for?
  5. For More Information.

(1)  A new era of chaos

We live in a time when the forces of chaos again threaten to break loose.  Madmen like those of the past — Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot — again gain control of nations and kill in pursuit of irrational ends. Violence breaks out in the name of the Hindu and Muslim gods.  Our once poor but culturally rich inner cities — such as New York and New Orleans — have rotted into ghettos, almost ungoverned zones with cultures alien to the rest of America.

Under stress people turn to fantasy not just for encouragement but also to help process these trends. Most such stories tell of transcendental saviors (an alien Jesus) and regular people given magic powers to right wrong. The Batman saga is different. Bruce Wayne has everything — intelligence, looks, wealth — but gives up a life of ease, instead honing his physical and mental skills in order to personally — and painfully — wage war on the forces of disorder that have engulfed his city.

Why does this story have such appeal during the past 70 years both to adults and children?  I believe it evokes our fears about the weak foundations of our society, as it totters against threats both foreign and domestic. Allan Bloom helps us to better understand this in his Closing of the American Mind, as shown in these excerpts — which have been paraphrased and re-combined.

(2)  From where comes the Joker, an ambassador of Chaos?

Rousseau and Nietzsche destroyed the intellectual basis of the Enlightenment, and the West’s self-confidence in itself.  Replacing that in the minds of the intelligentsia is contempt for the bourgeoisie — that is, the self-satisfied, morally blind, materialist middle class — and beneath that fears that our values (their Christian roots discredited) have no foundation. It leaves few grounds for hope.

So a darkness on top of a void is the condition of life, no longer illuminated by rational analysis.  The rise of the bourgeoisie results in a spiritual entropy or an evaporation of the soul, which weakens us in face of the unlimited choices made possible by the death of God in our souls — and the disappearance of His rules.

{Read the rest of this post here.}

How can we honor our vets on Memorial Day?

Summary: How should we honor the sacrifices made by our veterans, past and present.? After 150 years of frequent wars, as the last of our troops return from Afghanistan, as the military begins the long post-war downsizing, we need to up our game. Memorial Day is the day to begin.

This year the FM website has 3 posts to commemorate it…

(1) See our victory in WWII by what didn’t happen afterwards” by Martin van Creveld.

(2) On Memorial Day let’s admit what we’ve done to America & begin its reform.

(3) An for Memorial Day, here’s a post from the archives…

The price paid for our wars

The price of our wars



  1. Who started Memorial Day?
  2. Four ways to celebrate Memorial Day
  3. Another perspective on Memorial Day
  4. Something else to ponder on Memorial Day


(1) Origin of the Memorial Day holiday

The Grand Army of the Republic was a fraternal organization composed of veterans who served in the American Civil War. Here is their General Order No.11, issued on 5 May 1868:

The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

For 16 years I led Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts on Memorial Day to plant flags on graves. That’s an appropriate thing for children to do. But the US has been at war much of the past 150 years, and that’s no longer sufficient for its citizens. The toll of the crippled and dead have grown too long. We should redefine our obligations to our veterans, living and dead.

Blue Star Moms

(2) Four ways to celebrate Memorial Day

(a) Support our troops

{Click here to read the full post}