Category Archives: Internal

About the Fabius Maximus website.

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.}

History

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

Contents

  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

 

Contents

  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}

Why all American should beware of the police

Many posts discussed police violence against the underclass and mentally ill. But in New America all Americans (except the rich) should be wary of the police. This post from the archives (updated and expanded) explains why. Read it. The life you save…

——————————

Summary: Today’s post is a change of focus. Instead of discussing the evolution of the-America-that-once-was into New America (#NewAmerica), let’s talk about how to cope in it. For example, what should you do when questioned by the police? You have identified yourself, and now the questions begin…

Clombo, played by Peter Falk

Real police are not like Detective Colombo.

Contents

  1. Don’t talk without an attorney present.
  2. Fear police interrogations
  3. We’ve vulnerable because we’re all criminals.
  4. Fear the security services.
  5. A historical note.
  6. For More Information.
  7. Hollywood teaches us to love the security services.

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(1)  Don’t talk without an attorney present

The evolution of the-America-that-once-was into New America has changed almost every aspect of our society. But one aspect more than most. “Law enforcement” agencies have become the security services; less responsive to the public, serving shadowy masters, larger and better funded, more focused on political concerns than crime, far better armed, and more willing (even eager) to use force.

Here is some advice on dealing with them, a presentation by James Duane (professor at Regent Law School and former defense attorney) explaining why you should never agree to be interviewed by the police in a criminal matter without your attorney present (transcript here):

{ Click here to read the rest. }

Why do you read us? Here’s why we write.

Summary: Since November 2007 readers of the FM website have made 5.6 million page views on our 3,000+ posts, to which people have made 37,000 comments. The FM website has become an extensively cross-indexed machine on which one can find information and forecasts on a wide range of political and geopolitical subjects (see the right-side menu bar). It’s time to ask “why bother?”

Listening

The FM website contains a wide range of content. Much of this is journalism, in-depth investigation of topics lightly or poorly covered by the news media. That includes large subjects such as climate change, events such as this year’s Ebola and the 2009 Swine Flu epidemics, and narrow stories such as the 2010 Raymond Davis affair and last year’s fear of a super monster El Nino. We also do analysis of large-scale trends, such as our mad foreign empire — and its associated wars — and the 3rd industrial revolution now beginning.

But the FM website differs from other informational websites, which usually have a fixed political perspective but no obvious goal.

Consider Naked Capitalism. It provides a daily list of links to interesting stories plus articles giving long-form analysis. But what’s their goal? The About Page says N.C. is “an effort to promote critical thinking.” Since it provides a carefully filtered diet of information comfortable to Leftists, I doubt that it does so.

I’ve read N.C. daily for years (imo it’s a must-read). My best guess is that it provides entertainment for American’s version of the outer party, middle-rank functionaries in our corporate, government, non-profit, and academic bureaucracies. We read it and feel informed, giving us a feeling of vicarious participants. That’s an oxymoron, as we ‘re powerless participants. We have become subjects, not citizens.

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We’re looking good with a new template & publishing twice as much.

We have completed the transition to the new template (aka Theme) for the FM website. Thank you all for your tolerance during this rocky process. I have only a vague idea how to work this website, but the WordPress staff carried me though. This would not have happened without your donations.   {This is an intermission between today’s 2 posts.}

Also: today we passed a milestone — 5.5 million page views since starting in November 2007.

Welcome: Open For Business

Our faster pace

We’re publishing two posts each weekday, at roughly 5am and 5pm EST. Plus one or two posts on Saturday. The subjects of the morning posts vary across the full range of geopolitics (broadly defined). The afternoon post discusses some aspect of national security.

Some posts are quite technical, more so than you usually find in material written for a general audience. We’re trying to “lift the lid ” off stories in the news by having experts show you the often hidden complexity of most vital public policy issues.

We end the week with a little “culture”, a film or book review on Sunday.

The goal of the FM website remains the same. Not just to describe our situation or diagnose our problems, but to help awaken our spirits so that we act to regain control of America and institute reforms we all know are needed. Post your comments about how well we’re doing.

If you find this material interesting, even useful, consider hitting the tip jar:

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A new format for the Fabius Maximus website!

Your donations have been put to use (see the tip jar to the right). The FM website now runs on a new “theme” (i.e.,  template), one working better with current technology. It appears better on tablets and phones, and has features used by the almost god-like search engines to locate useful answers to people’s requests. Behind the scenes it has more storage, and support from WordPress.

Internet lounge

UpdateIt’s a work in progress.  And thanks to crowd-sourcing (advice from someone who understands these things) I switched to a different theme.

What do you think? Better or worse? Crisp and clear, easy to read? Suitable for our content, or not? Rate it below, and post your review in the comments.

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