We have just a sliver of time within which to preserve our constitutional rights

Man with mouth taped shutMy news feed, lately, seems to be overwhelmed by two primary stories: the Left’s increasingly shrill control over public discourse and ISIS’s depredations in the Middle East. Both stories, believe it or not, have led me to rethink the role, or perhaps “plight,” of ordinary Germans during World War II — and to realize that we are much closer to those ordinary Germans than we would like to believe, both in terms of our behavior and the risks we face.

Growing up, of course, I had nothing but disdain for every reasonably sentient German alive during the years from 1933 through 1945. They were all complicit and therefore they were all evil. I considered myself emotionally generous in that I did not believe that the post-War generation of Germans carried with them the sins of their fathers. (Indeed, I’ve long held that it’s a very dangerous mistake to make people live with a guilt they haven’t earned.) But the actual World War II generation . . . well, they were all guilty, guilty, guilty!

But I’ve learned and seen a few things of late that have made me aware that ordinary citizens in an evil nation, even if they never actively fought against that evil and seemed to enjoy the benefits of cooperation, may nevertheless be victims.

One of the things I’ve learned is that in the 1933 election that brought the Nazis to power they only had 33% of the popular vote. People may bemoan our two-party, winner take all system, but it actually serves as a bulwark against a minority power grab. As it was, once the Nazis controlled the Reichstag, they consolidated power very quickly, at which point votes became irrelevant.

The Germans consolidated power in two ways: The first was the campus Leftist way, which was thought control through speech control.  This took the form of both censorship and those hysterical mass rallies. The second way was the ISIS way, which was brute force.  While the rest of Europe and America, caught up in their own Depressions, turned a blind eye, this brute force was something very public for German citizens:  It consisted of murder, torture, and other forms of both physical and psychological intimidation. Those who tried to stand up for the victims (whether Jews or communists or gays or other targets) were very swiftly brought to realize that their efforts would result in the Nazis destroying them and, perhaps even worse, using the most painful methods to destroy their loved ones.

We all like to think that, if we were living in Germany in the 1930s, we would have stood up to the Nazis. But here’s the truth: most people aren’t that courageous. They want to live their lives free from pain and fear. They want their children to be safe. And if the bad guys come into town and conspicuously arrest, beat, shoot, behead, or throw of buildings a few human examples of people the bad guys dislike, everyone else is going to fall into line. This isn’t because they’re evil, it’s because they lack moral and physical courage — something that, when push comes to bloody shove, most of us lack.

I know that much as I’m aware of right and wrong, and freedom and tyranny, the first time someone puts a knife to my or my children’s throats, I’m going to back down.  I can’t pretend otherwise.  I’d like to be brave, but I doubt that I am.

What this means is that, when the bad guys start to move in, there is an achingly small window of time within which the ordinary people, the ones who just want to live their lives and lack the fortitude to face down raw evil, can speak and act to stop the bad guys in their tracks. Just keep in mind that, percentage-wise, the Bolsheviks, the Nazis, ISIS — every totalitarian group, didn’t traffic in numbers. They trafficked in fear when they had tested the population and the power structure and discovered that, even when the bad guys started their first tentative probes at these societies, things that could easily have been countered, no one would fight back.

With American Leftists on the move, we are getting very close to the last chance for ordinary people — the one who will yield to brutality — to have their say. This is our time to be as brave as we can be. Once a totalitarian group gets the bit in its mouth, it will not hesitate to use force to cow the majority. I understand now that most ordinary Germans were not bad people. They were people who didn’t speak out before 1933 and, because of their ordinary-people limitations, couldn’t speak out after 1933.

What we need to do now is stand up firmly to the Left’s increasingly strident (and scarily successful) efforts at thought and speech control.  When our guns are gone and theirs come out, we’ve lost.

We must ridicule the insane university speech codes; call out Progressives on their refusal to allow people to express dissenting opinions; constantly remind all of the people in our world that ISIS and Boko Haram and all these other fanatic groups are entirely in keeping with Mohamed’s dictates; and, among other things, get people to acknowledge that you, as a non-Muslim, are allowed to draw a picture of Mohamed — although you can make it clear that, as someone who respects religion, you would not gratuitously draw a deliberately offensive picture of Mohamed.

By the way, here’s a nice, and quite respectful, picture of Mohamed:

17th century French picture of Mohamed

(Incidentally, let me just point out that, because we have no images from life of either Jesus or Mohamed, none of the pictures we draw are actually of those two men. Jesus is typically drawn as a 14th century Northern European man, while the picture above demonstrates that, over the centuries, Mohamed was drawn as some sort of Ottoman potentate. We know these men through their words, not their visages. I prefer Jesus’s words.)

Again, let me repeat my message: we are very quickly losing the window of time within which we can push back against a totalitarian movement. The Left’s attacks on Christian bakers is a warning shot over the bow. Obama’s endless efforts to politicize every madman’s act in order to destroy the 2nd Amendment is another shot over the bow. The insanity of speech codes in universities — more preliminary missiles.

We are being silenced, softened up, and threatened. If we ordinary Americans, the ones who have passively valued our constitutional rights, don’t push back now — and all that we need to do push back now is to speak up, politely, firmly, logically, and freely — the Left will bring out its big guns, secure in its minority victory over a cowed American majority.

The Bookworm Beat 1/17/15 — Deep thoughts about our world edition and Open Thread

Woman writingIn no particular order, a whole lot of extremely interesting things about Islam, Leftist hypocrisy, John Kerry’s epic appearance in France, and other things that caught my eye.

Pitch-perfect satire exposes Leftist hypocrisy

Okay, I’ll admit that you don’t need pitch-perfect satire to expose Leftist hypocrisy, because the latter is an easy target. Having said that, there’s something about high-quality satire that makes the exposure very powerful. Such is the case with this DuffelBlog piece about the extreme frustration currently afflicting Boko Haram:

BORNO, Nigeria — According to insider reports obtained by Duffel Blog, leaders for the terrorist group Boko Haram have called an emergency meeting to determine how many more murders, rapes and kidnappings it will take before anyone in the international community will start giving a shit.

“It’s frustrating,” complained Boko Haram Commander Abubakar Shekau. “We work extremely hard, and all we get from the rest of the world is phlegmatic indifference. I mean, what’s a warlord supposed to do?”

During a month in which the group has attacked hard targets in Cameroon, as well as orchestrated the slaughter of up to 2,000 civilians, international media outlets have largely focused on recent terror attacks in Paris. The carnage wrought by Boko Haram in the Belgium-sized swath of territory it now controls in the northeastern states of oil-rich Nigeria was designed to get attention.

Much to Shekau’s dismay, however, it hasn’t been enough.

“I’m turning this country into a fucking Lars Von Trier film,” Shekau told Duffel Blog via Facebook chat. “I’ve literally stolen hundreds of kids from their parents and sold them into slavery, and all I got was a Twitter hashtag from Michelle Obama.”

That is top quality satire.  I’d like to wrap this segment up with an email discussion I had with the friend who first put me on to that excellent DuffleBlog piece:

[Read more...]

Tuesday mid-day round up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesI’ve been a good girl today. I paid bills, cleaned the kitchen, set up appointments for various family members to do various activities, cleared some more stuff out of my in-boxes, and generally did not waste time. Now, though, I’m ready to sit back and “waste” some time by sharing all sorts of interesting stuff with you:

Priority of place has to go to Oberlin’s utterly insane proposed guidelines for its athletic department:

“It is basically intended to sort of be a 101,” Emily Clarke, a junior and member of the committee, said in an interview with Campus Reform on Thursday. “We also talk about choice, privilege and agency in presentation of gender and pronouns and ends with trans-allyship dos and don’ts.”

“It’s basically like, don’t question people about their transitioning processes, respect pronouns and names, don’t use ‘ladies’ or ‘gentlemen’ when addressing a group of people,” she said.

[snip]

In addition to the training, the new policy would also mandate that athletic department documents replace “FTM” (female-to-male) and “MTF” (male-to-female) with “a transgender student-athlete who was designated a female at birth and is/is not taking medically prescribed hormone replacement therapy related to gender transition” and “a transgender student-athlete who was designated a male at birth and is/is not taking medically prescribed hormone replacement therapy related to gender transition.”

That’s just a drop in the bucket when trying to convey the sheer awfulness of this assault on the English language and biological reality. You really have to look at the original document to get the full flavor.

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While more and more American campuses are contorting themselves to avoid offending their special interest groups, Jews in France are facing actual physical offenses, in the form of assaults by Muslim gangs. AFP notes that Jews are leaving France in historic numbers, but somehow cannot bring itself to explain why this sudden exodus is taking place. It vaguely references a “climate of anti-Semitism,” without talking about the ongoing physical assaults at Muslim hands. (This post, about the similar situation in which Danish Jews find themselves, helps pick up where the AFP, in most cowardly fashion, left off.)

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Mark Steyn lambastes mealy-mouthed Leftists who think hashtags are the same as actual action. He also schools Charles C.W. Cooke, at the National Review, who rightly earned ire for saying that Holocaust Denial should be debated in public schools as an academic exercise. Steyn endorses Laura Rosen Cohen’s answer to Cooke’s proposal, which is that we debate ideas, but we don’t debate conspiracy theories that bear no relationship to known, indisputable facts.

Eliot Cohen also looks at the whole hashtag phenomenon amongst American Progressives and concludes that it’s part of a larger problem, which is that, although they wield tremendous, scary amounts of power, they have the intellectual and emotional capacity of adolescents. Hmmm. That argument seems familiar….

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All across the Leftist spectrum, even as they hashtag their pleas for the release of the school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, no one will say two important words: “Christianity” or “Islam.” Or if they do say those words, it’s to deny that they have anything to do with the kidnapping. To the Left, what we’re seeing is just this bizarre coincidence that has these murderous madmen mouthing Islamic slogans even as they (again totally coincidentally) enslave Christians, murder Christians, and murder Muslims foolish enough to hang out with Christians. Both Michael Rubin and Pamela Geller take on this intellectual deceit. The only problem with their excellent articles is that the people who need to read them . . . won’t.

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Writing in USA Today (which is a pretty good venue considering that it’s available to business-class travelers in hotels and airplanes throughout America), Paul Caron says Congress should give Lois Lerner immunity in exchange for testimony. He provides a succinct, but detail-rich, summary about the IRS’s partisan attack on conservative groups, making three things painfully clear: What happened was a horrific act of corruption; the media have been complicit through silence; and Lerner is the easiest, and maybe the only, way to get to the bottom of this scandal (a scandal that I posit is the worst political scandal ever in American history).

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I have several gay friends on my “real me” Facebook, all of whom date back to high school or even junior high school. Without exception, they are politically hard Left and socially absolutely militant. Nothing even slightly negative may ever be said about the LGBTQ community. I suspect, therefore, that they’re going to ignore the CDC’s recent report about resurgent syphilis in the gay community. If this is indeed what they’re doing, they’re making a terrible mistake. The AIDS epidemic should have taught them once and for all that dangerous behaviors cannot be ignored; they must be nipped in the bud lest Mother Nature lets things get wildly out of hand.

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Mark Tapson posits that the professional Left’s frantic, cruel, tasteless, and heartless jokes about Benghazi hide a very real fear: There’s probably something there that they don’t want the American people to know.

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Trust Thomas Sowell to get to the heart of the matter: Why are colleges sitting as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to alleged rapes? Could it be because they know that, in all but a few cases, the “victim’s” claims wouldn’t survive a second when actual law and legal procedure are applied to them?

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This is a marvelous blog that will help everyone understand that correlation and causation are not the same thing. And in that same spirit, here’s a thought-provoking cartoon/chart that Caped Crusader sent me. (Caveat: I have no idea if the data is accurate, but I suspect/hope it’s close to accurate, so I’m running with it.)

Gun crime Chicago v Houston