Saturday, December 17, 2011


When I was about 12 or 13, we very nearly went bankrupt. I didn’t know it at the time because Mom and Dad didn’t share that kind of stuff with a kid who couldn’t do anything about it, anyway. This was in the early 60’s, when bankruptcy was a shameful thing, and the folks were under tremendous strain. There was about 5 years when we ate a lot of beans! Now, we’d always eaten a fair amount of beans, so I didn’t consider it much of a change, and most certainly not a sacrifice! Mom’s red beans were the stuff of legend, and her cornbread was the stuff of mythology! (We always called pinto beans “red” beans. I didn’t know until I was well into my 20’s that most folks use the color adjective to refer to kidney beans.)

Like most kids, I guess – most boys, at least – I never thought about how to cook red beans and cornbread. We’d have beans for dinner three or four of times a week, and cornbread with them about half the time. On Sunday, our great treat was hamburger beans! I’ve no idea how Mom fixed it. It was hamburger meat mixed with the red beans. She wasn’t much into chile then, so they weren’t spicy, but they were oh! So tasty! It is my dream to figure out how she made that dish.

Since I’ve been on my own, I’ve messed around with making beans, and have found a number of things that don’t work very well. The last pot I made was outstanding, though, and I’ve been thinking about making another pot, if for no other reason than economy. Even eating cheap stuff at the cafeteria or local restaurants can run into money, but a few cents worth of red beans and salt pork will feed me for a week or more. Another reason for my interest in cooking is that I’m newly single, and there is a strong temptation to get lazy with my diet. I’ve never been a good cook, but my increasing waist size testifies that I haven’t been a total failure, either!

So, it was serendipitous that I picked up my cookbook while looking for something else, and out fell some papers. On one of them, written in Mom’s own hand, was her recipe for cornbread! Nostalgia crashed over me, and the memory of taking a bite of that wonderful stuff, covered with red beans and sopping in their juice, and wallering it around in my mouth transported me to a whole ‘nother time and place. .” I went right out and bought a cast iron skillet!

(For you Yankees, “waller” is the transitive form of the verb, “wallow,” and refers to rolling or wobbling something around. In this case, one would waller a mouthful of cornbread and red beans around with ones’ tongue in order to saturate all the sensory elements of the mouth with the flavors and textures. Other uses of the word include the way bearings can wear to the point that they cannot support the shaft that runs through them; they are then said to be, “wallered out.” And perhaps, given the climate of political correctness that infests our national dialogue today, I may be forgiven for using the half-word, “Yankees)

Here is Mom’s recipe for cornbread, verbatim.

Cornbread ??

1 heaping cup cornmeal
1 egg
1 cup milk – about
1 teaspoon baking powder – about
1½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons bacon grease

Mix dry ingredients. Add egg and enough milk so batter is smooth and easy to pour but not runny. Stir just enough to mix. Have grease very hot and add to ab***** [illegible] stir in good. Pour mix into very hot skillet and bake at 500 degrees about 20 minutes.


So assuming I was supposed to add the very hot grease to the mixed ingredients, it went very well. I ended up with a little less than 3 tablespoons of bacon grease, but went with what I had. The mixture was pretty runny, so I added a little more cornmeal. My oven may be a little hotter than hers, so it was very fully done. About another minute and it would have been burnt. It came out about ½ inch thick, rather than the inch or more I remember her cornbread being, and it was a little dry. But, oh, my! The taste was familiar, like the face of a dear old friend that has been changed by the passage of years, but will always be familiar. It soaked up the bean juice in fine form, and I had a wonderful dinner!

Next time, which won’t be far off, I will double the recipe, use four tablespoons of bacon grease and a little less than one cup of milk per unit of meal. This may not be on the same level as “Julie and Julia,” but I bet I don’t starve!

Friday, November 11, 2011


There has been much talk about not politicizing veterans today, and that is as it should be. So I’m going to challenge some paradigms. A Yankee soldier was asked why he was burying the remains of a Confederate who had died along a mountain trail in New Mexico. He shrugged and said, “They’re all some mother’s sons.”

I have met veterans of the Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht, of the Imperial Japanese Navy, and of the North Vietnamese army. (I’ve probably met a few more-or-less reconstructed VC, too, but they don’t put that information on their name tags!) I have found them all to be good men. Some will express bitterness or cynicism after a few beers, but that’s certainly no indictment. They answered their countries’ calls, and did their best. I don’t know what horrors they may have seen or even participated in, and I don’t feel a need to know.

Whatever flag they followed, there was a picture of a girl somewhere in their kits, and neither the shade of her skin nor the shape of her eyes made a spittin’ bit of difference. They shared with their American enemies a willingness to do the unspeakable, should be required of them. They put their necks on the blocks. That the axe didn’t fall on them is not the least bit relevant to the value of that quality. If we honor courage – as we should – does it matter if the courage were cloaked in feldegrau, or that awful mustardy-yellow instead of khaki or forest green? I think it does not.

There’s little enough of that quality in evidence today - and though the United States is more than richly blessed with so much of it - I do not believe the human tribe can afford to belittle or ignore that which has blessed other nations.

In fact, there is an old Sioux proverb that says, “The greatness of a man may be seen in the greatness of his enemies.” If our soldiers are brave, and their victories great, we can not say that those they strove against were low, or mean, or trivial.

If you know someone who served his or her nation, let them know you value their commitment and courage, and that you are pleased to call them countrymen.

(As I finished this, it dawned on me that I forget that the internet is an international forum, and that my American hubris may not be all that palatable to some. I will not apologize or ask pardon, but say that the story of your lands is up to you to tell, and when you tell it, I will listen. The story of my own land is so far beyond my capacity to tell that I would be foolish, indeed to tackle yours, too.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


All my life, I’ve heard people say, “Life [or the world] isn’t fair.” It’s generally preceded or followed by some variation on, “Quit whining.” The fairness of life or the world has always puzzled me; why isn’t it fair? Or is it fair? And what in blazes does “fair” mean, anyway. With the recent (high summer of 2011) crusade against Wall Street, capitalism, private property, and wealth of any sort save that which is distributed by the government, “fair” has become a battle cry. All the protesters want, they say, is fairness – a fair shake – a fair share.
The most common answer to their battle cry has been the old bromide that life isn’t fair, so quit whining and go back to class. Still, no one that I have heard has addressed the definition of fair, its operative principles, its moral relevance, or even the possibility that it doesn’t exist.

Reckon that leaves it up to me.

Let’s start with some dictionary definitions. I will focus on definitions of the word that relate to the subject of life’s fairness. I will not address other usage, such as a county fair, a fair wind, fair game, fair ball, fair hair, etc..

1. free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice: a fair decision; a fair judge.
2. legitimately sought, pursued, done, given, etc.; proper under the rules: a fair

Now from Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary:
6 . a : marked by impartiality and honesty: free from self-interest, prejudice, or
favoritism fair person to do business with> b (1) : conforming with the
established rules : allowed (2) : consonant with merit or importance : due
fair share>

…and the Macmillan online dictionary, which seems to think that using a word in a sentence constitutes a definition:
1. If a situation is fair, everyone is treated equally and in a reasonable way.
2. Reasonable and morally right.

Finally, the Oxford English Dictionary online:
1. …in accordance with the rules or standards; legitimate…
A. Just or appropriate under the circumstances.
B. As an adverb - without cheating or trying to achieve unjust advantage

Look at this crap! No wonder American kids don’t know fair from a road apple. Every one of these dictionaries has some subjective slant or assumption of moral judgment. There are two cardinal rules of definition: (1) You can’t use a word to define itself; that is the fallacy of tautology. It is not epistemologically valid to say, “Fair is just. And what is just? Just is fair. And what is fair…?” It goes on and on, but never says anything. Just like most professors. (2) You can’t use high-level abstractions to define other high-level abstractions. Consider this example using algebra. The statement, X = Y may be true, but if you expect anyone to be able to use your equation, you have to make it known that Y = 4A + 5C + D. In the original statement, both X and Y are abstractions, so saying they are equal is meaningless unless Y is defined in detail. Look at how all of these dictionaries used these two fallacies with abandon.

Item 1 from uses two huge abstractions, “dishonesty” and, “injustice” to define another abstraction. To use this definition, one would have to look up those words, too. I didn’t do that, but I’d be surprised if they weren’t defined as,“fair.” Item 2 from this dictionary uses another very high-level abstraction, “legitimately.” In the debate between the Occupy Wall Street crowd and a businessman, I bet both would consider themselves “legitimate,” but would have grossly different definitions of the word.

The last clause in the definition is not too bad: “proper under the rules.” “Proper” in this sense clearly means “according to” the rules, and the concept of “rules” is pretty concrete. Rules are set beforehand, hopefully written, and, though they may vary per the situation, for any situation, it is possible to know them with certainty.

The Merriam-Webster definition wasn’t too awful until I got to that “…free from self-interest,” phrase. This is a classic progressive/statist equivocation. To cut this short, if one is in any sport or endeavor, is it not in the “self-interest” of all for the rules to be enforced uniformly, or impartially, to use their own word? The idea that self-interest precludes honesty, fairness, or justice is a despicable false dichotomy. It is used to justify such monstrosities as vast government bureaucracies staffed by automatons who have no interest or stake in any decision, and are thereby incapable of making rational, useful decisions. It is a hopelessly contradictory, and as such, false. Maybe even evil.

Part B of the M-W definition is actually pretty clear-cut: “conforming with the established rules; allowed.” It says, explicitly, that the rules are established antecedently, and implicitly that all parties at least have access to them.

Part 2 of that definition is absolutely stunning! It says, “consonant with merit or performance; due.” This is the only reference in these four dictionaries to the concept of “earning” something, or that something earned by a person is “due” that person. They almost slipped this one past me! I didn’t catch it until I’d read over the definition several times, and then it stopped me cold. “Merit” is a bit of an abstraction, and some may argue whether merit is inborn or intrinsic, or is related to volition and action, but used in conjunction with “performance,” it implies the latter; some performance may have more merit that other performance. Stunning! This will come up again!

The Macmillan definition is contemptible and utterly worthless – nay, destructive – destructive because it may lead some poor student into thinking he is actually better-informed or –educated after having read it. First, using a word in a sentence is not a definition. Second, “…everyone is treated equally,” contains an explicit acceptance of equalitarianism, which flies squarely in the face of Merriam-Webster’s “merit or performance.” Not all people will perform equally, so does being “…treated equally,” mean they all get the same result, regardless of performance, or does it mean that they are all judged by the same standard, and those who come up short… well…come up short? And “reasonable?” Give me a break! How many definitions of that word can you find on any given street corner?
Their second definition, “Reasonable and morally right,” is just as bad, if not worse. These are two of the greatest, most hotly-debated abstractions in the realm of human politics! They could as well have said, “Whatever Wiley E. Coyote likes.” It is difficult for me to suppress my loathing and contempt for the oatmeal-minded, professional idiot who penned this preposterous excuse for a definition.

Oh, how I have loved my Oxford Universal Dictionary of the English Language! All umpteen pounds of it! Published in 1957, it has been my standard of value for meaning and usage since I bought it at a yard sale for 50 cents.

The first part of their definition makes the same assertion as part B of Merriam-Webster’s entry: that rules may exist, and what is in accordance with them is “fair.” It also uses one of the greatest bugaboos in all liberaldom: “standards!” Rules are not the same as standards; both words refer to concretes, which makes them very solid for using in a definition. Then Oxford let me down; they threw in “legitimate.” Dang it! “Legitimate” is as great an abstraction as “reasonable,” or “morally right.”

The second part of the Oxford dictionary falls apart. “Just or appropriate” are debatable under any circumstances, and as such are not admissible evidence in the court of definition. It is interesting that Oxford implies that what is fair under one set of circumstances may not be under another, but they didn’t develop this crucial aspect of fairness. A shame.

Finally, their definition of fair as an adverb is not bad except for the reference to “unjust.” What is “unjust” Well, it’s not “fair.” And so on and on around the spinney until the woozle bites us on the butt!

There may be decent dictionaries online, but I haven’t found one. If a 5th grader were to try to make sense out of the OWS howling about fairness, and went to these online sources, the poor kid would be so screwed up it would take a year on an island with a stack of Pogo comics to straighten him out.

It is my intention to examine as many different components of fairness as possible and come up with a usable, reality based, rational definition that does not include floating abstractions or tautology, and does not beg questions, but is concise and comprehensible.

It may take me down the rabbit hole, around the spinney, and where no man has gone before, but I’m gonna give it a shot.

As often as language is a product of its culture, so the reverse is also true. Words determine the organization of concepts in our minds, and the relationships between those concepts. If words were tinker toys, how many different connections could you make?

A word like “fair” has been used so much, for so many different things, that one might be tempted to shake one’s head and say, “It ain’t worth the trouble.” But I take a different cut at it; because the word has been used so much, it must be either very important or very handy, and either way it’s worth some time.

Very often, “fair” seems to be closely associated with justice, as either a synonym or a simile. Justice is a pretty broad abstraction, too, but has been much better treated in print than has fair. A distillation of several definitions of justice centers on one of two things: a law being fulfilled, or someone getting what he deserved. If someone breaks a law and is punished, that’s justice; he screwed up and got what he deserved. But emotionally, the two ideas are vastly different.

For one thing, the law and justice are not the same, and are rapidly diverging, though there are still occasions when we would say a punishment is fair because it suits the crime. More and more often, we find ourselves thinking that justice is done when a law is flaunted, or punishment deflected. For example, if someone were arrested for violating a bad law, but those who did the arresting came out on the short end, we’d say justice was done. In this case, fair and the dictates of the law are opposed.

Emotionally, we often associate fair more with mercy than with justice. If justice is someone getting what he deserved – good or bad, and in the context of life, in general, rather than the law – then mercy is someone not getting what he deserved. In Albuquerque a month or so ago, a Mexican illegal alien risked his own safety to rescue a little girl from the hands of a molester. He was publicly praised and commended and pretty much pardoned for everything, and I think the vast majority of folks thought that was fair, and even just – though certainly not by the letter of the law.

At this point, scratching my head as I ponder the contradictions I’ve just written, it strikes me to back off and fire on this from a different angle. A strict, linguistically and epistemologically sound definition of fair shouldn’t be all that difficult to write. It’s the emotional connotations and loading of the word that get messy. In fact, the word has so much emotion attached to it that it may be impossible for many to read such a definition without throwing something at me.

How about this: “Fair – adjective – in accordance or compliance with the standards and/or the rules that apply to a situation at a given time, and in a given place.”

This acknowledges that standards – ie, what we think is right – and rules – ie, what someone has written down – are not necessarily the same. The reference to “… a situation…” acknowledges that the facts make a difference in what is fair. The reference to “… a given time, and in a given place,” acknowledges that standards of right and wrong change over time, and that different cultural groups will have different standards. What is fair in one century, or in one country, may not be fair at any other time or place.

The essence of this definition is that no matter what you are talking about, you can find some nut, somewhere, who thinks it’s fair. Does this invalidate the definition? No, it does not. In order for someone to think something is fair, it would have to be “…in accordance or compliance…” with that person’s standards. The fact that standards vary matters not a whit. “Fair” is what complies with our standards for that situation. If you understand a person’s standards, you can know what they will think is fair. Conversely, if you look at what they think is fair, you can pretty well see their standards.

Consider any adjective – let’s take “blue.” Skeptics and agnostics love to ask, “How do you know that the color you call blue is the same as the color I call blue?” They love to pretend this makes a rat’s hiney’s worth of difference to intelligent people, and will drop this polemic turd in the conversational punchbowl at the first opportunity.

The fact is that I DON’T know the color I call blue is the same one you call blue. That doesn’t mean that the color isn’t real, nor that my senses – or yours – are invalid. The fact of the matter is that the object we are looking at is a real object. It exists, and has the very specific and real surface characteristic as to reflect light of the frequency that we both call blue.. That’s all that matters. It’s real. Our senses are real. When I say blue, you know what I mean, and whether we are both experiencing the same sensory response doesn’t make a flippin’ bit of difference.

The same is true of definitions of subjective concepts like fair. The definition must include the fact of subjectivity. That doesn’t invalidate the definition; it makes it real.

“Fair – adjective – in accordance or compliance with the standards and/or the rules that apply to a situation at a given time, and in a given place.”

A definition must avoid tautology, or using a word to define itself. Synonyms are fine, but they are not definitions because they, in turn, must be defined. A definition must not use unfounded or ungrounded abstractions because, like tautologies, they must be defined before they may be useful. When defining a concept as broad as “fair,” that is used in such radically different ways, a definition must be broad enough to include all genuses (or genera), and specific enough to differentiate the concept from all others. The dictionaries I quoted went wrong because they didn’t understand these basic principles.

The definition I have tendered of “fair” posits that no matter how the word is used, it indicates compliance or adherence with some standard or rule. The standard can be anything, and in the case of fair, is quite likely to be! But this is a fact: whoever uses the word is saying that the subject complies with his standards, whatever they may be. My definition also allows for the fact that a thing may be considered fair at one time, or in one place, but not in another, again without pinning it to any one standard.

Standards will vary, but that fair refers to them is not the least bit subjective or situational. Whenever I hear a politician say, “I will do what is fair [or right],” I start looking for the door. Look around. No matter which side of this sorry rodeo you are on, it is plain that folks’ definitions of fair vary hysterically!

The fact that standards are subjective does not in any way invalidate the definition of fair, nor delegitimize the use of the word. In a delicious bit of irony, it tells us more about the speaker than about the subject. If someone says stoning little girls for looking at little boys is fair, we learn nothing whatsoever about stoning. But we learn much about the speaker – whether we agree with him or not! It is interesting to me, geek that I am, how a word properly defined and understood is more useful in understanding the person using it than for understanding the subject.

When people talk about the rich, “…paying their fair share,” one must ask, “According to what standard?” How much is fair in this case? Bill Gates certainly qualifies as rich. He got his money by developing and managing an organization that provides products that have changed the course of the human race for the rest of ever. Did Bill earn that wealth of his? I say he did. He earned it in ways that those who disparage him are incapable of grasping. So if fair has to do with getting what you’ve earned, who is qualified to say Bill earned so much, but no more? The instant someone says, “Fair share,” they are saying that a fair share can be defined, that someone can define it, and that they are the ones to do it. I hear someone whining, “Wellll, they didn’t say THEY were the ones to do it.” Give me a friggin’ break! Do you think they’re gonna let Bill decide?

I am not comfortable walking unarmed among such people.

Anytime you hear someone say that such and so is “only fair,” understand that they have not defined the fairness of whatever it is. They have shown you, as if on a giant billboard, what they hold dear, what their ethics are, and what they would do to you if they had a chance.

There are other such words. “Radical” is one. When anyone condemns you for being “radical,” what he’s really saying is that he doesn’t agree with your position, but darned if he can figure out why, so he’s just going to attack you. Think about it. Has anyone every said, “You are 100% right, you radical SOB?”

Another is, “Narrow-minded.” The same rule applies to this as to radical. We should all strive to frequently hear such words thrown at us by those who are intellectually incapable of holding us a light. (From one of my mom’s Panhandle expressions. It means they aren’t fit to hold the lantern that illuminates your work.)

Use the rules of definition to analyze what people say. It may not tell you much about the subject of which they speak, but it can tell you volumes about them, and ultimately, that’s probably more valuable.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


When the government controls businesses, it also controls, by proxy, all those people who supply goods or services to those businesses, as well as those who patronize that business. When the government tells Walmart they can’t build a store in a town because it would drive the mom and pop stores under, the government is also limiting the freedom – ie, control of private property – of: the truckers who would haul goods to that store, the people who would be employed by that store, the people who would patronize that store, the people who would build that store, and the people who would provide goods and services to the truckers, employees, construction workers associated with that store.

There is another element of this that is UNIVERSALLY ignored by both the Left and the Right: If the premise is that Walmart must be prevented from undercutting their prices of the little stores and thereby breaking them, then IT IS AXIOMATIC that the people of the community will be forced by their government to pay artificially inflated prices for goods and services. The employees who might have left the little stores for the higher wages and better benefits of Walmart will be forced to endure a lower standard of living than they would otherwise have. The money that shoppers might have saved, and the wages the workers might have earned will NOT be available to support new businesses in the community, new technology that might enrich the lives of the human race, or charities that might have sustained and succored the needy.

Thus, the little stores have been saved, but at what cost? The cost is the freedom of everyone associated with that community or that Walmart. How many new businesses will be denied existence? How many young people will be denied the opportunity to start their own businesses? Yes, it is sad to see the little stores with which we grew up go under, but that is life. Yes, life. Everything dies. Even Walmart will die. Under a free, ie, capitalistic market, the people decide what businesses live and die. Under statism, the government decides. Either way, businesses will fail.

But under a statist government, freedom fails, too.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


I'm not trying to justify the South or slavery. It just aggravates the snot out of me to hear the old Republican party held up as saints of liberation and justice. Barack Obama would have fit in just fine.

Andrew Johnson was a Southerner who loved the South. He wasn't an abolitionist, but he hated the wealthy, powerful planters and career politicians. He believed the radical, hard line they had taken had caused the war. For all that, though, Johnson was not even in the same league with Thaddeus Stevens, et al, who were driven by hatred of everything Southern, and more so by anything that challenged federal power.

It would not be right to say that all Republicans lusted for power, and through carelessness, I pretty much did say that. Sorry. But there was a powerful, radical core in the Republican party, and they caused no end of mischief. The Radicals in Congress were determined to keep them out of public service, especially positions of power. Contrary to popular mythology, the KKK was not initially the terrorist group it became, and Nathan Bedford Forrest did not start it. Forrest was contacted by the founders of the Klan and asked to rep for them. As the Klan was explained to Forrest, it was to be sort of a fraternal organization of former Confederate officers, dedicated to helping each other find work and adjust to living among the corpses of their dreams. (Whatever one might think of Southern politics, those men put everything they had, and then some, into the cause.) Forrest thought that was a good idea and agreed to be the public face of the Klan. The organization very quickly turned ugly, and Forrest not only disassociated himself from it, he wrote to his Congressional delegation and suggested that the Klan be outlawed. The treatment Forrest has received from modern academians, liberals, and the NNACP is utterly shameful.

The War Between the States was not a civil war. A civil war is a war between factions within a nation for control of that nation. Southerners did not want to control the nation. They wanted nothing to do with the United States, most especially its government. They said, “You folks go on and do what you want, but we’re going to strike out on our own.” It was a war of independence, every bit as much as the one in 1775. Many Southerners were surprised when Lincoln mustered an army and sent it south; much as they despised him, they didn’t believe even he could be that crazy.

Here is the critical point: The South did not threaten the Federal government. It did not try to alter it or hinder it in any way, save to deny its control over the South. The war waged by the North was not to protect the federal government. It was a war for one purpose, and one purpose, only: to make sure those damned white trash down there never tried to do anything on their own again. In that, it succeeded. Maybe.

Lincoln was no lover of Blacks. Apparently he hated slavery, but not because it degraded the slaves. He hated slavery because association with Blacks, even as masters to slaves, was corrosive to the character of the White race. He was not an abolitionist to any degree, at all. Shortly before the war, he said that his objective was to preserve the Union, and if he had to destroy slavery to do it, he would, but if he had to preserve slavery to do it, he’d do that, too. The Emancipation Proclamation is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated on the American people by professors – and that’s going some!

There was a preliminary proclamation issued in Sept. of ’62, right after Antietam. That proclamation differed subtly but significantly from the final one issued in January of ’63. The preliminary proclamation urged Slaves to take whatever means necessary to secure their freedom, and said that the US government would protect them and help them if possible. Lincoln, who possessed an almost supernatural grasp of human nature, knew that Southerners would interpret that to mean that the US government was encouraging and edifying slave revolt and the murder of Whites (which, in fact, it was). They remembered Nat Turner’s Rebellion, and the very thought of what Lincoln was suggesting made the mildest Southerner a diehard radical. The entire South rejected the Proclamation vehemently, and it was during that reaction that the Confederate Congress issued the infamous extermination notice – that any former slave caught in US uniform, or serving the US army in any way would be executed. (The movie “Glory” mentioned this.)

So Lincoln deliberately wrote the preliminary Proclamation in such a way as to infuriate the South and solidify its resolve to fight to the death. In private, Lincoln and his cabinet assured the Congress and Northern governors that the Proclamation was just a political ploy to make it appear that the war was over slavery. If France or England were to come in on the side of the South, they’d have to deal with being called pro-slavery by the rest of the world. When the final Proclamation was issued, it caused havoc in the North. Vermont debated secession. The entire 15th Corps, one of the finest in the Army of the Tennessee, broke camp and headed back to Illinois, saying, “We’ll be damned if we’ll die for the Niggers.” Only the charisma of Black Jack Logan kept them in the order of battle. There were race riots and large-scale lynchings of Blacks in Detroit, New York, and even Washington, DC. Northern editors excoriated Lincoln for murdering good White people for the sake of Blacks.

Lincoln’s ploy for international opinion worked. The preliminary Proclamation was never published abroad, so it appeared that Southern rage was associated with the final one, which was more reasonable. Lincoln stood there, with his palms up, shrugging his shoulders, and saying, “See what I have to deal with? These hillbillies are really terrible people.” England and France breathed a sigh of relief because they could posture on the “moral high ground,” and stay out of the war. Privately, their governments had been horrified at the casualties being taken by both sides, and had no desire to feed their men into such slaughter.

The radical abolitionist faction notwithstanding, there is no way any reasonable person could conclude that the War Between the States was fought to end slavery – not by the politicians, and certainly not by the vast majority of men who fought in it. Of course, the NAACP and other organizations like them should never be mentioned in the same breath with the word – (breathe in, breathe out) “reasonable.”

If further evidence is needed that the war was fought for the subjugation of the Southern people, consider what happened following the war. Secessionist states were not allowed to be readmitted to the Union or have seats in Congress until they ratified the 13th Amendment. If the North had been fighting for abolition, wouldn’t one think that perhaps Washington, DC, might have outlawed slavery BEFORE the 13th Amendment? In fact, mightn’t they have passed the amendment at the outset, since they did it without participation or consent of the South, anyway? Mightn’t the Emancipation Proclamation have freed slaves in areas controlled by the Washington government, rather than saying, EXPLICITLY, that if the South would cease its rebellion and send representatives back to Washington, they COULD KEEP THEIR SLAVES? The Proclamation did NOT declare slaves free! Oh, hell no! It defined the conditions under which slave owners could keep their “property!”

The US government killed a couple hundred thousand Southern men, destroyed millions of acres of farmland, burned out tens of thousands of families and businesses, wrecked ports and railroads, then sent Black troops into the South to enforce the eviction of Southerners from farms and plantations that had been in their families for generations – even centuries – with no regard to whether or not those families had owned slaves. Those properties were then broken up and given to former slaves, and, in some cases, free Blacks. At the same time, the KKK actually grew faster in states like Illinois and Pennsylvania than in Georgia because all those former slaves headed north like a plague of locusts – filthy, ignorant, and unskilled. No, it was most emphatically not their fault, but the fact is they didn’t make very good neighbors, and all those pious damnyankees didn’t want ‘em anywhere near.

(In the early 1960’s, Dick Gregory, who later used his brain for a tether ball, said, “In the north, they don’t care how big I get, as long as I don’t get too close. In the south, they don’t care how close I get, as long as I don’t get to big.”)

Then, after crushing the South militarily, seizing their governments and institutions, putting armed troops – and Black troops, at that - in their streets, the Federal government passed the 13th Amendment. Passed it without the participation or consent of Southern delegates, as if the secessionist states were not part of the Union. Thus, the federal government, led almost solely by Lincoln, prosecuted a war that slew 600,000 Americans, under the premise that the South was still part of the Union, and the uprising was criminal, not diplomatic – and after all that, passed a nation-changing measure without the participation of those who had supposedly never left the Union. And then, while holding the Southern people by the throat and at the points of bayonets, the Southern people were told that, if they ever wanted to be permitted to kiss the boots of the tyrants they’d given 200,000 lives to be rid of, they had to accept the 13th Amendment. The hypocrisy is beyond staggering!

So. Yes. I think Abraham Lincoln is the greatest mass murderer in American history. I think the Federal government waged a war of subjugation against the South, and I think the 13th Amendment was passed without the consent of people who were forced, at gunpoint, to ratify it.

Lest I be accused of defending pro-slavery Democrats, I should say that, in my opinion, they deserved everything they got - a taste of being helpless and hopeless. It's a shame they couldn't have had a little taste of being owned! I just hate to see people twist history to make Lincoln, et al look like friggin' saints.

I have heard Northerners express variations on, "Why can't you damned inbred hillbillies accept the fact that we kicked your asses, and shut up and accept it?" I tell them, "Well, I think you just answered your own question." I was at a trade show in Boston, and at the kick-off luncheon, was sitting with several people from that area. One lady commented on my accent and asked if I were from the south I said, "Yes, Ma'am, I'm from Texas."

Without missing a beat, she said, "Are you in the Klan?" I said, "No. Are you?" She threw her napkin at me and left the table. Not one of the yankees (pardon my use of half-words) said another word to me, or about the incident.

Neither I not any other Southerner I know are looking for reparations or apologies. We're just looking for the truth. For example, movies have been made about Andersonville, and I've been accused of approving what happened there. Whenever anyone talks about the moral reasoning of the two sides, Andersonville comes up pretty quick. But consider this comparison: Andersonville was open less than a year, and right at 3000 men died there. The commandant was hanged, and to this day, the entire Southern people are scourged for it. The federal prison at Elmira, NY, was open for a little over 6 months, and right at 3000 men died there. The commandant was given a medal and promotion, and not one American out of 10,000 ever heard of Hellmira.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


There was an article under the heading of "Political Intelligence" at, about a businessman who is campaigning for a so-called "right to work" bill. Here's the link:

and here's my response:

First, only two of the union leaders' statements were published, and one of them was, "...there’s going to be a price to pay for that,” said Kurt Ehrenberg,..." I would interpret that as a threat of something more than peaceful protests. There is also a reference to the incident when 300 unionists (to use a 19th century term) swamped a Legislative hearing last year. Contemporary reports of that incident described it as very nearly violent, and most emphatically intimidating.

Now this is a bit more abstract: As the law reads right now, the unions can not force people to join them, but they CAN force people to pay dues, whether or not they are members of the union. In my opinion, any defense of such a practice, no matter how eloquent or civil, is obscene and should be punishable by imprisonment, at least.

Consider this - which I do not mean to be a definitive argument, but merely an example: Telling people what they can eat, what they do with their spare time, or what kind of art they may hang in their homes would violate any number of articles of the Constitution, not to mention basic laws of human decency. So the union is allowed to tell people, "You know that 20 bucks a month you were going to use to take your wife to dinner, or put in your vacation fund, or decorate your home? Well, screw you. Give it to us."

Now consider this: what if it weren't a government-sanctified union, but a street thug, demanding dane geld? I believe a citizen would be justified in setting the law on that thug, and if it turned out the law were in collusion with the thug, I believe a bit of gun play would be fully justified.

In this particular case, while the immediate behavior of the union HINTED at thuggery, their moral principles are, as they say, "in the tank" for thuggery.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Set humor and sarcasm to "off." I struggle with this every day. When I got out of the Marines, I'd been so brutalized BY Blacks for 4 years that I was filled with hatred - a real candidate for the KKK. A string of miracles (that I used to call "coincidence") pulled me back from the edge of that pit. When I was finally able to get some distance from myself and see what I had almost become, it filled me with shame and regret. I never became what you'd call a pacifist, or anything close to that, but for the past 35 years or so, I have worked very, very hard at rooting out and exorcising the racism and hatred from my thinking and my character.

As the old saying goes, "God knows I'm not what I should be, but I thank God I'm not what I used to be."

In about the last 4 or 5 years, though, that old devil has regained a lot of lost ground. The Scriptures tell us that, "...there must needs be opposition in all things." If there is a love that transfigures and saves a man's soul, mustn't there also be the polar opposite of that love? I think this is one of the greatest tasks Heavenly Father has set us: to practice the one extreme while denying the other. For much of my life, this challenge has been beyond my ability - and vastly beyond my faith!

So I find myself in the position of having found an earthly love that is the greatest I've ever known. It has, literally, transfigured me and brought me to my knees in supplication that I might be worthy of the smallest part of it. The love of which I speak is what I feel for my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. (For those about to castigate me for calling them mine when they aren't - you're right. They are my step-children and grandchildren. But if you who bite from behind at the sinews of my heart had the faintest notion of the love that drives me, you might close your serpent's mouths, and wonder.)

The great love that has moved me so far demands that I do all I can to leave these precious ones a legacy - an inheritance - of the the best I have - the firstlings of my life, as it were. I have no money or worldly wealth to leave them. I have only honor and liberty. If they have these, they will find their own way to those other virtues: forbearance, charity, gratitude, humility, and all of those other traits that prove Mankind to be the child of our Father.

What do I see now? I see that honor attacked and ridiculed on all sides. I see that liberty thrown down and trampled under the feet of entities not worthy of the phlegm of those who gave it birth - who sewed the stripes of its banner with their muscle and bone, and dyed it with their blood. I see the liberty that ought to be guaranteed to my precious ones defiled and perverted with a wanton maliciousness that would make the demons of the pit hang their heads in shame. I see the future of my children squandered for cheap, ephemeral political glory and power.

I see the sacrifices of generations of men and women who shed oceans of sweat and blood to secure the liberty decreed by My Father in Heaven as the birthright of His children. And I see those sacrifices, not just disagreed with - not just pushed out of style - but kicked through the sewers of the vilest imaginations of the human mind.

Then the emotions that swamp this old scrapper's heart turn hard and hot, and I say things that I know are wrong, and think things that have no place in a Christian mind. I fight these things at the same time I'm fighting what gives them rise. Some days are better than others.

I ask you, though, my dear and gentle friends: do not think me so low and savage that I would feel these things because of a disagreement, or a difference of opinion.

Monday, August 1, 2011


A comparison: Secenario 1 - the government takes money from them that has it and gives it to them that don't. Them that has just gotten it spends it on... whatever, and then they don't have it no more. Them to whom it was spent has it now, so they spends it on... whatever. So on and on.

In this scenario, the money was placed in the hands of a chosen elite, and from there, it distilled out across the economic society - or, dare I say, "trickled down."

Scenario 2 - the government lets them that made the money keep it. Some of it they spends on... whatever, then they don't have so much no more. Them to whom it was spent has it now, so they spends it on... whatever. And so on and on. Now, them that made the money didn't spend all they had 'cause they's so stinkin', flithy rich. So what does they do with the rest of it? They invests it. What does that mean? It means that the money is loaned to them that needs it to start new businesses or expand existing businesses, or buy houses, or take vacations, or send their babies to college, or... whatever. And, as in every case, them to whom the money was given spends it, and them to whom it was spent spends it... and so on and on.

In this scenario, the money was left in the hands of the organizers (or creators) of wealth, and from there, it distilled across the economic society - or, dare I say, "Trickled down."

In spite of the apparent equivalency of the bottom line, the two scenarios are vastly different. In the first, there is chattel slavery of anyone the government chooses to call "rich." In the second, there is liberty.

In the first, decisions on the seizure and redistribution of wealth are made by government flacks who are known, beyond any shadow of a doubt, to be stinkin' crooks. In the second, some distributions may also be made my corporate flacks who are stinkin' crooks, but some will be made by those who understand things like honor, courage, integrity, risk, desire, drive, and persistence.

And here is a difference that I have never read anywhere else: In the first scenario, graft is a recognized, institutionalized part of the culture, to be aided, edified, sucked-up to, and bartered for more of the same.

In the second scenario, graft is a crime, and is punishable to the extent that the people have the will to punish it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


One who is more dear to me than breath said she had left the church behind because it has too many rules that kept her from enjoying her life. I hear that from many people, young and old, and from all religious and philosophical backgrounds.

I say to my beloved and to all others that God has not given us rules. He has given us choices.

A rule is something that says, “You must do this, period.” A choice is something that says, “If you want this reward, you must fulfill that condition.”

Even in the atheistic universe, there are natural laws: gravity, thermodynamics, motion and energy, and, most relevant, identity. The law of identity is much despised by those who would love to convince us we don’t really exist, and it is therefore of no consequence that they take from us our possessions and our freedom. But the law of identity is immutable and inescapable, even for them. It says, simply, that everything is what it is, and that nothing can exist as something other than what it is.

If something exists, it must have some identity – features, characteristics, etc.. Otherwise, how would we be aware of it, in the first place? That’s not nearly as abstract as it sounds. If something did not have the characteristic of reflecting light, we could not see it. If it did not have characteristic of emitting molecules that stimulate our olfactory nerves, we could not smell it. If it did not have the characteristic of mass, we could not lift it.

If something exists, it must exist as something, which means it must have the characteristics that identify it as whatever that something is. If it had no characteristics, how would you know it was there, anyway?

There is a second part of the law of identity: nothing can exist as whatever it is and as something else in the same way and at the same time. I love it when nihilists smirk, “But what about something that is hot to me and cold to you?” and then rear back with their arms crossed as if they’d really said something intelligent. Here’s the answer: the definition says, “…in the same way…”. Your measurement of temperature and mine may be different; there is no violation of identity. Quote the contrary, the object has the very specific and measurable identity of, “That which, when perceived by the nihilist is hot, but when perceived by the Mormon is cold.” And that, friends and neighbors, is what I’d call a specific identity.

Or, the slightly better-educated nihilist loves to say, “Well…[that’s when you know you’ve got ‘em – their eyes flicker around and their voice changes pitch, and they whine…] Well, what about light? It is both a particle and a beam!”

Wrong again! If measured by method A, light has the characteristics of a particle, but when measured by method B, it appears to be a beam. In order for the nihilist position to be valid, it would have to appear simultaneously as both a particle and a beam when measured by method A, and that ain’t the case!

“Well… well… [more eye flicking and stammering…] what about wood! If you take a log, it is hard and heavy, but if you burn it, it turns into ash. It’s not the same as it was, but it’s still the same log!” Well, you say, with more patience than this dreck deserves, “You have measured the log at different times, so, yes, it has changed. Your position could be true only if it were both solid and ash at the same time.” In fact, a log has the very specific and measurable identity of, “That which is combustible, and when burned, transforms from heavy and sold into ash.”

(I might get more into Heraclitus later, but for right now, sufficeth it to say that he was a freakin’ idiot.)

So how does this relate to the choices God gives us? Bear with me; we’re almost there.

The law of identity applies to action, too. By the same principles just described, how do you know when something has happened? When you are aware that something has changed – that is, when you perceive change – by one of your senses. When the basic law of identity is applied to action, it is expressed as the law of cause and effect. How do you know something happened? You can see the results. You can see the baseball flying out of the park; you can see the flowers blooming; you can smell the match burning, and feel the heat from it.

Nothing happens unless it was caused, and nothing happens without an effect. Period. We may not know or understand what causes something, but that doesn’t mean it was causeless. Here’s the natural law: “There is no causeless effect, and there is no effectless cause.” You better get used to it. If you want the effect of having your belly full, you better get hopping and cause that effect. If you want the effect of having that good lookin’ person next to you to like you, you better figure out how to cause that effect.

The welfare state that so many people want today consists of a fundamental denial of the law of cause and effect. They want the effects – food, clothes, nice cars, nice vacations, etc – but they don’t want to do what’s necessary to cause those effects. [Let me clarify that: they don’t want to causes those effects themselves. They want someone else to do it for them.]

The laws of identity and cause and effect are merciless! They can’t be ignored or subverted! The good news is, though, that they can be obeyed! If you want food, you can enact the cause of that effect; you can buy food – you can work to get the money to buy food – you can ask a friend for a loan to buy food. However you cut it, it is really cool that you can know exactly what you have to do to cause a full belly. Do you have to do it? Nope. And that, friends and neighbors, is called “agency.” If you enact the cause of a full belly, you’ll get it, but if you don’t, you won’t.

Believe it or not, this is GREAT news! Cause and effect is not a limiting rule; it is the key that unlocks the universe to you… if you have the guts to make it work. You have the choice: cause the desired effect or do without. But guess what? God has agency, too. He will not give you anything unless you have enacted the cause of it, and that cause is, invariably, obeying his commandments.

Our agency is the second most priceless of God’s gifts to us. He does not require us to do anything, but He gives us the opportunity to choose what we will get from Him. He has agency, too; otherwise, He would not be God.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


In Feb., 2011, a friend posted on her Facebook page a link to an article at The title of the article was “Top 10 Shocking Attacks from the GOP’s War on Women.” My friend is pretty conservative on most things, and posted this strictly to start conversation and get people’s reactions to it. The first several responses were critical of the article and of I wanted to read it for myself, and see what sorts of things they were talking about. I read the article, and decided to look carefully into the first item on it: “Republicans not only want to reduce women's access to abortion care, they're actually trying to redefine rape. After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven't yet. Shocker.”
After doing my research, I posted a reply in the thread on my friend’s Facebook page. This reply, and some of the conversation that followed, is the subject of this blog post.

Here is the link to

And here is my response to the article:

Let's look at the first of's charges, that Republicans want to "redefine rape." First, the authority for this claim is an op-ed on "The Huffington Post," long known for its objective reporting of the news. That article, in turn..., references an op-ed in the "New York Times," ditto and ditto. Neither article contained a link that I could find to the text of the bill, H.R. 3. So I, left-brained, white male that I am, looked it up. Here's the page with the text: --

And here's the text that deals with rape:

"The limitations established in sections 301, 302, 303, and 304 shall not apply to an abortion--
"(1) if the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of forcible rape or, if a minor, an act of incest; or..." [the next paragraph deals with the health of the mother.]

Clearly, this does NOT redefine rape. It attempts to define the circumstances under which the Federal Government will pay for an abortion. (Personally, I think "forcible rape" is a redundancy. If it isn't forcible, as in the seduction of an underage girl, we need another term for it because it's a different thing - NOT less heinous or despicable! - but different.)

However, see that statement, "The limitations established in sections 301, 302, 303, and 304 shall not apply to an abortion-?" Well, those sections say only that no federal funds shall be used to provide abortion, nor to fund any insurance plan that pays for abortion coverage.

Now here's the kicker: sections 305-308 very specifically state that this bill will not be construed as restricting the ability of states or non-federally funded insurance programs from providing abortion coverage. I gave you the link. Go read it, yourself.

So - huge surprise! - has twisted and propagandized the real story to promote their pet agenda - that Republicans are moral cannibals. They deliberately misused the concept of "define," and they deliberately failed to include the entire context. They also very carefully avoided any reference to the bill, itself, using instead other cookie-cutter liberal bilge.

I will not waste my time dissecting their other charges. If this does not thoroughly discredit them in the eyes of all who read this, oh, well.

Feb., 2011