Here Comes Donald!: Duck.


8 U.S. Code § 1324a: (1)In general It is unlawful for a person or other entity—

(A) to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien (as defined in subsection (h)(3))….

Oh  God. Oh God. It’s Hillary or Trump. The first, a loathsome Gorgon paddling about in the  bubbling corruption and fetor of Washington, a political hooker in a plastic miniskirt crooning “I’ll l do anything for a donation to my foundation.” On this soiled caryatid we are going to rest the weight of the nation?

But…Trump? A huckstering bully growling, “I can whip any man in this bar.” He doesn’t seem to have looked around the bar very carefully. I’ll vote for him because the alternative is too horrible to contemplate, but…but….

I read with astonishment his proposed policy toward Mexico. Truculence, ignorance, carney showmanship, and a weird view of Mexico. He sees it as both an enemy country and as a malign being, sentient, diabolical, bent on hurting the United States. This seems to parallel his approach to the rest of the world.

His goal regarding Latinos–the prevention of illegal immigration and the repatriation of illegal immigrants–is commendable. A country has the right to determine who enters. Some of his plans would effect this end. Yet he seems to have little understanding of the problem and believes that Mexico, which he despises, is the cause.

How so? America’s immigration mess is entirely self-inflicted.  In 1965 the United States changed its laws to encourage immigration. Mexico didn’t change America’s laws. Ever since, American businessmen have knowingly, eagerly hired illegal immigrants in large numbers and exerted influence to maintain the influx. The American government under Obama encourages illegal immigration, and former administrations have looked the other way. The Democrats push for naturalization explicitly to get the votes. States give illegals driver’s licenses, health care, and schooling. “Sanctuary cities” openly defy laws as, again, does the federal government. Border patrols have been ordered, by Obama, virtually to stand down.

None of this was done by Mexico.

He is mad about the use of welfare by illegals. Trump quote: “U.S. taxpayers have been asked to pick up hundreds of billions in healthcare costs, housing costs, education costs, welfare costs, etc.”

How much sense does this make? America offers these things and then complains when they are accepted. If you don’t want illegal aliens on welfare, don’t give them welfare. Is this a difficult concept? Why is Mexico to blame for America’s stupidity?

Yet we have Trump eagerly planning ways to punish Mexico.

From his web page: “There is no doubt that Mexico is engaging in unfair subsidy behavior that has eliminated thousands of U.S. jobs….”

Fact: American businesses have moved factories to Mexico. Mexico did not force them to do this. In the United States, American businessmen intentionally give jobs to illegals. The illegals accept them. They do not “take” them. How could they? At gunpoint?

Trump is either dishonest, naive, or thinks like a ten-year-old.

Then we have: “Mexico has taken advantage of us in another way as well: gangs, drug traffickers and cartels have freely exploited our open borders and committed vast numbers of crimes inside the United States.”

Always  Mexico is a conscious, malevolent being. Again Trump is blankly ignorant.

Fact: “Mexico” does not sell drugs in the United States. The cartels do. Mexico cannot control the cartels (as neither can the United States), which dominate large parts of the country, fight battles against the army and police, kill reporters and the families of soldiers known to take part in operations against them.

The cartels do far more harm to Mexico than to the United States. Wikipedia: “By the end of Felipe Calderón‘s administration (2006–12), the official death toll of the Mexican Drug War was at least 60,000.[Estimates set the death toll above 120,000 killed by 2013, not including 27,000 missing.”

That’s taking advantage of the US?  Mexican cops, soldiers, and reporters are dying in America’s drug war. Americans are not.

If Trump doesn’t know the foregoing, he is anpolitical gerbil proposing policy without bothering to do minimal homework. If he does know it, he is a con man.

Mexicans occasionally ask, “If Americans don’t want drugs, why do they buy them?” The market for drugs exists in the first place because Americans very much want drugs: high-school students want them, often middle-schoolers, college kids, high-dollar lawyers, Congressmen on the Hill doing lines of coke at parties, liberals, conservatives, libertarians, the residue of the Sixties. Washington doesn’t want Americans to have their drugs. It is America’s problem.

Trump’s plan to require proof of citizenship to remit money to Latin America makes sense and would be effective. So would eVerify. No reason exists to make life easy for criminal aliens–which, since illegal entry into America is a crime, includes all illegals. But he is going to force Mexico to, grrr, woof, to pay for his border wall, the brown bastards. 

Quote: “It’s an easy decision for Mexico: make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion to ensure that $24 billion continues to flow into their country year after year.  “

This is extortion—he could equally say “Give us fifty billion or we will bomb Guadalajara.” We could profitably use the approach on Canada. It embodies his curious notion that Mexico has responsibility to enforce America’s immigration laws when the US makes no effort to enforce them.

Which would be easy, except that America doesn’t really want to do it.

It is illegal to hire illegals. See USC above. Heavy penalties are on the books. Nowhere, as far as I can determine, does Trump suggest applying those penalties to CEOs, farmers, rich women with illegal maids, and construction firms.

Leading a few dozen employers in handcuffs to the paddy wagon would have an immediate effect. Make it a rebuttable presumption that if more than ten percent of a work force are criminally in the United States, the employer knows it. In the case of corporations, deny federal contracts to companies convicted to hiring criminal aliens. As  President in control of the Justice Department, Trump could begin enforcing the laws on his first day in office.

If Trump won’t move against criminal employers–if you break the law, you are a criminal, and hiring illegals is against the law–how can one regard him as more than a grandstanding opportunist?

Over and over, the pugnacity, the threatening: Quote: “Again, we have the leverage so Mexico will back down.” Over and over, if we do this, it will hurt Mexico (or China in other statements) more than it will hurt us. We have the leverage, the power. We can do what we want to them.

What if Mexico didn’t back down?

Here we have fertile ground for unintended and unpredictable consequences. There are things that governments cannot do and stay in power. Caving in to extortion may be one. The demand to pay for a wall would be a “Kiss my ass, Pedro” moment. It is clearly intended as such. If Mexico said “No” and Trump blocked remittances, his ego being threatened, it would be seen as a war on Mexico, Mexicans, and Latinos in general. Which  it would be. 

There are at least fifty-five million Latinos in the United States. Most are legal and not going anywhere. How wise is it for the President to attack them as Latinos, to describe them in insulting and inaccurate terms, to blame them for things they haven’t done, and create antagonism between the US and Mexico? All of this thrills white nationalists, many of whom seem to want revenge as much as they want an end to immigration. But America probably doesn’t really need another huge, hostile, self-aware racial group. Perhaps Trump should avoid creating one.

Also worth noting is that Mexico is not the banana republic of popular imagination. It is a major trading  partner of the US, a nation of about 120 million, the first or second economy in Latin America depending on what Brazil is doing at the moment, with a rapidly expanding middle class. It is also host to enormous investment by American firms. For example, Ford is about to build a $1.6 billion plant here. The Donald’s school-yard-bully approach plays well with many of his constituents, but making enemies to the south is not going to help either country.

But this is a grown-up consideration. We are talking about national politics.

Squids and the Inner Light of Being

It was an epochal moment for the military and perhaps for all of society. Screwing up her courage, Air Force First Lieutenant Kara-Ann McBee walked into her commander’s office on the D-Ring of the Pentagon and announced that she was a giant squid.

Kara was slender and tomboyish, with an upturned nose, freckles, and an attractive brush-cut hairdo. She could have been Tom Sawyer’s sister. She did not appear to be a giant squid.

“But I am, sir,” she said, rigidly at attention and clearly nervous. “I’ve known it since I was a little girl. I…sir, I am a squid trapped in a woman’s body. I’m trans-phylum, sir.”

The commander, Colonel R. Boyd Gittim, was stunned. He was a compact, graying man in his mid-fifties, a combat flier who had slipped through the screening process to high position in what insiders called the Five-Sided Wind Tunnel. He was not well suited to the complex personnel issues of the modern military.

He had to say something. What, he wondered?

“Squids have lots of arms. Ten, I think.”

“Yessir, ten. But…you see, sir, I feel their presence. Like ectoplasm or something.”

Colonel Gittim sighed. He knew of course about LGBT, which he thought of as Lettuce, Bacon, and Tomato, and he knew there existed crucial military questions about whether boys could use the girls room. Squids were too much.

It wasn’t his Air Force any longer, he thought grayly.  Wars were fought by remotely-controlled drones now, and the best pilots were probably fifteen-year-old gamers with no social life. They could do it from home by internet. He decided to retire and drink himself to death.

But consequences were to follow this modest beginning. Kara-Ann, not particularly militant, said that just wanted to be respected as a cephalopod, although she did say that she thought the Air Force ought to provide her an aquarium to sleep in. But, inevitably,  the affair came to the attention of DACOWITS. This was not a Polish mathematician, but the Defense Advisory Commission on Women in the Services. They were Boadiceas of social justice, fighting against the oppression, brutality, contempt and unremitting assault to which women were subjected everywhere, except anywhere that anyone could find.  

Dacowits needed something to do. Things were slow in the trenches of discrimination. Most victories had been won. A woman commanded the SEALs, who had been disarmed to prevent violence. The new main battle tanks had changing tables, and urinals had been outlawed throughout the services or converted to flower pots to preclude uncomfortable spaces. The warriors of social justice needed a Cause.

Virtual squids were just the thing.

But what to demand? There was no point in having a Cause if you couldn’t demand something outrageous and get coverage in the Washington Post. Perhaps, they decided, they  could insist that Kara-Ann should have uniforms with ten sleeves. After intense conferencing, they came up with “imputed tentacles.” After all, phylum was a social construct, and if Kara-Ann could be a squid without looking like one, then she could have tentacles without having any.

When an unwise major tweeted that the idea was “silly as hell and I don’t want to serve with any goddam octopus,” he was demoted. Wilhelmina Mikoyan-Gurevich, chairwoman of Dacowits, exploded. Who were men to decide how  many arms a woman had? Did men know what it was to be pregnant? Women knew their own bodies. If they thought they had tentacles, then they did have them.

A few within Dacowits thought this was over the top, even in pursuit of social justice. Maybe something simpler would do. Could they demand special diets for virtual squids? They weren’t sure what squids ate. Something unpleasant, no doubt.

Restaurants and chow halls throughout the military were forbidden to serve calamai when Kara-Ann broke down in hysterical crying and said it was just too…too horrible, and requested counseling. Trans-phylum bathrooms were a slam-dunk, but what exactly would such a loo need? How did squids…you know…do it? A commission was formed to study the question.

Things became complicated as more servicepersons discovered their inner zoology. Two giraffes, a kudu, and a Brahma bull came out of the closet, the last requesting a feeding trough in the mess hall. The kudu, a goggle-eyed computer nerd from Defense Intelligence named Howie Osfeiser, said he wasn’t sure what a kudu was, but he figured he probably was one. He just knew it.

An unenlightened Marine general said “the whole business is crazier than three monkeys in a bag. What is this freak show coming to?” The Washington Post ran an editorial comparing him to Hitler and saying that his attitude would lead to a second Holocaust. Of course, the Post thought that everything would lead to a second Holocaust.

The State Department announced that it would fund a recruitment drive to find trans-phylum ambassadors, and would modify embassies correspondingly, for example by increasing headroom for imputed giraffes.

In his last days in office, President Obama ordered that all federal buildings be equipped with litter boxes, saying, “A country as great as America was–is–that all the world wants to be like, and wishes it was, cannot seem to penalize citizens who think they are animals, even if they aren’t–though of course they are. Who are we to decide what kind of animals other people are? Praise Allah.”

This clarion call to probity and fairness echoed around the world and was adjudged to embody the clarity and internal coherence characteristic of Obama’s speeches.

A veritable storm of justice had left its imprint in the Pentagon. Calm gradually returned. Glitches continued, but they were minor. The Army’s Chief of Staff, Priscilla-Robert McFarley, came out of the closet as a Bolivian anteater and was discovered to be having termites flown in from La Paz. The computer nerd who had declared himself a kudu figured out that if he discovered himself to be a three-toed sloth  instead, the Army would have to give him more time to sleep.  

The furor finally died down and the nation entered a time of healing. The matter of inter-phylum dating caused a brief flurry, but abated when it was pointed out that the practice was common in the sheep country of Scotland. And of course national attention was diverted when an Armyperson who gender-identified as usually or somewhat male was caught trying to have sex with a vacuum cleaner. Phylum-neutral bathrooms were hastily equipped with chutes for emptying dust bags and….

America Goes Away: Fred Left Behind in Mexico

Mail arrives in my inbox all the time, telling me that by going to Mexico I have sold out, fled, abandoned the United States. I’m a coward and a traitor, just like Lord Haw Haw, and Kim Philby, and probably hate America more than Barack Obama does.

It is is irrational. They think that just because I went to Mexico, I left the US. They don’t understand. I didn’t leave the United States. It left me. It was a bait-and-switch operation. I signed on to one country, and they slipped another in under me. I want my money back.

In the country where I grew up, if you woke up and found a naked intruder headed for daughter’s bedroom with a Bowie knife and a hard-on, you shot him and arranged to have the rugs cleaned. The sheriff wasn’t greatly interested and the county prosecutor didn’t see anything to prosecute. The scum floating on the gene pool wasn’t a protected species. It wasn’t the driving engine of the culture. It was just scum.

Today you would be charged with the use of excessive force. The cadaver’s family would sue. They would end up with your house unless they just ran you broke with legal bills. The outcome would depend on the racial make-up of you, the intruder, and the jury. Your daughter would be married with grandchildren before the courts reached any conclusion.

Think I’m exaggerating? When I used to have the police beat for the Washington Times in the Yankee capital, the cops told me, dead serious, that if I ever shot an intruder, I should shoot him again to make sure: You can’t afford to have two stories, they said, especially if he’s black which, in Washington, was pretty much a foregone conclusion. They’ll hang you, said the cops.

In the country I grew up in, you got on an airplane by walking up these funny little steps with wheels on them. Then you sat down. That’s all you did. I know, I know: You don’t believe this. It’s true. You just walked on. Further, the stewardesses were not merely civil but — so help me — friendly and pretty. Flying was actually enjoyable. The seats were big enough that you didn’t sit with your knees beside your ears and your feet in your pockets.

Today, getting aboard is like going into max security at some ghastly penitentiary. I once flew a bit around the old Soviet Union, as distinct from our new one, on a junket. Security was less oppressive, though the food was marginally worse unless you liked green chicken. The service was just as peremptory.

Maybe that’s what I miss most about the Old Country. People were courteous. They could afford to be because everyone else was too. It’s hard to be pleasant when the odds are even that the next official you deal with will be an ill-mannered lout who knows he can get away with it.

I think people were courteous also because they lived in an agreeable country and were pretty happy with things. The new country seems angry — quietly so, not sure what to do about it, but looking for someone to hit.

Yet further still, in the Old Country they didn’t have these funny little Japanese cars with itsy-bitsy four-bangers. Nope. They had great virile monsters thirty feet long with eight huge cylinders like buckets. A dog could have slept in them. Sure, those rocket-barges were probably ridiculous and left a trail of parts that fell off because quality control wasn’t that great, but they were real cars. They embodied a spirit I liked. Today cars seem to be designed with hair-dressers in mind.

The Old Country music was vibrant, vigorous, much of it springing from the great black bluesmen of Mississippi and then Chicago, some of it from the mountains and from the jazz dens of the big cities. In the music of the new country, the whites whine and the blacks grunt angrily and the lyrics seem to have been written by a retarded computer. From Tampa Red to Eminem is a long way down.

In the country I signed on to, things worked on the principle of individual responsibility. If you robbed a bank, which people generally didn’t, everyone figured you did it because you decided to, and you went to jail and everyone was satisfied, except you, which was the idea. Most people knew how to behave, and did. It saved a lot on police departments and you could walk around at night.

In the new country of course everything is somebody else’s fault, unless you are a white male, in which case everything is your fault. Never mind that if it weren’t for white males everybody else would be living on low-hanging fruit and saying “ugga-wugga” because they couldn’t figure out how to make a big-block hemi to crash into things with. Or figure out how to make anything else.

In the Old Country, the government was pretty much benign or actually useful. It built roads and largely left you alone. The public schools were not great but neither were they terrible. People ran their own lives. The federal government tended to be somewhere else, which was a splendid place for it, and you mostly didn’t notice.

In the country that is now where America used to be, the government is the cause of most major problems instead of a solution, however inefficient, to a fair number of them. The government keeps you from educating your children, holds standards down, prevents you from hiring the best people you can find to work in your business. It won’t allow local jurisdictions to control crime, prevents localities from enforcing such moral standards as they see fit, virtually illegalizes the religion of most of the population, and generally won’t permit people to live as they like.

Now, I used to be fond of the United States. Granted, I wasn’t much of a patriot. The word nowadays seems to mean one who doesn’t so much love his country as to dislike other people’s. I figured live and let live. A lot of other countries struck me as fine places. But America was my favorite. It just suited me. I liked the people in their wild variety and the countryside and the music and the brash independence. It wasn’t perfect. Still, given the sorry baseline for comportment in human agglomerations, it was about as good as you could get.

I’m still fond of the United States. I just can’t find it.

Questions for Black Lives Matter:The Case for Separation

I reading  the endless complaints by blacks about shootings by the police, I usually find it hard to know what really happened. As far as I am aware, the media never allow an unedited interview, or any interview, with the police charged with the shootings but allow endless commentary by people who weren’t there.

I am also often puzzled by the motivation of the cops. Do they confer in the morning and say, “Hey, let’s shoot some totally innocent black guy in front of witnesses who probably have cell phones?” And why are cops not brutalizing Latinos, only blacks, especially in LA, which provides a target-rich environment?

If I could, I would speak to BLM as follows:

I cannot determine what you want. There seems to be a great deal of anger but little clarity. Discussion usually wanders off  into demands for justice, but without specifics.

Since I am looking for practical recommendations, let us begin by acknowledging the circumstances we face. You say that white cops mistreat blacks, sometimes brutally. This is true. I have seen some of it, and know of more. White cops seldom like blacks, nor blacks, white cops. The cultures are irreconcilably different. On the other hand, beatings of whites, Latinos, and Asians by gangs of blacks are far outnumber beatings of blacks by white cops. In sum, no love is lost and I do not see a lot of moral high ground. So:

Do you want white policemen excluded from black neighborhoods?

The available answers are “yes,” and “no.”  I do not mean to be abrupt about this, but  vague considerations of abstract justice, alleged discrimination, and racism do not provide usable answers. So, do you want white cops pulled from black neighborhoods, or not? It’s one or the other.

Personally I think it wiser not to have whites policing blacks. I don’t want to see white cops raped in media circuses. Nor do I want blacks to be mistreated by white cops. It seems to me that BLM should support segregation of police as it would eliminate any possibility of racist behavior. But, again, I will accept whatever choice you make.

Two New Jersey Teens Arrested for Brutal Knockout Attack on Elderly Man in Paterson

Do you want any policemen in your neighborhoods?

Here again a clear answer is needed. I have no stake in the question and do not want to impose my standards on you. Yet a concrete policy must be either no police, or police of some kind. Which?

If you asked my advice, I would suggest that without police your neighborhoods would turn into free-fire zones.  Note that after Ferguson police have in large part stopped policing, so you can get a minor idea of what a police-less society will be like. However,your neighborhoods are your neighborhoods. I will respect your decision.

Do blacks want to recruit, train, and discipline police forces of blacks only in their neighborhoods?

Again,  your choice. I do not presume to prescribe for you. However, it would eliminate complaints of racism. Should this plan be adopted, black forces would receive the same funding as white, the same pensions and benefits, so there would be no question of discrimination. They would better understand a black population. But do as you like. Just tell me, specifically, what it is that you want.

‘Black Lives Matter’ Thugs Who Beat Marine Unconscious in Race Attack WON’T Face Hate Crime Charges

What laws do you want cops to enforce in your neighborhoods?

Specifically what laws? Do you want the police to arrest crack dealers? Yes, or no. Again, I don’t care, and do not tell you what to do.

Yet cops need to know what they are expected to do. Should they stop people drinking in public, or allow it? Dealing drugs? Illegal parking? Public urination? Looting? Prostitution? I don’t care. Make any decision you like, but tell the cops clearly, and do not penalize them for doing what you tell them to do.

As a multiculturalist, I believe that different ethnic and racial groups should, within their neighborhoods, live by their own norms. That includes my neighborhood and my norms. For example, in my neighborhood I would want the police to shoot looters and arsonists. Perhaps this is a white thing, but I am a white guy and I am talking about white neighborhoods and white notions of civilization.


Breitbart: “Three Young Black Women Accused of Beating 51-Year-Old White Man to Death” Hundreds of documented cases exist, carefully ignored by the media and the government. If you ignore a lump, it will go away. Ask any oncologist.

What should cops do when a criminal resists arrest? 

This is an important question, in fact the important question. Nearly all of the complaints of shootings and beatings have involved resistance to arrest. It becomes explosive when white cops are involved. Here we need a clear answer. A cop cannot obey a vague abstraction.

Let us suppose that in a black neighborhood a cop sees a wanted drug dealer, rapist, killer, or burglar. He says, “You are under arrest,” and the rapist or wanted armed robber or coke dealer says, “Fuck off, white boy.”

What does BLM want the cop to do? Nothing? Something? What? Specifically, what? This is not a philosophical question. A cop in an actual situation has to do something, or nothing.  I don’t care which. You tell me, and I will support your decision. But the cop has to  know what is expected of him.

For a white cop, the best answer is “nothing.” Anything he does risks a brutality beef: Physically tackling a criminal, tasing him, pepper-spraying him, clubbing him, or shooting him all pose the risk of prosecution, lawsuits, and loss of career.  There is no pretty way to subdue a strong male who doesn’t want to be subdued. A wanted killer is looking at a lot of time in slam and will be perfectly willing to hurt a cop to avoid being arrested.

What do you want the cop to do? Specifically what?

 What does BLM want black cops to do? 

This is your business, not mine, but you might think about it from the cop’s point of view. How should a black cop respond to resistance?

Other questions merit consideration. If you have ever walked beats with cops, which virtually no one has, you know that a cop faces ambiguities, murky regions of the law, and sometimes problems that cannot be  resolved within the law.

For example, suppose that a drug crew is selling on the sidewalk in front of an old woman’s house, and she is afraid to go out for groceries. This is not hypothetical: I have seen it. What should the cop do?

Legally, he can do nothing. The sidewalk is public, certainly if they keep moving. They will not be selling openly, so he can’t arrest them. He can tell them to move on, and they may. The minute he is out of sight, they are back. What if they say, “It’s a free country”?  Now what? The little old lady needs to eat.

What do you suggest? If it is your old woman in your neighborhood, it is your business, but the cop needs to know.

In sum, if you will say what concrete and specific things you want, we can discuss your desires rationally and perhaps come to a resolution. Some problems will inevitably remain, such as what to do in mixed neighborhoods. My take is that the quickest and easiest means of limiting friction is simply to separate white cops and black people, and black cops and white people, but this, if you agree that it is a good idea, cannot happen unless groups like BLM ask for it. 

The Mask Comes Off: Putrefaction Most Foul

I love it: Donald Trump’s campaign reveals the establishment for what it is, a swamp of corruption  as fetid as those of Latin America. It is better entertainment than Vaudeville. The frantic scramble to rig the primaries, change the rules, and thwart the voters–anything to defend their cozy entanglement of political tapeworms–makes absurd any pretense of democracy.

This morning in the Drudge Report: “Trump Highest Number of Republican Voters in History.” Who do the Republicans want to get rid of? Trump.

On the same page a poll reports Trump tied with Hillary nationally. Who do the Republicans want to get rid of? Guess.

It’s wonderful. The GOP is looking for someone that Hillary can beat. She would squash Kasich or Cruz like stepping on bugs. Trump might actually win. This the Republicans strive to avoid. What could make more sense?

But it does make sense. The Republicans try desperately to ditch the only Republican candidate who could win the Presidency because…Hillary is one of them. Because, as every sentient being has by now noticed, the Republicans and Democrats are members of the same corrupt club of blood-sucking parasites, the action arm of the corporations, Wall Street, the Israeli lobby, and those who want the US to control the world at any cost–except, of course, to them. They are panicked at the rise of someone who might put first the interests of America. Better Hillary, a fellow parasite, than Trump, who isn’t.

The latest skulduggery is the Virginia governor’s allowing convicted felons to vote. The obvious intention is to increase the black vote for Hillary. In  Chicago, the dead vote. In Virginia, the killers. This sort of thing of course explains the support for Trump.

Will  the two parties succeed in blocking the Donald? Might they even resort to the Martin Luther King solution? My powers of political prognostication would be under zero if they could figure out how to get there. If the felony vote and delegate-tampering bring Trump to the convention with only 1236 delegates, and the Republicans broker-in some sad-sack compliant loser, well, the mask will be definitively, openly, for all time off. Welcome to  Paraguay.

Which would be only another step in the country’s race toward the Third World.

What would the public do if Trump were robbed of the nomination? What could the public do? There might be protests, mass demonstrations in the streets, but so what? The Insiders’ Club would just wait them out. Once a society realizes that it has no power over its rulers, it lapses into resignation. Republicans do not loot malls or burn cities, and would soon go home. But all the world would see that the Americans have no recourse, that the Insiders do as they please. Welcome to China.

But the mask would be forever off. Very, very off.

If the Republicans deep-six Trump, and Hillary runs against Kasich, or or Cruz, or some other derelict, what then? Our choices will be not to vote, which will make no difference, to vote for either of the party candidates, which will make no difference, or to vote for Trump if he runs as a third party, which will make no difference. But at least we will have seen under the log, the squishy pale  creatures scurrying. They will keep their grip on the country, but the world will know them for what they are.

And America for what it is: Corrupt to the roots of its teeth.  The corruption is adroitly hidden, yes, or disguised as something else. Yet it is there. Consider the subprime disaster. To believe that it was an accident, or a cyclical downturn, or other artifact of econobabble, one has to believe that bankers, realtors, and Wall Street do not understand mortgages, credit, or defaults. You have to believe that officials of the Treasury, who slide back and forth between Wall Street and government like the motion of the tides, had no idea what was going on.

At the top, America is as corrupt as Mexico but American corruption is far more efficient. Among the white middle class, the rot is less. But within the clubhouse of insiders,  at the level of the anointed, of the Adelsons and Epsteins and Clintons and Bushes, there is putrefaction most foul.

It is cleverly done, and seldom involves anything so sordid as open bribery. Yet the results are everywhere. Men who knew exactly what they were doing engineered the student-loan bubble. Yet it is legal, like so many scams. Huge military contracts for things not needed, the near-control of Mid-Eastern policy by Israel, poor medical care at high prices, the deliberate gutting of American industry so that corporations can enrich themselves in China–all of this is legal. You pay Congress and it makes legal anything you want.

Credit cards, which  intentionally lure people into going deeply in debt and paying usurious interest rates, are legal. Big Pharma paid Congress to rule that Medicare cannot negotiate the price of drugs, opening a sluice to the Treasury. Corruption, but legal.  

Under the rule of the Insiders Club, medical care is a fecund source of legal graft.  Example: I once needed eye drops from Bausch and Lomb called Muro, which amounted to hypertonic salt water. A bottle of 1.8 (I think it was) ounces  cost $23 in Washington, $19 in Winchester, Virginia.  Exactly the same product in Mexico, $6. Price-fixing, but where and by whom? What Congressmen were paid to make it legal, or not look into it too closely, or at all?

Welcome to Guatemala.

Corruption has come to be the purpose of government, and the Club battens on it. You want to see the political equivalent of a public latrine in Uganda? Try HUD, the Department of Housing and Urban Development. I promise that you will be horrified by the diversion of funds and lining of pockets.

You ask, Fred, why do you say this? Are you a student of HUD? No. I know nothing of HUD. I know much of government. HUD  is an outfit with over thirty billion a year to spend, completely unwatched. Have you ever seen a newspaper story about HUD? I guarantee that it is dominated by the sacred ethnic groups who milk it like a prize Guernsey, and by big companies getting sweetheart contracts. 

Or try Commerce, or Education, or the Bureau of Indian Affairs, or Congress.

It is to preserve these overflowing rice bowls that we have elections without substance between candidates without a difference. Hillary is just Jeb Bush in a dress, Biden a universally applicable cipher, Cruz a compliant applicant for membership in the club. Since the parties collude in avoiding issues that people care about, the contest becomes a popularity contest of the sort found in middle school. Whoever wins, the Insiders win. 

Of course Trump also is a billionaire,but he is a turncoat, a class traitor, the Benedict Arnold of billionaires. He addresses the issues that the Insiders want to remain unaddressed. He is indeed dangerous. He threatens the endless (immensely profitable) wars, the endless (immensely profitable) shipping of American jobs to China, the endless (immensely profitable) importation of cheap Mexican labor. He threatens the sacred rice bowls. 

It is why he must be stopped.

Capitalism and the Minimum Wage: “I Got Mine, Screw You.”

To understand the arguments of capitalists against the minimum wage, follow the money. In all the thickets of pious reasoning about the merits of capitalism and the market, and of freedom of contract, and of allowing this marvelous mechanism to work its magic, and of what Adam Smith said, the key is the dollar. The rest is fraud. Carefully ignored is the question that will be crucial in coming decades: What to do about an ever-increasing number of people for whom there is no work. 

There is of course much hypocrisy in the theoretical edifice. For example, businessmen argue that the minimum wage constitutes intolerable interference by the government in the conduct of business—meanwhile sending armies of lobbyists to Washington to make the government interfere in the conduct of business. In fact capitalists have no objection to federal meddling. They just want it to be such meddling as puts more money in their pockets. Nothing more. Ever.

In like fashion they say that they want to protect the worker’s freedom—yes, his freedom, such is the capitalist’s benevolence, the worker’s freedom–to sell his labor at a mutually agreed price. Curiously, in practice this means the employer’s freedom to push wages as close to starvation as he can get away with. This miraculous congruence of high principle with low profit is among the wonders of the universe.

A capitalist will similarly object to zoning on grounds of protecting property rights–it’s his land, and he can do with it as he likes—but if you buy the lot next to his house and build a hog-rendering plant, he will shriek for…zoning. 

In every case, without exception, his high principles will lead to more in his pocket. He will be against a minimum wage because, he says, it prevents young blacks from entering the job market and learning its ways. You can just tell he is deeply concerned about young blacks. He probably wakes up in the middle of the night, worrying about them. He doesn’t, however, hire any. Purely incidentally, not having a minimum wage saves him…money. And if he were truly concerned about young blacks, might he not express this concern by—paying them a living wage?


The quest for cheap labor has perhaps caused less misery than war—itself a most profitable business, war—but it is neck and neck. Businessmen imported blacks as slaves to have cheap labor, with disastrous results continuing to this day. Businessmen encourage illegal immigration from the Latin lands so as to have cheap labor. They sent America’s factories to China to have cheap labor.  And now they peer with wet lips and avid gaze at…robots.

These will drudge away day and night, making no demands, never unionizing,, needing no retirement or medical benefits. Actually, though, capitalists want robots because capitalists care about freedom and want to help young blacks.

A cynic might see this as intellectual scaffolding for social Darwinism and unaccountability–see, it’s all due to the workings of the market. and the capitalist is only a bystander  But no. It is about freedom., and justice, and all.

Among the fantastic trappings of—”free enterprise” sounds nicer than “capitalism,” doesn’t it?–is that it rewards hard work and determination which if pursued will lead to prosperity. This is both believed and beloved by many who believe it in part because for them it performed as described. The intelligent, healthy, ambitious and–a major advantage–unscrupulous can usually get ahead. And so, talking with others like themselves, they ask, “If I can do it, why can’t they?” The underlying notion is that the poor are poor because they are lazy and lack ambition. Some fit the description. Lots don’t.

Here we come to Commentator’s Disease, epidemic and among talking heads and columnists.

A woman of my acquaintance once said, “In Washington, you assume that everybody is in the 99th percentile.” Decompressed from the apothegmatic, it is true. Cognitive stratification is  very real, though seldom noticed and never mentioned. The city attracts the highly bright. They hang out together. They date. They marry. They don’t know anybody who is not like them. The same  holds in many places, and on the web, but Washington is where policy comes from.

By and large they are neither arrogant nor snobs. Since they are all in the same bracket, snobbery would be difficult. They include a great many journalists. It is fun to speak of the press as imbeciles, but, apart perhaps from babble-blonde anchors chosen for their looks,  they are not. The duller probably clock an IQ of 120. Even at dismal publications like Army Times and Federal Computer Week, with both of which I was once familiar, you find very smart people.

What has this to do with the minimum wage? A fair amount. People of IQ 130 and up tend to assume unconsciously–important word: “unconsciously”–that you can do anything just by doing it. If they wanted to learn Sanskrit, they would get a textbook and go for it. It would take time and effort but the outcome would never be in doubt. Yes, of course they understand that some people are smarter than others, but they often seem not to grasp how much smarter, or what the consequences are. A large part of the population can’t learn-much of anything. Not won’t. Can’t. Displaced auto workers cannot be retrained as IT professionals. 

Few of the very bright have have ever had to make the unhappy calculation: Forty times a low minimum wage minus bus fare to work, rent, food, medical care, and cable. They have never had to choose between a winter coat and cable, their only entertainment. They don’t really know that many people do. Out of sight, out of mind.

Cognitive stratification has political consequences. It leads liberals to think that their client groups can go to college. It leads conservatives to think that with hard work and determination…..

It ain’t so. An economic system that works reasonably well when there are lots of simple jobs doesn’t when there aren’t. In particular, the large number of people at IQ 90 and below will increasingly be simply unnecessary. If you are, say, a decent, honest young woman of IQ 85, you probably read poorly, learn slowly and only simple things,. Being promoted, or even hired,  requires abilities that you do not have. This, plus high (and federally concealed) unemployment allows employers to pay you barely enough to stay alive. Here is the wondrous working of the market.

As the stock market reaches new highs and the nation’s wealth concentrates in fewer and fewer hands, we hear that a rising tide floats all boats. This is fine if you have a boat.  Maybe it only looks as though capitalists flourish while the middle class sinks and the welfare rolls grow and kids have to live at home and they will have no retirement. Well, some boats leak, I guess.

When the theorists of free enterprise imagine that our dim-witted young lady should be permitted the freedom to sell her labor for what it is worth, they do not worry that her labor isn’t worth enough to feed her. Some who say this simply do not understand what her life is going to be if she is paid what her labor is worth. Others, with the lack of empathy that characterizes conservatives, don’t care. If you look at the godawful conditions of their employees in the sweatshops of, say, Bangladesh, you will see that not caring is common. Let them eat cake.

The question arises: What does the country do with the large and growing number of people whose labor is worth nothing? Or, perhaps more accurately, whose labor isn’t needed? We see this in the cities today. An illiterate kid in Detroit has no value at all in the market for labor. Assuming that he wants to work, a questionable assumption, what then? Endlessly expanding welfare? What about the literate, averagely intelligent kid for whom there are no jobs? If people working in McDonald’s can barely live on their wages, and strike, or the state institutes a higher minimum wage, McDonald’s will automate their jobs, is automating their jobs, and conservatives will exult—the commie bastards got what they asked for. 

This is capitalism in its perfection. 

War, Football, and Realism: If Any

War may be thought of in two ways. First, as a football game between armies, in which the function of the citizenry is to cheer for the home team. In football, success is measured in points scored, yardage gained, brilliance of play, and time of possession. In war as football, it is battles won, enemies killed, territory conquered. The crucial goal is to defeat the other side’s armed forces. Doing so constitutes victory.

To one who sees war in this wary, as militaries invariably do, America will always come out ahead on points since we fight only countries hopelessly inferior in military terms. In Vietnam, Laos, Iraq, and Afghanistan the US killed vastly more people than it suffered dead, won almost all battles by overwhelming material  superiority, and easily captured any territory it chose.

By this reasoning, it can be argued that America won in Vietnam. When the GIs pulled out, the South was a functioning country by the standards of the Third World. The Viet Cong were still  blowing up bridges, but Saigon was repairing them. The VC had no chance of conquering the country unaided. America had won.

One may also view war otherwise, as an element in a  struggle in which one country seeks to make another country do something it wants. Victory consists in accomplishing this. In Vietnam, America–or, important distinction, the US government–wanted to prevent South Vietnam from falling to the Communists. The North wanted the US to go away so that it could conquer the South. The US went, and the North conquered. It got what it wanted. The North won, QED.

From the footballer’s point of view, the United States won in Iraq. It killed huge numbers of people while losing few, destroyed whole cities, and never lost a battle. Yet it got none of the things it wanted: a puppet government, permanent large military bases, and the oil. A dead loss. If anybody won, they were Israel and Iran. In Afghanistan, America as usual devastated the country and killed hugely and with impunity, thus winning the football game–but accomplished nothing.

To those who see war as football, the principal target is the enemy’s military. To those who see war as a means of making the other side do something, the aim is to destroy the enemy’s will to fight. This includes the will of the enemy’s population.

In Vietnam, the North knew it had no chance of decisively defeating American forces. It might, however, drag the war on and on, and on, and on, steadily inflicting casualties, until the enemy’s will to fight collapsed. In the North, this was a deliberate strategy. To win in the sense of making the US do what it wanted, it didn’t have to win militarily. It just had to keep from losing–and inflict casualties, and casualties, and casualties. It suffered many more dead than it inflicted, but it had the will to keep fighting. And inflict casualties. And casualties.

There were about sixty kids in my graduating class at King George High School , Virginia, in 1964. Doug Grey died with a 12.7 round through the head. Studley Franklin, paraplegic. Ricky Reed, face full of shrapnel and severe eye damage. Chip Thompson, neck wounds. At least two others, whom I won’t name, became severe alcoholics. Many others went. Everyone knew all of these kids.

The military, with its football mindset, expects the public to rally round the flag and support the wars. As the antiwar rallies grew and became huge, and kids fled to Canada and sought deferments and hid in the Navy, the military felt betrayed. To this day many veterans remain bitter at what they see as treason, cowardice, lack of patriotism. They were fighting and dying, seeing friends bleeding to death, choking on their own blood, burned alive in flaming Amtracs–and college kids were smoking dope and getting laid and chanting “Hell no, we won’t got.” The vets were, and are, embittered. They won, they believe, but the hippies and lefties stabbed them in the back.

And this was what the North Vietnamese counted on. They couldn’t bomb American cities, as America was bombing theirs, but they could keep the body bags flowing. Two hundred dead a week was a modest figure, with others mutilated, and they came back to towns and cities in bags or wheel chairs. Many of them told friends, “Don’t go. It’s godawful. It’s pointless. Don’t go.” It added up. It was a Cold Warrior’s war, and a high-school kid’s fight.

America’s will to fight crumbled, exactly as the North hoped. They–you can read this in their documents from the war–knew what they were doing.

I was on campus for some years of this, both before and after going to Asia as a Marine. The boys didn’t want to fight in a remote war that meant nothing to them. Their girlfriends were against it. Usually their parents agreed. In Vietnam itself morale flagged. Fraggings came. Mutinies and things perilously close occurred.

Tet came. Seeing war as football, many insist, correctly, that Tet was a military disaster for the North. Vietnamese losses were huge and the Americans, taken by surprise,  retook everything they had lost with comparative ease.

But, in the all-important terms of the will to fight, it was an American disaster. Soldiers don’t understand this. It convinced much of the American public–whether rightly or wrongly doesn’t matter at all–that the US was not winning and couldn’t win.

America declared victory and left–the first part of what the North wanted. In 1975 when Ban Me Thuot fell and the NVA rolled South, the more warlike in America wanted to send the Air Force to save the South and said that the US had weakened its allies by not supplying them with fuel and so on. Some said that the Democrats in Congress were treasonous and should be tried. As you like. But the public was so sick of that war than any attempt to restart it was going to have Congressmen hanging from lamp posts.

The strategy of the North, which might be regarded as a form of psywar, had worked.

Can America be defeated this way again? Unlikely. The all-voluntary military means that body bags will contain only elements of society that the ruling classes don’t care about. Wars now chiefly involve bombing enemies who have no way of fighting back. Reliance on drones means no casualties at all, and the use of robots in ground combat, long a pipe dream, is nearing reality. The media are under control. America still loses its wars in the sense of not getting what it wants, but the public doesn’t care and you cannot sap a drone’s will. Here is the lesson of Vietnam.

Evolution and Refrigerators: New Insights

“Behavioral genetics” is a science that seeks to demonstrate a physiological and genetic basis for human behavior—for liberalism versus conservatism and for religion versus irreligion, among countless other traits.

Some of it is well established, though not known to the general public, and other parts more-or-less established. Inevitably all of it is attributed to evolution and natural selection, the relevant discipline being called “evolutionary psychology.” The more serious devotees insist that all human traits are heritable—i.e., genetic—as well as derived by natural selection.

Perhaps because I am genetically obtuse, there are parts of the evolutionary tale that I don’t understand.  Herewith some questions I am powerless to answer, in hopes that someone will help me. I look for concrete, demonstrable, provable answers, not vague, speculative, metaphysical ones.

(1) I do not understand populational altruism from the standpoint of behavioral genetics or evolutionary psychology. Populations in numerical decline—the French, for example—intentionally import genetically very distinct and faster-breeding peoples. Sweden, perhaps the whitest of nations, deliberately imports black Africans, and Germany, Moslems. The United States focuses its domestic policy on the upkeep of a black population.

What selective pressures bring this about? What is the reproductive advantage for the host populations? And since all traits are genetic, not having children must be the result of natural selection.  That is, the reproductive advantage of not having children was so great that it spread rapidly through whole populations.

(2 ) Human evolution is said to be “ongoing”, and “both copious and rapid.” While any dog-breeder can attest that selection, natural or otherwise, can produce great genetic changes, I wonder why 2500 years of this rapid natural selection haven’t.

Romans and Greeks in the statuary of Praxiteles and Phidias, as well as Roman copies of Greek works, look just like us. Writers and thinkers of classical times both in style and cast of mind read like moderns: Plato, Xenophon, Aristotle, Archimedes, Julius Caesar, Ovid, Papinian, Ulpian, all the gang. The sense of humor is the same: Juvenal could be Mencken’s (very) long-lost brother. The ancients spent their time as we do,  making war on anyone within reach. Twenty-five hundred years of rapid evolution seem to have produced a net of zero.

(3) Does not rapid evolution require intense selective pressure? What are these pressures? That is, pressures strong enough to cause greater rates of reproduction? In societies such as the white European, nearly everyone marries, nearly everyone has small families, and nearly everyone lives past reproductive age. This would seem to reduce selective pressures based on differential rates of survival and reproduction.

Would not such evolution as still occurred do so through things like assortative mating, in which for example the smart marry the smart, producing a caste of the increasingly bright? Do not liberals marry liberals, and conservatives conservatives, thus concentrating the genes for their respective furies? One does not easily imagine Bernie Sanders (or anyone, for that matter) marrying Ann Coulter.

(4) I do not understand the behavioral genetics of sexual selection.

For example, why do women have breasts? They are, as we say, a waste of metabolic resources, unnecessary for nursing young (neither chimps nor dogs have breasts except when nursing), and make running difficult (we have sports bras for a reason). That is, they are both useless and detrimental. Why do they remain in the population?

Well, see, it’s because men like them. This allows well-endowed women to mate with better men, and have more offspring. (The idea that a comparatively planar women can’t get laid suggests that behavioral geneticists need to get out more, but never mind.) Then why in 2500 years have not big hooters become general in the population? Or even common? And of course if they did become general they would lose their selective advantage since all women would have them. They would then constitute a species-wide disadvantage.

As a minor matter, I do not see how the masculine preference for big ones came about. In a population of cave people with flat women, presumably the response to the mutational appearance of biggies would have been, “Geez, Urk Urk, what’s wrong with Sally?” “Beats me, Ralph. Maybe it’s cancer.”

That is, big breasts would only be an advantage in the presence of a preexisting preference for them. But why a preference before there was anything for it to prefer?

(5) It seems to me that evolution currently takes place chiefly not through selective pressures but through the lack of them. For example, diabetes is said to be becoming much more common in because medicine keeps diabetics alive long enough to reproduce. Another example is intelligence, which is said to have fallen fifteen points of average IQ because the stupid dysgenically have many more children than the smart. (Of course, proponents of the Flynn Effect say that IQ has risen fifteen points. Either would have had huge observable effects, and hasn’t, but never mind.)

In short we are seeing the survival of the least fit, in both individuals and races, which seems a bit bass-ackward in Darwinian terms. And, again, since all traits are genetic, failure to reproduce and the encouragement of deleterious traits are products of natural selection.

(6) If traits that make for survival spread through a population, it follows that traits that do not spread do not make for survival. These would seem to include intelligence, physical prowess, and acute senses. Genes exist in the population—mutations not needed—for the phenomenal physical plant of Mohammed Ali, the intelligence of Hawking, the eyesight of Ted Williams, and so on. They remain exceedingly rare, and not obviously more common than they were in the time of Thucydides.

Meanwhile, traits of little or no advantage do become general. The epicanthial fold, for example, which makes the Chinese slant-eyed. This is said to be of advantage in survival by, according to who  you talk to, either conserving energy or protecting the eyes from icy winds. I am unaware of actual evidence for either, but then I am unaware of many things.

If any advantage exists, it is vanishingly small. Do we really believe that people with squinty eyes had more children than the merely round-eyed?

(7) I do not understand the concept of the “dysgenic” and the “eugenic.”  Both seem to imply value judgements–that evolution is going in a good or a bad direction. This smacks of teleology, entelechy. I thought evolution had no direction and that it could be neither good nor bad.  It is the mindless, undirected adjustment of a system to its circumstances.

For example, the anthropologist Peter Frost argues, perhaps correctly, that North Europeans have become less violent because the hanging over centuries of violent criminals has reduced the genetic tendency to violence. He regards this as an improvement—as do I, if it has happened. But how is it an improvement in the sense of evolution, which has no such conception of betterment?

(8) Again, some behavioral geneticists assert that all human behavior is heritable—i.e., is to a large extent determined by genetics. Our behavior changes as our genes evolve. Weill, all right. You can breed dogs to be aggressive or friendly.

Yet obviously many sorts of human behavior change far too profoundly and rapidly for natural selection to be responsible. For example, Europe has gone from very to barely religious, sexual mores in America from highly restrictive to anything goes, family size in Mexico from fifteen-and-starve to two-and-university.

This, say the genetic determinists, happens because genes express themselves differently in different environments: same genes but different circumstances.

This means, if I do not misunderstand them, that genes (inferred rather than demonstrated) for one behavior are, under the influence of unspecified changes in the environment, genes for precisely opposite behavior—from belief to disbelief, large families to small, prudishness to libertinism. And what pressures cause this turnaround?


Yes. If a Mexican girl from a family of fifteen moves into the middle class and gets a refrigerator (and simultaneously the means to support a large family of her own) she has two children and sends them to university. Here is a fruitful field for further study: The Darwinian effects of Kelvinators. Exactly how kitchen appliances drastically alter the expression of genes for reproduction eludes me. It is also curious that prosperity is a contraceptive: Reproduction is inversely proportional to the means of supporting it.

Clearly I do not understand evolutionary psychology. This, I suspect, can equally be said of evolutionary psychologists.

My Biochemistry Made Me Do It: Confessions of a Genetic Subroutine

Ages ago I read Hare and Cleckley on psychopaths, they then being canonical on the matter. Psychopathy tended to be somewhat vaguely defined but usually included lack of empathy, remorse, conscience, and the like. Today, it seems to be detectable. For example, say researchers, if you put a normal person on a polygraph and read him words like bread, tree, mountain, torture, dogs, and sidewalk, there will be a sharp response to “torture” but not to the neutral words. Psychopaths don’t have that response. This would seem to tie in with a lack of empathy.

Recent years have seen vast amounts of research into physical correlates of psychopathy as well as non-pathological traits of mind such as conservatism and liberalism. (Actually I’m inclined to regard both as pathological, but the demands of columnistic solemnity here prevent me from saying so.) One random example from the multitude, here. Further, men’s and women’s brains proved different. The differences are both anatomical, in size of different parts of the brain, and functional, as shown by fMRI scans.

By now this is old news, except perhaps to the general public. It seems to explain why conservatives all believe certain logically unrelated things, and liberals other logically unrelated things. For example, if you favor gun control, you very likely favor abortion, immigration, affirmative action, and sexual minorities. If you oppose gun control, your views will likely be the opposite. Political positions begin to look hard-wired.

Supporting the view, though hardly scientifically, is that in some four decades of writing columns of one sort and another, I  remember only two or three readers who said that I had changed their minds on a matter of fundamental importance (the righteousness of America’s wars, for example). Columnists are often called “opinion leaders,” but actually our function seems to be to tell our readers what they already believe in stirring prose. Opinions generally are fixed, impervious to fact.

If brain scans can detect psychopathy, or if crazed mass-murderers have distinctive patterns of neural activity, what should we do when we detect such traits? Should we detect them?

Should we routinely screen, say, students in high school?  It might prevent some baffled Ritalin-head from shooting half the school. But what do we do with the kid? Put him preemptively in jail? He hasn’t done anything wrong. He might never do anything wrong.

Psychopaths do enormous harm, only occasionally by outbursts of violence, but prophylactic incarceration does not fit well with our notions of how society should be run.

What if research shows that certain people have certain probabilities of antisocial behavior? Little Johnny, age thirteen, has a twenty-five percent chance, or fifty percent, or ninety percent chance of violent criminality. Do we jail him, tattoo his forehead, make him report to a parole officer? If his nature becomes public, it will keep him from being hired or, probably, getting married. If the condition is heritable, do we forbid him, or her, to reproduce?

Our legal system relies on the  fallacious notion that if a man commits armed robbery, but serves his prison sentence, he is now a normal citizen. To those in law enforcement, it is well known that career criminals are exactly that, and will continue offending until perhaps their late thirties. They commit wildly disproportionate amounts of crime, usually starting around puberty. This underlies the badly-applied three-strikes-and-you-are-out laws.

But if brain scans reveal that some prisoners are highly likely to offend again, and perhaps kill someone, what do we then do? Should we base a life sentence on what a man might do rather than on anything he has actually done? On something that he may not do?

Knowing that a person is disposed to behave undesirably, and that the condition is heritable, as twin studies so often suggest, would inevitably lead to thoughts of eugenics. The idea is in bad odor nowadays, but might be less so in the case of preventing the production of multiple Teds Bundy.

There are of course levels of eugenics. A woman who marries a smart man partly in hopes of having intelligent children is practicing eugenics. If at a sperm bank she opts for that of a physicist, she is engaging in eugenics. So are a couple who refrain from having children, having learned they the offspring would have a genetic disease. Sterilizing the feeble-minded is eugenics, as is killing them. The spread is from common practice to first-degree murder.

The implications of genetic determinism for normal people, whatever exactly that means, are considerable. I like to think that I reach my political conclusions through godlike intelligence, unimpeachable logic, and exact information,  all bathed in a rich syrup of peerless virtue. Now it turns out that I am just some mutt running a genetic program, probably written in Dartmouth Basic, not under my control. I am no autonomously enlightened than one of those lugubrious twerps at Salon.

The implications for commentators are grim. If we learn that our passionate support for capitalism, or passionate lack of support for it, is no more the product of thought than having blond hair? There go the book royalties. Webmasters could replace us with software.

Genetic determinism, or at any rate predisposition, can have detonative consequences.  If the conservative’s tendency toward paranoia and truculent tribalism (as distinguished from the liberal’s characteristic googooing inattention to realty) is innate, we will have wars as long as we have generals. (It would be interesting to do brain scans of four-star generals. I recommend Xanax and a double Scotch before looking at the results.)

The Pentagon is notorious for finding existential threats to the United States everywhere: In Ukraine, in the South China Sea, in Syria, under the bed. Commies, terrorists, Chinamen, Islam, Russia and, off the record, Jews. Since their expressions of concern usually precede the cry, “Send money,” it is easy to dismiss their alarums as budgetary pretexts. But if soldiers are hard-wired to seek wars, what then? Their military decisions will be no more rational that a pit bull’s to bite.

And of course under brain-scan determinism there would be fruitful fields for abuse. A Democratic congress would find all Republicans to be potential serial killers and institutionalize them to promote public safety, probably after a forethoughtful sterilization.  (Pondering the Senate Armed Services Committee, I can see the attraction of the idea. But that way lies fascism.) (Still….)

I need a Xanax. And a double Scotch.

It Cometh from the Pit:And Hath a Knout

Once upon a time there was a fairy kingdom that lived inside a place called The Beltway, and was surrounded on all four sides by a land called America. The Beltway was aligned with another kingdom called Manhattan, inhabited by disembodied heads that spoke from the walls of bars, and with with yet another closed kingdom called Hollywood, the abode of  half-educated narcissists. These kingdoms were in eternal political syzygy, and spoke not with the people of the surrounding lands, of whom they knew nothing. The following is a chronicle of what befell them, and why.

After years of peace, the Kingdoms were taken greatly aback by the rise of the Trump Monster, their surprise being proof that they knew nothing of the surrounding lands. They knew nothing for good reasons, of which there were two. The first was that they passed their lives with each other and among each other and talking to each other and writing about each other and reading about each other behind the high walls of their kingdoms. In organs like National Review and The Weekly Standard they endlessly wrote stories of the form “A soothsayer in Manhattan replies to what some  other sayer of sooths said about yet another’s  attack on still another  magician.”

They had all dwelt in monasteries called Harvard and Princeton, where they learned that they were the wisest of men, and inerrant. They had no idea that they were hated in the strange lands without the walls, which on their maps were drawn as fog with notations such as “Here dwelleth dragons.” They did not know that there were people who agreed not with them. For were they not right about all things?

The other reason for their puzzlement was a powerful spell called “Political Correctness.” This strong magic prevented the outlanders from saying anything that the Three Kingdoms did not want to hear. Anyone who engaged in incantations called “slurs,” which were truthful thoughts about sacred tribes, or who said Inappropriate Things about a certain little country whose only importance was being that little country, was thrown into durance vile. Thus the Three Kingdoms never heard anything they didn’t like, and so believed that almost everyone without the walls loved them. They had scarce an idea what furies were roiling and boiling and stirring under the surface of the Outer Realms.

Now, until the Trump Monster appeared, America was ruled by a pseudo-democracy of one bicephalous party with two names. The Only Party consisted of blackguards and Quislings and pickpockets bought and paid for by the plutocratic oligarchy of large corporations, AIPAC,  and the. very rich. These told the two halves of the One Party what to do. Every four years there was played  a great tournament in which candidates of the Two Names of the One Party engaged in the most savage combat imaginable.  This was to distract the people outside the walls . Afterwards nothing changed and all went on as before, though the division of the spoils shifted a bit.

And in their ignorance and pride the Three Kingdoms engendered a monster called Trump, and it bit them.

The Only Party had always controlled the villeins because it controlled the choice of pretenders to the throne. A pretender gained the Presidency by buying it, and the rich who provided that money controlled as vassals those who accepted their money. The pretenders were as straw and melons sold in a market.

Furthermore, the scribes and oracles of the Kingdoms said aloud only those things that were meet for the surrounding peasantry to hear.  The puissant spell of Political Correctness amounted to a societal mute button and prevented the Holy Orders within the Three Kingdoms from  noticing what stirred without.

Until the Trump Monster came raging, slouching toward Bethlehem, with which the Kingdoms confused themselves.

And there was afright and desperation and rending of teeth and gnashing of hair  for many were the rice bowls threatened.

The darkest of horrors was that the serfs  might come to choose the manner of their government. For long years the Bicephalous Party had presided over that most desirable form of democracy, in which the people had no power. This laudable state they had maintained by never talking about anything of substance, such as unending wars in remote lands beyond the edges of the maps, or the importation of slaves from curious and unwholesome countries or the manufactures of all things by foreign dwarves.

A great broil ensured. The people saw for the first time a chance to manage their destinies and rose up for the Trump Monster.  Inside the Beltway, the Wise and Good–for did they not so denominate themselves?–were greatly astonished. “What manner of wight can this be?” they asked in wonder. They said that the Trump Monster was beguiling fools, the cracked, and those who represented the worst in America. And the scribes and oracles were sore afraid, for most of the outlying populace appeared to belong to these tribes.

One of the Two Names of the One Party, the Democrats, sent forth a dreadful creature called Hillary to fight in single combat with the Trump Monster. Her very visage turned men to stone, it was said. She was held to be of one blood with Boadicea, Jeanne d’Arc, Lucretia Borgia, and Bonnie Parker.

The Three Kingdoms were at one with her, as she was corrupt, mendacious, criminal, and ugly, as well as suffering coughing fits and dizzy spells. Surely, said the scribes and oracles, any monster must fly screaming from her mere presence.

Yet it seemed that the Trump was no common monster. Every time he was beset by the scribes and oracles of the Beltway, he grew stronger, and a sulfurous smoke breathed from his mouth. With drawn swords the Trump Monster and the crumbling ruin yclept Hillary circled each other.

And beyond the parapets and crenellations of the Three Kingdoms the sky grew darker. Inside the Beltway and in Manhattan, the disembodied heads railed and raged, but with every blast the helots jointed the Trump Monster in larger numbers, for they hated the Insiders. In Hollywood the Half-Educated Narcissists said ever stupider things, but these had not their usual effect.

In their pride the Three Kingdoms had engendered Nemesis, and they watched in terror behind the ramparts as the sky grew darker and strange shapes twisted in the looming clouds and the Trump Monster strode ever nearer, breathing fire.