Category: Politics

New Mother Cabrini Statue Next on the Hit List

Plus More HSP, Gardening Corner, and Louis Prima

I’m impressed: New York City erected a statue of Mother Cabrini yesterday in Battery Park. I hope they put it behind a huge fence and appoint an armed guard to protect it. I mean, it’s such a testament to western imperialism: Mother Cabrini, with all her orphan grandstanding and caring for the sick, as if she were doing anything except spreading the poison of Catholicism.

Antifa, you’ve been challenged! This country doesn’t need any more white statues!

Of course, Mother Cabrini was Italian and, about 100 years ago, many Americans considered Italians “people of color.” Thaddeus Russell recounts it in his excellent Renegade History of the United States.

Indeed, it would seem Italians back then were much darker, at least some of them, like Louie Prima, who risked losing gigs at white establishments because owners thought he was black.

And regardless, the Italians, like the Irish, were held in such low esteem, they might as well have been black (interesting parallels about our country’s horrible treatment of “out” groups can be found in Sowell’s most-excellent Ethnic America and Russell’s book). They were so “on the outside” that their cultures mixed and there was a degree of respect (but also the racial tension from being put into close proximity with one another . . . see this movie clip placed in 1964 Brooklyn).

Well, regardless of all that and such a rich and complex history of race relations, I’m not optimistic the Left will much care. Mobs aren’t known for their subtle art of discernment. That Cabrini statue is at risk, as evidenced by the fact that, when NYC started its “She Built NYC” Commission to build more female statues, it initially declined to erect one to Mother Cabrini, Read the rest

The Fascist


For those who haven’t made it over the TDE Twitter account, fascinating excerpts from Thaddeus Russell’s Renegade History:

“[W]hen the New Deal was created, few of its supporters in the United States were as effusive in their praise as were German and Italian fascists.”

“Both Roosevelt and Hitler came to power in the depths of the Depression, and both argued that their extraordinary accumulation of authority and the establishment of a martial society were necessary in a time that was as perilous, they claimed, as war.”

“Another group that was overwhelmingly supportive of Italian fascism was American big business.”

“Roosevelt also had many loyal supporters. One of his admirers sent word to the White House encouraging the president to stand his ground and be proud of his ‘heroic efforts in the interests of the American people.’ The president’s ssuccessful battle against economic distress,’ wrote the German chancellor, Adolf Hitler, ‘is being followed by the entire German people with interest and admiration.'”… Read the rest


Look Homewrad, America: In Search of Reactionary Radicals and Front-Porch Anarchists by Bill Kauffman. If there’s been a better book for promoting the Principle of Subsidiarity in the past twenty years, I don’t know of it. I put Kauffman in the same league as John Zmirak: young, brilliant writers who don’t get enough press (they’re in Tom Woods’ league, but Woods gets press).

The whole book pushes a fundamental truth: small is good, especially in the political sphere. I often describe myself as a “regionalist.” When people ask me what that means, I can simply refer to Kauffman’s definition (which he lifted from the artist, Grant Wood): “Each section has a personality of its own, in physiography, industry, psychology. . . When different regions develop characteristics of their own, they will come into competition with each other, and out of this competition a rich American culture will grow.”

Such a vision, of course, is anathema to the centralists. They don’t want individuality, eccentricity, or regionalism. When they see those things, they see selfishness, bigotry, and racism. If a trait doesn’t fit their vision of how America should be, they ham-handedly try to stomp it out. Selfishness, bigotry, and racism ought to be eliminated, of course, but it’s a delicate thing. By uprooting those weeds, you uproot the entire forest and toss it in the dumpster. It’s far better to let those weeds get eradicated on their own because, far from being noxious weeds that destroy things around it, they more resemble harmless weeds that nobler cultivars in the vicinity can overcome if merely given enough time.

Read the rest


Miscellaneous Rambling

“Alteration between centralized and decentralized power is one of the cyclical rhythms of history, as if men tired alternately of immoderate liberty and excessive order.” Will Durant, Our Oriental Heritage.

So where would we place the United States on this pendulum?

Swinging hard toward excessive order, I’m afraid, after enjoying freedom for the first couple of hundred years (from colonial times until the Civil War, when the national government started its first serious forays into power).

But are we witnessing “excessive order”? I suspect Durant missed one key libertarian insight (brought home–recently, by intellectual history standards–by Hoppe’s Democracy, the God that Failed): centralization of power results in inequitable distribution of wealth (read: looting by the State, for the benefit of its allies (read: for the benefit of Wall Street and its favored institutions, like higher education and the medical establishment)) and other unfortunate phenomena, but it doesn’t result in “excessive order.” Far from it. As the breakdown of the USSR established: centralization of power leads to dissolution of society. Society is the adhesive that holds individuals together in a flexible order. As it breaks down, disorder spreads, which is hugely unfortunate since the order imposed by society is not an involuntary order, like the ersatz order imposed by the State and its police force. The order of society is largely voluntary: if you choose not to participate in that order, you might be ostracized and face economic consequences; you might even be viewed as a freak. But you’re not put behind bars. The ersatz order of the State can impose only the sanctions of violence: fines, jail, and death–and the threat thereof. By comparison, the sanctions imposed by the order of society are mild and to be preferred. … Read the rest



The IRS official will take The Fifth. How special. * * * * * * * I’m glad we turned health care over to the IRS. No risks there. * * * * * * * So now the Obama White House is engaged in three scandals. * * * * * * * I have a theory: The Powers that Be want two strong, yet roughly equal, political parties. When one party starts to get too strong, the Powers bring it down a notch. These scandals picked up considerable steam right around the time that preliminary polling indicated that the Democrats would pick up seats in the 2014 elections. * * * * * * * Why do the Powers want to two parties? Simple: It keeps out third parties, and the Powers have the two ascendant parties under their thumb. If they get third party mavericks in there, they might lose their grip. * * * * * * * In fact, I think the Democrats want a viable Republican party and vice-versa. Why? The same reason: It keeps out third-party candidates. If two parties are viable, a vote for any other candidate is merely a wasted vote. Just a theory, of course, but I suspect it’s valid. … Read the rest


The Vote Neareth

“A state is a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.” Max Weber.

The new issue of Gilbert Magazine arrived yesterday. My friend Dale Ahlquist is taking some serious (though charitable) abuse in the letters to the editor. In a previous issue, Dale wrote a biting editorial about the state of American politics, pointing out that it’s largely a fraud and stating that he’s not voting this November (my paraphrase).

I was surprised to see the editorial. Even when Dale and I communicated regularly, we never talked politics. I had no idea that he and I had basically reached the same conclusions and, given GKC’s support of democracy, I just assumed he was a staunch voter of one stripe or another. But no. Dale, too, has seen through the maya that is the American political system. It doesn’t matter who wins this November. Nothing is getting rolled back; government will keep getting bigger; Wall Street will get richer and entitlement programs will continue to expand. It is what the Powers want (we can discuss some time else who those “Powers” might be, but I’m the first to admit that my political atheism gets a little faith-based on this point).

Do you think this election will really make a difference? Let me ask you this: When has a government welfare program ever been rolled back or eliminated? When has government ever not come to the aid of big business? The only example I can think of comes from the 1990s: Clinton’s (a Democrat) welfare reform. And that example is awfully lame, as evidenced by the continued rise of the food stamp program.

Dale’s point, and my point, isn’t that Romney is a bad guy (it’s hard to … Read the rest


Bailout Podcast

Real good podcast over at Econtalk: Neil Barofsky, talking about his new book, Bailout. Barofsky was an insider to the whole TARP operation, working as “Special Inspector General” in the Treasury. Barofsky is, from what I can tell (judging solely from the podcast), a government guy. He believes in the government, even the federal government. Indeed, he seems to put too much faith in the government (though his faith has been rattled), but the whole TARP situation was insidious and he knows it. It’s just another instance of the Hudge and Gudge problem that Chesterton and others have been pointing out for years: big business and big government collude to screw the rest of the country.

Here’s Barofsky’s (too generous to the government) take:

This is part of the problem that existed then and continues to exist today, is that because of this revolving door between Washington and Wall Street, you have a government, and the Treasury Department and federal regulators like the Federal Reserve, that is so captured by the interests of Wall Street, so familiar, that when you are within a crisis or when you are crafting legislation or when you are designing a bailout program, as I saw time and time again, you go to those people for advice and guidance and your information. And not surprisingly, when they provide you that advice and guidance, it is mostly in the interests of those Wall Street banks. Not necessarily in the interest of the taxpayer or the general Main Street or the rest of the country that is supposed to be benefiting. So, I think that there is a lot of asymmetrical information flow that comes from Wall Street into Washington; and because of where these people come from and also who they surround themselves

Read the rest


notebooks.jpgFrom the Notebooks

The Nock on Babbitt?

It’s interesting that Sinclair Lewis labeled the repressed character in Babbitt after Irving Babbitt, the Harvard professor from Ohio who emphasized that, for America to survive, men must restrain their appetites. Lewis’ use of the eponym was meant as an insult to Professor Babbitt. The term “Babbitt” subsequently became synonymous with a narrow-minded sort of smalltown provincialism that is more concerned with how the local high school football team does than with art and higher pursuits.

Nock repeatedly knocks “Babbittry,” so much so that I have taken my copy of Babbitt off the shelf and have started reading it. He, for instance, says “I am all for frying Babbitt over a slow fire.” In this and other passages, I believe he is referring to the symbol “Babbitt,” rather than Irving himself, but at times, it’s difficult to tell.

If Nock disliked Professor Babbitt, it seems odd. I’m not well-acquainted with Babbitt’s philosophy, and I don’t see myself ever reading his seven volume Democracy and Leadership (such a pursuit is reserved for that day when a private patron decides to subsidize my leisure for the greater good of mankind), but the general tone of his thinking, at least as presented in Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind, seems to overlap a lot with Nock’s.

Babbitt, Kirk wrote, believed that preoccupation with things economic would make our culture superficial. He referred to the “great greasy paw” of commercialism, lamenting that it was sullying everything in America. Such a lament is wholly consistent with Nock’s observation that “economism” (the belief or attitude that the material things in life are paramount) was ruining America.

Babbitt also pointed out that it’s a mistake to think that democracy and imperialism are inimical . . . just as anyone in … Read the rest