One consequence that we’ve all experienced: when you elect a street fighter, you get street fights.
Another consequence that terrorists are experiencing: when you elect a street-fighter patriot, terrorists die.
President Trump tonight reminded so many of us why we elected him. Because he’s a street fighter. Because he’s a patriot. Because there are bad people who wish us harm, and Donald Trump is okay with killing them.
I am okay with killing them, too. By the scores. By the barrel. By the megaton. By any means necessary. Kill those terrorist bastards, kill them all.
Tonight, President Trump delivered the best speech of his life. As a veteran, this speech made me wish I could go back in. (I’m a little too old.)
Trump’s speech was moving, inspirational, and, most shockingly, humble.
I’m normally against incursions, but I’m down with this. I’m down with Trump.
I wasn’t against incursions when I was younger. But I have two sons serving right now. One in Guam. Another in the Persian Gulf. I pray for them every day. I pray to see them again. I pray they serve well, but I know they will. I pray for the day get to take the two blue stars off my window. And never replace them with a gold one. Some might say I sort of have skin in this game.
Either of them could end up involved in Trump’s Afghanistan strategy. But I firmly believe that this president and this cabinet can do what their predecessors failed to do. Trump and Mattis can wipe out the terrorists. So I’m down.
One line meant a lot to me.
“We are not nation building again. We are killing terrorists.“
That’s what it’s all about.
Killing the fucking terrorists. Wherever they might hide.
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CNN screwed up. And it reminds me of an incident from 1970.
A headline writer admitted that the Antifa terror group seeks “peace through violence.” Later, presumably after receiving threats from Antifa terrorists, CNN removed the “peace through violence” sub-head.
But the damage was done. CNN stumbled onto real news. Real news that exposes Antifa’s terrorist aims.
Before we get to the dangers of normalizing political violence, aka “terrorism,” let’s remember a famous party. A party for radicals. Radicals who were adored by limousine liberals in the 1960s. A party to raise money for the Black Panther Party.
Leonard and Felicia Bernstein. (STEIN!, not STEEN!)
Leonard and Felicia Bernstein, two of the limousiniest of the limousine liberals, held a fundraising party on behalf of the Black Panthers. The year was 1969. And, like all good liberals, the Bernsteins invited several reporters to cover the story. Included in the press pool were a New York Times society page writer and Tom Wolfe.
After the story broke in the New York Times, the Bernsteins became the laughing stock of society for a few months. The damage to their reputation was so sharp and severe the season of Radical Chic died quickly. Perhaps because even Lenny Bernstein saw the Black Panthers for what they were. What Antifa is: terrorists.
“It is not easy to discern a consistent political philosophy among the Black Panthers, but it is reasonably clear that they are advocating violence against their fellow citizens, the downfall of Israel, the support of Al Fatah and other similarly dangerous and ill-conceived pursuits. To all of these concepts I am vigorously opposed and will fight against them as hard as I can.”
So why did he host a fundraiser for the Panthers?
Perhaps because he wanted to look cool and hip. According to Wolfe, New York’s high society fell in love with radicals in the 1960s. One expression of their fascination was dinner parties. Elegant dinner parties in which radicals and terrorists provide the entertainment for liberal snobs. Lenny and Felicia couldn’t resist.
But the Panther’s defense minister, Don Cox, was a little too honest for some of the invited guests, like Barbara Walters. Here’s Cox according to Tom Wolfe:
Cox seizes the moment: “Our Minister of Defense, Huey P. Newton, has said if we can’t find a meaningful life . . . you know . . . maybe we can have a meaningful death . . . and one reason the power structure fears the Black Panthers is that they know the Black Panthers are ready to die for what they believe in, and a lot of us have already died.”
Walters, to her credit, challenged Cox’s casual attitude toward violence and death. Walters pointed out that she had children and grandchildren who would likely become targets of the Panthers’ war on capitalism, on whites, on American society.
Director Otto Preminger, too, challenged Cox’s anti-Semitism. Preminger asked, “Is it all right for a Jew to leave Russia and settle in Israel?”
Preminger was probably aware that the Panthers opposed emigration from Russia to Israel. The Panthers were pro-Soviet.
“Is it all right for a Jew to leave Russia and settle in Israel?”
Most of the Bernsteins’ invited guests were Jewish. Most of their guests had already donated 4-figure checks to the Panthers before the Q&A began. The Q&A raised serious concerns about how the Panthers might use this money. Would they use it to drive Jews out of Israel? To blow up NBC?
In general, the Radically Chic made a strategic withdrawal, denouncing the “witchhunt” of the press as they went. There was brief talk of a whole series of parties for the Panthers in and around New York, by way of showing the world that socialites and culturati were ready to stand up and be counted in defense of what the Panthers, and, for that matter, the Bernsteins, stood for. But it never happened. In fact, if the socialites already in line for Panther parties had gone ahead and given them in clear defiance of the opening round of attacks on the Panthers and the Bernsteins, they might well have struck an extraordinary counterblow in behalf of the Movement. This is, after all, a period of great confusion among culturati and liberal intellectuals generally, and one in which a decisive display of conviction and self-confidence can be overwhelming. But for the Radically Chic to have fought back in this way would have been a violation of their own innermost convictions. Radical Chic, after all, is only radical in style; in its heart it is part of Society and its traditions. Politics, like Rock, Pop, and Camp, has its uses; but to put one’s whole status on the line for nostalgie de la boue* in any of its forms would be unprincipled.
Like the Bernsteins of 1969, CNN has exposed Antifa as a dangerous terrorist organization that wants to replace the rule of law of with rule of the jungle. Out of fear or ignorance, CNN and the culturati of 2017 go along with Antifa’s dangerous ends.
I learned this past week that if you are marching with urine-hurlers, and making common cause with urine-hurlers, you’re just as bad as urine-hurlers.
According to CNN’s expose, Antifa terrorists consider thoughts and words forms of violence. Therefore, they feel justified in countering thought-violence with physical violence. Like Nazis and Stalinists. Antifa terrorists wants to kill thoughts they don’t like. By killing the thinkers who have bad thoughts.
Now we know Antifa’s end game: elimination of people who hold views Antifa doesn’t like.
Maybe white supremacists who say awful things are worse than Antifa terrorists who say and do awful things. I’m not an authority on such things. I’m just applying what I’ve learned in a mid-length life to situation.
What I see is two groups of terrorist thugs facing off, and a lot of Americans taking sides with one group of terrorists against the other. Probably because those side-takers are more worried about their reputations (what other people think) than their character (who they are). As I said before, I’ve learned that character is more important than reputation.
Now we know their end games. The white supremacists end game. Antifa’s end game. Those end games allow only one possible response from responsible people: we must oppose both. It’s not a matter of moral equivalency. It’s a matter of cultural survival.
Those who would side with one over the other will lose control of the monster they support. Neither Antifa nor white supremacists represent large numbers, though the Antifa tumor appears to be growing and metastasizing. Both factions represent abhorrent ideas. Both have histories of countering ideas with bricks and fire. Both must be destroyed.
Thanks to CNN for accidentally giving us a Radical Chic moment. Maybe people will see.
So many people say it’s okay for Antifa to beat people they don’t like. Tim Cook says it. Mitt Romney says it. It’s easy to agree with them. It’s easy to say, “I hate racists and Nazis. I’m glad somebody’s taking the initiative and beating them with clubs.”
Many people feel that way. Many people feel it’s good and just to beat and maim wicked people. Especially people who hold wicked beliefs. It’s easy say, “we should declare open season on those skinheads and Nazi racists.” You might have said it yourself.
I know the feeling. Back in 2010, some skinheads and Nazis showed up at a St. Louis Tea Party event in Clayton. We had to humiliate them with signs. The Tea Party was non-violent, so no one laid a hand on them. But we walked around them with signs that said “Fake Tea Partier” and stuff.
Reporters from RFT and St. Louis Post-Dispatch may have paid those Nazis to show up at our event. So the press could photograph them. The Post and RFT really wanted everybody to believe that we were racists and Nazis. They couldn’t get us to say anything racist, because we’re not. So maybe they resorted to going to Rent-a-Nazi. To frame us.
But it didn’t work. Big Government told us how to prepare. We were too smart for the Post. We had signs ready. We surrounded their hired stooge with “Fake Tea Partier” and “Nazi Infiltrator” signs. The signs had arrows that pointed at the stooge. We surrounded their stooge. You couldn’t take a photo of their Nazi stooge without also getting a “Fake Tea Partier” sign in the shot. It was brilliant.
The sign pointing down at the white supremist [sic] plant was from the Big Government tool kit. It came in handy. The infiltrator scurried off after he was confronted by several patriots including local blogger Adam Sharp who got up in his face. “Just know that you’re not going to come here and pretend that you’re with us.” Adam told the plant. Adam was fearless. The hater left shortly after the confrontation.
Adam’s parting words… “GO HOME NAZI.”
The sad thing is, Lindsey Graham and Mitt Romney and Tim Cook would be happy if Antifa beat up us Tea Partiers. Because Graham, Romney, and Cook think Tea Partiers are all Nazis. Or they’re afraid to disagree with alt-left thugs who might beat their lilly-white asses.
The problem with unleashing goons to beat the wicked is that the goons get to decide who’s wicked and who’s not. Tea Partiers don’t go to events that welcome Nazi and white supremacists. Or black supremacists. Or any other kind of supremacists. Except, maybe, idea supremacists. We’d welcome groups that wanted great ideas to win.
But Antifa treats libertarians and Republicans and Tea Partiers as one big blob of Nazis. The Post-Dispatch’s editorial board does, too. And if society says it’s okay for Antifa to beat people Antifa doesn’t like, you and I and millions of others are fair game. Hell, I might as well wear a “Kick me, I’m a Tea Partier” sign.
Before you say “hell, yes” to beating up people you disagree with, remember this: the beaters are the judges. The beaters are the jury. The beaters are the executioners. You don’t get a veto. You don’t get a vote. They’ll beat whoever they damn well please.
If you found yourself cheering for Antifa to beat a Nazi, you should forgive yourself. It’s sort of a natural reaction. We wanted to beat up that Nazi in 2010, too.
But before you sign a petition to let Antifa free the land of racists and Nazis, consider this: you might be on their list of racists and Nazis. Along with your spouse, your kids, and your parents.
Beating up people who disagree with you is a fascist tactic. Fascism is colorblind.
Vigilantism doesn’t end racism. It ends civilization.
Worry about your character, not your reputation. Reputation is what people think of you. Character is who you are.
—John Wooden, legendary coach of basketball and character
Everyone admits that President Trump cares more about his character than about his reputation. Only a man concerned with his character would tell the truth.
Reputation is what people think of you. Character is who you are.
The Stoics teach us that reputation is beyond our control. Trump understands this. Mitt Romney does not.
What things are not under your total control? Your body, property, reputation, status, Because they are not under your total control they are weak, slavish, subject to restraint, and in the power of others. They do not concern you because they are outside your control.
—Epitetus, The Good Life Handbook, translation by Dr. Chuck Chakrapani
I get it. Young Republicans are trained to say “Yes’m” to any charge of racism. Like cowards. Or something that starts with “p” and rhymes with cat. Or something. Use your imagination.
Republicans worry about their reputations. Never their character.
Republicans live for the praise of the fickle world, not their true nature.
Republicans crave what they cannot have. They cannot control their reputations.
It takes courage to speak the truth.
It takes courage to speak the truth when your culture craves lies. When the culture wants its narrative reinforced. When the culture’s narrative is a lie, the culture demands confirmation.
And a culture in need of reinforcement punishes truth.
Donald Trump told the truth about Charlottesville. Trump spoke truth in every sentence and every syllable. But cowardly Republicans like Mitt Romney seek to control what others think about them by denying the truth Trump spoke.
What did Trump say that was true?
Racism is reprehensible
Nazis are horrible
Violence to suppress opposing views is criminal
Terrorists on the right and terrorists on the left clashed in Charlottesville
All terrorism is reprehensible
All true. 100% true. Undeniably true.
Never did President Trump defend racists or Nazis.
Never did President Trump justify their violence.
If you believed the lying headlines on HuffPo, Politico, Business Insider, and Vox, I urge you to feed your character by reading or hearing what the president actually said. Think for yourself. Like a grownup. Don’t skim the headlines like Mitt Romney. Don’t rhyme with cat.
The great family man Romney literally praised Antifa terrorists. To bolster his reputation. His reputation among people who called him a racist and a fascist in 2012 and consider him a fascist today.
No, not the same. One side is racist, bigoted, Nazi. The other opposes racism and bigotry. Morally different universes.
Really, Mitt? You’d be beaten to death and burned in a trash barrel if your Gucci loafers accidentally carried you and your Orvis gingham blazer into an Antifa riot. But, whatever, tough guy. You Mormon gansta you.
Character is who you are, not what people think of you.
Character is telling the truth, not to power, but to the pansies who want to hear lies that make them feel good about themselves. They’re everywhere.
See, despite the book sales and the fame, Bukowski was a loser. He knew it. And his success stemmed not from some determination to be a winner, but from the fact that he knew he was a loser, accepted it, and then wrote honestly about it. He never tried to be anything other than what he was.*
. . .
Bukowski didn’t give a fuck about success. Even after his fame, he still showed up to poetry readings hammered and verbally abused people in his audience. He still exposed himself in public and tried to sleep with every woman he could find. Fame and success didn’t make him a better person. Nor was it by becoming a better person that he became famous and successful.
Yet Charles Bukowski was a far better man than Mitt Romney. Because Bukowski was true. True to his character. Honest.
Bukowski cared more about his character than his reputation.
He could control his character. Not his reputation.
Romney doesn’t swear or drink or womanize. He just lies and cowers. And praises the terrorists he’s afraid of.
I realize I’m putting my reputation at risk by writing this truth. Americans hate the truth. And punish truth-tellers. But I’d rather die scared with honest men of character like Bukowski than live in smug shame with grinds like Mitt Romney.
Charlottesville used to be a place. Now, it’s a thing.
On Friday, Charlottesville was a city in Virginia.
Today, Charlottesville is an event. A thing.
In our hyper-emotional world of 2017, we are told to explore our emotions. Then act upon those emotions. Like poorly trained animals. Like half-wits. Like narcissists and spoiled brats. Like lower primates.
Like the KKK and BLM and Antifa thugs who turned that place into a thing yesterday.
That’s one way to behave. A way to behave that will lead to more places become worse things.
That’s not the only way to behave. There’s another way.
A Stoic’s View of Charlottesville
Let’s see what Marcus Aurelius tells us about events like Charlottesville:
When you think you’ve been injured, apply this rule: If the community isn’t injured by it, neither am I. And if it is, anger is not the answer. Show the offender where he went wrong.
If no, then you have not been injured. So get over yourself.
If yes, then put aside anger and show the offender where they went wrong.
It looks like this:
If you’re a Christian, you might recognize this formula. It sounds like something Jesus said. And Paul. And Peter. And, if you’re old enough, your mother. And teachers.
This Stoic formula is tough medicine for 21st century Americans. We’ve been fed narcissism for decades. We are told to express our emotions wantonly. Especially negative emotions. Like anger. Like hatred. Like vengeance.
That “do what you feel” advice was wrong. Dead wrong.
The Ku Klux Klan, Black Lives Matter, and Antifa are all victims of the “do what you feel” nonsense we’ve been taught since the 1970s. They’re all guilty of following bad advice, but they got a truckload of bad advice.
And, like all bad advice, bad behavioral advice ends in death.
Yesterday, three people died. Died because other people did what they felt. Died because other people followed bad advice. Bad advice that told them “do what you feel.”
For the record, the community was injured yesterday. So we should be angry, right?
Marcus Aurelius isn’t like modern therapists and politicians. Marcus doesn’t give us the easy out. He doesn’t tell us to act on our anger.
In fact, Marcus Aurelius tells us “anger is not the answer.”
(Actually, Marcus never told “us” anything. He was writing to himself in a journal. When Marcus wrote “you,” he meant “me.”)
When the community is injured, we have a duty. A duty to lead. To lead, not just by example, but also by instruction.
We have a duty to “inform the offender where he went wrong.” Which is the purpose of this post. To inform the offenders where they went wrong. All of the them.
Who Are the Offenders?
I see four classes of offenders in Charlottesville. Two direct offenders and two instigators.
The white supremacists who went looking for trouble
The counter-protesters who went looking for trouble
The politicians who took sides with one group of miscreants or the other
The many therapists, writers, politicians, teachers, and parents who taught generations of children to treat their animal urges like commands from God
To the direct offenders, you went wrong by losing sight of your goal. You lost sight of, as John Braddock calls it, your End Game. Every organization represented on the battlefield of Charlottesville is worse off than it was before. You fought a negative-sum game, a war of attrition. The longer the fight goes on, the more both sides lose. From A Spy’s Guide to Thinking by John Braddock:
Negative-sum games are rare. They’re wars of attrition. Verdun. Or a labor strike. Both sides are losing. Each side hopes it’s losing less than the other. As soon as one side figures it’s losing too much, the negative-sum game is over. Negative-sum games are like heavy elements that live for a short time before decaying into something else.
When you recognize that you’re in a negative-sum game, John Braddock’s advice is simple: get out.
Where They Went Wrong
If you identify with the KKK, Skinheads, or some other faction of white-power primates, you are in a war of attrition and you are losing. So is everyone around you. You’ll never reach your end-game fighting wars of attrition. You get farther away from that end game with every battle.
If you identify with Black Lives Matter, you’re fighting a losing war of attrition. A war both sides lose. A war that takes you farther away from that end game. You probably feel worse every day instead of better. That’s a sign. Pay attention to it.
If you identify with Antifa, you’re fighting a losing war of attrition. A war you will lose, little by little, until you and your imagined enemies are destroyed. You probably want something more than mutual assured destruction. But that’s the war you’re fighting. Mutual assured destruction.
If you identify with none of those groups (as I hope), don’t get all high an mighty just yet. You are not free and clear.
Where the Rest of Us Fail: Shirking Duty
If you’re a peace-loving center-right person, you might feel angry at President Trump for not choosing sides. (Actually, Trump did choose sides; he sided with law and order, peace and love. Maybe your anger blinded you?) Or you might feel angry at the press. Or at the BLM and Antifa thugs. Or at Republican Senators who want President Trump to side with BLM and Antifa. (I’m looking at you, Marco Rubio.)
If you’re a peace-loving, center-left person, you might feel angry at President Trump for not choosing sides. Or you might feel angry at the white supremacists for fighting a war of attrition. Or you might feel angry at the police for not taking sides by shooting all those KKK people. (I’m looking at you, Jake Tapper.)
Marcus Aurelius tells us “get over yourself.” Do your duty.
For those instigators of yesterday’s war of attrition in Charlottesville: stop giving advice. Your advice is very bad. The worst advice. Instead, accept the possibility that you might be wrong. Read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***. Then re-read this blog post. Then follow the obvious course of action, even it’s difficult. Especially if it’s difficult.
Every moment you’re feeling angry, you’re shirking your duty. You’re damaging your community. You are taking sides with the belligerents of Charlottesville. You’re moving farther away from that end game of yours.
How to Reach Your End Game
Here’s the three-step process you can use to get right with nature, right with God, and right with your community:
Get a clear picture of your end game. What will the world be like when you arrive there? Who will be there with you? What things will you have with you?
Pick the allies you will need to achieve your end game. Who can you work with? Who must you work with? Who do you want to be like?
Examine that flow chart and apply it. There is no “surrender to your anger” box. There are only two possible end states: “you have not been injured” and “show the offender where he went wrong.” Those are your only courses of action if you want to move closer to your end game. If you want to do your duty.
If you can’t stand the idea of being alone with your own thoughts, read John Braddock’s outstanding books. They will help you think strategically instead of acting out your emotions.
P.S. Oh, almost forgot. What was good about Charlottesville? It gave us this chance to improve ourselves. At least, that’s what I got out of it. It was painful, and pain is a signal for action. Wise action. Action that helps.