La Marseillaise and Defiance to Tyranny One Person at a Time

A while back, I posted a blog entry on the Marseillaise scene in the movie Casablanca.  I feel compelled to run this entry again as we contemplate yesterday’s terrorist attack on Paris.  Whenever we forget that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, we lose.  Let’s never forget that, as well as the fact that our little acts of resistance add up, even if they may seem in vain.  As Vaclav Havel pointed out in “The Power of the Powerless,” these acts of resistance have an illuminating effect. This is also very relevant as we contemplate the full frontal attacks on the First Amendment happening on college campuses these days.  Below is my post from February 28, 2014:

After entry of the US into WWII, Warner Brothers released the classic Casablanca (1942) starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.  One scene in Casablanca offers a magnificent juxtaposition with the Bavarian pub scene from The Mortal Storm (1940) discussed in the last post.  The place is similar:  another restaurant– Rick’s Cafe Americain.  Also similar is a cast of Nazi officers, stirring up song (this one “Die Wacht am Rhein.”)   But the similarities end there, when one man, Victor Laszlo, tells the orchestra to play the “La Marseillaise.”  A thrilled and grateful clientele all rise spontaneously and triumphantly, drowning out the Nazis’ song.

Watch here:

If Laszlo hadn’t done what he did, what then?  Chances are everyone would just sit around sulking.  The Nazis would then stir up enough folks to sing along with them to the point that the Nazi narrative would seem the majority view.  Morale would continue to plummet.

It’s the little acts of resistance that add up to make the biggest difference.  These acts plant seeds in others, creating a cascade effect.  Sad to say, it’s the power mongers of the world who seem to know this better than the rest of us do.  That’s why they insist on our silence as a way station on their road to total control.  So let’s not hide our light.

Don’t Yawn About Local Elections! They Can Result in Major Social Engineering

Last May the Fairfax County School Board — at the behest of the Obama Administration — forced a policy promoting transgenderism on parents and citizens who showed up in droves at the meeting to protest it.  This is the theme of my Federalist article today:  “Ask Not Who’s Running for President, Ask Who’s Running for School Board.” Since school boards are local and nonpartisan elections, they tend to have very low level interest and can therefore end up in the hands of organized insiders with their own agendas. In the video below, you can watch at the 1:13:50 mark as one true representative of the people, Fairfax County School Board member Elizabeth Schultz speaks before the vote.  (She’s not the one pictured in the frame.  She was the sole vote against in the 10-1 “ruling” with one abstention.)

This school board meeting illustrates just how enormous the impact of local elections is on our lives.  It’s beyond belief how little consideration people give them.  So few of us know who our local representatives are.  And yet it’s so easy to find them because they’re our neighbors!  This feeds right into my blog’s theme about the power of personal relationships.  And if we don’t watch out, local officials easily become cronies of the federal government, instead of tending to the best interests of the citizens.

Your child’s school curricula, public transportation, zoning, and “gun free zones” are just a few of the areas of local impact.  So when citizens don’t engage — or if they’re totally preoccupied with the glitz of the national stage of the presidential elections — they end up allowing less responsive officials to take over locally.  And in a one-party system, corruption finds its way in very easily.

Next week, on November 3 there will be local elections held throughout the nation.  Will any take place in your community?  If you don’t know, please find out!  Learn about your candidates and get out to the polls and vote.  And spread the word so that neighbors also go out and vote for good candidates. If you need to gather information, you can start with ballotpedia.  Here’s a link for municipal elections:  http://ballotpedia.org/United_States_municipal_elections,_2015  To get you started on finding information for school boards, here’s their page for the school board election in Fairfax County, Virginia: http://ballotpedia.org/Fairfax_County_Public_Schools,_Virginia  One of the first things it notes is that there is currently a Democrat majority of 10-2 on that Board, based on endorsements. It doesn’t have to be that way.  Though Fairfax County has been trending leftward for the past few years, it is nowhere near that lopsided in reality.

For County information you may have to dig a big deeper – into the website for your local paper or local “Patch” at patch.com perhaps.  You can also learn more about your county leadership by going to the website for the National Association of Counties.  

Here’s an excerpt from my article today:

All too often our local officials are elected by default. There is high turnout by insiders, and particularly organized get-out-the-vote efforts by teachers’ unions and others with power stakes in the local machines.

Conversely—and ironically—there is much lower turnout by ordinary citizens whose lives the elections most affect. And turnout in local elections has actually been plummeting, according to some recent research. . .

We tend not to pay attention even though many of us may intuitively understand that the decisions of our local officials have a far more direct impact on our lives than those of a federal government that can keep its distance. The trick is to keep local power local, and that means paying attention to who’s minding the store locally.

 

Breaking the Deadly Spiral of Silence

Mary Cassatt. Young Mother and Two Children (1905)

I’ve added another mother-child painting by Mary Cassatt to accompany my post today because I find her work so beautiful and inspirational. It also serve to remind us that this is the most basic of all human relationships.  Without healthy family bonds — cultivated through the mother-child bond — a lot goes haywire in the world around us. With family breakdown we get community breakdown.  And now we’re dealing with whole scale communication breakdown.

This post is a re-cap of several pieces I wrote this week on how to break the PC-cultivated spiral of silence. Isn’t it crazy how much we are expected to police our speech — and therefore our thoughts — in everyday life?  One example is how the media schools us in how to use pronouns, assuming we are all draftees into its scam of transgenderism.  We also read about how millennials on college campuses have developed such delicate sensitivities to any non-PC expression that they get “triggered” into emotional meltdowns.  As we walk among the eggshells, we can all use a few pointers in navigation.

I’ve been trying to provide a little bit of a primer this week in my five-part series at the British web magazine The Conservative Woman.  We can not address the breakdown in communication until we understand the root causes of it.

On Monday I wrote about how little we seem to be aware of the power of traditional mothers.  Through their work behind the scenes they have the power to put communities of goodwill into motion:  “Traditional Mothers are the True Subversives: That’s Why the State Wants to Gag Them.”

Tuesday’s headline was:  “PC Propaganda is intended to Divide and Rule.”  The one critical fact to remember about political correctness is that separates people. The intended effect is to prevent you from having personal relationships and personal conversations that could get in the way of a PC agenda.  In fact people are excessively policing their own speech when talking to folks who could be their friends: neighbors, co-workers, classmates.  We need to push back hard against this sort of meddling.

On Wednesday I wrote “Fear Powers the PC Machine.”  Hollywood, Academia and the Media fuel it.  It’s so important to become self-aware, and recognize our weaknesses as human beings.  Our fear is ultimately about being separated from others if we step out of line.  How ironic then, that we actually perpetuate this cycle by feeding the PC Machine with our fear — separating ourselves even more from others.

Today’s headline is:  “Only Connect to Fight Back Against the PC Tyranny.”  This means, basically, what we must do in order to help unravel the tyranny is create the ripple effects of trust and openness in your daily life by connecting one on one with others.  Trust and friendship have a powerful effect in a age that’s becoming increasingly devoid of those things.  Friendship, in fact, is inextricably linked with freedom.

Tomorrow’s post will include a few rules of engagement as we go about breaking the ice with our neighbors, co-workers, and others we meet in daily life.  I hope you’ll check www.conservativewoman.co.uk to read up.  It’s critical that we engage.

To the Mass State, Traditional Mothers are the True Subversives

Mary Cassatt, Breakfast in Bed (1897)

What is it about traditional mothers that moderns find so offensive?  Is it really all about “submissiveness” to something they call “the Patriarchy?”  Do they really believe traditional mothers reinforce something so-called feminists call “gender roles?”  On the surface it may seem this way.  But I’ve been digging a little deeper and I think there’s something else at play here.  Because the elites who keep feeding us that hype are usually big promoters of political correctness.  And political correctness is nothing more than a silencing tool.  It’s used to prop up the power of elites who push self-serving agendas that would never withstand real scrutiny.

In a very real sense, traditional mothers are probably the ultimate barrier to the consolidation and centralization of power of the Mass State.  Think about it.  Mothers who cultivate virtue and a sense of uniqueness in their children are the ultimate de-centralizers and distributors of power in a society. They set virtuous communities in motion.   Behind the scenes.

I explore this idea in a series I recently wrote for the British web magazine, “The Conservative Woman.”  You can click here to read the first installment:  “Traditional Mothers are the True Subversives: That’s Why the State Wants to Gag Them.”   It’s part of a conversation Leslie Loftis started at that publication with her essay “Conservative Women are a Deadly Threat to Liberal Elites.”  Here’s a review of my series:

In this first part I’d like to give you the lay of the land as I see it: How and why the agents of political correctness target any independent thinker, but particularly conservative women.  And what happens when we give in to self-censorship.  In the second part, I’ll talk about something called “the spiral of silence.”  In Part three, I’ll dig a bit more into the mechanics of political correctness and how it works and why I believe the only way out is through the “Hidden Sphere.”  In Part Four, I explore a bit about the inextricable link between freedom and friendship.  Finally, in the final installment, I offer a few prescriptions on how conservative women can resist getting sucked into the PC machine – and make friends (and, sure, some frenemies) along the way.

Here’s another excerpt:

Statists are forever trying to coax us into giving up being the hand that rocks the cradle so that they can take control of the cradle for themselves. If there was so little power in what we do and what we believe, why ever would they seek to do such a thing?  Why would they even care?

They care not only because we have the power to express our views and values to the next generation, but that we are actually inclined do so.  Not only that, but if we are stay at home mothers with a steady source of income independent of the State, they see us as dangerously free agents in our private lives.”

In a previous post I discussed how Soviet era Czech dissident Vaclav Havel referred to our private lives as the all powerful “hidden sphere.”  I see the attack on the family, and mothers in particular, as an attempt to disrupt and destroy the power of the hidden sphere.

My Interview with Professor Lopez: Bolshevism and the LGBT Lobby

Obedience to political correctness leads to total conformity of expression. Here communists in East Berlin promote Stalin’s cult of personality (1951)

In my recent interview with Professor Robert Oscar Lopez, we discuss parallels between the tactics and motives of the LGBT Lobby and the Bolsheviks in Russia a hundred years ago.  Please listen by clicking here.

The modus operandi of the LGBT lobby and the Bolsheviks are strikingly similar.  But that’s the case with every power-grabbing scheme.  A hundred years ago the Bolsheviks pretended to be the champion of the “workers.”  Likewise, today statists call themselves the champions of gays and transgenders.  It’s basically the same dynamic.  The LGBT Lobby serves ultimately to consolidate power in the hands of the elite few.  So what else do these movements have in common?

  • The abolition of the autonomous family as the ultimate goal.
  • Propaganda tactics that rely heavily on smear campaigns and cultivate the fear of becoming a non-person.
  • Conformity of expression through obedience to political correctness.
  • Replacement of free exchange of commerce and ideas with ironclad regulations and censorship
  • Nomenklatura — an elite clique in power — rules over all and directs a mammoth bureaucracy
  • The takeover of the media at the outset in order to control the narrative and silent dissenters

That’s just for starters.  And if the “Equality Act” is passed by Congress, you can bet that compliance will be enforced and dissent will be punished.  That’s a censorship act window-dressed as non-discrimination.  It has nothing to do with protecting any minority demographic.  The minority demographic — in this case gays, lesbians, transgenders — are simply being used as pawns.  Their grievances are being used as a pretext to consolidate all power into the hands of an elite mob.  This is very much in keeping with the pattern of the Bolsheviks who cherry-picked winners and losers once they took on the mantle of “vanguard” — or protector — of the workers.  The Bolshevik mob never cared about the working class, except as a useful propaganda tool in their bid to grab power.  In the Soviet Union, those deemed “counter-revolutionary” would be labelled as “enemies of the people.”  We see the same pattern today with the LGBT lobby.  And it will get much worse if the “Equality Act” goes into effect, giving the government the power to punish those it deems “anti-gay.”

So, at the end of the day, what have you got?  Answer:  a society ruled by elites, or a “nomenklatura.”  Your currency is political connections that you “earn” through compliance with the mob.  That’s how mammoth bureaucracies lock in power for their rulers.  Instead of a society based upon the free exchange of goods, services, and ideas, you end up with gatekeepers — all up and down the bureaucratic ladder — who make sure the only kind of currency in use is political compliance and connections. In this sort of power structure all totalitarian societies poison personal relationships.  They cultivate scarcity, which creates a nasty dog-eat-dog mentality.  They cultivate ignorance so that free thought is dimmed. It’s a divide-and-conquer scheme in which people become separated as never before. As history has proven time and again in such cases, it is submission — and not resistance — that is truly futile.

 

Our Gordian Knot, Part VI “The Hidden Sphere”

Vaclav Havel, 1936-2011 author of “The Power of the Powerless”

I often write and talk about how power elites have pretty much taken over all of the outlets of communication.  I’ve assigned an acronym to the main three outlets: “HAM”– for Hollywood, Academia, and the Media.  Today I want to recommend to you a major essay that focuses on a vastlly more powerful outlet of communication:  the “hidden sphere.”  The hidden sphere is basically private life, which is outside the realm of HAM.  This means the activities and exchanges that happen in your personal relationships and your private conversations.  And it is these interactions which are actually considered the biggest prize of power elites.  If you think what you say as “just one person” is not important, think again.  The entire point of political correctness is to shut you up as “just one person.”  Being “just one person” makes you extremely powerful because what you freely say to others who like you and trust you — whether a neighbor, classmate, co-worker — has the power to shatter the fragile narratives of PC elites.

In the upper right hand corner of this blog, you can see a quote that’s been there from the beginning:

” . . . his action went beyond itself, because it illuminated its surroundings, and because of the incalculable consequences of that illumination.”

That’s from Vaclav Havel’s extraordinary essay “The Power of the Powerless.”  In it he speaks of the hidden sphere as the nucleus of freedom because it is that place in which people have one-on-one interactions that allow for the cultivation of trust and the cross pollination of ideas.  It might start very small, but as the ideas are pollinated by those who are influenced, there is a ripple effect of truth that becomes irresistible.  Here’s another excerpt:

The singular, explosive, incalculable political power of living within the truth resides in the fact that living openly within the truth has an ally, invisible to be sure, but omnipresent:  this hidden sphere.  It is from this sphere that life lived openly in the truth grows; it is to this sphere that it speaks, and in it that it finds understanding.  This is where the potential for communication exists.  But this place is hidden and therefore, from the perspective of power, very dangerous.”

Havel was an independent thinker and a lover of truth and freedom in communist Czechoslovakia.  This made him dangerous to the totalitarian regime.  Indeed, one could say he spearheaded the “Velvet Revolution” that ended communism in Czechoslovakia after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Havel then served as president of the Czech Republic.   His essay can be a bit difficult to plow through – and it’s very long — but it’s fascinating because it reveals to each of us our immense power as individuals.  Please get familiar with it, at least its basic premises.  From it we can learn how our decision to speak truth in love is an action that goes beyond itself.  It illuminates its surroundings and the consequences of that illumination are incalculable.   The Hidden Sphere is the sword that can slice through the Gordian Knot of totalitarianism.

My Interview with Sandy Rios about Mass Delusion

I sat down recently with radio host Sandy Rios to talk about propaganda, political correctness, and the mass delusion that seems to be enveloping our society.  Click here for the podcast from American Family Radio.  Sandy had several questions for me about my Federalist article “How to Escape the Age of Mass Delusion.

We talked about how political correctness creates a spiral of silence that ends up separating people as never before.  PC not only squashes civil discourse, but creates a strange and rigid polarization in society that spawns destructive caricatures of others.  As someone who used to identify on the Left, I understand well what a mindset that stereotypes others can do to people’s ability to connect. The point of this kind of propaganda is to centralize power by first dividing people, quite often by demonizing those who don’t subscribe to the narrative.  It breaks up personal relationships.  And this allows those wielding power to control who says what to whom, and to dictate who relates to whom. People who obey the narrative are allowed to partake of society, while those who don’t subscribe to the narrative end up as “nonpersons.”  This taps into my theme that personal relationships are the ultimate source of human power.  Ground zero for functioning relationships is the family unit.  That’s exactly why the family is the prime target for destruction by today’s forces of political correctness.

PC corrupts the language, and when the language is corrupted, thought processes become corrupted as well, and people are more easily manipulated into mindless conformity.  And when the masses can be mobilized to support the agendas of power elites, things never end well for human dignity.  History has taught us this lesson time and again.

We have no choice but to resist.  Ultimately, this is an asymmetric war that has to be fought persistently, one-on-one, and face-to-face by putting a human face on what we believe. By engaging with those we know in daily life, we can re-create the ripple effect of true community that political correctness is designed to destroy.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking here.

Our Gordian Knot, Part III

Ostriches acting like a lot of people these days. (Hey, maybe we can  try talking to the one on the Left? He probably doesn’t even know he’s on the Left.)

Sometimes it feels as though we’re living in a tangled maze-like machine with a thousand moving parts. If we focus on any given issue, any particular moving part, we lose lose sight of the big picture.  Sometimes we deliberately ignore the big picture. Sometimes we just can’t see it.  And, yet, other times the big picture might seem so daunting and scary we put our heads in the sand, like the ostriches in the photo here.

But it’s critical we step back and assess this machine in its entirety.  What is its fuel?? What does it  feed on?  In a word, dysfunctional relationships  — and especially the declining ability of  people to relate to one another as human beings equally deserving of human dignity. We can see this in the hype that directs us to view ourselves as members of select identity groups or only as a part of an activist community.  Only certain lives matter in this scenario. We’re all being pigeon-holed based on what we look like or where  we come from. We’re being driven apart.  Polarized. Atomized. This sort of polarization is pure poison for happy and healthy human relationships.

And that’s the  big picture we all need to step back and see.

What causes people to paint themselves into such corners? I think people get sucked into this trap for a variety of reasons, but the trap cannot be laid without two essential ingredients:  ignorance and enforced silencing.  Cultivated ignorance and enforced silencing is the fuel of dysfunctional relationships that feed this machine.

Ignorance

Ignorance disables a person’s ability to think deeply and independently about an issue, and even about themselves and their own motives. Family breakdown is a huge contributor to ignorance because it separates children emotionally and often physically  from their first teachers about  the world around them  — their parents.   Sadly, our public schools and universities have been cultivating ignorance for decades.  This happens not only through dumbed down curricula, but also through enforcement of conformity through a regime of political correctness.

Enforced Silencing Kneecaps Relationships

Let’s  never forget that  when you cut off communication, you cut off the potential for human relationships. While practical ignorance undermines the ability to think clearly and discern manipulations, political correctness cultivates the fear of being ridiculed and isolated for speaking logically about anything.  PC cultivates ignorance by preventing people from hearing anyone share insights on a non-PC view. It encourages them to smear the “other” and prevents them from seeing such people as human.  School curricula also rely more and more on the raw emotion of students in “thinking” about things.  (You have Bill Ayers to thank for th at.) Popular culture is steeped in blindness to reason. And, in the end, an ignorant person is a dependent person and great fodder for mass mobilization and a culture of grievance, spite, and anger.

I think if we could bring this picture into focus, people would be better equipped to slice through the overall problem and see the humanity in others.

Our Gordian Knot, Part II

Edvard Munch, Separation  (1896)

There is a common thread that runs through all agendas that increase the power of the State:  Separation of human beings from one another.  Obamacare meddles in the doctor-patient relationship.  Common Core meddles in the teacher-student relationship.  Excessive regulation of businesses meddles in the customer-merchant relationship.  No fault divorce meddles in the husband wife relationship and the child-parent relationship. Abortion especially meddles in the mother-child relationship. Same sex marriage meddles in the child-parent relationship by insisting that no child needs — nor should they even desire — a relationship with both of their biological parents, parents of both sexes.  We can deny these facts all we like, but the State’s role in separating us undeniably exists in each of these policies.

Central planning has always been about separating and isolating people.  And the attack on the family has always been about centralizing the power of the state for the benefit of the few elites in control of it.

“Marriage equality” and transgenderism has been such a centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s transformation agenda precisely because undefining marriage jump starts the process of separating families.  The separation of families inevitably snowballs into the separation of people in other kinds of relationships, particularly friendships.  Family breakdown can’t help but play a key role in the breakdown of social trust and the disintegration of once functioning and vibrant communities.   Every totalitarian society depends upon a sense of alienation among its people. Central planning agendas are always pushed in the name of something positive-sounding like “love makes a family” or “authenticity” or any number of platitudes. Tyrannies always claim to support the very thing they intend to destroy.

The marketing boom in artificial reproductive technologies — especially for same sex households — shows us the extent to which ART serves to deliberately sever a child’s bond with either the mother or the father or both.  Transgenderism separates us at perhaps an even more intimate level, because it ultimately renders all sex distinctions meaningless, thus separating us from our identities as either male or female, father or mother, son or daughter.  This may seem counter-intuitive in an age when transgender individuals like Bruce Jenner portray an exaggerated image of the female persona.  But the ultimate goal of gender theory is the obliteration of all sex distinctions.  We might say that the Jenner phenomenon simply manifests the “transitional” moment we are passing through in the interim.

We ought to disabuse ourselves of the notion that the LGBT agenda was ever about the rights of a minority demographic. It’s always been a convenient vehicle towards the centralization of power.  Which depends upon human separation.  Always in the name of togetherness.

Our Gordian Knot

“Alexander Cuts the Gordian Knot” by Jean-Simone Berthelemy, 18th c.

A complex problem is sometimes referred to as a Gordian Knot. You may know the Greek legend or myth in which an oracle prophesied that anyone who could undo the complex and intricate knot tied by King Gordius of Phrygia would rule all of Asia.   Many tried and failed.  But when Alexander the Great was confronted with it, he didn’t bother with convention.  Legend has it that he stepped back and just sliced right through the knot with his sword. We sometimes call this kind of solution “thinking outside the box.”

I ponder this story as I consider how crazy and complicated our modern problems have become.

In my teen years at school we used to refer to the news as “current events.”  Homework sometimes included looking at a newspaper or a network news program.  Then there’d be a report to the class.

Fast forward to today and things are moving so fast and furious in unpredictable directions that “current events” seems an antiquated term.  We have layers upon layers of crises that have congealed into a problem so humongous that it confronts us like a complex Gordian knot of cosmic proportions. How can the damage ever be undone? The past month alone contains enough angst and lunacy to last generations. We’ve seen the expose of Planned Parenthood’s racket in trafficking organs from aborted children, with graphic videos that give us a fresh perspective on the horrors and sorrows of abortion.  Then we have the transgender hype being fed to us 24/7 by Hollywood and the media, with a ramped up campaign to push gender confusion hard onto school children.

And now that the Supreme Court has legally abolished marriage as a male-female institution, we are about to see the biggest piece of censorship legislation ever. It pretends to be an anti-discrimination bill and goes by the name “Equality Act.”  The idea is to mete out punishment to anyone who doesn’t get with the agenda to re-program en masse our language and our thoughts.  In particular, it aims to re-design everyone’s thoughts about personal relationships. That’s because ultimately all personal relationships emanate from organic marriage.  How so? you may ask. Because that’s the union that produces citizens who build communities in which other personal relationships are spawned.  Destabilize marriage and you’ve destabilized the basis for functioning families.  Without functioning, autonomous families, we can’t have functioning and self-reliant communities.  In the end, the State wins big.

But the landscape is becoming littered with more and more rabbit holes being dug on a daily basis by our government: data-mining, the replacement of personal medical care with medicine-by-bureaucracy, debilitating multi-trillion dollar debt, the cultivation of ignorance in the schools through enforced conformity by programs such as Common Core, the non-stop attacks on religion.

On the international scene, it’s just as much a Twilight Zone.  We have the Obama Administration’s weird Iran deal that puts the world closer to war. At the same time, the White House turns a blind eye to the mass killings of Christians in the Middle East.  The cult of ISIS marches on to replace the Rule of Law with Sharia Law. In the meantime, the Administration is intent on force-feeding the gay agenda on a global scale, including to under developed countries like Kenya where he lectured the leadership last month. The list goes on and on and on.

That, in a nutshell, is our Gordian Knot.  To be continued . . .