2020 Blind Sight and “The Gate of the Year”

Americans who pay attention to the lessons of history know that the American Republic is at a crossroads. This presidential election has been wracked with processes so flawed and so susceptible to fraud that we will end up with a permanent one-party state if it’s left unchecked. Such a state would be led by socialists who (for now) call themselves Democrats. These globalists have made no secret of their intentions to undermine the U.S. Constitution and individual liberties.

At the end of it all — after all of the thousands of unsolicited ballots have been harvested and “counted” and after the courts either accept or reject this coup attempt — we’ll know whether or not the American Republic has a fighting chance to be preserved. Or we will find out if it is on a trajectory to ending.

That latter prospect fills me with dread. It means losing our liberties, and essentially becoming slaves of tyrants. So, if we love liberty, we must fight the corruption in any way we can: by calling our members of Congress, expressing our thoughts to others, and resisting the agitprop media.

But we must first fight the dread if we hope to be able to fight effectively. We must resist becoming defeatist and demoralized. To that end, I’d like to share some inspiration I found in the 1908 poem by Minnie Louise Haskins. She originally titled it “God Knows.” King George VI referred to her poem in his famous Christmas speech of 1939. England was at war with Germany’s Third Reich. It was a time of great uncertainty as to what the future held. The fear and dread among the people of Britain weighed heavily on them. (In part because they did nothing to prepare for it when all the warning signs were there. Sound familiar?)

2020 Blind Sight

Haskins’ poem has since been called “The Gate of the Year.” It’s an apt title as we near the end of 2020. It didn’t take me long to dub this year “2020 Blind Sight.” (No doubt, I can’t be the only one.) That’s because every time we think we know where we’re going, we hit a blind curve. It’s also because human beings tend to be blind to truth while still believing they have the 20/20 vision to know it all. This year should force us to confront such limitations within us.

We all want to predict the future. We think somehow a vision of it would give us peace. Some of us endlessly scroll our devices looking for hints that things will go our way. But only God knows where the confluence of events really leads us. So at a certain point, we have no choice but to put our trust in Him, and allow Him to lead us around the pitfalls rather than trying to go it alone. Going it alone without Faith is hopeless.

Haskins’ message is both counter-intuitive and comforting if you allow yourself to really hear it. Do we really want to know what the future holds before we get there?   Wouldn’t it be better to just do our best while being shepherded through the dark and treacherous terrain by a trusted guide? In fact it’s safer to proceed that way. With both Faith and determination.

King George VI ended his speech with the words: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.” You can listen to his speech here:

And here’s the text of Haskins’ poem:

THE GATE OF THE YEAR

‘God Knows’

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

So heart be still:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.

God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.

Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.

                                Minnie Louise Haskins, 1908 —  from collection The Desert

By all means, we must fight the good fight. But we must never forget that we can only see through a glass darkly in this world. Whatever happens, the critical element of the good fight is always the armor of Faith. It’s essential to doing our best in fighting and overcoming evil.

On Relationships and Voting

I recently posted a piece at American Thinker that examines the growing phenomenon of voter intimidation in personal relationships.  It’s an especially prevalent tactic by leftists. I felt compelled to write the piece when I saw a young woman gush on TikTok about how she and her sisters hectored their dying father so that he would vote for Biden/Harris instead of Trump/Pence: 

All people of good will should be aghast at such abuse of a father’s love. This also serves as a reminder that our tradition of secret ballot needs to be revived, if only to cut back on behavior like that.  It’s possible the father voted in secret even though he felt he needed to tell his daughters he voted for their preferred candidate.  Nevertheless, we ought to consider the potential for more of this if we go to universal mail-in voting — whereby official ballots will always arrive in shared mailboxes of households where dominant personalities can hold sway over others. You can read my whole piece at this link: “How Mail-In Voting Makes Social Pressure so Much Easier.”

Whether we cast our ballots in person or by mail, on election day or early, we ought to think deeply about the sacred nature of the secret ballot. Let’s ponder how changes in our electoral processes are destroying the ability to vote one’s conscience in the privacy of a voting booth. Sadly, in states like Oregon, citizens no longer even have the option to cast an official ballot in a voting booth at a local precinct. They must receive and cast their ballot in the mail.

The trend towards universal mail-in ballots will definitely allow for more voter intimidation in addition to more potential for voter fraud. Will the voting booth eventually disappear if more states go postal with voting? It seems likely, and that would be a very bad thing.

Let’s also remember: Unless you wish to willingly express whom you’re voting for, nobody has a right to know how you vote. Nobody.

Morale Booster: A Riot of a Dance Party!

I recently posted a depressing little follow-up on my Federalist article about the connection between social isolation and totalitarianism. As promised, today I offer a morale booster as a happy chaser to that bitter shot. You may have already seen the Ricky Rebel YouTube video “BLM Riot Turns into MAGA YMCA Dance Party” in Beverly Hills. It’s up to two million views now. If you haven’t seen it, take a look here! (assuming YouTube hasn’t yet censored it):

First off, I never heard of Ricky Rebel until this, even though he’s a relatively famous performer. I imagine he’ll be invited to some Trump rallies after this. Second, and more importantly, this little number should cheer up any American no matter how they feel about Trump. Most of us have had enough of the dismal division. People are starving for friendship and fun and happiness. This song is all about coming together as Americans, about being happy instead of miserable, about American optimism and our common humanity. The “YMCA” tune is, as always, catchy. There was some grumbling by activists that “YMCA” is supposed to be the “anthem of the gay movement” and is therefore “sacred,” and shouldn’t have the letters MAGA replacing it in parody. Really? Oh, please. Please.

Just watching this thing is uplifting — and gives a brilliantly hilarious retort to all of the violence and intimidation thrown our way by self-supremacists who pretend to be for “social justice.” The backdrop is the “Trump Unity Bridge” driving through Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills. That’s a large festooned SUV towing a trailer that carries a multitude of Trump-mania — colorful signs and flags and slogans and a replica Statue of Liberty — and more. Ricky Rebel is absolutely effusive prancing and dancing around the intersection at Beverly Dr. as police officers make sure he doesn’t step over the boundaries. The mood is ecstatic. You’ll want to watch this more than once. It’s a shot in the arm. A blast out of these dreary times!

Wokeness, Wuhan, and the Weaponry of Social Isolation

Tyranny and isolation always go together.  Let’s always remember that. Political philosopher Hannah Arendt made the connection in her book The Origins of Totalitarianism. She wrote:  “Terror can rule absolutely only over men who are isolated against each other. . . . Therefore, one of the primary concerns of all tyrannical government is to bring this isolation about.”

Recent Cover of Hannah Arendt’s classic The Origins of Totalitarianism, first published 1951 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Pubishing Company)

Below is an excerpt from from my (relatively) recent Federalist piece about the connection between tyranny and isolation and today’s dystopian atmosphere:

“How much of the hype about this flu is really about public safety? How much is it about cultivating the social isolation that breeds distrust, division, and malaise, all to be exploited for political purposes? Should we really believe that blue city mayors and blue state governors, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, et al., are pushing the cataclysmic view of this flu only for our own safety?

“Blatant double standards clarify that their hype is meant to continue our isolation, and is not for our own good. As far-left mayors and governors enforce social distancing for law-abiding citizens, they have pretty much smiled upon Antifa rioters as “peaceful protesters,” especially those who gather en masse for more than 60 [now 100] nights in a row to provoke and attack federal officials protecting a federal court house in Portland.”

You can read the whole essay here: https://thefederalist.com/2020/08/11/how-forced-isolation-makes-huge-power-grabs-possible/

Once you think about it, you’ll see evidence everywhere that every tyrant’s first order of business is to isolate those they’re trying to control.  This is as true for the school yard bully as it is for the world class dictator.  Let’s go down a little list of them. Consider the queen bee diva. Recall how in the 2004 movie Mean Girls, the school’s cool clique made a point of controlling the relationships of all of their peers? Recall their Pelosi-esque line “The rules aren’t real.” What about the gas lighting partner?  Maybe his realm is just to control one person, but he makes sure she is isolated from all other influences. She can’t have any friends or be around anyone he doesn’t control.

And cult leaders? They control recruits primarily by some form of isolation. People’s Temple leader Jim Jones even moved his thousand or so followers into literal isolation – to a jungle in Guyana – to make sure all were isolated and under his strict control. And of course all fascist/communist/totalitarian dictators are invested in human isolation.  Mao Zedong had his Red Guard zealots (very similar in behavior to today’s BLM and Antifa agitators) force struggle sessions on people wherein they mobbed, isolated, and publicly humiliated anyone suspected of wrong think. (BTW, the toll was in the tens of millions killed during China’s Cultural Revolution of the 1960’s.)

And what does political correctness do to us? Induce self-censorship that results in self-isolation. What about identity politics? It divides us so that we are more isolated from one another.

So what should we make of the enforced isolation of today? And what about the Covid shutdowns that did not end on April 1 – and then May 1 — like they were supposed to?   Do they serve a political purpose. Of course they do. The point is to stretch out the misery, stretch out the economic devastation, stretch out the isolation in order to demoralize the population into doing the bidding of our would-be controllers. We have to call this out for what it is. And, hopefully I can offer a morale-booster next time!

The Trap of the Mob Mindset

My essay today in the Federalist expands upon my last few posts. You can read the whole thing by clicking on this link: https://thefederalist.com/2020/06/15/how-socialists-like-black-lives-matter-weaponize-our-fears-of-loneliness/

File:Groupthink.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Slogans of George Orwell’s 1984. When we overdose on group think, that’s where we end up. Wikimedia Commons.

Below is an excerpt:

“The mob mindset is a trap, a form of mental solitary confinement, an ironic form of mind rape. Why? Because mobs of wokeness do not allow for anyone to express an original thought to another human being without the risk of being smeared and isolated.

“As people invest in groupthink to remain in the herd, they end up spiraling even deeper into the mental isolation, cutting off normal conversation. They soon become “triggered” by other points of view. BLM activists have not only taken full advantage of the fear of loneliness already inherent in our culture. They also seem intent in perpetuating the fear by stoking more divisions within private relationships.

“Political correctness and identity politics have long been used as tools of agitation designed to instill groupthink and stir up that threat of loneliness. Political correctness works by inducing self-censorship, cutting off conversation and the exchange of ideas, which might lead to friendship.”People with politically incorrect ideas often confide they feel completely alone. 

Identity politics works by forcing people to focus only on a collective identity and collective guilt while erasing each of us as unique individuals. Both are alienating. Both empower bad actors.

“Most of us have never had a chance to learn the history of how blind conformity breeds terror, and vice versa. Abject conformity led to the hellscapes of Stalin’s reign of terror, of Hitler’s Germany. Those who submit to false confessions of “white guilt” can just as easily submit to such regimes because the psychological mechanism is the same: seeking the social approval they crave and avoiding the social rejection they fear.

Weaponization of Loneliness is a Specialty of Cults. Does BLM employ it?

Struggle session - Wikipedia
The photo above reflects what people are afraid of, and why they submit to false narratives. This photo is of a “struggle session” in Maoist China during the Cultural Revolution. The victim is accused of ideological impurity. In today’s BLM parlance, the shaming and social isolation would be for perceived racism. It is not based on reality, but only on identity politics. (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

In this post I will continue to refer to the item I posted the other day on the suburban mass confession of “white guilt” that took place in Bethesda, Maryland. It was a creepy incident of initiation in which you can see four truths revealed about cults and cult activity. We owe it to ourselves to ask first if the participants are behaving like cult recruits. And then we have to ask if the organization to which they are pledging is behaving like a cult. Below I note four hard similarities.

  1. Cult operations always cover up an appetite for raw power with a cover story that sounds very uncontroversial.  Deception is always cover for a power grab. Is that the case with the organization that calls itself “Black Live Matter?” Well, just go to its website and you’ll soon figure out that hardcore socialism, or Marxism, is its actual, avowed agenda. Ultimately, socialism is about one thing: too much power in the hands of too few people. Marxists in America have made no secret of their determination to undermine the individual rights inherent in the Constitution. So when you see huge agendas on the BLM website that are traditionally communist — like “sustainable transformation” and defunding the police and even its goal of replacing the family with collectivist forms of childrearing — well, its veil gets a lot thinner.
  2. Cult  mechanics always involve psychological manipulation. Coercive thought reform is at work in the Bethesda video. It uses a hypnotic chant, as well as guilt and shaming and the weaponization of loneliness to conjure up the illusion of majority support. The recruits have set themselves up for ostracism by the movement if they dare to re-think anything. There is no respect for the principle of free thought or any exchange of ideas.  The movement is highly manipulative and emotionally coercive.
  3. The recruit is ordered to become a deployable agent for the cult by promising to bring others in to it. When the Bethesdans took their pledge, part of it was “to do everything in my power to educate my community.” That’s a pledge to proselytize. This assignment is essential to cults. It grows the mass/mob and empowers the cult’s totalitarian leaders. It always happens under the guise of something that sounds reasonable. Their behavior also brings to mind one of Saul Alinsky’s callous “Rules for Radicals:” to use people’s goodwill against them.
  4. We see the cultic practice of predatory alienation: forcing people to disavow loved ones. The New York Times recently published an op-ed telling white “allies” of BLM that they must prove their loyalty by texting “relatives and loved ones telling them you will not be visiting them or answering phone calls until they take significant action in supporting black lives either through protest or financial contributions.”  This is emotional blackmail, meant to isolate people and meddle in personal relationships. That’s a common pattern in socialism as well.

Margaret Thaler Singer on Cults and How Easily People Obey Them

The other day I posted a video of a “struggle session” – the gathering in Bethesda, Maryland – in which people recited a pledge claiming collective guilt because they were born “white.” As I mentioned, the agitators got a huge number of participants to pledge to submit themselves to a new, totalitarian regime, under the guise of something else. This is how cult indoctrination begins. Cults erase your individual identity and replace it with an assigned collective identity. People succumb largely because they think they’ll be safe from criticism and viewed as “enlightened.” But it’s an old trap.

If you have the time and interest, here’s a video from more than 15 years ago of the late cult expert Margaret Thaler Singer discussing the way cults work, particularly how they use deception and how easy it is to get people to obey.  In those days most people understood cults to be led by one charismatic individual. But once they go global as movements (like communism or even the BLM movement) their leaders are often hidden, organizing behind the scenes. At a certain tipping point, though, a central charismatic figure usually emerges as the leader.

Staged Hate in Charlottesville? In War, Perception is Everything.

“All the world’s a stage; And all the men and women merely players . . . ” — Shakespeare, As You Like It

Below is an excerpt from my latest Federalist piece:  “America’s Post-Charlottesville Nervous Breakdown was Deliberately Induced.” I hope you’ll have a chance to read it in full.

“Wars are won or lost based mostly on perceptions of events, not on what actually happens. This is true for any given battlefield, whether it’s the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam or the ideological battlefield over the future of the First Amendment as played out in Charlottesville in 2017. The reality of what takes place in the public arena is always secondary to any projected illusion.

So let’s never forget this: Whoever has the power to dictate public perceptions of reality is in a position to dictate public opinion and behavior. Abusing language and images to stir up emotions is an ancient trick of power-mongers. And once journalism turns into unchecked propaganda, we become trapped in its dangerous illusions.”

The social turmoil we are witnessing today has largely been manufactured through the combination of three elements: 1. the manipulation of our language; 2. the deliberate use of such loaded language to cultivate extreme emotions in people, particularly anger and resentment; and 3. the role of mass media as a nuclear device to impose those perceptions on a mass scale.

Here’s another interesting sidelight to consider.  Public Relations firms such as Crowds on Demand provide actors for protests and rallies and run ads on Craigslist to recruit and pay for that purpose. So it’s very easy to create illusions of riots if you can rent a mob for it.  The blog Gates of Vienna ran an interview recently with an eyewitness who was in Charlottesville on the day of the riots and reports that protesters from both sides — attired both in “counter-protester” clothing such as Antifa or BLM shirts AND neo-Nazi/KKK shirts — were dropped off from the same bus.  And this happened with a line of chartered buses, both sides apparently sharing the same vehicles. The story is here:  “All the World’s a Stage.”  Whether or not you believe this, the fact that politicized officials ordered police to stand down lends credence to the scenario of a staged riot.

Must Read: The Devil’s Pleasure Palace

I have a review of Michael Walsh’s book (now out in paperback) “The Devil’s Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West” over at Acton Institute’s Transatlantic blog.  If you haven’t yet read Walsh’s book, it’s a must read for understanding the Left’s war on reality, and how it spawned political correctness and multiculturalism to divide and control us all.  Here’s the link for purchasing the book on Amazon:  The Devil’s Pleasure Palace

My review is here:  Book Review: “The Devil’s Pleasure Palace” by Michael Walsh.

We can trace critical theory back about a hundred years, to a group of Marxists in Germany:

The neo-Marxist thinkers who invented critical theory coalesced at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt after World War I. The core idea was to foment radical social change and undermine “repressive” Western culture by advancing roughly the premise that all ideas – except theirs, of course – should be criticized and challenged. The attacks on the institutions that make freedom possible – family, religion, classical education, the arts, free markets, free speech – can be traced to critical theory. Critical theory operates under the guise of “equality” and “social justice,” but suppresses all competing influences.

Walsh’s book is rich with allusions from literature and opera.  The title is based on the Schubert opera “The Devil’s Pleasure Palace,” a metaphor for the nihilism of critical theory which is all built on illusion — and crumbles into nothing when it is confronted head on.

The SPLC Scam

What would the Southern Poverty Law Center do if there was no poverty? If there was no hate? Or ignorance?  I suppose its leaders would invent all those things.  Because if you examine the SPLC’s operations, it certainly cultivates ignorance, hate, and poverty — perhaps to keep itself rolling in dough.  For more on this, take a look at my recent Federalist article:  “12 Ways the Southern Poverty Law Center is Scam to Profit from Hate-Mongering.”

The tragic irony is that the United States was on the road to real racial healing before self-professed watchdog groups like the SPLC got addicted to the practice of tearing the scabs off of the nation’s wounds and pouring salt into them.  Division is the name of their game:  isolating people, de-humanizing them, labeling them as “haters” or “bigots” and inciting mob anger at anyone who dares to express a different perspective on life than the one the self-appointed authorities at the SPLC have assigned to us all.  Sadly, the SPLC uses pathetic and scattered cases of “white supremacists” as cover to lump in and label anyone who doesn’t buy into their agenda.  And since 95 percent of all media outlets do their bidding, that sort of stereotyping has an impact on creating a society of skittish people loath to treat others as human until they check in with Big Brother.  It’s an ancient dynamic that totalitarian regimes have always depended upon to keep themselves in power.

I think Alexis deTocqueville said in best in his work “Democracy in America” when he noted that the essence of tyranny is to divide people, to make sure they do not love one another. This is the purpose of political correctness, especially as applied by groups like the SPLC.

The truth is that people everywhere are starving for real friendship and freedom. They certainly don’t crave regimes of PC silencing that prevent them from getting to know one another.  There is a loneliness epidemic.  But friendship can’t happen without real conversation and civil society — both of which are shut down by SPLC-styled rhetoric. But friendship — which can only happen through free conversation — doesn’t serve the bottom line of organizations devoted to sowing seeds of discord. It’s all so sad and unnecessary. People of goodwill must confront and end this inhumane practice, which, ironically, is always pushed “in the name of humanity.”