Category: Jeremy Egerer

Internet Liberals Give, and Internet Liberals Take Away


This has been an ominous month for the right wing.  Until now we had lived with the vestiges of “free speech” and believed, erroneously, that the internet would allow truth to be spread.  The truth about said truth is that people were in charge of the internet, and that this chaos of ideas gave birth to new powers of censorship, and that as men were capable of giving us speech, they were also capable of making us mute.  We had escaped the hounds of the New York Times only to run into the nets of Mark Zuckerberg.  Before, we were worried we could hear only “all the news that’s fit to print.”  Now we wonder whether our neighbors can see what we post.

They clamped down on us in the war against “fake news.”  The Russians tried to meddle in our elections and were caught.  Moscow had tried, with questionable success, to tell us things that were not true, and the Democrats in charge of the internet, believing that these untruths were responsible for giving us a Republican president, decided to make war on whatever they deemed false.  Thus they scrubbed YouTube, overnight, of prominent Republican vloggers.  Amazon deleted God knows how many reviews of right-wing authors.  Facebook unpublished accounts and restricted the audiences of its right-wingers, and Reddit and YouTube, following the massacre at Parkland, deleted all videos pertaining to gun maintenance.  We are in the midst of a purge, and the most troubling thing about all of it is that few of us know that it is happening.

The question is how we got to this point.  I believe there are several explanations, the first of these being that conservatives are always on the losing end of things.  This is not in the sense that free markets and freedom of speech and an armed citizenry are a proven concoction for failure, but in the sense that the side of conservation, in a universe where change is the only constant, is eventually a losing game.  You fall in love with something and try to hang on to it, and the end result is that you find you can’t really hang on to anything.  It’s romantic, but it’s foolish, and the best thing any “conservative” can do in any circumstance is his best to slow things down.

This bring us to the second problem.  The conservative, by nature, isn’t generally a cutting-edge man.  His satisfaction with the way things are leads him to leave things the way they are; and this general contentment with his surroundings leads him not to dream of how things could be.  In other words, he likes to paint within the lines.  The Founding Fathers, on the other hand, were inventors and renaissance men because they were dreamers, and classical liberalism was a young dream.  Today, classical liberalism, or what’s left of it, is no longer a dream, but a memory.  The young dream today belongs primarily to leftists, who believe in a new order of things and a new way of doing them.  These dreamers invented and organized the internet, and now, because they organized the internet, they decide what we say on it, and if they don’t decide what we say on it, they decide who can hear it.

To prove this theory, you need only ask yourself how many respectable men, in your lifetime, have ever made any piece of art worth looking at, or listening to, or reading.  Nearly all of it has been done by scoundrels and radicals – people who didn’t fit in the lines and because of this asked us to draw new ones.  Conservatives, on the other hand, didn’t invent Facebook or YouTube or Google or Amazon or Paypal, and they didn’t write Game of Thrones or make a hit musical about Hamilton.  They gave us such duds as God’s Not Dead and National Review.  The Founding Fathers were inventors because they were changing the existing order of things – you might even go so far as to label them leftists.  Today, the existing order of things is the framework left by the Founding Fathers.  We’re left with all the stodgy men because all the fun and weird and really imaginative ones are out trying to remake the world in their image – a lousy image, but theirs nonetheless.  The hallmark of a creator is dissatisfaction.  The future belongs to our scoundrels.

There have been moments like this before, and there will be moments like this again.  The Gutenberg press wasn’t without its terrors to power and the subsequent repressions, and beyond this, America itself is a product of a similar revolution.  The truth is that America is almost the product of an accident.  Our spiritual forefathers, the English, were on an island, and so they depended most heavily on a navy.  Capital throughout Europe grew, a nation in Europe raised a standing army, so the other nations had to raise standing armies to defend themselves against this standing army (see Macaulay’s History of England).  One by one, this revolution in warfare became a revolution in statehood.  The public was no match for the new police force.  Power was centralized in the executive branches.  Liberties were snuffed out overnight.  Absolutism became the reigning fashion of the day, and kings like Louis XIV proved they could rule absolutely.

But in England, everything was different.  They watched as one by one, the somewhat free peoples of Europe succumbed to standing armies, and, noting the danger, they seized on some solutions.  Separations between executive and legislative powers were strengthened.  The power to fund the army, if not to direct it, went to Parliament.  King Charles, attempting to raise a standing army by raising funds illegally, was beheaded by the republicans, and a series of checks and balances and rights and procedures, created in the aftermath, were passed on to a group of people who became known as the Americans.  England remained free, and because England remained free, the world experienced the Enlightenment.

As such all technological revolutions require social evolutions.  Every new power requires new laws and new regulations.  The question we have before us today is not whether free speech lives on or dies.  It is whether democracy lives on or dies.  It’s whether Republicans, who at this historic moment control the House and Senate and the presidency, are willing to craft laws to protect the American public from our elites, who own everything else.  We are at the point, as our ancestors were yesterday with the Gutenberg press and the standing army, where the way we deal with a new power either saves us or destroys us.  I believe that the internet can save us – but only if we’re willing to develop safeguards to protect us from the owners of the internet.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.

This has been an ominous month for the right wing.  Until now we had lived with the vestiges of “free speech” and believed, erroneously, that the internet would allow truth to be spread.  The truth about said truth is that people were in charge of the internet, and that this chaos of ideas gave birth to new powers of censorship, and that as men were capable of giving us speech, they were also capable of making us mute.  We had escaped the hounds of the New York Times only to run into the nets of Mark Zuckerberg.  Before, we were worried we could hear only “all the news that’s fit to print.”  Now we wonder whether our neighbors can see what we post.

They clamped down on us in the war against “fake news.”  The Russians tried to meddle in our elections and were caught.  Moscow had tried, with questionable success, to tell us things that were not true, and the Democrats in charge of the internet, believing that these untruths were responsible for giving us a Republican president, decided to make war on whatever they deemed false.  Thus they scrubbed YouTube, overnight, of prominent Republican vloggers.  Amazon deleted God knows how many reviews of right-wing authors.  Facebook unpublished accounts and restricted the audiences of its right-wingers, and Reddit and YouTube, following the massacre at Parkland, deleted all videos pertaining to gun maintenance.  We are in the midst of a purge, and the most troubling thing about all of it is that few of us know that it is happening.

The question is how we got to this point.  I believe there are several explanations, the first of these being that conservatives are always on the losing end of things.  This is not in the sense that free markets and freedom of speech and an armed citizenry are a proven concoction for failure, but in the sense that the side of conservation, in a universe where change is the only constant, is eventually a losing game.  You fall in love with something and try to hang on to it, and the end result is that you find you can’t really hang on to anything.  It’s romantic, but it’s foolish, and the best thing any “conservative” can do in any circumstance is his best to slow things down.

This bring us to the second problem.  The conservative, by nature, isn’t generally a cutting-edge man.  His satisfaction with the way things are leads him to leave things the way they are; and this general contentment with his surroundings leads him not to dream of how things could be.  In other words, he likes to paint within the lines.  The Founding Fathers, on the other hand, were inventors and renaissance men because they were dreamers, and classical liberalism was a young dream.  Today, classical liberalism, or what’s left of it, is no longer a dream, but a memory.  The young dream today belongs primarily to leftists, who believe in a new order of things and a new way of doing them.  These dreamers invented and organized the internet, and now, because they organized the internet, they decide what we say on it, and if they don’t decide what we say on it, they decide who can hear it.

To prove this theory, you need only ask yourself how many respectable men, in your lifetime, have ever made any piece of art worth looking at, or listening to, or reading.  Nearly all of it has been done by scoundrels and radicals – people who didn’t fit in the lines and because of this asked us to draw new ones.  Conservatives, on the other hand, didn’t invent Facebook or YouTube or Google or Amazon or Paypal, and they didn’t write Game of Thrones or make a hit musical about Hamilton.  They gave us such duds as God’s Not Dead and National Review.  The Founding Fathers were inventors because they were changing the existing order of things – you might even go so far as to label them leftists.  Today, the existing order of things is the framework left by the Founding Fathers.  We’re left with all the stodgy men because all the fun and weird and really imaginative ones are out trying to remake the world in their image – a lousy image, but theirs nonetheless.  The hallmark of a creator is dissatisfaction.  The future belongs to our scoundrels.

There have been moments like this before, and there will be moments like this again.  The Gutenberg press wasn’t without its terrors to power and the subsequent repressions, and beyond this, America itself is a product of a similar revolution.  The truth is that America is almost the product of an accident.  Our spiritual forefathers, the English, were on an island, and so they depended most heavily on a navy.  Capital throughout Europe grew, a nation in Europe raised a standing army, so the other nations had to raise standing armies to defend themselves against this standing army (see Macaulay’s History of England).  One by one, this revolution in warfare became a revolution in statehood.  The public was no match for the new police force.  Power was centralized in the executive branches.  Liberties were snuffed out overnight.  Absolutism became the reigning fashion of the day, and kings like Louis XIV proved they could rule absolutely.

But in England, everything was different.  They watched as one by one, the somewhat free peoples of Europe succumbed to standing armies, and, noting the danger, they seized on some solutions.  Separations between executive and legislative powers were strengthened.  The power to fund the army, if not to direct it, went to Parliament.  King Charles, attempting to raise a standing army by raising funds illegally, was beheaded by the republicans, and a series of checks and balances and rights and procedures, created in the aftermath, were passed on to a group of people who became known as the Americans.  England remained free, and because England remained free, the world experienced the Enlightenment.

As such all technological revolutions require social evolutions.  Every new power requires new laws and new regulations.  The question we have before us today is not whether free speech lives on or dies.  It is whether democracy lives on or dies.  It’s whether Republicans, who at this historic moment control the House and Senate and the presidency, are willing to craft laws to protect the American public from our elites, who own everything else.  We are at the point, as our ancestors were yesterday with the Gutenberg press and the standing army, where the way we deal with a new power either saves us or destroys us.  I believe that the internet can save us – but only if we’re willing to develop safeguards to protect us from the owners of the internet.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.



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On Getting Older and Turning into 'a Racist'


One thing I’m looking forward to as I get older is becoming more “racist.”  I consider it one of the finer joys of aging.  Children are averse to this kind of thing because they have no idea, for instance, that handing a kid named Terrell $150 of your hard-earned money for C.D.s, even though he has a bullet scar on his leg and an affinity for bad hash, might be a bad investment (note: I have personally done this).  You have to learn these things the hard way.  Putting two and two together over a lifetime has a tendency to make you generalize about people, and if you’re intelligent, most of the time you will be right.

At this point, having lived through a series of dangerous and distasteful experiences with lowlifes, I can tell the difference between a good and a bad black man within seconds, and knowing the difference between them has made me safer, richer, and happier in general – something a teenager is unlikely to understand, appreciate, or accept.  The way kids are indoctrinated today makes them unlikely to ever appreciate it, and the only thing I can do for a man who places his morals over his judgment is laugh at him.  To watch a smug, effeminate, and fully grown white man embrace a lowlife and then ask where his wallet went is comedy of the highest order – funnier than watching drunk people fall off their bicycles or women throwing tantrums in the grocery store.

As most of us over the age of 30 know, the things that turned us on at 20 have a tendency to become stale and boring, which means that unless we’re ready to curl up and die, we have to move on to other things.  Drinking by this time has become moderated (unless you’re a drunk); drugs are severely limited or verboten (unless you’re a bum); sleeping around has led to marriage (unless nobody wants to marry you); and most of the music and television you spent your precious youth on become either corny or boring (unless you’re corny or boring).  What’s left to us but to learn?  To build?  To construct a universe within ourselves that allows us to master the universe outside ourselves?  The hallmark of manhood is a reversal of bald consumption – the desire to create, to build a home and a family and a business and a nation and ideas, to be needed by people, to dream things that not only sound good, but work well, to stand amid the chaos of the world and establish your tiny fiefdom in irreproachable order – in short, to go from having your diaper changed to changing a diaper.

To do this requires not only positive construction, but positive de-struction – not just the conscious integrating of ideas, but the conscious abandonment of falsehoods, a moving toward the people and things that help us to build, and an aversion to the people and things that ruin the things that we’ve built.  This daily eureka, the realization that you know something new and beautiful and useful, the joy of growing this knowledge and applying it, never gets stale and never grows tiring.  It furnishes us with new materials every day to meet the day.  It surprises us here and there, always with new subjects and vistas and ways to build virtues – not the ecstasy of chasing women, but more lasting; not the head change of munching acid, but more enlightening; things that add one good on top of another in newer and better combinations, leading us not to an ideology, but a person we’d never expected – us.  It’s an “us” of refined loves and hates we could never have dreamed, because we had never until now become capable of dreaming it.

The mystery of this thirty-something us, if we’ve lived our lives well, is guaranteed to terrify the average teenager.  We know this because we remember being teenagers, and there’s almost nothing more depressing to our young selves than the idea that we’ll turn out as boring and judgmental as our old selves.  We say the teenager rebels against his parents, but the truth is that the parent is almost constantly in an act of willful rebellion against the teenager.  All adults, in point of fact, assuming they ever reach any kind of intellectual maturity, have already rebelled against themselves and all the ham-handed ideals of adolescence.  It’s the teenager who has yet to do it, and he proves his idiocy by fighting the thing he’s destined to become instead of asking why everyone else has become it.

Thus the joy of becoming too “judgmental” for the children’s taste.  Or “racist,” as they sometimes call it, or “bigoted.”  The sign of manhood.  Observations you’re not supposed to make lead to an endless series of eurekas; infinite combinations of personal traits form endless combinations of meanings, like the letters of the alphabet.  The stereotypes begin to form, slowly but surely, all to spot playboys and geniuses and good neighbors and bad friends; hard workers and slackers and good citizens and criminals; patriots and traitors; liars and honest men; caretakers and abandoners across all races and nations and sexes and ages; to assess them by stances and glances and walking and talking; to sum up this living world and do the one thing a child can’t: to interpret it rightly.

So I say bring on the stereotypes, this ocean of variables combining into a readable and unspoken language.  Let us discover them, refine them, toy with them, share them, depend on them, joke about them, love them; combine them with other stereotypes; throw away false ones; update them ever so slightly as we get older; build systems that mystify youths and offend all our Pharisees and lead us to happiness.  Bring on this “bigotry,” I say, and let age continue to defy youth, with youth’s half-baked ideals and inflexible mandates.  Let this defiance be known not as old age, but the triumph of a manly and joyful rebellion – against youth.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.

Image: Marco via Flickr.

One thing I’m looking forward to as I get older is becoming more “racist.”  I consider it one of the finer joys of aging.  Children are averse to this kind of thing because they have no idea, for instance, that handing a kid named Terrell $150 of your hard-earned money for C.D.s, even though he has a bullet scar on his leg and an affinity for bad hash, might be a bad investment (note: I have personally done this).  You have to learn these things the hard way.  Putting two and two together over a lifetime has a tendency to make you generalize about people, and if you’re intelligent, most of the time you will be right.

At this point, having lived through a series of dangerous and distasteful experiences with lowlifes, I can tell the difference between a good and a bad black man within seconds, and knowing the difference between them has made me safer, richer, and happier in general – something a teenager is unlikely to understand, appreciate, or accept.  The way kids are indoctrinated today makes them unlikely to ever appreciate it, and the only thing I can do for a man who places his morals over his judgment is laugh at him.  To watch a smug, effeminate, and fully grown white man embrace a lowlife and then ask where his wallet went is comedy of the highest order – funnier than watching drunk people fall off their bicycles or women throwing tantrums in the grocery store.

As most of us over the age of 30 know, the things that turned us on at 20 have a tendency to become stale and boring, which means that unless we’re ready to curl up and die, we have to move on to other things.  Drinking by this time has become moderated (unless you’re a drunk); drugs are severely limited or verboten (unless you’re a bum); sleeping around has led to marriage (unless nobody wants to marry you); and most of the music and television you spent your precious youth on become either corny or boring (unless you’re corny or boring).  What’s left to us but to learn?  To build?  To construct a universe within ourselves that allows us to master the universe outside ourselves?  The hallmark of manhood is a reversal of bald consumption – the desire to create, to build a home and a family and a business and a nation and ideas, to be needed by people, to dream things that not only sound good, but work well, to stand amid the chaos of the world and establish your tiny fiefdom in irreproachable order – in short, to go from having your diaper changed to changing a diaper.

To do this requires not only positive construction, but positive de-struction – not just the conscious integrating of ideas, but the conscious abandonment of falsehoods, a moving toward the people and things that help us to build, and an aversion to the people and things that ruin the things that we’ve built.  This daily eureka, the realization that you know something new and beautiful and useful, the joy of growing this knowledge and applying it, never gets stale and never grows tiring.  It furnishes us with new materials every day to meet the day.  It surprises us here and there, always with new subjects and vistas and ways to build virtues – not the ecstasy of chasing women, but more lasting; not the head change of munching acid, but more enlightening; things that add one good on top of another in newer and better combinations, leading us not to an ideology, but a person we’d never expected – us.  It’s an “us” of refined loves and hates we could never have dreamed, because we had never until now become capable of dreaming it.

The mystery of this thirty-something us, if we’ve lived our lives well, is guaranteed to terrify the average teenager.  We know this because we remember being teenagers, and there’s almost nothing more depressing to our young selves than the idea that we’ll turn out as boring and judgmental as our old selves.  We say the teenager rebels against his parents, but the truth is that the parent is almost constantly in an act of willful rebellion against the teenager.  All adults, in point of fact, assuming they ever reach any kind of intellectual maturity, have already rebelled against themselves and all the ham-handed ideals of adolescence.  It’s the teenager who has yet to do it, and he proves his idiocy by fighting the thing he’s destined to become instead of asking why everyone else has become it.

Thus the joy of becoming too “judgmental” for the children’s taste.  Or “racist,” as they sometimes call it, or “bigoted.”  The sign of manhood.  Observations you’re not supposed to make lead to an endless series of eurekas; infinite combinations of personal traits form endless combinations of meanings, like the letters of the alphabet.  The stereotypes begin to form, slowly but surely, all to spot playboys and geniuses and good neighbors and bad friends; hard workers and slackers and good citizens and criminals; patriots and traitors; liars and honest men; caretakers and abandoners across all races and nations and sexes and ages; to assess them by stances and glances and walking and talking; to sum up this living world and do the one thing a child can’t: to interpret it rightly.

So I say bring on the stereotypes, this ocean of variables combining into a readable and unspoken language.  Let us discover them, refine them, toy with them, share them, depend on them, joke about them, love them; combine them with other stereotypes; throw away false ones; update them ever so slightly as we get older; build systems that mystify youths and offend all our Pharisees and lead us to happiness.  Bring on this “bigotry,” I say, and let age continue to defy youth, with youth’s half-baked ideals and inflexible mandates.  Let this defiance be known not as old age, but the triumph of a manly and joyful rebellion – against youth.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.

Image: Marco via Flickr.



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A Nation of Children Wants a Nation of Gun Control


In the history of protests, there is probably nothing less inspiring than a high-schooler refusing to go to school.   It’s as if the children threatened not to eat their vegetables; or as if a bad Catholic, upset with the bedrock teachings of the Church, refused to go to Mass.   You can refuse any number of things, but you can’t refuse in the most fun way possible, and if you refuse your food, the response of your “oppressors” should be then don’t eat your food.   It’s your life, and should you choose to ruin it by getting skinny or playing hookey, I say best of luck to you.   If you really want to make an impression, you should douse yourself in gasoline and set yourself on fire.   That way, we’ll know you really mean it.

I’m not against children, but I am 100% against “think of the children.”   I like to think of what’s best for the grown-ups.   Whatever works best for free, honest, informed, self-reliant, and armed adults works best for their dependents, and if children are anything, they are dependent.   If they grow up into anything, it is more parents.   If you love a child, remember that the purpose of cuteness is to make sure  kids turn into adults – who in turn are in charge of making us more children.

If some kids have to suffer so that most adults can do well in this world, in most cases, I’ll throw the kids under the bus faster than you can say “lickety-split.”   You get it the other way around, and the end result is that more kids will suffer anyway, like caring more about employees than about businesses, or caring more about the entitlements of citizens than the solvency of the country.     Children are important, but no good, honest, or safe society cares first about its children.   No free republic ever survived by placing the rights of its children above the rights of their parents.   So far as I’m aware, no tyranny ever survived by placing the rights of its children above the rights of their parents.   The end result of even the Cultural Revolution, where Chinese students were encouraged to attack their own parents and professors, was murder upon murder.

In general, you craft the policy around the adults, and everything else falls into place.   The great tragedy of American society is not that we treat too many children too poorly, but that too many people were given rights without ever proving they’d advanced beyond childhood.*   Christ said the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to children “such as these.”   I don’t know how thinking like a child gets you into heaven, but I know how it can get you off the Earth (research the culinary Tide Pod).

This being said, there is no subject in the United States more childishly discussed than the one we have about gun control, and probably because at this moment, children and halfwits are the ones responsible for steering the dialogue.   There are 330 million people in the United States, and at this moment, since 2012, according to The New York Times, there have been 138 deaths by school shooting.   This amounts to 21.3 deaths per year on average – an honorable statistic in a country as populated as ours.   On the other hand, according to Forbes, there were only 31 million Americans who went to Mexico in 2016, and in that same year, we had 75 Americans get murdered while doing it – more American deaths than the total of all other countries combined.

This means that every year, four times as many people are butchered, by foreigners, on vacation, in a single country, out of a pool nearly ten times smaller than the American population.   There is no school shooting epidemic in this country.   The average student is more likely to die from slipping in the bathtub, or going on vacation, and is probably more likely to get molested by his own teacher.   If we really cared more about children’s lives, we would ban students from going to Cancún, and if we really cared enough to say not even one, and we considered how many thousands of Americans are killed by Mexicans every year, and how many kids are ruined or killed by Mexican drugs, we would kick it up a notch and ban Mexico altogether.

A little digging on the internet has yielded the fact that, even according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization allegedly against (white) racism and other forms of (white) “hate,” illegal aliens are responsible for killing a lot of Americans.   They state that between the end of 2001 and 2006, criminal aliens were 28% of our prisoners, about half of this 28% was considered illegal, and 85,000 murders were committed by our criminal population.   If we were to assume illegal aliens were equal-opportunity murderers, this would still put us at 14% of 85,000, which is 11,900 (2,380 a year), and if we considered them twice as safe as the average American, they would still be killing around 1,200 annually.   This extremely generous number is 60 times higher than the 20.3 students killed yearly in our schools, and this still fails to mention the number of people who are raped by illegal immigrants; who catch deadly third-world diseases; or, as Fox News mentions, who are killed every year by unlicensed drivers (7,500 Americans).   This last number alone is 20 per day compared with the school shooters’ 20 per year.   The latest crime statistics are not an improvement.

The problem with America is not that some people don’t care about children.   It’s that some people have no idea what is going on in the country, and that when they do have an idea, they refuse to consider the problem any further.   You put a child against “guns” – an extreme oversimplification for extremists and simpletons – and the child is more important than “the gun.”   You put a white child against a brown man, and the brown man is more important than the white child.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays onLetters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.

In the history of protests, there is probably nothing less inspiring than a high-schooler refusing to go to school.   It’s as if the children threatened not to eat their vegetables; or as if a bad Catholic, upset with the bedrock teachings of the Church, refused to go to Mass.   You can refuse any number of things, but you can’t refuse in the most fun way possible, and if you refuse your food, the response of your “oppressors” should be then don’t eat your food.   It’s your life, and should you choose to ruin it by getting skinny or playing hookey, I say best of luck to you.   If you really want to make an impression, you should douse yourself in gasoline and set yourself on fire.   That way, we’ll know you really mean it.

I’m not against children, but I am 100% against “think of the children.”   I like to think of what’s best for the grown-ups.   Whatever works best for free, honest, informed, self-reliant, and armed adults works best for their dependents, and if children are anything, they are dependent.   If they grow up into anything, it is more parents.   If you love a child, remember that the purpose of cuteness is to make sure  kids turn into adults – who in turn are in charge of making us more children.

If some kids have to suffer so that most adults can do well in this world, in most cases, I’ll throw the kids under the bus faster than you can say “lickety-split.”   You get it the other way around, and the end result is that more kids will suffer anyway, like caring more about employees than about businesses, or caring more about the entitlements of citizens than the solvency of the country.     Children are important, but no good, honest, or safe society cares first about its children.   No free republic ever survived by placing the rights of its children above the rights of their parents.   So far as I’m aware, no tyranny ever survived by placing the rights of its children above the rights of their parents.   The end result of even the Cultural Revolution, where Chinese students were encouraged to attack their own parents and professors, was murder upon murder.

In general, you craft the policy around the adults, and everything else falls into place.   The great tragedy of American society is not that we treat too many children too poorly, but that too many people were given rights without ever proving they’d advanced beyond childhood.*   Christ said the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to children “such as these.”   I don’t know how thinking like a child gets you into heaven, but I know how it can get you off the Earth (research the culinary Tide Pod).

This being said, there is no subject in the United States more childishly discussed than the one we have about gun control, and probably because at this moment, children and halfwits are the ones responsible for steering the dialogue.   There are 330 million people in the United States, and at this moment, since 2012, according to The New York Times, there have been 138 deaths by school shooting.   This amounts to 21.3 deaths per year on average – an honorable statistic in a country as populated as ours.   On the other hand, according to Forbes, there were only 31 million Americans who went to Mexico in 2016, and in that same year, we had 75 Americans get murdered while doing it – more American deaths than the total of all other countries combined.

This means that every year, four times as many people are butchered, by foreigners, on vacation, in a single country, out of a pool nearly ten times smaller than the American population.   There is no school shooting epidemic in this country.   The average student is more likely to die from slipping in the bathtub, or going on vacation, and is probably more likely to get molested by his own teacher.   If we really cared more about children’s lives, we would ban students from going to Cancún, and if we really cared enough to say not even one, and we considered how many thousands of Americans are killed by Mexicans every year, and how many kids are ruined or killed by Mexican drugs, we would kick it up a notch and ban Mexico altogether.

A little digging on the internet has yielded the fact that, even according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization allegedly against (white) racism and other forms of (white) “hate,” illegal aliens are responsible for killing a lot of Americans.   They state that between the end of 2001 and 2006, criminal aliens were 28% of our prisoners, about half of this 28% was considered illegal, and 85,000 murders were committed by our criminal population.   If we were to assume illegal aliens were equal-opportunity murderers, this would still put us at 14% of 85,000, which is 11,900 (2,380 a year), and if we considered them twice as safe as the average American, they would still be killing around 1,200 annually.   This extremely generous number is 60 times higher than the 20.3 students killed yearly in our schools, and this still fails to mention the number of people who are raped by illegal immigrants; who catch deadly third-world diseases; or, as Fox News mentions, who are killed every year by unlicensed drivers (7,500 Americans).   This last number alone is 20 per day compared with the school shooters’ 20 per year.   The latest crime statistics are not an improvement.

The problem with America is not that some people don’t care about children.   It’s that some people have no idea what is going on in the country, and that when they do have an idea, they refuse to consider the problem any further.   You put a child against “guns” – an extreme oversimplification for extremists and simpletons – and the child is more important than “the gun.”   You put a white child against a brown man, and the brown man is more important than the white child.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays onLetters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.



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A Quick Fix to Restore Faith in Democracy


Democracy is just like anything else that’s good in life, and that means it has to be moderated.  To this a lot of Americans respond that we don’t live in a democracy; we live in a democratic republic, and I think saying anything this obvious and unhelpful should disqualify them for the vote.

In fact, there are too many voters to keep this republic afloat, too many voters who don’t know the difference between a federal and a national system of government, too many who can’t tell the difference between the judicial system and the legislature, who honestly believe that policing policemen is the business of the president, who believe that if we don’t have a transgender Siskiyou in office that neither transgenders nor Siskiyous are being represented in office, who insist the Bill of Rights was intended to be taken literally, that our civil rights began with the Civil Rights Movement, and that pure chaos wouldn’t result from a right to practice any religion in entirety.  A simple I.Q. bar of 80 would eliminate half of these dunces, probably a fifth of Americans in general, and a subsequent civics test would eliminate the other half – which would exclude another fifth.

There’s an idea that the more of us vote, the better, but this idea that people who are too dumb to understand anything other than physical pain or starvation or ugliness should be directing the nation is so absurd on its face that only recently has the majority even believed it.  We know that the Founding Fathers didn’t, and as such, I would add to this list of excludables people who don’t pay any federal income taxes or own property worth more than $50,000 – in other words, people who don’t actually give to the country and people who aren’t productive enough yet to actually own any of the country.  No stake, no payout.  All soldiers serving honorably would immediately get suffrage.

Rejects could vote in their own particular states if the states were dumb enough to let them, but the rest of us would be free of the other coast’s respectable citizens who think Obama is going to pay for new phones and end black-on-black crime in Chicago, or the trade union hillbillies who believe we shouldn’t be allowed to buy tires from China and that the Constitution was based on the Bible.  The payouts would be extraordinary.  The actual citizen of the United States of America would converse like a free citizen; the vote would be cherished like all cherished things (in other words, because of its rarity); and the underclasses and idiots, pandered to by the media and dragging the national dialogue down to prepubescent squabbles and Black Friday fistfights, would go back to watching their porn and arguing about basketball stats and inventing new handshakes to give one another.

There’s only one thing standing in the way: how would we go about doing this?  How could you convince more than a third of the American public that they don’t know anything about government and that this genuine ignorance, the kind that not only doesn’t know or want to know, but believes that it already knows as much as it needs to know, to throw away their so-called “unalienable rights,” the origins of which they can’t explain, supposedly from the God Who refuses to speak?

The answer is simple.  Insist, with every ounce of passion you can possibly muster, that people who’ve never studied the U.S. Constitution are incapable of understanding the government and that as you would never go to a doctor who’d never gone to college, and you’d never go to a mechanic who’d never spent time under a car’s hood, you would never want a master completely ignorant of political science.  We require everyone to pass a test before he’s allowed to drive a car, and in some places, you don’t even have to show an ID to drive the country.  You can’t even have sex with most strangers in many states until you’re 18, but the second you turn 18, you can screw over the nation.

Contrary to the brilliant and offensive suggestions above, all Americans could apply for this higher level of citizenship.  All of them could take a standardized test, written in plain language, about The Federalist, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and in a dream world maybe even the Second Treatise of Government.  It wouldn’t even be written, but multiple choice, taken every four years, with a $40 fee and courses online and testing in every county.  You can retake it if you fail it, and the second time you take it, the fees are cut in half.

The argument against it will be that everyone, completely regardless of his stupidity or ignorance, should be allowed to literally direct the future of this country.  In this case, we’ll do the unthinkable.  We’ll take them at their word, threaten to open the vote to our three-year-olds, and say babies should be viable candidates for the presidency.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.

Democracy is just like anything else that’s good in life, and that means it has to be moderated.  To this a lot of Americans respond that we don’t live in a democracy; we live in a democratic republic, and I think saying anything this obvious and unhelpful should disqualify them for the vote.

In fact, there are too many voters to keep this republic afloat, too many voters who don’t know the difference between a federal and a national system of government, too many who can’t tell the difference between the judicial system and the legislature, who honestly believe that policing policemen is the business of the president, who believe that if we don’t have a transgender Siskiyou in office that neither transgenders nor Siskiyous are being represented in office, who insist the Bill of Rights was intended to be taken literally, that our civil rights began with the Civil Rights Movement, and that pure chaos wouldn’t result from a right to practice any religion in entirety.  A simple I.Q. bar of 80 would eliminate half of these dunces, probably a fifth of Americans in general, and a subsequent civics test would eliminate the other half – which would exclude another fifth.

There’s an idea that the more of us vote, the better, but this idea that people who are too dumb to understand anything other than physical pain or starvation or ugliness should be directing the nation is so absurd on its face that only recently has the majority even believed it.  We know that the Founding Fathers didn’t, and as such, I would add to this list of excludables people who don’t pay any federal income taxes or own property worth more than $50,000 – in other words, people who don’t actually give to the country and people who aren’t productive enough yet to actually own any of the country.  No stake, no payout.  All soldiers serving honorably would immediately get suffrage.

Rejects could vote in their own particular states if the states were dumb enough to let them, but the rest of us would be free of the other coast’s respectable citizens who think Obama is going to pay for new phones and end black-on-black crime in Chicago, or the trade union hillbillies who believe we shouldn’t be allowed to buy tires from China and that the Constitution was based on the Bible.  The payouts would be extraordinary.  The actual citizen of the United States of America would converse like a free citizen; the vote would be cherished like all cherished things (in other words, because of its rarity); and the underclasses and idiots, pandered to by the media and dragging the national dialogue down to prepubescent squabbles and Black Friday fistfights, would go back to watching their porn and arguing about basketball stats and inventing new handshakes to give one another.

There’s only one thing standing in the way: how would we go about doing this?  How could you convince more than a third of the American public that they don’t know anything about government and that this genuine ignorance, the kind that not only doesn’t know or want to know, but believes that it already knows as much as it needs to know, to throw away their so-called “unalienable rights,” the origins of which they can’t explain, supposedly from the God Who refuses to speak?

The answer is simple.  Insist, with every ounce of passion you can possibly muster, that people who’ve never studied the U.S. Constitution are incapable of understanding the government and that as you would never go to a doctor who’d never gone to college, and you’d never go to a mechanic who’d never spent time under a car’s hood, you would never want a master completely ignorant of political science.  We require everyone to pass a test before he’s allowed to drive a car, and in some places, you don’t even have to show an ID to drive the country.  You can’t even have sex with most strangers in many states until you’re 18, but the second you turn 18, you can screw over the nation.

Contrary to the brilliant and offensive suggestions above, all Americans could apply for this higher level of citizenship.  All of them could take a standardized test, written in plain language, about The Federalist, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and in a dream world maybe even the Second Treatise of Government.  It wouldn’t even be written, but multiple choice, taken every four years, with a $40 fee and courses online and testing in every county.  You can retake it if you fail it, and the second time you take it, the fees are cut in half.

The argument against it will be that everyone, completely regardless of his stupidity or ignorance, should be allowed to literally direct the future of this country.  In this case, we’ll do the unthinkable.  We’ll take them at their word, threaten to open the vote to our three-year-olds, and say babies should be viable candidates for the presidency.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.



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What Colin Kaepernick Needed


Colin Kaepernick’s election as Gentleman Quarterly’s Citizen of the Year brings up a number of questions.  What exactly it is that makes a good citizen is first and foremost among these, because Kaepernick has spent a good amount of his time saying the average American citizen is the worst.  It leads us to wonder what exactly a good citizen champions if it’s not the citizens themselves.  If it’s the reformation of the citizens, then maybe so be it, and if it’s only a small and extremely fractious minority of the citizens, then doesn’t this make him a rebel?

This question has plagued humanity ever since we had city-states, and it happens to be the defining feature of the Old Testament: the idea that entire peoples can go wrong and that if they go right again, it’s because a few people kept themselves pure and called the miscreants back to Yahweh and were usually murdered by the majority for it.  If anyone can call the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel patriots, we can call Kaepernick one, too – if only we could agree with him.

How he got to where he is is the bigger mystery, and this half-white, half-black boy, abandoned by his own black father and white mother and picked up, seemingly at random, by two middle-class honkies who loved him and cared for him and got him an education, ensuring he was able to play football and that through his formative years he was always supported – this guy, who owes his fame and fortune not to the black race, but to the white; whose scholarship was paid by historically white institutions; whose career is owed to people who looked past the color of his skin to value what he could do – for this guy to be found on the side of America that not only rejects white America, but denies the beauty of the American Dream while in the middle of enjoying it – that this guy could be found where he is is one of the most puzzling things we have come across this year, a year when men are saying they’re women and women are saying they’re men, and a whole host of people believes that if you deny it, you’re a monster.

I believe that Colin Kaepernick is where he is because he wants to be loved.  Abandoned by his actual parents and adopted by two strangers, Colin Kaepernick grew up wondering why the natural bond of parenthood was weak and the “artificial” bonds of charity were strong.  He was wanted, but he never knew why, and he knew that the people who were supposed to love him the most were the people who didn’t love him probably at all.  As an adopted and intelligent child, he probably knew that if it hadn’t been he, his adopted parents could very well have picked someone else, and that the love he experienced in that home was part choice on the part of the parents and part lotto ticket.  He could look in the mirror and see he was different.  He was told he belonged but wondered if he ever did.

Then he began playing sports, and the fact that he did it so well made people go wild.  Suddenly, this wanted-unwanted youth became wanted not with the love of a parent or the love of a do-gooder, but because of something within him – something tangible he gave instead of something he received and couldn’t explain.  The cheers from the crowd, an entourage of adoring cheerleaders, the promise of millions and a lifestyle of fame arrived at his doorstep, and still this – all this, which many people would die for – wasn’t enough.  He wanted to know he was loved for real – for something deeper than playing sports or an accident.

His moment came when the black crises hit us – after Ferguson was on fire and Philando’d been shot and Colin’s career had been lagging behind after he’d promised so many things but just couldn’t deliver.  At this moment, besieged by doubts about his value as a player, hounded by that part of him that saw other black men and imagined himself in their shoes, this questioner of his own worth decided to take a stand by kneeling at the anthem and immediately arrested the nation’s attention.

His popularity among the majority dropped rapidly, but another thing took place.  The core fans he had had before grew louder and more loving.  They looked to him not for what he could do with his body, which was beginning to disappoint them anyway, but for what he could do with his voice.  He began to be not a champion of a team in a locality, but a symbol for black men all over the States – a man who cared about them and was because of this cared for.  He was loved not just because of what Colin Kaepernick did, but for who Colin Kaepernick is.

This total revolution in affairs changed Colin’s life entirely.  Before, he was loved or unloved for inscrutable or shallower reasons.  Now he had a handle on the feeling, and not only did the people thronging around him have a spiritual connection with him, but for the first time in his life, he was able to have a racial connection with them – to be wanted by the black man who had abandoned him at first, connected by blood and by cause.

One look at Colin in Harlem with his ridiculous afro, surrounded by the black men and women he champions, standing beside a small boy with a shirt with a slogan, all facing the camera in a silent and powerful unity, and you know what the man feels.  He feels as if he belongs somewhere.  It’s a shame he never knew that the people most desperate for black champions isn’t the black race, but the Republican Party.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.

Colin Kaepernick’s election as Gentleman Quarterly’s Citizen of the Year brings up a number of questions.  What exactly it is that makes a good citizen is first and foremost among these, because Kaepernick has spent a good amount of his time saying the average American citizen is the worst.  It leads us to wonder what exactly a good citizen champions if it’s not the citizens themselves.  If it’s the reformation of the citizens, then maybe so be it, and if it’s only a small and extremely fractious minority of the citizens, then doesn’t this make him a rebel?

This question has plagued humanity ever since we had city-states, and it happens to be the defining feature of the Old Testament: the idea that entire peoples can go wrong and that if they go right again, it’s because a few people kept themselves pure and called the miscreants back to Yahweh and were usually murdered by the majority for it.  If anyone can call the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel patriots, we can call Kaepernick one, too – if only we could agree with him.

How he got to where he is is the bigger mystery, and this half-white, half-black boy, abandoned by his own black father and white mother and picked up, seemingly at random, by two middle-class honkies who loved him and cared for him and got him an education, ensuring he was able to play football and that through his formative years he was always supported – this guy, who owes his fame and fortune not to the black race, but to the white; whose scholarship was paid by historically white institutions; whose career is owed to people who looked past the color of his skin to value what he could do – for this guy to be found on the side of America that not only rejects white America, but denies the beauty of the American Dream while in the middle of enjoying it – that this guy could be found where he is is one of the most puzzling things we have come across this year, a year when men are saying they’re women and women are saying they’re men, and a whole host of people believes that if you deny it, you’re a monster.

I believe that Colin Kaepernick is where he is because he wants to be loved.  Abandoned by his actual parents and adopted by two strangers, Colin Kaepernick grew up wondering why the natural bond of parenthood was weak and the “artificial” bonds of charity were strong.  He was wanted, but he never knew why, and he knew that the people who were supposed to love him the most were the people who didn’t love him probably at all.  As an adopted and intelligent child, he probably knew that if it hadn’t been he, his adopted parents could very well have picked someone else, and that the love he experienced in that home was part choice on the part of the parents and part lotto ticket.  He could look in the mirror and see he was different.  He was told he belonged but wondered if he ever did.

Then he began playing sports, and the fact that he did it so well made people go wild.  Suddenly, this wanted-unwanted youth became wanted not with the love of a parent or the love of a do-gooder, but because of something within him – something tangible he gave instead of something he received and couldn’t explain.  The cheers from the crowd, an entourage of adoring cheerleaders, the promise of millions and a lifestyle of fame arrived at his doorstep, and still this – all this, which many people would die for – wasn’t enough.  He wanted to know he was loved for real – for something deeper than playing sports or an accident.

His moment came when the black crises hit us – after Ferguson was on fire and Philando’d been shot and Colin’s career had been lagging behind after he’d promised so many things but just couldn’t deliver.  At this moment, besieged by doubts about his value as a player, hounded by that part of him that saw other black men and imagined himself in their shoes, this questioner of his own worth decided to take a stand by kneeling at the anthem and immediately arrested the nation’s attention.

His popularity among the majority dropped rapidly, but another thing took place.  The core fans he had had before grew louder and more loving.  They looked to him not for what he could do with his body, which was beginning to disappoint them anyway, but for what he could do with his voice.  He began to be not a champion of a team in a locality, but a symbol for black men all over the States – a man who cared about them and was because of this cared for.  He was loved not just because of what Colin Kaepernick did, but for who Colin Kaepernick is.

This total revolution in affairs changed Colin’s life entirely.  Before, he was loved or unloved for inscrutable or shallower reasons.  Now he had a handle on the feeling, and not only did the people thronging around him have a spiritual connection with him, but for the first time in his life, he was able to have a racial connection with them – to be wanted by the black man who had abandoned him at first, connected by blood and by cause.

One look at Colin in Harlem with his ridiculous afro, surrounded by the black men and women he champions, standing beside a small boy with a shirt with a slogan, all facing the camera in a silent and powerful unity, and you know what the man feels.  He feels as if he belongs somewhere.  It’s a shame he never knew that the people most desperate for black champions isn’t the black race, but the Republican Party.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.



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How to Hire like a Psychopath


Whatever can be said for the genius of Adam Smith, he was only a man, and because he was a man, he was wrong about some things.  The first of them was that labor alone creates value (it doesn’t).  The second was that businessmen act like Homo economicus (they don’t).

It may be safely said that nobody ever has ever acted like Homo economicus.  It may be strongly hoped that no one ever will.  Homo economicus at the bottom of the matter isn’t really a man, but a machine, and like all machines, it has a singularity of purpose.  A man does business for glory or vanity or dominion or liberty or riches or security or to support a family or to avoid his family or to get a lot of lovers or a collection of cars.  He can do it for some, and he can do it for all.  A machine has no humanity and therefore does business for the sake of doing business.  Homo economicus has only one purpose, and that is the bottom line – the personification of avarice.  Beneath Adam Smith’s idea of a businessman, he had all business and no man.  He saw an interest in profit and forgot to include the possibility of other interests.

Writers for both The Atlantic and The New York Times believe on some level that Homo economicus is a good thing, and that’s why they want machines to do our hiring.  They believe that business exists for the sake of business, and anyone who can do a job better will do a better job for a company.  In fact, this is not true.   The best man for a job is not the best man for the job, but the man who can help turn a profit while making his boss and his coworkers happy.  The boss is always the customer.  He has in a sense to be romanced like a woman.  You fail at this, and you’ve failed at your business, which at the end of the day is selling yourself.

The writers for these magazines believe that your business is not yourself, which is why they believe that you should not attempt to be sold, and so they plug a bunch of your personable variables into a machine and believe that the machine should decide where to put you.  They don’t consider whether you make your boss feel safe or comfortable, or whether you can make him laugh, or whether you remind him of his brother or he just likes your manners or the way you view life.  This proletarian hiring machine would send you to him because of some inscrutable formula that evaluates all the things it thinks a boss wants, without letting him judge what he feels he wants.  The people who would benefit from this most are the people who would benefit from the state choosing our “optimal” lovers.  It would be people with tolerable I.Q.s and no criminal records and “compatible” personality profiles whom we would never make love to.  But I say show us the pictures.  Let us hear the sound of a voice and watch the way they move and see whether they’re well bred.  Let us hear their stories, nonsense or not, and even look at a standard résumé.  But let us see the woman before we even think about marrying her.

Montaigne once told a story about a man getting a divorce.  This man had been married to a beautiful woman whom everyone wanted, who was chaste and responsible and industrious and well bred, and one day, when a friend asked him why in the world he would get rid of this woman, the man, tired of hearing everyone ask him the same question, stopped in his tracks and pulled off his shoe.  “You see this?” he said.  “This shoe is expensive.  Look at the stitching.  It’s made by one of the finest cobblers out of the finest of leathers.  You look at this shoe, and you wonder how anyone couldn’t want it, but only I can tell you where it pinches me.”

This is the world of business, not a profile in a machine.  A business is an organism that thrives on relations.  It means people choosing people who get along with certain kinds of people, whose faces you are glad to see when you walk in the door, whom you can trust with your life’s work, whose goals you respect, who speak to you on a level you can’t quite categorize or express, and (perhaps most importantly in a litigious society) who you believe are unlikely to sue.  Some bosses – the best bosses – know people, and because they know people, they can build a good company.  Others don’t, and because they are bad at judging people, they end up failing their businesses.  Some genius realized this one day and decided that the solution was making our hiring impersonal.  He believes we ought to get rid of bias, the one thing you can never and should never get rid of.  We say fire him.

The bottom line is important, but except maybe in rare cases of mental disorders, there is no 100% businessman who cares only about it.  Those men who throw nearly everything aside for the bottom line are most usually shallow, untrustworthy, boring, traitorous to their friends and their countrymen, and either ignorant of or hostile to the better parts of our nature.  The Telegraph rightly calls these men psychopaths and then says they can be good for our businesses.  But unlike the enlightened folks at The Telegraph, we don’t want a psychopath for a boss or a lover or a neighbor, and we don’t want a machine to hire our coworkers like a psychopath.  We want a whole man.  A whole man makes decisions that the robots and the editors of The New York Times and The Atlantic disagree with precisely because of his humanity.

Let life bleed into our businesses.  Let our bosses pick people instead of statistics.  Give us bias or give us death.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah.  He welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.

Whatever can be said for the genius of Adam Smith, he was only a man, and because he was a man, he was wrong about some things.  The first of them was that labor alone creates value (it doesn’t).  The second was that businessmen act like Homo economicus (they don’t).

It may be safely said that nobody ever has ever acted like Homo economicus.  It may be strongly hoped that no one ever will.  Homo economicus at the bottom of the matter isn’t really a man, but a machine, and like all machines, it has a singularity of purpose.  A man does business for glory or vanity or dominion or liberty or riches or security or to support a family or to avoid his family or to get a lot of lovers or a collection of cars.  He can do it for some, and he can do it for all.  A machine has no humanity and therefore does business for the sake of doing business.  Homo economicus has only one purpose, and that is the bottom line – the personification of avarice.  Beneath Adam Smith’s idea of a businessman, he had all business and no man.  He saw an interest in profit and forgot to include the possibility of other interests.

Writers for both The Atlantic and The New York Times believe on some level that Homo economicus is a good thing, and that’s why they want machines to do our hiring.  They believe that business exists for the sake of business, and anyone who can do a job better will do a better job for a company.  In fact, this is not true.   The best man for a job is not the best man for the job, but the man who can help turn a profit while making his boss and his coworkers happy.  The boss is always the customer.  He has in a sense to be romanced like a woman.  You fail at this, and you’ve failed at your business, which at the end of the day is selling yourself.

The writers for these magazines believe that your business is not yourself, which is why they believe that you should not attempt to be sold, and so they plug a bunch of your personable variables into a machine and believe that the machine should decide where to put you.  They don’t consider whether you make your boss feel safe or comfortable, or whether you can make him laugh, or whether you remind him of his brother or he just likes your manners or the way you view life.  This proletarian hiring machine would send you to him because of some inscrutable formula that evaluates all the things it thinks a boss wants, without letting him judge what he feels he wants.  The people who would benefit from this most are the people who would benefit from the state choosing our “optimal” lovers.  It would be people with tolerable I.Q.s and no criminal records and “compatible” personality profiles whom we would never make love to.  But I say show us the pictures.  Let us hear the sound of a voice and watch the way they move and see whether they’re well bred.  Let us hear their stories, nonsense or not, and even look at a standard résumé.  But let us see the woman before we even think about marrying her.

Montaigne once told a story about a man getting a divorce.  This man had been married to a beautiful woman whom everyone wanted, who was chaste and responsible and industrious and well bred, and one day, when a friend asked him why in the world he would get rid of this woman, the man, tired of hearing everyone ask him the same question, stopped in his tracks and pulled off his shoe.  “You see this?” he said.  “This shoe is expensive.  Look at the stitching.  It’s made by one of the finest cobblers out of the finest of leathers.  You look at this shoe, and you wonder how anyone couldn’t want it, but only I can tell you where it pinches me.”

This is the world of business, not a profile in a machine.  A business is an organism that thrives on relations.  It means people choosing people who get along with certain kinds of people, whose faces you are glad to see when you walk in the door, whom you can trust with your life’s work, whose goals you respect, who speak to you on a level you can’t quite categorize or express, and (perhaps most importantly in a litigious society) who you believe are unlikely to sue.  Some bosses – the best bosses – know people, and because they know people, they can build a good company.  Others don’t, and because they are bad at judging people, they end up failing their businesses.  Some genius realized this one day and decided that the solution was making our hiring impersonal.  He believes we ought to get rid of bias, the one thing you can never and should never get rid of.  We say fire him.

The bottom line is important, but except maybe in rare cases of mental disorders, there is no 100% businessman who cares only about it.  Those men who throw nearly everything aside for the bottom line are most usually shallow, untrustworthy, boring, traitorous to their friends and their countrymen, and either ignorant of or hostile to the better parts of our nature.  The Telegraph rightly calls these men psychopaths and then says they can be good for our businesses.  But unlike the enlightened folks at The Telegraph, we don’t want a psychopath for a boss or a lover or a neighbor, and we don’t want a machine to hire our coworkers like a psychopath.  We want a whole man.  A whole man makes decisions that the robots and the editors of The New York Times and The Atlantic disagree with precisely because of his humanity.

Let life bleed into our businesses.  Let our bosses pick people instead of statistics.  Give us bias or give us death.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah.  He welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.



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The New York Times Tries Out God's Megaphone


The New York Times ran an article the other day called “Does God want you to spend $300,000 on college?”  God couldn’t be reached for comment, so the New York Times went to Notre Dame’s Father John L. Jenkins.  When Father Jenkins’s response was unsatisfactory to the reporter, the reporter went to himself.  It seems a better question would have been Does God want us to pay reporters to look for God when we could just ask New York Times reporters? – to which the answer would invariably be that He did, because The New York Times paid one.

These questions seem silly, but at their core, they’re essential.  The New York Times was not alone in reaching its decision about the $300,000 payment because it had the help of the Catechism.  And within this Catechism the Times found a passage, and the passage said social justice ensures that every man is able to get his due.

What exactly this due is has yet to be described, but if we were to formulate any kind of a guess, we would guess that different men would formulate different answers.  This is the reason we have “just” answers and “unjust” answers in the first place.  For instance, what is the due owed to someone who believes that Notre Dame is worth $300,000?  The still small voice within us says a $300,000 charge.  What is the due owed a man who believes it’s our duty to give every man what’s coming to him?  No comment could be gotten from Father Jenkins, but the book of 1 John leads me to believe that it’s a wedgie.

What The New York Times has forgotten to mention is that the concept of dues is subjective.  Many believe that it is the duty of others to listen to us, and it is the sincere opinion of others that in light of their schedules, they shouldn’t.  In fact, there are countless people around the world who rate themselves higher than they deserve, and the only ones to tell them otherwise are everybody else.  Our bosses think we should get less, and we think we should get more; the artist thinks his work is better than all the other works, and most other artists disagree; and the mother thinks her child is more special than all the other children, which leads her to get in fights with the other mothers.  The New York Times thinks its opinions are the same as God’s.  The one thing standing between us and an army of $75-an-hour burger-flippers and self-declared prophets is that we get to value what we value at the rate that we value it, and if somebody is charging us more, we walk.  We choose, not them.  And when the tables turn and we begin asserting our values to others, they choose, not we.

Against this principle of liberty stands social justice.  Social justice at the bottom of the matter is a tyranny of valuation.  It says, in effect, that someone is going to tell you how to feel about someone and that you have a duty to believe it.  It doesn’t matter how you actually feel.  It doesn’t matter if someone else is willing to pay you $300,000 because he agrees with you.  What matters is that someone else, some spiritually enlightened micro-meddler, decides for you whether someone is pretty or praiseworthy or useful or brilliant, whether you owe him your time or your money or your body or your worship – that you’re a tool for the furthering of another, not a thinking, breathing, loving, hating, dreaming being of the highest nature in nature, and that you ought to be respected as such.

Social justice is asking how God values Notre Dame instead of asking how you value it.  And when God isn’t available for comment, it asks a person to value it for you.  It doesn’t matter whether Notre Dame charges a hundred or a million.  It matters whether this person, who is not you, who does not care about what you care about or share your religion or love your children or work as hard as you worked to earn what you earn or to build the college you built, agrees with the charge.  As such, the question in social justice is never actually how much is charged or how you should feel.  The question is who will decide it.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.

The New York Times ran an article the other day called “Does God want you to spend $300,000 on college?”  God couldn’t be reached for comment, so the New York Times went to Notre Dame’s Father John L. Jenkins.  When Father Jenkins’s response was unsatisfactory to the reporter, the reporter went to himself.  It seems a better question would have been Does God want us to pay reporters to look for God when we could just ask New York Times reporters? – to which the answer would invariably be that He did, because The New York Times paid one.

These questions seem silly, but at their core, they’re essential.  The New York Times was not alone in reaching its decision about the $300,000 payment because it had the help of the Catechism.  And within this Catechism the Times found a passage, and the passage said social justice ensures that every man is able to get his due.

What exactly this due is has yet to be described, but if we were to formulate any kind of a guess, we would guess that different men would formulate different answers.  This is the reason we have “just” answers and “unjust” answers in the first place.  For instance, what is the due owed to someone who believes that Notre Dame is worth $300,000?  The still small voice within us says a $300,000 charge.  What is the due owed a man who believes it’s our duty to give every man what’s coming to him?  No comment could be gotten from Father Jenkins, but the book of 1 John leads me to believe that it’s a wedgie.

What The New York Times has forgotten to mention is that the concept of dues is subjective.  Many believe that it is the duty of others to listen to us, and it is the sincere opinion of others that in light of their schedules, they shouldn’t.  In fact, there are countless people around the world who rate themselves higher than they deserve, and the only ones to tell them otherwise are everybody else.  Our bosses think we should get less, and we think we should get more; the artist thinks his work is better than all the other works, and most other artists disagree; and the mother thinks her child is more special than all the other children, which leads her to get in fights with the other mothers.  The New York Times thinks its opinions are the same as God’s.  The one thing standing between us and an army of $75-an-hour burger-flippers and self-declared prophets is that we get to value what we value at the rate that we value it, and if somebody is charging us more, we walk.  We choose, not them.  And when the tables turn and we begin asserting our values to others, they choose, not we.

Against this principle of liberty stands social justice.  Social justice at the bottom of the matter is a tyranny of valuation.  It says, in effect, that someone is going to tell you how to feel about someone and that you have a duty to believe it.  It doesn’t matter how you actually feel.  It doesn’t matter if someone else is willing to pay you $300,000 because he agrees with you.  What matters is that someone else, some spiritually enlightened micro-meddler, decides for you whether someone is pretty or praiseworthy or useful or brilliant, whether you owe him your time or your money or your body or your worship – that you’re a tool for the furthering of another, not a thinking, breathing, loving, hating, dreaming being of the highest nature in nature, and that you ought to be respected as such.

Social justice is asking how God values Notre Dame instead of asking how you value it.  And when God isn’t available for comment, it asks a person to value it for you.  It doesn’t matter whether Notre Dame charges a hundred or a million.  It matters whether this person, who is not you, who does not care about what you care about or share your religion or love your children or work as hard as you worked to earn what you earn or to build the college you built, agrees with the charge.  As such, the question in social justice is never actually how much is charged or how you should feel.  The question is who will decide it.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.



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Equality as a Social Construct


One of the most brilliant things I’ve ever seen posted on Facebook was a picture of a hawk chasing a smaller bird and a caption that stated the following: Equality is a social construct.  In nature, nothing is equal.

There are few things less equal in nature than people.  I have seen some societies where people appear equal, and they are societies where people are most living like animals.  Aborigines in the Amazon are said to exist without poverty because they all happen to be living in squalor.  The man in a favela is poor because somebody else built something better than a tin hut.  Inequality is only a result of our invention and our virtue.  You can be a rich man and a safe man only if somebody somewhere is a great man.  In the best societies, the rich man and the safe man and the great man are the same man.  In the worst societies, the rich man and the safe man is a violent bum.

Once you know that equality is a social construct, you know nearly everything that is good and bad and true and false about America, and in the end, the degree to which you swallow it is what makes you an American.  All men are created equal is something only a religious man can say – even if the man saying it claimed to be a deist.  It belongs to a world transcending this world, and beyond this a world seen with eyes other than human.

You almost have to be blind in order to see it – that two people could ever stand equally before anyone else, or that two people are equally good for every good thing.  You have to believe in a soul and free agency.  You have to believe that we are going to the same judge and playing by the same rules.  You have to insist that we all know the same rules in the same way and that each of us is capable of understanding the meaning of the rules and when they aren’t applicable.  And most of all, you have to maintain that a man’s spirit makes his body and birthright irrelevant.

There is no antidote for the “disease” of difference in the world but this.  Once you lose this, you lose equality.  The people who throw away God throw away universal brotherhood.  Without God, we are equal only in that we die.  Everything else is superiors and inferiors.

I say the degree in which you swallow this makes you an American because Americans are very good at preaching equality and terrible (though better than most) at pretending it.  We say perhaps more than anyone that losers are just as good as winners, and we have historically (and I stress, historically) been better than anyone else at letting losers suffer just for being losers.  Our hypocrisy was both stunning and brilliant.  On the one hand, it pacified the underdog by making him feel he’d got a clear shot, and on the other hand it encouraged the hero by not letting him be encumbered by the loser.  In the long run, the loser may not win, but he’s dragged along many times unknowingly out of starvation by the winner.  In the really long run, the losers have won.  They began winning as soon as they cashed in on the idea that they’re equal and that the only reason they appeared unequal is because someone was obstructing them.

Those who have cashed in are not actually dunces, but brilliant.  They lack the intellects to take us to space, but they have enough brains to take their heroes to court.  We have for a long time now thought of brilliance as the thing that builds companies and strategies and patents and theories.  But all brilliance is a matter of adaptation to or overcoming our environments, and the man who evolves best has got to understand the environment he lives in.  Yesterday, with capitalism, the men who fit in the best were thinkers and doers in a world that accepted their inequalities and benefited from them.  It was a world that tacitly accepted our diversity.  Today, the men who fit in best are the non-thinkers and non-doers who abuse the social construct to further themselves and their families.  It isn’t a long-term strategy, but for many men, it is their only strategy.  They get more and breed more, and their power increases as they tyrannize the public discourse.  To prove this, you need only think of whom you can’t make fun of without losing the business you’ve built.

It isn’t glorious, but it’s evolutionary.  We created a system, and someone decided to live in it.  Some of us have adapted, and others haven’t.  The winner used to be a great man; by the new rules, he’s almost the worst.  He used to be beautiful and strong and industrious and brilliant.  Now he’s a bum, and being the right kind of bum, the bum born with the right characteristics or into the right religion, is as good as any hereditary title.  He adapts not by what he can do, but by what the law allows him to claim.  He claims because we let him.  We let him because we have turned equality into a privilege.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.

One of the most brilliant things I’ve ever seen posted on Facebook was a picture of a hawk chasing a smaller bird and a caption that stated the following: Equality is a social construct.  In nature, nothing is equal.

There are few things less equal in nature than people.  I have seen some societies where people appear equal, and they are societies where people are most living like animals.  Aborigines in the Amazon are said to exist without poverty because they all happen to be living in squalor.  The man in a favela is poor because somebody else built something better than a tin hut.  Inequality is only a result of our invention and our virtue.  You can be a rich man and a safe man only if somebody somewhere is a great man.  In the best societies, the rich man and the safe man and the great man are the same man.  In the worst societies, the rich man and the safe man is a violent bum.

Once you know that equality is a social construct, you know nearly everything that is good and bad and true and false about America, and in the end, the degree to which you swallow it is what makes you an American.  All men are created equal is something only a religious man can say – even if the man saying it claimed to be a deist.  It belongs to a world transcending this world, and beyond this a world seen with eyes other than human.

You almost have to be blind in order to see it – that two people could ever stand equally before anyone else, or that two people are equally good for every good thing.  You have to believe in a soul and free agency.  You have to believe that we are going to the same judge and playing by the same rules.  You have to insist that we all know the same rules in the same way and that each of us is capable of understanding the meaning of the rules and when they aren’t applicable.  And most of all, you have to maintain that a man’s spirit makes his body and birthright irrelevant.

There is no antidote for the “disease” of difference in the world but this.  Once you lose this, you lose equality.  The people who throw away God throw away universal brotherhood.  Without God, we are equal only in that we die.  Everything else is superiors and inferiors.

I say the degree in which you swallow this makes you an American because Americans are very good at preaching equality and terrible (though better than most) at pretending it.  We say perhaps more than anyone that losers are just as good as winners, and we have historically (and I stress, historically) been better than anyone else at letting losers suffer just for being losers.  Our hypocrisy was both stunning and brilliant.  On the one hand, it pacified the underdog by making him feel he’d got a clear shot, and on the other hand it encouraged the hero by not letting him be encumbered by the loser.  In the long run, the loser may not win, but he’s dragged along many times unknowingly out of starvation by the winner.  In the really long run, the losers have won.  They began winning as soon as they cashed in on the idea that they’re equal and that the only reason they appeared unequal is because someone was obstructing them.

Those who have cashed in are not actually dunces, but brilliant.  They lack the intellects to take us to space, but they have enough brains to take their heroes to court.  We have for a long time now thought of brilliance as the thing that builds companies and strategies and patents and theories.  But all brilliance is a matter of adaptation to or overcoming our environments, and the man who evolves best has got to understand the environment he lives in.  Yesterday, with capitalism, the men who fit in the best were thinkers and doers in a world that accepted their inequalities and benefited from them.  It was a world that tacitly accepted our diversity.  Today, the men who fit in best are the non-thinkers and non-doers who abuse the social construct to further themselves and their families.  It isn’t a long-term strategy, but for many men, it is their only strategy.  They get more and breed more, and their power increases as they tyrannize the public discourse.  To prove this, you need only think of whom you can’t make fun of without losing the business you’ve built.

It isn’t glorious, but it’s evolutionary.  We created a system, and someone decided to live in it.  Some of us have adapted, and others haven’t.  The winner used to be a great man; by the new rules, he’s almost the worst.  He used to be beautiful and strong and industrious and brilliant.  Now he’s a bum, and being the right kind of bum, the bum born with the right characteristics or into the right religion, is as good as any hereditary title.  He adapts not by what he can do, but by what the law allows him to claim.  He claims because we let him.  We let him because we have turned equality into a privilege.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.



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First They Came for the Nazis


It’s remarkable that the poem “First They Came” begins “first they came for the socialists,” because the socialists came first, and they came for everyone else.  They didn’t even come for the Jews first.  In fact, an ungodly number of the socialists in Russia at the time of the Revolution were Jews, and the socialists in Russia came for whomever they wanted.

After years of riots and marches and terrorism and repression, there were scuffles in the streets, and then Lenin and the Bolsheviks came almost bloodlessly to power, and then everything went wild.  The defining factor of the beginnings of the Red Terror was that Lenin wasn’t the defining factor.  Orlando Figes notes in A People’s Tragedy that it was the people who ran the lynch mobs in the cities and the countryside, nearly all of it decentralized, choosing whomever they wanted and calling them borzhoi and then maiming and killing them at will.

It wasn’t socialists who suffered, unless the socialists were students or cleanly and nobody knew them well; unless someone owed them money; unless they “looked Jewish” or managed a business or openly believed in aspects of classical liberalism.  Russian cadets were thrown in jail or, one by one, into furnaces.  Officers had their limbs broken and wrapped around their heads before they were murdered.  Innocents were beaten to death for the sin of looking educated, and the entirety of Russia, hysterical with class hatred, convicted many “criminals” based on the softness of their hands instead of the record of their deeds.

But yes, first they came for the socialists.  As if the Germans themselves weren’t terrified of the communists doing the same thing to their best and brightest and their women and their children; as if the danger of a German communist uprising wasn’t openly counted on and courted by the Red intelligentsia; as if the Nazis weren’t a socialist counter-reaction (and what a counter-reaction!) to the hellish transgressions of ascendant communism.  The Jews were treated poorly by the majority in Russia, so sizable portions of the Jews joined the communists.  The Nazis saw what the Jews did in Russia,* and so they turned on the Jews in Germany.  The Jews can never catch a break, it seems.  But during the Red Terror, nobody good could catch a break.  This is why everyone good should hate a socialist.

But first they came for the socialists.  They.  Not the violent masked thugs attacking lawful citizens at rallies, or the DHS officials who put all gun-owning conservatives on a watch list, or the deans who allow rioters to shut down Republican speakers by setting their own colleges on fire, or the people who force you to do business when you find the business reprehensible, or the Neanderthals who want to bring businesses and school districts down because the “free citizen” refuses to get in line and say the word xe.  They.  The men who actually fought Nazis so their grandchildren could call them Nazis.  The men who are more like Winston Churchill than Adolf Hitler, who let you own your own property instead of taking it for the state, who believe so strongly in freedom of speech and so strongly against social conditioning and sharia law that they are willing to go to war over it.  They.  The men who are not and have never actually been coming to get you.

There was a lot of excitement when Donald Trump became the president, and the term alternative facts became a joke, and 1984 became a hit again because of it.  It says more about American intelligence than anything Donald Trump’s election could have implied.  There are hundreds (and perhaps thousands) of accounts of actual dictatorships, from Athens turning into a wasteland to the quasi-fascist city of Sparta to anything in the Old Testament to the fall of the Roman republic to the establishment of the “Holy” Roman Empire to the rise of the Nazis to the rise of the communists to North Korea to a dozen backward failing South American and Middle Eastern and African banana republics.

But in their fear of a totalitarian uprising, Americans didn’t buy The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.  They didn’t buy The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire or read Plutarch’s account of Cicero or Cato or Pompey or Caesar, or Livy or Sallust or Tacitus or Herodotus, or Macaulay’s brilliant telling of the tyrannies of Charles I and James II and how Englishmen defended their rights to get us our own.  They didn’t go to Orlando Figes’s masterful account of the Russian Revolution and learn how angry societies get turned into murder houses.  They went to a work of fiction.  They were terrified of alternative facts, so they went where they couldn’t find any facts.  These are the people who are going to save us from “fascism.”

They told us “they” were coming for the socialists and the Muslims.  They forgot to say that before the Christians had invaded the Muslims, the Muslims had been ordered to invade the world.  They forgot to tell us that paid mobs of ignorant basement-dwelling radicals came for Cicero and Cato in the Senate.  They neglected to say that nothing good ever came from the upper class paying the lowest class to terrorize the middle class, and that the most effective oppressor of the impoverished is not the right wing, but the left.  All of these would have been mentioned, but thank God these men have read 1984.  So the classical Americans are the Nazis.  So the socialists are the free men.  So the terrorists are the freedom fighters, and the freedom fighters are the terrorists.

Gone are the days of raiders taking our women and highwaymen stealing our purses.  We are instead plagued by our do-gooders and social justice warriors and philanthropists.  Mao and Lenin wanted to create a world where everybody was equal and nobody was starving.  The Snowflakes didn’t see what happened the first time, so they decided to try it a second.  Ahmadinejad and ISIS want to nuke the world and usher in an era of the saints.  The so-called anti-racists hate “Islamophobia” so much (?) that they are unwilling to stop the rape and invasion of Europe.  Hitler believed deeply in science, and because he believed deeply in science, he believed honestly in evolution, and because he believed honestly in evolution, he wanted to create a world where the most beautiful and beneficial and intelligent people could thrive according to the laws of science and order.  The antifa hate a third-grade non-socialist version of Hitler so badly that they turned into a bunch of violent dysgenic second-wave brownshirts.

There is no limit to the ugliness of our goodness.  There is nothing that cannot be sanctioned under the guise of our charity.  The millennium has arrived, and the saints are a pain in our asses.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.

It’s remarkable that the poem “First They Came” begins “first they came for the socialists,” because the socialists came first, and they came for everyone else.  They didn’t even come for the Jews first.  In fact, an ungodly number of the socialists in Russia at the time of the Revolution were Jews, and the socialists in Russia came for whomever they wanted.

After years of riots and marches and terrorism and repression, there were scuffles in the streets, and then Lenin and the Bolsheviks came almost bloodlessly to power, and then everything went wild.  The defining factor of the beginnings of the Red Terror was that Lenin wasn’t the defining factor.  Orlando Figes notes in A People’s Tragedy that it was the people who ran the lynch mobs in the cities and the countryside, nearly all of it decentralized, choosing whomever they wanted and calling them borzhoi and then maiming and killing them at will.

It wasn’t socialists who suffered, unless the socialists were students or cleanly and nobody knew them well; unless someone owed them money; unless they “looked Jewish” or managed a business or openly believed in aspects of classical liberalism.  Russian cadets were thrown in jail or, one by one, into furnaces.  Officers had their limbs broken and wrapped around their heads before they were murdered.  Innocents were beaten to death for the sin of looking educated, and the entirety of Russia, hysterical with class hatred, convicted many “criminals” based on the softness of their hands instead of the record of their deeds.

But yes, first they came for the socialists.  As if the Germans themselves weren’t terrified of the communists doing the same thing to their best and brightest and their women and their children; as if the danger of a German communist uprising wasn’t openly counted on and courted by the Red intelligentsia; as if the Nazis weren’t a socialist counter-reaction (and what a counter-reaction!) to the hellish transgressions of ascendant communism.  The Jews were treated poorly by the majority in Russia, so sizable portions of the Jews joined the communists.  The Nazis saw what the Jews did in Russia,* and so they turned on the Jews in Germany.  The Jews can never catch a break, it seems.  But during the Red Terror, nobody good could catch a break.  This is why everyone good should hate a socialist.

But first they came for the socialists.  They.  Not the violent masked thugs attacking lawful citizens at rallies, or the DHS officials who put all gun-owning conservatives on a watch list, or the deans who allow rioters to shut down Republican speakers by setting their own colleges on fire, or the people who force you to do business when you find the business reprehensible, or the Neanderthals who want to bring businesses and school districts down because the “free citizen” refuses to get in line and say the word xe.  They.  The men who actually fought Nazis so their grandchildren could call them Nazis.  The men who are more like Winston Churchill than Adolf Hitler, who let you own your own property instead of taking it for the state, who believe so strongly in freedom of speech and so strongly against social conditioning and sharia law that they are willing to go to war over it.  They.  The men who are not and have never actually been coming to get you.

There was a lot of excitement when Donald Trump became the president, and the term alternative facts became a joke, and 1984 became a hit again because of it.  It says more about American intelligence than anything Donald Trump’s election could have implied.  There are hundreds (and perhaps thousands) of accounts of actual dictatorships, from Athens turning into a wasteland to the quasi-fascist city of Sparta to anything in the Old Testament to the fall of the Roman republic to the establishment of the “Holy” Roman Empire to the rise of the Nazis to the rise of the communists to North Korea to a dozen backward failing South American and Middle Eastern and African banana republics.

But in their fear of a totalitarian uprising, Americans didn’t buy The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.  They didn’t buy The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire or read Plutarch’s account of Cicero or Cato or Pompey or Caesar, or Livy or Sallust or Tacitus or Herodotus, or Macaulay’s brilliant telling of the tyrannies of Charles I and James II and how Englishmen defended their rights to get us our own.  They didn’t go to Orlando Figes’s masterful account of the Russian Revolution and learn how angry societies get turned into murder houses.  They went to a work of fiction.  They were terrified of alternative facts, so they went where they couldn’t find any facts.  These are the people who are going to save us from “fascism.”

They told us “they” were coming for the socialists and the Muslims.  They forgot to say that before the Christians had invaded the Muslims, the Muslims had been ordered to invade the world.  They forgot to tell us that paid mobs of ignorant basement-dwelling radicals came for Cicero and Cato in the Senate.  They neglected to say that nothing good ever came from the upper class paying the lowest class to terrorize the middle class, and that the most effective oppressor of the impoverished is not the right wing, but the left.  All of these would have been mentioned, but thank God these men have read 1984.  So the classical Americans are the Nazis.  So the socialists are the free men.  So the terrorists are the freedom fighters, and the freedom fighters are the terrorists.

Gone are the days of raiders taking our women and highwaymen stealing our purses.  We are instead plagued by our do-gooders and social justice warriors and philanthropists.  Mao and Lenin wanted to create a world where everybody was equal and nobody was starving.  The Snowflakes didn’t see what happened the first time, so they decided to try it a second.  Ahmadinejad and ISIS want to nuke the world and usher in an era of the saints.  The so-called anti-racists hate “Islamophobia” so much (?) that they are unwilling to stop the rape and invasion of Europe.  Hitler believed deeply in science, and because he believed deeply in science, he believed honestly in evolution, and because he believed honestly in evolution, he wanted to create a world where the most beautiful and beneficial and intelligent people could thrive according to the laws of science and order.  The antifa hate a third-grade non-socialist version of Hitler so badly that they turned into a bunch of violent dysgenic second-wave brownshirts.

There is no limit to the ugliness of our goodness.  There is nothing that cannot be sanctioned under the guise of our charity.  The millennium has arrived, and the saints are a pain in our asses.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.



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The Question of Saving Syrian Children


I think any American at this point who has seen the videos of Syrian children getting gassed by Assad – any of us who has any tendency toward reflection – has been led to ask what exactly his feelings are for.  We know that every feeling has a purpose and that, like faith, they were given to us for action.  As such, we look inside ourselves and thank God we are morally alive and feel something for the children – but this leads us to another more uncomfortable question.  It leads us to wonder whether it is colder to feel something and do nothing than simply to feel nothing.

We almost wish we had the latter, but this is not the case, and a video of gasping, convulsing innocents leads us to rush into war just as a picture of a drowned Syrian child makes us open up our borders to savages.  We simply do not see our fathers who will be blown to pieces fighting and our women who will be raped because we did things in the name of other people’s children.  We feel, perhaps naturally but not rightly, that the children in the videos are our children.  We see in the dying eyes of the choking, shell-shocked, dust-covered Syrian child the eyes of our own, and we feel that any offense such as this is worth risking the lives of our friends and our families.

This is because we do not actually see the risk.  One thing is real, and the other is imaginary, and we believe that because one thing is imaginary, it can never become real.

War always affects children, and what so many of us have been slow to understand is that before Assad was gassing children, he was blowing them to bits.  Bulldozing them over with tanks.  Starving them to death.  The gas is what got us.  All the other things he has done (and any warring power must eventually do), and we have drawn the line at the gas.  We made a law that nobody must use gas, and because we made a law, we have made everything else seem like less of a crime.  What we have not asked is how many of Assad’s friends’ children have been killed by the rebels.  We have not asked who the rebels are or why they are rebelling or whether they are better than Assad.  But we want to meddle in Syria as we meddled in Iraq – as we meddled in Iran – as we want to meddle everywhere we see pictures of people being brutalized.  Our hearts and our wallets lead us to break hearts and drain wallets.  We worry that Syrians are dying, so we may send Americans to die.

I do not claim to be an expert of realpolitik or international relations or the code we have for butchering one another known as The Laws of War.  I do not question that there are laws for tearing your neighbors to shreds and putting holes through them and running them over with tanks and crushing them under buildings and setting them on fire because this is what people must do – a necessary occupation like running a farm or pulling teeth.  I do not claim that war itself is unnecessary, or that there must be no joy in it, or that all soldiers must be treated as innocents under the authority of their generals.  There are crimes in the midst of this non-crime called war that are more barbaric and offensive than ordinary crimes.  What I do question is the timing of it all – whether every child butchered by a tyrant is worth our blood and our sweat and our tears; whether it is possible to stop every villain or necessary; whether I am personally responsible to alleviate all the suffering in the entire world – whether the life of a Syrian child is worth risking the life of my own.

Americans are held responsible when tyrants are bad and held responsible for everything that happens when we topple them.  We will never have the world’s applause as meddlers, and when we meddle, we are not even willing to see our meddling through.  We will never be cleared by the world for our policing when most of the leaders of the world are essentially criminal, and the majority of the people they lead are ignoramuses.  The question is not how the Syrians will judge us, but how our own grandchildren will.  The stakes are great whether we stay or we go.  But I believe in my limited understanding that they are greater if we go.

On a more personal level, this article was especially hard for me to write.  What I felt when I saw the Syrian children who’d been gassed cannot exactly be described in words – certainly not by horror, and certainly not by anger.  It was worse than these can express.  I know how it feels to hold your child in your arms and wonder if he’s going to make it – the helpless feeling that nobody is listening, that there is nothing left to do but stand there and weep and hope it all passes.  I was lucky, and these Syrians aren’t, and that is the difference between us.  I called out to God, and they called out to God, and both of us wondered if He heard us at all.  Only one of us left with his child intact.  I still question whether He loves us or not.  I wonder what the Syrian thinks.

To see anyone go through anything like this and then have to make a decision – to decide whether someone else will go through it again or not or whether you will merely change the people who are going through it – is what this essay is about.  It is what every debate over refugees and war crimes is about.

I do not want to play God or even run for president.  I don’t want to decide with the ballot box which mothers will grieve over their children and which won’t.  But I am an American – and my duty, if I have any before God at all, is to make sure that my family and American families are free from the ravages of war.  Sometimes this will mean killing people.  Other times it will mean saving them.  In the world of international politics, it will most usually mean both.  But it will always involve a decision.  And I will always hate the fact that God has forced me in my limited capacity to make it.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.

I think any American at this point who has seen the videos of Syrian children getting gassed by Assad – any of us who has any tendency toward reflection – has been led to ask what exactly his feelings are for.  We know that every feeling has a purpose and that, like faith, they were given to us for action.  As such, we look inside ourselves and thank God we are morally alive and feel something for the children – but this leads us to another more uncomfortable question.  It leads us to wonder whether it is colder to feel something and do nothing than simply to feel nothing.

We almost wish we had the latter, but this is not the case, and a video of gasping, convulsing innocents leads us to rush into war just as a picture of a drowned Syrian child makes us open up our borders to savages.  We simply do not see our fathers who will be blown to pieces fighting and our women who will be raped because we did things in the name of other people’s children.  We feel, perhaps naturally but not rightly, that the children in the videos are our children.  We see in the dying eyes of the choking, shell-shocked, dust-covered Syrian child the eyes of our own, and we feel that any offense such as this is worth risking the lives of our friends and our families.

This is because we do not actually see the risk.  One thing is real, and the other is imaginary, and we believe that because one thing is imaginary, it can never become real.

War always affects children, and what so many of us have been slow to understand is that before Assad was gassing children, he was blowing them to bits.  Bulldozing them over with tanks.  Starving them to death.  The gas is what got us.  All the other things he has done (and any warring power must eventually do), and we have drawn the line at the gas.  We made a law that nobody must use gas, and because we made a law, we have made everything else seem like less of a crime.  What we have not asked is how many of Assad’s friends’ children have been killed by the rebels.  We have not asked who the rebels are or why they are rebelling or whether they are better than Assad.  But we want to meddle in Syria as we meddled in Iraq – as we meddled in Iran – as we want to meddle everywhere we see pictures of people being brutalized.  Our hearts and our wallets lead us to break hearts and drain wallets.  We worry that Syrians are dying, so we may send Americans to die.

I do not claim to be an expert of realpolitik or international relations or the code we have for butchering one another known as The Laws of War.  I do not question that there are laws for tearing your neighbors to shreds and putting holes through them and running them over with tanks and crushing them under buildings and setting them on fire because this is what people must do – a necessary occupation like running a farm or pulling teeth.  I do not claim that war itself is unnecessary, or that there must be no joy in it, or that all soldiers must be treated as innocents under the authority of their generals.  There are crimes in the midst of this non-crime called war that are more barbaric and offensive than ordinary crimes.  What I do question is the timing of it all – whether every child butchered by a tyrant is worth our blood and our sweat and our tears; whether it is possible to stop every villain or necessary; whether I am personally responsible to alleviate all the suffering in the entire world – whether the life of a Syrian child is worth risking the life of my own.

Americans are held responsible when tyrants are bad and held responsible for everything that happens when we topple them.  We will never have the world’s applause as meddlers, and when we meddle, we are not even willing to see our meddling through.  We will never be cleared by the world for our policing when most of the leaders of the world are essentially criminal, and the majority of the people they lead are ignoramuses.  The question is not how the Syrians will judge us, but how our own grandchildren will.  The stakes are great whether we stay or we go.  But I believe in my limited understanding that they are greater if we go.

On a more personal level, this article was especially hard for me to write.  What I felt when I saw the Syrian children who’d been gassed cannot exactly be described in words – certainly not by horror, and certainly not by anger.  It was worse than these can express.  I know how it feels to hold your child in your arms and wonder if he’s going to make it – the helpless feeling that nobody is listening, that there is nothing left to do but stand there and weep and hope it all passes.  I was lucky, and these Syrians aren’t, and that is the difference between us.  I called out to God, and they called out to God, and both of us wondered if He heard us at all.  Only one of us left with his child intact.  I still question whether He loves us or not.  I wonder what the Syrian thinks.

To see anyone go through anything like this and then have to make a decision – to decide whether someone else will go through it again or not or whether you will merely change the people who are going through it – is what this essay is about.  It is what every debate over refugees and war crimes is about.

I do not want to play God or even run for president.  I don’t want to decide with the ballot box which mothers will grieve over their children and which won’t.  But I am an American – and my duty, if I have any before God at all, is to make sure that my family and American families are free from the ravages of war.  Sometimes this will mean killing people.  Other times it will mean saving them.  In the world of international politics, it will most usually mean both.  But it will always involve a decision.  And I will always hate the fact that God has forced me in my limited capacity to make it.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays on Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.



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