Archive | December, 2015

Evil Exists

4 Dec

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about the left-wing reaction to the latest shooting in America – an act that has all the hallmarks of ISIS-inspired random slaughter – it is the conviction that better laws or more gun control would have prevented the shooting. The bodies had not yet finished cooling when politicians and activists started screaming for more gun control and blaming the atrocity on the NRA.

What these people don’t want to face, I think, is that the blunt truth that evil exists, that there are people out there who are willing to live in America, raise a daughter … and then, one day, leave the daughter with the grandparents and start a murderous spree that was almost certainly pre-meditated. These people are so convinced that there’s no such thing as evil that they imbue guns with magical powers, with the power to convince their holders to kill. These people believe, genuinely believe, that reducing the number of legal guns out there will stop mass shootings.

The facts stand against them. French gun control laws are strong – and they were unable to prevent terrorists from killing dozens of people in Paris. British gun control laws are strict and yet they were unable to prevent the deaths of dozens of schoolchildren in Dunblane . In the United States, there appears to be an inverse correlation between gun crime and cities with strict gun control. Indeed, depending on which source one reads, the vast majority of American shootings take place in gun-free zones. And I would not care to suggest that British crime rates, while largely free of gun-related crimes, are any better, overall, than America’s. The absence of guns on the streets hasn’t kept violent crime from taking place.

The blunt truth is that there are people out there who are prepared to kill for their beliefs. Or because their victim has something they want. Or because they find their victim’s gender/sexuality/religion/colour unacceptable. Or because they’re psychotic and willing to kill purely for the hell of it. And there are people out there who will do the most terrible things, who will put themselves beyond the bond of morality, merely because it feels good – or because, in their warped and twisted minds, it’s the right thing to do.

Guns don’t fire themselves. Nor do knives move to stab people on their own. And yet people believe that banning guns (and then knives, and then … what? Forks?) will stop violent crimes.

There is an absurd willingness, among our elites, to appease the violent. To think, or at least to say they think, that the violent have justifications, that there is some overarching reason that the violent are not actually in the wrong. These people hem and haw about violence; they prefer to point the finger at guns or engage in victim-blaming rather than face the facts that there are people who cannot be reasoned with, who will eventually stop being appeased and start a bloody slaughter. And yet, those people will only be encouraged by any hint of weakness. To give them an inch is to watch helplessly as they take a mile.

You cannot negotiate with such people. To try to understand their viewpoint is to throw their victims under a bus and delay the inevitable moment they will come for you. You can only stand up to them, to make it clear that their behaviour is unacceptable, that it will bring them nothing but pain. But if you blame inanimate objects like guns, or choose to accept their self-justifications, you merely prolong the suffering of their victims.

Evil exists. It has to be fought.

The Enemy They Created

3 Dec

Over the last couple of days, a surprising number of articles relating to Donald Trump have popped up in my Facebook feed. They tend to fall into two separate categories; the media decrying Trump’s success, including dire predictions of what would happen if President Trump were to be inaugurated in 2016 (up to and including calling Trump an outright fascist) and attempts to understand why Trump, a candidate who refuses to play by the rules, has done so well. Indeed, going by memory, Trump’s campaign has been declared dead so many times that I am tempted to resort to a quote from Blackadder:

Percy: He must be on his last legs by now, My Lord.

Edmund: Yes, but how many sets of legs has that man got?

So why is Trump so successful despite not playing by the rules?

This is my theory, for what it’s worth, based on 20 years of distant observation of American politics.

Over the last 30 years, or thereabouts, much of the mainstream media in the United States has slipped from a position of neutrality to not-so-covertly supporting the Democratic Party. This is certainly true of the older, well-established newspapers and suchlike (as well as CNN, although FOX seems to be largely pro-Republican.) What this tends to mean for American politics, in my observation, is that when a Republican candidate commits a ‘gaffe,’ the gaffe is promptly blown out of all proportion by the mainstream media. The candidate barely has a moment to realise he’s under attack before he finds himself being drowned in negative media coverage.

The unspoken (and poisonous) assumption seems to be that whatever the media considers to be important is important. Republican Candidates, often largely out of touch with the average voter, panic at the thought of losing the media (as if they had the media in the first place.) They therefore grovel and cringe in front of the media whenever a gaffe is exposed, rather than merely brushing it off and continuing merrily on their way. The net result, I think, is that many potential republican candidates tend to get neurotic about the risks of saying something that someone – anyone – might find offensive, grimly aware that the media isn’t on their side and will pounce at the slightest excuse.

Unsurprisingly, they do their best to avoid controversy. This makes them look bland and, if nothing else, out of step with the mood of the country.

By contrast, Democratic Candidates (while often equally out of touch) tend to get an easier ride from the media. Hilary Clinton’s email scandal, going just by what has been proven, is far worse than anything committed by any number of officers and officials who have had their careers wrecked by minor mistakes. Hilary also lied about the connection between a minor video and the terrorist attack in Bengzhi. And the Clinton Foundation seems to be nothing more than a venue for skirting laws regarding foreign monetary donations to American politicians.

And yet, the media isn’t hammering Hilary anything like as hard as it would a Republican Candidate.

It doesn’t take much research to realise just how disastrous this has been for America. In 2007-8, the media largely lined up behind Barrack Obama. Obama simply did not get the level of scrutiny a Republican Candidate would have done, in the same place. Nor did he get the scorn and vitriol poured on Sarah Palin. And, by any reasonable measure, Obama has been the worst President since Buchannan.

Donald Trump, I suspect, has made the very deliberate decision to ignore the mainstream media’s self-proclaimed ‘right’ to pass judgement on his campaign. Trump is far more in touch with the average voter (or at least appears to be) and he is working hard on appealing to voters over the heads of the political and media elites. His obstinate refusal to apologise for anything, as I noted earlier, makes perfect sense. Instead of allowing mistakes to drag his campaign down, the Donald simply keeps going.

And Trump is winning, at least in part, because he’s giving the finger to the elites.

Every society above stone-age technology develops a political elite, a handful of people who steer the government to benefit themselves, rather than the people. This has been increasingly true of the United States; the Washington elites include everyone from congressmen and senators to political journalists and their editors. The rise of political dynasties like the Kennedys, the Bushes and the Clintons is a symptom of a deadly political disease. These elites live in an echo chamber that makes them, quite simply, out of touch with the interests of ordinary Americans. They think, not to put too fine a point on it, that anyone who disagrees with them is not only wrong, but evil. There is no point in trying to understand their enemies because their enemies are wilfully wrong. They see Trump and his supporters, rather than ISIS, as the true enemy because Trump threatens their power.

If you want to argue that Trump would make a poor President … well, I’m not going to argue with you. But really, most of the qualities that would make a good President tend to be incompatible with the qualities needed to get elected. Any reasonable President would understand, for example, that it takes time to produce any real results. Part of the reason Bush had so many problems in Iraq was that he reacted to crisis after crisis, without looking at the bigger picture and taking those problems in stride. But the media wants action NOW!

The job of the media is to present the facts. The American mainstream media (and I include FOX in this) seems to have forgotten this. Instead, it seeks to pass judgement on the candidates, under the delusion that their blessing is what the candidates need. Trump, whatever else he does, may well have done the United States a vast service. Exposing the lie behind the media’s claims will make life easier for future candidates.