Monday, 30 November 2015

Just remember...



On a related note- a former boss of mine once gave me a most useful pointer. He pointed me to a website called Despair.com- and ever since then, whenever I've wanted to find a suitable image to capture whatever the latest absurd workplace fashion or buzzword is in vogue, I am never without one at hand.

I took to it with a vengeance- to the point where I actually bought both my dad and myself this one:


But the best one, by far, has got to be this:




... And that, kids, is how democracy works, and why this country is falling apart at the seams.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

When the revolution devours its children


Several different individuals have been credited as the originators of an epigram that goes something like this:
Any man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart. Any man who is still a socialist at age 40 has no head
I've seen this quote attributed to Winston Churchill, Oscar Wilde, Georges Clemenceau, and several others. While the exact source of the statement is probably lost to the ages, its validity endures well beyond its progenitor.

But what happens when certain people never actually grow out of their socialist phases? What happens when they stay lifelong progressives, and are forced to confront the awful outcomes of their ideology's denial of reality?

And what happens when you put such people in the same room with a man who never went through the socialist phase, and instead became ever more right-wing as time went by?

That is the situation I found myself in the other day when I met with some old family friends who I had not seen in a long while. Inevitably, the discussion turned to politics at some point, and equally inevitably, this is an area where I am almost always far beyond the fringes of "acceptable" opinion.

Now, despite what my blog output might suggest, I am in fact quite capable of being affable and charming in public; I simply find it very tiring to be that way, so in general I prefer to project the image of a curmudgeon and misanthrope. Even so, I am more than able to keep my trap shut about politics when the situation suits. And when one is surrounded on all sides by three boisterous liberals who insist on all talking over each other in order to compete for who can speak the loudest, one is indeed generally better off keeping quiet and concentrating on polishing off the supply of snacks at hand.

Normally, conversations about politics with liberals tend to be quite forgettable. You smile, remembering that old adage about opinions and assholes, and move on. But this particular discussion was of interest because it was started up by a very liberal Jewish Ivy League-educated Baby Boomer, who expressed deep discomfort at the way that students have begun hijacking university campuses across the country in order to spare their own feelings from getting hurt.

She pointed out the recent situation at Yale University- her alma mater- where students have begun demanding "safe spaces" (whatever the hell that's supposed to mean) into which "dangerous" opinions can never penetrate, and have begun demanding that all of the bathrooms in all of the dormitories be re-tooled to be "gender neutral" (again, whatever the hell that means). Yet my friend, despite being a staunch supporter of transgender "rights" (yet again, whatever the hell that means), was utterly mystified at the way in which the demands of a few dozen or hundred students had forced a systematic rethink of housing policy for the entire university's administration.

The irony, of course, could not be more delicious. The sheer quantity of schadenfreude involved in this situation would be enough to feed an immigrant family for a month.

For here we have a situation where a Baby Boomer progressive, who supports gay "marriage" and all of the tendentious, useless nonsense that comprises Third Wave Feminism, expressing deep discomfort at the idea that a man who thinks he is a woman could walk into the same bathroom as any girl who is not a mentally confused sexual deviant and conduct his business.

My friend was completely oblivious to the fact that it was she, and people like her, who created the environment where these maladjusted, pampered, overly coddled freaks could presume to lecture the rest of us about "microaggressions" and "oppression".

Fifty years ago, the very notion that men with fully functional penises could pretend to be women, walk into a ladies' restroom, and proceed to use those same facilities in the same ways that women do, would have been so far beyond the pale that anyone advocating such nonsense would be instantly dismissed as a lunatic, or worse. But today, such insanity is taken seriously, by a people and a nation that has forgotten what it means to have a culture worth fighting for.

This is the reality of all ideological revolutions. Every such revolution first turns outward to convert, then inward to destroy. They all start the same way, with pretty much the same seemingly reasonable, mealy-mouthed goals: equality; peace; brotherhood; "social justice". And they always end the same way: with purges of the ideologically "impure", with witch-hunts designed to destroy those who lack sufficient zeal, and with the innocent presumed guilty simply for not toeing the ever-changing Party Line.

At Yale University, as at other university campuses across the country, we are seeing a very scary reality emerging. It is a reality in which feelings are prized over accomplishment, where any halfwit student can complain about being "triggered" and "oppressed" if he or she or it is of the right skin colour, sexual (mis)orientation, or ideological bent- and can then use that supposed oppression to seek out, and achieve, the utter ruination of white and Asian students simply for the crime of not being part of a sufficiently disadvantaged, exploited community.

We are now seeing the final stages of what Soviet KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov described as the process by which a powerful and virile civilisation is subverted and destroyed from within. If you watch the video back up at the top, in full- I'd recommend you get yourself a stiff drink, you'll need it- you will notice that Mr. Bezmenov describes in perfect detail exactly how a nation's culture can be turned against itself, through the corruption and usurpation of many multitudes of what he repeatedly calls "useful idiots".

It is through these idiots that any cultural Marxist who wishes to destroy a strong civilisation can corrupt that same culture from within. And that, very sadly, is precisely what has happened.

The first progressive revolution, at the beginning of the 20th Century, sought to create economic equality at all costs- and the cost turned out to be horrifying indeed. Over 100 million dead bodies and some 70 years later, that vision of a progressive Utopia was destroyed. But that simply told the cultural Marxists that they needed to change their approach, and instead of attacking the system of free-market enterprise that gave the West its strength and vitality, they pooled their resources and efforts into the central, brilliant, insight of their school of thought: that instead of attacking the West economically, it would be better by far to destroy the West's culture, which by its very virtues of tolerance and open inquiry, was far more vulnerable to such attacks.

The second progressive revolution, which as far as I can tell began in the 1960s, was about achieving political and social equality- again, through the barrel of a gun if necessary. Once again, roughly three generations later, that attempt is failing miserably; political and social equality is now becoming more remote and unrealistic with every passing year.

The third progressive revolution, though, is now currently in full swing, and it is destroying the minds of college students who want to be protected from anything that might force them to think. And any and all manner of despicable evil is being pushed down their throats as right and acceptable.

As Mr. Bezmenov pointed out in his video, there is only one way that this can end.

When the cognitive dissonance between what a man has been told is right, and what a man can actually see is happening around him, becomes too great to be borne, it will inevitably force a severe correction. And that correction, if history is any indication, will be extremely violent and extremely bloody.

And ultimately, the people who are to blame for this state of affairs are very much like my family's friend: people who had the best of intentions, and yet paved the road to Hell.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

If by Rudyard Kipling

Given the title of the poem, here's one "if" that I hope to see come to pass in my time:

If I ever have a son, I'm going to buy him the complete works of Kipling, for him to go through as he grows into manhood. He will get a better education from reading and studying ALL of Rudyard Kipling's works- from the supposedly "juvenile" first and second Jungle Book, through to Captains Courageous, to his magnificent poetry, to his ghost stories, and well beyond- than he would ever receive from ANY amount of schooling, whether public, private, or anywhere in between.

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Thanksgiving

Save the world. Eat a vegan!

Besides, what could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wilde beasts and wilde men? and what multitudes of them there were, they then knew not: for which way soever they turned their eyes (save upward to Heaven) they could have but little solace or content in respect of any outward object; for summer being ended, all things stand in appearance with a weatherbeaten face, and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild and savage hew.
-- From "The Desolate Wilderness", one of two classic Wall Street Journal opinion columns that has been printed every year at Thanksgiving since 1961 
This is indeed a big country, a rich country, in a way no array of figures can measure and so in a way past belief of those who have not seen it. Even those who journey through its Northeastern complex, into the Southern lands, across the central plains and to its Western slopes can only glimpse a measure of the bounty of America. 
And a traveler cannot but be struck on his journey by the thought that this country, one day, can be even greater. America, though many know it not, is one of the great underdeveloped countries of the world; what it reaches for exceeds by far what it has grasped. 
So the visitor returns thankful for much of what he has seen, and, in spite of everything, an optimist about what his country might be. Yet the visitor, if he is to make an honest report, must also note the air of unease that hangs everywhere.
-- From "And the Fair Land", the second of the two columns 
There are two holidays that are quite unique to this country, beyond all others, that mark it as a special place to be. Both are opportunities to express gratitude for the things that the people of this land can enjoy, thanks to the sacrifices and hard work that they and others have put forth.

The first of these is Memorial Day, a sombre day of reflection and remembrance for those who gave their all for their people, their country, and the Almighty.

The second is Thanksgiving, a day that is in many ways the polar opposite- a day to spend with friends and family, surrounded by ridiculously awesome amounts of food, eating till one's stomach nearly bursts, in good cheer and with far too much alcohol on hand.

These holidays show two sides of the same coin of the American spirit, and any man who comes to this country and fails to appreciate that spirit will never understand the remarkable people that built it.

Yet Thanksgiving is, of course, far more than a gloriously fun excuse to indulge well past the point of sense. It is also an opportunity to give thanks to our fellows, and to our Creator, for everything we have been given. And, as it is said, to whom much is given, from whom much is expected.

I am, as ever, thankful for my family. My parents and I remain very close, despite the fact that I left home more than 12 years ago and have been pretty much on my own ever since. My sister and I disagree on many, many things, especially when it comes to politics and feminism, but she is my little sister nonetheless, and I love her very much.

I am thankful for the opportunities I have been given as rewards (or maybe punishment- take your pick) for my hard work at my place of employment. Last year, I was unable to celebrate Thanksgiving properly, given that I was in London at the time for a five-month secondment. Yet, it was a tremendous opportunity; I learned an enormous amount, made some great connections, and was able to make great strides in my career.

I am most grateful for my health and the rewards reaped through the years of hard work in the gym, and on the sparring mat. I am stronger, fitter, leaner, and healthier now than I was when I was 18; as I once noted with amusement to my mother, if I'd had the same body back then that I do now, high school would have been vastly more fun. (Her response: "well yes, but then you wouldn't have gotten any studying done." She does have a point.)

I am thankful, beyond words, to the American people, for letting me come here, live and work and be among them. I came to this country to get an education, which I did- but it turned out to have been far deeper, and richer, than I could ever have expected. I never thought I'd stay here as long as I have; and I certainly never expected to absorb the American ideals of liberty, hard work, sacrifice, and independence as thoroughly as I did. I may mock the American people endlessly, but it is the gentle mockery of a friend who wants only the best for this remarkable land and its people.

I am thankful to you, the readers and commenters who frequent this place. Writing is a time-consuming, often frustrating, always rewarding experience. I do not write for anyone but myself, but I am honoured by the fact that others find what I write to be of worth, and I am grateful for your presence here. Keep commenting and emailing, for you keep me honest and motivated.

Above all, I am thankful to my Lord and Creator. My faith was deepened and strengthened this year by certain adverse events, and in the process I was brought closer to the Almighty, to understanding the purpose of faith, and to realising that it is the Christian conception of the Lord that makes by far the most sense.

It says something about the times in which we live that thanking the Lord at the dinner table is falling out of fashion. That was certainly the case at the last Thanksgiving dinner I spent with my aunt's family two years back; out of like 20 people present, I was the only one who thanked God for all that He has given us. (Admittedly, I was the only conservative-minded person present; everyone else was either a SWPL or Asian liberal, so you do the maths.)

I don't say this because I am in any way a particularly nice or religious or decent person- because I am none of these things- but because I find it astonishing that a people once filled with faith and love of the Lord have so completely turned away from Him.

Yet the Lord is indeed merciful, generous, and filled with paternal good humour; all you have to do to see this, is to open your eyes.

Let me also say something about the world we find ourselves facing today.

My friends, there is no question that darkness is upon us. A Time of Testing is coming; in some ways it is already here. As a certain hymn once put it, our Earthly rulers falter; our people drift and die; the walls of gold entomb us; the swords of scorn divide. Evil stalks the land, making its way into our homes with bitter and malicious lies coated in sweet words. Every institution that we look to in order to preserve our way of life has been infiltrated- up to and including the Holy Mother Church herself. The coffers of our nations are empty; the crushing burdens of our parents' debts break the backs of our grandchildren's great-grandchildren. The unshakable moral compass of the Word is under attack to a degree never seen before, on all sides, even by those supposedly charged with defending it.

Any righteous man who believes in what we might call "traditional" values would certainly be excused for feeling despair at the awful desolation he sees before us, at the rot and decay of our culture, at the execration and abuse heaped upon those who struggle to live moral and decent lives amid the wreckage.

And yet, my friends, there is also cause for rejoicing.

For this, too, shall pass. This evil, too, will break. And it will be up to us- you, me, and all others like us- to rediscover what was lost. Whether you believe in the Lord's will or not, there is no denying that we have been given an opportunity, unlike any other, to do what our forebears could not: to rebuild civilisation from the ruins when, not if, the decadence and stupidity of the current orgy of madness finally collapses in upon itself.

What greater gift could there be than this? What more could be asked of a free man, that he use his freedom to set others free as well?

So, this Thanksgiving, give thanks indeed, for all that you have, and for all that is to come. The road lies before us; "we few, we happy, we band of brothers", let us travel it together.

May God bless you and yours on this day. And always, always, may God bless America.

NO. JUST NO. NOT NOW, NOT EVER. WHERE'S MY AXE?!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

"What is this 'four gee dubya' nonsense you speak of???"


Friday the 13th certainly lived up to its ill-fated reputation this year. That was, of course and unfortunately, the day when Islamists- there is no point mincing words- attacked 6 separate targets all over the city of Paris and, in the process, killed at least 129, and wounded more than 300.

There is absolutely no love lost between me and the French. I don't particularly like them; their government and people, if anyone bothered to ask them, would probably say the same about me. And we're both perfectly fine with that. Let them do their thing, eating cheese and baguettes and waffling pretentiously about bad art and worse cinema, and I'll do mine.

But what happened that day was not something I would wish upon any nation, no matter how much I disagree with their culture, politics, or attitudes.

The response of both the French elites, and (if I might borrow a Kratmanism) the International Community Of The Ever-So-Caring And Sensitive to what was simply another battle in a centuries-long war has been tediously predictable and every bit as pointless, useless, and stupid as one could expect.

Instead of tackling the problem head-on, and calling the evil that stands there in front of them with blood-stained hands by its true name, those elites insist that this is not a war between Islam and the rest of civilisation, but between "radical elements" within their societies. They insist on fighting that evil with limited, ineffective means and weapons that show only a fundamental unseriousness and an utter lack of understanding of their enemy.

The elites of the French government think that Islamist barbarism can be countered using nothing more than airstrikes. In this folly, they are sadly not alone. Once again, those same elites, no matter their nationality, have failed to understand that air power, on its own, does not win wars.

Air superiority and supremacy, when combined with foot-sloggers doing the fighting and killing and dying on the ground, is fearfully effective against conventional military forces that obey a military culture of order and conduct. But against even a conventional enemy, air power alone simply inconveniences the enemy while enraging the civilian populace that suffer every time an attack fails to hit the target.

And against an unconventional enemy, which is precisely the category into which Islamists fall, air power is worse than useless. It is actively counterproductive.

There is nothing "ruthless" or "pitiless" about targeting a jihadist from 20,000 feet up and wiping him out using a Hellfire missile. It looks tremendously impressive on video, no question about that- but it also forces those conducting the drone strikes to lose the moral level of war, the level that the theorists behind the once-radical notion of "4th Generation Warfare" argue is by far the most important. All such air strikes do is anger the survivors, and harden their resolve to fight.

Given that those theorists- the likes of John Boyd, William S. Lind, and Martin Van Creveld- have proven to be eerily prescient about the crisis of legitimacy and authority faced by modern nation-states in a global, decentralised, fluid battlefield of cultures and ideas, it behooves us to pay attention to what they argued, and continue to argue, would be the most productive and useful ways to wage and win a war against Islam.

Lessons of the Past

The first thing that the French people, and the rest of us too, need to understand is that this is NOT a new war. This is a war that has been raging for fourteen centuries. It is a war between a culture that celebrates death over life and barbarity over civilisation, and all other cultures. It is a war that will continue as long as political Islam is permitted to exist and mistaken notions of "tolerance" toward it give it the room and opportunities it needs to spread its poison.

The excellent qualities of individual Muslims notwithstanding, the reality and fact is that they subscribe to a political ideology first- one with deeply suspect origins as, essentially, a Christian heresy that likely reverted back to a large number of ultra-Orthodox Jewish teachings with respect to the laws of God and His place within the plane of Man's existence. That ideology preaches violence toward non-believers, aggressive and militant expansion, lying where necessary to achieve one's ends, and offering no choices other than conversion, slavery, or death to those who disagree with them. They may not know these things, and if they do, they may choose to ignore them. But this is what they believe nonetheless.

And if Western society continues to be blind and stupid enough not to take the more hard-line among them at face value- which amounts to a very great many of their number, anywhere from a plurality to an outright majority of them- then we will find that the attacks in Paris will merely be a foretaste of the bloodshed to come.

This war is not, indeed, new. And the French should know this better than anyone.

It was a Frenchman, Charles "The Hammer" Martel, who stopped the first great expansion of Islam into Europe cold at the Battle of Tours in 732AD. His people were then full of martial vigour, strong, capable, and willing to die to defend their culture. They possessed military skills and prowess notably lacking in the lands of Visigothic Spain- a far more cultured and cosmopolitan part of the world in the late 7th Century, and as a consequence of this rather quick to fall to the invading armies of the Ummayyad Caliphate.

It is from Charles Martel that the French should learn their first lesson: you don't fight a war like this with pretty words. You fight it with deeds. And those deeds are likely to be bloody and terrible beyond measure. But they must be done, if Western civilisation is to be saved from itself and from the scourge of Islam.

The Laws of War

The second lesson that we need to learn follows directly from that first, and it is a simple one: when we talk about waging "pitiless" war against our enemies, we are, quite simply, full of horsesh*t. And our enemies know it.

What would a truly ruthless, meaningful response to those acts of Islamist aggression look like? Well, to borrow from LTC Kratman once again, it might look something like this:
Firstly, your armed forces would be culled of Moslems, with those in it interned. While this was going on, the police would have the DNA of the attackers analyzed. While the analysis was taking place the now culled armed forced, not least to include the Gendarmerie, would be surrounding the banlieus that contain the most Moslems. It would be announced that any Moslem found outside his or her home after dark, or more than 400 meters from it during the day, would be subject to summary execution. As wire was emplaced around one banlieu, thereby freeing up some troops, others would be encircled. Their orders would be to shoot anyone trying to leave though anyone would be allowed to enter. Food and water would be shut off. Then one by one you would go through the banliues, taking samples from everyone. Anyone whose DNA indicated they were related the attackers, male or female, old or newborn babe, would be killed on the spot. Then you would burn the mosques. You might potentially not kill the genetically implicated on the spot, but herd them into the mosques before you burn them. If you could identify one banlieu, or perhaps two or three, from which the bulk of the attackers originated or which provided the most non-combatant support, you would turn it into a modern Lidice or Ourador sur Glane. 
After that you would start processing the survivors for deportation, which deportation would be utterly pitiless, far worse than our “Trail of Tears,” and more like the Bataan Death March. Finally, assuming you were reasonably satisfied that ISIS / DAESH was behind this, you would use several of your not especially small number of nuclear weapons to destroy several of their strongholds and keep doing so until you ran out of nukes or targets.
That, as LTC Kratman says, is what a pitiless war looks like. It is the kind of war that the West long ago convinced itself that it could never fight again. And to a large extent, that is true; to fight that kind of war would require putting a large number of international treaties concerning battlefield and counterinsurgency tactics straight into the nearest industrial-grade woodchipper.

Such a response would be unthinkable according to our modern, "enlightened" standards of waging war. Most of you reading this would be utterly sickened by the very idea of using such methods. Yet those are precisely the methods that ensure survival in the face of an unyielding, barbaric enemy that is willing to use any means necessary to achieve its ends.

And as LTC Kratman is so (rightly) fond of saying, "Survival cancels out programming". (I get the distinct feeling that someday he's going to sue me for copyright infringement.)

These notions elicit pretty much the same reaction among the right-on progressive elite that governs France, and pretty much every other Western nation, that a vampire has to sunlight. To even think about such things inspires utter horror in the hearts of every tolerant, peace-loving Frenchman, every European, committed to the long-lasting fantasy of a Europe without war. Never mind that such a Europe is impossible because its existence is predicated upon suspending the laws that govern human nature- it is a beautiful dream nonetheless, and one of the tragic realities of the human condition is that our dreams tend to die badly, and take many of us with them when they do.

Yet that response is squarely within the limits allowed by the Laws of War- LTC Kratman himself would know, given that he has written two books specifically designed to see what would happen if an atrocity on the scale of the Paris attacks, or- God help us- 9/11 were ever met with a cold-blooded, ruthless, "pitiless" response that actually applied those very Laws to the enemy trying to destroy us.

This is not, by the way, a sin unique to the French. The entire Western world has been guilty of it for the past generation or more. And that is because the West has, to a great extent, ceased to have any real purpose or point to its existence.

Yet there are still many aspects of the West that are worth saving. And if we are serious about saving them, what we need to understand is that the Laws of War exist for a reason. They exist in order to permit a culture that is actually serious about defending itself, to do so without sacrificing order and human decency to madness and blood-lust.

The Laws of War are brutal, to be sure. But they are just. They command mercy for those who conduct themselves honourably and restrict themselves to fighting according to recognisable rules that attempt to spare the weakest of us from the horrors of war- and they command merciless, terrible punishment for those who break those rules. They are, indeed, laws- reason without passion, mercy without folly.

And it is well past time that we realised that the opponents we are fighting recognise no law but their own. They will not fight by our rules. They will not abide by our codes of honour. They do not believe that war is something to be fought "out there", away from women and children and the elderly.

That is the measure of our enemy. That is the measure of his resolve. And that is what we are up against.

We cannot win such a war if we are willing on the one hand to turn previously "moderate" Muslims against us by using drone and bomb strikes on targets that cause severe collateral damage, and on the other let hundreds of thousands, even millions, of those very same Muslims into our borders. We cannot fight such an enemy contrary to the way that the Laws of War say we should fight, when that same enemy refuses to obey those same laws in the first place.

If that is how we are going to fight to save Western civilisation, we might as well surrender right now, because it is overwhelmingly obvious that we are not serious about this fight.

Winning Without Losing Our Souls

The third, and most painful, lesson that follows from what happened in Paris is that, no matter what happens, this war is going to be far uglier than anything that came before it.

As LTC Kratman pointed out in his preface to William S. Lind's piece on 4GW within the collection, Riding the Red Horse, Vol. 1, there are basically only two ways to win a 4th Generation war.

The first is de-escalation, which Mr. Lind has discussed extensively in his work, with references to the successes that the Marine Corps saw in Iraq when adopting a "policing" approach to dealing with the local population instead of the brute-force "shock and awe" tactics of much (but not all) of the Army. Mr. Lind has also referred to the British Occupation of Northern Ireland as a favourable example of how to successfully fight a 4GW conflict.

There are two major issues with this path to victory in the context of the current conflict.

First and foremost is the fact that this approach requires the Western powers to actively occupy Muslim lands. Now, in a conventional war against conventional armies, the overwhelming technological and logistical superiority of the US and European militaries- far more so the case with the former than the latter, perhaps- would likely ensure victory for the Western powers. But after that, those same powers would be stuck administering an empire. And that is something that no modern Western power has the stomach to do.

You see, in order to successfully have an empire, you have to have a strong, virile culture that is actively interested in reproducing. This describes precisely none of the modern Western powers, including the USA- which, once you strip out the Hispanic immigration and birth rates from the overall US birth rate, looks very much like a European nation in terms of population dynamics.

Put it another way: there is a very damn good reason why the British Raj consisted of, basically, 100,000 Brits ruling over a country of 300 million Hindus and Muslims before Partition in 1947.

Second, occupation pre-supposes the willingness to take casualties in the process. The British were willing, and able, to do this when they established the greatest empire the world has ever seen. Their modern descendants have no stomach for seeing their sons and daughters returning in coffins. Nor should they. What gain is there to be had from venturing forth into heathen lands to carry the "white man's burden"?

So if conquest and then de-escalation is out, what is the alternative?

Annihilation.

And now we see the true horror that is before us. In order to win this war, we have to choose between two equally unthinkable alternatives.

Either the West rallies together- yeah, I know, not gonna happen, you can't get Americans and Russians to agree on what to eat for breakfast, let alone whether to march to war against Islam- and crushes Islam on the battlefield, and then gets stuck occupying Islamic lands and fighting a never-ending insurgency for the rest of time in order to avoid inflicting further damage to civilian life and property. Or the West gets serious about wiping Islam out from within its own borders, and then proceeds to wipe it out everywhere else.

I do not argue in favour of either alternative. Contrary to what some might think, I am very much against mass killings, deportations, and concentration camps.

But I will say this: the reason we are faced with this awful choice is because our forefathers made the galactically stupid decision to let Islam in, unchecked, to the West's borders, in the name of an insane experiment in multiculturalism that is now blowing up, quite literally, in our faces.

And the longer we delay the day of reckoning, the more terrible the choice will finally become.

The only way to win this war without losing our souls is to present a clear message to dar al-Islam: your borders do not extend into ours.

There is yet time to avoid bloodshed on a mass scale, but only if the West gets serious about defending its own borders and does away with these fantastically stupid notions of borderless states and free passage of people between nations. Already, forced repatriation is being seriously considered as an actual policy choice (and rightly so) by politicians on both sides of the Pond. How many more incidents like Paris do you suppose it will take for the French and the Germans in particular to forget all of their warm and fuzzy talk of peace and brotherly love and replace it with, as John Ringo might say, "Teutonic efficiency" in driving out those who are not like them?

The key question facing us in fighting this war is, how do we fight their tactics and their objectives without becoming like them?

The full answer to that question is beyond my expertise, limited as it is. But what is becoming very clear is that the current objective of, basically, doing sod-all in the face of wanton aggression, is tantamount to surrender by suicide.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

When you fail so hard...


Here's one that will tickle the code geeks among you.

I was coding a program earlier that would basically loop through a mapping table, load up objects from a database, and save them to flat files in a physical drive. The program itself is nearly 500 lines long due to all of the comments and indentation that I put in- I may not be a good coder, but I am a thorough one.

So there I was, testing and debugging this script, and lo and behold, after the first couple of minor bug fixes, it worked exactly as I thought it would. The objects would be loaded; they would be renamed; they would be saved; and an automatic notification email would be sent out.

Except... even though the notification email said that all objects had been loaded and saved correctly, when I tried to load those very same objects from the locations that they were supposed to be in, they didn't exist.

I was stumped. Surely it was working correctly. I'd checked and double-checked and triple-checked the syntax- no problems there. The program compiled and ran just fine- no issues there either. The variables were all declared within the right lexical scopes- no cock-ups there.

I went away for a cup of tea, still scratching my head, trying to figure out just what the hell I'd done wrong. Still couldn't figure it out. Now, I've been in this situation before, and I've found that the best way to deal with it is to go do something else for a while and then come back and look at the problem again with fresh eyes.

Which, of course, is precisely what I did. I went and goofed off for a while. And if you're a programmer, you know exactly which excuse to use when your boss comes over and asks why you're checking out women in lingerie at the Daily Mail re-watching videos of Holly Holm's epic knockout victory over Ronda Rousey looking at pictures of dogs playing with tigers:


Then I finally quit goofing off, sat down, and immediately got that horrible sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you realise you've done something so abominably, galactically, cataclysmically stupid that you just know that people will someday create monuments to your idiocy for the specific purpose of hurling rotten fruit and other more odious things at them.

I went back and looked at the subfunction designed to loop through the list of available drives and figure out what went where. And there it was, plain as day: I'd hardcoded the integer "1" as the value returned by the loop.

In other words, for every object that I was trying to load and save, the program would simply save down everything to the second drive in the list. (Indexing in C++ and similar languages starts at 0 by default, not 1.)

Head, meet keyboard.

Several repetitions of this introduction later, with my forehead considerably flatter and my head hurting rather a lot, and after more than a few alarmed looks from my co-workers, I fixed the bug and unFUBARd my program. And, lo and behold! It functioned as expected at long last.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you should NEVER put a programmer in charge of your nuclear missile defense systems. You might discover just a moment too late that there's a bug in the code somewhere...

There goes another beloved childhood memory...

I had watched the entire STAR WARS saga, end-to-end, all 18 hours of it, once a year from the age of 20 to 28. Before that, from the time I was 15, that annual binge of the first three movies was a sacred ritual for me.

And in all of that time, I never once noticed that the entire Death Star trench run was basically one giant Freudian slip:


DAMN YOU, SCREEN JUNKIES!!!

On the plus side... it's still almost certainly better than the next installment in what was once the greatest film saga of all time is likely to be.

Well, that broke something important

I know this dates back a ways, but it's still a trip to see, given just how many boundaries of WTFness it breaks:


... Oh dear. I suspect my brain is going to need to be pieced back together like a jigsaw puzzle now. With superglue.

And in case you're wondering, no, I do NOT like the Austin Powers films. If you want a really great James Bond spoof that is witty, intelligent, and full of terrific performances, go watch Kingsman instead.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

No wonder he's pissed

Someday, the parodies of Adolf Hitler completely losing his sh*t will cease to be hilarious.

This is still not that day.



Wow. Who knew that Der Fuhrer was such a rabid Rousey fanboy? Or that MMA was a thing back during the final hours of the siege of Berlin, eh?

Still and all, it's important to understand just what exactly it is he's so cheesed off about. And to see that, you have to watch the full fight- all 6 minutes of it- from UFC 193. (At least, until the UFC forces a copyright-violation takedown of the footage again...)


Every time I watch video footage of that fight, I find something else to appreciate. Even though that terrific head-kick at the end was the highlight, the whole thing was actually a very technical fight.

Watch how Ms. Holm moves, how she sets up her strikes, and, perhaps most impressively of all, how she escapes Ronda Rousey's clinches and takedowns while preserving her own "tank". If you watch how she responds to Ms. Rousey's takedown attempts, you will see that she practiced those defences very carefully. Observe how her posture stays strong and upright, how her hips generally stay lower than Ms. Rousey's- and how these two things combine to make it very, very hard for Ms. Rousey to throw her. Watch how she keeps her elbows tucked in close to her ribs, thereby making it extremely difficult for Ms. Rousey to isolate an arm and attempt an armbar.

Watch, as well, Ms. Holm's excellent footwork when working through her stand-up game. It's superb. She's constantly moving, never putting too much weight on one foot, rarely off balance except when she actually gets hit, and generally doing a great job of staying elusive, light, and yet in the pocket.

Most importantly, though, what you will see is a fighter who was calm, prepared, methodical, conditioned, and ready to execute a carefully thought-out and well-understood game plan, up against a bull-rushing brawler who had precisely none of those attributes.

And then there is the exemplary way in which Ms. Holm conducts herself. Take a look at her post-fight interview, where living legends within the MMA community like Rashad Evans, Frank Mir, and Daniel Cormier are all asking her about how her fight went. She is a model of charm, grace, and humility even though she just took out the biggest star in her field:


It goes without saying that her demeanour and her grace under pressure are head and shoulders above that of the former champion. If you go back up and watch the fight again, you'll see that right at the end of Round 1, when the horn blew, Ms. Rousey threw a punch a full second after the round had ended, and landed it. That was a blatant foul, and I'm astonished that referee Herb Dean didn't penalise her for it.

Even so, beyond Holly Holm and maybe Paige Van Zant, I can't say I think particularly highly of women's MMA even now- and in PVZ's case, most guys (and girls) like her because... well, see for yourself:

Notice how a law firm has a sponsorship logo across the crotch of her shorts? Draw your own conclusions from that...
These girls are rough, tough, and in some cases at least, quite pretty. But one very good thing about Holly Holm's victory on Saturday night is that it finally puts paid to this utter bilge about the best women being able to take on any man in their weight class. That flew right out to wherever Ronda Rousey's consciousness did the moment that perfectly timed and set-up head-kick landed on her throat and jaw.

To be clear, most of these women- trained, professional, highly skilled athletes- could take on the average man and win in a one-on-one no-holds-barred fight. That is because the average man doesn't really know how to punch, kick, grapple, or defend himself- our ever-so-"civilised" society has bred all such instincts out of us for the last fifty years or so.

But against a trained opponent, those same women would suddenly find themselves in a world of trouble.

I think the best lesson to take away from Der Fuhrer's epic blowup is that fortune ultimately favours the bold and prepared. Holly Holm saw her chances, was ready to take them, and then moved in and did what she evidently does very, very well indeed: setting up and executing solid kicks and punches.

Say what you will about the "Preacher's Daughter", but you can't deny that she has some game.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Sometimes all you can do is laugh


Unless you've been living under a very large rock, you will undoubtedly know what happened in Paris last Friday. Nearly 130 people are dead; more than 300 are injured. And make no mistake- these people were casualties of a war between Islam, and the rest of civilisation. As Katie Hopkins points out, acerbically but truthfully, don't tell me this isn't about Islam.

Don't insult my intelligence, and don't spit on the memories of those who died, by pretending that the sick, twisted, repugnant political ideology masquerading as a religion that is Islam, somehow has nothing to do with what happened.

Much has been written about what happened. More is to come. Hell, I have my own thoughts on the subject, which I'll try to get around to posting at some point this week. But in the meantime, we need to take a lesson from a man who understood the nature of evil better than most.

That man would be Clive Staples Lewis.

The author of The Screwtape Letters pointed out in that book that the one thing that evil absolutely cannot stand is to be laughed at. That is why the loving, benevolent, righteous Creator of our Universe plainly has a sense of humour; that is why we have the capacity to laugh. That is why the greatest and most effective satire reduces the tyranny and stupidity of those without humility and wisdom to simple acts of comic idiocy.

And that is why Islam, in which- by the admissions of its own most fanatical adherents- there is no such thing as "fun", absolutely cannot abide being mocked.

With that in mind, let me tell you a joke that, if you were to tell it in an Arab city, would cause pretty much everyone's inner jihadist to get "triggered"- with, one can only hope, spontaneous combustion taking place immediately thereafter. I'm not going to tell you who told me this first, but suffice to say, it's gloriously non-PC- as long as you ignore the fact that the first part couldn't actually happen in real life, anyway:

A Muslim dies and goes to Paradise, where he is greeted at the Gates of St. Peter by an imposing, white-bearded man in a beautifully embroidered robe. He immediately prostrates himself before this man and says, "The noble prophet Mohammed! How I have longed to meet you in the afterlife!"

But the bearded man replies, "My friend, I am not Mohammed. I am merely St. Peter, the keeper of these gates. If you wish to find Mohammed, go around the corner, climb up that ladder there to the very top, and you will eventually find what you seek."

The Muslim bows and hurries away, then scrambles up the ladder. He climbs and climbs seemingly without end, until at last he reaches the top. At the end of his journey he meets an even larger, more imposing, more magnificently robed man with an immense beard and a staff. Falling to his knees, he proclaims loudly, "Noble prophet Mohammed! How I have longed to meet you!"

But the man in the splendid robe with the staff replies, "My brother, thou art mistaken. I am not Mohammed. I am Moses. If thou wishest to meet Mohammed, go thou to that ladder over hither, climb to the very top, and there shalt thou find what thou seekest."

Our friend bows and hurries away, and once again climbs all the way up to the top. There, he meets a man in a stunning robe of white and gold, with the bearing of a king and a halo arrayed over his head. He falls to his knees and once again exclaims, "Mohammed!"

But the man responds, "My son, I am not Mohammed. I am Jesus Christ. That which you seek is farther beyond yet. Climb these steps behind me, and you will find it."

At the top of those steps, the now exhausted Muslim comes across a vast table, richly laden with wonderful food and drink of all kinds. At the head of the table sits a man of vast stature, whose very visage is awesome yet terrible to behold, around whom angels dance and sing melodies of unearthly beauty.

The Muslim, at the end of his patience, asks the man, "Are you Mohammed?!"

But the man, in a voice as deep as thunder yet gentle and soothing as honey, responds, "My child, I am the LORD. I know where the man is that you seek. But you have journeyed far to reach this point. Will you not sit, rest yourself, and partake of some food and drink? Perhaps some pastries and coffee?"

Well, one can hardly refuse the LORD's hospitality, can one? So the Muslim responds, "Yes, o Lord, some coffee would indeed be most welcome."

The LORD promptly turns around and snaps his fingers briskly at someone behind him, and in a voice filled with immeasurable authority, thunders: "MOHAMMED! Two cups of coffee and a bran muffin, right away!"

Sunday, 15 November 2015

That was quite a statement


The last thing that I expected to see when I woke up this morning was that Ronda Rousey just got her ass beat by a challenger for her bantamweight title. But that, as it happens, is precisely what took place yesterday.

Skip the first two minutes, it's just boring nonsense backed by a terrible electronica track. The real fun begins the moment the two women step into the Octagon:


I don't normally pay any attention to women's MMA- or to female sports in general, for that matter. I have trained and currently train with women on a regular basis, and as much as I like the girls that I spar with, I find them useful in general for one thing: getting in a bit of a breather between sparring with taller, stronger, faster, harder-hitting and far more skillful men.

Therefore I cannot say I have any sympathy for Ms. Rousey. She's a bit younger than me, but she lacks all sense of humility and has gotten to where she is in very large part because of her very big mouth. It would appear that, in Holly Holm, her mouth met an opponent (and more specifically, an opponent's fist) that it couldn't match. She does not conduct herself according to the martial code, which states very plainly that ALL opponents are worthy of respect, regardless of size, gender, or skill level- and that the most merciful way to handle an overmatched opponent is to dispatch him or her as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

What interested me most about the fight- at least, based on what I have seen of it, anyway- is the stark differences between the two women in terms of their striking.

Watch Holly Holm's footwork. It is a thing of beauty to behold- a classical (southpaw) boxer striking stance combined with a remarkable lightness of foot that makes it possible for this rather tall woman to strike from most angles. (Not all, though; both the orthodox and southpaw boxing stances have some real limitations when it comes to defending against strikes from all sides, which is why some really good natural strikers and counter-punchers can, and do, switch between stances as required.)

(On a side note- there is a very funny section in Jonathan Gotschall's book, The Professor in the Cage, where he writes about the reasons why fighters with orthodox stances- i.e. the vast majority of boxers- absolutely hate fighting lefties. As the head coach at the MMA gym where Mr. Gotschall trains says, "all southpaws should be drowned at birth". And judging by the way Ronda Rousey absolutely got her (oversized) arse handed to her, I think he may have a point. Hell, I hate fighting against lefties, and I'm not even very good.)

Pay particularly close attention to that beautiful slip-and-weave that comes up late in the highlights reel- right about at the 2:55 mark. As Ms. Rousey throws a particularly clumsy punch, Ms. Holm sees it coming miles away and simply ducks and bobs out of the way; Ms. Rousey, already exhausted after absorbing considerable punishment during the first round, practically collapses to one knee and drops her hands. Meanwhile, Ms. Holm looks almost completely unruffled.

And then, of course, there is that beautiful head kick that Ms. Holm sets up after getting behind Ms. Rousey and then turning her around. That was clinical, and a truly spectacular display of skill from a woman who has clearly worked hard on her striking game.

After watching those highlights, my opinion of women's MMA generally remains unchanged; I see it largely as a waste of time. However, I am more than willing to make a specific exception in the case of one Holly Holm, who has proven to be worthy of both respect and admiration for the way she conducted herself in the biggest fight of her career and the biggest upset seen since Anderson Silva lost his title to Chris Weidman.

That comparison is not, by the way, a facile one. Mr. Weidman was considered to be a long shot by most punters when he was given a title shot against "The Spider"- yet, MMA pros who had trained and sparred with him knew full well that he was the real deal. Georges St. Pierre said as much when he pointed out that Mr. Weidman's strengths were perfectly designed to exploit Mr. Silva's flaws- and that is precisely what happened at UFC 162. Mr. Weidman simply neutralised Mr. Silva's much-feared striking skills- and Mr. Silva, in his cosmic arrogance, spent the entire fight dancing around his opponent. He paid the price for it by getting his clock cleaned, and by losing his title.

Something similar happened here with Ms. Rousey. She didn't respect her opponent, and she paid a terrible price for it- her aura of invincibility is shattered, her goal of retiring undefeated forever denied, and her greatly overhyped appeal as some sort of female "role model" is now exposed for the world to see.

It is important to bring in some perspective to understand how and where she went wrong. I spar, using hands and legs, roughly three times a week, and I can tell you from (rather painful) personal experience that when you're up against someone with superior boxing skills, reach, and footwork, and you simply insist on walking into everything that he (or in this case, she) throws, then you've only got yourself to blame. And indeed, that is precisely what took place.

Look at Ms. Rousey's footwork. It is virtually non-existent. There is no attempt to defend against Ms. Holm's vicious jab left cross. Ms. Rousey's hands barely move to provide protection against the blows coming her way. There is no attempt to do anything other than move forward.

The head of my school, who is himself a supremely talented martial artist who has cross-trained extensively in boxing, muay thai, jiu jitsu, and a number of other arts, keeps telling us very plainly: you can stand up and bang all you like when you're wearing massive 14oz boxing gloves and a mouthguard and a groin cup, but take off the hand wraps and the gloves and the protection, and then try to fight that way, and you'll realise just how stupid such an approach is.

Ms. Rousey found out exactly why it is such a bad idea to just move forward with no defensive strategy against a highly skilled striker last night. If she is smart, she will learn the lesson and improve. If she is not, she will be beaten, again, and very badly, the next time she steps into the Octagon with Ms. Holm.

Two other important issues come to mind when looking at the fight itself.

First, I have stated in the past that when you match up a grappler against a striker, most of the time, the grappler wins. There was some rather lively discussion over at Vox's blog on this subject following Ms. Rousey's defeat, and Vox himself has asserted that the notion that grapplers generally win against strikers is more theory than fact. He does have a point; if you put someone who has only ever grappled against someone who has only ever done stand-up striking, there are indeed ways for the stand-up guy to avoid getting taken down and knocked out.

It just isn't as easy as most people think.

The equation becomes considerably more complicated when you are up against skilled grapplers who are also trained in striking. That's when things become significantly harder to predict. Generally speaking, though, in a one-on-one fight in a setting like the Octagon, a skilled grappler who can absorb damage and stay out of the way of really heavy blows, can wear down and outmanoeuvre his opponent to great effect- see for example what Chris Weidman did to Vitor Belfort in his last title fight.

Second, one is forced to ask: how is it that a relatively low-ranking contender in the women's bantamweight division was able to succeed, when higher-ranked challengers like Alexis Davis, Cat Zingano, Miesha Tate, and Bethe Correia failed so miserably?

Part of the answer lies in the fact that Ms. Rousey got arrogant and started to believe her own hype machine. But there is, I think, more to this than meets the eye- literally.

Ms. Rousey's "off-season" weight is reputed to be somewhere around 155lbs, while her fighting weight is 135lbs at weigh-ins. Now, my school has several amateur MMA fighters training in a separate camp to the main business, and the head of my school coaches those guys- one of whom is a current muay thai title-holder in the 125lb division and will get a title shot for the 125lb MMA title in December, and another who is now a contender for an MMA title fight next weekend. The same man pointed out a few months back that, compared to Ms. Rousey, the rest of the division simply doesn't carry around that kind of bulk, and therefore muscle mass, in the off-season. They simply don't have the physical strength and speed to compete with someone like Ms. Rousey.

And indeed, looking back at Ms. Rousey's utter demolition of Alexis Davis, I'd say there is a lot of truth to that statement. Those 20lbs of muscle and weight do make a huge difference.

Hell, Cristiano "Cyborg" Justino walks around apparently at 175lbs. (Granted, she also looks like a man- sounds like one too, actually.) Again, that differential in size and weight does result in a significant difference in strength too.

I have no idea what Holly Holm's off-season weight is. But, given the speed and footwork that she showed off in her demolition of the champion, I'd say she rarely, if ever, lets herself get out of shape.

All in all, the results of last night's fight were quite fascinating to see. If nothing else, women's MMA suddenly got a whole lot more interesting.