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July 03, 2016

Sunday Morning Book Thread 07-03-2016: Inescapable Concepts [OregonMuse]


Bodleian Library, Oxford, England.jpg
Bodleian Library, Oxford, England


Good morning to all of you morons and moronettes and bartenders everywhere and all the ships at sea. Welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, internationally acclaimed and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread, where men are men, all the 'ettes are gorgeous, safe spaces are where we store our ammo and beer, and snowflakes will melt away. Unlike other AoSHQ comment threads, the Sunday Morning Book Thread is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Especially those cargo pants with lots of pockets for extra magazines, because you'll never know when you'll need them.


Who Rules

No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.

--Article I, Section 9, Clause 8

This is something we all should be familar with. From our country's inception, we decided that we're not going tohave anybody with titles like "The Baron of Boston" or "The Duke of Denver". Having seen the effects of a corrupt, incompetent, parisitical nobility in European countries, the founders of America didn't want one here. Accordingly, they included the above clause into the Consititution and called it good.

It was a nice try, but it was doomed to failure.

Even though our founders didn't want a noble class, we eventually got one anyway. That's because the "noble", i.e. ruling class appears to be an inescapable concept in human society. Despite its noble (SWIDT?) intent, all that the Section 9 clause did was to create a vacuum which was eventually filled in by a relatively small number of politicians and bureaucrats that is every bit as corrupt, incompetent, and parasitical (and entrenched) as the old European nobilities.

Boston University professor and conservative commentator Angelo Codevilla wrote an article describing the characterists of this class in the American Spectator magazine which he then expanded into a book, The Ruling Class.

So, what is the Ruling Class? Codevilla argues that it is

...the group of bipartisan political elites who run America. This Ruling Class, educated at prestigious universities and convinced of its own superiority, has everything to gain by raising taxes and expanding the reach of government. This class maintains that it knows what is best and continually increases its power over every facet of American life.

Sounds about right.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that this Ruling Class does not represent the interests of the majority of Americans, who value self-rule and the freedom on whose promise America was founded.

Well, I don't know about this. Wheer is the evidence that a "majority" of Americans value "self-rule and freedom"? Thanks to several decades of poisonous and corrupting progressive propaganda combined with steadily increasing properity, I believe that most Americans now value security (i.e comfort) over freedom. Fortunately for them, it's a lot easier for the ruling class politicians to sell comfort than freedom, because freedom means responsibility and work. And they're not greatly interested in selling freedom anyway, because when you get right down to it, a free man really doesn't need much of a ruling class.

It's going to take a remarkable politician indeed will be able to tell Americans, "Look, you don't need me. Our job is to protect you from external threats, but everything else is up to you." Because freedom by definition includes the possibility of failure, and if you remove that possibility, then you're actually diminishing freedom.

Pony-tailed guy hardest hit.

And now it is understandable why the ruling classes are freaking out over phenomena such as Donald Trump and Brexit. Although I happen to think that their freakout is premature. It is not obvious that any kind of popular revolt or long-term political trend is in the offing. But Brexit does remind them of things they thought had long been chased away.

Angela Merkel overplayed her hand when she decided to simply open the borders for over a million Muslim refugees to come into Germany and hence, under EU rules, to every other country in the EU. In other words, she decided to make Germany's problem everybody's problem. I believe her miscalculation was directly responsible for the Brexit vote turning out the way it did.

May they continue to overplay and miscalculate.

I am reminded of the classic book The New Class: Analysis Of The Communist System by Yugoslav dissident Milovan Djilas which, unfortunately, does not have an e-book edition. It created a sensation when it was first published in 1957 as it was the first time that a big-time commie (he was a member of the party's Central Committee under Marshal Tito and was widely regarded as maybe being Tito's successor) went public with his disillusionment with the system. As one reviewer explains:

Djilas' book written in the nineteen fifties was a real bombshell for the top of the CP's and in leftist circles in Europe. It exposed the communist countries as regimes ruled by a very small oligarchy of high level party members (sometimes by only one person, the party secretary). They were totalitarian dictatorial States...

This small oligarchy built around itself a heavy State bureaucracy (later named the Nomenklatura), through which it controlled the whole country, politically through the one party system, economically through State monopolies and ideologically through an absolute control of the media.

The kicker here is that Djilas, despite spending years in prison for this and his other books, was no renegade free-marketer when he wrote this. No, he was a rat bastard commie who thought that the problem with communism as implemented by Stalin, Mao, etc. is that they were unable to control the evolution of the Communist Party into just another oligarchical ruling structure whose members' chief concern is guarding their own perks and privileges. Solzhenitsyn, of course, would vehemently disagree with this, saying communism is not a good thing that went rotten, it's rotten from the get-go.

Anyway, Djilas' wiki page says he said in a 1987 interview that communism is "a 19th-century relic and a prescription for disaster" so it sounds like maybe he sobered up a bit.

Lastly, there's Intellectuals: From Marx and Tolstoy to Sartre and Chomsky by Paul Johnson that details the personal lives of many of the intellectual leaders of modern times, and shows that basically, they were a bunch of d-bags.


Readings For The 4th

So the U.S. Constitution came about as the end product of a conversation between two groups of men, one group which became known as Federalists, and another which became known as The anti-Federalists. The Federalists won the debate, so it is pretty much they who get taught in schools.

From this introduction to the anti-federalists:

In the rough and tumble of American politics, the name by which one is known is often not of ones own doing. The Antifederalists would have preferred to be known as democratic republicans or federal republicans, but they acquired the name antifederal, or Anti-federal, or Antifederal as a result of the particular events of American history. If we turn to principles to define what they stood for, the content of their position was what was known in history as an attachment to federal principles: a commitment to local government and limited general government, frequent elections and rotation in office, and to writing things down because our liberties are safer as a result.

Chronology is important, as the anti-federalist papers were responding to specific issues raised by the federalists, and these anti-federalist objections were answered by the federalists, etc.
Here is a timeline of all of the anti-federalist papers, including links to the papers themselves.

But:

There were no three Antifederalists who got together in New York, or Richmond, and said, “Let’s write 85 essays in which we argue that the Constitution should be either rejected or modified before adoption.” Thus, in contrast to the pro-Constitution advocates, there is no one book——like The Federalist (Papers)——to which the modern reader can turn to and say, “Here’s The Antifederalist (Papers).” Their work is vast and varied and, for the most part, uncoordinated.

I suppose the "uncoordinated" nature of the anti-federalists is to be expected. It would have been pretty silly if they all got together into some sort of central committee where they all worked on who would write what essay on the dangers of a strong, central government.

I thought this federalist/anti-federalist timeline was pretty interesting.

Here are links to "50 Core Documents That Tell America's Story". It seems to be fairly well-balanced, starting with The Declaration of Independence and ending with Ronald Reagan's A Time For Choosing speech.

Pdf versions of the anti-federalist papers exist all over teh internetz.


In This Corner

I thought this was funny: 10 Famous Writers Reimagined as Professional Wrestlers.

Too bad it's only modern authors. It would've been funnier if they had included Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Chaucer, etc.

Also, is it just me, or is Stephen King looking creepier and creepier the older he gets? It's like he's caught up in some kind of reverse Dorian Gray thing.


Moron Recommendations

According to Christian history and tradition, all of the 12 apostles of Christ were martyred except one, John, who died of old age on the island of Patmos. Longtime moron Mary Poppins' Practically Perfect Piercing is reading a fascinating book on this subject, Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve by Tom Bissell, whom he says is

...a travel writer who spent three or so years visiting the shrines of all twelve apostles, beginning with "Hakeldama," the field where Judas supposedly committed suicide. I'm only on the second chapter, but it's a very entertaining book

The Amazon blurb makes it sound like this book is much more than just a travelogue:

In his quest to understand the underpinnings of the world’s largest religion, Bissell embarks on a years-long pilgrimage to the supposed tombs of the Twelve Apostles. He travels from Jerusalem and Rome to Turkey, Greece, Spain, France, India, and Kyrgyzstan, vividly capturing the rich diversity of Christianity’s worldwide reach. Along the way, he engages with a host of characters—priests, paupers, a Vatican archaeologist, a Palestinian taxi driver, a Russian monk—posing sharp questions that range from the religious to the philosophical to the political.

I wonder which apostle is buried in Kyrgyzstan?

___________

Another recommendation from this thread:

Moron commenter YS1 enjoys the Solar Clipper series from author Nathan Lowell.

There are a bunch of books in this series. The first one is Quarter Share:

When his mother dies in a flitter crash, eighteen-year-old Ishmael Horatio Wang must find a job with the planet company or leave the system--and NerisCo isn't hiring. With credits running low, and prospects limited, he has just one hope...to enlist for two years with a deep space commercial freighter. Ishmael, who only rarely visited the Neris Orbital, and has never been off-planet alone before, finds himself part of an eclectic crew sailing a deep space leviathan between the stars.

This is a commercial ship that divides profit among the crew based on rank, like the old ocean-going military ships did of when they captured enemy ships (i.e. Horatio Hornblower).

The Solar Clipper series is so yuuge, it is divided into 2 sub-series. The first one, "Trader's Tales is up to 6 volumes" and it looks like Lowell has just started a second, "A Seeker's Tale".


Books By Morons

I heard from a new moron author this week. Edwin Markham is a longtime AoSHQ lurker, and he has just published his first novel on Kindle. Call It Even sounds like a pretty hairy psychological thriller:

Robbie Bowman is a U.S. Army veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan troubled by guilt and sorrow. He is looking for his missing sister, the only family he has left, and for redemption and peace. Bowman finds himself in a small town in New Mexico, where he is arrested for a brutal double murder, which triggers chilling memories of other deaths for which he feels responsible. Circumstance and his guilty conscience drive him to take on those responsible for the murders. His survival skills and combat prowess will be tested as he finds himself in a mortal struggle with vicious drug traffickers and their allies. But not all of the good guys are blameless, and not all of the bad guys are evil. He must use his judgment as well as his fighting skills.

The Kindle price is only $2.99


What I'm Reading

A good number of you morons are reading, or have read CTRL ALT Revolt! by Nick Cole. This is the one about the AI that determines that human beings really ought to be eradicated.

I first made this a book thread topic back in February as Cole's account of why he no longer has a book contract with HarperVoyager (an imprint of MSM publishing giant HarperCollins) came to my attention via the Evil Lord of Evil, and it's worth retelling because I am simply astounded, even now, that something like this could happen. I wrote:

So for plot development purposes, Cole thought that his AI had to have an actual reason for coming after the human race, and the reason he chose was: abortion. See, the AIs are cognizant of human social problems (they watch a lot of reality TV), and they realize that humans do not hesitate to eliminate that which they perceive to be threats, or even inconvenient. And so, the AIs reason, they must "abort humanity before likewise is done to them after being deemed 'inconvenient.'" So Cole wrote this reasoning into the plot and submitted the manuscript to his...editor.

And then Cole heard via his agent that the (female) HarperVoyager editor got all butthurt was "deeply offended" by this minor plot point (and that's all it was - CTRL ALT Revolt! is not some pro-life evangelistic tract) and then shortly thereafter, his contract was cancelled.

You can read Cole's account on his website here. Takeaways: 1. Liberals really do have a complete lock on the MSM publishing industry. 2. They really, really, *really* cannot tolerate dissenting voices, even the faintest whispers of one. I know this stuff should be pretty much old hat for all of us here, but knowing this does not lessen the shock of impact when you see it happen.

Hey, if Cole had only rewritten the chapter so that the AI decided to wipe out humanity because racismsexismhomophobia, maybe that would have saved his bacon, don't you think? And earned him extra style points with his editor to boot.


___________

Moronette 'votermom' is putting together a list of moron authors over on the Goodreads site which is intended to be acessible to non-members. Here is the list she has compiled so far. Let her know if there's an author she's missing.

http://www.bookhorde.org/p/aoshq-authors.html

___________

Don't forget the AoSHQ reading group on Goodreads. It's meant to support horde writers and to talk about the great books that come up on the book thread. It's called AoSHQ Moron Horde and the link to it is here: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/175335-aoshq-moron-horde.

___________

So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, bribes, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at the book thread e-mail address: aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.

What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as you all know, life is too short to be reading lousy books.

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