Lone Survivor

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On the night of June 25th, 2005, a four-man Navy SEAL team – consisting of Lieutenant Michael Murphy, Sonar Technician 2nd Class Matthew “Axe” Axelson, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz, and Corpsman 1st Class Marcus Luttrell – is lowered via fast-rope into the Hindu Kush Mountains near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Their mission: track and eliminate notorious Taliban leader Ahmad Shah.

Less than twenty four hours later, only one of those SEALs is left alive. Continue reading —>

More Tragic Even Than This

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It is something of an irony that Sanctity of Human Life Sunday was immediately followed by a holiday commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr. – a champion of the bloody abattoir known as Planned Parenthood.

From King’s acceptance speech for the Margaret Sanger Award:

The Negro constitutes half the poor of the nation. Like all poor, Negro and white, they have many unwanted children. This is a cruel evil they urgently need to control. There is scarcely anything more tragic in human life than a child who is not wanted. That which should be a blessing becomes a curse for parent and child. There is nothing inherent in the Negro mentality which creates this condition. Their poverty causes it. When Negroes have been able to ascend economically, statistics reveal they plan their families with even greater care than whites. Negroes of higher economic and educational status actually have fewer children than white families in the same circumstances.

You can read the entire thing here, if you like, on PP’s website.

“There is scarcely anything more tragic in human life than a child who is not wanted.” You’re right, Dr. King. But shall I tell you something? More tragic even than this is the man who speaks soaringly of justice and equality while casting a benevolent gaze upon the slaughter of innocents.

Like Paul, you held the coats of killers. Did you know it? Is there a Damascus road in your story? Would there have been, had you lived to see their legacy?

You had a dream, Dr. King, one in which your children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream, too. I and millions with me. One in which we will one day live in a nation where tearing children to pieces will be seen for the icy-veined butchery that it is.

“No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Allow me to echo that, Dr. King. Believe me: justice is coming. And when it comes, it will be swift, and it will be mighty, and it will be unsparing. The tiny torn bodies in the trash heaps are crying out – and their Creator is no deaf deity.

Stuff Yourself With Doing

Doing is being.
To have done’s not enough;
To stuff yourself with doing – that’s the game!
To name yourself each hour by what’s done,
To tabulate your time at sunset’s gun
And find yourself in acts
You could not know before the facts
You wooed from secret self, which much needs wooing,
So doing brings it out,
Kills doubt by simply jumping, rushing, running
Forth to be
The now-discovered me.
To not do is to die,
Or lie about and lie about the things
You just might do some day.
Away with that!
Tomorrow empty stays
If no man plays it into being
With his motioned way of seeing.

– Ray Bradbury

Book Review: Our Culture, What’s Left of It

The prospect of reviewing anything by a man of Theodore Dalrymple’s Brobdingnagian intellect is about as appealing to me as skinny-dipping in Lake Vostok. But I’m going to take a stab at it anyway – reviewing, not skinny-dipping – in the hopes that I can inspire one of you to buy this most gloriously electrifying book: Our Culture, What’s Left of It.

41Wq6gH5iVL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Dalrymple, by the way, is the nom de plume of Englishman Anthony Daniels, a retired prison doctor and psychiatrist. His years of medical practice, in locales as varied as Zimbabwe and London’s East End, are the substratum of many (if not all) of his essays. This means, in the first place, that his writing is married to a wealth of gritty, hands-on experience. Consequently, and in the second place, he has little use for “good intentions unadulterated by any grasp of reality.”

Which brings me to my little caveat emptor: readers will find Dalrymple to be consistently and infuriatingly logical. Which, of course, sucks, if you happen to be of the liberal progressive mindset.

In these twenty six essays – touching on everything from Macbeth to Marilynn Manson to sexual enlightenment and modern art – Dalrymple’s target is the increasing debasement of Western culture, and more specifically, the ideas that precipitate this debasement. It is, by turns, a poignant and blistering read. Dalrymple is hardly what you might call a happy camper, which will lead some to dismiss him as a misanthropic curmudgeon. He isn’t. Love and honest-to-God concern for mankind is what drives him to write as he does. He merely takes a dim view of the moral and aesthetic garbage chute we seem to be sliding down.

A taste of Dalrymple at his Dalrympliest:

The problem of upholding virtue and denouncing vice without appearing priggish, killjoy, bigoted, and narrow-minded has become so acute that intellectuals are now inclined either to deny that there is a distinction between the two or to invert their value. There is no higher word of praise in the art critic’s vocabulary, for example, than ‘transgressive,’ as if transgression were in itself good, regardless of what is being transgressed. Likewise, to break a taboo is to be a hero, irrespective of the content of the taboo. Who is more contemned than he who clings stubbornly to old moral insights?

I had to laugh at one description of the book as “incisive yet undogmatic” – an intended compliment, but one I doubt Dalrymple would appreciate. Dogma (contrary to all the wisdom of our postmodern seers) is no four-letter word, and to be dogmatic about something (the truth, for example) is not necessarily a sin. No teacher worth his salt is undogmatic. Dalrymple knows this. Pussy-footing around isn’t the name of his game. Assertion, with authority and conviction, is.

Every piece in this book is worth your time and consideration, but you’ll want to pay special attention to –

  • “The Frivolity of Evil”
  • “The Goddess of Domestic Tribulations”
  • “Why Shakespeare Is For All Time”
  • “What’s Wrong With Twinkling Buttocks?” (worth the price of the book all by itself)
  • “How – And How Not – To Love Mankind”
  • “Trash, Violence, and Versace – But Is It Art?”
  • “Don’t Legalize Drugs”
  • “All Sex, All the Time”

For what it may be worth, I loved this book so much that my kids will have to read it before I let them leave the house.

And no, I don’t have any kids at the moment. It’s called planning ahead.