Another Latin question

Would “fiat visus” be “let there be sight” in the sense of seeing, to be able to see?

He’s so original

From the Washington Times: Al Franken and a host of garrulous progressives ease onto the airwaves tomorrow morning on America Left, broadcasting live from 6 a.m. to midnight on weekdays via XM Satellite Radio and three AM radio stations — in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Mr. Franken will debut at noon with “The O’Franken Factor,” a three-hour daily show airing opposite conservative host Rush Limbaugh, who has 20 million listeners. Mr. Franken once wrote a book titled “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot” and has named his show as a parody of “The O’Reilly Factor,” hosted by Bill O’Reilly of Fox News.

Three markets and he can’t even find a creative title for his show. Yeah, he’s doomed.

A third perspective

Here’s an interesting and insightful article by a former school nerd. He’s no homeschool advocate, although he, too, sees schools as prisons, even if he considers them to be necessary in post-industrial society in order for adults to get things done. Here’s the section I found most interesting:

Adults can’t avoid seeing that teenage kids are tormented. So why don’t they do something about it? Because they blame it on puberty. The reason kids are so unhappy, adults tell themselves, is that monstrous new chemicals, hormones, are now coursing through their bloodstream and messing up everything. There’s nothing wrong with the system; it’s just inevitable that kids will be miserable at that age. This idea is so pervasive that even the kids believe it, which probably doesn’t help. Someone who thinks his feet naturally hurt is not going to stop to consider the possibility that he is wearing the wrong size shoes.

I’m suspicious of this theory that thirteen year old kids are intrinsically messed up. If it’s physiological, it should be universal. Are Mongol nomads all nihilists at thirteen? I’ve read a lot of history, and I don’t think I’ve seen a single reference to this supposedly universal fact before the twentieth century. Teenage apprentices in the Renaissance seem to have been cheerful and eager. They got in fights and played tricks on one another of course (Michelangelo had his nose broken by a bully), but they weren’t crazy.

As far as I can tell, the concept of the hormone-crazed teenager is coeval with suburbia. I don’t think this is a coincidence. I think teenagers are driven crazy by the life they’re made to lead. Teenage apprentices in the Renaissance were working dogs. Teenagers now are neurotic lapdogs. Their craziness is the craziness of the idle everywhere.

This certainly appears to be true of the Middle East, particularly the Palestinian refugee camps, where most of the adults aren’t permitted to work. I have on more than one occasion been struck by strange way that thirty-something Palestinian men often appear to behave like teenagers – I always thought they were acting up for the cameras, but now I’m not so sure.

Another interesting point he makes is the inevitability of the school culture’s cruelty, as it is a hierarchy of popularity, not skill, which he compares to court intrigue: Court hierarchies are another thing entirely. This type of society debases anyone who enters it. There is neither admiration at the bottom, nor noblesse oblige at the top. It’s kill or be killed. This is the sort of society that gets created by default in American secondary schools. And it happens because these schools have no real purpose beyond keeping the kids all in one place for a certain number of hours each day. What I didn’t realize at the time, and in fact didn’t realize till very recently, is that the twin horrors of school life, the cruelty and the boredom, both have the same cause.

The joy of public school

From Malaysia: Police have arrested 14 Fifth Formers to help investigations into the death of Mohd Farid Ibrahim (left) of Sekolah Menengah Agama Dato Klana Petra Maamor in Ampangan. Farid, 16, of Taman Desa Anggerik, Senawang, was found sprawled in a toilet of the school about 4pm, bleeding profusely from head injuries. A school warden took him to the Seremban Hospital, where he died about 30 minutes after admission. A school clerk lodged a police report last night, stating that Farid had fallen in the toilet, but police found bruises on his head, right ear and abdomen…. Farid’s uncle, Mohd Marzuki Ishak, 52, said his nephew had complained of constant ragging and bullying at the school since enrolling there a month ago, and had wanted to be transferred to another school.

The evils of public school aren’t caused by bad teachers or inept principals, they are endemic and inherent to the very nature of the classroom. They aren’t even necessarily limited to the public schools per se, although it is there that they see their fullest flowering. The end results of same-age classroom education become disturbingly similar over time, across racial, class and linguistic boundaries. This Malaysian beating is just another anecdote, of course, but you’d be surprised at how the debates over the dismal state of education in England and Switzerland, to give two examples, sound almost exactly like the debates in the USA.

Safety in hollow-point

From the Star Tribune: Family members and friends from Minnesota walked through woods and marshes and along lakeshores Monday as a massive search intensified for a 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Wisconsin who grew up in Rockford.

I was on a plane a month ago with a friend of Dru Sjodin’s family. And now, we’re on to the next disappearance of a pretty girl and the ritual gathering of search parties. Instead of a cell phone, why not consider buying your daughter a compact .38? Wouldn’t you rather call a defense lawyer instead of Missing Persons?

Why Joseph Farah is not a conservative

The editor writes: Conservatives, it seems to me, only forestall the inevitable slide into tyranny. I don’t want to forestall it. I want to prevent it. I want to reverse that slide. I want to restore the dream that was America.

Professor Friedrich von Hayek, author of “The Road to Serfdom,” is a hero to many conservatives. Yet, he, too, rejected the label – not only for him, but for his mentor, professor Ludwig von Mises, as well. “I cannot help smiling when I hear professor Mises described as a conservative,” he wrote. “Indeed, in this country and at this time, his views may appeal to people of conservative minds. But when he began advocating them, there was no conservative group which he could support. There couldn’t have been anything more revolutionary, more radical, than his appeal for reliance on freedom. To me, professor Mises is and remains, above all, a great radical, an intelligent and rational radical but, nonetheless, a radical on the right lines.”

I agree. That’s what I want to be. Was George Washington a conservative? No. He was a revolutionary. He is known throughout the world – or was when people appreciated such concepts – as the “father of freedom.”

That’s what I want to be too. A radical of the right. It’s why I won’t vote for George Delano, who isn’t even a conservative anyhow, but a moderate liberal. It’s why I left the Republican party, which doesn’t even bother to try forestalling the slide into tyranny anymore. I don’t care that Christian Libertarians, or Constitutionals or the Southern Party aren’t going to win the election this year. We have two choices: stick with something that we already know doesn’t and won’t work, or move out in a new direction. I choose the latter.

Good cops and bad law

A few things first. I am probably as anti-government as anyone, both intellectually and emotionally. That being said, I’m from a military family which has been fighting American wars since the Revolution, and being a weightlifter, I have several friends who are cops. Some are old school, some are new school; I consider them good people, but both sorts have told me stories of their own behavior that crosses the legal line.

I understand why they have done as they did. The frustration of arresting the same drunk loser for the 20th time at the same bar and knowing that he’ll get charged with nothing is tremendous. Better to give him a backseat “warning” then turn him loose with a few bruises, as that at least has a chance of penetrating said loser’s thick consciousness. It’s understandable, but it still isn’t right. This is the old school evil, and it really doesn’t do much harm.

If things were as bad as Sierra Times implies, the citizens would have revolted against the evil police long ago.

DD, I don’t think you understand the fear and contempt that the average person has developed for the police. Blame must fall mainly on the politicians, of course, as this sort of attitude is only developed by forcing the police to enforce bad law. The average person has violated numerous traffic and drug laws, for starters, and therefore has developed a criminal mentality with regards to the police, viewing them as the enemy. I think the above statement is faulty logic, too, as things have been a lot worse in many police states, and no one has revolted.

I’m only staying up past my bedtime tonite, chatting with you folks, because I’m so amazed at the level of anti-law enforcement rhetoric….

I know the feeling…. And I think you should not only be amazed at the level of anti-law enforcement rhetoric, but also deeply concerned, especially given the sources. The readers here are mostly intelligent, law-abiding folk, the sort who were good conservative Republicans a generation ago. What has changed? More than anything, it is the law itself that has changed. I firmly believe that many of the police in the most notorious police states in history were the same sort of good people who simply did their job and did as they were told. Every policeman who enforces the drug war, who steals money under the guise of arresting it, is a likely candidate for a future police state policeman who will see no evil in what we would all see to be blatantly wrong.

Furthermore, there is corruption endemic within the police departments, in that they are largely not held accountable for their own violations of the law. Here in St. Paul, there was evidence that three senior officials conspired to withhold facts about a recent fatal police shooting. Not only was the policeman cleared of all wrongdoing – they inevitably are in Minnesota – but so were the conspiring officials. It defies reason to believe that all policeman everywhere are innocent of all wrongdoing; this sort of whitewashing is why even those whose natural bent is to support law-enforcement have become extremely dubious of it.

Finally, law enforcement has been corrupted by the revenue services, which make them accomplices in their illegal actions. I know of one very clear case of fraud by the state revenue services which led to an illegal seizure. Calling the county sheriff wasn’t going to help, though, since the sheriff had sent a few cars along to help the seizing agents. Now the state courts are conspiring in a desperate attempt to deny the man the jury trial that is his explicit right under the state constitution since the state has already admitted in court that it violated its own laws. Having followed this case from the early going, I can say that I have ZERO respect for the law, law enforcement or the courts in the state of Minnesota.

Good people obediently doing evil still amounts to evil being done.