Scowling – My Resolution

“Are you kidding me right now?”

I was told recently by my wife, current and previous, as well as others that I scowl. It is a fact that I am well aware of and a face I seem to make more often the older I get. As a young lieutenant, a colonel that wanted to be helpful once told me after a meeting in which I disagreed strongly with some folks that outranked me too much for me to be heard that I had to learn to control my expressions. I never tried, I used it as a tool of communication at times I was unable to speak. I scowl, more now than then.

I have my reasons, I write about them here. My wife Bri tells me she thinks that 50% of what I write is correct and the other half is me being a curmudgeon. By that, she means I make polemic statements and often do not support them with facts. I believe a large portion of the curmudgeonness is a result of believing I know things that should be obvious and require no justification. Things based upon common-sense, first principles and universal truths. I am wrong about a lot of things but not things based upon those principles. So I often scowl.

“WTH did they just say?”

Resolutions are overdone, but this year I am going to make one and stick to it. Before I resign myself to being Clint Eastwood in Grand Torino, or Andy Rooney or Robert D. Raiford I am going to take some time to figure out some things. There is a lot I just do not know, and even more, I do not understand. I am going to spend my time between January and May being introspective, inquisitive and a little stoic. A little critical thinking, some self-improvement and a journey of inquiry await me.

What makes me scowl?

I have great suspicions about the megachurch, corporate Christianity movement. I believe it has in some cases and will in many others lead to heresy, cult-like behavior, and false Christianity. It was easy to see years ago with a place like NewSpring, it is harder with less well-known operations. But all within the seeker-sensitive megachurch movement share the same sorts of heterodoxical shepherding mentality, follow the fuhrer principle, stress service and community over justification by faith (deeds over creeds, works over faith) and are built upon cults of personalities; almost all are dominionist. The entire movement derives from the ideas of Peter Drucker and anti-rationalism. I dare say there is not a single mega-church ‘pastor’ that has not attended a Druckerite leadership conference. Drucker was a guy that thought that fascism went wrong because it abandoned the spiritual and he thought he could reshape the world through communities and saw churches as a place to begin. A fascist apologist as a trainer of ‘pastors’, extraordinary – but true. It is dangerous. This trend is changing America and Christianity, and not for the better. Heresy and wrong Christian behavior is a lot like pornography, you know it for what it is when you see it but it is sometimes hard to describe.

When I see churches that preach shallow doctrine (and sometimes false doctrine), create new loci in the form of a focus on community and service that receives much greater importance than things actually taught in the Bible it worries me. When a church teaches that its community is more important than the individual and their relationship to God and to their natural family I see something that looks a lot like fascism and not just a little cult-like, not to mention being very unBiblical. A church that isolates, controls and manipulates the minions, uses small groups (‘cells’ taken from the communist playbook) to effect control, all the while holding the senior pastor distant and accountable only to his most loyal dufus henchmen is not a Christian church, it is a proto-fascist cult in the making.

Don’t believe me? Take a listen, read and research the points made in this presentation, Resistance is Futile: You Will Be Assimilated Into the Community. It will give a whole new meaning to those terms mega-churches throw into almost every other sentence (intentional, relational, attractional, and authentic). By the way, good luck finding those terms in a concordance of the Bible. The PowerPoint is here to follow along.

Even entire once-solid denominations like the SBC are falling for error. If the cultural war is lost in the US, as I firmly believe, and religious belief is at an all-time low it is doubly troubling that the fastest growing “Christian” churches are moving toward not being Christian at all and are rather becoming communities led by false teachers that fancy themselves to be rockstars. These communities downplay the role of the individual as being nothing more than a servant to the community. When one combines this trend with the ideology of the radical progressive movement it is easy to see how some form of authoritarianism or totalitarianism will find its way into the public square in the near future.

This has all happened before. Dangerous secular ideology, inflamed with wild passions on one side and buttressed by compliant false Christianity on the other. The Barman Declaration was resistance to this sort of communitarianism and “leader” driven church nonsense in 1934 Germany.

Yes, I scowl at the purveyors of these false teachings, these wannabe rock stars with their head mics and ridiculous hipster personas. They represent something that is alien to Western culture, Christianity and common-sense. They ceased being laughable losers long ago and now represent an existential threat to Christianity in the US and the West.

“Not buying what you are selling, it smells funny”

I do not understand why the entire new generation of young men is so feckless and effeminate. I recently spent some time with youngsters that I can only term as weak dweebs, there were only two potential men in the group. Why is this? Have men of my age always looked at young men and shook their heads? I suspect so, but something seems different now. Am I just wrong? I do not know. I need to think about this more. I am reminded of what I read in history books about Korean soldiers during the 1950s and how tough they were. When I was last in Korea young men dressed in pink and carried Hello Kitty purses. Is that where we are headed?

Hello Kitty “men”

I am convinced, beyond any point of correction that politically the US is finished as we knew it, the old republic is long gone, the empire failed, classical liberalism failed, and the political process is broken beyond repair, dire times are ahead. I know enough about history to see the similarities between this and other great changes and falls. Am I wrong? If I am right, is just saying it enough? Does it need to be explained better for more people to see it? Should I just have fun, fiddle on the roof and not care? I don’t know yet.

“Don’t do it”

Yes, I have scowled a lot, sometimes when others wish I would not… I Scowl at:

  • Junior camp directors, I scowl.
  • Folks that have no shame and no honor, yep, I scowl.
  • Young men that do not act or think like men, I scowl.
  • Someone that does something so crude, banal, rude or stupid I have only the option to say words, cane them or scowl, I usually begin with the scowl to let them know where I stand. It seems the most polite and least violent of those options.

I am going to write a lot less, read more, pray more, think and question a lot over these next few months. I need to understand why I believe and feel as I do. I need to wrap my head around where the world is going. If I come out on the other end believing as I do now, I will scowl more freely.

Happy New Year y’all. See you in a few months.

A Gentleman’s Attire

Gentlemen! Clothes do indeed make the man. Consider if you will. When we were children we did childish things. As men, we put off childish things and act like men.

We may have lost the cultural war and everything that was for centuries may be crumbling around us, yet, despite this, and perhaps because of it, we do not also have to submit to a lazy, careless and unintentional style of dress.

We have a responsibility to protect those we love. Make no mistake other men constantly size you up. Some of those men have bad intent. If you dress carelessly and lazily you are making a statement that you are weak and incapable of protecting yourself or your loved ones. Dressing unintentionally is a sign of disrespect to those you love and should protect.

What do I mean by dressing unintentionally? I mean simply going out and about in a willy-nilly state without real thought to your appearance. If one is, for instance doing some physical labor and decides to go into town dressed as such, that is intentional. If one is laying about the couch watching football in say, sweat pants, and goes out, that is unintentional I would say – it is lazy and convenient. Dressing intentionally does not mean one must always “dress-up”, it does mean that the clothes you wear and the image you portray and the potential obstacles in the world you are prepared to face are all considered before entering the public square.

For example.

Shorts: grown men wear pants period. The beach and the gym are exceptions. If you are on the course or on vacation wear cotton or linen pants. Shorts are for teenagers. Jeans and boots with a proper shirt and perhaps a jacket always work for most tasks out and about as well. Khakis, of course, will work. But put those shorts away!

man standing on field photo
You are not Herr Franz

Tee shirts: These are undergarments, with the rare exception of working outside, and maybe a concert where you are channeling your old self. Wear these under a proper shirt. A tee-shirt alone generally screams “I am not armed” and it is sloppy and common. Don’t be sloppy and common.

Image result for fat guy in tshirt
A big tee-shirt does not camouflage the belly. Not fooling us big guy.

Open-toed shoes: Unless you want another man to put his heel to your exposed foot, ending you in seconds, wear proper footgear men. We may follow Jesus but we do not have to dress like him.

Image result for jerusalem cruisers
Jerusalem Cruisers – just say “NO”

Jackets: Wear them. Sports coats are almost always appropriate unless something more formal is required. A jacket frames you and hides defects from men with bad intent. If you carry a weapon, it also helps keep it concealed and ready. They make lightweight linen sports jackets, heat is no excuse.

Image result for sports jacket with jeans and cowboy boots
Functional, stylish and comfortable

Umbrellas: Have one handy, and perhaps not the fold up compact type. TheUnbreakable Walking-Stick Umbrella is one of my favorite items. It is stylish, useful, attractive and serves the purpose of covering your loved ones from the rain very well. It is also an effective weapon, and a pretty sturdy fashion accessory. I actually enjoy a bit of rain that allows me to break out this item and carry it.

Image result for sports jacket with jeans and cowboy boots and umbrella

Pocket Items – a must

Bandana: can be used to blow your nose, to give to a lady to wipe a tear (preferably not after blowing one’s nose) and using as a pressure bandage for open wounds you might come across.

Image result for bandana pressure bandage

As a bonus, if you find yourself in the middle of an Antifa riot, you can simply pull out your bandana and be on your way with no issues.

Image result for bandana antifa
Don’t be Antifa – so uncool
Image result for bandana pressure bandage
When your bandana is used up, you can pass it along to your dog

Small multi-tool: Opens your beer! Unsticks stuck things and did I mention, it opens your beer.

Pocket Knife: It could be a weapon – but I do not advise it. Legally you are safer using something else as a weapon for self-defense rather than a knife. It is, however, a neat item to open boxes and letters. The spring-assist on this item will ensure that your blade is out first when a lady in the room asks, “does anyone have a knife”?

Small Flashlight: A super small, but powerful light comes in handy more than you anticipate once you actually start carrying one always in your pocket. This item will allow you to stand out from the pack of other guys in terms of the overall utility of the items in your arsenal.

Be safe out there – and keep it functional classy.

Forthcoming book: Things You Are Not Supposed to Know About a Military Career

Update, published in November 2019. https://books.google.com/books/about?id=B9C8DwAAQBAJ

Available on Amazon

A practical guide for any young person considering a military career that analyzes the traditional career path and provides proven alternatives that lead to success, options and most importantly maintenance of the individual and freedom of action.

Complete a military career on your own terms, with success defined by you while achieving financial security and independence and providing post-service options to follow passions in either work, hobbies or entrepreneurialism.  

Introduction

Chapters

  1. About
  2. The Vision
  3. Principles
  4. The Problem with the Traditional Career Map
  5. The Alternative and Fun Path
  6. The Real Key to Success in Anything: Mind, Spirit, Emotions in Balance
  7. Your Brand
  8. Pathways
  9. The Journey
  10. How to Prepare Beforehand
  11. In the Beginning
  12. Lieutenancy
  13. Captaincy
  14. Majority
  15. Decision Points
  16. Leave at Twenty-Years
  17. Stay until they stop promoting you
  18. Contracting
  19. Employment with Industry, Business or Education
  20. Government Service
  21. Entrepreneurialism
  22. Dilettante
  23. The Roadmap
  24. Finances

Finding Purpose Rebrand

I began this blog as I prepared to retire from the Army with two missions. First I wanted to “talk” through my own journey and second, I hoped talking about and discussing what I was learning would help others.

I have accomplished, I believe, my first mission in that I found my own personal purpose after military retirement. I hope that the post I shared during the journey have helped and might someday continue to help others.

As part of newfound purpose I have decided to rebrand the site toward my passion for trying to understand the world around us. I am very dissatisfied with the pundits, experts and paid shills that appear on television and in print and digital media trying to explain the world, geopolitics, and government. I will become my own Geopolitical and military analyst. I will seek out my own foundational answers to human and cultural problems – with the assistance of the great minds to guide me. If others find the questions I pose, the answers I strive for and the analysis I arrive at useful I will be pleased. If I write to an echo chamber I at least know I can trust that the analysis was honest and sincere.

As I look upon and reflect upon the world I am very often left with a sense that things are tragically wrong – so wrong that politics and political movements cannot right the trajectory of the ship. We are in a time of tremendous transformation, perhaps greater than most want to admit. Technology will soon exponentially change us -our relationship to one another, to government and to life – we are entering this great change with many of our core values, presumptions and assumptions askew. We have lost much of our humanity in a traditional sense and have lost sight of what is permanent and important.

Words, certainly not my words, cannot change any of this. However, words are important. Ultimate truth exists and it should not be removed from the Earth merely because it has been forgotten by most and is unpopular to many that still acknowledge it.

Writing here about things that matter from a perspective that acknowledges ultimate truth and respects the great minds and ideas that have come before us is one of my purposes now. Perhaps you might occasionally find my efforts useful.

I hope within the next year to secure an adjunct professorship at a local college. I realize adjunct professors are not supposed to express an opinion and I realize from my recent dealings with academics that the sort of opinions and ideas I will express here are definitely not in favor. I believe intellectual honesty is important. Therefore, I say let it work out as it should, I will be me – much like I have been most of my adult life.

The Fremantle Diary

I read The Fremantle Diary in college, I found a very old copy collecting dust deep in the recesses of the library at The Citadel. When I first read The Killer Angels I was amused by the quirky little British Lieutenant Colonel climbing a tree to get a better view of the action – that was of course Fremantle. The movie version of the book portrayed him much the same. I suppose the comical thing is later in life I myself ran into British “tourist” in the most bizarre places, places where people are killed, robbed, starved and kidnapped – but here these folks were going on about the wonderfully economical holiday they were on.

I truly believe it is impossible to go nearly anywhere without unexpectedly encountering a British tourist – well almost anywhere else in the world, most of the States seem not to interest them. They can be very audacious in their travels.

Lieutenant Colonel James L. Fremantle, formerly of her Majesty’s Cold Stream Guards, was no exception, except perhaps his travels had an official purpose as well as the ordinary and expected British curiosity.

I was personally struck by his description, as he sat along the bank of the Potomac River, of the Army of Northern Virginia marching north in 1863. It is not at all the description you may have received in history books. He described an army that was often barefoot, racially integrated, equally equipped or not equipped across the formation and in incredibly high spirits.

His account of armed soldiers of color marching along side white soldiers was the first I had ever heard or read of such. It was not until the mid-1990’s that I saw the full account of this fact in other primary source documents.

Fremantle is a fun and informative read and I am happy to await the arrival of this volume so I can enjoy it again.

Retirement might be the Time for the Classical Education you Missed

Life, adult life at least, seems to be centered so much on the now and the future that we seem to have little time to focus on the past and classics. Philosophically speaking, it is hard to imagine who or what we really are without recognizing that we all merely stand on the shoulders of giants. Unfortunately, our education system has essentially succumbed to this way of seeing the world – we teach some technicalities but little of the classics. We do not produce deep critical thinkers.

Most “educated” people, even those with advanced degrees, are painfully ignorant of items that people much less formally educated understood well in the past. If your classical education is lacking a bit, like most other educated professionals, perhaps the freedom that military retirement brings should present the opportunity to rectify that situation.

My wife and I watched Christopher Robin last night – the philosophy of Winnie the Pooh is pretty profound; “some times the best somethings come from doing nothing”. That is a fun and excellent movie by the by.

We spend our lives doing something, doing things. In retirement, perhaps doing “nothing” and expanding one’s classical education is the best something we can do. Susan Bauer has written a wonderful guide to help shape what doing nothing to accomplish something might look like. This is a wonderful guide.

I highly recommend it!

From Amazon: The enduring and engaging guide to educating yourself in the classical tradition.

Have you lost the art of reading for pleasure? Are there books you know you should read but haven’t because they seem too daunting? In The Well-Educated Mind, Susan Wise Bauer provides a welcome and encouraging antidote to the distractions of our age, electronic and otherwise.

Newly expanded and updated to include standout works from the twenty-first century as well as essential readings in science (from the earliest works of Hippocrates to the discovery of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs), The Well-Educated Mind offers brief, entertaining histories of six literary genres―fiction, autobiography, history, drama, poetry, and science―accompanied by detailed instructions on how to read each type. The annotated lists at the end of each chapter―ranging from Cervantes to Cormac McCarthy, Herodotus to Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Aristotle to Stephen Hawking―preview recommended reading and encourage readers to make vital connections between ancient traditions and contemporary writing.

The Well-Educated Mind reassures those readers who worry that they read too slowly or with below-average comprehension. If you can understand a daily newspaper, there’s no reason you can’t read and enjoy Shakespeare’s sonnets or Jane Eyre. But no one should attempt to read the “Great Books” without a guide and a plan. Bauer will show you how to allocate time to reading on a regular basis; how to master difficult arguments; how to make personal and literary judgments about what you read; how to appreciate the resonant links among texts within a genre―what does Anna Karenina owe to Madame Bovary?―and also between genres.

In her best-selling work on home education, The Well-Trained Mind, the author provided a road map of classical education for parents wishing to home-school their children; that book is now the premier resource for home-schoolers. In The Well-Educated Mind, Bauer takes the same elements and techniques and adapts them to the use of adult readers who want both enjoyment and self-improvement from the time they spend reading. Followed carefully, her advice will restore and expand the pleasure of the written word.

Proper Work for Retired Gentlemen

I have oft repeated something I once read or heard early in my military career: “A retired officer should go home to work the family estate, write or teach”. I do not recall where I first came across this notion but it summarizes the essence of what was a proper vocation for a retired officer in the past.

Few of us actually have family estates to go back to, those days are long gone. However, writing and teaching are perfectly respectable avocations. It certainly beats prostituting oneself to the military-industrial complex of defense contract work or the mind-numbing waste of government employment.

I have engaged this semester in substitute teaching at a nearby high school. I plan to only teach history, economics and government – just a couple days per month – but I have filled in a couple of other courses recently just to get a feel for the school.

In reality this goes hand in hand with the minor and very small nonprofit I am standing up with the purpose of “enhancing scholarship, education and critical thinking related to matters of first principles.” I get the opportunity to engage with and teach young folks a small bit, I think it is worthwhile.

I must say I came away today a bit concerned about the notion of police in schools. I realize I simply do not know all the facts, I have not done this long. However, I saw something today that is concerning.

I teach one county over, in a rural high school. The county is not wealthy, it is not the poorest in South Carolina but there is poverty. Most of the student population is black. The student body are all basically country folks regardless of race.

In one class today there was a particularly engaged young man. He answered all my questions as I was giving the assignment and seemed interested in doing the reading in order to answer the follow-up questions I presented. At one point he asked if he could read on the carpet. The regular teacher had set up a pretty comfortable environment with lamps and a carpet for reading. He asked politely and I concurred.

Everyone in the class was reading, I was up front at one point and another young man came up to ask a question. The door to the classroom was open. A deputy sheriff that works at the school walked by addressed the fellow that was up talking to me saying essentially “hey you take that hoodie off your head”. He then addressed the other young man, lying on the carpet across the room, with the book on his chest reading asking what was wrong with him and if he was preparing for a tornado drill.

This was not friendly banter. It was not the sort of thing (tone) a coach might say to a knucklehead that is goofing off. This was authoritative and demeaning talk. It was I have a tin badge and a gun and you need to respect my authority talk. The kids did not show the affection or respect for him that you would expect if it were something other than what I observed.

I shut the door and told him we would call him if we needed him.

Look I do not know if this deputy has had run-ins with these two. I do not know if these fellows are trouble makers. I do know that they listened as I introduced myself, told my introductory joke and gave them a challenge question to ponder during the reading. They showed me respect. I know they seemed engaged and interested in learning something. I have no idea what the history there is, but I know after having seen real knuckleheads in my life that these two did not present and irredeemable to me.

I do not know what I do not know but it seems to me having cops in school, particularly if they are as abrasive as this fellow, is just a bad idea.

People might say that with school shootings this is just the way of the future. I say bollicks. I would much rather be allowed to carry my pistol on my person on school grounds and let any other teacher that wants to do so be likewise armed as opposed to turning schools into something like prison camps that make youngsters like the two in this story hate cops.

What I witnessed to day is just bad all the way around.

Book: The Annotated Secessionist Papers, 2nd ed.

Annotated Secessionist Papers

Barry Lee ClarkBrian McCandlissMichael PeirceWalter E. BlockThomas E. Woods Jr.Kevin L. ClausonKirkpatrick SaleForrest McDonaldGene H. Kizer Jr.Thomas J. DilorenzoDonald W. Livingston: The Calhoun Institute, Jun 21, 2018 – Political Science – 254 pages

A collection of essays, articles and papers, in the tradition of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers, that discuss secession from a legal, constitutional and historical perspective.

Amazon Best Seller

Find it on: Amazon and Google