I take a gander at site stats occasionally, not often as there is no real need. However, each time I do the same two pages seems to get most of the results.
First, by a large margin, is Scottish Influence in Early Southern American Culture – Alexander Clark. It is no wonder I suppose, it is a page full of genealogy links and information. Someday I plan to write a book about Alexander Clark and his legacy through his descendants. I am encouraged that there is a continuing and robust interest in this page and subject. Perhaps there is an audience for a book.
Second is a page about a day and a series of events that, for me, summarized everything that was wrong with the US Army Signal Corps, Three Questions that Defined the US Army Signal Corps. I will admit, this post had a bit of humor, it was provocative and it pulled few punches. I cannot, however, determine why it has such enduring popularity. I can only assume that someone else posted a link to this someplace else. It is not the only post I ever wrote on this subject, so it is not the topic nor the keywords that drive interest. Something about this page caught someone’s attention. In any event, this one has real legs.
There is no real comparison between these pages and others. I can spike a new post if I take the time to engage on Twitter, particularly if the subject is relevant at the moment I post. But no other pages or posts I have ever written have the sort of longevity that these two do. Trust me, I have written things that were much more provocative and polemic but they never stick.
In any event, I have no real point. I simply find it interesting the things that gain traction and the things that do not.
From the author: “The rise of modernity, especially the European Enlightenment and its aftermath, has negatively impacted the way we understand the nature and interpretation of Christian Scripture. In this introduction to biblical interpretation, Craig Carter evaluates the problems of post-Enlightenment hermeneutics and offers an alternative approach: exegesis in harmony with the Great Tradition. Carter argues for the validity of patristic Christological exegesis, showing that we must recover the Nicene theological tradition as the context for contemporary exegesis, and seeks to root both the nature and interpretation of Scripture firmly in trinitarian orthodoxy.”
Herein, is a love letter to The American Conservative (TAC). We are of the same cloth; I walked a similar path of ideas as some of you. I engaged and dialogued with some of you as I wrote anonymously during the early 2000 anti-war days. I disagreed with your position in 2006 on voting Democrat, and I believe that served in large part to make the traditional right irrelevant to the populist Tea Party, we were unable to guide them and lost them to others. I am writing this, in the open and on the Net because, I do not believe an email would sufficiently get through. Take this for what it is, love from a guy that wants to see the cause of right-reasoned traditional conservatism find a real place in the public square.
As I related in a post that answered ‘who is Barry Clark?’, in the 1990s I found kindred spirits among the solid traditionalists and paleoconservatives. Many of the relationships and connections formed then continue to encourage and sustain me. In the 2000s when paleo-conservatives and paleo-libertarians came together to form an anti-war coalition, I was right there. I was already anti-war (anti-those wars) after my first deployment with the Army. I blogged anonymously so I could keep my job, but I was right there, doing my duty in uniform and at home.
In the mid-2000s the proverbial torch was passed from the aging intellectuals of the movement (Gottfried, Fleming, Livingston, Wilson, and so many others) to 30-40-year-old ‘writers and journalists’. Some in this group were academic students of the masters. For example, Brion McClanahan to Clyde Wilson. Others, like the editors that took over The American Conservative, were accomplished writers that had developed relationships with the masters. The transition from the Silent Generation to Xers was not that of Kirk to Gottfried.
In 2006, TAC, one of only two major traditional conservative magazines, Chronicles being the other, advocated for true
rightist to vote Democratic in the mid-term elections. Any potential for relevance, any measured ability to make a difference was lost that day. Whether The American Conservative was right or wrong only time will tell. What is an indisputable fact is paleoconservatism and traditional conservatism and an organized, relevant, systematic and historically rooted intellectual endeavor ended that very day. The publication frequency of TAC fell from twice monthly to monthly and finally in 2013, every other month. I suspect these are not unrelated facts.
I took a strong exception to the stance of TAC in 2006, one that has not fundamentally changed since. I thought to abandon the only party that might stand in the way of the progressive wave that was about to wash over the country was strategically flawed. It seems there certainly was enough support in ordinary Americans for a revival of real conservative principles, the Tea party bore this out as truth. However, without an intellectual base of conservatism, that effort was bound to be, as it was, usurped by neocons, Straussians, and false-conservative. Paleoconservatives were no longer relevant, one of our major outlets had proposed voting for Democrats; how could our ideas be taken seriously by ordinary folks that wanted a conservative resurgence but lacked intellectual depth in the philosophy of conservatism? They could not see the nuance of that resistance.
I am with you but…
I dialogued and engaged with some of the current writers back in the 2000s when I was a small, inconsequential and anonymous blogger and they were just bigger known names in a relatively small blogshere. Now, I am not anonymous, the ‘blogshere’ does not exist, I am still inconsequential and they are blue-checked twittercrats. Perhaps it is personal, but the fact that these guys refuse to actually engage in discussion; they write stuff, post it to twitter several times a day and generally only respond to each other or perhaps someone else with a blue-check is discouraging. This was not my experience with Thomas DiLorenzo, Thomas Woods, William Lind and many, many others back in the early days; Clyde Wilson for instance, he went from being an inspiration to a friend and mentor of mine, because he engaged - folks that wrote and engaged in an effort to build a community around principles.
In a very real sense, I am calling out TAC, out of love. This is for you, the editorial staff and writers. You may not like all my ideas, I may not write in a professionally polished way, I may have but a handful of Twitter followers (I did just start two months ago), I may be passionate - but I am you, we are from the same philosophical cloth. If I feel that you are distant, irrelevant, disconnected and aloof, do you suppose I am alone among your potential readership? I suspect not.
We have two real publications that write from a traditional and paleoconservative perspective and one new fabulous new effort I discovered yesterday. Your Twitter engagement rate is pretty low, both in ‘followers’ engaging and TAC engaging back. Perhaps take some time away from repeat posting and actually engage with people that are probably on your side and think like you - act relationally as the mega-church folks like to say, build real community through dialogue.
Here is a fact for you. Anyone that ‘Twitters’ and is inclined to think, read and ponder philosophical questions is not a consumer of information, they are not ‘followers’. If they are on the platform they are there to engage. My experience, my observation over the last couple of months tells me you do not want to engage, to debate subtle difference of opinion, to shine the light on the strengths of an argument or to take on the view that there may be other approaches to an authentic approach to the Right. I do not perceive that you want to build a community around our principles or highlight others within the movement that share core beliefs. If it is just me, well, then it is just me. However, I suspect there are many more folks like me out there.
Hire someone to manage social media with the task and purpose to engage, not simply repost information at ideally selected times during the day. I am not suggesting your current folks are not doing what you have told them, I am simply sharing that the task and purpose need to be expanded.
Build community - through the efforts above, and in other ways. Ideas alone are not enough right now. Words are not enough. Our cause needs a more relational approach.
Instruct your writers to actually engage. Don’t delete comments on the site that call someone to task for an article. Principled debate is not trolling. Don’t ignore reasonable questions or comments on Twitter posts only to move on to reposting content. That comes off to folks just as it sounds.
Stop throwing so many rocks. I get it, I find Trump abhorrent also. Yet, I cannot imagine what a world where Trump had lost would have looked like. He is a very useful speed-bump. Use the advice our grandmas gave, if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing. Write an article that talks at a high level about principles without dunking him directly when you are upset at him. Look at the world we live in! Be realist! Be more Burkean in our pragmatism! Most of those folks out there screaming MAGA will never listen to a single point of principled discussion from anyone that disses herr Trump. If we want to remain irrelevant, throwing rocks is a strategy. If we want to truly help revitalize an authentic right, we have to be able to be heard by those people.
With love and affection, a disgruntled traditional right reader.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Problem with the Traditional Career Map
The Alternative and Fun Path
The Real Key to Success in Anything: Mind, Spirit, Emotions in Balance
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.
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.
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