Wednesday, November 05, 2008


"A democracy tends to ignore, even deny, threats to its existence because it loathes doing what is necessary to counter them. What we end up with in what is conventionally called Western Society is a topsy-turvy situation in which those seeking to destroy democracy appear to be fighting for legitimate aims, while its defenders are pictured as repressive reactionaries. Identification of democracy’s internal and external adversaries with the forces of progress, legitimacy, even peace, discredits and paralyzes the efforts of people who are only trying to preserve their institutions."

Jean-Francois Revel, How Democracies Perish (1983)


  1. I take it this is your comment on yesterday's election?

  2. I want Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan back.

  3. Edythe calls him Sambo. I pity you and your countrymen.

  4. Revel also wrote:

    “What the quest for economic equality produces is the growing role of government, the modern government of which democracy’s children ask everything and from which they consequently accept everything. Tocqueville the visionary predicted with stunning
    precision the coming ascension of the omnipresent, omnipotent and
    omniscient state the twentieth-century man knows so well: the state as protector, entrepreneur, educator; the physician-state, impresario-
    state, bookseller-state, helpful and predatory, tyrant and guardian,
    banker, father and jailer all at once. Its power borders on the
    absolute partly because it is scarcely felt, having increased by
    imperceptible stages at the wish of its subjects, who turned to it
    instead of to each other. In those pages by Tocqueville we find the
    germ both of George Orwell’s “1984″ and David Riesman’s “The Lonely

    If Obama does what he says he will, the damage to America and the world will be irreparable.

    Glad you voted for McCain.

  5. I did not vote for McCain. I did not vote for a candidate for President. I left that portion of the ballot blank.

  6. Why not, if you don't mind my asking?

  7. Well, many reasons, actually.

    I have never been a McCain fan, especially, and he has made several boneheaded decisions since he entered the Senate. He is also not a natural executive (which Romney, by contrast, quite definitely is).

    I voted absentee in Minnesota, and a vote in a Presidential Election in Minnesota is not worth much. Minnesota has not voted for a Republican candidate in a Presidential Election since 1972, and my McCain vote would have made no difference in Minnesota.

    However, if I had believed Minnesota to be competitive this year, I WOULD have voted for McCain rather than leaving the slot blank. Obama, whom I find to be preposterous, would never have received my vote.

    The only reason I voted, at all, was to vote against Al Franken in the U.S. Senate race. Had Al Franken's name not been on the ballot, I would never even have requested a Minnesota absentee package.

    Boy, am I glad I did! Coleman defeated Franken by only 700 votes--at least until the automatic recount--and my family's seven votes for Coleman provided Coleman with one per cent of his winning margin against Franken!

  8. You must have lots of nuts in Minnesota. Only a nut would vote for Al Franken for dog catcher, let alone the U.S. Senate.

  9. For the last thirty years or so, incumbents in Minnesota have fared poorly. There is an instinctive "throw the bums out" attitude among the Minnesota electorate. Minnesota Governors and U.S. Senators are seldom reelected.

    This is so despite an overwhelming advantage Democrats have in party affiliation in the state. Whether incumbents are Democrat or Republican, they are generally voted out.

    This phenomenon explains why candidates who otherwise would never be taken seriously--Jesse Ventura, Al Franken--may occasionally win office in the state.

    If the Democrats had run a serious candidate in this year's Senate race, the Democrat candidate would have defeated Coleman easily.

    The very thought of Franken representing Minnesota in Washington gives me, and others, the creeps.

  10. Andrew,

    Very well stated.

    I did not even register to vote this year. "Nation of morons?" Indeed.

    "What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?" - First Samuel 15:14.


  11. Hey, Dane.

    How have you been?

    A couple of days ago, I read something in a newspaper about something that happened in Houston, and I wanted to ask you about it, but I have already forgotten what it was.

    Consequently, I now must nominate myself as Moron-In-Chief in our Nation Of Morons. I hope the position comes with a bright sash, something suitable for me to wear to official functions such as supermarket openings.

    I hate even to get started on the subject of the election, because it is so depressing--and, in any case, no one wants to hear it.

    It did not take long for Russia to ring the opening-round bell, did it, signaling a new era? Medvedev did not even wait 24 hours to let the world know that he holds our next occupant of the White House in utter contempt, viewing him as a rank amateur, and that he plans to act accordingly.

    The Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are gone, aren't they? It may be a matter of only months before they are again under total Russian domination and control. Poland, Hungary and The Czech Republic cannot be far behind.

    I have a law school classmate from The Czech Republic who came to the U.S. to obtain a degree in International Law, and he has been sending me email messages from Prague, telling me what is going on behind the scenes with various Eastern European governments. He works for the Czech Foreign Ministry.

    Apparently Eastern European governments are terrified, absolutely terrified, of the side effects of weak leadership in the United States. They fear that Eastern Europe's 1990 opening to The West may turn out to be nothing more than a brief interlude, an interlude that may end as quickly as another one or two years.

    My father says that, in addition to The Ukraine and the Baltic countries (and perhaps other Eastern European countries) falling out of the Western orbit, Taiwan may also now be taken by mainland China.

    None of this would ever have happened if we had a competent and effective news media.

    Did you know that, according to the best U.S. government estimate, at least 7,000,000 of Tuesday's votes were fraudulent? That is more than five per cent of all votes cast nationwide, a figure higher even than 2000, the most recent election year in which there was also massive vote fraud.

    There were at least 200,000 fraudulent votes in Cleveland, at least 350,000 fraudulent votes in Philadelphia (and probably a figure closer to 500,000), at least 125,000 fraudulent votes in Milwaukee (down from even higher fraudulent Milwaukee totals from 2000 and 2004, amazingly), at least 140,000 fraudulent votes in Denver--and the list just goes on and on.

    For Chicago, no one even bothers to make such calculations any more, because it is so pointless.


  12. Dane, I want to go back to the election, at least briefly.

    You are not the only one who did not vote, of course. Many typical voters did not vote in 2008 because they did not like or were not enthused about McCain, and stayed home.

    Like me, my mother did not vote in the Presidential election, but she left that portion of the ballot blank for a different reason than me: my mother detested Sarah Palin. My mother thought Palin was dumb, pure and simple, and she held Palin's selection against McCain, and refused to cast a vote for him.

    My sister-in-law also disliked Palin for the same reason, and she almost did not bother to go the polls on Tuesday. She and my brother had gone to a lot of trouble to register in Minnesota last summer, but she decided last weekend not to vote after all. However, when my brother got home from work Tuesday night, he convinced her to go to the polls with him, if for no other reason than to vote against Al Franken.

    She is glad now that she voted--Coleman's margin over Franken is down to something like 400 votes today.

    I find it interesting that many women voters disliked Palin, or turned against Palin after her first couple of weeks in the national spotlight. The news media destroyed her, just like the news media destroyed Dan Quayle. The news media will come to regret that.

    My Dad and my brothers and Josh all voted for McCain, however. They had no problem with Palin.

    I had no problem with Palin, either--I just did not want to cast a vote for McCain unless I thought my vote was essential.

    On the other hand, my vote against Al Franken was essential!

  13. Hey, Andrew,

    Yes, the Baltic states are lost. Soon we will be calling them (again) "Republics".

    My many contacts in Eastern Europe confirm the fears of your friend in Prague, Andrew. Our fellow citizens are clueless concerning those Russian monsters who have already put into place a detailed - and I mean DETAILED - agenda designed not merely to reconstitute the Soviet Union but to destroy utterly both the United States and Israel.

    Last summer in Moscow I knew something terribly, terribly urgent was going on. The Russian people knew it already. I could see the fear in their eyes and I could hear fear in their voices.

    When I voice such things to collegues here in our beloved country, I am often viewed as one of Revel's "repressive reactionaries". It honestly breaks my heart to have to think of my countrymen as brainless animals.

    Sometimes, Andrew, I just want to slap a fellow in the face in order to wake him up!


  14. The American media are evil!


  15. Then comfort yourself, Dane, by looking for a few silver linings.

    The American news media oligarchies are all in the process of going bankrupt. The first major one to go under will be the New York Times, which is only hanging by a thread right now. It is already technically insolvent--if it were a bank, it would already have been closed--and Time Warner, News Corp and all the others will follow, in turn.

    If you want to see physical evidence of the demise, all you need to do is to bring up stock charts from January 1, 2000, until today for TWX, GE, NYT, NWS and the whole other crew of news gatherers. The stock charts tell the whole story.

    Do you want to know something amusing? The media analyst for Lehman Brothers, in one of his last research reports before Lehman Brothers was sent to the grave, predicted the death of the New York Times no later than the summer of 2009. He pointed out that even selling the company's new headquarters building will no longer preserve the company.

    There are a few other silver linings.

    The Clintons have been put out of business.

    Romney will win the Presidency in a cakewalk in 2012. Just as a hapless Jimmy Carter made Ronald Reagan possible, a preposterous Obama will make Mitt Romney possible.

    Historians will have a field day analyzing the whole Obama phenomenon for decades.

    European governments will continue to move rightward, and the rightward move will snowball as Europe observes, from afar, that the U.S. no longer enjoys serious leadership and that the U.S. can no longer be relied upon.

    And people will have a buck-teethed First Lady who looks like James Brown for endless fun and mockery!

    That's not nothing!

  16. I do have a question, Dane.

    Why does Obama wear sunglasses at night?

  17. It's interesting, Drew, that McCain-Palin had seven potential votes in your family and gathered only four of those seven votes. That's indicative of the country at large, I think.

    I didn't vote at all. In Maryland, why bother?

    But if I had been passionate about any candidate, I would have voted.

    Who in this day and age wears sunglasses ever?

  18. Paul, I have never understood those sunglasses.

    Doesn't this boob have anyone who can tap him on the shoulder and point out that those sunglasses are pure Papa Doc Duvalier?

    No wonder sales of firearms have skyrocketed the last four days!

    We have become an episode in Graham Greene's "The Comedians".

  19. I am laughing so hard I am crying.

    He does remind me of Papa Doc when he wears those sunglasses! Why didn't I make the connection before now?

    I'll have to read "The Comedians" again. It's been some time. All I remember is that it was very, very sly. Typical Graham Greene.

    Wishing you boys joy and restful days.


  20. Edythe, please don't read "The Comedians" again on my account. It's not that good, actually.

    Have you read Greene's "The Power And The Glory"? I believe it may be Greene's one lasting novel.

    I have always found it interesting that two of the finest British novels of the 20th Century--"The Power And The Glory" and "Brideshead"--have Roman Catholicism as their subjects.