Quotation of the Day: The Ballad of the White Horse

“But you and all the kind of Christ
Are ignorant and brave,
And you have wars you hardly win
And souls you hardly save.

“I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.

“Night will be thrice night over you,
And Heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?”
-Book 1: The Vision of the King

Thought of the Day: The Idiot Elite

It occurs to me that we are in such a strange position: we are, ostensibly, a non-hierarchical society (there’s no such thing, of course, but that’s what we claim to be), yet we are in fact ruled by a malleable class of ‘elites’ whose primary goal seems to be supporting each other while openly despising the rest of the country. The weird disconnect is that they are simultaneously 1). extraordinarily stupid, corrupt, and/or incompetent and 2). equally extraordinarily satisfied with themselves and effuse in their mutual admiration. They also apparently think that the fact of 2 entitles them to every benefit they would receive if 1 were not the case.

Rian Johnson’s a good example. Hollywood and the media journalists fawn all over him as a brilliant, daring writer and filmmaker, with banner articles like “Rian Johnson on crafting the perfect plot twist” published on the IMDB and so on. Yet he apparently thinks the answer to that boils down to “you didn’t expect it, lol!” (“See, you would expect that the forty-minute subplot that occupies most of the middle of the film would have some bearing on the plot or characters but surprise twist…!”). His writing is staggeringly bad on just about every level, but the Right People gush over it, apparently because it ticks off the right boxes. Appreciating his work is part of being in ‘the inner ring’ (as Prof. Lewis puts it).

All the while the rest of us kind of stare at them in fascinated disgust, like visitors at an insane asylum.

Except the ‘asylum’ in this case is every major societal institution.

Amazin’ Amazon Holiday Book Sale

Over eighty kindle books are available for $0.99 or less over Thanksgiving weekend. Several are free, including such modern independent fiction classics as Monster Hunter International (Larry Correia’s first book: badasses shoot monsters in the face for fun and profit) and The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin (cute girl with a perfect memory has adventures in a school for magic while blowing the world-building and magic system of Harry Potter out of the water). Also works by the likes of Richard Paolinelli, John C. Wright, Bokerah Brumley, Kit Sun Cheah, Caroline Furlong, J.D. Cowan, Declan Finn, Alexander Hellene, and more!

Also included in the sale is Fantastic Schools vol. 2, featuring a story by your humble servant called Halloween Dance. It’s all about the trials and complications of young love, particularly when the boy has a troubled past and is covered in scales, the girl is outgoing and friendly but can’t show her face without killing someone, and both are attending a school for monsters where unspeakable evil can strike at any time.

In any case, a good chance to pick up any of those great works of independent fiction you’ve had your eye on, but which your Scrooge-like ways couldn’t permit you to try.

Find them here

Quotation of the Day

“Almost every man’s thoughts, while they are general, are right; and most hearts are pure while temptation is away. It is easy to awaken generous thoughts in privacy; to despise death when there is no danger; to glow with benevolence when there is nothing to be given. While such ideas are formed they are felt, and self-love does not suspect the gleam of virtue to be the meteor of fancy.”
-Dr. Johnson, The Life of Alexander Pope

The Servant Question

It is my opinion that it’s a great pity that our servants are now machines rather than people, and I think it is those who were servants who suffer the most from it. Because, of course, a man suited to be a servant does not cease to be that kind of man when there are no servant jobs available. He is obliged to become an anonymous servant to the public rather than a personal servant to a family.

This is not to craft a rosy picture of the servant’s lot; my view is only that, rosy or thorny, being a household servant was a more personal and more human situation than being, say, a waiter at a generic food chain, which I suspect is what many would-be servants have to be these days.  

My real cause for bringing this up, though, is to note that what most people today would object to is my assumption that there are men fitted by nature to be servants. This is held to be degrading and exploitative, as implying that some people are simply ‘less’ than others.

We moderns like to flatter ourselves as being more just and open-minded than our ancestors, that we alone see the dignity of servants, women, peasants, and other ‘marginalized’ groups of the past. In fact it’s quite the other way around, as shown by the very fact that we consider to be a servant a ‘degrading’ position.

What we actually do is assume a very worldly standard by which to judge of men: one based on intelligence, thrift, beauty, talent, and so on. We then make the bold claim that every man is or may become equal in these fields if only given the chance. Thus, to be a servant is degrading because no man is fitted by nature to be a servant, but rather to be one of the free and equal supermen.

What this amounts to is saying “a worthy man is a man like me, and I believe that with the right training you could be made into a man like me and thus a worthy man.”

Thus we claim to elevate the servant by saying that he could be just like his master, the woman by claiming she could be just like the man, and the peasant by saying he could be just like the landowner. It is not that we admire or appreciate these sorts of people themselves, but that we claim the belief that they could be the sort of people we could admire, and that it is an unjust thing that they are not.

We call this a belief in the equality of man: not that all types and classes of men may be admirable and deserving of their particular brand of respect, but that they would be so if only we could strip away their different roles and make them after the right pattern.

The old way said that a good servant may be as happy, fulfilled, and admirable a man as his master, only of course, the servant and master will not be happy, fulfilled, and admirable in the same way. They each have their own particular sphere and scope of life in which they may be considered an excellent sort of man without comparison of one with the other. They are each triumphantly themselves.

To say that no man is fitted to be a servant, but all could be made fitted to be a lord is only to say that anyone who is a servant is being cheated and is thus either an object of pity or contempt. Saying that there is no difference between a servant and a lord does not actually degrade the lord: it degrades the servant. Because the lord – or the tycoon or the scholar or the clerk or whatever he is – is being presented as the standard.

It is the servant who now must be changed to fit the new standard. The particular virtues of the servant, his particular kind of excellence is the one that is discounted. Oh, we don’t blame him, of course; it’s an unjust society that has caused this. But now he has the chance to become a truly worthy man if he will only become a very different kind of man. And we believe he can do so. We will even adjust our standards so as to be able to say that he has become so.

This is our idea of justice and humanity: to discount the merits of nine-tenths of the human race (for the kind of people we value must be a minority) and compensate by saying that we believe they could be very worthy people if only they were more like us and we are very sorry that, through no fault of their own, they are not.

Or, to put it another way, we judge every beast by its skill in climbing trees, and then consider ourselves very just and open-minded because we try to make out it is the monkey’s fault that the fish cannot do it. We assure the fish that he really could be just as skilled at climbing trees as the monkey if only he would work hard at it and the monkey didn’t keep him down, that he doesn’t have to be stuck swimming his whole life, that there really is no difference between him and the monkey.

We thus disguise from ourselves the fact that we think the only good beasts are monkeys.

Forgotten Man at the Everyman

My latest post is up at ‘The Everyman,’ where I touch a bit on the present attempted coup.

Law has no force of its own. It only has what it is given by those in charge of enforcing it, whether directly (in courts and legislatures) or indirectly (through public opinion). At the end of the day, whether the law has any effect comes down to what some individual person chooses to do.

Sir Josiah Stamp, the English collector of internal revenues, saw the problem back in the pre-war days:

“The government are extremely fond of amassing great quantities of statistics.  These are raised to the nth degree, the cube roots are extracted, and the results are arranged into elaborate and impressive displays. What must be kept ever in mind, however, is that in every case, the figures are first put down by a village watchman, and he puts down anything he damn well pleases.”

Likewise, the news media doesn’t have to be colluding or conspiring with anyone; all that is needed is an editorial staff willing to ignore stories that threaten to invalidate the election of their favored candidate. All that is needed is for those in charge of these networks to be more invested in seeing their ‘cause’ triumph than in telling the public the truth. And we already know that this is the case and has been for a long time.

There are safeguards in place to prevent all this sort of thing, but if the people in charge of them also decide to put ‘winning’ ahead of honesty then those safeguards will break down completely. Because, again, every single one of those safeguards depends upon someone – some person – actually choosing to do the right thing.

Hence, the forgotten man; the neglected fact that all these structures we hoped would guard us from the rule of fallen man can only be operated and enforced by men. Behind every human structure, behind every technology, every law, every regulation, practice, tradition, and safeguard, you only ever find a human face. And that human person can choose to be honest or dishonest, to follow the law or to skirt it for his own ends. No law or regulation can ever prevent that. It all depends on what he believes and what sort of person he is.

Read the rest here