Some Hills ARE Worth Dying On

I, for one, refuse to just “lie back and enjoy it”….

So the “grin and bear it” movement among the RINOs and Libertarians has begun. “Biden is going to be the next President, so you’d best learn to live with it” is their refrain. “All this talk of a ‘civil war’ is mindless and irresponsible” they tell us.

Basically, those of us who recognize the massive voter fraud — and its consequences — being committed by the Democrats and their ilk are being told to “Lie back and enjoy it.”

Those same chocolate eclair-spined would-be bloviators are pontificating as to how the words “ballots” and “bullets” have a common origin, and thus are essentially the same thing, so any suggestion of actual armed resistance to the actions of an illegitimate Biden administration (and in very short order, an equally illegitimate Harris administration) will be not merely pointless but immoral. “Bullets” in the form of “ballots,” so their reasoning goes, have already been tried — and have failed. “Better luck next time,’ has become their refrain. Except that there damned well might not BE a “next time.”

(For the record, by the way, “bullet” and “ballot” do NOT have the same origins. “Bullet” derives from from roughly the 1570s, its origin the Middle French “boulette,” meaning “small ball,” specifically a metal projectile meant to be discharged from a firearm. “Boulette” is a diminutive of “boule” — “a ball” (13th c.), derived from the Latin “bulla” “round thing, knob.” The word “ballot,” on the other hand, comes from Italian “ballotta,” defined as a “small ball used in voting” or the process of a vote taken by employing “ballottas,” introduced into the Italian lexicon by the Republic of Venice in the 14th Century. If the bloviators are going to lie to you about that, what other falsehoods will they spin to encourage you to “lie back and enjoy it”?)

One of the less-than-enjoyable aspects of being an historian is that it brings you the knowledge that there are moments in the lives of societies and nations when confrontations are spawned and however good the intentions might be of one side or the other, or even both, conflict in inevitable.

Appeals to the historical record are sometimes referred to as the act of “waving the bloody shirt” — though it’s perhaps more akin to Antony reminding the mob “You all do know this mantle…. Look, in this place ran Cassius’ dagger through. See what a rent the envious Casca made. Through this the well-belovèd Brutus stabbed….” In either case, an appeal to the original example can and should be made. In the mid-1770’s, those Americans in the Thirteen Colonies who had come to recognize themselves as distinct from Englishmen had reached a point where being told to “Lie back and enjoy it” had ceased to be an acceptable choice. They were no longer willing to grant silent consent while government officials appointed by the British Crown abused their authority and grew rich and fat in the process by denying the rights and privileges to the Americans which the Crown, with exquisite, studied hypocrisy, assured those Americans they possessed as Crown subjects. What difference is there, except perhaps in degree, between the actions of George III, his ministers, and Parliament and the acts that Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and their Congressional minions have already assured the American people they will undertake? The time to begin opposing the tyranny that will be imposed while wearing the tiniest fig leaf of legitimacy is now.

Push back for now — as hard and as long as you can; offer passive resistance wherever, whenever, and however you can; say “No” whenever and wherever you can when your Constitutional rights are being violated or denied; work the system, work the courts, make the would-be tyrants work to effect their tyranny. And if that fails, then FIGHT back tooth and nail, claw and fang, AFTER the tyrants have crossed the line into open violence, either themselves or via their minions (you know who those minions are — they’ve already made themselves well-known). As Captain John Parker said on Lexington Green, “Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”

Because some hills ARE worth dying on….



At least where COVID-19 is concerned. I’m not a science-denier, those who know me well know that I’m almost painfully pragmatic, and I’m better capable of critical thinking than 99% of the rest of the human race (and usually painfully snarky about it). But there is NO MORE SCIENCE in Corona Virus research anymore. It’s become corrupted by politics, nationalism, social agendas, and economics. The agencies and institutions that should have been responsible for conducting competent research and intelligently — truthfully! — informing the public about the virus (I’m looking right at you, WHO and CDC) were co-opted by individuals more interested in self-promotion than in public service. (FYI, the director of the UN’s World Health Organization isn’t even a physician — he’s a career diplomat!) The very people who have offered us “guidance” or “directives” or “instructions” how to best prevent the spread of COVID-19 have been repeatedly shown to not be following their own Olympian pronouncements. If you don’t follow your own rules, Dr. Fauci, why should you expect me to do so?

Meanwhile, elected and unelected politicians issue decrees prescribing and proscribing public behavior and interactions, dictate business policy, and impose “executive orders” limiting the right of citizens to peacefully assemble, all in the name of “preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” yet take no action to curb mass demonstrations or halt the rioting and looting in the cities. And they do so all the while bleating loudly that “science has shown…” their measures to be justified and effective. There is no science behind their actions, only personal ambition, lust for power, and the desire to advance the political and social ideas and ideals of one specific political party.

And don’t even get me started on “scientific studies” and “research papers.” They are neither objective nor conclusive. In terms of useful information, we know less today than we did six months ago about the vectors, patterns, and actual mechanisms of infection. Speaking as someone who has been at odds with academia for his entire professional career, I can tell you without fear of contradiction that any form of scientific research or study can be manipulated into producing a predetermined result. (This is WHY I’ve been at odds with academia for decades.) In other words, any given study or research initiative can conclude precisely what the researchers wanted it to conclude before it began, if they so desire. Data manipulation — even data fraud — is far more common, and far more frequently winked at than the scientific community wants you to believe. It’s how they keep the grant money flowing: it’s in the researchers’ best interests to produce the results their sponsors want, rather than the results the data dictates.

More to the point, for every “scientific study” and “research paper” and “reliable source” you point to which presents one conclusion, there’s another out there presenting a diametrically opposed result — it’s a process that repeats ad infinitum ad nauseum. And that’s NOT “how science works.” Science works through systematically eliminating bad data and faulty results to arrive at a conclusion which the existing body of evidence — confirmed data — cannot refute. It’s not a contest of stacking up each side’s papers and reports and deciding “Well, Side A has more paper piled up in its favor than does Side B, therefore Side A must be right.” This IS, however, the game being played within the scientific community at this moment.

Now, don’t get your knickers in a knot imagining that I’m saying that science, even COVID science, should be abandoned. I’m not. Did you hear that? I’M NOT! What I am saying is that every time someone loudly announces “Science proves…!” and trots out an article he or she found in a scientific or medical journal that seems to support their declaration, stop and ask yourself who benefits from that conclusion and why? Who sponsored the research? Who directed it? Then decide how much salt you need to take with that report, study, or article. Skepticism is the bedrock of science, and right now we all need to exercise as much skepticism as we can where “COVID-19 science” is concerned, because right now, COVID research is on the verge of turning science as a whole into nothing more than pseudo-science, which we are expected to take on our faith in the process alone. For all of the wonderful tools science and technology have given us in the past 500 years, humanity is on the verge of — intellectually, at least — returning to the Dark Ages….

And that’s the way it is, because I’m Daniel Allen Butler, and you’re not….

“Chekhov’s Gun” Just Shoots Blanks

There’s a premise in writing called “Chekov’s Gun.”  In a nutshell, it asserts that every element introduced into a story — character, object, locale, etc. — must be employed in some significant way at some point in the story.  The term “Chekov’s Gun” came to be from a remark made by Anton Chekov, declaring, “If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.”

Personally, I think Chekhov is full of crap, and people only give credence to the “Chekhov’s gun” concept because “Oh, my God! It was ANTON CHEKHOV who said it — therefore it MUST be truth carved in stone!” The whole premise of “Chekhov’s Gun” is invalid in its very statement — because inherent in the assertion is the implication that every piece of set decoration must meet the same standard. Every picture on the walls, every vase and knick-knack sitting on a side table, the carpet, the table lamps, the dinner service (if the set is a dining room), etc., etc., has to be employed somewhere in the course of the action, otherwise it’s unnecessary. If carried to it’s logical extreme, “Chekhov’s Gun” would have plays performed on totally bare sets, apart from those props which are actually employed in the performance. The problem there is that it leads to predictability — if the audience sees a gun, a knife, a chair, a table, a lamp, etc., it knows that sooner or later those particular items are going to be employed by the actors and will start figuring out when, how, and why. The suspense is lessened, and with it, any impact the performance might have otherwise had.

The same thing applies to writing fiction — and, to a lesser degree, non-fiction — in that if every detail included in a story, novella, or novel exists only to “reveal character, advance plot, or support theme”, as advised by James D. MacDonald, then again the element of predictability creeps in. The reader will wind up subconsciously anticipating or even expecting Chekhov’s gun to show up again and be fired. By the very fact that Chekhov’s Gun — whatever it might actually be, animal, vegetable, or mineral — exists, it draws attention to itself, and in doing so not only lessens dramatic tension in the narrative, but also the emotional impact on the reader when the gun eventually goes off. The last thing any author or writer of fiction wants to have happen is for his or her audience to react with, “Yeah, saw that one coming since Chapter Two….”

But what about misdirection? This is what utterly undermines the “Chekhov’s Gun” concept. What about the idea of having multiple “guns” out there, presented in such a way that none of them stand out or apart from the others in apparent prominence or significance? What if the gun hanging on the wall is never used, but the letter opener that has been lying on the desk in plain sight is snatched up and becomes the murder weapon — or means of self-defense, or whatever? Assuming equal presentation of both, the audience (readers) will, quite understandably, regard the firearm as inherently more dangerous than the letter opener, so that when the opener comes into play, their reaction will be “OK, I didn’t see that one coming!”

The bottom line is this: unless you have specific stylistic or narrative purpose in adhering the concept of “Chekhov’s Gun,” don’t. It’s bullshit. Chekhov was a brilliant playwright, he employed his own writing dicta almost flawlessly, and created some incredible works for the stage. As a consequence — and also in part because he was Russian, and Russian authors are all too often given more credence and stature than they really deserve — he’s become something of a Sacred Cow among writers. The problem with that is that Sacred Cow bullshit is nowhere near as sanctified as the cow or bull that dropped it. So do yourself a favor, and don’t step in it….

Why 9 out of 10 “Indy” Authors are Failures….

OK, I’m probably going to catch flak for this, maybe even damage or end a few acquaintenceships, but I’ve gotta get this off my chest, and I’m going to be very, very blunt doing so. (I know, those are y’all’s “I’m shocked — shocked, I tell you!” faces.) Here goes:

Ninety-five percent of self-proclaimed indy “authors” and their self-published ilk should never be allowed within a half-mile of a word-processing program — or even a typewriter — let alone access to POD capability.

Why? Because that ninety-five percent is a collection of no-talent, low-talent, incompetent, inept amateurs — in the worst sense of the word “amateur.” Through sheer critical mass they are stifling — hell, they’re strangling — the overall level of quality in both current fiction and non-fiction. By their presence alone they set the bar of standards abysmally low, then consistently fail to clear it. Laziness and incompetence have become the new benchmarks.

Case in point — and the trigger for this long-in-building outburst — was a recent request I received from a numpty wanna-be “writer” soliciting people to review his script for a sci-fi pilot. I asked, the better to make sure his story and its setting were internally self-consistent, if he had a world bible to include with the script. You know, the backstory that sets the stage for whatever slice of alternate reality you’re presenting — in writing fiction you must have a backstory, however broad or narrow it might be. Period. The perfect example of attempting to produce a fictional narrative without a backstory is Episode One: The Phantom Menace. And we all know how well that worked out….

His response? “This work…is a future dystopia piece like 1984, A Clockwork Orange, Brave New World, Ape Planet (Did he mean Planet of the Apes?), etc, and for scenarios that are basically an Earth gone terribly wrong, I think that establishing your world rules within the story is sufficient.” (Note, if you will, that all of those works he cited had backstories.)

At that point, I wished him good luck with it and mentally consigned him to the dustbin of obscurity in which he so evidently deserves to live out his days.

The problem is not that this person is an outlier; rather he is typical of most of the indy/self-pub mob that, through sheer mass, is gradually taking overtaking fiction, like some humanoid form of Creeping Borneo Jungle Fungus — specifically, the ones who are unwilling to do the work necessary to become true writers and real authors. “We don’t need to follow the rules of spelling, grammar, and punctuation!” “We don’t need to write multiple drafts or make revisions!” “We don’t need editors!” “We don’t need plot, pacing, and internal consistency in our ‘stories’! We’re artists! Respect us for our artsiness and pretensions, don’t judge us by the lack of quality in our work!”

Let me make sure that you understand me:  this isn’t a problem limited only to fiction, or even just certain genres and sub-genres of fiction.  The same sort of laziness,  combined with a healthy measure of “My ignorance is as valid as your knowledge” attitude is corroding non-fiction as well — just not as rapidly as it’s eating away at fiction.

Just because you’ve put down on paper a few rambling, quasi-coherent paragraphs that to you make some sort of narrative sense, you’re not a writer. You may become one, if you work at it, and it’s true that aptitudes can vary wildly from individual to individual, but there are no guarantees. Likewise there are no shortcuts, magic bullets, secret formulas, or hidden plans to becoming a successful (and hopefully, at the same time, “good”) writer. It’s like any other craft — you have to work at it. The problem of which I’m seeing far, far too much anymore is embodied in that exchange I had with the would-be script-scrivener: the lack of willingness to do the work required to produce a thing of quality.   So, in the end, nine out of ten of them fail, usually miserably so, to succeed in their pipedreams. 

Dear indy author or self-pubbed writer, there’s nothing wrong with or shameful in failing — witness Thomas Edison — but there is something deeply contemptible in the persistent refusal to learn from failure and repeating the same mistakes because you imagine you’re right and everyone who has succeeded via the proven methods and models is wrong.  Worse, you’re stealing valuable oxygen the rest of us genuinely need.

And that’s the way it is, because I’m Daniel Allen Butler… and you’re not….

So…Just Who is Shooting Whom — and Why?

As you all know by now, or at least, you should know by now, I’m a historian by profession and education, and not just the sort of well-meaning amateur that many people are who call themselves “historians.”  From time to time I’ve had to professionally confront a number of historical conspiracy theories – I say “professionally” because they sometimes intrude on my work and I’m forced to confront them, rather than they being something I pursue of my own volition.  So I’m familiar with coincidence at a depth most people never have the opportunity (or need) to plumb – and the extent to which it exists and genuinely occurs is, frankly, astonishing.  At the same time, conspiracy has to coexist alongside Occam’s Razor, and that’s always an uneasy relationship.  The point at which conspiracy theories fall apart under their own weight is always that point when an act of human intervention intended to bring about a certain event, but which, even if successful, cannot alone guarantee the desired outcome without the successful implementation of still other actions, adds layers of complication which lower the probability of the desired outcome through conspiracy to a level below the probability of that outcome happening through coincidence.  Conspiracy theories always rely on certain specific events taking place (or not taking place, as the case may be) at precise times and in precise manners – and there is never any recognition given or allowance made in the subsequent explanations of them for a “Jesus factor.”  The conspiracies presented by conspiracy theory apologists ALWAYS work out perfectly, first time, every time.  You’ll never find one where the admission is made “So-and-so failed to do this or forgot to do that, so the following corrective actions had to be taken to bring the conspiracy back on track.” Such perfect execution is – and must needs be – in and of itself an object of suspicion, insomuch as it doesn’t recognize that randomness and chaos are always a factor in both nature and human activity.

Thus I recognize human beings as being more “cooperative” than “conspiratorial” in nature, even when malevolent ends are the objective of that cooperation. By this I mean that it is much easier to arrange for incidents that are specific and limited – but independent of one another – which in and of themselves cannot decide the outcome of a larger event, but which in aggregate have the potential to significantly influence the outcome of that larger event. This is the disturbing submotif about which I’m wondering in this recent rash of firearms-related incidents. It seems as if there is now one occurring every day, and in the fevered media climate –fueled by liberals, progressives, Democrats, and their allies in the media, all of whom have no qualms about admitting that they are tossing gasoline on a fire they’ve willingly lit – too many people are getting caught up in the emotional responses to these incidents, too few of them stopping to think, “Hey, wait a minute, this is all a little TOO convenient…”

Of course, the other side of the coin, which said liberals, progressives, Democrats, and their allies in the media fail to recognize, is that more often than it breeds contempt, familiarity spawns indifference. There is a distinct possibility – perhaps even a probability – that if these firearms-related incidents occur with too much frequency and apparent regularity, the great majority of the population will become inured and eventually indifferent to them, as they will be seen as something akin to “business as usual.” It happens, we’ve seen it happen – witness Detroit in the 1990s and 2000s, or Chicago today; most people in Michigan outside of Wayne County came to a point where their reaction to the gun-violence in Detroit was to dismiss it with a shrug, saying “Well, that’s Detroit for you.” The same dynamic is in play in Illinois outside of Cook County today.

What I’m waiting for is to see how long it will take for the average American to comprehend just how he or she is being played by those same liberals, progressives, Democrats, and their allies in the media, and once they do – if they do – what will be their reaction…

Just remember, while you ponder as to just how right I am in this, that I’m Daniel Allen Butler…and you’re not.

GoogleBook — You WILL See Only What WE Want You to See!

Interesting development. Google Chrome now includes an ad-blocker that automatically blocks what Google terms the “most intrusive” ads. Their public criteria for that are ads which make noise, block the screen, or don’t have a “close” option — and all pop-ups (are those still a thing?) are also automatically blocked. Here’s the kicker — ads with a density of over 30% (that is, they take up 30% or more of the screen when they appear) are also automatically blocked, regardless of whether or not they comply with all of the other blocking restrictions. This means that a lot of news and blogging sites are going to be arbitrarily banned. It also raises the question of what other restrictions are in place but buried somewhere in the ultra-fine print. Then there’s the whole issue of whether or not Google ads will be given exemptions or some other sort of preferential treatment.

This isn’t a trivial matter, because it’s a unilateral action on Google’s part, no choice to accept it or opt out, no way to deactivate it. It’s another small step in the general online trend to take choice out of the hands of the consumer/user/viewer and place it solely with what I term the content intermediary — in this case Google. We’ve all seen how small encroachments on viewing choices led to Facebook eventually taking what is for all practical purposes total control of what we see on Facebook, often in spite of our explicit, expressed desires otherwise. (Which is why a significant exodus from Facebook began last year and continues unabated — and not the least of reasons why I recently left Facebook, never to return.) Google is not simply climbing onto that bandwagon, it’s firmly settling its cyber-arse in the driver’s seat. We’ve already had more than a convincing number of demonstrations as to how Google deliberately skews search results — now the Big G has taken it upon itself to begin making decisions for you as to what you can and cannot see.

This is how it starts, with something small that hardly anyone can find objectionable — after all, who LIKES to be bombarded with loud, annoying, and persistent ads? But it’s not at all a huge step from “it’s for your convenience” to “it’s for your own good,” with all the manipulation, compulsion, and control that phrase implies, as we’ve seen demonstrated on Facebook over the past seven or eight years.

Firefox is beginning to look awfully purty right about now….

Dunkirk: Can I Get a Refund for a Movie I Didn’t Actually Pay to Watch?

I finally got ’round to watching Dunkirk.

The trailers were better….

 As an exercise in film making and narrative construction, the movie is a work of genius. Nolan’s ability to weave three distinct but converging storylines together into a narrative whole is nothing short of brilliant, and when it clicked for me just what he was doing and how he was doing it, I was amazed at how seamlessly it succeeded. Where it fails, in my not-at-all-humble opinion, is as a theatrical experience. Now, you can’t approach Dunkirk expecting it to be Saving Private Ryan in reverse, where the good guys are being driven off the beach instead of landing on it — and a British version at that — Nolan made it clear when he was shooting the film that he wasn’t making another Private Ryan and wanted to avoid making a film comparable in tone and content. He succeeded in doing so technically — it’s artistically where he failed. Dunkirk is nowhere near as visually visceral (figuratively as well as literally) as Spielberg’s film, which is both a good and bad thing. Ryan wound the audience up so tightly in the first twenty minutes that they never really had a chance to relax and recover before the next round of shooting started — a lot like actual combat, in a way — so that when the movie ended, the audience, individually and collectively, sort of deflated.

Nolan never creates that sort of “tension — relax, almost — more tension” sequence. He carefully ratchets up the tension as the film progresses and never really lets it go, but this is the big flaw in the film: it never gets tense enough. In his other films, Inception, Interstellar, and the Dark Knight Trilogy especially come to mind, he creates a sense of immediacy within the film and sustains it: actions taken or not take have consequences right now, as well as in the near or distant future, seconds count, life or death can sometimes depend on whether you turn right or left, and whether you do so now or thirty seconds from now. And always there has been a looming sense of real, understood danger threatening the characters.

Dunkirk lacks that immediacy and looming sense of danger. Characters talk about having to hurry up and get whatever men they can off the Dunkirk beaches before time runs out, but the urgency of the circumstances shown to the audience never matches the desperation of the dialogue. The Nazis are never seen, apart from a few aircraft and two out-of-focus Nazi soldiers near the end of the movie, and for this reason they never really seem all that dangerous. We see British soldiers on the beaches willing to risk drowning, dismemberment, immolation, and obliteration to get away, but the audience is left wondering just what it is that they’re trying to get away from? If the danger they are fleeing is so enormous and awful that they would run such risks, what is it? There’s much talk of the threat of the Luftwaffe, and how it can pick off the British troops on the beach like fish in a barrel, but you never see more than three Nazi aircraft onscreen at one time, and as it turns out, they are the same three planes during the entire movie. So the Nazi Air Force seems to be pretty much a damp squib — which is far, far from the reality of the real events. Every fifteen to twenty minutes there is some bombing or shelling, but it almost has a desultory feel to it, as if Nolan suddenly realized “Oh, we’d better blow something up in order to remind the audience that this is a Dangerous Situation.” Keeping the enemy or the threat wholly or partially concealed for a large part of a film is a terrific method of adding suspense — remember how brilliantly Spielberg used it in Jaws, where you didn’t actually see the shark until 2/3 of the way through the movie? — but sooner or later the enemy or threat has to actually materialize and in some way demonstrate that it truly does deserve to be feared and that it genuinely is perilous. In Dunkirk the Nazis don’t seem to be a clear and present, imminent danger, but are rather more of an annoyance. The audience is left with a lingering feeling of “What’s the big deal? What’s all the fuss about?” There are moments when the film actually feels tiresome.

Making the problem worse, there’s no real, developed sense of the “big picture.” There are one or two shots very early in the film that try to convey the strategic and tactical situation in which the British Army is trapped, but the point is never firmly driven home. Nolan stated early on in production that he wanted to “humanize” the Dunkirk story by concentrating on small, intimate, personal stories of individuals — which can be and often is a very effective way of telling much larger stories — but as he does so, he constructs stories and vignettes where the audience is told rather than shown that the individuals Nolan presents are imperiled and then the viewers are expected to be empathetic to a plight that is never really very plausibly presented. Instead of the “little picture” standing in for and being enlarged in our minds into the “big picture,” in this case the “little picture” makes the “big picture” seem somehow diminished and thus the overall event itself is not as important as we are being repeatedly informed that it is.

And this is the greatest shortcoming of all — with the exception of the skipper of one of the small boats (modeled on Bert Lightoller of all people!) and his sons, the characters are so underdeveloped that it becomes near-impossible to empathize and sympathize with them, and thus make them real and relatable — there really isn’t anyone to actually care about in this film. This is due primarily to Nolan’s decision to minimize the amount of dialogue in the film. Ordinarily this can be a good thing, as it tends to keep a film from becoming overly “chatty” and works to reduce the amount of “So, tell me, Colonel, just what the hell is going on here?” sort of exposition that makes a lot of war movies tedious. The problem is in this case it results in almost all of the dialogue that is in the film being exposition — there are very few flashes of personality in the cast members’ performances.

Just as one swallow does not a summer make, one badly flawed film does not mean that Christopher Nolan has lost his touch as a director. He did, however, lose his way in Dunkirk, mainly by trying too hard to present a grand, even epic, historical tale within what are the equivalent of the confines of a short story….

Slavery…. So what’s the Big Deal?

Here’s a question for you to think about — and I mean THINK about it, don’t just knee-jerk in your reaction. What happens when the anti-Confederacy revisionism — the (disturbingly successful) efforts being made to ban any display of a Confederate flag, remove Confederate memorials, forbid identitying Confederate soldiers’ graves as such, etc. — the movement to demonize anything and everything that has any connection to the Confederacy because of its perceived ties to the institution of slavery — reaches the point where so little evidence of the Confederacy’s existence remains that people start to ask, “So, what’s the big deal?” where the American Civil War is concerned?

What happens when there’s nothing apart from a handful of museums dedicated to the history of slavery in America, and those museums are dismissed as propaganda because there’s no outside validation of the reality of that experience? What happens when the people who try to maintain the integrity of the narrative are marginalized and ignored because they’re perceived as over-stating their case — because there is no evidence for it apart from their own institutions and archives? “Because I said so!” isn’t “proof” of anything, whether the venue is a court of law or the chronicles of history. So then “It was beyond terrible — because I said so!” isn’t “proof” of the nature of slavery. It’s the outside evidence, evidence which can’t be controlled or manipulated by someone who is trying to shape a narrative, that provides that proof. Remove — don’t just discard, but destroy — that evidence, and the proof vanishes. Fact and opinion become interchangeable, and in the process both become equally meaningless.

There is already a legion of people who deny that the Holocaust ever happened, despite the avalanche of evidence that it did. So tell me, then, what happens when the time comes that someone says, “Dude, you’re just making this up — it couldn’t have been all that bad!” because every trace of the Confederacy’s existence has been wiped away?

Those who know me know that I subscribe to the “states’ rights” interpretation of the origin of the American Civil War, or, as I prefer to call it, The War of Northern Aggression. In my not-at-all-humble opinion, slavery was only one of a list of grievances that existed between the North and South in the mid-19th Century that both sides felt could only be resolved by violence, and not the most important one at that. But the North, in its victory, wrote the narrative of the war and made the (self-) righteous cause of abolishing slavery the shining beacon of the Union’s moral rectitude. But what happens to that narrative, that self-righteous self-congratulation when no one takes it seriously anymore because all evidence that the enemy ever existed has been eradicated?

Am I overstating the issue? Hardly. I’m not inventing this concept or this phenomenon. In 2015 and 2016, there were Second World War historical re-enactments in Great Britain that were cancelled because people were upset by the fact that some of the re-enactors dressed as German soldiers with swastikas on their uniforms. The “German” re-enactors were actually banned from coming onto the venue if they were in uniform. These people actually thought they could have a re-enactment with only one side being allowed to show up. No, I’m not making this up. If you’re willing to take the time and make the effort, you’ll find the news stories that covered these incidents.

You know, it’s kind of hard to have the Second World War without the Germans in it — without the Germans keeping the French and British occupied in Europe, the Japanse would have been forced to limit their own war to the one they already had with China. No Pearl Harbor, no American involvment, no “bright flashie-big boomie” things over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And yet that’s what some people tried to pretend they could do — they could have World War Two without any Germans in it. Now THAT is an absurd idea, isn’t it? Without the Germans, aggressive little devils that they are, running around trying to seize everyone else’s lebensraum and sending people with the wrong genetics up the chimney, there’s no cause for a war, is there? But there WAS a war, because the Germans WERE there….

And that is exactly my point. When one side eliminates — obliterates — the institutions and agencies that empowered and enabled the cause it opposed, its own cause suddenly loses validity. When you pretend the other side never existed and then try to erase any evidence that it did, you’re calling into question the legitimacy of your own beliefs and values. It’s an admission that your own motivations are so weak that they can’t even sustain themselves in a confrontation with the past.

Trying to pretend that an ugly chapter of our past never happened by trying to wipe out any evidence that it did is a fool’s errand. Ultimately that’s what these people want to do, however, whether they consciously realize it or not. Because they can’t make the distinction between slavery and the Confederacy, in their attempt to efface anything that proves the existence of the latter, they trivialize the former. You see, it goes like this: Slavery was a big enough deal that nations went to war over it. But wait, to have a war, you have to have an enemy. And if you can’t prove that there WAS an enemy, because you can’t prove that enemy ever existed, well, then, without an enemy, it couldn’t have been much of a war, could it? And if the war wasn’t all that big a deal, well, then, slavery really wasn’t that big a deal after all, was it?

And that is exactly where we’re headed….

And that’s the way it is…because I’m Daniel Allen Butler…and you’re not….

It’s MY Fault!

OK, let me make something perfectly clear, and at the same time take responsibility for something that has made a lot of people unhappy.

I’m the one who elected Donald Trump President of the United States.

I wouldn’t vote for Gary Johnson because the last thing the US and the world needs right now is an isolationist president.

I refused to vote for Comrade Clinton because…well, because she’s Hillary Clinton and that’s pretty much self-explanatory.

So I voted for Donald Trump. I saw him as having the potential to be this Republic’s Lucius Cornelius Sulla or Gaius Julius Caesar. I was hoping for a Caesar, because right now this country needs a Julius Caesar. He hasn’t proven to be Julian material yet, but so far he’s been no Lucius Cornelius. As far as I’m concerned, the jury is still out, so don’t look to find any cheerleading for the Donald coming from my corner. I will say that he’s showing signs of growing into the office, and that is encouraging. Time will tell….

But, you see, that’s the thing — it was me who elected Donald Trump, me and almost 63,000,000 Americans like me.

It wasn’t the Russians.

It was me.

And that’s the way it is — because I’m Daniel Allen Butler, and you’re not….

I’m Running out of Popcorn….

There just isn’t enough popcorn for all of this….

You know how difficult it is to look away from a train wreck as it’s happening? Well, the Democratic Party has been a continuously ongoing train wreck for the past eight months, and now it looks as though the locomotive just exploded.

The wreck began, of course, in July of last year when Debbie Wasserperson Schultz (she prefers “Wasserperson” to her actual name of “Wasserman”, lest she be accused of gender bias) resigned as Chairman (“Chairperson”) of the Democratic National Committee after she was perceived by the rank-and-file of the Party to have cooked the campaign rules in favor of Hillary “You’re a Dead Man” Clinton and against Bernie “Come on Over for the Weekend” Sanders. (Whether she actually did or not is still being debated — it’s a matter of interpretation and personal bias.) Then there was the little incident of Donna “I Love Sergio Mendes” Brazile passing along to Hillary questions that would be asked in the candidates’ debates BEFORE the debate — that this was a clear-cut violation of ethics nobody tried to pretend was otherwise.

Then there was November 8, 2016. No need to say more about that….

Now, here’s where the locomotive goes “ka-BLOOIE!”

Last night, here in Atlanta, the Democratic National Committee elected a new chairman, Tom “Things Ain’t Exactly Rosey” Perez. He defeated the presumed front-runner, Keith “Mohammed is My Main Man!” Ellison by a wide margin. (This sort of result — presumed front-runner gets his/her bahookie kicked) seems to be a trend now in elections involving Democrats.) So what do Ellison’s supporters do when the results are announced? They get up and stalk out of the convention all but chanting “Not OUR Chairman!”

Can it get any better than this?

Watching these bottom-feeders now feeding on themselves is political farce at its best. That river in Egypt has developed a massive tributary in the United States: when the “Progressives” don’t get their way, they pretend that they can ignore the outcome they didn’t want. Don’t like the outcome of the Presidential election? “Not MY President!” Don’t like the outcome of the chairmanship election? “Not OUR Chairman!” The only “progress” I see “Progressives” making is that they are becoming progressively more stupid every day.

Otto von Bismarck, probably the most accomplished practical politician who ever lived, once remarked to Friedrich von Waldau that “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best.” The “Progressives,” a collection of imbeciles within a larger collection of imbeciles, seem to have forgotten that sage observation. Then again, these are the same imbeciles who, in their rush to dismiss all of history as irrelevant — the only thing that matters to them is “the future,” as if “the future” is somehow not a product of the past via the present — have abandoned the collected and collective wisdom that could actually make them relevant and possibly even effective. Instead, they pout, whine, scream, and cry like spoilt children as they throw tantrum after tantrum, never seeing the expressions of disbelief, disgust, and dismissal on the faces of the adults who won’t be coerced or intimidated into giving in to the infants’ infantile behavior. In the process, those infants are destroying the only instrument to which they have access that could effect the changes they claim to so desperately desire.

I couldn’t make this stuff up, people — it’s like the Titanic: if I presented it as fiction, no one would buy it, because it would seem utterly implausible.

I just wish I could figure out a way to charge admission to watch this train wreck happen. I’d retire a very wealthy man.

Meanwhile, I gotta go make some more popcorn.

And that’s the way it is…because I’m Daniel Allen Butler, and you’re not….