About theartfuldilettante

The Artful Dilettante is a native of Pittsburgh, PA, and a graduate of Penn State University. He is a lover of liberty and a lifelong and passionate student of the same. He is voracious reader of books on the Enlightenment and the American colonial and revolutionary periods. He is a student of libertarian and Objectivist philosophies. He collects revolutionary war and period currency, books, and newspapers. He is married and the father of one teenage son. He is kind, witty, generous to a fault, and unjustifiably proud of himself. He is the life of the party and an unparalleled raconteur.

Mondays of Meaning

January 24th, 2021 | Dr. Jordan B. Peterson

This week’s edition will discuss speaking authentically, the theory of enchantment and how to transcend yourself. 

With Regards To Telling If You Are Speaking Authentically

Listen to yourself talk, as if a stranger was talking. Try not to identify too much with what you are saying. Then, observe. See if what you are saying makes you feel stronger, physically, or weaker. If it makes you feel weaker, stop saying it. Try to reformulate your speech until you can feel the ground under your feet solidifying. Then practice only saying things that make you strong.

Stop trying to use your speech to get what you want. You don’t necessarily know what you want. Instead, try to articulate what you believe to be true as carefully as possible. Then, accept the outcome. Assume that your truth, as lived and spoken, will produce the best possible outcome.

It’s an act of faith. But so is every other way of being.

Monday Reflections

“What’s better: To not be afraid or to know that you can handle being afraid?” (Share this on Twitter)

“Make yourself invaluable.” (Share this on Twitter)​

“You deserve some respect. You are important to other people as much as to yourself.” (Share this on Twitter)

The Insanity of the West Accelerates

The New York Times reports that Biden is going to forestall Russian aggression against Ukraine by deploying between 1,000 and 5,000 US troops on Russia’s border and is prepared to increase the number of troops tenfold to 10,000 to 50,000 soldiers. A Russian army would eat this small number for a snack in 5 minutes. Clearly the purpose of the deployment is not military. The purpose is to heighten the “Russian threat” in the minds of the people in advance of a false flag event that will be blamed on the Kremlin.

If Biden wants to deter Russia all he needs to do is to give Russia the security guarantee she says she needs. Why does Biden want Russia to be insecure?

The cause of the problem is obvious. In 2014 the US in an attempt to deprive Russia of her Black Sea naval base overthrew a Russian-friendly and democratically elected Ukrainian government and installed a neo-Nazi regime that began war against the Russian inhabitants of the Donbass region of Eastern Ukraine, formerly parts of Russia that had been transferred during the Soviet era into the the Soviet Union’s Ukrainian province.

To stabilize the situation, Russia hammered out the Minsk Agreement but neither Ukraine nor the Western signatories kept the agreement.

Russia does not want the broke and troublesome Ukraine. Russia just wants Ukraine not to become a place for US missile bases.

It is a simple demand easy to accept in the interest of peace.

But peace is unprofitable and is the last thing the US military/security complex wants. Therefore Washington is responding to the Russian/US/NATO security talks by deploying troops on Russia’s borders. The stupid British are stirring the pot of “Russian aggression” by withdrawing the embassy staff from Kiev. https://www.rt.com/russia/546916-uk-begins-evacuation-diplomats/

We have been hearing from US/NATO about the “growing Russian threat” for a long time. What happens to credibility that is already damaged if there is no Russian invasion? It seems that Washington and its NATO puppets are so far out on the limb that they simply must provoke a Russian invasion.

The Russians are waiting in vain for Washington’s written response to their proposal for mutual security. Washington has answered with more accusations, more provocations.

Is the Kremlin having difficulty understanding: (1) that Trump was removed from office because he said he wanted to normalize relations with Russia, (2) that Russia is the necessary enemy for the power and profit of the US military/security complex, and (3) Russia is regarded as the obstacle to US hegemony? How can it be that in the face of all evidence to the contrary the Kremlin has the delusion that Washington is interested in Russians feeling secure.

While the Kremlin wastes time, weapons pour into Ukraine and the Western media prepare their people for “Russian aggression.” Russian protests of intentions attributed to her are pointless. The Western media knows the required narrative and is not interested in any facts.

The question really is whether Russia can accept that she has an enemy.

(Republished from PaulCraigRoberts.org by permission of author or representative

What’s Demented Emperor to do ? Start a War !

Even NBC polls say 72 percent of the country believe the country is on the wrong track. What’s a demented emperor to do? Early morning data dumps, mail-in voting and social media censorship might not be enough. Maybe he can start a war with Russia. You idiots who voted for this catastrophe: I blame each and every one of you.

Richard Ruggiero writes: “Biden and Biden’s handlers are setting us up for a humiliating failure [in Ukraine]. What would the Chinese Communist Party do if they were running America? THIS!”

I totally agree.

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

Rand Paul is a Physician–but We Are not Allowed to Listen to Him

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), a physician, warns mandating vaccines on specific age groups could come back to haunt some institutions because of the risk associated with those age groups.

During a Friday 1/21/22 appearance on Fox News Channel’s “The Ingraham Angle,” the Kentucky Republican lawmaker called such mandates “medical malpractice.”

“I believe it’s medical malpractice to force vaccines on children, particularly adolescent males,” he said. “We now have the scientific evidence that shows the risk of myocarditis for young males is greater for the vaccine than it is for the disease. We also know that the disease — the death rate is closer to one in a million. We also know that the more you get the vaccine, the higher your risk of myocarditis. So 90% of the myocarditis came with a second vaccine. What do you think it happens when you give them a third vaccine?”

Rand Paul is a physician. When Fauci says anything medical, we’re told to believe him. Why? “Because he’s a physician.” Yet Rand Paul is a physician. Not only should we ignore him; we should censor him. On what basis? No answer is given.

That’s what you call intellectual dishonesty. Intellectual dishonesty is not science.

It’s also what you call tyranny. Tyranny is destructive not just to the body, but to the mind.

I wrote the following to somebody just today on the subject of tyranny, regarding the growing tyranny in my (current) home state of Delaware:

The problem is with the psychology of living under a tyranny: the idea of tyranny is that the tyrant can do whatever he feels like, whenever he feels like it. Most people are upset that [leftist Delaware Gov. John] Carney reimposed the mask mandate, but hope and pray it will be gone by spring. Don’t they see? Carney doesn’t even know what he’s going to do. It’s just the exercise of power for its own sake. Health, rights, safety have nothing whatsoever to do with any of it. Once we allow him to exercise unlawful and immoral control — and now the precedent has been established — then the way is cleared for him to do literally everything and anything. I predict vax mandates will come to Delaware before long, and perhaps soon. And other things we can’t yet think of, and ultimately things that have nothing to do with viruses — how often you can drive, what you can drive, where you can go, what you can read. That’s the whole point — we don’t know, but he knows we know he can do whatever he wants. And there are worse than Carney waiting in the wings.

Tyranny arrests the ability of the mind to think. It fosters intellectual dishonesty in the name of “science” and yet only allows one version of science. Where necessary, tyrants MAKE UP facts in order to advance the political narrative of the moment; while suffocating facts that refute or undermine the political narrative of the moment.

None of this is new. Every dictatorship in the history of mankind has done it. Now it’s happening in America, with shocking and open arrogance. We should be in the midst of a revolution now. Instead, people hide in their homes and pray for daylight — anything rather than offend your leftist neighbor.

Poison is toxic for your body. Intellectual dishonesty disguised as science is toxic for the mind. Tyranny will eventually destroy both your body and your mind. America is more advanced in tyranny than at any time since its founding. Be afraid — but also get angry. And fight back, with your brain and your mouth if nothing else. While you still can.

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

I’m a Public School Teacher, and the Kids Aren’t Alright

My students were taught to think of themselves as vectors of disease. This has fundamentally altered their understanding of themselves.

I am proud to be a teacher. I’ve worked in the Canadian public school system for the past 15 years, mostly at the high school level, teaching morals and ethics.

I don’t claim to be a doctor or an expert in virology. There is a lot I don’t know. But I spend my days with our youth and they tell me a lot about their lives. And I want to tell you what I’m hearing and what I’m seeing.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, when our school went fully remote, it was evident to me that the loss of human connection would be detrimental to our students’ development. It also became increasingly clear that the response to the pandemic would have immense consequences for students who were already on the path to long-term disengagement, potentially altering their lives permanently.

The data about learning loss and the mental health crisis is devastating. Overlooked has been the deep shame young people feel: Our students were taught to think of their schools as hubs for infection and themselves as vectors of disease. This has fundamentally altered their understanding of themselves.

When we finally got back into the classroom in September 2020, I was optimistic, even as we would go remote for weeks, sometimes months, whenever case numbers would rise. But things never returned to normal.

When we were physically in school, it felt like there was no longer life in the building. Maybe it was the masks that made it so no one wanted to engage in lessons, or even talk about how they spent their weekend. But it felt cold and soulless. My students weren’t allowed to gather in the halls or chat between classes. They still aren’t. Sporting events, clubs and graduation were all cancelled. These may sound like small things, but these losses were a huge deal to the students. These are rites of passages that can’t be made up.

In my classroom, the learning loss is noticeable. My students can’t concentrate and they aren’t doing the work that I assign to them. They have way less motivation compared to before the pandemic began. Some of my students chose not to come back at all, either because of fear of the virus, or because they are debilitated by social anxiety. And now they have the option to do virtual schooling from home.

One of my favorite projects that I assign each year is to my 10th grade students, who do in-depth research on any culture of their choosing. It culminates in a day of presentations. I encourage them to bring in music, props, food—whatever they need to immerse their classmates in their specific culture. A lot of my students give presentations on their own heritage. A few years back, a student of mine, a Syrian refugee, told her story about how she ended up in Canada. She brought in traditional Syrian foods, delicacies that her dad had stayed up all night cooking. It was one of the best days that I can remember. She was proud to share her story—she had struggled with homesickness—and her classmates got a lesson in empathy. Now, my students simply prepare a slideshow and email it to me individually.

My older students (grades 11 and 12) aren’t even allowed a lunch break, and are expected to come to school, go to class for five and a half hours and then go home. Children in 9th and 10th grades have to face the front of the classroom while they eat lunch during their second period class. My students used to be able to eat in the halls or the cafeteria; now that’s forbidden. Younger children are expected to follow the “mask off, voices off” rule, and are made to wear their masks outside, where they can only play with other kids in their class. Of course, outside of school, kids are going to restaurants with their families and to each other’s houses, making the rules at school feel punitive and nonsensical.

They are anxious and depressed. Previously outgoing students are now terrified at the prospect of being singled out to stand in front of the class and speak. And many of my students seem to have found comfort behind their masks. They feel exposed when their peers can see their whole face.

Around this time of year, we start planning for the prom, which is held in June. Usually, my students would already be chatting constantly about who’s asking who, what they’re planning on wearing, and how excited they are. This year, they’ve barely discussed it at all. When they do, they tell me that they don’t want to get their hopes up, since they’re assuming it will get cancelled like it has for the past couple of years.

It’s the same deal with universities. My students say, “If university is going to be just like this then what’s the point?” I have my own children, a nine-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son, who have spent almost a third of their lives in lockdown. They’ve become so used to cancellations that they don’t even feel disappointed anymore.

I think all of my students are angry to some degree, but I hear it most from the kids who are athletes. They were told that if they got the vaccine, everything would go back to normal, and they could go back to the rink or the court. Some sports were back for a while but, as of Christmas, because of the recent wave of Covid-19 cases, club and varsity sports are all cancelled once again. A lot of the athletes are missing chances to get seen by coaches and get scholarships.

I try to take time at the beginning of class to ask my kids how they’re doing. Recently, one of my 11th grade students raised his hand and said that he wasn’t doing well, that he doesn’t want to keep living like this, but that he knows that no one is coming to save them. The other kids all nodded in agreement. They feel lied to—and I can’t blame them.

What’s most worrisome to me is that they feel deep worry and shame over the prospect of breaking the rules.

Teenage girls are notoriously empathetic. I see that many of my students, but especially the female ones, feel a heavy burden of responsibility. Right before Christmas, one of my brightest 12th graders confided in me that she was terrified of taking her mask off. She told me that she didn’t want to get anyone sick or kill anybody. She was worried she would be held responsible for someone dying.

What am I supposed to say? That 23 children have died from Covid in Canada during the whole of the pandemic and she is much more likely to kill someone driving a car? That kids in Scandinavia, Sweden, and the Netherlands largely haven’t had to wear masks at school and haven’t seen outbreaks because of it? That masks are not a magic shield against the virus, and that even if she were to pass it along to a classmate, the risk of them getting seriously sick is minuscule?

But I am expected to enforce the rules.

At the beginning of the pandemic, adults shamed kids for wanting to play at the park or hang out with their friends. We kept hearing, “They’ll be fine. They’re resilient.” It’s true that humans, by nature, are very resilient. But they also break. And my students are breaking. Some have already broken.

When we look at the Covid-19 pandemic through the lens of history, I believe it will be clear that we betrayed our children. The risks of this pandemic were never to them, but they were forced to carry the burden of it. It’s enough. It’s time for a return to normal life and put an end to the bureaucratic policies that aren’t making society safer, but are sacrificing our children’s mental, emotional, and physical health.

Our children need life on the highest volume. And they need it now.

Stacey Lance

Increasingly, there are no Words

A vaccination is a medical intervention that PREVENTS an illness. If you take a vaccination, and you never get the illness — as in a smallpox vaccination — then the vaccination was successful. If you take a vaccination — actually two vaccinations, plus two boosters — and you STILL get the illness, then the vaccination was a failure. It was ineffective. More research will be needed.

Imagine, if with any other product or service (medical or otherwise), people were morally shamed and legally coerced into utilizing, taking or purchasing that product — in spite of the fact that the product was not effective as advertised. In any other case, the manufacturers would be sued and the federal government would use its full force to outlaw the product.

In today’s scenario, the exact opposite is true. With this one product, you are forced to use it. You are coerced to put it into your body (and your child’s or infant’s body) at the price of losing your income, your livelihood or your ability to do just about anything else required to survive and flourish in life — go to the store, the movies, fly on a plane, etc. Failing that, you are morally ground into the dust by everything and everyone for daring even to question whether the vaccine might or might not be the best idea for you at the present time. This very post you’re reading probably will not be on social media in another 18-24 hours.

Imagine an ineffective product — a car that stops running after 10,000 miles, or a computer that only works for two weeks — whose ineffectiveness is blamed on THE FACT THAT NOT EVERYONE BOUGHT IT. The irrationality of such a context is too absurd to contemplate. Yet that’s the hideous reality in which we now live.

None of this is sane. None of this is justified. None of this is rational, benevolent or civilized. It’s a grotesque perversion of medical science to call anything remotely like these behaviors and attitudes “scientific.” It’s an obscenity, quite frankly, so amazingly wrong and bad that it brings to mind the worst moments of Maoist China and Hitler’s Germany … or perhaps the Middle Ages, where waves of collective madness reportedly swept entire towns.

Increasingly, there are no words. All the sane — vaccinated or not — can do is ponder, remain stunned and keep their quiet horror to themselves, since speaking out seems to do little good against a tidal wave of unprecendented madness.

These times are not for the weak of heart. Nor for the sane of mind.

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

By the Numbers, a Failed Presidency

If the left believed that draping the Capitol riot of Jan. 6, 2021, around the neck of former President Donald Trump and the party that refused to repudiate him would sink the GOP, it appears to have miscalculated.

For, as the left painted the Capitol riot as an “armed insurrection,” “domestic terrorism,” “attempted coup,” and political atrocity that stands beside Pearl Harbor and 9/11 as “a day that will live in infamy,” Republicans were displacing the Democrats as America’s first party.

Democrats began 2021 as the preferred party of 49% of the country. Only 40% identified as Republicans.

When 2022 began, the standings had been reversed.

Forty-two percent of Americans identified as Democrats, and 47% as Republicans, a turnaround of 14 points.

While President Joe Biden began 2021 with an approval rating in the mid-50s, he ended the year with an approval rating in the low 40s. One national poll showed Biden’s approval rating sinking to 33%.

On Wednesday, a Politico/Morning Consult survey came out that showed that 37% of Americans awarded Biden a grade of “F” for his first year, with another 12% giving him a “D.” School kids with grades like that risk being held back a year or expelled.

On his handling of the issues of immigration and restoring national unity, 40% of Americans flunked Biden. On the economy, 38% gave him an “F.”

Also, in that Politico survey, 68% of respondents said America is on the “wrong track,” more than twice the number who believe she is heading in the “right direction.”

In this same survey, Biden’s overall approval stands at 40%.

What is the message that the totality of these numbers conveys?

Democrat and media obsession with Jan. 6, their vast exaggeration of what happened, and the campaign to indict the GOP as a mortal threat to “American democracy” has failed as a strategy. And Biden’s presidency is seen by the people he leads as a failing presidency.

If the election of 2022 were held next Tuesday, Democrats would be swept from power in both houses of Congress, and a Republican Congress would face a lame-duck President Joe Biden for the next two years.

And it is hard to see any deus ex machina waiting in the wings to prevent what is coming: gridlocked U.S. government from 2023 to 2025.

Indeed, when one considers the political situation one year after Biden’s inauguration and 10 months before the 2022 elections, how Biden turns things around for himself, his presidency and his party is not easy to see.

The foremost issue in the public mind is the economy, inflation in particular. The consumer price index has been surging at 7%. But for the Federal Reserve to put on the brakes to control inflation could mean a major hit in the stock market, which was robust in Biden’s first year.

If Biden is fighting stagflation by the fourth quarter of calendar year 2022 — as Jimmy Carter was in 1980 — Democratic candidates will be avoiding him the way Stacey Abrams shunned him on his visit to Atlanta.

A second issue on which Biden is racking up failing grades in the public’s mind is immigration, which means the southern border across which some 2 million illegal immigrants from more than 100 countries poured in 2021. Biden has conceded that he has no chance of dealing with the crisis legislatively because of GOP opposition in Congress.

And his unhappy progressive allies would not permit Biden to employ the means necessary to halt the invasion of the country whose borders he has sworn to protect and defend.

Another issue gaining traction is the explosion of flash mob robberies and shootings and killings in Democratic-run cities, coupled with the perception that progressives are soft on criminals and tough on cops.

Saturday, a week ago, Michelle Alyssa Go, a 40-year-old New Yorker, was shoved to her death in front of a subway train at Times Square station by a “homeless” person.

Atrocities like this are now almost daily fare, and the stories and video are moving public opinion back to the law-and-order attitudes that worked so well for the Republican Party in the Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan eras.

As for the coronavirus, the Biden administration neither anticipated nor prepared for the delta and omicron variants. And no one knows where we will be next November — hopefully, in a better place.

As of now, Biden is a drag on the Democratic Party at the national level, and very probably in the off-year election in November.

What began his slide in public approval last August was a foreign policy debacle, the perception of a bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan.

And how Biden handles the Ukraine crisis ginned up by Russian President Vladimir Putin may come to be seen as a reflection of his mastery of foreign policy, or his ineptitude.

Ukraine could be determinant in history’s judgment of Biden’s presidency.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”