Andy Divine depends on the ignorance of his readers, Episode MCCVII: On Concentration Camps & more pressing Evils. Old Socialist comments

I’ll bypass the first two installments of the Mr. Divine’s encyclical of June 21, 2019:

The Next Step for Gay Pride

The Trump Code

I’ll just read this next segment of moral shaming with which Andy confronts his readers:

The Totalitarian Nightmare the World Is Ignoring

I don’t want a new Cold War with China. But it is, in my view, an evil regime, and we should have no illusions about that. Twitter has been having a great time this past week parsing whether detention camps for illegal immigrants in the United States should be called “concentration camps.” In China, this debate might seem somewhat beside the point. Over a million Muslims who have crossed no border and committed no crimes are being taken from their homes en masse and subjected to brainwashing in vast camps and compounds from which there is no escape. Watch this excellent new BBC piece on these “thought transformation camps” — and feel the fear everywhere. The BBC was given access to a show camp, which is creepy enough. We can only imagine what goes on in the hidden ones.

Somehow Andy has become an expert on ‘concentration camps’: now Andy isn’t very adroit about his attack on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and her very welcome plain speaking on the concentration camps used by ICE to hold the Mestizo Hordes ,that are invading the land of Anglo-Protestant virtue, as articulated by that American political hysteric Samuel P. Huntington: in his Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity. The separation of children/infants from their parents , not to speak of caging these human beings, is an action used by Trump and his minions: ‘Give me your tired,your poor ,your huddled masses…’! An utter betrayal of ‘American Values’ ?

Andy likes to engage in the time honored tradition of One-up-man-ship pioneered by Stephen Potter. Virtue signalling is the current term of abuse, but Potter’s old stand-by fully describes Andy’s dull-witted practice . His argument:  You’ve averted your eyes from the ‘Evil Chinese Regime‘  for too long -its Human Rights abuses! In sum, the Concentration Camps used by ICE are by comparison to the Chinese Regime’s forms of oppression/re-education are evil, while the human rights abuses practiced by ICE are subject to a kind of pseudo- apologetic! In sum,  the crimes of ICE are minimized in comparison to the Chinese.


On the left, we worry about Islamophobia, or we expend our energies protesting the oppression of Palestinians by Israel’s occupation. On the right, we talk of religious freedom too often as if it only applies to Christians or Jews.

Yet, here is a man and writer whose moral/political enthusiasms for ‘The Bell Curve’ and the War in Iraq are facts that Andy can’t overcome. At least with his readers whose memories reach back to Andy’s reprehensible political past.  Andy achieves his ends by means of hectoring moralizing, in service to Andy’s pathological egotism, wedded to his political nihilism.

Old Socialist


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Andy Divine vilifies the heretics, episode MMMLXIX : ‘When the Ideologues Come for the Kids’ . Old Socialist comments

When reliable Inquisitor Andy Divine isn’t making holy war against Middlebury College, he likes to keep busy. See this valuable essay from The National Review by Andrew Stutterford of March 11, 2017, that takes Andy’s New York Magazine essay on the Charles Murray/Middlebury controversy.  Note that Andy, as editor of The New Republic, published on October 31, 1994, this essay by Charles Murray and Richard J. Herrnstein titled Race, Genes and I.Q. — An Apologia, The case for conservative multiculturalism, so his political investment in Murray is of long standing.

Andy’s cultivated ignorance of American institutional, academic racism, brazenly expressed by his publication of this excerpt, that caused an open rebellion of the staff writers of this magazine, remains beyond the ken of this scribbler! Mr. Stutterford offers an ally to Andy in William Deresiewicz in The American Scholar ‘ form writing more explicitly from the left’ provides some Conservative perspective?

Unmentioned is the hysterical intervention of ‘The Coddling of the American Mind’ that was published, in its essay form, in The Atlantic of September 2015:

Recall that old saw ‘idle hands are the devil’s workshop’? I know that I must have heard this many times in Sunday School, at Youth Night and Vacation Bible School! Andy’s latest encyclical provides clear evidence that Andy, like the good Catholic, is a dedicated even hysterical exponent of the continuing project of Inquisition.

A long descriptive passage of the University of Chicago Press web site provides some needed context for Andy’s mania,  with its introduction to Karen Sullivan’s ‘The Inner Lives of Medieval Inquisitors‘:

There have been numerous studies in recent decades of the medieval inquisitions, most emphasizing larger social and political circumstances and neglecting the role of the inquisitors themselves. In this volume, Karen Sullivan sheds much-needed light on these individuals and reveals that they had choices—both the choice of whether to play a part in the orthodox repression of heresy and, more frequently, the choice of whether to approach heretics with zeal or with charity.

In successive chapters on key figures in the Middle Ages—Bernard of Clairvaux, Dominic Guzmán, Conrad of Marburg, Peter of Verona, Bernard Gui, Bernard Délicieux, and Nicholas Eymerich—Sullivan shows that it is possible to discern each inquisitor making personal, moral choices as to what course of action he would take. All medieval clerics recognized that the church should first attempt to correct heretics through repeated admonitions and that, if these admonitions failed, it should then move toward excluding them from society. Yet more charitable clerics preferred to wait for conversion, while zealous clerics preferred not to delay too long before sending heretics to the stake. By considering not the external prosecution of heretics during the Middles Ages, but the internal motivations of the preachers and inquisitors who pursued them, as represented in their writings and in those of their peers, The Inner Lives of Medieval Inquisitors explores how it is that the most idealistic of purposes can lead to the justification of such dark ends.

Unlike some of these men , Andy doesn’t believe or practice All medieval clerics recognized that the church should first attempt to correct heretics through repeated admonitions… his first resort is to engage in an unremitting public shaming of those deviationists. It’s the rhetorical formula of choice for Andy, and his vilification of his identified apostates, that seek to find new ways of conceiving, thinking, behaving toward other persons, in and out of their care, both personal and civic: Andy can’t let go of his Patriarchal Attitudes, to use Eva Figes book title as descriptor.That we all share a common civic/political destiny is again beyond Andy’s ken!

And is the appearance of those dreaded ‘French Philosophers’ a surprise? Those evil ‘Marxist Post-Modernists’ the reliable straw-men of New World Intellectual Hick Jordan Peterson. The political ghosts of these thinkers/writers are a fabled repository of mendacious error. These reliable bad actors, a function of New World intellectual xenophobes!

One of the key aspects about social-justice theory is that it’s completely unfalsifiable (as well as unreadable); it’s a closed circle that refers only to itself and its own categories. (For a searing take down of this huge academic con, check out Douglas Murray’s superb new book, The Madness of Crowds.) The forces involved — “white supremacy,” “patriarchy,” “heterosexism” — are all invisible to the naked eye, like the Holy Spirit. Their philosophical origins — an attempt by structuralist French philosophers to rescue what was left of Marxism in the 1960s and 1970s — are generally obscured in any practical context. Like religion, you cannot prove any of its doctrines empirically, but children are being forced into believing them anyway. This is hard, of course, as this teacher explains: “I’m trying. I am. But you know how the saying goes: You can lead a White male to anti-racism, but you can’t make him think.”

Andy is given to verbosity, I have skipped over much of his rambling, as just that. Let me recommend three books on French Philosophy and French Theory:


Old Socialist







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The Heroes and Villains in Niall Ferguson’s latest xenophobic screed. Old Socialist comments

Headline: America’s power is on a financial knife edge

Sub-headline: China’s online payment platforms are the real threat to US hegemony

Mr. Ferguson simply can’t let go of that old  Western and British straw-man of The Yellow Peril, and its racial and ethnic paranoia, mixed with a generous helping of political version of that same fixation.  Alibaba and Tencent  are the instruments of the unslakable Chinese will to political/economic hegemony on the world stage.

If America is smart, it will wake up and start competing for dominance in digital payments. The shortest cut to a system to rival Alibaba and Tencent is Libra, the digital currency proposed by Facebook, which, with its 2.4bn active users, is uniquely positioned to create something on a Chinese scale — and fast. This would not be a true blockchain cryptocurrency, but more like a digital currency in the Chinese style, with the difference that it would be backed by a reserve, held in Switzerland, of dollars and other main currencies.

In his overwrought political melodrama, its Facebook’s Libra that can, indeed must ride to the rescue of the American indispensable economic leadership!

A bit of honesty might just put Mr. Ferguson’s polemic in its proper perspective. First Mr. Zuckerberg and the Winklevoss Twins were looking for dates, that required the rating of women as to their ‘hotness’. So look for the origins of Libra to that of ‘Lean In’ evangelist Cheryl Sandberg, protege of Larry Summers. But can its save U.S. Economic dominance! Mr. Ferguson has some answers:

History teaches us power is inseparable from financial power. The country that leads in financial innovation leads in every way: from Renaissance Italy, through imperial Spain, the Dutch republic and the British Empire to post-1930s America. Only lose that financial leadership — just ask poor Mr Pound, once worth $4.86 — and you lose your place as global hegemon.

The US-China rivalry today (what I call the Second Cold War ) is too focused on trade and telecoms. Washington needs to turn its attention, as a matter of urgency, to the race for monetary leadership, which America is in danger of losing.

The New Cold War has been brewing for quite some time, without Mr. Ferguson’s help, one need only look to the Ukrainian Coup and the contentions in the South China Sea as two of its manifestations.

Old Socialist

P. S. Not to forget the Western NGO inspired Hong Kong Riots:

Behind a made-for-TV Hong Kong protest narrative, Washington is backing nativism and mob violence





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@MichaelEOHanlon ‘reviews’ Mattis’s ‘Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead’. Political Observer comments



A how-to guide for managing the end of the post-Cold War era.

Headline: The place of military history in today’s defense planning

From the highfalutin ‘Order From Chaos’, the rubric under which Mr. O’Hanlon’s essay is framed by its headline, to where?  Is this writer outside his area of expertise in matters military?  He began his career as a budget analyst.Yet Mr. O’Hanlon reviews James Mattis’s  Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead. 

As an example of O’Hanlon’s approach to this book, this quotation is demonstrative,  if a bit out of order of its presentation.

Without giving away too many of the book’s best nuggets, it is worth noting a couple examples of how Mattis used history to guide his thinking and leadership.

Exactly who is this  ‘review’s’ audience? Are we in the territory of BestSeller Fiction? ‘Giving away too many of the book’s best nuggets…’ assures the reader that O’Hanlon is not a reliable nor honest critic?  Further reading  proves that this writer is in the business of currying favor with powerful men. I’ve skipped ahead as the in-order-too of advancing into O’Hanlon’s argument , and the first actual clue about what might constitute the Mattis character.

After all, though Trump liked to call him “Mad Dog Mattis,” and though “Chaos” is the nickname that Mattis (and coauthor Bing West) chose to employ in the book’s title, the never-married and book-worm’ish Mattis also had a third sobriquet:  “warrior monk.”

The tendency is to dwell somewhat excessively on the lessons of World War II and the Cold War — which translates for many into an expectation of new cold or even hot wars with Russia and China. Again, the point is that this was a type of conversation you could have with Mattis (who liked to begin conversations by asking, “what am I getting wrong, what am I missing?”).

‘For many’ is the amorphous place holder, for a widely held opinion,without proof of its validity.

What is particularly impressive about these and other cases is not just that Mattis could dredge up these kinds of historical allusions and precedents when writing his memoirs at a quiet study in Washington State or Stanford University, where he often hangs his hat these days. Rather, he had the deep knowledge of history to think of its lessons quickly and easily even when under pressure — indeed, at times even when under fire. Among his other favorites are Thucydides’ accounts of the ancient Peloponnesian Wars; the writings and sayings of Marcus Aurelius, Clausewitz, and Napoleon; and the Paratrooper’s Prayer from a young French lieutenant in the desert campaign of World War II.

In sum Mattis as presented by O’Hanlon is an intellectual. Yet how can he be both of the intellect and remain a ‘warrior monk’ ? A conundrum that a Neo-Conservative, like O’Hanlon, feels to be an expression of kinship? Or the imagined propinquity between a clerk and a man of action?

The tendency is to dwell somewhat excessively on the lessons of World War II and the Cold War — which translates for many into an expectation of new cold or even hot wars with Russia and China. Again, the point is that this was a type of conversation you could have with Mattis (who liked to begin conversations by asking, “what am I getting wrong, what am I missing?”).

And note the New Cold War against both Russia and China are facts, and O’Hanlon one of its ideologists, who finds an abode at Brookings,  along with his fellow travelers.

While he may be among the best of them, Mattis is far from the only modern American officer who studies and expounds on military history. Retired Admiral Bill McRaven, the man who ultimately did “get bin Laden” when leading Special Operations Command, wrote a gem of a history of covert operations (mostly from World War II) in a book called Spec Ops. Retired Generals Stanley McChrystal, David Petraeus, and John Allen are among those who frequently consult U.S. Civil War history as a guide to all aspects of combat. Retired Admiral James Stavridis traces the evolution of U.S. naval strategy in his recent book, Sea Power. The U.S. military’s war colleges, where most mid-career officers headed for higher command spend a year or two in their careers, are still strong in these disciplines. The military service chiefs have required reading lists for their personnel with heavy representation by the tomes of history.

And O’Hanlon is not above some strategic genuflecting to some very powerful retired military men, that might be advantageous in future.

Even more so than is usually the case with hot new bestsellers that generate a political buzz, Mattis’s book is one you really should read, rather than simply read about.

The last sentence proves that O’Hanlon is not just a Technocrat, but a Courtier.

Political Observer

The place of military history in today’s defense planning










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Reply @natureslover_s

Cotton Mather was the first American Judge! This Historical Fact & his use of ‘Spectral Evidence’ was the precursor to American Jurists’ proclaiming the American Law Court as above Morality! Add to this Scalia’s on ‘innocence’ as explicated by Lee Kovarsky.

Justice Scalia’s position on actual innocence issues was inseparable from his hostility to death penalty “abolition,” and he viewed abolitionists as ringleaders of the wrongful- convictions movement. Sensing the threat that wrongful executions posed to the sanctity of state criminal process, he spent his latter years on the Bench arguing that estimates of
such events were inflated. He was unable, however, to command a majority on his more controversial ideas about actual innocence in death penalty cases. Instead, his officially
expressed views appear in a “tetralogy” of auxiliary opinions: opinions concurring with judgments in Herrera v. Collins4 and Kansas v. Marsh, 5 an opinion concurring with the denial of certiorari in Callins v. Collins, 6 and an opinion dissenting from
the order granting a fact-finding transfer to a district court in In re Troy Davis. 7
Collectively, the Tetralogy captures Justice Scalia at both his most and his least effective. His sometimes-dazzling epistemological critique forced a more analytically rigorous
restatement of actual innocence doctrine. His foundational premise, however, was that the reliability of state guilt determinations was not systematically overstated. As evidence
inconsistent with that premise mounted, however, he refused to acknowledge its enormous doctrinal implications. By the time of his death, his basic epistemological insight had become the most effective weapon against the deference to state criminal
process that he had originally used it to promote.


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@The Economist & on Boris Johnson and the Tories. Old Socialist comments

I supply a selection of quotes from The Economist of September 5, 2019 :

Headline: How Britain’s staid Conservative Party became a radical insurgency

Sub-headline: The Tories’ transformation leaves surviving MPs feeling uneasy

The trio were among 21 Conservative mps to have the whip withdrawn and be barred from standing for the party again after they supported a plan to make Boris Johnson, the prime minister, seek a delay to Britain’s scheduled departure from the European Union on October 31st (see next story). The purge was only the most visible part of a revolution that is transforming the world’s oldest political party. Those who advocate fiscal prudence, social liberalism and an orderly departure from the eu have been routed. Those who demand free-spending authoritarianism and a “do-or-die” escape from the yoke of Brussels are ascendant. ConservativeHome, a blog for party activists, described this week as “the end of the Conservative Party as we have known it”. It proved too much for even the prime minister’s brother, Jo, who resigned as an mp on September 5th, “torn between family loyalty and the national interest”.

Setting the route is Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s chief adviser who will not even say whether he is a member of the Conservatives. When running for office, Mr Johnson promised an inclusive, “one nation” style of government. Instead, he has set about shaking the country’s institutions, suspending Parliament for the longest period since 1945 in order to reduce the time mps have to debate Brexit. Hitherto unimaginable tactics, such as asking the queen to veto anti-no-deal legislation, are now openly discussed. “This Conservative government…seems to not be very conservative, fiscally or institutionally,” noted Ryan Shorthouse of Bright Blue, a liberal Tory think-tank.

Sir Roger Gale, an mp since 1983, declared: “You have, at the heart of Number 10, as the prime minister’s senior adviser, an unelected, foul-mouthed oaf.” A “One Nation” group of about 100 moderate Conservative mps have demanded that Mr Johnson reinstate their sacked colleagues.

“What this country needs is sensible, moderate, progressive Conservative government,” declared Mr Johnson during a stilted performance in prime minister’s questions on September 4th. Yet with the Tory party in its current state, Britain will have to wait.

Compare the above with Mr. Rachman’s world historical view:

Headline:Boris Johnson’s Britain is a test case for strongman politics

Sub-Headline: If the UK can resist the virus, it will do a service to democracy around the world

In recent years, strongman politics has flourished all over the world. It is no longer confined to authoritarian states such as China and Russia. As Mr Trump, Mr Orban and Mr Bolsonaro have all demonstrated, even democracies can elect leaders who revel in a cult of personality and delight in their willingness to trample over political and legal norms.

The strongman playbook is now well-established. Its key features include a willingness to bend or break the law; to fire public servants if they fail to demonstrate loyalty; and to delight supporters with “politically incorrect” comments on race and sex. The strongmen justify their contempt for liberal niceties by claiming that they represent the people against a corrupt and out-of-touch political class.

With the aid of some further politically valuable garnish, strongman politics’ is the framing that allows Mr. Rachman to maintain his ‘world historicalism’ , the key to his Olympian view. Yet the Posh Boys and Girls of The Economist manage to speak, not in the patois of an Olympian, but in the politically demotic.

But note , what is utterly absent from both these political interventions, is the fact that  Neo-Liberalism, that caused the Depression of 2008, is the absent cause of the both the ‘Conservative Party became a radical insurgency’ of the Economist writers and the strongman politics’ that Mr.  Rachman inveighs against, to engage myself a bit of well placed reductivism! 




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From the Versailles Dining Room at the Hoover Institution, Niall Ferguson opines on the Johnson Family Melodrama: Old Socialist comments

Headline: It’s a bad week when BoJo’s bro Jo goes

Sub-headline:Jo Johnson’s resignation reminds us how fraternity can turn to enmity

The reader can only wonder at who wrote the headline to Mr. Ferguson’s essay? its an atrocity that should be emblazoned on the pages of a modern tabloid rag. Instead its about the editors of the good, grey Times trying to appeal to that younger demographic? That is restricted to that rarest of political breeds the Tory Hipster, like the Financial Times’ Janan Ganesh. But on further reading this appears:

“Blow for Bojo as bro Jo go goes,” was the London Evening Standard’s headline, which suggests that the chief sub-editor has been reading Dr Seuss’s Fox in Socks to the kids at bedtime.

To discuss Mr. Ferguson’s strategy , which is to evade in his circuitous literary way the Tories in political route. By way of the Johnson Family Melodrama in terms of the sibling rivalry of brothers.  Mr. Ferguson offers this revelation :

Never having had a brother, I have always rather envied my sons their fraternal relationships.

In the spirit of Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals’, this reader wonders at what might have happened if Mr. Ferguson’s brother had shared John Maynard Keynes’ sexual orientation?

That ‘circuitous literary way’  is exemplified in this paragraph:

There are two truly great novels — both of Scottish provenance — that revolve around fraternal feuding: James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Master of Ballantrae. In each case, the rival brothers are chalk and cheese — one good-hearted, the other diabolical. Jo has probably read them. Boris probably hasn’t.

His political strategy of shifting the focus away from the Tory political route, by his use of the Johnson Family Melodrama, in which he uses his skill as writer, in an attempt to beguile the reader is so politically transparent of his motive…


Old Socialist



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To the Posh Boys & Girls @TheEconomist

Here is the Real Landmark! Even ‘you’ gave Piketty’s Capital a five part review, plus the usual hysterical, but mercifully short dismissal.

Headline: Thomas Piketty’s “Capital”, summarised in four paragraphs

Sub-headline: A very brief summary of “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”

Kudos to R.A. for her/his enlightening review that undermined the above Capitalist Apologetic! Part one:

Old Socialist


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