I only just realized I have not updated Ye Olde Blogrolle in a while, and since there are scads of new guys out there that I’m checking in on frequently and excerpting, I needed to get on the stick. In fact, I’ma put the newer ones in their own category, although maybe some of those folks might take some small issue with it. Either way, be on the lookout for: Alt-American.
And now that I dive into it, I see that A) I need to weed out a good few now-inactive links, and B) the WP Social Blogroll widget hasn’t been updated in, like, years. Since a good many of you have let me know how useful you find that feature, I’m just glad it hasn’t been broken by any WP upgrades and still functions properly.
Update! Okay, those of you who pay any attention to the blogroll in the first place may notice that I’ve weeded out plenty of the inactives, but did leave one or two in. Like, in particular, Billy Beck’s Two-Four. There’s a reason, in his case especially: Billy was so perceptive, his perspective so unique, and his writing so damned deft and incisive that even though it may not be current, he’s still worth a look, and I think keeping a link to him here might be of no small value. The man saw so much of the hideousness we’re currently trying to deal with coming way before just about anybody else. He was sharp and sometimes grouchy; he did NOT suffer fools gladly. But he was also almost always dead on the money.
Billy used to comment here now and then, and we had a quite enjoyable and enlightening (well, for me) e-mail correspondence going for a while there too. Truth is, I miss the guy, and I wonder what he might have to say about current conditions. I think I’ll shoot an e-mail to the old address and see if I can raise him. If I do, I’ll let y’all know; maybe I could even entice him into co-blogger status here, which would thrill me no end. Either way, his place is well worth a click, and I can’t recommend his work highly enough.
And I betcha I can name at least one other old-school OG, another good old long-time friend, who will know just what I’m talking about, and will be commenting enthusiastically here on the matter in a mere trice. No, I shan’t name any names. Ahem.
Updated update! You all knew where that update had to lead, right?
I reply to this post because you pose implicit questions which I have long regarded as important and more pressing as each year goes by.
In my view, the very fact that these questions arise in my lifetime is historically significant in a way which cannot responsibly be dismissed. For example: the very idea of armed resistance against the government would have been perfectly alien to my grandfather’s view of America. It simply would never have occurred to him, and the sound of any such discussion in the terms that we hear today would have fallen very strangely on his ear.
I believe that the most divergent of outlooks might yet agree that something is terribly amiss in our country. This is not to say that everything was just peachy in 1953. To cite a single example: my grandfather (a second generation German-American railroad engineer in the northeast) was well aware of the problem of race relations vis-a-vis civil rights – that was a big problem which was going to be a struggle to solve. He knew it wouldn’t be pretty, and Birmingham and Little Rock confirmed his apprehensions. However, he believed that Americans and their institutions would come to their senses, and their sense of justice, and that the pain of those times would bear fruit.
As I said; any discussion of armed resistance would have been absurd to his political outlook.
Bear with me.
I make this point, and cite this single example, in order to illustrate the scope of political challenge in America today. Without diminishing (please!) the importance of, or blood-sweat-&-tears investment in, the civil rights movement, it seems clear to me that it cannot compare to the urgency of the problem which is manifest in the very existence of a “militia movement”. I will stand corrected if I am mistaken, but I think that the last time so many people seriously uttered the words “civil war” in America (outside of history class), we actually fought one. Today, lots of people on every side do their best not to utter that phrase out loud…and they are less successful as time passes. Many people don’t make the pretense of circumspection.
It has long been my view that American political affairs were necessarily bound for such straits. I began studying politics (both as a branch of classical philosophy and the modern practice of “public policy”) at an early age, in 1969. My attention was necessarily drawn to corollaries of economics and history. I grew to adulthood casting a fishy eye at the disintegration of a culture, worried over it. Call me doctrinaire, but I have always been a libertarian, which is to say (without any partisan affiliation); I am convinced of the truth and imperative of human freedom. There is no other way for a culture to thrive and flourish to the greatest possible happiness of its inhabitants, than for each of them to make their own way by their own lights.
The past thirty years or so have been a case-study of the opposite course.
The most cursory glance at this period shows us two things: 1) Government of every species has steadily waxed large and prevalent. There can be no rational denial of this. 2) A general “Index of Dismay” has steadily increased. (I use the term loosely to denote a mixed bag of cultural symptoms which indicate decay, without specific references. Everyone, I think, could point out their favorites; crime rates, rising economic class disparities, decline of morality, declining civility of discourse, appalling new species of corruption and their flagrance, etc. Take your pick.)
I maintain that there is a direct correlation between these two observations.
See what I mean? Prescient, well-reasoned, well-argued. If Bill Beck could be said to represent a type, then we need all of his type we can get.