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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Morning Blah: August 31, 2010

Here in Beaumont-land, we're inagurating a new feature. The Heritage Foundation has its Morning Bell feature; however, my morning behavior is anything but bell-like. Bill the Cat, from the old "Bloom County" comic strip, is my role model for the pre-9AM hours.

So, I hereby announce (with a fanfare of coughs and grunts) the Morning Blah. A concise analysis of the day's trends with no attempt whatever at slippery concepts like "balance" or "fairness".

Seriously, if you aren't convinced that the country is in trouble, them you haven't been paying attention. Pull your head out, abandon your preconceptions, and think things through.

Oil prices continue to drop. CORN prices are dropping; not a trend that most would anticipate, maybe. Folks, when bulk commodity prices drop -- including foodstuffs -- it illustrates a deeper weakness in the economy than generally realized. As we have previously noted, we like lower prices, but the process of deflation would entail a great deal of pain for most people.

Contrast the USA's economic decline with the BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China), which are growing, some with rates approaching 10%. Are these countries going to be the new world leaders? Well, not necessarily.

Brazil is energy-independent and exports many agricultural products; Russia has oil and natural gas; India has a rapidly growing industrial base. China, however, is much more dependent on exports of finished goods than the others, and has been playing a shell game with its currency for years. The Chinese must maintain an appearance of rapid growth or face devastating unrest.

Consider this scenario: as the capacity (due to economic circumstances) or willingness (due to resurgent patriotism) of the US to import Chinese goods diminishes, China would face a crisis. As a nation built on exports --primarily to the US -- founders, the losses must be made up in some way. The huge stocks of precious and strategic metals that the Chinese government has accumulated will begin to lose value as the world economy weakens further.

In order to provide at least a temporary infusion of cash, and also "save face" ( a concept the West understands little of) the Chinese dump large quantities of metals on world markets. Gold, silver, platinum, germanium, etc. -- prices drop abruptly.

In the past, we have seen that abrupt price drops in one commodity can begin a cascade effect among other commodities. One result is that world currencies can be diluted. When that happens, Brazilian grain, Russian oil, Indian goods are all worth less to buyers, and cost more to produce. Of course, the same factors affect the US, Europe, and Japan. We can see where it goes from there.

Some economists are beginning to toss around the term "depression". That would seem an accurate desription of the effects of such a scenario.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Unstable? Really?

Uber-leftist MSNBC host Ed Schultz recently learned that he had not been included in a promo for the network. He launched into a tirade, yelling, "I'm gonna burn this f------ place down!"

When management told him that any repetition of such behavior would result in his dismissal, he reportedly broke down and cried on the spot.

Our culture views such people as "unstable" or "stressed". No doubt those descriptions are true within a limited frame of reference. But is there a deeper reality behind such definitions?

I submit that there is. Popular American thought (now there's an oxymoron) likes to avoid the mere suggestion that spirituality issues may be involved with emotional or mental issues.

Obviously, this is not news to people of faith. But we tend to forget it.

Allow me to suggest a refresher for those who have neglected this idea, or a primer for those who have never considered it. Pick up a copy of C.S. Lewis' "That Hideous Strength". I can virtually guarantee that you will recognize people you know in the characters. Possibly, even yourself.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Economic education the easy way

Many Americans have little or no understanding of how the U.S. economy works. This is not surprising, since our government schools (not "public" schools) rarely teach anything of the sort, and the material they do offer is geared toward big-government, Keynesian/authoritarian schools of thought. Little or no effort is devoted to teaching the principles of economic freedom that made the USA the world's most successful economy -- not just in its own era, but in the world's history.

I have been asked to offer some suggestions as to how a person with little background in either political thought or economics can educate themselves. It's actually not difficult, and I can offer two sources in particular that will enlighten the seeker in both areas.

The first is Thomas Sowell. An economist of long standing, he has written more books on the free market than anyone else this blogger is aware of. A good starting place would be his articles at After that, one could go to his classic book "Basic Economics", or his current one, "Dismantling America".

The second is Walter Williams. Another economist, he speaks and writes frequently on free-market issues. His columns can be found at For books, try "Liberty Versus the Tyranny of Socialism".

These men are literally founts of wisdom. Warning: exposure to their writings will change your view of the world.

Down the rabbit hole we go...

... but, unlike Alice, we won't find Wonderland at the other end.

Major stock benchmarks have dropped for a second consecutive week. Existing home sales dropped 27% in July. Oil prices are dropping due to pessimism in economic forecasts. More and more people are aware of threats hanging over our economy, ranging from the incipient crisis in public-employee pensions to the massive tax increase due in 2011.

Is this the beginning of an all-but-inevitable decline in the US (and, by extension, the world) economy? Does pessimism play a role in making the situation a self-fulfilling prophecy? And does that matter?

The answers are 1) very possibly so, 2) yes, and 3) no.

At this point in time, no real hope is evident for avoiding an economic crisis. Boosterism and blind hope are maintaining an image of an economy in recovery -- in other words, nobody wants to believe it's as bad as it really is. The only real question is the timing of that event, and no one can accurately predict it prior to its beginning.

When the hammer does fall, however, look for many talking heads and self-proclaimed experts to say that they knew it all along. Accord them the level of respect they deserve.

As to pessimism, the challenge is to define it. Yesterday's negativity is today's realism. In large part, our economy runs on wishful thinking. The problems we face are legion, and no one is attempting to seriously address them. Eventually, fantasy will be forced aside by reality, and whatever we would like to believe simply won't matter.

Despite all this, we have no reason to abandon hope. Events will run their course, and the innate tendency of economies is to seek equilibrium. We may suffer greatly in the interim, as the failed policies of the last hundred years are exposed and discarded, but if we remain committed to sound principles, we will prosper again.

Those principles are both personal and national. They are identical in both cases. Don't live beyond your means. Insist on value given and received. Live according to a high standard.

As odd as it may sound, the only requirement for freedom and prosperity is a "moral and virtuous people". That's something the Founders were well aware of, and something we have, today, largely lost sight of.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Two tastes that don't taste great together: Obama and faith

The NY Times, CNN, et al., are very upset at the results of a TIME magazine poll indicating that a growing number of likely voters (89% of the respondents, self-identified) believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim. This poll follows closely upon his endorsement of the Hamasque project, and his hosting of a Ramadan dinner in the White House. Such actions on the part of a sitting President do not sit well with many Americans. Why, then, do the media seem so shocked at the poll results? Could it be that Barry really is Muslim?

It is more likely that Obama is not a person of faith at all, although he is undoubtedly a Muslim sympathizer. Now, why should you credit this idea? Let's examine some incidents from his history:

His father was Muslim, and so under Islamic law, he is considered Muslim.

After abandonment by his father, he was raised by his mother's family, who endorsed socialist and communist ideals. Socialism and its ideological fellows are not sympathetic to religious faith.

When his mother remarried, he attended a Muslim school in Indonesia.

Upon arriving in Chicago, he began attending Jeremiah Wright's church, Trinity United Church of Christ. Now, despite its name, the church teaches black liberation theology. This is not a theology that most Christians would recognize as Christian at all. Among other things, they endorse "collective salvation", the belief that unless all are saved, no one can be saved. The Pope has denounced this idea as demonic, as it is directly opposed to the idea of individual salvation through acceptance of Christ.

Wright's church was regarded as the premier black church in Chicago. As such, it was the perfect place for a young black man with political ambitions.

Obama is known to carry a small statue of a Hindu monkey god in his pocket. After his election, Hindus in India built and dedicated a new statue of the god in a temple, in his honor.

Since his election, despite many protestations of faith and Biblical-sounding references in speeches, he has not attended church.

In summary, then, Barack Obama appears to be nothing more than an opportunist who will don whatever theological garment he believes will serve him best, as long as such devices do not conflict with his inborn prejudices. For evidence of those prejudices, examine his treatment of Israel, of conservative Christians, and of the Dalai Lama.

And ask yourself how much you can trust him.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Conversations with the spouse, Part 2

Recently, the Beau-mate and I took a couple of days off to visit a nearby city. On road trips, she usually drives, since she enjoys doing so, and I navigate.

We took a wrong turn and found ourselves in a very scenic, but hilly and unfamiliar maze of streets. In that great tradition of cities everywhere, once you're off the main roads, the signage is no help at all.

I dug out our handy and incredibly un-detailed folding map and attempted to discover our whereabouts while the car's speed steadily increased.

ME: Slow down a little -- these signs are all behind trees and bushes. I can't read them before we pass them.

HER: I'm not going that fast!

ME: Okay, stay in this lane. (She immediately moves into the other lane.)

HER: You didn't say which lane.

ME: The lane you were in when I said, "Stay in this lane".

HER: (Approaching a split in the road) Which way do I turn?

ME: Slow down so I can read the street signs. (Immediately zooms down the right-hand road)

ME: We need to turn around. Don't go any farther.

HER: Okay, okay. You should have said so before now.

You just can't make this stuff up

A Memphis city councilwoman issued an apology to the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials for an incident during a riverboat party last week, involving the councilwoman, dancing, and a pole. She claimed that she was not intoxicated at the time.

The councilwoman's name? Janis Fullilove.

Early deflation indicator, part II

I regret an omission in my last post: I did not explicitly link Iceland's decline in inflation with possible deflation.

A rapid drop in the inflation rate may be a harbinger of deflation to come, but, as the ancient Chinese philosophers said, "Here comes the fun part." We'll just have to see.

My stellar typing skills initially rendered deflation as "dedflation". Now that I think about it, that may be a good, concise description of its effect.

Early deflation indicator?

Iceland's central bank has cut a "key" interest rate to 7%, down a full percentage point.

For those who don't typically keep up with financial news, Iceland was an early casualty of the current worldwide economic crisis. The Icelanders discovered that their economy was built upon a house of cards, and chaos followed -- at least, low-key, relatively polite Nordic-style chaos. For some months, the country has been attempting to put the pieces back together.

The bank issued a statement saying that inflation had declined "much faster than forecast".

The question before us is this: Does the current state of the economy in Iceland anticipate conditions in the USA?

Several well-informed persons, whose opinions yours truly listens to closely, have opined that widespread deflation is likely. Now, deflation is a phenomenon that most Americans currently alive have not experienced. Basically, prices decline. Wow! Great!

Not really. Deflation is a mixed blessing, at best. As prices decline, so does the value of many forms of wealth -- including things like your house, your retirement account, and even "solid" wealth like precious metals.

At this point, no one can predict exactly how such a scenario might play out. But the chances are good that you wouldn't like it.

Some thinkers believe that deflation would be followed by massive inflation, and that by a general economic collapse. Others differ, but most of the possible scenarios are unpleasant.

"What can we do prevent it?", you might ask. As a nation, very little. The global economy is actually more unstable than most people realize. We're just waiting for the hammer -- maybe the first of several -- to fall.

You can, and should, do what you can to prepare for bad times personally. Pay off whatever debt you can. Keep extra food on hand. Get to know your neighbors. If you have never been a person of faith, at least be open-minded enough to explore the idea.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Welcome to Freddy Kruger-land (formerly Wall Street)

And a happy Friday the 13th to all, the only such Friday in 2010. Freddy would be so proud -- after all, we're descending into a surreal, dangerous fantasyland very much like the dream sequences in those famous movies.


In case you have not read or listened to the old-media outlets (ABC, CNN, etc.) lately, the above pretty much summarizes their view of our world. The reality is somewhat less heavy with kittens and rainbows.

Stock prices have staggered this week. Is this the beginning of a general slide in stocks? Probably not, but the eventual decline is inevitable. Governmental interference and geopolitical stresses are exerting incredible pressure on financial markets. While the majority of us are no experts in the machinations of Wall Street, any reasonably aware person can see that the moving hand has already written "MENE MENE TEKEL" on the wall. Everyone knows the last word is coming; it's merely a question of how quickly or slowly the hand writes.

A variety of techniques are in place to attempt to prevent such drastic stock price declines. For example, Germany recently joined other countries in banning what is known as "naked short selling". The effect of this ban, of course, is to artificially restrain the market from seeking its natural price level. Many other such methodologies have been enacted toward the same end.

But the market cannot be restained indefinitely. Eventually, prices will drop to the level demanded by economic, political, and social pressures. The drop will likely be sudden, thus destroying such remaining confidence in stock-price growth as exists.
This will cause a further decline in prices.

Where does the market bottom out? It's really anyone's guess. Take advice from whoever you believe to be knowledgeable, but keep in mind that you must know your expert's political and social biases, because those biases will always color the advice they give.

My best guess, at this point, is that things may stabilize with the Dow at around 3,000. But by that time, "stabilize" may be a laughable word.

What can you do to mitigate the effects of such a catastrophe on your family and work? Study history. Learn about the Weimar Republic and Argentina's recent history. In those places and times, the last word has been written.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Word of the day: dilatory

Egad, almost a week has gone by since my last post, and all three of my regular readers are giving me Purgatory over it. My apologies.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

...and God laughed

For the past week or so, during the recent heat wave, much bleating about global warming has been heard from the media arm of the Obama administration -- you know, ABC, CBS, CNN, et al. Coupled with this were dire warnings about how we must change our evil ways, or else.

Juxtapose this with a story which appeared yesterday regarding the Sun's activity. Or, one might say, lack of activity. Despite a large flare erupting, sunspot activity remains low.

What does this have to do with your air-conditioning bill? Well, the last time such a low level of sunspot activity was known to occur, called the Maunder Minimum, our planet experienced another phenomenon called the Little Ice Age.

A hot summer does not indicate a mild winter to come. We merely have to wait for whatever weather the Creator graces us with. Considering that He exhibits a marvelous sense of humor, I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A new generation of expatriates

Recently, several reports have appeared about very wealthy Americans renouncing their citizenship. By "very wealthy", I mean people at the Bill Gates/Warren Buffet level.

Such actions anger many Americans, understandably so. In this instance, though, the primary motivation may be financial.

The USA is virtually the only nation that taxes wealth accumulated overseas. Of course, this amounts to double taxation, since the nations in which the money is made usually tax it as well (albeit often at lower rates).

Business activity in the US is moribund, and despite the propaganda emitted by the Administration's media arm, the outlook for the next few years is not promising. Many investors are finding better opportunities abroad; in fact, we are witnessing one of the greatest flights of capital in decades.

While it is not safe to assume that these new expatriates are unpatriotic, it is safe to assume that their first loyalty is to their money. They know they'll be able to keep more of it, and make more of it, outside the USA.

You can expect the "unpatriotic" card played by the mass media. Regardless of whether or not that's the whole story, it will be used as cover for the mass exodus of capital, which will exacerbate the weakening of our economy.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Gimme that old-time (Islamic) religion

Reuters reports that Hamas, the rulers of the Gaza Strip, have banned lingerie shops from displaying any women's underwear they believe is "immodest". At the same time, they claim they have no intention of imposing Islamic law on Gaza.

Of course they don't. And they have some bridges to sell, too, very cheap.

As recently as the 1970s, in many Islamic countries, lingerie was openly sold, along with Western products of all types. Of course, that was before the rise of the radical Islamics, who seem to fear and despise women -- and everyone else who isn't them.

No doubt, radical Islam is a serious threat to freedom. But one could make the case that any Islamist who takes his faith seriously is a radical.

Many, perhaps even most, Moslems do not take their religion to heart. It's something they grew up with, and observe pro forma, just as unobservant Christians only show up at church at Christmas and Easter.

Those who really study the Koran, though, learn that it tells them they can lie, cheat, steal, rape, and murder in order to futher the cause of Islam. Any who are skeptical of that assertion are invited to read the Koran for themselves.

Some have even been convined to blow themselves up in order to get 72 virgins. These poor saps will be disappointed to discover that, as the demons torture them in Hell, the virgins will REMAIN virgins.

As we shake our heads in amusement at the antics of such weird-beards, we need to remember that their brand of insanity is nearly as dangerous as socialism. Actually, it's quite similar, only with more robes and beheadings.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

No freedom of information

Fox News was recently told by the SEC that they no longer need to honor Freedom of Information requests. Of course, this is one of the provisions of the hastily passed financial regulation legislation. A provision that, like many others yet to be revealed, was hidden in the umpteen-hundreds of pages of small type.

No doubt the Obama administration will extend this stance to FOIA requests on anything relating to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Wall Street, SEIU, ACORN, or any other crony whose activities cannot stand the light of exposure.

Don't expect a similar attitude regarding the Administration's "enemies list", though.

Wedding jitters

The National Enquirer states that Chelsea Clinton is near collapse from worry that her future husband will cheat on her. Good heavens, wherever could she have gotten that idea?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Early voting

The Beau-mate and I exercised the franchise today. Early voting extends thru the end of this week, and rather than waiting until Friday, the wife expressed a desire to vote today.

Her political evolution continues. From a clueless lefty, she's developed into a thoughtful and committed conservative, Hannity fan, culture warrior and budding gun owner. I couldn't be more proud.

In previous elections, she's been content to wait until election day. This time, though, she was eager to cast a vote for one of the gubernatorial underdogs. She doesn't trust Mr. Moneybags as governor. He's been a decent city mayor, but his family ties to "social moderates" (a code for RINOs), and an apparent lack of any real ideology, disturb her. I have to agree.

If he does get the nomination, he's a likely winner over his Dem opponent. In that eventuality, the conservatives and libertarians in Tennessee will need to watch him very closely.

Ed Markey, geography expert

Congressman Ed Markey (Dem, Mass), commenting on BP's reassignment of Tony Hayward, said that "People on the Gulf of Mexico and the United States applaud this action".

The Gulf of Mexico AND the United States?

Mr. Markey has long been known for his astounding grasp of geopolitical affairs (insert sarcastic expression here), but this statement leaves us uncertain of his exact meaning. Was he referring to:

A) the "Gulf of Mexico" as a separate political entity? By now, no doubt many in the Gulf states would prefer that to be the case.

B) the "Gulf" as part of Mexico? This seems the most likely explanation, given Ed's political leanings and the worldview of a typical Northeastern leftist. But I believe another alternative is the better explanation.

C) the "Gulf" -- that is, the actual expanse of ocean -- as a distinct and sovereign nation. Shrimp, dolphins, and other creatures constitute the citizenry, who vote Democrat (of course), while those nasty redneck fishermen and oilmen are exploiters who exist only to destroy the pristine environment. And, incidentally, to deliver seafood and gasoline to Massachusetts.

Perhaps a letter to Mr. Markey congratulating him on his tireless efforts to protect the Gulf, possibly signed by King Neptune, would make him feel rewarded for his courage in speaking out.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

More heatstroke, plus capitalism in action

Today the Beau-mate and I did something we had never done. We visited the Grainger County Tomato Festival, one of those great little celebrations of localism that dot the hills almost every weekend. We both grew up within few dozen miles of Rutledge, where it's held, but, like those Parisians who never visit the Eiffel Tower, we never bothered to patronize it.

We found a crowd of cheerful visitors and vendors amid a display of antique farm equipment, classic cars, produce, cannons, books, handicrafts, and food. Lots and lots of food, all the way from fajitas in a basket to corn roasted in its own shuck. Despite the combined heat-and-humidity index of roughly 1,500 degrees F, the school grounds were lively. While my wife browsed jellies, candles, soaps, and clothing (all of it, as nearly as I could tell, made in-state), we found the smartest people in a 50-mile radius.

These folks were selling those neckcloths that are soaked to produce a cooling evaporation, and their booth was busier than a liquor store in a coal mining town on Saturday night. They even provided a barrel of chilled water for their customers to baptize their purchases.

All too soon, the heat took its toll on us, as we found ourselves wishing for a shady, old-fashioned verandah with wicker chairs and ceiling fans turning slowly.
We would have sat at ease, the Beau-mate in her lightest silks, I in my airest linens and Panama hat, sipping gin fizzes. Every few minutes, I would exclaim "Beastly humidity, eh, wot?" in my best Colonel Blimpie voice.

Alas, the supply of available verandahs approached zero. We were forced to flee to air-conditioned relief, leaving a shining example of the free market baking in the July sunshine.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Shirley Sherrod: racist or classist?

No doubt Beaumont's legions of readers are familiar with the Shirley Sherrod debacle. After the initial video, the firing, the extended video, the apologies, and the media hand-wringing, many seem to feel that the issue was just a tragic misunderstanding.

Not so fast.

True, Ms. Sherrod is on record saying that she realized that her racist reaction to the white farmer's plight was morally wrong, and that the real struggle was rich versus poor.

The sorry truth is that class warfare and racism have enjoyed a long and close association in some black political circles. Classism is a prominent feature of "liberation theology", as Jeremiah Wright preached to our President for twenty-three years. (I highly recommend Mr. Wright's sermons available on the Web, to experience the real flavor of the worldview of his -- and many other -- such churches).

It's true that racism is detrimental to freedom and prosperity. It's also true of classism. Both separate "our group" from "those bastards over there". Both encourage resentment, polarization, and ultimately violence. Considering the effects of either on society, the question becomes: Is there really a practical difference between the two?

Conversations with the spouse, Part 1

Recently, your host was dining with his wife at one of Knoxville's fine burrito establishments. The Beau-mate waxed enthusiastic about a friend's new car. How much she liked the color, the interior, how her children liked it, etc. She paused, said "St. Augustine", and fell silent. Foolishly, Beaumont plunged into the conversational gap.

ME: Do you mean the person, or the town?

HER: The person?

ME: Well, yes. He's one of the early fathers of Christianity. His writings, like "Confessions" and "On The Trinity", are classics and studied by Christians of all denominations. To be fair, we don't usually refer to him as "Saint" Augustine, since we're Protestants.

HER: What does that have to do with Christina driving to Florida?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Consequences of being inconsiderate

Yesterday, Knoxville hosted one stop for the "Get Motivated" tour, featuring Lou Holtz, Pat Summitt, Rudy Giuliani, et al. I waited too long to get a ticket (apparently they sold out early), but the Beau-mate was attending through her place of business. She was thrilled to go, being a fan of several of the speakers.

Last week, the company was told that all the seats in the venue were filled, so my wife and her co-workers would have to watch a video feed of the event at a satellite location. The Beau-mate decided reluctantly to attend anyway, despite not being able to see the speakers "live". Then she left for a couple of well-deserved vacation days.

When Wednesday morning dawned, the traffic reports were discouraging. Thousands of vehicles were backed up for miles around Knoxville's Civic Coliseum. Facing a thirty-mile trip to sit in a traffic jam, the Beau-mate decided to forego the conference, and drove to the office. Upon arrival, she everyone else gone, except for the person who had originally been the cheerleader for her company's attendance.

"Did you decide not to go?" my wife asked.

"Oh no...I thought I had a meeting today but I don't....mumble mumble"

"I'm surprised the others wanted to go just to watch it on video."

"Ohe no...we found out we had tickets to the live event after all...I put a note in your mailbox about it....."

"But you knew I was on vacation. Why didn't you call me?"

"(Indistinguishable mumbling)"

I have been urging the Beau-mate to take up shooting as a hobby. Until yesterday, she had not shown much interest in it.

Roy Rogers, Steven Tyler, and psychotic spaniels

My apologies for the very long blogging hiatus. Travel, family issues, general busyness, and heat stroke tend to interfere with regular posting. Well...I didn't really have heatstroke, but came close a few times. Incredibly enough, during this ridiculously hot summer, the Beaumont has heard very little bleating about "global warming".

At any rate, like Roy and Steve, I'm back in the saddle again, steering my horse toward daily posting.

One striking observation I've made over the past month involves an elderly relatives's cocker spaniel. Lucy is, in my experience, typical of her breed: sweet-natured, hyperactive, empty-headed, and generally just bonkers. When someone comes to visit, she wags her stubby tail so vigorously that she literally vibrates. If that visitor brings a dog, she'll bounce off walls, furniture, and people in her delight. Eventually she'll bang her head, thus rearranging the few brain cells remaining, followed by a soulful gaze full of surprise and dismay toward her owner, as if to say, "Why did you do that to me?"

Sound like anybody you know?

Monday, June 14, 2010

The end of diversity?

We are constantly told about the need for "diversity". This term is defined in a specific manner by the persons who tell us how important it is, and the arguments in favor of that specific definition are phrased in such a way as to make opposition seem bigoted.

The larger question is what "diversity" really means, both to individuals and to society. Ethnic food and folklore are both "diverse". Beliefs and attitudes, likewise. Races and creeds, also. All of these can coexist in a free society. But can widely divergent cultures coexist in a free society?

The answer, actually, is "No".

This seems counter-intuitive at first. However, the foundation of any successful society is a shared set of laws and values. Ethnicity, religion, and politics may vary widely in a society, but respect for law and respect for one's fellows must be paramount. This is, I submit, the true definition of "culture".

This sort of respect is precisely what we do not see in today. The Left has no respect for the values of the Right. Radical Moslems show no willingness to live in peace with Christians -- or with anyone else. Practitioners of divergent social lifestyles don't ask for acceptance, they demand it, no matter how repugnant others may find their beliefs. Meanwhile, their opposites -- conservatives, Christians, traditionalists, etc. -- are forced to respond in order to protect themselves.

In such a climate, what we have is not a functional society, but merely a Balkanized conglomeration of competing interests and groups. A conglomeration that will eventually fail. When that failure occurs, it's not a great stretch to imagine that the society or societies that relace it will not hold to the current standard of diversity, but instead be defined by a primary culture, that culture being established by the victors.


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