The Monarchs of the Long Decline

The Monarchs of the Long Decline

There’s a series of passages in Arthur C. Clarke’s classic sci-fi novel, Rendezvous with Rama where he talks about humanity’s reaction to its first encounter with an extraterrestrial object – a long, smooth cylinder traveling harmlessly through space, which passes by the Earth on its way to some other destination.

rendezvous-with-ramaEssentially the world decays into chaos for the better part of a few hundred years. Economies collapse, governments fall. The psychic shock to  humanity’s psyche leaves us weakened and grasping for air.

If we could explore this world up close, what’s would be telling is the example of those who sidestep the whips and scorns of the ensuing centuries. Whose families endure and survive and thrive during the long, slow decline. The ability of certain people to thrive in the darking hours of the night when all others are falling about is fascinating to me. Some of them will have thrived by having been born from the previously wealthy. Those smart enough or lucky enough to be able to preserve generational wealth and hand it down until such time as it does finally run out or the world emerges from the doldrums.

But there are also those who rise to prominence and power amid the discord. Who make their fortunes, and fortunes indeed they can be, off the slim pickings of humanity’s lean years.

During the Gold Rush, the people who grew the richest weren’t necessarily hunched-back panhandlers working the claims. Instead, those who supplied the miners with their pick-axes and shovels and pans grew rich; as well as trousers. Ever heard of Levi Strauss?

In 1853, Strauss moved to San Francisco, opening a dry goods wholesale business as Levi Strauss & Co. and imported fine dry goods—clothing, bedding, combs, purses, handkerchiefs—from his brothers in New York. With a business partner, he eventually began producing blue jeans, a new style of riveted denim work pants which he sold to the panhandlers of the California Gold Rush. The rest is history. Read more about The Monarchs of the Long Decline

Follow the Fold and Stray Some More

Follow the Fold and Stray Some More

In high school, one of the musicals we did was the Guys and Dolls. I recently sat down and watched the 1955 movie version starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine. One of the major plot points of Guys and Dolls is the fight against sin, namely gambling and drinking. One of the first songs, Follow the Fold is as follows:

Follow the fold and stray no more
Stray no more, stray no more
Put down the bottle and we’ll say no more
Follow, follow
Before you take another swallow

Follow the fold and stray no more
Stray no more, stray no more
Tear up your poker deck and play no more
Follow, follow, the fold

What a quaint notion. That private citizens would hold forth against such depravity. Even more incredible that the state would actively prosecute those seeking to gamble. Prohibition didn’t work in the United States. Outlawing gambling hasn’t worked either, as we can see by the growing legalization of casinos throughout the country.

Is there a state which, seeking to grasp ever more tax dollars, hasn’t legalized casinos? Read more about Follow the Fold and Stray Some More

Congratulations to Capitalism for Orchestrating the A&E/Phil Robertson Ordeal

Congratulations to Capitalism for Orchestrating the A&E/Phil Robertson Ordeal

By now, you’ve probably heard Phil Robertson’s comments on segregation and homosexuality. A&E “indefinitely” suspended Robertson, then reinstated him just a few days ago.

The Left wins because they got to fight it out and make Mr. Robertson look bad in the eyes of their constituents (who mostly didn’t watch the show anyway). The Right wins in the eyes of their constituents because A&E “backed down” and reinstated Mr. Robertson.

Phil Robertson, Duck Commander
Phil Robertson, Duck Commander

But most of all, capitalism wins all the monies. I will let the commenter Darth Thulhu from Rod Dreher’s website explain it better than I can:

Unless you know details of the contracts about how much money A&E and the Robertsons were each taking home before this, and know revealing details of the recent negotiations about how much money A&E and the Robertsons will each be taking home going forward, it is the height of fact-free speculation to claim that A&E “caved”.

Also, given that A&E announced an “indefinite suspension” a week before Christmas (when no shows were being filmed and no media was being scheduled), which immediately drove Christmas sales through the roof and spiked all ratings of show broadcasts … any lifting of that “indefinite suspension” just after Christmas is, by definition, not “caving” but rather “concluding the manufactured “scandal” now that it has served its purpose”.

Read more about Congratulations to Capitalism for Orchestrating the A&E/Phil Robertson Ordeal

Adding Deeper Darkness to a Night Already Devoid of Stars

Adding Deeper Darkness to a Night Already Devoid of Stars

Human beings are violent. As a group. As a species. We are violent. There has never been a period where there is not some type of war being waged on this planet. Some people say that the ‘Muslim world’ needs a reformation, similar to the one experienced by European Christianity. That such reform will bringRead more about Adding Deeper Darkness to a Night Already Devoid of Stars[…]