Autumn Fundraiser 2015, Day Four
Here we are at Day Four of our Fall Fundraiser and we’re still chugging along. Your response has been gratifying. I never fail to be amazed at your faithful generosity. When I look at the list of donors I want to break off to respond…but y’all know I wouldn’t dare do so right now — I will indulge later on today, though.
The rains of the last few days — including some few shreds of post-Hurricane Patricia thunderstorms which blew through here yesterday — are gone. What that Gulf weather left behind is a balmy, dappled day. The vestiges of Autumn colors stubbornly remain, not yet ready to fully surrender, determined to hang on despite the storms.
For those of us who live in the largely temperate zones of North America and Europe, there are inevitable comparisons between the natural world and the ways our human endeavors resemble those cycles. The scheduled move through the seasons provides a felt sense of both a dependable continuity and continual day-by-day change (even if this process and our response to it remains below our conscious awareness, it’s still there and operative). That’s one reason I’ve come to enjoy our quarterly fundraisers: they’re inevitably seasonal, predictable and predetermined.
Many of you know well the story behind our fundraisers, but with all our new donors I thought a bit of institutional history might be in order. The old hands can skip what I’ll have to say next…
When we first floated the idea of fundraisers, it was as an alternative to the distraction of revenue-raising ads. Our readers’ response to the idea of being ad-free was enthusiastic and has remained so. Before starting on this new venture, we sought advice from an expert, someone who did fundraising for nonprofit organizations. After mulling over those suggestions, the Baron settled on this quarterly format and it remains largely unchanged. There has been a time or two when we’ve missed a quarter; we tightened our belts as a result, and survived the loss. We learned.
Some readers have asked if we’re a nonprofit. Not on your life! Both of us have worked for or helped small groups in their struggle to receive a 501(c)(3) status (that’s the reference in the tax code) which would permit them to keep all their donations, with no tax penalty. Given our bloated bureaucracy skewing ever more Leftward, we weren’t about to go through the time-consuming paperwork hassle to end up putting ourselves at risk of being targeted by a now-armed Internal Revenue Service. We aren’t big enough, and that “tax-free” status isn’t really freedom, even for very large conservative nonprofit groups who use it for their mega-donors.
For small fry on the Right any such efforts end in a trap, as the various local Tea Party groups learned to their sorrow. “Tax-exempt”? No thank you. The sharks in those waters have made sailing treacherous for small boats steering to starboard. Gates of Vienna is and will remain a mom-and-pop outfit. No foundations, no endowments, but full freedom — at least for the moment. When the Baron was gainfully employed and we started up the blog, his workplace was a liberal environment. Good work, nice people, but keep your opinions in your shirt pocket. The savings from the salary he earned there allowed him to travel to the first European Counterjihad Conferences but when the graft and corruption of the sub-prime mortgage scandals finally collapsed, so did a lot of jobs. Including his. For a while he had contract work and editing, but with my worsening health he was no longer willing to commute so far. The decision to throw ourselves into this and hope we could survive was a good one, and that remains the case. While he was working I put away as much money as I could from his paycheck — a regular squirrel, I was. So that is our emergency funding. Banks don’t pay interest anymore, and inflation continues, but I trust deeply in this ever-renewing vocation of the Baron’s. His ability to draw together people from around the world will always amaze me — it is as awe-ful and as inspiring as are the paintings he produced over the decades of hot Virginia summers…many of them are scattered far and wide. I think of them as his gift to the future, when a love of beauty returns.
All of that means we don’t have a significant pot of money to back up our efforts; and that hard fact ensures that we remain mindful of who it is that sustains us: YOU.
There’s an inherent desire to be financially careful when your work and vision depends on the generosity of others. We are beholden only to our readers, specifically those who donate their time, talents and resources — and yes, the last includes money. Do we pay taxes on your donations? We sure do. Ironically, we work in rhythm with the Department of the Treasury, i.e., being self-employed means we pay our quarterly “dues” to Uncle Sam.
Now we’re all on the same page. You all know that every three months (more or less), we take a week (plus a wrap-up day) to lead off with a daily essay asking for your financial support. Our news reports and posts continue on as usual, but in the midst of those rolling events come our themed essays on the need for funding. If I say “begging for money”, people remonstrate with me that this isn’t begging. Well, “blegging” then? It’s as though there is something shameful about asking people for money to support our worthy work, yet the Salvation Army has done so for generations. Think of us as soldiers in the Counterjihad Corps. It’s a rag-tag army, inherently fractured and frazzled, but we’re still standing, using our keyboards as weapons against an increasingly open enemy. We’ve made it our policy never to shoot into the tent but we will respond if our integrity is impugned and we will defend others when they are attacked. As bad as the news is now — and it’s getting worse — my prayer is that everyone realizes this isn’t the time for intramural battles. Leave that to the fundamentalists, be they Islamic or the ever-fracturing Leftist hysterics.
We — all of us — can no longer ignore the eventual dissolution of what we have known our whole lives as “the West”. We don’t know what forms that dissolution will take, but everyone intuits what can no longer be avoided. Why is this happening? Well, as the kids would say, “Because corruption”. Or as we would put it, because our joint belief in the underlying superiority of Western culture is being attacked from within. America’s current president calls this a “fundamental transformation”; earlier generations would have seen his work as treason. It is, but he’s hardly the first or the last of these ghouls.
That doesn’t mean we won’t fight back, and we’ll even win some of the battles. And, in the end, perhaps largely prevail. But it will be a different country then, no doubt divided into smaller-scaled federations. One of the ways of remaining resilient and open to a different future is to fully accept, fully comprehend, the necessity for change. Not change for the sake of novelty, but change in service to our shared foundation of liberty and the concomitant responsibilities that are the inevitable burden of freedom. It was no surprise when the USSR collapsed that its citizens were angry at being left in the lurch after all those promises. Who wants the freedom to starve when all the initiative that is part and parcel of a mature human being has been so long suppressed?
Because no one can predict with any certainty what will happen, it is up to us to remain faithful to the Western triumvirate of the True, the Good, and the Beautiful — even as they are trashed by our soi-disant leaders. Those three qualities are not trivial options to a well-lived life; they are its bedrock. Is it any wonder that the oligarchy is so intent on promoting Lies, Evil, and Ugliness in their stead? Edgy ‘art’, degraded behaviors, and distinctly ugly public architecture mark their efforts to erase our heritage. The stupendously complex and engaging Western traditions are based on ancient foundations going back many thousands of years. In the face of ridicule, we would be wise to remain steadfast in our appreciation of our inheritance.
Part of our faith and hope in the face of treason on all sides is what Ann Corcoran at Refugee Resettlement Watch calls pockets of resistance. That term isn’t hers; Ann took it directly from the bureaucratic devil’s own description of those towns that push back against their plans to “seed” America with immigrants — sneak attacks that are embedded in place quickly. By the time localities realize the betrayal, it can’t be undone. But she also mentions the dilemma we all face in discussing efforts to come together. In this passage from a July post about her decision to make yet another category on her comprehensive website, she says:
Now we can report there are growing pockets in the following states in addition to the three just mentioned: Idaho, Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia (that I know of!). I know I risk tipping off Welcoming America agitators to head to those states, but if I don’t mention this, many of you might get discouraged thinking you are alone.
Do you see what Ann means? The risk is ever-present. Our towns are being “seeded”. Next they may be ceded over to the newcomers. And then what becomes of home?
Eventually we may have people who are willing to infiltrate the Left, to join groups like Welcoming America and beat them at their own game. Right now we have many families raising children under the Old Order. Part of winning will be to construct a way for them to quietly dilute the government pap/indoctrination which their kids are fed at school while still protecting their children from the consequences of being “different”. Many of these folks have a strong religious tradition, one of the numerous things we inherited from a now-hollowed out Europe, whose cathedrals have become mausoleums where tourists gather to admire the architecture.
Each person’s wake-up call about this predicament is peculiar to his own circumstances. Sometimes it is a series of wake-up calls rather than a light on the Damascus Road. Many years ago I firmly believed in the “this, too, will pass” solution. Back then it seemed the sheer numbers of arrogant spoiled Baby Boomers would eventually age out and some kind of normalcy would return to our institutional life as they retired. The Baron didn’t agree; he perceived the changes as permanent and was deeply concerned. In my ignorance I failed to comprehend the depth and breadth of the Communists’ cultural takeover of our institutions. The same goes for Britain, and now we are seeing the drool and cunning reveal itself in Germany.
I am most familiar with the American government’s devolution, and to some extent what is happening in Canada. In other words, the North American continent. I will leave Europe to those who live there and feel the hot breath of Merkel’s EU. Here in the U.S., our ruling elite has established a gargantuan permanent and labyrinthine bureaucracy. “We’re from the government and we’re here to help you”… It takes robust dedication to even attempt to follow the red thread through the Saul Alinsky tunnels and back out into the light. It also requires a strong stomach.
But who knew? Who possibly could have known?
Well, those who were dedicated to our destruction certainly knew. But how dispiriting to discover that the whole of the political spectrum is susceptible. Akin to a cancer or a virus, this opportunistic, ubiquitous and shape-changing malignancy is unavoidable.
The Baron warns me not to be dysphoric or bitter in my essays, and what follows is neither of those. These learning experiences are part and parcel of my own autobiography now, and what I learned cannot be unlearned. Betrayal is sometimes reversible, but more often the outcome is out of our hands. The attitude we decide to take to those experiences is what defines our outcome, our actions.
One experience that looms large in my mind was the change I experienced in reading Emmet Scott’s book. That book will remain permanently on our sidebar as testament to Lies dating all the way back to the invention of “The Dark Ages”. The lack of light wasn’t caused by Western superstition at all. Read Scott and you see why Fortress Europe came into existence, why illiteracy and anti-Semitism began to spread, perhaps even the reasons why Italy’s Mafia emerged and the persecution of heretics could be imagined, much less carried out.
Scott cites the archeological evidence about Islam to show how Egypt was changed from being a prosperous literate place with a treasured history to the basket case it has been for hundreds of years now. Islam did that. Through the ignorant carelessness of imported desert shepherds, a complex engineering marvel of agriculture along the Nile was destroyed, trampled by goats. The papyrus which allowed widespread literacy disappeared under their feet, too. The nomads had little use for either agriculture or learning. A similar fate awaited North Africa’s manufacture and export of its distinctive red clay ceramic tiles. The university and schools St. Augustine founded — based on his syncretism of Aristotle and Plato’s ideas with Christian theology — were obliterated. In both places, only the rural areas in North Africa remained safe for infidels.
Scott demonstrates why that Andalusian “Golden Age” was a Big Fat Lie, a deceit founded on the same BFL that gave us the Dark Ages. Later, I would learn from Bill Warner the motivation behind the fairy tales: when the truth is too fearful to bear, we become selectively blind. Such was to be the fate of the West for hundreds of years of Islam’s repeated incursions. We hunkered down. What would become the ruling elites learned their barbarity in their slave-trading with the Arabs.
When I finished Scott’s book, there was a profound sense of loss. I experienced the grief one feels in the face of a genocide. The repeated genocides Islam perpetrated on the West and on India and on Persia wiped out vast stores of accumulated wisdom. Genocidal loss is incalculably evil. We are fortunate that enough Armenians managed to survive and transcend the attempts to obliterate them from the face of the earth. They are our reminders that vigilance is essential. Knowing your enemy is as important as knowing who you can trust. Being able to differentiate the two is part of the learning of discernment.
The pain of exile must be transcended and new generations entrusted with the old ways. It has been a hundred years now, and the case for the Armenians has waned and flourished during that century, but it has never gone away. As the West begins to relearn once more the treachery of Islam, the Armenian struggle for an identity is flourishing again. Not at the elite, oligarchic level, but at the place where folk wisdom spreads. The “crowd” is its current name.
It has been a tough emotional and intellectual battle to realize that our beloved Western Renaissance could have happened far earlier with much less suffering, had the various tribes descending on the Mediterranean not been pushed into the mountains and fortresses by the ever-growing Arab appetite for slaves. That remnant withdrew but took with it the curiosity and experimentation which flourished under the Roman Church. That serendipitous meld meant that the Church was as much Roman as it was Christian, which is crucial to remember. Those two threads — Roman law and Biblical morality — came together in a vigorous synthesis. Girded as it was by remnants of Greek philosophy, this system was to produce a powerful engine for exploration in every field of endeavor. Alternate sea routes that bypassed the Mediterranean pirates opened up new possibilities and brought into play new appetites for exotic spices.
What might the West have been had not Islam swept in slaughtering and destroying — just as ISIS does today? At both ends of our Western history, Islam was/is the Great Destroyer.
I feel strongly the loss of what might have been if it weren’t for Islam. Again, it is like losing one’s home, realizing fully the calamity that befell Europe so early. Our ancestors fled just as the Armenians fled before the rampaging murderous Turks while the West watched, wringing its hands. Now here we are at another crossroads, watching ISIS destroy large swathes of the Middle East while an American president gives our biggest terrorist enemy 150 billion dollars, gratis, along with permission to monitor their own nuclear arsenal.
Have we been betrayed? It’s difficult to count the ways. However Obama warned us openly that he would fundamentally “transform this country”. We played his election as though it were the same old political game — eight years in and then a roll-over to the other party. But corruption can reach a flipping point. Here Bill Whittle explains the current situation:
Yes, it’s awful. Most conservatives — or voters on the Right, or non-socialists, whatever term fits — are feeling a deep drifting homelessness, undecided about how to get out of this mess where it’s government over all.
That’s why the candidacy of Donald Trump has caught fire. He gives people hope for the restoration of America’s self-respect. He may be the only one who says he will stop the immigrant flow (if Dr. Carson says this he does it so quietly it hasn’t made waves). Donald Trump is everything the Left abhors, which is a point in his favor for the folks in Flyover Country. For average Americans, Trump is more than a breath of fresh air, he’s the anti-Obama. He is the one who will restore the borders, rein in lawlessness, and bring some kind of fiscal order to a debt-burdened country. Trump is the antithesis of business-as-usual. Look for him to talk about America coming back home.
Yesterday was a pattern we’ve seen before. Lots of small to mid-sized donations and a significant increase in individual donors. We are so very fortunate to have all of you. I feel blessed:
Stateside: California, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia
Near Abroad: Canada
Far Abroad: Australia, Israel, Norway, South Africa, Thailand, and the UK
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