Winter Fundraiser 2016, Day Two
Ah, I lucked out: the second day is the Shadow Position: Thus, Day Two of our Winter 2016 Fund Raiser is a good place to launch this essay, safely after the Baron’s entry.
The Baron, cued up by the exigencies of the clock, enters stage right on Day One. That’s because we both know darned well I’ll still be searching for my Round Tuit under the books and papers and bills, whereas he can just jump start the whole thing, take off down the road with the words flying, while I’m still looking for the starting line. Sigh.
Before I go any farther, we owe a big thank-you to the Western Rifle Shooters Association for giving us a shoutout and pointing people to our bleg. We’ve seen a fair number of new donors this time, and I’ll bet most of them were sent this way by WRSA. We surely appreciate it!
Our quarterly fundraisers have a number of aspects. For us personally, it become akin to a retreat and regrouping for the two of us. Like those corporate retreats, but without the blather. Even though my physical (and spiritual) limits prevent me from being as full a partner in Gates of Vienna as I once was, GoV is always in the forefront of my mind: the first thing I think of in the morning, the last thing at night. It’s a bit like having another child to raise, only you don’t have to do music lessons or scout camp (whew). But instead of just watching Gates of Vienna grow (and yes, the Baron has all the charts) there’s the ugly part: the Baron’s ever more difficult task of staring depravity and destruction in the face for extended periods whilst maintaining his own balance and integrity. Sometimes our son and I talk about that amazing feat: how his Dad keeps a sense of humor and his sanity despite the ugliness he sees every day. With the very painful limits of PTSD, I have the ‘luxury’ of turning away when it’s overwhelming; he — being of sound mind and a strong constitution — does not.
Fortunately, the Baron has always known how to pace himself, how to use routines, when to delegate, and the wonderful programs he’s written to create ingenious record-keeping — he calls those his “Auxiliary Brain”. Since he commits so much of himself to this work, he has been fortunate to have Vlad for his primary collaborator/conspirator and source of good, unrepeatable jokes. It’s no longer possible to conceive of the work now without Vlad as a crucial part of its execution. Plus the other team members — scattered from Montana to Thailand — all of whom stay closely connected and willing to do whatever is necessary. Not only that, but to come up with their own original contributions.
I have learned so much about what clear communication and authentic collaboration mean from watching how they all interact with little friction or fuss. There is no designated leader as such, just a variety of individuals willing to try new ideas, to work together on recruiting new people. Over the years some political crises in the more neo-soviet parts of Europe have caused people to leave, either out of caution for their families or because they were persecuted or in danger of being so. The pain of those losses never really goes away, nor does the angst I feel for them as individuals living under such regimes. Others, such as Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, set upon by cultural jackals, tough it out at tremendous personal cost.
But for the two of us, planning around my limits in order to do a full week of fundraising is a bit like a campaign. Our conversations revolve around thematic possibilities, the logistics of food and rest, postponing or cancelling appointments, and, importantly, looking ahead to holidays and such when our readers may be busy elsewhere — e.g., the year we had a quarterly fundraiser in the midst of the World Cup. Oops. I forgot to check this one, though. [I was aware of the primaries in Iowa, but few who are paying close attention there are also people who come to Gates of Vienna. Besides, state primaries have long since jumped the shark, as has much of the political kabuki theatre leading up to the start of presidential campaigns. The only spanner in the spokes this time around is Donald Trump. Without his rallies, Jeb Bush would long since have nodded off till spring.]
Not only is the meta-conversation with the Baron necessary for our quarterly fund raisers, but we must needs talk with each other in a structured way about Gates of Vienna as it is at the moment, and what we think is immediately likely. Thus, after this week’s fundraiser we will again contemplate what is likely in between it and the next one. As if we all weren’t likely to be knocked out of our slumber as suddenly as, say, 9/11 or 7/7 — eh, 7/7 not so much it seems, or even the singular event of Lee Rigby’s murder. Yes, America had that beheading in Oklahoma, but the CEO (who wasn’t charged) shot the perpetrator and they will seek the death penalty for the African-American beheader. It’s America’s form of justice for capital crimes and one I endorse for premeditated murder. See this image for the withering stare of an accompanying police officer . It sums up my reaction, too.
Every single one of us lives with that existential unease now, from those stocking up for “emergencies” to those who are sure we’ll all go down with a few well-placed EMPs. The source of all this means we all well realize the whole thing is a house of cards, and we also know that some kind of implosion is inevitable; many are surprised it hasn’t happened yet. But being students of history and geopolitics, and being ever-aware of the Karma Dude’s whimsical notions about humanity, we know well the futility of predicting anything at all. As Al Stewart puts it (see yesterday’s post for the complete lyrics):
We measure our days out
In steps of uncertainty
Not turning to see how we’ve come
And peer down the highway
From here to eternity…
Well, to our own “eternity” at any rate. That vision is different for everyone now that the cultural certainties have been marginalized. History has had plagues before; this is another one.
It’s not that none of us looks back, it’s that we all see things so differently.
For new readers — and there seem to be many of you these past two months — here’s some history:
This site was the Baron’s idea and he undertook it as an act of love: it was his attempt to relieve my deep grief by engaging my intellect. My adult daughter had died, and the many years we’d both spent trying to heal her were done with a sudden finality. I had been emptied out and I was becoming sick (though we didn’t know that). So his brilliant idea (and it was brilliant) was to start a blog as a vehicle of connection. While he was away during the week working, this medium would be both a way for us to stay connected during his absences, and an intellectual outlet for me that could help fill that yawning crater.
How we got from that beginning to here would take too long to tell. But from such beginnings are we changed and molded. I cannot imagine us now without Gates of Vienna.
From there things ‘evolved’. For example, when I look back at the Baron’s initial email correspondence with this fellow in Norway who was also writing anonymously about the things he saw that worried him, it seems so innocent, so lacking in any portent. The B often communicated with other bloggers; how would this be any different? Except that it was indeed different.
The B went off to the first semi-public Counterjihad Conference in Copenhagen, where he met this anonymous Fjordman. Meanwhile, I’m thinking about tiny Norway where everyone was so nice. Or polite Sweden and its stellar welfare state. What? There’s a huge but silenced rape problem? Ethnic Swedish girls are dyeing their hair black to stay safe? A suicide rate among immigrant girls that was really a rash of honor killings dressed up to look like a Western adolescent phenomenon? The frank anti-Semitism in Malmö? What was this?
That was the first of many discrepancies we were to learn about northern Europe, the capital of “soft power”, preaching that war was no longer necessary.
After reeling from the betrayals of internecine warfare (see Charles Johnson and Little Green Footballs on your nearest search engine) we discovered a sad truth: on the conservative side of the political world’s equator, if a principle is betrayed and it doesn’t affect you, just ignore it. Or jump in with some ill-informed opinion, never mind the damage of casual judgments. I would’ve thrown in the towel at that point, but the Baron is made of stronger stuff: what doesn’t kill him makes him stronger.
So we kept on keeping on. Even after we were booted from Pajamas Media for being… well, fascist or something (see this post), we kept at it, but now with readers’ help. We continued to publish Fjordman’s essays even as we wondered how long before the powder keg would be lit in Europe — or here, what with the inroads the Muslim Brotherhood was making.
Little could we have guessed a match would be put to the fuse at the same moment one of the group meetings was going on via Skype. Part way through Fjordman excused himself to find out what the big noise was he heard in the distance — it was Anders Behring Breivik’s truckload of explosives going off in Oslo: July 22nd. Over the next few days we learned that the “noise” meant the deaths office workers and the gangland execution of many young people on the island of Utøya by a deeply mentally ill and delusional man. Eventually, those acts, done by a stranger who claimed to “admire” Fjordman (but would later admit it was a cover for his neo-Nazi leanings) would come to mean the total derailment of Fjordman’s life. Again, I learned a lot: we were on the receiving end of numerous vituperative emails from nice, nice Norway, but our problems were nothing compared with his. We saw up close the quaint Norwegian cultural custom of scapegoating in its full regressive and primitive display (a cultural tic that has led many a Norwegian man to flee his homeland in order to taste freedom).
That devastation of Fjordman’s life and livelihood happened because he spoke out against the injustice of his government. His seemingly simple decision to start a blog to address the problems was verboten in nice, nice Norway. He sought an intellectual outlet for his frustration about what was happening to his homeland as a result of a deliberate government policy to bring in third-world primitive people. Who knows why? Perhaps they had some misplaced sense of responsibility for the world’s poor? Even if doing this would endanger their own most vulnerable people? The subsequent unrelenting and very public annihilation of Fjordman’s life exposed the great gaping fear that lies at the heart of Norway’s totalitarian democracy. Now he lives in exile even as Norway begins to deport the worst of the worst. Cold comfort, that. They fouled his place beyond redemption.
Those two examples — the Baron’s excellent plan to relieve my grief and Fjordman’s idea to expose the dangers young women faced from immigrants — changed our lives in ways we couldn’t have anticipated. Look back at your own life and see if you can find those nodal points, seemingly simple decisions that, in the end, transformed your life and how you spend your days. Something as ‘simple’ as the decision to marry, or to leave a well-paying job to do something more meaningful to you. Or simply joining a group your political elite decides is worth persecuting — as many Tea Party members have learned from the close personal attention they got from our tax police.
I call it the Garden of Forking Paths. Even small decisions — say, as an Englishman, to wake up on the morning of July 7th 2005 and decide to lie in instead of going to work. The dice roll, you live. But only at the whim of the Islamic evil in your midst. You could have been a good employee and hurried to the Tube, never to come home again. Or to be one of the seven hundred wounded who still feel the pain of that day. It’s the people who never came home again that haunt me. And the four years it took the English government to erect the ugliest memorial ever.
Is it titled, “Goodbye Anonymous Souls”? Where has Beauty gone? Probably fled hand-in-hand with Truth and Goodness as the horrors of “Easy Meat”, the widespread sexual grooming of children was slowly exposed — but not by the authorities. England is not alone. The sex slavery in Brussels, for instance,is documented. That link has EU officios pushing for the legalization of pedophilia. And if you think that’s not an American problem, look at the political pressures by NAMBLA to change the Standard Diagnostic Manual that lists psychiatric disorders.
I now know so much more history about Europe, about her woes and tribulations, that I no longer have patience with those who get on our comment sections to lecture Europeans on how they “should” do one thing or another even as life in the United States becomes ever more fractious and polarized. Our situation is dire. There is no more time for lectures, but we welcome practical solutions anytime. As the Baron memorably told my ex in-laws once, NO ONE IS TO BLAME, BUT EVERYONE IS RESPONSIBLE. I never forgot that statement. It’s a good one to live by.
That’s one of the reasons I love Al Stewart’s music. He chronicles the events, the mistakes, the wrong turnings, and then asks if anyone could have done it differently. In researching Stewart, I found this brief transcription on a wiki I’ve since lost track of:
In a 23 June 2012 telephone interview with Bob Reid and Blair Packham on NewsTalk 1010 AM in Toronto, Ontario (partially transcribed below), Al Stewart provided these insights into his songwriting “process”:
So, if I have two little rules and guiding principles, they would be:
(a) Don’t use words that other people use. Very few people would put the word, oh, I don’t know, “pterodactyl” into a song. So that’s fine. No “Oh”s. No “Baby”s. No “I miss you so”. And no “you done me wrong”. No “bads” or “sads”.
(b) And the other thing is, write about subjects that no one else writes about. Basically 90% of all songs seem to be either “Baby, I love you so”, or “Baby, you’ve done me wrong”. Now, when people look at songs, when I play anybody on the planet this song, and I say “What is this?”, they will say, “Oh, that’s Reggae”, or “Oh, that’s Heavy Metal”, or “That’s Country & Western”, or “Oh, that’s Opera”, you know what I mean?
But that’s not what I asked. They’re answering a question I didn’t ask. What they’re saying is “That’s the music”. What I’m saying is “What is the song?” And the song is either “I’ve done you wrong”, or, “Baby, I love you so”, no matter what style it’s played in. In other words, there’s a huge difference between content and style, and, if you work more towards content, why not make it content that is original?* * * * * * * * * * * * *
If it’s already been written, why write it again? If it’s already been said, why say it again? I mean there are some remarkable quotes that I love. But I didn’t say them. And you don’t want to pass them off as your own work.
Napoleon said that “Time spent in reconnaissance is never wasted”. And that, actually, has governed my life. You know what I mean? That’s a quote you can live by. But it’s not my quote. So if I say it I always credit it to Napoleon.
There is another way of saying any of the things you want to say, rather than rehashing someone else’s words.* * * * * * * * * * * * *
I think of songs as cinema, really. It’s aural cinema. I want to show you a movie when I’m playing a song. That’s essentially what I’m doing.
And, of course, the songs are geographical too. One of the ways I get inspired to write a song — and this will always produce a song that sounds like nothing else (I can’t, I can’t recommend this highly enough) — I just open a world atlas, just at random, and whatever page I’m looking at, at least six songs immediately occur to me.
So, if you look at pretty much any of the songs, a lot of them are geographical, historical, and from a movie.
I’ll have more to say about Al Stewart in my next turn at bat. Meanwhile, the Baron has reported an extraordinary day in the number of donors. Lost of modest donations by generous people — Bless you all.
Donors on Day One came in from:
Stateside: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming
Near Abroad: Canada
Far Abroad: Australia, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Thailand, and the UK
The tip jar in the text above is just for decoration. To donate, click the tin cup (or the donate button) on the sidebar of our main page. If you prefer a monthly subscription, click the “subscribe” button.