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Monday, October 14, 2019

Recommended Reading

See The gilded rage: why is America so angry? Most Americans now believe it is ‘healthier’ to unleash their negative feelings than to bottle them up at Spectator USA.

...Throughout most of American cultural history, uncontrolled anger was regarded as a personal weakness, and public expression of anger outside some limited circumstances was regarded as shameful. The high regard in which his countrymen regarded George Washington drew in part from his mastery of his own explosive temper. Washington’s famous ‘dignity’ was achieved by quelling his overtowering anger. What was good for George was good for everyone else. All through the 19th century, the nation’s presses poured out manuals for married couples on how to manage domestic disagreements without descending into anger. Books on childrearing emphasized teaching the young emotional self-discipline. The nation’s literary culture grew up on stories about the destructiveness of uncontrolled anger. Ahab’s quest for vengeance against the great white whale isn’t intended as praise for the captain’s virtuosity in expressing his passion....
Read the entire essay HERE.


  1. I think there's a happy medium: "bottling up" really is unhealthy (if left unreleased, the pressure cooker will eventually explode, and we can only hope that whoever happens to be nearby is equipped to weather it), but emotional incontinence of any type is undesirable. Learning to harness one's anger (or any emotion) productively is the work of a lifetime... yet, as we depersonalise our political opponents and hermetically seal ourselves into echo chambers, we are moving in the wrong direction.

    Kurt Cobain sang a memorable chorus to the words "I miss the comfort in being sad" -- we have come to rely on the righteous comfort of anger. Ideally anger should be brief, and it should precipitate a rapid change in the circumstances that gave rise to it; it should not be wallowed in.

    1. _____ A Poison Tree ______

      I was angry with my friend.
      I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
      I was angry with my foe.
      I told it not, my wrath did grow;

      And I water'd it in fears,
      Night and morning with my tears;
      And I sunned it with smiles,
      And with soft deceitful wiles;

      And it grew both day and night
      Till it bore an apple bright,
      And my foe beheld it shine,
      And he knew that it was mine,

      And into my garden stole
      When the night had veil'd the pole.
      In the morning glad I see
      My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

      ~ William Blake (1757-1827)

    2. That's some 19th century hot fire right there.

  2. Western has society hit the pinnacle of Mazlow's Hierarchy of needs.

    The inevitable next step for a pampered people who have everything and have made themselves their own gods is existential ennui.

    1. Do we really think that the majority of people in the West are self-actualized? Or sufficiently esteemed? I'd say plenty of us are still working on love and belonging, which btw would be an excellent alternative explanation for the existential ennui.

    2. Jez, Good point! Watching what seems like everyone else enjoying all the good things while you sit alone deprived can indeed also be an explanation, and probably a better one.

      Go find Louis CK's bit on spoiled people on an airplane, when the WiFi goes out. It sums us up perfectly. We are living in the age of modern miracles, but we fail to appreciate them.

    3. Yes, SilverFiddle! If you want to see endless examples of "spoiled people" in action, start watching the Home & Garden Channel.

      It may be more revelatory of current American Temperament than the News.

      One small example: A house-hunting couple walks into a perfectly decent functioning kitchen or bathroom, and we hear, "I can't stand the color of those granite countertops, they'll have to go." OR, "I can't stand white appliances, we'll have to replace them with stainless steel. The cost of that might be a dealbreaker." OR "These hardwood floors will have to be replaced. I can't stand oak floors. I have to have dark Brazilian Cherry, or this place is OUT."

      Just a few of untold thousands of examples of how silly, shallow, vain, wasteful, and frankly STUPID too many Americans have become.

      I blame the incredible power of Mass Communication, Entertainment, the consant drumbeat of the ENEMEDIA doing everythng possible to foment DISCONTENT born of cultivated ENVY and the always absurd desire to "Keep Up with the Joneses."

      As Ducky would say, "We are a sorry people." But it's NOT because we have failed to embrace Ducky's beloved Marxism. It's precisely BECAUSE we have fallen prey to the blandishments of CULTURAL Marxism that we deny and starve the capacity to enhance our INTELLIGENCE, and abandoned our SPIRITUAL values in favor of Mindless Materialism.

      Few realize that largely because of Eddie Bernays the American Advertizing Industry is –– and has been for many decades –– a major exponent of the Cultural Marxist Revolution.

    4. _____ SECURE FINANCES _____

      Seek relief from all anxiety.
      Entirety may bring peace to the meek.
      Cheek-by-jowl with Woe Satiety
      Untidily chops away at every peak.

      Reaching goals long sought, yet not reacting,
      Enacting, instead, Penance Joy to bar
      Far exceeds the effort so exacting
      In acting to escape from feathered tar.

      No way seems to clear for pure fulfillment
      A poor thrill meant thwarted satisfaction ––
      No reaction to an act of will meant
      Chill sent paralyzing longed-for action.

      Entirety possessed may act the thief.
      Satiety oft fails to grant relief.

      ~ FreeThinke

    5. It feels like an odd choice to blame Marx for the kind of rampant consumer materialism that is emblematic of capitalism, and which the advertising industry in particular both sustains and feeds on.

    6. I realize the facile appearance of illogic there, Jez, but from what I've been abl to gather "Marxism is a multi-heade hydra that takes mny guises.. The ultimate gol of Marxism, of course, as been to upend, undermine and destroy confidence in Christianity, regard Capitalism as anathema, and to defame, and ultimately do away with what Marx dubbed "Bourgeois" mores and values.

      It may not appear that way to you, but it does to me –– and has for the past seventy years.

      What better way to undermine and poison a society than to seduce its young into dvoting iteself to licentiousness, and the puruist meretricious materialism instead of adhering to traditional Protestant Christian values of Thrift, Sound Economy and behavior marked by Self-Denial, ppostponement of the Gratifification of Desires, Consideration of others born of dsciplined restraint of passion, and Celebration of Cultvated Virtue by adhering dutifully to established concepts of decency, morality and beloved traditions?

    7. It isn't illogical, we've just interpreted history differently and so reached opposite conclusions. To me, the problems above seem to be best addressed by tempering capitalism through market regulation. I suppose you want to temper it too, but through religiously-informed values. I obviously don't object to virtue, the only anathema in that to me is the idea of officially priviliging one religion over all the others (and none). There should be no compulsion in religion.

  3. Our on-demand, disposable society has infected young and old alike, as the desire for instant gratification has led to short term, hollow emotional satisfaction......but long term detriment. There is no rational disagreement anymore (writ large). Intellectual midgets fantasize that they’re ‘soldiers’ in some ‘war’; where the ‘weapons’ are memes and talking points.

    1. + +

      My amateur theory is the scattering of families and communities has left most of us unconnected and grasping at chimeras.

      At our human core, we are wired for family and community. There is no such thing as a "global community."

    2. That’s a good point, almost as if since folks are not as tribal/clannish geographically.....we’re using other, less positive venues to replace it


  4. Trump has normalized the outward expression of self righteous anger and rage. A certain segment of America seems to accept, even if not approving of his frequent loss of self control.

    Not healthy for Trump. Not appropriate for the leader of any nation. Least of all the leader of the "free" world.

    1. That was normalized long before Trump came on the political scene.......and the Left played a large role in it.

    2. Yep, and furthermore people have been competing over "who can be the most cross with Trump" for so long it has become boring.

    3. Yes, Jez, but it's WORSE than boring. It's –– to use a word currently favored by Hillahoax –– ILLEGITIMATE.

      I'd be the las person to say that it's bad to DISLIKE a public figure for any reason whatsoever, but I think it's wrong to make a CAREER of it constantly egged on by professional paid Prevaricators, well-organized Manipulators and Master Baiters drawn from the ranks of the ENEMEDIA working in tandem with members of the Permanent Bureaucracy who fancies itself our REAL government.

      We're talking, of case about the Deep State who, apparently, believe that elections are a rityalized SHAM, and the Will of the People is irrelevant, –– even inimical –– to the most proper, efficient, maximally effective way to run the machinery of government.

      Ergo, we have an unelected so-called Deep State that has transformed itself into a veritable OLIGARCHY which in turn makes even the concept of a "Representative Republic," as designed by or Founders, downright FARCICAL.

      It looks as though virtually the same thing has happened in Mother England. You have a parliament that appaears to see THWARTING the express Will of the People as its Bounden Duty. I'm referring, of course, to the titanic struggle NOT to implement the BREXIT, despite its having been voted in by a majority several YEARS ago.

      And so it goes . . . merrily down the drain in my never humble opinion. };^)>

    4. As far as i can tell, the deep state (civil service?) have not obstructed brexit one bit, it's Parliament that's been stopping it. But isn't Parliament itself a democratic organ? Isn't it an oxymoron to call it anti-democratic?

      The relationship between Brexit and Democracy is somewhat fascinating. Arguments about Brexit usually collapse in the end into a disagreement about the nature of democracy; should the referendum usurp Parliament, or should Parliament be free to exercise judgement in all matters?

      I tend to back Parliament, imperfect though it is, because that is the nature of our Democracy: representative (like yours), not direct. If we were to suddenly swap our constitution for a more direct style of democracy, probably best not to do so in such a chaotic, ad-hoc manner as this.
      The most dangerous attack so far upon democracy (as it stands) was surly Johnson's unlawful attempt to suspend Parliament.

      Maybe the blame lies with the courts for upholding Parliament's right to hold the executive to account. Or maybe it lies with the people for voting in an insufficiently brexity cohort of MPs (one year after the referendum -- or does that tell you something about the public appetite for Brexit?). Or maybe it was May's fault for failing to reach across the aisle early enough to build cross-party support for a deal that might have been passable?
      Ultimately it's Cameron's fault for setting a referendum where one option was allowed to remain unspecified and uncosted. I share your frustration (exceed it, in fact) that 3 years later, Leave is still the unspecified, uncosted fantasy option -- that's not Cameron's fault, but the original error was his, and imo it was criminally irresponsible.

    5. Jez,
      Did Cameron think that the people would not vote for Brexit? Is that why he set the referendum?


    6. Jez,
      What are your feelings about Brexit and the EU?

    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    8. As far as i can tell, the deep state (civil service?) have not obstructed brexit one bit....

      Jez, I appreciate your take on Brexit. I've been curious for awhile now, do Brits have similar rhetorical crutches [especially in the era of Brexit] - sans definition and metric - as Americans have grown increasingly reliant upon.....or have ours traveled across the pond?

      I often work with the UK forces when overseas, but we usually steer clear of politics.

      * fixed typo

    9. Jez and I are FB Friends (and if I ever get over to the old sod, I'd like to play some music with him and his brother), and I can tell you he's no fan of Brexit.

      I would call Jez a very sensible liberal. Since it's not my country, I don't comment on his political posts.

    10. SF,
      Now that you mentioned the above, I see Jez's FB posts on the topic of Brexit.

    11. Huh, now you have me wondering which of my posts are visible to non-friends (strictly in the facebook sense, of course).

      Cameron expected to win, he's been lucky all his life and he described himself as "a winner" to his more cautious colleagues. Yes, it was hubris. Also, many remainers abdicated the responsibility to support the Remain cause to Cameron and his sidekick Osborne, in the mistaken belief that their dishonest campaign would be succeed. I deeply regret thinking along those lines myself.

      I voted remain, but on reflection I don't really feel very strongly about it, nor do I understand the EU deeply enough for my opinion to carry much weight. What I do feel strongly about is what it's revealed about our legal processes as our flexible constitution is tested, especially this business about the nature of our democracy.

      It is especially clear to me that demagogues are *abusing* the notion of democracy. Beware those who rant about the "will of the people" being "frustrated" -- I guarantee, the person ranting doesn't care one jot about what the will of the people really is, and will probably try to stop any earnest attempt to gather it! They only like it as long as they can disingenuously interpret it as support for their own cause.

      SF: you're welcome to comment -- I would love my liberal friends to be exposed to thoughtful alternatives (not that some of them aren't already better aquainted with alternative views than I).

    12. Jez,
      now you have me wondering which of my posts are visible to non-friends (strictly in the facebook sense, of course)

      There are adjustments in settings.

      If it's any consolation, my FB page is open to all who want to look. Comments, however, are restricted to "friends." I had to impose the restriction because of my nasty sister-in-law. Nobody in the family can stand her! Her own fault.

    13. CI: Unfortunately I can't honestly claim that discourse in Britain is in any way better than in America. Our shambolic fraud of a prime minister still at least clings to a figleaf of respectability, whatever that's worth -- we don't yet have a Trump-like figure, willing to dispense with the figleaf entirely. As for the rest of it, on the news, down the pub, it's pretty depressing: the tabloids have taken over. Even people I agree with are all-too-willing to pretend not to know what a fair argument looks like. Our attention is taken up with the various political crises, the ecological crisis, whichever war you want to pay attention to this week, etc. But what it really is, is a crisis of epistemology.

    14. Thanks Jez, I value your thoughtful perspective. Nice tie in at the end.....we suffer from that here as well.

  5. one point that the article glosses over but is extremely important is the growth of addiction to violence. I don't know if this has been latent but the growth of sensationalized media has nourished it,

    1. In pandering to –– and even atempting to GLORIFY –– our basest instncts our poisonous Popular Culture (developed and prompted by the perverse Cultural Marxist Revolution) has succeeded in causing an increasingly powerful REVERSION to the brute svagery from which we evolved over millennia.

      We're n our way back to the Jungle and the Caves.

    2. I agree. One gigantic contribution to our "addiction to violence" is the glorification of our endless war in the Infotainment Media Complex. War Porn in all its iterations, from TV programs to YouTube videos to first person shooter video games.

    3. I enjoyed Doom II in the last century, but I must say I don't understand how the recent war simulators, based on real conflicts, are not far, far beyond the bounds of good taste.

  6. I exress my anger, outrage, disappointment, derision and contempt in satirical verse –– a process I enjoy so much I don' care in the least if anyne else shares my enthusiasm. Here's an example. Make of it what you will.


    (Or What’s So Especially Bad
    About Chemical Weapons?)

    Apparently, it’s AOK
    To mow ‘em down with bullets,
    But don’t dare try to kill ‘em off
    By poisoning their pullets.

    It’s all right too when bombs
    Rain from aloft or on the level,
    But when you kill with poison gas,
    You’re in league with the Devil.

    Lock ‘em in a building,
    Then burn it to the ground.
    By judges at The Hague
    You’ll not be guilty found.

    Go drag them from their cells
    Into a courtyard to be shot.
    The World Court will not chide you,
    Nor tell you “Thou shalt not.”

    Take mothers, babies, toddlers ––
    Grandmas –– anyone who thrives,
    Then hack them with machetes
    And bayonets to end their lives.

    Rape and loot and strangle,
    Garrote or stab at will ––
    Of you The World Community,
    I promise, won’t think ill.

    Set ‘em loose in wood or field,
    Then hunt ‘em down like game;
    Let half-dead bodies lie unhealed.
    You won’t lose your good name.

    Rob and cripple, maim at will ––
    Dislocate their joints.
    Multiculturalists will know
    You must have your good points.

    Gouge their eyes out, slit each tongue.
    Sodomize, impale their young.
    Club ‘em down, then crush with tractors.
    Brussels won’t call you bad actors.

    BUT, urinate upon the corpse
    Who tortured your best buddy,
    And you’ll be tossed in the stockade
    With nose broken and bloody.

    And should you dare to wipe yourself
    With leaves from the the Koran,
    ‘Tis YOU The World Community
    Will call BARBARIAN!

    ~ FreeThinke

    1. What's good for one is good for all. So, if wiping oneself with leaves from the Quran results in calling one a barbarian then one wiping oneself with leaves from the Bible should result in the same.

      Put a different way, if wiping yourself with leaves from the Quran is something YOU do then don't become upset if someone wipes themselves with leaves from the Bible.

    2. SF is correct, but the larger point - possibly unintended by RN - is the fascinating intersection of religion and politics, and the direct tie in to American anger.

    3. Well, he stated his "point" poorly but I can agree religious people are not immune to the outrage contagion gripping the nation.

      I am a strong believer in Kant's categorical imperative.

    4. Also, I have come to despise the "religious" "right."

      I firmly believe they share a large portion of the blame for Christianity's waning influence in our society.

    5. I don't necessarily have a dog on the fight with regard to Christianity's influence, but I can't argue with your assessment.

    6. Thank you CI for your comment). It was very much intended. I'm glad you picked it up.

  7. One useful tool that I have found useful is that anger is often what we do to mask fear. The anger cannot be assuaged until we get past it and deal with the fear that lies beneath and that is the real issue. Study, if you will, the tirades of many "liberals" and ask yourselves what it is that they fear.


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    1. Franco,

      I also like your comment about using artistic expression as an outlet. That is a mentally and physically healthy way to do it. Maybe if more of us had artistic hobbies?

      I know a half hour of playing some mad furious banjo can burn off a lot of steam.

    2. Yes, Franco is right about using artistic expression as an outlet.

      Back in the day, when I got frustrated, I used to pound away on the last movement of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" or the first movement of Beethoven's "Sonata Pathetique."

    3. I like to blast through some vintage Elvis Costello, "Uncomplicated" works pretty well. Sometimes the best tool really is a hammer.


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