The Irony of Anarchy

The Czar pays attention, for the most part, to the emails and tweets he receives, and notes with some smug pride that many of you have come to appreciate his long-standing observation that the spontaneous rioting that occurs in cities hosting international events features well-organized rioting by the same folks. The Czar has written about this three different times, and appreciates how many of you have caught on to this under-recognized bit of law enforcement reality.

What caused the spontaneous anarchy in Ferguson, Missouri? What if the Czar told you it was neither spontaneous nor anarchy?

What infuriates the Czar is the mainstream media’s incessant Quest for the Motive. What causes people to be anarchists? What triggers mob actions like the anti-Trump riots outside the Republican National Convention? What prompts young men to murder police officers in cold blood, and makes Black Lives Matters close off streets and highways? Ultimately, what motivates people to become anarchists?

Let the Czar explain a key point to you: anarchy is ironically the least chaotic political event he can imagine. All of you know the key idea behind anarchy is ἀναρχία—the absence of leadership. But the Media fails to comprehend (or perhaps does and denies) that none of this is anarchy: it’s organized, planned, and guided by very experienced hands.

In other words, anarchy, at least as we see it here in the United States, is carefully led by intelligent leaders. It’s not an anarchy at all—you want anarchy, look to Somalia, where small tribes of competing interests ebb and flow to the detriment of structure. What you see in America today is straightforward Leftist revolt—like the Haymarket affair of 1886, the Weathermen Underground in 1969, the King riots of 1992—which are all connected by the Leftist need to destroy social structures.

Leftists are not anarchists; in fact, they are the polar opposite: totalitarians. Now, the Czar does not mean to suggest there is some monocled George Soros-like bald genius stroking a white cat while plotting the timeline of the next strike, as a multiracial and multi-ethnic consortium of local leaders nod approvingly. In fact, the directives are hazy at best, and even unintentional.

To understand this idea better—a vague collective of Leftist revolt—we can look to no less than Vladdy Lenin, whose team mates helped coin the immortal phrase «полезные дураки» (though it’s not clear Lenin himself ever used the phrase): “useful fools.” The term was originally used to describe Polish nihilists who, while they weren’t expressly communists, were very good at causing destruction and damage that helped communism spread further. In other words, while they might not be explicitly helping us, they’re sure making things easier, so let them continue.

Black Lives Matter is a perfect example of this idea, some one hundred years later. Entre eux, the leaders of BLM would probably bristle at the idea that they could be mistaken for national socialists, but by striking against the law and order required in a capitalist constitutional republic, they further the cause of Leftism. Want proof? Progressive liberals,who are straightforward leftists, are expressing solidarity with BLM and encouraging them in their imaginary struggle. Why? Because it costs Leftists nothing to sit back and watch BLM introduce chaos in as many places as they can at one time…chaos, of course, for which only a leftist can provide a solution: progressive liberalism! See, these poor black kids (noble savages, really) are too ignorant to fix their concerns through normal channels, and require liberal progressives to shepherd them to obedient safety, and all that. Like they did in 1968 and later.

And no better example of Useful Idiots are the people murdering police officers. No, BLM isn’t orchestrating this horror—which should be unimaginable in 21st Century America—but hey, these individual fiends are inadvertently promoting Black Lives Matter. Every time one of them laughingly exterminates a blue-clothed husband and father, a BLM representative is called onto a national news show to express disgust. BLM’s leadership likely winces every time a cop is killed, but the idiots behind it sure are useful to their cause. And the sad fact is that, like a Soviet Russian doll, BLM is helping the cause of progressive liberalism, which in turn helps Leftism. Useful idiots, all the way down.

So who is behind all of this? There’s rarely one individual, but there is a Gestalt of smaller groups each taking advantage of the other’s misdeeds to further their respective ends: just as the Jacobins began in 1789, Saint-Simon’s social utopians in the 1820s, the Communists in the 1840s, the social progressives of the 1890s, the Soviets in the 1910s, the Fascists in the 1930s, the radicals in the 1960s…and well, you get the idea. Useful idiots, all the up, too.

And a “Gor Morgon” to You, Too

Our beloved Operative SMR writes in that he and his wife were recently shoplifting in Ikea, and was delighted to find we have a product for sale there.

Lest you doubt him, here’s the photo:
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“I always wondered where you shopped to outfit the castle,” he said.

Indeed, the product in question is a sink cabinet with two drawers. Here’s the sink:

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The cabinet has two drawers, which when opened reveal the infinitude of the crawling chaos. The assembly directions have no words of course, because Hello Kitty has no mouth. And yet she screams.

You know, the Czar has always said if you see a Hello Kitty image, you know two things.

First, that we are responsible for it, to our own evil ends.

Second, that you paid twice as much as you should have.

Of course, if you purchase that over-priced Hello Kitty item at Ikea, well, you probably paid a great deal more than twice its value.

Life Outside the Echo Chamber

The Czar and his family spent a wonderful weekend off-line, thank you, at a fantastic and ancient lake home up in Wisconsin with a large group of people. The days were filled with swimming, boating, eating, bonfires, and a hell of a lot of drinking.

Once, not too long ago, discussing politics in a mixed group of polite people would have been a social error of monumental proportions; however, thanks to the thrashing death throes of the Left and the incessant milquetoast crumbling of the Right, our society is in a position where you must choose sides, lest a side be chosen for you. Discussing your peculiar extremist viewpoint is as de rigueur as chatting about the road construction on Westmoreland. The Czar thinks this is sad.

In our particular crowd, we were treated to a spectrum of political opinions: we had two ardent Trump supporters, some libertarians, a self-proclaimed independent (but admittedly more often Republican), die-hard conservatives, a wing-nut Sanders supporter, loyal liberal Democrats, fairly strong progressives, and so on… everything from extreme on each side to squishy on all fronts. The Czar is not certain anyone held back on their particular views, and that made a big difference.

But being a mixed group of polite people, we preferred not to argue and scream but to find common ground. And while you would be forgiven for thinking that common ground is surprising success in the age of shrieking, the areas upon which we agreed were really quite unfortunate. Our conclusions, in no particular order:

  • These are the worst political candidates we’ve ever seen. Yeah, we’ve had some stinkers before, but not on both sides at the same time.
  • Even the Democrats in our group understand that Hillary Clinton is a terrible candidate and will not, if successfully elected, be viewed on as a great president. She’s lying, manipulative, and has no authenticity. Indeed, her political agenda trumps any real love she should have for her country.
  • Speaking of Trump, even his two supporters in our group realize he’s a man-child of reckless compulsion. At some level, they admit, this whole campaign seems to be a political protest that has gotten out of his control.
  • The Czar will not condemn anyone for voting for Trump to defeat Hillary, nor for declining to vote for Trump on principle. 2016 is not an election to be judgmental when the candidates are this bad.
  • Whether you are on the Right or the Left, we are in serious trouble as a country. Not so much an existential threat to our own existence, but a growing sense that every imaginable issue is being exaggerated into outright nonsense, with people being forced to pick an opinion.
  • Everyone wishes that someone—anyone—could have displaced Hillary Clinton on the Democrats. Well, anyone but Bernie Sanders. Our one pro-Sanders participant admits he’s a clown, but believes (correctly, in our estimation) that Sanders actually forced Clinton to campaign. Previously, if you recall, she was avoiding any public appearances or speaking engagements.
  • Our conservatives and looser Republicans dearly hoped someone other than Trump would be the presumptive nominee. And yes, the Trump supporters expressed a wish that a more mainstream Republican would have taken a populist tone earlier on and produced a better campaign. In other words, they like Donald Trump’s idea, but not the man or his campaign. Alternates? One hoped Sen. Ted Cruz could have started off less pissy and run the campaign he eventually did, and the other would have liked to seen Sen. Rand Paul come out meaner and tougher. Fair criticisms, the Czar acknowledges.
  • Both Republicans and Democrats believe the other side is going to win. That was interesting.
  • No matter who wins, it’s likely to be a long four years and a probable single term. The presidency is too tough a job, and cracks will show right away, they believe. The Czar did not mention that if anyone was too lightweight to be re-elected, it was Barack Obama, but we’ve covered that at length on this site.

Naturally enough, the Czar was delighted to spend time with others outside our respective echo chambers. We came to little agreement on firearms (most of us, though, were enthusiasts; only a couple were anti-gun), a lot of agreement that Islam does not deserve the protection it’s getting from the Left, total agreement on Brexit being a good thing, and that the media are basically behind all our cross-loathing. Ah yes, the media: the biggest echo chamber there is.

Bow Before Your Betters!

GorT is steamed.  Hopping mad.  P.O.’d  Really f**king angry.

This nation has a set of laws.  They should apply equally across everyone – regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc. etc.  So while we’re fighting for equality, we should all keep that in mind, right?

Let me cite 18 U.S. Code § 793(f):

Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

It should be plainly clear by FBI Director Comey’s statements this morning that Secretary Clinton violated this law.  This is the issue – plain and simple.

Thousands of other government employees and contractors live by this and many other statutes covering this material.

Others, including Bryan Nishimura by this very same administration, have been prosecuted and sentenced for similar offenses.

Secretary Clinton repeatedly lied, including statements under oath in front of Congress, when one considers what Director Comey divulged this morning.

By not prosecuting this crime, what message and precedent are we allowing to be set?  Can some government contractor set up an email server in her house and direct potentially classified emails to it?  Can another government employee read classified materials and ask a co-worker to strip the markings off of it and resend it on an unclassified email system?

No.

There is a reason for classifying material and information.  Maybe the rules and statutes are cumbersome or misaligned with current technology, but the rules are in place.  If people are bothered by these rules, work within the system to change them.  This is why Edward Snowden is a traitor and Hillary Clinton is a yet-to-be-prosecuted criminal.

One simple question for the Presidential debates this fall:

Secretary Clinton, do you believe that all U.S. laws and statutes apply equally to all citizens?

 

 

Scottish or Irish Independence? Not Likely

Based on the support of England and Wales, Britain voted to leave the European Union. You might have heard about this; it was mentioned at least twice last week on the news.

We’re also hearing that Scotland and Northern Ireland were not enthusiastic about this move; Scotland is mulling over another referendum to secede from the United Kingdom and go their own way. Likewise, Northern Ireland is looking to reunite with the Republic of Ireland, according to some sources, although this time without explosives.

As an American, it does our Czarish heart proud to hear about countries declaring their independence of anything. With two exceptions:

  • Texas, which has been announcing its intent to leave the United States since 1845. Texas is a proud, strong, and economically free state, so the Czar loves it. But let’s be honest: Texas should totally shut up already. They’re like the loud-mouthed 18-year-old who threatens to run away, but mom and dad know little Texas can’t go more than 20 minutes without the Xbox and free mac and cheese meals. Texas—the Czar loves ya, but STFU already about secession. You don’t mean it, and you sure wouldn’t want it. It’s an attention-whore joke that got tiresome when Polk was president.
  • Quebec, which would plunge into misery and chaos with its faux-French, state-sponsored pretend culture, but whose departure would actually and immediately improve the lives of Canadians overall. Arrêter de parler, for heaven’s sake. You’re useless by yourselves. And speak English, already, like the rest of the country, and not that awful form of record-scratching you call French. We all know you speak English when none of les Anglos are absent.

Interestingly, this is the Czar’s opinion on Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well. Take it from someone who was here in the 1770s: don’t attempt to form a country unless you already have one up and running.

Yeah, Scotland has its own pretend parliament, but it’s not functional outside its own limited, internal scope—it doesn’t even have the authority to secede itself from British Parliament. And it has no currency of its own, no independent banking system, no military forces, no independent health system, and no effective relations outside of the United Kingdom’s. Successful start-up countries have all these things before they go solo. Israel, for example, did, as did (ahem) the United States in 1775. More recently, the former Soviet states that became countries also did the necessary legwork. Scotland, despite mulling over independence for decades, has largely ignored these steps.

Scotland hopes that all of this will somehow be supplied by the European Union, which makes them perfect candidates for membership: let someone else pay for it or supply it. Scotland can remedy this sad situation, but it will take years.

Northern Ireland finds itself in much the same jam: if we merge with Ireland, they’ll cover us on all of this. Except, in reality, that’s not how it works. Northern Ireland can ask Germany how quickly their unification occurred. It took years.

And there’s the problem, you see: it takes a long time to develop the necessary infrastructure to succeed on your own. Scotland and Northern Ireland are hopeful it can occur right away, but it never does for obvious reasons. And time is running out.

Why? Because the European Union may not last much past the next three years. What with Britain’s departure, and rumors (to date) of France, Sweden, the Netherlands, and others weighing a possible exit as well, the number of members paying all the bills is going to get smaller and smaller.

Brexit will indeed be a disaster—but only for the notion of a European super-state centrally regulated by non-elected technocrats who manage from spreadsheets and not experience. Scotland and Northern Ireland aren’t going to get their bills paid by someone else, in which case they might just as well develop their own solutions and—hey—they won’t need the EU, either.

This seems like a crazy idea, but newcomer Noah Daponte-Smith seems to agree:

A Daily Mail poll released earlier today showed support for independence north of the border is strong, but not so strong: the electorate splits 53-47 in favor of leaving the U.K. That’s a large shift from the 55-45 majority in favor of remaining in the 2014 referendum, but it’s still only a six-point difference.

Daponte-Smith also posits something the Czar didn’t even consider:

Then there’s the question of whether an independent Scotland would even be allowed into the European Union. This seems to be taken as something of a given right now, but it shouldn’t be. Accession to the E.U. requires the unanimous assent of all current member states — all of the E.U.’s now-27 countries would need to give their okay to Scotland’s accession. But some countries are currently grappling with their own secessionist movements, and letting in the Scots after their own secession might send a positive signal to secessionists around Europe. In Spain, for instance, Scottish independence could embolden and set a precedent for the Catalonian secessionist movement, which has gathered momentum in recent years. And, it’s worth noting, the Spanish prime minister has recently expressed his opposition to negotiations with Scotland over its E.U. membership.

Nothing here doesn’t also apply to a potential North Ireland secession, including the probability that Europe doesn’t want another country to diaper. While a centrally managed Europe may welcome a merged Ireland, which the Europeans have historically termed Anschluß, the subsequent drain on Ireland’s risky and delicate economy would transfer to the EU when they could least afford it. In 1990, the merger of East and West Germany proved terribly expensive (Solidaritätszuschlag), but was greatly mitigated by the strength of the Deutschemark over the Ostmark—but the Northern Irish pound sterling to the Irish euro is not a beneficial analog: the two currencies are too close in value to be attractive to investors, and who the hell would sell off pounds sterling to euros? Basically, whether you invest in either currency, you would wind up hurting to merge the two countries. No surprise that public polling shows the Northern Irish are quite happy to stay part of the UK, thank you.

So that’s it, basically. Scotland isn’t going to secede any time soon, and doing so to join the EU is even more of a bad idea. Northern Ireland lacks the support internally (support for a unified Ireland is bigger in the Republic of Ireland, who also stands to be a big loser with such a move) and would be a bigger longshot.

The Czar recommends they stay where they are. After all, in a few years, the United Kingdom’s economy will climb high enough to make all this talk of post-Brexit independence just another piece of left-wing hysteria best forgotten.

The Failure of Liberalism Leads to Illiberalism

Nihil agis, nihil moliris, nihil cogitas quod non ego non modo audiam sed etiam videam planeque sentiam.

Operative B swings by the Castle bar last night but declines to drink anything, He does however throw this out:

Your Imperiousness,

This lowly one comes before you to apologize for previously questioning the value of NATO in today’s world. With England having voted to leave the EU, and with other countries making “we’re also sick of Brussels’ crap” noises, it appears that your support for NATO was right on the mark.
I’m not quite sure it was either your long view of history (several hundred years of direct experience) or your use of Gort’s time warp viewer (he got it fixed, right?), but this miserable one is in awe of your prescience.

So, if I may, here’s a couple of lottery forms. Do you suppose you’d be willing to darken the spots for an upcoming drawing? I’d be more than happy to rebuild the drawbridge and buy y’all several rounds of your favorite beverages…

Operative B

Anti-Brexit news media nervously tapping fingers wondering when this sort of destruction will come to Britain…and, maybe more importantly, what happens when it doesn’t.

We haven’t spoken much about Brexit, but the Czar is in agreement with a piece that Volgi linked to the other day, but the Czar would like to tie all this together. Meantime, read that link; the Czar will wait.

Okay, so you’ve read it and concluded that most of the world—not just the United States—is in a bad way. In fact, you would reasonably conclude that things are worse elsewhere in the world: the chauvinism of France returns, the itch for German control over the region, and Russia’s never-ending quest for legitimacy and respect. Worse, the ridiculous return of anti-Semitism shows that Europe would rather hate Jews and the rumors of minor monetary control than address the widespread Islam that is, in fact, coming to supplant or kill them.

Basically, Europe is out of control and seeking to over-control itself. Brexit is part of that reflection: fed up with Brussels (as you rightly identify it) and the sudden realization that any post-Roman European superpower inevitably turns to poop, the English and the Welsh have decided to hit the road. Not surprisingly, the Scots and Northern Irish (long living off handouts), want to stay with the EU under the fantasy that wealthier nations will spot them another twenty quid until they, you know, get around to writing a résumé and applying for mid-management at that bank down the road.

And we can talk Trump, too, and his nationalist tone about taking things back, making things great again, and putting things first again. The piece you just read already covered how all these things are related: Author Sohrab Ahmari terms it a rise in “Illiberalism.”

The cause of that—and this is the Czar taking a long view here—is the struggling death of Leftism. Since the French Revolution, Leftism has failed to deliver on any of its claims. When it turned into Bohemianism, then Communism, then Progressivism, then Socialism, Fascism and Nazism, and all the way down to Bernie Sanders, the numbers were never in its favor.

Bernie Sanders is a great example. He and Hillary Clinton are the pinnacles of what passes for liberal leadership in this country: had any other candidate besides the illiberal Donald Trump survived the primaries, and it’s highly probable that we’d see a landslide vote against the Democrats in November. Know why the Democrats are running candidates so weak that even a mess like Donald Trump is holding his own? Because they’re tapped out. They have no one better than these two losers.

All across Europe, North and South America, we see socialism failing. Austerity, Austrian politics, and no-confidence votes are a visible Thatcherite sign than we are indeed running out of other people’s money. Leftism has failed, and the average person isn’t buying it.

As a whipsaw, though, the reaction has been the opposite: aggressive attempts at central control. Britain leaves the EU? Hysterical (and often hysterically funny) reactions about doom and gloom. “The markets will fail!” Prices fluctuate and return to normal. “Markets struggle to come back from Brexit!” Prices begin ticking upward as British stocks become more valuable. “Market valiantly battles against Brexit’s effects!” Please.

The destruction of political correctness is a good thing, but instead we’re getting political offensiveness in the other direction. Candidates are saying whatever the hell the want to say, and consequences don’t seem to matter. This is equally bad.

Don’t be too joyful about the death of liberal progressivism, though: the responding rise of nationalism isn’t good for freedom, as Ahmari explains. Liberal progressivism might be dying, but it plans to take most of us with it. In fact, it may become more dangerous as it senses it’s cornered. We’re seeing that with the daily deluge of illegal executive actions, double secret probationary regulations passed by unseen bureaucrats, and judicial legislation.

Liberal progressivism is on its way out, but what comes after could easily be worse.

Mary Eberstadt is waaay too optimistic (UPDATED: No, she’s not.)

Based on (Friend of the Gormogons) Jonathan Last’s rave review, I picked up Mary Eberstadt’s It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom & its Enemies. I recommend it.

I’m a little less overwhelmed than Jonathan was, however, for a reason I’ll get to. But first, here’s the book. The central argument is that the decades-old “culture war” is not actually, as it’s usually presented, the forces of secularism against those of religion, but rather a battle of two competing religions. The crux of the book appears here. Go read it. It’s worth your time.

Ok, got that? So, yeah, one can cavil if we’re dealing with a religion, a metaphysic, an ethic, or an ethos (“I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude…”), but yes, like Marxism, Socialism, Nazism, whatever, we’re dealing with a pseudo-religion that provides its adherents with a pretty comprehensive moral system. Let’s call them Venerists for short. (She doesn’t, but I will.)

Most of Eberstadt’s short book documents in great anecdotal detail how the mindset of Venerism has gradually become utterly hostile to orthodox Christian belief, and the difficulties this presents in American society today, for the Venerists as well as their targets.

Her primary analogy is to past moral panics that resulted in persecution—the Salem Witch Trials, McCarthyism, the Satanic day-care panic of the ’80s, etc. Her final chapter asks “What is to be done?” and her main counsel is patience, as all of the above burned themselves out, often with public regrets by those involved.

That’s where I think she’s fairly grievously wrong, if her persuasive analysis of Venerism as a religion is correct. Witch trials aren’t religious conflicts, they’re social phenomena couched in moral-religious terms. Religious conflict is something altogether worse.

As the village atheists among us like to point out, religions are often bad at tolerating competing religions because they’re making mutually exclusive truth claims. And indeed, the closer the religions the more hostile the conflicts often are. Take Sunnism and Shi‘ism, for example, or the competing Christian groups who burned Germany to the ground for a hundred years or so in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

The solution to religious conflict within a society is religious pluralism along the lines that evolved, particularly in the English-speaking world, particularly in British North America, beginning with Maryland’s Act Concerning Religion of 1649 and evolving into the U.S. Constitution of 1789’s First Amendment and its Establishment Clause.

Here’s the problem. Venerists do not believe—and in my opinion likely cannot be persuaded—that they are acting out of a religious impulse. Indeed, they are often rabidly “anti-religion” in their own minds, believing themselves to possess a superior moral sense derived from something like pure reason. And given that under the Constitution, they probably in fact do not count as a religious group (however metaphysical their convictions are), they therefore cannot fall afoul over the Establishment Clause. You see where I’m going with this.

Consequently, as they seem to be doing (thanks, Justice “Meaning of Existence” Kennedy, Justice “It’s [Not] A Tax” Roberts, and crew), they are in fact establishing Venerism as the official state cult of America, and they will use the full might of the state to suppress dissenters (who are vile, wicked heretics leading souls to perdition—excuse me, “hate”). They will offer no quarter, because error has no rights. Or in today’s cant, “Because hate speech does not deserve to be heard.”

So, while I hope and pray that Eberstadt’s conclusion is correct, that we’re in the midst of a panic that will burn out and self-correct at the hands of conscientious liberals, my real worry is that we find ourselves in the middle of a genuine religious conflict, and our enemies have the sovereign behind them. It is a very dangerous place to be, and I think we (and Hobby Lobby, and the Little Sisters of the Poor) find ourselves arguing less from our rights as equal citizens than for tolerance—not in the modern celebratory-affirmation sense, but in the old suffer-the-despised-to-live sense—as recusants from the new dispensation.

UPDATE: She’s probably as pessimistic as I am. I stand corrected!

Travel Tips for Rio

The Czar is a giving Czar, and it warms his heart to see someone as famous and respected as Uncle Jay—the Big Guy, and the guy who should have gone into gritty, rage-filled urban hate rap instead of fiber optics—supplicating in such a worthy and professional manner as this:

O Most Dread and Awful Czar, Lord of the Flies, Keeper of the Pile, Master of the Steppes, Bringer of Kinetic Military Action, Torturer-in-Chief, Slayer of the Yaw and the Goiter, and Protector of the Holy Cities of Moscow, Chicago and parts of Louisville…

Once again I find myself in need of Pro Life Tips from Your Czarness…

As per usual I have been assigned to work in a place that the mere mention of evokes fear and palpitations in the hearts of travel agents and dollar signs in the eyes of Personal Executive Protection agents.

Yep- you guessed it. I’m heading to Rio.

Your guidance regarding my sojourn in Sochi was invaluable; Your tip regarding quality horsemeat was spot-on, and I did use “გვამი მდინარეში ერთხელ,” very often, given the construction contractors that received bids and money for projects that were either unfinished (tons of them) or didn’t even exist (arguably even a larger quantity).

Your knowledge was so useful I would once again visit the well of your vast wisdom and know-how and draw upon your knowledge of all things dangerous and deadly.

Word around the campfire is to stay away from:

  • Beaches at night
  • Bars bearing any signage 1) in English, or 2) with the words “Nós Matamos Turistas” (“We love tourists” I think…)
  • Downtown Rio
  • Northern Rio
  • Southern Rio
  • Western Rio
  • (There is no Eastern Rio. Word has it that is was sold to Uruguay and carted away in a truck years ago.)

Also avoid:

  • Local cops
  • City cops
  • Federal cops
  • Highway cops
  • Subway/Metro cops
  • Anyone with a uniform
  • Anyone without a uniform
  • Kids
  • Grownups
  • Boys
  • Girls
  • Girls that look like boys
  • Boys that look like girls
  • Anyone with a pulse
  • Anyone without a pulse

And finally—
Don’t eat:

  • Meat
  • Vegetables
  • Fish
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Gluten
  • Starches
  • Name brand liquor
  • Off brand liquor
  • Homemade liquor
  • Cachaça
  • Aguardiente
  • Water (bottled, tap, bay, beach, bath/shower, ocean and rainfall)
  • Beer
  • Coke and other ‘soft’ drinks

And the biggest no-no-

  • Favelas – Don’t even look at the damned favelas.

As a matter of fact, according to the keeper of my leash, visiting a favela, no matter how well armed and capable I am, or the size of my personal protection detail is a violation that will get me a spot on the next plane out. (That’s my escape plan, by the way.)

Help me, Obi Wan Czarnobi
You’re my only hope.

Uncle Jay

Dear Uncle Jay,

You’re right that the key word for traveling to Brazil is “don’t.” Of course, that makes it sound like you shouldn’t travel there at all; in reality, (1) you shouldn’t travel to South America at all and (2) the word don’t really applies to everything related to Brazil.

This actually is Rio. This may not be one of the Olympic sports, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see this at some venues.

Brazil is basically all the cut-throat lunacy of a Mexican pirate town plunked helpfully in the center of a sweltering jungle, featuring a river filled with creatures that have teeth the size of your aunt and the predilection to eat something her size with them. Another feature of Brazil is the fact you can drive about ten minutes in any direction (in theory, as there aren’t nearly enough roads) and find yourself in a stone-age culture equipped with blowguns and cell phones. They will not hesitate to use both. No, the Czar doesn’t mean “either,” he means “both”: they’ll gleefully put a dart in your neck while talking to their agent.

Brazilians, on the other hand, are great for parties. The Czar strongly recommends befriending a Brazilian if you like to eat, drink, roller skate, dance, and basically repeat this every hour until four or five in the morning. These people do not quit.

It has been decades since the Czar went to Rio, though, so let’s see what we remember. Your high school Spanish will be just as useful to you here as when you went to Cozumel, by which we mean totally useless. Brazilians, as you already know, speak Portuguese, not Spanish. Portuguese is an interesting language that’s half-Spanish and half-arrogance. It has a lot of shushing noises, which is linguistically interesting: since Brazilians spend about two-thirds of their day inebriated, they simply modified the spelling of their language to reflect drunken slurs.

Helpful phrases:

  • “These are not my drugs, therefore you can keep them.” — Não minhas drogas; portanto, você pode mantê-los.
  • “Waiter, my seafood is threatening me.” — Garçom, meu frutos do mar me ameaça.
  • “What can I drink that won’t kill me?” — O que eu posso beber que não vai me matar?
  • “If I drink this caipirinha, will I still have two kidneys in the morning?” — Se eu beber esta caipirinha, vai ainda tenho dois rins na parte da manhã?
  • “Get me on the next flight home.” — Quero que o próximo vôo do avião casa.
  • “No, I’m Canadian.” — Não, sou canadense

Don’t worry about pronouncing the Portuguese correctly: just read it loud and in a drunk voice. They won’t understand you, but that’s because they’re too hammered themselves. “Vamos roller skating,” they’ll say in sympathy.

The Czar is also familiar with Brazilian cooking, being something of a grill-master himself. The Brazilian method of cooking is quite simple: subject thick cuts of meat—python?—to extremely high heat until the food is charred black on the outside and bloody raw in the middle. If you look carefully, you might find some medium-well fibers of meat between the two, but these will be utterly soaked in salt.

The heat is unbearable in Rio, but clothing is totally optional. Actually, the bigger and hairier you are, the less you want to wear. The Czar guesses for a mostly shaved Sasquatch guy your size, Jay, you should wear an eyepatch in place of a thong. Surprisingly, that won’t be the most surprising thing you’ll see someone wear.

Everyone talks about the gigantic statue of Jesus up on the hilltop, but what they don’t tell you is that, over the last 50 years or so, the statue has totally turned itself around so it looks away. It would be a Vatican-sized miracle, but no one admits it because it reflects nothing but shame on the city. Hey, if you had to gaze down on that mess, you’d at least squint.

Anywhere you go, look for the nearest exit and use it.

Fortunately, you’ll be traveling there with fiber optic cables, which is good because you can use them to strangle the hotel clerk when he arrives in the middle of the night to perform his customary turn down service and leave something minty on your pillow. Don’t worry about the body: murder is not only sanctioned there but positively encouraged. If the authorities ask, simply say what all Brazilians say and claim you thought he was a poor person. You’re off the hook, and you can just leave the body where it is. There will be no air-conditioning in your room anyway, and within moments his corpse will be swollen with bottle fly maggots, so dumping it won’t matter.

For the last 50 years or so, the Czar has become increasingly convinced that the Olympics are just a huge joke that we’re not getting…so the organizers are choosing even dumber locations each time. “Let’s pick a disease-infested pithole that’s corrupt, filthy hot, and has no transportation or clean lodging.” “How about Rio? Chicago said no.”

Illiberalism Worldwide

Very much worth your while is Sohrab Ahmari’s piece on the rising tide of illiberalism around the world over at Commentary.

However, I would add one point that Ahmari largely ignores. While the turn towards community-centric populism, however the community is defined, is a constant in human affairs (indeed, much of Marxism and leftism in general is an intellectualization of the values of the small-group tribe). But why this turn now in the wealthiest parts of the world?

One hesitates to pronounce on such large, complicated questions, but it occurs to me that central to the increasingly decadent liberal order in the West (liberal in the old, as well as lefty sense) is a crisis of meaning. Religion, other than Islam, is incredibly feeble in Europe and decreasingly relevant in the U.S., when it’s not under explicit attack by votaries of Leftism, either in its statist or venereal sects.

Absent the traditional explanatory narrative and provider of morals, people moralize and narrativize politics. Those on their side become angels, their opponents demons. Reasoned argument collapses into anathema. Blues and Greens cry “Nika! Nika! Nika!”

The West has been soul-sick since World War I. If no remedy comes along soon, we’re done for.

Staining the Rug

The Czar has written a lot of great stuff over the years, all of which has been useful to you, and some of which probably saved your lives. Like today: the Czar woke up and realized you need to read a lengthy piece about staining your carpets.

A dog is a great way to do this because dogs are a never-ending and always surprising source of bodily fluids; sometimes dogs can produce emanations that are difficult to identify, at least as far as from what orifice they originated. Even a small dog of particularly robust constitution is able to produce several quarts of goo without any warning. Semi-colloids of a biological color, for example, make up this category, but don’t forget the exotic muds and rare earths they bring in on their paws even in dry conditions.

However, the Czar is not interested in this type of staining, but in good, old-fashioned carpet stain.

Several manufacturers produce a variety of good stain finishes, ranging from oil-based to gallons of solid white latex eggshell finish. You could spend some time handcrafting realistic wood grain patterns in for a natural look, or just dump gallons of stain all over the carpet and storm away, angry at what the world has done to you. In most cases, justifiably angry; but don’t overlook the possibility you deserved it. But we digress.

It’s best to start with a single color, light-hued carpet, although there’s nothing wrong with experimenting on an area rug if you’re just starting out. Open the cans of stain—from experience the Czar recommends no less than a gallon of stain for every 36 square feet. Begin by gently brushing (“feathering”) a little stain into the carpet in a W-pattern, continuously increasing the amount of stain until you basically pour the whole quantity onto the area. If the stain has trouble adhering to the carpet, just stop and give it “tooth” by sanding the carpet with a 100-grit paper. This will roughen up the carpet fibers and increase adhesion by the stain.

Yes, it seems ridiculous to mention this, but be smart about where you start: every so often, even intelligent people stain themselves into a corner and realize they have to walk across their hard work to get to the exit. If the door is in the middle of the room, or the ceiling, do the edges first and work your way from left-to-right until you bottom out at the top of middle. This last step is essential and it’s important not to get it wrong.

As you wind down toward the end, you might have a little extra stain left in the bottom of the can. Don’t waste this: unlike paint, of which you should save a half-pint in case you ever need to do a touch up, stain doesn’t really go bad on carpets and hides wear and tear well. You don’t need to save any, so carefully disconnect the fuel pump from the injectors, taking care to remove the fuel pump fuse, and connect the fuel return line. Disconnect the pressure regulator vacuum line from the carpet, and connect the cleaning kit to the fuel pressure test port. Let the engine run for about 10 minutes, allowing the cleaner to cycle through the injectors.If the engine stops, it’s because the cleaner is exhausted. Then, reattach the fuel pump power supply and pressure regulator vacuum hose, and you’re good to go.

Your stained carpet should give you a lifetime of filthy enjoyment, and as a side benefit, will enjoy better gas mileage.