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A Simple Answer to a Simple Question

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The simple question as posed by Glenn Beck since this past June (and here I must paraphrase him cause I can’t quote anyone to save my life, and besides which I am too damn lazy to look it up) is:

“America, how did we get here, how did we reach a point where suddenly we must ask ourselves, how did we lose our freedom?”

Well, I might also add, how did we lose not only our freedom, but also our virtue, our manhood and rugged individualism, our American Exceptionalism and our very Constitution itself? And as Beck would couch it, our “faith, hope and charity” as well.

And so I must propose the truly unthinkable on this soon-to-be election eve: How did we so blindly succumb to this creeping socialism, to this secular-progressive gradualism; just as the proverbial frog in the proverbial pot of cool, tepid water does not realize his doom with every notch upward in the burner beneath the pot in which he so serenely and placidly resides so unaware of and oblivious to the true danger he is in?

How did the progressive and secular “libs” and “commie-libs” and “lefty-pinko” liberal socialists and Marxists and Neo-Marxists insinuate themselves into our lives, our government, our nation, our very being? And then usurp our freedom and make us their socialist automatons, serfs and slaves?

No longwinded, detailed explication and pedantic exercise in arcane and esoteric bloviation and pompous”heaviosity” needed here, “just the facts, Ma’am, just the facts.” So toward this end, please allow me dear readers, these three basic observations, ideas and principles.

First, is death by a thousand tiny, imperceptible cuts and blows. It started with just one inconsequential program to aid this or that group. Such as the school-lunch program which surely was thoroughly benign and beneficial for those who were too impoverished to provide mid-morning snacks, lunches and then mid-afternoon snacks for their own children. But as all things liberal and progressive and quasi-socialist, the program gradually expanded like the proverbial pot of tepid water which is gradually heated to a roiling, boiling point.

So not only the poor were entitled to school breakfasts, snacks and lunches, but also the middle class and the upper middle class and even the well-to-do as well. And Mom and Dad were easily bribed and bought off, even if many of them had to partially or fully pay directly for these programs – because it wasn’t all that expensive, just spare change and look at all the good it did – for surely it truly was a windfall for all concerned because it was just one less chore, one less parental responsibility to perform each and every single day. And in addition, because it was so modern and “with it” and so easy and convenient; and surely, because in the final analysis, at the end of the day, it was just less effort for them and clearly less sweat off their brows.

And yet even more so, because it was utterly and completely benign and enlightened, who could possibly complain about helping feed poor children? Or for that matter, any school child? No, Mom and Dad could easily afford to lose some of their autonomy and parental obligations and duties for so benign a usurpation of their parental rights and responsibilities.

Again, it was just one less annoying chore to do, which made life much easier and less demanding, what could possibly be wrong with that? Well, multiply that a hundred times, then a thousandfold and soon those programs became an unwieldy, callous and dictatorial behemoth which now tyrannizes and rules over our very lives into their minutest details each and every single day, up to this very moment, up to this very instant and this very second in time, and with every breath and heartbeat of our waking lives.

The second observation and principle comes from a simple quote from the Roman poet Vergil (who is one of my very least favorite poets which I suppose makes me an absolute, total and complete intellectual, academic and scholastic lout and barbarian, especially in the eyes and minds, and hearts and souls of my former professors of the Classics.

In fact and indeed, as far as I am concerned there are only two poets in not only all of recorded history, but all of creation: there is Homer first and foremost, followed closely by Shakespeare. All others are simply second and third-rate and worse. Especially and including Vergil who I find to be quite contrived and stilted, overly purplish and arcane, often inane and petty, without great ideas nor thought, and to be rather showy and ostentatious and pretentious, flamboyant, gaudy, garish, artificial and affected to boot.

But he does turn a decent phrase or line or two, here and there. So yes indeed, I must confess, I am an intellectual, academic and scholastic lout and barbarian, but I can get away with the former because I do not have to kiss any worthless, feckless professor of the Classic’s ass. But to the quote.)

“Facilis descensus Averni…”

(Pronounced fack-kill-liss des-ken-sus ah-wer-knee.)

A word-for-word translation: “Easy (is) the descent to the (very) gates of hell (Avernus).” Now put into better English syntactical order, “the descent into the (very) gates of hell is easy (and convenient).”

To re-iterate, the path to perdition and hell, by a thousand imperceptible cuts and blows is both gradual and quite easy. For this leftist and progressive gradualism has been with us in fits and starts, especially so in the past 65 years since the end of World War II. And it has been relentless and remorseless, having steadily increased and built itself up enormously, and like an all-enveloping cancer, expanded and created its own lethal momentum. And now we stand at a crucial juncture, at a crossroads where we either succumb to tyranny and serfdom, or we overcome, defeat and triumph over the former.

The third observation/principle comes from a quote from the great French aphorist and philosopher Montaigne.

“La vertu refuse la félicité pour compagne…elle demande un chemin aspere et espineux.”

(I will leave its pronunciation up to you dear readers, cause I would need to utilize the IPA {the International Phonetic Alphabet} to do so. And regrettably I haven’t used it for over 25 years and I’m just too damn lazy to put out the effort. Trust me, you can do it on your own, it’s not that difficult. Besides which, don’t be lazy like me, and get off your collective, fat asses and do something! Anything!)

Now a reasonable word-for-word translation without the slightest embellishment nor my paraphrasing of it either:

(Which fact I assure you dear readers, vexes me mightily and intolerably so. But allow me my worthless translation.)

“Virtue refuses convenience for a companion…but demands a steep and thorny path.”

Well allow me dear readers this slight embellishment with just a hint of creativity, you know I do have autistic license here.

“Virtue refuses the easy way for its companion (in life)…(but rather) demands a steep and thorny path (for itself).”

Well, we as a nation have been seduced, induced, bribed and brainwashed to believe that the easy path, the easy way out, is the right, rational and virtuous one. And as Montaigne so rightfully and clearly has indicated, the easy way out is never a path of virtue. Nor is it the path to salvation nor redemption nor to the personal responsibility and accountability of personal freedom. The easy way is in fact a path to ruin, serfdom, tyranny and slavery.

So let us dear readers, both you and I, let us both choose the difficult path to freedom and personal responsibility and accountability and let our tools be “faith, hope and charity.” And let us walk as free, but responsible and thoughtful, sapient and sentient men with the freedom to choose to walk in the path of God, on the road to his salvation and redemption.

Done, finished, at the end of this essay?…or is there more? Sorry folks but there is one last additional point I would like to make here. And yes, be forewarned, I am going to commit a bit, nay, make that a whole passel of highly pedantic and turgid “heaviosity” herein, so please indulge me this last dance so to speak and bear with me.

One of the more important philosophers of the Middle Ages was a man named Boethius (475 – 524 A.D.) who  was a bridge between the great classical philosophers of ancient Greece (Plato and Aristotle et al) and the very last classical thinkers and scholars of Rome. He was a man of great erudition and scholarship as well as a man of great, practical ability who literally excelled at everything he touched. Unfortunately, as a high minister at the court of Theodoric became tangentially involved in some minor court intrigue, which regrettably cost him his life.

I view his death as stoically as he did himself in his seminal work “De Consolatione Philosophiae” (On the Consolation of Philosophy). For me, his tragedy was that he died too soon, and I mourn his unfinished life as that of an Epaminondas or a Phillip or a Justinian, and more recently a Camus, or a Saint-Exupéry, or a Nathaniel West, all of whom I believe if they had survived their early deaths would have either changed the world for the better or made it a better place culturally and intellectually. The former as world leaders and statesmen, the latter as great men of letters. But that evidently was simply not in the cards for any of them.

Ironically the “Consolation of Philosophy” has long outgrown its relevance and timeliness, save for this one oft overlooked, but yet I maintain, most important and significant, enduring great idea. In his philosophic perambulations, he posited the idea that the right to think was innate and autonomous within the individual, and that it was also a natural right bestowed upon us by both God and nature. And that this right was inalienable and could not be taken away or usurped by anyone – that it could only be surrendered voluntarily!

Mortimer Adler further describes it thusly (again I paraphrase here): The right to think is fundamental to our very humanity, and again, is innate, natural and inalienable. And it can only be given up and surrendered voluntarily. No one can take it away, not even under what Adler so aptly describes as “the mortification of the flesh.”

Even under the worst sort of duress and torture imaginable, you still don’t have to surrender that most basic right to think whatever you wish or desire or believe. All they can do is kill you and that suits no one’s purpose. Furthermore, once duress and torture are removed, one is absolutely free to think again whatever one wishes or desires or believes. And it really doesn’t matter what one thinks or believes in:

One can think rationally and reasonably, logically and sapiently, analytically and critically, empirically and scientifically, spiritually, artistically and esthetically, wisely and providentially, humanely and compassionately, and all based upon and steeped in knowledge and fact, reason, wisdom and keen intelligence, etc.; or one can think like a liberal!

(Sorry ’bout that, jess couldn’t help myself.)

What matters is that one think freely, whether intelligently or…I’m not going to be so flip as to say “liberal” again. But seriously I must re-iterate and re-emphasize the point; again, what truly matters is that one possess the right to think whatever he or she wills, and whatever one thinks thusly is entirely another issue. Again, the right to think is an absolute “absolute.”

This to be sure, the personal and individual right and freedom to think whatever we wish, desire or believe; is truly a lofty and empyrean right, is truly humanly innate and natural; but also so very enlightened and noble, and in the final analysis, it is truly that which makes us more than just mere sentient organisms, but is that which makes us all so very sapient, cognitive and human.

But one might ask, what does this have to do with the subject and issue at hand? Well, I maintain a great deal, so please allow me dear readers to “splain” myself.

Regrettably this noble and great and lofty concept amongst many if not most conservatives and libertarians, is more viscerally understood, unspoken and ineffable than it is clearly stated, elucidated and or articulated. They know and feel it deep down in their guts, deep within the very depths of their hearts and minds, and to the very core of their very souls, but regrettably they do not clearly and lucidly articulate it. Why? How so?

I do not wish at this point in time to make the sort of effort which I assure you dear readers, will at best be a feeble one, and at worst, well, that’s one that’s road really not worth taking. Yeah, I’m kind of smart with a modicum of learning and ability, and perhaps even an iota of talent and wisdom, but truth be known, I ain’t that damn smart nor wise nor talented.

However allow me this one observation; the right to think is part and parcel of the natural progression of Western Civilization. It is part and parcel of the genetic DNA and make up of Classical thought and the great ideas and great books of our culture which have emanated, flowed and followed from it, it is in fact the basis and natural progression of the intellectual heritage of Western Civilization and America in particular.

As long as there is a Homer, a Plato, an Aristotle, a Thucydides, a Plutarch, a Pascal, a Montaigne, a Descartes, a Dante, a Shakespeare, a Cervantes, a Rabelais, a Blake, a Hume, a Hobbes, a Locke, a Hegel, a Burke, a Dickens, and ultimately a Jefferson, an Adams, a Franklin, a Madison, a Hamilton, a Lincoln – there shall always be a right to think freely, analytically and critically, logically, rationally and reasonably, etc., etc., (even if one one thinks like a liberal – again, sorry ’bout that, but just simply couldn’t help myself – cause I truly am incorrigible).

However there are many conservative and libertarian thinkers, philosophers and commentators such a s Ayn Rand, Eric Hoffer, William F. Buckley, Walter Williams, Thomas Sewell and in particular Milton Friedman; who intimate and or vaguely touch upon it, but still unfortunately do not clearly and fully articulate it.

(Actually the one who most clearly articulates this noble idea and most lofty concept is Mortimer Adler, but he of course, was a liberal and liberal socialist all his life, to wit his only major mistake. But in the life of the mind, it was truly one well-lived as well as one which was extraordinarily productive, for he still is a giant of bonafide and legitimate scholarship on a world-class level and truly of a world-class stature.)

However, in my estimation, the conservative voice and libertarian thinker and philosopher who comes closest is Milton Friedman. In his book and video series “Freedom to Choose” he clearly comes to a similar and parallel conclusion as Boethius did almost 1500 years ago. Friedman like Boethius saw that in the final analysis, we are innately and inherently free to choose whatever we wish, desire, will and believe is in our best interests, just as we are inherently free to think whatever we likewise wish, desire or believe.

Both men also saw that the only way we can lose these most fundamental and basic, inalienable human and civil rights is not at sword point or at the tip of a spear or at the end of the barrel of an AK-47 – but rather we can only lose these solely through the means of our own personal, individual volition, free will and own choosing. Again, Mortimer Adler describes that sort of brute force so very aptly and accurately as the “mortification of the flesh” while Milton Friedman likewise aptly describes it simply as “theft.”

(I expand that historically and traditionally to rapine, piracy, pillage and plunder; central governmental taxation, over regulation, bureaucratic ukase and dictate, special-interest cronyism and pure, unadulterated political corruption; and most recently to the modernist, Marxist, leftist notion of the redistribution of wealth, enforced equality of results and the retributive and punitive notion of so-called, supposed “social justice.”)

Milton Friedman clearly points out that liberal and socialist, highly centralized government does not force us to trade our freedom in exchange for security and economic well-being. But rather it is we who must voluntarily surrender our freedom and our right to choose; in order for that sort of serfdom and slavery of the progressives and secular liberals qua liberal socialists qua socialists qua scientific socialists qua communists qua Neo-Marxists qua Marxists – to succeed.

Just as our inalienable right to think cannot be taken from us, not even under the worst sort of duress and torture, but can only be surrendered and given up willingly with our own volition; likewise, our God-given inalienable right to choose cannot be taken away from us by force or the threat of force, but again, for the umpteenth time, that right can only be surrendered voluntarily of and by our very own volition.

And again, that process has for us been excruciatingly slow, steady and gradual, it truly is death by a thousand, tiny, imperceptible blows and cuts, and a path of a thousandfold, a thousandfold little bribes and payoffs, corruption and politics as usual. It is like Camus’ “La Peste” and Frost’s “icy mist” and “road less well travelled” – it is indeed death, gradual but certain, creeping in upon us on silent but deadly feet.

A footnote: Well actually that’s cover for one last I promise, absolute, final, very last, final point. Really? Or is that how Chris Matthews would point out is actually not a penultimate? Well, actually he’s correct, my previous last point would be a “penult” while this one would be an “ultissima.” And I ain’t going to say nothin’ ’bout a propenult nor an antepropenult or an antepenultimate neither! So Chris, don’t mess with me, cause I can out pedant-i-cize you any ‘ol day. But to the very last, absolute, final point (ultissima). I promise, sort of.

What I find extraordinarily intriguing and full of irony is that, if I am not mistaken, and I do not believe I am; these most fundamental and basic, inalienable and human and civil rights imaginable, the right to think freely whatever we wish or desire or will or believe, and the freedom to choose whatever we wish, desire, wil or believe is in our own, personal best interests; is no where clearly mentioned nor enumerated in our founding documents. No where in the Declaration of Independence, or in the Federalist Papers, or in the Articles of Confederation, or in the Constitution itself and in its Bill of Rights – are these rights clearly stated, delineated and or enumerated. And I find this more than passing strange.

Now of course, most reasonable and thoughtful people will explain this by means of the argument that these rights were clearly and strongly implied in these documents, that they were simply understood and that they were in essence a “given” as in geometry. I tend to agree with that point of view and the following argument derived thereof; that it was not necessary to record, delineate and enumerate these rights – that it simply was tacitly understood by all concerned. In essence it was and still is something anyone with half a brain could easily determine for him or herself. (Which of course would actually tend to exclude all liberals – again, sorry ’bout that, just couldn’t help myself.)

Well, that may have been the case over two hundred years ago, but ruefully and regrettably that doesn’t seem to be the case nowadays. Certainly after a hundred plus years of progressive and secular liberalism within our intellectual and cultural centers of power; in our governmental public schools with their vise-grip, cartel-like monopoly, stranglehold on education in America; our colleges and universities which have also become bastions of political correctness rather than of free speech, intellectual freedom, tolerance and dissent of which, political correctness I maintain is nothing less than intellectual, philosophic and ideological fascism and as such is a cancer upon our very soul as a nation, a culture, a civilization; to the very liberal and pro left-wing media-elite, to the “Hollywood left,” to the high culture, the low culture and pop culture.

Clearly all of these left-wing special interests amongst many others, have conspired to dumb down, stupefy, stultify, zombify, proselytize and brainwash America and inculcate our nation in ignorance and in the dangerous notions of collective rights over individual rights, as well with a phony and ersatz call to social justice through the means of the redistribution of wealth, which is nothing more than a form of retributive and punitive injustice, and once more in the words of Milton Friedman, simply “theft.”

Well, these lefty-pinko, commie-lib and commie-symps et al, et al, et al, have done a good job on all of these fronts. But then one must ask the question why are these Americans of today, who are so very much more advanced and better educated than their peers of the Revolutionary period, why are they so clueless and uninformed of the true meaning of American Exceptionalism, why are they so clueless to the Constitution itself and so ready to trade their God-given inalienable human and civil rights for the egalitarian promises and guarantees of the equality of outcomes and results, and for their unearned benefits as reaped from the liberal, Marxist notion of the redistribution of wealth, and for the triumph of their so-called, supposed social justice which again I maintain is nothing more than retributive and punitive social injustice?

I am not going to hazard an opinion, learned or otherwise, but do allow me the following: In spite of the fact that one could count the number of college degree-holders in America in the hundreds or perhaps low thousands at the time of the Revolution, and in spite of the fact that most Americans, indeed the vast majority of them, went no further than the second to fourth grades and in spite of the fact that most Americans were farmers and the few who were not, were either crafts or tradesmen, in spite of all of that – I maintain the Americans of 1776 were more literate, more articulate and more interested in the life of the mind; in literature, philosophy, theology, politics, art, history and the science of their day; than the truly poorly, miseducated masses of Americans today even with their ton-weights of supposed and so-called phony, substandard, worthless diplomas and degrees.

How so? How can I possibly say this? Well I maintain there are essentially two major reasons: First and foremost, the Bible. Why? Because literally everyone read the Bible, in their churches, their schools and especially in their homes. The Bible is of course first and foremost, one of the great religious and theological tomes of all times. But secondly, the Bible is also through parable, homily, metaphor, simile and allegory, a compendium of morality and right-living. “Thou shalt not rob, steal, kill and bear false witness against thy neighbor” etc., is as secular as any statutory law ever devised and perhaps even more so. And thirdly the Bible is also one of the greatest literary works of all times as well – in fact, to re-iterate, I also consider it to be one of the four pillars of wisdom of all times too.

For the sake of completeness the other three are: the Homeric epics (the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey”), the philosophic works of Plato (the “Republic” and all of the dialogues), and all the plays and sonnets of Shakespeare. If one can master all four of these with a modicum of understanding and mastery, then one will be one hell of a smart, thoughtful, literate and well-educated dude or dude-ette.

Well most Americans in 1776 read the Bible from cover to cover and often several times over, and many either read or witnessed and enjoyed and were enthralled by performances of Shakespeare. In fact theater in America at that point in time was quite robust as well as was a nascent publishing industry. And in addition, Americans were great letter writers. Which made for far more literacy than today.

The second reason for this high standard and state of literacy in the Revolutionary Age was that the more educated of the day not only read and studied Homer and Plato and Shakespeare, but they were also taught and tutored in the Classics and the Classical languages themselves – Latin and Greek as well as such academic languages as French and German, and some were taught in Hebrew and ancient Aramaic as well. Why the latter two languages? Because the Bible before it was written in Greek and Latin was originally written in those two previous languages.

It is therefore no accident that Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” and Edward Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” and Thomas Payne’s “Common Sense” all appeared in the late summer and fall of 1776. And all of these were well-received and well read on both sides of the Atlantic. Again, to re-iterate and re-emphasize the point, in spite of their monumental lack of formal education, especially by today’s standards, the Americans of 1776 were relatively more literate in comparison with today’s population even with the latter’s mountains of worthless and feckless high school diplomas and phony college degrees.

May I close out with this quote from Shakespeare which I am certain has its roots in and was influenced by Boethius:

“The subject’s duty is the king’s, but the subject’s soul is his own.”

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About Irvin F. Cohen

  • Baronius

    Adler was a liberal socialist all his life? That’d be news to him.

    The Declaration of Independence’s reference to the right to liberty would seem to cover the right to think and choose as we wish.

  • Irvin F Cohen

    Dear most esteemed comrade and exalted fellow traveler Baronius

    Figures you would answer that way.

    Man you just really don’t get it..you ain’t got a fornicating clue…do you?

  • There goes again, a one-trick pony dead-set on the next trial-run.

  • Irvin F Cohen

    Dear most esteemed comrade and most exalted fellow traveler Nowosielskik

  • Irvin F Cohen

    Sorry bout that, I hit the wrong fornicating button, but to continue,

    Get you excrementosi facts straight, that is now, dah-dah, a two-trick pony

    or should that be nah-neh-nah-nah-neh?

    “dead-set on the ext trial run”

    Well, got you to bite, you unintelligent fish, maternal fornicator!!!
    Ha-ha-ha!

  • Baronius

    OK, just so I’m following this…you’re calling me a socialist because I disputed two points in your article?

  • Irvin F Cohen

    Dear most esteemed and exalted fellow-traveler comrade Baronius,

    First off I didn’t, still do not and will never call you a socialist because evidently you are clearly not such…rather the proper, more precise and accurate term is…COMMUNIST!!!…And who knows what lies deep within your heart and soul, perhaps could it be…MARXIST?!!!

    Secondly, isn’t one silly disputation with lil’ ol moi, simply more than enough to conclude as such?… [Edited]

  • STM

    Irv: “No longwinded, detailed explication and pedantic exercise in arcane and esoteric bloviation and pompous”heaviosity” needed here”.

    No, just a nine-page opus in answer to a simple question.

    What was the question again??

  • Irvin F Cohen

    Dear most esteemed and exalted fellow-traveler comrade STM
    (whatever the fornication that stands for)

    Is it that you not only have a rather short attention span, but you also ain’t got no fornicating memory either?

    You been smoking a little too much weed lately? Like your whole fornicating worthless life?

    Boo-hoo, nine whole pages, boo-hoo…Mommy do I really got to read all that…boo-hoo, boo-hoo…that’s so many…boo-fornicating hoo, boo-fornicating hoo… wah-wah – wah…

    Look at it this way…look at it on the brighter side…it’s a whole page less than my last article of Tolstoyan and Homeric epic proportions.

  • Irvin, old buddy, is that a trend we can count on? May we look forward to one less page with each successive article? Let’s see, at that rate, only eight more articles with any pages at all. And then, nirvana! A zero-page blog by Irvin F. Cohen. I think you’re on to something here, Sarge. For writers like you, this is definitely the path to readability.

  • STM

    Irv writes: “Look at it this way…look at it on the brighter side…it’s a whole page less than my last article of Tolstoyan and Homeric epic proportions.”

    Lol. Yeah, mate, there is that. No longer a one-trick pony, then :)

  • zingzing

    see, baronius? this is how the rest of us feel. welcome to the bad side of the right wing.

  • Arch ConscienceStain

    No longwinded, detailed explication and pedantic exercise in arcane and esoteric bloviation and pompous”heaviosity” needed here

    And yet, that is what we received.

    A helpful hint: Next time, instead of flushing the toilet paper, run it through your scanner and post the resulting images.

    At least we’ll be entertained.

  • STM

    Arch, I think Irv’s having a lend of us.

  • Irvin F Cohen

    Dear [Edited] fellow Blogcritics thread-er-ers,

    Again it never fails to amaze me how and to what great lengths and depths you [Gratuitous vulgarity deleted by Comments Editor] take yourselves – as in much too much seriously.

    Moreover this last spate of ad hominem attack and minimization of me is truly telling.

    Bet yet again, once more, I must plead that if you’re going to attack me; that first you read my fornicating maternal essay; and second that you praise or attack it solely on its merits or lack thereof, and say something intelligent, thoughtful and or insightful in that
    process. Now I understand that this is asking a great deal of you, perhaps more than you are intellectually, rationally and reasonably capable of, but it’d be a nice start – don’t you think?

    So if you’re going to say something relevant as to the essay, why don’t you talk about liberal-progressive “gradualism;” or the constant and steady usurpation of individual, personal responsibility through small and seeming inconsequential bribes; or the right and freedom to think freely or to choose what is in one’s own, personal, enlightened interests?

    Until then I surely won’t hold my breath. [Gratuitous vulgarity deleted by Comments Editor]

  • I had no idea that a period at the end of a title has become de rigueur, the new standard of modern-day publishing. The BC editorial staff is surely breaking a new ground.

    I’m certain that Mr. Clavos wouldn’t touch this piece with a ten-foot pole. What’s perplexing, however, the esteemed editor of this atrocity chooses to remain incognito rather than claim responsibility for dereliction of duties and, generally speaking, substandard on-the-job performance.

    But then again, what’s a little coma or period when one’s presented with a formidable task of editing what in essence beyond salvage. The larger question we ought to be asking – why are such pieces published at all? Little wonder that the BC Politics section is quickly turning into a farce where substance and cogent thinking are being replaced by vulgarity and attempts at provocation without a point, just for the hell of it.

    If David Nalle is behind it, shame on him. The least thing he could have done is to redirect this “article” to some obscure section like “Sick Humor.” If Kurtz is behind it, I’d say go back to the drawing board and reread Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal.” I’m all for experimental writing but you’ve got a long way to go. So I’d suggest that you work on your skills in the privacy of your own repressed life rather than burden the reader with juvenile attempts.

  • comma … although the editor must have been comatose. A Freudian slip I’ll surely take credit for.

  • The title with a question mark at the end…no, no…THREE question marks at the end. That’s the way I’d have done it.

  • That’s provided, of course, you had a real puzzlement going.

  • Mark

    Irv, you realize that this (excellent) ramble is a rather racist/sexist narrative, yes?

  • Baronius

    Irv – I read(ish) your essay. I commented about two points in it. What more do you want? If you want a comment about the theme of the essay, it’s this: you’re right. Socialism is easy to slide into, because socialism is easy.

    Do you feel better now?

  • Roger Nowosielski (#16), I see you’ve joined the insidious club of BC regulars who believe, without foundation and notwithstanding my repeated denials, that I am “behind” the author Irvin F. Cohen. I said it before and I’ll say it again. We are two separate humanoid entities. We inhabit individual bodies, have never met or corresponded with one another, and have little in common. We live at opposite sides of these United States: Irvin in Florida and me in CA. He is a scholar of Greek classics and I wouldn’t know the epic poet Homer from the epic putz Homer Simpson.

    It’s true that we are the same age and are both military veterans of the Vietnam era. But Sarge was a Marine who served with distinction and was wounded in combat. I was a hapless airman who trudged around a missile site in the boonies of South Jersey, guarding our air defense ballistics from the prying eyes of teenagers in their parents’ cars, making out after midnight in the surrounding woods.

    Ironically, there is considerably more proof online that Irvin F. Cohen exists than that Alan Kurtz does. Consider, for example, this gallery of photographs from Irvin’s childhood through 2002. Moreover, we know his exact street address, what his neighborhood and condo development are called, the year his complex was built, his unit’s square footage and what he paid for it. We can even see a list of his neighbors and their addresses. Plus there are Google street and aerial views of his residence! (Can’t say I like the pink exterior wall paint, though, Sarge. I mean, I get it that the place is called Hawaiian Gardens, but pink walls are simply nowhere near macho enough for an ex-jarhead like you.)

    Anyhow, Roger, you get the idea. As horrifying as the thought may be, there are actually two such awful creatures on this planet as Irvin F. Cohen and Alan Kurtz.

  • In that case, I’m glad for you, Alan. But I certainly wouldn’t put the two of you in thr same category of “awful creatures.” Apparently, the wounds that “Sarge” had suffered caused a permanent damage, In your case, a good shrink, a bottle of wine, and perhaps some company, not necessarily in that order, would do you wonders, of that I’m certain.

    I would close with a more appropriate epitaph, but I’m afraid a nasty case of flu had made me rather dimwitted and careless about my literary production, including this here comment.

  • Irvin F Cohen

    Have we really come to this? Is it that “Big Brother” is now watching me? No, why? Because Big Brother is me… Alan Kurtz, it’s all a setup…I am a creation of the great scammer from California… look at how and to what great lengths I, I mean he, it gets so confusing when you’re taking on two personas, one your own and the other that of an alter ego, I the Marine warrior, combat-wounded Marine Veteran of the Vietnam war who literally saw and helped… bullshit… actually created rivers of blood, and then as a student studied in both Paris and Rome, studied the Classics of all things and did fairly well at it, oh that I, this California Jewish schlemiel and nebbish could, nay, wouldst be Irvin F. Cohen, this hero I had to create because of my many multitudinous and uninspiring shortcomings in life… my life which reads like that of an insipid, trite and banal underground man straight out of Dostoevsky…but because I could not be Irvin F. Cohen, this heroic, dynamic, smart, certainly smarter than me, alter ego, super hero, larger than life fictional character, and I emphasize the words “fictional character” here, my desire, my creation, fabrication and machination entirely… well it had to be done so I, Allan Kurtz created Irvin F. Cohen… there I confess it… there, there… I said it at last!!! I am Allan Kurtz, I am Irvin F. Cohen, my alter ego, my twin brother I never had, my hero, my alter ego, my twin brother. Please slap me in the face! So that I can blurt out the dirty, ugly sinister truth, I am Allan Cohen, I am Irvin F. Kurtz, I am Cohen the Kurtz, I am Kurtz the Cohen.

    Got it now?

    Next point, do I detect a rather large ration and humongous passel of typical, de rigueur, commie-lib, commie-symp intellectual, philosophic and ideological fascism here? Are you such fascists that you would deny me my intellectual right to think and to write and opine my thoughts and ideas and have them published in this essay herein, and also to deny the editor his freedom of both speech and the “press” too, to publish this essay as he sees fit? Are you such fascists as to deny me my intellectual freedom and freedom of speech, and the editor his as well and his freedom of the press solely on your true-believer, totalitarian, ideological, fascistic grounds, so glibly and matter-of-factly in your threads… do you not see how fascistic you are?

    I guess not. How truly sad that be.

  • Irvin F Cohen

    Dear most esteemed and most exalted comrade fellow traveler Baronius,

    If what I said in my essay is so well-known and well-understood, and so intellectually relative and so easily reducible to your snide, shallow and empty threads…then my question for you is,why ain’t you said it?

    Sorry comrade Baronius but your commentary is just simply unworthy…why?…because your comments are childish and puerile, insubstantial, shallow and petty. That’s why.

    So I challenge you sir, defend your point of view…with at least a modicum of intellect, and with intellectual arguments with an iota of substance!

  • Buried deep beneath that mountain of verbosity you call a prose style, Irvin, you do have a gift for writing. The latest proof is your little parody (#24) of the bitch-slapping scene in Chinatown. That’s actually quite well done. If only it were not such a chore to find something good in your massive literary output! Carry on, Sergeant.

  • Irvin F Cohen

    [Edited]

    Yes, admittedly in my threads, I utilize a smattering… nay, make that… a whole, humongous shit-load of rather vulgar obscenities and profanities (of course thoroughly cleansed and sanitized through my use of clever euphemisms). And to quote Vice President Gaffe-a-rhea (of both the mouth and brain): “BFD!”

    May I also add, “so fornicating what?” [Edited]

    However in my defense may it please be noted: Not once, in my two published essays at Blogcritics, do I use one maternal fornicating word of so-called, supposed vulgarity, nor of profanity nor of obscenity! Not one maternal fornicating one! Not one mind you! Clean as a fornicating whistle.

    So get your fornicating refried-excrementum-for-brains, typical commie-lib intellectual masturbation excrementum together!

  • Not once, in my two published essays at Blogcritics, do I use one maternal fornicating word of so-called, supposed vulgarity, nor of profanity nor of obscenity!

    Why, then, do you find it necessary to make up for lost time and space in these commentary threads, where you use more maternal fornicating vulgarity, profanity and obscenity than is likely to be found on all the walls and doors of all the men’s room stalls in all the states of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi combined?

  • Irvin F Cohen

    You left out Georgia.

  • I have it on good authority that Georgians do not stoop to vulgarity.

  • An occasional “vulgarity,” especially when well timed, is always preferable to a constant barrage of seemingly antiseptic words. It’s a repressive personality that makes one use the term “fornicate” when “fuck” would do.

    Indeed, I must side with Kurtz here. For all the claims to classical education on the part of our scatological critter, it’s becoming more and more apparent that the greatest portion of it was spent in public lavatories, masturbating no doubt to the immoral verses in Homer or Aeschylus. Perhaps he or she imagined herself to be the fair Helen,eventually turned into a hissing, bloodthirsty Medea.

    It calls for another epic while the saga continues.

  • immortal …

  • Roger, in Irvin’s defense as to euphemisms, he did use the full gamut of Anglo-Saxon profanity in his posts on the commentary thread of his first article. But Christopher Rose eviscerated each such entry (and there were many) on the grounds of “gratuitous vulgarity” or some such thing. So Irvin took to florid euphemisms to stymie the prudish Mr. Rose.

    Even so, I can’t understand why Irvin engages in so much of this sanitized pseudo-obscenity. It’s almost as if he can find no other way to express himself.

  • Baronius

    I know that I’m not Roger. As far as I know, everyone else is one person. But if any one of anyone’s multiple personalities wants to talk about politics, I hear that BC has a section that used to be for just that topic.

  • That’s as good a case for the defense as can be made under the circumstances. Mr. Rose is indeed a force to be reckoned with.

  • Fact is, Baronius (#34), Irvin F. Cohen the character is far more interesting than his politics. Thus we discuss him. You can always discuss politics on other threads, can’t you?

  • I’m still rather slow-witted, under the weather in the worst possible way, so please excuse my unusual timidity. But then again, perhaps it’s better this way. Never underestimate the power of the tacit,

  • Clavos

    I would not have thought it possible, but even Bulwer-Lytton wrote more clearly and succintly than ol’ Irv, our esteemed Nam vet.

    When and where were you in country, Irv?

  • Irvin F Cohen

    Dear most esteemed and most exalted fellow traveler comrade commie-lib, commie-symp maternal fornicator,

    No desire to get into too may specifics and details, that is to say war stories, but I served from October of ’67 to November of ’68 in country, in d’Nam.

    In that thirteen months I partook in one form or another in every aspect of the war. I started as a basic grunt with Charlie 1/5 and was intimately involved with Tet in which I and my fellow Marines killed the enemy in the tens and hundreds. Very grim, very bloody.

    I was in the suburbs in Hue when i was volunteered for CAP school, the Marine version of the Army special forces program. I was given a choice, I could go to Hue five minutes down the road and face instant death, or I could go to CAP in school in Danang for 2 weeks and then face instant death. No brainer – I chose the latter.

    I am most proud of that choice because we Marines invented the “surge” long before the army saw it eventually as a viable and ultimately successful tactic and strategy in Iraq almost forty years to the date when I was first part of that program. It absolutely boggles my mind and drives me wild that my fornicating Marine Corps did not apply that tried, tested and proved strategy in Iraq and allowed the Army to steal our glory.

    Essentially we combined and integrated a squad of Marines together with a platoon of Vietnamese militia with whom we lived, fought and died with side by side, in the villages and hamlets and in the jungled countryside. Very successful however.

    Saw a lot shit in August and I myself was wounded in combat, spent almost a month in 2 hospitals and then rotated home. To the fucking “world.”

    There’s a lot more but I figure that what I have provided you civilian, commie-lib, commie-symp, pukes, maggots and worms should be sufficiently more than enough. If you slimy maternal fornicators want proof, I’ll provide a copy of my DD-214 for you, if you can tell me how the fornication to post the divine, celestial, supreme being, execrable, imprecation, maternal fornicator on the net.

    So kiss off, pound sand and eat excrementum!

    Got very important things to do, got to watch 10 hours or more of pro football, got to in essence watch till my eyeballs glaze over!.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I’m glad you closed that off with an exclamation mark and a period, Irv, because I wouldn’t have known what the hell to think otherwise.

    Happy Halloween, you roaring douchebag!

  • Irvin F Cohen

    Dear esteemed and most exalted fellow traveller, commie-lib, commie-symp Clavos,

    Who the fornication is Lytton-Bulwark?

  • Irvin F Cohen

    Dear most esteemed and most exalted commie-lib and femmee-Nazi symp and consequently, a thoroughly emasculated, pussy whupped maternal fornicator and or he-she-it-thang of dubious gender; comrade Mark,

    RE post/thread/whatever the fornication it’s called # 20.

    Did you mean my previous article “A Belated…” etc.?

    Well at any rate, if you want “sexist” please read my most recent article in “There, I Said It” entitled “A Tale of Two Traveling Sisterhood Ideological Vipers.”

    The original, unedited title was”A Tale of Two SCUMBAG-ETTE…” etc..

    So please do read it, and if you are a typical, so-called, supposed feminist, may your fornicating head explode.

    LOL, and have a nice fornicating day, and if you’d like, you can also go fornicate yourself as well. But yet again, LOL and have a nice fornicating day.

  • Irvin F Cohen

    Again dear most esteemed comrade Clavos,

    Just a pre-emptive correction lest thou get all prissy, miffed up and pissed off; RE post/thread # 38.

    It’s Bulwer-Lytton, as in who the fornication is that?

    Again, sorry ’bout that excrementum.

    Shee-it, I’m gettin’ good at this shee-it.

  • Baronius

    Clav – Irv’s good. Some people have figured out that you’re a communist, or me, but Irv is the only one to expose both of us.

  • Irvin F. Cohen

    Again, yet another correction – post# 43 should read:

    Shee-it MAN…

  • Irvin F. Cohen, I found your street address on the Internet and a gallery of photos, among other things, but not your email address.

    [Personal contact info deleted]

  • Irvin F Cohen

    OK, but the internet address is located in my blog site at the bottom of each page [Personal contact info deleted]