Book Reviews, Down Updated review. Also, See Book Reviews.
BookReview, Long Updated Review of James D. Long, Riddle of the Exodus:
Vern Crisler, 2013
Re: the late Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time Series: (spoiler)
After all these years, I finally finished Jordan’s masterpiece. I was greatly influenced by Jordan, and wrote a trilogy in an attempt to imitate his style. However, I eventually put it aside because I realized that my stories were just repeating Jordan and Tolkien’s plots and characters. Maybe I’ll rework it sometime in the future and make it my own story.
I enjoyed the last book of WOT, A Memory of Light, but the epilogue had a rushed feel to it. If Jordan had had more time, I’m sure each section of the epilogue would have been expanded into a whole chapter and would have become a whole book. Then some more minor characters would have been introduced, and new threads would have started just before the end and we’d have gone into more innings — probably three more books.
BTW, I thought killing Egwene was stupid and unforgivable. That’s what happens when a TV series goes on too long as well: they start killing off the main characters. For that reason, WoT should have ended several books ago. Egwene was no expendable minor character but had started out with Rand, Perrin, and Mat from the beginning. She had gone through all sorts of trials and tribulation to become the Amyrlin Seat and there was little reason to kill her off in a fight with a relatively uninteresting character.
However, flaws and all, Jordan’s Wheel of Time series always makes for terrific reading. He is the only truly worthy successor of Tolkien.
In some ways, America died on November 6, 2012. Our Constitution has now been replaced by a “reign of witches” to use Jefferson’s phrase. Should we despair? Should we give up? Should we start pandering to racial or ethnic minorities? Have the American people abandoned the first principles of a free society? Perhaps Jefferson can provide some perspective:
“A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to it’s true principles. It is true that in the mean time we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war & long oppressions of enormous public debt. But who can say what would be the evils of a scission [secession], and when & where they would end? Better keep together as we are. . . . If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, & then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are the stake. Better luck, therefore, to us all; and health, happiness, & friendly salutations to yourself.” (Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Taylor, 1798.)
Okay, so right now we are “suffering deeply in spirit” but added to our misery is having to listen to a gaggle of Liberals and Republicans using the defeat of Mitt Romney to criticize conservatives! Mitt may have run as a conservative in order to win in the Republican primaries but he ran as a moderate during the general election. See:
Now, here are a few things I said this year about Mitt Romney,
[Snip: a lot of criticisms of Romney. He is too much of an empty suit to deserve a lot of space on this blog]
Then my concluding remarks:
These are a few of the things I said leading up to and after the nomination of Romney. During the summer, the Supreme Court came out with its ridiculous Obamacare decision, wherein a penalty was suddenly transformed into a tax by that first-class idiot John “Taney” Roberts. At that point, the only thing I could do was hold my nose and vote for Romney as the only way, save for outright resistance, to stop this judicial travesty from taking effect. Now all that is left is resistance.
If the Republican Party nominates another moderate to run as their presidential candidate four years from now, they will deserve to fade away as a national political party, and good riddance. Maybe by then a conservative party will have been formed, and can pick up the pieces of whatever is left of America.
This was originally a part of the Multiregionalism and Race essay. Because there was a long discussion in the comments section, I’ve decided to keep the relevant part of the essay here under the above title:
6. Who was Carleton Putnam?
In the 1950s, many States in the United States still required racial segregation in schools and in other facilities, such as restaurants. In this way, white society tried to exclude blacks from social interaction with whites. I’m a white guy―at least from what I have been able to discern by way of visual inspection―but I’m sure if I had been around at that time, I would have been excluded just on general principle.
There are pictures from that era and even later times of white versus colored water fountains, or white versus colored bathrooms, or white versus colored basketball players―though I think I may be on good grounds in questioning whether there ever were white basketball players. Such pictures have probably been faked and are part of a conspiracy to put whites into basketball games, for which they have no aptitude, and for which they have no native traditions in their own homelands that encourage basketball among native white children.
It is my opinion that most of the white vs. colored pictures sort of look like morality tales about how benighted things were in the past compared with our supposedly more enlightened age. I can’t help but think there is a certain amount of self-righteousness at work in those who like to point out the sins of our forefathers, as if we have always been pure from sin and historically enlightened. Modern “progressive” historians in their discussion of past racism often do so with a level of social self-righteousness that reminds one of the Pharisee who prayed thus, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are. . . .” (Luke 18:11).
In 1954 the Supreme Court of the United States rendered the Brown v. Board of Education decision that ended any and all school segregation in the United States based on race. Prior to that time, the Court had upheld laws requiring separate but equal facilities: schools, universities, law schools, etc. For instance, under the separate but equal principle if a State was going to have a white only law school, it would have to provide a law school of equal caliber for blacks. If a State chose not to set up a segregated institution, and blacks were allowed to attend a white institution, there could be no discrimination against blacks who attended such a school.
Now, the Supreme Court’s separate-but-equal decision was more or less in keeping with the 14th Amendment. Many people might not want to admit that fact, but then again many people do not want to admit that they enjoy a Charlie Sheen meltdown, or that they like to make genitalia jokes about Congressman Anthony Weiner mainly because of his last name, or that a Richard Simmons’ exercise video causes them to smile in a sickly way. The fact is, the 14th Amendment only protected a black man’s fundamental rights (life, liberty, and property) not other political rights. It was very limited in its focus, which is why another amendment was required to recognize the black man’s right to vote.
Many blacks were not satisfied because the 14th Amendment still allowed segregation and discrimination, and blacks who were represented by the NAACP wanted the Court to rule against all school segregation. The Court obliged the NAACP in the Brown decision, which from our perspective was a wonderful decision in terms of its concordance with the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson had nicely encapsulated the American principle―that all men are created equal, but that was only in theory. It took a dreadfully long time for the American principle to be realized in fact.
Nevertheless, the Declaration of Independence is not the law of the land. Despite the Court’s high-mindedness and good intentions, its decision was based upon specious reasoning about the 14th Amendment, bogus psychological studies, and worst of all, a lack of any Constitutional authority. Under the Constitution, Supreme Court judges cannot set domestic policy for States, for such would be a violation of the 10th Amendment. I’m not saying Judges don’t do it (to their shame) but they still don’t have the right to do it whatever they might say or do otherwise. I can certainly rule anyway I like, but that’s because Judges are respectable folk in the community, and I do not have a reputation of that kind to worry about.
Unfortunately, the Judges decided to settle the controversial issue in much the same way Justice Taney had settled the slavery issue in Dred Scott, getting the result that was wanted no matter if it was based on flimsy grounds, and a rewriting of American history. Still, the Brown decision is with us and even if the Court were to overturn the decision in the future, there is simply no way that schools or society would ever go back to segregation.
I would have preferred that race relations could have improved voluntarily and peacefully over the years, but the Judges blocked off the peaceful route and imposed their will on a society that was not ready for it. The results were catastrophic. The Court was allowed to get away with an un-Constitutional usurpation of power, and as a result race relations went downhill, black educational quality and achievement in schools reached bottom, and white flight from urban areas guaranteed that inner-city schools would be all black, a return to segregation with lower standards than before.
The Brown decision did not just worry those who saw raw “judicial activism” in the Court’s behavior. It also lit a fire under Carleton Putnam, a Yankee businessman, who felt the need to defend the South against what he saw as Northern aggression. In Putnam we have the segregationist mindset in full blossom, and it was mixed with a poisonous racialism that helped to discredit legitimate opposition to the concept of rule by judicial decree.
I have to say, after watching the Republican debate the other night, I’ve begun to lose interest in Rick Perry, and I’ve gained more interest in Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain. Perry came across as too arrogant, and couldn’t reassure us that his absurd policies on inoculations and illegal immigration were mere exceptions to his conservative outlook. Instead, it seemed like for Perry, he’s really a statist at heart, and it comes bubbling up to the surface at odd moments. His conservatism is just the odd overlay that he chucks when it suits him. Better than Romney I suppose, but that isn’t saying much.
Ron Paul always makes sense on economics, but his foreign policy was written by the Hate America First Committee and has the stamp of approval of al Qaeda. Rick Santorum was in good form in taking on Paul’s lunatic foreign policy. Newt was also in good form, but the scandals in his personal life make his run for the presidency quixotic at best.
Quite frankly, however, I’d like to see Sarah Palin in the mix. Her charisma makes all the other Republican candidates wilt in proportion, but she also needs debate experience. As long as she delays entering the race, she’s not getting that necessary toughening up which is essential for a presidential candidate.
I do think it’s time for Newt, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul to drop out of the race. They are only distracting attention away from the more viable candidates.