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Welcome to the web site of The Purple Muse.  We offer commentary and opinion on the major issues being debated in our world today.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Strange Death of Europe

Early this summer I was visiting a friend in Florida.  He recommended a book that was completely unknown to me.  I just finished reading The Strange Death of Europe - Immigration, Identity, Islam by Douglas Murray.  This book was published a few months ago.  It includes references to events that occurred in the first quarter of this year.  It is very current.  Murray is an interesting person.  He is gay, an atheist and British.  By US standards I think we would label Murray as very liberal politically.  That makes The Strange Death of Europe an even more remarkable book than it is. 

Murray explores the history of migration from the Middle East, East Asia and Africa to Europe beginning in the aftermath of World War II.  Since millions of young men died during World War II Europe needed huge numbers of workers to help rebuild the continent and economy.  Many nations in Europe were colonial powers that abused the nations that they had previously colonized and had become independent or were in the process of becoming independent.  The migration of millions of people from many different nations and cultures began the process of migrating to Europe.  Murray spends a significant portion of the book analyzing the evolution of the mind set of Europe's political and cultural leaders over the seventy year period from the end of World War II to the present period.  He also explains how the attitudes of the political class began to diverge from the views of the general population they were governing.  He makes the case that in recent years the European media has become adept at ignoring the facts in order to advance a political philosophy. 

Murray reviews the radical Islam terror events of the past few years in detail and puts them in context of the political thought in Europe during this period.  He makes the case that Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, the long time leader of Europe's most economically powerful nation, is leading the continent to an inevitable cultural disaster.  It is also clear that some nations in Europe (mostly in Eastern Europe) are beginning to protect themselves from the onslaught of immigrants while others nations, like Sweden, are in the process of committing cultural suicide. 

Many Americans have watched the news coverage of some of the most henious acts of radical Islamic terrorism in Europe or read about the horror of the massive number of rapes of German women by Islamic men during the New Years holidays or large numbers of rapes of Swedish women at music festivals.  The Strange Death of Europe explains how the European politicians and media reacted to these events.  Most Americans would be shocked to understand that these horrific acts were essentially brushed off as nothing events by European leaders. 

I am an American of European heritage reading about the cultural destruction of Europe presented by a European author that would likely disagree with me on most topics in a political discussion.  I think I would consider him far left on a broad discussion of political issues.  But on the issue of European immigration and cultural destruction caused by unlimited immigration, the author is considered to be "far right" in Europe.  From my perspective most of the leadership of Europe is a group of fools with much of the European main stream media also fools.  Murray addresses the issues of Immigration, Identity, Islam within Europe in a very rational manner.  Yet he is considered a radical on the right by many in Europe because of his views.  This is absolutely amazing. 

After reading The Strange Death of Europe I tried to envision a meeting between President Trump and Chancellor Merkel on the topic of "refugees" and immigration.  There is literally no overlap between their views.  I believe each would evaluate the other as a fool or crazy or some other negative adjective.  "Extreme vetting", border walls, immigration limits and travel bans have no place in mainstream European thought.  The approach to immigration by most European governments appears insane to many of us in the US when you understand the details and have context for news events.  It also appears that Europe's governments are ignoring the will of their people if you analyze the polling data related to immigration taken during the last few years.  

All Americans should be perepared for the culture of Europe to continue to evolve radically.  If immigration and birth rates continue at their current rates within a generation much of Europe may have majority Islamic culture.  It is hard to see that the US and Europe will have much in common a few decades into the future unless fundamental changes take place in the attitudes and actions of the European political leadership in the near future. 

The Strange Death of Europe is a tough book to read.  Murray deals with tough subjects.  He presents facts backed by hard data.  He ties the history together to provide context for what has happened.  It is hard to admit that the long storied culture of Europe is dying.  I have been in a variety of European cities during the last 10 years and have seen some of circumstances Murray relates in his book.  So I can confirm some of it from personal experience.  But my personal experience is nothing compared to Murray's.  He lives it every day and travels throughout Europe to get a first hand view of the entire situation.  I hope the Europeans will listen to him before it is too late.

TPM

P.S.  In The Washington Post on Sunday, August 6, 2017, an article - "Germany debates deportation as a deterrent - A fatal stabbing in Hamburg has ramped up calls for swiftness, but experts say stricter laws would not have helped" - A 26 year old Palestinian male, born in the UAE, knifed six people, one fatally in a Hamburg supermarket, "wanted to die a martyr, prosecutors said.  His attack last month has renewed questions about whether Germany has control of its borders, prompting recriminations from opposing political factions ahead of a September election that will be a referendum on the nation's chancellor, Angela Merkel."  We will see what happens!

5:10 pm          Comments

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Virgil Flowers Novels - Part 2

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the first four Virgil Flowers Novels.  John Sandford has published 9 novels in the series to date with the tenth scheduled for its initial publication this fall.  I liked the first four novels a lot.  I just completed reading the next five, which are also very good.  Virgil Flowers is a very unique character.  The plots of the books are "different".  Flowers is a "state cop" in Minnesota, the action takes place all around the state or across the border in neighboring state.  Be aware that adult language and situations are part of the character development and plots.  Here are the next five books: 

Shock Wave - 2011

Mad River - 2012

Storm Front - 2013

Deadline - 2014

Escape Clause - 2016   

If you want an entertaining read this summer go find the Virgil Flowers novels at your local used book store for really cheap entertainment, or a regular book store or order them on-line.

TPM

7:54 am          Comments

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Smear

A few weeks ago I was watching cable TV news and watched a segment featuring Sharyl Attkisson, a long time investigative TV reporter best known for her work at CBS.  Ms. Attkisson was giving her views on some of the recent nonsense going on in DC and promoting her new book, The Smear - How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote.  I thought the book might be interesting and a few weeks later decided to buy it and see what she had to say.  The most recent date reference in the book that I found is in April 2017, so the information provided in the book is very up to date. 

I have related on this website and on social media about some of my personal experiences about how dirty DC politics is.  However, my direct experiences are now more than 15 years old.  I certainly can't claim to be current, based on first hand experiences, but Ms. Attkisson is and she gives a tremendous amount of detail about how dirty DC politics is.  Some of the smearing activity was directed at her.  When she was still working for CBS the Obama administration decided to put her personal communications under surveillance and she verified that as of January, 2017, the surveillance continues.  Is it a coincidence that this happened while she was working on stories unfavorable to the Obama administration and working on The Smear

The Smear leaves absolutely no doubt that the Democrats, their PACs, their lobbyists, and the mainstream media have all worked together to smear, discredit and attempt to ruin the lives of anyone that is a danger to their agenda.  Ms. Attkisson provides example after example, names names and organizations, and provides detailed time-lines.  There are Conservative groups attempting to smear Democrats as well.  The difference in impact is that the bulk of mainstream media are progressives that share the goals of the Democrats.  Therefore, Conservatives must use other means like Fox News, radio and social media to attempt to have the same impact as the Democrats. 

Smearing has been around since the beginning of politics in the US, but began to have real impact during World War II and afterwords.  The CIA perfected the art of the smear in the 1950s and 1960s.  Ms. Attkisson writes that the beginning of the modern era of smearing began with Robert Bork's nomination to the Supreme Court by President Reagan.  If anyone has any doubt about how dirty Bill and Hillary Clinton are as political operatives, I suggest they read Ms. Atkisson's review of their actions during Bill's time as Arkansas Governor and President and how he was able to avoid impeachment by the US Senate and tossed out of office before the end of his second term. 

The bulk of the book focuses on the 2016 Presidential campaign beginning with the primary campaigns.  With the integration of the modern Internet and social media with traditional media, Ms. Attkisson reviews how smearing was taken to a whole new level of intensity and complexity.  Bernie Sanders was the initial victim of the Clinton/Democrats/mainstream media smear team.  The same group spent tens of millions of dollars in an attempt to smear President Trump, but as we all know it didn't work! Or at least it didn't work well enough to allow Hillary Clinton to be elected President.  Trump was able to take the blows and push back on his opponents in a way that is totally unique in the annals of modern politics.  Ms. Attkisson reviews some of the techniques that Trump and his team used to transcend the Clinton team and deliver his messages to the voters, including taking control of the message of "fake news." 

As we all know the political battle didn't end with the election.  The intensity of smearing has been maintained and perhaps elevated during Trump's first six months in office.  It has been only three months since Ms. Atkisson finished her book, but a lot of smearing has continued to take place and it is unlikely it will end at any time in the foreseeable future.  As long as the DC based smearing organizations can raise money from George Soros and others to conduct the smearing campaigns they will continue. 

One of the things I learned from the book as how deep and intense the smearing activities have been.  There is no way for any individual to keep track of all the smearing that is going on without completely dedicating your life to observing it.  That is one of the reasons why it is effective.  There are professional organizations, identified in the book, that are well funded and have fully developed expertise and a network of contacts to execute a smear strategy.  It is virtually impossible for somebody outside the loop to keep track of it all. 

Ms. Attkisson concludes her book with the following statement. "For now, one thing you can count on is that most every image that crosses your path has been put there for a reason.  Nothing happens by accident.  What you need to ask yourself isn't so much Is it true, but Who wants me to believe it - and why?" 

Anyone that has any interest in national politics needs to read The Smear.  Once you read the book you will begin to recognize the actions that Ms. Attkisson writes about or at least you will question what you are reading or watching in terms of the art of the smear. 

TPM

4:07 pm          Comments

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Virgil Flowers Novels

My wife recommended a series of novels to me that have turned out to be very interesting and entertaining.  They are the Virgil Flowers series of novels by John Sandford.  There will be ten Virgil Flowers novels when the tenth in the series is published in October of this year.  Flowers is an investigator for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, a state agency that is a division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.  Flowers gets assigned very tough murder cases because he is very good at his job even though he frequently uses unusual methods to find the bad guys and gals.  

Flowers is a very unique character.  He is a former college baseball player. He has long hair and wears tee shirts of his favorite bands during the summer as part of his generally casual dress.  Flowers was married and divorced three times in five years as a young man.  Now in his mid-thirties Flowers finds a new female companion in each book as part of the story. 

One of the interesting aspects of the novels is that they take place in an area which is unfamiliar to me.  I have never driven around Minnesota.  I visited Minneapolis once on a business trip over 20 years ago.  Some of the action takes place in neighboring states that I have not visited.  Sandford does a great job of describing the environment of the different areas of Minnesota that are relevant to each novel.  Maybe we need to take a road trip in the area at some time in the future. 

I have read the first four of the Virgil Flowers novels.  I am buying them in used book stores and I hope to find number 5 and the rest of the first nine in the near future.  Here are the books I have read so far. 

Dark of the Moon - 2007

Heat Lightning - 2008

Rough Country - 2009

Bad Blood - 2010 

If you like interesting crime novels with unique characters that include adult language and situations, you may like the Virgil Flowers novels.  I do. 

TPM

9:58 pm          Comments

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Capitalism vs. Statism - A View from the 1960s

A few months ago I was wandering through a used book store and found Ayn Rand's Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.  I have commented on Ayn Rand's four novels on this site but this is my first blog about a book solely concerned with her political/economic philosophy known as Objectivism.  This book contains 26 articles, 24 in the main text with two additional articles in the Appendix. Rand wrote 20 of the articles, Allen Greenspan (retired Chairman of the Federal Reserve) wrote three articles. Nathaniel Branden wrote two articles and Robert Hessen wrote one.  All of the articles were originally published in some form between 1959 and 1967. It appears the book was originally published in 1967.  My paperback edition was published after 1970 because the Introduction was modified in 1970.  2017 is the 50th anniversary of the original publication of the book.  As I read the book I felt as if I had opened a 50 year old time capsule.

All of the articles are focused on some aspect of the ongoing battle between Capitalism and Statism, also known as Socialism and Communism, and including Fascism.  US Presidents Kennedy and Johnson were in office during the time most almost all of the articles were written. The US was in the process of enacting massive social programs such Medicare and Medicaid during this period.  Johnson's Great Society was a set of programs attempting to eliminate poverty and racial injustice, which included Medicare and Medicaid. 

Rand's primary message is that Capitalism is the only political/economic system that ensures the freedom of the individual and that the fundamental result of Statism in any form is the loss of personal freedom.  One of Rand's primary themes in many of the articles is her objection to a Mixed Economy, in which political leaders attempt to implement socialist oriented programs within a capitalistic system.  One of things that surprised me in reading the articles is that Rand showed no sign of compromise on any issue related to implementation of Statism and rejects a consensus approach to solving issues. 

Since I was between 10 and 17 years old during the period the authors were writing about it is hard for me to put all of the articles in proper context of their times.  However, I definitely understand what has happened since the book was published.  For the past 50 years the US has struggled to manage a Mixed Economy and and we have become more Statist and less Capitalist during that period.  The current political battle over the future of Obamacare and the increased Medicare spending that is part of it is the best example of Rand's concerns of 50 years ago that are very real today.  Another example of our national inability to deal with the issues of a Mixed Economy  is our $20T plus national debt and our somewhere between $50T to $200T in unfunded Federal government liabilities.  This doesn't include the unfunded liabilities at state and local governments.  Rand made the point that a Mixed Economy doesn't work in the long run under our political system.  Our debt is proving her correct.  

However, Rand ignores many of the issues that unbridled Capitalism has created and will create if totally unleashed.  One of the big issues that is not discussed at all in the book is the environmental damage caused by capitalists when left completely unchecked.  There is no justification for any capitalist to fundamentally alter the living environment of his fellow citizens with no recourse,  An example is a capitalist dumping industrial poisons into a river upstream of a town that obtains its drinking water from the river.  This is a "freedom" that no individual can ever possess. 

Another area that Rand doesn't address is social responsibility for individuals that simply can't compete in the economy due to a real disability that is not self inflicted.  What obligations does society have to fellow citizens that are innocents that are not capable of supporting themselves?  This book provides no answer. 

One of the highlights of the book is Rand's analysis of Populorum Progressio (On The Development of Peoples), an encyclical from Pope Paul VI.  Rand destroys the encyclical with brilliant analysis and asks questions that are implied but not answered. Rand states "In advocating capitalism, I have said and stressed for years that capitalism is incompatible with altruism and mysticism."  Later Rand states "The encyclical is the manifesto of an impassioned hatred for capitalism; but its evil is much more profound and its target is more than mere politics."  Rand's analysis is brilliant and her arguments profound as she discusses the various elements of the encyclical. 

I wish we had an Ayn Rand as part of our media world today.  We need her perspective even if it is imperfect.  We have a Mixed Economy.  We will always have a Mixed Economy, despite its flaws.  What we need to do is manage our Mixed Economy more responsibly.  At the same time we must ensure that we provide the maximum amount of freedom we can for every American.  For there is no doubt that Rand is correct in her fundamental message.  The greatest among us provide the benefits of their greatness to the rest of us through Capitalism and allow us to move forward with them.  We never want to create a society where greatness is suppressed by the masses due to some social theory of equality.  There is no such thing as equality among people.  Each of us is different.  We are all unique.  Each of us must be free to pursue the life we wish to pursue.  Rand knew from her personal experience living in Communist Russia what life is like when personal freedom is completely lost.  She did her best to make sure the US avoids a similar outcome. 

TPM

3:57 pm          Comments

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