The old saying goes, “Those who choose security over freedom deserve neither.”

And yet… you have a situation like this one:

The man who transformed El Salvador from one of the most dangerous countries in the world to one of the safest, President Nayib Bukele, is despised by liberals.

When he won reelection in a landslide, liberal media outlets ran headlines stating that democracy had ended in El Salvador and that the country had become a one-party state. However, El Salvador is not Cuba.

Bukele did not eradicate opposition parties, nor did he imprison them or seize control of the press. Instead, he delivered on his promises. He made the country safe by locking up criminals.

And how did he do this?

In 2022, after a gang war resulted in the deaths of 87 people over a period of just three days, Bukele took action against crime. He constructed the country’s largest prison, the Terrorism Confinement Center (Centro de Confinamiento del Terrorismo or CECOT), with a capacity for 40,000 gang members. And he began filling it.

Human rights groups, who live in safe, wealthy Western nations, have criticized Bukele for violations of the rights of suspects.

But the logic is flawless. Only gang members have gang tattoos. If anyone else gets a gang tattoo, they will be killed by the gang. The same is true for tattoo artists.

They would be killed for giving gang tattoos to non-gang members. Additionally, part of the initiation to joining a gang is to commit a serious crime, often murder. Once they become a member, their full-time job is to commit crimes. So, logically, anyone with a gang tattoo is a gang member and has committed crimes.

If this makes one think, “That sounds like the foul MS-13 gang”, then one would be correct.

I have often thought about doing this right here in the U.S. of A., as whole areas of the country have become terrorized by gangs like MS-13.  And as the gang members proudly wear their clan tattoo, why not just arrest them as self-confessed criminals?

Because that’s wrong — basically, it’s un-Constitutional, and on more than one level.  And here’s how it was done in El Salvador:

Bukele decided to let logic prevail, arrest the gang members, and put them in prison. He was more concerned about the rights of street vendors, business owners, school children, working people, and ordinary citizens than he was about the rights of violent criminals.

The state of emergency he declared in 2022, and has renewed several times since, suspends the constitutional rights of the gang members and bypasses the corrupt courts and justice system, which had allowed the criminals to reign for decades. Since then, 75,000 gang members have been arrested, and 7,000 have been released.

Believe me, there’s a lot to be said in support about measures like those of Nayib Bukele.  After all:

Bukele claimed that his country went 365 days without a murder. And while the exact number has been called into question, it is an indisputable fact that the country now has the lowest murder rate it has seen in 30 years, plummeting by 70%, and now stands at only 2.4 per 100,000 in 2023, making it the second lowest in the Americas, just behind Canada.

Okay, maybe that worked in El Salvador, which started off being a shithole country, and just dug itself a deeper one over decades of corruption and your standard Third-World degeneracy.  Desperate measures were called for.

But the U.S. has never been a shithole country, in no small part because of the protections that our Constitution affords everybody — and not just non-gang members, either.

I am profoundly disturbed by the tone of articles such as the one I’ve linked to and quoted from in this post.  Of course I can see the benefits of actions like that of Bukele.

But I can also see how that kind of thing can be turned around and used against, oh, people like MAGA supporters or, for that matter, gun owners.

And to quote a wise man (not a politician, but a playwright), who saw where this could lead:

“William Roper: “So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!”

Sir Thomas More: “Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?”

William Roper: “Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!”

Sir Thomas More: “Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!”

— Robert Bolt, A Man For All Seasons

The Name Thing

This one had me howling, in Comments:

I’m grateful for this opportunity to voice a question which has nagged me for many years: is Kim Du Toit really an American?

Look, I know you faced the choice: legally immigrate to America or be beaten to death in a cargo container. Anyone who has not faced that situation has no standing to say which is the moral choice. Nevertheless, your choice is questionable.

No reasonable person can doubt your commitment to constitutional, republican governance; to the public order so essential to the thriving of civilization; to entrepreneurship and the creative power of capital; to national defense; and ultimately to the rights and prerogatives of the individual.

However, you have certain… cosmopolitan tendencies, which cast doubt on your true allegiance. You have traveled to England and maybe even to Stockholm; places where child molesters are tolerated. We patriotic, heartland Americans might overlook such peccadilloes… except for one thing.

We can’t pronounce your name. Americans have made no secret of this: we cannot hear or pronounce French vowels or terminal consonants, and we understandably become violent when anybody points this out.

Previous generations of immigrants had the good sense to Americanize their names, is all I’m saying.

All good stuff, and it gave me much amusement. Let me take them in reverse order.  Firstly, here’s the story of the name.

When I became a U.S. citizen — I mean, on the very day I was sworn in — I was asked if I wanted to change my name.

It was the first I’d heard of this option;  nobody had ever told me I could do it when I became a citizen.  All I had to do was give a new name right there, and that would be the one on my passport and naturalization certificate (and SocSec database, automatically).

Had I changed it — one option was “Dalton” because it sorta sounds like “Doo-twah” and had two syllables, but I needed to think about it — it’s a big deal, changing one’s name —  and I had to make a decision right there and then.

So I didn’t.

And lo and behold, I found over time that people liked it — they said it sounded really cool and exotic — and it was quite a hit with the ladies, along with this kinda-fake Brit accent that I picked up at school.

Interestingly enough, when I asked both my American wives (Son&Heir’s mom, and Connie) if they wanted to keep their respective surnames instead of being saddled with this strange French thing, they not only refused, but refused loudly and emphatically.  (New Wife, when I asked her the same question, just gave me That Look so I changed the subject hastily.)

As to the other charges:

However, you have certain…cosmopolitan tendencies, which cast doubt on your true allegiance. You have traveled to England and maybe even to Stockholm; places where child molesters are tolerated. We patriotic, heartland Americans might overlook such peccadilloes…

(I chuckle helplessly again, even as I type this.)

I realize that the charge of “cosmopolitanism” is a serious one, especially to Middle America (the class to which I aspire, and the one with which I identify the most strongly).

But FFS, just because I speak several other languages that most Murkins can’t, and I like visiting foreign lands, and can tell the difference between Baroque- and Norman architecture, and likewise between Academy- and Romantic art, and Chopin and Schubert’s music, does this make me less American?

I even admit to preferring croissants over Wonder Bread, sausage rolls over hot dogs, and Victoria sponge cake instead of apple pie.  (I draw the line at BBQ, however:  no other food can compare.)

And I’m really sorry, but Wadworth 6X is just a better goddamn beer than fucking Budweiser or Coors.

Frankly, I think that Americans could do with a little more cosmopolitanism, if for no other reason than to break the bonds of bullshit American marketing of mediocre/awful products like the above (and let’s not forget “American” cheese, which is truly fucking horrible and no man should).

And I’m happy to do my bit to advance that cause, on these here pages and on this back porch of mine.

By the way:  I’ve never been to Stockholm, and I think child molesters should be burned at the stake, after extensive torture.

Keeping It Anonymous

POTUS-wannabe Nikki Haley and some others have come right out and said that Internet anonymity should be banned.

I think that’s bullshit, despite the fact that I myself have eschewed Internet anonymity (for the most personal of reasons).  I think that while anonymity can breed mischief, it can also protect someone from retaliation when, for example, shining light on the inner workings of an institution.

Whistle-blowers in large institutions (especially government and large corporations) would almost certainly be silenced because of (justified) fears that they’d lose their job by so doing — even if they were exposing extreme malfeasance or negligence.  That cannot be a good thing.

Of course, anonymity affords trolls and other such excrescences the ability to say awful things — such as defamation or character assassination — not to mention unacceptable utterances such as… racism?

Oh yeah, and that’s the problem.  Because the minute you say “You can say this and not that”, there’s a little question of who decides the parameters of accepted speech.

We have a First Amendment that addresses that issue, I believe, and it was thoroughly covered in the Anti-Federalist by — ho! — the anonymous “Brutus”.

There is a vulnerability in that freedom, of course, just as there’s vulnerability in all our social and political freedoms.  But confining ourselves to speech for a moment, we know the old adage that a lie travels round the world before the truth can get out of bed, and anonymity is the prime facilitator thereof.

Online commenter “Fred_The_Wise” can post on Xwitter that he has proof that Bill Clinton is a serial molester of underage girls, and even Clinton’s feral lawyers would have a problem stopping that “untruth” from spreading and “contaminating” Clinton’s good name.  “Kim du Toit” can do no such thing, of course, unless he has the actual proof that Bill Clinton is such a pervert.

The problem, as we all know, is that “Fred_The_Wise”, even if he has actual proof of said molestation, is not going to be the next “suicide” at the hands of the Clinton “Hit Squad” because nobody knows who he is;  whereas “Kim du Toit” would have to be extremely careful of slippery soap in the shower and random nooses hanging from trees, if you get my drift.

That “Fred_The_Wise” might just be indulging in a little gratuitous character assassination is just a malevolent by-product of the freedom of speech.

Which is terrible, but unfortunately for goons like Nikki Haley, they’re just going to have to live with it, as we all have to do.

Call To Arms

At the Federalist Society, a speech from Bari Weiss which outlines the issue facing us at this time, and reminds us of our collective duty to save civilization.  As she rightly says:

When antisemitism moves from the shameful fringe into the public square, it is not about Jews. It is never about Jews. It is about everyone else. It is about the surrounding society or the culture or the country. It is an early warning system—a sign that the society itself is breaking down. That it is dying.

It is a symptom of a much deeper crisis—one that explains how, in the span of a little over 20 years since Sept 11, educated people now respond to an act of savagery not with a defense of civilization, but with a defense of barbarism.

Read the whole damn thing, because you must.

It’s not just Jews who are at risk.  We are all at risk, every one of us who claims to be civilized.