Let’s be honest: As far as the media are concerned, most black lives don’t matter. Only in the tiny, infinitesimally small percentage of cases when a black person is killed by a white guy do the media sit up and take notice.

Thus, while there was blanket coverage of a white racist 21-year-old (mentally ill, it hardly needs mentioning) who killed three black people in Jacksonville, Florida, on Saturday, the families of Khaaliq Williams, 16, Hamza Ali Omar, 18, Allan Howard, 34, Ashuntice Wilburn, 17, RayJohn Harshaw, 14, and Brandon Hatcher Jr., 24, mourned alone.

Those are just some of the black Chicagoans murdered two weekends ago in one single city in an area comprising about 14 square miles.

Am I cherry-picking by going back two weeks? No, I just wanted to wait for more information on some of the murdered black people whose deaths the media weren’t interested in covering.

The wildly atypical killing in Jacksonville has already generated hundreds of thousands of stories on Google. The New York Times alone has run about a dozen stories on those three black victims — with more to come!

If anything, it ought to be the reverse. To paraphrase Jesus, the mentally ill you have with you always; the criminals, you can lock up.

But media coverage that reflected reality wouldn’t keep the nation in a panic over the imaginary scourge of white supremacy. Bashing whites is more soul-satisfying than treating black people like adults. Also, ginning up black hatred of whites helps create more exciting crime stories for journalists to report!

White supremacists are responsible for .001% of all murders each year. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting statistics for 2021, black people are responsible for 60% of all murders in the U.S., and the majority of their victims are other blacks. Those are the many, many black lives that absolutely do not matter to the media.

“White supremacists are responsible for .001% of all murders each year.”

Nor to Democrats. Predictably, President Joe Biden immediately issued a statement on the Jacksonville shooting decrying “white supremacy.” There will be no denunciations of black criminality, no photos of their victims’ grieving families, no black pastors saying, “We’re burying our future.” It’s doubtful that more than 10 people could name any of the eight black Chicagoans killed between Friday night, Aug. 18, and Sunday, Aug. 21.

Imagine if tomorrow, instead of one white person being killed in Chicago every week, whites suddenly started being killed once a day, Monday through Thursday — and twice on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It would be a national crisis. But that’s what’s happening to blacks. And the media and Democratic Party don’t care. If black people have a disagreement with one another, who are we to interfere?

Here, specifically, are some of the black lives that don’t matter.

On Friday, Aug. 18, at 7:50 p.m., 16-year-old Khaaliq Williams was riddled with bullets as he stood on a sidewalk. There are three brief mentions of Williams on Google, plus one bare-bones Instagram post — by a criminal defense law firm looking for business.

The shooter wasn’t white, so no biggie.

Two hours later, someone fired into a car on West Maypole Avenue, hitting 18-year-old Hamza Ali Omar in the head, cheek and abdomen, killing him. According to his GoFundMe page, Omar was born and raised in Minneapolis, loved basketball and enjoyed traveling.

That’s about it for news on Omar. His friends and family surely took great comfort in the knowledge that at least he wasn’t killed by a white man.

Four hours after Omar’s murder, 34-year-old Allan Howard was killed in a drive-by shooting in the Washington Heights neighborhood of the South Side. That’s the sum total of what we know about Howard.

To give the press the benefit of the doubt, maybe they assumed these three were criminals themselves, involved in retaliatory gang violence.

But being “justice-involved” (copyright: Barack Obama) didn’t tarnish the sainthood of the BLM heroes. All were engaged in criminal behavior — Mike Brown, George Floyd, Daunte Wright and Breonna Taylor. That’s why the police were arresting them.

Luckily, they were part of the 2% of all black homicide victims who were killed by police. That’s the only reason their lives mattered.

What about teenagers Ashuntice Wilburn and RayJohn Harshaw? They were also killed that weekend in Chicago, and they appear to have been as innocent as the Jacksonville victims.

Wilburn was a volunteer for an anti-violence program at Greater St. John Bible Church, along with her grandmother. She planned to be a dental hygienist.

If only — like Breonna Taylor — Wilburn had been the bag woman for a major crack dealer, whose boyfriend was shooting at the police when she was killed, her life might have “mattered.”

Fourteen-year-old Harshaw’s life didn’t “matter” because he wasn’t facing criminal charges for trying to choke a woman to death while robbing her at gunpoint and getting shot trying to flee from the police — like Daunte Wright.

Instead, Harshaw was a “top student” who “was going to be somebody,” as his aunt put it.

Don’t those black lives matter, media? Nope! They weren’t killed by a white person! No harm, no foul.

I am writing this dispatch from the birthplace of “oracy,” the art of public speaking first perfected by the Athenian Demosthenes, a speaker so eloquent and influential he managed to force the great Aristotle to move back to Macedonia, his birthplace. Demosthenes did not like nor trust northern Greeks like Aristotle and his pupil, one Alexander the Great, the same distrust that many American Southerners felt for the interfering Northerners circa 1861.

Oracy, needless to say, is a skill equal to numeracy and literacy, one mastered at school in my day but, judging by today’s public speakers, no longer taught at any level. Only last week, sitting in a London café, I took out my notebook while three attractive American young women babbled away nonstop. I felt a bit like Henry Higgins in Shaw’s Pygmalion taking down Eliza Doolittle’s cockney outbursts. One of the three women noticed what I was doing and asked me rather coldly why. “I’m counting the times you’re using the word ‘like,’” I answered her. I did not dare tell her I was a linguist—which I am not—because they might have called the fuzz thinking that a linguist is some kind of sexual pervert. Never mind. Let’s get back to oracy and the beauty of eloquent speech.

The great Tom Wolfe once wrote, while reviewing a collection of my writings, that Americans cannot compete with the Brits in public speaking because the latter are examined orally in class, whereas the Yankees write it down. It made sense. Educated Englishmen are above anything else very good speakers. Americans can be, like, like, you know, like…you know, and so on.

“In today’s schools, pupils are taught that speaking properly is elitist and snobby and not with the times.”

When I look back at my youth and my education at an American private school for boys, public speaking was a popular subject taken even by “jocks” like myself anxious to avoid science, math, and other difficult majors. In class we had to read aloud poems or passages of literature, and at times we had to read a speech written by our own little old selves. Captains of sports had to review the year and their individual sport at the end of each term in front of the whole school, and public speaking came in handy then because “jocks” on scholarships were notoriously inarticulate, as they remain to this day.

Needless to say, the debating society was crawling with wimps who preferred to jaw rather than fight, but looking back, my sore soccer knees and numerously operated-on wrestling shoulders convince me that the wimps were smart and we, the jocks, were the dumb ones. In today’s climate, good speech is a negative, especially if the f-word is left unsaid. It is also dangerous for teachers to teach things pupils might not relate to. Worst of all, of course, is the invention of trigger warnings, a system that allows students to remain as dumb or even dumber by doing away with all difficult subjects—like Shakespeare, for example. Ditto safe spaces, another invention by the woke mob for a student to remain uneducated and stupider than when he or she arrived at school.

It all has to do with elitism, the kind practiced by ghastly lefties who write lies for The New York Times and spread nonsense when reporting the news on television. This warped and degenerate elitism wants the scope of teaching to be narrowed, for high standards of word use, elocution, and presentation to be done away with and replaced by “ordinary” speech—in other words, dumbed down to the level of the uneducated.

Let’s put it another way. When was the last time you saw a movie where the hero spoke well, like an aristocrat? If you watch TCM, you hear William Powell, Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Grace Kelly, Herbert Marshall, Bette Davis, Ronald Colman, and others like them articulate and pronounce their words beautifully. In today’s films, a proper accent usually means the person is up to no good, a phony and a crook. And today’s actors mumble on cue. When was the last time you heard and understood every word pronounced in a recently made movie? The inability to speak well was once upon a time a great hurdle to overcome. Yes, it was unfair, because not everyone could afford to send their children to a posh school where they learned to speak clearly and get their ideas across. But in today’s schools, pupils are taught that speaking properly is elitist and snobby and not with the times.

British society was always separated by the way Brits spoke. It is still split, but the other way round. A posh accent today is suspect when applying for a job, a working-class or regional accent is the winning ticket. America never suffered from such class distinctions, and regional accents are a joy, at least for this writer, who loves Southern drawls. But an extreme regional accent does not exclude oracy, and great American public speakers in the past all had accents of their birthplace.

F—ing this and f—ing that have become the lingua franca of today’s celebrities. Needless to say, all this f—ing does is show how limited in brain power these freaks really are. Masters of the devastating retort these inarticulate vulgarians are not. Learn to speak clearly and there are no limits.

Theoretically, you could become a professor of ethnic studies without being the ethnicity you study, just as you can be a gerontologist without being old or a botanist without being a plant.

Still, and while I don’t often offer career advice, trust me on this: Don’t try it.

The pervasiveness of ethnic discrimination in college hiring is one reason for the amusing pattern that has emerged in recent years: The highest proportion of whites caught pretending to be some other more legally privileged race or ethnicity have tended to be academics, especially woke ethnic studies professors.

A classic example is Andrea “Andy” Smith, the chair of the UC Riverside ethnic studies department, whom supporters, such as her dissertation adviser Angela Davis, laud as “one of the greatest Indigenous feminist intellectuals of our time.” This month, however, after a decade and a half of controversy over her race, she finally agreed to retire next year because she had misrepresented herself as an American Indian.

“Most of the time, affirmative action depends upon self-identification. But, still…don’t get caught.”

How did Smith, the very white daughter of a nuclear physicist, succeed in pretending for decades to be a Native American? Her main shtick appears to have been (a) squinching up her eyes so that she looks a little Asian or Amerindian; and (b) confidently asserting, over and over, that she is an Indian.

Her younger sister was quickly fired by a theology college in 2010 for forging a Cherokee tribal membership card, but Smith managed to endure a decade and a half of plausible allegations that she was a “Pretendian.” She’ll get to keep her retirement benefits and the title of “professor emeritus.”

The separation agreement between UC Riverside and Smith is delicately phrased to be inconclusive, perhaps in part because affirmative action in state government was outlawed by California voters in both 1996 and 2020. So it should have been illegal for the University of California to hire her for being an Indian in 2008 and also illegal to fire her for not being an Indian in 2023. But only the most naive think that—legal or illegal—race doesn’t matter in UC hiring.

While employed as a professor at UC Riverside, Smith attended law school at UC Irvine, purportedly receiving funding targeted for nonwhites, and has launched over the past decade a fallback career as a lawyer. She must be a real go-getter. Or is being an ethnic studies professor such an easy gig that you can moonlight as a new lawyer?

Presumably, Professor Smith does not have even Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s level of DNA evidence in her favor because she hasn’t brought any forward. And a genealogist she twice hired to scour both sides of her family tree for an Indian ancestor has announced he couldn’t find one.

Still, Smith remains publicly unrepentant about Her Truth.

Another reason for the epidemic of race fraud among professors of grievance studies is that nobody much knows what exactly the rules are for determining whether you qualify for affirmative action.

Is the burden of proof on you to prove your membership in a legally privileged race/ethnicity? Or is it on your enemies? Perhaps in most professions outside of ethnic studies, people don’t have the time on their hands to wage a 15-year struggle to bring down a rival?

And what if, deep down in your soul, you believe that your Lived Experience is not really that of the boring white girl everybody thought you were when you were growing up? What if, instead, you feel that you are, in some manner that transcends tedious questions of fact, actually an exotic Indian princess or a hot-blooded Latinx salsa queen who was born to wear hoop earrings?

Is that enough?

We live in a culture that is currently lavishly, destructively indulgent of gender delusions. If, say, you are a man mediocre at swimming but then decide you are really America’s fastest woman swimmer, the Biden administration has your back.

You might think that race would work the same way as gender: your claim to have been assigned the wrong race at birth would trump the testimony of other people’s lying eyes.

Indeed, most of the time, affirmative action depends upon self-identification.

But, still…don’t get caught.

Ever since Rachel Dolezal was exposed as a fake black around the time in 2015 that “Caitlyn” Jenner was lauded as a real woman, the culture has been highly unsympathetic to comparable race delusions.

The main exception has been the Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren. And even in her case, her having told Harvard she was Native American may well have derailed her chance to be on the 2020 national ticket.

Smith’s story is a typical one, similar to Warren’s: According to relatives, there was a vague family legend of an Indian ancestor, which she ran with. (In the 19th-century American South, being descended from Pocahontas was the equivalent of Mayflower ancestry in the North. America never had a one-drop rule castigating Indians. Instead, while a lot of Indian blood was concerning, a little was glamorous.)

In Warren’s case, the lore turned out to be trivially true: The Stanford geneticist she hired to analyze her racial makeup from her DNA estimated that she had one Native American ancestor somewhere from six to ten generations ago. His best guess of eight generations back suggests Warren is 1/256th Amerinidian. (Genetics commentator Razib Khan argues that her hired gun did Warren a bad turn; he’d estimate her DNA as pointing to four to eight generations ago, or most likely 1/64th.)

And exactly how much ancestry is needed to make you affirmative-action-eligible?

As the years roll by, more and more Americans have ever more complicated ancestries, in part due to less opposition to interracial marriage, but also just due to modern transportation bringing together the races more often.

This issue has become more salient as two generations have gone by since the Nixon administration introduced race and ethnic preferences. Back then, there were relatively few people with only modest amounts of privileged ancestry: Hispanics in 1969, say, tended to be heavily Hispanic (although LAPD cop novelist Joseph Wambaugh, perhaps bemused by the new affirmative-action programs, was already inserting an “ambiguously Latin” character into most of his novels).

But two generations later, the grandchildren of many individuals who in 1969 qualified as Hispanic, American Indian, or, to a lesser extent, black are now often only one-fourth as nonwhite. Should these lineages continue to enjoy preferences?

Is 1/256th enough to qualify for affirmative action? Many scoffed at Warren’s DNA announcement, although Warren’s supporters argued it proved she was telling the truth. She has announced she is running for a third term in 2024, so her tendentious triviality so far hasn’t proved devastating to her career.

If 1/256th is not enough, how about a half? A sizable fraction of the affirmative-action academics who hounded Smith into retirement as a fraud have one white parent. So, in practice, one-half would seem to be plenty.

What about 1/4th? 1/8th? 1/16th? 1/32nd?

What the cutoff is for quotas is seldom discussed in the United States, even though it is becoming an ever more relevant question. Discussion of the technicalities of affirmative action is discouraged because it serves as a reminder that affirmative action exists.

David Bernstein’s recent book Classified suggests that judges have tended to lean toward 1/4th ancestry as enough to qualify for race privileges while sometimes saying that 1/8th, on the other hand, would be silly. But so far that seems to be more a matter of personal I-know-it-when-I-see-it reaction than of settled law.

There are strict rules for tribal membership (which vary by tribe), but qualifying for a casino check can be different from getting hired under affirmative action. For example, say that three of your eight great-grandparents each belonged to a different Indian tribe, each of which has a 1/4th blood quantum minimum for membership. You wouldn’t qualify for membership in any one tribe. But at 3/8th legitimate American Indian, should you qualify for affirmative action?

Or, conversely, say you are an official member of the Cherokee nation because one of your 32 great-great-great-grandparents was on the Dawes Rolls in 1907 (the Cherokee rule for determining tribal membership). Should your authentic Cherokee membership card get you affirmative action?

What about affirmative action for Hispanic ethnicity? Government forms currently allow you to specify more than one race but not more than one ethnicity: Hispanic or non-Hispanic, pick one and only one. So how much Hispanic ethnicity do you need to get ethnic preference in hiring?

This lack of well-known rules about how much ancestry is required encourages sociopathic personalities to think they can swing it. The main rule of affirmative action eligibility seems to be that it’s whatever you can get away with.

And that suggests a third reason that woke academics cheat more than most people: They tend to be of poor character. An Arizona State professor lamented in The New York Times Magazine in 2021:

Academia is an industry, like journalism, that defines itself in large part by its ethical standards; we’re supposed to educate people and produce knowledge. So what does it mean that we’re also a haven for fakes?

America’s opaque affirmative action system is largely dependent upon self-identification. The fact that it hasn’t collapsed into farce yet has been due in sizable part to the sense of honor among white men that they shouldn’t cheat to acquire racial privileges. It’s rather like the college honor code that mostly still exists in Southern colleges where young men were once expected to ask themselves: What Would Robert E. Lee Do?

The sustainability of affirmative action depends upon enough people continuing to subscribe to a characteristically white male sense of honor. Not surprisingly, it’s exactly those denizens of academia who most hold white men in contempt who are most likely to cheat.

The Supreme Court recently ruled against Harvard’s racial preferences but immediately conceded a giant loophole: College admissions departments may take into account applicants’ essays about their racial/ethnic identities.

So, Harvard, which isn’t run by dummies, immediately replaced last year’s application’s single optional essay with five required essays to let it keep on doing what the Supreme Court told it not to do.

For decades, America has been rewarding people for writing woe-is-me litanies about their oppression. (Not surprisingly, the youth of today are perhaps the unhappiest in American history.) Now upcoming generations have even stronger reasons to be fantasists about how racially oppressed they are.

This is only going to get worse.

COVID cases are up. Hospitalizations climbed 24% last week.

But the media make everything seem scarier than it is. The headline “Up 24%!” comes after dramatic lows. Hospitalizations are still less than half what they were when President Joe Biden said, “The pandemic is over.”

Yet the shallow media keep pounding away: “It may be time to break out the masks” headlined CNN.

Frightened people believe. The movie studio Lionsgate reinstated an office mask mandate. Atlanta’s Morris Brown College mandated masks and even banned parties.

This month, several school districts in Kentucky and Texas closed. “The safety and wellbeing of our students, staff, and community is a top priority,” said the school superintendent in Texas.

But kids rarely get very sick from COVID, and schools aren’t COVID hotspots. Studies on tens of thousands of people found “no consistent relationship between in-person K-12 schooling and the spread of the coronavirus.”

“There’s a big difference between choice and force.”

A Lancet study found Florida had the 12th-fewest excess COVID deaths in the country, even though Florida students went back to school without masks relatively soon.

At least Texas’ and Kentucky’s closures were isolated and brief. Long-term closures during the pandemic brought America’s lowest math and reading scores in decades. Florida’s kids suffered less learning loss than kids in other states.

Sweden, which never closed its schools, suffered no learning loss. Sweden’s education minister wrote that children were “at much lower risk of serious illness” and that “keeping children learning was vital.”

Sweden also imposed fewer restrictions on adults. At the time, Sweden was mocked in the media. NBC called Sweden’s openness a “failed experiment.”

But Sweden’s approach did work. Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development show that Sweden had fewer excess deaths since COVID than any other European country.

Fortunately, this year, most of America seems less likely to panic.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t include Facebook and its idiot authoritarian “fact-checkers.” Even though the World Health Organization says kids under 5 should not be required to wear masks, Facebook still censors science writer John Tierney for writing that forcing children to wear masks is unnecessary.

Masks, lockdowns and closing schools won’t stop COVID. We have to live with it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 96.7% of us now have some immunity through vaccines or prior infection. That probably means future infections will be less severe.

Still, COVID continues to kill some of us.

I’m skeptical of the anti-vax messages in my social media. Unvaccinated people are five times more likely to die. Vaccines are still the most effective way to protect ourselves.

I’m also skeptical of politicians eager to use force. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis forbade private businesses from requiring customers to wear masks or have vaccinations.

But I say privately owned should mean … private. A store owner should be allowed to make his own choices. If customers don’t like a policy, there are lots of other businesses to patronize.

I confronted DeSantis about that:

Stossel: “If it’s my business, and I’m scared, and I want to have that, why can’t I?”

DeSantis: “You had some big corporations basically imposing Fauci-ism, vax mandates, mask mandates. … So we barred (them).”

Stossel: “But if I have a candy store and want to say you have to stand on your head to buy my candy … ”

DeSantis: “Yeah, but there’s certain business regulations that everyone’s gotta abide by … ”

Stossel: “I’m just surprised you’re pushing them.”

DeSantis: “Sometimes, you just gotta say, is this something that we want in our state at all? That’s how we’ve come down.”

That’s how we’ve come down? The politician decides for everyone?

I hate that tyranny, whether it comes from DeSantis, who had mostly sensible Covid policies, or from worse repressers like New York’s Andrew Cuomo and California’s Gavin Newsom.

We individuals should get to decide what’s best for us.

I’m 76. Nine in 10 COVID deaths happen to people over 65.

So I’m glad I’ve been vaccinated. I’ll get the new booster this fall.

I will wear a mask in crowded places when I travel to Chicago to speak at the Heartland Institute next week.

But that’s my choice. There’s a big difference between choice and force.

Individuals should decide, not politicians.

Every Tuesday at JohnStossel.com, Stossel posts a new video about the battle between government and freedom. He is the author of “Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media.”

Recently I’ve been thinking about James Herbert’s 1975 book The Fog, which I read when it was first published (I’ve been a horror fan since childhood; as a kid there wasn’t a horror film or book I didn’t voraciously consume). The novel tells of a (spoiler alert) fog that warps the mind of all who breathe it. Cities go insane; normal people become homicidal or suicidal. The book contains striking imagery: an entire village marching into the ocean to drown, fans at a rainy soccer stadium gripping exposed cables to electrocute themselves.

The Fog is from a horror subgenre I call “normies go nuts.” Many movies have explored that terrain, perhaps the earliest being 1967’s Quatermass and the Pit (psychic energy from unearthed remains of ancient aliens causes bystanders to revert to prehistoric ape-man violence…think 2001: A Space Odyssey, but the monolith makes civilized humans into cavemen instead of vice versa).

Every “normies go nuts” film has a unique catalyst. The Crazies (bioweapon), Impulse (chemical spill), Shivers (parasites), The Sadness (virus), Trancers and Messiah of Evil (cult leader), Stephen King’s Cell and the far superior The Signal (cell phones), The Happening (trees), Pontypool (a glitch in the English language), Sidney Sheldon’s Need to Know (a dude travels to the Far East and learns the meaning of life, which drives all who hear it insane).

“More and more, the fog seems to be taking people who aren’t low-IQ incel types. And that makes me worry.”

The common question posed by entries in the genre is, can you fight the madness once it’s in you? Herbert ends on an optimistic note; you can fight the fog through sheer will. Conversely, The Sadness (the best Covid-era horror film, bar none) ends bleakly. Once the crazy’s in you, you’re lost for good.

The right is currently in the grip of an insanity fog. And yes, I know what you’re thinking: “But Dave, the left’s crazy too!”

Sure, given. And irrelevant. Leftists desire not to build but to tear down (science, families, cities, nations), and crazy works to that end. A caveman can’t create something beautiful, but he sure can smash it. Rightist craziness is of far greater significance because at a time when the nation desperately needs sane opposition to leftist lunacy, rightists picked the worst possible moment to go off the deep end.

Trannyism is a fog, best opposed by simply saying, “It’s nutty and it causes harm” (i.e., oppose the fog without imposing new fog).

“A significant number of humans are born in the wrong body. Alone among the creatures of the earth, human children require the surgical removal of healthy organs and the blocking of natural chemical processes in order to be normal” is best countered with “No, that’s not true, and it harms children.”

Instead, we get Matt Walsh’s “impregnate 16-year-old girls because feminism’s killed more people than communism.”

“The best way to reduce crime is to remove penalties for committing crime” is best countered with “No, that’s not true, and it causes harm.”

Instead, we get Hitler fetishists, “national divorce,” and Vivek Swamibalmy wailing that “riot is the language of the oppressed!” like he’s Al Sharpton.

Today’s rightists insist on fighting fog with fog.

One look at MAGA Twitter proves that the activist base is mentally gone. Every event MAGAs don’t like is a false flag, from the entire 2020 election to last year’s midterms to stories of lesser import.

The Lahaina fire was caused by Biden’s “direct energy weapons.” Hundreds of self-identified MAGAs tweeted that. Because, you see, not every house burned. Proof of “DEWs”! Of course, in reality a fire isn’t a flood; it doesn’t straight-line march forward as an all-enveloping force. Blazes spread via wind and embers, hence why forest fires often shift direction, which floods can’t do unless channeled. If 5,000 structures are burned, it’s just the odds that the embers will miss a few. But many MAGAs prefer irrational escapist fantasy to run-of-the-mill reality.

Remember that Boomer psycho in Utah a few weeks ago who posted on Facebook “I’m gonna assassinate Joe Biden when he comes here and if any FBI tries to stop me I’ll shoot them too,” and who had a history of threatening people with guns, and who was killed when the feds came to visit (as they were required to do)? Turns out that entire incident was a false flag by the Biden Crime Family to take out a PATRIOT! MAGAs have declared the maniac a martyr.

In fact, the Utah crackpot case is as straightforward as possible. A violent crank posts “I’ll assassinate the president with this here rifle that I’ll also use on any feds who try to stop me,” the feds try to stop him, he draws on them, he gets shot. No mystery there. But as I’ve written in previous columns, the right’s lousy with “sleuths” who mystify the explicable, either because they’re fogged themselves or because they’re exploiting the fogged.

If the right has lost focus at exactly the moment it needs focus, it’s because imbeciles and imbecile-exploiters turn every “story of the week” into an X-Files episode. The Paul Pelosi attack? The Hindu who crashed the White House gates? The Nazi Mexican mass shooter? False flags all. Even the drug cartel assassination of an Ecuadorean presidential candidate was a false flag engineered by the BIDEN CRIME FAMILY (you know, that international syndicate headed by a senile old man and a crackhead, who are indeed grifters but somehow also control all world events) to distract from Hunter’s plea deal!

Meanwhile, thanks to Vivek Swarthyvishnu, high-profile rightists like Candace Owens are embracing 9/11 “trutherism.” At a time when the only thing rightists need to do to win is oppose leftist lunacy, fog-filled retards would rather relitigate September 2001. Because that’s what the public really wants!

The fog’s always existed, infesting the minds of Unz readers and Alex Jonesians and (pre-internet) Willis Carto fans on the right and Mae “Charles Manson did Chappaquiddick for the CIA” Brussell fans on the left. The core tenet of the fog can be summed up by this line from Living Colour: “Everything is possible and nothing is real.” Once that becomes your mantra, the fog’s inside you. Reality no longer matters.

The fog is the anti-Occam. Occam dictates that the Utah shooter story was obvious enough on its face that the first reaction should’ve been “seems legit unless additional info calls it into question.” But if everything is possible and nothing is real, then the would-be assassin’s Facebook posts and criminal history can be dismissed (“nothing is real”) and the notion of Biden framing and executing an innocent old man just to send a message to MAGAs to keep quiet about his corruption (yeah, that’s a thing) can be embraced (“everything is possible”).

I’m writing this a few hours after a white Zoomer with a swastika-covered rifle killed three blacks in a Jacksonville Dollar General, and already the false flaggots are at it, with hundreds of MAGAs tweeting that DeSanctimonious engineered the “shooting” to distract from Trump’s winning campaign! Whereas Occam might advise, “Maybe there’s a correlation between the growing number of Zoomers who fanatically follow Nazi Nick Fuentes and the uptick in Zoomers embracing Nazism,” the foggy-minded reject any such suggestion.

Too Occam, too logical.

As I said, the fog’s always been here, in the haunted heads of low-IQ failures who find in the discovery of “secret knowledge” and “hidden truths” an ego boost real life doesn’t afford them. “I dun never had no job or gurlfrent, but I founded out who controls the planet. Me smaaaahrt!” But more and more, the fog seems to be taking people who aren’t low-IQ incel types. And that makes me worry.

And when the fog envelopes the entire activist base of the GOP during primary season, that makes me really worry.

I pin the fog’s expansion squarely on Trump. What he brought to the table—and I think this is key to understanding why we’re seeing the fog dominate the right—is twofold: First, to embrace Trump, he insists that you accept his slate of massive improbabilities. You must accept that the entire 2020 election was a false flag (Trump won by a landslide and millions of votes were “stollen”), the midterms were also a false flag (somehow ballots were altered to rob Kari Lake of her landslide, yet down-ballot Republicans still won), and January 6 was a false flag conducted by feds to frame MAGAs.

Like children who, even if only subconsciously, adopt the beliefs of their parents, MAGAs hear Papa Trump spin a yarn and they willingly allow his fog to enter their minds (this is the “cult leader catalyst” scenario from Trancers and Messiah of Evil).

After all, if you can accept Trump’s core premise—that two national elections and a riot comprising 10,000 people were phony—you can accept anything. A false-flag Dollar General mass shooting? Piece of cake for the masterminds who can send 2,000 feds dressed as MAGAs into the Capitol and fake a presidential election and a midterm.

Funny thing is, if the CIA ever brought back MKUltra, the new iteration would center on sowing fear of the old one. The weak-minded in 1950s America were defined by blind trust in the government. But the weak-minded of 2023 are defined by blind paranoia and mistrust, so the best way to manipulate those folks would be to stoke fears that they’re being manipulated. A 2023 MKUltra would focus on telling MAGAs, “Watch out, you’re being MKUltra’d!”

The second thing Trump brought to the table is a new and highly popular reason for embracing the fog: spite. When I talk to individual MAGA fogheads, I find that laying out facts is of little use, because eventually the argument shifts to “Okay, you know what? Maybe I HAVE become paranoid and reality-detached, but leftists made me this way! The media made me this way! Biden made me this way! Them bastards and their lies drove me to doubt everything I read or see. And now I’m their worst nightmare!”

This is essentially saying, “I threw away my sanity to teach the left a lesson.”

“Ha, I sure showed you! You lied to me so much I went batshit crazy. Take that! Bet yer sorry now! Go cry liberal tears!”

The notion that your reality detachment means you’ve “owned” the left, that they’re upset that you’ve gone mad, that they’re weeping “Oh NO, we drove @MAGAPATRIOT1488 to dementia; what’s become of us that we’ve harmed such a good man?” is beyond laughable.

Here’s a tip, MAGAs: Leftists want you crazy and ineffective. You ain’t spiting them by acquiescing.

The scene in Herbert’s Fog of a village walking into the sea in a mass suicide was unsettling.

Seeing it happen in real life, very likely at the cost of a vital election, is beyond unsettling. Worse than anything I’ve read in a book or seen in a film in 55 years of horror fandom (my birthday’s Saturday; BUY ME A BEER).

Next week, in Part II: fighting the fog.

A female British IT worker recently sued her boss for sexual harassment in the workplace. According to her, the fact that her employer had placed the letters “xx” in his emails to indicate an unknown quantity (as in something like “do we need xx more print cartridges???”) was really a hidden sexual code for him sending her unwanted electronic kisses. Likewise, his use of multiple “???”s was a subliminal attempt to ask when exactly she was going to allow him to have “sexual contact” with her, she said.

When he wrote “I need date, date, date!” in regard to which specific day she was going to complete a project, her one-track mind thought it meant he required a specific date she was going to finally allow him into her knickers. Meanwhile, when he named a computer file with his initials “AJG,” she somehow perceived this really stood for “A Jumbo Genital,” the extra-large item he was boasting of possessing, and demanding she allow him to insert it inside her, posthaste.

Lying Eyes
Ruling against this lunatic, the tribunal judges suggested she possessed “a skewed perception of everyday events,” demonstrating “a tendency to make extraordinary allegations without evidence,” and ordered her to pay £5,000 in costs.

“We now live within a world haunted throughout by invisible new secrets that only designated victim groups perceive.”

You may say this individual was just paranoid, but, in an age in which we are solemnly told by neo-Marxist academics that everything is now simply a text to be read, and that the meanings of such texts are endlessly fluid, had she not in some sense actually been groomed to hold such fancies by ivory-tower idiots?

We now live within a world haunted throughout by invisible new secrets that only designated victim groups, primarily blacks, gays, transsexualism and radical feminists, possess the infallible ability to perceive. If you’re straight, white, and male and fail to see them too, this is just further proof that you have been blinded to the truth by your innate position of white, cisheteropatriarchal privilege—so get new glasses, granddad, and learn to see everything through a fashionably black/queer/anticolonialist lens. It seems the U.K. tribunal judges cited above were the last legal officials west of Budapest still not to have gotten the memo.

Able Semen
A prime example of this brand of perceptual witchcraft at work occurred in early August, when a Portsmouth museum devoted to preserving the sunken wreck of Henry VIII’s Tudor warship the Mary Rose published a blog by a young intern named Hannah asking, “How can we understand the Mary Rose’s collection of personal objects through a Queer lens?”—the answer to which was “Not very well at all.”

Sadly, no dildos, butt plugs, or treasure chests filled with vials of Tudor-era amyl nitrate were found within the wreckage of the Mary Rose. Thus, Hannah had to settle for queering various mundane, everyday, entirely non-gay objects instead, like 82 nit combs that, Hannah astutely observed, “would have been mainly used by the men [aboard] to remove nits from their hair.”

Nothing gay to see here, please move along? Not at all. As Homophilic Hannah continued, “for many Queer people today, how we wear our hair is a central pillar of our identity,” something that should obviously be kept in mind when examining Early Renaissance insect-killing implements.

A gold wedding ring is not a poignant reminder that the sailors left behind (female) wives and families ashore when their ship sank in 1545, meanwhile, but instead a far more upsettling prompt that “Today, same-sex couples cannot be married by…the Church of England, the Church that Henry VIII established.” Paternoster rosary beads were not really evidence of the crew’s religious faith, but a cautionary warning that Christianity traditionally taught gay sex was a sin. I’m surprised Hannah didn’t just try to claim they were strings of antique bum beads instead.

Ship of Fools
Opinion columnist Rod Liddle mocked this by proposing the Mary Rose was originally a male warship named Bob that had its prow chopped off on the NHS; homosexual novelist Philip Hensher tweeted skeptically that “I am as keen as anyone on gay sex, but I have to say to these curators—you’re fucking mental.” In an essay, Hensher then elaborated that Narcissuses like Hannah clearly “aren’t half as interested in the past as they are in telling you all about themselves, at length.”

Indeed so. The most telling object “queered” by Hannah was an octagonal mirror that, to my own biased eye, looks a bit like a tasty jam biscuit. Yet I am self-aware enough to realize that the object is not in fact a jam biscuit, it is an antique looking glass, and my misperception just results from a personal excessive fondness for Jammie Dodgers. Hannah, though, gazes into the mirror and sees only herself: “For Queer people, we may experience a strong feeling of gender dysphoria when we look into a mirror, a feeling of distress caused by our reflection conflicting with our own gender identities.” Dracula himself had fewer issues with mirrors than poor Hannah, it seems.

Hannah ends by emphasizing the importance of viewing objects in museums “through a Queer lens”—but that is really just a euphemism for transforming all such exhibits into perpetual mirrors, even when they are actually nit combs or rosary beads. And this masturbatory solipsism now has official institutional approval and imprimatur. You can see where the woman in the employment tribunal got her own delusional mindset from.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the queerest of them all? You are, Hannah, now carry on wanking at your own rainbow reflection endlessly on the public dime, it’s all museums are for now.

Curse of the Mummy’s Womb
Elsewhere, I once detailed the efforts of queer “Egyptologists” (i.e., ignorant benders who knew what pyramids and sand looked like) to disingenuously claim ancient Egypt was full of trannies. A mummy was found in the British Museum whose hips and chest had been stuffed with extra padding, like a flat-chested schoolgirl shoving tissue paper down her bra to pass herself off as Jayne Mansfield. This was taken by the perceptually enlightened as irrefutable evidence he was a drag queen of some sort. Yet it later transpired the man was just very fat during life, and his embalmers had tried to replicate this obese appearance; those swabs were not primitive breast implants, but an innocent attempt to replicate his wobbly moobs.

But what does actual evidence matter? Just so long as your eyes are woke enough to perceive it, such non-queer artifacts can easily possess a far deeper truth; if you can only feel this mummy is trans, then he is!

The online History Is Gay podcast, for example, which attempts to queer literally everything that has ever happened ever, ever, ever in the history of ever, provides photos of bearded female pharaohs like Hatshepsut (who only wore a stylized metallic beard to symbolize she had the authority of a male king, not because she thought she had a magic invisible penis…), and even possible gay jackals bumming one another on sarcophagus portraits, statuary, and tomb decorations. One is only grateful the hosts don’t give their further opinion on the fact there was once a famous male American Egyptologist called James Henry Breasted.

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
It is a curious fact that, in ancient Egyptian myth, the creator-god Atum masturbated the universe into existence from his magical penis, an item that women by definition do not possess, not even Michelle Obama.

However, during Egypt’s Dynastic Period an analogous act of spiritual masturbation was needed from the recently deceased to enable their successful transition into the Egyptian afterlife. So, in the words of the unacceptably named Egyptologist Kathlyn M. Cooney, “[dead] Egyptian women had to shift their gender and ‘masculinize’ themselves to enter the Fields of Peace,” with their sarcophagus becoming “an excellent vehicle to transform the woman” into a male god temporarily, by facilitating “a kind of impermanent gender-shift.”

Therefore, to fool the Guardians of the Land of the Dead into thinking they were male like Atum, Osiris, or Ra, the three gods of creation, death, and regeneration, whose equally male human avatars and their penises were the only things actually allowed into Paradise, women of the time often had images of themselves looking inaccurately male painted onto the front of their sarcophagi, or were buried with items only men would ever usually possess, like weapons, condoms, Rohypnol, underpants, or copies of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II.

In De Nile
Initially, academic culture warriors were inclined to present such curious funerary phenomena in a (then) fashionably feminist light. Consider the Brooklyn Museum’s 2017 show A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt. According to the show’s website:

Egyptian medicine taught that a woman, once in her tomb, faced a biological barrier to rebirth…. To overcome this perceived problem, a priest magically transformed a woman’s mummy into a man [temporarily]…. This required representing a woman with red skin on her coffin—the color normally assigned to a man—and reciting spells that addressed the woman with masculine pronouns…. A woman later returned to her original female state and incubated herself for rebirth into the afterlife as a woman.

This was all then framed in a feminist light: Oh, how sexist were ancient Thebes and Memphis! But what seemed woke in 2017 now seems oh so very bigoted, passé, and TERF-ish. It does not take too much imagination to guess how the presence of enchanted gender-altering pronoun spells on an ancient Egyptian coffin might be deliberately misconstrued by the newly risen woke gender-benders of today like the Mary Rose museum’s Hannah, especially when you consider these magic words allowed the dead to successfully “transition” from one state of being into another.

One day, the very name of the 2017 show A Woman’s Afterlife may itself be reclassified as some kind of curatorial hate crime. Obviously, the women of ancient Egypt were not even women at all, but men. And if you disagree? You just need some new woke glasses, don’t you, Mr./Mrs. Magoo? Try pushing that transphobic line with a “tolerant” leftist young intern today, and you’ll soon find yourself on the wrong end of an employment tribunal. Someone as old-fashioned as you is viewed through woke eyes today as nothing but a total museum piece.

The Week’s Most Lurkin’, Twerkin’, and Jerkin’ Headlines

MAKE THAT 86,999
As Sen. Joe Manchin—a.k.a. “the kid from Deliverance with a super PAC”—mulls his political future, which may include a third-party run under the newly formed Kallikak Caucus (which includes John Fetterman and Kari Lake. Party motto: “Make America Flurgurbleglurk”), never forget that he was the deciding vote that gave us 87,000 new IRS agents so your grandma can be jailed for not declaring her bingo winnings.

When it was announced that these new agents would be armed, leftists reassured the nation that the new taxmen would be competent in the use of their weapons.

And…last week two IRS hires were training at a firing range in Phoenix (“Halt! Your business trip dinner was not deductible!”) when one of the “competent” agents accidentally shot the other one dead.

It’s a great reassurance that the people who can put you in prison for losing an Arby’s receipt can’t even practice shooting without killing each other.

Also (and this is not a joke), the IRS geniuses who expect you to remember every last detail of your income and expenditures couldn’t recall the name of the shooting range in question, forcing the 911 dispatcher to play a guessing game regarding where to send the ambulance.

Thanks, Manchin! Good luck on that third-party run. Too bad Ned Beatty’s dead, because his “nobody makes me squeal like Joe” endorsement woulda been killer.

Further details on the shooting have yet to be released because IRS supervisors found that the paramedics improperly itemized the bullet wounds; they’re now doing 10 to 20 in the federal pen.

Hindu or hand-do?

Dr. Sudipta Mohanty is a primary care physician in Massachusetts. In his native land, “Sudipta” means “lamp.” Sadly, this perverted doc wasn’t limp on a recent flight from Honolulu to Boston. Seated beside a 14-year-old girl who was traveling with her grandparents, the Punjabi ponce pulled out his pud after noticing that the girl’s family members were asleep. Handsier than Vishnu and with a trunk like Ganesha, Mohanty (of the medical firm Manny, Mohanty, and Jackoff) began furiously pleasuring himself under a blanket as he stared at the petrified child.

“It’s a great reassurance that the people who can put you in prison for losing an Arby’s receipt can’t even practice shooting without killing each other.”

As Wrecks Organ MD climaxed, he tossed off the blanket so his ejaculate could splatter the surrounding seats. Dr. Spilldare then casually strolled to the bathroom to clean off, content that he’d enriched America enough for one day.

The girl took the opportunity to move to a vacant seat in another aisle, and after the plane landed, she told her grandparents about the busy hands of Dr. Nehru Jerkit, who was promptly arrested.

Sploogie Howser faces a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. So, a real slap off the wrist.

Fortunately for his patients, thanks to H-1B visas, Obamacare offers a number of subsidies for insane Third World medicos. Level 1 Obamacare allows you to access masturbating Brahmins. Level 2 unlocks the bride-burning bonus (get a boil lanced and have your ungrateful wife immolated at the same time). Level 3? Only doctors who defecate on the floor (this level is not recommended for patients who require a sterile environment). And the vaunted Level 4? A Yoruban tribesman’s pagan god composed of bundled sticks and dried cow dung pronounces you cured even as it gives you Ebola.

Mo’handest Gandhi is due back in court next month. He’s been placed on leave from his job at Beth Israel Medical Center; a spokesman for the hospital told the AP, “Oy, the schmuck couldn’t keep his yad off his vashem.”

Say what you will about Californians—left-wing, ditzy, in love with high taxes and low school test scores—but you gotta give ’em this:

They know how to burn to a crisp with dignity.

The 2018 Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in California history, took 85 lives and destroyed 18,804 structures. An unparalleled tragedy. But you know how Californians didn’t respond?

“Don’t go to Disneyland! Don’t visit Universal Studios! Don’t use our beaches or hike our mountains!”

Dim as Californians are, they didn’t self-destructively use the devastating fire to alienate tourists.

Hawaiians make Californians look smart by comparison.

The Hawaii “brain trust” (a fat guy in a skirt and a stale hunk of poi) has decided that the best response to the horrific Lahaina fire is to get angry at tourists and tell them to stop spending money in the state. Obama’s “never let a crisis go to waste” mantra has metastasized into “always let a crisis go to ‘I hate whites.’” Tourism is the largest industry in the state, yet for native Hawaiians, the pleasure derived from attacking whites for something they didn’t do is somehow worth the loss of their income.

Meanwhile, as Biden took a break from sleeping on vacation to sleeping at a memorial for the Lahaina victims, he woke briefly to point out, “Hey, grass skirts are flammable, man. No wonder y’all burned up so quick.”

The cause of the Lahaina blaze is not yet known; at least Californians, who pay the highest utility bills in the Lower 48, know that their fire was started by the power company that bankrupts them. So there’s comfort in realizing that Granny got cooked alive by the faulty power lines she paid for.

And far from discouraging tourism, Disney actually used the Camp Fire to attract more business for its “gay nights.”

“Disneyland: home of the flamin’ good time!”

“BYOF” (“bring your own faggots”).

“Cancel culture” has become so pervasive, sometimes it’s hard to know why something has landed on the verboten list. Last week it was revealed that Queen’s beloved and popular song “Fat Bottomed Girls” was removed from a new greatest-hits release on a streaming service for kids.

Was it trannies, upset that the song mentions “girls” (who of course don’t exist according to “the science”)? Was it fat-bottomed girls, furious about “body shaming”? Was it religious conservatives, enraged that the song’s raunchy lyrics might corrupt the young’uns?

Maybe it was black women, charging “cultural appropriation” for singing about big booties without directing profits toward the reparations fund for LaQuishas who get them cold-ass fries instead of them good fries.

Or maybe it was the “Zanzibarians living with HIV” community, bitter that Freddie Mercury is remembered for a song that isn’t about the fetish that killed him.

Who knows? The song was banned. At this point, does the “why” matter anymore? Everybody bans everything.

Even that new “anthem of the working-class white man,” “Rich Men North of Richmond,” is losing support on the right following revelations that lyricist/singer Oliver Anthony (a.k.a. the singing fat guy in the 1976 horror movie Dogs) posted videos claiming that “the Jews” did 9/11.

“Rich men north of Richmond”? More like Hebes north of Hampton. Christkillers north of Christiansburg. Hook-noses north of Norfolk. Kikes north of Culpeper.

Oh well…it was a fun anthem while it lasted. As was “Fat Bottomed Girls.”

Maybe now’s the time for the blandest, most inoffensive music on earth to make a comeback.

Surely nobody could find fault with Sandler & Young!

Wait, scratch that. Belgium’s too white.

The other major player in the current “noble hick, ignoble cosmopolitan” conservative song fetish, Jason Aldean, may not have had this small town in mind with his chart-topping ballad. The mess in Marion, Kansas (population Deke, Boog, and Deke’s old scent-hound Smelicue), is difficult to untangle. The town newspaper (reporters: Deke and Boog; editor: Smelicue) received a tip that a local restaurateur was a lush with multiple DUIs. The paper didn’t publish the info (only Smelicue knows how to use Word, and he was busy that day chasing coons…and no, not raccoons). The police chief—a brutish snub-nosed Injun-lookin’ thug named Gideon Cody—raided the home of the newspaper’s owner, a 98-year-old woman, ostensibly looking for info about the drunky townswoman, but his actual purpose was to confiscate evidence of his own sexual misdeeds.

The “Gestapo-style” warrant for the illegal search was issued by a local judge who’s also a lush with DUIs, and when the 98-year-old lady died from the stress of the raid (compounded by frustration over not locating the beef), the story went national and hey, welcome to small-town America, where soulless stormtroopers are willing to kill an old bat because they don’t want their nosy neighbors to know that they imbibe alcohol and screw outside of wedlock.

In a big city, nobody would give a damn. If this had been NYC, that old lady would be alive today (well, she’d have been pushed under a subway car by a schizo Ghanaian, but now we’re just splitting bluehairs).

Meanwhile, in sleepy Gilgo Beach (Babylon, N.Y.), the local police chief was arrested for soliciting sex in a public park (locals always feared that George Michael Memorial Park would attract the wrong element). And get this: The “chief” had botched the search for the Gilgo Beach serial killer—allowing a dozen women to be brutally murdered—because he was too busy tracking down his stolen stash of dildos.

Not a joke! As a serial killer was stalking his town, the chief was distracted by his search for the person who stole his box of butt wideners.

Babylon indeed. And a reminder that population count ain’t no guarantee a town will be wholesome.

Also, if you’ve seen a box of used dildos with “property of Gilgo Beach” stamped on it, you’re encouraged to contact Chief Ivan Openhole of the Babylon PD.

CORONIS—Trafficking in enchantment, I sailed west to Coronis, the most perfect private isle on this planet. At times I think I’m in the realm of fantasy, such is the beauty of the place, the perfection of its function, yet a nouveaux riche—say, Bezos or Zuckerberg—would most likely find it not up to par because of its understatement. The island is greener than green, with olive trees and pines and vegetable gardens all planted by the owners, stone bungalows hidden from view, a great main house even more hidden from view, a discreet beach clubhouse, all in a wholesome, nostalgic setting poignantly evocative of a time before Succession-tinged vulgarity.

I suppose it has to do with the inner harmony of the soul of its owners, what the ancient Greeks called sophrosyne, “a virtue that reveals itself in every action and attitude.” This virtue saves the individual from excess, extravagance of thought, and arrogance. (I’ve been reading about sophrosyne in Richard Livingstone’s book on Socrates, sent to me by Robert Harbord.) All extremists lack it, and it’s the virtue most absent among the very newly rich Americans and Arabs of today. I’ve got a lot more to say about sophrosyne, but I’ll save it for another time. For the present it’s the annual Pugs Club meeting at Coronis.

“Everyone was kind and full of wishes that I make it to a hundred.”

Our hosts are George and Lita Livanos, whose island we annually invade, although the poor little Greek boy has been coming here for close to fifty years. George was the fourth or fifth member of Pugs—it is men only—and it was his idea to host the meeting after our supposed clubhouse in London (that our first president, now deceased, had paid rather a large sum for) turned out to be an Albanian’s kiosk in Soho that sold peanuts. Prince Pavlos and his princess, Sir Bob Geldof and his lady, Edward Hutley and his Lulu, and Arki Busson and his Jemma were all present and in a party mood. This was Wednesday evening. Alexandra had flown in from Gstaad, and we had sailed to Coronis that afternoon after dropping off Michael Mailer on the mainland. Club rules restrict membership to 21. The president, Prince Pavlos, proposed Michael for membership. I seconded him, but Bob Geldof, a friend of Michael’s and an admirer of his father’s, objected. “He owns neither a yacht nor a plane,” said Sir Bob. Prince Nikolaos of Greece, the president’s younger brother and a member, texted “Who is Michael Mailer?” The president was annoyed but stuck to the rules. “We do not have a quorum, hence we will contact Count Bismarck and Roger Taylor on the latter’s boat somewhere off Bora Bora, and will have the vote tomorrow.” We then retired to another terrace and listened to Sir Bob’s story of how in Cork his father knocked out a man engaged to his mother and eventually fathered him.

Geldof never stops talking, spinning his tales and manipulating his audience like those ancient storytellers of Arabian Nights. None of his stories lull, while any interruption is treated as an encroachment on his genius, on art itself. The trouble is he never utters anything stupid or pedestrian. In fact he recounts the past with binocular vision, and we are there. Needless to say, I am the target of his barbs most of the time, because as he told everyone within a radius of a mile later on, “I heard the word ‘Rommel’ and had to leave, and missed my breakfast.”

Coronis runs like clockwork; the chief butler Hercules and his wife, Yannoula, the emperor Nebuchadnezzar would give up his hanging gardens for. All the staff is wonderful, friendly, and efficient, and it’s the atmosphere of the place, with guests and staff alike, that makes it so pleasant. After Roger and Bolle had confirmed their votes for Michael over the telephone from Bora Bora, another problem popped up: I proposed we throw out Mark and Tara Getty because they no longer make their boats available to us for parties and in fact never attend Pugs Club meetings. It was seconded by Arki, but only as far as throwing out Tara was concerned. President Prince Pavlos turned it down, refusing even to contemplate a vote. Not a big fan of democracy to begin with, I accepted the princely ukase and the Gettys are still members.

Then came the day I had been in fear of for some time: my birthday. Lita ordered balloons and a cake that 10,000 Babylonians would die for, and everyone was kind and full of wishes that I make it to a hundred—a Greek saying—and then the modern male version of Scheherazade, Sir Bob, took over. He described me as a “disembodied, and making heavily accented and curiously odd mid-Atlantic sounds from the hedge—the Ancient Father of the club muttering dark imprecations that include words such as ‘von Manstein’ and you can take Bismarck out of Germany but you cannot take Germany out of Bismarck.”

Well, there’s not much I can say after this, except that the next day, our last one on the island, Scheherazade turned nice and delivered one of the most touching after-dinner speeches to our hosts, thanking them and pointing out certain facts that will remain private. This was for me among the most enjoyable visits I’ve had, and I’ve had many, so enjoyable in fact that I forgot that Father Time is getting closer and closer.

Opening my copy of the French newspaper Le Figaro recently, there was a long article titled “With Gustave Thibon in the Ardèche: the Saint and the Peasant.” I was in the Ardèche at the time and therefore decided to read the article—for such slight or inadequate reasons are our decisions, or at least my decisions, about what to read often taken.

Gustave Thibon was a self-taught Catholic philosopher of peasant origin of whom I had never previously heard, a monarchist much appreciated by the Vichy regime. The saint of the article’s title was Simone Weil, a young woman of Alsatian Jewish origin, and of brilliant academic accomplishment, who later became a Catholic philosopher. Weil took refuge with Thibon at his farmhouse in the Ardèche for a few weeks in August 1941, a time when such an association might have been risky for both of them. Despite their differences—she had been associated before the war with the far left—they got on well.

And despite her great posthumous fame, I know almost nothing of Weil, except that she died, possibly of self-induced starvation, in England in 1943, that she was a great believer in mortification of the flesh, and that not a few people considered her to be a saint.

“I am repelled by such histrionics and inconsideration masquerading as self-sacrifice.”

I have to admit that saints do not much attract me, not that I have so far met any. I think I would find them intimidating were I to meet them, like people who are brilliant at absolutely everything. I have met some saintly people, but even they, I am glad to say, had their faults. As for mortification of the flesh, I am not in favor of it, especially when it is an implicit criticism of those who do not indulge in it. I am no sybarite, but surely in this, as in everything, there is a happy medium?

Anyway, no sooner had Weil arrived at Thibon’s house than she complained that the room he had prepared for her was too comfortable, and that she would have to sleep under the stars. So, an uncomfortable ruined hut on the banks of the Rhone was found for her. Thibon later had this to say of her conduct:

She who, would not have accepted the slightest sacrifice from anyone for the sake of her pleasure or need, seemed not to realise the complications, indeed the suffering, that she introduced into the life of others when it came to the fulfilment of her self-annihilation.

From this, it seems to follow that Weil was very far from having been a saint, indeed she was a tiresome person of the most appalling and egotistical spiritual pride. Not to demand luxury of others is one thing; but to have rejected so thoughtlessly the kindness and comfort that others offered (which in Thibon’s case could surely only have been reasonable rather than pharaonic) was outright rude and disagreeable. It is not as if, by rejecting it, Weil was benefiting anyone else; her act was entirely self-regarding. I am repelled by such histrionics and inconsideration masquerading as self-sacrifice.

Of course, she must have had a much better side, and Thibon also said of her:

Her extraordinary and perfectly mastered erudition that was almost indistinguishable from the expression of her inner life gave to her conversation an unforgettable attraction.

There is also a very amusing story about her and Thibon:

One day, she confided to him with tender irony about herself, “I have failed at everything: university, as a worker, a soldier, a peasant. There is only one thing left to me—the streets.” To this Thibon replied, “I don’t want to discourage you, but it seems to me that it is there that you would have the least success.”

The article goes on admiringly to quote a passage from one of Weil’s books:

We must respect a field of wheat, not for itself, but because it is nourishment for mankind. In an analogous way, we must respect a collectivity, whatever it is—homeland, family, or any other—not for itself, but as nourishment for a number of human souls.

This strikes me, as it stands, as not only wrong but profoundly stupid, perhaps all the more so because it was written in 1943. Of course, it is only a quotation, and in the book itself the thought might have been qualified; not having read the book, I cannot say. But to quote this thought without commentary seems to imply an author mesmerized by the fame and alleged saintliness of his subject.

The Ku Klux Klan, the Khmer Rouge, were each a human collectivity, but it seems to me that no respect whatever is due to either. Evil as well as good can draw people together, but their togetherness, their camaraderie, is no counterbalance, not by so much as a feather’s weight, to their evil.

This is surely obvious on the most minimal reflection. Assuming that the quotation is not torn bleeding out of context, that it accurately represents part of Weil’s thought, it raises the question as to the point of her erudition, however well assimilated. Why learn anything if that’s what you end up saying? I am aware that she is only a single case; but I am sure that I could try the quotation on my plumber—in fact, the next time I have the misfortune to need his services, I will do so—and that he would be able to see at once what is wrong with it.

In parallel with Le Figaro, I was reading a short book about Nietzsche. The author quotes the following statement from Nietzsche’s Human, All Too Human:

There are neither eternal facts nor indeed eternal verities.

The author, no doubt mesmerized by Nietzsche’s reputation as a great thinker, does not remark on the obvious contradiction, such that if this statement is true it is false, and therefore it is false: For the nonexistence of eternal verities is itself taken as an eternal verity.

This is the same error that the cruder logical positivists made when they claimed that, to be meaningful, a statement either had to refer to an empirical state of affairs or be a tautology; an obvious counterexample to the claim being the claim itself.

We should neither try to prick the bubble, reputation, simply because it is reputation, nor bow down before it. In short, we are perpetually called upon to use our judgment, as best we can.

Theodore Dalrymple’s latest book is Ramses: A Memoir, published by New English Review.

Donald Trump, the least self-aware person in the country, at least seems to know that he’s a terrible debater. He has the vocabulary of a kindergartener, strings words together in combinations that aren’t recognizable as English and has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about most of the time. His sole objective when he begins a sentence is to get to the end of the sentence.

So why did he crush all the debate insta-polls in 2016?

First of all, Jeb! needed a billion more exclamation points. But more important, Trump had something no other candidate had: He took the popular position on immigration.

You forget this now because — post-Trump — nearly all Republicans pretend to take America’s side on immigration. Even Trump pretends to take America’s side! (Luckily, he didn’t keep any of his immigration promises, so he’s free to reissue them.)

Even Mr. Open Borders, Gov. Chris Christie, who gave in-state tuition to illegals and directed his Senate appointee, Jeff Chiesa, to vote for amnesty, now resignedly says of Trump’s nonexistent wall: “Look, at this point, I think we’ve started to build it; let’s finish it.”

Gee, thanks.

“Trump’s ace in the hole was to take America’s side on immigration — something voters had been politely requesting for 50 years.”

Until Trump’s 2016 campaign, the standard Republican mantra on immigration required these four points and no others:

1. Cite your immigrant relatives.

TED CRUZ: “I am the son of an Irish-Italian mom and a Cuban immigrant dad.” (And a feral badger.)

MARCO RUBIO: “My family’s immigrants. My neighbors are all immigrants. My in-laws are all immigrants.”

2. Claim you will “secure the border.”

SCOTT WALKER: “I believe we need to secure the border. I’ve been to the border!”

CHRISTIE: “What we need to do is to secure our border.”

3. Say walls don’t work.

JEB BUSH: “To build a wall, and to deport people … it would destroy community life, it would tear families apart.”

RUBIO: “I also believe we need a fence. The problem is if El Chapo builds a tunnel under the fence …”

4. Propose a bunch of B.S. solutions that definitely won’t work.

CARLY FIORINA: “Look, we know what it takes to secure a border. We’ve heard a lot of great ideas here: money, manpower, technology …”

CHRISTIE: “We need to use electronics, we need to use drones, we need to use FBI, DEA and ATF …”

What would any of those accomplish, exactly? These politicians say a wall is cruel, but they’re going to direct troops to shoot illegals? Have the drones drop bombs on them? Will we use “electronics” to amuse ourselves with videos of illegals as they pour across our border?

The media try to dismiss Gov. Ron DeSantis as another Scott Walker, but I distinctly recall breaking things during Walker’s presidential announcement because he didn’t say one word about immigration. (On the other hand, he did propose a slew of new military interventions!)

Jeb!’s presidential announcement also had nothing about immigration (unless you include a boring digression about his wife being Mexican). A year earlier, he’d said on Fox News that illegal immigrants had not committed a felony, but “an act of love.” (The roar of applause from The Wall Street Journal could be heard for miles.)

Rubio only glancingly mentioned immigration in his announcement, buried in a list of other needed reforms. His main point was that “Cuban exiles … former slaves and refugees … together built the freest and most prosperous nation ever!” (What British and Dutch settlers? Never heard of ’em.)

This was a striking omission inasmuch as Rubio had won his Senate race vowing never to support amnesty, then spent his first two years in office pushing amnesty, which won him a pat on the head from Fox magnate Rupert Murdoch. Fox News rewarded him at the first GOP debate in 2015 by not asking him a single question about immigration, despite this massive betrayal.

After the debate, Murdoch tweeted: “Bush [and] others did well, perhaps Rubio best of all,” while Trump spoke “nonsense” on immigration.

As you will recall, Jeb! dropped out after the second primary, having won only four more delegates than I did; Rubio lost his own state, and Trump went on to win more primary votes than any Republican in history. (Totally upsetting my worldview. If an Australian billionaire doesn’t have his finger on the pulse of the American voter, nothing makes sense anymore — up is down, cold is hot, liquid is solid, black is white …)

The crucial point is Trump wasn’t a dazzling debater — the man can barely talk. His ace in the hole was to take America’s side on immigration — something voters had been politely requesting for 50 years. He said he’d build a wall, end anchor babies, deport all illegals and on and on.

His immigration positions were steroids in a race where all his competitors had vowed to be steroid-free. And then, like every other politician who’s ever promised to “secure the border,” Trump betrayed us. Now he’s just another lying politician.

I guess we’re about to find out which of the current candidates are smart enough to take the steroids this time.