Reminder: Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Village That Voted The Earth Was Flat.’

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but if you haven’t read it, or read it lately: ‘The Village That Voted The Earth Was Flat‘ is one of Rudyard Kipling’s finest short stories. It got included in a Kipling fantasy anthology once under the flimsy rationalization that revenge fantasies count, and I for one applaud that editor’s creativity. Also, it’s a fascinating look at Edwardian England, in and of itself. Check it out.

“The Village that Voted the Earth was Flat.”

I’ve referenced Rudyard Kipling’s immortal The Village that Voted the Earth was Flat in the past, but I’ve just spent the last hour or so rereading it instead of writing posts, and I can’t say that I regret playing hooky.  It and On the Gate really are Kipling’s best short stories.  Well, they’re my favorite ones, at least. And I really wish that the conditions that produced the latter – making the world of the former as thoroughly lost as Atlantis – had never, ever happened.



“On the Gate,” revisited.

On the Gate” may be the most unusual story Rudyard Kipling ever wrote: it’s certainly one of his most heretical, for pretty much any religion that you might like to name (including the ones that insist that they’re not religions). I try to re-read it every so often, both because it’s well-written and because it illustrates a particular kind of world-building when it comes to the afterlife.  I’m not saying that it’s perfectly suited for, say, every In Nomine campaign out there – but it’s got the right mindset for the more cheerful In Nomine campaigns.  Check it out, if you haven’t read it yet.

Kipling versus Spoiler: Kipling wins.


It was weeks ere we could see the wood for the trees, but so soon as the staff [of a newspaper] realised that they had proprietors who backed them right or wrong, and specially when they were wrong (which is the sole secret of journalism), and that their fate did not hang on any passing owner’s passing mood, they did miracles.

Rudyard Kipling, “The Village That Voted The Earth Was Flat.”

Continue reading Kipling versus Spoiler: Kipling wins.

The Koch brothers should totally buy those papers.

It’s apparently freaking the right sort of people out.

Let me show you the following quotes from this USA Today article by Michael Wolff on the Koch brothers’ rumored desire to buy them some print newspapers. See if you can spot the internal contradictions: all bolding mine.

  • “The Koch brothers, the unimaginably rich and combatively conservative oil heirs, are telling people that they might like to buy the newspapers owned by the recently bankrupt Tribune Co.”
  • “…there are many simpler and cheaper ways to get attention for your view than buying troubled newspapers… All of which the determined Koch brothers have done. But that has not, apparently, been enough.”
  • “[The Koch brothers] may believe, with some justification, that media, and by that they mean mostly liberal media, is the real government — the cultural advance guard that is changing this country.”
  • “Curiously, most of the papers they are proposing to buy are in cities that voted overwhelmingly for the president — cities that have not had a reliably conservative base in a generation or two… Why you would go into a business trying to sell things that your customers don’t seem to want is hard to understand.”
  • “Have I mentioned that the news business is not very good?”

Continue reading The Koch brothers should totally buy those papers.

The Smugglers of Old New York.

So I hear (as did our own Dan McLaughlin, last week) that New York is the place to go for an exciting and remunerative career in the cigarette-smuggling trade:

Last week, The Mackinac Center for Public Policy released a report chronicling the rate of cigarette smuggling in the United States, revealing what retailers in New York have long known: state-to-state smuggling has become a big problem. This especially true for higher taxed states like New York, which boasts both the highest state excise taxes in the country ($4.35 per pack) and the highest rate of smuggling (with 60.9% of all New York’s cigarettes entering the state illegally).

Do you know what the real problem is, with our modern Left? It’s not their anti-science crazies*, or their general blind spot when it comes to anti-Semitism, or even the way that some of them tend to project the voices in their heads into our mouths.  No, the real problem is that most of ’em don’t seem to recognize that history started prior to the mid-Nineties.  Because anybody could have told New York what happens when you combine high excise taxes and unsecured borders.  Take it away, Rudyard Kipling and Michael Longcor: Continue reading The Smugglers of Old New York.

“Brown Bess.”

In reference to Glenn Reynolds’ natural-enough surprise that we’re still using a damn good plane design, I shall now quote some Rudyard Kipling at him.  Because that’s how I roll.

Brown Bess,” by Rudyard Kipling
The Army Musket — 1700-1815

IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise–
An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes–
At Blenhein and Ramillies fops would confess
They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

Though her sight was not long and her weight was not small,
Yet her actions were winning, her language was clear;
And everyone bowed as she opened the ball
On the arm of some high-gaitered, grim grenadier.
Half Europe admitted the striking success
Of the dances and routs that were given by Brown Bess.

Continue reading “Brown Bess.”

Mickey Kaus, Barack Obama, and ‘Humanitarian Imperialism.’

Or, the President embraces his inner Victorian British Imperialist.

“Humanitarian imperialism” is the phrase Mickey’s come up with to describe Whatever The Heck It Is We’re Doing These Days In Eurasia, and it’s a good one.  It’s also one that implies a constant, low-level state of war that goes a good deal beyond the one that we’re in now; and I should make a distinction here between the Bush and the (unstated) Obama Doctrines.  The Bush Doctrine assumed that, under the right conditions, a long-term war could be over: “as they stand up we will stand down,” and all that.  The Obama Doctrine – as described by Mickey – assumes that war will be what he called ‘routinized’ – and accepted, as part of the cost of doing what is pretty explicitly Imperial business.  And by Imperial Mickey explicitly means something very, very Victorian, which is ironic on a variety of levels.

Mickey is practically unique among Democratic pundits for being willing to actually give his honest opinion about things like this:

I’m not sure whether humanitarian imperialism is a good or bad thing. The world might be a distinctly better place overall if the U.N. could overthrow every dictatorship the Security Council could muster a majority to overthrow. But the accompanying  routinization of war is at least troubling, no?

My major (practical) problem with Humanitarian Imperialism?  I trust only about half of our political class to not utterly mess up such a thing from the get-go, and unfortunately it’s not the half that’s currently in charge of the executive branch.  But since my opinion on that is apparently irrelevant for the next two to six years, we might as do it properly.  Now, I know that my readers are mostly conservative and/or Republicans, which means that they can be expected to have at least a nodding familiarity with the classics of Western literature. For those who are neither, well: allow me to acquaint them with who is apparently the true author of Obama’s current “foreign policy.” Take it away, Rudyard Kipling:

Take up the White Man’s burden–
Send forth the best ye breed–
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child. Continue reading Mickey Kaus, Barack Obama, and ‘Humanitarian Imperialism.’