Berninating all the villagers
As any fule kno, beloved Vermont senator Bernie Sanders was sent down to earth by St. Karl of Trier to redeem us for the horrible sin of inequality and forgive us our transgressions and also our student loan debt. You may have heard rumors that his mission was actually to bilk gullible kids so he could buy a third house and a really expensive car, but that’s all fake news spread by Russians from Macedonia, so ignore that.
I’m sure you’re as shocked as I am to hear that a man who has literally never done anything productive in his entire life while simultaneously hectoring hard-working Americans about their "greed" and "privilege" would turn out to be a thief. In the illegal sense, even.
Divide et impera
Hollywood leftists have had a rough year. First, they had to deal with the fact that their newly-annointed Ultimate Supreme Executive Chairman wasn’t the one they wanted, which I guess is a real blow to the ego if one is bizarre. Then there was that bit about how they had all threatened to leave the country if that happened, which bluff was very thoroughly called. Then there was the fiasco at the celebration of left-wing political grandstanding that used to be the Academy Awards.
Still and all, if there’s any Hollywood celebrity who’s having an even worse year than the average Hollywood celebrity, it could only be alleged famous person Shia LaBeouf, whose "art installation" consisting of a camera was repeatedly trolled by people more interested in pointing out that he’s a clownshoes than in announcing that "he will not divide us," whatever that means. After he got out of jail for losing his mind and physically assaulting said trolls, LaBoeuf relocated his "art installation" to that world-class center of metropolitan art and culture, Albuquerque, New Mexico, where it lasted less than a week before being taken down again. For his third trick, LaBoeuf changed the format of the exhibition: instead of an invitation for other clueless rubes to protest being divided, the camera merely pointed up at a "he will not divide us" flag silhouetted against a featureless sky. Clearly this exhibition is troll-proof!
The mincing communists over at Salon gave all four of their readers a bad case of the vapors a few weeks ago by calling on Twitter to ban Donald Trump. Their reasoning? He’s, like, rude and stuff. This sort of clueless line-toeing is par for the leftist course with Salon, to be sure, and I don’t intend to waste my time or yours refuting it, not least because I think it would be quite frankly hilarious if Twitter were to ban a popular celebrity loudmouth who will, in a few weeks, also be the sitting president of the United States.
No, what I’ve come to talk to you about today is Peter Van Buren, who is normally a reliable foreign policy commentator, but has apparently acquired some type of Trump Derangement Syndrome Derangement Syndrome, as he’s written an entirely madcap article entitled "Ban Trump, Twitter, and Free Speech" in which he seems to claim that the First Amendment compels the government to nationalize Twitter. You think I’m making that up? You tell me:
Letter of the law
Breach of contract, n.: failing to perform any term of a contract, written or oral, without a legitimate legal excuse.
The contract is the cornerstone of civilization, and I would argue that the civil suit for breach of contract is the thing that separates free men from barbarians; in a free society, failure to live up to the terms of a contract is brought before an independent tribunal that judges the merits of the case and determines what punishment, if any, is appropriate. In a barbarous society, failure to live up to the terms of a contract is punished directly by the aggrieved party, who takes the law into his own hands.
Admit it. You’re expecting me to say that the modern United States is barbaric because of the government court monopoly. That’s where you think this is going. Well, your Christmas present is that I saved a spooky Holiday reverse from Halloween and I’m bringing it out now.
In the early stages of her career, Agatha Christie was known for writing engaging whodunits full of lively characters and utterly madcap plot twists. As she matured as a writer, however, Dame Agatha became less interested in zany new ways to kill the dead bodies, and more interested in pursuing heady philosophical investigations about the nature of justice. Many of the stories from her middle period have barely any mystery to them at all; the cast is so small and the events so clear that the focus becomes less on trying to figure out who the killer is and more on investigating the killer’s motivation and that of the detective exposing the truth — as often as not that indefatigable Belgian, Hercule Poirot.
All of which brings us to Curtain. Written at the peak of Dame Agatha’s career (though not published until the end), Curtain opposes Poirot with a villain who is utterly and unapologetically evil, who commits heinous crimes for the sheer pleasure of it, who cannot be dissuaded, and whose crimes, by their very nature, are beyond the reach of the law. If you’ve never read Curtain, beware the rest of this post, as it will be filled with spoilers. If you have, however (or if you don’t care), read on as we explore what Dame Agatha had to teach us about the relationship of justice, the non-aggression principle, and morality.