Thursday, October 12, 2017


It is a sin to write this.
-        Anthem, Ayn Rand

Blasphemy.  The debate about the national anthem, standing, kneeling, sitting, troops, the NFL, Trump, Goodell.  Kneel to protest police brutality of minorities and in support of social justice; stand to honor the country and the troops.  These are the two sides, and this reality – that these are the only sides – is pounded into us all. 

Even those who kneel say that they support the troops.

Trump Embraces the Culture War, by Patrick J. Buchanan; commenting on the divide in the country represented by this anthem protest issue, Pence walking out of the stadium, etc.:

In the culture wars, Trump has rejected compromise or capitulation and decided to defend the ground on which his most loyal folks stand.

On the essentials of nationhood — ancestry, morality, faith, culture, history, heroes — we really are no longer one nation and one people.

He offers that Americans are now two people:

All weekend, viewers of cable TV were treated to self-righteous wailing from the acolytes of Colin Kaepernick, patron saint of the 49ers, that “taking the knee” to protest racism and racist cops is a most admirable exercise of the First Amendment right to protest. 

As an aside, it was a green beret or ranger or some such that told Kaepernick last year that kneeling would be respectful.

What Trump’s folks are saying in response is this:

“You may have a First Amendment right to disrespect our flag, or even to burn it, but you have no right to make us listen to you, or respect you, or buy tickets to your games, or watch you on Sunday.”

Two sides: social justice or embrace the government.

I fall on neither side.  When I am at an event where the anthem is performed, I don’t stand for the troops and the country, and I don’t kneel for social justice.  I either wander in the hallways outside of the main arena or remain seated in my chair.  I do this because I don’t honor the troops; I don’t equate country with government – and I very much protest the government.

What I protest is that this anthem has become synonymous with military worship; I protest the killing of millions of innocents overseas by troops who volunteer to do this killing.

I remember once wandering the halls, standing in line for food when the anthem began.  I am placing my order and the women behind the counter just stopped listening to me.  At first I couldn’t figure out why.  When I did, I thought – what a waste of my time; I can’t even order food while she stands in worship!

Another time I was wandering the halls and successfully escaped the anthem and the worship.  I went back to my seat…just in time for (unbeknownst to me beforehand) the introduction of a war vet – Afghanistan or Iraq, I don’t recall.  Everyone stood and cheered – louder than if the home team won the first championship in its and the city’s history.

I remained seated.

There aren’t two sides to this national anthem debate.  There are three…at least.

As an aside, I cannot express how much I am enjoying the NFL choking on the patriotism that they so eagerly stuff down our throats every day – all for a few shekels from the DOD.

A Curiosity

It is a sin to think words no others think.
-        Anthem, Ayn Rand

Last season the Oakland Raiders were one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl until their quarterback, Derek Carr, was injured and missed the playoffs.

This season, they were favored to at least get to the AFC Championship game; their first two games followed suit, as they pretty much destroyed their competition.  Derek Carr was playing great – as he did all of last year until his injury.

But in this third game?  The Raiders were pretty much destroyed:

Under pressure all night, Carr was 19 of 31 for 118 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Carr had thrown 112 consecutive passes before being picked off by Montae Nicholson on the second play of the game.

The Raiders went 0 of 11 on third down as part of their anemic offensive effort. Their 47 first-half yards were their fewest since Week 14 against Denver in 2015, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Carr was sacked four times in this game, this after being sacked only twice in total in the previous two games combined.

Oh, did I forget to mention?  This third game was on the first big Sunday of anthem protests – after Trump first called out the NFL and its players.  But what does this have to do with Carr?

A vast majority of Raiders players sat on the bench arm in arm. Carr was among those standing, along with [Raiders coach] Del Rio.

They have lost two more games since.  One wonders if the team gave up on the coach and the quarterback. 


Anthem of the heart and mind
A funeral dirge for eyes gone blind

-        Anthem, Rush


  1. EXCELLENT article! Bravo!

    I had that same experience happen to me as well, where I went to place my order only to be delayed by that stultifying tune. I wondered if the cooks in the back allowed the food to become charred for fear of appearing sacrilegious. Just more burnt offerings to go along with the bodies and buildings, I suppose.

    1. Thanks, Brutus.

      I hadn't thought about the food and the cooking. That's funny.

  2. The solution that no one discusses is why the anthem must be played at all?
    It was instituted, as I understand it during WWII at all sports events to elicit patriotism, during the war, but like withholding, another war time measure, it has attached itself to become unfortunately, a permanent part of our daily lives.
    But once again, this simple solution itself would be considered as giving aid and comfort to the imaginary enemy.

    1. That's my view. I've said if Silver and Goodell were as smart as their paychecks indicate, they'd quietly stop playing it at all. No one would no the difference, and food wouldn't be burned!

    2. "notice" not "no the difference", though "know" would work. Maybe no one noticed the difference anyway!

    3. VfP, one of many nice things about the majority of the commenters here, and pretty much all of the regulars: everyone realizes that we all write without editors.

      In other words, feel free to spare your sword from being fallen upon (and, boy, do I feel like I need an editor for THAT sentence!). Most of us get it.

    4. Unknown, apparently up until a few years ago the players in the NFL would go back to the dressing room after warmups and come out only after the anthem. Then the DOD started paying the NFL to promote war and murder.

      This entire episode may turn out to be more entertaining than Trump and his tweets - and I thought nothing could ever top this in our political theater.

    5. "and food wouldn't be burned!"


  3. Depending if I paid or a friend, I either sit or make myself scarce, respectively. Even though I hate the state, I'd be less concerned and might even participate if it only happened at national championship type events. Then it'd be focusing on the ideal (the constitution as written is not completely horrible) rather than knee-jerk, thoughtless and forced like automatons.


  4. I generally stand quietly with my hands at my sides. I am never at an event that plays the anthem or wants me to recite the pledge unless it is at the request of a family member, so I do my best to not symbolize submission to the state without anyone noticing and shifting attention away from why I'm actually there.

    Now that I think about it I would do the same without the excuse of having been invited. I have unintentionally been the focus of an angry group twice in my life, and would do much to avoid repeating that situation.

  5. "There aren’t two sides to this national anthem debate. There are three…at least."

    I can't conceive of a more perfect example of the False Dilemma fallacy.

  6. The only problem I see with the alleged "protest" (of what, exactly?) by the players, is not what they are protesting, but that they choose to do so at work. Your exercise of free speech does not include behaving like a jackass at work. For the rest of us mere mortals, that gets you fired. The point of whether the anthem should be played at all is a separate issue. As is respect for our troops, who are caught in a particularly difficult spot. They sign up in order to have a direction and an outlet in their lives, to gain meaningful skills and sometimes to defend a country they recognize as offering them opportunities they might not have anywhere else. Then they often get used and thrown away by a government whose treasonous representatives have nefarious motives to prosecute dubious missions. And we all are complicit. Every time we pay our taxes, every time we vote the majority of incumbents back into office, or don't participate in the process at all, we are complicit. There are no innocent bystanders.

    1. Cara, they volunteer - they are not drafted. It is not difficult for any of them to conclude that they will be drawn into an immoral situation, committing murder against those who are of no risk to any American.

      I am not complicit. A thief comes to me and says "give me your money or I will shoot you and make your family destitute." So I give him my money. Am I to blame for what a thief does with that which he has stolen from me?

    2. First of all, if you've ever had conversations with veterans, you would understand that most have few choices and good intentions. And yes, sometimes they are in situations that they perceive to be defensive of America, in places that foment crimes against humanity. That is real. the underlying politics may not be so clear.

      And we are all complicit if we do not resist en masse. Ever see a video called "The Tiny Dot"? If not, I highly recommend it.

    3. "I have no choice but to go overseas and kill innocents." You accept this?

      As to their having good intentions, the world has offered hundreds of millions dead to those who claim to pursue "good intentions."


    4. Cara, I am a veteran. Nearly all of us joined not out of sacrifice (die for the cause, save you, save the flag, etc.) but to be richer, have more fun, get in shape, kill people, or get the glory from "saving the world"--though with no intent to die doing it.

      Resisting en masses includes the very small start of (1) not having the government's anthem played and (2) if it is, not expecting everyone to say the vaunted (actually evil) military is being disrespected if all don't bow down in worship during it. Until the military apparatus stops doing evil things, in fact it should be belittled. Of course, not even this anthem kerfuffle is about that. A small start, though.

    5. The problem is, I am FORCED at gunpoint to pay for "their Work". I pay for their stadiums and for their monopoly and tax breaks whether I use their service or not.

    6. Cara - it isn't about the troops, or even disrespecting the US government. Its a diss of white people.

      If you are white and have a modicum of self respect you wouldn't be watching the NFL anyway. Negro athletes standing or kneeling for the anthem is of no consequence.

    7. All good points. And none of them in any way contradict my original comment. Do "some" people sign up for service in order to go kill people, get in shape, etc? Maybe. I work with lots of vets. Most, as I've described, do so because of limited opportunities to develop skills elsewhere. And for many, that's a good reason. the best recruiting grounds are depressed areas of the country and now, lots of places where young men have been so repressed by 12 years of schooling that they are looking for an outlet - any outlet - where they can be raised as men instead of constantly being expected to behave as girls. Yet, many of you come down hard on these men for doing exactly the same as we are all doing at home - obeying orders and doing nothing to resist.

      Then these tools on the NFL field decide to take a knee out of respect for a lie, and somehow that's OK? If they were doing it on their own time, sure, they can spend the rest of their lives on their knees for all we care. However, they are doing it on company time. And, as someone noted, at least partially on taxpayer funds.

      Yes, we are each robbed at gunpoint and we each make a choice to not resist. Which makes us part of it. As with the troops. We all have choices.

    8. Cara, the demographic studies indicate many of us troops disproportionately come from middle class vs lower class. Some of the hardness you see is that in a world that basically worships the military if we weren't hard the other way we'd be lost in the muddled middle.

    9. Cara, I have not yet gone 10,000 miles from home and put a bullet in someone's head. I have not sat in an air conditioned office in Nevada and sent a missile from a drone on top of a wedding party.

      You equate my being a victim of armed robbery with those who go overseas to murder others who pose no risk to anyone on US soil.

      You equate me - a victim - with volunteers to go overseas as murderers.

      Your ethical compass is in drastic need of adjustment. After this much dialogue, I conclude it is beyond repair.

    10. But BM, doesn't culture have much to do with the choices of these individuals (including me at one point, though I was lucky enough not to use weapons against other people). Our culture is one of worshipping the military and barely questioning what service people are thanking when they say "thank you for your service". I thought I had a fairly well-formed conscience when I joined at 25 years old voluntarily. I'd certainly not join now, but it took discovering Rothbard and really reading Ron Paul (instead of "defending" him by telling people he's not wrong or crazy on everything). Not absolving my decision, but until the culture becomes more peaceful it really will be hard to even help someone like Cara at least curious enough to be on your site to come to our position. It took my period of military "service" to realize I wasn't serving the Prince of Peace but the Devil in the US military. Eric

    11. VfPI, if you are suggesting that I could have been more gentle in my approach with Cara perhaps this is so.

      Yet, look at my first reply to her; consider that she wants to equate the victim of theft to those going overseas to commit murder; consider that I have stated this somewhat gently, then firmer with each exchange.

      But, I am often blind to my own tone; maybe you are right.

    12. No, not more gentle because you were incremental. Just trying to point out I at least understand from whence she came, and pray that she keeps going further, to our views. And to remind me that my road to anarcho-capitalism recently was expanded through your immense help in discussions of culture mattering!

    13. VfPI, she's all yours (see below).

    14. As was solidified by listening to Hoppe (Mises NYC), Pickett should have turned around, and hopefully Bobby Lee would have followed him back to the Old Dominion.

  7. Why not protest the national anthem which celebrates the murder of Africans and former slaves? It was written by a slave owner after the war of Northern aggression in 1812 where the British had freed and employed former slaves in the battle. The anthem celebrates the fact that these former slaves were murdered in the 3rd verse:

    No refuge could save the hireling and slave
    From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    Some argue that this was not written in support of American slavery, but after the war the U. S. peace treaty negotiators demanded the return of their "property" which had escaped to Canada.

  8. Well, there must be 4 sides to the argument then. And a Libertarian should support my side. An Employer has every right to demand his employees stand, dance, wear clown suits, etc... and those employees have every right to quit their jobs and LEAVE the employers property. The same employer can DEMAND that his customers obey his laws while on his property. And those customers have every right to NOT GO on that vendors property pr use his service. The NFL case is a bit different because it is a Government organization that tax payers are FORCED at gun point to pay for their stadiums and tax breaks. and THAT my friends is the real issue here.

    1. "And a Libertarian should support my side."

      That's funny.

      "...and THAT my friends is the real issue here."

      Thank you for telling us what to think.

  9. Nice piece as usual comrade............................mean
    while fed is making off with more candy

    Owyhee Cowboy

  10. I guess it comforts people to think that they are "only victims" of an incremental system of theft and abuse that has been going on for over 100 years, if you haven't served in the military. The American Revolution was over far fewer infringements, but we are like the frog in the pot. Slow, incremental infringements that a vast number of people support either overtly or by their silence. If you don't travel 10,000 miles to put a bullet in someone's head, but pay the people who do without revolting, you are innocent. I get it now. We are indeed very screwed.

    1. >If you don't travel 10,000 miles to put a bullet in someone's head, but pay the people who do without revolting, you are innocent.

      Excellent point. I endorse.

    2. Cara, are you suggesting that BM is not revolting?

  11. Just checking to be sure that I didn’t dream this. said: If you are white and have a modicum of self respect you wouldn't be watching the NFL anyway.

    Cara sarcastically said: If you don't travel 10,000 miles to put a bullet in someone's head, but pay the people who do without revolting, you are innocent.

    1. Are you going to elaborate, Roddis?

      Or just swoop in, write something, and refuse to interact as usual?

  12. BM, did you see the Ving Rhymes piece that was played before the football game last night?

    I'd like to know what you think about it. Here is a link in case you didn't see it:

    1. I hope you saw it. The video is no longer up on YouTube.

    2. I did see the video.

      The first thing that struck me was the tone deafness of whoever decided to put it on. It is hate that is consuming the NFL: hate because the NFL supports wars, hate because of the anthem protests, hate because of Trump, etc. Why would the NFL emphasize the reality that it is a league built on hate? Why would they make "hate" a virtue, overtly?

      The next thing - and it may be a continuation of the first, I'm not sure: that video is a microcosm of American foreign policy for 205 years. Hate, followed by hate followed by hate. with one passing mention - as an afterthought - of "love," as was mentioned at the last moment in the video.

      Finally, it struck me that it would seem odd to many people that black man would be the spokesman for "hate." Why isn't this considered racially insensitive?

    3. I was surprised by the video too. I guessing that the NFL thought that looking tough might appease it's disgruntled fanbase, as if they were a bunch of conscious hate mongers. It was interesting (assuming I'm right) to see them trying to do this while still remaining PC.