"The Burned-Over District is a term used by some to describe the region of Western New York in the historical period of 1800-1850. It is also sometimes called the Second Great Awakening with a combination of religious, social and political elements."
Whatabout & Whereabouts
Alt-liteish commentary on local, national, and global news, with musical interludes, from the corner of Main Street and Jefferson Avenue in Greater Smugtown.
A catholic Catholic, a traditionalist paleolibertarian, like Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn either an "extreme conservative arch-liberal" or a "liberal of the extreme right," this blogger belongs to what fellow Western New Yorker Bill Kauffman called "the peace and love left wing of the paleoconservative movement."
"In pre-imperial America, conservatives objected to war and empire out of jealous regard for personal liberties, a balanced budget, the free enterprise system, and federalism. These concerns came together under the umbrella of the badly misunderstood America First Committee, the largest popular antiwar organization in U.S. history. The AFC was formed in 1940 to keep the United States out of a second European war that many Americans feared would be a repeat of the first. Numbering eight hundred thousand members who ranged from populist to patrician, from Main Street Republican to prairie socialist, America First embodied and acted upon George Washington's Farewell Address counsel to pursue a foreign policy of neutrality." ─ Bill Kauffman in Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism
"Libertarian isolationism draws its adherents from both the left and the right. According to the libertarian isolationist interpretation of history, the U.S. changed from a decentralized republic into a militarized, authoritarian empire in the late 19th century, when the Spanish-American War made the U.S. a colonial power and trusts and cartels took over the economy. Every president since McKinley, they believe, has been a tool of a self-aggrandizing crony capitalist oligarchy, which exaggerated the threats of Imperial and Nazi Germany and Japan and the Soviet Union and communist China and now of Islamist terrorism in order to regiment American society and divert resources to the bloated 'military-industrial complex.' If the libertarian isolationists had their way, the U.S. would abandon foreign alliances, dismantle most of its military, and return to a 19th-century pattern of decentralized government and an economy based on small businesses and small farms." ─ Michael Lind in The five worldviews that define American politics
"Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agreed, as you can all read the Book?" — Red Jacket
"The less government interferes with private pursuits, the better for general prosperity." — Martin Van Buren
"Let us remember that revolutions do not always establish freedom. Our own free institutions were not the offspring of our revolution. They existed before." — Millard Fillmore
"I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence." — Frederick Douglass
"The laws should be rigidly enforced which prohibit the immigration of a servile class to compete with American labor, with no intention of acquiring citizenship, and bringing with them and retaining habits and customs repugnant to our civilization." — Grover Cleveland
"Most beautiful dumb girls think they are smart and get away with it, because other people, on the whole, aren't much smarter." — Louise Brooks
"There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition." — Rod Serling
"When, I wonder, did we in America ever get into this idea that freedom means having no boundaries and no limits? I think it began on the 6th of August 1945 at 8:15 am when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima... Somehow or other, from that day on in our American life, we say we want no limits and no boundaries." — Servant of God Fulton J. Sheen
"Today Americans are overcome not by the sense of endless possibility but by the banality of the social order they have erected against it." — Christopher Lasch
"Men have sacrificed and crippled themselves physically and emotionally to feed, house, and protect women and children. None of their pain or achievement is registered in feminist rhetoric, which portrays men as oppressive and callous exploiters." — Camille Paglia
"I am an American patriot. A Jeffersonian decentralist. A fanatical localist. And I am an anarchist... I am the love child of Henry Thoreau and Dorothy Day, conceived amidst the asters and goldenrod of an Upstate New York autumn." — Bill Kauffman
"If you're a human being walking the earth, you're weird, you're strange, you're psychologically challenged." — Philip Seymour Hoffman
Mary Immaculate, Patroness of the United States
"[T]he Virgin still remained and remains the most intensely and the most widely and the most personally felt, of all characters, divine or human or imaginary, that ever existed among men." — Henry Adams, self-described "conservative Christian anarchist," a grandson and great-grandson of presidents, "with Heaven knew how many Puritans and Patriots behind him," who continued: "In no well-regulated community, under a proper system of police, could the Virgin feel at home, and the same thing may be said of most other saints as well as sinners."
St. John Fisher, Patron of the Diocese of Rochester
"St. John Fisher was born in Beverly, Yorkshire, in 1459, and educated at Cambridge, from which he received his Master of Arts degree in 1491. He occupied the vicarage of Northallerton, 1491-1494; then he became proctor of Cambridge University. In 1497, he was appointed confessor to Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, and became closely associated in her endowments to Cambridge; he created scholarships, introduced Greek and Hebrew into the curriculum, and brought in the world-famous Erasmus as professor of Divinity and Greek. In 1504, he became Bishop of Rochester and Chancellor of Cambridge, in which capacity he also tutored Prince Henry who was to become Henry VIII. St. John was dedicated to the welfare of his diocese and his university. From 1527, this humble servant of God actively opposed the King's divorce proceedings against Catherine, his wife in the sight of God, and steadfastly resisted the encroachment of Henry on the Church. Unlike the other Bishops of the realm, St. John refused to take the oath of succession which acknowledged the issue of Henry and Anne as the legitimate heir to the throne, and he was imprisoned in the tower in April 1534. The next year he was made a Cardinal by Paul III and Henry retaliated by having him beheaded within a month. A half hour before his execution, this dedicated scholar and churchman opened his New Testament for the last time and his eyes fell on the following words from St. John's Gospel: 'Eternal life is this: to know You, the only true God, and Him Whom You have sent, Jesus Christ. I have given You glory on earth by finishing the work You gave me to do. Do You now, Father, give me glory at Your side'. Closing the book, he observed: 'There is enough learning in that to last me the rest of my life.' His feast day is June 22."
- American Renaissance
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This local story has me siding with ancient Anglo-Saxon law and against the Church — Diocese sells ‘heaven’ to Henrietta neighbors.
There’s an old saying in real estate: “Never buy a house for the view unless you own the view.” The premise being that a view can change on the whim of its owner.
Heeding the adage would have served well those Penfield and Webster residents whose backyards line golf courses being eyed for housing developments. Their knickers are in a knot over the idea of losing fairways they don’t own.
The same might have been said of the homeowners of Beckwith Park in Henrietta, too, had it not been for an obscure legal doctrine and, some of them believe, divine intervention.
Beckwith Park isn’t really a park. It’s about 13 acres of mostly overgrown, vacant land off Beckwith Road ringed by a few dozen homes.
The homeowners call it a park because the land is brimming with vegetation — ash, cherry, elm, maple, oak and walnut trees — that offers refuge for wildlife including deer, foxes and skunks. There are thickets, meadows and a wild blackberry patch.
“You really can’t tell you’re in an urban community with streets on three sides and a Thruway less than a mile away,” said resident Tobin Foryt, who with his wife Kristie has raised four boys on the park. “This is like a little sanctuary, a little piece of heaven.”
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester bought the land in 1965 and never touched it. “The initial thought was to hold onto the property in the event there was a need or desire to build a church at that location,” said diocese spokesman Doug Mandelaro.
For all intents and purposes, though, the neighbors owned Beckwith Park. Over the decades, they carved footpaths in there and a lawn for football games and birthday parties. Countless children have played games in this secret garden.
Many of the roughly 100 residents ringing the park claim their real estate agents promised the land would be forever wild, just like residents around the golf courses recall having been told their backyards would be forever fairways.
But three years ago, unbeknownst to Beckwith Park residents, the real owner sold the land. The diocese signed a contract to sell the park for $76,800 to a developer with a portfolio of student rental houses who planned to level the park and erect 18 houses.
Residents found out when they were notified about a public hearing on the matter at Town Hall.
“A lot of people felt betrayed,” said resident Naomi Pless. “The attorney for the town planning board was like, ‘It’s going to happen and you guys better get used to it.’”
They couldn’t get used to it, just like the families on the fairways. So, they organized. They built a website, started an online petition and hunkered down searching for ways to stop the development.
Nothing worked until they threatened the diocese with a claim for adverse possession. Rooted in centuries-old English common law, adverse possession is basically a means of acquiring ownership of someone else’s property by simply using it for a long time.
In New York, there are a number of criteria that must be met for adverse possession to be established and they must exist for at least 10 years. But the essential yardsticks are the continuous use of the property and the real owner showing no indication of caring.
That was good enough for the diocese to alert the developer that it couldn’t close the deal, according to paperwork the diocese filed in state Supreme Court seeking permission from the state to sell the land.
(All nonprofit corporations, like churches, require permission from the state attorney general to dispose of real property.)
For nearly two years, the diocese and the developer tried to work out a resolution before they mutually agreed to terminate the contract.
Meanwhile, Pless and her husband, James Burdick, offered the diocese $37,000 for the land, a price based on the assessed value. Not wanting the property or a legal fight for adverse possession, the diocese agreed. The paperwork was signed Wednesday.
Pless said she and her husband intend to transfer their ownership of Beckwith Park to a land trust to be overseen by the neighborhood in perpetuity.
“Home to the people who live here is having this in the backyard,” Pless said. “It’s nature and it’s home and what it means is we’ve protected our home and that is an amazing feeling.…It’s like this miracle that dropped down.”
A miracle, perhaps. Or the practical application of another old real estate saying: “Use it or lose it.”
I had no idea that I grew up about fifteen minutes from “the only secessionist town north of the Mason Dixon Line” during the War of Northern Aggression, until stumbling across this article — The history of New York’s secessionist town. The article tells of the novelization of “the story of outcast and outspoken abolitionist Mary Willis who defies the town full of hunters and anti-Union farmers by helping runaways.” Sounds like a Hollywood movie, so I’ll pass.
Far more interesting is the story of Town Line, New York:
Oral lore says that in 1861, 125 men supposedly gathered in an informal meeting and passed by 85 to 40 a resolution to secede from the United States. Because Town Line was never an incorporated municipal entity in the first place and had no well-defined boundaries, the resolution had no legal effect; neither the Confederacy nor the Union ever formally recognized the action. The town historian says there are no written records of what happened. Several members of the German-American community fled to Canada; five residents crossed the Mason–Dixon line to fight with the Confederates in their Army of Northern Virginia, and twenty residents fought for the Union Army. Town Line held a ceremony on January 24, 1946, to “rejoin” the Union, along with a vote (overseen by Hollywood celebrity Cesar Romero) in which the residents voted, 90 to 23, to rescind the old vote.
And the group’s “calls on the university to disfavor immigrants,” reported on here — Cornell’s Black Student Disunion.
The BSU’s statement, noting “the Black student population at Cornell disproportionately represents international or first-generation African or Caribbean students,” calls for “a plan to actively increase the presence of underrepresented Black students” and “define[s] underrepresented Black students as Black Americans who have several generations (more than two) in this country.” WSJ Naomi Schaefer Riley author summarizes thusly:
A century ago, colleges cared if your ancestors came over on the Mayflower. Now some are demanding that when universities admit black students, they give preference to descendants of those who arrived on slave ships.
This blogger sees nothing wrong with that. What nonsense is it that preferences designed to help those seen as descendants of victims of historical injustices perpetrated on these shores benefit recent arrivals who chose to come here? Ms. Schaefer Riley, however, is right to pint out the “contradiction here,” arguing:
For years liberal writers have blamed black poverty and undereducation on racism—the experience of being more likely to be pulled over by police, to be looked at suspiciously in department stores, to be discriminated against in schools and the workplace.
But it doesn’t seem to be the case, at least not to the same degree, among immigrants. “The more strongly black immigrant students identify with their specific ethnic origins, the better they perform [academically],” Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld observed in their 2014 book, “The Triple Package.”
Why does racism not seem to keep black immigrants down? The answer is obvious: Black immigrant culture tends to value academic achievement and believe it is possible no matter what happened to your ancestors. As one business school graduate born to Nigerian parents tells Ms. Chua and Mr. Rubenfeld: “If you start thinking about or becoming absorbed in the mentality that the whole system is against us then you cannot succeed.”
Groups like the Cornell BSU insist that the system is out to get them and they cannot succeed. This makes the presence of high-achieving immigrant black students inconvenient. Between diversity and victimhood as the highest good in today’s academia, it’s hard to know where to place your money.
That duly noted, the BSU has a point in decrying what it sees “a lack of investment in Black students whose families were affected directly by the African Holocaust in America.” What we call “racism” in America has long been less about “the color of one’s skin” dissimulation than about culture and even language. A movement for Black American to “act white” might likely be the most realistic and effective “investment in Black students whose families were affected directly by the African Holocaust in America.” We might positively call this “racial biculturalism” to avoid calls of “cultural genocide.” The only other scenario I can working would be the separatism advocated by Louis Farrakhan and Richard B. Spencer.
Lots to look for:
This post proposes two interrelated changes to the tax code. The first is to raise the income tax on DINKs (“Dual Income, No Kids”) to 40% with no deductions. The second is to exempt single income natalists (couples reproducing above the replacement rate of three kids) from all federal and state income taxes as well as state and local sales taxes. The rationale behind this is that the latter’s time and money is expended to raise the future taxpayers and income earners who will provide for the former’s Medicare and Social Security payments.
Proposal: The Re-Constitutionalization of American Defense Act (a.k.a. The Swissification of the American Military Act)
This post proposes the return of the American defense infrastructure to one that the Founder’s would recognize.
1. The Army & Marine Corps would be disbanded as standing armies and their assets and materiel would be given over proportionally to the National Guard, which would be renamed and reconstructed as constitutionally-mandated State Militias. Those wishing to bear arms other than those used for hunting and self-defense would do so within these well-regulated militias.
2. The Navy, Air Force and the Coast Guard would merge, with the assets and materiel of the Navy and Air Force, including all nuclear capabilities, under the constitutionally-mandated name of the Navy, but with the mission and command structure of the Coast Guard.
3. Declarations of war and all military action would be the sole provenance of Congress. Living presidents and ex-presidents who have violated this principle would be tried for both treason under the Constitution and war crimes under the Nuremberg principles, and publicly executed if found guilty. Dead presidents who have violated this principle would have their names and images removed from any federal recognition, ranging from currency to monuments.