Thursday, February 27, 2014

Odds and ends 2/27/2014

Terrific stuff from Marcel Guarnizo:

Communism starts not with an economic error but an anthropological one. The economic and political effects of the communist system are but a symptom of a previous error, an error about the nature of man.

The French 19th century political economist and writer Frédéric Bastiat clearly makes the point. Socialism, Bastiat argued, sees man as mere raw material, to be disposed of, to be molded by the “all knowing,” state. In his book, The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism, economist Friedrich von Hayek launches a similar attack on the socialists and their “omniscient state.” Hayek demonstrated the impotence of the socialist to run an economy

Man is just matter: This materialist vision of man is the first and most profound error of the socialist revolution. The materialist vision of man is what justifies the communists’ insistence that they may legitimately do whatever it takes to achieve their utopia. We must be transformed by the state, into its image and likeness.

This materialist view disregards therefore the true dignity of man and the true nature of the human person—his rationality and free will. The artificial social orders engineered by socialists are completely devoid of a proper understanding of man and the kind of being that he is.

Meanwhile, Adam Booth extols Marxism. In some contexts this could pass for comedy.

Capitalism, due to its anarchic nature, based on competition and the individual pursuit of profit, is inherently unable to introduce new technologies and innovative methods except in an unplanned, chaotic, and destructive way, in which new conditions of production and life are imposed upon society, as if by a force from above. Under socialism, a system based on a rational and democratic plan of production, society can make a harmonious and smooth transition to new technologies and techniques, with lifelong education and training available to everyone, and with the latest labour-saving methods used to create not forced idleness, but voluntary leisure.

Gary North explains inflation. This is a good companion to the ZeroHedge piece on quantitative easing I linked to 2 weeks ago.

The new money does not appear simultaneously and in equal amounts, through some miraculous decree, in all men’s pockets, any more than equal molecules of the drug appear simultaneously in every cell of the addict’s body. Each individual’s bank account is not increased by $5 more than it was yesterday. Certain individuals and firms, those closest to the State’s treasury or the banks’ vaults, receive the new money before others do, either in payment for services rendered or in money loaned to them. Inflation enters the economy at a point or points and spreads out; the drug enters an addict’s vein, and this foreign matter is carried through his system. In both cases, the “junk” enters at a point and takes time to spread.

There are several differences, though, which cannot be ignored. The spread of inflation is far more uneven than is the spread of the drug. The first individuals’ incomes are immediately swelled, and they find themselves able to purchase goods at yesterday’s less inflated prices. They can therefore buy more than those who have not yet received quantities of the new, unbacked currency, and this latter group is no longer able to compete so well as the possessors of the counterfeits. Since yesterday’s prices were designed by the sellers to enable them to sell the entire stock of each commodity at the maximum profit, the firms or individuals with the new money will either help deplete the stock of goods first, leaving warehouses empty for their competitors who desire to purchase goods at the given price, or the new money owners will be in a favorable position to bid up the prices so that the competitors will have to bow out. The first group gains, undoubtedly, but only at the expense of the second group—the group which can no longer compete successfully through no fault of its own. The latter group bears the costs, costs which are hidden, but which are nonetheless there. This latter group is made up of those individuals who have relatively fixed incomes (pensioners, civil servants, small businessmen), and who are forced to restrict purchases due to the now inflated prices.


Spending $800 billion, or 5 percent of GDP, the demand-siders say they effected a 2-3 percent increase in GDP. By their own inflated metrics, they threw half the “stimulus” down the drain.

Robert Samuelson thinks economists don’t know anything. Matt Purple jumps to his defense:

Over at the Washington Post, Robert Samuelson analyzes the OECD’s findings and concludes that it’s time to stop treating economists as technocratic soothsayers who can gaze into the data and predict the future. The problem is, there’s an entire cottage industry of pundits—many of whom used to work at the Post under Ezra Klein—who think charts, graphs, and studies can light the way into a great, big, beautiful tomorrow of government-guided prosperity. Naturally, Dean Baker, a progressive economist, yelps at Samuelson’s conclusion: “Yes, well we have to keep Robert Samuelson away from the really big numbers, he might hurt himself.” And they say economists can’t be clever!

Baker’s only real objection, laid out in a comically unsubstantial blog post, is that Samuelson doesn’t mention the reduction in demand that resulted from the housing bubble collapse. Of course weak demand unquestionably played a role. But the point of the OECD evaluation is that, with regards to Europe, the economic establishment was in total error because it spent too much time on a simplistic demand-side scale (“Austerity!”) and not enough time accounting for other factors.

In demand-siders’ view, there is no new knowledge to be gained, no new wealth to create. They share that belief with Marxists.


Some writers want their betters to just go away so they can loot their market share. John C. Wright rebukes them:

Of the seven deadly sins, six give or promise to give some sort of short term pleasure to the sinner: for with pride we are inflated, with gluttony we are fattened, with lust we slake selfish passions; wrath promises pain to enemies, avarice promises lucre in many glittering forms; sloth lures us with the promise of sleepy indifference to all high things.

Envy is sorrow at the good enjoyed by another. Only envy, of all the filthy and demeaning things one can do to oneself to damage the mind and damn the soul, only envy gives nothing whatever to the sinner. It is like swallowing a porcupine.

I cannot generate an atom of envy for the success of better writers than I. As my very wise friend David B. Coe once observed when he overheard snobs mocking Robert Jordon: that writer makes enough money for my publisher so that my publisher can pay me.

To which I must add: that writer, along with a long line of writers from Howard to Burroughs to Tolkien to Morris, that all the right-thinking snobs disdain and mock, that writer also created my audience, yea, created my field. For writers like me, to feel envy of my betters is use the well in the dry wasteland as a latrine. If I befoul it, wherefrom shall I drink?


If there is a cultural hill to die on, it is the definition of marriage. The madness is irreversible at this point. There’s no point in wasting my breath on it any longer.

It’s bad enough when federal judges, like Orlando Garcia, overturn the will of the people of a state. It’s even worse when pusillanimous state officials, like Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, wimp out.

Sandoval has joined Chris Christie “on the right side of history.” Some say this is what it takes to win. Defeat is victory.

ABC News (dead link) reports:

Based upon the advice of the attorney general’s office and their interpretation of relevant case law, it has become clear that this case is no longer defensible in court,” Sandoval said in an email to The Associated Press.

While it won’t mean the ban will be lifted immediately, the state’s move was hailed by gay rights advocates and civil libertarians.

Where the Reagan coalition would be without libertarians!

Providing comic relief, “WalkingHorse” comments on Brian S. Brown’s (dumb) editorial on the definition of marriage and the activist judiciary:

How about we define the transcendental number pi to be 3.0? Pi as it is currently understood discriminates against the innumerate. It is no less absurd to redefine a concept that predates recorded history.

I was mostly critical of Pat Buchanan’s piece on Arizona’s SB1062, but we agree on this crucial point:

“Religious freedom,” said Daniel Mach of the ACLU to the Times, is “not a blank check to ... impose our faith on our neighbors.” True. But who is imposing whose beliefs here? The baker who says he’s not making your wedding cake? Or those who want Arizona law to declare that either he provides that wedding cake and those flowers for that same-sex ceremony, or we see to it that he is arrested, prosecuted and put out of business? Who is imposing his views and values here?

What we are seeing in Arizona in microcosm is what we have witnessed in America for half a century: the growing intolerance of those who preach tolerance and the corruption of the concept of civil rights.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the bill, which is fine. It was a bad bill. But she vetoed it for the wrong reasons.

National Review supported the bill for the right reasons:

Organized homosexuality, a phenomenon that is more about progressive pieties than gay rights per se, remains on the permanent offensive in the culture wars. Live-and-let-live is a creed that the gay lobby specifically rejects: The owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado was threatened with a year in jail for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. New Mexico photographer Elaine Huguenin was similarly threatened for declining to photograph a same-sex wedding. It is worth noting that neither the baker nor the photographer categorically refuses services to homosexuals; birthday cakes and portrait photography were both on the menu. The business owners specifically objected to participating in a civic/religious ceremony that violated their own consciences.

At the Federalist, David Harsanyi reacts to Dahlia Lithwick’s attempt to “reclaim God” from the Republicans. Excerpt:

These days one of the biggest differences between the modern social conservative and progressive movements is that one of these groups, despite what you may have heard, is far more inclined to believe in free will and back public policy measures that offer choice. And that group also happens to believe that someone other than government is watching over them.

In the American Spectator, Ross Kaminsky reacts to the hysterical Ta-Nehesi Coates. He quotes Coates in the first excerpted graf below:

I insist that the irrelevance of black life has been drilled into this country since its infancy, and shall not be extricated through the latest innovations in Negro Finishing School. I insist that racism is our heritage, that Thomas Jefferson’s genius is no more important than his plundering of the body of Sally Hemmings [sic], that George Washington’s abdication is no more significant than his wild pursuit of Oney Judge. I insist that the G.I. Bill’s accolades are inseparable from its racist heritage. I will not respect the lie. I insist that racism must be properly understood as an Intelligence, as a sentience, as a default setting to which, likely until the end of our days, we unerringly return.

Coates’ criticisms of George Washington and the GI Bill are equally scurrilous yet are precisely the fodder that those mushy minds gorge on to fill their never-ending guilt (if white) or anger and finger-pointing (if black), leading to a refusal to admit that some amount of the lack of success of so many American blacks is due to a refusal to take personal responsibility — because people like Coates tell them that others are to blame for their failures.

This is not to say that everyone in America truly has equal opportunity, or that public schools in poor black neighborhoods do not often serve primarily to keep them poor. But those things do not excuse the abandonment of parenting responsibilities by the majority of black fathers, or the self-predation of black gangs on each other in pursuit of drug profits, or the glorification of these soul- and society-destroying behaviors by the preferred music of many young men in the black community. To the extent that black life is undervalued in this country, it is at least as much by blacks as by anyone else.

Coates’ views are not just wrong. They’re dangerous, bordering on evil. They are a prescription not only for a permanent victim class, demanding anything from money to blood of those defined as racist oppressors, but for arguing that a historic wrong can never be made right and that all people who share a particular trait must be forever guilty of the nation’s past sin.


“The strain of democratic self-governance that has defined the West for several centuries may one day give way to autocratic despotism, if only because human institutions are largely fleeting and to establish and preserve a certain way of life requires a conscious act of will and the foresight to understand that what is, may not always be.” –Daniel Payne

Rachel Lu succinctly states the point I tried to make in “Liberal scrooges”:

Americans are certainly wealthy enough to worry about the corrupting influence of mammon. As an argument for more redistribution, though, it’s pretty weak tea. Taking people’s goods through taxation does little to reshape their priorities. It certainly doesn’t teach them generosity or good stewardship. If anything, liberal policies may increase our attachment to wealth, insofar as they teach us to defer to government as the agent responsible for helping the poor.

When I realized I didn’t have to live up to expectations to help my girlfriend like and respect me, it was one of the most liberating feelings of my life. Matt Walsh writes:

Society tells our daughters that men are boorish dolts who need to be herded like goats and lectured like school boys. Then they grow up and enter into marriage wholly unprepared and unwilling to accept the Biblical notion that “wives should submit to their husbands” because “the husband is the head of the wife.” [Ephesians 5]

It is a fatal problem, because the one thing that is consistently withheld from men and husbands — respect — is the one thing we need the most.

Yes, need. We need respect, and that need is so deeply ingrained that a marriage cannot possibly survive if the man is deprived of it.

Often, people will say that a husband should only be respected if he “earns” it. This attitude is precisely the problem. A wife ought to respect her husband because he is her husband, just as he ought to love and honor her because she is his wife. Your husband might “deserve” it when you mock him, berate him, belittle him, and nag him, but you don’t marry someone in order to give them what they deserve. In marriage, you give them what you’ve promised them, even when they aren’t holding up their end of the bargain.

This doesn’t mean that a man has a license to be lazy, or abusive, or uncaring. He is challenged to live up to the respect his wife affords him. If his wife parcels out her respect on some sort of reward system basis, the husband has nothing for which to strive. As the respect diminishes, so too does his motivation to behave respectably. Respect is wielded like a ransom against him, and he grows more isolated and distant all the while.


In closing...

“Marriage and childbearing are so central to the ongoing human prospect that they cannot be reduced to one more option in the vast smorgasbord of choices that our postmodern world has laid before us.” –David T. Koyzis

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Splitting Arizona

Note: This is a follow-on piece to “SB1062.”

Reacting to Arizona’s misguided amendment to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Pat Buchanan advocates a civil solution to the issue of gay discrimination:

Cannot a free people deal with social misconduct with social sanctions?

That depends on the “misconduct.” Some business owners see misconduct in an openly gay couple on their premises and refuse service concordantly. Some people see misconduct in such a business decision and boycott that business. Neither action is preferable solely because it was made by “free people.” There is an objective standard to apply here, and free people are losing the virtue to apply it.

No one wields more authority than the PC police. “Social sanctions” are their bread and butter. They’ve been used to put people out of work and out of business and to intimidate politicians into voting their way. They are the weapons of cultural revolution in a deeply divided democracy. They do not have healing power. They do not lead to détente. They escalate until the pressure is too great to bear, and most of the time their target folds.

Buchanan continues:

Isn’t this what freedom is all about? The freedom of others to say things we disagree with, to publish ideas we disbelieve in, even to engage in behavior we dislike? As for the Christians of Arizona and same-sex unions in Arizona, if they don’t like each other, can they not just avoid each other? After all, it’s a big state.

A glib point, but unhelpful. Who rules the public square? This has always been the issue. The old Western trope “this town ain’t big enough for the both of us” isn’t a literal statement. Arizona is physically big enough for both factions, but it’s not big enough for both cultures.

Maryland is a big state, too, stretching from the Appalachian Plateau to the Atlantic Ocean, but it has room for only one culture. That’s why some people in western Maryland want to secede, to have their own culture, government, and law. They may as well live under foreign occupation.

Some pretend, because consensus can’t be reached, that the best course of action is to have nothing, because nothing is the only sure way to be fair to all sides. We fool ourselves into thinking our civil laws can be perfectly neutral. They can’t be neutral.

Nature abhors a vacuum. People fill a space with more than just buildings, squares, and roads. They fill it with themselves.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

SB1062

Some things about myself no one knows about, and that’s a good thing. Do I wear a sign on my forehead that says how many sexual encounters I’ve had? Does my sign say I like girls, guys, or goats? Does my sign say I like short skirts, tight jeans, high heels, red lipstick, long hair, etc.? Does my sign say what turned me on last week, yesterday, this morning, or August 10, 2006?

Suppose I did wear such a sign. Suppose I wore every embarrassing detail of my sexuality on my sleeve. How quickly I would be thrown out of every building I walked into, and how I would deserve it!

What was the lesson of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ministry? That superficial traits have nothing to do with the content of your character.

As for the dark urges that suggest themselves to us in moments of desire and weakness, that threaten to separate us from God and our loved ones—our willingness to act on them defines our character. We are born sinners, and we recognize the destructiveness of sin on ourselves and on society. So we spend most of our lives avoiding temptations to sin.

At least, that is the attitude a healthy culture breeds into its citizens.

The photographer in New Mexico, the florist in Washington state, the baker in Colorado, all were punished for refusing to serve homosexual couples. The justification for their punishment rests on a premise, that homosexual couples are intrinsically homosexual, just like blacks are intrinsically black. It is false. Sexuality, unlike skin pigment, is amorphous.

Arizona’s Religious Freedom and Restoration Act is a deeply flawed reaction to the gay mafia’s aggression in litigating business owners’ right to discern whom they associate with. It promises to protect “sincere religious beliefs,” a legalism as ambiguous as sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Who is to decide what is sincere?” Paul Brandeis Raushenbush objects. Who indeed? I shudder at the thought of opening up my newfound salvation in Jesus for the courts to pore over to render a judgment on my sincerity.

This is not about religious liberty. It’s about property rights, specifically the right of businesses to demand civil behavior from their customers. Must I be baptized in Christ’s blood to be able to tell a lewd couple in my store to knock it off, to recuse myself from proceedings I don’t want to be part of? To claim yes is to unfairly privilege Christians, while at the same time focusing our sick culture’s charges of bigotry against them.

Furthermore, “religious exemptions” in recognizing same-sex marriage and Obamacare’s contraception mandate, for example, are a big fat loser. Liberals portray them as an attack, but they are a retreat, a fig leaf to disguise capitulation to the PC police state. Religious exemptions are a prelude to no exemptions, as evidenced by Catholic Charities fleeing Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. Bigotry is bigotry regardless of motivation, no?

The ground we are fighting on is shrinking beneath our feet.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Both sides of the wall

The strongest proof of the failure of socialism is the fall of the Berlin Wall, Milton Friedman said. To be more precise, the proof of socialism’s failure is the need for a wall in the first place, to keep people in, like prisoners. What the Berlin Wall’s fall proves is that people will flee the prison of socialism for freedom.

They won’t flee socialism if they are brainwashed to love their confinement. Nor will they flee if there’s no freedom to flee to. Would the Pilgrims have set out across the Atlantic if they were promised the same religious tyranny as they suffered under in England?

If the dark powers of this world, appealing to the worst in human nature, rise unchecked by morality, by reason, no Berlin Walls will be needed to keep us in. There are no empty, inhabitable lands to escape to. We are trapped in our prison by gravity.

Space as a refuge from a devolving Earth is the foundation for many speculative fiction works. But if there ever was a human society prone to enforce tyranny upon itself, it is the extraterrestrial state. Life in space, by necessity, is strictly regimented. The airtight confines of a closed habitat put enormous pressure on individuals to conform to authority. Limited resources, especially of air, requires communal sharing that would Lenin and Trotsky blush.

Astronauts are capable of such discipline—for 6 months at a time. They come from military backgrounds, endure years of training, and represent the tail end of the bell curve. How would a representative wedge of humanity, large and genetically diverse enough to reproduce, make it in space? They would have to learn to love their confinement.

Once you’re a member of an oppressive regime in space, you can’t escape. At minimum you need a supply of air and a pressurized cabin to survive, neither of which a collective is willing to part with. Self-financing billionaires will enjoy freedom in isolation, but they won’t perpetuate the human race.

Those on whom “assimilation” programs fail will be a problem. Destructive behavior by the unassimilated endangers all where instant death by exposure is one mistake away. Like defective babies in Sparta, they will be exiled to die, or killed in their sleep and recycled.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Hide the decline

The temperature record that climate scammers like Michael Mann peddle is corrupted. They cool the past to show a warming trend that doesn’t exist in the unadjusted data.

The rationalization for this is that we didn’t know how to take reliable temperature readings until the 1980s. Somehow I doubt this.

Nothing boosts politicians’ political capital like fear. Scientists, who are human, last I checked, are perfectly capable of giving politicians the data they need to crow like Chicken Little—for a price.

The chart above comes courtesy of Steven Goddard. The blue line is observed U.S. temperature. The red line is adjusted temperature. They erased much of the cooling from the ’50s to the ’70s, which we know existed because in 1977 Time foresaw global doom if the planet kept cooling.

Friday, February 21, 2014

House of tax credits

The production company behind House of Cards came in the night and stole $31 million from Maryland taxpayers, and presidential candidate/Governor Martin O’Malley held the door open for them. The Washington Post reports:

A few weeks before Season 2 of “House of Cards” debuted online, the show’s production company sent Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley a letter with this warning: Give us millions more dollars in tax credits, or we will “break down our stage, sets and offices and set up in another state.”

...

In recent years, Maryland has spent more than $40 million to reward movie and television production companies that choose to film in the state, and most of that largesse has gone to “House of Cards.”

Delegate C. William Frick of Montgomery County, a DC suburb, exemplifies the state government’s delusion: “Is it possible that they would just leave after we gave them $31 million?” And people scoff at western Maryland, which has more in common with West Virginia than the DC-Baltimore corridor, wanting to secede.

State and local governments push tax credits as growth opportunities. They are that, but if growth was the motivating principle, lower taxes across the board would be their object.

Politicians increase regulations and taxes to diminish the people’s power and to centralize it in the state’s hands. Then they exempt powerful business and trade lobbies that they favor for incestuous and ideological reasons, like the glamorous film industry. Being seen palling around with stars like Kevin Spacey is good for your image.

This is charitably called “picking winners,” but in other contexts it has been called fascism. Don’t mistake the politician who picks winners for a genius. The act of picking itself is what confers the winning. It’s not like he picked the winning horse at the race track. Like God, he makes it, then declares it good.

Under the tax credit scheme, where profit is gained from cozy relationships with bureaucrats and their masters, businesses’ incentives change. They focus less on serving their clients, whose interests and influence are dispersed, and more on currying favor with politicians. They in effect become agents of the state.

P.S.: Remember this story when O’Malley runs as the “competent” manager against Hillary Clinton’s experience and ruthlessness for the Democratic presidential nomination.

P.P.S.: I don’t know the political leanings of Jenna Johnson, who wrote this article for the Post, but I find her use of the word “largesse” indicative of the ideological changes at the news rag since Jeff Bezos bought it last year.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bag bans, streetcars, and the “city’s finest”

In uncharacteristic fashion, San Antonio councilman Cris Medina will not vote for a bill before understanding its implications. He’s shelving his plastic bag ban proposal.

A spokeswoman for councilman Cris Medina, who is the sponsor of the measure, says the proposal has been pulled from the City Council Governance Committee agenda so the Councilman, and the retailers who would have to enforce any ban, can receive more public input.

The proposal says as much as 9 percent of all of the trash collected by the city and an even larger percentage of items pulled out of storm sewers, and off fences and trees is the cheap plastic bags, which are widely used by grocery stores, big box retailers, fast food establishments, and other businesses.

Banning the act of littering hasn’t worked, so the city intends to ban the litter itself.

A bag ban at least makes sense from a fascist point of view. Regulating the activity of a million people is hard. Regulating the activity of a few thousand businesses is less hard.

A meeting on the topic with business representatives last week was almost universally negative. Representatives of retailers including HEB and Wal-Mart said the bag bans now in place in Brownsville and Austin have impacted the poorest customers the hardest, and have caused major disruptions for low-income families.

Liberal policies hurt low-income people? Well, at least they’re compassionate.

By the way, what does “9 percent of all the trash” mean? Are plastic bags 9 percent of the city’s total garbage weight? Impossible. Are they 9 percent of individually counted items? That seems more likely, but hardly alarming. In my apartment I have 10 times more pens than furniture pieces, but it’s not the pens I have to rearrange when I put up the Christmas tree.

I bet a substantial percentage of the city’s trash consists of print copies of the bloated, liberal San Antonio Express-News, but there are no proposals to ban that waste of trees.


City cops and firefighters want all the goodies the city irresponsibly promised them.

Hundreds of red-shirted police officers and firefighters jammed City Council chambers today to shout down a proposal calling for them to have to face major cuts to their health care benefits to reduce the city’s “legacy costs,” 1200 WOAI news reports.

First, where’d the money to print those shirts come from? Second, why Soviet red? Third, why is a rapist on the police force still receiving pay?

“We are in a situation where you look at those percentages, public safety is starting to gain on our revenues,” former Councilman Reed Williams, who headed the Task Force that studied the issue, told [the] council. The Task Force was appointed by Mayor Castro last November.

In 2010, President Obama called for a commission to solve the debt crisis that he created by bailing out the banks and “stimulating” the economy. The debt commission’s recommendations were alarmingly illiberal, so he tabled them. Mayor Blondie, who probably sees a street fight over civil servant pensions as damaging to his 2016 vice presidential bid, would be politically wise to follow suit and kick the can down the road.

Or, better, he could bolster his “compromiser” credentials by cutting pensions and raising taxes. Granted, this wouldn’t solve the problem long-term, but it would make him look good. Faux centrism is a Democrat’s best play.

But the San Antonio Police and Firefighters Associations blasted what they called “economic hysteria which is not supported by the facts.”

They say there is no evidence that the costs of their health care is pushing the city into potential insolvency. City Manager Sheryl Sculley says if the costs are not reduced, paying for police and firefighters will take up 100 percent of the city’s general fund budget in the coming decade, leaving no money to pay for street repair, parks, or any of the city’s other functions. She says a doubling of the city’s property tax rate would not be enough to offset a financial catastrophe.

“If you look at active health care, it’s growing at 9.2 percent a year,” Williams said, saying the city’s income is only growing at about a 4 percent rate.

You’re not entitled to your own facts, Senator Moynihan said. The “city’s finest” disown that designation when they demand to be subsidized by the taxpayers for half their adult lives.

Adult infantilization is never pretty.


Politics makes strange bedfellows:

Conservatives oppose the streetcar plan, which has now ballooned to $430 million, because they think it is a waste of money. Liberal groups are denouncing it because they say it will force VIA Metro Transit to cut into traditional bus service which low income people rely on to support the streetcar, to support what LULAC leader Henry Rodriguez called “the ricos,” Spanish for “rich.”

The groups say, even though the streetcar is not on the ballot in the primary election that begins today, voters should defeat any politicians who are on the ballot who back the streetcar.

Former San Antonio Councilman Carlton Soules, who is running for County Judge and will face streetcar backer Nelson Wolff in November if Wolff survives a primary challenge urged that the election become a referendum on streetcars.

The streetcar plan will mire downtown in construction for 3 years, in addition to costing a bundle, so Soules is right. As city councilman he voted against the narcissist ordinance, despite the LGBT mafia bearing down on him, so I’ll reward him with my vote.

Another race worth mentioning is the Republican primary for Texas attorney general. Although he hails from Dallas, Dan Branch is a local boy. He has family who go to my church. But I can’t bring myself to vote for him. I read his amicus brief to the Texas Supreme Court in defense of Texas’ marriage statute, and it was legally incoherent. Barry Smitherman may be competent, but his last two public-sector jobs have come by gubernatorial appointment. I like Rick Perry despite his faults, but I don’t like cronies. So, Ken Paxton, the man who was almost Texas House Speaker, is my man.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Toxic identities

Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act banning racial discrimination at public accommodations was a misguided attempt at coercing racial discrimination out of existence. The ’60s Congress and President Lyndon Johnson abused the fact that some motel and restaurant owners in the South were racist to trample on constitutional property rights and the right to freely associate with whom we choose.

Racial discrimination is evil because epidermal melanin content is superficial and an accident of birth. There’s nothing you can do about your race. But, as Touré and Rob Parker have pointed out, “black” is not only skin pigment, it’s a cultural construct: a narrative of victimhood and a put-upon, retributive attitude towards dominant “white” culture.

Whereas black skin pigment is superficial and therefore meaningless, black the cultural construct is psychological and behavioral, speaking to character. “Uncle Toms” look black, but they “act white” by practicing responsibility, diligence, and temperance. The powers say the opposites of these virtues are the essence of blackness.

“There’s a common cause that bonds the black United States attorney with the black criminal.” –Eric Holder

Racial discrimination against blacks is subject to prosecution under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but behavioral discrimination against blacks—or anyone, for that matter—is not. If you act like a jerk, businesses don’t have to put up with you. The conflation of race and behavior by Touré, Parker, and others excuses blacks for uncivil behavior, for it asserts, like their skin pigment, blacks have no choice in how they act.

Perhaps you’ve heard of “flash mobs,” where a crowd of mostly young, black men gathers unexpectedly and loots stores and beats up unsuspecting people (see Mall of Louisiana, Galleria at Military Circle, and Wisconsin State Fair). As a business owner, how do you respond to a large number of young men “acting black” in your store, dressed like thugs and making a racket? It’s not racial prejudice to take precautions to protect your property. You don’t, though, because that would make you and by extension your business non grata. So you do nothing, despite that your fears are rational and based on the character traits you observe in the young men, not their color.

“Every weekend on Friday and Saturday nights a bunch of juveniles will just swarm the malls, no intentions other than being up to no good, shoplifting, running rampant, getting into fights and just generally driving out the other traffic that comes in the mall because they don’t want to be around that,” said one store manager who did not want to be identified.

Why didn’t the store manager want to be identified? Is he afraid of retaliation from the bored adolescents trashing his business? No, he’s afraid of being tsk-tsked by the PC police. We are not supposed to notice criminal behavior by majority minority groups. That’s just how they are, you see. Race and behavior are the same, you see.

Worryingly, the courts are pushing the same destructive standard for gays and other LGBT subcategory people, where the protected aspect of identity also is behavioral. They are creating a right to vulgarity, toxic to civil society and often an antecedent to violence, while outlawing rational defensive reaction.

From acting “black” to acting “gay,” multiculturalism’s promise is fulfilled. You can no longer expect people to obey civil customs. To each his own, and to hell with anyone who says otherwise.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Outlawing culture

Same-sex marriage madness is gaining momentum. The impeccable moral giants in black robes have their beloved precedent, courtesy of Judge Vaughn Walker, to force public advocacy of perversion. It’s not a matter of if, but when, Justice Anthony Kennedy writes the Supreme Court opinion redefining marriage as between two consenting hedonists. My money is on 2015, but by then it will be a formality, as, but for a handful of bigots, Republicans will have called for a ceasefire in liberals’ war on tradition, so they can focus on the economy and government spending, on which their record is impeccable of late. Just kidding.

In the last 2 months, the redefinitionists have picked off Utah, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Virginia. Virginia is symbolic because that’s where the landmark case overturning anti-miscegenation laws on equal protection grounds started. Overturning “bans” on same-sex marriage relies on the same equal protection argument. Constitutional law professor Carl Tobias says:

The ruling is groundbreaking for Virginia in some ways like Loving v. Virginia (the case that legalized interracial marriage), but we have a long way to go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Redefinitionists like the professor here rely on a false equivalence of sexual “orientation” and skin pigment. Skin pigment, or race, is a fixed, easily recognizable, biological trait. Sexuality, on the other hand, is fluid, not fixed or easily recognizable, and subject as much to “nurture” as to “nature.” A 1992 National Health and Social Life Survey found 3 out of 4 boys who thought they were gay at 16 years old changed their mind by the time they were 25. Did the definition change, or did their sexual preferences change?

Because of this, gay people are not, in legal jurisprudence, a suspect class; therefore, discrimination in the public interest, such as on the traditional, gendered definition of marriage, is allowed. Case closed.

Foremost, though, skin pigment means nothing at an individual level. Race speaks to who we are “on the outside”—that is, not at all. Sexual orientation speaks to the content of our character, to borrow from homophobe Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. It includes a murky gray area of impulses and attractions, which individuals can and have—for thousands of years—controlled for the benefit of society.

Is this not what culture is, a common mode of civil behavior to which we publicly tame our gravest faults, to get over ourselves? If I’m horny all the time, isn’t that part of my sexual orientation? If so, how are expressions of my horniness not protected in all scenarios by the redefinitionists’ equal protection logic? You can imagine how a country that enables inherently flawed individuals to “be themselves” in the purest sense would quickly descend into anarchy.

Michael Sam is not the first gay NFL player. Jason Collins is not the first gay NBA player. They’re the first ones to express their problematic sexual natures without feeling any obligation to others to hold themselves back.

To show that I’m not picking on gays, I’ll use a heterosexual example. There are straight guys who take yoga class. I know because I used to be one of them. Yoga class is as close as you get to an all-women’s environment without explicitly forbidding men’s participation. Anyway, I did not announce on the first day of class my sexual interest in the women there. Naturally that would have disrupted the class. I respected the people there and I was not so vain as to bend the culture to my personality.

That’s how you gain acceptance as an outsider. Civility goes a long way.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Work bad, self-expression good

The CBO projects work disincentives in Obamacare will result in 2.5 million fewer jobs by 2024. Victor Davis Hanson reacts:

The Congressional Budget Office recently warned that Obamacare would “keep hours worked and potential output during the next 10 years lower than they would be otherwise.” That nonpartisan verdict should be bad news for workers.

Not in our brave new world. The Obama administration says it is pleased that workers will now be freed from “job lock.” What is job lock — a made-up Newspeak word right out of 1984? Work fewer hours, make less money, and create fewer outputs — and be happy.

Call it a subset of “reality lock.” Healthcare costs money. Food costs money. Living costs money. Anything that requires labor to produce requires labor to purchase. You have to work to live.

Why should we be held down by this archaic rule of nature?

This is the Marxist justification for redistribution. Capitalism has created enough wealth to free all of mankind from droll concern about the means of his survival. All we have to do is sit back and let the machines take care of us.

Marx and Engels maintained the abolition of property would not mean the abolition of work, and thus the depletion of wealth. They wrote:

It has been objected that upon the abolition of private property all work will cease, and universal laziness will overtake us.

Accoding to this, bougeois society ought long ago to have gone to the dogs through sheer idleness; for those of its members who work, acquire nothing...

The CBO report refutes their argument. Workforce participation is at a 36-year low. As the welfare state has grown, the workforce has shrunk. When you give people something for nothing, you get more nothing. With fewer workers, you get less wealth creation. With less wealth recreation, in a static, redistributionist system, you get a lower standard of living.

Marxists have yielded on that point and now go to great lengths to defend idleness. The originator of “job lock” is none other than Representative Nancy Pelosi, who is at least consistent in her reality denial. Four years ago she told Rachel Maddow’s audience:

Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance.

Rather than apply their skills in the marketplace, creating supply and meeting demand, people in a Communist society realize their “true” personhood in the arts. Bertell Ollman puts it this way:

Every person in communist society is relieved of the burden of narrowness which plagued his or her ancestors, weavers and painters alike, and given the opportunity to express him or herself in all possible ways.

The inversion is complete. Work bad, self-expression good. On the one hand, we put up with nihilist agitators who lord their personalities over traditional American culture through the legal system. On the other hand, we pay people to not work. What a racket.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Odds and ends 2/14/2014

“You don’t need to believe in an unconstrained free will to be concerned about the nanny state.” –Micah Mattix

Luke Holladay writes at Values & Capitalism:

Both socialism and radical individualism place their hope in man and in his ability to remedy his present situation. But this false hope must give way to disillusionment, as Beatrice Webb, co-founder of the London School of Economics, recognized when she wrote:

Somewhere in my diary—1890?—I wrote “I have staked all on the essential goodness of human nature...” [Now thirty-five years later I realize] how permanent are the evil impulses and instincts in man—how little you can count on changing some of these—for instance the appeal of wealth and power—by any change in the [social] machinery...No amount of knowledge or science will be of any avail unless we can curb the bad impulse.

Without realizing it, Webb came face-to-face with the reality of the “not yet” of living in the City of Man. She still hoped to “curb the bad impulse,” but no human can accomplish that goal. Irving Kristol described this same problem in socialism in his 1979 essay “No Cheer for the Profit Motive.”

For [socialism] to exist would require a kind of radical transfiguration of human nature that only a messianic deliverance can bring us. And though socialism is messianic enough in its pretensions, it turns out to be all-too-human in actuality.

The truth is, we all struggle with the temptation to ignore the “not yet” of this present age. Whether it takes shape in instant gratification or even good intentions promoting bad policies, our entire culture seems bent on the rallying cry of “now!” We should desire to fix our broken systems, but we must temper this ambition by thinking seriously about how to live in the tension of the City of God and the City of Man.


ZeroHedge explains how the Federal Reserve creates income inequality. The bold is his.

It should be no surprise the growing gap in income inequalities has coincided with the adoption of fiat currencies worldwide. Every dollar the central bank creates benefits the early recipients of the money—the government and the banking sector — at the expense of the late recipients of the money, the wage earners, and the poor. Since the creation of a fiat currency system in 1971, the dollar has lost 82 percent of its value while the banking sector has gone from 4 percent of GDP to well over 10 percent today.

The central bank does not create anything real; neither resources nor goods and services. When it creates money it causes the price of transactions to increase. The original quantity theory of money clearly related money to the price of anything money can buy, including assets. When the central bank creates money, traders, hedge funds and banks — being first in line — benefit from the increased variability and upward trend in asset prices. Also, future contracts and other derivative products on exchange rates or interest rates were unnecessary prior to 1971, since hedging activity was mostly unnecessary. The central bank is responsible for this added risk, variability, and surge in asset prices unjustified by fundamentals.

The banking sector has been able to significantly increase its profits or claims on goods and services. However, more claims held by one sector, which essentially does not create anything of real value, means less claims on real goods and services for everyone else.


George Weigel’s point, which he made in the thick of the 2012 election, applies to all Christian integration in the civil society:

Overt persecution isn’t the only way the “world” resists the Church’s proposal. Societies can affect a bland indifference to the truths taught by biblical religion. Cultures can mock the moral truths taught by God’s revelation to the people of Israel and God’s self-revelation in his Son, Jesus Christ. Educational systems can inculcate an ethos of nihilism and hedonism, teaching that the only moral absolute is that there are no moral absolutes.

On both of these fronts—the political-legal front, and the social-cultural front—the Catholic Church is under assault in the United States today. Over the past four years, the federal government has made unprecedented efforts to erode religious freedom. The gravest assault was the “contraceptive mandate” issued earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: an offense to conscientious Catholic employers who believe what the Church believes about the morality of human love and the ethics of the right to life, and a frontal attack on the institutional integrity of the Church. For with the HHS mandate, the federal government seeks nothing less than to turn the Catholic Church’s charitable and medical facilities into state agencies that facilitate practices the Catholic Church believes are gravely evil.


Truth makes a break for it at the New York Times:

Consistent with its belief in self-sufficiency, the right wants to see more married-couple families. For the left, widespread single motherhood is a fact of modern life that has to be met with vigorously expanded government support. Liberals point out, correctly, that poverty rates for single-parent households are lower in most other advanced economies, where the welfare state is more generous.

That argument ignores a troubling truth: Single-parent families are not the same in the United States as elsewhere. Simply put, unmarried parents here are more likely to enter into parenthood in ways guaranteed to create turmoil in their children’s lives. The typical American single mother is younger than her counterpart in other developed nations. She is also more likely to live in a community where single motherhood is the norm rather than an alternative life choice.

The sociologist Kathryn Edin has shown that unlike their more educated peers, these younger, low-income women tend to stop using contraception several weeks or months after starting a sexual relationship. The pregnancy — not lasting affection and mutual decision-making — that often follows is the impetus for announcing that they are a couple. Unsurprisingly, by the time the thrill of sleepless nights and colicky days has worn off, two relative strangers who have drifted into becoming parents together notice they’re just not that into each other. Hence, the high breakup rates among low-income couples: Only a third of unmarried parents are still together by the time their children reach age 5.

Thank a feminist.


Esoterictrad rips pick-up artists (aka “players”) for colluding with feminists to degrade the culture:

Whilst these Manosphere giants posture and pretend to fight feminism they are actually promoting the most destructive elements that feminism has to offer because it benefits them. To understand civilization is to realise that women are women and men are men and that they fulfil different roles in society. Roosh and his ROK co-writers pay a mere lip-service to this and their approach is always sexual. A woman is in a correct role if she can dress well, looks good, if she wants to please a man.

They don’t want her to be so much of a proper woman to not sleep with them. They want her to break societal pressure and sleep with them for the cheap thrill. They essentially support the message of feminism that tells women there are no consequences to cheap sexual encounters. The more the latter message spreads the more these men get their sexual thrills.

This sums up my thoughts while I was writing “What men want.”


Common sense from Thomas Sowell:

Almost everyone seems to think that we need to solve the problem of the children of illegal immigrants, because these children are here “through no fault of their own.” Do people who say that have any idea how many millions of children are living in dire poverty in India, Africa or other places “through no fault of their own,” and would be better off living in the United States?

Do all children have some inherent right to live in America if they have done nothing wrong? If not, then why should the children of illegal immigrants have such a right?


Attorney General Eric Holder ups the chaos, as predicted.

The U.S. government will recognize same-sex marriages as equal to traditional marriages in all federal matters, including in U.S. courts, bankruptcies, prison visits and survivor benefits, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Saturday.

The expansion of such federal recognition will include 34 states where same-sex marriage isn’t legal, but the new federal benefits being extended to those states will apply only where the U.S. government has jurisdiction, Holder said.

For example, a same-sex couple legally married in Massachusetts can now have their federal bankruptcy proceeding recognized in Alabama, even though it doesn’t allow same-sex marriages. In the past, the U.S. government could challenge the couple’s joint bankruptcy because Alabama doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.


“The unraveling of the Affordable Care Act may deliver a mortal blow to liberalism,” Scott Powell writes in Investor’s Business Daily.

Wrong. Republicans must deliver the mortal blow. No matter how weakened the enemy is, he will continue to hold the high ground until we charge the hill.


William Murchison doesn’t like legal weed:

A lot of what goes on in 21st century America seems a lot less good than it ought to be. Witness in this context the legal-marijuana boom — the strong public affirmation in places such as Colorado for the right to use pot for purposes left to the user’s discretion. Said purposes include the alleviation of physical pain. They include likewise the alleviation of, well, one just can’t say — possibly the alleviation of unfulfilled desire.

...

The need for withdrawal from reality grew exuberant in the ’60s. Human kind, T. S. Eliot had noted wryly, can’t bear much reality: meaning much seriousness of purpose, the human task of sorting out good from evil, right from wrong. The ’60s saw Eliot and raised him. We disliked reality of all kinds. Nor was pot the only doorway leading out of the predicament. If it wasn’t pot, it was LSD; if not LSD, cocaine; if not cocaine, heroin: anything for a quick kick, a drawing down of the blinds upon responsibility, duty, and other such quaint conceits.


Harvard and Oxford grad Mark Adomanis reveals his economic paternalism/tough-love civil libertarian philosophy:

The state simply shouldn’t give a damn whether or not people go to church or whether or not they are attracted to people of the same or different sex. States have important roles to play in structuring and regulating the economy and in ensuring an adequate standard of living, but when it comes to values they don’t have anything to add and should simply stay out of the way.

The above argument is hardly a novel one and has been advanced by pretty much everyone from the center-left newspapers and magazines.

I guess Sarah Elizabeth Cupp missed the memo.


Hilarious!

Pop singer Miley Cyrus, whose highly suggestive “twerking” at the MTV Video Music Awards last August created a media firestorm, complained that “guys watch too much porn,” after posing nearly naked for W Magazine’s March cover.

In a profanity-laced interview, the former Disney child star told W’s Ronan Farrow that she does not see any contradiction between her own provocative image, which she insists “is calculated” and “a response to what she sees as a lack of authenticity in her peer group,” and her admonishment of men who view pornography.

“Those girls don’t exist. They’re not real girls,” Cyrus told Farrow, who referred to her “America’s baddest bad girl.” “And that’s like us watching romance movies. That’s girl porn, because, like, those guys do not exist,” she added.

She could build an ark out of the planks in her eye.

If “authenticity” to the primal is what she wants, she should encourage more porn consumption.


“Marxism is about leisure, not labor. It is a project that should be eagerly supported by all those who dislike having to work. It holds that the most precious activities are those done simply for the hell of it, and that art is in this sense the paradigm of authentic human activity. It also holds that the material resources that would make such a society possible already exist in principle, but are generated in a way that compels the great majority to work as hard as our Neolithic ancestors did. We have thus made astounding progress, and no progress at all.” –Terry Eagleton

Robert Tracinski comes out in defense of Mark Steyn:

Here is the point at which we need a little primer on libel laws, which hinge on the differentiation between facts and opinion. It is libel to maliciously fabricate facts about someone. (It is not libel to erroneously report a false fact, so long as you did so with good faith reason to believe that it was true, though you are required to issue a correction.) But you are free to give whatever evaluation of the facts you like, including a negative evaluation of another person’s ideas, thinking method, and character. It is legal for me, for example, to say that Michael Mann is a liar, if I don’t believe that his erroneous scientific conclusions are the product of honest error. It is also legal for me to say that he is a coward and a liar, for hiding behind libel laws in an attempt to suppress criticism.

These are all reasons that the lawsuit should have been summarily thrown out. It goes beyond the legitimate scope of libel and defamation laws and constitutes an attempt to suppress opinions that are considered politically correct.

...

Mann has recently declared himself to be both a scientist and a political activist. But in attempting to intimidate his critics and suppress free debate on global warming, he is violating the fundamental rules of both science and politics. If it is a sin to doubt, then there is no science. If it is a crime to dissent, then there is no politics.

Mann vs. Steyn may be the trial of the century. It may determine, not merely whether the environmentalists can shut down industrial civilization, but whether they can shut down the independent thinking of skeptical dissidents.

“Trial of the century” is a bit much. I can think of a few other things that are more likely to ruin America by the 22nd century, like debt and demographic collapse, the latter of which Steyn has written about extensively.


Chris Stirewalt of Fox News reports on the latest Obamacare revision:

Is the latest delay of ObamaCare regulations politically motivated? Consider what administration officials announcing the new exemption for medium-sized employers had to say about firms that might fire workers to get under the threshold and avoid hugely expensive new requirements of the law. Obama officials made clear in a press briefing that firms would not be allowed to lay off workers to get into the preferred class of those businesses with 50 to 99 employees. How will the feds know what employers were thinking when hiring and firing? Simple. Firms will be required to certify to the IRS – under penalty of perjury – that ObamaCare was not a motivating factor in their staffing decisions. To avoid ObamaCare costs you must swear that you are not trying to avoid ObamaCare costs.

This is basically hiring Obamacare spokesmen by extortion. Businesses cannot let on to their fired employees the real reason for firing them, lest they perjure themselves to the IRS.

Vox Day writes:

You can’t understand leftist reasoning until you grasp that everything they do is based on a static universe. From evolution to health care regulation, their policies inevitably involve the Ricardian Vice of reducing the situation down to the simplest possible binary choice, then being mystified when their actions inspire a reaction.

Followed, of course, by their futile attempts to use force to demand compliance.

The biggest problem won’t be firms laying off workers to get into the preferred class, but rather, all the firms that will no longer grow out of it.

George Will nails it:

It is the point of progressivism, is to put in front of the American people an increasingly rich menu of temptation to dependency on government.

Howard McCrum at American Thinker riffs:

This week and last we learned from Democrats that Obamacare is society’s latest liberating influence. Americans can stop and smell the roses now that they are unshackled from the adult responsibility of providing for their own basic necessities. The need to perform honest yet unpleasant or even difficult work is a thing of the past. Free at last!

However, those of us who work for a living are feeling a lot less liberated now that we must subsidize the sabbaticals of those who vote for a living.

In 1858, other Democrats were living a “liberated” life at least somewhat similar to their moral and intellectual descendants of today, who tout the ideal of a good life with little or no work, supported by the involuntary exertions of others. Slaveholders, subsidized by the sweat of slaves, were free from the need to perform unpleasant, menial, and strenuous work. They justified their theft with moral preening and claims of their moral and intellectual superiority (just as do their spiritual heirs today).

And James Taranto:

Working for pay is supposed to be liberating for women because it frees them from dependency on men. How can one square that with this new claim that dependence on the government is liberating because it allows people not to work?

If Christians get to have a monument at the Oklahoma capitol, so do Satanists. On the theory that the state should be neutral towards religion, this is logical.

The Blaze reports:

A satanic group has unveiled designs for a 7-foot-tall, goat-headed deity it wants at the Oklahoma state Capitol.

The New York-based Satanic Temple released an artist’s rendering of the monument Monday. A spokesman says the group has formally submitted its application to a panel that oversees the Capitol grounds.

...

The Satanic Temple says Oklahoma’s decision to put a Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol opened the door for its statute.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dare to discriminate

Note: This is a companion piece to “Traitorous brand.”

The Democrats were reeling from the heavy losses handed to them by the tea party in 2010, so they changed course. Rather than defend Obamacare, rather than run again on class war, they moved the game to another playing field, where the anti-progressive, tea party alliance has less in common.

President Obama’s “evolution” on marriage in early 2012 was an ingenious political move. Not only was it insincere—he always was a marriage redefinitionist—not only was it red meat to energize his base, but it split the tenuous binds that held together the opposition. He split them on social issues.

One side of the tea party sees social issues through the lens of license, the other side through the lens of preserving the civil society from change agents. In libertarians, liberals have natural allies in weakening pressure from society and the state to conform to cultural standards. Drugs. Prostitution. Pornography. Divorce. Contraception. Public displays of religion. And, most visible of all, marriage. Politically, libertarians look upon them with an undiscerning eye, preferring relativistic neutrality where, before progressives rose to power, there was sensible public initiative.

Their reaction against government as a social engineering apparatus is good-natured, but they take their objections too far in erasing the public interest from the law. At best, they are indifferent, but usually they lean towards uprooting civil traditions if it means symbolically less government or less discrimination.

“Discrimination” has a bad rap. In the civil rights movement’s glory years it meant racial prejudice, discrimination of like objects, like skin pigment. Lately that negative connotation has reverted onto unlike objects, like right and wrong. The moral postulates that form the backbone of our civilization make clear distinctions. Their alternatives are not equal and thus are not intended to be treated alike.

Golden Rule libertarians object to accommodating these distinctions in law, even if they make use of them in their daily lives. The distinctions they are reliably capable of are “leave me alone” and the plus or minus result of a cost-benefit analysis.

Opposition to Obamacare is as strong as ever, but a divided opposition will not overturn it. With distrust of the other side rising in the tea party’s ranks, with enthusiasm dampened, liberals carried 2012, and they carried Virginia in 2013, the only place where it mattered. They look poised to cash in on the same formula in 2014, and continue to peel off libertarians—not to mention establishmentarians—from the tea party.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Recovery narrative

Via Dr. Helen Smith (truly the better half of libertarian Glenn Harlan Reynolds), CNBC reports:

A large number of men who are still in their prime working years find themselves without jobs for extended periods, despite an improving economy, according to a piece in the Wall Street Journal.

What improving economy? We lost 8.6 million jobs in a 23-month span. As the chart above shows, job growth has resumed its pre-Great Recession course, keeping abreast of population growth. There was no subsequent hiring spike to cancel out the firing spike that took place in 2008 and 2009. There was no jobs recovery.

Why are data that consistently reflect no recovery reported in the context of a recovery? The answer lies in the stories reporters want to tell. When truth is relative, the narrative becomes paramount. As CNBC’s Jeff Cox said last week when January’s pitiful jobs numbers were released, “I think the narrative is still that things are improving.” Oh, joy!

Those 8.6 million jobs are gone, lost to machinization and outsourcing. Joining them in extinction soon will be financial reporters, if this shoddiness is what news organizations have come to expect. No wonder “machines are already turning ... financial data into good-enough news stories,” as reported by The Economist. There is little advantage in hiring actual reporters.

Curiously, there is no byline on this CNBC article. Would we be able to tell the difference if it was authored by a computer? A computer is only as good as its programmer.

Let’s look at two financial news templates that a news organization might use. We’ll focus on the first graf since that’s all the media want you to read anyway.

First, the bad news template: [Bad news in 15 words or less], despite an improving economy, according to [news organization/financial expert].

Now, the good news template: [Good news], signalling the booming economy hasn’t lost momentum, according to [news organization/financial expert].

Of course, both these models would be used only if liberals were in charge of economic policy. If, however, the news organization wants to switch narratives and tell the news in the context of conservatives directing economic policy, it would use the following templates:

[Bad news], worse than economists projected, signalling negative market reaction to [Republican/conservative policy].

[Good news], calling into question the need for further [Republican/conservative policy].

For the time being, investigative reporters are avoiding competition from machines, because that job requires an inquiring, imaginative mind—more inquiring and imaginative than most reporters’ minds. The Financial Times reported in 2006:

Thomson Financial, the business information group, has been using computers to generate some stories since March and is so pleased with the results that it plans to expand the practice.

The computers work so fast that an earnings story can be released within 0.3 seconds of the company making results public.

How’s that narrative looking now, Jeff?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Narcissism neutered

Narcissism ordinance update:

Last fall, top [San Antonio] officials, including Mayor Castro, lobbied loud and hard for an expansion of the city’s Non Discrimination Ordinance to protect gays, lesbians, and transgendered individuals. But, now that the cameras have stopped rolling and the supporters of the gay and lesbian community have all written campaign checks, the lawyer for the first person to file a complaint under the new expanded NDO says the city was a lot more concerned about talking the talk than about walking the walk.

This is happening on the national scene, too. Bills are brought up to polarize the electorate and bolster the narrative, then they are effectively neutered by invincible bureaucrats to set the stage for the next heroic “civil rights” confrontation. LGBT equality—whatever that looks like to utopian fanatics—was not their goal, it was to squeeze “equality” for all the political juice it was worth.

As I said, this was a political power play by Julian Castro. Like Wendy Davis, Castro has no future in state politics. His only ticket out of Texas onto the national scene is to get the next Democratic presidential nominee to notice him.

“We don’t even know the rules and the process,” attorney Matthew Hileman told 1200 WOAI news. “In spite of three requests for a meeting just to discuss the rules, not to discuss the substance of the complaint, we have still not received a response.”

There is only one rule in this game: There are no rules. Sexual orientation and gender identity don’t exist. They are a grab bag of trump cards. Any perceived workplace slight against someone for being awkward can be answered with an expensive and humiliating lawsuit. What business wants to go through that? The mayor partially sold the ordinance on the argument that businesses considering moving to San Antonio wanted a progressive business culture. What a joke.

Castro and his stooges on the city council didn’t think their policy through—not that thinking was ever their strong suit. As Thomas Sowell would say, they fell victim to stage one thinking. Now a judge will have to force the city to reckon with the absurd logic of its own ordinance.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Mizzou made Michael Sam gay

According to the New York Times:

Mr. Sam said he began to wonder if he was gay in his early teens, though he had a girlfriend in high school. It was after he arrived at Missouri in 2009 that he realized for certain that he was gay.

That’s more girlfriends than I had in high school. Could I be gayer than Michael Sam? Maybe I’m just a late bloomer.

ESPN reports:

Raised in the small town of Hitchcock, Texas, Sam said he grew up uncertain about what his sexual orientation was.

“I knew from a young age that I was attracted to guys,” he said, “I didn’t know if it was a phase ... I didn’t want to say, ‘Hey, I might be gay. I might be bi.’ I just didn’t know ... I wanted to find who I was and make sure I knew what was comfortable. So I didn’t tell anyone growing up.”

Sam’s sexuality magically stopped evolving when he moved to Columbia, Missouri, stopping short of taking on truly offensive forms like sadomasochism or pederasty. Right? We don’t know. Sam doesn’t go into the details of what falls in the zones of “comfortable” and “uncomfortable.” Surely, though, society would provide correction if his sexuality manifested itself in harmful ways in college. Or would it?

“I’m coming out because I want to own my truth. I’m comfortable [with] who I am,” Sam says. The powers like to think the story of Sam coming out is about them leading the charge for conformist society’s acceptance of outsider behavior. The highest virtue, in their opinion, is acceptance of the Marxist Other, to deny the values upon which civilization is built and a culture of independence, self-sufficiency, and community is maintained.

It is all self-congratulatory back patting. They are no more accepting than the purported racists and bigots from whom they inherited a proud and sensible country. They only have redefined the terms of conformity. Child molestation they still scorn (unless you’re a pioneer in the Kulturkampf), sexual license they scratch into the margins of the First Amendment, and marital fidelity they replace with hedonism in the patchwork quilt of what makes America great.

But in their excited rush to make the handsome Mizzou alum the face of the gay mafia’s agenda, their true intentions remain behind a shroud. While Sam comes out about his homosexuality, big media remain in the closet on the moral corruption they’re pushing. These lengthy, genuflecting coming-out interviews don’t go near the crux of the matter: What does “gay” mean? If you didn’t know what gay means before, you still wouldn’t know after watching the ESPN interview with Michael Sam.

To be gay is to be attracted to the same sex. Stop right there. Doesn’t this pose a problem for a man who shares a locker room with 50 men? Are we to go against every rational bone in our body and say, “Sure, lots of pro athletes are deadbeats, but the gay ones are saints”?

Now take sexual license and hedonism as the new cultural cornerstones. Over the last 50 years, a civil religion has been built up to ignore and refute the devastating consequences of these changes. Liberals cloak their support of this regime in euphemism and talk of “rights.” Their premises are the same as they were in 1963.

The Trotsky of feminism

Is it worth anyone’s time rebutting the moron Jill Filipovic? Her columns are like the far corner of the room prisoners in solitary confinement use for a toilet. The vomit and feces smell awful, but there’s nothing to clean it up with, so you stay as far away as you can. The same goes for the forsaken niche in feminist “thought” Filipovic inhabits. So obtuse and irredeemable is her worldview that many of her assertions go unchallenged.

So I’ll cut to the chase. Filipovic is a champion of the sexual revolution, especially as it enables women to fornicate with men they don’t want to marry and delay marriage until they meet a man they do want to marry. She writes:

Some conservatives, most recently Ross Douthat at the New York Times, have suggested that conservatives should shift positions on subjects like mass incarceration, which leads to a glut of disproportionately working class and of-color men who have difficulty finding decent employment after their release. But he also argues that, in some sort of public policy quid pro quo, liberals agree to restrictions on abortion, birth control and no-fault divorce. In his estimation, those policies make marriage less socially valuable; curtailing them would reinstate marriage to its once-vaunted position.

Look, though, at what happens to marriages in the social classes that have the easiest access to things like birth control, abortion and divorce: their marriages are the most stable.

There is no correlation between access to these services and using them. Anticipating Filipovic, Douthat followed up his proposal with this observation:

When we legalized abortion and instituted unilateral divorce, we helped usher in a sexual-marital-parental culture that seems to work roughly as well for people with lots of social capital as it did sixty years ago, while working pretty badly for the poor and lower middle class. It is still a reality of contemporary life that when anyone can get a divorce for any reason, the lower classes seem to get far more of the divorces, and that when anyone can get an abortion for any reason, the poor end up having more abortions and more children out of wedlock both.

Why might this be?

Let’s look at the sexual marketplace of the low-income woman. Having achieved technological mastery of her womb, she now can bide her time and enjoy herself until she meets Mr. Right. She no longer runs the risk of having to wed Mr. Not Quite when he impregnates her, or settling for the first guy she falls in love with, if she’s chaste. But there are few Mr. Rights for all the women in America, and they generally don’t travel in the same social circles as low-income women.

Thus, a large pool of men with moderate to low sexual capital—the majority of the low-income woman’s potential mates—are priced out of the sexual marketplace. The women they were marrying don’t want them anymore. It’s a hostile environment for love to flourish.

The low-income woman has choices now. She can choose to not have that baby, and does. She can choose to have the baby on her own, letting Mr. Not Quite off the hook, and does. She can choose to divorce that guy and go in search of Mr. Right again, and does. Whatever she chooses, the government enables through generous subsidies.

And the defective Filipovic, in response to the collapse of the civil society in the bottom half of America’s income distribution, suggests more access to family planning!

She continues:

Marriage can be great for a whole lot of reasons: sharing your life with someone you love, sharing expenses, building a family, having an emotional rock for mutual support through difficult times. But expecting a marriage to pull people out of poverty imbues the marital contract with a power it simply doesn’t have. It’s also an enormous amount of pressure to place on already-vulnerable men. After all, that’s what conservatives mean when they say marriage pulls people out of poverty – they mean that men pull women out of poverty by marrying them.

Clearly she hasn’t heard of the marriage premium. It’s the phenomenon of married men consistently outperforming single men in the economy. This is not a function of men who make more money marrying at a higher rate. It’s a function of married men having stronger incentives to be more productive.

Charles Murray writes in Coming Apart:

The responsibilities of marriage induce young men to settle down, focus, and get to work.

...

Prime-age men are much more than three times as likely to be out of the labor force if they are unmarried, and this was true through the entire half century from 1960 to 2010.

That being said, there is limited truth to marriage alleviating material want. Cultural destitution is the greater handicap. The social goods Filipovic blithely skips over are the primary benefits of marriage. It is more than the union of two people in love. As a civil institution it invites them into communion with society, into nurturing the long-term interests of the community for their children.

Read also my post “Broken marriage culture” at the Red Pill Report and “When Marriage Disappears” by the National Marriage Project.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Boehner, caveman

House Republicans are looking to raise the debt ceiling by undoing the only respectable idea to come from Paul Ryan in a year. The Washington Post reports:

House Speaker John A. Boehner scrambled to sell a new debt-ceiling solution to his Republican colleagues on Wednesday, encouraging them to demand a restoration of recently cut military benefits in exchange for a one-year extension of the federal government’s borrowing authority.

We’ve come a long way since the debt-limit showdown of 2011. Then, Boehner offered government cuts in exchange for extending the debt-limit: smaller government for bigger government.

Now, Boehner is offering bigger government in exchange for bigger government. With one eye on the GOP caucus’s portrayal in the press, Boehner is going to get rolled by Harry Reid like he was rolled last October.

Whatever discombobulation exists on the Republican side, Reid will exploit. All he has to do is wait. Boehner will come to him with a deal, which he will reject. He will demand Boehner listen to the most liberal elements in the GOP and cave to the Democrats on every substantive point. If Boehner resists, Reid will force a government shutdown and let the Speaker of the House humiliate himself scampering around Capitol Hill trying to forge a consensus.

And for what? To save a sliver of face while the ship continues to sink.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Her body, her choice

Houston Texans running back Arian Foster dumped his pregnant mistress, and she’s suing him.

In the old days, to avoid public embarrassment, Foster’s responsibility in the affair would have been implicit. He would have married Norwood or put her up in comfortable lodgings and made sure the child—half his, after all—was provided for.

The rules have changed.

This is the pro-choice movement’s “gift” to women: putting responsibility for childbearing squarely on her shoulders. Whatever she chooses, independent of considerations outside her will, society stands behind.

Men are happy to play along, as it gives legitimacy to their drive to consummate with the pretty objects of their lust, to end their involvement from the word “go.” Consistent with the logic of “her body, her choice,” after coitus he leaves the decisions to her.

The promise was sex without consequences, but it has more effectively delivered on single motherhood. Despite the airtight control reproductive technologies give women over their wombs, they “accidentally” keep getting pregnant, and—even more baffling—wanting to have babies!

Whatever precautions Norwood did or didn’t take, Foster assumed she alone would deal with the consequences. Except for child support payments, she will.

The unfortunate child of the liaison will grow up without its father. According to Patrick Fagan, a child living with a single mother is 14 times more likely to suffer serious physical abuse than is a child living with married biological parents. A child whose mother cohabits with a man other than the child’s father is 33 times more likely to suffer serious physical child abuse.

Norwood will be fortunate to find a good man to volunteer for the job. Normally her beauty would give her a leg up against most of her competitors in the sexual marketplace. It certainly gave her a leg up in snagging multimillionaire Arian Foster. But, if she’s learned her lesson, she won’t put out again until she’s married, which puts her at a disadvantage. Few men will accept fatherhood before having marital relations, especially in a sexual marketplace in which they can have marital relations without bothering with fatherhood or marriage.

Now ask yourself who the winners in the sexual revolution are.