Friday, May 30, 2014

San Antonio—HUD expressway

With Julian Castro’s nomination to the District of Columbia Vice Presidential Prep School (i.e., Department of Housing and Urban Development), the incompetent and/or disingenuous San Antonio mayor follows a well-trodden path, that first taken by former San Antonio mayor/failed Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros 20 years ago.

Cisneros led HUD’s charge in the Clinton administration for more affirmative action bank loans that spurred on the subprime mortgage bubble. Stanley Kurtz documents this in Radical-In-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism:

When ACORN met with Housing Secretary Cisneros, it found a friend. The first of many meetings between ACORN and Cisneros lasted for two uninterrupted hours, instead of the one hour originally scheduled. Already, at that first meeting, Cisneros promised ACORN help with what were soon to become the Clinton administration’s signature changes in low-income lending policy—at Fannie and Freddie and elsewhere.

...

By the mid-nineties, the Community Reinvestment Act applied only to about a quarter of the banking system. Yet [Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing Roberta] Achtenberg made key regulatory changes that had the effect of pressuring the other three-quarters of America’s mortgage industry into greater subprime lending. In particular, Achtenberg ruled that, regardless of any intention to discriminate, policies that ended up granting proportionally more loans to some groups than others would be considered discriminatory. So if blacks in some cities happened to have shakier credit histories than whites (a common phenomenon), banks would be punished even for applying exactly the same lending standards to both blacks and whites. Achtenberg’s new definition of discrimination helped push even institutions not covered by CRA into the business of shaky subprime lending. ACORN pressed Achtenberg hard on this and other issues, at times with help from Housing Secretary Cisneros.

Cisneros continued to do damage to the economy after he resigned from HUD over a cover-up of a Clintonesque sex scandal during his mayoral tenure. While cheating on his wife hurt his political career and his family, Cisneros’s true legacy is as a key socialist functionary and ennabler of the 2008 financial crisis. He led a $1 trillion initiative by Countrywide, then the country’s largest mortgage lender, to expand home ownership to minorities. Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo boasted at the time: “Henry (Cisneros) will put to use his long and respected experience as an advocate for affordable housing, who understands the benefits to communities of homeownership.” Three years later, Countrywide stock lost 80 percent of its value and it was bought out by Bank of America.

In the ’90s the banks had given in to a racial quota system advocated by community organizers like President Obama’s ACORN. Countrywide’s $1 trillion in loans was infamously securitized by the financial sector, socializing the pain of this doomed experiment in socialism. As Kurtz notes, the lowered lending standards were implicit. Not even the New York Times could ignore them:

As the Clinton administration’s top housing official in the mid-1990s, Mr. Cisneros loosened mortgage restrictions so first-time buyers could qualify for loans they could never get before.

This nonetheless surprised the Securities and Exchange Commission, who in 2009 charged Countrywide with securities fraud for failing to disclose its lax lending standards.

Achtenberg, meanwhile, by virtue of her lesbianism, currently serves on the Civil Rights Commission. This puts her in an ideal position to assist the incoming Castro in creating a new penumbra of rights for people who can’t control their sexual fetishes and impulses, something Castro thinks he knows a lot about. But he doesn’t. The only thing he’s wise about is his political fortune, so he’s skipping town before the repurcussions of his signature narcissist ordinance, as well as the city’s shoddy finances, come back to haunt him.

“From tens of millions of dollars spent on an unnecessary public safety headquarters to millions on streetcars and other special projects, the City Council has leveraged our future with spending that requires revenue now.” –Mike Helle, president of the San Antonio Police Officers Association

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The despiritualized plane

Note: This is a companion piece to “Marx’s sine qua non: Ayn Rand.”

Marx’s disciples run in the opposite direction of the free market because they view liberty as the libertarians do, as license. Marx wrote:

None of the supposed rights of man, therefore, go beyond the egoistic man, man as he is, as a member of civil society; that is, an individual separated from the community, withdrawn into himself, wholly preoccupied with his private interest and acting in accordance with his private caprice... Thus man was not liberated from religion; he received religious liberty. He was not liberated from property; he received the liberty to own property. He was not liberated from the egoism of business; he received the liberty to engage in business.

...

Liberty is, therefore, the right to do everything which does not harm others... It is a question of the liberty of man regarded as an isolated monad, withdrawn into himself.

...

The right of property, is, therefore, the right to enjoy one’s fortunes and dispose of it as he will; without regard for other men and independently of society... It leads every man to see in other men, not the realization, but rather the limitation of his own liberty.

From that he derived a concept of liberty as liberation from property, in which material man is satisfied in the provisions of forced collectivism. Rather than reject the materialist view for a humanitarian one, Marx, who was atheist, settled on the other pole of the wrong plane.

The most popular literary defender of the free market is Ayn Rand. Her response to communism was the same argument about liberty that Marx rejected 100 years earlier. “Isolated monad, withdrawn into himself” describes many of her characters, economic automatons stripped of spiritual and human needs. Even the act of love is described as a transaction, pleasure its only object.

She was atheist, too.

At First Things, R. R. Reno reflects on Larry Summer’s review of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century:

Here’s a passage I found particularly helpful: “Think about the contrast between George Eastman, who pioneered fundamental innovations in photography, and Steve Jobs. Jobs has an immediate global market, and the immediate capacity to implement his innovations at very low cost, so he was able to capture a far larger share of their value than Eastman. Correspondingly, while Eastman’s innovations and their dissemination through the Eastman Kodak Co provided a foundation for a prosperous middle class in Rochester for generations, no comparable impact has been created by Job’s innovations.”

To my mind this contrast captures a great deal of our problem today. Globalization has put vastly more resources at the finger-tips of the so-called creative class. They have quick access to labor across the globe as well as capital. That’s plain to see, and it naturally magnifies and accelerates the economic advantages (or lucky or well-connected—we shouldn’t discount those sources of competitive advantage!).

What I hadn’t seen before is the Eastman side of the comparison. His capacity to translate innovation into marketable products requires organizing and improving the social capital of Rochester. The same was true for Henry Ford, who famously raised wages for his factory workers. He saw that increased incentives would accelerate the reorganization of agricultural and small town society around large-scale industrial production, something necessary for him to realize the full economic potential of his innovations in mass production, marketing, and so forth. You couldn’t just invent the modern mega-corporation. It required profound transformations of social capital.

That still happens, but it’s diffused around the globe in ways that are difficult to see as part of an evolving, healthy social organism (not that American industrialization was trouble free!). Thus Silicon Valley. It’s an amazing source of new wealth in the Bay Area—unprecedented in many ways. But it’s not building a new city, as the auto industry did in Detroit or steel did in Pittsburgh (or for that matter aerospace in Los Angeles after WWII). Take General Motors out of Detroit in 1970 and the social structures in that state would be profoundly altered, if not collapse. (That’s what has in fact happened in slow motion over the last few decades.) Suddenly uproot Apple from the Bay Area and I don’t think it would make much of a ripple.

The ripple would be in the state’s coffers.

Before the digital revolution, the old way of getting rich required cooperation and building up the skills and fortune of your neighbors. The new way of getting rich is to write code that repeats an operation on command.

This form of enterprise is divorced from facial social networks. It serves an anonymous customer base global in reach. Its inherent bigness as it succeeds centralizes information to the state’s advantage, devolving control from local power structures and relationships.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Odds and ends 5/18/2014

ZeroHedge reports banks don’t collateralize loans with the deposits on hand. They create the money ex nihilo.

Bernanke and Krugman assume that huge levels of household debt don’t hurt the economy because more debt among households just means that savers have loaned them money ... i.e. that it is a net wash to the economy.

To make this assumption, they rely on the myth that banks can only loan as much money out as they have in deposits. In other words, they assume that if bank customer John Doe has $100 in the bank, then the bank can loan that $100 to someone else.

But Keen points out—as the Bank of England is now finally doing as well—that banks actually loan out money whether or not they have enough in deposits ... and then borrow the shortfall from the central bank.

Keen therefore says that it is not a wash ... and that high levels of private debt are the cause of economic crises.

Since 2008, the Federal Reserve has created $2.8 trillion, and GDP has risen $1.3 trillion. That’s 46 cents of “growth” for every digital dollar put into circulation. Where’s that growth going?

À la the ’40s, Americans are saving their way through hard times. It’s a Keynesian catch 22: Savings translates to slow circulation. Slow circulation translates to low inflation. The Fed’s printing frenzy creates wealth sinks, not commerce.

“Once the artificially enhanced demand limits are reached, or even worse, consumers cannot afford to service their debt on the goods they previously purchased, the boom will come to a hard and fast end.” –Vox

MSNBC’s Krystal Ball reads Animal Farm:

At its heart, Animal Farm is about tyranny and the likelihood of those in power to abuse that power. It’s clear that tendency is not only found in the Soviet communist experience. In fact, if you read Animal Farm today, it seems to warn not of some now non-existent communist threat but of the power concentrated in the hands of the wealthy elites and corporations...

As new research shows that we already live a sort of oligarchy that the preferences of the masses literally do not matter and that the only thing that counts is the needs and desires of the elites, Animal Farm is a useful cautionary tale warning of the corruption of concentrated power, no matter in whose hands that power rests.

Like fascist, technocratic, totalitarian government.

Who does fascist, technocratic, totalitarian government love? Big business proxies.


I thought the fix was in, but I was wrong.

[New Clippers CEO Dick] Parsons said the Clippers could become “America’s team” in the aftermath of Sterling.

“America loves a story where someone gets knocked down and then gets back up into the ring. This team has talent,” Parsons said.

I interpret the awkward Thunder/Clippers game 5 result as the referees showing up Magic Johnson, who has been on a power trip of late.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks were just sold. I’m sure the new owners hold the right views.

The $550 million sale of the Milwaukee Bucks to hedge fund billionaires Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry is expected to be finalized by the NBA on Thursday, a source involved in the process told ESPN.com.

In the wake of the Donald Sterling scandal, there was a push within the league to have an extra thorough vetting of the new owners, sources said. That process, however, is complete and the league's Board of Governors will approve the transaction that was initially signed last month.

I bet the next crop of NBA recruits is ecstatic Lebron James is committed to stalling their pro careers over Donald Sterling’s non-racism. Any doubts he would volunteer to lead a player boycott if he was still seeking his first championship?

NBA Players Association Vice President Roger Mason Jr. said that James is willing to sit at the start of the 2014-15 season if Sterling is still running the Clippers.

“I was just in the locker room 3, 4 days ago. LeBron and I talked about it – he ain’t playing if Sterling is still an owner,” Mason told “Jim Rome on Showtime.”

...

“At the end of the day, this is going to be a long litigation when it comes to that,” James said. “This guy who’s owned the team since the ’80s is not going to just give the team up in a day. So we understand it’s going to be long, but we want what’s right.”

James stated that he doesn’t want any Sterling owning the Clippers.

“As players, we want what’s right and we don’t feel like no one in his family should be able to own the team,” James said.


Do you wonder why voters are less enthusiastic about upcoming elections than they’ve been in 20 years? Nancy Pfotenhauer writes at The Hill:

Many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree universal health insurance is the central goal of successful healthcare reform. The left sold the Affordable Care Act on this promise; the right hopes to do the same with an alternative plan set to be unveiled later this year.

Republicans dig their grave by offering an alternative big-government plan. As a matter of branding, Boehnercare gives me no more comfort than Obamacare. “Universal” means big, bureaucratic, and impersonal.

The upside to this is that people will realize politics can’t save them, only God’s mercy can.


Drug dealing is a growth market in Texas, Cheyanne Weldon thinks:

Colorado analysts say the message is simple—the January taxes weren’t just from faddists who ran out to buy pot as a ‘new toy.’ Legal marijuana use is taking effect across the Centennial State, and Cheyanne Weldon of the Texas Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws says Texas politicians can’t help but take notice.

“The way we can control it is through a regulated market,” Weldon said of failed efforts to reduce the use of marijuana by law enforcement. “We can capitalize not only on marijuana taxes themselves, but on the new industries, and the jobs.”


Cuba is still Communist, Michael J. Totten of City Journal reports:

When the ailing Fidel Castro ceded power to his less doctrinaire younger brother Raúl in 2008, the quasi-capitalist bubble expanded, but the economy remains heavily socialist. In the United States, we have a minimum wage; Cuba has a maximum wage—$20 a month for almost every job in the country. (Professionals such as doctors and lawyers can make a whopping $10 extra a month.) Sure, Cubans get “free” health care and education, but as Cuban exile and Yale historian Carlos Eire says, “All slave owners need to keep their slaves healthy and ensure that they have the skills to perform their tasks.”

Theodore Dalrymple mentions envy:

Resentment is the one emotion that can last a lifetime and will never let you down. All other emotions are fleeting and unreliable by comparison. I have tried hating someone for years, but found it impossible: hatred fades like the colors of pressed flowers. But resentment! It is the perfect solution to one’s failure in life. And we are all of us failures in some sense or other, thank God, for no one would be as intolerable and the cause of so much resentment as the complete success.

A year ago Rep. Paul Ryan “reached out” and got burned.

More than a month after the Wisconsin Republican ignited an angry backlash over comments that many viewed as racially insensitive, the House Budget Committee chairman sat down with members of the group to clear the air.

But Wednesday’s session on Capitol Hill didn’t bridge the gulf between Ryan’s philosophy of addressing poverty and that of the black caucus—whose members defend many of the current federal anti-poverty programs that Ryan’s proposed budget would cut.

The black caucus chair, Rep. Marcia Fudge, an Ohio Democrat, stood next to Ryan after the closed-door meeting and thanked him for coming. But then she said bluntly that the meeting “didn’t get a whole lot accomplished.”

She said while the black caucus and Ryan both are concerned about poverty, “we just disagree on how we address the problem.”

Ryan opened the meeting explaining his comments a few weeks ago on a radio program—which triggered the invitation to sit down with the group—didn’t come out the way he intended, according to a Democrat who attended the session.

During a March interview with conservative commentator Bill Bennett, Ryan, who has been working on alternative ways to address poverty, said there is a “tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work.”

Many African-American leaders called the comments racially charged and the blowback prompted Ryan to swiftly admit his remarks were “inarticulate.”

He should study panderer Senator Rand Paul, whose latest betrayal shouldn’t surprise. He said:

Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing. I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.

If Ron Fournier thought conservatives were destroying themselves, he would let them, I pointed out last week. But he knows that conservative Republicans help themselves by speaking the truth. If they convert to social liberalism, Republicans are dead.


“It’s the 18th-century mindset that the sweat off your brow determines your ability to survive, not the government. But the notion of the great pioneer has been slowly chipped away by barbed wire and government regulation.” –Jeffrey Richardson

A Hollywood writer pitches a war story at a dinner party (hat tip Ed Driscoll):

When Chetwynd was a successful Hollywood writer specializing in historical dramas, he told the Dieppe story during a Malibu dinner party—as a sort of tribute to the men who died there so people could sit around debating politics at Malibu dinner parties. One of the guests was a network head who asked Chetwynd to come in and pitch the story. “So I went in,” Chetwynd told me, “and someone there said, ‘So these bloodthirsty generals sent these men to a certain death?’

“And I said, ‘Well, they weren’t bloodthirsty; they wept. But how else were we to know how Hitler could be toppled from Europe?’ And she said, ‘Well, who’s the enemy?’ I said, ‘Hitler. The Nazis.’ And she said, ‘Oh, no, no, no. I mean, who’s the real enemy?’”

“It was the first time I realized,” Chetwynd continued, “that for many people evil such as Nazism can only be understood as a cipher for evil within ourselves. They’ve become so persuaded of the essential ugliness of our society and its military, that to tell a war story is to tell the story of evil people.”

Kind of like how the real enemy in Man of Steel wasn’t General Zod, it was racism.


This could be a prank on the system, or sincere. After Her and Judge Vaughn Walker’s legal reasoning, it’s hard to argue with Mr. Sevier’s logic.

Mr Sevier argues that if gays should be allowed to marry, then so should other sexual minorities.

Mr Sevier states he has fallen in love with a pornography laden computer.

“Over time, I began preferring sex with my computer over sex with real women,” he told a court in Florida.

This appears to be not a passing holiday romance, but a lifelong commitment.

If gays have the right to “marry their object of sexual desire, even if they lack corresponding sexual parts, then I should have the right to marry my preferred sexual object”, he said.

...

If gays feel as if they are second class citizens, Mr Sevier argues then “those of us in the real minority, who want to marry machines and animals, certainly feel like third class citizens”.

Mr Sevier apparently sought a marriage license for himself and his “machine spouse”, but for some reason was denied.

“The exclusion from marriage to a machine denies myself a dignity and status of immense import,” he argues in his motion.

Marriage isn’t about “preferred sexual objects.” It’s about love.


Ten years ago, Steve Sailer observed a strong correlation between years married paired with fertility and social conservatism. It’s a good read, albeit mired in statistics jargon.

The less people are married, the fewer children they have, the more leftist they are. Family formation ensures the future of civilization and prevents the passing of society’s functions to the state.

Social conservatism is not just sound policy, it’s in Republicans’ self-interest to oppose abortion and marriage “liberalization.” Libertarians/social liberals will destroy the Republican Party. Worse, they will pave the way for totalitarianism.


What’s the point of this video: that Democrats should nominate someone more Leftist than Hillary Clinton? Instead of learning the true definition of marriage, the college students’ takeaway is that she’s a hypocrite—or, worse, a right-winger!.

The tactic, while humorous, is short-sighted. It fits into liberals’ strategy of purging impure thoughts from polite society. The kids’ conclusion is that Hillary Clinton might be to “right-wing.” That’s scary. You can’t win a Democratic primary unless you believe in marriage redefinition.

At 0:59, one student ascribes the quote to Dick Cheney. That’s ironic, since Cheney, whose daughter is gay, was ahead of most Democrats in his tacit support for marriage redefinition.


Epic comment by “Michael” at the Federalist:
A place like the “Brave New World” of Aldous Huxley would seem to be the point towards which the Progressives wish us to progress. Are the masses all to be mind-numbed sterile individual sex machines? Is it actually possible that Progessives see their “Brave New World” as a good place for human beings? Or is it more true to say that Progressives would like to eliminate the ‘human’ from the ‘being’ altogether other than for the top most of society’s members, the elites?

Social liberal Charles C. W. Cooke comes out against capital punishment. “Grayman” comments:

Liberal philosophy has created a world where there is no evil, and therein lies the rub. Evil really does exist, and it really doesn’t help trying to explain it away as the result of some political inequality. Lockett was evil, regardless of how he got that way, and keeping him alive thinking it’d make us a better people is just not a conviction I can share. As long as a man like that breathed air the world was a more dangerous place.

The only moral problem I have with the State executing bad guys is the State is demonstrably incompetent when it comes to deciding who the bad guys are. How many stories have we read since DNA testing became available where men on death row were exonerated? This doesn’t apply to Lockett, however. He was proud of what he’d done. Jonah was dead on (pun intended) when he said Lockett deserved to die.

I’ve ranted about Cooke before here. He supports prostitution, same-sex marriage, and legal marijuana.


Reminiscient of “Liberal scrooges,” David Harsanyi reviews a hit piece on Paul Ryan by Arthur Delaney. Excerpt from Harsnayi:

Delaney does offer us an insight into progressive thinking: These days, anyone who claims that the poor can succeed without the state’s guidance and anyone who claims that ordinary citizens can pick up the slack left by costly and failed welfare programs, is doing the bidding of the plutocracy. The state is in competition with local communities. It is in competition with religion. The headline of the piece might well have been, ‘If The Department of Health and Human Services isn’t helping you, no one really is.’

Rick Santorum must read me.

I think there’s a lot of common ground between libertarians and conservatives, but frankly there’s a lot of common ground between libertarians and liberals.

You read it here first.

The libertarian host responded: “American greatness is based on individual freedoms and individuals succeeding and getting the government out of their way.” Like Dead Poets Society (I prefer The Emperor’s Club), she takes virtue for granted.


It seems you can’t talk about immigration policy with much seriousness in the Netherlands, either. Christopher Caldwell reports at the Weekly Standard:

Wilders had one more question, though. After explaining that his party rested on straight talk and avoided political correctness, he asked the room: “Do you want, in this city and in the Netherlands, more or fewer Moroccans?” Wilders would explain in an interview a few minutes later—the post facto clarification is his political signature—that he didn’t mean all Moroccans, only the criminal ones. But the room did not insist on that qualification and hollered, “Min-der! Min-der! Min-der!” as lustily as it had for the other questions.

The fallout was almost immediate. One German news agency compared Wilders to the Nazi rabble-rouser Joseph Goebbels. Two of his 14 members of parliament exited the party. So did two city councilors and one of his European candidates. Then Wilders’s adversaries began to file judicial complaints against him for discrimination, 500 of them in a single day in the left-wing city of Nijmegen. The other parties debated whether to freeze Wilders’s party out of any involvement in governing, through what is called a cordon sanitaire. (Labour said yes; D66 said it would be undemocratic.) Wilders fell from 27 percent to 22 percent in the polls.

It was a signal that there are limits to what a populist candidate can say—but also that those limits might be getting less and less constraining. Five percentage points is not that many. As the days passed, it appeared that Wilders might be in the process of winning them back.

No matter who they are, no matter where they hail from, more of them is always better. Such is the multiculturalist’s religion of national and ethnic self-hatred.


Two years ago I was unemployed and having the time of my life. In May 2012 I went for a 3-day hiking trip in Virginia and West Virginia. I summarized the experience at my first blog, and I talked about it in an allegorical sense here.


Next week I’m going to Honduras on a mission trip with my girlfriend, her family, and others from our church. I’ll be gone a week. Pray for us, please.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Right side of God

Ron Fournier says opposing same-sex marriage is a waste of time. Liberals say things like this because they want to help conservatives focus on battles conservatives can win. Balderdash. If liberals thought conservatives were destroying themselves, they would follow Sun Tzu’s advice and let them.

He begins with a (yawn) false equivalence to skin pigment:

Donaldson, the black Baptist minister from St. Louis, wrinkles his nose when I tell him about the gay marriages underway at the nearby courthouse, not to mention what’s happening in the NFL and Idaho. “I’m not for gay marriage,” he seethes. “I’m against what God’s against.”

But, wait. That’s precisely the justification given by segregationist politicians of the civil rights era. In Georgia, Gov. Allen Candler said, “God made them Negroes and we cannot by education make them white folks.” Ross Barnett became Mississippi’s governor in 1960 after claiming that “the good Lord was the original segregationist.”

As much as race/class warfarers would like to believe it, Israel was not, nor is it now, a race. Israel accepted the prostitute Rahab. It accepted Moses’ Midianite wife. It cast out members who worshiped other tribes’ gods and did what was abhorrent in the Lord’s eyes. Israel is a culture of holiness and oneness with God, not a racial hegemony. Israel emphasizes—get this—content of character.

When people attribute to the Bible things that are not in the Bible, Fournier thinks we should ignore the Bible, not the people. That’s illogical, but who needs logic when you’re on the “right side of history”? It’s just filler for Fournier, because “inevitability” is the crux of his non-argument. Ironically he quotes Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who, being a Baptist, believed in the Bible and would be seen as a homophobe today:

“The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice,” Martin Luther King said of the fight for racial equality. Five decades later, Donaldson and his wife posed for pictures in front of the Little Rock Nine monument and dismissed the fight for sexual equality. In the not-too-distant future, their views on homosexuality will pass into history. Nobody can stop the arc of justice.

Fournier is too smart to believe violations of the rights of speech and of conscience are just, and he’s too proud to admit we are fraught with evil now as much as we were in the 11th century. One of the great fallacies of modernity is that our ancestors were backward bigots and we’re all better now. But human nature is as flawed as ever. The power grid didn’t save us from original sin. In a way, we are more evil now because of the reach and power we have through quasi-mastery of the material world and the personal autonomy and lack of group accountability that bestows.

The moral universe does not follow a timeline. It begins and ends in God, who is eternal. Ultimate justice is meted out in heaven, not on earth. John in the Book of Revelation exhorted the churches in Asia to keep the faith in the face of Roman persecution, that God would rescue their souls on the day of judgment. Much of King’s language mirrors John’s, especially this quote about the “arc of the moral universe.”

None of that matters without a proper view of justice. When Fournier speaks of “justice,” he does not mean justice for the 56 million babies aborted since 1973. He means equality of sin and virtue, sexual license and the destruction of the family.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Absolute relativism

History was made Sunday when the first openly gay football player (to say he is who he is and he’s not going to change and you shouldn’t care) was drafted by the St. Louis Rams. Bill Rhoden and Jonathan Capehart appeared on MSNBC Monday to discuss the seventh-round draft pick. It wasn’t a talk between a conservative and a liberal. It was a talk between a liberal and a totalitarian. You have to air both sides, you know.

Rhoden takes the relativistic, secular view that homosexuality is innocuous and cultural mores will take time to change. Capehart, who is proudly gay, is more absolutist regarding relativism. He’s ready to outlaw dissent and have the knuckle draggers “made to understand.”

Capehart: “So what you’re saying is Michael Sam has to put up with people disrespecting who he is, that Michael Sam has to put up with people who don’t like who he is, and he just has to put up with it and take it?”

Rhoden: “As opposed to what? As opposed to what? This is the real world.”

Capehart: “What you’re saying is he’s supposed to be silent, that he’s supposed to stand silently by and let people disrespect him.”

Rhoden: “No, no, what I said is there has to be a national back-and-forth discourse. It can’t just be a one-way thing that if anybody expressed discomfort, then their cast as a homophobe.”

...

Capehart: “Hatred is not new. Bigotry is not new. Ignorance isn’t new. And so when someone denigrates somebody else for who they are... I understand you’re saying that it has to be a two-way conversation. But tolerance should not be a two-way street. It’s a one-way street. You cannot say to someone that who you are is wrong, an abomination, is horrible, you know, get a room, and all of those other things that people said about Michael Sam, and not be forced—not ‘forced’ but—not be made to understand that what you’re saying and what you’re doing is wrong.”

Rhoden: “You’re question I think is an important question, is, ‘Does he have to take it?’ All I’m saying is, when you are a pioneer, whether you’re Jackie Robinson—when you’re a pioneer, there’s a certain responsibiltity that’s going to come with being a pioneer. There’s a certain weight that you gotta carry.”

Capehart: “That I get, but then the person who has the hate in their heart, or the bigotry in their heart, or the homophobia in their heart has to be made to see that the way they think and feel is wrong.”

When Capehart looks in the mirror, he doesn’t see a sinner. He doesn’t see a person created in God’s image, whom God loved so much that He sent His only begotten Son to redeem him. I would say Capehart sees a perfect, holy, inviolable individual, but most of us understand perfection as an absolute, moral term, external to us owing to our varied and imperfect natures.

He does see the individual as perfect in this sense: Capehart believes indivuality itself confers perfection on the individual. According to him, sin isn’t falling short of a standard external to the individual, it’s holding individuals to said external standard.

I’d tell Capehart to get over himself, but it wouldn’t compute. In his thinking, the self isn’t an obstacle to greater things. The self is the greatest thing.

Notice he leaves no room for people with hatred. He judges them by the only standard he has: that there is no standard. Since there is no standard for the individual to follow, there is no evil the individual commits, and thus there is no evil to hate. Without evil that merits hatred, hatred itself becomes evil.

The only question Capehart leaves open is the mechanism of reeducation. With respect to that, self-imposed economic sanction is doing just fine.

Tuesday Capehart ran to his blog at the Washington Post website to clarify his totalitarian stance:

The notion that “tolerance can’t just work one way” was off-putting. While I agree that “there has to be back and forth” in discussing issues in which there are different points of view and beliefs and that pioneers have “a certain weight” they have to carry, I reject the notion that the pioneer or the person making others feel “discomfort” is the one who has to compromise himself or herself any further to make others feel better.

A dialogue suggests a fair and open debate, an outcome that is in doubt, a potential for hatred of sin to continue to be tolerated. That’s unacceptable, as the title of his blog post suggests: “No tolerance for ‘discomfort.’”

The ring for the bout over men’s souls is set. In one corner is the doctrine of the incorruptible self. Man has an absolute right to his autonomous individuality and absolute will, enforceable on others by centralized power brokers, whether they be the government, media, or business. To borrow from C. S. Lewis on pride, it “always means enmity—it is enmity.”

In the other corner is the bare, naked fact of man’s fallenness and the opportunity to be reconciled to God and become one with others in the body of Christ.

Choose.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Self, weaponized

There is a virus in the modern world deadlier than HIV: the self, weaponized. People high on self-esteem push their sin on others with no presumption of humility or imperfection. The forces of darkness use these people to defeat the forces of light.

The easiest way to jeopardize your career, your standing in the world, is to call homosexual behavior a sin. Read: “Brothers Yanked By HGTV Respond: ‘If Our Faith Costs Us A TV Show, Then So Be It.’” Even more surreal: “Dolphins fine and suspend player for tweeting negative comment about Michael Sam.” The extraordinary exception being made for Sam in as checkered a talent pool as NFL players shows how deeply committed to protecting their fiefdom from the gay mafia Roger Goodell and the owners are. Belief in the incorruptible self is a prerequisite for admittance onto the football field.

After Sam’s “historic” ascendance to 7th-round draft pick by the St. Louis Rams and the powers’ vulgar exultation of his sexuality, nothing related to Jesus’ promises of establishing His kingdom on earth has changed. The worst reaction is to become jaded, to stop feeling revulsion at sin, for it is in continuing to tell the truth of Jesus’ ministry that Christians give the fallen a little hope to be saved.

I believe God is using the forces of darkness as His winnowing fork. God shines brightest in the darkest darkness. Without the Nazi genocide, there would have been no Dietrich Bonhoeffer, no Irene Opdyke. To remain firm in the faith under pressure to conform is the most effective testimony one can make. Those who truly belong to Him will resist the worldly influence being exerted on them to embrace passivity and acceptance of sin. The rest await judgment.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Adam Silver’s Rubicon

Despite the dubious evidence and the questionable manner in which it was obtained, Adam Silver threw the NBA’s weight behind the racial reactionaries and their facilitators in the solipsistic sports media. He has no case to give Donald Sterling the boot. Forbes reports:

The NBA’s basic case, according to legal experts, is a breach of contract claim. The league would argue that Sterling simply violated the NBA bylaws by running afoul of a morals clause, which is a largely broad clause that speaks to conduct that can be considered detrimental to the league. Sterling could certainly fight that approach, arguing that a league looking to force someone out could stretch a morals clause to include almost anything it likes, and that this action represents a draconian step.

“It’s an unprecedented case, Sterling could argue that he didn’t violate an express provision (i.e. no specific violation),” says Matthew Mitten, Director of the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University. Sterling might also incite what’s called a “fair dealing” provision – that the league, by forcing him to sell his property on the basis of a private, illegally taped conversation, isn’t acting in good faith.

Another sports attorney, Lee Hutton of Zelle Hofmann in Minneapolis, who very much sides with Sterling, is even more succinct: “There’s a pause because the owners are no doubt sitting there trying to figure out ‘how in the world are we going to force Sterling to sell based on these bylaws?’.”

The team owners could also be squeamish about setting a standard to which they will be held in the future. It has to be unsettling knowing the NBA can forcibly divest you of your property in favor of the politically correct and connected. To avoid perking Big Brother’s ears, they’ll have to guard their speech in the ostensible privacy of their own homes. That’s a powerful disincentive to owning an NBA team, and a significant downward pressure on a team’s value. If they can’t agree to force Sterling to sell the Clippers, Magic Johnson, Al Sharpton, et al. will turn up the heat, and then their fire will turn on each other, especially Silver.

Radar Online has more illegally obtained audio of Sterling. (It seems he can’t trust anyone to keep their conversations private.)

Referencing the Instagram photo of Stiviano with Magic Johnson that sparked the whole brouhaha, a defeated Sterling said, “It breaks my heart that Magic Johnson, a guy that I respect so much, wouldn’t stand up and say, ‘Well let’s get the facts. Let’s get him and talk to him.’ Nobody tried. Nobody!”

The facts are second rate. Let the powers decide what two and two add up to.

There’s one more problem. Having banned Sterling for life, Silver has essentially taken over the business operation of the Clippers, who are in the middle of a playoff run. The pall of “alleged” racism hangs over every game. The NBA has every incentive to milk the Sterling drama for TV ratings, as do the media, as shown by this ESPN headline: “Are Clippers currently ‘America’s Team?’” A deep postseason run was possible for the Clippers anyway, but a perception of being “America’s team” is enough for referees to swing a closely contested, critical game their way.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Boko haram

Islamists, Boko Haram included, aren’t against girls’ education per se. They are supportive of the Islamic education girls receive in Islamic schools. The secondary school in Chibok deep in Muslim Nigeria, where Boko Horam kidnapped hundreds of girls, isn’t an Islamic school. It’s a Western school. They oppose boys and girls attending these schools. The Australian media reported in February:

The name Boko Haram means “Western education is sinful” and school attacks have featured prominently in the group’s four-and-a-half-year Islamist uprising, which has killed thousands of people.

The police chief said all the [59] victims in Monday’s attack were boys, and the school’s 24 buildings, including staff quarters, had been completely destroyed by fire.

Listen to the Boko Horam leader’s own words:

We are against Western education, and I say stop Western education... In every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make: Either you are with us, I mean, real Muslims who are following Allah’s footsteps, or you’re with Obama, Francois Hollande, George Bush... This war is against Christians, I mean Christians generally.

A few exceptions aside, Western education has little to do with Christianity anymore. Its foundations are materialism and liberalization. Observe its fruits and judge it accordingly. Western civilization is openly at war with both Christianity and Islam, their differences notwithstanding. This is how Islamists see Western schools:

African leaders seized on the opportunity to shake down ketchup millionaire/Secretary of State John Forbes Kerry. Kerry, sympathetic to the “poverty causes crime” argument, bought it.

During his recent Africa trip leaders had told him that much of the challenge in confronting violent extremist groups like Boko Haram lies in fighting poverty, Kerry said at a Council of the Americas conference in Washington.

“They all talked about poverty and the need to alleviate poverty, and that much of this challenge comes out of this poverty where young people are grabbed at an early stage, proffered a little bit of money,” he said.

It’s true children can be manipulated, but who, or what, is manipulating them? The wages of sin tempt not the poor, but the weak. Islam is responsible for its evil, not poverty. Bourgeois liberals can’t see this through their ideological blinders. They can’t explain the poor Christians who don’t murder boys or kidnap girls. They can’t explain Islamic terrorists’ roots in the Arab upper class.

“We were surprised that [the] inequality paradigm seems not to be supported. The study essentially seemed to show that those born in the U.K. consistent with the radicalization paradigm are actually more affluent or well off.” –Kamaldeep Bhui

As for Nigeria, it needs the Sudan solution. For decades Sudan’s Muslim north warred with the Christian south. In 2011 South Sudan became an independent country.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Marx’s sine qua non: Ayn Rand

Jen Kuznicki dives into the works of Ayn Rand to claim atheism (objectivism, really) and conservatism are incompatible. Kuznicki notes: “It was the love of the dollar that drove both Francisco D’Anconia and government.”

Rand’s characters are difficult because she modeled them to represent ideals, not real people. Her heroes Dagny Taggart and Howard Roark are emotionally catatonic, single-minded in their ambition, and have neither love nor charity. Outside of work, their lives are meaningless. Who would envy them? I sure don’t. They are machines.

Like Nietzsche, Rand hated socialism, but deified the will. She is opposite Marx on the materialist coin. Marx and Engels wrote in The Communist Manifesto:

The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part. The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors,” and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment.” It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

It’s as if Marx and Engels, writing in the 1840s, were looking a hundred years ahead at Ayn Rand. Without using her as a foil, communism wouldn’t stick.

Rand is the free market’s worst apologist. Rather than specifically argue the immorality and ineffectiveness of socialism, she targets “altruism” and the “common good,” which operate as socialists’ premises. There’s nothing wrong with altruism and the common good in themselves—as long as they are used to serve man, not enhance state monopoly.

That’s too complicated a concept for Rand’s allegorical tomes. She throws the baby (civil society) out with the bathwater (state socialism). Her philosophy is fundamentally at odds with the building blocks of the society—place, family, faith—which prudently hone the will and the ego to be virtuous, not liberal.

Zechariah Chafee wrote: “Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.” Think about that. If people routinely exercised that right, there would be no social trust to create systems of trade and mutual support. There would be no civilization.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Consumptive stagnation

Daniel Shuchman reviews Thomas Piketty’s 685-page Keynesian tome Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Excerpt:

A professor at the Paris School of Economics, Mr. Piketty believes that only the productivity of low-wage workers can be measured objectively. He posits that when a job is replicable, like an “assembly line worker or fast-food server,” it is relatively easy to measure the value contributed by each worker. These workers are therefore entitled to what they earn. He finds the productivity of high-income earners harder to measure and believes their wages are in the end “largely arbitrary.” They reflect an “ideological construct” more than merit.

If not for high-income earners and their “arbitrary” wages, the jobs of the first sort wouldn’t exist. Their wages transmit useful knowledge in nascent markets. Those wages vary greatly depending on success in creating demand. Business start-ups can go broke in 3 years or go nova.

The free market is unmoved as to whether high-income earners “merit” or deserve their wages. Replicable, secure jobs exist in large, well-established industries, where demand already exists thanks to innovators who took risks to bring their products to market decades ago. On the leading edge of technology, where ingenuity and initiative create demand, jobs are not replicable nor are they secure.

Affinity for static, predictable markets is classic Keynesianism and a recipe for long-term stagnation. While assembly line jobs are good for those who can stand them, there is no room for creativity in mass production of consumer goods. Man is not an economic unit, but an individual endowed by God with a will. Creativity is needed to grow the pie. Yoking men to machines goes against the nature of economics, to improve material conditions and alleviate burdens. Picketty’s proposed 80 percent tax on income greater than $500,000 will effectively eliminate regenerative free enterprise, freeze us in our current material conditions, and drain the country’s wealth.

Demand-side is a dead end. First quarter growth this year was a pathetic .1 percent, if that. Demand, or consumption, was up, the Wall Street Journal reports:

Consumer spending was the “silver lining within a dour first-quarter growth report,” said Andrew Wilkinson, chief market analyst at Interactive Brokers LLC. But that enthusiasm is somewhat tempered because consumers tend to have little choice in spending on utilities and medical care.

Forced purchase of health insurance courtesy of President Obama and Chief Justice Roberts created lots of demand, but no growth.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Odds and ends 5/4/2014

It’s been a bitter week in the news. Here’s a reminder of what God wills us to live for:


Only if Britons lost the will and the virtue to lead themselves would they submit to the tyranny of an ever greater and evermore foreign colossal government.

The UK Telegraph reports:

Under her [Viviane Reding, vice president of the European Commission] plan, the commission would have supremacy over governments and MEPs in the European Parliament would supersede the sovereignty of MPs in the House of Commons.

National leaders, meeting as the European Council, would be reduced to consultative, second chamber role similar to the House of Lords.

Nigel Farage, the leader of Ukip, said that Mrs Reding had revealed the true choice for British voters to make at polling stations.

“For people in power in Brussels that is the only choice on offer, no reform just a United States of Europe. On 22 May the British people must ask themselves if they want this and vote accordingly,” he said.

“I am sure people will say no to this centralist fanaticism.”

I am less than sure.


Hank Aaron laments baseball’s diversity.

“When I first started playing, you had a lot of black players in the major leagues. Now you don’t have any. (7.7 percent of big-leaguers last season). So what progress have we made? You try to understand, but we’re going backward.”

The MLB’s share of black players is regressing towards the mean after spiking in the ’80s, while the last 10 years have witnessed a surge in players from the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and Japan. White players are below 60 percent, less than their share of the population (72 percent).

Speaking of affirmative action, the Supreme Court recently reaffirmed the equal protection clause is optional. James Taranto summarizes:

Scalia and Thomas’s view, thus far joined by no other sitting justice, is that racial discrimination in public-university admissions is flatly unconstitutional. The prevailing view on the court is that such discrimination is permissible, but only for the purpose of realizing “the educational benefits” of a “diverse student body,” as Justice Sandra Day O’Connor put it in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003).

In every other instance, the courts have applied the equal protection clause to overturn state laws that discriminate on the basis of skin pigment. That was its intent. But when states explicitly discriminate to the benefit of minorities, the Court carves out an “educational benefits” exception. O’Connor’s reasoning is that sitting next to a black with a low IQ is going to make you smarter than sitting next to a white with a high IQ.


How could I miss this 2012 post-election Dennis Prager column?

The most widely offered explanation for Mitt Romney's defeat is that the Republican Party is disproportionately composed of—aging—white males.

That is, alas, true.

But the real question is what Republicans should do with this truth.

There are two responses.

The nearly universal response—meaning the response offered by the liberal media and liberal academics (and some Republicans)—is that the Republican Party needs to rethink its positions, moving away from conservatism and toward the political center.

The other response is for conservatives and the Republican Party to embark on a massive campaign to influence, and ultimately change, the values of those groups that voted Democrat.


Mark Steyn eviscerates Brandeis University:

At Brandeis University, we are learning the hierarchy of the new multiculti caste system. In theory, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is everything the identity-group fetishists dig: female, atheist, black, immigrant. If conservative white males were to silence a secular women’s rights campaigner from Somalia, it would be proof of the Republican party’s ‘war on women’, or the encroaching Christian fundamentalist theocracy, or just plain old Andrew Boltian racism breaking free of its redoubt at the Herald Sun to rampage as far as the eye can see. But when the snivelling white male who purports to be president of Brandeis (one Frederick Lawrence) does it out of deference to Islam, Miss Hirsi Ali’s blackness washes off her like a bad dye job on a telly news anchor. White feminist Germaine Greer can speak at Brandeis because, in one of the more whimsical ideological evolutions even by dear old Germaine’s standards, Ms Greer feels that clitoridectomies add to the rich tapestry of ‘cultural identity’: ‘One man’s beautification is another man’s mutilation,’ as she puts it. But black feminist Hirsi Ali, who was on the receiving end of ‘one man’s mutilation’ and lives under death threats because she was boorish enough to complain about it, is too ‘hateful’ to be permitted to speak. In the internal contradictions of multiculturalism, Islam trumps all: race, gender, secularism, everything. So, in the interests of multiculti sensitivity, pampered upper-middle-class trusty-fundy children of entitlement are pronouncing a Somali refugee beyond the pale and signing up to Islamic strictures on the role of women.

The secular powers’ complacency with Islam needs only this explanation: “The enemy (Islam) of my enemy (Christianity) is my friend.” Islam’s complacency with the secular powers is their desire to watch the enemy self-destruct. When post-Christian America is sufficiently weakened, Islam will devour it.


In a piece shaming single mothers (kidding), Robert Maranto and Michael Crouch identify single-parent families as a source of income inequality. They conclude:

Welfare reform beginning in the mid-1990s offered only modest marriage incentives and has been insufficient to change entrenched cultural practices. The change must come from long-term societal transformation on this subject, led by political, educational and entertainment elites, similar to the decades-long movements against racism, sexism—and smoking.

But the first step is to acknowledge the problem.

The second step is as important as the first: identifying the problem’s cause.


As I was researching my abortion article, I learned that nearly all of the fertility rate loss since 1960 occurred by the mid-’70s. As of 2012, there were 19 years with a fertility rate of 66 or lower: three occurred during the ’70s, four during the ’80s, six (consecutive) in the ’90s, three in the 2000s, and three in the 2010s. The ’90s were the worst decade for fertility, but they lagged behind the ’80s and 2000s by less than 1 birth per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44.


In the ’50s and ’60s, the income share of the top decile in America had bottomed out at 33 percent. Then in the ’70s it began a precipitous rise to 48 percent by 2010, abated slightly by the 2008 stock market crash.

The New York Sun editorializes:

Hmmm. What could account for that? Could it be the last broadcast of the “Lawrence Welk Show?” Or the blast off of the Apollo 14 mission to the Moon? Or could it have something to do with the mysterious D.B. Cooper, who bailed out of the plane he hijacked, never to be seen again? A timeline of 1971 offers so many possibilities. But, say, what about the possibility that it was in the middle of 1971, in August, that America closed the gold window at which it was supposed to redeem in specie dollars presented by foreign central banks. That was the default that ended the era of the Bretton Woods monetary system.

That’s the default that opened the age of fiat money. Or the era that President Nixon supposedly summed up in with Milton Friedman’s immortal words, “We’re all Keynesians now.” This is an age that has seen a sharp change in unemployment patterns. Before this date, unemployment was, by today’s standards, low. This was a pattern that held in Europe (these columns wrote about it in “George Soros’ Two Cents”) and in America (“Yellen’s Missing Jobs”). From 1947 to 1971, unemployment in America ran at the average rate of 4.7%; since 1971 the average unemployment rate has averaged 6.4%. Could this have been a factor in the soaring income inequality that also emerged in the age of fiat money?

This is the question the liberals don’t want to discuss, even acknowledge. They are never going to get it out of their heads that the gold standard is a barbarous relic. They have spent so much of their capital ridiculing the idea of honest money that they daren’t open up the question. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. from MIT or Princeton, however, to imagine that in an age of fiat money, the top decile would have an easier time making hay than would the denizens of the other nine deciles, who aren’t trained in the art of swaps and derivatives. We don’t belittle the skills of the top decile. We tend to view them the way we view great baseball players or violinists — heroic figures. Neither do we make a totem out of economic equality; in inequality, after all, are found incentives.

In terms of public policy, though, we favor honest money. It works out better for more people. And there is a moral dimension to the question of honest money. This was a matter that was understood — and keenly felt — by the Founders of America, who almost to a man (Benjamin Franklin, a printer of paper notes, was a holdout), cringed with humiliation at the thought of fiat paper money. They’d tried it in the revolution, and it had been the one embarrassment of the struggle. They eventually gave us a Constitution that they hoped would bar us from ever making the same mistake.


The reason for my instinct to defend Donald Sterling is the liberal mass media is never in total agreement on something unless they are all totally wrong. I don’t know this man. I don’t know Cliven Bundy, either. That doesn’t change that both men were wronged.

J. R. Dunn gives his take at the American Thinker:

In both cases laws were clearly broken to reveal the offending statements. With [Paula] Deen, it was the unauthorized opening of a sealed deposition, with Sterling an illegally acquired recording of himself laying down the law to his mistress. In neither case has any point of this been made by national media. Racism, it seems, is so horrible and unforgiveable that any crime is justified in rooting it out.

Which leads us to the third point: the fact that there is no longer a right to privacy where racism is concerned. Both Deen and Sterling had perfect expectations of privacy. These were violated without a second thought. No such expectation can now be held with regard to racism. As time passes this will be extended to sexism, heterosexism, and the entire politically-correct litany. Anybody who thinks this will not work its way down the ladder from billionaires and media empresses to John and Jane Doe has not yet encountered millennial political ideology in action. Thought control is coming in through the back door, by means of a totally unfettered media structure. Government agencies and departments will not be far behind.

The venal, putrid Jonathan Capehart writes:

The conversations on race we need to have are going to require more courage than what’s on display now. That’s because they will require trust, the ability to listen and an understanding of nuance.

That rule doesn’t apply to the benign comments by Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling, only to grieving minorities. The proud sinner leaves no room for “understanding of nuance.”

The latest racial nightmares to sweep across the land are at once sickening and fantastic: sickening because of the bald racism expressed by Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling, fantastic because of the instantaneous and near-universal condemnation of them both.

Maybe it’s the fact that Bundy and Sterling were so blatant that made it easier to see the horror in their words. Whatever the reason, I’m glad that our latest national conversation on race hasn’t slipped into its usual pattern of finger-pointing and excuse-making followed by nothing.

The usual pattern is knee-jerk reaction and politics of personal destruction. Thanks to the tireless work of Capehart et al., Eric Holder’s “nation of cowards” is more cowardly than ever before.

These bullies can’t be bargained with. They’re totalitarians. They won’t tolerate our differences. We must destroy them before they destroy us.

Because Sterling’s mistress kept going there, the cuckolded adulterer did try to explain to her why people would see Instagram pics of her cozying up with black male A-list celebrities in a sexual light. Ready? Here goes: There’s a perception that black men are more sexually aggressive than men of other skin pigments. Whether it’s true or not, it is the perception. On the tape, Sterling never explicitly says this, but it’s what he’s alluding to the whole time. Even this it is a big lie to call racism, which ESPN’s (surprise, surprise) Jason Whitlock does:

“We don’t evaluate what’s right and wrong,” Sterling is heard telling his black-and-Latina mistress when she asked if it was right to treat black as less than white. “We live in a society. We live in a culture. We have to live within that culture.”

Sterling adheres to a pervasive culture, the hierarchy established by global white supremacy.

“I don’t want to change the culture because I can’t,” Sterling says. “It’s too big.”

Burn, baby.

“Propaganda works best when those who are being manipulated are confident they are acting on their own free will.” –Joseph Goebbels

I finished ex-Communist Bella V. Dodd’s School of Darkness. It’s a short, terrific book. Excerpts:

Only recently I heard the chief of the New York public schools speak on television on juvenile delinquency. It was soon after the wrecking of a school by young vandals. He said that what was needed was more buildings, more teachers, better playgrounds. Those devoted to progressive education and to preparing youth to live in the “new socialist world” are abstractly sure of what they want, but they seem not to know that they work with human beings. Aside from teaching that children must learn to get along with other children, no moral or natural law standards are set. There is no word about how our children are to find the right order of harmonious living.

I, too, had to learn by hard experience that you cannot cure a sick soul with more buildings or more playgrounds. These are important, but they are not enough. Abraham Lincoln, schooled in a one-room log cabin, received from education what all the athletic fields and laboratories cannot give. All his speeches reflected his love for his Creator. He knew that God is the cure for godlessness. (Ch. 10)

...

Trachtenberg once said to me that when communism came to America it would come under the label of “progressive democracy.” “It will come,” he added, “in labels acceptable to the American people.”

...

This is the peculiar paradox of modern totalitarianism. This is the key to the mental enslavement of mankind: that the individual is made into nothing, that he operates as the physical part of what is considered a higher group intelligence and acts at the will of that higher intelligence, that he has no awareness of the plans the higher intelligence has for utilizing him. When a person conditioned by a totalitarian group talks about the right not to incriminate himself, he really means the right not to incriminate the communist group of which he is only a nerve end. When he talks of freedom of speech, he means freedom for the communist group to speak as a group through the mouth of the individual who has been selected by the higher intelligence.

The Bill of Rights of the American Constitution was written to protect individuals against centralized power. The Communists pervert this safeguard by first enslaving the individual so that he becomes the marionette of the centralized power. (Ch. 11)

...

I continued to move in a world of men who were determined to create new types of human beings who would conform to the blueprint of the world they confidently expected to control.

...

When the Yalta conference had ended, the Communists prepared to support the United Nations Charter which was to be adopted at the San Francisco conference to be held in May and June, 1945. For this I organized a corps of speakers and we took to the street corners and held open-air meetings in the millinery and clothing sections of New York where thousands of people congregate at the lunch hour. We spoke of the need for world unity and in support of the Yalta decisions. Yet at the same time the youth division of the Communists was circulating petitions for universal military training.

The two seemed contradictory. But Communists do not cross wires in careless fashion. The truth was that the two campaigns were geared to different purposes: the need to control the people in the postwar period, and the need to build a world-wide machine to preserve peace. Since the communist leaders were evidently not envisioning a peace mechanism without armies, the obvious question then was: for whom and to what end were the Communists urging the building of a permanent army? Did they not trust their own peace propaganda? (Ch. 12)

The American Communist Party went afoul of Soviet leadership in 1944, eschewing overthrow of the bourgeois system for cooperation with the Roosevelt administration. They even supported a Chamber of Commerce proposal of cooperation between labor and management. The American Communists did this in anticipation of a post-war peace with a socialist America and the Soviet Union aligned and standing athwart the world. Labor strikes were suppressed. Proletarian grievances were silenced. Dodd likened the new tone to Fabian socialism.

Earl Browder at the convention of 1944 had insisted on the elimination of a sense of difference among the foreign-born and had moved to have them treated as part of the American labor movement. To this Professors Berti and Donnini offered strenuous objections. They emphasized the importance of separate national organizations, of encouraging the foreign-born to use their languages, and of circulating foreign-language newspapers. They encouraged the organizing of the different national groups almost as if these were foreign colonies. It would strengthen the sense of nationalism among them, they asserted, a necessary thing for the building of world communism.

The Marxist-Leninists, like the Democrats of today, understood how to exploit racial tension.

The Party proposed to develop the national aspirations of the Negro people so they would rise up and establish themselves as a nation with the right to secede from the United States. It was a theory not for the benefit of the Negroes but to spur strife, and to use the American Negro in the world communist propaganda campaign to win over the colored people of the world. Ultimately, the Communists proposed to use them as instruments in the revolution to come in the United States. (Ch. 13)

The Communist Party expelled Dodd in 1949 after she rankled the new leadership, and she gradually returned to her Catholic faith. I bolded the best line in the book.

I smiled ruefully in recalling that I had thought the Communists the modern prototype of the early Christians, come to cast greed and selfishness from the world. The Communists too had promised an order and a harmony of life. I knew now that their promises were fraudulent, and that the harmony they promised brought only chaos and death. Yet I knew too that I had to get the difference between the two clear in my own mind before I took any further steps. I had to know, and for myself.

...

Now I saw in true perspective the contribution that the teachers and the schools of America have made to its progress, just as I was sadly aware of the darker picture some of the educators and the educated among us have presented. Justice Jackson has said that it is the paradox of our times that we in modern society need to fear only the educated man. It is very true that what a man does with his knowledge is that which, in one sense, justifies or indicts that education. A glance at the brilliant scientists who served the Hitler regime, and the Soviet scholars who serve the Kremlin, a look at the men indicted for subversion in our own country—all lead us to re-estimate the role of education. We are told that all problems will be solved by more education. But the time has come to ask: “What kind of education?” “Education for what?” One thing has become transparently clear to me: rounded education includes training of the will as much as training of the mind; and mere accumulation of information, without a sound philosophy, is not education.

I saw how meaningless had been my own education, how like a cafeteria of knowledge, without purpose or balance. I was moved by emotion and my education failed to guide me in making sound personal and public decisions. It was not until I met the Communists that I had a standard to live by, and it took me years to find out it was a false standard.

Now I know that a philosophy and movement that devotes itself to improving the condition of the masses of our industrial society cannot be successful if it attempts to force man into the mold of materialism and to despiritualize him by catering only to that part of him which is of this earth. For no matter how often man denies the spirit he will in an unaccountable manner turn and reach out to the Eternal. A longing for God is as natural a heritage of the soul as the heartbeat is of the body. When man tries to repress it, his thinking can only lapse into chaos.

I know that man alone cannot create a heaven on earth. But I am still deeply concerned about my fellow man, and I feel impelled to do what I can against the inhumanity and injustices that threaten his well-being and security. I am aware, too, that if good men fail to so love one another that they will strike vigorously to eliminate social ills, they must be prepared to see the conspirators of revolution seize power by using social maladjustments as a pretext.

I believe that the primary requisite for a sober appraisal of the present challenge of communism is to face it with a clear understanding of what it is. But it cannot be fought in a negative manner. Man must be willing to combat false doctrine with the Truth, and to organize active agency with active agency. Above all there must be a new birth of those moral values that for the past two thousand years have made our civilization a life-giving force.

...

I know that even if the Communists were sincere in the glittering promises they make, they would be incapable of fulfilling them for they cannot create the kind of men needed for the task. Whatever apparent good the Communists have achieved has come through human beings who despite the harsh materialism taught them still retained a memory of God and who, even without realizing it, drew on the eternal standards of truth and justice. But their store of such men is dwindling, and in spite of their apparent victories men schooled in darkness are doomed to defeat. (Ch. 17)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

One Auschwitz per year

“What do you say we lighten things up and talk about abortion?” –Bill Hicks

I can believe this asinine statement at prochoice.org: “If abortion were used as a primary method of birth control, a typical woman would have at least two or three pregnancies per year—30 or more during her lifetime.” Assuming sexual behavior would not change if contraceptives were taken away betrays a stunning ideological blind spot. Pro-choicers can’t imagine women preferring chastity over the elevated risk of pregnancy. They think the sexual revolution permanently changed human nature. It didn’t. Like breathing bottled oxygen on Mt. Everest, it just incentivizes more risk taking.

In 1973, the year of Roe v. Wade, 19 percent of pregnancies ended in abortion. Over the next 8 years, the abortion rate ratcheted up to 30 percent, and it has since fallen steadily to 21 percent as of 2011.

While it is encouraging that the abortion rate has fallen from its peak by nearly a third, the number of abortions is still high: 1,060,000 in 2011, down from 1,429,000 in 1990. By comparison, an estimated 1,100,000 Jews died in Auschwitz.

Jill Filipovic reports on a different holocaust happening in Texas. Abortion clinics are being killed off by the dozen.

In 2011, 44 clinics performed abortions in Texas. Today, there are 19—and fewer by the day. When additional regulations go into effect in September, there will be six, maybe seven. That handful of clinics will serve a state of 13 million women with the largest rural population in the United States, in a country where one in three women has an abortion in her lifetime.

But back to the dictionary. Under US law, states may pass and enforce abortion regulations so long as they don’t place an “undue burden” on women seeking the procedure. The definition of “undue burden”, however, is rapidly expanding, as courts seem to take the position that almost nothing is “undue” when it comes to burdening women who need to end their pregnancies.

“Need” is a relative term. Few women’s lives, definitely fewer than a third, are endangered by pregnancy.

I have a two-pronged strategy to reduce the “undue burden” of having to drive 4 hours to kill your lifeless clot of cells. Controlling for other factors, these recommended sexual habits will reduce demand for abortions by 91 percent:

  1. Get married before getting pregnant. Eighty-three percent of women who get abortions aren’t married.

  2. Don’t have sex unless you want to get pregnant. Half of women who get abortions are let down by contraceptives.

Because the strategy amounts to having less sex, these are the last things the women’s liberation movement wants. The whole industry relies on doing whatever you want and avoiding the consequences. Nothing stamps out freedom like responsibility for a life.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Temperature and GDP

GDP grew an atrocious .1 percent last quarter. The gist of the economic reporting blames the record cold. (Global cooling?) It couldn’t possibly be failed government policies. On the Keynesian, demand-side model, consumption drives growth. In winter people spend more time indoors and spend less money buying things, which Keynesians think hurts growth.

“The U.S. economy slowed sharply in the first three months of the year as a harsh winter exacted a toll on business activity. The slowdown, while worse than expected, is likely to be temporary as growth rebounds with warmer weather.” –Martin Crutsinger, AP

“The harsh winter sent a chill through the U.S. economy in the first quarter as slumps in business investment and home construction stalled growth.” –Jeanna Smialek, Bloomberg

Economic growth from the last quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014 was 1.35 percent, less than half the median growth of 2.8 percent since October-March 1970.

Here’s a graph of October-March temperatures and combined annualized GDP growth since 1970.

width=511 height=287

As you can see, since 1970, there has been little to no warming. There has been a decline in GDP growth, however. October-March GDP growth topped 7 percent four times in the ’70s and ’80s. We haven’t had better than 5 percent growth since 1999.

Average October-March GDP growth during the ’70s—known for stagflation, two oil crises, and the introduction of fiat money—was 2.71 percent. Average October-March GDP growth in the decade ending in 2014 was 1.12 percent. Even removing the 2009 blip, current 10-year growth is 2 percent, still below the 45-year median.

The four best and four worst October-March periods for GDP growth occurred during moderate winters in a range of 4.0 to 5.2 degrees Celsius.

The more accurate predictor of GDP growth since 1970 is time and government encroachment on the free market, not temperature.


UPDATE (6/25): The final first-quarter growth number of -2.9 percent is a disaster. This winter was cold, but the winter of 1979-1980 was just as cold; first-quarter growth then was 1.8 percent. The economic “headwinds” the president likes to talk about aren’t natural, they’re man-made.