Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Odds and ends 11/10/2015

This is my 502nd and final post. As my less frequent posting shows, I don’t have the desire to continue writing for this blog anymore. It’s been an experience. Thank you for reading.

If you’re reading this blog for the first time, I encourage you to review the archives.


Eighty-three percent of Texans voted for Prop 7. Like I said, we rubber-stamp our constitutional amendments in Texas. But it wasn’t all bad news on the off-off-year election:

Don’t get optimistic. Setbacks at the ballot box are nothing that a few federal courts and an aggressive leveling zeitgeist can’t overcome.


James Arlandson has mature thoughts about the law:

Several years ago, my city installed cameras at various intersections, and I got caught three times. After paying the fines of $500.00 each, my driving “miraculously” improved. The penalty imposed by the law taught me virtuous driving and restrained my carelessness.

You too have experienced the law as teacher that fosters virtue and as restrainer that checks your vices.

But what happens when we don’t allow the law to teach us or restrain us? What if we instead jettison it because it “cramps our style”—usually our sexual misconduct and drug use and other vices?

We don’t need to talk in detail about the troubles caused by lifting restrictions on abortion, which fosters more abortions, or no-fault divorce, which paves the path toward the breakdown of the family. And will states legalize a bad drug—marijuana?

Will we lower standards or submit to just laws we don’t like? The law legislates morality, but maybe we’re not listening.


Here’s more background on Daraprim, courtesy of Ben Swann:

Make no mistake; what Shkreli is describing here is not capitalism. Capitalism means that if the price of Daraprim is too high, three other pharmaceutical companies can make their own version tomorrow and the market would set the price based on supply and demand.

The demand for Daraprim isn’t very high. Only a small group of people use it. But the real story here is the supply, one that is controlled by a relationship between pharmaceutical companies and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Let me explain how that happened with Daraprim.

Before Shkreil’s company bought the rights to Daraprim, Shkreil made sure wholesale market was starved of the drug, so that when Turing Pharmaceuticals completed its purchase of the rights there were no extra pills floating around.

Next, he set up an exclusive distribution network to block competitors from obtaining enough Daraprim to conduct clinical trials for the FDA.

With potential competitors blocked, and his monopoly enforced by the FDA, this set him up to gouge consumers.

Right now, even if another company had exactly the same drug, it would take at least three to four years to get FDA approval. During that time, Turing can charge whatever they want for their drug.


You should read what Stella Morabito writes. She perceives where social liberalism is headed. She considers a “singles activist’s” marriage abolitionism:

The arguments I make for marriage and family are straightforward, even plain. Central planners have always understood that when you legally isolate people, you can better control them. Take away the sanctuaries of marriage and family, and you take away everybody’s privacy and autonomy. The state zooms into that vacuum.

Now, I do understand that DePaulo is deeply invested in her quest to abolish marriage in the guise of singles’ rights. So I imagine that’s why she did not respond to my central argument that it is bad for the state to completely disregard family bonds, and thereby legally isolate each and every individual, single and married alike, from the autonomous sanctuary of families.

Instead, DePaulo sums up her response to me in a very strange way: by claiming I am “afraid” of single people. Whenever a critic has to resort to an ad hominem fallacy—especially such a ridiculously offbeat one—well, you know you’re definitely on to something. At first, I thought it was kind of funny, even if outlandish. I mean, telling someone they’re “afraid of single people” is like telling them they’re afraid of people with arms or people who walk. It’s an eye-roller, a silly charge to respond to.

Nevertheless, it’s always disturbing to see someone project emotions onto the messenger of an intellectual argument rather than just answer the points. And who exactly are these “single people” of DePaulo’s imagination? I see us all as unique human beings, diverse in our perspectives. She sees “single people” as ... what? A monolithic political bloc, perhaps.

DePaulo’s apparent claim to speak for an entire demographic is another red flag. Recall, for example, how Lenin said he spoke for the proletariat, as their vanguard. Mao spoke for the peasantry, as their vanguard. And so on. Once you’ve wrapped yourself in the mantle of “the people” or “singles” or whomever, it is far too easy to lapse into accusing those who oppose your agenda of being against “the workers” or “the people” or “single people” or whomever. It is, in essence, a smear tactic that enables its users to avoid engaging with real arguments. And we all know it happens on every level: in middle school cafeterias, in homeowner’s associations, in office politics, in faculty lounges, in Politburos.

But the bottom line is that singles’ activists are poised to be handed the “marriage equality” baton by LGBT activists so they can use it to fight for “unmarried equality.” In the end, this basically means keeping singles single and making marrieds single, too.

Too many Americans seem hypnotized by the slogan that abolishing civil marriage will “get the state out of the marriage business.” No. It sure as heck won’t. Have you ever heard anyone who makes this claim explain exactly how it gets the state “out”? I haven’t, and I’ve concluded that’s because it does no such thing. Rather, by abolishing marriage, you simply give the state permission to refuse to recognize your marriage, and its attendant rights and responsibilities. This refusal inevitably extends to the rest of family relationships, including parent-child.

Thus, the effort to abolish marriage is intimately connected to the ongoing radical redefinition of family. All of this is about—whether consciously and willfully, or not—abolishing family autonomy, abolishing privacy, and, by logical extension, abolishing all personal relationships based on mutual trust. If there is no legally protected autonomy in the family, how can it exist in any other personal relationship? It can’t. By abolishing marriage, we all become strangers to one another in the eyes of the state. Statists have always salivated at the prospect of regulating all of our personal relationships, all of our social interactions. This is not good.


Glenn T. Stanton chews up and spits out narcissist ordinance language:

The terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are terribly subjective. They mean very different things to reasonable people, and find no common definition even within the LGBT community. Consequential public policy demands more precision. If we don’t know what these terms mean, nobody can know if he is violating the law or not until hauled into court, and even then various judges are likely to disagree.

So, what does “sexual orientation” actually include and exclude? How is one’s “gender identity” determined and legally ascertained? Neither of these are objective, measurable personal characteristics like race, sex, color, ethnicity, pregnancy, disability, etc., but they are assumed as such in laws like this. Great trouble arises when we assume we are all talking about the same thing here but in fact are not. Let’s see how this is precisely case we have today.

Gender theorists confidently explain what gender is with this clever ditty: “Sex is what’s between your legs. Gender is what’s between your ears.” I think, therefore I am. He’s a man purely because he understands himself as such, regardless of what his original physical factory settings may indicate. She is a woman for the very same reasons. And no one can say otherwise. Does a better example of subjectivity exist? But this understanding is far from settled among leading scholars.

Identity, whatever it is, forged into an incontrovertible legal “right,” is narcissism and nihilism.


The bearded Marxist is more likely a fascist, that is, a “practical” socialist:

In an unguarded moment Coons put the real face on anti-patent reform legislation when he described patents as a “government granted monopoly” and argued that government needed to give people the right to “enforce those monopolies.”

In other words, per Coons, they’re a way for the government to pick winners and losers.

Same shit, different day in the “free market.” The usually cynical ZeroHedge sounds exasperated:

Surprise! A central banker promises moar of the same... and once again the goldfish-like-memory of market particpants forgets that this has all been priced in a thousand times and buys his bullshit. EUR dumped 150 pips to a 1.11 handle, 2Y German notes tumbled 6bps to -32bps, European and US stocks are surging (as USDJPY rises) and US Treasuries have reversed early gains amid equity gains.

There are no surprises under corporatism, only manufactured demand to keep the fattest cats producing the popularized, dilapidated innovations of yesteryear.

There’s a supply-side lesson here in the revamped 48 Minutes of Hell, my second-favorite Spurs blog:

Believe it or not, I spend a fair amount of time thinking about our audience. Partly this is because I’m still a little astounded anyone is the least bit interested in reading our writing, but mostly it’s because I don’t believe we will survive if we aren’t providing value to our audience. I’ve always been proud of what we’ve published, but recently I’ve questioned the amount of value we’re providing. This isn’t a question of quality. The matter at hand is scarcity.

If a commodity exists in infinite supply, it is rendered valueless. This is economics 101. Scarcity is what creates value. And content is the least scarce commodity in existence. If our goal at 48 Minutes of Hell is to provide value to our readers, then we face a very particular challenge: We must become alchemists, transforming a valueless commodity into a valuable one.

Actually, I don’t think the inventiveness of suppliers, which is the gestation of wealth creation, makes it into Econ 101 classes. Econ 101 is mostly analysis of static supply and demand curves.


Rod Dreher quotes a Daniel Gordis piece on Arab nationalism in Israel, then comments:

Gordis writes in sadness, as if having to face the resilience of Palestinian irredentism falsifies a cherished belief. Which, of course, it does: there can never be peace if Arabs believe that Jews have no right under any circumstance to be on the land.

I think there’s a lesson in this for all of us in the West, whatever we think of the Israel vs. Palestine divide. We love to think that the modernity — liberty, equality, capitalism and the material comfort it generates — erodes instincts we find atavistic. Why would you want to carry on a tribal dispute about land when you could live in peace and we could all get rich together, and be happy? The answer, it would appear, is that to the non-Western culture of the Middle East, the greatest poverty is the dishonor of acquiescing in your defeat.

Admitting fault gets you nowhere with your enemies.


The preaching minister at church quoted Arthur Brooks in his sermon a few Sundays ago:

This search for fame, the lust for material things and the objectification of others — that is, the cycle of grasping and craving — follows a formula that is elegant, simple and deadly:

Love things, use people.

This was Abd al-Rahman’s formula as he sleepwalked through life. It is the worldly snake oil peddled by the culture makers from Hollywood to Madison Avenue. But you know in your heart that it is morally disordered and a likely road to misery. You want to be free of the sticky cravings of unhappiness and find a formula for happiness instead. How? Simply invert the deadly formula and render it virtuous:

Love people, use things.


Sally Zelikovsky rages about the Republican establishment:

The base doesn’t care if Republicans get along with Democrat counterparts or reach across the aisle to work with political enemies. The base does care that conciliation with present-day Democrats is a one-way street and they never hesitate to stab Republicans in the back while patting them at the same time.

We are at an inflection point battling for this country’s cultural, economic and geo-political survival. Seeking common ground and compromise cannot be effective when our negotiating partners are control freaks who have mastered the art of demagoguery.

Amen.


Thomas Sowell makes an excellent point re: gun control:

Beginning in 1911, New York had stronger restrictions on gun ownership than London had—and New York still had murder rates that were a multiple of murder rates in London. It was not the laws that made the difference in murder rates. It was the people. That is also true within the United States. (bold mine)

That’s what I said!

Liberals’ gun control obsession papers over the killer’s aspect that is really behind murder, writes Michael Bargo, Jr. at the American Thinker:

The refusal to acknowledge the fact that it is an unfortunate fact of human nature that some people will always choose to kill others, by whatever means available, is what drives the denial of murder. This tendency of people to kill each other is repeatedly denied, yet progressives are never reluctant to affirm that human nature will always lead people to discriminate against people of color, that corporate executives will always be greedy, that Wall St. hedge fund managers will cheat the tax system as much as possible, and so on.

That some people refuse to heed the better angels of their nature only applies to gun ownership. And as a side note there is irrefutable evidence that banning guns not only does not prevent gun murders but the opposite is true; that banning handguns promotes handgun murder. When Chicago banned handgun ownership for 25 years the murder rate increased by 44%. This is based on information from the FBI and the Chicago Police, who are in a better position to know the facts than some progressive who wants to run for President—while having armed bodyguards.

Hillary Clinton and her ilk only accept bad behavior when it’s to their political advantage. They refuse to accept that violent people can only be stopped with guns, yet they have passed hundreds of community-based programs to fight against poverty, joblessness, and the lack of available birth control. They have no trouble or hesitation assuming that people do bad things with regard to racial profiling, bullying, or the use of politically incorrect language; yet with regard to shooting innocent people they are in denial that they only way for decent citizens to protect themselves is to own a gun. They do not propose community based programs for security guards and employees in schools carry guns as a solution.

Another issue is that by focusing on gun control they make the silly impression that the people who commit mass murders were not violating any other laws. The person who shot the victims in Oregon committed dozens of other crimes, and the fact that these other crimes, such as discharge of a weapon in a public no-gun zone, bringing a loaded weapon into a no-gun zone, assault with a deadly weapon, intent to kill, and murder are already serious crimes doesn’t matter. It’s not the major issue. Only the fact that the murders were done with a gun is the issue.


I’m on the third book of C. S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy, and so far the third book impresses me in how it sets up the clash of scientific humanism/progressivism and the social, soulful man of reality. But first here’s a passage from Perelandra, the second book, that struck me as very well written:

The thing had seemed a sheer impossibility: he had not thought but known that, being what he was, he was psychologically incapable of doing it; and then, without any apparent movement of the will, as objective and unemotional as the reading on a disk, there had arisen before him, with perfect certitude, the knowledge “another this time tomorrow you will have done the impossible.” The same thing happened now. His fear, his shame, his love, all his arguments, were not altered in the least. The thing was neither more nor less dreadful than it had been before. The only difference was that he knew—almost as a historical proposition—that it was going to be done. He might beg, weep, or rebel—might curse or adore—sing like a martyr or blaspheme like a devil. It made not the slightest difference. The thing was going to be done. There was going to arrive, in the course of time, a moment at which he would have done it. The future act stood there, fixed and unalterable as if he had already performed it.

Now for some pretentious progressive talk from That Hideous Strength:

The real thing is that this time we’re going to get science applied to social problems and backed by the whole force of the state, just as war has been backed by the whole force of the state in the past. One hopes, of course, that it’ll find out more than the old free-lance science did; but what’s certain is that it can do more.

...

Humanity is at the cross-roads. But it is the main question at the moment: which side one’s on—obscurantism or Order. It does really look as if we now had the power to dig ourselves in as a species for a pretty staggering period, to take control of our own destiny. If Science is really given a free hand it can now take over the human race and re-condition it: make man a really efficient animal.

...

In us organic life has produced Mind. It has done its work. After that we want no more of it. We do not want the world any longer furred over with organic life, like what you call the blue mould—all sprouting and budding and breeding and decaying. We must get rid of it. By little and little, of course. Slowly we learn how. Learn to make our brains live with less and less body: learn to build our bodies directly with chemicals, no longer have to stuff them full of dead brutes and weeds. Learn how to reproduce ourselves without copulation.

Lewis really nails the religious nature of the totalitarian technocracy these progressives try to usher in. There’s even talk of the “New Man,” which the Communists spoke of. What these people want is to destroy nature and nature’s God and remake man in their image of what man should be. It’s quite Nietzschean, as you can see:

You know as well as I do that Man’s power over Nature means the power of some men over other men with Nature as the instrument. There is no such thing as Man—it is a word. There are only men. No! It is not Man who will be omnipotent, it is some one man, some immortal man.

Here’s some more nuggets from George Gilder’s Wealth and Poverty:

“Capital,” as the Austrian school of economists tells us, “is time”—the delay in consumption entailed by extended modes of production. In poor communities, it might be said, all time is present time, and capital—in its human form of work effort combined with education and savings—does not adequately accumulate to provide income and wealth. But a more fundamental day of defining the stagnant lower class is by its lack of family structure. The men’s links to children and future are too often insufficient to induce work and thrift.

...

It was firm links between work, wealth, sex, and children that eventually created a future-oriented psychology in the mass of Western European men. [E. A.] Wrigley concludes: “So often said to be the result of industrialization and urban living,” the nuclear family, in fact, “preceded it by centuries” and facilitated the long-term development of the highly motivated industrial bourgeoisie and workforce.

...

Faith in man, faith in the future, faith in the rising returns of giving, faith in the mutual benefits of trade, faith in the providence of God—these are all essential to successful capitalism. All are necessary to sustain the spirit of work and enterprise against the setbacks and frustrations it inevitably meets in a fallen world; to inspire trust and cooperation in an economy where these very faiths will often be betrayed; to encourage the forgoing of present pleasures in the name of a future that may well go up in smoke; to promote risk and initiative in a world where the rewards all vanish unless others join the game. In order to give without the assurance of return, in order to save without the certainty of future value, in order to work beyond the requirements of the job, one has to have confidence in a higher morality: a law of compensations beyond the immediate and distracting struggles of existence.

...

At any time in the history of a reasonably mature economy, the largest businesses will tend to be the most efficient. That’s how they became large. They benefit from economies of scale and specialization. But only someone viewing the economy as a system of statistical quantities could imagine that size is the crucial fact about successful companies.

...

These firms have found such efficient ways to make their product that few competitors can arise. Invariably they dominate their fields, which tend to be old markets for relatively routine products. Their great efficiency derives from many years of making the same thing and incrementally improving it and perfecting the means of producing and selling it.

Such companies have become highly rigid and specialized, and in static terms, greatly productive. Many of them are now experiencing a new lease on life in the international realm. But from the point of view of overall economic growth and technological innovation, these leviathans are of little importance to the economy. They are efficient now only because they were dynamically inefficient and competitively aggressive during their earlier phases.

...

The prophets of a transition to socialism almost always seek the future by peering resolutely at the obsolescent. Just as Marx focused on industrial conditions that were already passing away at the time he wrote, the contemporary scholars focus on processes of production and organization that are rapidly undergoing change.

...

Money is far more immediately decisive in the lives of men than of women, and women often fail to understand what is at stake among men at work. The man’s earnings, unlike the woman’s, will determine not only his standard of living but also his possibilities for marriage and children—whether he can be a sexual man. The man’s work thus finds its deepest source in love.

Women are valued for their intrinsic worth far more than men. Men, most fundamentally, are measured by their performance of the role of provider and if they fail in it, there are few easy appeals to other criteria of success. But in accord with the crucial properties of capitalism, only other criteria are explicitly applied. She leaves him because “he drinks too much” or “we grew apart” rather than because he earns too little. He leaves her because of “incompatibility” rather than because her job is better than his and destroys his male role or because he has become rich and fantasizes he can recover his youth by remarriage to a younger woman.

...

Integration and equal opportunity are inherently conflicting goals. There may have been more commingling of the races in Southern slave society and more association of different classes in medieval feudal England than there is in contemporary America.

When social status is settled or largely beyond challenge, rich and poor can live in close proximity without tension. But when men have comparable opportunities to achieve wealth, people tend to associate with their own economic class.

...

Because welfare clients receive their apartments free and value them commensurately, and because ghetto streets are full of fatherless youths, welfare housing is invariably “bad housing.” Decent housing is an effect of middle-class values, not a cause. The housing of the poor can only be made “decent” be selling it to the non-poor—that is, by the process disdainfully known in the halls of HUD as “gentrification.”

...

What prevails in the United States and in every other county—and notably prevails within the liberal and bureaucratic intelligentsia from the moment they have children—is the desire for economically homogenous communities, where there is no fear of being robbed, mugged, or balefully resented.

...

The influences that the egalitarian would vitiate—home, family, church, and ethnic community—are, in fact, the only influences that work. The day care centers, schools, and poverty programs that might replace them are mostly ineffective in promoting upward mobility. The egalitarian program is capable of destroying families and communities, taxing away the earnings of the successful, and penalizing ambition and productivity, but it is not capable of fostering upward mobility among the groups that lack strong community and familial cultures. It is no novelty, though, to discover that levelers can lend upward mobility only to the administrators of the leveling bureaucracy.

To justify these futilities, a truly perverse hypocrisy—a tribute of virtue to vice—is arising. While the usual hypocrisy consists of the insincere profession of unfulfilled ideals, the hypocrisy of secular socialism entails the insincere attribution of evils.


Here’s some Scripture to leave you with:

Do not let me have evil desires, or participate in sinful activities with men who behave wickedly. I will not eat their delicacies. (Psalms 141:4)

God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

And some words from the master, whose Harvard commencement address inspired the name of this blog:

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Doldrums


In the day’s doldrums, my mind wanders
Discipline breaks down and I lose grip of
The anchor without which my ship founders

The current carries me, tired, listless
A sweet voice from the sea’s dark depths
Whispers the Siren’s call, relentless:

“No one is watching
No one can see
Wouldn’t it be nice
To come stay with me?”

Ignore the voice I try, and I fail
Just hear him out, I think. What’s the harm?
Thoughts are thoughts, not actions to curtail

“They won’t find out
It’ll be our secret
It’s cozy down here
All your worries forget”

To regard mutiny, I’m all ears
My ship, my anchor, I’ve relinquished
So hasty to sin entrust my fears

My will is weak, I shouldn’t fight
A battle I know I cannot win
Better to surrender to this might

An ally I have, ashamed to call
What would He think of meek, helpless me?
Unworthy of Him, I’d rather fall

Bidden thus, He appears, in power
Roaring, takes my place in my deathbed
Making to Him the Siren cower

My ears unstopped, I hear hymns of grace
The anchor, I cheer, draws me in tight
I’m rescued, reeled in from death’s embrace

A debt I owe but can never pay
I have done nothing to deserve this
But my life He gives me anyway

Monday, November 2, 2015

Sanctuary City, USA

Lawlessness:

Senate Democrats voted to prevent debate on a bill to rein in sanctuary cities that shield illegal-alien criminals from deportation. The final tally was 54-45, short of the 60 votes needed just to proceed to debate on the bill. Manchin and Donnelly were the only Democrats to vote for it, Kirk the only Republican to vote against. (Graham didn’t vote.)

So when Illinois Democrat Luis Gutierrez, the most strident anti-borders voice in the House, called the murder of Kate Steinle in the sanctuary city of San Francisco “a little thing,” he seems to have been speaking for his party. The only question now is whether Republicans will even try to make this a campaign issue. Cruz probably will, since he took to the Senate floor before the vote to urge its passage, but it will take more than that. Will party leaders go on the Sunday talk shows this weekend and denounce Democrats for protecting criminals? Will Jeb Bush hammer the issue on the campaign trail? Not likely.

And people wonder why Trump is so popular.

He’s popular because people have stopped caring. When you consistently lose politically on every issue, and as the Left’s radical transformation seeps into society’s marrow, you figure less on trying to win the game as the enemy has mastered it than on blowing everything to pieces.

Paul wrote in Romans 13 that those in authority are servants for our good. I increasingly believe, in our case, they are bellwethers of our godlessness and ignorance, like King Saul.

More lawlessness, here in San Antonio:

San Antonio Police Chief Bill McManus says his officers are entirely focused on enforcing criminal laws, and are not interested in enforcing federal immigration laws, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

“Under no circumstances are we going to deal with federal immigration matters in this department,” McManus said.

McManus spoke to a packed City Council work session on the issue of ‘Sanctuary Cities,’ and whether San Antonio officials should cooperate with federal immigration enforcement officers.

“We do not care what your immigration status is,” McManus said. “If you break the law, we will arrest you. It doesn’t matter what your status is, you will be treated the same.”

How many laws do illegals break when they get a job or apply for a credit card? Do citizens get a pass, too, when they defraud Social Security? Apparently some laws are more equal than others.

The argument goes illegals won’t report crimes if they fear deportation. These are “the shadows” they live in, and we are supposed to empathize. American police want to contain and dismember street gangs, so they turn a blind eye to “immigration status” so they can protect them from crime they invite upon themselves by their illegal residence.

If there wasn’t an illegal population to disguise themselves in, the gangs wouldn’t be here in the first place. If living in the shadows is their only incentive to leave 2015 America, then McManus’s policy ensures the illegal population and the crime it tacitly supports will stay.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Prop 7

Another year, another slate of constitutional amendments for Texans to rubber-stamp. There are seven amendments on the ballot Tuesday, but one of them is really important. That’s Proposition 7, dedicating sales tax revenue to highway construction.

The constitutional amendment dedicating certain sales and use tax revenue and motor vehicle sales, use, and rental tax revenue to the state highway fund to provide funding for nontolled roads and the reduction of certain transportation-related debt.

This is being sold as a painless way to ease congestion, when it really crowds out other priorities in the budget and worsens suburban sprawl. As in road-bloated Virginia, real estate developers, the Chamber of Commerce, the economic establishment, et al. love this spending plan. They get predictable, government-subsidized demand and corpulent economies of scale while blaming teachers unions in 10 years when they ask for a tax hike because there’s no other way to keep schools open.

We’ve been down this road before. Last year 80 percent of Texans voted to raid the Rainy Day Fund to throw $1.7 billion a year at TxDOT, either ignoring or just plain ignorant of the amendment’s boosters promising it was only a “first step” to getting the $5 billion a year they want. Here they are with step two, in the form of Prop 7.

There’s a perfectly reasonable way to fund roads. It’s called the gas tax. It’s the most sensible way to fund roads by the people who use them, and it hasn’t been raised since the ’90s. Prop 7’s fans are fond of pointing this latter fact out, but they don’t explain why the gas tax hasn’t been scaled to inflation or otherwise raised. The answer is it’s harder to raise money to pay for something than it is to take from other budget categories, like education.

Vote no on Prop 7.

Further reading: “Will Texas Voters Enshrine Failed Transpo Policy in the State’s Constitution?” by Angie Schmitt.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Life isn’t done with you

I’m convinced the most selfish thing you can do is end your life when life isn’t done with you. There is no standard “autonomy” of self that permits us to give up the treasure and the opportunity of life, to reject the gift of life God breathed into us. You might as well wish you’d never been born. A bitter and grieving George Bailey wished for that in It’s a Wonderful Life, excusable in the throes of personal ruin. But what if someone who is happy and successful wishes to die? Can anything be shown to him of the beauties of life that can change his mind? And how is intentional death any less destructive than the mentally ill person destroying God’s creation by mutilating his body to reach some twisted ideal borne from the mind?

This is a sad article by Ezekiel Emanuel that came out in the Atlantic last year:

Here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.

By the time I reach 75, I will have lived a complete life. I will have loved and been loved. My children will be grown and in the midst of their own rich lives. I will have seen my grandchildren born and beginning their lives. I will have pursued my life’s projects and made whatever contributions, important or not, I am going to make. And hopefully, I will not have too many mental and physical limitations. Dying at 75 will not be a tragedy. Indeed, I plan to have my memorial service before I die. And I don’t want any crying or wailing, but a warm gathering filled with fun reminiscences, stories of my awkwardness, and celebrations of a good life. After I die, my survivors can have their own memorial service if they want—that is not my business.

There’s a wry saying that he who has the power to destroy something is the one who controls it. Emanuel’s death fantasy is his vain assertion of control over his life, a middle finger to the Creator—by ending it.

I’d like to know what his wife, whom he will leave widowed, and his children, whom he will leave fatherless, because of his view of what it means to no longer be able to “contribute,” think. Abraham became the father of God’s chosen people when he was 100 years old. He too thought his days of contribution were behind him. The lesson is God bestows us life to exercise for His pleasure, not ours. Our minds are just too feeble to account the mission God gives us.

There are many things to live for and to bless others with, and to say all that ends at 75 is worse than moral confusion, it is retardation. The West will wither to a husk and die under such callow pretensions. This is the apotheosis of “if it feels good, do it” ethics. The spiritual exhaustion betokened in this article will not stand up to genuine crisis. If a man doesn’t see the point in living for something, he cannot be entrusted with anything worth dying for. To put it succinctly, we want fewer Ezekiel Emanuels, not more.

Related: “Rich with time.”

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Keynesian sinecure is a healthy man’s crutch

With equality overrunning winning in its leaders’ minds, America as a military power is surely in decline. Don’t panic, it was going to happen at some point. It is the way of all earthly things. The military looks more like a bloated jobs and benefits program than a force to project power in the national interest. It advertises itself as such, what with professional training and college subsidies saturating its recruiting materials.

This also is probably true:

Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hegel has a warning for San Antonio and other cities which are trying to protect their military bases, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Hegel, who stepped down as head of the Pentagon earlier this year, told the Trinity Policymaker Breakfast, that the U.S. has a huge excess of military bases infrastructure.

“We are carrying at least 25% overhead that we don't need,” Hegel said. “For our defense requirements and the security of the United States, that we don’t need.”

The next Base Closing and Realignment Commission is expected to be appointed in early 2017 to examine domestic U.S. military facilities and recommend closures.

Hegel says the U.S. cannot afford to keep redundant and unnecessary bases operating, just because they boost a community's economy.

“Every dollar that is being applied to overhead that we don’t need, facilities, bases, people, that's a dollar taken away from our legitimate security requirements,” Hegel said.

It’s logical to adapt to changing realities and priorities. Lobbying the government to keep military bases open past their usefulness and to keep the local workforce busy in unproductive work is classic rent-seeking, a symptom of economic decline. Cities expending human capital to secure waning Defense budget contracts epitomizes the failure of demand-side economics when resources are limited, which is to say, all the time.

Socialism fails because it coddles failing enterprise when people should be adapting to the market. If and/or when the San Antonio bases close, thousands of people will be put out of work. But “stress is the fertilizer of creativity,” Jon Voigt’s character said in 24. The closures will bring out the best of what each laid off man and woman has to offer. That sounds harsh, but it’s true. After World War II, the wartime economy laid off millions of people, and the post-war economy boomed as they applied their skills to serve their fellow man, instead of serve the nation in the war effort. However noble that service was, it did not lift up man like capitalism does.

But that’s not why the Keynesian economic establishment wants to scale down the military by 25 percent today. They want to because in the age of “sequestration” and other apocalyptic budget-balancing efforts, they have higher priorities. Since government sets demand, bureaucrats decide where money should go, which areas of the economy to “stimulate.” Inevitably it flows in accord with bureaucrats’ fancy, which may not be military at all, or may be military projects they have a personal stake in (e.g., in their home states).

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Gun control in Hobbes’s America

I predict not a single wannabe mass murderer will go through the trouble of getting a concealed-carry license. If you’re prepared to commit a capital crime, punishable by death, then a fine or lesser jail time for carrying without a license is not going to stop you.

The Daily Caller reports from the People’s Republic of Austin:

A professor emeritus at the University of Texas-Austin (UT) has announced that he is resigning his post in protest against a recent law allowing students to carry concealed weapons on campus, saying the law drastically increases his chances of being murdered.

“As much as I have loved the experience of teaching and introducing these students to economics at the university, I have decided not to continue,” economics professor Daniel Hamermesh said in a letter to university administrators this week. “With a huge group of students my perception is that the risk that a disgruntled student might bring a gun into the classroom and start shooting at me has been substantially enhanced by the concealed-carry law.”

What’s enhanced are his chances of survival if a nut job tries to shoot up his classroom. The lecture hall is less likely to become a shooting gallery if at least one of the maniac’s targets fires back.

Australia has stricter gun laws than America and a low murder rate, the result of a decline that began in the ’80s, before Australia’s mandatory gun buyback program took effect. Too bad mass shootings still do happen in Australia (see 2014 Sydney cafe siege). And robbery is up, to boot, what with criminals not fearing armed homeowners as much as in the past.

If you look at the possibilities, Hamermesh could be murdered anywhere, anytime: in class, in the park, or in his driveway; with a rifle, a billy club, or a Samurai sword. Nothing but personal vigilance or an oppressive surveillance state can deter the motivated criminal. But in all likelihood Hamermesh won’t be shot to death because he has less than a .2 percent chance of being shot to death.

Overall, the largest deterrent to violent crime is a civil society that encourages social cohesion and trust. Hamermesh, for reasons unknown, has no faith in the social order without appealing to the law. He claims he’s only still alive because someone—anyone—would have killed him by now if only they had a gun. This Hobbesian distortion of reality posits there are no good guys with guns and no bad guys with guns. There are only guys with guns governed by animal passions. They consciencelessly do what pleases them, including steal, rape, and murder. That’s too far from reality to give any credence or credibility.

Related: “Not everyone’s a homicidal maniac.”

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Odds and ends 10/10/2015

“Within the frame of Modernist schemes of development, Revelation and the Dogmas of the Church are merely historically conditioned transitional stages at the end of which stands the self-divinization of man. The Revelation in Christ and its heretofore history would only be a preparatory stage for an understanding of God, world, and church in which man himself is subject and object of the Revelation at the same time.” –Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller

Here’s a double dose of Mark Steyn, because a single dose of my favorite Canadian pundit is never enough. First, he sounds off on a report that illegal immigrants are represented in the electoral college. Since it’s not the people, but states’ representatives in the electoral college, who elect presidents, illegal immigrants effectively add to the votes of the majority in their states. Read:

On Tuesday night I joined Sean Hannity on Fox News to check the state of the Republican race, and a certain structural advantage the Democrats have. Most people are aware that the President is elected not by the popular vote but by the votes in the Electoral College. And most people are also aware that the more densely populated states have more electoral votes than smaller states: California has 55 votes, Vermont has three.

But most Americans, I would wager, assume that those proportions are based on the number of citizens in each state. Not so. As Politico reports, each state’s share of the Electoral College votes is calculated by using the “whole number of persons in each state”—including those who shouldn’t be there. So the more illegal immigrants you have in your state, the greater the votes you have in the Electoral College. Thus, the armies of the undocumented don't need “a pathway to citizenship” in order to change election results—or, as Politico's headline puts it, “Illegal Immigrants Could Elect Hillary”:

This math gives strongly Democratic states an unfair edge in the Electoral College. Using citizen-only population statistics, American University scholar Leonard Steinhorn projects California would lose five House seats and therefore five electoral votes. New York and Washington would lose one seat, and thus one electoral vote apiece. These three states, which have voted overwhelming for Democrats over the latest six presidential elections, would lose seven electoral votes altogether.

So, as I said to Sean, California’s illegal immigrants have a greater representation (five votes) in the Electoral College than my entire state (New Hampshire’s four votes). Which seems a very perverse system.

So Democrats don’t need to nurse illegals through to citizenship; simply moving them into California and other blue states bulks up the Electoral College math in their favor.

California can have all the illegal immigrants for all I care, as long as they don’t come here.

Seriously, though, what the hell?

Secondly, Steyn on Obama’s no good, horrible UN address:

Obama’s just mailing in a Hallmark greetings card for Happy Geostrategic Analysis Day: “You can jail your opponents, but you can’t imprison ideas.” Whichever overpaid speechwriter came up with that, the President of the United States is the one who agreed to utter it. It’s a superficial credentialed twerp’s idea of “smart”—when you're in a room full of hard-faced men from Russia, Iran, Syria and France, but you think the same cute lines that work on “The View” will see you through. As Putin no doubt assured the mullahs et al in private, the people you are dealing with in Washington are not cruel but they are dumb.

Deportations have gone down 42 percent since 2012. Mark Krikorian at National Review explains why:

In short, the drop in deportations is a policy choice made by the White House, not some development out of its control.

Perhaps the more important question, though, is why is Obama pulling the plug enforcement now rather than when he first took office? It’s true that during the first several years of his administration, deportation statistics were artificially inflated by counting many people caught at the border as deportations, which they were not previously. But why end the charade of “record deportations” now?

The reason is “comprehensive immigration reform.” It was necessary to appear credible on enforcement when passing an amnesty/immigration-surge bill was still a real prospect. The political message at the time was that Obama could be trusted to enforce immigration laws after an amnesty, to prevent the growth of a new illegal population, because he was deporting such large numbers of illegal aliens. Sure, it was never plausible to me, but the hope was that it would deceive enough voters who pay little attention to politics to provide pro-amnesty Republican sufficient political cover.

But when, despite this fairy tale, Senator Rubio’s amnesty bill died in the House, with no prospect of revival, there was no need to continue the charade. Obama and his people could take off the disguise (“not much of a disguise,” to quote Agent L in Men in Black) and follow their anti-borders instincts. We see this not only in the deportation collapse but also in Obama’s lawless amnesty edicts and his many machinations to negate the various numerical limits and standards imposed by Congress (the most recent one is discussed here).

These latest deportation numbers vindicate House Republicans’ refusal to vote on Rubio’s amnesty bill. It’s now indisputable that this administration had no intention of enforcing immigration law tomorrow if it was given an amnesty today. Obama’s promises of future enforcement, never very credible, are now exposed as lies. Why did Rubio and the other 13 Republicans who voted for the Gang of Eight bill believe him?

They don’t get that liberals will destroy the country if given free rein, that’s why. Read “Compromise is futile.”

Leon Wolf considers House Republican moderates in this RedState piece. He quotes House Republican moderate so-and-so on how he can’t get along with conservatives:

The next Speaker should not appease those who make unreasonable demands. There are a number of members of our conference. You cannot get the yes on anything. For them the end will be the good. In my view it's come time to marginalize those members who doesn’t want to be part of the governing majority.”

We might have to assemble a bipartisan coalition on the floor to elect the next speaker then. I mean, that’s what it could come down to.

I don’t know what will happen. Anything is possible now. It’s pretty clear to me that a number of us are not going to simply appease or exceed to those who will make unreasonable demands. And so I suspect in order to govern around here we need a bipartisan coalition on all major bills. If we can’t get 218 Republican votes for a Speaker, then we'll have to try other options. I don’t know what those options are, but I certainly don’t want to put somebody in the Speaker’s job who is going to appease those who are making unreasonable demands. (Emphasis added)

There’s that word, govern. As occupiers of the mushy middle, they have their pick of whom to coalition with. They’re willing to govern with liberals, but not with conservatives. Let that sink in.


I’m less proud I live in San Antonio because of this idiocy:

News Radio 1200 WOAI reports that a measure to be introduced at City Hall later this month would change October 12th from Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day in San Antonio, and would encourage the same change from schools, businesses, and other groups which celebrate Columbus Day as a holiday.

Councilman Rey Saldana says the change is in line with this year’s designation of the Spanish Missions as a World Heritage Site.

“We are doing this as a way to recognize and celebrate, and also to acknowledge and celebrate our history,” he said.

Native American prayers were heard at City Hall as the proposal was discussed.

Rudy Perez, a representative of the Native American peoples of San Antonio, said this designation is a long time coming, and he hopes it will bring to an end some misconceptions about Native Americans, like they are a ‘mixed race’ people.

“A lot of people say we got mixed,” he said. “We didn’t get mixed. We are still here. You got mixed with us. We never left from here.”

Set aside the retarded “mixing” remark. How does “Indigenous People’s Day” dovetail with the designation of the missions as a World Heritage Site? Those missions were built by Spaniards following in Columbus’s footsteps, ministering to polytheistic Native Americans. The history of San Antonio is the history of European exploration, missionary work, settlement, and technological progress. This smacks of historical revisionism.

But here’s something I feel better about:

A coalition of environmental, neighborhood, and grass roots groups has emerged to fight the proposed SAWS Vista Ridge Water Development Project, and the large water rate hikes which are set to come before City Council later this month, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Meredith McGuire, a sociology professor at Trinity University is one of the leaders of the ‘Mi Agua, Mi Vida Water Coalition,’ and she says many coalition members remain upset that SAWS pushed this through last year without hearing or considering any input from the public.

...

She says SAWS currently has enough water resources to serve the people and businesses who are already in the city, and it isn’t fair to ask existing residents to pay as much as 43% increases in their water bills over the coming five years to provide water for people who now don’t live in San Antonio, but may arrive in the future.

She’s right.


Let’s see if the “science” of global warming will accept facts, or discard it and simultaneously shed the fig leaf covering its ideology. Perth Now reports:

A former climate modeller for the Government’s Australian Greenhouse Office, with six degrees in applied mathematics, Dr Evans has unpacked the architecture of the basic climate model which underpins all climate science.

He has found that, while the underlying physics of the model is correct, it had been applied incorrectly. He has fixed two errors and the new corrected model finds the climate’s sensitivity to carbon dioxide (CO2) is much lower than was thought.

It turns out the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has over-estimated future global warming by as much as 10 times, he says.

“Yes, CO2 has an effect, but it’s about a fifth or tenth of what the IPCC says it is. CO2 is not driving the climate; it caused less than 20 per cent of the global warming in the last few decades”.

Dr Evans says his discovery “ought to change the world”.

“But the political obstacles are massive,” he said.

His discovery explains why none of the climate models used by the IPCC reflect the evidence of recorded temperatures. The models have failed to predict the pause in global warming which has been going on for 18 years and counting.

“The model architecture was wrong,” he says. “Carbon dioxide causes only minor warming. The climate is largely driven by factors outside our control.”


Jonathan Keiler analyzes the president’s post-Oregon gun control press conference. The italics are Obama himself.

That Obama doubled down on his politicization effort at [a] recent press conference shows that he thinks he has a political winner. Here we might take some comfort that Obama is often wrong. In this as in most things he differs from Socrates, who took the Oracle’s pronunciation that he was Athens’ smartest man to mean that he was the only man who knew how much he did not know. Obama falls on the other end of the ledger, a fool for believing he is always right.

Observing his press conferences, it is hard to believe that Obama was ever a “student of history” or a Constitutional Law professor, much less at any time the “smartest man in the room.” Socrates is credited with developing the method of using probing questions and direct answers to develop dialogue to search for truth. Obama avoids such opportunities, and when he does engage the press (though they are almost never challenging or hostile) does so in the turgid, blustery, and run-on manner of people who use words to hide meaning rather than enhance it. One observer at FOX clocked in his responses at an average of 9 minutes each during last weeks’ presser. A look at the transcript makes this appear reasonable. One wonders what his Con Law classes must have been like, and whether administrators passed out stimulants to keep his students awake.

...

“And if we’re going to do something about that, the politics has to change. The politics has to change. And the people who are troubled by this have to be as intense and as organized and as adamant about this issue as the folks on the other side who are absolutists and think that any gun safety measure is an assault on freedom, or communistic—or a plot by me to take over and stay I power forever or something.” (Laughter.)

Let’s leave aside Obama’s usual rhetorical tics, e.g., repeating phrases, referring to himself, and calling good hearted Americans that disagree with him “the other side.” As anyone who has raised a teenager understands, Obama here is trying to divert attention from one misstep by accusing us of thinking he’s doing much worse as in “No I didn’t miss curfew dad, and you probably think I’m using drugs and having sex too!” It’s a juvenile way to address an important issue, and insulting to anyone with half a brain listening to it. And what does that say about the lap-dog press corps’ supportive laughter at such a sophomoric attempt at humor?

I don’t know if Obama is a closet communist or secretly plans to install himself as a dictator, but nothing he’s said in the past few days would reassure someone who did. At the very least, his desire to turn an explicitly guaranteed liberty in to a political contest shows he has no appreciation of the freedoms the Constitution protects, especially for minorities, or the traditions of Western governance that led there. Had he lived in ancient Athens he’d have gladly poured Socrates his cup of poison.


The Onion skewers fatherlessness. This is heartbreaking and hilarious:

Saying she just assumed he would have figured it out by now, local mother Kathleen Rivers expressed concern to reporters Tuesday that her 12-year-old son, Dylan, still believes in his father.

“When he was a little boy, I thought it was really sweet that Dylan believed in his dad, but now that he’s older, it’s beginning to worry me a bit,” said Rivers, adding that she had always assumed this phase would have been over well before he reached adolescence. “He can’t play make-believe forever. Dylan will be a teenager soon, and he needs to start growing up.”

“He’s just getting too old for it, you know?” she continued. “This is kids’ stuff, and he has to learn to let go of it.”


In Public Discourse, Melissa Moschella sees the connection between marriage redefinition and Brave New World-style, totalitarian childrearing.

The view of marriage as a mere creature of the state to be redefined at will goes hand in hand with the idea that children “belong” primarily to the state, which then delegates (limited) childrearing authority to whomever the state defines as the child's parents.

We see this trend in Canada, where the 2005 bill redefining marriage to include same-sex partnerships replaced the term “natural parent” with “legal parent” throughout Canadian federal law. Similarly, in at least nineteen US states as well as the District of Columbia, same-sex partners can now both be listed as parents on a child's birth certificate, substituting politically correct legal fiction for the implacable (hetero)sexism of biological reality.

We also see the state encroaching on parental authority in order to enforce the new orthodoxy regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. “Equality” requires teaching that all family forms are equally good, and public schools do this by introducing “diversity-oriented” activities and readings—including books like Mommy, Momma and Me—across the curriculum.

...

The ideology that would justify this sort of intrusive behavior on the part of the state was trumpeted by Melissa Harris-Perry in an MSNBC promo spot a couple of years ago. Harris-Perry claimed that “we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”

Her claim reflects the troubling but not uncommon view that the education of children, particularly their formal education, is first and foremost the task of the state rather than parents.

This idea is echoed in the pro-same-sex marriage amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court by historians of marriage, which claims that “states have sought to limit the public’s responsibility for children by looking to married couples to provide support for minor dependents,” implying that married couples are agents of the state to help the larger community to raise its children.

This is effectively the position of political theorists such as Amy Gutmann, Stephen Macedo and others. They deny the primacy of parental educational authority and argue that the state can and should require children to be exposed to values and ways of life that conflict with those they are learning at home, that the state at least in principle has the right to mandate “diversity education” programs even in private schools and home schools, and that parents in principle have no right to opt their children out of such programs, even if they have a moral or religious objection to their content. These theorists would probably applaud, for instance, the law, recently passed in Alberta, which disallows parents from exempting their children from classroom discussions of homosexuality, and which requires all schools, including faith-based schools, to allow pro-homosexual student clubs like gay-straight alliances.

Of course, the views of Gutmann, Macedo, and Harris-Perry are mild when compared with progressive communal experiments like the Israeli kibbutzim of the mid-twentieth century (which broke down within a generation) or the radical communal childrearing scheme proposed by Plato in Book V of the Republic (though whether he proposed it sincerely or as a kind of reductio ad absurdum is a matter of debate).

What all of these approaches have in common, though, is the denial of primary and pre-political parental educational authority. And this same denial is also, strikingly, a key feature of the totalitarian regimes of the past century, both fascist and communist. While Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and Mao were hardly following Plato’s blueprint for the perfectly just society, they certainly understood, as Plato did, that the most effective (and perhaps the only) way to inculcate unquestioning acceptance of the regime’s ideals was to educate a whole generation in those ideals from childhood, and to minimize as much as possible any potentially contradictory educational influences, particularly the influence of parents. Just think of the tight state control of education in these regimes and the further indoctrination of students outside of schools in groups like the Hitler Youth, the Maoist Red Guard, or the Soviet Komsomol.

...

But if the intact biological family is a natural pre-political community—if parents, not the state, have primary and pre-political educational authority over their children—then the family is effectively a little sovereign community within the larger political community, and, like any sovereign community, it has the right to direct its own internal affairs free from coercive external interference (except in clear cases abuse, neglect, or serious threats to public order).

So I’m not crazy.


This is a great letter from C. S. Lewis on porn and masturbation:

For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back: sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman. For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no real woman can rival. Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover: no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity. In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself . . . . And it is not only the faculty of love which is thus sterilized, forced back on itself, but also the faculty of imagination.

The true exercise of imagination, in my view, is (a) To help us to understand other people (b) To respond to, and, some of us, to produce, art. But it has also a bad use: to provide for us, in shadowy form, a substitute for virtues, successes, distinctions etc. which ought to be sought outside in the real world—e.g. picturing all I’d do if I were rich instead of earning and saving. Masturbation involves this abuse of imagination in erotic matters (which I think bad in itself) and thereby encourages a similar abuse of it in all spheres. After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little, dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger is that of coming to love the prison.

That’s self-defilement, enfeeblement, and a loss of ability to function with any serious orientation toward the good or the future. Further reading: “In the service of sin.”


Igor Shafarevich recounts Plato’s Republic:

In Plato’s state, power belongs to the philosophers, who govern the country with the help of warriors known as “guardians.” Plato’s main concern was with the way of life of these guardians, since not only were the philosophers to be chosen from among them, but they were also to control the rest of the population.

He wanted to subordinate their life completely to the interests of the state, and to organize it so as to exclude the possibility of a split and the emergence of conflicting interests. The first means of achieving this was the abolition of private property. The guardians were to own nothing but their own bodies.

Their dwellings could be entered by anybody who wished to. They were to live in the republic like hired laborers, serving only in return for food and no other reward. For the same purpose the individual family was also abolished. All the men and women in the guardian class were to share their mates with all the others. Instead of marriage there was to be brief, state-controlled sexual union, for the purposes of physical satisfaction and the production of perfect progeny. To this end the philosophers were to yield to distinguished guardians the right of more frequent sexual union with the more beautiful women.

Children, from the moment of birth, would not know their own fathers or even mothers. They were to be cared for communally by all the women who happened to be lactating, and the children passed around all the time. And the state would take care of their subsequent upbringing.

These are retrograde ideas. The abolition of private property and forcing families apart, against their nature, disconnects the sources of inspiration for work and innovation from men who are expected to sustain past levels of prosperity and productivity. Will love of the “nation” be enough? I seriously doubt it, for men of the same nation, even neighbors, by nature have private interests they want to pursue.


John C. Wright strikingly describes liberals’ sins:

All these projected beliefs of the Leftist media repeat the creed and the idolatry of the postmodern postrational posthuman Leftists. They are pro-sodomy because of lust, anticapitalist because of envy, pro-uncelibacy because of lust, pro-infanticide because of lust, pro-divorce because of lust, and pro-green because they are are anticapitalist because of envy. Lust serves Asmodius, infanticide serves Moloch, envy serves Leviathan.

A glimpse of reality in Europe provided by the “refugees”:

Conservative politicians back the calls for separated refugee centres, claiming Christians in the homes are being harassed and persecuted by hardline Muslims.

The former minister of the interior Hans-Peter Friedrich said: ‘It is sad, but obviously necessary that we require the separation of asylum seekers according to religion.’

Before, they were segregated by country, Muslim countries for Muslims, secular countries for seculars and Christians. And peace reigned. What was wrong with that?


Bravo, Ben Carson:

Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, called for a focus on families with “traditional, intact values” and denounced the “PC police.”

“We have got to stop paying attention to the PC Police who say every lifestyle is exactly of the same value. No, it’s not of the same value,” Carson said. “It is very clear that intact, traditional families with traditional, intact values do much better in terms of raising children. So let’s stop pretending that everything is of equal value.”

Criminal behavior and poverty are directly correlated to the single-parent household, Carson argued.

“When young girls have babies out of wedlock, most of the time their education ends with that first baby,” he explained. “Those babies are four times as likely to grow up in poverty, end up in the penal system or the welfare system. You know, I’m not making this stuff up. That’s well-documented. That’s a problem.”


At the Daily Signal, Paul Winfree explains how the welfare state chews people up and spits them out:

Far from being a compassionate series of programs worthy of defense against reform, the current welfare architecture has been a disaster for struggling communities and has done its gravest disservice to recipients themselves. The damage has been twofold.

First, the existing welfare system undermines work. By offering a generous system of entitlements to able-bodied adults without any obligation to work or prepare for work, welfare undermines the need and motivation for self-support. Welfare is primarily a system of one-way handouts: Only two out of more than 80 means-tested welfare programs include even modest work or training requirements.

Second, nearly all of these means-tested welfare programs impose significant penalties against marriage. For 50 years, welfare has driven fathers from the home. As a consequence, single mothers have become increasingly dependent on government aid. Meanwhile, low-income fathers, deprived of meaningful roles as husbands and breadwinners, have drifted into the margins of society. Their attachment to the labor force has deteriorated, and the tendency toward self-destructive and anti-social behavior has increased.

The surest way out of poverty is intact families, as George Gilder explains further in the following excerpts from Wealth and Poverty:

In modern capitalism, wealth is a dilemma; its value on the one hand is embodied in ever more specialized, complex, and inflexible forms, and on the other is utterly subject to ever more rapid and unpredictable changes in knowledge. Both more solid and more pervious, capital is now a Maginot Line for any determined hoarder of it.

...

In general, the more liquid wealth is, the closer it is to money, the less likely it is to grow fast, the more vulnerable it is to the changing money supplies. Savings accounts, after inflation and taxes, have lost money for decades. The less liquid an asset, the more likely are large returns or losses. The least liquid and most promising of all is to build and own a company.

...

Individuals with cash comprise the wild card—the mutagenic germ—in capitalism, and it is relatively risky investments that ultimately both reseed the economy and unseat the rich, as the iron rule of gamblers’ ruin plays itself out in the arena of business.

...

Most of us work for money and enjoy leisure. The poor, it is implied, despite their generally more onerous jobs, do not. They so lust for labor, so they tell all inquiring scholars, that their willingness to work is unaffected by levels of welfare and in-kind support substantially higher than the available wage; they even clamor to enter the workforce in the face of effective tax rates on work (through reductions in welfare payments) of nearly 100 percent.

...

Every successful ethnic group in our history rose up by working harder than other classes, in low-paid jobs, with a vanguard of men in entrepreneurial roles.

...

Poor people tend to ride up rapidly and will be damaged by a policy of redistribution that will always hit new and unsheltered income and wealth much harder than the elaborately concealed and fortified winnings of the established rich. The poor benefit from a dynamic economy full of unpredictable capital gains (they have few capital losses!) more than from a stratified system governed by educational and other credentials that the rich can buy.

...

Effective work consists not in merely fulfilling the requirements of labor contracts, but in “putting out” with alertness and emotional commitment, workers have to understand and feel deeply that what they are given depends on what they give—and they must supply work in order to demand goods. Parents and schools must inculcate this idea in their children both by instruction and example. Nothing is more deadly to achievement than the belief that effort will not be rewarded, that the world is a bleak and discriminatory place in which only the predatory and the specially preferred can get ahead. Such a view in the home discourages the work effort in school that shapes earnings capacity afterward. As with so many aspects of human performance, work effort begins in family experiences, and its sources can be best explored through an examination of family structure.

...

Living from day to day and from hand to mouth, lower-class individuals are unable to plan or save or keep a job. Banfield gives the impression that short-term horizons are a deep-seated psychological defect afflicting hundreds of thousands of poor.

...

The short-sighted outlook of poverty stems largely from the breakdown of family responsibility among fathers. The lives of the poor, all too often, are governed by the rhythms of tension and release that characterize the sexual experience of young single men. Because female sexuality, as it evolved over millennia, is psychologically rooted in the bearing and nurturing of children, women have long horizons within their very bodies, glimpses of eternity in their wombs. Civilized society is dependent upon submission of the short-term sexuality of young men to the extended maternal horizons of women. This is what happens in monogamous marriage; the man disciplined his sexuality and extends it into the future through the womb of a woman.

Radical feminism has actually tried to abolish the long-term sexual temper of women, the key natural civilizing force in men’s lives. The “measurable” incentives of material redistribution displace the breadwinning male as family head, and predictably commits single women and their vulnerable children to lives of consumption, or convenient consumers in the demand-side Keynesian economic model.

Reading that last excerpted paragraph by Gilder gives me the chills. You just don’t read anything like that except when you’re reading Gilder. It’s so true, it hurts. The first book of Gilder’s that I read, Men and Marriage, is like that.

More to come.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Compromise is futile

Christopher Harper-Mercer murdered those people in Oregon, but judging from Hillary Clinton’s rhetoric you’d think the NRA pulled the trigger:

Hillary Clinton took aim at the National Rifle Association in Iowa on Wednesday, hitting the group for what she claims is its “absolutist” stance on gun rights and comparing it to “the Iranians and Communists.”

Worse, even! Liberals will negotiate with Commies and Iranians, but not with the NRA.

Clinton drew the connection to the gun rights group and murderous tyrants after a woman in the audience at a town hall meeting in Mount Vernon noted that President Obama seemed defeated during his remarks on gun control following last week’s mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore.

Maybe Clinton should check her fear-mongering, lest she inflame someone’s passions and incite him to kill. The psychologically unglued killer, after all, is the fatal constant in these shootings, not guns. There are millions of gun owners but only a relative handful of mentally ill, drug-addicted/over-medicated drones. But liberal pols cry about the millions of gun owners after every mass murder event, transparently pursuing the gun-grabbing agenda they’ve had for years. Open carry and concealed carry laws give them visions of the shootout at the O. K. Corral on every street corner, when indeed virtually none of the people with these permits will become violent criminals. Don’t miss the important fact that a gun in the hands of an Adam Lanza or Dylann Roof or gang banger is a totally different animal than a gun in the hands of a security guard or soldier. As always, the minds and the wills of people with similar abilities make up the biggest difference in their achievements.

There will be no “loyal dissent” during Clinton’s administration if she insists on waging rhetorical war on her own citizens, rather than working with them or accommodating them. It appears she not only expects a political insurgency against her presidency, but welcomes it. An insurgency is a problem if you can’t kill them all, and she sounds prepared to do that—politically speaking, of course.

Liberal democracy does not survive this intense a level of disagreement among coequal citizens. The liberal zeitgeist will destroy this country. We are fighting for our right to live as it is only possible to survive as a nation. Politeness and restraint are not virtues in this fight.

I had dinner the other night with a low-level Republican operative. He held forth on the issues of the day and demonstrated why establishment Republicans are feckless in the fight against ascendant liberalism. They just don’t understand the problems facing the country. To them, the problem is an insufficient political center and an inability to govern, itself the product of partisanship. Thus their animosity towards the “tea party,” which they deploy as a slur. Their solution is moderation to govern alongside liberals, as if there’s a stopping point short of complete disaster that they’ll be content with. My friend ridiculed the tea party for their “extreme” positions, like gun rights, illegal immigration, and the role of religion (which I understood as code for marriage, abortion, etc). He didn’t mention Obamacare, but I’m sure it’s somewhere down the list. The nation doesn’t have much a future with a defenseless citizenry, undefended borders, and utilitarian immorality, and he undercut the conservative position on every one of these fronts.

When you watch liberals, you can tell they’re not interested in getting along with conservatives. They want to win. They believe in what they fight for. The establishment doesn’t understand why liberals believe what they do, and I don’t think they much care. They’re terrified of government “not working” for the people, when clearly the greater evil is bad government working well. They compromise and retreat to the point of pretending marriage is what it isn’t for political peace.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Money worship

Greed, money worship, etc. is not a product of the free market, but of sinful human nature. The mechanism to fix it is a circumcised heart. It is not money Paul says is a sin, but love of money.

Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drubkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.

...

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 3:2-3, 6:10)

Love of money is idolatry. Money cannot replace God as man’s security. Money will not do for you what the Son of Man has done. When Jesus tells the young man to give up his wealth on Earth and follow Him, He is ministering to him, He is telling him how to cast off his sin.


When Bernie Sanders decries love of money and “income inequality” in the same breath, your defenses should rise. The socialist does not want to circumcise your heart. He wants to stoke your greed and envy. He wants you to seek security in the wealth redistributed by the state. He wants you to depend on the predictable, guaranteed returns of economic planning, plans in which demand for existing goods and services is set by politicians and technocrats, forbidding the surprises of new knowledge from forming new industries, from creating new demand.

The theory of socialism is better than the reality. The principle of a system of universal sharing only works when social trust overpowers greed. For a populous, diverse country losing trust in its civic and social institutions like never before, as 21st century America is, it cannot work.

Economically, it cannot work. An apparatus has to do the sharing, that is, the taking and the giving. That apparatus is designed by flawed people who have prejudices and weaknesses. Because of their macroeconomic lenses, technocrats will only see what’s in front of them, the major industries like energy, cars, processed foods, personal technology, and online retailers like Google and Amazon. The “little guy,” where all innovations to better serve man gestate, is overlooked. When these huge, bureaucratized companies hit critical mass, they transition from an attitude of servicing customers to being served by customers, and they rely on the patronage and racketeering of socialists to get customers through the door to buy their stuff.

Socialism is the ultimate money worship. It signifies the fantasy of receiving without giving, nourishment by bread and wine without the communion. Socialism cannot heal the pestilence of greed and envy in our hearts. The free market, on the other hand, encourages risk and investment to the benefit of others before self.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Unemployment and work

The labor force participation rate is at a 38-year low. But the interesting thing to note about the labor force participation rate is that it entered its steepest freefall directly after the Great Recession technically ended, a period of time that should have coincided with aggressive expansion.

However, recall that the extension of unemployment benefits up to nearly 2 years was a major political debate at the time. It would seem over-generous handouts inspired laziness in the workforce. Correlation is not causation, but think about the incentives. Why trade free money and leisure time for a 40-hour work week and a marginal increase in income?

The Wall Street Journal reported on November 6, 2009:

President Barack Obama signed legislation into law Friday providing an additional 14 to 20 weeks of benefits for those who have already exhausted theirs or will do so by year-end.

The extension comes on the same day the Labor Department announced the U.S. unemployment rate hit 10.2% in October, crossing into double-digits for the first time in 26 years as the nation’s jobless swelled to 15.7 million.

The bill, passed earlier this week by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, extends federal jobless benefits by 14 weeks for Americans in all 50 states who face exhaustion before year-end, and by 20 weeks for those living in states where the unemployment rate is 8.5% or higher.

The additional 20 weeks in hard-hit states means the maximum a person in one of those states could receive is now up to 99 weeks, or nearly two years — the most in history.

Another policy response at the time was a gargantuan Keynesian stimulus, ballooning spending to $6 trillion across all government levels. The motivation behind such astronomic spending was to increase demand for the services of the millions of workers laid off during the Great Recession. It was a massive failure, as the continued decline in the labor force participation rate shows. The problem was never a lack of jobs to match with the skills of the unemployed. The problem was getting those people into the market to use their skills to others’ advantage.

The government came up with a demand-side solution to a supply-side problem. Workers never match precisely to the skills solicited in a job advertisement. The job they’re given invariably molds to their knowledge and personality, evolving to fit them. The worker supplies his expertise to create value. The value is not in the job that is demanded, but the work and creativity that is supplied. Workers must give in order to receive.

Thanks to Republicans in Congress, the fiscal year 2015 deficit will be the lowest deficit of the Obama administration so far. This declining budget deficit does not betray a burgeoning demand deficit. The supply-side challenges remain. Workers must supply what they know to their work to create demand for their services and command salary and income. For them to do that, welfare incentives and regulations that present barriers to market entry need to be cut back.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Odds and ends 9/27/2015

Rod Dreher remarks on a professed pedophile:

He says he found hope in a group called Virtuous Pedophiles, who support each other and encourage each other not to act on their desires.

This cross of sin is his to bear, and I’m glad he bears it. We’re all sinners, right? For some it’s lust, for others greed, for others envy. This is what Pope Francis meant when he said, “A gay person who is seeking God, who is of good will—well, who am I to judge him?”

I’m less angered by sin, a universal trait of humanity, than I am by denying sin exists. For an example of that, at Public Discourse, Timothy Hsiao looks at an incestuous “marriage” between a father and daughter:

Her reasoning is typical of contemporary liberal approaches to sexual morality, which are usually justified by appealing to mutual consent. So long as an activity is performed in private between consenting adults, it is argued, there can be nothing inherently objectionable about what they do. Why? Because they have given their consent, and consent is what matters most when it comes to one’s decision to engage in sexual activity.

Whoever said slippery slope is a fallacy didn’t experience the creep of post-Christian relativism.


Pat Buchanan speaks common sense:

Beliefs matter. “Ideas Have Consequences,” as conservative scholar Richard Weaver wrote in his classic of that title in 1948. Yet, for so believing, and so saying, Dr. Ben Carson has been subjected to a Rodney King-style night-sticking by the P.C. police.

Asked by Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” whether he could support a Muslim for president, Carson replied, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

Carson was not out of the studio before the airwaves were filled with denunciations. Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said CAIR is calling on Carson to “withdraw from the presidential race because he is unfit to lead, because his views are inconsistent with the United States Constitution.”

In the name of tolerance, says CAIR, we cannot tolerate Carson. And what does the Constitution say? “[N]o religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

But Carson did not say no Muslim could serve. He said he would not advocate having a Muslim as president, that Islamic beliefs are inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution. Is he wrong? Or is it now impermissible to question a candidate’s beliefs about God, man, and the state, and about whether his religious convictions might affect his conduct in office?

A man’s religion is a part of who he is. While not an infallible guide to what he will do, it is often a reliable road map.

If Mormons still championed polygamy and declared that blacks could not be Mormons, would it be illegitimate to raise that issue? Should a Quaker who believes in “turning the other cheek” not be pressed on whether his faith disqualifies him to be commander in chief? If an Evangelical running for president believes the “end times” are at hand, would it be un-American to ask of the Armageddonite if his religious beliefs might affect his decision on war in the Middle East?

Islam means “submission.” And a believing, practicing, devout Muslim believes in submission to the teachings of the Prophet. That means not only following the dietary laws and fasting during Ramadan, but adhering to the tenets of Islam on the modesty of dress in women, praying five times a day to Mecca, and treating false faiths like Christianity as the great heresies that they are.


Seeing as how the Iran deal is an alliance with an emerging power, not a check on aggressive nuclear ambitions, I’d say it’s working as it was designed to. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The current fad of the “selfie” photograph has a new category with the news that Iran has been allowed to self-inspect its suspected nuclear site at Parchin. The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed Monday that Iran had turned over samples that the Iranians had themselves collected from the military site that IAEA inspectors haven’t been allowed to visit in a decade.

ZeroHedge gets some things on right on Martin Shkreli, the Daraprim gouger:

Now that Shkreli’s 15 minutes of fame are over and his Twitter profile is now in “private” mode (we doubt the SEC will investigate his shorting activity of biotech indices—we are confident the young “hedge funder” will have bigger headaches to deal with soon enough) the attention should shift to the real villains—those truly big pharma companies, who do what Shkreli did but on a far vaster and grander, if less obvious, scale taking advantage of the price cushioning effects that Obamacare provides.

We also are curious to see how Hillary’s populist outrage at Shkreli will be explained when the public realizes that it is only thanks to the benefits of socialized insurance programs such as Obamacare, of which Hillary is a staunch supporter, that such price gouging was possible in the first place.

Kenny Webster breaks it down another way.


What strikes me here is not that novelist Andy Weir gets it wrong in his book. It’s the half-assed explanation from a NASA physicist!

Although dust storms on Mars come with their hazards, it’s highly unlikely that any storm would be powerful enough to strand astronauts on the surface or rip apart equipment. The strongest Mars winds top out at around 60 miles per hour (less than 30 meters per second), less than half the speed of hurricane-force winds on Earth. But it’s not the speed of a wind that does the damage, it’s atmospheric pressure, something that Mars is somewhat lacking. The planet’s atmospheric pressure is around 1 percent that of Earth’s, which is a serious bummer if you wanted to fly a kite on the Red Planet.

“The key difference between Earth and Mars is that Mars’ atmospheric pressure is a lot less,” said physicist William Farrell, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., who studies atmospheric breakdown in Mars dust storms. “So things get blown, but it’s not with the same intensity.”

It’s all about mass. Less dense air means there’s less force imparted on objects by the wind. You’d need wind speeds up to 10,000 miles per hour to generate the kind of force you see in hurricanes on Earth.


A fraction of the “refugees” entering Europe migrants are actually from Syria. The UK Daily Mail reports:

The EU logged 213,000 arrivals in April, May and June but only 44,000 of them were fleeing the Syrian civil war.

Campaigners and left-wing MPs have suggested the vast majority of migrants are from the war-torn state, accusing the Government of doing too little to help them.

‘This exposes the lie peddled in some quarters that vast numbers of those reaching Europe are from Syria,’ said David Davies, Tory MP for Monmouth. ‘Most people who are escaping the war will go to camps in Lebanon or Jordan.

‘Many of those who have opted to risk their lives to come to Europe have done so for economic reasons.’


Robert Stacy McCain puts Phyllis Schlafly’s name in the ring for the $10 bill. She’s a fine woman, a hero in many ways, but I’m partial to keeping Alexander Hamilton, preeminent author of the Federalist papers, aide-de-camp to Washington during the Revolutionary War, and first Treasury secretary. My second choice is Margaret Sanger, who’s done more for American women than any woman in American history. She’s as American as apple pie.


Commenting on what’s on a video without watching the video is par for the course these days. Jay Caruso writes at RedState:

Hillary Clinton, once again, rushed to defend Planned Parenthood because of all the talk surrounding the effort to stop subsidizing their abortion business with tax dollars:

Hillary Clinton rushed to Planned Parenthood’s defense Thursday, warning congressional Republicans against blocking funding for the entire federal government in an effort to stop the flow of dollars to the organization.

“I would hope that the Republicans—and particularly the Republicans in the House, led by Speaker (John) Boehner—would not put our country and our economy in peril pursuing some kind of emotionally, politically charged, partisan attack on Planned Parenthood to shut our government down,” Clinton told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room.” “I think that would be a very, very unfortunate decision.”

This is very typical of Hillary and the left in general. However, the critical information is revealed next:

Clinton wouldn’t answer when asked whether she has seen the controversial videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the use of aborted fetuses for research—which has fueled a new GOP push to block government dollars from flowing to the organization.

In other words, she has not watched the videos.

This is nothing new. President Obama, a stalwart defender of Planned Parenthood and their butchery has not seen the videos either:

President Obama likely hasn’t seen and has no plans to view four videos made by an anti-abortion group purporting to prove that Planned Parenthood profits from selling aborted fetal tissue, a White House spokesman said Friday.

They have not seen the videos, but yet they do not hesitate to defend Planned Parenthood. In doing so, they sound like the mother who insists her son is a “good boy” despite just having been arrested for being a serial killer.

They sound like Doc Rivers ripping his boss Donald Sterling without knowing what he really said.

The president and the president-in-waiting are busy people. They don’t have time to know what they’re talking about.


At First Things, Amy L. Wax notes the shortcoming of secular materialism’s explanation for lower class troubles:

Although Putnam admits that life for the working class, and even the poor, used to be dramatically different, he has remarkably little to say about why parents in straitened circumstances were once far more effective in establishing orderly homes, socializing their children, and equipping them to exploit chances for self-improvement or, at least, to achieve a decent, satisfying life. And he devotes no attention to the significant number of less skilled Americans—including many recent immigrants—who effectively resist the social problems that bedevil others at the bottom of the economic ladder.

In fact, Putnam’s own anecdotes belie his tilt toward the economic roots of working-class distress, highlighting the dynamic, two-way relationship between material hardship and life choices. Joe, one of his working-class protagonists, is steadily employed at a decent job managing a pizza franchise. Yet he chronically overspends his earnings and forms tempestuous, unstable liaisons that produce children he can scarcely afford. Indeed, virtually all of Putnam’s working-class subjects seem to specialize in a familiar litany of self-defeating behaviors. Short-lived broken relationships, random spawning and abandonment of children, squandered educational opportunities, repetitive lawbreaking, and drug abuse are staples of their existence. Male incarceration is commonplace. Parenting is often harsh while also indifferent, erratic, and neglectful.

In short, the picture Putnam paints is too often that of people who repeatedly pass up the chance to steady or improve their own lives. The sociologist Isabel Sawhill, whom Putnam cites, has observed that a few simple choices—the so-called “success sequence”—can minimize poverty even for people with modest education and skills. The prescription is to graduate from high school, work steadily at any job available, get married before having children, and avoid crime. These basic prudential steps are within the reach of virtually everyone, regardless of means and background, and most people used to accept them as indispensable way stations to responsible adulthood. Yet these steps are no longer followed by most people without a college degree. Laying this at the feet of economic causes requires adopting a peculiar brand of causal materialism that now dominates the social sciences.


At Public Discourse, Daniel Haqiqatjou analyzes liberals’ adoption of John Stuart Mill’s harm principle, and reveals it for the libertarian bunk that it is, using the example of adultery.

We might wonder, why couldn’t the pain and suffering that the betrayed spouse feels—which some psychologists speak about in terms of post-traumatic stress disorder—be considered harmful in the logic of secular liberalism? One would think that, given how much stock liberal ethical theory puts into sexual autonomy and the negative emotional and psychological impact of curtailing sexual freedom, liberal pundits would express at least some passing consideration for the negative emotional and psychological impact of adultery upon the betrayed spouse.

The difference, we are told, is that the emotional distress of the betrayed spouse is due to a misplaced sense of marital commitment, which is ultimately based on provincial religious attitudes, whereas emotional distress caused by curtailed sexual freedom is based on immutable human needs at the core of personhood. In other words, if a married man has sexual needs that can only be satisfied by someone not his wife, those needs take priority over marriage vows. To put the point succinctly: sexual needs are real, but marriage vows are based on religion, which is not real as far as rational secularism is concerned. If betrayed spouses feel bad, it is their own fault for naively buying into this whole idea of marital commitment. This is similar to the way in which parents and family members who are distressed when a loved one adopts a “gay lifestyle” or chooses to have sex-change surgery are told that their distress is not legitimate. Rather, any negative emotions or harm are their own fault—the result of buying into naive and prudish views on sexuality and gender.

Liberalism is reality denial.


Thomas Sowell defends his book from an ignorant reviewer. Excerpt:

As for inequality of incomes, these depend on so many things — including things that no government has control over — that the obsession with statistical “gaps” or “disparities” that some call “inequities” is a major distraction from the more fundamental, and more achievable, goals of promoting a rising standard of living in general and greater opportunity for all.

Example:

Response:

Or, if logic doesn’t work, which it often doesn’t, point out many women don’t earn any of the wages they buy phones with. They get it from their husbands.


Horrific is the scene of thousands of people waiting in line for Section 8 vouchers. The article saves the worst part for last:

A fact sheet distributed by the city prior to the event warned prospective applicants that it “may be many months or several years before we are able to assist you with your rent. This is not an emergency program.”

If it’s not a short-term helping hand to help people get back on their feet, then it’s long-term assistance.

We need to reform welfare so that, as Pope Francis told the UN, we can “allow them to be dignified agents of their own destiny.” Wealth redistribution programs don’t work because, as George Gilder points out, “it is extremely difficult to transfer value to people in a way that actually helps them. Excessive welfare hurts its recipients, demoralizing them or reducing them to an addictive dependency that ruins their lives.”

Wealth transfers also don’t work because wealth is knowledge. Giving someone money doesn’t give them the knowledge to replicate it. Capitalism joins knowledge and power.

Now for some gems from Gilder’s Wealth and Poverty:

The flood of protean growth can be comprehended and sustained only by millions of individuals with access to disposable savings and deep involvement in the companies themselves—that is, by investors who have money of their own and who can share in and pass on the profits as they gain new knowledge and investment skills. Although the desire to consume is ubiquitous and plays a significant role in motivating all men, far more important in capitalism is the purposeful drive to understand the world and to create things: to generate wealth (value defined by others) and reinvest it in the continuing drama of human invention and progress.

...

Even the most indigent families will do better under a system of free enterprise and investment than under an excessively “compassionate” dole that asks no return. The understanding of the Law of Reciprocity, that one must supply in order to demand, save in order to invest, consider others in order to serve oneself, is crucial to all life in society.

...

The gifts of capitalism generate economic progress chiefly because they comprise an epistemological system, a way of making discoveries and exploiting them. Accompanying every visible profit earned by enterprise is an invisible profit of expanded knowledge. Investments are in fact purposeful experiments, and whatever the outcome, the results are informative.

...

Steeply “progressive tax rates not only destroy incentives; more important, they destroy knowledge. They take from the givers and thus prevent them from giving again, from reinvesting their winnings in the light of the new information generated by the original gift.

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Socialism is an insurance policy bought by all members of a national economy to shield them from risk. But the result is to shield them from knowledge of the real dangers and opportunities ubiquitous in any society.

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The spirit factor is best elicited by ownership. Ownership means exposure to the risks and benefits of productive property, whether it is one’s own land and labor or IBM shares. It means, in a competitive economy in a changing world, that the owner lives on the crest of creation, continually informed and inspired, edified and motivated, by the flashes of surprising news about fashion, taste, and technology, that can radically shift the values—the future returns—of what is owned.

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Progress is always dependent on the creativity of suppliers.

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Nearly all the programs that are advocated by economists to promote equality and combat poverty—and are often rationalized in terms of stimulating consumption—in actuality reduce demand by undermining the production which all real demand derives.

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Wealth consists in assets that promise a future stream of income.

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In the noosphere of capitalism, all riches must finally fall into the gap between thoughts and things. Wealth is governed by mind but it is caught in matter. To be negotiable, an asset must afford an income stream that is expected to continue.

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Saving is often defined as deferred consumption. But it depends on investment: the ability to produce consumable goods at that future date to which consumption has been deferred. Saving depends on having something to buy when the deposit is withdrawn.

More to come.