Monday, August 31, 2015

To the death, then?

How can you expect a civil tone in public discourse when you unabashedly liken the people you propose to govern to terrorists?

“Extreme views about women, we expect that from some of the terrorist groups. We expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world. But it’s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be president of the United States. Yet, they espouse out-of-touch and out-of-date policies. They are dead-wrong for 21st century America. We are going forward. We are not going back.” –Hillary Clinton

This betokens post-Christian, post-democratic America in key ways. The fundamental beliefs of Americans, their views of the nature and purpose of man, vary so widely as to be irreconcilable. Just as Israel sought no conciliation with the Canaanites, so abortifascists seek no conciliation with an American people increasingly informed of the moral and social perils of ripping the complex weave of sex, marriage, and children from the rubric of life, as if they were optional accessories to the eternal human condition.

Let it finally be admitted that such views as Clinton’s cannot occupy the same physical, moral, Constitutional space as those who fundamentally disagree with them. The rapacious idolatry of self-fulfillment and sexual convenience brooks no dissent. She is sick of pretending otherwise.

The calls to tone down political rhetoric after the Tucson shooting seem a long time ago. Then again they were aimed in one direction to ensure weak opposition to liberals’ ascendancy to power.

When a pro-choicer takes Clinton’s words seriously and treats whom they think is a terrorist as you would expect one to treat a terrorist—with violent, extreme prejudice—there will naturally be reprisals. In Clinton’s America, expect mortal enemies to hold their fire for only so long.

Related: “Least common denominator.”

Saturday, August 29, 2015

How secularism demands perfection

The Pharisee thinks sin is a discreet external act. Righteousness before God is perfection in deed, in accordance with the law. Do you know anyone who is righteous on this model? Neither do I.

The Pharisee permits an insincere, abusive faith as long as it adheres to the letter of the law. Your heart can be as far from God as north from south, and the Pharisee won’t care. There is no relationship with God in spirit or flesh, only the binding terms of a painfully one-sided contract. To the Pharisee what matters is meeting those terms.

The suffering that privately indulged, publicly concealed sin wreaks on a man is no concern of the Pharisee, as long as the visible life he leads is virtuous. So goes the secular bargain, also. Never matter the turmoil of inner life. Stay productive and keep to an ethical decorum and society will thank you. It doesn’t work that way, though. Compartmentalization works on submarines, not in the mind.

In secularized society, it is considered very rude for the sins you are allowed to conduct out of sight to be aired for all to see and smell. Thus liberals have gone to great lengths to destigmatize sin and fund bureaucracies to insure sin’s victims against its consequences.

Publicly displayed righteousness is too often a show of managed and controlled sin, the Pharisee’s discipline of self-proving through the works of the law. Many a life was torn asunder from what everyone thought was perfectly normal and controlled. No one suspected the bridled passions boiling underneath until they detonated for all to see, taking family, friends, and coworkers as collateral damage. The Ashley Madison hack is a perfect example. When all is said and done, how many marriages will be broken when the dust has settled? How many marriages, that key organizational unit that ensures children grow up with their father who loves their mother, will husbands’ lust for other flesh destroy?

The lie of secularism is that our sins touch no one but ourselves, that whatever we do “in the privacy of our homes” has no effect on us outside our homes. The truth is fear of humiliation and dishonor cannot heal the brokenness of our souls.

My God gives righteousness freely to all who accept His Son’s righteous act of sacrifice for the redeeming of sins. We need less secular politeness and more Christian love. The commandment to bless others with generosity finds its motivation in God’s act of forgiveness and the dramatic spillover that occurs in the transformed life.

Related: “The Founders’ noble lie.”

Thursday, August 27, 2015

One of the boys

There’s a good reason you don’t know your coworkers’ wages and benefits. The rivalry and envy such comparisons invoke would kill office morale, especially for men, for whom buying power corresponds with sexual capital, or his potential for love, marriage, and family, through which he extends the horizons of life beyond limited, short-lived sexual impulse. George Gilder writes in Wealth and Poverty:

Money so profoundly shapes the prospects of our lives, our position in the community, our attractiveness to friends; because money is a primary index of value in capitalist society; because it is the key arbiter of status, to flaunt our riches is to assert our superiority in a way beyond easy appeal.

...

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.

An argument between two men over who makes more money is impolite enough. It’s the equivalent of butting heads for sexual supremacy in the herd. It’s perverse when a woman butts heads with a man.

“I think I actually make two to three times more than he does per second ... so when he learns to read and write, he can text me,” [Rousey] said in the TMZ video while out walking her dog.

When pressed by TMZ on whether she makes more than Mayweather does, Rousey responded, “Yeah, I’m just more efficient.”

Put aside that Rousey isn’t factoring the thousands of hours of training and preparation in her per-second earnings in the octagon. We know why money is important to Mayweather. Let’s not assume it’s equally important to Rousey. To how many eligible bachelors is her buying power more important than her appearance or her readiness to settle down? She knows her appeal has some foundation in her attractiveness, so her aggressiveness towards Mayweather comes off as unfeminine and gratuitous. Perhaps her capitalistic utility is unattractive in the sense that it puts her out of most men’s league. Even if you make $100,000 a year, how are you going to maintain the attention of a jet-setting woman worth $10 million?

Camille Sold makes £10 an hour, but that matters not a whit to her £25-million soccer star boyfriend.

The management and marketing student from Strasbourg, who began dating her countryman earlier this year, was pictured at work wearing a United shirt with his squad number 28 and her first name.

She earns £15,000-a-year working on the tills and the shopfloor of the store, whereas the midfielder, 25, pockets more than £5 million, according to The Sun.

If he loves her and she sensibly parlays his affection into long-term commitment, she will command a greater fortune than Rousey has earned on her own. So, who is in a better position? The fighter who makes “$100,000 per second” in the octagon, or the woman whose rich husband loves her? Just saying, earning doesn’t mean the same thing to women as it does to men. In the game of life, typically men compete for status, women compete for men.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Savers’ tears lift all boats

Lawrence Summers makes a Keynesian argument for holding the interest rate to zero:

Tightening policy will adversely affect employment levels because higher interest rates make holding on to cash more attractive than investing it. Higher interest rates will also increase the value of the dollar, making US producers less competitive and pressuring the economies of our trading partners.

This is especially troubling at a time of rising inequality. Studies of periods of tight labour markets like the late 1990s and 1960s make it clear that the best social programme for disadvantaged workers is an economy where employers are struggling to fill vacancies.

The grave ills Summers cites as reasons to not raise the interest rate are already facts of reality because of the low interest rate. Cheap money policies, making access to liquid cash easier for those who qualify for loans, are what boosted inequality to start with. The increased money supply isn’t passing through hands, jumpstarting trade and economic activity; money velocity has fallen since ZIRP was implemented. Why does Summers think more of the same will change these trends? (Insert Einstein quote about doing the same thing expecting different results.)

In a functioning economy, the rich risk their money in free market experiments implemented by hired men. Inequality rises as the rich’s capital gains outpace workers’ rising wages and rising standard of living. That’s not the kind of inequality we’re experiencing now. In a nonfunctioning economy, the rich park their wealth in sumps and bubbles, like the stock market, out of the reach of the worker offering his labor in exchange for wages. For example, Caterpillar sales dropped for 31 straight months, but its stock price increased until quantitative easing tapered in 2014. Share “value” was driven not by productivity but by stock buybacks in a gravity well of cheap money. Since QE ended last October, Caterpillar shares have fallen 20 percent, finally reflecting economic fundamentals.

The Federal Reserve’s policies didn’t support the recovery, such as it is. They are the recovery. Every effort to normalize Fed policy results in market panic, which necessitates the continuation of abnormal policies like QE and ZIRP. Fed justification for continued intervention is a tidy logic circle: Intervention revives the economy, signaling the Fed to normalize policy, which degrades the economy, necessitating Fed intervention, which revives the economy, and so on. If equities could stand on their own, they wouldn’t tip over when the training wheels come off.

The “slowdown” economists doomsay is the inevitable withdrawals of an unsustainable high dropping back to reality. In short, there is no real recovery. There’s no real recovery to protect with Keynesian stimulus. Maintaining ZIRP would contribute to rising inequality, declining innovation and economic activity, and the displacement of real investment by speculation in sumps of wealth. The best thing for the real economy is to restore a rational cost of money to make savers whole and to allow genuine price discovery.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Odds and ends 8/24/2015

Robert Weissberg gets us back on track:

This hodgepodge is a recipe for electoral disaster but far worse, the scattershot approach can only detract from the deeper problem we now face: radical egalitarianism, and it is that ideological disease, not ephemera like treating all people with respect (Kasich on same-sex marriage) is what self-defined conservatives should be addressing.

Radical egalitarianism asserts that people of different backgrounds possess equal ability and in an ideal world, there should be no differences in accomplishment. And if such variations exist, they, almost by definition, result from discrimination, racism, stereotypes, and similarly reversible evils. Thus, the medical staff at a top hospital is supposed to look like a cross section of America and, since this Utopian outcome rarely occurs, it is up to a coercive government to bring it about.

The bad news is that radical egalitarianism is metastasizing and the damage inflicted far outweighs anything the 17 GOP candidates mention, including Trump’s horror stories of criminal illegals.

Radical egalitarianism is easily detected. As Soviet apparatchiks had their specialized vocabulary (e.g., false consciousness) American egalitarians have theirs. Be on the lookout for gaps, as in the gap between whites and blacks in home ownership. Then there are ceilings, the most famous being the glass ceiling that prevents women from occupying the top rungs of industry. Add tests to sort out abilities that egalitarians denounce as “barriers” as if testing for physical strength is a ruse to hinder women from becoming firefighters. But, of all the tip-off words, the most revealing is diversity as in “diversity is our strength,” a sure sign that racial/gender quotas are on the way.

Wisdom is the true ends of knowledge. Control is the progressive ends of knowledge.


Andrew Levinson channels Pope Paul VI in an excellent article on sexual nature and the sexual revolution:

Most of us take atomistic individualism for granted, in contrast to the ancient understanding of man as the political animal. “Who are you to say what two consenting adults can and cannot do in private?” is taken to be an unanswerable rejoinder to traditional understandings of sex and marriage. Sex seldom remains a purely private affair, especially in the era of social media. Among other things, sex can lead to love, marriage, hate, murder, children, disease, happy homes, broken homes, social cohesion and social disintegration.

As Pope Paul described it:

Married love is also faithful and exclusive of all other, and this until death. This is how husband and wife understood it on the day on which, fully aware of what they were doing, they freely vowed themselves to one another in marriage. Though this fidelity of husband and wife sometimes presents difficulties, no one has the right to assert that it is impossible; it is, on the contrary, always honorable and meritorious. The example of countless married couples proves not only that fidelity is in accord with the nature of marriage, but also that it is the source of profound and enduring happiness.

In other words, marriage was once considered a more public institution than it is today, not through legislation but through social convention. Young men were incentivized to make themselves good husband material if they wanted sex and children. Young women were encouraged to remain chaste and marry young. Divorce was unthinkable for our great-grandparents. Then, as now, women were much more ruthless about slut shaming than men.

Above all, marriage was ordered toward children:

Finally, this love is fecund. It is not confined wholly to the loving interchange of husband and wife; it also contrives to go beyond this to bring new life into being. “Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the procreation and education of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute in the highest degree to their parents’ welfare.

In paragraph 17, Pope Paul predicts the consequences of the contraceptive mentality:

Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Players and sluts ye shall always have with you, but the world now incentivizes us to be this way. Men must constantly perform or else their unhaaaappy wives will blow up the marriage for cash and prizes. That is, if men choose to marry at all. Fewer do, and in all honesty, I can hardly blame them. Why should they? If they want sex, they can find plenty of willing ladies provided they have even a modicum of game, and they won’t have to risk losing their homes, their jobs, their children, and their sanity in the divorce grinder.

Women too have grown to devalue men. Would the carousel exist to the extent that it does if it weren’t for the pill? If they can have consequence-free sex, then they will pursue the apex alphas and ditch the frustrated betas who were the good husbands and providers of yesteryear. Women are more exquisitely sensitive to social pressure than men, and the social cues that existed in our great-grandparents day aren’t there anymore.

The key here is that artificial contraception radically separated marriage and sex from child rearing. Marriage used to be a recognized public institution that carried with it certain legal and social obligations to which the couple was expected to conform. If children are removed from the occasion, then marriage becomes all about romantic feelings.

If marriage is nothing but a public declaration of romantic feelings, then two consequences follow: if the feelings go away, that’s a legitimate reason to end the marriage; and if sodomites have romantic feelings for each other, then what reason do we have to exclude them from marriage?


Part of the war on men is the decision whether to have the child is exclusively hers. Michael Bargo, Jr. touches on this in his piece cataloging the war on men’s reproductive rights. I’m not being ironic when I say that. Bargo, Jr. writes:

Men have no reproductive rights with regard to saving the life of their child from abortion. The plain fact is if a woman becomes pregnant the right to abort is hers alone. The man involved, even the husband, has no legally enforceable right to prevent the abortion. This is particularly painful for men who, during courtship, told their fiancé they wanted to have a family.

Elizabeth Price Foley notices the Republican establishment’s fecklessness and hypocrisy:

They are now taking the position that deporting illegal immigrants is wrong. Oh, how the establishment loves to talk tough on immigration when it suits its purposes of ginning up conservatives on election day. But when a candidate comes along who actually wants to do something about the issue—and isn’t afraid to defy political correctness to do so—the GOP establishment suddenly cries foul, and brands him a fool, dictator, or police state zealot. The necessary implication is that the GOP establishment is all hat, no cattle on immigration.

Pat Buchanan calls this the issue of the century:

The six-page policy paper, to secure America’s border and send back aliens here illegally, released by Trump last weekend, is the toughest, most comprehensive, stunning immigration proposal of the election cycle.

The Trump folks were aided by people around Sen. Jeff Sessions who says Trump’s plan “reestablishes the principle that America’s immigration laws should serve the interests of its own citizens.”

The issue is joined, the battle lines are drawn, and the GOP will debate and may decide which way America shall go. And the basic issues—how to secure our borders, whether to repatriate the millions here illegally, whether to declare a moratorium on immigration into the USA—are part of a greater question.

Will the West endure, or disappear by the century’s end as another lost civilization? Mass immigration, if it continues, will be more decisive in deciding the fate of the West than Islamist terrorism. For the world is invading the West.


Who are these “some” who think San Antonio should legalize prostitution?

This week’s arrest of a San Antonio man who preyed upon college-age women is just the latest prostitution bust in Texas, but now some are wondering if it's time to end the war on working women.

“States have an obligation to ensure that sex workers are protected from exploitation and can use criminal law to address acts of exploitation,” human rights group Amnesty International writes.

The idea is that, when you take away the fear of being arrested, women are more likely to report abuse and seek health care. But groups that work with victims of human trafficking believe this would do more harm than good.

“If you decriminalize prostitution, you’re giving traffickers more ammunition and more fuel,” Kim Van Hooser tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI.

The founder of the group Ransomed Life says the way that traffickers get control of women is through blackmail. They threaten to expose the sex work to friends and family if they try to escape. And for that reason, she says decriminalization will not work, because there is still the fear factor.

“You can’t decriminalize prostitution without going after the demand,” she explains.

That’s true. Men would turn to Ashley Madison or online porn to fill their need. There are lots of sources to sate lust and loneliness. Anti-prostitution laws exist to protect women. The fringe benefits of prostitution include disease, abuse, drugs, and pregnancy.


Esther Goldberg writes the best article on the conservative thinking set’s consternation over Donald Trump that I’ve read, via the American Spectator:

The problem for Ruling Class Conservatives like Will and Cooke, is that the Left has emasculated them. They tremble lest they let slip a faux pas that the Left can jump upon. They must at all times show that their Conservatism is “intellectually respectable and politically palatable,” and worry that Trump will make them look bad to the Liberals and their media. They are unable to grasp the fact that, notwithstanding all their efforts, the Left will never regard them as respectable and palatable. To achieve that goal, they must first become Liberals themselves.

Trump makes it clear that he doesn’t give a damn what Liberals think of us. And everyday people of all political persuasions applaud when he stands up to the self-important elitist media, just as they did with Newt Gingrich in 2012. It’s time for the Right to man-up.


Jesse Colombo writes in the Fiscal Times about current market conditions and Fed futility:

Along with the persistent selloff in China and a collapse in commodity prices that has dropped crude oil below $41 a barrel for the first time since 2009, this suggests a sea change could be underway. Investors could be realizing that more cheap money stimulus isn’t coming... or isn’t going to work this time. If so, the long-term uptrend that has held stocks aloft since late 2011 is at risk, as shown above.

Indeed, a recent research paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis finds that after six years of quantitative easing that swelled the Fed’s balance sheet to $4.5 trillion, the policy “has been ineffective in increasing inflation” and only seems to have boosted stock prices. Moreover, the policy could’ve very well driven the inequality gap noted by so many.

Correct.


There’s a lot of hot air in this Texas Monthly article bemoaning “partisanship” in expanding pre-K in Texas. Here’s the issue in a nutshell: Public education doesn’t work on the scale that its proponents need it to work. The problem is children not having family that supports their education. The fix isn’t getting kids into school earlier, it’s making sure children have a mom and dad who care that their kids learn something.


“No such thing as ‘equality’ has ever existed in the history of human civilization, nor will any measure endorsed by the Left bring about ‘equality’ in the future. The insistent demand for ‘equality’ is nothing more than a pretext for political aggression that the Left uses to gain power by pandering to those who hope to gain some advantage from the enactment of radical egalitarian policies.” – Robert Stacy McCain
“Any organization which is invaded by SJWs and directed towards social justice goals loses its ability to perform its primary function as a direct consequence of its new SJW-imposed priorities.” –Vox Day

This old First Things article sets the record straight on the Crusades:

It is generally thought that Christians attacked Muslims without provocation to seize their lands and forcibly convert them. The Crusaders were Europe’s lacklands and ne’er-do-wells, who marched against the infidels out of blind zealotry and a desire for booty and land. As such, the Crusades betrayed Christianity itself. They transformed “turn the other cheek” into “kill them all; God will know his own.”

Every word of this is wrong. Historians of the Crusades have long known that it is wrong, but they find it extraordinarily difficult to be heard across a chasm of entrenched preconceptions. For on the other side is, as Riley-Smith puts it “nearly everyone else, from leading churchmen and scholars in other fields to the general public.” There is the great Sir Steven Runciman, whose three-volume History of the Crusades is still a brisk seller for Cambridge University Press a half century after its release. It was Runciman who called the Crusades “a long act of intolerance in the name of God, which is a sin against the Holy Ghost.” The pity of it is that Runciman and the other popular writers simply write better stories than the professional historians.

So we continue to write our scholarly books and articles, learning more and more about the Crusades but scarcely able to be heard. And when we are heard, we are dismissed as daft. I once asked Riley-Smith if he believed popular perceptions of the Crusades would ever be changed by modern scholarship. “I’ve just about given up hope,” he answered. In his new book he notes that in the last thirty years historians have begun to reject “the long-held belief that it [the Crusade movement] was defined solely by its theaters of operation in the Levant and its hostility toward Islam—with the consequence that in their eyes the Muslims move slightly off center stage—and many of them have begun to face up to the ideas and motivation of the Crusaders. The more they do so the more they find themselves contra mundum or, at least, contra mundum Christianum.”

One of the most profound misconceptions about the Crusades is that they represented a perversion of a religion whose founder preached meekness, love of enemies, and nonresistance. Riley-Smith reminds his reader that on the matter of violence Christ was not as clear as pacifists like to think. He praised the faith of the Roman centurion but did not condemn his profession. At the Last Supper he told his disciples, “Let him who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me, And he was reckoned with transgressors.”

St. Paul said of secular authorities, “He does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.” Several centuries later, St. Augustine articulated a Christian approach to just war, one in which legitimate authorities could use violence to halt or avert a greater evil. It must be a defensive war, in reaction to an act of aggression. For Christians, therefore, violence was ethically neutral, since it could be employed either for evil or against it. As Riley-Smith notes, the concept that violence is intrinsically evil belongs solely to the modern world. It is not Christian.

All the Crusades met the criteria of just wars. They came about in reaction attacks against Christians or their Church. The First Crusade was called in 1095 in response to the recent Turkish conquest of Christian Asia Minor, as well as the much earlier Arab conquest of the Christian-held Holy Land. The second was called in response to the Muslim conquest of Edessa in 1144. The third was called in response to the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem and most other Christian lands in the Levant in 1187.

In each case, the faithful went to war to defend Christians, to punish the attackers, and to right terrible wrongs. As Riley-Smith has written elsewhere, crusading was seen as an act of love—specifically the love of God and the love of neighbor. By pushing back Muslim aggression and restoring Eastern Christianity, the Crusaders were—at great peril to themselves—imitating the Good Samaritan. Or, as Innocent II told the Knights Templar, “You carry out in deeds the words of the gospel, ‘Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’”


For the third time in 3 years, I’m trying to read Wealth and Poverty by George Gilder. The problem with Gilder is that he packs so much brilliance and insight into each chapter that I need frequent breaks to appreciate what I just read, hence my two failed attempts to even get halfway through this dense tome. The paradigm of selfless giving in supply-side economics that he describes in chapter 3 has influenced me tremendously.

Gilder’s exposition of the other-centered creativity of producers as the basis for non-entropic growth in wealth echoes James:

The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical. (James 3:17)

The greater the gift, the greater the growth. God gave His Son, the greatest gift, to His chosen people so that we may grow into Him and flourish. I don’t think this conflation of the fruits of faith with Gilder’s extolling of giving is inapt. The faith and good works of the Christian are founded on the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Paul writes:

Your faith and love have arisen from the hope laid up for you in heaven, which you have heard about in the message of truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as in the entire world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing among you from the first day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth. (Colossians 1:5-6)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Supply side

This excerpt from a 2009 AP article, from the middle of the Great Recession, illustrates the savers revolution that was then underway:

Grace Case, 38, of Syracuse, N.Y., is a self-described recovering creditaholic. For 13 years, she charged it all—cars, clothes, repairs, vacations. She’d make only the minimum card payments to sustain her buying spree for her and her family, which includes her husband and two children.

But after being laid off 2½ years ago from her job as an accountant, she landed another accounting job that cut her salary from $60,000 to $40,000. It was impossible to meet minimum payments on her card balances.

Now, the Cases are on a strict budget. They take “staycations,” grow their own vegetables, buy only used cars and pre-pay cell phones. Case hasn’t used a credit card in two years. And she’s saving more.

“It’s really a liberating feeling,” she said. “If you want something, you have to have the money for it.”

She’s making a third less and she’s happier than before because her outlook is dominated not by debt, but by the possibility of seizing opportunities that consumption on credit forbade her. It’s a bummer that Keynesians discourage the opposite: ever-increasing debt, ever-decreasing responsibility, to fuel aggregate demand. The economy can’t grow without some entity, either households or the government, not practicing sound economic principles, so it goes.

The Keynesian formula for growing the economy—stimulate wealth creation by stimulating demand—holds economic growth hostage to debt. Levels of consumption must be maintained to sustain economic growth, Paul Krugman argues. What about America’s $60 trillion in credit market debt? How this can go on, Krugman doesn’t say. The point at which debt interest crowds out private investment is Keynesian economics’ terminus. It is not a sustainable formula for growth.

Demand-side economics supposes the wealth of future generations will be built on consumers’ backs. But the creativity of the free market is all on the supply side. Let’s go back to 2008. Uncle Sam’s stimulus checks have arrived in the mail and America is ready to go shopping. They’re still limited in what they buy by what producers provide. The next big innovation or invention, the thing people don’t imagine they want until it’s put in their hands, someone has to take the risk to bring that to market. If all the economy is is a response to aggregate demand, nothing surprising is created that displaces old inefficiencies or technologies, that brings a net increase in value. It’s an entropic view of the system, doomed to stagnation and decay. Demand-side economics erroneously displaces the creativity of producers with the voraciousness of consumers.

So is savings—demand short of supply—truly a detriment to the economy? George Gilder writes in Wealth and Poverty:

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.

...

The old adages on the importance of thrift are true, not only because they signify a quantitative rise in investable funds, but because they betoken the imagination and purpose which make wealth.

Capital investments, which fund free market experiments, which grow wealth by acquiring knowledge and, when successful, by adding value to people’s lives, are made with large sums acquired over time (i.e., savings). Gilder writes further:

Saving, in fact, signifies a commitment to the future, a psychology of production and growth. Since World War II the countries that have saved most, preeminently Japan and other Asian capitalist lands, have grown fastest.

Confirming David Stockman’s analysis that savings brought the U.S. economy out of the Great Depression, not New Deal aggregate demand. The savings rate was 35 percent by the end of World War II. The average person saved a third of his money, unheard of in the modern era. The saving rate today of roughly 5 percent is the highest since the ’90s. This money accumulated as disposable income that funded and launched millions of free market experiments, setting the economy on course after years of New Deal market meddling and malinvestment.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Savers revolution

Since the Great Recession, America has been on a savings binge. While federal government debt-to-GDP rose from 77 percent to 103 percent in the last 6 years, non-federal government credit market debt fell from 289 percent to 231 percent. The federal government debt rose half as much as non-federal credit market debt fell! America as a whole hasn’t been less indebted since the summer of 2007, and debt-to-GDP continues to creep lower. Americans aren’t taking out loans, they’re paying off debt and saving at rates not seen since the ’90s.

What this long-term decline in debt reveals is the American people’s rejection of the consumer economy and a commitment to living for the future as much as for the present. This also has ramifications for Keynesian economists. The central concern of Keynesians is how to stimulate demand to maintain growth and employment in the face of declining demand, or “consumers” not consuming. Tejvan Pettinger summarizes this “paradox of thrift”:

Faced with prospect of recession and unemployment, people take the reasonable step to increase their personal saving and cut back on spending. However, this fall in consumer spending leads to a decrease in aggregate demand and therefore lower economic growth.

You can stimulate demand by:

  • Government spending
  • Mandating consumption
  • Cheapening the currency

We have been fully engaged in all three. Don’t let the lowest federal budget deficit since 2008 fool you. Federal and total government spending have been holding steady at $3.5 trillion and $6 trillion, respectively, since 2009. The spike in government spending coincided with the Great Recession years of 2008 and 2009. Instead of going down, crisis spending levels have been maintained, belying the “recovery.”

Don’t let John Roberts fool you, either. Obamacare is a fine on non-participation in the health insurance market. Obamacare creates demand by legislative fiat; the demand is manufactured, but it is demand nonetheless. Eight million “customers” have been added to insurance agencies’ customer base.

Finally, zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) has cheapened the cost of money and debt. Federal Reserve policy is to tempt capital investors with cheap loans and to push savers to invest their disposable income in a reach for yield, rather than watch it lose value. Easy access to money means more spending, stimulating demand, in theory.

The Keynesian economy has been going full force for 6 years. The economy should be burgeoning with demand, overflowing with purchases and money changing hands thanks to the above policies. But record low money velocity shows money is going to sumps of wealth, heretofore stocks, bullish for 6 years but finally liquidating. Why is GDP growth at a paltry 2 percent? Why is labor participation at its lowest since the ’70s? Why are worker productivity and wages stagnant? A Keynesian might point at the debt-to-GDP ratios and say Keynesianism hasn’t failed, it just hasn’t been tried enough. After all, the federal government picked up only half the slack in credit market debt.

Signs point to not a shortfall of demand, but a fundamental shortcoming of the theory of demand as the engine of the economy. The last 6 years highlight the futility of Keynesian planners in the face of the market responding to the changes in attitudes and behaviors of hundreds of millions of people acting with the newly acquired knowledge that they cannot spend their way to prosperity. Real growth and prosperity is in the supply side, the innovations people risk to bring to the market.

To be continued...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Defining illegality down

If Donald Trump disappeared in the polls tomorrow, he will have rendered a tremendous service by exposing Marco Rubio’s duplicity on illegal immigration. Rubio was elected to the Senate in part on the strength of his criticism of “immigration reform,” code for politicians’ betrayal of their sworn duty to protect American citizens against a de facto invasion. His post-2012 flip-flop and collaboration with Chuck Schumer and John McCain on illegal alien amnesty wounded Republicans deeply. This was part of a transparent, humiliating attempt to convince Hispanics that Republicans aren’t the racists that liberals have been calling them for years. Republicans’ desire for “amnesty” from the racism charge, paid for by schilling for all or part of the destructive liberal agenda, has been liberals’ play all along. It’s brilliant political strategy. At worst, the amnesty ploy fails amidst great outcry and it legitimizes the slander.

At the heart of Rubio’s pander is a disqualifying lack of conviction—an obsequious caving to nebulous public support, as opposed to the returns of creativity and personal risk of true leadership, which creates its own public support. The more Trump keeps illegal immigration in the spotlight, the worse Rubio looks. He opposes “repealing” birthright citizenship, as if it’s settled law, as if it’s explicit in the Constitution. We’re talking about asserting control over whom we confer citizenship, fixing the current ridiculous interpretation that illegal aliens create jurisdiction for U. S. citizenship based on their illegal entry. The argument for why the children of illegal immigrants should not be automatically conferred citizenship by virtue of being born inside the United States is sound. The author of the citizenship clause, Sen. Jacob Howard, wrote:

Every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.

Thus does Cal State political science professor Edward J. Erler, in his written testimony before Congress conclude:

Congress is fully competent, under the fourteenth amendment, to pass legislation defining those who are “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States. It does not require a constitutional amendment to withhold citizenship from children born in the United States of illegal alien parents. Their parents are not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States and they seek citizenship for their children without the consent of the nation. It defies logic to insist that an illegal act on the part of parents can confer the boon of citizenship upon their children.

That describes Rubio’s logic and his habitual, defeatist maneuvering at the expense of conviction.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Blotting out the past

Confederate and progressive symbols are being whitewashed from the University of Texas main campus thanks to the bored totalitarians of the anti-Confederate movement:

The University of Texas at Austin said it would delay plans to relocate the statues of Jefferson Davis and Woodrow Wilson, after the Sons of Confederate Veterans requested a temporary restraining order in a state district court on Friday afternoon.

The decision came a day after university officials announced they would move the statue of Confederate President Davis from the center of its campus in Austin, but allow the statues of other Confederate figures, including one of Robert E. Lee, to remain.

The Davis statue is scheduled to be installed at the University of Texas Briscoe Center for American History, where officials have said that it will become part of an educational exhibit.

A site for the Wilson statue, which will be relocated to maintain symmetry on the campus’ Main Mall, has not been determined.

On the face of it, Wilson was as big a racist as Davis, and definitely a bigger racist than Lee. Wilson believed in eugenics. He segregated the military. He screened Birth of a Nation in the White House. He was also a progressive, post-Constitutional technocrat, and war socialist. He was father of the income tax, the Federal Reserve, and the United Nations. He left a legacy of racist soft tyranny. I’ll gladly trade a Davis statue for a Wilson statue, even if it is just to maintain “symmetry.”

That’s all beside the point. Wilson was president of the United States. Davis was president of the Confederacy. For good or ill, they’re part of history. Everyone knows people as property is bad. It was as true in biblical times as it was true in 1860 (indentured servitude closely approximates the ancient Israelite institution). A Jefferson Davis statue doesn’t argue contrary to that moral truth, nor does it relitigate the Civil War. It pays homage to Davis’s civil authority and place in history, not to his views of slavery and the Bible that were fashionable among Southern gentlemen at a particular time.

That I wouldn’t build a Jefferson Davis statue today doesn’t give me the right to remove one put there yesterday. A good person can disagree with his predecessors without blotting out the past. It’s an old cliche, but it’s true we don’t know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve been. That must be why Leftists have no idea where their ideas will lead the country next, so groundless in truth and our history is their ideology. Intentionally diminishing our cultural heritage shortens our sense of who we are a people. The past is the fulcrum on which the present pivots. The shorter the past, the further afield the present swings.

Related: “History robbers” and “Slippery slope.”

Friday, August 14, 2015

Losers’ roost

The conservative thinking class has made denunciation of Donald Trump—not Obamacare, not marriage redefinition, not Planned Parenthood, not illegal immigration—the litmus test for admission into polite Republican society. So much for the “big tent.” What they always meant is it’s their tent.

The New York Times takes the baton from patsy Erick Erickson and praises Carly Fiorina, failed Hewlett-Packard CEO, failed Senate candidate, for being Republicans’ defensive weapon against the “war on women.”

In a crowded Republican field, Mrs. Fiorina has delivered the most forceful and succinct denunciation of Mr. Trump’s comments, which sent a shudder through a party concerned that it would reinforce perceptions that it was increasingly out of touch with female voters.

Now, many Republicans, preparing to potentially confront Mrs. Clinton in a general election, are looking anew at Mrs. Fiorina, who rose from being a secretary to running the giant technology company HP, as the party’s weapon to counter the perception that it is waging a “war on women.”

“People feel Carly has clearly demonstrated she is a very powerful operator, has a lot of strengths of conviction and is willing to take Hillary—and now even Trump—on very directly,” said Katie Packer Gage, a political strategist who focuses on helping Republicans connect with women.

Of course, if and when she loses the nomination fight, it will just confirm Republicans’ misogyny.

When opportunities to appeal to truth are few, liberals would have us defend against slanders intended to preoccupy all our time and all our listeners’ attention. Even disproven slanders taint you. Voters would have to choose between a candidate who has a vision, however fatally flawed, and a candidate who isn’t racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. “He’s not a bigot” is not why people pull the lever for you. You need to be better than clean. You need to have a vision and a plan. You need to put your offense on the field to score points. A conservative without a will is just a protestor.

There’s an influential set of conservatives who are content to constantly play defense. Years, decades, generations of shaming by liberals has made them the “loyal opposition,” “happy warriors,” etc. Somehow they got it in their heads that it’s better to hold the bursting seams of post-liberal America together than to nuke it like it should have been nuked a long time ago. When the fight heats up, they instinctively move to protect themselves and consolidate their positions. They don’t want to do the fighting it takes to win, because they find the fight beneath them, too low brow for their refined characters. Dignified defeat is their lot forever. They rationalize what liberals do to them, but go ape when someone steps out of rank to change it. It’s political Stockholm Syndrome. They fear the fight itself more than surrender, so they scold their comrades for disrupting the terms of the ceasefire, whatever they are this week, rather than fight alongside them.

On paper, Donald Trump is a terrible candidate. But he talks like a winner, and he’s winning in the polls. His appeal has nothing to do with what he says, but how he says it.

Now an industry has sprung up to take Trump down. It’s not because he’ll lose in the general election. It’s not because he sucks on the issues, which he does. Most establishmentarians don’t think he can keep this up until the Iowa caucuses. If, in the long run, Trump is irrelevant, why are they afraid of him? He threatens the losers’ roost. He just might prove that you can win by fighting, as opposed to winning by surrendering.

Related: “Betas in the big tent.”

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Blood in the water

There are honest reasons for hating Donald Trump, but that’s no excuse for dishonesty. As with the infamous Donald Sterling assassination last year, and the infamous Todd Akin assassination 2 years before that, you’re being lied to by people to whom people are dispensable.

It’s easy to let alone a false accusation against someone you dislike. Bravo to Robert Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. of the American Spectator for telling the truth about what Donald Trump said:

In the first paragraph of the New York Times’ front-page story on Sunday the Times said that because Megyn Kelly “questioned him forcefully at the Republican presidential debate” Donald Trump said she did it “because she was menstruating.” He did not. Whether the Times> was perpetrating a lie on its gullible readers or simply confused I cannot say. In the next paragraph readers can see for themselves what Trump actually said.

He said that “You could see there was blood coming out of her [Kelly’s] eyes, blood coming out of her wherever” when she rather bluntly questioned him on indelicate subjects. The Times went on for more than half a page recording the observations of people such as ex-Senator Judd Gregg and Senator Lindsey Graham who, by the way, trails Trump badly in the polls. It turns out that they did not hear Trump mention menstruation either. Their observations were merely speculations.

Dare I say it? They were the speculations of dirty minds. Hey, Lindsey, get your mind out of the gutter. As Trump quite aptly said later, “Only a deviant would think I was saying anything about blood somewhere other than her eyes or her nose.” He explained the word “wherever” as a typical rhetorical device for brevity and for moving on to other matters. It was not an anatomical reference. That satisfies me, but now let us see if Graham and Judd begin complaining that Trump has called them deviants. Often times our presidential campaigns give way to absurdities.

It doesn’t necessarily take a dirty mind. It’s enough to have “war on women” sympathies if you’re a liberal, or the opportunity to enforce PC standards in exchange for a dog biscuit in the case of Lindsey Graham and RedState’s Erick Erickson.

I’m sure some good things were said at the RedState Gathering, but most people will remember it for Erickson pusillanimously disinviting Trump. The irony is liberals don’t give a flip about the RedState Gathering. It only made the news because it furthered their agenda. Had they stuck around through the weekend, they would have reported what a bunch of heartless bigots made up the assembly. “I just don’t want someone on the stage who gets a hostile question from a lady and his first inclination is to imply it was hormonal,” a hysterical Erickson said, basking in the temporary esteem of people who would destroy him. Trump didn’t imply it, Erickson inferred it, and he embellished it for max political profit.

It was a short-sighted play, trying to take out Trump by giving the “war on women” narrative credibility. Not only didn’t it work—Trump is still with us—but Erickson exposed a vulnerability that liberals are certain to exploit later on when the stakes are raised.

Read his words. If Trump didn’t say Kelly was bleeding out of her eyes first, I wouldn’t be writing this. If he said she was hormonal, I wouldn’t be writing this. Because the New York Times’s lie wouldn’t be a lie, it would be the truth. I don’t care about what Trump says and doesn’t say. He doesn’t care, so why should I? He’s a troll, and you don’t feed trolls. But I do care about people spreading lies to serve their interests, even if those interests overlap my own. (I want Cruz to win.)

Not even Don Lemon and his CNN producers caught the supposed sexist comment. Clearly Trump was talking about Kelly having it in for him. Seething with animosity, that’s what blood coming out of your eyes means. Whether this describes Kelly or not is irrelevant, it’s what Trump was actually saying.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Odds and ends 8/11/2015

A question for our times:

“If the sexual revolution meant to liberate us, why are we still longing to be free?” –Theresa Martin

I wrote 3 years ago after the vice presidential debate that 7 minutes on abortion is not enough. It’s enough time for two people to take a defensive posture and avert embarrassment, particularly if you’re a child murder-permitting “Catholic” like Joe Biden. It’s easy to lie and hide behind subterfuge when you’re guaranteed the moderator will move along in a couple of minutes.

After reading the first part of the transcript of the Fox News debate, I knew that hasn’t changed.

Joan Walsh, who if she was any more obtuse she’d be acute, gleefully intones all the Republicans are like Todd Akin. This is a problem why?

The anti-abortion one-upmanship at the debate showed how the candidates are misreading the political opportunities and turning themselves into Todd Akin, the Republican who challenged Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill in 2012. Akin, you’ll recall, was disputing the need for a rape exception to an abortion ban when he told an interviewer that in cases of “legitimate rape,” a woman’s body magically has a way to “shut that whole thing down.” His idiocy helped not only McCaskill but President Obama that year.

I’d like 30 minutes’ debate on Todd Akin alone, just to see the poor man’s name rehabilitated. He’s a pro-life Joe McCarthy, constantly vilified but totally right. For more on Akin, read this and this.


Pete Heck rants about liberal scientific, compassionate tyranny at the American Thinker:

Having abandoned belief in any Moral Authority to the universe, liberal revolutionaries have been claiming the mantle of science as justification for their agenda for far longer than I can remember. And their hijacking of the word has resulted in great success for them politically and culturally. My only question remains, how long will our society be stupid enough to keep buying it?

After all, this is a movement that goes so far in their insistence that sexual attraction is inborn and unchangeable that they seek to enact laws actually forbidding someone experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction from seeking psychiatric help to overcome their urges. Apparently “respecting the sexual preferences of the individual” counts only when that sexual preference is to act on an urge rather than resist it.

But yet these same folks who claim that sexual attraction is unalterable are also the ones who insist that men like Bruce Jenner, undeniably born with genetic maleness (DNA, chromosomes, bone structure, and functioning reproductive organs of a male) can somehow “become” a woman. Yes, the “party of science” would have you believe that your attractions are unchangeably genetic in nature, but your genetic biology is a matter of personal opinion.


At VDare, Paul Gottfried explains the Stalinist harmonies of Confederate flag banning:

A recent incident in Wallingford, Connecticut, not far from where I grew up, caused VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow to comment: “Cultural Marxist totalitarianism is coming to an America near you.” A complaint was lodged with the local police that “hate” merchandise—Nazi and Confederate memorabilia—was being publicly exhibited and sold at a popular flea market.

Following a police investigation, an Anti-Defamation League official named Joshua Sayles expressed the view that “It’s unfortunate that under the law people have the right to sell these things; but it doesn’t mean they should sell these things. It’s not a crime but I would call it hate…”.

Chillingly, the assistant regional director of the Connecticut ADL thus unmistakably indicated he was deeply disturbed that a “right” to deal in what he considered “hate” was still allowed. Presumably, in a more sensitive world, no one would be allowed to exhibit or sell either Nazi or Confederate memorabilia. Needless to say, no moral distinction was made between Nazi Germany and the Confederate States of America. They both stood, or so the ADL official implied, for pure “hate.”

Peter properly suggests if such hate-inspectors get their way, we will be living in a condition of almost Stalinist oppression. We might not be shipped off to gulags (yet), but the control of speech and thought that these professional sensitizers would impose would be reminiscent of the worst examples of Leftist tyranny. I say “Leftist” intentionally—because rightist or non-leftist regimes have never tried to control their subjects’ minds as systematically as the Left.

Even Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime largely lost interest in mind reconstruction. It closed up universities as an unnecessary expense by the early 1940s, left the economy in private hands except for those businesses it expropriated, and tolerated a surprisingly wide range of intellectual dissenters. (For example, Karl Jaspers, Hans-Georg Gadamer and other dissenters and critics of the Nazi regime were left untouched in their academic positions. See Die deutsche Universitatsphilosophie In der Weimarer Republik und im Dritten Reich, by Christian Tilitzki.) Of course, this had nothing to do with being nice. It was simply that the Nazis, aggressive thugs as they were, had no interest in the worldwide indoctrination program dreamed of by the universalist, conversionary and egalitarian zealots of the true Left.


William M. Briggs writes where the “right” to die leads us:

This language is of encouragement. Suicide is not pathetic, but it is not quite noble, either. The emotion is a happy sort of melancholy. Suicide is just another “choice”. That it is seen to be so is proof that a government’s indifference to life spills out onto its citizenry.

We finally come to the “right” to suicide. It cannot be that suicide is a right other than the sense that a government does not punish those will commit or attempt to commit the act. But this is not the sense that is used in those countries which have made the act legal. Instead, “right” means that the government must provide the means of the act. And those means include a person or persons who are obliged to kill or to assist in the killing.

A person who kills under orders from a government is either a soldier or an executioner. Belgium, Switzerland, and the others who have legalized suicide are not sending soldiers to kill their citizens, but executioners. Wim Distelmans is an executioner. Yet these executioners call themselves “doctors” who reside in “clinics” and in which is practiced “medicine.”

This proves that governments who legalize suicide have and must debase and corrupt language. They cannot say what is so but must speak in euphemism. That means that they have made it a subtle form of illegality to speak the truth. If you doubt this, try using the proper words on government forms or forums in places like Belgium. In reality, we are no longer speaking of suicide but of willful death by execution; state-sponsored execution. True suicides do not need government assistance.

The main reason suicide is now seen as a good is the adoption of utilitarianism in one form or another as the foundation of ethics and morality (never mind that the foundation is built on sand). The arguments given for killing somebody are that they have outlived their usefulness, or that they can no longer operate at peak efficiency, or that there is suspicion they will not be optimally happy (think of the two brothers who were going blind and who would miss seeing each other). Even the mechanism of death is utilitarian: it must be “painless” and factory-like efficient. Contrast this with a Japanese prince committing seppuku. Virtue is never spoken of. “Dignity” is.

These utilitarian arguments are convincing to government, because without them governments never would have legalized suicide in the first place. The arguments are certainly convincing to the people who used to be doctors but became executioners. The executioners, appointed or credentialed by government, are expert, at least, in human anatomy, and thus they know efficient ways to kill. They also, however, view themselves as experts in utilitarianism and so they also claim to know when to kill.

There have already been many instances of executioners killing those who they, the executioners thought (or, worse, felt) had outlived their usefulness. There is also less or no chance of a person changing his mind. These executioners, as is already clear, have the permission of their governments to do so. Governments are not prosecuting them for illegal acts. That means government agrees with its executioners. Governments are complicit.

All that is lacking is a directive, something in writing somewhere, even a note in the back page of some ponderous book of regulations will do. This note will make the government an active agent in the process. “At the doctor’s discretion,” it might read, “those patients whose lives no longer meet the official medical standard may be gently, and most tenderly, euthanized.”

It is at that point that government will have given itself the power to decide who lives and who dies. That point is coming soon (and may even be here: I do not claim expertise in the legal and regulatory codes of those countries with legalized suicide). And when it arrives, it will be simplicity itself for governments, staffed with credentialed experts, to believe they have the right to define the official life standard so that it conforms to whatever utilitarian standard desired.

That’s what happens when people seeking premature death have no rationalization for living beyond what feels good. That’s what happens when man becomes the measure of himself. If God doesn’t command you to endure, why live past your break-even point?

Not to suggest all people want to kill themselves and want to have the state legitimize their choice, but ideas have consequences and this is one of the consequences of the secular materialist view of man. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, most people are better than their principles. Even though they can’t argue against suicide, they still abstain from it because the artifacts of sound upbringing make suicide repulsive still.

More here.


Robert Oscar Lopez’s Planned Parenthood analysis at Public Discourse shows how child commoditization dovetails with Brave New World-style reproduction schemes:

I am, perhaps, an outlier on the current Planned Parenthood scandal. I am not shocked that high-ranking officials in an organization by that name would be caught on video speaking callously about the harvesting of fetal organs. The fact that money is exchanged, and the question of whether this constitutes a “market,” do not particularly matter to me. Well-educated people believe that “planned parenthood” can lead to a socially just world. That hubris is the main horror from which all these other abhorrent things descend.

It is the “planned” part of the organization’s title that needs to be urgently criticized. What kind of society is so lacking in humanity that it thinks “parenthood”—a phenomenon responsible for, well, the perpetuation of everything social about us—can be regimented, organized, scheduled, commoditized, bought, sold, and programmed by people? And in particular, by the people running this soulless association? Stop for a moment and consider the intellectual consequences of this foundational belief that humanity can be “planned.” Such a belief means that humans can be edited and arranged, by contract if necessary. To be editable, people, particularly children, must become objects rather than subjects.

Once they become objects, children can be treated as dehumanized products in multiple ways, all bad. They can be disposed of, like integrated waste, when they are not convenient or not proceeding according to plan. Just as we recycle cans of Diet Coke and milk cartons, we can try to limit the wastefulness of our garbage by recycling the broken-down parts of people: their livers, hearts, lungs, and brains. All of this is management of objects, which costs money, so who is to say that there shouldn’t be some remuneration? Why not reimburse the people who are stuck with this waste for the cost of transporting and recycling it? Why not pay them a salary and make the salary attractive so that qualified professionals are indeed willing to take on such a ghoulish task?

The flip side of the disposable child, of course, is the child as a desired commodity. Since people can be thrown out when they are not convenient, they can also be manufactured and maintained through industrialized processes, when the natural process of lovemaking is not convenient. And alas, this leads us straight to the sublimities of Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Kennedy’s opinion emphasized the constitutional right of gay couples not to be lonely. According to Kennedy, the Fourteenth Amendment assures that gay couples should be given marriage licenses lest they call out to the universe and find nobody to answer back to their emotional needs with love.

Obergefell brings Roe v. Wade to its climax because it completes the transformation of children into objects. For children will be forced to love gay adults who are not their parents. To Kennedy, gay adults have a right not to feel lonely, which includes the right to start families. In fact, he states that they have a right to “custody” and “birth certificates” (i.e., birth certificates falsified to include two same-sex parents and erase biological parents of the opposite sex). To satisfy the human right to dignity and to thwart the civil injustice of “loneliness,” children must be produced and provided to people who want them, whether or not those people conceived the child by making love.

Children not only can, but must be manufactured. The transfers of custody must generate orphans and abandoned children, paying gamete donors and surrogates to abandon and orphan their offspring, so that this new product—the loving and obedient human being—can be delivered to paying customers.

Yep.

William Murchison opines at the American Spectator:

I haven’t heard any Planned Parenthood representative address the matter of those internationally known undercover videos by saying something like, “Well, you know, body parts and fetal tissue come with every abortion so get over it.” In responding to her medical director’s role in the video — talking blithely about going “above and below the thorax” so as to procure high-quality body parts — Cecile Richards, head of the Planned Parenthood body shop, regrets her employee’s compassionless “tone.”

That’s how it goes, no doubt, when liberty is the value at the top of the flagpole — the one the federal courts still salute in abortion cases, the ground and foundation of every point Planned Parenthood makes when defending abortion. You pays your money, and you takes your choices. Just good all-Americanism — unhitched to any larger concept of duty, responsibility, or human dignity. It’s all about good old personal choice: one thing over another thing, suit yourself, no strings attached.

Scott McKay, also at American Spectator, writes about the portent of Planned Parenthood’s lawlessness on the republic:

In the Senate, amendments to de-fund Planned Parenthood were filed but not passed. Meanwhile, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who was confirmed thanks to 10 Republican Senate votes, announced she would be launching an investigation as a result of the videos… into their producers.

So when evidence of illegal activity by a constituent organization within the Democratic Party’s constellation is produced, this administration investigates the whistleblower. And does so in broad daylight.

Nothing is done about it.

This isn’t about politics anymore. We are now beyond the question of what will work in the next election cycle. What is at stake now is the future of the American republic and constitutional governance — because if Congress cannot be relied on to put a stop to rampant lawlessness and corruption at the highest levels within the executive branch, the government as a whole no longer has the moral standing to put a stop to lawlessness anywhere.

The whole system begins to break down when the public ceases to consent to be governed. The Obama administration has driven us to that point, and the weak GOP leadership has all but broken the opposition party through multiple showings of Failure Theater.


Investor’s Business Daily figures the recovery is $2 trillion behind schedule:

As it periodically does, the BEA revised previous years’ GDP numbers, and what it found this time is that growth in almost every quarter since 2012 was weaker than it previously calculated.

The result is that GDP growth from 2012 to 2014 was just 2%, not 2.3%. In dollar terms, the revisions cut more than $100 billion from the nation’s economic pie.

It also means that President Obama has presided over an economic recovery—now more than six years old—that is far worse than all the previous 10 stretching back 70 years.

It’s worse when you also factor in total employment as a percentage of population is at a 40-year low Fed has kept the cost of money at zero for 7 years. This “recovery” is a recession away from becoming a second Great Depression.


Richard Fernandez comments on Freud at PJ Media and drops this gem:

The trouble with 19th century atheism is that it had not completely freed itself from the sentiments of Christianity: in many subtle ways they assumed that man after God would still have limits. They failed to understand until the middle 20th century that man’s need for power did not necessarily contain limits. They learned, too late, that like the Bill of Rights understands, it is in the “won’ts” on men’s actions that earthly freedom lives.

Vox Day says in reaction:

We’re not eating little girls yet, but we’re already parting them out and selling them for profit.

I don’t see the difference. It’s worse than cannibalism. Planned Parenthood isn’t exactly a pauper organization. They get half a billion in federal funding that Democrats will defend to the bitter end. “God bless you” the president once told them.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Stupid questions

The Fox News debate moderators didn’t ask tough questions, they asked stupid questions. They stoked a tenor of unseriousness that provided no insight or depth into the existential issues facing the country. These are debates in the same sense as WWE is wrestling. As political theater, it’s fun. As political reality, it’s pathetic.

If you’re goal is to take down Donald Trump, you’re not going to succeed by limiting his answers to a minute long. You’re not going to succeed by asking him questions about himself, his favorite topic. You’re not going to shame him with political correctness. To demonstrate his suitability for office, or lack thereof, you have to give him the floor on an issue that he knows nothing about. Let him talk in circles and contradict himself. Then let a relatively competent candidate with a grasp of the issues show how it’s done.

Trump is a blowhard alpha stud. He was custom-made to handle stupid questions from feminist reactionaries with attitude problems like Megyn Kelly. This is a trend now. Remember, on her own show Kelly screeched at Lou Dobbs for wanting to discuss the displaced male in modern America, and she femsplained to Mike Huckabee that American women cuss, drink, smoke, and have premarital sex. Look how horribly that’s worked out for decaying lower and middle America (Huckabee’s point all along). Yay, freedom!

“How will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton who is likely to be the Democratic nominee that you are part of the war on women?” Kelly asked. There are lots of options. There is no “war on women,” for starters. Women live longer, have lower rates of incarceration, are awarded more college degrees, are celebrated for every “glass ceiling” achievement, win most custody battles, receive child support from the state and from the children’s fathers, and abort their children for personal fulfillment. The NFL, a 100 percent male league, bends over backwards for women. Again, there is no war on women. If I’m Trump, I’d say: “Why didn’t she bring it up at the fundraisers I held for her?” or “Ask the thousands of women whose paychecks I sign,” or “Seeing as how I was recently pro-choice, I can handle the charge better than my staunchly pro-life colleagues.”

Trump nailed his response, and he made Kelly’s foolish question look foolish, and that’s all anybody remembers from the debate. Trump is still hanging around, sucking all the oxygen from the other candidates’ press coverage, and the only one with less credibility is Fox News.

Kelly further embarrassed herself by asking a loaded question to Scott Walker about abortion: “Would you really let a mother die rather than have an abortion?” That’s not a tough question, it’s a stupid question. It takes a candidate’s obvious strength based on natural reality and tries to turn it upside-down. Thinking people don’t harp on the less than 1 percent of pregnancies that result from rape or incest. Liberals do that, so they can wedge open the exception door to every suboptimal pregnancy under the sun. Because they’re beholden to a Marxist, zero-sum formula of empowerment. They can’t imagine less “freedom”—as in less freedom to abuse their freedom—as being a positive.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Defenestration of love

Sarah Elizabeth Cupp writes about how the truths about the nature of the circle of life are being stigmatized at Maoist reeducation centers American colleges:

A guide to “bias-free language” posted on the University of New Hampshire’s website (until it was taken down recently) deems these words and hundreds of others problematic. That’s right—the preferred term is “parenting,” not “mothering” or “fathering.” “American” is biased because it, “depending on context, fails to recognize South America.” (What?) And “healthy,” applied to the able-bodied, implies that people with disabilities are not, and so “non-disabled” is the better term. Also, please replace “homosexual” with “same gender loving,” and did you know that "old person" is somehow preferable to "older person" and “elderly”?

That sound you hear is the fast-approaching clickety-clack of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

One man’s apocalypse is another man’s utopia. I’m surprised UNH tolerated “parenting.” Unless they redefine the word, it implies a hierarchical relationship between guardian and dependent that is most common to the natural order of husband/father, wife/mother, and children. To a society obsessed with eschewing nature to remake the world, even “parenting” will not do.

In Brave New World, the two greatest obscenities are birth and mother. But every child is borne from a mother. How could something so common, so natural, so essential to the human race, be obscene? For children to be born, mothers have to bear them. Enthralling, exclusive, conjugal love creates new life and enthralling, exclusive maternal love nurtures new life. This isn’t so in Brave New World, where “effective” procreation occurs in the hands of genetic matchmakers in the lab. Then children aren’t born, they’re mass-produced to meet the Keynesian demand of the entropic, fascist economy. Love is stigmatized to keep procreation out of nature, once its exclusive domain. Conjugal and maternal love are primitive, passé, and plain icky. Promiscuity and childlessness are celebrated. The man and woman don’t have to worry about potential offspring disrupting their using other people for sex.

The reason fatherhood isn’t stigmatized as severely is because the father’s tie to his child is through the mother. Her physical connection to the child is the limiting factor in the father-child relationship. The best he can hope for is to match the mother’s love, but he almost never does. Male indifference to progeny is the norm in the animal kingdom. He can leave her when she is pregnant with child, and does, too often. The vast majority of single parents are mothers, and it’s not because the fathers died. They simply left. It doesn’t take as much encouragement from the authorities to defenestrate fatherhood. It is an action to him that he can refuse to make, not a passive role. He learns fatherhood, like he learns the other manly virtues.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Shorting the progressive machine

At the American Spectator, David Catron rips into progressivism in a perfectly titled article, “O’Malley, Obamacare, and the technocracy myth”:

When Democrat Martin O’Malley announced his presidential bid, the media billed him as part of a new generation of talented technocrats. The former Maryland governor, as one outlet put it, “helped pioneer a data-driven approach that made government more efficient.” These people have evidently forgotten the spectacular failure of Maryland’s online Obamacare exchange, which crashed moments after launch because O’Malley and his administration studiously ignored ominous data provided by its technical experts. In other words, O’Malley’s “data-driven approach” didn’t involve looking at actual data. It consisted primarily of telling the media that Maryland’s exchange would be a “model for the nation.”

Meanwhile, the danger signs mounted. As the Washington Post reported at the time, “More than a year before Maryland launched its health insurance exchange, senior state officials failed to heed warnings that no one was ultimately accountable for the $170 million project and that the state lacked a plausible plan for how it would be ready.” And these concerns continued to be ignored right up to the go-live date. Even when the top information technology official resigned, O’Malley and his people somehow failed to get the message. This avoidable debacle culminated last week in a settlement requiring the IT firm Noridian Healthcare Solutions to refund $45 million of the $73 million it was paid to bungle the project.

But the moral of this tale transcends O’Malley’s obvious limitations and even the multifarious flaws of Obamacare. The meltdown of Maryland’s exchange will help to explode the myth that a new breed of technocrats can deliver good government where mere politicians encumbered by inconvenient laws cannot. It was this fallacy that motivated the Democrat-controlled Congress that created Obamacare to cede much of its power to executive branch bureaucrats, and it is behind many of the illegal executive orders issued by the President. O’Malley’s pratfalls are a useful reminder the hyper-competent technocrat is a myth. And the other state-run exchanges provide an equally telling catalogue of incompetence and waste.

The problem is when technocracy works perfectly, it still fails. Even if progressives have complete knowledge of their subjects, their systems of control exclude the unforeseen and the miraculous. Formulaic systems drain capital away from real innovation and deprive the irreplaceable, unquantifiable elements of human flourishing. In their place progressives hold up a soulless secular humanism or secular materialism, to which we reply with Calvin Coolidge: “Prosperity is only an instrument to be used, not a deity to be worshiped.”

Effective government and data-driven solutions sound sexy and unideological. They promise order and predictability to the chaos of the marketplace. They’re actually a front for secular, liberal, post-democratic dictatorship that dehumanizes the individual for the sake of the whole. The whole of what, though? Not millions of individuals, but society for its own sake, society redesigned in their image.

The “chaotic” marketplace is formed by the talents and desires of people, which are so surprising they short whatever system progressives set over it to control it. George Gilder writes that what progressives call chaos is information, the signals on the free markets lines of communication. Impeding its flow prevents communication between producers and customers, in turn impeding mutually beneficial transactions, in turn impeding wealth creation.

Progressives think their noble cause (“prosperity,” “happiness,” “equality,” etc.) can wash out the innumerable variations among people. If each person is a hill with unique contours, with unique parts in shade and unique parts in light, then the progressive’s noble cause is the light that shines on every shadow—or tries to and fails.

“Grandmother, what big data you have!” “The better to control you with, my dear.” Paul Sperry writes at the New York Post:

A key part of President Obama’s legacy will be the fed’s unprecedented collection of sensitive data on Americans by race. The government is prying into our most personal information at the most local levels, all for the purpose of “racial and economic justice.”

Unbeknown to most Americans, Obama’s racial bean counters are furiously mining data on their health, home loans, credit cards, places of work, neighborhoods, even how their kids are disciplined in school—all to document “inequalities” between minorities and whites.

This Orwellian-style stockpile of statistics includes a vast and permanent network of discrimination databases, which Obama already is using to make “disparate impact” cases against: banks that don’t make enough prime loans to minorities; schools that suspend too many blacks; cities that don’t offer enough Section 8 and other low-income housing for minorities; and employers who turn down African-Americans for jobs due to criminal backgrounds.

All in pursuit of equality of result, a totalitarian enterprise. The hubris is classic. Only one light can bring all men together: the revelation of God’s son Jesus as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Only Jesus’ righteousness on the cross provides the absolution and the acceptance necessary for diverse people to live together as one.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Planned Parenthood’s profit motive

When Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 disappeared, one possible explanation was men hijacked the plane and flew to a hidden location in China, where the passengers and crew were sold into slavery or harvested for their organs. Considering a single kidney goes for as much as $160,000 on the black market, the 239 passengers and crew aboard MH370 represented a $76 million crop in kidneys alone to enterprising entrepreneurs.

It goes without saying this is criminal and perverse. On the other hand, supposing human life has no supra-molecular value, this is merely suppliers meeting customers’ needs, and what’s the harm in that?

When South Park lampooned the stem cell research controversy by showing Christopher Reeve obtain super strength by literally slurping cells out of aborted fetuses, you couldn’t tell who the showrunners were making fun of. Were they mocking scientific dehumanization, the overhyped promises of stem cell research, or were they mocking pro-lifers’ fears of child commoditization (i.e., “these silly pro-lifers think scientists are eating babies”). Probably both.

The fears are not overblown. Let’s put our Francis Schaeffer caps on and consider the logical conclusion of pro-choicers’ premises. Pregnancy is like any other health emergency. The gestating baby is like a tumor, an unwelcome growth that can be removed to preserve the woman’s right to define her own concept of existence, to quote Anthony Kennedy in Panned Parenthood v. Casey. It’s a precious little angel if it fits her concept of existence, an excisable tumor if it violates her concept of existence. She has the right to circumcise life to preserve her uncircumcised will. Her will, in place of God’s, be done.

If we allow human life is secondary to female autonomy, how do we prevent life from becoming secondary to the profit motive? They’re impossible to parse because money buys autonomy. Money buys freedom to do what we want. Can we differentiate “She can’t have a baby because it’ll hurt her earnings outlook” from “I want a Lamborghini”?

For years pro-choicers tried to hide this barbarity. They tried to make the issue a debate about when life technically begins. They knew that was their hill to die on. There was no fallback option. If they lost that argument, their repulsive nihilism would be revealed, and they would lose public standing.

It has been revealed anyway, thanks to the Center for Medical Progress’s harrowing videos. If anything can be said in Planned Parenthood’s defense, it’s that they’re less greedy than black market kidney dealers. Then again, maybe the relatively low price of fetal “specimens” is just a matter of supply exceeding demand. Planned Parenthood’s 300,000 terminated babies every year qualifies as a glut.

Katie Geary writes at the Federalist:

In the second video, we find out explicitly from Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Mary Gatter that abortions performed with feticides aren’t viable for fetal-tissue donation. If digoxin is used, it renders the fetal stem cells unusable. (See the footage and the transcript.) Knowing this, Nucatola’s graphic explanation of how to “crush” unborn babies to maximize organ retrieval requires a clarifier. These babies are being strategically maneuvered, crushed, and dismembered under ultrasound guidance—while still alive.

To Planned Parenthood, they’re not babies, they’re profit.