DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Archive for the 'Think about it.' Category

38 Maps That Explain the Global Economy

27th August 2014

Check it out.

From the point of view of the people providing the maps, of course. Your mileage may differ, depending upon your ideological bent.

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Whopper Donut Cheeseburgers, Eh?

26th August 2014

Read it. And ponder the picture.

So Burger King is going to acquire the Canadian Tim Horton’s donut chain, in yet another tax inversion that causes so much cranial-rectal inversions among liberals. I sure hope we get a donut Whopper cheeseburger out of this merger. With bacon. That would be more awesome than a deep-fried Twinkie. (Lo and behold, turns out the genera already exist.)

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Vacations and Vocations

26th August 2014

Kevin Williamson lays down some inconvenient truth.

President Barack Obama is spending his vacation golfing on Martha’s Vineyard. Hillary Rodham Clinton is spending her vacation in the habitual Clintonian mode, making a vulgar spectacle of herself in the Hamptons. Joe Biden, not that anybody cares, is off to Grand Teton.

Senator Rand Paul, on the other hand, is spending his vacation in Guatemala, performing eye surgeries on poor children who need care. (Eliana Johnson wrote about the trip here.) As the Washington Post points out, this is not a new thing for the senator-surgeon; on this trip, he saw two patients he’d first treated 15 years ago.

Quite a contrast.

Senator Paul will come out of his vacation looking pretty good. Given the political class’s endless appetite for self-serving theater, I found myself wondering why President Obama, Mrs. Clinton, or Vice President Biden did not choose to spend their vacations in a similar way, offering to put their skills and abilities to use on behalf of others. And then I realized that this was a deeply stupid question on my part.

What the hell would they do?

Unlike Senator Paul, neither the president nor the vice president nor the former secretary of state has anything that one might describe as a useful skill. That’s not quite right: They have skills that are useful . . . to themselves. As for skills that are useful to other people — you’d be hard pressed to think of one. If you were a poor family in Guatemala, which would you rather have: the services of a pretty good ophthalmologist, or those of an excellent orator? (Never mind that, unlike Senator Paul, President Obama does not speak Spanish — or, indeed, any foreign language.) Imagine dispatching Hillary Rodham Clinton to Calcutta or Joe Biden to Conakry and then expecting them to do something useful. The idea is preposterous.

Contrast that with professor of orthopedic surgery Tom Price (R., Ga.), obstetrician Mike Burgess (R., Texas), or cardiovascular surgeon Charles W. Boustany (R., La.). Mrs. Clinton may, in making the Hamptons rounds, even pass the childhood home of former physician Howard Dean, whose family split its time between East Hampton and Park Avenue. Even Howlin’ Howard has a useful skill, though his medical license lapsed a decade ago.

Quite a contrast indeed.

Politicians can redistribute wealth, but they do not create any. They can attempt to command the energies of those with the ability and inclination to produce valuable goods and services, but as politicians they do not produce. The entire idea of politicians as society’s leadership is an inversion of the real order of things: Government is not here to lead anybody anywhere — it is here to serve us in the important but limited role of coordinating collective action toward such ends as physical security and the enforcement of contracts.

If you think that President Obama can provide you with health care, let him take a scalpel to your eye. I dare you.

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The Secret History of the Telephone Network

24th August 2014

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The history of telecommunications is a long story of progressives and populists demanding “public interest” regulations that produce and protect monopolies, followed by progressive and populist demands for regulations to fix the problems that their earlier regulations created. At each step, activists were coached and coaxed by the political and business interests in question.

Progressives today are traveling the well-worn policy path of trying to fix old mistakes by making new ones. They demand competition while promoting municipal public utility broadband systems. “Open access creates competition,” they claim, never minding that the unbundling requirements that force providers to lease their systems to competitors only create “competition” by turning an existing provider into a de facto monopoly. The goals of the modern net neutrality movement—which in effect seeks to prevent Internet Service Providers from providing anything but lowest-common-denominator service—might as well adopt the same early slogan of monopoly-era AT&T: “One System, One Policy, Universal Service.”

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Indulging in Destruction

24th August 2014

Theodore Dalrymple lays down some inconvenient truth.

Strangely enough, my experience of being a foreign correspondent, if that is what it was, has never caused me to doubt the veracity of what I read in the newspapers, which I swallow as a boa constrictor swallows a goat.

However, I have followed riots around the world vicariously ever since, and it seems to me that the principal precondition of such events in the modern world is clement weather. The association is much stronger than with, say, injustice, partly because there is complete agreement as to what constitutes clement weather, whereas what constitutes justice has been in dispute since at least the time of Plato. We all recognize good rioting weather when we see it, but injustice—well, we could go on arguing about it for days. Everyone can contain his anger in the rain.

But to hate injustice is not necessarily to love justice; and one might have supposed that the first duty of those who claim to hate injustice was themselves to act justly. Virtually by definition, those who riot violently (as did a small number of the protesters) do not act justly, for almost always they do damage, sometimes much damage, to the interests of those who have not caused the injustice against which they supposedly protest, and therefore commit an injustice against those who are unknown to them. Such is the case of the crimes against property, or rather, as my friend the economist Peter Bauer used to insist, against the owners of property, in Ferguson (property cannot suffer, but its owners can). Two injustices do not make righteousness.

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HAPPY DANCE SUNDAY

24th August 2014

Penny Lane

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The Core Democrat Party Platform

23rd August 2014

IQ

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Checklist of Rationality Habits

23rd August 2014

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Below is the checklist of rationality habits we have been using in the minicamps’ opening session.  It was co-written by Eliezer, myself, and a number of others at CFAR.  As mentioned below, the goal is not to assess how “rational” you are, but, rather, to develop a personal shopping list of habits to consider developing.  We generated it by asking ourselves, not what rationality content it’s useful to understand, but what rationality-related actions (or thinking habits) it’s useful to actually do.

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Black Cop Shoots Unarmed White Teenager in Utah

23rd August 2014

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The policeman’s name is being withheld, unlike Darren Wilson’s –whose address was exposed by outside agitators.

Needless to say, there were no national news crews sent to Salt Lake. Rachel Madcow did not froth at the mouth about what a horrible, racist country America is. Chris Matthews avoided his usual spittle-spewing public meltdown. The Revs Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were nowhere to be found.

Then again, David Duke was unavailable for comment. The Aryan Nations did not show up. The leader of the American Nazi Party did not lead a chant saying “What’s his name?” “Officer X.” “How do we want him?” “Dead!” There was no looting in Salt Lake by aggrieved whites.

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A Plague on Both Their Charities

23rd August 2014

Sarah Hoyt has some words of wisdom. (Really. They are.)

Look, no humans band up then sit in their clubhouse twirling their moustaches and saying “now we’re going to be evil.” But human organizations often become evil. Partly this is because the people willing to do the donkey work of running a voluntary organization are often – not to say always – the type of mind that seeks power over others. If the charter of the organization allows them to achieve that power by dividing (as it were) the world in two and playing us against them, they will, and they will drive the association down an ever more paranoid path. At the end of which there’s always evil and attack on the “the other.”

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Thought for the Day

22nd August 2014

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How Presidential Elections Are Impacted by a 100 Million Year Old Coastline

22nd August 2014

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The legacy of ancient coastlines, chalk, soil, cotton, and slavery can still be seen today.   African Americans make up over 50%, in some cases over 85%, of the population in Black Belt counties.  As expected this has and continues to deeply influence the culture of the Black Belt.  J. Sullivan Gibson writing in 1941 on the geology of the Black Belt noted, “The long-conceded regional identity of the Black Belts roots no more deeply its physical fundament of rolling prairie soil than in its cultural, social, and economic individuality.”  And so this plays out in politics.

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How to Be Fired

22nd August 2014

Gavin McInnes is caught up in the same old.

It’s not even the real trannies who are mad. They’re on my side. It’s the fake trannies who want my guts for garter belts. You see, the hot thing with the kids today is pretending you’re transgendered. To mock this is to take away their “me snowflake” status and make them admit they’re just like everybody else. Telling normal people they’re normal is now a hate crime. The government was just kicked off Wikipedia for citing my article. A congressional staffer mentioned it and now they’re considering booting all of congress off of Wikipedia for good. Want to update your constituents on a new bill? Sorry, one person in your building exhibited signs of transphobia.

Anyhoozers, this happens to pretty much everyone. If you’re lucky, you get a good payout. If you’re even luckier, they got the story straight. I don’t know how many of my friends have almost lost their minds after being fired for something that never happened. All it takes is one angry coworker and next thing you know a nonexistent “You” said “nigger” or grabbed someone’s ass.

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It’s Time for a Four-Day Workweek

21st August 2014

Read it.

Hear, hear.

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Israel and Hamas

21st August 2014

Scott Adams cuts to the chase.

So let’s all stop fantasizing that the government of Hamas and the government of Israel can make a lasting peace via traditional peace talks. To do so would mean one of their governments is operating outside its intended design. American efforts to broker such a peace are just for show. No one expects peace because the systems of government that Israel and Hamas each selected make that impossible. You can’t have peace unless one of the two governments involved is replaced by an entirely new system that is designed in a way that allows peace to even be an option.

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The Phantom Time Hypothesis

21st August 2014

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I love the smell of conspiracy in the morning.

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Unicorn Governance

19th August 2014

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When I am discussing the State with my colleagues at Duke, it’s not long before I realize that, for them, almost without exception, the State is a unicorn. I come from the Public Choice tradition, which tends to emphasize consequentialist arguments more than natural rights, and so the distinction is particularly important for me. My friends generally dislike politicians, find democracy messy and distasteful, and object to the brutality and coercive excesses of foreign wars, the war on drugs, and the spying of the NSA. 

But their solution is, without exception, to expand the power of “the State.” That seems literally insane to me—a non sequitur of such monstrous proportions that I had trouble taking it seriously.

Then I realized that they want a kind of unicorn, a State that has the properties, motivations, knowledge, and abilities that they can imagine for it. When I finally realized that we were talking past each other, I felt kind of dumb. Because essentially this very realization—that people who favor expansion of government imagine a State different from the one possible in the physical world—has been a core part of the argument made by classical liberals for at least three hundred years.

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The Secret Rules of Adjective Order

18th August 2014

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An intuitive code governs the way English speakers order adjectives. The rules come so naturally to us that we rarely learn about them in school, but over the past few decades language nerds have been monitoring modifiers, grouping them into categories, and straining to find logic in how people instinctively rank those categories.

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Surprising Salaries for Jobs You’d Never Imagine

17th August 2014

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Many companies will train employees on the job. Lucas Mund spent a summer in college working at a local burger chain. “My 19 year-old boss was taking home $35,000/year with benefits,” he said. “Plus they train you on the job for free. She told me that she was on track to be a regional manager by the age of 30 and would make 100k by then.”

Working your way up to store manager has its perks. According to Murray Godfrey a Wal-Mart store manager “of a store in a moderate-sized locale can easily make $200k plus bonuses based on sales.”

Katie Nellis said managers of Walgreen’s drugstores in the US “often retire in their 40s.”

Turns out there’s a lot of moola in doing the jobs Americans don’t want to do.

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Thought for the Day

17th August 2014

Theodore Dalrymple expresses my sentiments exactly.

I take a small siesta after lunch—I find it revivifies my brain for about half an hour—but each time I wake up I am a little disappointed to be thrust back into the midst of life. Sleep, especially when dreaming, is so much more enjoyable than being awake, with all the petty tasks that consciousness imposes upon one. The process of keeping myself alive bores me terribly; every morning the same thing, shower, shaving, breakfast, how tedious it all seems!

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HAPPY DANCE SUNDAY

17th August 2014

Paperback Writer

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Thought for the Day

16th August 2014

Reagan Golf copy

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Experts: Record Cold Summer Leads to Changing Leaves in August

16th August 2014

Read it.

How’s that Global Warming coming along?

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Texting Creating ‘Text Neck’ Epidemic, Doctor Warns

16th August 2014

Read it.

“The problem is the posture,” Dr. Dean Fishman, a chiropractic physician who created and trademarked the phrase “text neck,” told FoxNews.com.  The Plantation, Florida-based doctor believes text neck is a global epidemic that is literally changing the way our bodies should grow.

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The Hillary Conundrum: What Does She Really Believe, and When Did She Believe It?

15th August 2014

Ron Radosh looks behind the curtain.

Hillary Clinton’s recent Atlantic interview with Jeffrey Goldberg has produced a storm, both by comments from the usual pundits as well as among the ranks of the left-wing of the already very liberal/left Democratic Party. Many conservatives have responded by calling attention to Hillary’s obvious failures, to write off what she has had to say as of no consequence except for revealing her hypocrisy. No one put it better than Bret Stephens in The Wall Street Journal. He dubs her arguments as nothing but her “self re-invention as a hawk,” made because she “belatedly needs to disavow the consequences of the policies she once advocated,” and possibly because “she believes in whatever she says, at least at the time she’s saying it.”

I fully understand Stephens’ reaction to what Hillary Clinton said in the interview, but I think he neglects to take into consideration evidence that indicates she, while serving as his secretary of State, privately fought him tooth and nail, and presented advice that Obama rejected.

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How College Financial Aid Really Works

15th August 2014

Steve Sailer pulls back the curtain.

Economic theory suggests that the ultimate goal of any monopolist would be “perfect price discrimination” in which each customer is charged the maximum they would possibly pay. To ensure they know exactly how much that is, student by student, colleges require parents of applicants to perform a financial colonoscopy upon themselves via the federal FAFSA form, accompanied by signed 1040 forms. And many require the even more intrusive CSS document.

Of course, colleges aren’t a monopoly, but they appear to be a pretty successful cartel, at least as far as I can tell from noticing their Augusta National-level landscaping budgets. It’s been decades since I’ve seen a college campus that looked as dried out as Pinehurst No. 2 at the U.S. Open last June.

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Definition of Fascism

14th August 2014

John C. Wright lays out some inconvenient truth.

Originally the word had a very specific meaning. It was coined by Mussolini, a socialist, to describe how his heresy of socialism differed from orthodox Marxist socialism.

The word itself comes from the fasci which is the Roman symbol of a magistrate called a Lictor, that is, the authority of the state to punish dissent and nonconformity. The fasci is a bundle of rods surrounding an ax. You can see it in the architectural decorations of statehouses and courts of law. The bundle of rods represents the truism that any one stick can be broken in isolation, but when gathered together, cannot be broken. If put into words, it is a symbol of the motto that unity is strength.

The two main differences of doctrine are, first, that Mussolini socialism operates factories and large businesses as public utilities, where the owners are allowed to keep their businesses in name only, but in fact are reduced to mere managers under direct state control, or quartermasters. This is distinct from Marxism in that it does not consider businessmen and workingmen to be two separate species of mankind, as Marxism does, locked in a Darwinian struggle to the death for racial survival.

The second difference and related to the first is that Mussolini considered the nation, that is, a racial and cultural group sharing a language, to be the fundamental collective to which the individual was to be subordinated, and the state to be the apotheosis of the collective Will. This is distinguished from Marxism who selected the rather more abstract (and irrational) group of persons engaged in categories of economic activity to be the fundamental collective.

The short answer is that a Fascist is a Nationalist Socialist whereas a Marxist is an International Socialist.

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Our Higher Education System Fails Leftist Students

14th August 2014

Mike Munger, a Real Economist, uncovers a rock.

It may have come as a shock to the parents of these liberal students that they had learned everything they needed to know…in high school! Having memorized a kind of secular leftist catechism, they were free to wander around the quads of Duke and enjoy themselves.

Once we realize that the problem with our educational system is that we’re short-changing students on the left, denying them an education just because they happen to agree with the professor, then we have a path forward.

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Kansas Teachers Union Sues State Over Termination Law

12th August 2014

Read it.

Man, I’m telling you, if someone who is both a government employee and a union member can be fired, who is safe?

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5 Issues (Among Many) on Which Libertarians Are On Your Side

12th August 2014

J. D. Tuccille attempts to be persuasive.

Are libertarians just Ayn Rand-obsessed pot smokers who want to hide their money from the tax man?

Yeah, pretty much — at least the ones who write for tReason magazine. When our civilization is faced with an existential threat from a billion people whose totalitarian ideology was crafted in the 7th century by a mass-murdering brigand, worrying about whether smoking pot is legal is a perspective problem that makes such ‘libertarians’ irrelevant. If ‘libertarian’ means anything, it means a devotion to liberty, and worrying about what people can smoke here rather than spending full time about how basic liberty is being suppressed there (and here as soon as they can make it happen) is impossible to characterize as other than juvenile.

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Leveling the Playing Field (With Explosives)

12th August 2014

Jim Goad lays out some inconvenient truth.

If you start with the premise that people are equal, then disparities in income and intelligence between groups will be blamed on the phantom demon known as “injustice,” and all your political energies will be spent trying to, as the tiresome saying goes, “level the playing field.”

But if you start with the premise that they aren’t equal, nearly all inequalities can be explained by, well, inequality—in other words, the idea that the playing field started out level, and inequalities began emerging when certain groups and individuals proved more adept than others. You will therefore view any attempt to “level the playing field” as artificial and essentially contradictory—to achieve equal results, one must instead tilt the playing field so that all the players appear to be the same height. The chief goal of “diversity” is, ironically, to make everyone the same.

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An Industry Dying for Female Workers

11th August 2014

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How come oil and gas firms are never a target for feminist groups? They pay great for education required. They are growing and spread out in many different regions of the US. They are also enclaves of masculinity. All this bitching about brogrammers, yet it is just coding at a desk in an air-conditioned room. The frac operators, mechanics, and cement specialists are doing manly physical work. Wouldn’t getting women involved in this sort of work prove gender equality? Come on, women’s studies majors! This is your big chance.

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We Don’t Really Need More Jobs

9th August 2014

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Most people, if offered the alternative between their current job on one hand and, on the other hand, the same salary but no job would choose the latter. Many do make this sort of choice. Casey Mulligan, a University of Chicago economist, calculates that half the depression of the labor market during the recent recession lies in the incentives created by the expansion of the safety net.

And note that anybody who gets bored without a job or needs the sentiment of being useful can do charity work. So why do most of us want to work at paid jobs?

The answer is simple. What people are really after is not jobs, but the incomes that come with them. And people want incomes because they want to consume during their leisure time. Life is not about making useless efforts, but about enjoying things, many of which, alas, only come with some effort. Jobs are the cost; consumption is the benefit.

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Why Do We Care About Transportation Mode Share?

9th August 2014

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The New York Times ran an op-ed piece that helpfully demonstrated the pitfalls of lifestyle arguments in favor of urbanism, namely that they are annoying to everyone but the people making the argument.

The boys, like their father, are lean, strong and healthy. Their parents chose to live in New York, where their legs and public transit enable them to go from place to place efficiently, at low cost and with little stress (usually). They own a car but use it almost exclusively for vacations.

“Green” commuting is a priority in my family. I use a bicycle for most shopping and errands in the neighborhood, and I just bought my grandsons new bicycles for their trips to and from soccer games, accompanied by their cycling father.

These arguments – whether they’re about physical health, or “diverse” or “vibrant” or “creative” communities, or whatever else – are, at bottom, about telling people that they are lacking, and that in order to improve themselves they should become more like the author. In the 1970s, when city dwellers felt superior mainly because of their supposed cultural capital and were telling middle-class suburbanites to loosen up a little, that might have been obnoxious but harmless. In our current situation – when the city dwellers making these arguments are the economic elite (the author of this particular piece, Jane Brody, lives in gentrified brownstone Brooklyn, I believe) – it’s a lot more sinister. Brody talks about commutes as if their length and form were something that most people could freely choose, rather than something imposed upon them by their wages and the price of housing and form of development of their metropolitan area. She makes this a story about personal morality, rather than the constraints we choose to put on people through public policy.

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Thought for the Day

8th August 2014

My Mistake

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Herd of Cows Kills German Hiker in Austria

7th August 2014

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Well, after all, they were Austian cows — maybe they were just getting a little payback for Hitler.

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Hollywood’s Highest-Paid Actresses, All White — Again

5th August 2014

Read it.

Maybe black women just can’t act. Or perhaps they just aren’t much to look at — I’ve noticed that ‘black’ women who are generally considered good-looking really look like white women with one African great-grandparent. Beyoncé? Yup. Michelle Obama? Not so much.

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In Times of Peace

5th August 2014

Bill Reader pulls back the curtain.

Control of the circumstances of a battle is the key to winning, and the proverb reminds us that our ability to control such things is much greater if we do it well in advance… in times of peace… than when they are immediate needs… in times of war.

Commonly in politics, we see it applied when someone (99.99% of the time a Democrat, which is not to our strategic advantage) accuses an opponent of a crime preemptively in order to excuse their own malfeasance later. The crime is often a generalized one that’s difficult to disprove, such as being an -ist. Obama bought practical immunity from questions about his otherwise extremely questionable past in two elections, simply by accusing opponents of being racist. Such general accusations of prejudice are very useful. Any sufficiently well-known public figure will be opposed for reasons both philosophical and prejudicial. The accusation gives followers sanction not to even attempt to differentiate the groups, however prominent the prior and insubstantial the latter. The accusation becomes a kind of magic word, spoken to protect the user from the conflict of ideas.

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Democrats Risk Blue-collar Rebellion

5th August 2014

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A peek inside the workings of the Crust.

In some senses, this budding blue-collar rebellion exposes the essential contradiction between the party’s now-dominant gentry Left and its much larger and less well-off voting base. For the people who fund the party – public employee unions, Silicon Valley and Hollywood – higher energy prices are more than worth the advantages. Public unions get to administer the program and gain in power and employment while venture capitalists and firms, like Google, get to profit on mandated “green energy” schemes.

What’s in it for Hollywood? Well, entertainment companies are shifting production elsewhere in response to subsidies offered by other states, localities and companies, so high energy costs and growing impoverishment across Southern California doesn’t figure to really hurt their businesses. Furthermore, by embracing “green” policies, the famously narcissistic Hollywood crowd also gets to feel good about themselves, a motivation not to be underestimated.

This upside, however, does not cancel out hoary factors such as geography, race and class. One can expect lock-step support for any proposed shade of green from most coastal Democrats. Among lawmakers, the new Democratic dissenters don’t tend to come from Malibu or Portola Valley. They often represent heavily Latino areas of the Inland Empire and Central Valley, where people tend to have less money, longer drives to work and a harder time affording a decent home. Cap and trade’s impact on gasoline prices – which could approach an additional $2 a gallon by 2020 – is a very big deal in these regions.

In Washington, D.C., there is tension between East Coast and West Coast Democrats on one side and representatives from the Plains and the South on the other. Progressives shrug at the loss of these regions and the associated white working-class voters who, as the liberal website Daily Kos contended earlier this year, are just a bunch of racists, anyway.

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The Wrath of Grapes: Californians Head to Oklahoma

4th August 2014

Steve Sailer brings the fun.

You can see why places like Oklahoma City let themselves get raped by major league sports team owners in order to call themselves major league. Oklahoma City snagged Seattle’s NBA franchise a few years ago and now has a wonderful basketball player in Kevin Durant. The OKC basketball team is currently cool, so OKC gets featured in this article about a broad trend.

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1984 Redux: Orwellian Illegal Immigration

4th August 2014

Victor Davis Hanson lays out some inconvenient truth.

What is it about America that attracts patriotic Mexican nationals to abandon their own country en masse? That is not a rhetorical question, given much of the immigration debate is couched in critiques of the U.S. The pageantry of an open-borders demonstration is usually a spectacle of Mexican flags. How odd that almost no advocate ever says, “We want amnesty so that our kinsmen have a shot, as we have had a shot, at an independent judiciary, equality under the law, the rule of law, true democracy, free speech, protection of human rights, free-market capitalism, and protection of private property. For all that, millions risk their lives.” But instead there is either nothing, or a continual critique of the U.S. If we were to take a newly arrived illegal alien, and enroll him in a typical Chicano Studies course, he would logically wish to return across the border as soon as possible.

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Race of the Amish

3rd August 2014

Steve Sailer grasps what few see.

If social construction is as powerful as its enthusiasts claim, how could it not affect human beings genetically? If a social group constructs a new ideology about who should marry whom, for instance, how would that not alter future lineages and gene frequencies?

For example, America has witnessed over the last ten generations the socially planned breeding of a new endogamous extended family, a fast-growing proto-race that now numbers over 200,000 and is currently on pace to double every 21 years: the Amish.

And, judging from how spectacularly well the Amish have weathered the last half-century’s fertility-depressing social revolution in the surrounding “English” culture, they seem to have a clear flight path to numbering in the millions before the end of this century.

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How to Really Eat Like a Hunter-Gatherer

3rd August 2014

Read it.

First, catch a rabbit….

Proponents of the Paleo diet follow a nutritional plan based on the eating habits of our ancestors in the Paleolithic period, between 2.5 million and 10,000 years ago. Before agriculture and industry, humans presumably lived as hunter–gatherers: picking berry after berry off of bushes; digging up tumescent tubers; chasing mammals to the point of exhaustion; scavenging meat, fat and organs from animals that larger predators had killed; and eventually learning to fish with lines and hooks and hunt with spears, nets, bows and arrows.

Most Paleo dieters of today do none of this, with the exception of occasional hunting trips or a little urban foraging. Instead, their diet is largely defined by what they do not do: most do not eat dairy or processed grains of any kind, because humans did not invent such foods until after the Paleolithic; peanuts, lentils, beans, peas and other legumes are off the menu, but nuts are okay; meat is consumed in large quantities, often cooked in animal fat of some kind; Paleo dieters sometimes eat fruit and often devour vegetables; and processed sugars are prohibited, but a little honey now and then is fine.

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How Much Sleep Do You Need?

3rd August 2014

Steve Sailer points out some inconvenient truth.

A general prejudice in health journalism is that everybody is the same, so the reason medical research hasn’t yet come up with definitive answers to questions like what kind of diet should you follow or how much sleep should you get isn’t because different people need different things. Sure, that might make sense, but that’s not Science. Instead, Science is when there’s just one answer.

Personally, I’m not sure I believe that “oversleeping” really exists. I hear people all the time say that they feel lousy because they slept too much. If I sleep 10 hours and I’m still tired, it’s not because I slept too much but because I needed to sleep 12. But you may well be different.

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Sexual-Assault Course Mandated for Oklahoma State Students

2nd August 2014

Read it.

Presumably this is education against, rather than training for.

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Tolkien and the Timeless Way of Building

2nd August 2014

Eric S Raymond speaks for all right-thinking people.

When I look at these buildings, and the Tolkien sketches from which they derive, that’s what I see. The timelessness, the organic quality, the rootedness in place. When I look inside them, I see a kind of humane warmth that is all too rare in any building I actually visit. (Curiously, one of the few exceptions is a Wegmans supermarket near me which, for all that it’s a gigantic commercial hulk, makes clever use of stucco and Romanesque stonework to evoke a sense of balance, groundedness, and warmth.)

I want to live in a thing like the Hobbit House – a hummocky fieldstone pile with a red-tiled roof and a chimney, and white plaster and wainscoting and hardwood floors. I want it to look like it grew where it is, half-set in a hillside. I want the mullions and the butterfly windows and the massive roof-beams and the eyebrow gables. Want, want, want!

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Which Essential Skills Today Will Be Obsolete Soon?

2nd August 2014

Read it.

And be sure to read the comments.

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Why Schools of Education Are a Waste of Time

2nd August 2014

Read it.

Once I became an employed educator, the vast majority of what I learned — and used — in the classroom was garnered from other, mostly veteran, teachers. If education schools want to be truly practical, keep the courses like those I noted, and cut (or make optional), classes like “Historical Foundations.” Expand the time undergrads actually spend in schools observing and teaching with an experienced instructor. (I’ve learned that in recent years my alma mater has implemented much of that last recommendation; student teachers’ time and duties in their placement schools have expanded quite a bit.)

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On Faith and Works in Science Fiction

2nd August 2014

John C. Write may or may not be a good science fiction writer (haven’t read any of his stuff, although I plan to) but he’s an excellent social commentator.

The orcs do not merely hate sunlight and happiness and romance, they think the weather is out to get them. They fear policemen and love wild bears. They think Mohammedan terrorists are the good guys and Jews are not an oppressed and hated people. They think two persons of the same sex can have sex and that this requires the sacrament of marriage to sanctify and celebrate their filthy unnatural sodomy.

They think common sense is a hate crime, and therefore they avoid it at all costs. These people LIVE to be offended. They BREATHE being offended. They LOVE being offended. To avoid offending them would leave them with nothing to do.

Merely by writing a story where the hero wedded the heroine, I offended the orcs. Good stories offend them because they are good.

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Deaths in the Iliad: a Classics Infographic

31st July 2014

Read it.

I’m a sucker for infographics.

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