Archive for March, 2019

Creating a Toxic Environment

Sunday, March 31st, 2019

We live in a time in which we get to see many people say many foolish things and we don’t have to wait long for the next example. Every now and then, though, one foolish statement stands apart from the rest, imparting something not only foolish, but as distant from the real truth of things as anything written or uttered can ever be.

Chicago’s Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, speaking about the Jussie Smollett debacle — in the midst of saying some otherwise rational things — came up with this beauty:

At a news conference Thursday, Emanuel — who has called the dropped charges in the Smollett case a “whitewash of justice” — took aim at the President for fostering a culture which, in his view, enabled the incident.

“Let me be really clear about something,” Emanuel said. “The only reason Jussie Smollett thought he could take advantage of a hoax about a hate crime is for the environment — the toxic environment — that Donald Trump created.”


Mr. Smollett’s story was that immediately after buying a Subway sandwich, he was accosted by a couple of Trump supporters who doused him with a chemical substance and tied a noose around his neck yelling “This is MAGA country.” The sandwich somehow survived the attack, an aspect of the story even weirder than the idea of identifying any part of Chicago as MAGA country.

So you would think there would be more widespread hesitation about buying into this. Perhaps if Smollett were white, and straight, and maybe if he were a Trump supporter with a story about being jumped by Antifa thugs, you would have seen such reluctance. But it seems Smollett “thought he could take advantage of a hoax” — thought he could get away with it — because he is black, openly gay, therefore people in public, high profile positions, would be afraid to call him out on his B.S. If so, he calculated correctly.

In fact, even now that the whole thing has collapsed, people are busily writing about how they still believe him, or at least are still proud to have believed him, which is almost as bad. “It makes us better.”

No, it doesn’t. You’d be better if you didn’t fall for obvious deceptions. And I continue to be impressed by this “let me be clear” phrasing, because the pattern continues that when liberals say that, the thing that follows produces more fuzziness and confusion than clarity, by way of being soporific balderdash.

Trump did not create the environment in which Jussie thought he could get away with it. The modern, showboating virtue-signaling liberal with a raging case of GoodPerson Fever, created that environment and continues to create such an environment. Special status for minorities and homosexuals, the refusal to just treat everyone equally without regard to such private attributes, the “Believe the Victim All the Time” mentality, created this environment.

At a time when many people say many foolish things, and often, Mayor Emanuel’s utterance stands head & shoulders above the rest. But of course, he had to put that in there because he’s a liberal talking to other liberals, and he would have lost popularity if he spoke too long, saying too many sensible things, without throwing in some garbage. The kind of thing that makes sense only to someone who’s been paying no attention whatsoever to anything, whose understanding of the entire news cycle can be boiled down to “I hate Trump.”

Or There’ll Be a Reckoning

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

I was in the car and listening to Rush Limbaugh, who I heard take a break from this all-Mueller-all-the-time stuff to notice something…

I got a note today from a friend. “Rush, do you know the major differences between us and Democrats? Aside from the policy differences, what everybody knows. What is one of the big differences between Democrats and Republicans?”

And the answer provided here is the left cannot get over losing and move on. We can. They are like children who always want their way, and when they don’t get their way, they whine, they cry, they demand all the rules be changed so they can get their way.

They can’t get over that Hillary lost. They’ve never gotten over that Bush won twice. They want to change the Electoral College. They want to do all kinds of crazy things because they cannot and will not accept losing. You might think that that’s a little simplistic, but it actually isn’t. It is a fundamental feature of the ongoing American constitutional republic. It’s part of the peaceful transition of power.

If one side decides that they are not going accept the results of duly constituted elections, we’ve got a major, major problem. If one side develops the attitude that they should never lose and when they do, it’s because they got jobbed and they turn around and begin to investigate everybody and everything that resulted in their losing, we’re gonna continue to roll along like this.

They’re like a bunch of spoiled brat, pampered children, a bunch of irresponsible little kids who cry, whine, and moan, except they’re not kids. They’re wealthy people with lots of power who refuse to accept that they have ever been rejected.

And so whoever rejects them, whoever votes against them, whoever defeats them is gonna pay one hellacious price so that they don’t try it again. That’s what we’re smack-dab in the middle of here.

I’d been noticing this myself. Not that I haven’t commented on it before, but the air is getting fairly thick with rule-changes proposed by liberals and democrats; not stuff that is innately “progressive,” for which some rationale can be offered about how the rule changes are going to help you and me. Just stuff that would help democrats win elections.

One or two of these might seem reasonable. “Hey, we represent the downtrodden and the oppressed, and because elections work such-and-such a way, we can’t get a break so our guys can’t get a break.” But I feel a tinge of proxy embarrassment for liberals and democrats right now — which they don’t seem to feel — because there’s so much rule-changing needed to help them this way, all of it important, and all of it right now. I mean, the question just naturally emerges: If your ideas need that much help, and all at the same time…have you re-thought the premise that you should be winning? Maybe you shouldn’t be.

I’ve had this John Podhoretz column saved in my stack since last week, and it’s just become even more timely now with the crashing and burning of the so-called “investigation.”

In recent days, Democrats have been trampling all over each other to get to a microphone to trumpet massive structural changes to American public life.

First, several presidential candidates are calling for an increase in the size of the Supreme Court. Nine justices are too few, apparently. In a proposal that seems straight out of the writers’ room at “The West Wing,” Beto O’Rourke wants the court apportioned by party, with five Democrats and five Republicans, and an extra five chosen by the 10 partisan ones.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has endorsed a proposal to lower the federal voting age to 16 (an idea already being contemplated at the local level in Oregon and the District of Columbia, and gathering steam in California).

Oh, and a great many Democrats want to abolish the Electoral College. This is nothing new for modern Democrats, who feel the Electoral College makes it too hard for them to win the presidency.

Podhoretz offers an explanation:

Here’s the thing, though. Eighty thousand votes won Donald Trump the election in 2016 — votes scattered across three states that Barack Obama had won twice.

If you put aside all the high-flown talk about the grand meaning of the Trump victory and what it tells us about America and our history and white supremacy and blah blah blah, the challenge for Democrats in 2020 is pretty simple. They need to get 80,000 new Democratic votes in those places, flip the states, and reclaim the presidency.

They won in 2018 by not being lunatics. Democrats seem intent on testing the proposition that it will take a lunatic to beat a tweeter.

Mkay…it’s worth looking at that, because somewhere there’s a plan and wherever there is a plan, there must be planners. But that isn’t all of it. The Republicans have lost presidential elections too, in which the electoral college, while not changing the outcome from what a national popular vote would’ve been, certainly did magnify the defeat. Romney’s loss in 2012 was particularly close. I don’t recall any calls for this rule, that rule, that other rule to be pitched out the window so the Republicans could win next time. Rush is right. There’s a meaningful difference here.

It seems whenever there’s any kind of a contest, be it an election, discussion, town hall debate, talk radio rant, cable teevee scream-fest, workplace water-cooler melee…conservatives have this passive faith in the parameters of the exchange that liberals do not have. The latter are constantly screeching about how from this point forward, such-and-such a thing has to be done such-and-such a way, and not the way it’s always been done, otherwise it’s NOT FAIR. Whereas the former has no counterpart to this. They hope they can make their point operating under the game-rules as they exist already, and if they can’t, well. They’ll just be hoping some wisdom and maturity set in to the audience members next time.

I see a great example of what Rush is talking about in this Twitter-flurry about Quilette, and universities:

Dr. Katja Thieme, a professor of English at the University of British Columbia, took to Twitter recently to enact her own unique brand of McCarthyism. “YES. If you are an academic and you publish in Quillette, we see you. We fucking see you. And we are looking right at you.”

This was in response to the following tweet by a Denison University History professor who stated, “And any member of our field who publishes with Quillette should lose all credibility.”

One of Thieme’s followers then followed up with the astonishing suggestion that there should be a literal blacklist of academics who have written for the magazine. “It would be nice to have a list of Canadian academics who have published in that shitrag.”
It has become fashionable to spout nonsense such as Quillette is “racist,” or Quillette is “white supremacist.” When asked to provide evidence, accusers often claim that they do not have to provide evidence, or they just never respond.

The breezy dismissive rhetorical gesture of “both sides do it” does not work here. There is something in the liberal well-water that makes them act this way. I’m looking, once again, at how normal people mature. What they learn as they are about to enter, or soon after they have entered, adulthood.

One of the things we have to learn is how to cope with a system as we find it. Building a new widget is actually pretty easy. Well it’s not…really…perhaps what I should say is, building a whole new system, while intellectually taxing IF you hang around long enough to see what goes wrong with it, and take your orders about how to correct and refine it…falls short of demanding a certain discipline, that coping with a legacy system does indeed demand. I’ve seen this in software development fairly constantly. I’ve been one of the worst offenders. To do this thing, you have to do that thing first, and that way, and before you can do that you have to do this. The impulse sets in like a rapid fever: Oh for chrissakes, can’t we just scrap it and start over again? There’s no way, if we started over again, it would end up being this complicated, or unpredictable, or hard to use, or, or, or.

Which is often correct. But the point is, we can’t just go through life that way. We don’t have the time and resources to keep rebuilding everything from scratch. Sometimes, you have to stop programming, and accept that the system will be telling the humans how to behave, rather than the other way around.

And then comes the most painful truth: A lot of us have started to program computers, because of our failure to accept this. We developed our talents after taking our marbles and going home, after being called on to join a conga line, executing the right dance steps at the right time — and failing. We started building systems because we hadn’t developed the maturity to use a system someone else had built. After we learned how to do some cool stuff and put together some semblance of a marketable skill, then we matured. I see this in my colleagues often. It’s frustrating. “Hey, look what I built, now we don’t have to use that anymore.” Uh…okay, that’s nice. But “that” already has documented instructions, a bunch of bugs that have been opened and then resolved, or else documented as won’t-be-fixed, and we have software engineers in five different time zones who already know how to use it. People wonder why so many programmers are liberals. I think some of it has to do with what comes naturally to programmers, and it isn’t our innate and common strengths. It’s our weaknesses. It’s got to do with what’s wrong with us, not with what’s right with us.

What we’re dealing with here is Chesterton’s Fence:

In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

It takes a lot of maturity to say to yourself, “I don’t know what that thing is doing here. It may have a purpose that is still relevant but outside of my knowledge.” When we see liberals going on about “Hey hey now, you/we don’t need to do it all stupid the way we’ve always done it, we can do it this new way” — what they’d like us to be seeing is what they see themselves, some special, keen insight. But you’ll notice this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If you take “I just figured out we don’t have to do X, we can do Y,” you have to envision someone who lived a long time ago decided we should do it the other way. With using fossil fuels that can work…but did some guy who lived a long time ago really decide we should leave millions of people without health insurance?

Liberals swallow this stuff because they don’t scrutinize the claims coming from their own side. No Virginia, the Electoral College was not established to preserve slavery. But you just try telling ’em that.

A couple of years ago, a Brit by the name of Rory Sutherland made an interesting observation: We seem to be in the midst of mass producing Chesterton’s-Fence-Wreckers.

Ideas such as electoral reform, a single-European currency, or the removal of the monarchy, for instance, are all intellectual enthusiasms rarely shared by ordinary folk. All three ideas seem to make perfect sense until you think long and hard about what the hidden virtues of the previous irrational arrangement may be…We could add to this list of expert failures of judgment the promotion of low-fat diets, the support for free movement of labour and the promotion of diesel cars. All were trumpeted as self-evidently good ideas by experts, because experts all shared the same narrow frame of reference. So yes, diesel cars did reduce CO2 emissions: the experts were right there. But widespread use of diesel in cities came at a terrible cost in particulate pollution, which lay outside their model.

There is a huge cast of well-paid people, from management consultants to economic advisers, whose entire salaries are earned by ripping out Chesterton’s fences. Interestingly, these are mostly male-dominated industries (men are more prone to narrow systematising than women). Silicon Valley, which is overwhelmingly male, is possibly the worst offender of all. The very fact that a fence is over ten years old, requires atoms in its manufacture or creates employment for human beings is reason enough for them to want to get rid of it. [emphasis mine]

This observation of the male-female split is interesting. It certainly does apply to my above cranky-rant about programmers. This newbie who never bothered to learn the system already in place, and busied himself with crafting a replacement no one but him wanted, in my recollection is almost always a “him.” I’m ashamed at how often I might have been the guy, and I have to admit a female counterpart wouldn’t have been so likely to make that blunder.

But in politics, the gender-divide falls away. Elizabeth Warren wants to get rid of the Electoral College. Nancy Pelosi wants to lower the voting age to sixteen. Hillary Clinton wants to regulate the financial industry in a whole new way, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to get rid of capitalism, passenger jets and cow flatulence. We have lately become quite accustomed to the pantsuit-termagant caterwauling without restraint, in true Chesterton’s-Fence-Wrecker style, about “don’t do it that way start doing it this way.”

Why do women allow us men to blunder along making that mistake, all by ourselves, in software development? And then so unabashedly match our weakness when it comes to national politics. You’ll have to ask them. It’s off topic here so I’ll not get carried away with speculating, but by all means if you figure it out let me know.

But in all these “games,” the rule holds that when you play and lose, the right thing for you to do before playing again is to improve. Reconnect. Study. Grow. Learn.

Changing the rules, getting a blacklist started, and demanding a rematch is for mental children, perpetual nuisances and ankle-biters.

On the Emotional Investment

Sunday, March 17th, 2019


The primary social problem in our society is that we are too emotionally engaged with the productions of journalists and political activists. These two groups, more than any other media producers have captured the attention of many Americans and are compensated by those things that spark ‘debate’.

This is not a consequence of social media…
In the news today is the story of a boy who threw an egg at an Australian senator, who was making remarks about a mass murder in New Zealand. So today, emotionally involved Americans are yelling at each other as if we need, every day, to demonstrate that murder is bad. Who has convinced us that there is a spectrum of positions on murder which are worthy of public debate? Journalists and political activists.

I had been meaning to write something about this. “Conservatism” versus “liberalism” explains much of what separates my opinions from the opinions people who are, well, you know…wrong…much, but not all. There is dark matter there, in the void. A lot of this has to do with emotional investment.

Palin Was RightRemaining emotionally detached so you can think like a grown-up, is not always easy. It can present some daunting challenges. But it’s never impossible. I think we all fail in this effort at one point or another, but I’ve seen how when people disagree with me about things, one of the things that separates us is that I at least try. If the disagreement becomes heated, I see it’s almost always because of an underlying disagreement, obscured by the other one more visible, about whether or not there should be a discussion at all. Emotionally invested people often play the game of “I want to win the argument without doing any actual arguing.” So they have these tricks. I’m pulling rank, or the “experts” are on my side, or I don’t wanna talk about it, or, or, or…

If they’re the only one paying the price for being wrong, it’s pretty easy to resolve. Just do what they want, disappear into the void and wish them the best on your way to oblivion. The eventual results will educate one side, or the other.

In politics, things are difficult because they’re not the only ones paying the price for being wrong.

Another fascinating thing I’ve picked up about overly-emotionally-invested people, is they get that way by way of laboring under the mistaken impression they personally know the people involved. I saw this awhile ago with the “Sarah Palin is a stupid idiot” song-and-dance from a decade ago. My own opinion wasn’t so much that was was or was not a stupid idiot, nor did I take the position she was some kind of egghead genius — she did seem to win a lot more often than people remember — but rather, that thing that is the beginning of all learning. I DON’T KNOW. I disagreed with people about Palin’s lack of intellect…and also, subsequently, about Barack Obama’s abundance of it…

Because I kept in mind that I didn’t personally know these people. And Mitt Romney, and Joe Biden, and Donald Trump, and Mike Pence. I don’t know these people. Palin might be stupid, heck she could be retarded. Maybe Barack and Michelle are geniuses. I know approximately how much I’d bet on such things, but it really doesn’t matter. The lack of certainty is what matters. Or to be more precise about it, the lack of doubt is what matters.

Emotionally invested people tend to confuse their politics with their soap opera viewing. They “feel” like they know all these people. The disease spreads when we’re talking about level of intellect, because it’s hard to remember that dumb people can be right about things and smart people can be wrong about things — both of those actually happen, quite often. So he/she is stupid/smart, really doesn’t matter at all.

How it connects back with the above: I think by the time you become part of the problem, you’re no longer discussing principles like “murder is wrong.” People who add more heat to these discussions than light, have crossed a Rubicon where they’re buttressing narratives about attributes of these characters, like they’re writing a screenplay. They’re talking about people and no longer talking about ideas.

Why We Disagree

Monday, March 11th, 2019

You know, it occurs to me. I’ve occasionally had some frustrating exchanges with the more casual observers of the political scene, about for example “raising the minimum wage.” They are just as earnestly baffled by the idea that I could oppose it, as I am by the idea they could support it, and it’s easy to see why. They hear “raising the minimum wage” and they hear raising…wage. A wage is going up. Someone — probably somebody who makes very little money and could use every nickel they can get — will be paid more. Who could possibly be against that? And of course, once they find out I’m on the other side, it follows that I must be the jerk who wants these doe-eyed low-paid innocents to be shafted some more.

Being lightweights, these adherents don’t hear or understand the word “minimum.” Raise a minimum of something is an exclusionary concept. Over and over again I explain it to them, raising the minimum wage outlaws jobs. It defines a class of job currently legal, and then makes everything in that class illegal so it has to go away. They just don’t get it. They’ve become emotionally invested in the proposal before exploring the true ramifications of it.

A lot of this has to do with demographics, particularly sex and race, because those are visible. Like many straight white males who aren’t all on-board with the latest whatever, I get pigeonholed. The pigeonholers see it all as a race/sex/preference/class thing, and we six-foot-tall straight white non-homeless males still in possession of all twenty-one digits, are supposedly looking out for our interests.

It is demonstrably untrue because of the economic-class thing. I joke a lot about being independently wealthy, but I’m really not. I’ve done well but the Missus and I don’t have “Fuck You” money. We are wage slaves.

The truth is: I, and people like me — not all of us straight white males — presume the worst. I presume a progressive tax scheme does not exist to pay for anything, it exists to punish. I think all these schemes exist to punish. I think reparations are not being proposed to lift anyone up, but to punish others. I think environmental initiatives, for the most part, exist just to screw with people. I think “International Women’s Day” is not there to empower women, but to punish men. I think higher minimum wages and entitlement programs are put together to manufacture dependency classes, not to help anyone up or out of anything. These are my default presumptions until I learn more.

It isn’t because I’m a white straight man. It’s because I’m a grown-up and I think like one.

It isn’t because I’m full of hate.

It’s because I’m wise. At least, wise the way Socrates was wise. I know there are things I don’t know, and when I admit it, I have a chance to learn.

You’ll notice, if you take the time to hang around after these plans are implemented and review the results objectively, more often than not it does turn out this way. Every program that says it’s out to fix or help or improve, doesn’t necessarily do that. Most of the time they just hurt or punish someone…and when there’s no correction made before the next lap, you have to conclude that was the original purpose and the punishment-program was a success.

You don’t have to think about things like a starry-eyed child, uncritically buying every word of every sales pitch. You don’t have to go around approving of everything. But if you do, thanks to the magic of social media you’re likely to come in contact, sooner rather than later, with someone who’s thought things out in a more mature, healthfully cynical, multi-point-perspective way. Which does cause conflict, and does look a bit ridiculous to anyone who’s on the outside. And kind of is.

But it isn’t a bad thing, not completely anyway. It’s a process of societal growth. We’re learning the fundamentals, things children should be learning before they become adults. That you can’t just legislate adequacy, or health, or goodness. That life is more complicated than that.

Related: Well, not really. Avett Ray has nothing to do with this at all, other than this 6-year-old blind boy played the same song and did a wonderful job.

Strong Women Can Cope with Men

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

This new Ms. Marvel movie is getting a rep as a social-justice vehicle, and I don’t know if it’s deserved but I do know the star asked for it when she said,

About a year ago, I started paying attention to what my press days looked like and the critics reviewing movies, and noticed 
it appeared to be overwhelmingly white male. So, I spoke to 
Dr Stacy Smith at the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, who put together a study to confirm that. Moving forward, I decided to make sure my press days were more inclusive. After speaking with you, the film critic Valerie Complex and a few other women of colour, it sounded like across the board they weren’t getting the same opportunities as others. When I talked to the facilities that weren’t providing it, they all had different excuses.

Yes…I’ve seen this before. There are some numbers someone collected, and this “proves” that white men are guilty of something. And this gives someone else license to label themselves and their efforts as “inclusive,” while indulging in some very non-inclusive behavior and showing some very non-inclusive attitudes.

“Too many of [blank] in here someone has to do something about it” is, by its very nature, non-inclusive. Do I even have to mention it? It seems only by willfully avoiding it can anyone with a brain fail to see it.

This isn’t the first time Brie Larson has set off alarm bells. Last summer, she made the comment about another movie,

Recognizing that “reviews change lives” and the impact which films are considered for awards season, Larson called for more inclusive representation in the industry. “Am I saying I hate white dudes?” the Oscar-winner asked the room at the Beverly Hilton. “No, I’m not,” she replied.

“I don’t want to hear what a white man has to say about ‘A Wrinkle in Time.’ I want to hear what a woman of color, a biracial woman has to say about the film. I want to hear what teenagers think about the film.”

You’re not saying you hate white dudes, but you are applying a litmus test of skin color & gender and, based on the outcome of that, making a determination that the person’s opinion is irrelevant or undesired.

That makes as much sense as deciding not to watch a superhero movie because the central character is a woman. And it isn’t very inclusive.

I’ve seen this attitude before, somewhere. Ah yes, now I remember: Kathleen Kennedy, producer of the Disney Debacle of Star Wars sequels, unwittingly explaining why her success has been less than complete.

I have a responsibility to the company that I work with. I don’t feel that I have a responsibility to cater in some way. I would never just seize on saying, “Well, this is a franchise that’s appealed primarily to men for many, many years, and therefore I owe men something.”

This is turning into a pattern. And the pattern is one of futility. People who say such things want to hold themselves up as strong, independent, “don’t need men,” “don’t owe anything to men”…and they keep babbling away about inclusiveness. But it comes across as weakness and bigotry: “Keep those men away from me, I can’t deal with them.”

And yeah, maybe I’m old fashioned but I recall this was an implicit part of entertainment: You owe something to everyone who buys a ticket. If you don’t like that idea, you need to find a different line of work. That’s show business.

For a couple of generations now, if not more, males who made male-centered action movies kept that in mind, and inserted plenty of kick-butt female supporting characters. Which means the Ms. Marvel movie might be breaking fewer glass ceilings than its most enthused fans might imagine…(warning, video below is produced for people who understand sarcasm)

And these male fans, to whom Ms. Kennedy feels she doesn’t owe anything, by & large didn’t object.

Nowadays, there has to be this twaddle put out there by the stars, the producers, whoever, that we are not to worry, special effort has been taken here to make sure “white males” are not included…and we should think of that as inclusive.

It comes across looking like weak, non-inclusive people were involved in making the entertainment product, which harbors the prospect of relieving us of lots of money and, in return, not providing much entertainment — for white males or anyone else.

I’ll avoid commenting on the movie specifically as I’ve not seen it. I have no plans to do anything about that in the near future. I can tell when I’m not wanted.

Memo For File CCXI

Monday, March 4th, 2019

There is a persuasive mythology out there that democrats are on the fringe-kooky left, Republicans are on the fringe-kooky right, and the way “forward” is somewhere in between those two.

I have noticed fragile narratives start to crack and crumble when made to answer specific questions, and the specific question to ask here is: What exactly are the fringe-kooky right positions? Lower taxes, strong defense, sound immigration policy, law & order. I mean yeah, you can pretend these are “dog whistle” signals for intolerance and bigotry, but that’s not choosing a centrist in-between way forward, that’s uncritically accepting inflammatory leftist talking-points. It all comes down to, Trump doesn’t make a very good Hitler if he’s relocating the embassy to Jerusalem.

I think Republicans need to hit back against this hard. Without this mythology floating around, you can make the ultimate Republican campaign commercial just by showing clips of the donkey-face cutie Bronx bartender speaking. But too many people see that, and think “I don’t like that but I’ll sort of fantasize about Republicans being just as bad, although I can’t think of specific examples, and so I’ll vote for the liberal/democrat/moderate/centrist/no-party guy or stay home.” After watching people talk about these things in the public square all these years, reconciling it with what I read online, and then seeing the results play out on this-or-that election night, I’m convinced that’s the most influential, and harmful, factor in American politics. Which means it’s the most influential/harmful factor in deciding where our whole society is going, unfortunately.

Politics shouldn’t be so influential. But during the course of my lifetime, it is what it is. As long as that part of the machinery is busted, some attempt should be made to fix the other.

The point is, the idea that a vote for a democrat is a vote for Venezuela-style socialism, survives scrutiny. The idea that a vote for a Republican is a vote for nooses and burning crosses, and a re-enactment of The Handmaid’s Tale, does not.

Border Wall Nets Higher Approval Than Green New Deal

Monday, March 4th, 2019

My first reaction to this was, of course, that I like the implications of the headline; upon reading it, I was glad to see the headline was earnest and 51 is, after all, greater than 31. Although still 49 points shy of where it should be.

Fifty-one percent of Americans say that they would rather have a border wall on America’s southern border, compared to 31 percent who say that they want a Green New Deal, according to a poll released by Remington Research Group.

Republicans said that they would prefer a border wall by a 68-point margin, while Independents said that they would prefer a border wall by a two-to-one margin.

Overall, a majority of Americans, or 51 percent, said they oppose a Green New Deal, 51 percent of Democrats support the radical environmental program, while Republicans and Independents overwhelmingly oppose Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) idea outright.

But then I had another thought: This is a rather silly comparison, isn’t it?

It’s kind of apples-and-oranges. The objective of a wall is to elevate the difficulty involved in breaking into our country illegally, whereas the GND’s objectives seem to be a messy hodge-podge of reducing our impact on the environment, and make sure everyone has the same amount of stuff. I read through that goofy draft that wasn’t supposed to have been part of it or whatever, and waded through the other literature about it, and I’m altogether unsure about the linkage between proper stewardship of Mother Earth and her bounteous resources, and income/wealth equality. What is it? Is there, perhaps, some propaganda floating around that if we make sure everyone’s got the same amount of stuff, the environment will improve? I’ve no doubt there is.

But that would be the opposite of what’s true. Socialism is awful for the environment.

The Soviet government’s imperatives for economic growth, combined with communal ownership of virtually all property and resources, caused tremendous environmental damage. According to economist Marshall Goldman, who studied and traveled extensively in the Soviet Union, “The attitude that nature is there to be exploited by man is the very essence of the Soviet production ethic.”

A typical example of the environmental damage caused by the Soviet economic system is the exploitation of the Black Sea. To comply with five-year plans for housing and building construction, gravel, sand, and trees around the beaches were used for decades as construction materials. Because there is no private property, “no value is attached to the gravel along the seashore. Since, in effect, it is free, the contractors haul it away. This practice caused massive beach erosion which reduced the Black Sea coast by 50 percent between 1920 and 1960. Eventually, hotels, hospitals, and of all things, a military sanitarium collapsed into the sea as the shoreline gave way. Frequent landslides–as many as 300 per year–have been reported.

Water pollution is catastrophic. Effluent from a chemical plant killed almost all the fish in the Oka River in 1965, and similar fish kills have occurred in the Volga, Ob, Yenesei, Ural, and Northern Dvina rivers. Most Russian factories discharge their waste without cleaning it at all.
According to the Worldwatch Institute, more than 90 percent of the trees in the pine forests in China’s Sichuan province have died because of air pollution. In Chungking, the biggest city in southwest China, a 4, 500-acre forest has been reduced by half. Acid rain has reportedly caused massive crop losses.

There also have been reports of waterworks and landfill projects severely hampering fish migration. Fish breeding was so seriously neglected that fish has largely vanished from the national diet. Depletion of government-owned forests has turned them into deserts, and millions of acres of grazing and farm land in the northern Chinese plains were made alkaline and unproductive during the “Great Leap Forward.”
There is much evidence to dispute the theory that only private businesses pollute. In the United States, we need look no further than our own government agencies. These public sector institutions, such as the Department of Defense (DOD), are among the worst offenders. DOD now generates more than 400,000 tons of hazardous waste a year — more than is produced by the five largest chemical companies combined. To make matters worse, the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the enforcement power over the public sector that it possesses over the private sector.

So taking better care of the environment does not necessarily fit some grand scheme of taxation and incentives, to reward the under-privileged and punish the successful and make sure income/wealth disparities are reduced. I really don’t know where we ever got that. You know what does, though? Donald Trump’s big, beautiful wall. You can’t have open borders with a welfare state. There’s a rule about that, and if there weren’t such a rule, someone would have to come up with one.

The incompatibility is mathematical in nature. Just as, you can’t rank members of a set without defining what the set is; the same goes for assessing the level of inequality, of anything. In fact, the greater the assessed inequality, the more crucial is the question of set membership. In the most extreme case, perfect inequality — n people in a village, where one guy has lots of dollars and the other n-1 people have zero — the removal of a single person instantly transforms the situation to one of perfect equality.

So borders do matter. Especially if you’re trying to force this sameness these open-borders types tend to want forced. The periphery comes first. It’s got to be that way.

I submit that such thoughts about compatibility, and cause-and-effect, are more important than the poll results. However many people think they want something, the ones who do want it seem to be very, very sure they want it, and are highly enthused about it. But, as usual, the ones most enthused haven’t thought things through all the way.