Archive for April, 2021

Voting With Your Feet

Friday, April 30th, 2021

The Census is a ten-year event so people should be talking about it more. It says something, if anybody’s willing to take the time to notice, about the policies that arouse such passion between these ten-year events. California and New York are losing congressional seats. This is part of a pattern you can see now — with every gain and every loss — so it isn’t just those two states. I’m seeing, among the states losing seats, the only one that could be described as “red” is West Virginia, and among those gaining the only one that could be described as “blue” is Oregon. Each of those is highly debatable, and apart from those two, it’s a clean sweep.

With the last election as close as it was, this is a referendum.

As a referendum, it is not an outlier. Left-wing indictments against the “systemic racism” of the United States, our “patriarchy,” our use of God’s Measurement System as opposed to the flaky Metric surrender-monkey kilo-centi-stuff, guns guns guns, etc. etc. etc…are mere flies upon the windshield of: Which way are the boats headed? This one counter-argument defeats all of those attacks. It’s almost embarrassing to watch. The immigration crisis exists because people want to come here. Yes President Biden made it much worse, but not by making anything work any better than it was working before. He made it worse by saying “come on in!

The interstate situation is somewhat different, since you don’t need to immigrate when you move from one state to another. And it’s clear there’s a lot of movement. It’s clear that, when leftists run things for awhile, people don’t want to live there anymore and that includes leftists. People in general should be spending more time wondering about this. I think both sides would agree The Right simply wants to keep businesses running; we can argue about whether they’re empowering evil soulless corporations that are polluting the environment or trying to make sure no one has any health care, or whether they’re really just trying to make it easy for people to work for a living. But I think all up and down the ideological spectrum people would agree that’s the overall point, and they’d be right. The Left, on the other hand, wants to Build A Perfect World, in which people have full and unrestricted access to the blah blah blah and there is no more blah blah blah. People in general would agree with that and they’d be right about that too. So where’s the perfect world? How come people keep leaving it after it materializes?

Why — The Left would retort — is The Left running everything right now? The White House, the House of Representatives and the Senate. There’s an old Reagan quote that comes to mind: If you’re explaining, you’re losing. Blogs, like this one, don’t really help over the shorter term of time because we explain. If you pay attention while you’re doing this explaining, after a prolonged period of repeated experiences you’ll gradually come to see the wisdom of what Ronald Reagan was saying. People don’t like having things explained to them, even obvious things — especially obvious things. There is no explanation of the right-wing position that leaves a mark, at least, none that leaves a mark on par with simply letting The Left run things for awhile. That is convincing. No right-wing pundit could have delivered a smackdown that would make an impression quite like the two years of putting The Left in charge 1993-1994, or 2009-2010, or 2021-2022. Lots of righties would like to come up with one that does. But it hasn’t happened. I don’t think the human genome permits it. We have to go through the misery of bad ideas to figure out how bad they are. It’s in our genetic wiring. Can’t figure out what a bad idea it was to bite that apple, until we’re cast out of the Garden of Eden.

People talk about “Republicans are dead” or “the democrat party is finished” or “The United States is over.” When they say things like this they’re admitting to their own limitations as they attempt to comprehend a sustained conflict. The concept is an uncomfortable one for us, but that’s the environment in which we live. We live in a tempest in a teapot. There are forces in play which keep the conflict going. The Left has bad ideas; if it were not so, they’d merely take over at any one of the three biannual chapters mentioned in the previous paragraph, we’d all see what good ideas they have, and we’d leave it that way. That hasn’t happened. The Right cannot make an impression on people, that’s on par with letting their opposition run things; if that were not so, any one of a number of pundits or bloggers, like me, would state the case and then the next election would be a rout. That hasn’t happened either. The United States is far from over, and people want to live here. If that were not so, we wouldn’t have an immigration crisis.

The one thing that keeps things screwed up, that might be the easiest to fix, is this “purpling” thing. Blue states losing their population as refugees swarm to red states, with better policies, is nothing new. It’s been happening in California since I moved in, swimming upstream against the crowd, some thirty years ago. If only people would move in to red states and then vote like they’re in a red state, problems would dissipate over time the way problems do when people are applying their intelligence. But we’ve seen how blue-state refugees don’t do that. Their tendency is to vote, in the new state, for the same dumb policies that made their old states miserable, and worth leaving. This has been a constant source of distress to the newer states undergoing the purpling-process. Please remember, they say, you’re refugees and not missionaries. But the refugees don’t listen.

Is there an answer? Maybe some hurdles, some barricades to help thwart this purpling process. But overall, there may not not be an answer. We may be doomed to swim around in this tempest in a teapot forever, as a “reward” for our continued refusal to learn what a dumb, bad policy is. Our system of elected representation is what I like to call a Batman system: It gives us the government we deserve, not necessarily the one we need.

“You See…”

Sunday, April 18th, 2021

About a month ago someone asked me to make a financial commitment toward a dumb plan, via e-mail. When I declined I got back a paragraph explaining the benefits of the dumb plan. This stuff had already been explained to me, almost word-for-word, when this very brief conversation had started.

I replied curtly: I just gave you my answer, and you responded to my answer by re-explaining your plan. Don’t do that.

This is part of what’s wrong with all of our evolving society now. Too many people simply don’t understand how to have two-way discussions of things. Or, for that matter, to absorb and process reactions other than the single one they have in mind. They talk when they should listen. They’re ready to be masters of puppets, but they’re not ready to truly co-exist with others. They think they are but they aren’t.

They start, or wade into, these exchanges with scripts in their heads they want to see played out to the letter, and when they get back something that’s outside the guardrails they start you-see-ing. They waste their time and everybody else’s time with pablum. “You see, if you wear a mask it slows the spread, and we’re all in this together.” “You see, scientific theories are seldom if ever proven, but they’re still scientific.” “See, black people can’t be racist because they lack the power to do racist things.” “You see, even men should support feminism, because feminism is really all about equality between the sexes.” “You see, by using these slightly heavier bags and charging the ten cents, the stores encourage recycling which will help save the planet.” “You see, in times like these, with things the way they are, we all have to conserve water and a golden brown (dead) lawn looks classy in a way.” “You see, when you plug in your car to charge it, you don’t need to use gas.” “You see, by wearing these masks, we show each other that we care about each other.” “You see, a noose causes a special kind of hurt in black people that white people can’t understand. It’s like a fairy tale, magical kind of hurt.”

There is a bloated “new world” subclass of these that begin with, or could begin with, the words: “You see, what we’re trying to do is make a new world in which…”

“You see, we’re trying to make a world in which everyone uses the Metric System.” “You see, we want a new world in which men and boys are not so attracted to fit girls, or who are attracted to girls who are not so fit.” “You see, what we’re trying to do is make a new world in which money is not what motivates people.” “You see, we want a better environment in which bullying is a thing of the past.” “You see, we want to rid the world of bigotry forever.” It has not been lost on me that when such activists win at everything and reform everything exactly the way they want it, the things they wanted relegated to the past are not relegated to the past. They “celebrate” these past vices and plagues as if they were present things. Sometimes they even bring them back again so they have something they can continue vanquishing. And the new world they’re building, far from being a dream world, is the stuff of nightmares. No one with a choice would actually live in it…but people who don’t have choices, are compelled to do so, and suffering on a large scale is the unavoidable result.

A very large portion of all “arguing politics on the Internet,” probably more than half of it word-for-word, is just “you see.” Simple minds re-regurgitating things they’ve already said, because they ran into responses they didn’t like, and rather than responding to the responses they didn’t like, just you-see re-explaining.

“You see, when the Government spends that money, it creates jobs…(Whereas if the people and businesses were allowed to keep it Lord knows what they’d do with it, maybe shovel it into a paper shredder).”

They dismiss legitimate questions, anecdotal evidence, and logical problems with their plans by “you see”-ing away the questions, evidence and problems. They re-explain the essentials. It looks like having a discussion but it really isn’t that. It’s more like an involuntary reflex. It’s like a facial tic.

I blame the lilty-voiced kindly old aunties who spent decades and decades warbling away about “No discussion of sports, politics or religion allowed at this supper table.” I blame them, because we now have multiple generations of people who think they understand how to have a discussion, in fact fancy themselves to be experts at it. How could they not be? Look at all the time they put into it. But their go-to maneuver is to retreat into the comforting embryonic sac of “you see” followed by explaining — again — to some imaginary opponent who’s hearing of the issue for the very first time, when the actual situation is that they got back a question they couldn’t answer, or have been shamed by the presentation of some contradiction or conundrum they know they should have settled themselves before bothering anyone else with it. So they go for the facial tic and start explaining.

Telemarketers who bother old people in the middle of the day with their scam phone calls, are much more savvy. When they run into a scrutinizing question for which they’re unprepared, like “Why do you need my money to invest if it’s such a hot prospect, why don’t you do it yourself and keep all the profits?” they just cuss, hang up, and go on to the next call. The Internet-arguers trying to sell scams on blog threads or on social media, aren’t that sharp.