Tuesday morning round-up

I finally have a semi-quiet moment, so I can share with you all the stuff I tagged over the last few days.  In no particular order….

Victor Davis Hanson writes about the new normal.  The “new normal” is actually a very important concept, because when people settle — that is, they accept the status quo as inevitable — society stagnates.  I first became aware of this concept when I took a history class at Cal, taught by one of the few excellent teachers I had during my time there.  Someone asked (or he posed) a question regarding the way in which the Industrial Revolution petered out in England and not in America.  His answer, if I remember correctly, was that the British class system meant that, when the working classes reached a certain point of economic comfort, they stopped.  Because “an Englishman’s way of speaking absolutely classifies him,” there was no benefit in acquiring more wealth, because it was only the rarest Englishman who could crash through the class dividers.  Even he and his children would be looked at askance.  The real beneficiaries would be his grandchildren, and that was an awfully long way away.  In America, though, the sky was always the limit.  Hanson’s point, and it’s quite a worrisome one, is that Americans have accepted that our trajectory is a downward one.  Accepting this means people stop striving because there’s too little return on effort.

I found two good articles today about the way in which the liberal media shapes public opinion.  At PowerLine, you can read about over-reporting bad stories about Republicans and under-reporting bad stories about Democrats (not to mention using unfounded innuendo as a way to destroy Republicans).  The companion to that post is a Commentary Contention’s piece about the way in which the drive-by media is trying to bury stories about Hagel (a man with an antisemitic past and management problems who is being promoted as a military manager who will deal with Islamists) by attacking Ted Cruz, a junior senator who has committed the ultimate sin of being a Hispanic conservative.

The next big thing in erasing gender through gender-neutral public bathrooms.  These already exist all over the place in the form of a single bathroom in a smaller establishment.  Both men and women use these, but they do so one at a time.  This new model would see side-by-side stalls.  I hate this idea.  For women, it’s a bad deal because it puts them at serious risk of peeping toms.  That’s the big issue, but for both men and women there are smaller issues, which both should hate.  The men should hate the fact that they’ll be facing longer lines, since women take longer.  And the women should hate the fact that (sorry, guys) men’s rooms have icky, sticky floors.  If you guys want to do that to yourselves, fine, but I don’t see any reason why women should have to suffer that yuckiness too.

The Wall Street Journal has a sad article about a Marine who was the lone survivor of his original 12-man unit, 11 of whom died in a single attack.  What I found interesting was that the article presents the issues he faces as something new:  “Cases like that of Lance Cpl. Williams might constitute a different kind of mental injury from war, some clinicians are concluding, one that falls into less-understood categories of ‘traumatic loss’ and ‘moral injury.'”  In positing this as a new syndrome, have clinicians forgotten about (or, worse, never learned about) the Holocaust? As a child, I grew up surrounded by what was called “Survivor’s guilt.”  I knew too many people who were the only ones in their family, their school, their neighborhood, or their village to survive the war.  I also knew people who lived with the horrible guilt of what they’d done to survive in the camps, everything from stealing food from those who were weaker than they were, to working in the crematorium, to prostituting their bodies to survive.  Perhaps these clinicians should take a little history lesson to help today’s warriors who are suffering from this age-old, and quite terrible, syndrome.

A liberal told me the other day that the increases in health insurance costs have nothing to do with ObamaCare and are just a result of inflation.  He might want to let the people at the uber-Progressive Los Angeles Times know this.

I love articles that present facts (not opinion, but facts) explaining why gun control of the type Progressives propose doesn’t work.  One wonders if Progressives will ever figure out that mass shootings happen in states or locations with high gun control (e.g. schools, theaters, Norway, etc.), or that mass shooters come from Progressive environments (the Sandy Hook shooter, the Colorado theater shooter, the Columbine shooters, all the kids murdering each other in Chicag0).

I agree that celebrities use the public, so the other side of the deal is that the public gets to pry into their lives. I still find sordid Clive Davis’ kiss everyone and everything and then tell autobiography sordid.  Just because the public wants to know tawdry details doesn’t mean that decent people stop feeding them that stuff.

To be continued, so check in later.

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  • Bill C

    Hey Bookworm,
    As may or may not know, I am a member of the Men’s rights movement (MRM).  Right now there is a internal squabble about the direction with some insisting it become a mirror of feminism.  This faction insists the MRM should insist on complete equality in the form of the Equal Rights Amendment.  (They believe, wrongly IMO, that the ERA would end discrimination against father’s in family court.)  
    I remember well that one of the more successful arguments against the ERA back in the 70s was the prospect of gender neutral bathrooms.  What is your opinion of the ERA/gender equality?

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    I think what the Cal professor said about the British industrial decline…that it was due to class rigidity limiting the mobility of working-class people…is part of the story, but only part.
    There’s an interesting (though not terribly well-written) book called “English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit, 1850-1980,” by Martin Weiner. The author puts much of the responsibility for the decline at the *other* end of the class spectrum…that the upper and upper-middle-classes viewed the status of various occupations as something like the following:
    1 (highest)…landed aristocracy, possibly combined with high-level government employment
    2…high-level government employment in general
    (big step down)
    3–banking and finance
    (bigger step down)
    4–manufacturing and retail trade

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    Also, it’s interesting to note that immediately after WWII, Britain had a very strong position in two emerging industries: jet aircraft and computers. The practical jet engine was created by a Brit, Frank Whittle (ok, the Germans were doing the same, but they weren’t in a position to do much with it after the war), as was the first commercial jetliner (deHavilland Comet) and there were all kinds of computer innovations in Britain, including the first stored-program computer, EDSAC and the first business-oriented computer, LEO (developed for a chain of tea shops!)
    Yet these innovations did not result in what they should have in the way of a sustainable competitive lead for these industries (although Rolls-Royce is still very much a power in the jet engine business) I’m going to do a post on this subject after I research it. Part of the problem was bad luck (the Comet jetliner crashes), part was the smaller market compared with the American domestic market…but I suspect much of it was government policy and social attitudes.

  • JKB

    We have seen the gender-equal future and it is “awkward”.  At least in the bathroom.
    I opened the door slowly. This was no single-occupancy restroom. This was a multi-stalled bathroom complex. Inside there were three girls, who all made awkward eye contact with me when I walked in. One of them shrugged her shoulders: “Yep,” she said, “we’re all in here together.” She didn’t seem too excited about the fact.

  • Ron19

    Again, http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/02/19/Obama-Energy-Is-Going-To-Be-a-Little-More-Expensive
    Obama Admits: ‘Energy Is Going to Be a Little More Expensive’
    We’re already paying 100% more for a gallon of gas, etc.  What is it that we are getting for all this extra spending?
    There are simple ways of measuring what the increase in costs are; is there any noticeble way of measuring the increase in benefits?
    What is the New Normal going to be for us, our children, our grandchildren?