This Bookworm Beat has a hodge-podge of posters but the dominant theme seems to be that a big government that becomes a bad government is scary.
If the internet keeps being awash in stuff supporting the Second Amendment, I’ve got to go with it — but there’s lots of other good material here too.
Before going on to the next set of posters (the ones about things other than the Second Amendment), here’s a wonderful video. Although it comes from 2013, the Vietnamese-born man challenging gun grabbing has some impressive points to make about the Second Amendment (plus a nice little dig about illegal immigration). It’s less than 5 minutes so please take the time watch it — and pay attention special to his point about the difference between the state and government because it’s that good a point: [Read more…]
I received an email from a friend who was recently in Washington, D.C. and had the opportunity to speak to a couple of people who work in the government. He sent me this disheartening wrap-up of his conversations with them:
1) When you see global or national financial figures emanating from banks (e.g., World Bank, development banks, UN) etc., they are numbers pretty much created out of thin air.
2) Congressmen don’t make policy. Policy-making is generally delegated to 20-somethings to create and write up: congressman are too busy raising money and compromising themselves for votes: they simply vote on the legislation that their interns give them as a finished product. This is a big reason why government policy doesn’t work in real life.
3) Many alarmist defense-related issues that you read about (like us vis-a-vis the Chinese, Russians, etc) are simply designed to protect funding for the various armed forces branches.
4) EVERYTHING driven by the Obama administration is focused on their environmental agenda. They have defunded any and all global initiatives on building coal or nuclear power in developing nations, as well as actively tried to kill hydroelectric power on a global basis. Again, these are policies developed by 20-somethings implemented on the world at large.
5) The 20-somethings also pretty much run the White House and all government agencies. This is how it turns out policy by the Executive Branch.
So if you’re someone who does not have children or grandchildren in or nearing college, you should still be deeply concerned about what’s going on at America’s institutions of higher education. Every bit of misinformation and propaganda that’s being taught there ends up being directly implemented in our government.
My friend, who is one of the smartest, best-informed people I’ve ever met, went on to say that it’s tales such as these that have convinced him that Donald Trump is the better bet in the upcoming election than Hillary: “The Augean stables really need to be flushed out and I don’t see anyone but a true outsider with charismatic appeal and force of presence (a la Andrew Jackson) as having the fortitude and skill to pull it off. The problem, as I see it, is that most Americans really do believe that our government is more functional than it is.”
So far, Trump is saying a lot of the right things about issues that matter to me (Supreme Court, Second Amendment, etc.), but I don’t believe I’ve heard him talk about cleaning up Washington’s vast bureaucracy and making it somewhat functional again. If that was a goal, it’s entirely possible he could make it happen, so I’ll continue to live in hope.
A long time ago, I became friends with a man who worked as an electrical engineer in the aerospace defense industry. Beginning in the 1980s, he told me that the government was spying on us — and he knew, he said, because he worked on the technology that made it possible. I assumed that he was (a) paranoid and (b) boasting about a skill set I wasn’t sure even existed back in the day. Over the years, he continued to tell me that the government was monitoring my land line and my cell phone. I scoffed. My attitude changed after 9/11, when it became a reasonable certainty that the DHS was indeed monitoring people’s calls. With revelations about NSA spying, I’ve finally come full circle and believe everything this guy was telling me thirty years ago.
Let me say here that I don’t think governments should never spy. If our government thinks that bad actors are planning to do bad things against America, it should be all over the situation, like white on rice. What I find disturbing is the completely indiscriminate net that the NSA has spread. It’s spying on everyone. Since there’s no way it can monitor all that information in real time, the likelihood of the government using this data to stop a terrorist attack is small.
Look at England, for example. The prevalence of CCTV’s means that England is the most heavily monitored First World country in the world — and yet its crime rates climb higher and higher. The cameras do nothing to prevent crime. Their utility, which is limited, is to try to catch criminals after the fact. They don’t always catch the criminals and, when they do, their multiculturalist, PC values are so warped, they can’t adequately punish them anyway. The result is that criminals don’t care that they’re being watched, while people of good will are afraid that anything innocent they do today can be used against them tomorrow.
In any event, my understanding is that the best way to stop terrorism is still the old-fashioned way, beginning with human intelligence and common sense. To the extent our government is indiscriminately collecting everyone’s data, it is doing so not to prevent future crimes, but to prosecute past crimes — including words and activities that weren’t actually criminal at the time people acted or spoke.
This knowledge is why I’m intrigued about something that’s being voted on at Quirky. If you watch Jay Leno, you know what Quirky is. People submit ideas for inventions and the public gets to vote on whether they think it’s a good idea or not. Some of the ideas are brilliant and some are goofy. If enough people like an idea, Quirky will work with the inventor to bring it into being, from the patent process to the manufacturing to marketing. Quirky naturally takes a cut, but the Quirky people claim that some people have become millionaires.
The idea at Quirky that intrigues me is one that my friend’s acquaintance came up with. The Yosemite Box is a device that, when you turn it on, instructs your cell phone to say that your GPS coordinates are in Yosemite:
Many governments are spying on peoples’ cellphone metadata, and this makes many people feel that their rights to privacy have been invaded. They object to having their movements and location recorded by the government, 24 hours a day (perhaps from a lovers house?). This device makes their spying incapable of tracking peoples movements through their GPS location on their cellphone – a service which cannot be turned off. If all cellphones sent the same constant address, then no one could be tracked. If you do need the GPS service, turn off the Yosemite Box.
The Yosemite Box emits a GPS signal that gives the GPS coordinates of Yosemite National Park, maybe at the top of Half Dome. You simply keep the device near your cell phone when you do not wish to be tracked. If all cellphone metadata had the same address it would make the collection effort worthless. It would be low power so as to get under FCC regulations. Yosemite of course is just a random choice but a nice place for people to think you are visiting and besides you can say that you climbed Half Dome.
What an elegant solution to a 1984-ish government. If you think it’s a good idea, head on over to Quirky and vote for it. When it receives 200 votes in this preliminary round, it will go up to the next round.
When I was down in the doldrums the other day, a dear friend sent me a pep-talk email. Her point was the same that jj made in a comment: We have to seize the momentum now to reveal Obama, the Democrats, and the federal bureaucracy for what they are.
Democrats are handing us ammunition on a platter — and, while we do not control the mainstream media, we have Fox News, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and email to get our message out. Moreover, the best messaging we can do is the type that Saul Alinsky urged on his followers: Target, personalize, ridicule, and never let up.
My friend suggested calling Obama names consistent with his behavior:
President I’ll Hold my Breath til I Turn Blue
President Stompie Foot
President Picks on Geriatric WWII Heroes
President Negotiates with Iran, not America
President I really really hate Republicans
President El Presidente
President Iran can have the bomb, the real enemy is Republicans
President I hate half the country I lead
President Laughing Stock
President Fundamentally transforming America down the toilet
President Red Lines for Congress, not Syria
President Liar Liar Pants on Fire
President Temper Tantrum
I thought a couple of motivational posters might not be amiss. You can make your own and spread them through social networking here. If you like, I’ll also happily include at this blog any motivational posters you make. Keep them clean, though, both because I run a clean blog and because obscenity and threats debase us, while wit, snark, sarcasm, and humor elevate us and make our message more memorable.
Unlike past shutdowns, which were indeed quibbles about this or that, the current shutdown is a big deal. The question posed is a fundamental one about the very nature of this nation: Is the federal government the servant or the master of the American people. Our Constitution says the former; sixty-years of federal expansion says the latter.
The WWII Memorial showdown in Washington makes concrete this abstract battle. It forces us to ask whether a government separate from and dominant over citizens owns that open air memorial, or whether a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has gotten too big for its britches and needs to be knocked down a peg.
There can be no doubt that what the House is doing is constitutional. Having said that, they are doing a terrible job of selling it, and that’s separate from the fact that the drive-by media is doing its best to tar and feather them. It’s a reminder of something I’ve learned in the 12 years since I crossed the Rubicon and changed political affiliations: Republicans are the party of smart ideologies and poor strategies. Democrats/Progressives, while their ideas may be disastrous, as is proven by every time and place in which they been put into effect, are master strategists. (And in that regard, Saul Alinsky is definitely their Sun Tzu.)
This problem is, in part, built into the system. To the extent there are still conservatives in the Republican party, their individualism makes them as easy to herd as angry cats. Democrats, on the other hand, find meaning in collective action. Even when their ideas are bad, their monolithic front gives them power.
UPDATE: James Taranto notes that, in this go-round, the usually tactically disciplined Democrat party has been unusually maladroit. Hubris or something else?
UPDATE 2: David Stockman sees also sees what’s happening as a determinative moment, but for different reasons.
Putting aside all the racist rhetoric flying around from the Left, the uncontroverted evidence coming out of the Zimmerman trial proved that (a) a hooded figure was sitting on top of another man brutally beating him and (b) the man being tried for murder showed all the signs of someone who was on the receive end of a severe beating, from the broken nose to the bleeding back of his head. Putting aside the racist rhetoric from the Left, the incontrovertible facts that the court refused to admit (incontrovertible because they came from the dead man’s own phone), showed that the dead man was a drug user and fighter who was fascinated by guns and violence.
Now, Florida’s state capitol has announced that you (and you and you and you and you!) are Trayvon! This assault on American (and Floridan) integrity and decency takes the form of a painting unveiled at the state captiol, purporting to show a hooded figure being shot in the back of the head (which avoids the fact that Trayvon wasn’t running away but was, in fact, intensifying his full front assault) by a man who looks like a cross between George Zimmerman and Stalin. However, instead of seeing Trayvon’s face in the hoodie, it’s a mirror. (This ham-handed propaganda device somehow made me think of “Soylent Green” — you know, the bit where he says “It’s people!”):
In other words, says the State of Florida, we’re all drug addled thugs who try to beat people to death. Even worse, if you look at the wall sign behind the painting, it says that we’re looking at the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame.
If you’d like to let the State of Florida know that you find this fact-free, racist at of political propaganda offensive, you can contact the capitol building at the building’s website. As always, remember that a polite, firmly worded message is effective. Obscenities, personal attacks, and threats only make you look bad and strengthen the other side’s sense of self-righteousness.
My dear friend Don Quixote retired with his beloved to warmer climes. I miss him a great deal. I especially miss our lunches together. We still talk on the phone, but it’s not the same as the wandering conversations we had about politics, morals, philosophy, law, Dancing With The Stars, computer games, and whatever else seemed interesting on a given day. One of our most memorable conversations was about government’s role in morality. Don Quixote is more of a libertarian than I am, although I consider myself fairly libertarian. I don’t remember the details of the conversation, but my takeaway was that government legislation should not be hostile to traditional morality, but it’s not responsible for morality either. Citizens are responsible for morality, through peer pressure and, yes, shame.
I still believe that today, so I was very gratified to read Nick Gillespie’s post about libertarians and morality. What prompted Gillespie’s post was a New York Times piece, by Richard Reeves, a liberal writer, that had a throwaway line about libertarians being, not immoral perhaps but amoral. In many ways, Gillespie agreed with Reeves, who agreed with me, albeit from a liberal perspective. Some shame is necessary to curb teen pregnancies. So Reeves, Gillespie, and I are all in sync.
Where Reeves parts ways with Gillespie and me, and where Reeves inspired a masterful post from Gillespie is the bit about libertarian amorality:
Libertarians might want a world without moral judgments, in which teen pregnancy carries no stigma at all. And paternalists might want the state to enshrine judgments in law — perhaps by raising the age of sexual consent or mandating contraception. True liberals, though, believe we can hold one another to moral account without coercion. We must not shy away from shame.
Wrong, wrong, wrong, Mr. Reeves! I’ll let Nick explain why:
I submit to you that few statements are more wrong than saying “libertarians might want a world without moral judgments.” From my vantage point, one of the things to which libertarianism is dedicated is the proliferation of moral judgments by freeing people up to the greatest degree possible to create their own ways of being in the world. To conflate the live and let live ethos at the heart of the classical liberal and libertarian project with an essentially nihilistic dismissal of pluralism and tolerance is a gigantic error. It’s like saying that because religious dissenters want to abolish a single state church that they are anti-god.
Really, you should read the whole thing.
Wonderful, wonderful video:
Incidentally, apropos the fact that government agencies are stockpiling weapons and ammunition, Charles Cooke explains that the numbers aren’t that scary when one considers how many people serve in the various agencies, along with the fact that sometimes the agents have to confront people angered by agency tactics or engaged in criminal acts under agency purview. He has a point. There’s probably not a scary conspiracy theory going on. But there’s still something scary going on, and Cooke nails what it is. Indeed, he nails it so precisely that I’m going to quote him at some length here:
Fair enough. But here one starts to sympathize with the malcontents. There is a world of difference between the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, or Forest Service and the Department of Education, and that there is no grand clandestine plan for the subjugation of America should by no means be taken to imply that every government action is acceptable. Questions do still abound: Whether it is in possession of one bullet or 1 million bullets, should the federal Department of Education be armed in the first place? If so, why? Should its OIG be investigating external fraud rather than handing it over to the police or the DOJ or the FBI? For those federal departments that play no role in combating domestic and foreign threats — such as the DoE — what would constitute a threat requiring armed confrontation with malefactors?
In 2011, a story about a Department of Education raid went the rounds. Initial versions suggested that the department had commissioned a SWAT team to break into a California home and arrest the estranged husband of a woman who had defaulted on her student loan. Mercifully, this was incorrect. There was no SWAT team involved, nor was the target being investigated for unpaid loans. But the reality was not necessarily much better. Instead, the DoE announced that it had conducted the raid itself, in pursuit of an American citizen that it suspected of “bribery, fraud, and embezzlement of federal student aid funds.” It was a disaster; the suspect no longer lived in the house, a fact that special agents eventually discovered after they had smashed in the doors at dawn, thrown the occupant’s children into a police car, and kept the suspect’s (innocent) husband in handcuffs in a hot squad car for six hours.
As the local ABC affiliate reported, in an attempt to clear up the confusion, “police officers did not participate in breaking [the target’s] door, handcuffing him, or searching his home.” Instead, the Department of Education did. Judging by their ammunition purchases, the Social Security Administration and the IRS could have done so, too. That, and not fantasies about a plan to counter phantom civil unrest, is what should concern Americans.
It’s winter break, and I’m coming to terms with the fact that, for the time being, my life is not my own. It belongs to husband, children, mother, children’s friends, neighbors, etc. I never even looked at the news yesterday, which left me feeling both bereft and relieved. Bereft because I am a high information type of person; relieved because the news has been nothing but depressing lately.
I spoke with a relative in Israel on Friday. Although she’s a cousin, she’s more than a generation older than I am, she started a family young, and her children started young too. The net result is that several of her grandsons are now or will soon be in the Israeli Army. When I wished her a Happy New Year, she responded dryly “I don’t think so.”
Ironically, I think that, if my cousin had been an American citizen in 2008, she would have voted for Obama in a heartbeat. She was born into the Israeli Left and Leftism is her spiritual home. Like many Israelis, however, she’s a pragmatist, and only a fool would look at Egypt and Syria and Lebanon and Iran and think that Israel can expect good fortune in the short-term. More than that, I think she’s realized that, even if Obama shares the politics that were mother’s milk to her, he has no love for her country.
Thinking of my cousins very real concerns, I periodically try to remind myself that change is inevitable, that it can be necessary, and that it’s often good, at least in the long run. I’ve scoffed so long at the global warmers fear of the earth’s natural cycles, that it’s quite hypocritical of me to fear human kind’s natural cycles.
The problem that I’m facing, and that the global warmers refuse to face, is that change invariably brings death and suffering in its wake. Even if the majority benefit, a minority will always be hurt. That’s true whether most people have more arable land, but some people have their lands flooded; or whether a great nation gently declines without too much pain for its citizens, but leaves the way for minor nations to become explosively violent. Life is not stasis.
The main thing with change is to recognize whether you can control it, shape it, head it off, or do nothing at all. The climate changers think that they can affect the earth and the sun, so they’re making what is, in their mind, a noble effort to save the world.
To me, climate change is a situation over which we have no control. Since we can’t stop it, we shouldn’t waste our energies trying to so but should, instead, bend those same energies to accommodating this change in the best way possible. The resource we’re really wasting is brain power that we could use to surf the wave of change. Right now, we’re expending that same emotional and intellectual energy fruitlessly sweeping back the tide.
Up until the election, I thought that, as part of an intellectual conservative movement, I could change the election’s outcome. It turned out I couldn’t. We’ve now been dealt the Obama hand. We cannot re-do the election, as he won square, if not fair. What we can do, though, is to surf the wave.
One of the things I’d like to do is go off the fiscal cliff. Elections have consequences, and we need to give the people what they want: more taxes and less government. I would have preferred less taxes and less government, but that’s not what the voters asked for. They asked for stalemate, and one of the consequences is that there’s no one there to stop sequestration and the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. I hate more taxes, but so does everyone else. And a lot of people may find, to their great surprise, that less government actually is a good thing.
Another wave surfing thing is that I think Republicans should keep the pressure on Hillary Clinton. If she’s too sick to carry out her duties, she should be immediately retired. And if she’s not too sick, her first responsibility is to explain how four Americans, including an ambassador, died on her watch. Although Republicans in Congress seem to have severe backbone issues, I can see them keeping to this one, even as they’re too frightened to tackle big issues like spending, national security, etc. There are always people in Washington willing to engage in personal destruction.
What other waves can we ride? Right now, Obama things he’s riding the gun control wave. Is there any way to stop him or is this also one where we’ve lost control? It would certainly be helpful if this issue hit the Supreme Court before Obama gets the opportunity, for whatever reason, appoint yet another ultra liberal to the Court. Once that happens, we’ve really lost control.
I’m trying to remind myself that being a control freak works only if you can actually control something. So, what can we control now? That is, acknowledging that conservatives lack a sufficient majority to carry out any of their initiatives, how do we surf the oncoming waves (and they are coming) so that we land upright, with someone salvageable left behind and we’re not just left wiped out?
This post is labeled “Open Thread,” so please feel free to overwhelm me with ideas.
I am standing Hwy 2, passing through the Blackfoot “Res” in Montana. What I see before me doesn’t look like much, a scrubby field under low hills and Montana’s incredibly beautiful big sky.
Where I am standing is the former site of the Badger Creek Indian Agency, where the Blackfeet Indians gathered after their buffalo had been slaughtered and the government promised them food and support in exchange for having given up their independence and self reliance.
By the winter of 1883-1884, however, the government had really, really screwed up. The Indians’ own source of meat (buffalo, deer, elk) had been destroyed. Their limited crops had failed. Their limited livestock was depleted. They were running out of food.
Since 1881, Indian agent John Young’s repeated requests to the government for more food aid had been met with bureaucratic indifference. Frankly, the “government” didn’t care very much and there were budget constraints that had to be met.
Then, in the winter of 1883-1884, the inevitable happened: starvation came. By the time the world outside the reservation heard about it, one quarter of the population (600 Indians) had already starved to death. The surrounding Montana communities responded immediately, sending relief trains of emergency food, livestock and blankets to the Blackfeet survivors. The government, by contrast, did nothing. After the fact, they held hearings, absolved themselves of responsibility and, finally, blamed Indian Agent John Young for gross negligence.
This is a story to keep in mind for all those that believe that it is somehow a good idea to surrender their independence and self-reliance to a faceless entity called “government”. Whether it is welfare, social security, Medicare or Obamacare, I can guarantee this: the government will screw up through indifference and people will die. Not because government is “bad” or that the people in government are “bad”, but because people are people and government can never be better than our collective human nature. And, once stripped of our independence and self-reliance, there will be no recourse. We will not be able to rely upon surrounding communities to rush to our aid.
A few years ago, those in the know were telling us in no uncertain terms that the EU model was the future — and that America had better get used to playing second fiddle to the economic giant that a united Europe presented. I found it hard to imagine that Europe would ever be able to overcome rivalries and tribal allegiances that span centuries, even millennia. I also did not believe that the socialist model, which might work in a small, homogenous culture, would be able to sustain a vast economic federalism. Watching what is happening in Europe now tells me that my common sense was infinitely more valuable than anything scholars and economists had to offer.
The whole EU collapse has gotten me thinking about tribalism. One of America’s greatest strengths, right up there with the Constitution and the continent’s natural bounty — is that tribalism didn’t take hold here as it did in Europe. From the beginning, we were too fluid a society. As soon as we got a good hate going against one immigrant group (the Irish, for example), two things happened: First, America’s lack of a class system, economic flexibility, and geographic mobility, resulted in significant numbers of the hated group leveraging themselves up into the middle and working class. Second, a new hated class invariably came on board (e.g., Jews or Italians or Puerto Ricans or Asians), restarting the same cycle.
This malleable system, with hatreds that couldn’t last long enough to become entrenched, was aided by our participation in two popular 20th century World Wars. (I use the word “popular” to distinguish them from the Korean War, which was greeted with exhaustion, and the Vietnam War and Iraq, which the Left used to create social divisions.) As Israel proves daily, boot camp is the best melting pot of them all. During the World Wars, the Brooklyn Jew and the Minnesota Swedish farm boy might not have liked each other, but they came into contact in structured environment, and fought for the same cause.
One of the most poisonous things the Left has done to America in the past 40 years is to create institutional tribalism. Instead of a distant government that kept grinding on, whether old immigrants hated the Irish or the Jews or the Italians or the whatever, the Left got the government involved in designating victims. Suddenly, the government is focusing like a laser on blacks and gays and differently-abled and whoever else is the Leftists’ victim célèbre. We now have a government that doesn’t discriminate against blacks, it discriminate for them (and for all the other designated victim classes, women included), with equally heinous results. Government should be above the tribal fray, not creating it.
Before anyone calls me on it, I know perfectly well that our Constitution, as originally written, did get involved in tribalism by treating Southern blacks as a separate class. I don’t think I need to remind anyone, though, what a horrible outcome that official discrimination had. Both the early Constitution and the Jim Crow era (when the South decided to perpetuate the Founders’ original mistake) are perfect illustrations of the disasters resulting from allowing governments to pick one tribe and discriminate against another.
As an aside, the only reason women haven’t been destroyed by this government discrimination is because of kids. Children have needs that, so far, our government isn’t meeting, so Mom still has to act like a responsible grown-up.
Tribalism is dangerous. Legislated tribalism is disastrous.
When I was a little girl, one of the refrains in my life was “get your cotton-pickin’ fingers out of that.” I didn’t mean to be destructive. I was always certain I could make things better. I had bald Barbies, because I was pretty sure I could make their hair look better. I had misshapen stuffed animals, because I thought I could fix stuffing defects. My generous destructive tendencies didn’t stop with my own stuff. Cameras lost lenses, appliance knobs got jammed, and the food my mom was cooking got ruined. I thought I was “fixing” things. My parents knew that my cotton-pickin’ fingers were wrecking havoc.
I was a little girl, and had an excuse for my ill-fated attempts to improve things. What’s the excuse our government has for continually interfering with things in which it has no business? And even worse, what’s the excuse of citizens who keep demanding more interference from the government? I don’t want Washington to “fix” the economy. I want it to back off. Let people who know something about business, about supply and demand, about capital, about finances, about consumers, and generally about the facts on the ground, be the ones who fix business. All that government offers, whether Democrat or Republican, is stupid good will and cotton-pickin’ fingers.
After I expounded on this theory to my sister, she asked, “What should government do?” I started the usual list: National Security, Epidemic and Pandemic Control (as opposed to telling people what to eat or how much to weigh), Transcontinental Road and Bridge Building and Maintenance (not “intercontinental,” but “transcontinental”) — basically, things in which it has an interest.
Take national security, for example. Government definitely has an interest in national security. That’s one of its biggest jobs and, more importantly, it’s not a job that can be handled competently by states or individual citizens. Because the government is very goal oriented when it comes to national security, it tends to do it efficiently. Sure, there’s waste and graft and corruption, but on the whole, as long as the political will is there, our national security system does its core job very well, whether its our men and women in on foreign battle fields, or our information gatherers here at home.
People confuse the main national security goal with the often beneficial by-products it produces. A classic example is to support a demand that the government fund science by pointing to the huge surgical strides Americans have made during every war since WWI, or to the far-reaching scientific and technological innovations flowing from NASA. But what they forget was that, in each case, the government had a bigger goal than better sutures or a computer chip. The government was not trying to improve surgery but was, instead, trying to keep its troops alive so that they could fight and win. And up until Obama turned NASA into a Muslim outreach organization, it’s purpose was to help us beat the Soviets in the Cold War. That its technology benefited the private sector was great, but that wasn’t the government’s job.
Problems always arise when government tries to micromanage things in which it has no interest. Government is neither a consumer nor a business, so when it meddles in the marketplace, it does so without any coherent goals, strategies or tactics. It’s inefficient because it can be inefficient: as long as things are sort of moving in one direction or another, there is no specific outcome the government is heading towards.
The same holds true for science: Nowadays, the government tries to pick scientific winners or losers, depending on the political flavor (and trendy Hollywood star) of the day. As ethanol, biofuels and Solyndra show, the government has an uncanny knack for backing the wrong horse. Because government spends our money using a mystical and poisonous combination of politics, bureaucracy and corruption, its decisions are unrelated to practical realities. It’s the marketplace that should be investigating the best way to reduce pollution, whether that means increasing fossil fuel outputs and cleaning emissions, or finding entirely new energy strategies. Because government as an entity has no responsibility for science qua science, it shouldn’t pretend — at great taxpayer expense — that it does.
And that, my children, is your sermon for the day.
There are few issues that have been obfuscated as diligently by the media organs of the MSM Left as has been the housing crisis that led to our current economic depression. Why, of course they would do that: the Democrats are guilty as sin! We’ve observed on the pages of this very blog the attempts to divert responsibilities for this disaster to vague, shadow conspiracies orchestrated by conservative capitalist dirigistes.
So, here’s kudos to a Pulitzer-winning journalist for the New York Times writer, a Wall Street financial analyst, and to one of my favorite old-school democrats for cutting through the murk and exposing the ugly truths to this disaster in simple, easy-to-understand terms in book summarized by Walter Russell Mead at the American Interest (h/t to smalldeadanimals.com).
Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed and Corruption Led to Econonomic Armageddon, By NYT journalist Gretchen Morgenson and financial analyst Joshua Rosner.
Walter Russell Mead is one of my absolutely favorite political writers. Though he is a confirmed Democrat, he hails from a disappearing Democrat tradition that once (long, long ago) allowed me to be proud about being Democrat. It was a time when the intellectual ferment was seasoned by the ideas of Democrat greats like Henry Jackson and Daniel Patrick Moynihan (I sure do miss Moynihan). Mead reminds us that there remain still-flickering embers from those bygone days, before the Democrat party succumbed to a motley collection of Leftists and other pervs.
Here’s how Mead’s book review opens: “The Republican Party and especially its Tea Party wing have just acquired a new weapon of mass destruction”.
Here’s the book review.
Then buy the book and distribute it to your Democrat friends, reminding them that this is a pronouncement descending from the hallowed heights of the NYT. Because, as we were recently reminded, the NYT is their “god”.
New Jersey missed out on $300 million in federal “Race to the Top” education funds. It turns out that the state DOE filled out the application wrong. But before you start ripping Chris Christie for government mismanagement, check out his masterful, and simultaneous, acceptance of responsibility and attack against the feds:
His approach, by the way, has “good lawyer technique” written all over it.