Jeb Bush, dynasties, and the multiple photocopy theory

jeb-bush-george-bushMy son, who is taking a general science class, explained to me why I’m aging.  ”Mom,” he said.  ”Your cells keep reproducing over and over again, but they’re like a bad photocopy of the original.  You see, the original was good, but if you make a photocopy of that, the photocopy isn’t quite as good.  And if you photocopy the photocopy, the new photocopy is going to be even less good.  [I hope all of you are with me here.]  So, by the time you’re old, all your cells have been copied too often, so they’re really bad quality, and that’s why you go gray and get wrinkles.”

I have to say, that strikes me as a damn fine articulation of the problem the mirror reveals to me every day.  It’s still me, but the copy quality is increasingly abysmal as the years go by.

The failed copy problem plagues things other than cells.  Monarchies, for example, often have the failed copy problem.   In century after century and nation after nation, one sees a tolerably decent monarch (at least decent enough to acquire and hang onto the throne) succeeded by increasingly inept heirs who often lost both throne and life (e.g., Louis XIV, Louis V, and Louis XVI; or Russia’s Nicholas’s).

England, the country about which I’m most knowledgeable, had a couple of miserable dynasties.  James I, who inherited from Elizabeth I, was a personally revolting man (he never bathed), but a fairly astute politician.  His son, Charles I, was such an arrogant pipsqueak, he sparked a civil war that saw him lose, first, his throne and, second, his head.  Charles II was an understandably cynical man who did whatever was necessary to hold onto both throne and head so that he could die in his own bed.  His brother, James II, didn’t even have that kind of sense, and managed to lose the throne a second time, which is really unforgivable for a single dynasty.

That was the 17th century in England.  The 18th century brought its own miserable collection of dynastic disasters, all named George, the first who was stolid and completely Germanic George I; the second who was a nonentity, the third who was a pathetic madman who lost America, and finally the fourth, who was a much-loathed, reprehensible rake.  And don’t get me started about Elizabeth II (dignified, if nothing else) and her son, Charles, an unprincipled fruit loop who is known to worship at the global warming altar and who may well be a Muslim convert.

America’s political dynasties have the same problem.  Take the Kennedys, for example.  The political dynasty started with John, who was all shiny and pretty and polished.  It then devolved to Teddy Kennedy, a man even his most devoted fans couldn’t deny was alcoholic, had the obesity of the dissolute, and was generally morally corrupt.  The current generation of Kennedy’s has all of Teddy’s vices without his old-generation cachet.  They’re drug addicts, alcoholics, depressives, and otherwise troubled, defective people.

The Bush’s aren’t much better.  We started with George Sr., a very good and brave and accomplished man who was, nevertheless, a merely decent politician and then worked our way to George Jr., a very good and principled man who really tried to break conservativism’s back with that “compassionate” stuff (which just turned it into mushy Leftism).

The true devolution is appearing in Jeb Bush, the third iteration in that political clan.  He’s proving to be such a blurry, failed copy that we may as well head this photocopy directly to the recycling bin.  How else to explain his no-borders support for illegal immigration on the ground that it’s an “act of love,” because it’s about family, and not really a crime at all?  Funnily enough, I never hear “love” advanced as a defense for the guy who forgoes a job in favor of robbery as a means of putting food on the table.

Paul Mirengoff correctly notes that some illegal aliens, unlike most other criminals, do contribute to society.  That, however, is not an argument for excusing blatant law-breaking on “love” grounds.  The only real “love” we’re seeing here is Jeb’s love for power, as he hopes to become the third Bush in office.

My Leftist friends are shrieking in horror at the thought of another Bush in office.  I have to agree with them.  Now if only I can convince them that Hillary Clinton, too, is nothing but a pathetic, failed photocopy of their beloved Bill.

 

UC Berkeley student government announces that the phrase “illegal immigrant” is banned *UPDATED*

One wonders how many of the jubilant Berkeley students who bought into 1964's Free Speech Movement would be shocked by today's censorship.  My guess is "none."  It was always about Leftist re-education.

One wonders how many of those neatly attired and jubilant Berkeley students who bought into 1964′s Free Speech Movement would be shocked by today’s censorship. My guess is “none.” It was always about Leftist re-education.

The People’s Republic of Berkeley or, as it’s more commonly known, the University of California, Berkeley, has stayed true to its core Orwellian Leftism by banning language. Today’s targeted “bad thinking” is the phrase “illegal immigrant.” According to the censors occupying Berkeley’s student government, that phrase is “racially charged,” “dehumanizes” people, and contributes to “punitive and discriminatory actions aimed primarily at immigrants and communities of color.” Apparently the truth hurts.

The resolution, of course, carried with the usual Soviet style unanimity: 18 voted “yes” to censor thought and language, while one student abstained. (More on that single abstention later.)

Actually, the ultra-Left Berkeley was late to the party on this one, but that’s only because the University of California in Los Angeles has a much higher population of illegal immigrant students. That’s almost certainly why UCLA passed a similar resolution in August, while Berzerkley didn’t get around to it until November.

The resolution is a beautiful example of Orwellian speech. It leads with pure academese nonsense: “The ‘I’ word is legally inaccurate since being out of status is a civil rather than criminal infraction.” You’ll note that the “I” word (and we’re not sure whether the “I” word is “illegal” or “immigrant”) is now so tainted that I t’s been elevated to the status of the infamous “N” word. (For those of you too young to remember the OJ Simpson trial, or those who just dislike censorship, the “N” word is “nigger.” It’s a nasty, mean-spirited word, but nobody has ever dropped dead spontaneously from hearing or reading it.)

That nonsense phrase is just a warm-up for the Orwellian language changes the students propose:

“No human being is illegal. ‘Foreign nationals,’ ‘undocumented immigrants,’ ‘immigrants without papers’ and ‘immigrants seeking status’ are examples of terms we can use that do not dehumanize people.

You can use all the metaphors you like, dear little UC Berkeley soviets, but the fact remains that, to the extent these people are in America in an undocumented way without papers, it’s because they broke the law by sneaking over the border like thieves in the nights. In other words, adjectively, they’re immigrants who are here illegally, which makes them – yes, wait for it — ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS.

The problem, of course, isn’t the words. It’s the behavior. You can dress mutton up as lamb, but it’s still mutton. And someone who sneaked over the border in violation of our nation’s laws is still illegal no matter how frilly the words you drape around that person.

Of course, the commissars at Berkeley can’t just stop with a stupid resolution. What’s Soviet-style censorship and shaming without communist-style re-education? To that end, the resolution also calls for administrators and faculty to attend an “UndocuAlly training workshop.”

Considering that greater than 90% of Berkeley’s administrators and faculty members are the ones who trained these junior Leftists, it’s actually funny to hear the students demand that their mentors need re-education. Of course, that’s the way it happened in China too, when the younger generation decided that the elders who ushered in Communism showed inadequate fervor in their commitment to the monster they had created. It was these radicalized students who ushered in Mao’s “Great Leap Forward,” complete with 50-70 million dead Chinese citizens – all of whom no doubt starved to death joyfully thanks to their contribution to the great communist cause.

As for the sole abstention, it’s worth noting that he’s probably ready for re-education too. Student senator Solomon Nwoche agrees in principle with the resolution, but thought it was a waste of time. That shows practical intelligence. His real sin, though, was in his sneaking respect for freedom of speech and the marketplace of ideas. He was disappointed, he said, that, when a single person tried to speak out against the resolution, the student senators laughed at him or, even more disgustingly, turned their backs to him.

(A slightly modified version of this post first appeared at Mr. Conservative.)

UPDATE:  I should add here that I agree that America’s immigration laws are dreadful.  Having said that, it’s up to America to change her laws, not for illegal immigrants to change them by ignoring them.  (Well, in theory that’s the case.  In fact, the Obama administration is also changing them by ignoring them.)  We also should start putting pressure on Mexico.  Immigrants come here illegally because Mexico is so shamefully corrupt and poorly run that a country rich in resources, but natural and human, is mired in poverty, and because Mexico charges its citizens such heinous amounts to allow them to leave the country legally that poor are stymied both by America’s laws and by Mexico’s.  A fix is a good thing; disrespect for our country’s borders and laws is a disastrous thing, going to the sovereign integrity of our nation and her citizens.

Illegal immigrant and pedophile kills: uses single rifle blast to kill woman protecting her daughter from him

(First published at Mr. Conservative, but I wrote it, and it’s vintage Bookworm Room)

Maria Saucedo, who was only 31, died the other day in Arizona when Jose Zarate shot her in the chest with a rifle after she refused to let him date her daughter. This sounds like a very ordinary tragedy, but it isn’t. Instead, it perfectly represents the way the Left has used bad ideas and corrupt language to allow terrible things to happen in this country.

Jose Zarate, who is 25-years-old, wanted to date Saucedo’s 13-year-old daughter. When Saucedo objected, Zarate pulled out a rifle and shot Saucedo in the chest, killing her. After his arrest, Deputy Joaquin Enriquez stated that “Sheriff’s deputies say Zarate is a non-U.S. citizen who has been living in the country without proper authorization.” In other words, Zarate is an illegal alien, a pedophile, and a murderer.

Gun grabbers have been noticeably silent about this horrible crime – perhaps because speaking up about it would force them to acknowledge that none of their proposed new laws would have stopped this man. He couldn’t have passed a background check, yet he had a gun; and he needed only one shot to kill Saucedo, so gun magazine sizes would have been irrelevant to his crime.

The only thing that might have stopped Zarate was to keep him out of this country in the first place. That, however, is not something the American political class is willing to do. Democrats want all those potential voters, legal or not. Instead, Leftists are trying to use language to massage away the fact that it’s illegal to enter this country without permission.

Watch reporters contort themselves and distort the language to avoid saying anything negative about people who become criminals the minute they step into this country:

The Leftist AP, which is one of the primary news sources in America, just announced that in future reporting, it will no longer use the phrases “illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant.” Instead of judgmental nouns, it will opt for less judgmental verbs. AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explained that AP will henceforth refer only to people who happen to be “living in or immigrating to a country illegally.” Deputy Enriquez (quoted above) clearly knew the AP rules when he spoke to the press.

George Orwell, who knew Leftist thinking from the inside out, and viewed it with both fear and disgust, famously said that “political speech and writing,” by which he meant Leftist influenced political speech and writing, “are largely the defense of the indefensible.” He warned, too, that “if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” In the story of Jose Zarate, we are seeing both corruption of language and thought, as a flurry of deadening words are used to hide the fact that a man whose very existence here was criminal, attempted pedophilia and, when blocked, committed cold-blooded murder.

Progressive myopia: Their theories discount what they cannot see

Blurred eye chart

The following is the entire text of Frédéric Bastiat’s magnificent Parable of the Broken Window, which is as relevant today as it was when he wrote it in 1850. As you read it, please note carefully the highlighted language:

Have you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James Goodfellow, when his careless son has happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation—”It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?”

Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions.

Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier’s trade—that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs—I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.

But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, “Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.

It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented.

On December 26, I wrote a post entitled “Gun control supporters count those who have died; Second Amendment supporters count those who will live.“  Or, as Bastiat says, gun control advocates’ “theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”  Gun control supporters are able to count those who have died, but they cannot even begin to imagine those whose lives were saved or never threatened.  Point them to a story about an off-duty deputy who was able to stop a mall shooter, and they’ll simply say “the shooter’s aim was bad, so he wasn’t going to kill anyone anyway.”  To them, a story without dead bodies is no story at all.  You and I, however, count the dozens who survived.

Likewise, when I look at crime statistics showing that legally-armed communities have a lower murder rate than gun-controlled communities, I think of all those law-abiding citizens in the first community who sleep safely in their beds at night.  Those “not-dead” people are real numbers to me.

The gun control advocates cannot see these non-victims.  They have no ability to acknowledge their numbers, let alone tabulate them.  For that reason, they are unable to compare “Second Amendment Community A” against “Gun Control Community B.”  Since they cannot comprehend that which they cannot see they deny that the first community has an absence of dead that puts the second community to shame.  All that Progressives see are the bodies stacked in Community B.  They then draw their myopic conclusion:  a little gun control didn’t work, so more will be better.

This inability to see beyond their noses doesn’t stop with the Progressive approach to economics or gun control.  The same ideological myopia, or failure of imagination, powers abortion.  Progressives see the young woman whose education ends abruptly with a pregnancy; the downtrodden wife who doesn’t want a seventh child with her abusive husband; or the high-powered executive who just can’t be bothered to slow down to have a baby.  What they refuse to see is the baby (a position that at least had some validity in a pre-modern era when we couldn’t peek into the womb, but that is inexcusable now).  Seeing the baby doesn’t automatically mean we should ban all abortions, but it does mean acknowledging that there is another life involved — that even as one life is “saved,” another life is lost.

Illegal immigration?  The Progressive’s mental and ideological imagination begins and ends with the pathetic illegal alien, cowering as the cops drag him/her away from weeping children.  Perhaps they see as far as the brave dash across the border.  What they don’t see are the people who have been patiently waiting in line to come to America, but whose chances diminish as others skip the line entirely.  (Me?  I love immigrants, being the child of two.  But I like ‘em legal, as mine were.)

Progressives also cannot see that governments such as Mexico’s depend upon illegal immigrants to (a) send dollars back to Mexico, although Obamanomics make those dollars worth less (or worthless, depending); and (b) provide a safety valve so that Mexico doesn’t have to deal with its oppressive, corrupt government and the deleterious effect that government has on its people’s inability to raise themselves into wealth.

You can play the same myopia game with all the other Progressive positions too, whether welfare or national security.  Invariably, if you drill down into the Progressive world view, and you put aside the usual paranoid delusions that thrive in the absence of clear-eyed evidence, you will see that each Progressive political “theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.

Progressivism is like mental and moral myopia.  It’s acolytes can see only the most simple images, provided they are pushed right under their noses.  They lack the imagination, curiosity and, yes, the intelligence to look for or even envision a world beyond the crude, stereotypical cartoons that inhabit their immediate line of sight.

Random thoughts

There was a round-up of illegal aliens in Marin County. The story included the obligatory reference to the children who had to watch their parents being arrested for illegal activity:

Wilson said children watched while their parents and other adults were taken away by authorities. Some were removed while accompanying children to the school bus, he said.

“They are taking parents of citizen children,” Wilson said. “Most people are just dealing with the shock and the loss and trying to find their loved ones.”

One point and one suggestion. The point is that one never reads stories about the trauma suffered by children whose parents are arrested for crimes other than being illegal aliens. Apparently it’s only the children of illegal aliens who suffer newsworthy emotional trauma. And the suggestion: why don’t we say that, if Mom and Dad are illegally here, so are you, regardless of where you were born? That way parents and kids can stay together, here or there.

***

America is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t. China and Russia used to castigate her for her temerity in developing missiles. Now they scold her for her temerity for developing defenses to their (and others’) missiles. Since American can’t win, one does get the sense that she could go ahead and do whatever the Hell she deems best for her security.

***

Speaking of Russia, I find it somehow amusing that Russia is upset that finally, long after the Cold War ended, an American movie once again reverted to its pre-Leftist roots and depicted the Communists as bad guys. (And yes, I know that during WWII, the Lefties in Hollywood went nuts making movies glorifying Communism, but that stopped for a while when the Cold War actually began.) I thought the Russians had abandoned Communism, having recognized that it wasn’t beneficial for them. Why, then, are they taking it personally now? Could it be that, when it comes to Putin, once a KGB apparatchik, always a KGB apparatchik?

***

Hillary is historically accurate that things can happen in a primary between there and now (whenever that here and now is) and the actual convention, where the delegates place the final imprimatur on their candidate of choice. Nevertheless, with a woman as calculated as Hillary, it’s hard to believe that it was coincidence that she mentioned that a primary candidate could be assassinated in the June before the convention. It’s a nasty thing to do, and it’s also a horrible thing to say about Americans, especially conservative Americans, with the implication that they’re still racist enough to do something like that.

***

Israel wiped out Iraq’s nascent nuclear arsenal, and the world has had cause to be grateful. Israel probably wiped out Syria’s nascent nuclear arsenal, and the world ought to be grateful. There’s talk now about Israel once again taking on responsibility for the world and wiping out Iran’s nuclear arsenal. Many are afraid that, if she does so, Iran will strike back like a wounded, but still dangerous, animal. Tellingly, one pair of experts isn’t that worried. Patrick Clawson and Michael Eisenstadt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy wrote a paper called “The Last Option,” in which they discuss the possibility of a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. In an interview about their conclusions, Clawson had this to say:

And what will be a possible result of an Israeli attack?

Again, my answer is that it depends. Israel has to create the circumstances in which world public opinion will understand Israel and its motives, even if it regrets the attack.

That’s more or less what happened with the attack against the nuclear facility in Syria?

Yes, it is quite similar. Israel benefited from President Assad’s hostile attitude to the world, and therefore the international community showed understanding of the Israeli air force’s attack. Israel did not have to do much because Assad did the job for it. In this respect, Israel also benefits from Ahmadinejad and his statements. They help Israel present its position to the world and explain the threat it faces.

Do you share the sweeping assessment of most experts that Iran’s reaction if attacked will be harsh and painful?

No. Iran’s record when it comes to its reactions in the past to attacks against it, or its important interests, is mixed. When the Taliban assumed power in Afghanistan and persecuted the Shi’ite minority there, Iran mobilized military forces on the border and threatened to respond, but in the end it did nothing. The same occurred when the U.S. shot down an Iranian passenger airline in 1988: Iran threatened to avenge the incident, but in the end the exact opposite happened. Not only did Iran not respond, but also the incident hastened its decision to agree to a cease-fire in the war with Iraq for fear that the U.S. was about to join the war on Saddam Hussein’s side.

In another incident during the war, Iranian boats attacked an American naval force that set out to mine the Gulf. The U.S. did not expect Iran to react, and was surprised. This did not stop it from sinking half of the Iranian fleet in response.

Iran has lately been threatening that if it is attacked it will close the Straits of Hormuz and block the flow of oil, and thereby damage the world economy. But this is a problematic threat, since it would also affect Iran’s friends and supporters, such as China and India. I have no doubt that in such a case, they would be angry at Iran.

But most experts estimate that in the event of an Israeli attack, the Iranians will respond with force and launch Shihab missiles at Israel.

It is possible, but first, the Shihab missiles are not considered particularly reliable. Iran deploys them without having done hardly any significant tests. Second, the Shihab’s guidance system is not very accurate. The missile’s range of accuracy is up to a kilometer. And finally, Israel’s aerial defense system – the Arrow missiles would certainly intercept quite a few Shihab missiles. Moreover, Iran’s firing missiles at Israel would enable Israel to respond in a decisive manner.

You can read the rest of the interview here.

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And as a reminder of what the statists housed in today’s Democratic party are all about, I leave you with this video of the lovely Rep. Maxine Waters talking to America’s oil companies: