Friday, May 20, 2016

A Friday Assortment

     As my friend Adrienne has said, some day’s it’s just not worth chewing through the restraints. So have a few blips, slips, and quips instead of a “real” essay.

1. Prospects For An American Collapse.

     The brilliant (and far more beautiful than she thinks) Sarah Hoyt is tired of the doom-and-gloom talk:

     Okay, I’m sick and tired of hearing in every group I belong to that “Doom, gloom, the end is coming soon.”

     Now, I join with you in thinking that we’re on a difficult path and with the pool of two joker-Americans to pick from for the presidency, it might be a mighty step for joker-Americans, but the rest of us are going to suffer a worse economy, diminished prospects and likely, in either case, because hyenas smell blood, war at home and abroad....

     I mean, let’s be real, okay? I’m more than sick and tired of people envisioning a plunge down into the middle ages, or the stone age. I’m more than sick and tired of people imagining that tomorrow we’ll be Venezuela.

     Well, no, we won’t be Venezuela. For one thing, our version of Spanish is a fair distance from theirs and includes words for a lot of drugs the Venezuelans don’t consume. But there are reasons to “hope for the best” but “prepare for the worst:”

     There is, I’m trying to tell you, an inertia to good things as well as bad.

     When he spoke at the Californial LP Convention in 1987, Milton Friedman offered the opinion that the U.S. has been coasting on momentum from the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries. However, except in the total absence of frictional effects, inertia diminishes logarithmically with time. We could be nearer to the bottom of the tank than anyone realizes. Indeed, the past fifteen years have provided significant bits of evidence to that effect.

     As hard as it is to change society for the better, it’s also difficult to change it for worse.

     I must disagree. It’s a lot easier to destroy than it is to create. Ask the “Palestinians.”

     Barring a cataclysm of epic proportions, computer programmers won’t become farmers.

     And how grateful I am for that!

     Yes, I know, you’re going to say “what happens when the welfare checks fail?”

     As bad as that would be, the cataclysm that would follow the total cessation of Social Security payments could be a lot worse. Many among the poor are able-bodied – Herbert Spencer called them “sturdy beggars” – who could sustain their lives by manual labor.

     People tend to imagine welfare recipients becoming destitute and descending on other neighborhoods.... they mostly sit in place and lament and try to use their victimhood to get stuff.

     If we were concerned only with the “purely” destitute, this would probably be the outcome of a collapse of the welfare system. However, our “poor” are the most entitled poor in history. Moreover, they’ve been heavily leavened with notions of racial and ethnic maltreatment that inclines a significant fraction of them toward “acting out:” violence.

     Don’t quit your job and become a goat herder.

     Good God, no! I want to be a lumberjack! Leaping from tree to tree!...

     Your first priority should be to maximize your income or your wealth.

     It’s equally important to secure it against seizure – a significant feature of collapses in countries inclined toward socialism.

     Your second priority is to make sure your home is safe...

     This tends to be better done as a community effort.

     Your third priority is making sure you’re safe....being situationally aware.

     Nothing can compensate for good situational awareness, especially when one is in transit. However, those who must frequently leave their fortresses to move through populated zones have a particular problem with this. He who can minimize such travel has an advantage.

     Be not afraid. And don’t give up.

     Be a little afraid. Fear can be a useful servant, as long as it falls short of the magnitude that paralyzes you.

     Please read all of Sarah’s column. If nothing else, it’s a divergent and useful perspective.

2. Trends In Censorship.

     Via Stuart Schneiderman comes this bit of news from the north:

     Citing the need to make transgender people “feel safe and secure in who they are,” Canada’s Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould introduced legislation Tuesday that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of “gender identity” or “gender expression” and make anti-transgender “hate propaganda” punishable by up to two years in prison. The proposed legislation — which was unveiled on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia — would amend the Canadian Criminal Code to expand existing “hate speech” prohibitions to include any public speech or communication that “promotes hatred” on the basis of “gender identity” or “gender expression.”

     Don’t preen yourselves, fellow Americans, on your “First Amendment freedom of speech.” Left-liberals and activists in our hallowed land are demanding exactly such legislation...and should Obama be followed in the White House by either Democrat candidate, we’re very likely to get it.

3. “Deniers.”

     Time was, denier meant something akin to thread count in women’s stockings and pantyhose. Today it’s used in a much different fashion. The esteemed Jonah Goldberg comments on the various ironies and inanities:

     Put aside the fact that there is no such thing as settled science. Scientists are constantly questioning their understanding of things; that is what science does. All the great scientists of history are justly famous for overturning the assumptions of their fields. The real problem is that in politics, invocations of science are very often marketing techniques masquerading as appeals to irrefutable authority. In an increasingly secular society, having science on your side is better than having God on your side — at least in an argument.

     I’m not saying that you can’t have science in your corner, or that lawmakers shouldn’t look to science when making policy. (Legislation that rejects the existence of gravity makes for very silly laws indeed.) But the real intent behind so many claims to “settled science” is to avoid having to make your case. It’s an undemocratic technique for delegitimizing opposing views and saying “shut up” to dissenters....

     For starters, why are liberalism’s pet issues the lodestars of what constitutes scientific fact? Medical science informs us fetuses are human beings. The liberal response? “Who cares?” Genetically modified foods are safe, sayeth the scientists. “Shut up,” reply the liberal activists. IQ is partly heritable, the neuroscientists tell us. “Shut up, bigot,” the liberals shriek.

     (Cue my favorite Andrew Klavan video.) But wait: there’s more!

     In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio is pushing to fine businesses that do not address customers by their “preferred name, pronoun and title (e.g., Ms./Mrs.) regardless of the individual’s sex assigned at birth, anatomy, gender, medical history, appearance, or the sex indicated on the individual’s identification.” The NYC Commission on Human Rights can penalize offenders up to $250,000.

     See segment #2 above, and shudder.

     That’s all for today, Gentle Reader. Time for some decaf and fiction. And maybe later, a little yard work. Or not. See you tomorrow.

1 comment:

Adrienne said...

Decaf? Hmmmmmmmm

Sarah's article brings to mind something my mom used to tell us about the depression. She said that she wasn't even aware there was a depression. Life just rolled along as before.

Check this out: