The Dec 28th 2012 Detroit News carried two opeds on gun control, one by Charles Krauthammer and one by Clarence Page. While Mr. Page blames the NRA and Mr. Krauthammer blames Hollywood, neither gentlemen focus on a mindless injustice that certainly contributed to such horrific events as Sandy Hook. I’m talking about the absurd practice of putting up signs that read ‘gun free zone.’ [Read more →]
Well, my kitchen is clean, which means I’m avoiding novel writing. (I have only one resolution this year: at least 1,000 words a day, which is 4 pp.) Let me put it off a little longer by writing my first blog post of 2013.
What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth, the belief that our destiny is shared — (cheers, applause) — that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations, so that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights, and among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great. (Cheers, applause.)
This is one of Obama’s many explicit statements of collectivism. He doesn’t hide his collectivism; it’s out there for anyone to think about and judge.
The Dec. 18th 2012 print edition of the Macomb Daily (a northeastern suburban county of Detroit) carried an oped by Roger Simon of www.creators.com, not to be confused with Roger L. Simon of PJTV fame. This Roger Simon, without the L, writes a screed pushing “real” gun control which according to him, has never been tried here in the U.S.
Right! And that’s why we still have a few freedoms left. [Read more →]
I’m not going to talk about guns right now. I’m sure someone is going to call for some law at some point, and drag me into that. But, right now, I want to highlight that sick, murderous freaks are a product of a sick society.
Ours is a sick society. One that does not value reason. One that does not value control over one’s faculties. One that does not have a proper concept of a healthy self, and therefore no concept of healthy self-esteem – genuine, real self-esteem, not the fake imitation they make with gold stars. [Read more →]
People don’t learn from economic disasters alone. History has shown again and again that no matter how stark a disaster proves that a policy has failed, people can be convinced that the failure was due to not enough of it.
Every stimulus in history didn’t fail… they just weren’t big enough. We need a bigger stimulus and this time… will be different!
In case it wasn’t clear, I’m talking about Obama. He’s been an unmitigated disaster for the country, and people elected him again, convinced that what we need is more of the same, but harder.
I’d say good luck with that, but I’m stuck on this boat and going down with it.
Don’t get me wrong – Wet Noodles wasn’t going to ride in on a white horse and save the day. We’d be screwed under him, too, because he is too much of a wimp to do anything but more of the same. It’s just… jeez. People had a choice between a guy who was maybe, weakly, limply going to make some kind of effort – any effort whatsoever – to not bankrupt us and a guy whose plan was: FULL SPEED AHEAD TO BANKRUPTCY. And the American people made their choice.
I thought Romney would win in a landslide. I was not alone. There was a lot of confidence on the right. Even Romney’s campaign, with all its super-secret polling that is supposed to be so much better than anything we laymen see, was surprised by the defeat on November 6, 2012.
How could we get it so wrong? Was our thinking the triumph of hope over experience?
Here was my thinking: Obama was campaigning to shore up his base. Romney already had his base — where else would they go? — and was campaigning to win moderates and independents. Therefore, Romney would get more votes. Moreover, the polls are all wrong due to liberal bias and the Bradley Effect, in which a small percentage of those polled lie that they will vote for a black man because they do not want to be thought of as racist.
The men who are not interested in philosophy need it most urgently: they are most helplessly in its power.
The men who are not interested in philosophy absorb its principles from the cultural atmosphere around them—from schools, colleges, books, magazines, newspapers, movies, television, etc. Who sets the tone of a culture? A small handful of men: the philosophers. Others follow their lead, either by conviction or by default.
On September 27, I tweeted that Conor Friedersdorf “does not understand the Left, at any level”. I did so on the grounds of this article by Friedersdorf, which included this line:
I don’t see how anyone who confronts Obama’s record with clear eyes can enthusiastically support him. I do understand how they might concluded that he is the lesser of two evils, and back him reluctantly, butI’d have thought more people on the left would regard a sustained assault on civil liberties and the ongoing, needless killing of innocent kids as deal-breakers. (Emphasis mine.)
I, who do understand the Left, immediately thought: *Why* would anyone ever think that?
Naturalist writers who don’t have the imagination to come up with new ideas run out of stories to tell. They make a big splash with a novel about their youth or their particular racial niche, and then they are pretty much done. They “write themselves out.”
Barack Obama’s speech at the 2012 Democrat National Convention was the work of a man who is written out. He has nothing new to say; he lacks even the energy to make it look like he’s trying. But that didn’t stop him from going on for 37 empty minutes. Stalin and Castro were famous for droning on for hours before a (literally) captive audience. I believe Obama and Clinton would do the same if they could. Standing before a large, adoring audience must be the peak experience for a collectivist.
Had H.L. Mencken been revived from his grave to watch the last night of the Republican National Convention, he would have recognized the scene. He would have heard the anecdotal, folksy speeches, the paeans to family and God, and he would have understood that the booboisie is alive and well in America. He would have said something wittier than even Mark Steyn or James Wolcott could come up with and then asked to be killed and returned to his grave.
I understand that the Obama campaign and their Democrat PAC’s have spent, according to one number I read, $120 million attacking Mitt Romney. (Obama has outspent Romney three to one so far, but that does not stop him from whining because Romney now has more money.) I understand that the American people, in our dumbed-down age, are susceptible to such an idiotic argument as Romney is mean because he ran a company that, in the course of restructuring businesses, fired people. (And that attack is the Democrats at their most intellectual. When you descend below that, you get nonsense about Romney being mean to his dog. Seriously. This is what the left has become.)
Mitt Romney chose Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconson to be his Vice-President running mate. This is the boldest and most impressive move of Romney’s political career so far. He chose his intellectual superior to run with him, the opposite of what Obama did when he chose Joltin’ Joe Biden, man of a thousand gaffes.
Let’s be clear up front: Ryan is not the perfect candidate. He has HUGE problems. He is a religious conservative, an enemy of abortion, and has voted for such statist power grabs as the prescription medicine bill and TARP. In other words, he is a Republican. He is most certainly NOT an Objectivist, although the left seems to think it will help them to pin that label on him.
Health care, like all goods and services, is a limited resource. Once it is removed from market forces by turning it over to the government and giving it away for “free*,” rationing is the inevitable consequence.
Do you know what “rationing” means in the context of health care?
The goal of the “liberals”—as it emerges from the record of the past decades—was to smuggle this country into welfare statism by means of single, concrete, specific measures, enlarging the power of the government a step at a time, never permitting these steps to be summed up into principles, never permitting their direction to be identified or the basic issue to be named. Thus statism was to come, not by vote or by violence, but by slow rot—by a long process of evasion and epistemological corruption, leading to a fait accompli. (The goal of the “conservatives” was only to retard that process.)
I’m fascinated by this notion that we do sometimes pass laws and therefore that means that we should pass laws. The resistance to passing laws is some nasty dysfunction caused by a nefarious interest group — here, the NRA — but good people want to do something.
Immigration is a hot issue for a number of Western nations, notably America and my country of origin, Sweden. The latter being a notable case is a fact that escapes many of those who don’t count themselves among its 9.5 million people. That is, at least for now; news stories of Sweden’s troubles are starting to trickle out with an accelerating frequency that mirrors the nation’s increasing instability.
What attracts immigrants to a country? The prospects of a better life – as defined and imagined by those immigrants. This last point becomes interesting when you turn the question around: What kind of immigrant does a country attract? [Read more →]
Yesterday was July 4th. The wife and I didn’t go to any picnics or BBQs. Good thing too. It was 101 degrees at Detroit’s Metro airport. So we decided to do the things for which our founding fathers created this country: to go forth into the marketplace to pursue our rational self interest and trade value for value with other people for mutual benefit. We went shopping. [Read more →]
The federal government long ago expanded its powers far beyond anything James Madison and his fellow framers imagined. The Constitution is in reality meaningless, but the Supreme Court, whose purpose is to make sure our laws conform to the Constitution, twists its reasoning to justify interventionist laws as the mixed economy marches toward fascism.
Yesterday the court upheld Obamacare as a tax increase, and sure enough, Congress has the power to levy taxes. It’s right there in the Constitution; you can see for yourself.
“Rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small,” says venture capitalist Nick Hanauer in a recent TED talk. His speech has gone viral in social media because Hanauer is a hipper version of Warren Buffet—he’s saying the same things but he invests in Amazon.com not GEICO.
The speech is light on details, but it’s actually an abridged version of an editorial he penned late last year. Both versions focus on the “rich getting richer” and how the key to making America great again is to just siphon off a small piece of their wealth—heck they won’t even notice it—and invest in the middle class.
The middle class, he claims, are the “real” job creators in the economy. How’s that? Because they’re the largest and highest-spending consumers. Businesses, after all, can’t have any revenue unless someone gives it to them. And that someone is most likely to come from the middle class.
“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”
– attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt
As many Objectivists, myself included, are the geeky sort, today’s XKCD has already become the subject of some discussion, particularly at Jenn Casey’s place. The following is a refined version of the comment I left there.
Randall Munroe is an extraordinarily sharp guy, whose geeky sense of humor I love. More than once he’s written about an idea or thought that I’ve had and never heard elsewhere; one of my favorites is the notion of using tranducers and a phase inverter to mess around with the idiots with big booming car stereos.
He has referenced Ayn Rand in the past here, in the mouseover text. I didn’t find that one particularly offensive; I saw that one as more of a good-natured sort of ribbing rather than the usual sort of gratuitous diss we normally get, in contrast to Trey Peden who was more offended. Disappointingly, Randall Munroe’s latest jab confirms that Trey’s call was right the first time.
However, in joining the cottage industry of garden variety Ayn Rand bashing, Munroe’s ultimate joke ends up on the others in that cottage.
Last Week Tonight on Donald Trump: bit long, but great takedown of the Trump mythos. In a more rational political environment, this would have killed his presidential campaign. I’m not sure it’ll make any difference.
A Responsibility I Take Seriously: nominee must be “without any particular ideology or agenda” and have “a keen understanding that justice is not about abstract legal theory, nor some footnote in a dusty casebook.” I sure hope the Republicans can hold the line on his nominations.
Trigger Warnings in Annapolis: I’m not sure why I expected the service academies to be bastions of academic freedom, but I did. It’s much worse than the universities since they’re far more hierarchical.
Announcing the Twitter Trust & Safety Council: this is within their rights, of course. Given the leftist leanings of the company and its assembled Council of Goodspeech, I suspect that some groups will get a pass and some will face suppression. Chilling at any rate.
FBI contacts Colin Powell as part of email probe: until they show me that Condoleeza Rice or Colin Powell have billion-dollar foundations and shuffled these paltry few confidential emails to persona non grata like Sid Blumenthal, I’m not seeing the similiarity.