March 31, 2013
It's enjoyable to read the "it" book and be hip and up to date. Especially when one's fashion hails from the Clinton Years and musical tastes from Hoover's. But I found my inner Nassim Taleb and dusted off a moldy old book that was discarded from the Austin Peay State College Library in Clarkesville Tennessee. This contrarian is convinced that he may be one of the foremost experts on Vice President Charles G. Dawes.
There is, near as I can tell, one book on the General: "Portrait of an American" by Bascom N. Timmons, ©1953 Henry Holt & Company. And I've read it. I'm sure a little internet searching would disabuse me of my expert status quickly, but it is my dream, let me live it.(I will follow up with some of his writings.)
I was drawn to Dawes because he is a published composer; the haunting melody to the 50's hit "It's All in the Game" is his "Melody in A Major" from 1912 and I have a vintage piece of sheet music with his name. His Wikipedia page fed my interest:
After the war, the U.S. Senate held hearings on overcharges by military suppliers. During heated testimony, Dawes burst out, "Hell and Maria, we weren't trying to keep a set of books over there, we were trying to win a war!" He was later known as "Hell and Maria Dawes" (although he always insisted the expression was "Helen Maria").
This was a style Dawes used with great efficacy (and one I'd confess I'd like to cultivate): a generally reserved decorum punctuated by short and sharp blasts of well-directed anger:
And the Earl of Crawford, Chancellor of the University of Manchester, conferred the LLD degree on Dawes with the words:
(I'm cultivating the kindest of hearts and most loving of dispositions parts...)
After completing Amity Shleas's 5 star biography of President Coolidge, I wanted to learn a little more about his VP and scored the book used from Amazon for $7.98. As it happens, he did not participate much in the Coolidge Administration. Coolidge invited him, offering the courtesy Harding had extended him. But Dawes felt it was a bad precedent and Constitutionally dubious as the VP was more a Legislative Branch position. I recall our current VP laughing that off in a debate with Governor Palin.
He might not have been a big cog in the Coolidge Administration, but he is an amazing man with an amazing career and lifetime achievements. He personally met 15 Presidents; assembled and ran the Allied procurements for WWI attaining the rank of General; was ambassador to Britain after the war; built the largest bank outside of New York; made Sen. Robert Lafollette’s list of 100 robber barons; instituted huge philanthropy efforts -- oh, and was Vice President. And published a song.
The entire Dawes family shows up in American History like Forrest Gump. William Dawes rode with Paul Revere -- we know of one and not the other because Mr. Longfellow found one name more mellifluous. General Rufus Dawes was a Civil War hero and had tickets to see "Our American Cousin" at the Ford Theatre with President Lincoln. Dawes's mom was ill or else they would have been there.
Dawes goes west as a young man and meets William Jennings Bryan in Lincoln, Nebraska before Lincoln is served by rail. The two become fast and lifetime friends at a debating club. By 1896, Dawes has moved to Chicago and is heading the Illinois campaign to elect William McKinley. He tells everybody that Bryan will be the Democratic nominee "if he makes it to the podium at the convention." A paper in Lincoln is among the unbelieving:
"Just three people believe the boy orator of the Platte, who speaks in platte-te-tudes, has a chance for the Democratic nomination. They are: Bryan himself; his wife; and Dawes, a Republican."
The nominating speeches go late and it is not certain whether Bryan will speak. He takes the stage late and gives the "Cross of Gold" speech. Dawes telegraphs campaign HQ that Bryan will be the nominee and leaves the hall. All the large states withhold votes on the first five ballots. Then Bryan is nominated and quickly gets the nod.
He's there when JP Morgan rescues the banks in the Panic of 1907. New York says they'll keep the Knickerbocker Trust afloat if Dawes will run it. They telegraph that he can write his own ticket. Dawes demurs. The Man of the West will stay West.
Even in law school, he is in contact with future Presidents:
"I received the engrossed bill for the erection of the new building, and signed it as President of the Senate. Less than fifteen minutes later, Chief Justice Taft telephoned, asking whether I had signed the bill. He was anxious to have President Coolidge approve it today. This I arranged within an hour, to his considerable satisfaction. I have always felt grateful to Taft for, in 1886, he marked the papers of our graduating class in Cincinnati Law School, and passed nearly the whole class, including myself. He does not know it, but that was one reason why he got such quick service today. The friendship with the Chief Justice, which I have enjoyed during these last four years, has been one of the pleasant things of my service here. He is beloved by all."
Politically, Dawes joined Theodore Roosevelt's reform camp early, but like Taft and Coolidge, saw its flaws and veered away to a more lasseiz faire approach. TR begins coming after his friends:
Back in Chicago, Dawes told Armour and P. A. Valentine about the White House conversation.
The Bureau of the Budget was formed under President Harding at Dawes's request to cut spending:
"On the first onslaught, the Navy dropped out on a hundred¬million-dollar reduction I had put down for them. Admiral Coontz (Chief of Naval Operations) is a tough old buck. I had to accept his statement as far as the present is concerned.
The bureau brought spending down under Harding and Coolidge but was disbanded by FDR (surprise).
A great book about a most interesting American. Five stars. As I have a real live hardcopy, it is available to any ThreeSourcer who would like to read it -- I'll even pay shipping.
March 29, 2013
Quote of the Day
The problem for the climateers is increasingly dire. As The Economist shows in its first chart (Figure 1 here), the recent temperature record is now falling distinctly to the very low end of its predicted range and may soon fall out of it, which means the models are wrong, or, at the very least, that there's something going on that supposedly "settled" science hasn't been able to settle. -- Steven Hayward
March 28, 2013
Ain't I a little stinker?
Change your profile picture to celebrate the RECORD S&P 500 closing high!!!
Otequay of the Ayday
"..America, America, God shed clear sight on thee. And crown thy past, with, at long last, a future that is free." -- Facebook friend and former Colorado state senator Shawn Mitchell (Tuesday "via mobile")
Headline of the Day
Meanwhile, in Buffy News...
Add to the list of things I do not understand: film distribution.
I cannot wait; the lovely bride and I watch the trailer every day:
Awesome, or what?
March 27, 2013
SCOTUS and Same Sex Marriage
Again, I think I will leave my Facebook friends to argue the important points of whether a red equals sign in a heart shows more compassion than a beveled-embossed red equals sign as a profile pic.
I will offer my scenario which I think to be correct and constitutional. And perhaps, likely.
1) I can DIG it!
Alternately, the Supreme Court might follow the lead of Justice Anthony Kennedy. During Tuesday's oral arguments, Kennedy repeatedly suggested the Supreme Court should never have accepted the Prop. 8 case in the first place. "I just wonder," Kennedy said at one point, "if the case was properly granted." Later he raised the issue yet again, telling the lawyer who was arguing in defense of Prop. 8, "you might address why you think we should take and decide this case."
2) Oh Canada -- find for Windsor!
jk gone soft on liberty? No way. In Windsor v United States, I hope for a decisive finding against DOMA. And never, ever, miss a chance to tell the red-equals-in-a-heart brigade that President Clinton signed that and his wife was fully behind it through my first couple of cups of coffee today.
By staying narrow on Prop 8 and going large on DOMA, the court could consistently underscore Federalism and allow the "national conversation" to continue through electoral methods. This should ruin Republicans chances of winning an election to dog catcher for many years, but it is still the right thing to do.
I'm very interested to hear from other ThreeSourcers: Red equals sign in-a-heart -- or on its own?
March 26, 2013
A right - to discriminate?
I need a little help here. Someone tell me where I'm going wrong. (I know, I know, "When you opened your mouth.")
As SCOTUS hears oral argument on a gay marriage case, Erick Erickson posts a piece declaring ‘Gay Marriage’ and Religious Freedom Are Not Compatible. Me being me, I want to prove him wrong.
Here are my premises:
1) Every individual is [morally]* entitled to birthright liberty and ownership of his life, including all of his preferences and actions that do not involve initiation of force against others.
2) In every question, refer back to premise number 1.
Erickson's ultimate conclusion is that, "Libertarians will have to decide which they value more - the ability of a single digit percentage of Americans to get married or the first amendment. The two are not compatible." Why?
Once the world decides that real marriage is something other than natural or Godly, those who would point it out must be silenced and, if not, punished. The state must be used to do this. Consequently, the libertarian pipe dream of getting government out of marriage can never ever be possible.
Here he diverges into the other half of a package deal: That everyone be forced to accept a belief that contradicts his own. This is a key tenet of collectivism rather than liberalism. My counsel would be to ignore the latter and instead wage legal and ideological war on the former.
I made a brief attempt to argue this point with Mike Rosen today. There wasn't enough time for him to say more than, "There is no individual right to gay marriage, any more than there is a right to marriage to animals or to more than one other person." And in rebuttal to my suggestion that in accordance with Loving v. Virginia a STATE may not discriminate against individuals (due to race or, by extension, gender) but an individual SHOULD be able to discriminate against ANY individual for ANY reason, he simply said, "That's a weak argument."
March 25, 2013
I Love the Internet!
I have told this story many times, perhaps once or twice around these parts.
I went to CU for Engineering Days between my Junior and Senior year in high school to get recruitimented for possible matriculation. It was a lot of fun. We stole the lightning rods off the planetarium, visited Ball Aerospace, and saw some very cool exhibits.
And I attended a lecture by a Math Professor. The lecture sent me home in full-tilt, know-it-all-college-hippie furor about the scourge of over population. This brilliant neo-Malthusian captured my imagination and it took me decades to overcome his arguments. It's not fair to call it indoctrination; the man had his beliefs. I felt that I was one of the few cognoscenti to understand this great secret. Kirkpatrick Sale's "Human Scale" would be released in a couple of years. The Simon Erlich wager was down the road. President Ford was in the White House. It was easy to believe the worst.
On Facebook today, I see that the lecture is available on You Tube: The Most Important Video You'll Ever See. In eight parts.
The speaker is Professor Albert Bartlett and the math in the video is solid. I have used much of it since. I do not present is an object of ridicule.
And yet, this video was recorded sometime after 2000. After Erlich had lost the wager, Bartlett gives about the same talk. I'm guessing most of our CU Engineering alumnae might have seen it in between.
While his math is solid, the failure to appreciate the boundlessness of human is reason is not. Peak Oil? Meet fracking. Over population? Meet affluence and abundance. Out of space? Let's populate the universe!
I object to the Malthusian subtext, but they are well worth a watch. Well done, You Tube!
F = Kx
Brother jg suggests a political pendulum below. And I was dismissive. In fairness, I must share a column from Conn Carroll in the Washington Examiner. What the TEA Party Congress accomplished:
But if you look at the hard numbers -- if you look at the tax-and-spending trajectory that the United States was on before the 112th Congress was sworn into office, and then look at the path the U.S. is on now -- you'd see that Republicans in Congress have made tremendous progress in shrinking the size and scope of the federal government.
Plus they annoyed Ezra Klein! All is not lost.
March 24, 2013
The GOP's "Democrat Majority" Act
Otherwise known as Senator Rand Paul's incredibly disappointing 'Life at Conception Act.'
I suggested in a comment on the previous post that Democrats are the most popular at election time, when the possibility that a Republican might be elected exists. The two chief reasons for this are, in my opinion, gay marriage and abortion rights. Here is Ari Armstrong discussing Rand Paul's extremely disappointing position on the latter:
Do Republicans really believe this is a winning political strategy in 21st-century America? If so, we're more likely to see Democrats take back the House in 2014.
But the criticism is not just political, it is also rooted in moral philosophy.
The government properly recognizes each pregnant woman's right to choose whether to seek an abortion or carry her embryo or fetus to term. If the government instead pretended that an embryo is a "person" with full legal rights from the moment of conception, the government would face an immediate and stark contradiction: It would have to outlaw all abortion along with common forms of birth control and fertility treatments, which would clearly violate women's rights to their bodies, their pursuits of happiness, their liberties, their lives. Paul's position is not only logically absurd; it is also patently immoral.
The linked article is short, and worth a read.
Has the pendulum finally stopped?
My high school history professor used to tell us that American politics is like a pendulum, which swings back and forth between Democrat and Republican control, and therefore, policies. Something completely unexpected happened last week that made me wonder if that pendulum, long on a leftward swing, had finally reached it's apogee: Senate Democrats passed a repeal of the Obamacare medical device tax.
The Democrat-controlled Senate voted last week to repeal the medical device tax in ObamaCare. They voted decisively to repeal it, with 79 senators including 33 Democrats on board. The House has already voted to repeal it with 270 members on board. That's a veto-proof majority in the Senate and very close to one in the House.
I cynically observed to friends last week that perhaps Obamacare was stuffed with many such bad ideas for the main purpose of giving lawmakers something to do to please campaign contributing lobbyists. As plausible as this sounds though it is probably too Machiavellian. The more likely explanation is that the bill's authors, whomever they may be, overreached, and the public backlash is more than even its champions can face up to.
But what we've seen here is that, when the truth comes to light and there's nowhere to hide, even Senate Democrats will vote to do the right thing - if only because they have no choice. Keep the pressure on. They've gone on record in favor of repealing this horrible tax.
A Man for whom 'Heh' is a Blog Post
When "Heh" is a blog post, 48 pages is a book. I'm not complaining. I am actually intrigued that these shorter works are enabled by eBook platforms.
This is the second of Professor Glenn Reynolds's "Broadsides" that I have read. Each seems long enough to discuss a topic. Yet there is not the urge to stretch an idea into book length. Much as I enjoyed Jeb Bush & Clint Bolick's Immigration Wars, Chapter Six out of six was about education with a threadbare segue that would make me blush.
Reynolds's two education broadsides are important because of his position. In The Higher Education Bubble [Review Corner], Reynolds bites the hand that feeds him: indicting a higher education system that overpromises and under-delivers.
In The K-12 Implosion, he spreads his concern to the system that feeds his. But it is more a return to Army of Davids [Review Corner]. While the flaws of K-12 education are well detailed, the thesis suggests abandoning the old model for new methods and new technologies. This model, even well executed, does not prepare workers for modern positions.
In addition, public education was seen as a key component of nation-building. As Ellsworth Cubberley wrote in 1934, the point of public education wasn’t that the student would suffer if uneducated; it was that the nation would suffer without compulsory public schools. The result was the growth of publicly financed and, and, more significantly, publicly operated school systems. As Seth Godin writes: Part of the rationale used to sell this transformation to industrialists was the idea that educated kids would actually become more compliant and productive workers.
Not in the book but included in many blog posts is his asking whether it is parental malpractice to send a child into a public school system where a seven year old is suspended for a pop tart gun. His daughter finished her high school degree online and interned at a local TV station.
Rueven Brenner at AEI wonders if we would not benefit from additional production from young workers currently mired in the system.
There are at least 16 million youngsters enrolled in post-secondary education, with approximately 4 million graduating every year. Assume that from now on, each year, 4 million students join the labor force a year earlier. Each generation would stay one year longer in the labor force. How much annual income and how much wealth would this generate?
How frustrating to see all these opportunities for improvement and wealth unrealized. But on the optimistic side, I must close with Reynolds's open -- the Herb Stein quote "Something that can't go on forever, won't." Millenarians have the schools system so dysfunctional and damaged, there might be real opportunity to change it.
Reynolds provides several good ideas -- for $4.99 and a short afternoon read, you have nothing to lose. Four stars.
March 23, 2013
Explaining Freedom to your Facebook Friends
I recently discovered a few video discussions of scenes from the Atlas Shrugged movies (Part 1 and Part 2) by David Kelley of The Atlas Society. They are well done and I hope can inspire more people to see the movies, if shared with people who otherwise wouldn't be interested.
In this one I found an answer to my Facebook question, "Why are so many people so certain how OTHER people should live their lives?"
"The system bred hatred among people and they began meddling in each other's lives. In this collectivized system where need is a claim on the common pool, everyone's needs are a threat to everyone else."
Now all you have to do is catch them at a time when they're willing to watch a video longer than 3 minutes without cute animals.
March 22, 2013
All Hail Taranto!
Plus, honorable mention for "Attainder? I Barely Knew Her!"
Quote of the Day
Besides, I'm in California with the wife and kid. They're upstairs asleep in our hotel room. I'm in the lobby drinking the 4:00 a.m. coffee writing the G-File with sweaty feet. I don't mean I'm typing it with sweaty feet. My prehensile toes are fine for strangling a man, but the detail work is still hard. What I do mean is that I couldn't find my socks in the dark without waking up the ladies. So I'm wearing sneakers without socks, which has the unpleasant consequence of making my feet smell like Harry Reid, albeit with less of that "urine and failure" bouquet. -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]Jonah's serious side: a link to Albert Jay Nock's Isaiah's Job essay.
The longest-running ThreeSources argument is settled
I may have mentioned that blog friend Sugarchuck and I go back a ways.
I was a goalie (his Dad called me "sieve" as long as he lived), a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, and my hero was Ken Dryden. SC, the defensemen, preferred the Bruins and Bobby Orr.
I must cede our longest running argument: The best hockey player ever turns 65 this week.
This kid, this prodigy, was a force that never had been seen in the NHL, an offensive-minded defenseman. He controlled the puck for longer stretches of time, skated wherever he wanted as if he were playing a game of keep-away back home on a pond in Parry Sound, Ont. He became the first (and only) defenseman to lead the NHL in scoring. He did it twice. In a seven-year span, only he or teammate Phil Esposito led the league in scoring. Esposito, a large-size center, did much of his work on rebounds and redirects of Orr shots from the point.
The greatest. Changed the game.
March 21, 2013
How About Peyton Manning?
Rich Lowry wonders"Where is Today's Jack Kemp?" I cannot tell a lie, I am a Kemp fan as well. Substantive ideas that are rooted in free market principles that help people: these are more valuable than re-branding.
Kemp did his most important work as a backbencher in the House. Where is his equivalent today? It’s too bad John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy don't tell some promising member to spend the next three months coming up with 10 ideas for promoting work in America, or for a new welfare reform agenda, or for replacing Obamacare, or for making college affordable. Instead, it's all federal debt, all the time.
UPDATE: Larry chimes in:
March 20, 2013
Otequay of the Ayday
Colorado Republicans have developed a reputation -- largely earned -- for being the anti-gay, anti-immigration, anti-women party, and then Republicans stand around after getting their asses kicked, election after election, scratching their heads and wondering what happened.
Ari Armstrong, on why Republicans Bear Responsibility for Colorado's Anti-Gun Laws
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California wants us to know that she is "not a sixth-grader."
Why Did CO Governor About-Face on Guns?
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has artfully crafted an image as a reasonable, moderate, modern western politician - until now. Today he signed "landmark new gun laws" in the "traditionally firearm-friendly state" of Colorado. Why?
Colorado blogger Joshua Sharf explains that it is part of a national political strategy on the part of the Obama Administration:
It has been clear from the beginning that Obama plans to use gun control, not merely as a diversion from governing, but as a battering-ram issue to achieve his major 2nd-term objective: regaining the House of Representatives for the Democrats. To do that, he believes he must isolate the Republican House as being an obstruction to common-sense, practical gun control measures that most of the country agrees on. To do that, he must persuade enough Senate Democrats - especially Western Democrats - to back proposals that they really, really don't want to even vote on, much less support.
So when Hickenlooper said, after the Aurora shooting, "Well, I mean I'm not sure there's any way in a free society, to be able to do that ..." it was a ploy to keep the gun debate out of the pending election.
This suited Hick just fine, since any suggestion that he was seriously looking at the sort of laws passed last week might have complicated the Dems' narrative about te Republican "War on Women" and civil unions.
But there is hope:
Ultimately, it makes the recalls of Sen. Hudak and Rep. McLachlan - along with whatever other vulnerable Dems can be included - even more important. Those recalls, like the recalls in Wisconsin, take on a national significance and urgency, not merely because of the issues involved, but because of the political implications at the national level. The promise of protection, of resources and money, to vulnerable Dems who backed him on this legislation, is the application of national resources to state races, just as the Blueprint was the application of state resources to local races. It is the Blueprint raised to a national scale. If Obama is able to implement that, then he will indeed have locked in substantial political changes that can change the society for the worse, for the long run.
UPDATE: This Denver Post story contemplates the Governor's political future:
Only a few months ago, Hickenlooper was mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential candidate. In poll after poll, his favorability ratings were higher than President Obama's and most governors.
Dear Governor - Magpul Industries, Alfred Manufacturing, other suppliers - they are BUSINESSES. With friends like you...
Quote of the Day
It's instructive to view ourselves through a Russian mirror. The term "paranoid Russian" is a pleonasm. The fact is that all Russian politicians are clever. The stupid ones are all dead. By contrast, America in its complacency promotes dullards. A deadly miscommunication arises from this asymmetry. The Russians cannot believe that the Americans are as stupid as they look, and conclude that Washington wants to destroy them, -- David Goldman
March 19, 2013
How Dare He??? Well, Okay.
Please, jk. Can we ppppleeeeeaaaaseeee fire up the Internet Segue Machine®?
Why, sure! We start the day with this dreary business found by blog friend Terri at Ruminants. This is hard to watch. How. Dare. That. Little. Freshman. Senator. Turd. Question. The. Great. Feinstein?????
That about ruined my day until I saw this: Savor the Richly Deserved Defeat of Feinstein's "Assault Weapon" Ban
But this time around it was not enough to obscure the absurdity of Feinstein's attempt to distinguish between good and evil guns by reference to irrelevant features such as barrel shrouds and adjustable stocks. With no evidence or arguments to offer, Feinstein despicably invoked dead, "dismembered" children in a transparent bid to short-circuit logical thought.
As Jacob Sullum says "At the risk of reading too much into this delightful development, I count it as a victory not just for the Second Amendment but for rationality in lawmaking."
March 18, 2013
Incentives Matter: How Gub'mint Killed Swing
Those flatted-fifths in bop got you down? Blame the Feds:
The tax-law regulation's other exception had the biggest impact. Clubs that provided strictly instrumental music to which no one danced were exempt from the cabaret tax. It is no coincidence that in the back half of the 1940s a new and undanceable jazz performed primarily by small instrumental groups--bebop--emerged as the music of the moment.
Now, there's some bebop I dig, but American Swing music was our gift to the art world for all eternity. Anything that cut that short is to be decried.
Quote of the Day
After years of often bitter debate, health care reform--a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act, or if you prefer, Obamacare--will take full effect January 1, 2014. How will it affect your company? Good question. Like Tolstoy's unhappy families, every business will be made unhappy in a different way by the new law. -- Adam Bluestein, Inc MagazineHat-tip to Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt.
March 17, 2013
In 2001, my wife, Shawnna, and I moved to Arizona. I love nearly everything about my adopted state, but the one thing that troubles me greatly is Arizona’s widespread hostility toward Mexican immigration, not just illegal but legal as well. Among many Arizona conservatives, opposition to immigration dwarfs all other political issues, even in the face of economic recession. The vehemence on this issue initially puzzled me, given that Arizona still is the land of Barry Goldwater and largely reflects his libertarian, live-and-let-live philosophy.
Governor Jeb Bush and Clint Bolick provide a solid blueprint for moving forward in Immigration Wars. I don't agree with every word of it, and I'm rather certain it would not be any ThreeSourcer's idea of perfection. It is a contentious debate, and apart from the bitter clingers on both extremes, I think the authors understand it is about compromise and understand it is about moving forward. While imperfect, if Congress were to pass it exactly as written, there is nothing in this book that I could not live with.
The best part is its two foundational premises:
We believe comprehensive reform should be constructed upon two core, essential values: first, that immigration is essential to our nation, and second, that immigration policy must be governed by the rule of law. Those who expound only one of those values to the exclusion of the other do violence to both, because the two values are inseparable.
Many of our circular, circuitous, and cicumlocutious immigration debates have danced around this, because I was unable to state my premises so clearly.
The authors are as pro-immigration as I am and the book celebrates many reasons for increasing and legalizing/normalizing additional immigration. The talk shows and political reviews have focused on their solution to current undocumented aliens. Those who came here as adults are offered a pathway to permanent legal status but not a head start toward citizenship. This is not the plan I'd write, but I can sign on if this is un-am-nasty enough for a plurality.
This is the most contentious issue, and the position of a prominent Republican is newsworthy. Some of the more subtle points are more interesting. Bush and Bolick call for refocusing preferences on skills and economic need in favor of "family reunification."
Reuniting someone with their long lost third cousin twice removed is sweet. But it sets up a chain migration that can grow without bounds. Plus, it is biased toward less productive new citizens. Spouses and children can follow an immigrant but no further. We're sending home doctors and entrepreneurs and physics geniuses to bring more grandmothers in. Sweet, but not in our best economic interests.
One hopes that this might get resolved. We cherish rule of law, yet look the other way for startling abuses to people and equal enforcement.
It is in no one's interest for illegal immigrants and their families to live in the shadows. We need everyone to participate in the mainstream economy, to pay taxes, to participate openly in their communities, to be willing to report crimes-- that is to say, to be accountable, responsible members of society. That cannot occur when people fear they will be arrested if their immigration status is known.
It is an enjoyable and quick read touching economics, education and politics. If the debate were moved forward in this direction, that would be a huge net positive.
UPDATE: That other fella named Bush has a very good guest editorial in the WSJ today.
March 15, 2013
Stan Kronke buys Outdoor Channel
In my prior post I linked to a Weekly Standard story entitled "Colorado Poll: Gun Control Politically Dangerous for Democrats." At least one thing is certain - this issue is bringing out the big GOP money to an extent I have not seen before. To wit: Kroenke Saves Outdoor Channel From Being Bought by Obama Advisor
Still unclear is whether Kroenke will become involved with the Outdoor Channel’s battle with Colorado Democrats. Executive producer Michael Bane said in a letter to state Sen. Steve King (R-Colorado Springs) that the channel had already cancelled a filming session scheduled for late March in reaction to the gun-control bills.
Colorado Sheriff would defy feds
The Sheriff of El Paso County, Colorado, Terry Maketa, told constituents yesterday that he would prevent gun confiscation in his jurisdiction if a "lawfully signed warrant" were not in play.
"I would step in the way if federal law enforcement was acting under some directive and seizing weapons without a lawfully signed warrant," he said, adding that he's not worried about that because he's received emails of support from federal law enforcement agencies.
This is welcome reassurance to the majority of Coloradoans who oppose big-city mayors' politically motivated gun control railroad job in the Democrat-controlled Colorado state government. Speaking of which,
"I don't have any plan to run for governor, for senate, for house," he said. "I say that knowing full well things can change."
Quote of the Day
The clear premise of all this political activity is that taxpayers are still on the hook if Wall Street blows up again. Mr. Levin's staff doesn't spend a year investigating beer companies that fail to engage the age 25 to 34 demo with new advertising campaigns. Software executives don't have to explain to Congress why they missed the scheduled launch of an important app. In those industries, big mistakes are issues for customers and shareholders, not taxpayers. -- WSJ Ed Page
March 14, 2013
Senator Cruz Strikes Again
I pumped my fist when he said, "And yet at the same time I would note that she chose not to answer the question that I asked."
Robert Laurie explains the "child porn" canard here:
It's a false premise, since the very act of creating underage porn represents a felony. This is not true of manufacturing or owning a gun. Firearms can be used for perfectly legal, ethical, reasons. No crime takes place until someone uses the weapon for a specific criminal purpose. There is no non-criminal purpose behind the manufacture or ownership of child porn, thus its illegality.
Feed the Jar!
A great email from a good friend of this blog contained a reference to the jar into which you must put a dollar if you say "If George Bush had done this..." I had forgotten that.
The context was an NPR story about "benign" inflation. I, sadly, joined the snooty-pointy-heads as a monetary phenomenon but must agree -- and feed the jar -- that NPR would take a different look at lower income people paying high prices for gas and food if that malaproping cowboy were walking the halls at 1600. I mean, seriously, does anybody question that?
How about a VP Dick Cheney jar right next to it? D'Angelico has just released these extremely affordable import reissue versions of their classic sell-your-'59-'vette-to-make-a-layaway-payment models. So we need to raise cash.
Did'ja see this?
Biden’s office forces reporter to delete photos, apologizes
The "reporter" was University of Maryland J-school Dean Lucy Dalglish:
In her letter, Dalglish said: "Rockville is not a third-world country where police-state style media censorship is expected." Biden press secretary Kendra Barkoff apologized to Dalglish and Barr in phone calls but wouldn't speak on the record to Capital News Service's Lucas High.
The Dean didn't tell them to bark off???? (Hat-tip Insty who is a hair more harsh.)
Whatever, I'm certain that Jon Stewart would be just as silent if VP Darth Cheney had... (I think I like the Excel.)
March 13, 2013
Politicians are not kings
One more of several great videos/radio spots from Colorado's Laura Carno, proprietor of I Am Created Equal dot com. This one looks like it was filmed outdoors and her lighter colored hair makes her look more ... friendly?
She also explains her new "political crush" on my fanboy fave Ted Cruz.
Q: Why Are Libertarians So Powerful?
Sorry to those who saw this on Facebook, but it made me laugh.
Guilty as charged.
Insty links to Dreadful Phrases. I must admit I used one of them for many, many years:
for all intensive purposes (Tara)
H.B. 1224 -- Worse than Advertised!
And the ads were pretty bad...
A Puff of White Smoke Rises over Dove Valley
As the Broncos sign Wes ^*@%^ing Welker!
Atlas Shrugged Part III - Summer 2014
"We're not going to get critics coming on board,"Aglialoro said. "The academic-media complex out there doesn't want to like the work, doesn’t want to understand it, fears the lack of government in their lives, wants the presence of government taking care of us."
Insists on demanding the unearned.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has expressed support for some of Rand's writings, and Aglialoro says Ryan's 2012 campaign alongside Mitt Romney could have used a bit more of her thinking.
But that's in the past and we're looking forward.
Aglialoro is looking at a different politician to carry the mantle of Ayn Rand in Washington: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
March 12, 2013
Governor Hick on Devil's Advocate
Serious discussion, great show.
Colorado is America's Canary
If you care to see what happens when a single political party controls the executive and both houses of the legislative arms of government, just look at what is taking place in Colorado. Editorialist Anthony Martin suggests Colorado Democrats appear determined to start a civil war.
A state that was once friendly to gun rights has now become a hotbed of leftwing political activism that directly challenges citizen rights -- unless that citizen wishes to smoke pot legally.
If you want to read about the "civil war" part you'll have to click through. I'll not be accused of incitement.
A Shermanesque Response to the Conclave of Cardinals
"If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve."
Quote of the Day
Starbucks will continue selling sugary coffee drinks under the "half milk" loophole, a special little loophole created by Bloomberg and his minions to make sure that the Crusading Liberal White People who support this ban are actually not affected by this ban. If Starbucks had been included in the ban, the shrieking from Bloomberg's Crusading Liberal White People supporters would have been deafening, and the thing would have been killed. So they made certain that the ban didn't apply to White People's Big Gulps, even though they contain nearly as much sugar and much more caffeine than Other People's Big Gulps." -- Ace (h/t Jim Geraghty)
March 11, 2013
Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons
I've missed the last two, but it looks as if we are dug out of the fearsome "Blizzard of '13" and will attend this evening:
Join us on Monday, March 11th, where your special guest speaker will be Colorado Secretary of State, Mr. Scott Gessler. After the Secretary's presentation there will be short Q&A, followed by the opportunity to network with other local liberty supporters. Come for the event, stay for the food and networking - you're guaranteed a great evening no matter what!
On Legislation and Human Rights
I just left the following comment on Senator Giron's FB page after reading her (linked) blog entry, which states that she plans to vote yes on the five gun restriction bills in the Colorado senate today. I do hope that she reads it, and that she is willing to look into her heart and find a sense of consistency.
"For what little it may be worth, Senator Giron, I apologize for the classless behavior of some on the other side of this Constitutional issue from you. I can only guess that they feel powerless as a basic human right - the right to self defense - is being ever further questioned and eroded in the Colorado legislature. In these deeply contentious issues I, like Governor Hickenlooper, find it helpful to examine the issue from both sides. A good way to do that in this case is to imagine the reactions of you and your supporters if a Republican legislature and Republican governor were railroading seven (or even five) "common sense" abortion restriction bills. On the basis of Constitutional protections and the basic human rights of every individual, they would be just as wrong in doing so as the Democrats are in what they may choose to do today. Please reconsider whether the remainder of your legislative agenda is worth risking over this one issue that so many of your constituents will never forgive you for. Please tell the single-issue anti-gun lobbyists that you have more important things to do than to (politically) live or die on their hill. Please work to unite us around individual rights, not divide us along ideological lines."
Due to the bone-crunching blizzard this weekend, I regret that Sunday's Review Corner was not completed. (Out-of-staters, that's a joke -- the teevee news people prepared us for Snowmageddon all week and we got six inches and immediate heat to melt it).
In lieu of my completing, y'know, actual work, I offer the author c/o Prager University:
And some quotes:
Our ignorance of Coolidge hurts more than our understanding of the presidency; it diminishes our understanding of his era, and our past. The education in rhetoric, religion, classics, and geometry Coolidge received at his quirky independent school, Black River Academy, and at Amherst College reminds us how our schools have changed since then. Coolidge and the poet Robert Frost never knew much about each other; Coolidge was a Republican, Frost a Grover Cleveland Democrat. But the lives of the pair crossed in odd ways, including at Coolidge's college, Amherst. And Frost's themes-- independence, responsibility, character, property rights -- also preoccupied Coolidge.
It is hard for modern students of economics to know what to make of a government that treated economic weakness by raising interest rates 300 basis points, cutting tax rates, and halving the federal government, so much at odds is that prescription with the antidotes to recession our own experts tend to recommend. It is harder still for modern economists to concede that that recipe, the policy recipe for the early 1920s advocated by Coolidge and Harding, yielded growth on a scale to which we can aspire today.
Of particular interest to ThreeSourcers, however, will be Coolidge (and Harding's) fight to reclaim the party from TR and the Progressive wing -- enough to split Sen. Lafollette into a third party run in 1924.
But Roosevelt did not stay decorous long. By temperament Roosevelt was neither judge nor solicitor but prosecutor. In fact, he treated the White House as a prosecutor's office. In McKinley's time the Sherman Antitrust Act had not been used aggressively; Roosevelt, however, found it a useful tool. Roosevelt moved against the Northern Securities Company and J. P. Morgan aggressively, asking for the great company's dissolution. Astonished, J. P. Morgan asked TR if his other companies would be assailed. "Not unless we find out," said Roosevelt, "that they have done something we regard as wrong."
I knew the facts and personal anecdotes. Where Shlaes truly breaks a new intellectual trail is in identifying the break of the Boston Police strike not only as the event that launched the plainspoken Yankee Governor onto a national stage, but the event which separated him -- permanently -- from Progressivism.
Still, Coolidge felt certain of one thing. The progressives could not be met. Conciliation would not work. As he made his rounds in the now quiet city, he went over the police strike and kept coming to the same conclusion. This time, there was no middle ground.
A-freaking-men. Five Stars!
They can't find the money to let schoolchildren tour the White House, but Beyonce and Adele will perform at a "a huge celebrity-packed party for [Michelle Obama's] birthday at the White House next year." Via Jim Geraghty who hopes "they'll invite any of those furloughed federal workers"
Having picked up an Oscar, Adele might have thought her incredible US adventure couldn't get much better.
Isn't that special.
March 9, 2013
Quote of the Day
If I had planned to speak for 13 hours when I took the Senate floor Wednesday, I would've worn more comfortable shoes. -- Sen Rand Paul (HOSS - KY)
March 8, 2013
That "Constitution" Thingy
"Can the governor call in question the right of a non-felon to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property?"
This is my starting formulation for a #StandWithRand type filibuster question, to be asked during Monday's third and final vote on numerous gun control bills in the Colorado legislature on Monday. Bills that quite clearly, I would argue, call this right into question.
HB1226- Calls into question the individual right to bear arms to defend one's person.
Those usurpations are not written into the bills of course, and their sponsors would certainly argue they do no such thing. That is a valid debate, and one which should transpire on the floor of Colorado's highest deliberative body, but until the governor answers in the affirmative the opening question, derived from Article 2, Section 14 of the Colorado Constitution, any other discussion is moot.
CNN: Global Warming is Totally for Real!
A new study makes an interesting point: a very long term study concludes that the temperature swing from 1910 - 2010 is unprecedented. Perhaps it has been colder, perhaps warmer, but it has never shifted so much in only a century. Pretty interesting point.
Furthermore, the study authors feel that we should be in a cold period and that the last, very warm decade would be catastrophic if the same amount of DAWG were present at a warm part of the cycle.
Interesting. But I must -- its being CNN -- excerpt another part of the story. Deirdre McClosky, call your office! We have figured out why prosperity happened -- it was a predictable climate!
Humanity in the last 11,500 years
No mention of the Enlightenment. Stopped fighting an ice age; became prosperous and wealthy -- then ruined the climate. Oh irony, thy name is Man!
A Perennial Headline
Blog friend T.Greer has an interesting post. Did we hear echoes of great statesmen in the US Senate?
Senator Paul's actions are placed in proper context by a simple question: what was the last speech -- or heavens, even the last sound byte -- made by a legislator on the Senate or House floor that garnered this level of national attention? When was it? Was it delivered within the last year? The last decade?
Senator Rand famously downplays the fact that he holds Henry Clay's seat. He proudly asserts -- and repeated in his filibuster -- that he identifies with Cassius Clay, the uncompromising abolitionist over the author of two compromises which preserved the Union.
TG compares Rand to "the Godlike Daniel" and finds him wanting. Me, I heard echoes...
March 7, 2013
The Journal Editorial report is without question the best show on FOX News. I look forward to it every Saturday.
The last segment is "Hits and Misses" -- a descendant of the paper's "Tony and Tacky." Though they never read them, they encourage readers to "send your own hit or miss to firstname.lastname@example.org." Well:
WSJ Editorial Board:
UPDATE: It's a Conservative Smackdown! The Washington Examiner: "And some have even chosen to defend such government authority -- including the usually sound Wall Street Journal editorial board."
The Journal's editors argued Thursday that the endless global war on terror knows no national boundaries, and therefore every square inch of creation is part of a battlefield where only the laws of war restrict government's power. They concluded that "the U.S. could have targeted ... U.S. citizen [and terrorist] Anwar al-Awlaki had he continued to live in Virginia."
A Truly Liberal Thought
An extra bonus QOTD from Peggy Noonan:
The Tanenhaus and Berkowitz essays reminded me of two recent conversations.
I all but wept when Senator Rand Paul (HOSS- KY) yielded the floor. I, too cheered through the furious gaveling.
While it is not quite a hangover, today dawns a beautiful day in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, but:
Blog friend Terri shares my joy and woe. Ruminants requires a Wordpress login lately, you can yell at her here.
On the WSJ editorial, I am pretty hawkish for a libertarian-of-any-case, and similarly lenient to executive war power for one distrustful of that branch. I will even confess to wishing a couple of times yesterday that the debate were on spending. The abstract freedoms ("not to be nuked in a café") are more difficult for me to get excited about than consequentialist regulation and taxation policies.
At the end of the day -- into the night in this case -- being a nation of laws and not men, and Fifth Amendment protection of due process have to be defended and celebrated. "A Miss" to the Journal Editorial Board.
Quote of the Day
Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm -- but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves. -- T.S. EliotThe quote ends a superb Cliff Asness piece in The American about the "No Labels" folks. I am confident every ThreeSourcer would enjoy it in its entirity.
When it all went to hell.
I enjoy speculation on exactly why, when, and where humans stepped out of the primordial economic soup to increase consumption from $1 per day toward $130. Countless review corners have considered this.
Just as interesting, though, is when we abandoned enlightenment values. When did we chuck wealth creation in the gutter? When did I begin to use such overwrought metaphors? And does anybody miss the two-line (offsides) pass in modern pro hockey?
If I may answer those questions back-to-front: No, I objected to the rule change but admit I was wrong. Always. And -- in America -- the Progressive-era. If I may borrow a riff from my blog brother, that is when her citizens began to "demand the unearned."
I've long been troubled by the phrase "Robber Barons." Those who ennobled and enriched us with heat, light, steel, transportation, capital accumulation, and risk-management are confined to history's villain section. I understand the incentives for a President Roosevelt or Wilson, and I understand the Cardinal sin of envy. But David Henderson adds a piece to the puzzle in a brilliant essay: Neither Robbers nor Barons.
Why do we get such a distorted view of the era of the so-called robber barons? One reason is that the popular press at the time trumpeted that view. Interestingly, Ida Tarbell, the famous "muckraker" who gave Rockefeller his bad press,6 was not a disinterested observer. Early in her life, she had seen her father, an oil producer and refiner, lose out in competition with Rockefeller. Her father had been prospering, and her family, as a result, was enjoying "luxuries we had never heard of." All that came to an end and Tarbell never forgave Rockefeller.
A perfect storm of spreading Hegelian statism, patronage politics, and disproportionate "pull" of smaller producers through government set up a Progressive movement that lasts to this day.
Sunday will see a Review Corner of Amity Schlaes's "Coolidge" (spoiler alert -- five stars!) Harding and Coolidge have to devote every minute to reclaiming the GOP from the TR Progressive wing. Coolidge is more successful than Harding, and of course has to turn the keys over to Hoover at the end.
Yes, the two-line is okay, but we went off the rails when we allowed our real-life Randian heroes to be defamed as Robber Barons.
March 6, 2013
CO Gov. Hickenlooper: Pro-gun demonstrators "a small minority"
Amid the controversy over disarming rape victims and outlawing the products of a large Colorado manufacturing company, our state's governor recently told a news reporter he doesn't think that signing these bills into law would cost him during a re-election bid.
For all of their fervor, Hickenlooper sees the demonstrators a small minority.
The governor may be right, particularly since he says the bills are being watered down "to fix certain issues, like not having to run background checks on family members when giving them your gun." But even if the measures are "reasonable" the state legislators have sat through hours of testimony by witness after witness, both in favor and opposed to the laws, who say the laws would not reduce crime or accidents, nor even have prevented any particular incident. The only valid justification for passing these new laws was offered by state Senator Ted Harvey who said, "What we are trying to do here tonight is to protect students and teachers from feeling uncomfortable by you carrying a gun to protect yourself. Every witness that has come up here tonight has said they want to feel unintimidated and feel free to debate on a college campus, and having you have the right to defend yourself against a violent attacker weighs more for them than for you and the right to self-defense." Or, to paraphrase, your right to defend yourself is, in the opinion of the majority, junior to "students and teachers" right to "feel unintimidated."
Governor Hickenlooper was, he says, troubled by the prospect of losing gun accessory and magazine manufacturer Magpul Industries, Inc and its 200 local jobs, plus several suppliers. But in true pull-peddler fashion he said he intends to make up for any lost business to the company by "trying to win Magpul more government business through his Washington connections."
From the Magpul website:
Magpul's view on profits (and money in general) is summed up in the following quote by Ayn Rand (Francisco's Money Speech, Atlas Shrugged):
Good luck trying to buy them off with political favors, Mister Governor.
No, not that pansy-assed cloture crap. A stand at the podium and "speak until I can no longer speak" Mister Smith goes to Washington style fillibuster. From "I will not let Obama 'shred the Constitution."
"The point isn’t that anyone in our country is Hitler," Paul said, repeating that he is not comparing anyone to Hitler. "But what I am saying that is in a democracy you could somehow elect someone who is very evil . . . When a democracy gets it wrong, you want the law to be in place."
Video still live here: http://www.c-span.org/Live-Video/C-SPAN2/
Damn I'm proud of the United States Senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul.
UPDATE: The Filitracker - israndpaulstilltalking.com HT: Brother Bryan
UPDATE: Senator Rand Paul's fillibuster for individual rights and against an ever more powerful central government attracted an unusual ally to the Republican's side: Code Pink.
Paul’s nearly 13-hour filibuster on the Senate floor — which delayed the vote to confirm John Brennan as director of the CIA — was unusual in that it brought together unlikely allies: libertarian-leaning Republicans, establishment Republicans, Democrats and even left-wing activists like Code Pink.
They're still as misguided a group of lemmings you'll ever see, but it is refreshing to see any willingness to stand with traditional foes over a particular principle. I'll say this for Code Pink: Their principles are almost completely wrong, but at least they have principles.
My Best Goofy Photoshop
Suddenly germane! Thanks for dyin'!
Quote of the Day
The House Science, Space and Technology Committee announced early Wednesday that it's postponing its environmental subcommittee's scheduled 10 a.m. hearing on the state of the science behind climate change. As a reason, it cited "weather."Of course, that doesn't mean anything. Climate isn't weather -- unless it is very hot.
March 5, 2013
From Outside of the Reservation
Some refer to the city of Denver as a "victim disarmament zone." My new term is Sheeple Reservation. The video below was made by a woman from El Paso County, Colorado, addressing the Rulers of the Reservation as they attempt to impose their beliefs on the rest of our great state. Laura Carno represents the principles we are teaching to our daughters.
On Being a Statistic
Don't know if this will get much play outside of Colorado.
I'm not going to add anything to this powerful clip, but when did the phrase "Don't be a statistic" drop out of our lexicon? Rep. Evie Hudak (D - Arvada) tells a rape victim -- to her face -- that "statistics are not on her side." If there is a better example of the collectivist mindset, I have yet to see it.
Sequester-mageddon-palooza is here! But before you get to thinking that the human race has survived the draconian cuts -- they never said it would happen right away! No, this is long-term destruction of all that Americans hold dear. Josh Hicks at WaPo explains:
The reductions, known as the sequester, haven't yet diminished the country's forecasting system and will not impact disaster-relief funding in the near-term, according to government officials.
So, you see, the next hurricane will be the fault of the sequester -- don't you just hope it hits Speaker Boehner's house in Ohio?
In completely unrelated news, the DJIA hit an all time high and closed at 14,253.77. In spite of government cuts. In. Spite. Of.
NOT YOKO!! NO!! WE'LL STOP!!
NEW YORK (AP) -- The scene: a Manhattan art-house theater. The cause: a campaign against the gas drilling process known as fracking that's being led by more than 100 celebrities, including Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Robert Redford, Mark Ruffalo and Mario Batali.
You guys can keep at it, but if Yoko is going to sing, I'm ready to quit fracking. And heat. And electricity.
All Hail President Carter!
<homer_simpson_voice>Jimmy Carter! He' s History's greatest monster!</homer_simpson_voice>
The Obama Administration does much to rehabilitate the legacy of our 39th. But one thing -- honest and true -- is that President Carter deregulated air travel and trucking. We forget about that's impact on our lives but it is huge.
Mark J Perry notices:
Professor Perry also makes some trenchant points about the hated-by-travelers fees as loved-by-economists unbundling.
At the end of the day, though, you can draw that graph for almost everything provided by a market not controlled by regulation. (I doubt many attorneys in the aviation industry would accept that it is "unregulated.") It is the government-meddled industries that show the rising costs.
March 4, 2013
It cannot be a mere coincidence that this senseless and outrageous assault with a deadly weapon was perpetrated on the eve of the Colorado State Legislature's hearings into seven new proposed gun control laws. There can be no doubt that this incident was staged by bill opponents to cast doubt on the ability of commonsense gun laws to fully and completely protect the public from assault with a deadly weapon. I can hear them now: "After you criminalize gun ownership, next you'll want to criminalize brooms as well." @$% extremists.
Inverse Iatrogenic Alert
Jonathan Haidt is back for a cameo in Arthur Brooks's WSJ guest editorial today. It seems that some popular ThreeSources memes are crashing into one another again in the blogosphere.
Brooks says Haidt's findings, coupled with exit polls showing "only 33% of Americans said that Mitt Romney 'cares about people like me'" spell problems for an agenda of economic freedom.
Conservatives are fighting a losing battle of moral arithmetic. They hand an argument with virtually 100% public support--care for the vulnerable--to progressives, and focus instead on materialistic concerns and minority moral viewpoints.
I apologize to those who do not know the inside humor around this post. The headline in a meta-inside joke. I used the following Nassim Nicholas Taleb quote as a blunt object in a long-time argument:
Perhaps the idea behind capitalism is an inverse-iatrogenic effect, the unintended-but-not-so-unintended consequences: the system facilitates the conversion of selfish aims (or, to be correct, not necessarily benevolent ones) at the individual level into beneficial results for the collective. -- Taleb, Nassim Nicholas (2012-11-27). Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (p. 114). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Blog brother jg recognized the inference to an almost seven-year-old feud between us.
Objectivism wants to educate people to understand the value of self-ownership and I can certainly dig that. But (McCoy!!!), we have what everybody wants -- a solution to poverty. I'm ready to join my buddy Brooks and give the people that for which they clamor.
Instead, the answer is to make improving the lives of vulnerable people the primary focus of authentically conservative policies. For example, the core problem with out-of-control entitlements is not that they are costly--it is that the impending insolvency of Social Security and Medicare imperils the social safety net for the neediest citizens. Education innovation and school choice are not needed to fight rapacious unions and bureaucrats--too often the most prominent focus of conservative education concerns--but because poor children and their parents deserve better schools.
March 1, 2013
Brother Bryan on Radio
"I'll be co-hosting Grassroots Radio Colorado with the lovely and talented Molly Vogt. Be sure to tune in tonight from 5-7 PM at 560 AM or at www.560thesource.com"
Quote of the Day
Among the myriad problems with this sort of thinking [President Obama's SOTU call to band together, just like Seal Team Six] is that it confuses the fundamental reason we have a military in the first place. We have a military so Americans don't have to live militaristically -- i.e., take orders, march in step, etc. We rely on the collective endeavor known as the military so that the rest of us can enjoy our individual endeavors. That is what the pursuit of happiness is about. We do not have a military so it can provide a good example of how we can more productively abandon our freedoms. -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]
Why we Fight Over Beliefs
I've mentioned once or twice a relative who took to dating a redistributionist, and the heated discussions which were thus precipitated during family gatherings. She says she just wants us all to get along or "enjoy each other" because all of us are "great people" and should share some "common ground." So an article called Science Asks: Why Can't We All Just Get Along? was just what I needed at the moment.
We've discussed Jonathan Haidt's 'The Righteous Mind' here several times, most notably, I think, here. But Reason's Katherine Mangu-Ward prefaced an excerpt with a summary that parallels Rand's idea (in 'Philosophy: Who Needs It?') that all of us have a philosophy but while some of us arrive at it consciously, others form their philosophy by accident through the myriad experiences of life.
Haidt theorizes that this kind of blindness to the real motivations of others is driving discord in Washington and around the country. Our political personalities emerge from a stew of nature, nurture (which is in part a result of feedback from the world on our natures), and the narratives we build up to explain the progression of our own lives and the working of the world around us. But they also wall us off from others:Morality binds and blinds. This is not just something that happens to people on the other side. We all get sucked into tribal moral communities. We circle around sacred values and then share post hoc arguments about why we are so right and they are so wrong. We think the other side is blind to truth, reason, science, and common sense, but in fact everyone goes blind when talking about their sacred objects. Morality binds us into ideological teams that fight each other as though the fate of the world depended on our side winning each battle. It blinds us to the fact that each team is composed of good people who have something important to say
I challenge the conclusion that "we all" suffer from the delusion he describes, but I agree it largely applies to every ideological bent. The essential point here is that "everyone goes blind when talking about their sacred objects." Again, I dispute that "everyone" does but for the most part, yes.
So what can be done about this? Before reading the article I proposed to aforementioned family member a new discussion. One relating to premises and not conclusions:
"The idea is everyone can state as many premises as they like and others simply agree or disagree. No debating. We find all the things everyone agrees on."
Premise -n. (World English Dictionary) 1. logic Also: premiss a statement that is assumed to be true for the purpose of an argument from which a conclusion is drawn
I'll let you know how it goes.
Thanks to Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt:
Stephen Gutowski: "Just tried driving but since sequestration went into effect the roads have all crumbled into dust."