May 31, 2015
The conventional wisdom had no answer to such problems--except to promise more of the same. President Carter and other spokesmen for the status quo said, resignedly, that this was just the way it was. We had, it seemed, reached the era of "limits," running out of energy supplies and suffering "stagflation," with no alternative but to hunker down and bear it.
America's blessing, it has been said, is that the right man always appears at the right time. This phrase gives too much credit to providence, predestination, and the importance of politics for my taste. On the other hand, Damn.
Ed Meese's With Reagan The Inside Story (thanks, nb!) was a pleasant reminder of "Morning in America." and Reagan's impressive accomplishments -- "transformative" in the words of our current Chief Executive.
Meese is hard core in his defense of President Reagan, and the book suffers slightly from the "inside staffer's view" that present a certain faction of the cabinet and staff as heroic and the others as slime mold. But it is not overdone. I chuckled a bit that there are two sections of photos. Reagan with world leaders, Reagan with congress, Reagan with celebrities ... Curiously, one Edwin Meese III happens to be in about every picture. Hey, I'd do the same; it's his book.
It is important as a palliative for false stories of "The Amiable Dunce," "the puppet of his staffers," &c. Meese conveys the importance of leadership built on foundational principles.
The secret of Reagan's success was not that he was a skillful speaker and performer on television. If that were the case, hundreds of actors and public speakers might do equally well in politics, but other than he, none has so far been elected president. No, the key to Reagan's success was that he communicated timeless truths about America--home truths about freedom, limited government, hard work, and opportunity--and that these truths guided him while he was in office.
Meese also puts his AG's view of Iran-Contra into print. While mistakes were made, he considers them more political than criminal. It reflects badly on the president, but was not explicitly proscribed.
The result, as the Tower Commission drily observed, "was a highly ambiguous legal environment." Contrary to the image of a single sweeping Boland amendment that once and forever barred all aid to the anticommunist resistance, what developed was a series of changing enactments that allowed some things, barred others, allowed some things that had been barred, barred something else that hadn't been, and so on. The administration, rather than flagrantly ignoring the law, was highly sensitive to the ambiguities and nuances of the situation and constructed its policy as best it could to fit them.
Meese is not the storyteller his boss was, but he got a chuckle out of me with "Officer, arrest that man! He's violating the Boland Amendment!" I still think it a black mark because of separation of powers arguments. But compared to what we have seen since, this is a cookie-theft.
Where I must part with Reagan and Meese is Law and Order. He accepts a lot of credit for a downturn in crime that I suspect was part of a long-term trend. I'm good with an orderly society but Meese claims some victories in the War on Drugs that I didn't see (I stopped using drugs during the Reagan years -- I call it "growing up.") This paragraph earned a red flag:
One of our most effective weapons against drug traffickers was to confiscate the assets of their criminal activity, such as expensive autos, yachts, businesses, and homes and convert the proceeds to the anti-drug effort. To make this technique even more effective, we shared the proceeds with cooperating local law enforcement agencies to enhance their drug-fighting activities. We also improved the cooperation of federal law enforcement agencies with their state and local counterparts.
Reason Magazine, line one! This book was released in 1992. I don't suspect he'd second guess the efficacy of asset forfeiture, but one has to ask where that fits in with a champion of limited government.
Still, it left one hoping that the escape from Obama's policies might be half as effective as the escape from Carter's. One thing on which I will never, ever part company with our fortieth was his opposition to Communism:
In addition to stressing the evils of communism, Reagan stressed its inherent weakness. In his view, the two were related, since in denying freedom the communists not only engaged in tyranny, they also crippled the creative potential of the human spirit. Reagan firmly believed that freedom was both morally and materially superior to communism, and constantly linked these themes in his speeches.
Great book, somehow more germane today than in 1992. Four stars!
Proving Anyone Can Make it!
Even wealthy film stars with supermodel looks can make it big in America. Jessica Alba's Honest Corporation now has a $1 Billion market cap. She appeared on what I am guessing might be one of the better selling issue of Forbes:
The article does not contain much info on the actual company. It appears they aggregate safe and family-friendly products and market them mostly online. I fear there may be a bit of "woo" involved, but you have to complement her for Always Being Closing:
When people compliment her for her nice complexion, she tells them she gets her skin glowing by using the vegan, hypoallergenic Face and Body Lotion included in her company's wide inventory of affordably priced products costing under $10.
"I was like..." Oh deary me. But the firm employs 200 and as far as I know, receives no special subsidies. Nor is anyone mandated to purchase vegan, hypoallergenic Face and Body Lotion. Good for her.
May 30, 2015
I don't know about you guys, but I am starting to think Sen. Bernie Sanders (Iwannabuyamericancrap - VT) may not get the coveted Reason Magazine endorsement:
A head for a head
Hammurabi lives - Christian beheads jihadist in Syria revenge killing.
According to the monitor, the Christian fighter, a member of the minority Assyrian community, found the jihadist in the local village of Tal Shamiram.
I find myself in support of the Administration's stance that "we will not be responsible for securing their [Iraqi's] country, but we will support them in doing so." American presidents have fought so many proxy wars since WWII that citizens (and governments) of many nations have forgotten how to defend themselves. Some are now beginning to figure it out, although I doubt that is Barack Obama's intention.
Now that weed is legal in Colorado, Washington, and probably more states very soon, prominent former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney says "he doesn't want to set a bad example for his children and grandchildren by using marijuana." Instead he prefers wine or "a nice margarita."
Hasn't he gotten the memo that marijuana is safer and better for you than booze? I would have expected a more enlightened decision from a long-time vegetarian advocate. Next he'll be saying he's Taxed Enough Already, or something stupid and white like that.
May 29, 2015
Really, Aren't we All to Blame?
Jim Geraghty [subscribe] suggests no, it is not "the system."
Over at the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof rushes to blame the country as a whole for the Clintons' actions: "The problem is not precisely the Clintons. It's our entire disgraceful money-based political system . . . Most politicians are good people. Then they discover that money is the only fuel that makes the system work and sometimes step into the bog themselves."
If you suggest vastly reducing the financial power of government so that fewer dollars find their best use on K Street -- sign me up for your team. But the hand wringing of the Kristof set is tiresome. They push relentlessly to give government more and more control -- then they decry the "corporate interest in politics!"
This, however, is at least a new twist: not blaming the Clintons because the system is so corrupt. That is rich.
May 28, 2015
Quote of the Day
"The collegiate idealists who fill the ranks of the environmental movement seem willing to do absolutely anything to save the biosphere, except take science courses and learn something about it."
c/o Lawrence Reed
All Hail Remy!
The last word on Sen. Sanders and the food/deodorant paradox:
May 27, 2015
One Article to Bind Them All
Kevin Williamson of NR takes byte to pixel to answer Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I* - VT) foolish rant. I had some fun on Facebook with his pronouncement:
You can't just continue growth for the sake of growth in a world in which we are struggling with climate change and all kinds of environmental problems. All right? You don't necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country. I don't think the media appreciates the kind of stress that ordinary Americans are working on.
Williamson takes this on in good form.
This is a very old and thoroughly discredited idea, one that dates back to Karl Marx and to the anti-capitalists who preceded him. It is a facet of the belief that free markets are irrational, and that if reason could be imposed on markets -- which is to say, if reason could be imposed on free human beings -- then enlightened planners could ensure that resources are directed toward their best use. This line of thinking historically has led to concentration camps, gulags, firing squads, purges, and the like, for a few reasons: The first is that free markets are not irrational; they are a reflection of what people actually value at a particular time relative to the other things that they might also value. Real people simply want things that are different from what the planners want them to want, a predicament that can be solved only through violence and the threat of violence. That is the first reason that this sort of planning leads to gulags. The second is that there are no enlightened planners; men such as Senator Sanders imagine themselves to be candidates for enlightened leadership, but put a whip in his hand and the gentleman from Vermont will turn out to be another thug in the long line of thugs who have cleaved to his faith. The third reason that this sort of planning always works out poorly is that nobody knows what the best use of resources actually is; all that the would-be masters know is that they do not approve of the current deployment of resources.
Along the way, he puts the boot in to minimum wage, explains the subjective value of prices, and even documents Cthulhu's monetary policy. All in all a good, single source exegesis of my foundational beliefs.
*(as in "I can't even make up a good joke about Bernie Sanders")
Usually, a Conservative news outlet might use an unflattering photo of an ideological opponent. I have seen a bucketload of bad pictures of Sec. Clinton.
But. This. Is. Devastating. They are missing only the monocles, else the new Monopoly® box would be complete:
Tejas Levantamiento! (or, "American history as reimagined by the Tea Party")
I lived in Texas once - for a year. The year was 1986, which happened to be the Sesquicentennial of the Republic of Texas. I didn't really know what that was all about, except that Texas became a state fifty years before Colorado.
As a product of Colorado, educationally and culturally, my opinion of the Lone Star State was mediocre at best, being the source of a great influx of temporary and permanent visitation to my home state and preceding "Californicans" as the great scourge upon the Colorado countryside. Yet with age came wisdom and a new appreciation for the fiercely independent western nature of the people of Texas.
During my short residence there I did journey to the Alamo, and toured the old fort inside and out. But that's as far as my curiosity took me at the time. And so I was captivated by the early promos for History's 'Texas Rising' which said, "the Alamo wasn't the end, it was the beginning." I've now watched the first two of five episodes in this "epic series event" that aims to bring the fight for Texas independence to life.
It didn't take long for me to recognize that the portrayal of events would be unpopular in some circles. After all, the Mexicans and the Commanches "were there first." How could white men defeating those indiginous groups ever be considered "winning independence?" It's European colonialism, pure and simple, right?
"This movie isn't just bad -- the politics are dubious too," the liberal newspaper the Guardian wrote in a piece called "Texas Rising: American history as reimagined by the Tea Party." "Texas Rising is a movie that glorifies the campaigns of white settlers in land that technically belongs to Mexico and was initially settled by Native Americans. There is not an inkling of post-colonial reflection about what that means in the great scope of history. The line between good guys and bad guys is drawn as simply and thoughtlessly as it is in a backyard game of Cowboys and Indians."
But the charge of white-colonial bias fell flat during last night's segment. Portilla, one of Santa Anna's lieutenants [spoiler alert] was addressing Texian Colonel James Fannin. "You are a filthy wetback. You swam across the Sequin River, illegally. You are in my country now." Then Portilla murdered Fannin with a gunshot to the front of his head. One can almost imagine the NRA and Tea Party patches on Portillas sleeves as he parrots this modern nativist sentiment, in reverse.
Still, I am captivated. The story is compelling and the history captivating, whatever liberties may or may not be taken. It is a good background for future learning of the true history which, being from a time and place prior to internet and cloud storage, remains quite murky to this day.
And besides, not all the reviews are bad.
Quote of the Day
"It has everything one would want for a wedding," al-Homsi said of Raqqa--a riverside provincial capital that in the 18 months since IS took control has seen militants beheading opponents and stoning alleged adulteresses in public. Gunmen at checkpoints scrutinize passers-by for signs of anything they see as a violation of Shariah, or Islamic law, as slight as a hint of hair gel. In the homes of some of the IS commanders in the city are women and girls from the Yazidi religious sect, abducted in Iraq and now kept as sex slaves. -- APHat-tip: James Taranto
May 26, 2015
May 25, 2015
From Cicero to Ayn Rand
I'm not certain Jim Powell answers the question "Why Has Liberty Flourished in the West?" But he provides an interesting enumeration of important thinkers. And in these times, a rather courageous assertion of dangerous hemispherism:
Despite the claims of those who say one culture is as good as another, the West is clearly superior in at least one crucial respect: it brought liberty into the modern world, and liberty has made possible many other good things.
I have a running argument with ThreeSources friend tg that it goes back to "Eastern Thought," an indefinite bin into which I lump Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. My young friend the Asian scholar doesn't buy it, but I suggest there were plenty of Eastern Platos but that they lacked an Aristotle.
Powell is not venturing there either, but he does make an interesting point I had not considered:
Geography probably played a role in the development of liberty. Greece has many harbors that could shelter ships and many islands whose people were most likely to advance themselves through overseas commerce. Europe's irregular coastline, with thousands of harbors, some opening to major rivers, likewise encouraged commerce. Since commerce means contact with all kinds of people, ideas, and goods, merchants must be tolerant and rational if they are to be successful. "Coastal peoples," Thomas Sowell observed in Migrations and Cultures (1996), "have tended to be culturally distinctive. In touch with the outside world, they have usually been more knowledgeable and more technologically and socially advanced than interior peoples."
Geography not being my best subject, there does not seem to be a shortage of coastline from Korea to India, although the Eurasian steppe civilizations are certainly affected.
Even without all the answers, it's a great longer-than-a-blog-post article about the dominance of the West in the advancement of liberty, and a great look at some of its most important thinkers.
I Started a Joke...
...that started the whole world flaming!
Man, my jokes sometimes fall flat around here. But I went for sarcasm on Facebook. Americans for Prosperity (hey, where's my check?)* posted a link to a NYPost article on the imploding State Obamacare exchanges. We may have mentioned that around here...
I said "If only someone could have predicted this before the law was passed..." Six hours later, there were 40 replies -- and most wanted my head on a platter!
* Umm, that's a joke -- I get no money from the Koch Brothers. I just wanted to be clear.
May 24, 2015
In essence, the rap on Churchill is that he was a 19th-century man parachuted into the 20th.
I think I can say that Charles Krauthammer is my favorite conservative. I do enjoy my libertarian thinkers and -- as we will discuss -- tend to find their philosophy more compatible with mine. But to read Krauthammer's Things That Matter (thanks, nb!) is to enjoy a goodly bit of Chesterton, Burke, and Churchill today. His prose is magnificent, his erudition astounds, and his intellect ranges deeply into science, medicine, history and politics.
He can capture the poetry of baseball and even make a chess match interesting:
It was like watching the World Series with five Hall of Famers parsing every pitch and Cy Young correcting them. On Karpov's 23rd move the parsing got slightly crazy: If Kasparov does A, then Karpov must do B. If Kasparov then tries C and Karpov answers with D, look out: E, F and G follow. But if Kasparov does Z, then . . .
I have most recently moved explicitly out of being a self-identified conservative. The Libertarian jurisprudence of Damon Root [Review Corner] and Clark Neily [Review Corner] have captured my heart and given newfound appreciation for the Ninth Amendment. I think it fair to say Mr. Krauthammer does not join me there:
It is a temptation to be resisted. Issues of this magnitude should never be decided by nine robes. Affirmative action needs to be dealt with by the people in the legislatures and in referendums. I believe that the current dispensation is a travesty. But a very substantial portion of the population reads the Constitution--and the nation's needs--quite differently. Under these circumstances, the issue should not be settled by judicial fiat.
And, perhaps more tooth-grinding to the ThreeSourcer:
I have no problem in principle with gun control. Congress enacted (and I supported) an assault weapons ban in 1994. The problem was: It didn't work. (So concluded a University of Pennsylvania study com-missioned by the Justice Department.) The reason is simple. Unless you are prepared to confiscate all existing firearms, disarm the citizenry and repeal the Second Amendment, it's almost impossible to craft a law that will be effective.
Wrong answer, Charles! You can say that that is not a "Conservative" position so much as a "pointy-head-east-coast-elitist" one. But I retort that conservatism allows for utilitarian control of the individual and that a rights-based libertarianism would stop that second paragraph on nearly every clause.
All in all, however, it is a superb book and makes me far less apologetic for my former conservatism and the strains of its foreign policy that remain. I think any ThreeSourcer would dig it and -- as Brother nb did not relay excitement about its return -- it is up for grabs.
And it will do so not just by what it says and how well it says it but where it says it. The Hall of Remembrance has at each of its six corners a narrow vertical window. Through one you can see the Washington Monument, through another the Jefferson Memorial. The juxtaposition is not just redemptive. It is reassuring. The angels of democracy stand watch on this temple of evil. It is as if only in the heart of the world's most tolerant and most powerful democracy can.
Five stars for stuff like that.
May 22, 2015
Obama's Coast Guard Audience
When President Obama named human caused Climate Change as the cause of "an immediate risk to our national security" in his address to the graduating class of the Coast Guard Academy this week, something tells me his intended audience was folks like CNN's Juliette Kayyem.
Skeptics of these global seismic shifts are not simply denying science, they are denying safety and security. Until we recognize -- with the immediacy we would if a nation launched missiles against our cities -- that climate change isn't something that can be debated, but must be mitigated or, failing that, adapted to, we will not expend the effort or resources to prepare ourselves to the one phenomenon that we know is coming: simply, the waters are rising and this is a war.
Got that? The risk of climate change demands the same immediacy as a missile launch against our cities.
But the Arabic speaking world* has a much different perspective on the President's priorities.
*The owner of the video admits "Folks.......this a spoof. It was never intended to be taken as a legitimate news report. Obviously two things are at play here. One, I did the job too well. Two, we have come to the stage in the Obama presidency where quite literally..........anything is possible"
h/t: KHOW's Mandy Connell
May 21, 2015
Quote of the Day
At a 2013 gun-rights rally [Glendale Mayor and Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Mike] Dunafon referred to his small (0.6 square miles, 4,200 residents) enclave inside Denver as "the Vatican of liberty." But it’s looking more like the Vatican and less like liberty now. -- Peter Blake, Complete ColoradoDunafon spoke to Liberty On The Rocks -- Flatirons (LOTR-F). I missed it but enjoyed the video. He is entertaining and has a Penn-Jillettish mixing of the libertarian with the libertine. Out-of-towners may not know Glendale; it is a small enclave surrounded by Denver (not a suburb) and it has been known for bars, nightlife, and a younger demographic resident. Dunafon owns (via marriage) a popular strip club called "Shotgun Willies." (Our band had a rehearsal space down the street before it converted from Country to [well, fill in your own joke here...]
He's likeable, but got on the wrong side of this humble blogger for a) Running as a Libertarian (delenda est!) and b) I kid you not, bowing out of an LOTR-F debate because he had the chance to "smoke weed with Snoop Dogg."
He has lost his remaining friends in the libertarian community with this crazy eminent domain deal. Everybody on FB is saying "Even Mike Dunafon?"
Tweet of the Day
Hat-tip, Insty, who says "Heh" and has a couple more.
May 20, 2015
I found this disturbing:
The Syrian government's antiquities chief Mamoun Abdulkarim said he had no doubt that if Palmyra fell to the jihadists, it would suffer a similar fate to ancient Nimrud, which they blew up earlier this year.
But I shall not just complain without suggesting a solution.
These heavily armed aircraft incorporate side-firing weapons integrated with sophisticated sensor, navigation and fire control systems to provide surgical firepower or area saturation during extended loiter periods, at night and in adverse weather. The sensor suite consists of a television sensor, infrared sensor and radar. These sensors allow the gunship to visually or electronically identify friendly ground forces and targets anytime, anywhere.
"Ridin' with Biden"
The Democrats who want to win the White House are not, it seems, Ready for Hillary. Not seven years ago, and not today.
Once a self-described "vociferous" Clinton supporter--he went door-to-door in New Hampshire with Bill in '92--he chose Obama in early '07 despite his historical ties with the Clintons. "It's more than charisma; it's more than the ability to emote; it's the ability to speak to 25,000 people and have every one of them feel you're speaking to them. Clinton had it, Bush had it, Obama had it, Reagan had it. Joe Biden has it--he can bring people to tears. She ain't got it."
Reading stories like this makes me feel a bit sorry for her - until I see her picture or hear her laugh. Then I return to my usual perspective.
Quote of the Day
Back in the day, [Sid] Blumenthal was a respected (read: well-connected and establishment) journalist attached to outlets such as The New Republic, where he got his start. Despite a twee exterior and generally prissy demeanor that made Tony Randall seem like the Brawny Paper Towel pitchman in comparison, Blumenthal's nastiness and willingness to fling shit like a howler monkey in heat earned him the sobriquet "Sid Vicious," because, well, you know there's really not much difference between a New Republic and New Yorker kind of guy and the junk-addicted, homicidal bassist for the Sex Pistols, amirite. -- Nick GillespieHonorable mention (same piece):
As The New York Times reports, Blumenthal remained a trusted adviser to Clinton when she was secretary of state, despite not really knowing what the hell he was talking about.
May 19, 2015
Doing for Healthcare What they did for Iraq!
I have seen an awful lot of stories of failure in state-run health exchanges.
I thought some intrepid and public spirited blogger, with exceptional typing skills and personal hygiene should take on the project of assembling them.
Whew! Thankfully, Sally Pipes nailed it.
Given all the headaches, a number of states are considering offloading responsibility for their exchanges to the federal government. But that exit path may not be as appealing if the Supreme Court rules this summer that subsidies for the purchase of insurance are only available through state-operated exchanges in King v. Burwell.
I stared at this headline, linked on Instapundit: "Backlash Against Facebook's Free Internet Service Grows."
Backlash? Free? Internet? Huh? What?
You bright kids in front have perhaps figured it out -- I had to click.
On Monday, 65 advocacy organizations in 31 countries released an open letter to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg protesting Internet.org--an effort to bring free internet service to the developing world--saying the project "violates the principles of net neutrality, threatening freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy, and innovation."
Reminding me of a Lowell George song:
Some people tell me that Rock'n'Roll
It seems Mister Z. will not be allowed to give things away unless he gives away full-featured things.
With Internet.org, Facebook is partnering with various wireless carriers and other organizations to provide an app that offers free access to certain internet services, including Facebook, on mobile phones in developing countries. But this spring, a group of publishers in India pulled out of the program, saying it violated the principles of net neutrality--the notion that internet providers should treat all online services equally.
And ice cream! With sprinkles goddammit!
Tweet of the Day
May 17, 2015
The proper scope of government is of course a topic that has engaged political theorists for centuries. Political science and philosophy professors commonly ask their students to write papers pitting the views of Thomas Hobbes against those of John Locke, Alexander Hamilton against Thomas Jefferson, John Rawls against Robert Nozick. For economists' views it is natural to begin with Adam Smith.Blog Brother Bryan is a great believer in subjective value and the importance of pricing in a free market. All the same, I fear he might hurl an alabaster bust of Adam Smith at me if I mention -- one more time -- that Lawrence H. White's The Clash of Economic Ideas set me back $28.00 on Kindle. I've paid close to 40 for a couple others, but White's earns a spot in the price pantheon.
It compares pretty favorably not only to other economics books, but to an actual economics course. In that light, it represents good value.
White is a GMU Economics professor, CATO senior fellow, and a prolific free banking advocate. Clash of Economics ideas is a more wide ranging comparison of economic ideas and their consequences.
Most notable is the format which the author compares to Quentin Tarantino -- it is not chronological but rather grouped by ideas. White will stop to give a half page bio and brief introduction to economists and ideas as they become important to the topic at hand. The result is a very readable, accessible and entertaining overview of the most important economic arguments, told with anecdotes, personalities, and theory combined. FA Hayek escapes to America, but is at first disappointed with the lack of theoretical foundation in economics at Columbia.
It was the year in which The Trend of Economics, intended to provide a program for the institutionalist school, had been brought out by Rexford Guy Tugwell. And one of the first things the visiting economist was urged to do was to go to the New School for Social Research to hear Thorstein Veblen mumble sarcastically and largely inaudibly to a group of admiring old ladies -- a curiously unsatisfying experience.
In one book, one can collect a seriously comprehensive collect of important ideas and historical economic discussions. ThreeSourcers would also enjoy the presentation as "clash." Not that you're an overly argumentative lot (cough, cough) but seeing the schools and thinkers categorized with political movements and practical application is clarifying.
The grounding of Bentham's doctrine stood in stark contrast to that of Locke's.63 In his book Anarchical Fallacies (1795), written in response to rights declarations issued during the French Revolution, Bentham famously declared that "Natural Rights is simple nonsense; natural and imprescriptible rights, rhetorical nonsense-- nonsense on stilts."64 Bentham endeavored to put the case for classical liberalism and laissez-faire on a more scientific foundation. But in his endeavor he provided the foundation on which later utilitarians like Mill, Marshall, Pigou, and the Fabians would build wider cases for government intervention.65 Utility-maximizing policies for Bentham included universal suffrage, free markets, and economy in government. Utility-maximizing policies for the Fabians included universal suffrage, socialism, and larger government.
The New Deal gets a lengthy look as our nation's embrace of top-down centralized planning. Growing up to witness the failed end of that and the cronies who perpetuate,it is easy to forget the idealism.
John Kenneth Galbraith reminisced that, returning to Harvard after studying under Keynes in England, "There was this breath of hope and optimism, and I came back from Cambridge to find a whole group of people here who had also read The General Theory."61 Hayek's and Robbins's contrasting policy recommendation, to let output and employment recover on their own as bankruptcies and layoffs released workers and machines to find more sustainable employments, was regarded by many as a counsel of despair.
Wrong and dangerous idealism. But idealism. This book is worth your time, and actually worth $28 on Kindle (there is some mechanism to lend certain books, holler if you'd like to pursue that.
May 15, 2015
Requiescant In Pace
My Facebook feed is about 100% BB King this morning. See? My friends ain;t so bad.
No Way to Run a Railroad
The WSJ Ed Page appears unconvinced that the trouble with Amtrak is "insufficient infrastructure spending."
In a 2014 audit, the Amtrak IG observed that management thought "so many legislatively mandated tasks and responsibilities had accumulated over time that it was unclear what to focus on. That view was evident in the company's 2011 strategic plan, which had five strategic themes, seven strategies, numerous initiatives and dozens of performance measures."
Who thought it was a good idea to have gub'mint run the choo-choo? Oh, yes, President Nixon. Of course.
May 14, 2015
Never, in the history of dudedom, has a dude ever been so angry upon receipt of a windfall $20. But I have been grouchy for a week:
Can you read that? That's a check from the "Toyota Motor Corp. Unintended Acceleration Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products liability Litigation c/o Gilardi & Co LLC." I'll give them props for the oxford comma, but the rest is bulls**t.
My biological brother posted an interesting article from Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker. Like anything else Gladwell, I find much to critique. As I'm clearly in rant territory, I'll say that he couldn't find liberty in a dark room with both hands.
But he is bright and thoughtful, and he makes a point about the engineer mentality. On the Gladwell scale, I surely possess it. He looks at the Toyota acceleration case and the Cobalt ignition swith and a quick peek at Honda air bags on his way to the Ford Pinto's famed "exploding gas tank." The topic is a hotshot engineer who was tasked with interpreting crash data and deciding whether to pursue recalls.
I spent my teenage years washing Pintos at a rental car company. I know them pretty well. But they became the archetype of both unsafe vehicles and uncaring corporate decisions. Thanks, 60 Minutes. Gladwell -- I think -- climbs on the side of those who deny any exceptional flaw in the Pinto. The statistics are all in line with other small domestic cars of the era: Vegas, Gremlins, &c. (You kids missed the 70s lemme tell ya...)
I don't have an opinion on Honda air bags, I suspect that the Cobalt ignition switch was real and recall-worthy, I don't know, but most of them fall apart with any type of statistical look: miles travelled, vehicles on road, even against other fatalities it's a statistical wash.
My biggest gripe with Gladwell, and what I shared with my brother, is that this recall anything that might bug anybody ever mentality adds to the price of new vehicles -- and that keeps many people in older vehicles with far fewer safety features. Gladwell wants the engineers to see the photos of three dead teenage girls, as though they cannot infer from a burned and twisted Pinto carcass.
I suggest they're better with cold, numerical calculation. Else they will prioritize the victims in the picture over the unseen young people driving or sharing the road with less safe, older vehicles.
It's a long article with maddening bits to liberty lovers, but I recommend it if you can squirrel away the time.
'Nother Day in Pardise
I put these on FB -- sorry for the duplication, but here you can click for high-rez.
Even my overpriced Lumina 1020 could not capture the splendor (due to operator limitations, surely). I have never seen a rainbow like that ever. Should I be building an ark and looking for a male Havanese?
More on Elon Musk's Amazing Batt'ry
Peter Van Doren is not convinced it is a good idea even if viable:
May 13, 2015
Apparently a woman can be president, but a man cannot be first lady. Or is it just that the "diplomacy of social functions" is "women's work?" Either way, it's pretty sexist dontcha think?
The title is what dagny and I reply when the other calls out, "Marco!" It's also the name of the US Senator and GOP presidential candidate who now has the backing of another billionaire. Yes, I said an other. Miami billionaire Norman Braman was already on board for a cool $10 million and now Silicon Valley billionaire Larry Ellison wades into the GOP primary fray, promoting the young Cuban-American.
Ellison will host a fundraiser for the Florida Republican's White House bid at his mansion in Woodside, Calif., on June 9, according to an invitation obtained by POLITICO.
Ellison is likely to back this up with big bucks of his own, having contributed $3 million to a pro-Romney PAC in 2012, and having an estimated net worth of $54,000 million.
I think the latest position I've taken on the Marco... Rubio candidacy was to put him in the role of Ringo - the "fourth Beatle" on my list of favorites. But if I take general electability into account I find myself believing he is not last in that group - a group that includes (in chronological order) Walker, Paul and Cruz - but first. And like Ringo, Rubio is proving to be much more talented than the conventional wisdom assumes.
We've forgotten what a speech is
The good folks at the Wall Street Journal put this gem on their video page. I linked below as an asymmetric comparison to our current President, who is seriously called "The World's Greatest Orator."
It deserves an embed, and I don't know if the WSJ version is pay-walled. Here it is on YouTube:
May 5, 1985.
Sorry to see him lose one.
One of the great things about President Obama (a phrase I use so frequently, I have it stored as a macro) now where was I?
One of the great things about President Obama is his ineptness a legislator. I am reminded of Robert A Caro's "Passage of Power." (Have I mentioned those Caro books as being pretty good?) President Kennedy was twice the legislator President Obama is, but few of his initiatives made it through Congress. Sen. Richard Russell's (Rule 52 - GA) Senate successfully bottled everything. LBJ assumed the reins and thought it his duty to complete his slain boss's legislative agenda. The "Master of the Senate" twisted arms, cajoled, threatened, horse-traded, &c. Pretty soon the JFK package was completed by LBJ.
Our current president has zero faculty for this. He never passed anything the Senate. He is bright enough that I am certain he understands the basics of how it works. But he has not one whiff of LBJ's knowledge of how it really works. As one who opposes most of his agenda, we're generally fortunate in this lacuna.
But this week I wanted him to win on Asian trade. And he muffed it. The WSJ Ed Page blames its failure completely on his bad governing style; I find myself in no mood to rush to his defense.
The 52-45 liberal blockade doesn't mean trade-promotion authority is dead. But preventing a setback from becoming a rout will require a Republican salvage operation to rescue Mr. Obama from the consequences of his governing methods.
Again, a bit of blue-on-blue usually calls for popcorn. And after watching President Reagan's Bergen-Belsen Speech on YouTube this weekend, hearing the world's greatest gorram orator saying "they're like whooping on me" is peculiar fun. But this is enabling the worst factions of both parties -- and damaging the economy.
Then again, maybe liberals got greedy as a result of Mr. Obama's own economics of resentment. He has spent six years demeaning the benefits of free markets--on taxes, entitlements, labor markets and much else--only to do a 180-reversal on trade. His liberal fellow-travellers have a point when they ask if this is the same Obama who denigrated free trade in 2008.
Dude can't even make me happy when he loses. Guess I am a hater.
UPDATE: Somebody say "Internecine?"
The White House is pushing back at the suggestion that President Barack Obama‘s pointed disagreements with Sen. Elizabeth Warren on trade were related to her gender -- publicly telling another prominent Democrat that he should apologize for the suggestion.
May 12, 2015
The Revolting Masses
Is what the ilk of BHO, and Hillary think, methinks, when they're not thinking of how pathetic we all are... except those who accept the greatness and inevitability of "them."
Happily, there are others more grounded, lucid and intelligent.
Case 1: The Revolt against the Masses, 2015, by Fred Siegel.
Case 2: The Revolt Against Masses and Other Essays, 2002 by Dr. Aaron Wildavsky
contains this juicy quote:
The revolutionaries of contemporary America do not seek to redistribute privilege from those who have it to those who do not. These radicals wish to arrange a transfer of power from those elites who now exercise it to another elite, namely, themselves, who do not.
Hat tip, Dr. Stephen Hayward, who had this great quote about Dr. Wildavsky
(yes, PowerLine, which I've taken to reading on my kindle to keep it from jiggering my browsers).
"Keep me from the real world"
Who says all the good artists are on the liberal-progressive side of the philosophical divide? Well, maybe these are too, but at least they aren't afraid to enter a place "where other people have a say."
Barack Obama's foreign policy strategy is suddenly coming into focus.
Quote of the Day
Penn Jillette watches the candidates' announcement videos so you don't have to:
Mike Huckabee: He has the best name. It's abbreviated "Huck" and that brings to mind one of my favorite books and it rhymes with my favorite word. He plays bass, he's pretty funny and he lost a lot of weight -- what's not to like? Everything else. Also not one word about ideas of government.
Not like his words for the others' are kind. Hat-tip: Matt Welch @ Reason
May 11, 2015
I've harped on illiberalism for some time now, and the irony that liberals still call themselves that at the same time as they endorse mandatory lifestyle choices from energy to toilets to running one's own business establishment. A respected liberal has now come out of the closet on the issue and criticized her own with How Liberals Ruined College:
Speech codes create a chilling environment where all it takes is one accusation, true or not, to ruin someone's academic career. The intent or reputation or integrity of the accused is of little import. If someone "perceives" you have said or acted in a racist way, then the bar for guilt has been met. If a person claims you caused them "harm" by saying something that offended them, case closed.
It is the Salem Witch Trials, 320-odd years later.
But who decides what's "offensive"? The illiberal left, of course.
Not just "degraded" or "tarnished" but "ruined."
This Orwellian climate of intimidation and fear chills free speech and thought. On college campuses it is particularly insidious. Higher education should provide an environment to test new ideas, debate theories, encounter challenging information, and figure out what one believes. Campuses should be places where students are able to make mistakes without fear of retribution. If there is no margin for error, it is impossible to receive a meaningful education.
May 10, 2015
Well, if they each used a computer to take [the SAT] a million times each day, and continued this every day for five billion years-- until the Sun expanded to a red giant and the Earth was charred to a cinder-- the chance of any of them ever getting a perfect score on just the math section would be about 0.0001 percent.
Firstly a shout out to my Facebook friends of all stripes who get so abused in this forum. Lacking an exciting new book to read, I put the call out and got some superb suggestions. My niece the librarian suggested What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. I took a peek and they had me at "From the creator of the wildly popular webcomic xkcd."
That would be Randall Munroe And -- like the comic strip -- he mixes science, snark, puerile humor and Firefly references. What's not to like for the median ThreeSourcer?
People ask unusual questions on his website and he answers them in this book. "What if you you started moving up at one foot per second, would you freeze or asphyxiate first?" "What if you tried to build a model of the Periodic chart out of the actual elements?" Things like that. I can't give you all the answers, but here's a taste:
The scholarly authorities on freezing to death seem to be, unsurprisingly, Canadians. The most widely used model for human survival in cold air was developed by Peter Tikuisis and John Frim for the Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine in Ontario.
You could stack the top two rows without much trouble.
Munroe has the research and science chops to do a credible job across many disciplines. There were a couple of times I'd've liked to ask a question, but I never felt he was "winging it."
Duke Ellington famously said "music is the space between the notes." And much of the joy (sorry, but I must use the N-word here) to nerds are the small asides Roughly estimating volume, which is something of a sport around here, Munroe points out that that a cubic kilometer and a sphere one mile across are similar. Next time we do oil or K-Cup refuse, that could come in handy.
Many of those gems litter this marvelous book, and quite a few of the solutions are interesting. But the humor holds it together and makes it worthwhile:
But I've never seen the Icarus story as a lesson about the limitations of humans. I see it as a lesson about the limitations of wax as an adhesive. The cold of Titan is just an engineering problem. With the right refitting, and the right heat sources, a Cessna 172 could fly on Titan-- and so could we.
Major fun. Five stars.
May 8, 2015
California Regulators: Falling Down on the Job of "managing private profit"
Can any ThreeSourcer believe that California regulators have been passing up opportunities to control a for-profit industry in California since around 1987? I was truly amazed to learn this. Perhaps the old codger who used to do it died before training his successor. But California environmentalists are on the case:
According to Adam Scow, California director of Food and Water Watch, the governor and state agencies could in theory disregard the legislature and act on the California constitution which bars "waste or unreasonable use" of the state's water supply.
Because... DROUGHT! "Endless drought" in fact.
Nestlé itself insists its water use is efficient and has minimal impact on the environment - something the activists reject out of hand.
But surely not as unconscionable as drawing a Mohammad cartoon. Right?
Please people. A little perspective is in order. Bottled water is measured in ounces and gallons. Irrigation and municipal water is measured in cubic feet per second and acre feet!
Nestlé and its competitors point out that bottled water accounts for a tiny fraction of California's overall use, particularly when compared with the state's vast agricultural infrastructure. Almond farming alone sucks down 10% of the state's water, at a rate of roughly one gallon per almond.
May 7, 2015
Trollin', Trollin', Trollin', Keep Those Doggies Trollin'...
One of the last bills to die an ignominious death on the last day of our State Legislature is a repeal of the Rain Barrel Ban; repeal would allow Centennial Staters to capture and store 110 Gallons of water from their roof.
DENVER -- Colorado's only-in-the-nation ban on backyard rain barrels is sticking around for another year.
A Facebook friend is displeased.
I put my contrarian's hat on, thanks to a talk with Brother jg's State Senator last month:
It was a purposeful appeal to authority, and the bad typing simply highlighted my passion. As Sheriff, Cooke led the charge against the bad gun bills. He is nobody's statist. This is, though, a "common sense" issue. I am definitely not making the sale in a crowd that is quite friendly to liberty.
Am I *gasp* wrong? Dozens of comments not shown are all against.
Did Somebody Say Boom?
If Ms. Fiorina is not at least the VP Candidate, I may leave the party. Like Insty says:"I like her. She fights."
MRC finds her scrapping with Katie Couric, the archetypical doyenne of establishment media:
Couric complained about Fiorina's criticism of Clinton: "You've had some unkind words for Hillary Clinton. You said that she was not trustworthy and she hasn't accomplished very much. I think people might think, 'Well, she was the senator from New York and she was the Secretary of State.'"
Couric then took some jabs at Fiorina's tenure at HP.
FIORINA: Well, you see, Katie, in the world I come from, a title is just a title. I mean, you went through a whole bunch of things about me as CEO. You weren't impressed with my title. Why are we so impressed with political titles? Senator is a title. Secretary of State is a title. It's a completely legitimate question to say, "What has anyone accomplished with their title?" And the truth is, there are many in the political class who haven't accomplished a whole lot, despite their titles.
Quote of the Day
The Atlantic's Peter Beinart had a piece yesterday titled "Don't Underestimate Bernie Sanders," in which he argues that Sanders could be the next Jerry Brown, Pat Buchanan, Howard Dean or Ron Paul. (The analogies, respectively, are to 1992, 1996, 2004 and 2012.) In other words, he could be another flash-in-the-pan loser, as opposed to one with no flash (cf, for instance, Tom Harkin, Dick Lugar, Joe Lieberman or Rick Perry). -- James Taranto
May 6, 2015
Friends of Free Speech
I've had the odd bad word for FOX, but:
Start a rumor that Tom Brady emailed Secretary Clinton about deflate-gate. Suddenly, we'll have media interest in that disk drive....
"Toto, I don't think we're in Denver anymore!"
Colorado Peak Politics - SHOCK: Qualified Newcomer Defeats Unqualified Political Crony for Denver Auditor
While Nevitt relied on fundraisers, establishment support, and the public backing of high-profile elected officials, O'Brien simply ran a bootstrapped campaign where he explained his qualifications and differences between he and Nevitt to any voter who would listen.
Just when you thought the advance of world socialism and the self-serving crony government Leviathan is invincible, something like this comes along and ruins your whole dystopian future worldview. What's a tinfoil hat wearer to do?
"I'm concerned about the America you would have us live in."
This requires no explanation or embellishment. Megyn is correct, without exception.
Interesting, ThreeSources-ish argument in today's Morning Jolt [subscribe]. Jim Geraghty asks "How Much Can a President Shape America's Culture?"
Stephen Miller contended that Barack Obama is indeed the most powerful figure in American culture right now, and that if you don't like where our culture is going, it is impossible to change direction without a dramatically different figure in the Oval Office.
I tipped my hat in the headline. As Dr. Ben Carson and ThreeSources-fave Gov. Mike Huckabee (Bass - AR) enter the 2016 GOP field, I think the party faces the George W Bush question: do we want government to butt out or to promote the things we like.
It's easy to give a reflexive libertarian answer -- especially after Gov. Huckabee's name is invoked -- but in the wake of the cultural devastation of two terms of President Obama, I can see the appeal.
May 5, 2015
Loan with a lease option of as much as 99 years, to a good 3src home.
Okay, I'll surely want Sowell back, and perhaps Buckley!
Swallow Your Coffee
This is so frickken' hilarious, I fear you'll violate your keyboard's electrical integrity.
I think that's the laziest shortcut to ad hominem humor of all time.
UPDATE: I perhaps should have not responded...
No, Not From 'The Onion'
Do not read the article linked below. It comes as close as I will ever find to something that is guaranteed to make your head explode. I read it, but I have trained myself how to remain completely objective. I am able to control the violent outbursts that such articles typically provoke from free men. I will select a few items to excerpt but DON'T CLICK THROUGH. You have been warned.
Although it’s controversial, it seems that Swift and Brighouse are philosophically inching their way to a novel accommodation for a weathered institution ever more in need of a rationale for existing. The bathwater might be going out, but they’re keen to hold on to the baby.
The "weathered institution" with, apparently, no further purpose in human life? The family.
'Politicians love to talk about family values, but meanwhile the family is in flux and so we wanted to go back to philosophical basics to work out what are families for and what's so great about them and then we can start to figure out whether it matters whether you have two parents or three or one, or whether they're heterosexual etcetera.'
They don't want to eliminate families, you see, they merely want to plan them for us. It's for the social good. When left to their own devices, too many parents have this distasteful and anti-social tendency to aid their children. And since parents are unequal, children will develop unequally.
'What we realised we needed was a way of thinking about what it was we wanted to allow parents to do for their children, and what it was that we didn't need to allow parents to do for their children, if allowing those activities would create unfairnesses for other people's children'.
"We" certainly can't continue to "allow" that! At least not according to the British philosophers Adam Swift and Harry Brighouse who are quoted here. No word yet whether the rest of the animal kingdom will follow suit and intentionally retard its own evolutionary progress.
Quote of the Day
Jim Geraghty looks at the events in Garland, TX and wonders whether "we have invented jihadist flypaper?"
Think about it. These guys had to know the event would be guarded. These guys had to know that the event is going on in Texas, meaning that a lot of attendees and passers-by would be armed. Heck it's Texas. Everybody's armed. The former governor, Rick Perry, shot a coyote while jogging. -- Jim Geraghty
May 4, 2015
Going from annoyance to extreme dislike
Of this preening, cronyist asshole:
UPDATE: I lashed out. I wish I had not posted a personal attack. If what he presents is true. it sounds great. Color me skeptical of his claims, and all too prepared for a Gazillion dollar subsidy required to launch his plan. Most worrisome is the closing line "We Can. We Must. We Will." I'd like to ask something about "should."
Ridin' the Blinds
Who doesn't love a train song? Here's Robert Johnson's (heavily borrowed from Son House's) Walking Blues:
Well, leave this mornin' if I have to, whoa, ride the blinds
When I hear the phrase "don't mind dyin'" I always think of Joe Biden's being our nation's Vice President. But he is also associated with Amtrak for his regular ridership.
Kevin Williamson at NR gets on a train which is expecting the Scrappy Veep from Scranton PA. Hilarity ensues:
A lumbering agent of vice-presidential security seated himself next to me and fiddled with his BlackBerry, because apparently they still make BlackBerrys and the Secret Service uses them, God help us all.
You'll kinda wanna read the whole thing.
Bill Whittle on Progressivism
Bill Whittle can be too heavy-handed. But I enjoyed a bit of digital mass today:
Too partisan? Sue me.
Quote of the Day
Heartening too has been the press reaction to Chipotle. Mother Jones pointed out that "GMOs are totally safe," while Gizmodo.com pronounced the company's position "some anti-Science pandering bull-expletive." An L.A. Times op-ed by two scientists stated, "More than two decades of research indicate that GMOs are not only safe for humans and the environment, but also contribute to global sustainability and poverty alleviation."
May 3, 2015
However, the life of hunters and gatherers faced a fundamental and ultimately unanswerable challenge. Hunter-gatherer societies led essentially parasitic lives. That is, they did not add anything to the nature-given supply of goods. They only depleted the supply of goods. They did not produce (apart from a few tools) but only consumed. They did not grow and breed but had to wait for nature to regenerate and replenish. At best, what they accomplished was that they did not overhunt or overgather so that the natural regeneration process was not disturbed or even brought to an entire standstill. In any case, what this form of parasitism obviously involved, then, was the inescapable problem of population growth.I have a Hans Hermann-Hoppe T-Shirt. Very cool. Silhouetted top-hat guy with the phrase "Privatize Everything" in all caps. That's the best bumper-sticker version of anarchy I can imagine. And my respect for Hoppe is nearly boundless; he is an original thinker and clear writer.
His A Short History of Man: Progress and Decline is a good book. The resource-constrained will appreciate its being available on Kindle for $3.99 and that you can read it in one sitting. Beyond that, it has some interesting things to say.
In the first part, Hoppe takes Deirdre McCloskey's "The Fact" straight on. What allowed a species -- after hundreds of thousands of years -- to move from a purely animal existence to mastery of its environment. I do love the term parasitic -- what a divine dysphemism for the crunchy-granola primitivism my Boulder friends think they want.
I collect suggestions on what enabled that and Hoppe comes through. As the species was pushed into less hospitable climes, survival required understanding patterns and seasons. Evolution kicked in, and at last homo sapiens smart enough to build and staff a DMV hit the planet.
In the northernmost regions, with long and deadly winters, provisions of food, clothing, shelter, and heating had to be made that would last through most of a year or beyond. Planning had to be in terms of years, instead of days or months. As well, in pursuit of seasonally and widely migrating animals, extensive territories had to be traversed, requiring exceptional skills of orientation and navigation. Only groups intelligent enough on average to generate exceptional leaders who possessed such superior intellectual skills and abilities were rewarded with success-- survival and procreation.
Interesting. I wonder that earlier false-start enlightenments in Italy and China contradict this. Evolution is messy business, perhaps not.
The next step is more difficult for me. Escaping Malthusian limits enables a State. For the Rothbardian Hoppe, that is not welcome news.
All this changes with the Industrial Revolution. For if productivity gains continuously outstrip population increases and allow for a steady increase in per capita incomes, then an exploitative institution such as the State can continuously grow without lowering per capita income and reducing the population number. The State then becomes a permanent drag on the economy and per capita incomes.
Three-fourths through, and I am still essentially bought in. Evolutionary intelligence underpinning the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution seems possible; certainly bad governments since have impeded development. But then, as all anarchists must, Hoppe takes the leap into utopianism -- starting with a fact I suggest to be demonstrably false:
Moreover, a new level and quality of violence was introduced into society. To be sure, violence had characterized the relationship between men from the beginning of history. But violence, aggression, is costly, and until the development of the institution of a State, an aggressor had to bear the full cost associated with aggression himself. Now, however, with a state-king in place, the costs of aggression could be externalized onto third parties (tax-payers and draftees) and accordingly aggression, or more specifically imperialism, i.e., attempts of aggressively, through war and conquest, enlarging one's territory and one's subject population, increased correspondingly.
I had to swallow hard at Steven Pinker's assertion [Review Corner] of the opposite: all this non-violence we enjoy is a gift of Leviathan. Where I wanted to push back, Pinker made substantive cases backed up with data. In the end, I remain a "minarchist" (Go Nozick!) and, as I question Hoppe on the Peloponnese, I'll ask Pinker to explain Communism.
No. Not sold on anarchy. But it's a very good book and at four stars for $3.99 represents an exceptional value.
May 2, 2015
Then he described how he and some Bloods had stood in front of black-owned stores to protect them from looting or vandalism. He said they had made sure no black children, or reporters, were hit by rioters. They pointed them toward Chinese- and Arab-owned stores.
So it isn't peace qua peace they were after, it was an end to black on black violence. That's fine of course, even laudable, but not when it is replaced with violence against others.
This got me thinking about the #BlackLivesMatter meme. It is ambiguous, and I think intentionally so, as to whether black lives matter too or black lives matter more. According to blacklivesmatter.com, it seems to be the latter.
The call for Black lives to matter is a rallying cry for ALL Black lives striving for liberation.
Where have we heard of black liberation? From Reverend Jeremiah Wright, from James Cone, the founder of Black Liberation Theology, and from Cornell West, who integrated it with Marxism in his 1979 essay, "Black Theology and Marxist Thought."
In his book Prophesy Deliverance, West believes that by working together, Marxists and black theologians can spearhead much-needed social change for those who are victims of oppression. He appreciates Marxism for its "notions of class struggle, social contradictions, historical specificity, and dialectical developments in history" that explain the role of power and wealth in bourgeois capitalist societies. A common perspective among Marxist thinkers is that bourgeois capitalism creates and perpetuates ruling-class domination -- which, for black theologians in America, means the domination and victimization of blacks by whites. America has been over run by "White racism within mainstream establishment churches and religious agencies," writes West.
The actions and policies of President Obama that appear to harm whites, and rich whites in particular, are suddenly much more understandable. But to what end? Truly helping black people? Genuinely leading them to a lasting prosperity? Hardly.
Black Liberation Theology, originally intended to help the black community, may have actually hurt many blacks by promoting racial tension, victimology, and Marxism which ultimately leads to more oppression. As the failed "War on Poverty" has exposed, the best way to keep the blacks perpetually enslaved to government as "daddy" is to preach victimology, Marxism, and to seduce blacks into thinking that upward mobility is someone else's responsibility in a free society.
In the interest of thoroughness it must also be mentioned that the equally vocal demands of the "LBGT Movement" are a part of the exact same drive for "much needed social change." But it isn't the rights of blacks or gays that is the end goal - it is an egalitarian socialist society where there are no rich people, unless they are either non-white or in positions of government power, or both.
So whenever you see #BlackLivesMatter you should read #FromEachAccordingToHisAbility-ToEachAccordingToHisNeed.
And if you truly want to help advance the interests of black people and gay people, keep reminding them that they have individual rights despite government, not from or because of government.