Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Is the Catholic Church pro-human trafficking?—Wednesday, February 19th, 2020
No sanctuary without walls

Last August, the Deacon at our church gave the sermon, and in a list of bad things, he included “immigration control” and immediately followed it with “human trafficking”. Both were things we need to fight and pray against.

This is very common among Church officials today. Bishops ask us to oppose human trafficking, and then in the next interview—or the next breath—ask us to let everyone cross the border without any questions or barriers, and disparage attempts to verify that those crossing the border are who they say they are and are not human traffickers.

This is obviously, completely, crazy. There is no getting rid of human trafficking if we don’t control it at the border. Being against immigration control is necessarily being in favor of allowing human trafficking to flourish within the illegal immigration community. How can any law be enforced at the border without immigration control? How can a lack of immigration control, or twisting immigration control to require no proof of parenthood, age, or persecution do anything but encourage human trafficking, sex offenders, and persecutors to cross the border and continue harming their victims?1

This is not a Holy Mystery. It’s dangerously close to a pagan belief in the power of good intentions, a magical thinking that if you appease the spirits of the world you have acted sufficiently.

The wide road is easier to walk; the narrow road requires judgement. But we are being asked by the Church to take the wide road. That even though human trafficking is bad, showing judgement about who is and is not a human trafficker is worse. That even though refusing sanctuary is bad, showing judgement about who needs sanctuary and who causes the need for sanctuary is worse. That is the wide road. The narrow road requires judgement.

Sanctuary is a Catholic word, but the Catholic Church seems to have forgotten what it means. It isn’t sanctuary when you let in the persecutors with the persecuted. It isn’t sanctuary when you release children into the hands of human traffickers. It isn’t sanctuary when you reward and encourage rapists and others who prey on the vulnerable.2 It is insane that the Catholic Church, long the source of sanctuary in the world, would redefine sanctuary to mean its opposite.

Sanctuary requires hard choices, and there is no evidence that Church officials, or the border charities that the Church supports, are making those choices.

The left doesn’t believe red flag laws stop crime—Wednesday, February 5th, 2020
Red Flag Flamingos

Red flag laws have got to be one of the stupidest ideas to come out of the left since banning firearms based on what they look like—unless the left isn’t sincere about who these laws are meant to target. Red flag laws don’t make sense. Not if you take them at face value.

Even given the assumption that lawmakers on the left are being sincere, these laws are another example of the left blaming the weapon rather than the criminal. Here they have a person they think is going to kill lots of people, and they’re so afraid this person is going to kill lots of people that they want to take that person’s firearms immediately.1

And then, specifically and deliberately, their law leaves the person free to kill lots of people with other firearms, or other weapons entirely such as gasoline, bombs, poison, and vehicles.

The more cynical take is that the left is more interested in ways to take away our guns than in stopping actual mass murder.

Because there are ways to keep criminals from committing murder. Most of the red flags that we learn about after a mass murder is committed are actual criminal acts that should have resulted in putting or keeping the criminal in jail.

Paying attention to those red flags would have kept the murderer from committing the murders that the left uses to justify red flag laws.

The real concern of gun control

Other red flags are symptoms of serious mental problems for which there are already laws in place for committing the person to restricted care.

That also would keep them from actually committing the murders.

But the red flags that the left enshrines into law aren’t flags at all. They’re just one person complaining about another person, sometimes even anonymously. It’s Facebook social dysfunction brought into the real world.

Red flag laws are yet another example of criminals committing crimes, and the left wanting to take self-defense weapons away from everyone else.

They are yet another example of the left looking at laws not being enforced—criminals allowed to go free—and wanting more laws against the law-abiding rather than enforcing the laws that would have stopped the criminals.

Epstein didn’t kill himself, and other tales of the swamp—Wednesday, December 4th, 2019
Epstein didn’t kill himself

You’ve probably heard all of the unbelievable coincidences surrounding Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide. Cameras not working, inexplicably quick removal from suicide watch1, guards sleeping on the job, fellow inmate removed.

It’s not surprising that people are creating a conspiracy theory around it. It’s incomprehensible that any organization could be that incompetent. In a sense, conspiracy theories like this are an example of how much trust we still have in government. We trust it to be basically competent, and therefore assume there must have been a deeper reason for the apparent screwup.

The problem, however, is that this was a government institution, and government institutions are that incompetent every day. It’s standard operating procedure for government programs. It’s what government bureaucrats do to all of us. There is nothing unbelievable about it. The same forces that make DMV offices into a shining example of government competency, and that encourage VA officials to falsify documents with no repercussions—except for the dead veterans—also work on prisons.2

The common rejoinder to the incompetence theory is that nobody’s been fired for incompetence. But that also is common practice among government organizations. It’s only in the private sector3 that employees are fired for gross incompetence. In government jobs, they’re promoted, or sidelined but continue to collect paychecks and benefits.4

One of many reasons that conspiracy theories are so compelling is that it’s always more comfortable to believe in a competent government than an incompetent one. But government bureaucracies are never competent over the long-term. At best, they don’t become blatantly corrupt. Given the necessity of government bureaucracy, we’d prefer that they be DMVs rather than VAs.

A free market in union representation—Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

I tend to disagree with most conservatives about unions. For one, they tend to lump all unions together; but there is a huge difference between real unions, who negotiate with owners on behalf of their employee members for more money and better conditions from the owners, and government unions, who negotiate with employees on behalf of other employees for more money from taxpayers. This is critical, because real unions have an incentive to make sure that the business their members work in stays competitive. There is no such incentive for government unions. Both ends of the table are negotiating with other people’s money.

Outside of government unions, however, the problem with unions is that they are set up as monopolies. Monopolies tend toward maintaining their monopoly rather than providing better service to the people forced to buy from them.

When people have a choice about what services they buy and who they buy it from, when services must compete, the people paying for those services are better off. They receive better service at a better price. When a service has a monopoly, when people are forced to buy that service and forced to buy it from one provider, the service always suffers, and badly. Worse, the people buying the service have no idea what they’re missing.

People had no idea what they were missing under AT&T's monopoly. Or under airline monopolies.1 Or electrical power monopolies. In every case so far, removal of government-sponsored monopolies in favor of choices has resulted in better products, better services, and better prices2. Even though in every case, many people complained that the change would be for the worse, that in this case a monopoly was necessary. They couldn’t see the benefits behind the forest of their fears.

There’s no reason to expect union monopolies to be any different. We have no idea what we’re missing because unions are monopolies. But history tells us that what we’re missing will be so amazing we won’t be able to remember how we lived without it once the monopoly ends.

Conservatives who oppose all unions instead of just government unions make the same mistake from the other end. They recognize how bad union monopolies are for workers, but have no idea what a healthy free market in union services would do for workers or the economy.

Why is it so difficult to hold schools accountable?—Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
Round Rock High School report card

This is part of what a Texas school accountability rating looks like.

Thinking about the backhanded Occupy Democrat campaign for school choice reminded me that back in January, I was at a presentation where Monty Exter of the Association of Texas Professional Educators, expressed confusion about why it is so difficult to tell when a teacher is doing well compared to other industries. At the same time, he complained about relying on standardized tests to measure student outcome, in order to determine whether the teachers are teaching well.

Of course, the reason it’s harder to acknowledge merit in education compared to other industries is that parents cannot pull their dollars from a failing school and transfer them to a successful school.

There are a lot of teachers who complain, justifiably, about too much paperwork, especially standardized tests. They’re a one-size-fits-all mechanism that can’t be customized to the classroom or the student.

But failing the ability to do what they’d do for any other industry failing their children—switch to someone who isn’t failing—parents will demand some form of testing. Testing is a substitute for accountability. Accountability can only come when students and parents are free to take their money and go elsewhere. But because parents don’t have that choice, they ask for substitutes. Testing tries to simulate accountability in a monopoly. Unless you want to give parents the ability to fire public school teachers, standardized testing is the only substitute for choice.

The reason parents demand one-size-fits-all testing is that school administrators and union administrators demand one-size-fits-all schools. Parents can’t choose where to send their kids without paying twice, so they demand some other form of accountability. Sadly, simulating accountability in government schools will probably work about as well as simulating accountability in government health care. It is very difficult to ensure that a monopoly is accountable. Monopolies cater to the bureaucrats who control the checkbook, not the taxpayers who pay into it. As with doctors and hospitals, only choice makes schools accountable. Only pluralistic schools are accountable, and they are accountable because they are accountable directly to the parents. In a system of choice, it is the parents who control the money.

This is what accountability looks like: I hire the school to teach my children. If they don’t do a good job teaching my children I fire them and hire someone else.

Anything less than school choice is unfair—Wednesday, October 9th, 2019
Occupy Democrats: Why We Need School Choice

Even Occupy Democrats sees how unfair it is to deny school choice.

The unfairness of government monopolies is impossible to deny. The latest Occupy Democrats meme to hit my Facebook feed decries the unfairness of putting a mother in jail for the crime of… exercising school choice.

According to Occupy Democrats, Tanya McDowell went to jail for five years because she lied about her district in order to get her child into a better school.

Ignore for the moment that the real reason McDowell went to jail is for selling drugs. Under conservative proposals for school choice, their hypothetical McDowell wouldn’t have had to lie about where she lived to send her child to a better school. Lying about her address would never have had to be a part of that plea bargain. Even as a homeless person she could have sent her child to whatever district she wanted, and her child’s portion of school funds would have followed that choice.

The choice of district is one of the simplest forms of school choice that conservatives support.

The unfairness of our current government-run school system is so obvious that even the far left, pro-big-government, Occupy Democrats can’t resist using it to highlight the blatant racism of the system.

Because it is blatantly racist. Whenever Democrats criminalize school choice, they’re always criminalizing the choice of underserved communities, the choice of poorer parents, the choice of minority children. When Democrats shut down school choice options, they are almost always school choice options that save predominantly minority communities from failing schools.

It wasn’t Republicans who cancelled the DC Voucher program. It was Democrats, under President Obama—who sent his own children to a very expensive private school.

It’s Democrats who keep criminalizing school choice, who trap children in failing schools, who continually force parents to throw good money after bad instead of allowing parents to choose what school best fits their children. Instead of letting parents decide. The hardest thing for politicians to do is to let us make our own decisions. It is the nature of politics that politicians think they know better than us what we need; making our choices for us is why they got into politics.

And eventually, they always end up pointing a gun at us to force us to make the choice they think we should make. They always end up putting us in jail for disagreeing with their choices for us.

What the f*** is wrong with Americans?—Wednesday, September 4th, 2019
Have some fucking decency

Pretty sure decency also involves not assuming people have something “fucking wrong with them” just because they disagree with you on the best way of providing quality health care.

There is something obscenely wrong with you if you disagree with the left. You’re not a decent f***ing human being unless you support the Canadian health care system of long waits and no choices.

What the fuck is wrong with Americans who aren’t on board with free healthcare. I’m Canadian and I don’t care that I pay extra taxes so a little boy in Alberta can have open heart surgery, or an elderly man in Nova Scotia can get the heart medication he desperately needs. It’s called taking care of your people. I’m glad I pay so that people can have a good quality of life. It’s called being a decent fucking human being.

The left used to use Britain’s National Health Care as an example of caring for other people. But with two recent high profile examples of literally keeping patients—children—under armed guard to keep them from leaving the system, I’m not surprised they’ve given up that example. Before that they used to praise the Veterans Administration’s government-run health care. They turned on a dime, albeit a large one, when the immense corruption at the VA became public, and the veterans who died because of delayed medical treatment. I received political mailings for a few weeks claiming (correctly) that single payer would be just like VA-care before that reference went the way of the dodo.

Neither of those institutions did a good job “taking care of their people”. Despite the massive taxes required to pay for those government services. People who have to interact with the VA and the NHS have far from “a good quality of life”.

What the fuck is wrong with Americans is that we do not want armed guards forbidding us from choosing our doctor when the government-provided doctor fails us.

The VA and the NHS are exactly what happens with monopolistic health care. Corruption and long waits, refusing to allow challenges to the system. Now the only place remaining for the left to praise is Canada. It’s not a great choice, but the only other option would be admitting they’re wrong.

While the left thinks anyone who disagrees with the left has something the fuck wrong with them, I have never seen anyone on the right in the United States complain about British National Health Care, or Canadian Health, unless someone else has tried to force the same system on us. If other people want to try different systems, that’s their business. Most people don’t care if other people want to do something stupid. They care when other people try to convince them that stupid is smart and anything other than stupid is evil. We know that the next step is forcing stupid on everyone.

The media’s Trump hatred causes mass murder—Wednesday, August 14th, 2019
Trump-inspired killings

Why are the actions of a deranged environmentalist, worried that too many people harm the Earth—the El Paso killer—blamed on President Trump? The “current climate of hate legitimized by the MAGA ethic” is so much a part of the religion of the left that asking for examples is an insult to intelligence. Here’s what one person in my Facebook feed said when someone else questioned the left’s religion by pointing out that “Trump has outwardly, formally, and officially on several occasions announced his stand against all hate groups. Burning a church does not help to Make America Great Again, so no, it was not a MAGA inspired event.”

I have a very informed opinion about what is going on in this country. The flames of bigotry and hate are being fueled and condoned by Trump. I won’t insult your intelligence by citing the numerous documented instances. Bottom line for me; You as a minority supporting this man is akin to a victim of child abuse listening to MJ.

This is extreme condescension, and emblematic of the way the left infantilizes anyone who disagrees with them. The attempt to shame a minority into returning to the left’s plantation. Disagreement among the groups they feel they own is especially appalling to the white left; when they lose control over their subject identity groups it’s like a child abuser losing access to their victims. They lash out.

But there’s also the dig about insulting your intelligence. Realizing that just about every “numerous documented instance” turned out to be a hoax, I asked for an example. He posted two.

The anti-Trump (at best) New Zealand Christchurch killer. And the anti-Trump synagogue shooter here in the United States.1

Those are two very good examples of how blind hatred of Trump is at best self-defeating and at worst is fueling the deadly hatred the left claims to oppose. Blaming Trump for fueling those killings is coming out unequivocally in favor of hatred. The only way Trump or any political leader could have adjusted their speech to appease the synagogue shooter or the New Zealand shooter would have been to engage in hate.

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