Mimsy Were the Borogoves

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

The new barbarism: A return to feudalism

Jerry Stratton, February 6, 2019

Frederick Douglass: Slavery is barbarism: “Slavery is barbarism. Above all else it dreads the presence of civilization.”; slavery; civilization; Frederick Douglass

Imagine you’re an aspiring novelist who has left communist China, only to have your voice shut down by bullies inside what was supposed to be the free opposite of communism. It’s a heart-breaking story about finger nanny bullying. In many ways, bemoaning the barbarous nature of letting in persecutors along with refugees, of providing sanctuary to illegal immigrants who kill legal immigrants, is partly irrelevant. The progressive elite, the people Thomas Sowell calls the anointed, denigrate civilization just as much or more inside our borders. The establishment, mostly on the left but often on the collegiate right, doesn’t seem to realize that without civilization there is no United States. They don’t seem to realize what civilization even is.

Shortly after the American revolution, the Marquis de Lafayette wrote to his friends that “Humanity has gained its suit; Liberty will nevermore be without an asylum.” Without walls, that asylum will fail.

The no-borders mindset causes war. When you are a citizen of the world, why wouldn’t you be entitled to those oil fields a few countries over? It is no coincidence that the first World War was started by what had until then been the darling of the anointed, Germany’s so-called scientific state. It was anything but scientific. It was the same kind of barbarism that the left wants to force on us today.

The progress of progressives is retrograde, a return to barbarism. Sanctuary means fighting child sex trafficking, not enabling it by allowing traffickers to claim “family”. The left does not want to provide sanctuary. Sanctuary is provided by walls. They don’t want people in distressed communities to defend themselves or be defended. They talk up sanctuary while denigrating the border patrol, ICE, police, the military, every organization that provides sanctuary. Their actions make much more sense if you assume their goal is to force dependence and feudalism.

“Slavery,” wrote Frederick Douglass in The Constitution of the United States, “is essentially barbarous in its character. It, above all things else, dreads the presence of an advanced civilization.”

The same is true of dependence and those who promote it. Freedom is not normal. Slavery is normal. Encouraging dependence is promoting barbarism over civilization.

From anti-self-defense laws that put the individual at the mercy of violent mobs, to redistribution of property, which puts the individual at the mercy of greedy mobs, the progressive anointed act as if they have no idea what civilization is.

They justify mob violence against political opponents, then rile the mobs to violence, and even refuse to let their opponents call a mob a mob. They are barbaric.

Policies and attitudes that make it impossible for individuals to start businesses or hire more employees, that destroy entry-level jobs, lock people into their current status, or even force them into lower statuses they cannot escape. Their policies force reliance on partisan patronage. Patronage for education, self-defense, and economic necessities. This is, of course, the opposite of civilization; it is a return to feudalism.

Your city under Democrats: What a city run by Democrats for decades looks like.; Democrats; Detroit

Your city under progressive rule.

A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly. — Marko Kloos (why the gun is civilization)

Compassionate laws tend to be of this type: restricting what free people can do to protect themselves against muggers, pretending that they’re restricting what muggers will do. Civilization requires acknowledging that muggers don’t obey the law in the first place.

A humanitarian is always a hypocrite, and Kipling’s understanding of this is perhaps the central secret of his power to create telling phrases… He sees clearly that men can only be highly civilized while other men, inevitably less civilized, are there to guard and feed them. — George Orwell (Rudyard Kipling)

Orwell was right about the hypocrisy, but wrong about what civilization is. The left likes to pretend that they are the party of civilization, the party of the arts, painting, museums, music, zoos. But that’s not civilization. It is the artifacts of civilization. Civilization makes these things possible. Destroy the foundations of civilization and the fine arts cannot survive.

Civilization is not compassion; compassion is possible because of civilization. Too many people believe that we should interpret laws based not on what they say but on what the judge feels is fair for them to mean. That laws no longer need to be changed because they can be reinterpreted on the whim of compassionate judges and benevolent Presidents or bureaucratic czars. But philosopher-kings are barbarism, and government compassion is an oxymoron. Government is never compassionate. Government is bureaucratic, and everything good gets lost in the gears of the bureaucracy. Compassion is only possible when individuals are left free to be compassionate.

Is the power who is jealous of our prosperity, a proper power to govern us? — Thomas Paine (Common Sense)

The establishment is acting very much like the British that Thomas Paine talked about. They are more and more jealous of people who take it in their own hands to be compassionate, rather than leave the government free to create dependency.

The establishment cries that we must do something, and that those who oppose doing something, even if that something is counter-productive, are in favor of doing nothing. But that nothing is often civilization. It is the nothing that Sowell notes has taken hundreds of years to create.

Where government restricts its economic role to that of an enforcer of laws and contracts, some people say that such a policy amounts to “doing nothing.” However, what is called “nothing” has often taken centuries to achieve—namely, a reliable framework of laws, within which economic activity can flourish, and without which even vast riches in natural resources may go unused and the people remain much poorer than they need to be. — Thomas Sowell (Basic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy)

Best guess: Democratic cities: Google’s doesn’t know where this image comes from, but does know that it represents a city under Democrats.; Google; Democrats

Amusing: trying to find out what this image represents, Google didn’t know, but did realize it must be Democrat-run.

Much of what goes on in schools today is uncivilized. No space for hate, bias response teams, the entire culture of finger nannies, this is barbarism. Designating some speech hate speech, shouting down speech you disagree with, this is barbarism, literally so. It is Orwell’s Animal Farm sheep. Discouraging schools from disciplining students is barbaric both on its face and because it creates dependency—it breeds fear, just as denying sanctuary to legal immigrants by letting their persecutors in illegally breeds fear.

The Parkland murders weren’t an accidental side-effect of fake government compassion. It is what fake government compassion inevitably leads to.

This very obvious fact—that each generation is taught by an earlier generation—must be kept very firmly in mind… The moment we forget this we begin to talk nonsense about education. — C. S. Lewis (On the Transmission of Christianity)

The presumption of innocence itself is civilization. The insane mob-like allegations against Justice Kavanaugh, or the even more mob-like ganging up on the Covington boys, was literally barbaric. Pretending to take seriously an obvious lie that someone you don’t like attempted rape, and using that to destroy them, is barbarism. There is nothing out of the ordinary about it, and nothing civilized. It is the way people naturally act when not constrained by civilization. You can especially see it strewn about the history of slave-owning cultures. #BelieveHer is the same barbarism that led to lynchings in the old Democrat South.

The left tells us more and more that free speech is outdated—that the government ought to define some things that not only are illegal to say but that make the speaker a valid target for violence. You can’t get more barbaric than that.

Government by coercion is barbarism. Civilization is defined by how little coercion the government relies on. The police power of a free nation relies on people believing in civilization. The less people believe in civilization, the more they expect the government to use its police power to coerce their neighbors, the more police are needed to maintain the safety of the anointed. Everyone else is left to fend for themselves, after first being disarmed into feudalism. When the rabble complain about unfair treatment, their complaints are derided as whataboutism rather than valid complaints about basic fairness.

Progressivism’s defining flaw is its confusion and/or dishonesty about what exactly we are supposed to be progressing toward. — William Voegeli (Racism, Revised)

There’s an old joke about democracy, that the first thing a democracy votes for is a dictatorship. But the same is true of a Republic once politicians and voters do not understand the importance of respecting their neighbors’ freedoms.

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded—here and there, now and then—are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.” — Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love)

December 13, 2023: Illinois Nazis and Lincoln’s Democrats
Lincoln: I hate Illinois Nazis: Lincoln monument, “I hate Illinois Nazis.”; Illinois; National Socialism; Nazis; Abraham Lincoln; memes

He really did. He just had a different name for them.

I’ve quoted Thomas Sowell many times on this blog about the anointed, and how they believe that saying something is true is more important than whether it is true—that, in fact, saying it makes it true.

A few years ago in Illinois there was a Nazi running for office in a Democrat-dominated district. The district was pretty much one hundred percent Democrat, to the point where Republicans don’t even bother to run an opponent. So this guy told the State of Illinois that he was a Republican, in order to get on the ballot unopposed; Republicans pointed out that he was not, in fact, a Republican, but under Illinois election rules the Republican Party had no say in who ran as a Republican.

Illinois is also an open-primary state. This means that none of the people voting for this guy in his nearly 100% Democrat district were Republicans either.

In other words: this was not a Republican primary. This was not a Republican candidate. These were not Republican voters. And the candidate was not going to win in the general election against the official Democrat nominee anyway.

But the left wanted the Republican Party to take money from actual Republicans in Illinois to fight this guy. In order to fight an extreme Democrat in an extreme Democrat district, Democrats tried to force Republicans to spend money donated by Republicans to support the official Democrat against the unofficial Nazi, also supported by Democrats.

This is part of why we have such a dysfunctional political system, and why third parties have such a hard time taking hold. They have to defend themselves in venues they aren’t part of and have neither candidates nor voters in.

The Democrat’s plan was a win for hate. Either the Republicans raise a Nazi’s profile by competing against him, or the Democrats raise a Nazi’s profile by promoting him as a Republican.

When it was pointed out that raising his profile at all was a waste of money, because the guy wasn’t going to win, the Left claimed that there was money “earmarked for the Republican party’s race in that district”—a district and a contest that Republicans had never competed in before and hadn’t planned to compete in now—and that money would go to waste if it wasn’t used.

That’s a purely leftist notion: there is money in the air and we need to spend it now! Or it’s gone! There’s no reason to save it for a contest where it matters, or move it to a contest that matters. Effectiveness doesn’t matter, spending money is what matters. Money that isn’t spent doesn’t exist. Money that’s saved doesn’t exist.

November 15, 2023: The Destruction of Title IX
Apocryphal Milton Friedman: Women’s Sports: Put the government in charge of women’s sports, and in fifty years you’ll have a shortage of… women and sports.; sports; war on women; Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman is apocryphally thought to have said that if you put the government in charge of the desert, in fifty years you’d end up with a shortage of sand.

Title IX passed on June 23, 1972. Last year was its fiftieth anniversary. Friedman would not be surprised that a government program meant to protect the right of women to compete against each other in sports, now protects the right of men to dominate women.

Put the government in charge of women’s sports, and in fifty years you’ll have a shortage of… women and sports.

You’ll have government bureaucrats driving women out of women’s sports and replacing them with men. Forcing young women to accept men exposing themselves in women’s bathrooms and locker rooms. Injuring women and beating them in contact sports. Raping women in prisons.

These males are not even attempting to pass as females, and there’s a good reason for this. Puberty blockers don’t turn a boy into a girl (or a girl into a boy). They interfere with and even stop the natural processes that children must go through to remain healthy. They irreversibly stunt their natural development from children into adults. They mutilate children and create mutilated adults.

So, it’s obvious why, not required to take these drugs, the men pretending to be women don’t. They’re dangerous.

But more importantly—to the boys and men attempting to compete against women—these drugs would reduce their ability to dominate women. They would reduce their ability to win in these sports.

It’s so obvious what’s going on that its supporters have to resort to silencing everyone with an audience who points it out. From J.K. Rowling to Margaret Atwood, it doesn’t matter how reliably left you are, if you point out the “men who beat women up and the corporations that support them.”

Or ask, “why can’t we say ‘woman’ anymore?” instead of “pregnant person” or “people with uteruses”.

“Gender-affirming care” is one of those opposite words that the left uses so well. It’s not gender-affirming, it’s gender-destroying. And like all of their opposite words, when it fails and kills children, they blame it on someone else.

When they can’t blame it on someone else, they pretend it doesn’t happen. Despite all the evidence of our eyes, they pretend that men do not dominate in women’s contact sports, do not injure women when they take part in contact sports.

They deny that a program to protect women now exposes women, including minors, to abusers, in bathrooms, dressing rooms, and on the playing field.

March 29, 2023: The Modern Lobotomy: Whitewashing Child Mutilation
Gender and hair: “Gender is not a hair length. It cannot be changed with scissors.”; Ace of Spades; child mutilation; youth transgender surgery

One of the worst sins of popular medicine in the twentieth century was the lobotomy. There was no science to it. It was a fad initiated by quacks that caught on through media manipulation, lies, and fear. The evidence in favor of it was mostly fabricated, and what little was not outright fabricated from nothing was fabricated via the worst kind of data manipulation. Practitioners combined fear with promises of rosy futures that would never materialize to convince people to subject their loved ones to a lobotomy.

This barbaric practice was widely promoted through media campaigns, and one “pioneer” even received a Nobel Prize for it.

I know people whose parents were destroyed by lobotomies, which took a healthy brain and mutilated it beyond repair. Today, our modern lobotomizers are preventing people from even becoming parents by mutilating them beyond repair as children, pretending that these are the child’s choice. This is completely crazy. Part of the growth of civilization has been the recognition that children cannot make choices like these.

And that adults who make choices like these for children are criminals.

Our modern lobotomizers are using the same old techniques to convince parents and society that these horrific procedures are not just good but necessary. Appeals to nebulous future horrors. Accusations of intolerance. Studies excluding every victim that committed suicide, dropped out of sight, or completely avoided their victimizer after the lobotomy. They’ve cowed even people who recognize the horrors. Everybody euphemizes their criticisms and whitewashes the real horrors of gender mutilation.

Even people who oppose child mutilation fear to call it by the horror that it is. I’ve seen the phrase “radical gender surgeries”, for example, as a euphemism for child mutilation. But there’s no sense in which child mutilation is a surgery, and there’s no sense in which it is about gender. The child’s gender doesn’t change. The child is mutilated and remains the same gender. Just irreversibly broken.

We know this. We know it is not medicine.

Cambridge Dictionary:
Surgery: the treatment of injuries or diseases in people or animals by cutting open the body and removing or repairing the damaged part
Collins Dictionary:
Surgery is medical treatment in which someone’s body is cut open so that a doctor can repair, remove, or replace a diseased or damaged part.
March 16, 2022: President Biden’s most anti-vax policy
George Eliot: History repeats itself: History, we know, is apt to repeat herself, and to foist very old incidents upon us with only a slight change of costume.; history; Mark Twain; George Eliot

Vaccinations have become an excuse for all sorts of heartless policies. Reading about the United States and Franklin Roosevelt’s rounding up of Americans of Japanese descent into camps, I often wondered how it could happen here. Now, we’re seeing the same thing, all over again. Australia is arresting “close contacts” and especially targeting aboriginals for temporary COVID camps and for their own good, of course. The European Union is considering ending the Nuremberg Code’s ban on forced medical treatments. For our own good.

Temporarily, of course. But two years after fifteen days to slow the spread, “temporary” is no longer a comforting word.

People are being denied jobs and travel if they’re in an unclean class. Patients are being denied critical health care or are being forced to take unnecessary vaccinations that are clearly dangerous for them.

All for our own good.

One of the most heartless—and inexplicable—COVID policies in the United States is firing health care workers and professionals, after all they’ve been through since early 2020. Back in September I wrote that if you view the Biden administration’s COVID policies as specifically to discourage vaccination, they make a lot more sense. Everything the administration does seems designed to make the COVID vaccines undesirable.

The most anti-vaccination policy of the Biden administration currently has to be the heartless decision to fire health workers who choose not to be vaccinated. All this does is highlight that there are health workers who choose to forego vaccination.

September 15, 2021: That’s a man, baby: Your fantasy is hurting people

I hate to have to say this. I put it off a long time because of that. A blogger I respect put up a post a while ago called You’re hurting me. And among the things that are hurting her are:

Every time you point at a transwoman and say “That’s a man!”, you do it to me.

A decade ago, I would have read this, and nodded, “of course.” Palette is by all accounts a great person, and I would have ignored reality in order to not make her feel bad.

I still believe that there’s nothing wrong with ignoring a little reality in order to spare someone’s feelings. People in marriages do this all the time. In low doses, it’s healthy. But the problem with ignoring reality is that at some point, you’re not just hurting the person you’re ignoring reality for. You’re hurting other people, and lots of them.

The question today is no longer about letting some men live their life pretending to be women. I and most people who oppose ignoring reality are perfectly happy to continue doing that. Today’s issue is about whether men will compete with women in school sports. It is about whether men who are obviously men should raise suspicion when they follow a girl into a bathroom. It is about whether children should be mutilated when their parents—or even non-related adults—ignore the biological reality of who that child is.

We created Title IX to provide girls with equal opportunities as boys in school sports. The issue now is whether we should gut Title IX and let boys take over women’s sports as well.

Palette added that:

We can have all sorts of productive and necessary discussions on such subjects as How young is too young to start hormone replacement therapy? or How do we solve the dilemma of biological males dominating girls’ sports?, and I welcome those discussions.

But how can we have those discussions without the foundational element that biological males are males? You cannot ask those questions without saying this child is a man or that person in the ring is a man. Because it’s not just about “therapy” or “dominating”. It’s about actual injuries and physical hurts. It’s about allowing abusive men to pretend to be their victim by shaming service representatives from saying “that’s a man” when an abusive ex calls with all the correct personal information to unlock an account.

September 1, 2021: How to overcome vaccine hesitancy
Tom Sawyer paints a fence: Tom Sawyer paints a fence by convincing his friends that painting is fun. Achille-Louis-Joseph Sirouy, 1884.; Mark Twain; persuasion

Let other people know that painting the fence is fun, and the fence will be painted.

The best way to convince people to overcome their hestancy over the vaccines is to (a) announce that the emergency is over and drop all mask and vaccination requirements, (b) announce that no one cares if you’re vaccinated or not and stop bothering people about it, and (c) vaccinations will start costing as much as any other vaccination after October 1. You can get it before then, you can get it after then, whatever you want.

There would be a huge rush on vaccinations both before and after October 1. Because we’d be treating the vaccines as if they’re worth something.

People notice things like that.

There will always be a small cadre of people who don’t trust vaccines. But most people, unless there is evidence otherwise, just take them. Why not? What can it hurt? Some people might wait a while, just to see, but all other things being equal, they’ll get them once they see that there’s nothing to fear.

The problem with the COVID vaccines is that too many people on the pro-vaccine side seem hell-bent on acting as if it can in fact hurt to get the vaccines, that there is something to fear. If we want people to choose to take the vaccine, that’s got to change. It really seems like the current administration and pundits hanging around it want to keep people unvaccinated. They’re doing everything basic psychology says will discourage vaccinations.

First of all, there is no doubt that this medicine came about through a new process. Most medicines take several years to bring to market, due to an involved, costly, and time-consuming regulatory maze. The COVID vaccines came out in months. If the process that brought us the COVID vaccines is as trustworthy as the older process, we don’t need the older process any more. We should be getting a lot more new medicines a lot faster.

If the process is trustworthy, it should be extended to all medicines going forward. If it isn’t, that’s an obvious indication that the medical community and the government does not trust the development process that brought these vaccines to us so quickly. Treat the process as untrustworthy, people will believe it’s untrustworthy.

May 19, 2021: Slavery is barbarism
Frederick Douglass: Slavery is barbarism: “Slavery is barbarism. Above all else it dreads the presence of civilization.”; slavery; civilization; Frederick Douglass

This was originally going to be part of Two Weeks and the Madness of Experts, but it kept getting longer. The left often uses opposite words, words and phrases that literally say the opposite of what they mean. One of the worst is that when they talk about freedom, they mean slavery. They desperately want to return to a time when a plantation elite controlled the lives of all the lesser folk; I doubt this is ever more obvious than when they talk about the economic benefits of slavery.

The left keeps claiming that slavery is a wealth creator, despite all of the evidence of history. Why? The more I see the left and progressives cling to the regressive notion that slavery was some kind of net economic positive, despite all of the evidence that slavery impeded economic growth and technological progress, the more sinister it seems. Why is it so important to them that we believe slavery had its good qualities?

I think that the left needs us to think slavery was a net wealth creator because they need us to believe that freedom is not a wealth creator. That freedom is inefficient compared to slavery and the expertise of slave owners. For decades under communism, all the way to the end, they bemoaned the “fact” that the Soviet Union’s planned economy would inevitably overtake the United State’s free market and leave us in the dustbin of history.

The kind of aristocratic government they prefer is a throwback to the barbarism of the past. But when people know that freedom creates wealth, people also know that the left’s barbarism doesn’t work.

Everywhere that there have been relatively free societies next to a slave society, the slave society has been poor and backward compared to their neighbors.

From Sparta—it’s where we got the word spartan to mean lacking comfort—through the American south and even into the present, slavery has impeded progress and wasted wealth.

Even after the Civil War, the one industry in the south that improved the fastest was the one that had previously been most dependent on slave labor: cotton.

As bad as industry was in the south after the war, the cotton industry had been worse under slavery.

Their descent into identity politics and social justice isn’t really a change for the Democratic Party. It’s the same old trickery they pulled in Lincoln’s time. They still think their slavery under a different name is a positive force and segregation a social good, just as they did before the Civil War. Let Lincoln’s “it” in the following quote apply to socialism or segregation, and it still is true today:

October 28, 2020: Power Play 2020
The weakness of all Utopias: Chesterton’s weakness of utopias: they assume the greatest difficulty is overcome, and then fiddle around with ingenious ideas that won’t work.; socialism; utopianism

In April 1979, in Omni Magazine, Frederik Pohl asked us,

Here is a multiple-choice question to test your wits: How are we going to meet America’s growing energy needs for the future?

  1. By importing more oil and natural gas;
  2. by developing our own new sources of oil and natural gas;
  3. by expanding coal production and perhaps by chemically converting some coal into liquid or gas fuel;
  4. by constructing more nuclear-fission-power plants, perhaps including breeder reactors;
  5. by learning how to generate power from nuclear fusion.

Take a minute to think it over because these are the answers you’d get from your president, your legislators, your friendly neighborhood-utility public-relations flack, and the guy sitting next to you at the bar as you watch the ball game. Made your decision? Okay. Here’s the right answer. It isn’t any of the above. It is:

  1. We aren’t.

Then he goes on to say “let’s examine the facts.”

It was hard to tell at first if Pohl hadn’t written an April Fool article. The editors in the contributor notes section had warned about an article being a joke, and it was about the right page for it. But the joke article turned out to be the article after Pohl’s.1 Which may have been deliberate on the editors’ part, because the April Fool article used the same sort of jumpy logic and assuming the not-assumable that Pohl’s article did.

After telling us that we aren’t going to develop our own new sources of oil and natural gas, he writes:

There are oceans of oil yet untapped. No one really knows how much there is. The problem is expense—in terms of dollars and energy. We keep finding new oil reserves, but they are increasingly hard to get at.

Which is the wrong lesson to take from that factoid. The right lesson was, we keep finding what we once thought were hard-to-get-at reserves, and finding ways to extract them safely and inexpensively. But, as I plagiarized in Better for being ridden the past is not just another country, it’s another planet. Even as a science fiction author, who should have known better, he can be forgiven for thinking, in 1979, that the only way we’re going to find oil is by big government or government-sponsored monopolies. That’s where the United States was headed in 1979, and government monopolies don’t bring prices down.

July 1, 2020: Better for being ridden: the eternal lie of the anointed
Childbirth 2000: “Lennart Nilsson originator of photo and book “Behold Man” published by Little, Brown & Co., Boston.”; pregnancy; OMNI Magazine

(Lennart Nilsson, Omni, April 1979)

Every once in a while I run across something that makes me glad for the way history turned out. I’ve been slowly reading through the 1978-1979 issues of OMNI Magazine. In the April 1979 issue, Gena Corea has an article on what childbirth will be like in 2000.

Nativity A.D. 2000. Susan Rogers wants to give birth the old-fashioned way—vaginally. Since most hospital births are done by cesarean section, Susan decides, after her gynecologist confirms her pregnancy, to deliver at home. The midwife—midwives are illegal but omnipresent in America–screens her for risk factors. She finds none.

Toward the end of the pregnancy, while Susan and her husband are relaxing at their home in the woods of Brattleboro, Vermont, a helicopter swoops down and lands in the backyard. A physician and a policeman emerge from the machine and produce a court order authorizing them to take the unborn baby into protective custody to prevent child abuse. They force the screaming woman into the helicopter.

Corea’s twenty-first century was an era when women had transmitters surreptitiously inserted into their womb when their gynecologist confirmed a pregnancy. Childbirth at home was illegal. Not only could you be forced to give birth in a hospital, but the act of trying to avoid the hospital was child abuse. You could lose your child.

It’s a frightening vision of what sounds today like a science fiction dystopian future. The saying that the past is not another country, but another planet, is very apropos. In 1979 Corea’s vision was not an unreasonable prediction. The exact scenario, sans helicopter, happened in 1979 if parents tried to educate their children at home. When this article was written, homeschooling was illegal in every state except Nevada and Utah. The truancy laws were enforced zealously. You can still see remnants of it in old novels and movies. It wasn’t a stretch to project the same enforcement mechanisms to choices of how to birth your child that were already applied to how to educate your child.

April 15, 2020: Deadly Perfection
Costco line in Brooklyn: “Line at Costco in Brooklyn during the coronavirus pandemic; 19 March 2020, 16:14:15”; New York City; COVID-19; Coronavirus, Chinese virus, Wuhan virus, WuFlu

Is it safer to wait in this line an hour before shopping in a sparsely-populated store, or get through more quickly in a store with all of these people inside? (cropped from image by Rhododentrites, CC BY-SA 4.0)

One of the most amazing things to me about this panic is how polite it is on the ground, outside of the media. Even when they’re panicking, Americans are exceptional.

On my flight five weeks ago, just before the rash of shutdowns, I noted how quiet the cabin was, and by quiet I meant free of coughing and sniffles. People voluntarily avoided flying if they even had the appearance of being sick. Even the hoarding, which is a rational response to media-induced uncertainty, has not been a riot.

Trump asked an important question during his March 23 press briefing last Monday. The press room was nearly empty, because the press room has enforced social distancing. The president asked his science advisor, is this the way it will always be in the future, or will we be able to fill this room up again? The advisor did what scientists often do, which was to avoid the question. Scientists don’t answer with absolutes; if they did, they wouldn’t be scientists. But it’s an important question. That same pattern of a crowded room fills our lives. Without it we can’t have movie theaters, we can’t have affordable air travel. We certainly can’t have bars or dance clubs or concerts. And then the question has to be asked, what are we losing if we lose affordable air travel, if we lose the ability to go out and enjoy ourselves? Reducing air travel will certainly kill people; reducing the ability to blow off steam will almost certainly kill people. And both will make our lives far worse.

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said something similar.

June 26, 2019: Reagan’s Lincolnian Revolution
Reagan For the Little Guy: Reagan: “You can’t be for big government, big taxes, and big bureaucracy and still be for the little guy.”; taxes; Ronald Reagan; bureaucracy

I saw this meme about the good old days show up in my Facebook feed yesterday from a friend of mine in a teacher’s union:

This is actually the 1956 Republican Party platform:

  1. Provide federal assistance to low-income communities
  2. expand social security
  3. Provide asylum for refugees
  4. Strengthen labor laws so workers can more easily join a union
  5. Extend minimum wage

There are several problems with this list, the obvious being that Republicans are the only party in 2019 that still wants to provide asylum for refugees. Democrats want to let in the people that immigrants need refuge from. Democrats are specifically shielding murderers, rapists, and other violent criminals from deportation, if those criminals came here illegally.

Without walls, there is no sanctuary. The Republican Party understands this. Democrats also understand it: asylum isn’t their goal. They want refugees to remain frightened and dependent.

The wider problem, though, is not that it’s wrong about what the Republican Party supported in the era of Jim Crow. What’s wrong is that Democrats still support going back to the era of Jim Crow. In 1956, wages had risen enough that the minimum wage no longer kept unskilled blacks out of the job market, no longer blocked them from gaining the skills they needed to thrive. It was only with Johnson’s Great Society that blacks stopped advancing economically.

As economist Thomas Sowell has shown in books such as Basic Economics, increasing the minimum wage hurts minorities most. Politicians in 1956 knew this. That’s why they supported increasing the minimum wage. They supported it as a form of segregation. Democrats in 2019 still know this. They still, sixty years on, want to keep unskilled blacks frightened and dependent.

  1. <- 2018 in Photos
  2. 2019 in Photos ->