We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Kealey's talk which we posted yesterday is a wonderful revelation. It confirmed much of what I suspected in the back of my mind but never focused on or thought through. I would like to read his book.
Many things become sacred cows without any evidence for their benefit. Most famous example: the incredibly expensive Head Start program, whose benefits disappear after a year. The rug rats would be better off banging around the neighborhood or the fields and swamps, learning how to educate and entertain themselves. Just get rid of the damn TV.
These "programs" become sacred cows via their income constituencies and their penumbra of virtuousness - not their effectiveness.
The infantile fantasy of government as source of virtue is an insidious one because government is only about one thing: power, and the mediocrities who seek it and the money that accrues to it to maintain that power.
Is government funding for research little more than welfare for PhDs? Possibly. In my field, you would be amazed by the stupidity of most of the government research grants which are paid for by the taxes of modest, hard-working folks who would rather worry about their families than seek power over others. Must be fun to appear benevolent with OPM.
In the Q&A, Kealey astutely points out that people seek ways to proclaim "I am a good person," and that being concerned about global warming is (or was?) today's fashionable version, just as eugenics was at the turn of the century, socialism in the 1930s, being a Dem during Reagan, and flag pins and bumper stickers after 9-11. Symbols and attitudes as effortless, non-sacrificial fashion statements.
I totally disagree re the wearing of flag pins post 9/11. I started wearing mine instinctively in homage to the Shining City upon a Hill. I wear it to this day, through all the waxing and waning fashions for doing so. Remember how now President Obama pointedly DIDN'T wear one at one point during the primary and then cynically started wearing one when it suited his political advancement?
Sissy, Your use of the word 'instinctively' is a good one. People mourn deeply, and when they are helpless to do anything, the least they can do is the 'instinctive' human reaction: Pay homage by symbol. You see another wearing the flag pin and you've shared the collective mourning mitigating it while simultaneously making it more powerful. It is a human need.
What are the beautiful memorials on the Mall in DC but earthly flag pins of a nation's mourning?