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.
But back to Geithner, Lindsay says what I wanted to say in Geithner and the 'Privilege' of Being American - The Founders argued that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were rights that preceded government—not things to be granted by it. My bolds:
... the real problem with this whole privilege argument goes back to what the Founding Fathers were thinking. Being an American is a right, not a privilege. The privilege belongs to those who are temporarily allowed to serve this great nation in a decision-making capacity. When they turn this privilege into a right to distribute government largess in ever larger quantities—and in ways, to use Jefferson's phrase, a "wise and frugal government" would not—it is those in government, and not the governed, who bear the responsibility for our budgetary problems.
The Landlord’s Tale - A member of a maligned class explains, among other things, how he keeps up the neighborhood.
I once employed a custodian whose family was “a bunch of burglars,” according to the investigating cop. Why the cop had waited so long to tell me, I don’t know. All along, the custodian’s kids had pilfered tools and lawnmowers from me, but I couldn’t prove anything, and besides, I liked the guy. He was a hardworking “hillbilly”—his term. I was his “little bitty buddy.” His kids took the master key and broke into an apartment across the hall. Then they committed a botched burglary down the street and confessed to that, plus my break-in. My custodian had to move out. “See you in the funny papers,” he said. Six years with me—and then, so long, because his kids were crooks.
I have concluded that we can accomplish very little with convinced warmistas and probably even less with true deniers. So we just make our measurements, perfect our theories, publish our work, and hope that in time the truth will out.
"The data doesn't matter. We're not basing our recommendations on the data. We're basing them on the climate models." -Prof. Chris Folland, Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research
"The models are convenient fictions that provide something very useful." -Dr David Frame, Climate modeler, Oxford University
"It doesn't matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true." -Paul Watson, Co-founder of Greenpeace
"Unless we announce disasters no one will listen." -Sir John Houghton, First chairman of the IPCC
"No matter if the science of global warming is all phony ... climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world." -Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment
As regular readers know, we tend to believe that this is all a big trumped-up boondoggle, and of no importance. Furthermore, here at Maggie's we pray for global warming.
"God has all the essential characteristics of what we mean by a “person,” in particular conscious awareness, the ability to recognize and the ability to love. In that sense he is someone who can speak and who can listen. That, I think, is what is essential about God. Nature can be marvelous. The starry heaven is stupendous. But my reaction to that remains no more than an impersonal wonder, because that, in the end, means that I am myself no more than a tiny part of an enormous machine. The real God, however, is more than that. He is not just nature, but the One who came before it and who sustains it. And the whole of God, so faith tells us, is the act of relating. That is what we mean when we say that he is a Trinity, that he is threefold. Because he is in himself a complex of relationships, he can also make other beings who are grounded in relationships and who may relate to him, because he has related them to himself."
There’s a lot to like about day-to-day live in the advanced welfare states of western Europe. They are great places to visit. But the view of life that has taken root in those same countries is problematic. It seems to go something like this: The purpose of life is to while away the time between birth and death as pleasantly as possible, and the purpose of government is to make it as easy as possible to while away the time as pleasantly as possible – The Europe Syndrome.
Rights do not come from the exercise of government power, but from the restraint of government power. Once an infrastructure is created to redistribute positive outcomes, the only true beneficiaries of that infrastructure will be the organizers and the administrators. Even that system will be built to fail because the administrations only fully benefit from the system when it does not work properly. To the extent that it works properly the administrations will always be on the lookout for more excuses to justify the expansion of their power. More groups to protect. More civil rights to safeguard. Until no one has any rights at all.
Sometimes, I’m amazed that I know as many decent, intelligent, law-abiding, people as I do. Because the fact is, a disturbingly large number of Americans are simply up to no good and should not be trusted anywhere near heavy machinery, sharp tools, voting booths or me.
I’ve been going to an interesting series of lectures on what is called Holocaust theology, the attempts to analyze what lessons about G-d can be drawn from the Holocaust, summed up in the question “Where’s G-d When Needed?” The learned views vary but, not having read the books, what seems missing is the question of “Where’s Mankind When Needed?”
The discussions of the question “Where’s G-d When Needed?” offers answers that draw upon centuries of theological explorations of what G-d is or what G-d intends and of in what ways we should be observant or revisionist in our religious practices.
Ultimately, however, in my view, modesty is – at the very least – required of man in presuming to understand G-d. Indeed, whether formally or spiritually religious, whether of faith or lacking faith in G-d, whether of any faith, it is, to me, more important and more knowable to try to first understand mankind. There is a truth to be had.
The food stamp program, part of the Department of Agriculture, has announced that is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps ever.
Meanwhile, the National Park Service, also part of the Department of Agriculture, asks us to "Please Do Not Feed the Animals" because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves.
Went to the opening of The Steins Collect show at the Met Museum this weekend. It's a large exhibit, lots of interesting stuff but mostly stuff that the Steins (Leo, Gertrude, Michael and Sarah) could afford to buy. I did learn that Gertrude's older brother Leo was really the aesthete in the family, while Gertrude was the one who hogged the limelight.
However, I took notice of some things that I have known, but never attended to, before. Mainly, the attitude and behavior of the museum-goers (place was packed this weekend).
Everybody is hushed, like in church or in a library. People whisper, if they speak at all. Nobody laughs. Nobody talks to strangers. As on NYC sidewalks, eye contact is forbidden. It's a reverent but unfriendly atmosphere.
Nobody looks as if they are having fun, all so somber and serious. When I have my earphones on (I enjoy the audio guides) and end up making some wisecrack comment to Mrs. BD, she frowns and says I am talking too loud. A few times I have made comments to people who were looking at what I was, and they look at me as if I had produced a loud fart in church.
Why is this? I know serious aesthetes are studying the pictures - probably with knowledge and sophistication which far exceed my own - and I agree that Cezanne and Picasso were mind-bogglingly good and inventive at their craft, but their pictures are not objects of worship. Not only not objects of worship, but 20th C art was produced to be commercial - to sell to people to hang on their walls to add interest and enjoyment to their parlors. And to convey to others that you had some avant-garde taste in pictures.
The minute people get outside the museum, they get cheerful and chatty again - like normal people - and finally begin talking about what they have looked at.
Mind you, I agree that it is annoying and uncivilized to be loud, goofy, or boisterous in public spaces (other than in sports venues or the aquarium), but it now strikes me that the reverent hush is really sort of strange and unnatural.
When it comes to human rights, I go back to 1215 and Magna Carta — or, to give it its full name, Magna Carta Libertatum. My italics: I don’t think they had them back in 1215. But they understood that “libertatum” is the word that matters. Back then, “human rights” were rights of humans, of individuals — and restraints upon the king: They’re the rights that matter: limitations upon kingly power. Eight centuries later, we have entirely inverted the principle: “Rights” are now gifts that a benign king graciously showers upon his subjects — the right to “free” health care, to affordable housing, the “right of access to a free placement service” (to quote the European Constitution’s “rights” for workers).
" ...I avoid making forecasts for tenths of a degree change in globally averaged temperature anomaly, I am quite willing to state that unprecedented climate catastrophes are not on the horizon though in several thousand years we may return to an ice age."
MIT Meteorology Prof Richard Lindzen, speaking to Parliament. Of course, we are still technically in an ice age, with the poles covered with ice. It has not always been so. We're in a sort-of interglacial period within a large cold spell. God knows what the next big ice incursion will do to civilization. It will not be pretty, but I will be dead while the pols try to urge us to drive subsidized Hummers on $1. per gallon petrol.
...Since none of these degrees help increase your employability, you might as well avoid these majors and do it on your own."
$30,000? Try $200,000. People with curiosity, who love to learn, will always find a way. Books, libraries, Teaching Company, etc. Those without the gift of curiosity will never know more than they have to. Do you want to learn, or do you need a credential? A quote:
As a recipient of a "worthless" college degree myself (I double-majored in English and classics), I wish that Clarey had devoted few more pages to discussing exactly why the liberal arts have become radically devalued in the eyes of prospective employers. Not too long ago a bachelor's degree in history or philosophy signaled that you were smart and could write well, two qualities that employers prized (and still do). Now, a B.A. seems to signal, "I'm a parasite" in search of make-work at a nonprofit, as Clarey bluntly puts it.