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.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Friday, September 18. 2020
The story of Brave New World preceded 1984 and other dystopian totalitarian/collective novels. It also provides a counterpoint - the idea that there might be a way to accomplish the collective through positive interaction and genuine agreement. Huxley realized this was a seductive approach, but one fraught with problems, all of which eventually bubble up over time. Collectives require some form of force, or provision to derive agreement, to survive over longer periods of time. Widespread collective agreement, even on a small scale, can only be temporary. Huxley saw the value of propaganda, drugs, and psychological manipulation...as well as genetic engineering...to help achieve that "provision to derive agreement" and achieve a means to a presumed end.
There is, of course, no end that is always utopian and happy. That's the farce of our 'science-based' leaders and protesters out there - believing society can be, somehow, manipulated (or forced) into happiness and perfection. Huxley knew that. The critical flaw in Brave New World is the technological advancement and wealth this 'collective' creates. As we know, that is literally impossible. None has ever achieved it, none ever will. Despite that, Brave New World provides a cautionary tale on falling for seductive ideas that run against human nature. And, oddly enough, it aligns very well with the 'science' of the current covid political management...the willingness of people to fall in line to 'save' society.
Sunday, September 13. 2020
Dystopian science fiction writers must be laughing right now.
There is a reason political functionaries are being assholes about wearing masks - and it isn't about keeping you 'safe' (a common lie used to expand power).
Don't get me wrong, masks can play a role in reducing the likelihood of catching the virus, but it's just a delaying tactic. It's not preventive. There is a larger political play here...even if some of us are not capable of understanding it.
Most science fiction dystopias are based on reducing the individual into a collective hive. The Borg on Star Trek, Harrison Bergeron by Vonnegut, 1984 by Orwell - all of these (and many others) found ways to subjugate the individual to the will of the state or hive.
Humans differ from other animals in a few key ways, which in aggregate make us rather special. The opposable thumb, the ability to analyze situations and prepare plans, the sense of self and free will (self-actualization). Where animals that reject individualism have a level of success in groups or hives - what people who overemphasize these fail to note is that humans exceeded the limitations of groups by emphasizing the individual initiative.
Hives have their place, they can be useful even for humans. Collectives can work, temporarily and in small groupings, if they are VOLUNTARY. But the problem with modern people is they fail to recognize that capitalism and free markets allow for voluntary collectives to form, disband, and form again.
Think corporations are powerful? Name 10 that have lasted more than 100 years. The few that have managed to survive that long only did so one way - by playing political games, or gaining some form of monopoly power guaranteed by the state itself. Natural monopolies can exist over short periods of time, but fall apart without state protection. That is why socialism can only fail, over time. It is an unnatural state monopoly formation. Even fascism, which is a form of socialism, fails because it is still the state dictating the means of production. While competition can exist, it's limited and reduced, innovation is stifled and winners are chosen by political functionaries.
Individualism, in socialism and fascism, is reduced to whatever the state says is acceptable and limited.
Friday, September 11. 2020
My memory of 9/11 is pretty vivid. I won't go into details about what happened, we all have our personal views on how/why/what all occurred. These views are based on where we were, what we were doing, and what we choose to believe.
I don't believe the 'truthers' and their conspiracies. All you need for a good conspiracy is a couple of willing believers and some good memes that are logical fallacies. But I'm not going to share what I believe happened, either. We're all allowed to believe what we want, even if I don't agree with what someone else believes. That's called a marketplace of ideas. Sometimes there are lemons being sold in that marketplace. The nice part of the marketplace is this - I don't have to buy the lemons.
Getting past that, I have other memories. People coming together. People pulling together. Without any impetus from a 'leader'. Spontaneous organization and commitment to each other. Race differences disappeared. People cared about each other and making sure they were getting what they needed. I remember it as a "lockdown" of sorts. I didn't go back to work for 2 weeks, working remotely from home, just like the last 6 months. Of course, my office was by 14th Street, which had limited ability to cross. Our office felt it best to let the responders have as much space as possible. I saw similar behaviors in the Northeast Blackout of 2003, 2 years later. Spontaneous organization, not something we needed leaders for. People working together, finding solutions to issues we all faced.
Continue reading "A 9/11 Thought"
Wednesday, August 12. 2020
I have seen almost no overt racism in my life, other than a bit of paranoia about Muslims on airplanes. I am not sure whether that counts as racism. Having been a victim of two crimes in NYC by black guys, and another in Cambridge MA, I am instinctively wary of guys in hoodies behind me on empty streets at night but I don't call that racism either.
I think the idea of systemic racism was invented when ordinary, disgusting racism disappeared with the passing of generations.
Related, The Myth that Is Systemic Racism
Thursday, June 11. 2020
Apparently, Seattle is now epicenter of the revolution which we have all waited breathlessly for. The NYTimes has headlines saying it's "Free Food, Free Speech and Free of Police", which I suppose is a start. We are expecting great things from these people. 'New ideas' we've never seen before. Lovely. Maybe the food is 'free', though nothing is ever free, and we certainly know the speech is only free if you agree with them. But I'm fairly certain the area is free of police. For now.
Remember a few years ago at Malheur, and those supposed 'right-wing extremist' loony birds were roundly misrepresented by the press? Yeah, me either. Didn't happen. The Feds didn't kill anyone there, either.
I'm sure this Seattle experiment will go really well. Just like Christiana did originally (cough, cough).
By the way, can I just also mention how proud I am of my alma mater's devotion to presenting fact-based opinions and respecting free speech? We're leading the way! Future donations on my part will not be part of the plan. I can show my point of view by withholding money.
Monday, June 8. 2020
Ghosts don't exist, except in history. These ghosts live in our minds, because we are aware of history and hope 'it can't happen here', or that lessons are learned. But some choose to not be aware of history, and make every effort to bring ghosts to life.
For several months, since listening to the French Revolution portion of the Revolutions podcast I mentioned here at Maggie's, I've told friends we're moving toward a new French Revolution. As Minneapolis moves to defund its police department, one can only wonder, will it be replaced with a Committee of Public Safety? In a perverse way, I hope they do create one.
The ghosts of Marat, Robespierre, Danton and countless others are alive again. I'm sure our modern day radicals will say "This time is different" or "It wasn't done right the last time" or some other excuse will be provided. I have to admit, though, it's fun to see these people turn on their own kind. It's also frightening. A friend of mine was sending me pictures today from Manhattan of the destroyed store fronts. It's pretty extensive, and the minimal news coverage of how bad it was provides a kind of rationale for the radical influence to keep pushing. There is no shame in destruction if it's not visible. But the destruction, too, is a ghost - not visible to many.
Jonathan Turley puts his own spin on it here. Being a modern-day Abbe Sieyes isn't something I thought I'd begin to aspire to, but it may be a worthwhile goal nonetheless.
Sunday, May 31. 2020
This morning, watching the news, I simply told my son "never join a mob." The police can't win in a situation like this. If they do nothing and people get hurt, businesses and homes are destroyed. If they do something, a video will call out the 'bad cops'.
There's nothing to be gained in a mob. You get to be part of a crowd, and sure that's 'fun'. You're in with the 'in crowd'. But when it all goes south, you stand a chance of getting arrested or worse.
I hope we can all agree what happened to George Floyd, and many others like him, was unnecessary and requires action. I hope we can all agree peaceful protests of this kind of thing are useful and necessary as part of our nation's traditions. I'm sure we can all agree riots and destruction are counterproductive and unnecessary. They do not represent a revolutionary movement.
I've seen many people making comparisons of the looting and riots to the Boston Tea Party. This is just nonsense. While it's true that John Hancock and Samuel Adams were happy to see the tea tossed because it kept prices on their smuggled tea high, many others opposed the Tea Party, with Washington and Franklin calling for restitution to the East India Company. So criticism of destruction also has a long history in our fine nation.
That said, the East India Company existed by mandate of the Crown, and was an arm of the government. While it was 'private' in construct, even Parliament recognized it was both a political and economic entity. Taxes were only part of the way the Crown benefited from the East India Company. So any attack on the tea was an attack on the government, by default. Burning or looting Target stores are not an attack on the US government or local governments. The looting had nothing to do with depriving the government of anything, nor is it a statement about government. It's just violence and destruction for the sake of violence and destruction.
Taking the comparison further, the Boston Tea Party was not an uncontrolled riot. It was, by most accounts, generally orderly. Armed British ships did not make a move to intervene. The participants went so far as to sweep the decks clean afterward. This was not mob behavior. This is the kind of protest one should feel comfortable joining.
After being cooped up for 2 and half months, any spark was likely to result in an overreaction. Criminal elements love a protest, particularly one they can turn into a riot. Protests require strong leaders, soft guidance, and respect for order. But none of this exists with the 'protesters' in our current situation. There is no Martin Luther King here.
George Floyd should not be dead. His murderers should be arrested. The reaction is still wrong and cannot be justified. Each is a separate crime in itself. The riots should not be linked to Floyd's death, they should be linked to violent thugs seeking to cause problems.
Don't join a mob.
Friday, May 22. 2020
Yesterday, a post by a fellow commentator addressed whether anyone would listen to epidemiologists again. This, in itself, is not a controversial question. There is a range of opinions, even among epidemiologists, on how to deal with viral outbreaks. That said, most posts are designed to create a discussion. None are likely to ever come to any complete answer, though hopefully some shared ground can be hammered out. It seems this did not occur and considerable animus was shared in the comments section.
I will begin by saying I have not lost anyone to Covid, but I can list about 15 people in my family who are at risk. They have all been isolating, as they should. They know isolation won't prevent them from getting ill, as we know there are many other problems with isolation. But it is a safety feature. There are no guarantees for any of us.
The questions which remain are whether we 'flattened the curve', actually 'saved lives', and even if we could do these things.
There is no way, literally none, to answer whether we 'flattened the curve' or 'saved lives'. Saying we did will only be based on what you presume may have happened otherwise. That's not science, that's an opinion. My opinion is we didn't and can't do either, but my opinion is no better informed than yours. I base my reasoning on logic. Isolation has happened, and people are still getting sick despite isolation. The virus spreads more easily in confined spaces, and shutting up a family with one asymptomatic member may well doom the entire family. Multi-generational homes in Italy, where that kind of living is more common than in the US, certainly played a role in the Italian situation.
Continue reading "The Personalization of Disease"
Sunday, April 19. 2020
I'm not sure if it's unfortunate fallout or collateral damage, but I had a conversation with a friend who, like me, battled Covid. Their battle was much worse than mine as they were in an at-risk group. But they survived, as did other family members who eventually got milder cases. The net result is this person is now virulently anti-Trump, blaming him for a host of things that simply have no basis in reality. Previously, we'd shared a belief that Trump isn't our favorite president, he's badly flawed, and while I'd been more ambivalent, we basically weren't too far apart.
Yesterday, I realized his experience caused him to jump the shark and become a full-on Trump hater. I don't understand how you can blame Trump for a virus, or even the response to it. This is a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. H1N1 was, so far, more damaging than Covid worlwide, and it also cut a broad swathe across demographics. Covid has not finished its tour yet - but is clearly very specific in its opportunism. The primary difference that I have noticed in the nature and spread of H1N1 and Covid is that Covid erupted mightily in New York City (media capital) while H1N1 was more damaging to other regions of the US. There could be much to discuss here. What's clear is H1N1 will be seen as less damaging to the US because fewer people died (lower population in affected areas, more diffuse, etc.), while the media attention of Covid was heightened because our media elites felt threatened and made it the #1 story to scare people. Few people will remember Obama's slow (and ultimately meaningless) response to H1N1, nor will they remember that nobody blamed him for over 13,000 deaths. It was a virus.
A newly released study shows how widespread Covid likely is. I shared this with my friend, but was rebuffed entirely. No interest in viewing useful information.
Continue reading "Unfortunate Fallout"
Tuesday, April 14. 2020
I was speaking with a friend, prior to the lockdown, about Covid and the political repercussions. His view was the politicians would overreact/overreach for one reason - demographics. He believed, and this is now proving to be correct, that the black population would be disproportionately hit. There are higher incidences of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, alcoholism - all at-risk traits. As a result, there'd be a need to try to 'protect' these people and manage the data. They did a good job with the data, but as usual, you can't hide the truth all the time.
These at-risk traits are the natural result of bondage to the state. As the US moved heavily to institutionalize all kinds of state aid to 'lift up' a downtrodden people, the government created a permanent underclass that is in thrall to the state, and engaging more irresponsible behaviors as a result (please note, I'm not saying black people are irresponsible - this is true of people of many ethnicities who have become multi-generational recipients of state aid). Taking responsibility for one's life is hard, and it's hard work. The state can step in and solve all that for you, though. Free health care, free food, free homes. It's good stuff, if you can get it. You can even become a 'Covid Patriot' full time by just going along with state aid.
So it's no surprise to see calls for 'reparations' for Covid hitting the black population so hard. Yes, they have suffered more. I'm not sure the survivors deserve 'reparations' though. After all, it's hit men disproportionately, too. Perhaps we can have calls for Covid reparations for men?
Thursday, April 9. 2020
As I've been recovering, one thing I've thought about is the next four years. There is still a chance (slim, but still exists) Biden could win. So far it seems Trump continues to consolidate his position. His leadership through this isn't what I'd call strong, but then again I don't pay attention to leaders much. I keep hearing how great Cuomo is, but I don't pay attention to him, either. What little I've seen isn't impressive. After all, he was shrinking health care in New York until he decided to play superman. Not to mention he has his fair share of lies and misrepresentations, as all politicians do.
Regardless of which politician you want to listen to, believe, or support, the reality is we'd get through this with or without leaders. Most plagues in the past weren't worse because of poor leadership. Leadership, however, is what democracy and politics is about. So that's why the election is still important. Nothing has changed from a geo-political standpoint, we still need to present ourselves on the world stage.
That is why I decided to write this, because I'm curious to see how many people are familiar with a certain character who was, not too long ago, elected DA of San Francisco. Chesa Boudin. I was introduced to this character by a good friend and I began reading up on him. I realized he is someone to pay attention to because he may be one of the most dangerous people in the US today. In fact, I've begun to believe the Biden candidacy is a campaign designed to undermine the fundamentals of the Democratic Party, drive it further left, and have more characters like Chesa take over as part of a 'drive for younger people who care and vote'. Sounds conspiratorial, but if you know his life story, it's nothing short of a grooming and it's been stage-managed by a cabal of deeply committed leftists. Look for him to become governor of California and ultimately a player on the national stage, driving a very hard left agenda with him.
I don't think Wikipedia is the be-all-to-end-all resource, but note something about the entry. Totally non-threatening. He seems approachable. He's not appearing as a revolutionary, even though he was raised and indoctrinated by revolutionaries of the deepest hard-left ideologies. The devil will appear as a friend, approachable, likable even. He'll make grand promises, utopian in nature. He'll have a good track record, and will be 'qualified'. He's still the devil. I don't believe this fellow is a bad person - I don't even know him. I wouldn't call him 'the devil'. But his ideology, his supporters' beliefs - that is the work of something truly evil.
Monday, April 6. 2020
I'm now about 12 days into my Covid experience, and I'm getting better. I probably thought I was better than I was. I went out and raked for hour yesterday, trying to benefit from fresh air for the first time and get a little exercise. I was pretty wiped out after that. So I'm resting today. I may have the mild version, but it doesn't make it less difficult to recover from.
However, I'm moving into newer territory. The cough is diminished significantly, the headache has eased, and my main issue now is hydration. I seem to be dehydrated no matter what I do. So I drink a lot of water and Gatorade. But my appetite is back, and I'm finally moving more. Sleep is still at a premium...10 hours every night.
My brother also has it. He has a much tougher version, but he also has adult onset diabetes. So he's at-risk. He's struggled much, much more than I have, had many more symptoms, and is fighting it still. He is also getting better, but at a much slower pace. He warned me not to rake yesterday. He was probably right.
What I'm more concerned about now is not my health, but where we go in the post-shutdown world...
I fear we're not going to move in the best directions. Value structures are a mess. The social shaming over this is an example of the worst of what can happen, and I (sadly) see this as something people will engage in more of.
Thursday, April 2. 2020
Not too long ago, I shared my views on Covid-19 and the lockdown. I still stand by my (often misunderstood) position and I feel that after this is over, I'll still stand as having a well-developed viewpoint. Meanwhile, as we sit in the midst of all this, I am now officially 3 weeks working-from-home. The Covid numbers have continued to rise, the deaths have risen as well, and the newsmedia has...ratcheted up the fear factor as high as possible. Even my sister, down in Florida (where even she admits nothing is happening of any note) is freaking out and running scared.
Well, today I chatted by phone with her and shared with her something I'll share with all of you. I am Covid-19 positive. I found out yesterday.
Let me share some of my own personal thoughts and some of my doctors' comments.
First, I was told "this is a high-powered flu". By 3 different doctors who checked me or spoke with me. Second, "No, there's nothing we can do unless you have respiratory distress, so please monitor yourself carefully." Yup. I do that anyway. Third, there were no lines at the station where I got checked. Called first, drove up, got out, they checked me in a field tent, sent me to another field tent, and did the swab (annoying, but not horrible...a Q-Tip WAY UP into your sinuses). Doesn't hurt. You do sneeze a little.
I am in good general health. I work out regularly, good BP, good pulse rate, not an ox by any standard, but I'll keep up with most people my age, and probably surpass them (55+, in case you're wondering).
My first hints of the virus were on Tuesday 3/24. A little coughing, lots of mucous, etc. Not a dry cough. By Thursday, Mrs. Bulldog was saying "You're coughing too much, I don't want people on our walks to think you have it, so stay home." Fine...I stopped taking walks. I had started having headaches (sinus) anyway. The headaches got worse. By Friday, my head was pounding, the cough was persistent, and it was dry. No fever. No rash. 3 days of (sorry) diarrhea began.
Over the weekend, the headaches intensified, the coughing got worse. I was more or less stuck on the couch watching movies, in a very annoyed frame of mind. By Sunday, it was suggested I get tested.
So we arranged it, and yesterday at 3pm the results were back. Positive.
Of course, by now the headache is starting to fade. It's still there, but Tylenol keeps it reduced. The coughing is still there, but laying down helps it stop (don't lay down too much...no need to promote pneumonia). I've been sleeping 10 hours a night. The really weird things, and there are 2 of them, are the general haziness of frame of mind - I can't concentrate very long - and what I'd call "fever dreams without the fever." I don't know how to describe these, but I have the strangest dreams all night. Then I wake up in the morning very dehydrated and have to drink a pint or two of water.
My doctor voiced concern over the number of cases, but also pointed out that "it's just a flu that is worse for at-risk people, you're not at risk. Just stay vigilant, take care of yourself and you should be fine."
So if this were the normal world - I'd take 2-3 weeks off from work, and get better. Instead, I've had 3 weeks off, and based on current protocol I will have AT LEAST (if my symptoms play out normally) 3 more weeks off (because my office says 2 weeks after cessation).
For what it's worth - most people in the US, after 6 weeks off from work, will be broke. If it goes longer, who knows. At this point, the "cure" is worse than the disease. Trump is right to consider opening some counties as soon as possible - like any other pandemic, this has areas of concentration. We can limit exposure to those regions, and keep the rest of the nation working well.
Stay healthy. Stay vigilant. I do believe there is much more, politically, to play out. At this point I no longer believe it's mainly a health crisis (if it ever was). It's a political one.
ps - I had to inform my HR Department - just a public safety thing. Naturally, I got a call back today...all pre-arranged, and about exactly what I supposed. They were trying to determine if I could have caught it anywhere else but at the office. "AVOID LAWSUITS AT ANY COST" must be their view. Can't blame them, I suppose. Not that it would stop me if I was litigious. Thing is, nobody can EVER prove where they got it from. I commute, via train, every day. I went to the bank. I was playing poker one night with 50 people at a bar the week before being sent home (won $650 and the tournament WITH A ROYAL FLUSH - not a joke, totally telling the truth, I have pictures...it's the poker players' Hole-in-One). So I could have gotten it anywhere...and I admitted that. Because it doesn't matter where I got it from. I KNEW I was going to get it. That was the point of my original article. If you believe you can avoid it, you're fooling yourself. I DO NOT believe social distancing works. But don't worry - they politicians and other liars will convince you it's working.
Wednesday, March 18. 2020
Some things to consider in the Covid-19 panic. I've always known Covid is real, and that it's slightly more dangerous than the flu. I'm quite aware of how the mortality rate is considerably higher than some other viral outbreaks, especially with the elderly and those suffering health conditions. I've been less than convinced there is anything we could have done to stop it, short of shutting the nation down completely in January and keeping it shut down for about 2 months....which seems to be where we've gone anyway. That said, even extreme measures are unlikely to stop the spread. I've always supported an abundance of caution. But now that we're here with extreme measures, let's think calmly about HOW we got here.
Fear. Just fear. Yes, many of us would've gotten sick. Yes, some people would die. We can talk all we want about flattening the curve to keep hospital facilities from being overrun...while ignoring how herd immunity is being compromised. Furthermore, in shutting down in the manner we did, we basically sent people on 5 days of panic shopping whereby anyone infected and shopping was busy spreading the virus. It seems to me, the 'cure' is just as bad as letting it run its course. By increasing fear and panic, and even potentially the spread.
What's really concerning to me, however, is less the health issue and more the socio-political issue. This is the largest non-partisan event of our lifetime, and it's been heavily politicized. To that point, consider this - Democrats, who only a week ago complained that President Trump was abusing power, now are complaining that he isn't using enough power to 'fix' this.
Continue reading "Some Notes From Home"
Friday, February 21. 2020
I make an effort, in my role as an older member of my department, to reinforce knowing history. Not only of the industry, which critical to avoiding errors already made, but also general history because it helps create a more advanced social order. The critical part of any social order is trust. Without it, markets fail, relationships fray, and good behavior is set aside in favor of self-interest. History, at its core, teaches the value of trust.
All good teams, departments, interactions, communities, and even nations are built upon a basic level of trust. It is rarely discussed, but absolutely essential.
In the U.S., trust has begun a slow dissipation. Think of an example of someone who did things the 'right way' and was moderately, or supremely, successful (let's say the Boston Red Sox of 2018) versus those who do things the 'wrong way' and are supremely successful yet go unpunished or are barely touched (the Houston Astros of 2017). When we fail to punish those who gain rewards improperly, we reduce the ability to trust our institutions. How often have you talked about someone you admire, only to have someone else say "if he/she is so smart or good, why did person X (who wasn't as 'clean') make all the money?" That kind of response typifies the slow fraying of fundamental trust.
Another example could be our recent trials and investigations regarding Trump. In this, we see an example of retributive anger (Trump won and I hate him so he has to go), which is very damaging and occurs with the complete loss of trust (can anyone argue that the Democrats trust Trump even a little?). Transitional anger, the anger we feel as we shift from one order to the next, that sense of loss yielding anger but without feeling the need to lash out, is manageable and useful. It can help people progress. Retributive anger is dangerous and undermines the fabric of trust that is necessary to move forward.
The Democrats are suffering now because of the fact they have engaged retributive anger. They're mad they lost an election they assumed was theirs, and rather than be angry at their own shortcomings and using that anger in a transitional manner to improve themselves, they've lashed out and are destroying themselves and potentially the nation (if their behavior is followed to its logical conclusion).
We are successful as a nation because we have an innate trust in our political institutions. That trust exists regardless of those in power because the Constitution protects us, as individuals. Even if bad people are elected, one person and even a few cannot destroy the system. Checks and balances assure that. We can survive a bad president (and have many times). There are reasonable methods to oust the truly awful. Engaging those levers in wrong-headed attempts simply because someone is 'offensive' undermines that innate trust of our institutions. It causes some, and possibly many, to question the validity of our original belief in our Constitution and our laws.
This doesn't happen because of one person. It doesn't happen because "Trump did it," it happens because a group of people are hoping and trying to undermine that trust, and it isn't the Russians. Or the Chinese. It has to happen internally.
I don't love Trump, I barely tolerate him. But I've not liked plenty of presidents. I've had trust in our system, though. Thankfully, after two clear attempts to undermine that system, it has stood up to the attacks on it, and I still trust it. It's a shame there's an entire party out there so far off base that its members no longer trust the system and are proposing potential candidates to destroy it.
Monday, December 23. 2019
Wednesday, December 4. 2019
I don't have time to watch the impeachment hearings. In fact, I probably wouldn't, even if I could. It's boring stuff, and it's a rigged circus anyway.
That said, a friend called me to watch Jonathan Turley, saying "He's tearing it up, and all off notes from a play."
Took the time to watch the video this afternoon. Well worth it.
Sunday, September 22. 2019
For those, Randy Barnett and Josh Blackman have built an interactive site: Introduction to Constitutional law.
Tuesday, August 27. 2019
Thursday, August 22. 2019
This is more inquiry than commentary. Interested to see what people think.
The idea of human rights as myth, in my estimation, is really about using them in a myth-making manner. They are ideals to strive for, and protect. Basic moral goods that apply universally, and from which other 'rights' (perhaps better defined as legal rights) or duties may grow from.
I'd had a conversation about universal human rights with a Progressive who considers them to be a myth or social construct. Only useful or meaningful if they are enforced. I took a different view. I feel they are real things, existing as useful concepts whether they are enforced or not. In fact, I pointed out, enforcing them is the incorrect term. Protecting them, or efficiently allowing their application, is more to the point. But even if they are not protected or applied, they are real nonetheless. Which is why so many people have fought for them over the years, and why nations which do apply them efficiently see so many wonderful benefits to their society.
His next question was "what makes them real? How can you justify a right to a free attorney but not a right to free medical care?" I replied that was a logical fallacy. There is no right to a free attorney, that's just a SCOTUS ruling. That has no bearing on this discussion (though I'm open to other ideas that you may have in comments).
So what are basic human rights? To me, they are real things. Things you are endowed with at no cost, upon birth. The right to free speech, for example. The right to associate with whomever you like. The right to believe what you want. The right to worship as you see fit. These cost nothing. They do not impact others' rights, or other people (physically or directly) in any limiting fashion. What are typically known as "Natural Rights" - a thing Progressives don't believe in because, to them, everything is a social construct and open to manipulation.
Wednesday, June 19. 2019
Sports shouldn't seem to have much in common with the Electoral College, but in fact they share very interesting facets. Sometimes the team that reaches the championship level doesn't 'seem' like it should be there, or even deserve to win. Yet that team, amazingly, will wind up victorious.
I still have friends who want to eliminate the Electoral College. Apparently, they didn't take any courses about history while in high school or college. More and more states are approving bills that will give their Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote. That will 'work' until the national popular vote winner is someone they do not like. It may be Donald Trump, in 2020, who makes that happen. It would be amusing to see these states passing a bill like this because of 2016, and pulling it back because the man they hoped to stop made them look foolish.
Thursday, May 23. 2019
Saturday, May 4. 2019
Life has convinced me not to be. Far too many human qualities are inborn, both strengths and frailties. It is "psycho-utopian" to believe otherwise.
I know my limits pretty well, and have always been determined to blame my disappointments on myself. That's the best, most honest and self-critical approach even when it is ego-damaging. Ego-damaging is soul fertilizer, the wise men say.
But are progressives "Blank Slaters"? Not really, no. Just selectively. This is a longish read, but worth your while: Selective Blank Slatism and Ideologically Motivated Misunderstandings.
Wednesday, May 1. 2019
While I feel bad for Joe and his touchy-feely problem being under attack (not really, I figure he's getting what he deserves for promoting and supporting bad ideas - these idiots all eat their own children and/or parents), he's finding that having a long, storied history is probably going to be harder to overcome than being a creepy uncle.
After all, he was a plagiarist. That cost him a run for the presidency years ago. But now, his racist colors are starting to come out. Yes, it seems Joe was a racist, and even looked to team up with other racists. To stop busing which would help integrate schools. Let's not forget this doozy:
Most Democrats are closet racists. Yeah, they say nice things, and 'feel' the right things. But their practical application of ideas is designed to create, support, and extend servitude of groups they can buy votes from. Which is a practical application of racism.
Wednesday, April 17. 2019
It depends on what one means by "equality," doesn't it?
Equality under law is the most important form of equality, and is remarkably standard now in Western nations. Equality of opportunity is important too. Equality of personal attributes, along with wealth and power, are another matter.
de Toqueville thought a lot about the topic. WILL TOCQUEVILLE’S DILEMMA CRASH AMERICA? Is equality a danger to freedom in a democratic United States?