Wednesday, June 7, 2017
The map is not the territory.
Today was our regularly scheduled conference, and Larry and Steve and I conferred on our book, then went to lunch. A very productive day. I think this will be our best interstellar colony book yet. It’s late, and this will be short.
Comey has released most of his coming testimony to the Congress, but there has been little reaction by the main stream press, probably because no one can find and criminal activity or obstruction of justice in it. There remain the possible security violation charges due to negligence of Mrs. Clinton keeping classified information on an unsecured private server resulting in the revelation of that information to at least five foreign governments (presumably including the Russians), but I do not think there is anyone in authority from President Trump down who wants to see Mrs. Clinton indicted on criminal charges, and it is unlikely that anything will come of that.
Apparently after a year of investigation there is no evidence of collusion between Trump campaign officials – or relatives – with the Russians to commit any criminal act, which should mean the end of this rather costly investigation, but probably will not. There may be surprises tomorrow (Thursday), and of course I only have secondary accounts of what is in the Comey documents, but there appears to be nothing new and no hint of obstruction of justice.
As to the rumors about the Attorney General being out of favor with the President, the President has not said so directly, and he does not have the reputation about being obscure about such matters.
Basic Income, Automation, Jobless People…
Maybe a solution for people who have a Basic Income but who are jobless due to automation was suggested by Tom Sawyer and his fence whitewashing project – rent jobs to people.
To be serious: a great deal of the traditional work that defined a great part of the population is going to be automated, leaving a lot of citizens – very likely a majority – with little sense of purpose. The schools do not seem to be addressing this. Judging by recent activities on collegiate campuses, what they teach in high school is political action as a purpose in life, and encouraging graduates to participate by any means necessary. The theory of tax supported public education is that it is investment in the future; an investment that will benefit those who have no children in schools but nevertheless must pay school taxes as well as those with more personal reasons to see their children educated. There is little evidence that students are in general being taught any skills that any sane person would pay them money to do, although that is certainly an overly broad generalization, and of course one can always find exceptions; but teaching of actual habits and skills that justify the expenses of our school system are increasingly harder to find.
One obvious step to take is to assume that local authorities are more likely to know what it would be valuable for youngsters to know than experts in Washington devising nationwide policies. This seems obvious, but of course is vigorously opposed by the education experts, particularly those who no longer have classrooms (if they ever were classroom teachers).
It would seem reasonable to have the people in charge of our schools report on their perception of the value of what they teach; it might even make interesting reading. Of course it is unlikely that we will ever see such reports.
I was in the Army at a time when there were still remnants of the old volunteer peacetime Army, and they universally had the view that they were in the Army for life; and that it was the Army’s job to find them things to do. “If all I get left is one arm and all I can do is answer the phone, it’s the Army’s job to put me to work answering the phone,” one long time buck sergeant told me in Basic Training. He meant it, too.
In other words, he expected to get fed, clothed, and housed, and be given a bit of pocket change (basic pay even for sergeants in 1950 was pretty low) pretty well for the rest of his life; but he also expected to be given work to do, even if it was only bringing coffee to the officers. There is the germ of an idea in that expectation; think on it. I’ll come back to this issue, I promise.
But I do think it reasonable to conclude that the schools must make some changes in what they teach, and the students must be given a different view of their obligations: that they are not entitled to be paid for mere existence.
President Bush took flak from the liberal press when he pardoned a farmer who accidentally poisoned eagles who fed on the carcasses of the coyotes who were his real target. He killed the coyotes, but he did not know eagles eat dead things. Since the law was written with no intent requirement (is that legal?) he was guilty of a felony. See, e.g. — http://articles.latimes.com/2008/dec/01/nation/na-eagle-pardon1
Windmills kill birds, and eagles too. See http://savetheeaglesinternational.org/new/us-windfarms-kill-10-20-times-more-than-previously-thought.html
Shouldn’t the operators of these wind farms be classed as felons?
Destroying biodiversity is a non-monetary price we pay to liberals for their climate religion. Back in the 1980’s Popular Science ran some articles on how vertical tunnels could catch the wind and produce electricity that way.
Instead, we get bird-killers.
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
This article by a Muslim in the UK points out to me the most sane strategy we can take — domestically anyway — to combat the fanatics.
“I am the same age as Salman Abedi, the Manchester suicide bomber, and almost the same age as the recently named London Bridge terrorists; I also profess to be of the same faith. Thankfully, these are the only two things we have in common. As well as studying medicine at university, I currently serve as the president of the UK Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Association. I spend a lot of my time working to organise interfaith dialogues and peace conferences. So how exactly did we turn out so different? And could knowing the answer to this help reduce the numbers of young people being brainwashed into extremism?
The primary answer to this is education. Even in childhood, I always asked questions about my religion – and as I grew up, I had access to imams and elders ready to answer them. I was free to challenge them, to ask the toughest and most sensitive questions about the most “controversial” aspects of Islam.
Defeating extremist ideology therefore lies to a large degree in the hands of Muslim imams and scholars. If they are able to educate their congregations from an early age about the true peaceful nature of Islam, then there is no threat that these individuals will become radicalised in their later life.
Though this is an ideological battle, our Government can help with this too. A study conducted by an Islamic Studies expert at Newcastle University in 2007 found that around a quarter of UK mosques were found to have malignant and hateful literature. That literature’s publication and distribution was all linked to the Saudi Arabian government, and many of the mosques were Saudi-run. Wahhabism, the type of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia, is an extremely severe form of Islam which is often cited by Isis as an inspiration.
We must stop allowing Wahhabi mosques to be built in the UK, and do more to root out extremist preachers already here. One way of doing this, as mentioned by a prominent Muslim leader, is to monitor mosques, particularly Friday sermons, to weed out potential threats.
The most efficient way of preventing radicalisation is by removing from our nation hateful clerics who have influence over young minds.”
I think he’s absolutely right. There was a time, and I think you remember it, when Muslims did NOT blow themselves up as suicide bombers. Pakistani soldiers fought alongside the rest of the British Empire during two world wars and were steadfast allies against the Soviets just a generation ago.
What’s gone wrong since then? Simple. The Saudis made a devil’s bargain with their Wahhabi extremists. The Wahhabists will support the Saudi royal family at home in exchange for funding overseas and religious control over everyone in Saudi Arabia who’s not a member of the royal family.
For decades, then, Saudi money has been sowing dragon’s teeth in Muslim communities worldwide, converting mosques into extremists, which in turn make angry young men into terrorists.
So perhaps we can do more than simply follow this man’s advice and start monitoring/shutting down these mosques and their propaganda.
Perhaps we can also stop bowing to the Saudis (Obama) or accepting medals from them (Trump) and start treating them as the enemies they are.
Yet even the Israelis are beginning to see the Saudi Royals as potential allies. I think the Royals must give some thought to this problem as well. And I doubt that our treatment of Qhadaffi after he made frantic efforts to make nice with the United States gives much encouragement to the present rulers of many of these nations, including the Jordanian Royals.
The Cold Civil War
I think this explains much:
It’s a middle-sized piece, but the main ideas are in the first few paragraphs. I can’t begin to do it justice.
: more on The Cold Civil War
The ideas that keep haunting me: “The government apparatus identifies with the ruling class’s interests . . . Ever since Woodrow Wilson nearly a century and a half ago at Princeton, colleges have taught that ordinary Americans are rightly ruled by experts because they are incapable of governing themselves. Millions of graduates have identified themselves as the personifiers of expertise and believe themselves entitled to rule.” <snip>
There are those who hope President Trump was elected to drain the swamp. Of course the President had no idea how difficult that task would be, or how brutally the denizens of the swamp would defend their right to rule.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.