Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for the West as it commits suicide.
If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.
Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983
“Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Immigration without assimilation is invasion.
Suggestion of the day for the incoming government:
There are many regulations with employment level triggers: this regulation (or law) applies only to those firms with 10 or more employees; or 20 or more employees; or 50, or 100, and probably more. DOUBLE those numbers, particularly the smaller ones. Laws that apply to firms of 10 or more now apply only to places with 20 or more; 20 becomes 40; etc. This would immediately allow small businesses to grow, and doubtless many would do so. We know that the laws are not vital in the sense that workers cannot live without them, because we permit it for firms of say 19 employees; adding a 20th would greatly increase costs, which is why the business doesn’t grow. Etc.; surely the point is obvious. This could be done on the first day of the new Congress, passed by both houses and signed by the President; and it may well have a dramatic effect on the growth of the economy.
I invite readers to send their own suggestions. I will publish those I can agree with. Someone might notice.
It’s been a while, and I apologize; I have a lot to do. Just had lunch with Larry and Steve, and Steve came up with a significant plot point that should bolster our growing book on interstellar colonies quite a bit. It took some discussion to get it right, and all’s well. Progress is being made. As it happens, at lunch we met a neighbor who had read all our books, but had never met Larry or Steve.
Roberta looks better than ever, and there is a glimmer of progress with her right hand. Her speech is noticeably better each day, she’s eating better, and her blood pressure is better. Monday I had an appointment at Kaiser, which is more than half way to Holy Cross, so I proceeded out to Holy Cross on my own, then back to Chaos Manor, all on surface streets. No incidents, but it is exhausting, which is why I didn’t have anything Monday. Yesterday was more complicated, but I got some work done after a visit to Roberta thanks to Mike Donahue.
Much of this morning was eaten by simple household problems, none serious, like changing batteries in a wall clock: getting the clock down and changing batteries was simple, but getting the clock hung back on the wall was more than I, or Larry, or Steve could do. I think I just figured out a way but now I have to wait for the Elmer’s Glue-All to dry to see if it worked. Ah well. Obviously I can write this without a clock on the wall. I suppose it could be said I don’t need one at all, but the big wall clock is easier to see than the tiny time and date at the bottom of the computer screen, and that’s not always visible anyway.
As you would suppose, Washington DC is a boiling kettle of turmoil just now as they must fill about 4,000 political appointments, inevitably disappointing some job seekers but more importantly their backers and followers; Trump’s majority is not a loose and variable a collection of minorities and interest groups as is the Democratic Party which is a loose coalition of interest groups, some of whom hate each other. The first appointments I thought masterful: the Vice President Designate as head of the Transition Team, Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff, and Stephen Bannon as “Chief Strategist”; I gather that a Chief Strategist is to a Chief of Staff as a Chief Scientist is to a Chief Engineer: you have to listen to Chief Scientist, but they have no line authority. On the other hand, they have access, and more time to be persuasive.
This is an interesting set of appointments. Mr. Priebus has good friends in Congress, and considerable “establishment” experience; Mr. Bannon is of course an old line advocate of states rights and gets along very well with Mr. Trump’s early and most enthusiastic supporters. Mr. Bannon will cease not to remind Trump that a vast majority of those who voted for him want him to drain the swamp and get the arrogant New Class government officials out of the people’s lives; while Mr. Priebus will remind him that government must go on, and it is important to have experienced civil servants who can do those things necessary and proper for the United States to function.
Put that way, I do not see what the controversy is: there are certainly bureaucratic excesses, regulatory agencies that exist mostly to give work to the regulators and their enforcement agents without regard to the need for the regulatory activity– bunny inspectors come to mind – and we may be sure that the mood of the civil service is fear for losing their jobs. This is not a new controversy, and few of my readers will find anything to regret in having a White House advocate continually reminding the President of who elected him; and I suspect not many who do not understand that some Federal activities are necessary and proper, and some are even vital to the health and even survival of the United States.
Much of the rest of the controversy over Mr. Bannon is artificial and purely political. I suppose there are some who genuinely hate the Confederate Flag, and I have some sympathy with those offended by it flying over their state Capitol buildings; but surely Americans who choose to display the Stars and Bars in front of their own homes have as much right to do that as do Americans of Mexican descent to display the Mexican flag? I was brought up to venerate the Confederate Flag, but not to fly it above the American Flag. I know that many of the troops in Korea during that war fought under the US Flag, but carried Zippo cigarette lighters adorned with the Stars and Bars, some with an old southern Colonel muttering “Forget, Hell.” And quite a few were buried with Confederate Flags although the flag over their coffins (if there was time to get one, which was not often at first) was the Stars and Stripes. Yes, I understand that some still would prefer slavery, although I have never met anyone who would admit it. Some would prefer Jim Crow, and I do know some of them although they never bring it up around me.
I was taken with Robert Burns and “A man’s a man for a’aa that” in high school, and was despised by some of my classmates (but not the Christian Brothers teachers) for doing so; but I had ancestors on both sides in the Civil War, and I have no desire to urinate on the graves of any of them; nor to despise the flags of either side. My generation will soon be gone – most already is – but I for one do not despise those who died defending Lookout Mountain and Atlanta any more than I despise the children of those freed. It was after all a long time ago.
My Viking ancestors used to raid Ireland for slave girls. By some Christian magic they found they had acquired wives, and then a celibate priest was telling them when they could sleep with them. Now in the Scottish Isles, they celebrate Viking holidays as well as the traditional Christian holidays; and both are civilized, with no screaming thralls cast into the peat bogs in Sweden nor Denmark nor Scotland nor Ireland nor Shetland.
I can only wish those offended by flags, and even insults, that they be spared confronting enemies with swords and bombs; and to assure them that my generation and those after me were willing to risk their lives in the belief that we were in fact sparing them that.
No doubt Mr. Bannon has said many things I disagree with. I would have thought he has every right to do so. So have most Democrats, and certainly both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama have.
Abolish Electoral College?
The left is still upset that democracy, despite their best efforts, didn’t go their way. Now they want to abolish the electoral college; Reid was making some noise about it but Boxer actually put in a bill:
Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, who is also retiring at the end of this year, introduced a bill Wednesday that would abolish the Electoral College.
Doesn’t this require a Constitutional Amendment?
Abolishing the electoral college will allow increased pandering and it generates a perception of diminished States’ rights. I doubt such notions are popular in the current political climate. Is diminishing States’ rights their objective or does is this simply because they lost one time too many?
And it will be most interesting to see who supports this, parrots it, popularizes it, and funds any activities associated with it. I’d like to know if this is the last hoorah of some old folks at their retirement party or if this is cause for concern.
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
Joshua Jordan, KSC
Of course it requires a constitutional amendment, which requires not only super majorities in both houses of Congress (the President has no say), but also ¾ of the States. The electoral college, which gives each state at least three votes, was part of the compromise that induced the smaller states to accept the Constitution; at the time Virginia was huge (in population) compared to most other states. If you look at the map of the election, you will see that this is unlikely. A bill to abolish the college will not even receive a vote; a resolution of amendment could not possibly gather 2/3 of each house, nor ¾ of the states.
Where was the Secret Service when #AssassinateTrump and #RapeMelania were trending?
As all eyes in America remain trained on the persistent anti-Trump protests spread across several cities and states — there’s a war unfolding in the virtual world that has shockingly remained unaddressed by law enforcement agencies.
Free trade and automobiles and the Iron Law
Dear Jerry –
In your discourse on free trade, you wrote, “A lot of this changed when Japanese and German cars began to be more common, and the improvement was obvious. I put that down to the competition from free trade.” I offer a slightly offset view. One of the assumptions behind free trade analysis is that both parties are economically efficient. In the larger sense, this was not true of Detroit – arrogance and complacency were on full display.
One of my fraternity brothers worked for a summer at the headquarters of GM in the mid 70’s, when the better quality and gas mileage of foreign cars (especially the Japanese) was beginning to give Detroit serious heartburn. He reported that the executives were honestly puzzled by the situation. It turns out that all of the high-level execs had company-provided cars. These cars were, of course, replaced each year with the latest model. Furthermore, each day their cars were refueled and serviced. Gas mileage? Not a problem in their world. Reliability? Their cars ran just fine. Their personal experience contradicted the reports which they were receiving, and in such cases personal experience tends to dominate. At least until the inconvenient external reality comes crashing down on them.
I submit this as an unintentional example of your Iron Law. The organization, in providing for its members (or at least the top level) produced an organization which was ill-equipped to adapt to changes in its market, and thus interfered with the organization’s nominal function – selling cars.
Oh but I completely agree. One reason Detroit became a rust belt was lack of competition from startups; automation of automobile construction was well developed but Detroit was still using pre-war plants and assembly lines. Germany and Japan had no pre-war factories to preserve. Their competition doomed Detroit. It is a dirty little secret, apparently: America still makes things and produces goods, and in plenty; but it takes far fewer workers to do that. Workers laid off could seek work in startups, but the political system is rigged to require heavy investment in regulatory compliance officers and experts before a single product is built. Someone who wanted to hire laid off assembly line workers to work on some new product would have to bear the burden of regulatory costs before beginning; and of course he couldn’t begin a new automobile company. Germany and Japan got new auto plants. New ones could not be started in America.
The robots are coming. Make no mistake. They are inevitable. Productivity will grow. The number of products made will grow. The number of workers required to make them will fall. More things will be made by fewer employed people.
Newt Gingrich on the New York Times
On Sunday, the publisher and the executive editor of the New York Times published a letter to the paper’s readers, promising to “rededicate” the paper to its “fundamental mission”. That mission, they said, is to “report America and the world honestly, without fear or favor, striving always to understand and reflect all political perspectives and life experiences in the stories that we bring to you.”
This is as close as the Times is likely to come to apologizing to its readers for a year and a half of unbalanced–and often unhinged–coverage of the presidential race.[snip]
The rest is worth reading if you have any interest. We’ll see.
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
My facebook feed has been blowing up with various people falling into tizzies over Trump’s seeming appointment of Steve Bannon, head of Breitbart, to a key position.
Given this fact, I think it appropriate to listen to what Mr. Bannon says in his own words.
I don’t think this is white nationalism. At least, not unless “white nationalism” has become synonymous with “western civilization”. He obviously thinks that atheism is bad and the world would be a better place if it ran by Catholic principles, but he seems to want to marginalize the racist elements of UKIP and related groups while defending traditional civilization against the tide of secularism.
He seems a lot less objectionable in person than he does in, say, the pages of national review.
I never met Mr. Bannon, and I pretty well disregarded National Review after it became the bi-weekly Trump bash, so I’m really not familiar with him. I have not found a charge and specification that renders him an unperson as the Left seems to be making him. After reading the buzzfeed interview, I find him strongly reminiscent of my (correspondence) friend the late Sam Francis. Long time readers of this View will recall that I have often said that unrestricted capitalism will inevitably result in human flesh for sale in the marketplace.
I have now read most of the National Review article linked to, and I do not find it appealing or well reasoned, and felt no need to finish it; I regret to say I have lost most of my confidence in National Review.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.