The Wednesday Compendium

Richard Gere visited that refugee ship that the Italians are preventing form landing its passengers (good for them, in my opinion). Weasel Zippers tells us this.

He [Gere] compared the political situation in Italy, where League leader and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has repeatedly refused requests by migrant ships to dock, to that of the U.S. administration of Donald Trump.

“We have our problems with refugees coming from Honduras, Salavador, Nicaragua, Mexico… It’s very similar to what you are going through here,” he said, accusing politicians in both Italy and the United States of demonising migrants.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini came very close to winning the internet with his response.

“Given this generous millionaire is voicing concern for the fate of the Open Arms migrants, we thank him: he can take back to Hollywood, on his private plane, all the people aboard and support them in his villas. Thank you Richard!” he said in a statement.

Well done, Minister Salvini. Sounds like something we’ve all thought, and perhaps said, more than once, doesn’t it?


National Security Advisor John Bolton is currently in London, talking to the British about Brexit and how it will affect our relationship. According to Guido, he said this:

He makes clear the US would “enthusiastically” support the UK if it left with no deal:

“If that is the decision of the British government, we will support it enthusiastically. That is the message I am bringing: we are with you. Britain’s success in successfully exiting the EU is a statement about democratic rule and constitutional government that is important for Britain but for the US too.”

Which is exactly what I’ve wanted ever since British Independence Day back on  23 June 2016. That it has taken over three years to finally get to this point makes it clear that Theresa May was the worst Prime Minister since at least Lord North.  As somebody said, Lord North only lost America, Theresa May did her best to lose Britain itself. Thank God for Boris Johnson, and may he steer a proper course back to independence. Somebody, back in some dangerous time, signaled, “England expects that every man will do his duty” Nothing much has changed in that regard since 23 October 1805.

This is part of the reason it is so important. From Mr. Bolton.

“The fashion in the European Union when the people vote the wrong way from the way the elites want to go, is make the peasants vote again and again until they get it right.”

Bolton, like many in the Trump administration, is an ideological supporter of Brexit as well as a pragmatic one. Remainers can complain all they like but it’s not a bad thing to have in your closest ally at this moment in time…

There are a lot of Americans (including me) who think that way, and some 16.7 million Britons as well.


Over at American Thinker, Eileen F. Toplansky wants to know why blacks are relinquishing their birthright. It’s a good question. Here is some of her article.

The Democrat Party knows only one way to reach the Black population in this country. They race-bait; they lie; they foment change that never actually helps Black people. They engage in covert racism against the very people they claim to want to help.

Cities that are Democratically-controlled have an abysmal record of assisting Black citizens. Yet, when election time comes around, the Democrats swoop in with their promises only to leave when the television cameras cease running.

She then talks about The Freedmen’s Bureau established in the War Department during Reconstruction.

On April 19, 1866, former slaves Benjamin Berry Manson and Sarah Ann Benton White received an official marriage certificate from the Freedmen’s Bureau, officially known as the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands.

The Wilson County, Tennessee couple had lived as slave man and wife since October 28, 1843, and for the first time in more than two decades their marriage had finally received legal recognition. The Freedmen’s Bureau — established in the War Department by an act of Congress on March 3, 1865 … provided freed people with food and clothing, medical attention, employment, support for education, help with military claims, and a host of other socially related services — including assisting ex-slave couples in formalizing marriages they had entered into during slavery.

For the Mansons — who had lived intermittently on separate farms — the marriage certificate issued by the Freedmen’s Bureau was more than a document ‘legally’ sealing the sacred bonds of holy matrimony. Listing the names and ages of 9 of their 16 children, it was for them a symbol of freedom and the long-held hope that they and their children would one day live free as a family in the same household.

Benjamin and Sarah Manson were not alone in their quest to put their slave marriage on a legal footing. When freedom came, tens of thousands of former slave men and women — some seeking to marry for the first time and others attempting to solemnize long-standing relationships — sought help from Union Army clergy, provost marshals, northern missionaries, and the Freedmen’s Bureau.

We don’t talk enough about how we tried to help the former slaves and accomplished quite a lot.

Regarding education, how is it that so many black students are not excelling in school?  Frederick Douglass innately understood that slavery and education are incompatible because ignorance is one way slave-owners kept their slaves manageable.  Why aren’t black students demanding that they be taught the basics and not a slew of left-wing indoctrination meant to divide people and keep them down?

While no one is in actual iron chains, the Democratic Party keeps black people manageable because they have been denied the tools to succeed in reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic.  If you can barely read, you are ripe for the indoctrination and emotional angst the Democrats whip up.  If you are praised when you speak street talk in an effort to avoid appearing educated, what kind of gift is that?  If Democrats — now diehard leftists — use “white privilege” arguments in order to lure in naïve black students, these students have become useful tools to the left-wing Democratic Party.

As Thomas Sowell has written, “[d]uring the half century following the Civil War, an estimated $57 million was contributed from the North to educate black students in the South and blacks themselves contributed an additional $24 million.  But the Southern states dragged their feet on creating schools — and especially high schools — for black children.”

In fact, it was the Southern Democrats who were determined not to let black children realize their full potential.

Read it all. She is completely, thoroughly, and unequivocally correct. It’s a shame that Johnson and his heirs have so suborned the blacks that they actually do believe that their oppressors are their friends. I suspect than when the scales drop from their eyes, there will be hell to pay. I hope it comes soon because the longer it takes, the worse it will be, both for them now and for us all later.

Not for nothing did President Kennedy say:

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

And that applies to all three stories we have here today.

Different, but the Same

Two articles I’m going to reference today. In my mind, they have several parallels. Let’s see what you think.

First, Mark Alexander at PA Pundits- International tells us why Trump’s approval rating with black men has doubled in the last year.

Thomas Sowell [once wrote] “Racism is not dead, but it is on life support — kept alive by politicians, race hustlers and people who get a sense of superiority by denouncing others as ‘racist.’”

[Rev. Dr. Martin Luther] King declared: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ … I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. … And if America is to be a great nation this must become true.”

Surveying the rest of the passing scene, I came across a stunning presidential approval report: While an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey found that Donald Trump’sapproval numbers are holding steady after last week’s pile on, what really caught my attention was one standout in Rasmussen’s highly regarded Presidential Approval Tracking Poll. Trump’s approval rating among black Americans is now 36%, almost twice what it was a year ago. Now, I don’t expect this trend will show up as dramatically in the midterm elections, but it is clear that more black voters are recognizing that Democrats turned King’s dream into a nightmare.

Booker T Washington wrote in his My Larger Education:

There is another class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. … Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs … There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who do not want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out, they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public.

Keep that in mind as we move forward today. Now we turn to the Colonel on a somewhat different subject (or is it?).

You typically don’t grow a movement by subtraction, but it’s become clear that some prominent figures in the world of conservatism are negative numbers. They are net liabilities, and we need to boot them out of the big tent or they will keep stinking up the place. We need to clean house, to send the cruise-shilling hacks, whiny geebos, and the careerist dillweeds of Conservative, Inc., packing. Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, and others, I’m looking at you. […]

 One of the many great things about the Trump era is the great clarification it has provided. His rise, which challenged the establishment’s iron grip on power, clarified who was truly conservative and who was just pretending to be conservative as a career move. I talk about these hacks in great and vicious detail in my upcoming book Militant Normals: How Regular Americans Are Rebelling Against the Elite to Reclaim Our Democracy, except I use a lot of swears there. Their incompetence and treachery earned them.

Who needs to go? How about the aforementioned Mitt Romney, the preening tattle-tale who was Evan McMullin before Evan McMullin was Evan McMullin – we just didn’t know it yet. And to think that a lot of us voted for him in 2012; can you imagine if he won, though? He would have rolled on the climate scam, appointed milquetoast judges, and generally showed his belly to the establishment because he is the establishment. That’s where his loyalty lies – can’t you just see him after leaving office in 2020 following eight years of wheel-spinning, hanging out with his good friends Bill and George and Barack?

Now this loser is running to replace Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, who we drove out of the Senate in shame, as the high-pitched voice of The Vichy Resistance. Mitt is going to really rub Ben Sasse the wrong way, because the Nebraska Nag wants that gig for himself. Sasse loves talking about how Trump – and by extension, us – fails to meet his exacting standards for decorum, decency, and defeat in the fight against progressivism. Mitt threatens to steal his Strange New Respect spotlight, and watch those two have the world’s most passive aggressive mean girl fight for the mantle of leadership of the anti-Trump GOP Senate contingent.

Yeah, I gotta tell you, the greatest pleasure I’m going to have (sadly not this year) is voting against Sasse. I got fooled, so did a lot of us, he talked a really good game – until a real fighter showed up.

These guys need to go because they aren’t interested in winning; they are interested in maintaining the status quo. Conservative, Inc., is all about talking and not fighting – after all, if we win the cultural war, who needs them to write about it anymore? Victory means the donations dry up, and they’ll have to get real jobs like us Normals. That just won’t do.

And there it is, right out in the open. Conservative, Inc. is nothing less than the Republican equivalent of the Democratic Plantation, and we’ve been played every bit as thoroughly as the blacks have been.

Now we know, and now is the time to fix it. With Trump holding the ring, its time for the Normals, black, brown, yellow, white, green with purple polka dots, whatever, to wrench control of our country back from these so-called elites, who aren’t so very elite after all. All they can do is talk a good game, without us, they starve. And it is time, and past time, for them to have to get a real job.

Is Personal Responsibility Obsolete?

acb46207-5148-4082-9535-ebb6505f90d7Over the last few days, Thomas Sowell has published a two-part series on Is Personal Responsibility Obsolete. As would be expected it is very good. It starts like this.

Among the many disturbing signs of our times are conservatives and libertarians of high intelligence and high principles who are advocating government programs that relieve people of the necessity of working to provide their own livelihoods.

Generations ago, both religious people and socialists were agreed on the proposition that “he who does not work, neither shall he eat.” Both would come to the aid of those unable to work. But the idea that people who simply choose not to work should be supported by money taken from those who are working was rejected across the ideological spectrum.

How we got to the present situation is a long story, but the painful fact is that we are here now. Among the leading minds of our times, including Charles Murray today and the late and great Milton Friedman earlier, there have been proposals for ways of subsidizing the poor without the suffocating distortions of the government’s welfare state bureaucracy.

Professor Friedman’s plan for a negative income tax to help the poor has already been put into practice. But, contrary to his intention to have this replace the welfare state bureaucracy, it has been simply tacked on to all the many other government programs, instead of replacing them.

It is not inevitable that the same thing will happen to Charles Murray’s plan, but I would bet the rent money that there would be the same end result.

Just what specific problem is so dire as to cause some conservatives and libertarians to propose that the government come to the rescue by giving every adult money to live on without working?

Poverty? “Poverty” today means whatever government statisticians in Washington say it means — no more and no less. Most Americans living below the official poverty line today have central air-conditioning, cable television for multiple TV sets, own at least one motor vehicle, and have many other amenities that most of the human race never had for most of its existence.

Most Americans did not have central air-conditioning or cable television as recently as the 1980s. A scholar who spent years studying Latin America has called the poverty line in America the upper middle class in Mexico.

via Is Personal Responsibility Obsolete? – Thomas Sowell

In the second part, he uses the examples of Spain and Saudi Arabia as examples of what usually happens to societies, which in one way or another, usually windfalls, find themselves in situations in which their people no longer have to work, or produce anything. It actually pretty analogous to the winner of one of the big lottery payouts, and has similar results. It seems that societies, as well as people, need the structure of productive work (defined very broadly) to lead successful lives.

The second part is here, Is Personal Responsibility Obsolete?: Part II

I think he’s right, but even if you don’t, it’s a thoughtful look at where our societies are careening to out of control.

The Socialist Dream Will Never Die

w704 (2)Steven Hayward over at Powerline recently wrote something very interesting.

Not long ago I was listening to one of Russ Roberts’s archived “EconTalk” podcasts with the great Thomas Sowell (and if you don’t listen to EconTalk you’re missing one of the top podcast artists of our time—subscribe for free here), and was completely stunned by something Sowell said. When he was assigned Friedrich Hayek’s seminal essay “The Use of Knowledge in Society” as a graduate student, he didn’t get it. Sowell found it too abstract and dense. Russ Roberts, another fine Chicago-school economist, said he had the same reaction to it the first time he read it, and, moreover, that Vernon Smith (a Nobel Prize winner) also found the essay opaque at first reading.

Source: The Socialist Dream Will Never Die | Power Line

Like Steven, I’ver never found this anything but clear as a plate glass window, so I’m a bit dumbfounded. Still the examples he gives worked through it, extraordinarily well, and as sometimes happens, maybe they understand it better for not seeing immediately the point.

He then proceeds to comment on an article in The New Republic, entitled “What If Stalin Had Computers?” What his point is that it is simply the old socialist saw that communism merely needed more time, as if a few more generations of misery would have made it work, violates another thing. Name one thing that Stalin’s Soviet union invented or developed from scratch. Can’t think of one myself, everything they had, somebody in the west, mostly Britain or America developed. So, Stalin having computers is simply a fantasy, that would have never happened in a millennium without the west. But, in truth, communism, or socialism, can never work, because people will always act in their own rational self-interest. And if you attempt to force it, they will simply pretend to work, and lie.

And the real reason it makes no difference is this. Sometime, long ago, I read a quote from Sir Winston Churchill, which I can no longer find, that said roughly, “We gather all the statistics in the world, and analyze and plan things on them, and reorder national priorities and all that. But it all come down to that grubby little man, with a clipboard and a pencil, who wrote down whatever he felt like.” And that is what always kills command economies–they lie to themselves, whether they are the Soviet Union, Venezuela, or increasingly, the United States. The real reason that we didn’t forsee the downfall of the USSR was that we believed the BS given to the Politburo.

Let’s finish with Steve and how he finished his article:

I recall reading one of the last interviews Hayek ever gave shortly before his death in 1992 in Forbes (sadly I can’t seem to find it now), where he was asked whether the information revolution and supercomputing didn’t change things, and make possible more effective centralized economic planning. Hayek said no—no matter how big and fast computers get, and how complete the data gathering, no centralized process can ever hope to match the uncoordinated actions of the constantly changing marketplace. Go re-read “The Use of Knowledge in Society” slowly and repeatedly until you get it.

At the end of the day, of course, the socialist impulse is not really rooted in reason or epistemology, but in envy and the desire for authoritarian control. That’s why we’ll never be rid of these people, no matter how many Venezeulas and Cubas you pile up.

 

Hobby Lobby, Obamacare, and Remedial Economics

English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the...

English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the University of Southern California (Video of the speech) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, I’m sure you know that the Supreme Court decided that a privately held corporation (defined as held by less than 5 people) can have religious beliefs. In fine it was decided that Hobby Lobby has the right not to provide, without cost 4 (out of 20) contraceptives. Their employees still can, of course, still obtain them, they just have to pay for them, as they have for twenty years. Those four act as abortifacients, which are defined as stopping a fertilized egg from implanting. It was a very narrow decision, not that you can tell from the absurd wailing and gnashing of teeth.

But what I really want to talk about today is economic theory. We are watching the greatest economic miracle in world history be subverted by a bunch of economic Luddites. I’m not at all sure that they are not full disciples of old Ned as long as they get to be the aristocracy. And that’s the difference as we’ll see here.

Let’s start with a superficial overview of world economic history. Here there really is a graph that looks like a hockey stick, unlike the charlatans of the ‘Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming’.

In case you missed it in the video, here is that graph again

Why then? Because of this

We’ve been hearing all our life how FDR saved the country in the Great Depression. He didn’t. He continued Hoover’s policies and even made them worse. What brought us out of the Great Depression was World War II, which you could make a pretty good case that the ‘great’ Progressive, Wilson, caused. Here:

Let’s bring it on down to now, and talk a bit about Obama’s policies

And do note that Bush played Hoover to Obama’s FDR quite well.

Just to bring us around the circle, here is what Dr. Sowell told us about Obamacare, even before it was passed.

Thomas Sowell — Shepherds and Sheep

John-stuart-mill 1

John-stuart-mill 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday we talked about how the NHS in Britain is quite literally killing British subjects and why it’s coming soon to America as well. We also extrapolated that the information in that article also applies equally well to our welfare system.

Also yesterday, Geoffrey Sales, writing on  All Along the Watchtower  speaking on the weaknesses in the current churches, said this.

[…]

There’s the root of it. We know best. Who is the ‘we’? It is white, middle class Western folk who take a liberal view of how to read Holy Writ. Shall we stop there a moment? So, most people who have ever lived as Christians, and indeed most alive who still do, know nowt compared to this small elite?  Whence came this gnosis and to them alone? What everyone used to, and most still, believe, it to be set aside – why? To that we shall come next.

On which I commented

[…]

This is another one of those statements that we can with profit, extrapolate from the specific to the general. Who is the “we” indeed and according to whom, and what if you’re wrong? Applies not only to our churches but with overwhelming force to our governments, as well.

Again like we said yesterday, when we hand our individual sovereignty to someone else, we lose control of our, and our loved ones lives. People make mistakes, all of us do. But when we make a mistake, we affect mostly us, and maybe our loved ones but, when we cede control of our lives to the government as both we and the Brits have done (or are doing) we allow them to make mistakes that adversely affect millions of people. Do you really think that someone who is so ashamed of his grades that he spends millions of dollars to hide them is really going to care what his decisions do to you and your family?

To expand on this theme more here is Thomas Sowell.

John Stuart Mill’s classic essay “On Liberty” gives reasons why some people should not be taking over other people’s decisions about their own lives. But Professor Cass Sunstein of Harvard has given reasons to the contrary. He cites research showing “that people make a lot of mistakes, and that those mistakes can prove extremely damaging.”

Professor Sunstein is undoubtedly correct that “people make a lot of mistakes.” Most of us can look back over our own lives and see many mistakes, including some that were very damaging.

What Cass Sunstein does not tell us is what sort of creatures, other than people, are going to override our mistaken decisions for us. That is the key flaw in the theory and agenda of the left.

Implicit in the wide range of efforts on the left to get government to take over more of our decisions for us is the assumption that there is some superior class of people who are either wiser or nobler than the rest of us.

Yes, we all make mistakes. But do governments not make bigger and more catastrophic mistakes?

Think about the First World War, from which nations on both sides ended up worse off than before, after an unprecedented carnage that killed substantial fractions of whole younger generations and left millions starving amid the rubble of war.

Think about the Holocaust, and about other government slaughters of even more millions of innocent men, women and children under Communist governments in the Soviet Union and China.

Even in the United States, government policies in the 1930s led to crops being plowed under, thousands of little pigs being slaughtered and buried, and milk being poured down sewers, at a time when many Americans were suffering from hunger and diseases caused by malnutrition.

The Great Depression of the 1930s, in which millions of people were plunged into poverty in even the most prosperous nations, was needlessly prolonged by government policies now recognized in retrospect as foolish and irresponsible.

One of the key differences between mistakes that we make in our own lives and mistakes made by governments is that bad consequences force us to correct our own mistakes. But government officials cannot admit to making a mistake without jeopardizing their whole careers.

Can you imagine a President of the United States saying to the mothers of America, “I am sorry your sons were killed in a war I never should have gotten us into”?

What is even more relevant to Professor Sunstein’s desire to have our betters tell us how to live our lives, is that so many oppressive and even catastrophic government policies were cheered on by the intelligentsia.

Back in the 1930s, for example, totalitarianism was considered to be “the wave of the future” by much of the intelligentsia, not only in the totalitarian countries themselves but in democratic nations as well.

The Soviet Union was being praised to the skies by such literary luminaries as George Bernard Shaw in Britain and Edmund Wilson in America, while literally millions of people were being systematically starved to death by Stalin and masses of others were being shipped off to slave labor camps.

Even Hitler and Mussolini had their supporters or apologists among intellectuals in the Western democracies, including at one time Lincoln Steffens and W.E.B. Du Bois.

An even larger array of the intellectual elite in the 1930s opposed the efforts of Western democracies to respond to Hitler’s massive military buildup with offsetting military defense buildups to deter Hitler or to defend themselves if deterrence failed.

“Disarmament” was the mantra of the day among the intelligentsia, often garnished with the suggestion that the Western democracies should “set an example” for other nations — as if Nazi Germany or imperial Japan was likely to follow their example.

Too many among today’s intellectual elite see themselves as our shepherds and us as their sheep. Tragically, too many of us are apparently willing to be sheep, in exchange for being taken care of, being relieved of the burdens of adult responsibility and being supplied with “free” stuff paid for by others.

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