June 30, 2012

Proposed Plot for a Science Fiction Novel

1. Note that the higher lower (corrected 20130729) the population density of a piece of US ground, the more likely, on average, it is to be inhabited by conservatives, and vice versa.

The novel describes a near-future civil war between urban and rural areas. After initial setbacks to the conservative rustics, they are driven to Mao' and Ho's writings to learn how to run a peasants' guerrilla war. (Of course, the American Revolution was in part a rural rebellion.)

To turn the novel into a series, introduce conflict among leaders of the rebellion. Some are fighting to roll back the power of the government, and others seek to emulate Mao and Ho in governance as well as in guerrilla strategy. The latter is plausible given the authoritarian tendencies of much social conservatism.

2. In fact, I originally wondered if Mao and Ho can be adapted to political tactics for rural conservatives. Probably not, is my inclination though I haven't read M&H: the methods proposed by these writers are intrinsically violent.

3. The hacker culture may well have something to teach conservatives and libertarians who are resisting the metastasis of the State.

Happenstance or Enemy Action?

On the heels of the Obamacare decision, Legal Insurrection commenter 'janitor' reports:
Incredibly, to cap off the horrid news yesterday — and this has never happened before, and it happened TWICE — prospective customers (complete strangers) asked me what political party I am affiliated with because they weren’t going to do business with a Republican! The first was nasty, said that she has to know because Republicans are “crazy lunatics”.
He is joined by 'tazz':
Interesting – family member had same exact thing happen… Foolishness from the left….
My take:
I wonder if they thought of this behavior on their own, or if someone put them up to it. If the latter, who and how?
If the behavior is foolishness, it is a pernicious kind.

June 29, 2012

A Video That Must Happen

Hitler Learns That Obamacare Was Upheld.

This parody is begging to materialize. If created skillfully, it should make it into the top 10 Hitler parodies.

June 28, 2012

The Obamacare Ruling

My reaction is here:
1. Some well-intentioned conservatives claim that Roberts has executed a cunning plan to undermine the conceptual grounding of Leftist politics. I contacted Saul Alinsky via ouija board to ask about this. He said:
We’re happy to concede the moral victories, the intellectual victories, the ethical victories, the future (so you believe) victories to you reactionaries as long as we get power now.
Chuckling, he signed off.

2. America’s Ruling Class takes care of America’s Ruling Class. This is a good day to re-read Angelo Codevilla’a article of that title. I commend it to the attention of anyone who hasn’t read it.

3. This ruling forces me to rethink my opposition to Sarah Palin as a national candidate. Ditto for Gary Johnson. As a first step to that end, I’ve signed up for their mailing lists.

4. It is clearer than ever that replacing Obama with the Republican nominee is a finger-in-the-dike tactic—but it’s a worthwhile finger-in-the-dike tactic.

5. If it turns out that Roberts has laid the groundwork for a repeal of Obamacare by majority vote in Congress, I will admit I was wrong in #1. The rest of my post, with more urgency than usual, addresses matters that go well beyond Obamacare.

June 27, 2012

Kurzweil and Newsweek

Back when a Newsweek piece expressed reservations about some of his predictions, futurist Ray Kurzweil did not react amiably.

The Digital Power Index is Newsweek/Daily Beast's "collection of the 100 most significant players in 10 fields across the rapidly-expanding digital universe". Guess who isn't on it?

LeBron James Grows Up

In part due to his relationship with Hakeem Olajuwon: see here and here. Here, here and here too. Here. Even Forbes is impressed.

June 22, 2012

Sandusky: Damage by Act and Omission

There is the active damage done to his victims. There is also the harm experienced by young males who need mentors and role models, and will be less likely to receive them.

The End of Men?

I'm not sure why Instapundit linked to this two-year-old piece without mentioning its age. Slow news day? Anyway, a couple of reactions:

1. It's becoming ever more obvious that a good part of affirmative-action politics is about power, justice be hanged. The appeal to justice is a scam designed to disguise the thrust for power.

It's not true for everyone, of course--but it's true a lot. I suspect that it's disproportionately true for people in the upper levels of these movements.

2. Alienated Western men would be a fertile soil for Islam if Islam demonstrated the ability to run a technologically based civilization. Mustafaa El-Scari, a social worker in the Atlantic piece, may know that. So may the Turks...and the Saudis:
...a 2004 law passed by Saudi Arabia's Council of Ministers, which entitles expatriates of all nationalities who have resided in the kingdom for ten years to apply for citizenship with priority being given to holders of degrees in various scientific fields.[179] The Articles 12.4 and 14.1 of the Executive Regulation of Saudi Citizenship System can be interpreted as requiring applicants to be Muslim.[180]
Knowing it and being able to implement it are two different things.

3. Demographic competition is emerging between the modern and postmodern family and cultures like Mormonism and ultra-Orthodox Judaism, which foster traditional male-centered families. I'm not sure the postmodern family can reproduce itself, let alone keep up.

We may see the postmoderns (try to) use the power of the State to limit the reproduction of their competitors. Alternatively, technological solutions like artificial wombs may appear; such seem like science fiction...until they happen.

Addendum 20120627. Not only are some fringe cultures reproducing rapidly, the mainstream culture seems determined to commit suicide. (HT: Instapundit.) Some people will perceive an evil plan in this, but IMO it's unintended consequences.

What a difference five years make.

June 19, 2012

Hillary Trial Balloon?

Here. I commented (cache here):
I continue to believe that Vice President Hillary would appoint herself Senior Co-President and work toward her 2016 agenda. Yanked among Hillary, Michelle, and Valerie Jarrett (with Bill Clinton in the background), Obama might regret it if he won the election.
Earlier comment here.

June 18, 2012

Chinese Reforms Stall

The New York Times reports. A sidelined reformer speaks:
His fate, he says, paralleled a growing belief within China’s leadership that it has little more to learn from the West, especially after the global financial crisis of 2008 and China’s success in riding it out. “We’re suddenly so important,” he says, with more than a touch of sarcasm in his voice. “Look at America. It has problems. We don’t have problems.”
Given the touchy nationalism of many Chinese, it is surprising, and arguably reassuring, to hear someone speak that candidly, even from the sidelines. (HT: Dinocrat.)

Vae Victis

The post-WW2 expulsion of German minorities from Allied countries was worse than I thought (HT: Instapundit).

It was nowhere near as bad as what the Nazis would have done had they won. That's a partial but inadequate excuse.

Well, let the truth come out. Hopefully it will not come out with typical postmodern malice.

June 16, 2012

Elinor Ostrom, RIP

Ever since her Nobel Memorial Prize I've meant to mention her but not, alas, this way. Her work could not be pigeonholed ideologically, so it got less attention than it deserves.

I cannot rule out, and venture to hope, that somehow, somewhere, in a manner we cannot conceive of, she continues to apply her sturdy humane Midwestern scholarly common sense.

June 15, 2012

Glenn Reynolds...Easygoing?

Usually, but this time he does not mince words:
Let me be clear. These people are not well-meaning do-gooders who have just gone a bit too far. They don’t actually “mean well” at all. They don’t mean well, they mean to be in control. They are power-fetishists, drunk on the joys of bossing the little people around. They are not good people. They are evil. They should be ashamed of themselves, but shame — like taxes — is for the little people.
A reminder that Glenn is a preacher's son.

His Lileks link is pretty blunt too:
A culture that redefines food choices as moral issues will demonize the people who don’t share the tastes of the priest class. A culture that elevates eating to some holistic act of ethical self-definition - localvore, low-carbon-impact food, fair trade, artisanal cheese - will find the casual carefree choices of the less-enlightened as an affront to their belief system. Leave it to Americans to invent a Puritan strain of Epicurianism.
But I must admit that if I had money, I would buy free-range meat and eggs for humanitarian reasons. But this is none of the government's business. I also welcome the day when meat is vat-grown.

June 14, 2012

Wyden & Issa Propose Digital Bill of Rights

Hurray! Bravo!

The Internet community should be taking assertive action to protect the Internet from those who wish to suborn it for their own political or economic ends. Doing nothing more than resisting attempts at censorship is is a static, defensive, ultimately inadequate strategy.

Democrat Wyden is one of the good guys: someone I can respect despite disagreeing with his ideology.

Hey, Stupid!

Yes, I'm talking to you, George Bush:
The day when a dictator falls or yields to a democratic movement is glorious. The years of transition that follow can be difficult. People forget that this was true in Central Europe, where democratic institutions and attitudes did not spring up overnight. From time to time, there has been corruption, backsliding and nostalgia for the communist past. Essential economic reforms have sometimes proved painful and unpopular.
Somtimes? Try usually:
Although all dictators are bad in their own way, there's one insidious aspect of despotism that is most infuriating and galling to me: the disturbing frequency with which many despots, as in Kyrgyzstan, began their careers as erstwhile "freedom fighters" who were supposed to have liberated their people.

I respect the element of idealism in US foreign policy. However, it takes people, especially leaders, of real stature to implement successfully. as time passes, it is becoming more arguable that the world would be better of had Bush restricted himself to amoral realpolitik. Limited men should restrict themselves to limited agendas.

June 13, 2012

Soon an Endangered Species?

From fellow LI commenter Trooper John Smith:

Thanks for permission to repost!

Do Right Wingers Gloat?

According to Charles Johnson, we do:
If there’s one thing right wing blogs do better than whine about being persecuted by liberals, it’s gloat. They’re experts at it.
My reaction:
If there’s one thing that left wing blogs do better than sneer at conservatives, it’s gloat. They’re experts at it.
Gloating is enjoyable. Sneering is enjoyable. Whining is not enjoyable.

Therefore, America, the way to maximize your national happiness on Election Day is to hand conservatives a smashing victory. QED.


June 10, 2012

Saul Bellow Reviews Fifty Shades of Grey

According to Artur Sammler:
...I was saying that this liberation into individuality has not been a great success. For a historian of great interest, but for one aware of the suffering it is appalling. Hearts that get no real wage, souls that find no nourishment . Falsehoods, unlimited. Desire, unlimited. Possibility, unlimited. Impossible demands upon complex realities, unlimited. Revival in childish and vulgar form of ancient religious ideas, mysteries, utterly unconscious of course astonishing. Orphism, Mithraism, Manichaeanism, Gnosticism. When my eye is strong, I sometimes read in the Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. Many fascinating resemblances appear. But one notices most a peculiar play-acting, an elaborate and sometimes quite artistic manner of presenting oneself as an individual and a strange desire for originality, distinction, interest—yes, interest! A dramatic derivation from models, together with the repudiation of models. Antiquity accepted models, the Middle Ages—I don't want to turn into a history book before your eyes—but modern man, perhaps because of collectivization, has a fever of originality. The idea of the uniqueness of the soul. An excellent idea. A true idea. But in these forms? In these poor forms? Dear God! With hair, with clothes, with drugs and cosmetics, with genitalia, with round trips through evil, monstrosity, and orgy, with even God approached through obscenities? How terrified the soul must be in this vehemence, how little that is really dear to it it can see in these Sadic exercises. And even there, the Marquis de Sade in his crazy way was an Enlightenment philosophe. Mainly he intended blasphemy. But for those who follow (unaware) his recommended practices, the idea no longer is blasphemy, but rather hygiene, pleasure which is hygiene too, and a charmed and interesting life. An interesting life is the supreme concept of dullards.
Mr. Sammler's Planet appeared forty years before Fifty Shades of Grey.

June 9, 2012

Pregnancy and Accountability

Should a man be responsible for supporting a baby he didn’t want?, a State column asks. (HT: Instapundit.)

As did I, a couple of years ago.

Elizabeth Warren's New Strategery

Turn farther left. I kid you not. (HT: Commenter Moe4 at Legal Insurrection.)

The race would be over if...if only this wasn't Massachusetts...if only Scott Brown hadn't alienated the Tea Party whose efforts got him elected.

But it is and he did.

(Does Warren's decision mean she is worried about shoring up her base?)

June 6, 2012

Romney Overconfidence?

Romeny appointed liberal Mormon Republican Mike Leavitt to head his transmission team. Is he trying to see how many parts of the conservative coalition he can anger simultaneously?

I've posted that the rotting corpse of a syphilitic camel would be better than Obama. Is Romney trying to push the envelope?

Honest, Agenda-Free Oversight, I'm Sure

From the Atlantic: Americans Have No Idea How Few Gay People There Are (HT: Instapundit.)

Gee, a cynic might think the exaggeration is deliberate.

(I overlooked it because I don't have a TV. Recycled my tube when they went high-def and didn't upgrade. Don't miss it.)

Where Are My Manners?

Congratulations to SpaceX for the first visit of a private craft to the International Space Station.

May an off-earth economy become profitable, and then self-sustaining.