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Currently Browsing: Politics

“I’m From the Government, and I’m here to Kill You”

Dave Hardy’s latest book, “I’m From the Government and I’m Here to Kill you” is now available for preorder on Amazon. I’m told it should ship in a few weeks. I’d strongly recommend the introduction:

The proposition that a king, a government, can do wrong is central to the Declaration, America’s foundational document. So how did America get to a situation where government employees, “public servants,” can kill by sheer sloppiness and walk away? Where an agency can level a town and kill six hundred citizens and escape all responsibility? Where a federal agency can run guns to Mexican drug cartels, causing hundreds of deaths on both sides of the border, and wash its hands of the matter? Where veterans can die awaiting doctors’ appointments, and the hospital administrators can collect their bonuses and walk away?

Answering these questions requires a brief look at legal history. English common law developed the concept of “sovereign immunity,” commonly expressed as “the King can do no wrong.” But common-law sovereign immunity was actually a narrow concept. A subject could not sue or pros- ecute the king, but could take legal action against anyone carrying out the king’s orders. Americans could better hold their government accountable when they were ruled by George III than they can today!

Read the whole thing.

Peak Social Issues?

Say Uncle asks whether we’ve reached peak social issues. My prediction is that no, we have not. But I think every new generation is always looking for things they can do that will piss off their parents, and the Millennials had to reach to completely absurd levels to accomplish that. So things really have no where to go but backwards.

I believe over the next 50 years, this country is going to see a good old fashioned religious revival, not unlike the ones we had two centuries ago. Only it won’t be strictly protestant, and probably will have a lot of tendencies none of us today will like. I don’t dare say socialism, because I’m not convinced Generation Z has any better idea what Socialism actually is than Millennials do. There’s already evidence the ground work is being laid.

We even have our very own Jacksonian in the White House.

One More Thought …

Following up on the previous post … in the great monopolies of the 20th century, IBM and Bell Labs, to name the big players, maintained great laboratories of innovation. If they were going to be monopolies, they wanted the public to feel they were benefiting from it. We’re still benefitting from much of the innovation today that has come out of those two monopolists in the 20th century.

The robber barons of the 21st century will captivate the public imagination with space travel, supersonic transport, electric cars, and other wonders. They will do their best to bring us the future we were promised, so we will also remain happy with our monopolies and accept their political power.

There has to be a balance. I don’t believe the economic and social policies of the 20th century will achieve what we need, and I notice a lot of the elders in my life are myopically still fighting yesterday’s battles, and settling old scores which don’t honestly matter anymore.

One thing I do believe is that Trump and Obama are both transformative figures. They are two peas in a pod, even if neither they nor their supporters could ever accept that. Both are products of the 20th century post-WWII political arrangement. Sooner than most anyone else, they came to understand the post-WWI arrangement was breaking down. Wishing to make their mark on the world, both are now locked in a struggle to replace that order, but neither of them are really in a position to do so. Something will replace that order, but whatever it will be, and whoever will be its standard bearer, has not fully developed.

Sandwichgate

I don’t know how many of you have followed David Brooks’ stepping in it with his story of introducing a working class friend to an upscale sandwich shop.

Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.

Ace of Ace of Spades has a somewhat different take on it:

By the way, where did David Brooks come by this non-college-educated “friend”? Last time I heard from him, he was asking the government to set up Adult Day Camps where people of different social classes could meet and mingle.

I’m already involved with such an Adult Day Camp, namely my local shooting club. It’s difficult for me to relate to this kind of class anxiety. I think a key part of getting along and enjoying new experiences is just not giving too much of a crap what other people think of you. Now, to a degree, we all care somewhat. I certainly don’t enjoy offending people, and try very hard not to poop in other people’s pools. But I don’t see what the issue is asking what a Padrino is, and couldn’t really care less if someone thinks I’m a rube for not knowing.

My father worked in an office, but only completed some college. My mother only had a high school education and was a full time mom. Both my grandfathers were tradesmen. Most of my father’s friends were either tradesmen or worked for a living. None of my grandmothers had more than a high school education. So I don’t get class anxiety being around wealthy elites or working class people. Both groups of people have their bullshit, even if it’s different bullshit. Both groups engage in “virtue signaling,” it’s just that their virtues are different. But somehow increasingly, the two groups can’t talk to each other. Why?

I blame social media.

Good News in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has denied appeal on FOAC et al. v. Lower Merion Township, basically upholding the ruling in Commonwealth Court that their ordinance banning firearms and discharge in township parks was illegal.

Our current preemption law usually works when we can take these ordinances to court, but getting them there is difficult.

Also from Josh Prince: “It is time for the citizens of Pennsylvania to stop paying millions of dollars, each year, for a broken and duplicative system, when the FBI offer NICS to us for free.” PICS is awful. At some point I’d like to see a bill in Congress to eliminate POC states. That way there’s only one entity to keep an eye on. POC state agencies have gotten away with a lot worse malfeasance than the FBI, and the FBI does a much better job with uptime on NICS than the PSP does with PICS, which is very outage prone for as much as it’s costing taxpayers.

Quote of the Day: Anger Issues Edition

I can’t find much to disagree with here:

But something new has happened to American politics in the last few years: Politicians have realized that the simplest path to power is to humor everyone’s anger. If you take someone’s anger from them, you’ve emotionally castrated them. More important, you run the risk of driving them into the arms of someone who will feed their anger — an anger that will now turn on you for the sin of having discounted that anger in the first place. This is deeply unhealthy.

Yes. And the data crunchers are getting very adept at manipulating people’s emotions for gain. They aim to sell you something, whether it’s a better razor, or an ideology. Big data means those with a product to sell will know what buttons to push to get you to buy.

Yes … Next Question

Should Democrats give up on gun control?

I have absolutely no love of playing in politics (though I would likely remain an enthusiastic observer), but I play the game because I care about my gun rights. Take that issue off the table, and I have better things to do with my time, like, you know, enjoy my gun rights for a change.

So yes, as long as the Republicans remain better for gun rights than Democrats, I will work with Republicans. But boy could I be convinced to stay home and chill if the Dems would just let the issue drop.

And why would they do that? Because there are a lot more people like me out there than there are people who will vote for Dems because they are against guns.

Despite Long Guns Being Rarely Used in Crimes …

… and despite Pennsylvania’s ban on transfers or loans of firearms without going through an FFL or Sheriff not doing hardly a think to put a dent in Philadelphia’s violence crime rate, some lawmakers want to expand the ban on transfers or loans to long guns.

This has been going around in rightly circles. It’s interesting to see some of the outlets making hay of this given that Santora is still willing to vote the right way on abortion.

Quote of the Day

Glenn Reynolds pretty much sums up my feelings on the whole sad affair.

But to be clear, my problem is not with people saying that body-slamming a reporter is wrong. It is. Rather it’s with the predictably hypocritical nature of the outrage. One might almost say that the political class is happy to wink at political violence, until it affects one of their own.

One of the things I really don’t like about following news and politics on a daily (hourly?) basis for so long is how cynical I’ve become about this sort of thing. I’d rather not feel this way, but it’s pretty hard to escape, given the realities.

I can really relate to that second paragraph.

Sometimes I Hate Being Right

The verdict is in on the Montana special election: “That audio made me cheer.” Though, I’m happy to see a college professor who thinks it’s acceptable to strike people in the head with a heavy bike lock is getting what’s coming to him. The stakes are being raised from both sides. What factor do you see that will lower the stakes? I see my family, family, on social media posting vile, hateful things about people that disagree with them, knowing full well they have family that does.

I’m coming to the conclusion that we’re getting beyond a political struggle of ideas, and that scares me because this country was always about a political struggle of ideas. The only time it turned violence was over the question of slavery, and one has to admit that’s a pretty big idea. Today’s meme wars are vapid, ignorant, and shallow.

I fear the future does not belong to ideas. It belongs to propagandists and marketing experts, who armed with Big Data are going to get much better at manipulating people’s emotions and biases to whip them into mindless frenzy to do their bidding. We’re already seeing it. It’s not that people have fundamentally changed, but never has so much information about so many people been concentrated into the hands of so few. I don’t think this will end well.

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