American Elephants


Politics and Promises of Equality, When What the People Want is Their Freedom Back. by The Elephant's Child

We are in an election season, so politics dominates the news, with ideas devised, not necessarily to improve anything at all, but to get votes. The season of promising big giveaways to the voters on the one hand, while promising to slash budgets on the other, with no apparent awareness that the two are incompatible. (Are you all conventioned out? And are you prepared for another one next week?)

Thomas Sowell, who always has his eye on basic common sense, addressed “the dumbest idea in politics,” which plays a very large role in political conversation. Dr. Sowell’s nomination for the most stupid idea in politics would be “the assumption that people would be evenly or randomly distributed in incomes, institutions, occupations or awards, in the absence of somebody doing somebody wrong.”

Political crusades, bureaucratic empires and lucrative personal careers as grievance mongers have been built on the foundation of that assumption, which is almost never tested against any facts.

A recent article in the New York Times saw as a problem the fact that females are greatly underrepresented among the highest rated chess players. Innumerable articles, TV stories and political outcries have been based on an “underrepresentation” of women in Silicon Valley, seen as a problem that needs to be solved.

Are there girls out there dying to play chess, who find the doors slammed shut in their faces? Are there women with Ph.D.s in computer science from M.I.T. and Cal Tech who get turned away when they apply for jobs in Silicon Valley?

Well yes, and the claim that the candidate will demand equal pay for women is loud on the campaign-trail, despite the fact that unequal pay for the same work has been against the law since 1963. Inequality comes from different career choices. Men and women make different choices. It’s quite natural—way back when humanity were hunter-gatherers, men were the hunters and women the gatherers. Human nature.

There are countries where children are expected to follow in the same trade as their parent. There’s no real opportunity to do something different.There are many countries where women are expected to care for home and children, and any other choice is unthinkable.

Discrimination plays a large part not only in politics, but as employment for attorneys. “Billions of dollars, in the aggregate,  have changed hands as a result of individual lawsuits charging discrimination,” Dr Sowell added.

The Left is deeply enamored with the idea that everyone should be equal, (except themselves of course). They welcome change in the interest of equality and individual liberty, although equality doesn’t really go with individual liberty. You have perhaps noticed that in their drive for equality, equality is supposed to come from vastly increased government regulation. Forced equality goes with their push for control of everything, which comes from lots of regulation from the wise and superior people in government agencies.

Why anyone would believe that would increase individual liberty is a mystery. The thing is, they just don’t like human nature  either, and want to fix it.  And they don’t like actual liberty at all.. They hate the First Amendment, the repeal of Citizen’s  United is in their platform, as is silencing anyone who ‘denies’ catastrophic global warming that is threatening our very survival, or at least the survival of Manhattan with the rise of the seas. Trouble with that is that some very important figures in the catastrophic global warming movement have revealed that their real goal is a vast transfer of wealth from the rich nations (us) to the poor nations, in the name of  — (of course) equality.

I think most Americans would rank freedom above equality. It’s freedom that allows people to have ideas and take it out to their garage and struggle to make it develop and grow, and in America there has usually been the possibility to take that idea and open a business without too much fear of government regulation and too much fear of endless red tape that makes a start-up impossible. The folks on the Left insist that they want new businesses and new jobs, but they cannot understand that the controls and regulation and requirements and fines and inspections that they find essential for control — kill the businesses they claim they want created.

When they have controlled and regulated ordinary people into more satisfactory people, and they have devised better rules for everyone to follow and better laws — we will have a better chance of reaching “that world as it ought to be” that the Obamas speak of. “The world as it is just won’t do,”they say, and they consider that a proper goal. They believe they have an obligation to strive for a brave new world.  Oh yes, that was the name of a book, wasn’t it? Oddly enough, writers of science fiction cannot stop demonstrating the dreadful results of trying to fix humanity. But then, we’ve had some real-life attempts as well — Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mugabe, Pol Pot, Kim Jong Il, Mao Zedong, Saddam,  Assad — the list goes on and on.

Set free, ordinary people can do some pretty amazing things, like building a free country, and inventing all sorts of advancement in human life, curing disease and creating great works of art  and writing marvelous books to warn us about what could go wrong if we are not paying attention.



Crime in Major Cities, and How Long They Have Been Run By Democrats! by The Elephant's Child

democrat_urban_monopolies_11-30-15(Click to enlarge)
A friend sent this comment:

I was just thinking – not long ago GM was building cars in Flint, Michigan and you couldn’t drink the water in Mexico.

After 7 plus years of Obama’s administration, GM now builds cars in Mexico and you can’t drink the water in Flint, Michigan.

Hope and Change delivered! Is this a great country or what?



I’d Just like Some Straight Talk, and Honesty For a Change! by The Elephant's Child

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Every four years, I forget just how much I dislike political conventions. Not just theirs, but our as well. I’m already tired of how wonderful our candidate is and how dreadful their is. Conventions are big parties of excess. But then I may just be getting cranky.

I am exceedingly tired of being lectured by our president. He turned up on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal yesterday to lecture the Senate about their duty to confirm his nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. You always knew there was something not quite right about the claim that he had been a professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago. He was a lecturer in civil rights law, which he mostly used to teach Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.

The Constitution directs the Senate to advise and consent, not to approve. The Daily Caller subjected his op-ed to a fact check, and it didn’t fare well, directly from the words of, oh, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama when he voted to filibuster Justice Alito. (Politicians still are not familiar with the fact that we can quickly look up their words from yesterday and ten years ago.)

He’s getting very predictable when he scolds us. “That’s not who we are as Americans!” “That’s who we are, and who we have the capacity to be.” Or as John Podhoretz recently put it:

As usual, Obama made strange use of the word ‘we,’ because when he says ‘we,’ he means ‘you,’ and when he means ‘you,’ he means people who aren’t as enlightened and thoughtful as he and his ideological compatriots are.

Well, clearly, we are all a great disappointment to our president. I’m not alone in noticing. David Harsanyi did, at the Federalist.

At the funeral service for five slain Dallas cops, Barack Obama delivered another one of his needlessly politicized lectures. As is customary these days, those who were critical of his rhetoric were branded racists and unthinking haters.

That’s one theory.

Another one is that people might be put off by Obama’s grating habit of turning every tragedy into a sermon about our supposed collective failings. I doubt the president is substantively more partisan than the average politician, but like most people on the Left these days, he no longer bothers to make a distinction between a policy position and a moral struggle.

The issue of gun control, for example, isn’t a good-faith disagreement between people of different persuasions, but — like civil rights or suffrage — a struggle waged by the righteous against the evil (and sometimes those poor souls tricked by the NRA).

I went on a bit a few days ago about the fallacy of the term “gun violence” which is nothing but propaganda. It’s not the gun that is violent, but the shooter. Consider the latest terrorist attacks in France. We had truck violence in Nice, and axe violence on a bus. That allows us to ignore the terrorist (we can’t call them that) who committed the act because we “don’t know what their real motives were.”

That’s what I am cranky about — the purposeful misuse of language to confuse, or hide, or misplace blame. The world is a very dangerous place right now. It is impossible to deal effectively with those dangers if we cannot even use clear language. Fuzzy language reveals fuzzy minds, and the inability to take clear action.



The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West. by The Elephant's Child

From The Devil’s Pleasure Palace by Michael Walsh.
“The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West”

Dissent, they say, is the highest form of patriotism.

As for “the highest form of patriotism,” all that ever meant was that the Left did not wish to have its patriotism questioned while it was busily going about the process of undermining the existing order (in order to create a better one of course). Not only was its patriotism questionable, it was nonexistent. The patriotism the ’60’s radicals praised was not the patriotism of the past (now dismissed as “jingoism”) but the patriotism of the America of the Future, the new State that would come into being once the old one had been destroyed and replaced with the Brave New World they were cooking up in poly-sci test tubes on campuses across the country.

Any leftist will tell you, usually indirectly as he may not admit it to himself, that he does not admire the world as it is but esteems the world as he wishes it to be. That few agree with leftists when this proposition is so bluntly stated simply means they must conceal it for the time being, until it can be forced on an unwilling but sullen public. They see themselves as inheritors of a noble tradition, perhaps best summed up by the composer Gustav Mahler when he declared, “My time will yet come.” They look to the judgment of posterity, not history. The very fact of being against something—it doesn’t matter much what—contributes to their sense of moral superiority, without which they are nothing.

This last is crucial to the understanding of the Unholy Left: that they consider themselves, like the Puritans they otherwise execrate, the party of the Elect, the Blessed. Likewise, they consider resistant conservatives—those who like things more or less the way they are, who trust the judgments of their ancestors and honor their wisdom and experience—to be the Damned who must be brought into the Light—that is to say, into the Darkness.

In her convention speech, Michelle Obama said:”Barack stood up that day, talking about a visit to Chicago neighborhoods, and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. … All of us are driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won’t do, that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be.”

One would think that with the prominent examples of Cuba and Venezuela the idea of Socialism should be thoroughly discredited, but even starvation doesn’t sway the morally superior minds of the Left. They just didn’t do it right.

I like this quotation from Holman Jenkins:
‘It turns out government cannot spare us from having to adapt
and compete in an economy.’

 



Promise Goes A-Glimmering If You Don’t Grasp the Basics of Economics and History. by The Elephant's Child

IN an important article at The Federalist, John Gibbs offers a different view of the racial division in the country.

My view of America is that we are a place of great promise and opportunity, where someone like me, who is the grandchild of illiterate black Southern sharecroppers, can achieve success and reach the American dream. We are a place occupied by fair-minded, hard-working people whose culture and values have built a nation that is the envy of the world. I am proud to be a part of that culture.

Our Founders, while imperfect and a product of their times, were visionary heroes who made hard choices and compromises to give us the successful system we have today. Because Americans are good, we’ve worked hard over time to right the wrongs in our society that our Founding Fathers could not eliminate in their time. In summary, we are a fundamentally decent people blessed to live in a phenomenal land with a rich heritage.

But not so for President Obama. His view of our nation seems to be very different than mine and that of many other Americans. I believe that when President Obama thinks of America, more so than a place of hope or opportunity, he thinks of a place where racist white Christian fundamentalists came here from Europe, committed genocide against Native Americans, enslaved and segregated black people, denied women, gays, and other minorities their rights, and used capitalism and a rigged legal system to oppress poor people for centuries. He also believes this is still continuing today.

Do read the whole thing.

Zero Hedge chimes in again with some interesting data points from last week’s June Employment Report. The mid year burst of minimum-wage increases scheduled for July 1st when minimum wages will rise in 15 places: two states—Maryland and Oregon, plus Washington D.C., Los Angeles County and eleven cities, including Chicago, eight cities in California and two in Kentucky, shows what happens when the Left manages to increase the minimum wage. Unemployment for young black males increases sharply.

blackteenMilton Friedman explained may years ago:

The minimum wage law is most properly described as a law saying that employers must discriminate against people who have low skills. That’s what the law says. The law says that here’s a man who has a skill that would justify a wage of $5 or $6 per hour (adjusted for today), but you may not employ him, it’s illegal, because if you employ him you must pay him $7.25 per hour. So what’s the result? To employ him at $7.25 per hour is to engage in charity. There’s nothing wrong with charity. But most employers are not in the position to engage in that kind of charity. Thus, the consequences of minimum wage laws have been almost wholly bad. We have increased unemployment and increased poverty.

Moreover, the effects have been concentrated on the groups that the do-gooders would most like to help. The people who have been hurt most by the minimum wage laws are the blacks. I have often said that the most anti-black law on the books of this land is the minimum wage law.

 



Only 6% of Americans Think the World is Getting Better! by The Elephant's Child

So how do you feel about the state of the world? Is it getting better or getting worse? According to Alex Berezow of the invaluable American Council on Science and Health (ASCH), only 6% of Americans think the world is getting better. The question was “All things considered, do you think the world is getting better or worse, or neither getting better or worse?”

Optimistic-about-the-future
A majority of people—54 percent—surveyed in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom believe there’s a risk of 50 percent or more that our way of life will end within the next 100 years. Even worse, some 25 percent of respondents in the same poll believe it that likely that we’ll go extinct in the next century. Americans were the most pessimistic, giving those gloomy answers 57 percent and 30 percent of the time, respectively. And younger respondents tend to be more pessimistic about the future than older ones. …

For all the talk from the president and the Democrats, one of our biggest problems is gun violence, yet gun homicides in the U.S. are down 43% from 1993 to 2014, the lowest rate in 24 years.

I wrote in May that two centuries ago, average world income per human (in today’s prices) was about $3 a day. Today is is $33 a day in Brazil, and the level of the U.S. in 1940. Matt Ridley wrote that what happened two centuries ago was that “ideas started having sex.” by which he meant that there is no end to what people can do when they are set free to have ideas and the freedom to act upon them.

Democrats specialize in a gloomy outlook, from which they promise to rescue you by giving you more stuff, but wealth is created by the free market and capitalism. Free people are endlessly inventive, and the hope of improving your financial situation, making a new idea the next big thing, becomes in a free market the opportunity to succeed. Where did Uber come from? Or telephones unconnected to phone lines that do, well, almost everything.

Democrats and environmentalists are endlessly gloomy. Rolling Stone just had a big article about how New York would shortly be submerged beneath the rising ocean waters. If you consult the scientists who actually know about the increase in ocean waters, you find they speak in millimeters not feet. The Obama administration is reportedly promoting Navy Commanders based on their support for Global Warming. This list of Climate Panics may add a little balance to Obama’s current worries.

The world is better fed than ever before, and starvation is rare except in socialist paradises like Venezuela. Major diseases have been nearly eliminated in the United States, although Obama’s refugees are bringing Tuberculosis and measles and others back. Malaria is way down in Africa. People are living longer. There really is a lot to be upbeat about.



Only 8% of American Farmers Believe in Climate Change! by The Elephant's Child

U.S.-Farm
A headline from Fortune magazine: “The Paradox of American Farmers and Climate Change”, by Beth Kowitt.  “Some U.S. farmers are skeptical of climate change, even though they’re among the most affected by it.” huh.  More than some.

There’s a strange paradox in the world of agriculture: farmers are perhaps the segment of the population most affected by climate change, and yet a significant number of them don’t believe in it—especially the notion that it’s man-made.

I encountered this phenomenon as I reported a feature for Fortune on how agricultural giant Monsanto is attempting to help farmers both mitigate their impact on the environment and adapt to climate change. All the farmers I talked to readily acknowledged that the weather patterns governing growing seasons had been turned upside down in recent years, but I was on the receiving end of a lot of eye rolls whenever I brought up climate change.

Monsanto MON -0.58% gets a similar response from the growers who buy its seed. The company’s chief technology officer, Robb Fraley, told me he’s received numerous angry emails from farmers asking why the company is supporting what some call “this government effort.

Well, of course the farmers are annoyed. Farmers lives are governed by the weather. They live it daily, and they know far, far more about weather, weather patterns, and forecasts that a condescending writer in the offices of Fortune magazine. And more than the salesmen in the offices of “agricultural giant Monsanto MON-0.58,”as well. Their lives are mostly conducted out of doors — in the weather.

That’s how I grew up, at around 4000′ in the foothills of the Rockies, I guess you could say. We had mild summers and hot summers. Some winters we had 5′ of snow on the level, others, not much more than two.  I’ve been snowed in more than once, had floods, and bad fire years.

Dr. Tim Ball, Climatologist, wrote today about climate alarmism, and how it all began with the “Ozone Hole.” A perfectly normal thinning of the ozone layer was said (falsely) to be a catastrophe. Yet eventually it was noted that the ozone hole was recovering and almost back to normal.  It was essentially, a dry run, a test case for the deception that human produced CO2 is causing global warming.   Read Dr. Ball’s piece to begin to understand how politics has infused the whole climate deception. But back to Fortune magazine:

I don’t want to suggest that all farmers reject the concept of climate change. That’s not the case. But here’s what some of the numbers show: A survey conducted by Iowa State Professor J. Arbuckle and Purdue University professor Linda Prokopy of 5,000 Cornbelt farmers—representing about 60% of U.S. corn production and 80% of farmland in the region—found that only 8% believed climate change is taking place and caused primarily by human activity. That 8% figure is significantly lower than the general population. A poll from January found that 27% of the general public primarily blames human activity.

There’s a big difference in outlook between apartment people in large cities and American farmers. For city people, it’s deciding whether or not to take the umbrella. For farmers, it’s going out in the rain to make sure the water is going to flow properly into the ditches, and not wash out a newly planted crop, and may take most of the day. Farmers listen closely to the weather forecasts, city people not so much.

The idea of human causation is very nebulous. When humans cut down a forest and start tilling the soil, that’s a major human influence and it does affect to local climate. When acres and acres of natural growth are razed to plant wheat or corn, that’s human influence. Exhaling CO2 by millions of people, not so much, either.




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