American Elephants


What is Social Justice? Is There Any Such Thing? by The Elephant's Child

One wonders at the rise of enthusiasm for Socialism. Where does this come from?  Do people know nothing about the history of Socialism and how it works out? No understanding of the crisis of Venezuela? Or how the people there are literally starving in a country that was once the richest in South America?

Are they misled by talk of “social justice”? There is, by the way, no such thing. We humans are a quarrelsome lot, and you can’t overcome the difficulties of being a member of the human species easily. Democrats, with Bernie and Elizabeth Warren pushing socialism, seem to fail to recognize just where that path leads.

The human search for perfect social equality has gone on since the beginning of time. Do people actually rise in the morning hoping that might be the day when they are finally equal? Equal to what? Or Whom? I simply don’t buy it. Not everyone even wants to be rich. People want to care for their family, to have a good job that they like, at least part of the time. They want to have a nice home and be free of debt, and raise their children to be good citizens and succeed at whatever profession they choose. Some do want to be rich and some achieve it. But is it the overarching dream of many? I suspect not. People do want accomplishment, and success, and arriving at goals.

Democrats seem particularly driven by the idea of equality. They want to make everyone equal, and their policies move in that direction. They talk a lot about social justice, and more about the rich who do not deserve to be rich, and big corporations and their CEOs who do not deserve to be rich. I have wished for some things I do not have, that I cannot afford, as I’m sure you have as well. Did you get out of bed this morning yearning to be equal?  Didn’t think so.

Even for those who do want to be rich, and are working to create a business that they hope will succeed and make them richer, I suspect it is the succeed part that drives them, not the riches. Building a successful business is a worthy endeavor, and building it  is the scary and exciting part rather than the arrival at the finish.

So what is all this social justice? the social equality? Democrats’ push for equality sounds good in the abstract, but makes no sense whatsoever as a real goal. Think about that when those campaigning for an office ask for your vote. What they want is to be in charge, and have the opportunity to control your lives.



Elizabeth Warren’s New World Order by The Elephant's Child

The Wall Street Journal featured Elizabeth Warren on the Opinion page. Her ideas, they say, show where the American left wants to go. The Editors combed through some 60 policy papers: There’s the Wealth Tax, The Medicare for All tax, the Global Corporate tax, and the Corporate surtax, Slower expensing, a Higher capital gains tax, Finance taxes (taxing the sale of bonds or stocks, Individual tax increases, increased Social Security benefits, paid for by increasing the Social Security payroll tax), a Lobbying tax, Mandated Medicare for all, The Green New Deal, an end to fossil fuels, ban fracking, halt new drilling leases, prohibit future fossil fuel exports, kill the Keystone XL. Free college, a “right” to child care, more affordable housing, Overturn the so-called “right to work” laws.

Make companies with revenue over $1 billion obtain a new federal charter that gives workers 40% of board seats. Break up Amazon, Facebook and Google, “unwind” their mergers with Whole Foods, Instagram, Double Click and more. (I thought Silicon Valley was lined up behind Warren). Then there’s Gun Control, using federal money to replace every voting machine in the country, mandate early voting and same-day registration.

There’s more, but it is such an expansion of government that one is inclined to dismiss it as…what? Her only real policy difference with Bernie Sanders is that she offers more details. She believes that she has enough political support to help her win the Democrat nomination and win the White House against a vulnerable Donald Trump.

She has already proved that she is a consummate liar, with her Indian heritage and even her brother has just accused her of lying about their father. As her idiotic tax plans suggest, she has, as has been suggested for years, only a child-like understanding of economics, and apparently only a child-like understanding of Americans and America.



Victor Davis Hanson Explains the Left, and It’s Not Pretty by The Elephant's Child

Everybody is busy trying to get ready for Christmas, do the shopping, get presents, write cards, parties, plan festivities, get a tree and put it up. Who has time?

And yet we are presented with a phony impeachment, accusations that make no sense, the underlying information coming out and criminal acts being exposed.  Who has time to pay the attention needed, to learn what’s really happening.  If you have time for another very rewarding video for learning about what is really going on, you will appreciate this. If you don’t have time, copy it and save for later.  Or depend on my archives. It will be there.



Are We Getting Dumber? Or Does It Just Seem That Way? by The Elephant's Child

I just questioned (online) the vaguely remembered claim that most Americans cannot name the three branches of government. It was supposedly only 26% who could not name them, then it got turned around to 75% of Americans could not, and just 26 percent who could, and only 33% who could name a single branch. Well, that’s informative. No wonder President Trump speaks of “Fake News.”

It’s clear that people don’t know how to think about the climate. Popular thinking runs somewhere from total panic because the earth is ending in just 5 years, to this article I ran across today: “A Relatively Painless Guide to Cutting Plastic Out of Your Life.”

Last year may have been the beginning of the end for plastic. It may have taken a while for the average person to wake up to its dangers, but many were shaken into action by the images and videos of plastic’s impact on the natural world that flooded the media in 2018.

A viral video showed a turtle with a straw stuck up its nose. Stories about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch revealed how island-sized trash mounds had collected in the ocean between Hawaii and California. And then there was that National Geographic cover of a plastic bag floating in the water, beneath the scrawled words “Planet or Plastic?” The issue publicized a remarkable statistic: Despite the world’s efforts to recycle, 91 percent ends up in the trash.

What, you are telling me that we have these huge, expensive recycling programs, and they don’t work at all? Not to worry, the plastic in the oceans apparently comes from China, which is actually worrisome. The United States has done a remarkable job of reducing noxious emissions — more than any other country.

This is from SEPP’s weekly newsletter (Science and Environmental Policy Project’ free newsletter)

Appropriate Models: Mathematics is the language of science, but that does not mean that mathematical models correctly describe physical phenomena. Or that a mathematical process in a model used in analyzing physical evidence (data) from observations and / or experiments suitable for one phenomenon is suitable for other phenomena. The model may or may not describe the subject phenomenon. That is one reason why Richard Feynman stated that hypotheses (guesses) must be tested against all relevant data. Experimental data is preferred because other possible influences are controlled to the extent possible, but observational data may be necessary.

Benny Avni writes in the New York Sun that as America’s Democratic Presidential Candidates promote programs borrowed from Europe’s traditional left, Europeans are increasingly pushing back against them. Angela Merkel was blamed for dragging Germany’s Christian Democratic Party too far to the left. France’s National Rally Party beat President Macron’s centrist faction. In Poland, Hungary and Italy, politicians of various right-wing parties are now in power, and anti-leftist parties are on the rise. In Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau is struggling to stay in power after his Liberal party suffered parliamentary seat losses. Lot of Politics out there.

I got my hair cut yesterday, and picked up a copy of the old familiar Readers Digest  in the waiting room. No longer a big thick magazine, it had dieted down to maybe a quarter of an inch thick. Magazines and newspapers are clearly dying. I’m more concerned about the dumbing-down of society. I suspect that the online opinions flashing across computer screens suggest that people don’t read anything of length. Some websites are suggesting, beside their stories, that it is  only a 4 minute, or 6 minute read, to encourage those who have a tiny bit of time to pause long enough for their story. Reminds me to be brief and get to the point. But it suggests that we are becoming more superficial, less informed, and more open to bad information. What do you think?



The Delusion of Diversity Destroys Our Common Humanity. by The Elephant's Child

Heather MacDonald, on how the Delusion of Diversity Destroys Our Common Humanity. Well, yes. “Diversity” has become one of the big judgemental words. You have to measure up! But why and who is doing the measuring?

I would suggest that you can find more real diversity among groups of all one race, or all one ethnic origin than among a university’s sophomore class, But it’s always valuable to question one’s assumptions! That’s one of Heather MacDonald’s greatest skills.



We Really Are Getting Stupider by The Elephant's Child

I have become increasingly concerned about the media and the state of the internet. I think the proliferation of short bits of information on social media are causing people to ration (way too much) what they read. Twitter, Facebook encourage one to read bits, not full articles. More scholarly articles now may come labeled with minutes and seconds, to say how long it will take to read the piece so the reader will not be too soon discouraged. We are getting stupider.

I just wrote a bit on climate confusion or rather, climate panic. The Earth has been far warmer in the past, and far cooler as well. There is nothing to worry about in today’s climate science. The climate always changes as it has done for millions of years.

A woman at Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s town hall today took climate extremism to the next level. She likes AOC’s Green New Deal, but it isn’t fast enough. We have only weeks and months before it’s all over. We have to start eating the babies.

How could this young woman get such utterly goofy ideas in her head? AOC’s “Green New Deal” was the epitome of ignorance, and utterly impossible. Based on scaring people into accepting unacceptable socialist government, even admitted to by AOC’s former chief of staff. Have we reached such a state of ignorance that we just accept what is said by someone with no particular qualifications? There are highly qualified climate scientists. This young woman  even had tee shirts printed up. Unbelievable.

ADDENDUM: Tee- Hee! Alexandria Occasia-Cortez insists, today, that the baby-eating supporter at her town hall was really a Trump supporter. Why am I not surprised?



Defining Reality, Or Explaining What is Really Going On by The Elephant's Child

Clearly it is time to explain what is really going on. One gains enormous wisdom by staring at the blank walls of a very fine hospital. So somewhere between a second civil war and an impeached president, or the election (this time) of good old Hillary, there must be, somewhere, some clarity. Elections are always contentious, but this is ridiculous.

We are in a battle over defining reality. To quote Daniel J. Boorstin, the late Librarian of Congress and notable historian at the University of Chicago, in The Americans: the Colonial Experience:

We have too long been told that a “unified” scheme of knowledge is required to give meaning and unity to society; that men have a greater sense of sharing values and of working to a common end if they are united by a grand overarching system of thought; that somehow an articulate and systematic philosophy is likely to provide such a system of shared meaning. The stock example is, of course, the Middle Ages when such theologians as Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus constructed monuments of speculative philosophy. that has become an unexamined commonplace that a more unified philosophy will produce a more unified society, that ours  would be a better and more meaningful  world if we in America possessed such systematic and “unifying” thought.

But is this really true? It may have seemed so in earlier societies where the frame of meaning was supposed to be accessible only to a priestly or ruling class. Could it remain so in a modern literate society where most people would be expected to understand the purposes of the community? One cannot unify such a society by mere concepts, however refined and subtle, however vivid to a few philosophers or theologians. “The attempt to bridge the chasm between multiplicity and unity is the oldest  problem of philosophy, religion, and science.”

You may have noticed that “the ruling class” is not in particularly good grace at present, a problem rather than a solution. They are unaware of their predicament, are unwilling to give up the slightest bit of their cherished power.

Those who supposedly report on the society and the people and the ruling class assume that, instead of accuracy, their task is to get attention by featuring what celebrities or politicians may have to say, not because it might be of interest, but because the celebrity or politician might have a bit of click bait interest to promote the career of the reporter. Their interest is not in attempting to describe reality, but what, instead, might be sensationalized. They’re not on our side either. Which President Trump grumbles about as “fake news”. Which in turn infuriates the press, because they differently define their assigned task.

It’s only human nature to wish to advance one’s self, to look for what is readily available rather than work hard, but there you are. The current debates and argument is over the nature of reality, which is up in the air, struggling to be properly defined.




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