American Elephants

In Fourteen Hundred and Ninety Two, Columbus Sailed… by The Elephant's Child

Exactly how George Floyd’s unfortunate death led to the excesses of Black Lives Matter riots and marches and looting, is not especially clear. How things multiplied from that to attacks on statues all around the country is even less clear. They started with the generals on the losing side of the Civil War, and then included generals on both sides and Spanish Friars, founding fathers and their horses too.. Perfect frenzy of attacking bronze statues that couldn’t possibly fight back, but perhaps that was the point. They could demonstrate their rage while in attacking inanimate objects they had no opposition, and no risk.

But one statue led to another, and when they couldn’t find enough Robert E. Lee statues, they turned to Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and, of course, Columbus.  It is all simply theater. What was intended as a powerful political statement was thoroughly messed up by the historical ignorance of the perpetrators. There was some interest in destruction of the four presidents at Mt. Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota, encouraged slyly by the New York Times, which brought out Sioux Chieftains to remind everyone that the Black Hills were once sacred grounds for Native Americans.

I think the statue thing is probably over, except for Columbus. There are so many things around the country named for Columbus that it remains a tempting victim — Columbus, Ohio, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska and Texas, the Columbia River, Columbia University, and many ships and lots of wildlife and plants.

What is far more interesting is the “Columbian Exchange” — the plants and animals brought to the new world and from the new world to the old. Search for “The Columbian Exchange” and you will be astounded to find the list of species that were unknown prior to 1492, and how they changed lives. Diseases too. Horses and dogs and cats! Did residents of the new world have no pets until Columbus? And when did they decide that dogs were desirable pets?

This Is Not An Example of The Right to Peaceably Assemble by The Elephant's Child



Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So there you go. The press has been blathering on about “peaceably assembling” for days, in spite of all the non-peaceable assembling that’s been going on. But did anybody stop to consider just why those first Americans made this their very first amendment in 1791? They had just hammered our a Constitution and the delegates from the 12 original states had signed it in 1787. Only 4 years later, and they were already trying to fix it.

Lets imagine a group of people, say 15. Is that enough to include one example of every race, sex, young, middle aged and old, and rich and poor? I’m making this up as I go along. Probably need a larger bunch. Some people who are attractive, some fat, some lean. Some smart, some not so much. How many variables can you squeeze in a small number of people to fairly represent the larger whole? And can they possibly get along? How many of them would insist on being in charge? Doing it their way? What was so wrong before they gathered together that they had to try to fix it? And did their solutions work? Of course not. Is there no limit to what people will do because they want to be in charge, to control.

Instapundit posted a long series of very short videos assembled under the title “streamable”. I cannot link to it directly, but go to the link at Instapundit and scroll down, past “Chicago, looting off a moving train” stop briefly and watch that one, then on down to the beginning of the “streamables.” Take your pick, but watch several if you can, because you have to see it to believe it. They feed off each other, getting “permission” from each other, almost celebrating the violence, escalating the violence — at last free to express their rage? or the simple need to be bad? Do what they’ve often felt like? That’s what you call mob psychology I guess. Any assumption that all this has to do with George Floyd is absurd, although that may be what started it. The videos are an essential learning experience for those of us who would never even think of going to a protest. And you won’t get physically hurt by observing online. Oddly the verbal part is just the usual 3 and 4 letter words, with lots of screams inset.

Having watched a bunch, I feel way more permanently informed. Calling out the National Guard or the military to put a stop to it is fine with me. In spite of reporters trying to blame President Trump,  he’s the only one effectively trying to stop it, to save communities and return the nation to sanity. It’s mixed up in the public mind with opening the economy or not opening the closed economy, whether that will kill more people. Not much clear thinking going on out there.

Fueling Famine: The Biofuel Disaster! by The Elephant's Child

Food Protests in Mexico

We have warned about the dangers of subsidizing ethanol production. We have spoken of food riots in Mexico, and Egypt and Vietnam. Orangutans are being killed in Indonesia to make way for palm-oil plantations to feed Europe’s demand for biofuel. In Haiti, five people were killed in protests last week over a 50% rise in the price of food staples in the past year. People are going hungry.

Inflated corn prices encourage farmers to divert more acreage to corn which means they plant less soy and wheat, which drives up the price of those commodities. According to the Washington Times, the aggregate price of wheat, corn, soy oil and soy meal in the U.S. will be $61.7 billion higher in the 2007-2008 crop year than it was in 2005-2006.

Our Congress is promoting famine in the third world because they can’t be bothered to seriously study what they are doing with their subsidies.

If famine and hunger and food riots will not move people to action (and millions of deaths from malaria didn’t seem to bother anyone enough to authorize the use of DDT), there is some news that may spur action.

Drought conditions in parts of Australia and New Zealand where malting barley is grown may mean that Beer will be in short supply, may be more expensive, and may taste different. In the US, hops will be in short supply due to fungus problems, or perhaps to more land being turned over to grain production. Perhaps a shortage of beer will spur letters to Congress.

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