Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Here’s What The Trumpists Don’t Understand About American Greatness

I agree with the first part, but not the second.  Trying to look at the 1800's as justification for excessive government today seems to me like a poor analogy.  I also think that this is a straw man argument, because there are many myths about the "robber barons."   The second half of the 19nth century saw the greatest period of economic growth in our history.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Fwd: Bill Clinton immigration quote

Let me be clear: I also think it's wrong to condone illegal immigration that flouts our laws, strains our tolerance, taxes our resources. Even a nation of immigrants must have rules and conditions and limits, and when they are disregarded, public support for immigration erodes in ways that are destructive to those who are newly arrived and those who are still waiting patiently to come
 Bill Clinton
June 13, 1998

Fwd: Rosie rants

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: utahtrout

The MSNBC host tweeted, "It's actually time for someone to sit SHS down and say 'yes, you have a tough job, yes, you are smoother than Spicer and more stable than Mooch, but if you ever use your taxpayer funded job again to denigrate the Intelligence of a reporter or a sitting US Senator, you're fired.'"

A day later, O'Donnell replied to Wallace's initial tweet.

"[And] who on trumps team would ever consider doing that - she is doing exactly what he wants - and she will sit in hell - no doubt"

O'Donnell also took to Twitter to discuss poltics with other users who were tweeting about President Trump. 

On the same day, Daniel Dale, Washington correspondent for the Toronto Star, tweeted about the Trump administration's health care policy, to which O'Donnell replied, "Trump is the darkness itself."

O'Donnell's Tuesday Twitter comments about Sanders came a day after the star lashed out against CNN's Chris Cuomo for his interview with White House adviser Kellyanne Conway

 "Chris - spare us ur journalistic heroics - she lies Chris - u put her on - and u act stunned - indignant - YOU KNOW SHE LIES - WE KNOW SHE LIES - STOP TALKING TO HER CHRIS - u r no ones hero captain obvious - YOU ARE THE GATEKEEPERS CUOMO!!!! DO UR JOB DAMN IT #DONTBOOKLIARS," she wrote.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Fwd: What i learned...

Three weeks after college, I flew to Senegal, West Africa, to run a community center in a rural town.  Life was placid, with no danger, except to your health.  That danger was considerable, because it was, in the words of the Peace Corps doctor, "a fecalized environment."

In plain English: s--- is everywhere.  People defecate on the open ground, and the feces is blown with the dust – onto you, your clothes, your food, the water.  He warned us the first day of training: do not even touch water.  Human feces carries parasites that bore through your skin and cause organ failure.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that a few decades later, liberals would be pushing the lie that Western civilization is no better than a third-world country.  Or would teach two generations of our kids that loving your own culture and wanting to preserve it are racism.

Last time I was in Paris, I saw a beautiful African woman in a grand boubou have her child defecate on the sidewalk next to Notre Dame Cathedral.  The French police officer, ten steps from her, turned his head not to see.

I have seen.  I am not turning my head and pretending unpleasant things are not true.

Senegal was not a hellhole.  Very poor people can lead happy, meaningful lives in their own cultures' terms.  But they are not our terms.  The excrement is the least of it.  Our basic ideas of human relations, right and wrong, are incompatible.

As a twenty-one-year-old starting out in the Peace Corps, I loved Senegal.  In fact, I was euphoric.  I quickly made friends and had an adopted family.  I relished the feeling of the brotherhood of man.  People were open, willing to share their lives and, after they knew you, their innermost thoughts.

The longer I lived there, the more I understood: it became blindingly obvious that the Senegalese are not the same as us.  The truths we hold to be self-evident are not evident to the Senegalese.  How could they be?  Their reality is totally different.  You can't understand anything in Senegal using American terms.

Take something as basic as family.  Family was a few hundred people, extending out to second and third cousins.  All the men in one generation were called "father."  Senegalese are Muslim, with up to four wives.  Girls had their clitorises cut off at puberty.  (I witnessed this, at what I thought was going to be a nice coming-of-age ceremony, like a bat mitzvah or confirmation.)  Sex, I was told, did not include kissing.  Love and friendship in marriage were Western ideas.  Fidelity was not a thing.  Married women would have sex for a few cents to have cash for the market.

What I did witness every day was that women were worked half to death.  Wives raised the food and fed their own children, did the heavy labor of walking miles to gather wood for the fire, drew water from the well or public faucet, pounded grain with heavy hand-held pestles, lived in their own huts, and had conjugal visits from their husbands on a rotating basis with their co-wives.  Their husbands lazed in the shade of the trees.

The Ten Commandments were not disobeyed – they were unknown.  The value system was the exact opposite.  You were supposed to steal everything you can to give to your own relatives.  There are some Westernized Africans who try to rebel against the system.  They fail.

We hear a lot about the kleptocratic elites of Africa.  The kleptocracy extends through the whole society.  My town had a medical clinic donated by international agencies.  The medicine was stolen by the medical workers and sold to the local store.  If you were sick and didn't have money, drop dead.  That was normal.

So here in the States, when we discovered that my 98-year-old father's Muslim health aide from Nigeria had stolen his clothes and wasn't bathing him, I wasn't surprised.  It was familiar.

In Senegal, corruption ruled, from top to bottom.  Go to the post office, and the clerk would name an outrageous price for a stamp.  After paying the bribe, you still didn't know it if it would be mailed or thrown out.  That was normal.

One of my most vivid memories was from the clinic.  One day, as the wait grew hotter in the 110-degree heat, an old woman two feet from the medical aides – who were chatting in the shade of a mango tree instead of working – collapsed to the ground.  They turned their heads so as not to see her and kept talking.  She lay there in the dirt.  Callousness to the sick was normal

Americans think it is a universal human instinct to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  It's not.  It seems natural to us because we live in a Bible-based Judeo-Christian culture.

We think the Protestant work ethic is universal.  It's not.  My town was full of young men doing nothing.  They were waiting for a government job.  There was no private enterprise.  Private business was not illegal, just impossible, given the nightmare of a third-world bureaucratic kleptocracy.  It is also incompatible with Senegalese insistence on taking care of relatives.

All the little stores in Senegal were owned by Mauritanians.  If a Senegalese wanted to run a little store, he'd go to another country.  The reason?  Your friends and relatives would ask you for stuff for free, and you would have to say yes.  End of your business.  You are not allowed to be a selfish individual and say no to relatives.  The result: Everyone has nothing.

The more I worked there and visited government officials doing absolutely nothing, the more I realized that no one in Senegal had the idea that a job means work.  A job is something given to you by a relative.  It provides the place where you steal everything to give back to your family.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Fwd: New Democrat party seal

Star Wars BEFORE Feminism


"You talk in a manner that exudes confidence, so it would be easy to be sucked into the idea that everything you say is correct and infalible. 

Often you make interesting comments, so I want to share those with friends, but lately I found that I can't because of racist statements.  Let's be clear on this, claiming that Whites have on average higher IQs than Blacks is a racist statement.  I have seen actual hate groups claim the same thing.  You state that there is scientific validity to this, but so did the Nazis in what Winston Churchill called "Perverted Science."

Scores on IQ tests can be affected by a large number of variables, which really makes the racial assertion unprovable.  Such statements are dangerous.  They create bias in people who might otherwise have none.  People are people, and we should not be trying to draw lines between people that will only divide us and create conflict.  All persons should be treated on the basis of their individual merits, and drawing any kind of distinction between race will cause people to make premature assumptions about other people. 

In a hundred years the social and economic conditions will have changed so radically, along with demographic shifts, that I doubt that you could make the same argument then.

Even if there is a sound scientific argument for genetic racial differences in IQ, it is better to leave such arguments alone.  There is very little constructive that can come from it, which only serves to divide our society and create racial tension.  In your pursuit of the truth, I think that you have fallen to the dark side.  I beg of you to drop this narrative and realize that it serves a greater good to not stir the pot of racism. 

What I expected from this video is to get an analysis of Haiti's complex political and economic history, but you ignore all this and give us a simplistic answer about IQ differences.    There really are environmental, economic and political factors that have affected Haiti's development, so the analogy to a failed theory of disease transmission is a weak one."


The Last Jedi is SJW Crap According to Ben Shapiro

The term alt-right has taken on a different meaning than it originally had, because now it usually references the more extreme and often racist nut cases.  However, I think that the extreme alt right is pretty much irrelevant to the discussion of whether or not TLJ had some Social Justice Warrior messages, because extreme alt right are easy straw men to knock down.  Of course The Last Jedi  has some Social Justice Warrior messages, as my non-extremist friends keep reminding me as to why they don't like the movie or are at least bothered by it.

I think that Social Justice Warrior message in the Last Jedi is pretty obvious, and to say that it doesn't have it is to deny reality.  For me it is only a minor distraction.  Many movies have political messages in them, sometimes overt, and I don't let this get in the way.   I found The Last Jedi thoroughly entertaining and emotionally moving.  I especially like the way the movie defied all audience expectations.

There is, of course, a political divide, between those who see SJW messages as normal, and those on the other side who feel like they are being lectured to.  I certainly did, but I didn't care that much.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Fwd: Core Values

FYI, this is an email I wrote to someone I know.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: John Coffey <>
Date: Tue, Jan 9, 2018 at 5:15 PM
Subject: Core Values


There are a great many varied positions that people hold, but all those positions should be traceable to some sort of belief that is in effect the cause of all causes.  I have a friend in Salt Lake City, who around 2001 was trying to pin me down on what my core values were, because I was refusing to take absolute positions.  I told him that I didn't believe in absolutes, but judged individual issues on their merits.  However, he pressed me further saying that even if so, there must be some value or values that I hold dear in order to make those judgements?  I responded that I wanted to do the most good, while doing the least amount of harm.

When I question people about their core values, I almost always get the negative instead of the positive.  People are more likely to tell you what they are against instead of what they are for, and therefore it seems to me that people get excited about politics because they are against something.  For example, truly happy people have little need for politics.  When it comes to being against something, I think that there is the concept of "the oppressor" where people blame some specific thing for the misery in the world or their personal misery.  The oppressor for Republicans and Libertarians is government, and I'm pretty sure that the oppressor for the left is the wealthy.  This kind of thing gets people quite agitated about politics, but in reality there is very little that politics can do to improve a person's life, because people improve their life through personal responsibility, good judgement, hard work and perseverance.  For this reason, politics can be a waste of time, because it is unlikely that public policy will change one iota because of an individual's efforts.

It is my observation that the further people are on the political left, the more likely they are to are to tell you what they are against instead of what they are for.  This is because true socialism is untenable to the majority of the Americans, so those on the extreme left tend to hide what they really believe in, and instead choose to attack enemies or bad things that are easier targets.  I don't think that Bernie Sanders is electable as President in the United States because he is pretty much honest about what he believes in.  However, someone like Barack Obama, who was the considered the most liberal person in the United States Senate, could get elected because he spoke in more general and less specific terms.

People who mostly talk about what they are against tend to confuse the political argument, because it is less clear what they stand for.

When it comes to my political positions, I hold two core values which I will elaborate on, one of which is generally Republican, and the other is generally Libertarian.

I take it as a given that as the amount of government increases, the level of economic growth declines.  Even the most casual of observation shows that places like Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba, China and even India have suffered because of their socialist policies.  The places with the least amount of government, like Lichtenstein, Hong Kong, and Luxembourg, have prospered, sometimes even more than the United States.  Even though I take this principle as a given that should require very little proof, I have seen studies that put all the countries in the world on a graph, and there is a pretty clear inverse and almost linear relationship between prosperity and the amount of government.  Logic gives further support to this position, because we can see the effects of government.  It becomes pretty clear that excessive government burdens the economy, and wastes resources, both capital and labor.  Bigger governments tend to be more corrupt and more easily manipulated, causing further waste.

So the economy works best when people are free to pursue their goals with minimal government interference.  Freedom works.

However, this assertion is usually met with arguments about the Scandinavian countries, where people claim that these countries prove that Socialism can work.  I find this interesting, because the leader of one of the countries denied that they were a Socialist country, but instead claimed that they were a free market economy.  I think that the argument that the Scandinavian countries are proof that socialism can work is flawed for many reasons:  Most of their prosperity came before they adopted socialist policies, they still try to maintain a healthy free market, and when their economy stagnated, they had to lower their tax rates to give it a boost.  In fact, at least one country for awhile had a lower top tax rate than the United States.

My favorite Milton Friedman quote is:   "The enduring lesson of the 20th century is that socialism is a failure, and free markets are a success. But the politicians keep advocating just a little more socialism."  Governments Keep Turning to Socialism, Even Though It Always Fails.

The non-aggression principle, which I think is sometimes referred to as The Libertarian Principle, says that people have the right to do whatever they want so long as they don't interfere with the same right of others.  There is an expression that says, "My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins."  I agree with this in principle, but there are practical considerations where I might differ.  Pure Libertarians see all taxes as theft, and almost all regulation as an infringement on people's freedom.  Most government actions use theft, force, or the threat of force to achieve its aims, so these government actions are a form of tyranny. 

I think that if you take this principle to its logical extreme then you can't have any government at all, and a small percentage of Libertarians are anarchists who see Libertarianism as a path to anarchy.  However, I think that anarchy is completely unworkable.  Although some people might think that Rights are self evident, I think that there could be widespread disagreement over what is a right and what is not.  You need government to define what the rules are to prevent people from aggressing against each other.  Property can only be defined in a legal context, otherwise you could have two or more people laying claim to the same property without a clear and just resolution.  In anarchy, not everybody is going to agree to the same rules.  Finally, it should be self evident that we need government to protect us from foreign enemies.  Without government, we would be taken over by people who are far less considerate about our well being.

I am so very far from pure Libertarianism, which I also think is not practical.  I think that we need some minimal regulations to prevent people from harming each other, just like we need traffic signals to prevent people from harming each other.  I see examples around me of extreme poverty, and therefore conclude that we need some social programs, at least for the moment.  However, I think that in an ideal world we could phase out social programs as the free market increased prosperity.  

It seems to me that the left never wants social programs to end, nor decrease, but only to increase them, which raises the question in my mind of how much is enough?  In an ideal world you would need less social programs over time.  If you take the position that you always need more social programs, then isn't that admitting some kind of failure, because the social programs aren't solving the problem of poverty, but possibly making the problem worse?