February 15, 2011 - February 8, 2011
Friday, December 11, 2009
The Verge of a New Dark
. My commentary on a couple of recent posts. InstaPunk didn't
quote what I thought was the best excerpt from Andrew Klavan's
interview. It has to do with the real mission of conservatives:
[L]isten, death comes eventually to us
all, right? Countries die, civilizations die, nothing made by
man’s hands lasts forever. Conservatives are sort of like the
doctors who are trying to keep America alive as long as we can and the
question is: how long? My own feeling is that the country
right now is in some danger from radical Islam, but that the real and
present and terrible danger is to our republic, our system of
individual liberty under limited government -- and that danger comes
from within. Bread and circuses -- or as we call them today,
entitlements and the mainstream media -- are being employed to poison
our will and moral seriousness. I foresee many years of American
power yet to come, maybe more American power than ever before -- but
will it be republican power, the power of a free people over
themselves, or will it be imperial power, the bloated strength of a
slave state on the march? We’ll see.
It's interesting to note that TruePunk's post "Got
the Picture yet...?
" drew only one comment while his comical
about the female journalist who wants, absurdly, to establish
a worldwide one-baby policy got at least some
traction with readers. The
first post was far more important and dire in the immediacy of the
threat it described, of course, and its one comment was, perhaps
predictably, cynical and defeatist:
"What we have to fight back with
is elections" [quoting TruePunk]
Sounds good to me. Which party should I vote for? To put it another
way, we are to abolish the tyrant's means of control: the EPA, the
Education Department, etc. Which party has promised to do this and will
carry out that promise?
I don't mean to be too disingenuous, but I voted for Reagan, who
promised to abolish the Department of Education. It's still here. He's
not. In my experience Republicans talk a good game, then, once in D.C.,
"conserve" the Democrats' "gains."
Strangely passive, don't you think? Some party has to come up with a
plan, present it to me, and convince me to take the hour or two out of
my day required, on some future Tuesday in November, to vote for them.
Yes, the republic is being demolished day by day before our eyes, but I
seem to remember that Reagan didn't accomplish everything he intended
to, either. Why bother?
There are several good responses to the 'Why bother?' question, and
that's the purpose of this post. To lay them out so that cynics who
prefer to see themselves as detached, superior observers might
contemplate a different level of engagement.
The most direct answer is that Klavan is right. "Conservatives are sort
of like the doctors who are trying to keep America alive as long as we
can." The patient is always on the table, threats to his life never
end, and the victories we earn are always partial and temporary.
Because the death we're seeking to delay is always on the offensive,
always probing for weaknesses, always eager to seize on the one
unguarded moment and strike the fatal blow they imagine to be justice.
The notion that the battle for life can ever be finally won and lead to
'happily ever after' is a Utopian fantasy. And Utopia is not a
conservative concept. It's a left-wing conceit, very probably the most
flawed of a panoply of
weak-minded conceits they exalt in place of common sense.
Utopia is a dangerous fiction created by arrogant abstraction. It is a
fiction because it forces life into a static model in which matters of
life and philosophy are treated like constant terms in an algebraic
equation. All the good and bad things of life are distributed
unequally. Justice equals rectifying the inequities, balancing the
equation. This is a purely intellectual concept, which is why --
despite their poverty of clever or innovative policy ideas -- they
continue to believe that they are the smart ones and conservatives are
ignorant neanderthals. The arrogance -- apart from their blind
faith in a doomed
analogy between math and life -- lies in their belief that some small
percentage of the right people can deduce from the messy reality
of the human condition a set of terms and precise relationships that
can be summarized on
But when you think you can solve life like an equation,
you are the very worst kind of fool, which is why every
left-wing social construct
has resulted in financial ruin, human disaster, and unspeakably
shocking violence. They see end results in terms of answers that come
out even, not as a cascade of unintended and accelerating consequences
with infinities of repeating remainders. That's why the Utopian fiction
is dangerous. The math is all wrong, the equations are all false, and
the intellectual insights they produce are all off the mark. Their
misbegotten brilliance consists of over-analyzing snapshots of a movie
that keeps rolling and changing in proliferating complexity, literally
without end. There is no 'happily ever after.' Only 'after.'
The current climate change hysteria is, in fact, a perfect microcosm of
liberal hubris. Climate scientists have created mathematical models of
climate, which produce discrete calculations via set algorithms of
phenomena that are not
discrete. The models are not
the climate of the earth, which is so vast, complex, and loaded with so
many variables that even the most complicated model represents a gross
oversimplification of what occurs in reality.
[An aside: some National Review
editor or commenter
spoke slightingly of the "English majors" who have mucked up the
internet with skepticism about climate science. I'm an English major.
But guess what. English majors know something about writing. Which is
exactly what a mathematical model is. It's an edited
version, hopefully stripped
down to the right essentials, of the whole it purports to represent.
Choices are involved. Stuff is left out. Whether it's the right stuff
or not is not a matter of science; it's a matter of talented judgment.
English majors may be exactly
the right people to point out that a 'model' of any kind, like a short
story or a novel, is not nearly the same thing as a coldly controlled
and spotlessly objective scientific experiment. Did you know that many
of the best software programmers -- computer modelmakers -- started out
as English majors? The talents required are very similar. Just saying.]
Another complicating factor. Climate science is occurring in what is
pompously called "The Academy," meaning universities that are so
stuffed with lefties it's more than likely that the liberal confusion
between social equality (i.e., justice) and mathematical equations
might very well affect the incentives of ambitious academics if not the very
use of the scientific method. How many of the current ruling powers of
the scientific establishment began their journeys toward PhDs as
Vietnam draft dodgers? Not an idle question. A lot of them. People who
always told themselves they wanted to "make a difference," just like
the post-Woodward and Bernstein journalists who are now reporting on
what they do.
What can we expect from the terrible union of science and ill-conceived
notions of social justice that look very much like algebraic equations?
More static 'solutions' that fail completely to anticipate real world
That's the point of the YouTube video above. All the 'liberals' who are
trying to save us from ourselves via dramatic totalitarian impositions
on an economy they can't help regarding as a static machine which can
be tinkered into faultless compliance have never given the slightest
thought to what will happen when they drive a stake into the heart of
the world's capitalist, life-saving and life-enhancing organism
Our nation, and the global economy, is not a machine that can be
fine-tuned like a mathematical model. It is the most complex and
highly sophisticated form of life on earth. When you deprive it or
starve it of the food it needs to survive, it will move, like all life
forms, into 'fight or flight' mode. Its component cells will begin to
break down, disease will ensue, and the symptoms will not be modestly
reduced GDP figures, but a variety of convulsive reactions that will
lead, inevitably, to scenarios like the one depicted in The Road Warrior
. Yes, you can
PhotoShop a snapshot to make it look the way you want. But you can't
drop a trillion ton anvil on the head of civilization itself and expect
anything but terrifying death throes.
Nothing new for the lefties. They never anticipated the 50 million
killed by Stalin. Or the like number killed by Mao Tse Tung. And I'm
not talking just the ones these arrogant social engineers deliberately
ordered murdered. I'm talking about the deaths by famine, incompetent
emergency response and medical care in the face of real
natural disasters, the plain
bad service of a system without incentives to do good work, the
permanently blighted lives of those who received no education, hope, or
meaning in their oh-so rational lives as units of a perfectly rational
Now the United States -- of all nations that have reason to understand
the disastrous mistakes of relying on technocrat math as a substitute
for individual human aspiration -- is moving aggressively to turn its
own people into units of a grand mathematical equation of social
justice. Utopia awaits. With all its horrors, breakdowns, miseries, and
But, uh, Reagan didn't entirely succeed at what he set out to do. So we
should, uh, like, wait for Perot or Paul or Palin or someone else to convince us
that it's really time to vote...
No. Reagan quite unexpectedly trounced Carter because Carter was an
incompetent little self-righteous prick. That situation was utterly
unlike OUR situation. Obama is incompetent, yes, but he's also a
malevolent, malignant narcissist who's set on a vision of marxist
Utopia that will, if it succeeds, bring about the civil breakdown
imagined above in The Road Warrior.
That's worth getting off your ass about if you're a conservative OR a
Why the latter? You liberals... Who do you
want to bet on in the survival
sweepstakes that will follow the dissolution of the global
technological economic system? When it collapses because capitalism is
crushed by suicidal ideologues and their thralls in the world of
academe and government? The federal bureaucrats, attorneys,
journalists, professors, tree-huggers, and Hollywood faces that
constitute your home team? Or the flyover entrepreneurs, farmers,
welders, gun-huggers, criminals, religious fanatics, and ex-military
types who know how to hunt, how to fix broken mechanical equipment, how
to make do in straitened circumstances, and how to take what they need
from those who never knew that anything
was worth defending?
O you jaded ones... this is why the tea party people are out there.
They know in their bones what's at stake. If you
don't, you're way behind the
curve and falling farther behind every day.
Time to think about catching up? Ya think? Maybe?
Time to tell the people running for office exactly
what we expect -- and how
swift the punishment will be if they fail to keep their promises...?
You tell me.
No more Mr. Nice Guy. Burn BRIGHT.
. Are you listening, Mr. Woods?
We're the only ones who have any good advice for you. Forget all the PR
crisis consultants. They're viewing you as a commercial property.
You've always been, first and foremost, a figure of sporting history.
Remember that. Your sex life is your own business. If they could do
what you can, most of them would.
Some very specific recommendations:
1. Don't do the Oprah/Barbara
Walters/Bryant Gumbel/60 Minutes
interview. Don't cry on camera, don't confess, don't apologize.
Privately, you can confess and apologize all you want. But you don't
owe it to your 'public.' Your life off the golf course is none of our
2. Don't respond, in anger or otherwise, to comparisons between you and
Jack Nicklaus (a bore), Ben Hogan (a prick), or Bobby Jones (a hot-tempered eccentric
a lot like you). You are the best who has ever played the game. Period.
No one can ever
away from you.
3. Don't respond to the scuttlebutt from the PGA tour that might seek
to tear you down. Every single one of them owes you a slug of their
paycheck, because when you play people watch; when you don't they
don't. Don't ever forget it.
4. Don't think that most of your fans admired you because you were some
kind of moral example. They didn't. They admired you, and still do,
because you compete as ferociously as only a handful of athletes in any
sport ever have. They admire you because you have a talent for winning,
not because they want you to retire to some post at the United Nations
or the United Methodist Church.
They will still yell "in the hole" when you tee off at any tournament.
5. DON'T QUIT THE GAME OF GOLF. Come back, but come back
different. You used to be our friendly Spiderman, superhuman but
somehow accessible. Come back now as the
unstoppable, dark, and unpredictable version of Spiderman,who was
infinitely more remote and lethal:
far more intriguing.
Make them all pay
. This is a
tip from your Scottish friends -- the ruthlessly murderous ones
who invented golf in the first place-- you never said you were a saint.
said, only, come try to beat me and they couldn't. Now it's your turn
to say, don't even try to stop me.
Dress in black. Completely. Even on Sundays. GO WIN THE GRAND-SLAM.
This year. Then
tell them, "Bobby Jones did it his way. This is MY way." Then do it
again next year. And every year. In silence.
You don't need to do a damned thing more than that. Ever.
Could somebody please forward this to Tiger Woods? He's not going
to get any better advice anywhere else.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Got the picture
you need to watch are the last 40 seconds.
ACQUIRING NEW MEANINGS
. Just to correct the record, it wasn't only
Glenn Beck who expressed alarm, or at least misgivings
about all the czars in the Obama administration who are empowered to
make policy without being accountable to congress:
Obama's czar system concerns some
He has 'super aides' for healthcare,
the economy, energy and urban issues, with more to come -- prompting
some lawmakers and groups to worry that he may be concentrating power
and bypassing Congress.
March 05, 2009|Tom Hamburger and
WASHINGTON — As President Obama names more policy czars to his White
House team -- high-level staff members who will help oversee the
administration's top initiatives -- some lawmakers and Washington
interest groups are raising concerns that he may be subverting the
authority of Congress and concentrating too much power in the
But some lawmakers and outside experts fear that Obama is setting up a
system that is not subject to congressional oversight and creates the
potential for conflict among his many advisors.
Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) became concerned enough to send a
cautionary letter to Obama last week. At times, he said, past White
House staffers have assumed duties that should be the responsibility of
officials cleared through the Senate confirmation process. He cited
President Bush's naming of homeland security czar Tom Ridge as an
"They rarely testify before congressional committees and often shield
the information and decision-making process behind the assertion of
executive privilege," Byrd wrote of past czars and White House staffers
in similar positions. At times, he said, one outcome has been to
"inhibit openness and transparency, and reduce accountability."
"The rapid and easy accumulation of power by White House staff can
threaten the constitutional system of checks and balances," Byrd said.
Of course, Tom Ridge did eventually appear before congress to be
confirmed as Secretary of Homeland Security when the congress created a
cabinet-level department of homeland security. But there's little sign
that the Obama administration is willing to let congress have any
access to so-called White House staffers, even those who are not as regally titled as czars. For example, it appears that the concept of
"executive privilege" now applies even to the White House social
secretary whose ad hoc
approach to guest screening permitted gate crashers admission to a
state dinner attended by a foreign prime minister.
What's also becoming evident is that the Obama administration is fully
prepared to work around congress on any issue the president thinks he
knows better about, which is, basically, all of them. Here's an end-run
not too many have heard about:
MOSCOW — With the clock running out on
a new US-Russian arms treaty before the previous Strategic Arms
Reduction Treaty, or START, expires on December 5, a senior White House
official said Sunday said that the difficulty of the task might mean
temporarily bypassing the Senate’s constitutional role in ratifying
treaties by enforcing certain aspects of a new deal on an executive
levels and a “provisional basis” until the Senate ratifies the treaty.
The most ideal situation would be to finish it in time that it could be
submitted to the Senate so that it can be ratified,” said White House
Coordinator for Weapons of Mass Destruction, Security and Arms Control
Gary Samore. “If we’re not able to do that, we’ll have to look at
arrangements to continue some of the inspection provisions, keep them
enforced in a provisional basis, while the Senate considers the treaty.
Yeah, this kind of thing has been done before, but it gets more
concerning when the administration is pursuing a radically new foreign
policy -- kowtow to our enemies and snub our friends -- that has even
our oldest and most loyal allies in a state of near
It gets even worse when the willingness to bypass congress becomes an
expression of actual contempt and naked blackmail. Here's an excerpt
from last night's panel on Special Report
BAIER: Well, the day after the EPA
ruled that carbon dioxide endangers the public's health, this is what a
senior advisor to president Obama told reporter, issuing this warning
to Congress that you remember the House passed cap and trade but the
Senate has not yet.
"If you don't pass this legislation,
then the EPA is going to have to regulate this area, and it will not be
able to regulate in a market based way, so it's going to have to
regulate in a command and control way, which will probably generate
even more uncertainty.
"Continued uncertainty over what the country's energy and environmental
policies will be is probably the biggest deterrent to investment of
all. Passing this legislation so you're not in a situation where you
have continuing uncertainty is key."
It sounded like a threat to us. We're back with the panel. Charles?
KRAUTHAMMER: A threat and an amazing admission. It admits, [first], how
bad the law in the Senate today that is being held up on cap and trade
is [which] in and of itself is going to kill jobs.
But secondly, if you don't do that, we will do something worse, impose
the EPA regulations, which is cap without trade. There isn't a market
mechanism. You can't sell or purchase a permit to emit CO2.
So it's command and control, which is a polite way of saying Soviet
control, meaning it's all regulation, it's all sort of arbitrary on the
part of the EPA. And it is an amazing admission, and it is a kind of
blackmail. Either you do this in the Senate and pass a bill or we will
do it unilaterally.
The problem here is, it really is constitutionally obscene. If you are
going to revolutionize our economy, as you will by regulating and
taxing carbon, we are a carbon-based economy, it will affect every
aspect of American life.
You ought to do it in a way that is through the Congress as an
expression of popular will and not by arbitrary administrative action.
I think what Congress ought to do is to pass a one-page law amending
the EPA, the original legislation which would say and restore its
original intent, this law doesn't apply to CO2 and exclude it from the
jurisdiction of the EPA, and then the blackmail ends.
BAIER: Mort, we assume that these comments, these discussions happened
behind closed doors, but to hear it being told to reporters is pretty
KONDRACKE: It was an ultimatum to Congress, that either you do what we
want you to do or we're going to blow up the whole country.
BAIER: Or the economy fails.
KONDRACKE: Exactly. I mean, here we are in the midst of a recession,
and you're going to have the EPA now -- what exactly the regulations
are going to be like, we don't know. And Lisa Jackson, the head of the
EPA, said she would be "sensible" about all this and it was not going
to apply to small businesses and medium-sized businesses. So we don't
know exactly how draconian she is going to be.
But this threat from the administration sounds very draconian, that
they want the EPA to go full force, command and control, that kind of
word. I mean, it is meant to be a whip on the Congress.
But what can the Congress do? I mean, they're bogged down in healthcare
right now. The year is going to end. They won't be back until January.
It is going to take forever for the Senate to pass cap and trade. So I
don't know why they made this threat at this point.
BAIER: Exactly. What is behind this, Steve? The prospects politically
on Capitol Hill for cap and trade legislation, climate change
legislation right now are dim, at best.
HAYES: Sure. I think there was a domestic audience and an international
audience. The domestic audience was Congress. The international
audience is in Copenhagen.
And what they basically wanted to be able to say was, look, we are
getting tough. We making threats to Congress and telling them they need
to pass cap and trade legislation or else.
And Lisa Jackson, interestingly on Monday, she said we really wanted
this finding before we went to Copenhagen so that we could sort of tout
it there. And then today, in a speech today, she said, well, no, this
is all just a coincidence. So they're not even clear on that.
But importantly on the actual threat, I think Republicans would be wise
at this point to call their bluff. It takes so long to go from this
kind of a finding to the point where these regulations would actually
be implemented that there is no way they could do it within the next
couple of years.
BAIER: Not to mention the lawsuits involved here.
Quickly, Charles, there is this disconnect between the president
talking about jobs, jobs, jobs, and how he is going to turn the economy
around, and then a threat like this on Congress to act on something
that even this administration official says could potentially threaten
KRAUTHAMMER: Yes -- pass the bill I want or I will destroy the American
economy. Interesting threat....
Interesting indeed. It also, I think, reveals the administration's real
modus operandi regarding healthcare. If EPA is willing to brazenly, retroactively
1970 Clean Air Act to give itself the power to regulate emissions not
even remotely seen as dangerous when the bill was passed, how will The
HHS department approach the task of implementing any healthcare bill
passed by the congress? The slapped together nature of any legislative
language passed under the current artificially breakneck deadline will,
of course, require the writers of the enforcing regulations to sort out
what it all means. The bill, regardless of its incoherent content, will
become what the administration wants it to be. Meaning that if the real
objective is to destroy private health insurance and compel everyone to
accept a monolithic single-payer system, that objective can easily be
accomplished in the fine print of Obama's appointed bureaucrats. That's
why the president endorses
every single version of the bill that surfaces momentarily from the
boiling congressional cauldron. He's not indifferent to the outcome.
He's indifferent to what congress ultimately passes because he can make what congress
passes into what he wants it to be.
[You see, for all his well advertised lack of executive experience, the president does excel in one sinister skill -- subverting the democratic political process for anti-democratic ends. That's perhaps the best possible definition of the term 'community organizer.' It consists of playing the democrat in public and manipulating the enforcement mechanics behind the scene. That's how feelgood ideas like "home ownership for the underprivileged" become catastrophic bubbles and sinkholes of institutional corruption. "Let me be clear." The man has "unprecedented" talent at this kind of dirty work.]
The same is conversely
of cap-and-trade legislation. The EPA can do what it wants by diktat. A
piece of legislation would be convenient cover for what EPA is going to
do anyway. The only remaining question is, just how big a dupe congress
is willing to be. Pass a bill that EPA will nonetheless rewrite in the
fine print to "destroy the economy" or resist the presidential
extortion threat and pretend somehow that they won't be blamed for the
terrible consequences regardless.
What's happening here is raw and in-your-face. The Obama administration
is systematically dismantling the separation of powers, rendering
congress irrelevant. The Democratic leadership, inflated by its own
lunkheaded hubris (God, what f___ing fools they are), thinks it's
leading the charge for Obama liberalism. Instead, they're playing
directly into the hands of Obama, the relentless terminator of American
economic power and individual liberty. Why does he prefer Chavez,
Castro, Ahmadinejad, the Emperor of Japan, and the King of Saudi Arabia
to Gordon Brown, Maliki, Karzai, the Queen of England, and the King of
Norway? There is
that makes sense. It involves power, divinity, and contempt for
compromise. You work out the rest. But the biggest part of it is power.
In the modern high-tech world, what do you need to establish
totalitarian power beyond the administrative capacity to control absolutely
the prospects for
economic success (or failure) and the bodies, lifestyles, and access
(or lack of it) to medical treatment of the citizenry? Play ball and
win, and live, or resist and fail and die in a dirty hallway. (An
aside: have you ever
man shed a tear?)
you'd want some
additional control over the right to free expression. Heard about this
, have you?
A sweeping international treaty to
regulate how knowledge and creativity may flow on the Internet is now
being negotiated. Haven’t heard of it? Funny thing, that’s exactly what
the backers of the treaty want. The film, music, publishing and
information industries don’t want a public debate about the issues or
an open debate in Congress. So they have been working hand-in-glove
with the U.S. Trade Representative to move U.S. policymaking offshore
and throw a dark cloak of secrecy around everything. The next stop:
draconian penalties for anyone who is accused of violating copyright
Details about the treaty are murky. But the latest draft, according to
a leak summarized on the Boing Boing website, would require:
* That Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have to
proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. This means
that it will be impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or
Blogger, since hiring enough lawyers to ensure that the mountain of
material uploaded every second isn’t infringing will exceed any hope of
* That ISPs have to cut off the Internet access of
accused copyright infringers or face liability. This means that your
entire family could be denied to the internet — and hence to civic
participation, health information, education, communications, and their
means of earning a living — if one member is accused of copyright
infringement, without access to a trial or counsel.
* That the whole world must adopt US-style
“notice-and-takedown” rules that require ISPs to remove any material
that is accused — again, without evidence or trial — of infringing
copyright. This has proved a disaster in the U.S. and other countries,
where it provides an easy means of censoring material, just by accusing
it of infringing copyright.
* Mandatory prohibitions on breaking DRM [Digital
Rights Management systems], even if doing so for a lawful purpose
(e.g., to make a work available to disabled people; for archival
preservation; because you own the copyrighted work that is locked up
Who would have guessed that such nasty stuff was embedded in a treaty
called the “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)”? That title was
presumably meant to reassure people that it’s a non-controversial
measure. But fighting counterfeits seems to be just the cover story.
The real goal is to win a backdoor expansion of copyright law, much
stronger enforcement powers and greater corporate control of the
Internet — all without having to go through that pesky process known as
If the first subterfuge was the misleading title, the second subterfuge
was to call ACTA a “trade agreement” rather than a multilateral
intellectual property treaty. A trade agreement can be implemented by
the Executive Branch on its own, and does not require congressional
approval. An intellectual property treaty would require a congressional
We all know that the real resistance to Obama isn't to be found in the
MSM; it exists primarily on the Internet. Maybe this is how you get
reelected even when everything you've done as president is directly
contrary to the interests of the people. As Kyle Reese said, "It can't
be bargained with, it can't be reasoned with, it doesn't feel pity or
remorse or fear, and it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are
What we have to fight back with is elections. It's time for us to make
some electoral miracles happen. And, no, the answer isn't third
parties. Remember, the Americans and Brits hooked up with some
sorry-ass allies to win World War II. When they're coming for you like
this, you better be willing to hold your nose and remember the sad
truism, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." Obama and his dupes must
be turned out of office, legally, convincingly, and above all,
peacefully. That's the only definition of victory that will stand the
test of time.