Because, Mr. Kaepernick, There is Much More To Respect And Appreciate Than There is to Spit On and Condemn.

Denver recently experienced a late summer flurry. Not the fun weather kind, but a brief wordstorm from the local sports media trying to pressure the Broncos into signing NFL quarterback Colin Kaeprnick. The tempest faded when word came from the Front Office that under no circumstances would that happen. Which, makes sense, because whatever kind of early flashes he showed, Kaepernick just isn’t very good.
Of course, his talent and performance weren’t the big reasons for most people’s interest in the story. Rather, it was the Rorschach reaction to Kaepernick’s stand–to use the right word in an awkward context—on the National Anthem and the US flag. When Kaepernick refused to stand for the Anthem, probably the majority were curiously indifferent. Probably a large plurality were somewhere between troubled and offended. Probably a minority respected and supported Kaeprnick’s expressed intent to protest racial injustice in America.
This correspondent didn’t feel very strongly, but shares the view that Kaeprnick’s bent stance reflects immaturity and a lack of knowledge and perspective.
Let me support that criticism by digressing to tell a story about some students in a high school civics competition several years ago. As a Colorado lawmaker I was helping judge the event. For part of their project, students from an affluent Denver suburb shared their updated and improved version of the Pledge of Allegiance:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag—because the Supreme Court doesn’t enforce the First Amendment—of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands—an imperial power that swept the native inhabitants off their land—one nation under God—because the Supreme Court still doesn’t enforce the First Amendment, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all white, male, heterosexual, upper middleclass property owners.”
The reader finished. The students and I eyed each other, as my mind raced for a way to express a different perspective without being a stiff, Republican scold. Lightning came to me.
“I can feel your aspirations and good will. You see injustices and challenges in your world, and you want to fix them. You see wrongs and you want to right them. I hope you’ll be able to do that. But before you decide your society deserves your condemnation, would you consider a couple things?
“Consider that the United States, with its free enterprise, for-profit system, produces more food, more clothing, more shelter, and a higher standard of living for more people than any other system, anywhere on earth, anytime on earth. Consider that in our country, poor people suffer the problems of obesity far more than of hunger. Cell phones, air conditioning, and cable TV are ubiquitous.
“Maybe material stuff and prosperity isn’t your thing. Maybe you’re more concerned about social justice. Yes, America has slavery, Jim Crow, and discrimination in its history. But consider that America and England led the global fight against slavery. Consider that this nation fought a Civil War, adopted three Constitutional Amendments, passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, to attain equality, and established Equal Opportunity Offices in state and federal governments across the land, all to spot and prosecute unlawful discrimination.
“Consider that as a woman, a minority, or a dissenter from the dominant culture, here in the United States, more than anywhere else on earth, you have more chance to pick the life you want, to start a business, or find your crowd…to do what the Indian immigrant Dinesh D’Souza calls ‘writing the script of your own life.
“I hope you’ll accomplish what you want. Solve those problems; right those wrongs. But please consider that maybe your nation, the society your parents, grandparents, and great great grandparents gave you, deserves not your condemnation but your gratitude. Maybe you can try to make things better here while appreciating what you’ve been given.”
There are a lot of reasons those privileged kids thought their birthplace was mostly a raw deal for the less privileged. But they have the excuse of lack of experience and opportunity to see further and know that it’s probably the best deal on earth.
A college graduate with a multi-million dollar sport contract and unimaginable privilege has less cover. But feeling more or less warmth toward America isn’t even the point. Kaepernick can believe America has a lot to fix, but still respect the civil norms and observances that unite a community. The Anthem and Pledge speak of America’s aspirations. They don’t endorse its abuses.
There’s no reason Kaepernick couldn’t work for change without spitting on social moments of participation. No one would bat an eye if Kaepernick went on the speaking circuit to deliver blistering indictments of social injustice. The problem as I see it is, his chosen path rejected the social part. He was apart. He was more enlightened than the fools and sellouts who stand for the flag. His gesture meant this society deserves his contempt, not his appreciation.
Mr. Kaeprnick, you earned the disapproval of millions and the arms length wariness of owners who are in business to make money, not to subsidize divisive distractions. And perhaps most importantly for your own aspirations, you haven’t shown all that much to general managers or talent scouts.

The Vapidness Of Single Payer

I often comment on the obtuseness of society and nothing illustrates that obtuseness more thoroughly than the proposals and arguments for single payer healthcare.

I have yet to encounter – and I ask nearly everyone I meet who supports single payer about this – an advocate of single payer healthcare who is currently voluntarily picking up the tab for the health insurance of someone who cannot afford it. In fact the proponents of single payer almost unanimously are offended by the mere suggestion that if they truly cared about the uninsured they would be voluntarily writing checks every month in order to purchase health insurance for these people they claim to care so deeply for. That I have yet to encounter a single advocate of single payer willing to voluntarily live what they preach puts the lie to the entire scheme.

It is difficult to find another example of groupthink being as vapid and immoral as the single payer delusion. People who refuse to voluntarily carry the burdens of another are all for using force to require others to carry that burden for them. Think about it – there is nothing in the world preventing these people from sitting down each month and voluntarily writing a check in order to help their neighbor – yet they not only refuse to do that but they are almost to a man (or woman) offended by the very suggestion!

At the same time these very same people are willing to use force – government force at the point of a gun – to require you to involuntarily write that check each and every month.

Of such hypocrisy are civil wars made – yet the proponents are so inexplicably obtuse and consumed with their own self-righteousness that they are oblivious to both alternatives and consequences. All they apparently care about is that the groupthink makes them feel good about themselves.

I occasionally mention that I suspect the future of the United States is divorce – I further suspect that single payer is the moment that divorce is filed.

Are Politicians, Corporate Cronies, and Safety Marms Coming for Your Car?

By most reports, Congress can’t get anything done. But, one legislative vehicle seems to be on the fast track. A bill to address the fast emerging issue of driverless cars roared unanimously through the Energy and Commerce Committee late last month and is headed to the House floor for debate.
According to the congressional newspaper The Hill: The bill “would prohibit states from imposing laws related to the design, construction or performance of self-driving cars. But local governments would still maintain traditional auto responsibilities, such as licensing, registration, insurance and law enforcement.” The philosophy seems to be to prevent states from imposing a quilt work of inconsistent requirements that might stifle development of the vehicles, but still to allow local governments to deal with administrative issues.
The legislative scrambling responds to recent buzz in the technology, automotive, and transportation fields about the rapid advance of self-driving cars or autonomous vehicles. They are the hot new topic.
Industry publications praise the emerging technology with promotional zeal, assuring consumers that a revolution in convenience, safety, and affordability is about to transform American life. The benefits will be so great that some experts predict self driving cars could become dominant as early as 2020 and not long after, most households will opt not to own automobiles.  Instead, they’ll rely on a roving fleet of ready carriages, that can be summoned faster than Uber, drive more skillfully than Danica Patrick, and deliver bigger savings than double coupons at Walmart.
Self driving cars also offer mobility to people with driving limitations, such as the elderly, people with disabilities, or people who have lost privileges for drug or alcohol offenses. The future sounds rosy but many complex questions abound.
The timeline sounds implausible. Old habits die hard and Americans might resist giving up their traditional mobility. For example, the internet has transformed and continues to transform the way people shop, but it didn’t happen back in the 90s as experts predicted. Instead it gradually unfolded over two or three decades.
As consumers adopt the new mode of transit, what complications might arise between autonomous and traditionally driven vehicles? Some lawmakers have questioned whether special lanes should be designated for autonomous cars. Others have suggested cars with drivers should be restricted to certain lanes, both to clear the way for the new, and to incent people to make the switch.
Regarding the carrots of incentives and the sticks of restrictions, will superior driving, accident reduction, and lifesaving potential of autonomous cars create pressure to prohibit traditional human-controlled driving? Many, including entrepreneur Elon Musk believe it could become illegal for people to drive cars, thought Musk says he hopes it will not. Still, the pressure could come from sources beyond just regulators and safety advocates. Corporations, whether startups or current automakers adapting to opportunities, would obviously salivate at the profits possible from mandating a complete turnover of America’s auto fleet in the span of a few years. It would dwarf the audacity of GE pressing Congress to ban incandescent light bulbs and every corporatists rent-seeker in America would leap to play.
Aside from the sticky political and economic issues, some question whether the rosy predictions of much greater efficiency make logistical sense. As a resource facing demand peaks, auto availability would have to meet the needs of morning and evening rush hour. Could a fleet large enough to carry commuter traffic be utilized much more efficiently the rest of the day and night?
Also, Tim Jackson, president of the Colorado Automobile Dealers’ Association raises a few questions about the optimistic projections: First, cars that respond to a ride request will often be empty, which could put more cars on the road going to and from pickups, actually worsening congestion. Second, for automated cars to reduce vehicles on the road, people will have to adopt car pooling in unprecedented numbers. That old idea has not caught on much better than the metric system. Third, if automated on-call vehicles make travel cheaper, more people are likely to make more trips on highways, again, increasing road usage.
The technology of driverless cars is certainly accelerating. The future is coming at us. How fast and how hard it hits remains to be seen when we get a look under the hood.

Yelling Stop

“A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.” – William F Buckley, Jr, 1955

62 years down the road and still true.

That is incredibly sad to have to say.

“Probably it is true enough that the great majority are rarely capable of thinking independently, that on most questions they accept views which they find ready-made, and that they will be equally content if born or coaxed into one set of beliefs or another. In any society freedom of thought will probably be of direct significance only for a small minority. But this does not mean that anyone is competent, or ought to have power, to select those to whom this freedom is to be reserved. It certainly does not justify the presumption of any group of people to claim the right to determine what people ought to think or believe.” – Friedrich A. Hayek, 1943

“The Road To Serfdom” was published by Friedrich A. Hayek 74 years ago.

There is certain school of thought that human existence will always return to the mean – and that the mean is something akin to serfdom for a significant number of people. A great number of people are perfectly happy being told what to think and what to believe and what to do. They have no desire to question such things, let alone alter the circumstances. The American experiment in self-government, as flawed as it has been at times, represents the most significant deviation from the mean that the world has yet seen. If human existence does indeed always return to the mean then it is reasonable to expect that American self-governance, being the outlier, would have a short shelf-life.
“Freedom is not empowerment. Empowerment is what the Serbs have in Bosnia. Anybody can grab a gun and be empowered. It’s not entitlement. An entitlement is what people on welfare get, and how free are they? It’s not an endlessly expanding list of rights – the “right” to education, the “right” to food and housing. That’s not freedom, that’s dependency. Those aren’t rights, those are the rations of slavery – hay and a barn for human cattle.” – P. J. O’Rourke

Historically the “the rations of slavery – hay and a barn for human cattle” has contented the bulk of humanity over the centuries. It is what a great number of Americans are calling for today. Unfortunately the United States was not founded on the concept of “hay and a barn for human cattle” though we have increasingly slid down that slope. We are no longer all that far from the bottom. When we reach the bottom, those who despise ‘American exceptionalism’ will be thrilled – for we will no longer be any different than the rest of the world. A few elite at the top and masses of cattle awaiting hay and barn from their masters. Just like nearly everyone else throughout history.
“The most basic question is not what is best, but who shall decide what is best.” – Thomas Sowell
Amazingly enough – people in both political parties are clamoring for someone else to decide what is best for them. I suppose this is the greatest self-indulgence, to be able to slough off on others the most basic decisions about your life.
If others making decisions about your life, if being human cattle awaiting hay and barn is not the future you desire for you and your children – now would be an excellent time to do something about it and not stop doing it until liberty is restored.

Inherent To Your Humanity

The United States was intended to be a constitutional republic. The United States was not intended to be a democracy.

In a democracy the majority rules. It is quite simple, 50%+1 and you are required to do what ever the 50%+1 decides.

In a constitutional republic each individual possesses inalienable rights, rights provided by their creator and not by government. The United States constitution is a document intended to restrain government from transgressing against the rights provided to the individual by their creator. These rights shall not be infringed. These rights are not up for a vote, they are inherent to your humanity. Each individual decides what they will do, whom they will do it with, what they will own, what they will say and what they will buy and sell and at what price without interference from others. The only caveat is that in doing this they may not transgress against the inherent rights of others.

There is but one reason to prefer a constitutional republic over a democracy – and that reason is that a constitutional republic is the only form of government ever devised that recognizes and defends minority rights. That is it. Each transgression of minority rights is a betrayal of our constitution and republic. Truth is that we have so shredded minority rights in this country that the constitution and the concept of a republic are all but dead.

I am not diminishing the efforts of those, including myself, who work feverishly to restore the constitution and the republic. It is an uphill battle – not the least reason is the education system is profoundly anti-constitution and anti-republic (and why shouldn’t they be? They get to vote themselves raises if the republic is abolished!). The historical reality is that democracies never last but republics do. Democracies never last due to human nature. The temptation to vote yourself wealth and property from the minority, the temptation to use the power of government to insist that the minority live their lives the way the majority wishes, the temptation to be King via coalition has proven irresistible.

Democracy has also proven to be the source of unresolvable conflict and endless bloodshed. It can be no other way – human nature requires that it will devolve into using the force of government to violate the rights of others. Democracy is never the path to peace, happiness and prosperity. Eventually people simply get sick of living in a democracy due to the never ending electoral competition in regard to whom gets to control whom. Inevitably the 50%+1 is persuaded by those with sufficient resources and skill to do the bidding of the rich and powerful. This is the psychological, sociological and historical reality to democracies.
In a constitutional republic each individual has inalienable rights which are not be transgressed. In other words – the majority may not vote themselves your property or to decide how you should live your life. Government has no ability to place restrictions on you and how you wish to live your life. Minority rights – and the smallest minority is the individual – are defended with government force rather than transgressed against via government force.
Choose wisely…

The Political Lie

“A lie told once remains a lie but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.” – Joseph Goebbels

“We can and must write in a language which sows among the masses hate, revulsion, and scorn toward those who disagree with us.” – Vladimir Lenin

“The end may justify the means as long as there is something that justifies the end.” – Leon Trotsky

“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” – Saint Augustine

Humility was once a sought after virtue in American culture, now it is scorned as weakness. As Trump might say, “For losers.”

The very last words that it would seem anyone wishes to utter in American culture are the words, “I am sorry, I was wrong.” As a society we will repeat the lie a thousand times, even when we indisputably know it is a lie, rather than say the words “I am sorry, I was wrong.” Part of this is the culture of academia permeating outward, i.e. ‘one narrative is as good as another.’ The relativism and nihilism of academia, the abandonment of not just a journey to the truth but the denial of truth itself, has indeed taken us down the path to where objective evaluation of true or false – or even better or worse – is as quant an idea as the curtsey.

We have reached the point where any political/cultural/societal lie is acceptable if we can rationalize that the end justifies the means. The end is always ‘we are right and the other fellow is wrong’ and in order to validate that any means, including lying, is socially acceptable. In order to acquire that moral plateau where lying about the other fellow is good and justified we must demonize the other fellow – “hate, revulsion, and scorn toward those who disagree with us.”

Even if we do not lie about others – we have a societal tolerance for those who do. No penalty will be paid for the political/cultural/societal lie. We have normalized it.

In addition we have also reached the point where the other fellow being in error is utilized to justify the argument that there is no truth. In other words, people who do still believe in that quant notion of true and false must be able to ascertain what is true 100% of the time or face the public attack that their being in error on some matter, no matter how trivial, justifies there being no truth what so ever. Trump mastered this technique, Bill and Hillary Clinton mastered it decades ago and Bernie Sanders (and his wife as well if you believe the Justice Department) have built an entire life on this technique.

We that declined to vote for Bernie, Hillary or The Donald in this last election are by and large disgusted – but it is the path that society has decided to journey. The demons of pride will rule until humility returns us to the *relative* status of angels.

Humility will come back into style, it always does.

Page 15 of 37« First...10...1314151617...2030...Last »