Earth Day

Today is Earth Day and one of the more interesting developments today are people who are rallying for ‘science.’

Many of these folks are the usual suspects – Michael Mann for example is quoted as saying, “We didn’t choose to be in this battle, but it has come to the point where we have to fight because the stakes are too great.”
That statement leads to a good question – exactly what are the stakes these folks are fighting for? I would assert what they are protesting in favor of is the continued politicalization of science with the gravy train of tax dollars which has accompanied that process. You may be asking yourself, “Why would politicians care about politicizing science?”
For more than twenty-five years now the government has been funding studies into ‘climate change.’ The basic model for the past twenty-five years is that if a study reports back that climate change has a component which traces back to human activity then more Federal dollars will be forthcoming for more studies. If a study reports back that climate change has no component which traces back to human activity then no more Federal dollars will be forthcoming for more studies. Remarkably enough, in this model under which only one answer will result in more money, the overwhelmingly popular answer has been the same answer which results in more money.
Who could of seen that coming?
Let us be clear – when these folks say ‘the stakes are too great’ – they are usually referring to their paychecks.
To close the circle – every government solution, proposed or enacted, to address climate change has been nothing more than a wealth transfer from the poor and middle class to the wealthy. Hence the ongoing politicalization of science. If a study can assert some possible human cause then the politicians can kick off the wealth transfer schemes in the name of ‘saving the planet because… science’ which in truth means nothing more than taking your money by force and giving it to their friends.
Because… science.

Must Read: The French, Coming Apart

Our friend Joshua Sharf yesterday shared an article that is a must read, “The French, Coming Apart.”
It is a fascinating study of the path France has taken to arrive at this divisive point on what is election weekend in France – but it is easily extrapolated out to the United States. For example:
“As Paris has become not just the richest city in France but the richest city in the history of France, its residents have come to describe their politics as “on the left”—a judgment that tomorrow’s historians might dispute. Most often, Parisians mean what Guilluy calls la gauche hashtag, or what we might call the “glass-ceiling Left,” preoccupied with redistribution among, not from, elites: we may have done nothing for the poor, but we did appoint the first disabled lesbian parking commissioner.”
That should resonate with all of us. And this:

“Upwardly mobile urbanites, observes Guilluy, call Paris “the land of possibilities,” the “ideapolis.” One is reminded of Richard Florida and other extollers of the “Creative Class.” The good fortune of Creative Class members appears (to them) to have nothing to do with any kind of capitalist struggle. Never have conditions been more favorable for deluding a class of fortunate people into thinking that they owe their privilege to being nicer, or smarter, or more honest, than everyone else. Why would they think otherwise? They never meet anyone who disagrees with them. The immigrants with whom the creatives share the city are dazzlingly different, exotic, even frightening, but on the central question of our time—whether the global economic system is working or failing—they see eye to eye. “Our Immigrants, Our Strength,” was the title of a New York Times op-ed signed by London mayor Sadiq Khan, New York mayor Bill de Blasio, and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo after September’s terrorist bomb blasts in New York. This estrangement is why electoral results around the world last year—from Brexit to the election of Donald Trump—proved so difficult to anticipate. Those outside the city gates in la France périphérique are invisible, their wishes incomprehensible. It’s as if they don’t exist. But they do.”
I have occasionally observed that future historians will proclaim the hallmark characteristic of our age to be obtuseness. We have acquired the intellectually and morally lazy perspective that anyone who does not occupy our particular cultural bubble is wrong – not simply wrong in their opinion or view or subjective values – but wrong in their very existence. This cultural phenomena is not confined to the United States but is ubiquitous throughout what previously and euphemistically was called ‘The First World.’ It is not confined to Berkeley or San Francisco or Tribeca. This obtuseness appears to the basis of the popularity of social media.
“For those cut off from France’s new-economy citadels, the misfortunes are serious. They’re stuck economically. Three years after finishing their studies, three-quarters of French university graduates are living on their own; by contrast, three-quarters of their contemporaries without university degrees still live with their parents. And they’re dying early. In January 2016, the national statistical institute Insée announced that life expectancy had fallen for both sexes in France for the first time since World War II, and it’s the native French working class that is likely driving the decline. In fact, the French outsiders are looking a lot like the poor Americans Charles Murray described in Coming Apart, failing not just in income and longevity but also in family formation, mental health, and education. Their political alienation is striking. Fewer than 2 percent of legislators in France’s National Assembly today come from the working class, as opposed to 20 percent just after World War II.”
Indeed as Charles Murray has documented – and very recently has been violently prevented from speaking about on a college campus. To the point…
What solution is proposed by those who live in this particular bubble? Well, ‘free’ college is the proposed answer. It is as trite and shallow a response as can be imagined while being an ostentatious demonstration of the obtuseness. The solution from those who shout ‘racism’ and ‘xenophobia’ and ‘bigot’ and ‘privilege’ at the drop of a hat – is that if you wish to succeed you must become as we are. Multi-culturalism indeed!
The cultural dogma here is accurately described as being “preoccupied with redistribution among, not from, elites.” The cursory and depthless answers provided to each and every issue which arises from having omitted from the future anyone who is not like you testifies to the reality that the cultural diversity runs no deeper than skin color, last name and if one adheres to either Islam or atheism – all other religious beliefs being considered passé or even hostile. The obtuseness required to pretend that half or more of the members of a given society do not exist, are culturally and economically invisible, while expecting peace and happiness is perhaps unprecedented in human history. Even Vanity Fair has figured this out:
“Silicon Valley is, in its own right, a dynasty. Instead of warriors or military heroes, it has nerds and people in half-zip sweaters. But it is becoming increasingly likely that the Valley might go down in history not only for its wealth, but also for creating more tone deaf people than any other ecosystem in the history of the world.”
The United States, France, the United Kingdom – other nations which previously constituted ‘The First World’ are coming apart at the seams. Division rips through society as those who have become invisible to the elites voice their displeasure via the ballot box – the last mechanism by which they can escape their invisibility.
Trump, Brexit, and perhaps the French election are rebellions against bubbles of the elite – rebellion against the elimination of economic opportunity, the cultural diminishment and ridicule heaped upon them by the elites and the invisibility to which they have been confined. The elites should be praying for the success of these efforts – not fighting against them. Thomas Massie recently said, “I mean they are literally going to be here with pitchforks and torches if electing Donald Trump didn’t change anything.”
This is a situation which Marie Antoinette would instantly recognize…

What Is Wrong With This Picture?

Somedays you just have to scratch your head and wonder at what we have become as a society. Our attention inevitably is drawn to the latest shiny object, to fascination over the personal failings of other human beings, and what is happening with this celebrity or that celebrity.

At the moment the popular attention of society is focused on Bill O’Reilly having lost his gig at Fox News due to alleged unsavory behavior in the workplace. Bill O’Reilly is ubiquitous in the news and in social media.
In the meantime there are actual events occurring in the actual real world which will have an actual effect on your life.
The International Monetary Fund is warning that 20% of the corporations in the United States are at risk of default should interest rates rise. You can read about this here and here.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is declaring that rate hikes are ‘necessary.’
Let us get this straight: a talking head lost his job and the world goes crazy about it. The IMF says that if interest rates rise then up to 20% of U.S.corporations are at risk of defaulting on their debt and the Federal Reserve consequently says “Hell yes we are going to raise interest rates” and the popular response in the news and social media is crickets.
You do not have to be named Keynes or von Mises to figure out what is wrong with this picture.

Treaties

This past evening I injected myself into a conversation where it was said that Syria, Iran and North Korea were bullies. My contribution was yes they have been bullies for decades. A comment in reply to my observation was “Our government only has two real jobs. Protect our people and mind our treaties.”

My response to that was, “If governments job is to mind our treaties I have a few hundred suggestions of where they could start doing that without leaving home.”

Every treaty ever made with an Indian nation has been broken. Every single one. To be fair most Americans understanding of Indians, Indian nations, and the historic relationship between the United States government and the Indian nations has been derived from television and films that have used Indians as plot devices for fiction. This fictional context is the understanding most Americans have of Indians – and most Americans do not grasp that their context for understanding Indians is fiction.

Article VI of the Constitution says “This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” while Article I of the Constitution says “To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.”

John Marshall, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, said in the landmark Worcester v Georgia decision: “Certain it is that our history furnishes no example, from the first settlement of our country, of any attempt, on the part of the Crown, to interfere with the internal affairs of the Indians farther than to keep out the agents of foreign powers who, as traders or otherwise, might seduct them into foreign alliances. The King purchased their lands when they were willing to sell, at a price they were willing to take, but never coerced a surrender of them. He also purchased their alliance and dependence by subsidies, but never intruded into the interior of their affairs or interfered with their self-government so far as respected themselves only.

It merely bound the Nation to the British Crown as a dependent ally, claiming the protection of a powerful friend and neighbour and receiving the advantages of that protection without involving a surrender of their national character.

This is the true meaning of the stipulation, and is undoubtedly the sense in which it was made. Neither the British Government nor the Cherokees ever understood it otherwise.

The same stipulation entered into with the United States is undoubtedly to be construed in the same manner. They receive the Cherokee Nation into their favour and protection. The Cherokees acknowledge themselves to be under the protection of the United States, and of no other power. Protection does not imply the destruction of the protected. The manner in which this stipulation was understood by the American Government is explained by the language and acts of our first President.

The Indian nations had always been considered as distinct, independent political communities retaining their original natural rights as undisputed possessors of the soil, from time immemorial, with the single exception of that imposed by irresistible power, which excluded them from intercourse with any other European potentate than the first discoverer of the coast of the particular region claimed, and this was a restriction which those European potentates imposed on themselves, as well as on the Indians. The very term “nation,” so generally applied to them, means “a people distinct from others.” The Constitution, by declaring treaties already made, as well as those to be made, to be the supreme law of the land, has adopted and sanctioned the previous treaties with the Indian nations, and consequently admits their rank among the powers who are capable of making treaties. The words “treaty” and “nation” are words of our own language, selected in our diplomatic and legislative proceedings by ourselves, having each a definite and well understood meaning. We have applied them to Indians as we have applied them to the other nations of the earth. They are applied to all in the same sense.”

Andrew Jackson’s response to the Worcester v Georgia decision allegedly was “John Marshall has made his decision now let him enforce it.”

If Jackson actually made the remark or not is irrelevant in that ignoring this Supreme Court decision became the policy of the executive branch and has been the policy of each President since.

Most Americans would be aghast if the United States were to break a treaty with South Korea or Belgium. The same Americans by and large have no moral issues violating a treaty with the Cherokee or Lakota – even though the Constitution draws no distinction between each of those treaties being the law of the land. I could write a hundred thousand words on how this situation came to be and why that is – but I won’t do that today so you can breathe easy.

Suffice it to say what most Americans believe in regard to Indians is rooted in fiction. In 1826 James Fenimore Cooper published a very fine novel entitled “The Last of the Mohicans.” Cooper had no actual knowledge of Indians but as a plot device he used Indians as a blank canvas on which he could deploy his creative palette in order to paint a picture on a topic about which most of his readers were completely naive. Cooper set the precedent of employing Indians as a blank canvas on which the creators of fiction could tell what ever story their plot required in regard to Indians. Fine novels, pulp fiction, television, films – they have all continued the tradition of making Indians out to be whatever they needed them to be as a plot device.

This body of work – fine novels, pulp fiction, television, films – has been adopted into the American conscience as what Indians are without any actual understanding of the current situation or how the current situation came about.

A portion of the Insurgent Tribe effort is to remedy this situation and help educate people on how things got from here to there – and it is not the story you saw in the movies.

 

 

 

A Finer Clay Indeed

Back in the 1980’s I lived in Los Angeles and at that time the LAPD had acquired a military type armored car. LAPD then attached a pipe or something similar to the front of the armored car and made it a battering ram to break into houses. Once they possessed this beast they used it often – going by the news reports weekly or so.

The typical news report would be along the lines “LAPD used its’ battering ram to enter a suspected drug dealers house. No drugs were found but they did find cash and firearms.”

This same basic storyline repeated over and over. It is not illegal to have cash and firearms and that is by no means evidence of being a drug dealer or any other criminal enterprise – but this was inevitably cited by LAPD as ‘evidence’ when it started to become patently obvious that they had the wrong houses – over and over and over.

Being a young man in Los Angeles the 1980’s I can tell you it wasn’t that difficult to find houses that did have drugs in them. I have no rational explanation of why the Los Angeles Police Department had such a difficult time finding houses with drugs in them. I knew of many.

The moral to this story? It was the first real time I started to truly understand that the police were considerably less infallible than they appeared on TV and as the teachers told you they were in elementary school.

I have since experienced this same pattern of mistakes and an unwillingness to own up to mistakes throughout government and business and with individuals.

However – there is a key difference with government. If a business makes a mistake they get sued and they pay for it with their own money. If an individual makes a mistake they get sued and they pay for it with their own money. If government makes a mistake they get to decide if you get to sue them and if they allow for you to sue them and you win – they pay for it with your money – not their money.

If someone in business makes a mistake that ends up in losing a lawsuit they will in all probability be fired.

If someone in government makes a mistake that ends up in losing a lawsuit they will in all probability not be fired and stand a good chance of being eventually promoted somewhere down the line. For many years I joked that the only way a school teacher could get fired was if they committed felony – but then some teachers started committing felonies and they still did not get fired. Consequently I changed my joke to the only way a teacher could get fired was if they committed a felony against a child – but lo and behold we got to the point where some teachers who committed felonies against children were not being fired.

The point is that the difference in public and private employment is significant in terms of the consequences of mistakes. Long ago Bastiat said, “If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?”

I imagine that few people will admit that they believe that the legislators and their appointed agents “are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind.” However while we may almost universally deny we believe that to be true the government system we have constructed at all levels belies that. The unionization of government employees has made it all but impossible to fire a government employee. Beyond that – if you sue and win you will simply be winning back the money they took from you in the first place.

In other words – no matter how badly a government employee screws up they are unlikely to face any real consequences and certainly nothing on the level of the consequences a private business or individual would be facing for the same screw up. If that is not putting ‘a finer clay’ into practice then what is? Is this really the system we wish to continue to live under?

Choking Off Free Speech on Campus.

Leftist mobs suppressing campus speech is not a new thing; it’s just getting worse. Middlebury College, Berkeley, UCLA, Claremont McKenna, and sure to be repeated soon. The trend exposes several serious pathologies:
A. Non-leftist ideas are hounded off campus; diversity of thought withers.
B Generations of students are conditioned to believe brute censorship is acceptable and expected.
C. Generations of students are “educated” but unable to understand, let alone explain that protests that shut speech down are not themselves free speech, but an assault on free speech; and
D: Generations of faculty and administrators either agree with the suppression, or are too weak and ineffectual to oppose and discipline it.

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