Saturday, June 29, 2019

Attitude

I was talking today with a clerk at a local store, young woman about to start her senior year high school. It developed that she works two summer jobs, up to 13 hrs/day, saving it all for college. She seemed rather satisfied with what she's doing. I told her she is doing exactly the right thing.

The attitude she projected about this was quite positive. She building endurance, professional skill, and self-confidence... all before starting college. This is the key to success.

The gulf between her attitude and the "I want free stuff" attitude that certain of our politicians are trying to inculcate in us is enormous. She's building strength and self-reliance; they ask us to adopt  helplessness and dependency, the route to individual failure and national disaster.

I was sufficiently impressed that I mentioned this to one of my colleagues. He responded "Good social norms have huge staying power. Unfortunately we are still doing our best to undermine them. Just think what the talk about debt forgiveness is doing to her incentives..." Yes, although I think the attitude and behavior of the clerk aren't social norms. They are individual -- they exist at the individual level, and if one wants to be successful this is the attitude and behaviors one must adopt, social norms be damned. Even as society is falling apart (perhaps especially if) the key to success is to set goals, then work hard, consistently, and competently to achieve them. Be self responsible. 

Speaking of working towards goals, I took four days off from running for recovery purposes (did some easy hiking, walking, shooting, and a death-defying kayak trip down the Gallatin with Jeff "Kayak Geek" Ross to celebrate his birthday). Today I ran four miles; highlight was 4x0.25 miles (400m) intervals, just to push my aerobic conditioning and leg strength. I'm faster with better recovery than last year, I'm pleased to report. I also did 130 pushups and 70 deadhang pullups to round out the month. Onwards!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Google is Evil. Their plug should be pulled.

Project Veritas exposes Big Brother Google.  Here's the You Tube video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=re9Xp6cdkro&mid=40230&id=T15Pc84tZKqfx2dSDA

Except Google (owner of You Tube) already censored it.  (It worked this morning!) You aren't supposed to know, says Google.  Fortunately, Project Veritas makes it directly available.  It's chilling.  Google is evil.

Update 25 June: Blogger blocked the embed code from Project Veritas; I've now put in the Vimeo embed.  Guess who owns Blogger.


Update 26 June.  Disabled again.  They really don't want anyone to see this, do they?  Loading again.


Uploading for fourth time. Those bastards really are scared of this, aren't they! (All the white space is what the html code from the latest banned version leaves.)



Update 29 June: Wow, still up after two days! Is Goople losing it?

Friday, June 21, 2019

Running: First Day of Summer !

Happy Summer!

As I might have mentioned earlier, I'm training for the Woodstock 100 Mile trail race in early September.  Yesterday, the last day of Spring, I did a 17 mile run up Sourdough Creek, just south of Bozeman MT.  Today, the first day of Summer, I did a long 8 miler up South Cottonwood Creek, west of there.  These were great opportunities to run with one of the locals and enjoy the warm late Spring/early Summer weather, such a relief after the harsh winter.  I've documented my runs with photos for your viewing pleasure.  Enjoy!


Finishing last run of Spring.

Trail. First day of Winter Summer.
.

Summer!

Flowers (Oregon grape) basking in the summer warmth.

Our intrepid Chief Blogger.

One of the locals joins me

Some men like petite women, but I like a gal who's a big moose!

Let's run!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Trump-Pence 2020

President Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President today.  Unforeseen Contingencies is very pleased to endorse Trump-Pence 2020.  Trump has been a good president to date.  He has cut regulation and taxes, he has gotten to U.S. out of the destructive Paris Accord and Iranian nuclear deal, he required hospitals to begin posting prices, provided equal tax treatment for employer HRA's, gotten tough with China and Russia, encouraged energy development so that the U.S. is now a net exporter of energy, appointed two Supreme Court justices, changed the rules of engagement with the result that Daesh has been smashed, spurred the development of both private and government space programs, appointed many judges below the SCOTUS level, largely retracted the EPA's terrible WOTUS rule, moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to the capital Jerusalem, improved U.S. Saudi relations, getting reformer Prince Mohammed bin Salman on board in fighting Islamic terrorism, ended the coddling of the communists in Cuba, and explicitly and repeatedly denounced socialism.  More, please.

Meanwhile, the Democrat candidates are falling over each other endorsing every sort of socialist policy.  The list of terrible things endorsed by Democrat candidates boggles the mind.  Most have signed on to the Green New Deal, with would destroy the American economy and starve Americans.  They also insist on raising taxes, abolishing private health care, censorship, more censorship, and -- of course -- mass citizen disarmament.  That last one is a necessity for them, because the rest of their agenda constitutes a declaration of war on Americans.

It's astonishing that socialism has become the Democrats' big issue.  It's a terrible, vile, and failed theory.  Concentration camps and death camps were invented in the 20th Century, and every single one of them was produced by a socialist system.  The socialist has little choice.  Socialism is about engineering society -- it necessarily treats people as building material, and recalcitrant building materials with minds of their own tend to upset the great plan.  Such eggs must be broken for the socialist omelet.  Today's Democrat leaders seem to be all-in on this.

Thank heavens that Donald Trump, for all his faults, is actively fighting these people and winning.  "We" at Unforeseen Contingencies endorse Donald Trump for re-election, and hope that the Republicans -- little as we like them -- sweep Congress.  No socialism.  Go Trump!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Climate policy for famine

My friend, hunting partner, and former housemate Dr. H. Sterling Burnett has a great piece on American Thinker.  The website Web MD posted a bit of climate socialist propaganda that claimed, among other things, that AGW (anthropogenic global warming) is a major health threat that will cause our food sources to dwindle, potentially killing millions.  Sterling takes WMD to task for this fiction, and his piece is definitely worth your time.

I chimed in on an email Sterling sent to a few of us who follow his work,and added the following:

 "...this climate change madness needs all the pounding we can give it.  The WMD propaganda is baseless (the actual piece laments winters and summers that are too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry... claiming all must be caused by climate change, apparently assuming there never was bad weather before).  Even worse, it promotes the "organic" idiocy and complete elimination of fossil fuels.  But consider that:


The rogue elephant that WMD ignores is the 'Green New Deal' insanity proposed as the alternative to modern agriculture.  If implemented, GND would starve millions of Americans; if WMD really were about promoting health & well-being, GND would be the target.  This is also why I'm skeptical of analyses that say 'GND would cost $X trillion.'  It would be better measured in terms of numbers of deaths, b/c sufficient food and energy for other uses wouldn't be available at any price."

I can send sources for the points above to anyone who wants them.

This is a crucial point.  The climate socialists are proposing policies akin to those of Mao Tse-tung's "Great Leap Forward," which caused the greatest famines of the twentieth century, likely exceeding those of Joseph Stalin's Holodomor.  If the climate socialists' hubris is allowed free reign, they'll give Mao's record a run for the money.

Photo: Cows in corn.  Both will be things of the past if Green New Deal is implemented.

Milestones: the passing of Mohamed Morsi

Mohamed Morsi is dead.  He served for a short period as president of Egypt and attempted to turn the country into a fundamentalist Islamic state, run according to the dictates of the totalitarian Muslim Brotherhood.

Good riddance.  May the rest of the Muslim Brotherhood follow him soon.


Wednesday, June 05, 2019

June 6, 1944

Seventy five years ago today, Allied Forces under General Dwight David Eisenhower invaded Normandy, France.  This precarious endeavor saved Western Europe from the twin scourges of Nazism and Soviet Communism, making it the single most important strike against totalitarianism in all of history.  Had the Allies not invaded, or had the invasion failed, Nazi Germany still would have fallen to the Soviets eventually, most likely.  But the Soviet invasion of Europe would have stopped only at the Atlantic.  Regardless, Europe was caught between Nazism and Communism.  The invasion of Normandy saved Europe.

The accompanying photo shows my aunt, Johane Heise Tucker, and my father.  Aunt Johane was possibly the first Allied woman on the Normandy beaches.  She was a U.S. Army nurse officer, and landed on Omaha beach on June 6, 1944.  She was in charge of a field hospital.  She told me how it was strafed and bombed by the Luftwaffe, while she, her staff, and patients ducked in foxholes.  She had many stories from the war, but the one thing she wouldn't talk about was what she saw when they entered German concentration camps.  She said it simply could not be repeated.

My father, Charles H. Steele, was a U.S. Navy pilot in the war, flying a PBY Catalina and commanding a crew of eleven.  He didn't see combat; his unit was stationed in Florida and did anti-submarine patrols and search and rescue.  Both my aunt and my father told me something that has stuck with me.  Both of their units received orders to begin packing for the invasion of Japan, and both expected to be in midst of brutal combat.  When the atom bombs were dropped on Japan, they both felt relief and realized they and their fellow Americans would survive the war.  Both told me the atom bombing of Japan was a good thing.  They are right; it ended an evil and saved many lives.

I had an uncle who was one of the very last Americans killed fighting the Germans.  In the last couple of days of the European war, he had entered German-controlled territory, met with a German general, and arranged for surrender of a German division.  On the way back to American lines, his jeep was ambushed by an SS unit and he was killed instantly.  He never saw his son, my cousin Sam Paton.

Aunt Johane's husband, Colonel Tucker (Uncle Tuck to us) was a U.S. Army engineer.  He volunteered for the Army, and while gone lost his hardware store in Kansas to competitors.  During the war he salvaged at least one B-17 that had been shot down and returned it to combat, and built bridges that Allied troops used to invade Germany.  He returned to the U.S., started a new lumberyard, and was a successful entrepreneur.

What to make of all this?  Justin Raimondo, a Rothbardian anarchist and lead writer for Anti-War-dot-com (I won't link to these phony libertarians), once claimed there was no difference between the young Americans, British, Canadians, French, et al. who landed on Normandy and the Germans they fought.  To Raimondo, all were simply brutal murderers.

No.

Twenty-nine years ago, I traveled with a good Canadian friend, Mark Deacon, to Normandy to tour the beaches on June 6.  On June 5th, we checked into a small hotel in Carentan.  The proprietress checked us in coolly and matter-of-factly.  After we inspected the room, we agreed to take it and, as is the rule, returned to the desk to show her our passports and complete the transaction.  "You're not Germans?" she exclaimed (I speak French with a distinct German accent, but that's a story for later), and then "you're Liberators!" She began telling us excitedly how as a little girl she saw combat between American and German soldiers, and how Americans liberated -- note that word -- Carentan. Carentan was the scene of brutal fighting.  Much of the town was destroyed.  And there was no doubt in the mind of this woman who was good and who was evil.  I was slightly embarrassed to be called a liberator, since I was born long after the war, but her enthusiasm was genuine.

Later in the day in our travels around the beaches, we stopped in a small cafe, I'm unsure where, for coffee.  The only people were locals and we chatted with them a bit.  When we explained we were American and Canadian, they pointed out this area had been liberated by Canadians.  The woman serving us told us how two Canadian soldiers had stayed in their home and how wonderful they were.  She then choked up as she told us how both were killed shortly after.

So...what do we make of this?

The great libertarian John Stuart Mill put it this way.  "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

Every person I've mentioned in this bit -- my aunt, two uncles, and my father -- is deceased.  None were warriors by profession.  They simply fought because it was necessary.  That we have any freedom today is because of them and many more people like them.  Let's continue the tradition.

Carentan

Monday, June 03, 2019

The Unfortunate Abuse of the libertarian Ethic

The lower case "L" isn't a typo.

Libertarianism holds that individual liberty is the highest political value.  That is, political decisions must first of all promote individual rights, the conditions needed for self-responsible individuals to flourish.*  If advanced human civilization has a future, it will be a libertarian one; only the libertarian ethic provides the freedom required for peaceful relations among people who think for themselves (and thus differ) and for an economy in which everyone can be well off.  In the past I've lamented the abuse of the libertarian principle, including treating it as a complete ethic.  Today's American Thinker brings home just how awry things can go.

In a very thoughtful piece, American Thinker's Taylor Lewis analyzes a debate between Sohrab Amhari and David French.  Amhari and Lewis identify French as a classical liberal, which I think is roughly correct (roughly), and French agrees.  French's response to Amhari is excellent and, I think, devastating... but that's because Amhari picked the wrong target.  If Amhari wanted to make sense, he should have highlighted those "libertarians" like Bryan Caplan who declare "You Have No Right to Your Culture," or Horwitz and Mangu-Ward in their insistence that libertarianism is a complete ethic, or best (i.e. worst) of all, the utterly mad Ethics of Liberty of Murray Rothbard (read Chapter 14 if you doubt "madness").  These are examples of the doctrine that people who believe in freedom can be simpatico with the radical left.  (In Rothbard's defense, he'd likely have despised contemporary leftists and said so.  He was nothing if not contrarian.)

There's something deeply wrong with treating libertarianism as a complete ethical system: it isn't.  Libertarianism is really about respecting individual rights, and nothing more.  That's important and enough for a political philosophy, but it's hardly a complete prescription for everything right and wrong, or for how to live. Should you worship?  And if so, who or what?  How many spouses should you have, if any, and should you be faithful to them?  Should you have one mate, or breed with every possible person (or animal) you can find?  Or suppose you have an extremely addictive drug that is also harmful, e.g. meth.  Should you sell it to someone, after explaining to them the harm it will ultimately do them?  And how about if the potential "customer" is five years old?  The theory of rights can't answer whether these questions.  They don't involve violation of others' rights, but that doesn't mean any answer is as good as another.

Or consider this: you find someone's lost wallet on the street.  What should you do?  Leave it lying there?  Keep it? Take money and return the rest?  Send it back intact?  Send it back after adding an extra $100?  I think you should send it back intact, but not because of a libertarian strict respect for individual rights, but rather because of what Adam Smith called empathy, Jesus' "Golden Rule."  There's simply a lot more to ethics than "don't violate rights."  In other words, libertarianism is a proper subset of ethics.

One of the galling stupidities of contemporary libertarians is to treat libertarianism as if it is a complete ethic.  It isn't.  It does define the limits to force, i.e. violence, and thus to the legitimate power of the state.

So this brings us to the question posed in Taylor's title: "Can Conservatives Afford to Be Nice Anymore?"  Classical liberalism is not a matter of being nice.  And it's not a matter of being sympathetic to bad or immoral choices that people make.  Rather, it's a matter of respecting peoples' rights to make their own decisions, so long as they violate no one else's rights, even if their decisions are stupid or self-destructive.  And if people propose terrible ideas that would destroy liberty and impose tyranny, we must defend their freedom to utter such ideas, as French argues.  And should they ever try to impose them on us, we need to utterly crush them.  That's the germ of truth in Amhari's essay.  And meanwhile, we should campaign hard (peacefully) to reverse the intellectual and moral degeneracy of the left.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Non-self-responsible individuals cannot flourish.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?