Thursday, July 29, 2021

"Hillsdale come get your boy"

One of the best (i.e. worst) illustrations of the decline of America under leftist influence is the sad state of the American military.  Under Obama, ranking officers who were not political sycophants were purged.  Under the current senile pretender, the rank-and-file is being purged of the unwoke, and the military being geared to fight climate change and, eventually, non-leftist American citizens.  Other big pushes include adoption of transgenderism and pandemic paranoia/covid theater.  On this last,  a two-star Army general, one Patrick Donahoe, had something of a meltdown when challenged by a college student on Twitter.

It seems the brave general, who apparently commands or tries to command Fort Benning, went into a tizzy when Ph.D. candidate and former U.S. Marine Josiah Lippincott pointed out that the general's tweeted panic about covid and insistence on the inadequately tested mRNA vaccine were misplaced, and that the negative effects of lockdown are far more dangerous.  Lippincott provided hard data.  This induced the courageous but hopelessly outnumbered general to call for reinforcements, tweeting "Hey Hillsdale come and get your boy."  When no cavalry responded, for his own safety the general was forced to block Lippincott.

Lippincott later appeared on the Laura Ingraham show saying "I want to make really clear, these guys are woke losers who love cancel culture and they can't see reality.  These guys spent 20 years in Afghanistan, spent $2.4 trillion of American taxpayer money, we lost 2,300 servicemembers – and we left Bagram Air Force Base in the middle of the night.  America should be angry, they should be demanding answers."

It's uncertain yet whether the hero general will receive a Silver Star to go with his Purple Heart for the encounter, or simply a Bronze Star with V for valor.

Photo: Josiah Lippincott, courtesy of Van Andel School of Statesmanship, Hillsdale College.


Sunday, July 04, 2021

The Most Moral Country in History

What is the most moral country in history?  Without question, it is the United States of America.  America is the only country founded on a genuine moral principle: individual liberty.  There is, of course, a great deal packed into that single principle.  There's an understanding of what man is and what each person legitimately owns.  There's an understanding of the proper use of force, and the moral limits to its use.  There's an understanding of what government is, and an understanding of how people voluntarily organize themselves into a society without using command and control as the glue.  Properly, force is only to be used against those who would violently disrupt others' voluntary relations and personal lives.  And there's an understanding of many more aspects of how the world works.

America is explicitly founded on these principles.  These principles are universal.  They are about man, not about this or that particular culture or nationality.  America changed the entire meaning of a nation-state from a linguistic or cultural entity, to one with a shared set of principles (a subject for another post), and in America's case those principles are built on natural laws including laws of man's nature.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

This is a statement about man, and society, and government.  Every individual is a self-owning and self-responsible being.  No one may claim authority over another.  

"...to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

Governments are created by us, to protect our rights, and any power they have is given by us.

"...whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government..."

There is no more radical, philosophical, fundamentally morally statement about freedom than this.  Each one of us is a sovereign individual, for each of us our lives are our own to live as best we can.  Because the freedom implied in this must be protected, and there are economies of scale in this, people can choose to institute collective defense, i.e. government.  Only so long as government does its proper job is it legitimate.  Once it fails and becomes destructive, it should be changed or abolished...by us.

The Declaration of Independence is America's founding document, and it is the greatest political document ever written and adopted.  America is the greatest political endeavor ever undertaken.

Today many Americans don't understand this, unfortunately, and fall for ideas that are utterly opposed to these principles.  Progressivism and other leftisms, including Nazism, fascism, and communism, as well as the anti-classical-liberal strains of conservatives, visualize an ideal and insist on removing constraints on government so they can force people to obey.  They don't usually express it this way (in unguarded moments they do) but that's what unconstrained coercion always comes to.  And while they promise utopia, their systems always result in putting into power people who subjugate everyone else to their will, oppressing those not in power.  America is the most moral nation precisely because it is founded on the principles that are diametrically opposed to this sort of evil.  America's principles are those of the Declaration, and implemented by the Constitution.

There is no more moral founding for any polity than that of America.  America and American principles are to be defended and expanded and advanced throughout the world.  Enemies of our principles, such as the current regime, their RINO collaborators, Beltway libertoonists who feign allegiance to liberty, and foreign enemies, are at war on them.  We must fight and win, and that begins by understanding the principles and their importance.  We at Unforeseen Contingencies invite everyone, in all countries, to celebrate American Independence Day with "us" by reading the Declaration of Independence, as we do each year.  The principles therein aren't just for America, they are universal and timeless.  Freedom for the individual means freedom for everyone.  God bless America!




Thursday, July 01, 2021

Oh, those Rothbardians!

 A perpetual bugaboo for Unforeseen Contingencies is the Rothbard-Rockwell school.  Given the increasing prospects that the left might take down America, it's perhaps not the most important thing to waste effort refuting their nonsense.  And at least most of them want less government power, so apparently we are fighting for similar things.  Still, occasionally they make an argument so bad I feel moved to respond. After all, as the great economist Frederic Bastiat observed, "The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."

In the latest (6/30/21) daily email from FEE, Walter Block addresses the water debacle of the city of Flint, Michigan.  I respond in the comments.  I link to Block's piece here, and reprint my comment:

Unfortunately, Prof. Block doesn't understand the problem and has proposed a nonsense solution. He calls for a monopoly owner of the Flint River to provide water. Yes, I know Rothbardians don't believe there can be a monopoly on the free market, and after all, the Flint River Water Monopoly would have to compete with bottled water shipped in by Woke-a-Cola. But as the great economist Ludwig von Mises pointed out, while it is true that all goods on the market compete with all other goods, for some there are no very good substitutes and they approximate the pure monopoly case. The Rothbardians are wrong on monopoly. Municipal water in Flint is one example.

Prof. Block also assumes that the owner of the river and the operator of the Flint municipal water system must be the same. He doesn't explain why, so we have no idea what he's thinking. But it is obvious from this that he has no understanding of the problem of Flint. The city -- for which Governor Snyder and the state government had no authority -- chose to use Flint River water as a cost saving measure. If the city had purchased the water from a private owner and failed to treat it properly, we would still see the same outcome.

Prof. Block says to privatize the river. "The privatization process would see to it that there was a private firm, call it the Flint River Corporation, that would be owned by thousands of stockholders." And he lists everyone who swam, boated, drank, or otherwise used it. OK, how? How would one one identify them, determine each share, and enforce it. That's extremely costly. Mises points out (Human Action, Chapter XXII. sec. 6) that property rights are costly to define and so will be incomplete, with the strength of definition depending on the costs vs. benefits. Ronald Coase develops this idea in "The Problem of Social Cost" and Harold Demsetz and Allen & Lueck further refine it. Prof. Block's prescription to privatize is about as useful as telling a starving man that his solution is to "get food." OK, how? And who does it? This magical "privatization process" to which Block refers requires human action. Whose? Government officials? The mythical Rothbardian private protection agencies? Someone else?

There's much more that is wrong with Prof. Block's piece. But that's enough. He doesn't understand the problem, and his proposed solution shows he really does not understand economics.

There really is much more wrong with Block's piece.  The city council and government of Flint are utterly incompetent and very probably corrupt.  The prosecution of former Governor Snyder is politically motivated -- the democrats are using criminal law as a political tool.  The federal EPA played a major role in the coverup and in subsequent politicization of the crisis.

But armchair anarcho-capitalists have no time for such details.  They are too busy imagining perfect utopias which can be established by the mere pronouncement "privatize everything" and "abolish the state" ... the political economy equivalent of telling a starving man with no food that the solution to his problem is to get food.


Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Mental Illness as a Weltanschauung

Weltanschauung -- that's how we erudite types say "worldview." A worldview is a perspective, or a system of thought, that includes an ideology but so much more. It is a complete view of existence...the universe, man's place in it, and how this applies to one's own life. Today's "woke-ism," or cultural marxism, is a worldview that promotes mental illness as the ideal and permanent state.  Consider: 
  •  The normal state of the "woke" is anger and outrage.  The "woke" are perpetually unhappy.
  • "Woke" individuals are encouraged to see themselves as victims and to blame others for their problems.  It is exactly the opposite of Rational Emotive Therapy, one of the most successful psychological therapies.  RET teaches one to take personal responsibility and take personal actions to solve one's own problems.  "Woke-ism" teaches neurosis.
  • The woke lose touch with reality. Woke-ism teaches psychosis:
    • Mathematics is racist.  Right answers, showing your work and hence reasoning all are racist.
    • Yes, that means physics must be "woke."  At the vanguard is "feminist glaciology."  (Yes, this is real...surreal, but real.)
    • There's no such thing as intelligence; the concept was developed to promote white supremacy and is racist and sexist.
    • Grammar is racist.
    • Men can become women, women can become men, there are 29 "sexualities" or 64 genders or 112 with and additional 71 modifiers and regardless, all of this must be enshrined in law and those who don't agree must be punished.
    • The police are engaged in a war on black people and have killed hundreds or thousands of unarmed black men annually.
    • America was founded in 1619, not 1776, and the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were written to enshrine white supremacy.
    • The First Amendment should not protect speech, writing, and religion that the "woke" find offensive.
    • White people are inherently racist; it is impossible for them not to be racist.  It is impossible for non-white people to be racist.  
    • Microaggressions and racism are everywhere, in all aspects of life and all human relations.
    • Donald Trump is a Nazi and his voters are fascists.
    • Communism is a desirable economic and political system.
    • People who disagree should be doxxed, canceled, and their lives destroyed.
This is just a sampling of the quite literally crazy characteristics of the "woke" worldview, enough to establish it as a Weltanshauung of madness.  It covers math, physics, biology, genetics, economics, and basic epistemology.  The ideological components are obvious.  Today's leftists, including much of the Democrat party, have lost their minds.  The things they believe and promote will, if fully implemented, destroy civilization.  Because these "woke" ideas are so surreal, it is hard for non-leftists to take seriously how dangerous this is... "no one could seriously believe this stuff."  But the ideas of the woke, unchecked, are the kinds of things that lead to violent purges and death camps.  My guess is that America has less than four years to defeat the left and end America's Cultural Revolution.

It should be noted that the leaders who push cultural marxism don't believe it.  It's simply a tool of control.  For example, the Gates Foundation can happily fund ethno-math, but rest assured that Microsoft expects its engineers to be able to get right answers.  (Umm...wait a minute. Are we sure? Given how Windows releases "work...")

The "woke" live in a paranoid fantasy world where everything is oppressive and must be dismantled, including reality. The real danger is that the "woke" are so detached from reality that they can be easily manipulated to accept all sorts of terrible things.  The "woke" are mentally ill.  They must be thought of and treated as such.  And woke-ism -- cultural marxism -- must be destroyed.*

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*As I emphasize in my History of Economic Thought classes, one can kill an idea, but ideas can always come back from the dead.  Eternal vigilance is thus the price of liberty.

Photo: A postmodern leftist.  From a WaPo article on the use of insane asylum imagery in Halloween haunted houses, and why such imagery violates wokeness and must stop.



Tuesday, June 01, 2021

The Annual Westward Migration



Badlands.

A correspondent writes, "Ferocious! Who is holding whom back?"

To which I reply, "No one is being held back. we are preparing to charge as a rope team."

More soon!

Sunday, May 30, 2021

There's No Such Thing as "Gender..."

...not for humans, at least. "We" here at Unforeseen Contingencies are sticklers for precision in thinking, and that requires precision in concepts, which in turn requires precision in language. One of the most powerful tools of the totalitarians who call themselves the "left" is manipulation of language. The great economists Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek lamemnted how leftists stole the term "liberal" from advocates of individual rights, free markets, and the minimal state and twisted it to mean socialism. Mises noted that statists changed the meaning of "inflation" from "expansion of the money supply" to "price increases," intentionally confusing effect with cause, thus throwing up a smokescreen for their policies. Hayek observed the tendency of leftists to append the adjective "social" to a concept to turn it into its opposite while seeming to support it, as with "social justice." Justice is a standard for treating everyone equally, i.e. as he or she deserves. Social justice is about treating people unequally, according to the group to which one assigns them, with some rewarded at the expense of others, and none according to individual merit or demerit. Social justice is anti-justice.

In this vein, a current perversion of language and concepts involves "gender." Gender is a perfectly legitimate term within language. Nouns have have gender... for example, in German, gender of a noun is signified by the definite articles die, der, and das. In French it's le and la. English dispenses with this. And none of it has anything to do with sex.

Humans and other mammals have sex. That's not "have sex" as a grammatically suspect way of saying "engage in sexual relations," that's "humans are male or female." Sex is genetically determined. It is one's biological nature. It is not "assigned at birth," and it is not an identity one chooses or feels. Some men are, no doubt, not very manly, and some women not very womanly, but they are still men and women, or boys and girls if immature.

With that in mind, consider the idiocy of "gender." Tumblr apparently lists 112 different "genders" as of 2021, but also 71 prefixes. That alone gives 8064 (112 x 72) genders. But since "genders" and modifiers expand as quickly as someone imagines a new one, the list is effectively unlimited. No doubt each requires its own pronouns and forms or address. That is truly idiocy, of course. It is destructive of clear thought, oncepts and language. It is nihilism. Or in other words, it's nonsense.

I know at at least one transexual person who went throught treatment to give up being the man he was born as and become a pseudo-woman. I understand that this man had emotional problems, and in his case I think they might have been partly resolved by his transition. But he is not a woman. And at this point -- the point where children are fed puberty blockers and hormones and mutilated -- and where fanatics are trying to force everyone to accept the lie that there are many "genders" and one can change sex or gender at will -- there can be no more playing along with such fantasies. Reality is not optional.

Sex is genetic, it is one's nature. There's no such thing as gender.

(Further reading: "Female is a Fact" by Anony Mee on American Thinker, and "Our Increasingly Unrecognizable Civilization" by Mark Steyn in Hillsdale College's Imprimis.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Critical Race Theory

Here's a quick note on Critical Race Theory (CRT). Critical Race Theory is not a theory; it is a Marxist doctrine that, if followed, leads to brutality, violence and extermination campaigns. How so? The research staff at Unforeseen Contingencies explains.

Karl Marx proposed "ruthless criticism of everything." Marx argued that everything -- every concept, institution,relationship, idea -- should be desconstructed. His idea of criticism was not careful examination, but dismantling. The world could then be reconstructed de novo, from his ideas. Hence he attacked family, religion, normal sexuality, art, and all other aspects of culture. However, he put the greatest emphasis on economics, mistakenly assuming that the mode of production -- e.g. hunting-gathering, nomadic herding, agriculture, industrial production -- determined everything else in society, particularly the formal and informal institutions or rules, and the relations among individuals. He also foolishly thought that workers and employers were implacable enemies, with employers enriching themselves by impoverishing workers. Hence Marx put all his revolutionary eggs in the economics basket, thinking that the free market system would ruin workers and lead them to revolt.

Instead, the free market system created modern economic growth, and began raising workers' incomes and lifestyles to unprecendented levels. The revolution was doomed.

The head of the Italian Communist Party, Antonio Gramsci, caught on to this and realized the workers would never revolt on economic grounds. Gramsci argued that the proletariat had been "bought off" and adopted bourgeois culture, and that the revolution would require new grounds if it were to occur. He proposed culture as the grounds -- race, sex, sexuality, religion, philosophy, art, etc. This theme was also picked up by the Marxists of the Frankfurt School (first of Frankfurt University, and then of Columbia University), who added to it "critical theory," the idea that everything should be deconstructed, subjected to complete criticism a lá Marx. Critical theory is not a theory, but a strategy, a method for tearing ideas apart and destroying them.

CRT itself is a branch of Critical Theory, a form of cultural Marxism, and it is a particularly nasty one, since it promotes race war and race purges. CRT is the basis of the Black Lies Matter organization and movement, an explicitly Marxist organization dedicated to overthrowing Western Civilation (they removed that bit from their website last September, when their accompanying attacks on the traditional family began to attract criticism). Editor/writer Christopher Rufo of City Journal provides details.

That's what CRT is, a doctrine of racism and Marxist revolution. With the removal of President Trump form office, CRT is now being imposed in Federal agencies, in the military, in government school curriculum, and in big corporations. If CRT becomes common dogma, the United States will come to an end. Race hatred, communism, ethno-mathematics that denies such a thing as a right answer, and more... any of these is sufficient by itself to destroy us.

This is genuinely a life-and-death matter. In California, a proposed curriculum for state schools listed Pol Pot as a "heroic person of color." The architect of Cambodia's murderous killing fields was eventually removed, but CRT adopted. But that's where CRT leads...killing fields. It must be stopped and destroyed, and real principles and values must prevail. Now that Unforeseen Contingencies is back in action, we will promote this and explain how it will be accomplished.


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