‘Evil Always Takes Advantage of Ambiguity.’ – G.K. Chesterton
"He's passé. nobody cares about Mickey anymore." - Roy Disney after the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Worth keeping in mind while taking in Thursday's headlines of a political legacy in continued crisis.
July 19, 2013 - 2:30 pm
This is the seventh of my reading/writing journals, a new routine of season 2 of the 13 Weeks Radical Reading Reading Regimen. Each morning I will juxtapose book excerpts from my readings with the day’s headlines and then the next day write a reflection. See the first week and a half’s entries:
- Monday, July 8: “We Ought to Defeat Capitalism With Its Own Weapons, Comrades…“
- Tuesday, July 9: Can We Just Fast Forward to 2040? Please?
- Thursday, July 11: Researching the American Family’s War to Beat Death…
- Monday, July 15: Turning On Mankind’s Magical Machines To Battle Mother Earth’s Cruel Monsters
- Wednesday, July 17: ‘So, You Know How You Felt on 9/11? Yeah, That’s How We Feel When It Comes To Race.’
- Thursday, July 18: ‘… And There We Can Still Maintain Our Mysterious and Dreadful Freedom.’
Wednesday Evening Book Reading:
I’ve decided to read more G.K. Chesterton. Here’s an excerpt from page 3 of Eugenics And Other Evils, a book first published in 1922:
Quote of Note: “Evil always takes advantage of ambiguity.” – G.K. Chesterton
Thursday Morning News Round Up:
Lead PJM Stories:
Michael Ledeen: You Never Know
The ancient Greek philosopher Sextus Empiricus taught his students that skepticism relieved two terrible diseases that afflicted mankind: anxiety and dogmatism. But it’s hard for most of us to live with systematic uncertainty. Only great spirits, those blessed with courage and good humor, can fully embrace it. Yet it is central to human creativity, and its value is only recognized at moments when the old consensus is falling to pieces, and the world’s direction is unknowable.
Most “knowledge” nowadays is contained in virtual boxes, sorted by specialties: economics, sociology, literature, statistics, anthropology, psychology. They are all formalized in university departments, and they aren’t flourishing. Au contraire, they are imploding. Look at all the economic theories that burned in the bonfires of the global crash starting in the fall of 2008. Look at the seemingly endless revisions to atomic theory, which apparently needs anti-matter to account for the behavior of matter. Psychological models are discarded with regularity, and now, all of a sudden, we’re told that salt is good for us!
During her inquiry time, after lauding Hull and Hofacre, Norton said, “I don’t see any rogue employees.” She said that she saw before her American civil servants who were just doing their job.
That is pretty much the point that the Tea Party groups and the Republicans on the committee have been making all along. The Cincinnati IRS office had not gone rogue, but was acting under orders from Washington. Hull’s testimony put the blame squarely in the office of the IRS chief counsel, William Wilkins.
Roger Kimball: Weaponizing the Acronyms that Rule Us
The power to tax, Chief Justice Marshall observed at the dawn of the republic, is the power to destroy. Every country needs revenue. Hence the system of taxation. But free countries understand that revenue is for the sake of their citizens, not the other way around. FATCA is a stupid, counter-productive, and ultimately an un-American law. Like so much else about the hypertrophied bureaucracy that has encrusted itself along the sinews of this country, it should be undone and consigned to the obloquy of misbegotten governmental meddlesomeness.
PJ Lifestyle Stories:
Becky Graebner on Cars: Fortune and Fame, Bankruptcy and Pain
David P. Goldman: Will Legalizing Drugs Reduce Crime?
Why should decriminalizing drugs, though, reduce crime? Criminals do not get involved with drugs because they like drugs, but because they like crime. They tend to be young, unskilled, and marginalized and unlikely to earn a living in the legal economy, while the illegal economy offers them opportunities — especially for those who hold their lives cheap.
The overall unemployment rate for Americans aged 16 to 19 years has reached levels not seen during the postwar period.
Hannah Sternberg on Culture: Bad Advice for Rolling Stone
Walter Hudson on Video Games and Technology: Will Virtual Reality Make Privacy Obsolete?
Clearly, with the advancement of technology like unmanned aerial drones, infrared photography, and now virtual reality, those old methods of obstructing an unwanted gaze have lost their effectiveness. From a rights perspective, there is little which can be done to put the technological genie back in the bottle. The same right to property which enables our privacy allows others to conjure the technological means to invade it. Try as governments might, technological prohibition will not work and proves immoral.
That said, the market may provide solutions. One possibility is the emergence of an electromagnetic security industry, utilizing jamming technology to disrupt electronic surveillance. Contractual solutions may also develop. Consider homeowner associations which impose rules upon their private members and control access to the community. Rules could be crafted regarding electronic surveillance which could then be enforced through civil law.
Andrew Klavan: Save Our Celebrities!
Charlie Martin on Science: Flipping Coins and Cancer Cases
The gambler’s fallacy is imagining that something like a fair coin actually has memory — in other words, if you’ve had a run of heads, you’re “due for” tails to come up. The truth is that every time you flip a coin, what comes up is independent of all the previous flips. What makes you think you’re “due for” a tails is that over many coin flips, the likelihood of getting a run of many heads or tails gets smaller, and it gets smaller quickly.
Chris Queen on Disney Culture: The Evolution of EPCOT Through The Eyes of Preview Films
Also Around the Web Thursday:
Ben Shapiro at Breitbart: ‘LET’S GO MESS UP HOLLYWOOD FOR TRAYVON’
John Nolte at Breitbart: LIST: VIOLENCE, LAWLESSNESS SINCE ZIMMERMAN VERDICT… *UPDATED TO 35*
Joel B. Pollak at Breitbart: D.C. REPUBLICANS ARE STOKING A GOP CIVIL WAR
Seth Mandel at Commentary: GOP’s Mixed Signals on Immigration
The answer, I think, has a lot to do with the 2012 Republican primary election and the downfall of Rick Perry. Though Perry’s debate performances obviously had much to do with his freefall in the polls, the issue that hurt him the most was immigration. I think it goes too far to credit Perry’s pro-immigration stance solely or even mostly for his primary woes—Newt Gingrich, after all, took an almost identical position on immigration and it didn’t slow him down—but there’s no question it was a major factor. The pushback Perry got for telling voters to “have a heart” when dealing with illegal immigrants and their children inspired Mitt Romney to bolt to his right on the issue and make his infamous suggestion that illegal immigrants “self-deport.”
Most Republicans learned a lesson from that incident—but they didn’t all learn the samelesson. Republicans who were inclined to support immigration reform believed Romney’s self-deportation idea was the inevitable result of trying to square a circle: the status quo on immigration policy in America is a wreck, but if you want to pander to border hawks without ludicrously advocating for the deportation of 11 million immigrants, your policy essentially amounts to wishing the problem away. And expressing the sentiment that you want those immigrants to somehow disappear while also not offering a realistic solution to the immigration impasse is a surefire way to get clobbered in a national election among immigrant groups, which Romney did.
The Daily Beast: House of Horrors: Labor Trafficking in Domestic Workers
Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo: The End of Marco Rubio
As I’ve noted elsewhere, I believe immigration reform is quite likely dead, unless its biggest supporters accept that fact and take the fight into the political and campaign arena rather than letting it die a slow death of opacity on Capitol Hill.
But it’s not too soon to note the main political fatality: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
Rubio’s vulnerability is so great in part because he staked so much on immigration reform as a way to loft himself to the top tier of 2016 GOP candidates. But the other part is because there was so little to the man in the first place absent his fortuitous would-be positioning as the young new Hispanic face of a Republican party reeling from a reputation for having little to no traction with America’s burgeoning non-white population.
Black liberals keep bemoaning the danger to their own teenage sons after the “not guilty” verdict in George Zimmerman’s murder trial. To avoid what happened to Trayvon Martin, their boys need only follow this advice: Don’t walk up to a stranger and punch him, ground-and-pound him, MMA-style, and repeatedly smash his head against the pavement.
The Justice-for-Trayvon crowd keeps pretending there hasn’t been a trial where the evidence overwhelmingly showed that Trayvon committed the first (and only) crime that night by assaulting Zimmerman. Instead, the race agitators are sticking with the original story peddled by the media, back when we had zero facts. To wit, that Zimmerman had stalked a young black child and shot him dead just for being black and wearing a hoodie.
Dozens of these hair-on-fire racism stories are retold in my book, Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama. In the golden age of racial demagoguery, they came at a pace of about one a year. Al Sharpton was usually involved.
New York Times: Detroit Seeks Bankruptcy, Facing Debts of $18 Billion
Real Clear Politics: Stephen Hayes: The Edifice of Obamacare Is Starting to Collapse
I think we’ve reached sort of an interesting moment in the post-passage of the Affordable Care Act because until this point you’ve sort of seen cracks in the foundations, people who have been following this closely like Jim Angle and others have understood that we were about to see an unraveling, that we were about to see a crumbling. But what we’ve seen in recent weeks, whether it’s Max Baucus calling it a “train wreck” or Tom Harkin suggesting delaying the employer mandate was not going to be lawful or this stunning letter from unions going after the president, saying that this will have disastrous effects not only on union members but millions of Americans, the NFL distancing itself from comments that Secretary Sebelius has made. All of that taken together, you’re now seeing the public collapse of Obamacare.