'Evil Always Takes Advantage of Ambiguity.' - G.K. Chesterton
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.
Matthew Vadum: Patriot Larry Grathwohl, RIP
Jon Negroni (Hat Tip to Chris Queen): THE PIXAR THEORY
Every Pixar movie is connected. I explain how, and possibly why. Several months ago, I watched a fun-filled video on Cracked.com that introduced the idea (at least to me) that all of the Pixar movies actually exist within the same universe. Since then, I’ve obsessed over this concept, working to complete what I call “The Pixar Theory,” a working narrative that ties all of the Pixar movies into one cohesive timeline with a main theme. This theory covers every Pixar production since Toy Story.
A WITCH. Yes, Boo is the witch from Brave. She figures out how to travel in time to find Sully, and goes back to the source: The will-of-the-wisps. They are what started everything, and as a witch, she cultivates this magic in an attempt to find Sully by creating doors going backwards and forwards in time. [Just to clarify: The theory is that Boo discovered a way to use doors to travel through time on her own, possibly by developing magic on her own. She probably went back in time to the Dark Ages to get more magic from the will-o-wisps.] How do we know? In Brave, you can briefly see a drawing in the workshop. It’s Sully.
We even see the Pizza Planet truck carved as a wooden toy in her shop, which makes no sense unless she’s seen one before…(and I’m sure she has since that truck is in literally every Pixar movie). If you look closely, you can see the carved truck below.
I like it. Why not?
I do friend purges every 6 months or so. Lately, though, I've been wondering about just moving on from Facebook altogether and finding a better social network. Haven't decided yet.
At some point I plan on doing a piece about my own pet theory about how and when generations bleed into each other. My thought of late: those born on the edges of generations blend qualities from each. For example: those born from 1977-1981 are Millennial-leaning X-ers, those born in 82-87 (my co-hort) are X-er-leaning Millennials. It's only when you start getting to the young people born in the 1990s that you really start getting the genuine Millennial temperament.
Talking Points Memo: ‘House Of Cards’ Makes Emmy History With Top Nominations
Great news for a very entertaining show. Check out Becky Graebner's writings on House of Cards:
- May 8: 3 Washington D.C. Stereotypes House of Cards Hits Too Close for Comfort
- May 15: The House of Cards Vision of Infidelity: More Fact than Fiction
- May 22: Seduce Your Way to the Top? Meet The Anne Boleyns of Washington, D.C.
- May 29: Why We Love to Hate Politicians
- June 5: Can ‘Evil’ Sometimes Be Good?
- June 12: House of Cards, Part 6: A Cast of Master Obfuscators
- June 19: 4 Reasons Why House of Cards is Such a Hit
- July 3: Real Life Lessons We Learned From Watching Fictional House of Cards
Medical Daily: Medical Marijuana Achieves ‘Complete Remission’ Of Crohn's Disease; Drug Improves Appetite And Sleep Function, With No Side Effects
Friday Dawn Reading:
From page 172 of Leonard Mosley's biography Disney's World, the studio adapts after the massive success of Snow White:
Quote of Note: "He's passé. Nobody cares about Mickey anymore. There are whole batches of Mickeys we can't give away. I think we should phase him out." -- Roy Disney
At the end of his presidency I wonder what Barack Obama will regard as his proudest accomplishment. What will all those years of effort have actually brought into existence that will make it worth it?
I pose these questions not rhetorically to lead into the usual polemical attack on the president but to consider them earnestly. Obamacare may not even need to be repealed. It might just be too byzantine to even be implemented. Drawing the blueprint is one task, constructing the building is another.
The Democrats' effort to secure another voting bloc through providing amnesty for those living in the United States illegally is another dream deferred. George W. Bush-era anti-terror policies that the President campaigned against have instead of being disassembled been expanded. Under Obama both the drone and PRISM programs push legality much further than Bush and Cheney dreamed. Can you imagine if in 2004 George W. Bush was arguing in a presidential debate against John Kerry that the NSA should be making copies of everyone's emails and all internet traffic? But in 2013 it's no big deal that Secretary of State Kerry and Obama oversee such a program.
I guess Obama was always kind of like Mickey Mouse -- just an abstract symbol for anyone to affix their hopes and dreams. But as the 1928 black-and-white Mickey cartoons were "passé" just a few years later, is that too the fate of Obama? To be regarded as a pop culture-fueled fad? A big disappointment who used his bully pupil to do little more than empower hate-mongers like Al Sharpton and Mohamed Morsi?
Americans are still working in their mines, both real and figurative -- we still churn out new ideas, exciting popular art, and revolutionary technologies. At the end of this period of Democrat dominance will any un-reversible damage really be done? Diminished productivity yes, slowed economic growth indeed, and some lives lost, but I guess after so many years of chasing one story after another I've come to suspect that perhaps America can actually survive and bounce back after so many years of mismanagement.
Weren't the founders actually smarter than Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Valerie Jarrett, and Hillary Clinton in constructing a system that even they could not break?
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