Saturday, February 14, 2015
Susan Rice has said that Bowe Bergdahl served his country with “honor and distinction”, contrary to testimony by his fellow squad members that he had indeed deserted his post. She claimed on many occasions that the attack on the American Consular facility at Benghazi, Libya was a spontaneous demonstration of anger caused by a poorly produced anti-Islamic video despite reports by intelligence agencies and military personnel on the ground that it was obviously a well planned and coordinated attack. Her most recent claim, in the face of the abandonment and emergency evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Yemen, is that the United States is now stronger and better respected than it has ever been, that the threats from terrorism are decreasing and, in the face of record cold and snow, that Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is now the greatest threat to our national security.
In the light of these statements, the questions that need to be asked about Susan Rice are these: 1) Is this woman simply incompetent? Is she just too stupid to associate A, with B? 2) Is this woman too uninformed of the facts to even make a decision that deserves criticism? 3) Is this woman deliberately lying? Is she simply carrying forward the views of her employer who is on record as believing that he is more knowledgeable about ALL things than his advisors?
It is distressing to see someone as politically talentless as Susan Rice offer up, with such a lack of feeling, the talking points provided to her by Ben Rhodes.
But that's just what an average guy thinks.
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
The principle is widely understood. Governmentally, parentally, culturally….. if there is desired behavior that is beneficial the way to get more people to participate in that behavior is to subsidize it. The way to discourage it is to penalize it. For example if the government wants to protect domestic sugar producers from foreign competition, they can, and do place import tariff on sugar from abroad. If parents want to encourage compliance with their instructions by their children they can smile and speak in pleasant and reassuring tones toward good behavior and frown and speak harshly toward bad. If, as a culture, we want to increase the numbers of teen pregnancies we can make the results of that condition easier to cope with. We can put day care facilities in high schools. We can remove the stigma that used to go along with bad decisions. If we want to increase the number of people receiving food stamps we can remove that stigma by issuing EBT cards which are indistinguishable from normal bank cards. That way it’s possible to receive public assistance with no one in the public actually being aware of it. It’s also possible for J.P. Morgan (which administers the cards) to collect hundreds of millions of dollars each year in fees related to the cards.
There used to be a social stigma that went along with all manner of behaviors both public and private. Cohabitation; premarital or extramarital sex; substance abuse; hair too long; dresses too short; childbirth out of wedlock; fringe political beliefs; lack of proper religious belief and practice. There were any number of unwritten, unspoken societal rules that one could fall afoul of. Of course now the pendulum is swinging the other way and if you live in certain areas of the country you can find yourself on thin ice if you advocate for the free and open practice of religious beliefs, of free speech, or firearm ownership, or if you fail to show adequate support for and sensitivity to homosexuality and gender confusion.
We have come to a point where our cultural tolerance for variation has created a situation where a group of people armed with nothing more than their ignorance and celebrity has single handedly wiped out generations of progress against disease. It is the same tolerance for “the other” that allowed the WTC 19 to overstay their visas, and enroll in flight schools where they were only interested in “flying” big planes, but not in taking off or landing. It’s the same tolerance that allows for the mass immigration across the Southern border of not only people, but ignorance and disease as well. It’s the same tolerance that allows us to graduate students from high school who can’t write a coherent paragraph. The same tolerance that allows us to loan money to college students to study subjects that are of no particular use to society or to themselves.
And so now it’s come to the point where politicians and bombastic pundits will seize an opportunity to speak of a public obligation that requires the government to herd us all together like cattle and inject us for our own good and the good of society. It is worth saying loudly that this is NOT the function of government, but it IS an indication that culturally we have failed to exercise judgment about what is good and valuable. “You can’t judge me” is the mantra of the adolescent, but many, perhaps most of us have, like Peter Pan refused to grow up and have carried that phrase with us into our adulthood as a defense of our pleasures and our refusal to be at least discreet in our noncompliance with cultural “norms”. This has altered our cultural norms to the point where now the government will be forced to gather us all together as beasts in a pen and do for us what we no longer have the sense to do for ourselves.
But that’s just what an average guy thinks.