Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Please get off my side!

Yet more hysterical nonsense from people who think that holding blacks accountable for our actions is racist.

All these comments about the ethnicity makes me sick to my stomach... Stealing candy REALLY?? We persecute! What about stealing Countries and... people from their countries, what about stealing cultures and lives of innocent people, what about stealing freedom from those who fight so hard to keep it... Who are the masters of this theft craft?? Lets not point fingers -look at the cause of Africans in America and how they got here! Before we blame Ethnicity. Give them education don't outlaw it from them I blame signs like (White's Only!) Take a look at what Africans have contributed and judge them as American children- this is the repercussion of a failing system! If we do not fix this... This 7 eleven will be your home in a short time and that gun in your house will need more bullets... Lets give them something to live for because right now they will Die for your Iphone!

Police in Maryland investigating a mass shoplifting have released stunning footage of an estimated 50 teenagers ransacking a Silver Spring 7-Eleven location.

Officers who responded to the call around 11:20 p.m on Saturday said that young people congregated in surrounding parking lots quickly scattered upon seeing the police vehicles, NBC Washington reports.

The alleged shoplifters took items such as beverages and snacks, according to WXYZ.

Police said that they stopped six people -- each between the ages of 16 and 18 -- and found that all had food or drinks, but no receipts.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Social responsibility and personal responsibility

Andrew Sullivan over at Daily Dish posted a three-way discussion on personal responsibility and social responsibility and the degree to which liberals put emphasis on either. This is a discussion that the Left desperately needs to pay attention to and do some serious soul searching.
Will Wilkinson recently pointed out that liberals tend to emphasize luck's role in success while conservatives focus on the role of hard work. Kevin Drum and Matt Yglesias countered that liberals do support an ethos of hard work and personal responsibility. Tyler Cowen moderates the debate:
I would not quite say that progressives are "against such an ethos," but where does it stand in their pecking order?  Look at fiction, such as famous left-wing or progressive novels, or for that matter famous left-wing and progressive movies.  How many of them celebrate "an ethos of initiative, hard work, and individual responsibility"?  Is there one?  Maybe as part of a broader struggle against a corrupt system or against "The Man," but that tripartite of values is not celebrated in its own right. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Can this be done?

Niall Ferguson has a very thought provoking article at Daily Beast, calling for a ‘reboot’ of America.

He makes this argument:

The West first surged ahead of the Rest after about 1500 thanks to a series of institutional innovations that I call the “killer applications”:
1. Competition. Europe was politically fragmented into multiple monarchies and republics, which were in turn internally divided into competing corporate entities, among them the ancestors of modern business corporations.
2. The Scientific Revolution. All the major 17th-century breakthroughs in mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, and biology happened in Western Europe.
3. The Rule of Law and Representative Government. An optimal system of social and political order emerged in the English-speaking world, based on private-property rights and the representation of property owners in elected legislatures.
4. Modern Medicine. Nearly all the major 19th- and 20th-century breakthroughs in health care were made by Western Europeans and North Americans.
5. The Consumer Society. The Industrial Revolution took place where there was both a supply of productivity-enhancing technologies and a demand for more, better, and cheaper goods, beginning with cotton garments.

        6.        The Work Ethic. Westerners were the first people in the world to combine more extensive and intensive labor with higher savings rates, permitting sustained capital accumulation.

There really is no way of arguing with very large parts of it. We might argue that it isn’t necessarily causative or we might argue that it puts insufficient emphasis on softer, more communitarian values, but we cannot argue that Europe in the 8th century was an insignificant backwater and by 1800 was fairly established as the most powerful civilization the world had yet seen. Two hundred years later, one of Europe’s progeny became the most powerful nation-state the world has yet seen. We might wish it were otherwise. We might be wholly unimpressed but we cannot deny that these are the facts. Nor can we deny that, as Ferguson lays out above, the major breakthroughs in all of the sciences in the 17th century that really started to accelerate the modern world into existence happened in the West. We might wish that history had played out otherwise but we cannot deny that history played out as it did.

I bring this up because I find it rather sad that on the Left no one is talking about this. In fact, on the Left no one even wants to look at this stuff. The comfortable tale that the West is in its current position because of a unique rapaciousness and evil on its part is much more to the liking of altogether too many people whom I have walked with proud solidarity all these years. Mr. Ferguson does miss some things. When even someone as conservative as David Frum or a good old fashioned Tory like Andrew Sullivan see the massive income disparity as something the United States might want to address you know things have gotten serious.

There’s something I think a lot of my American friends on the Left fail to grasp--this kinder, gentler, let’s slow down, let’s not compete, make everyone feel good by being not by doing isn’t actually what’s being taught in other parts of the world. It’s not. Kids in Japan, China and South Korea are learning something quite the opposite. They are being infected by the very same memes that made the West so powerful in such a short time.

The irony of this is that the nation that the Left says it wants, by its rhetoric, requires the six items above. I would add one more, reason. If anything should keep people up at night, worrying about the United States it is this fact: both the Right and the Left in this country are driven by ideological assumptions that are fundamentally at odds with the way the world works or is most consonant with social harmony and human happiness and both sides denigrate reason. Reason is that faculty that leads people to understandings such as: if I want you to not push me in the mud, I cannot reserve for myself the right to push you in the mud. Can religious teachings get you there? Yes, of course, the Golden Rule however, religious teachings can just as easily put you on the other side while there is no conclusion reason could lead you to that would prompt you to say, “Please refrain from pushing me in the mud, in the meantime I reserve the right to push you in the mud with impunity. I expect you to abide by this agreement.” Doesn’t that just sound absolutely ludicrous? Yet it is reason and only reason that boxes you in so you have nowhere else to go? Had a bad day? So what, maybe the other person did too. Beaten as a child? So what, this isn’t then and at any rate, shouldn’t you who knew violence when you were at the mercy of others now want to minimize the violence in the world? See how that works?

Yet, this tool which was hard won and is just lying around for anyone to pick up and use is reviled on the Left. Reviled. People will, when challenged, typically launch off into some obligatory and half-hearted hand-waving in the general direction of ‘well, of course, I think reason is important but I don’t want to be a robot’. Then they will start talking about their crystals and their Reiki master or Planet X. When confronted with the idea that the only fair position to take with all non-evidentiary claims is “equally false” and that there is no privileged place for any parochial religious beliefs they seem to not understand what the issue is or what is at stake. It is as if they think that their belief that there are these things called ‘vibrations of energy’ which effect them in various, non-specific ways sometimes bringing them boons and sometimes bringing them woe in accordance with the Law of Attraction. This ‘Law’ is that whatever you mentally give energy to, even in the sense of ‘I don’t want this to happen’ is what will happen to you. It is claimed that this law is backed up by a very idiosyncratic reading of quantum mechanics and string theory. But that is just to give it a scientific patina. It is pure magical thinking, all the way down.

If it were the case that these same people who hold to beliefs that are patently ridiculous could be consistent then that would at least be something. Instead, when confronted with beliefs that they dislike--say certain strains of evangelical Christianity--they are quick to say that those beliefs are ‘stupid’ or nonsensical and then will turn around and justify that position with a statement is just as over-the-top as the Rapture.