Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Friday, February 22, 2019

Quote of the Day - Education Edition

Victor Davis Hanson from his recent speech Two States of California (worth your time BTW):
When I went in (to the California State University system) in 1984 as a professor of Classics, the remediation rate - that was a fancy term for those who are admitted into the CUS system, the largest university system in the world, well over a quarter-million students - was 32%, and the graduation rate in four years was 51%. When I left 23 years later the remediation rate was 55% and the average for SIX years graduation was 49%.

How did California solve that problem? They just got rid of the word last year called "remediation." So rather than saying 60% of the students who entered the CSU system cannot take a college class because they don't qualify to be there in the first place and therefore you have remediated class - we used to call them "Bonehead English" and "Bonehead Math" - and you don't get college credit for it, we don't call it remediation anymore and they solved the problem. There's zero remediation now.

But believe me, if we're going to build a high-speed rail, who is going to pilot it? Who is going to engineer it? Somebody who is remediated?

So after saying that, to emphasisze this idea of schizophrenia, I go over to the coast and I'm at Stanford University. Last year the London Times Higher Education supplement - and was confirmed by the University of Tokyo - rated the greatest universities supposedly in the world. You'd think they'd all be Japanese and British since they were doing the surveys. Number one - CalTech. Number two - Stanford. Number four - Berkeley. Number ten - UCLA. Number fifteen - USC. FIVE of them were from California. California had more top universities than any other NATION except the United States, and yet it has a public school system where just 60% of people can't read or write. It's the same state, believe me.
See also this post from December of 2004.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Health Update

I meant to do this a while back, but I've been busy and not particularly motivated to write.  Because so many of my readers obviously are interested in my health - you guys overwhelmed me with your donations - I thought I'd let you know how things are going.

I had my four month, 4,000 mile lube, oil change and tire rotation at Mayo earlier this month.  My A1C (90-day average blood sugar) was 4.2 - the minimum "normal" range - so I'm no longer diabetic.  My cholesterol, both good and bad, is excellent.  So is my blood pressure, though it drops pretty low from time to time when I'm standing and not moving around much.  My weight has stabilized at about 210lbs., a weight I haven't seen since I was about 19.  And my "low-mileage pre-owned Lexus" liver is functioning perfectly. 

That's the good news.  The bad news is, my kidneys are running at about 20% efficiency, and they don't appear to be coming back.  I'm anemic, and apparently will remain so until I get a functioning kidney.  Until then, I'm on dialysis 3.5 hours a day, three days a week.  I'm going to have fistula surgery on March 1, and about 6-8 weeks later it should be usable.  Some time after that, the catheter in my chest will be removed, and I'll be able to shower again without having to put a tarp over it.

My medical insurance company has approved me for a kidney transplant.  Now I have to go back up to Mayo for two or three days for further tests as part of the transplant evaluation.  However, because I recently received a liver, this moves me up the transplant priority list.

If this keeps up, I'm going to be the Six Million Dollar Man without the super-strength or the telescopic eye.

Anyway, there you go.  Thanks for being interested.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Quote of the Day - Sarah Hoyt Edition

I think the vast majority of people don’t feel the need to work above a subsistence level and that those of us who do are the mutants. - The Right to Go to Hell

Friday, February 15, 2019

Arguing With a Leftist

The writing bug is starting to bite again, so you may see some new content here, including (eventually) a mega-überpost I started back in October of last year, but for now just this little piece.

A few days ago someone at Quora tagged me with the question:
If both conservatives and liberals love USA, why there are such hostility and lack of trust towards each others?
I left an answer, but someone else left this one:
As a former Right turned Left, I assure you all there are smart and well educated people on each side. The difference is largely in an assumption or two.

The Right assumes people deserve and have a right to whatever assets they have, whether earned or given by prior generations. And this includes land, food, natural resources, water, etc.

The Left believes luck plays a big part in how wealth is currently distributed. They believe every human deserves some minimal share of water, food, clean air, and resources required to live. They point out that every business owes some of its success to the hard and soft infrastructure provided by governments.

I think I am being fair to both my former and current views here. All differences in political philosophy derive from the above.

I changed because I figured out I am a Liberal. Imagine a game of Monopoly where one player is given a pile of money, properties, houses and hotels by his father, along with some good game advice. The other players start with a few bucks and don't know what the rules are when they start out. Liberals don't think this is fair, Conservatives do.
I left this comment with the (forlorn) hope that it might generate a debate:
“Liberals don't think this is fair, Conservatives do.”

I disagree. We both agree it’s not fair. The difference is that Conservatives understand that the world is not fair.

“(Liberals) believe every human deserves some minimal share of water, food, clean air, and resources required to live.”

Conservatives know that the world owes us nothing. Liberals think they can make the world fair. All they need is the power to make it so.

Conservatives understand that the kind of power needed to “make the world fair” always ends badly.

Result? Crickets.  But I'd like to go ahead and unpack this - fairly accurate, I think - definition of the modern-day "liberal," née "Progressive."

The progressive complains that the world is not fair. They're absolutely right - it isn't. They believe that the Right thinks it is fair - we don't, but we understand that all the wishing in the world won't make it fair. Because they think the unfairness can be corrected, and the Right is opposed to making this correction, we're evil. That's where we part company. (There's more to it than that, but this I think is the fundamental disagreement.)  There's a disconnect at the very foundation of the ideological split between the two philosophies, and it goes back decades if not centuries.  After all, Kipling's The Gods of the Copybook Headings was published in 1919, just shortly after the Russian Revolution.

The fundamental split is that one side thinks that - given sufficient power (in the right hands, of course) - the world can be made fair.  That there doesn't need to be winners and losers. (Thus "participation trophies" and sports "games" where no one keeps score.) That it is the job of "society" to make everyone absolutely equal.  The other side believes that the world is fundamentally unfair and it's up to the individual to overcome that inherent unfairness.

Let's look a the literature throughout history.  Kipling in 1919.  Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron from 1961.  George Orwell's Animal Farm (1945) and 1984 (1949).  The Greek fable of the Procrustean Bed from ancient history.  They're all warnings about trying to build Utopia.  What does the Left have?  So far as I can tell, Star Trek from 1966 where they don't use money, everyone has their needs met, and anyone can pursue whatever they like or do nothing at all.  Exactly what Karl Marx promised would be the outcome of Communism in The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Das Kapital (1867) - two other fantasies.   We saw this most recently in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (AOC) "Green New Deal" where she promised "Economic security to all who are unable or unwilling to work." (My emphasis.)

Remember Kipling?
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return.

Let's return to our new Leftist's assertion:
The Left believes luck plays a big part in how wealth is currently distributed. They believe every human deserves some minimal share of water, food, clean air, and resources required to live. They point out that every business owes some of its success to the hard and soft infrastructure provided by governments.
The Right assumes people deserve and have a right to whatever assets they have, whether earned or given by prior generations. And this includes land, food, natural resources, water, etc.
What are you to assume from this? That the "hard and soft infrastructure provided by governments" unfairly benefits some, no? And therefore those beneficiaries then owe some of their unfairly gained wealth to those not so fortunate. Am I misunderstanding the "logic" here?

As economist Walter Williams has asked, how much of someone else's property is "your fair share"?  Who decides?  As others have asked, why is robbing someone at gunpoint illegal, but threatening someone with arrest by an armed agent of the government if they don't cough up money not?

This goes back to my constant harping on education.  I ran across this cartoon Facebook today:

Between 100 and 200 million, in point of fact.

Like they teach that these days.

Hell, they don't even teach about the Holocaust these days.  Why would they teach about socialism's other lethal failures?  Instead the schools indoctrinate students in Leftism and the result is that a majority of young people today view socialism favorably.  WaPo columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. recently wrote "Trump's War on Socialism Will Fail."  Of course it will.  The Long March Through the Institutions has worked out wildly better than either Rudi Dutschke, Antonio Gramsci or any of the members of the Frankfurt School could have imagined. (Two people and one organization that the Millenials don't know anything about, either.)

And we're paying for it now.

Many years ago Chris Byrne wrote "There can be no useful debate between two people with different first principles, except on those principles themselves." As illustrated above, our first principles are completely divergent, and there is no debate - useful or otherwise - anymore. Charles Krauthammer's observation that the Right thinks the Left is stupid, but the Left thinks the Right is evil was correct when he made it back in the 1990's, but today the Right is beginning to wake up to the fact that what the Left wants to accomplish - and is willing to use violence to achieve - is evil. When both sides "other" their opponents, can open warfare be far behind?

Quote of the Day - Stephen Green Edition

Once you’ve convinced yourself that your job is to protect the proles from themselves, any foul action you take becomes excusable, or even noble. That’s progressivism in a nutshell.
Yeah, I'm still here.