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Why Cobb and I Study War

Cobb’s post about achievement, from which I just quoted, offers many points of resonance.

It is a popular idea, which may or may not be owned by the Left, that war is essentially stupidity writ large. That the act of war represents a failure of intellect - an inability to think through problems.

Survival of the Richest

The ability to wage war is the greatest fortune a people possess, for it is the manner in which they preserve their very lives, when their lives themselves are threatened.

Quoted from: Cobb

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Hungry Hungry Hopers

Stepping out of today’s thoughtstream, I looked up the definition of “hope”. Wielded by so many candidates and agitators, I wondered if its meaning had changed. Here’s m-w.com:

intransitive verb
1: to cherish a desire with anticipation
2 archaic : trust

transitive verb
1: to desire with expectation of obtainment
2: to expect with confidence : trust

synonyms see expect

The Most Common Denominator

Observing Independence Day, Cobb calls out the practitioners of identity politics:

I find it difficult to presume to lead some fraction of the people or to defend some fraction of humanity as a worthy political aim. I am greatly convinced that the human animal does not vary so much that he can be served well by a wide variety of principles. There are a simple few and the paths towards attaining and defending them are few. But having found those paths, we must find our human center of gravity, each individual conforming at their core, and place that center on those paths.

Rules that apply only to some qualified group are counter to our common humanity. There are too many ways to rearrange ourselves into sets of suffering, and this devolves into a struggle to find the most powerful victimhood rather than a persistent effort to do the basic things all humans have moral duty to pursue. Either we embrace that all men are created equal, or we are doomed to live within the limits of tribalism.

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Franken Wins*

When Congress next week gets back its business of looting and pillaging, Al Franken will join the world’s most exclusive club. Norm Coleman’s recount appeal was denied by the Minnesota Supreme court:

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Sovereign and Independent

On this date we honor the declared independence of thirteen States. It also marks a turning point in a failed rebellion. The Confederate States of America was formed with the same political ideals as the United States from which they seceded.

The CSA had no unified declaration. They each acted in the spirit of the original, as evidenced by the concise preamble to the Confederate Constitution:

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Joe the Patriot

Our man, Joe the Plumber, is appearing at tea party events today. Setting aside the semantics—the Signers of the Declaration were rebels, not patriots—Wurzelbacher honors their legacy:

Joe the Plumber said the best advice he can give to citizens who are frustrated with intrusive government is to stop voting along party lines and begin electing leaders who will abide by the nation's founding document.

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Unseen Dangers

When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe.

Quoted from: Frédéric Bastiat

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Mass Misdiagnosis

I’ve followed some discussions which propose that health care in the US is costly because we have the money to pay for it. There are only so many yachts one can water-ski behind, and preferences shift from collecting goodies to prolonging life and the ability to enjoy it. It’s parallel to the idea that people become concerned about the environment only after they have worked themselves away from the edge of starvation.

I like where the thinking leads, as it turns the problem on its head. High costs are not a symptom of dysfunction, but a sign of prosperity. There certainly are inefficiencies to root out, and moral hazards to avoid, but we start not as victims, but beneficiaries.

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Reception Defines Signal

The thing is, if intelligent people continually fail to understand what you are saying, then the onus is on you to learn to communicate more clearly.

Quoted from: Vox Day

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Troops in Afghanistan to be Sacrificed

This is bad. The fundamental order for our soldiers in Afghanistan is about to be shifted from “attack” to “retreat”:

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who took command of international forces in Afghanistan this month, has said his measure of effectiveness will be the "number of Afghans shielded from violence," and not the number of militants killed.

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Club of Fools Issues Apology

The world’s most exclusive club has tackled one of the pressing issues facing our nation:

At two minutes before noon on Thursday, June 18, 2009, 146 years after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and 150 days after a black man took the presidential oath of office, the United States Senate, in a unanimous voice vote, apologized to African Americans for slavery and the racial discrimination during the Jim Crow era.

Too bad none of the former slaves are still alive to feel the magnanimous justice. Doesn’t really matter, though. It’s just hollow symbolism:

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Obamafying History

From Moonbattery, via Maggie’s Farm, are famous quotations reconstructed in the style of the current President:

"Mr. Gorbachev, that wall is none of our business." — Ronald Reagan

"December seventh, nineteen forty-one. A date upon which we must ask ourselves, what could we have done to avoid this?" — FDR

"Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country can do for you!" — JFK

"If America shows weakness and uncertainty, the world will drift toward tragedy. Pretty sure that's gonna happen on my watch." — G. W. Bush

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Woven from Fire

Flag Day is underappreciated. Although I have hesitations about idolatry and getting too wrapped up in the symbol instead of revering what is represented, the Flag Day observance is held mostly by people who are worthy of respect. Really good, solid folks honor the US flag, and by sharing their ritual, we honor them.

I guess I take it as an opportunity to note my place in the lineage of the American community. And, as national observance, Flag Day hasn’t had its patriotism obscured by picnics and beach blankets.

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President Pointless

NRR has reduced service to US political destinations due to the revealed nature of the current President. Words as he uses them do not have meaning in the sense necessary for a reasoned analysis. Whatever Barry says, as I see it, has no meaning. His orations may have feeling, and intent, and he does communicate something. Just not facts.

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Another Side to Offshoring

Every trade has at least two sides. That’s a fact often forgotten in discussions of outsourcing, off-shoring, and their effects on local economies. The urge to “buy American” or “buy local” often means “pay more” or “get less value”.

Jingoistic and xenophobic claims about the importance of who we trade with steer decision-making away from the economics of finding the best for the lowest cost. Trade and commerce become untethered from the quest to increase productivity and wealth. We no longer engage in trade to make our economic lives better, but to make our emotional lives easier.

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We Haven’t Swallowed the Medicine

Last week, Russ Roberts pointed to the government website which tracks how much stimulus has been doled out to date:

To see the total amount spent, go here and click on box number 3 in the main window at the top of the page. It's tricky. Right now the main window is about "Health Care in Indian Country" but at the bottom of the blue box, there is a "Learn More" option. Click on number 3.

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Yes, Iowahawk Can

The current President cracked some jokes at last week’s White House Correspondents Dinner. The evening’s entertainment was comedienne Wanda Sykes, who targeted Barry with some zingers:

"The first black president. That's unless you screw up. Then it's going to be 'What's up with the half-white guy?'"

The bits I watched made it feel like a lame, tame version of a celebrity roast. Media types and comedians talk about finding it hard to poke fun at Barry. He’s so popular, and so smooth, they’re afraid to make him the butt of jokes.

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Nature Has No Tolerance for Your Pretension

There’s really no logical argument buttressed by this story, but I think it fits the traditional definition of irony:

An expedition team which set sail from Plymouth on a 5,000-mile carbon emission-free trip to Greenland have been rescued by an oil tanker.

The expedition was followed by up to 40 schools across the UK to promote climate change awareness.

Hope in a Teapot

I was at last month’s local Tea Party on the Capitol lawn. By now, most have probably settled on believing the media’s truth of the day’s events. What I saw was not that story.

The crowd numbered in the thousands. They weren’t mad about taxes. Or, not just about taxes. Most of the signs seemed to reference big government and big government debt.

And the crowd was civil. Disappointingly so. I wanted pitchforks.

Thanks to technology and the internet, the truth is available, should this day become recognized as the start of anything Important. I don’t have much to add.

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