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Best Rebel Yid 2016 – First Six Months

Henry3

These are some of the best articles that stood out to me so far this year- and a few of mine .

America Doesn’t Have a Gun Problem; It Has a Democrat Problem from Sultan Knish

Chicago’s murder rate of 15.09 per 100,000 people looks nothing like the American 4.2 rate, but it does look like the murder rates in failed countries like Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe. To achieve Chicago’s murder rate, African countries usually have to experience a bloody genocidal civil war.

But Chicago isn’t even all that unique. Or the worst case scenario. That would be St. Louis with 50 murders for 100,000 people. If St Louis were a country, it would have the 4th highest murder rate in the world, beating out Jamaica, El Salvador and Rwanda.

Obama won St. Louis 82 to 16 percent.

 People Aren’t Widgets by Kevin Williamson

 But every expensively miseducated jackass who thinks he should be president of these United States has an opinion about what a bottle of grape soda ought to cost in Des Moines or Dixville Notch. The assumptions in Washington are the same as those in Beijing: that everything is subject to political power, that it all comes down to having the right sort of enlightened rulers with the right sort of enlightened ideas, that everything else — the real world — is detail. But human beings, and their relationships, are not electrical circuits. They are not governed by circuit breakers. Not in reality.

 You Know Less Than You Think About Guns from Brian Doherty at Reason

 More guns do not necessarily mean more homicides. More gun laws do not necessarily mean less gun crime. Finding good science is hard enough; finding good social science on a topic so fraught with politics is nigh impossible. The facts then become even more muddled as the conclusions of those less-than-ironclad academic studies cycle through the press and social media in a massive game of telephone. Despite the confident assertions of the gun controllers and decades of research, we still know astonishingly little about how guns actually function in society and almost nothing at all about whether gun control policies actually work as promised.

 What Trump Doesn’t Understand — It’s a Lot — about Our Trade Deficit with China by Kevin Williamson at National Review

Our trade deficit with China isn’t a product of the Chinese getting rich — it’s a product of their being poor. We will not have more-balanced trade with China until Chinese people have a standard of living that is more like that of Americans. Putting a 45 percent tax on American shoppers and people who build computers in the United States (you know who does that? Lenovo, a Chinese company) or build robotics systems using some imported components isn’t going to change any of that. What’s worse, it will exacerbate one of the real problems that U.S-based firms do face: relatively high business taxes. Remember, much of that Chinese trade deficit comes from electronic equipment and industrial machines used by American companies rather than from cheap plastic waterguns, and Trump wants to put a 45 percent materials-and-equipment tax on top of the 40 percent they pay in corporate income taxes.

 Political Trade Schools

 There is no reason that intellectual values cannot be appreciated by a larger segment of our population.  There is no reason that intellectual values should be limited to a small segment of the academic elite. But to have a true development of academic virtues, higher education should be independent of both commercial and political interests.  The only thing worse than the expense of higher education in its pursuit of intellectual independence would be to make it free.

  The Traditionalist Rebel

 Leftist movements begin with rebellion and end with conformity. No Utopian movement can tolerate rebels for long because there is no room for dissent in paradise. An ideal society, the goal of leftist political movements, not only has no room for war, racism, greed and all the other evils the conformist paradises of the left hope to eliminate, it also has no room for disagreement.

The Progressive Itch to Regulate Free Speech

 Sanders and Clinton detest the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which they say their court nominees will promise to reverse. It held that unions and corporations — especially incorporated advocacy groups, from the National Rifle Association to the Sierra Club — can engage in unregulated spending on political advocacy that is not coordinated with candidates or campaigns. The decision simply recognized that Americans do not forfeit their First Amendment rights when they come together in incorporated entities to magnify their voices by speaking collectively.

If corporations had no rights of personhood, they would have no constitutional protections against, for example, the arbitrary search and seizure by government of their property without just compensation. And there would be no principled reason for denying the right of free speech (the First Amendment does not use the word “person” in guaranteeing it) to for-profit (e.g., the New York Times) or nonprofit (e.g., the NAACP) corporations.

 Please Lie to Us by Mona Charen

 Truth serum: Our problems arise from demanding too much of government. We, the middle class, have asked government to make sure everyone (no matter how credit unworthy) can buy a house. We’ve demanded that government bring down the prices of health care and education — with the result that those two sectors have seen the steepest price increases of any in the American economy. We’ve demanded that corporations pay the highest tax rates in the developed world in the mistaken belief that someone else pays those taxes (when in fact we all pay through higher prices or in the loss of jobs as companies relocate to business-friendlier countries). We’ve demanded that disability payments become the new welfare, and that political connections substitute for merit among businesses. Every time we vote for a candidate who promises to go to Washington to “fight for you” rather than to shrink government, we’re voting for the kind of corruption that we claim to despise. We’re empowering those who excel at manipulating political power for private gain.

 Engineering Better Voters by Kevin Williamson at National Review

 Progressives are a funny bunch in that they do sincerely believe that government should be empowered, almost without limitation, to do the will of the People, who are sovereign, but they imagine that the People speak with one voice, or at least that they should speak with one voice. When the People get froggy and refuse to fall in line behind, say, the Affordable Care Act, which the best experts drew up on behalf of the People, who (so the story goes) gave Barack Obama a mandate to reform health care, then something must be wrong. And we all know what that is: Too much debate and too much political discourse including too many voices, some of which — those of Charles and David Koch, for instance — must be silenced in order for the People to be heard as one voice, the way it was intended. (No, we are not allowed to ask: Intended by Whom?) So we arrive at the strange situation in which the Left desires maximal formal participation in democratic processes but heavy restriction of everything ancillary to those processes, most especially political speech.

  Don Boudreaux comments on Matt Ridley’s The Evolution of Everything In his Quotation of the Day on 7/1/16

 And then in the 18th century a few pioneering scholars (featuring prominently Adam Smith) – and of course building on insights from earlier scholars – stumbled upon (!) what is surely the single most important insight in all of the social sciences, and what is surely among the most important in all of the sciences – namely, that complex, productive, beautiful, and sustainable orders emerge undesigned and unplanned and undirected.  A corollary of this insight is that these orders are practically impossible to improve with conscious intervention.

Our minds do not naturally grasp this reality.  In fact, our minds rebel against this reality.  But that this reality is our world I am completely convinced.  (Do you doubt it about the economy?  Then tell me who designed and directs the order that will feed today the millions of people who live in, work in, and visit New York City.  Tell me who designed and directs the order that produced the shirt you now wear.  We can debate the necessity or not of state-funded research, state-built infrastructure, and state-created and enforced law.  Yet even on the most generous estimation of the importance of such collectively arranged inputs, the complexity of the order that feeds New York City and that clothes you daily is inconceivably greater than anything that the most magnificent and munificent state can have planned or even foreseen.)

The orders that emerge unplanned in society are no more perfect than are the orders that emerge unplanned in non-sentient nature.  Change is therefore incessant and necessary.  Life and existence is a process.  And while appreciation of the creative power of bottom-up, decentralized ordering methods isn’t natural to us, we humans perhaps never display as much genius and intellectual humility as we do when we grasp the reality and logic of spontaneous orders.

 

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Political Inactivism

kevin williamson

Kevin Williamson is probably one of the most excerpted writers on Rebel Yid.  I was fortunate to meet him lat year at Freedom Fest in Las Vegas. He has a creative and unconventional way of viewing the great debates. He gets beyond the left and right platitudes.

The entire link merits your viewing.

From Kevin at National Review, Engineering Better Voters:

It isn’t that voters are not profoundly ignorant, it’s just that making them less ignorant isn’t really going to help much on Election Day, because political preferences are not, in the main, a function of knowledge.

Progressives are a funny bunch in that they do sincerely believe that government should be empowered, almost without limitation, to do the will of the People, who are sovereign, but they imagine that the People speak with one voice, or at least that they should speak with one voice. When the People get froggy and refuse to fall in line behind, say, the Affordable Care Act, which the best experts drew up on behalf of the People, who (so the story goes) gave Barack Obama a mandate to reform health care, then something must be wrong. And we all know what that is: Too much debate and too much political discourse including too many voices, some of which — those of Charles and David Koch, for instance — must be silenced in order for the People to be heard as one voice, the way it was intended. (No, we are not allowed to ask: Intended by Whom?) So we arrive at the strange situation in which the Left desires maximal formal participation in democratic processes but heavy restriction of everything ancillary to those processes, most especially political speech.

The cynic might here observe that what’s really going on may be something entirely different, that progressives want more participation by voters because they assume that those new voters will agree with them, and less participation in political discourse because they believe that those new voices are less likely to support them, while conservatives want fewer voters because they believe the ones remaining will be more conservative, while they do not worry about all the new forms of political persuasion because those have been mainly conservative. And it probably is the case that many among our political professionals are exactly that calculating.

What is actually needed is a set of conditions under which fewer questions are decided by democratic politics, which is, even in its highly refined American form, a pretty blunt instrument. Some questions are inherently political, but most are not. We needed a positive act of the federal government to rally the country in making war on the Nazis, but invading Normandy is a different thing from invading the kindergarten toilets in Grover, N.C. I’m with Henry David Thoreau: “I heartily accept the motto,—‘That government is best which governs least;’ and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically.”

Which is to say, there’s a time for political activism, but we could do with a bit of political inactivism, too.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/435685/voter-education-futile-exercise

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The Liberal Vice Squad

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from the prolific Kevin Williamson at National Review, A Nation of Vice Principals:

Where the Left has power, it will use that power to try to crush dissent, debate, and criticism. It isn’t conservative student groups chasing nonconformist speakers off of college campuses or demanding indoctrination sessions. But it isn’t just the campus P.C. police, either. No, it’s the real police, too.

When the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not ban the showing of a film critical of Hillary Rodham Clinton, practically every Democrat in the country lined up behind efforts to censor that movie, and Harry Reid introduced a bill into the Senate repealing the First Amendment in order to facilitate such censorship. Mrs. Clinton of course supports banning films critical of her, but so does Bernie Sanders. Senator Elizabeth Warren idly dreams of prosecuting corporate executives who think — imagine! — that they can go around “saying whatever they want about Washington policy debates.”

The people who have the audacity to call themselves “liberals” are busily building an emerging police state. Don’t look for the heroic entrepreneurs behind Facebook or Twitter to spread the word about that.

The question is no longer whether conservatives will be marginalized and stigmatized on university campuses but whether Mrs. Clinton and Harry Reid will succeed in having them imprisoned for their views. The question is no longer one of manners and intellectual honesty on college campuses but whether Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren will succeed in instituting federal censorship of political speech under the guise of “campaign-finance” regulation. The Left has been very clear in its aims: Defending the government’s position during the Citizens United arguments, Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm L. Stewart told Justice David Souter that the law should allow for banning books if the government decides those books constitute illegal political advocacy. The fact that money changes hands when a book is commissioned, printed, and distributed makes that a “campaign-finance” issue.

 

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Political Thoughts 2016 04 06

HKO_A

Russel Jacoby wrote a thought provoking book titled Bloodlust tracing the biblical roots of our personal violence towards one another. He used the phrase, “narcissism of minor differences”, to describe the violence not between groups that are the most different, but between groups that display relatively minor differences.  We can view the conflicts between the Catholics and the Protestants, and the Sunnis and the Shiites and see stunning violence between groups with very similar core religious beliefs and cultural heritage.

I wonder if this is what we are seeing now in the conflicts within both parties.

It seems not to be a conflict of ideologies but conflicts hinging on the absence of ideologies allowing voters to focus more on mere emotional triggers. The willingness of intra party factions to bolt even if it means the opposition party wins displays a greater hostility to fellow allies with similar but different ideas than to the other party with fundamentally different ideas.  They seem more inclined to lose than to compromise.

Retired Mercer University President Kirby Godsey once spoke of leaders who allow themselves to be “crucified on a six inch cross”.  Sometimes an ineffective leader suffers from too many principles and expends far too much political capital fighting for an issue that should have been compromised. This powerful metaphor also seems at play.

 

In customer service, Dean Young , the sales manager at General Steel, astutely observed that a customer would forgive a single error if it was fixed quickly and cheerfully, but that after a couple of errors they would be looking for short comings  and respond to transgressions that may have been previously too minor to notice.

I see this in the GOP circular firing squad posing as a primary. Many soft Republicans tolerated religious fundamentalists and other elements because we still thought the dominant ideologies were capitalism and constitutional conservatism.  Trump has proposed policies that seem antithetical to both ideologies and gets substantial traction from his stance. The objectionable elements have retained or strengthened their hold and the positive elements seem to have greatly retreated.  Republicans have never been as loyal to their party as the Democrats, and this current conflict makes it easier for conservative voters to reject the republicans as any coherent political philosophy.  Even if Trump is not the nominee the damage to what weak sense of party loyalty the Republicans ever had will be severe.

This leaves a lot of very unenthusiastic voters. The Democrats offer no home. They remain addicted to the growth in government from a century of Progressive policies that have evolved to a point where their leaders and voters are unable to articulate any difference between the modern Democrat and a socialist.  It is as stunning that an avowed socialist can do as well as Bernie Sanders as it is that a candidate as ethically flawed as Hillary can be the front runner.

The politically correct lunacy on the left has abandoned some of our most sacred intellectual principles  and is at least as  anti-intellectual as those that cling to their bibles and guns, and noticeably less tolerant.

 

Normally I fear that blind optimism obscures threats that seem obvious in hindsight. In  this campaign it is hard to see any road that leads to an acceptable leader.  The only surprise would be that everythings turns out reasonably well.

 

By far my favorite shareholder annual report I read is the Berkshire report written by Warren Buffet.  It strikes me this year, considering the political background, that Buffet remains quite optimistic and focuses on the bright prospects of his many successful companies.  Buffet’s attitude is not just to be above the fray, but to render it irrelevant.

That is not to suggest that we should drop out politically and not vote, but it does recommend that we spend more of our time focusing on the areas that we can influence and improve.

 

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The Class War

from The American Conservative Rob Dreher writes  Trump: Fishtown’s Champion Against Belmont:

The Davos elites of the Democrat and Republican parties didn’t get the teenage daughters of Fishtown pregnant, or didn’t get the Fishtown sons busted for possession or fired from his job for failing a drug test. Those elites didn’t make them stop going to church, or break up their marriage, and don’t tell them to sit on their butts playing video games all day instead of trying to hustle up a living. But those elites did, in many cases, have a lot to do with why they got laid off in their fifties and can’t find work, and why their adult children have to make do with crappy service industry jobs instead of manufacturing jobs that paid well, and on which a family could build a future.

Dreher links to a few other pertinent articles:

from JD Vance in USA Today, Trump speaks for those Bush betrayed

Trump’s voters, instead, wear an almost existential sense of betrayal. He relies onunmarried voters, individuals who rarely attend church services and those without much higher education. Many of these Trump voters have abandoned the faith of their forefathers and myriad social benefits that come with it. Their marriages have failed, and their families have fractured. The factories that moved overseas used to provide not just high-paying jobs, but also a sense of purpose and community. Their kids (and themselves) might be more likely to die from a heroin overdose than any other group in the country.

Cruz’s voters dislike Jeb Bush because he has strayed from conservative orthodoxy. Trump’s voters loathe Jeb Bush because their lives are falling apart, and they blame people like him.

In The Daily Beast Joel Kotkin writes We Now Join the U.S. Class War Already in Progress

The reasons for this opposition are obvious. Progressive policies like higher minimum wages and stricter environmental and labor laws hit small businesses harder than bigger firms, which have the staff and resources to adapt to the regulatory vise. Once seen as the leading, creative edge of the economy, small business has not done well under Obama: For the first time in modern history, more firms (PDF) are going out of business than staying solvent.

But there’s another, more ascendant part of the middle class—highly educated professionals, government workers, and teachers—who have done far better under President Obama. In 2012, professionals generally approved of his regime, according to Gallup, by a 52 to 43 percent margin. These voters have become a critical part of the Democratic coalition; indeed, eight of the nation’s 10 wealthiest counties—including Westchester County in New York, Morris County in New Jersey, and Marin County in California—all went Democratic in 2012.

These middle-income workers increasingly do not work for the private economy; they occupy quasi-public jobs dependent on public dollars rather than private markets. Universities, a core Democratic constituency, have been hiring like mad: Between 1987 and 2011, they added 517,636 administrators and professional employees, or an average of 87 every working day.

This educated and often well credentialed middle class tends toward progressive politics; in fact, university professors have become ever more leftist, outnumbering conservatives six to one. Indeed, those voters with advanced degrees were the only group of whites by education to support Obama in 2012.

In modern America, these people serve largely as a clerisy, hectoring the public and instructing them how to live. A bigger state is not a threat to them, but a boon. No surprise that public unions and academics have emerged as among the largest and most loyal donors to Democrats.

The bulk of this population belongs to what some social scientists call the “precariat,” people who face diminished prospects of achieving middle-class status—a good job, homeownership, some decent retirement. The precariat is made up of a broad variety of jobs that include adjunct professors, freelancers, substitute teachers—essentially any worker without long-term job stability. According to one estimate, at least one-third of the U.S. workforce falls into this category. By 2020, a separate study estimates, more than 40 percent of Americans, or 60 million people, will be independent workers—freelancers, contractors, and temporary employees.

This constituency—notably the white majority—is angry, and with good cause. Between 1998 and 2013, white Americans have seen declines in both their incomes and their life expectancy, with large spikes in suicide and fatalities related to alcohol and drug abuse. They have, as one writer notes, “lost the narrative of their lives,” while being widely regarded as a dying species by a media that views them with contempt and ridicule.

In this sense, the flocking by stressed working-class whites to the Trump banner—the New York billionaire won 45 percent of New Hampshire Republican voters who did not attend college—represents a blowback from an increasingly stressed group that tends to attend church less and follow less conventional morality, which is perhaps one reason they prefer the looser Trump to the Bible-thumping Cruz, not to mention the failing Ben Carson.