Thought of the Day: Choosing Slavery

It’s not an endlessly expanding list of rights — the ‘right’ to education, the ‘right’ to health care, the ‘right’ to food and housing. That’s not freedom, that’s dependency. Those aren’t rights, those are the rations of slavery — hay and a barn for human cattle.

Alexis de Tocqueville

Music Download: Joe Passed, “Lego My Ego”

Via Riot Act Media, if fuzzy, post punk type pop music is your thing, then this is your thing. Download “Lego My Ego” from soundcloud.

One of the songs from Jo Passed’s upcoming EP, Out, it’s heavily textured, buzzing with energy, and catchy in a head-nodding kind of way. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the thing sounds like.

Fifteen Minutes of Shame

Man with Make up and Make Up Brush

Don’t Tread on Me
Photo from Dollar Photo Club.

From National Review, we learn today that “Eliminating Gender Norms from Clothing Styles is Actually Transphobic” for some reason. This being the Age of Outrage, you can be damned sure that someone is going to preach the good word–which is to say, we’re not going to tolerate that shit.

But trans people should be aware that well-known faces like Jaden Smith are starting to encroach on our territory. They’re starting to wear the trans uniform without actually stating that they are transgender, and they’re claiming it for themselves under the guise of gender-neutral fashion. All of which begs the question: where does that leave us?

Well, Katie, I hope it leaves us in a place where we’ve reached (I hope, I pray) peak absurdity. This is a moment where it doesn’t matter what you say or do, someone will be offended. They’ll be offended because they prefer the social benefits of outrage over finding the good (or intended good) in what people do. They would much prefer to aggregate power behind cultivated victimhood than merely give the benefit of the doubt.

But it doesn’t matter anymore. It can’t matter any more. It’s just a bunch of people yelling at the top of their lungs, pegging the max on their outrage meters, desperately trying to enforce their view of how everyone else should behave.

It’s a funhouse version of Warhol’s fifteen minutes of fame, though. In the future, everyone will spend fifteen minutes of shame at the hands of an internet lynch mob and no carefully assembled armor of social justice causes and virtue signaling can possibly save you. It will be a quiet joke told between friends, a well-meaning photo that you took (but didn’t vet with your minority advisory council), an inappropriately appropriated “ethnic” meal, a candidate or cause you supported decades earlier, a political donation you forgot to regret loudly and publicly enough, or merely daring to believe something outside of the current cultural orthodoxy.

Whatever it is, the lynch mob is closing in and your fifteen minutes of shame is coming up.

But, surely, no society could possibly withstand that, could it? No society can maintain a common fabric with so many power hungry, outraged fingers pulling at the threads. Surely, we’ll grow past this absurd moment and remember that the other people on the receiving end of our outbursts of self-righteousness are just like us: imperfect folks doing their best to get along. Surely, we’ll remember to extend them good will and the benefit of the doubt when they say something questionable (and maybe even remember that it isn’t our place to police every word that comes from their mouths to begin with).

Surely, with generosity of spirit and kindness in mind, we’ll remember that ripping each other to shreds and leaving careers, personal reputations, friendships, and dignity in tatters isn’t the best way to build the better world that we all are aiming for.

Institute for the Study of War

The ISW is a site that you should add to your blogroll. They’re bringing important updates and analysis about the state of conflicts, broadly, in the middle east.

Start here, with a graphic that shows a current map of control of terrain in Iraq. Which, while we deal with ebola, mid-term political campaigns, a pugnacious Russia, and Peyton Manning’s weekly record chase, we might still want to spare a thought for Saddam’s former playground.

New Music: The Smith Street Band, “Surrender”

Because today deserves guitars, drums, and a very strange mess.

Fight the Man

I love this story and I hope the forces of good triumph over the forces of Warner.

Happy Birthday remains the most profitable song ever. Every year, it is the song that earns the highest royalty rates, sent to Warner/Chappell Music (which makes millions per year from “licensing” the song). However, as we’ve been pointing out for years, the song is almost certainly in the public domain.

Read the rest.

Grand Jury Sins

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: one of the most important jobs of the informed citizenry is to push back against government excesses. All governments– indeed, all bureaucracies– are inclined to grow fat with power and reluctant to relinquish either the money that they collect or the control that collects around them. It is their nature.

That doesn’t mean that government is evil or only does evil, only that the balance of power should always tip in the favor of the citizens. Government employees and politicians should always be made to be aware that they serve at the whim and will of the people. Protect the people and serve them well, and be safe in your job; serve yourself and you’ll soon need to be looking for a new line of work.

Sadly, it’s damned hard to fire government employees (whose jobs are not only safe, but they have better benefits and pay than their civilian counterparts), and politicians at the national level enjoy retention rates that are ridiculously high (and approval rates that are similarly low).

Gnaw on that fact for a bit.

So, as citizens, we keep rewarding failure at the highest level with more pay, perks, power, and job security. The failures of the United States are not the fault of the political class; they are the fault of the citizenry that refuses to do its job. We have become a trivial people given to worry over irrelevant social policies while our economy continues to falter and the politicians become ever more powerful.

Which is a long-winded prologue to this story of why government, at every level, must be held accountable for their failures and citizens must be protected from their excesses.

Grand juries are supposed to protect us from false allegations, but the old saying that prosecutors could get a grand jury to “indict a ham sandwich”reflects the reality that most fail on that front. Instead, as this study from the Cato Institute explains, they’re often used to harass and intimidate.

Read it all and remember: it’s your job to push back against the excesses of government. At every level.

Vote wisely in the upcoming elections.

A Little Summer Music: bentcousin’s “DIZZY”

Don’t know what it is about this song, but I’m really enjoying it right now.

Not so Quick Read of the Day: Foreign Policy’s Fragile State Index

Every year, Foreign Policy publishes their Fragile State Index (although it was previously called the Failed State Index). This is precisely what it sounds like: an analysis of the stability of nations around the world.

For anyone interested or concerned with global politics, this is must-read material. It’s an important view of where conflict and strife not only currently exists, but where it could rise and overwhelm nations and their neighbors. Beyond the numerical index, they always have editorial surrounding the rankings to give useful insight.

Highly recommended.

ACA Jokes Just Keep Coming

If laughter is the best medicine, then the whole goal of Obamacare must have been to kid us all the way to good health. Because the reality of the poorly conceived plan is absolutely hilarious!

In March 2010, Obamacare was about to be voted upon by the House of Representatives, and the Democrats were in the process of deciding whether to ignore public opinion at their peril.  At that time, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that Obamacare would cost $938 billion over a decade and would reduce the number of uninsured people by 19 million as of 2014 (with a reduction of 1 million prior to 2014 and 18 million in 2014 alone).  Unimpressed, the American people overwhelmingly opposed the intrusive overhaul — with 20 of 21 polls taken that month showing it to be unpopular, most of them by double digits. The Democrats willfully passed Obamacare anyway and lost 63 House seats that November.

Two years later, the Supreme Court declared Obamacare’s coercive Medicaid expansion to be unconstitutional as written, and the CBO adjusted its projection for the number of uninsured accordingly.  Itprojected that Obamacare would reduce the number of uninsured by 14 million as of 2014 (2 million before 2014 and 12 million in 2014 alone), at a 10-year cost of $1.677 trillion — or $739 billion more than the 2010 projection.  (This February, the CBO projected that Obamacare’s 10-year cost would eclipse $2 trillion.)

Bwahahahahahahahhahah—doh!

I think I pulled a muscle…