Saturday, June 19, 2010

Democracy is 5 wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch; If you were the sheep, which would you rather live in—a republic or a democracy?

If you remember much from your high school history classes about the founding of this country
writes Chip Wood,
you know there was a great deal of controversy about what type of government the newly independent states should create.

The first effort, the Articles of Confederation, was generally regarded as a failure. But what should replace them? Each state sent a group of representatives to meet in Philadelphia and hammer out a new agreement. The deliberations of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 were held in strict secrecy. Consequently, anxious citizens gathered outside Independence Hall when the proceedings ended, eager to learn what had been produced behind those closed doors.

As the delegates left the building, a Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got?”

With no hesitation, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Not a democracy, not a democratic republic. But “a republic, if you can keep it.”

… I loved to tell [high school students] about the differences between a republic and a democracy.

“A lynch mob is democracy in action,” I would say. “While if you believe someone is innocent until proven guilty, that they deserve their day in court and that a jury of their peers should decide their fate, then you believe in a nation of laws, not just the whims of a mob.”

Another line I used a lot was, “Democracy is five wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch. If you were the sheep, which would you rather live in—a republic or a democracy?”

I told them about the importance of “binding men down with the chains of a Constitution.” That this was the only sure way to protect their freedom. And that anyone who wanted to change this republic into a democracy was an enemy of liberty.

A century or two earlier there would have been no need to give such a talk—and no interest if one did. Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, every American who could read and write (and probably most of those who couldn’t), knew we were a republic. The campaign to brainwash us into believing we were a democracy didn’t begin until 100 years ago. Today, if you take a poll of high school or college students, the overwhelming majority will tell you that we are a democracy.

Please don’t dismiss this as a mere quarrel over semantics. Understanding the difference between the two systems of government is absolutely vital. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that our very liberties depend on getting more Americans to realize the importance of this seemingly arcane dispute.

Who’s the Cowboy (Capitalist) Now ?

Some Germans mull the sanest outcome of the Eurozone’s dependency on them. It isn’t kicking out the undercapitalized and profligate-borrower member states, it’s leaving them for dead.

Gerard Baker:
The euro version goes like this: fiscal policy is run by the Greeks, the Spanish and the Italians; interest rates are set by a central bank in thrall to politicians in France and Italy, and it is all organised by a Portuguese socialist and a Belgian. The idea will go down a treat in places like France, Greece and Portugal. But if you’re German — an increasingly disgruntled citizen of Europe’s largest and most productive economy — you might be starting to think it represents a final signal to get the hell out of there.

I exaggerate, of course. The EU summit is destined to break up without any firm plan being agreed.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Education Bubble

Michael Phillips sounds out on an argument made by Glenn Reynolds on the high cost and lack of efficacy of the present stae of higher education, a system geared more to be a make-work system for those employed in it that the development of the student.

The value of work after college, in general, will no longer justify the astronomic costs of college time. It hasn't for nearly two decades. The same goes for prep-schools and many post graduate departments.
Free government education types take note: it’s true, whoever is paying the bill. Phillips also notes some fundamental life-isses that Reynolds misses:
Paying off the associated student loans is debilitating and destroys the working life and working opportunities for many people. If you have to pay off a student loan at $700 per month, you usually can't take a job where you will learn important lessons about the business world, or start your own business if you have the skills. You also must look forward to a very grim loan paying future with no likely reward in sight. Depression. You postpone a family at the time when you are most capable of raising children.
Having carried student loans, I disagree. Then again, I took up an area of professional study and found a WAY to pay them off.

Similarly in the fantasy world of “free University education” the want ads in European publications and websites make it clear: the offers are limited largely due to the over-regulation, over-management, and burden of employer mandates. What is stunning from an American perspective, are the listings for academic programs found in those publications and websites where job openings should be.
Colleges are a business disaster. The administrative costs of college are far out of proportion to their contribution to the final product. I've consulted with several colleges and walked away stunned by the administrative overhead, not to mention the incredibly high salaries to faculty which is wasted in 98.3% of the positions.
Which can be only MORE true the more socialized the management mechanisms are, regardless if the costs of state-owned or managed institutions are hidden: i.e.: Does a state run university get an electric bill? Did they sourcing of their own facilities appear on their own budget? Etcetera, etcetera.

Either way, for the outcome, one which barely benefits society and confers it’s questionable benefits on the student, the price of the way things presently operate is just too high, even if they weren’t turning out too many graduates for the economy not to undercut their value in the economy.

If intellectual fulfillment is a larger (PC/non-“greed” feeding) goal, what’s missing is something that was once ubiquitous: a society of well read and literate workers who enjoyed the pursuit of knowledge on their own initiative, and for their own personal enrichment. It didn’t require a degree, just a library card and a well ordered use of ones free time. It’s a pursuit that’s equally true of those who did come through the degree mills.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Defining evil down in a fashion that does immense violence to good sense, good taste, and good leadership

Once more, Plantu makes an inappropriate comparison with 9-11, and that on the front page of Le Monde (and that's not even taking into account that no tanker was involved in the Deepwater Horizon disaster).

To quote John Podhoretz (merci, Professor Reynolds) — speaking of the Apologizer-in-Chief's efforts to do the same:
By likening the murder of 3,000 people and the efforts to take out the US government to a series of mistakes that added up to a catastrophe, Obama has defined evil down in a fashion that does immense violence to good sense, good taste and good leadership.
Update: Plantu is hardly the only French cartoonist to compare "an unwanted disaster to a conscious act of war, [thereby] adding an improper moral dimension to the effort to clean up the Gulf", as Delucq joins in the evil-down-defining "fun"…

A Signpost on the Road to Demographic Collapse

Paging the delusional Paul Ehrlich, and all those lauding the ‘environmental’ argument for self-selected social sterilization: a Danish government panel report finds one third of schools to be too small to be sustainable. [Bold emphasis mine.]

One of the key recommendations of the report, released yesterday, recommends setting a minimum of three pupils per class, a limit currently met by only 1,000 of the country’s schools.
The task force, set up to find ways to improve the quality of education, recommends implementing the closings over a period of five years.

Education experts and community activists disagree with the findings. Peter Allerup, a professor at Aarhus University’s School of Education, challenges the panel’s argument that larger schools are more effective and educate students better.

‘The right answer is we just don’t know,’ he told Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper.

He added that closing schools in small communities would probably result in families moving to towns where schools were located.
And a population of those who DO want the family to have a future engaging in palliative act of retreat – if only to keep life as normal as possible, for as long as possible.

Fear the USA and Its Ghastly Weapons, Weapons Far More Redoubtable Than America's B-52s: chewing gum, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, MTV, Michael Jordan, etc…

Anti-Americanism is as common in France as a baguette
writes Richard in an email. "This is Bloc Identitaire." The Awakening of Identities is the professed goal of the block, which pouts that "we have been Americanized"; which displays a photo of a Yankee "predator" (a pedophile?) tending (fellatio-like?) a bottle of soft drink (drugging?) an unsuspecting little innocent girl; and which claims that since 1945, America has been wielding "weapons far more redoubtable than all the B-52s mass-produced by America's military industry", an assertion followed by a partial listing of the ghastly weapons in question: "chewing gum, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Desperate Housewives, MTV, Michael Jordan, etc."
Depuis 1945, l’environnement culturel européen est façonné par les Etats-Unis grâce à des armes bien plus redoutables que tous les B’52 produits en masse par l’industrie militaire américaine : le chewing gum, Coca-Cola, Mc Donalds, Desperate Housewives, MTV, Michael Jordan, etc…
This sounds almost like my (tongue-in-cheek) statement to Frenchmen in my book on anti-Americanism, La Bannière Étalée, in which I politely ask several ranters to forgive me, but I cannot say that tears well up in my eyes when I think of the "horrific sufferings" that France, Europe, and the rest of the world have been confronted with under American imperialism, since I can hardly abstain from pointing out that there have existed, through the centuries, peoples who have suffered worse ignominies than to have to submit to jeans, to Coca-Cola, to McDonald's, to Schwarzenegger movies, and to a rodent named Mickey.
[Les alarmistes] voudront bien avoir la gentillesse de m'excuser de ne pas montrer plus de solidarité avec leur indignation intense, mais je ne peux pas dire que les larmes me viennent aux yeux quand je pense aux "terribles souffrances" auxquelles ont été confrontées la France, l'Europe, et le reste du monde sous l'impérialisme américain, et j'ai peur que je ne puisse m'abstenir de dire que je pense qu'il existe des peuplades qui, au fil des siècles, ont souffert de pires ignomies que d'être soumises aux jeans, au Coca-Cola, à McDonald's, aux films de Schwarzie, et à une souris prénommée Mickey.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It’s That ‘Quality of Life’ World Power Thing

The Sofa bar in the northern city of Kiel caters to a very particular clientele -- unemployed alcoholics. The experiment has been such a success that other cities are now hoping to follow suit.
As opposed to, say, just about every decent sized town center and public park in Germany. Hey! Don’t judge! It’s a lifestyle thing.
It's 10:30 a.m., and things are hopping at the Sofa bar in the northern German city of Kiel. The men sitting at the table on the left, in the front of the room, have already had their first four rounds of beer, the radio is blasting loud guitar riffs, and a young girl hops onto a patron's lap and asks him for a sip. A glass bottle is rolling back and forth on the floor, and the air is thick with cigarette smoke. Atze and Dirk sit at the bar, coughing, rolling unfiltered cigarettes and asking if anyone wants a drink.
A.K.A., a perfectly normal thing to do, enabled by the ‘injection park’ idea, were it not for the fact that public drinking is nearly ubiquitous in German cities, and that they don’t need a “safe place” for what couldn’t ever amount to a handful of those that do it, but rather, just the most responsible of the irresponsible.
In this bar, some of the costs are covered by taxpayer money from the city treasury. The Sofa is Germany's first drinking room, a sort of crash smoking room for alcoholics. Most of the people who frequent the place are serious alcoholics and are allowed to bring their own cheap beer and sangria. The bar itself only serves soft drinks and strong coffee. "It's great," says Dirk, twisting his tattooed face into a smile, "isn't it?"
Yeah – free shit from your non-alcoholic neighbors who actually work. Sure, why not?!?
There are rarely aggressive confrontations, and anyone who does cause trouble is temporarily barred from the premises and forced to drink elsewhere for a few days. "The place is hopping," says Kai. He is 49, a recipient of benefits under the Hartz IV* welfare reform program, and the employment agency* considers him impossible to place. He does have a permanent residence*, like most of the regulars. The homeless rarely turn up at the Sofa.
* More free shit from your non-alcoholic neighbors who actually work.

Al Unable to Control His Emissions

"It couldn’t be avoided."

Of Mosques and Men: Reflections on the Ground Zero Mosque

Smiling in our faces while cursing us in our hearts
(Abu Darda; see also Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 3:33):
Reflections on the Ground Zero Mosque
(shookhran to Mark)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bouncing Baby Go Boom

Puzzled? Confused? Take a look at the cheery scene at We Are Government. It’s sort of like ‘Toys ‘R Us’, except for megalomaniacs.

My, they blow-up so fast.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

It this not a “Disproportionate Response” ?!?

UAE: Driver gets three months in jail for molestation

Riyadh: Saudi court sentences man to 90 lashes and prison for kissing woman in mall

A Saudi court has convicted a man and sentenced him to four months in prison and 90 lashes for kissing a woman in a mall.
In the land of Ferrari theme parks and outrage over the Fauxtilla as a ‘crime against humanity’, they’re all Just screaming to be understood, I guess.
The women will be tried in another court
And to think that these primitive idiots insist on being taken seriously by civilization.