Saturday, May 11, 2019

The average middle-class person today is richer than the average billionaire a hundred years ago: Wealth isn’t simply about money, it’s about the ability to do things

From Jonah Goldberg' s latest G-File:
  … it’s worth highlighting something the folks shrieking about censorship and free speech tend to overlook. I’m one of those folks like Steven Pinker, Marian Tupy, Ronald Bailey, Russell Roberts, Donald Boudreaux, Matt Ridley, and other misery-deniers who feels compelled to point out how much better we have it than people in the past.

By many metrics, the average middle-class person today is richer than the average billionaire a hundred years ago. Of course, your choices in real estate would be much greater as a fat cat in 1920, but your choices in cuisine, air-conditioning, transportation, medicine, communication, etc. would be far worse or simply non-existent.

Kevin Williamson points out a scene in The Count of Monte Cristo in which the Count hosts a dinner at which he serves a staggering variety of fish to his guests. How many kinds of fish in this lavish repast? Two. The Count describes this largess as a “millionaire’s whim.”

The point here is that in terms of the ability to communicate — both to friends and family and the broader public — we’re unimaginably wealthier today. Wealth isn’t simply about money, it’s about the ability to do things. Financial wealth manifests itself in the expanded number of choices you have to do and have stuff. The mid-market cars of today have features that were reserved for the wealthy two decades ago and that were reserved for science fiction a hundred years ago.

Friday, May 10, 2019

2 French Soldiers' Sacrifice in African Raid Becomes Central Story on Fox News Website

Don't let anyone tell you that Fox News is anti-French or mocks the French military. A news report by Greg Norman and Hollie McKay involving the ultimate sacrifices of two French troops became the central story on the website's front page Friday.
 … four hostages … have been freed in western Africa following a French special forces military operation that resulted in the deaths of two of their own soldiers, the Elysee announced Friday.

France said the hostages were rescued Thursday night following a battle in Burkina Faso.

The statement from France said President Emmanuel Macron "bows with emotion and gravity at the sacrifice of our two soldiers, who gave their lives to save those of our fellow citizens".

They were identified as petty officers Cédric de Pierrepont and Alain Bertoncello. A Facebook post by the French Navy added that both men received numerous awards and recognitions throughout their military careers, such as the Gold Level of the National Defense Medal.

The hostages who were rescued, according to France, were a U.S. citizen, a South Korean national, and French nationals Patrick Picque and Laurent Lassimouillas.

The Frenchmen were tourists who were kidnapped during a safari in Benin last week, Reuters reported. The circumstances surrounding the capture of the other two were not immediately clear.

 … As it stands, more than 4,500 French troops are deployed to the area.
 Cédric de Pierrepont, left, and Alain Bertoncello were killed Thursday
during a hostage rescue mission in Burkina Faso (French Navy)