Big Mother

Julia sank wearily down into the deep cushions of the staff lounge couch. The TV was on, set to some new reality show where politicians cooked meals for celebrities, but Julia hardly noticed. She was still processing.

A grueling, 36 hour labor. Normally a C-section would have been in order, but the patient refused to be cut. And at the end of it all…

Her eyes flicked up to the door. She could still hear the baby crying, though she knew it was just in her head. The Repose Room was soundproof.

Shaking her head as if to expel such thoughts, she looked down at the coffee table. The various sections of Today’s USA were scattered across its surface. The top-most, “Health and Living,” prominently displayed an article titled “New Healthcare Law Protects the Most Vulnerable.” Her eyes scanned the text; apparently it was a story about how the newly expanded universal healthcare system would greatly improve the lives of underpaid journalists.

Julia heaved a heavy sigh and buried her face in her hands. She had known that remaining in perinatal medicine would eventually test who she was. She just hadn’t expected it to happen so soon. Not here. Not at St. Agnes.

But they had allowed it to happen. Jennifer and the doctor spoke for a few minutes, in private, with the patient. And then the baby was wheeled out to the Repose Room.

Julia imagined her own daughter lying in the darkness, alone, left to expire. It was too much. The shock and confusion were gone, replaced by anger and determination.

She pulled herself up and hurried out of the staff room.

Kathy was leaning against the wall next to the Repose Room and nursing a cup of coffee while fiddling with her phone. The healthcare liaison looked up at Julia’s approach and smiled plastically.

“Hi, Julie. Are you okay?”

“No. Nothing about this is okay.”

Kathy reached for Julia’s arm, halting her entrance. She lowered her voice to a hush.

“Look, I know this is difficult. But we have to respect the mother’s choice.”

Julia shook off the restraining hand and entered the room. It was complete dark inside. The baby was no longer crying, but Julia could hear a soft whimpering. She paused as the door closed behind her and Kathy’s surprised exclamation was cut off.

She reached for her phone and unlocked the screen, using the light to look around the bare room. A sink and cabinet fixture was set against the wall – the same one found in nearly every modern examination room. In the corner opposite her stood the bassinet, mounted atop a sterile, steel cart. The baby lay swaddled inside.

As she stepped toward the infant, the door opened behind her and in stepped Kathy, accompanied by Jennifer, the shift supervisor.

“Julie, what are you doing? You shouldn’t be in here,” the senior nurse admonished softly, frowning. She reached into a pocket and drew out her own phone to further illuminate the dark room. Her other arm cradled a clipboard – clearly she had been interrupted while doing important paperwork.

“This isn’t right, Jen. We can’t do this.”

Jennifer’s face softened. It was Kathy who replied.

“It was Mrs. Peters’ decision after speaking with Dr. Danton. Even Mr. Peters agreed. It’s her right. Come on now, everything is going to be all right. Let’s just…leave it alone.”

“Not it, Kathy. Her. You want to let her die!” Julia had difficulty controlling her voice now, and the baby started to whimper loudly.

“It’s not up to me,” Kathy answered. “And it’s not up to you. The infant simply isn’t viable.”

“What the hell do you mean she isn’t viable? She’s laying there right now, breathing on her own. Alive.”

Jennifer cut in. “What Kathy means is the baby can’t survive on her own, without state resources. You know that. She’d have to be put up, and that’s expensive. And there will be no legal parents to put up climate credits…I don’t like it any more than you do, but there’s nothing we can do.”

“For God’s sake, she’s perfectly healthy, Jen!” Julia was practically shouting.

Kathy answered “It’s an unfortunate rarity, but post-birth abor-”

“Don’t call it that,” Julia snapped. “We’re letting a healthy baby die. And for what? Why? Why are they doing this?”

Jennifer and Kathy exchanged an uncomfortable glance and the former answered “Her eyes.”

“What? What about her eyes?” Julia asked.

“The Peters ordered blue eyes, but the baby’s are brown. It’s not what they paid for. Mrs. Peters said that she always wanted a daughter with blue eyes and blond hair, like a doll. She said that…that having to raise a botched child would be too traumatic for her,” Jennifer muttered.

Julia shook her head in disbelief. They were all silent for a moment.

“I’m taking her,” she said finally.

Jennifer’s eyes widened in surprise. Kathy looked scandalized.

“You can’t do that, Julie. It’s illegal!” the liaison exclaimed.

“Think about this,” cautioned the supervisor. “They’ll fire you. Hell, you’ll probably go to jail.”

“I don’t care,” replied Julia. “I can’t do nothing.”

Kathy glared angrily at her, looked meaningfully at Jennifer, and then exited the Repose Room quickly.

“All right,” said Jennifer. “But you’d better hurry. No doubt Kathy has gone for security.” Jennifer, too, stepped out.

Julia switched off her phone and flicked on the room’s fluorescent light. The baby girl squinted and began once again to cry.

 

-Bushi

bushi

 

 

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The Bully Pulpit

  • by Gitabushi

I think Trump taking his case to the people regarding The Wall and illegal immigration was a good move. When you’ve got the Bully Pulpit, use it.

800px-president_theodore_roosevelt_delivering_a_speech_at_biddeford,_maine_(15074715720)
By SMU Central University Libraries – https://www.flickr.com/photos/smu_cul_digitalcollections/15074715720/, No restrictions, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53268199

I wish he’d do it more, tho. He should give a speech how the Left uses Lawfare in a despicable manner. He should call out SPLC’s disgustingly partisan exploitation of “hate group” designations, and the ACLU’s hypocrisy.  Then explain in clear terms how the Left used dishonest Lawfare to unfairly convict Ted Stevens (govt withheld and ignored evidence it had that he was innocent) and Tom DeLay (prosecuted for actions that weren’t criminal, conviction overturned), fraudulently costing them both their office. Then explain how the left used lawfare to drive Sarah Palin out of office.  As well as the corrupt lawfare against Scott Walker.

And from there, explain exactly how Mueller’s investigation is that exact same tactic. Explain how it started to investigate collusion with Russia, discovered it in Hillary’s campaign, and ignored it.  Trump can, and should, explain clearly that the Democrats are pushing a double standard, that their objections are purely to the person, not to the actions.

Moreover, he should hold another talk at some point to explain a POTUS limitations in his role in managing the economy. That no one can control economic cycles, but taxing, regulation, and debt policy are boosts or drags on the economy. He could thoroughly explain, with examples, that we should focus on policy and policy outcome rather than Cult of Personality views. And he should do it now while the economy is good and he can still take credit for creating the current excellent business environment with the tax cuts and de-regulation.

That way, when/if Democrats gain enough power to raise taxes and impose regulations, and the economy suffers, some people (only some, but that’s better than what’s going on now) will connect the dots and weaken their support for Democrat politicians.

In short, he should give more public addresses like this most recent one, and promulgate the conservative argument, daring the MSN to challenge it. They’ll stumble just like Schumer & Pelosi did.

And it would be the first time 30% of America has heard a conservative argument.

Culture > Race

  • by Gitabushi

I’ve encountered some white racialists a few times.  By the term “white racialists”, I mean those who see “white” as an identity, the same way blacks, Hispanics, Asians, etc., see it as an identity, or as a shorthand for making accurate assumptions about people.  You could also call them White Identitarians, White Nationalists, or similar names.  I think they are distinct from White Supremacists, although they apparently hold some views in common.

Anyway, I don’t like white racialists.  Here are some of the views they’ve expressed that I disagree with:

  • calling other races “mud people”
  • claiming the US Constitution was written for white people
  • claiming only white people (for the most part) can understand the US Constitution or live according to its precepts
  • claiming that low IQ, violence, and other negative character traits are inherently and inextricably connected to race

I disagree with all these notions.

But SCIENCE! they cry.

Nonsense.  First, I understand there are high correlations between race and IQ, and high correlations between IQ and success in life. But what science *actually* tells us is that correlation, even *extremely high* correlation, is not causation.  The white racialists who cite statistics on IQ and its relation to success, and thus conclude that blacks and Middle Easterners cannot live peacefully in a liberty-based society are clearly reasoning based on assumptions of causation.  Race *is* IQ, and IQ *is* destiny, so therefore Race must be Destiny.

Again, I say: Nonsense.

I am not a scientist, and I will not attempt to replicate or debunk any studies.  However, I do understand how science works.  I do understand that a science experiment is only as good as the researcher, that the conclusions they draw are not always supported by the data (again, only as good as the researcher), and that social science is much less definitive than physical science.

As such, the scientific method is based on observation, forming a hypothesis, and testing that hypothesis. If that hypothesis cannot explain what you observe, it is a false hypothesis, and should be rejected.

And the hypotheses of the white racialists doesn’t stand up to even casual scrutiny.

First, the notion that because the US Constitution was written by white Anglo-Saxons, it only works for Anglo-Saxons doesn’t follow.  I point to the fact that two of the most prominent and effective advocates for the US Constitution  and its original meaning are Thomas Sowell and Clarence Thomas.  They counter with arguments of IQ and point to inner city blacks to claim that there may be exceptions, but the vast majority of blacks prefer to live in violent squalor, dependent on government largess.  They point to the mess that is most of the nations in Africa, and will throw dozens of charts at you showing the average IQ of Africans by nation, with many averages of 85 IQ or lower.

But, again, correlation isn’t causation.

There are significant problems with the efficacy of IQ tests.  Moreover, if IQ and race were the defining factor, then we would see successful liberty anywhere a majority of Anglo-Saxons dwell.

But the whites who vote Democrat are Anglo-Saxons. They are the biggest threat to liberty in the US, bigger than blacks, illegal aliens, and Islamic refugees.  In fact, they are the ones *enabling* illegal aliens and Islamic refugees to dilute US commitment to liberty and the Constitution.  And these are the highly educated US Elite, with IQs significantly higher than average.

Their theory of race and IQ doesn’t address that.

Their theory of race and IQ also doesn’t address that the highest IQs are scored by Asians and Jews, who should thus consider white Anglo-Saxons to be mud people, too. Asians and Jews, having the highest IQ scores, should have the most advanced technology, culture, society, and sustained success.

And yet: nope.  It’s the Anglophone world.

Sort of.

Because here’s the other aspect that destroys their racialist argument: Modern-day UK.

They do things like ban clapping.  They’ve banned guns, disarming their citizens and making it impossible for them to enjoy their Right to Life, and when that actually encouraged violence, banned knives.  They *lurve* them some big-government socialized health care.

This is the People that brought us the courage in the face of the Nazi Germany Blitz. This is the People of the Stiff Upper Lip.  The People that had the largest empire ever known to man.  They have fallen.

And how did they fall?  They sold their culture for security.  They couldn’t resist the lure of socialist policy.

And it’s happening in the US, too.  Moreover, as I’ve already alluded, it is happening in the US with white Anglo-Saxons as the leaders and instigators.  Blacks and other minorities are adjunct, followers, beneficiaries, support troops at best.  Whites are ruining US culture.

This is already long enough, so I’ll wrap up quickly.

Culture comes from the standards you set in  your family and your community. Very generally speaking, mothers impact most the way the family works, and teach you your role and status in your family.  Fathers impact most the way society works, and teach you your role and status in your family.  Mothers tell you that you are special, wonderful, unique, and uniquely valuable.  Fathers tell you that everyone you encounter every day is equally special, wonderful, unique, and uniquely valuable, so you need to respect others’ rights and ego, and work hard to outperform them.

Both views are valuable.

If you take away fathers, the culture declines and dies.  If you marginalize and weaken the role of women, the culture declines and dies.

There are negatives in the typical black culture and typical middle-eastern culture.  In the typical black culture, white Progressives have destroyed the role of husbands and fathers.  In the typical middle-eastern (Islamic) culture, they have marginalized and destroyed the role of wives and mothers.

This says nothing about individuals.

Culture > race.  Take a family from Korea and drop them in rural Alabama, but have them still only marry other Koreans. The first generation who are children here will be fluent in English.  The second generation of children will never learn any Korean.  By the third generation, the kids will have a Southern drawl.

Humans aren’t a true blank slate.  There *are* some racial differences.  But the differences aren’t significant enough or distinct enough to explain what we see.

But culture explains it well.

Culture > Race.  Fight for US Culture.  Let’s return to Constitutional-based governance, and restore our high-trust society, assimilating all minorities and/or immigrants into the best culture in the world (and, of course, ending the massive influx of those who want to exploit US freedoms rather than embrace them, but that’s another can of worms).

FGM Bans are unConstitutional? AYFKM?

  • by Gitabushi

So a federal judge said that laws against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) are unConstitutional:

Conservatives are shocked and outraged.  Maybe some Progressives are shocked and outraged, too, but I don’t follow many of them, so I haven’t seen it.

I have several reactions to this.

First, I can almost understand the logic behind the ruling.  If FGM laws are Constitutional, it means the Federal Government has arrogated some powers of parenthood to themselves.  Can the government ban circumcision?  Require circumcision?  Ban ear piercings?

However, and more importantly, if there were a movement in the US of parents amputating the dominant hand of their children, I think we’d find a way to make *that* illegal without running afoul of the Constitution.  Or if that is too difficult to imagine, sexual abuse and physical abuse are illegal, and that’s perfectly Constitutional, right?

Perhaps the key to that is parents should not be allowed to commit crimes on their children.  So to make FGM band Constitutional, we have to make sure it is recognized as a crime.

However, aside from the logic of parental rights described (and hopefully fully refuted) above, I think there are three reasons for this ruling.  In no particular order:

  1. Islam is a Leftist ideology, and so the Left will try to accommodate them whenever possible.
  2. By couching this in terms of “religious freedom,” the Left is attempting to establish a wedge issue, by which they can paint Christians as religious freedom hypocrites; or if Religious Freedom FGMs are ever successfully banned, they can use those arguments in their assault on Christian religious freedom.
  3. Permitting parents to have FGM performed on their daughters is topologically identical to permitting parents to have gender re-assignment surgery performed on their children. Trans issues are *extremely* important to the US Left right now.
  4. At another level, the thought process that allows abortion allows FGM.  Strengthen the acceptability of FGM, strengthen the acceptability of abortion.  This is like 3rd-order effects, tho, so I’m open to being told this is nonsense.

This is just one battle.  Decency, Compassion, and Humanity haven’t lost the war to the Left yet, but we need to fight to find a way to make FGM bans Constitutional.

Trade and the Exchange of Value

  • by Gitabushi

My good friend and blog proprietor, PCBushi, informed me regarding an article he’d encountered:

If you don’t want to go look at that tweet series, the gist is that many US military systems rely on lithium-ion batteries. Since China owns 55% of the lithium industry, and is trying to ramp up that control to 90%+, it puts the US in even more of a bind than the peril of having so much of our economy and standard of living dependent on China’s lithium production.

It might have been this article.

I didn’t really respond because it seemed to me to be PCBushi granting me a point in the trade issues the US faces with China.  He wasn’t conceding, nor really trying to rekindle the argument about Trump using tariffs against China (and other nations), but he was acknowledging that the issue is complex, with points that can be made on both sides.  As I acknowledge that while I disagree with him, his view is certainly defensible and perhaps superior to my own.

battery charging device display
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

All this is merely an introduction to what I do want to talk about: the exchange of value.

Going back to my thing about assembling arguments against socialism, one of the things that attracts people to socialism is the notion of being exploited by corporations, or being seduced into mindless consumerism, and thus compelled to be a wage slave.

To me, that’s nonsense.

Yes, the vast bulk of humans live and die without making much of a worldwide difference.  The overwhelming majority of mankind can be seen as selling the hours of countless lives for a handful of geegaws like high-definition television.  But I note that the people making this complaint the most probably have one earbud in to listen to their favorite counterculture band, dress according to the current counterculture fashion, and will be more than happy to tell you about their favorite movie or television show.

No one in the US is out of the system they claim to hate.

I think this complaint is born of angst or ennui, not understanding the purpose of life, or unable to enjoy the simple pleasure of existence, but that’s another issue.

To try to yank this back on topic, we want to enjoy our lives, and life, in general and for the most part, is improving.

On one level, there is no exploitation.

On another level, yes, you might buy a product with expectations that aren’t met, or with a belief in resale value that doesn’t come to fruition because of some hidden aspects, or at a price that gives the seller a bigger profit than you think is fair.

But really, there is no exploitation in a free market system.

This next point is basic economic philosophy, but I think it isn’t stated openly and clearly enough: in a free market system, an exchange can only happen if both sides think they are getting a good deal.

I only by the TV if I think the TV is more valuable than the money in my account (which represents hours of life worked).  The salesman only sells the TV if he thinks the money in my account is more valuable than TV (which represents the hours worked of all the people in the manufacturing and sales/marketing chain).

It might have only cost $10 to make, but if I value it more than the $500 in my pocket, then $500 is a good price.

Another aspect to trade that I had to learn (sometimes painfully) through my guitar obsession is:

The actual value of an item is approximately/vaguely whatever price I’m willing to sell at, in combination with whatever price someone else is willing to buy it at.

So if I want to buy a guitar, and I bid $700, and other bids push it up to a winning bid of $500, then it is worth $500, no matter what I’m willing to pay, and no matter what the seller thinks it is worth.

If I get tired of the guitar and decide to sell it, and after a round of bidding (or after weeks on the market) the highest bid/offer I get is $300, then that means the market changed between the time I bought it and the time I sold it.

Maybe the guy who thought it was worth no more than $499 lost hope and no longer wants the guitar, and the next-most enthusiastic buyer thinks it is worth $300.  Maybe a new guitar came out with all the same good points, but due to economies of scale, is being sold for only $325, undercutting the value of the one I bought.

You don’t know.

All you know is the value of an item is dependent on what both sides are willing to agree on at that moment.

And that’s what makes international trade so difficult.  Because right now, US corporations are willing to buy all sorts of stuff from China at low prices, even though China uses those business partnerships to steal technology that it will then use to undersell their current partners.

Insert some quote by a Marxist about how capitalists are stupid enough to sell you the rope you will use to hang them.

The United States (like much of the rest of the Western World) has allowed itself to become dependent on Chinese manufacturing, allowing our own industries to atrophy. Whether correctly or not, President Trump is trying to reinvigorate our domestic manufacturing capability. Because while China is not exploiting anything but our own willingness, China is explicitly not doing it for own benefit.

That is not the fault of the Free Trade system, but it is a risk that the US should consider and discuss more often.

The article above about the problems of over-reliance on China? It mainly exposes that we are complacent. The same warning was given five years earlier, and nothing was done.  I’m sure there were earlier warnings, but I just thought it interesting that the earlier warning was in the same publication. Self-serving, yes, but that doesn’t make it wrong.

Second Amendment Rights and the Police

  • by Gitabushi

Life might not revolve around the gathering of soapboxes, but it seems *my* life is.

Here’s a new one:

The displayed general attitude of police departments is incompatible with the lawful exercise of Second Amendment rights.  Police departments must review their policy and training to correct this, or judicial rulings that support Second Amendment rights will be nullified for most US citizens.

This thought process was in reaction to seeing this news item:

There are more details here.

Here’s a summary:  The victim was 61 years old. He had 33 guns. For 61 years of his life, he hadn’t shot anyone.  A family member makes a complaint, the police arrive at an unusual and threatening time (I would feel threatened by policy coming that early in the morning), the man and the police struggle for control of his gun, the gun goes off, no one is hurt, and then they shoot him to death.

What bothers me is that put another way, the police precipitated a crisis and solved it by shooting a citizen in his own home.

We don’t know if the Red Flag order was justified. It was approved by a judge, obviously. But many judges, particularly in locations with higher population density, have the typical Progressive hatred of civilian gun ownership.  Was the man notified of the Red Flag order?  Did he have the opportunity to respond and defend himself?  The article doesn’t say.

I can easily imagine this scenario as a variation of SWATting. I can easily imagine myself being a victim of this.  I am not a violent person, and am no danger to myself or anyone else with my firearms that I tragically lost in a boating accident. If someone complained about my ownership of guns that were tragically lost in a boating accident, and the police were given a Red Flag order to come and seize my guns, and they did it at just past 5am, I would not willingly surrender my guns at that moment, either.  And it would be easy for the police to then shoot me for my intransigence, and face relatively mild repercussions.

Because this is part of a trend we are seeing: the police don’t like armed civilians; when they arrive on a scene, they want to be the only ones armed, and they will kill people if it doesn’t happen on their timeline.

Which results in the death of someone who should have been lauded as a true hero.

He was the “Good Guy with a Gun” that conservatives insist justify widespread exercise of Second Amendment rights.  He’s the guy conservatives want to see more of…but police don’t.

Again, I can imagine myself in this situation.  If I were the Good Guy with the Gun, and I apprehended a bad guy with a gun, and held him at gunpoint, and the police arrived…I would be hyped up on adrenaline.  I might need a few minutes to comprehend orders to disarm. Being yelled at by people who are pointing guns at me might make it harder for me to calm down and listen to what is being said.

From the police perspective, you don’t know who is the Bad Guy, and who is the Good Guy. You arrive and find someone with a gun kneeling on a guy’s back.  Is this a hostage situation?  Do you need to get him disarmed before he shoots the guy he’s kneeling on? The police reaction is to take control of the situation, and to do so forcefully: yelling, guns aimed, fingers on triggers. When you have the guy in control you throw him to the ground,  you push the arms to the point of pain, you cuff as tightly as possible.  Because if you take more time, do it carefully, be gentle, etc., you give the guy more opportunity to fight back, perhaps stab you, maybe shoot you.

I understand this.

If that were all of it, I might be over-reacting.  But police will apparently kill you just for not following orders.

Heck, the police will kill you even if you do follow orders.  Or at least try:

All that being said, I’m a supporter of the police. I think they have a terrifying, difficult, and terrifyingly difficult job.  Anyone can decide to shoot you at any time, even if you are trying to help protect them. You can die at routine traffic stops in any number of ways. You can be killed just sitting in your patrol car.  You try to uphold the law, keep the peace, and protect people, and are rewarded with hatred and widespread revulsion.

So I am not asking the police to adopt Rules of Engagement that make them sacrificial lambs.  Police should not have to sacrifice their lives.  Their lives are not worth less than anyone else’s.

On the other hand, their lives are also not worth more than anyone else’s, either.

Even though the examples of police shooting victims I provided are predominantly black, I don’t think police are inherently racist.  I think police interact mostly with criminals and people who resent them, and it results in a general dislike, disdain, and distrust of citizens.  Police only trust themselves.  They have justification to do so, but we shouldn’t allow that attitude to remain anymore.

The point is: over the last few decades, legal recognition of the lawful exercise of Second Amendment rights is expanding and increasing.

Here’s the development, in graphic form:

CONCEALED-CARRY-Concealed-Carry-Expansion-and-Violent-Crime-Rates

Honestly, I don’t get how the nearly-flat purple line can claim 59% reduction, nor the nearly-flat green line can claim a 45% reduction.  There may be some games being played with poor chart design.  Moreover, correlation is not causation…there could be other reasons for the reduction in crime, not necessarily guns.  But at the very least, the increase in concealed carry has not increased crime, or wrongful death, much less murder.

The thing is, the police cannot protect you.   Multiple judicial rulings have made it clear that the police are actually not responsible for your protection.  The police are there to draw the white chalk line around the body, and bring the perpetrator to justice at some point in the next 10 years or so. If then.

In contrast, there are at least 2 *million* defensive gun uses annually.  This is the number the CDC found, and decided not to publish.  You can conclude why they decided not to punish it on your own, but I’ll probably go to my grave believing it was because it contradicted the Progressive narrative.

As such, the lawful exercise of Second Amendment rights is the *best* way to protect the innocent. All people should be able to exercise that right, not just the affluent, not just the people who live in easy-to-police areas.

This is a reality the police need to face: they will not always be the only people armed on the scene, and they *cannot* always be the only people armed on the scene, and that fact should not be a death sentence.

My original intent was to mainly just republish my tweet thread on this topic (hailed as one of the most even-handed and objective looks at this issue by the wife of a police officer!), but as I wrote the intro, I realized I could, and wanted to, organize it slightly differently.

If you are interested, you can read the original thread here:

I fully recognize that there are many aspects to my argument than can be argued.  Taken individually, each officer could probably explain why they thought the shooting was justified…probably in most cases, from fear of their lives in an uncertain situation.

The thing is, the police made mistakes in each of the situations, and those mistakes resulted in the wrongful death of a citizen. If I made a mistake that resulted in someone else’s death, I would have to defend myself.  There would be no powerful union arguing on my behalf, no respected institution circling the wagons in my defense.  I know it sucks to be a police officer, but officers who make mistakes must face consequences for their mistakes.

Let them face juries.  Let the legal process do its job. Don’t shield them from mistakes.

But most of all, review and update training, policy, and culture to recognize that there is widespread gun ownership, and that it is expanding, and that this is a good thing.

Final thought: police can really do nothing about high-crime areas.  The only way there will ever be any real improvement is citizens of high crime areas feel comfortable in owning firearms to protect themselves, to make the threat circumstances worse for those intent on crime.

The police have to allow this.  If they do so, they will face a reduced threat environment, and resentment and hatred of police will reduce, and they will be able to safely patrol more neighborhoods.

There is a win-win scenario here.

 

 

 

Capitalism Makes Everything Better

– by Gitabushi

Dairy Queen has a lunch basket for $4, $5, or $6 that includes 3, 4, or 5 chicken strips, fries, gravy, drink, and a sundae.

McDonald’s has a $5 meal deal, too, I think.

woman in brown classic trench coat eating mcdo fries during daytime
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

Subway’s franchise owners are complaining that the $5 footlong sandwich is hurting their ability to make money.

pizza on table
Photo by Fancycrave.com on Pexels.com

The prices might be slightly higher in high-cost areas like New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, or Hawaii.  But these are prices in DC, which is very nearly as high in cost of living (housing, at least, isn’t far off Hawaii pricing).

Everyone accepts this as normal.  It isn’t.

I can buy a full album of music for $10.  Maybe less. It depends on the album, the artist, how famous they are, etc.

Everyone accepts this as normal.  It isn’t.

Everything gets more expensive over time.  Inflation is a reality of life. Everyone wants to make more money than they did last year, and so they get raises, but property values also go up, taxes go up, the cost of goods go up.

Here is where I talk about how candy bars used to cost $.25 when I was a kid (with a digression of how we don’t have a “cents symbol” key on computers anymore).

Everything gets more expensive. Everything.

Except there are significant exceptions in electronics.  And food.  And entertainment.

Why?

Capitalism.

Human nature is human nature.  People will always be selfish, greedy, and corrupt.  Capitalism actually harnesses those urges to make things better.  If you sell something, and want to make more money than you are now, you can slip the local government some cash to help hamstring your competition….but the more successful you are in selling with their help, the more they will demand to keep helping you.   Corruption may work, but it also holds hostage everything you gain from it.  So a better choice is to figure out how to do things better to cut costs.  Which puts pressure on your competition to cut their costs.  Which probably encourages you and them to pressure your supply chain to give you cheaper resources, which gives them incentive to cut *their* costs.

Okay, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you know all this. What’s my point?

I don’t think most people realize what an incredible miracle Capitalism really is. Most people haven’t been alive long enough to see how prices change. Of those who have been, I’m going to assert that most don’t really think about it, or if they do, just complain about how cheap things were when they were a kid.

I’ve always paid attention to inflation. I don’t know why.

When I was a kid, the big soft drink was the 12-ounce can.  It cost a quarter. It stayed that way for several years. Then over the course of about two years, the price rose to $.50 a can, and it stayed that way for at least a decade, even as 16 oz and 20 oz drinks were introduced. The $.99 16-ounce, and then 20-ounce drink became the standard.  Now it’s just under $2 in most places, just above $2 in places taking advantage of convenience. Except that they will often have specials where you can get large cans of cheap soft drinks (like some overly sweetened tea or something) for $.99.

When I was a teen, if you wanted to call a friend out of town, you had to call long distance. It cost quite a bit.  I would wait until after 9pm so it would be $.35/minute. Then the government broke up Ma Bell, and very quickly, the cost became $.10/minute, although you had to sign a contract or do other things to get that as a discounted rate.  And it stayed that way for a few years. Then $.05/minute.  Then cell-phones came in, and you paid for how many minutes you used each month, with an up-charge for long distance.

And then, long distance charges disappeared.  And voice call limits evaporated into thin air.

What I’m trying to give a sense of is how it progressed unevenly.  We hit plateaus of prices.  Then there would be a big change.

When I was a kid, they didn’t have meal combos. You went into a fast food restaurant and ordered a la carte.  The drink was one of the more expensive items on the menu. The largest was probably a 20-ounce drink.  As a la carte prices rose over time, suddenly meal deals appeared. They started at $3 when I was in high school. By the time I finished college, they hit $5. And stuck there for decades.  Along the way, drink sizes rose to the point that in some fast food places, the *smallest* you can get is 32 ounces. And now, many meal combos are $7 or $8, and that’s understandable.  But there are enough places and options offering $5 meal deals that it is worthy of note.

They may be loss leaders. In some cases, they may be harming profitability of franchise shops.  But while everything has more than doubled in price over the last 30 years, it is still possible to eat a filling, nutritious meal for the same price as back in 1988.  Competition, and cost-cutting moves like economy of scale, still make it possible for sellers in multiple industries to make good money and live well despite prices roughly similar to 30 years ago. Or cheaper.  This is insanely successful.

As I’m fond of saying, the United States is probably the first nation in history where poverty is marked by obesity, rather than starvation.

Now compare to what has happened in every socialist nation in history.  Yes, yes, true socialism has never been tried. Well, it has never been tried because it *can’t* be tried. The selfishness, laziness, and corruption that has always prevented True Socialism will always prevent True Socialism. It can’t be avoided. As those human foibles are incompatible with Socialism, humans are incompatible with Socialism.

But Capitalism harnesses those weaknesses and conditionally turns them into strengths.

I’ve been writing about Socialism more often than probably should be necessary.  I know I’m preaching to the choir in most cases.  But there are two reasons I’m doing it. First, I follow two speculative fiction authors on Twitter who are committed Socialists.  I can’t just go berate them, because of respect for celebrity and success.  They have no reason to listen to me, and would block me if I just got derisive and dismissive.  So I feel like I have to craft my arguments carefully so that I can make dispassionate, reasonable arguments against their views, and then pick my moments.  I know I probably won’t convert them, but it is a worthwhile challenge.  Talking through my musings here helps prepare me to take the battle to them, calmly and respectably, when opportunity arises.

The other reason this is important, though, is because Democrats are moving more Left, and Socialism is becoming their openly stated goal. Nationalized Health Care, higher taxes, Bernie Sanders defeating Hillary in the 2016 Dem primary (but losing only cuz Hillary cheated), the popularity of Democrat Socialist Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez…

We need to be better prepared.  We have to marshal our arguments and take it to the kids.  And I hope my writings help you in this, to some extent.

Yesterday, I had a notion that is growing more attractive to me: There is no such thing as an economic system.  There are only political systems that can be combined in different ways.

What is an economic system? What is an economy?  An economy is just people exchanging goods, services, and markers of value.  So an economic system is the rules that govern how people exchange these things.  And what do we call the framework which determines how these exchanges are governed?  Political systems.

The Socialist author who engages me often is very congenial. We haven’t actually devolved to an argument even once. He recognizes that Socialism hasn’t worked, but explains it with a variation of the “True Socialism” argument.  His point is that due to human weaknesses, authoritarianism creeps into the Socialism and destroys it. He posits that we’ll have non-authoritarian socialism when we achieve true Post-Scarcity. My counter-arguments are:

  1. Post-Scarcity isn’t a threshold you cross. It is a gradual spectrum, and our food prices indicate we are already in post-scarcity. Moreover, there are two reality shows that prove we are already ridden with post-scarcity problems: My 600-lb life and Hoarders.
  2. Because of the problems of laziness and over-consumption, Socialism will still inevitably display authoritarianism
  3. Wealth is energy. We won’t have total post-scarcity until we have unlimited free energy, and Socialism, with its focus on giving people fish every day instead of teaching people to fish, siphons away resources needed for us to achieve unlimited free energy

Point Two is restating my point that there are no economic systems, only political systems that govern the way we interact for exchanging value.

So what Capitalism is, is a system where the government does not, in principle, pay attention to your exchanges of value.  It can’t ever achieve that purity of principle, because people are lazy, corrupt, and selfish.

But it goes back to the political view of people and value.  Socialism believes that mankind can be perfected, and that if all the negative influences are eliminated (through pervasive education when young, execution when adult), people will live effortlessly according to the socialist rules of value production and exchange.  Capitalism believes that mankind can never be perfected, and that best you can do is establish incentives so most people have reason to interact with honesty and honor, and establish penalties for those who don’t.

I could keep musing on this for hours.

One of the follow-on thoughts I’m caught in the grip of considering is how the US Constitution set up checks and balances to minimize corruption and fraud, but how zero-sum power games crept in via Wilsonian Progressivism, and now wealth masses are big enough to swamp the whole system if we don’t start making some changes.  So what changes can be made to our political system to add more checks/balances to discourage vote fraud, nationalizing of local elections, and the socio-economic version of regulatory capture?

I think we can improve on the original US Constitution. Not by replacing or amending it with new/different goals, but by extending the checks, balances, and decentralization of power beyond just federal government, yet without impacting inherent freedom.  More thought is needed.

Also, I will soon write an article on how wealth/income inequality is actually a sign of societal wealth, of economic health.

What thoughts did this overlong piece stimulate?