Category Archives: Social Commentary

The Life Of Julia

Part of the overwhelming feeling of relief after the election was that it offered an opportunity to escape from it, something that I had feared was lost, and would have been under continued Democrat rule:

In a state in which central planners call the shots, we are less and less free to choose. Individual enterprise becomes desperately unrewarding, or even illegal. Freedom fades, and bureaucratic dictates supplant the information and incentives that are part of free markets. Economic growth declines, and people fight over access to the favors of the state elite and their bureaucratic retinue, the overlords who decide who gets what slice of the shrinking vegetarian meatloaf.

That’s the real life of Julia, the direction in which the country has been heading for too many years now, while Obama has scolded Americans that whatever they earn, or achieve, or invent, belongs — cradle-to-grave — to someone else: “You didn’t build that.”

To watch America in recent years spiraling down into the life of Julia has been excruciating. This is a country made great not by conquest, or constraints, or cross-subsidies, but by freedom and free enterprise. Long before the welfare state offered free amenities (courtesy of American taxpayers), it was freedom that drew people to America, and fueled the melting pot — the real form of “inclusivity” — once they arrived. Our true iconic figures — if you plumb the American spirit — are not Julia and Pajama Boy, but sharpshooter Annie Oakley and that out-sized folklore lumberjack of the Western frontier, Paul Bunyan. This is the country that led the way to victory in World War II, and during the Cold War stood — and in some places fought — as a bulwark of freedom.

And here’s what the real Life of Julia would be under government “care.”

And a reminder: if you want to know what “single payer” health care would look like, you need look no further than the VA:

Nearly 600 veterans could have been infected with HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C at a Veterans Affairs facility in Tomah, Wis. because a dentist didn’t properly clean his instruments.

The Tomah VA is investigating the dentist, who has not been fired but was removed from patient care.

No accountability.

Buzzfeed

Jon Gabriel gives it a taste of it’s own social-justice medicine. Pretty funny.

Isn’t the notion that homosexual behavior is a sin a pretty mainstream Christian belief?

[Update a while later]

[Late-afternoon update]

[Friday-morning update]

Buzzfeed has provided helpful instructions as to what to do with their “Fixer Upper” article.

Millennials’ Political Views

don’t make any sense:

Young people support big government, unless it costs any more money. They’re for smaller government, unless budget cuts scratch a program they’ve heard of. They’d like Washington to fix everything, just so long as it doesn’t run anything.

Hardly surprising, considering that they were “educated” in a government-school system, and then went to colleges infested with mindless leftist professors. And I hate that the pollsters say they’re more “liberal” than older people. No, they’re more leftist.

Che

I know what I’m going to get my college-age niece for Christmas.

Che Is A Douche Shirt

[Update a couple minutes later]

Fidel Castro dies, Justin Troudeau hardest hit:

And so, from far-off Antananarivo, Madagascar, where he was attending the 80-government gathering of La Francophonie, Trudeau’s lament for the last of the Cold War dictators ended up confirming every wicked caricature of his own vacuity and every lampoon of the Trudeau government’s foreign-policy lack of seriousness.

Twitter lit up with hilarious mockeries under the hashtag #trudeaueulogies. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio wanted to know whether Trudeau’s statement came from a parody account. The impeccably liberal Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic magazine, called Trudeau’s praise of Castro “a sad statement for the leader of a democracy to make.”

Whether or not Trudeau saw any of this coming, he didn’t appear to notice that he was delivering a speech to La Francophonie delegates in Madagascar that emphasized justice for lesbian, gay and transgender people, while from the other side of his mouth he was praising the legacy of a caudillo who spent the first decade of his rule rounding up gay people for “re-education” in labour camps. Homosexuals were irredeemably bourgeois maricones and agents of imperialism, Castro once explained.

To be perfectly fair, Trudeau did allow that Castro was a “controversial figure,” and nothing in his remarks was as explicit as the minor classic in the genre of dictator-worship that his brother Alexandre composed for the Toronto Star 10 years ago. Alexandre described Castro as “something of a superman. . . an expert on genetics, on automobile combustion engines, on stock markets. On everything.” As for the Cuban people: “They do occasionally complain, often as an adolescent might complain about a too strict and demanding father.”

This kind of Disco Generation stupidity about Castro has been commonplace in establishment circles in Canada since Pierre’s time, and neither Alexandre’s gringo-splaining nor Justin’s aptitude for eulogy are sufficient to gloss over the many things Cubans have every right to complain about.

….For all the parochial Canadian susceptibility to the propaganda myth that pits a shabby-bearded rebel in olive fatigues against the imperialist American hegemon, by the time he died on Friday night Castro was one of the richest men in Latin America. Ten years ago, when he was handing the presidency to Raúl, Forbes magazine calculated that Fidel’s personal wealth was already nearly a billion dollars.

In his twilight years, Castro was enjoying himself at his gaudy 30-hectare Punto Cero estate in Havana’s suburban Jaimanitas district, or occasionally retreating to his private yacht, or to his beachside house in Cayo Piedra, or to his house at La Caleta del Rosario with its private marina, or to his duck-hunting chalet at La Deseada.

Fidel Castro was not merely the “controversial figure” of Justin Trudeau’s encomium. He was first and foremost a traitor to the Cuban revolution. On that count alone, Castro’s death should not be mourned. It should be celebrated, loudly and happily.

Indeed. I’ve found the Trudeau worship even more ridiculous than the adulation of the God Obama. I’d be profoundly embarrassed to be a Canadian.

Fidel Castro

He’s dead.

Hardest hit: Colin Kaepernick.

OK, actually, in the wake of that, NFL is hardest hit.

More substantial thoughts tomorrow.

[Update a few minutes later]

If we can lose a few more tyrants, that wouldn’t be a bad way to end the year.

[Sunday update]

Castro, Chavez, and “bad luck.”

[Monday-morning update]

A dictator dies a failure:

Lee Kwan Yew, Augusto Pinochet, Francisco Franco, Chiang Kai Shek, Park Chung-he: all of these dictators and authoritarians can mock Fidel Castro. They left their countries better off than they found them, and while many of them committed terrible crimes, they can also point to great accomplishments. Fidel has only the crimes.

Fidel never wanted “normalization” of economic relations with the United States. Normalization would mean the end of his dream. Without barriers, Cuban-Americans in Miami would buy back much of the island from its current owners, re-installing themselves as leaders in the society from which he hoped to banish them forever. Amrerican trade and American tourism would once more become the most important factors in Cuba’s economy, and American cultural and poltiical influence would flow unrestricted across the island on a tide of American media.

The openings Castro allowed, very limited in the Clinton years, wider in the Obama years, were forced on him by economic necessity. The collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s forced Castro to allow more remittances from Miami and to open up the island to more tourism to stave off a crisis at home. The collapse of Venezuela in the Obama years has once more driven Cuba to the wall. In the end, Fidel became what he hated most: a failed Latin caudillo, presiding over a corrupt and despairing society, propped up by the Catholic Church and the United States.

Nobody knew this better than Fidel Castro, and he must sometimes have cursed the fate that let him outlive not only the global socialist movement led by the Soviet Union but the regional socialist resurgence led by Venezuela. The failure of the Venezuelan revolution stripped the last shreds of credibility away from Fidel’s socialist dream. Not even a country awash in oil, facing no U.S. trade embargo, can make socialism work in Latin America. And it was the failure of Venezuela, and the loss of the economic subsidies that Chavez lavished on his mentor and inspirer Fidel Castro, that plunged Cuba back into its post-Soviet poverty and forced Fidel to remain silent as his brother Raul accepted the return of American tourists and an American ambassador to Havana.

Fidel leaves a shattered society and a desperately poor country behind him. Cuba is more divided today than it was when he conquered it; it is less able to shape its destiny than it was in 1959, and its future will likely be more closely linked to the United States after his death than before his seizure of power.

The good thing is, he died.

[Update a few minutes later]

Where’s the omelet?

As Heinlein once noted, a good cook can make a tasty meal from good ingredients, while an incompetent one can create an inedible mess from the same materials. Cuba had, and still has, great ingredients. As Will notes, Castro broke the eggs, but the meal never appeared.

[Tuesday-morning update]

Castro bet on the wrong horse, and died a failure.

Well, if you consider dying filthy rich by stealing from the people you oppressed and murdered a failure, I guess.

[Bumped]

Flag-Burning Laws

Yes, Trump’s tweet (as are many of his tweets) was stupid, but most of his critics have no ground to stand on:

I mean, pretty much the entire Democratic party supports overturning Citizens United — a case in which a filmmaker faced punishment for criticizing Hillary Clinton — so what free speech principles are they invoking now?

If it weren’t for double standards, they’d have none at all.

[Update a few minutes later]

The Democrat Party

lurches to the Left:

This contrasts with the 1990s, when a group of party activists consciously rebuilt the party to appeal to middle-class Americans. Groups like the Democratic Leadership Council — for whose think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute, I worked for several years — pushed notions of personal responsibility, welfare reform, tough crime policies and economic growth that, embraced by Bill Clinton, expanded the party’s base in the Midwest, the Appalachians and even the Southeast.

Such a shift to the middle is unlikely today. Progressives generally see Hillary Clinton’s loss as largely a rejection of her husband’s neoliberal policies and want to push the party further to the left.

This parallels developments in the United Kingdom, where, following their defeat in 2015, the Labour Party promoted a far-left figure, Jeremy Corbyn, as its leader. This was driven by grassroots progressives — deeply green, multiculturalist and openly socialist. Many, including several high up in Labour’s parliamentary party, believe the party has little chance to win under such leadership.

Democrats face a similar dilemma. Driven by their dominant academic and media “thought police,” any shift to the middle on issues like crime, climate change or regulation now seems unimaginable. Self-described progressives who now dominate the party generally adhere to a series of policies — from open borders to draconian climate change policies — that are unlikely to play well outside the coastal enclaves.

Obama’s only legacy will be the loss of the House, the Senate, dozens of statehouses and governor’s mansions, and the White House:

Whatever precise form Mr Trump’s administration takes, we know this: Mr Obama’s legacy will be purged. In many cases all it will take is the stroke of Mr Trump’s pen.

The Obama erasure will go far deeper than undoing domestic laws, or foreign deals. Mr Trump will repeal Obamacare, or alter it beyond recognition. He will “keep an open mind” about whether to pull the US out of the Paris agreement on climate change and quite probably blow up the US-Iran nuclear deal. These acts would undo Mr Obama’s most visible achievements. Less obvious ones, such as the ban on Arctic drilling and enhanced interrogation techniques and the intention of closing Guantánamo Bay (never completed) will also be consigned to the dustbin. It will be as if Mr Obama was never here.

And in most cases, that will be a good thing. Live by the pen and the phone, die by the pen and the phone. And I hope that Nancy Pelosi survives as the minority “leader.” It will simply continue the historically racist party’s decline.