The New Culture War

It’s not about God, gays and abortion any more:

Those old battles have been eclipsed by a new struggle between two competing visions of the country’s future. In one, America will continue to be an exceptional nation organized around the principles of free enterprise — limited government, a reliance on entrepreneurship and rewards determined by market forces. In the other, America will move toward European-style statism grounded in expanding bureaucracies, a managed economy and large-scale income redistribution. These visions are not reconcilable. We must choose.

It is not at all clear which side will prevail. The forces of big government are entrenched and enjoy the full arsenal of the administration’s money and influence. Our leaders in Washington, aided by the unprecedented economic crisis of recent years and the panic it induced, have seized the moment to introduce breathtaking expansions of state power in huge swaths of the economy, from the health-care takeover to the financial regulatory bill that the Senate approved Thursday. If these forces continue to prevail, America will cease to be a free enterprise nation.

I know which side I’m on. Read the whole thing.

[Sunday afternoon update]

Yes, Virginia, there is a culture war. As noted, it’s the one that has been raging for two centuries between Rousseau and Locke. And the Rousseauians have a lot of blood on their hands.

[Bumped]

Going Paleo

Here’s an article on a retro diet.

My problem with this isn’t the diet per se (though I do like me them carbs) as the need for exercise. I read somewhere recently that there were huge health benefits to walking five miles a day. I can believe it, but who has the time? The only way I can imagine doing that is if I raised my desk and worked from a treadmill instead of a chair.

The thing that I find most irritating about the criticism (as well as in the health-care debate) is the declaration of life expectancy as a useful parameter. I don’t know what the life expectancy of paleolithic people was, but I’ll bet that diet was not a big factor in determining it. It’s important to understand that average life expectancy isn’t the age at which most people die. If it really was thirty, it was likely due to a) high infant mortality and b) a very violent lifestyle, in which the men were likely to be killed either hunting or fighting other humans, at a fairly young age. I suspect that if you manage to become an “elder” (i.e., someone in your thirties) you’d live a long time.

Uncertainty

If you want to know why more people don’t invest their own money in manned space hardware, look no further than this article:

After announcing in February that Orion and the rest of the Constellation program would be canceled in favor of outsourcing routine crew transportation to commercial operators, the White House decided in April to have NASA fund completion of a stripped-down Orion capsule that would launch to the international space station unmanned to serve as an escape craft.

Lockheed Martin, which beat Boeing and its teammate Northrop Grumman in 2006 for an Orion prime contract worth an initial $3.9 billion, welcomed the news as a partial reprieve for the project. But to Boeing, continued NASA funding of an Orion capsule that would need only a launch abort system to start launching crews would add substantial risk to a business case Schnaars said will be a struggle to close.

And why was Orion kept alive? Not because NASA really needed a lifeboat. It was to try to maintain political support for the administration in the purple state of Colorado. But this political decision could have bad consequences for the stated desire to have competition in commercial crew. And the general problem is that one of the many ways that NASA is such a bad customer is in its unpredictability. And it will always be thus with a government space program.

Reading

…is fundamental:

If they ever read the bill — or admit they do — they’ll find this sort of Yasser Arafat-like equivocation more difficult. Because it will quickly be revealed that their supposedly procedure-only quibbles are in fact objections to the substance — they oppose any methods of controlling immigration that are actually likely to work.

They support only the methods that won’t work — UAVs, “virtual fences,” other technobabble non-solutions — precisely because they won’t work, which is why they have a pass from the Open Borders lobby to support such measures.

Essentially they’re asking the bank robbers what they should do to improve vault security. The bank robbers tell them to leave the vault door open and turn off the alarms and fire the guards, and instead use “smart solutions” to guard the money, like big signs saying “Please don’t take our money.”

Fortunately, polls would indicate that the American people are on to them.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!