Biden’s Bogus Chinese Bogeyman: America Should Kowtow Now

The focus has shifted from the typical initial totally perverse justifications for the current unprecedented (historic) spending plans, e.g., to “stimulate GDP” (a measure of spending) and “create jobs” (work is what we do to consume, not an end in itself) to meeting and defeating the threat posed by China’s expanding economic and military might. This is precisely the policy the Chinese would have demanded of their Manchurian candidate in return for their billion dollar Air Force 2 Hunter Biden “investment.”

America’s real casus belli (Thucydides provided three in 400 BC, fear, honor and interest) is part fear but mostly economic interest. China after a seven century hiatus is once again a rising imperial power following a traditional mercantilist approach of accumulating wealth through trade, simultaneously accumulating and investing in gold and a global belt and road trading system while restoring lost honor.

Why War?

Foreign policy, totally ignored during the 2020 Presidential election, is now front and center, with the Biden Administration, which initially kowtowed, now beating the war drums louder than did the Trump Administration. War is a continuation of politics by other means, and the politics among nations generally reflects their imperial interests. America’s Founding Fathers may have been libertarian theoreticians, but their complaints against the King related to the right to exploit America’s vacant land and resources. England may be “an island of coal surrounded by fish,” but the Admiralty of the Navy Winston Churchill recognized that England’s control of the seas required conversion to oil and that required control of the Middle East. The landscape had barely begun to recover from the Great War “to end all wars” when the same parties rearmed for the rematch.

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Some Random Unscientific Observations About Covid

The press is in full ramp up mode to sell ads and clicks with the new and improved delta variant of the commie crud (copyright Sgt. Mom on that term). Many localities are making people bring out the masks again. Here in beautiful Dane County, Wisconsin we have as of yesterday a “recommendation” that everyone wear a mask in a public place. Naturally, this is the first step to a new mandate. Same thing in Chicago and IL.

While cases are up here, hospitalizations, the key metric to me, are flat. From the Dane County commie crud dashboard, you can see that hospitalizations (as of this writing) sit at 23 people. It has been around there for many months now – sometimes under 20, sometimes it gets up to around 25. I check every day.

We have had one death due to covid in Dane county in the last two months. For those number geeks like me, that is eighteen ten thousandths of the population of Dane County that have died due to covid this Summer (so far).

If people aren’t in the hospital, why is everyone getting tested and causing the positivity rate to move up? All of the local big testing centers closed long ago. The only thing I can imagine is that people who are in for other things like a physical, or a knee replacement or something else are getting covid tested and coming up positive. And that would prove that most people, as many have been saying all along, are going to be just fine, even if they get the commie crud.

I decided to look at some stats for Los Angeles county to see what all the hubbub was about. Around eight hundred as of this writing are hospitalized with commie crud. Sounds like a lot, but still below the 14 day average. And far below January when there were 8,000 people in the hospital. Four people died yesterday, which is one one millionth of one percent of the population. I’m fairly certain that covid accounted for fewer deaths than traffic, crime, overdose, or any of a number of other ways to die in LA. So this is the deadly delta variant? Color me unimpressed.

And remember that a lot of these stats are probably wrongly recorded, as the old saying goes people dying with covid vs. from covid. But the data is the data. And still, (even with the cooked books) the number of people, for all of the yelling and screaming, that seem to be affected seems ridiculously low.

Keep calm and carry on.

To Vax or Not To Vax…

That is indeed the question, and against all urging and advice, a fair number of Americans are saying ‘not’; for valid and wholly understandable reasons, after having made a carefully considered decision. Such be the case of the Daughter Unit and I. The Daughter Unit spent most of last year being pregnant and did not want to risk anything that would possibly damage Wee Jamie in utero. Her medical team did not do anything more than make a pro forma suggestion; that they did not mention it after she declined likely hints at their own doubts about the safety. We both had to get yearly flu shots when we were on active military duty, and honestly, I would routinely get sicker from the shot than I usually did from the flu itself. Towards the end of my active-duty time there was a great push to get all active duty to be vaccinated against anthrax, and I was in two minds over having to get that vaccine, before my retirement rendered the point moot. I remembered very well how so many of those deployed for the first Gulf War later developed serious health problems, problems that it was speculated, might have been because of the array of vaccinations they were given, in combination with exposure to various environmental hazards and contaminants. (I’ve always thought that the Gulf War Syndrome was a kind of multiple chemical sensitivity/allergy, caused by exposure to a range of triggering compounds or combinations, to which some people were more vulnerable than others. Not a medical or sciency-person; just my own opinion from what I have read and knowing veterans who were affected by deployment in that war. But that’s a whole ‘nother rabbit hole.) To get to the point, it was not entirely unknown for reluctant military personnel to be ordered to take vaccines, over their own doubts and objections.

Just this week, the Daughter Unit received a form letter from the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs, addressed to Dear Veteran:

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Quote of the Day

The Antiplanner:

Despite continued and growing preferences for single-family homes, a web search for “single-family zoning” reveals enormous animosity to such housing. Like the animosity to the automobile, this comes from a minority of people who refuse to recognize that Americans not only want but are better off in single-family homes and automobiles.
 
People should be allowed to choose to live in single-family or multifamily homes based on the actual costs of such housing, not costs that are artificially inflated by planning regulations. People should also be allowed to choose to live in single-family neighborhoods, protected by either deed restrictions or zoning, if they prefer such neighborhoods. Free-market advocates who want to “restore property rights” by abolishing single-family zoning are falling into a trap set for them by the central planners who want to ignore people’s preferences and cram more families into multifamily housing.

Hedgehogs, Ideologues, and the ‘Woke’

Lance Morrow, writing at The Wall Street Journal, referenced a line by the ancient Greek poet Archilochus:  “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”  In a 1953 book, philosopher Isaiah Berlin suggested that the world is divided between hedgehogs and foxes—between those who believe in One Big Thing (one all-sufficient super-explanation), and those who are content with a more modest, irrational and even incoherent idea of history’s unfolding.

Morrow asserts that “The world’s hedgehog population tends to expand in times of stress and change. Lately it has exploded in the U.S. Hedgehogs are thick on the ground, all of them advancing One Big Thing or another—each peering through the lens of a particular obsession. At the moment, the biggest One Big Thing is race—the key, it seems, to all of America, to the innermost meanings of the country and its history.”  He asserts that Biden has gone full hedgehog: “President Biden, who spent almost 40 years following the ways of an amiable political fox in the Senate—exchanging pleasantries and now and then doing legislative business with Confederate mossbacks like Strom Thurmond and James Eastland —has, in his old age, signed on with the monomaniacs of the left.”  Apologies to the actual foxes for lumping them in with Joe Biden, even Biden of the past, but the point is a good one.

A letter in today’s WSJ suggests that “perhaps more should be said about where the creature (the hedgehog) has made his lair: the social-science and humanities departments of academia.”  The writer continues:  “As a student, I was a hedgehog. If you are curious about revolutions, all you need to do is read my 1966 master’s thesis: “Asceticism as a Form of Revolutionary Behavior.”  But I had to leave the campus and earn a living. I had to abandon the heady “truth” for the crazy quilt of unrelated, changing and sometimes contradictory truths. I became a fox.”

Hedgehog>>>fox is, a think, a common pattern of human development with age and experience.  Biden’s movement in the other direction is an exception.

The original article and the letter reminded me of a few things:

–Writer Andre Maurois asserted that those who are intelligent, but not in any way creative, tend to be eager adopters of intellectual systems created by others and to apply those systems more vigorously (rigorously?) than the creators of those systems would have.  Reasonably intelligent but not creative is, I think, a fair description of many denizens of academia–probably inevitably so, given the vast expansion of the university archipelago over recent decades.

–C S Lewis, in The Abolition of Man, describes a schoolbook whose authors, while representing their book as an English literature text, actually use it to propagate what seems to be a 1940s version of deconstruction.  Lewis notes that “literary criticism is difficult, and what (these authors) actually do is very much easier.”  It’s a valuable insight, I think.  Hedgehog theories spare one a whole lot of work in dealing with the specifics of a subject.  Becoming an acolyte of some all-encompassing theory can spare you from the effort of learning about anything else.

For example: if everything is about (let’s say) power relationships–all literature, all history, all science, even all mathematics–you don’t need to actually learn much about medieval poetry, or about the Second Law of Thermodynamics, or about isolationism in the 1930s. You can look smugly down on those poor drudges who do study such things, while enjoying “that intellectual sweep of comprehension known only to adolescents, psychopaths and college professors” (the phrase is from Andrew Klavan’s unusual novel True Crime.)  And at the K-12 level, teaching ‘woke’ math to 10th graders is surely easier than teaching them actual algebra, and similarly for other subjects. Laziness–intellectual laziness and just plain laziness–likely plays a significant role here.

–Arthur Koestler, himself a former Communist, described the nature of intellectually closed systems:

A closed system has three peculiarities. Firstly, it claims to represent a truth of universal validity, capable of explaining all phenomena, and to have a cure for all that ails man. In the second place, it is a system which cannot be refuted by evidence, because all potentially damaging data are automatically processed and reinterpreted to make them fit the expected pattern. The processing is done by sophisticated methods of casuistry, centered on axioms of great emotive power, and indifferent to the rules of common logic; it is a kind of Wonderland croquet, played with mobile hoops. In the third place, it is a system which invalidates criticism by shifting the argument to the subjective motivation of the critic, and deducing his motivation from the axioms of the system itself. The orthodox Freudian school in its early stages approximated a closed system; if you argued that for such and such reasons you doubted the existence of the so-called castration complex, the Freudian’s prompt answer was that your argument betrayed an unconscious resistance indicating that you ourself have a castration complex; you were caught in a vicious circle. Similarly, if you argued with a Stalinist that to make a pact with Hitler was not a nice thing to do he would explain that your bourgeois class-consciousness made you unable to understand the dialectics of history…In short, the closed system excludes the possibility of objective argument by two related proceedings: (a) facts are deprived of their value as evidence by scholastic processing; (b) objections are invalidated by shifting the argument to the personal motive behind the objection. This procedure is legitimate according to the closed system’s rules of the game which, however absurd they seem to the outsider, have a great coherence and inner consistency.

The atmosphere inside the closed system is highly charged; it is an emotional hothouse…The trained, “closed-minded” theologian, psychoanalyst, or Marxist can at any time make mincemeat of his “open-minded” adversary and thus prove the superiority of his system to the world and to himself.

Hedgehog tend to live in a mental world which is intellectually closed; information that may challenge the axioms on which the hedgehog centers his worldview are an emotional threat, and must be disregarded or ‘proved’ to be invalid.  Hence the ’emotional hothouse’ characteristic, which seems to apply very well to aggregations of the ‘Woke’.

Your thoughts?