October 25, 2013
A eulogy for Mr Climate Change...
...Despite a string of events that would have broken a lesser man, he continued to face the world with an unparalleled hope and optimism that nothing could stop him. Einstein once said "there are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." The latter certainly defined Climate Change. He believed nothing could prove him wrong, and he radiated a Machiavellian-like passion that inspired a wave of second-rate postdocs and government researchers to use the magic of politics, in a strange twist, to transform alchemy into a respected science that would let them to taste fame and fortune beyond their wildest expectations.
However, even with all his fame, Climate Change was never a rich man. He did not have money to give to the world's poor and suffering, nor was he ever able to convince his mother to use her riches to help anyone other than herself. This particularly weighed on him given all the heat waves and snow storms, droughts and floods, and all manner of pestilence that had been falsely attributed to him now and into the future. Nonetheless, he had an uncanny way of inspiring a sort of assisted generosity in his fellow man. Countless billions of our hard earned dollars have been given in his name. For this more than anything else, I'm sure he will be missed by real friends.
His seemingly sudden death has come as a surprise to many, but Climate Change had been in poor health for some time. His close friends were in a deep denial, most of those in the media were too distraught to bring themselves to report it; and, despite his ever worsening condition, Climate Change never grumbled or complained about his sometimes obvious discomfort, a rare virtue in any man. Hopefully his friends can find it in them to be as strong. Let us honor Climate Change's brave struggle by letting him go silently into the night. Rest in peace.
October 20, 2013
Suppose your "core premise" is a steaming pile of manure?
...For Obama and the Democrats who've stood behind Obamacare during four years of relentless attacks from Republicans -- including a face-off that led to a 16-day government shutdown and a threat of U.S. default -- failure of this magnitude would discredit a core premise of this presidency, that government can do big things to improve Americans' lives....
It's not just the core premise of this presidency, it's the premise of the entire Democrat party, plus a lot of "establishment Republicans." It's pure Industrial Age thinking, and it should have been dragged into the weeds and shot decades ago.
The simple fact is, that in the Information Age everything moves too fast, changes too frequently, for government regulation and control to work. By the time bureaucrats decide what a problem is and how it should be addressed, the world has moved on and it's all out-of-date. Like the big government anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft for squooshing Netscape and other companies. Five years later the government was ready to go to court... but Netscape by then was utterly forgotten, and Microsoft was already starting to look like a lumbering dinosaur. (And by the time government is ready to subsidize Microsoft to preserve jobs in Redmond, the situation will have changed again.)
October 11, 2013
Good example of muddled thinking...
...I suggested in a column nearly a year ago, right before election day, that whomever was elected president needed to establish a Domestic Peace Accord and initiate a Camp David summit (as we have done in the past related to the Middle East) of leaders from all walks of life to bridge the divides that exist in this country, and create a new vision for our country.
If we talked to each other more, let go of the old mantras and institutions, we could create a more peaceful and compassionate society. President Obama is a good man, but he along with Republican and Democratic leaders seem trapped in an old language and a desire to make decrepit and broken institutions respond inefficiently to new problems....
This could be described as: "We've lost our way so we should all get together and talk and decide what to do." But in fact we've "lost our way" in the sense that we no longer agree on what the "way" is. There is zero possibility any of us could "create a new vision for our country." A "vision" is something you "see." You see the thing you are trying to get to. It's a picture of a goal.
But you can't just invent such a thing. Or rather, you can invent them easily, but other people can invent their own, and there is no objective way to choose. It's precisely the same problem we see when liberals (and libertarians) claim they can "create" a system of morality. So can I, so can any man. Such a thing might be useful if everyone agreed upon it, but that never happens. There is no objective criteria to decide on such a thing.
The quote is liberalism in a nutshell. The deep idea of everything that gets labeled "Liberal" is that we humans can just guide ourselves. "Let go of the old mantras and institutions." So which ones? How does one decide? One can guess that the author means conservative ones, but even if he was advocating getting rid of liberal "mantras," the problem would be the same. There is no objective standard to go by.
This is a quote I saved from some discussions in my parish:
"...a one-day visioning retreat, led by an outside facilitator (crucial!), that included 50 members of the parish community from a wide-swath of ministries, leadership roles, Mass congregations, and generations. Our parish would probably need 100. Then, we spent the day briefly identifying our respective talent areas (leadership domains), thought-clouding our words and phrases for what sets our parish apart, further though-clouding what our future goals were (such as our current goals of Welcoming, Broadening AFF, Encouraging contemplative prayer, Sharing Our Stories) and then doing some initial word-smithing to articulate the mission statement and and vision statement.This is guaranteed to produce a new vision just like the old vision. You are selecting your "visioneers" from among people who are already deeply involved in the old system. So of course their vision will be "more of same, but done better."
Then, a pastor-picked committee met one week later to finish the word-smithing in adherence to the fruit and spirit of the larger group. Then, the results were shared in the bulletin, on prominent posters/banners, in ALL the homilies for two Sundays, and eventually in brief post-communion announcements for three more weeks. 5 weeks total. DONE. A new momentum in the parish had been set...
A real new vision" can only come from a visionary. And it can't be decided-upon by a committee. It's a "vision!" Something you "see," and suddenly "get." Usually a new vision can only happen if the old vision fails catastrophically. Only then are minds open to new possibilities.
WORD NOTE: The Camp David Summit, by the way, did not get Israel and Egypt together to "decide what to do." Both sides had already decided what they wanted, and the summit just finished the job. They call them "summits" because they are the top of a mountain of diplomacy.
October 6, 2013
It's like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory...
You have doubtless seen the stories about the park service closing monuments, even ones in the open air that need no staff. And spending much more money and manpower to close them than they need when open.
None of this stuff makes sense unless that you realize that 1) The Democrat Party has become government. They are not the party that advocates big government, they are the government. 2) Our government has become a cancer. Like a tumor, it only exists to feed itself, and it needs to eat ceaselessly.
The shutdown threatens its food supply, and its immediate response is to hurt us, the citizens.
...O'Connell said Wednesday he would rebel against the order to shutter after seeing World War II veterans reopen their memorial in Washington when barricades blocked the entrances. But he had backed down by the Park Service deadline to close Thursday.
"Conscience, conviction. That's about it," O'Connell said of his decision to reopen after thinking about the situation overnight. He said he would take guests for the weekend as long as the doors were able to remain open.
His family has operated the inn on the parkway about 25 miles from Asheville, N.C., for 35 years. It the only spot for many miles along the 469.1-mile mountain route to sleep or grab a meal and go to the bathroom.
A handful of guests had lunch before Park Service patrol cars blocked the driveways, turning on their orange flashing lights. Rangers turned customers away, saying the government was closed....
I suspect we are in a strange place, well past the leftist plots to gain power that we conservatives often conjecture. That can't explain the quantum weirdness of blocking the access of WWII vets in wheelchairs from an open-air monument. It's political idiocy. But if you imagine the tantrum of a greedy child if you take his candy away...