Rule Five Civilization Collapse Friday

Could Western civilization be on the verge of collapse?  It’s probably not imminent – but it could happen.  Excerpt:

The political economist Benjamin Friedman once compared modern Western society to a stable bicycle whose wheels are kept spinning by economic growth. Should that forward-propelling motion slow or cease, the pillars that define our society – democracy, individual liberties, social tolerance and more – would begin to teeter. Our world would become an increasingly ugly place, one defined by a scramble over limited resources and a rejection of anyone outside of our immediate group. Should we find no way to get the wheels back in motion, we’d eventually face total societal collapse.

Such collapses have occurred many times in human history, and no civilisation, no matter how seemingly great, is immune to the vulnerabilities that may lead a society to its end. Regardless of how well things are going in the present moment, the situation can always change. Putting aside species-ending events like an asteroid strike, nuclear winter or deadly pandemic, history tells us that it’s usually a plethora of factors that contribute to collapse. What are they, and which, if any, have already begun to surface? It should come as no surprise that humanity is currently on an unsustainable and uncertain path – but just how close are we to reaching the point of no return?

While it’s impossible to predict the future with certainty, mathematics, science and history can provide hints about the prospects of Western societies for long-term continuation.

The BBC article here points out the similarity of events today with the times of the fall of the Roman Republic, and that’s a fair comparison; but they (not surprisingly) get a few things wrong.  For example:

Meanwhile, a widening gap between rich and poor within those already vulnerable Western nations will push society toward further instability from the inside. “By 2050, the US and UK will have evolved into two-class societies where a small elite lives a good life and there is declining well-being for the majority,” Randers says. “What will collapse is equity.”

This widening gap in and of itself means little or nothing, except that it provides fat paydays for those in the business of promoting the politics of envy.  What matters is how that lower portion is living.  One of the things unique to Western civilization, at least the portion that still has more or less free markets, is that the it has produced the richest poor people in world history.  In the United States, for example, there is little or no abject poverty, only relative poverty.  “Poor” people in the U.S. have air conditioning, microwave ovens, cellular phones, automobiles and cable or satellite television – luxuries unheard of among the well-to-do only a generation ago.  And while this is the case, the gap between rich and poor really doesn’t matter a damn.

One more thing the BBC misses, and it’s a doozie; the BBC doesn’t mention the most virulently anti-freedom, anti-prosperity, anti-Western force afoot in the world today, that being fundamentalist Islam.

It’s amazing that the Beeb overlooks this – or maybe not, given their European location and the fact that Europe is well on its way to being assimilated into the Islamic world.   Maybe there is some self-preservation in play, although it’s more likely that it’s just run-of-the-mill political correctness.  But fundamentalist Muslims are the greatest existential threat the West faces today, especially for the slow-breeding Europeans.  Demographics, as they say, is destiny, and the destiny of ethnic Europeans appears to be to fail through apathy.

The article concludes:

“The question is, how can we manage to preserve some kind of humane world as we make our way through these changes?” Homer-Dixon says.

The biggest challenge will be dealing with the one thing – the one deadly, dangerous, civilization-destroying thing – that the BBC fails to even mention.

Absent that, Western civilization will go the way of the dodo.

Animal’s Daily Canada Trade War News, Eh

A reliable Canadian news broadcast.

President Trump may be starting a trade war with one of our neighbors – over trees.  Excerpt:

Speaking during a first of its kind meeting dedicated only to members of the U.S. conservative media, including Breitbart News, OANN and Daily Caller, President Trump told reporters to expect a 20% tariff on softwood lumber coming into Canada.

“We’re going to be putting a 20 per cent tax on softwood lumber coming in — tariff on softwood coming into the United States from Canada,”  tweeted Charlie Spiering of Breitbart Media.

Trey Yingst of OANN tweeted that according to Trump “Canada has treated us very unfairly” and also threatened a tax on Canada’s dairy industry.

According to the WSJ, Wilbur Ross said the tariff will be applied retroactively and imposed on Canadian exports to the U.S. of about $5 billion a year. He said the dispute centers on Canadian provinces that have been allegedly allowing loggers to cut down trees at reduced rates and sell them at low prices. “The determination that Canada improperly subsidizes its exports is preliminary, and the Commerce Department will need to make a final decision. In addition, the U.S. International Trade Commission will need to find that the U.S. industry has suffered injury. But even a preliminary decision has immediate real-world consequences, by discouraging importers from buying lumber from Canada.”

I’m not sure this is such a good idea.

Whenever you restrict the supply of a commodity, whether by regulation, tariff or any other method – you raise the price of that commodity.  Now, think of one thing, one product, that almost everyone needs, and think of what they are largely made of.

The answer to that:  Houses, and wood.

Raising the price of wood will raise the price of housing.  Real estate prices have always been up and down, but lately, across most the U.S., they have been up.  That’s great if you already own a home; the added equity is money in your pocket.  But if you’re a young couple starting out, it puts that first starter home a little farther out of reach.

It’s too bad we can’t deal with purveyors of bad economic policy by simply casting them adrift.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Thanks to Pirate’s Cove for the Blog of the Day pingback!

Newly-seated Justice Gorsuch may soon be seeing a Second Amendment casePeruta v. California springs from – where else?  That bottomless pit of loony that is California.  Excerpt:

At issue in Peruta v. California is a state law that says conceal-carry permits will only be issued to those persons who have demonstrated to the satisfaction of their local county sheriff that they have a “good cause” for carrying a concealed firearm in public. What counts as a “good cause?” In the words of one San Diego official, “one’s personal safety is not considered good cause.” In effect, the local sheriff has vast discretion to pick and choose who gets a permit and who doesn’t. Because the guidelines are unclear there is a severe risk of arbitrary enforcement. As one previous court ruling on the matter observed, “in California the only way that the typical responsible, law-abiding citizen can carry a weapon in public for the lawful purpose of self-defense is with a concealed-carry permit. And, in San Diego County, that option has been taken off the table.”

A constitutional challenge to this law inevitably followed. But that challenge suffered a major defeat in June 2016 when San Diego’s “good cause” requirement was upheld by a divided 11-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on the grounds that the Second Amendment offers no protection for gun owners in this area. “Because the Second Amendment does not protect in any degree the right to carry concealed firearms in public,” the 9th Circuit majority said, “any prohibition or restriction a state may choose to impose on concealed carry—including a requirement of ‘good cause,’ however defined—is necessarily allowed by the Amendment.”
In January 2017 Edward Peruta and his fellow petitioners asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and overturn that 9th Circuit ruling.

According to the Court’s docket, their petition has now been considered by the justices in private conferences held on March 24, on March 31, on April 13, and on April 21, but no decision has yet been reached. This Friday, April 28, is the next private conference on the Court’s calendar, and the justices are scheduled to consider the Peruta petition once again.

Bearing arms.

Bear in mind that the Ninth is, far and away, the most oft-overturned circuit court in the United States.  They regularly get it wrong.  They’re wrong here too, and one hopes the Supreme Court gets this right.

It’s funny how many people agree on most of the Bill of Rights, but draw a blank on the Second Amendment.  Indeed, if the political Left interpreted the Second as they do some of the other aspects of the Bill of Rights, gun ownership would be mandatory.

Still, the Left is getting more consistent, at least.  “Hate” speech is no longer due Constitutional protection.  Freedom of association is a dead letter.  The Fourth Amendment died with Kelo v. New London and a plethora of civil forfeiture laws.

Attacks on the Second Amendment are the canary in the coal mine for attacks on all liberties.  Let’s hope the Supremes show the state of Californey a thing or two.

Animal’s Daily PC Run Amok News

The New York Times, in another attempt to abandon what’s left of it’s former credibility, refuses to call a spade a spade.  Excerpt:

A top New York Times editor decided the paper shouldn’t use the term “female genital mutilation” because the phrase is too “culturally loaded” and widens a divide between the Western world and “people who follow the rite.”

Health and Science editor Celia Dugger said she came to the conclusion to refer to the act of removing the female genitalia of young girls as “genital cutting” during a trip to Africa in the 1990s. She spoke about her decision in a Times mailbag article in response to a reader’s question.

“I never minced words in describing exactly what form of cutting was involved, and there are many gradations of severity, and the terrible damage it did, and stayed away from the euphemistic circumcision, but chose to use the less culturally loaded term, genital cutting,” Dugger wrote. “There’s a gulf between the Western (and some African) advocates who campaign against the practice and the people who follow the rite, and I felt the language used widened that chasm.”

The term “female genital mutilation” has actually been used by the Times in six articles in 2017, according to a website search; however, the instances are extremely restricted. For instance, two of the mentions occur in the context of a quoted speech or statement, two were in opinion columns, one in a book review and one in the mailbag explanation of why the Times didn’t use the term. The abbreviation “FGM” appeared this year only in stories taken from wire services such as The Associated Press and Reuters.

The Daily Caller was one of the first organizations to draw attention to the Times’ practice; however, groups as ideologically opposite as the United Nations Population Fund have also written about the potential danger in referring to genital mutilation as “cutting.”

“UNFPA embraces a human rights perspective on the issue, and the term ‘female genital mutilation’ more accurately describes the practice from a human rights viewpoint,” a question-and-answer section of the UNFPA website says.

There’s no reason to worry about the delicate sensibilities of the fucking savages that carry out these atrocities on their daughters.  Mutilation is is and mutilation it will always be, and modern, right-thinking, civilized people everywhere should abhor and condemn the practice.

There is a divide between decent, civilized people and “those who follow the rite.”  There damned well better be.  We ignore such divides at our peril.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks once again to The Other McCain and Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

Moving on:  Howard Dean is a fucking idiot.  Excerpt:

Here we go again: Former Democratic National Committee chairman tweeted that “hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment.” As Dean—who once ran for president of the United States—should know, this is completely wrong.

Dean’s tweet was a response to another tweet from a former New York Times reporter who pointed out that Ann Coulter once joked about how Timothy McVeigh should have blown up The NYT instead of a federal building. Coulter is in the news because the University of California-Berkeley cancelled her planned visit to campus on grounds that administrators could not guarantee her safety—irate protesters have vowed mob violence if she speaks. The university has now reversed that decision, thankfully.

Coulter’s history of engaging in hate speech might be a reason for students not to invite her to speak. But her speech, hateful though it may be, is not illegal. The Constitution does not exempt “hate speech” from First Amendment protection.

The First Amendment is pretty damn clear.  And if freedom of expression doesn’t include the unpleasant and, yes, the hateful, then it doesn’t mean anything at all.

Especially when many on the fringe Left think hate speech is “anyone who disagrees with me.”

Freedom of expression means you have to let the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis have rallies.  It means you have to let Louis Farrakhan ramble on about mother ships and white devils.  It means you have the freedom to say and write any damn thing you please, right up to the point where you do harm to another person or infringe on another person’s right to express themselves.  Otherwise – if you only allow conversations about kittens, flowers and butterflies – there really is no freedom of expression, and the First Amendment is just meaningless blab.

Howard Dean couldn’t be more wrong.

Rule Five Failed Imperial Power Grab Friday

Thanks as always to The Other McCain for all the Rule Five links!

Andrew Sullivan is no fan of President Trump, and indeed probably voted for Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I in the last election cycle, but he isn’t one of the folks bemoaning every possible cause but the obvious one as to why she lost the election.  Excerpt:

Let us review the facts: Clinton had the backing of the entire Democratic establishment, including the president (his biggest mistake in eight years by far), and was even married to the last, popular Democratic president. As in 2008, when she managed to lose to a neophyte whose middle name was Hussein, everything was stacked in her favor. In fact, the Clintons so intimidated other potential candidates and donors, she had the nomination all but wrapped up before she even started. And yet she was so bad a candidate, she still only managed to squeak through in the primaries against an elderly, stopped-clock socialist who wasn’t even in her party, and who spent his honeymoon in the Soviet Union. She ran with a popular Democratic incumbent president in the White House in a growing economy. She had the extra allure of possibly breaking a glass ceiling that — with any other female candidate — would have been as inspiring as the election of the first black president. In the general election, she was running against a malevolent buffoon with no political experience, with a deeply divided party behind him, and whose negatives were stratospheric. She outspent him by almost two-to-one. Her convention was far more impressive than his. The demographics favored her. And yet she still managed to lose!

“But … but … but …” her deluded fans insist, “she won the popular vote!” But that’s precisely my point. Any candidate who can win the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes and still manage to lose the Electoral College by 304 to 227 is so profoundly incompetent, so miserably useless as a politician, she should be drummed out of the party under a welter of derision.

Here’s the real money quote:

And so I find myself wondering at odd times of the day and night: Why is Trump in the White House? And then I remember. Hillary Clinton put him there.

Well, partly.  Her Imperial Majesty was a horrible, horrible candidate who ran a perfectly clueless campaign.  Her entire appeal to the electorate was based on the twofold message “I have a vagina” and “it’s my turn, peasants!”  But you have to give President Trump some credit; he understood how the Electoral College works, he understood the wants and needs of a large and largely ignored voting bloc in the Upper Midwest – and he went after that voting bloc aggressively and relentlessly.

And now he’s President Trump.

I wasn’t a supporter of Trump early on; there were a host of candidates in the primaries I preferred.  But one thought that never fails to bring a smile to my face is the fact that Her Royal Highness Hillary I will never be President.

Of course, there’s another complication.  Wannabe-First Daughter-Again Chelsea Clinton-Whatever is rumored to be considering a political career.

After the 2016 election, at least 46.1% of the electorate decided they had had enough of the Clinton political dynasty.  With that election done past, it sure looked like time for Her Imperial Majesty and all her assorted kinfolk to finally fade from the political scene, ushered into obscurity by the incompetent Presidential campaign of the most deeply and fundamentally corrupt political figure since Caligula.

Let’s hope if Chelsea gives politics a shot, she flames out early and spares us another generation of self-entitled whining.

Animal’s Daily CCW News

Because you shouldn’t have to walk that far to set someone on fire.

Former New York mayor and present-day hoplophobe and generally clueless busybody Michael Bloomberg is piling in to try to stop national CCW reciprocity.  Excerpt:

Everytown for Gun Safety and its billionaire founder and funder, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have pledged to spend $25 million to prevent national concealed carry reciprocity from becoming law on Capitol Hill, to increase their gun control efforts in state capitols and to oppose pro-Second Amendment candidates in the rapidly approaching 2018 midterm elections. It’s a whole lot of astroturf.

We know the good news. We have elected a President who has pledged to respect our citizens’ right to keep and bear arms and we have a new Supreme Court associate justice who has said he will respect the Heller decision reaffirming the individual right to keep and bear arms.

As a result, gun owners may think that they can rest easy. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The true believers of the gun control movement will never rest. We have said this before, but it bears repeating. We can never let down our guard.

Underpinning so much of the gun controllers’ arguments, and this is particularly evident in their fight against national concealed carry reciprocity, is the conflation of the legal ownership of firearms with the criminal misuse of guns. It’s a dishonest astroturf tactic that appeals to a political base that has no familiarity with firearms, but it does not ring true.

Just as the gun control groups inveighed against the increase in concealed carry permits on a state-by-state basis, they now argue that national reciprocity will result in increased crime from sea to shining sea.

Every time.  Every single furshlugginer time a state legislature proposed opening up their CCW laws, wet-pants types like Bloomberg claimed crime rates would skyrocket.  Every time, every furshlugginer time, they were wrong.  They’re wrong now.

Jackwagons like Bloomberg don’t seem to be able to differentiate between law-abiding CCW permit holders, which demographic has a lower rate of criminal offenses than the population at large, and criminals – who don’t give a shit about permits and carry any gun they like anywhere and everywhere they please.

There are many reasons to favor national CCW reciprocity.  Pissing off Bloomberg isn’t a major reason; but it would make a nice fringe benefit.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Heh heh heh.  CalExit Secession Movement Dies the Way It Lived: Stupidly.  Excerpt:

One notably bizarre, disorganized push to turn California into its own country is dead—at least for now. Its leader, Louis J. Marinelli, announced that he is canceling the petition and pulling up stakes. While he said he believed in the struggle for California’s independence “from the United States so we could build the kind of country that reflects our progressive values,” he has decided on a new path.

He’s decided he’d rather live in Russia, which is not exactly famous for its progressiveness.

In a missive released yesterday afternoon he said that life in Russia would offer him “a future detached from the partisan divisions and animosity that has thus far engulfed [his] entire life.” Yes, one imagines it is true that he’s going to face much less partisan divisiveness in Russia given how frequently very bad things happen to those who oppose the status quo there.

If by “very bad things” you mean “a bullet to the back of the head,” or (if the secret police are being generous) “lifetime exile to Siberia, where you’ll have to spend ten minutes chipping through the ice in the toilet before you can poop,” then, yes.  Moving on:

Almost immediately after CalExit began getting real press coverage did the fact that organizer Marinelli was actually living in Russia, not America, also start getting attention. That news raised the specter that this was all another potential attempt to sow chaos by Russian government operatives. Another leader (who also resigned this week) told the Sacramento Bee that possible donors started backing out once Marinelli’s background came to light, fearing that the secession movement would be tied to Vladimir Putin.

Schadenfreude.  Eh heh heh heh.

The whole CalExit thing was a stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid plan to begin with.  It was a comedy of ignorance and economic illiteracy; if the “movement” from Moskva had been successful, CA would have proceeded to print money and deficit spend its way into Venezuela status in a matter of months.

Some stories have sad endings; some have happy endings.  The ending to this story will have me chuckling for the rest of the day.

Deep thoughts, news of the day, totty and the Manly Arts.