Category Archives: Education

Rule Five Berkeley Friday

This came out last week, but I needed a few days to properly digest it.  My reaction?  This is long overdue.  Excerpt:

The vast majority of violence visited on the black community is committed by black people. There are virtually no marches for these invisible victims, no public silences, no heartfelt letters from the UC regents, deans, and departmental heads. The message is clear: Black lives only matter when whites take them. Black violence is expected and insoluble, while white violence requires explanation and demands solution.

Please look into your hearts and see how monstrously bigoted this formulation truly is. No discussion is permitted for non-black victims of black violence, who proportionally outnumber black victims of non-black violence. This is especially bitter in the Bay Area, where Asian victimization by black assailants has reached epidemic proportions, to the point that the SF police chief has advised Asians to stop hanging good-luck charms on their doors, as this attracts the attention of (overwhelmingly black) home invaders. Home invaders like George Floyd.

For this actual, lived, physically experienced reality of violence in the USA, there are no marches, no tearful emails from departmental heads, no support from McDonald’s and Wal-Mart. For the History department, our silence is not a mere abrogation of our duty to shed light on the truth: it is a rejection of it.

And speaking of George Floyd, here’s a reality check:

As a final point, our university and department has made multiple statements celebrating and eulogizing George Floyd. Floyd was a multiple felon who once held a pregnant black woman at gunpoint. He broke into her home with a gang of men and pointed a gun at her pregnant stomach. He terrorized the women in his community. He sired and abandoned multiple children, playing no part in their support or upbringing, failing one of the most basic tests of decency for a human being. He was a drug-addict and sometime drug-dealer, a swindler who preyed upon his honest and hard-working neighbors. And yet, the regents of UC and the historians of the UCB History department are celebrating this violent criminal, elevating his name to virtual sainthood. A man who hurt women. A man who hurt black women. With the full collaboration of the UCB history department, corporate America, most mainstream media outlets, and some of the wealthiest and most privileged opinion-shaping elites of the USA, he has become a culture hero, buried in a golden casket, his (recognized) family showered with gifts and praise.

Americans are being socially pressured into kneeling for this violent, abusive misogynist. A generation of black men are being coerced into identifying with George Floyd, the absolute worst specimen of our race and species. I’m ashamed of my department. I would say that I’m ashamed of both of you, but perhaps you agree with me, and are simply afraid, as I am, of the backlash of speaking the truth. It’s hard to know what kneeling means, when you have to kneel to keep your job.

Read the whole thing; it’s powerful stuff.

Unfortunately it will also be water off a duck’s back to the people at whom it is aimed.  The Left’s conquest of the legacy media and our educational institutions has been at least a couple of generations in the making, and it would take that long to undo if we started today.  And it won’t start today.  People on the political Right (and also minarchist libertarians, like me, who don’t quite fit on the generally accepted political spectrum) tend not to go into these fields, I suppose because we prefer honest work.

But holy shit, when did honesty stop being a virtue?  When did we start accepting liars as long as they advance a “cause?”  When did we start accepting blatant, transparent lies (Russian collusion!) as long as they advance The Side?

The article here linked concludes:

I condemn the manner of George Floyd’s death and join you in calling for greater police accountability and police reform. However, I will not pretend that George Floyd was anything other than a violent misogynist, a brutal man who met a predictably brutal end. I also want to protect the practice of history. Cleo is no grovelling handmaiden to politicians and corporations. Like us, she is free.

Not any more.  The PC mob has take over.  Cleo has been shackled, and we are all headed into dangerous times.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove, Bacon Time and Whores and Ale for the Rule Five links, and to our pals over at The Daley Gator for the blogroll link!

Townhall’s Derek Hunter had an interesting piece yesterday, but I think he missed a few salient points.  Selected excerpts, with my comments, follow:

Wouldn’t you think that, after generations of complaining about the “school to prison pipeline,” someone should look into the school part? If there’s really this pipeline feeding minority children into prisons, rather than letting people who’ve broken the law out of prison, maybe reform the institutions feeding them into prisons in the first place?

Of course, to do that you’d have to actually want to educate minority children so they could improve their lives on their own. With complete Democratic Party control for 50 to 60 years in most of these areas, you’d think that thought would have occurred to someone. It has, obviously, but it hasn’t resulted in action for some weird reason.

In fact, the best thing to happen to kids trapped in poor-performing schools – charter schools – are in the crosshairs of the Democratic Party; set for sacrifice on the altar of campaign contributions from teachers’ unions. The very same people who’ve failed to educate kids are sinking the lifeboats. Isn’t that a problem? Of course, it is.

Of course, there’s a far better solution than charter schools, although they are a step in the right direction.  But the end goal should be to eliminate government involvement in education altogether.  Eliminate government schools and the taxes that fund them, and let a thousand flowers bloom.  Will some parents choose to send their kids to substandard schools that teach hyper-PC liberal orthodoxy or religious nutballery over actual education in trades, arts and sciences?  Sure.  Will those kids have marketable skills once their education is complete?  Probably not.  Is it my responsibility to subsidize the mistakes of those parents?  No.

Solutions aren’t the Democrats’ objective. What does it say about a party that benefits more from the escalation of a problem than its solution? Again, I’m just asking questions. I would like to have a serious conversation, as I suspect many of you Democrats who mainly vote for Democrats because you’ve always voted for Democrats or you think Republicans are somehow the problem, would like to as well.

While I understand that Mr. Hunter is engaging in a bit of Socratic dialogue here, I can’t see the value in asking questions to which we already know the answers.  The fact that the political left, and statists in general, profit more from the escalation of a problem than its solution, is a feature, not a bug.  Both parties do it.  Both sides of the political spectrum engage in it, because, if you aren’t part of the solution, there’s big money to be made in prolonging the problem.

The people you are addressing don’t want a “conversation,” or a “dialogue,” Mr. Hunter, as I’m sure you know very well.  They want to lecture you, browbeat you, force you to submit; they have no compunction about using force, and they have no intention of allowing you to respond.  And if these people seize governmental control, then free discourse as we know it has ended.

Here’s a better answer:  Take a meat axe to the size and power of government.  Strip these assholes of their power.  We’re Americans, dammit; most of us are perfectly capable of managing our own lives.  And if an angry mob shows up on the street in front of our businesses, well, most of us know the answer to that as well.

Rule Five Sixth Annual Commencement Speech Friday

Thanks to The Daley Gator for linking up our fundraiser!  All of the help is appreciated more than we can say.

It’s that time of year again, when high school and college graduates all over the country are trying on caps and gowns and making post-graduation plans. Today, for the sixth year, I will present here my own carefully prepared commencement speech to those grads – presented here because there’s damn little chance of my being asked to deliver it in person to a group of impressionable yutes.

So, here it is. Enjoy.

“Graduates of the Class of 2020, let me be the first to extend to you my congratulations on this, your day of entry into reality.

For the last four years you have been working towards this goal, towards this day. That’s a good thing. One of the most important skills you will ever need, one of the most important ways to achieve success in the world into which you are about to enter, is the ability to formulate goals, to plan how to achieve those goals, and to see things through until you reach those goals. Today you’ve shown you can do that. Congratulations and good job.

Now, before you go out to enjoy the rest of this day, before you go out to celebrate this goal you have achieved, let me tell you a few harsh truths about the world you’re entering. I’m not going to give you any trigger warnings; if you can’t handle what I’m about to say, there’s damn little future for you out there in the real world, so cowboy up. Moments ago I congratulated you on your day of entry into reality, so to get you started off right, here is a hefty dose of reality for you.

In spite of what you may have been told during all your years of education, nobody owes you anything, and you aren’t special. Any perceived ‘need’ you may have does not entitle you to anything – most especially, not to one red cent of the product of anyone else’s effort. If any of your professors have told you that, then they are economic illiterates, moral frauds or outright charlatans.

Our wonderful Constitution, which has stood for well over two hundred years as the founding document of our Republic, guarantees you the opportunity to your pursuit of happiness. It does not require anyone to provide you the means to your happiness at their expense. You and you alone are responsible for your own life. You have no moral claim on anyone else’s productivity. Accept that fact and you are already one step ahead of most of your peers.

You are entitled to what you have earned through your own efforts, and not:

One.

Damn.

Thing.

More.

If you are accepting a degree today in LGBT Studies, or Women’s Studies, or any of the other assorted bullshit Underwater Dog Polishing degrees our universities crank out today, then you have my sympathies. You are the victim of a fraud perpetrated by our university system, a vicious and cynical fraud that has resulted in you spending a lot of money for no gain. But more importantly, you are the victim of your own poor judgement. You decided to pursue a useless degree, and now you’re stuck. Here is another harsh reality: You are responsible for your own situation. It’s not anybody else’s fault. Nobody else is responsible. You are.

Your university experience had one goal – producing a young adult with marketable skills, someone who can provide value to an employer and to the economy. In this your university has failed, and in choosing this degree, so did you. You have relegated yourself to uselessness in the workplace, and when a few years from now you are working as a barista or checkout clerk and crying over your six figures of student debt, remember what I said a few moments ago: You and you alone are responsible for your own life. You made a decision; now you get to deal with the consequences of that decision. Pull yourself up, look around at the other opportunities around you, and figure a way out of this mess your youthful indiscretion has landed you in.

But you still have one thing going for you. You have shown that you can set yourself a goal and achieve it. Do so now.

So, where do you go from here?

Because nobody owes you anything, including a living, one of the tasks ahead of you now is finding gainful employment. If you’re going to find employment, it will only be because you can demonstrate to the employer that you can provide value to him or her in excess of your costs of employment. Employment is an economic transaction. In any free market transaction, both parties have to realize a perceived gain in value or the transaction won’t happen. If a prospective employer doesn’t think you’re able to provide value to his/her business in excess of your cost of employment, which includes not only your salary but all the extra taxes, fees and other various government extortion that you never see in your pay stub – then they won’t hire you. So be able to present yourself as someone who can provide value, in whatever field you have been studying these last few years.

Once you have gained that employment, once you are in the workplace, remember these three rules for success:

Show up a little earlier than the other guy,
Work a little harder than the other guy,
Never pass up a chance to learn something new.

Words that should never pass your lips include such things as “that’s not my job,” and “I don’t have time for that.” Your reputation in the workplace should be, to put it bluntly, the one who can get shit done. Results matter. Be the one that the boss can count on. Be the one who brings things in on time. Be the one who finishes the job. Be the one that produces value and you will never have to worry about where your next meal is coming from.

Bear in mind also that you are entering the workforce as a tablua rasa as far as potential employers are concerned. You’re not going to leave these halls and be CEO of General Motors. You will be working in an entry level job, probably not making a lot of money, probably doing work your longer-term co-workers don’t want to do. Suck it up. There are no lousy jobs, only lousy people. Any work that produces value is worth doing. How do you know if your work is producing value? The answer to that is trivially easy: If someone is willing to pay you to do the work, then you are producing value. Bear in mind also that the job belongs to the employer, not to you, and if you don’t meet the employer’s expectations, someone else will.

How do you meet those expectations? Better yet, how do you exceed them? When you are doing that job, keep these things in mind:

Be known for your integrity. Don’t say anything you don’t believe and don’t make promises you can’t deliver on. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who means what you say and who delivers on your promises.

Be known for your reliability. Show up on time, every day, for every event. Show up on time for meetings. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who will always be there when you’re needed.

Be known for your responsibility. If you take on a task, finish it. If you commit to a timeline, meet it. If you accept responsibility for something, own it. It’s yours. Don’t expect anyone else to take care of it for you. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who, when put in charge, takes charge.

Be known for your dependability. Plan your tasks to bring them in on schedule. If that means long hours, work them. If that means working a Saturday, work it. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who can get the job done.

Success isn’t a mysterious thing. It’s not that elusive and it’s not even all that hard. I did it, and you can too, but it does involve one four-letter word:

Work.

Thomas Edison once said “people often fail to recognize opportunity when it knocks, because it usually shows up in overalls and looks like work.” At these commencement events it’s common to be told to follow your dreams, and that’s nice, flowery stuff, but in most cases nobody is going to pay you to follow your dreams. They will pay you to produce value, and that means work. Follow your dreams on your own time.

Finally, I will leave you all with some unsolicited advice:

All through your life, people will promise you things. Most of them won’t deliver. Many of those people will be people seeking political office, and many more of them will be people pushing some sort of supposed business opportunity. Some years ago the science fiction writer Robert Heinlein observed a fundamental law of the universe, which law is represented by the acronym TANSTAAFL: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Remember that; if someone offers you something for nothing, they are lying. If someone is offering you something at someone else’s expense, they are offering to commit theft on your behalf. The only moral answer to such offers is outright refusal.

There are only three types of economic transactions and only one of those – a free, unfettered, voluntary exchange of value – is morally acceptable. If a transaction is done by force, that is theft. If a transaction is done by deceit, that is fraud. Have no interaction with anyone who advocates either.

Accept responsibility for your own successes. Accept responsibility for your own failures. Learn from both. Rely on yourself. Rely on your own skills, your own abilities. Many other people will let you down, but you can always rely on yourself.

In her epic novel Atlas Shrugged, author Ayn Rand presents the protagonist, John Galt, describing his decision to solve society’s troubles by an epic act of creative destruction. He describes the ultimate moment of his decision process with two sentences, two sentences which I have found more inspiring than any long-winded ethical or political monologue ever delivered since the times of Plato and Aristotle. These words are the very essence of the self-directed man of achievement:

‘I saw what had to be done. I went out to do it.’

Those are good words to live by. Now, today, you graduates see what has to be done.

Go out and do it.

Thank you and good luck.”

If anyone was offended by anything contained in this hypothetical speech, too damn bad.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links!

It’s long been one of my pet peeves that we’ve become a “every kid should go to college” society.  Plenty of kids shouldn’t go to college.  Furthermore, there is still a need for skilled workers in our country:  Electricians, pipe-fitters, welders and so on.  A skilled welder can easily make a six-figure income nowadays, and we aren’t doing enough to encourage kids to go into the trades.

Now, Clinton crony Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL) wants to block the use of GI Bill funds from use in obtaining just this kind of training.  Excerpt:

When veterans return home after serving our nation, they should be welcomed with open arms by their local communities who stand ready to help with reentry to civilian life. For many veterans, successful reentry hinges upon pursuing higher education, including at a career or vocational school.

Legislation recently introduced by U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL) will take these efforts a step further by removing the ability of veterans and active military to use their GI Bill or DOD tuition assistance at career and vocational schools.

These efforts are reflective of a disturbing pattern by some in Congress who have long shielded public and non-profit colleges from the same transparency mechanisms required of proprietary schools. It’s worth noting that Congresswoman Shalala previously served as President of the University of Miami, which is a school that would be excluded from her proposed legislation.

Currently the 90/10 rule, a federal student aid eligibility rule that requires proprietary schools to derive at least 10 percent of their revenues from sources other than federal aid, allows GI Bill benefits to be accounted for under that 10 percent. By counting the GI Bill against a school’s compliance with the 90/10 rule, this bill groups veterans in with all federal aid borrowers. But the GI bill is different. Veterans earned these benefits and should be able to use them how they choose. Such a drastic change would completely redefine the very nature of veterans benefits by considering them equivalent to federal subsidies.

What’s worse, this legislation has very serious potential to negatively impact nearly 260 career schools serving over 158,000 student veterans. This comes at a time when in 2018 alone, over 326,000 veterans were unemployed.

I think I turn out a pretty fair piece of prose, but I’m at a loss for words to describe just how stupid this is.

This bit of horse’s-assery puts barriers in the way of veterans leaving the service who are seeking a transition to a profitable civilian career.  If I read this right, one could use GI Bill money to obtain a four-year degree in Ethnic Underwater Dog-Polishing, but not a two-year Associate’s degree in computer networking or CNC machining.

Which one of those, I ask you, is more useful to the American economy?  Which one will yield a better career to the veteran student?  I think the answer is obvious.

Rep. Shalala aims to do our veterans a grave, shameful disservice.  She should be ashamed of herself.  Unfortunately, shame seems to be a commodity that is in short supply in the Imperial City these days.

Rule Five Divestment Friday

Here’s a story from last week that should be repeated hundreds of times a week:  Stupid college student makes stupid demands, professor rams the stupid demands down the stupid student’s throat.  (Original story sadly hidden behind a paywall.)  Excerpt:

Professor Andrew Parker of St John’s College at Oxford University is my new favorite person. The Times of London reports that a group of students wrote to Professor Parker to discuss demands being made by student protesters about fossil fuel divestment. His response wasn’t what they were expecting:

Two students at St John’s College wrote to Andrew Parker, the principal bursar, this week requesting a meeting to discuss the protesters’ demands, which are that the college “declares a climate emergency and immediately divests from fossil fuels”. They say that the college, the richest in Oxford, has £8 million of its £551 million endowment fund invested in BP and Shell.

Professor Parker responded with a provocative offer. “I am not able to arrange any divestment at short notice,” he wrote. “But I can arrange for the gas central heating in college to be switched off with immediate effect. Please let me know if you support this proposal.”

One of the students wrote back and said he would present the proposal but he didn’t think Parker was being appropriately serious. Professor Parker responded to that note saying, “You are right that I am being provocative but I am provoking some clear thinking, I hope. It is all too easy to request others to do things that carry no personal cost to yourself. The question is whether you and others are prepared to make personal sacrifices to achieve the goals of environmental improvement (which I support as a goal).” The best part of the story is the response from the organizer of the protest:

Fergus Green, the organiser of the wider protest, who is studying for a master’s degree in physics and philosophy at Balliol College, said: “This is an inappropriate and flippant response by the bursar to what we were hoping would be a mature discussion. It’s January and it would be borderline dangerous to switch off the central heating.”

To the young Mr. Green (hah) I can only say this:

“You stupid, stupid boy.  This is not an inappropriate response; it is a perfectly appropriate response to your idiotic demand; flippant it is indeed, only because your childish, petulant whine deserves no more than that.

You have been shown up for what you are; a deluded, immature hypocrite.  Not only are you not willing to put your money where your mouth is – although I’m betting you are perfectly willing to put other people’s money where your mouth is – you are incapable past seeing past the end of your own nose.  Do you honestly think that heating and utilities are the only use to which petrochemicals are put?

Unless you are willing to continue being (rightly) viewed as a whiny little wanker, as they say on your side of the Atlantic, they you’d better be damn well prepared to give up more than your comfortably heated classroom.  You had damn well better give up your laptop and smartphone, too, as well as the electricity to power them.  That bus you rode to school today?  Forget it; get used to walking.  That bus is not only fueled by petrochemicals, the lion’s share of its construction, from tires to plastic body parts, are based on petrochemicals, as is the asphalt on the road it runs on.

The future you envision would include cold food (and damn little of it), cold houses, no university learning, no technology; it would be a cold, bleak existence of the sort most of humanity has known throughout the vast majority of human history.

Your professor was far more polite to you than you deserve.  Were you to have framed your ignorant, childish whine my way, my response to you would have been two-fold:

‘Demand in one hand, shit in the other, and see which hand fills up first,’ and ‘Fuck off, slaver!’

It’s sad to think the Brits are wasting a university “education” on this little wankstain.

Animal’s Daily Relative Intelligence News

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

Meanwhile: Guess what!  2016 Trump supporters score significantly better than Clinton supporters on a battery of verbal ability and general science questions.  Excerpt:

On the verbal ability test (WORDSUM), not surprisingly the median number of vocabulary questions correct was the same for both Clinton and Trump supporters: 6 out of 10 words correct.  The mean verbal ability score for Trump supporters was 6.15 words correct, while the mean verbal ability score for Clinton supporters was 5.69 correct, a difference of nearly a half a question on a 10-question test.  This moderate difference is statistically significant at p<.0005.

Further, Trump supporters score significantly higher on verbal ability (6.15 correct) than the rest of the public combined (5.70 correct), whereas Clinton supporters score significantly lower on verbal ability (5.69 correct) than the rest of the public combined (5.98 correct).

This should not be too surprising. On the 22 General Social Surveys using the verbal ability scale since 1974, for every single one, conservative Republicans score significantly higher than the rest of the public combined. As for Republicans overall, they score significantly higher in verbal ability than Democrats in all five decades, including for the 2010s combined.

And:

Testing the hypothesis that Trump supporters have greater science knowledge than those who supported Clinton in 2016, on six questions Trump supporters offer the correct answer significantly more often than Clinton supporters: those about lasers, radioactivity, viruses, the father’s contribution to the biological sex of the child (BOYORGRL), whether “according to astronomers” the universe began with a huge explosion (BIGBANG1), and that the earth goes around the sun and that it takes a year to do so (combined EARTHSUN and SOLARREV).

On one science knowledge question—whether the center of the earth is hot (HOTCORE)—the superior performance of Trump supporters over Clinton supporters is borderline significant (1-sided Fisher’s Exact Test p=.05-.10).

On two questions, the structure of atoms (ELECTRON) and continental drift (CONDRIFT), Trump supporters score slightly, but insignificantly, better than Clinton supporters. On none of these nine science questions do Trump supporters score worse than Clinton supporters.

When one compares Clinton supporters to the rest of the public combined, Clinton supporters perform significantly worse than the rest of the public on the same six science questions on which Trump supporters perform better than Clinton supporters.

Indeed, less than half of 2016 Clinton supporters (49.6%) are able to answer correctly both of two related questions: whether the earth goes around the sun or the sun goes around the earth (EARTHSUN) and whether that takes a day, a month, or a year (SOLARREV).  Remember these two questions are multiple choice! You would have a 50-50 chance of guessing correctly on the first part: whether the earth goes around the sun or vice versa. Sadly, the general public didn’t do hugely better than Clinton supporters, with only 57.1% (compared to 49.6%) knowing that the earth goes around the sun and that it takes a year to do so.

I’ve been chuckling about this ever since I read it.

It’s a common stance among, well, honestly, all kinds of people, to blithely assume someone is stupid because they disagree with you on any given issue.  I’ve always hated that outlook.  But go read this whole article; as someone whose livelihood depends on the dispassionate analysis of data and examination of objective evidence, it seems here that the methodology involved is pretty solid; 2016 Clinton supporters are significantly less well-informed than 2016 Trump supporters.

And the author admits upfront to having supported the 2016 Clinton candidacy.

While I have never done any methodological analysis of this issue, it seems to me that the big-city urban Left is particularly prone to this; they operate on the pro forma conclusion that the folks who choose to live in the rural/semi-rural regions of those deplorable fly-over states must do so because they’re a bunch of dumb rubes, crazy rednecks, and the like.  But the Old Man, who lived five miles from the paved road on a big patch of timber for much of his life, was one of the most intelligent men I’ve ever known; entirely through an addiction to reading, he could intelligently discuss the causes of, and the tactics and strategy of, the American Revolution and the Civil War.  He could also intelligently discuss cosmology, geology, paleoanthropology and a host of other topics.  He could quote Greek philosophers at some length, and improved my farm-country schooling considerably by insisting I read Plato and Aristotle while still in my early teens.  Add to that the fact that he was an artist of some renown in the upper Midwest, and had his own spot on a wall in the Iowa state Capitol where one of his paintings was on display from about 1968 to the mid Eighties.

No ignorant hillbilly there.

Now, the legacy media will ignore this article and it’s implications; it doesn’t fit The Narrative.  But that doesn’t make it any less true.

Animal’s Daily Back To School Interrogation News

Over at PJMedia, parenting scribe Megan Fox tells us about her kids’ back-to-school physicals, where she was asked (apparently) some… interesting questions.  Excerpt:

In fact, it took well over two and a half hours while I sat there and listened to this man, who has seen us regularly, ask my children uncomfortable questions about sexual abuse, guns in the house, bullying at school and a myriad of other things that, frankly, aren’t any of his business.

Several times he addressed me directly on parenting issues like “are they wearing helmets when they bike ride?” or “have you spoken to them about inappropriate touching?” Well, yes, actually, of course they do and I have spoken to them about abuse regularly, but what that has to do with a school physical is beyond me.

Very little was done to check them for actual physical health. I think he looked in their ears and listened to their hearts, but no reflexes were checked, no neurological exam or eye exam was given. No hearing test was administered. Mostly, it was an inquisition into my parenting skills. What do you feed them? Are they eating enough vegetables and staying away from processed foods? Do they sleep well at night and have regular bedtimes? Do you and your husband fight?  Are you safe at home?  Is anyone smoking?  I kid you not. This was the tone of the interrogation.

I’m so glad my kids are all adults now.  But they were once in school too, although we were never subjected to this kind of interrogation – I’ve known our family doc for over thirty years and he’d have no damn part of any such shenanigans – it should surprise anyone that I have some thoughts on this.  Let’s look at those questions, and I’ll answer them.

Q:  Are they wearing helmets when they bike ride?

A:  None of your damn business.

Q:  Have you spoken to them about inappropriate touching?

A:  None of your damn business.

Q:  What do you feed them?

A:  None of your damn business.

Q:  Are they eating enough vegetables and staying away from processed foods?

A:  None of your damn business.

Q:  Do they sleep well at night and have regular bedtimes?

A:  None of your damn business.

Q:  Do you and your husband fight?

A:  None of your damn business.

Q:  Are you safe at home?

A:  None of your damn business.

Q:  Is anyone smoking?

A:  None.  Of.  Your.  Damn.  Business.

See how easy that is?  The best way to handle with intrusive behavior, whether it be on the school district, by a doctor (and I would suggest the Fox clan find a new one) or anyone else, the best reply is to refuse to reply.

It’s fun, too.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Remember when the idea of a university requiring a loyalty oath would have been abhorrent to… well, almost everyone?  Well, not any more.  Excerpt:

The University of California has published a loving, celebratory  timeline describing the reaction among faculty and the ultimate repeal of the loyalty oath.  Loyalty oaths were very, very bad, back then.

But loyalty oaths are back again, and this time, according to the progressive deep thinkers, they are good. Because it is not loyalty to the United States, but rather loyalty to the ideology of “diversity” that is being demanded. Christian Schneider writes in the New York Post:

Consider the University of California, Los Angeles. To be considered for tenure-track positions, applicants are required to write a full statement outlining their commitment to diversity. According to UCLA guidelines, the extent to which a professor promotes equity, diversity and inclusion is a key factor in making progress on the tenure track.

Promoting these ideals “is inseparable from how the University of California conceives of ‘merit,’ ” the school says. UC Riverside, UC San Diego and UC Berkeley all require similar diversity statements.

I cannot interpret this as anything other than an elevation of loyalty to the same or higher level than merit in making decisions about faculty careers. “Diversity” as an ideology requires subordinating excellence to identity group status in making decisions about a person’s fate. This is why Asian-American organizations are suing Harvard.

China, under Mao Tse-tung, faced exactly this question, phrased at the time as “Red vs. expert.” In the Cultural Revolution, it was decreed that “Red” – meaning ideological loyalty to Mao’s Little Red Book – was more important than expertise, in other words, actual professional competence, in appointing officials to be in charge of important public matters.

My initial reaction to this is simply “fuck off, slavers” but the very fact that this is happening should be horrifying to anyone with any capacity for independent thought, which is apparently no longer a requirement for tenure-track positions at UCLA.

One of the worst things about this particular species of idiocy is the shallow falseness of their commitment to “diversity.”  What UCLA is looking for is not “diversity” in any meaningful sense; the very concept of a loyalty oath illustrates that very plainly.  They are looking for diversity in melanin content and sexual preference, but what they absolutely will not tolerate under any circumstances is the one thing a university should take great pains to provide:  Intellectual diversity.

No instructor with any self-awareness should accept this requirement.  No professor worthy of the title should take this oath.  “Go to hell” is the only appropriate response to such a demand.

Rule Five Fifth Annual Commencement Speech Friday

It’s that time of year again, when high school and college graduates all over the country are trying on caps and gowns and making post-graduation plans. Today, for the fourth year, I will present here my own carefully prepared commencement speech to those grads – presented here because there’s damn little chance of my being asked to deliver it in person to a group of impressionable yutes.

So, here it is. Enjoy.

“Graduates of the Class of 2019, let me be the first to extend to you my congratulations on this, your day of entry into reality.

For the last four years you have been working towards this goal, towards this day. That’s a good thing. One of the most important skills you will ever need, one of the most important ways to achieve success in the world into which you are about to enter, is the ability to formulate goals, to plan how to achieve those goals, and to see things through until you reach those goals. Today you’ve shown you can do that. Congratulations and good job.

Now, before you go out to enjoy the rest of this day, before you go out to celebrate this goal you have achieved, let me tell you a few harsh truths about the world you’re entering. I’m not going to give you any trigger warnings; if you can’t handle what I’m about to say, there’s damn little future for you out there in the real world, so cowboy up. Moments ago I congratulated you on your day of entry into reality, so to get you started off right, here is a hefty dose of reality for you.

In spite of what you may have been told during all your years of education, nobody owes you anything, and you aren’t special. Any perceived ‘need’ you may have does not entitle you to anything – most especially, not to one red cent of the product of anyone else’s effort. If any of your professors have told you that, then they are economic illiterates, moral frauds or outright charlatans.

Our wonderful Constitution, which has stood for well over two hundred years as the founding document of our Republic, guarantees you the opportunity to your pursuit of happiness. It does not require anyone to provide you the means to your happiness at their expense. You and you alone are responsible for your own life. You have no moral claim on anyone else’s productivity. Accept that fact and you are already one step ahead of most of your peers.

You are entitled to what you have earned through your own efforts, and not:

One.

Damn.

Thing.

More.

If you are accepting a degree today in LGBT Studies, or Women’s Studies, or any of the other assorted bullshit Underwater Dog Polishing degrees our universities crank out today, then you have my sympathies. You are the victim of a fraud perpetrated by our university system, a vicious and cynical fraud that has resulted in you spending a lot of money for no gain. But more importantly, you are the victim of your own poor judgement. You decided to pursue a useless degree, and now you’re stuck. Here is another harsh reality: You are responsible for your own situation. It’s not anybody else’s fault. Nobody else is responsible. You are.

Your university experience had one goal – producing a young adult with marketable skills, someone who can provide value to an employer and to the economy. In this your university has failed, and in choosing this degree, so did you. You have relegated yourself to uselessness in the workplace, and when a few years from now you are working as a barista or checkout clerk and crying over your six figures of student debt, remember what I said a few moments ago: You and you alone are responsible for your own life. You made a decision; now you get to deal with the consequences of that decision. Pull yourself up, look around at the other opportunities around you, and figure a way out of this mess your youthful indiscretion has landed you in.

But you still have one thing going for you. You have shown that you can set yourself a goal and achieve it. Do so now.

So, where do you go from here?

Because nobody owes you anything, including a living, one of the tasks ahead of you now is finding gainful employment. If you’re going to find employment, it will only be because you can demonstrate to the employer that you can provide value to him or her in excess of your costs of employment. Employment is an economic transaction. In any free market transaction, both parties have to realize a perceived gain in value or the transaction won’t happen. If a prospective employer doesn’t think you’re able to provide value to his/her business in excess of your cost of employment, which includes not only your salary but all the extra taxes, fees and other various government extortion that you never see in your pay stub – then they won’t hire you. So be able to present yourself as someone who can provide value, in whatever field you have been studying these last few years.

Once you have gained that employment, once you are in the workplace, remember these three rules for success:

Show up a little earlier than the other guy,
Work a little harder than the other guy,
Never pass up a chance to learn something new.

Words that should never pass your lips include such things as “that’s not my job,” and “I don’t have time for that.” Your reputation in the workplace should be, to put it bluntly, the one who can get shit done. Results matter. Be the one that the boss can count on. Be the one who brings things in on time. Be the one who finishes the job. Be the one that produces value and you will never have to worry about where your next meal is coming from.

Bear in mind also that you are entering the workforce as a tablua rasa as far as potential employers are concerned. You’re not going to leave these halls and be CEO of General Motors. You will be working in an entry level job, probably not making a lot of money, probably doing work your longer-term co-workers don’t want to do. Suck it up. There are no lousy jobs, only lousy people. Any work that produces value is worth doing. How do you know if your work is producing value? The answer to that is trivially easy: If someone is willing to pay you to do the work, then you are producing value. Bear in mind also that the job belongs to the employer, not to you, and if you don’t meet the employer’s expectations, someone else will.

How do you meet those expectations? Better yet, how do you exceed them? When you are doing that job, keep these things in mind:

Be known for your integrity. Don’t say anything you don’t believe and don’t make promises you can’t deliver on. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who means what you say and who delivers on your promises.

Be known for your reliability. Show up on time, every day, for every event. Show up on time for meetings. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who will always be there when you’re needed.

Be known for your responsibility. If you take on a task, finish it. If you commit to a timeline, meet it. If you accept responsibility for something, own it. It’s yours. Don’t expect anyone else to take care of it for you. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who, when put in charge, takes charge.

Be known for your dependability. Plan your tasks to bring them in on schedule. If that means long hours, work them. If that means working a Saturday, work it. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who can get the job done.

Success isn’t a mysterious thing. It’s not that elusive and it’s not even all that hard. I did it, and you can too, but it does involve one four-letter word:

Work.

Thomas Edison once said “people often fail to recognize opportunity when it knocks, because it usually shows up in overalls and looks like work.” At these commencement events it’s common to be told to follow your dreams, and that’s nice, flowery stuff, but in most cases nobody is going to pay you to follow your dreams. They will pay you to produce value, and that means work. Follow your dreams on your own time.

Finally, I will leave you all with some unsolicited advice:

All through your life, people will promise you things. Most of them won’t deliver. Many of those people will be people seeking political office, and many more of them will be people pushing some sort of supposed business opportunity. Some years ago the science fiction writer Robert Heinlein observed a fundamental law of the universe, which law is represented by the acronym TANSTAAFL: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Remember that; if someone offers you something for nothing, they are lying. If someone is offering you something at someone else’s expense, they are offering to commit theft on your behalf. The only moral answer to such offers is outright refusal.

There are only three types of economic transactions and only one of those – a free, unfettered, voluntary exchange of value – is morally acceptable. If a transaction is done by force, that is theft. If a transaction is done by deceit, that is fraud. Have no interaction with anyone who advocates either.

Accept responsibility for your own successes. Accept responsibility for your own failures. Learn from both. Rely on yourself. Rely on your own skills, your own abilities. Many other people will let you down, but you can always rely on yourself.

In her epic novel Atlas Shrugged, author Ayn Rand presents the protagonist, John Galt, describing his decision to solve society’s troubles by an epic act of creative destruction. He describes the ultimate moment of his decision process with two sentences, two sentences which I have found more inspiring than any long-winded ethical or political monologue ever delivered since the times of Plato and Aristotle. These words are the very essence of the self-directed man of achievement:

‘I saw what had to be done. I went out to do it.’

Those are good words to live by. Now, today, you graduates see what has to be done.

Go out and do it.

Thank you and good luck.”

If anyone was offended by anything contained in this hypothetical speech, too damn bad.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Ever wonder how various European countries stack up against the United States, economy-wise?  The Mises Institute looked into it, and it turns out that the nations of Europe don’t even stack up too well against individual states.

Like, say, Mississippi.  Excerpt:

Last year, a debate erupted over how Britain would compare to individual US states. In the UK Spectator, Fraser Nelson explained “Why Britain is poorer than any US state, other than Mississippi.” A week later, TIME shot back with an article titled “No, Britain Is Not Poorer than Alabama.” The author of the TIME article, Dan Stewart, explained that, yes, Britain is poorer than many US states, but certainly not all of them. (See below to confirm that the UK is, in fact, poorer than every state.)

The main fault of the Spectator article, its critics alleged, was that it relied primarily on GDP and GDP per capita to make the comparisons. The critics at TIME (and other publications) correctly pointed out that if one is going to draw broad conclusions about poverty among various countries, GDP numbers are arguably not the best metric. For one, GDP per capita can be skewed upward by a small number of ultra-rich persons. After all, it is just GDP divided by the total population. That gives us no idea of how the median household is doing is those areas. Also, it’s best to avoid averages and stick with median values if we’re looking to avoid numbers that can be pulled up by some wealthy outliers.

And:

But, I’m really being too conservative with the US numbers here. I’m comparing OECD countries to US states based on a single nation-wide purchasing power number for the US. We’ve already accounted for cost of living at the national level (using PPP data), but the US is so much larger than all  other countries compared here, we really need to consider the regional cost of living in the United States. Were we to calculate real incomes based on the cost of living in each state, we’d find that real purchasing power is even higher in many of the lower-income states than we see above. 

Image from article.

We now see that there’s less variation in the median income levels among the US states. That makes sense because many states with low median incomes also have a very low cost of living. At the same time, many states with high median incomes have a very high cost of living.

Now that we’ve accounted for the low cost of living in Mississippi, we find that Mississippi ($26,517) is no longer the state with the lowest median income in real terms. New York ($26,152) is now the state with the lowest median income due to its very high cost of living.

This has had the effect of giving us a more realistic view of the purchasing power of the median household in US states. It is also more helpful in comparing individual states to OECD members, many of which have much higher costs of living than places like the American south and midwest. Now that we recognize how inexpensive it is to live in places like Tennessee, Florida, and Kentucky, we find that residents in those states now have higher median incomes than Sweden (a place that’s 30% more expensive than the US) and most other OECD countries measured.

Please do go read the whole article, as Mises’ explains things much better than I could.  But there’s a lesson for the folks who hold, say, Sweden up as a progressive Utopia; and it’s also important to note that the only thing keeping Europe alive today is Germany, Britain and some of the Western European nations who are still actually making products for sale, unlike the PIGS nations with their moribund economies and slacking populace; but while Sweden, Germany and even Britain are clinging to the remnants of former industrial might, that won’t last, as they seem to show little concern at their eventual collapse into a pan-European Caliphate.

That, True Believers, is an irony that must have old Charles Martel spinning in his grave.