“If there were any way to make compromise work, (the President) is the man who could have done it. He was an expert at the game of manipulating pressure groups – a game that consists of making promises and friends, and keeping the second, but not the first. His skill as a manipulator was the one characteristic that his “public image builders” were selling us at the height of his popularity. If he cold not make it, no amateur can.
The practical efficacy of compromise is the first premise that (the President’s) history should prompt people to check. And, I believe, a great many people are checking it. People, but not Republicans – or, at least, not all of them. Not those who are now pushing an unformed, soft-shelled thing like Romney to succeed where a pro has failed.
What are we left with, now that the consensus has collapsed? Nothing but the open spectacle of a mixed economy’s intellectual and moral bankruptcy, the random wreckage of its naked mechanism, with the screeching of its gears as the only sound in our public silence – the sound of crude, range-of-the-moment demands by pressure groups who have abandoned even the pretense of any political ideals or moral justification.
Sound familiar? Maybe a statement from the Presidential election of 2012? You could certainly be justified in thinking so.
But this was Ayn Rand, in a lecture given at the Ford Hall Forum on April 16, 1967. The President she was speaking of was Lyndon Johnson; the Romney in question was Mitt Romney’s father, George Romney.
But there’s another parallel that is, perhaps, even more telling; earlier in this same speech, Ms. Rand said:
Where is President Johnson’s consensus today? And where, politically, is President Johnson? To descend – in two years, in an era of seeming prosperity, without the push of any obvious national disaster – to descend from the height of a popular landslide to the status of a liability to his own party in the elections of 1966, is a feat that should give pause to anyone concerned with modern politics.
Mark Twain once said that history may not repeat, but it often rhymes. Consider once more the rhyming of Johnson’s Presidency and that of Barack Obama: Johnson’s downfall gave us the price-freezing, paranoid Nixon, the bland place-holder Ford, the inept and hapless Carter and finally, when the nation was sick of mediocrities and buffoons, the truly transformative Ronald Reagan. Barack Obama enjoys none of the advantages Johnson had; we are embroiled in a savage battle against radical Islam, the economy is stagnant due to idiotic fiscal and economic policies, and Barack Obama is probably the most inept President since Andrew Johnson. And there does not appear to be a Reagan waiting in the wings.
Rand also said, in this same speech: “As of this date, Governor Reagan seems to be a promising public figure – I do not know him and cannot speak for the future.”
Where is our next Reagan? Who will bring us the next Morning in America? Who will be the next promising figure in America’s future?
There is a historic rhyme that we’re still all waiting to see.
Seems this was a good time to start this category.
Ever wondered about the most idiotic article ever written about guns would look like? Wonder no longer: See Why Rolling Stone’s List of ‘Most Dangerous Guns’ Is Being Called ‘Maybe the Worst Piece of Journalism of All-Time.’ And yes, it’s really stupid. Excerpt:
The Internet is relentlessly mocking Rolling Stone’s new photo slideshow outlining the “5 most dangerous guns in America,” with one reader calling it “maybe the worst piece of journalism of all-time.” Making the publication’s list are pistols, revolvers, rifles, shotguns, and even Derringers.
As one commenter asks, “what’s left?” Here’s Rolling Stone’s list, starting with the “most dangerous.”
Here’s the list:
- Revolvers (also handguns)
- Shotguns and…
Because, OMG guns!
It is perhaps belaboring the obvious to point out that this list includes, well, all guns. The article is being roundly mocked, as is only just and fitting, and a new internet meme has surfaced: Making lists of “most dangerous” this and that. For example, one might list the most dangerous personal vehicles as:
- Vans and…
And so forth.
Seriously, one wonders why this imbecile, one Kristen Gwynne, is actually writing for a national publication – even Rolling Stone, hardly known for its objectivity where firearms issues are concerned. But the really jarring lapse in elementary logic is the idea that an inanimate object can be “dangerous” in this context.
Crime requires intent. A gun cannot commit a crime – there is no such thing as “gun crime.” Only a motive agent, a person, can commit a crime. A gun is only a tool; and criminals everywhere, everywhen, will always find tools to use in the commission of crime.
Ms. Gwynne deserves scorn and derision for this piece of journalistic stupidity, and Rolling Stone deserves scorn and derision for publishing it. But the greater crime is pandering to hoplophobia and deliberate, willful ignorance; that deserves outright condemnation. Rolling Stone seems to be gaining plenty of the former. We’ll see about the latter.
Welcome to a new header and a new category, for links to stories that could have come out of the pages of Atlas Shrugged. This first one is a good one:
Joe Stalin would have been so proud.
This just in from the wonderful world of astro-science – or, perhaps, astro-speculation. NASA: Humans Will Prove ‘We Are Not Alone In The Universe’ Within 20 Years. Excerpt:
Speaking at NASA’s Washington headquarters on Monday, the space agency outlined a plan to search for alien life using current telescope technology, and announced the launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Surveying Satellite in 2017. The NASA administrators and scientists estimate that humans will be able to locate alien life within the next 20 years.
“Just imagine the moment, when we find potential signatures of life. Imagine the moment when the world wakes up and the human race realizes that its long loneliness in time and space may be over — the possibility we’re no longer alone in the universe,” said Matt Mountain, director and Webb telescope scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, which plans to launch the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018.
Let’s forget the technical aspects of this for a moment, and let’s also forget the likelihood of NASA actually finding life – in fact, let’s forget about intelligent life altogether, since we’re still looking for that right here on Earth in the Imperial City. Instead: Imagine the consequences if NASA (or anyone else) were to find evidence of life somewhere other than Earth. Some good candidates are present right here in our own solar system, after all – plenty of biologists are just dying to know what might be lurking under Europa’s ice pack.
First: Earth loses it’s one-of-a-kind status. We’re no longer the special exception. Life exists elsewhere, and presumably – since in all the vastness of the Universe, we have found it on another world in our tiny little sphere of perception, life exists lots of places.
Second: Imagine the consequences for the world’s religions. Not being religious myself it’s probably easier in some ways to imagine the impact, but in other ways it’s doubtlessly harder. What happens to adherents to mainstream religions when it is proven that Earth’s life-bearing status is not unique?
Finally: If life is found elsewhere, how long will it be before the not-so-intelligent life in the Imperial City tries to a) tax it and b) regulate it?
Before discussing this particular installment: So far this reboot (unlike the unfortunate Mark Wahlberg effort) has been brilliantly handled. The CGI/motion capture technology has worked movie magic that was not dreamed of in the times of the Charlton Heston/Roddy McDowell originals, and where it would have been easy to turn the new Apes franchise into a special-effects-fest (Michael Bay, are you listening?) the movies have not gone in that direction.
Now, on to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes:
Technically, the film is brilliant. Andy Serkis’ motion-capture performance made the character of the ape’s leader, Caesar, a compelling and powerful presentation.
But there was one jarring flaw in the penultimate fight scene: The defense set up by the human leader, portrayed by Gary Oldman, was simply awful. Oldman’s character was supposedly a military veteran of some unstated sort – but who, with any modern military training, would:
- Set up a compound with no defense in depth, no fallback positions, no prepared firing positions, no interlocking fields of fire?
- Store almost all of the weapons and the sole functional armored vehicle outside of the compound?
- Mount a defense on one line, and from on top of a wall? What did they think this was, the Middle Ages?
Aside from that rather distracting series of mistakes (seriously, how hard is it to hire a military advisor?) though, the movie was enjoyable. It had good character development, a noble, well-intentioned leader (Caesar) who comes to a realization that his own prejudices have endangered his
people apes, and a rather ominous ending leading us right at the next film, which presumably will be Battle for the Planet of the Apes.
All in all, three and three-quarters stars. It’s worth the price of admission.
Our thanks once again to The Other McCain for the Rule Five links, and we hope you enjoyed the vacation Rule Five posts. Las Vegas was, as usual, fine in limited doses, and much steam was blown off. Yr. obdt. is now in much improved state of mind and ready for more work.
Which is a good thing, as I find myself back in northern Indiana this morning for another on-site stint.
But I digress. Back to Las Vegas for a moment:
Las Vegas is a place that is not quite like any other place in the United States, except perhaps (and only perhaps) Atlantic City, and never having been there I can’t really compare. But Vegas is a great place for:
- Gambling (if you’re into that)
- Best of all – people-watching.
On shows, we went and saw KÀ, the Cirque Du Soleil show currently running at the MGM Grand. I recommend this how if you’re ever able to take it in – like most Cirque Du Soleil shows it is magnificent in scope and execution, with amazing acrobatics and a stunning soundtrack. We took it in on a Tuesday evening and the auditorium was only 2/3 full, making for a comfortable experience.
Food: Vegas used to be known for cheap, high-quality meals. The first time I went there the Strip was loaded with “Prime Rib, $3.99” signs, the objective being to draw you in for your gambling dollars. No longer. Eating there is expensive; you can enjoy all manner of food from hot dogs to the ubiquitous massive buffets to elite dining, but you’ll pay for all of it. If you’re on a budget, take a cooler and sandwich fixings to stretch your food dollar.
Gambling: I don’t. Mrs. Animal has a small fondness for penny slot machines, but keeps herself on a tight budget. This time she came home about $30 ahead, a nice little bonus.
And last but far from least: People-watching. I don’t just mean girls, although that’s certainly a high point. Las Vegas is a popular destination for people from all over the world, and you can find yourself in conversation with people from such disparate places as Australia, eastern Europe, China, Japan or (as Mrs. Animal and myself did this trip) Jordan – that last being a young Christian couple from Jordan who (wisely) decided it was time for people of their religious persuasion to GTFO of that area.
Vegas is a place I can take for four or five days, then I’m ready to leave. But in another two or three years, I’ll be ready to go back.
And now work beckons, so we now return you to your Monday, already in progress.