This just in (well, earlier this week) from national treasure Dr. Victor Davis Hanson: Illegal Immigration Ideology. Excerpt:
The ideology of illegal immigration rests on certain illogical assumptions that must not be questioned. Immigration exactly is one-way. But why exactly do we simply accept that without inquiry? What is it about a free-market, constitutional, transparent, and law-abiding America that draws in millions desperate to abandon their homes in otherwise naturally rich landscapes in Mexico and Central America?
In the absence of intellectual honesty about the need for political and economic reform in Latin America, mythologies can abound. Millions are desperate to enter a country antithetical to the protocols of their own. They are even more desperate to stay here — even as many mask that paradox by expressing ethnic and cultural chauvinism, along with anger at their hosts. Witness the signs, flags, and symbols of many open-borders, anti-immigration-enforcement rallies. Apparently, nations that create conditions that drive out their own can be the objects of romance, but only at a safe distance.
The ethos of the Mexican government has become surreal. Its racist and imperial classes welcome the flight of 10 percent of its indigenous population. It assumes that the United States cannot, must not, adopt immigration laws similar to its own. Driving out one’s own people apparently vents social tensions in lieu of reform, and the government is thereby exempted from accountability for its utter failures. About $30 billion arrive in return as remittances, many of these transferences subsidized by American social services and entitlements.
Now, I’m not against immigration per se. I am against illegal immigration. I’m also against unchecked immigration; the day when the United States can absorb an unlimited number of immigrants is over. We should now be selective in admitting only people who can contribute to our economy; we can either have a welfare state or open borders, but we most assuredly not have both.
I’ve been asked how, holding as I do minarchist libertarian opinions, I can favor restrictions on immigration. While I do believe that people have a right to travel, in this case property rights take precedence, and to the people of a nation, the nation is their property; a nation is a defined structure, an association of people (a voluntary association, I might add – if you don’t like it in the U.S.,you are certain free to leave) and not only do we have the right to protect our property, our nation, against invasion, we also have the right of disassociation – the right to choose who we allow to join our group.
Dr. Hanson concludes: When Jerry Brown or Nancy Pelosi lectures the state on its illiberality, or on the immigration sins of Donald Trump, or the advantages of nullification and a sanctuary state, we assume that these are just the penultimate chest poundings and virtue signals of rich septuagenarians about to go into apartheid retirements in Napa or Grass Valley.
In that context, all of their legacies above make perfect sense.
And, yes, with that, all the agitating by open-borders activists does make sense; like all statists, they favor most policies that they reckon won’t effect them.
This should come as no surprise: Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Excerpt:
Noël Flynn is spending more than 80 percent of her income to pay back tens of thousands of dollars in debt for her Art Therapy degree. In 2016 alone, the Department of Education loaned $25.9 billion to students who, like Flynn, chose degrees under the umbrella of the liberal arts and humanities, an analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation found.
A significant portion of those students are unlikely to have the means to pay back their debt after graduating.
“I find myself struggling financially, and the biggest reason why is student loans,” said Flynn, 23, who says she was told the loans “wouldn’t be overwhelming” once she graduated.
Most federal student loan programs do not require a credit check, nor do they require a cosigner. Rather, the loans are backed by nothing more than the borrower’s future earnings with a college degree, but the kind of degree isn’t a consideration in the loan process.
Note that degree: Art Therapy. Also in the story:
Students who enter the workforce with a degree in the liberal arts and humanities often find themselves working in a job that does not require a college degree, according to a New York Fed analysis of the underemployment rate for recent college graduates.
Frankly, I’m surprised that Ethnic Studies isn’t at the top of that list, but I suppose there’s always room in the grievance industry for a few more agitators.
So the obvious question arises: What policy solution is there to this? Well, that’s simple: Get the government out of the education system, including financing that education. If student loans are to be made, let the private sector make them. If private lenders were making student loans with no Imperial guarantees, I suspect this wealth of crap degrees would dry up very quickly; student loan applications made to a bank or credit union with the goal of a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts will (and should be) looked at askance, while a student intending to study, say, Mechanical Engineering would be a much better risk.
Get government out of education at all levels, I say! Let us have separation of school and state. That, not more Imperial interference, will dry up this fraudulent torrent of bullshit degree programs.
This just in: Judging from one survey, one third of millennials are fucking idiots. Excerpt:
YouGov, a British market research firm, polled 8,215 adults in the United States to find out if they ever believed in the “flat Earth” movement. Only 66 percent of young millennials answered that they “always believe the world is round.” Science teachers across the U.S. will be shaking their heads after learning that nine percent of young adults answered that they have “always believed” the planet was flat.
Another nine percent said of young adults said they thought the planet was spherical but had doubts about it. In a disturbing display of indecision, 16 percent of millennials said they weren’t sure what the shape of the planet was.
Overall, only two percent of the respondents said they always thought the Earth was flat without any doubt.
Seriously, folks. In the third century BC, Eratosthenes of Cyrene not only figured the Earth was a sphere but worked out the circumference of the Earth with surprising accuracy for the time.
Now, it’s easy to write some of this off as simple ignorance and blame (not without cause) the atrocious state of science education in the United States. But there are people out there who actually believe this horseshit, and are claiming some sort of global conspiracy to cover up the “truth.”
It just goes to show, there is nothing out there so mind-bogglingly stupid that some horse’s ass won’t believe it. For example, there’s this asshole.
But let’s focus on the American millennials reported on above. What do we blame for this stupidity? The education system? (See how those much-touted Imperial standards are doing?) Pop culture? Fluoride in the water? Chemtrails? How can so many of our youths be this bogglingly stupid?
Someone, please tell me this is a parody. Assuming it’s not; when did the British become such a bunch of enormous pussies?
— Regents Park Police (@MPSRegentsPark) March 16, 2018
In the hours after February’s school massacre in Parkland, Fla., Joyce Lee Malcolm watched the response with growing annoyance:
“Everybody seemed to leap upon it, looking for a political benefit, rather than allowing for a cooling-off period.” As a historian, Malcolm prefers to take the long view. As a leading scholar of the Second Amendment, however, she is also expected to have snap opinions on gun rights, and in fact she often has engaged in the news-driven debates about violence and firearms. “Something deep inside of me says that people never should be victims,” she says. “And they never should be put in the position of being disarmed by their government.”
At a time when armies were marching around England, ordinary people became anxious about surrendering guns. Then, in 1689, the English Bill of Rights responded by granting Protestants the right to “have Arms for their Defence.” Malcolm wasn’t the first person to notice this, of course, but as an American who had studied political loyalty in England, she approached the topic from a fresh angle. “The English felt a need to put this in writing because the king had been disarming his political opponents,” she says. “This is the origin of our Second Amendment. It’s an individual right.”
There are all kinds of practical arguments for the Second Amendment; the general failure of gun-control laws to have any meaningful impact on crime rates (you could in fact argue just the opposite, holding up some of our major cities as examples) as well as the increase in American gun ownership set against the near-historic low violent crime rates nationwide.
But while all those articles are useful, it’s Heller and the Second Amendment that is our strongest argument. We are either a free people or we are not; the primary measure of liberty is the degree to which the people are armed. The armed citizen is the bulwark of liberty.
Dr. Malcolm, hardly a right-wing agitator, understands this. It would be great if some of our pols would heed her words.
Thanks once again to Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!
Moving on: File this under “really good ideas that will never happen.” Excerpt, with my comments:
The House is slated to vote next week on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution after lawmakers return from their Easter recess.
The decision to bring the measure — which would require Congress not to spend more than it brings in — to the floor comes just weeks after the passage of a $1.3 trillion spending package that is projected to add billions to the deficit.
Irony, thy name is the United States Congress.
The amendment, introduced by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), would require a “true majority” in both the House and Senate to pass tax increases and a three-fifths majority in both chambers to increase the debt limit.
And that would be a great idea. But:
The measure has virtually no chance of becoming law as it would need Democratic support in the Senate and ratification from the majority of states. While conservative hard-liners largely support the proposal, critics argue adding a constitutional amendment could weaken economic activity and exacerbate recessions by limiting the government’s ability to spend money.
Good. Good! My response to that complaint from the “critics” takes the form of four words: Fuck you, cut spending. There are entire Cabinet-level departments that are not authorized by the Constitution and therefore prohibited by the Tenth Amendment: Education, Commerce, Environment, and so on. Wipe them out. RIF the bureaucrats, let them find honest jobs.
The decision to take up the measure stems from an agreement struck between Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker (R-N.C.) in October. Ryan agreed on a vote on the amendment in exchange for conservative support on a procedural budget measure needed for Republicans to move forward on tax reform.
And of course Ryan agreed; it doesn’t cost him anything, as he knows it won’t go anywhere. I don’t agree about the ratification argument; I think it’s very likely that 38 states would vote to rein in Imperial spending. But in the current Senate, no way. It’s not going anywhere.
It’s a fine pass we’ve come to – that such a proposal, requiring the Imperial government to live within its means like all of the citizenry must do, is doomed to failure before a single vote is called.
When Ford first announced in 2017 that it was bringing the famous 4×4 SUV back, it only confirmed the name. The image reveals the Bronco to have a boxy, upright shape, a short-ish wheelbase, and minimal overhangs. We do know that it’ll challenge the all-conquering Jeep Wrangler and that it’s based on the 2019 Ranger.
The return of this proud old name is exciting – we still recall with great fondness our two Broncos, a ’74 and a ’92. The first, the Green Machine, was a great truck – manual everything, sheet metal and vinyl interior, and it would damn near go up and down trees. The second, the Dark Horse (black Bronco, Dark Horse, you get the idea) was bigger, more comfortable, and had an automatic transmission and transfer case, was damn near as capable off-road and much more suited for highway travel; the Dark Horse took us on outdoor adventures from Wyoming to the Mexican border, from Utah to the Mississippi.
But, as Ford informs us, the new Bronco will be based on that new Ranger, and that’s the subject of a little concern, at least to yr. obdt.:
It’s a real truck. The Ranger sits on a fully boxed, high-strength steel frame with six cross members. Suspension components of note include a double A-arm front suspension and monotube front dampers. Traditional leaf springs and shock absorbers help control a solid rear axle. Power steering will be electronically-assisted.
This Ranger gets frame-mounted steel bumpers with steel bash-plates and tow hooks. Two cab and bed options are available, but only one wheelbase is offered. SuperCab Rangers will have the longer of the two beds, while SuperCrew (full two door) Rangers will only get the shorter bed. Metal trim pieces over the wheel wells can be color matched or accented with a handsome magnetic grey color. The tailgate, front fenders, and hood are all aluminum, in keeping with one of the F-Series major brand identifiers. Engineers say that the Ranger has been tested to the same durability standards as the F-Series trucks.
That’s all good, but:
The only engine offered for the North American Ranger will be a 2.3-liter, direct-injected four-cylinder with a twin-scroll turbocharger. The crank and rods are forged steel. It will be mated to the 10-speed automatic with three overdrive gears co-developed with the folks at General Motors.
This isn’t an engine that will develop a lot of low-end torque. It’s a car engine; a truck needs low-end torque. But this is the real kicker:
The FX4 pack brings Ford’s Terrain Management system, a system first found on the ultra-capable Raptor. It has four modes: Normal, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, and Sand. Grass/gravel/snow simply numbs throttle response. Mud/ruts carries with it the throttle numbing, while also throwing the drivetrain into 4-Hi for truck stuff. Sand activates 4-Hi, tells the transmission to grab the lowest gear possible, and relaxes the traction control to allow some wheel slip.
In addition to the Terrain Management tech, a system Ford calls Trail Control will debut on Rangers outfitted with the FX4 Off-Road package. Think of this as cruise-control blended with a hill-descent control system. Trail Control will allow the driver to set and maintain a low vehicle speed (1-20 mph) while traveling through less-than perfect trails on the way to the next adventure.
Here’s my concern: All these electronic gewgaws are not desirable, for two reasons:
- They allow the driver to get into touchy situations without first requiring the driver to develop any real knowledge of their vehicle’s capabilities, and without necessarily developing any real off-road skills.
- All that high-tech stuff will break, and it will break at the worst possible moment – say, when you’re up in the back end of Firebox Park south of Eagle, ten miles from the county road.
I’m not sure why someone can’t build a simple, tough utility with a manual transmission, manual hubs, crank windows, and a small-block V-8. My first Bronco, the Green Machine, was great because of its light weight, short wheelbase, 302ci V-8 and manual everything. It was simple, easy to clean, easy to maintain, and tough, tough, tough. Build a truck like that today, sell it for around twenty grand, and I bet you’d have people lined up to buy them.
In the meantime, I’ll keep my Rojito for woods-bumming. It’s a tad underpowered, but the 1999 Ranger was still available with damn near manual everything, and that’s the way I like it. I’ll probably go look at the new Broncs when they come out, but I’m prepared to be disappointed.
On Tuesday last, when the first news of the YouTube shooter hit the interwebs, I suspected a domestic issue or (maybe) an Islamist nutcase. But I have to admit, I didn’t see this one coming. Excerpt:
After hours of false reports on the shooting at YouTube’s headquarters earlier today, the truth has finally come out. A 38-year-old vegan activist (seriously) named Nasim Aghdam has been identified as the shooter by authorities.
After reviewing Aghdam’s personal website, it became clear that she was a YouTuber, angry over losing ad revenue and viewership on the platform due to YouTube’s updated policies on monetization in February. She made several posts and videos ranting about being censored by YouTube, and believed her car had been vandalized by so-called “anti-vegan radicals.” Her father, Ismail Aghdam, had contacted San Diego authorities after posts he viewed as “disturbing” led him to believe she might act out on her anger toward YouTube in response to what she believed was a targeted campaign of censorship by the video-sharing site.
So, a left-wing vegan nutcase. That’s interesting although, with the benefit of hindsight, not completely unexpected.
Back in the late 1990s, when I was researching and writing Misplaced Compassion, one of the things that quickly became apparent was the totalitarian streak among animal rights/vegan activists. It wasn’t enough that they advocated for their ethically bankrupt viewpoint; they advocated enforcing it by law, a goal which was so far out of their reach as to be laughable – but now, perhaps, we see what a few of them may be capable of.
Yes, I know, most animal rights/vegan loons are harmless. Most Muslims are peaceful, too. But totalitarian impulses are what lead people to these sorts of actions. The vegan YouTube shooter, who obviously places a higher value on the lives of cows than the lives of people, is just the latest example.