Sunday, August 14, 2011

News items and comments

Welfare creates a poverty of values

Piers Akerman – Sunday, August 14, 11 (09:11 am)

Quicker than a brick through a window, the navel-gazers were blaming everything and everyone for the British riots except those smashing the glass and looting.

That pinpointed one of the real issues at the heart of the problem, the refusal to nail those actually responsible for the murder and mayhem, the hooded young men and women out for a little excitement during the long twilight of the northern hemisphere summer.

Listening to the hand-wringers and the Left-wing academics queuing to be interviewed the problem was disenfranchisement. A failure by the broader society to keep the young people engaged.

How anyone can hope to engage anyone when they have their ear phones locked into their iPods and their minds firmly lodged in the intricacies of a video game is another matter.

The heart of the problem is not engagement or lack of engagement, it has more to do with the utter nonsense that has taken the place of responsible child rearing over the past 30 years.

I feel responsibility for the riots needs to be taken by UK Labor. The kids after they are turned in say as much. The empty gestures and broken promises of UK Labor have created a mixture of dissatisfaction and entitlement responsible people are appalled by.

There are many similarities between those riots and ALP inspired Cronulla, Macquarie Fields, Redfern and Democrat inspired LA.

Also there is a hatred for police which is part and parcel of the underclass. A belief among lefties that police need to be tethered.

DD Ball of Carramar/Sydney (Reply)
Sun 14 Aug 11 (09:22am)

The problem of a fatherless society

Miranda Devine – Sunday, August 14, 11 (09:09 am)

The fact that Penny Wong’s female partner is to have a baby is a cause for private celebration for them. But why are so many people exhorting the rest of us to celebrate as if this were some major milestone in human civilisation?

You’d think no politician had ever had a child before.

We are supposed to ignore Tony and Margie Abbott’s three daughters because every time he is seen with them it is some sort of unfair snub to Julia Gillard and reflection on her marital status.

The traditional heterosexual norm of a nuclear family and children is something to be kept in a closet like an embarrassment.

Tolerance has gone back to front. It is no longer good enough to accept without criticism female politicians in de facto or lesbian relationships. Now we have to downplay traditional marriage for fear of causing offence. No one can be a wife or husband any more. Everyone is a “partner”.

The unorthodox situation of a lesbian artificially inseminated with the sperm of a male “acquaintance” we are supposed to laud as if it were the Second Coming, the wonderful precursor of what the New York Times once lauded as the “post-marital” future.

I have just read an article about a person who needed a maternity bed but there was nothing available. The girl was 13 years old. Census statisticians might need to include that fact while looking at where to build more.

It is wonderful for Penny and her significant other that they are to be a family. I wish them well. But I wish to add the truth that modelling works to show others what is acceptable behavior and aspirations. I despise rich leading licentious lives and using money to dig themselves out of scrapes that others can’t. A mum and dad can care for a child on modest means.

Right now we are being challenged to lead more modest lives for Climate Change. How about this example?

DD Ball of Carramar/Sydney (Reply)
Sun 14 Aug 11 (09:32am)




Being on vacation with my son, Thomas – we’re at the big Star Trek convention at the Rio in Las Vegas – I have less time than usual to blog. In particular, I’m way behind on my “Some Links” and “Quotation of the Day…” features.

But I steal this opportunity to offer one link from Mark Perry’s Carpe Diem; it’s to a post of Mark’s entitled “Using Value-Added Trade Estimates, We Have a +$32.25B Trade SURPLUS with China for 2011.” The title should be sufficiently intriguing to click on the link and read the entire post. Here’s the opening:

According to research at the San Francisco Federal Reserve, 36% of the value of imported goods goes to U.S. companies and workers, and for Chinese imports it’s much higher: the U.S. content of “Made in China” is close to 55%. Reason? The SF Fed explains:

“The fact that the U.S. content of Chinese goods is much higher than for imports as a whole is mainly due to higher retail and wholesale margins on consumer electronics and clothing than on most other goods and services.”

And apropos nothing save one of the general themes of this blog, I use this opportunity also to report that, during his time on stage this morning at the convention, actor John de Lancie (who portrayed the god-like character “Q” in several Star Trek episodes) speculated that his character “Q” is interesting because it combines “infinite power with no responsibility.” De Lancie quite properly suggested that this combination is a very bad one indeed.

So I ask: what is the state if not an institution that permits those who manage to get their hands on its levers of control to exercise vast (altho’, of course, hardly unlimited) power with virtually no responsibility? The responsibility that matters, of course, is personal responsibility – responsibility of those flesh-and-blood individuals who actually decide and act. To say that “the state” as an institution is “responsible” for something – say, the welfare of society – and to point to formal documents in which that responsibility is trumpeted, is neither to create nor to identify genuine and meaningful responsibility.

Barney Frank, for instance, might work for an institution that professes that it is – and is alleged to be – “responsible” for this and that aspect of American governance. And in so working for that institution in the high and exalted capacity in which he works for it, Mr. Frank is indeed invested with real and vast power. But the same institution that gives him his power simultaneously shields him from taking responsibility for the very consequences of his exercise of that power.

And as Bryan Caplan explains far better than I ever can, the same is true – though to a much lesser degree – for each and every voter.


A Heinous Anniversary



Today is the 50th anniversary of one of history’s most infamous, yet appropriate, monuments to statism: the Berlin Wall.

It was a wall – guarded by armed men – meant to keep people from voting with their feet. It was a nearly impervious barrier that embodied collectivism’s sophistication (brute and brutal force) and collectivism’s ethos (individual human beings must live for the collective – in practice, for the state – and deserve to die if they refuse).

Soviet-style communism was among history’s most barbarous manifestations of humankind’s fatal attraction to collectivism. As such, it was also among history’s most honest and revealing manifestations of this attraction. The Berlin Wall was concrete, solid, visible. The armed-guards’ guns were metal, loaded, visible.

I am not among those who believe that society loses its civility and sacrifices its right to call itself free merely because the state that lords over it is more intrusive and powerful than a night-watchman state. I am not among those who believe that a state more intrusive and powerful than a night-watchman state necessarily, or even likely, condemns the citizens of the territory over which it rules to a future that can appropriately be called “tyranny” – at least as long as we have the actual historical benchmarks of the various People’s Paradises engineered by the likes of Stalin, Mao, and Castro.

But I also am not among those who believe that just because the governments of, say, the United States and of France are not as brutal as were the governments of the U.S.S.R. and of China, that the obligations and prohibitions that Washington and Paris foist on their citizens are not properly described as manifestations of “force.”

That Uncle Sam does not use force as consistently, as openly, and brutally as did the government of the U.S.S.R. does not thereby excuse most of the force that Uncle Sam’s does unleash in his effort to interfere with people’s peaceful choices and actions. Nor does it make Uncle Sam’s many uses of force something other than of force.

These facts aren’t altered significantly by the fact that Americans enjoy (if that’s the right word) a wide franchise.

One of the many dangerous delusions that too many people suffer today is the delusion that tells them that as long as ‘their’ government is democratically elected – and as long as ‘their’ government largely refrains from using brutality openly and of the sort that was routine in 20th-century hells such as the U.S.S.R. and East Germany – then ‘their’ government is largely civilized and an agent for Good for The People.



Tim Blair – Sunday, August 14, 11 (07:47 pm)

A beautiful Blair’s Law confluence in presidential politics:

So why is [Matt] Damon’s name being mentioned in the context of the 2012 race for the White House and a possible liberal challenge to Barack Obama? The simple answer is to blame leftwing firebrand Michael Moore.

Between them, those three should be able to solve just about anything. Let’s hear from the future President:

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