Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kipling Saw It, Too

The Gods of the Copybook Headings  
by Rudyard Kipling

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Agenda - a Movie About HOW the Rules Changed

I wish I could say that it makes me feel better to know that I'm not the only person who sees this stuff, but it doesn't.  Hopefully, this will be better than the disappointment that was 2016: Obama's America.

AGENDA: Grinding America Down (Trailer) from Copybook Heading Productions LLC on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The End of American Military Power

We haven't yet reached the end of American military power, but you can see it from here.  Wes Pruden has the story:
Many of these soldiers, sailors and Marines feel betrayed by the senior officers of the services, beginning with the commander in chief. The old customs and traditions which have held the services together through war and peace have been scorned and trashed, replaced with the politically correct attitudes and regulations that gag real men. Even saying so is a sure way for an officer to ruin a career. The men in the ranks understand this, too.
The Army’s Center for Army Leadership at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., asked 16,800 commissioned and non-commissioned officers whether they think “the Army is headed in the right direction to prepare for the challenges of the next 10 years.” Their answers, as reported by, ought to be enough to scare a commander in chief straight. His defense chief, too. But it won’t, because they’re exactly the men responsible for the survey results.
Only 26 percent – 1 man in 4 – say they think the Army is on track to continue as the scourge of evildoers who yearn to do the republic ill. Nearly 40 percent say the service is headed in the wrong direction, and 36 percent say they don’t have an opinion (and no doubt if they did, they’re smart enough to keep it to themselves).
The pessimists – or “realists,” as they might be called – cite two reasons. One is the hollowing out of the military as proposed by President Obama, and the other is the stifling effects of the politically correct run amok. They don’t understand why the men entrusted to manage the Army go along without protest with the nonsense mandated by the White House. Generals and admirals, just like shavetail lieutenants, know who punches their tickets.
 The Politically Correct Army depends on a poor economy for its recruits, and the public schools training those recruits will, increasingly, produce men and women who are poorly suited to the discipline of military service.  One shudders to consider what will be left of the military after four more years of President Obama. 

And yet, consider it we must.  With the automatic budget cuts coming to the military at the end of this year, which no one has acted to prevent, new projects will have to be cancelled, old ones scaled back.  Ships will be mothballed, without being replaced.  Manpower will be cut, but it may still be difficult to find sufficient recruits of adequate quality.  Personnel currently serving should not be counting on pay raises between promotions.

Moreover, with declining discipline, I predict a day when we see surveys rating military bases as the best "party bases", much like we now people rating colleges as the best "party schools."  I can't wait to have my tax money go for that; can you?

Monday, September 10, 2012

More on Why -- and How -- Obama Will Win

Writing at Powerline, John Hinderaker explains why the election is closer than many think it ought to be (H/T:  The Other McCain):
On paper, given Obama’s record, this election should be a cakewalk for the Republicans. Why isn’t it? I am afraid the answer may be that the country is closer to the point of no return than most of us believed. With over 100 million Americans receiving federal welfare benefits, millions more going on Social Security disability, and many millions on top of that living on entitlement programs–not to mention enormous numbers of public employees–we may have gotten to the point where the government economy is more important, in the short term, than the real economy. My father, the least cynical of men, used to quote a political philosopher to the effect that democracy will work until people figure out they can vote themselves money. I fear that time may have come.
In a followup post, Hinderaker expands on this:
Because Obama’s policies have suppressed economic growth, the ranks of the unemployed and underemployed have grown steadily. As unemployment benefits have finally run out, the long-term unemployed have, by the millions, declared themselves to be permanently and totally disabled. Millions of Americans have come to be dependent on government largesse as a result of the economic folly of the Obama administration. So how are those people going to vote? One might think that, angry at the government policies that have robbed them of their ability to be self-supporting, they would vote Republican. No doubt some will. But many more will cling to the only life raft in sight, and will vote for the party that promises the never-ending continuation and expansion of government benefits.
 Hinderaker also links to Andy McCarthy, writing at National Review Online:
Here is the blunt explanation: We have lost a third of the country and, as if that weren’t bad enough, Republicans act as if it were two-thirds.
The lost third cannot be recovered overnight. For now, it is gone. You cannot cede the campus and the culture to the progressive, post-American Left for two generations and expect a different outcome. So even if Obama is the second coming of Jimmy Carter — and he has actually been much more effective, and therefore much worse — it is unreasonable to expect a Reagan-style landslide, and would be even if we had Reagan. The people coming of age in our country today have been reared very differently from those who were just beginning to take the wheel in the early 1980s. They have marinated in an unapologetically progressive system that prizes group discipline and narrative over free will and critical thought.
The narratives are not always easy to follow. In the progressive weltanschauung, good and evil are relative. Good is whatever it is said to be in the moment; don’t ask anyone to explain why “choice” is a value when it involves killing the unborn, though it is seen as an obvious nuisance when it involves the right to choose the double cheeseburger over the salad. Evil is contextualized and root-caused into vaporous abstraction.  [Emphasis added.]
 More and more writers are coming to understand that, as much as they may be believe that Romney "ought to win", and even in a landslide, Obama is doing better than they expect -- and far better than they like to admit.  And so they're beginning to predict that this election will be a squeaker.  The truth is that Obama is still doing better than they're able to admit.  The rules of elections have changed, too.  They're playing the fool's game right up to the end.

What they're not doing is coming out and admitting that the world no longer works the way it did when they acquired all their expertise as commentators.  Which would require them to admit that they no longer have much in the way of special relevant expertise as commentators.  They're also not offering any explanation of what the new rules are, and how you can succeed under those rules.

For example, as McCarthy correctly notes, "good is whatever it is said to be in the moment."  This is one of the new rules.  Good and evil are no longer eternal and immutable, they are whatever they are felt to be at the moment.  But:  felt to be by whom?  Assert yourself!  You can assert that what you want is "good" just as easily as the next fellow.  If you can't force your morality on them, you can at least demand that they not force their morality on you.  And believe me, that's exactly what they want to do.  Even under the new rules, you don't have to let them.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The New Normal Economy

Victor Davis Hanson notes that the new normal for our economy is one in which savings doesn't benefit savers, the old can't retire, and the young can't find jobs:
I’ve witnessed two of the most radical developments in my lifetime the last four years — changes far greater than those brought on by the massive new increases in the national debt, the soaring gas costs, the radical decrease in average family income, the insolvent Medicare and Social Security trajectories, or the flat housing market.
One is the fact of less than 1% interest rates on most savings (well below the rate of inflation), and the other is an epidemic of 20-something unemployment.
Sometimes, you may find that you are ignoring the obvious.  Or, you may not realize that what is happening to you and to most of your friends is actually part of a nationwide trend.  In one sense, it's comforting to know that you're not alone.  But in another, it's even more depressing to think that there's probably no solution to these problems for any of us.
The hallmark advice of retirement planning was always to scrimp, save, and put away enough money to make up for retirement’s lost salary, increasing medical bills, and the supposed good life of the “golden years.”
...But well aside from the fact that many Americans have been laid off, taken pay cuts, lost home equity, had their 401(k)s pruned, or had to take care of out-of-work relatives, there is no 5% any more on anything, not even 2% or  in most cases 1%.  Saving money means nothing really in terms of return, only the realization that inflation eats away the principal each year.
...The old American idea of receiving a fair so-so interest on a little money in the savings account vanished. And no one seems to care.
I've never been able to save money.  Perhaps I shouldn't bother trying.  Whenever I get a little set aside, something always comes up and my savings is wiped out.  Retirement?  Fugeddabouddit!
Few seem to note that those who receive nothing on their retirement savings don’t retire so easily. And when they don’t retire, jobs don’t open up — which brings us to my next observation: the lost generation of those between 21 and 30, who at various ages and periods came into the workplace the last four years. Many have 8% plus student loans. I doubt half of those will ever be paid off, given the epidemic of unemployment in this cohort.
Unemployment rates of those 16-24 are now officially over 50%. Even the cohort between 16 and 29 suffers from 45% unemployment.
What's the best way to ensure perpetual Democratic rule?  Expand the dependent class, so that Democrats can appeal to them by promising to soak the rich to support them.
The new model for the next generation is to cobble part-time work together, intern, occasionally draw on unemployment, send out resumes hourly, and hope for something to turn up (preferably in government, state or federal). 
What Hanson doesn't mention is that this generation will be motivated, like no other before it, to avoid having children.  Marriage rates can be expected to fall, divorce and abortion rates to rise.  No wonder the Democrats are all about making taxpayers and employers provide free abortions and contraceptives.
But these days, the game has changed somewhat — or rather been downscaled: the PhD is not being hired for anything other than part-time teaching; the JD is reduced to the law library gofer; the freshly minted MD is the equivalent of a salaried, high-paid nurse; the credentialed high-school teacher is subbing; the engineer is a draftsman; the carpenter is cobbling together home repair mini-jobs.
 I know people in most of these situations.  I know a Ph.D. who works at three part-time teaching positions, two JD's who can't afford to practice law, they're computer consultants, and at least one highly skilled industrial engineer who barely scrapes by "cobbling together home repair mini-jobs."

It's easy to blame Obama and the Democrats for bringing our problems to this extreme over the last four years.  It's much harder to have confidence that Romney and Republicans can be successful at reversing them over the next four.

"Government is the only thing we all belong to."

Once upon a time, feudal lords bearing titles like "King", "Duke", or "Baron" owned all the land, and even owned the people who lived on it.

Over time, various political movements, economic realities, and armed rebellions led us to a state of greater freedom, and private ownership of property.

No more, the rules have changed. Once again, according to the Democratic Party, you belong to the government:

These people are comfortable with this sort of language. So comfortable, in fact, they can't imagine that anyone would be uncomfortable with it.

This is our last chance to defeat this dangerous worldview. If President Obama is re-elected, this mindset will become so lodged in our popular culture and our legal structure that it will take generations to reverse.

The rules have changed. What will you do, in the two months remaining, to defeat the party that thinks you "belong to" government? Don't tell me; go do it!