Monday, May 20, 2019

ben shapiro

I've never thought much of Ben Shapiro, and his recent interview on the BBC only confirmed those feelings. Shapiro showed himself to be an emotional adolescent, at one point saying to his interviewer, 'I'm more popular than you are!' More than that, though, he showed himself unwilling or unable to defend his own positions when challenged by an adult.

Shapiro's whole shtick is that he's so flat-out brilliant that his tongue can barely keep up with his lightning mind. He has used this motormouth delivery in 'debating' kids on college campuses. If he were to slow his delivery down to a normal pace, most of what he says would be recognized for the shopworn right-wing talking points they are. For flyoverlanders, he epitomizes the fast-talking, flim-flamming city slicker of whom we have been traditionally and rightly suspicious.

He's clearly not somebody who's particularly interested in the truth. Trained as a lawyer, he's more interested in 'winning the case,' at any cost. He's not a reflective person and probably hasn't entertained the notion that he might be wrong about anything since he was, oh, about twelve. If he were a practicing lawyer, he'd be a shyster. It brings to mind Thomas Jefferson's characterization of the law as 'a dubious and talkative profession.'

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

i'm torn

I'm torn. On the one hand, I could never vote for Donald Trump. Did not vote for him, will never vote for him, could never vote for him, for two main reasons.

1. The guy is totally out to lunch on climate change. Willfully oblivious. Dangerously oblivious. He claims his 'gut is better than most people's brains.' Not on this issue, baby.

2. His full-throated embrace of the military-industrial complex. Increasing the defense budget, upgrading our nuclear weapons, trying to create this new 'space force,' etc. We simply can never spend too much on 'defense.' (Of course, the establishment Democrats are totally on board with all this as well.)

ON THE OTHER HAND, there are a couple things I agree with him about. The main one is immigration. Broadly speaking, we need to know and control who is coming into this country. Who can disagree with that? Above all, we need to control who can become citizens. That means ending this 'birthright citizenship' nonsense. The 14th Amendment had to do with the rights of ex-slaves and their children, because in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War Southern states were trying to deny these people the full rights of citizenship. It had nothing to do with illegal aliens; the term didn't even exist then. Very few nations have birthright citizenship today, particularly developed nations. As for the vaunted wall, why not give the Border Patrol what it wants, where it wants it? Do you want to secure the border, or don't you? These are the people tasked with doing this on the ground. Give them what they want-- and in a lot of places, what they want is a wall.

The other thing is something the media really doesn't want to talk about: Trump actually seems to want to withdraw from some of our perpetual military engagements around the world. When he indicated he'll pull our troops out of Syria, the Democrat/Media complex went apoplectic. How dare he? Does anybody even know why we're in Syria, or what the hell we're doing there? And just what are we still doing in Afghanistan after 17 bleepin' years? Does anybody know, does anybody care?

So I'm torn about all this. Not torn enough to ever consider voting for Trump, mind you. But I don't understand why so many people seem incapable of forming independent judgments on each of these issues, rather than just buying the whole ideological smorgasbord of either the right or the left.

Friday, February 8, 2019

my problem with the 'green new deal' is my problem with the whole climate change 'debate'

There's one thing I like about the 'Green New Deal' unveiled by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Sunrise Movement: It's dramatic enough to deal with the scale of the climate change problem. There's one thing I don't like about it, though, and I think it's enough to make it sink like a stone politically: Why is it tied in with this big social-justice agenda (guaranteed jobs, basic income, racial 'equity,' etc.)? What's that got to do with climate change?

I've never really understood why climate change has become this big right-vs-left issue. To me, it's just science. The thing is, the Republicans used to agree with this, back in the 1990s and early 2000s. They were just looking for a market based approach to the issue-- and they came up with one: cap and trade, which came out of the American Enterprise Institute. But then sometime toward the end of that decade the word seems to have gone out that, no, climate change was to be seen as some kind of leftist plot to Take Away Your Freedoms and install a UN One World Government. My guess is that the fossil fuel interests let the GOP bigwigs know that they were not amused.

But now the Democrats are just doubling down on this approach. You may or may not be in favor of Medicare for All, but what on Earth does it have to do with climate change? Nothing, that's what! I just wish the Democrats would deal with this issue alone, on its merits. I think there's plenty there to attract voters turned off by Trump's willful ignorance on the subject. But trying to tie it to this whole left-wing social-justice agenda seems like a really bad, self-defeating idea.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

the same people

The thing you have to remember is that the members of the mainstream media are basically the same people as the members of the Democrat party establishment. In some cases, in fact, they're exactly the same people, e.g., George Stephanopoulos, who was Bill Clinton's press secretary and is now an anchor for ABC News. But in general, these people have gone to the same colleges; they live in the same neighborhoods of New York, Washington, LA, and San Francisco; they go to the same parties; they intermarry; and their kids go to the same private schools. Is it any wonder then that the mainstream media parrot the Democrat establishment party line? They're the same people!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

silicon valley ubi

I note that a number of these Silicon Valley titans are in favor of UBI-- a  universal basic income. It strikes me that these people have a very high level of a certain type of intelligence-- mathematical/logical ability-- but that they're not particularly politically sophisticated. These people are the intellectual One Percent, or even the One Tenth of One Percent, and they simply don't understand 'ordinary people.' My guess is that they basically consider the vast mass of humanity as low-grade ore who will eventually be replaced by robots or algorithms of some sort. So their idea is just to buy these folks off in the hope that after a while they'll see the handwriting on the wall and simply stop reproducing.

literature

For some time now, I've had the sneaking suspicion that literature-- fiction, poetry, drama-- is what people who are no good at math do with their brains.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

planetarianism vs. imperialism


In my beleaguered mind, there are two big-picture ways of looking at the world: the planetary point of view, as exemplified in my 'planetarian blog,' and one that looks back to the great European empires of the nineteenth century and even to great non-European empires of the past. This blog, 'Flyoverlandia,' favors this latter view. It's a more romantic, emotion-laden view of things than the Enlightenment-based planetarian view.

World War I was the great disaster for the European empires. True, they sputtered on and finally received their death blows in World War II. By the 1950s and '60s, Britain and France were divesting themselves of these overseas possessions wholesale, although not always peaceably.

I could see a return to these empires, and some others, in the coming decades. It would have to be done on a looser and more reciprocal basis, of course, but I could see major economic and even political links between the old imperial capitals and their former possessions emerging in the years ahead. This would include not only Britain and France, but Spain, Germany, Italy, Russia, and Portugal in Europe, plus the United States (North America, the Philippines), India, China, and Japan.