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Maybe pandering doesn’t make peace

by Greg Krehbiel on 21 December 2014

If only we had a black president, race relations would be so much better. If only we had a president who grew up overseas, maybe other countries would love us. If only we had a president who spent most of his life as a Muslim, maybe the lunatics in the Middle East would love us.

Or maybe none of those things are relevant at all.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-12-21  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Cynical politicians and a naive public

by Greg Krehbiel on 19 December 2014

The right likes to complain that Obama has been doing too much stuff on his own. He seems to have, they say, a “my way or the highway” style and has been trampling on the separation of powers by doing things through executive action without consulting Congress.

The Obama cheerleading squad (which includes most of the media) point to things like this, which purport to show that Obama has actually issued fewer executive orders than his predecessors. See Every President’s Executive Orders In One Chart

In reality Obama has been far more “active” than any president in a very long time, and has simply issued his imperial decrees under a different name. He calls them “memoranda.”

This allows him to do more “executive actions” while at the same time claiming that he’s issued fewer “executive orders” than previous presidents. Because he has … technically. He’s just done the same thing under a different name.

It’s like an alcoholic saying that he’s cut down on his beer drinking, but fails to tell you he’s been drinking more whiskey. It’s true, but designed to mislead.

This is an incredibly cynical move by the Obama administration, and it shows a few important things.

First, it shows that Obama is a clever, cynical schemer.

Second, it shows that the media hasn’t been doing its job, because this has been going on for a long time and it’s only now coming out.

Third, it shows that the left is more than willing to latch on to convenient lies.

This story is from last week, I think. I’m posting it now because I noticed (in some comments on Facebook) that some people are still unaware of this nonsense and still parrot the “Obama has issued fewer executive orders than his predecessors” line.

It would be nice to believe that once something has been refuted it would disappear from the cultural lexicon, but I know that’s not the case. I used to dabble in disputes that have been going on for hundreds of years, and the same misrepresentations that were common in the 16th century are going on today. It’s very discouraging and makes you despair for humanity, but … such is life.

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-12-19  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Does “digital native” = female?

by Greg Krehbiel on 19 December 2014

A “digital native” is someone who grew up with technology, while a “digital immigrant” is a person who grew up without it but has learned to use it.

I was reading about “digital natives” because there’s a lot of talk about how they’re affecting publishing, which is what I do for a living. A chart on the personality differences between digital natives and immigrants grabbed my attention.

Regular readers know that I dislike personality profile stuff (like Myers Briggs) but believe in personality differences between the sexes. That may bias my view of this chart, but my immediate reaction was that “digital immigrant” sounds more masculine and “digital native” sounds more feminine. It’s not a perfect match, but it does seem to skew heavily that way.

Take a look and let me know what you think.

If my suspicion is right, is it possible that the digital revolution itself is alienating men?

-- 8 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-12-19  ::  Greg Krehbiel

It’s all about the indoctrination

by Greg Krehbiel on 18 December 2014

It often seems that the over-arching mission of our education system is to indoctrinate students into left-leaning attitudes about the world. This is why many people do not want to send their children to government-run schools.

But if you think it’s safe to send your kids to a religious school, think again. The liberal indoctrination can be just as bad, as this story indicates.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-12-18  ::  Greg Krehbiel

“I’m looking forward to a conversation with Congress about what I’ve already done”

by Greg Krehbiel on 18 December 2014

I don’t know all the details, but I think it’s probably past time to normalize relations with Cuba. We have relations with far worse countries, and the cold war is over. I could be very wrong about this, but I suspect that Obama is basically doing the right thing.

But as so often happens with this guy, he’s going about it the wrong way. The man seems to think he’s the emperor.

A relevant quote.

Senator Barack Obama, 2008: “The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States of America.”

-- 2 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-12-18  ::  Greg Krehbiel

The hidden agenda of “yes means yes”

by Greg Krehbiel on 17 December 2014

I’m sure you thought that California’s “yes means yes” law was simply another example of feminism detaching itself from reality. In fact, it’s a shrewd move on the part of California wine growers.

Under the “yes means yes” standards, having a drink or two can make you “too drunk to consent.” Most people read that and assume the feminazi agenda — i.e., if the woman has had a drink or two then she can retroactively cry rape because she realizes — the next day — that she was impaired, therefore she couldn’t give consent, therefore she was raped.

But this cuts both ways. The man was too drunk to give consent as well. So if the woman can retroactively cry rape, so can the man. If either party claims rape, the other can as well. Mutually assured destruction.

Therefore, the only logical thing to do is to always have a glass of wine first, and that’s why “yes means yes” is not the feminazi horror story you thought it was. It’s a clever marketing ploy from the vineyards.

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-12-17  ::  Greg Krehbiel

It’s the “ordinary people” who follow the crowd. Extremists think for themselves.

by Greg Krehbiel on 17 December 2014

The common wisdom is that people with extreme beliefs are — to quote a famous Washington Post article in a similar context — “easily led.” They’re mindless automatons who get their brains filled by charismatic leaders who tell them what to think.

At least that’s how the elite and the “normal” people like to paint it. They are the ones who think for themselves, but all those “extremists” are led around by the nose. The ignorant, unthinking rubes!

I’ve never found that to match with my experience. Every “extremist” I’ve known has been better versed in the issues and has a more well-considered position than the non-extremists.

The extremist may be a loon, but he’s not ignorant, and he knows why he believes his perspective.

“Normal” people, on the other hand, don’t have time to think about issues, so they just absorb what they consider to be the standard explanation. They don’t want people to giggle about them behind their back at the Christmas party, so they adopt the politically correct, safe position. It really doesn’t matter if that position is true or not, or if there are good reasons for believing it. What matters is that it’s “what everybody thinks.”

IOW, it’s the normal people who are being led by the nose by the propagandists.

A new study seems to bear that out.

-- 2 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-12-17  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Not another Bush!

by Greg Krehbiel on 17 December 2014

It’s not that I have anything against him. I just don’t like the idea of a ruling family. We’ve had enough of the Bush family.

-- 13 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-12-17  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Why are we so quick to believe?

by Greg Krehbiel on 16 December 2014

If people are quick to believe that a black man is guilty of a crime, that’s taken as evidence of widespread prejudice against black men.

So what should we conclude from the fact that people were so quick to believe the Rolling Stone story about the rape at UVA?

-- 5 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-12-16  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Instapundit against porn restrictions

by Greg Krehbiel on 15 December 2014

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame is far more libertarian than I am. As one example, the Brits want to place limits on what can be shown in porn films and Reynolds finds that offensive. I don’t know the particulars of the bill, but I don’t have any problems with restrictions on porn. I’m not sure I would mind if it was all against the law.

As I said in Eggs are Expensive, Sperm is Cheap, society simply has to encourage some behaviors and discourage others in order to survive. The alternative — that society will get all the things it requires to function, like soldiers, good families, respectful, law-abiding citizens, etc. — just by chance, or by “the market,” or whatever …. Well, that seems unlikely to me, and not a hope that I would want to bet the future on.

The libertarian standard is that anyone can choose to do anything they want so long as they don’t hurt someone else. Here’s how it’s said on the Libertarian Party page.

Each individual has the right to control his or her own body, action, speech, and property. Government’s only role is to help individuals defend themselves from force and fraud.

I think the libertarians have a useful role in pushing our modern, out-of-control government in that direction, but as a statement of basic political principle I find it horribly naive.

Market forces are great, and as a general rule I believe the market can take care of things. But there are circumstances where the market collapses, or is inadequate to guarantee some product or service that we require. In those cases the government can and should get involved.

This certainly applies to economic goods and to natural resources, but I believe it also applies to social goods. For example, Prohibition was a bad thing, but it was a reaction to a very serious problem. Families were being destroyed by easy access to cheap liquor. It was reasonable for the government to do something to fix that. Prohibition was a step too far, but something had to be done. “Market forces” weren’t fixing it.

It may be reasonable to believe that somebody has to manage these problems, just not government. As regular readers know, I am skeptical of all government actions for the simple reason that government has lots of power and it’s important to keep a wary eye on the rascals. Nobody can be trusted with too much power.

Someone might argue that the church, or other social organizations should try to manage social pathologies, and that the government should stick to other issues.

So what happens if they’re not willing or able? The churches didn’t fix the alcohol problem in the early part of the 20th century, and for about the last 50 years churches have been sitting on the sidelines while the culture has been hell-bent on self destruction. Is the government supposed to sit back and watch things slide into decay while it waits for the church (or the Boy Scouts, or whoever) to step in? In that case the libertarian principle would seem to be a suicide pact.

(Note that when I speak of a “government” solution I’m not saying it has to be a federal action. We also have state governments.)

Humans have some characteristics of pack animals. We follow leaders. The idea of “the government” as “the leader” scares me. It makes me think of North Korea. But at some level the government has to take the lead. Whether we like it or not, society gets a large part of its sense of right and wrong from the law. You can see an example in how public opinion on abortion changed after Roe v. Wade.

That teaching function of the law — its ability to mold what we perceive as right and wrong — is one of the more obvious things that libertarians miss. At some level the law has to do more than stop fraud and protect property. It also has to show people how to behave.

Clearly there have to be limits on that. I don’t want a nanny government. But I also don’t want a government so hamstrung by the libertarian principle that it can never push public morality or behavior in the right direction.

What we have today is some kind of crazy nightmare. The government makes all sorts of annoying laws to force you to “think green,” but it can’t place limits on deviant sexual practices.

-- 7 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-12-15  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2014-12-14 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Cheney v. Todd
2014-12-13 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Herr Doktor is vindicated
2014-12-10 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
When you say “feminism,” …
2014-12-09 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
George Wasshington?
2014-12-08 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
A crow goes sledding
2014-12-08 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Winning the cat lottery
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