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Thou shalt vote … or else

by Greg Krehbiel on 19 March 2015

Mandatory voting isn’t going anywhere, nor should it, but the story I linked claims that mandatory voting could “offset the influence of big money in politics.”

That seems unlikely to me. I would think there would be more money in politics.

But in any event, this is a classic case of why governments should require as few things as possible. If the government requires something it has to enforce that requirement (“force” being the operative word), and it’s simply not worth it.

If people don’t want to vote, maybe it’s because they don’t care. I know that big government types think it’s some sort of moral duty to care deeply about government, but not everybody feels that way. Some people still remember what “student government” was like in elementary school, and we think grown-up government is just those same kids, 25 years later.

-- 2 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-03-19  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Was Netanyahu “race-baiting”?

by Greg Krehbiel on 18 March 2015

Thomas Friedman complains that Netanyahu was “race-baiting” when he said “too many Israeli Arabs were going to the polls.”

This is precisely the kind of thing that inhibits honest discussions about race and racism.

I’m taking it as a given that Israeli Arabs (taken as a group) vote differently than non-Arab Israelis, and that the Arab Israelis tend to vote against the kinds of policies Netanyahu advocates. Given that, in what bizarro world would Netanyahu not want to warn his side that lots of Arabs are voting?

It’s not racism to recognize political realities — e.g., that Arabs tend not to support Netanyahu, or, in an American context, that blacks overwhelmingly vote Democratic. And, IMO, what Netanyahu said was not racism, and it would not be racism for a Republican candidate to warn his supporters that Democrats are busing blacks to the polls. It’s only our hypersensitivity to any mention of race that makes this a problem.

In the mixed up world of the politically correct brain, it makes perfect sense for Democrats to bus blacks to the polls — because they know that blacks tend to vote Democratic — but it would be racism for a Republican to tell his supporters that blacks are being bused to the polls.

It’s people like Friedman who are poisoning the well of honest discussions of race.

-- 13 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-03-18  ::  Greg Krehbiel

McDonald’s has nothing on Starbucks for making their place uncomfortable

by Greg Krehbiel on 17 March 2015

A little while ago I said that I didn’t want folk in McDonald’s asking me to “pay with love.” It’s the kind of thing that would make me not go to McDonald’s. I don’t want other people imposing their pretend happy on me.

Well, Ronald McDonald has nothing on Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, who wants baristas to talk to customers about race.

Good grief.

Race is such a ridiculously sensitive topic that I rarely talk to my friends about it. The idea that I’d want to talk to some barista about it is absurd.

But … the strategy is actually pretty good, assuming Schultz is a politically correct liberal.

One of the problems with race in this country is that we can’t talk honestly about it. The race hucksters get away with telling brazen lies — with the support of Obama, Holder, various celebrity troublemakers and most of the media — while everyone else is afraid to say anything.

Can you imagine anyone in a Starbucks saying anything other than the politically correct nonsense that goes for “dialog” these days.

This scheme won’t encourage honest conversations about race. What it will do is further cement the attitude that you are only allowed to say certain things about race. IOW, it will solidify the PC speech codes that allowed nonsense like “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” to catch on.

And along those lines, see this. ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ was based on a lie.

Thanks, Obama, for this lovely post-racial America you’re giving us.

-- 20 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-03-17  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Will Hillary go to jail?

by Greg Krehbiel on 17 March 2015

Here’s a very interesting opinion piece in the WSJ: Hillary’s Emails and the Law: It is a crime — obstruction of justice — to destroy even one message to prevent it from being subpoenaed.

I’m not offering any opinion on whether or not she broke the law because I don’t know the relevant law. What’s interesting to me is the reaction you probably have to the very concept of Hillary going to jail.

It sounds absurd. People like Hillary don’t go to jail.

What does that say about our justice system … or, maybe, about our perception of our justice system?

-- 2 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-03-17  ::  Greg Krehbiel

The new kid in town

by Greg Krehbiel on 17 March 2015

Awkward Ollie and the Stolen Banana

Awkward Ollie is making his Kindle debut.

Mix a weird boy who mutters, can’t stand up straight and has no friends with a vindictive, nasty girl and what do you get? Spells, curses, trouble with the principal, detention, and … a trip to the hospital.

If you were in middle school you’d stay as far away from Awkward Ollie as you could manage.

It’s free today on Kindle. If you like it, please write a review, unless you share my last name. Amazon doesn’t like revews that look like they’re from family.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-03-17  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Punish away, Al Gore

by Greg Krehbiel on 16 March 2015

The scary headline reads, Al Gore at SXSW: We Need to ‘Punish Climate-Change Deniers’ and ‘Put a Price on Carbon’

Visions of McCarthyism. Armed agents of the government breaking into people’s houses and confiscating unapproved books. Dissenting scientists rounded up and sent to re-education camps.

It’s nothing like that. He wants to encourage investors to get out of carbon-based businesses, and he wants a social media campaign to harass people who doubt that man-made climate change is a significant issue.

You’re a cynical jerk who’s making millions off this global warming scare store, Mr. Gore, but … go right ahead. Call for boycotts. It’s still a free country.

But when the shoe is on the other foot and conservatives encourage investors not to support things they don’t like, let’s not hear anything about censorship, okay?

Or, IOW, if we lived on another planet and public dialog was fair and applied the same standards to both sides ….

-- 2 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-03-16  ::  Greg Krehbiel

The silliness of the Obama / Kerry position on the Republican letter to Iran

by Greg Krehbiel on 15 March 2015

John Kerry was on Face the Nation today, where he made two points about the Republican letter to Iran.

First, he said, the position in the letter is factually incorrect. I.e., the Congress will have no ability to change this deal once it’s finalized.

Second, it was wrong for Republicans to intervene and try to torpedo the negotiations before there was an actual deal.

But if, once agreed to, it was a done deal and Congress had no chance to stop it, then killing it ahead of time was their only realistic option.

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-03-15  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Sorry for the down time

by Greg Krehbiel on 15 March 2015

Something funky happened with one of my WordPress plugins. If you notice anything weird, please leave a comment or send me an email about it.

-- 4 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-03-15  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Ronda Rousey is half right

by Greg Krehbiel on 13 March 2015

Ronda Rousey is the undefeated women’s UFC bantamweight champion. She is one tough gal, and she won her last fight in about ten seconds. She’s that good.

No, in case you were wondering, I don’t watch that stuff. I think it’s barbaric to have women fighting one another for sport. But it’s simply a fact that she’s really good at what she does.

Rousy is so good that it’s hard to find opponents for her, which raises the obvious question: why not have her fight a man?

Yes, of course I believe that would be even more barbaric that having women fighting each other, so I’m glad Rousy says she won’t do it. But her reasoning reinforces some modern myths about violence.

“I don’t think it’s a great idea to have a man hitting a woman on television,” Rousey told The Daily Beast on Wednesday. “I’ll never say that I’ll lose, but you could have a girl getting totally beat up on TV by a guy — which is a bad image to put across.”

I’m with her so far.

“With all the football [domestic violence] stuff that’s been happening, not a good idea.”

Here’s where she loses me. Of course I do notice that it was the editor who added the reference to domestic violence (in brackets), but I think that is what Rousy is talking about, and that’s where the myths come in.

First, the “football players are abusers” story is a myth. The NFL Has a Lower Rate of Domestic Violence Than the General Population

Second, women initiate domestic violence more often than men.

So if Rousy was going to be accurate, she should really say that it’s not a good idea to have a woman hitting a man on television. It might encourage more abuse.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-03-13  ::  Greg Krehbiel

What atheists fear

by Greg Krehbiel on 13 March 2015

This is somewhat interesting. What scares the new atheists.

It discusses a few different things. I’ll only comment on a few. First, the author correctly points out that the atheists who think they can base morality on science are quite ignorant of history and philosophy.

… there are no reliable connections – whether in logic or history – between atheism, science and liberal values …
…atheist movements today … claim that liberal values can be scientifically validated and are therefore humanly universal…
None of the divergent values that atheists have from time to time promoted has any essential connection with atheism, or with science.

Of course, but the “new atheists” don’t understand this.

It is actually a little astonishing how bad the “new atheists” are at seeing their own blind spots, especially on moral issues. I know that it’s a general human failing to miss your own blind spots, but these people are always telling us how smart — how “bright” they are. They ought to show a little of it.

I have read a few of Steven Pinker’s books, and while he makes some interesting arguments, I’m always amazed at the things he doesn’t see about his own positions.

But that’s all somewhat of a side issue. The main point of the article is this.

To a significant extent, the new atheism is the expression of a liberal moral panic. … As society became ever more reliant on science, they had assumed, religion would inexorably decline. …

Which simply hasn’t happened.

The belief that the human species is a moral agent struggling to realise its inherent possibilities – the narrative of redemption that sustains secular humanists everywhere – is a hollowed-out version of a theistic myth. [The author of the article is an atheist, BTW.] The idea that the human species is striving to achieve any purpose or goal – a universal state of freedom or justice, say – presupposes a pre-Darwinian, teleological way of thinking that has no place in science. Empirically speaking, there is no such collective human agent, only different human beings with conflicting goals and values.


The author also manages to miss one of the bait-and-switch tactics of the “new atheists.”

No one benefits from being tortured or persecuted on account of their religion or sexuality. Being chronically poor is rarely, if ever, a positive experience. Being at risk of violent death is bad for human beings whatever their culture. Such truisms could be multiplied. Universal human values can be understood as something like moral facts, marking out goods and evils that are generically human. Using these universal values, it may be possible to define a minimum standard of civilised life that every society should meet; but this minimum won’t be the liberal values of the present time turned into universal principles.

The new atheist will start with the kind of noncontroversial, fact-based “ethics” in the previous paragraph and then pretend that a sociological system and a public morality can be derived from it. It’s nonsense, but people fall for it.

What atheists fear — or what they should fear — is that humans really aren’t nice after all.

To suggest that large numbers hate and despise values such as toleration and personal autonomy is, for many people nowadays, an intolerable slur on the species. This is, in fact, the quintessential illusion of the ruling liberalism: the belief that all human beings are born freedom-loving and peaceful and become anything else only as a result of oppressive conditioning.

The human race is not made up of the people you were friends with in college.

Also, the human race seems to be inherently religious, which is a fact the new atheists don’t deal with adequately.

Why should religion be universal in this way? For atheist missionaries this is a decidedly awkward question. … There is an irresolvable contradiction between viewing religion naturalistically – as a human adaptation to living in the world – and condemning it as a tissue of error and illusion. What if the upshot of scientific inquiry is that a need for illusion is built into in the human mind?


The “new atheist” has two serious dilemmas. The first is that religion isn’t fading away as science and modernism advance. Rather, it looks like it’s on the increase. The second is that religion may simply be necessary.

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2015-03-13  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2015-03-12 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Hillary will not be the nominee
2015-03-10 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
2nd edition of homebrewing book
2015-03-09 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Married for 500 years?
2015-03-09 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Non-intimidating and welcoming?