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passage in the previous quote came, of course, from W H Auden
The mass and majesty of this world, all That carries weight and always weighs the same Was in the hands of other, they were small And could not hope for help, and no help came
If the "government jobs" line includes only direct employees of government, it's missing a lot. There is a huge "extended government," comprised of government contractors, government-funded "policy" nonprofits, not-quite-public-not-quite-private entities like Fannie and Freddie, etc etc. See my post paying higher taxes can be very profitable.
Here's something else to worry about: extreme leftist governments in South & Central America could provide a basing option for Iranian ballistic missiles. I'm thinking particularly of Venezuela, but Honduras could also fall into this category if Obama succeeds in imposing his chosen leader on the Honduran people. Here are some great circle distances (which are the distances relevant to missile flight)... Caracas, Venezuela to Miami, Florida: 1360 miles Trujillo, Honduras to Miami, Florida: 807 miles Trujillo, Honduras to Atlanta, Georgia: 1150 miles The range of Iran’s Shahab-3 missile is quoted at between 800 and 1300 miles, with a 1-ton payload.
If two-point implosion is really classified, the secret hasn't been kept very well; see this Wikipedia article...most likely, the secret part deals with the specific technical details of the design, not the basic idea itself. If Iran is really able to build nuclear warheads that can fit in a missile nosecone, it will have a very malign effect on the political environment of every country within range of those missiles...and the range will continuously increase over time.
Do you know: Was this poll actually *sponsored* by the U.S. government?
"Progressives," and even many old-line liberals, tend to see government as an idealized parent. They do not understand that it is an aggregate of individuals who are themselves economic actors, each pursuing their own desires for power, status, money, and/or security.
Toggle Commented Jun 21, 2009 on On Risk and Responsibility at ShrinkWrapped
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"Americans voted for Chamberlin what we need is Winston Churchill"...actually, I think the comparison is a bit unfair to Neville Chamberlain: Yes, his appeasement policy was naive and irresonsible. But he did put a hedge in place, by investing heavily in weapons procurement and deployment--including specifically the Spitfire and Hurricane fighters and the radar-and-communications-based air defense system. I don't see anything of the kind coming from Obama.
I'm no Obama fan by any means, but I don't think you can pin this one on him. Sounds like a Maryland state initiative. Cell phone jammers are legal in some countries, and I understand that in Japan, they are widely used by restaurants, movie theaters, etc, as a way to suppress irritating cell phone behavior. Re the safety issue for corrections officers: just give them walkie-talkies that operate on frequencies different from the cell phone freqs which are being jammed.
Toggle Commented May 12, 2009 on Obama wants Cell Phone Jamming Power at Atlas Shrugs
"In the 1930s Adolph Hitler was thought to be a rational actor"...Paul Reynaud, who became prime minister of France in 1940--just prior to the German invasion--said: "People think Hitler is like Kaiser Wilhelm. The old gentleman only wanted to take Alsace-Lorraine from us. But Hitler is Genghis Khan." Too few understood this before it was too late. A couple of years ago, Ralph Peters said: "One of the most consistently disheartening experiences an adult can have today is to listen to the endless attempts by our intellectuals and intelligence professionals to explain religious terrorism in clinical terms, assigning rational motives to men who have moved irrevocably beyond reason. We suffer under layers of intellectual asymmetries that hinder us from an intuititive recognition of our enemies."
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Moore's law has a limited field of applicability. It does not apply to the development of software, for example--if you want a new air traffic control system, or a new industrial-robotics vision system, or even a new cell phone, you're going to need people in substantial numbers to design and write the code. Nor does it apply to transportation--productivity improvements in trucking and railroading, while they have occurred, haven't been remotely on the scale of the cost/performance improvements in computer hardware. Ditto for energy and agriculture. Also, I don't think what the present-day Left wants should be called "socialism." These people aren't interested in actually *running* the economy in the way the old-line Marxists were; indeed, the whole thing bores them. They just want to pass edicts and demand that a (shackled) private sector carry them out. The is closer to Fascist economics than to Marxist economics.
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Nightelf...interesting comment by Rexroth. But I wonder what he was thinking to say this 50 years ago. In 1959, there were a *lot* of manufacturing jobs, most of them involving "men working together," and almost everyone (male) served in the military.
Toggle Commented Jan 6, 2009 on Adolescence and Societies at ShrinkWrapped
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Khrushchev..."we will bury you." I've read that this was somewhat of a mistranslation and that a better rendering would be "We will leave you in the dust." Any Russian speakers who can clarify this? In any event, the Soviet leadership was made up of people who formally rejected religion and the afterlife: even if there were individuals who were still influenced by religious belief, it did not play an overwhelming role in their lives. Furthermore, Marxist ideology taught that the process of history would inevitibly lead to the triumph of Communism--so it would have been irrational to bring history to an end through nuclear war.
Toggle Commented May 19, 2008 on The Third Classic Blunder at ShrinkWrapped
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Lt Murphy was clearly a remarkable man, and it is good that his accomplishments are getting some media attention. Should it be necessary for a soldier to expose himself to enemy fire in order to establish radio communications? Aren't there radio frequencies, possibly in conjunction with repeaters, that would allow communication while staying under cover? Even a low-bandwidth text message transmitter would seem to be of great value. I hope someone is working on this.
Toggle Commented Oct 24, 2007 on For Murph... at BLACKFIVE
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And regarding government and social institutions: those on today's Left tend to be opposed to any significant change in government programs which were explicitly designed (social security, K-12 education), whereas those on the Right tend to be more opposed to change in social institutions which have evolved over time.
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Also, regarding Sowell's "constrained and unconstrained visions," again these appear to be context-dependent. Those on today's Left tend to be bothered by any interference with *physical* nature, whereas those on the Right tend to be bothered by interference with *human* nature. For example, the Faustian project of digging a canal from Savannah to Atlanta, thereby allowing Atlanta to become an ocean port, would probably horrify most of those on the Left, whereas (if economically justified) it would be applauded by most on the Right. On the other hand, the Faustian project of modifying DNA to create "designer babies" would be applauded much more on the Left tha on the Right.
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How does one learn to analyze cause and effect? One way is through study of the scientific method; another is through learning about formal logic and statistics; still another is by practical experience..for example, an auto mechanic must learn diagnostic thinking in order to identify and fix problems, and most likely some of these skills are transferrable to other problem domains. What is there in the education or life experience of a typical journalist that would help him to develop a good sense for cause and effect?
Toggle Commented Mar 13, 2006 on The Mythology of Causation at ShrinkWrapped
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Here are some thoughts on a closely related subject: Micromanaging the Kids.
Toggle Commented Mar 4, 2006 on The Tragedy of Narcissism at ShrinkWrapped
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Sophie Scholl and the other members of the White Rose group have also been used by the Left as positive examples of "passive resistance." Actually, I am fairly sure that they engaged in passive resistance only because they did not have the numbers and the weapons needed for active resistance. I saw one quote from Sophie in which she said that the French Army (in 1940) should have resisted "to the last round" which doesn't sound to me like the words of an absolute pacifist.
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One of the most bizarre aspects of the "progressive" attitude toward weapons is the stance many of them took toward the arming of airline pilots, in the days immediately following 9/11. Much of the reasoning here was extremely strange, to say the least..see my post Arming Airline Pilots--The Deeper Issues.
Toggle Commented Feb 12, 2006 on Liberal Dis-Armament at ShrinkWrapped
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"Liberals" of this breed (and I prefer to call them "progressives," because this is what they call themselves) solve the problem of courage very easily. They define courage as "standing up against Middle America" and hence can pat themselves on the back about their courageousness, even as they commit daily acts of cowardice. Thus, their political beliefs become increasingly important to them, psychologically-speaking, because without these beliefs, they would have to face the truth about themselves.
Toggle Commented Feb 12, 2006 on Liberal Dis-Armament at ShrinkWrapped
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Traditionally, a "liberal" was a person who believed that the best principles for organizing society can be derived rationally, whereas a "conservative" believed that society was so complex, with so many non-obvious interactions, that one had better give weight to tradition. This polarity has been considerably upset in recent years. Today's "liberals" view certain social institutions (public schools, social security in its current form) as having an almost sacred significance, much as a conservative of 1890 might have regarded the Established Church. I'm not sure there is really any intellectual content at all to today's "progressivism." In some cases, it seems to be a way of establishing one's claimed social status; in others, it seems to be mainly a cry of inchoate rage.
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"When someone addresses a problem and concludes with what someone else should do"...precisely. This is the problem with much liberal/progressive thinking: it is considered sufficient to identify a desirable state, without identifying a means by which that state might be accomplished. Reminds me of the story about the mathematician who was trapped in a deep hole. He wasn't worried...his solution: "Assume a ladder." Although actually, this behavior pattern seems to exist much more in people who exist in a primarily *verbal* world than in people who deal with more rigorous symbol systems (math, computer code) or with physical or human reality.
Toggle Commented Jan 15, 2006 on Its Not Fair! Compare and Contrast at ShrinkWrapped
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Tom...yes. Espionage in the current was is not so much equivalent to espionage in the Cold War; it is more analogous to the role played by the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System.
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The fact that nuclear deterrence worked vis-a-vis the Soviet Union does not mean that it will work against current threats, such as Iran. The leaders of the Soviet Union were atheists who believed that this life is all there is: destroying the world would not have been rational in their mental framework. And as dialectical materialists, they believed that the historical process was working in their favor...why bring history to an end? Further, deterrence rests on its credibility: the belief that we would actually use the weapons, and use them in a massive way. The hysterical behavior of many Americans at this time, with regard to very limited military operations, certainly acts to create doubt in the minds of foreign leaders as to whether we would actually ever use our nuclear arsenal. In the writings of some pundits, I detect a positive *nostalia* for the days of Mutual Absolute Destruction, which implies to me that they have no sense of the reality behind their words.
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