Friday, February 17, 2006

Original man

I had to reply to this post on Protein Wisdom about the constitutional prohibition against women Presidents:
According to a Baptist Minister, the U.S. Constitution prevents Hillary Rodham Clinton - or any woman - from serving as President. He says that contrary to what feminists think, the 19th Amendment did not de-gender the nation’s highest office. Article II, Section 1 declares 16 times the President will be a man.

That’s right, men only. Women need not apply.
But the gender exclusion argument seems to me a bit, well, dubious—even from a technical legal standpoint—particularly when the phrase “all men are created equal” has been taken by the court to mean all “persons,” a fact of precedence that would seem to take a bit of the starch out of the good Rev’s case.

I opined thusly:
Hey, if "man" means "male or female person" in the constitution, how come the language Nazis force us to say "chairperson" and "crewed space missions" instead of "chairman" and "manned missions"? Help, they're being illogical! They're undermining their insistence that the usage of "man" before the splendid liberation that occurred around 1970, when strong women finally came of age, women who, unlike their weak and stupid sisters of the past, could actually throw off the yoke of male oppression, was evidence of the historical oppression of women.
Clearly, all good feminists must insist that "man" in the Constitution means "male" and an amendment is necessary before Laura can take over from W.

The press censorship situation in China may be more hopeful than some think:

"I can still spread news across the whole country in just 10 minutes, while the propaganda officials are still wondering what to do," he (Li Xinde) said with a chuckle.
"Our party always said revolution depended on the gun and the pen -- the military and propaganda," said Li, echoing a slogan of Mao's. "The gun is still firmly in the party's hands, but the pen has loosened."

All hail the power of blogs! The government would have to put half their budget into keeping control of the internet to stop all the heroes like Li. And that would take so much staff that some freethinkers would inevitably slip through. The dinosaurs will never stamp out all the little furry mammals. Sooner or later they'll give up trying. I am encouraged.
The non-Wisdom of (some) Crowds

Wretchard has a beautiful post called "The Wisdom of Crowds" on The Belmont Club:
The struggle against the unremitting stupidity of Political Correctness or the remorseless hatred of Osama Bin Laden are both at heart an effort to reclaim ordinary life -- with its laughter, pity and guiless admiration -- from the faded wraiths who envy our mortal humors.

In response to some comments, especially this one of Wretchard's:

I think the better comparison to Muslims is Germans, or if you prefer, Japanese. They'll always be that yet not always be your enemy. It would be fair to assert there is no such thing as an innocent in al-Qaeda. But as to Muslims in general there are thousands risking their lives in American service right now. You are born into Islam and can't help it; but you choose to be in al-Qaeda.

As a practical matter there are certain Muslims I know who I could trust implicitly. Why? Because I've trusted them with my life in situations where it would cost them nothing and gain them much to put me over the side. And there are certain Americans, some of the leftist persuasion, who I wouldn't trust at all.

Just my way of thinking, that's all.

I had to pontificate a bit:
Many of the "Muslims" in US service are actually Christian Arabs. One isn't automatically Muslim because one is Arab. And if it weren't for the absolute violent intolerance of apostasy in Islam, more Arabs would forsake Islam. Islam does not want agreement, it wants submission. When an individual submits to an intolerant, violent creed, he puts not just his soul but his life at risk from those of his creed's enemies who won't go quietly to the grave. The Islamic crowd is not wise at all, but ignorant and fearful.

Posts like Wretchard's, though, give one hope that the dialogue is turning in a direction that emphasizes imagination, clarity of thought and full appreciation of the dangers and opportunities this complex conflict with an outworn creed presents. Faster, please.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


I had a thought and just had to share it with Steve Sailer:
Mr. Sailer,

Call me crazy, but if race and IQ are really related, isn't hiring by race "inversely equivalent" to hiring by IQ? In other words, you could get the same results affirmative action supposedly gets - more (lower-IQ) minorities working - by giving all applicants a (suitably disguised) IQ test and hiring those with lower IQs in preference to those with higher IQs. You might want to give some thought to potential job performance on other measures (height? weight? strength?), until that's outlawed, too.

I suppose the only fly in the ointment might be that, if higher-IQ applicants got wind of the strategy, they might purposely score lower on the tests in order to get jobs. Ego being the force it is, though, I predict this would be rare. And you could mix it up. You could hire by low-IQ until you got enough identifiable minorities, then turn around and hire by ability to get the workers to actually do the jobs you need done.

A virtue of this tactic would be that you wouldn't even have to ask applicants to identify themselves by race. Perfect for the Internet. And you would avoid any accusations of quota-seeking. Also, you would know what you were getting and wouldn't have any false expectations. And liberals thought IQ was invariably racist!

I plan to put this email on my blog (, but I won't post any response you may make unless you give me permission.

Robert Speirs
Tallahassee, Florida
Let them eat lies
Theodore Dalrymple's column in the Times on the accelerating drive toward total social control in Britain is disturbing:
Increasingly the citizen is asked to denounce his neighbour, for example if his neighbour is cheating social security. (Cheating it is the only rational response to so preposterous, impersonal and inhumane a system.) This official invitation to atomise society further by sowing mistrust among the population has not yet been entirely successful; but posters such as the one I saw last weekend in a bookshop — “Racism is a crime. Report it!” — engender a vague but nevertheless all-pervasive anxiety.
We also live in a propaganda state...One is reminded of the Stalinist images of flaxen-haired peasant maidens serving at banquet tables groaning with food of every description that were disseminated to the world in the midst of one of the most severe famines in history.

Let them eat lies!

Very disturbing. The double whammy of no freedom for the law-abiding and almost total incompetence in dealing with real, violent criminals is calculated to deter the most rabid Anglophile, a group in which I used to find myself, from even thinking of living in Britain. Now I even have serious qualms about visiting. This, too, shall pass, one hopes.
Lawrence O'Donnell is pathetic

I know, and water is wet. But Lawrence O'Donnell IS pathetic. Who knew that Bush Derangement Syndrome was indistinguishable from schizoid psychosis?:

HH: Well, you wrote it. I want to know about your...

LO: Let's assume that I talked to no one. Let's say that's a lie.

HH: Okay. So you did lie about this?

LO: Say it's a lie. I'm not

HH: Did you make...

LO: No. You say it's a lie. Now let's proceed with the argument with that being a lie. So what?

HH: No, no. I'm just trying to get the facts, Lawrence. I would like to know...

LO: Yes, I talked to a bunch of lawyers.

What a sick, stupid bastard.
Hamas delenda est

I couldn't believe David Adesnik's stunning piece of dreck on Oxblog about Hamas winning the Palestinian elections:
What I want is a statement from the President himself that America punishes no one for the outcome of free and fair elections. And that such punishment would subvert the strategy of democracy promotion on which this administration's entire foreign policy rests.

It got me riled up:
So any democratically elected government, even one dedicated to the violent overthrow of a neighboring state, the mass killing of innocent civilians, the extermination of a people and the imposition of a tyrannical religious fundamentalism, should be perfectly OK with everyone and we should continue to shower them with billions of dollars? What nonsense. What evil.

I thought these Oxblog people were supposed to be smart? I thought I'd overreacted, or at least overreached, but the thread shows some positive support for my position. That's satisfactory, as Nero Wolfe would say.
Who says metaphor is dead?
Guy Herbert pontificates about world government on Samizdata:
With multiple governments, people have the possibility of moving to whatever nation suits them (with, admittedly, varying degrees of effort/risk).

With one government, if you object to how things are being run, your non-violent options are just about limited to "leave the planet entirely".

I'd add that with one world government your violent options are going to be be limited, too. Governmental violence will always be quantatively greater than any you can muster.

It struck me that the present world is pretty - uh - uniformly governed even without "one flag to cow them all":
You could say there already is one world government, as everywhere in the world is covered by some government or other and they all agree on 99% of the restrictions they impose on their subjects. Sure there are a few cracks in the authoritarian structure, but that would also be the case in a formally unitary world government. Individuals can only survive and live a reasonable life by being small furry mammals living in the cracks and keeping a sharp lookout lest the great clumsy dinosaurs step on us.

I also liked Richard Garner's comment:
Consider our world as it would be if the cost of moving from one country to another were zero. Everyone lives in a housetrailer and speaks the same language.
Read the whole thread, as they say. I would like to live in a house trailer, or perhaps just an RV, someday. I could have little shelters for it, with utility hookups, on little bits of land I would own, in various parts of the country, then just move house when I got bored. No worries about your house being vandalized when you're somewhere else.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Anti-smoking Nazis ride again

On Samizdata, this post's smoking comments included this piece of idiocy:
As I have said to anti-ban types many times, defend your 'right' to smoke in public all you like. Just don't object when I pour a bucket of water over your head to douse your noxious and annoying health risk (ESPECIALLY when I am eating). Does it need legislating ? In the wider sense, nothing should (imo there is nothing worse than the tyranny of the majority), however human nature being what it is some individuals will not respect my health and zone of personal comfort without either legislation or the afore-mentioned bucket of water.

Posted by Lusiphur at February 15, 2006 07:29 PM

So I had to take this PC collectivist brigand down a peg:
Lusiphur, would you really be so rude as to pour a bucket of water over someone's head without first asking him not to smoke? How about if someone was singing loudly or eating smelly cheese? Do you really have the right to dictate by violence how people should act, without any preliminaries? Civilized interaction requires a request for civil behavior before any drastic action. You are a barbarian. Why would you think anyone would approve of such an attack? And, by the way, no, you do not have the right to pour a bucket of water over someone's head because they are smoking. It's called battery. Deal with it. Act like an adult and a gentleman, if possible. And stop lying about the "health risk".

The "progressive" mindset continues to amaze. But not surprise.
Welfare eagle

In bald eagle news, the government is planning the future of the bald eagle:
Seven years after the government said the fierce raptor is no longer threatened with extinction, officials finally have a plan for removing it from the endangered species list.

Before too long they'll be harder to find than all those prosperous Americans the War on Poverty was supposed to produce from the poor of the pre-socialist era. Speirs' Law predicts that, when government says eagles are in fine shape, you might as well wave them bye-bye. There is another possibility. Maybe the whole "endangered" thing was just a lie all along, propounded to make jobs for bird-babysitters. Yah think?
Hall said at least 7,066 known nesting pairs now exist in the contiguous United States. The bald eagle's territory stretches over much of the North American continent. Tens of thousands more live in Alaska and Canada, where their existence never was imperiled.

If we'd just take down those ten-thousand feet high anti-eagle barriers that are preventing all the Canadian and Alaskan eagles from coming into the Lower 48, we might not have needed a government program. Ever think maybe the eagles just don't like it down here? Nah. The enviroweenies will whine unless there's one eagle for each acre everywhere. That's only natural, right?