Freedom and prosperity

An amateur tries to sum up history using trends in five metrics for human well-being:
Basically, if I help myself to the common (but certainly debatable) assumption that “the industrial revolution” is the primary cause of the dramatic trajectory change in human welfare around 1800-1870, then my one-sentence summary of recorded human history is this:
Everything was awful for a very long time, and then the industrial revolution happened.

Chapter and Book

One should be careful when challenging a man on the ground where he made his life's work.

RIP H. Ross Perot

Rick Perry tells a story about his good works.

Tunisian Marriage

There's a push to liberalize the Islamic laws on marriage and inheritance in Tunisia.
The announcement has drawn criticism from the region’s religious scholars. In a public statement, Abbas Shuman, deputy of grand imam Ahmad Al-Tayyib of the Egyptian religious authority Al-Azhar, the highest religious authorities in Sunni Islam, wrote that the potential reform to inheritance was, “unjust for women and is not in line with Islamic Sharia”.

In regard to inter-faith unions, he said: “Such a marriage would obstruct the stability of marriage.”
Inter-faith unions are already legal, as long as the man is a Muslim. The new laws would permit Muslim women to marry non-Muslims as well.

Millennial Nuns

I'm going to follow AVI in linking to this piece on the sudden, unexpected rise of vocation-seeking among America's youth. It probably shouldn't be surprising; there's a kind of cyclical flow to these things, with periods of disenchantment reliably followed by periods of intense faith. Philosophers wrongly talk about the Enlightenment as one long disenchantment, forgetting the Great Awakening of the 19th century that brought the end of slavery in the West among the heartfelt singing of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. For that matter, they tend to forget -- as do most -- that the craze for burning witches was not a feature of the High Middle Ages, when faith was triumphant. It was the age of science that brought witch-burning.

Still, it is good to see young hearts full of faith. It gives me joy to look upon it.

Just Black Men?

The article is by a black woman and for black men, but I think there may be a wider lesson or two to be learned. Mind you, there's plenty that are unique and particular concerns of that community as well. But there are a few general lessons hidden in this angry analysis.
It’s also interesting that the very people who created the laws to ensure [black mens'] incarceration, now want to give their right to vote back to them so that they can in turn vote for them.... [N]o one ever discusses how black men are never lauded unless they can be used when murdered or attacked by police. The democrats push policies for every group with the exception of black men, unless you count mass incarceration. White women, white working class (white men), LGBTQRST…, Jews, Immigrants, black women etc., but never anything that speaks to the plight of black men. White liberals love ranting about the pay inequality for black women by comparing them to the pay rates of white men, but cleverly leaves out the fact that black women and black men make less than white women. This clever game of pretending to lift up black women, is nothing more than a rouse to use black women for votes on issues that place white women in elevated positions of power.
Yes, it seems some people are catching on to the way the identity politics game is played.


"No country can survive being ruled by people who hate it."

Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Patriotism

Looking back at the old Patriotism and Extremism post cited in the piece below, I realize that it barely said something I thought I had more fully explored. Perhaps I did elsewhere, but it's worth doing again even if so.

The idea is certainly mentioned in that piece: "It is necessary, in other words, to learn to forgive your ancestors: to recognize their flaws, their failings, and even their crimes, but to love them anyway.... in the end, patriotism proves to be a kind of health. As with other loves that forgive, it sets you free: free to honor the past, and to work for better in the future."

It is not for no reason that the root of 'patriotism' is 'patria,' meaning 'fatherland' in the Latin. It could be 'motherland' just as easily; in some languages the concept is captured that way (e.g., 'Mother Russia'). There is a strong analogy between the family and the state, as well as a clear relationship between the family you happen to come from and the coming-to-be of the particular state you are likely to inhabit. A few true immigrants leave family and culture behind, but more bring it with them; and even the assimilated descendants of 19th-century Italians or Irishmen belong now to a country that has learned from their culture as they have learned from it, and which has integrated their norms and patterns into its own.

Thus the question of how you feel about your country is rather like the question the Freudians used to ask about how you feel about your mother. You may have some very good reasons for animosity towards your mother. All the same, the existence of such animosity reliably predicts the presence of larger and more dangerous mental health issues. If you hate or despise your mother or father, you hate something of the root of your own being. This is going to manifest itself in many terrible ways, things that will cause you immense suffering.

A negative answer to that question of how you feel about the ground of your being also points out the treatment. The treatment is forgiveness and gratitude. It is not the adoption of ignorance about what they did wrong, which you likely did not deserve and which may have been the source of legitimate pain. Rather, the treatment is to forgive them for it. One needs to forgive them for one's self, because it is only in forgiveness -- easiest in the context of the recognition of one's own flaws -- that one can at last be liberated of the weight of carrying the anger.

This enables one to reflect anew on the good things one has gotten, also often undeserved, even from bad parents or nations. This does not require you to maintain ties to them; you can cut an abusive parent out of your life, and we are free as citizens ultimately even to dissolve a nation if we decide that is the right way to proceed. Even in doing so, though, it is helpful to one's self to recognize the goods they bestowed upon you: existence, some degree of protection and nurturing even in the worst relationships, education (even when learning from their mistakes or abuses). One becomes free in forgiving the faults without forgetting them, while being grateful for the goods they gave you in spite of their faults.

It is my sense that countries that cannot forgive their national ancestors wither away, as individuals do who cannot forgive their parents. I begin to think the same is true for individuals who cannot forgive their national ancestors. Aristotle says that we are social animals, and that the polis in a sense completes the work that the family can only begin.

Sometimes it is right to begin anew, but even then forgiveness and gratitude are appropriate. The United States separated from the United Kingdom, but for generations it looked back with honor upon Shakespeare and Sir Thomas Malory, Sir Walter Scott and Magna Carta. That sense of having grown from a fertile and happy ground was ultimately itself fecund, even though we had chosen the path of political separatism and independence.

Quite So

Responding to an assertion that the Women's Soccer team had "Nothing given, everything earned," a writer notes that most everything is unearned -- existence itself is, for example, as are any advantages that come from your particular genetics -- but that 'privilege theory' masks what is really owed behind a cartoon idea of who has (or hasn't) got 'privilege.'

In this case I am reminded of the brief discussion with LR1 in which a comment teased out a very privileged relationship at work here:
Almost no country in the world funds women's soccer to any serious degree. Our team is so great because it is drawn from feeder teams that are drawn from college programs that are hugely funded because -- via Title IX -- the colleges have to fund women's sports programs in order to justify their expenditures on their money-making college football teams.

It's doubly ironic, then, that the women's team is piggybacking off the greater popularity of another sport twice over. The college teams underlying their success wouldn't mostly exist except for government mandates for 'equal' spending, which they are now trying to replicate at the professional level.
They're privileged because they live in a country that values women's equality to such a degree that it mandates colleges spend vast resources on female athletics, even though those colleges often lose money doing it. But they do it anyway, in order to be able to make money off college football. That process is what gives the WNT the talent pool that sets it above the rest of the world, which lacks such processes on anything like that scale.

A lot was given. It was given explicitly to favor these women and develop their talents. They've been carefully taught not to see it, nor to express any gratitude to their society and culture for having nurtured them in this way.

In this way they are the opposites of Socrates:
Soc. "Tell us what complaint you have to make against us which justifies you in attempting to destroy us and the State? In the first place did we not bring you into existence? Your father married your mother by our aid and begat you. Say whether you have any objection to urge against those of us who regulate marriage?" None, I should reply. "Or against those of us who regulate the system of nurture and education of children in which you were trained? Were not the laws, who have the charge of this, right in commanding your father to train you in music and gymnastic?"
Socrates goes on to posit that this creates a master/slave relationship between the polis and the citizen, which any true American would reject. We would say that we created the state to do these things, and if it does them well, it is only doing a servant's work; if it does not, it is the state that can be fired and replaced, or 'destroyed' on Socrates' terms.

Still, some sense of gratitude for what was given is wise and appropriate. A lot of people worked hard to create the system that made it possible for these particular individuals to excel. They were then sent forward as representatives of that system, and they might be expected to show by their conduct love and gratitude for the help they received in attaining their particular excellences. We might once have called such gratitude "patriotism," but whatever you call it, it is surely a duty of justice. The failure to be grateful is injustice, then; and like all vices, injustice (and ingratitude) harms the self as well as the others. It is a kind of poison.

Politicians Need Chaperones

Male ones, at least, if meeting with unaccompanied female reporters.

Actually, a chaperone for politicians is a plausible idea. Instead of being there to prevent sexual harassment allegations, however, how about making them keep an ordinary American around to smack them every time they try to implement socialism?

Up the Militia

Col. Kurt hits some material that will be very familiar to the Hall.


"Putting up a sign saying his farm is a coyote or feral hog free zone should do the trick, huh?"

Those are two species that aren't in much danger of extinction. Someday we'll regret killing off the red and gray wolves who might have helped us out with that project.

An Age of Revolution Beckons

France's government rivals Britain's in its worthiness for a revolution.
Quadriplegic man reportedly ‘cried’ when told France has ordered him to be starved to death

...The Court of Cassation’s final ruling means that Lambert, who is not otherwise ill or at the end of his life, would be removed from food and water and left to die slowly, which can take 14 days or more. The decision cannot be appealed in France, but his parents are fighting the order and have threatened to press charges for murder if his food is removed.... On Monday, Viviane renewed her plea for her son’s life. “He sleeps at night, wakes up during the day, and looks at me when I talk,” she said, according to Reuters. “He only needs to be fed through a special device and his doctor wants to deprive him of this so that he can die, while legal experts have have shown that this is not necessary.” She also emphasized that he has reacted to their voices, stating, “In May, when learning about his planned death, he cried.”
From a utilitarian perspective, starving one quadripelgic man to death against his wishes does less harm than, say, hanging a few thousand politicians from the oak trees or lampposts most convenient to their places of business. However, the adoption of utilitarian ethics is exactly the problem with these cases. There are other ethical systems, and in some of the better ones a revolutionary movement is approaching the morally obligatory.

Science that cures

So much medical news seems to chronicle the many ways the health industry can make us miserable, but here is a medical advance I'd classify in the genuine miracle-cure category:  surgical techniques to reattach nerves and tendons so that people with paralyzed arms and hands can regain function there.  It's not like walking again, but what a difference use of one's hands makes.

Barbarians at the gate of the administrative state

The Chevron Doctrine is up for review at the Supreme Court this fall. Powerline has a good take on the dispute.
I recall the first line of Gary Lawson’s famous 1994 article on the Administrative State published in the Harvard Law Review that begins: “The post-New Deal administrative state is unconstitutional, and its validation by the legal system amounts to nothing less than a bloodless constitutional revolution.”

"Pathway to Citizenship"

Bill Barr is merciless in his choice of words.

Speaking of choice of words, Sec. Pompeo has decided to give "unalienable" a spin.

Presidential Primary Updates

Arguably the worst candidate, Swalwell, bowed out today. So that's good. He will not be missed.

However, there's at least as good an argument that Kamala Harris is really the worst one -- and certainly she is the worst one remaining. It's not just people on the right who think so. Truthout has a big piece on her and her "record of injustice" today.

Tulsi Gabbard hit back at Harris for her deceptive practices today. That's good too.

Round up the Usual Suspects

Venezuela has it down.
Venezuelan special forces have carried out thousands of extrajudicial killings in the past 18 months and then manipulated crime scenes to make it look as if the victims had been resisting arrest, the United Nations said Thursday in a report detailing wide-ranging government abuses targeting political opponents.

Special Action Forces described by witnesses as “death squads” killed 5,287 people in 2018 and another 1,569 by mid-May of this year, in what are officially termed by the Venezuelan government “Operations for the Liberation of the People,” U.N. investigators reported.
Well, they do have Chinese advisers.

Hating the Market

I have not heard a living person voice the word "soccer" in the last year, so I think this is another one of those issues that's huge on Twitter and not in real America. Still, it does illustrate. People who understand economics point out that, in fact, women's soccer players in FIFA receive equitable pay even if they don't receive equal pay: they're paid disproportionately more than the men are, given their contribution to the economic game.
In 2015, when the U.S. Women's National Team beat Japan to take the World Cup in Vancouver, the Women's World Cup brought in almost $73 million in revenue, of which the players got 13 percent — $10 million. In 2010, the men's World Cup in South Africa made almost $4 billion, of which 9 percent — $348 million — went to the players.

The men simply make more money for FIFA — boatloads more money. The men's World Cup in Russia generated over $6 billion in revenue, with the participating teams sharing $400 million, less than 7 percent of the revenue. Meanwhile, the Women's World Cup was expected to earn $131 million for the 2019-2022 cycle and give out $30 million to participating teams. That's a whopping 22.9 percent!

In other words, the male players take home a smaller percentage of the money they earn for FIFA, even though they take home more money overall. The problem isn't FIFA being sexist against women — in fact, the percentage gap suggests a preference for women or at least an effort to make sure women make more money.
What the activists want is not equitable pay, but equal pay -- even though there's nothing like an equal contribution to the pot. They act as if pay were an expression of their moral value as human beings, rather than their contribution to the economics.

I don't think they fail to understand the economic argument. My sense is that this truly is a rejection of capitalism as a mode of social organization. Of course the men make boatloads more for the sport; of course it is already the men who are disproportionately underpaid compared with the women. That's not the point. The point is that pay should reflect moral, social values -- not economic ones.

That is of course how you get to a place like Venezuela, where enormous amounts of natural wealth still can't support a functional economic system. As someone pointed out this weekend, our socialists will tell you that they're aiming for Sweden or Norway, not Venezuela. What they forget is that Venezuelans were trying to be Sweden or Norway, too. (Also, they forget that Sweden and Norway largely abandoned socialist models; but that's a conversation more readily had at AVI's place, where he discusses it occasionally.)


This is a Harvard-Harris poll. It's not finding what they'd like to find, so there's some reason to think it might be accurate; it's an argument against interests.

Some of these numbers are big. Some are titanic.