Tuesday, March 31, 2020

My New BUYcott

A few years ago, my brother, my sister-in-law, and I were at the Topsfield Fair rolling through the hucksters' building in an attempt to avoid a rain shower when Matt - taking in all the people selling massage chairs, housewares, homemade condiments, and various chindogus - said something quite profound: "This is the beauty of America right here -- people with dreams hanging up shingles to sell you something they believe in."

(That was a paraphrase, but it still captures the essence of his observation.)

Matt wasn't wrong. I mean, there is more to the idea of America than commerce, obviously. There is also our (perennially threatened) tradition of limited government and our commitment - as expressed in the Declaration of Independence - to uphold each man's natural rights. But an economic freedom that allows the entrepreneurial spirit to flourish is fundamentally American too; that freedom, in fact, is an embodiment of our rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Thus, it is eminently legitimate to point to a guy selling reusable hand-warmers at a country fair and declare him worthy of special celebration.

Unfortunately, we've been saddled with a media class that overwhelmingly fails to understand the quintessential American-ness of our yeoman businessmen. On the contrary, these Twitter Blue Checks would sneer at our hand-warmer salesman and proclaim him an inferior sort. "Ugh," they'd think. "How incredibly gauche to spend your life hustling. How unrefined." It would never cross their mind that surviving in the open marketplace takes skills -- skills we might need at a moment requiring a massive re-purposing of our manufacturing infrastructure.

That's one reason why so many journalists snickered at Mike Lindell yesterday. The other reason, of course, is that, like many recovering addicts, he talks about God a lot. (I recognized the NA/AA mindset as soon as I heard him speak.) But like our Topsfield hucksters, Lindell is a fantastic American exemplar. He pulled himself out of the gutter and into the upper class with a random brainwave he had in the middle of the night -- and when his country needed him, he stepped up without being coerced and started making masks. For that, he absolutely deserved his moment in the Rose Garden. For that, he deserves our business.

So I hereby announce a MyPillow BUYcott:

Because 'Murica.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

We Don't Need Control from Above

From Bart Hall on Facebook:

Truckers are saying "fuck the log rules, I'm hauling" and they're getting supplies to the stores. People are stocking the shelves all night and letting old people shop first. Folks are buying meals for truckers, who (obviously) can't go through the drive-ups. Asking 'em what they want, then buying it for them.

Carnival Cruise Line has told Trump “We can match those big Navy Hospital ships with some fully staffed cruise ships”.

GM and Ford have said "hold our cars and watch this -- we can make ventilators where we were just making car parts, starting next week" -- by re-engineering seat ventilators which their engineers hacked together for a new purpose. In under a week.

In a project with which I'm loosely associated, a very-effective agricultural disease-control agent was re-purposed and re-labeled specifically for Corona-virus control by the FDA and EPA in under ten days, from initial request to distribution.

Restaurants and schools have said, "we’ve got kitchens and staff; we can feed the poor kids who used have school lunch.”

NBA basketball players have said, “Hold our basketballs while we write checks to pay the arena staff.”

Construction companies are saying, “Here are some high-end masks for medical staff and doctors”.

Distilleries are making sanitizer out of distilling "heads and tails" which are normally discarded. Nasty shit to drink, but effective sanitizer.

People are tipping grocery check-out clerks and thanking them for taking the risk.

Local, state, and county governments are taking control of everything the feds cannot do. Some are doing it wrong, but for the first time in decades ... they're doing it. Federalism is re-emerging, and the smallest unit of government is the individual and the family. This, too, is re-emerging after decades of dormancy.

As Japanese Admiral Isokuru Yamamoto said, after Pearl Harbor ... “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

I sense this has just happened. We have a wonderful country, the greatest single force for good in all human history. We have closed our borders, with good reason, yet we have top medical people now assisting North Korea in their response to the virus.

Many things have been re-set, and will never be the same.

By microbiological accident, we are living in profoundly transformative historical times.

Amen, Bart. Amen.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Idiots in Power

Well, well. I've certainly been forcefully reminded why I hate our elite power-brokers. Have you?

(Stupid question, I'm sure.)

It's really effing simple: We need immediate temporary cash relief for every American who's taking it in the teeth during this shutdown. We need aid to small businesses that have been forced to shutter or severely limit operations. We need to devote funds to research into this pathogen so we can find a way to combat it quickly and get the economy started again. And we need to spend some more money expanding our hospital capacity so that similar pandemics won't necessitate extreme responses in the future. That's it.

What we don't need is bullshit -- no matter who's shoving it in. We don't need corporate diversity quotas, stealth Green New Deals, or bailouts for the well-connected. But of course, our aforementioned elites simply can't help themselves. Cynical opportunists that they are, they're determined not to let a good crisis go to waste -- even if that means screwing the rest of us.

Why do we keep voting these assholes into office? What the hell's the matter with us?

I've also been firmly convinced that large swaths of our media class are now full-on enemies of the people. I know that seems extreme, but what else am I supposed to conclude when so many of them are using one couple's straight-up stupidity - fish tank cleaner is not the same thing as hydroxychloroquine, you filthy liars - to discredit a possible treatment for C-19?

Obviously the jury's still out on the hydroxychloroquine/z-pak combo, but that's really my point: we should be allowed to explore this without all the shrieking and deeply misleading headlines claiming that hydroxychloroquine is poison. I have news for you, media douchecanoes: when I was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, the first things Dr. B put me on were prednisone and hydroxychloroquine. True: I was told at the time that the hydroxychloroquine might damage my eyesight over the long term and that I should start seeing an ophthalmologist on a regular basis. But if we're talking about using hydroxychloroquine to treat a respiratory infection like C-19, we're not talking about long-term use.

Clearly, these reporters know jack shit about medicine. Lots of meds are poison, actually. The prednisone I'm still on is weakening my bones and trashing my teeth. Methotrexate can damage my liver. And if I ever get back on a biologic like Enbrel or Humira, I may develop serious infections or lymphoma. But those of us with chronic medical conditions are willing to take those risks if it means an alleviation of our disabling symptoms. Similarly, whatever dangers may come with short-term therapeutic doses of hydroxychloroquine might be totally worth courting if it means fewer people die of coronavirus-induced ARDS.

In conclusion: shut the eff up, CNN, and let the adults in the room do the necessary research. None of us are interested in your petty attempts to get the Orange Man. What we want are real, nonpartisan solutions to our current predicament.

ETA: Thank you, Matt, for your sane and critical voice!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Coronavirus Inspires Clowns to Self-Identify

A series of grumpy thoughts.

The other day, I was mostly amused by the newly popular charge of bigotry that was zipping around Twitter. Lefties gonna lefty, right?

Now, however, I'm legitimately angry that this bullshit is still being spread. Are we really doing this? Are we really treating pro-CCP propaganda as legitimate? We're talking about a government that right now is frog-marching its ethnic minorities into concentration camps. We're talking about a government that muzzled its own doctors when they attempted to sound warnings last fall about this emergent disease -- and a government that rejected offers of US aid.

Obviously, this should not blow back on ordinary East Asian people. It's not their fault the Chinese government is evil. But take care in your zeal to appear unprejudiced that you don't cover up the truth: COVID-19 originated in China. The Chinese government then tried to cover it up, which permitted the virus to spread beyond Chinese borders. If you're actually buying into the narrative that calling this disease the Wuhan Virus or the Chinese Virus is racist, you're a dupe at best -- and the rest of us are absolutely within our rights to flip you off and call you names.

Also, I'm a little confused: What exactly was Trump supposed to do weeks ago? Because I guaran-damn-tee that if he had been aggressive any earlier - if, for example, he had restricted foreign travel before the panic set in - his detractors would've complained about his xenophobia.

Yes, the feds were slow to respond. But how much of that was Trump, how much of that was the bureaucracy and its standing regulations, and how much of that was a lack of reliable data? We must carefully tease out all sources of error; tarring Trump alone with the blame is the simpleton's response.

There are many things the administration is doing right now that are sound reactions to the situation. Pushing back the tax deadline? Yes, good idea. Allowing people to consult with their doctors remotely? Also a good idea. Bringing in private-sector partners to distribute more test kits to the public? Excellent! Devolving some of the responsibility to state and local governments? Eminently constitutional -- despite what a certain idiot at the Bulwark thinks.

The roll-out of all of this was not without its hiccups, but try to have some perspective. There are very few countries who are dealing with this pandemic 100% successfully. Actually, most of Europe is doing much, much worse.

ETA: I'm kicking myself for forgetting this, but all y'all Twitter socialists posting galaxy-brained hot takes about our temporarily empty grocery aisles can kindly STFU. Yes: a capitalist nation in a crisis looks like a socialist nation on any random Tuesday. By Jove, you've got us!

Lastly, if you're reading this, you probably know this already, but: you can't trust anything the mainstream media report. They lie routinely about everything Trump and his surrogates say; indeed, in just the past few days, the media have spread rumors about a national quarantine (false) and have claimed that Trump told states looking for respirators that they were on their own (also false). So for heaven's sake, double and triple check anything alarming you hear on the news before you go off half-cocked -- because the probability approaches one that if it sounds scary, it's been purposefully distorted.

Stay calm, stay alert, and God bless you all.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The End of the World (Except Not Really)

So how have you been enjoying the apocalypse? Speaking for myself, I'm still trying to find toilet paper. (Just found some!) Oh: and I'm wondering whether I'm going to lose all my clientele and, subsequently, my job if our corporate headquarters fails to get their rumored online platform up and running.

As I believe I've mentioned before, I work at an after school tutoring center in the Northern Virginia area, which is rapidly becoming a hot spot for COVID-19 as we speak. As far as I can tell, all of the cases recorded here are related to international travel - in particular, a certain Nile River cruise - but my kids' parents are peppering our business manager with leave requests anyway. Based on her texts and emails to me, the poor woman is consequently going insane.

I'm not going to say we shouldn't be concerned; I know I'm concerned because I have an aging mother at home who's on oxygen, and this may be worse than the flu for people in that particular bracket. (I honestly don't know because I don't know who to trust at this point.) To be sure, we definitely need to keep an eye on the news - like we should if, say, there were a tornado watch - and follow the advice of medical professionals regarding hygiene and social distancing (advice that, by the way, we should heed even in the absence of a global pandemic). But we still need to be rational. We don't need to buy whole pallets of toilet paper to get through this -- and I don't think you need to worry (at least right now) about sending your kids to a program at which, at any one time, there are only 13 or 14 people in the building. (Our branch is a very tiny operation. But if you're an expert and you think I'm wrong, please let me know in the comments.)

As other people have said, full-scale panic is only going to make it more difficult to help the populations who are actually vulnerable.

In fairness, though, I think I know why we've descended into chaos over this: we no longer trust our institutions -- and for legitimate reasons. The media in particular are not covering themselves in glory, as they seem to be more interested in shilling for the Chinese government than in sober, accurate analysis. Speaking of which: Wuhan virus, Wuhan virus, Wuhan virus! I will call it what I damn well want to regardless of the marching orders the Blue Checks apparently got from Beijing. If it's not racist to call a certain tick-born illness Lyme Disease because it was first observed in Lyme, well -- shut the hell up and focus on what really matters.

Anyway, enough with the serious commentary. Let's get to the memes -- because if I can't laugh at our predicament, I want off this planet. Below the cut are some of my favorites:

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Prizes for Good Little Girls Syndrome

Thesis: Elizabeth Warren lost because of sexism.

Wait, wait, don't leave yet! This is not the blog post you think it is. I'm not about to start blathering about supposed "glass ceilings" or whatever. What I want to talk about is the soft sexism of low expectations.

If a woman has spent her life marinating in the left-wing feminist subculture, a few things are highly likely to be true:
  • She's been told she's great - fabulous! - just the way she is.
  • She's been taught to dismiss all push-back as misogynistic.
  • She's been assured that she's entitled to success -- and that any failures to achieve said success are the fault of men.
  • She's been trained to demand that these dastardly men - who are totes holding her back - kindly step aside and let her take the trophy -- whether she's actually earned it or not.
You might think I'm being unfair here, but frankly? I don't agree. Given all the stuff I've read in the news for the past decade plus, I believe I'm right on the money. 

Everywhere I look, I see illustrations of all four of the above bullet points. I hate to keep harping on the fat acceptance movement, but really: isn't that a textbook example of point number one? Go ahead, ladies: eff those unrealistic beauty standards and rock on with your 300 pound selves. Yas, queen, slay! (And don't worry that you can't make it up a single flight of stairs without getting winded. The negative impacts of extreme obesity are way over-stated, amirite?)

Then there are all the times leftists of the distaff persuasion have thrown down the poor-me-I'm-being-harassed-by-meanie-sexist-men card each time they start losing an online argument. To be sure, in the absolute dumpster fire that is internet discourse, such women probably do get burned with the occasional "die, bitch!" PM or email. But as I noted on my fan blog, men get that crap too -- and oddly, I don't see them whining about it nearly as often. (Probably because crying doesn't work for men. Only women get picked up by the waaaaaambulance.)

And just to hit on bullets three and four: everywhere I look, I see leftists justifying moves to ease standards to give vag a hand up. Just last month, for example, it was reported that Oxford is considering removing Homer and Virgil from a foundational classics course due to "attainment gaps between male and female candidates." Don't buckle down and study your Latin and Greek, dears. We'll remove that pesky obstacle for you. And oh my great and fluffy Lord, I can't even count the number of times I've heard feminists complain about the academic weeding that goes on in engineering or computer science -- because apparently, advanced math is oppressive and patriarchal. As a woman who numbers pretty good - indeed, I even teach that stuff for a living! - I headdesk so hard whenever I hear this BS that I'm surprised my skull is still intact.

Where does all this anal-smoke-blowing lead? When you're told constantly that you should get prizes simply for being a good little girl - as leftist women are - the result is predictable: you stop developing. If you're already Ms. Polly Perfect, well -- that obviates the need for critical self-examination and the consequent moves towards self-improvement. If your naysayers are all dismissible as "women-hating men bitter over the loss of their privilege" (or as women suffering from "internalized misogyny"), then your arguments are almost certainly untested and malformed. And if people have always been clearing the road for you and shielding you from any real challenges, you're no doubt much stupider than your competition -- and much weaker.

In short, if you're a leftist woman, you have not been equipped to survive in the hurly-burly world of American politics.

If you've come up in the anti-feminist milieu, on the other hand, you've learned to fight -- and you've learned to take ownership of your agency. That's because anti-feminists, in my view, have far more faith in women and their abilities. Anti-feminists, in the end, are the true anti-sexists.

So to circle back to the beginning: Like Clinton, Warren didn't fail in her bid for the presidency because of the so-called misogyny of the voting public; she failed because she's been surrounded by yes men who've never bothered to tell her how unlikable she really is. (And oh yes: the naked pandering to the left's various mascots and the lying about her heritage probably didn't help either.)

Warren was the victim of sexism -- just not in the way her cheerleaders think.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Compassion vs. Foolishness

From a post originally written in 2016:

Hold on to your hats, folks: I'm about to discuss some more psychology. In particular, I'm going discuss the phenomenon of pathological altruism.

Pathological altruism manifests in many ways. You have, for example, the enabler: the family member or friend who financially supports a substance abuser because he wishes to rescue the addict from a life on the street. Drug treatment professionals are in near 100% agreement that enabling prevents recovery; it shields their patients from the worst consequences of their actions and therefore removes a powerful motivation for getting clean. Enabling, however, is so strong a temptation for an addict's loved ones that entire programs have been created for the sole purpose of dealing with its destructive force.

Another example: the animal hoarder. Hoarders genuinely feel for all the poor, abandoned creatures they take into their homes. Along the way, however, they lose sight of reality. They don't notice that their animals are constantly sickly -- or that their houses are coated in fecal matter and collapsing all around them -- or that they're struggling to pay the rent or keep the lights on because they're blowing their budgets on pet food. Pulling a hoarder out of this situation is traumatic and usually involves intensive psychotherapy.

A final - and even more common - example: the indulgent parent. Parents spoil their children not because they intend to raise brats but because they can't stand to hear their babies cry. But of course, if you give a child everything he wants and consistently puff up his self-esteem, you don't end up with a happy, healthy adult. Instead, you end up with a brittle perpetual adolescent who cannot regulate his emotions, delay gratification, display humility, or show empathy for others. You end up, in other words, with a campus activist who shoves undeserving students into walls and screams obscenities in their faces because his demands are not being immediately satisfied.

Pathological altruism is a clinical name for the disordered definition of love I've discussed in earlier posts. It is to compassion what psychopathy or sociopathy is to simple selfishness, and in many situations - obviously - it can be just as damaging. The problem, you see, is that this kind of altruism is divorced from rationality and truth. It encourages recklessness and cocoons people in their lies.

The left has chided us right-leaning folks for ages for our "failure to be kind." But it is not fundamentally kind to bankroll a man's bad habits with the federal purse; not only is that stealing money from people who might've used it more wisely, but it is also insulting the recipient's basic human dignity by implicitly denying his agency. It is, to put it frankly, a form of enabling. Likewise, it is not fundamentally kind to release violent criminals into the general population in the name of "mercy" and "rehabilitation." Again, I believe in the possibility of redemption as much as the next Christian, but prudence, friends! Prudence matters. Without it, you will needlessly injure - or even kill - innocent people...

Please keep the above in mind each time you hear certain politicians promise endless free crap. TANSTAAFL. But more importantly, it's the opposite of moral to reach into other people's pockets while pretending to be generous.