Monday, March 25, 2019

Yes, Our Ruling Class Stinks, But...

OK, so now Mueller Time is over and it's time to get back to...

Politics as usual?

Yes, but that means that the politicians just get back to bribing us election time with our own money, as prescribed in my definition of government:
Government is an armed minority, occupying territory and taxing the people thereof to reward its supporters.
There is only one way out. You say to the government: you can take your rewards -- your pensions, your free health cares, your free educations, your relief of the poor, and put 'em where the sun don't shine.

Anything short of this means that the game goes on. Because if you are taking money from the politicians then you are just another serf.

Of course, as indicated by my reductive Three Peoples theory, there will always be serfs, People of the Subordinate Self, who want only to live under the protection of a great lord. More, there is something in all of us that just wants to be safe. As Cassius put it:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Shakespeare, don'tcha know.

See, in my better world, we would all have pensions; only we would get them from saving all our lives at Fidelity and Vanguard. And all of us would voluntarily kick in for people "without the means to retire through no fault of their own." Perhaps some billionaire would thoughtfully put himself at the head of Pensions For No Fault of Their Own.

In my better world, we would all have health care; only we would get it, we cheapskates, at Health-Mart: Low health prices, always. And some billionaire would run Health Care Through No Fault of Their Own and we would all kick in to help widows and orphans.

In my better world, we would all educate our kids; only we would do it through all the moms in the neighborhood home-schooling together. And Google would provide a complete smorgasbord of educational tools for the moms and the kids to use. Conservative billionaires would provide conservative alternatives to the sickeningly woke lefty Google material. Game designers would provide addictive games that got kids to learn everything they needed, just by "playing" a silly game. And some billionaire would run Education Through No Fault of Their Own for kids with lousy or ignorant parents. And the neighborhood moms would attach the odd kid, ignorant through no fault of its own, to the neighborhood home-school.

And so on, with welfare. Only, I suspect that the relief of the poor without government would not just be about dishing out money for nothing.

It wouldn't be that hard, and it would be very good for us, because it would exercise our humans-as-social-animals instincts. It would force us, as the lefties say, to be more "ethical" and "altruistic."

And we would all spend a part of each day telling some damn politician to go put his free stuff where the sun don't shine. This would be mandatory, subject to a fine for defaulters that went three or more days without telling some politician where to put it.

See, unless we all get together and "collude" and decide not to take the bait from the damn politician offering free stuff, then the fault, dear reader, is not in our stars / But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

If we said No to all the free stuff, then we could say No to all the taxes. And maybe get from the current taxation of about 35 percent of GDP down to 10 percent GDP or less.

Imagine an America with taxes at 10 percent of GDP. You can do it if you try. We did have an America like that in 1900, and for some reason immigrants came over to that mean-spirited America by the ship-load.

Gosh, I wonder why.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Thoughts on the Culture War

In the current culture war we cannot expect "the other" to understand our point of view. That is because, as Christopher DeGroot writes, all living things live by prejudice. He quotes anthropologist Mary Douglas, who points out that we all need to evaluate new experiences in the light of what we already know and believe.

In other words, it is a waste of time to start from the beginning whenever something new shows up. Life goes on, and we use our experience and our knowledge, and our cultural inheritance, to navigate past each new event in our world.

So it is not surprising that our Democratic friends are fit to be tied by the Trump phenomenon. Remember, from back in the 2000s, Democrats have believed, with John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira in The Emerging Democratic Majority, that they owned the future, with minorities, the educated, and women all coalescing in a glorious new political hegemony.

Their notion, their ideology -- prejudice if you like -- saw them ruling wisely and well over a populace of diminished ability, partly of prejudice and superstition in the religious middle class, and partly of ignorance and marginalization in the lower orders. No problem, because our educated rulers were notably free of prejudice and superstition and also notably full of care and compassion for the marginalized.

But here comes Trump with "tropes" from another era: nationalism instead of cosmopolitanism; protectionism instead of free trade; insult instead of urbanity. Our Democratic friends thought all that was well and truly buried with Hitler and the disaster of Smoot-Hawley.

Of course, in the comfort of their ideology -- their prejudice if you like -- they cannot see how they have replaced the us-and-them of nationalism with the us-and-them of identity politics. They cannot see that they practice their own form of protectionism with the help-our-friends activities of the administrative and regulatory state. And they cannot see how their activism culture licenses them and their clients to insult anyone they please while criminalizing their opponents for "hate speech."

Thus, for DeGroot, "winning the culture war" will not involve what our liberal friends like to call "a conversation" but the usual incidents of war: "strategy, manipulation, and, perhaps, sheer force."

After all, that is what the whole Russian collusion operation of the last two years has been about: the current ruling class trying to overcome the cognitive dissonance of the Trump presidency by combining to undermine President Trump and demoralize his supporters.

As DeGroot writes: "all moral systems and all political systems require some concept of an enemy". It could be the Devil; it could be the Jews. It could be the "robber barons." It could be illegal aliens; it could be white nationalists.

But in a world of enemies, there must be friends, the bonds of trust that we call social capital.
According to sociologist Robert Putnam there are two types of social capital:
bridging capital refers to trust between groups, between people who have different values and identities, while bonding capital refers to trust within groups.
And, according to Putnam, "diversity" tends to reduce both "bridging capital" and "bonding capital." In other words, people need to be secure in like-living-with-like communities if they are to start building social structures of trust, both within their community and without.

But, of course, the whole point of identity politics and political correctness is to create distrust in the national community.

The only good thing about our ruling class is that they are idiots. Imagine if they really knew what they were doing!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

2020 Election: What I Hope For

It was strange listening to the audio of Elizabeth Warren's recent townhall on CNN. Medicare for All? Yay! Wealth Tax? Yay! Climate change? Yay! All her lefty proposals were met with (a preponderantly female) cheer, as in: what universe do these women live in?

Well, we know. They live in Liberal-land, and they believe. They believe what "the priests" tell them. As I've said before, when you peruse the #WeBelieve yard signs, you are reading a liberal Ten Commandments, brought down from the mountain-top by a liberal Moses.
The point about the sentiments in #WeBelieve is that they are religious. And in every case where these religious sentiments enter into politics they amount to the legislation of morality. Religious freedom? Then why are liberals harassing Christian bakers that don't want to bake cakes for gay weddings?

Yes, but what does it mean? What does all the legislation of morality, plus the total socialization of health care, plus the climate change cult, mean?

It means, I think, that despite all the excitement of the last 500 years, with science, technology, capitalism, the Great Enrichment, and all, we are still humans, living animals that live by our feelings -- or instincts, or "the unconscious."

And one of our "feelings" is the dream of "altruism." Yeah, like back in the good old days when human community was truly egalitarian, and share-and-share alike.

Only, according to C.R. Hallpike in On Primitive Society, here is how things worked out in the Tauade tribe in New Guinea. They had "big-men" at the top of the social hierarchy, with two or three wives, and "rubbish-men" at the bottom, with no wives.
The principal roles of the chiefs are the organization of feats and dances, at which they make speeches on behalf of their group; the negotiation of peace between their group and others; and, to some extent, leadership in war. Their essential personal attributes are generosity, oratory, and political skills, and a willingness to accept compensation for wrongs rather than resort to violence at the slightest provocation.
What about the "rubbish-men?"
[They] are the poorest and least effectual members of society; often unmarried, they are mean and avaricious, attempt to renege on their co-operative responsibilities such as contributing to feasts or making gifts on appropriate occasions, and are also said to be the worst thieves (theft being below the dignity of chiefs) and to be generally irresponsible.
The point is that the notion of selfishness or altruism is beside the point. The chiefs are rich -- and also generous. It is part of their self-image and reputation to be noble and above the common ruck of men, and their nobility and generosity pays them back in prestige and popularity. The rubbish-men are ineffective because they think in terms of immediate benefit and cost.

It seems pretty clear to me that the big-men are more social, and the rubbish-men are more selfish. But the big-men are not "altruistic." It is just that they can see around corners, and understand, either instinctively or strategically, that generosity and nobility of manner pays off in wives and reputation.

Now, I would say that the chap that is going to win the 2020 presidential election is the candidate that looks most like the tribal big-man and least like the tribal rubbish-man.

You will notice that the Democrats and the mainstream media have been doing their best to represent President Trump as a rubbish-man, a vile monsters that is cheating and treating with the hated Russians.

And yet what is the best way to characterize our liberal friends, with their haughty demeanor, their attacks on free speech, their social media frenzies, and their over-the-top spending proposals? How about mean, often unmarried, refusing to contribute to feasts, etc.?

You'll forgive an old man if I say that this looks like a replay of the Sixties, when The Kidz thought they were remaking the world in the image of Herbert Marcuse, and nothing could stop them. Only Richard Nixon did, appealing to the Silent Majority that just wanted a job, a family, a house, and a car. And then, just to make things clear, the man that liberals called an amiable dunce won two presidential elections going away. This B-movie actor was called Ronald Reagan.

Is the US electorate still a bunch of deplorables that can't see further than a job, a family, and a house and car, unable to lift their eyes to the mountain-top of Medicare For All and renewable energy?

I have no idea, and neither does anyone else.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Me and the Boeing 737 Max Crisis

I don't know nothing about the current flap about the Boeing 737 MAX grounding, but I am a pilot, and so I think I know a thing or two about flying and airplanes, such as:

One More For the Gipper. As I understand it, it is much cheaper for Boeing to modify an existing airplane model than to develop and entirely new one. From the regulatory standpoint. In other words, it makes much more financial sense for Boeing to tell the FAA that its 737 MAX model is merely a development of the 737 model line than to call it a new model. So there is a big temptation to squeeze one more modification out of an existing model rather than to break new ground on a new model.

And I've read that the problem with the 737 MAX is that the engines are much bigger/heavier/powerful than the previous non-MAX and this has created problems on the center-of-gravity of the airplane.

Regulatory Capture. The Federal Aviation Administration is responsible for the airworthiness of US-built airplanes. But the settled science of "regulatory capture" says that a government regulator eventually becomes captured by the corporations it is supposed to regulate. Could that be a problem here?

Why can't Boeing's insurance company be in charge of airworthiness? It would have, after all, "Skin in the Game" as Nassim Nicholas Taleb argues in his latest book.

Pilots and Emergencies. When a pilot experiences an emergency situation in flight his response is to follow his training. But there is a problem. If an emergency has not been covered in training the pilot will not have any training to follow. And he will probably not have time to figure out what went wrong, consult his flight manuals, and then decide what to do. When I was a glider pilot I had been trained in what do do if my altitude was too low to glide back to the airport. On the two occasions when this happened to me it was remarkable how I dutifully followed my training.

Now it seems that in the 737 MAX accidents it may well be that the problem was a failed angle-of-attack indicator that prompted an AI system to assume the plane was in a stall when it wasn't. No problem if pilots are trained for such an event; big problem if they are not.

Corporate bureaucracy. I was talking to a guy the other day that spent most of his working life in small print shops. But he ended his career doing printing for a big corporation. He found the big corporation to be crazy-making with all their rules. Life was much simpler when he just worked for the owner. For me, living in Seattle, it has always been impressive to me how Boeing has a huge depth of knowledge and experience in plane-making. No doubt part of this is all the rules that keep people from doing stupid stuff. But then there is the situation where all the rules don't protect you. And maybe that stems from the fact that the bottom line of flight-testing is a process of getting sign-offs from the FAA rather than the deep thought of "what could go wrong?" I am not saying here that the Boeing flight-test guys don't care about safety; I am just saying that their job is to follow the rules and get the signoff and not to think deep thoughts. And even if some guy half way up the food-chain wanted to do a bunch of testing around the angle-of-attack indicator and the AI systems, he would still have to get his superiors to sign off on a budget. And the problem with all corporate bureaucrats is that, over time, the bureaucrats end up taking care of themselves, not the mission of the corporation, because that's how bureaucracies work.

Don't forget the lawyers. I'll bet that Boeing and the FAA have known for months that they have a problem. But being humans they would not want to admit to it until they had a solution -- proposed, implemented and tested. Why? Probably because of the lawyers, that would extract damages for all the folks killed in the two crashes thus far. Oh, and of course to save the airlines money, because there is nothing more expensive than an expensive airplane being grounded for months while the wheels of bureaucracy and regulation grind away on a corporate and regulatory solution.

Don't Panic! If we have a pretty good idea what the problem is, and we can, in ten minutes, train all the 737 MAX pilots what to do when the plane gets a false stall warning, then problem solved, right? Alas, no. Because our faith in bureaucracy and regulation means that we can't return the 737 MAX to service until all the bureaucratic and regulatory hoops have been jumped through. Because everything in this world has to pass the "Is it safe, Mr. President?" test.

In a better world, we would trust airplane manufacturers and airlines to be responsible, and let them get on with it.

But we do not live in that world. I doubt if we ever will.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Democracy, Schmocracy, or What Do You Expect?

Everyone is all upset at their governments: Ann Coulter with Donald Trump. And the bloody Brits with Brexit. The Zman complains about "The Fiction of Democracy."

Well, yeah. But what do you expect? Do you expect that the ruling class of the last 100 odd years would just fold their tents and.. what, exactly?

The fact is that government offers "protection." This protection might be protection from the invading Mongols, protection from invading hordes on the southern border, or it might be protection from racist sexist homophobes. Who cares?

Above all, of course, government offers rewards to its supporters, as in pensions, health care, education, welfare, tariffs, you name it. And there are precious few folks that are determined not to accept any goodies from government.

I am presently in the middle of updating my usgovernmentspending.com site with the latest data from the federal government: the federal budget for FY2020. Guess what: the feds are projecting trillion dollar deficits through the 2020 election and beyond:

Ain't that cute? So President Trump will have the deficit down by the time he leaves office in his second term! Providing we don't have a recession first.

Actually, I think the proper way to look at government is "spending as percent of GDP." That shows how much of our commonweal the government is spending on its supporters. Here is the spending data since 1900. Federal plus state plus local.

I think that this chart shows something really important, that government spending seems to be topping out at 35ish percent of GDP. That's assuming that the Dems don't get to enact their Green New Deal any time soon.

But why? Why is government spending topping out, really since about 1980? Well, I'd say because at a deep level -- say the Jungian "collective unconscious" -- modern government has gone about as far as it can go.

That doesn't mean that we won't stumble-bum our way into a Venezuela-style meltdown. Anything can happen.

But the point is that we stumble-bummed our way into the Great Enrichment, the increase in per-capita income by 30 times in the last 200 years. Didn't have a clue what we were doing, and some people, like the AOCs of the world, still don't get it.

I've been reading a book of essays On Primitive Society by anthropologist C.R. Hallpike. He takes out strongly against the idea that there is any Darwinian evolution involved with human society as in the survival of the fittest. In his view, the way to understand human society is the survival of the average.

Most human societies, on his view, are wasteful, vengeful, stupid, and lazy. But they usually stumble-bum their way to survival. So what is the key to survival? Don't look now, but it just might be God playing dice, even though Einstein said it couldn't be so.

Right now, our right-wing friends are advancing the idea that "migration is invasion." And over at Vox Day we are looking at DNA studies of the Iberian peninsula where Spain and Portugal presently reside. A while back, 4,500 years ago, the Iberian peninsula experienced a substantial change in DNA.
Though 60 percent of the region’s total DNA remained the same, the Y chromosomes of the inhabitants were almost entirely replaced by 2,000 B.C. That suggests a massive influx of men from the steppes, since Y chromosomes are carried only by men.
Well, bless my buttons. As they say: men are expendable. Survival? Only the women survive.

As I have been reading Hallpike I have been thinking that maybe our Great Enrichment society is too efficient, too hard-working, too focused, for long continuance. The point is that when you are efficient and focused then maybe you are not leaving enough room for error.

After all, if the story of primitive humans is the "survival of the average" then maybe our Great Enrichment is not such a good idea. Instead of being so efficient, maybe we should just chill out for a while and revert to the mean. In a way, that is what our environmentalist friends are saying. Except, of course, that they are not proposing that they should be the first to get their Y chromosomes replaced.

Meanwhile, don't expect Trump or Brexit or AOC or Beto or anyone to solve all our problems. That ain't the way of the world, old chum.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Leftism: First the Fear, Then the Hate

About three weeks ago I had a brainwave about the left. It is a school of hate, I realized. But then, yesterday, I had another epiphany. It is this.

First the left teaches its clients to fear; then it teaches them to hate. This is a natural progression that is entirely consonant with the logic of leftist politics.

The whole arc of leftist politics is to identify a class of helpless victims, about to be demolished by some class of oppressors and exploiters, and to lead them to justice and safety.

Obviously, this class of victims will be people that are afraid. So the lefties will play upon their fear.

But what happens when the left has led their victims to victory, and won their victims by peaceful protest their own pot of gold from the modern state? Obviously, following the famous victory the time for fear is now over. But the left will not want to disband its merry band of activists and protesters. What? Surrender that hard won power and prestige? No, in Phase 2, the left switches to hate, and teaches its Little Darlings to hate the oppressors and exploiters it formerly feared.

As Eric Hoffer wrote in The True Believer, the movement becomes a racket.

So let us begin with Marx. After extolling the rise of the bourgeoisie, he exposes its soft underbelly, in The Communist Manifesto:
Modern Industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrial capitalist. Masses of labourers, crowded into the factory, are organised like soldiers. As privates of the industrial army they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers and sergeants. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class, and of the bourgeois State; they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the overlooker, and, above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. The more openly this despotism proclaims gain to be its end and aim, the more petty, the more hateful and the more embittering it is.
Slaves, they are, the proletarians, embittered slaves. And not just the workers, but the lower middle class, " the small tradespeople, shopkeepers, and retired tradesmen generally, the handicraftsmen and peasants," they "sink gradually into the proletariat" immiserated by the monster of capitalism and the neo-feudal overclass, the bourgeoisie.

And so the workers got the vote. Why was this? Because the bourgeoisie was persuaded that it was right and just that the workers should get the vote, even though the middle class could see that the workers would not want the same things that they did. And the workers got free education, and labor unions, and then government pensions and health care. Again, the middle class didn't really like the welfare state; it wasn't going to help them, who already saved their money for pensions, and got health care, at the very least, through the local "lodge doctor."

But if the workers were getting what they wanted, what would be the point of voting for lefty politicians? That was when the left started teaching the workers to hate. The workers were part of the center-left coalition, and they had to be kept in a fever of hate against the bosses, who might at any time force the workers to "give back" their benefits. And so it went, until the left started to tire of the workers in about 1970.

With women, early feminists like Mary Wollstonecraft argued for men to tender rights to women out of the goodness of their hearts, as an expression of goodwill of the males to the females of the middle class. But by the end of the 19th century, the tone of feminism turned darker. Mrs. Pankhurst spoke of the women's franchise not as "a right, but as a desperate necessity:" women as victims. Well, women did get the vote, and careers, and divorce, and abortion. And that's when they started to hate.

It cannot be an accident that all the vile hate of the modern feminists occurred after the great political milestones. How could that be? Because, once the political marginaliztion of women had been removed, the mobilization of women as feminists had to be conducted on a program of hate. It must follow from the logic of left-wing politics.

In the campaign for civil rights, the early narrative was clearly fear. Jim Crow could work his evil power on southern Negroes as the mood took him. And if the government didn't do its thing, a lynch mob from the local KKK lodge could make the point instead. Just look at how the police beat up civil-rights marchers in the great Selma march on Bloody Sunday, in which Alabama State Troopers clubbed and tear-gassed civil-rights marchers on the road from Selma to the Alabama state capital in Alabama!

But in fact the 1965 Selma marches proved that blacks were no longer helpless victims of Southern racism, because after Bloody Sunday, a subsequent march was protected by "1,900 members of the Alabama National Guard under federal command, and many FBI agents and Federal Marshals".

Thus it makes complete sense for a new generation of black leaders to realize that hate, not fear, should be the face of black America, and the age of Martin Luther King, Jr., gave way to Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton.

The point is that, when your peaceful protests are protected by the federal government it is time to put away fear. But what happens to the movement then? Perfectly simple, you substitute hate for fear, and the movement can go on from strength to strength!

Clearly, the movement for gay rights follows a similar arc. We begin with the terror of the New York City police attacking the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City, in June 1969. So gays are taught to fear and we are taught that gays live in fear, of being "outed." But now that gay marriage is a fait accompli, courtesy of the US Supreme Court, the days of fear are over, and gay activists can deploy their hate without fear upon hateful Christian bakers.

There is one startling question about this century and a half of left-wing fear and hate. Was it necessary? These incessant campaigns against the bourgeoisie, against men, against whites, against straights: were they needed to get the rights the helpless victims demanded? For the fact is that, almost without exception they were achieved without a violent counterattack by the bourgeoisie, the men, the whites, the straights in question. Which suggests that maybe all the Sturm und Drang was purely for effect. It could all have been achieved by conversation and persuasion, not by the agency of activism and peaceful protest.

Who knows? But without the activism, the protests, the non-negotiable demands, what would have been the point?

We have now entered into a new phase in left-wing activism: the campaign of hate against the white working class.

As the need for activism continues, even though the rights of workers, women, blacks, and gays have been confirmed by the political system, there is still a need for an enemy, because without an enemy there is no need for politics. And so the left has coalesced upon a campaign of hate and fear on the men of the white working class. This is perhaps the terminal campaign of the longue durĂ©e of the left. Because the working hypothesis of the new campaign of hate is that all the Coalition of the Fringes -- the erstwhile marginalized and oppressed victims of what we now call the patriarchy and toxic masculinity and white supremacy -- should combine together in a campaign of activism and peaceful protest against white males.

Notice that this campaign cannot be against all white males because educated white males are down for the struggle; that is how they make their bones. No, it is the working class males that don't get to college on diversity and inclusion, that don't get the government jobs because of being a woman or minority, that don't get into STEM because they don't like school: these are the monsters that the left is now attacking as the far right, as white nationalists, as fascists.

Only thing is that the white working class are not civilized and successful middle class professionals that could be persuaded to give the workers a break, to give well-born women a leg up, to give the former slaves their dignity. And this is because, as I say, the middle class is not that interested in power, and not for reasons of virtue.  It is because in the middle class universe the magic bullet is not political power but, as Jordan Peterson points out, competence. If a middle-class person fails to get ahead, he does not blame the system; he blames himself. He understands that the economy ebbs and flows, that failure is a part of life, and that following failure you just have to get up and get going again.

Then there is the little problem that the white working class is not a privileged elite that has been keeping the people down since time immemorial. The white working class is the former Little Darling of the ruling class that has now been cast aside like an ageing mistress. So the white working class is not likely to gracefully concede as the targets of the left have done in former times.

In other words, the game has changed, and it may be that the courses in activism in the left's school of fear and hate no longer prepare activists for the future, but for the past.

For it seems to me that, while it was fair to characterize the left's politics up to now as a coalition of the powerful and the powerless against the middle class, today I think that it is better understood as a campaign of the powerful against the powerless. And I don't think that our lefty friends have a clue about that.

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Worm in the Apple of all Administrative Institutions

Oh dearie me, so wealthy parents were trying to get their little darlings into fancy-pants colleges. So what else is new? And they used their wealth to corrupt college administrators. I can't believe they did that!

Look, the problem is not that university administrators are corrupt, or that parents will use money and influence -- even cheat -- to get their kiddies into name colleges. Of course they do! That's what the Barnacles and Stiltstockings at the Circumlocution Office do with their working hours. And that is what wealthy women do to get their children ahead.

This was illuminated for me originally in The Millionaire Next Door by Stanley and Danko, two profs that thought to publish their findings on the wealthy in a bestseller rather than in an academic journal.

According to Stanley and Danko, the average millionaire is not the robber baron of legend, but the chap next door that has built a small fortune out of humdrum businesses like dry-cleaning stores.

But, if you are such a successful businessman, what about your children? For every businessman knows that to make a fortune you have to beat the odds. It is not just enough to be a hard worker with a good idea; you need to get lucky. Chances are that your children won't beat the odds. What do you do?

Well, the answer is that you send your kids to a good college to prepare them for the professions. The fact is that the professions -- lawyering, doctoring, corporate administration -- provide a much better chance of a prosperous life than starting a business, and that is what wealthy people do for their children.

And obviously, today, the fanciest college offers the best chances and the best connections. The point about the Harvards and the Yales, I've learned, is not the education but the "extracurriculars," the lifelong connections that you make.

But what about the education? I'm glad you asked. I've been worrying about education for a while so I picked up a book by British philosopher Alfred North Whitehead on The Aims of Education. He starts out with this:
In the history of education, the most striking phenomenon is that schools of learning, which at one epoch are alive with a ferment of genius, in a succeeding generation exhibit merely pedantry and routine.
Well! Who could have foreseen that!

It stands to reason, of course, that education in our time would exhibit "pedantry and routine" because under the influence of the educated class of the last century, they have been made into palaces of administration, and no more so than in the last 50 years. I read a chap recently who recalled that, in the schools of his youth, there would be a headmaster, a second master, a secretary for the headmaster, and a bursar. All the rest of the administration would be teachers. This, I confess, was my experience with the British private schools of my youth. But now? You tell me!

The whole point of administration is to prevent change. The whole point of a government program and its administrative bureaucracy is to make change impossible. But that is a problem.

The problem is that although we humans all dream of a world where our comfort and prosperity is guaranteed forever, the only workable world is one in which we are not allowed to deploy our own personal police force to guarantee our emoluments forever. Or, needless to say, deputize that police power to some damn politician.

We need, instead, to get with the program, Jenkins, however upsetting it is to our digestion.

This should not be a mystery to you, unless you read a newspaper fed daily scandals by Media Matters for America or the Southern Poverty Law Center. There have been, over the past century or so, real life scientific experiments in this which have yielded staggering results.

One scientific experiment has been the Great Enrichment, in which complete nobodies have revolutionized the economy countless times and yielded real per capita incomes 30 times larger than 200 years ago.

The other scientific experiment has been the Great Reaction, in which demi-gods, praised to the heavens by their publicists and supporters, have yielded poverty and death on a staggering scale. Why? Because they led revolutions that instituted top-down administrative control of the economy that did not have a clue how to deliver prosperity. And that blamed "wreckers and saboteurs" when things went wrong, as the government of Venezuela is presently doing.

In another proof of God's existence and sense of humor, there is a germ of truth in the "wreckers and saboteurs" remark. For the nobodies, the start-up entrepreneurs of textiles, steam, electricity, oil, transportation, computers, did indeed "wreck and sabotage" the existing economy. Hand-loom weavers were wrecked by mechanical weaving; stage-coaches were sabotaged by railroads; whalers were wrecked by mineral oil providers; ten-key adder experts were sabotaged by spreadsheet programs.

It's all so unjust, and in a perfect world of administrative hierarchy, it would never have been allowed to happen. And we would be as poor as we were two centuries ago, and women would be dying in childbirth, and agricultural laborers would still be threshing corn by hand instead of being starved out by those evil threshing machines.

However all is not well, because we are buried in all kinds of administrative government programs that cannot be reformed and cannot be changed, in pensions, in health care, in education, in welfare.

So, we see how the government infestation of higher education has turned it into a corrupt administrative nightmare. What did you expect?

So, Social Security is going to run out of money? I can't believe they allow that!

So government health care is ruinously expensive? No kidding!

So welfare demoralizes the lower orders. Amazing!

And as the notorious racist Charles Murray has observed in Coming Apart, things work pretty well for the folks that run the administrative apparatus, the educated top 25 percent of America. But at the bottom, the men don't work and the women don't marry.

I just can't believe that the politicians and experts have allowed this to happen.