In earlier blogs I have pointed out that most people have their mother's worldview because they learn most of their language from their mother. Language has worldview embedded in it.
I have noticed something else along the same lines. I find that people who dedicate their lives to the occupations and professions that are consistent with their mother's culture are the happiest and vice versa, the ones who don't are often depressed.
What do I mean? When the son or daughter of a Celtic mother is a firefighter, police officer or a nurse they are usually happy. When the son or daughter of a Jewess is a doctor, scientist, political activist or teacher they are usually happy.
Those are only two cultural examples. Most cultures have preferred status occupations...which members of those cultures understand.
Have you observed this?
"fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid
too. Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100
can. i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty
uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal
pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a
rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't
mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are,
the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and
lsat ltteer be in th e rghit pclae. The rset can
be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit
a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos
not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as
a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot
slpeling was ipmorantt !"
The answer is yes. There are a number of things we know can't be changed. To start with there will always be below average students. Below average is an arithmetic truism. There will always be crime (even in the most socially stable society on earth: Japan). There will always be poverty (even in the richest society on earth: Norway).
While the public sector denies that there will always be below average students and creates community colleges and social demands that are tragic and mean-spirited to service this half of humanity, the private world has created a profitable and successful alternative in the form of for-profit technical schools. There are now over 700 post-secondary technical colleges in the U.S. and I made a handsome profit on several of the public stocks (Corinthian Colleges COCO, Strayer Education STRA and others.)
Lets start with crime. We would get rid of the 3/4ths of every police force that is a waste of money, since the size of a police force has no correlation to the level of crime. We could take that money and use it for remedial aid. Every person who is a victim of a crime could be made whole...in so far as that is possible. Burglary, robbery and car theft are feasible in most cases. Murder, rape and battery are harder to remediate but victims could be paid for therapy, lost time and compensatory time off with travel.
Poverty will always be with us but offspring of the poor are not bound by circumstances and should be given extra special financial and educational support. The poor need to be accepted in much the same way we give food stamps and Section 8 housing allowances without much recrimination. We need to expand these programs so that rewards are largely in-kind, including medical care in special clinics for the poor. But we don't have to try and live with the poor (who lack social control), go to school with the poor and share anything else including transportation with the poor.
We have learned, but fail to adapt to the reality that crime diminishes the more time criminals spend in prison. That poor people will stay away from everyone else if they are given a safe place to go and are left alone.
There are many more ways we can make the world a better place by rejecting Puritan "fixism" for the perpetrators and accepting remediation for the victims.
In San Francisco, I probably have more to fear from a deranged Lefty Fundamentalist of the sort who attacked Elie Wiesel.
I have a view of Islam that separates out Arab Islam from the rest of Islam. It is Arab Islamists who are revanchists, believing there was once a great day of Arab culture. There never was such a day. The Turkish Empire and the Persian Empire with the help of some Kurds are the great features of Middle-Eastern Culture. The Arabs have given us nothing besides poetry...which I can't read to appreciate.
Mark Steyn has added another very relevant point (America Alone is his most recent book). Arab Islam conquered by military might and kept the defeated people as dhimmi...tax paying serfs (including Jews escaping from Roman Catholic Spain and Portugal). The consequence is a thousand years of Arab Islamic welfarism. Arab Islamist have no idea how to make a living and be productive.
This is still true today. Most Arabian peninsula Arabs live off the teats of oil. The Egyptians try to survive on tourism, American foreign aid and the Suez Canal. The Palestinians of Gaza, Lebanon and the West Bank are pathetic suckling pigs at the brain dead body of the United Nations. Then there are the Syrians. Totally incompetent, hoping to control the Christian and Maronite communities of Beirut to support them.
I am slightly more than an armchair writer on this subject. I'm more like a football fan who plays touch football. I've had many Arab employees, a few Arab friends, been to a few Arab lands and several more Islamic countries.
If I were a gay person, trying to find a current life of love and human comfort and concerned about longevity in my relations and worried about being cared for in my old age....marriage and family would look appealing.
Actually I have those concerns, even though marriage is always available to me, despite having eight wonderful grandchildren and three spectacular biological children. I realize that nothing...nothing can diminish existential angst. We are born alone, we live alone and we die alone...no relations, no spouse or offspring are certain, permanent nor perfect. Families and marriage are far from perfect and often particularly difficult. But marriage and family look good.
I can see where the creation of the exciting, vital and somewhat comfortable life of the gay community has evoked these existential questions in the growing maturity of the community. A brunch with forty beautiful and interesting gay men in their late thirties and early forties can look daunting when mortality raises its head.
It is a similar comfort with American commercial life that is supporting the rapid growth of family friendly Mormon churches and family friendly evangelical Christian mega-churches.
Comfort and success inevitably raise existential questions. 'Why do we live?'
There were 70 distinct nations in 1900. The reason the number is low is that many future nations were colonies in 1900. That was true for most of Africa and many parts of South Asia including India. Of the 70 nations 15 were clearly democracies with elective governments.
By the year 2000 there were 170 nations based on UN membership. The reality is that there are 124 nations based on the Phillips criteria: more population than San Francisco and a GDP greater than Disneyland. Of the 124 nations 69 are democracies with elective governments.
No matter how you look at it, growing from 15 in 70 to 69 of 124 is dramatic growth. I would estimate that those 69 democracies have three quarters of the global productive economic output and 90% of the global middle class.
Dennis Ross in the New Republic connects the dots about the Israeli raid on the Northern Syrian coast and the associated secrecy.
Dot one: Syria's Assad was beginning to act as though Syria could have
a limited war with Israel and come out relatively undefeated, the way
he viewed the Hezbollah war outcome of last summer.
Dot two: Israel sent a message that got through to Assad and to Iran that she knew what is going on in Syria and is always prepared to act preemptively in her defense.
Dot three: Israel has "restored its deterrence" according to Major General Amos Yadlin, the head of Israel's military intelligence. Syria is no longer so confident it can conduct a limited war.
I saw the Yadlin quote and wondered what it meant.
John Judis sticks his neck out in the latest New Republic issue. Judis calculates the number of delegates the various Republican candidates will have after the first primaries end on Feb. 5th. With 2,517 delegates voting at the September convention, and 1,259 needed to win....1,358 will be committed by Feb. 5th. The leader, Guiliani, will have roughly 459 votes with the rest of the candidates having less.
That leaves Guiliani short by 800 votes, over seven months, to win on the first ballot, which Judis does not think he can get from the remaining 1159 delegates before the convention.
I appreciate vote counting. I did it in my political days.
From Judis' count we can conclude that there will be an exciting and possibly brokered Republican convention.
The Democrats will have their convention sewn up by Hillary by Feb. 5th and nothing but boredom ahead.
In January of this year I called it exactly right. I said that the President and the Republican Party would deal with the political issues arising from the Iraq War by calling attention to the more accurate history of the Viet Nam War that places the entire failure and subsequent human slaughter on the Democratic Congress and Senate of 1974.
The opening salvos in that exact scenario were launched by President Bush at a speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars on August 22nd.
Good shot George. I expected it and welcome it. We should be discussing the way the Democratic party lost a war and brought tragedy to millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians and the Democrats show us every day that they would happily do it again in the Mid-East.
We name unexplained, sometimes random, phenomenon in the hopes of understanding them. The Minsky Moment is a mistake. A big mistake. Wrong man, wrong name.
When I was a graduate student in
economics at U.C. Berkeley, Hyman P. Minsky was one of my monetary
theory professors. Minsky was an out and out Marxist who loved Fidel
Castro and prayed vigorously for the destruction of capitalism. Unlike
most of my fellow grad students, I found Minsky narrow minded and
pathetically ideological. The Berkeley Econ department was a band of
unrepentant Trotskyites and probably still is (Only a few exceptions).
The publications in Minsky's later life were focused on a not-so-unique way that capitalism might destroy itself. He proposed that speculation and risk inflation would grow as the periods of economic success were extended. Markets would crash. Minsky must have hated those long periods of economic expansion with no crashes.
happened in late August of this year won't be known for several more decades. But
one thing I do know is that if any time period of economic travail
should be named a Minsky Moment, it should be a period of general
starvation brought on by communism in Cuba or North Korea.
Footnote: Haman is an evil figure in the Purim story of Esther.
The old rule of thumb of the newspaper business was that each letter to the editor represented 1,000 readers with the same view. I don't know what the updated rule looks like for emails to the editor. Probably not very different.
So the New York Times got 400,000 readers angry at them for the despicable MoveOn.org ad they ran nearly two weeks ago (based on the 4,000 angry emails they received). That is roughly 40% of the total New York Times readership.
Forty percent is also significant because that is the discounted amount the NYTimes offered on their regular ad rate to accommodate MoveOn.org. Only 40% of their regular rate. MoveOn didn't even ask for the 60% special discount. Which the Times would not make available to an anti-MoveOn ad.
We also know from the Time's ombudsperson that the Lefty meanspiritedness was not only found in the sales department that offered the ad price, it was in the ad review department where a department head violated the Time's written and explicit policy against ads with personal attacks. This was an ad with a headline that had the most offensive personal attack anyone can make on a soldier: betrayal.
Lets not forget that the ad did America a favor. It focused the Iraq War debate on the McCarthy-like nature of the anti-War activists and it put Hillary and Obama on record as defenders of McCarthy-like behavior when they failed to join a Senate Democratic majority in opposing the MoveOn-Times calumny.
The tragic evidence: the Yezidi people of Qahtaniya in Northern Iraq. Over 500 people in the small town of 3,500 were killed by four Al Qaeda suicide bombers.
The Yezidi people are complete outcasts of Arabia, scattered in small villages in parts in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Armenia and Iran. They are often described as a Kurdish people because their language is close to Kurdish but they are not Muslims. They possess no arms, have no tribal defense and their unique religion denies the existence of evil. They believe in one god who created the world and lost interest in it. The remaining deities are symbolized by the peacock, with seven major feathers for their seven angels.
They are the Quakers of Arabia and for that they were killed. And will continue to be killed.
You've heard me express sympathy for the Left before. The Left has a package of ideas that seem to fail every time they are tried.
One of my sports loving friends expressed sympathy for the Left after I offered him a metaphor.
The Left had every advantage. The Left had a team, they had team colors, a team uniform, a team band and a team mascot. The referees, the announcers and most of the fans were Lefties. Even the soccer players in training and the back-up players were Lefties.
In fact, the pro-commerce side didn't even have a team all they had were a bunch of stray members of the audience running out on the field to play the game.
Pro-commerce still won 10-0.
That metaphor is so accurate, even my sports loving friend felt sympathy for the Left.
I have a good friend who unlocked her Iphone and moved it over to T-mobile. The first place to visit is here.
The second where you'll get instructions is here.
It takes about four hours.
None of this will be necessary after January of 2008 as several companies will have competitive products including a few at Best Buy and we'll be able to sign-up for monthly services at several networks.