WuHan Shutdown

Lots of people are arguing online about the virus shutdowns. The pro say we need to keep the shutdowns to preserve lives, particularly the lives of older people and those with preexisting conditions.

The cons say the shutdowns will ruin the economy. They often summarize by saying: you have to work to get money and you need money to eat.

I think they are truncating their thought. We do not work for money. We work for what money gets us.

When we work we serve the needs and desires of other people. Whatever we produce on the job is wanted by other people. In exchange they give us a claim on their work or output. That is money. It is a claim on their production, because of our production.

In this virus the government has shut down lots of business, and in an attempt to keep things going on in a normal way has distributed “Stimulus” checks to nearly everyone.

But the fact is, those people shutdown and sheltering in place are not producing what they would otherwise produce. In fact they are not producing anything. You can give them dollars to have claims on what other people are producing but they are producing nothing. So pretty soon, there will be a shortage of the things we want and need, no matter what the government does with checks and deposits. Not much is being produced for us to consume.

So there will be less for us.

Classical America

In Classical America, I would say from 1800 to 1900, the average person had unprecedented freedom to do as he wished and make his own life. Even in my father’s time, say 1950, he could ignore Washington and its minions with no detriment to his life.

Ordinary people loved America and the elite hated America.

Obviously the “elite” did not like this arrangement. Ordinary people are inferior.  The elite called them racist to better discredit them. So the elite  worked tirelessly to reduce the freedoms of ordinary people and increase the power of themselves.

Who are the elite?  The members of Congress, teachers at colleges, executives and personalities at major media, newspaper people at the New York Times and Washington Post, people at NGO’s, high ranking FBI and CIA bureaucrats, movie stars, the leadership of many private corporations.

Not elite: rank and file military, union members, working stiffs, religious people, middle management, franchise owners, car dealer owners, small businessmen, service employees,  real estate agents, supermarket cashiers.

Freedom Implies Capitalism

If people are free, they must be able to voluntarily choose to do most of things that they do.

The human condition imposes all sorts of limitations on our freedom. No one is free to give up breathing, or consuming water. In fact, we are basically condemned to toil to live as we have many needs to survive.

Some leftist said that people are born free but everywhere in chains. If you think about it, you are not born free for at the moment of birth you need everything and are not able to provide yourself anything. You need food and water every few hours, shelter from the elements constantly, love, nurturing, stimulation.

It is more hones to say that people are born in chains (to their needs) and the challenge of life is to make themselves free.

Over time the amount of toil a man had to do to subsist has gone down due to technological progress and accumulation of “capital” which make people more productive. A man with an acre of land and his bare hands has to work longer each day to eat than a man with an acre of land, a horse and a plow. A man with the full modern set of farming tools could probably feed himself with half a days work or work all day and sell the surplus.

There is a totally different type of limitation on freedom. That is the actions of other people who seek to impose their will on you. That limitation on freedom can be reduced or increased depending on the type of society in which you live.



You want to live under a government that . . .

You want to live under a government that, if your worse enemy in the world was in charge if it, you would not be too terribly inconvenienced.

Think of the Constitutional framework of the United States in about 1900. Some asshole high in the government has a bug up his ass and wants to throw you [ unjustly ] in jail. There are few federal crimes and no federal police, but suppose this asshole is owed favors by various state authorities he sends federal money to.

He gets a state district attorney to convene a grand jury, presents evidence and indicts you. Guess what, you are entitled to a trial by jury of your peers. Twelve ordinary people from your neighborhood stand between you and the awesome power and money of the State.

They don’t teach it any more in colleges, but when the USA was half slave and half free, northern juries refused to vote to return escaped slaves to their owners. Jury nullification, it was called.

The right to trial by jury is a major firewall against the power of the state and connected people.

And honestly, the fact that powerful people always control the levers of power shows the wisdom of truncating the levers of power into tiny toothpicks.

That is American Exceptionalism. In stead of the powerful directing the lives of everyone not powerful it trusts ordinary people to direct their own lives .

The entire Constitution is designed to limit the awful power of the state which has a monopoly on the use of force. The Constitution is designed to limit the sphere of action determined by force and expand the sphere of action directed by agreement. reason and individual judgement.

Conflict of Interest

Fiduciaries and people in official positions who exercise discretion are held to certain standards.

Such people are required to avoid conflicts of interest.  A conflict of interests is when their personal interests might influence the discharge of their duties. The conflict might be that they have a relationship with a party, or they had an experience that might color their view.  No one should accept his wife’s father as the judge in his divorce.  A detective should not investigate the murderer of his son in a subsequent criminal matter.

It is not an issue of examining their decisions for bias, it is a matter of not placing them in the position of having a bias.  So all this talk of the FBI officials who clearly expressed a bias against Trump not proved to be influenced by their bias is  a side issue.  They should not be on this case if they are biased.

It is also a non-issue to say that they are entitled to political opinions.  Of course they are, but some opinions are disqualifying for investigating a politician you despise. Assign them to investigate someone else, just as you would assign a judge to preside over a case without his daughter as a party.

Active versus Passive Media

In the early days, the Internet was an active medium.  The experience of exploring the world wide web was called “surfing the Internet”. The Internet was analogous to a huge  sea, with waves and currents and winds, but the user navigated among these forces directing his experience as his interests required.

When you opened your web browser you might be presented with a few things, “best of the web” or “top sites” but very shortly you were off on a voyage directed by you. With use over time you accumulated places you wanted to revisit and they referred you to other places of similar interest.

Contrast the passive media: Television, newspapers, radio. You could choose on a very large grandular level what station to watch or newspaper to read, but beyond that you turned over your experience to the producers of that content.

Early in the Internet powerful people realized how power was slipping from their hands by self directed media. There  were attempts to make the Internet experience similar to the passive media.  Microsoft put active desktop on every windows laptop. Active desktop would feed Internet items (selected by Microsoft) to your personal computer for you to passively enjoy. Cel phones had “feeds”of one sort or another built in, often not removable. Again you could consume media information that more powerful, richer people selected for you.  Neither met with much success.

However, Facebook and Twitter are fairly successful Since one obviously cannot curate from the firehouse of information put up each second on these platforms, the user sees only a minuscule portion of the communications sent out. That minuscule portion is decided by people more powerful and richer than you.

These new one way media became supremely popular. I do not know why but I could try some guesses. Still, they are new iterations of passive media and as such are instruments of control instead of liberating.


Why Were Women Kept Out of the Workforce?

Is should be obvious now that when women enter a mixed sex workforce as equals, men trade occupational favors for sex and women trade sex for occupational favors.

I suspect it was never men keeping all the good stuff, like commuting, danger of injuries, cubicles, office politics, etc for themselves. It was probably a common sense realization that every hot youngish thing would destroy the reason of powerful men. It would take a strong woman to refrain from turning to her most valuable interpersonal asset. It would take a strong man to refrain from favoring attractive women and keep business relationships strictly business before a comely face.

Perhaps women kept women out of the workforce. They realized having a husband they worked hard to get working next to a younger version of themselves was a bad idea. Add in that many of said husbands have the power to forward the career of an attractive young woman and you have straying men.

If men and women are motivated by sex and power, how would anyone expect to enforce a sexless and powerless workplace? Anyway both women and men want sex in the workplace.

I think it is significant that no high profile woman is accusing her production assistant, gofer, office boy, or driver of sexual impropriety. Obviously what the women are saying is that a man who could forward my career took liberties with me.  Men who cannot forward my career don’t do that or I can shut them down easily.

The One-Way Media Used to be the Ultimate Weapon

The One-Way Media used to be the ultimate weapon of social control. It was like the intro to The Outer Limits:

We will control the frame, we will control the narrative, we can change the focus to a new subject, or sharpen it to endless stories about a nothing burger. Sit quietly and we will control all you see and hear.

I had no idea how powerful they were.  Recent revelations show that they could protect anyone by simply ignoring the story. I think it is called “spiking the story.” Woman after woman tried to expose behavior they believed was criminal or near criminal, and people today seem to agree with that characterization, yet some gatekeeper of the One-Way Mass Media “spiked the story.”

The first indication of a change was Monica and Drudge. Apparently the mainstream media spiked the story of POTUS doing some questionable things with a White House intern some thirty years younger than he and in his employ. Then Drudge spread it all over the world wide web. The One-Way Media could do nothing to stop the story from reaching the attention of the public.

This trend has only grown since then. While the public really wasn’t doing Google searches for “exposed penis to me,” the progressives ginned up a war of sexual innuendo against Trump and Moore that brought attention to indiscretions to the forefront of the hive mind.

This time, the One-Way Media could not even shape the direction of the resulting narrative. If it involved a white male, public attention jumped on it. Then it was a black Congressman. Any sensational sex accusation has its day in the sun with no filter.

The public will tire of diddling stories about diddling. This will die down like stories of shark attacks on east coast beaches. Eventually they will not be reported because they will no longer get eyes.

Still, the old One-Way Media is not what it used to be. I wonder what it will be like to be no longer ruled by the gatekeepers of an old mass media technology? Who will step in their place?



Men are Pigs

This is the narrative growing out of the Hollywood Producer/Starlet stories: Men are pigs and use their workplace power to make innocent women put out to get anywhere.

That is true, many men use power to get sex.

No one would deny that attractive women sometimes also use sex and sex appeal to get ahead in the workplace. A major question to me is whether in fact the situation is consensual, or similar to extortion or similar to bribery.

If a producer can give a starring role in a movie, and lots of attractive women could fill the role in a satisfactory way, is it wrong for a sexual relationship to form between the producer and a starlet? It depends.

Extortion is the criminal offense of trying to obtain money, property or services through threat or other form of coercion. The threat need not be an illegal act, threatening to expose some embarrassing  fact about the victim would be sufficient.

Bribery is offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty.

Some things can never legally be sold. The determination of a judge or police officer, human organs, sexual favors. Still, everyone in America agrees that a woman can give sex for any reason or no reason at all. It can’t be for $15 in the front seat of a car, but a woman who accepts a diamond and decides that she likes her suitor would never be accused of a crime. Neither would her suitor, as long as no force was involved. Offering gifts, praise and attention are not even metaphorical use of force. In that case it is a consensual union.

I don’t see how you could make the case that sexual relations between a starlet and a powerful producer with a part to offer is like extortion. A starlet may want the part, but it is not force to deny or offer it.

In a way  the producer has a legal duty to his backers to choose the starlet with the best chance of creating a hit. In that case if the starlet offers sex for the part, it is most like a bribe. Both parties are wrong in a bribery situation. Clearly the person initiating the bribe is the greater wrongdoer, but it might well be the starlet offering a bribe as a producer soliciting one. It depends on the facts.

I don’t think you should hit on people who you have workplace power over. If we outlawed that, however, women would be the most outraged. Students could not date and marry their famous professors, surgeons would be totally off limits to nurses, waitresses could never date the chef or restaurant owner. Women love to marry higher status men with power in the workplace and defend their prerogative to do so.

I’m not defending Harvey, the stories are of non-consensual behavior.  But I certainly am not equipped to judge the facts in the accusations, maybe ten or more years old, against men for pig like behavior. Did the woman flash her thong in a job interview? (We all know that a woman should be able to flash her thong at a man without him getting the idea he can try to turn the relationship sexual.)

I think this is a witch hunt and it totally ignores the agency of women. If you mix men and women in the workplace with large rewards available, you can expect some attractive women to use their sexual power over men to forward their aims. That may be flirting, promises of future relations or outright sex. Our culture accepts that that is perfectly fine for the woman. But if the man gives in to the offer, he is a pig.

For a somewhat concurring view see JudgyBitch.

Virtually 100% of women, at some point in their lives, capitalize on their looks and appeal. From the barista at Starbucks to the cop in her just-a-little-too-tight uniform, women have always known, and understood how to use, their physical appeal to men.


Should NFL Players Express Political Views During the Game?

Suppose there were an anti-abortion NFL player. For him, abortion is killing innocents. So each time a touchdown is scored, he unfurls a sign that reads “Abortion is Murder!”

Is that OK?

The Dallas Cheerleaders display a sign during the national anthem , “Women earn 70% of what men earn in equivalent jobs!”

Is that OK?

Trump supporting players and Trump opposed players put on baseball caps expressing their particular political views while seated on the bench.