Happy new year! Several topics have cropped up of late, not demanding a full-form entry, so I’ll resurrect an old category for a 2023 kickoff encore. As usual, topics are highlighted, so you can skip what doesn’t interest you.
Scattershooting while wondering why so many otherwise intelligent ignoranti fall for obvious, textbook conformist cult tactics employed by purveyors of the secular “social justice” ideology…
AMAZING DALLAS FIREWORKS SHOW on NEW YEAR’S NIGHT: Several times, when not setting them off myself, I’d go up Reunion Tower to watch Trinity River fireworks shows and assorted pyros doing their thing around town on July 4 & New Year’s. Now they’re launched from the tower, with lighted drones in formation as accompaniment. Spectacular! I ought to go see and shoot this sometime.
‘TWITTER FILES” REPERCUSSIONS and SO-CALLED PANDEMIC “MISINFORMATION”: Over the past couple months, several independent journalists, with the full cooperation of current Twitter owner Elon Musk, have exposed a hardline left-wing censorship agenda of Twitter users and linked content, by the corporation, in collusion with high-level government bureaucracy (mainly but not entirely FBI). This includes labeling pandemic content, by licensed medical doctors and scientists, as “misinformation”. This also includes information from peer-reviewed studies that was flagged or relegated to sight unseen. Yesterday’s ”conspiracy theories” sometimes do become today’s news. They affirm comments I made to some folks many months ago about non-expert bots and poorly educated basement dwellers—censoring posts from real-life scientists and physicians in fields such as immunology, epidemiology, virology, and general medical practice. Some low-wage tech contractor in the Philippines, nor high-level company executives without medical degrees, have no business censoring degreed, licensed physicians on medical topics! Yet these were the tactics social media employed to limit what you were being told about a crisis situation to Big Brother’s official Party line—even when the line clearly was flawed then or turned very wrong later. Thank God for watchdogs, gadflies and leakers — even if it’s the new owner dishing it out on prior management at great cost to himself.
MATURITY, SELF-RESTRAINT AND DISCIPLINE ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Speaking of Twitter, a libertarian I follow there, Curtis Scoon, posted these wise words: “I don’t want to be the person on social media who has something controversial to say about every headline just for attention. It’s definitely close to being an ambulance chasing personal injury attorney.” (My words now) …or virtue signaling to either spectral extreme. I have huge respect for such self-discipline & maturity. I aim the same. Not every topic needs instant opinion from every person. I’ve expressed my extended thoughts on this before, in this space, with, “Silence is Not Complicity nor Agreement.” I’ll comment on the issues of my choosing, at the time and place of my choice (and nobody else’s). The context was “hot takes” on the Tyre Nichols incident in Memphis. There’s more to it, but next is what I’ll say for now, in this medium of my choice:
DISTILLING the TYRE NICHOLS KILLING to the SIMPLE PLAIN TRUTH: Often, videos like the Tyre Nichols police-brutality footage from Memphis (which I won’t post here) miss crucial “before” context. In this specific case, I don’t think such context matters. I’m having a hard time imagining what “context” would justify treating any handcuffed man with such relentless, 5-on-1 savagery — basically 5 strong dudes tossing the guy back and forth between each other like a medicine ball and taking turns slugging him full force. No excuse for that, whatsoever. Even if he had violently resisted before being restrained (and that info wasn’t available from the video I saw)…once handcuffed, that’s that. His wrists are locked together with steel, behind his back, and he can’t use his arms. That was basically a gang-beating of a helpless man, in this case the gang being cops. These now ex-cops have been charged with murder and official abuse. The justice system is working as it should here. Unfortunately, this incident is being spun every which way and twisted like taffy by people with bigger social agendas. What it is, plain and simple, is homicide, and any and all who commit homicide (including cops on duty, regardless of how they look) must be held responsible.
COMMON GOTCHA AGAINST ECONOMIC LIBERTARIANISM ISN’T a GOTCHA AFTER ALL: I had to laugh recently at a stupid meme some airheaded male celebrity sent out, thinking it was a “gotcha”. The meme implied libertarians are hypocrites because Ayn Rand accepted her Social Security checks. Clearly this wasn’t the product of a critical thinker, or much of a thinker at all. You see, those checks were her money anyway, extorted from her for years before in taxes. So she had no reason (and neither do you) to feel at all guilty about getting some of it back. Too bad she, and you, couldn’t have just kept it in the first place, instead of being forced to process it through a massive, inefficient, distant, detached bureaucracy that skims so much off. And I’m still waiting in futility for anyone, anywhere, to show me where personal entitlement spending of any sort is an enumerated Federal power in the literal, black-and-white words of our Constitution.
DO YOU HAVE STUDENT LOANS? PAY THEM. This entry is brought to you by tough love from a fellow (former) debt holder. And not just any ex-student, but one from poverty: first-generation college graduate here, raised inner-city poor in Dallas with no air conditioning, who remembers with razor-sharp clarity the sounds of wailing sirens and the feel of roaches crawling up sweaty legs many summer nights. There’s not a college student anywhere in this land who has a thing new to say to me about being “economically disadvantaged”. I arrived at university with assets valued in two digits, not counting a beater car that was worth maybe $200, no parental aid whatsoever, and scholarships for which I had busted my tail, but were still woefully insufficient. I left grad school with even less: $16 to my name, and five figures in student loans. Inflation-adjusted, they match magnitudes from many sob stories I hear today. I paid off every last one in under 10 years by working rotating shifts, in a real career, for which my major of choice was chosen specifically to prepare me, using something called foresight and something else called sacrifice. Hint: my major wasn’t “gender studies” or similar useless bullshit. Unless one was targeted by illegally predatory lending, which I do oppose, I have a very hard time feeling sorry for anyone who demands that government (in other words, all of us but not him or her self) pay off debts he/she voluntarily chose to accrue. There’s a word for that, and it’s “freeloading”. My message, therefore, is clear: Yes, it is a loan. Pay it back. I’ve been there. I did, and I’m nothing special. So can you. Make better choices.
THE FED, BRETTON WOODS, GOLD STANDARD, and the RISE of CHINA: Finally, here’s a provocative, yet deeply historically informed, long-form essay by the aforementioned Curtis Scoon on how the Federal Reserve came to be, and its relationship with both American decline and the rise of Red Commie China as an economic and military power. I don’t necessarily buy into every detail he posits, but there’s a lot of basic truth here. This is well worth 15 minutes of time to read carefully and consider critically.