Five not thought through theories on why people are flocking to Trump, Clinton, Moore, etc, and movements based on hashtags
- It is a natural reaction to either tribal identities getting more fun in the age of the internet/social media (we’re all performance artists now). The tribal identity is improving relative to the American identity
- The American identity is getting worse in the age of the internet, i.e. we’re closer to the bad parts, and we’re farther away from the good parts. The “cost” of being American first (in Hoffer’s use of the term, and sort of my grandfather’s) has increased
- The notion of an “American” identity has hidden requirements, namely dispersed income growth that are no longer there
- The notion of an “American” identity was a historical quirk caused by the world wars that is slowly washing away, leaving us with our regional differences
- Identity politics is easy, and we’re just way lazier and sedentary than before. Ideology requires work.
Just some thoughts after reading this essay by Kevin Williamson, specifically
The Republican party took the lead in seeing off both American slavery and worldwide Communism under the leadership of men including Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan. The most today’s Republican party can say for itself is: “You can’t prove our guy was a serial molester of adolescent girls! That’s up to the people of Alabama to decide.”
He passed away while working at home at the age of 82, which I’m sure is the way he would have wanted it.
I saw him speak and started reading his books in my junior year of college. Now that I think about it, he gave a 90 minute speech with style, no notes and no missteps.
I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts about it later, but for now, Rest in Peace.
I got this from Megan McArdle, it’s the Civic Literacy Quiz!
I scored 57 out of 60 correctly — 95.00 %!
How about y’all?
The New York Times wins the saggy pants headline contest with “The Boxer Rebellion“. It’s about the current mini-craze to outlaw thug-style fashion in some cities. I have no idea why we would want to outlaw this fashion statement. How you dress says a lot about a person, and in this case it says “I’m a ridiculous person who’s wasting my time, and I’ll probably waste yours”. Isn’t it better to know that in the two seconds it takes to see a person instead of the five minutes it might take talking to him?
We should be encouraging this sort of behavior instead of outlawing it. This is America, and time is valuable.
The most controversial Attourney General in years resigns and the main headline everywhere is an athlete’s admission of guilt. WTF?
From his post on America and Life Expectancy
The United States counts all births as live if they show any sign of life, regardless of prematurity or size. This includes what many other countries report as stillbirths. In Austria and Germany, fetal weight must be at least 500 grams (1 pound) to count as a live birth; in other parts of Europe, such as Switzerland, the fetus must be at least 30 centimeters (12 inches) long. In Belgium and France, births at less than 26 weeks of pregnancy are registered as lifeless. And some countries don’t reliably register babies who die within the first 24 hours of birth. Thus, the United States is sure to report higher infant mortality rates.
The other factor here is that thanks to our access to medical technology, we’re more likely to try to save premature deliveries that in other countries would result in stillbirths or miscarriages. So every time an infant dies in the U.S. that would never have been born alive (or counted as born alive) in other countries, it registers as a life that died at the age of “zero.” That’s a pretty significant downward-tug on the national life expectancy.
I’d actually like to see where we rank in average life expectancy from, say, the age of 30 or 35 onward. I couldn’t find any such data, but it seems to me that would factor out much of the homicide problem, would negate the problems with how we measure infant mortality, and would probably result in a better showing for the U.S.
All quite true.
It meanders a bit, but Fareed Zakaria makes a good case for optimism in this Newsweek article. One bit that caught my eye was
To recover its place in the world, America first needs to recover its confidence. For those who look at the future and see challenges, competition and threats, keep in mind that this new world has been forming over the last 20 years, and the United States has forged ahead amid all the turmoil. In 1980, the U.S. share of global GDP was 20 percent. Today it is 29 percent.
It’s a staggering thought. 20% is a huge chunk relative to population, and for that to increase is massive. It’s an interesting tidbit.
We should be more confident; America has never been strong because of political leadership, but the average person here has room to excel. 15 million illegal immigrants can’t be wrong!