My Nutty Commenters!

You guys are a bunch of kooks! I missed this at the time it was posted, but Lord gleefully parodies a "progressive" take on the Christian-baker case: the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, when they politely declined to bake a cake for a lesbian couple, were "forcing" the couple to "obey" the bakers' religion. But when the lesbian couple used the power of government to impose a $135,000 fine on the bakers, rather than walk down the street to another baker who would have happily taken their business... well, no one was being forced to do anything, no sir!

Good one, Lord!

The Unintended Consequence of Elite GOPers Fleeing to Hillary Clinton

They are, without meaning to, ripping the mask off of our one-party state, run by the military-industrial-legal-financial complex (henceforth MILF).

The MILFs are quite happy to have "two" parties fighting fiercely over abortion, and who gets to go in which bathroom, and legalized pot... because they don't care about these issues one little bit. So long as both candidates are on their side on MILF issues... they win every election.

This realization was starkly thrust upon me in 2004, when 50% of the American people wanted us out of Iraq... and we got two candidates committed to keeping us in Iraq! How could this be? In a two-party system, with an electorate divided 50-50 on a crucial issue, how could we not get one candidate taking each side? Well, because there aren't two parties. There are the two masks of the MILF party, "fighting" furiously over non-MILF issues, to keep the voters distracted, while in almost complete agreement over MILF issues. (Disputes such as: "Should we actually invade Iraq, or just keep bombing it forever?" are allowed.)

And in 2004, when someone threatened to capture one wing of the MILF party who was not a MILF, namely Howard Dean, he was immediately cast as a lunatic by the mainstream (meaning MILF supported) press.

It was probably the case that the only way someone could break the MILF grip on the "two" parties was for that person to be an egomaniac completely impervious to all of the smears he would face from the MILFs if he looked like a threat, in fact, someone who would cackle maniacally at the smearers and give them the finger. Oh well.

And now that the candidate has captured the nomination of one party, the flight of the GOP elite is unintentionally revealing the truth: all their over-blown talk of how "disastrous" and "evil" people like Clinton are was a mise-en-scène meant to camouflage our one-party state. The people they pretended to demonize yesterday they will gladly support today, given the prospect of a non-MILF getting elected.

Scullies Everywhere!

Remember how on the X-Files Scully never seemed to learn from the huge string of "impossible" events that had come before the current episode that perhaps she should stop calling these things "impossible"?

I find it amusing how many of the people who today are saying it is "impossible" that Trump will beat Clinton were once saying it was impossible he would make it past the first debate, then that it was impossible that he would win a primary, then that it was impossible that he would rise above 30% support, then that it was impossible that he would win once the field narrowed, then that it was impossible for him to clinch the nomination before the convention...

Trump's Running Mate Will Be...

Oprah Winfrey. Or the closest he can get to Oprah.

Think about it: every personal fear voters have about Trump will be assuaged by having her (or someone like her) on the ticket:

Too volatile? He'll have Oprah there to calm and counsel him.

Racist? How could he be, if Oprah is running with him?

Anti-woman? See previous answer.

Remember, Trump has approached the whole campaign like a reality TV show. He's not going to ask, "Who would be most qualified if I die?" (not that conventional candidates do, but they pretend to) but "Who can I be paired with that will give me the biggest boost in ratings?"

Yogurt Distributism

At Chobani.

Why Christians Should Not Be Heterosexuals

Explained here.

(By the way, I think the main factual contention of the essay, that "heterosexuality" and "homosexuality" are not natural categories, but inventions of the 19th-century, is pretty well established, and often by "queer theorists," and not just traditionalists.)

Reacting to Reaction

Ross Douthat has an interesting essay out on the reactionary mind. Worth reading, but I have an objection: the term "reactionary" is mostly made up Marxist nonsense, dependent upon the artificial scheme Marx imposed upon history. Communism was the inevitable future of society, and the only people who would resist that bright dawn would be morally deficient "reactionaries."

The term might have a genuine use for someone who really does just want to "turn the clock back," and recreate some earlier time. But such people are few, and to them we can only quote the great philosopher Steve Miller: "Time keeps on slipping, slipping, into the future."

But otherwise the use of "reactionary" is like that of "fascist": "Yuck, I don't like you!" Most people, in fact, think we have taken wrong turns here and there, and would like to reverse those courses. Those on the left often want to return to the stronger labor unions of the 1950s, or the greater concern for social justice seen in the 1960s: are they "reactionaries" for wanting to "turn back the clock" in these regards? Of course not: "reactionary" is something progressives get to call others.

When You Trying to Sound Smart

but you ain't, you get yourself in some trouble.

When I saw that one Rob Sheffield wrote an article called "'Blurred Lines': The Worst Song of This or Any Other Year" I clicked on the link, thinking I would like the piece, since I don't like the song. (Yes, I know that's a parody.)

Instead, I found an article I like even less than the song. Robin Thicke is crass and crude and commercial... but at least he doesn't pretend to be something else. Sheffield, however, is going to show off how much smarter he is than the pop stars about whom he writes... by saying things like:

"Also, in terms of geometry, it's impossible for lines to be blurred because lines are straight by definition. If they get blurred, they're not lines anymore. Then they're 'squiggles' or 'blotches' or something. This is just math, Robin Thicke!"

There are so many things wrong with this paragraph that it actually represents an amazing compaction of wrongness. First of all, Thicke is not writing a treatise on geometry. Secondly... no! Even in geometry, lines are not "straight by definition": "The [straight or curved] line is the first species of quantity, which has only one dimension, namely length, without any width nor depth, and is nothing else than the flow or run of the point which […] will leave from its imaginary moving some vestige in length, exempt of any width. […] The straight line is that which is equally extended between its points." Thirdly, "blurred" is not the opposite of "straight." And if you want to say that, "in terms of geometry" lines can't be blurred... well, "in terms of geometry," you actually can't see lines at all, since they have no width or depth! In other words, if we are going to talk about lines in the real world, blurred or not, metaphorical or not, we shouldn't expect them to have the properties of geometrical lines. And fourthly, "blurring the lines" is a trope that I heard as a little kid: if Sheffield wants to attack the trope, it is hardly fair to blame Thicke for it.

A little later, Sheffield writes, trying to mock a Vanessa Williams song: "'Sometimes the very thing you're looking for / Is the one thing you can't see' – what does that even mean? Why would you be looking for it if you could see it?"

Well, Rob, I think it means that "the thing" is not hidden, it is right out in the open, but the seeker keeps overlooking it. But really, you don't have to be a genius to figure that out: you just have to not be trying so hard to be smart that you lack all common sense.

Russell Kirk on Government

"Governments are the offspring of religion and morals and philosophy and social experience; governments are not the source of civilization, nor the manufacturers of happiness. As Christianity embraces no especial scheme of politics, so various forms of government are best—under certain circumstances, in certain times and certain nations. And, far from being right to revolt against small imperfections in government, a people are fortunate if their political order maintains a tolerable degree of freedom and justice for the different interests in society. We are not made for perfect things, and if ever we found ourselves under the domination of the perfect government, we would make mincemeat of it, from pure boredom."

Read more here.

"It was a different world then"

On a 2013 episode of Criminal Minds, they dug up a time capsule from 25 years ago and found a severed head in it. How could it have gotten in there? Wasn't the capsule guarded? The sheriff explained, "It was a different world then: no one even locked their doors!"

So this different time, when no one worried about crime, was... 1988! In the middle of the crack years, when crime rates were sky high compared to today!

Children as consumer goods

You can't profit from something everybody knows about!

It is really something how often I see articles proffering "financial advice" that "reveal" some well known fact as a source of "profit." For instance, I recently saw an article (I'm not going to go hunt for it: you can easily find one like it yourself) saying that houses are a good investment "because of the mortgage interest tax deduction."

But the mortgage interest tax deduction has existed for many years, and is hardly a secret. Thus, whatever benefit it creates is already fully accounted for in the price of real estate, so that, on average, real estate will just return the ordinary return on capital invested: real estate costs more than it would have without that deduction, and just enough more to bring its return on investment into line with all other assets. (And I'm not here claiming that markets are always and everywhere in equilibrium: but I do think markets work well enough that no disequilibrium is going to last for decades!)

Let's say that when the ability to deduct mortgage interest payments became law it had been a complete surprise to all real estate buyers and sellers. What we would have seen would be a sudden, one time jump in the price of real estate. If the deduction, on average, made a home worth 10% more than it had been worth, the day the law passed home prices would rise by 10%. And that's that: there is no further profit to be squeezed out of this arrangement.

In order to make a genuine profit, and not merely the average return on capital, you have to see something others have missed, not see something everyone else has seen for years. You could have made a profit if you were the first to correctly guess that a mortgage interest tax deduction would become law; once it is a widely known public law, it is not a source of profit.