Monday, May 11, 2015

Capitalism's Creative Juice, the Threat of Failure

Over the last few years I have added a new name to my list of favorite opinion writers, Kevin Williamson of National Review. An article he published today is, in my opinion, a must read. He is an unabashed supporter of Capitalism and seems to me to understand its workings with more clarity than most.

"One of the rarely appreciated aspects of the capitalist model of innovation is that the wealthy subsidize the development of products for everybody else: The mobile phone is a case study in that process, as is the electric car, as indeed were ordinary cars. The firm that developed the first automotive air-conditioning and power windows was a high-end marque that despite its landmark innovations is no longer with us: Packard. The Bonfire of the Vanities–era financiers who carried the first mobile phones paid for much of the research and development that made them ordinary products for non-gazillionaires. My own financial means at the moment do not, alas, afford the purchase of the new plug-in hybrid from Porsche — which is a million-dollar supercar — but the technologies developed for the 918 Spyder will make their way through the marketplace the same way that the automatic transmission (Oldsmobile, 1940), the supercharger (Mercedes, 1921), and the independent suspension (Mercedes, 1933) went from being expensive options on cars for the rich to being standard equipment on your Hyundai."

This, to me, is an excellent insight and might be valuable knowledge for the Occupied crowd to have as they talk to each other on their cell phones castigating the evil rich. But for the evil rich they would have no cell phones or much else for that matter. Anyone remember the Lhada? No? That is because it no longer exists. It was a car built in the USSR. My sister bought one back in the 70's. Predictably the worst car ever manufactured. There is a good reason for its failure and Williamson explains it below.

Williamson's piece is actually a response to a comment made by the US Government's Chief Technology Officer. She said,

“Why can’t the federal government have websites and digital services that are awesome?”

He proceeds to answer her question. In his penultimate paragraph he explains:

"Non-performing federal agencies do not go bankrupt, federal bureaucracies do not see their shares tank when they do poorly, and government entities do not have their assets acquired by more effective competitors. Political bureaucracies are creatures doing violence to the evolutionary equilibrium — dinosaurs running amok in modern technological civilization, and Jurassic Park taught us how that turns out."

Read more at:
Read the whole thing if you have the time and the interest.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Lies, Always

The gender wage gap has been getting a lot of press recently. Of course, as we all know if we give it a moment's thought, there is no such thing. Would any of you tolerate, absent seniority implications, doing the same job, with the same skills, dedication and outcome for less money than the person sitting beside you doing the same job? No you wouldn't. Do you know anyone who would? It has been the law in this country since 1965 that wage discrimination by gender is unlawful.

The famous "Women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men" is true. It is also entirely meaningless. That statistic is arrived at by adding up all wages earned by women and dividing that number by the number of women in the work force, doing the same for men and comparing the results. Given the career choices that women and men make for various reasons the outcome is entirely predictable. Teachers and Librarians are deemed to be less valuable to our economies than Doctors and Lawyers. They just are. I doubt it surprises anyone that Doctors earn more than Teachers.

The Left is heavily invested in their "War on Women" trope and so they cannot let this go. And so they do what they always do...Lie.

This reminds me of a recent Michelle Obama story. When asked during an interview with People Magazine last winter whether  she had experienced racism personally she answered in the affirmative and related the story of having gone to Target "in disguise" and being asked by another customer to reach something on a shelf for her. Implicit in her telling is that the customer just assumed she was a lowly Target worker because Michelle is black. It was a terrible experience.

The following is copied from the linked story. This is how she told the story somewhat earlier during a Letterman appearance.

“That’s my Target run. I went to Target,” she said. “I thought I was undercover. I have to tell you something about this trip though. No one knew that was me because a woman actually walked up to me, right? I was in the detergent aisle, and she said — I kid you not — she said, ‘Excuse me, I just have to ask you something,’ and I thought, ‘Oh, cover’s blown.’ She said, ‘Can you reach on that shelf and hand me the detergent?’  I kid you not.”
As the audience laughed, she went on, “And the only thing she said — I reached up, ’cause she was short, and I reached up, pulled it down — she said, ‘Well, you didn’t have to make it look so easy.’ That was my interaction. I felt so good. … She had no idea who I was. I thought, as soon as she walked up — I was with my assistant, and I said, ‘This is it, it’s over. We’re going to have to leave.’ She just needed the detergent.”

So, a short person (color of skin not noted) asked a tall person  to get something off a high shelf for her.  Just a normal human interaction. No racism, no nothing. Michelle just "felt so good".

Disgraceful liars, all of them all of the time. There is an element of very good news here. A 50 year old black woman cannot point to a single act of racism in her life. That is real progress. We should be congratulating each other on our accomplishment. So congratulations. You will not hear that from these black libs because many of them would be out of business if they confessed to their lies.

They Never Take Ingenuity into Account

There have always been Malthusians among us, even before there was a Malthus.

These are people who look at the present and extrapolate it to the future without considering that historically humans have shown that we learn as we go along. An essential part of being human is being creative and adaptive.

Despite the evidence of the last 200 years of technological breakthrough after breakthrough the same people continue to predict man-made disaster from over population and over industrialization without a moments regard for our innovative history.

At the link you will find an excellent exposition of the complete failure of  the Malthusians predictions since 1970. All the predictions were reasonable if you choose to think of the human race as one that never learns anything.


Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Good Faith

Quoting from Black's Law Dictionary:

"The phrase 'good faith' is used in a variety of contexts, and its meaning varies somewhat with the context. Good faith performance ....excludes a variety of types of conduct characterized as involving "bad faith" because they violate community standards of decency, fairness or reasonableness..."

Good faith is a basic requirement for civil discourse. Without it there is no point in discussing anything. If your opponent in a debate is constantly lying about his position, or having changed his position fails to note that change and/or claims he has not changed positions at all it is impossible to reach any meaningful conclusion, other than that your opponent is acting in bad faith.

At the link
is an excellent example of how and why liberals operate in bad faith. Always.

In a three month period of time Matthews' opinion changes 180 degrees. The only apparent  reason for the change is that the actor being described has changed from a left wing publication to a right wing activist.

Matthews does not bother to tell us; 1) What his original opinion was; 2) Why he changed his mind; nor 3) Which of his two diametrically opposed positions is his real opinion.

This is standard procedure on the left. See my earlier post regarding the 2013 SOTUS.

One of my favorite examples of this tactic is courtesy of the NY Times. When republicans controlled the Senate in the mid-1990's NYT editorialized that the Senate filibuster rules were the cornerstone of American political freedom. 10 years later, with republicans now in the minority and making things difficult for the democrat majority the NYT editorialized that the filibuster was an anti-democratic construct that threatened the very cornerstones of American political freedom. No reference made to the earlier editorial on exactly the same subject  and no explanation for their change of heart. Bad faith actors all. ( is a story about a third incarnation of their thinking based on their 2005 position and their 2013 position)

It must be so when your only principle is the quest for power and your determination to make sure your opponents are kept from it.

Chris Matthews was a speech writer for Jimmy Carter during the latter's Presidency.