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Germany experienced its first Islamist attack on
Wednesday when a man by the name of Arid U. (Germany withholds the last names
of suspects in ongoing investigations) opened fire at the Frankfurt airport,
killing two U.S. military personnel and injuring two others. The circumstances
of the attack are grimly prosaic: a young man with Muslim background (Kosovar
in this case) finds solace among extremists and violently rejects his Western
surroundings, cloaking his rage in political-theological language. Arid claimed
that in shooting the U.S. troops he was seeking "revenge" for the West’s war in
Afghanistan.

But if this type of terror attack seems familiar by
now to Americans, it’s still worth looking twice at the German government’s
reaction to it. According to a report in Der
Spiegel
[in German], German officials offered, in the immediate aftermath of the
attack, a remarkably level-headed, if fatalistic, assessment of the case:

The German Federal Crime Office in Karlsruhe acknowledged
astonishingly openly how little the department, despite changes in law and
increases in personnel, can do about criminals like Arid U. "Such crimes can
not be prevented," the director of department Sven Kurenback said.

It’s important to note that this wasn’t considered a "gaffe", by either the
German media, nor the political opposition. The German public, and their
public officials, apparently prefer to be spared the circus of blaring media
tropes that the United States is now practiced at rolling out on these occasions. There was no witch-hunt in Berlin for officials
who should have seen this attack coming, no threatening military or rhetorical
gestures toward foreign groups who may welcome this kind of murder, no
interpretations of whether and which religious texts justify violence, no
hand-wringing about the pernicious effects of social alienation.

Just the refreshingly frank admission from investigators
that they weren’t lucky enough to prevent the attack. And the bracingly tacit
acknowledgement that it may well happen again.

FP Passport

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Here come the Jihad Watch readers

Greetings, zombies! Terry Glavin writes so elegantly and compellingly, it is seems almost a shame to disagree with him. Unfortunately, expressing something beautifully does not make it so.

“Middle East myths drop like dominos,” by Terry Glavin in the National Post, February 28 (thanks to Gilles):

[...] Along with the now lifeless Edward Said there are also the undead. Consider Robert Spencer, whose biography reads a little like Edward Said’s, in its way. Like Said was, Spencer is a scholar, a widely published author, and an American of Middle Eastern Christian extraction with legions of fans. Like Said, Spencer is widely regarded in his circles, as was Edward Said in his own, as an authority on the imaginary frontiers that cleave the world between “west” and “east.” The Czar Gaddafi insists that the Libyan protests are the result of Al Qaida putting hallucinogens in everybody’s Nescafe. Not to be outdone:

They may be pro-democracy insofar as they want the will of the people to be heard, but given their worldview, their frame of reference, and their core assumptions about the world, if that popular will is heard, it will likely result in huge victories for the Muslim Brotherhood and similar pro-Sharia groups.
- Robert Spencer, on Libya’s revolutionary democrats, 2011.

In light of everything we are witnessing from Casablanca to Isfahan, the miserable and allegedly “progressive” viewpoint taken by Edward Said’s followers is matched by and coupled with Spencer’s lurid “conservative” cynicism in a symbiotic death grip, each parasitic upon the other, both offering nothing but the ravings of demented Americans. Everything is being swept away – it is 1989, it is 1917, it is 1848, as you like. As it is with Edward Said’s followers, Spencer’s fan base now betrays itself as an assortment of specimens from the Upper Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era. They are yesterday’s men. They are zombies.

It is not just to the price of oil that the rebellions are proving so terribly inconvenient. All the evidence, from Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Egypt and Iran, shows that democracy, freedom, work, wages and a “normal” life are exactly what the people are demanding. The people are not clamouring for the immolation of the Jews anymore than they are hollering for the appointment of Norman Finkelstein as the defence minister.

They aren’t? Really? Demonstrators interviewed in Egypt during the uprising against Mubarak said that they hated him because “he is supporting Israel. Israel is our enemy…If people are free in Egypt…they gonna destroy Israel.” Video here. Also, attackers in Tahrir Square shouted “Jew! Jew!” during their brutal sexual assault of “60 Minutes” reporter Lara Logan. These open-minded secular democratic protesters also drew Stars of David on photos of Mubarak, thereby demonstrating their considered rejection of Islamic antisemitism.

In Egypt, the April 6 Movement that started it all is root and branch a movement of trade unionists, secularists, and young intellectuals, all committed democrats. The Muslim Brotherhood was completely marginalized by it. The Ikhwan failed utterly in its attempts to hijack the uprising and now the aging Brethren sit in their solitary chairs with the rest of the Egyptian establishment, studying ways to mollify the revolt.

And yet Sheikh Qaradawi, godfather of the “marginalized” Brotherhood, recently made a triumphant appearance in Tahrir Square to a massive crowd, while secular liberal Wael Ghonim was barred from the stage. So which group is really marginalized?

In Libya, the February 17 movement has been consistent in its intentions for a secular democracy. The Libyans who have been pleading for our help have heard only cynical incoherence and self-gratifying expressions of outrage, but even so, even the Libyan imams have pleaded for the February 17 demands and continue to assert their faithfulness to the same secular cause.

Yeah, they “continue to assert their faithfulness to the same secular cause” in between drawing Stars of David on images of Gaddafi, chanting “no god but Allah,” and establishing an Islamic Emirate.

In Tunisia last week, 15,000 demonstrators gathered to condemn the Islamists who mobbed a synagogue and murdered a Polish Catholic priest in an obscene attempt to hijack the Tunisian uprising. The pro-democracy banners in Tunis read: “Nous sommes tous Musalmans, nous sommes tous Chretiens, nous sommes tous Juifs.” On it goes like this, in Morocco, across Iran, and in little Bahrain….

And yet also in Tunisia, demonstrators swarmed outside a synagogue, chanting a genocidal Islamic battle cry, and jihadists recently murdered a Catholic priest. Evidently not quite tous are Chretiens or Juifs.

Look, I would love to be proven wrong here, and Terry Glavin proved correct. I’d love to see genuine secular democracy blossom all over the Middle East. But Glavin cannot, unfortunately, point to any organized secular democratic movements of any significance in any of the countries in question, while in all of them, Islamic supremacist pro-Sharia groups are sizable, organized, and energetic.

I can’t see how this will end well, but maybe I will be pleasantly surprised, and retire back to my undead coffin in peace.

Kaffir Kanuck weighs in on this here.

Jihad Watch

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Boston Globe
TV money gives NFL owners the upper hand
San Francisco Examiner
Key point: Having TV money to cover operating costs during a lockout gives NFL owners a big leg up in labor talks. (AP file photo) Television networks and, by extension, viewers who have cable systems with NFL games, are backing the owners in the
Week of Uncertainty and Import ../../tag/upper/for_NFL_Negotiations_/a__font_size_.css"-1" color="#6f6f6f">New York Times

Report: NFL Owners Have Enough Money to Withstand Two-Year LockoutNESN.com
Rich Campbell: NFL work stoppage could be prolonged eventTCPalm
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ABC’s Tahman Bradley, Jon Garcia and Sunlen Miller report: President Obama told a crowd gathered at the University of Northern Michigan that his administration is monitoring the speculation that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak may leave office at any moment and…



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Political Punch

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Look at the face above. It’s of 13 year old Nadin Khoury who you’d think — or hope — would be a young teen who despite the economy or any other issues swirling around would be happy about the possibilities for the future. In fact, according to the Philadelphia Daily News, he has thought about the future: he wants to be a Marine. Instead, he was brutally bullied by what police call a “wolf pack” of bullies…a wolf pack perhaps a few IQ points less bright than a wolf. Since they videotaped the assault.

Good for Khoury.

Good for justice.

Good for sending as message to adults and educators about why there must be zero tolerance of bullying. Good to send a message to teens that there are consquences.

But bad for the bullying pack since they will face some extremely stiff legal consquences. Here are some details from the Daily News (this is their photo as well on this post):

THE CELL-PHONE video confiscated by Upper Darby police lasts only seven minutes, but to 13-year-old Nadin Khoury, it was the longest seven minutes of his life.

In a Jan. 11 bullying incident that led to six arrests yesterday, teenage boys can be seen dragging Nadin across the snow-covered ground like a deer carcass, then jamming him upside down into a tree.

His screams for mercy only emboldened the seven students of Upper Darby High School’s Opportunity Center, or “thugs,” as Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood called them yesterday as they were being processed on kidnapping and assault charges.

“Seven on one,” Chitwood said yesterday. “That’s a wolf pack.”

The student holding the camera phone laughs maniacally as Nadin falls from the tree and attempts to escape by running through the Park Lane East apartment complex. They chase him down - then use his coat to hang his limp body on a 7-foot-high spiked fence post.

“The back of his head could have went into that spear-like top of the fence,” Chitwood said. “He could have been impaled.”

Outraged by the incident, Upper Darby police brass responded yesterday morning by sending officers to the Opportunity Center to arrest six of the alleged perpetrators, ages 13 to 17. They were hauled out in handcuffs and put in a police wagon. Police are searching for a seventh person they believe was involved.

Here’s the Today Show’s report on the incident which contains part of the video:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Another TV report:
Click here to view the embedded video.
And another one also featuring parts of the bullies’ video. Note that this is an earlier one where the victim’s identity is kept secret. (I suspect this case will end with criminal and civil consquences for the accused bully pack).
Click here to view the embedded video.

BACKGROUND NOTE: Bullying is a huge problem in schools and most educators realize it. Many elementary, middle and junior high schools pay for entertainer/educators to come in and do assemblies with anti-bullying teams (I’ve done some myself), have student mediator mechanisms in place or hammer it into students that a)if they are bulllied they must tell someone (tell an adult, tell a teacher, tell a parent or another kid but tell someone) b)schools do not tolerate bullying and the older you get the greater the consequences are (teasing can become harassment and bullying can become assault), c)cyberspace bullying can be as bad as physical bullying, d)if they watch bullying and don’t try to stop it or report it they are part of the problem. With older kids, schools sometimes specifically ask a presenter to mention that some students who are bullied don’t want to live or become violent towards a school. It is now widely recognized that school bullying is not just the problem of the kid being bullied. The consequences can erupt later on many fronts…ending in “collateral damage.”

In this case, the group of bullies — people can be bolder in groups of mobs — have their session recorded for posterity (and the legal system). The schools and courts will see and use this as a textbook case they can point to which means the students involved — if convicted — will rue the day they thought it would be amusing to pick on a smaller student, physically abuse him and threaten him.

If you hear a sound in coming months, it’ll be the sound of a book being thrown at the students involved if they are convicted. Get ready to hear the sound. A loud sound. And deservedly so.


The Moderate Voice

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The April coal mine explosion at the Massey Energy Co.’s Upper Big Branch (W.Va.) mine that killed 29 miners “was preventable” if the mine had been in compliance with federal safety rules, Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) officials told the families of the victims last night.

MSHA officials briefed the families on its findings in a closed-door meeting, but family members who spoke with reporters later said MSHA coal administrator Kevin Strickland said the blast could have been prevented if a coal cutting machine had been properly maintained and if highly explosive coal dust had been controlled.

Today in a briefing with reporters, MSHA detailed what it believes was the cause of the blast.  On the day of the blast, a long-wall mining machine was cutting coal about two miles underground in a mine that was known to have high levels of flammable methane gas.

The cutting head of the machine consists of hundreds of carbide-tipped steel teeth that rip the coal from the seam. The carbide prevents sparks that could occur if the bare metal strikes rock. In addition, the cutting head is equipped with water sprayers that also reduce chances of sparking and help control coal dust. MSHA officials believe coal dust had been allowed to build up in the mine because of improper rock dusting that normally is used reduce the concentration of coal dust in the atmosphere.

But, according to the MSHA investigation, some of the carbide tips had been worn down to bare metal and the water sprayers were not working properly. At the same time, methane had seeped into the area where the mining was taking place.

NPR’s Howard Berkes writes:

So, when methane hit the sparking shearer, a small ignition began. An MSHA official told the crowd that these small methane ignitions are common, occurring somewhere underground as much as once a week, but they rarely evolve into massive explosions.

But at Upper Big Branch, without working water sprayers, the investigators said, the small methane ignition persisted. Floating coal dust fueled it, and when it finally blew, the resulting blast was fed by coal dust spread throughout the mine, which explains an explosion that turned corners and killed along a two-mile path.

In a statement this afternoon, Massey said it did not believe the cutting bits or water sprayers played a role in the explosion and clamed that coal dust was properly maintained.

MSHA’s final report is due in two to three months. Federal prosecutors continue a separate criminal investigation.

AFL-CIO NOW BLOG

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Here’s an entry I posted on this day last year. And Remember those less fortunate this and every Christmas.

Until I visited Michigan’s Upper Peninsula this summer, I hadn’t heard of the Italian Hall disaster of Christmas Eve, 1913.

In July of that year, newly unionized miners in Copper Country on the Keweenaw Peninsula called a strike. They had a number of issues with the various mining companies, the largest of which was Calumet & Hecla. Their foremost grievance was the insistence of management for the use of a one-man drill instead of a two-man unit. Of course that meant fewer workers, but there is more to it than that. Mining in the Upper Peninsula was often a family affair, and the duos using drills were often family members-or part of the same ethnic group.

As for the mining companies, they faced serious cost concerns because of competition from cheaper-to-operate mines in Arizona and Montana.

The Western Federation of Miners, which represented the miners of Copper Country, held a Christmas Party at the Italian Hall in Calumet (then known as Red Jacket). But Christmas cheer turned into a nightmare. Over 500 people packed a second story auditorium. Someone shouted “Fire,” there were no flames-but plenty of panic. In a situation somewhat similar to the more recent E2 nightclub disaster in Chicago, people were trapped on the stairway-73 people, most of them children between the ages of 6 and 10, died. The victims either suffocated or were trampled to death.

No one knows who shouted “Fire,” but blame quickly was placed on management and an anti-union group called the Citizens Alliance. In his song “1913 Massacre,” Woody Guthrie blamed a “copper boss thug” and claimed the thugs blocked the exit door. That didn’t happen.

By April, the strikers gave up-the union was busted.

The Italian Hall stood abandoned for years and was demolished in 1984. All that is left is the arch from that unhappy structure.

1913-not a merry Christmas in Copper Country.

Related posts:

Upper Peninsula Upventure: The Finale
Keweenaw National Historical Park, Calumet
Calumet, Michigan’s St. John the Baptist Church
Calumet, Michigan’s St. Paul the Apostle Church
Calumet, Michigan’s St. Anne’s Church
A brief history of copper mining

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Marathon Pundit

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I think I am understanding Matthias better than he is understanding me. If so, it might be because he is better at making himself understood.

In his last response to me, he declares in the title “Freedom Is Not an Absolute,” something I said plainly in my opening essay. Similarly, he says that “taxation in not the same thing as slavery,” that taxation “does not mean that the government ‘owns’ you,” that “Singling out liberty as the only idea that matters” is wrongheaded. Perhaps he confuses me with Robert Nozick, the nonlibertarian’s favorite libertarian philosopher. That could explain why he thinks that the Hayek passage he provides is more at odds with what I say than it is. Yes, the taxes used to fund a government safety net would be reductions in liberty, but nothing I have said necessarily implies a position against such impositions.

Matthias admits that Obamacare forces individuals to buy health insurance. But he continues:

I will admit to this only if you admit that the fifty federal states of the United States of America ‘force’ their adult citizens to buy car insurance. And to your immediate response that ‘nobody forces you to buy a car or drive one’ I can only ask how anyone in this country could be truly free without a car, given the decrepit state of public transportation everywhere. As a good libertarian, you will surely appreciate that the only way you can exercise your liberty to move around the country is by car, and you do not even have to live in Los Angeles or Texas to understand this.

I agree that it is hard to move around the country without driving. One is thus dependent on roads, and thus on the owners of the roads. But dependency is not the same as force or coercion.

To draw the distinction, consider what Smith says about dependency in The Wealth of Nations. He says that in feudalism individuals “lived almost in a continual state … of servile dependency upon their superiors.” But in commerce: “Each tradesman or artificer derives his subsistence from the employment, not of one, but of a hundred or a thousand different customers. Though in some measure obliged to them all, therefore, he is not absolutely dependent upon any one of them.”[1]

We feel forced to buy car insurance because the government has enveloped the road industry. It is like the great lord. But in the feudal context, if we grant the lord’s ownership of his lands, we cannot say that he coerces the peasants who live on them. Assuming that the peasants are free to leave and that the lord sticks to agreed terms, the peasants are dependent, and probably servile, but not coerced. It is a terrible situation, but the problem is that society is enveloped by the feudal lord, not that the lord coerces. A better situation would come from voluntarily subdividing the land, giving rise to many competing owners.

I am supposing that car insurance today is a condition simply of driving on government roads. The government owns the road, and, as owner, it offers certain rules for use of its property, as the feudal lord offers for his. (I realize that our simplifications of both feudalism and car insurance are probably inaccurate in some respects, but I am assuming away complications to draw a basic parallel.)

Smith detested the dependency of feudalism, and he wrote at length about the feudal period as an “unnatural” development built and sustained by violations of natural liberty, including the engrossing of uncultivated land, primogeniture, and entails. He advanced natural liberty, whose natural tendency was toward subdivision not only of labor but also of land. Smith saw liberty as the bulwark of independence and the school of virtue.

Suppose there were liberty in road ownership, perhaps restricted in that crossing easements were imposed (sometimes coercion is our friend!). Roads owners would be private and multiple. Would all of them require users to have car insurance? Who knows. But even if they all did, we would feel less forced in the matter.

Practically all restaurants require a shirt and shoes, but that is not force, either. To say that we are forced to buy car insurance is to say that we are forced to wear a shirt and shoes by the pizza shop.

If you go about your business and avoid agreements that require buying car insurance, no one will stick a gun in your face for not buying car insurance. Someone will stick a gun in your face for not buying health insurance, under Obamacare. Unless you count being in the polity as agreeing to Obamacare — unless, that is, you grant overlordship — you have not entered any such agreement, and the gun is an initiation of aggression.

Dependency is one of the hazards of social democracy. The government monopolizes schooling by coercion, partly in the tax financing that advantages government schools, partly in the restrictions put on private competition (which in some states, such as California, are very significant[2]). In consequence, students and parents enter passive dependency on the local government school. Smith said that when our position is only passive, our sentiments tend to be sordid and selfish; when active, generous and noble.[3]

In social democracy individuals indeed often live in a state of “servile dependency upon their superiors.” People stoop to get permission to engage in voluntary intercourse. Pharmaceutical companies would no sooner antagonize the FDA than a slave would antagonize the whipping master. About 30 percent of the workforce is now in fields subject to occupational licensing.[4] The policy is to ensure that noncompliant service providers, though perfectly peaceful, will be fined and, as necessary, arrested and shot, and it creates other forms of dependency. Practitioners have to submit to the requirements to get permission. For many of the trades, one must get an accredited college degree — what Smith called “the privileges of graduation,”[5] and these are privileges again based on the gun pointed at anyone who would practice without the required credentials. Students are thus induced to go to college, a realm of privilege and dependency, sustained in part by this coercion-induced demand and the coercion of tax financing.

Social democracy is the new feudalism. That is why Hayek titled his work The Road to Serfdom. Thousands of coercions create dependency on officialdom and its cultural institutions. Many of the professors and experts, and most leftists, tell us that the coercions are good for society.

In fact, the vast majority of professors range from left to center or neutral; there are very few libertarians or conservatives, especially outside economics. Maybe it is because professors are such a smart bunch. They want more Americans to go to college. They favor new coercions to induce more college-going. It is good for America, they say.

In Mattias’s first response, he quoted Karl Polanyi, to the effect that there is nothing particularly natural about private property. Polanyi was a Hungarian for whom liberalism was liberalism, however much he misunderstood it. Unlike the Anglos I quoted in my opening essay, he felt no impulse to pass his outlook off as “liberalism.” Throughout The Great Transformation he heaps contumely on liberalism, for example, speaking of “the liberal virus.”[6] It is not hard to see overlordism in Polanyi’s outlook:

Socialism is, essentially, the tendency inherent in an industrial civilization to transcend the self-regulating market by consciously subordinating it to a democratic society. It is the solution natural to industrial workers who see no reason why production should not be regulated directly and why markets should be more than a useful but subordinate trait in a free society.[7]

In this subordination, “the actual content of property rights might undergo redefinition at the hands of legislation.”[8] For the overlordist, private ownership of the manufacturer is not attenuated; liberty is not infringed. Rather, the manufacturer’s rights are redefined. Again, it makes sense if one grants that “democratic society” is the owner either of the resources handled by the subordinates, or the owner of some kind of enveloping substructure with which the manufacture is then under contract. Either way, there is no incursion on liberty: If you do not like our terms, you are free to leave.

Ilya, in his second posting, says that overlordism underlies “some left-wing rhetoric about these issues, but by no means all or even most of it.” I had noted, and Ilya quotes me, that “one could affirm the individualist configuration of ownership and then go on to say that he nonetheless favors the myriad initiations of coercion of the modern activist state.” Ilya adds: “In my view, this is in fact what most American left-liberals (and many European ones) do.”

Ilya is suggesting that most American leftists would grant that, say, the minimum wage law is an incursion on liberty, but simply say that they nonetheless favor it (assuming they do favor it, that is). Well, I have some evidence on that.

In October 2006, 659 individuals, mostly economists, signed a petition to raise the minimum wage. I wrote a questionnaire asking them about the matter. Among the questions were the following:

In one manner of speaking, liberty is freedom from political or legal restrictions on one’s property or freedom of association. Subscribers to this definition are apt to say that the minimum wage law is coercive because it (along with concomitant enforcement) threatens physical aggression against people for engaging in certain voluntary, consensual acts (namely, employing people at sub-minimum wages). (Notice that even subscribers to this definition of liberty recognize that it does not by itself carry a policy recommendation; values other than liberty exist and might conflict with it.)

Q7: Please indicate which of the following options best fits your view of this semantic issue:

  • A. [ ] I agree that that definition of liberty is the primary definition of liberty, and in that sense the minimum wage law is coercive.
  • B.[ ] I give some weight to that definition of liberty, but not primary weight; the minimum wage law is only coercive in a sense.
  • C.[ ] I give little to no weight to that definition of liberty; the minimum wage law is not coercive in any significant sense.
  • D.[ ] Other [please specify]:

Now, if we take the questionnaire respondents to be a representative sample of vocal leftists, then, on Ilya’s supposition, most would have chosen option A. Yet, of 93 respondents who answered the question, only five did.

The responses frequencies (in percentages of the 93 individuals who answered the question) were as follows:

  • A. 5.4%
  • B. 19.%
  • C. 50.5%
  • D. 24.7%.

Thus, a straight-up majority selected the option that says that the minimum wage law “is not coercive in any significant sense,” and given that most of the responses at D were essentially denying the classical liberal interpretation, we may say that a vast majority of these respondents did not fit Ilya’s description of how leftists think. Again, 94.6 percent rejected the option that simply says that the minimum wage law is coercive.

For leftists, the minimum-wage law, which threatens to stick a gun in the face of employers who peaceably contract to pay less than the specified minimum, does not tread on their liberty. To use Polanyi’s term, the law simply “redefines” the employer’s rights.

Most leftists do not accept the individualist configuration of ownership. Do they affirm the collectivist configuration, or overlordship, as I have described it? Not consciously, perhaps. But, again, in the original period of social-democratic reaction to liberalism, the collectivist configuration was often quite explicit, as seen in quotations in my opening essay and many other quotations that could also be shown.

But the Left Hates Feudalism and Domination: Enter the Atavism Thesis

Frankly, I do not know what to make of the left. They fail to support school choice, the repeal of occupational licensing, and 100 other focal liberalizations that would obviously help the poor, whom they say they care about. Even worse, they often champion interventions. This conundrum has puzzled thinkers for centuries.

Searching for explanation, I look around and see what we can come up with. One of the best explanations available is Hayek’s conjecture that leftist ideology is an atavistic expression of deep-seated yearnings and penchants evolved over millennia but little changed since the Upper Paleolithic ending 10,000 years ago.[9] It seems that the Upper Paleolithic band was a small, simple society, quite democratic in its structure and functioning, encompassing experience, sentiment, and solidaric ethics. Like any band of 20–40 members, consisting largely of family groupings, there would be a leader, an “alpha male,” but our researchers seem to suggest that the social relations were rather egalitarian and consensus-oriented.

Band-man sees society as organizational, not a network of spontaneous relationships. He yearns for an encompassing coordination of sentiment, not a cosmos of intersecting romances.[10] He yearns for common knowledge, and is uncomfortable with disjointed knowledge.[11] He yearns for social justice, and is not satisfied with merely procedural or commutative justice.[12] He presupposes an underlying configuration of collective ownership, not one of individual ownership.

In the narrative of ideological development, the biggest factors in enlivening the political reassertion of these instincts as a modern statist ideology are the rise of the nation-state and universal suffrage. Those provide the mythos that enlivens the Paleolithic ethos and mentality.

Although there are always jackals and others interested in overlordship and dependency, I think that the raw leftist impulse is Paleolithic, not feudal. In the small band of 10,000 years ago, there is collective ownership in the community: Even if nomadic, the troop is a collective club, and if you belong to the club you are agreeing, as it were, to its consensus-based governance and habitus. Otherwise you exit or are expelled. In the small band, there is no overlordship because there is just one level of organization. There no basis for the “over” in overlord. And even the “lord” does not really apply, because of the personal familiarity and democratic ethos of the simple troop.

So the left wants “The Cooperative Commonwealth,”[13] not feudalism, dependency, and overlordship. But the latter is what their penchants yield in a society that is no longer small and simple. From leftist foolishness we get social-democratic feudalism, as though by a vicious and evil invisible hand.

I regret I am being so critical of the left. If they would stop championing coercions and opposing liberty, I would be a lot friendlier.

Notes
[1] Smith, WN, 412, 420.
[2] Seireg 2004.
[3] Smith, TMS, 137.
[4] Kleiner and Krueger 2009.
[5] Smith, WN, 778, 780.
[6] Polanyi 1944, 196.
[7] Polanyi, 242.
[8] Polanyi, 243.
[9] Hayek 1967, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1988.
[10] Klein 2005.
[11] Klein 2010.
[12] Hayek 1976, 1978.
[13] The leftist expression “the cooperative commonwealth” presumably originates with Gronlund 1884.

References
Gronlund, Laurence. 1884. The Cooperative Commonwealth. Boston: Lee and Shepaud.
Hayek, Friedrich A. 1967. The Legal and Political Philosophy of David Hume. In Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, 106-121. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Hayek, Friedrich A. 1976. Law, Legislation and Liberty, Vol. 2: The Mirage of Social Justice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Hayek, Friedrich A. 1978. The Atavism of Social Justice. In New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of Ideas, 57-68. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Hayek, Friedrich A. 1979. The Three Sources of Human Values. In Law, Legislation and Liberty: Volume 3, The Political Order of a Free People. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 153-176.

Hayek, Friedrich A. 1988. The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Klein, Daniel B. 2005. The People’s Romance: Why People Love Government (as Much as They Do). The Independent Review 10(1): 5-37.

Klein, Daniel B. 2010. “Knowledge Flat-talk: A Conceit of Supposed Experts and a Seduction to All.” The Independent Review 15(1): 109-121.

Kleiner, Morris M. and Alan B. Krueger. 2009. Analyzing the Extent and Influence of Occupational Licensing on the Labor Market. NBER Working Paper 14979.

Polanyi, Karl. 1944/1957. The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time. Boston: Beacon Press.

Seireg, Bahaa. 2004. Addition and Subtraction: State and Local Regulatory Obstacles to Opening a New Private School. Policy Study 329. Reason Public Policy Institute, December.

Smith, Adam. 1790. The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Edited by D.D. Raphael and A.L. Macfie Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1982.

Smith, Adam. 1976 [1776]. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Edited by R.H. Campbell and A.S. Skinner. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1981.


Cato Unbound

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Indoor court gives Federer upper hand
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Richard Evans has been covering tennis since the 1960s and has reported on more than 150 Grand Slams. He is the author of 15 books, including the official history of the Davis Cup and the unofficial history of the modern game in "Open Tennis.
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As we said in Red State, Blue State, it’s not the Prius vs. the pickup truck, it’s the Prius vs. the Hummer. Here’s the graph:

super2008.png

Or, as Ross Douthat put it in an op-ed yesterday:

This means that a culture war that’s often seen as a clash between liberal elites and a conservative middle America looks more and more like a conflict within the educated class — pitting Wheaton and Baylor against Brown and Bard, Redeemer Presbyterian Church against the 92nd Street Y, C. S. Lewis devotees against the Philip Pullman fan club.

Our main motivation for doing this work was to change how the news media think about America’s political divisions, and so it’s good to see our ideas getting mainstreamed and moving toward conventional wisdom.

P.S. Here’s the time series of graphs showing how the pattern that we and Douthat noticed, of a battle between coastal states and middle America that is occurring among upper-income Americans, is relatively recent, having arisen in the Clinton years:

secretweaponsuper.png

If you’re interested in the topic, you’re in luck-we wrote a whole book about it!

The Monkey Cage

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Here’s another repost from my 2009 Michigan travels I thought was worth a second look. Yes, Virginia, there really is a Christmas, Michigan on the Upper Peninsula.

Christmas, Michigan is a small town east of Munising that got its name from a long-gone factory that made holiday gifts. Some of the businesses in the town honor the Christmas theme, including Santa’s Workshop, which is the second picture down on the right.

Although is has just 400 residents, Christmas has a post office, and it’s a very popular one in December-many people mail their Christmas cards there for the postmark.

In 1966, the United States Post Office Department, the forerunner of the US Postal Service, selected the Upper Peninsula town for its first day of issue of its Christmas stamp.

Earlier Upper Peninsula posts:

Northwoods cabin
L’Anse Indian Reservation
US Route 41
Olkies and its Indian head sign
Party Store
Hiawatha, the World’s Tallest Indian
The Moose Capital of Michigan
Father Marquette
Mackinac Bridge
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
The Soo Locks
Lake Superior State University
Eat signs
Hardwood Cafe
Da Yoopers Tourist Trap
Making a buck
Pasties
Logging
Munising Falls
Eagle River Falls
Canyon Falls
Agate Falls
Little Girls Point
Gogebic Range Bishop Baraga and St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral>Farming
More Pictured Rocks
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Munising Bay
Seney, Hemingway, and Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome
Hickey Creek
Ishpeming and Iron Mining
Calumet, Michigan’s St. Anne’s Church
Keweenaw Waterway Bridge
The Keweenaw Waterway
Keweenaw National Historical Park, Quincy, Part One
Keweenaw National Historical Park, Calumet
Calumet, Michigan’s St. John the Baptist Church
Little Gippers Preschool, Calumet, Michigan
A brief history of copper mining
Calumet, Michigan’s St. Paul the Apostle Church
Finland, Finland, Finland
Escanaba’s Sand Point Lighthouse
Manistique East Breakwater Light
Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
Wawatam Lighthouse
Whitefish Point Light
The Munising Front Range Light
Grand Island East Harbor Lighthouse
Copper Harbor Lighthouse
Eagle Harbor Lighthouse

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Marathon Pundit

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Photo credit: Kim Mercer  
  UMWA President Cecil Roberts and AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker led a march to the Massey shareholders meeting demanding CEO Donald Blankenship’s resignation.  
 
   

Finally CEO and Chairman Don Blankenship was too much for Massey Energy Co. Blankenship, who made a career of busting unions, violating mine safety laws, attacking environmentalists and shilling for the far right and corporate America, announced last week that he is resigning from Massey at the end of December.

His resignation, some say, was gladly accepted. Insiders say his departure may help turn down the heat on the company from federal regulators and make Massey more attractive to possible suitors.

Blankenship was at the helm of the coal company when its Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia exploded April 5, killing 29 coal miners. According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), Upper Big Branch was a:

mine with a significant history of safety issues, a mine operated by a company with a history of violations.

Since Blankenship took over leadership of Massey in 2000, 55 miners have been killed in Massey mines. Mine Workers (UMWA) President Cecil Roberts says the resignation:

brings to a close a long and difficult chapter in the history of the coal industry, one that has all too often been associated with human tragedy.

In May, more than 1,000 UMWA and other union members and allies marched to the doors of Massey Energy’s shareholders meeting in Richmond, Va., demanding Blankenship’s resignation. Says Roberts:

We called for Mr. Blankenship’s ouster as head of Massey, due to the culture of production first and safety last that he has fostered at Massey. We are gratified that this action has finally occurred.

Blankenship disputed that his company’s long history of safety violations was behind the deadly Upper Big Branch blast. He claimed it was an unavoidable act of God. In July, at a National Press Club appearance, Blankenship said:

I believe that the physics of natural law and God trump whatever man tries to do.

Davitt McAteer, West Virginia’s special investigator for the Upper Big Branch disaster, told Ken Ward of The Charleston Gazette:

The effort to place blame on God or another person is not an uncommon practice after disasters, particularly in the mining industry. But investigations have almost always led to the conclusion that it wasn’t God who did it.

Blankenship is scheduled to meet next week with federal and state investigators about the Upper Big Branch disaster that likely was caused by the extremely combustible combination of high levels of explosive methane and coal dust.

According to MSHA’s preliminary report on the blast, the Massey mine was cited 32 times for violations involving methane, coal dust and other combustible materials between Jan. 1 and the day of the blast. It also had been cited for failure to develop and follow a ventilation plan. According to the report:

When methane and coal dust levels are controlled, explosions from these sources can be prevented. Explosions in coal mines are preventable. Mine operators use methane drainage and adequate ventilation to minimize methane concentrations. Operators can add sufficient rock dust to counter the explosive potential of coal dust.

In November, a West Virginia judge turned down Blankenship’s motion to be dismissed from two lawsuits holding him personably responsible for the Upper Big Branch explosion. At an October hearing on the suits, filed by widows of two of the victims, Mark Moreland, the widows’ attorney said:

Don Blankenship ran these companies negligently. The cause of action is negligence.

AFL-CIO NOW BLOG

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Obama takes yet another smack in the mouth …

First Barack Obama took one on the chin during the 2010 midterm elections, now The One takes an elbow in the mouth and receives 12 stitches. I guess Obama should have stuck to the golf course instead, rather than trying to play basketball. However, the 12 stitches and crack in the mouth isn’t anything compared to the butt-kicking Obama suffered recently with the loss of 62 House seats, 6 US Senate seats, 6 Governor seats and 680+ state legislature races.

What a photo-op … could an aid have told Obama to get away from the window?

What an image for the leader of the free word

President Barack Obama needed 12 stitches in his upper lip after taking an errant elbow during a pickup basketball game Friday morning with family and friends visiting for the Thanksgiving holiday, the White House said.

First word of the injury came in a statement from press secretary Robert Gibbs nearly three hours after the incident.

The White House did not initially name the person who caused the injury, but identified him later Friday as Rey Decerega, director of programs for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

Obama received the stitches under local anesthesia in the doctor’s office on the ground floor of the White House after returning home. Doctors used a smaller filament than typically used, which increases the number of stitches but makes a tighter stitch and leaves a smaller scar.

The president had gone to nearby Fort McNair to indulge in a game of basketball, one of his favorite athletic pursuits. It was a five-on-five contest involving family and friends. Among the players were Obama’s nephew, Avery Robinson, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Reggie Love, Obama’s personal assistant, who played at Duke University.

So was this an inadvertent elbow or a message as questioned by Macsmind? As it turns out the culprit was Rey Decerega, he works for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. Maybe this was a message to pass comprehensive illegal immigration?

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Scared Monkeys

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Since it’s impossible for one person to cover all 435 House races, I decided to use a laser-focus on Illinois races and competitive contests in the Upper Midwest. Election Day was a great one for the GOP up north.

The three Lake Superior seats, Minnesota’s 8th, Wisconsin’s 7th, and Michigan’s 1st, flipped to the Republicans. Each district (Michigan’s was renumbered in 2002) has been served by Democrats for over thirty years. This is huge.

Wisconsin’s 7th, which went Democratic during the party’s 2006 surge, has returned to the GOP fold.

Both Dakota at-large seats saw Democratic incumbents defeated. And southern Michigan’s 7th is another GOP pick-up.

Minnesotan DFL incumbent,  Jim Oberstar, is the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. A big loss for the Dems.

But there is a dark cloud: What’s the matter with Iowa? No House pick-ups for the GOP.

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Marathon Pundit

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New York (CNN) - The poll-worker had one of those 50-yard stares, and it was barely four in the afternoon. “This is the longest day of my life,” she said, to no one in particular. I was her next customer and even before I was through the front door I was stuck- stumped.

“District?” the gatekeeper asked me. He was an older man, firmly planted at the folding bridge-table he shared at the door of the senior center on West 71st street.

“District?” repeated his female counterpart. “Uhhhhhhhh,” I replied. “Your address, hun. Where do you live?” I told her. “District 39!” her colleague offered.

“No. . .”

“Not 39?”

“41. . .”

“41? You sure?” She narrowed her eyes. He rolled his. Gallic shrugs all around. “41 sounds right,” I said. She motioned me onward, to the land of the 50-yard stare.

It belonged to a pleasant, middle-aged, African-American woman who, when asked why the long day and the long face, uttered one simple four-letter word: “This,” she said, pointing at the ballot in front of her. “This.”

I had just discovered the true drama, the white-hot anger, the primal scream, in an election that’s supposed to be all about all those things, all across the country. The economy. The Tea Party. Taxes. Obamacare. You name it, that’s what the election’s about. Except on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Here, it’s about New York’s new paper ballots. It’s a rage against the machine that abandoned us. You see, here in Manhattan, machine politics really was machine politics. You voted on these big, greenish-gray, Rube Goldberg contraptions. A curtain, a handle, lots of little levers. Step right in, click-click-click, then the solid “ka-CHUNK!” of civic duty done.

It felt good. It’s gone.

The replacement? Those paper things that make voting feel like doing your SATs. No wonder so many of my aged, commie, Florida-transplant, relatives ended up voting for Pat Buchanan back in 2000: They didn’t have SATs growing up.

“One mark per line,” Longest-Day warned me. “Take a look here,” she said, pointing to the top. “This is one line, not two. It wraps around. People are marking it twice; then the scanners reject it. It’s making me crazy.” Over at the booth, despite the warning, I missed one line, almost double-marked the judicial candidates, and colored outside the oval twice. And I did have SATs growing up.

Elsewhere around town, my friends and colleagues tell me things went smoother. I’m just a klutz, they say. Me and my neighbors. Elsewhere people are fighting for the nation’s destiny, or so they say. There are Tea Partiers in the neighborhood, two blocks away, in fact. But they’re all at a restaurant on 73rd called Alice’s Tea Cup, and most are too young to vote. And too young to remember when pulling the lever meant voting, not Vegas.


CNN Political Ticker

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