Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Quick Run Around the Web--December 24, 2015

Source: "Amazing chart shows thanks to capitalism, global poverty is at its lowest rate in history"--Washington Examiner.

  • I've come across a couple references recently to the amazing decline in poverty in the past 200 years. Glenn Reynolds discusses this decline in his USA Today op-ed, "Actually, things are pretty good." He writes: "A new study by the World Bank estimates that less than 10% of the world’s population is living in what it calls poverty — an income of less than $1.90 per day. Twenty-five years ago, over a third of the global population was living on less. The biggest changes have come in East Asia and around the Pacific, but even sub-Saharan Africa, the worst place in the world for incomes, has improved significantly, with poverty dropping from 56% to an estimated 35.2% since 1990." Max Roser has compiled data on this topic, and more graphics and data is available from him at Our World in Data
Ironically, it is our current prosperity that spells our doom. Although I intend to explore this issue in more detail in later posts, the Anonymous Conservative has published a book called The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Politics which explores how human psyche, and,thus, politics, has been shaped by competitive (K) and mass reproduction/deceptive (r) strategies. He further demonstrates an overlap between conservationism and K strategies, and modern liberalism/leftism and r strategies. His book fills in many blank spaces in Spengler's and Tainter's works on the collapse of civilizations. The basic point to understand for purposes of my comments today, though, is that the K strategy is supreme during times of resource scarcity, while r strategy is favored by resource rich environments. It is the very prosperity we enjoy (created by K-strategists) that has allowed leftists (r-strategists) to expand both their numbers and socio-political power. 
  • Related: "Will Connecticut's High-Tax, Union-Friendly Policies Turn Out GE's Lights?"--Investor's Business Daily. Instapundit notes that GE has long been a supporter of leftist/non-competitive causes and government regulations, so there is a certain justice to it now being faced with high the costs of such an environment. The problem is that if GE moves to a more business-friendly (i.e., conservative) state, so too will many of the liberal Connecticut voters that caused the problems in the first place. It is a spreading contagion.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials confirmed to CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues on Wednesday that the incident occurred, but disputed allegations that all eleven family member were denied permission to board the flight.
    A DHS source tells CBS News that one of the brothers was refused entry into Israel two years ago, and his teenage son's Facebook account has links to terrorist websites.
    What really holds a civilization together, is the act of prioritizing human cooperation above violence. At some point in time, we started to realize that other people were more valuable to us personally if they were alive, even if we didn’t like those people. We’re all proficient at different tasks, and when there are more people working together, there are more opportunities (and prosperity) for everyone. That is the real linchpin of civilization.
    • "COIN In Chicago"--Captain's Journal. Herschel expresses some scorn for an article that describes policing in Chicago as a COIN (counterinsurgency) operation. He believes the more proper description would be a stability operation. However, he goes on to observe that spreading riots could result in the adoption of actual counterinsurgency activities. He writes: 
        While we aren’t dealing with millennia-old problems, we are in fact dealing with at least fourth or fifth generation entitlement, with fatherless families, SNAP payments, welfare, “free” medical care, and so on.  Just enough government largesse to keep the inner city blacks on a leash, not enough (yet) to create revolution against it.  And therefore the elites get their voting bloc, which is the intended outcome all along.
          But the monster this created is ugly and difficult to control.  I’ve read comments about the rioters in Ferguson, to the extent that any protest against “the man” (or the state) is a good thing and they must be our ally (I’m not sure who “our” is).  Such a view is a sign of lack of attention to detail, immaturity and weakness of mind.  Most of the rioters in Ferguson would sooner gut you groin to throat with a knife and then rape your wife and daughter as to look at you.  Anyone who feels an alliance with the rioters in Ferguson is a fool.
            This is a monster the government and effete urbanite elitists created.  The hive is coming apart at the seems, and the only way to keep it together is harsher and harsher stability operations.  Make no mistake about it.  The Chicago Mayor knows all about the tactics in use in Chicago and approves of them.  The firing of the chief of police was a sacrifice to the masses.
              The lesson for us is that police departments are more and more using stability operations as a model or paradigm for their work, with the approval of those in charge.  As these tactics want to work their way into the fabric of American society like a cancer, one goal will be to kill the cancer before it takes over the host.  This battle will be gradual, fought initially on the fields of town hall meetings, boards, blogs, and so on.  If the battles are lost there, it will expand, and if lost entirely, dystopia (and maybe insurgency) will come to the American countryside.
                The wars for the inner city cannot be won.  America is going broke and the largesse cannot continue forever.  Sooner or later, the riots will expand.  The more important thing will be what happens to the medium and smaller towns of America?  Stability operations can lead to COIN if not successful (and couple this with Islamic terrorism and the influx from South of the border, and the potential for success seems bleak), and neither COIN nor stability operations is an acceptable model for this country.

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