Getting Old

Okay, in one sense, I’m not really getting old.  And in another, I feel I’ve always been old.  or always felt old, or something like that.  And perhaps old isn’t really the right word for it.  Somehow, a seemingly incongruous combination of being arch, crotchety, and phlegmatic all at once sums it up, but doesn’t really do it justice.  Oh and tired.  More than a little tired.  I recall toward the end of college complaining that I felt “tired, in a cosmic way — an unspeakable empty-fuel-tank kind of tiredness, whether I’m having a blast and active or sitting around with a slight buzz, it’s always there”.  Well, that was all a bit dramatic, which I’ll chalk up to youth, but I didn’t feel young.  It’s the darnedest… Continue reading

Entitlements: Plan C

Reprinted from August of 2011, when the Ryan Plan was news.  Has much changed? You boomers are in trouble.  Your parents lived through the depression or were directly impacted by it, and they came up with a whole circus of social safety nets.  This system was never built to last even if it had not been abused, but it has been ransacked.  They used it as intended, and you have abused it, hollowing out the programs while expanding them, so that all that remains is a system of empty shells.  Now you want to retire on it, and there’s nothing left.  So you’ve borrowed the money from overseas, and told them that my generations will pay for it. Well maybe we will, and maybe we won’t. It’s not… Continue reading

Moralism & Greece

This started as an answer to Mr. Devereaux, but then I got to ranting at cruising speed, & there was then no turning back: You know Admiral Farragut–damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! He pointed out reasonably that Germans should not be blaming Greeks or Greece, but themselves. I would add, Germany, the EU, & the banks have not acted reasonably or charitably, either. So off I go into the minefield, but not before summing up what might be a confusing essay: Germany, German persons of influence with public opinion, & the various banks, mostly non-German, had cause to know better than they did or do; & they were under no compulsion to do the things that they have done to get into this situation; & they are… Continue reading

The Impending Darkness

Hard not to be gloomy these days. Just when you think there’s a chance, a glimmer, it’s gone. Like everything else. It turns out that not only is the universe going to die a slow cooling death, but we’re not even in an interesting time. On the other hand, the 1980s under the very real Cold War threat and a resurgent Reagan’s America was the most optimistic time I have ever had in my life. The particles were symmetrical, and the Omega point was widely presumed to be a smidge better than one. The internet of cat pictures was just an embryo. Yes, the universe was going to re-invent itself, and so would we. Mysteries would be solved in an orderly fashion and the ridiculous dark matter/energy whatnot… Continue reading

Moralism as a conservative problem

If you’re right, you should win–you deserve to win–if you’re not winning, there’s probably some treachery or conspiratorial stuff being done by whoever’s winning or at least on their behalf. Then a few steps further, it’s civil war, right after the end of the republic. & whoever disagrees is a sucker, being played by evil people whose powers might just be unlimited. Lotsa anger among conservatives, not enough for the right to cohere, but too much for the various factions to tolerate each other. What is there to do? I don’t know. How can we live with it? I have some ideas about this.

America needs a demagogue

Here’s another piece I wrote for Ricochet: This has long been the case, but it is not easy for Americans to find one, because of the political process that is so strangely influenced or even dominated by national parties the which are not creatures of the constitution, but of the politicians. It used to be, victorious generals could arouse the spiritedness in the people. That, I believe, reflected the passions connected with inequality; it is gone now. The parties, themselves expressions of American spiritedness, have survived war & are now spirited about peace. These parties select people that end up talking like politicians, not because they are in power, but because they do a job rather well. The party now winning & the party now losing share disconcerting… Continue reading

Worldview and Why It Matters

Over at Sultan Knish Daniel Greenfield is at it again. This time his position is that conservatives work far too hard at being “nice”. Lefties don’t bother. Some of this is because Lefties have a pass by the media, although of late Hillary seems to be tagged pretty hard (well, for a liberal). But then, there is the rumour that Obama is trying to scuttle Hillary as the democrat selection. There could actually be some truth in that. Meanwhile, Greenfield makes some important points. If there’s one thing that conservatives need to cure themselves of it’s a slavish desire to be nice. Those who give in to it are lost. Liberals don’t suffer from a niceness crisis. They don’t find common ground with us. They don’t worry that… Continue reading

Mr. Codevilla vs. the establishment

Here’s my new post at Ricochet: Mr. Angelo Codevilla, who recently attracted attention on the Ricochet podcast, seems to me to be the mind behind the many complaints conservatives have about the establishment. Many here on Ricochet have complaints about American politics that range from constitutionalism to foreign policy, & there are many clever speakers in America who teach that the dominant characteristic of American politics is a conflict between the people & the government. This way of talking about the fundamental political conflict between the many & the few has been put forward most clearly & energetically by Mr. Codevilla.