Did I meet him? At the open house?
I don’t think I’ve ever been so jazzed to slap that foam finger on an image before.
No doubt you’re familiar with Easter. It’s the holiest day in the Christian liturgical year, celebrating, as it does, the resurrection of Christ — something of a momentous event. Indeed, the entire week leading up to Easter is quite significant — Holy Week, it’s called — and is one of the seasons in which Christian spirit is riding its highest; arguably only Christmas week is a more important, and more religious time for most Christians.
Which makes it all the funnier that the perpetually clueless Libertarian Party chose to celebrate Holy Week by running this great ad aligning itself with the Satanic Temple.
As any fule kno, the problem with us stupid libertarian ideologues is that we refuse to accept that there are certain things out there that people need, but that simply cannot be provided on the free market. The big one, of course, is roads — regardless of what clueless rubes say, there’s no possible way that free men acting on their own could figure out how to get a stretch of relatively flat, clear ground between you and Wal-mart. Also, can you even imagine a way that mail could be delivered without government? Impossible! Public safety is another one; who has more of the knowledge and incentive necessary to keep your neighborhood safe: your neighbors, or faceless bureaucrats in Washington D.C.? It’s the bureaucrats all the way, of course.
Put those three things together and you have an obvious no-brainer. Who can keep the roads safe so the government mail can get delivered? Only the government, obviously. It’s too large, too expensive, and too complex an endeavor for anybody else to manage. Well, anybody else except for PornHub, anyhow.
Contra Reason’s Nick Gillespie, the best thing that happened for the liberty movement in 2016 — indeed, arguably the only good thing in what was otherwise a catastrophic year — was the sudden explosion in popularity of the wonderful libertarian mantra "taxation is theft." In addition to being absolutely true and correct, this is also a powerful slogan that portrays libertarianism at its best, as a philosophy that does not waver and does not compromise with evil for political expediency.
So, naturally, there are libertarishes who hate it.
It seems like the internet just can’t stop crying embarrassing crocodile tears about how 2016 was allegedly just the worst year ever. In most cases, of course, this is a thinly-veiled whinge about how St. Hillary Clinton became a martyr for the cause of universal perfect justice when the Soviet Union forcibly installed some sort of orange space Hitler as the new dictator of the United States, which bone-brained rubbish you must forgive me for not treating with the gravity it deserves. On the other hand, we also have classic libertarianishes like Reason’s Nick Gillespie, who, amidst all the me-too hand wringing, can point to one thing about 2016 that was just super.
If there was anything good that happened in 2016 — a year filled so much awfulness [sic] that even the Chicago Cubs could win the World Series after a thousand-year drought — it was [Gary Johnson’s] ramshackle campaign to bring a very different way of thinking and talking about national politics to America.
In a just world, we could just assume that Gillespie is congratulating the Cubs for being the best thing in 2016 — in which he would be correct — and then all go have pie. In this fallen world in which we live, however… suffice it to say things are about to become maudlin.
Do the Bartman
Somehow — and I don’t profess to know how — the Chicago Cubs won the World Series last week. The game itself was utterly absurd, packed with virtually every insane occurrence that can occur in the game of baseball — but isn’t it always? That’s part of the wonder of baseball. Against all odds, it still manages to be full of surprises, even long after we should have seen everything there is to see. For my part, I’ve never seen a wild pitch score two runs before. I’ve also never seen a bunt call as bizarre as the one Joe Maddon put on in the ninth inning, a call so bad it makes one wonder if the game really is rigged for maximum drama. Unlike elections, however, baseball would be too difficult to gimmick, what with the unknown ball position and all.
One might ask, not unreasonably, why I’m writing about baseball on a site about libertarianism. I might respond, also not unreasonably, that this is a lesson in property rights; specifically, it’s my blog and I’ll write what I please.
This is the end, my only friend
It’s not just the utterly unhinged Hillary Clinton anymore; now we have general Mark Milley, U.S. Army chief of staff, going on record threatening open war against Russia for unspecified "harms:"
The U.S. Army’s chief of staff on Tuesday issued a stern warning to potential threats such as Russia and vowed the service will defeat any foe in ground combat.
"The strategic resolve of our nation, the United States, is being challenged and our alliances tested in ways that we haven’t faced in many, many decades," Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told an audience at the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
"I want to be clear to those who wish to do us harm… the United States military — despite all of our challenges, despite our [operational] tempo, despite everything we have been doing — we will stop you and we will beat you harder than you have ever been beaten before. Make no mistake about that."
Your humble narrator is compelled to point out that history doesn’t contain a very comprehensive set of examples of Russia being beaten before. At least United States Army chief of staff Milley had the presence of mind to clarify which nation he claims membership in — a point that probably needed repeating at the Association of the United States Army’s meeting in the capital of the United States.
Government in microcosm
On Wednesday, CNN did one of its hilariously phony "Town Hall" bits, in which a carefully-screened group of people asks prearranged questions, and president Obama uses them as an excuse to talk about how great he art. This week, the widow of a soldier who committed suicide asked the president what could be done to reduce to rate of veteran suicides from its current level of twenty-two per day, and the president, in between two different anecdotes about how many lives he personally has saved through the awesome power of bureaucracy, dispensed this pearl of wisdom:
We are hiring more mental health professionals. But the fact that there’s still 20 a day who are feeling hopeless means that we’ve got to do more. And, you know, anybody who’s watching right now, if you call the, you know, veterans help line, there’s going to be somebody there to answer.
So, really, all those suicidal soldiers need to do is call up the government’s suicide help line, where the highly-trained professionals from the government will be there to help. I guess this story would have a happy ending, then, if it weren’t for one niggling little detail: quite often, when people call the suicide help line, there actually isn’t anybody there to answer.
Pretty soon you’re talking real money
If you’re anything like me — and you know you are — you stay up nights worrying that the United States just doesn’t spend enough money on its military. America is only just barely spending as much money as the entire rest of the world combined; how can we possibly expect to be kept safe in the face of the overwhelming existential threat of border skirmishes thousands of miles inland on the other side of the ocean? Clearly our wonderful armed forces require a major overhaul, and I’m pleased to report that it’s only projected to cost a trillion dollars to do so. What a relief!
The price tag to rehabilitate the military after about 15 years of war and relentless overseas operations would be about $1 trillion over a decade, according to the Republican-led House Armed Services Committee…
A $1 trillion increase would require obliterating spending limits passed by Congress and doling out an average of an additional $100 billion each year on the military through 2027.
Oh, a trillion dollars spent over ten years would average a hundred billion a year? I had no idea! Since I was educated in the government schools, this kind of complex mathematical operation vastly overwhelms my tiny peanut brain. Thanks for helping, Stars and Stripes!
A great many people, when first beginning to explore philosophy, will hit upon the idea that reality is not what it appears to be; in ye olden days, it was common to describe it as a dream or a vision, but, in a post-Matrix world, the zeitgeist has shifted such that people tend to describe this creaky old philosophical trope in terms of giant computer simulations instead. Regardless of the precise form, this is a very common idea, yet not one quite so common as to disabuse people of the notion that they are unique great geniuses when they first hit upon it. Said list of people now apparently includes a great many high-level political cronies, such as those at Bank of America:
Top bank analysts claim there’s a 50% chance our world is a computer simulation and we’re all plugged into a Matrix-style virtual reality.
And they also reckon if it’s true — then there’s no way we’ll ever find out about it.
The Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch made the astonishing claim in a research note citing comments by top scientists, astrophysicists and philosophers.
If you think this is breaking news, just wait until next week, when they unveil their startling conclusion that there’s a 70% chance that you’re being stalked by a giant, ferocious, man-eating tiger — but you’ll never be able to find it, because the tiger is invisible.
Here comes the rain again
For the last several weeks, Louisiana has been inundated with rain — reportedly receiving 6.9 trillion gallons of rainfall in one week alone — which has, of course, led to massive flooding. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the floods (though, thankfully, very few people have died), and many of them needed rescue. Fortunately, many area residents took it upon themselves to help their fellow man, and a loose coalition of boat owners called the "Cajun Navy" sprang up, which headed out to patrol flooded areas and search for people in distress. There is no doubt that the quick and comprehensive action of the Cajun Navy is much of the reason why so few people have been killed by this record-breaking flood, and it’s a wonderful and awe-inspiring thing to see people coming together to help those in need.
Of course, the government is upset at them because they didn’t ask permission, opting instead just to go save lives.