Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sunday Dispatch

This weekend has been beautiful. I have hardly paid attention to the spectacle of the Democratic conference regarding the Michigan and Florida delegates. As expected, they are allowing the delegates to count a half each. If Republicans were more like Democrats, they'd start making references to the 3/5ths Compromise.

I am reading "Where Have All the Soldiers Gone?" by James J. Sheehan. It traces the roots of European pacifism and the transformation of Europe into a Kantian vision of perpetual peace. I borrowed it from the library. I have noticed a trend in the Siouxland libraries favoring leftist ideology. They carry all the books from the political left, and only the occassional opposing voice. My taxpayer dollars at work financially supporting the other side. However, Sheehan's book is not necessarily showing the peaceful, prosperous European transformation as a good or natural thing. I think the thesis is key to understanding the cultural differences between Europe and the US.

On that subject, Victor Davis Hanson is in Europe and posts a Euromania dispatch.

I have admiration for the European Union’s unmistakable achievement in avoiding war for half a century, and its widespread prosperity—but it has come at a price. Given what Barack Obama has said about raising taxes, funding new entitlements, yielding to international consensus abroad, and seeing Americans in terms of various racial, class, and tribal constituencies, all with justified grievances, I think his notion of our future is what we see in European today—even as the Europeans grow increasingly restless about unions, high taxes, and their impotence in the world abroad. Apparently even two-hour lunches, no children, no church, no military, good food and the disco can get boring.

A note on Obama: in minute one, Euros gush; in minute two, the questions come; in minute three, they express concern (if they think you too might as well and so can be candid); in minute four, you sense they understand there is only one EU. So should the US become one too, they worry about who might play the US to the US?

In a sick way this speaks well of Obama: by his intent to turn the US into something like the EU, he is scaring some elites in the EU as never before. There can only be one socialist union: it requires a capitalist wide-open trading partner and a Nato-like ally to offer it free defense as well as an easy target for cheap invective. So the Europeans hint: “Please, don’t become quite like us—we need you as you are.”

Works for me. I prefer a Land of the Free, which entails a land where a person is free to fail. Europe of course is free to pursue their own destiny, I see no reason to follow. Europe is really behind the US in most measures of properity.

"The Association of European Chambers of Commerce in Brussels warned that the transatlantic gap had widened yet further in the past five years by all key measures"


"It will take the EU until 2072 to reach US levels of income per capita, and then only if the EU income growth exceeds that of the US by 0.5pc," the study said."

No reason to think that EU growth will exceed the US. Former Communist countries have a lot of catching up to do, and their growth rates have been marked, but if the EU imposes the kinds of regulations and tax rates they are likely to, those nations will plateau soon enough.

Roundup on the News:

US casualties in Iraq at all time low - In related news Iraq's oil production has risen. Good. Iraq needs the money. Say, whatever happened to the "We invaded for oil" meme? Seems the fools who said it are quiet about it now, given that we are NOT taking Iraq's oil and we are not benefitting from it. Awkward. Well, maybe not. They will come up with a rationalization.

Yes we can! - Win the war, that is. An yes, imo, the folks who want to withdraw the troops are defeatists. They would dishonor our nation, make the sacrifices that our troops have made futile, and cause endless trouble as well as more deaths in the future.

Clinton supporters wringing their hands about Bill's sociopathic behavior. Well, no kidding. He has always been this way. Whereas before his irresponsibility was a problem for our nation, now its a problem for Hillary and the left. Now, I guess it matters to them.

Homeless people make their home in Heathrow.

Michael Crichton predicted the extinction of mass media in 1993. Slate thinks he may be vindicated. This amused me: "Had Crichton's prediction been on track, by 2002 the New York Times should have been half-fossilized. But the newspaper's vital signs were so positive that its parent company commissioned a 1,046-foot Modernist tower, which now stands in Midtown Manhattan." As I recall, the NYT's used its influence to get the City gov't to condemn other people's property unjustly. I also recall at the time that analysts were not so positive on the NYT at the time of the construction. It was called a white elephant that would be a financial drag on the company which needed to become more innovative.

One a lighter note: Tiny, cute animals. Awwwww.... I notice at least one is photoshopped, but no matter! The dog with ducklings was particularly amusing to me.

"The brave and bold persist even against fortune; the timid and cowardly rush to despair through fear alone." - Tacitus