America Shifts Right in 2014

Although it doesn't look like it at first glance, there's is a decided rightward shift in America. It is in the early stages and at the moment, much of it is being driven by negative social mood and the end stage of democracy—when the money runs out.

Entropy: Decoding the DNA of This American Moment
The rejection of Governmental power in aid of the governed is so rare as to be the stuff of legend. (When George III heard of George Washington's resignation as commander, the king remarked, "He is the greatest man in the world.")

The question, finally, is, What is going on here? How is it possible that Germany and England, twice in two decades, retired to the traditional dueling grounds to kill off an entire generation of their youth? Why did we follow France to Vietnam, and Russia into Afghanistan? Why have we, the citizen—owners of this country, allowed an entrenched class of bureaucrats to have control over our laws and resources? Here is my own law of thermodynamics: The blonde always breaks up the band.

The successful band attracts groupies. The groupie, girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse of the most successful member of the band may inherit a certain power. He or she, at the least, may, in bed, comment upon or indeed contravene the decisions made in the studio. He or she is taking easily offered (cheap) power and using it. Does this make these operations evil? Not necessarily. The paramour may very well have the interests of the band at heart and may even have musical knowledge and insight. But the mechanism of decision (the band in the studio) is forever altered and weakened. The other band members, faced with this new regime, each will find his or her own blonde (paramour, agent, brother-in-law), for the precedent has been set, the compact has been broken, and energy will take the most efficient path downhill, and thus it ends in court. As it does with our government in the waning days of American hegemony.

What can one say of a country in which elected officials voted, in a 2,400-page bill, to give the government power over six percent of the economy, according to laws that no one had read? "We have to pass the bill to find out what's in it," said Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House. Is this an example of daylight madness? Of course.

......If before the big bang there was nothing, and if all energy since then is expended in the manner best suited to return the world to that state, then all seemingly random permutations of energy dispersal must be attempts to accelerate the return to chaos.
Democracy leads to decay and chaos.

Alec Baldwin: Good-bye, Public Life
Am I a homophobe? Look, I work in show business. I am awash in gay people, as colleagues and as friends. I’m doing Rock of Ages one day, making out with Russell Brand. Soon after that, I’m advocating with Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Cynthia Nixon for marriage equality. I’m officiating at a gay friend’s wedding. I’m not a homophobic person at all. But this is how the world now sees me.

I haven’t changed, but public life has.

It used to be you’d go into a restaurant and the owner would say, “Do you mind if I take a picture of you and put it on my wall?” Sweet and simple. Now, everyone has a camera in their pocket.

......I’ve lived in New York since 1979. It was a place that they gave you your anonymity. And not just if you were famous. New Yorkers nodded at you. New Yorkers smiled at you at the Shakespeare & Co. bookshop. New Yorkers would make a terse comment to you. “Big fan,” they’d say. “Loved you in Streetcar,” they’d say. They signaled their appreciation of you very politely. To be a New Yorker meant you gave everybody five feet. You gave everybody their privacy. I recall how, in a big city, many people had to play out private moments in public: a woman sobbing at a pay phone (remember pay phones?), someone studying their paperwork, undisturbed, at the Oyster Bar, before catching the train. We allowed people privacy, we left them alone. And now we don’t leave each other alone. Now we live in a digital arena, like some Roman Colosseum, with our thumbs up or thumbs down.
Tocqueville warned against this mentality in Democracy in America. It also could be found at America's founding, when mobs of patriots would loot the homes of Loyalists and chase them out of town.

I probably have to move out of New York. I just can’t live in New York anymore. Everything I hated about L.A. I’m beginning to crave. L.A. is a place where you live behind a gate, you get in a car, your interaction with the public is minimal. I used to hate that. But New York has changed. Manhattan is like Beverly Hills. And the soul of New York has moved to Brooklyn, where everything new and exciting seems to be. I have to accept that. I want my newest child to have as normal and decent a life as I can provide. New York doesn’t seem the place for that anymore.
Alec Baldwin is giving into despair. He wants to get out of the chaos.

This is consistent with a decline in social mood—a desire to be separated from the public. However, poor people cannot put gates around their homes because they cannot afford them. Poor people avoid the other by pushing them out of their neighborhood through intimidation and violence.

Then there is Spike Lee's rant against immigration.
Then comes the motherf—ing’ Christopher Columbus Syndrome. You can’t discover this! We been here. You just can’t come and bogart. There were brothers playing motherf—ing’ African drums in Mount Morris Park [in Harlem] for 40 years and now they can’t do it anymore because the new inhabitants said the drums are loud …

Nah. You can’t do that. You can’t just come in the neighborhood and start bogarting and say, like you’re motherf—in’ Columbus and kill off the Native Americans. Or what they do in Brazil, what they did to the indigenous people. You have to come with respect. There’s a code. There’s people.
Spike Lee doesn't like outsiders coming into the community and changing it, but that is exactly what the dominant ideology in America, multiculturalism, says must happen. So there's an anti-democratic sentiment from anyone who doesn't want their neighborhood changed.

Lee is actually talking about gentrification in his rant, but it applies equally to the Hong Kong people railing against Mainland locusts or Southernors slamming Northeast liberals who move in and try to change the culture.

Then there's democracy turning into the ouroboros and consuming itself in battles such as The Battle of San Jose.
It doesn’t take much imagination to see where the blue model is heading in the long run. The poor and middle-class are paying more in taxes even as services are being cut. And a growing portion of those tax dollars is going to fund pensions that pay out 90 percent of a public employee’s final salary level in retirement. According to the report, pension costs account for a full quarter of San Jose’s fiscal pie, quadruple what it did only ten years ago.

And we still can’t even call public employees the clear victors in this ugly contest. In San Jose, the number of current public employees has been cut by almost thirty percent. In other words, public employee union members are paying dues to secure benefits that could eventually force cities to fire them.

For this reason and others, the blue civil war is seeing many more Spotsylvanias than Gettysburgs: battles in which the bodies pile up quickly without any clear winner to show for it. Both public employees and poor residents are long-run losers in this system that union leaders and their allied legislators have imprudently designed. This is the case in Detroit and Chicago as much as it is in San Jose.

Make no mistake: the blue civil war is raging amongst the leadership ranks of the political class, every bit as much as it is at the level of individual citizens. Mayor Reed is fighting an uphill battle to ease constitutional restrictions on pension reform, measures which unions and some fellow Democrats vehemently oppose. A similar battle is being fought in Illinois, Rhode Island, and Chicago.

Is retirement security for public workers more important than social services for the poor? Are pensions and job security for teachers more important than a poor child’s access to a good education? These are the kinds of questions that will continue to pit Democratic legislators and voters against each other.
Speaking of bankrupt cities, here's another one to add to the list: Rome. It's not American, but the story is the same. Rome days away from bankruptcy
Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, came under pressure on Thursday as the city of Rome was on the brink of bankruptcy after parliament threw out a bill that would have injected fresh funding.

Ignazio Marino, Rome mayor, said city services like public transport would come to a halt and that he would not be a "Nero" - the Roman emperor who, legend has it, strummed his lyre as the city burnt to the ground.

And then there's this article that sums of the effect of democracy on the public: A morbidly obese patient tests the limits of a doctor’s compassion
The patient is in his 40s. He spends his days on the sofa at home, surviving on disability checks related to his back pain.

Facing him, I feel momentarily put off. I’m not sure just where to start the examination, and when I begin, my hands look small and insignificant against the panorama of skin they’re kneading.

It’s hard to tell, exactly, but I think his pain is coming from somewhere around his stomach.

I call the surgeon. When he finds out how much the patient weighs, he says that he’ll be down to see him “in a while.”

Awaiting his arrival, we try to shoot some X-rays. When we roll him onto his side, though, he turns an unnatural shade of blue-gray and can’t tolerate the position long enough for us to put the X-ray cassette behind his back.

We try a chest X-ray, turning up the power to the maximum setting. All we see is white: The patient’s body is just too thick to allow standard X-rays to penetrate to the bones; he is a walking lead shield.

......“The Americans with Disabilities Act says that they should have the proper equipment to handle me, the same as they do for anyone else,” he says indignantly. “I’m entitled to that. I’ll probably have to sue to get the care I really need.”

......Though I have no way of knowing it, within a few months a crane will hoist the patient’s body through a hole cut in the side of his house, a hole that allowed EMS personnel to lower the body onto their new ultra-wide, ultra-sturdy gurney.

There's the PC card game.

Consider the following actual situations.

Should Christian Bakers Be Allowed to Refuse Wedding Cakes to Gays?

Muslim taxi driver dumps family out of his cab after spotting an unopened bottle of wine saying it was against his religion

Gay activists have met their match with Muslim barbers (In which a Muslim barber refuses to barber a lesbian because his religion forbids him to touch a woman other than his wife.)

ASA Members Vote To Endorse Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

Not safe to display American flag in American high school on Cinco de Mayo

Is there any difference between them and why?

Bonus question re number 3: suppose the Muslim taxi driver refusing the couple with the bottle of wine was white and the passengers were black, would that change your mind? Why should it? An unrelated but practical question: why would you like a wedding cake baked for you by someone patently disapproves of your life style? Wouldn’t you be afraid to eat it? Why on earth would you want a shave or haircut from an angry Muslim barber? Have they run out of other barbers in Canada or is there a principle involved.

Officials at a Northern California high school acted appropriately when they ordered students wearing American flag T-shirts to turn the garments inside out during the Mexican heritage celebration Cinco de Mayo, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the officials' concerns of racial violence outweighed students' freedom of expression rights. Administrators feared the American-flag shirts would enflame the passions of Latino students celebrating the Mexican holiday. Live Oak High School, in the San Jose suburb of Morgan Hill, had a history of problems between white and Latino students on that day.

The unanimous three-judge panel said past problems gave school officials sufficient and justifiable reasons for their actions. The court said schools have wide latitude in curbing certain civil rights to ensure campus safety.
The threat of violence is now grounds for revoking first amendment rights.

And then in the UK: Tough Love
I asked her whether she thought a young and violent burglar would have proved much of a companion. She admitted that he wouldn't, but said that he was the type she liked; besides which—in slight contradiction—all boys were the same.

I warned her as graphically as I could that she was already well down the slippery slope leading to poverty and misery—that, as I knew from the experience of untold patients, she would soon have a succession of possessive, exploitative, and violent boyfriends, unless she changed her life. I told her that in the past few days, I had seen two women patients who had had their heads rammed down the lavatory, one who had had her head smashed through a window and her throat cut on the shards of glass, one who had had her arm, jaw, and skull broken, and one who had been suspended by her ankles from a tenth-floor window to the tune of, "Die, you bitch!"

"I can look after myself," said my 17-year-old.

"But men are stronger than women," I said. "When it comes to violence, they are at an advantage."

"That's a sexist thing to say," she replied.

A girl who had absorbed nothing at school had nevertheless absorbed the shibboleths of political correctness in general and of feminism in particular.

"But it's a plain, straightforward, and inescapable fact," I said.

"It's sexist," she reiterated firmly.

H/T: Outside In
Alpha Game

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