Four observations

  • No amount of gritty determination will get all of us into the upper half.
  • Sawing an inch off one end and nailing it onto the other does not make the board longer.
  • Some business plans are unsustainable in a democracy.
  • The funny thing about a cargo cult is, sometimes the planes come.

Externalizing the cost

Suppose immigrants from Somalia make the US a better place in the long term – more vibrancy, richer tapestry, spicier salad bowl, whatever, it works out in the long term.

First, we never get to the long term. After the Somalis it’ll be the Congolese, then the Uighurs, then, who knows? the Latvians, or the Hutus, the Mancunians, the Savoyards.

Second, the long term benefits accrue to the Somalis, and to the upper class. The short term costs are born by those racists at the bottom who can’t live in a gated community and send their child to private school.

It’s part of a larger pattern. The people in charge make policy regardless of what the rest of us want, externalizing the cost of that policy while capturing the benefit. Then they condemn us as bitter clingers, racists, and resentful older brothers.

Failed leaders

There is one strong, startling, outstanding thing about Eugenics, and that is its meanness. Wealth, and the social science supported by wealth, had tried an inhuman experiment. The experiment had entirely failed. They sought to make wealth accumulate–and they made men decay. Then, instead of confessing the error, and trying to restore the wealth, or attempting to repair the decay, they are trying to cover their first cruel experiment with a more cruel experiment. They put a poisonous plaster on a poisoned wound. Vilest of all, they actually quote the bewilderment produced among the poor by their first blunder as a reason for allowing them to blunder again. They are apparently ready to arrest all the opponents of their system as mad, merely because the system was maddening. Suppose a captain had collected volunteers in a hot, waste country by the assurance that he could lead them to water, and knew where to meet the rest of his regiment. Suppose he led them wrong, to a place where the regiment could not be for days, and there was no water. And suppose sunstroke struck them down on the sand man after man, and they kicked and danced and raved. And, when at last the regiment came, suppose the captain successfully concealed his mistake, because all his men had suffered too much from it to testify to its ever having occurred. What would you think of the gallant captain? It is pretty much what I think of this particular captain of industry. — Eugenics and Other Evils, by G.K. Chesterton, 1922

The high-speed-rail solution

Someone alert the Sanders campaign

Most of what I know about Senator Sanders comes from his Twitter feed. Surprisingly, he’s had little to say about high-speed rail. That’s unfortunate, because people need to get from where they are to where they need to be, for work, for school, and for a number of needs documented and otherwise. Because of market failures and fat-cat businessmen, affordable transportation is not always available. The government needs to step in and ensure access to the transportation all of us need.

So, free transportation for everyone! If you’re in Cleveland and you need to go to Chicago, just go to Washington DC and they’ll give you a free ride on green high-speed rail. A network of state-of-the-art transportation hubs will be located in Washington DC, Los Angles, and Managua, Nicaragua.

But how to pay for the high-speed rail? Free College! Because people need it. Some people think two years of college should be free, but actually that’s racist. Grad school should be free, everybody should get a Ph.D., and when they finish they should get a professorship with tenure.

Education pays for itself, and professors almost all vote Democrat, because they’re so intelligent and well educated. After the first crop of professors finishes, they will teach the next generation and, since professors make good money, they’ll pay a lot of taxes while they do it. These taxes will then be available to pay for the students’ tuition, room, and board, plus the high-speed rail line.

As an added bonus, if we implement plans like this we’ll also take care of that pesky illegal immigration problem.