Procurement

The Chicago way

Chicago needs widgets. The city can’t just but them off the shelf at Home Depot or Wal*Mart. They have to go through a vendor. A percentage of the vendors have to meet certain requirements in terms of ownership (minority-owned, woman-owned, mob-controlled) along with the run-of-the-mill white guys. The city accepts “bids” via a easily corruptible process and chooses the vendor according to the whims of the aldercreature, the “reverends” or the voters the mayor needs. The vendor then goes and picks out the widgets at Home Depot or Wal*Mart and marks up the price by a skim-able percentage, contributes to the approved re-election fund, and pockets the rest.”

It seems like this is increasingly not just the Chicago way, but the American way.

Voting

The dictum has been “when faced with a choice of evils, choose the lesser.” In politics, that has not worked.

It would be ironic if the utilitarian strategy of voting for the lesser evil failed on utilitarian grounds, but that does seem to be what’s happened. Maybe it shouldn’t be surprising. As with all shortcuts, it may be the nature of utilitarianism that it seems to work at first, then fails later; at which point, Hey look! another shortcut is offered.

What seems the pragmatic way to get things done, is not. What seems difficult and foolish is the only way forward. Anyway, I’m done with voting for the lesser evil. It seems illogical to say “when faced with a choice of evils, don’t do evil,” but maybe that’s the way to go.

Not very liberal

“When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles.”

This is quoted by Ben Domenech in The End of Tolerance And Enforced Morality. He got it from Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune where it is attributed to Louis Veuillot. My French isn’t good enough to be sure, but it sounds like Veuillot didn’t actually say “Quand je suis le plus faible, je vous demande la liberté parce que tel est votre principe ; mais quand je suis le plus fort, je vous l’ôte, parce que tel est le mien.” Anyway, it’s certainly a timely remark, and it explains some political affinities that seem contrary to stated principles.

For the left, things like free speech are vehicles. Tolerance is a bus; when it has taken the liberal where he wanted to go, he gets off. It’s not very liberal, but that the left are “liberals” is simply a lie like so many others. They were, and they remain, totalitarians.

Foreign policy

with a prediction

What is the administration’s goal in the Middle East? No idea. Possibly just to make it through the next week, or the next election. There’s no point in listening to what any politician says about it. The only thing to do is look at what happens. What happens is, Muslims kill each other in enormous numbers, and kill any non-Muslims within their reach.

It’s become clear that the US is not going to stop Iran getting nuclear weapons. If they’re to be stopped, someone else will have to do it. If they are not stopped, and maybe at this point even if they are, the Saudis will start a weapons program. Will we stop them? Maybe; they are an ally; sort of.

Israel sees Iranian nukes as a threat, and has a right to. Everyone says “never again,” but the Israelis really mean it. And of course they have nuclear weapons already. But while acknowledging Israel’s concern, I think the first use of a nuclear weapon by Muslims will be against other Muslims. Whether it’s cynical or feckless, the administration’s actions have made this more likely.