Wednesday, February 29, 2012

People Who Live to Intimidate

Looking at India from the outside you appreciate the venality and the brutality of politics.

There's the Indian Railways that seems to rate an editorial in the newspaper every couple of days about its failure to improve safety, its failure to invest, its failure to turn a profit. Committee after committee reports and nothing is done. I wonder why the railways only seem to carry passengers. Perhaps the railway bureaucrats aren't interested in freight.

As we drive into the big cities, there seem to be endless important buildings announcing themselves as the Institute for Agricultural Basket Weaving, or some such, and you wonder: can India really afford to be flushing money down the toilet on useless bureaucracy just like in the US? The trouble is that developing countries seem to think that they have to mirror the west to count as serious nations.

Just how serious can serious be? There are wind farms in every state we have visited. I'm sure they are just as useless as the wind farms in the US. But I am sure that their crony wind-farm capitalists have benefited many an Indian politician.

Today, February 28, is a one-day general strike by Indian unions protesting rising prices and violations of the labor laws.

Yesterday there was a piece in the paper about Prime Minister Singh accusing anti-nuclear protesters in Tamil Nadu of getting support from foreign NGOs in the US and Sweden. The protest leaders react with outrage. Oh come on, fellahs. If you don't take money and advice from the anti-nuclear chaps in the west you would be fools. Meanwhile Tamil Nadu has daily electrical blackouts while two newly-constructed nuclear units sit idle. The protest leaders say they are determined to fight for the grievances of the fisher folk near the nuclear plant.

I'm trying to think about what these radical suits want. Right now in the US they are "auctioning" off the house of Wells Fargo Bank CEO. And Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is on the TV every day whacking evil Republicans. Meanwhile the left is protesting "workfare" in the UK as "slavery" and intimidating the corporations that signed up to hire welfare recipients into quitting the program.

What is it about these people? I suppose it's all about the intimidation. If they can intimidate someone, they will. Muslims excluded, of course, because Muslims don't believe in letting western radical suits, or anyone else, into intimidating them.

Intimidation. Government is force, and politics is the threat of force. So anyone in politics is someone that likes to intimidate.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bad Science Fails Like Bad Business

Our friends in the mainstream media were eager to regale us with stories of the failure of Enron and other overleveraged corporations in the 2001-02 recession.  It just showed, they said, the need for robust government regulation.

Actually, it showed nothing of the sort.  It showed, if anything, that crony capitalist outfits like Enron that seek the favor of the great and the good are a menace.  Enron was also making a big play in carbon offset trading.

Our liberal friends are a lot quieter about corporate corruption when we are talking about bailouts for auto companies.

The point is that, when things go south, and in this vale of tears they often do, then you will find out who are the fakes and who are the real thing.

The current moral meltdown is the FakeGate affair in which global-warming enthusiast Dr. Peter Gleick seems to have obtained internal documents from The Heartland Foundation and maybe faked an additional document to add verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing statement.  (That's what the government employees talked about in The Mikado when they had been ordered to produce an execution).

That's what a lot of folks do when they realize that their hopes and dreams are going up in smoke. That is why J.P. Morgan told the House of Representatives a century ago that the big thing in loaning out money was the character of the person seeking a loan.

Morgan knew, as a veteran of life as well as numerous railroad bankruptcies, that when things get rough, a lot of good people get tempted to cheat.

Let us turn this around.  When you see a lot of cheating going on then you know that things are going wrong.

Everyone makes a mistake.  Everyone misreads the weather forecast.  Anyone can hit an iceberg.  But not everyone shoulders aside the women and children in order to get a seat in a lifeboat.

But we are getting close to Goldfinger's Rule in the climate racket.  Climategate, you may say, was Happenstance.  Fakegate, you may claim, is Coincidence.  But one more warmist-gate means Enemy Action, Mr. Bond.

Friday, February 24, 2012

On the Road to Ooty

To get from Coimbatore in South India up to Ooty, the old hill-station for the Madras Presidency, you climb up a fierce switchback road into the Nilgiri Hills, famous for its tea plantations. The grade is steep, the switchbacks are endless, with some hairpin bends so tight that buses must go into the right lane, in the path of opposing traffic, in order to make the bend. Sometimes there's a truck coming in the opposite direction and it doesn't stop in time to give the bus the full use of both lanes. So everyone toots their horn; someone gets out and directs traffic, and eventually the truck backs up, the bus makes the turn, and the great hustle and bustle of the Indian roads resumes.

And what a bustle it is. There are buses everywhere carrying people from anywhere to everywhere. There are the ubiquitious Indian trucks, three axle jobs, and usually dreadfully underpowered by US standards. But hey, what's the problem, the traffic on the National Highways seldom goes faster than 80 kph. Then there are cars darting in and out: they generally want to pass the slow trucks and buses, but there isn't always room to pass if tuk-tuks and motor-cycles are coming in the opposite direction. No problem, you just toot your horn and expect the motor-cycles to jam over to give you room. In the cities, of course, the motor-cycles form a flood tide of traffic, forever flowing around and in-between the bigger four-wheeled vehicles.

India is on the move; everyone is driving or riding somewhere, and if not they are building something. Construction is ubiquitous and construction materials litter the side of the road.  Advertising appears everywhere; if large diameter pipe is left very long, it soon sports advertising.

Highway construction is ripping swathes through the countryside. Houses are condemned and torn down: sometimes a building only partly intrudes on the right-of-way and is only partly demolished. Culverts and bridges are built right across the existing road and the traffic flows off to the side and around the new concrete structures under construction. When it's all built, each National Highway is a four-lane divided highway, with plenty of at-grade crossings. But it is no longer an upgraded country lane meandering up and down and around, but a real engineered highway with steady grades, embankments and cuttings: that unmistakable mechanical Newtonian look and feel. At the toll plazas one of the many signboards lists the dignitaries exempt from payment.

When we get up to Ooty, after negotiating the hair-pin bends and the trucks and the buses and the cars and the motor-cycles and the vehicles stopped by the side of the road unloading something, we find that the old hill-station is a major tourist destination for Indians. Just the place for a weekend getaway from Bangalore or Mumbai. And when tourist season fades during the monsoon it's time for honeymoons--for yes, Indians like getting married in the rain, as Monsoon Wedding testified a while back.

Our guide tells us that Indians like to have their photos taken with western tourists, and when we go into the Ooty Botanical Gardens we understand what he means. Young Indian men just love to get Marjorie and me into a group photo with them and their pals. Sometimes one of them takes the picture; sometimes the guide does it.

Marjorie spies two twenty-ish girls wearing exactly the same black and white pattern. Are they sisters? No, just friends, and it's time for photos all round again.

This is a glorious time in India. A rising tide is floating all boats, and India is full of its possibilities.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

America's Verdict on Obama

When Jonah Goldberg wrote Liberal Fascism back in 2008, liberals blew it off; they weren't interested in engaging its arguments. It wasn't surprising. Liberal Fascism said what conservatives have been saying about liberals for ages. It said that there was a fascistic streak in liberals that goes back to William James and the "moral equivalent of war."

Liberals want to mobilize the nation for great tasks, but not for war. They want to mobilize us into a civilian army to fight the good fight for education, for helping the poor, for health care.  Specifically, they want us to follow their lead and pay for their plans for the welfare state. And anyone that doesn't follow is a rotten egg, expressed more elegantly these days as a racist, sexist, or homophobe.

There is a point to the "moral equivalent of war." From time to time, we the American people need to mobilize to respond to some great national emergency that is not war related: Think Hurricane Katrina. But health care, education, welfare, superannuation, the great liberal programs that are bankrupting the nation, are not national emergencies. They are the normal challenges of life that people come together and solve, generation by generation, in social cooperation. These tasks do not require extraordinary mobilization--as if for war--and they do not get solved well under conditions of compulsion. They are the normal complex interactions of the great panorama of the challenges of life, so they are unlikely to respond well to the one-size-fits-all strategy of war, moral or otherwise.

You could say, a century and a half ago in the middle of the chaotic transition from agricultural society to industrial society, that the emergency required decisive action. But not today. That is why liberals use the language of justice more often than war to justify their extraordinary powers. They say that people are poor because other people are rich, because of greedy bankers and corporate greed--or exploitation or inadequate education or anything that comes to mind.

The big problem, and it gets bigger all the time, is that every time our liberal friends capture an area of social cooperation and place it under the yoke of compulsion they wither the natural instincts and virtues of the American people for unforced, willing and voluntary social cooperation.

In the 19th century, foreign critics noted the extraordinary talent for cooperation in the American people. Whenever Americans saw a need, remarked Tocqueville, they formed an association to tackle it. But the modern, liberal approach is that whenever liberals see a need, they agitate for a government program to solve it. The difference between the old method and the new method is the difference between black and white. But it is a mistake to critique the liberal approach to society with the normal shibboleths of "justice," "corruption," and "abuse of power." The problem is bigger than that. The result of the liberal project, its culture of compulsion and regimentation, of enlisting the whole nation, as if it were an army, in its moral projects, is a vast human tragedy that is tearing our society out by the roots and that withers the tendrils of social nutrition and individual moral growth.

Now of course, we have Charles Murray's latest, Coming Apart, which puts numbers and percentages on the indictment served up by Jonah Goldberg. When we talk about "coming apart" we mean precisely the loss of social capital, the goodwill and willing cooperation, that is the unintended consequence of each new liberal program and each new ratchet of the culture of compulsion.

This year, 2012, Americans are getting a momentous opportunity to vote "yea" or "nay" on the liberal project. Right now, of course, everyone is talking about the weakness of the Republican candidates on the one hand, or the utter cynicism of the Obama FY13 budget on the other. People want the president to be defeated for the right reasons, and they despair of the prospects for a decisive rejection of the president and all his works.

Politics is seldom as clear-cut as that. Just as Al Capone was not convicted of racketeering but income tax evasion, the great liberal project of social regimentation will not be defeated purely on its merits but most likely upon subsidiary issues. Maybe it will be defeated just because people don't like liberals and especially don't like Obama.

But those of us that believe in American exceptionalism have faith that the American people will deliver their verdict on Obama, and it will not be Four More Years.

New Federal Budget up on

So now, a week late, the president has submitted his FY13 budget. And of course has all the data.

But what does it mean?

There's the higher deficit, $1.3 trillion for the election year of 2012 instead of the sub-trillion deficit budgeted for FY12 just a year ago. But we expected that, from the sub-par growth in this sub-par recovery.

There's the gigantic contribution of the Fed's QE2, a convenient $1.6 trillion of public debt that was bought by the Federal Reserve System in FY11. Goodness knows what the impact of that will be in a year or so when credit demand picks up and the $1.6 trillion gets converted into $5 trillion or so in money and credit.

If you are looking for a report card on Obama spending, you can see it in the Estimated vs. Actual for FY11, the spending year that ended last September 30.  You can see the estimates for FY11 for the major functions starting in the FY07 budget.  You can see the sudden jump of about $80 billion a year in Health Care, the $40 billion a year in Education, and the $100 billion a year in Welfare.  Oh, and the $70 billion a year in Other Spending.  Pretty soon we'll be talking about real spending increases!

The big story, of course, is that the president has punted on restraining spending. He's done nothing about the entitlements, especially Medicare, which is already hemorrhaging $280 billion a year over its payroll tax revenues--unless you consider the smoke and mirrors and bureaucratic trick ponies in ObamaCare as serious attempts to address the Medicare problem.

It's frustrating for everyone, liberal and conservative, that the nation is drifting on down the river towards the waterfall, and nothing is being done to fix the government's finances. But that is politics. Politics is not really a system to compromise or settle anything. Politics is power, and the national political power today is contested. That's what we mean by the culture war, by "50-50 nation," by the liberal complaint about the loss of civility and all the other terms used to describe the stalemate in national politics. We will keep drifting downriver until we really go over the waterfall. In the emergency, the question of how much in taxes and how much in spending will be resolved in a great trial of political strength.

Until then Republicans will refuse to agree to new taxes and Democrats will refuse to agree to "cuts." But one thing is certain. When the crisis comes, it won't just be "minorities and women hardest hit." It will be ordinary people across the spectrum who will be hurt, from the working stiff wanting a decent wage, to the college graduate looking for corporations that will hire them to the retiree trying to get a decent interest rate out of his lifetime of savings, to the government beneficiary suddenly finding out that all the old scams don't work any more.

It's such a shame.  Because if we cut back the power and the spending of government all Americans would get a better deal.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Obama Punts on Budget

The federal budget is out today, and the advance word is that it doesn't look beyond the election in November. Writes Douglas Holtz-Eakin:
As a campaign document, it will be straightforward. Tax increases as a sop to those who blame their economic misery on the affluent and Wall Street. Billions of dollars in new “investments” as the president restarts his successful campaign-as-handout factory.
Let's leave out the overall budget deficit of about a trillion dollars in FY13.  Let's look at the real spending  programs.  Social Security is hemorrhaging $60 billion a year and Medicare is bleeding $280 billion a year in spending over and above payroll tax revenues.

The president and his campaign team obviously think that nothing has changed.  They are offering goodies and handouts for the election with no eye on the future at all (and they blame corporate greed for short-term attitudes).

But the aftermath of the Crash of 2008 showed that Americans absolutely hate bailouts.  At some point the American voters are going to start voting on fiscal sanity.  It might be as soon as this November.

Here in India, in the Times of India, an Indian transplant to Britland, Sunil Khilnani, worries about the Indian government's inability to deliver services the "last mile."  Really, what planet is he living on?  Governments have never delivered on any services, except the handing out of goodies to their supporters and the punishing of dissenters.

Governments everywhere and in every time have taxed the people and rewarded their supporters as much as they dare.  They have delivered on mighty little.  Because there is no advantage to the average elected politician or the local thug dictator in delivering over that last mile.

Delivering services is what capitalism does, and it does it very well.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Let's Epatez the Liberaloisie!

Traveling the long hours across the Atlantic on Thursday I got a chance to catch up on some "classic" movies.  As in Planet of the Apes and Close Encounters.  Not to mention Sunset Boulevard.

I admit it.  I had never seen those great movies.

I had no idea.  No idea that the Charlton Heston vehicle was in fact an allegory on our horrible racist, speciesist, fundamentalist society.  Or that Close Encounters was a gentle poke (gentle because of Steven Spielberg) at the Vietnam era government that, you'll recall, was always lying to us.  Unlike the administration of the wonderful One.

Nor did I know that Sunset Boulevard was an entry in the good old hard-boiled genre, including cameos by all the old Hollywood moguls like Cecil B. DeMille.  But that is another story.

Let's get back to Planet of the Apes.  Ever since the invention of the German cult of the creative, or what Charles Taylor calls "expressive individualism," a favorite reflex of the creative class has been the "challenge" to bourgeois hypocrisies.  The Sixties was a bumper decade in that regard, especially in popular culture as all kinds of mainstream entertainment mocked the old Protestant and anti-Communist pieties and hypocrisies.  Thus M*A*S*H, Star Trek, Archie Bunker.  Young liberal artists were granted open season to epater la bourgeoisie.

The great cultural offensive of the counter-culture wasn't quite as brave and noble counter-cultural as liberals liked to pretend, because the transgressive "challengers" of the status quo actually had quiet and not so quiet support from the cultural establishment.

You can appreciate just how substantial that support was if you try to imagine a Planet of the Conservatives where conservatives own the culture and rule over liberals and mouth liberal pieties about race and global warming and wind farms and silence their critics with PC.

Yes, the measure of political and cultural power is the extent to which you can silence the opposition.  No, let's correct that.  The measure of political and cultural power is the extent to which the opposition doesn't even have to be "silenced" but rather never dares to venture its opinion.  How many people today think heretical thoughts but fear being branded as racists, sexists, homophobes, and know that there would be no support from a liberal media for their transgressive opinions, unlike the "kids" of the Sixties.

But some people are detecting cracks in the liberal monolith.  The flap over contraception in the Catholic hospitals is a marker.  How far can the Catholics bend over for the liberal bullies without disappearing into the liberal cultural hegemony?

Let's look at the mortgage meltdown.

Here's President Obama praising a $25 billion deal over abusive bank foreclosures.
We have reached a landmark settlement with the nation's largest banks that will speed relief to hardest hit homeowners and some of the most abusive practices of the mortgage industry. And begin to turn the page on an era of recklessness that has left so much damage in its wake.
This continues the Democratic talking points on the mortgage meltdown, that it was unregulated "greedy bankers" that enticed innocent homeowners into deals they couldn't afford.  It flies against a competing Republican narrative that the banks were strong-armed into floating mortgages to people that couldn't afford them by Big Government regulation in the Community Reinvestment Act and the two mortgage GSE giants, Fannie and Freddie.

Imagine, if you like, a sit-com about a single twentysomething mortgage broker that's always out of town at some Fannie-Freddie shindig where they are pushing mortgages to under-served communities.  And his flatmate is an ACORN activist that organizes demonstrations at banks when she is free from those endless voter registration drives with no ID required.  I know, it's the stuff of fantasy.

But we won't start to turn the corner on hegemonic liberalism until a new generation of transgressive artists has the cojones and the conservative establishment backing to stage frontal assaults on liberal lies, shibboleths, and hypocrisies with satire, investigative journalism, and allegory.

Perhaps that new era is just beginning.  We can but hope.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Jews, Politics, and Conformity

Party identification for Jews has changed by 9 percent since 2008, according to Pew Research.
Jews who support or lean Republican jumped from 20% in 2008 to 29% in 2011. And Jews who support or lean Democratic fell from 72% in 2008 to 65% in 2011. The 2011 study has a 6.5% margin of error.
I know what you are thinking.  What took them so long?

What took them so long is that humans are social animals.  They are powerfully drawn to think and act like their kind. Abraham H. Miller:
Most people come to their politics the way they come to their religion. They’ve been socialized into a political belief system. They learn about politics as accepted behavior. They learn what newspapers and magazines to read, what media to watch, and what clichés they can utter among their friends for which they can receive social affirmation.
For years and years, Jewish Americans have been taught to fear the Christians and to hate the WASP establishment.  And left-wing secular intellectual Jews put a heavy stamp on Jewish opinion.  But now American Jews have to accept that the Democratic Party in America is not friendly to Israel and not friendly to Jews.  It's not that Democrats are necessarily anti-Semitic.  But Democrats operate according to an iron law of values.  Democrats privilege certified victims.  Back in the 1930s the certified victims were working stiffs.  Then they were African Americans.  Now they are illegal immigrants.  And, of course, Palestinians.

There was a time when American Jews were victims.  As they struggled off the boat from Russia in the early 20th century they were thought to be stupid.  So stupid that by 1920 they were applying to Harvard in disturbing numbers.  The WASPs of the era put a quota on Jews in the Harvard student body just like liberals play quota games with minorities today.  And they kept Jews out of their neighborhoods and country clubs.  It was a natural for Jews to join the Democratic Party.

But now, of course, Jews are prominent in the conservative movement.  In the 1970s Jewish intellectuals "mugged by reality" became "neo-conservatives" and made a big contribution to the Reagan era.  Today Jews are all over talk radio--Medved, Levin, Prager, Savage--and they aren't neo any more, just conservative.

For Miller, the 9 percent shift in party identification towards the Republican Party is a big deal.
The 9% movement among Jews into the Republican camp means far and away more than what can be assessed by that number. It means the beginning of a critical mass so that liberal Jews will no longer be free to mouth political banalities, leftist clichés, and Democratic talking points without challenge. They will no longer be able to rely on social pressure to both stifle dissent and to promote political conformity among the vast majority of people whose political interests invariably align with what is socially palatable. They will no longer be able to be arrogant in their ignorance, because their ignorance will no longer be socially shared.
 The big problem for the conservative movement today is that "leftist clichés, and Democratic talking points" still get a free ride in education, in media, and in movies.  It would be a big deal if a critical mass of Jews came over to the conservative side and dialed down the volume on the liberal Musak that we all hear as part of the background music of life.

Also, of course, the Democrats are going to run out of other people's money.  The tell-tale indications of this are cropping up all over.  A big one is that the Democrats in Congress aren't interested in passing budget resolutions they are required to pass by law each year.
The Senate last passed a budget 1,106 days ago—that would be almost three years—and now the White House is telling Democrats not to bother this year either. Harry Reid will be pleased, because last week the Majority Leader said he had no plans to do so.
Democrats passed the Budget Act in the 1970s are a way to ride herd on the hated Richard Nixon.  But now they don't want to pass budget resolutions because they show more clearly than they would like to admit that their spending programs are steering the US towards the rocks of debt and default.

No doubt voices will soon be heard on the left complaining that the Jews are leaving the Democratic Party because they are more interested in their money than in justice and compassion.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Is the Future Cognitive?

Everyone agrees that to make it in the modern world you need to work on your cognitive intelligence.  Conservative libertarian Charles Murray has developed this message in The Bell Curve, Human Accomplishment, and Coming Apart. Barack Obama agrees.
“You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer, or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers.”
So much for all the other folks in this world, writes John Derbyshire.
So much for mechanics, gardeners, fishermen, glaziers, loggers, athletes, barbers, truckers, cooks, butchers, roofers, miners, crane operators, manicurists, linemen, dancers, cameramen, steel fixers, personal trainers, carpenters, brewers, florists, ranchers, masons, potters . . . The hell with them!
It's natural for all of us chaps in the cognitive elite to privilege our own skills, the ability to muck around in the written world and the math world.  Thus is makes complete sense that "Somehow we have arrived in the 21st century with a class of rulers so bereft of imagination they cannot conceive that anyone would wish to be less educated than themselves."  Of course we have.  We are ruled by the sons of the educated elite of the late 19th century, and an educated elite naturally thinks that the most important thing, the only thing, is education.

This despite the fact that the dominant learning method among humans is learning by doing.

There's no doubt that cognitively intelligent people are an extremely important resource in today's world.  But.

But I suspect that the really important people are those that bring people and things together.  People like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, and Ronald Reagan.  I'm not sure that people like them excel because of their cognitive brilliance.  I think that their brilliance is more their middle-man skills, getting in the middle of things and getting cognitive people to produce.

Anyway, I think that we really need to stop privileging the cognitive elite and erecting barriers to people with more hands-on skills.  Because if we don't ease up the hands-on people might some day decide that they have had enough of truckling to the cognitive nerds and take things into their own hands.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dems Ditch Catholics and Blue Collars

Is President Obama serious?  In the last month he has dissed the old Democratic base, the blue-collar workers of the construction industry.  That's the meaning of the decision to postpone the Keystone XL pipeline.

Government is choosing, and when President Obama had to choose between environmentalists and blue-collar workers he chose the environmentalists.

Just when conservatives had finished marveling at this turn away from the iconic center of the New Deal coalition, the working stiff, the Obamis pulled a second shocker.  It was the decision to force the Catholic Church to include contraception and abortifaciants in any health insurance offered to employees of Catholic institutions.

Government is choosing, and when President Obama had to choose between Catholics and his secularist, pro-abortion base, he chose the secularists.

So the Obamis think they can win reelection without the working stiffs and without the Catholics?  That means that they believe they can win with the educated elite and the welfare state beneficiaries.  Maybe they are right.  We'll see in November.

But really, this has been coming on for a generation.  The fact is that the Democratic Party is no longer the party of the working class.  It is the party of upper class liberals, the trustafarians, the educators, the government managers, the environmentalists, and it is the party of the lifetime government employee and the government benefit recipients.  Given this, the effort to keep the ordinary private-sector working stiff inside the party becomes too much of a stretch.  And given that the Democratic Party has become more and more the secularist party, the party opposed to transcendental religion, the effort to keep the Catholics inside the party has also become too much of an effort.

And really, it's about time.  It's about time that all private sector workers recognize that the Democrats just don't care about people like them.  And it's about time that American Catholics recognize that the Democrats just don't like any Christians.

Used to be that the Republican Party was the Protestant party and the Democrats the Catholic party.  No longer.  Now the Republican Party is the religious party and the Democrats the secularist party.

And here is news for you working stiffs and Catholics who have just been excommunicated from the Democratic Party.  Despite what you have heard, conservatives and Republicans are really nice guys and gals, and will welcome you into our tents.   You will find that conservatives and Republicans will listen to your ideas and start to accommodate your needs.  And you will find that you will start to move towards conservative and Republican ideas.

All in all, it could be the beginning of something great, for workers, for Catholics, and for America.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

No Sex, We're Japanese?

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit has two fascinating looks at sex and marriage in Japan.  There's a poll out that says the Japanese are uninterested in sex.
The survey, conducted by the Japan Family Planning Association, found that 36% of males aged 16 to 19 said that they had “no interest” in or even “despised” sex. That’s almost a 19% increase since the survey was last conducted in 2008.

If that’s not bad enough, The Wall Street Journal reports that a whopping 59% of female respondents aged 16 to 19 said they were uninterested in or averse to sex, a near 12% increase since 2008.
Hold on, says an emailer to Glenn.  The real problem is the three lost decades in Japan since the meltdown in the 1990s.
The statistics you link to miss the point. Young Japanese guys are as horny and desperate to get laid as any guys in the world. Probably more so, since only young Arabs get less actual sex. Japanese girls are as eager to find an alpha male boyfriend as any other nationality. Japan still produces the most prolific and extraordinary porn in the world. Someone is watching it.

Unfortunately, three lost economic decades has resulted in a plethora of un- or under-employed young beta men, without real jobs or prospects of success, and young women who look at these prospective suitors and despair.
And, of course, our Japanese friends have been patiently doing Keynesian economics now for three decades in a conventional attempt to get out of their economic doldrums.  They have little to show for it.

This helps put Mitt Romney's bonehead comment about not worrying about the very poor in context.  The Democratic Party is an over-under party, a combination of the top 20 percent in their tenured sinecures and the bottom 20 percent in their lifetime benefits.  The Republican Party is the party for the people in the middle, the people without benefits and without government sinecures.

The Republican Party better pay attention to the tragic situation of ordinary young people in Japan.  Because we must not let that happen here.  So it's good that Mitt Romney is paying attention.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Romney's "Gaffes"

First we learned that Mitt Romney enjoyed firing people.  Yeah, I know the context was that he enjoyed firing insurance companies, but coming from the private equity guy at Bain Capital, it was a bit jarring.

Now "foot-in-mouth" Mitt has dropped another one.  He says he's not worried about the very poor.
"I’m in this race because I care about Americans," Romney said. "I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs a repair, I’ll fix it."
"I’m not concerned about the very rich — they’re doing just fine," he said. "I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95% of Americans who right now are struggling. I’ll continue to take that message across the nation."
Yeah, I know the context, and I agree that the people that are really struggling are the people that want to get a job, pay their taxes, obey the law, and follow the rules.

But we all know that the Democrats are chuckling this morning.  They think they are going to bury Romney with his gaffes.

Only maybe people worry about gaffes too much.  I remember back in the spring of 1980 that a Democratic friend was rubbing his hands with glee over all the gaffes that Ronald Reagan had made over the years.  He reckoned that the Dems would demolish Reagan come the Fall.  Didn't quite work out that way, did it?

What Mitt Romney has to do is turn lemon into lemonade.  Yeah, he enjoys firing people.  Not hardworking Americans but arrogant politicians that bury the nation in debt.  Yeah, he worries about the poor, about how the poor have been culturally nuked by 50 years of Great Society liberalism.  And once he's got the "heart of America" back to work then he'll start to worry about the liberal-created underclass that is going badly wrong.  But the people he really cares about are the folks that are struggling in today's Obama-wrecked economy.

And isn't it convenient that "big book" Charles Murray has just published Coming Apart?