Quote Of The Day

From Ishmael:

In France, food prices rose by 65% between 1770 and 1790 but wages increased by only 22%. Price increases were attributed to government failure to prevent profiteering. Poor harvests throughout the 1780s, culminating in the most severe winter for decades in 1788/1789, created a rural peasantry with nothing to sell, and an urban proletariat whose purchasing power had collapsed. The other major drag on the economy was state debt.
Sounding familiar?

Indeed it is.  Not that I’m suggesting anything, but lately I’ve noticed quite a few writings on Teh Intarwebz that include sentiments symbolized by things like this:


Cometh the time, cometh the mob.  Just sayin’.

The Kissinger Statement

I haven’t had much to say about the whole Russia / Ukraine thing because I’m somewhat ambivalent about the whole business.

On the one hand, yes, Vladimir Putin is a megalomaniac Russian bastard like so many of his political predecessors (Lenin, Stalin, Peter the Great etc.), and Russians themselves are a bunch of assholes (see:  Russian oligarchs, Russian mafia, Russian hackers, Russian corruption etc.).

Unfortunately, the Ukrainians are not exactly little angels themselves.  While they lack the global power of Russia, Ukraine is just as corrupt as their next-door neighbor, as shown with their dealings with our very own Biden criminal enterprise, to name but one example of their bastardy.

In other words, if Russia is the #1 Asshole in this area of the world, Ukraine is very definitely #1a.

Hence the Kissinger Statement, first spoken about the Iran / Iraq War of the 1980s:  “It’s a pity there has to be a winner.”

I’m not saying that the Ukrainians shouldn’t resist Putin’s invasion with might and main and kill as many Russians as possible;  I’m just saying that we should reserve our sympathy for Russia’s next target, e.g. the Finns, who definitively do not deserve the Ukrainian treatment.

Failed States

From Reader Tony H. comes this little bit of realism, South Africa’s Brave New World.  It’s a long but very clear-headed look at what has happened in post-apartheid South Africa since the sainted Nelson Mandela came to power, and his political descendants’ activities.  Here’s a brief taste:

That whole “sophisticated economy and infrastructure” that got “handed over intact” now by and large no longer exists. Consider something as basic as running water: in 1994, South Africa had some of the most sophisticated water infrastructure on earth, with a whole system of dams, reservoirs, and long-distance inter-basin conduits working together to conquer the geographical challenges of having several major cities and mining centers located on an arid plateau. All of this water was safe, drinkable, and actually came out of the tap when you turned the handle. This picture was marred of course by poor delivery to black rural communities and squatter camps, but in the early 90s the government was making rapid progress towards serving more of those people too.

That water system is now basically non-functional. It’s estimated that something like 10 million people no longer have reliable access to running water. When the water does run, it’s frequently filthy and contaminated with human sewage. South Africa had its first urban cholera outbreak in the year 2000, and they are now a regular occurrence. Again, this isn’t for lack of money or effort. The state has spent billions on trying to fix the water problems, and the government’s water bureaucracy has tripled in size since 1994. Something else has gone wrong.

And that’s just part of the story.  I urge you to read the whole review.

And now, part 2.  With the above reading in mind, please read Victor Davis Hanson’s Life Among The Ruins.  Again, a taste:

How did all of this so quickly erode our great country? Our crisis was not the next generation of foreign Hitlers and Stalins. It was not earthquakes, floods, or even pandemics. It was not endemic poverty and want. It was not a meager inheritance from past generations of incompetents. Nor was it a dearth of natural resources or bounty.

Instead our catastrophe arose from our most highly educated, the wealthiest and most privileged in American history with the greatest sense of self-esteem and sanctimoniousness. Sometime around the millennium, they felt their genius could change human nature and bring an end to history—if only they had enough power to force hoi polloi to follow their abstract and bankrupt theories that they had no intention of abiding by themselves.

Feel free to draw the many parallels between South Africa and the United States, as the two nations have become similarly degraded.  The methodologies may have been somewhat different, but the outcomes are eerily similar.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the range.

What If?

Apparently, there’s a mayoral election in Chicago today.  In any other city (peopled by sane voters), an incumbent and incompetent mayor like Lori Lightweight would be not only tossed out of office, but out of her tenth-floor office window.

But this is Chicago, so she may well be reelected, simply because she’s running against the seven nine dwarfs. and the vote will be so splintered that a runoff is a distinct possibility.

Frankly, I’m looking at the thing the same way I look at two lions fighting on Animal Planet:  morbid curiosity, indifference, detachment, no favorites, and so on.  Where this differs from a lion fight is that if Mayor Betelgeuse is reelected, the Chicago voters are going to get what they deserve, good and hard (to quote Mencken).

And I’ll still be morbidly curious, indifferent and detached, because stupid people need to have the consequences of their stupidity shoved in their stupid faces.