Jan. 30th, 2011

wombat_socho: Wombat (Politics)
Naomi Klein can't tell the difference between unconstitutional government action and entirely legal action by a corporation. What a complete retard. And she presumes to lecture conservatives on...well, pretty much anything?

(Via Computerworld, an excellent article about how the Egyptian protesters are managing to find ways around the government shutdown of the Internet and mobile phone networks.)

Being the pessimist I am, I can't help seeing a rerun of 1979's revolution in Iran here, with Mubarak playing the role of Shah - except the Shah was more realistic about his chances once the Army turned on him. It's not entirely clear whether the Egyptian Army has done that yet, and I hope it's not the case, because then this really will be a repeat of the Iranian Revolution. Those of us who are old enough remember how well that went under Carter 1.0. I don't expect the sequel under Carter 2.0 to be handled any better; the military isn't the hollowed-out shell it was in the 1970s, but most of it is tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan at the moment.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Politics)
Can America Pull Out of Its Nose-Dive? - January 30, 2011 - The New York Sun:
The United States is a rich country whose people are patriotic and hard-working. It is disoriented and very corrupt, and all its elites have failed. And yet it has no real rivals. Europe is crumbling, even more idle and debt-ridden than the United States, and withering demographically, almost comatose after generations of paying Danegeld to the urban mobs and small farmers. Japan is a geriatric workshop; Russia is an alcohol-sodden, self-depopulating gangster-state; and India, China, Brazil, and Indonesia comprise over three billion people, more than two-thirds of whom live as they did 3,000 years ago. They are putting up good economic-growth numbers, but China’s inflation rate is now in double digits, and all of those countries are largely dysfunctional and will require decades to have any chance of seriously rivalling America. This should provide time for the United States to pull out of its nose-dive. President Obama said, “We do big things.” The United States has, but after this presentational fiasco, I would not like to think of what he might have in mind for an encore.


Via GVDL.

RTWT. I really don't have anything to add to this.
wombat_socho: Wombat (SSuiseiseki)
The Peasant Principle - Cobb:
The law is restrained by its own reasonableness and the competence of law enforcement. The problem is that law enforcement is always made up of us peasants, some of whom might want to become truly powerful or wealthy. The same applies to the church. The effectiveness of the church in restraint depends upon its ability to provide succor, blessing, understanding, community - all things the powerful need in common with the common man. The clergy too is made up of peasants.

American exceptionalism depends uniquely on the persistence of the Slice, those capable of and desirous of maintaining a highly competent meritocracy. The rest of us are peasants. What I'm suggesting here is that American class distinctions are overwrought and that we are over sensitive to them. A great deal of meaning is attached in our society to meaningless efforts and great distinction given to trivial differences. There are the powerful, there is the Slice, and there is the peasantry. The Slice is smaller, much smaller than the middle class. I believe it to be smaller than the upper middle class. Indeed it is a small subset of the rich and near rich. They are the people who work because they know how and because they want to, but most importantly, they enable the institutions of power.


I missed this when he posted it a couple years ago, probably because bacteria were trying to kill me at the time. Worth reading in its entirety; like most models of society, it's a tad oversimplified, but it contains an interesting way of looking at societies in general. Goes well with the preceding post.

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