[Video] What the Alt-Right and the Left have in common

October 28, 2017

A lot more than you might think, and a lot more than they have with the traditional American Right:

To put it bluntly, the alt-Right wouldn’t be getting the attention they do these days without opening the door for them through their obsession with identity politics.


(Video) Memorial Day and America’s “Forgotten War” in Korea

May 29, 2017

korean war

The Korean War (1950-53) is sometimes called America’s “Forgotten War,” the one that came between our crushing victory in World War II and the turmoil of our defeat in Vietnam.

It’s forgotten in part because its results were, at first glance, inconclusive: the North Korean regime survived, and the war was suspended in a ceasefire. In other words, a “draw.”

I’ve argued before that this is an incorrect way to view the war. True, we failed in our initial objective: to liberate all the Korean peninsula. But our later goal, the survival of the South Korean state, turned into a good few could have anticipated. Since the war, South Korea has become a prosperous democratic nation and a close ally of the United States. So, while we didn’t achieve all our war aims, it’s hard not to call this “victory.”

North Korea, on the other hand, gives new meaning to the phrase “Hell on Earth.”

For Prager University, historian Victor Davis Hanson (1) looks at the Korean War and offers not only the same reasons I adduce to call it a win, but also points out why it was an intensely moral fight on the part of the US and its allies:

The Korean War, and the men who fought it, should never be forgotten.

(Reposted in honor of Memorial Day)

Footnote:
(1) One of my intellectual heroes.

 


(Video) Does the minimum wage prevent poverty?

May 22, 2017

Hint: No. In fact, I would argue that raising the minimum wage makes  becoming trapped in poverty more likely, because it become less and less affordable to hire the unskilled and marginally skilled and then train them, as opposed to hiring someone who already has the skills.

But that’s economics, something the Left thinks it can bend its will. Think again.

Anyway, here’s a short video from Prager University on the topic:


(Video) Facts don’t care about your feelings

May 14, 2017

We seem lately to be going through a phase of madness in which what one feels or believes is more important than the truth. If you feel you been offended, then you have been offended regardless of the intent of the other person. And that in turn makes you a victim, which gives you special moral authority against which there can be no rational argument, no reasonable other point of view, just “hate.”

Here’s Ben Shapiro with the facts:


(Video) Pop Quiz: Can government run the economy?

August 8, 2016

Okay, it’s a trick question. The answer is “yes” and “no.” Yes, the government has the power to regulate almost all the economy (especially since the horrific Wickard v. Filburn case).

But it is also an emphatic “no,” because government rarely does a good job. In fact, government regulation often does more harm than good. A much better alternative is to let the economy run itself in a free market.

For Prager University, Steve Forbes explains why:

Now put down your pencils, close your exam books, and turn them in as you leave.

Class dismissed.


(Video) What does ISIS want? (Aside from us dead, that is.)

June 26, 2016

Here’s a good video from Prager University narrated by Thomas Joscelyn of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He provides a useful brief background on ISIS’ origins, its goals, and how it sees its place in Islamic history. Worth watching.

One of these days we’re going to wake up from our national madness, an insanity that has seen the two major parties choose the two worst candidates ever as their nominees. And when we do, maybe we can get back to dealing with the real problems of the world (1).

Such as Islamic maniacs who want to get to paradise over our corpses.

Footnote:
(1) Note to isolationists: you may not be interested in the outside world, but the outside world doesn’t care. And it is very much interested in us.


(Video) Memorial Day and America’s “Forgotten War” in Korea

May 30, 2016

korean war

The Korean War (1950-53) is sometimes called America’s “Forgotten War,” the one that came between our crushing victory in World War II and the turmoil of our defeat in Vietnam.

It’s forgotten in part because its results were, at first glance, inconclusive: the North Korean regime survived, and the war was suspended in a ceasefire. In other words, a “draw.”

I’ve argued before that this is an incorrect way to view the war. True, we failed in our initial objective: to liberate all the Korean peninsula. But our later goal, the survival of the South Korean state, turned into a good few could have anticipated. Since the war, South Korea has become a prosperous democratic nation and a close ally of the United States. So, while we didn’t achieve all our war aims, it’s hard not to call this “victory.”

North Korea, on the other hand, gives new meaning to the phrase “Hell on Earth.”

For Prager University, historian Victor Davis Hanson (1) looks at the Korean War and offers not only the same reasons I adduce to call it a win, but also points out why it was an intensely moral fight on the part of the US and its allies:

The Korean War, and the men who fought it, should never be forgotten.

Footnote:
(1) One of my intellectual heroes.

 


(Video) Who’s more liberal on abortion: America or Europe?

May 23, 2016

The answers may surprise both conservatives and Europhiliac progressives alike:

Weird Related Fact: Here in the state of California, a minor can have an abortion without parental notification and consent. A legal adult, on the other hand, fully able to vote, sign binding contracts, and serve in the military, cannot buy a pack of cigarettes until he or she turns 21. Not sure what that says about us, but it can’t be good.


(Video) Fossil Fuels, the Greenest fuels

May 15, 2016

In the Environmentalist Left’s rush to condemn the use fossil fuels and bring us all to a renewable, sustainable Paradise, they forget the good that fossil fuels have done in making possible a modern world that is far cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous than ever before. For Praeger University, Alex Epstein of the Center for Industrial Progress is here with a reminder:

Of course, many of us remember terrible smog problems in major cities, such as my own Los Angeles as recently as the late 80s. Heck, here’s what it looked like in the 1950s:

*cough* *hack*

*cough* *hack*

So, yeah, fossil fuels used with poor technology were a problem. But the tech has gotten better and the air (and water and land) has cleaned up, thanks in part to reasonable regulation.

But Green and other environmental radicals (and the companies that benefit from government-subsidized “Green” tech sales) aren’t satisfied with “reasonable.” They want to eliminate fossil fuels for a number of reasons: economic self-interest, political ideology, and even a near-religious utopianism.

What they fail to see (or see but won’t admit) is that their “solutions” are uneconomical (wind and solar just can’t make it in the market place without government’s thumb on the scale, for example), corrupt (remember Solyndra?), or keep people in less developed countries from achieving a better life for themselves in the form that they want. (Insufferably paternalistic, when you think about it.)

Sure, eventually we’ll want to transition away from fossil fuels, but that will happen only when genuinely economically sustainable (remember that word?) alternatives come along that provide us with the same benefits at at least the same cost.

Until then, we need fossil fuels. So let’s keep some perspective.


(Video) Why are there still Palestinian refugees?

May 2, 2016

It’s not because of Israel, one of the most inclusive societies on Earth. Instead, as Dumisani Washington explains in the Prager University video, the Palestinian refugees still exist after three generations because they are politically useful to the Arab states, and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) needs them to justify their continued existence — and their billion dollar budget. Washington contrasts the Palestinian refugees with the 850,000 Jews expelled by Arab and other Islamic countries in 1948-49, a largely forgotten event, and absorbed by Israel to become productive members of society — with no UN help whatsoever.

Worth watching:


(Video) Are 1 in 5 women raped in college?

April 11, 2016

The “1 in 5” statistic has been used by the feminist left and pandering politicians to promote the idea that there is a “rape culture” crisis on our college campuses. This, of course, has lead to new laws in some states (1) that set an “affirmative consent” standard — minutely regulating the sexual interactions of college students, a progressive’s dream.

But is this statistic correct?

For Prager University, Caroline Kitchens of the American Enterprise Institute says the answer is “no” and shows what a hollow foundation that “1 in 5” figure rests on:

This false statistic has harmful real-world consequences, as universities assume guilt-upon-accusation and deny males accused of sexual assault even the most basic protections of due process, acting like a Star Chamber. This is the real “crisis” on campuses. Journalist Ashe Schow has written extensively about it and you can learn a lot from her archives.

Footnote:
(1) Such as California. Sigh.

 


(Video) “A Progressive’s Guide to Political Correctness”

February 17, 2016

From Prager University, here’s George Will in a very amusing video wherein he imagines the ideal PC universe:

It’s funny because it’s so true. smiley giggle


(Video) Is Global Warming really our most serious problem?

January 31, 2016

Climate alarmists like to paint apocalyptic scenarios to scare us into agreeing to their preferred “solutions”: a world warming so much that the ice caps vanish, the seas rise and flood cities, snow no longer falls, monster storms ravage our lands, crops fail, and Donald Trump becomes President of the United States.

Okay, that last probably isn’t due to global warming. Maybe.

But is the problem, if it exists, really the most serious challenge we face? With an economy in the doldrums, large swathes of the population disgusted with the political class, and foreign threats from Islamic terrorism, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and China, is global warming the worst thing out there?

Per economist Bjorn Lomborg in  video from Prager University, the answer is “no.”

I’ll point out that Lomborg is what one might call a “moderate warmist.” That is, he believes there is an anthropogenic influence on global climate, that it could be harmful, but that it’s neither strong enough nor increasing at such a rate that we have to take the drastic, economically and politically devastating action the Climate Cult demands. In Lomborg’s view, mankind has plenty of time to adapt.

I may not agree with Lomborg on whether there is a climate change problem at all, but he’s at least someone with whom one could have an intelligent discussion on the topic.

Unlike, say, Al Gore or James Hansen.


(Video) Is America racist?

January 18, 2016

For Prager University, radio talk show host Larry Elder explores a question that’s quite fitting for Martin Luther King Day: Is the United States a racist country? The Democrats, their candidates, and the Left (1) tell us it is over and over (and over and over). If you take what they say at face value, then America is a racist hellhole in which Blacks are regularly oppressed by Whites and in grave danger of being killed by police at any moment. Racism is so ingrained in us as a nation, they say, that even the president says it’s “in our DNA.” And, of course, this idea gets carried across the nation and the world by a largely left-leaning media.

But what’s the truth? Do the facts comport with reality? In this brief video, Elder puts reality up against the Leftist fantasy, and reality wins:

This isn’t of course to say that there aren’t any problems, some of them personal, others structural.

But, I am so sick and tired of the “America is ‘AmeriKKKa'” garbage the Left spews to make its arguments, I just wish that some major figure on their side –even just one– would acknowledge that we’ve made tremendous progress since the days of slavery and Jim Crow. (2)

But they can’t, because they rely on ethnic resentment and the lie of a hateful America to gin up votes and win elections. If it weren’t for their “America is awful” sales pitch, they’d have nothing to offer at all.

Footnotes:
(1) But, of course, I repeat myself.
(2) The former of which Democrats fought a civil war to defend, while their children and grandchildren spent decades building and preserving the latter. Just to be clear.


(Video) Campaign finance reform is corruption

November 16, 2015

For Prager University, George Will explains how government regulation of political donations and even political speech (1) is nothing more that an incumbent protection act:

I honestly did not know the origins of campaign finance reform lay in Gene McCarthy insurgency against LBJ. But it shouldn’t surprise us that the Democratic Party, which Michael Walsh describes as a “criminal organization masquerading as a political party,” took the lead (2) in introducing this corruption into our political process.

Footnotes:
(1) See, Citizens United.
(2) Sadly, Senator Feingold (D) found an old fool, Senator McCain (R), to create the bipartisan abomination known as McCain-Feingold.


(Video) Student Debt: the Game of Loans

November 10, 2015

From Prager University, an explanation of how student loans drive up the cost of a college education and drive students further into debt:

My college days, both undergraduate and graduate, we more than 30 years ago, but I can attest how even then student loans were a scam: easy to take out, hell to pay off. I was lucky and able to pay mine off thanks to the dot-com boom of the 90s, but many, many others are still trapped with that burden, if they haven’t blown them off altogether. I can only imagine how the problem has grown worse since then. The system is in desperate need of reform.


(Video) Why successful liberals are really conservatives

November 2, 2015

For Prager University, author and humorist Greg Gutfeld explains how, deep down inside, the most successful liberals (1) are really conservatives:

And look at how carefully some musicians (for example) protect their intellectual properties. Why, it’s almost as if they believed in property rights.

Footnote:
(1) For a lot of reasons, I prefer to call them what they are, “progressives” or “social democrats.” There’s nothing truly liberal about “liberals.”


(Video) Who killed the Liberal Arts?

October 26, 2015
Downgraded

Downgraded

Consider this a companion piece to last week’s post about why Modern Art is so bad. In this video from Prager University, Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute looks at the decline of the once-essential liberal arts education. As the text describing the video asks:

What in the world happened to the liberal arts? A degree in the humanities used to transmit the knowledge and wisdom imbued in the works of great Western artists, writers, musicians and thinkers like Shakespeare and Mozart. But today, that same degree stresses Western racism, sexism, imperialism, and other ills and sins that reinforce a sense of victimhood and narcissism. So, what happened?

Watch and learn the answer:

I’m embarrassed to confirm that my alma mater, UCLA, did indeed drop the study Shakespeare as a requirement for a degree in English.

But, hey, at least they get to study racism and imperialism, both of which are crucial to understanding great literature.

True, they still have to take course in English Literature pre-1500, 1500-1700, etc., but it is now possible to get a degree in English without more than a passing acquaintance with the greatest writers the language has ever produced.

I shudder to think of what’s happening in History departments, not to mention the rest of what was once called the “Humanities.” It’s one thing thing to critique Western civilization for its genuine flaws and dark moments, but it’s another altogether to make those the focus and frame of students’ understanding of a civilization and culture that’s produced so much that is wonderful and created so much good.

It’s a learned self-loathing that amounts to cultural suicide.

RELATED: Not all at UCLA were happy with this change. Prager on the intellectual and moral decline of modern universities. Heather MacDonald’s original article that lead to this video.


(Video) Why is modern art so bad?

October 19, 2015
Not bad

Not bad

A friend pointed me to this Prager University video, the subject of which deeply appeals to my Classical (some would say “reactionary”) soul: why does so much of modern art suck?

Having gone to several MFA exhibits by graduate students getting their degrees, I couldn’t agree more.

"Bad"

Bad


(Video) Why we can’t rely on wind and solar power

October 19, 2015
"Epic fail"

Not reliable

At first glance, wind and solar power seem like attractive alternatives to fossil fuels: clean, abundant, and cheap. What’s not to like?

Other than that they’re both frauds, as Alex Epstein explains for Prager University:

The diluteness and intermittency problems Alex mentions are worth repeating. Solar power can’t be generated at night, nor can wind power be produced when the wind stops blowing or blows too strongly. Because both are intermittent, backup coal and gas-fired plants need to be kept spinning 24-by-7 on standby to make sure the power we need still flows into the grid. Kind of defeats the whole environmentalist point, doesn’t it?

“Diluteness” –the fact that energy from wind and solar is not concentrated, unlike energy from fossil fuels– requires that wind and solar “farms” take up a much larger area than fossil-fueled or nuclear plants in order to generate a given amount of usable power, thus blighting the landscape. Oh, and killing lots of birds. There’s that quandary for Environmental Justice Warriors, again.

And don’t get me started on how uneconomical both are, requiring massive taxpayer-funded subsidies to operate at all.

It’s not that I’m a great fan of coal and oil. Eventually, we will find a way to at least minimize our need for them. But, for foreseeable future, they’re the cheapest, most efficient means for powering this amazing civilization we’ve built. (1)

RELATED: A good book on the problems with wind power is “The Wind Farm Scam” by John Etherington.

Footnote:
(1) Though Bill Gates is on the right track.