Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Penthouse Proletariat

One thing I've always been annoyed by is the tendency for liberals who are rich to promote policies that are completely contradictory with their lifestyles. While I understand that everyone has failings and elements of hypocrisy, if you believe that excessive consumption is harming the environment, you should reduce your excessive consumption. The lifestyle of a Hollywood star is not compatible with being an economic liberal or critic of conspicuous consumption, but no one seems to notice.

John Nolte's article hits the nail on the head:
Here is how McCarthy describes the world and plot of what is likely another box-office bomb from star Matt Damon:
"Blomkamp sets the dystopian juices flowing with images of future sprawling slums and urban ruin that one might initially take to be Mexico City or Sao Paulo but that are soon identified as belonging to Los Angeles in 2154. Most of the beleaguered inhabitants seem to speak Spanish and do menial labor if they do anything at all, while good health care is very difficult to come by.
By contrast, hovering far above Earth and appearing like a five-spoked wheel in the sky is Elysium, an enormous space station where the rich live in a stress-free country club environment enhanced by marvelous technology that can cure any ailment, meaning that life can theoretically go on indefinitely."
Dude, if McCarthy's description is accurate (I haven't seen the movie) that is not Los Angeles in the year 2154, that is Los Angeles today.
The only difference is that the "five-spoked wheel in the sky" called Elysium is really -- wait for it -- the Hollywood Hills.
While I have no doubt Blokamp and Damon snickered wildly as they went over the script (probably in the thousand-dollar-a-night Caligula Suite at the W on Sunset Boulevard), what these two left-wing rocket scientists probably missed is that their lofty metaphor (likely aimed at America and Republicans), isn't really a metaphor. The place in which they currently work, snicker, frolic, and make millions, is in fact Elysium.
If you want to experience "Elysium" today, just drive down Wilshire or Melrose. In just a couple of miles those famous boulevards turn from a gorgeous, mile-high, palm tree-lined gilded city where the Matt Damons shop, dine, exercise, enema, valet, facelift, chant, and enjoy the greatest healthcare in the world -- to shit-hole city: urban sprawl, graffiti, crime, filth, and grinding poverty. But no matter where you are -- even if you're hip-deep in the homeless -- all you need do is look up and there it is; that bright, shiny, magic gated place known as Elysi-- er, the Hollywood Hills.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Liberal Vision

Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institution always comes up with trenchant observations, and this article in National Review Online was no exception. One point in particular resonated with me:

I suspect that even most conservatives would prefer to live in the kind of world conjured up in the liberals’ imagination rather than in the kind of world we are in fact stuck with.

Who wouldn't want to live in such a place? Problems can be solved with the application of money, the economy can be safely managed by experts, and evil is a sickness that can be eliminated with therapy. It's a veritable heaven compared to the real world. It's also similar to the world I remember imagining as a child. Unfortunately, it has almost no relation to the real world.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Raw Deal

Much of life is based on compromises and balancing acts. In the safety industry, we balance the gain life expectancy and reduced incidence of health problems associated with eliminating a problem chemical with the negative effects of eliminating a chemical. It is the same in national security. There is a tradeoff between allowing our national security professionals access to communications without tipping our hand to terrorists, and keeping the government out of our private life. Ever since 9-11 changed how I look at terrorism, I have leaned toward national security. I have no interest in surrendering to Islamic Supremacists, and I am willing to let the military and spies fight the war to win it.

What if the government isn't interested in fighting the war? What if the administration likes the powers that were granted to achieve victory, but views Islamic Supremacism as a distraction from its agenda? I had been planning to make this argument here, but David French got it precisely with his most recent columns. Intelligence assets and military might are only useful as long as the leadership has the will to use them:

Those of us in the “national-security Right” (to borrow Mr. McCarthy’s excellent phrase) seek a national defense that is both constitutional and effective, but a defense establishment that lacks the strength of will to act even on the best of intelligence will be utterly ineffective no matter the metadata.
Read the whole thing.