2-16-13 Hodgepodge

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Yesterday's Jobs ... Tomorrow

David Harsanyi delivers the following stinging assessment of the manufacturing utopia Barack Obama promised in his State of the Union address:

The president, a man who once lamented the rise of job-killing ATMs, mentioned manufacturing eight times in his speech. But these jobs never "left" (they were phased out), and one hopes they never come back. America is producing about 80 percent more than it did 30 years ago with nearly 8 million fewer workers needed. Technological advances and a boom in productivity have not only made life more tolerable for the average American worker, opening up far better opportunities for them, but also been a godsend to consumers.
Harsanyi mentions elsewhere in his editorial that Obama sees wealth as a fixed quantity that increases for one individual only at the expense of another. Our President, who has never put in an honest day's work in his life, is indeed a man who utterly fails to understand the nature or value of productiveness. Clue: It is not limited to physical labor.

Weekend Reading

"Instead of merely tinkering with license laws to grant moderately expanded scopes of practice for non-physicians, the whole system of licensing laws should be dismantled." -- Amesh Adalja, in "Sometimes The Best Medical Care Is Provided By Those Who Aren't M.D.s" at Forbes

"It is virtually impossible to get a point across to anyone who feels that you're meddling in something that's none of your business." -- Michael Hurd, in "The Magic 'C' Word for Relationships" at The Delaware Wave

"Depression can also be the psychological consequence of thinking and acting in self-defeating ways -- day after day, year after year." -- Michael Hurd, in "Thoughts That Defeat Yourself" at The Delaware Coast Press

My Two Cents

Dr. Hurd's point about the ineffectiveness of communicating to others in a way that screams, "I'm a busybody!" is relevant not just to communications with loved ones, but also directly applies to cultural activism.

The activist faces a quandary: He understands that his quality of life can suffer when others -- often aided by improper government meddling -- act in accordance with mistaken philosophical ideas. Obviously, he needs to convince anyone open to rational argument of the need to adopt correct philosophical ideas. Simply showing that his ideas are correct, although a often a formidable task, is not enough. He needs to help others see why they should consider changing their minds. A big part of doing this is showing that his self-interest and that of his audience coincide.

Self-Exile in the Taiga

A long article in Smithsonian Magazine gives the story of a family that escaped religious persecution by Russia's communist government by fleeing to one of the harshest imaginable places on earth. I find the story mostly fascinating, but there are also aspects that I can only term pitiful, such as when members of the family reject certain modern conveniences on religious grounds.

Who needs a five-year-plan when he can concoct a deity that won't allow even a modicum of comfort or convenience?


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