An unfortunately perennial story that always gets traction here on the Right goes something like this: precocious youngsters, hoping to engage in some earnest enterprise, start selling lemonade or the like from a roadside stand. The kids are doing well and making good money (for kids), until an overzealous local health board official sends in the cops to bust up the lemonade stand. Like Treasury Department revenuers smashing up a yokel’s still, these local officials destroy children’s dreams—and sometimes slap them with a fine.
It’s a story that guarantees outrage, and highlights the clueless, stringent rule-following of bureaucracies. Yes, yes—technically you’re not supposed to sell lemonade and hot dogs without some kind of license, and the health department is supposed make sure your establishment is clean. But these are kids, selling stuff on the side of the road. Why bother? Let them have fun and make a little money.
Unbeknownst to the girls—but beknownst to some overweening Karen, no doubt—a local ordinance prohibits the selling of eggs, though it permits the raising of chickens on one’s property. That’s asinine. Why can’t people sell eggs in a small town in Texas?
Over the weekend photog posted a nice little post on his blog, Orion’s Cold Fire, with the title “The Western View,” a clever bit of double entendre: it’s about both the view of the western end of his property, and the Western view of republicanism—independent self-government.
It’s appropriate that photog used his home as the centerpiece—the “hook,” as he put it—for a short essay on the nature of liberty and republicanism. At the most basic level, one’s home—one’s land, property, and the people that reside there—is one’s guarantee of liberty. That scrap of land and the house upon it is one’s castle, and every man is the king of his little estate.
There’s been a lot of discussion of UBI—Universal Basic Income—over the last few years, especially with the presidential primary run of Andrew Yang. The concept is seductive in its simplicity: gut the welfare state and its behemoth apparatus of bureaucratic pencil pushers and middlemen, and just cut every adult citizen a monthly check.
For fiscal conservatives, it’s a particularly toothsome Devil’s Bargain: streamline an inefficient and wasteful bureaucracy and simply direct deposit a grand every month into Americans’ checking accounts. Of course, it’s a siren song: we’d just get the payments and still suffer with an entrenched bureaucracy, claiming $1000 a month isn’t enough to meet the specialized needs of whatever community they pretend to support.
Even if the deal were struck and every redundant welfare program were eliminated, there UBI would still be a bad idea. Besides the absurdity of merely paying people to exist, it’s inherently inflationary: if you give everyone $1000 a month, prices are going to go up. Just as college tuition has soared because universities realized they could jack up the price and federal loans would expand to cover the costs, UBI would cause a similar rise in prices. Sure, it’d be great at first, but the inflationary effects would kick in quickly.
My poor health recovered, I tested negative for The Virus, and the Spring Concert was a smashing success. I managed to get back to work Wednesday, giving me time to build—for the first time since the 2019 Christmas Concert—my Frankenstein’s Monster sound system, rehearse my students, and wire up a ton of microphones, amps, keyboards, and the like.
After every big concert, I spend part of a class period conducting a “concert postmortem,” my pet term for reviewing the highs and lows of the previous night. It’s a good opportunity to discuss elements that could be improved for the next concert, but also to allow the students to bask in the glory of their performance a little longer.
Not surprisingly, this process tends to work better with high school students, who have developed politeness filters and know how to phrase suggestions diplomatically. They’re also veterans, so they understand better the realities of live performance, and don’t have unrealistic expectations. Middle school students tend to either be over-awed by the experience (one student Thursday evening exclaimed, “That was awesome!”) or very critical of small errors. That’s why we frame these discussions as “constructive criticism,” which helps the students understand the purpose is to build each other up and point out areas where we can all improve.
Regardless, I’m letting readers in on that process a bit with a general “concert postmortem,” including our finalized set list.
Hogg is so clueless that he failed to register the trademark “Good Pillow,” the ultimate name of the company; a clever individual from North Carolina snagged it the day after the Newsweek piece was published on 10 February 2021.
Another weekend has rolled by, so it’s time for another Monday Morning Movie Review. While clicking around Hulu I stumbled upon a flick I saw some years ago, though I didn’t realize it at first.
That says something about the similarity of schlocky horror flicks out there—they all have basically the same premise and plot description. Except this one, 2013’s You’re Next, is actually quite original.
Something with which I struggle to wrap my mind around is the authoritarian impulse. I’m not pretending I’m immune to this impulse—this desire to tell others how to live their lives, backing it up with the threat of force for non-compliance—but the older I get, what little appeal the tendency held continues to diminish.
What I struggle to comprehend is the apparent need to boss people around. I understand needing to be authoritative with children and students—setting clear boundaries, understanding actions have consequences, molding the child to become a self-governing adult—but this desire to boss around perfect strangers is increasingly foreign to me.
This impulse manifests itself in virtually every facet of our lives. It creeps in bit by bit. Modest policy proposals and laws suddenly becomes weaponized Karenism, empowering authorities and otherwise normal people to swagger about with impunity, assured of the righteousness of their cause du jour.
I’ve written several times about the possibility of secession—of a (hopefully) peaceful dissolution or separation of the United States. To be clear, I do not want that to happen, and I fear such a separation would be anything but peaceful. But if it means a world where the progressive crazies can test out their wacky theories and policies in their own land with its own borders—and I am well outside of those borders—then it may be the best possible of all options.
I tend to disagree with Daniel Webster’s assessment that “Liberty and Union” are “now and forever, one and inseparable.” While I think the Union of the States did at one time strengthen the defense of liberty, it increasingly seems that the Union—as manifested through the power of the federal government—is trampling those liberties. I prefer John C. Calhoun’s rejoinder to Andrew Jackson: “The Union, next to our liberty, most dear. May we all remember that it can only be preserved by respecting the rights of the States and by distributing equally the benefits and burdens of the Union.” The Union is great, but only so far as it preserves liberty and the rights of States.
Quoting John C. Calhoun favorably, of course, is dangerous in these woke times, as he was an evil slave owner (per the social justice warriors) and argued that slavery was a “positive good.” Of course the man wasn’t right about everything, but he was right about States’ rights and the importance of liberty. I can acknowledge that Truth without accepting his other beliefs.
But I digress. It seems that secession or peaceful separation is not merely a conservative pipe dream, a distant hope for some second chance at liberty. The progressives are getting in on the action. The ultra-progressive publication The Nation has a long op-ed published entitled “The Case for Blue-State Secession.” Most of the piece is ridiculous Leftist dogma, but the fact that the totalitarian Left is toying with the idea is intriguing.