Random thoughts on the passing scene
February 2021 edition.
JB: As should be obvious, I originally wrote and published this in February 2021 with the aim of carrying on a tradition started by Thomas Sowell. I’ll write another one of these soon.
Someone should have told Ted Cruz that only Democrats are allowed vacations during the pandemic.
Silly rules and corporate procedures are making your best employees look for other jobs.
Managers and workers operate on entirely different schedules. Managers operate on blocks of time scheduled for meetings. Workers operate on more fluid spans of time, such as entire afternoons. A scheduled meeting that’s routine for a manager can ruin an entire day for a worker.
Hacking as portrayed in moves or the media is unrealistic. Whenever you hear of a company being hacked, someone high up has a weak password. It looks better for the management to seem like the victims of sophisticated hackers, than to seem like tech-illiterate fools who left the front door open.
People have a stronger ability to rationalise than to accurately disseminate empirical evidence.
Belief in the free market is so rare in Britain that I genuinely didn’t learn much about it until my late twenties, from an American economist who has recently turned 90.
Companies that regularly turn a profit are rare enough for us to reconsider the label “for profit”—a better term would be “exposed to market forces.”
The very public implosion of The Lincoln Project shows how much more common it is for people who run non-profits to enrich themselves than for people who start businesses to do the same. People who start businesses have to forgo a salary from their business, sometimes for years, if they even last that long.
I was surprised at how free I felt after deleting my public social media accounts. I wanted to use them to promote my books, but I was never very good at it. I’ve got my blogs and my books, and I’m content with that.
To those who share the vision of the anointed, judicial activism must seem wonderful. To everyone else, it gives the impression of unelected officials issuing edicts so unpopular that no sensible electorate would ever vote for them.
No picture more accurately represents our times than that of celebrities spelling out “We’re all in this together” with their yachts.
Get off your phone and go for a walk outside. You won’t regret any missed time staring at an empty glass screen.
Criminals are dangerous, but the most dangerous individuals to civilisation are the superficially educated. Robespierre, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, and Mao were all pseudo-intellectuals convinced of their own genius. Each of them killed more people in a single day than the “oppressive” regimes they overthrew ever did.
I recently read The Stand by Stephen King. Judging by his public remarks against the outgoing administration, it must have been difficult for him to see that the deadly pandemic came not from the America he hates so much, but from the dishonest, hypocritical, and murderous communist regime in China that has bribed our elite into paralysis and silence.
Those who consider themselves smarter and morally superior to the benighted masses should not think they can draw up blueprints for other people’s lives. It is not about whether they are smarter than the average Joe. It is about whether they are smarter than the total knowledge of all the average Joes working and interacting together every day. That, in a nutshell, is why the anointed’s blueprints so often fail to produce the results they promise.
If you’re young, then take pride in stepping back from politics and not taking a side. Learn some economics, listen to a range of podcasts, and ask for empirical evidence when you hear someone making bold claims.
The welfare state provides a safety net for some, but it assumes responsibilities that members of communities once held to support each other.
The traditional family is the best independent decision-making unit we have. No wonder the anointed want to destroy it with welfare and misleading statistics.
They call me a “conservative” even though there is much I would change about the government.
There is a special place in hell for those who sit in safety and comfort, second-guessing at their leisure the split-second decisions that police officers had to make at the risk of their own lives.
When criticising some policy that’s clearly a disaster, I’m asked “Okay, what would you replace it with then?” What do you replace a fire with after you’ve extinguished it?
For all their talk about equality, egalitarians create the most dangerous type of inequality there is: the inequality of power. Nations have let a privileged few decide what everyone else may earn, and the consequences have been written in blood across the pages of history.
We need scientists, engineers, and doctors. But we have a greater need for people who can do simple tasks and take pride in doing them well.
The poor are the ones who suffer the most from illegal immigration. That doesn’t stop the millionaire celebrities who push for open borders from erecting ten-foot walls around their own properties patrolled by armed security guards.
Corporate CEOs earning millions a year seems obscene and unfair, until you realise that their decisions can make the difference of billions on a company’s balance sheet.
Companies are taxed on the profit they make, not the revenue they generate. Yet the anointed keep demanding that companies making barely a scratch of profit “pay their fair share.” What is your “fair share” of what someone else has earned?
A good way to keep difficult conversations from descending into squabbles is to restate the other person’s argument in a way that they accept before responding. That’s why you should never get into an argument on Twitter—and also why it is the perfect platform for demagogues.
We don’t disagree with the anointed because, in their words, we’re “heartless” or don’t care about “the oppressed.” In reality we are disturbed at the anointed’s sense of their own goodness. They tend to see the problems of the world as due to other people not being as wise or as noble as themselves.
Brexit has taught us many things. One lesson is that the referendum is not the best tool for running a country; but if you’re going to use them, then don’t welch on the winners. Another lesson is that the smarties in the media will never take post-Brexit prosperity as evidence against their own doom and gloom; but they will amplify even the slightest blow against Britain as proof of their own wisdom and goodness.