Setting the revanchist table

Were BLM to apply its revisionist purges to the Democrats’ pseudo-history, they would be forced to abandon the Party:
Democrats: The Missing Years

That those Democrat sins are long past is an untenable objection for the statue topplers, 1619 Project acolytes, POC supremacists, and Democrat mayors in the plantation cities.

In any case, sins are still being committed.
Joe Biden: The New George Wallace

Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day be day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except the endless present in which the party is always right…

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past…

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

– George Orwell

Vade retro me, XX XX!

Get thee behind me, 20 20!

Yes, I know 2020 is actually MMXX in Roman numerals. But XX XX is 20 20 – how we pronounce the year. And you can’t use XXXX. That would be 40. As would XL. Go figure.

Wonder how to pronounce Roman numerals? I make 20 20 to be “Vīgintī vīgintī.” And 2020 renders as “Duo milia vīgintī.” 40 is “quadrāgintā.” Which grants XXXX and XL equality of outcome.

The Roman mathematical system has its disadvantages. Which you might expect when the numbers themselves are often math problems.

Multiplication alone would destroy the possibility of particle physics. And consider the width of the columns in your Excel spreadsheet, where 1944 would be rendered MDCCCCXXXXIIII. Some sources give MCMXLIV as an alternative, but this is disputed.

The lack of a decimal point, much less the annotation for fractions, would pretty much preclude precision replication of parts. Which makes you think the tolerances on a ballista precluded mass production. This probably did create good paying jobs in windlass carving.

The Roman mathematical system has advantages only in comparison to innumeracy.

The best contemporary advantage I can come up with is that House of Representative staffers preparing budget spreadsheets would suffer enough to maybe balance it. OTOH, like carving windlasses, they’d probably just hire more staff.

For peons, the only thing I can up with is that your ‘12345’ password would be ‘MMMMMMMMMMMMCCCXLV’ – harder to hack. But you wouldn’t be able to remember that password. Which is why you picked a joke password in the first place. And further complicating this whole password thing is that some experts (I don’t know why I think of Dr. Fauci) claim MDCCCCXXXXIIII is the same number as MCMXLIV.

Would you call this system base 10? It is putatively, but it fails some important tests.

Of the first 10 ‘digits’ the Romans had three unique single characters – I, V and X – 1, 5 and 10. Unique single characters that only show up later (L, C, D, and M) bring the total to 7. And they don’t participate in the first 10.

We use 10 unique single characters that represent the numbers in base 10, and they are the first 10 numbers. In binary (base 2) we have 2 unique characters. We have octal with 8. Etc..

For bases after 10 we do emulate the Romans. For example, base 16 (hexadecimal) uses letters. The number of unique single characters is preserved. 16 unique characters – 0 through 9 plus A through F, where A is decimal 11 and F is decimal 15.

But back to 2020.

While the numeric allusion fails, XXXX does get us to an Australian beer brand, 2 Dos Equis, porn videos, and a large clothing size. All of which seem appropriate for this year of working from home; as Aeron potatoes begin drinking at breakfast, watch porn with impunity, commit it on Zoom (I’m not looking at you Toobin*), and grow into their new 4XL T-shirts – the dress code for Zoom meetings. I haven’t checked, but I’d bet trousers have hit a sales slump.

I favor XX XX for the Latin equivalent of 2020. It insistently puts the ‘X’ in Latinx. It is congruent with 20 20 vision, 20 20 hindsight, double vision, and double counting. Respectively; what our public health martinets lack for every aspect of human existence save flawed computer simulacra, what our politicians cannot apply even as evidence of their failed policies becomes overwhelming, a symptom of poor blood oxygenation, and our recent election.

XXXX is an exceedingly rare genetic condition (Tetrasomy X). It is not to be confused with XX XX – which we’ll call double female – a gender classification yet to be appended to LGBTQWERTY. The combatants in the 2020 TERF wars who follow the science of genetics rather than the vagaries of “gender” could use a term for the transition from female to male and back. Women who have been men, after all, are women.

Finally, XX XX reminds me of those ‘Xs’ cartoonists employ on closed eyes to indicate a corpse. An ‘XX,’ then, suggests the cause of death is subject to more subtle interpretation than we might normally expect: “This person was found with an axe buried in their skull, but we found traces of CCP virus RNA on the axe handle. Count it as COVID.”

Oh, well, Happy MMXXI. The century turns 21.

Given how maturely it’s been acting of late, I think we need to hide the beer.

*I think we can discount any claims of some new penis recognition login technology.

“They had learned nothing and forgotten nothing.”

– Charles Maurice de Talleyrand: Speaking about the restored Bourbon dynasty after the abdication of Napoleon.

The Bourbons never forgot the executions of the elite during the Reign of Terror. They took no lessons from the French Revolution nor from the Napoleonic Empire: The French people had embraced lower taxation, meritocracy, and a resurgent individual pride in their country.

The Bourbons could not unify the France they despised.

USAToady David Rothkopf inadvertently demonstrates why Biden can’t unify Americans for similar reasons:
Biden’s National Security team reveals he has learned from the mistakes of past presidents
Link intentionally broken.

You can fix it if you you want to read a story praising Biden for selecting a bunch of retreads and hacks from the Obama years as National Security gurus; who did not learn from wide spread resistance to Obamacare, the rise of the tea party, their own hubristic initiation of a disastrous civil war in Libya, capitulation to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, acceptance of the Paris Accord Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming hysteria, destroying due process in higher education via Title IX “Dear Colleague” letters, or being caught lying about Benghazi over the coffins of American soldiers. A partial list.

These are the same people who refuse to abandon their various farcical conspiracy theories under the general headings “Russiagate” and “Ukraine.”

Their contempt for fully half of US citizens is even more intense than was Marie-Antoinette’s, and that USAToday article is wordy reprise of “Let them eat cake.”

Which was fake news in 1789.

Ardnassac

This is a book recommendation. Sadly, it’s out of print, and I can find none in any of the used book sites I have used. The good news is it’s cheap on Kindle.

I found out about it here if you want a short opinion second to the one that follows.

I can’t believe I’d never heard of the book, either.

The flying car topic of the title is used to weave a sort of ‘back to the future’ look at at technology, American ingenuity/entrepreneurialism, and government regulation. There is a strong science fiction presence used to ask “Why did, or did not, the predictions of 1930-1960 SF come to pass?” It’s a good summary of my contention that much of that literature should have been required reading.

Appearances, among many others, by H. G. Wells, Issac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke.

The brilliant Dr. Richard Feynman also takes a bow in a discussion of Heinlein’s novellas Waldo and Magic Inc..

I cut my teeth on SF with Tom Swift, and my strong technological optimism arguably started with that series. (I wonder if there is anything comparable now for 10 year olds?)

The author, J Storrs Hall, is a techno-optimist, too, and he suggests that after the 1960’s America became a much less “can do” polity than we had any reason to expect. We went from the Wright brothers to 747s in 50 years, from Goddard (1926) to the moon in 43. Now we’re mired in CAFE standards and cronyism.

Hall does spend a fair bit of time discussing the history of ‘flying cars’ and that alone is fascinating. There’s much more. He also makes very intriguing points about nanotech, nuclear power, AI, cybernetics, economics, city planning, and other topics.

One major consideration is envirostatism (my term), where he contends that the GREEN point isn’t CO2, pollution, or any of the other excuses offered. It is essentially anti-human nihilism.

For example,

“Green ideas have become inextricably intertwined with a perfectly reasonable desire to live in a clean, healthy environment and enjoy the natural world. The difference is of course that in the latter case, the human enjoying the natural world is a good thing, but to the fundamentalist Green he and all his works are a bad thing.”

Lest you think this is hyperbole, he supplies some words from the mouths of the horses-asses:

The prospect of cheap fusion energy is the worst thing that could happen to the planet.
-Jeremy Rifkin

Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.
-Paul Ehrlich

It would be little short of disastrous for us for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it.
-Amory Lovins

The title of this piece is Cassandra backwards. I closely paraphrase J Storrs Hall,

“There seems to be a bizarre reverse-Cassandra effect operating in the universe: whereas the mythical Cassandra spoke the awful truth and was not believed, these days “experts” speak awful falsehoods, and they are believed. Repeatedly being wrong actually seems to be an advantage, conferring some sort of puzzling magic glow upon the speaker.”

We hear California wildfires are caused by global warming climate change, when it’s actually envirostatist mismanagement, and the conscious intent to build windmills rather than maintain power lines. The California satraps agree with Rifkin, Ehrlich, and Lovins. In order to cripple the supply of energy, what have their like told us that wasn’t true?

California wildfires are caused by climate change. Gavin Newsom – yesterday
Four billion people will die between 1980 and 1989 from climate change. Paul Ehrlich – 1970
The polar ice cap will disappear by 2014. Al Gore – 2007
The planet will warm by 3 full degrees (0.1, actually). James Hansen – 1988
We will see the ‘end of snow.’ Untrue, no matter how many times it’s been predicted. various – 2000, 2015, 2017, 2020
Air pollution will reduce the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half. – Various – 1970

Amusingly, we also didn’t see an ice age by the year 2000. Kenneth Watt – 1970

Meanwhile, we see the very people who want zero CO2 emissions steadfastly oppose nuclear energy. Which is zero emission, safe, and causes immensely less environmental damage than windmills or solar panels. They are not protecting the environment, they are attacking the very idea of human well-being. This antipathy is in the spirit of Rifkin, Ehrlich, and Lovins. It is about authoritarian power in the way Critical Theorists describe it: There are no objective truths. Human history and culture are merely examples of a struggle in relative political power dynamics.

They don’t mean power as in horsepower, they mean justifying the political power of Antifa and BLM riots.

And don’t get me started on Critical Theorists’ “science” on “individuals with a cervix,” or what 2+2 equals.

Anyway. I recommend the book.

Grammatically incorrect

Propagandists in the classroom are a luxury that the poor can afford least of all. While a mastery of mathematics and English can be a ticket out of poverty, a highly cultivated sense of grievance and resentment is not.

-Thomas Sowell

Jeff Jacoby has a piece worth reading at Jewish World Review on the Rutgers English department debacle.
Is English grammar racist?

A slice (but RTWT):

Today, of course, Rutgers and its champions of “critical grammar” would regard Churchill’s emphasis on acquiring “the essential structure of the ordinary British sentence” as a primitive abomination. John F. Kennedy said of Churchill that he “mobilized the English language and sent it into battle”; there is little question that the power of Churchill’s well-wrought English rhetoric helped save Western civilization in one of its darkest hours. (The power of that prose also earned Churchill the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953.)…

“In short,” observes David Bernstein, a university professor and head of the Liberty & Law Center at George Mason University,

the Rutgers English Department wants to make sure that students who come to Rutgers with a poor grasp of standard written English not only remain in that state, but come to believe that learning standard English is a concession to racism. I remember when keeping “people of color” ignorant was considered part of white supremacy.

Churchill’s majestic command of English was due, in part, to rigorous training. Training of the sort that instills discipline, perseverance and clear thinking; whatever the subject. Rutgers charges over $900 per credit hour to willfully deny this opportunity to its students. Because those virtues have been racialized.

Churchill’s profound grasp of rhetoric didn’t merely serve him well during Question Period, it played a critical role in keeping all of us – including Black, Indigenous, People of Color – from slavery under a global racist tyranny. Countless LBGTQ people live today because a virulently anti­gay totalitarian was defeated.

At Rutgers, though, it is no longer enough to vilify Churchill with slipshod fantasies of racism, sexism, and colonialism: Now add to his sins an exemplary command of language.

It might be useful to bring the news to Rutgers that among those who shared that facility are Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, and Martin Luther King.

Hillsdale College – Resolute

Since 1844, Hillsdale College has provided classical liberal higher education regardless of students’ race, religion, or sex, and was the second college in the United States to grant 4 year degrees to women.

Hillsdale’s opposition to slavery was one of its founding principles. Frederick Douglass was twice a speaker at the college.

The tradition of top quality speakers has continued. You may wish to check out Imprimis, a free monthly digest of Hillsdale College speakers. Scroll through the Contributors selection box and you will see, for example, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Margaret Thatcher, Edward Teller, F. A. Hayek, Victor Davis Hanson, and many, many other great thinkers.

Hillsdale withdrew from all federal assistance in 1984 to avoid the burgeoning interference of Washington bureaucrats which threatened to destroy its mission, and has so severely damaged other institutions and their students.

Hillsdale offers 26 free online courses in topics including Literature, Philosophy, History, Economics, and Politics – including several on our Constitution. One example:
The Great American Story: A Land of Hope

This course explores the history of America as a land of hope founded on high principles. In presenting the great triumphs and achievements of our nation’s past, as well as the shortcomings and failures, it offers a broad and unbiased study of the kind essential to the cultivation of intelligent patriotism.

This preamble cannot convey the value of Hillsdale to our state and our country, but I hope it will encourage you to read this letter published in The Hillsdale Collegian:

On the College and Silence: A letter from Hillsdale College

This letter is highly, highly recommended. It is inspiring and principled. It begins:

Amidst the events of recent weeks, a number of alumni and others have taken up formal and public means to insist that Hillsdale College issue statements concerning these events. The College is charged with negligence — or worse.

RTWT

This is one of the very few times I have used my ‘academia’ category on a positive post.

Victor Davis Hanson

Brilliant. A must watch.

Victor Davis Hanson: COVID-19 and the Lessons of History | Hoover Virtual Policy Briefing

50 minutes. I watched at 1.5x. Speech is understandable, but is out of sync with video.

Hanson’s recounting of his family experience, through many deadly diseases, in a house they’ve owned for 145 years, is awesome.

His forbears had no expectations that government could solve every problem. When that changed, we started loosing America.

“[T]hey [Government during the Spanish flu, for example] didn’t have confidence that they were all knowing… they were much more humble about their own data and the ramifications.”

Compare and contrast with Gretchen Esther Whitmer.

Then read the quotes from Alexis de Tocqueville and Ayn Rand at the end of this post.