The mills grind slowly

“Thus, I do not see what use there is in those mills of the gods said to grind so late as to render punishment hard to be recognized, and to make wickedness fearless.”
-Plutarch

Sometimes it is hard to immediately distinguish good intentions from wicked fearlessness. Whirlwinds may be reaped either way.

I recommend this Megan McCardle article, California has difficult choices to make. Its politicians keep avoiding reality. for its summation of the fearless irrationality of California’s energy policies.

I’d suggest it’s even worse than McCardle thinks. If California power generation becomes 100% renewable the problem becomes intractable even assuming a miracle.

So, let us first assume the miracle: Elon Musk invents a method of burying all California’s electric transmission lines for a few dollars per mile – by combining Tesla’s impeccably capable self-driving software with a fleet of miniature Boring Machines powered by his SolarCity solar panels and ultra-stable batteries. Power lines are thereby quickly made safe from the danger of sparking wildfires. Only a few of the machines spontaneously combust or crash into underground gas lines. Which are, in any case, being phased out. Santa Ana blackouts are a thing of the past.

Next, assume that Governors Brown and Newsom, the California legislature, and the envirostatists pushing 100% renewable electricity generation accomplish their objective, and that 50% of that renewable power is generated by windmills, since it’s only sensible not to depend entirely on solar panels, even if Elon Musk donates the entire output of SolarCity for a decade.

We will not go so far as to assume the Santa Ana winds simply cease to blow, however. Those winds are above the windmill cut out speed and will necessitate shutting down the windmills when the Santa Ana blow.

California blackouts, when the wind doesn’t blow and when it blows too much, would become a permanent, designed in, feature of the grid.

Philosopher ‘pretenders to the throne’

This is a nice, short (7 min) introduction to Friedrich Hayek’s insights on emergent order. If you haven’t read Road to Serfdom (free downloads at the link), maybe this will nudge you to do so.

Order without intent: How spontaneous order built our world. from The IHS on Vimeo.

Allowing order without intent to flourish is how we might avoid the tyranny of good intentions.

Related, from Edward Snowden:

“The most unflattering thing is to realize just how naïve and credulous I was and how that could make me into a tool of systems that would use my skills for an act of global harm. The class of which I am a part of, the global technological community, was for the longest time apolitical. We have this history of thinking: “We’re going to make the world better.””

The idea that “making the world better” is apolitical shows Snowden is still naive and credulous. The toolmakers of the global technological community may have good intentions. They may be motivated by thoughts of the benefits they are bringing to humanity. They may also be motivated by profit and ideology.

How a better world is constituted, in any case, is an ethical and moral question beyond the ken of their meta-data, and in direct conflict with the ethical ‘principles’ demonstrated by their business models.

Who defines “better?” We have ample evidence Google/Facebook/Twitter aren’t up to the task.

“Making the world better” can be apolitical only in terms of each individual’s actions. It cannot be apolitical for giant corporations whose tools are designed to deceive users into acts of self harm: A system of fools.

Politics is the very essence of social media and the control of access to information.

Politics, noun. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
-Ambrose Bierce

And, in ways Bierce couldn’t imagine – conducting private affairs for public advantage. Affecting elections for example.

Snowdon’s NSA is simply the government instantiation of the Facebook/Google/Twitter business models. They are all dedicated to making their subjects “better.”

“The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.”
-H. L. Mencken

Order with intent is the model practiced by authoritarians for “your own good,” public or private, from de Blasio to Google.

So, I’ll close with some relevant Friedrich Hayek quotations on good intentions, control of information, collectivist ethics, and the limits of knowledge: All of which apply to government and to the massive private enterprises whose control of information and manipulation of public opinion Hayek couldn’t imagine:

“Everything which might cause doubt about the wisdom of the government or create discontent will be kept from the people. The basis of unfavorable comparisons with elsewhere, the knowledge of possible alternatives to the course actually taken, information which might suggest failure on the part of the government to live up to its promises or to take advantage of opportunities to improve conditions–all will be suppressed. There is consequently no field where the systematic control of information will not be practiced and uniformity of views not enforced.”

“Our freedom of choice in a competitive society rests on the fact that, if one person refuses to satisfy our wishes, we can turn to another. But if we face a monopolist we are at his absolute mercy. And an authority directing the whole economic system of the country would be the most powerful monopolist conceivable…it would have complete power to decide what we are to be given and on what terms. It would not only decide what commodities and services were to be available and in what quantities; it would be able to direct their distributions between persons to any degree it liked.”

“All political theories assume, of course, that most individuals are very ignorant. Those who plead for liberty differ from the rest in that they include among the ignorant themselves as well as the wisest. Compared with the totality of knowledge which is continually utilized in the evolution of a dynamic civilization, the difference between the knowledge that the wisest and that the most ignorant individual can deliberately employ is comparatively insignificant.”

“To act on behalf of a group seems to free people of many of the moral restraints which control their behaviour as individuals within the group.”

“The idea of social justice is that the state should treat different people unequally in order to make them equal.”

The human pestilence problem

I had a note from a reader wondering if I wasn’t being hyperbolic in my contention that by “sustainability” “Green” fanatics intentionally mean to impose lower standards of living and a forced reduction in human population.

We might consider the Malthusian miscalculations of Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 book The Population Bomb and his proposals for forced sterilization (which was actually practiced in India); or the more gentle doomsayers calling for a Voluntary Human Extinction.

But, those are theoretical. Let me offer 3 real-world examples. 1) The millions of poor ‘people of color’ who’ve died of malaria and dengue fever because of Rachel Carson’s, campaign to ban DDT, 2) the malnutrition, blindness and death imposed on the third world by the boycott of golden rice, and 3) Clueless Minneapolis City Leaders and Sam Rockwell Are the Problem, Not Natural Gas Use

When politicians value signaling virtue above the health and well being of their constituents they are paving the road of good intentions with human bodies. Intentionally.

I repeat, nuclear power would solve the supposed CAGW problem. Greens oppose it because it doesn’t solve the human pestilence problem.

Immodest proposals

Freedom distributes everything unevenly (diversely). Obviously, Statism does too. The difference is that when the state decrees who should be favored it relies on the opinion of the currently fashionable gang of ‘intellectual’ nannies. They know how we should conduct ourselves. Where we should live; what we can say; how we should eat; the conditions of employment we should desire.

Too many female doctors go part-time or stop working — why that’s a big problem

“Female doctors are more likely than their male peers to shift to part-time work or stop working a few years after completing their medical training, according to a recent study published in the journal JAMA Network Open. Women, moreover, are more likely than men to cite family as a consideration in determining their work status…

“It’s very common for people to see this and say some women are just choosing to put family first — which is wonderful and a great choice for anyone who wants to make that. But in reality, what we’re seeing is that often there isn’t choice,” lead study author Elena Frank, the director of the University of Michigan’s Intern Health Study, said in a statement.

“Medicine has a big opportunity and, really, an obligation to set an example for how to support women and families,” she added.

I think this is confusing “medicine’s responsibility” (whatever that is) with feminist politics. That doesn’t mean women’s preferences don’t present a problem, though:

The U.S. is projected to experience a shortage of between 46,900 and 121,900 physicians in both primary care and specialty care by the year 2032…”

Research shows that hospital patients treated by female doctors are less likely than those treated by male doctors to die or be readmitted within a month of being discharged…

You can project a decline in the quality and quantity of available health care, exacerbated by female M.D.s leaving the work force.

How can “medicine” seize this opportunity? The suggested solution is “[W]ork flexibility, paid parental leave and on-site day care” for female doctors. We’re being told that government has to seize the opportunity on behalf of “medicine:” That these policies would keep female M.D.s on the job, though there’s no evidence presented for that, and there is evidence that women might still respond to motherhood the same way they do now.

It’s not just medicine, either: Why Are Seemingly Satisfied Female Lawyers Running For The Exits?.
Law is mentioned at about 2:23, but watch the whole 13 minutes.
This is really salient:

Even if we apply more resources to support female careers in medicine, work remains attention to other things even while someone else is bonding with/watching your child.

Nonetheless, I’d support Dr. Frank’s options for any woman for whom it would solve the problem. All they have to do is negotiate for it: “Look, I want part-time work where I have significant influence on the specific hours I work. No ‘on-call.’ I want a parental leave savings account matching contribution. And I want you to pay for day care at a nearby provider. I’ll take a salary reduction in order to get that.” That is a choice, but it isn’t the “government as caretaker” idea being promoted. Leadership diversity would not be served.

So, are you surprised women are more likely to cite family? Well, men are more likely to internalize their responsibility – to economically support their family. How, for example, are these female doctors able to quit a lucrative profession they worked hard to get into? Did they marry into the patriarchy?

Even worse, according to Elena Frank, director of the University of Michigan’s Intern Health Study the problems are (emphasis mine) “not just because of the blow to leadership diversity in health care.”

That made me laugh. Sexual-apparatus-based diversity as a leadership credential is more important than health care quality and quantity.

There’s more angst along the same lines. The author proceeds from an assumption that while it may be fine for women doctors to choose family over work, the real problem is that they don’t have a choice because they are forced want to spend time with their children. They are hostages to housewifery and motherhood, lost to the leadership diversity project.

There are some questions we might ask about this. First, “Did Dr. Frank think to search for any female doctors who labor under her recommended conditions?” It’s likely there are some, and would nicely test her hypothesis.

Second, “Assuming approximately the same resources are required to educate each medical student, does that mean women are, on average, a non-optimal use of those investments?” Much of the investment is made by the female medical students, of course, but one can rationally argue that society is worse off because these women later abandon their profession – having occupied a scarce seat in med school.

What to do? Provide “free” female medical school education on the stipulation they must work until they’re at least 60? Somehow I think quality of care might suffer. And why wouldn’t that option be open to males, too?

That’s rhetorical. It wouldn’t promote chromosomal ‘diversity.’ Though now I’m wondering about trans people… First, for which side are they counted, diversity-wise? Anyway…

First, let’s stipulate that women do make different choices than men, including working conditions. See here and here for rigorous proof. In one case there’s a free wheeling entrepreneurial startup from the “woke” era. In the other case there’s a extensive, hidebound rule-set.

It is not arguable that males and females are not treated equally in either case. And they make the same choices.

I know the counter argument will be that the system was set up by males, and so favors a male view of working conditions. But, if you look at the reasons there is a “wage gap” you’ll see it’s just reality that’s in the way, and accommodating women’s choices would require… well, you think about what could be done without dedicating even greater resources exclusively to women.

But, back to female M.D.’s plight. Let’s look at some other possible fixes in order to grant women (for whom a medical career is only temporarily most important) Dr. Frank’s prescription. Can we give them incentives to consider that initial choice more carefully? Or, can we establish disincentives to following their own later anti-leadership diversity choices?

1- We could have the government insist female M.D.s must never marry, or must promise only to become married to a lower earning spouse. This might lock them into their chosen profession, making it sort of equal to most men, who are typically willing to work longer hours in more dangerous and uncomfortable occupations. Choice. For family.

2- Alternatively, I suppose, we could psychologically screen female Med school applicants. We could reject those most likely to care about children (though feminine empathy and compassion probably get lost, too), or we could find those women who will insist their husband be the primary caregiver, or women who agree to sterilization. This isn’t optimal, but it’s surely cheaper than mandating paid leave, on-site daycare, and employee selected work hours. In total, it’s no more or less coercive than making everyone, including the childless, pay for female M.D.s post-partum guilt.

After all, whoever is a stay at home parent gets continual compensated leave, intimately directed day-care, and work hours only constrained by the children’s needs – which seems to cover the whole objective.

3- Or, maybe these potential leadership diversity exemplars could work part time, and/or save up so they can take leave, and/or get together and fund their own day care close by their workplace. Doctors can afford these perks without outside support. Giving female doctors extra money to accomplish this is like requiring taxpayers to pay for Sandra Fluke’s birth control pills.

Taking leave and working part time don’t help so much with the doctor shortage, of course, and I have a suspicion that what’s meant by “work flexibility” (since part time work is readily available already) is fewer hours for the same salary.

None of these remedies solve the economic problem: female doctors not only are a riskier initial investment than male doctors, but would end up costing more for maintenance. If I were a feminist, I wouldn’t be advertising it.

As a species, we might prefer a biological imperative which didn’t require trade offs based on sex. One where men didn’t die from work-related accidents 10 times as often as women, for example, though I’m sure we’d just be exchanging the current trade-offs for other (maybe worse) inequities.

But leadership diversity must be served.

Rationale to ration

Medical Welfare Programs Look To Price Another Year Of Life

Medicaid and other medical welfare entitlement programs have created expectations that are bigger than the resources available to meet them. As a result, some welfare bureaucracies are looking to ration expensive drugs through a controversial method designed to put a price on the value of a human life.

If a beneficiary of a social welfare program needs a particular drug whose price exceeds a predetermined value of a “quality-adjusted life year” for the individual, under this method, that person would not get the drug. It is already in use in Great Britain’s single-payer health care system and in other nations. Some in the U.S. think it should be used here, too.

When the government pays for something, it gives bureaucrats a taxpayer-based rationale to refuse to pay for it.

See the Green New Deal fantasy: It’s a list of things, including electricity, gasoline, home heating, land use, product design, hourly wages, preferred occupation, food choice, and, yes, health care; all of which will be rationed or regulated. Why? In order to implement their view of “social, economic, racial, regional and gender-based justice and equality

Is it any wonder GND proponents support “some are more equal than others” thugs like Venezuela’s Maduro and Cuba’s Castro?