I’m not a “conservative,” I’m an 18th-century Enlightenment radical

From Charlie Martin at pjmedia.com/lifestyle/ : Does buddhism require you to be a liberal? The short answer is no ….

I don’t think it’s necessarily so. In fact, I think Buddhism, real Buddhism, is inherently more in tune with libertarian “conservative” politics. (This isn’t the place for this particular rant, but I scare-quote “conservative” because I think it’s a bad term. As I was telling someone last night, I’m not a “conservative,” I’m an 18th-century Enlightenment radical.)

Absolutely! So am I.

And regarding the rant….as usual the “liberal” progressives have managed to at once de content and blacken + distort the abstract philosophical meaning of the words conservative and liberal…as I have whined about in the past. Politicians do this to avoid being pinned down, progressives to control the message and short circuit dialogue. Going back to the discussion on political philosophy, progressives often called liberals are not at all about liberty in anything but the most puerile sense and conservatives are generally cautious, not reactionary, and are pro liberty in its more robust sense. Progressives are generally about changing human nature by government fiat.

Libertarians…the old liberals, are about core human rights, property rights, equality before the law, the rule of law, financially competent government, citizen dominated politics, de politicized + meritocratic bureaucracy and minimalist + open regulation. In other words an eighteenth century Enlightenment radical!

Stupid…back at the beginning and today

20130827-065512.jpg 20130827-065540.jpgFrom StrategyPage.com: The USAF Stands Like A Rock

August 26, 2013: The U.S. Air Force continues to come up short in its effort to supply enough pilots for its growing UAV fleet. Currently the air force has about 1,300 operators for its 280 large UAVs (about half of them Predators, nearly 40 percent Reapers and the rest Global Hawks). UAV operators are now nearly nine percent of all air force pilots, triple the percentage in 2008. But now the air force is unable to get enough manned aircraft pilots to volunteer to do a three year tour as a UAV operator and cannot train non-pilots fast enough to be career UAV operators. Another problem is dissatisfaction with the job. UAV operators leave the air force at three times the rate of pilots of manned aircraft. There are several reasons for this. UAV operators have a heaver workload than pilots of manned aircraft and less time to study and prepare for promotion opportunities. As a result UAV operators are promoted at a rate 13 percent lower than pilots of manned aircraft. Worst of all, UAV operators are not shown the same respect as pilots who go into the air aboard their aircraft. All this would go away if the air force allowed NCOs (sergeants) to be operators of the larger UAVs but the air force leadership is very hostile to that idea.

Absolutely certain that the AirForce and Navy can come up with highly articulate rationales for their systems but it’s all politics and tradition. In the end stupid since it damages the very ‘institutions’ the ‘traditionalists’ think they are protecting.

German / Euro Green Dogma vs Cold Green (eyeshades, cash) Reality

At PhysOrg.com:German energy giants pull plug on conventional power
by Mathilde Richter20130818-201745.jpg

Lightning fills the sky above a wind farm near Jacobsdorf, eastern Germany in May 2013. With political clout firmly behind renewables, priority is given in the national power grid to so-called “clean” electricity.

Back at the beginning, the smart money knew the War on Drugs was lost before it started

From the: Hoover Institute: defining ideas: Losing the War on Drugs by George P. Shultz

First, who knew George Schultz, who was in the news all the time when I was young, was still alive? Glad of it! A hard nosed realist with polish and vast experience. I just hope this is part of a change in policy thinking…but I fear the vested interests!

A vast torrent of our resources among the some part of our morale stature, our trust and lawfulness, have been poured into the maw of the beast never to be seen again. Worse, the ruthless torrent has eroded our very ability to gate it.

Criminalizing human behavior does not stop it, it gives you (the one trying to mitigate harm) leverage. When that leverage works double, triple or more for the other side, you are the fool dangling off the end of your supposed ‘advantage.’

WSJ || Sequester is bad medicine But the only medicine for now

20130812-155542.jpgLove the cartoon, yay WSJ!

WSJ OPINIONAugust 11, 2013, 6:18 p.m. The Budget Sequester Is a Success
The Obama spending blitz is over and the deficit is heading below 4% of GDP

This is about the only way we’re going to cut budgets in this environment, I think it is unrealistic to expect congress to manage its way out of this given the inability to horse trade and really sock it to any constituency, given the rules of the game as played today. The big remaining problem is the locked in promises inherent in the big ticket entitlements.

Captains Journal || Counterinsurgency Cops … An ugly trend spawned by war-action porn and misplaced priorities

20130812-091007.jpgOregon Dept. Transportation
Captains Journal || Counterinsurgency Cops (hat tip Instapundit)
This is grim reading, not because the ‘news’ is new but because it puts it in an a societal-political context that says its most likely an accelerating trend. Though perhaps self limiting since the abuses such as Swatting, stupid mistakes, and utterly inappropriate response will eventually cause a backlash, but that could take decades.

Look at the utterly predictable results of the of get tough on crime cycle ( ‘three strikes,’ ‘mandatory minimum sentences,’ ‘federalization ,’ ‘punitive confiscation,’and ‘layering,’) has had; unsustainable prison population, increasing numbers of utterly harmless pseudo criminals behind bars for years, turning rowdy youths into hardened criminals or near non persons, etc.

Now decades of a ‘war on drugs,’ war on this, war on that, failed progressive policies, knee jerk conservative reactions, increasing control of policy by the actors with fingers in the game (public service unions, prosecutors, activists, local politicos, etc) etc, has left us with a crushing burden of law, regulation, tax, and in general government infrastructure…

We saw this happen with the original prohibition, then people were smart and aware enough to realize the ‘cure’ was a feel good bandaid that drove the rot deeper.

This sort of crap: no tolerance, prohibition, cover your ass, take no chances (and that is what this sort of behavior is, in a POLICE force for crying out loud!) degrades the very society it is purporting to support, eroding the penumbra of trust and lawful-ness that our society has depended on to be the most productive and dynamic in the world.

The above is even more worrying when taken in the appropriate context of the surveillance state + anti terrorism infrastructure post 9/11. The original impetus was understandable, the respons well intentioned, sometimes noble, but out of proportion (the American habit of overwhelming firepower) to the original problem which was misdiagnosed, misunderstood, and/or fearfully/willfully overblown. Now we have huge infrastructure in place that is apparently doing nothing…and folks, usually with some level of good intention, want to make use of all that ‘stuff.’