Mailvox: on synonyms

Anonymous plays word games:

Conservative and FEAR are synonymous.

There’s a WHOLE lot of fear from the right on the blogosphere. Fear of the “other”. Other people, other cultures, other ideas. All the hording of guns and homeschooling and seperating from your fellow human beings. Kinda sad. It’s all about the fear.

Conservative bastions are markedly segregated compared to those notoriously integrated havens of left-liberalism, such as the academy, Carmel, Marin County and the Hamptons. For example, Marin County is “world-renowned for its stunning natural beauty, liberal politics and extreme affluence” and yet features a population that is 84 percent white in a state that is 55 percent non-white.

To be honest, I haven’t seen left-liberals demonstrate much openness to other ideas which seem to be fairly popular around the globe, such as female circumcision, Judenhassen and that always controversial law of supply and demand.

As for fear, that’s risible. The entire Democratic political program is based on fear! The Republicans are going to take your Social Security away! Refusing to sign Kyoto will cause the ice caps to melt! Everyone who owns a gun will go on a killing spree someday! All men are rapists!

Homeschooling and gun ownership aren’t about fear, to the contrary they are about responsibility. It is the difference between being an adult and being a child. The modern liberal expects the government-mommy to take care of him, the modern conservative knows it won’t and relies on himself.

Once, to be liberal meant to be an open-minded advocate of human freedom. Now, it is simply a synonym for immature and maleducated lunacy.

Crocodile tears

Blackfive shares my take on the media’s crocodile tears:

Do they really care about the men and women “Over There”?

Ask yourself, “Where were the protests and the speeches on Capitol Hill when we lost an entire SEAL squad and one of the best helicopter crews in the Army during combat in Afghanistan?” Ask Dick Durbin THAT the next time you hear him spout off about our losses in Iraq.

The answer is obvious – they are using us, our friends and our families to make political hay. It’s disgusting and, since I’m not afraid at offending them with this well-deserved title, un-Patriotic.

While I am completely opposed to what I consider to be the futile attempts at nation-building in Afghanistan and Iraq, I am, like Blackfive, disgusted by those who have never given a damn about the individuals serving in the US military attempting to use their sacrifices to score political points.

The warrior’s honor is not dependent upon the sagacity of his commander or even the justice of his cause. Soldiers around the world have long recognized this code, which can be seen in the chivalry of the medieval knights, the Bushido of the Samurai and the refusal of the early fighter pilots to target enemies who had been forced to bail out of their stricken planes. It can be seen today in Iraq, when the U.S. Marines do their best to save the lives of wounded men who only moments before were trying to kill them.

I note that the fact that I do not believe the Iraqi Occupation is a winnable enterprise does not mean I do not respect, support and honor the soldiers who are risking their lives to do their duty. Indeed, history regards those who serve in the full awareness of inevitable failure as the greatest of heroes, from Leonidas to Davy Crockett, they are the immortals of military history. Even in America, we did not forget the Alamo simply because the Texans could not hold it against Santa Ana.

But it is beyond inappropriate for those who loathe the US military and its traditions, who have actively worked to weaken and destroy it, to suddenly turn and use a feigned concern for the welfare of the troops as a foundation for opposing the current administration. The truth is that the Left has no problem with military intervention, indeed, the majority of America’s 20th and 21st century wars have been initiated by Democratic presidents and Democrat-dominated Congresses.

There is always room for genuine disagreement with regards to the wisdom of military actions. I myself have repeatedly criticized the administration’s strategy and noted how it appears to be inadequate when compared with the actions of past military leaders and the classic advice of military strategists such as Sun Tzu and Clausewitz. Those are legitimate grounds for debate, indeed, it would have served both the nation and its warriors well had the media been interested enough to bother engaging in such a discussion.

But the fraudulent compassion now being served up by the legacy media is nothing but a mark of their low regard for their audience’s intelligence and deserves to be dismissed with the utmost contempt.

As long as we’re on economics

Stephen Roach sees history repeating itself:

In the two oil shocks of the 1970s, the personal saving rate averaged about 9.5%, whereas in the oil shock just prior to the Gulf War of early 1991, it was around 7%. That means that in each of those earlier instances, US consumers had a cushion of saving they could draw upon in order to maintain existing lifestyles. Today’s “zero” saving rate underscores the total absence of any such cushion. The only backstop available to support the spending excesses of American consumers is the saving that is now embedded in their over-valued homes. Yet with the housing bubble now in the danger zone, that’s not exactly a comfort zone.

There is another eerie parallel with earlier energy shocks that should not be taken lightly. Just prior to the two oil price spikes of the 1970s, discretionary spending by US households had also gone to excess. The GDP share of consumer durables and residential construction — the latter being a proxy for the discretionary demand for shelter — was running at peak levels of around 14.5%. In the aftermath of those two earlier energy shocks, discretionary spending collapsed — with the combined share of consumer durables and homebuilding falling to 11.5% in the mid-1970s and 10.5% in the early 1980s. These were the most severe consumer-led recessions on record in the United States. In the current expansion, discretionary household spending has moved into a similar zone of excess. The combined share of consumer durables and residential construction has averaged 14.3% of GDP over the past year — virtually identical to peak shares hit just before the two energy-shock-induced consumption collapses of the 1970s.

In other words, just as the energy shocks of the 1970s hit US households at a point when their spending behavior had gone to excess, the same is the case in the present climate. Yet unlike those earlier periods, today’s asset-dependent, overly-indebted American consumer is lacking any semblance of a backstop of income-based saving to shore up the downside. It would be one thing if American consumers were committed to defending modest lifestyles. It is another thing altogether in today’s era of excess — there is much more room and greater urgency for consolidation.

But what does he know? He’s only the chief global economist for Morgan Stanley. My real estate agent – who went to law school and passed the bar two years ago on her third try – says real estate is the best investment I can possibly make! I don’t have to put anything down, and with a zero-down Adjustable Rate Mortgage, I can cash out my equity later, buy some new clothes and have total flexibility.

Those banks sure are stupid. As soon as interest rates go up, I’ll just switch to a fixed-rate mortgage. I bet they never thought of that!