The ignorant youf

These results from a recent Pew Survey are precisely why I am so often amused when atheists point to the lower percentage of religious belief among the young compared to the elderly as a sign of anything but the inexperience and ignorance of youth.  While it is true that a few of the idiot teens of today will be the influential decision makers of tomorrow, they are as unlikely to retain their political, religious, and philosophical attitudes as they are to retain their hairstyles and drinking habits.

There is, after all, something that will happen to these 18-29 cretins.  It is called experience of the real world.  The opinions of maleducated ignoramuses who have been purposefully sheltered from not only real economics, real decision making, real independence, and real work, but from the benefit of the experience of the best minds in human history as well, are no more relevant than the opinions of the millions of hamsters kept as pets in America’s households.

Of course the 18-29 crowd is pro-progressive and uncertain about whether socialism is to be preferred to capitalism.  They’ve been indoctrinated by anti-capitalist progressives for between 12 and 18 years without ever being forced to knowingly confront the consequences of progressive politics and socialist economics.  But their opinion about capitalism is no more significant than their opinion about gravity or the universal principle of entropy; as Greece is learning, you can vote for all the progressive politics you want but eventually the market forces you deny will swamp you in the end.

It’s not just the youth who are fools, though.  The general dichotomy between the dislike for militias and the support for state and civil rights underlines what everyone here already knows.  Most people are idiots.

Ban SWAT

They are totally out of control.  They murder pets, murder innocent people, lie about it after the fact, and usually get away with “accidents” like killing young mothers and maiming babies.  Reason’s Radley Balko has long been in the forefront of the war on the War on Drugs:

On February 11, the Columbia, Missouri, police department’s SWAT team served a drug warrant at the home of Jonathan Whitworth and Brittany Montgomery. Police say that eight days earlier they had received a tip from a confidential informant that Whitworth had a large supply of marijuana in his home. They say they first conducted a trash pull, and found marijuana residue in the family’s garbage. During the raid, police shot and killed the family’s pit bull. At least one bullet ricocheted, injuring the family’s pet corgi. Whitworth, Montgomery, and their 7-year-old son were at home at the time. The incident was written up in the Columbia Daily Tribune, noted on a few blogs that cover drug policy (including a post I put up here at Reason), and then largely forgotten for several weeks.

On April 28, I received an email from Montgomery. She had seen my post at Reason and read an account of some of my reporting on SWAT teams published in Reader’s Digest. She said she was reading to her son in his bedroom at the time of the raid. Her husband had just returned home from work. Police fired on their pets within seconds of entering the home.

“I’ve never felt so violated or more victimized in my life,” Montgomery wrote. “It’s absolutely the most helpless and hopeless feeling I could ever imagine. I can’t sleep right … and I am constantly paranoid. It’s a horrible feeling … to lose the safety and security I thought I was entitled to in my own home. Nobody protected us that night, my son and I were locked in the back of a police car for nearly four hours on a school night while they destroyed my home.”

According to Montgomery, when the couple’s neighbors inquired about the raid, they were told that the SWAT team had merely conducted a drill, and no shots were fired. When neighbors learned from the family that this was a lie, they began writing to the department and the Daily Tribune to demand answers. When the couple discovered the police had videotaped the raid, they requested a copy of the video. Montgomery said in her email that the copy they were initially given had no audio, and the incriminating (to the police) portions of the video had been removed.

On February 23, the Daily Tribune published its first story on the raid. The paper made its own request for the SWAT video, which the police department initially denied. On April 20, Jonathan Whitworth pleaded guilty to a single charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. He wasn’t even charged for the minor amount of marijuana in his home (marijuana for personal use has been decriminalized in Columbia). He was issued a $300 fine. On April 27, the Daily Tribune made a formal request for the video, which it received on April 30, with full audio and with no visuals removed. The paper posted the video with an accompanying article on May 3. On May 5, I posted it here at Reason, and the video went viral.

The police department has since conceded it was unaware that there were pets or a child in the home at the time of the raid. A spokesman for the Columbia Police Department initially said police had to conduct the raid immediately before the drug supply could be moved, a statement later shown to be false when police revealed the raid was conducted more than a week after the initial tip.

Police SWAT teams are provably more dangerous to Americans than the Taliban, al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden combined.  They are far more dangerous than Saddam Hussein and the Republican Guard ever were.  So, it is long past time for states and communities to begin outlawing both SWAT teams and the no-knock raids they commit on a regular basis.

Contra Kindlespying

While I quite like the potential of the Amazon Kindle – the Kindle version of RGD is still doing very well as an economics bestseller – I really do not like Amazon’s attitude about its ownership of the Kindle network.

There have already been plenty of questions over who “owns” the ebooks you’ve bought, with stories of remotely deactivated books and remotely deactivated features — neither of which happens when you have a real physical book. But there are also other concerns opened up by newly activated features. Apparently one new feature — sent in by a few concerned readers — is that Amazon will now remotely upload and store the user notes and highlights you take on your Kindle, which it then compiles into “popular highlights.”

At the very least, Amazon needs to do this as an opt-in option. I don’t think any amount of ease of use is worth granting both the power and the legal permission to sift through your data to a third party.

Homeschool or die VII

Okay, these murderous attacks on Chinese schools are getting to the point that it is straining even my dark sense of humor to find the comedic silver lining:

Seven children at a nursery school in north western China have been hacked to death and at least 20 more injured in the ninth attack involving children in just over a month…. the Chinese government has ordered intense security at all schools, redeploying thousands of troops and equipping security guards with restraining poles and pepper spray. In Beijing, the police say they have stopped seven more attempts on schools in the past month. However, the extra security has so far been unable to protect children in the countryside, and parents have voiced their panic.

Ace’s pre-school teacher acquaintance was arguing that real-world experience is a plus, so there’s no denying that surviving knife attacks is not only educational, but should serve the survivors well in preparing for a future battling against seven-foot tall irradiated cockroaches that shoot fire from their eyes. Of course, given that the latest Chinese caedophile also killed the kindergarten teacher, she might not be around to make the argument.

It is becoming ever more clear that we are approaching the madness season. I know there are plenty of smart people who are dubious about the concept of history’s engine, but it has to be admitted, the science of mass human emotion did predict an increase in this sort of behavior. What is frightening is that we are still at the peak of Wave 2… it’s hard to imagine what chaos will rule at the depths of Waves 3 and 5.