Monday, November 30, 2020
A good example can be seen in this polling data from the Pew Research Center (relevant data circled in red).
Christopher Ingraham wrote about this survey in the Washington Post.
According to the Pew Research Center, 39 percent of adults younger than 30 support the view that people whose personal fortunes exceed $1 billion “is a bad thing,” while 16 percent say billionaires are good for society. …These attitudes were likely sharpened by the Democratic presidential campaign, which at one point pitted a multibillionaire (Mike Bloomberg) against a socialist senator who says that billionaires shouldn’t exist (Bernie Sanders)…the Pew data…suggest that young Americans are concluding that billionaires have amassed their wealth “through their rigging of the tax code, through legal political bribery, through their tax avoidance in shelters like the Cayman Islands, and through lobbying for public policy that benefits them privately.” …“The billionaire class is ‘up there’ because they are standing on our backs pinning us down,” Giridharadas said. …Among respondents 50 and older, just 15 percent say billionaires are a bad thing.
This is depressing data, just like the views of America’s young people in the GIEM survey I wrote about recently.
Some of them don’t like capitalism and wealth even when they’re beneficiaries.
The New York Times has a report on “socialist-minded millennial heirs” who want to use the money they inherited to undermine free enterprise.
“The wealth millennials are inheriting came from a mammoth redistribution away from the working masses, creating a super-rich tiny minority at the expense of a fleeting American dream that is now out of reach to most people,” said Richard D. Wolff, a Marxist and an emeritus economics professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst…he has been professionally arguing against capitalism’s selling points since his teaching career began, in 1967, but that his millennial students “are more open to hearing that message than their parents ever were.” …an individual act of wealth redistribution does not, on its own, change a system. But these heirs see themselves as part of a bigger shift, and are dedicated to funding its momentum. …In short, this means using their money to support more equitable economic infrastructures. This includes investing in or donating to credit unions, worker-owned businesses, community land trusts, and nonprofits aiming to maximize quality of life through democratic decision making, instead of maximizing profits through competition.
Here are three examples from the story.
Sam Jacobs has been…trying to gain access to more of his $30 million trust fund. At 25, he…wants to give it all away. “I want to build a world where someone like me, a young person who controls tens of millions of dollars, is impossible,” he said. A socialist since college, Mr. Jacobs sees his family’s “extreme, plutocratic wealth” as both a moral and economic failure. He wants to put his inheritance toward ending capitalism.
Rachel Gelman, a 30-year-old in Oakland, Calif., who describes her politics as “anticapitalist, anti-imperialist and abolitionist.” …“My money is mostly stocks, which means it comes from underpaying and undervaluing working-class people, and that’s impossible to disconnect from the economic legacies of Indigenous genocide and slavery,” Ms. Gelman said.
Pierce Delahunt, a 32-year-old “socialist, anarchist, Marxist, communist or all of the above,” has a trust fund that was financed by their former stepfather’s outlet mall empire. (Mx. Delahunt takes nongendered pronouns.) “…I think about intersectional oppression,” Mx. Delahunt said. There’s the originally Indigenous land each mall was built on, plus the low wages paid to retail and food service workers, who are disproportionately people of color, and the carbon emissions of manufacturing and transporting the goods. With that on their mind, Mx. Delahunt gives away $10,000 a month, divided between 50 small organizations, most of which have an anticapitalist mission.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with giving away one’s inheritance.
Since I’ve (sadly) never inherited any money, I haven’t had any reason to ponder the issue, but one of my dreams would be to use a windfall of money to help finance school choice so poor kids could escape failing government schools.
Needless to say, I wouldn’t finance anti-capitalist groups, like the folks described above.
But I’m digressing. Let’s return to the issue of misguided young people.
In a column for Law & Liberty, Professor John McGinnis offers suggestions about how to rescue them from statism.
…young voters are America’s future, and even if a few years in the workforce brings some greater political wisdom, many people still stick with their youthful paradigms unless some political shock disrupts them. For those who would try to change the mind of this generation (and the following one), it is important to understand how our education, occupational licensing, and entitlement policies are driving them to socialist views which break sharply with America’s political traditions of liberty. …It is not surprising that this structure prompts some young people to demand that the government pony up money for them… More generally, why not vote for radicals in the hope of shaking up the system on the assumption that it can’t get worse for them than it is now? …The classical liberal alternative is clear: reduce the transfers from the young to the old and eliminate those unnecessary barriers to career entry that privilege incumbents.
Here are the reforms that Prof. McGinnis believes would make young people more favorable to liberty.
Reform of the universities thus must be a priority. But it is very difficult. …they are getting worse by the decade if not by the year. Alternative institutions are probably the only answer. …Online education will allow for new challengers to rise, ones who are not as likely to be wedded to political correctness as the incumbents.
…our entitlement structure is currently designed to take from the younger generation and give to the elderly. Social security is a pay-as-you-go system. And given that social security is not actuarially sound, most of the current elderly will get more than they pay in. It is the payment of the young that makes up the difference. Medicare too is a government program from which the elderly benefit at the expense of the young.
The costs of occupational licensing also fall disproportionately on the young. Of course, that burden occurs in part because their elders already have their licenses. But more importantly, the barriers to entering many occupations have grown more expensive over the years.
But there’s something else that’s needed, especially when you contemplate the Pew data cited at the start of today’s column.
Supporters of free enterprise need to go after cronyism. And not just because the economy will perform better, but also because it’s morally offensive for people to line their pockets thanks to government coercion.
Indeed, half of the main message to young people (and everyone else) should be that honestly earned wealth is great, because that means (as Walter Williams sagely observed) someone accumulated lots of money by serving the needs of others.
After six years of trying to climb everything within my reach, I’ve finally done it. I achieved SOTA Mountain Goat status.
|Date||Summit||Summit Points||Total Points|
|19/09/2020||G/LD-010 (St Sunday Crag)||8||957|
|19/09/2020||G/LD-022 (Seat Sandal)||6||963|
|20/09/2020||G/LD-015 (Grisedale Pike)||6||977|
|21/09/2020||G/LD-014 (Kirk Fell)||8||993|
Sunday, November 29, 2020
‘YOU EITHER WENT TO WAR OR YOU DIDN’T’—HOW DEPLOYMENTS DIVIDE THE VETERAN COMMUNITY By Benjamin Abel
There is an unspoken caste system among veterans—one that no one talks about. The people who wind up in these castes have no choice about which group they end up in. It’s all a matter of luck and geopolitics.
You either went to war or you didn’t.
I’m in the never-went camp, and I don’t know how I feel about it. There are days where I get a flash of regret because I don’t share that experience with those who, like me, raised their teenage hands to promise to die for someone else’s reasons, but who actually faced the consequences of that promise. Regret isn’t the word for the feeling. Regret means there was something good to be had that you didn’t get a chance to experience. I know that there are bonds formed in combat that can’t be duplicated and those must be good, but a lot of other terrible shit happens, too.
It’s more than regret. Different and more complicated, a confusing swell of emotions—like watching those early black-and-white movies, the ones with street scenes where people and horses weave and jostle past one another. Aimlessly, but with purpose. It’s something close to cowardice, but that’s not it, either, because I was ready to go where I was told to go and do very hard things. Belligerent ennui? A bridesmaid’s lament? The chill of being an outsider in a club that I was already a member of?
My father is a known commodity in the special operations community. Iran, Grenada, stuff in Central America that probably still can’t be spoken about. Haiti, Nigeria, Afghanistan. He has most of the cool-guy badges and more “holy shit” stories than even he can remember. His would be a tough shadow for anyone to stand in.
My wife went to Iraq. We met in a makeshift team room at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in a derelict chow hall allotted to our unit after the building should have been condemned. She stayed in the National Guard after we both got off Army active duty, and her unit got the call in 2003 to head to the Iranian border. By then we had a house and an infant. I spent the days of that year of her deployment working full time at the Army Special Operations Command as a public affairs officer and the nights trying to be a decent father and keep our little family as close together as weekly phone calls and care packages could allow.
Her dad went to Vietnam. Infantry. Americal Division. Our grandfathers served in the Navy in the Pacific.
Mine is a tough family to be in if you are the only veteran who never went to war.
I, of course, could never know what it’s like to be Prince Charles, but I think we could probably commiserate. Who wants to spend a lifetime wondering what they might have done if they had been given the crown and the right to represent their nation, or, in my case, deployment orders and the right to destroy another person’s home and homeland?
My enlistment ran right through what comedian Greg Proops calls the peace and prosperity scare of the 1990s. When I was on active duty, I could have gone to Bosnia or Kosovo, but those missions were beginning to be the domain of the Guard and Reserve. There was a short-notice Grenada-lite thing that almost happened, but fizzled out. In the end, I had a couple of Joint Readiness Training Center rotations, as well as two trips to Venezuela and one to Colombia to fight the nation’s war on drugs. It’s hard to call those deployments, though. We had a swanky apartment in one of the best neighborhoods in Bogota with a full-on garden in the hallway and a maid.
That isn’t to say that I wasn’t affected by the wars that mushroomed up after the towers fell. As a PAO, I was in an office in the States, but the war was always a phone call away. I’ve written literally hundreds of casualty news releases. Ten paragraphs to encapsulate the life of a son who was shot through the throat in the dead of a cold night in Fallujah or a daughter whose remains fit in a shoe box after her vehicle was obliterated on a Kandahar street. Those baby faces framed in camouflage became less people and more the media’s currency of winning the breaking-news wars. Middle-of-the-night phone calls from the command’s emergency operations center with a notification of a combat death meant someone else’s family would have an empty seat at the table for Thanksgiving.
I wonder how much of a sin it is to be relieved that it wasn’t mine.
The funerals are pretty bad, but at least the family has had time to acknowledge the loss. The worst calls are to meet with Gold Star families before they even had a chance to accept the title. What do you say? How long do you sit with them and listen to the stories of their soldier? How many tears must fall before it is acceptable to get down to the business at hand and determine if they want to stand in front of a reporter’s camera and relive the horror of their new existence?
The funerals are bad, though. Taps will rip out your heart every time, even if you haven’t been to war. It just does.
I don’t regret not going to war, not now. I have a family and a decent job, but more importantly I’ve seen what war gives us. I’ve seen the broken bodies and the broken spirits. I’ve seen men with ropes of scar tissue running down their necks and arms like dripping candle wax as they struggle to stand as members of their unit—the unit where they were disfigured while serving —return in sweaty-funky gyms to trepidatious hugs and kisses from kids and wives and husbands whose faces they almost fail to recognize. I don’t need to have seen the actual act of breaking a human body to know that war, or supporting it so blindly, has real consequences.
So I guess that leaves me in the caste of former soldiers who will always be left to wonder “what if.” It must feel something like the second-string lineman on a football team who gets suited up and stands on the sidelines during the Super Bowl. We both were ready to be sent in to do our jobs, but the timing just wasn’t right.
I’m at peace with being in that caste now, but there will always be that awkward silence that follows, “Yeah, I got out before the wars started” when talking to another veteran. Because there is a difference between those who have been to war and those of us who haven’t, and every single one of us who wore the nation’s uniform knows that to be true.
Pasture Ridge is one of several SOTA summits near the Magruder Corridor. This corridor-road divides some of the most wild-country in Idaho, the Selway Bitterroot and Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness areas. The trail access to the summit begins at the Historic Magruder Ranger Station. The Ranger Station dates back into the 1920s and the Ranger’s Residence is now a US Forest Service Rental Cabin.
The Pasture Ridge trail is a steep but provides good access to near the summit where a short off-trail scramble completes the journey. The summit has been burned over and has many large tree-snags and live trees for hanging wire antennas. The forest floor will also be covered with numerous wildflowers in late spring/early summer. Summit views include large wilderness landscapes of wildland fire where lightning fires function in a natural role. Steep slopes into the Selway River are viewed along the entire trail route.
This area is frequently open for bear hunting in the spring and fall season so dress appropriately to be seen. The area has been burned by recent wildfire and numerous tree-snag hazards remain along the trail and on the summit. Keep alert especially in windy conditions. The trail is exposed and can be very warm on a typical summer day. Carry plenty of water.
Trail Miles: 4.5 miles roundtrip
Off trail miles: 0.5 miles round trip
Water: After leaving the Selway River, there is no water source above this point.
Bear Pepper Spray: Highly recommended in all North Idaho areas.
Maps: US Forest Service, Bitterroot National Forest, Selway Bitterroot Wilderness
Camping: The nearest campground is Deep Creek with a vault toilet. It is located 1.25 miles on the access road northeast of the Magruder Ranger Station.
Directions: South of Darby, MT approximately 4 miles, leave highway #93 and travel up the West Fork Bitterroot Road for approximately 14 miles. Turn right, west onto the Nez Perce Fork road #468. Continue up that road for approximately 17 miles to Nez Perce Pass. Continue over this paved pass traveling down the Deep Creek to the Selway River. Here turn south for a quarter mile up the Selway River to the historic Magruder Ranger Station. The junction is well signed. The trailhead is near the barn to the south of the Ranger Station parking area. The small somewhat hidden trail sign is beyond the large sign depicting many different destinations.
There comes a point where negotiation becomes surrender. Those actively undermining you will always demand more than their right. Those behind the Great Reset have been creating no-win situations for voters for decades to this exact end.