Thursday, January 31, 2002

Mr. Reynolds over at InstaPundit has a great joke involving the Commonwealth. InstaPundit rules.

A post at Next Right caught my eye, pointing out that most of the recent terrorists have been from fairly affluent families. While of course on a far lesser scale, most leftist anti-globalization types also seem to be well-off. Certainly on campus, I've noticed this. Perhaps the two largest groups of people here are those from Northern Virginia (especially Fairfax County, the richest county in the US and by far the most populous in Virginia) and those from rural families in SW Virginia. Almost without exception, the latter are conservatives of one persuasion or another, and seem to think that the government should generally leave them alone, albeit with a few times when intervention is necessary. By contrast, those from NOVA are mostly liberals. I have yet to meet a member of the Green Party on campus from a rural area, and until I see a Green who actually has grown green things, it's going to be hard to consider them more than whiners. Being industrious and with an hour to kill before my next class, I've been considering several reasons why children of the rich are often liberal wackos.

1. They feel guilty. They look and see that there are few people of a certain group in their housing development, and decide that there must be something wrong. To fix this, they either invite members of the missing populace into their social group or go slumming. In the former, they're almost practicing colonialism. They believe that they have the White Man's Burden of bringing culture and riches to the downtrodden and making everyone into one nice, happily equal family. This sounds pretty good, and indeed it would be if it were done the right way. However, too often they tell people that they deserve to be the same, and that if they're not, someone's oppressing them. If you take a group that hasn't had the benefit of a good education, tell them falsehoods, and begin giving them things, they may actually believe you. By doing this, the do-gooders are essentially addicting them to their "generosity" and treating them like dogs by not giving them a true stake in their future. They take away their self-respect and potential by offering the carrot of moderate wealth. If you're a single mother working two jobs so you can feed your children, you're going to jump at the chance to have some security, and there's nothing wrong with that. However, if you make the option to give up your liberty actually attractive instead of something to only do as a last resort, it causes a permanent stagnance in thought among those very people you tried to help. Slumming isn't quite as bad, since the condescending attitudes are easily seen, and those possessing them are soon separated from their money by guile or force, and smarter adolescents may actually learn that they're not helping anyone.

2. They feel noble. They look at themselves, and realize that unlike 99.9% of the world, they've been given access to the best education, the best health care, and the most opportunity. Knowing how much they've been given, they (reasonably) decide that they should try and give others a hand up. Sometimes this is very productive, as with charities like the Salvation Army and many scholarship programs. Unfortunately, many of these children have been taught by former Hippies, and thus try to convince the people of Kenya not to eat meat because animals have rights, instead of seeing that the Kenyans are far more concerned with actually getting something to eat in the first place. This is usually good for a laugh, but can turn insidious and lead to groups claiming to work for "the people" while being very out of touch with the man struggling to feed his family and send his kids to school.

3. They are cunning. Nothing makes you popular like appearing to care for others. By constantly telling people how much you care about the disadvantaged and making demands (however unreasonable) ostensibly on their behalf, you can usually seize the moral high ground. This is what Bill Clinton and Jesse Jackson did/do, and it worked very well for them. You can get rich without actually doing work this way, and earn yourself a place in history if you're good enough at it.

4. They are stupid and/or ignorant. I'm from Fairfax County, ranked the second-best school system in the US. However, many of my English and History teachers were ignorant themselves. With poor teachers, you get poor students. To get good grades in English and History classes, the best bet is usually to take extensive notes on what the teacher says and then to regurgitate it right back at them, perhaps adding a personal anecdote to prove that you're an original thinker. You don't have to be all that bright to do this. Having secured the best GPA, you can go to the best colleges, and get good jobs. If you feel noble like in my second theory, you can become a teacher in Fairfax County and have a starting salary of $40,000. From there, you can raise a new generation of sycophants and keep the cycle going.

Of course, I could just be wrong.

The thugs in Pakistan who've kidnapped an American journalist have extended their deadline by a day. How nice of them. They claim that Taliban and al Qaeda prisoners in Guantanamo Bay are being treated poorly, and that when conditions improve, this man will be released. The blame for this situation occuring lies with the Blame-America-First crowd in places like the Daily Mirror and the BBC who, unsuccessfully trying to find a way to embarass America have convinced the ignorant criminals in the Middle East that their people are being tortured. As as been pointed out in NRO by Michael Long, our treatment should be a model for the rest of the world. These animals we have at Gitmo aren't protected by the US Constitution or the Geneva Convention, so there's technically nothing legally wrong with us using them for target practice, but instead we provide them Korans, ministers, and safe drinking water.

In the post directly below this one, I mentioned a post at USS Clueless. In that article, he lauds Hewlett-Packard for providing ad-blocking software pre-installed. While this may sound like a good thing, I think it could actually do more harm than good. While no one likes pop-up ads and banners, they're legitimate. If you want to see the site (a privilege, incidentally, not a right), you have to take the bad along with the good. If my understanding is correct, then the ads for Blogger and Amazon PayPal on InstaPundit will be gone as well. This isn't good. Mr. Reynolds makes money off PayPal, and Blogger simply asks that their image be used on all sponsored pages. Come to think of it, part of the GeoCities terms of agreement is that you must display their ad on your page, meaning that a lawsuit might be in the future. Hopefully, some of the better-educated blogs will weigh in on this.

According to USS Clueless, no one uses the BLINK tag anymore. I'll take that as a challenge.

Note: BLINK doesn't work on MIE, so if you want to see my clever response, you're going to have to run Netscape.

I don't know what to make of this story from the AP wire. My first reaction is to of course be shocked at the tragedy, and to hope that the baby will survive. However, the chain of events that led up to this are even more shocking. Firstly, it says that the girl may not have known that she was pregnant. What the hell? I never have been and never will be pregnant, but from what I've observed, it's pretty obvious. "Hey, I just gained thirty pounds, am throwing up all the time, and I've been having sex. I must have the flu." My first thought was that she must be vastly obese, as that's the only plausible explanation I can think of for not noticing that you've got one in the oven. However, the piece goes on to state that she was an athlete, which discounts that theory. The only thing that I can imagine is that the girl didn't want anyone else to know what had happened to her, or that she was delusional. If you've got a baby physically exiting your body, you're going to notice, and the only way you wouldn't say something is if you didn't want anyone to know. I'm told that childbirth is one of the three most painful things a human being can experience, and many women ask for anaesthetics during delivery. Wouldn't this girl have been screaming? I'm sorry if I'm just repeating things, but I'm stunned that this could happen.

Note to self: The computers in the Torgerson Bridge are worthless pieces of you-know-what. I simply "maximized" my screen, and my entire post was lost.

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

You heard it here first: any jokes originating from Bush's pronunciation of terror ("tehra") and the capital of Iran (Tehran) owe credit to me. I can't think of any, but I've got dibs.

I feel bad. I accidentally spammed the "comments" section of Patrick Ruffini's post that I mentioned below. If he reads this, I'm sorry, I'm just computer illiterate.

Patrick Ruffini brings up a good point that I noticed here at Tech as well. There's virtually no integration anywhere. Yes, I know I'm in Virginia, part of the Confederacy. Unfortunately, that argument is a stupid one, since Virginia is fairly well integrated. Quick: where was the only Governor in US history elected? Hint: It's a Commonwealth, not a State. I went to school in Fairfax County, which Bill Clinton declared to be the "best integrated" school system in the nation. While I don't normally trust Slick Willy, this is one of those few instances where there's no reason not to believe him. According to my teachers who'd been at other schools in the county, my school (Hayfield, currently undefeated in Men's Basketball) was the best integrated in the public schools. As you can imagine, I was shocked when I came here last year and saw almost no integration whatsoever. One kid who had been on my soccer and track teams with me for several years gave me a "sup" and then never acknowledged my presence again. I've only seen one Greek organization that had both black and white students, and that was a co-ed music frat. My church group is as white as crack, and my Mellophone section in marching band was almost unique in having a black member. I see groups of minorities hanging out in the student center, keeping to themselves, so I know they're at the school somewhere. Oh well, maybe I'm just naive.

Hamid Karzai looks like he's pimpin' it. Good thing Muslim law allows a man to have four wives.

Like any red-blooded American with nothing better to do, I watched the State of the Union address (SOTUA) last night. It's pretty funny to watch the entire US government stand up (minus the nine Supreme Court Justices) and clap like robots every few seconds, though I'll admit the novelty wears off fairly quickly. According to Brit Hume, there were 75 standing ovations, despite the fact that the speech was less than an hour in length. I'm no math major, but that's over 1.25 standing ovations per minute (SO/M) and sounds dangerous. Perhaps the DC cops can use their cameras to pick one head at random from the chamber, guess who it might be, and send them a ticket. Enough about the peripherals, let the grading commence!
Foreign Policy: I'm giving him an A. Virginia Tech doesn't have an A+ in its grading scale, thus neither do I. We're going to whoop that "axis of eee-vil," especially those two Ira- countries in Asia. Our prisoners in Guantanamo Bay are going to stay there, and the rest of the world knows where they can stick their rolled-up opinions. What else is there to say? Everyone had to stand up and applaud everything he said, lest they look like Europeans.
Domestic Policy: HokiePundit will refer to himself in the third-person and award a C. I know most conservatives aren't happy with his domestic policy initiatives, and if they were the only aspect I was grading, he'd get a D-. However, Bush is smarter than most people think, and I think I see that at work here. Yes, the initiatives are silly, unworkable, and likely to cause conniption fits for conservatives and libertarians. However, it's not what he's proposing, but how. He states that responsibility, hard work, and less dependence on government are the guiding principles here. Thus, Bush adds the support of liberals to his current power base while laying the groundwork for a responsible government (gasp!). As much as the Right may want to have its entire wish list put into place overnight, it would be a failure to do so without proper support. By "changing the tone," Dubya is making it possible for reasonable governing to be practiced in the future. Conservatives have been thinking of him as their new Messiah, when he should be considered their John the Baptist.

I'm still getting the hang of this thing. I've had two lengthy posts disappear into the aether already, but I'm sure I'll get a handle on it soon enough.

In the grand tradition of InstaPundit, VodkaPundit,, USS Clueless, Libertarian Samizdata, and NRO's The Corner, comes HokiePundit! Just kidding. They're an inspiration, but I'm barely their colleague now, much less their equal. In any case, I'm a conservative, Christian, English major at Virginia Tech. I'm originally from Alexandria, near DC, and thus I'm not from the Blacksburg area. With any luck, some of the more esteemed blogs will link to me one day, but first I've got to go out there and earn my respect the hard way (through shameless self-promotion).

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