This is the final weekly installment of Adjunctular Noodling. I will be reading for my enjoyment, painting, walking by the river and maybe writing a little poetry to fill the weeks. I value the friends I made while writing the blog. You know who you are. The website will continue to exist until August. I’ll maintain a presence on Facebook as Eddie Noodle and on Twitter as long as I can stand it. Contact me if I can be of service. You are a special lot in a world that insists on the mundane. Very best regards. ~Don
“Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter.”
― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
On Wednesday at 10:45AM while navigating into a parking space, a young man of sixteen or seventeen stepped into the space I was entering. He crossed the white line diagonally to the most distant point on the perimeter, moving slowly, lids hooding his eyes. His expectation was that 3500 pounds of steel and plastic would respect his primogeniture over that space and time.
Forty-five minutes later, five hundred miles away, vigilantes calling themselves HedgeClippers denied EnTrust Capital’s right to legal assembly. The mob shut down a private meeting of investors for complaints including the failure of billionaires to pay taxes and the bankruptcy of Puerto Rico’s finances. Romney was pilloried for stating correctly that 47% of the public doesn’t pay taxes. Among these we might find the HedgeClippers rather than the investors inside.
“Too-Big-To” banks. would have failed in a market economy. Rioters should condemn the politicians of both parties who bailed them out including Dodd and Frank. They could also shower insults on borrowers who applied for Liar’s Mortgages. How many self-righteous thugs know what a hedge fund is or how many billionaires live in America?
At that same moment, Phillip Knight, founder of Nike, announced a $400M endowment to Stanford University, a fund larger than the Rhodes Scholarship. How galling for the philanthropist to give voluntarily what society’s least deserving wanted to take! We hate voluntary generosity even more than economic success.
On Thursday, Cal State University of LA “hosted” a lecture by conservative Ben Shapiro on the subject of intellectual diversity. His ideas propose on the free exchange of all ideas, traditional as well as progressive or socialist, on university campuses. Black Lives Matter activated fire alarms, threatened speakers and administration. The university cancelled Shapiro’s speech under the pall of violence .
Diversity resolves the failure of Affirmative Action. The early 1960s promised all Americans opportunities as part of one common, exceptional culture and economy. By the late 1960s urban race riots encouraged Black Separatism and White Flight. Creeping dependency replaced the promise of full participation in the American dream. This is the welfare state. Diversity promoted subcultures replacing the inclusive Culture of American Exceptionalism. Today the crescendo echos from the symphony of separatism. The cacophony’s recurring theme is the unfairness of the capitalistic meritocracy and a countervailing reactionary response against the Giveaway State. Reconciliation seems impossible.
Health care costs doubled every year since the introduction of a Federally compromised market. My introduction to Medicare limits choices of physicians so severely that I drive two hours each way to be treated by an appropriate physician. The greatest and most effective health system in the world is dismantled.
Disinterest evident through underfunding undermines American military greatness. The VA abuses and dishonors our heroes. Politically motivated rules of engagement handcuff our children’s protectors, and failed political-military leadership abroad jeopardizes homeland security. The meritless, envious and insane enlist with our international enemies.
Domestically, politicians handcuff law enforcement. Civil unrest in Baltimore and Missouri for reasons false and felonious spread to campuses where the public funds and public servants fan the flames. With intellectual leadership, young people on an off campus find order and rule intolerable, and the officer on the beat risks her or his pension for enforcing the law.
An entitlement educational system promises diplomas without regard for rigor or the prospect of employment. Only a third of accepted students are able to complete degree programs. Effete and idle faculty embittered by the failure of their own economic realities fan flames of student radicalism. Only one of four graduates works in a job requiring a degree.
Our economy, health care system, military, political system, educational prowess, rule of law, and work ethic are compromised. We surrender to the rioters convinced that they are forever victims, unable or unwilling to assume the responsibilities of opportunity.
It may not be possible to withdraw from society. Off the grid may be out of the question, but personal self-defense, resistance to every expansion of government, refusal to be implicated in a corrupt and futile political process, these are all options to reserve and exercise. I’ll preserve capital rather than producing new wealth. I will be silent in the midst of the rattling din of pseudo-liberalism. I’ll wait for the reemergence of John Galt.