Monthly Archives: November 2014

Limit the Power of Bureaucracy

shackles

Shakespeare was wrong. It’s not lawyers, but bureaucrats that need to go first.

Often I hear the call from conservatives that we should impose term limits on Congress. This sounds nice but when you think about it, such actions have never been shown to lead to better legislation and only have resulted in having a higher percentage of idiots in bodies of parliament. I know it sounds nice but it just doesn’t want to work…now if you want to go back to having the Senate elected by state legislatures we might get better laws, but I don’t think most people are willing to admit that basic truth…so let’s get back to term limits. Term limits on elected officials will do nothing to actually improve anything…but what about term limits on federal and state employees.

Think about it.

Who is more dangerous? The idiot legislator who poorly words a bill about needing a business license? Or the worthless little fascist who thinks it is anywhere in the realm of civilized behavior to cite a child for having a lemonade stand on their lawn? (Hint one might need to be voted out of office, and one needs to be beat to death with a crowbar. Take a guess which is which.)

Who is more to blame? The Congressman who votes for a terrible addition to the tax code because it was tied to a bill that would ensure the military in a combat will get live bullets…or the IRS agent who takes a malicious glee in fining you because you could not deduce what the regulations they wrote above and beyond the law in Navajo code actually meant? (Hint: one can be forgiven for being in an impossible position, the other would be joining the S.S. if they were still hiring.)

Who should you worry about more? The politician who breaks their promise? Or the VA official who lets veterans die so they can get a bonus. (Dante would have to create a new level of hell just to deal with some of the shit we have seen go on the last few years from bureaucrats.)

Who ruins your life? The arrogant Senator who just is so vain he will do anything to get on TV, even going as far as arguing that we should arm ISIS? Or jackbooted thug who thinks it’s okay to call out a SWAT team on people who are selling raw milk? (Tough call, but John McCain is a particularly vile politician, far worse than most politicians ranking below most rodents, whereas I would go as far as to that 99% of all state and federal employees are scum.)

My point is that bureaucrats are far more dangerous than the people who write the laws. Because bureaucrats are the ones who write the regulations that determine how those laws will be enforced (that’s also something that needs to change, but we’ll get to that some other time) and the ones who enforce those laws and those regulations. No system in history has ever been constructed without the assumption that some competence and common sense will go into the enforcement…the problem is there is no way to encourage any of that in the system we currently have. You hire people for passing a basic civil servants entrance exam and they basically have a job for life. They can kill people intentionally or through incompetence (as the VA, ATF, and CDC have shown) and nobody loses a job. They can break law after law, violate basic Constitutional principles, and blackmail and intimidate citizens like this were a cheap Banana Republic and while in a just society there would be scores of bureaucrats swinging form gallows they know they’re all protected because their criminal boss plead the Fifth in front of Congress (oh and let’s not forget the destruction of evidence…)

These are people who have no incentive to justly enforce laws, to use common sense, or to even show the slightest bit of human decency. They have a job for life and pension after that. This has to stop. And the simplest way to do that is put term limits for all state and federal employees*. For all non-management staff the most you can serve in government is 15 years or two nonconsecutive terms of 10 years.   For management you need to receive a promotion at least once every 4 years or clearly you’re not good enough to keep.

big governmentFor the non-management staff this has several benefits. First every bureaucrat knows that there is no such job security…and they will be more concerned with making connections in the private sector than making the private sector’s existence a living nightmare. Second they will not act with impunity…the person you write up today could be conducting your interview tomorrow.   Third, you actually have to do your job well and in a way that will get compliments given to your boss about you that they can put on the letter of recommendation that you’ll need when you’re booted out of government service. Trust me, no little girls are going to be written up for a lemonade stand under this system…because no one would ever hire that sociopathic son of a bitch if they had that albatross hanging around their neck. You’d have just about the same job prospects as a child molester…and I don’t really see anything wrong with that (seriously, how mentally disturbed do you have to be to do that?)

As for management positions in government…the system I have set up that requires constant advancement…well there is no way faster to make sure there is a position open to get promoted into than being the whistle blower to point out that Ms. Lerner is breaking more laws than you thought a human being possibly could and oh, that’s right, I made sure to bring copies of all the email she sent me where she admits to breaking the law. The upper echelons of government will self-police with a ruthless efficiency that Congressional Oversight could never hope to match.

Now I’m sure someone will argue that the high turnover will result in far more open positions and low skill employees…this is true. This will result in Congress shrinking the responsibilities of these offices or just outsourcing their functions to the private sector just to make the pissed off voters go away. Win-win.

Now I will admit that this may cause the welfare rolls to swell slightly (as many government employees aren’t exactly qualified for private sector work) but I think the cost saving of them not getting in the way of my life may justify this.

Stop lifetime employment in government and actually get much better government.

*I am willing to exclude county and local government as these will be harder to fill, and jobs like police, district attorney’s office, and teacher you may not want to have high turnover as these are just functions of local government. Similarly I am willing to concede similar exemptions for the federal government for the Defense, State, and parts of the Justice Department (attorney’s and FBI), and anything in the Intelligence branch—these again are

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Filed under Economics, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Laws the GOP should pass

Movies for Conservatives: Interstellar

Okay so this is a more in depth look at Interstellar. If you want the spoiler light version of the review then go to my review on Elementary Politics.


Okay you’ve been warned, spoilers ahead.

Interstellar

So first off you should know you’re watching The Odyssey.  Nolan’s movies are all based on a work of literature* and this one is no different.  Cooper is Odysseus and he faces many of the same problems.  He faces a tidal wave that blows him years off course, one of the crew is tempted by the lotus eaters promise to dream his life away (which is also an Inception reference)**, a fight against a two faced monster and a giant hole in the ground (between Scylla and Charybdis), betrayal (the cattle of Helios), constantly hearing the siren call of home, a trip to the underworld, and a return home only to set off on another adventure.  And while everyone forgets this, a good portion of The Odyssey is Odysseus’ son Telamachus searching for his father, but Nolan cooper and murphdidn’t forget this part, and has the second main part of this story being Cooper’s daughter, Murphy, in her search for the same answer Cooper is looking for: how to save humanity.  There is also a little Heart of Darkness thrown in (and they’re not subtle about this as they use the phrase Heart of Darkness…granted it was technically used to describe a black hole, but it’s really just foreshadowing, which is something Nolan always revels in).  The Heart of Darkness aspect comes into play with as Heart of Darkness is all about hearing how great a man Kurtz is for the entirety of the trip into the jungle only to find that he is a raving psychotic…in Interstellar we are inundated with hearing how great, how brave, how intelligent Dr. Mann is, only to find him to be a cowardly moron who doesn’t even know how to park a vehicle properly.

But enough about the literary origins of the story…let’s get to the thematic cores of the film.

This movie, as with all of Nolan’s films has a very strong theme of conservative values that glorifies the individual and abhors the mentality of collectivism.

“We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.”

The story starts out sometime in the future (an elderly John Lithgow seems to remember the present as his childhood, so this puts it somewhere in the latter portion of the 21st century). The world has been overcome with “blight” a disease that has ravished wheat and other mainstays of food production leaving only corn alive–for now (a lesser director would have used global warming as a reason the Earth was dying, but Christopher Nolan is not a liberal hack). Humanity and innovation have come to a complete standstill and as farm land goes barren it leaves only dust storms to ravish the land. The parallels to the Dust Bowl of the Great Depression are unmistakable.  And just as in previous depressions we see the progressive mentality to rewrite history to convince people that their lives are only there to serve the greater good (the invention of the 4 freedom in the Great Depression, the malaise speech telling us that collectivism is the only way to survive, the attitude of “you didn’t build that’…all lies designed to make people give up on the nobility of the human individual and their soul)…in Interstellar it is:

Cooper: You don’t believe we went to the Moon?

Ms. Kelly: I believe it was a brilliant piece of propaganda, that the Soviets bankrupted themselves pouring resources into rockets and other useless machines…

Cooper: Useless machines?

Ms. Kelly: And if we don’t want to repeat of the excess and wastefulness of the 20th Century then we need to teach our kids about this Planet, not tales of leaving it.

Cooper: You know, one of those useless machines they used to make was called a MRI, and if we have one of those left the doctors would have been able to see the cyst in my wife’s brain, before she died instead of afterwards, and then she had been the one sitting here, listening to this instead of me which’ld be a good thing because she was always the… a calmer one.

This little scene not only shows how the government is more than willing to lie to get what it wants out of people, but also that the best in humanity, our drive to push forward, to reach beyond the confines of what we know.  Or to point to an earlier Nolan film, The Prestige, where Tesla points outs:

You’re familiar with the phrase “man’s reach exceeds his grasp”? It’s a lie: man’s grasp exceeds his nerve.

People, especially liberals, are afraid of the potential of humanity, and as both history and this film show, they will exploit any downturn to destroy the human need to be an individual and strive for greatness…after all “”You never let a serious crisis go to waste” is the liberal mantra.

But in this film it gets worse. In Interstellar it’s not just lying about the past, it’s lying about the future.  It’s lying that there is hope for what they call Plan A, the idea they can get the human population off of Earth and into space.  Of course this is a lie. There is no such plan…and in tune with the mentality of not looking for the potential of human nature they decided to give up and lie to keep people from panicking.  They don’t look for another option, they try for another solution they just give up.

And this leads into the liberal ideology of what justifies this lying.  As Caine’s Prof. Brand puts it “We must think not as individuals, but as a species” which are echoed later by Damon’s Dr. KurtzMann.  In fact Dr. Mann talks about sacrificing the people for a greater good and how empathy must be put aside…and all of this villainous talk sounds exactly like the environmentalist wacko’s who want to save the Earth by ending humanity…like Matt Damon.  I wonder if Matt Damon realizes that he was effectively hired to play himself to show that his rhetoric is evil.  Probably not.  But back to theme.  We see over and over again from the teachers, to Brand, Mann and even Cooper’s son the mixture of the idea that the individual is not enough, “We must confront the reality that nothing in our solar system can help us.” being coupled with the defeatist attitude that would allow for humanity’s extinction.  The movie is quite clear; collectivism will lead to destruction (just as it did in The Dark Knight Rises and The Man of Steel, just in case you think I’m somehow making this up—Nolan puts a clear hatred of collectivism in his films).

“We’ve always defined ourselves by the ability to overcome the impossible. And we count these moments. These moments when we dare to aim higher, to break barriers, to reach for the stars, to make the unknown known. We count these moments as our proudest achievements. But we lost all that. Or perhaps we’ve just forgotten that we are still pioneers. And we’ve barely begun. And that our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, because our destiny lies above us.”

interstellar-matthew-mcconaugheyOn the other hand we have the individual shown as the vehicle that will save humanity again and again.  It is Cooper’s courage and ingenuity that is needed and repeatedly saves the mission.  It is Amelia’s faith and hope that allows her to push through and start a new Earth somewhere out there in a far away galaxy without knowing that Cooper will soon be there to help her. And of course it is Murphy who is not only smart enough to figure out the riddle given to her by her father and what humanity will become…but it is very telling that even our future selves believe in the power of an individual, in the mind of a single woman to save humanity.  Even while in the Tesseract TARS expresses doubt in the ability of one person to solve the problem, and Cooper very clearly points out that it is possible for a single person can solve the riddle…but Cooper echoing his belief in the potential, shows that an individual person as a bridge and an individual person as a scientist have the potential to save humanity.  And this is especially poignant given that Murph was set by her school to be nothing but a farmer and by Prof. Brand to be nothing but a failure…or again in Nolan’s words from another work that apply quite well to Murph, “What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than what society had intended?  What if a child aspired to something greater?” They can save everyone, as we see over and over again in Nolan’s films.JESSICA-CHASTAIN-INTERSTELLAR

But what allows all of these individuals to be, is a strong connection to family.  I have to say that Nolan is a rarity in literature of any kind, a writer whose main characters all have healthy relationships between parent and child (honestly, show me an author who has a good relations between a parent and child as those between Thomas and Bruce Wayne, Alfred Borden and his daughter, Clark Kent and all of his parents, Cobb and his children, and now Cooper and Murph.  Most works are filled with angst and tension between parent and child, but refreshingly not Nolan).  Now I point this out as a conservative theme because it does show the correct attitude to family that is so often lacking.  Social “conservatives” (or as I like to call them Progressives for Jesus as they are not conservative in the least and would love to have a big government to enforce their own Christian of Sharia) have this perverted view that life, society, existence itself begins and ends with the family.  The point of marriage, sex, society is only to have children, raise them, and repeat the cycle.  You should notice that this hopelessly dull view of existence is basically the one shared by people like Prof. Brand who only is concerned with saving humanity in the sense of it’s genetic material…but we see in Interstellar a much more conservative view of the family not as something just designed to repeat a cycle but as a vehicle to achieving human happiness.  Cooper is first and foremost concerned with his children developing as people, not just surviving but living.  And this contrasts with his son’s myopic idiocy and Brand’s lying to his own daughter Amelia and his more or less adopted daughter Murph.  The villains of the story are only concerned with keeping their family intact as if the status quo is the only thing to worry about, they have no concern for the quality of life, only the quantity—a typical liberal perspective.

“Love is the one thing that transcends time and space.”amelia

And the bond that connect family is of course love.***   Love is at the heart of this film. While the individual is paramount for this story, it is the love between individuals that ties people together. Nolan never quite crosses into the realm of the spiritual in his films, but be it the nature of the dream in Inception or price of a soul in The Prestige, the spiritual is always hanging around the edges of his movies, gently influencing the theme (like hanging out behind a bookcase).  And here it becomes even more present than in any other Nolan film.  Love is seen to be like gravity in this film a force that transcends the laws of relativity and quantum mechanics (which is actually how thought seems to relate to physics…and to equate thought to love can’t just be a complete coincidence in a movie written by Nolan, a writer director/writer so careful with little details like this).  Love is vindicated as had they made the choice from love that Amelia proposed they would have succeeded without losing anyone else. And love is the force that the future of humanity uses to save it’s own past (which suggests that unlike every sci-fi vision of an evolved humanity, we have not left love behind but rather come to a far greater understanding it…if that’s not a spiritual message, I don’t know what is).

And if that isn’t enough, there is of course the central theme of the greatness of America (the nation that puts the individual and family at the forefront).  As always in a Nolan film America is shown for all its greatness…in this film it is no different.  We see that the people we are supposed to hate are tearing down the greatest moment of American history, namely that we walked on the moon.  We see the quintessential American pastime, baseball, being something loved by Cooper and Murph but also the sport that we take to space with us.  And of course take a look at the last scene, a scene about hope and adventure, where Amelia has set up a second Earth and we are left to imagine the future that she and Cooper will create on this new world…the last scene is of Amelia’s recently set up camp with the America flag center of screen blowing in the wind.

interstellar bookshelf

A final question what is it with cornfields?  Field of Dreams, Signs, Interstellar, Children of the Corn…Nothing ever comes out of a wheat or barley field…why is it always corn?

*Batman Begins is The Aeneid, The Prestige is Faust, The Dark Knight is Othello, Inception is the story of Theseus and Ariadne in the Labyrinth, The Dark Knight Rises is A Tale of Two Cities.  Even Man of Steel which was written and produced by Nolan is at its core an attack on Plato’s Republic.

**On two viewings I have noticed references to Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, 2001, Stargate, and Star Wars.  I’m fairly sure another viewing or two will reveal Star Trek and

***Just wait until I show that the central theme of each of the last seven Nolan movies has each movie tied directly to one of the four cardinal virtues or three theological virtues.

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Filed under Movies, Movies for Conservatives

Licensing and the government need to get rid of opportunities to employment

government license

Taxes, regulators, fees, bans on perfectly safe products, and myriad of other BS from the government. But among all of the asinine things that the government does, there is possibly nothing more idiotic than requiring licenses for certain professions as one of the most idiotic things that is specific to states.*

Now there are a myriad of stupid examples. Requiring hairdressers to get a license (because clearly you couldn’t cut or style hair without permission from the state) or requiring yoga instructors to get a license…because the government needs to regulate if the person telling you to move slowly is qualified or not…just ask this question, think of the dumbest yoga instructor you’ve ever met, now think of the smartest DMV employee you’ve ever met. I think we all know in this contest that the yoga instructor is not only a nuclear physicist in comparison, but they’re probably also not the Gestapo-wanna-be that the dumb psychos at the DMV tend to be (in case you’re wondering I live in Arizona and don’t have to renew my license until I’m 65 so I feel quite comfortable saying that everyone at the DMV is a worthless sack of shit)*. So in what universe do we think the functionally retarded people in government are in any way qualified to tell anyone else if they’re qualified for a job?

From government enforced cabals that prevent basic services being given at a reduced price to the poor…

to government efforts to actively destroy small businesses and innovation


Government attempts to license and regulate business is not only stupid it is evil.

But let’s deal with the issue I’m most familiar with… teaching. Let me give you the run-down of how much you have to do to get and keep your teaching license. You have to get a B.A. Okay so far. You have to get a finger print clearance from the state (basically you have to have the F.B.I. run your prints to make sure you’re not a felon and shouldn’t be around children). Still okay, but sadly we haven’t even come close to finishing. Now you need to complete education courses in addition to your undergraduate degree…this might seem fine if it were on classroom management, child psychology, and maybe some curriculum design…but what teaching programs are often chock full of is education history (not the useful kind), education theory (the kind that wants to talk about oppression, and class warfare, and inequality…the kind of bullshit that will make you yearn to the conservatives of a Tumblr Social Justice Warrior). Oh and then the state is going to test you on your field of knowledge, on teaching theory, and of course general knowledge (wait didn’t I have a B.A.)…keep in mind you’re paying for all of this out of pocket. Then you get to take a couple of courses on “Structured English Immersion” theoretically courses on how to teach non-English speakers language…but not one single shred of it is useful. The last time I went to my S.E.I. course, after shelling out several hundred dollars, they handed us a packet that the most recent research listed was from the Bush administration (no, not W.) but had the audacity to tell me this was all based on the most recent research. Really? Because anyone up on the most recent research knows the problem of education research is that it doesn’t ever want to seem to be reproducible. So I don’t see how this is cutting edge research. Oh, then to keep your teaching credential you have so many hours of “professional development” to complete every few years. The stated purpose of this is so that you can learn new and effective ways of teaching…but as someone who has sat through hundreds of hours of “professional development” I can tell you there is nothing professional about a meeting that covers teaching methods so stupid no self-respecting teacher would ever suggest them to students—except maybe as a joke—not to mention the fact that the most interesting professional development I have ever been to still made me question if slitting my wrists right there and ending it all might not be a better call than sitting through one more second of that idiocy. You know the expression “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” Well I’m not sure that’s always true…but I can tell you that “Those who can’t teach, teach teachers.” Professional development is nothing but a money making scheme to make schools pay teachers for days off and to bilk that same money out of teachers to go to the cronies of the law makers who passed the laws in the first place. Oh and then this encourages teachers to get their Masters and Ph.D.’s. Let me state something as an immutable fact. GETTING YOUR M.A. or Ph.D. in Education HAS NEVER, EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE MADE ANYONE ON EARTH A BETTER TEACHER. It is the most bullshit of bullshit degrees. The mythical degree in underwater basket-weaving is more useful than a M.A. in Education. And you get to pay teachers more who have it. In my experience the people with M.A.’s in Education are statistically worse teachers than their B.A. holding brethren…and if you meet someone with a doctorate in Education: RUN. They know less than nothing about their craft. Why because they would rather have spent their time getting a worthless piece of paper than working with their students.

A B.A. and a fingerprint clearance card that’s it. Then hire and fire the teachers based on performance. That is all you need to do to get good teachers. And all the bullshit of the above paragraph doesn’t keep good teachers…it repulses good teachers and only the most psychotically dedicated and those who know they cannot survive in the free market on any other skill are willing to continuously jump through those hoops.

But it’s not just teaching as the above links and video show, it’s everything. Government is out to control who can and cannot be this or that profession.

Do you know why many people left Europe and came to America in the early days? Because in Europe there were Guilds that required people to work as apprentices (read: slaves) for members of the Guild for numerous years before you could become a member of the Guild. If you were not a member of this or that Guild you could not legally practice that profession. It was the exact opposite of liberty. And while not as strict a caste system as India at the time, it pretty much guaranteed that whatever profession your parents chose to sell you as an apprentice to was your profession for life.
And this licensing idiocy that modern government is getting into is worse because it’s not just once you’re in a profession you can stay there…no our modern government keeps coming back saying you have to buy into the this or that training program they have created through law. There are mafia protection rackets that are less arduous.

We need to get the government out of licensing. All licensing. As Milton Freidman pointed out the government shouldn’t even be in the business of licensing doctors and lawyers—and if government has no place in those professions it has no profession in any business.

And what will be the result? More social mobility. More money for everyone. More competition…and by extension lower prices and better products and service.

Get the government out of all licensing.

*Okay there could easily be more idiotic things (and I’m sure there certainly are)

*You don’t even want to know my thoughts on the IRS.

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