The delusions of the progressives

Thanks to Donald Douglas, I found this article on what “progressive” has actually meant in the past:

‘Progressivism’: the greatest source of death and terror in the twentieth century
By George Neumayr | Sun Feb 16, 2014 20:00 EST

February 14, 2014 ( – The English author George Orwell wrote that “political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” In the history of manipulative political language, the term “progressive” surely occupies a high place.

The term is used incessantly to describe policies, political figures, and churchmen, among others, whom a liberal elite deem enlightened. Through repetitive use of “progressive,” modern liberals have hoped to gull the public into equating progressive with progress. But no such equation is justified. The gulf between the rhetoric of “progress” and the reality of progress is glaring.

The darkness of the twentieth century is sufficient to dissuade anyone from confusing “progressive” with progress. Its vilest ideologies were all presented as “progressive.” In the name of bettering humanity, self-described progressives felt emboldened to “progress” beyond the most basic precepts of reason and the natural law.

While some causes labeled “progressive” in the twentieth century qualify as either innocuous or at least debatable, many were unmistakably evil. The century’s eugenic schemes, for example, came not from so-called reactionaries but from proud self-described progressives. The West’s leading judges and university presidents championed eugenics openly before World War II.

In the 1920s, Oliver Wendell Holmes, considered a pillar of progressivism, thought nothing of calling for widespread sterilization of whomever the elite considered inferior. After all, he wrote, “It is better for all the world if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for the crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind…. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

More at the link.

While Mr Neumayr goes through the sad and sorry history of what the “progressives” thought to be progress, I’m interested in this quote he note from Hilary Clinton, during her thankfully-failed 2008 presidential campaign:

I prefer the word ‘progressive,’ which has a real American meaning, going back to the Progressive Era at the beginning of the 20th century. I consider myself a modern progressive – someone who believes strongly in individual rights and freedoms, who believes that we are better as a society when we’re working together and when we find ways to help those who may not have all the advantages in life, get the tools they need to lead a more productive life for themselves and their family. So I consider myself a proud modern American progressive, and I think that’s the kind of philosophy and practice that we need to bring back to American politics.

It would be difficult to find a more self-contradictory statement. You cannot both “(believe) strongly in individual rights and freedoms” and “(believe) that we are better as a society when we’re working together,” unless that second belief is one which is subordinate to the first, and hold that the rights of the individual to not go along with what others may want are paramount. The health care plan is a perfect example: Mrs Clinton believes that everyone should work together, to make us better as a society, if all buy health insurance . . . and supported a plan in which the individual’s right to choose not to buy health insurance was simply overridden.

But that is the essential nature of the “progressive:” if the “progressive” decides that something is in everyone’s better interests, then that something should be and must be imposed on everyone by the government, and the rights of those who disagree are simply inconsequential. Liberalism, progressivism, are necessarily incompatible with freedom, because they are based on the notion that state power can legitimately be used to enforce their ideas and policies.

€urosclerosis: Guess what? Austerity works!

It has been a while since we have addressed the crisis in Greece, the last article, €urosclerosis: Things are going to get better for Greece, coming last August, and now we see this from The Wall Street Journal:

Greek Budget Surplus Beats Target
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras Says 2013 Surplus Will Be Nearly Double Its Target
By Stelios Bouras | Feb. 16, 2014 8:02 a.m. ET

ATHENS—Greece’s primary budget surplus for 2013 will be nearly double its target, the country’s prime minister said Sunday.

Antonis Samaras said the primary budget surplus, which doesn’t take into account interest payments, will exceed €1.5 billion ($2.05 billion), compared with an upwardly revised target of €812 million.

The apparent improvement comes a year ahead of schedule and after years of tax rises and spending cuts demanded by international creditors in exchange for two bailouts worth a combined €240 billion. Athens wasn’t expected to achieve a primary surplus until the end of 2014, according to goals set by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

“I tell you now that it exceeds €1.5 billion,” Mr. Samaras is quoted as saying by weekly newspaper To Vima in comments confirmed by his office. “This means that a very large part of it will be returned this year to the community.”

More at the link. Equally interesting are the articles listed in the Journal’s Euro Debt Crisis Stream:1

  • Euro-Zone Recovery Picks Up Slightly
  • Italian Economy Emerges from Slump
  • Europe’s Recovery Gains Momentum
  • Greek Economy Contracts Less Than Expected

The economic picture in Europe is far from rosy, and the eurozone recovery is still below that required to make a significant reduction in unemployment, but the austerity programs put in place have been followed by an economic situation that is growing, slightly, and at least not getting any worse, while the naysayers – including the esteemed Paul Krugman had predicted that austerity programs would lead to a depression.

Let me put it very bluntly: they were wrong! The people who spent much newsprint, broadcast time and internet bandwidth telling us that we must spend, spend, spend to push a recovery, and that the austerity programs would make things worse, much worse, were wrong! Meanwhile, those of us who said that austerity might be unpleasant but it was the only path for responsible government leaders, were right.

Of course, it’s easy for Dr Krugman and his like-thinkers to tell us that we must borrow and spend ever more money, to get the nation and Europe out of recession, because they are actually responsible for nothing. If Dr Krugman’s predictions wind up wrong, as they have, there’s no harm done at all, at least not if his policy prescriptions were not employed by governments who believed him.   The men and women who actually are responsible for their country’s well-being have to be right, and the evidence is that the ones who chose austerity, the ones who (finally) opted for a conservative economic policy were right.

  1. All articles have the same hyperlink in the stream

Monuments Men

We saw The Monuments Men today. It was an interesting movie since it was a condensed version because hundreds of troops were involved in this WW2 adventure in real life, and maybe eight were shown as the main characters. It was interesting to see Bill Murray back in uniform after his last time it was in the comedy farce STRIPES. Irony abounded in the movie based on the actors. The lead Character was George Clooney. Clooney has been in a few war movies, but the absolute premise of the movie is 180 degrees opposed to Clooney’s Politics. But the main Premise espoused in the movie was Hilter was stealing other country’s National Treasures, which was the root of a country’s heritage and carting it off to Germany. What the Irony was from Clooney was that you can kill a country’s people, destroy its cities, but to take a Nation’s Heritage away, is to kill the nation.

I heard that, and what popped into my head is the destruction of the foundation of our reason for being the Nation We Were is being steadily and rapidly eroded by BO and his band of Progressives. I don’t know if Clooney saw the Irony, but it hit me like a lead brick.

From Around the Blogroll

William Teach noted that the real reason Mayor Bil DeBlasio kept New York City’s public schools open during Thursday’s heavy snowstorm wasn’t for education, but to provide babysiting services for city parents.

Phineas, writing on Sister Toldjah, noted that, in a pretty much unprecedented move, career foreign service officers are chiding the Obama Administration for the heavy emphasis on political, rather than professional, ambassadorial appointments, in the wake of some really rotten appointments. Jennifer Davis of the Victory Girls also wrote on the topic of pathetic ambassadorial appointments.

L D Jackson wrote about some idiocy in Oklahoma.

Hube was (sort of) amused that neither The New York Times nor a sitting federal judge appear to know what’s actually in the Constitution.

Donald Douglas noted the vote by the workers at the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee rejecting the organizing attempts by the United Auto Workers union. Those of us who grew up in Kentucky never had much use for the state below us, but this action by real workingmen in the Volunteer State deserves a song in tribute:

Darleen Click of Protein Wisdom spotted yet another executive order by President Obama:

Not to worry: if someone did try to add Barack Obama to Mount Rushmore, the other four Presidents would get up and walk away.

Jeff Goldstein noted that 29% of American adults under 35 still live with their parents. Ain’t that Obama economy great!

Patterico wrote about an initiative by the Federal Communications Commission to “to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run.”

Robert Stacey Stacy McCain noted an article by Todd Zywicki criticizing E J Dionne’s article criticizing a book that he had obviously never read. Your Editor has never had much intellectual respect for Mr Dionne, who claims to be a Catholic and who writes for the lay Catholic journal Commonweal, which is about as Catholic as Nancy Pelosi and Andrew Cuomo and John Kerry, which is to say, not in the slightest. Mr Dionne is just terribly distraught that the “Austrian” school is blocking the use of Keynesian economics to fix our terrible economic problems, without understanding that Keynesian economics does not work! We tried a Keynesian approach to the recession, and it failed miserably.

William Jacobson of Le*gal In*sur*rec*tion is concerned that Dartmouth has promoted Amanda Childress, the Sexual Assault Awareness Program coordinator, who has said that the college could expel a student based upon an allegation of sexual assault, without an requirement for due process or any actual proof.

DNW wrote, on Truth Before Dishonor, about yet another federal government funded solar energy project.

When I was looking for the Rocky Top video above, YouTube had other suggestions, so I’ll wrap it up with Lester Flat and Earl Scruggs playing Foggy Mountain Breakdown at the Grand Ole Opry:

Rule 5 Blogging: I’m tired of snow edition!

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Elin Nordegren in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude.

Since we’ve had all of this global warming recently — we got 2½ inches today, on top of the 6½ inches on Thursday, on top of the 12 inches over thre separate storms the previous week — I figured that I’d go to a snow country for this week’s photos, with military women from Sweden!


Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: I’m tired of snow edition!’ »

Economics 101: Who didn’t see this coming?

Remember how we were told that the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act would lower health insurance costs due to competition? From The Wall Street Journal:

For Many, Few Health-Plan Choices, High Premiums on Online Exchanges
Analysis Shows Americans in Poorer Counties Have Limited Options on Health-Care Exchanges
By Timothy W Martin and Christopher Weaver | Feb. 12, 2014 7:37 p.m. ET

Donnie McCrary, of Americus, Ga., is enrolled in health insurance that costs about $917 a month. His federal subsidy knocks it down to $182.65. Bryan Anselm for The Wall Street Journal.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans in poorer counties have few choices of health insurers and face high premiums through the online exchanges created by the health-care law, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal of offerings in 36 states.

Consumers in 515 counties, spread across 15 states, have only one insurer selling coverage through the online marketplaces, the Journal found. In more than 80% of those counties, the sole insurer is a local Blue Cross & Blue Shield plan. Residents of wealthier, more populated counties in the U.S. receive lower-priced choices than those living in counties with a single insurer.

The White House has said broad participation in the exchanges would help lower health-care costs. On Wednesday, the Obama administration reported about 3.3 million people have signed up for coverage through the online marketplace by January, an increase of more than one million since December, but still with fewer younger Americans than needed to keep down premiums.

Higher participation rates among young adults, as much as 40%, is seen as essential to balance out the higher costs of covering older people for insurers that are already limiting the counties where they offer coverage.

The average price for a 50-year-old American to obtain the cheapest midlevel “silver plan” through—the marketplace operated by the federal government—was $406 in counties with one health insurer, the Journal found. In counties with four insurers, the average price of the cheapest comparable silver plan was $329.

A lot more at the link. But, basically put, the article noted that major health insurers are in business to make money, and that they are taking the actions that they take with that goal in mind.

But, what interests me just as much is the caption that came with the article photograph. If Donnie McCrary is enrolled in health insurance that costs about $917.65 a month, but his federal subsidy knocks it down to $182.65, that means that the taxpayers — that’s you and me! — are paying $735.00 a month, or $8,820.00 per year, for Mr McCrary’s health insurance. Just how many Donnie McCrarys are there out here, and why should the federal government take money that I have worked for, take food off of my table, to pay Blue Cross/ Blue Shield to give Mr McCrary health insurance?

Everything we were were told by the Democrats concerning the PP&ACA was a lie, including “and” and “the.” We told everyone that, but it didn’t matter.

He made it home safely

From The Pirate’s Cove:

Welcome To Raleigh Snowmageddon
By William Teach February 12, 2014 – 6:19 pm

Yes, I’m usually kind of lame at responding to comments during the day. That whole work thing, and it being kind of a pain to type that much on an Android. I have a good excuse for today: I left work around 2pm, and walked in my door at 547pm.


I’m actually a bit shaky and feel anxious after that white knuckle drive. Oh, and hungry. No lunch.

The important thing is that he did make it home, safely, even if his normal 30 minute drive took 3¾ hours.

As for me, Winter Storm Pax, as the Weather Channel calls it, hasn’t hit northeastern Pennsylvania yet. Right now, the forecast is for snow to begin around midnight, with 1 to 3 inches of global warming by sunrise, and another 3 to 5 inches during the day; I’m hoping that we’re on the lower end of those predictions.

The good news is that everybody is home, and no one other than me is scheduled to work tomorrow; if the forecast pans out, I won’t go in, either, but will wait until the snow has passed, and then go in to plow the yard. There certainly won’t be an concrete mixers going out tomorrow!

It’s supposed to be a heavier, wetter snow, the kind that brings down power lines. So, we’ve charged up all of the flashlights and Kindles, just in case, but I’m hoping that the sparktricity stays on.

If the observations do not fit the theory, then the observations must be wrong, right?

Thanks to the esteemed William Teach, I found this article:

95% of Climate Models Agree: The Observations Must be Wrong
February 7th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

I’m seeing a lot of wrangling over the recent (15+ year) pause in global average warming…when did it start, is it a full pause, shouldn’t we be taking the longer view, etc.

These are all interesting exercises, but they miss the most important point: the climate models that governments base policy decisions on have failed miserably.

I’ve updated our comparison of 90 climate models versus observations for global average surface temperatures through 2013, and we still see that >95% of the models have over-forecast the warming trend since 1979, whether we use their own surface temperature dataset (HadCRUT4), or our satellite dataset of lower tropospheric temperatures (UAH):

Click to enlarge

Whether humans are the cause of 100% of the observed warming or not, the conclusion is that global warming isn’t as bad as was predicted. That should have major policy implications…assuming policy is still informed by facts more than emotions and political aspirations. And if humans are the cause of only, say, 50% of the warming (e.g. our published paper), then there is even less reason to force expensive and prosperity-destroying energy policies down our throats.

I am growing weary of the variety of emotional, misleading, and policy-useless statements like “most warming since the 1950s is human caused” or “97% of climate scientists agree humans are contributing to warming”, neither of which leads to the conclusion we need to substantially increase energy prices and freeze and starve more poor people to death for the greater good.

Yet, that is the direction we are heading.

More at the link.

Now, if global warming or climate change or whatever the in-vogue term is this week is an hypothesis, and the scholarly articles purporting to prove the hypothesis are correct, we should expect to see the predictions made under the hypothesis confirmed through real-world observations. From a very brief section on hypothesis testing for doctoral dissertations:

  1. State the hypothesis in the null form. The null can test for either differences or relationships. If for differences, the null is either non-directional or directional, but you must be aware of which type you are using.
  2. Select your level of significance or level of probability either .05 or .01. .05 establishes a 95% confidence level and is more liberal. .01 establishes a 99% confidence level and is more conservative.
  3. Compute your statistical analysis. Determine whether you have a statistically significant result
    • No statistically significant result: Accept your null as true.
    • Yes, a statistically significant result: Reject your null as false.
  4. Determine the significance of your results. Is the statistical difference meaningful? Or is this a “so what?” finding. Concerning the last step, don’t let your ego overtake common sense.

If 95% of the observed conditions fall outside of the predicted patterns, then the researcher has not only failed on the 95% confidence level — not to mention the tighter, 99% confidence level — but it can be said, with confidence, that the observations have disproved the statistical model.

Now, a model, or, in this case, multiple models, having been proven to be incorrect predictors of events does not mean that the hypothesis is necessarily invalid. The possibility exists that the basic hypothesis is valid, but that the researcher, in his formulation of expected results, erred. Nevertheless, given that so many of the researchers have projected results which failed the test, greater weight has to be given to the probability that the basic hypothesis was invalid. But one thing can certainly be said: it is wholly unwise to try to base other actions on a basic hypothesis which has had such poor test results.