Monthly Archives: August 2013

Break

I may not be around much for a while.

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Pure Progressivism

From Cafe Hayek comes Rents And Race: Legacies of Progressive Policies” (PDF). The abstract reads –

Could it be that the institutional racism of Jim Crow occurred not despite the Progressive era but because of it? Not only did the Progressive reforms create new economic rents that could be exploited by whites and by the politicians who enacted those reforms, but many leading Progressives espoused views on racial purity and segregation that put them in the vanguard of the American apartheid system.

The authors continue –

Robert Higgs ([1977] 2008) writes that despite racist views by whites and despite the residual interracial violence and discrimination that existed after the Civil War, black Americans made significant economic and social gains. Many of those gains, however, occurred before the onslaught of Progressive economic regulation and the imposition of Jim Crow.
Thus, one cannot claim that the institutionalized racism that came with progressivism simply was based on residual racism that existed after the war, as though the racial attitudes of that time inevitably would end in Jim Crow.  [1977] 2008. Competition and Coercion: Blacks in the American Economy, 1865–1914. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.]
Links between Progressivism and racism have been explored elsewhere.  Jonah Goldberg’s book Liberal Fascism contains a chapter titled “Liberal Racism: The Eugenic Ghost in the Fascist Machine” which details how progressives of the day allied themselves with eugenics. Thomas Sowell wrote that ordinary citizens were insufficiently racist for Jim Crow laws to be effective. Walter Williams outlines the explicit racism behind the minimum wage law
The Davis-Bacon Act is a pro-union law that discriminates against non-unionized black construction contractors and black workers. In fact, that was the original intent of the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931. During its 1931 legislative debate, quite a few congressmen expressed their racist intentions, such as Rep. Clayton Allgood, D-Ala., who said, “Reference has been made to a contractor from Alabama who went to New York with bootleg labor. This is a fact. That contractor has cheap colored labor that he transports, and he puts them in cabins, and it is labor of that sort that is in competition with white labor throughout the country.”
Davis-Bacon was enacted in 1931, at the tail end of the Progressive Era, and long after the end of the Civil War. So much for the “legacy of slavery.”

Night Skies

Last night I went with Allamagoosa and her brother to watch the Perseid meteor shower. We took a few mats out to a field and kicked back while watching shooting stars. The only manmade lights I could see were a faint light by a barn or something and some radio towers way off in the distance. I can’t recall the last time I was able to see so many stars.

After about a half hour, clouds started moving in and obscured our view. We waited a little to see if they would clear, but no luck, so we called it a night and left. Fun times.

Girl Is A Danger!

[Or: Allamagoosa Unleashed]

“I stun and amaze in my ability to harm myself” – Allie

Allamagoosa and I have long joked about her needing a leash so she doesn’t wander into traffic. A couple days ago, she was getting into my car and must not have ducked low enough because she banged her shoulder on the roof edge. Her right shoulder. Getting in the passenger side. Not quite sure just how she managed that one.

The leash is sounding less like a joke and more like a necessity. Even non-moving traffic is a risk.

Pacific Rim

I recently saw Pacific Rim with Allie and her family. They asked if I wanted to go along, and explained that it was about “giant monsters fighting giant robots.” I decided it would be a fun lark, expecting a sillyass popcorn flick with good special FX. To quote director Guillermo del Toro, “We cannot pretend this is Ibsen with monsters and giant robots. I cannot pretend I’m doing a profound reflection on mankind.”

If you haven’t seen it yet and plan to, you might wanna stop reading here.

Even though it was live-action, this was the biggest, baddest, most hardcore anime ever. Giant monsters and robots, explosions, cities being razed, incredible effects, insane weapons, and a battle cry of “This is for my family!” Some of the action scenes are a little too dark, but the colors are so vivid it almost doesn’t matter. Amazing camera work as well. There’s minimal blood and guts – children around 8 years old or older should be able to handle the movie just fine.

But what surprised me a little was that there was an actual story, and how it was handled. Del Toro said, “I shot about an hour more of material than is in the movie. Every character had a bigger arc, the characters were more complex. But I was really trying to strike the balance where I said,… let me try to get each character to its minimal requirements to have an arc that has a beginning, middle and end, and a payoff.”

I think this helped the movie quite a bit. None of the navel-gazing or handwringing that can be found in nearly any other movie these days. No overblown soliloquies about courage, duty, or sacrifice – they just do it. If a movie with themes like this can be made (by a pacifist, at that) and do well, then maybe Western civilization isn’t totally down the crapper yet.

This is the movie that “Man Of Steel” should have been.