Cuba and Views of History

September 10th, 2017

Sept. 11, 2017

Jane and I like to stream movies after supper. Recently we chose a documentary series, Cuba Libre, from Netflix that tells the story of Cuba from early Hunting/Gathering days to today’s communist state. The theme, often repeated, is the lust for freedom of the Cuban people. You could also call the series the standard Progressive view of history, except for the anticlimax (you knew this was coming!). In the Cuban case, the final result is not a free society but a totalitarian jungle! Jane and I visited Cuba a few years ago and can attest to that harsh judgment.

My view of history is more real and cheerful than the Progressive. Let’s compare.

Their view takes no notice for instance of the astonishing leap of population numbers, life spans, resource availability, and the lifestyle changes that happened with the leaps: tribal Hunting/Gathering to Agricultural cities and civilizations; Agricultural to Modern. Progressives recognize these leaps but ascribe it vaguely to progress, assuming it doesn’t matter much, and continue to search for hints of progress in past cultures.

For instance, the popular Green author, Jared Diamond, claims humankind made a big mistake10,000 years ago when it left the Hunting/Gathering Age and took up farming life. (He ignores the thousand fold increase in numbers—many being our own ancestors (!). And the large gains in life spans). Other history buffs and progressive scholars claim to find hints of progress in pagan Greece and Rome, Muslim Bagdad and Arabia, or primitive African kingdoms.

What the world needs now is my view of history to replace the all too common progressive view.

If that sentence sounds arrogant and unlikely, so be it. Let’s compare.

I see history divided into three distinct Ages—Hunting/Gathering, Agricultural, and Modern. The Hunting/Gathering Age lasted 100,000 years and saw the final evolution of Homo sapiens; the Agricultural Age lasted 10,000 years, saw the birth of cities and civilization and is still alive in the world today. All modern countries and cultures have genes and memes inherited from past Ages! The Modern Age began just over 200 hundred years in the founding of a new country, the USA.

Progressives say the world is moving inevitably in the direction of socialist democracy.

I don’t believe a word of it. Let’s compare.

They see capitalism as ”trickle down” economics and don’t like it; see fossil fuels as evil energy sources certain to lead us into Climate Change catastrophe; military might as suspect; see all countries as “exceptional”; want us tear down all Confederate monuments; abolish guns; rage against “America First,” and despise  Christopher Columbus and Donald Trump.

My view calls all these “bad” things as positive.

Progressives respect Western Civilization and Christianity as examples but don’t see them as in any way superior.

My view does see them as superior. Especially to Islamic, socialist, and primitive tribal cultures.

Progressives see illegal immigrants and refugees as possible citizens (and voters).

My view sees them serious problems. Do we really want to trade our outdated Christian memes for outdated Muslim or medieval Catholic memes?

Progressives approve of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press; women’s rights; minority rights; LGBTQ rights; civil liberties; social justice and social welfare programs; fighting prejudice; universal health care; and tolerance for other lifestyles.

So do I. My view also sees them as good things worth preserving and fighting for, but only too often spat upon and betrayed by both far-left and far-right street activists and in some cases by the media itself.

My view also supports differences in talents and wealth, differences that account for all nation’s prosperity.

As for relatively minor stuff, the Progressives see things like tattoos, body jewelry, monotheistic religions, vulgar language, arts and music, abortion, marijuana, cocaine, alcohol, and psychedelics, and TV shows like SNL, Cuba libre, and Game of Thrones, as fine and dandy.

My view is amused tolerance and points out, smugly I admit, that most actors are blissfully unaware they are acting out memes from Ages thousands of years past.

Progressives also think we should spend more money on education, health, and the environment and less on the military and weapons and we should raise taxes on the rich to do so.

My view says we should reduce taxes on everyone. Instead of just giving social security only to the elderly and the handicapped, we should give a cash subsidy to every citizen. To pay for this radical expansion we should dramatically cut back on all current welfare charity programs.

For the sake of some largely fictitious and theoretical Climate Change, that might or might not happen in the next century, the Green/Progressive view proposes a major cut in things needed today for our prosperity, comfort, and pleasure. Specifically, they propose phasing out fossil fuels and replacing them with a mixture of socialism, renewable energy, cutbacks in living standards and populations, restrictions on freedom and private property, heavier taxing and control of business profits, organic home gardens, do-it-yourself technologies, and recycling or conserving of resources.

My view or the progressive view? What will your choice do in everyday practice?

My view will make us less apologetic, more confident, perhaps more arrogant but certainly more prosperous. Actually, it might make us more patient and humble. Rome wasn’t built in a day. The agricultural memes had 10,000 years to cement. Memes from the Hunting/ Gathering had a 100,000 head start. All are active in the only 200-year reign of science, freedom, and trickle down free-market economies!

And a last sting, remember my three Bill’s Laws: (1) a bad idea in science has a half-life of 10 years; (2) in politics 100 years and (3) a bad idea in religion has a thousand year half-life. All three laws have proved valid: science ideas like overpopulation, resource scarcity, sexism, racism, sterilization, and eugenics are now all but extinct; political ideas like socialism and monarchy are nearly so after abject failures of communism in China, Korea and Russia. And religious ideas, like Islam, are struggling currently on their final radically violent legs.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P. S. For any who want to know more details on my life-long journey through the idea swamp from devout Catholic to left-liberal clergy to conservative libertarian, I suggest you buy and read one of my recent books (they are all cheap from Amazon)—Twilight or Dawn? A Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs. Or view my ideas on science and society, streamed free on YouTube.

Both Sides Now

September 3rd, 2017

Sept. 4, 2017

Next week I am going to celebrate my 91st birthday. In all those years I never imagined I could be called a racist. But alas I may qualify now—if you call a supporter of Bell Curve science that nasty term.

I hate to say it but I think Donald Trump was right to condemn violence on both sides in the recent riots in Charlottesville, Virginia. I write this despite the near universal moral condemnation of Trump by the left-liberal clergy as well as many solid Republicans like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.

In my (and Trump’s) defense, what in the world would you call Reverend Jeremiah Wright? He was a supporter and for over 30 years guru pastor of Barack and Michelle Obama. Wright proudly, loudly, and publicly called on God to damn the US? I would call him a racist and a violent black supremacy leader. Or how about the pop celebrity Madonna who proudly admits she “dreams to blow up the White House?” Or popular actor Johnny Depp who provokingly if jokingly asked, “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?”

Yes,  Hitler was a hateful racist as no doubt are many in the White Supremacy, pro-Nazi, or the KKK. But many blacks are also hateful racists. What about leaders of Black (Supremacy?) groups like Jeremiah Wright, Al Sharpton, Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan as well as white and black supporters of Black Lives Matter, Black is Beautiful, The Nation of Islam, and Black Panthers? For me, they qualify as violent racists.

I’m going to ruffle some feathers here but someone has got to at last spell out specifics.

Hitler had a point that Jews were powerful. He carried it to hateful and horrible extremes in the Holocaust. But in fact Jews are indeed powerful leaders. In Europe and America Jews have excelled in intellectual, economic, literary, scientific, and political ways. Jews, for instance, have won 30% of Nobel Prizes even though they make up only 0.2% of the world’s population!

Let’s face facts, not feel-good theories.

Testing results in bell curves that show convincingly that Jews in the US average IQs are 30 or more points higher than Blacks (who average only 85); Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, and other Orientals also have mean scores significantly higher than Whites (who average just 100) but lower than the Jews; Hispanic means are higher than Blacks but lower than Whites.

These are brute unpleasant facts to many but for the most part are not really debatable. What to make of these facts is indeed very debatable.

I don’t claim, as did Hitler, that Jews are in any kind of conspiracy. But Jewish men and women do lead and mostly control much of the intellectual life of the most media and entertainment world of the US. I hasten to add it’s also true that conservative and libertarian Jews make up a significant portion of the opposition.

So no, I am not by any stretch an anti-Semite. I simply envy Jews for their intelligence and capability and am calling your attention to facts. Of course, according to Bell Curves, there are also many below-average-IQ stupid Jews just as there are millions of brilliant high-IQ blacks and Hispanics. Of minor interest, many prominent “Blacks” are actually half-white. Like Barack Obama and Eric Holder.

Jews and Blacks have always also been prominent leaders in social justice fights and, truth be told, in communist theory and revolutions. Jews and Blacks history of fighting prejudice is understandable given their sad long history of persecution and the horrors of slavery.

So what are we to make of these not-always-faced facts?

I don’t claim these facts prove that Jews are superior or the converse that Blacks and Hispanics are inferior races. I stick by the Declaration of Independence that said all people are equal under the law and Rev. Martin Luther King’s moral rule—we should always judge individuals by their character and not by the skin color! Better yet is the wisdom of  dancer Martha Graham, “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique and if you block it, it will never exist in any other medium. The world will not have it.”

Bell Curves don’t only fit human beings but apply to all living things, plant,  animal, and mineral. Bell Curves also say nothing about causality. Immigrant Jews 100 years ago scored shockingly low on IQ tests. Blacks score low today but may win Nobel Prizes tomorrow. Is it environment or genes? No one can be sure in individual cases. The mean scores are silent too.

But bell curves do have something to say about current issues.

It does mean that profiling people by the police are bad ideas, so Trump’s recent pardon of the Arizona sheriff on a profiling conviction is another bad idea.

Equality under the law is a good idea as it always was. So Civil Rights legislation is a good idea too. Every citizen deserves to have a vote in America and to eat, travel, shop, and sleep in any public business they choose.

But pretending blacks on average are equal in talents and wealth, or that they live up to middle-class standards is faulty logic and a bad idea. So the current drive in advertising and Hollywood stories which show typical blacks in typical middle-class worlds—or the popular Hollywood stories that rely on sex, drugs, and violence to entertain—may please some authors and public. (Both ads and stories are for the most part written, produced, directed, acted, and designed by elite left-leaning and rich Jews in NYC or LA agencies and studios.) They all may backfire because they are basically dishonest—the great majority of the inner city, rural, low-IQ Blacks and Hispanics don’t really identify with that kind of setting.

To add to the mischief many middle-class and upper-class whites are now copying lower-class life styles now and dumbing down with tattoos, body jewelry, vulgar language and culture, deadly drugs, crude art, prison clothing, taking welfare, and favoring out-of-wedlock babies.

A few million talented black people with superior IQ’s have been greatly helped by needed Civil Rights laws. But the great number of low IQ Blacks and Hispanics on welfare rollls may loot in riots but don’t eat at expensive restaurants, shop at chic malls, don’t sleep in expensive hotels, don’t shop at chic malls, don’t wait in security lines at airports and rental car desks, and don’t go to classy resorts.  So they have not gained much at all.

Unfortunately, there are few jobs and opportunities in the Modern Age for low-IQ citizens. More jobs as Trump proposes are not a good solution. Personally, I suggest some version of guaranteed minimum income. If properly done it would automatically make low IQ citizens economic middle-class instead of relying on dependency-creating charity. It may well be the only solution with a slim chance of working. At least it is better than the sterilization eugenics favored by liberal President Woodrow Wilson and feminist hero Margaret Sanger a few decades ago. Like it or not, we don’t have the luxury of waiting for education to fix it.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P.S. This blog is longer I know. I hope you stayed with it until the end. My lame excuse for the length is a corny limerick…

There once was a poet in Japan

Whose poems never would scan

When told it was so

He said, yes I know

But I always try to get as many words in the last line as ever I possibly can.

Subsidies, Foxconn, and the Clergy

August 27th, 2017

Aug 28, 2017

If you are a member of the left-liberal Clergy (see Bill’s Blogs, pp.  74, 78, 103) you probably can’t stand Donald Trump. If you also live in Wisconsin it’s probably a safe bet you don’t approve of the subsidies the state is planning to grant to the Taiwan company, Foxconn, in exchange for building a 10 billion dollar campus and creating close to 35,000 jobs.

As a conservative libertarian, I too am suspicious of this kind of subsidy to a private company. But let’s face it, there are subsidies and there are subsidies.

If you Google the word subsidies you will get a lot of info on ACA (aka: Obama Care). And then there are of course the very generous subsidies of the States and Federal Government to renewable energy! These two dwarf any subsidies Foxconn is going to get. The subsidies to renewable energy companies and to Obama care are all real subsidies because in many cases they are paid in cash, bond guarantees, or reduction of expenses.

(The solar company, Solyndra, ended up costing taxpayers 355 million for just 3000 jobs—over !00,000 per job. It went bankrupt in 2011). In the case of ACA millions of citizens get billions of dollars in reduced prices for health care.

And then there are the alleged subsidies for the fossil fuel industry and Foxconn. I write alleged because they are all really only tax credit subsidies. In other words the companies don’t actually get cash or loan guarantees; they get tax credits on their profits. Instead of paying taxes on profits that might not occur or simply reducing the tax bill on profits they do get credits on future profits. Foxconn does get a break since the credits are refundable even if profits are not earned! On the other hand they are paying their newworkers an average of $53,000 a year.

Libertarians like me think the corporate tax bill for job-creating corporations should not be the highest in the civilized world—but zero. That would be a big deal! It would also result in millions of new jobs! After all, it is profits, not taxes, that finance new jobs, increases in tax revenue, and a boom in national progress and wealth (GDP). More taxes simply encourage the government to create more programs, many of which are woefully inefficient in doing what they are supposed to do.

So no, I don’t consider tax credits like most subsidies that take from Pete to pay Paul. Tax credits are more like exemptions on religion and non-profit property, or interest exemptions on your income taxes. They are a subsidy but not that much of one.

The liberal press makes a big deal out of complaints that the lost revenue from the tax credits (theoretical revenue) will not surpass the actual tax revenue for up to 25 years! This is like saying your hoped for income next year may not equal your actual income! This mostly phony calculation doesn’t even count the income taxes of individual employees (the expected wage of the new 25,000 jobs—tax credit subsidized at nearly $16,000 per job—that will average $53,000 a year!) It also doesn’t count the increased income and sales taxes of construction workers and the income and sales taxes of the thousands of suppliers and merchants who sell goods and services to the new workers!

The Chicago Tribune published an editorial heaping fault on Illinois legislators for not doing enough to get Foxconn to build in Illinois instead of Wisconsin. Presumably the editorial writers, in this case, did do their homework.

The Green Clergy are also complaining about the environmental privileges Foxconn is getting to build in Wisconsin. Supposedly Foxconn can escape some of the stringent environmental regulations that Wisconsin enforces on other private individuals and companies to keep our water safe and plentiful, our wetlands wet, and our lakes and rivers clean and pristine.

This is the most serious charge against the deal. I am suspicious of exceptions to the law for any group or individual. But I am also suspicious of many environmental laws and regulations.

For instance, the powerful Green lobby has pushed legislators in all states, especially in Wisconsin as well as the federal government, to pass laws that relate more to power and control of individuals and companies than to the safety and protection of the public. State and federal bureaucrats have extended these laws into truly oppressive regulations that not only cost jobs but also cut tax revenues.

The biggest examples are and in the nuclear and fossil fuel energy.

Nuclear power plants are so strictly regulated that any advantages of cost, efficiency, reliable energy production, safety, and no carbon pollution are lost.

Fossil fuels are away and by far the biggest assets we have for getting energy, communication, transportation, health, comfort, pleasure, and wealth in this Modern Age. But you wouldn’t know this if you listen to the mainstream media—or indeed the advertising of some fossil fuel companies themselves!

All these worthies have fallen hook, line, and sinker for the Climate Change myth.

And the truth is most laws and regulations on food, farms, organics, water supplies, wetlands, welfare, recycling, and drugs are nearly as severe and ridiculous.

In the end, my reservations on making exceptions for Foxconn collide with my views on environmental and regulatory abuse and cancel each other out. Were I a Wisconsin legislator I would not hesitate to vote yes on the Foxconn deal. Potentially it will bring nearly 35,000 needed high-paying jobs to our state with a minimum of environmental damage if any. Despite the gloomy reports by liberal Democrats it will mean more money in the bank for individuals and for the state—and more progress for Wisconsin over the next 25 years.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President and sole employee of Hawkhill

P. S. For any who want to know more details on my life-long journey through the idea swamp from devout Catholic to left-liberal clergy to conservative libertarian, I suggest you buy, curl up on the couch, and read any of my recent books (they are all cheap in money)—Twilight or Dawn? A Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs. Or view some of my ideas on science and society, streamed free on YouTube.

Eclipse and Memes

August 20th, 2017

Aug 21, 2017

This is the day for a full eclipse of the sun in the USA. It’s also time to take seriously memes (mental habits and practices inherited from the distant past). Again.

Strange combination! No.

Not nearly as strange as the more common coupling of eclipses with eye safety! How about brain safety! Meme safety! (Caution; you do need to take care of your eyes and not look directly at the sun without appropriate glasses!)

I like to watch my favorite baseball team on TV, the Milwaukee Brewers. On occasion a Brewer hits a home run. This happens fairly often since the team is a leader in home runs. Often as the home run hitter rounds the bases he points to the sky, presumably to thank God for this unlikely but blessed event.

I don’t really deplore this gesture. (The truth is I’m too busy applauding the rare and needed home run! So long as it was a Brewer and not a Cardinal or Cubs player that hit the homer!) I do think it’s kind of an insult to the Almighty to imagine He cares that much about home runs (or touchdowns) in a ball game.

The gesture also displays a common ignorance about science and religion! God is not up there! There really is not anything “up there“ except clouds, moon, and stars, and more space of course.. In other words the earth is a sphere surrounded by a whole lot of empty space and there is no god up there. Ball payers are not alone in thinking this meme from the distant past describes reality. Most ordinary citizens, including me, still think more or less that we are living on a flat earth with the sky “up there” and a solid earth “down here.”

Over six hundred years ago Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton proved beyond a shadow of doubt this is not true. But most of us still don’t believe it.

At least ordinary language has not caught up. Most people, including me, still say when we go “up” in a airplane or go “up” the stairs. We are not really going “up” or coming “down.” If scientific reality is strictly followed we should say we are going ”out” from the earth or coming “in” to a spherical planet whether it is in an airplane or going up a simple staircase.

I can almost hear some readers objecting, “Come on Bill, you’ve made your point, don’t push it!”

My real point is memes from past ages like this minor example are severely damaging our Modern Age. The sooner we recognize the memes and admit that they are memes and not harmless, the sooner we can devise effective ways to escape from these harmful beliefs from the long ago past. (I’m talking now about major memes like: thinking wealth is land, gold, and slaves; sexism; imperialism; wars; political correctness; racism; inequality; diversity; honor; violence and riots, whatever the cause; charity and compassion as cures; etc.; etc.).

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President and only employee of Hawkhill

P. S. For any who want to know more details on my life-long journey through the idea swamp from devout Catholic to left-liberal clergy to conservative libertarian, I suggest you buy, curl up on the couch, and read any of my recent books (they are all cheap)—Twilight or Dawn? A Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs. Or view some ideas on science and society, streamed free on YouTube.

Fighting Bob LaFollette

August 13th, 2017

Aug 14, 2017

Sorry about the technical faults recently. My computer has suddenly been taken over by commercial jerks that insert unwanted advertising with my blog. I don’t know how cure this virus yet, but I am doing my best to get rid of the pesky ads and other stuff that shouldn’t be there. (As before please ignore the twice underlined ads.)

In that process I appreciate all the more the old fashioned virtues of real books. I did read, slowly, a real book over the last few weeks—a biography of Fighting Bob LaFollette, The Righteous Reformer, by Nancy Unger. LaFollette is still revered by progressives in Wisconsin and elsewhere. Her book has a glowing plug on the back cover from Howard Zinn, the radical Boston College historian, writer, and progressive hero and guru.

I learned a few facts I had not known before. Fighting bob was indeed very righteous as was his wife, Belle Case. As with other righteous people neither Bob nor his wife, Belle Case, had much use for humor or any other frivolous activity. Bob himself was also very long-winded. A typical campaign or political speech lasted 3 to 6 hours (shades of Fidel Castro! Bob once talked on the Senate floor for 19 consecutive hours to support his propoaed laws on labor and anti-trust legislation. Rumor has it 11 hours into his speech some Senators tried to end it by giving him a poisoned glass of milk!). Whatever, both Fighting Bob and Belle Case were dead serious in their hatred of big corporations as well as any and all profits from business.

They also had chronic personal money troubles and both suffered from overwork and poor health, especially Fighting Bob. In the early years of the 20th century LaFollette was elected Governor of Wisconsin for three consecutive terms, twice as a US Senator. He ran for president against Cal Coolidge in 1924. In all that time Bob worked long hours for progressive causes but was forced by ill heath to spend a great deal of that time in bed from depression and overwork.

His son, Robert Lafollette Jr., also a senator from Wisconsin, was very close to his father in political views and personal life. Bob Jr. was also plagued by depression, overwork, and ended up committing suicide He did have a lonely childhood (his parents were often busy with political tasks. Bob Jr. and his siblings suffered). Losing a primary election to, of all people, Joe McCarthy, may well have been the last straw.

One other fact sticks in my mind after reading this biography—the UW Faculty has changed dramatically! When Fighting Bob was running for President in 1924 he was still stung by his unpopular stand on WW1. Senator LaFollette bitterly, and in the end hopelessly, opposed the US participation in that war. (Even I, not a progressive but aided by hindsight, agree with this Progressive Republica—WW1 was futile and unwise.)

The surprise was that the UW Faculty at the time went further and voted 421 to 2 to censure LaFollette as well, claiming that he was “unwise and shamefully dishonest…[in] his failure to actively and earnestly support the government in the prosecution of the present war.” I don’t really know for sure how similar faculty votes today would turn out on LBJ and the Vietnam War (or on support for Donald Trump’s. I suspect it would be quite different.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President and sole employee of Hawkhill

P. S. For any who want to know more details on my life-long journey through the idea swamp from devout Catholic to left-liberal clergy to conservative libertarian, I suggest you buy, curl up on the couch, and read any of my recent books (they are all cheap)—Twilight or Dawn? A Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs. Or view some of my ideas on science and society, streamed free on YouTube.