Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. In Praise of Notorious RBG

 

Yes, I am serious. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reflected an older liberal center-left sensibility that is largely missing, or driven underground, in the current political fever. I offer in evidence three notable instances, while recognizing the last must be qualified. A Rolling Stone interview with the authors who created the Notorious RBG persona suggests they saw some of the same attributes I praise.*

Most recently, in February of this year, with politics already at fever pitch, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shocked and discomforted the left at Georgetown Law School, as she participated in a program reflecting on ratification of the 19th Amendment. Recently, it became fashionable for Democrat-controlled states to claim they were now ratifying the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment. They expected to win by litigation, but Notorious RBG shot them down:

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What if I Kill Someone?

 

It could be a matter of life or death. That reality struck a chord with me a few months ago, when I received my concealed carry permit and continued my online training.

For those of you who have read my gun posts, you might know that I was prepared to carry a gun on my person. The violence in the streets throughout this country, the shootings and the killings, convinced me that I needed to take my gun ownership seriously and be prepared to protect myself. But the more I saw the training needed to carry a gun responsibly and to minimize the possibility that no one was unnecessarily killed, my ambivalence set in. We signed up with USCCA which offered excellent videos, with a great deal of coaching about the correct responses. I realized that there were multiple scenarios I might find myself in, many of them demanding different responses to an armed person. I might encounter a person in a poorly lit parking garage. I might be eating lunch in a restaurant with a friend. I might be shopping for groceries. Any one of those situations would require that I be alert and prepared to respond so that no one would be killed unnecessarily. And that included me.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. About That Vacancy…

 

Now that the coronavirus crisis is essentially over but for the continuing economic disaster being wrought by various governors and power-drunk state officials, we could do with yet another catastrophe to keep the press enthused through the end of this election year.

The passing this week of Justice Ginsburg will do just fine.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Testing Doesn’t Catch Everything

 

We put things to the test, to discover their limits and minimize human error in their design. Yet sometimes the test itself is imperfect. Like the product it tests, it’s more prone than we’d like to admit to human error and inexperience.

One supremely stressful testing ground is preparing for war. Ricochet member Percival, who has good reason to know about these things, said in a recent thread, “When you test a new weapons system, you generally do it against a target that you have absolute control over. You don’t do it in or near populated areas. You set up a lot of cameras at different angles so you can record everything that happens”. Engineers know from generations of hard experience that tests don’t always catch everything, though, and the reasons are sometimes only obvious in retrospect.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Persistence

 

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. – Calvin Coolidge

Coolidge is the intellectual patron of Ricochet. Statements like this are one reason why.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. This Week’s Book Review: Stellaris

 

The Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop are a group who believe man can and must go to the stars. In 2016 the TVIW held a track on Homo Stellaris. Its task was to describe the foundations of a space-based society.

“Stellaris: People of the Stars,” edited by Les Johnson and Robert E. Hampson, is one of the fruits of that year’s workshop. It is a collection of non-fiction essays and science fiction stories about what it takes for humans to travel and live outside the Solar System.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Trump, Reagan, Bush, and Nixon

 

President Trump“In January 1977, I visited Ronald Reagan in Los Angeles. During our four-hour conversation, he said many memorable things, but none more significant than this. ‘My idea of American policy toward the Soviet Union is simple, and some would say simplistic,’ he said. ‘It is this: We win and they lose. What do you think of that?’ One had never heard such words from the lips of a major political figure; until then, we had thought only in terms of managing the relationship with the Soviet Union.”
Richard V. Allen, “The Man Who Won the Cold War,” January 30, 2000

Donald J. Trump is to George W. Bush as Ronald Reagan was to Richard Nixon, to a degree. Nixon and Bush did what they thought was best for our country, as did Reagan and as Trump has done from his first day in office. However, these men’s choices of foreign policy sets were informed by different view of America and of America’s adversaries. Bush and Nixon saw a very long struggle, while Reagan and Trump believed in America’s ability to win, to actually defeat her enemies. At the same time, George W. Bush and Richard Nixon operated with very different views of the world around them, so the comparison among the four Republican presidents is not so simple. Indeed, Nixon, Reagan, and Trump all share a steel-willed focus in foreign policy that Bush the Younger, like Bush the Elder, lacked.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: The Left’s Pleasure Palaces

 

“The Left’s pleasure palaces are all around us in their promised utopias of social justice, egalitarianism, sexual liberation, reflexive distrust of authority, and general nihilism. What they’ve brought about instead—as all pleasure palaces must—is death, destruction and despair.” – Michael Walsh

Michael Walsh’s book, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace, comes out of the critical theory movement, a metaphor for the nihilism built into it. The setting for this Palace is a magical, captivating castle deep in Germany’s Black Forest where a knight is tested by temptations and threats until he succumbs. At that point, his bride vanquishes the final temptation as the entire palace crumbles into nothing. It was merely a hypnotic illusion.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Long Telegram on China?

 

In my recent interview with Condoleezza Rice, I mentioned the famous “long telegram,” the 1946 document by George Kennan. In a single essay at the very dawn of the Cold War, Kennan, then a diplomat serving in Moscow, laid out the strategy of containment that would remain our policy until the collapse of the Soviet Union 45 years later. Why, I asked, hasn’t anyone written a “long telegram” on China?

Late last week, someone from the White House got in touch. Someone has composed a “long telegram” on China, my correspondent argued–the Trump White House itself.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Stanley Crouch, RIP

 

Due to an unlikely circumstance (I was editor of Forbes ASAP, which had just published it annual Big Issue and I wanted to celebrate with some of its contributors), I traveled East from Silicon Valley and hosted a dinner one night at Elaine’s, the legendary New York City watering hole for writers.

I ended up having Tom Wolfe sitting on one side of me and Stanley Crouch on the other (and George Plimpton stopped by the say hello). Sounds like one of those mythical Gotham literary scene stories, doesn’t it? Well, not quite. Wolfe nudged me and said, “I’ve always hated this place. And the food is horrible.” He stuck around for about an hour, then politely excused himself.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Had Been a Jew in Eishyshok. . .

 

It’s not often I claim I’ve read a book that has changed my life. But this one did. And I thank @ontheleftcoast for telling me about it. Although I have studied the Holocaust over the years, I had never read a story about life in the shtetl, a small town with primarily Jewish residents in Eastern Europe.

This book, There Once was a World, was written by Yaffa Eliach, whose parents were Moshe and Zipporah Sonenson. This family, prosperous in Eishyshok terms, was also a pillar of the community, generous, compassionate, learned, and devoted to Judaism. The book also provided stories of individuals and families, and descriptions of Jewish life, from Torah study to the requirements of the faith.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. America’s Pre-Pandemic Economy Demonstrated the Power of Productivity-Driven Market Capitalism

 

For believers in “late capitalism” — the idea that we’ve reached the terminal phase of the planet’s dominant socio-economic system — the new Census Bureau numbers should have been unsettling. Data for 2019 show median US income rose nearly 7 percent to $68,703. “Rising employment and broad-based wage increases in 2019 helped drive that uptick” is how officials explain the increase, according to The Washington Post.

Of course, maybe the gloomers and doomers can take some bizarre comfort in the possibility that the numbers were distorted to some degree by data collection issues related to the pandemic. Even setting aside these Census numbers, there is plenty of reason that “late” makes for a poor choice of adjective when talking about American market capitalism. For starters, the story of wage growth in 2018 and 2019 is that wages were rising at a decent clip given so-so productivity growth. And that’s for workers in the top, middle, and bottom third. And that’s accounting for inflation. And that’s even separating out the minimum wage. You can mostly thank a long economic expansion.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. All Lives Matter

 

People who think that phrase is racist are confused and are falling for the same fictions that are tearing the country apart.

America is not a racist country any more than America is an arsonist country, or a child-abuser country, or a wife-beater country, or a serial-killer country. America isn’t defined by any of those things, though all of those things are present, to a small degree, in America.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Republicans Fight for a Fair Election

 

The Democrats have a lot of nerve. While they are busy announcing that Trump will not leave the White House if he loses the election (just another way he’s baited them), the Democrats are going all out to make sure that nothing gets in the way of a Democrat victory. But the Republicans are not sitting by quietly while the Democrats run all over them: they are fighting aggressively to make sure that the election is a fair one.

What are the Democrats doing to ensure a fair election?

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Postwar Economic ‘Golden Age’ Wasn’t as Golden as We Remember

 

A currently unfashionable notion: A corporation should be run primarily for the benefit of its shareholder owners by maximizing its value. The most provocative distillation of the idea is Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman’s famous 1970 essay in the Sunday magazine of The New York Times, “A Friedman doctrine– The Social Responsibility Of Business Is to Increase Its Profits.” The most-repeated bit in that piece is actually Friedman quoting an attack on “social responsibility” from his own book, Capitalism and Freedom: “… there is one and only one social responsibility of business—to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.”

For a great analysis of why Friedman’s emphasis on what came to be called “shareholder primacy” remains a valuable analytical and conceptual lens, please check the new AEI essay “For whom should corporations be run?” by Sanjai Bhagat, a finance professor at the University of Colorado, and Glenn Hubbard, an AEI visiting scholar and economics professor at Columbia Business School. Also of interest is a big reason why the Friedman Doctrine is currently under fire as never before. Some critics view the immediate postwar decades as an economic Golden Age that never turned into a Golden Century (or at least half-century). And that failure, they say, is partly because of the rise of a short-sighted, rapacious capitalism that Friedman supposedly recommended. This new cold-blooded, cutthroat capitalism eventually ended the cozier-yet-wildly-successful capitalism variant of the 1950s and 1960s that had created a fast-growth, high-productivity, low-inequality economy built on a cooperative and stable relationship between Big Business management and labor.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF PoMoCon #28: Winning Space

 

Today I talk to my friend Brandon Weichert about his tract for the times, Winning Space. Brandon’s gone from staff in Congress to the Institute of World Politics to Oxford for his grad studies and has emerged as the leading young advocate for what Trump called the US Space Force. We talk about America’s shocking satellite vulnerabilities, competition with China in space, and the nationalism required to deal with emerging technologies that will change our world.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The US Navy Faces Off Kamikazes at Okinawa

 

As the war turned against them in World War II, Japan tried a new tactic: the kamikaze. Pilots used their aircraft as one-way bombs against Allied warships and transports. The campaign started during the invasion of the Philippines in October 1944 and continued until the last day of the war.

“Rain of Steel: Mitscher’s Task Force 58, Ukagi’s Thunder Gods and the Kamikaze War off Okinawa,” by Stephen L. Moore, examines the most intense phase of the kamikaze campaign, that fought during the Allied invasion of Okinawa.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Such Men

 

“Where do we get such men? They leave this ship and they do their job. Then they must find this speck lost somewhere on the sea. When the find it they have to land on its pitching deck. Where do we get such men?” — RAdm. George Tarrant in The Bridges at Toko Ri, James Michener

The Bridge at Toko Ri was a novella Michener wrote in 1953. at the end of the Korean War. Set during that war, one of its themes was the question of whether the generation that became adults after World War II had the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the challenges of those times. Some felt that this new generation lacked the courage, the endurance, and the determination of the men who had fought World War II. They were weak and would fail, those people thought.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Institutionalized Experts

 

“HANLON’S RAZOR: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” -– Murphy’s Law Book Two: More Reasons Why Things Go Wrong

Malice is a fun and easy explanation for the conduct of bureaucrats and politicians we dislike or distrust. Substituting stupidity for malice still lets us feel good in the moment. However, there are very senior experts in many fields within large organizations connected with networks of other large organizations, who are not stupid and who are not self-evidently malicious. Their conduct, when it seems to contradict observable facts and theory, might be better characterized as “institutionalized expertise.”

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. NFL Honors Woman’s Abuser, Disdain Murdered Police

 

arm in arm cowboysThe NFL has joined the rest of corporate America in siding with the Marxist left. The NFL is choosing to make heroes out of villains, while making heroes into villains. You can see it by what is and is not written on their helmets. Consider 2016 in Dallas and 2020 in New Orleans.

In 2016, Barack Obama’s poisoning of Americans against each other culminated in the murder of five Dallas police officers and the wounding of nine other police officers by a hate-fueled man who wanted to kill white people, especially police, during a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas. President Obama knew he had to do damage control before the election, so he showed up for a memorial service. Yet, he just could not help himself, blaming the police and America and defending Black Lives Matter and the whole systemic racism narrative.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: The Fragility of Cultural Memory

 

“Civilization hangs suspended from generation to generation, by the gossamer strand of memory. If only one cohort of mothers and fathers fails to convey to its children what it has learned from its parents, then the great chain of learning and wisdom snaps. If the guardians of human knowledge stumble only one time, in their fall collapses the whole edifice of knowledge and understanding.” — Jacob Neusner

Nearly every day I lament, as do others, the cultural and spiritual losses of our country. Those many pillars that have been passed on by our own parents—religion, morality, patriotism, loyalty, democratic principles—are being degraded by the newer generation. Did we fail to pass on these important values? Are these values so fragile that in one or two generations they begin to disappear, wounded and ignored?

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Then, and Now

 

We will never forget, and we must eventually turn our attention back to the age-old conflict between an intolerant and supremacist faith and the radical jihadists who will kill to impose it on the west.
 
But barbarism comes in many forms. Today the barbarians loot and burn and deface our cities in their inchoate rage. Like the attackers of 19 years ago, they wear the mantle of smug self-righteousness. And like the attackers of 19 years ago, their aim is to tear down western civilization and replace it with something worse.
 
What they have in common, the jihadists of Islam and the jihadists of socialism and radicalism and Antifa and Black Lives Matter, is not what they believe but what they detest: tolerance, free speech, free markets, freedom of conscience, the rule of law and our equality under it — all of the things that make the west, that make America, great.
 
Never forget 9/11. But also, pay attention to what is happening today.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson — Condoleezza Rice: Director of the Hoover Institution

 

Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson is proud to present the first interview with Condoleezza Rice in her new role as Director of the Hoover Institution. After a storied career that includes Provost of Stanford University (1993-1999), United States National Security Advisor (2001-2005), and United States Secretary of State (2005-2009), the author of numerous books, and an inaugural member of the College Football Playoff selection committee, on September 1st, 2020 Director Rice became the Hoover Institution’s eighth director in its 101 year history and the first woman to hold the position. In this wide ranging conversation, Peter Robinson and Director Rice discuss Hoover’s mission in the 21st century, the role of think tanks in crafting public policy, her views about the current geo-political situation regarding Russia and China, and her personal thoughts about the national conversation currently underway in the United States about racial relations and how we look back at the country’s founding and history.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Brooding Intelligence, Part 2

 

(Intro Announcer:) Tonight, the second half of Ricochet Silent Radio’s latest adventure! In a time of quarantine, Judge Mental plunges into Miami’s underground worlds of lap dancers, seamy politics, steamy love, and sudden violence!

Last night, we learned that four of America’s top spy satellite experts were driven to suicide when sinister forces of social media tempted them onto an island of carnal sin, blackmailed them, and targeted them for social cancellation and personal destruction.