Everybody Must Get Stone

Yeah, it another really busy week in the Ricochet Podcast Extended Universe (or as we like to call it, RIPEU, or repoo): we had a primary, some candidates drop out the race, we had a former Trump campaign advisor sentencing blow up into a fight between the President and his Attorney General. But we decided to ignore all of that (for at least about 70% of the show) and focus on other matters. First we have a discussion about why things are actually pretty great right now, premised on Ross Douthat’s upcoming book The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success (Ross will be on the show in March to defend himself).

Then, we continue ignoring current events as the great Yuval Levin stops by to discuss institutions and why we need them (you’ll want to buy his book, A Time to Build: From Family and Community to Congress and the Campus, How Recommitting to Our Institutions Can Revive the American Dream). It’s a fascinating conversation, completely devoid of any controversy involving a Tweet. Ahhhh, take me away Calgon. But, all of that bliss comes to a crashing halt when Ricochet Podcast Senior Justice Department and Legal Pundit John Yoo calls in from the tub in his hotel room (not kidding!) to discuss the Barr/Trump/Stone controversy of the moment. Guess we had to do that? Also, Rob Long moonlights on yet another podcast to discuss his hobbies. We recommend it. Finally, mazel tov to @bucknelldad, he’s the winner of the highly coveted Lileks Post of The Week, for his French Court Scrambles the Debate Over What is “GMO” in Foods post. Magnifiqué, mon ami.

Music From This Week’s Show: Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 by Bob Dylan

 

Subscribe to Ricochet Podcast in Apple Podcasts (and leave a 5-star review, please!), or by RSS feed. For all our podcasts in one place, subscribe to the Ricochet Audio Network Superfeed in Apple Podcasts or by RSS feed.

Please Support Our Sponsors!

ButcherBox

Use Code: RICOCHET

Hydrant

Use Code: ricochet

Now become a Ricochet member for only $5.00 a month! Join and see what you’ve been missing.

There are 64 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Arahant Member

    People need to ignore the media on Trump. Just say, “Yeah, he’s Trump. Baked in the cake.” Just like the Dems do with Fast and Furious and other scandals. Deny, deny, deny, old news.

    • #1
    • February 14, 2020, at 3:19 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  2. Petty Boozswha Member

    I really, really wish you guys could get WordPress to develop a 15 second or 30 second replay function. I know I’ve asked before and been spiked but the need presents itself again and again with these guys talking over each other.

    • #2
    • February 14, 2020, at 4:01 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Magister equitum, caporegime, and Lord High Executioner. It would make a great business card.

    • #3
    • February 14, 2020, at 4:27 PM PST
    • 1 like
  4. Arahant Member

    Petty Boozswha (View Comment):

    I really, really wish you guys could get WordPress to develop a 15 second or 30 second replay function. I know I’ve asked before and been spiked but the need presents itself again and again with these guys talking over each other.

    If you’re listening here, you can just move the dot at the end of where it has gotten to back by that much.

    • #4
    • February 14, 2020, at 4:29 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  5. OccupantCDN Coolidge

    I really liked the point about institutions being used as platforms. I kinda think this is why Trump tweets about things, even as president, he’s the outsider criticizing his own government. I think its great for transparency. In the olden days (like with any previous administration) if the president didnt like something, some assistant to an aide would make a call to an assistant to an aide in the department – and whatever was wrong would be changed – the president didnt call the secretary about it – it was just changed. Nobody would ever really track it. Now Trump just tweets it out, and everyone knows it – boom transparency.

    I think there is a real cognitive dissonance in the left’s ideology right now. Narcissism. YOU are the special indispensable snowflake, center of the universe. but if you look at their social and economic policies – YOU are disposable, replaceable and inconsequential – this why they would suggest that someone who trained to work in the energy sector – like a geologist – should happily give up his $100k+ year job, to become a rooftop solar panel installer to make a virtuous $45k year.

    These podcasts are so long – and cover so much ground that its like I need to be taking notes to remember the points I want to make as I listen.

    ALSO on the point of energy and fusion. I think its a rabbit hole. Thorium Molten Salt reactors are the most practical, lowest risk technology that has been demonstrated to actually work. In the 1960’s (1960s!!) the Oak Ridge National Lab ran the the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment. Which successfully ran a small reactor (a core of less that 2 cubic meters) for nearly 18 000 hours with out incident. THIS is a far FAR more viable technology path than fusion.

    I imagine a Sci-fi TV series set 500 years in the future – and officers on the bridge of a star ship are discussing the latest break through in fusion energy – they end the conversations with “Yea, maybe in 20 years it’ll make a fantastic energy source!” …

    • #5
    • February 14, 2020, at 5:10 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  6. Blue Yeti Admin

    Petty Boozswha (View Comment):

    I really, really wish you guys could get WordPress to develop a 15 second or 30 second replay function. I know I’ve asked before and been spiked but the need presents itself again and again with these guys talking over each other.

    Almost all mobile Podcast apps have this feature (I use this one). We’ll look around and see if we can find a web player that can do this. Another alternative is to download the MP3 file to your desktop (click on the down arrow in the upper right of this page) and play the file locally using QuickTime, Windows Media Player or another 3rd party app (there are tons). 

     

    • #6
    • February 14, 2020, at 5:17 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  7. Petty Boozswha Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Petty Boozswha (View Comment):

    I really, really wish you guys could get WordPress to develop a 15 second or 30 second replay function. I know I’ve asked before and been spiked but the need presents itself again and again with these guys talking over each other.

    If you’re listening here, you can just move the dot at the end of where it has gotten to back by that much.

    Going back to just catch one phrase is kind of hard though. I’ve learned that CTRL plus the back arrow works sometimes.

    • #7
    • February 14, 2020, at 5:59 PM PST
    • Like
  8. Henry Castaigne Member

    CRISPR genetic engineering is going to be awesome. It’s not quite there yet, think of the early 90s in terms of personal computers. In a decade or two we will be able to do amazing things.

    Currently, we can take out blood and bone marrow from a patient suffering from sickle cell anemia, genetical engineer the material and put it back into the patient. I wouldn’t call that decadent.

    • #8
    • February 14, 2020, at 8:06 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  9. kedavis Member

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    CRISPR genetic engineering is going to be awesome. It’s not quite there yet, think of the early 90s in terms of personal computers. In a decade or two we will be able to do amazing things.

    Currently, we can take out blood and bone marrow from a patient suffering from sickle cell anemia, genetical engineer the material and put it back into the patient. I wouldn’t call that decadent.

    Just wait until the first time something like that EATS a patient, instead of curing them.

    • #9
    • February 14, 2020, at 9:10 PM PST
    • 1 like
  10. James Lileks Contributor

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    ALSO on the point of energy and fusion. I think its a rabbit hole. Thorium Molten Salt reactors are the most practical, lowest risk technology that has been demonstrated to actually work.

    I was sorta kinda using “fusion” as shorthand for some breakthrough tech that works and doesn’t freak the greenies, although I’m sure they’ll be opposed to anything that isn’t Natural. 

    • #10
    • February 14, 2020, at 10:09 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  11. Arahant Member

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    These podcasts are so long – and cover so much ground that its like I need to be taking notes to remember the points I want to make as I listen.

    I have been known to do that. You can keep a word processing window open or just take notes in the “Leave A Reply” comment box area.

    • #11
    • February 14, 2020, at 10:44 PM PST
    • Like
  12. kedavis Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    ALSO on the point of energy and fusion. I think its a rabbit hole. Thorium Molten Salt reactors are the most practical, lowest risk technology that has been demonstrated to actually work.

    I was sorta kinda using “fusion” as shorthand for some breakthrough tech that works and doesn’t freak the greenies, although I’m sure they’ll be opposed to anything that isn’t Natural.

    What’s fun is when the pro-clean-energy greenies start fighting the don’t-kill-birds-or-use-precious-land greenies.

    I remember that former Energy Secretary saying that there was SOME group against ANY idea they had.

    Anything that’s “natural” to one or many groups, will be “evil” to others.

    p.s. the sun uses fusion, what could be more “natural?”

    • #12
    • February 14, 2020, at 10:45 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. RufusRJones Member

    A while back King Banaian posted a very long article about how corrupt the whole process of regulating big utilities is. It’s a racket for politicians and the utility executives. The consumer is totally getting ripped off. Notice that the left never talks about decentralized grids except for solar gardens or something. They would give up their ability to central plan and shove everything down our throats. We should be having thorium pebble bed reactors on decentralized grids as soon as possible. The whole thing would be more transparent, more dependable, and less wasteful. Localities that want wind turbines and solar gardens can do so without shoving it down everyone else’s throat.

    Related:

    • #13
    • February 15, 2020, at 1:04 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  14. RufusRJones Member

    Related to the Levin segment, I thought this was really good. It’s short.

    That said, some economists have recognized that other factors, particular those of a cultural nature, have a role to play in combatting such problems.

    But Röpke also appreciated the role played by moral norms and expectations in: restricting state power; providing the cultural clue that helps markets to function efficiently; and responding to needs to which more-than-economic answers are required.

    Röpke’s key reflections about culture, the state, and the market are found in Chapter Three, entitled “The Conditions and Limits of the Markets.” Free markets, Röpke argues, must be understood as part of a broader set of arrangements. These include particular political and legal institutions, but also a realistic understanding of human nature, fairly traditional expressions of morality, strong families, deep attention to history, and an awareness of internal and external ideological threats to freedom.

    All this sounds very Burkean. And getting these things right, Röpke maintains, is crucial, if we want to diminish the corrupting effects of special interests upon the economy, as well as diminish incentives that encourage voters, state officials, and legislators to allow 51 percent of the population to loot the other 49 percent.

     a recognition that cultivating philanthropic instincts throughout society (not just among the wealthy) is essential for filling gaps that neither the state nor markets can fill.

    Unfortunately, some of the communities that once made major contributions to forming these mindsets are presently in disarray or have severe credibility problems. Röpke, for example, was a practicing Christian and, like Alexis de Tocqueville, stressed religion’s importance in cultivating the habits needed to sustain commercial and democratic societies. But endless financial and sexual scandals within religious organizations, and the ways in which the faith of some churches and synagogues has collapsed into NGOism and social justice warriorism, have diminished many people’s willingness to listen to religious groups’ thoughts about anything.

    • #14
    • February 15, 2020, at 3:39 AM PST
    • 1 like
  15. RufusRJones Member

    I’ll tell you what the next innovation is. Replacing labor with automation and globalized labor in desperate countries without destroying our society.  Better living through purchasing power. Dispersed prosperity. We are too stupid to do this even though the solution has been known for 100 years.

    Supposedly in the future, the cars will talk to each other and there will be a network effect of metering like when you get on the freeway. Even poorly designed and kept up cities  will have fewer traffic jams this way. If this works they are going to totally regret building all of that light rail in Minneapolis.

    Supposedly almost all mail could be scanned at the post office and delivered electronically for way cheaper.

    I can vouch for the Subaru Eyesight and all of their other safety/driving convenience glow winkies. I have all of them. and I use all of them all the time. There is no way in hell I would ever own a car without all of these systems.

    The entire education system needs to be totally atomized. It is a scam. It’s main purpose is to rip off taxpayers and students, and for indoctrination.

    I think a few of the four-year colleges in Minnesota offer degrees in community organizing and things like that. I follow one of the instructors on Twitter. He’s damn serious about it, from what I can see.

    I can’t stand that saying that “not everybody should go to college”. I really think there has to be a way for conservative and libertarian families to be able to go to an institution to read a bunch of conservative and libertarian books and discuss them. I really don’t see how things are going to improve unless you do that. I don’t even think it has to be that hard. I’d like all my books picked out by Dennis Prager, Mark Levin and Mises.org. That would actually develop human capital in that context.

    • #15
    • February 15, 2020, at 3:51 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  16. Arahant Member

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    I think a few of the four-year colleges in Minnesota offer degrees in community organizing and things like that.

    I have a friend who, in the 1970’s, got a degree in folk music.

    • #16
    • February 15, 2020, at 3:57 AM PST
    • Like
  17. RufusRJones Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    I think a few of the four-year colleges in Minnesota offer degrees in community organizing and things like that.

    I have a friend who, in the 1970’s, got a degree in folk music.

    I have zero problem with that as long as they don’t charge too much money for it. 

    What I’m talking about above is damn dangerous if you ask me. This guy really knows what he’s doing. He’s not some commie motivational freak. If only 20% of the class has talent for it, it’s a big deal.

    • #17
    • February 15, 2020, at 4:00 AM PST
    • 1 like
  18. RufusRJones Member

    I just thought of something else. Angelo Codivilla is really pessimistic about state power and the ruling elites and where this is going. He would know. He would be an excellent guest right now. Michael Walsh is also really interesting on this type of thing.

     

    • #18
    • February 15, 2020, at 4:10 AM PST
    • 1 like
  19. Front Seat Cat Member

    Blue Yeti (View Comment):

    Petty Boozswha (View Comment):

    I really, really wish you guys could get WordPress to develop a 15 second or 30 second replay function. I know I’ve asked before and been spiked but the need presents itself again and again with these guys talking over each other.

    Almost all mobile Podcast apps have this feature (I use this one). We’ll look around and see if we can find a web player that can do this. Another alternative is to download the MP3 file to your desktop (click on the down arrow in the upper right of this page) and play the file locally using QuickTime, Windows Media Player or another 3rd party app (there are tons).

     

    Can you pass the word that there is a hitch in the git-along on the top story about GM foods when you click on any Like button, etc…It doesn’t work and goes to a blank screen…..those Monsanto folks are at it again!

    • #19
    • February 15, 2020, at 6:08 AM PST
    • Like
  20. Wolfsheim Member

    The delightfully articulate Yuval Levin says that he is a conservative, not an optimist. It occurs to me that one could also say that one is a conservative not a pessimist, at least not of the “global-warming-and-the-coronalvirus-will-kill-us-all-before-next-Tuesday” variety. Those who curse technological innovations remind me of the suspicious servant in the New Testament parable about the talents. And it is worse than that: How many “progressives” are adamantly opposed to fracking but all in favor of medical “advances” that facilitate the maiming of children in the lunatic attempt to boys into girls and girls into boys? 

    As an old man who remembers marveling at the first glimpse of television, even as I was among those first benefiting from the Salk vaccine, I see no contradiction between lauding improvements in our material lives and acknowledging that the fundamental human condition does not change.

    One minor linguistic matter: Magnifiqué is Spanish, not French. The French word is magnifique: ma.ɲi.fik.

     

    • #20
    • February 15, 2020, at 7:34 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  21. OccupantCDN Coolidge

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    ALSO on the point of energy and fusion. I think its a rabbit hole. Thorium Molten Salt reactors are the most practical, lowest risk technology that has been demonstrated to actually work.

    I was sorta kinda using “fusion” as shorthand for some breakthrough tech that works and doesn’t freak the greenies, although I’m sure they’ll be opposed to anything that isn’t Natural.

    That’s what they do is oppose, they do not propose. (or if they do propose, its a fanciful project that cant stand scientific or engineering examination). Fusion is one of my hot button issues, I think there is just so much we dont know that we dont know about fusion, I dont think its even possible to graph R&D cost timeline to a prototype device. Ive been reading articles since the 1980s (as you have as well) promising a fusion powered future, just 20 years away…

    As opposed to Thorium Molten Salt Reactors, which is the technology branch not taken – ironically not taken, because it didnt produce useful isotopes as by products. (useful in the cold war – to make bombs) That are as close to perpetual motion machine that nature will allow.

    • #21
    • February 15, 2020, at 8:01 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  22. RufusRJones Member

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    ALSO on the point of energy and fusion. I think its a rabbit hole. Thorium Molten Salt reactors are the most practical, lowest risk technology that has been demonstrated to actually work.

    I was sorta kinda using “fusion” as shorthand for some breakthrough tech that works and doesn’t freak the greenies, although I’m sure they’ll be opposed to anything that isn’t Natural.

    That’s what they do is oppose, they do not propose. (or if they do propose, its a fanciful project that cant stand scientific or engineering examination). Fusion is one of my hot button issues, I think there is just so much we dont know that we dont know about fusion, I dont think its even possible to graph R&D cost timeline to a prototype device. Ive been reading articles since the 1980s (as you have as well) promising a fusion powered future, just 20 years away…

    As opposed to Thorium Molten Salt Reactors, which is the technology branch not taken – ironically not taken, because it didnt produce useful isotopes as by products. (useful in the cold war – to make bombs) That are as close to perpetual motion machine that nature will allow.

    I also think that stuff is everywhere. You don’t massively screw up the environment when you mine it.

    • #22
    • February 15, 2020, at 8:04 AM PST
    • 1 like
  23. OccupantCDN Coolidge

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    ALSO on the point of energy and fusion. I think its a rabbit hole. Thorium Molten Salt reactors are the most practical, lowest risk technology that has been demonstrated to actually work.

    I was sorta kinda using “fusion” as shorthand for some breakthrough tech that works and doesn’t freak the greenies, although I’m sure they’ll be opposed to anything that isn’t Natural.

    That’s what they do is oppose, they do not propose. (or if they do propose, its a fanciful project that cant stand scientific or engineering examination). Fusion is one of my hot button issues, I think there is just so much we dont know that we dont know about fusion, I dont think its even possible to graph R&D cost timeline to a prototype device. Ive been reading articles since the 1980s (as you have as well) promising a fusion powered future, just 20 years away…

    As opposed to Thorium Molten Salt Reactors, which is the technology branch not taken – ironically not taken, because it didnt produce useful isotopes as by products. (useful in the cold war – to make bombs) That are as close to perpetual motion machine that nature will allow.

    I also think that stuff is everywhere. You don’t massively screw up the environment when you mine it.

    Actually its Thorium (and the federal regulations about disposing of thorium) that really prevent rare earth mineral mining in the United States. You could literally kill 2 birds with one stone, and mine rare earth minerals and produce thorium as a by product.

    (the 2 birds being energy crisis and production of rare earth minerals being monopolized by China)

    • #23
    • February 15, 2020, at 8:07 AM PST
    • 1 like
  24. RufusRJones Member

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    ALSO on the point of energy and fusion. I think its a rabbit hole. Thorium Molten Salt reactors are the most practical, lowest risk technology that has been demonstrated to actually work.

    I was sorta kinda using “fusion” as shorthand for some breakthrough tech that works and doesn’t freak the greenies, although I’m sure they’ll be opposed to anything that isn’t Natural.

    That’s what they do is oppose, they do not propose. (or if they do propose, its a fanciful project that cant stand scientific or engineering examination). Fusion is one of my hot button issues, I think there is just so much we dont know that we dont know about fusion, I dont think its even possible to graph R&D cost timeline to a prototype device. Ive been reading articles since the 1980s (as you have as well) promising a fusion powered future, just 20 years away…

    As opposed to Thorium Molten Salt Reactors, which is the technology branch not taken – ironically not taken, because it didnt produce useful isotopes as by products. (useful in the cold war – to make bombs) That are as close to perpetual motion machine that nature will allow.

    I also think that stuff is everywhere. You don’t massively screw up the environment when you mine it.

    Actually its Thorium (and the federal regulations about disposing of thorium) that really prevent rare earth mineral mining in the United States. You could literally kill 2 birds with one stone, and mine rare earth minerals and produce thorium as a by product.

    (the 2 birds being energy crisis and production of rare earth minerals being monopolized by China)

    I thought it was easier to get out then even that. Rare earths are a national security issue anyway. They should be mined here no matter what. Anybody that pays attention to EH,HEM current events realize our whole supply chain needs to be examined for security issues.

     

    • #24
    • February 15, 2020, at 8:12 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  25. Arahant Member

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    Anybody that pays attention to EH,HEM current events realize our whole supply chain needs to be examined for security issues.

    Amen to that ten thousand times.

    • #25
    • February 15, 2020, at 8:16 AM PST
    • 1 like
  26. OccupantCDN Coolidge

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    I thought it was easier to get out then even that. Rare earths are a national security issue anyway. They should be mined here no matter what. Anybody that pays attention to EH,HEM current events realize our whole supply chain needs to be examined for security issues.

     

    Yes, fair point. Thorium is indeed everywhere, its a primordial isotope. Its decay 1/2 life is longer than the age of the universe. Ironically people get radioactivity wrong. Things that are radioactive for a long time – like thorium generally are not dangerous. Its the isotopes that are radioactive for short periods of time like Cesium 137 that are dangerous.

    • #26
    • February 15, 2020, at 8:21 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  27. RufusRJones Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    Anybody that pays attention to EH,HEM current events realize our whole supply chain needs to be examined for security issues.

    Amen to that ten thousand times.

    Breitbart News is the best place to understand this stuff. We need to get the hell away from China every way we can, as fast as we can. Diversified countries. Figure out what is better to just pay more for if we make it here. 

    If the issue is security, safety, or quality, China is not ideal.

    • #27
    • February 15, 2020, at 8:21 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  28. I Walton Member

    They assume that folks who aren’t accountable should behave as if they were. The Federal government is not accountable and cannot be made accountable. We know this about our military so we have dedicated the whole process to make them accountable for the reason we have them in the first place. How do folks in HEW et al do the same? Who makes them accountable? Towards what? We could train them to pursue some objective, but, can any of them define what their purpose is in terms of the needs of specific people or interests in Eastern Chicago and central Dallas…? Do voters have an influence? Not at all. A president? Sort of, remotely if it becomes a priority, but it will always be an abstraction formed by dozens of offices toward means that preserve their interests and help them grow. It’s not their fault. We are the most diverse and largest countries in the history of mankind. Do we really think we can be governed competently by a remote non accountable, self interested abstraction aimed at the whole thing located in a few buildings in a single town? 

    • #28
    • February 15, 2020, at 8:58 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  29. Henry Racette Contributor

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    ALSO on the point of energy and fusion. I think its a rabbit hole. Thorium Molten Salt reactors are the most practical, lowest risk technology that has been demonstrated to actually work.

    I was sorta kinda using “fusion” as shorthand for some breakthrough tech that works and doesn’t freak the greenies, although I’m sure they’ll be opposed to anything that isn’t Natural.

    That’s what I understood. Kind of like Jazz Fusion: we want an energy source that’s a little amped up but still cool, kind of unpredictable, sometimes smooth but likely to go off on spontaneous solos that usually do not end in meltdowns. Giving a whole new meaning to “bass-load power.”

    • #29
    • February 15, 2020, at 9:43 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  30. RufusRJones Member

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    Angelo Codivilla is really pessimistic about state power and the ruling elites and where this is going. He would know.

    https://amgreatness.com/2020/02/14/governing-takes-a-team/ 

    It’s short. 

    • #30
    • February 15, 2020, at 12:57 PM PST
    • Like