30 January 2012

The Voice of the People

The Arab Spring one year on: Switzerland on the Sahara and Norway on the Nile have yet to materialize.

“I remind all media that they have to be accurate; we are not celebrating the first anniversary of the revolution; we are reviving the revolution in its first anniversary,” tweeted well-known writer Ayman El-Sayyad.

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians thronged Cairo's Tahrir Square Wednesday morning, renewing the atmosphere of mass protests witnessed in the country a year ago, Ahram online reported.

“Down, down with military rule,” they chanted.

Though the house of Mubarak was no more, the shadow of his legacy still lives on in the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took power after Mubarak’s resignation, pro-democracy protesters say.

But materialize they shall.  Thomas Friedman says so.  So does The Council on Foreign Relations. So does Hillary Clinton--and she's ready to put your money where her mouth is:

Three weeks ago, the State Department's Middle East Partnership Initiative sent Congress what's known as a "congressional notification," requesting permission to shift $29 million in funds from other programs in the region. State wants to shift $20 million to democracy promotion efforts in Tunisia and around the region. Another $7 million would go supporting rule of law and political development programs in the Middle East. $1 million would go to youth councils in Yemen.

Spending our hard-earned dollars on 'democracy promotion' has always had its fans.  Traditionally, U.S. policy has been to push democracy where it serves her strategic interests, and to crush it where it does not.  The Middle East, your blinking gas gauge reminds you, falls under door #2. But throngs pouring into the streets over a young Arab who had immolated himself in despair could not be ignored, and the about-face was total: Out with dear friends Mubarak, Gaddafi, and Ben Ali; in with...


23 January 2012

The Blind Leading the Blind, Part II

We have considered Detroit's demise in light of Afros' seeming inability to capably take over the reins of Euro-created government, be it in Port-au-Prince, Johannesburg, or Birmingham.

But it takes two to tango.  Inept city leaders can do harm, but an inept population can double the damage.  Consider Orange County's surprise bankruptcy in 1994. Referendum-loving Californians having made it nearly impossible for local government to raise taxes, county treasurer Bob Citron began to invest what little they could raise into ever-riskier securities.  November 1994: The bomb dropped, with $1.7 billion up in smoke, also known as Citron's Barings Bank moment.

Or see New York City's famous near-bankruptcy in 1975 ('Ford to City: Drop Dead'), when the Big Apple was humiliatingly taken over by New York State.  In addition to the oil shock, stubborn unions, and shoddy bookkeeping, the city had recently seen a sudden flight of net taxpayers and an inflow of the government-dependent:

The 1970s saw New York lose more than 800,000 residents, almost all of them non-Hispanic whites.  This was the first significant population decrease in more than 150 years.
Residents with household incomes below federal poverty standards increased by 25 percent from 1970 to 1980, while all other income groups diminished in number.  Whereas the number of impoverished white residents decreased by 12 percent, the number of poor blacks increased by 40 percent, and poor Hispanics by 52 percent.

Rona Stein opines that

There is some evidence that New York City and other industrial regions may have unintentionally encouraged the poor to move in by offering relatively generous levels of welfare benefits. 

Perhaps, but the post-war boom that had made sure everyone who wanted a job had one was already waning in the 1960s.  Afro-Americans were now, as they had been after the Civil War, thrown into sudden competition with other ethnies.  W.H. Collins in 1918 had bemoaned the newly freed blacks' reticence to work, predicting:

15 January 2012

The Blind Leading the Blind

Detroit, the largest city in Michigan, is about to join its sisters Flint, Pontiac, Benton Harbor, and Ecorse in being stripped of its municipal authority and ceded to an 'emergency manager.' Well-covered by commentators who can see, the story has also attracted observations such as:

“How come all of the jurisdictions put under emergency management are majority African American? Has anybody noticed that?” asked Rep. John Conyers (D), who has represented Detroit for 47 years.

How come indeed.

As Congressman Conyers implies, majority-Afro cities tend to elect majority-Afro city governments.  As the average Afro is less well-endowed than other ethnies in future-time orientation, commonweal-orientation, industriousness, and logical aptitude, majority-Afro governments tend to govern poorly.

.             .            .

Haiti, the world's first Black Republic, stunned the planet in 1804 by driving out her European masters and embarking upon true self-government.  A century later, adventurer and journalist Hesketh Prichard ambled from one end of the island to the other, to report on what one hundred years of freedom had wrought.

On the capital city:

07 January 2012

A German by Any Other Name...

The Maastricht treaty, indeed the whole idea of the E.U., is based on the principle that 'People are people.' Also known as the Late Twentieth Century Delusion.  As we have seen, the Think-Tankers who cook up international policy are in utter thrall to it.  No reason, say they, why a semiconductor industry such as flourishes in Japan couldn't do the same in Angola.  No reason at all.  All that's missing are the right incentives, the right institutions, the right...

...Shhh. Don't say 'people.' Crimethink.

It has become obvious that the Eurozone will survive in present form only if the Germans keep paying the debts of the Greeks.  Talk of new 'institutions' and 'treaties and 'incentives' is silly.  The incentives and treaties and institutions have been in place for ten years; they have not yet been able to turn Greeks into Germans.  Nor will they.

Why not?  What makes a German a German, and a Greek a Greek?  Couldn't we switch out the populations of these two countries and just assume that Greek-Germany and German-Greece would continue to function as they always have?

*               *               *

Though it has become terribly unfashionable, there is little as satisfying as reading old-time authors' stout observations of other peoples, untouched by today's feminized hive-mind and its cries to not hurt anyone's feelings.  It was once taken for granted that a German was not a Greek.  Would today's Eurozone decision-makers come back to this distant wisdom, they might yet come up with some policy worth the name.

So-- a 2012 currency zone containing both a Germany and a Greece will not function, and we need writers from before the Wars to give us a hint as to why: