Our Moral Failure

mirror-man

 

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
(If you want to make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change”

– Michael Jackson

 

At the end of the day, no law, restriction, bumper sticker, protest or any other human activity can fix what ails us. For that which ails us is inside: Our individual and collective hearts are sick.

We have taken what were a collective set of values – based mostly but not entirely on Judeo-Christian concepts such as the 10 Commandments and the Golden Rule – and replaced them with a whole lot of nothing. And then we scramble and try to legislate what was once normal behavior, and that which we spent decades deriding as old-fashioned.

Take the “Me Too” movement – please. Since the 1960s, Americans – especially American youth – have embraced an ethos of “free love”. Forget marriage, you can and should have sex when, where and with whomever you like. Add to this abortion on demand and no-fault divorce so that “mistakes” can be eliminated rather than worked through and lived with, and you have generations of men (and women) who think it’s their birthright to not just procreate but to do so at will.

And yet here we are: A movement that is decrying men for being, well, men. Uncontrolled men; men unbound by any sense of chivalry, of decency, or of responsibility. We forget the institution of marriage, among its many benefits, served to channel the sexual desires of men to positive purpose while at the same time drawing lines that could not be crossed without great financial and societal risk. Men unbound by mores act like, well, pigs. And now we belatedly try to impose puritanical standards on them.

This will fail not because it’s wrong, but because there is no moral authority. The same people screaming “Me Too” are those that scream “My Body, My Choice”; these are the folks that pined for the removal of God and marriage and every other standard that once underpinned society. Anything they offer will be capricious, random and utterly confusing because it answers to no higher power than man. And that is not enough.

The same dynamic is seen in the rash of school shootings. Again, we strove to remove – and succeeded in removing – that which we once claimed created good citizens. We also razed the idea of excellence and elevated the status of “victim”, to the point that victimhood is the highest form of status today. And we destroyed the family so that many adolescents – at best – receive guidance from only one parent and in the case of boys, sadly, the wrong one.

But humans don’t change, and young humans will do as they have since the days of Cain and Abel. They act out, they get angry, they bully, they fight. Not that long ago, disagreements were solved by – at worst – a fistfight in the school yard. Now they are solved by gunfire. But what can we expect when we (1) tell kids there is no objective truth, (2) there is no higher power in life, (3) they are all special and (4) acting like a victim is the fastest way to earn praise in life?

It’s far too late to return to the ways that, while not perfect, resulted in a relatively peaceful and pleasant society. We have destroyed too much and erected the idol of government in its place. Rules, restrictions and social engineering will continue to be applied, and they will continue to fail.

What ails us is not inanimate objects. Nor is it scapegoated organization. It’s not even politicians, although some of them are accessories.

It’s us. And any solution can only start with us.

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California: A Lesson in “Green” Economics

The headlines are breathless: “California becomes first state to mandate solar panels on new home construction!” That’s right – starting in 2020, every new single-family home (and many apartments and condos) will be required to have expensive solar panels on the roof. No ifs, ands or buts, and no exceptions for anyone in any income class. No choice – you will comply, comrade!

Among the usual non-sensible arguments about carbon emissions, global warming and transitioning the grid back to the 19th century to the 21st century, the California Energy Commission throws out an economic “justification”:

“Installing a solar system and complying with other energy-efficiency measures required will add about $9,500 to the cost of a new home, according to the California Energy Commission. That would be offset by about $19,000 in expected energy and maintenance savings over 30 years, the commission estimates.”

Sounds so inviting. Invest $9,500, reap $19,000. Heck, let’s buy 2, or 10. It’s basically a financial printing press, right?

Not so much. The key is “over 30 years” – meaning that on average, the solar panels will save $633 per year in energy. But money changes in value over time; $633 today is not worth the same as $633 next year, or in 10 years, or in 30 years.

I do this sort of analysis all the time. Using a conservative value of investment interest of 4% per year, if I invested $9500 today and received $633 per year for the next 30 years, the actual value of my investment (also called Net Present Value or NPV) would be $1,500. For reference, any investment where the NPV is lower than the initial outlay is bad.  Furthermore, if you consider electric rate inflation of 3% per year (and I am certain the CEC did so), the $19,000 total savings becomes even more backloaded and the NPV drops to a piddling $900.

So, to summarize: A $9,500 investment – forced by the state – is worth $900 in real, present-value dollars. No rational investor makes this deal; no taxpayer willingly signs up for it if they know the truth. California’s solar panel mandate is nothing more than a naked giveaway to the solar companies. And a usual, the average citizens are the ones doing the giving – and getting the shaft.

Burning Money

At least you’d get heat if you did this with your money!

 

The Power Farm

First in a Series

 

Let’s create a thought exercise:

You own a very large farm. It’s so large you call it Mammoth Farm. You bought the land for Mammoth Farm. You cleared it of trees and tilled it. You installed irrigation so that it grows food regardless of rain. You installed greenhouses, so it grows food all year. You even own the entire distribution network – all of the trucks that take your product to market. Your farm is so productive and consistent and efficient, no one can economically compete with it. So, you accept regulation, a fixed rate structure and profit, and provide all the food to the local community. Everyone is happy.

Well, not quite. The government comes along and declares Mammoth Farm a polluting menace. To reduce the impact of Mammoth Farms, government encourages smaller, “alternative” food producers and offers subsidies to encourage them. Furthermore, the government mandates that a growing percentage of all food musty come from the alternative producers. Even Mammoth Farms is required to purchase 20% of their product from the smaller providers at costs of 3-4 times their own costs of growing food.

But the smaller providers have issues. Some only operate half the time. Others operate somewhat randomly – they match Mammoth’s capacity one day and stand idle the next. The lack of consistent production means that sometimes the community has to import expensive food from elsewhere at costs 10,20 or even 100 times the local rate. Even when the alternative producers meet the demand, its not without cost as their food costs 200%, 300% or more of what it costs Mammoth. Even with subsidies, prices begin to necessarily skyrocket, as one government leader promised.

By now billions have been spent propping up the alternative providers – many of them well-heeled individuals and corporations. Yet the same problems remain: Their food is expensive and requires subsidies. Food is intermittently produced, requiring Mammoth to always be on “standby” to fill in demand. Mammoth is now struggling to survive because they only sell when the smaller producers cannot. Such a business model cannot survive, and it’s becoming likely that Mammoth will go out of business, leaving the smaller, much more expensive and much less reliable producers as the only suppliers of food.

If you haven’t figured it out, this is not-exactly-a-parable of our electricity system. “Mammoth” is the existing power grid, with large power stations and transmission grids. The smaller, “alternative” producers are wind and solar, for decades massively subsidized with no end in sight. No matter how many billions, if not trillions, we sink into these boondoggles, they never match the performance of the base grid. They never can. They never will.

Part 2 of this series will show why “green” wind and solar are anything but good for the environment.

 

 

Wind 1

Rainbows and sunshine? Not so much. Behold the true cost of wind.

 

(Author’s note: I know this is not an exact analogy. Food, unlike power, can effectively be stored. But general knowledge of how electricity is produced and consumed is lacking. I work in this field; I could bore my readers with engineering geekspeak. I’d prefer to try examples that more readers may understand.)

Denver’s Boondoggle. Coming to Indy?

I’ll say this much for central planners: They never stop.

I spent most of my life in the Denver area, and I saw first hand how the planned transportation people work. After suffering a thorough repudiation to light rail in 1997, commuting planners showed up with a bucket full of “free” federal funds to build a “demonstration” project between downtown and the Five Points neighborhood. This was followed in 2000 by the “T-Rex” project that expanded I-25 south of downtown (very much needed) and included, again with “free” federal funds, a shiny new light rail system. The fact that no one rode the thing except to Broncos and Rockies games didn’t matter; the project was deemed an instant success. And having shown that light rail “works”, the planners returned to voters in 2004 and, viola!, got their massive boondoggle passed. So now light rail runs hither and yon throughout the Denver metro area, still mostly empty except for sporting events.

The same philosophy used to ram light rail down the throats of Denver commuters appears to be at play in my new home of Indianapolis. The do-gooders who want to save the planet by herding us all into mass transit are procuring – wait for it – “free” federal funds to build a bus rapid transit line from north Indy through downtown to South Indy. Yet here, as in Colorado, the vast majority of commuters drive suburb-to-suburb. Put another way, no one will ride this system save for those who already ride the bus. Indeed, among the opponents of this boondoggle are current bus riders, who would just as soon have more normal buses.

Time will tell, of course, if the camel-nose-under-the-tent strategy works as well here as it did in Denver. One obstacle is a state law that forbids light rail in the greater Indianapolis metropolitan area, but that law is under siege as the area courts Amazon. Good luck with that, folks – Amazon is not coming here, rail or not. Having witnessed the billions wasted on rail in Colorado, I sincerely hope I don’t see a repeat here. It’s not needed, it’s not wanted, and it won’t be used. Save your money, Hoosiers.

Terminator

The transit planners: They absolutely will not stop…ever, until you are broke!

YOU CAN’T MAKE THAT TODAY!

One thing I want to do with this space is a recurring feature called “You Can’t Make That Today!”, featuring TV shows and movies from the 60s, 70s and 80s that would in no way be permitted in our hyper-PC culture today.

I start with one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1970s and early 1980s, M*A*S*H.

YOU CAN’T MAKE THAT TODAY!

What: M*A*S*H

Category: TV Series

Genre: Comedy

Dates(s): 1972 – 1983

Would offend if aired today:

  • Blacks
  • Asians
  • Women
  • LGBTQ

M*A*S*H the TV series was based on the movie of the same name and became one of the most beloved TV shows of all time. Although it certainly became leftist and quite preachy in its later years, there’s no way the series survives the first year today. After all, Season 1 featured:

  • A black surgeon named Oliver Harmon “Spearchucker” Jones
  • A Korean houseboy named “Ho-Jon”
  • A sexed-up Head Nurse (“Hot Lips” Houlihan) who seduced or tried to seduce numerous generals and at least one visiting Colonel.
  • A crossdressing male (Corporal Klinger) who, when offered a chance to be declared a Transvestite and a homosexual and be discharged, refused because he was offended at those things. He wasn’t gay, he just crossdressed to show he was crazy. Very bad form in 2018.

Furthermore, of the four primary doctors, three were Matt Lauer-level skirt chasers. Since they outranked the nurses they chased, they would today be accused of sexual harassment.

Although Spearchucker and Ho-Jon went away after Season 1, the show’s basic bawdy premise continued until the departure of Col. Henry Blake and Dr. Trapper John McIntyre after Season 3.

CONCLUSION:

If M*A*S*H aired today, its creators would be forced to issue tearful apologies and attend sexual harassment, cultural sensitivity, and LQBTQ acceptance training. To survive, the show would have to turn Trapper and Henry into sexually frustrated married gay men who have an ongoing affair, while Klinger has gender reassignment surgery and actually becomes a woman. And Hawkeye (Alan Alda) would have to become an overly whiny, sensitive metrosexual poster child. Oh wait – that last part actually happened.

 

Spearchucker Jones

A Clear Violation of the PC Police

Happy May Day, Comrades!

Happy May Day, Comrades!!! Has any political philosophy caused as much misery and death as collectivism in all its forms? Between Communism and socialism, well over 100,000,000 humans were exterminated in the 20th Century. In this century, North Korea remains a living hell for the 99% of the people not in the ruling class, Cuba remains stuck in the 1950s, and Venezuela is reminding us socialism always results in shortages.

Yet here in America, we continue to dabble in this poison. Bernie Sanders is the most obvious example, but the entire federal government is an exercise in the redistribution of wealth – the only difference being who gets the spoils. And there is really very little difference between the two major parties – both fund the “poor”, both fund massive bureaucracies, both fund bloated defense contractors. Whatever difference is on the margins and in tone.

So, while I don’t believe we will soon be faced with concentration camps (Germanic National Socialism), Gulags (Soviet Communism), purges (Chinese Communism) or forced starvation (Ukrainian Communism), we do find economic freedom slipping away. 40% of what we earn funds our massive government, the so-called “rich” pay the overwhelming majority of taxes at all levels, and the 1% – our own nomenklatura – is so in bed with the government that they grow ever more bloated regardless of who or what is running the show.

So yes, let’s raise our fists and march around, to quote Rage Against the Machine. But let’s not celebrate a system and philosophy that has led to death, destruction, poverty, slavery, and overall misery the world over.

Dictator-cc-565x399Half of these “gentlemen”, including the worst three, were socialists/communists