Monday Morning Coming Down

     Brenda Ann Spencer, eat your heart out.


1. Impassioned But Misguided.

     Or perhaps arrantly idiotic:

     We are not calling for massive new entitlements nor are we repeating the Bush follies of subsidizing mortgages for people who can’t afford a home. We simply accept that big government is here to stay—at least for the foreseeable future. And so we want to learn to use it instead of simply calling for it to be abolished while watching it continue to grow. As I explained in the essay that provoked Goldberg: “The right must be comfortable wielding the levers of state power. And it should emulate the Left in using them to reward friends and punish enemies (within the confines of the rule of law).”

     As much as I’d like to credit the author of this piece with good intentions, I can’t. Far too many people have blazed the very same trail with the worst and lowest of intentions – and it’s seldom possible to discern their actual agenda before giving them the power they seek.

     The dynamic of power is inexorable. You cannot use it without legitimizing it for use by your adversaries…and sooner or later, it will be at your adversaries’ command. It’s a bit like the One Ring that way. But persons impatient for “progress” will never admit that, whether to others or to themselves.


2. Telework.

     It was seldom possible for me to telework, because of the security restrictions that applied to the kind of work I did. When the COVID-19 scare came to town, many employers whose employees largely deal with information and / or information flow decided to give it a try. Apparently, the results have been disappointing overall…but not for this reason!

     Consider two people who are moving the contents of their office into a moving van. Let’s say Jon can move 30 items an hour by himself. Patrick moves 20 items an hour by himself.
     How much do you think they could do an hour if they worked as a team? You might be tempted to say 50, but that isn’t quite right. Think of how long it would take to move a couch by yourself. You could probably do it, but it’s awkward to carry alone, and it’d be hard to get it through doors and up or down stairs. Two people moving a couch are probably more than twice as fast as one person trying to do the same.
     In other words, the team as a unit is more productive than the individuals’ work simply added together. It’s more likely that this increased efficiency will mean the team could move more, say 70 boxes, in the same amount of time. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
     Economists call this team production.

     But work that deals with information is qualitatively different from carrying bricks or moving furniture. “Team production” is the exception in that domain. By far the greater part of such work is best performed in isolation. I’d have expected one who writes for FEE, a venerable and highly reputable organization, to realize that.

     There are reasons telework has failed to deliver on its promises. One is its dependence on the Internet, a source of many distractions. Another is the home environment, wherein other considerations will often rear their heads. A third is the possibility that the work itself isn’t interesting enough to command the teleworker’s focus. Apparently these factors, and possibly others, have tipped the balance against telework: for the typical company, and for the present.

     The key to productivity is what it has always been: the full engagement of the worker. For some kinds of work, on-site supervision is required to maintain that focus; for others, the work itself must be capable of overriding other competing factors. Absent that engagement, productivity will always be a crapshoot.


3. Don’t Steal!

     The government hates competition:

     Asset forfeiture is the process through which the government seizes money or other property that is believed to be linked to a crime. Most federal forfeitures are civil, meaning the government can keep the seized property without ever charging the owner with a crime.
     The DOJ announced earlier this year more than $6 billion in contracts awarded to multiple private companies to help with asset forfeiture investigations. Contractors are expected to help with everything from investigating and identifying assets for seizure to record keeping and providing courtroom testimony, according to DOJ records.
     “These are six billion reasons we need civil forfeiture reform now,” Alban said. “Congress must act to prevent law enforcement from treating ordinary Americans like ATMs.”
     Forfeiture generated more than $45.7 billion in revenue for the federal government alone between 2000 and 2019, according to IJ. Proceeds are often split between federal and local police agencies
     “Federal forfeiture is a big business,” Alban said. “And it’s a particularly big business for the law enforcement agencies that get to spend the money out of these funds.”

     The rationale under which “asset forfeiture” has evaded the strict interpretation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments is a curious one: it is not the owner who is being accused of a crime, but the property itself. But an inanimate object cannot commit a crime. It lacks what the law calls agency: the rational consciousness required to decide on a plan of action and execute it. Lack of agency is the reason given for not prosecuting the obviously insane.

     This is a festering wound in American law and law enforcement. But it’s highly profitable, so don’t expect it to be cleaned out and sutured up any time soon.


4. The March Of Unfreedom.

     The vicious and unprincipled legal assaults on President Donald Trump have largely been about things he said, or is alleged to have said. Apparently, a sitting president doesn’t possess the freedom of expression we thought was guaranteed to all Americans by the First Amendment. But this is part and parcel of the Left’s decision that it’s now sufficiently powerful to “finish the job:” i.e., to cement itself into permanent and unopposable power by eliminating the remaining restraints on what American governments can get away with.

     Hearken once again to the late, great Clarence Carson:

     [W]e are told that there is no need to fear the concentration of power in government so long as that power is checked by the electoral process. We are urged to believe that so long as we can express our disagreement in words, we have our full rights to disagree. Now both freedom of speech and the electoral process are important to liberty, but alone they are only the desiccated remains of liberty. However vigorously we may argue against foreign aid, our substance is still drained away in never-to-be-repaid loans. Quite often, there is not even a candidate to vote for who holds views remotely like my own. To vent one’s spleen against the graduated income tax may be healthy for the psyche, but one must still yield up his freedom of choice as to how his money will be spent when he pays it to the government. The voice of electors in government is not even proportioned to the tax contribution of individuals; thus, those who contribute more lose rather than gain by the “democratic process.” A majority of voters may decide that property cannot be used in such and such ways, but the liberty of the individual is diminished just as much as in that regard as if a dictator had decreed it. Those who believe in the redistribution of wealth should be free to redistribute their own, but they are undoubtedly limiting the freedom of others when they vote to redistribute theirs.

     The position of the Left in the early postwar decades was that “liberty” merely means “freedom of expression” plus “democracy” (i.e., popular election of public officials). Those things have served to “keep them in the game” during periods when popular sentiment was largely against them. But when those mechanisms turn against them, they’re just as willing to destroy them as they are to destroy the right to keep and bear arms. That’s a complete explanation for what’s been happening to President Trump. Nor is it confined to these shores:

     It’s impossible to satirize a statement such as this:

     Speaking before the Irish Senate (Seanad) this week, O’Reilly declared “when one thinks about it, all law and all legislation is about the restriction of freedom. This is exactly what we are doing here. We are restricting freedom but we are doing it for the common good.”
     It is the same message of New York democrats calling for limiting speech as a way of protecting democracy. Indeed, former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich has declared free speech is “tyranny.”

     Julian Assange was just the beginning, Gentle Reader. Watch your back.


     That’s all for the moment, Gentle Reader. I have a slew of necessities to address, so enjoy the remainder of your Monday, and with luck I’ll see you tomorrow.


    • Evil Franklin on August 14, 2023 at 7:52 AM

    One tyrant 3000 miles away is no different than 3000 tyrants one mile away. It’s still tyranny.
    A petty tyrant is still a tyrant.

    Evil Franklin

    • Alex Lund on August 14, 2023 at 10:38 AM

    When I hear “For the common good” I as a german get nervous.

    After all, if 3 sheep and 10 wolves vote what is for lunch, it is clear who votes who and that in the end sheep will be on the menu – for the common good.

  1. Thanks, Fran!
    I WAS having a good day, until I read this.
    It must be true that ignorance is bliss.

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