France is Scroomed and So Are We

The Armstrong and Getty Show, April 23, 2012, Hour 3 (Podcast), Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty:

Jack: In France, everybody is running on the “what can I give you more of” platform, including Sarkozy. So, unlike all the other countries that got the message, “Hey, we’re broke, they’re rioting in the streets, we’ve got to tighten our belts, the good times are over,” France is completely ignoring that in their presidential election and all the candidates are running on the platform of, “Oh, you want to lower the retirement age from 65 to 62, I want to lower it to 58!” “Oh yeah? Well I want to make it 52! And I want to have a million more teachers on the government payroll.” They’re all running on the bigger government, the “give-people-more-stuff” platform. This guy, François Hollande (of the French Socialist Party), who beat out Sarkozy yesterday, wants to tax the rich, anyone who makes €1 million or more, 75 percent.

Joe: That seems fair.

Jack: The guy to the left of him, who got beat out, wanted to tax the rich—who he defined as anyone making more than €500,000—at a rate of 100 percent.

Joe: Now, that’s confiscatory.

Jack: And he just barely got edged out. And he was advocating a tax of 100 percent of everything over €500,000.

Joe: How much effort does he think people are going to put into making money and to create jobs and to grow companies, if the government is going to confiscate 100 percent of their earnings? Screw you. To hell with you, France. If the Germans invade again, we’re just going to watch TV. We’re just going to say, “I don’t hear anything, I don’t see anything,” achtung!

Jack: It’s an interesting idea. Because if I make $500,000, and every dollar over that I make, the government gets all that, there are only a couple of options. You’d figure out a way to cheat and hide it somehow, or you’d hire somebody to pretend they’re you and take part of your business. You’d have to do something like that.

Joe: Well, you’d find a way to deny the government that revenue. And the vast majority of people would just not put in the effort anymore.

You know, the free market has lifted more people out of poverty than anything conceived of by man, bar none. But everyone wants to do away with it in the name of “fairness.” You want fairness? Let the market work.

Jack: “A Country in Denial” was the article in The Economist. By ignoring their economic problems, France’s politicians are making it impossible to solve those problems. Everybody still thinks the party is not over. You can still just give people stuff, promise them anything, let them retire early, it’s amazing! It’s really quite amazing.

But you know, we’re more or less there in the United States. We’re in not quite as dire a situation as France, because our economy is so good. But we are headed in that direction, and we are still acting like nothing was wrong.

Joe: Okay, here’s the calculation that politicians are making. If you don’t deal with politicians as often as we do, you can’t conceive of how cynical they are. The calculation they make is, “Will the ess hit the fan, will the disaster happen during my term?” And if the answer is no by as little as a day, then they will continue doing politics as usual, the pandering, the income redistribution, the overspending—unless it’s going to happen on their watch. And literally, if it’s one day after their power is no longer an issue to them, then they don’t care, they don’t care.

They are beating the hell out of our children and we’re letting them.

Jack: The vast majority of politicians are cowards who just want to hang onto their job while they’ve got it.

Joe: And a majority of Americans don’t pay income tax anyway, so it doesn’t really seem like an issue to them.

It’s the human beast. It’s an ugly, ugly beast. The human beast is capable of unspeakable selfishness and evil. Once in a while, you know, once every couple hundred years, some great thinkers come together to design a government that somehow staves off the ugliness of humanity long enough to build a great culture. But sooner or later, We the People figure out a way to screw the pooch and ruin it. And we’re about there—scroomed.*

[*Note: Scroomed is an Armstrong & Getty term. Derivation: Screwed + doomed = scroomed.]

Jack: France, which is further down the road of being scroomed then we are, the guy who currently leads to become the next president of France, is running on, “I’m going to move the retirement age from 65 to 62, and taxing people who make over €1 million at a rate of 75 percent.

Joe: Wow, that’s a kick in the baguette.

Advertisements

Juan Williams on the Intolerance of the Left

“You know what? When I see the terrible out-of-wedlock birth rate in this country, I think, ‘My God, something’s wrong! The family is breaking down!’ When I see kids dropping out of school, especially the Latino and Black kids, 50 percent, I think it’s an outrage! I think something is wrong in the culture when you’re putting down education and you’re building up gangster rappers and those kinds of people. So if that means I am conservative, well okay. But to my mind, what you have going on here is you’ve got the family and the culture going in the wrong direction. I think a lot of people should be standing up and saying it for what it is. And I’ll tell you one other thing, Bill—and this is something that comes out of my friendship with you. I’ve come to understand that when I say anything that doesn’t hold to the orthodoxy of the far left, they are far more vicious and personal, more ad hominem in their attacks against me, then anything on the right. Historically, I always thought it’s the far right that’s closed-minded. No, Bill, I’ve discovered the far left is extremely harsh—harsh!—and punishing when you don’t say everything they want you to say and stick to their orthodoxy.”

JUAN WILLIAMS on The O’Reilly Factor, Fox News Channel, hosted by Bill O’Reilly, Monday, March 2, 2009

Robert A. Heinlein Quotations

Action

“Take sides! Always take sides! You will sometimes be wrong — but the man who refuses to take sides must always be wrong.”
Double Star (1956)

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
Time Enough for Love (1973)

Age

“Age is not an accomplishment, and youth is not a sin.”
Methuselah’s Children (1958)

Altruism

“If tempted by something that feels ‘altruistic,’ examine your motives and root out that self-deception. Then, if you still want to do it, wallow in it!”
Time Enough for Love (1973)

Change

“People don’t really want change, any change at all — and xenophobia is very deep-rooted. But we progress, as we must — if we are to go out to the stars.”
Double Star (1956)

Death

“‘Die trying’ is the proudest human thing.”
Have Space Suit—Will Travel (1958)

“Heaven help me, I could not see the far end! The smoke had billowed up and my eyes would barely open and would not focus. So I pushed on, while trying to remember the formula by which one made a deathbed confession and then slid into Heaven on a technicality.
“Maybe there wasn’t any such formula.”
Job: A Comedy of Justice (1984)

Democracy

“Democracy’s greatest fault is that its leaders are likely to reflect the faults and virtues of their constituents—a depressingly low level, but what else can you expect? So take a look at Douglas and ponder that, in his ignorance, stupidity, and self-seeking, he much resembles his fellow Americans, including you and me . . . and that in fact he is a notch or two above the average. Then take a look at the man who will replace him if his government topples.”
“There’s precious little choice.”
“There’s always a choice! This one is a choice between ‘bad’ and ‘worse’—which is a difference much more poignant than that between ‘good’ and ‘better.'”
[Dialogue between Jubal Harshaw and Ben Caxton, [The Original Uncut] Stranger in a Strange Land (1991)

“Does history record any case in which the majority was right?”
The Notebooks of Lazarus Long (1978).

“If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for, but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong. If this is too blind for your taste, consult some well-meaning fool (there is always one around) and ask his advice. Then vote the other way. This enables you to be a good citizen (if such is your wish) without spending the enormous amount of time on it that truly intelligent exercise of franchise requires.”
Time Enough for Love (1973)

Duty

“Do not confuse ‘duty’ with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect.
“But there is no reward at all for doing what other people expect of you, and to do so is not merely difficult, but impossible. It is easier to deal with a footpad than it is with the leech who wants ‘just a few minutes of your time, please — this won’t take long.’
“Time is your total capital, and the minutes of your life are painfully few. If you allow yourself to fall into the vice of agreeing to such requests, they quickly snowball to the point where these parasites will use up 100 percent of your time — and squawk for more!
“So learn to say No — and to be rude about it when necessary.
“Otherwise you will not have time to carry out your duty, or to do your own work, and certainly no time for love and happiness. The termites will nibble away your life and leave none of it for you.
“(This rule does not mean that you must not do a favor for a friend, or even a stranger. But let the choice be yours. Don’t do it because it is ‘expected’ of you.)”
Time Enough for Love (1973)

Excellence versus Mediocrity

“Some people insist that ‘mediocre’ is better than ‘best.’ They delight in clipping wings because they themselves can’t fly. They despise brains because they have none.”
Have Space Suit—Will Travel (1958)

Excess

“Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks.”
Time Enough for Love (1973)

Experts

“Expertise in one field does not carry over into other fields. But experts often think so. The narrower their field of knowledge the more likely they are to think so.”
Time Enough for Love (1973)

Freedom

“Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything — you can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.”
If This Goes On (1940)

“Free will is a golden thread running through the frozen matrix of fixed events.”
The Rolling Stones (1952)

“I will accept the rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. ”
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1966)

Government

“I would say that my position is not too far from that of Ayn Rand’s; that I would like to see government reduced to no more than internal police and courts, external armed forces — with the other matters handled otherwise. I’m sick of the way the government sticks its nose into everything, now.”
(Interview, date unknown)

Human Beings (Humanity)

“If men were the automatons that behaviorists claim they are, the behaviorist psychologists could not have invented the amazing nonsense called ‘behaviorist psychology.'”
Time Enough for Love (1973)

Laws

“Every law that was ever written opened up a new way to graft.”
Red Planet (1949)

“My old man claimed that the more complicated the law the more opportunity for scoundrels.”
The Door Into Summer (1957)

“Nobody ever wins a lawsuit but the lawyers.”
The Door Into Summer (1957)

Learning

“Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn; when they do, which isn’t often, on their own, the hard way.”
Time Enough for Love (1973)

Life

“Life is short, but the years are long.”
Methuselah’s Children (1958)

Love

“Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)

Meaning

“No philosophy that he had ever heard or read gave any reasonable purpose for man’s existence, nor any rational clue to his proper conduct. Basking in the sunshine might be as good a thing to do with one’s life as any other — but it was not for him and he knew it, even if he could not define how he knew it.”
Methuselah’s Children (1958)

“A zygote is a gamete’s way of producing more gametes. This may be the purpose of the universe.”
Time Enough for Love (1973)

Patriotism

“Patriotism is not sentimental nonsense. Nor something dreamed up by demagogues. Patriotism is as necessary a part of man’s evolutionary equipment as are his eyes, as useful to the race as eyes are to the individual.”
Speech to the U.S. Naval Academy (1973)

Reason, Logic, and Thought

“When a fact came along, he junked theories that failed to match.”
Have Space Suit—Will Travel (1958)

“Logic is a feeble reed, friend. ‘Logic’ proved that airplanes can’t fly and that H-bombs won’t work and that stones don’t fall out of the sky. Logic is a way of saying that anything which didn’t happen yesterday won’t happen tomorrow.”
Glory Road (1963)

“Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal.”
Assignment in Eternity (1953)

“One can judge from experiment, or one can blindly accept authority. To the scientific mind, experimental proof is all important and theory is merely a convenience in description, to be junked when it no longer fits. To the academic mind, authority is everything and facts are junked when they do not fit theory laid down by authority.”
Life-Line (1939)

“The capacity of the human mind for swallowing nonsense and spewing it forth in violent and repressive action has never yet been plumbed.”
Revolt in 2100 (1953)

Science

“If it can’t be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion.”
Time Enough for Love (1973)

Strong Drink

“Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors — and miss.”
The Notebooks of Lazarus Long (1978).

Trust

“I don’t trust a man who talks about ethics when he is picking my pocket. But if he is acting in his own self-interest and says so, I have usually been able to work out some way to do business with him.”
Time Enough for Love (1973)