GIVE TIL IT HURTS

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Good. And. HARD

Reading these next two maddening stories, I’m more convinced than ever that no one has ever understood democracy as thoroughly as did HL Mencken. First up, a little Maui Wowie.

After President Joe Biden traveled to Maui and all-too-typically cited his own personal history in order to comfort the grieving residents of the island, where at least 115 people have been declared dead from the fire that engulfed the town of Lahaina, he was blasted on social media for his colossal insensitivity.

“Hearing you talk about your house that had a little fire, you ‘almost lost your house and your Corvette,’ there were children that were incinerated to ash, you f***king old man, you vile human being,” one man said in a viral video.

“You’re so out of touch with the common man, you don’t even know how to speak to them,” he continued. “The only way you think you can establish commonality with them is to lie, ‘The same thing happened to you no matter what the tragedy is.’ He referenced Biden attempting to commiserate with Gold Star Moms who lost their son in action by citing his son Beau’s death from brain cancer: “Your son wasn’t killed in action, by the way,” adding furiously, “Your house didn’t burn down. Your children weren’t burned to death.”

“How dare you get up there and speak this way?” he snapped. “Your job is to go there and assuage them in a way that you talk to them about their loss, that you can’t imagine what it’s like, that you can’t imagine what it’s like never to find the bodies of the poor children who were sent home from schools. They died alone! Alone. In fear. Without their parents or guardian. The most abhorrent thing happened. You’re a disgusting, despicable bastard.”

“You ‘almost lost your cat?’ Go f*** yourself,” he concluded.

Yeah, I’d say SOMEbody ought to go fuck themselves for sure and certain. I’m just not entirely sure it shouldn’t be the whole goddamned kit and kaboodle of them. Lots of other Twitter X rips on the soulless, senile old fraud included with the article—all of them coming from the overwhelmingly liberal populace of a West Pacific island chain that “voted” for none other than Pedo Jaux Buyem in 2020 by well over 63 percent, and has reliably pulled the lever for D卐M☭CRATs in every “election” since said islands inexplicably became a state.

Not that the guy’s wrong in anything he says about Buyem, mind, be he the typical Islander shitlib or no. Hey, there’s bound to be three or four Hawaiians who ain’t, right?

In our next example of getting exactly what you voted for, and richly deserving it, the “good people” of Oakland are declaring themselves fed up too.

Sick and Tired in Oakland
The city’s NAACP chapter calls out its political leaders to do something about an “intolerable public safety crisis.”

On July 27, the Oakland NAACP published a scathing letter decrying the city’s failure to keep its vulnerable communities safe from persistent violence from high-risk offenders.

“Oakland residents are sick and tired of our intolerable public safety crisis that overwhelmingly impacts minority communities,” the letter begins. “There is nothing compassionate or progressive about allowing criminal behavior to fester and rob Oakland residents of their basic rights to public safety. It is not racist or unkind to want to be safe from crime.”

The NAACP called on Oakland to declare a “state of emergency” due to the untamed spiral of crime. “Murders, shootings, violent armed robberies, home invasions, car break-ins, sideshows, and highway shootouts have become a pervasive fixture of life in Oakland,” the letter warns.

Indeed, much of the crime data support the NAACP’s portrayal of disenfranchised and increasingly endangered Oakland residents. The most recent week’s Oakland Police Department statistics show that violent crimes have risen (year to date, compared with last year) by 18 percent, while overall crime is up 28 percent. The recent trend represents a major reversal from a few years earlier. Between 2012 and 2018, the city reduced gun violence by 50 percent, aided by its Oakland Ceasefire program, which implemented strategies such as “focused enforcement” involving the highest-risk individuals. In the first two years following the George Floyd uprisings, however, homicides rose 17.6 percent.

Oakland has seen radical shifts in its police department in recent years. The department is down 100 officers, according to Councilman Noel Gallo, though the NAACP states in its letter that various experts view the department as short as many as 500 officers from optimal levels. (The force’s current size is 734 officers).

Uh HUH. SO, how’s that “defund the police” bushwa you demanded not so long ago working out for ya then, idiots? From where I sit, it looks to be working out exactly as the more intelligent among us said it would from the start—and then got denounced by you as RAYCISS!!!!™ for having the outrageous temerity to say so right out loud.

I gravely doubt if a single man Jack of these maleducated ignoramii—whether they’re breathing through their mouths in Hawaii, Kalifornia, Chicago, or NYC—has even the vaguest clue who HL Mencken was, but they could all benefit from boning up on him. Because being the irascible, curmudgeonly visionary he was, he foresaw every bit of this horseshit long, long ago.

Civilization, in fact, grows more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary. Wars are no longer waged by the will of superior men, capable of judging dispassionately and intelligently the causes behind them and the effects flowing out of them. The are now begun by first throwing a mob into a panic; they are ended only when it has spent its ferine fury.

As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule—and both commonly succeed, and are right.

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.

Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of Jackals by Jackasses.

Liberty and democracy are eternal enemies, and every one knows it who has ever given any sober reflection to the matter.

Democracy turns upon and devours itself. Universal suffrage, in theory the palladium of our liberties, becomes the assurance of our slavery. And that slavery will grow more and more abject and ignoble as the differential birth rate, the deliberate encouragement of mendicancy and the failure of popular education produce a larger and larger mass of prehensile half-wits, and so make the demagogues more and more secure.

An honest, reasonably intelligent soul might wish to try argue that he’s incorrect about any of that, but I can’t for the life of me see how he’d go about it without beclowning himself spectacularly in the doing of it.

Working as intended update! Joe Mannix makes an excellent point.

As the details about the disastrous Maui fire continue to unfold, many people are left wondering how the hell a foul-up this spectacular is possible. How did everything go so wrong at every level of the response? Why did Maui have to wait for water authorization? Why were the emergency sirens not activated? Why was traffic allegedly blocked from leaving on the only good road out? Assuming that all of what we’ve heard is true, how did so much go wrong?

I think that the sad conclusion is that, in reality, nothing went wrong. Not officially. Everyone likely followed every guideline, rule, regulation and requirement. Procedural compliance was probably quite good. What apparently nobody did, however, was the single most important thing: think. The environment in which they operate has been designed to eliminate the need to think and ensure compliance instead.

The purpose of the rules laid down in such great volume for so long a time is to obviate thinking. You don’t need to think if there’s a rule to cover whatever it is you need to do. Follow the rules, comply with the procedures, adhere to the regulations and you will achieve your goal or at least be shielded from any poor consequences. Nobody is to blame, because the rules were followed. The rules are there to act as a substitute for thinking. Robotic adherence to the rules – and striving to have a rule for all things – is awfully bad in situations that even slightly deviate from the context envisioned by the rulemakers.

Juat another of the many wonderful attributes of kakistocratic bureaucracy run amok. For certain values of the word “wonderful,” that is.

6 thoughts on “Good. And. HARD

  1. How did everything go so wrong at every level of the response?

    Right answer, it didn’t. Wrong conclusion though. It wasn’t some innocent rule and procedure following problem.

    They burnt it on purpose. And like all commies, the death toll is a feature not a bug.

    1. I would tend to agree that some Climate Activists were Arsonists.

      But they counted on the dynamics above to make it worse.

      Also though, the corruption was also a factor. Why didn’t the sirens go off? Because most were cheap and bought from a crony and didn’t work and the money had been pocketed long ago?

      One more thing. Why was there is a barricade across the best road to get out? Who put it there and why? I think that was also deliberate on the part of the people who set the fires in the first place.

      But many people DID turn back. As Insty noted, one couple drove around it and got to safety. The ones who turned back, and that was most, perished.
      I know in more Red areas, people would have simply moved the barricade and proceeded to safety. When faced with a choice of “break the rule” or “head back into a raging inferno” how did so many choose the latter?

      1. It seems clear, to me at least, that many of those people stopped at the barricade because they thought conditions in that direction were worse – why else would anyone put up a barricade?

        Those people were sacrificed, murdered. The reasons are probably several. But murdered they were.

  2. The purpose of the rules laid down in such great volume for so long a time is to obviate thinking. You don’t need to think if there’s a rule to cover whatever it is you need to do. Follow the rules, comply with the procedures, adhere to the regulations and you will achieve your goal or at least be shielded from any poor consequences. Nobody is to blame, because the rules were followed. The rules are there to act as a substitute for thinking. Robotic adherence to the rules – and striving to have a rule for all things – is awfully bad in situations that even slightly deviate from the context envisioned by the rulemakers.

    I worked for a meritocratic Investment Bank that was finding it difficult in the era of Megabanks to compete because we were constantly constrained by Capital. We did know how to husband and deploy capital wisely and had the knowledge and resources to compete for a while. Until the government started constraining us. Eventually we got sold to a Megabank.

    Soon after, the truth to that paragraph cited above rang out. In an IB it is a meritocracy with a framework of rules. Individuals made most of the decisions and responsibility for husbanding capital was hierarchical. An individual trader may have a 50 Million limit to deploy as they saw fit. Above that, a more senior trader had to approve. Make a profit and stay within your parameters and you could Get Paid. Sometimes Bigly. You could move up. Take a big loss (every trader takes small losses) and get docked. Don’t Get Paid. If you bent through the parameters or were trying to hide losses through mismarking your positions, it could be worse, to the point of being let go or shifted to some other position with less “upside”.

    Banks, on the other hand, were regulated by the Fed and Treasury and EVERYTHING was rules based. No one made a decision by themselves. There was no upside as there was no meritocracy. It was all predetermined paths and pay amounts. In a Megabank there was no Individual decisions and no individual responsibility. But of course, there was still a profit needed to be shown at the Collective level.

    And there you had it. No one take the risk to sign off on anything until everyone had done so, and no one wanted to be the first. But if there were hundreds of rules and you just followed them rotely then the computer would spit out a “all rules were followed by everyone” certification and everyone could sign off assured that everyone else signed off. Because the computer said it was ok.

    What happens when the Collective has a CYA for the Collective and no Individual Downside, but also has no Individual Upside? Dull minds start working there. Minds so dull that they tend to simply follow whatever trend had seemed profitable before. That is what happened. The best minds started heading for their own Hedge Funds and the large banks had a brain drain. But even the IBs had faltered by then and became the same as the Megabanks. Like Lehman.

    Hence why all the banks except Goldman and JPM had launched headlong into Real Estate and Mortgage Bonds and CMOs and CLOs with RE backing and then Derivatives on all of this and never stopped to think about the downside.

    It’s not quite as simple as that, but it should help people see how the 2006-2009 Financial Crisis came about.

    The computers said that RE was “safe” because it had been safe for 20 years. Plus, the Country had never had a Nationwide RE price drop. Just local ones. So just “diversify”.

    Some Hedge Fund guys figured out that the “thought” process behind the computers results pouring out ignored the fact that never before had the whole Financial System been so broadly dominated by a small group of Nationwide Financial Behemoths all engaged in the same trade and driving prices to Bubble Levels never before seen either.
    Those Individuals mad e a LOT of money for themselves and their organizations.

    1. Enlightening.

      These days, most of the financial sector are made up of mindless drones IMO. It wasn’t like that when I started out after school. Even at the low end business level the people you spoke with didn’t follow a set “program”. They spoke with you to find out what they needed to know to make judgments and let you know what data they needed to look at.

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