Even Architectural Criticism Must Follow The Correct Political Narrative

Even Architectural Criticism Must Follow The Correct Political Narrative

This past Sunday I joined the good people from Maggie’s Farm on their annual “Urban Hike” in New York City. This year they rounded up a group of about 13. The hike started at the Museum of Natural History (80th Street and Central Park West — near the geographical center of Manhattan Island) and proceeded uptown on a meandering path of about 9 miles, stopping at sites that included things like Pomander Walk, Straus Park (Leo Straus was the founder of Macy’s who died on the Titanic), and Columbia University. The weather was chilly with persistent rain. Toward the end of the hike, at about 155th Street, we had just stood on Edgecomb Avenue at the top of the bluff overlooking the spot where once had stood the Polo Grounds (actually a baseball stadium that was the original home of the Mets, and before them the New York Giants baseball team), and we turned the corner, and suddenly this: . . .

Several gasps and “Oh my God”s erupted spontaneously. I heard the words “Darth Vader building” uttered behind me. Whatever this black block might be, there had been no mention of it in the hike itinerary that had been provided to us; and yet this building was clearly the dominant presence in the neighborhood. Viewing it from the street, its function was not obvious. Had this thing been dropped in by space aliens? What could it possibly be, and why was it here? . . .

Read More

Can Anybody Around Here Admit Out Loud That The Federal Government Cannot Fix Every Human Problem With Another New Program?

When you get right down to it, the fundamental fallacy of the progressive movement is the idea that the central government can fix every human problem by just creating some new programs and spending some new money. And the most important theme of this blog is showing by a thousand examples how that effort always fails.

That’s why one of my favorite recent posts is the one of the past November 23, titled “The Idea That Just Won’t Die: The Right Federal Program Can Solve Any Human Problem.” Key quote:

Take a some of our very brightest thinkers. Send them to some top Ivy League or equivalent schools to get the very best educations. Then turn them loose into the policy arena, full of moral righteousness and energy and a burning passion to fix the world. And what will emerge? Remarkably, in every case you can find, what will emerge will be the exact same thing: a proposal for some new government “program” and spending that supposedly will fix whatever problem the particular guru may focus on at the moment.

That particular post focused on federal job training programs. Federal job training programs are perhaps the very best illustration of the fallacy that some new federal program and spending could possibly be the solution to a human problem at hand, since by now there are around 50 of them, all of which continue to fail utterly. Yet despite that incredible track record, every time a government official or policy wonk looks at an issue of job lay-offs or high unemployment, the proposed solution is always another federal job training program. The failure of the previous 50 or so of them is never mentioned. That would just be too impolite. Nor does anyone ever suggest cutting back, much less eliminating any of the 50 failures. That’s just not how this game is played. Instead, one more program is added, and this one is really, really going to work this time. . . .

Read More

Over In The Congress, It's The "Hoax Of The Day" Every Day

Over In The Congress, It's The "Hoax Of The Day" Every Day

If you have read my April 1 “April Fools Day Hoax Roundup” — and maybe even before you had read that piece — it may have started to dawn on you that an absolute majority of what you see in the news media these days is in furtherance of one or another of the current wave of big hoaxes. The hoaxes covered just in that one short piece included the Trump/Russia Collusion Hoax, the Climate Change Hoax, the Hate Crime Hoaxes (multiple examples including Jussie Smollett), and the Poverty Hoax.

For today, forget the news media and let’s take a look at the Congress. Do they even talk about anything over there any more that isn’t a hoax? To all appearances, it seems like they just move back and forth between and among one of the hoaxes and another on a kind of “hoax of the day” rotation. Lately the big ones have been the Trump/Russia Collusion Hoax and the Climate Change Hoax.

Yesterday it was all “Trump/Russia Collusion,” with Senators grilling William Barr about nothing whatsoever. Today, it is the Climate Change Hoax, as the House has just voted on something called the “Climate Action Now Act.” According to Climate Home News, the bill has passed on a party-line vote of 231-190. The bill had 224 Democratic sponsors, but not a single Republican. (It won’t go anywhere in the Senate, of course.) By its terms, this Act would compel the U.S. to meet its “commitments” under the Paris Climate agreement of 2015.

As I stated in the April Fools Day post, I am not contending that the whole idea that “the climate is changing” is a hoax. But multiple aspects of the endless climate change drumbeat are obvious hoaxes, including as examples the heavily tampered hockey-stick-shaped surface temperature record, as well as the assertion that “extreme weather events” are on the increase. Now add to those another aspect of the climate change narrative that is a clear hoax, namely the assertion that the United States can somehow “do something” about climate change by restricting its own production and use of fossil fuels and/or by driving up the prices of those fuels — those being the central goals of the Paris agreement. And then there is the other part of the Paris agreement that would require developed countries, principally the United States, to transfer some $100 billion or so annually to corrupt third-world kleptocracies as some kind of climate justice payment. How exactly is that wealth transfer going to “do something” about climate change?

The luminaries in our House of Representatives seem not to be noticing that nobody else in the world (other than a few complete fools in the EU) is paying the slightest attention to this Paris agreement emissions reduction thing. . . .

Read More

Sense And Nonsense In Dealing With Russia

With the Mueller Report now out, and having concluded that nothing remotely akin to “collusion” between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia could be found, you would think that every prominent Democrat would only want to change the subject as quickly as possible. But weirdly, the Trump/Russia obsession persists even in the face of the Mueller Report.

Many examples could be cited, but one of the weirdest is the op-ed by Hillary Clinton published in the Washington Post on Wednesday, headlined “Mueller documented a serious crime against all Americans. Here’s how to respond.” The gist is that Trump is somehow allowing Russian President Putin to continue to attack our country, and probably to steal the upcoming 2020 election. Excerpts:

[T]he president of the United States has proved himself unwilling to defend our nation from a clear and present danger. . . . This is . . . an administration that refuses to take even the most minimal, common-sense steps to prevent future attacks and counter ongoing threats to our nation. . . . [U]nless he’s held accountable, the president may show even more disregard for the laws of the land and the obligations of his office. He will likely redouble his efforts to advance Putin’s agenda . . . .

“Redouble his efforts to advance Putin’s agenda”? It’s hard even to conceive of the level of nonsense to which this woman has descended — along with many of her Democratic colleagues who are advocating the same or similar themes.

If you try taking a look at the big picture with regard to Russia, it will take you only a moment or two to figure out that far and away the most important thing to Russia for advancing its interests in the world is high prices for oil and gas. . . .

Read More

Get Ready For The Democratic "Pragmatists"

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed with the headline “Are All Democrats Socialist? Don’t Believe the Hype.” The authors are Gregg Hurwitz and Jordan Peterson. I hadn’t previously heard of Hurwitz (he is identified as the author of a series of “thriller novels”); but Peterson is the guy who has shot to great fame in recent years as a YouTube star who advocates for leading a life of personal responsibility and hard work as the route to success. From what I had previously seen of Peterson, I had been quite impressed. With this op-ed, he just sank about 7 notches out of 10 in my estimation.

The central assertion of the op-ed is that the “social media warriors” and explicit advocates of socialism, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, who might seem to be the current stars of the Democratic Party, are not actually “representative” of its views. Rather, we should look to the views of those Democrats, here characterized as “quieter pragmatists,” who won the Congressional seats gained by the party in the last election. Among the 2020 candidates for President, our authors state that “voters would do well” to look to the “passionate moderate voices” ascending in the party. Like who? They name two: Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar.

Are any of the Democratic candidates, and most particularly Buttigieg and Klobuchar, fairly characterized as “pragmatists” or “moderates”? . . .

Read More

Mayor de Blasio Sets Out To Accelerate New York City's Decline

When Bill de Blasio took office as the new Mayor of New York City back in 2014, many on the right looked at his policy prescriptions and predicted the rapid reversal of the City’s economic revival, potentially followed by rapid economic collapse. But not me! As I had originally written in this post of April 16, 2013, the consequence of bad — even disastrous — economic policy is not immediate economic collapse, but rather what I called “gradual relative decline.” That post looked particularly at Venezuela, then 15 years into the rule of Hugo Chavez, and far into the process of adopting over-the-top socialist policies that a Comsymp NYC Mayor could only dream about — everything from nationalization of most of the economy, to doubling the size of the state sector, to government deficit of 15% of GDP, and so forth. And yet, in its official (fraudulent) statistics, Venezuela was still showing economic growth, just not as fast as the growth in countries that allowed private enterprise to flourish.

But could de Blasio, through the magic of destructive progressive policies, actually turn New York City around from the strong growth that it was experiencing when he took office, and bring back the decline of the 1960s through 1993? . . .

Read More