Thursday, October 31, 2013
The Discreet Charm of Bureaucrats
This is just too fun! The four minute video is priceless
The Quaint Beauty of Neon Rust
First; apologies for this site being dormant for so long. My interest in posting comes and goes and I never really look upon it as anything more than a minor hobby. I like noting my personal observations but realize there are other sites out there that can say the same stuff I'm saying and say it better than I'm saying it. My thoughts would probably be better stated as "tweets" though I don't "do" tweets (I'm happily an ex-Facebook guy).
I was going to write a lengthily essay regarding the absurd dishonesty so often used in describing the so-called Tea Parties. In a nut shell, it's ridiculous that a group of concerned citizens can take a stand against excessive taxation, regulation, and the growth of government without leftland falling back on their usual nonsense about "extremists," and "racists" -- yawn.
With a minute to spare, I did want to note a thought that came to mind as I rode toward the train station where I live in Japan.
It occured to me that, in the U.S. and Europe, aged, worn, and weathered buildings typically take on a quaint charm (the mood one may find in an Andrew Wyeth painting). I realized why that is so often not the case here in Japan. Outside of cities like Tokyo, most architecture and infrastructure is from the fifties to the seventies (for a variety of obvious reasons). Some moss on an art Deco warehouse can be quite beautiful. Rusty corrugated metal, not so much.
In my eyes, the issue boils down to simply knowing when to get rid of something, or at least make necessary improvements when warranted. In the U.S. and many other places, old and unsightly buildings are remodeled or torn down and rebuilt.
In the end, this is just another of the many reasons to view prosperity as a good thing. Cities and states languishing in subsistence and decline aren't good for anyone. A society that simply issues checks to bureaucrats and a thousand and one schemes eventually "runs out of other people's money," as Margaret Thatcher famously said. It can be added that exhausting wealth doesn't help the general aesthetic environment either.
Well wishes to all as we slouch toward world socialism.
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Iran and an American Foreign Policy of Incompetence
Greed, Selfishness, Capitalist Oppressors, and Mickey Mouse
I recently went to Tokyo Disneyland with my family. The last time I had been to one of Disney's theme parks was in Florida decades ago. I realize that Disney is ultimately a pop consumer institution so I had no expectation of being profoundly moved by deep issues or refined aesthetics. Disneyland doesn't claim to be an art museum or a crusader for "justice."
Many amongst the snob clique of leftland have a problem with large successful institutions of any kind. If a mob of lowly commoners are cheerfully consuming in a pop venue like Disneyland, all the worse in the anti-capitalist's eyes. Of course, failed state institutions are defended by them to no end.
It can be assumed that Disney, as a business, wants to make lots of money. What's seldom considered is, Iike all businesses, Disney chooses to do something specific to get that money. Of the billions of things it could have done to "get rich" it chose to entertain children and families, which implies that commerce in general is beyond a narrow label like, "greed."
After getting my money (the entrance fee), capitalist Tokyo Disney gave me a chance to leave corporatist Japan. Unlike most of Japan, the grass and landscaping was neatly trimmed, there were no rust-stained surfaces, and once indoors the temperatures were cool and comfortable (not the muggy stale air of Japan's government-recommended temperature of 28c). I could even easily find places to dispose of or recycle waste paper and plastic. In most of Japan, bureaucrats have determined that less waste will be produced if one has to lug around every gum wrapper rather than disposing of it immediately. Apparently carrying it around and trowing it away later saves the Earth or something. They charge for using approved trash bags at home -' wouldn't want the trash-o-crats coming up short in their yearly tax-funded bonuses.
Disneyland is a good case in point demonstrating how capitalism is ultimately not about capitalism. It's about a million and one things valued by a million and one individuals who daily choose some services, products, or ideals and choose to reject others. Disney appears to have no deliberate desire to comment upon any ism beyond liesure-ism (if there is such a thing). Capitalism's parasitic opposite, socialism, on the other hand, is stridently ideological, with smug proclamations as to what it is not ("greedy," and "selfish," etc.). Attractions at disneyland have nothing to do with "justice," "building a fair society," or anything else in the demagogue's bag of catch-phrase philosophy.
It just so happens that all the wonderful playful things one can experience in life are more easily attained in a system that doesn't feel compelled to impose an ideology.
Can one ever imagine a socialist state spontaneously producing what Disney has produced or, for that matter; movies, airplanes, or flush toilets. A committee would be formed and all politically correct considerations would be followed and we'd end up with just another boring bureau-scheme devoid of life and color. Later it would be closed as socialist autocrats determine their priorities of subsistence rationing and funding the security and propaganda apparatus.
Disneyland in Tokyo is amazingly successful,..in Europe, not so much. There are some in Europe (perhaps many) who view it as a vehicle for "cultural imperialism," which is actually a pretty dumb concept in the left's arsenal of nonsense. No one is forced to go to Disney and, unlike - say - Obamacare, no one is penalized for choosing not to use it. Do French kids really savor an afternoon at Sartreland or Derrida world?
I've said it many times on these pages; socialism is not only stale, conforming, inefficient, and often ruthless, it just plain isn't fun and when they see fun make it illegal -- "For the people" of course.
So, enjoy the voluntary pleasures of Micky Mouse and company. Let the corporation that perpetuates the fun continue to get rich, and let coffee shop intellectuals contemplate the horrors of fun, bourgeois inferiority, and their own pathological angst.