Tuesday, August 28, 2018

President Trump and the Caine Mutiny

A parallel between art and reality...

I came across the ending of "The Caine Mutiny" the other day, and it got me thinking.
If you haven't seen that movie, I highly recommend it. Not only is it a masterful performance by Humphrey Bogart, but also includes powerful performances by many others -- including a decidedly unlikable Fred MacMurray playing a character quite different from those he usually played.
In the movie, Bogart plays Captain Queeg, a very strict, by-the-book Navy officer newly assigned to command the Navy destroyer, Caine. Queeg is off-put by his perceived lack of discipline enforced by the ship's previous captain, and sets out to return the crew to higher standards.
Unfortunately, Queeg has a few personality quirks, an unconventional command style, was potentially promoted above his capabilities... and perhaps has some minor psychological instabilities.
Instead of offering guidance/advice and supporting their captain, Queeg's senior officers resist and undermine his every effort to command the ship. These actions exacerbate Queeg's quirks and instabilities. This causes his officers to resist more, further irritating Queeg -- a typical positive feedback loop. Eventually, Queeg's instabilities become full-blown, leading the crew to mutiny in order to remove Queeg from command.
At the eventual court martial trial for mutiny, the officers are eventually acquitted when the court sees Queeg's personality quirks in person. The officers, however, are severely chastised, saying that their actions to undermine the Captain are indirectly responsible for Queeg's breakdown, and that they could have potentially prevented these events by being more supportive and less combative.
I can't help but draw comparisons to today's political environment. Both Captain Queeg and President Trump have certain personality quirks, as well as an unconventional command style.  Both entered their offices with a desire to change the way things were done.  And one could say that both were potentially promoted above their talents. (Note that I am not making any claims that the President has any latent psychological instabilities.) While the Presidency doesn't represent the same sort of command structure as a Naval warship, I still see parallels between Queeg's senior officers' behavior, and the way that President Trump is being treated by the Congress as well as the media. Every effort -- no matter how innocuous -- is questioned and undermined. But instead of offering guidance and advice, politicians and the media do their damnedest to mock and resist the President, creating more and more hostility. In turn, this seems to further exacerbate President Trump's quirks.
Note that I am neither supporting or opposing President Trump in this analysis, simply knocking a few random thoughts around inside my head. But I see the senior leadership in Congress, as well as most in the media, continually undermining and mocking him, instead of offering guidance/support, or even constructive criticism. And for those who think that President Trump DOES have some latent psychological instabilities, do they think that this continual mocking and undermining will be helpful?

Thursday, June 28, 2018

I'm Surrounded by Assholes

In the world of politics, there is something called O'Sullivan's First Law of Politics (sometimes called Robert Conquest's Second Law of Politics, but I can't recall which one came first). I don't want to get diverted into discussing those, so I won't delve any deeper (perhaps another day)*.
Instead, I'd like to propose a variation of these laws based on what I've been observing on various on-line forums.

Clausen's First Law of Web Forums: Any internet web forum not explicitly oriented towards intelligence and decency will, over time, become overrun by ignorant assholes.

I've had to leave multiple web forums over the last year or so because some members insisted on behaving poorly, preferring insults and abuse to discussion. The most recent of which was the Nextdoor.com neighborhood social media site.
Because I had the audacity to post a message requesting folks to be considerate on their use of fireworks on quiet Sunday evenings (in fact just about EVERY stinking evening since 2-3 weeks ago sounds like a war zone late into the evening), I was heckled and insulted by some of the members -- referring to me as unpatriotic, whiney, and (if you can you believe it) communist. That I don't understand what our military defends (my 23 years in the Air Force didn't sway them, either). They claim that it's their right to shoot off fireworks in celebration, and if I don't like it, I should move to some communist country.
Of course, I have no desire to subject myself to that sort of abuse, so I deleted all my posts and closed my account. With these sorts of forums, there is no way to block people, and no way to control membership so that such behavior can be mitigated. As more people like me get sick of this crap, they too, will depart. Soon, all of Nextdoor.com will be populated by nothing but ignorant assholes.

* Others have written extensively on these ideas; I doubt I can improve on them.  A few examples are:

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Welcome to the Potential Crime Division...

What is the purpose of a law?

 On its surface, seems pretty simple question, but think about it for a bit...

Most people might say something like “To prevent crime.” And most people would be dead wrong.

Let me put this as simply as possible:


Oh, sure, I know there are lawmakers out there who think what they're doing will prevent crimes, but that couldn't be further from the truth.  “But Mark,” you say, “we have all sorts of laws meant to prevent crime! For a simple example, we have speed limits on our roads to keep people from speeding.”

Seriously? A law on a books and a sign on the road keeps people from speeding? Have you been out on any roads, lately? No, it is the threat of sanctions from the state or local government (in the way of fines and points) that deters people from speeding. There isn't a speeding law on the books that can prevent a driver from exceeding the posted speed limit at any time or location of his choosing.

What if a police officer sees you driving down the road while singing. Or sees that you have only one hand on the wheel, with the other hand resting on the window frame.   Or thinks that the speed you are going is not safe for that particular road (in spite of being exactly at the posted limit).  And then decides to ticket you for poor driving practices. Of course, you would take that to traffic court, and get it dismissed because there are no laws on the books prohibiting those practices.

Thus, laws do not serve to prevent crime, but merely provide the framework for a government to legally sanction a person for a behavior deemed harmful to society. More importantly, with or without the law, a person can act in a certain way, but only with the law can he be sanctioned.  This basic principle protects us from arbitrary punishment by our government.

Again (this is important): Laws ONLY serve to provide a framework for a government to legally sanction someone who has behaved in a way society has deemed to be harmful.  Laws cannot eliminate that behavior.

So let's take this one step further. Let's say in an effort to prevent speeding, we pass a law prohibiting ownership of cars with engines over 350 horsepower starting next week. Cars like the Dodge Viper, with a 650 HP engine and a top speed of over 200 MPH, is clearly a car capable of violating all known posted speed limits. And at those speeds, one could cause great harm to a large number of people.

Owning such a car that you legally bought and owned last week would suddenly give the government legal framework on which to levy sanctions against you next week. But how is ownership of a particular car – even a powerful car like the Viper – harmful to society? Society is only put in harm's way if the driver behaves in a manner that is dangerous to other drivers.

Punishment for Potential Crimes

To me this is an abominable abuse of the purpose of a law – to penalize law-abiding citizens for what someone else MIGHT do with a particular possession. This is worse than punishment by the Pre-Crime division in “Minority Report” (see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0181689/) – this is punishment for Potential Crime. To turn a law-abiding citizen into a criminal by outlawing a particular item simply by the stroke of a pen is a horrible thought – it makes me cringe to even think about it.

And consider this: Just because a Corvette can speed really fast doesn't mean that people NEED a Corvette to speed really fast. Although cars like the Corvette, Dodge Viper, etc., are capable of really high speeds, most speeding is done in cars that most of us drive every day – from compacts, to station wagons, to mini-vans, to SUVs. And speeding in these “every day” cars is just as deadly to those around you.

By now, you probably know where I'm going with this, so I won't belabor the point.

So, consider the following issues:

How is such a law enforceable? How DOES the government decide who has a prohibited object? The only way to actually enforce these laws is through house-to-house searches for banned items (a clear violation of the 4th Amendment) or by the owner of such objects to voluntarily give them up and face penalties (a clear violation of the 5th Amendment).

The law-abiding owners of said objects will probably turn them over (or not, thus becoming criminals). However, those intent on doing harm most certainly NOT turn them over. Thus, the ban is effective only on those who wouldn't misuse them in the first place.

How do you ban easily-fabricated items? While a car is fairly complex, it is still within the capabilities of a typical back-yard mechanic to modify a standard car into something far more powerful. A firearm is far less complex than a car – a modestly-equipped shop can easily fabricate the sorts of items that the subject of the current hue and cry going on in the media. These technologies are many decades old – even more than a century old. That genie is not going back into the bottle.

Most importantly, there's the slippery slope to consider. Not not in reference to expanding the scope of bans to include more cars (or more firearms), but to the idea that governments can make any arbitrary item or action illegal because someone has deemed it potentially harmful to society if misused. If the government can make a particular car or gun illegal out of “concern for the safety of society,” then what else can they ban? Home storage of more than 5 gallons of gasoline? Metal-working machines that can be used to fabricate other weapons? Fertilizer that can be used to manufacture bombs? Fireworks and pressure-cookers? The precedent such actions set worries me immensely.

Yes, there's a problem in the US. And it needs to be fixed. But it has to be done rationally, dispassionately, and logically.  Most of all, solutions have to address the root causes of the problem, not a symptom.  Highly-charged emotions only create bad laws that reduce the freedoms held by all of the citizenry.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Why I don't want Mike Rowe to be President

I have a confession to make...  

Anybody who's read even a few of my FB posts will know that I like Mike Rowe... a lot. Aside from being a genuinely likable guy, he's been involved in some of the best TV to grace the airwaves (cablewaves?):
- "Dirty Jobs"
- "Somebody’s Gotta’ Do It"
- The newly-released FB program, "Returning the Favor"
He's also been recording an excellent series of short pod-casts, and frequently pens humorous essays on his FB page (https://www.facebook.com/TheRealMikeRowe/).
More importantly, he's been spearheading efforts to close the ever-increasing deficit of skilled tradesmen (and women, of course) needed to keep a civilized society civilized, functioning, and growing. His organization, mikeroweworks.com (I encourage you to check it out), has already raised and distributed many millions of dollars to provide trade school scholarships to deserving folks.
In an internet world filled with vile insults and crass, vulgar, insensitive, and mean-spirited “discourse,” Mike speaks / writes with eloquence, good humor, civility, common sense, and a self-effacing wit that is a breath of fresh air.
With all this going for him, it’s not surprising that a significant number of his fans repeatedly call for Mike to run for President. Admittedly, having someone of Mike’s intelligence, wit, and (most of all) humility in the Oval Office is very appealing.
I don’t want Mike Rowe to be President. And those calling for this are seriously misguided for several reasons:
While Mike is really good at what he does, there’s no expectation that he’d succeed as leader of the executive branch of the government. I suspect, given his intelligence, common sense, and likable nature, that he’d probably be better than some, but there are no guarantees. (One item in Mike’s favor is his great humility -- he most certainly knows and admits how much he doesn’t know and would assemble a team of expert advisers who would give him the necessary guidance.)
No, we need Mike where he is -- addressing (quite successfully) a single, but very important issue facing this country.
We can’t expect one person to fix all the problems we are facing -- We don't need ONE Mike Rowe in the White House, we need THOUSANDS MORE Mikes in the private sector or at the state and local levels, each with some unique set of characteristics and skills needed to tackle and solve a singular piece of the many thousands of problems we are facing.
And that leads to the most important reason I don’t want Mike Rowe to be President. All of those clamoring for him (or anyone else for that matter) to run seem to have the same faulty mind-set of what the President (and the Federal government, in general) can and (more importantly) should do.
First of all, it’s a serious mistake to think that our behemoth Federal government can somehow work if only we can get the “right guy” in charge. That one man can be in charge of a huge bureaucratic juggernaut that claims to be able to run the lives of 320,000,000 US citizens. This is the distorted thinking of all too many Presidential hopefuls and their supporters.
Second, the President is only the head of one of three co-equal branches of government. As the head of the Executive Branch, the President can only impact the execution of laws and the operation of existing agencies. He has no power to affect any new laws (other than either signing or vetoing those new laws passed by Congress). For any Presidential candidate to claim he will fix all our woes is either ignorant of our Constitution or is deliberately misleading the voters (of which too many are also ignorant of our Constitution).
But this leads to a singular issue: How do we find MORE Mike Rowes? How do we change the faulty mind-set of people who think that we just need to get the "right" person in the White House in order to make our lives better?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Laws and Respectability

I have several go-to sources from which I receive much of the motivations for my philosophies.  One of these is a legal writer from the early- to mid-1800s, Frederick Batstiat.  His most famous work, "The Law" contains a wide variety of interesting discussions on the role of government and the law.  In this treatise, he wrote:

No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law. These two evils are of equal consequence, and it would be difficult for a person to choose between them.

A while back, I wrote about a new FAA regulation requiring model airplane enthusiasts to register radio controlled aircraft above a weight of 250 grams or 8.8 ounces:  http://thoughtfulcynic.blogspot.com/2015/12/government-logic.html 

The logic of this regulation can best be summed up as:

Recently, I've returned to flying model aircraft (a hobby I gave up in the late 1980's when other, more pressing activities were clamoring for my attention).  In the last couple of years, I've built a small fleet of model aircraft built from dollar store foam-board and colored packing tape (including the one pictured above on the right).


While these models weigh a couple of pounds, this weight is spread over a rather large area.  There could be no possible harm to anything or anyone caused by impacting one of these models.  Further, model aviation enthusiasts have been operating safely for as long as there has been aviation.   Over all probably 90+ decades of model aviation, I've only heard of 2 fatalities due to model aircraft.  One of these was a death of the pilot when he was flying a radio controlled helicopter too close to himself and the blades caught him in the neck, the other was freak accident when a child was struck by an out of control aircraft. Heck, just as many children have been killed in cities by falling goats:


So, what does this have to do with the world in general?

Let's go back to the most critical part of Mr. Bastiat's earlier quote:

The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable.

This FAA law/regulation is far from respectable -- it is contemptible. I am torn between an innate desire to follow the law, and a compulsion to reject such a despicable and contemptible government overreach that goes against my moral sense.   Ultimately, I caved on this, and registered with the FAA, fearing what the Government might try to do to me if I failed to follow their demands.

And this makes me angry... angry that I have to ask permission from Big Brother to engage in a harmless hobby, angry that I gave in, angry that I had to make the trade between my moral compass and the law.

Most of all, I am angry that I have to fear the government of a country I love, and have spent my entire career working in the defense of.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

You keep using that word....

In the utterly enjoyable and wholly remarkable  film, "The Princess Bride," Mandy Patinkin's character says (in response to a questionably-used word),

(If you haven't seen it...  run, do not walk to your
nearest video supply source and watch it!)

And so it goes with liberals.  Seeing so many discussions of what constitutes basic rights.... as in "Healthcare is a basic human right."

Rights...  they keep using that word, but it doesn't mean what they think it means.  Let's look back at the most basic list of rights:  The Bill of Rights.  Although most of my readers don't need reminders, I'll summarize them here for newcomers:

Amendment I:  Freedom of Religion, freedom of speech, peaceable assembly, petition the government.
Amendment II:  To keep and bear arms
Amendment III:  The government will not quarter soldiers in your home.
Amendment IV:  To be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, searches/seizures must be approved by law.
Amendment V:  To be free from self-incrimination, people cannot be tried twice for one crime, due process of law, to keep one's private property.
Amendment VI:  A speedy and public trial by impartial jury, to be confront accusers and witnesses against oneself, to have legal representation.
Amendment VII:  Common law cases in excess of some amount will be guaranteed a jury trial. 
Amendment VIII:  No excessive bail or cruel and unusual punishments.
Amendment IX:  Rights outlined in the constitution shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment X:  Powers not delegated to the Federal Government or prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Looking at most of these, you see that these are rights that already exist for all people, and are not provided by the government.  In other words, every person in the country has these things -- the Constitution simply says that government cannot make any laws that might limit them.  The only possible exception is in the Sixth Amendment, where it says that the government must provide a speedy trial -- but even this is a limitation on how long the government may keep one in legal limbo while awaiting a trial.

Nowhere do you see a "right" granted to the citizens of this country that must be physically provided to someone.  The government CANNOT give us freedom of speech, nor can they give us any of the other rights outlined above -- they simply exist.  Think of it this way:  The police and justice system in our country cannot make people obey the law, they can only take action against those who break it. They cannot keep someone from speeding through a school zone, but they can certainly punish those who do.  In much the same way, the government can only address those who might deprive the citizenry of their rights -- they cannot provide them.

How does a government "provide" freedom of speech and freedom of religion?  How does a government provide the freedom to keep and bear arms?  How does a government provide private property rights?  Very simply, it can't -- it can only take action against those who might restrict those rights.

So now we get to the crux of the matter.  I've seen all to often about things like food, housing, medical care being basic rights.  I'll agree up to a point -- all should be able to pursue those things... and if we decide as a matter of decency that we might wish to help those who (for whatever reason) cannot successfully obtain them, that's one thing.  But they are NOT rights that all citizens are entitled to.  When I exercise my right to free speech, I am not depriving anyone else of their rights.

But when the liberal philosophy of things like healthcare "rights" is exercised,  the government must forcibly take from one party in order to provide it to the other that is claiming that right.  Sorry, but that doesn't sound anything like the rights outlined in the Bill of Rights.*

Rights?  You keep using that word, but I don't think it means what you think it means.


* As a side thought, let's look at the Ninth Amendment.  In full, it reads:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

In other words, rights outlined in the Constitution CANNOT be exercised in such a way to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people.  So, if my liberal friends insist that healthcare is a basic right (under the oft-abused "general wealfare" clause), I'll point right back to the Ninth Amendment. You cannot have someone exercise a claim to health care when that violates my Fifth Amendment rights that keep the government from confiscating my private property without just compensation.  

Monday, December 14, 2015

Government "Logic..."

(and yes, those are sneer quotes, to borrow a phrase from the esteemed seneschal of the Bastion of Liberty)

Today, the FAA released its model airplane registration policy.  In part:
If you own a drone, you must register it with the Federal Aviation Administration's Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) registry. A federal law effective December 21, 2015 requires unmanned aircraft registration, and you are subject to civil and criminal penalties if you do not register.
 Failure to register an aircraft may result in regulatory and criminal sanctions. The FAA may assess civil penalties up to $27,500. Criminal penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.
All owners of small UAS weighing more than 250 grams (0.55 lbs.) and less than 55 lbs. must register using this new system
Initial registration fee is $5.  You will be required to renew every three years and you must pay a $5 renewal fee.
When operating your UAS you must be able to present the certificate in either print or electronic format if asked for proof of registration.

In other words:

Perfect Example of What is Wrong with the President's Policies

As reported by various news organizations:

To try to allay Americans' concerns about the growing domestic and global terror threat posed by the Islamic State (ISIS), President Obama this week will visit the Pentagon and the National Counterterrorism Center, where he is expected to further explain his plan to stop the extremist group. 

This is a perfect demonstration of just how fundamentally wrong this president is.  He shouldn't be going to the Pentagon to talk about his plan to stop ISIS...  He should be going to the Pentagon to hear THEIR plan for stopping ISIS.  The President is an unfathomably vain and narcissistic person who knows only how to do is tell people what he thinks should be done and has not the slightest inclination to listen to the thoughts and opinions of anyone else.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

How to denigrate with class...

Earlier this week, Fox News handed out a 2 week suspension to one its contributors.  Lt Col Ralph Peters, angry about the President's non-response to terror attacks in the US, labeled the President "a total pussy."


Personally, I've heard worse things said on the air under the guise of prime time "entertainment." But Fox News probably had to bow to the inevitable pressure that it would get from the rest of the news and entertainment industry (not to mention the heavy hand of the Obama administration's FCC) and handed out a punishment.

Two days later, Fox News analyst Brit Hume used the term "milksop" to describe the President.  Like the Fox anchor, I was not immediately familiar with the term -- although I could make some guesses based on its context.

Looking it up, I was delighted to find these synonyms for the word:

Milksop:   weakling, coward, wimp (informal), jessie (Scottish, slang), pussy (slang, mainly US), sissy, namby-pamby, wuss (slang), chinless wonder (British, informal), dastard (archaic) •  You are a coward and a milksop.

Well played, Brit...  well played.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Why Are Urbanites Generally Liberal?

In my younger years, I used to wonder why so many people in the cities tended to be liberal; and people in rural areas tended towards conservative.  With a few more decades under my belt -- as well as having lived in and/or visited a variety of environments -- I think I have a pretty good understanding of the reasons.

Sure, I know why city liberals THINK they're liberal...  Their reasoning is that people who are more educated go to the cities because that's where "important" and "high tech" work is done.  Certainly, anyone who is more educated HAS to be liberal.  While we uneducated country bumpkins aren't smart enough to know better.

There may be a grain of truth to this reasoning -- if you replace "educated" with "indoctrinated."  That said, I survived my college indoctrination relatively unscathed, although I did have a brief flirtation with some liberal principles (mostly due to a lady I was dating through some of my college years).  

Though I am probably what most city liberals would call a redneck country bumpkin, I'll put my degrees and career experience up against their any day*.  And many of my rural brethren are equally educated -- try to be a farmer, today, without a firm understanding of agricultural science and business/economics.   And those who don't have the college experience have a great deal of common sense and wisdom, as well as various skills in productive trades and businesses.

In reality, however, the biggest difference between the city elites and denizens of "flyover country" is that urbanites don't actually have to DO anything themselves.  Every one of the necessities of life is provided to them.  They don't have to grow/hunt their own food, get their own water, produce their own power, keep themselves warm, get rid of garbage, take care of sanitation, or any of the other functions that are required to sustain life.  One small hiccough in the power grid, food source, or any other bit of their support infrastructure, and they are totally lost.  Whereas those of us in the rural environment are used to doing much of this for ourselves.  Sure, we get electricity from the power grid, have propane or oil delivered for heat, go to the grocery stores for food, etc.; but we are just as capable of getting these things ourselves if something goes wrong with the infrastructure.

I think you get the picture, but here's a classic example to make my point:

In the winter of  '96-97 (if I recall correctly), there was a big east coast ice storm.  Power lines were down over a wide area of northern Virginia, Maryland, and the DC suburbs.  I was amazed at watching news coverage of how people in DC and Baltimore metro areas were incapable of coping.  Not only did they have no way to keep warm, they couldn't figure out how to keep their food cold --  IN WINTER! City officials eventually had trucks delivering dry ice to neighborhoods for people to put in their refrigerators... (repeat, IN WINTER!!!).  

Those few that had generators had to continuously be reminded not to run generators in their house or garage.  Still, there were a few deaths and injuries from carbon monoxide poisoning, and a few fires from people using fireplaces that hadn't been serviced in many years or kerosene heaters that were not used right.  People were burning any bit of wood they had in order to keep warm.

During these (and similar weather-related outages) we "country bumpkins," on the other hand, can start a fire in the woodstove, properly operate a generator, make use of stored water/food, make use of a garden, or even hunt for fresh meat.  During my tenure in "flyover" country, I've had to endure several periods where electricity was out for many days.  No problem -- almost enjoyable, even -- like camping with all the luxuries of home.

Because urbanites are used to government taking care of their every need, they see that as the logical way that the world should work -- and they will vote to continue and even expand the status quo.

But I'm not here to put down city folks -- to each his own.  I see, and even somewhat understand the appeal of city life.  The flash, the amenities, the social life, etc., are attractive to some folks.  Live and let live, I say.

Unfortunately, however, those in the city don't feel the same way.  Because they don't understand how to DO things, they tend to make policies based on the notion that most people don't know how to DO things.  Here's a perfect example:

On the late show with Stephen Colbert, he made the following comment regarding the recent shootings:

”Why is so easy to buy bullets when I have to show three forms of ID to buy Sudafed?”
To a city person, this seems perfectly reasonable.  After all, because he doesn't know how a firearm works, how to load ammunition, or even the difference between bullets and ammunition, he assumes that the only way to get ammunition is to get it from a store (after all, that's where he and all his elitist comrades get all their stuff).  And because he's never purchased a firearm or ammunition, he has no idea what is required.  (And I'm sure he hasn't bought his own Sudafed, either -- I haven't needed 3 forms of ID to do so.  I do have to prove I'm of age to buy ammunition, however -- although at my age, a simple glance is all that's needed.)  But we'll take his comment at face value for now.

Were I (or most of my fellow rural residents) to answer his rhetorical question, the answer would be, "Because Sudafed is difficult to produce on your own, while ammunition is quite easy."

Restricting the purchase of ammunition will only impact those who are already incapable of doing things themselves.  If someone is going to make the effort to carry out a terrorist attack, I'm quite sure they'll be able to produce there own ammunition just as easily as the pipe bombs they are making.

Again, I would normally say live and let live.  But these small pockets of high population densities tend to overwhelm the desires of the rest of their respective states.  Take Virginia, for example:  Without exception, usually 2 or 3 counties (in the Washington, DC metro area, and around Richmond) vote Democrat, while the rest of the counties vote Republican.  Due to the large (and growing) liberal populations in the few areas, however, their desires rule the state.  Over the last few years, I've seen Virginia acquire Democratic senators and a governor (Terry McAuliffe if you can believe it), with 3 counties carrying the state in the last 2 presidential elections -- contributing to the election of President Obama.

Unfortunately, I see this trend continuing here in Virginia, as well as other formerly "red" states. Many former Maryland residents are flocking to the DC Virginia suburb and carrying their liberal practices with them (strangely enough, Marylanders recently voted in their second Republican governor in almost 50 years).  Colorado is another example.  Generally conservative (and hugely independent)  folks, mass migrations from California to the Denver and Boulder metro areas are changing the face of Colorado politics.  Californians, in a desire to escape the world they created, are emigrating to Colorado, but turning it into the very place they were trying to escape.

I wish I had an answer to solve this.  Unfortunately, I don't -- my only hope at this point is to try keep as far away from urban areas as possible.  And as much as it pains me to consider another move (after far too many moves during my active duty AF years), I am looking for places to escape from the growing liberalization of my current state.


*  Not that this would do much good.  Recently, I spent a very long evening discussing climate change with a bunch of young, recently-graduated liberal arts majors (in the area of English and Literature). As a point of reference, I am a degreed meteorologist with >30 years experience in the following areas:

  • Operational weather forecasting
  • Weather satellite data processing for numerical weather prediction
  • Software development and implementation for optical, IR, and microwave radiative transfer analysis
  • Computer modeling and simulation
  • Solar/terrestrial interaction and effects on terrestrial weather
  • Climate modeling under a NASA program I worked on for a few years
Yet, these liberal arts folks refused to accept any of my points and assertions (complete with published journal references), instead relying only on the information with which they were indoctrinated (very little of which they understood in the first place).  Needless to say, the discussion proved fruitless....