Thursday, May 26, 2005

Clueless in Maine

Solar Power Rocks. Unless you live in, say, the Northeast.
I went on to say that we need the governor to be more vocal and proactive about creating sustainable technologies development. Why can't we build windmills, solar systems, and rail systems for public transit, I asked?


Bruce. You live in Maine. Solar power is a non-starter there what, nine months out of the year?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Spotting the Losers: Seven Signs of Non-Competitive States

I thought everyone had read this. Guess not. Go thee forth and read this; it's essential reading for the 21st century.

The invisible hand of the market has become an informal but uncompromising lawgiver. Globalization demands conformity to the practices of the global leaders, especially to those of the United States. If you do not conform--or innovate--you lose. If you try to quit the game, you lose even more profoundly. The rules of international competition, whether in the economic, cultural, or conventional military fields, grow ever more homogeneous. No government can afford practices that retard development. Yet such practices are often so deeply embedded in tradition, custom, and belief that the state cannot jettison them. That which provides the greatest psychological comfort to members of foreign cultures is often that which renders them noncompetitive against America's explosive creativity--our self-reinforcing dynamism fostered by law, efficiency, openness, flexibility, market discipline, and social mobility.

Traditional indicators of noncompetitive performance still apply: corruption (the most seductive activity humans can consummate while clothed); the absence of sound, equitably enforced laws; civil strife; or government attempts to overmanage a national economy. As change has internationalized and accelerated, however, new predictive tools have emerged. They are as simple as they are fundamental, and they are rooted in culture. The greater the degree to which a state--or an entire civilization--succumbs to these "seven deadly sins" of collective behavior, the more likely that entity is to fail to progress or even to maintain its position in the struggle for a share of the world's wealth and power. Whether analyzing military capabilities, cultural viability, or economic potential, these seven factors offer a quick study of the likely performance of a state, region, or population group in the coming century.

The Seven Factors

These key "failure factors" are:

* Restrictions on the free flow of information.
* The subjugation of women.
* Inability to accept responsibility for individual or collective failure.
* The extended family or clan as the basic unit of social organization.
* Domination by a restrictive religion.
* A low valuation of education.
* Low prestige assigned to work.

More at
Spotting the Losers: Seven Signs of Non-Competitive States

Grumpy day in TJICistan?

TJIC posts about Greens, nukes and Extropians. A three-fer!

We will have the technology to get off this planet soon, you dirt-worshipping oil-burners, and when we go, we’ll have the tools to spread forests across the solar system. We’ll leave you this planet to destroy with your pathetic green visions.

Maybe after a few generations pass, we’ll come back and reintroduce your great-great-grandchildren to electric lights, medicine, mathematics, and language.


Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Productive vs. The Unproductive

The productive people who make progress possible are often painted as villains.

You say, "Williams, it would take an idiot to deny the human progress Americans made during the 20th century. What's your point?" The productive people who made this progress possible are often painted as villains. I'm talking about the innovators and the risk-takers, in a word -- entrepreneurs. Today's heroes are often seen as the people who attack entrepreneurs -- among them lawyers, politicians, media people, leftist organizations, college professors and others who often contribute little or nothing to human progress. My colleague, Thomas Sowell, calls the entrepreneurs, scientists and inventors the "doers" and their attackers the "talkers."

The next time we hear a talker attacking a doer, we just might ask: What have you done to further human progress?
The Productive vs. The Unproductive

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Best News I've heard all week

Best news that I've heard all week


CDI sent an intern to the Mike Griffin speech May 3. Most of it was not of interest to this list, with the exception of his mention of the need for NASA to continue to work with the military on hypersonic vehicles.

But this passage from our intern’s notes bothers me a wee bit. Perhaps I am paranoid, or just hate freedom. But…it whiffs a bit of empire building and doesn’t seem to bode well for future cooperation in civil space.

Clash of Civilizations in Space?

In 1,000 or 2,000 years Mike believes there will be more people in space than on earth. “We want their culture, their ideals, their thoughts to be those of Western civilization. Because for all of its flaws, the civilization we have evolved in Western society is the best we’ve seen so far in human history. I think it needs to be improved upon, but not replaced.”

If we are not the pre-eminent spacefaring nation [Western civilization] will not survive because the future for humankind is in space and not on earth."

Theresa Hitchens
Vice President, CDI
1779 Massachusetts Ave., NW
, DC 20036
tel: 202-797-5269
fax: 202-462-4559

I myself have no problem with a member of the administration taking the long view, or thinking highly of his own culture.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Sons of Martha

Kipling speaks to me. He knew his age, he knew his art and damned if he didn't know how to tell a story.

The Sons of Martha

THE Sons of Mary seldom bother, for they have inherited that good part;
But the Sons of Martha favour their Mother of the careful soul and the troubled heart.
And because she lost her temper once, and because she was rude to the Lord her Guest,
Her Sons must wait upon Mary's Sons, world without end, reprieve, or rest.

It is their care in all the ages to take the buffet and cushion the shock.
It is their care that the gear engages; it is their care that the switches lock.
It is their care that the wheels run truly; it is their care to embark and entrain,
Tally, transport, and deliver duly the Sons of Mary by land and main.

They say to mountains ``Be ye removèd.'' They say to the lesser floods ``Be dry.''
Under their rods are the rocks reprovèd---they are not afraid of that which is high.
Then do the hill-tops shake to the summit---then is the bed of the deep laid bare,
That the Sons of Mary may overcome it, pleasantly sleeping and unaware.

They finger Death at their gloves' end where they piece and repiece the living wires.
He rears against the gates they tend: they feed him hungry behind their fires.
Early at dawn, ere men see clear, they stumble into his terrible stall,
And hale him forth like a haltered steer, and goad and turn him till evenfall.

To these from birth is Belief forbidden; from these till death is Relief afar.
They are concerned with matters hidden---under the earthline their altars are---
The secret fountains to follow up, waters withdrawn to restore to the mouth,
And gather the floods as in a cup, and pour them again at a city's drouth.

They do not preach that their God will rouse them a little before the nuts work loose.
They do not preach that His Pity allows them to drop their job when they damn-well choose.
As in the thronged and the lighted ways, so in the dark and the desert they stand,
Wary and watchful all their days that their brethren's ways may be long in the land.

Raise ye the stone or cleave the wood to make a path more fair or flat;
Lo, it is black already with the blood some Son of Martha spilled for that!
Not as a ladder from earth to Heaven, not as a witness to any creed,
But simple service simply given to his own kind in their common need.

And the Sons of Mary smile and are blessèd---they know the Angels are on their side.
They know in them is the Grace confessèd, and for them are the Mercies multiplied.
They sit at the feet---they hear the Word---they see how truly the Promise runs.
They have cast their burden upon the Lord, and---the Lord He lays it on Martha's Sons!