Guaranteed income

 

Swiss proposed bill for guaranteed income

I’m actually in favor of this. It’s a pretty big improvement on a network of programs you have to qualify for and which have to be administered by bureaucrats. It’s also a lot more fair, because it goes out to everybody, whether they need it or not. The big mistake here is that they’re shooting too high for an initial program. A monthly income of $2600 is just a couple of kilocreds more than the Swiss median income, which means the proposal will shock people into opposing it who might be interested in supporting it at a lower dollar amount. Why not start with a guaranteed income of $50?

In the US, of course there are other complications. No not socialism. We’ve already got that, with the earned income tax credit, and the standard income deduction. I mean, federalism, what little there is left of it. It’s bad enough having a personal relationship with our savior the IRS, in which they giveth and taketh away, and nobody can say to them, “what have you done”. At least most everybody knows the tax man is scary: He can garnish your wages, put liens on your property, and freeze your bank account (abolish the 16th amendment!). What happens to poor federalism when Uncle Sam starts moving in from his avuncular role and starts applying for custody? Do the kids want him? Well, yes. He gives them candy. But where does he get the candy? Well, he steals it from the states.

I’d like to see a rudimentary guaranteed income. It’s an interesting idea. But let’s have a city try it, a county; maybe a state. The fed doesn’t have to adopt us for everything, does it?

Adding to the Cacophony

Apparently #NeverTrump is the new Ross Perot: preemptive scapegoat in case the Democratic Party wins. Let’s be serious for a minute. Say there are 300k political Puritans who are so heavily invested in liberty that they couldn’t vote vote for Trump if he picked Calvin Coolidge for his running mate. (Actually don’t say it. If Coolidge could run with Trump, I could vote for him.) Three hundred thousand is less than one tenth of a percent of the population, and less than the margin of error of any election in living memory. So what?

It’s always been my pleasure to be a member of an elite minority, and frankly, I doubt there are that many highbrow sons of Liberty among us. But even if there were 3 million of us, that’s hardly all the fish in the sea. If Trump fails, it will be because he was a poor and unpersuasive candidate, like every political failure before him.

If you think Trump should win the election, kindly make arguments in his favor, or at least help me to distinguish positively between him and the candidate to his immediate political left. It’s really tedious to hear you blame me because I’m still waiting to be impressed.

If Trumpublicanism is so wonderful, what it needs is momentum, not a movement to circle the wagons. Even now he pivots left. By all means pivot with him. Help him build the momentum he needs to beat the dreaded enemy. I will stay over here, quietly being a wet blanket. It’s really not helpful to attack the blanket; that’s not the direction your presumptive leader wants to go.

To add to the cacophony of metaphors, #NeverTrump is now a very tempting tar baby. It’s not going anywhere; you’re not going to change its mind; and it can really gum up your program. The fact that there is a tar baby at the right end of the political spectrum is not much of a narrative. Picking a fight with the tar baby – now that will make a story. It may be the story the tar baby wants to tell, but it really isn’t the story that will win an election.

If you actually want Trump to win, help him woo the middle. If you don’t like to see him flirting with the middle, come sit down next to me and this tar baby.

Oh for Hands That I Might Draw

Coming home from work, just down the street from my own church, is a little Disciples of Christ church with a single word on it’s marquee: “Indeed.”  Now, of course, we just passed Easter, so that is the final word of the famous Easter greeting:
“Christ is risen.”
“He is risen indeed.”
Probably what happened is that they had the full phrase up on Easter morning, and that since then either wind or hands have taken down all the other letters.  But it occurs to me that, in the right context, one word is enough.  Is Christ risen?  Emphatically: “Indeed.”
Now, if if I had hands that could draw, this would be the time.  Otherwise I can only wish for a T-shirt: One large image in a line-art style, of the empty tomb, dust still rising from a cracked and fallen Stone. Below, in bold letters, just the word: “INDEED.”  If any clarification is needed, the image could be on the back, with two lines of text on the front, above the heart: “Christ is risen./ He is risen”
I know I have friends that can draw…. ?

Love vs. Comradeship

Both sides are essential to life; and both are known in differing degrees to everybody of every age or sex. But very broadly speaking it may still be said that women stand for the dignity of love and men for the dignity of comradeship. I mean that the institution would hardly be expected if the males of the tribe did not mount guard over it. The affections in which women excel have so much more authority and intensity that pure comradeship would be washed away if it were not rallied and guarded in clubs, corps, colleges, banquets and regiments. Most of us have heard the voice in which the hostess tells her husband not to sit too long over the cigars. It is the dreadful voice of Love, seeking to destroy Comradeship.

– GK Chesterton, What’s Wrong With The World 

CS Lewis says similar things, but I think he uses friendship instead of comradeship, to oppose to romantic love.

None of that sort on our side.

Today I found this passage strangely comforting:

They looked suspiciously at Caspian, but in the end the eldest of them said, “If he is against Miraz, we’ll have him for King.” And the next oldest said, “Shall we go farther for you, up to the crags? There’s an Ogre or two and a Hag that we could introduce to you, up there.”

“Certainly not,” said Caspian.

“I should think not, indeed,” said Trufflehunter.  “We want none of that sort on our side.” Nikabrik disagreed with this, but Trumpkin and the Badger overruled him…

“We should not have Aslan for friend if we brought in that rabble,” said Trufflehunter as they came away from the cave of the Black Dwarfs.

“Oh, Aslan!” said Trumpkin, cheerily but contemptuously. “What matters much more is that you wouldn’t have me.”

“Do you believe in Aslan?” said Caspian to Nikabrik.

“I’ll believe in anyone or anything,” said Nikabrik, “that’ll batter these cursed Telmarine barbarians to pieces or drive them out of Narnia.  Anyone or anything, Aslan, or the White Witch, do you understand?”

“Silence, silence,” said Trufflehunter. “You do not know what you are saying.  She was a worse enemy than Miraz and all his race.”

“Not to Dwarfs, she wasn’t,” said Nikabrik.

It occurs to me that Nikabrik is very… angry.

Tempest in a Saucepan

We have a few pots in the house, from our wedding gifts, from the brand Calphalon, which I understand is something of a snooty piece of cookware.  But all I can think of whenever I see that label, is poor Prospero, and how badly he fared at the hands of the Bureau of Sabotage.  But then I remember that it’s all right, because at least Captain Kirk got away, even if the doctor didn’t.

Transcendental Man

The only logical cure for all this is the assertion of a human ideal. In dealing with this, I will try to be as little transcendental as is consistent with reason; it is enough to say that unless we have some doctrine of a divine man, all abuses may be excused, since evolution may turn them into uses. It will be easy for the scientific plutocrat to maintain that humanity will adapt itself to any conditions which we now consider evil. The old tyrants invoked the past; the new tyrants will invoke the future evolution has produced the snail and the owl; evolution can produce a workman who wants no more space than a snail, and no more light than an owl. The employer need not mind sending a Kaffir to work underground; he will soon become an underground animal, like a mole. He need not mind sending a diver to hold his breath in the deep seas; he will soon be a deep-sea animal. Men need not trouble to alter conditions, conditions will so soon alter men. The head can be beaten small enough to fit the hat. Do not knock the fetters off the slave; knock the slave until he forgets the fetters. To all this plausible modern argument for oppression, the only adequate answer is, that there is a permanent human ideal that must not be either confused or destroyed. The most important man on earth is the perfect man who is not there. The Christian religion has specially uttered the ultimate sanity of Man, says Scripture, who shall judge the incarnate and human truth. Our lives and laws are not judged by divine superiority, but simply by human perfection. It is man, says Aristotle, who is the measure. It is the Son of Man, says Scripture, who shall judge the quick and the dead.

GK Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World

Unpractical man

There is no such thing as backing a winner; for he cannot be a winner when he is backed. There is no such thing as fighting on the winning side; one fights to find out which is the winning side. …. A man who thinks much about success must be the drowsiest sentimentalist; for he must be always looking back. If he only likes victory he must always come late for the battle. For the man of action there is nothing but idealism.

GK Chesterton, What’s Wrong With the World