Dirty Fields

One of the fastest ways to earn the ire of your neighbors, if you are a farmer or live in farming country, is to have trashy fields. Neglected, weedy patches, uneven rows, equipment left untended or just scattered around the farm-yard… People will look sideways at you, and they will talk. Continue reading

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Corruption of Blood?

Good morning, Instapundit readers! Thank you for visiting. 

The talk floating around once more of the United States taxpayers paying reparations to the descendants of enslaved Africans and African-Americans raises an interesting question. Does this fall afoul of the Constitutional protection against “corruption of blood?”

Article Three, section 3, reads “The congress shall have power to declare punishment for Treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of  blood or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.” In modern English, children and other relatives are not guilty of the crime of treason if they did not actively participate in it, and their assets cannot be taken except during the life of the convicted. Corruption of blood in the 1700s meant that the family of the convicted were no longer permitted to inherit, and so the entire estate forfeited to the crown. Continue reading

The Little Problem of Logistics

I suppose by now almost everyone has heard or, or read about, the “Green New Deal” first proposed by Rep. Occasio-Cortez and endorsed by other up-and-coming (or hopeful) members of the Democrat Party in the US. The basic idea is that within ten years, or perhaps twenty but ten is preferable, the US will have completely retooled its economy to use nothing but renewable “green” energy, all buildings will be energy-efficient, and no carbon will be produced. All internal combustion vehicles will be replaced by green, zero-emission ones. And even if people do not care to participate in the labor required, they will still be paid.

That summary alone is enough to make a sci-fi writer weep in her ginger beer. Orson Scott Card proposed that each story is permitted one large piece of handwavium (or balognium as he put it), and then the rest of the technology or magic has to make sense. There’s far too much handwavium in the Green New Deal for my comfort. Continue reading

Sneaking up on Thirty Years

1989. Thirty years ago.

I really, really have trouble accepting that thirty years have passed since Tiananmen Square, Hungary opening its border with Austria, the Berlin Wall opening, Vaclav Havel and the Czechoslovaks peacefully ousting the Communists, and the Romanians not-so-peacefully ousting Ceausescu.

I do remember being absolutely stunned and feeling the entire world reel. Because the very thought of Germany not being divided, of people able to pass easily through Berlin… It wasn’t possible. There had always been a Warsaw Pact and an Iron Curtain, and there always would be. Because that’s just how the world was. Continue reading

High Trust Coffee

The university coffee shop sells beans, bagged snacks, and cups as well as the usual high-test brews and baked goods. When the shop closes, the displays of nibbles and cups stays out. No one messes with it, no one fingers the goods, unless it is to read the back of the bean-bag for description and then put it back. Because that’s just how it is. The student union is a high-trust environment. And no one wants to mess that up, so the students police themselves. Yes, there are cameras, and security on occasion, and it’s never smart to leave something valuable laying out to tempt the weak (or the gods of spilled liquids), but while I was there all day, no one bothered things that didn’t belong to them. Continue reading

The Sins (?) of Our Fathers

“Mark Twain was racist!”

“Robert Heinlein was sexist!”

“Jane Austin supported the patriarchy!”

“Dickens was a … he’s just boring.”

If all you read of Dickens is Bleak House or Ye Old Curiosity Shop then I’ll grant the last one. But otherwise, demands that people not read certain books because they do not meet the standards of the last five minutes serves as an example of the painful presentism of the modern censors and regulators of moral purity. Continue reading