Morning Ed: Society {2016.08.17.W}

No! Not the Hawks! Please. Never, ever the Hawks.

Steven Horwitz writes of the fragility of children… a hundred years ago.

That time when Ray Bradbury was lectured that he didn’t understand his own book, and five other misunderstood books.

Cracked looks at suicide in the Age of Twitter.

Peter Schellhase discusses the conservative vision of Hayao Miyazaki.

John McWhorter argues that we need to start accepting a paradigm-shift in writing, that people are going to start writing more how they speak.

Ever want to know what A Wrinkle in Time would look like in map form?

Harold Bloom takes on The Weight. It’s definitely one of those songs that has stood the test of time.

Robert Greene II looks at Tom Clancy and the techno-thrillers, and what they say about their audiences.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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81 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Society {2016.08.17.W}

  1. The Horowitz essay was not convincing. Child labor was an important part of capitalism for most of its history. Families that stayed on the farm still used children to work and nearly all that moved beyond farm work sent their kids to work in the mines, factories, and other places of important at young ages. It took a social movement and the force of law to get children out of the workforce and into school for a big part of their life.

    The essay on Miyazaki was also not terribly persuasive. It was basically taking Miyazaki’s ideas and calling them really conservative and not liberal because conservatives like good things and liberals do not. See real conservatives like peace and its liberals that did the Iraq War and because conservatives are more puritanical about sex, the lack of fan service in Miyazaki makes him a conservative never mind what is going around at Fox or all those cheerleaders at sporting events or Hooters.

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    • Another way of looking at the Miyazaki essay is that it says “I like Miyazaki and what he says to say but I hate liberalism. Therefore, I will transform Miyazaki’s liberalism into conservatism so I can continue to enjoy Miyazaki without feeling ideologically conflicted or having to admit that liberals might have point, which they do not.” Its pure sophistry.

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    • Well sure Miyazaki was conservative in some ways. He regretted the decline of rural pastoral Japan as seen through his minds eye with a golden haze-a stance about as conservative as one can get. He was very assuredly liberal in other ways though; his feminism, his pacifism, his view of children.

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      • Cosigning with my brother. Not all forms of leftism value urban civilization even if most do. The environmental movement had a strong anti-urban bias along with other aspects of the Counter-Culture. In many anti-colonial movements, the city was identified with capitalism and Western imported vice while the good like was in the country. Early Labour Zionism wanted to create a new blood and muscle Jew in the country. Miyazaki’s earning for simple and rural pastoral Japan is in line with a decent part of leftism.

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    • Child labor was an important part of capitalism for most of its history.

      That’s technically true, but profoundly misleading in its specificity. Child labor is an important part of any socioeconomic system below a certain level of per-capita income, because people poor enough that it makes economic sense, and may even be absolutely necessary, to have children working. An important accomplishment of capitalism was creating enough wealth that it no longer made economic sense for the vast majority of people to have their children working, at which point it was rare enough that Roosevelt could step in and take credit for abolishing it.

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    • When I saw Mononoke, it blew my mind that the industrialist was portrayed sympathetically. Strictly speaking, that’s not so much conservative as non-New-Left, but simply by portraying industry as something that has benefits for all people, rather than the something done solely for the personal benefit of a cartoonish, cigar-chomping capitalist pig, it went far above the bar set by the childish, knee-jerk leftism I had come to expect from Hollywood.

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  2. The one about Harold Bloom and “The Weight” goes to a site talking about how Portlandians are tired of those southerners, also know as Californians, are upping housing prices.

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      • Yes, it does — however I don’t think anyone is disputing that Aetna is actually losing money on the exchange. It’s just a question of whether they continue to support it anyway. Ordinarily businesses will shed unprofitable product lines unless they see other benefits not directly related to the profits — one possible benefit for Aetna is a more favorable regulatory environment.

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        • Depends on the product line. Lots of companies eat losses on new products launched while they figure out efficiencies and pricing. Anthem broke even on their policies and expect to make a profit this year. So it’s not impossible to make money on them, especially since the deficit for Aetna is between 3-5%.

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          • Well, it may or may not be a good business decision to continue — that will depend on the business and also the specific region. It seemed like you were suggesting that absent the merger negotiation, Aetna wouldn’t be dropping those products, so I was pushing back and saying that it could actually be the opposite. But maybe I read that into your comment.

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      • Droping out may be a tactic for Aetna but there were recently other insurers that did the same. No one said It was a tactic on their part. It seems to me calling it a tactic is cover for not acknowledging the larger isseues with Obamacare.

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        • Blue Cross told Dick Durbin that it is considering leaving the Illinois market because it’s losing money. Link I doubt that has anything to do with profits or mergers. It may have to do with putting pressure on state regulators to approve hefty premium increases later this month.

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        • No one said it was a tactic, except for Aetna’s own CEO in a letter to the DOJ.

          Specifically, if the DOJ sues to enjoin the transaction, we will immediately take action to reduce our 2017 exchange footprint

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        • Some of the insurers (not Aetna) that dropped out of portions of my state summarized their position (and I’m paraphrasing here) as “At the price we need to charge to keep our provider network in those areas happy and earn the profit we want, consistent with the claims history, no one buys our policies.” The translation, when you looked at a map, was “Health insurance is not profitable in rural areas.” In some states, Aetna also is only withdrawing from the rural areas. This is an ongoing — as in for decades — problem. Programs designed for urban/suburban populations and settings work very poorly in many rural settings. I anticipate that eventually InMD’s long list of no-one-would-design-it-this-way programs will be augmented with Medicare Part R (for rural).

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          • The thing I heard on NPR last night was that the penalty for non-participation is, in some markets, small enough that they can’t get sufficient healthy person buy-in to keep things in the black.

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          • Except the first county not to offer insurance on the exchange is a fast-growing suburban county in the Phoenix Metropolitan Statistical Area with a commuting population. The primary issue probably has to do with insurance on the exchanges being sold on a county-basis, instead of based upon the underlying healthcare provider market areas. There is a major hospital in Pinal County, but it is affiliated with a large Phoenix-based provider. Why can’t a resident of Pinal County buy an individual policy on the exchange for Phoenix?

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      • Turns out that one of the markets they’re leaving is PA, where they turned a healthy profit last year. And expected to turn another this year.

        Then again, it’s high finance really. Those guys are making CDO’s out of the sub-prime car market right now, which seems exactly like what they did to the sub-prime mortgage market that melted the world economy, but apparently THIS time it’s different, so what the heck to do I know.

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        • That’s interesting. But they’re not pulling out of all state exchanges — if this is supposed to be a smoking gun that they’re just trying to exert leverage, why are they not pulling out of the four remaining states?

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          • I dunno. Why pull out of profitable, Democratic PA and not…whatever other states they’re left in?

            I’m not Aetna. I’m certainly not, as noted, a high-finance guy who thinks sub-prime car loans is a GREAT IDEA. I’m just wondering why they’re pulling out of a state they made a healthy profit in, ostensibly because they weren’t making a profit.

            All I DO know is that while lots of people, the Democratic party not least among them, thinks there’s a lot to do to fix the ACA, the only thing that’s been done is about 60 votes to repeal it.

            As someone with…three family members who can now get insurance who couldn’t previously, I find that…distasteful.

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  3. I agree with Lee re: Miyazaki. Miyazaki is basically a center-left Social Democrat. The author can’t admit he likes a lefty so he needs to perform revisionist mental gymnastics to be able to like Miyazaki. This should be encouraged.

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      • They actually have a lot of options. Its just that much right-leaning art tends to come in the form of very high culture and is inaccessible to most people like Chesterton’s stories or the Futurists or is very ham-fisted like the Left Behind books.

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          • That isn’t our fault. Lots of liberals and certainly everybody on the Further Left finds the liberalism/leftism in most entertainment to be very cynical. I actually think it reflects something of the real beliefs of many writers but also remember that the key word in show business is business. Hollywood will do what it takes to make money. From the 1930s to 1950s, this meant a generic sort of light Anglo-Protestant small town conservatism. Now it means vaguely liberal values with action and fan service.

            Conservative leaning folks are capable of turning out and certainly will not have a problem finding money to make their projects real. They just need a will to do so. Maybe if they didn’t insult people who go to college to study literature and the humanities so much they would have an easier time at it.

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            • I think people underestimate the role that ideology and personnel rather than business plays in things (ie the same dynamics that assume white and assume male also assume vague to determined liberalism). I think there are a lot of causes, but I do think that the instrument of change is going to need to be from the right.

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              • “I think people underestimate the role that ideology and personnel rather than business plays in things…”

                Ideology is business, too; if you can make more money playing to the left than you’ll lose by alienating the right, then going hard left is a winner strategy.

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            • Maybe if they didn’t insult people who go to college to study literature and the humanities so much they would have an easier time at it.

              This is a weird statement given that many, many conservatives (particularly Social Conservatives) are hugely pro-Liberal Arts – I’d say probably more so than a garden variety liberal.

              What constitutes Liberal Arts, or what is a “good” liberal art is a different discussion. But Liberal Arts as a concept is not a Liberal vs. Conservative thing.

              The “Anti Liberal Arts” segment (if there really is one) is the technocratic axis that crosses both factions.

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              • There are many more Republican politicians that try to get political capital for bashing things like studying philosophy in college more than Democratic candidates. While there is a strong appreciation for the liberal arts among some conservatives, it doesn’t seem to trickle down to the ordinary conservative politicians who seem to like to bash intellectualism whenever possible.

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              • This, along with the idea that many, left and right, are looking at art from another culture and trying to place it in the modern American political context. For points and feels I guess. There are points in his art that could be taken as conservative, and points that could be taken as liberal. I know this as there are people on both sides of the political aisle that have take away’s from him. I would put his art in the same bucket as Murakami’s, in that it is good enough that there is no set point of politics in it, just humanness. In other words, you can read what you want into it, just as others can.

                But culture war! (This is why we can’t have nice things)

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          • Not exactly. I know someone with Celiacs and, although it was a learning curve regarding food you could eat (reading labels, etc.) there was pretty decent food…if you avoided what you needed to. Now, trying to have good pasta and bread using the ingredients at the time was a challenge, but we muddled through by trial and error. Nowadays the packaged foods is much better gluten wise, but I consider that a different issue.

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            • I chose CD 15 years ago because I knew someone that had it and it was rather hard. That changed around 8-10 years ago, but a situation where you’re starting with “What can I eat” rather than “what do I need to avoid?”

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              • Well, my step mother was diagnosed between 86-91. And I remember her not even being able to drink a beer it was so bad. She spent hours reading labels and avoiding food that had gluten in it…it was/is everywhere.

                That being said there were still a lot of food options. The severity was limited to stuff naturally with gluten in it and processed foods. But I know where you’re coming from.

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      • A surprising number of celebrity chefs are deeply, deeply conservative.

        Gordon Ramsay? Trump supporter.
        Rachel Ray? Trump supporter.
        Wolfgang Puck? Trump supporter.
        Emeril Lagasse? Trump supporter.

        Interestingly enough, Kerry Simon and Paul Prudhomme are both voting for Clinton.

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    • I think you mean that revisionist mental gymnastics should be discouraged not encouraged.

      I’m not sure if your exactly right about Miyazaki’s politics either. I think they are a bit woollier than center-left Social Democracy. What Miyazaki seems to be is an apolitical leftist. Sure he believes in feminism, pacifism, and many other center left values but he like many other leftist do not seem to place much value in the political process like a typical Social Democrat would. Based on Miyazaki’s movies, he seems to think that the best way to achieve the ideal goals is for sensible people to lead by example. The few people involved with formal politics in Miyazaki’s movies are well-intentioned but misguided at best and actively evil at worse.

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  4. The greatest trick Clancy ever pulled was convincing people that his Trekian technobabble was accurate (it’s not). I did like his books though up to Debt of Honor.

    Red October was lightning in a bottle. In addition to the discussion in the article’s comments about the war gaming origins, it’s worth looking into the larger ecosystem created at the time by Clancy, Larry Bond, Steven Coontz, and (now almost wholely forgotten) Payne Harrison.

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    • I’m surprised about that too. I’d never heard that global warming could cause spontaneous combustion. Now we know, in at least this case, that it didn’t. Whew!

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      • Western states have never lacked for spontaneous summer-time ignition sources — dry lightning, for example. What climate warming appears to have done is changed the available fuel load for the worse. Millions of acres of beetle-killed timber. Changes in which plants grow best that favor some that are more flammable. Hadley cells have gotten wider since 1979 and have created drier conditions on average (independent of precipitation).

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    • C.f. the apocryphal pre-Revolutionary farmer who retreated into his cellar with his musket and had to be talked out by calmer heads – “What were you so afraid of?” “The Stamp Act.”

      There are things out there that are worthy of being scared of, but you have to understand them, and take appropriate actions in response.

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