EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second of a recurring (and likely irregular) series of quick-hits. Because, not everything needs a thousand words. Thanks for reading!

Eco-Whiteness

I’ve been seeing some buzz lately about how the green movement is so white, minorities are abandoning it. I’d like to think this is a rational response, given that the policies being advocated will do the greatest harm to poor brown, black, and yellow people who live far away from the first-world, six-figure, college-educated types at the fore of eco-scolding. I suspect, however, that this is more about identity politics than anything else.

Still, I consider it a good development. The Green movement, in its current form, would wreak destruction and misery upon the world. It has evolved into a luxury belief, held by people who won’t suffer any real loss of living standard should it be realized as they wish. The brilliant Thomas Sowell sums it up well:

Activism is a way for useless people to feel important, even if the consequences of their activism are counterproductive for those they claim to be helping and damaging to the fabric of society as a whole.

Since it is fun to corner people into playing by their own rules, perhaps we might challenge them on the whiteness of the green movement, and point out that, by their own playbook, if it’s of white or first-world or Western/European origin, it is definitionally racist, and therefore the entire movement is fruit of the poisonous tree and therefore should be rejected out of hand by anyone who aspires to be “woke.”

Wouldn’t that be nice?


Woke In The Bedroom

The New Republic reportedly published and quickly deleted an article that, among other things, scolded Pete Buttigieg regarding his sexual proclivities. Not about his homosexuality, but about a “vibe” that the author got that he was a “top,” and therefore, the author presumes, may be averse to, well, you get the idea. Why it would be anyone’s business is the first thought that should occur to us, but there’s a cultural context at play, and it’s one born of the trans-activist community.

Apparently, it’s no longer acceptable to have whatever sexual preferences you have, if they don’t conform to expectations. So, we hear that it’s not OK for a straight man or a lesbian not to be attracted to trans-women, or a straight woman or gay man not to be attracted to trans-men. Even our in-the-bedroom preferences are now subject to judgment and condemnation by those who are more socially conscious than we are. This, from the side of the divide that for decades castigated the Right for invading the privacy of that bedroom with its efforts to legislate morality.

Such excess is how movements end up collapsing. But, not before they do a lot of harm.


On Immigration, Facts Don’t Matter

A report from the Cato Institute regarding the administration’s latest ban on immigration from certain countries concluded that the ban has no justifiable basis. No big surprise, that. Domestic terrorism is a high profile but very low frequency matter, and while law enforcement and other governmental efforts are absolutely doing the right thing in paying attention and devoting resources, such blanket actions are more about feeding a particular frenzy amongst a certain subset of the electorate than about actually protecting the nation. This was again validated by the reactions I saw on Facebook, in the comments under Cato’s share of the story. Anger, rage, name-calling, and outright dismissal of the story, the data, and the logic. It’s here if you want to see the bile.

I’ve long believed/noted/observed that immigration is the most visceral issue driving what we’d call the Right today. It’s what set Trump apart from the pack in the 2016 primaries and led him to the nomination, it’s my Trumpy friends’ #1 hot-point political trigger, and it hasn’t changed one whit in the past 3 years.

It’s, of course, wired into our tribalism, and it’s only made worse by the other side’s excesses.

It’s also why I don’t believe that we’re going to see any sort of “true conservative” renaissance any time soon. It’s clearly a stronger motivator than most other elements of conservative policy, and there’s spillover in support for the trade war, for the Buy American mindset even when the math doesn’t work, and for other elements of current-day Republicanism.

Trump is a symptom of this nativist swell, not a cause, and whoever seeks to run on the GOP line after this election, whether Trump wins or loses, is, sadly, going to have to feed this beast.


Sweet Meteor of Death!

The frequency with which reports of a ‘near-miss’ asteroid cross my sensorium has started to really annoy me. Back in my engineering days, I did some work on concepts for intercepting “Near Earth Objects,” and contributed to a book on the subject that emerged from a 1994 symposium. This gives me, at the minimum, some perspective.

Two stories I read just this week speak of “near-misses” of 4 million and 500,000 miles. Other stories talk about big rocks passing between the Earth and the Moon, as if that’s supposed to scare us. Here are some useful bits: The Earth is 8000 miles in diameter. The Moon is 240,000 miles from the earth. If the Earth were a baseball, the Moon would be a penny, and the distance between them would be 7.5 feet. Flinging a grain of sand (and a small one at that, more like a mote of dust) between the two doesn’t sound like much like a “near miss,” does it?

The 4 million miler, the story of which included multiple paragraphs of the extent of damage should it hit us, didn’t reveal the distance of the miss until near the bottom. To offer another analogy, if the Earth were a catcher’s mitt, that speck of sand would be well outside the baseball stadium. Or, as Bob Uecker might say, “Juuuuust a bit outside.”

Obviously, the Sweet Meteor of Death generates clicks, and the non-event-ness of a million mile miss doesn’t, so we get reporters and media outlets fear mongering in order to make their money. This doesn’t mean we have to play along. So, do yourselves a favor. Don’t bother clicking those stories. If the big one is indeed coming, it’ll be more than Article #33 on a news site.


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Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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