Rittenhouse Found (Appropriately) Not Guilty but Who Was?

I have not followed the Rittenhouse case as closely as many, but I’m old – we’ve been there before. Remember the 70’s, the 80’s?  Last year a hundred thousand Americans died of overdoses; theft is not prosecuted in some cities.  Did we think our lives would be peaceful?  Did we then, as we pulled out some of the pillars that held the roof over our society, protecting and ordering it?  Some of those pillars were being reconstructed, but the last few years have seen their destruction, again and more thoroughly.

Rittenhouse, certainly out of self-defense, killed, but these deaths are not just the result of the actions of the men, apparently unhinged and certainly violent and predatory from long before Blake was shot, that attacked him.  The fault also lies in those in charge, who have little humility in taking over our lives from cradle to grave, but shrug off their first responsibility – to nurture an ordered society, where the rights of citizens are protected and civility reigns.  They seem to want to take our guns but they certainly don’t want to protect us.  Our leaders have lost a sense of the priorities outlined in our unique, beautiful, and profound Constitution.  However, it codifies and organizes responsibilities long seen as a government’s duty:  to protect citizens from threats external (the federal) and internal (the state and city). They found a sensible format for fulfilling those duties – one with checks and balances.  Our tradition, of course, has always included a healthy bit of personal responsibility, of self-protection.  Rittenhouse is in that tradition.  Those who did not do their duty are in no position to scoff at someone who tries to protect the home town of his father and grandmother.

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A Note on Votes

Parents want to take responsibility, perhaps, but they have (I certainly often did) shirked their responsibility to keep track of the teachers and their good and bad teaching;  this new movement is surely restorative, good, appropriate. Our public schools have been examples of the tragedy of the commons – who really was taking care of the children, nurturing their minds?    Who respected the students/children enough, the discipline they taught enough,  not to give gruel and expect equally watered down responses?  For many school boards this Tuesday will be a reckoning – we’ll see how much parents cared, how much others cared.

Unpacking the Port

I hate silliness – bureaucrats wielding power arbitrarily, ignoring consequences, etc. – ask me about our local Home Owners Association, for instance. But this Instapundit link is to a great, productive, tactful moment when analysis, persuasive writing, an understanding of his audience and human nature wielded the power of a leader, appropriate to such rare skills. Many of you (esp. Dan) have a better appreciation of the common bottleneck but even I can see this “impactful” (an ugly word but so appropriate here) of Peterson’s skill. Of course, why this is a “temporary” fix is another question. And why libertarians have a point about minimal control and why a disproportionately (well, disproportionate to the American tradition) strong state often stifles free enterprise.

Koonin Offers a Check on “The Science”

I ordered Steven Koonin’s Unsettled? more out of perversity than honest curiosity. It was a vote for a skeptic, for a man labelled a “denier” and thus worthy of canceling. I was wrong on several counts: it is holding on Amazon with a fairly high rating, and, I was able to get something out of it. He clearly wants to reach people like me, bewildered by charts and graphs. The tables are there, but his style and analogies accessible. (Which means it is dumbed down, but I appreciate his desire for a larger audience.) He has some of the commonsense of Lomborg: practical, prioritizing what is certain, seldom emphasizing the “wrong” and more often the imprecise, the unknown. Some reviewers found him full of himself, but his voice is that of a close reader, looking at the body of reports, comparing assertions and data with the summaries and interpretations. I assume his readings are honest and he is a good physicist but what do I know.

What struck me were the assumptions of a method he promotes, one other disciplines use and he sees as appropriate. In Chapter 11, “Fixing the Broken Science,” he suggests major reports on climate would benefit from being “Red Teamed.” The “Red Team” critiques it, “trying to identify and evaluate its weak spots,” “a qualified adversarial group would be asked ‘What’s wrong with this argument?’” Then the authors, the “Blue Team” rebuts, seeking more information, firming up arguments, gaining precision. He looks at examples where a report’s data did not support the conclusions or summaries (sometimes leading to popular articles with further overstatements). Perhaps the authors had more data, perhaps the summaries were written by those holding too strong an opinion to let the results stand on their own. Perhaps. . . But, of course, if conclusions don’t match research, that’s important.

Traditionally, peer review even in the humanities is designed to note such problems, but these have been less and less rigorous as more subjective definitions of “truth” evolve (or perhaps of careerism). More importantly, “The Science” (climate consensus) is not limited to the ivory tower; it influences awards of positions, grants, research. And, it affects policy. Seeing “The Science” as “settled” tempts those doing “science.”

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Why a Conservative Distrusts Cheney

Cheney thinks that questioning the election arises from a mindless, dangerous loyalty. It is great and fine that she is a conservative. But when she voted for his policies, didn’t she note how often they devolved power and now, she gives comfort to those who would nationalize elections, police, and lives? If he affected the Georgia senate race, is she healing the party or leading thoughtful discussions on the election given that the Democrat’s bill is now facing them? It is bad enough Democrats want to get in our heads to make our eyes and hearts and minds conform. But that leadership in Congress does is irritating – and apparently that is how Congress sees it. Thank God.

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