LARPing at Leadership


One on the most effective political cartoonists of the middle of the 20th century was Herbert Block who drew under the name of Herblock for the Washington Post. He always gave his caricature of Richard Nixon five o’clock shadow. Herblock clearly despised Nixon, but the day after the 1968 election, he published the cartoon on the left as a way of congratulating Nixon on winning the election. It wasn’t long before the five o’clock shadow reappeared.

Here at Hogewash!, I run every new president’s name through the spell checker for one post.

I’ve seen comments to the effect that Donald Trump was the most divisive president in history or at least in recent history, and that Joe Biden has an opportunity to bring the country back together again. Unity seems to be a big buzzword on the Left these days. I don’t have much hope for such healing.

First, trying to paint Trump as a particularly divisive president is counterfactual. Trump was elected as a response to the divisive politics of the Obama administration much as Nixon was elected in response to the divisive politics of the Johnson administration and Lincoln was elected in response to the divisive politics of the Buchanan administration. BTW, an argument can be made that while Lincoln was among our greatest presidents, he was THE most divisive. His election triggered the Civil War.

But back to 2021.

At least 74,000,000 Americans voted against Joe Biden, and many, perhaps the majority, of them don’t believe that Biden actually won. The Left’s making lists of Trump supporters and talking of reeducation camps isn’t going to help depolarize the country, and it’s up to the new president to show some leadership by engaging respectfully with his political opponents and insisting that his supporters do likewise. I don’t see any indication of such behavior.

Indeed, his initial round of personnel appointments and some of his acts on his first day of the job lead me to believe that he’s the same Joe Biden who has spent almost fifty years as a hack pretending to be a political leader.

Because I want America to be successful, I wish Joe Biden and his administration success in doing well for the country. I wish I had more hope.

That Was The Year That Was: Fits 7, 8, and 9


Some of this year was simply silly, but a lot of it was dangerously stupid.

Fit the Seventh—July: A Trojan Whatever

The Daily Wire has a post up titled Biden Is ‘A Trojan Horse For A Radical Agenda,’ Mike Pence Warns. I believe the Vice President is on the right track, but he may have identified the wrong Trojan critter.

Fit the Eighth—August: Cultural Appropriation

I’d like to suggest that people who find my culture offensive should stop appropriating the things we have created.

I’m an engineer. In my culture we rely on certain facts of nature (as we understand them) being actually true. For example, engineers believe, based on the evidence, that 2+2=4, and we rely on the mathematical principles behind that fact in order to design and build things that people can use.

It’s come to my attention that there’s a bunch of wokies trying to sell the idea that 2+2=4 is not a universal truth but some sort of tool used to oppress minorities. (Note: Engineers are a very tiny minority group within humanity.) While I believe that the wokies are foolishly wrong in their worldview, they have the right to be wrong. However, I also believe that, given their worldview, they are acting immorally (if Morality is connected to Truth) when they appropriate my culture’s concepts and artifacts for their own purposes.

For example, if 2+2 can equal 5, then 12 percent can equal 22 percent. I picked those numbers because, to the extent that most of wokies pay income taxes, they are probably in the under $40k bracket. If they were withheld at the next higher marginal rate of 22 percent instead of the lower rate, they would have no grounds for complaint by their own logic. But most would surely complain.

Also, most, if not all, of the wokies I’ve encountered, seem to have cell phones, and cell phones use microprocessors which rely on the mathematical logic behind the truth of 2+2=4 in order to operate. Is it moral for them to be appropriating that artifact from my culture?

Well, that depends on how “moral” is defined. Morality is a body of standards or principles derived a particular definition of what is Good. If the definition of Good is connected with Truth, then what is moral may be quite different the if the definition is connected with Power. The wokies’ worldview is marxist and rooted in Power. For them, life is as O’Brien explained to Winston Smith: “The object of power is power.” Truth can be arbitrary for them.

IIRC, O’Brien was also a proponent of 2+2 being 5 or 3 or whatever it needed to be.

I don’t think that I would like to live in a world in which most of the power was in the hands of the wokies. Therefore, I propose this strategy—Don’t let the wokie win.

Fit the Ninth—September: Bad Science and Even Worse Theology

The Federalist reports that Nancy Pelosi wants to keep churches closed. When asked to comment on her archbishop’s statement that the state and local governments’ restrictions on worship violate the First Amendment, the Speaker said,

With all due respect to my Archbishop, I think we should follow science on this. And again with faith and science, sometimes they’re countered to each other.

Mrs. Pelosi is wrong in multiple ways in her statement. First, there is less science involved the medical response to the Wuhan virus pandemic than many people imagine. Good medicine, like good engineering, uses scientific knowledge and principles to the extent they are available and applicable to the case at hand, but sometimes a new problem must be dealt with without existing good scientific knowledge available. Guesswork based on experience may or may not give an optimal solution, and some guesses will be wrong. Today’s news about Nashville’s wrongheaded response in closing certain business is just one example of how fallible public health officials, mayors, and governors have been. Continuing to act as if a failed hypothesis is correct in bad science.

Second, while her invocation of science is bad science, her theology is even worse. Without exception, apparent contradictions between what we think we understand from science and theology wind up being caused by a lack of clear understanding of what one or both of them are trying to tell us—or from asking one of them to answer questions about which it has no answers. Science tells us how. Religion tells us why. (See the posts under the Science and the Bible tab in the menu above for more on this point.)

Third, her due respect for the pastoral authority of her Archbishop requires that she submit to his spiritual leadership. If she can not or will not, she has a limited range of options. She can go full Karen and speak with his manager. The Pope would probably take her phone call. (Come to think of it, she might even get support from Pope Francis.) Her other honest choice is to leave the Catholic Church. I expect she will do neither.

The voters of San Francisco are getting what they voted for. Good and hard.

* * * * *

And we aren’t done with 2020 yet.

That Was The Year That Was: Fits 4, 5, and 6


Moving along with the Hogewash! year-in-review theme brings us these—

Fit the Fourth—April: The Day It Finally Bothered Me

Being required to stay at home for the past month has resulted in occasional inconvenience, but hasn’t been truly bothersome. Attending church and other Zoom meetings over the phone had been my biggest annoyance. (Zoom isn’t installed on any of my devices because of security issues. I connect to those meetings with a landline phone.) My son happened to pick up toilet paper, paper towels, and other household staples at Costco a few days before things went nuts, and the stores where we shop have generally restocked well after the initial disruption. Working from home has actually been more productive because I’ve had fewer interruptions and meetings via Microsoft Teams usually have run more efficiently than face-to-face meetings. Doing The Other Podcast from Studio B here at Stately Hoge Manor is easier in some ways and more challenging in others than schlepping gear to an undisclosed location each week.

But yesterday, something about the shutdown finally truly bothered me.

Yesterday was Arbor Day.

My late wife Connie was deeply involved in issues related to natural resources, especially trees. She served as the President of our county’s Forestry Board and was a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council of Forest Sustainability. The photo on the left shows Connie in a hollow sycamore tree. It was taken while she was with a group of Forestry Board people measuring trees to determine the largest of various species in the county.

Connie died on Thanksgiving Day, 2016. On Arbor Day, 2017, a group of friends planted a sycamore tree in her honor in a county park. The Gentle Reader should not be surprised to learn that I go by the park from time to time to see how her tree is doing. Yesterday, was the first Arbor Day that I missed going. The park is closed.

Fit the Fifth—May: I’m So Old …

… I remember when the Left fancied themselves to be the Reality-Based Community, people who adhered to facts.

These days, facts keep interfering with The Narrative.

Fit the Sixth—June:

The Democrats let Joe Biden win their primaries.
Wuhan virus lockdowns.
Defunding the police proposed as a solution for rioting.

Paging Potiphar Breen. Potiphar Breeen to the white courtesy phone, please.

* * * * *

I was obvious by mid year that 2020 was crazy, and it was beginning to look like Breen’s cycles  really were beginning to line up.

I Don’t Believe Her


Kamala Harris has spoken about her family’s multi-generation celebrations of Kwanzaa when she was growing up. She was raised by her mother, a recent immigrant from India. Her grandparents lived in India and Jamaica. I don’t believe her.

Perhaps an old family photo will turn up to prove me wrong.

That Was The Year That Was: Fits 1, 2, and 3


It’s year-in-review time. I couldn’t have made up 2020 if I tried.

Fit the First—January: Sometimes I Feel Like a Bowl of Petunias

There’s a scene in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in which the use of a spaceship’s infinite improbability drive causes two guided missiles to be changed into less threatening objects several miles above the surface of the planet Magrathea. One becomes a whale which asks all sorts of questions about its new situation as it plummets to its death. The other is a bowl of petunias which simply says, “Oh, no, not again.” That’s pretty much my reaction these days when I hear someone claiming to be a victim because he was truthfully quoted. I’ve had to endure multiple LOLsuits alleging defamation because this blog wrote truthfully about certain people.

The latest bit of such whining comes from Don Lemon, Wajahat Ali, and Rick Wilson. They are upset because of a Republican ad which uses a video clip from CNN which shows them expressing their distaste for Trump supporters. Wajahat Ali would have us believe that he is being bullied by being truthfully quoted.

Yeah. Right.

My podcasting partner Stacy McCain has a post up appropriately mocking Lemon, Ali, and Wilson. Go read it.

Fit the Second—February: Math is Hard

Bernie Sanders is proposing a national health care system commonly referred to as Medicare for All. The low-side estimates of the program’s cost are around 3 trillion dollars a year.

Michael Bloomberg’s net worth is estimated to be about 62 billion dollars. If Bernie were to confiscate all of that wealth (and it could be liquidated as cash), he could pay for a week of his proposed program. If he could similarly liquidate the fortunes of the ten richest Americans, he wouldn’t find enough money to run Medicare for three months. And he would have destroyed productive assets that would generate further cash flow to fund the system. Even if he kept the seized assets as an investment portfolio (equivalent to a 100 percent income tax rate), a reasonable long-term rate of return would only provide for a week-and-half of Medicare for all each week.

The other 95 percent of the money required would exceed the government’s current income from taxes, so bringing Medicare for All online while maintaining something near the current level of other government services would require at least doubling the current total amount of federal taxation. If the billionaires have had their assets seized so that they have nothing left to be taxed, who do you think is left to be taxed? Cleaning out the millionaires won’t produce the same windfall as billionaires. If it’s still possible to pay wages at the current level after much of the productive investment in the economy is destroyed, then the average citizen’s share of the federal tax burden would likely rise to above 33 percent of personal income.

And then we’d have to figure out how to pay for the Green Nude Eel.

Fit the Third—March: Generational Differences

Mrs. Hoge and I were both Baby Boomers, but she was seven years younger. Her idea of old time rock was the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Mine was Bill Halley and Elvis, so even within a “generation” there are differences in world experience. I was old enough to be subject to the draft during the Vietnam War. Many younger boomers weren’t. (I served in Vietnam as an officer in the Army Signal Corps.)

I saw this tweet go by, and it reminded me of how the lack of big wars over the past couple of generations as lulled some people into a false sense of security.When one has experienced the fear of running out of ammunition, the prospect of running out of toilet paper is less likely to be viewed as a existential threat.

UPDATE—America’s Newspaper of Record reports that some are responding to The Pandemic properly—

* * * * *

Stay tuned for more.

Quote of the Day


When I was a small boy in Kansas, a friend of mine and I went fishing and as we sat there in the warmth of the summer afternoon on a river bank, we talked about what we wanted to do when we grew up. I told him that I wanted to be a real major league baseball player, a genuine professional like Honus Wagner. My friend said that he’d like to be president of the United States. Neither of us got our wish.

—Dwight D. Eisenhower

Genealogy, Extended Family, and Thanksgiving Gatherings


My parents grew up in a small town in Tennesse.  A few years after they married, one of my father’s cousins (actually, a first cousin once removed) married my mother’s sister. Their children are my first cousins on my mother’s side and second cousins once removed on my father’s.

Are you following me so far?

Both my father’s and my mother’s families arrived in the colonies prior the Revolution.  A few years ago, one of my aunts on my mother’s side decided that she’d like to join the Daughters of the American Revolution. When she went looking for a Revolutionary War ancestor, she found that she (and my mother, of course) were descended from my father’s great-great-great-great-grandfather who had been in the Pennsylvania militia at Valley Forge. My father and my mother were fifth cousins.  That means those first cousins of mine are also fifth cousins twice removed on my mother’s side and fifth cousins once removed on my father’s side.

It also means that I’m my mother’s fifth cousin once removed and my own sixth cousin.

And none of the family has ever lived in West Virginia.

Alas, we are no longer holding the gatherings of four or five generations of the family for a potluck on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. This year’s Thanksgiving dinner will just be for my son and me, not enough people to justify doing a whole turkey on the grill. We’ll have a venison roast prepared using one of the recipes Mrs. Hoge left for us.

I look forward to a larger gathering next year.

Quote of the Day


Præcipium munus annalium reor, ne virtutes sileantur, utque pravis dictis, factisque ex posteritate et infamia metus sit. The principal office of history I take to be this: to prevent virtuous actions from being forgotten, and that evil words and deeds should fear an infamous reputation with posterity.

—Tacitus

Quote of the Day


Early in life I have noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. … I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what happened but of what ought to have happened according to various ‘party lines’.

—George Orwell

Speaking Truth to Power


I’m so old I remember when it was fashionable for those on the left to favor non-violent protest. Mohandas K. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, Vaclav Havel, and Desmond Tutu were honored by the Left as heroic figures because they engaged in speaking truth to power rather than violent revolution.

Fashions change.

These days, it may seem the Left has taken Noam Chomsky’s analysis to heart—power knows the truth already and is busy concealing it—but I don’t believe that’s what’s motivating them. Given the Left’s move from liberalism to marxism, their worldview is no longer centered on truth. Instead, it is all about power. Truth has become, if not irrelevant, their enemy.

The Left is now speaking shouting power at truth.

The Left fails to understand is that there is nothing more powerful than Truth in the long run. They have chosen poorly.

Don’t Know Much About History


A headline from The Guardian: Nearly two-thirds of US young adults unaware 6m Jews killed in the Holocaust

That is a stark example of the magnitude of educational malpractice that has been inflicted on a generation of Americans. Of course, when I was growing up in the ’50s, the Holocaust would have been impossible to conceal. There were too many living witnesses. (My father had a part of the liberation of Dachau, and I knew survivors with prisoner number tattoos on their wrists.)

National Socialism killed 6 million Jews and on the order of 12 million more of other ethnicities. International Socialism (aka Communism) killed nearly 100 million during the 20th century. We already know the human cost of socialism. There is no need to rerun that experiment, but an uninformed generation may be tempted to try.

Don’t Know Much About History


The Trump Administration has brokered a deal normalize diplomatic and economic relations between Kosovo and Serbia. As anyone who can remember what was happening in the Balkans during the 1990s and the first years of this century can remember, this is a big deal. It appears that much of the press is too young to remember and/or too poorly educated in recent history to understand the importance of these two countries coming to terms with each other. That ignorance was demonstrated by the White House press corps during this afternoon’s briefing—and Richard Grenell called them out on their lack of knowledge. The question which triggered his comment begins at about 37:46 in the video. You can use the slider at the bottom of the video to cut to the chase.

Grenell: It’s really a crisis in journalism, and I think it’s because people are too young to understand issues like Kosovo and Serbia. How about a substantive question?

Reporter: I don’t think any of us came here for a lecture about our questioning.

Well, kid, do your job right, and you won’t need to be corrected.

Don’t Know Much About History


The California Assembly has passed a bill to set up a a task force to look at the question of slavery reparations. The bill now moves to the state Senate.

Slavery was not legal in the California under Mexican law when it became a territory of the United States in 1848, and slavery was never legal in the territory afterward. In 1849, a black man who had been brought to the territory as a slave won a court case that resulted in his freedom and the legal precedent of the official non-acknowledgement of slavery in California. It entered the Union as a free state in 1850.

California was a part of Mexico before 1848, and Mexico outlawed slavery in 1829. Prior to 1829 (under both Spanish and Mexican rule), the indigenous people of California were treated as de facto slaves by the Hispanic settlers.

So the history of California is such that if any reparations for slavery are owed, they are owed to the members of the various Indian tribes of California—and they are owed by the Hispanics in the state. It’s probably a safe bet that essentially none of the legislators who voted for the bill are aware of their state’s actually history of slavery.

I’m pleased that Mrs. Hoge and I left California 30 years ago.

Past Their Sell By Date


Sarah Hoyt has a thoughtful piece over at PJ Media explaining why she expects the current playacting at revolution by the Left to fail. She argues the false premises of the marxist philosophical worldview of the Left has so distorted their perceptions of Reality that they can’t understand why their efforts to bring about Utopia keep failing. In frustration the Left is throwing a tantrum because things aren’t “fair.”

They expect that the “99 Percent” will rise up in solidarity with them to overthrow the “1 Percent” of capitalist oppressors. However, it’s the Left that won the slow revolutionary march through the institutions over the past fifty years. It’s Leftists who now make up most of the “1 Percent.”

Real revolutions, not the left’s pretend theater, are not “and the people rose up.” That’s usually the last stage. Real revolutions are caused by living conditions/ways of making a living changing so dramatically that ideology must follow.

Communism and socialism were – though heads-on-pants insane – well suited to the mentality of mass production and mass movements.

They’re fish out of water in the 21st century. Which is why every move they make turns against them. Their heads are full of a society that no longer exists.

I’m not saying they’re not a danger, particularly in the areas – geographic and social – they control. What I’m saying is that they’re losing that control.

Read the whole thing.

In effect, proles who thought they had been guaranteed a spot in the Outer Party and had a shot at making it into the Inner Party are raging because their Fill-in-the-Blank Studies degrees did not qualify them for anything other than struggling to service a significant debt on a barista’s wages. One part of the left is revolting against another.

This has happened before. During the middle years of the last century, the international socialist fought the national socialists in Europe. Sarah Hoyt argues that we’re now seeing the death rattle of the Left’s revolution rather than its birth pains. I hope she’s right.