Fighting the Last War


There’s an old adage which states that most armies are prepared to fight the last war. It has a deep basis in Reality. After our 1892 medium-power Krag rifles were outclassed by the full-power Mausers used by the Spanish in 1898, we adopted the Mauser-clone 1903 Springfield for World War I. The lessons learned about firepower in that war led to the adoption of the M1, which would have been a superior weapon in WW1, but was outclassed by the German Strumgewehr 44 (the original assault rifle) by the end of WW2. We entered the Viet Nam War armed with the M14, which would have been a great weapon for WW2, only to be outgunned by the other side’s AK47s, true assault rifles. I went through basic training with an M14, but was finally issued an M16 in Viet Nam.

Armies aren’t the only bureaucracies that cling to outdated “solutions.” The public health response to the Wuhan virus pandemic is a case in point.

The 1918 influenza pandemic was worse than it had to be, in part, because of the failure of some communities to take proper measures to prevent rapid spreading. The proper lesson from that pandemic is that dangerous communicable diseases must be contained by reducing interpersonal contact until other means of fighting it are available.

The initial restrictions imposed as public health measures dealing with Covid-19 were reasonable and cautious responses to a potentially catastrophic situation. They would have been excellent in combating the 1918 flu, but it appears that they’ve been overkill in vast swaths of America with disastrous unintended (I hope) consequences. For many the cure is worse than the disease.

Most Real World situations don’t track well with our attempt to model them because we never seem to be able to understand all of the ways that things interact. Experience and common sense and a willingness to take risks are necessary live in the Real World. Credentials are not the same thing as experience, and non-expert expertise has failed. It’s time to get back to living in the Real World. That will require that public health concerns take their rightful place among other factors to balances with economic realities and civil rights.

A First World Problem


There’s a post over at National Review by Itxu Diaz about Europe’s response to the Wuhan virus pandemic. It catalogs a list of “important” crises that various countries were dealing with instead of the disease until Reality became too noisy to ignore.

In just ten days, we discovered that neither the tampon issue, nor the participation of transsexuals in the Olympic Games, nor the climate emergency were real problems, nor emergencies, nor anything of the sort. They were just fictitious problems, the pastimes of a generation that hadn’t known tragedy.

Read the whole thing.

Indeed, those “important” issues are really luxuries, problems that most people in the world cannot afford. Europe and Blue State America have enjoyed enough surplus income from previous generations’ capital investment that, on the whole, they haven’t had to worry about food or shelter or the other necessities of life. Or at least, they didn’t think they had to worry in “normal” times. They believed they could afford to live in Pretendyland.

They’re now being forced into the Real World, the place where generations of people learned the hard way about what is actually important.

Having a Life


Jon Gabriel has a post up at Ricochet called Red Team? Blue Team? Start Your Own Team. It deals with last weekend’s Twitter storm between multimillionaire politicians and multimillionaire sport celebrities—and how Gabriel opted out of caring and lived his own life instead.

Politicians are just temp employees we hire to do our bidding. If they suck, we fire them. They aren’t gods we bow to or team owners issuing orders. We’re Americans, dammit.

Celebrities are court jesters we pay to amuse us. When they get too mouthy, we kick them out of the dining hall. That’s the beauty of capitalism.

So, if any of our so-called elites want me to join their team, no thanks. I simply have better things to do. Today I saw one of my daughters dominate a cross-country race and my other daughter played me a song on her guitar. I took them out for lunch, listened to a cool podcast, then decided to write for a while.

In other words, I left the football stadium and started my own pick-up game. If the Twitter warriors want to join me, cool. If not, that’s cool as well. I just hope they consider setting down the phone for a while and starting their own thing.

Read the whole thing.

An Evening in the Real World


I’ve spent most of this evening engaged in the real world. After work, Mrs. Hoge and I had some business to take care of near DC. After a leisurely dinner down there (Mmmm, Tilapia), the drive back to Westminster in the snow was pretty with the snow dusting the branches of the trees along the road.

Now that I’m back at work more or less full time, there will be hours long periods when I don’t attend to blogging. I’m told that one of my most ardent readers has interpreted my having a real life interacting with the real world as hiding. No, it’s caused by having a life.