3 Up, 3 Down (Softly)

Elon Musk catches a lot of grief, and to be fair, much of it is well-deserved.  But if there is one of his endeavors for which I am an unequivocal fanboy and for which he is performing an unqualified good, it’s SpaceX.  Where various NASA contractors have dumped almost $12 billion for the Space Launch System and haven’t even a single flight to show for it, Musk and Co. spent a mere $500 million of private money (no, that’s not much in terms of rocket development) and came up with the Falcon Heavy, currently the world’s most powerful launch vehicle.  Tonight, it made it’s second successful flight, launching a commercial payload into orbit, while successfully landing all three booster stages, two at Cape Canaveral and one on a barge at sea.  Bravo to Elon, bravo to everybody at SpaceX, and bravo to the private sector, which now runs rings around government sponsored space programs.  More, please.

The very unattractive and irrational “aoc”

Amigo this is the old, old idea (Socialist/Marxist) that entrepreneurial skill and business acumen count for nothing. Essentially all property is theft and inequality of condition is immoral. “Billionaires need no more spiritual defense from me. But AOC’s presumption that all the very rich do is take, take, take ­because they are narcissistic and dishonest at their core is an idea based in rage, not in reason.” Wedgewood and Boulton became prosperous because of hard work, use of new technology and effective marketing campaigns. Just today I was saying that I may not love Trump but one has to give him credit for being an effective and successful business leader and promoter. It is a mistake to merely envy or hate (but it is easy to do). The essence of anti-Semitism and Jew-hatred is based on envy. One should not hate those who are successful but emulate them or at least learn from them. I am no genius myself but smart enough to recognize genuine talent and genius when I see it. And I do not hate those greater than I -I admire them especially when they are good, generous and kind.


“I was alive”

Walter White from Breaking Bad famously said – “I was alive”. What essentially drove him to create that Drug Empire was entrepreneurship, that excitement of feeling alive — not family, social responsibility etc. Being alive seems to be a lot about being in touch with reality, sort of being plugged in. That constant awareness to gauge the situation and to adapt plans accordingly. In a way, being alive is also a lot about being human. What separates us from animals, at least most of us, is that ability to not just instinctively react, but instead use real cognition.

Being alive is also quintessential Americana; no other civilization has encoded this into their Constitution. That framework to avoid being shaped by the collective, but instead through individual volition, essential English liberties upgraded to American Federalism. Being part of a collective feels comforting. Whether its politics, sports or music, we tend to seek out that tribal identity. It’s probably our hunter gatherer instincts, constantly pushing us to belong. In that sense, American institutions are sort of intended to compensate those primitive instincts. I think it’s Hayek who once said — ‘man got civilized in spite of his best efforts’?

Riding is also a lot about being alive, and probably more about staying alive too. For starters you are always in touch with the environment. There are no seat belts or air bags separating rider from reality. You got to be aware, of the guy in his truck and the mom in her van, busy sifting through their critical Facebook posts. You need to simply adapt your path to steer clear of them, or any other potential threats, social media driven or otherwise. But the flip side is, when you are riding, all the other travails melt away. So plugged in to that sublime present, there are no cognitive resources to think about that uncertain future, or that disappointing past. In that sense, you are alive, but probably in a totally different context I guess.

Virgil: Forgotten American Founder ~ The Imaginative Conservative

Would it be an unlicensed trespass of the imagination to conceive that on the night preceding the day of which you now commemorate the fiftieth anniversary—on the night preceding that thirtieth of April, 1789, when from the balcony of your city hall the chancellor of the State of New York administered to George Washington the solemn oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States, and to the best of his ability to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States–that in the visions of the night the guardian angel of the Father of our Country had appeared before him, in the venerated form of his mother, and, to cheer and encourage him in the performance of the momentous and solemn duties that he was about to assume, had delivered to him a suit of celestial armor–a helmet, consisting of the principles of piety, of justice, of honor, of benevolence, with which from his earliest infancy he had hitherto walked through life, in the presence of all his brethren; a spear, studded with the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence; a sword, the same with which he had led the armies of his country through the war of freedom to the summit of the triumphal arch of independence; a corselet…of long experience and habitual intercourse in peace and war with the world of mankind, his contemporaries of the human race, in all their stages of civilization; and, last of all, the Constitution of the United States, a shield, embossed by heavenly hands with the future history of his country?
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2014/10/virgil-forgotten-american-founder.html

Surprised by Faith: My Moroccan Odyssey ~ The Imaginative Conservative

Though I was officially enrolled at the University of Notre Dame, I spent the entire 1987-1988 school year—my sophomore year of college—at our sister school in Austria, the University of Innsbruck. I arrived in Austria in July of 1987, and I departed in July of 1988. During the academic year there, fall semester ended on the last day of January, and spring semester didn’t begin until March 1. A full month of exploration is just too close to heaven for a twenty-year-old. The possibilities seemed endless: a journey to the northern reaches of Scandinavia; a brave excursion into the mysterious depths of the Soviet Union; or a crossing into the old, palimpsest recesses of the Near East of the Roman empire.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2018/03/surprised-faith-bradley-birzer.html

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