May 30, 2007

Various

So there's a four-lane street downtown, practically a mini-highway, and an obviously drunk guy careens out of the corner market (imaginatively called "Corner Market") straight into the rightmost lane. The grocery door is one step from the curb. Thank God the car in front of me stopped. I thought if I had been the car in front I don't see how I would've stopped. Seems I would've had an 80+% chance of hitting him. "Angel of God, my guardian dear.." and his guardian too. I tried to get a better view of this excellent driver. Appeared to be a woman in her late 20s. Good reactions, good peripheral vision?

The drama wasn't over. He had to make it across the other three lanes and I thought about getting out and trying to stop him but figured it might scare him into doing something even more rash than what he was already attempting. Getting across that traffic sober would be a challenge.

He barely made it. Almost got clipped by oncoming traffic and received horn blasts from two vehicles.

May God continue to protect drunks and fools.


Continuing on that Yeats quote from yesterday, the one where he said that men are creatures of their age, not their nation, reminds me of John O'Sullivan's book on the fall of the Soviet Union.

What was surprising was that they fell with a whimper. They were, in the end, "too soft" (praise God) to clamp down in Poland like they did in other Eastern bloc countries.

Where did that softness, for want of a better word, come from? Perhaps from the worldwide culture, which had softened considerably. We tend to think they were immune from the 60s and all that jazz but ultimately perhaps even the Soviets were more creatures of their age than their country and system. The first five decades of this century had unbelievably hard men, made so in part of out applying Darwin's "surivival of the fittest" to nations and not just individuals. WWII seemed to disprove that, given the demise of the Axis powers.

Today, of course, we have the surreal hardness of terrorists who would make even the Soviets blush, since the latter weren't suicidal. If Islamic fascists aren't creatures of their country they seem to be influenced by the current "culture of death" and nihilism. Isak Dinesen wrote back in 1960 that Arabs love the "grand gesture", adding that they adore "danger and death". Culture of death + Islam = suicide bombers.



Read something from Ben Stein that reported that as of 2000 the average 45-54 year old has saved $23,000 in 401k. Yikes. Stein says it appears likely baby boomers will experience poverty in their old age. What's surprising is that everyone knows Social Security will be diminished and yet the national savings rate is near zero.

I'm not sure exactly what Stein means by this comment:
Consider the fact that if everyone were to save equally, then this would confer no net advantage on anyone. We'd all be pitted against one another to exchange the same quantity of stocks and bonds for the same goods and services from younger Generations X, Y, and Z.
If the natural rate of savings was 10% instead of 1-2%, wouldn't that solve the problem? Sure there would be no net advantage for individuals but it would seem to be an advantage for everyone. The saver isn't hurt by his countrymen saving is he? Sure it dampens the economy but if the natural savings rate was 10% the economy would adjust.



It's nice to find some decent fiction for vacation reading purposes. Read the first thirty pages of Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and it's riveting. Dick is funny which is absolutely necessary given the grim scenerio. In that way he reminds me of W Percy - talking about serious themes but underlayed with humor to soften it.

No comments: