Thursday, June 16, 2016

Why Φ can afford extra ammo this month

From Chase Bank:

We're attaching a check for your credit card account(s) ending in XXXX *

Dear Φ:

We're writing to apologize because we may have charged you interest and/or fees incorrectly when you may have been eligible for Servicemember's Civil Relief Act benefits or protections.

Here's what we're doing

  • We're refunding you the interest and/or fees, plus an additional amount for the inconvenience.

  • We're attaching a check for $500.00. **

We'll report the taxable portion

If required by tax-reporting rules, we'll send you an IRS Form 1099-MISC (Miscellaneous Income) of Form 1042-S (Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding) for the tax year in which the inconvenience payment was issued. You may want to ask your tax/financial advisor, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040, or visit for information about how this may affect you.

We're here to help

If you have any questions, please call us at 1-888-420-3863. We are here Monday through Sunday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time. A Military Customer Service Specialist will assist you. If you are overseas, please call us collect at 1-302-594-8200.

We thank you and your family for your service to our country.


John W. Delaney

Managing Director


* All bolding in the original

** For the record, Φ hasn't paid interest on a credit card since 1994.

It may be uncharitable of me to ask this, in light of Chase Bank's generosity to what must be a considerable number of military customers, but . . . how does an honest company make enough money to send out $500 checks like this?

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Name Your Postulate

Trumwill writes:

If I want to blank, but blank makes people dislike me, then I might blank anyway if people are going to accuse me of blanking no matter what I do. Why not?
When blank is being racist, though, that ought to cause incur a pause. If your response to being called a racist no matter what you do is to become racist, that says something about you. It demonstrates to me that either (a) you really want to be a racist but are merely held back by social convention, or (b) you are cool being racist if it pisses the right people off. Neither of these is a flattering look, perceptively or morally. If we assume, at any rate, that racism is bad.

A third possibility is that racism, in and of itself, is orthogonal to our concerns. One of the theoretical problems with racism -- actual racism, I mean, and quite apart from the social / economic / legal sanctions presently applied against those accused of it -- is that it requires you to abjure potential allies in the fights you actually care about -- or worse, treat them as enemies unnecessarily.

Drill down on the Steve-o-sphere, and you will discover that the fight, the one we actually care about, is the fight to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. A benign interpretation of the Civil Rights movement is the success of what Trumwill calls the "Sunday-Best" strategy: convincing the plurality of white opinion that equal rights for black Americans didn't actually threaten our prospects for the blessings of liberty or otherwise achieving a life well-lived, and might, in fact, enhance those prospects. I once agreed with this myself, much as I once thought immigration restriction didn't advance anything I cared about either.

Of course, if racism -- or, for that matter, not-racism, a la Trumwill -- is your moral postulate, then I don't really have the tools for arguing you out of your position in the context of shared values. If, on the other hand, racism and not-racism are competing instrumentalities, then I must point out that not-racism is failing today as surely as racism failed in 1964.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Venning for Trump

A number of essays in my newsfeed have a similar theme of Trump-support as reaction to leftist overreach: Rod Dreher, Will Truman, and David Marcus.

All these writers take it as given: Trump = alt-Right = Racist = Nazi; or, alternatively, that these categories can be Venn-diagrammed. As I read them, I was thinking of an analogy to something Steve Sailer wrote a decade ago, about the importance of the death penalty in preventing witness murdering:

This is the flip side of the logic that persuaded the Victorians to stop hanging pickpockets -- if both the Artful Dodger and Bill Sikes are liable to be hanged, how do you discourage pickpockets like the Dodger from turning into robber-murderers like Sikes? The criminal law needs gradations of punishment to provide proper incentives.

I remember when I was in college back in the '80s how some Klan/neo-Nazi group (no, these are not the same thing, but I forget which one it was) managed to muster a half-dozen members for some kind of parade in our city. It was met with a counter-demonstration of a thousand people whose object was to shut it down, and eventually the police obliged: the heckler's veto. I thought then that this was a bad precedent, and so it is: 2016 has been the "Year of the Shutdown".

It would be good to see more erstwhile "opinion leaders" publicly acknowledging that their successful suppression of respectable opposition to immigration (Scott Walker's brief foray, e.g.) ceded the field to a somewhat-less-respectable opponent with the (pardon the expression) FU money to not have to care about their opinion. The writers linked above, however, are not among them; as far as I can tell, they have always been moderately skeptical of high levels of immigration, and "I told you so" is not the same as "I was wrong". But they fail to recognize that they themselves are doubling-down on that very mistake. They are all keen to raise the specter of "racists", yet their equating/guilt-by-associating/Venn-diagraming, while perhaps hurting Trump's electoral chances, also increase the probability that even less respectable populist avatars will have their turns at bat.