We Can Have Flying Cars

Flying cars: how close are we? | Living

Why don’t we have flying cars yet? That’s J. Storrs Hall’s question. We can learn a lot by thinking about this question, and its answer.

[T]he barriers to flying cars are not technological or economic—they are cultural and political. To explain the flying car gap is to explain the Great Stagnation itself.

We live in the tomorrow that yesterday’s Progressives dreamed of—and built. The New Deal, the Great Society, the Sexual Revolution, desegregation, mass immigration, trillions of dollars to eradicate poverty. And yet what we see around us is Stagnation, not Progress. Trillions of dollars, several social revolutions—and no significant improvement in educational outcomes, health care outcomes (yes, the US has lots of public health care), poverty rates, etc. (And I haven’t even mentioned COVID relief.)

It almost makes you wonder whether even more government intrusion is going to help. And but so—back to flying cars and the future that was taken from us:

[W]e ought to have nuclear-powered everything. Nuclear homes with local, compact reactors—they don’t need to be on the grid. Nuclear cars, whether flying or ground. Even nuclear batteries—I was shocked to learn that certain designs of nuclear batteries were actually manufactured decades ago and used safely in implantable pacemakers.

A world with widespread flying cars, nuclear batteries, and all the rest is a world without real poverty. And the technology for flying cars and nuclear batteries is already in place. So why don’t we have them yet?

[E]ven if you had built a flying car and were ready to take to the air, you’d be shot down by the FAA, the mayor, the news media, the insurance company, and your neighbors. An even greater regulatory burden applies to nuclear power.

Why no flying cars yet? As it turns out, when the government gets involved in an industry, prices in that industry tend to go up—and innovation tends to go down. (Every wonder why education and health care costs have skyrocketed in recent decades? Because the government is heavily involved in education and health care. Meanwhile, TV costs have gone down.) Thus, government investment intrusion has gutted flying cars, and nuclear energy:

What’s the result? No eradication of poverty, no flying cars, marginally fewer scientists and engineers (and musicians, and poets, and …), but many more lawyers:

What’s the cost of all those lawyers? Here’s Hall:

[T]he U.S. tort system consumes about two percent of GDP, on average. … [T]he long-run compound-interest effect on the economy as a whole is startling: without it our economy today would be twice the size it actually is. This is the closest we can come to measuring the effect of taking more than a million of the country’s most talented and motivated people and put[ting] them to work making arguments and filing briefs against each other so their efforts mostly cancel out, instead of inventing, developing, and manufacturing things which could have made life better.

And it’s not just lawyers; countless other young talented people have been diverted “from productive pursuits to expensive virtue signaling.” In 2021, the number of Americans who are actually making things is dwarfed by the number of Americans whose jobs (and very lives) are fundamentally parasitic. And so we don’t have Progress of any kind—just Stagnation.

We could have had flying cars. Instead, we have failing cities. We could have eliminated poverty. Instead, we’ve doubled it. (Same with crime.) We could have doubled the economy. We could have eliminated cancer (and maybe even aging itself). Instead…

If you care about the poor, or the working class, or children, or the elderly, or the sick, or whomever—and I do—understand that Big Government has continually failed them immensely and that more Big Government will fail them even harder. (And no, I’m not shilling for the GOP; the GOP establishment likes Big Government almost as much as the Dem establishment does.) Understand that a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, etc. would not actually solve anything—just as the original New Deal and Medicare for 44 Million haven’t actually solved anything. Understand that all your favorite activist movements industries have actually made things worse for most Americans in need, by turning a society of creators into a society of leeches.

What Americans need is: healthy communities, healthy churches, healthy families, and healthy innovation. Big Government gets in the way of all those things. So Big Government has to go.

But ultimately what has to go is “diversity,” “inclusion,” “equity,” and all the other deceitful words in the English language. Ultimately the root problem is not Big Government—some countries with relatively big governments do just fine—but the false religion of Progressivism in all its many guises.

We can have healthy families, healthy communities, flying cars, and nuclear batteries. Or “Progress.” But not both.


$50,000 Checks

In total, the federal government has pumped $4.8 trillion into the economy over the past 11 months. … Adjusted for inflation, we have spent 20 percent more than the U.S. spent on World War II…. [I]magine instead what the U.S. would have looked like had the government just divided that $4.8 trillion among U.S. households. … [A]sk yourself whether we would have been better off had the government simply cut households $50,000 checks. If you’re not boiling mad right now, you haven’t been paying close enough attention. … So why is it, then, that the federal government seems never to consider the option of replacing government assistance programs with direct payments? In the Covid crisis, and in the broader war against poverty, this would have solved a vexing problem as efficiently as possible. And therein lies the rub. Politicians aren’t all that concerned with solving problems efficiently. They seem always to prefer expanding the power they wield…. Politicians make grandiose claims about their various and sundry programs because those claims resonate with the people who receive government largesse. Not surprisingly, those claims resonate even more with the entrenched, ever-growing federal bureaucracy. But in the end, people receive pennies on the dollar compared to what they could have received had we decided just to write a check.

James R. Harrigan and Antony Davies, “Politicians Turn Problems Into Power”

False Devils

New York restaurant with a sign in the shop window 'No Booze Sold Here  Booze Hounds Please Stay Out'

Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohol, or economic law, when they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice. The Moslems say, “There is no God but God.” The English Moslems, the abstainers, have to learn to remember also that there is no Satan but Satan.

GK Chesterton

The Puritanical agitators of Chesterton’s day—who, though they too were toxic cultists, stood head and shoulders above contemporary “social justice warriors”—decried capitalism and alcohol. But the Puritanical agitators of our day have a somewhat different list of bogeymen, headed up by the various now-all-too-familiar -ism’s: “racism,” “sexism,” “homophobia,” and so on.

And so our agitators call many things that are good satanic (or “problematic”), and many things that are satanic good. They forget—if they ever knew—that there is no Satan but Satan. (As do most of their “conservative” opponents, who are much more worried about “socialism” than about spiritual corruption.)

There is something fundamentally wrong, but if we do not begin at the beginning, with God as God and Satan as Satan, with good as good and evil as evil, we will never solve even our secular problems. Our problems remain unsolved because we worship false gods—”Diversity,” “Equity,” “Inclusion” —and fear false devils—”capitalism”; “socialism”; straight white men.

There Is Something Fundamentally Wrong


There is something fundamentally wrong and broken with our current society and system of government that is not “government” per se. The libertarian analysis of “this is what you get when any state is in charge” is not correct, it’s what you get when *our* state is in charge. I think it would be more productive to identify what, in particular, is so deeply sick with our particular state, then to merely say “it’s the government” and just leave it at that.

Handle, Comment on “The vaccine, the market, and government”

We assume that crime, broken families, and other social problems are inevitable—or the fault of too much (or too little) government. But countries like South Korea have solved many of our “inevitable” social problems, and not because South Korea is a libertarian country—and not because South Korea is a socialist country.

The point is not that South Korea is perfect. (Far from it.) The point is: There is something fundamentally wrong and broken with our current society. “Conservatives” who think the fundamental problem is “too much government” don’t get it. Leftists who think the fundamental problem is “too little government” also don’t get it. Because the fundamental problem is deeper than the government’s size—even though the government is often overly intrusive and wildly inefficient.

What then is the fundamental problem? That is the million-trillion-dollar question. Almost everyone in a position of power and influence is lying about it, because literally all of them are incentivized to do so.

And that means we must resist their easy answers. Think, McFly, think! And not just about the fundamental political problem—over which we have little to no control—but about the fundamental problems in your life and mine.

Civilised Man Is Fundamentally an Heir

Western people are convinced that receiving is contrary to the dignity of human persons. But civilised man is fundamentally an heir, he receives a history, a culture, a language, a name, a family. This is what distinguishes him from the barbarian. To refuse to be inscribed within a network of dependence, heritage, and filiation condemns us to go back naked into the jungle of a competitive economy left to its own devices. Because he refuses to acknowledge himself as an heir, man is condemned to the hell of liberal globalisation.

“Cardinal Sarah says world blighted by Europe’s sickness”

A Toxic Religious Cult

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Eric Voegelin

[L]iberalism, socialism, communism, scientism, progressivism, identity politics, globalism, and all the rest—this Hydra’s head of modernist projects, however ostensibly secular, is united by … features that are irreducibly theological… [M]odernity is also an Oedipal phenomenon…. [T]he Gnostic lives in what Voegelin calls a “dream world.” … Nothing that happens is taken to falsify his beliefs, because any bad effects are interpreted as merely further manifestations of the evil forces, rather than reflecting any defect in the Gnostic’s belief system. … [T]he Gnostic posits a final victory of the “pure” over the evil forces that govern everyday reality.… As Voegelin famously put it, modern forms of Gnosticism “immanentize the eschaton”—that is to say, they relocate the final victory of the righteous in this world rather than the next, and look forward to a heaven on earth. … [C]onsider Marxism from the point of view of Voegelin’s analysis. Here the all-pervasive and near omnipotent evil that the Gnostic sees in the world becomes capitalism and the bourgeois power that it sustains. This power is taken to permeate every aspect of life…. Everyday moral assumptions are mere ideologies that mask the interests of bourgeois power, religion is a mere opiate to reconcile the oppressed to that power, and so on. … Critical Race Theory (CRT) is in exactly the same mold. … For CRT, the all-pervasive and near omnipotent source of evil in the world is the “racist power” of “white supremacy,” “white privilege,” and indeed “whiteness” itself. This racism is “systemic” in a Foucauldian sense—it percolates down, in capillary fashion, into every nook and cranny of society and the unconscious assumptions of every citizen. It is especially manifest in all “inequities,” which result from the “implicit biases” lurking even in people who think of themselves as free of racism. And it is to be found even in the most seemingly innocuous of offenses, which are in reality “micro-aggressions.” Even self-consciously “anti-racist” CRT adepts themselves are not free of racism, but must constantly engage in a Maoist-style self-critical struggle to root out and confess ever deeper and unexamined racist assumptions. … Other forms of woke Gnosticism have their own bogeymen—”patriarchy,” “heteronormativity,” etc.—which, like “whiteness,” are abstractions spoken of as if they were concrete demonic powers. … The gnosis that purportedly reveals all of this suffocating oppression is to be found in the writings of gurus like Kendi and DiAngelo, whose main difference from the likes of Marcion and Mani is the size of their royalty checks. … It is no accident that CRT adepts think of themselves as “woke.” For it is not rational argumentation that compels them but a kind of conversion experience, and Kendi, DiAngelo, et al. are essentially Gnostic preachers rather than philosophers or social scientists. … With wokeness suddenly flooding universities, high schools, the medical profession, the military, business, and seemingly everywhere else, we are seeing something comparable to the Arian crisis of the 4th century or the Albigensian crisis of the 13th century—the alarmingly rapid spread of a toxic religious cult that threatens the general sociopolitical order no less than it does the Church. As in these earlier crises, there are many Christians, already heterodox anyway, who are happy to cave in to the madness.

Edward Feser, “The Gnostic heresy’s political successors”

A Gadarene Descent

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It has long seemed abundantly clear to me that I was born into a dying, if not already dead, civilisation, whose literature was part of the general decomposition; a heap of rubble scavenged by scrawny Eng.Lit. vultures, and echoing with the hyena cries of Freudians looking for their Marx and Marxists looking for their Freud. This, despite Adam’s apples quivering over winged collars to extol it, and money, money, money, printed off and stuffed into briefcases to finance it. At the beginning of a civilisation, the role of the artist is priestly; at the end, harlequinade. From St Augustine to St Ezra Pound, from Plainsong to the Rolling Stones, from El Greco to Picasso, from Chartres to the Empire State Building, from Benvenuto Cellini to Henry Miller, from Pascal’s Pensées to Robinson’s Honest to God. A Gadarene descent down which we all must slide, finishing up in the same slough.

Malcolm Muggeridge, Chronicles of Wasted Time

Clown World Will Not Last Forever


It is the same with all their machines. Their labour-saving devices multiply drudgery; their aphrodisiacs make them impotent: their amusements bore them: their rapid production of food leaves half of them starving, and their devices for saving time have banished leisure from their country. There will be no radical change. And as for permanence—consider how quickly all machines are broken and obliterated. The black solitudes will some day be green again, and of all cities that I have seen these iron cities will break most suddenly.

CS Lewis, The Pilgrim’s Regress: An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason and Romanticism

And even if Clown World survives materially, it certainly will not survive spiritually. Of course, it thinks it will, and prides itself on its inevitability—on being on the “right side of history”:

The new age, the new art, the new ethic and thought,
And fools crying, Because it has begun
It will continue as it has begun!
The wheel runs fast, therefore the wheel will run
Faster for ever. The old age is done,
We have new lights and see without the sun.
(Though they lay flat the mountains and dry up the sea,
Wilt thou yet change, as though God were a god?)

But already, before our eyes, it is wasting away. As it must, for it is suicidal:

Liberalism is the ideology of Western suicide. When once this initial and final sentence is understood, everything about liberalism—the beliefs, emotions and values associated with it, the nature of its enchantment, its practical record, its future—falls into place.

James Burnham, Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism

Not that Clown World will ever admit to as much:

[T]he ideology of modern liberalism must be understood as itself one of the expressions of the Western contraction and decline; a kind of epiphenomenon or haze accompanying the march of history; a swan song, a spiritual solace of the same order as the murmuring of a mother to a child who is gravely ill. … It is as if a man, struck with a mortal disease, were able to say and to believe, as the flush of the fever spread over his face, “Ah, the glow of health returning!”; as his flesh wasted away, “At least I am able to trim down that paunch the doctor always warned me about!”; as a finger dropped off with gangrene or leprosy, “Now I won’t have that bothersome job of trimming those nails every week!” Liberalism permits Western civilization to be reconciled to dissolution; and this function its formulas will enable it to serve right through to the very end, if matters turn out that way: for even if Western civilization is wholly vanquished or altogether collapses, we or our children will be able to see that ending, by the light of the principles of liberalism, not as a final defeat, but as the transition to a new and higher order in which Mankind as a whole joins in a universal civilization that has risen above the parochial distinctions, divisions and discriminations of the past.

Now, however (and ironically), the masks are off. There is no Kumbaya, no Revolution, no “social justice,” no universal civilization, just an insecure neoliberal Establishment on its last legs.

Clown World will not last forever. Its fake government, fake money, fake food, fake art, fake genders, fake sex, fake outrage, fake justice, and of course fake news will not last forever. The only question is when they will die—and what will come next.

Hopefully things will get better. They may yet get worse. Be not afraid! Eat meat, HODL Bitcoin, read old books, lift, and pray.

A Curious Hostility

Freud's Couch - 99% Invisible
Freud’s original couch

It is difficult to document such a thing as the general attitude of a profession. But the hostility of most psychologists to Christianity is very real. For years, I was part of that sentiment; today it still surrounds me. It is a curious hostility, for most psychologists are not aware of it. Their lack of awareness is due mostly to sheer ignorance of what Christianity is—for that matter, of what any religion is. The universities are so secularized that most academics can no longer articulate why they are opposed to Christianity. They merely assume that, for all rational people, the question of being a Christian was settled—negatively—at some time in the past.

Paul Vitz, Psychology as Religion

As with psychologists, so with all academics and, increasingly, all credentialed elites.