Opus 300

Our 300th article.

One of the more interesting attributes of computers is how much they like to count things.  Most people only have a general sense of how many they're dealing with - "a lot", "a couple", or "a few," but computers love precision.  Our computers here at Scragged tell us that today, we set before you precisely our 300th article.

Which makes it a good time for a little reflection.  If you don't look back at where you've been, you won't know how far you've come or where you're going.  What have we accomplished in our first three hundred?

Perhaps our most prescient article was one of the very first: "Ethanol - The Perfect Boondoggle."  At the time, corn-based ethanol was widely viewed as the Great Green Hope to get us away from fossil fuels.  Today, after gas prices have doubled and food prices are following close behind, much of the world has come round to our view that ethanol is not the answer to any question other than, "How can Big Agriculture and Big Government steal the most money from the rest of us?"

Alas, Nancy Pelosi's Congress has yet to relieve the suffering of the world's poor by dismantling the wretched net of subsidies, tariffs, and regulations that make us all pay far more in taxes, at the pump, and at the supermarket than we really need to.  But there's hope: although we do not much care for John McCain, we're glad to report that he's in full agreement with our view on the ethanol issue.

Speaking of John McCain, our crystal ball was much foggier concerning him.  Our first article to mention the Senator was actually about Fred Thompson; we mentioned McCain only in passing, as a candidate that might soon drop out entirely.  We were right about Fred though: the article was "The Fred Is Willing, But The Fred is Weak", and indeed he turned out to be.  Of course, not all of our candidate coverage was as well timed.

Sometimes you know you're right, but you don't realize just how right; case in point, the global warming scam.  It's always been clear that Al Gore's antics were nonsense, as our series "The Hot Air of Climate Change" showed.  It came as quite a surprise to us, though, when the data showed no temperature rise at all since 1998, and a rise of less than one degree over the last century.

Even our readers who are fellow "deniers" found that a bit hard to swallow considering that everything you see on TV and in the rest of media says the opposite.  However, from the reaction of the global warming types, we have to think it true: otherwise, why would they see the need to rebrand "global warming" as "climate change"?

Considering the way modern politicians so regularly disregard the will of their voters, it's easy to become cynical about representative government.  After one too many accusations of excessive cynicism, we sat down to think through exactly what we believe and why we believe it; from this came "Cynicism and the Confucian Cycle".  The mark of a great thinker is that, once you've understood what he's saying, you can suddenly see its truth around every corner; so it has turned out concerning Confucius' observations of how bureaucracies naturally grow, and grow, until they are so huge that nothing can get done and society collapses.

Confucius never anticipated democracy, and we've seen that the Will of the People still has power: as "Power to the (Legal) People" explained, the fury of the American voters was able to stop the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill, the New York State "drivers' licenses for illegals" program, and other elite-backed movements in the same direction.  Alas, both presidential candidates continue to disregard what 80% of Americans want done about illegals; this fed directly into "Scragged's Endorsement for President", in which we found that, on the issues that count most, neither of the two presumptive nominees has anything much to offer.

On the subject of the presidential election, it's hard to imagine a better time to be writing about politics - in adversity, there is opportunity.  First, we had the amazing comeback of the Luckiest Politician in America, John McCain; then the Democrats brought us the Best Primary Ever, and perhaps - just maybe - the Best Convention Ever, depending on what ol' Hillary still has up the sleeves of her pantsuit.  From his unusual approach to foreign policy to his choice of jewelry, friends, and church, Barack Obama is a never-ending gold mine of material, most of which we could never have even imagined.  Who knows what new surprises lie in store?

From its inception, Scragged has tried to avoid being either an echo or an echo chamber.  If we're just saying the same thing everybody else is, what's the point?  That means new material, or a new take on old material; sometimes, it's useful just to throw an idea out there to get people thinking and talking about it.  "A Modest Proposal for the War on Drugs" received an immodestly vehement response from our Gentle Readers and set a record for reader comments that has yet to be broken.

While the war on drugs is not the front-page issue it once was, it's something that must be addressed someday.  One thing is certain - the efforts of the last century haven't accomplished much while doing great harm not only in America but also all across Latin America and in Afghanistan.

Economics, reputedly the "dismal science", is actually a field we find fascinating.  Writing about economic issues might seem a bit dry, but money impacts the lives of everyone, every day.  The only "dismal" aspect we find in economics is the sadness that comes from stupid decisions; in that vein, we've explored the underlying causes behind the decline of the Detroit auto makers.  It's nice to be right, but we mourn their ongoing slide into oblivion.  Their high-priced forecasters have surely known about the coming gasoline price increases since long before our "Energy Conservation in India and China," yet they're only now getting around to thinking about designing high-mileage cars?

In "Africa: If Oprah Can't Fix It, Nobody Can" and "Bill Gates' Million Africans" we addressed the extreme difficulty of doing anything constructive in Africa regardless of good will, extreme effort, and large amounts of money.

Spending is easy; African leaders are adept at finding Swiss banks where they can hide our aid money.  What's hard is getting anything useful done with the money.  Come to think of it, it's become pretty hard to get anything done in the US.  Learning from history is generally recommended; in this case, you don't even need to learn from history, the international news pages serve just as well.

As our Founders had great faith in the common sense and intelligence of the American people, so we at Scragged cling to that confidence, along with our guns and our religion, natch.  Without you, our words would be but "sound and fury, signifying nothing."

It may not be readily apparent, but we cannot count how many times a reader comment has triggered the genesis of a new article or a new way of approaching an issue.  Thanks to the Internet, commentary and news is a two-way street - just the way the Founders meant for politics to be.  As we each, in our own small way, fulfill the responsibilities of citizenship in the greatest nation in history, let us go forward, in Abe Lincoln's words, "with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right."

Thanks for all your support.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Petrarch or other articles on Society.
Add Your Comment...
4000 characters remaining
Loading question...