Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A cantor learns a lesson from a brat

Oops, native English speakers probably don't know that a "kantor" is a teacher or a schoolmaster in Germany, Czechia, or Central Europe in general, so please be aware that the title is wittier than it sounds LOL

America is thrilled by the victory of an unknown Tea Party candidate, Dave Brat, an economics instructor at an unknown college in Virginia, over Eric Cantor, the House Majority (=GOP) Leader, in the Virginian Republican primaries.

One has to return by a decade in time to find a majority leader (Daschle) who would lose an election and no one remembers a loss of a majority leader in the primary elections. No one remembers because it hasn't happened since 1899 when the chair of the majority leader was invented.

I think that Cantor is a smart and sensible chap and I could disagree with some beliefs of Brat but as far as I am concerned, the positive emotions outweigh the negative ones.

First of all, I am happy to see that one can't universally buy votes. In the campaign, Cantor spent about $5 million while Brat has invested only slightly above $100,000 – the ratio is over fourty. This advantage wasn't enough for Cantor to win.

Similarly, Cantor had the bulk of the media and even GOP activists behind him. That wasn't enough, either. It's nice to know that they are not omnipotent – and the loss of the candidate generally favored by the media and institutions highlights their separation from the typical non-left-wing people's thinking.

Of course that a necessary condition for me to be really satisfied with the outcome is the fact that Brat, the winner, is opposing the increasingly standard surrender of the Republican Party to the mostly Democratic, progressive, politically correct policies.

Even though many conservative Americans love to think that America is immune to various signs of unstoppable socialization, the evolution of the GOP isn't that different from the evolution of many "mainstream" center-right parties in the European Union – I mean CDU/CSU in Germany, Tories in the U.K., and various counterparts in France and elsewhere. All of them have been morphed to some kind of moderate left-wing parties – at least that's how we would call them a few decades ago.

The voters who don't really want to drift in that silly direction feel betrayed and perceive some vacuum at the political battlefield. This vacuum is making it possible for genuinely conservative parties and candidates – those that are not just diluted versions of the left-wing parties and candidates – to rise. We saw it in the recent EU elections, at least in the U.K. and France. From a general enough viewpoint, the UKIP and The National Front play pretty much the same role as the Tea Party does in America. The reasons behind their rise are totally analogous, too.

On the Hannity Show, Brat doesn't know whether pro-free-market, anti-immigration, pro-law-enforcement etc. are left-wing or right-wing values. Well, I think that I know the more sensible answer! ;-)

As long as democracy is preserved, the unstoppable drift to the left side isn't a winning strategy for the right-wing parties and candidates and I am confident that Cantor – much like the Tories in the U.K. and others – won't be the last ones who will learn this lesson. Just to be sure, I did notice that successful candidates often used to move towards the center – even in America 20 years ago. However, that center was sort of stable. These days, the place where they're moving is visibly and constantly drifting to the left – due to the increasing tolerance to ever higher budget deficits, redistribution, group think, hypocrisy, political correctness, and all these things – which is why this "sweet spot" where the parties and lazy politicians apparently want to converge no longer encodes what the nations actually think in average, and that's why old established right-wing parties may easily get superseded by more acceptable, more genuinely right-wing alternatives.

So if democracy survives, there will be some, perhaps imperfect but reliable, regulating mechanisms that will at least decelerate the drift towards the left side.

Like many Americans and not only Americans, Brat was dissatisfied with the unprincipled attitude of the GOP towards the huge budget deficits that the U.S. government runs. I have discussed this topic many times. But even more important for him was his readable opposition to the immigration reform. What is the reform supposed to do?

When it comes to immigrants, the distance between the wording of the laws and the reality has grown to huge proportions. The law effectively assumes that there can't be any illegal immigrants, foreign nationals without the perfect paperwork and so on. In reality, there are millions and probably tens of millions of foreigners in the U.S. who don't have the right paperwork – and who couldn't have gotten it, in most cases.

This number (and the gap between the law and the reality that the number quantifies) has grown for a simple and necessary reason – the law just wasn't enforced as originally envisioned. To enforce the law would have been to kick many hard workers out of the U.S. Many people and companies that employ such illegals – and therefore the whole U.S. economy – would suffer.

The idea of an immigration reform is to return the law and the reality in contact – by changing the law. In other words, the numerous illegals should become legal residents. I would actually support such a thing – it seems truly difficult and probably economically harmful – not to mention the humanitarian dimension – to chase millions of people out of America. If it were up to me, I would probably demand some compensation from the illegals for that generosity. For example, they could pay higher taxes.

On the other hand, I have a lot of understanding for the people who think that it's right to defend, not distort, the law and who want to fix the reality (the enforcement) so that it becomes more compatible with the law. America is a famous melting pot but it's still clear from other places that excessive immigration spoils the original image of the country and usually its prosperity and harmony, too. Even though I am not among the top people whose primary way to think about immigration looks like this, I find it obvious that the percentage of the people who view too high, too generous immigration as a problem is – and should be believed to be – comparable to 50 percent.

The left-wing politicians and activists would create the atmosphere in which the press and official institutions were – and are – inclined to literally deny the existence of these hundreds of millions of people who think that the immigration, or excessive immigration, could be or is a problem. I find this demonization and institutionalized suppression of this legitimate and highly justifiable political opinion to be totally unacceptable, and the more Cantors will be defeated to make this point, the better.

The word "brat": I finally embedded Karel Gott's 1978 sad cover version of Eric Ca... Eric Carmen's 1975 song "All By Myself", "Where did he go, my brother John", because of the word "bratr". Most other Slavic languages different from Czech translate "the brother" simply as "brat"; you see that the Czech language seems to be flavored by the Germanic languages a little bit.

Even though Karel Gott may be counted as a pillar of the totalitarian entertainment ;-), this particular song was supposed to be a song about Jan Palach, the student who put himself on fire in January 1969 to protest the Warsaw Pact occupation of Czechoslovakia. Yes, he had a brother who is supposed to remember Jan Palach in the song. The Czech lyrics was written by Zdeněk Borovec.


  1. Cute intersting extansion of the ER/EPR ... as far as I can understand from just reading this TRF post and the abstract :-)

  2. I will have to slow down my reading---I read the paper title as "Mulberry Wormholes and... " :)
    At least I learned scads of facts from Wiki about
    Morus species...
    It is nice to see this concept evolve in ways that do not involve loop quantum gravity ways to build up spacetime...I found an early paper on this by Mark van Raamsdonk, to be both surprisingly readable, and quite fascinating--

    He also just won the 2014 Canadian Association of Physicists award---

    and according to my son (a pianist and AI researcher who took QM from Mark as an undergrad), is a mean saxophonist and general great guy :)

  3. Apologies--almost short blog post length :)

  4. kashyap vasavadaJun 11, 2014, 7:50:00 PM

    Thanks for various links and especially the explanation for laymen by Raamsdonk.

  5. kashyap vasavadaJun 11, 2014, 8:05:00 PM

    Hi Lubos: Nice summary. A naïve question: What are multiparticle entanglements of non GHZ type? Can you give a simple reference?

  6. Should you choose to lose your sex drive for few days, you can go through this thread

  7. The only stupid misinterpretation is to forget the basics of the entanglement: a system whose full state description contains no information about its individual sub-components. And this definition matches Laughlin's principle of emergence .