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Forget Drag-Queen Story Hours: The F-35 Is the Ultimate Symbol of American Decadence

June 17, 2019
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1. Decline

Always remember that decline is a choice.

Charles Krauthammer wrote that once and it might have been the truest thing he ever said.

And if you keep that idea as your lodestar, you start to realize that the really scary thing about Donald Trump is that he’s just a symptom of a larger disease which has beset America: In the aftermath of the Cold War, the country became decadent and unserious.

You see this decay not just in politics, but more or less everywhere: the university, unions, the courts, the Catholic Church. It’s hard to think of any institution in America that is stronger today than it was 50 years ago. Or 20 years ago.

All because of choices we made.

And that’s how I think about the F-35.

There was new news about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter this week. Here’s the Daily Beast with the summary:

If one of the U.S. military’s new F-35 stealth fighters has to climb at a steep angle in order to dodge an enemy attack, design flaws mean the plane might suddenly tumble out of control and crash.Also, some versions of the F-35 can’t accelerate to supersonic speed without melting their own tails or shedding the expensive coating that helps to give the planes their radar-evading qualities. . . .

Defense News obtained military documents detailing a wide range of serious problems with two of the three versions of the F-35. The Air Force’s F-35A appears to be exempt from the latest flaws, but the Marine Corps’ vertical-landing F-35B and the Navy’s carrier-compatible F-35C both suffer what the services call “category 1” deficiencies. (In military parlance, a category 1 flaw in a plane can prevent a pilot from accomplishing their mission.)

Here’s what you need to know about the F-35: A decade or so ago, America had to make a decision about what our fifth-generation fighter platform would be.

There were two options: The F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The F-22 was, incontrovertibly, the better aircraft. Stealthier, faster, more nimble. The Raptor was, essentially, death on a stick.

The F-35 was, incontrovertibly, inferior as an air-dominance platform.

And yet the government eventually decided to end production of the F-22 and put all of its missiles in the F-35 basket.

Why?

Because the F-35 was a bureaucratic winner. It promised to fill multiple roles. It promised to be cheaper. And it promised to make nice with our allies by spreading costs with other nations. It promised to include the Brooklyn Bridge.

Anyone who believed those promises was a sucker.

To the surprise of no one, the F-35 has turned out to be insanely expensive, with delays and overruns pushing the cost near the $400 billion mark. The overruns have made any price advantage over the F-22 to be negligible, at best. The cost-per-hour of operation for the F-35 is actually more than the F-22.

And as the latest news makes clear, not only can the F-35 not defend itself in a dogfight against superior fifth-generation fighters, it doesn’t even work as advertised.

Remember: If you can’t establish air dominance, then your ground-attack features are meaningless.

America has had technological air dominance for close to 80 years. We chose to hand this advantage away in exchange for fuzzy hopes for cost savings and the pacification of various bureaucratic power centers.

This is what decline looks like.

And it’s a choice.

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David Fahrenthold on the Doral Flip Flop

2. Choose Life

Rachael Larimore had a great piece yesterday about how disgusting it is when giant corporations start grandstanding for abortion.

You should read the whole thing.

Her deep point is that corporate America has a vested interest in promoting abortion. Corporate America wants the largest possible supply of workers, because the drives down wages. They want to offer the cheapest benefits packages possible, because that increases profits. And they want their workers to be as maximally productive as possible, which means, in practice, not having babies.

If corporate America cared about the “women and families” they’d pay more and make family life easier for employees.

But all of that stuff is expensive and would require companies to see themselves as citizens living within a healthy community.

It’s a lot easier to just take out an ad in the NYT insisting that abortions should be easier to get.

And that’s all this is really about. Because if corporate America really cared about families, they do more to, say, promote adoption.