URLs du Jour

2017-01-04

Let us get to it:

  • James Taranto did Best of the Web Today for the online WSJ for many moons, but yesterday was the final entry for him; he's moving on to a new position at the newspaper and James Freeman will be taking over BOTWT. Taranto was funny and insightful, and he had the philosopher's gift of making fine distinctions.

    He also accepted a few suggested links I thought he'd find appropriate for the column, which shows… I was going to write "good taste", but let's not get carried away: it probably just shows we find the same things amusing, which is not the same thing at all.

  • Many folks have made the parallel between the "intelligence community's" last-decade findings on Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction" and the recent allegations about Russia's election-hacking. Jesse Walker looks beyond the obvious.

    And keep your eye on the ball. Just as focusing on WMDs yielded too much ground to the argument for war, focusing on Russia's alleged election antics yields too much ground to Trumpism. We may be entering an ugly age of paranoid nationalism. If you want to fight that, you shouldn't put paranoid nationalism at the center of your critique of the new order.

    Good advice. Don't assume there are Russians under the bed, but (on the other hand) it doesn't hurt to keep checking under the bed.

  • Don Boudreaux posts his LTE, sent to the WaPo "Trump’s Ignorance Is Matched Only by His Thuggishness". At issue is Trump's saber-rattling at GM for its plans to make some cars in Mexico.

    Suppose that Mr. Trump is your neighbor and that he complains that the auto mechanic who you regularly hire is from another neighborhood. So he threatens to have his bodyguards confiscate a portion of your income until and unless you hire a more-pricey mechanic from your immediate neighborhood. Would anyone excuse such unethical – indeed, predatory – behavior? Of course not. So what is it about such behavior that makes it excusable if it is simply carried out on a larger scale? Answer: nothing at all. This behavior, regardless of scale, is that of a thug.

    Also, bad economics that will hurt Americans. Twofer!

  • Matt Ridley notes that 2017 is the centennial of Communism-in-practice.

    Human beings can be remarkably dense. The practice of bloodletting, as a medical treatment, persisted despite centuries of abundant evidence that it did more harm than good. The practice of communism, or political bloodletting as it should perhaps be known, whose centenary in the Bolshevik revolution is reached this year, likewise needs no more tests. It does more harm than good every time. Nationalised, planned, one-party rule benefits nobody, let alone the poor.

    Also recommended for the student: Bryan Caplan's Museum of Communism and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

  • Nick Gillespie thanks Gary Johnson, "the best thing in 2016".

    Gary wasn't perfect and I still don't really comprehend anything about that tongue-thing while talking to NBC reporter Kasie Hunt, who was understandably all like, Get me the hell out of here. But in the end, Johnson pulled almost 4.5 million votes (3.3 percent of the total), compared to 1.3 million votes (1 percent) four years ago. Of course, all of us who voted for Gary Johnson wanted him to do better still, but the world exists to disappoint us believers in small government.

    I'm OK with that, too. It was nice having someone to vote for without gagging.