■ Proverbs 18:23
returns to the class-warfare rhetoric
in Chapter 18:
23 The poor plead for mercy,
but the rich answer harshly.
To see what Science says on this topic, a
article from Scientific American: "Rudeness is for the
Rich: Wealthy People Make Poor Conversational Partners". Which is
probably also ideologically-biased nonsense ("…recent study
by University of California, Berkeley psychologists…"). But we link,
■ I liked this article from Shikha Dalmia at Reason:
U.S.A, U.S.A., U.S.A.
Ever since President Trump sauntered into the White House, America's
image—or "brand," in marketing parlance—has taken a beating. This
month, a Nation
Brand Index poll of public opinion in 50 countries found that
the "Trump effect" had caused America's reputation to drop from
first to sixth place in world rankings on a whole host of metrics,
such as its attractiveness as a tourist, business, and work
destination. This is in keeping with the March U.S. News &
World Report "best
country" rankings, based on a poll of business leaders and other
"informed elites" around the world, in which the U.S. fell several
But fear not. America will overcome this loss of respect. American
greatness doesn't stem from its politics or its political leaders so
they can't tarnish it much either, not even Trump. What has made
America great is that it has set the standards of excellence in
literally every human endeavor for the last 150 years.
Hm. Maybe, maybe not. I'm getting increasingly curmudgeonly as I get on in years—and I
started out curmudgeonly, compared to my age cohort—but if
you need some optimism about the future, check out Shikha.
■ Will we be returning to sexual sanity any time soon? Probably not,
because one of the questions we'll have to answer on the way there
is David French's [NRO]:
Can We Be Honest About Men?
Here’s a simple reality — large numbers of men enter high-status professions (such as entertainment and politics) in part or even primarily to gain access to beautiful women. Large numbers of men achieve wealth in part or even primarily to gain access to beautiful women. Large numbers of men who enter high-status professions or gain wealth for good and virtuous reasons soon become corrupted by access to beautiful women. As we’ve learned, some men even become so-called “male feminists” primarily to gain the trust of beautiful women.
Not true of everyone, of course. But, statistically speaking, not
something you would want to bet against.
■ Also noting the ongoing moral panic is Claire Berlinski at the
The Warlock Hunt
The things men and women naturally do—flirt, play, lewdly joke,
desire, seduce, tease—now become harassment only by virtue of the
words that follow the description of the act, one of the generic
form: “I froze. I was terrified.” It doesn’t matter how the man felt
about it. The onus to understand the interaction and its emotional
subtleties falls entirely on him. But why? Perhaps she
should have understood his behavior to be harmless—clumsy, sweet but
misdirected, maladroit, or tacky—but lacking in malice sufficient to
cost him such arduous punishment?
In recent weeks, I’ve acquired new powers. I have cast my mind over
the ways I could use them. I could now, on a whim, destroy the
career of an Oxford don who at a drunken Christmas party danced with
me, grabbed a handful of my bum, and slurred, “I’ve been dying to do
this to Berlinski all term!” That is precisely what happened. I am
telling the truth. I will be believed—as I should be.
But here is the thing. I did not freeze, nor was I terrified. I
was amused and flattered and thought little of it. I knew full well
he’d been dying to do that. Our tutorials—which took place
one-on-one, with no chaperones—were livelier intellectually for that
sublimated undercurrent. He was an Oxford don and so had power over
me, sensu strictu. I was a 20-year-old undergraduate. But I
also had power over him—power sufficient to cause a venerable don to
make a perfect fool of himself at a Christmas party. Unsurprisingly,
I loved having that power. But now I have too much power. I have the
power to destroy someone whose tutorials were invaluable to me and
shaped my entire intellectual life much for the better. This is a
power I do not want and should not have.
Another lonely voice. We're featuring them today, because…
■ PJMedia's Andrew Klavan lets us know: I'm
Done With the Sex Scandals. (Specifically: "I" here is "Andrew
Klavan". Not Pun Salad. Pun Salad does not make promises that Pun Salad
is not certain Pun Salad will keep.)
I'm pretty much done with the sex scandals. They were fun, but
they're just going to have to carry on without me. If someone broke
the law and you can prove it, prosecute him. If someone violated the
rules of his organization, eject him. Other than that, if women have
forgotten the fine art of slapping a man in the face, there's not a
whole hell of a lot society can do for them. You keep silent for
forty years and then ruin a man's career with an unprovable
allegation — and that makes you a hero? Not to me.
Also a fine, but apparently lost, art: kneeing a guy in the nards.
■ Bad news, everyone. Hot Air quotes Science: Humans
Have Reached The Peak Of Our Lifespan, Height, And Physical
Fitness. Well, crap.
“These traits no longer increase, despite further continuous
nutritional, medical, and scientific progress,” said Jean-François
Toussaint, a physiologist at Paris Descartes University, France, in
a press release. “This suggests that modern societies have allowed
our species to reach its limits.”
But at least we're getting smarter, right? Right?
■ Well, maybe not. Tyler Cowan at Marginal Revolution notes
current research on that: The Flynn effect in reverse does the rot start at the top?
The IQ gains of the 20th century have faltered. Losses in Nordic
nations after 1995 average at 6.85 IQ points when projected over
thirty years. On Piagetian tests, Britain shows decimation among
high scorers on three tests and overall losses on one. The US
sustained its historic gain (0.3 points per year) through 2014. The
Netherlands shows no change in preschoolers, mild losses at high
school, and possible gains by adults. Australia and France offer
weak evidence of losses at school and by adults respectively. German
speakers show verbal gains and spatial losses among adults. South
Korea, a latecomer to industrialization, is gaining at twice the
historic US rate.
Maybe smart people are getting the heck out of the Nordic nations. I
know I would.
■ Mr. Lileks takes A
look at failed Minnesota utopias – and one that worked.
If you had to come up with a name for a new city that enticed people
to pack up their lives and head off to Utopia, what would you
Perhaps MXC wouldn’t top your list.
But that’s what they called it. The MXC (Minnesota Experimental City) was supposed to be the shining city of the future, a model for humanity, a masterpiece of technological ingenuity — and only half an hour north of Aitkin, Minn. The price: a cool $10 billion, in 1967 dollars. Population: a quarter-million. Completion date: 1984.
And it happened... not.
MXC was the "brainchild of Athelstan Spilhaus". When I read that, I
went all Obi-Wan and mused: "Athelstan Spilhaus. Now, that's a name I've not heard in a
long time. A long time."
But what's the one that worked? The answer may surprise you! Or not,
if you're a Minneapolitan.
■ @JonahNRO's G-File
this week is Against
One-Thingism. But what I want to quote is this, about the next
Senator from the great State of Alabama:
You can forget the sexual allegations against Moore — though you
can be sure no one else will, because the Democrats and the
media will be reminding voters about it constantly. Forget the
fact that Moore is a grifter and huckster who claims America is evil and had 9/11 coming but that we were great when slavery was legal. Put aside all the
arguments about how “we” need his vote or that Republicans
shouldn’t unilaterally disarm.
The simple fact is this guy, if elected, will be a disaster for
Trump, conservatives, and the GOP alike — even if he votes in
partisan lockstep with the Trump agenda. The mere act of him
voting for good legislation will make it harder for some
senators to vote for it. Moore will say stupid, offensive, and
bigoted things — and every Republican, starting with Trump
himself, will be asked to respond.
And the only defense will be "whataboutism."