18:15 is an anatomy lesson for learning:
15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge,
for the ears of the wise seek it out.
And the eyes of the wise peruse the writings of the prudent. Which
brings us to:
■ @kevinNR writes
Presidents and Economies:
The belief that GDP growth or this month’s jobs report provides a
meaningful judgment on the performance of the president isn’t
economics — it’s superstition. It is the modern version of the
ancient belief that a crop failure means that the king has
displeased the rain god or the wheat goddess. It is a primitive
disposition from which we should liberate ourselves — and could, if
we were willing to do the hard work of citizenship rather than take
our ease in lazy partisanship.
I suppose, arguably, that Trump could have put the economy into the
ditch. I'm glad he hasn't, at least not yet. He hasn't done anything for
the long-term outlook, though. Which is terrible.
■ Also at NRO, David French has a reasonable request: Stop
Misrepresenting Masterpiece Cakeshop. The specific example
recent op-ed by Jennifer Finney Boylan in the NYT, which
accusing the cakeshop owner, Jack Phillips, of "discriminating
against a protected class."
Here’s the problem. If a writer squarely addresses the argument
that Phillips actually makes, then she will soon run head-on to
a sobering constitutional reality. Sexual revolutionaries are
asking the Court to overturn generations of constitutional
precedent to allow the state to compel American
citizens to advance ideas they find reprehensible.
Boylan claims that Phillips is seeking special religious exemptions. To the contrary, sexual revolutionaries are seeking exemptions from the Constitution. They believe that same-sex marriage is so precious that even artists can be conscripted into the ceremony — despite their deeply held beliefs. They believe that the cost of entering the marketplace is not just the loss of your distinct artistic voice but the commandeering of that voice by your ideological foes to advance their ideological interests.
Progressives love to push people around who don't agree with them.
Or get the state to do it.
■ That (at least) was an op-ed. But the NYT doesn't have any
problem with sloppy thinking in its ostensible "news" articles
either. Jacob Sullum at Reason takes 'em
to Bake a Gay Wedding Cake Is Not the Same As Banning Gay
Next Tuesday the Supreme Court will hear Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which poses the question of whether the government violates a baker's right to freedom of speech when it compels him to produce a cake for a gay wedding despite his religious objections to same-sex marriage. Like most (all?) libertarians, I think this sort of coercion is wrong, although I'm not sure the relevant right is freedom of speech. The principle also could be described as freedom of religion or freedom of conscience. At bottom, as Scott Shackford has observed, the dispute is about freedom of association and freedom of contract. But one thing should be clear: It is the government, at the behest of an aggrieved gay couple, that is initiating the use of force. It is the baker, Jack Phillips, who is asking to be left alone. The question is whether he has a right to expect that—or, to put it another way, whether the government's use of force is justified.
If you click over to read the article (as you should) you might
notice Pun Salad as a contributor to Reason's yearly
webathon on their donation widget at the top of the page. (Even
though I am now one of the ElderlyOnAFixedIncome.) I encourage you
consider doing the same.
At the [probably paywalled] WSJ Roger Kimball asks the
If We Love Democracy, Why Does ‘Populism’ Get Such a Bad Rap?
It is curious how certain words accumulate a nimbus of positive
associations, while others, semantically just as innocuous, wind up
shrouded in bad feelings. Consider the different careers of the
terms “democracy” and “populism.”
To modern ears, “democracy” is a eulogistic word. It produces pleasant vibrations. People feel good about themselves when they use it. “Populism,” just the opposite.
I recall feeling the same way (a long time ago) about Marx's use of
"exploitation", when it turned out to mean "paying people market
wages". So that's a bad thing?
Anyway, I've put Kimball's new book, Vox Populi, on my things-to-read list.
■ My Google LFOD alert was triggered by Paula Werme's letter in the
Concord Monitor, complaining of an Unconstitutional
I received the following letter from the town of Boscawen: “The town
of Boscawen has contracted Avitar Associates of New England to
conduct a data verification process. . . . At this time, Avitar is
scheduling appointments for interior (house) inspections. . . .
Please call during the times specified below to set up an
appointment to view the interior of your property.”
It is a very cleverly worded letter designed to get you to “call for an
appointment” – i.e. consent – to an outrageous unconstitutional search
of your entire home. Apparently, this company is in business solely to
violate my constitutional rights and the rights of fellow citizens.
Apparently Boscawen is also not the only town in New Hampshire to use
this firm to violate home-owner rights, as someone told me that these
interior inspections are common in her town.
Has the Fourth Amendment been suspended? Does the town up my assessment
based on my refusal to have anyone enter my home? How much am I paying
in taxes to have this agent of the town enter various homes for purposes
of “assessment” in violation of homeowners’ Fourth Amendment rights? We
are in the Live Free or Die state. Taxpayers everywhere need to pressure
towns to stop outrageous and invasive “interior inspections.”
We fought a war over this. Have some respect for those who died for these principles.
Unfortunately, LFOD doesn't apply to NH property taxes, at least not
presently. The Institute of Justice tried to fix this
back in 2004, and the sad result
section heading: "New Hampshire: Live Free or Die Except When the
Government Wants Into Your Home")
■ Last but not least, our Michael
P. Ramirez cartoon du jour:
Lauer lines up
[Click over for an unclipped version.]