■ We take our Proverbs in order, so don't blame us for Proverbs
17:13 not being full of the Christmas spirit:
13 Evil will never leave the house
of one who pays back evil for good.
Sounds like the premise of countless horror movies. And maybe five
good horror movies.
■ Jonah Goldberg's G-File is good as always, but America
and the ‘Original Position’ is most notable for its description
of John Rawls' classic thought experiment in his Theory of
Of course, we’re all very lucky, in the broadest sense of the term.
As Olivia Newton John might say if she went to grad school, let’s
get metaphysical. The late philosopher John Rawls had a thought
experiment called “the original position.” The basic idea is to
imagine that you are a disembodied soul waiting outside this world
in a kind of placeless, meaningless limbo — sort of like a Delaware
rest stop. He then asks you to think about what kind of society you
would want to be born into. But here’s the catch: You won’t know if
you’ll be born rich or poor, smart or dumb, black, white, Asian,
Hispanic, gay, straight, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, never mind if
you’ll be able to fit 43 Cheetos in your mouth at one time. You’ll
be behind what Rawls called a “veil of ignorance.”
I would recommend this to any college instructor struggling to get
his Political Philosophy 101 undergrads to understand what Rawls is
■ I don't think I ever explicitly labeled myself a "NeverTrumper", although
I've quoted a lot of them approvingly in the past. I didn't vote for
him, and don't plan to do so in the future. Nevertheless, my
ears pricked up a bit at Roger L. Simon's
the Remaining NeverTrumpers Should Apologize Now.
Nevertheless, it is time for the remaining NeverTrumpers to
apologize for a reason far more important than self-castigation or
merely to make things "right." Donald Trump -- whose initial
victory was a shock, even, ironically, to those of us who predicted
it -- has compounded that shock by being astoundingly successful in
his first year, especially at the conclusion. (He's a quick study,
evidently.) More conservative goals have been achieved or put in
motion in eleven months than in any time in recent, or even distant,
memory. It's an astonishing reversal for our country accompanied by
the beginnings of an economic boom.
Even granting all that,
my reply is "no thank you." Roger wants a "united front". to fight
the (hopefully only) ideological "war".
I think that sort of rhetoric is a poor choice, even when you
perceive that it's just turnabout-is-fair-play tactics, making
leftists and Progressives play against the same strategies they've
been using for years.
We're supposed to be better than that. I may not be better
than that, but I at least want to pretend I am.
■ At Reason, Adam Thierer lets us know
to Write a Tech-Panic Manifesto. It's a review of Franklin
Foer's member of the genre, World Without Mind: The Existential
Threat of Big Tech. Among many good points:
One reason for the success of big platforms and aggregators is that
consumers appreciate not only lower monetary costs but also lower
transaction costs. It's simpler to notify your family and friends
about a new baby when Facebook puts them all just a click away. Need
to sell that old junk in your garage? Craigslist and eBay make that
a lot easier, too. And Amazon and Google satisfy your shopping and
search needs in a frictionless fashion compared to the past. If Foer
has his way and government starts encumbering these activities by
undoing efficiency enhancements, consumers aren't likely to be
soothed by explanations that diminished choices or higher prices are
all for their own good.
It's a tough call on who's worse: Facebook/Google/Amazon/Netflix or
folks like Foer. But anyway, thanks to Thierer, I now have one more
book on my "don't bother reading" list. (But if you want to
read it, you're invited to use my—heh—Amazon link.)
■ It's the time of year for lists! Especially naughty lists, and
some people have been very very naughty, as evidenced by Tucker
Carlson’s handy list of 100 racist things from 2017. Here's
And number 11:
You can't win. Don't play.