URLs du Jour

2018-01-12

Proverbs 16:4 is cheerfully optimistic:

4 The Lord works out everything to its proper end—
    even the wicked for a day of disaster.

It would be nice if things reliably worked that way, wouldn't it?


■ David Henderson looks at the headline on a recent LATimes article:

Marin County has long resisted growth in the name of environmentalism. But high housing costs and segregation persist

… and asks the obvious question about that second sentence: But or Therefore?

A paragraph from the quoted story:

When a Los Angeles-based nonprofit examined demographic data on wealth, education, criminal justice and other issues, it found that Marin is home to the largest inequities between racial groups of any county in California. Disparities in homeownership rates and housing costs between whites and blacks and Latinos were a predominant factor leading to Marin's ranking.

Yet another confirming data point to a major thesis of The Captured Economy by Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles: rent-seeking exclusionary land use regulation is a major driver of inequality.

Note: Marin County voted 77% for Hillary in the 2016 election.

Further note: Cato ranks California #48 of the 50 states in land-use freedom. But lest we gloat here in New Hampshire, the Live Free or Die state ranks not much better: #43.


@JonahNRO wonders: Why Have We Let Actors Become Our Moral Guides? I think that's a rhetorical question, but let's see, zipping to the final paragraphs:

The interesting question is: Why have movie stars and other celebrities become an aristocracy of secular demigods? It seems to me an objective fact that virtually any other group of professionals plucked at random from the Statistical Abstract of the United States — nuclear engineers, plumbers, grocers, etc. — are more likely to model decent moral behavior in their everyday lives. Indeed, it is a bizarre inconsistency in the cartoonishly liberal ideology of Hollywood that the only super-rich people in America reflexively assumed to be morally superior are people who pretend to be other people for a living.

I think part of the answer has to do with the receding of religion from public life. As a culture, we’ve elevated “authenticity” to a new form of moral authority. We look to our feelings for guidance. Actors, as a class, are feelings merchants. While they may indeed be “out of touch” with the rest of America from time to time, actors are adept at being in touch with their feelings. And for some unfathomably stupid reason, we now think that puts us beneath them.

"Unfathomably stupid" well describes the country whose major-party voters gave us a "choice" between Trump and Hillary last year.


■ At Reason, Ed Krayewski doesn't think much of the Project Veritas exposé on Twitter's regulation of its users: James O'Keefe Panders to Populist 'Conservatives' Who Think Silicon Valley Is the Greatest Threat to Freedom.

Twitter has found out being an open space for racist trolls doesn't entice new users or encourage existing users to stick around, and so in recent months it has tried to impose new policies to minimize that. It should be free to adopt whatever policies it wants—it's a private company, after all.

The idea that Twitter might want to prioritize its bottom line over its users' ability to say whatever they want to whoever they want on the platform has given many modern conservatives the vapors.

I don't disagree, but there's little question that Twitter's stated policies are not employed even-handedly.


■ Patterico comments on the latest imbroglio: President Donald J. Trump on “Shithole Countries”. Quoting the NYT story:

President Trump on Thursday balked at an immigration deal that would include protections for people from Haiti and some nations in Africa, demanding to know at a White House meeting why he should accept immigrants from “shithole countries” rather than people from places like Norway, according to people with direct knowledge of the conversation.

Patterico is appalled, but he lets other people make the argument via Tweets like this:

Yeah, good point. Also see the linked article for a comment from Mia Love, Republican congresscritter from Utah, daughter of Haitian immigrants. Here's her relevant tweet:


■ Providing counterpoint is Jeremy Carl at NRO: Of Trump, Holes, and Our Real Immigration Scandals.

The Center for Immigration Studies has exhaustively examined welfare use by immigrant area of origin . Central America and Mexico are at 73%, The Caribbean at 51% and Africa at 48%. Europe was far lower at 26%. East Asia was at 32% and South Asia the lowest of all groups at 17%. And such disparate outcomes for immigrants by nation-of-origin continue multi-generationally.

So there's that.