URLs du Jour


■ I initially misread the last word of Proverbs 15:6 as "fun" instead of "ruin". That would have made the Proverb more entertaining:

6 The house of the righteous contains great treasure,
    but the income of the wicked brings ruin.

I wonder if the Proverbialist had an Ancient Israeli version of a Mad Lib generator:

The   (noun)   of the   (good-people noun)     (verb)     (good-thing noun)  
    but the   (noun)   of the   (bad-people noun)     (verb)     (bad-thing noun)  .

I'm willing to accept a generous Federal grant to do research along these lines.

■ Jonah Goldberg's G-File this week deserves your attention, as it contains some deep thoughts on the connection between the Government and the Governed: The People We Deserve.

We don’t have a monarchical, aristocratic, or despotic government — though there are aspects of our government that are far closer to such adjectives than many would like to admit. But we talk about it like we think it should be. In the wake of this horrific shooting in Florida, journalists and politicians are shouting demands at the federal government and the president of the United States that neither can achieve if they are to stay consistent with the Constitution.

“Get rid of the guns!” “Stop this from happening!” TV hosts scream, as the networks shove cameras in the faces of grieving mothers and fathers of children still in body bags, while crediting their utterly understandable cries of anguish as coherent public-policy programs. The assumption is that, if only the president’s heart were in the right place, these terrible things wouldn’t be happening. It reminds me of the old lament of the Jews harassed by the pogroms, “If only the Czar knew!”

Mr. Goldberg quotes Joseph de Maistre (our Pic du Jour): "Every nation gets the government it deserves." He updates: "every government ultimately gets the people it deserves, too."

■ Jim Geraghty suggests we need something that we are unlikely to get: We Need an Accurate National Conversation About Guns.

We keep hearing, “we need to have a national conversation about guns,” and then we keep hearing statements from those same voices that are simply not true. If we’re going to have that national conversation, I want the other side to do its homework first.

I don’t want to hear CNN lamenting that Florida doesn’t require a concealed carry permit for an AR-15 or shotgun. (They are too large to conceal.) I don’t want to hear people referring to the AR-15 as an “automatic assault weapon” and I want them to learn the difference between automatic and semiautomatic, and which kind is already illegal. I don’t want to hear about “the gun show loophole” unless the shooter purchased his gun at a gun show. (To the best of my knowledge, not a single mass-shooter has done so.) I want former presidents to stop asserting that it’s easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than buy a computer or a book.

And of course, there are tweets like this (from my own CongressCritter, Carol Shea-Porter:

I tweet-replied:

I am unsurprised that CSP has not (as I type) corrected herself.

■ David Forsmark list's 'em off: 5 Terrible Things the Media Communicates to Every Potential School Shooter. [RTWT for explanations.]

  1. You will be famous
  2. The world will come to a stop for you and talk about nothing else for days
  3. A school is the target that will get you the most attention
  4. You should use an AR-15; they are the most dangerous and cool
  5. No one will shoot back at you at a school—and we’ll make damned sure it stays that way!

I can't disagree. To add another clause to de Maistre: we get the media we deserve, and the media gets the audience it deserves.

■ The Other Big News is analyzed by John Hinderaker at Power Line: Mueller Indicts Russians For 2016 Election Interference. A number of observations, including:

The indictment is odd, to say the least. Its very first paragraph recites that it is against the law for foreign nationals to spend money to influence US elections, or for agents of foreign countries to engage in political activities without registering. But no one is charged with these crimes. Instead, the indictment is devoted mostly to charging a “conspiracy to defraud the United States.” Normally, that would refer to defrauding the U.S. out of, say, $10,000 in Medicare benefits. Its application to the 2016 election seems dubious. Beyond that, the indictment charges relatively minor offenses: bank fraud (opening accounts in false names) and identity theft.

I would hope that oddness gets clarified sooner than later.

■ There's a new issue of American Consequences out with lots of P. J. O'Rourke content. For one example: The Certain Loser in November’s Congressional Elections. Who?

He isn’t a candidate. He isn’t even alive.

But America is going to be a lot worse off without him.

Adam Smith (1723-1790) founded the discipline of economics, discovered the way economies work, showed how free enterprise creates prosperity, and wrote The Wealth of Nations.

If the message of that masterwork had to be distilled into one sentence it would be, “Free trade is good.”

Actually, the sentence would be more forceful than that:

Free trade is absolutely vital to every aspect of human existence, otherwise your life would be a living hell, but not for long, because you’d die.”

Every pol that tells you otherwise is either a liar or an idiot. Or both.

■ It's impossible to trust any major-party pol's blather about "partisan" gerrymandering. Or for that matter, anything you'll read about it in the media. So it's important to point out people who approach the issue from an outside view, like Walter Olson at Cato: Politicians, Voters, and Gerrymandering.

Libertarians are in some ways especially well-situated to spot the harms that can result when politicians get to select which constituents they would like to represent rather than vice versa. And the issue fits well into a long tradition of classical liberal thinking about the electoral process and representation, among the goals of which is to restrain existing establishments from gathering too much power unto themselves. Voters should choose legislators, not the other way around.

Mr. Olson is too respectable, however, to advocate the Pun Salad Crackpot Proposal on "fairness".

Last Modified 2018-12-27 4:35 PM EDT