URLs du Jour

2018-02-20

■ The Proverbialist seems to be in a rut, trying to figure out different ways to explain the differences between good and bad people. Proverbs 15:9 is yet another attempt:

9 The Lord detests the way of the wicked,
    but he loves those who pursue righteousness.

No surprises there. That would be pretty much what you would expect.


National Review's Dan McLaughlin urges us to Let the Kids Talk — but That’s Not the End of Any Debate.

In the aftermath of any atrocity, tragedy, or trauma, Americans tend to give a platform to the victims and their families. That’s a good and generous instinct, and it frequently means letting people vent their raw emotions in ways that are overwrought, irrational, angry, even rude, mean, or bigoted. Whether we listen or just turn our heads away respectfully from the scene, the act of speaking on a public platform can be cathartic.

People directly involved in a traumatic event have something to tell us about the event. And in some cases, they may have especially strong claims on subjects such as how the event is memorialized. But of course, because they are sympathetic figures, politicians are all too often tempted to use their raw emotions to score political points. The worst temptation comes when people try to endow them with what Maureen Dowd famously called Cindy Sheehan’s “absolute moral authority” to advance arguments without being questioned. And of course, that rhetorical gambit — especially common on the left side of the aisle — is never deployed symmetrically; for example, Dowd and her crew no longer believed Sheehan’s authority was absolute when she ran for Congress against Nancy Pelosi, and they certainly didn’t think Debra Burlingame had absolute moral authority in the Ground Zero Mosque debate, and they don’t think Steve Scalise has absolute moral authority on guns.

Mr. McLaughlin provides numerous examples. The media have been especially shameless in using kids as props for their gun-controlling advocacy. Disgusting.


■ What do the Experts say about Confucius Institutes? Natalie Johnson tells us: Experts: Universities Need to be Transparent About Money Received from Confucius Institutes.

American universities hosting Chinese-backed Confucius Institutes need to make public the details of their arrangements, including the amount of money they receive from the organization, according to regional experts.

Though Beijing bills the Confucius Institutes as a center to promote Chinese language education and cultural exchange around the world, there are mounting concerns in the United States that they threaten academic freedom, in part by limiting discussion on issues sensitive to the Chinese government.

The University Near Here is one of those hosts. From the linked page, it's unclear how active the Institute is. For example, One item says: "This Spring 8 UNH students are studying abroad in Chengdu from February 22-June 10." But it's pretty clear that this happened last spring.

In any case, I wonder if any enterprising local journalist (Foster's Daily Democrat? WMUR? New Hampshire Commie Public Radio?) would care to uncover the details of UNH's relationship with the Confucius Institute?


■ P. J. O'Rourke, at American Consequences, has Some Thoughts on The History of Trade.

It’s surprising that anyone ever set out to trade at all. And, at first, they probably didn’t.

At first, people set out to be those robbers and brigands. They didn’t trade, they just took stuff from other people and killed them all.

Then it dawned on the robbers and brigands… “We can’t go back and take more stuff from those other people. We killed them all.”

Trade has the advantage of being repeatable. Alas, as the history of the world proves, war turns out to be repeatable too. But it takes a lot longer to recover from bleeding than it does from banking your profits.

As many libertarian scholars have speculated: that's probably how governments and taxation got started as well.


■ And a news story from the Babylon Bee: Kamala Harris Makes Brief Appearance At Gun Violence Protest On Way To Pro-Abortion Rally.

Sources close to U.S. Senator Kamala Harris claim the representative of California stopped to make a brief appearance at a gun violence protest while en route to a scheduled stop to speak at a pro-choice rally Saturday.

“Pull the car over here, I want to posture on violence against children before I deliver a full-throated rally cry for the wholesale slaughter of unborn babies in a couple hours,” the likely 2020 presidential hopeful told her driver upon spotting the gun violence protest in the streets of D.C. “I’ll just be a minute, keep the car running.”

With all the "bought and paid for" huffing and puffing about NRA political contributions, nobody seems to be all that upset about Planned Parenthood or NARAL. Another example of the lack of symmetry mentioned by Dan McLaughlin above.