URLs du Jour

2018-03-07

  • Proverbs 15:24 advocates for prudence:

    24 The path of life leads upward for the prudent
        to keep them from going down to the realm of the dead.

    It's easy to be snarky here: even Maximum Prudence will not save you from eventually kicking the bucket. But it could be that this is one of the (rare) instances of the Old Testament mentioning the afterlife.

    In which case, the proper attitude might be: Hey, all it takes is prudence? That seems easy!


  • My fair state—whose motto, don't forget, is "Live Free or Die"—makes the (web) pages of Reason, and not in a good way. Scott Shackford reports: What Forfeiture Reforms? New Hampshire Police Bypass State Law, Keep Taking People's Stuff.

    In theory, New Hampshire has reformed its asset forfeiture laws. The state passed a bill in June 2016 to keep police from seizing and keeping people's property unless those people have been convicted of a crime.

    And yet New Hampshire Public Radio reports this week that the state's cops are still trying to keep stuff seized from people who have been accused but not actually convicting of criminal behavior. Just months after the reform was passed, NHPR reports, state highway patrol officers grabbed a bag with $46,000 in cash out of a man's Hyundai during a traffic stop. They couldn't prove that the man had broken any laws, but they're attempting to keep the money anyway.

    The Commie New Hampshire Public Radio link has more information, including a link to the filed complaint from the Feds: United States of America v. Forty Six Thousand Dollars ($46,000) in U.S. Currency, more or less, seized from Alex Temple.

    The story of Mr. Temple's interaction with the NH State Police and the subsequent investigation is (frankly) pretty hilarious. And I say that without being Under the Influence of any Substance, other than my morning Folger's.


  • At the WaPo, Megan McArdle asks and answers: The real risk to Trump’s tariffs? American jobs.

    Remember, industries that consume steel and aluminum employ more Americans than steel or aluminum mills. These are “good” jobs, manufacturing jobs of just the sort that Trump has promised to protect. The products made by those industries will now become less competitive compared with foreign goods. They’ll lose domestic sales and export markets — and, with them, jobs.

    And that’s not all. China’s exports to us are already considerably restricted. The hardest-hit will be other trading partners, the ones that buy plenty from us. And they will be itching to retaliate with tariffs of their own. Depending on how far this escalates — and given Trump’s temperament, it could escalate pretty far — those secondary losses could be quite substantial.

    Ms. McArdle's article is a good brief description of the political and economic realities involved.


  • Writing at the American Conservative, Nick Phillips describes Oxford’s Junk Science on Fake News.

    Is National Review “junk news”? A panel of Oxford scientists says yes. Their study, “Polarization, Partisanship and Junk News Consumption over Social Media in the US,” purports to show that on social media, conservatives are far more likely than others to share “junk news.” That conclusion has earned them glowing write-ups in left-of-center outlets like The Guardian, Salon, and The Daily Beast.

    And what’s junk news? According to the study, a source is junk if it “deliberately publishes misleading, deceptive or incorrect information purporting to be real news about politics, economics or culture.”

    Mr. Phillips shows how the "scientists" utilized vague criteria, unevenly applied. The study is a bad joke.


  • Bryan Caplan debated a WaPo columnist, Elizabeth Bruenig, at LibertyCon the other day. Topic "Capitalism vs. Socialism". Ms. Bruenig posted her opening statement at Medium. Bryan Caplan responds: Capitalism vs. Socialism: Reply to Bruenig.

    RTWT—both things—of course, but I enjoyed this response to Ms. Bruenig's assertion that the "great authors of the Western tradition, the ancients and the late antique and medieval luminaries who laid out the foundations for what remains true and beautiful in our culture, would look see [sic] us as profoundly unfree."

    Caplan's response:

    I spent many years studying intellectual history. Still, my honest reaction: While these "luminaries" were smart, most were also profoundly ignorant and dogmatic - and apologists for the brutal societies in which they lived. Most had near-zero knowledge of what actually sustains the true and beautiful in our culture, namely: science, tolerance, and markets. They have far more to learn from us - both factually and morally - than we do from them.

    That said, I suspect the large majority of these luminaries would look at us with amazement. Indeed, when they exited of the time machine, they'd wonder if they'd died and gone to heaven. After all, they'd witness amazingly well-fed, healthy people enjoying a cornucopia of technology and art beyond their wildest dreams. Then they'd learn about the abolition of slavery and serfdom, the amazing progress of women, and the peaceful co-existence of conflicting religions and philosophies. And hygiene. And Netflix.

    Did I say RTWT? I did, but consider it said again.