URLs du Jour


  • Proverbs 15:25 is … a little weird:

    25 The Lord tears down the house of the proud,
        but he sets the widow’s boundary stones in place.

    Taken literally, the Lord is sort of a vigilante vandal/handyman, dispensing destruction/aid as appropriate. I think we have to look for a more metaphorical interpretation here.

  • At NR, Jonah Goldberg observes: Trumpism Is a Psychology, Not an Ideology.

    Intellectuals and ideologically committed journalists on the left and right have a natural tendency to see events through the prism of ideas. Trump presents an insurmountable challenge to such approaches because, by his own admission, he doesn’t consult any serious and coherent body of ideas for his decisions. He trusts his instincts.

    Trump has said countless times that he thinks his gut is a better guide than the brains of his advisers. He routinely argues that the presidents and policymakers who came before him were all fools and weaklings. That’s narcissism, not ideology, talking.

    Insightful, and … oh yeah, we're in a heap of trouble.

  • Concerned about the assault on the Second Amendment by Progressives? You should be. But as A. Barton Hinkle points out at Reason: Some Progressives Targeting the First Amendment, Too.

    Many progressives have long believed America would be a much better place without the Second Amendment. These days, some of them seem to think we'd also be better off without the First.

    That might sound like an exaggeration. But it's hard to square the First Amendment with a recent proposal in The New Republic: "Ban Facebook Before Elections." And yes, the headline accurately represents the text:

    "If fake news truly poses a crisis for democracy," writes Jeet Heer, "then it calls for a radical response. Instead of merely requiring greater transparency of social media and empowering the courts to ban users and websites... perhaps governments should outright ban Facebook and other platforms ahead of elections.

    Fun! But as Hinkle points out, the principle that bans Facebook under certain circumstances can equally be exteded to The New Republic, National Review, or even The New York Times.

    But Progressives aren't really interested in principles these days, only the power to make people behave the way they want.

  • AEI's James Pethokoukis explains it for you: Why populists of the left and right are soulmates on trade. (We've previously noted the fact that Trump's anti-free trade positions taken during the campaign were similar to Bernie Sanders', and Pethokoukis provides additional examples.)

    Why the common ground? Well, because populists gonna populist, whether they are on the Bernie Bro left or the “drain the swamp” right, although each side may be loathe to admit how much they have in common. But in reality, it’s quite a bit. Both are deeply suspicious of capitalism as a positive force in bringing about a peaceful and prosperous society. Both rhetorically champion “the people” against “the elite” or “the establishment.” And both tend to ignore possible constraints on their actions, which is one reason they dislike markets. (This tends to be true of populists everywhere.) As presidential candidates, Sanders and Trump had the two most implausible economic plans, with both assuming super-fast economic growth to make their numbers work. When you’re a populist politician with big dreams of Medicare for all or mega-tax cuts for all, it’s a real drag to have to worry about debt-to-GDP ratios or what bond investors might think.

    At least back in the good old days of Smoot-Hawley, Congress had to pass actual legislation to screw up the American economy. Today, the President can do that all by his lonesome.

  • And Michael Ramirez comments pictorially:

    Punishing steel exporters by the numbers

    That's regrettably clipped, so please click through.