URLs du Jour

2018-05-21

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  • Proverbs 12:3 is definitely above average:

    3 No one can be established through wickedness,
        but the righteous cannot be uprooted.

    The Proverbialist maintains an apt, evocative metaphor in both parts of the proverb, something he didn't always manage to do.

    I'm just not sure how true it is.


  • The University Near Here is (for now) on the side of the angels, but George F. Will's column this week shows that not all institutes of higher education have gotten the message: Battling Campus Oppression of the Freedom of Expression

    On election night 2016, Mark Schlissel, the University of Michigan’s president, addressed more than 1,000 students, declaring that the 90 percent of them who had favored the losing candidate had rejected “hate.” He thereby effectively made those who disagreed with him and with the campus majority eligible to be targets of the university’s “bias response teams.” That his announced contempt for them made him a suitable target of the thought police is a thought that presumably occurred to no one, least of all him.

    Now, however, this leader of a public institution is being sued for constitutional violations. So are some members of Michigan’s archetypal administrative bloat — the ever-thickening layer of social-justice crusaders and orthodoxy enforcers who, nationwide, live parasitically off universities whose actual purpose is scholarship. These include Michigan’s vice-provost for equity and inclusion and the director of the Office of Student Conflict Resolution. Such bureaucrats have professional stakes in finding inequities to rectify and conflicts to resolve.

    So I'm wondering: if UNH has actually limited the scope of its intrusions into expressive conduct, will there be a proportional decrease in the number of bureaucrats? Fingers crossed.


  • The headline on Robby Soave's Reason post pretty much tells the story: Study: Voters Worried About Political Correctness Flocked to Candidate Trump. But I wanted to quote, as Robby does, the abstract of the study he considered ("Donald Trump as a Cultural Revolt Against Perceived Communication Restriction: Priming Political Correctness Norms Causes More Trump Support"):

    Donald Trump has consistently performed better politically than his negative polling indicators suggested he would. Although there is a tendency to think of Trump support as reflecting ideological conservatism, we argue that part of his support during the election came from a non-ideological source: The preponderant salience of norms restricting communication (Political Correctness – or PC – norms). This perspective suggests that these norms, while successfully reducing the amount of negative communication in the short term, may produce more support for negative communication in the long term. In this framework, support for Donald Trump was in part the result of over-exposure to PC norms. Consistent with this, on a sample of largely politically moderate Americans taken during the General Election in the Fall of 2016, we show that temporarily priming PC norms significantly increased support for Donald Trump (but not Hillary Clinton). We further show that chronic emotional reactance towards restrictive communication norms positively predicted support for Trump (but not Clinton), and that this effect remains significant even when controlling for political ideology. In total, this work provides evidence that norms that are designed to increase the overall amount of positive communication can actually backfire by increasing support for a politician who uses extremely negative language that explicitly violates the norm.

    Preponderant Salience of Norms will be playing a set down at Fury's Publick House in Dover next weekend.


  • The Associated Press's Holly Ramer is a girl after my own heart, looking at the variety of LFOD usage in local politics: Live Free or Die’ motto often invoked, with mixed results

    Written by Revolutionary War Gen. John Stark in 1809 and adopted as the state motto in 1945, the phrase won praise from then-candidate Donald Trump just before the 2016 presidential primary.

    “What a great slogan,” Trump said in a Facebook video. “Congratulations, New Hampshire. Wonderful job.”

    To Trump, the motto stood for everything from free enterprise and border security to “taking care of our vets.”

    Based on this session’s debate, some New Hampshire politicians would add protecting transgender individuals and crime victims, texting at stoplights and growing marijuana.

    Also: car inspections. I missed the comments of state Rep. Glen Dickey, R-New Boston, who sponsored an unsuccessful bill to require inspections only every two years instead of the current annual pain.

    “Do we have a cultural value of aiming for the potholes or the trees? Is there something in the water that makes us extra reckless?” he said on Feb. 15. “You would think if we were that distinct from inhabitants of other regions we would be drowning in sociological studies describing the Live Free or Die gene or the New Hampshire death cult.”

    I wish Glen lived in Rollinsford so I could vote for him.

    Back in March, I noted Marginal Revolution's Alex Tabarrok's post Vehicle Safety Inspections Don’t Increase Safety. There's no excuse for them.


  • And Commie National Public Radio brinks the LFOD snark, which is richly deserved in this instance: N.H. Liquor Stores Are At The Center Of Cross-Border Bootlegging Stings

    New Hampshire may proudly have a libertarian streak, but the Live Free or Die state also boasts about its state-run liquor stores. Alcohol's a big revenue generator for the government - low prices in stores located near the state's borders draw in customers from across the region. As New Hampshire Public Radio's Todd Bookman reports, that convenience is also attracting modern-day bootleggers and prompts a wave of recent arrests.

    A transcript of Todd's report follows, detailing the odyssey of Juncheng Chen from Queens, NY, who bought over 1000 bottles of booze from six NH state stores, "including more than 500 bottles of Hennessy cognac". But he was being tailed by a criminal investigator with the New York State Department of Taxation, and was promptly arrested once he crossed back into NY.

    I, for one, miss the days of Governor Meldrim Thomson, Jr., who ordered NH state troopers to chase away Massachusetts revenooers taking down license plate numbers of their citizens' cars in NH liquor store parking lots.