URLs du Jour

2018-06-27

[Amazon Link]

  • The seemingly optimistic theme of the current chapter is maintained in Proverbs 11:10:

    10 When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices;
        when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.

    Those of us who are extremely skeptical of mob rule are … skeptical about the thrust here.


  • At NRO, Robert VerBruggen looks at a recent book: Mona Charen vs. the Feminists.

    At the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this year, Mona Charen drew boos — and eventually needed a security escort out of the building — for criticizing conservatives’ shift of late regarding sexual propriety. “How can conservative women hope to have any credibility on the subject of sexual harassment or relations between the sexes when they excuse the behavior of President Trump?” she asked in a subsequent New York Times op-ed. “And how can we participate in any conversation about sexual ethics when the Republican president and the Republican Party backed a man credibly accused of child molestation for the United States Senate?”

    In her new book Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense, Charen lays out the case the Right should be making on these topics. It’s an excellent issue-by-issue overview of conservative thinking on, well, sex matters — from the wage gap, to abortion, to the rise of unwed childbearing, to the mommy wars, to the hookup culture and alleged rape crisis on college campuses, to the new debate over transgenderism. Its one major limitation is that it focuses far more on pushing back against feminism than on offering a positive conservative vision of what relations between the sexes should look like.

    My only gripe here is "common sense", a phrase from which America deserves a respite. I suggest replacing it with "Things That Should be Painfully Obvious" in this case.

    After an interesting historical overview of feminist thought, Charen launches into “Vive La Difference,” a chapter diving into the science of sex differences — the kind of thinking that got James Damore in trouble at Google. It’s a concise and readable summary of the research supporting the commonsense idea that men and women are different, and not just because they’re socialized differently.

    Let’s start with the differences we can observe. Men are bigger, more aggressive, and more physically powerful than women, and many of their traits are more “variable” — e.g., there are more male geniuses but also more male dullards. On average, men outperform women in spatial skills (such as mentally rotating objects) and abstract math; women outperform men when it comes to language skills, concrete mathematical calculation, and interpreting facial expressions. In terms of interests, women are more likely to care about people, while men are more likely to be fascinated by things.

    The idea that we can close our eyes and pretend that sex differences don't exist is one of those things—and there seem to be a lot of them these days—that people in decades hence will look back on and wonder: how could anyone have thought that?


  • And continuing on that general theme, Kevin D. Williamson wonders at the Weekly Standard: What Happens When the Trans Movement Meets Sports?

    Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face and suffer a concussion, a broken orbital bone, and injuries requiring seven staples in the head—before the end of the first round.

    That’s what happened in the famous case of Boyd Burton, a mixed martial arts fighter and Navy veteran who, as a 31-year-old father, began living life as a woman called Fallon Fox. Fox began competing professionally as the sport's first openly transgender athlete, and in one fight delivered a savage beating to Tamikka Brents. Fight fans might have seen in that non-contest a pugilistic spectacle, but many critics—feminists prominent among them—saw something else: A man beating a woman half to death.

    That was in 2014. Things have not grown simpler in the past five [sic] years.

    It must be tough thinking that you've been assigned the wrong sex. But (as this Mental Floss article relates) it's also tough thinking you have bugs crawling under your skin. Such people should be treated with respect and compassion, but saying "yeah, that's true" is going a bridge too far.


  • In New Hampshire-related news, the Hill reports: Intern who shouted 'f--- you' at Trump has been 'held accountable for her actions'.

    The quotes in the headline should be interpreted as "not really".

    Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) on Tuesday defended the one-week suspension of an intern who shouted an expletive at President Trump, saying the employee has been “held accountable.”

    Hassan told Sean Sullivan of The Washington Post that the intern “took full responsibility” for her actions, and turned the blame around on Trump for failing to do the same.

    Uh huh. Suggested reading for Senator Maggie: the Wikipedia article on the Tu quoque fallacy.


  • At his Freespace blog, Timothy Sandefur is honestly torn: I hate the travel ban decision—but it’s right.

    Today’s Supreme Court decision upholding the President’s authority to ban people from specified Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States is upsetting, perhaps—but it’s pretty clearly the right legal decision. The travel ban may be cruel and stupid, but the President has the constitutional authority to be cruel and stupid in many ways, and this I one of them.

    The arguments against the travel ban basically boil down to two: 1) does it amount to religious discrimination that violates the First Amendment? And 2) does it violate the Immigration and Naturalization Act, a federal statute that allows the President to bar the entry of “all aliens or any class of aliens” if he “finds” that their entry would be contrary to the national interest. That word “finds” is really important, as we’ll see.

    I think "cruel" is (yet another) political adjective that should be retired, but "stupid" is apropos. Still, legal, as five SC justices noted.


  • The Google LFOD alert rang for a Laconia Daily Sun article: Taxes for online sales could be a deal-breaker for local businesses. Taylor Caswell, commissioner of the state’s Department of Business and Economic Affairs, is quoted:

    "The Wayfair decision handed down...by the United States Supreme Court tells New Hampshire businesses that they now must collect taxes for politicians in other states that they did not elect. This is unacceptable,” Caswell said in a statement released on June 21. “New Hampshire businesses have never, ever, collected a sales tax and New Hampshire residents have never, ever, paid an income tax. Imposing this new requirement on us isn’t just an administrative burden, it goes against what New Hampshire stands for: Live Free or Die... I am working with state leaders to determine a path forward aimed at defending New Hampshire’s business community from this modern-day taxation without representation scheme."

    Please. General Stark would not have "worked with state leaders to determine a path blah blah blah". He would have said "I'm not playing your game, South Dakota. Come and get me."