URLs du Jour

2018-07-08

[Amazon Link]

  • Proverbs 11:21 is another assurance of (eventual) cosmic justice:

    21 Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished,
        but those who are righteous will go free.

    Yeah, well, maybe! But I like how the Proverbialist precedes the Proverb with "Be sure of this". This kind of downgrades every other Proverb, doesn't it? The ones that, implicitly, you might not want to be too sure of?


  • At Reason, Steven Greenhut wonders: If Civility Is Out of Style, Where Do We End Up Next?

    During the 2012 election, this writer was appalled by the loutish behavior displayed by incumbent Joe Biden in his vice presidential debate against GOP challenger Paul Ryan, as Biden smirked and interrupted his way through the contest. In fact, my outraged column argued that Biden's behavior was "an affront to civility" because of its bullying nature. Civility doesn't meaning rolling over, but it does mean behaving with a little decorum.

    I laughed out loud after coming across that long-forgotten diatribe. It brought to mind a term from the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York: "defining deviancy down." Basically, the Democratic senator argued that as society becomes accustomed to deviancy, societal standards are lowered. What seemed outrageous yesterday, is accepted today. Life begins to resemble a game of limbo. How low can you go?

    I guess that we are going to find out.


  • But never mind civility. Jonah Goldberg's G-File wonders what happens When Patriotism Loses Its Universality.

    The reasons for this are many and complicated. One partial explanation — or result, depending on how you look at it: Appeals to patriotism work better on older, whiter Americans, nostalgic for a national unity that looms larger in gauzy memory than in fact (something that has not gone unnoticed by marketers). Trump’s fan service to “my people” only highlights and amplifies the trend.

    Like appeals to divine authority, appeals to patriotism only work on people who recognize the authority of patriotism. And the more you invoke patriotism as a substitute for fact-based arguments, the more you drain the power from patriotism. The more patriotism is used to sell an explicitly partisan agenda, the more patriotism is seen as a partisan phenomenon.

    Surprise: the link does not go to a Budweiser ad. Instead,… well, check it out, and see if it doesn't buttress Jonah's point about appeals to patriotism being aimed at us geezers.


  • Republicans are shaking their heads in gratitude, giggling under their breath. For the upcoming elections, in an Age of Trump, all that Democrats would really have to do is appear to be relatively sane, moderate, and polite. Instead, they are inspiring columns like George F. Will's: What might a socialist American government do?

    Today’s American socialists say that our government has become the handmaiden of rapacious factions and entrenched elites, and that there should be much more government. They are half-right. To be fair, they also say that after America gets “on the right side of history” (an updated version of after “the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”), government will be truly disinterested, manipulated by no rent-seeking factions, serving only justice. That is, government will be altogether different than it is, or ever has been. Seriously.

    Mr. Will is subtle. Also, correct.


  • John Hinderaker (Power Line) comments on a recent NYT editorial position. Times Editorial Board: Let’s Have a Gang War!. First, quoting the editorial:

    With Republicans controlling the Senate and the judicial filibuster dead, the Democrats’ odds of denying President Trump a second Supreme Court appointment are slim. Barring some unforeseen development, the president will lock in a 5-to-4 conservative majority, shifting the court solidly to the right for a generation.

    This is all the more reason for Democrats and progressives to take a page from “The Godfather” and go to the mattresses on this issue.

    John comments:

    “Going to the mattresses” means starting a gang war. Despite the editorialists’ reference to The Godfather, one assumes they mean the phrase as a metaphor. But a metaphor for what? Given the current frequency of violence and threats of violence against Republicans, it would be reassuring if the Times would make it clear that the paper isn’t actually calling for Republicans to be murdered.

    Yeah, the NYT probably doesn't want to be seen as advocating a Sonny Corleone-style machine-gunning of the participants in a GOP candidate debate.

    Probably. Right?