URLs du Jour

2018-07-15

[Amazon Link]

  • Proverbs 11:28 is yet another promise/threat aimed at good/bad people:

    28 Those who trust in their riches will fall,
        but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.

    On a vaguely related matter: my currency says "In God We Trust", but doesn't that sneakily imply that you're relatively foolish to trust that the currency you have on hand will hold its value?

    Also vaguely related: today's Amazon Product du Jour, In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash by the late Jean Shepherd.


  • Haven't read Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now yet? Let NRO's Christian Alejandro Gonzalez nudge you over the edge: Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now Is Mostly Right.

    Steven Pinker is a rare type of public intellectual, capable of writing prolifically without sacrificing an iota of scholarly rigor. Meticulously researched, closely argued, and elegantly written, his books are always exemplary pieces of scholarship. Most recently he committed his pen to making the case for Enlightenment values in his boldly titled Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.

    Against the Marxist revulsion to the free-enterprise system, for instance, Pinker unabashedly embraces capitalist globalization — and his empirical arguments in favor of it are devastating. With a deluge of charts he shows that 200 years of property protections and international trade have helped create a world that is healthier, wealthier, happier, smarter, safer, more peaceful, and more democratic. Far from bequeathing to us a hellishly unequal dystopia, capitalism over the centuries has diminished life’s brutalities and broadened access to its contentments.

    Christian [appropriately] notes one of Pinker's fudges: his effort to discover/explicate a "secular path to meaning". But to Pinker's credit, his comments on this are right up front: pages 3-4.


  • George F. Will on the National Pastime, arguably fading in popularity among the important demographics: Don’t fix baseball, even if it’s broken.

    It is a prudential axiom: If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. This reflects the awareness that things can always be made worse, and it reflects the law of unintended consequences, which is that they often are larger than and contrary to intended ones. As baseball reaches the all-star break amid lamentations about several semi-broken aspects of it, it is time to amend the axiom: Don’t fix it, even if it is broken.

    The itch to fix complex systems often underestimates the ability of markets, broadly understood, to respond and adapt to incentives. So, even if you are an unsatisfactory American — i.e., uninterested in baseball — read on, because the debate about some of the game’s current defects contains lessons about lesser things than baseball, meaning everything else.

    I'm mildly in favor of a pitch clock, which almost happened this year.

    Also: hit batsmen get to fling the ball back at the pitcher. "See how you like it."


  • The Google LFOD Alert rang a lot over the past couple days. For example, a Matt Welch article at Reason: How Elected Libertarians Are Making the World More Free. Specifically, Rochester's Brandon Phinney, Republican turned Officially Libertarian:

    For instance, the Live Free or Die State had on its books for more than a century a prohibition against reusing glass milk-delivery bottles for any other substance besides milk. This bit of dairy industry protectionism wasn't exactly high on inspectors' things-to-fine list, but as Phinney explains, "Anything in a statute that has a financial penalty or a chance to get charged for a crime, it's something that I care about."

    Also: performers drinking alcohol on stage is now legal in NH. Baby steps.


  • Which reminds me: Rep. Phinney gets a solid A on the Americans for Prosperity 2017 Legislative Scorecard. I'm envious. My town's three reps, Roger Berube, Matthew Spencer, and Dale Sprague, got (respectively) F (17%), A (92%), and F (33%). Our senator, David Watters, got an F (0%).

  • The Concord Monitor editoriaized on the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination, pontificating: A republic’s fate is in the hands of voters. Of course, it all comes down to one thing:

    We won’t hazard a guess as to the odds of a Roe v. Wade reversal but if it happens, barring the nuclear option of a federal ban on abortions, the issue will become a matter for states to decide. If it does, we know this: People who cannot make choices for themselves cannot be governed by New Hampshire’s vaunted “Live Free or Die” motto. Rarely can personal freedom be more at stake than when a woman faces the decision of whether to terminate a pregnancy or bear, against her wishes or at risk to her health, a child.

    In Monitor-Land, the baby doesn't get get a choice about "Live Free or Die". The "terminate a pregnancy" euphemism is typically dishonest.


  • Something I didn't notice local newshounds reporting is covered at the Columbus [Ohio] Dispatch:

    The New Hampshire Democrats released a July Fourth tweet quoting the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed ... with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Notice anything missing there, Declaration fans? Sure you do. And so did the GOP:

    The state’s GOP jumped on the edited quote, noting that “by their Creator” was removed from the original, even though the Dems had enough Twitter characters left to include it. “God is NOT an ellipsis,” the Republican news release was titled.

    And rightly so. Thought experiment: what was going through the mind of the Genius Democrat who creatively edited this text? Be as charitable as possible.