URLs du Jour

2018-07-16

[Amazon Link]

  • Proverbs 11:29 is a pretty famous one. Evocative imagery:

    29 Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind,
        and the fool will be servant to the wise.

    Famous mostly because of our Amazon Product du Jour. Apparently, that's the original movie poster over there on your right. I don't remember the monkey being in the movie, but it's been a real long time since I watched.

    I also don't know the relevance of the title Inherit the Wind to the subject matter of the play/movie, the Scopes monkey trial.


  • Experiment in multitasking: I've taken up podcast-listening while dog-walking. One of my subscriptions is to Russ Roberts' EconTalk, which I much recommend. The latest episode is based on Russ's Medium essay: The Outrage Epidemic. Couple of paragraphs to whet your appetite:

    The political atmosphere in America seem to have deteriorated a lot in the last few years. A lot of yelling. A lot of arrogance and overconfidence. A lot of trusting of stories that confirm what we already believe as opposed to stories that challenge what we only think we know. And a lot of trusting of stories that are literally not true.

    People don’t just disagree with each other. They can’t imagine how a decent human being could disagree with their view of immigration or the minimum wage or President Trump.

    Russ's podcast is interesting and he's relentlessly fair even when his guests are promoting ludicrous ideas.


  • I'm way too old to develop a new bad/stupid habit, so I'm uninterested in vaping myself. I'm pretty disgusted at the moral panic that's sprung up around it, though. So's John Tierney, writing at City Journal: Juul Madness.

    Tobacco-company stocks have plunged this year—along with cigarette sales—because of a wonderful trend: the percentage of people smoking has fallen to a historic low. For the first time, the smoking rate in America has dropped below 15 percent for adults and 8 percent for high school students. But instead of celebrating this trend, public-health activists are working hard to reverse it.

    They’ve renewed their campaign against the vaping industry and singled out Juul Labs, the maker of an e-cigarette so effective at weaning smokers from their habit that Wall Street analysts are calling it an existential threat to tobacco companies. In just a few years, Juul has taken over more than half the e-cigarette market thanks to its innovative device, which uses replaceable snap-on pods containing a novel liquid called nicotine salt. Because the Juul’s aerosol vapor delivers nicotine more quickly than other vaping devices, it feels more like a tobacco cigarette, so it appeals to smokers who want nicotine’s benefits (of which there are many) without the toxins and carcinogens in tobacco smoke.

    So "public health advocates" are actually working against … public health. Ironic? I'm never sure.


  • Baylen Linnekin brings (more) bad news at Reason: Trump's Tariffs Are Going To Make Your Food More Expensive.

    Food prices are rising. And they're soon likely to soar even more.

    The coming spike, which will hurt millions of Americans, didn't have to be. It's due on the one hand to the Trump administration's plans to impose mind-numbingly stupid tariffs on China and other U.S. trade partners and, on the other hand, by retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and others in return.

    Hey, let them eat lobster.


  • Kevin D. Williamson has deep thoughts (at NRO) about a recent sorta-comedy. Specifically, what sort of men become monsters? Stalin at the Movies.

    One possible answer: Those who get the chance.

    For the thoroughgoing materialist (“dialectical and historical materialism,” Stalin called it), none of that should be surprising. If you believe that H. sap. is only time’s favorite monkey — that man is meat — then there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for the kind of behavior we’re talking about, and no need to justify it, since there is nobody to justify it to. If you believe that man ought to be better, it implies that he can be better, and that “better” means something. And here materialism fails us, which is why Marxism became an ersatz religion. Christianity is a fortunate religion in the sense that the endless moral failings of its leaders (and followers) keeps illustrating, generation after generation, the fundamental facts of the creed. The creeds based on human perfectibility, which is the romantic notion at the heart of all utopian thinking, have as their main problem the countervailing example of everybody you’ve ever met and ever will.

    As noted yesterday, there's an excellent chance that cheerleaders for secular "enlightenment", like Steven Pinker, will be unhappy with the harvest they're sowing.


  • And a brief, but super-insightful Tweet du Jour from @baseballcrank, aka Dan McLaughlin:

    Exactly.