URLs du Jour

2018-07-29

[Amazon Link]

  • In Proverbs 10:11, the Proverbialist returns to his oral fixation:

    11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
        but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

    In other words, good people are good; bad people are bad.


  • George F. Will writes on Our socialist president. Oh, sure, we like to slag on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. But:

    A more apt connection of current events to actual socialism was made by Sen. Ron Johnson, the Wisconsin Republican, when President Trump decided to validate the conservative axiom that government often is the disease for which it pretends to be the cure. When the president decided to give farmers a $12 billion bandage for the wound he inflicted on them with his splendid little (so far) trade war, and when other injured interests joined the clamor for comparable compensations, Johnson said, “This is becoming more and more like a Soviet type of economy here: Commissars deciding who’s going to be granted waivers, commissars in the administration figuring out how they’re going to sprinkle around benefits.”

    We'll, once more, quote Harry Browne: “The government is good at one thing. It knows how to break your legs, and then hand you a crutch and say, 'See if it weren't for the government, you wouldn't be able to walk.”

    I don't usually print more than one excerpt from an article, but I'll make an exception here:

    Now do you see what Friedrich Hayek meant when he said that socialism puts a society on the road to serfdom? Protectionism — government coercion supplanting the voluntary transactions of markets in the allocation of wealth and opportunity — is socialism for the well connected. But, then, all socialism favors those adept at manipulating the state. As government expands its lawless power to reward and punish, the sphere of freedom contracts. People become wary and reticent lest they annoy those who wield the administrative state as a blunt instrument.

    In addition to Hayek, we should also give a hearty shout-out to Bastiat, whose relevant quote is featured on our Amazon Product du Jour.


  • In his G-File, Jonah Goldberg asks the musical question: Who Cares about Truth Anymore, Anyway? He recalls the wonderful movie Galaxy Quest, with its desperate species, the Thermians, who have watched an old Trek-like TV series and taken it as a truthful documentary.

    For months, I’ve been banging my spoon on my highchair about how the legislative branch is acting like a Parliament of Pundits. Senators and congressmen on the right and left seem more concerned with getting primetime spots on cable-news shows than actually legislating. As a result, politicians are using their positions to craft entertaining talking-points for TV debates and diatribes that have only passing relationship to reality. They’re going along with the Thermians, playing to their faith in shadows and making little effort to engage with the truth. On the left, the mess at the border can’t just be bad, it must be Kristallnacht and Auschwitz. On the right, the idea that the president colluded — whatever that may mean — with Russia is the “greatest mass hysteria” in American history and a “total witch hunt.”At least until very recently. This week, the allegation Trump colluded with Russia is suddenly no longer an insane conspiracy theory and slander, it’s not really a problem at all.

    Someday, I hope, people will look back on their behavior and say: Geez, what was I thinking?

    But more likely, they'll look back, point to their political opponents, and say: Look what you made me do!


  • Well, there's some good news, as described by Brian Doherty at Reason: Gun Control Groups Fail to Stop Distribution of Gun-Making Computer Files.

    As reported earlier this month, the Justice Department wanted to settle a lawsuit with Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation over the government's many years of legally barring the former from hosting and distributing certain computer files that can help instruct devices to manufacture weapons at home. Defense Distributed believed, among other things, that their First Amendment rights were implicated by being legally prohibited from spreading the speech within those files. The government's official announcement that it was lifting its prohibition of the distribution of such files (the government originally argued spreading the files constituted illegal munitions export, essentially) was supposed to happen Friday.

    Panicked, a trio of gun-control interests (Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, and GiffordsPAC) tried to muscle in on the lawsuit at the very last minute and prevent the settlement from going into effect. Friday, after a hearing before Judge Robert Pitman in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, their attempt failed, the settlement went into effect, the lawsuit is over, and the files are being freely distributed.

    I'm old enough to remember the regulatory wars over strong cryptography, which were somewhat settled by publishing source code in print, making it into a First Amendment issue. It works for actual munitions now, too!


  • A funny article in the New York Times: New Hampshire, 94 Percent White, Asks: How Do You Diversify a Whole State?

    New Hampshire, like its neighbors Vermont and Maine, is nearly all white. This has posed an array of problems for new arrivals, who often find themselves isolated and alone, without the comfort and support of a built-in community.

    It has also posed problems for employers in these states, who find that their homogeneity can be a barrier to recruiting and retaining workers of different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds.

    There's no doubt that NH (and other northern New England states) have demographic issues, specifically an increasing fraction of geezers. (My fault entirely: I got old.)

    Leave it to the Times (aided by a lot of our own "progressive" citizens) to add the additional complication: not only do we need to get young people to move up here, those young people must be "of different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds."

    One of the proposed "solutions": "a system of rewarding businesses that hire a more diverse array of workers."

    It appears that those of us who would like the state to get out of the practice of pigeonholing people by their genes are … not going to see that anytime soon, probably not within my lifetime.


Last Modified 2018-10-05 1:56 PM EDT