URLs du Jour

2018-08-04

[Amazon Link]

  • Proverbs 10:17 shows (I think) a bit of the Proverbialist's mentality:

    17 Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life,
        but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.

    Spoken like a true disciplinarian.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    Until there is.

    By the way, an, um, interesting array of items appears when you search Amazon for "disciplinarian". Today's Product du Jour is pretty far down in the results, because we try to keep things PG-13 here.


  • At Reason, Eric Boehm tells us of a local victim: Trade War Kills a New Hampshire Meadery's Plan to Export 100K Bottles to China.

    Earlier this year, Michael Fairbrother was closing in on a huge deal: a contract to send 100,000 bottles of mead—a wine-adjacent alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey—to a distributor in China.

    Landing the $750,000 contract would have been a game-changer for Moonlight Meadery, the New Hampshire–based business that Fairbrother started in his garage eight years ago. Already recognized as one of the best breweries in the state, it would have opened a huge new market for for its products. It also would have hired at least six new employees and bought new equipment to meet the new obligations, he says.

    Then the trade war came.

    I don't think I've ever consumed mead; what, do I look like Beowulf?

    But that's neither here nor there; this is a too-rare look at Bastiat's "unseen": the things that would have happened for the better, but didn't, thanks to Trump.


  • At Cato, John Samples looks at the recent Facebook takedown of fake-account pages: Facebook, Russia and Americans.

    Set Russia aside for a moment and consider the American part of the story. The deleted pages said things some Americans wanted to hear and supported. Members of Congress might find such speech “divisive” or “disinformation.” Apparently some Americans disagreed: they presumably saw the speech as informative and helpful.

    In the United States, by culture and by law, we have free speech so people can learn about and evaluate politics and much else. The people who saw the deleted pages seemed to have engaged and assessed the material. “It was the truth about our people,” Victor Perez, a construction worker in Salt Lake City said of a deleted page that, the Wall Street Journal reports, “used divisive memes to promote Native American and Hispanic culture.”

    The notion that Americans need to be protected from certain pixel-patterns on their screen simply because of who paid to put the pixels up there is basically throwing in the towel on the concept of free people making their own decisions. I.e., democracy.

    And yet there are only a few wacky libertarians making that point. I don't think this ends well.


  • On a related matter, it's been argued that some Americans should STFU about politics, simply because they're too rich. At Law and Liberty, John O. McGinnis takes that on: How the One Percent Improve Democracy.

    David and Charles Koch have decided to withhold political advertisements from Republican candidates who support Trump’s trade and immigration policies and instead run them for those who want freer trade and a less restrictive immigration policy. Regardless of our views on these issues (I am substantially sympathetic to the Kochs’ position on trade and somewhat so on legal immigration), we should be grateful to them and the other members of the one percent who exercise their constitutional rights broadly to disseminate a wide variety of political views.

    One of the greatest problems of democracy is the danger that the structure of government and politics will entrench certain ideas, thus impeding civic discussion. For instance, the party apparatus naturally lines up behind the view of its President while in office and promotes a party line. But it is important that even within the President’s party that there be competition between different views, because often the opposition for tactical and ideological reasons will not strongly contest some specific views of the President. The Democrats, for instance, are not strongly opposing Trump’s trade policies.

    Bottom line: it's a good thing to see arguments made outside the lines of the dominant political tribes.


  • At PJMedia, the inimitable Jim Treacher notes that We're Now in the 'Conservatives Pounce' Phase of the Plastic Straw Panic. Making another data point in the old story:

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that when conservatives do something dumb, that's the news story, and when liberals do something dumb, conservatives' reaction is the news story. Well, maybe that's not universally acknowledged. But it should be, because that's what always happens. The headline is always "GOP Pounces on Democrat's Sex Scandal," or "Republicans Seize on Antifa's Violent Rioting," or whatever. The reaction is always presented as an overreaction. The designated villains are always wrong, no matter what the designated heroes have done.

    For a recent example of making "pouncing" the news, see this article from the young-adult website Vox about the Sarah Jeong thing: she's "a venerated tech culture journalist with a broad range of expertise", but "the ensuing outcry from right-wing Twitter was both swift and familiar".


  • At National Review, Kevin D. Williamson has a balanced take on Pope Francis's latest pronouncement on capital punishment: The Bishop and the Executioner.

    It was for me, many years ago when I went to cover the competing rallies outside the prison in Huntsville, Texas, on the evening of an execution. With due respect to Pope Francis, it is obvious to me, as it was similarly obvious to every pope before him who had considered the question, that capital punishment is justified in some circumstances, not only as a practical question but as a moral one. It was equally obvious to me, watching that foaming crowd cheering on the executioner as though it were the fourth quarter with home team ahead by six, that we — We the People — were not equipped to be entirely responsible stewards of that awful power of life and death, and that the exercise of such power did not ennoble us but rather achieved the opposite.

    Interesting and thoughtful take, as is usual from KDW.


  • And a not-the-Onion headline from Mental Floss: Cartons of Almond Breeze Milk Recalled for Possibly Containing Actual Milk. The culprit is good old Harry P. Hood:

    HP Hood, the maker of Almond Breeze almond milk, is recalling more than 145,000 cartons of its vanilla-flavored beverage because the product may contain actual dairy milk, the Daily Herald reports.

    In other news, as reported by Molly Roberts in the WaPo: Big Dairy is going after your almond milk. I smell a plot!


  • And Michael P. Ramirez has been on vacay, but now he's back:

    Division

    Indeed. As always, click through to Mr. Ramirez's website for a glorious uncropped version.