URLs du Jour

2018-08-21

[Amazon Link]

  • We haven't done a multi-verse Proverb for a while, but Chapter 9 seems to work better that way. We begin with Proverbs 9:1-6:

    1 Wisdom has built her house;
        she has set up its seven pillars.
    2 She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine;
        she has also set her table.
    3 She has sent out her servants, and she calls
        from the highest point of the city,
    4 “Let all who are simple come to my house!”
        To those who have no sense she says,
    5 “Come, eat my food
        and drink the wine I have mixed.
    6 Leave your simple ways and you will live;
        walk in the way of insight.”

    That's pretty good, right? Very poetic and I love the personification of Wisdom, a gracious hostess welcoming even the simple to drop by and par-tay.

    But that "seven pillars" thing, where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah, it's a famous book, and our Amazon Product du Jour! (Link is to the paperback, but the Kindle version is a low low low $0.99!)

    I am unable via lazy Googling to find a further description the actual seven pillars. The ancients liked things in sevens, though. There's been an effort to label a rock formation at Wadi Rum in Jordan as the "Seven Pillars", but that seems to be "a fabrication, made up in the last few years by marketing executivesA ". I hate those guys.


  • At NR, Kevin D. Williamson writes on the future our betters have planned for us deplorables: The Compulsory Society. The jumping-off point is the recent re-attempt to get Jack Phillips of "Masterpiece Cakeshop" to bake a cake celebrating an activist's (probably fictional) "coming out as transgender."

    Liberalism has always struggled to balance the protection of minority rights against majoritarian institutions and — less often appreciated — the protection of individual rights. The American Left has liberated itself from such considerations by abandoning liberalism for identity politics and a might-makes-right ethic. Why compel Jack Phillips to knuckle under? Because you can, and because you hate him. Hate is an inescapable part of tribalism, and hate is now the single most important organizing principle of the American Left.

    T. H. White understood this ethic, which he described as the constitution of an ant colony: “Everything which is not forbidden is compulsory.” To the cranky dissidents such as Jack Phillips, and to the likewise unassimilated nonconformists of our time, we owe a debt of gratitude. If the human ethic survives the ant ethic, it will be in no small part because of them.

    You would think that this sort of thing would have collapsed under the weight of its own ludicrousness by now. Instead, it appears it will continue to be a source of both irritation and amusement.


  • Yet another takedown of Elizabeth Warren's proposal for asserting control over corporations that don't act in accordance with her preferences, from Robert Tracinski at the Federalist: Elizabeth Warren’s ‘Accountable Capitalism’ Is More Proof Of ‘Progressive’ Feudalism.

    This is a “progressive” proposal, but its adherents keep emphasizing that it’s just a return to the past. Warren describes it as “a new bill to help return to the time when American companies and workers did well together,” while a group of academics in support of Warren declares that this will “realign our regime of incorporation with its original purposes.” In a way, they’re right. This is a return to the past, because it resurrects an essentially feudal approach to property rights.

    Corporations were originally a grant of special privileges given by a monarch to reward his loyal supporters. They grew out of the old feudal system of prerogatives and privileges. At the center of that system was the feudal concept of property in which no one but the king owns anything free and clear. All property was held in “tenancy” from the crown, in exchange for services rendered back to the king.

    This is what "progressivism" stands for these days: taking power out of the private sphere, and putting it in the hands of pols, making more and more of us increasingly dependent on the state. In the hope that we'll show our "gratitude" by voting for Democrats.


  • At Reason, K. L. Wong has an if-you-didn't-know piece: Why the New Winnie the Pooh Movie Is Banned in China. Winnie? Why!?

    Rumors of China banning Winnie the Pooh are not new. In July 2017, it was widely reported in the Western media that China had been censoring internet memes in which the endearing bear was compared to the Chinese President Xi Jinping. While some reports do note that these memes carry concealed subversive messages in a particularly sensitive period—the advent of Xi's power grab—one may still have a hard time figuring out just where exactly lies the disguised innocence in the memes which only consist of mere juxtaposed images of Xi and Pooh.

    Examples are not difficult to find. To make sure Pun Salad gets on the Chinese shitlist:


  • At Cato, Marian L. Tupy has presidential advice: Trump Should Warn South Africa on Land Expropriations

    According to press reports, South Africa’s government has begun expropriating privately-owned farmland without financial compensation, thereby ignoring the post-apartheid political settlement, which allows for land redistribution in the country on a “willing buyer, willing seller” basis.

    It took awhile, but South Africa seems to be bumbling down the Road to Serfdom, for the usual reasons: failure of current socialistic policies? Obviously, we need more socialistic policies!


  • And in the "news you can use" department, Mental Floss reveals The U.S. State With the Most Psychopaths Is …

    Quaint, quiet Connecticut—home of the Frisbee and the first speed-limit law—is also apparently home to the most Norman Bates types. A recent study spotted by Quartz ranked each U.S. state by the number of psychopaths who are estimated to be living there, and the results may surprise you.

    Ah, "the results may surprise you." You don't see that kind of old-school clickbait much any more.

    But, guess what, the results did surprise me.

    Following Connecticut, the top five states by psychopathy are California, New Jersey, New York, and Wyoming (New York and Wyoming tied). The least psychopathic state, on the other hand, is wild and wonderful West Virginia.

    New York, OK. I see that. I feel that I'm going a little crazy myself when I visit.

    But tied with Wyoming?! How did that happen?

    Oh, yeah: New Hampshire is #38. Not low enough to brag about, not high enough to make me move to … West Virginia?