URLs du Jour

2018-10-02

[Amazon Link]

  • We continue our panic over "moral panic" with Ashe Schow writing in the Daily Wire: 5 Signs You’re In The Midst Of A Moral Panic.

    Moral panics, or instances of mass hysteria, have occurred throughout history. Two of the most notorious are the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s and the Satanic Panic of the 1980s and '90s. The panics almost exclusively involve women and children and fears for their safety, especially from sexual abuse.

    We are in the midst of another such panic, but despite the similarities to past episodes, we are still unable to recognize it as such. The current panic has been playing out in the military and on college campuses for nearly a decade, but with the advent of the #MeToo movement, the mass hysteria is creeping into our regular legal system as well. The following are five of the biggest signs that we are experiencing another bout of mass hysteria, this time over sexual assault and harassment.

    Click over for the list, but I assume you won't be too surprised by any of them, if you've been paying attention over the past few weeks. But I found number five ("Pseudo-Scientific Theories About Memory Reign Supreme") especially interesting, given my recent reading about the foibles of our all-too-human brains.


  • At Reason, Nick Gillespie asks the musical question: Why Do We Want To Be Poorer and Less Equal Than We Are?

    Two of the major economics stories Americans tell about ourselves don't seem to be true. Yet we are really enamored with the ideas that income inequality is on the move, separating the wealthy from the rest of us ("we" rarely consider ourselves part of the wealthy), and that the middle class is on the verge of extinction (as Pew found recently, fully 47 percent of people in households making over $100,000 a year consider themselves "middle class").

    Mark J. Perry of the American Enterprise Institute and the University of Michigan (Flint) has compiled Census data that refute these popular claims. "The Gini index measure of income dispersion reveals that there has been no significant trend of rising income inequality' for US household incomes over the last quarter century," he writes. "The Gini index in 1993 was 0.454 and last year it was 0.482, the same as in 2013, and this statistical measure of income inequality has also shown remarkable stability for the last several decades in a narrow range between 0.46 and 0.48."

    We previously blogged about Mark Perry's article; here's another tweet from him blowing up the "middle class is disappearing" story; it is, sorta, but mostly because people are getting too rich to be called middle class:


  • A longish but informative article at The Library of Economics and Liberty from Charles L. Hooper and David R. Henderson: A Cure for Our Health Care Ills: The Supply Side. A great many insights therein, but here's a particular goodie:

    To provide medical services as a doctor, one must be licensed, and to be licensed, one must have completed a four-year undergraduate degree and a four-year medical degree, plus four to six years of residency training. There are only 141 accredited medical schools in the United States, and Congress anchors the number of residency positions to the level of Medicare funding, resulting in 110,000 residency positions currently filled. Want to unlock more residency positions? Talk to Congress. Want to start a new medical school? It would cost an estimated $150 million, due to the necessity of linking medical education with medical research, and would take eight years for the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, under the authority of the U.S. Department of Education, to accredit your school. That’s a daunting prospect. One small bright spot is that, despite these challenges, new medical schools are, in fact, cutting ribbons.

    One thing the advocates of "single payer" tend to gloss over (or handwave away) is that their proposals dictate sharp cutting of incomes for health care professionals.

    So would relaxation of the onerous licensure restrictions on health care provision.

    I wonder which approach would be more popular with doctors, nurses, etc.?


  • A cool article at Mental Floss: The 'Diagrammed Declaration of Independence' Combines U.S. History With Graphic Design.

    The Declaration of Independence is one of the most important documents in our nation's history, but most Americans have probably never sat down and read it from beginning to end. This poster from Pop Chart Lab makes the 242-year-old document a lot less daunting.

    In the Diagrammed Declaration of Independence, the text is broken down section by section. The most important phrases, like "all men are created equal," "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," and "let facts be submitted to a candid world," are highlighted in big, bold lettering. Arrows show how the different ideas in the document connect, and colorful pictographs illustrate various points, like the three branches of government.

    You can buy a print here and Pun Salad does not get a cut if you do.