URLs du Jour

2018-10-28

[Amazon Link]

  • Kevin D. Williamson, imitating Steven Pearce, hits one out of the park at National Review: Rage Makes You Stupid. RTWT, of course, but here's a taste:

    What are we supposed to think about political rage?

    Before and after the arrest of Cesar Sayoc, the suspect in the recent string of bombs sent to prominent Democrats and media figures, we were treated to any number of homilies about “rage” and its origins in “toxic” political rhetoric. Many of these homilies were pointed directly or indirectly at President Donald Trump and his immoderate Twitter habits. That political rage is necessarily linked to political violence was assumed, and sometimes asserted, but rarely argued.

    Five minutes before that, rage was all the rage. Rebecca Traister, an editor for New York magazine, has just published a book celebrating the “revolutionary power” of anger, which was celebrated at The Atlantic on 4 October under a headline noting the “seismic power” of “rage.” On 21 September, the Washington Post affirmed that “rage is healthy, rational, and necessary for America.” On Friday, NBC news praised a television show for depicting “anger as righteous and necessary.” Before that, it ran a segment encouraging certain political partisans to “embrace their rage.”

    We looked at Rebecca Traister a couple weeks back and her efforts say that our state's motto, "Live Free or Die" was based in rage. (Gee, rage really does make you stupid.)


  • Eric Raymond writes On the Squirrel Hill shooting.

    To my Jewish friends and followers:

    I’m grieving with you today. I know the neighborhood where Tree of Life synagogue sits – it’s a quiet, well-off, slightly Bohemian ‘burb with a lot of techies living in it.

    I’m not Jewish myself, but I figured out a long time ago that any society which abuses its Jews – or tolerates abuse of them – is in the process of flushing itself down the crapper. The Jews are almost always the first targets of the enemies of civilization, but never the last.

    He goes on to offer his Jewish readers instruction in firearms and defense against shooters. If you're so inclined…


  • Tyler Cowen's Bloomberg column has mostly praise for a report from the White House-based Council of Economic Advisors: The White House Says Socialism Is a Threat. It’s Right.

    You might accuse the council of irrelevance in attacking a creed so antiquated as socialism. But a recent Gallup poll found that Democrats have greater faith in socialism than capitalism. You don’t have to think of those people as card-carrying Maoists to wish them some edification in both history and economics, if only to prevent the opposition to President Donald Trump from falling into its own excesses.

    Nor is an endorsement of actual socialism so far removed from the history of the economics profession. Paul Samuelson, recent Nobel Laureate William Nordhaus and John Kenneth Galbraith, among others, expressed their admiration for the economic growth performance of the Soviet economic system. (The report notes this detail on Page 20.)

    More to the point, by far the longest section in the report covers a specific health-care bill, introduced in both the Senate and House and supported by 141 members of Congress, that has become a centerpiece of debate in the Democratic Party. It is hardly irrelevant.

    Tyler's praise is not unmixed, but, gee, it's kind of a relief to see something out of the White House besides random semi-hinged tweets from President Trump.

    I can't resist echoing Tyler's closing paragraph:

    The truly sad feature of the report is that it is not intended for the president, who probably couldn’t care less about the recommendations of professional economists. That, too, is a dangerous path to socialism.

    Zing!


  • I've never linked to New Left Review content before, but (via Slashdot), their interview with Richard Stallman is illuminating of his mindset: Talking to the Mailman. His attitude toward the "Open Source" movement and a guy we just linked to:

    Open source is an amoral, depoliticized substitute for the free-software movement. It was explicitly started with that intent. It was a reaction campaign, set up in 1998 by Eric Raymond—he’d written ‘The Cathedral and the Bazaar’—and others, to counter the support we were getting for software freedom. When it started, Eric Raymond called me to tell me about this new term and asked if I wanted to use it. I said, I’ll have to think about it. By the next day I had realized it would be a disaster for us. It meant disconnecting free software from the idea that users deserve freedom. So I rejected it.

    Kind of illuminates a point I've made before: Stallman's views are fundamentally fueled by his moral system and his politics, neither being closely held by anyone save a small group of True Believers. (And why did Ayn Rand pop into my head just now?)

    That's not to say that he's wrong, of course. And (geez) he's right about a lot of stuff, too. But I wouldn't pass his implicit ideological/moral purity test.


  • And our Google LFOD Alert rang loudly for a Keene Sentinel article about the NH constitutional amendments up for a vote on November 6: Ballot question would enshrine right to privacy in NH Constitution. The sponsors of the privacy amendment, Reps. Neal Kurk, R-Weare, and Robert “Renny” Cushing, D-Hampton, are interviewed.

    When asked how he thinks voters will react to Question 2 on Election Day if they’ve never seen or heard of it before, Kurk said it should be an intuitive experience.

    “When someone reads this, I would think they would say, ‘Boy, I’m glad somebody did this, because I don’t want the government snooping in my DNA and my information when they have no public purpose in doing so.’ “

    Cushing hopes the amendment will draw support from across the political spectrum because of the “Live Free or Die” ethos of Granite Staters.

    “I’m hopeful. It’s bipartisan because it speaks to the core of who we are in the state of New Hampshire. The right to liberty is the right to be left alone.”

    People have criticized the proposed amendment, alleging "vagueness". Cushing and Kurk say: that's not a bug, it's a feature. (My words, not theirs.)