URLs du Jour

2018-11-20

[Amazon Link]

  • Charles Sykes ("The Contrarian Conservative") imagines a speech given at some future point in Nashua, NH. But it's A Speech in Search of a Candidate. Excerpt:

    Republicans must make it clear that we reject bigotry, white nationalism, xenophobia, and misogyny. The challenge is both political and moral. Politically, our party cannot survive if it continues to insult and alienate women, young people, and racial minorities. Morally, the embrace or tolerance of hate and inhumanity threatens to be an enduring stain on our character.

    We cannot be the party of character and embrace Donald Trump; we cannot be a party that values the Constitution, and sit by and watch the undermining of the rule of law; we cannot be a party that claims to be fiscally responsible, and then preside over the reckless expansion of our national debt, and we cannot be a party that values education, while joining in the dumbing down of our political dialogue.

    Good speech! It would be neat if someone would pull off a Eugene McCarthy-style ambush of Trump here in New Hampshire.

    You all remember President McCarthy, don't you? Oh, wait.


  • At Reason, Robby Soave notes recent fake news: ABC Makes Patently False Claim About New Title IX Rules. Specifically, ABC claimed that the rules defining sexual harassment "would be significantly more difficult to prove because the victim would have to prove the misconduct prevents them from returning to school."

    No. The new standard does not require victims to show that they can't return to school. Indeed, it doesn't require them to leave school in the first place. What this new standard says is that severe, pervasive, objectively offensive sexual harassment that negatively impacts a student's ability to attend class is a form of discrimination, because it denies the student's right to an education. Sexual conduct that satisfies the severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive threshold—the legal standard for workplace harassment—will be held to violate Title IX, even if the conduct did not literally cause the student to flee campus but merely makes the student's life unpleasant.

    But this mischaracterization is already being repeated uncritically. As some anonymous genius said: A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on.


  • P. J. O'Rourke writes in American Consequences on Economic Collapse.

    Maybe it’s a sign of the age we live in. I used to daydream about enormous wealth – champagne and caviar. Now I find myself daydreaming about what my family and I would do if the economy collapsed.

    Or maybe it’s just a sign of my age – These days, champagne and caviar give me indigestion…

    Anyway, what would we do? I’m not so worried about us personally going broke. If we personally go broke, we’ll just mooch off other people – about half of America seems to do that already. But what if the entire economic system fails and everybody goes broke and nobody has any money and the money isn’t worth anything anyway? Then what would we do?

    I believe the answer involves a large number of cans of Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Throwback Recipe Beef Ravioli.


  • At the WaPo we know, because they keep telling us, that "Democracy Dies in Darkness". So Robert Samuelson writes on The myth of stagnant incomes.

    We aren’t stagnating, after all.

    Unless you’ve been hibernating in the Himalayas, you must know of the recent surge in economic inequality. It’s not just that the rich are getting richer. The rest of us — say politicians, pundits and scholars — are stagnating. The top 1 percent have grabbed most income gains, while average Americans are stuck in the mud.

    Well, it’s not so. That’s the message — perhaps unintended — from the Congressional Budget Office, which reports periodically on the distribution and growth of the nation’s income. It recently found that most Americans had experienced clear-cut income gains since the early 1980s.

    I'm not sure how progressives will handle this news.

    (Although the CBO analysis seems to be based on "quintiles" whose boundaries move with changing incomes. And the people in a given quintile are different people in different years. What people actually experience over the course of their lives seems to be elusive.)


  • At Law and Liberty, John Kekes muses on The Absurdity of Egalitarianism.

    Egalitarians believe that inequality is unjust and justice requires a society to move steadily toward greater equality. This is the aim of proportional taxation, equal opportunity programs, and the various anti-poverty policies of a welfare state. These policies cost money. The egalitarian approach to getting it is to tax those who have more in order to benefit those who have less. The absurdity of this is that egalitarians suppose that justice requires ignoring whether people deserve what they have and whether they are responsible for what they lack. They suppose that it is just to ignore the requirements of justice.

    Here is a consequence of egalitarianism. According to the Statistical Abstract of the United States, men’s life expectancy is on the average about seven years less than women’s. There is thus an inequality between men and women. If egalitarians really mean that it would be better if everyone enjoyed the same level of social and economic benefits, then they must find the inequality between the life expectancy of men and women unjust. Following their reasoning, it ought to be a requirement of justice to equalize the life expectancy of men and women. This can be done, for instance, by men having more and better healthcare and working shorter hours than women.

    Reductio ad absurdum of course, but it's a good example to use when someone assumes that a given statistical disparity is prima facie evidence of invidious discrimination.


  • And this xkcd is stunning, especially to geezers like me:

    [Airplanes and Spaceships]

    You can check the calendar math here.

    Days between Wright and Gagarin: 20,936.

    Days between Gagarin and today (as I type): 21,401.

    Sheesh. Back then I thought for sure interplanetary travel was going to be ho-hum by now.