URLs du Jour

2019-01-14

[Amazon Link]

  • Just one more thing on the Tucker Carlson monologue. A key paragraph:

    […] Republican leaders will have to acknowledge that market capitalism is not a religion. Market capitalism is a tool, like a staple gun or a toaster. You’d have to be a fool to worship it. Our system was created by human beings for the benefit of human beings. We do not exist to serve markets. Just the opposite. Any economic system that weakens and destroys families is not worth having. A system like that is the enemy of a healthy society.

    Emphasis added. There has not been enough pushback by Tucker's fellow conservatives on this claim. But Jonah Goldberg saves the day: The Free Market Is Not Just a Tool.

    This is simultaneously obviously true from one perspective and glaringly and outrageously false from another. And it dismays me that so many conservatives haven’t bothered to defend the free market more vigorously in the responses to this debate.

    Look at it this way: Guns are tools. This is literally far more true about firearms than it is about the free market, because while both are to a certain extent artificial things, guns are actual physical devices bought and sold in the market. And yet, who among us, including Carlson, would deny that the right to self-defense is more than merely a tool?

    Jonah went into more detail in his recent podcast with Michael Strain, recommended.

    Yes, you can shoehorn the concept of "market capitalism", very awkwardly, into the "tool" category. But it's also, more importantly, a fundamental part of individual liberty. People deserve, within very broad limits, the freedom to engage in non-fraudulent mutually voluntary exchange. Any limits on this freedom should need strong justification.

    And (by the way) if you're looking to aim your rhetorical weaponry at what "weakens and destroys families", there are more obvious targets than the economic system.


  • The Concord Monitor is extremely unsatisfied with the new rule in the New Hampshire House banning members from bringing weaponry into the chambers, the cloakroom, and the gallery. And it rang our LFOD Google Alert: Give House gun ban more teeth.

    Violating the weapons ban can result in ejection from the House or arrest on disorderly conduct charges, but the rule enacted by the Democratic majority set the stage for confusion and conflict because it forbids House security officers from stopping and searching members believed to be armed. That was a mistake. Even in the Live Free or Die state, the State House, a landmark visited regularly by schoolchildren, like a courthouse or airport, is no place for amateurs carrying concealed weapons.

    For the love of God, I beg you to think about the [visiting school]children!

    The Monitor lives up to its “Pravda on the Merrimack” nickname with its "solution": make violation of the rule a felony.


  • At City Journal, Joel Kotkin writes on Today’s Cultural Engineers.

    Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin once labeled writers and other creative people “engineers of the soul.” In his passion to control what people saw and read, Stalin both coddled artists and enforced unanimity through the instruments of a police state. Today, fortunately, we don’t face such overt forms of cultural control, but the trends in American and to some extent European mass culture are beginning to look almost Stalinesque in their uniformity. This becomes painfully obvious during awards season, when the tastes and political exigencies of the entertainment industry frequently overpower any sense of popular preferences, or even artistic merit.

    Joel notes the happy result: ratings for the Oscars at their lowest ever; a 25-year low in movie attendance.

    And only one movie out now that I even have the slightest inclination toward seeing: (The Mule). And, even for that one, I'll probably wait for Netflix to cough up the DVD.


  • Caltech physics dude Sean Carroll summarizes True Facts About Cosmology. And this is not some Deepak Chopra bullshit, you can take Sean's "true facts" to the bank. They are cutting edge, state of the art, best of breed. And a few more clichés I can't think of right now.

    And for me, the most eye-opening facts are the facts we don't know. Facts 4 and 5 of 19 total:

    1. The Big Bang might have been the beginning of the universe. Or it might not have been; there could have been space and time before the Big Bang. We don’t really know.
    2. Even if the BB was the beginning, the universe didn’t “pop into existence.” You can’t “pop” before time itself exists. It’s better to simply say “the Big Bang was the first moment of time.” (If it was, which we don’t know for sure.)

    Somewhat comforting to know that there's still stuff even the most advanced researchers don't know about the universe. Is it stuff we can never know?


  • Has it really been twenty years? Entertainment Weekly brings together cast and crew for an oral history: Office Space 20th anniversary: Behind the scenes of the cult classic. My co-workers and I were slinging Office Space quotes at each other up until the day I retired, and I assume they're still doing so. My personal favorite:

    And from the article, a revelation from Jennifer Aniston:

    To this day, if I’m at a certain type of restaurant, people will ask, “How do you like my flair?”

    Fifteen is the minimum, okay?