URLs du Jour

2019-02-27

[Amazon Link]

  • Winner of today's "Headline That Could Have Been On Hundreds Of Articles" award goes to Charles Sykes at the Bulwark: Hayek Saw This Coming.

    The Austrian-born economist and classical liberal, who played such a central role in the emergence of American free market conservativism, had a keen understanding of the temptations of authoritarianism. That’s what makes his warnings seem so prescient.

    “’Emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded,” he wrote.

    Hayek’s chapter on “Why the Worst Get on Top” in his classic work, The Road to Serfdom, diagnosed the populist impulse that would lead to the demand for ceding power to a “man of action.” This is “the position which precedes the suppression of democratic institutions and the creation of a totalitarian regime.”

    In other Hayekian news, I see some are accusing Senator John Cornyn of … something … because he quoted Mussolini in a Tweet:

    I'm pretty sure Cornyn is not a Mussolini fanboy. This quote also leads off Chapter 4 in Hayek's The Road to Serfdom, whence I assume Cornyn grabbed it.


  • Ross Douthat, writing in the NYT assures us: The Era of Limited Government Is Over.

    […] when conservatives preach about the virtues of “limited government,” it isn’t just Herbert Hoover’s rugged individual that they imagine themselves defending. They envision a larger communitarian panoply — civic associations, religious denominations, charities and universities and private schools — which needs protection against the jealousy of a centralizing state. And they tend to assume that keeping the American corporation embedded in this communitarian system is a better way to balance productivity and innovation and public-spiritedness than just trying to regulate and micromanage businesses into good behavior.

    If you wanted to summarize the intellectual uncertainties of conservatives in the Trump era, you could say that the right is trying to figure out whether the unwritten American constitution it imagines itself defending still exists. And if it doesn’t, or if it’s failing, whether that means that “limited government” as a slogan and strategy is increasingly irrelevant when it comes to shaping the society that conservatives would like America to be.

    I don't know whether Douthat is right, but I can fearlessly predict that, if he is, well, … you'll miss limited government when it's gone.


  • David Harsany, writing at the Federalist observes: Senate Vote Against Born-Alive Infants Proves Democrats Aren't 'Pro-Choice.' They're Pro-Infanticide.

    Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris wants to force every American to give up his private health insurance, but she can’t get herself to support legislation that compels doctors to give an infant who survives an abortion attempt the same care they would provide any other human being. She’s merely one of 44 Democrats who blocked a bill that would have saved all babies from negligent homicide. Presidential candidates Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders all voted against Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse’s Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, as well.

    Senate Democrats unsurprisingly struggled to find an effective way to lie about opposing a bill that prohibits abortion in the fourth trimester. Some of them maintained that Sasse’s bill was superfluous because all the things in it were already illegal. Others claimed the bill would “restrict doctors from making case-by-case decisions about what is best for infants and mothers.” Still others claimed the practice never ever happens. Other Democrats, who support government intervention in every nook and cranny of human existence, argued that tough choices should only be the domain of women and their doctors, not the state. Many of them saw no conflict between these ideas and argued all these things at the very same time.

    Grim stuff. And…


  • Both my state's senators are proudly pro-infanticide. At Inside Sources, Michael Graham is busy Fact-Checking Sen. Shaheen's Speech Opposing the "Born Alive" Act. Sample:

    • Would the Born Alive act “significantly interfere with the doctor-patient relationship?”

    No. In fact, it doesn’t place any restrictions or requirements of any kind on the patient–assuming that by “patient” Shaheen means the mother.  There isn’t a single regulation or restriction that applies in any way to the woman receiving the abortion, or how or when the procedure itself can occur. Instead the bill simply says:

    (1) If an abortion results in the live birth of an infant, the infant is a legal person for all purposes under the laws of the United States, and entitled to all the protections of such laws.

    (2) Any infant born alive after an abortion or within a hospital, clinic, or other facility has the same claim to the protection of the law that would arise for any newborn, or for any person who comes to a hospital, clinic, or other facility for screening and treatment or otherwise becomes a patient within its care.

    There are no requirements that involve the relationship between the doctor and the mother. Sen. Shaheen’s claim is factually incorrect.

    I can't believe that she believes what she's saying. But maybe she does.


  • Richard A. Epstein looks at the head of a proposed "Presidential Committee on Climate Security" Will Happer – Climate “Denier”?.

    My own skepticism about global warming goes back at least a decade and is captured in my 2010 article, Carbon Dioxide: Our Newest Pollutant, which I stand by to this day. I became friends with Happer in 2016 when I critiqued on scientific and legal grounds then-New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s ill-advised attack against Exxon-Mobil for concealing information about the incipient risks of global warming. Happer’s own views are well set out in a key publication,“A Primer on Carbon Dioxide and Climate.” It would do well for the critics to answer his arguments rather than engage in name-calling that reflects only badly on themselves. Unlike his nasty critics, Happer is a learned and judicious man.

    In recent work I have indicated some of the evidence that goes against consensus views on the subject. As I noted in my critiqueof the Green New Deal, none of the recent attacks on Happer reference the global cooling in the last two years of about 0.56° C—the most rapid two-year decline in the last hundred years. Events like this are not supposed to happen as CO2 levels increase. That number is especially telling because the near-hysterical report issued by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC”) concluded that it was necessary by 2030 to reduce the targeted level of temperature increase to 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels. Without any real explanation, that report lowered the acceptable temperature increase by 0.5° C from the previous target of 2.0° C. To put this number in perspective, the world would be only 0.137° C cooler by 2100 if the United States cut all carbon emissions. Even if we assumed every other industrialized country would be equally on board, this would merely avert warming by 0.278° C by the turn of the next century. 

    Epstein will be tarred, like Happer, with the "denier" epithet.

    Are alarmists alarmed because they honestly see an existential threat? Or are they alarmed because they know unless they get their totalitarian policies into operation right now, it will become obvious that they're wildly off in their dire predictions?


  • Many things to like in Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt from yesterday: Bernie Sanders: 2020 Candidate Will Rebuke Billionaires But Not Ruthless Dictators.

    Bernie Sanders is a sucker, who will always give the benefit of the doubt to anyone who claims to be a socialist. Most of us, at an early age, recognize that people who claim to act on behalf of others can be selfish. Plenty of people who say they love humanity turn out to treat individual human beings terribly. Plenty of leaders who claimed to fight for freedom turned out to be lusting after power and ruthless in getting it and keeping it. You have to be careful who you trust with authority, because absolute power corrupts absolutely. And you have no obligation to defend someone you once saw as an ally once they start abusing their power and demonstrating cruelty and brutality.

    Bernie Sanders never learned this. At 77 years old, he’s unlikely to ever learn.

    Indeed. I kind of hope the Democrats nominate him. Because…


  • At Ricochet, Shawn Buell's paean to Bernie triggered our Google LFOD News Alert: Bernie Sanders and the Awesome Democrat Future.

    I’ve written various professions of my love for Bernie Sanders in the past – all, sadly unrequited – but things are quickly ratcheting up in the hunka-hunka Bernin’ love department.

    So, without further ado, let’s just get this out of the way: Bernie Sanders will be the Democrat nominee for President in 2020. To say that this is good news for me in terms of my recommended daily intake of humor does the situation no justice.

    But LFOD? Ah, here, where Shawn notes that Sanders nearly won Iowa in 2016, and:

    Next, the map shifts to New Hampshire… which conveniently sits next to Bernie’s home state of Vermont. Bernie won there in 2016 by a count of 60/40 over Clinton. Advance polling in the “Live Free or Die” state puts Bern up by 15% over the next most popular Democrat that has announced, Kamala Harris. Joe Biden doesn’t count. He isn’t running.

    Yes! I may re-register as Democrat just so I can vote for Bernie!


  • But the LFOD alert also rang for a completely unexpected article from Ian Ward in San Diego CityBeat: A history lesson at Fort Oak.

    The history of rum is equal parts advantageous, horrifying and intriguing. It is, in essence, the history of the Americas as we know it. Born out of ingenuity and a live-free-or-die, bootstrapped spirit, it also has a disgustingly shameful past. 

    We won’t focus on that too much here, but it is worth noting that sugar culture in the Americas, it is speculated, started with Columbus. Inspired by his father in law, who was a sugar farmer on the island of Madeira, Columbus brought sugarcane to the Caribbean in 1493. 

    And on, and on for a few paragraphs dutifully noting the triangle trade, involving slaves.

    And, readers, this is a review of a bar. Apparently in California, booze reviews are considered incomplete unless you wallow in guilt for America's sins first. Then you can go ahead and get plastered on overpriced gourmet rum.