URLs du Jour

2019-03-23

[Amazon Link]

  • Jonah Goldberg delivers a late hit on behalf of the Electoral College: Abolishing the Electoral College would be a mistake. Bottom line:

    Most of our political problems today are a result of our political gatekeepers surrendering to the mob. All extreme political movements are hostile to restraints on their will. This is what unites the progressives who want to pack the Supreme Court, abolish the Electoral College, and “reform” the “undemocratic” Senate with those on the right who celebrate President Trump’s emergency declaration and other attempts to rule by fiat.

    In a healthy democracy, leaders are answerable not just to voters but to legislatures, the courts, the states, and parties. The decades-long trend has been to dismantle this arrangement to make presidents answerable to no one but the slice of electorate that voted for them. And even there, those voters are increasingly more interested in seeing their leader “win” than in holding them accountable. Abolishing the Electoral College would be another step toward a kind of national absolutism, which is an even worse medieval relic.

    The language of the latest proposed EC-abolishing amendment can be found here. It's not worth going into detail, but I think the greatest source of mischief would be Section 5: "The times, places, and manner of holding such elections and entitlement to inclusion on the ballot shall be determined by Congress."

    Sure, nothing could go wrong there. I trust Congress.


  • At Quillette, Kathrine Jebsen Moore proposes a tough but fair reform: When Children Protest, Adults Should Tell them the Truth. Specifically, Swedish 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who's gained worldwide fame and praise for her "climate activism" needs a heady dose of verity:

    The climate debate is a complicated one. It requires the careful weighing of interests and trade-offs, not the uncompromising fanaticism of an absolutist. A sixteen-year-old should not be expected to see all the nuances, but as adults, we should expose her ideas for what they are: undemocratic, fatalistic, and bereft of the hope and optimism needed to effect consequential change. Thunberg’s speeches and Manichean worldview do not offer realistic answers to the problems we face. Even if her most alarming predictions turn out to be true, solutions will have to rely upon innovation and a realistic assessment of what is possible. Activism might be driven by passionate conviction and founded on good intentions, but as Saul Alinsky, the radical American writer and community organiser, once observed: “Young protagonists are one moment reminiscent of the idealistic early Christians, yet they also urge violence and cry, ‘Burn the system down!’ They have no illusions about the system, but plenty of illusions about the way to change our world.”

    Sixteen-year-olds of whatever political inclination should just Keep It To Themselves. I include myself at that age.


  • At the NR Corner, Charles C.W. Cooke writes on New Zealand Gun Confiscation: One Strike Policy.

    New Zealand has confirmed that it will ban — and confiscate — any firearm that resembles those that were used in the recent terroristic attack. In response, the gun-control movement has taken a break from assuring gun owners that “nobody is talking about confiscation” and set about lionizing New Zealand’s parliament for agreeing to . . . engage in confiscation. In future, we can presumably expect to see similar dance to the one that President Obama performed when he spoke of Australia. To wit: “Why can’t we be more like New Zealand? How dare you suggest I want to do what New Zealand did.”

    Charles observes a more general point: using a horrific individual incident to panic a country into abridging the rights of the general citizenry is no way to run a free country.


  • Drew Cline of the Josiah Bartlett Center wonders if New Hampshire is Slouching towards Connecticut.

    The Legislature’s Democratic majority is seizing its opportunity. In control of both legislative chambers for only the fifth time since the Civil War (and one of those times involved a tie in the Senate), they are determined to leave their mark on the state.

    Indeed, businesses are looking at the bills passed so far and saying to themselves, “Son of a…that’s gonna leave a mark!

    Having campaigned on raising business taxes and forcing businesses to comply with the party’s agenda, Democrats are delivering for their base. The tax-and-regulate agenda is similar to the one being pursued in another New England state this session: Connecticut.

    Drew includes a speaks-for-itself graphic from a recent report from the Boston Fed, which I will attempt to hotlink:

    Nonagricultural employment changes in New England states

    New Hampshire Democrats look at this and say: Hey, we can fix that!


  • And last but … OK, probably also least, the Christian Science Monitor (which still exists) rang our Google LFOD News Alert with: As Beto campaigns, New Hampshire looks for rock-ribbed answers, not fluff.

    "Rock-ribbed", baby. That's us.

    For seven decades, New Hampshire voters have taken very seriously their role in vetting presidential candidates. Every candidate must crisscross the state – the first in the nation to hold a primary – meeting voters face to face. This is America’s tried-and-tested forge of retail politics. Given their personal experiences with candidates, New Hampshire voters may be the most politically savvy citizens in this democracy. And they don’t tend to fall for fluff. These are people who shovel themselves out from underneath winter, grow up going to town meetings, and take to heart the state’s motto, “Live Free or Die.”

    I'm blushing with all this undeserved praise. But let me break out, once again, my favorite bits of NH Primary trivia:

    The last time the Democrat winner of a contested New Hampshire Primary went on to win the general election was 1976 (Jimmy Carter). Forty-three years ago!

    NH Republicans do slightly better on that score. Famously, Donald Trump won in 2016. But before that, you have to go back to 1988 (thirty-one years ago!) when George H. W. Bush squeaked by Bob ("call me Bob Dole, like I do") Dole.

    I know we love going first, but I'm kind of surprised that people take us that seriously.