URLs du Jour

2019-07-17

[Amazon Link]

  • Nick Gillespie and I are on the same page. (Except that his page is at Reason and mine is, um, here.) The Last Few Days Exemplify Why I’m Libertarian (and Why You Should Be Too).

    Things are getting uglier by the second in American politics and the sheer awfulness of the current moment perfectly illustrates why I'm libertarian. Do you really want to live in a world where you're constantly living inside either Donald Trump's mind or that of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D–N.Y.) democratic socialist "squad"?

    Our lives are too short, too fleeting, too important to spend all of our waking hours engaged in the systematic organization of hatreds, which is as good a working definition of politics as there is. There's ultimately not a lot of wiggle room between Trumpian conservatism, which demands complete reverence for the Donald and includes bolder and bolder threats to stifle free speech along with free trade, and Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Dealism, which explicitly uses the totalist regimentation of all aspects of American life during World War II as its model. If I wanted to deal with politics all the time, I'd move to a totalitarian country already.

    If the definition of politics as "the systematic organization of hatreds" is unfamiliar, it's from Henry Brooks Adams (1838–1918). Great-grandpappy was John, grandpa John Quincy.


  • At the Library of Economics and Liberty, Scott Sumner explains Why both liberals and conservatives will lose on health care (in the short run). And makes a point that neither side will straightforwardly make:

    The basic problem for both liberals and conservatives is that their proposed reforms would imply a huge fall in income to the health care industry, and that’s not politically feasible for the following two reasons:

    1. Liberals favor European style health care, which typical costs about 10% of GDP. It’s not politically feasible to raise enough revenue to pay for a Medicare program costing 17% of GDP. Indeed that sum is greater than the total amount of revenue currently raised by the federal government. Socialized medicine in America can only be achieved by slashing the incomes of doctors, nurses, administrators, support staff, and other medical industry personnel to much lower levels.

    2. Conservatives favor a more market-oriented approach, as in Singapore. But Singapore spends only 5% of GDP on health care, a sum that would be completely unacceptable to America’s health care industry.

    Liberals believe their opponents on health care are heartless conservatives. Conservatives believe their opponent are starry-eyed liberals. Both are wrong; it is the health care industry itself that blocks all meaningful reforms.

    Our only hope is… naahh, it's hopeless.


  • I am also on the same page as Andrew C. McCarthy: Donald Trump's Tweets: Not Racist, but Stupid.

    What does “racist” even mean anymore?

    Racism is the headline on President Trump’s Sunday tweets — the media-Democrat complex assiduously describes them as “racist tweets” as if that were a fact rather than a trope. I don’t think they were racist; I think they were abjectly stupid.

    Like many Americans, I am tired of being lectured about racism by racists and racialists, individuals whose full-field explanation for all life’s issues is this matter of genetic happenstance that should be increasingly irrelevant in a pluralistic society.

    Is it “racist” to tell people who have contempt for the country — who abhor the common culture that makes us American — that they ought to go back to where they came from? It has nativist and reactionary overtones, but I don’t think it is racist. I’ll grant this much, though: It is closer to actual racism than the Left’s usual demagogic claim: I am a racist if I extend to a non-white nincompoop like Ilhan Omar the courtesy of taking her seriously as an individual and a public official, as if it were her race rather than the idiocy of what she says that moves me to dissent.

    I stand by my scatological description from yesterday.


  • In my personal celebration of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, I watched the new documentary last night. At Cato, Chris Edwards has thoughts on it too. Apollo 11: A Rare Federal Success.

    If the mission were pursued today, the president would be tweeting undignified comments and hogging the spotlight. The launch would be years behind schedule and the computers would jam like during the Obamacare launch. Environmental lawsuits would shut down the launchpad. Labor regulations would slow astronaut training. NASA executives would be indicted for graft. Federal budget squabbling would close the federal government and mission control, leaving the astronauts to find their own way home from the moon. It would be a mess.

    Afraid so. Governments are good at (1) killing millions of people and (2) throwing tons of money at technical projects to bring off a gimmicky (albeit glorious) feat with little follow-through. And the US is getting worse at the latter.


  • In our "From the Daily Wire, so who knows if it's true" department: REPORT: Facebook Censors Peaceful Saint Augustine Quote As ‘Hate Speech’.

    A Massachusetts pro-life Catholic man claims that Facebook censored a peaceful quote from the theologian St. Augustine of Hippo as "hate speech."

    According to LifeSiteNews, Dominic Bettinelli published the St. Augustine quote on his Facebook page after two priests with whom he was friendly were allegedly censored by the social media platform for publishing the same words, arguing they violated "community standards on hate speech."

    The quote, which originates from one of the saint's homilies, essentially repeats Jesus Christ's command in Matthew 7:3 for people to focus on their own sins instead of focusing upon the sins of others.

    I gotta say that Matthew 7:3 ("Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?") is entirely out of whack with modern sensibilities.