URLs du Jour

2019-07-22

[Amazon Link]

  • Kevin D. Williamson writes at National Review on Ilhan Omar & ‘Send Her Back’: Our Eroding Sense of Citizenship. He manages to say well what I've tried to say, poorly, over the past few days:

    ‘Send her back!” they chanted, meaning Representative Ilhan Omar, the Somalia-born Jew-hating weirdo elected to Congress by the ghastly fruitcakes who run things in Minneapolis. President Donald J. Trump, elected president by the ghastly nut cutlets who run things in much of the rest of the country, basked in the chant, glowing like a gopher sauntering forth from Chernobyl — he was, in effect, hearing his own daft words shouted back at him ecstatically, and he has a real weakness for that sort of thing.

    Much has been made about whether the episode and Trump’s words inspiring it were racist; my own view is that Donald Trump is incapable of being a racist in the traditional sense of that word, because racism is derived from a perverted and misapplied sense of loyalty, a sentiment from which President Trump is manifestly immune. What is more interesting — and more troubling — is what the exchange says about our eroding sense of citizenship.

    RTWT, of course, but if you still need to brush up on the whole "citizen" concept, I recommend buying our Amazon Product du Jour.


  • At Slate, Ruth Graham ponders the weighty question that you might not have realized was a question: Who Gets to Be the Next Poet Laureate of New Hampshire? And for those of us with unrefined tastes, it's very very funny.

    In his poem “New Hampshire,” Robert Frost once called his home “a most restful state.” But these days, New Hampshire’s tightknit poetry community is anything but restful. “I don’t want to pussyfoot anymore,” said Marie Harris, a former state poet laureate. “We tried our best not to be confrontational, and not to splash it all over the news, but the time has come.” At issue is a controversial nominee for state laureate, private negotiations with a governor who says he’s “not a poetry expert,” and a bit of verse that an elected official described to me as “a misogynistic poem about sex with Condoleezza Rice on Air Force One.”

    As described in a 1967 state statute, the selection process for poet laureate is supposed to work like this: A nonprofit organization called the Poetry Society of New Hampshire evaluates nominations for the position and then makes a recommendation to the governor. The governor takes the nomination to the state’s five-person executive council and then formally makes the appointment. The five-year position comes with a $500 annual stipend from the Poetry Society and the honor of joining a distinguished list of New Hampshire state poet laureates that has included nationally known writers like Donald Hall, Maxine Kumin, and Jane Kenyon.

    I can hear you clamoring for that Condi poem. Oh, all right;

    Condoleeza are we
    not the lucky ones,
    Happier than a
    barrel of nuns.
    Like impetuous kids
    we would have our fun
    In the lavatory
    on Air Force One.

    For additional works (including the classic "A Sonnet for Our Lesbians in Orbit") see Moran's page at Asinine Poetry.

    Governor Sununu shoulda known better than to pick a fight with the Poetry Society of New Hampshire. Those folks play rough.


  • At Reason, Eric Boehm provides the latest offering in Pun Salad's "Of Course She Did" department: Pelosi Rejects Plan to Cut Spending by Less Than 0.3 Percent

    Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) rejected a White House offer on Friday to cut $150 billion in federal spending over 10 years as a part of a possible deal to raise the debt ceiling.

    Now, $150 billion might sound like a large amount of money. But relative to how much money the federal government is set to spend over the next 10 years, the White House's proposed cut is roughly equivalent to deciding you'll eat one fewer Chipotle burrito per month for the next decade. That's not going to pay off a maxed-out credit card.

    The fact that Pelosi rejected such a comically small reduction without even giving her colleagues the chance to consider it tells you all you need to know about the state of fiscal responsibility in Washington right now.

    It's fun to blame Pelosi for fiscal irresponsibility, and goodness knows she deserves it. But she's a politician. And she knows how to read the polls. See, for example: Gallup's numbers on what we consider to be the nation's Most Important Problem. Try to find where the deficit ranks.

    Save most of your scorn for the voters in our democratic system.


  • At Quillette, James Lindsay describes How the Left Turned Words Into 'Violence,' and Violence Into 'Justice'.

    Responding to news that journalist Andy Ngo had been beaten by antifa protestors in Portland last month, a woman named Charlotte Clymer tweeted that “Ngo intentionally provokes people on the left to drive his content. Being attacked today on video taken by an actual journalist (because Ngo is definitely not) is the greatest thing that could have happened to his career. You know it. I know it. He knows it. We all know it. Violence is completely wrong, and I find it sad and weak to allow a sniveling weasel like Andy Ngo to get under one’s skin like this, but I’m also not going to pretend this wasn’t Ngo’s goal from the start. I mean, let’s cut the shit here. This is what they do.”

    Who is Charlotte Clymer? She is an activist who works at the Human Rights Campaign, America’s “largest LGBTQ civil rights organization,” which supposedly “envision[s] a world where LGBTQ people are ensured equality at home, at work [and] in every community.” Andy Ngo, who has written for Quillette, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and other publications, happens to be gay. So this is where we are right now: A staffer for a human-rights organization dedicated to helping gay people is publicly cheering the beating of a gay man. This should raise an eyebrow.

    Bitch was asking for it, according to Charlotte. There are, as near as I can tell, no demands from anyone inside or outside the Human Rights Campaign for Charlotte to step down from the HRC's "Press Secretary, Rapid Response" position.


  • Philosopher Michael Huemer writes that Intellectual Conformity Is Adaptive. Leveraging quotes from Bertie Russell (“Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so.”) and George Bernard Shaw (“Two percent of the people think; three percent of the people think they think; and ninety-five percent of the people would rather die than think.”), Huemer makes some interesting points, and then…

    Many thinkers in the Russell-Shaw sense are crazy. Independent, intellectual reflection leads to craziness, and intelligence is no defense against it. Conformity, however, is a defense against craziness — at least certain kinds of craziness that would otherwise be common.

    One can cite extreme cases, such as the Unabomber, who tried to start some kind of anti-technology revolution by sending mail bombs to scientists. Before his criminal career, he was a brilliant UC Berkeley mathematics professor. (Not just a regular math professor, which is already very smart, but an exceptional one.) But then he started thinking about … industrial society and its future. Which led him to radical conclusions, which led him to start a campaign of terrorism, and landed him in prison for life. (Evolution is an asshole, so it doesn’t care that he killed and maimed other people. But it was predictable that other people would respond with force, which tends to reduce one’s reproductive success.)

    Most modern American libertarians are lucky (at least so far) that their views are only a tad non-conformist, easily fit into existing society. Assuming you don't take that "taxation is theft" thing to a logical conclusion.


  • [Amazon Link]
    Speaking of Americanism, P. J. O'Rourke urges us to Go To Your Happy Place.

    Other nations are founded on battle, blood, territory, nationality, culture, and language. Not America… We’re founded on happiness.

    It’s right there in America’s IPO, in the first sentence of the main body of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

    No talk of happiness appears in England’s Magna Carta. The French Revolution’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen fails to address the subject. The European Union’s proposed constitution never mentions happiness, although, at 485 pages, it mentions practically everything else, including regulatory specifications for “edible meat offal” and “lard and other rendered pig fat.”

    When the EU constitution was rejected by French voters (“Sacré bleu! Vous ne pas tell us how to make ze lard!”), it was replaced by the Treaty of Lisbon that also makes no reference to happiness (or even edible meat offal).

    For perhaps the 114th time in the history of this blog, I urge readers to get In Pursuit by Charles Murray. Amazon link at right. No, your right.


Last Modified 2019-07-22 4:16 PM EDT