URLs du Jour

2019-08-02

[Amazon Link]

  • Adam Thierer, writing at the Technology Liberation Front, describes Sen. Hawley’s Radical, Paternalistic Plan to Remake the Internet.

    More insultingly, [Hawley] has argued that the entire digital economy was basically one giant mistake. He says that America’s recent focus on growing the Internet and information technology sectors has “encouraged a generation of our brightest engineers to enter a field of little productive value,” which he regards as “an opportunity missed for the nation.” “What marvels might these bright minds have produced,” Hawley asks, “had they been oriented toward the common good?”

    Again, this isn’t the sort of rhetoric that conservatives are usually known for. This is elitist, paternalistic tripe that we usually hear from market-hating neo-Marxists. It takes a lot of hubris for Sen. Hawley to suggest that he knows best which professions or sectors are in “the common good.” As I responded in one of my essays:

    Had some benevolent philosopher kings in Washington stopped the digital economy from developing over the past quarter century, would all those tech workers really have chosen more noble-minded and worthwhile professions? Could he or others in Congress really have had the foresight to steer us in a better direction?

    We live in stupid times. Hope they will pass soon.

    But our Amazon Product du Jour is "Destroy The Justified Hard Paternalism" by FUKAFUTA, a Japanese composer/performer of electronic music. The sample provided of the title track sounds like it could have been on the Lord of the Rings soundtrack during the Isengard orc-factory scene. So not my cup of tea, but could be yours for a mere $0.99.


  • At Reason, Eric Boehm notes another stupidity symptom: The Senate Will Vote on a $2.7 Trillion Budget Deal That Adds to the National Debt. The Democrats’ Debates Ignored It..

    Maybe CNN should take most of the blame for this. Its debate moderators spent more than four hours over two nights grilling 20 presidential hopefuls, yet they did not see fit to ask a single question about the $22 trillion (and growing) national debt—and the candidates, unsurprisingly, did not bring it up on their own.

    Considering that several of the candidates on the state are current members of the U.S. Senate, the very legislative body that will vote on the budget deal Thursday, CNN missed an important and obvious opportunity for voters to draw distinctions among the 20-member debate field.

    Would any of the candidates have offered even the slightest suggestion that adding trillions more to the $22 trillion national debt might be an error we'll regret later? Maybe we'll find out at the next debate in September, but don't hold your breath.

    I don't blame CNN especially. Except I wish they'd stop pretending to be the "adults in the room", bringing the public's attention to serious issues. A more honest network would say: "We attempt to satisfy your craving for spectacle and partisan animosity."


  • I suppose you're wondering: are white cops are more likely to kill black suspects? Heather MacDonald has your answer at National Review: White Cops Are Not More Likely to Kill Black Suspects.

    A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences demolishes the Democratic narrative regarding race and police shootings, which holds that white officers are engaged in an epidemic of racially biased shootings of black men. It turns out that white officers are no more likely than black or Hispanic officers to shoot black civilians. It is a racial group’s rate of violent crime that determines police shootings, not the race of the officer. The more frequently officers encounter violent suspects from any given racial group, the greater the chance that members of that racial group will be shot by a police officer. In fact, if there is a bias in police shootings after crime rates are taken into account, it is against white civilians, the study found.

    The authors, faculty at Michigan State University and the University of Maryland at College Park, created a database of 917 officer-involved fatal shootings in 2015 from more than 650 police departments. Fifty-five percent of the victims were white, 27 percent were black, and 19 percent were Hispanic. Between 90 and 95 percent of the civilians shot by officers in 2015 were attacking police or other citizens; 90 percent were armed with a weapon. So-called threat-misperception shootings, in which an officer shoots an unarmed civilian after mistaking a cellphone, say, for a gun, were rare.

    These facts will be soon dismissed (if they haven't been already) as "Republican talking points" by Democratic presidential candidates.


  • And, via GeekPress, Ancient Roman 'Pen' Was a Joke Souvenir.

    The tradition of buying cheap, joke souvenirs for your loved ones while traveling dates back at least two millennia.

    During an archaeological excavation at a Roman-era site in London, researchers found around 200 iron styluses used for writing on wax-filled wooden tablets. One of those styluses, which just debuted in its first public exhibition, holds a message written in tiny lettering along its sides. The inscription's sentiment, according to the researchers who translated it, is essentially, "I went to Rome and all I got you was this pen."

    So the next time you see a "I went to X and all I got you was Y" trinket, you can recognize it for what it is: a sign of the decline and fall of America.