URLs du Jour

2019-08-10

[Amazon Link]

  • Kevin D. Williamson speaks utter truth in National Review: Gun-Control Advocacy: Mostly Demagoguery.

    The Second Amendment isn’t about shooting ducks. It’s about shooting people.

    Once you really get your head around that, you can begin to appreciate the political architecture of the gun-control debate and the fundamental problem at the heart of it: The purpose of the Second Amendment is to ensure the right of Americans to keep and bear arms designed to kill people in armed confrontations, and everything that makes firearms unsuitable for that purpose is at odds with the Second Amendment.

    The usual response to that goes something like this: “Oh, sure, that may have been true, one upon a time, but we no longer have a lawless frontier, and the idea of a bunch of Bubbas getting together with their AR-15s and strapping on their tactical Underoos to take on a tyrannical U.S. government in some hypothetical dystopia is an absurd and adolescent fantasy.” If that’s your argument, then, fine: But that is not an argument for banning 50-round magazines or prohibiting semiautomatic rifles — that’s an argument for repealing the Second Amendment, at which point you have constitutional license to pass whatever gun-control legislation suits your fancy.

    Give it a shot.

    I added, in a comment, something I've said before: "Gun control" isn't about controlling guns. It's about controlling people.


  • At Reason, Billy Binion noticed someone saying something. Specifically, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: ‘I Have a Lot of Common Ground With Many Libertarian Viewpoints’.

    "I actually think I have a lot of common ground with many libertarian viewpoints in [the Republican] party," Ocasio-Cortez said, emphasizing her stances on immigration, the military, and privacy rights. Her admission comes not long after she and Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas) publicly agreed on the need to prohibit former congresspeople from becoming lobbyists, as well as to make hormonal birth control available over the counter.

    "True libertarians, which many happen to be in the Republican Party, true libertarian viewpoints are pro-immigration," she explained on Instagram. Advocates of smaller government do indeed acknowledge that immigrants help the economy, and many dismiss the notion that the federal government is capable of determining optimal migration levels.

    Yeah, well, maybe. I'm slightly sympathetic to libertarian immigration arguments. But I waver away at times, too.

    It's all that other totalitarian crap in the Green New Deal that kinda turns me off, AOC. You can't give that a libertarian spin.


  • Drew Cline at the Josiah Bartlett Center offers an idea: How N.H. could save millions in drug costs with an online auction. Specifically, it could put a better process in place for choosing its pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) using a reverse auction.

    Corporations and the federal government have for years employed an online reverse auction to force contractors to bid aggressively to win their business. It works sort of like eBay, but in reverse. The buyer starts the auction, and contractors place their bids. The auction then cycles through multiple rounds, with contractors having the chance in each new round to outbid each other.

    Drew notes that this would be a welcome introduction of market forces into state multi-million dollar outlays.


  • Steven Landsburg distinguishes between the Slips and Lies of politicians. Specifically:

    I was not present at Joe Biden’s recent speech, and I have not seen the video, but I am essentially certain that the phrase “Poor kids are just as bright as white kids” — which Biden, like Mrs. Reagan, instantly corrected — was an equally innocent slip of the tongue. I have little patience for those who are attempting to profit by suggesting otherwise. What Mr. Biden meant to say was that “poor kids are just as bright as wealthy kids”. And therein lies the true outrage. Because that statement is a lie.

    Poor kids are not just as bright as wealthy kids. The sources for this empirical fact are easy to find, so I won’t review them here. There are several plausible explanations. First, IQ is highly correlated with wealth and IQ is heritable. Next, poverty is stressful, and stress impedes cognitive development. Et cetera.

    And, yes, 'tis a lie told with good intentions. But it's one of those which the "fact checkers" will not bother to check.

    [Hasten to say: it's a lie in the context of averages. Pick a poor kid, pick a rich kid, it's certainly possible that the poor kid will be brighter. But do that multiple times, and over the long run, it's not the way to bet.


  • And the Google LFOD alert rang for Jeff Jacoby at the good old Boston Globe: For good reason, statehood for D.C. has always been a nonstarter.

    Most state license plates bear mottos that are uplifting (“The Spirit of America,” “Live Free or Die,”), descriptive (“10,000 Lakes,” “America’s Dairyland”), or welcoming (“Aloha State,” “Great Faces, Great Places”). Only the District of Columbia’s is bad-tempered. Emblazoned on its license plate is a complaint: “Taxation Without Representation.”

    Jeff goes into the sensible (and Constitutional) reasons why D. C. ain't a state, and shouldn't be one.

    D. C. is bigger than even the bloated Federal Government needs. Maybe cede the residential areas to Maryland, and restrict the District to government offices and supporting service businesses. But nothing fancier than a Wendy's! Well, maybe a Shake Shack.


  • And, praise be, I have been liked and (in a sense) edited by Virgina Postrel. Well, at Facebook. It wasn't hard. Nevertheless, I can scratch that off my bucket list.