URLs du Jour

2019-09-05

  • We start today with a Tweet from Justin O'Donnell, Libertarian candidate for the New Hampshire seat in the US Senate currently occupied by Jeanne Shaheen:

    This is not an endorsement or a prediction that I'll be voting for Justin next November. But I like that meme.


  • David Harsanyi suggests Democrats use more honest language in their "gun control" proposals. To wit:

    The media should stop using absurdly lazy phrases like “mandatory gun buybacks.” Unless the politician they’re talking about is in the business of selling firearms, it’s impossible for him to “buy back” anything. No government official—not Joe Biden, not Beto O’Rourke, not any of the candidates who now support “buyback” programs—has ever sold firearms.

    What Democrats propose can be more accurately described as “the first American gun confiscation effort since Lexington and Concord,” or some variation on that theme. Although tax dollars will be meted out in an effort to incentivize volunteers, the policy is to confiscate AR-15s, the vast majority of which have been legally purchased by Americans who have undergone background checks and never used a gun for a criminal purpose.

    It's sad that this proposal polls as well as it does even with the euphemized rhetorical fog in which pollsters present it. But I guess the original Prohibition polled well at the time too, and we had to see it in practice before dumping it.


  • Jeff Jacoby suggests: We've had enough arrogant presidents. We need a humble one.

    Humility is out of fashion these days, particularly in the presidential realm. The current occupant of the White House is a pathological braggart, who boasts about everything from the size of his brain to the size of his crowds to the size of his fortune. Donald Trump claims to have "the world's greatest memory" and to "know more about ISIS than the generals." He even declares himself "much more humble" than anyone realizes.

    Trump's immodesty is plainly off the charts, but his predecessor was also possessed of a severely swollen ego.

    "I'm a better speechwriter than my speechwriters," Barack Obama told aides as a candidate for the White House. "I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that ... I'm a better political director than my political director." His accomplishments, he informed an interviewer in December 2011, superseded those of every other president, with the "possible exceptions" of Lincoln, FDR, and Lyndon Johnson.

    Politicians' personalities are probably several sigmas off the mean on any number of traits. Humility would be nice for a change, but I'm not sure non-humility is a dealbreaker.

    Probably I'm saying that because I listened to this week's Econtalk podcast between Russ Roberts and David Deppner. Among one of the least humble politicians: Winston Churchill. I can't argue that was a bad thing for Britain to have in a leader at that time.


  • Jacob Sullum writes at Reason, indicating that 1984 was probably 35 years too early: Defending ‘Reasoned Debate About Public Safety,’ San Francisco Supervisors Declare the NRA a ‘Domestic Terrorist Organization’.

    Yesterday the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously declared that the National Rifle Association is a "domestic terrorist organization," because words no longer have any meaning.

    Jacob supplies the text of the resolution so you can make your own call. Furthermore:

    The resolution does not mention any evidence that the NRA "incite[s] gun owners to acts of violence." But this quote from Supervisor Catherine Stefani, who introduced the resolution, gives you an idea of what she and her colleagues may have had in mind: "When they use phrases like, 'I'll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands' on bumper stickers, they are saying reasoned debate about public safety should be met with violence."

    That is not what they are saying. Even on a literal level, the slogan means that the person affixing it to his bumper is ready to forcibly resist any attempt to forcibly deprive him of his fundamental right to armed self-defense. More realistically, it is a hyperbolic way of saying the Second Amendment is really important to that person. It does not mean he is ready to shoot Catherine Stefani for advocating gun control. Nor should Stefani interpret the Gadsden Flag as a threat to sic rattlesnakes on her, or New Hampshire's state motto as an incitement to violent revolution.

    Hey, LFOD made it into Reason again!

    But we are long on despair today. Because you know that organization that prides itself on free and open discussion of all ideas, even ones you find hateful? Well…


  • Michael Graham of Inside Sources reveals The Anti-Biden Flier The New Hampshire ACLU Doesn't Want You To See.

    The national ACLU has some serious questions for former Vice President Joe Biden about his record on civil rights. They’ve paid for and sent out 100,000 copies of a flier pressuring him to answer those questions to Democratic-leaning households in South Carolina.

    But zero in New Hampshire.  Why?

    Here's a clue: African-American voters make up more than 60 percent of the electorate in the Democratic primary in South Carolina. And in New Hampshire the fraction is … somewhat less than that.