URLs du Jour

2019-11-08

[Amazon Link]

  • At AEI, Mark J. Perry provides Quotation of the day on the great non sequitur of our time….

    In politics, the great non sequitur of our time is that: 1) things are not right and that 2) the government should make them right. Where right all too often means cosmic justice, trying to set things right means writing a blank check for never-ending expansion of government power. That in turn means the quiet and piecemeal repeal of the American Revolution and the freedom that it signified as an ideal for everyone. It means muffling the shot heard round the world and bringing back the old idea that some are booted and spurred to ride others. That they are riding with a heady sense of moral mission and personal gratification makes them more dangerous.

    That's from Thomas Sowell's The Quest for Cosmic Justice, our Amazon Product du Jour.


  • So with both major parties aiming at nominating presidential candidates with deal-breaking baggage, that means the Big-L Libertarian Party might be an option for me (again). So I paid attention to the current crop of candidates. Matt Welch of Reason reports from a recent state convention: Candidates Vie to Represent the Libertarian Wing of the Libertarian Party.

    But news there was this past weekend at the South Carolina Libertarian Party state convention. Author and longtime libertarian hand Jacob Hornberger, the 69-year-old founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation, formally announced his candidacy for president, immediately becoming one of the most well-known of the dozen or so names working actively to take the baton from two-time nominee Gary Johnson.

    Hornberger, the third-place finisher in the 2000 Libertarian presidential race, portrays his candidacy as a way for the party to return to principle, an implicit critique of nominating former Republican elected officials in the past three cycles. In this, the friend-of-Ron-Paul shares a commonality with the other source of Libertarian weekend news from South Carolina, which was a debate I moderated between six of Hornberger's competitors.

    Across multiple questions, including an open-ended query about lessons learned from Johnson's record-shattering 2016 campaign, the sextet of Adam Kokesh, Kim Ruff, Jo Jorgensen, Ken Armstrong, Dan "Taxation is Theft" Behrman, and Vermin Supreme made it clear that candidates are competing to represent the Libertarian wing of the Libertarian Party.

    Matt's article is link-rich, allowing you to do your own research if you'd like. For me, it's looking like writing in Dave Barry remains the most likely strategy.


  • At NR, Daniel Tenreiro joins the long line of sensible people slagging Jack Dorsey: Twitter’s New Restrictions on Political Advertising Make No Sense.

    While roundly praised by the tech commentariat, Dorsey’s decision is based on flawed premises and will further debase online political discourse. Though courts define “electioneering communication” as messaging that explicitly supports a candidate for public office within 30 days of an election, Twitter’s definition is more expansive, applying to ads for candidates at any time in an election cycle, as well as to ads that promote a political issue.

    Some causes, such as voter-registration drives, will be exempt. Will the policy apply to Black Lives Matter or Greenpeace advertisements? A Planned Parenthood campaign that promotes abortion services takes an explicitly pro-choice position, but the organization has an institutional imperative to expand its customer base. If Twitter chooses to ban such ads, many of those now celebrating its decision as a victory for truth may reconsider. If, as I suspect, Twitter does not choose to ban advertising from an organization such as Planned Parenthood, the Twitter brain trust will put itself in the position of deciding what constitutes political discourse. Given social media’s centrality in American politics (roughly two-thirds of Americans get news on social media), Twitter-approved policies would be artificially bolstered at the expense of free and open debate. Twitter would then become exactly what it ostensibly fears: a large corporation exercising outsize influence on politics.

    Whereever Twitter's policy winds up, it's safe to say that it will not satisfy anyone except Jack.

    But, to be fair, he's the only person that it has to satisfy.


  • And there's good news for my fair state, as reported by the Josiah Bartlett Center: N.H. ranks first in USA in economic freedom, Fraser Institute study finds.

    New Hampshire scored a 7.93 out of 10 in this year’s report, well above its New England neighbors and far above lowest-ranked New York (4.49), which placed last for the fifth year in a row.

    No other New England state made the top ten. Connecticut ranked 13th, Massachusetts 17th, Maine 36th, Rhode Island 38th, and Vermont 47th.

    “New Hampshire’s low-tax, limited-government political culture continues to make the Granite State the envy of both New England and the nation,” said Andrew Cline, president of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, which partnered with the Fraser Institute in releasing the study. “New York and Vermont, on the other hand, continue to show us that economic freedom retreats when under attack from high taxes and heavy regulations.”

    Yay! You can read the details here!


  • And George F. Will speculates on what Bernie and Liz know about their startling ideas. Specifically: Warren and Sanders know their startling ideas won’t get done.

    The torrent of astonishing talk from Democratic presidential aspirants has included two especially startling ideas. One is that we are going to die — the climate change crisis is “existential” — unless America does a slew of things that the aspirants know are not going to be done. And the leading progressive aspirant has endorsed an idea that would confirm hostile caricatures of progressives if any caricaturist could have imagined the idea before Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) voiced it.

    About Democrats’ plans for nullifying the “existential” crisis: America is really not going to achieve Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) “complete decarbonization” by 2050. America will not eliminate net greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050, as Joe Biden promises. Fossil fuels accounted for 81.8 percent of energy consumption in 2018, and the Energy Information Administration projects that, in 2050, the figure will be 78.9 percent. Perhaps higher, if Democrats succeed in abolishing carbon-free nuclear power, which in 2018 was 8.4 percent of energy consumption. The Democrats’ threat to nuclear power’s existence tells you how seriously they take their own rhetoric about the “existential” climate threat. As does their vague, tepid and perfunctory endorsement of the most efficient way to reduce carbon — a carbon tax, which might pose an existential threat to their aspirations.

    As KDW said the other day: their campaign slogan should really be "Give me the power now — we’ll work out the details later."