URLs du Jour

2020-01-09

  • We present a point/counterpoint today, George F. Will vs. Missouri Senator Josh Hawley. First up is George: Market-skeptic Republicans like Josh Hawley have it wrong.

    The sails of Sen. Josh Hawley’s political skiff are filled with winds gusting from the right. They come from conservatives who think that an array of — perhaps most of — America’s social injuries, from addiction to loneliness — have been inflicted by America’s economy. Individualism, tendentiously defined, is the Missouri Republican’s named target. Inevitably, however, the culprit becomes capitalism, which is what individual freedom is in a market society’s spontaneous order.

    In a November speech to like-minded social conservatives of the American Principles Project, Hawley said: “We live in a troubled age.” Not pausing to identify a prior, untroubled age, he elaborated: “Across age groups and regions, across races and income, the decline in community is undeniable. But it is not accidental.” Well.

    Time was, Marxists’ characteristic rhetorical trope was “it is no accident” that this or that happened. As economic determinists, they believed that everything is explained by iron laws of economic development. They insisted that culture is downstream from economics and is decisively shaped by economic forces.

    My guess is that Hawley is positioning himself for a 2024 presidential run, showing that he is a Serious Thoughtful Guy. We'll see, maybe I'll be senile enough that year to vote for him. But…


  • Senator Josh makes his rebuttal in the pages of the Federalist and scolds: No, George Will, Individual Freedom Is Bigger Than Market Choice.

    There was a time when I read George Will religiously. My parents gave me a volume of his columns for Christmas when I was thirteen, if I remember. He was my introduction to Aristotle and Edmund Burke, to James Madison and Alexis DeTocqueville. Will was a teacher as well as a commentator in his writing, and I learned much from him. And back then, he was still a conservative.

    Times change. These days Will spends his columns sneering at Donald Trump and the rural, “non-college-educated” working class, bashing pro-worker trade policies and pro-family tax reforms. And in today’s installment, he dismisses my call to revive American community as an affront to capitalism and—wait for it—individual liberty! It must be hard being so angry all the time.

    Well, make your own call. If I were GFW, I'd probably reply, "Senator, it must be hard being so stupid all the time."

    But he won't. That's why I'm me, and GFW is GFW. And the GOP is living up to its "Stupid Party" nickname.


  • At Cato, Chris Edwards provides an entry to our "Should/Could Have Seen That Coming" file. Crescent Dunes: Another Green Flop.

    The Department of Energy called the vast and expensive solar project a “success story” and “milestone for the country’s energy future.”

    But you can’t trust what the government says. Crescent Dunes is a flop and taxpayers are set to lose $737 million on it, according to a new Bloomberg report. That is even more than the $535 million taxpayers lost on the corruption-soaked Solyndra solar project.

    With 10,000 mirrors arrayed in the Nevada desert, Crescent Dunes does look cool. But with the much lower costs of solar photovoltaic and natural gas projects, the government’s gamble on this alternative technology was folly. Politicians never apologize for their mistakes, and the main politician responsible for this one, former Senator Harry Reid, has retired and won’t face any tough questions about wasting our money.

    Some geeks were easily suckered, for example Slashdot back in 2015.


  • Like me, Ann Althouse visits Real Clear Politics now and then, and notes the prominent featuring of diverse articles by their headlines. And notes Headlines are really just a gentle invitation: What would you like to believe today?.

    [RCP Headlines]

    Click the image to enlarge and clarify. When you have clarity, and know what you want to believe, go to Real Clear Politics and click on the headline you want to be true. Do you want Trump to be a great benefactor of humankind or a bumbling fool? Do you want it all to be Obama's fault? Do you want Joe Biden to be just what we need right now or a guy who needs to wake up and get outta here? Do you want the impeachment to be a bust or do you want Democrats to have a new trial strategy? Would you like Nikki Haley to be a monster or Bill Barr to be a fabulous hero?

    Or does everything seem to be a dismal waste of time? I say view the headlines as a gentle invitation: What would you like to believe today? See the array of offers. Pick one or 2 to lift your spirits or confirm your identity, or — like party invitations — decline them all and stay home, embedded in your real life, where you have some hope of finding something genuine and worthy.

    I've kind of had the same feeling, but Ann expresses it better than I ever could.


  • Jeffrey A. Tucker at AIER takes on Tyler Cowan's "State Capacity Libertarianism", in particular Tyler's claim that current libertarianism is "hollowed out": If Libertarianism Hollowed Out, Why?.

    There is nothing hollow about the idea that people should be free, that people should expect to live good lives without having their volition and property invaded by public officials who know much less about real life than the people actually living it. It is for this reason that society should be left alone to take its own course of evolution. This is the path to peace, prosperity, and progress. This is the real libertarian position. It’s a broad conviction that has more presence in today’s world than any point in the last century. 

    Becoming a libertarian doesn’t mean leaving your humanity behind; on the contrary, it means embracing it fully and believing that the potential of a free life on earth is far from fully realized.

    I'm right now putting my fist in the air (yes, while typing) and shouting "Yeah!" Honest.


Last Modified 2020-01-10 7:25 AM EST