URLs du Jour


  • One last Hayek meme from Freedom Unfiltered deserves the close attention of egalitarians:

    That's all they produced, it seems. Maybe I should figure out how to make my own instead of leeching off others.

  • John Tierney gets at something I've been trying to get at myself. His City Journal thoughts on The 7 PM Cheering Routine.

    It’s now part of the daily routine, sticking my head out the window at 7 p.m. and pounding a frying pan with a spoon. My neighbors in the Bronx are banging and clapping from their windows and balconies, and someone a few blocks away is sending up fireworks every evening. It feels good to join the tribute to our health-care workers, but when the noise ends, I worry where this feeling is leading us.

    We’re all reveling in the joy of “encompassment,” as the economist Daniel Klein terms this primal yearning to share an emotion that involves everyone around us. When we sing in church or cheer at a football game, we tap into that same feeling experienced by ancient hunter-gatherers as they chanted and danced around the campfire.

    This feeling of encompassment was adaptive on the ancestral savannah, providing an emotional cohesion that helped hunter-gatherers survive by voluntarily cooperating to achieve a goal understood and shared by everyone in their band—perhaps 25 to 100 people, whom they knew well enough to trust. But we don’t live in such bands anymore, and therein lies the problem, especially during a crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The joy of encompassment can turn ugly pretty quickly when dissension from the tribal consensus is noticed. Philip Greenspun calls it the "Church of Shutdown", and notes that the face mask is the church's hijab. And woe betide the infidels who fail to wear it in the time, place, and manner that the priesthood demands!

  • In the (probably paywalled, sorry) WSJ, Holman W. Jenkins Jr. suggests Disinfecting Journalistic Ethics. "Everybody knows" that Trump suggested chugging Clorox to defeat the pandemic, right?

    I finally read the lengthy transcript of President Trump’s April 23 press conference but it turned out to be unnecessary. Under the heading of “If your time is short,” the Poynter Institute’s PolitiFact website kindly summarized: “The briefing transcript shows that Trump did not say people should inject themselves with bleach or alcohol to treat the coronavirus. He was asking officials on the White House coronavirus task force whether they could be used in potential cures.”

    It was a reporter in the audience who asked an accompanying official: “The President mentioned the idea of cleaners, like bleach and isopropyl alcohol you mentioned. There’s no scenario that that could be injected into a person, is there?”

    No, was the answer, but the question was apparently enough for a few dozen common-run-of-humanity journalists to create a 99% fake story, and it’s not hard to guess why: clicks and page views; cable channels whose business model depends on a steady flow of contempt for Mr. Trump and his voters.

    The PolitiFact article to which Mr. Jenkins refers is here. ("When even Politifact says…")

    Trump says a lot of stupid stuff, but there are scores of "journalists" whose job description is "find something to fit the Orange Man Bad narrative." It's pretty tedious.

  • The Federalist's Tristan Justice reports: House Republicans Announce Probe Into Chinese Propaganda In US Academia.

    Seven top House Republicans announced a probe into Chinese influence at American universities Monday as China’s propaganda campaign to thwart global efforts combatting the novel Wuhan coronavirus has raised further scrutiny into China’s information warfare.

    The smaller microscope placed on China’s covert operations have now prompted lawmakers on Capitol Hill to pivot their attention to China’s infiltration of U.S. academia, where the east Asian adversary has established Confucious [sic] Institutes acting as propaganda centers at American colleges.

    As we've previously noted, the University Near Here recently renewed its Confucius Institute for another five years. They maintain that its CI merely funds two instructors for Chinese language courses; no propaganda or spying involved.

    That link goes to New Hampshire Public Radio, which unfortunately didn't seem to ask whether it's proper for UNH to take cash from a brutal dictatorship. (I would bet you'd find a lot more outrage over Koch money.)

  • At PJMedia, Philip Carl Salzman has A Modest Proposal for Opening Universities: Some Faculties Should Remain Closed.

    In dealing with this Chinese pandemic, the U.S. and Canada have responded by distinguishing between “essential” and “nonessential” workers, businesses, and activities. Universities and colleges should draw this distinction as they consider reopening. What faculties are essential in universities? The sciences, engineering, mathematics, and computer studies are essential, in that they make a major economic contribution. The faculty of medicine and nursing are essential for the wellbeing of the population. The faculty of business serves society’s practical needs, and can be considered at least quasi-essential.

    But, in contrast to the previous, many faculties are not essential; they are in fact counter-productive for society. The “humanities” and “social sciences,” with their grievance advocacy “studies” programs, such as women’s studies, black studies, Latinx studies, queer studies, and the like, today function primarily to divide people and advance Marxist goals such as class conflict, socialist governance, redistribution of wealth, and so are counterproductive. So too with the radical faculties of education and social work, all relentlessly ideological, and all sending their activists under the guise of teachers and social workers. The faculty of law is inessential; we have too many lawyers already, most living well off of the misery of citizens.

    Modest, indeed! Click through for Mr. Salzman's further recommendation that the "vast multiplication of deans, associate deans, assistant deans, and assistants to the assistant deans, vice presidents, associate vice presidents, assistant vice presidents, etc. etc. should be culled vigorously."

  • At AEI, Mark J. Perry reports an unsurprising result: New research confirms that the cruel minimum wage law has the greatest adverse effects on the most vulnerable workers. That research is from the National Bureau for Economic Research (NBER).

    Bottom Line: It should be obvious but this new NBER research provides additional empirical evidence that the greatest adverse effects of the minimum wage law are concentrated on exactly those workers the minimum wage advocates say they are most trying help: lower-skilled, limited experience workers who are the least educated. In other words, the workers who suffer the most from minimum wage laws are the workers who are the least advantaged, least skilled, most marginalized, and most vulnerable, and who are most in need of gaining skills and work experience. And that makes minimum wage laws cruel, detrimental, and misguided, especially for the workers most at risk. To quote Don Boudreaux, “Taking away from [low-skilled] workers an important bargaining chip, namely the ability to offer to work at a wage less than the minimum, is the cruelest thing you can do for a lot of these workers.”

    Progressive compassion is (at best) short-sighted.