URLs du Jour


A recent bit of genius from Mr. Ramirez:

[Bird Brain]

  • Michael Huemer is on our radical wavelength: Licensing Is Bullshit.

    Most people are against special interest laws — laws that are designed to benefit a special interest group at the expense of society — in the abstract. But they love special interest laws in the concrete, that is, most particular special interest laws are popular. That’s because voters don’t recognize them for what they are, mostly because average voters are so gullible (see https://fakenous.net/?p=1604) as to swallow whatever BS the special interest group feeds them.

    Case in point: licensing laws. These are laws restricting who may legally sell a good or service. You could be denied permission to sell on the grounds that you are not good enough (not educated enough, etc.), or that your community does not ‘need’ another provider. The standards are set by ‘the experts’ — who happen to be current industry insiders. Coincidentally, these experts tend to be strongly in favor of licensing restrictions, and they tend to have a very conservative view of how many providers society needs. If you don’t see any problem with this, you should probably look up “conflict of interests” in the dictionary, because you must not have ever heard of this concept.

    Prof Huemer's tutorial is must-reading, especially if you're a squish (sorry) that thinks licensing is silly for (say) hair braiders, but should be maintained for "important" professions like doctoring and lawyering. Nay, say we.

  • Many columnists write best when deeply irritated, and Jonah Goldberg is deeply irritated by The Treason of Epidemiologists.

    We spent the last couple of months being hectored by public health experts and earnestly righteous media personalities who insisted that easing lockdown policies was immoral, that refusing to social distance or wear masks was nigh upon murderous. They even suggested that protests were somehow profane. But now that the George Floyd protests are serving as some kind of Great Awokening, many of the same are saying “never mind” about all of that. Protests aren’t profane, they’re glorious and essential—if they agree with what you’re protesting about.

    Jonah's example is from a former head of the CDC:

    Jonah's further comment:

    Frieden, the former head of the CDC, is very concerned about public trust. Me too. But you know what erodes public trust in people like Frieden? When they say that you’re a fool or monster who will get people killed for wanting to go to church or keep your business open but you’re a hero when you join a protest they approve of.

    Also see Karen Towsend at Hot Air.

    I'm especially struck by the folks who blather about the "First Amendment" right to protest in order to wave away pandemic objections.

    When they expressed no misgivings whatsoever about government restrictions on religious observances.

    It's like their eyes skip over the religious bits of the 1A.

  • At City Journal, Glenn C. Loury provides a Rebuttal to Brown Univ.’s Letter Decrying Pervasive Racism in U.S.. (Loury is an econ prof at Brown. For now.)

    In response to the standard pap:

    I wondered why such a proclamation was necessary. Either it affirmed platitudes to which we can all subscribe, or, more menacingly, it asserted controversial and arguable positions as though they were axiomatic certainties. It trafficked in the social-justice warriors’ pedantic language and sophomoric nostrums. It invoked “race” gratuitously and unreflectively at every turn. It often presumed what remains to be established. It often elided pertinent differences between the many instances cited. It read in part like a loyalty oath. It declares in every paragraph: “We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident.”

    And just what truths are these? The main one: that racial domination and “white supremacy” define our national existence even now, a century and a half after the end of slavery.

    I deeply resented the letter. First of all, what makes an administrator (even a highly paid one, with an exalted title) a “leader” of this university? We, the faculty, are the only “leaders” worthy of mention when it comes to the realm of ideas. Who cares what some paper-pushing apparatchik thinks? It’s all a bit creepy and unsettling. Why must this university’s senior administration declare, on behalf of the institution as a whole and with one voice, that they unanimously—without any subtle differences of emphasis or nuance—interpret contentious current events through a single lens?

    When the nation is going unquietly insane, voices like Professor Loury's are welcome islets of sense.

  • But there are bad examples, too. And some of them have caused my Google News Alert to go bong bong bong. Here's Art News: Adam Pendleton Addresses Protests Across America

    I woke up this morning and realized I live in a country where police mow down civilians with SUVs and storm protesters with batons, rubber bullets, teargas, and live rounds. I realized you can lose your life for standing up for life. I realized that I am not safe, and this country is not kind. I realized we are living through a health crisis, an economic crisis, a cultural crisis, and a social crisis while the country is being led by a man who fuels all flames of dumb violence and division. I realized I was tired of being asked “Are you OK?” by friends and colleagues. I realized I was tired of being asked to respond, yet heartened that people care. I realized I was angry that I was heartened that people care—because you better care. You are the person standing next to you: If I fail, you fail. If you fail, I fail.

    I realized we have lost our collective sense of compassion and intelligence—and then that we probably never had it to lose. I realized that, after this moment quells, people will go back to their lives, and my life as well as those of my brothers and sisters—trans, cis, the we in all of us—will still be on the line. I woke up in the calm of the early morning light next to the man I love and thought, “Live free or die.” I wondered if I should, if I would, give my own life for this urgent abstraction of Black life, of mattering. I wondered if I would die. I realized I am surrounded by contradictions, dysfunctions, and distractions. I realized I had better things to do than mourn for this country while thinking of Toni Morrison: “The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend 20 years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.”

    Fearless prediction: Adam Pendleton will not die. He will keep producing crappy overpriced art for the foreseeable future.

  • And in local LFOD news, Free Keene has a ray of sunshine: “Nobody” Files First in NH Republican Gubernatorial Primary

    It’s official. New Hampshire voters will for the first time be able to cast a vote for Nobody for governor. Sick of Sununu and his insanely destructive “stay at home” lockdown where he tries to micromanage everyone’s businesses? Do you wish New Hampshire was actually a live-free-or-die place instead of an insane authoritarian medical state? Nobody should be your candidate of choice during the September primary.

    And here's the accompanying video:

    I'm probably too conventional to vote for Nobody, but his beard alone should win some votes.