URLs du Jour

2020-06-15

Our Eye Candy du Jour is entitled "The Pushers" an entry in the JoyOfTech web comic.

[The Pushers]

I'm putting it in because I want to say: it's disappointingly dumb. It condones bad behavior with a soothing excuse: It's not your fault! You're just the victim of forces beyond your control!

My friend, if you're dysfunctionally "addicted" to Facebook or Twitter, just stop. Or ruthlessly cull your feed.

(On Facebook, I've pretty much bailed on "friends" who think I need to be shown their tendentious political memes daily or more often. Much better now.)

  • At the Daily Signal, David Harsanyi outlines The Problem With 'Pick a Knee'. And if you don't know to what that refers:

    Previously discussed here, but Harsanyi has some additional worthwhile thoughts on S. E.'s "ugly false choice":

    I find the abuse of black civilians—or, though this is apparently a provocation, any civilians—by the police abhorrent. More than any other group in American life, cops, empowered by the state to use force, have a special responsibility to protect life and adhere to the law.

    But I am no more liable for the actions of Derek Chauvin than is S. E. Cupp or Al Sharpton. I have nothing to confess. The color of my skin is not an indictment of my morality, nor does it strip me of my agency.

    On the Read the Whole Thing scale, David's column is up around 8.5.


  • But ugly false choices aren't restricted to CNN talking heads. Note this Yoram Hazony Tweet:

    Yorem Harzony is supposed to be a smart guy but this is idiotic not up to the intellectual standards you might expect from him.

    A third choice:

    [Amazon Link]

    1. Don't submit. Don't ally with people with whom you have fundamental disagreements. Buy Arthur C. Brooks' book and love your enemies, link at right.

    You might not win. That's not the worst thing in the world.


  • Making a lot of sense about the New York Times' craven unpublishing of Senator Tom Cotton's op-ed column… is New York Times op-ed columnist Ross Douthat:

    The force transforming Western liberalism has many hashtags, many slogans, many admiring and pejorative descriptions, but no single name that everyone can recognize as a singular description of the thing itself. #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, social justice and intersectionality, anti-racism and the “great awokening.” “Cultural Marxism” and “SJWs” and “identity politics.” Political correctness, of course, and more obscurely “left modernism” and “hyper-liberalism.” Like the blind men feeling different portions of the elephant, the words all capture something, but the form of the animal remains a bit fuzzy, with a generally familiar shape but tusks and trunks where you don’t necessarily expect them.

    One particularly useful phrase belongs to the cultural critic Wesley Yang, who calls the transformational force “the successor ideology” — meaning that it represents a possible successor to liberalism, like Marxism in the last century, but also that it’s inchoate and half-formed and sometimes internally contradictory, defined more by its departures from older liberal ideas than by a unified worldview.

    Douthat sees a recurring theme in the "successor ideology": trying to achieve worthy liberal goals while embracing illiberal tactics and ignoring inconvenient liberal precepts. I'm pretty sure that's fundamentally incoherent, counterproductive, and ultimately destructive, but what do I know?


  • Were it not for Ann Althouse, I would be unaware of this effort: UNH Franklin Pierce Law School May Drop Name Of 14th U.S. President (1853-57) Because He Did Not End Slavery. From a Boston Globe article:

    A New Hampshire law school bearing the name of the state’s only president, Franklin Pierce, is thinking about removing him from its title as part of the national conversation about systemic racism because he opposed taking steps to stop slavery.

    Pierce, the country’s 14th president, served from 1853 to 1857. He was an accomplished attorney and brigadier general in the U.S. Army. He never owned slaves and expressed moral opposition to slavery, but he was concerned with keeping the nation unified.

    Pierce was (so far) New Hampshire's only contribution to the Presidency. By most rankings he was significantly below average.

    The law school should not be confused with Franklin Pierce University, which (by at least one account) is a "lower quality college at an expensive price".

    The law school only added on the Franklin Pierce monicker last year (for reasons I don't know), so at least they're not dismantling a long tradition. But the name-dropping rationale seems weak.


  • Jonah Goldberg looks at The Growing CHAZm in Seattle:

    I love CHAZ. That’s the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, a six-square block Wokeistan in the middle of Seattle, though I fear that they’ll change the name to something more euphoniously transgressive any minute now. And, while I feel bad for the businesses and homeowners in the area who are watching their property values plummet like one of those applause-o-meter dials at a focus group for Sean Spicer’s new one-man song-and-dance show at Branson, CHAZ is just too perfect not to talk about.  

    For starters, we’ve been hearing for years that borders are terrible. Some wokevolk talk about borders the way you talk to a dog that craps on your new white rug: “Bad borders! Bad!”

    But what’s the first thing the Chaztopians establish? Borders, baby. The chief of police explained that, in a generous act of appeasement, she ordered the removal of police barricades at the request of protesters who said they wanted to march “because we really wanted to establish trust. Instead of marching, the protesters … established their own barricades. So the streets we wanted to be clear are now no longer clear.”

    We never do that crazy stuff around here. I suppose I'm glad about that.


  • I'm not as big a science fiction guy as I was in my youth, but this Quillette article was nevertheless interesting: The Libertarian History of Science Fiction

    When mainstream authors like Eric Flint complain that the science fiction establishment, and its gatekeeper the Hugo Awards, has “drift[ed] away from the opinions and tastes of… mass audience[s],” prioritizing progressive messaging over plot development, the response from the Left is uniform: Science fiction is by its very nature progressive. It’s baked into the cake, they say. This is a superficially plausible claim. With its focus on the future, its embrace of the unfamiliar and other-worldly, and its openness to alternative ways of living, it is hard to see how the genre could be anything but progressive. In fact, studies indicate that interest in SF books and movies is strongly correlated with a Big Five personality trait called openness to experience, which psychologists say is highly predictive of liberal values.

    But openness to experience also correlates with libertarianism and libertarian themes and ideas have exercised far greater influence than progressivism over SF since the genre’s inception. From conservatarian voices like Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven, Vernor Vinge, Poul Anderson, and F. Paul Wilson to those of a more flexible classical liberal bent like Ray Bradbury, David Brin, Charles Stross, Ken McLeod, and Terry Pratchett, libertarian-leaning authors have had an outsized, lasting influence on the field. So much so that The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction has deemed “Libertarian SF” its own stand alone “branch,” admitting that “many of libertarianism’s most influential texts have been by SF writers.”

    If you're despairing about the craptacular novels that the woke brigades have been pushing, you'll get a lot of suggestions.


Last Modified 2020-06-16 8:50 AM EDT