Our Pic du Jour is Mr. Marcus Aurelius, who provides our Quote du Jour
The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.
Marcus was a pretty sharp guy.
At Reason, non-insane Brian Doherty realizes America has a fever, and the only cure is…
Bourgeois Libertarianism Can Save America.
Traditional American libertarianism, to the extent either side acknowledges its existence, is seen by both leftists and rightists as either supporting the Evil Side or, at best, a pusillanimous, pie-in-the-sky distraction from the necessary business of seizing state power to crush the enemy.
But that old school, non-revolutionary, bourgeois American libertarianism, if actually embraced by most Americans, remains the only peaceful way out.
That it's a mistake—both morally wrong and likely ineffective—to use government force to solve most social problems is one of libertarianism's staid tenets. As the past months should have made evident, police power in the conventional sense can't keep cities secure if even a small number of people are unwilling to live and let live. State power simply cannot rule a people if even a small, energized minority refuses to let it. If you actually care about a functioning civilization, it is never enough to have the state controlled by the "right side."
That's somewhat longer than the Marcus Aurelius quote, and the whole article is of course longer than that. But I think Brian has successfully avoided the ranks of the insane.
Quillete publishes advice from Andreas Bikfalvi and Marcel Kuntz, two French scientists:
International Scholars Must Resist the American Campaign to Inject Racial Tribalism Into Science.
The racialization of discourses, a phenomenon that has spread rapidly to other Western countries from the United States, is increasingly metastasizing into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The process is on display at numerous scientific institutions and journals, including the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine. In Science, chemist Holden Thorp declared that “the evidence of systemic racism in science permeates this nation [i.e., the United States].” In an unsigned editorial, Nature editors pledged to end (unspecified) “anti-Black practices in research.” They also declared that they lead “one of the white institutions that is responsible for bias in research and scholarship,” and that “the enterprise of science has been—and remains—complicit in systemic racism, and it must strive harder to correct those injustices and amplify marginalized voices.”
This is the language of religious confession, not scientific analysis. As scientists ourselves, we feel insulted by such blanket self-denunciations—since we are not racists, have never been racists, and have never met colleagues who, to our knowledge, acted in a racist manner.
The blurb at the end: "This article is adapted from declined editorial submissions to Science and Nature."
No heretics must be allowed expression in the publications of the woke.
Harry Potter money can insulate you from pressures to join the mob. At Hot Air:
JK Rowling returns an award after criticism from the group that gave it to her.
The award was from the group "Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights", given in late 2019. Which might as well have been last century. The Hot Air article contains both an excerpt of the "criticism" provided by the group's president, Kerry Kennedy (RFK's daughter) and Ms. Rowling's statement in response.
And it's Kennedy's hot woke garbage vs. Rowling's reasonable irritation at being accused of "transphobia" and (somehow) violating RFK's "vision". No excerpts, just go look for yourself.
RFK died over 50 years ago, and I'm pretty sure he never got around to describing how his "vision" applied to the transgendered. Never mind, his daughter is apparently in communication with his spirit.
Kerry Kennedy used to be married to Andrew Cuomo, and in clicking around I got an unexpected load of schadenfreude from this Vanity Fair article describing Cuomo's rocky relationship with the Family.
Cato's David Boaz examines
The Republican Party's Confusion on Trade.
I was particularly struck by a fundraising questionnaire I received in the mail last week from the National Republican Senatorial Committee. After some demographic questions and some Republican boilerplate, I got to these two questions:
17. Do you think it’s a good idea to renegotiate international trade deals to make sure we are leveraging our power in favor of American workers and U.S.-based companies?
18. Generally, is there too much government involvement in our free enterprise system?
I assume the NRSC expects recipients to offer a hearty “yes!” to both those questions. But of course they represent diametrically opposed views. Is there too much government involvement in our free enterprise system? Yes: the government should stop telling me what I can buy and from whom. I’d like to be a delegate to a hypothetical Republican convention with a hypothetical debate on the party platform. I’d stand up and say, paraphrasing Hubert Humphrey’s famous 1948 convention speech:
We'll have to wait awhile for the Republican Party to make sense again.
Well, maybe that's overly optimistic. Try: "We'll have to wait awhile for the Republican Party to pull back from blatant contradictions." Until then, see above for that Marcus Aurelius quote.
And Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek provides his "Quotation of the Day" from
a recent economics book, which is fine, but I like his own words on
materialism even better.
It’s easy and oh-so-cool for people awash in modernity’s material amenities to parade their ethical sophistication by denouncing what they take to be the excessive, even animalistic, “addiction” (as they often call it) of other human beings to material goods and services. (Often such denunciations feature as examples devices that are used chiefly for entertainment, such as flatscreen TVs – as if the opportunity for escape, to be entertained, is a somewhat contemptible human desire.) But such denunciations are made by people who cast a too-shallow glance at their fellow human beings.
Sure, the Joneses seem rather too materialistic, what with mom and dad snacking on microwave popcorn as they watch “Schitt’s Creek” on their flatscreen TV, while each of the junior Joneses sits alone in his or her room texting friends or surfing the Internet. The Joneses aren’t doing what some intellectuals fancy they should be doing. They’re not at the bowling alley; they’re not sitting on the porch talking with the neighbors; they’re not at a townhall meeting; they’re doing nothing found in a Norman Rockwell painting.
Yet what are the other experiences that the Joneses enjoy because of their ready access to an abundance of material goods and services? Well, if they are typical Americans they’re healthier than they would have been even just a few decades ago because of the availability of some drugs and medical devices and procedures that only relatively recently became available. The Joneses can talk daily, without worrying about the cost, in real time face-to-face with grandma and grandpa who live hundreds of miles away. When the Joneses travel by automobile they’re less likely to be killed or seriously injured than were their parents at their age. They can acquire recorded music and many books within seconds – and thus, if they wish, elevate their tastes and improve their minds.
Generally, those who make a lot of fuss over the choices other people make—not just consumer choices, but choices about risk, social interaction, parenting,…—make me tired. Cast out the beam from thine own eye, etc.