URLs du Jour

2020-09-05

[Amazon Link]

  • Good news for me, from AEI, about COVID-19 and walking.

    Walking has been having a moment for a while now. Books and research have been proliferating about the joys and benefits of walking, which include cultural exchange, spiritual enlightenment, and cognitive and creative benefits. Research regularly concludes that even small walks stimulate one’s imagination and enhance focus, and findings note that those who walk regularly are healthier and live longer than those who do not.

    With so many Americans quarantining with limited options for mobility and large numbers managing mental health issues because of the virus, National Geographic has called walking the “ideal pandemic activity.” But National Geographic was also quick to note that while walking is fundamentally a democratic act, “access to safe walking isn’t always guaranteed, as many in the Black and brown communities know.” So having a sense of how and if Americans are walking during the pandemic could be very useful.  

    I have a dog, which is an excellent excuse. Also Bluetooth headphones.


  • At Reason, Stephanie Slade opines on Will-to-Power Conservatism and the Great Liberalism Schism.

    In the last few years, a major fault line has opened up on the American political right: Call it the Great Liberalism Schism. On one side are those of us who remain committed to classical liberal norms and values such as due process, free trade, and religious freedom. On the other side is an increasingly restless group of writers and thinkers at places like First Things and the Claremont Institute who say America has tried classical liberalism—and it failed us.

    These "post-liberals" believe it's time for a conservative politics that stops worrying about protecting individual liberty and starts worrying about attaining the common good. Generally speaking, that means embracing "strong rule" by a government tasked, among other things, with "enforcing duties of community and solidarity in the use and distribution of resources," as the Harvard law professor Adrian Vermeule put it in a March essay for The Atlantic.

    Well, at least they're honest statists, differing from the progressive flavor only in the set of things about which they want government to shove people around about.


  • At National Review, Brian Reidl does the math (correctly) and concludes: Taxing the Wealthy Cannot Finance Socialism. (NRPLUS, sorry peons.)

    The posts are a staple of liberal social media: Attacking the greedy billionaire who could “easily” give everyone $1 million.

    Jeff Bezos could give every single American $3 million and he’d still have $188.8 billion.” “Imagine if @JeffBezos decided to give $1,000,000 to each of those 33 million out of work. It’s pocket change to him.”

    It is not just random social-media postings. In March, MSNBC’s Brian Williams went on the air and endorsed a tweet that stated: “Bloomberg spent $500 million on ads. U.S. Population, 327 million . . . He could have given each American $1 million.” His guest, New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay, concurred that “It’s an incredible way of putting it. It’s true. It’s disturbing.”

    [… a couple more examples …]

    It is tempting to dismiss these claims as random, innocent mathematical errors. In reality, they are central to the growing “Democratic Socialist” worldview, which is increasingly united around the belief that seizing the wealth of Jeff Bezos and other billionaires can finance the future they want. This belief explains the far Left’s non-stop fixation with billionaire wealth (such as the widely circulated but false claim that billionaires have added $584 billion in wealth since the pandemic began). In particular, the Left is obsessed with the world’s richest man (“Jeff Bezos has decided he will not end world hunger today” recently received 500,000 Twitter likes). Just last week, protesters built a guillotine in front of Bezos’s home.

    Just an observation: Mara Gay is still a New York Times Editorial Board member, despite being a math illiterate. Bari Weiss is still out.


  • Also at NR, but not "PLUS": Kevin D. Williamson on The Lives of the Martyrs.

    The motive principle animating the riots under way in Kenosha, Portland, etc., is less a conspiracy than it is an emergent religious phenomenon. The model for understanding what is happening in our burning cities is not the Mafia — it’s the Moonies.

    That radical movements and revolutions take on a religious character is an insight that is hardly original to me. We saw it in the early days of the United States with the apotheosis of George Washington, who became a kind of American Divus Iulius whose great personal integrity and dignity retroactively sanctified the revolution. Mao Zedong was a world-shaking character not because of any deep-seeing political philosophy but because he became a figure of national redemption for China — who was, and remains, the central figure in a cult. (Chairman Xi even dresses up like him on special occasions.) With its conversion narratives, its rites of confession, its ceremonies of excommunication, and, above all, its ritual of mass self-sanctification in communion with its celebrated martyrs, what we are seeing in the cities is essentially religious in character. Those who deride the current moral hysteria in the United States as the “Great Awokening” are not wrong to compare it to the Great Awakening of the 18th century.

    KDW thinks we shouldn't hold our breaths waiting for someone to produce proof of a grand conspiracy driving all the unrest. For better or worse, we live in a country where a small but growing fraction of folks have independently devoted their lives to fomenting chaos.


  • And good news from that state to our immediate south, namely Massachusetts: Thousands of Mail-in Ballots Found Days After the Election.

    Mail-in ballots, the scam that fails everywhere it’s tested. See also, Massachusetts fourth Congressional District.

    Days after Tuesday’s election and MA-4 is finding ballots, thousands of ballots in all kinds of fun places, including some 3,000 mail-in ballots that never made it to their respective polling locations on Election Day.

    The link is to Legal Insurrection, and the appropriate Boston Herald story is quoted extensively.

    Can't wait until November 10 or so, when some diligent folks "find" enough mail ballots to put Joe Biden over the top in a few key states.