URLs du Jour

2020-11-03

[Amazon Link]

No recommendations on how you should vote here. Not even recommendations that you do vote. If you need my urging to do that, though, maybe you shouldn't. In any case, "you do you", as the kids say.

My own attitude … well, let me dust off my post from four years ago:

It's probably time for me to admit that the voters show absolutely no sign of breaking hard for the Johnson/Weld Libertarian ticket. Even ignoring the massive character flaws of the major party candidates, it's the only one that offers any respect for the Constitution, fiscal sanity, and individual liberty. So the horse race is between two old nags whose campaigns are nearly entirely based on pointing out how dreadful the other one is. And, for that, the campaigns deserve some points for accuracy: they really are both dreadful.

If you substitute "Jorgensen/Cohen" for "Johnson/Weld", it's still on target.

Other than that, no predictions. I was burned on my (relatively mild) 2016 predictions, and I swore off.

So:

  • Spencer Case writes at Discourse magazine on decades of failed ideology-driven racial policy: The Starting Line. He takes a bold stand in favor of color-blind meritocracy:

    First, … some ideas are race neutral (e.g., “What goes up must come down” is neither a racist idea nor an anti-racist idea). There are also procedures that don’t unfairly discriminate against anyone, such as the blind audition process. We could implement more of these procedures throughout society. Moving toward color blindness is a real option.

    Second, critics of color blindness point out that “color-blind” procedures often result in racial disparities. But it’s question-begging to assert that all procedures that produce a “disparate impact” are racist or unjust. Some color-blind policies are of course bad policies—for example, ill-considered fiscal or military policies that have nothing to do with race—but not bad because they’re color-blind!

    Third, it’s often said that we cannot live in a color-blind society as long as racism exists. But color-blind policies offer us the best chance to overcome racism. In a color-blind society, Whites—not to mention Blacks, Hispanics, and others—would have greater confidence that minorities in positions of influence got there by their own merits. Racial preferences, by contrast, generate animosity, as demonstrated in Thomas Sowell’s excellent book, Affirmative Action around the World: An Empirical Study.

    Finally, it’s often argued that color blindness has been a failure on account of enduring race-relation problems. This objection is the easiest to respond to. Despite the promise of the civil rights movement, institutional racial discrimination never went away. It only changed direction. If anything is a failure, it’s discrimination—even when that discrimination favors historically oppressed groups.

    We've had nearly a half-century of "affirmative action" and it clearly failed. Time to try something else.


  • Opposed to that, of course, is someone who want's to be in charge of Fixing Things: Kamala Harris Says Equal Outcomes Should Be the Goal of Public Policy (from Robby Soave at Reason). At issue, is this tweet:

    In short, a plug for continuing, nay, doubling down on race-concious discrimination in the name of "equity". Here's Robby's comment:

    This may seem like a trivial difference, but when it comes to public policy, the difference matters. A government should be obligated to treat all citizens equally, giving them the same access to civil rights and liberties like voting, marriage, religious freedom, and gun ownership. The government cannot deny rights to certain people because they are black, female, Muslim, etc.—this would be unequal treatment.

    A mandate to foster equity, though, would give the government power to violate these rights in order to achieve identical social results for all people. In accordance with this thinking, the authorities might be justified in giving some people more rights than others. Indeed, this would arguably be strictly necessary, in order to create a society where everyone ends up in the exact same situation.

    "We had to destroy equality in order to save it."


  • Don Boudreaux writes on Covid Collectivism at AIER. He muses on how collectivists are forever painting "liberal individualism" as an ideology that encourages atomistic people, isolated from each other. Ironically, though, "covid collectivism" is actually giving us

    Most obviously, Covid collectivists command individuals to keep their physical distance from each other, and in many cases to remain largely confined to their homes. These commands take little, if any, account of the extremely different risk profiles of different age groups. The one-size-fits-all diktats ignore relevant distinctions among flesh-and-blood individuals.

    […]

    Covid collectivism is fast spawning the detached, isolated, lonely, sullen, and antisocial individuals that collectivists have for so long mistakenly accused liberal individualism of spawning.

    His conclusion: "It’s time for a revolt against Covid collectivism." We'll see.


  • At National Review, Jonathon Van Maren points out something obvious to anyone not an Atlantic editor: Atlantic Documentary ‘White Noise’ Shows White Nationalist Movement More Pathetic than Powerful.

    After a four-year investigation, The Atlantic has released their first feature documentary, White Noise: Inside the Racist Right. By the end of the film, however, one gets the distinct sense that a more accurate title might be The Rise and Fall of the Racist Right. The film is bookended by scenes that warn of a rising white-nationalist movement, but the documentary actually tells a different story — the tale of the alt-right’s brief moment of euphoria, their bitter sense of betrayal at Donald Trump’s presidency, and their disillusionment and collapse.

    Interestingly, of the three figures followed by filmmaker Daniel Lombroso, only one of them is a self-described white nationalist: Richard Spencer, the alleged thought leader of the alt-right and one of the founders of AltRight.com. Mike Cernovich, a lifestyle coach-turned Trumpian conspiracy theorist, and Lauren Southern, the Canadian YouTube star who discovered the lucrative nature of being an attractive right-wing American troll, have been dubbed “alt-light” by the truly dedicated racists of America’s white-nationalist underground. Both were willing to flirt with the dark forces to build a following; neither fully took the plunge.

    What's next for the Atlantic? I suggest: Spherical, Schmearical: Inside the Flat Earth Movement.


  • Back at Reason, Nick Gillespie talks to Jonathan Rauch: How To Tell If You’re Being Canceled. Good all the way through, but Nick asks: "how do you engage [the cancelers] when they are not interested necessarily in hearing what you have to say?"

    The single most common question I get when I talk about free speech and open inquiry on college campuses comes from a student—usually it will be a freshman, sometimes it's a sophomore—who says, "What do I say, Mr. Rauch, when I try to speak up in a conversation and I'm told, 'Check your privilege. You can't say that.' What do I do when I'm disqualified from the conversation because I don't have the minority perspective?"

    I used to try to say all kinds of things that they could say: "Try this. Try that." That wasn't a good answer. Then I began telling them, "Well, you figure it out. You know how to talk to your generation. I don't." That wasn't a good answer.

    The answer that I finally settled on—though the first two were also partly true—was: "It doesn't matter all that much what you say to them, because they're not listening. That's what they're telling you. They're not listening. What matters is that you not shut up. They do not have the power to silence you if you do not allow yourself to be silenced. Insist on your right to continue the conversation to say what you want to say. Don't slink away. You won't necessarily persuade those people, but, as we found in the gay marriage debate, your real target is that third person on the periphery of the circle of the conversation who is seeing one person acting rationally and reasonably and other people acting irrationally and unreasonably. You're probably winning the heart and mind of that third person, so don't shut up."

    So nobody's cancelling me—it helps to have a blog whose readership is mainly automated web crawlers—but I have no plans to shut up anyway.

See you tomorrow when we may know a lot more about our future. I am reminded of an old Woody Allen quote, from back when he was funny:

More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.