URLs du Jour

2020-11-18

  • A clear-eyed Glenn Greenwald tweets:

    As indicated, Obama is the latest Chicken Little.

    Well, that's an inapt analogy. Chicken Little, as I remember, was warning people in good faith. Obama and his ilk are using this "threat to democracy" scare tactic to put more power in the hands of the state.

    And really, what does it say about Obama's conception of "democracy" when he's working off the implicit assumption that most of the American people aren't able to sift through arguments, separating facts from nonsense, etc.?

    Hey, that might be true. But I wouldn't expect a "democracy" fan like Obama to push that narrative.


  • But there's good news, as reported by NH Journal: NH Named Top State For Economic Freedom Two Years in a Row.

    New Hampshire is the most economically free state in North America for the second year in a row, according to a new report released by the Fraser Institute, in partnership with the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy.

    It’s the third time in four years the state has topped the list.

    Here's the story at Josiah Bartlett: New Hampshire ranked most economically free state for second year in a row. (Can we say that too many times?)


  • Jonah Goldberg states what's obvious to everyone except Trump's cult: Donald Trump Will Never Stop Fighting—For Himself.

    “Despite the Left’s attempts to undermine this Election, I will NEVER stop fighting for YOU,” President Trump assured me in a fundraising email.

    I don’t take campaign fundraising emails seriously (never mind literally). They’re all pretty stupid. But this one was obviously different, for the simple reason that the election is over.

    Indeed, this note—one of many sent by the Trump campaign recently—was a plea for money to pay for the legal effort to reverse an election Trump lost by the same margin of electoral votes he once claimed amounted to a “massive landslide.” If you read the letter’s fine print, you’ll discover that “fighting for you” actually means “fighting for me.” Most of the money from small donors will go not to the legal effort but rather to pay down campaign debt.

    In a sense, I’m grateful that Trump is doubling down on everything wrong about his presidency in its final chapter. Yes, this is embarrassing for the country. Yes, Trump’s radioactive conspiracy theory of a stolen election will have a long, poisonous half-life. But Trump is removing any doubt that his narcissistic presidency was always entirely about him.

    I didn't think I could have a lower opinion of Trump. But he's managed to underperform my low expectations since Election Day.


  • [Amazon Link]
    In his regular weekly feature at National Review, Kevin D. Williamson writes on the Two Americas. (Which is a major theme of his just-released book! Amazon Link at right!)

    When Donald Trump was nominated in 2016, the shock of it exnihilated into existence a whole genre of “white working class” reporting, often with a Jane Goodall-ish feeling to it —“Lookit, Caitlyn, they seem almost human!” — that was held in almost universally low regard. Conservatives complained, not without good reason, that much of that reporting was shallow and shaped by the unshakeable preconception that this is all somehow about racism and Christian fanaticism; progressives complained, not without good reason, that reporting about subjects such as poverty and addiction has been noticeably more sympathetic when the stars of the show are white, and especially white and middle-class. But I think that that kind of reporting is well-intentioned and useful — it’s always good to get journalists out of New York City and Washington, D.C. Much of that white-working-class reportage hasn’t been very good, but the effort is worth something.

    It’s worth something because that fault-line in American cultural life is real. Increasingly, we act as though we inhabit entirely separate realities. Some of the work I think of as a “skeleton key for Trump country,” reports from on the ground in places and situations that tend to be covered poorly by much of the press to the extent that they are covered at all. But part of the story — a big part — is how people in those communities perceive the outside world, which is why I’ve spent so much time writing about crime in places such as Chicago and Philadelphia, and the rolling crime wave that is leftist street violence in Portland. Most people can’t be reached, of course, because you can’t reason someone out of a belief that he wasn’t reasoned into. But the curious facts and arresting little details of real life in the world as it actually is — as opposed to the world of our political narratives and economic models — have a certain power. The people who have the inclination to be moved or enlightened by such things are the people for whom this book was written — the people for whom any book worth a damn is written.

    UPS brought my copy last night, an early Christmas present to myself. Numerous small chapters, most of which appeared (in an expurgated form) at NR over the past few years. I'm taking it in small doses.


  • A new-to-me site called Not the Bee takes an argument apart: WaPo tries to use data to prove that the Republican Party is authoritarian and it's the stupidest thing ever. You'll get the flavor from this tweet:

    Note the science! The underlying research purported to measure authoritarianism on a number of dimensions. Here's one, with the blogger's comments:

    "Non-Pluralist." Let's define that first. A Pluralist is one,

    "Who believes that the existence of different types of people, beliefs, and opinions within a society is a good thing."

    I am working on getting my hands on the actual data because I think that would be VERY interesting, but given that we are in the midst of an unprecedented attempt by Democrats to shame, penalize, and make unemployable, people with whom they disagree, together with their long history of labeling political opponents as racists, you'll have to count me as "skeptical" on this point.

    In my view, the actual authoritarians are those who

    • demand mask mandates;
    • demand censorship of ideas with which they disagree (see first item above);
    • demand that institutions promote Black Lives Matter-style "racial justice" ideology;
    • demand government regulation of political speech;
    • etc.

    But that's just me. You?


  • Micha Gartz asks the musical question at AIER: Does Science Really Demand that Bars and Restaurants Close?. I'm guessing that Betteridge's law of headlines applies, but let's see:

    It’s Now Up to Governors to Slow the Spread,” says a Wall Street Journal article — written by board members of pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Illumina, Johnson and Johnson and Cigna. It encourages states and governors to band together and implement restrictions “focus[ed] on known sources of spread, such as bars and nightclubs.”

    Drs. Gottlieb and McClellan’s plea sounds reasonable. After all, ‘the science’ tells us that Covid spreads in confined spaces. Basing policy advice on ‘the science’ would be the sensible thing to do. These spaces — the restaurants, bars and cafes we enjoy — must be closed for our protection.

    But there’s just one small problem: ‘the science’ isn’t really there. In fact, the only evidence we have is circumstantial: all we have are data simulations (in other words, predictions), case studies followed up with contact tracing, and… that’s it. Given that Covid has become a worldwide attention magnet for 8 months one would expect a lot more substantial evidence than is available.

    Maybe. Since I'm old, I'm laying low in any case.


Last Modified 2020-11-19 5:25 AM EST