URLs du Jour


Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. We did Zoom Feast with old people upstairs, kids downstairs. It worked out.

  • Daniel Mitchell wishes us a Happy Thanksgiving from America’s Hypocritical Politicians. Example (from NBC News):

    Denver’s mayor is explaining himself and offering an apology after he traveled to Mississippi for Thanksgiving, though he had urged others to stay home if possible because of the coronavirus pandemic. …The mayor’s trip comes as officials in Colorado have warned about a steep increase in Covid-19 cases that threatens to stress the hospital system, and after warnings from the governor and others to keep Thanksgiving gatherings small and safe. …The station reported he traveled to Houston for the Mississippi trip, and that his account tweeted the guidance to stay home about 30 minutes before his flight.


    They genuinely think that they should be exempt from all the nonsensical policies that they impose on everyone else.

    "Indeed." I'd add that the politicians' perceptions of risk may well be accurate and appropriate for their own cases. It's just they don't trust their subjects to exercise the same judgment.

  • Jeff Jacoby observes: The coronavirus curfews make no sense.

    Did you know that the coronavirus, like vampires and werewolves, is deadliest after dark? I didn't either, but it must be true. What other justification can there be for the imposition of curfews on residents and businesses in Massachusetts, Ohio, New York, and elsewhere by governors who claim their purpose is to control the spread of COVID-19?

    In Massachusetts earlier this month, Governor Charlie Baker issued his 53rd "emergency" order , requiring 16 categories of facilities — from restaurants, arcades, golf courses, and drive-in theaters to gyms, zoos, flight schools, and museums — to close their doors to the public by 9:30 each night. Though the order is 5½ single-spaced pages long, it contains not a single sentence explaining how Massachusetts will be better protected from the coronavirus if residents who are permitted to go out for pizza or to work out at 7:45 pm are barred from doing so at 9:45 pm. Neither does the accompanying "advisory ," which counsels all residents of the state to stay home between 10 pm and 5 am.

    I don't know how Governor Baker spent his Thanksgiving, so we'll let him off the "hypocrisy" charge.

    But it seems clear that he (like even some pols up here in New Hampshire) has succumbed to the "do something" mantra. He needs to be seen as "doing something", even if it's stupid.

    And, to be overly fair to Charlie, that's probably what a significant fraction of the Massachusetts citizenry demands.

  • At Reason, Jacob Sullum notes a downside: Senseless Restrictions on Outdoor Activities Undermine the Goal of Curbing COVID-19. After reciting numerous (and when I say "numerous", I mean a lot of) examples of such restrictions:

    There are several problems with these restrictions on outdoor activities. First, many of them are inconsistent and scientifically dubious. Second, foreclosing opportunities for people to recreate or gather outside is apt to increase the risk of virus transmission indoors, especially in private settings where the authorities have no idea what is happening, even if they are notionally imposing limits there. Third, arbitrary COVID-19 edicts that make life more inconvenient and less enjoyable for no rational reason foster resentment and defiance, which make compliance with reasonable safeguards less likely. In their determination to seem like they are doing something to slow the spread of COVID-19, many politicians are actively undermining that goal.

    One of the nanny-state guidelines from the Left Coast: "Californians should not travel significant distances for recreation." What's "significant"? They seem to say it involves driving 2-3 hours. Is that one way or round trip? And what if there's a traffic jam? I understand they have those in California.

  • The current statist mindset seems to be: Hey, as long as we're doing Covid mandates, we might as well mandate some other stuff too. I was surprised to learn from David Harsanyi at National Review of the growing demands for mandatory voting.

    We encourage American to vote as if it is the only rite of a citizen, without any corresponding expectations. And as if that constant cultural haranguing to vote weren’t annoying enough, after every election, no matter how many people participate, there is a campaign to force everyone to do it.

    “America Needs Compulsory Voting,” writes a professor in Foreign Affairs. “A Little Coercion Can Do a Lot for Democracy.” “1 In 3 Americans Didn’t Vote. Should We Force Them To Next Time?” asks BuzzFeed.

    Ideally, in a free nation, the answer to “should we force them?” is almost always “no.” But for the folks at places such as the Brookings Institution and Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, the answer is almost always “yes.” In July, these think tanks laid out their case for mandatory voting in a report titled “Lift Every Voice: The Urgency of Universal Civic Duty Voting.” I wish I could whip up an equally anodyne euphemism for “ugly authoritarian instinct,” but none immediately comes to mind.

    Also ugly: the reaction to people who point out ugly authoritarian instincts.