URLs du Jour

2021-01-09

  • Let's take a look at Smith College and the bravery of Jodi Shaw, from Specator.us.

    Much like every other liberal arts college in the US, Smith, or at least its leadership, is fully in thrall to the idea of fighting that now-ubiquitous boogeyman, white privilege. In the name of social justice, the university is pushing this agenda on every student, and has even made it part of the obligatory annual review of its administrative, non-faculty staff, requiring them ‘to reflect on how they have contributed to an inclusive campus environment’ in the course of annual performance reviews.

    What is unusual, however, is that Smith has Jodi Shaw: a staff member who has spoken out and publicly criticized the college. 

    Shaw, who describes herself as a ‘desk jockey’ in the Residence Life department, has made a series of videos about how this toxic, racially charged ideology has created a hostile environment. Not for the precious, hothouse flower, all-female student body (though Shaw is concerned about them as well), but for the ordinary men and women who make up the college staff. 

    It's a sobering look at how wokeness works on the modern American college campus. The headline doesn't understate it: Jodi Shaw's very brave. (It's a common name but she seems to be from Portsmouth,) For her sin of outspokenness, she's been put on paid leave.

    Jerry Coyne has more. He notes that paid leave "is what they do to police who kill somebody."


  • [Amazon Link]
    We haven't linked to a stupid Wired article lately, but we'll fix that. Roger McNamee is out for blood: Platforms Must Pay for Their Role in the Insurrection.

    President Trump and his enablers in government and right-wing media will shoulder the blame for Wednesday’s insurrection at the US Capitol, but internet platforms—Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, in particular—have played a fomenting and facilitating role that no one should overlook.

    In their relentless pursuit of engagement and profits, these platforms created algorithms that amplify hate speech, disinformation, and conspiracy theories. This harmful content is particularly engaging and serves as the lubricant for businesses as profitable as they are influential. These platforms also enforce their terms of service in ways that favor extreme speech and behavior, predominantly right-wing extremism.

    Roger is the author of 2019's Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe (Amazon link above and to your right). So it's not as if the January 6 riot caused the scales to drop from his eyes. He has the usual statist assumptions, that bringing Big Tech under state control (via regulation, antitrust, and voodoo) will make things all better.

    It won't. It will make things much much worse.

    Why? Well, by happenstance, our next link …


  • … will tell you why. David Henderson at the Hoover Institution: Markets Work, Government Doesn’t.

    The year 2020 gave us a huge amount of evidence about the relative merits of government intervention and free markets. The bottom line is that government failed massively and free markets triumphed spectacularly (with one major exception) within the constraints that government placed on them. The one apparent exception to government failure is Operation Warp Speed but, as we shall see, that apparent exception may not be an exception at all.

    As early as April 8, when most of the government lockdowns had been in place for only about three weeks, I noted, in “Covid v. Capitalism,” the drastically different performances of private individuals and businesses on the one hand and government on the other. In the intervening nine months, these differences have become even more pronounced.

    Consider first the bad news: government. An important step early on in the pandemic would have been to have widespread testing for the coronavirus. On February 6, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it had shipped 250,000 tests to over seventy laboratories worldwide. But the US Centers for Disease Control insisted on producing its own. The test that the CDC came up with at first had huge problems so the insistence on rejecting something not invented in the United States cost the country valuable weeks, which is a lot of time when a highly contagious disease is spreading. When CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and an important member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, if the United States should have used the WHO tests, Fauci answered, “If you look back and Monday morning quarterback, it would have been nice to have had a backup.”

    As I've (tediously, repeatedly) pointed out in the past: nobody even pretends to hold markets and governments to the same quality and performance standards. We expect governments to do a lousy job. We excuse it.

    Which brings us to…


  • "I'll take Things That Won't Happen This Year for $200, Alex." From Steven Greenhut at Reason: In 2021, Politics Needs a ‘Leave Us Alone’ Coalition.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong," wrote the late journalist and professional cynic H.L. Mencken. In our modern world, the "answers" to our myriad and complex problems always seem to involve the use of government—through taxation, regulation, bureaucracy, and even military invasion.

    As prevalent as that answer may be, it is usually—although not always—wrong, which is one lesson all Americans should learn from our unspeakably bad year. The pandemic has not only tragically killed more than 300,000 Americans, but has led to previously unimaginable restrictions on our freedom to live our lives as we choose.

    We awake each morning pondering the terms upon which our leaders will even allow us to leave our homes. The COVID-19 restrictions keep changing and the goalposts keep moving. Perhaps we will one-day find out whether any of the governor's oftentimes illogical and arbitrary edicts are working—but for now it's on a need-to-know basis.

    Steven gets today's coveted Pun Salad "Hey, Yeah, That's What I've Been Trying To Say." award.


  • Instapundit links to the musings of Andrew Doyle, creator of “Titania McGrath". Andrew finds that he's been Kicked Out of the Comedy Club.

    The reaction of the “comedy community” — if such a thing exists — was particularly revealing. Suddenly, comics I had known and worked with for years began to block me on social media, or write blog posts to express their displeasure at my diabolical creation. Those who knew me to be fundamentally opposed to racial discrimination started referring to me as “alt-right”, a shorthand term for white nationalist. Others accused me of being a shill for foreign powers and claimed that I was being funded by “dark money”. I remember thinking that this money must be very dark indeed, given that I have never actually seen any of it.

    Me neither. Instapundit also notes Arthur Chrenkoff's reply to this call to arms from USA Today:

    Of course you can't expect a valued member of the MSM like USA Today to treat similar things similarly.