URLs du Jour

2021-01-14

[Amazon Link]

  • Mark J. Perry deems this the best sentence he read today (which would be yesterday as I type):

    America’s transformation into a giant, left-wing college campus is almost complete.

    That's from a Legal Insurrection post: Supermarket Chain Adding ‘Black-Owned’ Tags to Products Offered by Minority Owned Businesses. Illustrated with a tweeted news story with a totally on-point comment:

    Gee, just in time for Martin Luther King's birthday tomorrow! You know, the "content of their character" guy.


  • Bari Weiss has a Substack, and her first article is on The Great Unraveling. Opening:

    Thought comes before action. Words come before deeds. Media that profits from polarization will stoke it. Lies — maybe harmless for the moment, maybe even noble — create a lying world.

    I’ve known this for a while. It’s why I left The New York Times. And it is why, as much as I miss doing journalism, I’ve been cautious at every next step. 

    Hate sells, as the journalist Matt Taibbi has convincingly argued, and as anyone looking at Twitter trending topics over the past few years can see. If Americans are buying rage, is there a real market for something that resists it? 

    Hate sells and hate also connects. Communities can grow quite strong around hatred of difference, and that’s exactly what’s happened to the American left and the right. It is painful to resist joining a mob when that mob includes most of your friends. It feels good, at least in the short term, to give in.

    I keep thinking back to Arthur C. Brooks's last book, Love Your Enemies. Written back in 2019. Insightful. And seemingly had no effect whatsoever on our current political climate.


  • Kevin D. Williamson has a three-step recipe, which is (as I type) ⅓ complete: Impeach, Convict, & Remove Him from Office.

    If it takes until five minutes before Joe Biden is sworn in to get it done, then so be it. And if Trump runs out the clock, then he should be impeached and convicted after the fact, barring him from ever holding office again and providing a prelude to his likely prosecution on criminal charges in several jurisdictions.

    This process should have started before the sacking of the Capitol by the mob he whipped up a week ago. It should have started with the release of the recording of the telephone call between Trump and Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, which documented the president’s attempt to suborn election fraud in Georgia. This was a scheme to effect a coup d’état by means of rank corruption. If that is not an impeachment-worthy offense, nothing is.

    KDW also provides thoughts at the NR Corner on yesterday's impeachment vote:

    A paltry ten House Republicans mustered the guts and the patriotism to vote to impeach Donald Trump. By way of comparison, 139 Republicans in the House voted to overturn the 2020 election. If the American public concludes that this is a party of irresponsible crackpots who can no longer be trusted with power, it will be impossible to blame them.

    I am a registered Republican. For years now, I've used an excuse for that: "It's more fun to vote in their primary." I'm beginning to think that excuse is inadequate.


  • Jonah Goldberg's latest G-File is Dispatch subscriber only, sorry, but I think you'll get the gist: If Impeachment Could Lead to Violence, Then Trump Should Resign.

    I’ve been arguing for years that part of the problem with Donald Trump is that his pathologies and bad actions get excused because “he can’t change,” or “he was elected to be a disruptor,” or “Trump’s going to be Trump,” etc. The best analogy I can muster is that he’s like the crazy or heavy-drinking or racist relative who comes to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, and rather than criticizing him, people get mad at you for “setting him off.” 

    “You knew mentioning the NBA would get him going on one of his rants.”

    Another accurate simile is that Trump is like an abusive father with an enabling wife. “You shouldn’t have made him angry,” she says to the kid with a black eye. “You know how he gets when he’s in one of his moods.”

    Anyway, most of the Republicans saying he shouldn’t be impeached/removed aren’t saying he didn’t do anything wrong (though some seem to be). Instead, they focus on the fact that Joe Biden called for unity and since, they insist, impeaching Trump would be divisive it would be a bad idea. I’m sure some believe this sincerely. But it’s telling that so many of them have to use Joe Biden’s call for unity as their excuse. After all, Jim Jordan, Mo Brooks, and others can’t claim to be in favor of unity themselves because they’ve defended Trump’s divisiveness at every turn. They have to live off the stated principles of the Democrats and then score points by saying, “They’re hypocrites. They say they want unity, but look what they’re doing.”

    Also, um, problematic: Trump's argument that another impeachment will further inflame the passions of his ardent followers and spur them to more violence. Jonah argues that if Trump believes that, he should resign in order to spare the country.

    But we've been here before: that would require him to love America more than he loves himself.


  • Philip Greenspun relays news from a rich Boston suburb, forwarding a math teacher's remote-learning lesson to her students: The Capitol coup is a teachable moment.

    This is not about politics. My politics are clear to you, but it’s not. It’s not up for discussion. All reasonable people agree that what happened in Washington yesterday was a coup. Armed people, who are in charge, tried to take over the government. They had guns, they had bombs. That is the definition of a coup. . […] I know some of your parents had very clear reasons for voting for Trump. It’s okay, it is just their values are different from mine. These values conflict with our 200+ year old democracy. Everyone agrees about the election, except ONE person and those who blindly follow him. … You can be scared. I want you to be scared. … We need to address this s**** so that it f**** never happens again … When Obama was President, the country was flourishing. Now it’s falling apart.

    More at the link, including some gratifying pushback from the kiddos.


  • Veronique de Rugy's column continues our sorta-theme today: Don't Hate the Political Players; Hate the Political Game.

    Many Americans are very upset that President-elect Joe Biden will replace President Donald Trump. For most of them, it's not that they will miss Trump's unconventional and often unacceptable behavior. Instead, it's that they fear that the size and scope of government will grow so fast that it will permanently change the country they love.

    And this fear has intensified with the defeat of two Republican senators in the Georgia runoffs, resulting in Democrats regaining control of the Senate.

    At the margin, such a worry is justified. With 50 Democratic senators and control of both the House of Representatives and the White House, more policies that would have never seen the light of day when Republicans were in power, such as much more unwise COVID-19 relief, will potentially get through.

    That said, the chief driver of government expansion doesn't come from the identities of the officeholders but, rather, the incentive structures within politics. Personalities and party affiliations matter less than people believe. If limited government is what you're after, neither political party is your friend, since government expands under both. What's more, the rate at which it expands depends less on which big spenders are in power than on whether we have divided government.

    Well, we're probably doomed.