URLs du Jour


  • Arnold Kling brings an appropriate post for MLK Day. Quoting a City Journal article:

    An elementary school in Cupertino, California—a Silicon Valley community with a median home price of $2.3 million—recently forced a class of third-graders to deconstruct their racial identities, then rank themselves according to their “power and privilege.”

    Arnold notes that it's pretty depressing reading.

  • Systemic Racism: Is there anything it can't do? The Free Beacon notes its latest superpower: Incoming White House Climate Team Blames 'Systemic Racism' for Climate Change.

    A pair of top incoming White House environmental aides has blamed "systemic racism" as a driver of climate change in an attempt to justify a government-led economic overhaul.

    President-elect Joe Biden named progressive policy adviser Maggie Thomas as Office of Domestic Climate Policy chief of staff and climate advocate Cecilia Martinez as "senior director for environmental justice" on Thursday. Both Thomas and Martinez have cited racial inequality as perpetuating climate change, arguing that the Biden administration's environmental policy must be centered on "racial and economic justice."

    I'd advise instead "centering" on getting nuclear power restarted … and then about 93 other things … and then you can center on "racial and economic justice".

  • Did you think regulation was bad? Well, whatever you thought, Scott Sumner has some news for you: Regulation: It's much worse than you think.

    The distribution of vaccines is being held up by regulation. But I suspect that even opponents of regulation underestimate its pervasive effects. Regulation goes far beyond things like price controls and mandates regarding distribution, it extends into all aspects of our society (including the “private” sector), in ways that many people don’t even think about. Let’s start with health care:

    1. We have a tax system that pushes people into gold-plated health insurance plans, and then the government regulates the way that those plans can operate. That problem was made dramatically worse by the recent decision of Congress and the President to kill the so-called “Cadillac tax”, which would have gradually eliminate the tax subsidy for health insurance.

    2. We have many controls on entry into the provision of health care, which drive up costs in numerous ways.

    There's more, but (spoiler alert) "Systemic Racism" doesn't appear on Scott's list.

  • Anyone remember the kerfuffle surrounding Joseph Epstein's short op-ed on the about-to-be-First Lady's insistence on the honorific "Dr." in front of her name? Well, Joseph has a followup at Commentary: The Making of a Misogynist.

    The misogynist of my title, as Flaubert said of Madame Bovary, c’est moi. I became America’s most notable one on Saturday morning, December 12, upon the release of an 800-or-so-word op-ed I wrote in the Wall Street Journal published under the title “Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not If You Need an M.D.” I had written the piece to get what I thought a minor pet peeve off my chest: the affectation of the president-elect’s wife in calling herself, and insisting that everyone else refer to her as, “Dr. Jill Biden.” She is not a physician; rather, she was awarded a degree by a graduate school of education. What I thought was a fairly light bit of prose whose intentions were chiefly comic set off a forest fire of anger toward, abuse of, and outright hatred for its author. It proves you can be a naïf even at the age of 83.

    I'm not (quite) 83. I only hope to get there, and if I do, I hope I can use "naïf" in a sentence correctly.

  • Michael Barone's observation belongs in our "So What Else Is New?" department: The left now just wants to silence conservatives — all of them.

    It wasn’t just Donald Trump’s detractors who felt a sudden sense of relief when they heard that Twitter was blocking his feed after the storming of the Capitol and the disruption of the reading of the Electoral College results on Jan. 6.

    While President Trump’s exact words to the crowd on the Ellipse didn’t constitute a criminal incitement, they were uttered with a reckless disregard for the possibility that they’d provoke violence, which any reasonable person could find impeachable.

    But a moment’s reflection should have left any believer in free speech feeling queasy about a private firm censoring the president of the United States and preventing him from effectively communicating with citizens over a chosen medium of universal reach. And especially queasy since a large body of opinion sees this suppression of free speech by Big Tech monopolies not as a one-time exception but as the new rule.

    Oliver Darcy of CNN wants the network’s cable rivals to be held “responsible for the lies they peddle.” Law professors are surprisingly open to speech suppression, as Thomas Edsall reports in his New York Times blog: Yale’s Robert Post laments that “the formation of public opinion is out of control”; the University of California, Irvine’s Rick Hasen laments “a market failure when it comes to reliable information voters need”; Columbia University’s Tim Wu suggests “the weaponization of speech” makes First Amendment jurisprudence “increasingly obsolete.”

    Democratic worthies have been singing the same tune. Michelle Obama took the lead in urging the permanent ban on Donald Trump, which Twitter promptly promulgated.

    I'm pretty sure "the left" isn't unanimous in its desire to silence its opponents. Glenn Greenwald, for example. And Matt Taibbi. And … folks, help me out here?