URLs du Jour

2021-02-11

  • Via Jerry Coyne, our Eye Candy du Jour is THE CHURCH OF WOKE.

    A few days back I noted the (um) interesting language in UNH Lecturers United's open letter where they implied their job (and that of the University generally) was to "foster belief" in Anti-Racism. And pointed out that was not the language of acquiring knowledge. It's the language of evangelicals looking to recruit you into a cult.

    Ryan Long said it funnier, though.


  • Legal Insurrection is one among many sites calling attention to the latest blacklistee: The Mandalorian Star Gina Carano Fired, Dropped by Talent Agency for Social Media Posts.

    The mob has gone after Gina Carano, who plated Cara Dune in The Mandalorian, for months over her social media posts. They won after she compared being a Republican today to Jews during the Holocaust.

    Lucasfilm said Carano is “not currently employed” by them, “and there are no plans for her to be in the future.”

    “Nevertheless, her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable,” concluded the production company.

    Let's get one thing out of the way: comparing Nazi Germany to 21st century America on Twitter is gonna (at best) lack nuance.

    Still, if you're going to fire actors for stupid tweets, you're going to need to get started and keep at it. That's a huge undertaking.

    Legal Insurrection notes that Disney (which owns Lucasfilm) was pretty much OK with filming Mulan just a stone's throw from the camps where Muslim Uighurs are being, um, concentrated.

    I detect ideological asymmetry.


  • David Boaz has a riddle: How Is Biden's Covid Relief Bill like the Patriot Act?. (No, the answer is not "Neither one can whistle.")

    President Biden seems determined to pass his “American Rescue Plan” without any Republican votes. It’s $1.9 trillion or bust, he says, on top of the unprecedented $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill from March and another $900 billion in December, some of which still hasn’t been spent. In fact, Republicans don’t have the clout to stop the bill. But the plan is also drawing some sharp criticism from non‐Republican sources. Two big articles in the Washington Post Thursday and Friday urged that the plan be pared back to presumably necessary measures, with other components to be considered through the normal non‐emergency congressional process of hearings and floor debate.

    On Friday Lawrence Summers, secretary of the Treasury for President Clinton and director of President Obama’s National Economic Council, weighed in. Summers said that “safety‐​net measures for those suffering and investments in vaccination and testing” need to be implemented immediately. But he warned that the total size of the package “is at least three times the size of the output shortfall” and thus six times the relative size of Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill — which itself was dubbed “Porkulus.” He warned that the massive injection of borrowed money into the economy might well spur inflation and would surely crowd out further Democratic wish‐​list programs. Questioning the administration’s first big bill is unpopular with many Democrats, and Politico reported that the article was “being circulated on the left like samizdat.”

    When your only tool is a hammer, everything gets treated like a nail. For a politician, your only tool is spending other peoples' money.


  • [Amazon Link]
    For folks interested in the history of National Review conservatism, Stephanie Slade has an excellent article in Reason now out from behind the paywall: Is There a Future for Fusionism?.

    There's a well-worn tale about modern American conservatism: It says that the movement as we know it came into being during the mid–20th century as a "fusionist" coalition of economic libertarians and religious traditionalists. These groups, whose goals and priorities differed from the start, were held together mainly by two things: the sheer charisma of National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr., and the shared enemy of global communism.

    As long as the Cold War endured, the story goes, each wing was willing to cede some ground to the other. In light of the threat posed by a rampaging Soviet Union—as militantly atheistic as it was militantly anti-capitalist—the differences between the libertarians and the traditionalists did not seem so great. Their interests, at least, were aligned.

    But the fall of the USSR meant the collapse of the common foe that had sustained the fusionist partnership. It was able to trundle on for a while, powered by a reservoir of goodwill, but it has long been running on fumes. In the last few years, the alliance's inherent tensions have come to a head. It's increasingly common to hear that, whatever value there may have been in cooperation during the '50s, '60s, '70s, and '80s, the era of good conservative feelings is over.

    The high priest of Fusionism at NR was Frank Meyer, and I was a member of that church; he made a lot more sense to me than did (say) Russell Kirk or Murray Rothbard. Slade does a good job of explicating his thoughts and the (unfortunately iffy) prospects for the future.


  • John McWhorter has an excerpt from his upcoming book The Elect.

    The point of this book is to delineate a certain modern way of thinking as less progressive than peculiar, as something we must learn to step around and resist rather than let pass as a kind of higher wisdom. A cohesive and forward-looking society must treat this kind of thought like a virus, a regrettable though perhaps inevitable result of modern social history, which nevertheless must be ongoingly corralled. We should hope for its eventual disappearance, but if this is impossible – and it likely is – it must be kept on the margins of our existence just as smallpox is.

    Third Wave Antiracism’s claims and demands, from a distance, seem like an eccentric performance from people wishing they hadn’t missed the late 1960s, dismayed that so much of the basic work is done already. Seeking the same righteous fury and heartwarming sense of purpose and belonging, their exaggerations and even mendacities become inevitable, because actual circumstances simply do not justify the attitudes and strategies of 1967.

    In an alternate universe these people would be about as important as the Yippies were back in the day, with marijuana on their “flag,” applying to levitate the Pentagon, and smacking pies in people’s faces. They were a fringe movement good for a peek, and occasionally heightened awareness a tad. But they were unimportant in the grand scheme of things, and justifiably so. What makes the difference is that today’s Third Wave Antiracists have a particular weapon in their arsenal that lends them outsized power, much more impactful than a cream pie.

    Not available at Amazon as I type, unfortunately. I think it's going to be a auto-buy for me.