URLs du Jour

2021-08-11

  • Eye Candy du Jour is from Michael Ramirez.

    [I Resign]

    Where's Fay Wray, though?


  • The Real Inconvenient Truth as described by Kevin D. Williamson: Progressivism, Democracy & Climate-Change Action Are Incompatible.

    Because progressives are at heart utopians, they have a difficult time acknowledging tradeoffs. On Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays, climate change is the most important consideration in the world. On Tuesday, Thursdays, and every other Saturday, the top issue is “democracy,” vaguely and inconsistently defined. In fact, Democrats care so much about democracy that they have shut down the democratic process in the democratically elected legislature in Texas in the name of “democracy.” Instead of tradeoffs, progressives embrace a practically mystical model of the unity of all virtues. And so it is practically impossible for the Left to think intelligently about the tradeoffs involved. If you doubt that, read this transcript of Ezra Klein trying to lead a discussion on the question “What If American Democracy Fails the Climate Crisis?” You’ll notice that the headline question never really even enters the conversation.

    We use the word democracy as though it signified something sacred rather than merely procedural. But it does not make democracy any less precious to forthrightly recognize that it is one value in a world of values that are sometimes complementary and sometimes rivalrous. Progressives ought to be grappling with the fact that one of the things they put forward as a nonnegotiable and absolute good — democracy — is at odds with something they insist is an existential threat to human civilization — climate change.

    Rather than deal with that honestly, progressives have fallen into a number of obvious alternatives: hysterical moralizing, in which those who do not concur with their agenda must be denounced as moral monsters, because there can be no honest disagreement; aggressive indoctrination, in which affirming various aspects of the climate fides as a precondition of participating in educational or business life, including the cynical ploy of indoctrinating children as a means to getting at their parents; “lying for justice”; and, of course, using the levers of the state to subvert inconvenient democratic realities.

    KDW notes the long worldwide history of governments pointing with alarm to imminent crisis… and then proceeding pretty much with business as usual.


  • Treating People Like Irresponsible Children… pretty much guarantees that many of them will start acting like irresponsible children. Nevertheless, some folks will still manage to figure things out on their own. Joel Zinberg notes the latest on that front: Individual Choices, Not Lockdowns.

    Lockdowns are an indiscriminate tool that can undermine more effective, particularized, private responses. Government mandates affect everyone—from high-risk individuals who would have taken precautions anyway to low-risk individuals who might not need the same level of protection. Stay-at-home orders short-circuit the discovery and implementation of innovative measures to limit workplace transmission and force workers from safer employment settings into households, where Covid transmission rates are higher.

    In short, changes in behavior are more important than mandates. Most people don’t ignore risks, and they can react more quickly than governments. Even now, as the Delta variant spreads in some regions and officials debate new lockdowns and other mandates, people are already reacting to greater risk by altering their own actions, including getting vaccinated at improved rates.

    I've given up on trying to follow the latest "guidelines" from government agencies. They're pretty much in "do something" mode; doesn't matter if "something" is worthwhile or not.


  • Because Graduation Rates Are Important For Keeping Educrats Employed. Slashdot quotes an Oregon Live article: Oregon Law Allows Students To Graduate Without Proving They Can Write Or Do Math.

    For the next five years, an Oregon high school diploma will be no guarantee that the student who earned it can read, write or do math at a high school level. Gov. Kate Brown had demurred earlier this summer regarding whether she supported the plan passed by the Legislature to drop the requirement that students demonstrate they have achieved those essential skills. But on July 14, the governor signed Senate Bill 744 into law. Through a spokesperson, the governor declined again Friday to comment on the law and why she supported suspending the proficiency requirements. Charles Boyle, the governor's deputy communications director, said the governor's staff notified legislative staff the same day the governor signed the bill.

    Boyle said in an emailed statement that suspending the reading, writing and math proficiency requirements while the state develops new graduation standards will benefit "Oregon's Black, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color." "Leaders from those communities have advocated time and again for equitable graduation standards, along with expanded learning opportunities and supports," Boyle wrote. The requirement that students demonstrate freshman- to sophomore-level skills in reading, writing and, particularly, math led many high schools to create workshop-style courses to help students strengthen their skills and create evidence of mastery. Most of those courses have been discontinued since the skills requirement was paused during the pandemic before lawmakers killed it entirely.

    Needless to say, contra Boyle, suspension of the proficiency standards will not benefit "Oregon's Black, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color." It will ensure that people generally, and potential employers specifically, will view an Oregon high school diploma as worth less than the parchment upon which it's printed.


  • I Restrain Myself From Sneer Quotes as much as possible. But see if you can't figure out the word that deserves them in this snippet from yesterday's WSJ column from Gerard Baker: Climate Change Has Consumed Journalistic Standards.

    Journalism is no longer about trying to tell us what happened; it’s about telling us what we must believe, on pain of moral peril. On every major topic—climate, Covid, race relations, electoral law—almost every story blares out at us with censorious didacticism, the journalist’s smug disdain for the unbelievers poring through the prose.

    You're correct if you guessed "journalist's".


  • [Amazon Link, See Disclaimer] Usually WIRED Provides Our Stupid Article du Jour. But today's link is only semi- stupid, because it (probably unintentionally) discusses the hubris — the fatal conceit, if you will — of urban planners: Smart Cities, Bad Metaphors, and a Better Urban Future.

    [Shannon Mattern’s new book, A City Is Not a Computer is] a collection (with revisions and updates) of some of her very smart work for Places Journal called A City Is Not a Computer: Other Urban Intelligences. In it, Mattern wrestles with the ways that particular metaphor has screwed up the design, planning, and living-in of cities in the 20th century. It happens at every scale, from surveilling individual people as if they were bits to monitoring the widescreen data necessary to keep a city functioning for the good of its inhabitants. Of all the ways information can travel through an urban network, Mattern says, it’d probably be better to have public libraries be the nodes than the panopticon-like centralized dashboards so many cities try to build. The problem is that the metrics people choose to track become targets to achieve. They become their own kind of metaphors, and they’re usually wrong.

    Yeah, sure: it's the metaphor that's at fault. The author, Adam Rogers, betrays no sign that he's read Jane Jacobs, let alone Hayek.

    I'm reminded of Donald Fagen's song I. G. Y.:

    Here at home we'll play in the city
    Powered by the sun
    Perfect weather for a streamlined world
    There'll be spandex jackets one for everyone
    	


  • A Fun Quiz highlighted by Ann Althouse: "Who Said It: Cuomo or Your Ex?". She draws special attention to Cuomo's use of the NY state motto, "Excelsior", in his resignation speech. What?

    Here's a list of the state mottoes. The best and most famous one is New Hampshire's, though don't try just tweeting it. I might get you banned. The most mystical is North Carolina's — "Esse quam videri" ("To be rather than to seem"). 

    Thanks to Ann for the shout-out to our dangerous motto. ("What's a motto?" "Nothing, what's a motto with you?")


Last Modified 2021-08-11 12:27 PM EST