URLs du Jour


  • Ideally, this insight should apply more widely. Expressed succinctly in a tweet:

    It's not just Covid. More and more government policies encourage and, to some extent, expect irresponsibility in the citizenry. That's not a path to a free society. It's the road to serf… oh, you know.

  • The mask slips, literally. As an example of what we're talking about above, Liz Wolfe notes the rhetorical stylings of a West Coast Pol, and concludes: San Francisco Mayor London Breed Is Right: It’s Crazy To Force Vaccinated Patrons To Mask Inside Bars!

    San Francisco Mayor London Breed has unintentionally made the case against the indoor mask mandate she imposed on the city's residents, all while attempting to justify her own defiance of the rules she had imposed.

    "I think it's sad that this is even a story," the San Francisco Democrat told reporters Friday after news emerged that she had partied maskless at a jazz club. "There was something that was really monumental that occurred, and that is Tony! Toni! Toné!—the original members, the brothers…who have not performed in public for at least over 20 years."

    "The fact that that is getting lost here is very unfortunate," continued Breed, whose executive order states that "masks may be removed while actively eating or drinking at events other than indoor dining, such as live performances and movies." When another reporter brought up that the mayor had been dancing maskless, not actively eating or drinking, the excuse that followed was a bit strange: "I was feeling the spirit. I wasn't thinking about a mask; I was thinking about having a good time."

    Ah, the well-known "feeling the spirit" and "not thinking" exceptions to stupid regulations. Good to know about those.

  • A pleasant surprise. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has come out with its Free Speech Rankings. And... whoa. Look who's in a solid third place:

    [Number Threetagtrim]

    Relatively good news. But nationwide, things are kind of ominous:

    Two thirds of students (66%) say it is acceptable to shout down a speaker to prevent them from speaking on campus, and almost one in four (23%) say it is acceptable to use violence to stop a campus speech.

    And it's not that UNH is out of the woods there. Student percentages on those issues are only marginally better:

    • 37% of students say it is never acceptable to shoutdown a speaker on campus.
    • 75% of students say it is never acceptable to use violent protest to stop a speech on campus.

    And (yes, I'm beating this poor horse one more time), the UNH Lecturers United would have UNH move a lot further down the list, with their vague but broad demands to officially condemn "poisonous ideologies" that "have no place" on campus.

  • Speaking of free speech… It's that day for James Lileks' Wednesday Review of Modern Thought.

    If Freedom of Speech was proposed today, it would be turned down by most liberal democracies. If allowed, it would have a giant asterisk the size of a WalMart logo.


    It’s a common posture these days:

    “I support free speech.”

    “No, you just want to say bad words and spread fake news.”

    Since that's the only reason the wrong people would want free speech, of course. So we have to forget about free speech, and work to prohibit wrong speech. Lucky for everyone, the end result of any contraction in the things one can say is a carefully constructed fence around a highly specific set of words and ideas, and that fence will never be expanded depending on whims or fashions. Everyone’s agreed: these words, this set of phonemes. Everything else is okay!

    Well hold on a minute, not this word, not these ideas. They’re related. So we’ll include them. And keep in mind that anything adjacent to these things are included, because they’re lies. You know they’re lies, right? Are you one of those people who don’t think they’re lies?

    They will qualify every right out of existence in favor of vague, super-better future rights which produce equity, as sure as a quarter in a gumboil machine produces a perfect sphere of delicious sugar.

    James would not get along well with UNH Lecturers United, I fear.

  • Republicans trying to be as bad as Democrats. Kevin D. Williamson in the New York Times! Wonders never cease.

    But it's probably because the tune he's singing is music to the NYT's ears: The Trump Coup Is Still Raging.

    The Trump administration was grotesque in its cruelty and incompetence. But without the coup attempt, it might have been possible to work out a modus vivendi between anti-Trump conservatives and Mr. Trump’s right-wing nationalist-populists. Conservatives were not happy with Mr. Trump’s histrionics, but many were reasonably satisfied with all those Federalist Society judges and his signature on Paul Ryan’s tax bill. Trump supporters, who were interested almost exclusively in theater, enjoyed four years of Twitter-enabled catharsis even as the administration did very little on key issues like trade and immigration.

    In the normal course of democratic politics, people who disagree about one issue can work together when they agree about another. We can fight over taxes or trade policy.

    But there isn’t really any middle ground on overthrowing the government. And that is what Mr. Trump and his allies were up to in 2020, through both violent and nonviolent means — and continue to be up to today.

    When it comes to a coup, you’re either in or you’re out. The Republican Party is leaning pretty strongly toward in. That is going to leave at least some conservatives out — and, in all likelihood, permanently out.

    I'm registered Republican, because I enjoy voting in their primary. But maybe I should rethink that.