URLs du Jour

2022-07-02

[Amazon Link, See Disclaimer]

  • Another reason for you to do the NRplus thing. Charles C. W. Cooke writes Against the Supreme Court’s Appalling Attack on Our Democracy™.

    This morning, six unelected judges on the Supreme Court struck a fatal blow against Our Democracy™. In the case of West Virginia v. E.P.A., the Court rejected the expansive authority of the nimble, responsive, and representative Environmental Protection Agency, and insisted that, under the American system of government, federal laws must be made by the elected lawmakers of the United States Congress. From Heav’n, James Madison must surely have wept.

    OK, one more priceless excerpt:

    Most distressing of all, Roberts steadfastly declined to apply the U.S. Constitution’s crucial “But What If Congress Is Stupid?” clause. “Members of Congress,” Justice Kagan noted in her dissent, “often don’t know enough—and know they don’t know enough—to regulate sensibly on an issue.” And, as we all know, when judges believe that lawmakers are stupid, democracy requires that they hand those lawmakers’ powers over to bureaucrats within the executive branch as soon as possible. By pigheadedly refusing to acquiesce to the EPA’s ambitions, the Supreme Court has made a mockery of its role as a neutral arbiter of the law and rendered itself even more un-democratic than it was when it returned the abortion question to the voters last Friday.


  • Yes it did. George F. Will also looks at the SCOTUS's EPA smackdown and comes to a less sarcastic conclusion: The EPA decision is the biggest one of all, and the court got it right.

    Hysteria is constant today, so hyperbole is, too — as when on June 20 the New York Times’s lead article — top of Page 1, columns five and six — warned readers to be frightened that the court might do what it in fact did Thursday. The Times said a ruling against the EPA could severely limit “the federal government’s authority” to reduce carbon dioxide from power plants. But the court’s Thursday decision did not diminish the government’s authority; it said the primary authority must be explicitly exercised by Congress, which (although progressivism often forgets this) is part of the government. The Times also warned that the EPA case could eviscerate the “federal ability” to address climate change. No, the court has required only that more responsibility be taken by Congress, which is (although progressives often regret this) a federal institution.

    In 1887, Professor Woodrow Wilson of Bryn Mawr College wrote that the complexities of modern life demand government by expert administrators with “large powers and unhampered discretion.” On Thursday, the court served notice to Congress and executive agencies that modern complexities are not a sufficient reason for abandoning the Constitution’s separation of powers, which still governs those who govern us.

    Take that, Woody.


  • And here's yet another executive overreach. Peter Jacobsen lets us know that Student Debt Forgiveness Is Already Happening Because of the Payment "Freeze".

    In March of 2020, Donald Trump paused federal student loan payments and “froze” interest accumulation in an effort to help borrowers through the difficulty of pandemic shutdowns.

    The Oval Office has changed occupants, pandemic shutdowns have ended, but the payment and interest freeze has been extended several times. As Friedman quipped, “there’s nothing so permanent as a temporary government program.”

    When Brad Polumbo and I wrote about temporary pandemic programs (including the student-loan payment freeze) becoming permanent in September, I noticed some criticism in the line of “the programs are still here because the pandemic is still here.”

    Well, for what it’s worth, Fauci now says we’re out of the pandemic phase. Of course, some may simply disagree with Fauci. To some, we may never be.

    In any case, the student loan payment freeze has certainly outlasted the government shutdown. And, although there are many problems in the economy right now, it wouldn't be hard to point to worse economies in the past when student loan payments were still being collected.

    Peter goes on to make the point we've echoed here: student loan "forgiveness" is "already helping the rich at the expense of the poor."


  • It would have been classier to say it in Latin. Ayaan Hirsi Ali demands: Harvard must fall.

    In 1951, William F. Buckley Jr. warned in God and Man at Yale of his alma mater’s inability to prepare its students for the real world. Its subtitle, The Superstitions of “Academic Freedom”, hinted at the already existing tendency for administrators to hire academics who only teach ideas they deem acceptable. Scepticism was banished: to Buckley, political radicals were subverting American society by indoctrinating their students with atheism and collectivism. Yet he remained an “epistemological optimist”, hoping that sense would prevail both in the Ivy League and across the nation.

    More than 70 years later, that sense has manifestly not prevailed. Take the case of Roland Fryer. A hugely gifted and until recently celebrated black professor of economics at Harvard, he was suspended for two years without pay following the most tenuous sexual harassment claims. Many suspect the real reason for his humiliating treatment was his research showing that African Americans are not disproportionately the targets of lethal violence by the police. There were, Fryer wrote, “no racial differences in either the raw data or when contextual factors are taken into account”.

    I'm not quite sure what to recommend to smart young people coming out of high school. But I'm reminded of this ditty from the Lambda Chi Alpha Songbook:

    Don’t send my boy to Harvard the dying mother said
    Don’t send my boy to Michigan, I’d rather see him dead (see him dead).
    Just Send my boy to Iowa State, it’s better than Cornell,
    But rather than to Iowa U, I’d see my boy …

    That song's (apparently) over a century old. And it stands the test of time.


  • Could be true. Arnold Kling shares his view of "transitioning".

    I have a view of transitioning that I will admit is unlikely to be shared. My interpretation is based primarily on having met one trans individual at a social gathering and subsequently reading his/her autobiography. My view is certainly not his/hers. I will not tell you who it is, other than to say that it is not Deirdre McCloskey.

    I think of transitioning as akin to committing suicide. Both transitioning and suicide tend to cause deep pain in those around you. You are at the point where you don’t mind inflicting that pain, and maybe deep down you want them to feel pain.

    I can imagine people objecting to this analogy between transitioning and suicide. But that is where I come down.

    When we encounter people in extreme emotional distress, we should try to be sympathetic and helpful. That includes people who are in distress over gender issues. But as for trying to drum up support for transitioning, count me out. I would no sooner support someone’s wish to transition that I would support someone’s wish to commit suicide.

    Strong words. I think of McCloskey as an sane person, and she's tempered my views on transgenderism quite a bit. But Arnold makes a lot of sense here.