Irritants du Jour - 2015-01-07

In the midst of horrible news, the relatively minor irritants continue.

  • I wanted to mention this New York Times editorial which describes a free-speech effort in Havana organized by Cuban artist Tania Bruguera. As the NYT says:

    Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, the government barred prominent critics, including Ms. Bruguera, from reaching the square. Some were detained and others were reportedly prevented from leaving their homes.

    Aw. We're disappointed. But what, according to the NYT editorialists, is the real problem with Cuba's continuing repressive tyranny?

    This move, unfortunately, will amplify the criticisms of those who opposed Mr. Obama’s historic shift on Cuba policy.

    Instead of "amplify", I would have said "prove to be accurate". But the NYT's primary concern that those entirely accurate criticisms will be taken seriously. Can't have that!

  • Ludicrous moral equivalence of the year (so far) is from Ben Railton of Talking Points Memo, who penned: "Sorry, Freedom Lovers: America's Hero Worship Is Just As Bad As North Korea's".


    Well, here's the logic: North Korea's reaction to Sony's The Interview? It's just like

    Remember March 2003? That’s when Natalie Maines, lead singer of the popular country music group The Dixie Chicks, told a British audience, “We don’t want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”

    And as you may not remember, the US Government immediately whisked the Dixie Chicks and their families into a concentration camp for dissidents and they were never heard from again. Just like what would certainly happen in North Korea.

    Oh, wait, that didn't happen. Instead, the group went on to campaign against Dubya and make a platinum, Grammy-winning album, and (as far as I can tell) currently live comfortable has-been music star lives.

    In fact, I saw Maines alive and (again, as near as I could tell) well on PBS the other day.

    Ben, is that comparison really the best you could do? If so, perhaps your "just as bad" thesis is unsound.

  • Slashdot headline: "Happy Public Domain Day: Works That Copyright Extension Stole From Us In 2015".

    I'm not a fan of absurdly long copyright periods, but the "stole from us" language presumes that "we"—you and I—had some sort of cosmic moral ownership right to (say) Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, one of the works that would have entered the public domain this year under previous law.

    Please. I'd rather have perpetual copyright than have to take that presumption seriously.

  • Carl Woodward of the Baltimore Post-Examiner penned "Why Libertarians actually care about online privacy".

    Carl's is a radical left-wing perspective. The "greatest threat to our privacy" is (of course) "corporate power." If "Libertarians" (Carl capitalizes the word consistently) were "honest" about their priorities "they should join their comrades on the radical left in calling for the abolition of private property."

    But as far as answering the question implied in the headline: Carl asserts that "Libertarians" care about online privacy because (tada!) we like stealing "movies, media, and games."

    Free advice to Carl: any actual libertarian reading that will conclude that your grasp of libertarianism is weak, and probably 95% projection. Read something first, then try again

  • And, finally, Charles C. W. Cooke examines a New Year's Day New Yorker article from Adam Gopnik about gun control. Saith Charles:

    The result is one part The-Science-is-Settled desperation, one part smug social-positioning, and one part literary catharsis — all washed down with a healthy dose of basic ignorance.

    An impressive combination! I encourage you to read the analysis.

Last Modified 2015-01-08 6:01 AM EDT