URLs du Jour

2019-04-27

[Amazon Link]

  • At NR, Jonah Goldberg's G-File this week asks the musical question: Who Cares about National Unity? Let's see:

    But what is it exactly about unity that you think is so damn important? If your answer is simply that “disunity” is bad, that’s understandable. But is that true either? I mean, can’t 300+ million Americans disagree on some stuff without everyone getting weepy? Moreover, it seems to me we’re slicing distinctions as thin as the garlic in the prison cell dinner scene in Goodfellas when people say diversity is among the highest virtues but disunity is one of the greatest vices. If diversity — real diversity — is good, then it is irrefutably the case that some disunity is good too. In a condition of maximum diversity and maximum unity, it follows that all of these very different people — different races, genders, religions, abilities, traditions, etc. — would have to all think alike.

    There’s something downright Orwellian about the prospect of shouting at people “We must unite around our celebration of our differences!”

    Who the hell wants to live in a world like that?

    Not I. Although it would be tempting to think about a polity more unified around the principles of personal liberty, fiscal responsibility, limited government… Such a group would soon forget about why those principles are valuable.


  • A brave student, Dominic Aiello, reports at Quillette on What I Saw at Middlebury College. It ain't pretty.

    “At a meeting last week at Middlebury College, students upset and angry that conservative Ryszard Legutko had been invited to speak on campus were calmed and reassured by three administrators who apologized to the students for their feelings of discomfort, agreed that they had every right to feel aggrieved, and assured them there’s steps underway to ensure controversial right-wing speakers are not easily invited to campus in the future,” reported Jennifer Kabbany of The College Fix this week. “That according to a 40-minute recording of the meeting recorded surreptitiously by a student in the room…who said the three administrators at the meeting were Sujata Moorti, the incoming dean of the faculty, as well as Dean of Students Baishakhi Taylor and Renee Wells, director of education for equity and inclusion.”

    And the student "surreptitiously" recording was… Dominic! His article is well worth reading in full, but here's some detail:

    As my recording of the event shows, it was a call-and-response performance starring outraged protestors and three highly sympathetic administration members—two of them being both deans and gender studies professors. The whole thing resembled a modern day Struggle Session, with kids literally weeping over the “violence” that supposedly had been brought to campus though the vessel of Legutko. The response of the administrators was an endless expression of sympathy and guilt, as well as pledges to make things right. The students actually demanded that the administrators take notes. And like an obedient underling, one of the professors whipped out her phone to record every demand (all of which were subsequently published in manifesto form).

    The three faculty members spoke openly about their desire to block speakers with certain viewpoints from coming to campus, and discussed plans for an extensive background-check scheme that would allow Middlebury officials to systematically analyze speakers beforehand. I recorded all of this because I’m passionate about free speech—and I felt it was my duty to show other students that members of their own administration were explicitly advocating a system that would allow them to restrict speech on campus in accordance with their own privately held biases.

    As Dominic notes, Legutko managed to speak to a PoliSci class whose students unanimously voted to hear him.


  • Here in New Hampshire, Drew Cline of the Bartlett Center looks at a local boondoggle: A solar subsidy double whammy.

    Technological innovation has brought solar power to the brink of market competitiveness. It will never be as reliable as a gas or nuclear plant that can run 24/7, but as a supplement it doesn’t have to be. When its price is truly market competitive, individuals and businesses will rush to build their own facilities so they can lower their bills and make money selling power back to the grid. 

    We appear to be on the verge of such a transformation, as the price of producing solar power has fallen dramatically in the last half century. By at least some measures, solar generation is already price competitive. And yet the Legislature appears set to pass two simultaneous subsidies that would raise New Hampshire’s already astronomically high electricity rates for the express purpose of creating huge new subsidies for the solar industry (and hydro too).

    You will hear plenty of high-minded "renewable" arguments from the folks who it just so happens will be the beneficiaries of those subsidies, hoping that the folks paying those subsidies don't notice.


  • Over in Vermont, they're considering a brute-force method to deal with their demographic woes: State finds $10,000 relocation offer rubs residents the wrong way.

    Vermont has made news from USA Today to Public Radio International’s “The World” for its new Remote Worker Grant Program that promises $5,000 annually for up to two years to people willing to transplant themselves to the Green Mountain State. Nearly 50 people so far have taken advantage of an offer that has triggered an avalanche of national public and press attention.

    “We’ve had over 3,000 inquiries and over a million impressions on social media,” [VT Governor Phil] Scott told more than 100 business leaders at a Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon. “But I do hear some pushback from people saying, ‘It’s great that you’re trying to get people to move here, but what about me?’”

    Milton Friedman compared the different taxation paths New Hampshire and Vermont took in one of his Newsweek columns in 1976. The differences were apparent 43 years ago, and they have only gotten more so. Now Vermont wants to gimmick its way out of their predicament? Good luck with that.

    Governor Scott is a Republican, but I'm not sure what that means these days nationwide, let alone in Vermont.


  • And our Google LFOD News Alert rang for a story at HillReporter.com: New Hampshire Laws Force Some College Students To Pay To Vote. Oh no!

    The state motto of New Hampshire hearkens back to the days of the Revolutionary War: “Live Free or Die.” Yet in spite of that motto, however, election laws in the state, particularly for out-of-state college students, are incredibly burdensome.

    Small history lesson: although John Stark was a Revolutionary War general, his use of the phrase dates only from 1809. Its origins are probably mostly (eeeewww) French than American. And it's only been our motto since 1945.

    And, I'm sorry, but "out-of-state college students" should vote in their own damn state. (See Steve MacDonald at Granite Grok for his analysis of an equally slanted article, and his answer to the musical question Are Out-Of-State College Students In New Hampshire Just Too Stupid to "Vote?")