URLs du Jour

2019-05-06

[Amazon Link]

  • Kevin D. Williamson takes to the pages of the New York Post: Mark Zuckerberg's 'hate ban' isn't about safety. (Spoiler: it's about his own ego.)

    Facebook on Thursday announced that a small assortment of kooks — Alex Jones, Laura Loomer, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Paul Nehlen, Louis Farrakhan — will be permanently banned from Facebook, Instagram and other platforms it controls. Jones’ publication, Infowars, also will be banned. Praise of these figures, and expressions of support for them, also are to be prohibited.

    Facebook is a private company and is under no legal obligation to provide accounts to figures whose views its executives find objectionable.

    But how far do we want to extend that line of thinking?

    There are about 30 cellphone-service providers in the United States, although the market is dominated by four of them: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. Federal regulation might prohibit them from discriminating against customers based on their political views, but the principle is the same. Why should Louis Farrakhan be allowed to use a telephone to spread his hateful message? Why should anybody sell him paper — or a pencil, for that matter? Think of the damage he might do with them.

    Why should people with unpopular political views be allowed to have jobs? If you employ people with ugly political beliefs, you are providing financial support for the cultivation of those beliefs. Imagine your next job interview: “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” Communists murdered 100 million people in the 20th century. If that isn’t a hate group, I don’t know what is. In most states, there is no law against corporations discriminating against employees and job applicants for their political views.

    I am pretty sure it's trivially easy to set up your Facebook experience so you can avoid looking at any Jones/Loomer/et. al. authored content. That's not what's bothering the people behind the banning; it's that other people might look at such things. Can't be allowed!


  • But it's not just Facebook acting censoriously. At Power Line, Steven Hayward reports: reports Google Censors the Claremont Institute. A longer version of Claremont's side of the story is available s The American Mind: Algorithms of Suppression

    The Claremont Institute has launched a campaign to engage our fellow citizens in discussion and debate about what it means to be an American. As part of that effort, we have begun to point out the increasingly existential danger of identity politics and political correctness to our republic. As if to prove our point, Google has judged our argument as wrongthink that should be forbidden. They are now punishing us for our political thought by refusing to let us advertise to our own readers.

    We wanted to advertise our 40th Anniversary Gala on May 11, at which we’re honoring Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to readers of our own online publication, The American Mind. But Google refuses to allow us to do so. (If you’re interested, buy tickets here—Monday is the deadline!)

    So that's Claremont's side of the story, and you can read for yourself the nefarious essay that (apparently) triggered the Google censors. What's Google's response? Well…A

    One of my colleagues spent two hours on the phone with Google to determine whether we could appeal this ruling or determine which section of the essay was in violation. The response, in short? There is no appeal; we recommend you remove the content to bring yourself into compliance.

    It's the usual opaque stonewalling that has become Standard Operating Procedure for Big Tech: you broke the rules, we aren't going to tell you what the rules were, we're not going to be specific about what you did to break them, and we're not gonna discuss it with you. So shut up and go away.


  • Kevin D. Williamson has a twofer today, this one at NR: Republicans Must Stand Firm on Commitment to Free Trade.

    Conservatives who gave in to an uncharacteristic bout of unsecured optimism quickly were reacquainted with our customary disappointment when President Trump, despite whispers to the contrary, decided to stand firm on his anti-trade agenda.

    The issue was a narrow and relatively straightforward one from an economic and policy point of view: The Jones Act, an antediluvian anti-trade measure signed into law by Woodrow Wilson, has many unintended and destructive consequences, one of which is that Americans in the northeast and in Puerto Rico are being forced to import natural gas from Russia and the Caribbean at a time when the United States is producing jaw-dropping quantities of the stuff — but cannot get it from the places where the gas is to the places where the people are. This piece of old-fashioned crony capitalism hurts everyone from utility customers to manufacturers to farmers.

    KDW is, as usual, completely correct. It would be nice if Republicans could ally with (at least a few) knee-jerk anti-Trump Democrats to get rid of Jones and other facets of protectionism.


  • What else do we need to do? Well, Jonah Goldberg has one answer in his column this week: Conservatives need to reread their Hayek.

    It has “invariably been the fate of conservatism to be dragged along a path not of its own choosing,” the philosopher and economist Friedrich Hayek famously wrote. Hayek’s larger point was that while conservatism plays an important role in pumping the brakes on radical ideas that go too far, too fast, it lacks a positive alternative agenda itself.

    In fairness to American conservatism, Hayek was talking primarily about the European variant that defended a status quo of aristocracy, theocracy, and a fairly closed economy. But his basic point about the conservative temperament has always resonated with me, because it rings true. Conservatives often start from the position of saying “No” to any new proposal or reform and end up, because of the nature of politics, agreeing to some compromise between no and a total yes.

    The specific issue discussed is the "bipartisan" $2 Trillion infrastructure initiative; the primary issue separating the parties is which taxpayers will be stuck with the bill.


  • At the WaPo, Megan McArdle has a message for our favorite totalitarian: Sorry, Bernie, but most Americans like their health insurance the way it is.

    The 2020 presidential race looks increasingly like it will be the Medicare-for-all election, as an increasing number of Democratic primary candidates — including front-runners such as Sens. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — sign on to the slogan. The policy ought to be an easy sell, given that Medicare polls so well and American insurers so badly.

    Except no, it’s not going to be easy at all — at least not when vague talk about Medicare-for-all turns to the specifics of a system that could rationalize the myriad insanities of the fragmented U.S. health-care system and get a handle on its exorbitant costs. That would inevitably mean bulldozing most private insurance to build something simpler and more straightforward. Unfortunately, people are actually pretty attached to their own little corner of the country’s collective disaster.

    No, really. You wouldn’t know it to read most of the news coverage, or to listen to politicians, but that is one of the more consistent results in health-care polling: Over and over again, roughly 7 out of every 10 Americans report that they’re fairly satisfied with the quality of their personal coverage.

    It reminds me of why we're stuck with lousy government schools: although "everyone agrees" they're lousy, polling shows that people tend to like their own kids' schools just fine.


  • And we can always take the kids to the latest kids' movie, as imagined by Michael Ramirez: Old and White and the nineteen dwarfs.

    [Old and White and the nineteen dwarfs]


Last Modified 2019-06-13 4:56 PM EDT