URLs du Jour

2019-11-06

[Amazon Link]

  • At the Federalist, Michele Blood writes on the I'm-not-a-hater-like-you Wars: In Your Town, Does 'Love Live Here' Or 'Hate Have No Home Here'?.

    A yard sign in New Jersey business owner Holly Smith’s yard reads, “Love lives here: love of God, family, friends, country, community, & the U.S. Constitution.” Last month a neighbor, referring to the sign, called Smith and her 15-year-old daughter Megan “hateful.”

    I'd comment on the psychology involved here, but I'm sure you know about it as well as I.

    The link goes to a purchasing site (lawn signs, baseball caps, t-shirts, window displays, …), should you be so motivated.


  • A very long but worthwhile study from Cato's Chris Edwards and Ryan Bourne: Exploring Wealth Inequality. Convenient bullet points:

    • Wealth Inequality Has Increased Modestly
    • Poverty Matters, Not Inequality
    • Most Top Wealth Is Self-Made
    • Cronyism Increases Wealth Inequality
    • Government Undermines Wealth-Building
      • Displacement of Personal Savings
      • Asset Tests
      • Government-Created Costs
    • Inequality Does Not Erode Democracy
      • The Preferences of the Wealthy
      • Do the Rich Have Disproportionate Political Power?
      • Does Rising Wealth Inequality Undermine Democracy?

    Their bottom line:

    In sum, wealth inequality has increased modestly but mainly because of general economic growth and entrepreneurs creating innovations that are broadly beneficial. Nonetheless, policymakers should aim to reduce inequality by ending cronyist programs and reducing barriers to wealth-building by moderate-income households.

    A useful study to bookmark, rebutting and refuting a lot of nonsense deployed to further statism and authoritarianim.


  • And the Google LFOD Alert rang for a Hot Air article from Jazz Shaw: New Hampshire red flag bill moving forward.

    The Live Free or Die state looks to be leaning a bit further away from the “live free” part this year. Last week, New Hampshire wound up moving their own version of a red flag gun confiscation law forward, though only barely. In a closely split vote, House Bill 687 was moved out of committee and sent for a full floor vote early next year. Opponents of the bill showed up for the vote holding signs comparing the Democrats to Nazis, while supporters struggled to maintain the bare minimum number of votes required to keep the measure moving forward. (Concord Monitor)

    The good folks at Gun Owners of America are concerned, worried that Governor Sununu might go wobbly.


  • Greg Weiner at Law & Liberty is aghast at Twitter’s Patronizing Populism. Making a point that we've made ourselves, albeit less eloquently:

    Yet Dorsey’s reason for pulling political ads is that the same everyday people whose voices deserve projection are so easily duped by readily disprovable claims that they must be protected from seeing them in the first place. A people that cannot exercise sufficient discernment to separate propaganda from information has no business governing itself. Why a people Dorsey so characterizes is qualified to participate in his call for “more forward-looking political ad regulation,” which he acknowledges is “very difficult” but which is actually very unconstitutional, is unclear.

    There is no question that platforms like Twitter can be used to inflame and mislead. So can newspapers, books, and television. Dorsey’s argument is online exceptionalism: “Internet political ads present entirely new challenges to civic discourse: machine learning-based optimization of messaging and micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes. All at increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale.”

    That's just a taste, but Weiner's so good he made me think, "Gee, I wish Jack Dorsey would read this."


  • And this article, roughly on the same topic, made me wonder if Wired is coming out of its years-long statist funk: Paid Political Ads Are Not the Problem. Our Perceptions Are. A reality-based argument:

    Political ad bans appeal in part because they’re so simple and (apparently) straightforward, and in part because they flatter our democratic self-conception as wise and informed citizens. If we’ve been consuming and sharing misinformation, we like to think that it’s because some outside force has foisted those messages on us. It’s harsher to consider the alternative explanation: that we’re simply more attuned to use information that confirms our preexisting beliefs than information that corrects them—in other words, that we’re simply not adept at discerning truth.

    Addressing the real problem will be far more difficult. In short, we’d have to figure out how to combat the organic sharing of misinformation by ordinary users without turning platforms into invasive arbiters of speech. To dodge that hard task by touting a superficially neutral ad ban should be seen for what it is: a cop-out.

    The author turned out to be Cato guy, Julian Sanchez. But props to Wired for including his thoughts.


Last Modified 2019-11-07 3:20 AM EST