URLs du Jour


We start off today with some cheer from Michael Ramirez:

[Pandemic vs. Epidemic]

Hm, that's not cheery at all. The bad aftereffects of this crisis will outlast the crisis itself.

  • Kevin D. Williamson thinks big at National Review in an NRPlus article: Coronavirus Pandemic: First Great Crisis of the Post-American Era.

    It is easy to criticize President Trump for his pettiness — in rhetoric and in fact — but he is not the cause of American surrender, only its symptom. It is impossible to blame the American people for their weariness. For one thing, the critics of JFK-style imperialism and those Poughkeepsie pothole-watchers are not without a point: There is an economic and a moral price to be paid for that kind of leadership, and government should, in most ordinary times, be mainly preoccupied with those potholes and not with dreaming up new crusades through which to aggrandize itself and its officers. And didn’t Hercules himself, sometime between killing the Nemean lion and that unpleasant Augean housekeeping business, look over his shoulder and mutter about the unfairness of it all, and wonder aloud why the . . . Belgians . . . weren’t shouldering more of the burden? “They have been very unfair to us,” I am sure he said.

    The coronavirus epidemic is a global problem, one that points to the current deficit in global leadership. Americans are paralyzed by resentment. The European Union, having just been gutted by the departure of the United Kingdom, does not know quite what to do, and those European universal health-care systems so admired by U.S. progressives are failing. China has just reminded the world that it is a socially backward gulag state that is stalled right there between Mexico and Bulgaria in real economic performance. Putin is the czar of Twitter trolls. The U.S. president has two pornographic films, six bankruptcies, and a game show on his curriculum vitae, and the country is so short of emergency supplies that Ralph Lauren is making medical garments and Tito’s is producing hand sanitizer instead of vodka — not exactly in a position to exercise global leadership.

    He makes a good point: it was tiring for us to be out front of everything for decades. Obvious problem: who's gonna step into that vacuum?

  • Jonah Goldberg's G-file says This Pandemic Will Change Us. We Just Don’t Know Quite How Yet.

    By now my joke that this should be called the Confirm Your Priors Virus has become almost a banal observation. But that won’t last. There are still people who think the pandemic proves they were right all along about tax cuts—or socialized medicine or the Green New Deal—but they’re learning to shut up or change their tune. As the crisis worsens, medically, economically, or both, even once-loyal dogmatic voters will start to lose their patience with politicians who refuse to leave their comfort zones—or try to steer the conversation back to them. At some point, they will look at these politicians like the old artillery officer staring at the men holding the horses that weren’t there. 

    I don’t think this is necessarily good news. The West’s commitment to liberal democratic capitalism was already fraying (which is why I wrote a book called Suicide of the West (now out in paperback!)). It’s easy to imagine events going in a direction that tears that commitment even more—or severs it entirely. One could also imagine events going in a direction that is altogether inhospitable to those who only know how to talk about intersectionality or identity politics. I don’t think any of these are the most likely outcomes, but like everyone else I have no idea what the future holds. Unlike a lot of people, I’m willing to admit it.  

    I'm willing to admit the same: Jonah has no idea what the future holds.

  • Michael Huemer looks at the recent spate of "gotcha" questions and wonders: What Should Candidates Know? Come on, man!

    Back when she was still running for President, Amy Klobuchar was criticized for not knowing the name of the President of Mexico. That was reminiscent of the criticism of Gary Johnson in 2016 for not knowing what Aleppo was. (On the other hand, Trump seemed to be undamaged, though he was certainly ridiculed for it, by the revelations that he thought that Frederick Douglas [sic] was still alive, that we might be able to stop a hurricane with a nuclear bomb, or that we might be able to stop Covid-19 with an ordinary flu vaccine.)

    Incidentally, I don’t believe the news media who report on things like this have any interest in those facts, except to attack someone for not knowing them. The Gary Johnson story was literally the first and last time I ever heard the word “Aleppo” anywhere other than in a computer game, and pretty much the only fact about Aleppo that they reported was that Gary Johnson didn’t know about it. Likewise, the only information I have heard about the current President of Mexico is that Klobuchar didn’t know his name.

    I can spot a major difference: Trump volunteers his ignorance; he doesn't have to be asked.

    Michael goes on to make some very good points about the kinds of questions we should be asking potential leaders: what are your justifications for the policies you support? What are basic views of justice, and morality? What rights of Americans do you consider inviolate?

  • The online Keene Sentinel is the source of our recent Google LFOD News Alert, where Paul Soltysiak asks us to Consider the cost of social isolation.

    Good mental health treatment and suicide prevention is about building connections with others, having meaning in one’s life, making sure we are free to choose. This mandatory “social distancing” is coming at grave cost. I am deeply concerned that lives will be lost because of it. What’s worse: No one in government has really stopped to think about that. In the “Live Free or Die” state, should I not be free to choose if I want come to work or school, even in the face of a pandemic?

    I am sympathetic with that.

  • And those wacky dudes at Free Keene have a bone to pick with our Governor and his Stay-at-Home Order.

    Sununu claimed on his facebook post announcing the “order” that disrupting Granite Stater’s daily lives is only done in the greatest of emergencies. Really? This Coronavirus thing isn’t even as bad as the flu yet – even if you go by the government numbers, which of course are in no way trustworthy.

    What is happening is government goons are grabbing power as quickly and as firmly as they can, and they are using fear to do it. It’s the same old scam, but this time they are going farther than ever. Though Sununu hasn’t gone as far or as hard as New York, he’s made it clear that “Live Free or Die” is just an empty slogan. Sadly, the fearmongering works, and many people are begging to be told what to do under the auspices of safety.

    And I am not unsympathetic with that. But here's the thing: that link that says government numbers are untrustworthy goes to the RT.com site, i.e., Russia Today. I mean, come on.

Last Modified 2024-02-02 4:53 AM EDT