URLs du Jour

2020-04-29

[Amazon Link]
Attentive readers will know that I'm a Kevin D. Williamson fanboy. So I've already ordered his new book, six months ahead of the publication date. And if you'd like to do the same, just click on the toast. In theory, I get a cut if you do.

  • At Reason, Matt Welch reports significantly increased odds I will have someone for whom to vote in November (slightly after I receive that KDW book): Justin Amash Is Running for President as a Libertarian.

    More than three years after first seriously contemplating it, one year after coming out in favor of impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, nine months after leaving the Republican Party, two months after hitting pause on his congressional re-election campaign, and just 22 days before the Libertarian Party (L.P.) is scheduled to select its own nominee, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, the most libertarian member of Congress, has decided to form an exploratory committee about running for president.

    So, yay! One potential stumbling block is obtaining the Libertarian Party nomination. Some LPers are less than eager to nominate Yet Another Ex-Republican. (In a 2019 article, Matt discussed the so-called "Libertarian wing of the Libertarian Party.")


  • And the LFOD Google News Alert continues to bring us many, many, people who scorn the use of our state's motto to protest draconian pandemic lockdown measures. For example, this semi-coherent LTE from one John Ginder of Astoria, Oregon, in his local paper. John demands we Listen up!

    I have been reading some of my backup toilet paper supply, and came across such intense backlash about any letter that gives patriotic support to our president. In this time of a world pandemic, the cream of the leadership will rise to the top.

    Pictures of Old Glory flying from the back of pickup trucks and people carrying signs, mostly saying "Liberate," takes me back. I wonder what that 60-something white guy is really like, so I imagine being 9 years old again, growing up in my little neighborhood in Missouri.

    I might have really gone for that "Live Free or Die" thing back then. We called each other "Bubba." We were a flag-flying bunch, living in a world extending about a mile wide, all the way to the tracks.

    I grew up whiter than Wonder bread. I took a 23andMe DNA test and found out that I'm so white, I'm Neanderthal. I don't think you can get any whiter than that. So when I see this parade in Salem with trucks and flags and guns, I get it. If you don’t think the Confederate flag is the coolest, then you just haven’t listened to "Sweet Home Alabama" loud enough.

    Listen up. If you feel like you want to liberate Oregon by going to a protest these days, just don't bring the kids to a human petri dish. When you finish with your back-slapping, hand-shaking and flag-flying, go home and let the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention know how you're doing 14 days later.

    Live free or die?

    That's the whole thing, sorry. Observations:

    • Life lesson based on the first paragraph: Don't write an LTE when you're drunk.
    • Neanderthals were white? Well, sure, why not, and for the same reason Sapiens living in Europe went that way too: probably lighter skin helps with Vitamin D production in lands with weaker sunlight. What that has to do with John Ginder is… well, it probably has something to do with what I was saying before.
    • But dragging in the Confederate flag thing is lazy and stupid, especially when you've been making fun of the protesters for flying Old Glory. Based on recent experience, if a single Confederate flag was flying at the protest, our watchdog media would snap the picture and publish it far and wide. But news media pictures do not document any Rebel sentiment, plenty of plain old American patriotism.

      But when you want to tar people with the racist brush, why let reality get in the way?

    I hope we can return to our normal LFOD coverage soon.


  • I heard Avik Roy on a recent Reason Interview podcast, and thought he had the sanest things to say about the pandemic I've heard in a long time. His organization, the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, has published A New Strategy for Bringing People Back to Work During COVID-19. Beginning:

    A quasi-consensus has emerged among many policymakers and commentators that the U.S. should continue to close schools and non-essential businesses until coronavirus testing and immunity is widespread. But there is a significant possibility that we are many months, if not years, away from meeting these thresholds. Time is of the essence, given the severe human cost of a prolonged economic shutdown.

    The good news is that policymakers have an opportunity to strategically reopen the economy, by taking into account a unique feature of COVID-19: its heavy skew toward bad outcomes in the elderly and the near-elderly who also have other chronic diseases. With the proper precautions, and the deployment of tools like contact tracing, self-quarantines, and telemedicine, we can continue to protect the most vulnerable, while returning as many Americans as possible to work.

    It's long, but I hope people digest it and act on it.


  • And Andrew C. McCarthy writes on what should be a no-brainer: Government Bears the Burden of Proof Before Denying Freedoms.

    There is never a good time for a pandemic, but an election year in a deeply divided country is an especially bad time. Everything is politicized. I would add that even science is politicized, but that would suggest that this was something new. Sadly, we’re inured to the politicization of science, thanks to climate change and to the centrality of government funding to academic endeavors. Research resources are diverted toward our political conflicts, rather than being freely allocated where they could better advance the search for truth.

    The politicization of science has ingrained in our political life something about which we ought to be highly skeptical: The argument from authority. It is doing extraordinary damage to the republic, through governmental responses — federal, state and municipal — to the coronavirus.

    And it will keep doing damage unless and until we restore the burden of proof.

    Time-squeezed emergencies are one thing; you might not have time to bring together the needed evidence. But the time squeeze is over, uncertainties have lessened, and it's past time to make policies appropriate for a free people again.