URLs du Jour


  • Issues & Insights wishes a happy birthday to Friedrich Hayek: Prodigious For Liberty. (Born May 8, 1899). Quoting another prodigious one, Milton Friedman:

    Over the years, I have again and again asked fellow believers in a free society how they managed to escape the contagion of their collectivist intellectual environment. No name has been mentioned more often as the source of enlightenment than Friedrich Hayek’s.

    As promised/threatened: here's my own first attempt at an illustrated Hayek quote:

    [Salma Wisdom]

    [Georges Biard / CC BY-SA]

    I wanted to extend that background to the left to enclose the text, and stuff I see on the web assures me that GIMP can do that, but they all assume a familiarity with GIMP nomenclature and procedures that I lack for now.

  • The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction, CO) rang our Google LFOD News Alert with today's LTEs. David MacAlpine invokes the usual, explaining to the paper's readers why he cancelled his dental appointment and skipped a haircut:

    The fact is, I would have gotten a haircut and my teeth cleaned if I had more trust in my Grand Junction neighbors. I don’t. On a trip to Home Depot a couple weeks ago, I saw less than half the customers wearing masks. I guess it’s a “live free or die” thing, I don’t know. But my point is this: In making your statement by not wearing a mask, you are hurting your neighbors; making it harder for them to feed their families. You need to understand this. Ignorance is an unforgivable sin.

    Notice that David didn't actually witness these barefaced sinners hurting their neighbors. Or "making it harder for them to feed their families." But the point is his last sentence: it's a sin.

    As we said just yesterday: it's the Church of Shutdown, and the facemask is that religion's hijab, and the infidels who fail to wear it must be publicly shamed.

    The letter above, from Gary Stetler, makes the attitude even clearer. He's attempting to refute a recent dissenter, who …

    […] states that “there are medical opinions saying that those who are healthy can, and should, begin to resume normal life activity.” This is a misinterpretation of the relaxation of restrictions currently in place. Normal activity is not to be resumed yet because the pandemic is still in its early stages and, as we now know, you could be an asymptomatic carrier of the virus. We are supposed to maintain separation and take precautions, including wearing a mask, when near other people. Again, this is not a great burden to bear and again it shows that you respect your fellow customers, business-associates, and the staff of the stores and restaurants that are reopening.

    Actual risk is irrelevant. It's all about the symbolism: showing that you care.

  • Thomas W. Hazlett notes the dog that didn't bark, even without Net Neutrality: The Pandemic That Didn’t Break the Internet.

    Of all the edicts issued during the Covid-19 pandemic, perhaps the least cruel is the request by European Union regulators that Netflix and YouTube stream their videos a bit slower. The reduced data flow helps relieve network congestion. Movie-reception clarity drops, but kids may get faster access to their homework, while doctors practicing telehealth are better able to connect with patients.

    The U.S. has not introduced similar policies, though stay-at-home orders saw Internet usage rates surge about one-third—in the U.S. and abroad—by late March. While greater demand for data slows transmission speeds, the information infrastructure has proven robust in the U.S., where neither regulators nor Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have had to ask content suppliers not to “break the Internet.” Indeed, American broadband networks have responded to this extraordinary period by relaxing data caps and extending free Internet access to households with schoolchildren quarantined at home.

    As near as I can tell, the NetNeut doomsayers have yet to apologize for freaking everyone out.

  • Timothy P. Carney has a simple request: Don’t make ‘flatten the curve’ be a lie.

    Those of us outside of the New York area have done exactly what we were told we had to do. We “flattened the curve," and now we’re being told that this flattened curve is a sign of our failure and a reason we need to stay in lockdown.

    Unless you want to demolish all faith in public health authorities, don’t make them into liars by moving the goalposts and declaring that a flattened curve is a sign of failure. It would be even worse to poison this with partisan politics by asserting that the government leaders who totally failed to flatten the curve, and then who spread the virus to the rest of the country, are success stories.

    Mr. Carney probably overestimates the damage done by the goalpost-moving. It's not as if the mainstream media will call this out; they're pretty OK going along with whatever the current statist narrative is.

    That last link, by the way, goes to an NYT story that notes that the "coronavirus outbreak in New York City became the primary source of infections around the United States." Our own little Wuhan Province.

  • And finally, Arnold Kling has Miscellaneous bitter thoughts. And I will share two out of the three.

    Many people believe that it is quite moral not to pay rent. Hardly anyone believes that it is moral not to pay taxes. I think that the intuition is that taxes are fair, but rent is not fair. If I owned rental property, I would not think it fair to pay taxes to a government that tells people they do not have to pay rent.

    Zing. And:

    In 2009, when we had the stimulus, the models forecast that unemployment would rise to 8 percent without the stimulus. The stimulus passed, and unemployment hit 10 percent. But the conventional wisdom is that the stimulus worked, and unemployment would have been worse without it. How do we know this? Model simulations.

    In 2020, suppose that, contrary to model forecasts, the death rate drifts down after lockdowns are lifted. We will be told that there would have been many fewer deaths had the lockdowns stayed in place. How will we know this? Model simulations.

    My model shows that the lockdowns are minimizing hippo attacks in New Hampshire. The simulations are clear, and the science is settled.

Last Modified 2020-05-09 5:16 AM EDT