URLs du Jour

2020-08-06

[Amazon Link]

  • Kevin D. Williamson takes an unfond look at the World’s Worst Idea.

    Almost a decade ago, I wrote a little book called The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism. When Regnery asked me to write the book, I was happy to do it but wondered whether a book on socialism, a brief conspectus of its grotesque failures, would be necessary or useful. I wondered why anybody would be interested. In the upcoming issue of National Review, I will have an essay on reading Karl Marx, and I do not have to worry about why people are interested. The world’s worst idea will not die.

    I do not expect to write another book on socialism, but I have been reading some. There are some horrifyingly relevant books out now and on the way. One is Iain Murray’s excellent, just-published The Socialist TemptationI will be discussing it with him on Thursday, if you’d like to watch — in which Murray addresses some of the eternal lies (“Real socialism has never been tried!”) and abominable clichés of socialism. He emphasizes that historically, socialism has consistently delivered the opposite of its promises: more economic and political inequality, not less; more poverty, not less; more ruthless social domination of the poor and the marginalized, not less; more environmental degradation, not less.

    My take on KDW's book from back in 2011 is here. Even back then I was a fanboy.


  • Veronique de Rugy suggests State and Local Governments Need Some Tough Love From Uncle Sam.

    State and local governments want more funds from the federal government to patch their budgets. Lack of revenue due to the recession and self-inflicted damage from the COVID-19 shutdowns of their economies, as well as larger-than-ever expenditures on top their regular overextended budgets, mean that many of them are hurting for cash. And while they're asking for $500 billion in bailout cash, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wants to give them $1 trillion. I, on the other hand, think it's about time state and local governments start fending for themselves.

    As I've explained before, there are many reasons to oppose state and local government bailouts. For starters, these jurisdictions have already received large amounts of federal funds to pay for their coronavirus-related expenditures. As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act and other relief measures, they've received $280 billion for various coronavirus-related expenses and another $150 billion for more flexible needs. The Federal Reserve has also set up a $500 billion program to facilitate short-term borrowing by state and local governments.

    A persistent goofy belief is that incoming cash from Uncle Stupid is "free": as if we taxpayers hadn't sent it to him in the first place. Or won't have to, sometime in the future.

    It's as if we've taken Scarlett O'Hara as a role model: "I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow."


  • On that Biden interview from Nick Gillespie at Reason: ‘Why the Hell Would I Take a Test?…Are You a Junkie?’.

    Joe Biden enjoys a comfortable lead over President Donald Trump in most polls, but the former senator and vice president is famous for gaffes that worry his supporters virtually every time he opens his mouth, especially without a script.

    In an interview earlier today with CBS's Errol Barnett, Biden scoffed at the idea that because of his advanced age—he would be the oldest person ever to take office if elected in November—he should take a test to show he has his wits about him (a few weeks ago, Trump discussed taking a cognitive test on Fox News).

    "Why the hell would I take a test?" he asked angrily before launching a rant:

    That's like saying, 'You—before you got on this program you took a test where you're taking cocaine or not, what do you think? Huh? Are you a junkie?'

    The weirdness doesn't end there. Throughout the exchange, Biden's affect is exaggerated and he repeatedly stammers and cuts himself off, at one point stumbling repeatedly when announcing that he's confident he will shine in any debate with Trump.

    Which brings us to…


  • James Freeman at his WSJ Best of the Web column considers Politician Cognition. After discussing Joe Biden's "Are you a junkie?" interview on CBS, he speculates:

    Meanwhile in Washington, this week brings fresh evidence that cognitive tests are in order for many politicians on both sides of the aisle. Specifically, there appears to be a need for more widespread testing for cognition as well as numeracy. A widely held view seems to be that state and local governments can suppress the private economy while federal lawmakers and monetary authorities successfully offset the damage. The scale of this misguided experiment is staggering. The Journal’s Kate Davidson reported on Monday:

    The U.S. expects to borrow an additional $2 trillion in the second half of the year as federal spending ramps up to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the Treasury Department said Monday.

    The department estimated the government would borrow $947 billion from July through September, a record for the quarter, bringing total borrowing for fiscal year 2020 to $4.5 trillion... That total is more than triple last year’s $1.28 trillion, and it dwarfs borrowing during and after the 2008 financial crisis.

    "Don't blame me, I voted for … something else."


  • Spencer Alexander McDaniel, an undergraduate student at Indiana/Bloomington, was of the folks who pointed out the bad Latin translation of "Live Free or Die" on the original cover of Sean Hannity's new book. Sean Hannity Still Doesn't Know Latin—But Does He Read My Blog?.

    If the answer to that question is yes, then Spencer has a message for Sean.

    Sean Hannity, if you’re reading this, I want you to go on your show and publicly admit that you’ve done nothing on air for the past eleven years but peddle lies, nonsense, and conspiracy theories. Then, I want you to disavow white supremacy, misogyny, and xenophobia, acknowledge the reality and seriousness of climate change, and tell all your viewers to take COVID-19 seriously and wear masks in public at all times. Finally, I want you to quit your job at Fox News with the condition that Fox must fill your primetime slot with a real news segment featuring a real journalist like Chris Wallace or someone else who does actual reporting.

    Well, what do you want, he's just a kid. Would I handle my fifteen minutes of fame, if I got them, any better?