URLs du Jour

2020-09-17

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Happy Constitution Day! A good day for USAmericans to thank our lucky stars for those who, 233 years ago, produced an imperfect work of genius.

  • Jonah Goldberg's paywalled G-File is on Scaling Democracy. Making an interesting point:

    Let’s say you really love democracy and think every country should be democratic. Indeed, if you take the assumptions embedded in conceptions of human rights and follow them to their logical conclusion, you should think this. Right and wrong don’t lose their meaning simply by crossing some national or international border. 

    Now, I actually do think this. I think ideally every country in the world should be democratic, in the way we describe countries like America, Britain, France, etc. as democracies. This doesn’t mean we should—or could—forcibly convert every despotic nation to democracy nor should we impose our strict definitions of democracy on anyone. But as a general rule, we should be on the side of democracy and democracies always and everywhere. But, I also think it would be insane—truly insane—to run the whole world as a single democratic polity. 

    So here’s a thought experiment: Imagine if the U.N. were really a “parliament of man.”

    As Barbie once said, “Math is hard,” but bear with me. World population is currently 7.8 billion. So if every delegate to the U.N. represented, say, 10 million people, China and India (which each have just under 1.4 billion people) would get 140 representatives apiece. The United States would get 33. France would get six or seven, and Canada three or four. 

    Who here thinks that sounds like a great idea? 

    If you do think that’d be awesome and fair? Well, then bless your heart.

    But if you think it's an awful idea (as Jonah does, and so do I) you might want to think about why it's a bad idea. And note that whatever arguments you come up with apply within a country—like ours—as well.

    And as I said, Happy Constitution Day.


  • So our Constitution is great, we're lucky to be Americans. But that's not to say that our education system shouldn't be burned to the ground. I'm inured by now to surveys showing the relative ignorance of the youngs these days, but I was nevertheless surprised by this Guardian story: Nearly two-thirds of US young adults unaware 6m Jews killed in the Holocaust.

    Almost two-thirds of young American adults do not know that 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, and more than one in 10 believe Jews caused the Holocaust, a new survey has found, revealing shocking levels of ignorance about the greatest crime of the 20th century.

    According to the study of millennial and Gen Z adults aged between 18 and 39, almost half (48%) could not name a single concentration camp or ghetto established during the second world war.

    Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) said they believed the Holocaust was a myth, or had been exaggerated, or they weren’t sure. One in eight (12%) said they had definitely not heard, or didn’t think they had heard, about the Holocaust.

    The survey was conducted by a group called "Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany" and the state-by-state report (PDF) doesn't give me the warm and fuzzies about my state. New Hampshire is in the mediocre middle overall. Although scoring high on the percentages that “Definitely Heard About the Holocaust” (83%) and " “Believe Holocaust Education Should Be Compulsory in School” (69%), we only scored 25% on knowing specific things, like the name of at least one concentration camp.

    I sometimes suspect that people who answer these surveys give intentionally stupid answers. I guess I hope that's the case.


  • On a possibly related note, the Free Beacon reports: 162 House Dems Vote Against Measure to Combat Anti-Semitism.

    Republicans offered the anti-Semitism measure as an amendment to a piece of Democrat-backed legislation promoting greater inclusivity in federal programs. The bill, dubbed the Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act, would permit the filing of private civil suits for violations of federal regulations that "prohibit discrimination on the ground of race, color, or national origin in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance." The Republican amendment, which passed by a vote of 265 to 164, with 162 Democrats in opposition, mandates that anti-Semitism also be considered as discrimination.

    Huh. If I'm reading the Congress.gov page correctly, it looks as if Democrats voted against the anti-Semitism language 66-192. But then turned around to vote for the bill 229-0.

    While the Republicans voted for the amendment 189-1, but voted against the bill 3-187.

    So I don't know what kind of shenanigans were going on there. The Washington Examiner goes into more detail.


  • Mark J. Perry provides the Animated chart of the day, showing how the upper/middle/low-income fractions of American households have changed over time:

    So it turns out that a good rejoinder to those who say "the middle class is shrinking" is: "Yeah, they're getting rich."


  • And, finally, George F. Will on: how unchecked progressives inflict progress in California. Destined to be a cautionary tale for the other 49 states, if they pay attention.

    California, our national warning, shows how unchecked progressives inflict progress. They have placed on November ballots Proposition 16 to repeal the state constitution’s provision, enacted by referendum in 1996, forbidding racial preferences in public education, employment and contracting. Repeal, which would repudiate individual rights in favor of group entitlements, is part of a comprehensive California agenda to make everything about race, ethnicity and gender. Especially education, thereby supplanting education with its opposite.

    The 1996 ban on preferences was not intended to, and did not, end all measures to increase the participation of minorities and women in the state’s postsecondary education, or in doing business with the state government. So, Proposition 16 should be seen primarily as an act of ideological aggression, a bold assertion that racial and gender quotas — identity politics translated into a spoils system — should be forthrightly proclaimed and permanently practiced as a positive good.

    "Preferences" were originally sold as a temporary measure to untilt the playing field. Progressive logic: They didn't work, so let's make them forever.


Last Modified 2020-09-17 3:36 PM EDT