URLs du Jour


  • Howie Carr on Twitter provides the rhetorical stylings of our (sorry, conspiracy theorists) President-Elect:

    At Liberty Unyielding, Ben Bowles speculates on mispronunciation:

    The word he substitutes, palmist, is especially unfortunate since it is a term for some one who engages in palmistry, or telling one’s fortune by reading his palm — a practice pretty far removed from organized religion. Then again, like that other devout Catholic on the Democratic side, Nancy Pelosi, Biden tends to be a Sunday Christian, if that. In seeking the Democratic nomination, he renounced his career-long support for the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the woman or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape. Talk about your deals with the devil!

    I'm pretty sure Kamala Harris can recite Section 4 of the 25th Amendment in her sleep, backwards.

  • At City Journal, Theodore Darlymple muses on a simple, underused, four-letter word: The Age of Cant. No apostrophe. He thinks "hypocrisy", a near-but-not-quite synonym has a bad rap in comparison.

    Cant is more destructive than hypocrisy because it is harder to expose and because a humbug deceives himself as well as others, while a mere hypocrite retains some awareness; he is a rogue rather than a villain. Cant is the vehement public expression of concern for others, or of anger at an opinion casting doubt on some moral orthodoxy that is not, and cannot be, genuinely felt, its vehemence being a shield for insincerity and lack of confidence in the orthodox opinion. Doctor Johnson defined cant as “a whining pretension to goodness, in formal and affected terms.” Cant is contagious, and, when widespread, it creates an atmosphere in which people are afraid to call it by its name. Arguments then go by default; and if arguments go by default, ludicrous, bad, or even wicked policies result.

    I think that we live in an era of cant. I do not say that it is the only such age. But it has never been, at least in my lifetime, as important as it is now to hold the right opinions and to express none of the wrong ones, if one wants to avoid vilification and to remain socially frequentable. Worse still, and even more totalitarian, is the demand for public assent to patently false or exaggerated propositions; refusal to kowtow in such circumstances becomes almost as bad a sin as uttering a forbidden view. One must join in the universal cant—or else.

    I'll try to do better.

  • The newish "CapitalMatters" section of National Review brings us Andrew Stuttaford on the Davos Great Reset: The Culmination of Corporatism. He notes that it even has its own website, which seems to be (and I hope I'm getting this right) exactly the sort of thing Theodore Darlymple is talking about. "Partners" in the Great Reset include "Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, IBM, IKEA, Lockheed Martin, Ericsson and Deloitte."

    Not a partner: me. Probably you neither.

    Recently, one expression of corporatism, “stakeholder capitalism,” has won strong support on both sides of the Atlantic. This might be expected in Europe, but that it has been taken up by the Business Roundtable and many leading firms in the U.S. — allegedly a bastion of both free enterprise and democracy — is depressing. Looked at optimistically, the BRT and its C-suite cheerleaders are useful idiots. Looked at realistically, they are part of a managerial class grubbing for the power that flows from other people’s money.

    Stakeholder capitalism rests on the notion that a company’s management owes a duty to more than its shareholders. It’s something that Klaus Schwab, the WEF’s founder and executive chairman, has been advocating for a long time. A key feature of the Great Reset is the idea that stakeholder capitalism should, one way or another, be adopted.

    I just hope the folks handling my portfolio are nimble enough to ride this seemingly inevitable wave instead of getting pulled under.

  • Also at NR, Kevin D. Williamson writes on more down-to-earth econ: Shopping Superstitions.

    It’s the boss-bossiest time of the year, when Americans getting ready to open up their wallets to buy Christmas presents are lectured by illiterate halfwits about where and how to spend their money. The usual demands: Buy local, or buy from small businesses.

    This is pure nonsense, and you should feel free to ignore it.

    The “buy local” people insist that if you choose, say, your locally owned coffee shop over Starbucks, then the money you spend there will somehow stay in the community, hanging around and providing additional economic benefits. But that isn’t how money works: Most businesses spend most of what they take in and then put the rest in the bank, where it becomes global capital.

    And local businesses do not generally spend their money locally — they can’t. I like my local coffee shop, and I am pretty sure that it does not buy its coffee locally, because I do not live in Colombia or Brazil or Vietnam, and it doesn’t buy its to-go cups from a local maker, since it is not in the shadow of a paper-goods factory, etc. Its lease is probably held by an out-of-town entity, along with its loans. Its espresso machine probably came from Italy or Germany, maybe Hong Kong.

    Fully of insight, as usual, and he avoids the term "comparative advantage". Bonus quip: "The people who want you to believe otherwise are the same ones who want you to give up Bordeaux for wine made in Missouri or Oregon or Illinois — i.e., people who are not to be trusted."

    Fortunately, I'm good with my plonk, Kevin.

  • Apparently my CD shelf is fuller of libertarian artists than I previously expected. The Washington Times reports: Eric Clapton joins Van Morrison's anti-lockdown campaign with new song, 'Stand and Deliver'.

    Music legend Eric Clapton is joining Van Morrison’s efforts to reopen the live music industry amid the coronavirus pandemic by releasing a new anti-lockdown song called, “Stand and Deliver.”

    The song, which was written by Mr. Morrison and performed by Mr. Clapton, will debut Dec. 4 and the proceeds will go toward Mr. Morrison’s Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund, which supports U.K. musicians who are facing financial hardship because of widespread government restrictions on live music, Variety reported.

    “There are many of us who support Van and his endeavors to save live music; he is an inspiration,” Mr. Clapton told Variety. “We must stand up and be counted because we need to find a way out of this mess. The alternative is not worth thinking about. Live music might never recover.”

    Lads, let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic.

Last Modified 2024-01-22 9:43 AM EDT