URLs du Jour


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  • At Law & Liberty, Peter Foster predicts Sustainable Newspeak by 2050. Sample:

    Perhaps the most significant new weasel word to have emerged from the UN’s equivalent of the Ministry of Truth is “sustainable.” Commitment to sustainability is now mouthed by every politician, bureaucrat, marketing executive, and media hack on earth. It sounds so benign, so reasonable, but what it actually means is “bureaucratically controlled and NGO-enforced within a UN-based socialist agenda.” Like most aspects of socialism, it is based on incomprehension and/or hatred of the nature and function of market capitalism, not least because markets—which signal scarcity, reward economy, and promote profitable innovation—are the only true source of sustainability. Projected catastrophic man-made climate change was enthusiastically embraced by global socialism becasue it was—in the words of Nicholas Stern, who was ennobled for his manufacture of an egregiously skewed review of climate impacts for his political masters in the UK Labour Party—“the greatest market failure the world has ever seen.” The problem is that we haven’t actually seen it, except, that is, through the biased lens of “official” science and an alarmist crusading media.

    Like “social,” “sustainable” tends to vitiate or reverse the meaning of words to which it is attached. Thus sustainable development is development retarded by top-down control, and whose effectiveness is further compromised by the insertion of a long list of cart-before-the-horse social policy objectives, from gender equity to “responsible consumption.”

    Just buy our Amazon Product du Jour, so the authorities will know your heart's brain's in the right place.

  • Jacob Sullum asks the musical question at Reason: If the President Doesn’t Have Standing to Pursue Wild, Unsubstantiated Claims of Election Fraud, Who Does?. It's about a Sunday morning interview with Trump on Fox News:

    In addition to claiming that voting machines were rigged, Trump said large numbers of fraudulent ballots mysteriously arrived at counting locations to save the day for Biden. "This election was over, and then they did dumps…big, massive dumps in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and all over," he said. "If you take a look at just about every state that we're talking about, every swing state that we're talking about…they did these massive dumps of votes. And all of a sudden, I went from winning by a lot to losing by a little….They started just doing ballot after ballot very quickly and just checking the Biden name on top. " This is another claim that the Trump campaign has failed to substantiate in court. "They backdated all these ballots that came in," Trump said, referring to yet another accusation that did not pan out.

    It's been my limited experience that when you swat down Claim A from a conspiracist, the response is not a rebuttal, but immediately make (equally vague and unsubstantiated) Claims B, C, D. If you bother to chase those down, the response is new Claims E, F, and G. And so on,… But if you're lucky, things eventually circle back to still-unsupported Claim A, an implicit admission that there's no actual search for truth going on.

  • AEI Visiting Scholar Mark Jamison offers 3 broadband mistakes that Biden should avoid. (Implied subtitle: "But Probably Won't".)

    Mistake 1: Allowing politics to distribute subsidies

    Candidate Biden promised $20 billion for rural broadband, a tripling of the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Community Connect program, in addition to unspecified Department of Commerce support for municipal broadband. Biden didn’t say how the $20 billion would be distributed, but agriculture and commerce broadband programs during the Obama administration largely wasted money.

    As I wrote in 2015, Obama’s USDA mishandled $3.5 billion in broadband subsidies: “40 out of the 297 approved projects never started,” “more than $137 million of the approved loans had incomplete or inaccurate applications,” and while the program promised to connect 7 million people, it connected only 729,000 (or fewer). My friends in USDA tell me the program improved during the Donald Trump administration, but it is unclear that the improvements will survive the transition to the new administration.

    Obama’s Department of Commerce spent about $4 billion on broadband development. As I wrote in 2017, “As with other federal spending, these programs favor the politically powerful and are generally wasteful and ineffective.”

    As Robert Frost wrote (about something else): "But waste was of the essence of the scheme."

  • Issues & Insights editorializes on The ‘Great Reset’ Con: Forget The Rhetoric, It’s Just Re-Heated Socialism.

    So-called progressive Democrats are buzzing about a “Great Reset” under Joe Biden, as if they have some completely new ideas to make our economy better and stronger. Sorry, but they’re merely repackaging the failed ideas of socialism and hoping Americans will be suckers enough to buy it. Don’t fall for it.

    After months of COVID-19 lockdowns and growing restrictions on your personal liberties, you’ll soon be hearing from Democrats that this is the “new normal.” To function in this brave new world, we need to join the rest of the nations in a global “Great Reset” to create a better, more sustainable economy.

    Sounds great? It isn’t. In fact, it’s a thinly disguised assault on free markets and Americans’ individual liberties and rights. Once those things are given away, you’ll be little more than a pawn in the globalists’ big game.

    I'm not a fan of dark mutterings about "globalists". We're seeing plain old statists: using the coercive power of the state to move decisions out of private hands and into those of "stakeholders".

  • In his weekly "Tuesday" column, Kevin D. Williamson looks at the new movie Hillbilly Elegy.

    The Ron Howard film Hillbilly Elegy, a cinematic extract from J. D. Vance’s eponymous memoir, has received savage reviews. Remarkably so, in fact. One suspects that this is not entirely a question of its cinematic merits.

    Howard is a conventional Hollywood commercial filmmaker and has made a conventional Hollywood commercial film. Howard’s record for adapting literature into film is mixed: His adaptation of Sylvia Nasar’s A Beautiful Mind is good, but his films based on Dan Brown’s novels are dreck, as are the novels themselves. Howard often has been at his best when there is no underlying literature to agonize over (as in The Paper and Cinderella Man) or when adapting a play, as in Frost/Nixon. In Hillbilly Elegy, Howard has bitten off a big morsel, and, though he intelligently shapes the film as a family drama in which the social commentary is generally implicit, it may be more than he can chew.

    I'll give it a miss, probably. Although I recommend the book.

Last Modified 2024-01-21 10:09 AM EDT

Big White Ghetto

Dead Broke, Stone-Cold Stupid, and High on Rage in the Dank Woolly Wilds of the "Real America"

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A compilation of 22 of Kevin D. Williamson's National Review articles 2012-2019. It's short: 231 pages including endmatter. But each article is a little gem, and if you're wondering what all those asterisks in the magazine meant, they're spelled out here. Including the title of the article about the stage version of Glengarry Glen Ross which in the magazine was "Death of a F*****g Salesman".

But he's also good at indirectly saying what he means. The state of city finances in San Bernardino, California? "This is a paddle-free scato-riparian fiscal expedition of the first order."

The articles are mostly reportage; no extended discussions of political philosophy, only as much as necessary to expose the folly of clueless pols. The title article is about Owsley County, Kentucky, which, at the time of writing, was the poorest county in the US. (It's since been "surpassed" by two others.) In a memorable section, KDW describes how food stamps (EBT payments) are near-immediately traded for more liquid assets, specifically cases of soda.

There's a lot of variety, and KDW is a gifted reporter and writer, avoiding clichés of both left and right. (His analysis of white poverty has irritated at least one other NR writer.) But he visits civil court in Lubbock; drug dealers in Birmingham; pot marketers in Denver; slums in Chicago; and many more. Each article is full of insight and pyrotechnic prose. Highly recommended.

Last Modified 2024-01-23 2:06 PM EDT