URLs du Jour

2021-07-19

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  • I'm Old Enough to Remember… when our self-appointed shrinks advised us to "refuse to be terrorized".

    As it happens, that wasn't bad advice.

    John Tierney in City Journal notes that it's a lesson we didn't learn well: The Panic Pandemic.

    The United States suffered through two lethal waves of contagion in the past year and a half. The first was a viral pandemic that killed about one in 500 Americans—typically, a person over 75 suffering from other serious conditions. The second, and far more catastrophic, was a moral panic that swept the nation’s guiding institutions.

    Instead of keeping calm and carrying on, the American elite flouted the norms of governance, journalism, academic freedom—and, worst of all, science. They misled the public about the origins of the virus and the true risk that it posed. Ignoring their own carefully prepared plans for a pandemic, they claimed unprecedented powers to impose untested strategies, with terrible collateral damage. As evidence of their mistakes mounted, they stifled debate by vilifying dissenters, censoring criticism, and suppressing scientific research.

    Tierney documents the panic, which feedback-looped between journalists, public-health bureaucrats, and politicians. Anyone who questioned the scientific basis for the edicts was quickly vilified and their work labeled as "disinformation".

    Tierney quotes Jane Fonda, who deemed Covid "God’s gift to the Left". Enduring lesson: Statists of all stripes are pretty much OK with fearmongering if it delivers power to them.


  • Looks Like Robin DiAngelo is Over. The Amazon page for Robin DiAngelo's new book Nice Racism, published about three weeks ago, claims it is a "New York Times Bestseller", but (as I type) it's not on the latest top-15 nonfiction list. And (again, as I type) Amazon ranks it "#787 in Books".

    Could it be that all the folks who bought her previous book thought to themselves: "No way am I putting myself through that again"?

    That would explain why Amazon has it #1 in its "Masochism and Self-Abuse" sub-category.

    Well, she probably got a hefty advance.

    So we'll have to solace ourselves with reading funny reviews. Here's one from Andrew Stiles in the Washington Free Beacon: The Grift That Keeps on Grifting. Sample:

    Speaking of meaningless, the following is a passage from Nice Racism. After reading it, you might even sympathize with the white progressives who remain skeptical about devoting their lives to "affinity groups" and "accountability partners," shaming themselves for having visited a developing country without fostering an "ongoing relationship with the local population" or engaging in "critical thinking about the colonialist dynamics," or learning the difference between "color-deny" and "color-celebrate" white credentialing:

    Radical [relationality] is anathema to white supremacy and the patriarchy it issued from, and can ameliorate the effects of racial weathering while building the coalitions necessary for systemic change. Hence, radical relationships are central to abolitionist organizing, among other forms of liberatory praxis.

    Much of the text echoes this progressive Mad Libs vibe. DiAngelo reinforces her expertise by citing a litany of expert sources, including a "critical race scholar," a "social justice consultant," a "professor of educational leadership," and a "racial trauma specialist" whose "revolutionary work on how white supremacy is stored in the body has had a profound influence on me." Nice Racism is without a doubt the most self-important literary work to contain the phrase, "As Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted…."

    Long before the kiddos started flinging around their IRLs, LOLs, SMHs, and the like, there was MEGO: "My Eyes Glaze Over". DiAngelo's prose goes beyond MEGO, more like POMESIDHTRAMOT: "Plucking Out My Eyeballs So I Don't Have To Read Any More Of This".


  • Dammit, Now That Song's Stuck In My Head. (Curse you, John Sebastian!) Kevin D. Williamson sings: Welcome Back, Carter.

    ‘The ’70s are back!” declares French fashion magazine l’Officiel. No kidding: Prices are up, crime is up, Iranian kidnapping plots targeting Americans are up. . . . Surely the groovy sounds of disco and a heady whiff of Hai Karate cannot be far behind.

    My first political memory is feeling pity for President Jimmy Carter, who was obviously overmatched by the job and seemed to be universally loathed for his inability to do much of anything. That was the worst of the 1970s: gasoline rationing, high unemployment, inflation running so hot that the price of meat was remarked upon in both a Brady Bunch episode and a Warren Zevon song. (How’s that for pop-cultural omnipresence?) And in the middle of it all was purse-lipped, dead-eyed Jimmy Carter, who could not have been a flatter or duller representation of the 1970s if he had been printed on linoleum.

    That was the last time I felt pity for a politician.

    Joe Biden will get none, because he should know better. The feckless Forrest Gump of American politics was there for the 1970s the first time around: Your grey-bearded correspondent had just been born, fresh-faced young Donald Trump was facing his first federal housing-discrimination case (represented in the proceedings by Roy Cohn, of course), Tony Orlando owned the radio airwaves — and Joe Biden, that carbuncular encrustation, that lifer, that plodding careerist, that dull wooden fixture of the Capitol scene, was already getting settled into the Senate, where he would spend some decades accomplishing precisely squat, his only achievement having grown old enough and remained white enough that he could be used as demographic ballast by Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

    I remember the 1970s mostly unfondly. The only nice thing I can say about it was that it made President Reagan inevitable. (Yes, on this guide to conservative commentators, I'm pretty much a "Ronald Reagan Misser".)

    And (by the way) if KDW's headline made you think "I wonder whatever happened to Gabe Kaplan", you might want to read this Gambling Times article, which contains the actual sentence: " In the poker world, you will undoubtedly know him as a professional champion poker player and High Stakes Poker commentator, but did you know that Gabe Kaplan started his career as a comedian?"

    And did you know he also had a perm and a bitchin' mustache? No more.


  • Just One? Michael Barone was unimpressed with the president's July 13 speech advocating for the partisan legislation currently (and fortunately) going nowhere in Congress: Joe Biden's big lie.

    Did you know that black people are not going to be allowed to vote in America anymore? At least in states controlled by Republicans. Sounds a bit unlikely, but that’s a conclusion you might have come to if you took seriously what President Joe Biden was saying in Philadelphia Tuesday.

    Biden decried Republicans’ proposed changes in election laws as “the 21st-century Jim Crow assault” that tries “to suppress and subvert the right to vote in fair and free elections, an assault on democracy.”

    This is, to be polite, unhinged nonsense.

    And (apparently) unchecked by "fact checkers".


  • "Doing Something". Eric Boehm points out the obvious outcome of a recent proposal: More Tariffs Won’t End Pollution or Solve Global Warming. They’ll Just Make Stuff More Expensive..

    The last three years have provided a pretty effective lesson about how tariffs impose immense economic costs and generally don't achieve their primary policy aims, but Democrats in Congress apparently didn't pay close enough attention.

    As part of an overall $3.5 trillion federal budget framework unveiled this week, Democrats are calling for new taxes on imported goods from countries that don't adopt stricter environmental rules. Details like what would be taxed and at what rates remain scarce for now, but The New York Times explains that the so-called polluter import fee would "require companies that want to sell steel, iron, and other goods to the United States to pay a price for every ton of carbon dioxide that is emitted during their manufacturing processes. If countries can't or won't do that, the United States could impose its own price."

    Politicians—dishonest ones—love tariffs because it's easy to pretend that they're paid by those durn furriners. They aren't.


Last Modified 2021-07-19 7:46 AM EDT