URLs du Jour


  • Alternate title: California Screaming.

    Captain Ego! [Captain Ego]

    Suggested reading from Christian Britschgi at Reason: California Providing Free Money In Attempt To Mitigate Inflation.

  • Nietzsche is just pietzsche to these folks. Stephanie Slade notes the bad news: "National" conservatives haven't mended their wayward ways: The Will to Power Was Front and Center at NatCon III.

    "Wokeism is not a fever that will pass but a cancer that must be eradicated," declared a main-stage speaker at the third National Conservatism Conference ("NatCon III") last week. "In this new reality, the only institution with the power to contend with and conquer the woke-industrial complex is the government of the United States."

    In the task to identify what distinguishes national conservatism from other right-wing varietals, you could do worse than to start with that quote from activist Rachel Bovard. It shows that this burgeoning political faction has at its heart a fundamentally favorable orientation toward federal power and not a mere revivification of national pride. It also makes it clear that the natcons' purpose in acquiring government power is not merely to prevent its misuse by opposing ideologues; it's to use it affirmatively to destroy opposing ideologues.

    The rhetoric is just rhetoric, for now. But we're talking about folks (the left has them too, of course) who view every election as a "Flight 93 election". It's not a giant leap to embrace "whatever means necessary" tactics to "charge the cockpit".

  • Oh, Danny, this isn't Disneyland. Is this Disneyland? This isn't Disneyland, is it? I didn't think so. Mike Masnick (aka: "the sensible Techdirt writer") makes a useful distinction: The Internet Is Not Disneyland; People Should Stop Demanding It Become Disneyland.

    Disneyland can be a fun experience for kids (and potentially a frustrating one for parents), but it’s a very controlled environment in which everything is set up to bend over backwards to be welcoming to children. And that’s great for what it is, but the world would kinda suck if everything was Disneyland. I mean, some countries have tried that, and it’s… not great, especially if you believe in basic freedoms.

    Here’s the thing: Disneyland’s limits are great for a place to visit occasionally. As a vacation. But it’s not the real world. And we shouldn’t be seeking to remake the real world into Disneyland. And I think it’s especially true that most parents wouldn’t want to raise their kids in Disneyland and then send them out into the real world upon turning 18, and assuming they’ll be fully equipped to deal with the real world.

    Yet that’s exactly what some busybody politicians (with support of the media) have been trying to do. They want to pass new laws that effectively demand that the internet act like Disneyland. Everything must be safe for kids. That means much greater surveillance and much less freedom… but “safe for kids.”

    I thought I was quoting someone when I said the Internet was like having God's library card. If I was, then I can't find that source now.

    The problem (or: the "problem") is that God stocks all the books. Even the bad ones.

    [Headline quote based on a classic.]

  • And they don't put the "fun" in "fundamentalism". Joel Kotkin elaborates on a long-running theme: Environmentalism Is a Fundamentalist Religion.

    Today's climate activists resemble nothing so much as a religious movement, with carbon the new devil's spawn. The green movement is increasingly wedded to a kind of carbon fundamentalism that is not only not realistic but will reduce living standards in the West and around the world. And as with other kinds of religious fundamentalism, the climate hysteria is often overwrought and obviously so; a decade ago, the same activists predicted a planetary disaster by 2020 if the U.S. and China did not reduce their emissions by 80 percent—which of course never happened.

    This approach is a losing one that reduces the effectiveness of the green lobby. What's needed to combat climate change is a pragmatic approach based on adapting to real and verifiable dangers. And this starts with environmentalists acknowledging the limits of our ability to curb emissions in the short run.

    My favorite climate solution, artificial photosynthesis, goes unmentioned yet again. [The linked article views it as a "renewable" energy source. Which is fine, but its first-order effect is to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Which would (literally) be cool.]

  • Not a town in New Mexico. Martin Gurri, thinking deeply about the Big Picture at Discourse: Truth and Its Consequences.

    Let me be blunt: Truth, for the human animal, is always partial, temporary and local. We never attain the “whole truth”—eyewitness testimony is notoriously faulty. Rather, truth comes to us in bits and fragments, like a jigsaw puzzle with most pieces missing. As we learn new facts and with time shift our point of view, truth alters its aspect. That process never ends. Finally, truth is dependent of the level of analysis: It appears wholly different through the lens of the atom collider than it does through that of the Webb telescope. We earth-bound creatures can hold no conception of what truth must look like to an immense universal being.

    Because we are symbolic as well as biological animals, we find truth’s imperfections difficult to accept. It goes against logic. A proposition that is partial and is soon to be overthrown feels like an error. Truth—complete accordance with reality—must be one and eternal. This craving for wholeness in human experience eventually inspires a desperate maneuver: Truth is removed from earth to a higher sphere. For Plato, the world of objects was a flitting shadow on a cave wall; reality could be found only in the realm of perfect and unchanging forms. The great world religions, like Christianity, have made a similar move. Truth abides in heaven while doubt torments earthly life. The result is a curious but all-too-human inversion, whereby the attainment of truth now demands an act of faith.

    It's as eye-opening and mind-expanding as you might expect. A drive-by observation: "Media 'fact-checkers' are not concerned with checking facts but with regaining epistemic control."

  • Biden's gonna have trouble putting lipstick on this pig. Eric Boehm notes a really inconvenient (albeit partial, temporary, and local) truth: Expected Interest Rate Hike Will Add $2 Trillion to the Deficit.

    Tomorrow's [as I type, yesterday's] rate hike will add an estimated $2.1 trillion to the federal deficit over the next two years, according to an analysis from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), a nonprofit that advocates for lower deficits. That's $2 trillion that goes on the tab to be repaid even though no one ever benefitted from it. It helped to build no bridges, feed no hungry people, or make any business more profitable.

    Even with low interest rates, the cost to service the size of the national debt was expected to balloon during the next few decades. Other than the cost of entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, the interest costs are the biggest driver of America's long-term deficit. Higher interest rates will compound that problem, as the CRFB has been detailing for months.

    Biden and Congress have made the situation yet worse by continuing to borrow and spend even long after it became obvious that interest rates would have to rise to combat inflation caused in part by all the borrowing and spending. Despite what the White House claims, Biden has approved more than $4.8 trillion in new borrowing to finance the American Rescue Plan, student debt relief, and other initiatives.

    Eric notes that the Pollyannas who thought interest rates could/would be kept low forever were wrong, wrong, wrong.

    They will not be the ones suffering for their errors.

Last Modified 2024-01-30 7:22 AM EDT