Picky Picky

I know, "no harm, no foul". Nevertheless: "Jeopardy" will never accomplish a total destruction of the human spirit, but....

That headline is Ann Althouse's.

I first read Solzhenitsyn as a high schooler in the sixties. I knew the answer, as did all three contestants. And, even through I know what to avoid saying, I'm unsure the Jeopardy! judges would have accepted my pronunciation. ("Soul-Zen-Eats-In". Is that about right?)

Briefly noted:

  • When the only tool you have is a hammer … Francis Fukuyama observes that The New Right Loves the State.

    One of the staples of my teaching of comparative politics over the years was to point out the differences between European and American conservatives. The former were generally comfortable with the exercise of state power, and indeed sought to use power to enforce religious or cultural values (the old unity of “throne and altar.”) American conservatives, on the other hand, were different in their emphasis on individual liberty, a small state, property rights, and a vigorous private sector. In Seymour Martin Lipset’s account of American exceptionalism, American politics were thoroughly imbued with a Lockean liberalism that saw the government limiting its own power through a strict rule of law. These principles defined the Republican Party under Ronald Reagan, which wanted lower taxes, deregulation, federalism, and multiple limits on state power.

    This understanding of conservatism has now been upended with the rise of Trumpist populism. Trump himself was perfectly comfortable with big government spending, promising to protect entitlements and approving a huge Covid relief package even as he cut taxes. He was happy to use the Justice Department to go after his enemies, and chafed at the restrictions on police powers in putting down protests in the wake of the George Floyd killing in 2020.

    It's a dismal future if every election is gonna be a "Flight 93" election, bitterly fighting about where exactly to crash the plane.

  • Not to mention Orwell. Scott Gerber tells on his employer: DEI Brings Kafka to My Law School.

    Franz Kafka’s “The Trial” tells the story of Josef K., a man arrested, prosecuted and killed by an inaccessible authority, with the nature of his crime revealed neither to him nor to the reader. I’m Josef K.

    Around 1 p.m. on Friday, April 14, Ohio Northern University campus security officers entered my classroom with my students present and escorted me to the dean’s office. Armed town police followed me down the hall. My students appeared shocked and frightened. I know I was. I was immediately barred from teaching, banished from campus, and told that if I didn’t sign a separation agreement and release of claims by April 21, ONU would commence dismissal proceedings against me. The grounds: “Collegiality.” The specifics: None.

    That "collegiality" term casts a pretty wide net. I don't see any word about this at the FIRE website, but maybe soon.

  • I was alive in the Seventies. They kind of sucked. So this, from J.D. Tuccille, is kind of bad news: Biden's Industrial Policy Promises a Return to the 1970s.

    If you're eyeing President Biden's grandiose subsidies and intrusive economic regulations with concern as to where it all will end, the answer is, the 1970s. That's the last time governments of nominally free countries openly favored steering economies over maintaining the preconditions for individuals and businesses to make their own economic decisions. Whether you call it "industrial policy" or by older terms for statism, political functionaries once again tout plans to guide investment and favor industries. Good luck to us all.

    We'll need it.

  • What it means to not be sexist. Arnold Kling writes on a topic that might provoke hysteria: Assimilating Women into Male Institutions.

    When women became accepted into leading universities, in the professions, and into managerial and executive positions in the work place, both men and women held some harmful cultural attitudes. Many of us have come to understand how men need to change. The need for women to change is less well appreciated.

    Over my employment history, I couldn't help but notice that the biggest source of workplace drama was not between men and women, but between women and other women. That's just an anecdote, take it for what it's worth. But it matches up well with Kling's essay.

  • Just sayin'. Beth Mole's story at Ars Technica is celebratory: FDA advisers vote unanimously in favor of OTC birth control pills. But I just wanted to highlight this bit:

    "The risks to women of an unintended pregnancy are much greater than any of the things we were discussing as risks of putting this pill out over the counter," panel member Katalin Roth, a medical professor at George Washington University, said in closing remarks. "The history of women's contraception is a struggle for women's control over their reproduction, and we need to trust women."

    Gee, as long as you're at it, how about trusting men? How about just generally trusting adults to make their own decisions about what they want to ingest?

  • Schrödinger's cat isn't dead, in fact he's putting on weight. Sabine Hossenfelder has the latest science news:

    Not only that, but they've gotten around to counting our galaxy's arms.

    Hossenfelder has a wonderfully dry sense of humor. (Should I add "for a German" to that? Nah, guess not.)

Last Modified 2023-05-30 7:42 PM EDT