Or: When Wilhelm Confronted Adolf

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At Law & Liberty, Samuel Gregg recalls When a Classical Liberal Confronted Nazi Terror.

Ninety years ago, Adolf Hitler was sworn into office as Chancellor of Germany. January 30, 1933, would be henceforth regarded by Germany’s National Socialists as the Machtergreifung: the day that the Nazis seized power and began consigning the Weimar Republic to its grave.

Hitler never made any secret of his intention to strike against those he saw as his enemies once his grip on power had been consolidated. It was thus at considerable personal risk that a young German economics professor delivered a public lecture in Frankfurt am Main, just eight days after Hitler took office, in which he made clear his opposition to the new government.

Wilhelm Röpke was already known as an outspoken critic of Nazism. He had even personally campaigned against the Nazi Party. “You will be complicit,” he wrote in one 1930 election pamphlet, “if you vote Nazi or for a party that has no reservations about forming a government with the Nazis.” That pointed “or” was a shot at those conservative political and military elites who, three years later, would allow Hitler into office under the illusion that they could control him.

I remember reading Röpke's A Humane Economy back in my college days, and being impressed. He never got the fame attached to Hayek or Mises, but (arguably) he managed to set West Germany on an irreversible free-market path after the devastation of World War II. Practical results should count for something.

Briefly noted:

  • At Reason, Elizabeth Nolan Brown points out a problem and offers some suggestions: The Most Popular Police Reforms Can't Stop the Next Tyre Nichols From Being Killed. Here's What Might. And Number One ("with a bullet") is:

    Get rid of secretive "elite" policing units like the SCORPION squad. The officers who killed Nichols were part of Memphis' "Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods" (SCORPION) squad, which was tasked with swarming crime "hot spots" and making pretextual traffic stops in order to try and stop or investigate serious crimes. "The SCORPION program has all the markings of similar 'elite' police teams around the country, assembled for the broad purpose of fighting crime, which operate with far more leeway and less oversight than do regular police officers," writes Radley Balko:

    Some of these units have touted impressive records of arrests and gun confiscations, though those statistics don't always correlate with a decrease in crime. But they all rest on the idea that to be effective, police officers need less oversight. That is a fundamental misconception. In city after city, these units have proven that putting officers in street clothes and unmarked cars‌, then giving them less supervision, an open mandate and an intimidating name shatters the community trust that police forces require to keep people safe.

    Units like these don't just suffer from a lack of transparency and use tactics likely to spawn violence. Their rhetoric attracts "police officers who enjoy being feared," Balko notes, and it positions these officers as both elite and beyond the normal rules. There are all sorts of horror stories about similar units, such as Detroit's STRESS unit ("Over a two-year period, the units killed at least 22 people, almost all of them Black") or Los Angeles' CRASH unit ("More than 70 officers were implicated in planting guns and drug evidence, selling narcotics themselves and shooting and beating people without provocation").

    Of course, one major thing on ENB's list: end qualified immunity.

  • Unsuprising headline of the day, from David Strom at Hot Air: Politifact is dishonest.

    Politifact is biased. All news sources are biased to some extent (I make no bones about being a conservative, although do my best to stick to the facts), although some are better about trying to be open and fair than others.

    Politifact? Browsing their site I have concluded that while they may think they are fair, they don’t come close.

    The first “fact check is a doozy, since their “Truth o Meter” and the content of their “analysis” contradict each other. They rate a claim “false” while their explanation for coming to the conclusion shows that it is, in fact, true. They just disagree with the implication.

    At issue is a TV ad that states: "Joe Biden and the New Left even promote surgery on teens and young adults, removing breasts and genitals."

    To put it as charitably as possible, Politifact does some extremely fine parsing of "promote" to accomplish its feat of rating this claim False.

    Click through to see Strom's other example.

  • What would we do without more physicists? You'll be wondering that after reading this Yahoo! news story, describing Why More Physicists Are Starting to Think Space and Time Are ‘Illusions’.

    This past December, the physics Nobel Prize was awarded for the experimental confirmation of a quantum phenomenon known for more than 80 years: entanglement. As envisioned by Albert Einstein and his collaborators in 1935, quantum objects can be mysteriously correlated even if they are separated by large distances. But as weird as the phenomenon appears, why is such an old idea still worth the most prestigious prize in physics?

    Coincidentally, just a few weeks before the new Nobel laureates were honored in Stockholm, a different team of distinguished scientists from Harvard, MIT, Caltech, Fermilab and Google reported that they had run a process on Google’s quantum computer that could be interpreted as a wormhole. Wormholes are tunnels through the universe that can work like a shortcut through space and time and are loved by science fiction fans, and although the tunnel realized in this recent experiment exists only in a 2-dimensional toy universe, it could constitute a breakthrough for future research at the forefront of physics.

    But why is entanglement related to space and time? And how can it be important for future physics breakthroughs? Properly understood, entanglement implies that the universe is “monistic”, as philosophers call it, that on the most fundamental level, everything in the universe is part of a single, unified whole. It is a defining property of quantum mechanics that its underlying reality is described in terms of waves, and a monistic universe would require a universal function. Already decades ago, researchers such as Hugh Everett and Dieter Zeh showed how our daily-life reality can emerge out of such a universal quantum-mechanical description. But only now are researchers such as Leonard Susskind or Sean Carroll developing ideas on how this hidden quantum reality might explain not only matter but also the fabric of space and time.

    Without space and time, we'd be seeing Everything Everywhere All at Once. For real.

    Also, as Steve Miller said: Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' Into the future.

  • We don't usually do RIPs here at Pun Salad, but we'll make an exception for Annie Wersching, who died at the age of 45 on Sunday. She had an impressive acting career, but I'm pretty sure I first noticed her as Renee Walker in 24, Jack Bauer's ally, briefly turned lover, then quickly turned sniper victim.

    Also noted her in Bosch playing a cop ally of Harry Bosch, and The Rookie playing a very menacing nemesis of John Nolan.

    The last time I saw her in a show was last season's Star Trek: Picard, playing the menacing Borg Queen. She was unrecognizable, being, well, a Borg. But she was very good.

    Amazing freckles, too. I'm a sucker for those.

Last Modified 2024-01-14 5:01 AM EDT