What Was Our State's Motto, Again?

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Apparently, the anti-LFODs have the upper hand in Conway: N.H. Art Police Attack Student Mural.

High school students learned teamwork, project management, and art when they painted a mural for a popular pastry shop in Conway. Little did they know they also would get a real-world civics lesson in censorship.

Just days after they unveiled their playful design above the entrance at Leavitt’s Country Bakery, the zoning police showed up and declared the artwork illegal. The problem was not libel or scandalous imagery. The mural merely depicts sunbeams shining over a New England mountain range made of muffins, donuts, and other pastries.

The mural's sin was in depicting items similar to those sold inside the bakery.

Note: had the mural shown items not similar to those sold inside the bakery—any items whatsoever—it would have been just fine.

The Institute for Justice has taken the side of the bakery, which makes me feel slightly sorry for the Conway sign cops.

Briefly noted:

  • Useful headline template: "Biden's Misguided Call for      ."

    At the Dispatch, Paul Matzko fills in the blank with: Biden’s Misguided Call for Internet Regulation.

    Biden’s call for regulation is rooted in fearmongering. He accuses social media companies of running an experiment on children, charges online forums with promoting offline violence, and implies that platforms aid and abet a wide range of online criminal conduct from cyberstalking to illicit drug sales. This is the rhetoric of moral panic. Joe Biden joins a long line of politicians who have exploited public fears about the negative social effects of novel mass media to justify government overreach, from Sen. John Pastore’s crusade against violent TV westerns in the 1970s to Sen. Joe Lieberman’s obsession with Mortal Kombat in the 1990s.

    So long, Internet. Nice to know ya, American innovation. You were fun while you lasted.

  • Aonther non-news story, from Tom Knighton: Reviewers have entirely predictable response to 1619 Project on Hulu.

    The 1619 Project, however, was never more than an effort to fuel American guilt, this idea among the left that we’re the bad guys in every way. The problem is that many are getting tired of this. Self-awareness is wonderful, but this enters the realm of self-delusion.

    I recently read a book about activist-posing-as-historian Howard Zinn, who was up to the same sort of business. And, apparently, that business is still good.

  • For more on the 1619 topic, here's Jonah Goldberg with The Race to Racism. His wise subhed: "If you start with the conclusion you can talk yourself into anything."

    Just to be clear: It’s fine—and morally obligatory—to condemn racism in America. But it’s just wrong—factually and morally—to say that America is uniquely racist or even especially racist. On international surveys asking if you’d have a problem with a person of a different race as a neighbor, we’re not the most tolerant country in the world, but we’re closer than you’d think if you just read a lot of the stuff in The Atlantic and the New York Times, or followed these debates on TV. Three percent of Americans say they’d object to racially different neighbors. That makes us half as racist as Finland, roughly a quarter as racist as Spain and Italy, and slightly less racist than Germany or France. You can argue that such surveys don’t account for social desirability bias—people saying what they think they’re supposed to say—but even that bias is a sign of racial progress. In 1958, 44 percent of white Americans had no problem saying they’d move if a black family moved in next door. Forty years later, that number had dropped to 1 percent.

    Or, as our next item notes, when there's government money on the line…

  • Sean Cooper writes on The Anti-Gun Violence Hustle.

    In a recent mayoral debate at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Helen Gym, who had been an outspoken opponent of increasing the city’s policing budget in 2020, called gun violence the “single greatest threat to everything that we have ever hoped for in this city.”

    Gun violence is ravaging Philadelphia, just as it is Rochester, Indianapolis, Columbus, Louisville, Austin, and six other major cities that suffered record-breaking homicides in 2021—a crisis that shows little sign of waning. Philadelphia has something else in common with those cities: Its officials have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into anti-violence initiatives that have failed to make a dent in the surging levels of violence. It’s a very American approach to a very American problem, as politicians pump money into opaque social initiatives that provide jobs to midlevel bureaucrats who fail to do anything at all.

    “Everybody can get a grant, everybody gets paid,” said Jamal Johnson, a former Marine and anti-violence activist in Philadelphia. “It’s the new hustle.”

    A well-worn adage: "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail".

    The politician's corollary: you can pretend you're dealing with any problem by throwing more taxpayer money at it.

  • It's our day for wise observations, I guess. Veronique de Rugy has another. Inconsistency: The Most Consistent Thing About Politics.

    Since Grover Cleveland was president, no one has accused the average politician of being principled or even consistent. Year after year, Republicans claim to care about fiscal prudence but, when in power, spend like Democrats. In their turn, Democrats insist that they want to engineer a transition to a green-energy economy, but their actions contradict this goal.

    Of course, you would miss these contradictions if you looked only at the effort Democrats pour into distributing green-energy subsidies. The infrastructure bill of 2021 and the Inflation Reduction Act adopted last year included enormous subsidies for green energy. Then Congress doubled down by enacting the $1.7 trillion omnibus bill at the end of 2022. This bill includes large funding increases for clean energy and other climate-related programs, including the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, biofuel research and development, and other agencies' climate research agendas.

    Looking at the subsidies alone, you could believe that Democrats are all-in on using the government to impose green energy. But such a focus is too narrow.

    Once again, I think more funding should go to my favored boondoggle: carbon capture by artificial photosynthesis.

Last Modified 2024-01-14 4:38 AM EDT