Good Advice: Get Sane

John Hinderaker notes the latest findings from Real Science: Knowledge Is Sanity (quoting a tweet from Bjørn Lomborg):

John comments:

That makes sense, obviously. We might say that it is one instance of a broader proposition: the more one knows about any subject, the less likely one is to swallow liberal propaganda on that issue.

I no longer consider "liberal" to be an accurate or useful slur, but otherwise on target.

Also of note:

  • Speaking of propaganda… John Sexton reads the NYT op-ed page so you don't have to. Farhad Manjoo writes a story about the Kia Boys without mentioning the Kia Boys.

    Executive summary: anyone with a USB cable can steal an (unpatched) Kia or Hyundai. That knowledge is easily available. Some blame TikTok for providing instructional videos, but Manjoo blames the manufacturer, Hyundai Motor Group. And (as Sexton's headline notes) Manjoo's missing something:

    Not mentioned at all in these paragraphs or anywhere else in his column are the car thieves. All of the fault is placed on inanimate objects, i.e. the “theft-prone cars.” No responsibility is placed on the people driving this trend. This strikes me as pretty perfect encapsulation of everything that is wrong with progressive thinking on crime.

    I think there’s a pretty clear reason why he’s leaving out the people responsible. Because the “Kia Boys,” as they’ve been described, are young teens, often black, who are stealing cars for fun and for social media cred. Contrary to what Manjoo claims, TikTok isn’t just providing dry information on how to steal the cars, it’s the platform where the “Kia Challenge” went viral. It’s where thieves post highlights of their joyrides in stolen cars to impress other kids.

    Also piling on Manjoo: Zach Kessel at National Review: Progressives Blame Hyundai and Kia for Rash of Car Thefts. A number of "blue" cities have filed lawsuits against Hyundai. But:

    Manjoo considers a recent focus on TikTok as a platform on which would-be car thieves can view hotwiring tutorials to be a case of misplaced blame. A number of New York Democrats have criticized the social-media app for its lack of content moderation, effectively accusing TikTok of being an accessory to vehicle theft. But Manjoo says “it’s Kia and Hyundai, not TikTok, that sold theft-prone cars.”

    He’s got a point — but there’s something important being left out of the equation here: The people who steal cars (even those without proper safeguards) willingly make the decision to steal them. The intense scrutiny of Hyundai and Kia is a flailing attempt by those on the left to avoid blaming the criminals themselves.

    One lawsuit is especially rich, given the mayor who filed it. Brandon Johnson, the arch-progressive mayor of Chicago, said “the failure of Kia and Hyundai to install basic auto-theft prevention technology in these models is sheer negligence, and as a result, a citywide and nationwide crime spree around automobile theft has been unfolding right before our eyes.”

    Maybe we should take his words seriously. After all, Johnson does know a lot about negligence. In April of this year, several hundred teenagers cut loose on the streets of Chicago, smashing windows, vandalizing cars, and committing acts of assault and robbery. At a press conference following the violent outburst, Johnson excused the behavior, saying the rioters were young, and young people sometimes “make silly decisions.” That’s true, but most teenage mistakes don’t involve two people being shot. The mayor argued that “demonizing children is wrong,” and “we have to keep them safe as well.” At a certain point, though, the rioters’ safety is in their own hands.

    Note the similarity with the leftist nattering about "gun violence", neatly leaving the perpetrators out of the narrative. As Kessel says, it's all a part of the "progressive desire to absolve criminals of responsibility for their actions".

  • Ever wondered if Biden's pricey industrial policy agenda will stop stagnation? Well, bunkie, Ron Bailey has the answer for you: Biden's Pricey Industrial Policy Agenda Won't Stop Stagnation

    President Joe Biden is making a "big bet on place-based industrial policy," writes Brookings Institution senior fellow Mark Muro. Muro and his colleagues argue that the initiative aims to address the fact that "many of the nation's towns and regions struggle under the weight of economic stagnation and social decline."

    The size of the bet is around $80 billion in various industrial subsidies. It is unlikely to pay off as advertised.

    These direct subsidies contrast with earlier federal place-based economic development programs, which chiefly used tax credits to encourage investment in poor urban neighborhoods and rural regions. Most research on those programs—which include New Markets Tax Credits (created by President Bill Clinton), Empowerment Zones (George W. Bush), and Opportunity Zones (Donald Trump)—indicates that they have had a negligible impact.

    Bailey quotes from a June Biden speech:

    Well, I believe that every American willing to work hard should be able to get a job no matter where they are — in the heartland, in small towns, in every part of this country — to raise their kids on a good paycheck and keep their roots where they grew up. That’s Bidenomics.

    Boy, that's pretty much a guarantee of stagnation: "Wherever you are, just stay put, and the federal government will drop money (obtained from someone else, don't worry) on the right people to ensure you'll get paid."

    Amazingly, in that same speech, Biden derided what he called "trickle-down". Showing a remarkable lack of self-awareness.

  • Walt wouldn't have done this. The Guardian describes The great cancellation: why megabucks TV shows are vanishing without a trace.

    Two years ago, Nautilus was big news. A vast, expensive Disney+ prequel to Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Nautilus promised to tell the early story of Captain Nemo as he embarked on an epic submarine adventure, seeking revenge on his former captors the East India Company. A colossal replica submarine was built. Several soundstages on Australia’s Gold Coast were given over to it. Hundreds of crew members were hired alongside hundreds of extras. Filming took almost a year. The Queensland government claimed that the series would inject A$96m into the local economy. It looked certain to be a hit; an exciting new big-budget spectacle, underpinned with contemporary themes, based on a legendary piece of intellectual property. Nautilus couldn’t go wrong.

    Except nobody is going to see Nautilus because, even though it has already been made, Disney+ has decided not to stream it. Clearly, this is unusual. The television industry has a long history of dropping previously announced shows for a variety of reasons – 2004’s animated Popetown was canned by the BBC after complaints from Catholics, 2017’s The Cops was axed after reports of creator Louis CK’s sexual misconduct came to light, and 2021’s Ultimate Slip ’N Slide was cancelled after the crew all came down with a highly infectious variant of explosive diarrhoea that can be spread through tainted water. But Disney+ has a different reason for getting rid of Nautilus: it was axed as a cost-cutting exercise.

    Well, I'm pissed. I have real fond memories of James Mason, Kirk Douglas, Peter Lorre, and that big-ass squid in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Nautilus sounds like a movie I would have streamed on day one.

Last Modified 2023-09-02 12:53 PM EDT