URLs du Jour


I stand with Patterico: Inaugurations are stupid.

  • I read and enjoyed Jason Brennan's book Against Democracy, which argued that there was little to recommend investing so much political power to the thoughtless and irresponsible masses. So I also enjoyed this Bleeding Hearts Libertarians post where he responds to a critic, one Claire Lehmann: "Hurting Low-Information Voters’ Wittle Feelings".

    Let’s be clear: Part of my mission is to downgrade the status we attach to politics. I argue for elitism about politics in the same way I argue for elitism about plumbing. The average person knows jack shit about plumbing, but that doesn’t make him an inferior person. Still, the average person’s opinions on plumbing aren’t worth much more than the stuff we flush down the pipes. Same goes for the average person’s opinions on trade policy, immigration policy, and so on. To have a reasonable point of view requires knowledge of particular relevant facts (let alone social scientific knowledge), but we have 65 years of data showing most people lack awareness or are uninformed about even the most basic relevant facts. “It hurts my feelings when you say that!” Sorry, precious, but I ain’t your mommy.

    The book makes the same point in more academic prose.

  • Jim Treacher takes note of our MSM in action: "CNN Devotes Entire Segment To Trump Assassination Fantasy". That's the way they think, readers.

  • And the Washington Post beclowned itself by labelling David Gelernter, being considered for Trump's science advisor, as "fiercely anti-intellectual". Heatstreet's Ian Miles Cheong debunks, while noting Gelernter's political sorta-conservatism.

    Regardless of Gelernter’s contentious politics, there’s no way call him an “anti-intellectual” at face value – unless your definition of the term only refers to leftist politics in academia. A computer scientist by trade, and a vocal critic of the academic establishment, Gelernter might just be the right person for the job.

    Note that Gelernter isn't afraid to depart from the conservative mainstream either. Here he notes "the next time a multi-billionaire tech bigshot tells me how wonderful capitalism is, I’m going to throw up."

  • At Reason, Nick Gillespie catches out the other MSM flagship: "New York Times Publishes Fake News About Rick Perry and Department of Energy". Good advice:

    Simply put: Don't believe everything you read, especially if you basically agree with the outfit reporting it and want to believe whatever moral lesson is being imparted (this goes for Reason loyalists, too, of course). I write this not as a Trump supporter or even as a Trump apologist. I would rather that he not be president of the United States. But he is and much of the media despises him while a solid chunk will also explain all of his bullshit moves. In either case, caveat lector, friends: Let the reader beware. We are entering one of the least-expected and weirdest episodes in American history and I remain optimistic that what we are witnessing are the death throes of a post-war Leviathan that is ideologically exhausted, financially unsustainable, and wildly unpopular. Almost a year ago, as the GOP presidential debates got underway, the need for a new political and cultural operating system, one based one mass personalization, de-politicization of everyday life, and self-regulating systems was plain as day.

    Warning: disturbing GIF of Rick Perry at the link.

  • A stanza I could have added to my Updating Niemöller poem a couple days ago:

    Then the HHS came for the Little Sisters of the Poor, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a nun.

    At NR, James Capretta advocates Trump undoing the Obamacare mandate that would force religious institutions to fund "health care" that runs against their fundamental beliefs. One interesting point:

    The Obama administration seemed to have two motives for waging this entirely unnecessary fight. First, for ideological reasons, it seemed to want to take the position than any objection to the provision of free contraceptives was illegitimate and therefore not worthy of being accommodated. Second, for political reasons, the Obama administration found it useful to be in a fight over the provision of free contraception. During the 2012 presidential campaign, as the proposed rule was rolled out, supporters of exemptions from it were accused of waging a “war on women.”

    A twofer, in other words: soothing an anti-religious ideological itch, and implementing a cynical political ploy.

  • Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has aroused much lefty ire for her support for educational choice. "Unqualified" is the cri de cœur. So I got a chuckle (albeit heavily tinged with bitterness) at the WSJ article: "Student Debt Payback Far Worse Than Believed".

    When The Wall Street Journal analyzed the new numbers, the data revealed that the Department previously had inflated the repayment rates for 99.8% of all colleges and trade schools in the country.

    An Department of Education spokesdroid blamed the previous misreporting on a "technical programming error." No doubt adding, in a whiny voice: Math is hard!

    This is what the Ed Dept does when the qualified people are in charge. I'm pretty sure Betsy would be an improvement.