URLs du Jour


■ And we move along today to Proverbs 28:20:

A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.

As with many Proverbs, I'm not so sure about that. But this prompted me to revisit what Jim Koch, the Boston Beer Co (Sam Adams) founder said a few years back: Unless you're a sociopath, being happy is better than being rich.

"To me, when you start a business, you should really go for the big prize, which is start a business that is going to make you happy. Getting rich is life's biggest booby prize," Koch told CNBC at the Iconic conference last week in Boston. "People who aren't happy want to be rich. I'd rather be happy."

Now, Jim Koch is rich. Somewhere in the area of billionaire-rich. So I'm not sure about his implied dichotomy. And I'm also not sure that what he learned from beermaking is readily applied to less joyful industries.

But I'd like to believe him. Our Getty image du jour: happy Jim. More power to him.

■ I thought Mark Krikorian's article in the Saturday WSJ was pretty good: The Real Immigration Debate: Whom to Let In and Why. Especially this bit:

If we are ever to have a rational debate about immigration—rather than a screaming match among combatants mostly intent on signaling their own moral virtue or ideological purity—the starting point has to be a candid acknowledgment of our goals and preferences. Politicians and ordinary voters shouldn’t be allowed to get away with saying “Of course there should be limits on immigration, but…” without explaining what they mean.

That would be nice. Start with numbers: how many legal immigrants should be admitted per year. Then we can talk about issues like where they should come from, how skilled they should be, etc.

■ Here's an example, I think, of what Krikorian is talking about. Christopher Freiman at the Niskansen Center writing on The Classical Liberal Case Against Nationalist Immigration Restrictions.

If any part of liberalism needs revitalizing, it’s the case for liberalizing immigration.

Nationalists on the left and right argue that easing immigration restrictions would make Americans worse off. During the Democratic primaries, Bernie Sanders criticized open borders as a “right-wing proposal” that would “make everybody in America poorer.” And of course Donald Trump is calling for “an impenetrable physical wall on the southern border” to protect “the jobs, wages and security of the American people.” He has even floated the idea of an “ideological screening test” to ensure that the U.S. only admits those “who share our values and respect our people.” His executive orders banning citizens of six Muslim-majority countries from even setting foot in the U.S. seems to reflect this idea, and have met judicial resistance on the ironic grounds that they violate the values of the American people embodied in the constitutional guarantee of religion liberty.

Yes, fine. Freiman presents a pretty good theoretical free-market case for … well, that's the problem, I can't tell exactly. You'll note that the quote mentions "open borders" (i.e., implying no restrictions whatsoever on immigration) but also "liberalizing immigration" and "easing immigration restrictions" (i.e., implying that limits should still be maintained, just relaxed somewhat). Freiman fails the Krikorian test.

■ Kevin D. Williamson notes a dispiriting and troubling trend, both in the USA and worldwide: more and more people "On the Outside, Looking Out".

We do not have a problem of privation in the United States. Not really. What we have is something related to what Arthur Brooks […] describes as the need for earned success. We are not happy with mere material abundance. We — and not to go all Iron John on you, but I think “we” here applies especially to men — need to feel that we have earned our keep, that we have established a place for ourselves in the world by our labor or by other virtues, especially such masculine virtues as physical courage and endurance. I suspect that is a big part of the reason for the exaggeratedly reverential, practically sacramental attitude we current express toward soldiers, police officers, and firemen. Of course they are brave and deserve our gratitude, but if we had felt the need to ceremonially thank everyone for their service in 1948, we’d never have done anything else with our time. In 2017, there are many more jobs for courtiers than for soldiers, and the virtues earning the highest return are not bravery or toughness but conversational cleverness, skill in social navigation, excellence in bureaucracy, and keenness in finance.

I'd like to be optimistic, but the trends are not good. (But I was around for the 1970s, and the trends were not good then either. We muddled through.)

■ At Reason, Baylen Linnekin reports one small piece of good news: Appeals Court Embraces Free Speech, Rules Skim Milk is ‘Skim Milk'.

The case, Ocheesee Creamery v. Putnam, has its roots in 2012, when Florida's state agriculture department ordered Ocheesee, a small creamery in the state's panhandle, to stop selling its skim milk. The state claimed Ocheesee's skim milk ran afoul of Florida's standard of identity for skim milk, which requires creameries and dairies to add vitamin A to their skim milk.

A glimmer of sanity in an insane world.