URLs du Jour

2022-02-06

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  • Yeah, he really said that. Sort of. Our Amazon Product du Jour is one of those too-good-to-check quotes that murmurs "probably bogus" into a skeptical ear.

    But no. The good folks at Monticello checked it out:

    "I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery" is a translation of a Latin phrase that Thomas Jefferson used: "Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem." It has also been translated as, "I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude."

    The site also provides the context, a 1787 letter to Madison. Which also contains the equally-popular quote "I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."

    And (sigh) yes, I realize TJ could well have added "…except for our slaves, of course."

    Amazon also has products that feature the original Latin, if you'd prefer to be less well understood.

    If you actually want to visit Monticello, however…

    Fully vaccinated guests are no longer required to wear facial coverings when outdoors at Monticello. All guests age 5 and up must continue to wear a face covering when indoors, and when on shuttle buses.

    That "dangerous freedom" thing only goes so far.


  • Say pretty please and maybe I'll think about it, Robby. Robby Soave pleads: Educators, Please Stop Teaching the Characteristics of 'White Supremacy Culture'

    Earlier this week, Washington University in St. Louis held an online workshop titled, "Is Professionalism a Racist Construct?"

    The event attracted plenty of criticism from conservative media. Fox News made fun of its online description, which is filled with social justice jargon: "So-called professionalism is coded language, a construct that upholds institutional racist policies and excluding practices." But the presenters seemed to welcome the controversy; Cynthia Williams, assistant dean of community partnerships at the university, bragged that she was getting into "good trouble."

    The entire presentation is available online, and it's just as cringeworthy as its conservative critics expected. Notably, the presenters cite the antiracist educator Tema Okun's "White Supremacy Culture" a body of dubious work that makes all sorts of unfounded and frankly racist assumptions. Indeed, the presentation includes a slide, "15 Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture"—though the slide only mentions five—that claims possessing a sense of urgency, preferring quantity over quality, wanting things to be written down, perfectionism, and becoming defensive are aspects of white supremacy.

    We've posted on this pernicious claptrap here and here. And we'll adapt John McWhorter's comment from that previous link: Any white person who embraces the idea that precision, punctuality, politeness, objectivity, literacy, etc. is “white” is, quite simply, a bigot.


  • What is to be done? Arnold Kling says what is not to be done: Wokeism Will not be Defeated Politically. His post is an accumulation of wisdom from others, for example a Weekly Dish commenter:

    So sure, I’m aware that there’s a problem here. But the solution is not to ban specific ideas from being taught. (When has that ever worked?) Because the problem is not CRT. It’s activist teachers, teaching kids what to think, rather than how to think (to use your own words). And I don’t want kids indoctrinated with [Christopher F.] Rufo’s ideas any more than I want them blindly believing in Robin DiAngelo’s.

    And the Weekly Dish proprietor his own self:

    The trouble is that banning courses restricts discourse, and does not expand it. It gives woke racialist theories the sheen of “forbidden knowledge.” It removes the moral high-ground from those seeking to defend liberal learning from ideologues of any variety. And it sets an early lesson for kids that the right response to bad arguments is to get authorities to suppress them — exactly what the woke believe — and not to marshal arguments that refute them. Greg Lukianoff calls this “unlearning liberty.”

    I get that. I'm not sure what the "solution" is, either, unless you're willing to adopt one of Pun Salad's more radical policy suggestions: abolish compulsory schooling.

    [Apologies for the headline's classical reference. Pun Salad is not Leninist.]


  • Great moments in Nanny Statism. Dominic Pino notices a Tax Foundation report of a medical journal study of one of those laws enacted with the Best of Intentions:

    Earlier this month, JAMA Internal Medicine published a study about the impact of banning flavored tobacco products in Massachusetts. The study found, not surprisingly, that the sale of flavored tobacco decreased following the ban. By comparing sales in Massachusetts with sales across 27 other states, the authors observed that sales had decreased more in Massachusetts than in the control states.

    Such a result would indicate that the flavor ban has been a success. Unfortunately, the study left out a very important piece of information: cross-border trade. The end result of the ban, in fact, is that Massachusetts is stuck with the societal costs associated with consumption, while the revenue from taxing flavored tobacco products is being raised in neighboring states.

    While the authors acknowledge this shortcoming in the study design, the omission severely skews the conclusion. In fact, the flavor ban has been far from successful, as sales in both New Hampshire and Rhode Island experienced double-digit growth—almost making up for the entire decrease in Massachusetts.

    That's just the legal sales.

    If you are in the mood for video, see Reason TV's "Great Moments in Unintended Consequences", Volumes One, Two, Three, Four, and Five.


  • Profile in courage, Cornhusker edition. National Review's John McCormack highlights the pushback of one GOP senator's rebuttal of the Republican National Committee's reference to the "Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse" in the recent formal censure of Reps Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.

    Nebraska GOP senator Ben Sasse issued a brief statement in response to the censure: “January 6th was not ‘legitimate political discourse’ and I’ll say it again: It was shameful mob violence to disrupt a constitutionally-mandated meeting of Congress to affirm the peaceful transfer of power.”

    In response, RNC spokesmodel Ronna McDaniel gasped, sputtered and pointed to this Federalist article: Only 10 Percent Of J6 Committee Subpoenas Relate To The Capitol Riot.

    Pino's interpretation of the Federalist article:

    [T]he censure’s reference to “persecution” of “ordinary citizens” was apparently intended to refer to subpoenas sent by the January 6 committee to people such as Steve Bannon, the organizers of the January 6 “Save America Rally” outside the White House, and John Eastman. The January 6 committee has also subpoenaed members of Congress and White House officials — including Kevin McCarthy, Mark Meadows, and Ivanka Trump — who were in touch with President Trump on January 6.

    I'm entirely convinced that Democrats are blowing up January 6 out of proportion to its actual significance.

    I'm also entirely convinced that (most) Republicans are devoted to minimizing it, out of blind loyalty to Trump. Sasse (as usual) is a lonely voice of sanity.


Last Modified 2022-02-06 11:53 AM EDT