URLs du Jour


  • I need to think harder about voting for LPNH candidates. Matt Welch points out that they've gone a little nuts.

    I can understand not wanting to (for example) send American military forces to aid Ukraine. I can't understand being apologetic for obvious, naked, and dangerous Russian aggression.

    Notice that's the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire. I hope that whoever controls their Twitter account doesn't reflect the LPNH's official view. But if so (sigh) I'll probably have to stop auto-voting for their candidates, breaking with my strategy of many past elections. I told myself I was sending a pro-liberty message. That just got a lot harder to justify.

    Or maybe I should follow the advice of the late Granite Stater, P. J. O'Rourke: Don't Vote: It Just Encourages the Bastards.

  • In case you haven't been paying attention. Patterico invites us to Meet the Real Vladimir Putin. His thesis:

    I thought it might be helpful to write a newsletter that lays out a couple of ways in which Vladimir Putin has shown he does not care about human life or destruction of civilian infrastructure. Some of this I have written about before, like his false flag operations in 1999 and his murders of critics. Some of it I have not written about barely or not at all, like his cyberattacks. If you’re unfamiliar with any of it, you’re likely to come away from the newsletter with a better understanding of the man who has launched this unprovoked war, and you’ll be less surprised when he inevitably commits his next atrocity. The section about cyberattacks will include a discussion of ways that our government and tech companies contribute to the problem.

    It's a scary picture. And I admit I have no clue about how to thread the needle between the deadly dangers of appeasement and provocation.

  • Down with specious arguments! That's a motto all Americans can get behind, right? Jonah Goldberg's G-File tackles one such: Empire for Thee, But Not for Me.

    “Among the magical words that hypnotize men’s minds and keep them from asking intelligent questions, the Monroe Doctrine has a sovereign charm in American politics.”

    Charles F. Dole, a Unitarian minister, wrote that in The Atlantic in 1905.

    It’s nice to see that some things never change.

    I keep hearing that all Vladimir Putin wants is a Monroe Doctrine like the one we’ve got. Here’s Bill Maher:

    In this country, we've had since 1823, the Monroe Doctrine which says—and this is 200 years old, when we said, look, anybody within a 1,000 goddamn miles of us that's ours—the Caribbean, all of Latin America, that's the Monroe Doctrine. Do not f**k with us anywhere near us. But [for] Putin, Ukraine is the ancestral home of Russia. Kyiv, that's where the Russian state started. Kyiv and Rus is the first era of Russian history. I'm not saying he is a good guy or that he should invade it.

    Here’s proud “CIA whistleblower” and Johns Hopkins professor Melvin Goodman’s essay, “The United States of Hypocrisy: Revisiting the Monroe Doctrine,” subtitled,In refusing to acknowledge Russia’s concerns about US and Western intervention on its borders, the Biden administration is engaging in hypocrisy.” 

    Here’s Bernie Sanders arguing that we need to acknowledge that Russia is an imperial power and we should expect it to have a Monroe Doctrine just like us.

    … and many other examples. Jonah goes into the history of the Monroe Doctrine. And notes the illogic behind the implicit argument: (1) the Monroe Doctrine was Evil American Imperialism; but (2) hey, Putin is just implementing his own Monroe Doctrine, so fine.

    I don’t think the Monroe Doctrine has anything to do with the current situation. Heck, I think most of the people invoking it don’t even understand what the Monroe Doctrine was or wasn’t. But if you think it’s proof of American evil but also a justification for Russian evil, I think your real problem is with America, not imperialism or evil.

    A message there for the LPNH.

  • A message for wannabe social engineers. Ronald Bailey says it true: When It Comes to Climate Change, Wealth Equals Adaptation. It's his take from the recent scaremongering from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Sample:

    Probably the most costly concern stemming from climate change is coastal inundation as sea level rises due to melting glaciers and thermal expansion. A 2018 study calculated that, if no efforts were made to adapt to rising seas, damages from coastal flooding would reach $14 trillion annually by 2100. Of course, people will not blithely let higher tides sweep over them and their property; they will adapt.

    Estimates of how much it will cost to fend off rising seas vary considerably depending on projections of just how high the oceans will rise; how many people live near the coasts; and how much they build along the shorelines. A 2021 analysis in Climatic Change looking at best-case to worst-case temperature increases estimated that the total costs of building and maintaining seawalls, dikes, and other coastal protections ranged from 0.03 to 0.18 percent of global GDP. A 2019 World Bank analysis of best- and worst-case sea level increases calculated that the cumulative costs for coastal defense would range, in inflation-adjusted dollars between $2.9 and $18.2 trillion by 2100. Assuming a relatively modest 2 percent annual economic growth rate, annual global GDP will rise from $94 trillion now to $440 trillion by the end of this century which suggests that much richer and more technically adept generations will be able to adapt to rising seas.

    Adaptation to climate change undertaken by a wealthier world is a forbidden concept for many. It's difficult to avoid speculating that what they really want is hard-socialist control of the economy, and merely using "climate change" as a handy excuse.

  • Palate cleanser. I read two Elizabeth Little mysteries last year: Pretty as a Picture and Dear Daughter. I liked them quite a bit. So I naturally wandered over to her website to see if she had anything else. And came across her nonfiction page, which… well, to say it's "refreshingly honest" would be an understatement:

    In the digital age, fewer and fewer books are accorded the dignity of being allowed to go out of print, and as a result it’s much easier than I would like to track down my early attempts at nonfiction. I care very much about both these books, but more for what they represent to me personally than what they offer to readers. Am I proud that I finished them? Yep. Is there good stuff in here? Sure. Did a lot of talented, hard-working people put a great deal of time and energy into their production? Absolutely.

    Do I think you should buy them? Probably not.

    Feel free to purchase a copy from your bookseller of choice if you must, of course, but I won’t provide purchase links or cover copy here. Instead I’ve written briefly about how each book came to be and what I wish I had done differently. I'm not sure my agent would approve of me turning this page into a confessional … but joke’s on her, she’ll definitely never expect me to actually update my website.

    I'm enough of a fan so I'll take her advice, and not seek them out.