URLs du Jour


  • Sorry, Maggie, I'm still not going to vote for you. Despite your belated overtures:

    And what is Mitt's deal anyway?

    Jacob Sullum has more to say on that matter: The TSA’s Mask Mandate Is Just As Logical As All Its Other Arbitrary Impositions. (I doubt you're missing the thrust of the headline, but just in case: the mandate is not logical at all.)

    The federal rule that requires air travelers to wear face masks, which the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) first imposed more than a year ago, was scheduled to expire this Friday. But the TSA extended the requirement for at least another month, for reasons that are even harder to understand than the original rationale for the mask mandate.

    That is saying a lot, because the scientific justification for the TSA's rule has always been weak, given that the conditions on airplanes are not conducive to COVID-19 transmission. The ventilation systems on commercial aircraft, which mix outdoor air with air recycled through HEPA filters and limit airflow between rows, help explain why there were few outbreaks associated with commercial flights even before vaccines were available.

    As Jacob reminds us, the TSA is really into pointless security theater, and this is just the latest.

  • Worst title for a When Harry Met Sally sequel ever. C. Bradley Thompson tells us about how a bad idea was made even worse: When Bolshevik Schooling Came to America. But instead of quoting C. Brad, I'm going to snip a couple of things he quotes. First, the unfairly-maligned Herbie Spencer in Social Statics:

    For what is meant by saying that a government ought to educate the people? why should they be educated? what is the education for? Clearly to fit the people for social life—to make them good citizens. And who is to say what are good citizens? The government: there is no other judge. And who is to say how these good citizens may be made? The government: there is no other judge. Hence the proposition is convertible into this—a government ought to mould children into good citizens, using its own discretion in settling what a good citizen; is, and how the child may be moulded into one. It must first form for itself a definite conception of a pattern citizen; and having done this, must elaborate such system of discipline as seems best calculated to produce citizens after that pattern. This system of discipline it is bound to enforce to the uttermost. For if it does otherwise, it allows men to become different from what in its judgment they should become, and therefore fails in that duty it is charged to fulfil.

    And a guy with a slightly better rep, John Stuart Mill in On Liberty:

    A general state education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another; and the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, a priesthood, an aristocracy, or the majority of the existing generation in proportion as it is efficient, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by natural tendency to one over the body.

    That said, CBT goes into more detail on the baleful influence of many other "progressives", including the dreadful John Dewey, who on returning from the Stalinist Soviet Union in the late 1920s, proclaimed their education system “is enough to convert one to the idea that only in a society based upon the cooperative principle can the ideals of educational reformers be adequately carried into operation.”

  • Another entry for the "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means" Department. This time from Glenn Greenwald: Romney's "Treason" Smear of Tulsi Gabbard is False and Noxious, But Now Typifies U.S. Discourse.

    The crime of "treason” is one of the gravest an American citizen can commit, if not the gravest. It is one of the few crimes other than murder for which execution is still a permissible punishment under both U.S. federal law and the laws of several states. The framers of the U.S. Constitution were so concerned about the temptation to abuse this term — by depicting political dissent as a criminalized betrayal of one's country — that they chose to define and limit how this crime could be applied by inserting this limiting paragraph into the Constitution itself; reflecting the gravity and temptation to abuse accusations of "treason,” it is the only crime they chose to define in the U.S. Constitution. Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution states:

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

    Treason was the only crime to be explicitly defined and limited by the Founders because they sought “to guard against the historic use of treason prosecutions by repressive governments to silence otherwise legitimate political opposition.” In other words, the grave danger anticipated by the Founders was that "treason” would radically expand to include any criticisms of or opposition to official U.S. Government policy, activities they sought in the Bill of Rights to enshrine as an inviolable right of U.S. citizenship, not turn it into a capital crime.

    Fun fact: in the entire history of the US, only 12 Americans have been successfully convicted of treason. (But shouldn't there be an exception to the First Amendment for falsely shouting "Treason" in a crowded theater?)