URLs du Jour

2022-09-23

[Amazon Link, See Disclaimer]

  • There must be fifty ways… to betray your first principles, but Adam Thierer stops at six: 6 Ways Conservatives Betray Their First Principles with Online Child Safety Regulations. And here is number…

    1) It’s a rejection of personal responsibility

    Again, I understand all too well how hard parenting can be. But that does not mean we should abdicate our parental responsibilities to the State. Conservatives have spent decades fighting government when it comes to broken schools and the supposed brainwashing many kids get in them. The rallying cry of conservatives has long been: Let us have a greater say in how we raise and educate our children because the State is failing us or betraying our values.

    Thus, when conservatives suggest that the State should be making decisions for us as it pertains to anything the government says is a “child safety” issue, there is some serious cognitive dissonance going on there. In his humorous Devil’s Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce jokingly defined responsibility as, “A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one’s neighbor. In the days of astrology it was customary to unload it upon a star.” For parental responsibility to actually mean something, it has to be more than a “detachable burden” that we unload upon government.

    Is there anything wrong with the Internet that ham-fisted government regulation can't make much worse?


  • For more on that… here's Jacob Sullum with his usual Very Long Headline: The Government Can't Fix Social Media Moderation and Should Not Try: Democrats and Republicans Both Demand Solutions That Are Inconsistent With the First Amendment.

    Despite their increasingly bitter differences, Democrats and Republicans generally agree that content moderation by social media companies is haphazard at best. But while Democrats tend to think the main problem is too much speech of the wrong sort, Republicans complain that platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are biased against them.

    The government cannot resolve this dispute and should not try. Siding with the critics who complain about online "misinformation" poses an obvious threat to free inquiry and open debate. And while attempting to mandate evenhandedness might seem more consistent with those values, it undermines the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment in a more subtle but equally troubling way.

    Under a Texas law that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit declined to block last week, the leading social media platforms are forbidden to discriminate against users or messages based on "viewpoint." The "censorship" that Texas has banned includes not just outright removal of content and cancellation of accounts but also any steps that make posts less visible, accessible or lucrative.

    That means platforms are obliged to treat all posts equally, no matter how objectionable their content. With narrow exceptions for speech that is not constitutionally protected, Facebook et al. are not allowed to favor tolerance over bigotry, peace over violence, or verifiably true historical or scientific claims over demonstrably false ones.

    There's zero chance of this working out well.


  • Which brings us to this somewhat related item. Karl Bode may, someday, come to realize that this sort of behavior from government is Standard Operating Procedure, but (for now) he's still surprised that There Have Been Decades Of Broadband Policy And Subsidies And We’re Only Just Now Accurately Measuring Their Impact.

    This FCC this week formally announced it had finally started gathering more accurate broadband mapping data from U.S. ISPs after more than a decade of complaints about mapping accuracy.

    “On June 30, the Federal Communications Commission opened the first ever window to collect information from broadband providers in every state and territory about precisely where they provide broadband services,” FCC boss Jessica Rosenworcel stated in a press release.

    “For the first time ever, we have collected extensive location-by-location data on precisely where broadband services are available, and now we are ready to get to work and start developing new and improved broadband maps,” she added.

    Think about that for a moment. Decades of broadband policy and programs, and countless billions in taxpayer subsidies, and we only just started accurately trying to figure out if those efforts actually made a difference. It’s not a landmark the gadget and gossip obsessed tech press will give much attention to, but it matters all the same.

    Unfortunately, Bode's remedy is to get Gigi Sohn confirmed to the FCC. It's difficult to avoid sarcasm here: "Yeah, that'll work."

    Supplementary Gigi reading: The FCC is working just fine without Gigi Sohn; Gigi Sohn, Biden's Pick for FCC Vacancy, Is Still Pushing Pointless 'Net Neutrality' Regulations.


  • Allahpundit is now Nick Catoggio. His column at the Dispatch is titled "Boiling Frogs" (now there's an image) and his inaugural address is: Suckers and Fighters.

    One of the more illuminating footnotes of the Trump years comes from an interview Paul Ryan gave in 2018. Ryan was on his way out of Washington by then, an ember of post-Reagan Republicanism smothered by Trumpism and finally flickering out. He told the New York Times that Trump had privately taken to calling him a “Boy Scout,” a habit that began at their first meeting after the 2016 election. But one day, after Ryan’s House majority had pushed through a number of bills on the president’s agenda, a pleased Trump informed him that he would no longer use the term.

    “I guess he meant it as an insult all along,” Ryan later observed. “I didn’t realize.”

    Boy Scouts are (or should be) Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent. I can see how Trump would have a problem with some of those.


  • Meanwhile, in Pennsyvania… voters have a choice between two flavors of crap sandwich. George F. Will: While Oz campaigns about campaigning, Fetterman sells a synthetic authenticity.

    Distilled to its populist essence, Fetterman’s campaign theme is: Oz’s successes — as cardiothoracic surgeon and a television talk-show host — have made him wealthy, so, unlike me, he is unable to relate to the toiling masses. For Fetterman, being a mayor was his only toiling — his only protracted employment — until, in 2019, he shouldered the burden of being lieutenant governor.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “for a long stretch lasting well into his 40s,” Fetterman’s “main source of income came from his parents,” including “$54,000 in 2015 alone.” As mayor from his mid-30s until he was 49, he earned $150 a month. In 2013, he paid his sister $1 for a loft she purchased for $70,000. He was mayor of Braddock (population 1,700) near Pittsburgh from 2006 until 2019. The town’s decay (population has declined; one-third of the remaining residents are in poverty) resisted whatever ameliorative talents Fetterman acquired with his degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School.

    “You’d be surprised,” Dolly Parton says, “how much it costs to look this cheap.” Imagine how much thought goes into Fetterman’s feigned thoughtlessness about his appearance. Six feet 8 inches, tattooed arms, shaved head, a goatee. His signature costume is a hoodie and shorts, even in winter, perhaps even at parent-teacher meetings at his children’s private school. His synthetic authenticity signals proletarian envy, a Bernie Sanders acolyte embarrassed by having uncalloused hands.

    In “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Truman Capote’s protagonist, Holly Golightly, is “a phony” but “a real phony” because “she believes all this crap she believes.” Fetterman is skittering away from inconvenient beliefs he has espoused: Releasing one-third of incarcerated Pennsylvanians would not make the state less safe. Fracking is so risky, vast natural gas reserves should remain locked in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale formation. Fetterman does not like big things (corporations, campaign contributions) other than big government. He says “our economy is a mess because of Washington.” Which his party controls. And he thinks the mess-maker insufficiently permeates and regulates Americans’ lives.

    Oz, of course, has his own problems.


  • Harpootling on "The View". Back in 2011, I invented a verb: harpootle. To "harpootle" is "to attack someone in a way that reveals the attacker as foolish, petty, vile, and/or stupid."

    Since then, examples have abounded. But my original inspiration was Dick Harpootlian, South Carolina Democrat who attempted to attack then-governor Nikki Haley being identified as "white" on a 2001 voter registration form.

    Yes, a white Southern Democrat was outraged because he thought that someone with a non-European bloodline was trying to "pass".

    Now, 11 years later, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. And unsurprisingly, the target is again Nikki Haley. Andrew Stiles tells the tale: Liberal Host Sunny Hostin (Real Name Asunción) Smears Nikki Haley (Real Name Nikki) as Racial ‘Chameleon’.

    Asunción "Sunny" Hostin on Tuesday smeared former governor Nikki Haley (R., S.C.) as a racial "chameleon," suggesting the GOP politician changed her name because she was ashamed of her Indian heritage. "What is her real name, again?" the liberal cohost of The View snarked when colleague Alyssa Farah Griffin suggested Haley was a strong presidential contender in 2024.

    Haley, who made history as the first female Asian American governor and the first Indian American to ever serve in a presidential cabinet as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was born Nimarata Nikki Randhawa and changed her surname after marrying Michael Haley in 1996. Hostin, by contrast, is a former commentator on Court TV. She was born Asunción Cummings and married Emmanuel Hostin in 1998. Nevertheless, the liberal journalist persisted in attacking Haley as a traitor to her race. "I think if she leaned into being someone of color, it would be different," Hostin said.

    Like Harpootle, Hostin has a long history of hostility to any person without (yes) a pure European bloodline identifying as a Republican or conservative. She is stunningly stupid. (But she's "leaning into" it.)