URLs du Jour


  • Without further comment… the best of Power Line's Week in Pictures:

    [Biden Blames Pretty Much Everyone]

  • Does Betteridge's Law of Headlines apply? Daniel B. Klein has a question: Is Classical Liberalism Anti-Democratic?. Spoiler: near the top, Klein says "I’m going to say no, but I do think, like you, it’s complicated." Sample:

    The mythologized democracy, Hayek suggested, in the 20th century especially, projects a fantasy of consensus—as in the small band of our ancestors of our Paleolithic past, when there were just 40 of us in a small band. This is in our genes still, and in our instincts. We decided by consensus in the small band.

    Modern collectivist politics plays upon these Paleolithic instincts by projecting the nation as a band. On this fantasy, there is no reason to limit or check the actions of the band as a whole. Its consensus knows what is good for the band and faithfully advances that good.

    If we are the government, by democracy, why would we want to put limits and checks on ourselves when striving to advance our own common interest?

    Tocqueville foresaw the emergence of a quasi-religion of collectivist politics perfumed by democratic mythology. Big collectivist government now fully replaces God as a source of meaning and validation. The nightmare that he warned us of is a continuation of the displacement of God and religion by temporal powers.

    I've recently read a (very dense) book on Hayek's thoughts in this area, and (I think) the author found Hayek way too pessimistic on this score.

  • Will they never learn? Laura Williams looks at the mindset that says: There Ought To Be a Law, or at Least a Regulation.

    The Biden Administration, under the auspices of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), announced plans to force cigarette makers to reduce the amount of nicotine in their products by as much as 90 percent. The FDA also announced Juul, manufacturer of nicotine-based e-cigarettes, would no longer be allowed to sell products in the U.S. Another pending FDA rule would outlaw menthol cigarettes, preferred by 40 percent of smokers.

    In doing so, the Biden Administration, which was elected partly on promises to reform our broken criminal justice system, limit the War on Drugs, and lesson the discriminatory impact of federal policy on minority communities, would criminalize more Americans, open a new theatre in the War on Drugs, and ensure disparate impacts for decades to come.

    The legacy of prohibition in this nation has taught dark, stark lessons about how humans behave. The only ones who don’t seem to learn those lessons are the regulators, who in their unconstrained vision of the malleability of human nature, fancy themselves able to force others to live as they wish. The lessons of prohibition have proven a thousand times over that people, in general, act according to their own preferences, and attempts to shape human behavior from outside lead to foreseen – but often totally foreseeable – outcomes.

    War's first casualty is the truth. Somebody said that.

  • We have met the enemy, and… Eric Boehm notes an historic moment: the FDA Finally Admits It Caused the Baby Formula Shortage.

    More specifically, it's the FDA's unnecessary and protectionist rules that effectively ban foreign-made baby formula from being imported into the United States. On Wednesday, the agency announced plans to tweak those rules so foreign formula manufacturers can permanently import their goods into the U.S., giving American consumers greater choice in the marketplace and ensuring more robust supply chains.

    "The need to diversify and strengthen the U.S. infant formula supply is more important than ever," FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said in a statement. "Ensuring that the youngest and most vulnerable individuals have access to safe and nutritious formula products is a top priority for the FDA."

    That might be true now, but it clearly hasn't been the case in the past. As Reason has detailed throughout the recent crisis, the FDA's priorities have been protecting the domestic formula industry (and the dairy industry, which provides key inputs for baby formula) from foreign competition. As a result, it's nearly impossible to find foreign-made baby formula in the U.S., even though formula manufacturers based in England, the Netherlands, and Germany are some of the biggest suppliers of baby formula to the rest of the world.

    But will the babies grow up speaking German? Wir müssen vorsichtig sein!

  • [Amazon Link]
    (paid link)
    More good advice tossed across the pond. David Harsanyi has some: Hey EU, Mind Your Own Business.

    In a 324-155 vote this week, the European Union Parliament passed a resolution condemning the Supreme Court of the United States for overturning Roe v. Wade. This is now the second time the EU Parliament has denounced the United States over the legal decision, claiming it undermines “human rights.”

    Abortion isn’t even tangentially mentioned in the Constitution. But guess what? The European Union’s constitution, with its 448 articles and more than 70,000 words micromanaging the continent’s affairs, doesn’t mention “abortion” anywhere, either. Abortion isn’t a constitutional “right” in the EU. It isn’t a constitutional “right” in any EU member state. There is no pan-European law dictating the issue of abortion. If terminating an unwanted child is a fundamental human right, as so many Europeans now claim, why did they forget to mention it in a constitution that was only ratified in 2004?

    David has a new book out. I assume he expands and generalizes his argument. Link at your right.

  • And what do they want? Michael Shermer has a pretty good, long, article wondering: What is a Woman, Anyway?. He looks at (among other things) the provocative new movie from Daily Wire personality David Warsh that asks that very question:

    In a Borat-like series of conversations and encounters Walsh can’t seem to get a straight answer from anyone, including the University of Tennessee Chair of the Interdisciplinary Program in Women, Gender and Sexuality, Patrick Grzanka, who answered the titular question thusly: “When someone tells you who they are, you should believe them. If a person tells you they are a woman or a man they’re telling you what their gender is.” Unsatisfied with this answer, Walsh presses his subject: “What is a woman?” This exchange is emblematic of postmodernism’s turn to obscurantism:

    Grzanka: “Why do you ask that question?”

    Walsh: “Because I’d really like to know.”

    Grzanka: “What do you think the answer is?”

    Walsh: “I’m asking you, a college professor that studies this subject.”

    Grzanka: “What other answers have you gotten?”

    Clearly frustrated, Walsh explains that others he’s queried are equally obfuscating.

    Grzanka: “The simple answer is a person who identifies as a woman.”

    Walsh: “What are they identifying as?”

    Grzanka: “A woman”

    Walsh: “But what is that?”

    Grzanka: “As a woman.”

    Walsh: “Do you know what a circular definition is?”

    If you're squeamish, you might want to skip over Gabriel Mac's description of transitioning. Had me crossing my legs.

Last Modified 2024-01-30 8:15 AM EDT