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  • Get used to losing. Michael Graham of NH Journal, despised by my friends at Granite Grok, provides Three Takeaways From the NHGOP's 'All-MAGA' Primary Night.

    New Hampshire’s Primary System Is A Fiasco. The Granite State may be great at running the First in the Nation presidential primary, but its “last in the nation” state primary is a nightmare. Having a system where the nominee merely needs a plurality — as opposed to “50 percent of the vote plus one” — is bad enough. Because there’s no minimum threshold of votes to win the nomination, the New Hampshire GOP has three candidates headed into the fall who won less than 40 percent of the primary vote.

    In other words, 60 percent of the members of their own party just voted for someone else. Yesterday.

    Ah well. My prediction is: at least two more years of Chris Pappas and Annie Kuster; six more of Senator Maggie.

    I could be wrong. I home I am wrong.

  • And guess who is being "converged" upon? Reason's Stephanie Slade has a perceptive and important article, out from behind the paywall: Both Left and Right Are Converging on Authoritarianism.

    On the left, a new crop of socialists hope to overthrow the liberal economic order, while the rise of intersectional identity politics has supplanted longstanding commitments to civil liberties. On the right, support for free markets and free trade are more and more often derided as relics of a bygone century, while quasi-theocratic ideas are gathering support.

    What has not changed—what may even be getting worse—is the problem of affective polarization. Various studies have found that Americans today have significantly more negative feelings toward members of the other party than they did in decades past.

    But partisan animosity suits the authoritarian elements on the left and right just fine. Their goal is power, and they have little patience for procedural niceties that interfere with its exercise. As history teaches, a base whipped up into fear and fury is ready to accept almost anything to ensure its own survival. Perhaps even the destruction of the institutions and ideals that make America distinctively itself.

    I'm afraid she's very much on target. A highly recommended article.

  • Here's an example of what Slade's talking about. Zach Caverley investigates an upcoming state Ministry of Truth: California’s Misbegotten Misinformation Bill AB 2098.

    Introduced in February 2022 by California assembly member Evan Low and now awaiting the signature of the governor, Gavin Newsom, the bill designated as AB 2098 would allow state medical boards to punish physicians who spread misinformation or disinformation regarding Covid-19 and its treatment options. The bill defines “misinformation” as “false information that is contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus contrary to the standard of care” and “disinformation” as misinformation provided with “malicious intent or an intent to mislead.” Jokes about a Covid-19 “ministry of truth” aside, the bill represents an alarming push to create scientific consensus through government force rather than open debate and the gradual accumulation of evidence.

    The most obvious problem with AB 2098 is the bill’s assumption that a term like “scientific consensus” is a specific enough guideline for tracking and punishing misinformation by medical professionals. This is a particular problem for topics relating to Covid-19; there may be consensus in a rough sense, but the finer details often remain contentious. For instance, N-95 masks seem to be the only type of facial covering that significantly reduces viral transmission, but health agencies, even when conceding the superiority of those masks, continue to promote broad public masking, even with inferior cloth masks, for unspecified reasons. One could argue that this falls under the vague notion of misinformation. Or take the use of coronavirus vaccines in children: vaccination may have been broadly beneficial, but the degree to which most children benefit is a topic of dispute, and health agencies’ insistence on younger and younger children receiving a shot has sparked concerns of significant side effects. A physician could run afoul of the state’s vague misinformation regulation merely by reviewing the nuances of pediatric vaccination with concerned parents.

    The guv has not said whether he's going to sign the bill, so there's some small hope that California will dodge this bullet. (There's a scientific consensus that says dodging bullets is a good idea.)

  • It's one of my favorite essays. In fact, I cited it just last Saturday. So attention must be paid when Don Boudreaux gives us A Reflection on Bastiat’s “What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen”.

    Yet for all of his unquestionable brilliance, Bastiat himself missed a reality that should be revealed. Bastiat’s oversight is hardly a major blunder. It’s barely a blemish. The insight of his essay continues to inspire and its relevance to radiate. Yet he did miss something that’s worth pointing out.

    Specifically, Bastiat missed the fact that many of the consequences that he identifies as “that which is seen” are themselves often just as invisible as are the countless consequences that he identifies as “that which is unseen.” The great majority of the populace regularly and immediately “see” a small handful of invisible consequences while they miss most others.

    Don points out that nobody actually saw M. Bonhomme pay the glazier to fix his broken window. They just assumed that was going to happen.

  • We should still destroy Facebook, though. Walter Olson debunks one of the mainstays of the "rigged election" crowd: "Zuckerbucks" Didn't Throw the 2020 Election.

    In the lead‐up to the 2020 election, philanthropies backed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan provided grants to local election offices around the country to aid in administrative tasks, voter communication, and other work made more challenging by the COVID-19 pandemic — a program sometimes nicknamed Zuckerbucks. Some Republicans have charged that the grants were improperly meant to assist Democrats by differentially increasing turnout of their likely voters, especially in bigger cities. Many backers of former President Donald Trump took the episode to heart as part of what they imagine to have been the rigging of the 2020 election.

    As I’ve noted in this space before, there is reason to doubt that the grants, to the extent that they raised turnout at all, made any difference in the election’s major outcomes. In Wisconsin, one of the closest states, a study by the right‐of‐center Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty estimated that any extra turnout, if measurable at all, would not have been enough to swing the election. (In addition, as a legal matter, courts will not throw out otherwise lawfully cast votes even if they were encouraged by a voter turnout effort that violated some rule.)

    You may not be convinced by Olson's argument, but it's worth reading.

  • What a difference a state line makes. We liberty-minded types in New Hampshire tend to look at Maine as a bad example, a bullet dodged. But Drew Cline takes a look at an exception to that general rule, exemplified by folks Moving to Maine to escape high housing prices in New Hampshire.

    Apartmentlist.com puts the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment at $952 in Maine and $1,329 in New Hampshire.

    Home prices are lower in [Maine] too.

    The median home price in New Hampshire is about $430,000.

    In Maine, it’s about $350,000.

    Maine and New Hampshire have almost identical populations. Maine has 1.34 million people, and New Hampshire has 1.35 million people.

    That’s not enough of a difference to create such huge price variations for housing.

    Why would prices be so much lower in Maine?

    In a word: Supply.

    Maine has 101,000 more housing units than New Hampshire does, according to Census Bureau data.

    That’s almost exactly as many housing units as exist in Merrimack and Cheshire Counties combined.

    If New Hampshire had 101,000 more housing units, what do you think the effect would be on home prices and rents?

    As they say: duh. RTWT for a recent bad example of how local governments (specifically, Keene) restricts housing construction, thanks to pressure from residents.

Last Modified 2024-01-16 5:05 AM EDT