You Got One Life That You Better Not Waste

Rest in peace, Robbie Robertson.

Guitarist-songwriter-singer Robbie Robertson, who led the Canadian-American group the Band to rock prominence in the 1970s and worked extensively with Bob Dylan and Martin Scorsese, has died. He was 80.

According to an announcement from his management, Robertson died Wednesday in Los Angeles after a long illness.

A mere four days ago, I referenced his "Forbidden Fruit" in an article heading. That very same song's YouTube video is embedded above, and one line is our appropriate headline du jour.

And I embedded a video celebrating the 50-year anniversary of "The Weight" back in 2019. It is wonderful: Robbie Robertson, Ringo Starr, and a host of very talented musicians you probably have never heard of from (literally) around the world. Check it out (at the end of the post).

Also of note:

  • What is being a fanatic like? Bryan Caplan interviewed Chris Rufo. (I used to link to Rufo's stuff a lot, not so much lately.) His post, Reflections on Rufo is long and thoughtful, but I just wanted to snip out this one bit:

    Being a fanatic is the intellectual equivalent of firing a gun into a random crowd and hoping you shoot Hitler.

    Read the whole thing for why Caplan considers certain thinkers and schools of thought to be "intellectually fraudulent". Surprisingly, Rufo has (instead) developed a strange respect.

  • Don't know much about the French I took. Or economics. But, like Dominic Pino, I do know Journalism Is Not a Public Good. He writes in response to an article in a magazine that should, but does not, know better:

    “Journalism is a public good and should be publicly funded,” says an article in Scientific American by journalism professor Patrick Walters.

    [PS: In fact, that's the headline.]

    A public good is non-rivalrous and non-excludable. That means one person’s consuming the good doesn’t leave any less of it for other people to consume, and it isn’t feasible to prevent people from using the good for free. The classic example is missile defense. If my house is defended from missiles, it doesn’t mean my neighbor’s house is less defended, and there’s no way to only defend specific houses from missiles based on whether they’ve paid for it. So, it makes sense for the government to tax people and use the money to provide missile defense to everyone.

    Pedantic definitions aside, the SciAm article arguing for government subsidies is bad on the merits, and Pino explains why.

    It's also somewhat self-refuting. Why should government pay for sloppy and ill-defined articles in politically biased publications, like Scientific American?

  • George Will is nobody's sweetheart. He explains How U.S. sugar protectionism could sour your Halloween and Christmas.

    Chicago — Carl Sandburg’s hog butcher, wheat stacker, city of the big shoulders — was once America’s candy capital, catering to the nation’s sweet tooth. Today it is less so because the federal government interferes with candy’s most important ingredient.

    With Halloween on the horizon and Christmas close behind, sugar import quotas might produce shortages of candy corn and candy canes. Herewith another story of industrial policy gone sour.

    The Wall Street Journal — headline: “Candy Makers Wrestle With Sugar Shortage” — reports that Spangler Candy of Bryan, Ohio, has had to decline some Halloween candy orders and might be unable to produce its usual 250 million candy canes. An executive of Atkinson Candy in Lufkin, Tex., says that had his company not found a 12th supplier (importing from Colombia) after 11 had said their sugar supplies for this year were exhausted, “we would’ve been going to Costco” for sugar. For tons of it?

    I assume Halloween candy, where you can find it, will be insanely expensive this year. Thanks, protectionists!

  • Maine politicians might be a tad thin-skinned. J. Christian Adams notes some unfriendliness to free speech in that state just on the other side of the Salmon Falls River: Maine’s War on Election Transparency

    Opponents of free speech have cooked up a novel way to violate the First Amendment. Based on information obtained through right-to-know laws passed by Congress, Maine has outlawed public discussion of how well, or poorly, government officials are doing their jobs. If you discover that, say, Maine Secretary of State Sheena Bellows is derelict in her duties, you better keep it to yourself. For now, a federal court has blocked enforcement of penalties for speaking about how poorly government officials are performing, but Maine has appealed the adverse ruling to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

    The story really begins 30 years ago, when Congress passed the top legislative priority of newly inaugurated President Bill Clinton: the National Voter Registration Act, better known as “Motor Voter.” It utilized the Elections Clause of the Constitution to impose a series of new federal election rules on states, most prominently a requirement that states offer voter registration at motor-vehicle offices. When you got a license to drive, you could register to vote. Motor Voter also limited how and when voter registrations could be cancelled. It required states to make a reasonable effort to remove dead registrants and those who had moved away.

    Those aforementioned politicians seem awfully worried that someone might reveal something. What?

Last Modified 2023-08-11 4:16 AM EDT