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Some Non-Covid Links

Matt Welch calls out the deplorable media bias for “Progressive” superstitions. A slice:

There is something revealingly incongruous about a news organization [CNN] that in one breath conducts hair-splitting fact-checks deferring to the government’s of view (“In fact, there’s no mention of ‘parents’…at all in the memo, none,” [Anderson] Cooper said triumphantly Wednesday, about the controversial October 4 Justice Department directive to have federal agents be on the lookout for anti–school board violence), then in the next being content to nod along when a colleague accuses citizen participants in democracy and a major political party of being primarily motivated by white supremacy.

Eric Boehm explains that Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) proposed ‘fixes’ for supply-chain web woes will, if adopted, only make those woes permanent. A slice:

One must assume that if the lights in his home went out due to a storm, Hawley would respond by declaring electricity to be a mistake and demanding that the government require homes to be lit with candles and gas lamps. After all, what is the electrical grid but a complicated supply chain that leaves Americans woefully dependent on production and distribution systems (power plants, substations, and lines) that they do not fully control? Better to produce your own lighting, right? If that means you have to live without television or the internet, well, those are just the trade-offs required to achieve self-sufficiency.

A storm—or a pandemic—can create temporary problems in the highly complex systems that run so much of the modern world. That’s hardly a reason to abandon them. If Hawley is imagining a world in which the United States is wholly self-sufficient, then he’s asking you to accept a scenario in which the United States is significantly poorer than it is today.

Here’s George Leef on Charles Murray and “two truths about race in America.

In the Wall Street Journal, Tunku Varadarajan profiles Randy Barnett and Evan Bernick and their important new work on the 14th amendment. A slice:

The most significant misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment, as Messrs. Barnett and Bernick see it, is the judicial disregarding of the Privileges or Immunities Clause. Judges see it as an impenetrable “inkblot” (to borrow a metaphor Robert Bork used in a different constitutional context), the recognition of which would serve as a license to judges to invent new rights. In its original conception, Mr. Barnett says, the Privileges or Immunities Clause “protects rights that are fundamental to what we call ‘republican citizenship’—citizenship that’s grounded in natural rights and civil equality.”

Those include rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which extended citizenship to all persons born in the U.S. “without distinction of race or color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude.” They also include rights that are deeply rooted in tradition and history, as evidenced by the laws of the states.

The Cato Institute’s Chris Edwards identifies ten downsides to the Democrats’ spending ‘plan.

Speaking of reckless and irresponsible Democratic economic proposals, here’s my intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy, writing at National Review.

Also from Veronique is this clear-eyed appraisal of Comptroller of the Currency nominee, Saule Omarova.

Here’s Peter Van Doren and David Kemp on ‘Big tech and antitrust. A slice:

In the current issue of Regulation, Jonathan Klick argues against the use of antitrust laws against the tech companies because their social networking services are free to consumers. As our colleague Ryan Bourne has argued, Facebook’s market is not social networking but advertising. And in selling advertising space and competing for consumer attention, Facebook faces stiff competition from other tech and non-tech companies, such as radio and television.

If market power in advertising isn’t the problem, what is? Critics argue that tech companies’ size and prominence give them advantages in other markets that they enter. Whatever they touch turns to gold. But relatively unknown Zoom and GoToWebinar have captured about 60 percent of the teleconferencing market during the pandemic while services from tech giants, such as Microsoft Teams, Amazon Chime, and Facebook Messenger, have failed miserably among consumers.

University of Chicago geophysical-sciences professor Dorian Abbot shares, in the Wall Street Journal, the views that managed to get him cancelled at M.I.T. A slice:

I care for all of my students equally. None of them are overrepresented or underrepresented to me: They represent themselves. Their grades are based on a process that I define at the beginning of the quarter. That process treats each student fairly and equally. I hold office hours for students who would like extra help so that everyone has the opportunity to improve his or her grade through hard work and discipline.

Similarly, I believe that admissions and faculty hiring at universities are best focused on academic merit, with the goal of producing intellectual excellence. We should not penalize hard-working students and faculty applicants simply because they have been classified as belonging to the wrong group. It is true that not everyone has had the same educational opportunities. The solution is improving K-12 education, not introducing discrimination at late stages.

Let’s hope that Janet Daley, here talking with Steven Edginton, is correct in her prediction that “[l]ike McCarthyism, America will soon wake up to wokeism.”