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Some Non-Covid Links

George Will brilliantly exposes the dangerous pretenses of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO). A slice:

As a presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren said: “Break up big tech.” Concerning his new book, “The Tyranny of Big Tech,” Hawley, displaying what could be called “the victim mind-set,” says: “This is a book the corporate monopolies did not want you to read. Corporate America tried to cancel it, just as they have tried to cancel me.” Hawley has somehow survived, and his book’s message is, of course: Break up big tech.

Big tech is, however, not nearly as big as the government that Hawley wants to wield against companies that have become big by pleasing many scores of millions of Americans. Hawley, like many progressives, thinks Americans need to be protected from the companies by a paternalistic government.

John Cochrane writes wisely on the reality of – and on the true causes of – inflation. Here’s his conclusion:

All prices and wages rising together means that one thing is falling in value — money, and government debt. Inflation is a change in the relative price of money and government debt relative to everything else. Inflation comes thus, fundamentally, from the overall supply vs. demand for money and government debt.

We seem, sadly, to be repeating all the confusion on these affairs that prevailed in the 1970s. Oil price “supply” shocks will surely be “transitory.” President Biden is sending the FTC to hound the oil companies to lower prices. Can “guideposts” be far behind? For a thousand years, inflation has led to a witch hunt after “speculators” and “middlemen” and price rising conspiracies. Here we go.

Speaking of inflation, Allison Schrager explains to Biden’s top economist (Janelle Jones) what, in 2021, should not have to be explained to any economist – namely, that there is no long-run trade-off between inflation and unemployment.

“No, the United States Has Not Always Paid Its Debts” – so explain Marc Joffe and Jeffrey Rogers Hummel.

Pierre Desrochers and Joanna Szurmak explain why Paul Ehrlich, now riding a more than half-century record of spectacularly mistaken predictions, should stop worrying about alleged “over-population.” Two slices:

For instance, in his correspondence with Malthus the French economist Jean-Baptiste Say argued that the belief that a reduced population would “enable those which are left to enjoy a greater quantity of those commodities of which they are in want” was nonsensical because it ignored the fact that a reduction in manpower simultaneously destroyed the means of production. After all, one did not see that “the wants of the inhabitants are more easily satisfied” in thinly populated countries. On the contrary, it was the “abundance of productions, and not the scarcity of consumers, which procures a plentiful supply of whatever our necessities require.”


Closer to us, uber-optimist economist Julian Simon believed that “it is only the past that gives us any insight into the laws of motion of human society and hence enables us to predict the future.” If the future was going to differ, he added, “the bias is likely to be in the direction of understating the rate at which technology will develop, and therefore underestimating the rate at which [natural resource] costs will fall.”

Despite the prevalence of the current apocalyptic environmentalist rhetoric and the self-inflicted economic wounds of lockdowns, we do not doubt that Simon will once again be proven right and Paul Ehrlich wrong, provided that humanity rediscovers its curiosity, motivation to explore and innovate, and the desire to participate in trade and exchange instead of blame and self-flagellation.

From late September is this wisdom-filled essay, in Forbes, by Tilak Doshi. (HT Jonathan Fortier) A slice:

Since the 1920s, the global death rate from extreme weather events, for instance, has fallen by 98% despite the tripling of the world’s population. Average global life expectancy at birth in 1850 was just over 29 years; a century later it was over 45 years, and in 2019, it was almost 73 years. In 1820, almost 90% of the global population lived in absolute poverty. By 2015, this had dropped to less than 10% despite a sevenfold increase in world population.

Robby Soave criticizes the poorly informed who express their disapproval of Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal. A slice:

The accounts of former quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the Black Lives Matter movement made similar statements. These remarks all reek of ignorance: A jury acquitting a white defendant for killing two white men is hardly an example of white supremacy.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that activists and Democratic politicians would reflexively cite white supremacy in a trial outcome that disappoints Team Blue. More troubling is the response to the verdict from an organization that should know better: the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In a statement reacting to the verdict, ACLU-Wisconsin Interim Executive Director Shaadie Ali lamented the “deep roots of white supremacy” in Kenosha that prevented Rittenhouse from being “held responsible for his actions.”

Charle Cooke writes that, in the Rittenhouse case, the justice system worked. A slice:

That Rittenhouse was likely to be acquitted was blindingly obvious from the start. Not only did the State of Wisconsin elect to file its charges just two days after the incident in question — before passions had cooled, before the facts were known, before even a cursory investigation had been conducted — but the charges it picked were wholly unsuited to the facts. With the exception of the now-dropped firearms charge, every single accusation that the state made against Rittenhouse was in the first degree, reflecting a set of assumptions that could not be sustained by the evidence. “How could Rittenhouse have walked?” the cavilers ask. A better question is: How could he not have walked? Contrary to the insinuations of many in the media, this was not a trial of America or of men or of white people or of gun-owners or of teenagers or of people who live in the Midwest, but of a single person, Kyle Rittenhouse, and of the single set of facts that pertained to him. There is no such thing as collective guilt in the United States.

Telegraph columnist Janet Daley decries the rejection in the west of the values that are necessary for liberal civilization. A slice:

The US and Britain – both, within recent memory, confident exponents of free enterprise, now seem determined to repudiate it. In the case of the US, this renunciation is being made explicit. In this country, it is sort-of denied in rhetorical terms but embraced with enthusiasm in actual policy. This is not accidental. Governing politicians do not construct their programmes accidentally. They are conceived, packaged and presented with the most assiduous study of what are taken to be public attitudes and opinions.

So why are we heading for big-government, high-tax, high-spend economic measures when the avowedly state-run economies proved to be so disastrous that they could not survive? Because public opinion seems to indicate that such measures will be popular, if only in the short term.

The problem with this assumption should be easy enough to see. Public opinion is hugely affected (often determined) by those who are most expert at manipulating it – and that is the one thing at which socialism truly excelled. This is the great irony of the post-Cold War world. Anti-capitalist activism is having a golden age. It has become bizarrely more influential in respectable, mainstream Western discourse at the same time as being much less coherent and economically literate in any proper terms.

I know a stupendously bright young woman who several months ago applied for admission to Yale but was denied. If the Yale student quoted here by the Wall Street Journal – in today’s “Notable & Quotable” – is any indication of the quality of Yale’s undergraduates, Yale made the correct decision regarding my young friend: Yale clearly isn’t up to my young friend’s high intellectual standards.

Yakeleen Almazan writing for the Yale Daily News website Nov. 17:

With the number of minutes of daylight in New Haven dropping each week, some students have expressed increased stress levels as they head into the final few weeks of the semester.

Students explained that they are still adjusting to the change as they start to leave their discussion sections in the dark, their days feel shorter and melatonin initiates earlier in the day. Jaden Gonzalez ’25 said that, even after living in New York his whole life, he finds the whole concept of daylight saving to be confusing and said he felt “victimized” by its occurrence.

“Personally, I respond really well to daytime,” Gonzalez said. “I know nothing about the occurrence and why it happens, but I know that I genuinely have worse days because I cannot enjoy the sun as much as I normally could.”