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Some Non-Covid Links

Laura Williams is thankful that Elon Musk’s recent foray into major Twitter ownership has “pushed the aggressively anti-free-expression agenda out into the light.” A slice:

Whatever Musk’s agenda and Twitter’s past behavior, the risks associated with boards and billionaire shareholders controlling or curtailing political speech are a tiny fraction of the destructive potential of inviting the federal government into the “content moderation” equation.

Reason‘s Robby Soave asks: “Why does Elon Musk’s potential Twitter takeover scare the media so much?” A slice:

These people [those who are hysterically pulling their hair out over a possible takeover of Twitter by Musk] are desperately scared by the mere possibility that a wealthy person with somewhat different politics—and a somewhat more favorable disposition to unfiltered speech—is going to tweak their favorite toy.

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy offers some lessons in the basic economics of taxation.

Lionel Shriver is not impressed with President Biden.

Here’s my GMU Econ colleague Dan Klein on C.S. Lewis on the way forward.

My Mercatus Center colleague Adam Thierer wants consumers to be free to choose how they buy automobiles. A slice:

Why would lawmakers make it illegal for us to directly purchase electric vehicles, or any cars for that matter? Sadly, the answer comes down to pure power politics: Local car dealerships don’t want the competition, and they’ve convinced some state leaders to protect their businesses with the law.

Imagine if your local florist didn’t like competition from a grocery store and coaxed lawmakers to make it illegal for you shop for flowers anywhere else, forcing you to always buy from them. You’d likely be outraged. Yet that’s the sort of protectionism car dealerships enjoy.

Wall Street Journal columnist Andy Kessler understands the ugly reality of California strongman Gavin Newsom. Here’s Kessler’s conclusion:

Through all this, Mr. Newsom has projected a $45 billion budget surplus for 2022, but it might be closer to $70 billion—bull markets are lucrative. He gives some of the surplus back in dribs and drabs: gas cards, climate credits and programs that do little to solve real problems like homelessness or poverty or education or healthcare. Restrictions on water, you-get-a-card actions, and the newly proposed four-day workweek are only a masquerade to hide the government’s ineptitude.

George Will reflects on the upcoming run-off election in France. A slice:

A French word describes the French disease: dirigisme, the micromanaging state as source and director of society’s creativity, which for that reason is another scarcity. The self-fulfilling assumption is that the public is infantile. Another assumption is that the civil service is omnicompetent. A French thinker, Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850), warned against the cognitive dissonance inherent in paternalistic statism:

“The government should know everything and foresee everything in order to manage the lives of the people, and the people need only let themselves be taken care of. … Nothing is more senseless than to base so many expectations on the state … to assume the existence of collective wisdom and foresight after taking for granted the existence of individual imbecility and improvidence.”