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Some Non-Covid Links

Kyle Smith looks forward to the changes that Elon Musk will likely bring to Twitter. Here’s his conclusion:

Musk understands that we need more, not less, engagement with disagreeable ideas. Remember when everyone agreed sunlight is the best disinfectant? Adherents of the world’s worst idea (communism) are allowed on Twitter. A great start! So should those who vouch for every other idiotic ideology.

Twitter should be like a soapbox: it’s there for anyone to stand on and shout from. If you don’t like something, the mute button’s right there, folks. Vehement disputation is the American way. Apparently we need a South African to make that the Twitter way.

Liz Wolfe documents some of the predictable progressive hysteria over Musk’s purchase of Twitter. Here’s her conclusion:

A lot remains to be seen about how Twitter will change and what Musk will bring to the table. Optimism, with some reservations about Musk’s ability to execute, seems warranted. Hysteria—like declaring that it’s now open season for white supremacists,that Musk’s vision for free speech will be “lethal,” or that Musk is an echo of imperialist, colonizer forebears because he wants to go to Mars—is not.

On Elon Musk, here’s wisdom from Dan McLaughlin. Here’s his conclusion:

In many ways, this is the great issue of our time: the drive by authoritarians, progressives, and the illiberal Right to abolish the space in which people can speak freely, interact freely, cooperate some of the time, then go their separate ways. We do not need to pledge ourselves permanently to Elon Musk in order to recognize that his conquest of Twitter is likely to be a thing worth saluting.

Also writing sensibly about Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter is the Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board. A slice:

The hyperbole surrounding Mr. Musk’s Twitter foray has been curious, hilarious, and sometimes both. Mr. Musk “is increasingly behaving like a movie supervillain,” an Axios writer said. A former CEO of the social site Reddit called for government regulation “to prevent rich people from controlling our channels of communication.” That line was published in an op-ed at the Washington Post, which is owned by the noted pauper Jeff Bezos.

“I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter,” Mr. Musk tweeted Monday, “because that is what free speech means.” How supervillainous of him. Mr. Musk at a conference this month seemed to muse about permitting any tweet that’s legal. Last week he sounded more modest. “A social media platform’s policies are good,” he tweeted, “if the most extreme 10% on left and right are equally unhappy.”

Why conservatives are wrong to punish Disney.

Also weighing in on the revocation of Disney’s special district in Florida is David Henderson.

Mark Perry reports 18 spectacularly wrong predictions made by environmentalists on the first Earth Day.

Magatte Wade and Michael Strong remember George Ayittey. (HT George Leef) A slice:

His observations of the inner workings of African society made him the continent’s first, and perhaps harshest, critic of foreign aid long before the “dead aid” debates of the 1990s. His biggest bugaboo was military aid used to prop up despots and dictators.

Such iconoclastic views, delivered with passion and clarity, won him invitations to forums such as TED and other hubs of the jet-setting elite. We’ll never forget a heated discussion George got into with Bono back in 2007 at TED Global in Tanzania. They were arguing about the benefits of free trade. By the end of the debate, he had convinced the pop singer that free trade was more effective than foreign aid.

Never content to be just a boring technocrat or a tenured professor, he used his newfound soapbox to be a scourge of strongmen, champion of the dispossessed, and chronicler of government corruption. He liked to describe the African state as a “leaking begging bowl,” a “vampire” that sucked the lifeblood out of the economy.

Jim Gwartney and David Macpherson predict that inflation will stick around for a while. A slice:

Inflation is a regressive tax that hits those with low and middle incomes the hardest. The inflation tax harms these households disproportionately because they spend a larger share of their income on food, transportation, and other basic necessities that are more expensive as a result of the inflation. And these households own only a small share of assets, such as houses and stocks, that increase in value as a result of the inflation. In contrast, the higher asset prices actually benefit those in upper-income categories who own most of these assets. Most politicians, particularly those favoring big government, constantly let everyone know how they despise income inequality. Nonetheless, their spending policies, financed via money creation, generate more of the income inequality they say they abhor.

My Mercatus Center colleague Adam Thierer wonders about the direction of Progress Studies.