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My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy warns of the dangers lurking in any revised version of Biden’s “Build Back Better” boondoggle. A slice:

First and worst, these policies are destined to be counterproductive. Subsidies to suppliers of green energy, for instance, increase the cost of that energy and hinder the innovation that could make it more commonplace. The Democrats’ prescription-drug policy would be costly and in the long run perhaps even deadly. As the Paragon Institute’s Brian Blase recently wrote in a newsletter, “Former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Tomas Philipson … estimates that these proposals would lead to 135 fewer new drug approvals over the next two decades. This reduced innovation would translate into a loss of life years many times larger than the life years lost from COVID-19.”

Favorably reviewing historian David Hackett Fischer’s new book, African Founders: How Enslaved People Expanded American Ideals, Oliver Wiseman rejects the 1619 Project – as, it seems, does Fischer. Two slices:

To set the scene, briefly, the 1619 Project aims to “reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very centre of our national narrative.” Since it was launched, 1619 has been rebutted and debunked by American historians of comparable or even higher standing than Hackett Fischer (a very select group). Among those who have pointed out its many distortions, lies and inaccuracies is Gordon S. Wood, perhaps America’s greatest living historian, who has said he was surprised the project “could be so wrong in so many ways”. When another esteemed historian, Leslie M. Harris, expressed her reservations about one of 1619’s core claims — that the American Revolution was fought in large part to preserve slavery in North America — to a New York Times fact-checker, she was ignored.

Since publication, The New York Times has stealthily edited contentious passages while Hannah-Jones seems to spend most of her time arguing on Twitter, accusing her critics of being old white dudes who Just Don’t Get It. In one swiftly deleted tweet, she appeared to revel in the idea that the violent eruptions of the summer of 2020 be called “the 1619 riots”. None of these problems with the 1619 Project as a work have dampened its impact on American public life.


The story told by Hackett Fischer stands in stark contrast to the demotivating, almost paralysing lesson of the 1619 Project: slavery not as America’s original sin but something hardwired into its DNA, a past that cannot be escaped. It is a dispiritingly static view of the country. Rather than displaying a curiosity at the paradox that has animated so much American history — “How is it,” asked Dr Johnson in 1775, “that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of Negroes?” — the 1619 approach dogmatically sweeps aside everything other than the existence of slavery as minor details in the story of the United States.

African Founders, by contrast, demonstrates that there doesn’t need to be a trade-off between “centring” the experience and stories of black Americans and an appreciation of the gift of American liberty. Indeed, the takeaway from Hackett Fischer’s work is that the latter cannot be achieved without the former.

Here’s wisdom from economist Gary Galles about free riding, expressive voting, and charity.

Jim Dorn explains a reality that should be, but sadly isn’t, obvious to everyone who graduated from elementary school: “Racial equity is beyond the Fed’s scope.”

Explaining another reality that should be, but sadly isn’t, obvious to everyone who graduated from elementary school is Reason‘s Peter Suderman: Inflation is fueled, not fought, with subsidies.

A third person explaining a reality that should be, but sadly isn’t, obvious to everyone who graduated from elementary school is my Mercatus Center colleague Adam Thierer: The government should not ban all teens from social media. A slice:

There is no doubt social media can create or exacerbate certain social pathologies among youth. But pro-censorship conservatives wants to take the easy way out with a Big Government media ban for the ages.

Ultimately, it’s a solution that will not be effective. Raising children and mentoring youth is certainly the hardest task we face as adults because simple solutions rarely exist to complex human challenges–and the issues kids face are often particularly hard for many parents and adults to grapple with because we often fail to fully understand both the unique issues each generation might face, and we definitely fail to fully grasp the nature of each new medium that youth embrace. Simplistic solution–even proposals for outright bans–will not work or solve serious problems.

Pierre Lemieux applauds the reply by the US Oil & Gas Association to Biden’s recent obnoxious, ignorant, and authoritarian tweet about gasoline prices.

Minor Tariff Relief Appears To Be Coming; More Is Needed.

TANSTAFPFC (There Ain’t No Such Thing As Free Protection From Covid)

Phil Magness is sensible:

Adding to the list of useless things that I fully intend to ignore: the CDC’s four-tier covid travel warning system.

Madeline Grant decries the sad reality that many people in Britain – a nation that she describes as being “gripped by madness” – yearn for a return of the straw man. Two slices:

We love scoffing at the past, feeling that we live in more enlightened times. But a glance at recent history suggests that modern faith in our mental faculties may be misguided. Did we not, in fact, go a bit mad during lockdown? It wasn’t just the draconian rules, the institutionalised snooping, the weekly clapping, but something closer to a national psychosis. For a time, particularly in the early days of the pandemic, there was a strong sense that if you weren’t fully on board with lockdown, if you failed to celebrate it and observe its rituals, you were a bad team player – even unpatriotic. Then, suddenly, the mania seemed to pass.

The all-consuming climate recalled the aftermath of Princess Diana’s death; an enforced national mourning which punished dissenters harshly. It’s easy to write off a small troop of convulsive dancers as maniacs, denuded of their contact with reality. But when an entire country seems to have fallen victim to derangement, it becomes rather harder.


You’d hope that the lessons of the lockdown have been learned, and that collective hysteria really has become a thing of the past. Alas, the chancers are probably already gearing up for their next opportunity.

Jay Bhattacharya tweets:

Most education reporters amplified the covid panic narrative, which led to the catastrophic decision to close schools. @anya1anya is a rare exception and for that I am grateful.

I like her humility here: “We could have been a lot louder.” Amen.

Also from Jay Bhattacharya is this tweet:

The @nytimes should take responsibility for the disinformation campaign it has waged in support of lockdowns, school closures, and institutionalized covid hypochondria these past 2+ years. This campaign included smears of dissenting scientists, as I can personally attest.