Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley reviews three new books that challenge the mainstream, “Progressive” view of race. A slice:

In “The State of Black America,” a new collection of essays edited by William B. Allen, an emeritus professor of political philosophy at Michigan State University, Mr. Allen writes that it is not only wrong but counterproductive for the media to give the last word on social inequality to black elites who traffic in racial resentment and identity politics. “The civil rights movement may inadvertently have spawned the most serious obstacle to the progress of American blacks in our time,” he writes in his own essay. “Black leaders have turned to group identity rather than individual identity and American principles of assimilation. The result has been cultural stagnation for some black communities.”

Elsewhere in the volume, Brown University economics professor Glenn Loury challenges the left’s notion that racism mainly explains this cultural underdevelopment. “The ‘structural racism’ argument seldom goes into cause and effect,” he writes. “We are all just supposed to know that it’s the fault of something called ‘structural racism,’ abetted by an environment of ‘white supremacy’ that purportedly characterizes our society. Any racial disparity, then, can be totally explained by the imputation of ‘structural racism.’”

George Will is correct: “What is still referred to, reflexively and anachronistically, as higher education is supposedly run by and for persons who are products of, and devoted to, learning. Today, this supposition is false.” Another slice:

The Chronicle of Higher Education, the reading of which is in equal measures fascinating and depressing, recently published Joseph M. Keegin’s bracing essay “The Hysterical Style in the American Humanities: On the ideological posturing and moral nitpicking of the very online.” Keegin, a philosophy student at Tulane University, argues that, confronted with “the slow slide of academe into oblivion,” scholars — especially in humanities departments, which are losing undergraduates, prestige, jobs and funding — “desperately grasp for relevance.” They seek it by becoming “professors of ‘academic Twitter.’”

The Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal rightly worries that Xi and the other thugs who today rule China will increasingly play the nationalist card to divert attention from the economic destructiveness of their policies. A slice:

Slowing growth is global, but Mr. Xi has added Chinese characteristics. A chronic problem is his “dynamic zero-Covid” policy, which Beijing shows no signs of easing. This imposes sudden lockdowns and stringent testing requirements anywhere Covid-19 is detected. The lockdowns are a severe strain for ordinary Chinese, and a danger to global supply chains passing through China. Foreign companies are rethinking investments, while local firms suffer.

Ryan Bourne, Brad Subramaniam, and Rachel Chiu describe the FTC’s attempt to block Meta’s (Facebook’s) merger with Within Unlimited as “bizarre.” Here’s their conclusion:

Yet these are the blinkers at the agency right now. The new trustbusters in DC describe Meta as a “behemoth” and an “empire” that must be restrained. They are convinced that they were in error to green‐​light Facebook’s acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram, a hindsight bias that ignores the possibility that Facebook’s ownership helped improve those products, and which suggests entry barriers in the social media sector are relatively low anyway. The Meta‐​Within move looks like an overcorrection to try to block even small purchases that might aid Meta as a company. Yet banning these sorts of acquisitions not only deters integration in the burgeoning VR ecosystem that might benefit consumers, but risks reducing incentives for startups to produce innovative new products in future.

Reason‘s Robby Soave reports on the political bias of Facebook’s third-party “fact-checkers” (so called). Two slices:

Meta’s third-party fact-checkers have flagged as “false information” posts on Instagram and Facebook accusing the Biden administration of changing the definition of a recession in order to deny that the U.S. economy has entered one. This is yet another reminder that the project of purportedly independent fact-checking on social media is a highly partisan one, in which legitimately debatable opinions are passed off as objective truth.

…..

This is hardly the first time that the social media fact-checking industry has failed to add clarity to a contentious issue. Last year, PolitiFact rated as false the claim that COVID-19 is 99 percent survivable for most age groups.

“Experts say a person cannot determine their own chances at surviving COVID-19 by looking at national statistics, because the data doesn’t take into account the person’s own risks and COVID-19 deaths are believed to be undercounted,” wrote PolitiFact.

Regardless of what “experts say,” it is certainly the case that individual persons can estimate their likelihood of surviving COVD-19 based on national statistics. The disease’s age discrimination is extreme: The overwhelming majority of young, healthy people are not at significant risk, especially when compared with elderly Americans. This was a curious fact-check, and it was hardly the first.

Writing about the challenge of defining “recession” is my GMU Econ colleague Vincent Geloso.

Brian Riedl reports that “Congress this week offered a masterclass in the incoherence of government.”

Nick Gillespie talks with the great John Cleese.

Juliette Sellgren talks with GMU Econ alum Jon Murphy about the Jones Act and Adam Smith.

Barry Brownstein warns of the dangers of using state power to settle questions of science. A slice:

The claim that a state-proclaimed consensus settles science has resulted in many losing their jobs. In 2021, Dr. Aaron Kheriaty was fired from the University of California, Irvine. Kheriaty was a professor at their School of Medicine and director of their Medical Ethics Program. He was fired for being unvaccinated and for believing natural immunity was superior to the COVID vaccine.

Dr. Kheriaty delivered his testimony against the California bill that would ban the expression of opposing opinions: “Advances in science and medicine typically occur when doctors and scientists challenge conventional thinking or settled opinion. Fixating any current medical consensus as ‘unassailable’ by physicians will stifle medical and scientific progress.”

Kheriaty explained how repressing alternative views creates a false consensus driven by politics and crony interests. Government cures drive out real cures.

Sai Medi tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

🧵 (1/19) Long Covid & Post Viral Syndromes

Scov2 is not that unique in this regard.

Our cardinal sin is a massive sampling bias in which we hyper focus on Scov2 and ignore 1) other viruses 2) important context around long term complications of any general illness.

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