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Timothy Taylor reminds us of just how ridiculous protectionists can be in offering national-security excuses for restricting Americans’ abilities to purchase imports. A slice:

What’s especially weird about the letter [written by Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) in favor of import restrictions on garlic] is that it also refers to regular issues of trade, like whether garlic in China is produced in safe and sanitary conditions, and whether it is being “dumped” in the US by selling at under the cost of production. I take no position here on these regular meat-and-potatoes (with or without garlic) trade issues. What’s interesting to me is the florid invocation of Section 232 and national security on behalf of a root vegetable.

Wall Street Journal columnist Andy Kessler counsels optimism. Two slices:

So yes, out of the depths of the inflation-riddled ’70s came the democratization of computing and finance. It feels to me as if we’re at a similar point. What’s going to be democratized next?

To be fair, there isn’t quite the same level of despair and smoggy dreams. But there is plenty of skepticism. Start with quantum computing, autonomous vehicles and delivery drones. Even the once-in-a-generation innovation of machine learning and artificial intelligence is generating fear and doubt. Like homebrew computers, we’re at the rudimentary stage. Squint a little to see the future.

Especially in medicine. Healthcare pricing, billing and reimbursements are completely nonsensical. ObamaCare made it worse, but change is beginning. Pandemic-enabled telemedicine is a crack in the old way’s armor. Self-directed healthcare will grow. Ozempic and magic pills are changing lives. Crispr gene editing is also rudimentary but could extend healthy life expectancies. Add precision oncology, computational biology, focused ultrasound and more. The upside is endless.


Every industry is about to change, which will defy skeptics. Figure out how, and then, as Mr. Wozniak suggests, get your hands dirty. As always, the pain point is cost. Look for things that get cheaper—that’s the only way to clear the smoke and get new marvels into global consumer hands. The democratization of every sector will proceed in mysterious ways. Happy hunting for opportunities. And stay warm this New Year’s.

Luther Ray Abel applauds a sensible piece by Tom Zoellner – appearing, amazingly, in the New York Times – on the environment.

Maxim Lott tracks the ideological positions of chatbots. (HT Tyler Cowen)

Andrew Hartz reports on the high cost of self-censorship on campus.

Several weeks ago, David Friedman ably defended Adam Smith from seriously defective interpretations offered by the late Murray Rothbard.