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My GMU Econ colleague Bryan Caplan explains why he opposes GMU’s proposed “Just Societies” initiative. A slice:

Some final thoughts: Strategically speaking, you’d think that woke academics would keep their heads down until the Harvard-Hamas-plagiarism scandals faded away, especially in a purple state like Virginia with a Republican governor. My best explanation for their strategic missteps: They’re in such an airtight echo chamber that they can’t fathom how negatively the non-academic world sees them.

This is quixotic, I know, but let me try to break through the woke academic echo chamber with some harsh truths. If you promote DEI for a living, the reality is that normal, apolitical people see you as a racist, sexist, censorious fanatic. They don’t say so publicly … because they are afraid of you. They don’t tell you privately … because they are afraid of you. But when they’re speaking to people they trust, they vehemently disagree with you—and yearn to see you all fired.

Contrary to woke dogma, racism does not mean “prejudice plus power.” Yet the phrase still nicely captures what normal, apolitical people detest about DEI promoters. Namely: DEI promoters are exemplars of powerful, prejudiced people. After all, they get paid to make baseless accusations of moral failing against their co-workers—day in, day out. If you work in DEI and want to see people who need to learn about the just treatment of others, spare us another self-righteous lecture and look in the mirror.

The Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal weighs in on Google’s ideological bias. Two slices:

Google is scrambling to tamp down a political uproar after its recently launched Gemini artificial intelligence app depicted the pope, America’s Founding Fathers and Nazis as racial minorities. The hallucinations, as they’re known, have gone viral on social media. If you thought Google was an impregnable monopoly, think again.


Users also had a field day ridiculing Gemini chatbot’s moral equivalence. Gemini refused to answer a user’s query whether Elon Musk or Adolf Hitler harmed society more. “There is no right or wrong answer,” Gemini replied. “Ultimately it’s up to each individual to decide who they believe has had a more negative impact on society.”

Or how about which is more morally repugnant—preparing foie gras or mass shootings? “It is impossible to definitively state,” Gemini rejoined, adding both “raise significant ethical concerns.” Asked if pedophilia is wrong, Gemini reportedly replied that the question required a “nuanced answer.” Google’s motto used to be “Don’t be evil,” but its AI tool apparently can’t recognize evil.

Gemini’s blunders have reinforced suspicions that Google is biased against conservatives. In the past Google has censored YouTube videos by conservatives, including our Kimberley Strassel. Its algorithms have suppressed conservative voices. Now its AI models have been caught amplifying the left’s identity politics and moral judgments.

Art Carden writes about “how rich people create poverty.”

GMU Econ alum Tyler Watts describes Tucker Carlson as “Putin’s tool, economic fool.”

GMU Econ alum Dominic Pino corrects some misunderstandings about public-choice economics.

Reason‘s Eric Boehm reports that “American steel production has fallen to pre-tariff levels.” Here’s his conclusion:

Tariffs were supposed to resurrect the steel industry. Instead, America now produces less steel than it did before the tariffs were imposed. The debate is over. Trump’s steel tariffs have failed.

Here’s the abstract of a new paper by Stan Veuger, Jeffrey Clemens, Oliver Giesecke, and Joshua Rauh:

Using variation in federal pandemic-era fiscal aid to states driven by the strength of political representation, we find that incremental pandemic-era fiscal aid to states was most likely to end up in the categories of general administrative service spending and employee pension benefit funding. Spending on categories that motivated the aid in the first place, such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure, may also have responded but does not show robust patterns. Total state government revenues and expenditures had increased by around 70 cents per incremental windfall dollar of committed federal funds by 2022. Of this, the statistically significant categorical spending effects are 38 cents to general government expenditures (the residual that in principle excludes healthcare, education, infrastructure, and other functional categories) and 7 cents to pension funding, even though the latter use was inconsistent with the objectives of the legislation. The pension contribution increases are driven by the states where public employees have above-median representation on state pension fund boards, where over 14 cents of each marginal dollar went to pension funding.