Keeping up with the FITs, 5/2
Jonah Goldberg on Disney; Wilfred Reilly on systemic racism; Emily Oster on schooling during COVID; Adam Ozimek on remote work
The Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which ruled that corporations have First Amendment rights. I thought then, like most conservatives, that the court was correct. Unlike many these days, I still do. The New York Times Co. has every right to argue for its preferred policies, and so does Koch Industries.
I’m glad I’m not the only one trying to connect the Citizens United case and the Disney example. They are not perfectly identical, of course. But if you support corporate free speech on principle, then seeing the company punished for its political views should make you unhappy, or at least give you pause. And if you’re on the other side, and you don’t think that corporations should be entitled to total freedom of political expression, maybe you should applaud the Florida legislature.
Of course, it’s not playing out that way. In the woke vs. anti-woke culture war, other principles get tossed overboard.
(Don Boudreaux points to some other libertarians on the right who don’t like the notion of punishing a corporation for taking a stand with which we may disagree. The editors of Reason; and Veronique de Rugy.)
On the substantive issue of whether 7-year-olds should be given a sex-ed curriculum, I have no sympathy with Disney whatsoever.
The claim that “we know significant racism exists because the thing we have defined as significant racism exists” is not serious. If we were to accept it wholesale, it would mean, among other things, that the United States is a Korean-supremacist country. According to the proposed definition of racism, there’s no other way to interpret the outsize success of Korean Americans.
He is trying to use logic against Ibram Kendi’s notion of systemic racism. The obvious comeback is that logic is racist. You can’t argue with these people.
Across the 11 states in our sample, student pass rates declined by 12.8 percentage points in math and 6.8 percentage points in ELA between 2019 and 2021, on average (Spring 2020 assessments were not administered due to the pandemic). These declines varied by state; among the states in our sample, declines were largest in Virginia, and smallest in Wyoming. The declines were larger in districts that had less in-person schooling, and in districts with more Black students.
Pointer from Tyler Cowen. This appears to be evidence that COVID restrictions on in-person schooling had definite adverse effects. That contradicts what I call the Null Hypothesis, which is that school interventions do not matter. But there is still hope for the Null Hypothesis: perhaps these adverse effects will “fade out” with time.
Remote work is in many ways similar to transportation technology. It is a way for employers and employees to work over vast distances with low cost. The above data shows that this is already affecting where people live, but for the most part we have not begun to see location and form of places that we live evolve.
My hope is that the next decade will lead property developers, planners, and investors to create brand new remote-worker villages and new places aimed at remote workers in locations previously untenable, all with amenities and forms that are as new and exciting as the changes past transportation innovations have ushered in.
I also think that the possibilities for remote school have only begun to be explored. If we did not have our stupid, centralized public school system, I think that child care/education for young children would be a home-based business. As children get older, groups of children would remain small, but more online resources would be added. One or two days a week, small groups would combine for games and social activities. But education would not be conducted with one teacher in front of 25 kids.
And you already know that I envision college campuses replaced by a network-based university. I’ll be posting more about that soon.