Links to Consider, 12/5
Pollock and Kupiec on Central Bank bankruptcies; Shikha Dalmia on the New Right; John Halpin on the loneliness epidemic; Dylan Pahman on cutting democracy down to size;
Alex J. Pollock and Paul H. Kupiec write,
The Reserve Bank of Australia announced in September that losses on its investments caused its capital to drop to a negative $8 billion on June 30. Its Deputy Governor admitted that “If any commercial entity had negative equity… [it] would not be a going concern,” but maintained, “there are no going concern issues with a central bank in a country like Australia.” Nonetheless, it’s pretty embarrassing to have lost more than all of your capital.
It seems as though a bunch of central bankers have decided to hold hands and jump off the cliff together.
I want to set a high bar before I link to commentary related to the Woke movement, the state of the Democratic Party, the state of the Republican Party, or analysis of the New Right. But I decided that(Shikha Dalmia) barely cleared the bar. Still, I won’t mind if you decide not to read the whole thing.
Claremont heirs’ annoyance with what they see as the anti-Americanism of the progressive left has grown into a burning rage over the years. They consider the left’s depiction of America as a racist, sexist, and homophobic country—despite the heroic efforts that have been made to abolish slavery and Jim Crow—as intolerable blasphemy. They have always seen the left’s demands for special privileges for minorities and women as a perversion of the constitution’s promise of equal rights. Then, on top of this, when the leftist elites who control the media, academia, the government bureaucracy, Hollywood and other commanding heights of the culture use their power not just to press their anti-American agenda but, in their woke arrogance, silence objectors like them through a regime of censorship, political correctness and cancellation, they are incensed. Denying the left control of the state, arguably the last remaining bastion of power, became a paramount concern for them.
That passage refers to one of four factions that Dalmia identifies. But as she points out, all of the New Right factions hate the progressive left. One is reminded of Bryan Caplan’s aphorism that the left hates markets and the right hates the left. Although some factions of the New Right also hate markets, this does not violate the aphorism. Dalmia argues that the Claremont folks still respect classical political liberalism, while the other three factions do not.
Pointer from Tyler Cowen.
what if the increase in choosing to be alone isn’t necessarily a sign of dystopia but rather a sign of rational action in defense of individuality and personal freedom in a world of increasingly oppressive social groups?
It’s no accident that the period covered here, from 2014 to 2021, includes the dramatic rise in social media use, nonstop opinion spouting and preening by the worst kind of people online, and a steady stream of disruptive political events in America that forced people everywhere to choose sides in all manner of ideological conflicts—without any doubts about these decisions. In-person social networks and larger institutions in turn became insufferable embodiments of these online developments with aggressive know-it-alls dominating groups and enforcing adherence to select views with little dissent allowed. Persuasion was superseded by rhetorical pounding.
I certainly would rather be alone than have to sit through a Woke political sermon in synagogue. But I think thatis probably correct here.
if your friendships are more activity-based, then the fact that the relative quality of alone-at-home activities is rising compared to going-out activities is going to significantly disrupt your friendships.
He says that men’s friendships tend to be more activity-based, so this would predict that the decline in men’s friendships would have been more pronounced.
All politics would be truly local, i.e., structurally and constitutionally so. Naturally, the first thing to go would be the Seventeenth Amendment to the US Constitution, which established the direct election of senators by voters instead of their indirect election by state legislatures. Now, I’m not the first crank to bemoan this Progressive-Era blight upon our body politic, but I wouldn’t stop there. I’m just getting started. I also would eliminate the direct election of all national offices, including the President of the United States, and some state-level offices, even governors.
…What I would envision is a fully tiered electoral system. The only direct elections would be the most local. Those elected officials would get to vote on the next level up, and so on, all the way up to the office of president.
It’s a really cool thought-experiment, if nothing else.
I think Pahman is misinterpreting the reason Senators were selected by states under the original Constitutional scheme, and is also confusing the way the Electoral College works with selection by a legislative body. The People elected the House directly which then elected its Constitutional leader, the Speaker, directly. The States elected, via their state government, the Senate but the people indirectly elected via the Electoral College its Constitutional leader, the Vice-President. The People selected the Electoral College which then elected the chief governmental executive, the President. Given the symmetry of those operations I don't the scheme was just an accident or done to give the VP a reason to live in DC. Factional politics, however, meant that the VP was quickly superseded by the Majority Leader in the Senate, and the House Speaker has rarely if ever not also been a member of the majority party in the House even though he's not required to be a Representative.
I also think you immediately run into huge agency problems, even or maybe especially at the very lowest levels, when the way to advance in politics is convincing your peers they'll benefit by advancing you, rather than voters in general.
Last year we went to my towns Christmas lighting. We really enjoyed it. It was a lot less crowded than this year and while there was one particular "woke" thing, the high school chorus wore masks when they sung, the official activities were pretty short.
This year we went and I found it a bit insufferable. It was a lot more crowded. The official activities went on at least 3x as long. We had to sit through a long cringe inducing recitation from the Boy Scouts of how every single obscure faith and group many of which you never heard of all believe in the golden rule/love/spirit of Christmas in their language (they were still wearing masks). There were a few other woke things. The mayor (democrat, nimby) recited the names of the town council and some members of the crowd semi boo-ed at the mention of the mayoral candidate that just lost to him (republican, yimby). I was reminded that that same mayor canceled most of the town events for throughout COVID but violated his own rules to hold a BLM rally at town hall summer 2020.
Overall, I don't think we are going to the tree lighting next year. I see no reason to sit through such ideological pollution to watch my small towns Christmas tree get lit.