BRIEFLY NOTED: For 2023-10-15 Su
Unfair cancellation vs, legitimate consequences of speech; co-Speakership; morons who used to put up Che Guevara posters are morons; Dan Drezner is Shrill; Jamelle Bouie writes wisely about the...
Unfair cancellation vs, legitimate consequences of speech; co-Speakership; morons who used to put up Che Guevara posters are morons; Dan Drezner is Shrill; Jamelle Bouie writes wisely about the legacy of Kevin Phillips; insurrectionists should not be Speaker; cruel selective breeding of F-150 pickups; BYD Seal teardown; very briefly noted; there are no just wars to be waged in the Middle East; Garry Wills on Kevin Phillips; grokking the history of antiquity; & briefly noted…
MUST-READ: Orin Kerr Is Smart:
I had never thought of this before. But it is clearly right:
Orin Kerr: ‘This may be obvious, but one takeaway from this discussion is that the line between “cancel culture” and “holding people responsible” is often a judgment call about how out-of-bounds was the position they took….
Discussions of cancel culture often end with debates over whether it exists…. If you have majoritarian opinions in a particular community, you're less likely to worry about people being quick to judge, or ungenerous towards others, etc. That's beside the point, just a rounding error, in light of the important judgments being made that you will ultimately find correct.
On the other hand, if you are not as much with the majority view in a particular community, you're more likely to worry about people being quick to judge, ungenerous in interpretation, as you're more likely to see opinions that you see as either in bounds or at least arguably so be subject to the negative reaction. It makes sense in light of those two positions that one group would see cancel culture as a problem while the other would see it as non-existent or a fake problem.
Ok, ok, that was obvious. Still seemed maybe worth elaborating on…
Witness Megan McArdle this a.m., who—as if what idiot NYU Law Student Ryna Workman wrote was not bad enough—takes Workman’s “Israel bears full responsibility for this tremendous loss of life. This régime of state-sponsored violence created the conditions that made resistance necessary. I will not condemn Palestinian resistance…” and turns it into “it’s OK to murder babies…”. That’s not “It’s OK to murder babies.” It is, rather, an (unsuccessful) attempt to shift responsibility from a crime away from the perpetrators—an attempt that is necessary only because it is not OK to murder babies. Why does McArdle do this? So that she can:
say she “understand[s] why companies might be reluctant to hire [such] students…”, and so tiptoe up to endorsing Winston & Strawn’s withdrawal of her job offer.
say at the same time she wants to “show them a better way, modeling what tolerance and inclusion actually look like…”.
plus also denounce: “lefties [who] demanded exquisite deference to their own feelings while assuming they retained the right to offend others as they pleased…”
That would have been a nice hat trick—if she could have pulled it off
So I swing back to: complaints about “cancel culture” are overwhelmingly complaints that people who used to be and who I think should be inside the Overton Window are now outside, and that people who used to be and who I think should be outside the Overton Window are now inside.
For what Ryna Workman wrote is very close to what historian C.V. Wedgwood wrote in her biography William the Silent to try to justify how at its lowest ebb the Protestant Dutch Revolt of the late 1500s was reduced to the “Sea Beggars”, a bunch of murderous pirates: “When a torch is all but extinguished it is poor policy to complain because its flame is smoky and smells of pitch; it is better to be grateful that it still burns at all…”
 Wedgwood, C. V. 1944. William the Silent: William of Nassau, Prince of Orange, 1533-1584. London: Jonathan Cape. <https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.209997>. P. 116.
Congress Watch: OK. With respect to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives:
160 guys (and gals) will vote for Steve Scalise
211 guys (and gals) will vote for Hakeem Jeffries
57 guys (and gals) want somebody else, whom they will not specify.
Doesn’t this sugges that (a) Hakeem should be Speaker MWF, (b) Steve should be Speaker TTh, with (c ) a Rules Committee divided 50-50 between their nominees?
Southern Strategy Watch: Yes... But there were too many visible voices in the Democratic coalition who were too visibly and obnoxiously pro-Castro for the LULZ...
Order of the Shrill Watch: Back when I first met him, virtually on the Internet, Dan Drezner was a sensible centrist. I understood that—earlier I had been a sensible centrist too. This post of his is worth highlighting because he has now not just given up the profession of sensible centrist but has become, as they used to call Paul Krugman, "shrill" (as in "Krugman is right on the merits, but too shrill"). In fact, I now install and commission him as Grand Hieresiarch of the Ancient, Occult, and Hermetic Order of the Shrill:
Neofascism Watch: Best thing I have read today, by the extremely sharp Jamelle Bouie. The death of repentant Kevin Phillips marks the end of a long process leading to the current neofascist challenge to American democracy.
It is a very strange activist-mass base that the Republican Party has today. It is not that they think that either Trump or the remains of the Republican Establishment work for them—the activist-mass base understands very well that they work for plutocrats and kleptocrats. But the key thing is that they are working against and causing pain for Blacks, Mexicans, Arabs, Jews, and other pointy-headed intellectuals. Yes, it is a really weird enemies list:
Politics Watch: Hakeem Jeffries’s ask for any Democratic vote supporting the election of a Republican Speaker should be:
The Speaker must have voted for the impeachment of Donald Trump.
The Rules Committee needs to be divided 50-50 between Republicans chosen by the Speaker and Democrats chosen by the Minority Leader.
That is all:
THE BULLETIN WITH UBS OCT 8 ⋅ 28:05
UBS Q-Series research connects the dots across asset classes, geographies and sectors. Today we hear from the analysts behind UBS Evidence Lab’s newest teardown of the electric car. In this most recent iteration, the EV in the frame is the latest mass-market effort from China’s number-one car maker, the BYD Seal. With Patrick Hummel and François-Xavier Bovignies.
Very Briefly Noted:
Har-Megiddo: Graydon: ‘Netanyahu needs to stay in power to stay out of jail and is willing to do anything to stay in power. Since his only route to power is to support the genocidal objectives of the Israeli far right, that's what he's going to do…
Jonathan V. Last: Biden Gets 10/7 Right: ‘Another crisis and another solid response from POTUS….
Neofascism: Josh Marshall: The Deeper Meaning of Scalise’s One Day Speakership (No Really…): ‘After Scalise won the caucus Speakership vote you had a slow trickle of members saying “I’m still for Jim Jordan.” Then later you had news reports asking, “Can Steve Scalise get to 217?” There’s a category, conceptual breakdown here that is kind of hiding in plain view. What do these members mean they’re still for Jim Jordan? He lost. It’s over. Scalise is the Republican Speaker candidate. End of story…. Participating in a majority organizational vote means… abiding by its results…. It’s over. And yet it was treated as basically a given, in the GOP caucus and in the press coverage, that Scalise, having won the vote, then had to build from the 113 he got in the caucus vote to 217…. The literal definition of a caucus in American political usage is a defined group that collectively decides on actions by majority vote and then acts in unison in a parliamentary context…
Sahil Kapur: ‘One House Republican aide tells me he’s confident Jim Jordan will get elected speaker. Why? “The people opposing him are moderates. Either he gets it or the moderates for the first time ever grow a spine,” the aide says…
Ezra Klein: ‘Continue to find it amazing there’s not a centrist Republican who can pull together a dozen of his colleagues, cut a deal with Democrats, become speaker, and go back to his constituents as the hero who brought moderation and bipartisanship back to Washington…
Ricardo Duque Gabriel, Mathias Klein, & Ana Sofia Pessoa: The Political Costs of Austerity: ‘200 elections in several European countries… the political consequences of fiscal consolidations…. A Bartik-type instrument that combines regional sensitivities to changes in national government expenditures with narrative national consolidation episodes. Fiscal consolidations lead to a significant increase in extreme parties’ vote share, lower voter turnout, and a rise in political fragmentation…
Noah Berlatsly: The Economic Anxiety Explanation of Fascism Is Wrong: ‘Trump’s voters were not particularly poor, but were very racist. Similarly, KKK members of the 20s were better educated and more likely to have professional jobs than most Americans…. Donate to an abortion fund. Join a library board or school board or union. Protest. Organize. Christian fascism landed with Columbus, who cut off the hands of indigenous people when they didn’t get him enough gold, and it’s been with us ever since. But so has resistance…
Economics: Mike Konczal: CPI Inflation report for September, 2023: ‘The Fed watches three elements - core goods, housing, and the rest of services. It does this assuming core goods inflation was transitory, and, after shocking numbers in 2021-2022, would eventually return to a trend near zero. It also notes housing is measured with a lag, but that, in their minds, the rest of services is more labor and wage intensive and could be more persistent.
This month saw a pop in housing that is unlikely to be continued…
Martin Sandbu: How to make some sense of our ignorance: ‘The raising of new economic barriers between countries and the end of the globalising impulse… increased volatility… the rise of the supply side… geopolitical resilience… decarbonising the energy system… managing the digital transition…. The potential cost of fragmentation is that of duplication…. That of increased volatility is higher insurance cost…. And the potential cost of supply side dominance is inefficiency...
Economic History: Richard Hornbeck & Trevon Logan: One Giant Leap: Emancipation and Aggregate Economic Gains: ‘Coercive labor markets were severely distorted, with the social marginal cost of labor substantially above its marginal benefit… immense costs imposed upon enslaved people that reduced aggregate economic surplus…. We calculate that emancipation generated aggregate economic gains worth the equivalent of a 4% to 35% increase in US aggregate productivity (7 to 60 years of technological innovation). Emancipation decreased output but sparked dramatic aggregate economic gains by decreasing costs substantially more, illustrating the substantial potential for aggregate economic gains in the presence of severe misallocation…