National Review Disappoints

We look forward to the print version of the National Review (NRODT).  They have been on a roll lately with the special issues on socialism and capitalism  Despite the article below you should subscribe in some manner.

We have started a category for Josh Hawley because he has been the most disappointing GOP Congress critter in recent memory and the only person obviously running for the ’24 GOP presidential nomination.  The National Review puts him in the spotlight with Josh Hawley’s Virtue Politics by John McCormack.  We were disappointed that it turned out to be a hagiography.

Sidebar: We understand that Josh is a rising star in the GOP and the National Review can hardly do a MWG piece on him.  On the other hand, John and his editors could have been more even handed.  End Sidebar.

Our disappointment started early when John described him as a “conservative intellectual.”  We find him neither although, to be fair, we do find him “a populist with a paternalistic streak” that shows up in the same sentence.  We see the two descriptions as mutually exclusive but not collectively exhaustive in case you thought we were going to make a connection to binary choices.  Still you should subscribe and read the whole thing, online if you prefer.  You will learn he is up to other mischief beyond our reporting.  He and Florida senator Rick Scott have introduced legislation that would prevent drug firms from charging more in America than they do in Canada or some European countries.  The “some” is from the article.  We don’t understand it either.  Anyways, we are highly disappointed that two GOP senators are fighting markets and attempting to micromanage drug companies to the detriment of our children and grandchildren.  He Rick don’t think it will stifle innovation.  They are wrong.  Even worse, Josh suggests he knows what profits should be: “Pharma is turning a nice healthy profit in Europe.”

Josh seems like the worst possible presidential choice for the GOP in ’24.  Worst?  Well, we hope they can do much better.  On the other hand, he is just fine as the senator from Missouri.


The Bad Idea Machine

Our buddy, and the junior senator from Missouri, Josh Hawley is at it again. Lots of folks are upset about political comments on Internet giants like Facebook and he wants to put Washington in charge.   David French at NRO and Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Reason do a good job of explaining why Josh has a particularly foolish bill.  Of course you should real both of them in their entirety.  Here is David’s description:

[Josh] wants to replace common sense with a legal fiction, making Facebook responsible for user comments unless it can satisfy an extraordinary condition — it has to prove to the Federal Trade Commission [FTC] by clear and convincing evidence that it doesn’t moderate content in a manner “designed to negatively affect a political party, political candidate, or political viewpoint” and that its moderation doesn’t “disproportionately restrict or promote access to, or the availability of, information from a political party, political candidate, or political viewpoint.” [Emphasis added]

Josh’s proposal would put the Internet giants in an impossible position and make them  subject to FTC’s whims.  Do we think we will get limited government with Facebook appearing before the FTC every two year?  As you are already going to read David and Elizabeth, we shall limit our comments to conservatism and level of proof.

We want to make clear that changing the level of proof would not make the bill acceptable but the level of proof shows how poorly thought out or dishonest Josh’s bill is.  Josh says:

“Today I’ve introduced legislation to end Big Tech’s biggest sweetheart deal from government,” [Josh] tweeted Wednesday morning. “No more government protection for Big Tech’s political censorship.”

As the bold shows, Facebook will need to show clear and convincing evidence of lack of bias. It is an daunting task especially when you think about all the groups you could show bias against.  Nolo gives us four legal standards of proof in ascending order: Substantial Evidence, Preponderance of Evidence, Clear and Convincing Evidence, and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.  Josh’s choice is, according to Nolo, reserved for civil lawsuits where something more than money is at stake.  The bill is not going to reach Josh’s stated goal because Facebook will not meet that standard and that would mean much more government involvement.

And that brings us to conservatism and conservatives.  Part of political classifying is the Venn Diagram issue.  How much to folks need to overlap before you can give them a common categorization?  But it also a matter of priorities and thinking process.  There might be substantial evidence based on his positions that Josh is a conservative but his processes and priorities are clear and convincing evidence to us that he is not.  We are not voting for him in the ’24 presidential primaries that he is clearly positioning himself but we shall reserve judgement on the general election.  It will be another binary choice.