Hating The Donald

We were wandering around the Internet.  First we went to Tyler Cowen’s Marginal Revolution site. Tyler is a serious economist.  Wikipedia tell us that:

He was ranked #72 among the “Top 100 Global Thinkers” in 2011 by Foreign Policy Magazine “for finding markets in everything.”[4] In a 2011 poll of experts by The Economist, Cowen was included in the top 36 nominations of “which economists were most influential over the past decade.”

He said that Christopher Lebron at the Boston Review had the best review of Black Panther.  We are interested in the movie and want another review.  Armond White has never been very helpful for us.  Armond is too worried about philosophy and has too many reference to movies we haven’t seen.  We want to know if the movie is entertaining.  We thought the Greatest Showman was a really entertaining movie.  We were shocked at how good it was after so many poor movies recently.  Interestingly, the preview from the star and director suggests that they wanted to make an entertaining movie.  Perhaps it is not hard to make an entertaining movie if that is your goal.

Tyler does say the review is via Hollis Robbins but we think he should read it to link to it.  Here is part of the first paragraph of Christopher’s review:

This is a tall order, especially in the time of [The Donald], who insists that blacks live in hell and wishes that (black) sons of bitches would get fired for protesting police violence.

We wonder what somebody would need to say about a political figure to have it be a bad review?  We don’t know much about the Boston Review.  They might think it crucial that they signal their hate of The Donald to their audience.   We are, however, disappointed in Tyler.  He should understand the importance of  rhetoric.

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A Great Phrase

Here is Sam Altman discussing how China has become more open than San Francisco.  He starts out:

Earlier this year, I noticed something in China that really surprised me.  I realized I felt more comfortable discussing controversial ideas in Beijing than in San Francisco.  I didn’t feel completely comfortable—this was China, after all—just more comfortable than at home. [Emphasis added]

Sam has put it nicely.  China isn’t free as the bold phrase makes clear but San Francisco is worse.  It is like picking The Donald over Herself.  Then he comes up with the sentence we all hope to write.  We need to set it up with another:

Political correctness (PC) often comes from a good place—I think we should all be willing to make accommodations to treat others well.  But too often it ends up being used as a club for something orthogonal to protecting actual victims.

We don’t find the often in the first sentence convincing and the second sentence shows how PC can be the opposite of accommodations but the second sentence is sublime.  It makes a great point in a pithy manner.

We have been working on a piece about how leftist nasty has infected conservative writers.  We know there are reasonable leftists out there but that the nasty on both sides can drown the analysis.  It is nice to find one like Sam.

Democracy In Primaries

This morning in the after-handball discussions we agreed with Jay Cost about the problems of primaries.  We identified the challenges of voting in Alabama today and then agreed that the final three in the presidential primaries were thoroughly unimpressive.  We didn’t know that Jay Cost (at NRO) had said about the same thing:

In my judgment, the top three finishers in 2016 among the two parties — Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders — were manifestly unfit characters to serve as commander in chief.

Jay can be an honorary handball player.  He then says it would be nice to have a solution to this problem we have seen in several presidential primaries and many senate primaries:

It is advisable instead to find some wise, virtuous, and public-spirited intermediate body that will channel the interests of the people into a slate of candidates who can represent the true welfare of the nation.

Yes it would be advisable.  He goes on to say:

It is advisable instead to find some wise, virtuous, and public-spirited intermediate body that will channel the interests of the people into a slate of candidates who can represent the true welfare of the nation.

Perhaps Madison and Jefferson are looking for a new gig.  If not, we will offer our services to both parties.  We share Jay’s concerns about democracy but we don’t see asking smaller groups to make the initial decisions will be any better.  In fact one of the presidential problems is the initial primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire.  Our only solution is equally utopian.  We need a serious, diverse press that helps inform folks making those decisions.  We expect to see weak nominees continue at the state and national level because we don’t see a solution.

Yea Democrats, Boo Press

Al Franken is resigning under pressure from Democrats. The AP says:

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken’s departure from the Senate solves one problem for Democrats, demonstrating their will to push out one of their own when sexual harassment allegations pile up.

Good for the Democrats!  Neither party has covered itself in glory over policing its own but it has been a particular problem for the Democrats since Harry Truman left.  On the other hand, the press wants him to leave as the lion of the Senate.

Sidebar: Yes this is our less subtle dig at the Democrats as Ted Kennedy is often given that mantle.  Teddy is the one who left Mary Jo Kopechne to die, invented Borking, and had problems with females.  He is evidence of the difficulty that Democrats have in policing their own. End Sidebar.

He is a 66 year-old celebrity back bencher who is the poster boy for ballot integrity.  Yet one AP report we couldn’t find online called him a rising star.  Perhaps it was a subtle dig at the Democrats age problem.  Another AP report said:

Franken, 66, had gained respect as a serious lawmaker in recent years and had even been mentioned in talk about the 2020 presidential race.

We had not mentioned Al so don’t blame us.  We expect Cory or Kamala.  Perhaps there is hope for the Democrats but until the press comes around it seems unlikely.

New Friends For W And Jonah?

George W Bush’s recent speech has attracted some interesting press.  It has also given Jonah Goldberg something interesting to say about The Donald and his relationship to others.  Let’s start with the speech.  The Politico title is: Full Text George W. Bush Speech On Trumpism.  It connects to Edward-Isaac Dovere’s article: George W. Bush Slams Trumpism, Without Mentioning The President By Name.  The two titles give it away.  W is now a leftist hero because he attacked The Donald even though he did not mention him.

We read the speech and thought The Donald wasn’t the main target.  In one paragraph he uses the time frame since World War II.  In the next paragraph W says the following:

For more than 70 years, the presidents of both parties believed that American security and prosperity were directly tied to the success of freedom in the world. And they knew that the success depended, in large part, on U.S. leadership. This mission came naturally, because it expressed the DNA of American idealism.

So does the 70 years mean from 1945 to 2015?  We don’t think it does for two reasons.  One, FDR became a fan of US leadership in the late 30s or early 40s.  We think that his relationship with Churchill dates it in the 30s.  Second, the US president from 2009 to 2017 was no fan of freedom in the world or US leadership.  We see the criticisms from W falling at least as heavily on him as The Donald.

That brings us around to Jonah.  We think that recently he has missed that there are many of us who voted for The Donald because we felt he was the better choice.  We still think that is true.  But Jonah has a crucial point:

But it seems like almost everybody is only hearing what they want to hear. Liberals, the media, and — importantly — President Trump’s Amen Corner all heard the same thing in Bush’s remarks: “Blah, blah, blah, blah, Trump Bad.” That’s why Bush is suddenly benefitting from a strange new respect from liberals and a strange new hatred from former supporters.

Our reaction is clearly within those bounds of hearing what we want to hear although we continue to be a big supporter of W, much less excited about The Donald, and decidedly unenthusiastic about the president between them.  Shortly after that Jonah asks:

I want to ask you to entertain a thought experiment. Imagine, if just for a moment, that all of you who fall into one of these camps are entirely wrong. What if President Bush was aiming his fire at Democrats and liberals?

We are not a liberal and we are not in The Donald’s Amen Corner (but we are fans of Amen Corner at Augusta).  We think that W was defending his administration but that he did direct most of his fire at the Democrats and liberals.  We like Jonah’s point and question.  We all need to ask if we misunderstand somebody.  This is especially true when they don’t name names.  When we read the speech by W we were shocked to see the headline and the related article.  We saw it as an epic takedown of that other president.  Try going through it line by line and see what you think.  As for now, Jonah is back as a must read for us.

Conservative Faculty

At least some students at Georgetown University want more conservative faculty.  Mark Judge at Acculturated (also published on NRO) reports on an editorial in the official student newspaper, the Hoya:

Instead, they make a straightforward case that the dearth of conservative professors at Georgetown is leaving students unprepared for the genuine diversity—that is, the diversity of thought—that is part of the real world. Georgetown’s homogeneity, they argue, is leading to an atrophying of their skills for debate and reasoned argument. In other words, without conservatives, they have no one to test their ideas against.

They also review the evidence that that there are fewer conservative faculty members.  The Hoya, Mark, and NRO are all correct to say this but they miss the big structural problems that make diversifying faculty so hard.  The structural problems might be organized as graduating, teaching, and publishing.

Most faculty positions require a terminal degree, usually a Ph.D., and that is what we mean by graduating.  To get a terminal degree you write a thesis and that is largely controlled by your senior professor.  Graduating provides a bigger challenge if you are a conservative because few of those senior professors are.

Faculty members need to teach.  The problem is that the curriculum is controlled by folks who are not conservatives.  Thus we have Peace Studies

Sidebar: Here is the search for Peace Studies: http://search.privacysearch.net/q=cGVhY2Ugc3R1ZGllcw==&b=PC_80801124&qpt=na
It is one example of how new leftist programs are crowding out traditional, and often, more conservative programs.  End Sidebar.

and many otherprograms that designed by and staffed by the Left.  We talked to a military historian (we don’t know if he was a conservative but we suspect it) who said he had to leave because there was nothing for him to teach.  One data point is limited evidence but all of the programs suggest the problem more strongly.

Publishing is one of the things faculty need to do to get promoted.  Specifically, they need to publish at a level appropriate for their school.  Major programs require “A hits” while comprehensives like our school are less impressed by prestige but require that you be active in reasonable journals.  It is our judgment that leftist oriented journals have flourished to provide more outlets for them.  We were happy to see them (leftists) succeed because it was good for the department and the college.  There have been a couple of instances where folks have got a joke article published in those journals.  So there is concern about the intellectual quality of such journals but more troubling is the report by Andy Ngo in Quillette about an article, The Case For Colonialism, by associate professor Bruce Gilley in Third World Quarterly (TWQ).  It seems to us that the author was pointing out the obvious when:

[Bruce] argues that nations who embraced and built on their Western colonial legacy, for example, Singapore, have fared better than those who followed anti-colonial nationalist ideologies.

Instead, Bruce created a firestorm.  There were 17,000 signatures from two petitions and 15 resignations from the TWQ editorial board.  Seriously! You must read the whole thing.  Andy leads with the most astonishing part:

An academic journal [TWQ]l that published a controversial article making a case for Western colonialism has withdrawn the piece after its editor received “serious and credible threats” of violence.

Bruce is lucky to be an associate professor as associate usually indicates tenure, but he might remain one for a long time as publications will be hard to come by.

Bruce’s situation is exactly why conservatives are not drawn to academia and exactly why it is difficult for them to survive.  The Hoya is right about the need for diversity but it will take more than student editorials to bring more conservatives into the faculty ranks.

 

A Good Start

We have been hard on the WSJ lately.  Holman Jenkins, jr, one of our favorites, did nothing to help their batting average.  We’ll see if we can get to that later.  Edward Kleinbard has an excellent idea about tax reform that is consistent with our thinking.  You can look it up as we don’t reference ourselves.  Edward reports that a carbon tax of $25 per metric ton would raise $1 trillion over ten years.  He starts with some assertions that are not unreasonable:

To reset the competitiveness of the U.S. tax system, corporate tax reform must be permanent and revenue-neutral. The $1.5 trillion in incremental deficits just approved by the Senate would actually cut into growth, because interest costs on new debt crowd out private investment.

We would add that the reform of corporate taxes (business taxes would be even better) must be large.  He then outlines the positions of the two parties and where the room is for negotiations:

Earlier this year Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Brian Schatz proposed a trade along these lines, but their plan is politically infeasible. They want a carbon tax rate that starts at $49 a ton and ratchets up annually, and their suggested 29% corporate tax rate is unresponsive to the needs of Republicans and many business leaders. This doesn’t mean a deal can’t be reached. The parties need to embrace face-to-face negotiations—not Republican leaders holed up in the White House trying to get corporate tax reform done without a single Democratic vote.

We would also insist on eliminating the gas and diesel tax so that gas is not subject to a double carbon tax. We think $49 per metric ton is high and $25 would be fine but that is the business of politics to negotiate.  A carbon tax of $49 might be sufficient to eliminate the gas tax and corporate tax.  Alternatively, the $49 carbon tax might allow elimination of the gas tax, reducing the corporate rate to 15 percent, and refunding part of social security for low income folks.  Reducing social security would keep the carbon tax from falling too heavily on low-income folks.

We are with Edward.  It is time to negotiate.  Accepting a carbon tax for reduced business taxes seems like a reasonable deal.  You elected officials should be better at negotiation than you have shown so far.