August 2017 Archives


Kurt Schlichter argues that tribalism breeds tribalism in a vicious cycle that is and will be bad for America. It is sad and worrisome to see tribalism growing on the Right in response to the Left's tribalism, but I don't really see how to de-escalate the situation. Tribalism seems to be a stable equilibrium in most of the world, so maybe we're doomed to it.

Now, the old rule for us conservatives was that businesses could do pretty much whatever they pleased, with minimal regulation, if they focused on maximizing profit and thereby rained benefits down upon society in the form of wealth and job creation. It was a good system, but, like all systems, to get benefits you have to meet certain obligations. For businesses, one obligation was to generally stay out of the cultural and political octagon. ...

See, what leftists do not get is that principles are part of systems. Principles do not stand alone; they are nested within a system and together they make it function smoothly. Our system isn't some cultural cafeteria where you load up your plate with the principles you like and hard pass on the principles you don't. If you decide you don't want to play your part in the system, you shouldn't be shocked when the other participants make the same decision. "Free enterprise" means "enterprise generally free of government control," and it's stunning that the Silicon Valley people we hear are so smart don't foresee that when their "enterprise" morphs into a partisan political campaign the people on the other side of the spectrum are going to leverage their own political power in response.


Megan McArdle connects the obvious dots: slow wage growth is due to slow productivity growth.

A lot of sectors don't have room to raise wages. There's a common pattern in internet commentary: Some article is published, full of manufacturers complaining that they can't find workers for good old-fashioned jobs, and the left half of the commentariat lowers their spectacles, looks down the bridge of their nose, and inquires "I say, old chap, did you try offering them more money?" The problem is that in many cases these employers can't offer more money, because at current wages they are just barely competitive with China (or some other country).

There are other factors, but slowing productivity growth is the critical bit. The key factor that McArdle doesn't mention is that as more humans are replaced by machines, replacing each additional human costs more and produces a proportionally smaller gain in productivity. The low-hanging fruit is quickly being picked, or has already been eaten. Mmmmm, fruit.


So writes Larry Elder, detailing three brilliant men who should be an inspiration to every American. The writings of Clarence Thomas and Thomas Sowell in particular have had a big influence on my thinking.

Clarence Thomas, one of nine members of the Supreme Court and the second black to ever join the Court, is not in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Asked to explain Thomas' absence, the chief spokeswoman for the Smithsonian said, "The museum's exhibitions are based on themes, not individuals."

Yet the museum plans to add a popular local D.C. television news broadcaster. ...

As for Sowell, he's only an economist and writer whom playwright David Mamet once called "our greatest contemporary philosopher." Sowell, who never knew his father, was raised by a great-aunt and her two grown daughters. They lived in Harlem, where he was the first in his family to make it past the sixth grade. He left home at 17, served as a Marine in the Korean War, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, earned a master's degree at Columbia University the next year, followed by a Ph.D. in economics at the University of Chicago.

Sowell, at 87, authored some four dozen books (not counting revised editions) and wrote hundreds of scholarly articles and essays in periodicals and thousands of newspaper columns. In 2015, Forbes magazine said: "It's a scandal that economist Thomas Sowell has not been awarded the Nobel Prize. No one alive has turned out so many insightful, richly researched books." Yet, thanks in part to the Ebony shutout, many blacks have never heard of him.

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