Illiberal Contempt

From David French at National Review, America’s ‘Smug-Liberal Problem’

The only people who can’t recognize that our nation has a “smug liberal” problem are smug liberals. Case in point, smug liberal (and television comedienne) Samantha Bee. On Sunday, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Bee to react to a pre-election Ross Douthat column that called out Bee and other late-night comics in part for creating a comedy world of “hectoring monologues,” full of comedians who are “less comics than propagandists — liberal ‘explanatory journalists’ with laugh lines.”

We’re all familiar with the style. It features the generous use of selective clips from Fox News, copious amounts of mockery, and a quick Wikipedia- and Google-search level of factual understanding. The basic theme is always the same: Look at how corrupt, evil, and stupid our opponents are, look how obviously correct we are, and laugh at my marvelous and clever explanatory talent. It’s like sitting through an especially ignorant and heavy-handed Ivy League lecture, complete with the sycophantic crowd lapping up every word.

Yes, there is a smug-liberal problem in America, one that smart liberals recognize. Stephens is right. You don’t win converts with mockery. You can sometimes win grudging compliance, but you mainly make enemies — especially when your mockery reveals your own ignorance and inconsistency. But as we know, the smug liberal doesn’t care. They want to make enemies. After all, how do they measure their own virtue? When the Right rages, they rejoice. The unbelievers deserve their pain.


Samantha Bee is the epitome of unfunny political commentary.  This smugness is just seething with illiberalism and contempt and is a major reason for Trump’s victory. As Peggy Noonan said so appropriately Trump Has Been Lucky in His Enemies


True Health Care Reform

From Jeff Jacoby, Ditch Obamacare, and don’t stop there:

“Republicans want medicine to be inexpensive and effective,” commentator Mark Humphrey writes, “but they do not want to repeal the morass of regulations that make it expensive and ineffective.

Just so. But they can’t have one without the other — and without braving the political storms that have made such chaos of America’s health care and health insurance landscape.

If Republicans were serious, and willing to endure some political pain to reach a better outcome, they’d eliminate the tax deduction for employers who provide health insurance as part of employee compensation. They’d repeal laws that force insurers to cover a legislated array of medical benefits and treatments. They’d remove the barriers that restrict consumers in one state from purchasing health insurance across state lines.

And they’d break the destructive habit of treating health insurance as the logical and preferable way to pay for routine health care.

Were members of Congress to enact all that, they would be replacing a dysfunctional, expensive, and coercive environment with something vastly better: a robust, competitive market focused on the interests of consumers — not on the demands of the insurance cartel and the political class. They would be restoring the price transparency that has long been missing from health care. They would be encouraging medical providers and insurers to compete in earnest — which would inevitably lower prices and improve quality. They would be de-linking medical coverage from employment, and endowing tens of millions of Americans with the economic leverage that comes with choosing for themselves what policies they will buy and from whom. And they would be ending the crazy distortions caused by using health insurance to pay for regular, ordinary expenses — something we would never think of doing with automobile or homeowner’s insurance.


I agree with most of this, but I believe there needs to be some regulation on the pertinent pools to allow people to buy coverage with pre-existing conditions. They must however take the action and not be allowed to scam the system. It would be cheaper for the government to provide vouchers and simply buy the insurance to keep the poor in the pool. Recognize the costs and pay for it- don’t hide it behind mandates, regulations and wishful thinking.

The problem is not insuring for pre-existing conditions, it is doing so in a way that does not focus that cost on a small pool, and allows for gaming the system by only insuring during short term needs.

My Three Favorite Pedestrian Pens

Uniball Signo .38


Pilot Juice .38


PaperMate Ink Joy


I prefer fine points. These all write thin lines in gel with absolutely zero skipping,  I use them all everyday.  I enjoy my collection of fountain pens, a habit I got from my mother, but for daily note taking and writing in pocket journals and marking and editing copy, these are all great.

I also recommend The Pen Addict and JetPens for those who also suffer this obsession.



Observations 2017 03 01

The WSJ noted that viewers watch YouTube videos one BILLION hours a day. It will soon eclipse the total hours spent watching television.

Warren Buffett’s company now owns $18 billion worth of Apple. Not bad for a guy who shuns high tech.

Tyler Cowen’s recent The Complacent Class (downloaded not yet read) is the newest of books that seek to explain our economic stagnation in terms other than bad policy. The Rise and Fall of American Growth by Robert Gordon attributed it to changes in structural dynamics.  Cowen attributes it more to a spiritual shift against risk taking. He notes the decrease in the number of eligible workers who work, and the sharp drop in startup companies. This may greatly frustrate old policy prescriptions if this is true.

Trump’s bombastic persona attracts conflict.  I wonder if the same cabinet picks and the same actions would be received differently if it came from a President Marco Rubio or a President John Kasich.

Why don’t we see self-checkout lines in the office supply stores?

Given the ease of ordering online why do the bricks and mortar stores add to the hassle of a checkout?  Too few registers, requests to donate to THEIR favorite charity (the epitome of commercial virtue signaling), the need to enter your rewards card number or the correct phone number to access it, and the checkout clerk’s push of some new product in the store are all starting to become annoying.  When you charge it you now need to enter an e-mail number or chose that venue over a paper receipt.  Who needs one more e-mail?  How about I give you the money, you give me the paper clips- deal done. Remember the alternative to this is one-click-shopping; the greatest shopping convenience ever. This is why my garage is filled with Amazon boxes.

Confusing Political Means with Noble Ends

from National Review, George Will on the inauguration, A Most Dreadful Inaugural Address

Looking out toward where the fields of the republic roll on, Trump, a Gatsby for our time, said: “What truly matters is not which party controls our government but whether our government is controlled by the people.” Well.

“A dependence on the people,” James Madison wrote, “is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.” He meant the checks and balances of our constitutional architecture. They are necessary because, as Madison anticipated and as the nation was reminded on Friday, “Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.”


What matters is that we retain constitutional liberalism and liberty.  Popular majoritarian democracy is only a means, not an end. The distinction is the difference between liberty and tyranny.