Alex Epstein: Decriminalize Nuclear

Alex Epstein has a podcast on “Steps toward decriminalizing nuclear” with Robert Hargraves, cofounder of ThorCon and author of “Thorium: Energy Cheaper Than Coal.”

Topics covered include:

  • Why since the creation of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) over 45 years ago not one nuclear power plant has been designed and built to completion.
  • Why the Linear no Threshold guiding the NRC should be abolished.
  • What ALARA is, and how it increases nuclear costs.
  • Why South Korea builds nuclear plants at 1/3 US costs.
  • Should the NRC exist at all?

Salsman: Keynesianism is Potterism

Writes economist Richard Salsman over at the IFI blog:

To understand this, think: “Harry Potter’s wands.” That is the essence of Keynesian mythology, the basic idea, the notion, nostrum, fantasy, and fable – “the narrative” (today’s euphemism for fakery). Politicians now are mere vessels, spokesmen for the almighty People; they “speak their truth” and reveal their internalized, private fictions, untethered to reality. Keynesianism is Potterism. As quackery, it doesn’t bother to “follow the science” (of economics). It was mostly rejected during the neo-liberal supply-side revolution of the 1980s-1990s, but has since risen from its too-shallow grave, to stalk and block prosperity. Keynesian policy is always the policy of choice for statists – those who oppose choice (economic liberty) per se.

In 1936 Keynes the Quack wrote an influential book that later was crudely imported into a widely adopted college textbook written by MIT’s Paul Samuelson (Economics, in fourteen editions between 1948 and 1992). For nearly half a century, all over the world, millions of professors, pupils, politicians, preachers, and policymakers were fed Keynesian absurdities, including these:

“Pyramid-building, earthquakes, even wars may serve to increase wealth, if the education of our statesmen on the principles of the classical [free-market] economics stands in the way of anything better.” “If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with banknotes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coalmines which are then filled up to the surface with town rubbish, and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried principles of laissez-faire to dig the notes up again, there need be no more unemployment and, with the help of the repercussions, the real income of the community, and its capital wealth also, would probably become a good deal greater than it actually is. It would, indeed, be more sensible to build houses and the like; but if there are political and practical difficulties in the way of this, the above would be better than nothing.”(John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, 1936)

Perhaps I’m being unfair, quoting a non-serious passage from a stupid work many decades old, which no serious economist today would dare take seriously (let alone invoke as grounds for contemporary policy). But in April 2009, at the end of the U.S. recession which began in late 2007, Princeton professor Paul Krugman wrote “Time for Bottles in a Coal Mine,” for his New York Times column. Citing Keynes’s 1936 passage (above), Krugman extolled a “stimulus” scheme even as the economy was recovering (and presumably didn’t need the “help” of more fake money). In 2012, when it should have obvious that the U.S. economy was out of recession and expanding nicely, Krugman published End This Depression Now! He was more delusional than usual, mad with anger that vastly more “stimulus” had not been forthcoming from his hero Obama; by 2012 Krugman convinced himself that the 2007-09 recession had worsened. This is the quack who got the Nobel prize in 2008. [“Yet Another Anti-Stimulus Scheme“]

 

 

 

Steve Simpson: Ending CDC Eviction Ban Victory For Rule of Law

From Pacific Legal Foundation:

  • Congress did not authorize the CDC to ban evictions, and the Constitution’s separation of powers does not allow the CDC to make law.
  • Government cannot foist the economic burdens of the pandemic on a single group, landlords who solve the very problem that the government is concerned about: providing housing so that people can socially distance.

A federal judge ruled today that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overstepped its authority in issuing a nationwide eviction ban. The ruling is a victory for a group of Ohio landlords and the National Association of Home Builders, who challenged the moratorium in October.

Today’s decision in Skyworks v. Centers for Disease Control allows evictions to resume, restoring the landlords’ rights to remove tenants who don’t honor their lease obligation to pay rent.

“This is a victory for the rule of law,” said Steve Simpson, a senior attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, which represented the landlords. “This decision makes clear that federal agencies can’t exercise power Congress has not given them. Now our clients no longer have to provide housing for free.”

Judge Philip Calabrese’s declaratory judgment held that the CDC lacks the statutory authority to promulgate the eviction ban, writing,

“Without question, effective pandemic response depends on the judgment of reliable science—not political science. But that obvious truism does not empower agencies or their officials to exceed the mandate Congress gives them.”

Onkar Ghate on Why The Enlightenment Matters

Onkar Ghate on “The Enlightenment and the Foundations of Liberty and Progress,” at the recent AynRandCon online conference.

Issues covered include:

  • What were the essential ideas that defined the Age of Enlightenment?
  • How did those ideas lead to the founding of America and the explosion of progress that was the Industrial Revolution?
  • And why—in spite of that progress—did the world reverse course politically, leading to the rise of totalitarian statism in the 20th century?
  • What is needed to shore up those deficiencies and put the Enlightenment’s ideals on a rational foundation.

Fauci Picks Em

From July 2020:

How did they do it?

From Cuomo Advisers Altered Report on Covid-19 Nursing-Home Deaths (WSJ):

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top advisers successfully pushed state health officials to strip a public report of data showing that more nursing-home residents had died of Covid-19 than the administration had acknowledged, according to people with knowledge of the report’s production.

The July report, which examined the factors that led to the spread of the virus in nursing homes, focused only on residents who died inside long-term-care facilities, leaving out those who had died in hospitals after becoming sick in nursing homes. As a result, the report said 6,432 nursing-home residents had died—a significant undercount of the death toll attributed to the state’s most vulnerable population, the people said. The initial version of the report said nearly 10,000 nursing-home residents had died in New York by July last year, one of the people said.

The changes Mr. Cuomo’s aides and health officials made to the nursing-home report, which haven’t been previously disclosed, reveal that the state possessed a fuller accounting of out-of-facility nursing-home deaths as early as the summer. The Health Department resisted calls by state and federal lawmakers, media outlets and others to release the data for another eight months.

State officials now say more than 15,000 residents of nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities were confirmed or presumed to have died from Covid-19 since March of last year—counting both those who died in long-term-care facilities and those who died later in hospitals. That figure is about 50% higher than earlier official death tolls.

Related: Governor Andrew Cuomo Deserves Emmy But Not Governorship

Academic Cancel Culture, and the Left’s Attempts to Stifle Intellectual Dissent

Andrew Bernstein and Bosch Fawstin interview Dr. Jason Hill, a philosophy professor at DePaul University in Chicago. Topics include transgender insanity, Dr. Hill’s battle with academic cancel culture regarding this issue, and, more broadly, the Left’s ongoing attempts to stifle all intellectual dissent. For anyone concerned with freedom of speech and of intellectual expression, these are immensely important issues.

“If the Capitol Riot was ‘Domestic Terrorism’, Why Wasn’t the BLM Attack on the White House?”

That’s the simple question asked by Daniel Greenfield at FrontPage:

If the Capitol Riot was domestic terrorism, then when Black Lives Matter besieged the White House, set fire to its gatehouse and to the Church of Presidents, why wasn’t that domestic terrorism? There’s no coherent answer, except perhaps Merrick Garland’s answer that it happened at night”

“But the White House is always the center of government. President Trump and his family had to be rushed to the bunker when BLM attacked. Why doesn’t that fit Wray and Garland’s definition of domestic terrorism?”

And the answer is…

 

 

The New Critical Race Orthodoxy on College Campuses

Bari Weiss writes on the saga of Jodi Shaw in “Whistleblower at Smith College Resigns Over Racism.”

Here is Shaw’s resignation letter to Smith College President Kathleen McCartney, originally published on journalist Bari Weiss’ Substack blog, available at bariweiss.substack.com:

Dear President McCartney:

I am writing to notify you that effective today, I am resigning from my position as Student Support Coordinator in the Department of Residence Life at Smith College. This has not been an easy decision, as I now face a deeply uncertain future. As a divorced mother of two, the economic uncertainty brought about by this resignation will impact my children as well. But I have no choice. The racially hostile environment that the college has subjected me to for the past 2¹/₂ years has left me physically and mentally debilitated. I can no longer work in this environment, nor can I remain silent about a matter so central to basic human dignity and freedom.

I graduated from Smith College in 1993. Those four years were among the best in my life. Naturally, I was over the moon when, years later, I had the opportunity to join Smith as a staff member. I loved my job and I loved being back at Smith.

But the climate — and my place at the college — changed dramatically when, in July 2018, the culture war arrived at our campus when a student accused a white staff member of calling campus security on her because of racial bias. The student, who is black, shared her account of this incident widely on social media, drawing a lot of attention to the college.

Before even investigating the facts of the incident, the college immediately issued a public apology to the student, placed the employee on leave, and announced its intention to create new initiatives, committees, workshops, trainings and policies aimed at combating “systemic racism” on campus.

In spite of an independent investigation into the incident that found no evidence of racial bias, the college ramped up its initiatives aimed at dismantling the supposed racism that pervades the campus. This only served to support the now prevailing narrative that the incident had been racially motivated and that Smith staff are racist.

Allowing this narrative to dominate has had a profound impact on the Smith community and on me personally. For example, in August 2018, just days before I was to present a library orientation program into which I had poured a tremendous amount of time and effort, and which had previously been approved by my supervisors, I was told that I could not proceed with the planned program. Because it was going to be done in rap form and “because you are white,” as my supervisor told me, that could be viewed as “cultural appropriation.” My supervisor made clear he did not object to a rap in general, nor to the idea of using music to convey orientation information to students. The problem was my skin color.

I was up for a full-time position in the library at that time, and I was essentially informed that my candidacy for that position was dependent upon my ability, in a matter of days, to reinvent a program to which I had devoted months of time.

Humiliated, and knowing my candidacy for the full-time position was now dead in the water, I moved into my current, lower-paying position as Student Support Coordinator in the Department of Residence Life.

As it turned out, my experience in the library was just the beginning. In my new position, I was told on multiple occasions that discussing my personal thoughts and feelings about my skin color is a requirement of my job. I endured racially hostile comments, and was expected to participate in racially prejudicial behavior as a continued condition of my employment. I endured meetings in which another staff member violently banged his fist on the table, chanting, “Rich, white women! Rich, white women!” in reference to Smith alumnae.

I listened to my supervisor openly name preferred racial quotas for job openings in our department. I was given supplemental literature in which the world’s population was reduced to two categories — “dominant group members” and “subordinated group members” — based solely on characteristics like race.

Every day, I watch my colleagues manage student conflict through the lens of race, projecting rigid assumptions and stereotypes on students, thereby reducing them to the color of their skin. I am asked to do the same, as well as to support a curriculum for students that teaches them to project those same stereotypes and assumptions onto themselves and others. I believe such a curriculum is dehumanizing, prevents authentic connection and undermines the moral agency of young people who are just beginning to find their way in the world.

Although I have spoken to many staff and faculty at the college who are deeply troubled by all of this, they are too terrified to speak out about it. This illustrates the deeply hostile and fearful culture that pervades Smith College.

The last straw came in January 2020, when I attended a mandatory Residence Life staff retreat focused on racial issues. The hired facilitators asked each member of the department to respond to various personal questions about race and racial identity. When it was my turn to respond, I said, “I don’t feel comfortable talking about that.” I was the only person in the room to abstain.

Later, the facilitators told everyone present that a white person’s discomfort at discussing their race is a symptom of “white fragility.” They said that the white person may seem like they are in distress, but that it is actually a “power play.” In other words, because I am white, my genuine discomfort was framed as an act of aggression. I was shamed and humiliated in front of all of my colleagues.

I filed an internal complaint about the hostile environment, but throughout that process, over the course of almost six months, I felt like my complaint was taken less seriously because of my race. I was told that the civil-rights law protections were not created to help people like me. And after I filed my complaint, I started to experience retaliatory behavior, like having important aspects of my job taken away without explanation.

Under the guise of racial progress, Smith College has created a racially hostile environment in which individual acts of discrimination and hostility flourish. In this environment, people’s worth as human beings, and the degree to which they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, is determined by the color of their skin. It is an environment in which dissenting from the new critical race orthodoxy — or even failing to swear fealty to it like some kind of McCarthy-era loyalty oath — is grounds for public humiliation and professional retaliation.

I can no longer continue to work in an environment where I am constantly subjected to additional scrutiny because of my skin color. I can no longer work in an environment where I am told, publicly, that my personal feelings of discomfort under such scrutiny are not legitimate but instead are a manifestation of white supremacy. Perhaps most importantly, I can no longer work in an environment where I am expected to apply similar race-based stereotypes and assumptions to others, and where I am told — when I complain about having to engage in what I believe to be discriminatory practices — that there are “legitimate reasons for asking employees to consider race” in order to achieve the college’s “social justice objectives.”

What passes for “progressive” today at Smith and at so many other institutions is regressive. It taps into humanity’s worst instincts to break down into warring factions, and I fear this is rapidly leading us to a very twisted place. It terrifies me that others don’t seem to see that racial segregation and demonization are wrong and dangerous no matter what its victims look like. Being told that any disagreement or feelings of discomfort somehow upholds “white supremacy” is not just morally wrong. It is psychologically abusive.

Equally troubling are the many others who understand and know full well how damaging this is, but do not speak out due to fear of professional retaliation, social censure and loss of their livelihood and reputation. I fear that by the time people see it, or those who see it manage to screw up the moral courage to speak out, it will be too late.

I wanted to change things at Smith. I hoped that by bringing an internal complaint, I could somehow get the administration to see that their capitulation to critical race orthodoxy was causing real, measurable harm. When that failed, I hoped that drawing public attention to these problems at Smith would finally awaken the administration to this reality. I have come to conclude, however, that the college is so deeply committed to this toxic ideology that the only way for me to escape the racially hostile climate is to resign. It is completely unacceptable that we are now living in a culture in which one must choose between remaining in a racially hostile, psychologically abusive environment or giving up their income.

Enlarge Image Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts where a student accused a security guard of racial profiling her in 2018.Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images
As a proud Smith alum, I know what a critical role this institution has played in shaping my life and the lives of so many women for 150 years. I want to see this institution be the force for good I know it can be. I will not give up fighting against the dangerous pall of orthodoxy that has descended over Smith and so many of our educational institutions.

This was an extremely difficult decision for me and comes at a deep personal cost. I make $45,000 a year; less than a year’s tuition for a Smith student. I was offered a settlement in exchange for my silence, but I turned it down. My need to tell the truth — and to be the kind of woman Smith taught me to be — makes it impossible for me to accept financial security at the expense of remaining silent about something I know is wrong. My children’s future, and indeed, our collective future as a free nation, depends on people having the courage to stand up to this dangerous and divisive ideology, no matter the cost.

Sincerely,

Jodi Shaw

Comments Weiss:

What is happening is wrong. Any ideology that asks people to judge others based on their skin color is wrong. Any ideology that asks us to reduce ourselves and others to racial stereotypes is wrong. Any ideology that treats dissent as evidence of bigotry is wrong. Any ideology that denies our common humanity is wrong. You should say so. Just like Jodi Shaw has.

If you would like to help support Jodi with her legal fees, visit her GoFundMe page.

Governor Andrew Cuomo Deserves Emmy But Not Governorship

Writes Henry Olsen in an opinion column in the Washington Post on Andrew Cuomo’s reign as governor of New York:

“Cuomo, a Democrat, did not incite an insurrection, but his decision to send hospitalized covid-positive seniors back to their nursing homes and assisted-living facilities likely led to the deaths of thousands of people. More than 9,000 people who had tested positive for the coronavirus were sent back to these facilities under Cuomo’s orders. Given what was known even in the early days of the pandemic about covid-19’s transmissibility and the lethal threat it posed to the aged, this was a horrific decision. The state has said that more than 8,600 people died from the virus in nursing homes, many surely infected because of Cuomo’s order. New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a report last month that the true total is thousands higher. That alone should be grounds for his removal from office.”

“But it gets worse. The New York Post reported on Thursday that a top aide for the governor, Melissa DeRosa, said while speaking to a group of New York Democratic lawmakers that the Cuomo administration rebuffed earlier requests from the Justice Department and state legislature for updated figures for deaths in nursing homes because of fear of a potential federal investigation. If true, the Cuomo administration authorized a coverup of his activities to avoid potential political, and even legal, exposure.”