Showing posts with label megan mcardle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label megan mcardle. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Joel Kotkin, who’s been declaring urban life so over for years, is back to preach the gospel again to the conservatives who love his schtick. The last U.S. Census revealed a 12% jump in urban population between 2000 to 2010 – a significant reversal of decades of white flight – and the trend seems not to be reversing, but Kotkin still reassures the rubes that the outlands will always be #1:
Despite all the constant claims of a massive “return to the city,” urban populations are growing no faster than those in suburbs, and, in the past few years, far slower than those of the hated exurbs. This means we won’t see much change in the foreseeable future in the current 70 to 80 percent of people in metropolitan America who live in suburbs and beyond.
This seems rather defensive – who hates exurbs, besides the people forced to live in them? Anyway what really seems to bother Kotkin is that cities no longer give us Republican mayors like Rudy Giuliani, but commies like Bill de Blasio, and Republicans’ vote numbers in cities, traditionally lousy, are even worse than they used to be. Kotkin laments this as a sign of “increasingly homogeneous political culture,” because diversity suddenly ceases to be a swear word to conservatives when it benefits them.

What really seems to piss Kotkin off, though, is the kind of people who are beefing up the cities. The “white-majority, middle-class neighborhoods in places like Brooklyn, Queens and the San Fernando Valley” have gone away, replaced by “racial minorities, hipsters, and upper-class sophisticates” – a trifecta of rightwing boogeymen!

Kotkin complains about the collapse of manufacturing – as if it were caused by liberal elitism, not by rampaging capitalism – but seems less interested in giving poor and marginally educated citizens back their traditional employment than in nostalgia for old Archie Bunker types versus the young, black, collegiate crew that has supplanted them. The new-class resentment is so thick I thought at times I was reading a Megan McArdle column.

While I have never seen Kotkin disturbed by the vast gulf in wealth between Wall Street bankers and the lumpenproles, he is very sensitive to inequality now that hippie-commies are in on it:
This urban economy has created many of the most unequal places in the country. At the top are the rich and super-affluent who have rediscovered the blessings of urbanity, followed by a large cadre of young and middle-aged professionals, many of them childless.
These childless cadres go for “good restaurants, shops and festivals, not child-friendly parks and family-oriented stores. Sometimes even crazy notions—such as allowing people to walk through the streets of San Francisco naked—are tolerated in a way no child-centric suburb would allow.” You can practically hear his audience gasp at this like simple country folk watching a melodrama of wicked city life.

But any Sodom-and-Gomorrah story worth its pillar of salt must predict doom for the ungodly, and Kotkin obliges:
Such social imbalances are not, as is the favored term among the trendy, sustainable. We appear to be creating the conditions for a new wave of violent crime on a scale not seen since the early 1990s. Along with poverty, public disorderliness, gang activity, homelessness and homicides are on the rise in manyAmerican core cities, including Baltimore, Milwaukee, Los Angeles and New York. Racial tensions, particularly with the police, have worsened. So even as left-leaning politicians try to rein in police, recent IRS data in Chicago reveals, the middle class appears to once again be leaving for suburban and other locales.
The plague-o-crime card is a popular favorite with this crew; we see it in cruder iterations at places like Infowars (“PROTESTERS DECLARE THEY ARE READY FOR WAR AS AMERICA’S IMPOVERISHED INNER CITIES THREATEN TO ERUPT“), but also at National Review, most recently in a story by Stephen Eide called “Revive Law-and-Order Conservatism”:
The spectacle of chaos descending on cities long dominated by Democrats obviously plays to the GOP’s advantage. Independent voters in purple-state suburbs don’t like riots. If next summer Philadelphia erupts around the time of the 2016 Democratic national convention, that’s going to be hard for the Left to explain.
This is so wonderfully ripe you almost want to ignore Eide’s vague nod to the facts – “Yes, murders, assaults, and robberies have plummeted since the early 1990s, but the peak was very high to begin with.” (Since he buried it, apparently he’d like you ignore it, too.) But whether up or down, crime is important as the talisman with which the GOP will win nervous honky voters. But first the brethren have to toughen up:
But short-term political calculations aside, Republican candidates must provide leadership on this issue. Conservative attitudes toward crime and punishment are notably softer now than they have been in many decades. Nebraska, which hasn’t voted Democratic in a presidential election since 1964, outlawed the death penalty in May.
That “libertarian moment” was fun while it lasted, but there’s an election coming up, and so it’s back to magic lantern shows of “racial minorities, hipsters, and upper-class sophisticates” casting long shadows across the electorally-fruited plain.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


The Federalist's Kurt Schlichter went to Europe, but it's hard to guess why, since the way he tells it he  clearly despises the place:
Europe is different from when I first lived there in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was not as superficially wealthy then, although this time I rarely wandered far from where the tourists congregate. On the outside, at least, you would hardly see the rot of debt and welfare-state mismanagement even in Italy and Spain. The people were well dressed. The cafés were expensive but still packed. The cars are fairly new and have shockingly little body damage, when you consider the insanity that overtakes Europeans when they slide behind a steering wheel.
But that’s on the surface. Once you get behind the walls and into interior of the homes, the old cramped shabbiness is still there. All their money goes to clothes, food, and drink, because there’s no room in European apartments for the stuff Americans pack into theirs.
Not a McMansion in sight -- what a bunch of losers!
Countless stores will dress women in the latest, most expensive fashions, but few supply the woman who wishes to dress her children. The merchants know their markets, and you need babies to support baby clothes stores. When you walk the streets, you notice the couples with kids—they stand out, and it’s always just one kid.
No Duggars in this socialist hellhole, I tell you what.
Even the cabbies sigh that the birth rate is below replacement level. Children are the ultimate luxury item.
The Friedman cab driver still lives! Man, Schlichter hates this Europe dump worse than Tyler Cowen and Megan McArdle. Wonder why?
The blood of the likes of Charles Martel no longer runs in the veins of today’s café-dwelling Europeans. They sip coffee and their (excellent) wine and, in Spain, drink their bizarre cerveza/lemonade and rioja/Coca-Cola combinations, oblivious to what’s coming. Perhaps it’s mere ignorance, perhaps it’s a choice. It will end the same way regardless—in blood. When the time comes to choose between picking up a rifle and dying, we’ll find out if the human instinct for self-preservation has successfully been bred out of the men of Europe. I know where I’m putting my money...

Ukraine will fall. The Baltics will fall. Turkey will fall. The Balkans will fall. Europe will fall.

This is the fiesta before the storm, and Europe is busy partying like it’s 1939. These are the New Wilderness Years, except this time the bad guys are going to win.
Ahh, right, they haven't herded their Mooslims into concentration camps so they're worthless and weak. Schlichter's come a ways since he approved Britain at least for its Windsor obsession in his classic "The Royal Baby Is a Rejection of the Family Chaos Liberalism Feeds Upon" column. Now...
When you go to a restaurant or a store in or around London, you almost certainly won’t be served by a native Englishman. Often, it’s an Eastern European. Our most frustrating language challenges took place in the United Kingdom. The immigrants do the work, while working-class Londoners apparently stay home and collect dole checks.
Even England is full of furriners! All those stupid little countries can go to hell!

He'll get to the same place with America, too, once he gets that bunker built.

Friday, March 20, 2015


"I got drugs to take/and a mind to break"
Thanks to Chuck Gilligan for steering me -- these guys do Britain & Mike Skinner proud.

•   After that last post I hate to subject you good people to a Megan McArdle streak, but this is irresistible:

Fans of Tbogg already grok the internet tradition of conflating McArdle's conspicuous-consumerism with her crap political views, but I  think anyone can appreciate that she's seriously miffed Canada has $1.4K Thermomixes but America does not (guess the one she was kvelling about in 2011 got a dent in it or something), and gets her editor to indulge her in speculating at 1,400-word length on the Economix, e.g. "QVC's 'gadget' price point seems to top out at 'Dyson vacuum cleaner,'" tee hee. If they haven't sent her a new "test" model by now this isn't the rotting corpse of a Republic I grew up in.

•   It's clearer than ever that Obama consciously trolls rightwing idiots as a hobby. I'm not sure what to think about the universal voting proposal, but it has elicited some choice gibberish from Peggy Noonan:
Most of us are moved by the sight of citizens lined up at the polls on Election Day. We should urge everyone to care enough to stand in that line. But we should not harass or bother those who, with modesty and even generosity, say they are happy to leave the privilege of the ballot to those who are engaged.
How dare we refuse their generosity by demanding they participate in our stupid "democracy"! Next we'll be demanding they pay taxes! (I wonder what the Crazy Jesus Lady thinks about Ben Carson's request at CPAC last year that conservatives drag their grandparents to the polls even if they say, “I’ve given up on America, I’m just waiting to die.”) Oh, and here's Noonan explaining her apparently brand new idea that Presidents named Bush are bad (except the next one -- he'll be swell!):
George W. Bush broke his party after his 2004 re-election, in part with his immigration proposals and the way he advanced them, with aides insulting his GOP opponents with insults—“nativist,” they said—and, in the end, by two unwon wars.
That's up there with "He dressed badly and was not a good mixer,  in addition to being a serial killer."

•   Remember the Oppressed Children of Sperm Donors whose lamentations I covered a few years back? Well, they're back at The Federalist, where two anti-donor activists rally support for those Dolce & Gabbana guys who called test-tube kids "synthetic children." The authors note that some people were upset about this because they had donor-enabled offspring, nephews etc., and here's the authors' stern rejoinder:
It is important to note, however, that infants, toddlers, and all of these “miracle” beings are too young to protest their own objectification.
I hear ya, sister -- I didn't ask to be born into this fucking world, but my mother got knocked up in a time before abortion rights. Rough luck all around! Oh, and also:
I am indeed a human being. My liver, heart, hair, and enzymes all work the same. I’ve discovered it is my psychology that is different and not-quite-right, due to my conception.
No comment.

•   Since it's nearly the weekend, here is your latest installment of What Is Rod Dreher Whining About Now?
UPDATE: I’m all for praying with the body. We do that all the time in the Orthodox Church. But yoga is a Hindu discipline, not a Christian one, and the syncretism of mixing yoga with Christian worship is troubling.
This has been What Is Rod Dreher Whining About Now?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


The latest surge of Poors-Must-Learn-Morals-from-Their-Betters gush, inspired by the new Robert Putnam book but rooted in traditional Marriage Makes You Rich boilerplate, is best known by its David Brooks effusion, covered here. Since then we've had Ross Douthat and all manner of idiots shaking the scold-stick on this subject. But leave it to Megan McArdle to accelerate the stupid like a Hadron Collider:
There is one place this change might come from: Hollywood. Entertainment is a surprisingly powerful venue for articulating social norms, and if Hollywood decided that it had a social responsibility to promote stable families and changed its story lines accordingly, that might actually do some good. 
Yes, the Artist Formerly Known as Jane Galt wants private enterprise to pitch in with some free propaganda.
I'm not talking about sticking a few propaganda story lines into Very Special Episodes of some sitcom, which wouldn't do a darn thing. Rather, I'm saying that if Hollywood actually believed that married two-parent families were overwhelmingly optimal, that would naturally shape what they wrote, in a way that would in turn probably shape what Americans believe, and do.
Hang on -- this suggests that Hollywood product currently militates against marriage. Is that so? I must have missed the successful sitcoms "How I Met Your Baby-Momma" and "My Three Sons (from Separate Mothers)." And looking at last year's top-grossing films, I'm having a hard time figuring how they could have shoehorned marriage into movies about wizards and superheroes; maybe they could have had Katniss from the Hunger Games movies falter until a priest rushes in to marry her to some guy, like Popeye deriving strength from spinach.

Of course, McArdle's offer isn't serious --
But this is an inherently socially conservative message, and Hollywood is about the furthest thing you can name from socially conservative -- our entertainment industry tends to send socially conservative messages only accidentally, as it did with "16 and Pregnant." And there is nearly as much social distance between David Brooks and your average Hollywood show runner as there is between David Brooks and the kids whose lives he wants to change.
-- it's just more ressentiment for the regular crowd, who sometimes need help believing that social-net-shredding policies have less to do with the parlous state of the poor than evil Hollyweird cokewhores.

UPDATE. Hang on, asks Meanie-meanie, tickle a person in comments: "Hollywood who? Or is that a surname? Joe Hollywood from Detroit? Or maybe Frank Hollywood from Miami?" Tsk, Meanie -- it's a metonym for the cultural apparat -- you know, what such people used to call "Jews." Or maybe McArdle doesn't know this, and imagines herself handing out Operation Hitching Post slide decks to a bunch of guys who look like Robert Loggia, wear their shirts unbuttoned to the plexus, chomp fancy cigars, and produce all the movies.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


For a second, in the right light, it looks as if Megan McArdle may have achieved self-awareness:
This is a question I’ve asked myself before, funnily enough, when arguing with anarcho-capitalists. For those who do not follow the ins and outs of libertarian sectarianism, anarcho-capitalists want to replace the state with private institutions, with insurance companies and private security forces substituting for most current government functions. But when I’ve probed into the actual mechanics of this, I’ve often found that anarcho-capitalists end up describing something unpleasantly like a police state, only not called “the government” -- like giving insurance companies and private police forces the ability to perform warrantless at-will searches in order to prosecute crimes. One way or another, society is going to protect itself against theft and violence, rape and murder, and putting those tools in the hands of private parties causes much the same trouble as they do in the hands of the police.
Alas, no. The problem is, when the state oversteps its role, there is at least a formal mechanism for addressing that problem -- you can throw the bums out. (Yeah, I know it's not a perfect recourse, but if it were useless why would all those people spend so much time and money trying to achieve electoral results at all?) Once this social contract is swapped out for something more like Facebook's terms of service, however, you get only what you can negotiate -- and with collective bargaining being swept away, you can't negotiate shit.

So when McArdle says, "there may be trade-offs: The price of safely enjoying our vices may be surrendering some of our civil liberties, either to the government or to private parties," it doesn't mean she's had an epiphany; it just means she's gotten smart enough to do false equivalence with a straight face.

Friday, December 05, 2014


(How'd I miss The Dirtbombs all these years? Thanks Sherri!)

•   MRA promoter The Ole Perfesser has steered his readers to this Andrew Klavan video explaining #GamerGate to older conservatives. Klavan gives viewers a little background: "For decades left-wingers have dominated the arts, using movies, television, novels, and critical articles (!!- Ed.) to sell idiot notions like 'America is oppressive,'  'capitalism is evil,' 'gender difference is bigotry,' and 'God is dead'..." The upshot is that wingnuts own gaming and from this cultural redoubt can counter the lies of "left-wing game journalists" with the help of "honest journalists such as Milo Yiannopoulos, of" (Yeah I know but that's an actual quote) to promote conservative ideas such as Eat Me, Bitch. No mention at all of the appalling harassment visited upon uncooperative females by these knight-like dorks, but lots of tit jokes.  Klavan's approach hasn't changed much since this 2009 Democrats are Like Rapists video, but at least his references move with the times: He refers throughout to "Hashtag-Gamergate," and if the geezers in his audience can figure out what it means they should be stalking Anita Sarkeesian in no time.

•   Speaking of hashtags, thanks, Simon Maloy, for reminding me of this:

Now that gas prices are plummeting, looking at those old #250Gas tweets is fun -- and so is reading Megan McArdle's unusually brief, tight-lipped post on the drop; as you might expect from an acolyte of the oil-dependent Koch Brothers she sounds nervous about it: "Texas, North Dakota and other places in the U.S. will suffer as oil prices decline and some of the high-paid jobs in oil production go away," she writes. Well, that's capitalism, comrade; I wonder if those absurd boomtown prices North Dakota oil workers are paying for their apartments will go down in response. I'm guessing not, 'cause that's capitalism, too, these days. You can also read Joseph Curl at the Washington Times: "Cheap gas prices? Obama’ll fix that" -- 'cause he'll eventually kill the good times with regulations to fix the so-called "environment," just you wait. Sigh, some people are never satisfied.

•   You can always count on Jonah Goldberg:
Reasonable people can disagree on whether racism was involved in the tragic death of Eric Garner. My own suspicion is that this misfortune could have transpired just as easily with a white man resisting arrest and/or a black cop choking him... 
But you know what reasonable people can’t dispute? New York’s cigarette taxes are partly to blame for Eric Garner’s death.
Racism? In America? Meh, Jonah doesn't see it; when he goes "WHAT IT IS" to the black guy at the deli, he doesn't get any static, man. But that cigarette taxes killed Garner -- that's indisputable!
Everyone agrees: No one should die for selling bootleg cigarettes. But if you pass and enforce a law against such things, you increase the chances things might go wrong. That’s a fact, whether it sounds callous to delicate ears or not
Just like how stop signs cause rear-end collisions! Goldberg also compares taxing cigarettes to the drug war, though for some reason he doesn't cite thousands of other cigarette-tax-enforcement deaths, or any, that would support this analogy. Here's my favorite part of this mess:
When you pass a law, you authorize law enforcement to enforce it. That’s actually why they’re called 'law enforcement.' Google it.
This mind-blanking stupidity is wonderful enough, but the supercilious tone is just so Goldberg.

•   Goldberg's traditional reign as the permanent author of the stupidest thing ever written is being challenged by the Cato Institute's David Boaz:
The violent death of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia set off the Arab Spring. Could the killing of Eric Garner lead to a springtime of police reform – and regulatory reform -- in the United States? 
Bouazizi was a street vendor, selling fruits and vegetables from a cart...
Yes, Garner's problem was that he just wanted to run his little cig biz, just like Bouazizi, but the statists wouldn't let him, so he set himself on fire was choked to death by a white cop. Unlike Goldberg (who probably couldn't help himself) Boaz studiously ignores the subject of race:
Eric Garner's death has also set off protests, not just in New York but in Boston, Chicago, Washington, and other places. Many protesters held signs reading "I can't breathe" and "This stops now." They should add "I'm minding my business. Just leave me alone."
Maybe Boaz should make this plea directly to the protesters: "You people are diluting the free-market message of Garner! Here's a script, I'll be at this steakhouse over here." I imagine years hence, after the neo-feudal conversion of America is complete, conservatives will toast Eric Garner's role in normalizing the no-benefits workplace.