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There’s a whole lot of crazy going on this week, and it’s only Monday.
• The latest issue of the New York Review of Books, which I read so that you don’t have to (it’s opposition research) offers its fill of amusement. There’s a James Mann review of yet another new book on Robert Welch and the John Birch Society, and you can just guess the theme of the review. Yup—you can draw a straight line between the “extremism” of the “radical right” in the early 1960s to Trump and Trumpism today.
This would not be worth noting except for this howler of a sentence:
Goldwater’s famous line from his acceptance speech at the 1964 Republican National Convention—”Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice”—can be read as an apologia for the Birch Society.
This sentence can be read as an apologia for the relentless ignorance and bad faith of establishment liberals writers like Mann. Look, pretty sure we’ve thoroughly described and settled the issue of Goldwater’s famous line. And as usual with liberals, Mann doesn’t quote the very next line: “Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” OMG—did Goldwater say “moderation”? A closet RINO! He couldn’t get nominated in today’s Trumpified GOP!
• One of the greatest sources of amusement in the NYRB is the classified ads. Woody Allen joked in Annie Hall that a couple met through an NYRB ad that read, “Thirtyish academic wishes to meet woman who’s interested in Mozart, James Joyce and sodomy.”
Here’s the one that caught my eye in the latest issue: “A charismatic, aging French rock star will compose and record an original song for you, your mom, your lover, or your pet in French, English, or Franglais (recommended). US $200. Contact imrelodbrog.com.” Save up!
• The New York Times is in a panic that the Supreme Court might actually start to restraint the unconstitutional nature of the administrative state, and how this will be bad for—wait for it!—climate action. Naturally. Take in this Coral Davenport piece:
Within days, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court is expected to hand down a decision that could severely limit the federal government’s authority to reduce carbon dioxide from power plants — pollution that is dangerously heating the planet.
But it’s only a start.
The case, West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, is the product of a coordinated, multiyear strategy by Republican attorneys general, conservative legal activists and their funders, several with ties to the oil and coal industries, to use the judicial system to rewrite environmental law, weakening the executive branch’s ability to tackle global warming.
The amazing thing about this kind of breathless reporting is that it concedes that climate policy is undemocratic, or at least that it requires the kind of “expertise” that our elected representatives could never be expected to master and can only be done by large grants of undetermined executive power. Take in this paragraph:
Congress has barely addressed the issue of climate change. Instead, for decades it has delegated authority to the agencies because it lacks the expertise possessed by the specialists who write complicated rules and regulations and who can respond quickly to changing science, particularly when Capitol Hill is gridlocked.
Funny, but Congress doesn’t seem to have any difficulty enacting very detailed and complicated tax law every year. Here’s a novel thought: Make Congress do its job. It’s amusing to see the left talk endlessly these days about “preserving democracy,” except on all of their pet issues where they do not want any meaningful democratic accountability.