Category Archives: Social Commentary

Facebook’s “Fact Checking”

You’ll be as shocked as I am to learn that it’s one sided. I wonder if all this social-media censorship will revivify the blogosphere?

[Thursday afternoon update]

Facebook’s algorithm removed the text of the Declaration of Independence as “hate speech.” Because of course it did. I mean, Jefferson was a slaveholder.

Happy Birthday, America!

It’s the 242nd anniversary of the signing of the Declaration, and 155th since the victory at Gettysburg and fall of Vicksburg, sealing the ultimate fate of the Confederacy. It’s also Calvin Coolidge’s birthday (1872) and he gave a very memorable speech on the subject in 1926.

Sadly, though, the same political party that lost that war, and particularly young people whom they’ve maleducated from kindergarten through college, seems to continue to hate America.

[Afternoon update]

[Update a few minutes later]

Here’s a great quote from that Coolidge speech:

About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

Yes. Collectivism is the oldest game in the book.

[Update a while later]

I just realized that he gave that speech on the sesquicentennial.

[Thursday noon update]

(Formerly Portuguese) Sara Hoyt: Conceived in liberty:

I’d worked. I’d worked at becoming an American.

Afterward came the INS crawling all over our papers and asking the strangest questions about things like the fact we had no children (despite much trying). They wanted to make sure we had a real marriage, see, not a sham to get citizenship. I’m all right with that.

Because it’s important to want to be an American. And it’s important to do it properly so you know you belong. It’s important to believe in the rights of others to their own liberty and their own property. You can be a citizen of this great country with no chicanery.

On that day I took the oath like I took my marriage vows. As words that change you inside. Afterward, we went out to lunch, then came home, and I went out to get the mail, and I felt that this was now my country — that I belonged. We all have a place in the world, and this is mine.

I’m an American. It’s an amazing thing to be, a part of a country that’s something new in the world.

You see, the natural way for humans to live is to be subjected to some tyrant, to the whims of some strong man. Some other countries, like England, have curbed (used to have curbed) the rights of those in power to mistreat them. But no country has devoted itself as fully to the cause of individual liberty as we have.

Sure, we squabble over what that means, and some of our elected officials are disgraces. Sure, we face a very difficult fight to continue existing. Yes, the socialists in the failed state to the South pose a danger, because we can’t afford Venezuela on our doorstep or the streaming hordes coming over the border to make us into copies of what they left behind. (And you thought Californians were bad.) Sure, many of our compatriots are that only in name and seem to want only to bring us low and destroy us.

What? You expected a cake walk?

We are something quite new in the world. You expected the old to accept us with applause?

Our very existence shames them and makes them feel their smallness. And of course they’ve convinced the weak-minded in our midst — many of them self-proclaimed intelligentsia — to fight on their side and against us.

No one said it would be easy. Liberty is always a generation from extinction. And that’s if we’re lucky.

This reminds me of Elon Musk’s saying that he wasn’t born in America, but he got here as soon as he could.

[Late afternoon update]

College grads feel less patriotic than non college grads. Great job, academia.

Stop Trivializing Naziism

Thoughts from David Harsanyi:

It’s difficult to take this spurious reasoning seriously, but simply because you think you detect some trace parallels between what Nazis engaged in and contemporary politics doesn’t make them comparable in any important way. The Nazis adopted a bunch of socialist policies, but that doesn’t mean Bernie Sanders is a would-be Himmler.

Admittedly, there is huge space in-between zero tolerance and lawlessness at the border. But none of the positions that have been taken in American political discourse so far portends the Fourth Reich. Switzerland and Japan, to name just two liberal democracies, have far stricter immigration laws than the United States, and neither is on the cusp of fascism. Simply because the arbitrary number of allowable immigrants you’ve come up with differs from that of your political opponent doesn’t make that person a budding sociopath.


Emilee Speck got the court documents. As someone who’s known them all for years, this is very sad.

[Afternoon update]

Here’s a statement from Christina:

[Wednesday-morning update]

Here’s the latest, from Chris Davenport.


[Late-morning update]

Marina Koren has more at The Atlantic.

The Risk Of Spaceflight

A new paper assessing spaceflight mortality. Not sure how useful it is, given the admitted paucity of data.

[Update a few minutes later]

When a Mars simulation goes wrong. Yes, we have a lot to learn before we go to other planets, and even then, people will die, often in terrible ways. Part of the answer is that we have to be more ambitious about how many we send. Six simply isn’t enough.