Link Dump, 5-31-16: The Libertarian moment

I neglected to promote last week’s Link Dump, which had a fun video linking Keith Emerson to Nigel Tufnel, along with a few pieces on the death of facts.

Not as much to share today, but I have a couple that are related …


A Trump-Clinton race, with unfavorable ratings that tie Nate Silver into a statistical Gordian knot, should be the shining moment for the Libertarian Party. And the party tells Slate’s Seth Stevenson they issued 20 times the previous record of media credentials for their convention.

How’d it go?

Some delegates seemed to resent the brighter spotlight, wishing things could go back to how they’d been before—a desire that, when voiced by men wearing T-shirts adorned with stipple-dot portraits of Friedrich Hayek, sounded a lot like a high school kid whining that his favorite indie band had signed with a major label. Meanwhile, others I talked to saw this moment not as an opportunity for Libertarians to meet nonwoke America halfway, but rather as a chance to let their freak flag flap before an exponentially wider audience.

Emphasis mine, because that analogy is so perfect.

Here’s where it gets a little more frightening:

Polling fourth, one slot behind McAfee, was a fellow named Darryl W. Perry, who accepts campaign donations only in the form of precious metals and cryptocurrency and who opted to have his nominating speech delivered by an “erotic services provider” who goes by the moniker “Starchild.” Perry’s most animated moment in the debate came when he slammed his fist against his lectern, forehead veins a-popping, as he insisted that 5-year-old children should have the legal right to inject heroin without adult supervision.

The party managed to nominate the relatively reasonable Gary Johnson, though not without some heckling:

The first boos came when Johnson admitted that, given the chance, he would have voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Boooooooo! A second hail of raspberries came when Johnson, alone among the candidates, said he thought a driver’s license was a reasonable thing to require before allowing someone to drive. “I’d like to see some demonstration of basic competency,” Johnson acknowledged, rather meekly. Boooooooo!

And all this is a pity, because the American political spectrum could use a few more rational-yet-still-diverse ideas. Socialism emerged from academia this year, with Bernie Sanders proving — before he lost his message and his campaign became little more than an anti-Clinton, anti-establishment rant — that Euro-style programs can find an audience in the general populace. Libertarians can also provide some useful prodding, as the normally abstruse Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog proved over Memorial Day weekend with a post titled “If You Love Freedom, Thank an Anarchist“:

In what war in living memory was the freedom of Americans at stake? Without u.s. military action, were Japanese or German troops – let alone Italian, Vietnamese, Korean, Panamanian, Afghani, or Iraqi ones – really going to be marching though Times Square? If anything, given the notorious ratchet effect whereby wars tend to produce permanent increases in government power, it seems more probable that u.s. military action has contributed to a diminution of our freedom.

That’s politically incorrect in a big, big way. But it’s a point worth considering. Can we respect the job our military does without twisting the rationale for what they’re doing?

And it’s probably safe to say most Libertarians (or “libertarians,” for those who claim the ideology but not the party) don’t plan to spend our or anyone else’s tax money to build a wall along the Mexican border.


A Patheos blogger takes up the argument that the world is getting better, not worse:

Forty years ago a waitress at Denny’s could refuse to serve a customer with scarring simply because the waitress found the customer too ugly. And today we have the luxury of debating transgender washrooms in Target.

And your musical moment — a six-minute mashup of 57 great classical tunes by 33 composers, with John Williams getting his due just before a breathtaking final minute …




Link Dump, 5-22-16: Emerson/Tufnel, the death of facts

If I shared everything I read, I would have such a high volume of social media output that no one would follow me any more.

So, on occasion, I’m going to do what I’m calling “Link Dump.” It’s a potpourri of … stuff I found online and enjoyed. Or found interesting. Or stupid.

Here goes:


Fact-checking in a “post-fact world”The question of what is propaganda and what is truth has plagued politics since politics began. But the nature of information in the social media age means it keeps getting easier for politicians, partisans, computerized “bots” and foreign governments to manipulate news, and it keeps getting harder to correct this.

Why Are the Highly Educated So Liberal?Raises a better question — why are academics so terrible at explaining facts?

How Philosophers at Stanford Have Mastered the Online EncyclopediaWikipedia with a little less vandalism.

Why Wikipedia cannot claim the earth is not flat: A Wikipedia guide to editing fringe beliefs on Wikipedia.


The end of empathy: I’m not convinced empathy is dead. I just think people feel more entitled to be as mean as they wanna be.

Can the Christian Left Be a Real Political Force?: I kind of doubt it, but it’s interesting.


Atlantic City Gambles on Rising SeasThe casinos will be fine. But if you live there …

Miami businesses say it’s a moneymaker to adapt for warmingBy a fellow News & Record alum


17 Utterly Charming Articles on Scots Wikipedia: I still have no idea whether this is real.


A Brief History of the Devil’s TritoneC to F-sharp? Heresy!

Are Algorithms Ruining How We Discover Music?Not really, but I’d still argue Launch was better at algorithms than Spotify and Pandora are.

When I met Clint EastwoodSort of. The Chronicle has more archives online now. Check page 3.

Independent Label CEO Still Very Dependent on Mom Making DinnerDateline — Athens, Ga.! (Not real.)

Echobelly – now it feels right!At least, that’s what the translation from Russian says. Includes clips of this charming Britpop band, now making a comeback of sorts.

Run-DMC/Aerosmith oral historyThough it’s pretty clear that some of the people involved did a few things to alter their memories.

Meet the Moog: Video of Keith Emerson demonstrating his complex gear while channeling Spinal Tap …