Current Affairs

"The Myth of Cosmopolitanism"

This piece by Ross Douthat in the New York Times is over a year old, but seems just as relevant now.

But no less than Brexit-voting Cornish villagers, our global citizens think and act as members of a tribe. 

They have their own distinctive worldview (basically liberal Christianity without Christ), their own common educational experience, their own shared values and assumptions (social psychologists call these WEIRD — for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic), and of course their own outgroups (evangelicals, Little Englanders) to fear, pity and despise. And like any tribal cohort they seek comfort and familiarity: From London to Paris to New York, each Western “global city” (like each “global university”) is increasingly interchangeable, so that wherever the citizen of the world travels he already feels at home.


"Newark Terrorized by Whole Foods"

Kevin D. Williamson does his usual excellent job. This is especially good:

Let’s recap the slate of urban worries on the left. “Food deserts,” meaning a lack of availability of fresh food (or a lack of market demand for it), are bad. The opening of a gigantic store dedicated to selling healthy comestibles and produce, though, is also bad.

When large corporations don’t invest in urban communities, that’s shameful. Investment? Also shameful. White flight by people moving to suburbs in the 1960s? Racist. Their grandchildren’s return? Also racist. Increased disorder that leads to garbage-strewn vacant lots, abandoned buildings, and declining property values is troubling, but increased order that leads to refilled buildings, cleaned-up neighborhoods, and rising rents is also troubling. Segregation? Bad. Integration? Bad.


"Hold On To Your Wallets: Light Rail Edition"

I thought light rail was dead in the Triangle. But no . . . .

The N&O today is celebrating because there was a step forward in the process to soak Triangle taxpayers for a wildly inefficient, crony boondoggle: the proposed Durham-Orange light rail. . . .

$2.47 billion cost?  Just last spring, the estimates for the project were $1.6 billion. That’s more than a 50% increase in cost estimates – before the project has even broken ground!

 


"Who is winning with the fiduciary rule?"

Tyler Cowen:

Remember the fiduciary rule, the one that “requires brokers to act in the best interests of savers and went into partial effect in June”?  Who could be opposed to such a thing?  But of course when a regulation sounds so very good, there is usually some other consideration around the corner, perhaps involving secondary consequences.  And, as some of us had predicted, it is not working out so well.