Linkfest 2017-02-17

A Big Little Idea Called Legibility

A fine analysis of how utopian ideals fail.

John Horton Slaughter

John Horton Slaughter, Lawman

Last August, I read It Happened in Arizona, a series of short chapters on Arizona history. After reading that book, I realized that a lot of early settlers in Arizona were likely Southerners, specifically Scotch-Irish border reivers and hillbillies. The early feuds and gunfights were pretty typical of what went on in the Appalachians 25-50 years before. John Horton Slaughter is true to type.

Donald Henderson, destroyer of smallpox

Donald Henderson deserves to be better known.

Meditations on Monsters

With the spectre of political violence looming, this blog post captures a lot of the same things I have been thinking. I do think David Hines' is a good counterpoint, because at this point any political violence would be the work of small cadres, so the rightward lean of the combat arms or the gun ownership Left-Right disproportion probably wouldn't matter. Yet.

Remembering Frank Rizzo

Frank Rizzo reminds me a lot of Joe Arpaio. Both were law and order populists who ultimately became drunk on their own power.

No Thug Left Behind

The baleful consequences of insisting that human equality means everyone, everywhere, acts the same.

Trump's Theofascist

Damon Linker writes an interesting piece on the thought of Steve Bannon. As I said to Linker on Twitter, I think the title is ridiculous, but the content is very good. Linker used to edit First Things, and so knows many of the theological and political conservatives that have common ground with Bannon. Rumors of a grander Catholic conspiracy involving Bannon and Cardinal Burke are ridiculous, but there is actually something of interest here.

Cycles of War and Empire

Robin Hanson offers a friendly critique of Peter Turchin's work.

The Submission of Ross Douthat

Much like Steve Sailer and Greg Cochran, Douthat needs better enemies. There is a lot of truth in this piece, but I think the big picture it paints is entirely wrong. Douthat probably picks his words very carefully, because of where he works and who his primary audience is, but he is also smart enough to sneak in the truth. This is an undeappreciated art.

Secondhand Smoke Isn't as Bad as We Thought

I thought the original study was crap in 2003. I'm glad to see that medical journals have finally caught up.

Considerations on Cost Disease

Probably worthy of a blog-post length response of my own. Don't miss the best of comments followup post.