This week, I noted several different blogs and bloggers commenting on Jazz Jennings, the reality TV star and poster-child for juvenile transition to the sex they (or their parents) think they want to be, rather than what their genitalia dictates. That the kid doesn’t appear to be the least bit happy in female skin is something that was predicted by anyone paying the slightest bit of attention. It doesn’t need Ray Charles to have seen that coming. A number of other, less-well-known transitioners have come out into the open, publicly regretting how they were hustled into making decisions as teens wrestling with various issues which have permanently damaged their bodies, their reproductive functions and their general mental well-being. Well, the young, unwary and easily duped (or their parents) falling for a fad does have that result, although usually fads aren’t quite so permanently damaging as the trans mania has proved to be. I would cautiously hope that this one is on the deflationary spiral, although I am afraid that whatever appears to replace it in shallow public awareness might prove to be even worse.
The Calculated Infliction of Misery
The sudden recent fatwa declared by the great and good in the Biden Administration against the less-expensive gas ranges was … really rather curious – and for what purpose? Cooking (and heating) with gas is (or was) relatively cheap, energy-efficient, beloved of cooks for generations. It has the advantage that if you have an older stove, you can still cook with gas in a power outage. I lived for six years in Spain, where both the stove and the flash hot water heater were powered by propane bottles, and a power outage (which occurred regularly) was only a relatively mild inconvenience. I could cook a hot meal, and we could take hot showers. An all-electric home, such as the one I live in now is miserable, to the point of being unlivable, without consistent electric power, as my neighbors and I were swiftly reminded during the Great Texas Snowmagedden, two years ago. And from this story, linked on Instapundit, one can’t help wondering if the geniuses in Biden’s government are demonstrating trying again, with the so-called safety benefits of locking hot-water heater thermostats at 110-120. The ostensible reason given for these two quasi-campaigns is a tender concern for the ‘health and safety’ of the general public and the best of intentions, but the way to hell is paved with good intentions.
The March of Folly
That’s the title of a four-pronged historical examination by Barbara Tuchman: an examination of four specific episodes in history (or in the case of Troy and their gift horse, possibly mythical history) where the leadership of a political entity decided – against all good advice and reasoned opposition – to go full out in idiocy counter to their best interests, the pursuit of which left them very much in a worse situation than before. Pride, stubbornness, stupid devotion to a set of principles which wound up biting them in the nether regions and supposedly serving a warning and example to the rest of us. Yet – as MS Tuchman notes – political bodies kept on doing it, over and over again. (Although I and others do have some serious beefs about how she categorized the saga of US in Vietnam.) It’s a readable overview, a quick skim of what happen in four separate eras when four different entities decide against all good advice, interests and viable alternatives, to go ahead and pee on that electric fence; a reminder – as if we really do need another one, that self-interested stupidity is a human constant.
The Last Straw of US
Well, that’s it for Disney for now and the predictable future – anything whatsoever to do with a Disney brand anything for this family. Disney-brand movies, Disney-owned media outlets, toys, games and clothing with Disney characters on them, the parks – the whole ball-o-wax. I was pretty certain I was done with them when I wrote this, almost a year ago. (Disney was already circling the drain with me, the year before, when this posted.) This most recent release of theirs has gone beyond offensive wokery, romped through partisan propaganda and plunged headlong into purveying outright lies – lies about American history, which to me, as a passionate reader of history (as well as a scribbler of historical fiction) is a form of blasphemy. Worse than that – a putrid and manipulative lie.
Slavery did not build this country. The ‘peculiar institution’ as it was described in antebellum writings, in fact rather retarded industrial development in the old South. I will concede that extensive production of cash crops as rice, tobacco, indigo and cotton did depend on slavery. Those enterprises enriched a small, elite fraction of Southern slaveholders and kept the rest of the South relatively poor, undeveloped, and almost medieval in backwardness, although like the medieval nobility, convinced of their own superiority. Industry, innovation, and immigration all inclined to those places North of the Mason-Dixon line, while the South stagnated, even after Northern victory in the Civil War brought an end to chattel slavery.
“How Twitter Pushed Stakeholders under the (Musk) Bus”
This paper provides a case study of the acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk. Our analysis indicates that when negotiating the sale of their company to Musk, Twitter’s leaders chose to disregard the interests of the company’s stakeholders and to focus exclusively on the interests of shareholders and the corporate leaders themselves. In particular, Twitter’s corporate leaders elected to push under the bus the interests of company employees, as well as the mission statements and core values to which Twitter had pledged allegiance for years.
Our analysis supports the view that the stakeholder rhetoric of corporate leaders, including in corporate mission and purpose statements, is mostly for show and is not matched by their actual decisions and conduct (Bebchuk and Tallarita (2020)). Our findings also suggest that corporate leaders selling their company should not be relied upon to safeguard the interests of stakeholders, contrary to the predictions of the implicit promises and team production theories of Coffee (1986), Shleifer-Summers (1988) and Blair-Stout (1999).
There is tension between the interests of owners and those of other “stakeholders”, which is why the interests of non-owner stakeholders require justification as in the linked article. The authors beg the question — they assume stakeholder interests are comparable to owner interests — then find a problem because Musk values his ownership interest in Twitter above the interests of the people he bought out and of the company’s non-owner employees. So what should Musk get in exchange for the $billions he spent? Arguments for more stakeholder rights are arguments for less property rights.