Recent links of note:
“The Brexit bounce that’s making doom-mongers look foolish”
Ross Clark, The Spectator
If you’re looking for a lighthearted laugh on a free afternoon, take a look back at the rhetoric that came from pro-“Remain” pundits during the run-up to Britain’s EU referendum, catalogued on the pages of the Financial Times, The Economist, and countless other go-to outlets for “expert analysis.” Ross Clark’s latest piece in The Spectator is dedicated to sending up these experts—the “doom-mongers” referred to in the title—for their habit of relying on their own credentials rather than practical arguments when making the case that Britain’s end was nigh. Now about two and a half months after the vote, Clark offers examples of the resilience that Britain has demonstrated in nearly every imaginable area, from consumer confidence to foreign investment and trade negotiations. He makes a note to stop short of mimicking the doom-mongers with an equal-and-opposite approach, as others have done by claiming that Brexit is certain to guarantee robust growth and flourishing freedoms for Britons and their children’s children. Clark’s primary aim is to dispel the cloud of expert “certainty” that hangs ever-more ominously over our public debates.
“Campus Moralism, Old and New”
Connor Grubaugh, First Things
As the wave of deranged campus activism rolls on, each new headline about safe spaces or trumped-up Title IX charges becomes likelier to elicit yawns than any sense of real shock. The battle lines in the debate have been drawn, with free speech advocates and pro-censorship progressives on opposite, uncommunicative sides, and no sign of a new approach from either party that could break the lines to spark a collective rethinking about our campuses. In an essay for First Things, Connor Grubaugh attributes this stalemate to the misguidance of those who think of themselves as defenders of traditional education, despite the fact that Grubaugh himself is a staunch defender of the moral aims of the “old” university. “Most conservative rejoinders to the encroachments of diversity culture simply beg the question,” he writes, referring to conservatives’ habit of defending open speech, rather than promoting an alternative set of values that could draw students away from simplistic identity politics. Grubaugh’s hope is that once conservatives say what they “really mean”—that is, once they reassert the truths that free speech ought to lead to, rather than limiting their support to the speech itself—then the seemingly permanent progressive tide may finally begin to shift.
From our pages:
“The forthcoming maestro in Mozart”
On a new recording of The Marriage of Figaro, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.