1. Glenn Loury and John McWhorter discuss the Naomi Schaefer Riley firing as well as Black Studies in general. Loury, controversially it seems, rags on Henry Louis Gates’ DNA project in which the distinguished Harvard professor of Afro-American Studies has spent time looking into the genetic history of various blacks around the country. While Loury opposes Riley’s blog-polemic in general, he does admit that Black Studies has not been great at minting rigorous scholars.
2. Is the health care mandate Coasian? The authors draw on Coase’s original analogy of the farmer whose fields are trampled by a rancher’s livestock after they escaped from the rancher’s broken fence. Coase’s insight was that the farmer and rancher existed in a system which forced the rancher to build the fence in the first place. The broken fence isn’t solely his responsibility, then, as it was imposed on him. I’m in no position to argue with Coase (and I’ve read virtually none of his work), but hopefully he addressed the fact that the fence was erected as much for the protection of his livestock as it was for the protection of the farmer’s fields. Regardless, the comparison to the health care mandate doesn’t seem to hold. The Coasian analogy involves a direct infringement on personal property. Hospitals taking care of patients and then billing taxpayers or increasing prices is not the same thing.
3. As I said on Twitter, Rich Lowry owes Pat Buchanan royalties for this (good) article.
4. Mayor Bloomberg arguing that cities should be forced by federal action to take in immigrants in order to bolster their economic base. This type of argument assumes that there’s some rule that says that every dying city in America should be saved.