It’s been awhile (3 April 2020) since I’ve written a Phone it in Friday, which means I’ve been doing my job and writing actual content on Friday, not just slapping together listicles of random thoughts (that link is not intended to diminish Audre Myers, a far more engaging random thinker than me). That said, today seems like a good opportunity to phone it in—after a day of baby wrangling yesterday, and a fitful night’s sleep (thanks in part to some heavy, but delicious, meals).
I’m also planning on unveiling my 2020 Summer Reading List in tomorrow’s SubscribeStar Saturday post (subscribe for a buck to read it!). Ergo, it seemed like an excellent opportunity to highlight some good Internet reads from the past couple of weeks.
- “A Time to Build” by Rachel Fulton Brown at Fencing Bear at Prayer: At a time when statues are being toppled and the Left is now openly avowing its hatred for Christ, Dr. Brown’s post about building beautiful models with Ankerstein blocks is a welcome counterpoint to the destruction. I’m more of a LEGO guy myself, but the sentiment is the same: there is a joy and challenge from building, first using pre-made plans, then from attempting your own creations. To quote Dr. Brown at length:
Perhaps, instead, you accept the challenge of learning to build with the blocks. The first plans are easy; they take only minutes to build, but it still takes a certain amount of attention to distinguish the various sizes of blocks. You discipline yourself to work through each planbook building by building, resisting skipping over buildings that you think will be boring to build or dull to look at. You like some of the buildings better than you had expected based on the drawings. Some are easier to build than they looked, others much harder. You get used to the feel and size of the blocks. You learn how to pinch them together to make tighter seams, and you practice balancing them to make overhangs and other ornamental flourishes. You learn how to judge the relative size of the blocks in the plans, and you devise better ways to sort them by color and size so that you can find the blocks that you need. You are excited to see how your skills improve, even just following the instructions that come with the sets, and you start wondering if there are other plans you might try. And then you start thinking of how you might make your own plans, perhaps copying actual buildings.
It’s one of the longer reads on this list, but it’s worth it. And Dr. Brown’s photographs of her creations are gorgeous.
- “Anti-White Lives Don’t Matter to Me” by photog at Orion’s Cold Fire: The latest ructions in our nation—and the growing influence of the odious terrorist organization Black Lives Matter—have been a powerful red-pill for average Americans and “normies.” photog explains in this post how his youthful optimism that perennial race riots would disappear as black Americans were brought into the American family thanks to the security of their civil rights has died. As he writes:
There will never be a time when a black underclass will not be ready, willing and able to erupt in a spasm of destructive rage that destroys everything in their reach and allows the race hustlers to extort more loot from the frightened people of this country.
That is a sobering—and sad—commentary. To be clear, photog is not writing off all black Americans (and neither am I!); rather, he’s pointing out that there will exist some substantial subset of blacks with a perpetual chip on their shoulders, thanks in large part to the influence of race hustlers, the Democratic Party, and the mainstream media (but I repeat myself), all of which exist to gin up black grievance.
We’re not allowed to say so out loud, but I suspect many other Americans are coming to that similar conclusion. It’s sad, truly, but it seems to be the harsh reality.
- “The Paradox of the Market” by The Z Man at The Z Man: photog calls The Z Man “the Voice of Saruman,” and it’s an apt comparison: like Saruman, Z Man possesses a pleasing voice, and everything he says has a ring of reasonableness to it. It’s what makes him so effective—and potentially dangerous. Z Man’s intellect is incredibly keen, and he cuts to the heart of issues almost effortlessly, but his solutions to the disease could be even worse than what he seeks to cure. Or, at the very least, the cure would be something radically different than anything we can currently conceive—a prospect both tantalizing and frightening, as the unknown often is.
But I digress. Z Man’s piece here deals with the so-called “marketplace of ideas,” the notion that, in a liberal democracy, all ideas have equal opportunity to be shared, with crazier ones appealing to far smaller audiences than more reasonable ones. It’s one of the axiomatic assumptions of classical liberalism, one I rather enjoy.
But Z Man points out that the marketplace creates some players so large, they use their size and influence to block out competitors. We certainly see this phenomenon in the tech sector, which both polices the “marketplace of ideas” and the actual marketplace of goods. There aren’t hundreds of small startups making cell phones; there’s basically two or three large firms making them.
Z Man argues that if there were a true marketplace of ideas, we’d have dozens of political parties, even some that just operate at the State level. But we don’t. I think a good deal of that could be explained by the structural advantages of a two-party system, but it’s interesting to mull over—as all of Z Man’s pieces are. His analysis is so outside of conventional wisdom, yet so compelling, he always makes for good reading.
That’s it for this week. I’ve read some other excellent pieces over the past week or so, but this Phone it in Friday is already at a thousand words, so at this point, I don’t feel like I’m phoning it in. I guess my coffee finally kicked in.