Friday, May 3, 2024

Friday Night Links

  • This publication is important for three reasons that all point to the transformation of conservatism as a political & intellectual movement. First, it announces Lomez’s success as a self-made publisher. He gets talented people to have him publish their works—adds something prestigious to their celebrity—announces to the rightwing audience that they are now in charge of intelligent writing. Lomez will be the most important tastemaker on the right if he keeps this up & his present success already shows how to do it. As liberalism fails & wokies trash the culture, it’s going to be people like him who save the day. [link]
  • And as Matt Yglesias has pointed out, if you shift the median over, the tails of the graph are going to be very extreme indeed. The median view of the Israel-Palestine conflict in my social circles is something like: sympathy for both the Israeli and Palestinian people, unambiguous condemnation of Hamas, skepticism of the Netanyahu government’s response to the attacks, and probably support for some sort of two-state solution. Relative to the US public as a whole, that position qualifies as center-left. Relative to the Columbia campus, it might seem right-wing or even “Zionist”. Most people are very bad at placing their own political views in the context of broader public opinion as opposed to their immediate social environment. A student looking to establish that she’s a good lefty at one of these campuses might anchor herself relative to the rest of the student body and not recognize the radicalism of a chant like “from the river to the sea”. [Nate Silver]
  • Thus the life of a Philadelphia WASP might go something like this: He would start out being raised in Chestnut Hill, proceed through high school at a local elite day school like Episcopal Academy or a boarding school like St. Mark’s, then move on to college at Princeton, where he would join an exclusive dining club like the Ivy. Returning to Philadelphia, he would live in Ardmore, join a prestigious firm such as Drexel and Company or a family enterprise, assume membership in a city club like the Philadelphia or Rittenhouse Club, and be engaged in various charitable endeavors. He would play tennis at the Merion Cricket Club, attend annual Assembly dances, and spend summers in Cape May. He probably met his wife at her debutante, and would proceed to have a larger-than-average number of children with her, staying together for life. Their children would in turn marry the children of other upper-class families or the children of newly minted wealth as a means of assimilating them into the upper class. [Aaron Renn]
  • Despite these near-term challenges, we believe the current market dynamics are just a speed bump in the long-term thesis for soda ash. China looks to have absorbed a large majority of the 5 million tons, evidenced by no significant increases in export volumes from China and what recently appears to be a bottoming of Chinese domestic prices. We know there has been high-cost synthetic production shuttered in Europe at the same time certain international volumes are being pulled from lower valued markets and being directed towards higher valued and geographically advantaged markets. These market dynamics, combined with the end of de-stocking, the expected return of normalized global economic growth and increasing demand for soda ash driven by the transition to a lower carbon world, lead us to believe the market should become increasingly more balanced as we move through this year. This framework should provide for an improvement in export pricing and tighter market conditions as we start our annual price negotiations for 2025 volumes towards the tail-end of this year. [Genesis Energy LP]
  • Social conservatism’s problem is that while there is a large constituent base for it, it is a minority position rejected by a solid majority of society. We see this most clearly in the electoral fortunes of abortion, in which the pro-abortion position has won every single time it has been on the ballot, even in deep red states like Kentucky. Cultural conservatism, or at least elements of it, does plausibly command majority support. The majority of Americans are on board with reducing immigration - certainly with ending illegal immigration. Protectionist trade policies would probably also garner a lot of support. The problem here is that cultural conservatives face the united opposition of essentially the entire elite, including of the Republican party. Open borders is the hill the Wall Street Journal editorial page would die on, for example. Bourgeois values are an essentially boutique position that does not exist outside of the conservative think tank world. Plus a few other social science outposts such as the work of Robert Putnam, Melissa Kearney, and Richard Reeves, who don’t directly endorse bourgeois values but document the personal and social consequences of their lack. The bourgeois values are the implicit moral code of the upper middle class, but to the frustration of neoconservatives like Charles Murray, they don’t “preach what they practice.” Bourgeois values have no mass constituency in the country whose culture has proletarianized and badly degraded. [Aaron Renn]
  • With the introduction of Ivanhoe Electric’s Typhoon survey, hard-rock geologists can, for the first time, image mineral deposits several thousand meters below the surface. Unsurprisingly, 80% of all copper mine supply comes from deposits discovered within 200 meters of the surface – that is how deep the geologists could “see.” With Typhoon, that has changed. We know that copper porphyries exist at depths greater than 200 m, as several have been discovered by accident. However, the industry has never been able to explore for  these large ore bodies efficiently from the surface. [Goehring & Rozencwajg]
  • As top-tier energy density rises, new battery applications will unlock. At around 400 Wh/kg, long haul trucking becomes economically attractive. At 500-650 Wh/kg, short haul electric aviation becomes feasible. Both are within striking distance after CATL’s 500 Wh/kg battery cell announcement. As more 500+ Wh/kg batteries enter the market over the coming decade, long haul trucks will decidedly tip, and electric aviation can start to take off. [RMI]

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