Reads of the Week: Lessons from Maoism, Vaccine Mandates, & Protecting US Tech Innovation
Each week, we’ll be featuring opinion pieces from the alumni and current participants of AF’s Writing Fellows Program. A few highlights from the past week are below. Do you dream of having bylines like these? Learn more about how the Writing Fellows Program can help boost your writing career!
Mining the Maoist Playbook by Carlos Roa (Fall 2020) in American Mind
American conservatives can be tiresome gloaters who devote an obscene amount of scribbling toward first principles, constitutional rights, and the like. They hold a self-assured conviction that conservative political philosophy, informed by a realistic and traditional understanding of human nature, is the lodestar by which any political community should be guided.
Instead of devoting so much time to political philosophy though, perhaps conservatives should have studied strategy and tactics. The progressive political left over the past few decades executed a long march through almost every major institution in every field in modern society. Journalism, entertainment, finance and big business, nonprofits, the administrative state, and so on have more or less been captured. Conservatives, by contrast, being inherently cautiously defensive, were outmatched. Taking the position of protecting first principles bred inertia instead of action, and only recently has the political right awakened to the grim reality that it has been outplayed in the public square.
The Incoherent Logic Behind Biden’s Vaccine Mandate by Brad Polumbo (Summer 2018) in The Washington Examiner
Nearly 80 years old and prone to verbal slips, President Joe Biden isn’t exactly known for being articulate with his words. But it’s one thing to forget things or jumble your words during a campaign stop or public event — hardly the end of the world. On matters of national policy, however, there’s no excuse. Yet, Biden’s new national vaccine mandate is rife with inconsistencies and incoherent arguments that make his verbal mistakes pale in comparison.
The White House announced the mandate on Thursday. The Labor Department will force businesses with more than 100 employees to mandate that all employees get vaccinated or make their unvaccinated workers take weekly COVID-19 tests. (Weekly testing of this sort is expensive and cumbersome.) The order applies to roughly 80 million workers, and businesses face fines of up to $14,000 per violation. Essentially, the White House is trying to go beyond its constitutional authority and strong-arm hesitant people into getting the vaccine if they want to keep their jobs.
To Protect American Innovation, We Must Let Websites Keep Moderating Their Own Content by Kir Nuthi (Spring 2020) in Fortune
By pushing antitrust policies that will blunt America’s competitive edge, our lawmakers are mistakenly also making the internet less safe for us all.
This summer, the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Antitrust marked up and pushed through a flurry of bills that were designed to overhaul American competition policy, and more specifically, the consumer welfare standard. Our lawmakers were trying to thwart alleged gatekeeping by some of the most popular American companies, but in doing so, they forgot about the impact this would have on our digital free speech and online safety.