Reads of the Week: Nuclear Power, Infrastructure Spending, and K-Pop - America's Future

August 13, 2021

Reads of the Week: Nuclear Power, Infrastructure Spending, and K-Pop

By: AF Editors

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!

Nuclear power’s benefits for climate change should outweigh our fear by Samuel Mangold-Lenett (Spring 2021) in the Lexington Herald Leader

On July 14, Senate Democrats introduced their plan to push $3.5 trillion in federal spending through the reconciliation process, in order to add climate change provisions long-sought by progressives to the highly contested infrastructure bill. These provisions restrict fossil fuels in the economy and commit the United States to dramatically increase clean energy use.

Reducing our carbon footprint is unquestionably good. After all, a cleaner and safer planet is certainly great. No one disagrees with that. However, we can—and should—disagree on the means…

The Seen and the Unseen in the Infrastructure Plans by Agustin Forzani (Summer 2021) in National Review

The general understanding on Capitol Hill is that America requires a massive infrastructure overhaul, as was shown on Tuesday by the approval of the $1 trillion bipartisan proposal in the Senate. Most lawmakers favored increasing public spending on infrastructure. However, neither Democrats nor Republicans seemed to recognize that these types of government plans come with extra costs beyond the proposed expenditure. As Henry Hazlitt would have said, it is not only the “seen” effects of proposals such as these that matter, but their “unseen” direct and indirect effects.

Consider the $110 billion allocated to rebuild roads, highways, and bridges in the bipartisan infrastructure framework. That money could have been spent elsewhere if taxpayers had been allowed to hang onto it. Such a reduction in their consumption, in turn, will entail fewer cars, TVs, computers, clothes, food, and services bought, and thus manufactured or provided. And that, in its turn, will mean less private-sector investment, quite a bit of which would be located in this country…

Kim Jong Un’s War On K-Pop Is A Sign Of North Korea’s True Weakness by Arielle Del Turco (Summer 2020) in The Federalist

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is a constant fixture in world news. Yet, this summer he has been making the news for something unexpected — his crackdown on youth culture. Recent decades have seen elements of South Korean culture seeping through the Chinese border via the black market. And according to Kim Jong Un, South Korean slang and fashion borrowed from K-pop and K-dramas harm “the new generation’s ideological mind-set.” The regimes’ reaction to harmless South Korean terms exposes a weakness that the free world should exploit.

Rather than use the cute nickname “oppa” to describe a boyfriend, North Korean girls are now instructed by the government to use the term “male comrade.” Public displays of affection are also considered a sign of foreign influence. And the haircuts and fashion young people adopt are under scrutiny. Those who violate state-imposed rules regarding these matters are supposedly the “sworn enemy of the revolution…”