Recent links of note:
How to destroy a school system
Bob McManus, City Journal
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has miffed his critics once more with a policy proposal that promises to close the opportunity gap in the New York City school system. How? Lesser minds might assume that the path to success would start by addressing the lowest-achieving schools, but de Blasio has come up with, among other ideas, the supremely innovative and democratic solution of eliminating programs aimed at higher-achieving students in the name of “desegregating” the educational network. Pandering to race-obsessed outrage groups, the policy grossly distorts the real issues facing New York’s school system and would have a deleterious effect on academic achievement across the board.
How Britain fought Hitler with humor
Kristina Moorehead, bbc Culture
Propaganda campaigns during World War II, in their efforts to win over the hearts and minds of citizens, left precious little untried. Broadcasting radio programs aimed at weakening the Nazi media monopoly, the bbc-run German Service employed at least one unorthodox method: rather than simply delivering un-doctored news of wartime events, the department ran comedy and satire bits lampooning the absurdities of life in a totalitarian state. During the war, some feared that the programs were simply a waste of airspace; once the fighting ended, however, a “flood of thank-you letters” arrived from German listeners expressing their gratitude for the Service’s radio broadcasts, with many praising their satirical offerings. In the words of one listener: “That you brought us humor made the unbearable bearable for us.”
The most dangerous thing about the Amazon fires is the apocalyptic rhetoric
Matt Ridley, The Spectator
French president Emmanuel Macron attempted to drum up support for his environmentalist agenda before the G7 summit by declaring that “the Amazon rainforest—the lungs which produce twenty percent of our planet’s oxygen—is on fire!” The statement is not just false. It has managed to distort reality so completely, down to the attached twenty-year-old photo “depicting” the current wildfires, that not a modicum of truth remains. Almost all of the oxygen produced in the rainforest is consumed by the Amazon’s ecosystem, as Matt Ridley points out, and never leaves its immediate environs. Even if it did, the Amazon only accounts for 6 percent of gross oxygen production worldwide. Brazilian officials note that wildfires have increased in number since last year, but are no more widespread now than they were in at least nine different years since 2002. Also, lungs don’t produce oxygen—not even metaphorical ones. Macron and countless others have, with their sensationalist rhetoric, contributed to a conflagration of their own making that only frustrates real attempts to conserve our planet’s natural resources.
From our pages:
Report from Hong Kong
On prudence and protest.
Don’t mention the war
Paul du Quenoy
On a concert of Brahms, Strauss, and Bruckner at the BBC Proms.
On a performance of Merope at the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music.