EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth of a recurring (and highly irregular) series of quick-hits. Because, not everything needs a thousand words. Thanks for reading!

Biden’s Mask Duplicity

President-Elect Joe Biden has informed us of one element of his COVID-19 plans: a recommendation that America mask up.

I’m going to ask the public for 100 days to mask, just 100 days to mask, not forever.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Asking nicely, rather than mandating, is what a uniter does, I’m sure I’ll be told. And 100 days isn’t such a huge ask, is it? Perhaps I’m cynical, but I don’t take politicians at face value when there’s a chance there’s an undercurrent. Which is just about always.

The tone of this message reads “I’m not ordering, I’m asking, which makes me the nice guy.” Thing is, the President doesn’t have the power to mandate mask wearing, so the tone carries a false implication, that’s intended to make him look magnanimous rather than coercive. Yes, he did mention, back in September, that he knew he couldn’t order us to mask up, but I bet almost no one knows that. To further my cynicism, Biden also offered “I don’t think masks have to be made mandatory nationwide.” Mighty benevolent of you, Joe, when you’re on record as knowing you can’t do so.

It’s clever politics, but it’s not honest politics.

Oh, silly me, when is politics ever honest?

AOC, Stealth Capitalist

To me, capitalism is irredeemable.

Thus spake Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, aka AOC, aka leader of “The Squad,” aka the de facto voice of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

Apparently, it’s not so irredeemable that it can’t be leveraged to fill her campaign coffers. Her online shop has pricey swag, festooned with anticapitalist slogans, for the guilty-rich who want to signal their virtue. Mockery ensued, but I’m sure her adoring fans will buy in with virtually zero recognition of the stupendous irony and hypocrisy of someone profiting off a system she wants to tear down.

Capitalizing on the rich, who are eating up her anticapitalist garbage even as they bask in the fruits of a capitalist system. She may be many things, but she’s not stupid.

Abortion… Or Everything Else?

This is a question for pro-choice readers, born of the histrionics surrounding Amy Coney Barrett’s seating on the Supreme Court. The Left screamed endlessly about “lost rights,” but the only “right” that is purportedly at risk (per their own rhetoric) is the right to abortion. Constitutionalists such as Barrett have solid track records on protecting citizens’ rights, and Barrett’s own records is, per my perusal, better than Ginsburg’s (who routinely deferred to government intrusions and infringements). So, is protecting abortion rights so important (not that I think the Court’s going to flip Roe v Wade, but that’s an aside) that you’re OK with all your other rights being eroded?

Social Media and Confirmation Bias

Four years ago, large swathes of the populace refused to believe that Trump beat Clinton in the presidential election. A long parade of conspiracy theories emerged, along with an even longer parade of attempts at undoing that outcome. Trump’s supporters roundly mocked those theories and those efforts.

Today, large swathes of the populace refuse to believe that Biden beat Trump, and many are engaging in exactly the sorts of theorizing and efforts they denounced and dismissed back when.

Are the situations the same? As Mark Twain observed, history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes. Is it possible that either a massive cheat effort or a large set of independent but parallel cheat efforts flipped the outcome in Biden’s favor? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and I’ve seen nothing that rises to that standard yet. AG Barr and a passel of judges agree, so far. While I remain open-minded to such evidence arising, court after court has rejected what’s been offered so far, and I’m not buying that those judges are all co-conspirators.

What’s interesting is the persistence of those who believe thus. That persistence is fueled by social media’s enormous enabling of confirmation bias behavior. I think, one day, we will come to understand how horribly corrosive social media has been to our culture.

Walter E. Williams, RIP

The world lost a great mind and great advocate for liberty this week with the passing of economist Walter E. Williams. Among many other things, he was a harsh critic of redistributive taxation. He is eminently quotable; I offer just a couple:

But let me offer you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then tell me how much of what I earn belongs to you – and why?


How does something immoral, when done privately, become moral when it is done collectively? Furthermore, does legality establish morality? Slavery was legal; apartheid is legal; Stalinist, Nazi, and Maoist purges were legal. Clearly, the fact of legality does not justify these crimes. Legality, alone, cannot be the talisman of moral people.


The moral tragedy that has befallen Americans is our belief that it is okay for government to forcibly use one American to serve the purposes of another—that in my book is a working definition of slavery.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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