Good morning, everyone.
The worst of the infant formula shortage has concentrated in Tennessee. One quick way the Biden administration could help ease the constraints is to allow the import of formulas approved by any one of the five FDA-approved international authorities — namely those in Europe where formula regulations are even more stringent than in the US.
Alex Tabarrok points this out in a recent post on Marginal Revolution wherein he also chides the US Customs and Border Patrol for "bragging about how they nabbed 588 cases of infant formula from Germany and the Netherlands as if it were cocaine." To the Biden administration, the interests of defense contractors, new and lucrative LNG exporters like Qatar, and the egos of the foreign policy establishment seem of greater consequence if we're to gauge by where they want to direct the money and attention.
In our state of Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee has yet to issue any sort of statement and didn't respond to the Epoch Times' Roger Simon when pushed on the matter adding further distinction to Lee's label as 'The Biggest Disappointment' in our Flat Curver Awards.
Today, we take a look at what's on the docket in tonight's Metro Council meeting and defy the Gods of media by discoursing openly on Great Replacement Theory without any of the conspiratorial baggage.
Thanks for reading.
● TONIGHT IN THE METRO COUNCIL
In this post State of Metro Address era, we are rolling into Metro City Council’s budget season. Councilmembers and the Mayor’s office are preparing to spar over divvying up the proposed $2.97B in spending. To give you an idea of how much this budget has been expanding, the 2018-19 budget was $2.23B. First, let’s look at what’s happening in tonight’s meeting.
ON THE COUNCIL FLOOR
A resolution to buy the old Historic School for the Blind on 88 Hermitage Avenue is on the table. This resolution was deferred last meeting. The purchase is controversial since Mayor Cooper tried to encourage the purchase of this property a few years ago for half the price. The proposed purchase price in this resolution is $20.3M. Council members, such as Freddie O’Connell, have vested interests as the property is within or close to their district. The problem other Council members have with this acquisition is that the exact use of the property is still undecided and the purchase seems an unnecessary use of taxpayer dollars. Council member Courtney Johnston has also filed a resolution to have the property inspected.
A resolution authorizing the Mayor to submit the Nashville-Davidson HOME Investment Partnerships -American Rescue Plan (HOME ARP) Action Plan. As we approach the budget meetings this year, homelessness is one of the major issues we’ll see addressed frequently. Most of the conversations revolving around this topic include affordable housing. HOME ARP funding will play a role in this year’s housing solutions.
The Budget Ordinance of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee for Fiscal Year 2023 is on first reading. This is filed in preparation for the annual operating budget. The budget ordinance outlines revenue and expense estimations.
THIS YEAR’S METRO BUDGET
As we finish out May and head into June, there will be open meetings discussing Metro’s budget. One of the loudest voices in the community is coming from MNPS. Public school employees and teachers have expressed their distress and unions are putting pressure on Metro and the Mayor to secure better wages. Discussions are already underway and will continue as School Board members also put some skin in the game.
Here’s a quick overview of the budget to get ahead of the narrative.
Review detailed budget and finance materials available on Nashville.gov.
- High-rise developer Tony Giarratana is remaking Nashville's skyline (Tennessean) About $1 billion worth of towers will transform Nashville's skyline as we know it by 2026. But Giarratana's success wasn't always guaranteed.
- Bank of America awards $325K in grants to area nonprofits (Main Street) Bank of America announced more than $325,000 in grant funding to 13 Nashville nonprofits. Grants focus on workforce development and education to help individuals chart a path to employment and better economic futures, as well as basic needs fundamental to building lifelong stability.
- Tennessee moms donating milk to feed babies in the NICU (Channel 5) For months, a nationwide baby formula shortage has left parents in a panic wondering how they'll be able to feed their children.
- Ric Flair to wrestle farewell match at Fairgrounds Nashville (Post) Flair has been preparing for an in-ring return on July 31 on an independent card titled “Jim Crockett Promotions Presents: Ric Flair’s Last Match” at The Fairgrounds Nashville. The event will stream live on Fite TV.
- Repair on damaged I-40 overpass in Wilson Co. begins (WSMV) An emergency contract was awarded to Mid-State Construction on April 15 and work is expected to be completed by July 15, just in time for the Wilson County Fair-Tennessee State Fair at the nearby James Ward Agricultural Center.
- TN Law To Protect Students From Digital Obscenity & Pornography To Go Into Effect For Fall Semester (TCN) The bill redefines “obscene” to include material that has educational value; makes various changes to the internet acceptable use policy local education agencies (LEAs) are required to adopt; enacts requirements governing providers of digital and online resources; enacts and revises other related provisions.
- Company behind Midtown project sells historic building (Post)
- Lower Broadway building sale of $30.5M shatters record (Post)
- White Bridge Road building floor offered for sale (Post)
- The Reed Site Looks To Its Extend Zoning Exception In Midtown Nashville (Now Next)
ON GREAT REPLACEMENT THEORY
Great Replacement Theory. Population Collapse. Demography is Destiny. Etc. We've all heard these things. We're all vaguely familiar with them. They signal anxiety, fear, population control, or all three at once. These are not new ideas either. Within the first chapter of F. Scott Fitzgerald's celebrated The Great Gatsby published in 1925, Tom Buchanan muses, “Civilization’s going to pieces. I’ve gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things. Have you read 'The Rise of the Colored Empires' by this man Goddard?”
"Great Replacement Theory" trended yesterday on Twitter after the manifesto of the Buffalo shooter expressed some affinity for it. Conspiratorial questions of the cui bono? variety aside, the numbers do bear him out. White Americans have precipitously low birth rates and the highest median age among all other groups by a significant margin. Following the publication of the 2020 Census, headlines rang out about the White population decreasing as a share of the total population for the first time in American history. Pointing it out shouldn't be a crime, but people's insane reaction to the news perhaps has to do with how it was laundered in the mainstream press.
Reactions varied back in August when it first broke. Some, such as Tucker Carlson, voiced concern. Others, like the Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin, expressed glee, proclaiming, "This is fabulous news." There were bizarre responses like Jimmy Fallon's audience clapping maniacally when he brought it up on his show, and then there were the predictable reactions like Michael Moore's declaration that it was the "best day in American history."
Even some on the vaguely defined right chimed in for sport. Perennial fence-sitter David French — whose ass must be sore by now — penned an essay that equated the shrinking of the White, Christian population — of which he is a member, it should be noted — with the radical and historically significant rise of equality in the United States.
So, given the very mainstream positive reaction to this news, what is a White Christian to do? Should he have no reaction because this news is neutral — which it clearly isn't? Should he have a positive reaction because it's good that the White majority is declining? Is this news of any consequence to anyone at all, or is it merely another statistic?
Eric Kauffman unwittingly hits the nail on the head in his piece on this in Unherd, saying, "Reminding white Americans about their impending minority status shifts their policy attitudes in a conservative direction and increases support for Right-wing populism." So while it is true that White Americans are losing political influence due to declining birth rates and the influx of more fecund immigrants, pointing this out benefits the Trumpist Right, so it's best we keep quiet about it. The article continues with a bunch of hand-wavy statistics meant to dissuade the reader from the very real phenomenon of the declining White, Christian majority because, presumably, allowing this information to persist unimpeded will get Big Bad Orange Man elected again.
The mantra "demography is destiny" comes to us from Auguste Comte — regarded as the first philosopher of science, a pioneer in the field of sociology, and coiner of the term altruism. He wrote in France in the aftermath of the French Revolution which witnessed a massive upending of the social order, so it makes sense that he'd spend his time thinking about how shifting political coalitions would affect his nation.
The major demographic realignment in American politics that persists to this day began in the 1960s following the assassination of JFK. As the Democratic Party undermined its working-class base by supporting the expansion of welfare programs and jettisoned its Catholic base by taking up abortion, the two parties began to fracture along racial lines. The Democratic electoral strategy hinged largely on appealing to affluent, White families in urban areas and Black and Hispanic voters. Republicans absorbed rural, working-class Americans — even as the manufacturing sector vacated the interior — and White Catholics and Christians who were moderately serious about their religious convictions.
Demographic decline is not something that can be reversed overnight and, as stated above, the White population in the US has a median age of fifty-eight which — when compared to the median age of eleven in the Hispanic community and twenty-eight in the Black community — makes it abundantly clear that White Americans have little desire to rock the boat because, well, most of them are on the way out anyway. This explains the volume of complaints coming from the aged Republican Party and underscores their ineffectiveness as a coalition mostly because they lack the spirit of youth to carry out the orders. Revolutions and Civil Wars tend to occur in sufficiently young nations or groups with median ages somewhere in the range of twenty to thirty. For example, leading up to WWII, Germany had a median age of around thirty, and Russia had a median age of around twenty-one. Around the time of the Civil War in the US, the median age was twenty.
Median age is useful, but not perfect, as a way to measure how old the bulk of the population is, and thus, what age drives the politics of the era. Nationwide, the median age is thirty-eight years old. That, of course, doesn't help much in understanding the age of the people driving the political decisions though. In 2020, registered Democrats had a median age of forty-nine and Republicans of fifty-two. Both of these represent an increase from 1996 indicating that voters continue to age. A higher median age among leaders tends to correlate with shallower political vision and the inability or unwillingness to think long-term.
Think of the great rulers of the past. Alexander the Great claimed the throne when he was 20, Caesar Augustus inherited authority when he was 18, Napoleon came to power in his 20s, and the median age of the signers of the Declaration of Independence was 39 with Alexander Hamilton being just 21 and Thomas Jefferson just 33. More recently, we've seen the two oldest Presidents in US history. One ran an entire campaign on Making America Great Again. The other can barely get a sentence out and his policies, when he does have policies, represent a 1968 Paris Communist's wet dream. Neither of the two will receive accolades for their vision and both in their own way indicate a nation or a people out of ideas and on the way out.
Political vision and the ability to think long-term are capabilities found only in young populations. Aged populations tend to cling to short-term interests. We make good fun of the gerontocracy around here, but their age is the number one mark against them and goes a long way in explaining why there are so many bad ideas floating around Washington DC. What's more, as birth rates in the US continue to rely almost entirely on new immigrants — who return to the national mean after a single generation on average — the population shows no signs of getting younger.
An older population means more capital will be tied up in care for the elderly. A significant portion already is. In Nashville, for example, the looming deficit crisis in the city arises entirely from generous pension plans divvied out to Metro employees. The cost of maintaining these benefits will only grow as the population ages, and more employees leave the workforce.
What should be stated clearly is that developed nation's around the globe are suffering from demographic collapse, declining birthrates, and high anxiety around the future as a result. China, France, the UK, Japan, and just about every other developed nation in the world experiences depressed birth rates and an aging population. Hungary, for example, suffers from one of the lowest birth rates in all of Europe which has motivated a hard turn towards pro-natalist, conservative policies aimed at driving them up. They've received much criticism as a result.
The temporary solution is to bolster birth rates with immigration — as both France and the US do — but that is no long-term solution. The birth rates of immigrants tend to regress to the mean after a single generation. What's behind plummeting birth rates? Hard to say. Some studies suggest that urbanization and secularization of the Western world starting in the late 18th century spurred the decline in birth rates. Urbanites and non-religious folk tend to produce fewer children. Israel is unique among developed nations in that it maintains a high birth rate even among its secular population. This can be attributed, in part, to the harsh, war footing the country has maintained since its inception which necessitates a certain amount of cohesion and commitment to the long-term success of the nation absent from more peaceful milieus like the US or France.
Back to the question at the beginning of this essay: are White Americans being replaced? Well, if we're to accept that Democrat's strategy continues to be to appeal to minorities and non-religious Whites, would it benefit them if the White Christian population decreased? The answer is obviously yes. It's not conspiratorial to point out incentives. Democrats are incentivized to aid in the creation of a White Christian minority. Of course it's happening. It's been happening. It's a political advantage for them to dismantle the family, separate people from their lineage, and divorce them from their faith regardless of their race or religion. Is pointing out the constituencies of one party and stating that it's to their advantage to increase their number a conspiracy theory of some sort?
As I sit here and write out these facts so as to dispel whatever fetishistic taboo hovers around them in the hopes that confronting harsh truths will enliven some people to gird themselves and move ahead with enthusiasm, I wonder if any of my literary idols would set out to do the same. Would Lord Byron speak seriously on such matters, for example? The answer in Byron's case is surely no. Byron spent his years relaying stories of daring men in pursuit of the sublime as he lived out this spirit himself. Maybe not the best model for the present moment or preceding topic, but there is a lesson we can glean from Byron. Much weeping and gnashing of teeth follow man on his course, and yet, he has always the choice of how to approach his situation.
⚔ MISSIVES ⚔
- 🇸🇪 Sweden on Monday formally announced its decision to seek NATO membership, upending 200 years of neutrality and nonalignment and joining Finland in what could be the largest expansion of the military alliance in decades.
- 💻 Microsoft Corp. plans to “nearly double” its budget for employee salary increases and boost the range of stock compensation it gives some workers by at least 25%, an effort to retain staff and help people cope with inflation.
- 💸 Elon Musk stoked speculation that he could seek to renegotiate his takeover of Twitter Inc., saying a viable deal at a lower price wouldn’t be “out of the question.”
- 🏠 The Biden administration unveiled steps Monday aimed at addressing the U.S. shortage of entry-level homes, including expanding federally backed financing for affordable housing and directing grants toward localities that encourage construction.
- 🏛 The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) on Monday, striking down a rule that prevented him from repaying debt from his 2018 Senatorial campaign.
- 🇶🇦 In its hunt to replace Russian energy imports, Europe has found a new best friend: Qatar, the small Middle Eastern country that is rich in natural gas.
THINGS TO DO
View our full event calendar here.
🍺 The Pamphleteer hosts Bar Hours on the last Thursday of every month — May 26th will be our next meeting — at Lucky's 3 Star Bar from 6-8 PM. The first ten guests get drinks on the company tab.
🎪 Check out our favorite driving distance festivals this summer.
👨🏻🌾 The Pamphleteer farmer's market guide.
⚾️ Sounds vs. Bats @ First Horizon Park, 6:35, $15+, Info
😳 FML Comedy Show @ Bastion, 8p, Free, Info
🎸 Honky Tonk Tuesday @ American Legion Post 82, 5p, Free, Info
+ Two step lessons @ 7p, The Cowpokes @ 8p
🎺 Todd Day Wait @ The Underdog, 11:30p, Free, Info
+ Honky Tonk Tuesday afterparty, down the street
ON THE RADAR
🎻 Leftover Salmon (5/24-25) @ Station Inn, $35, Info
👁 Beethoven's 9th (6/2-5) @ Schermerhorn, $25+, Info
🚨 Eprom (6/25) @ Eastside Bowl, 9p, $25.50, Info
🎸 Boulevards (7/17) @ Basement East, 7p, $10, Info
🎸 My Morning Jacket (9/23) @ Ascend Amphitheater, 7p, $22.88, Info
🎸 Smashing Pumpkins (10/10) @ Bridgestone Arena, 6:30p, $133+, Info
FROM THE ARCHIVE
Around the Web
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✸ On the Failure of Conservatives to Mount Effective Opposition to the Most Insane Policies Ever Visited Upon Mankind Remarks inspired by Manfred Kleine-Hartlage's 'Invective against Conservatives'
Political Theater Highlight Reel
- Clarence Thomas sends message to media: I’ll leave the court when ‘I do my job as poorly as yours’
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Words of Wisdom
"It has been said that the immortality of the soul is a 'grand peutêtre' — but still it is a grand one. Everybody clings to it — the stupidest, and dullest, and wickedest of human bipeds is still persuaded that he is immortal."