OK, that crack wasn’t funny!
Of course we love Independence Day, whenever it falls, but really, a Wednesday?! Jeesh. Looking ahead to 2019, the holiday falls on a more-enviable Thursday, so there is a four-day weekend in the offing.
Before we get the the giganta of stuff to follow, a personal note: Mia mama, star-spangled and quite the Yankee doodle who stuck that feather in her Bronx Bombers cap and called it Marconi (her maiden name), was born on the day back in the Roosevelt administration (Franklin, not Teddy). Truth be told my grandparents were New York Giants fans (Gran once told me in particular she liked pitcher Freddie Fitzsimmons and shortstop Dick Bartell, who, pardon the non sequitur, was once traded for a guy named Pretzel Pezzullo), so I doubt there was a Yankee cap around for feather-sticking. So happy birthday Mom.
By The Way One: On Independence Day in 1957, then-senator John F. Kennedy read the entire Declaration of Independence for WQXR radio in New York. Listen if your eyes are otherwise occupied.
By The Way Two: The formal legislative instrument of our Independence, adopted on July 2, 1776, was the Lee Resolution. If you didn’t know that, now you do.
Mackerels of holiness have there ever been so many editorials, and about such a mix of despairing and non-despairing matters?! Dive in and doggie paddle through this sextet of sound, sane, and scintillating sentiments.
1. A friend to many here, conservative icon Charles Krauthammer passed away. From our editorial:
He believed in American power and the international order it had created, and had no patience for apologists for our enemies or for the gauzy clichés of supporters of “the international community.” A baseline of realism undergirded his thought, and he was equally willing to puncture the fantasies of the Left and, as necessary, the irrational enthusiasms of the Right.
Everything he wrote was characterized by his uncommon intelligence. His style matched an unsparing logic with an economy of expression that routinely produced masterpieces of lucidity and persuasion. He gave us phrases that entered the political vocabulary, e.g. “the unipolar moment” after the end of the Cold War, and his big essays on the Reagan and Bush doctrines helped define the foreign policies of those two presidents.
2. Amidst all the madness of the border immigration “crisis,” and calls for various fixes, we say: Insist on E-Verify. From the editorial:
If we want to make sure that illegal immigration is brought down and kept down — even as the American economy grows stronger — then the most important step we can take is not building a border wall or arresting illegal border crossers, with or without families. Roughly two-fifths of illegal immigrants did not cross the border illegally in the first place. They came here legally and then overstayed their visas.
The most important step is to keep illegal immigrants from having gainful employment, whichever route they took to be here illegally. We must make it possible and mandatory for employers to verify that their new hires are present in the United States legally. After all, it’s the prospect of economic advance, rather than crime or political chaos, that drives almost all illegal immigration. To get control of it — and not just at the border — we have to take away the economic incentive. The knowledge that it will be much more difficult to make money in the U.S. will serve as a humane deterrent against future illegal immigration. Moreover, mandatory verification for new hires will make it harder for existing illegal immigrants to switch jobs, so some of them will leave. In addition, the mandatory implementation of E-Verify would make it easier to prosecute employers who exploit illegal workers and depress wages for lower-income Americans.
3. SCOTUS rules (barely, 5-4) on behalf of free speech in the case (NIFLA v. Becerra) in which California tried to stick it to pro-life “crisis pregnancy” centers. We called it a “welcome blow” for the First Amendment. From the editorial:
Though the law related specifically to abortion, free speech was the fundamental issue at stake. This being so, the vote should not have been a narrow one. Alas, four of the Court’s justices were so hell-bent on promoting the manufactured right to abortion that they were prepared to jettison a real, preeminent, foundational liberty.
Justice Clarence Thomas’s majority opinion cast the case more clearly, noting that there exists no such category in America as “professional speech” and concluding that to invent one would “give the States unfettered power to reduce a group’s First Amendment rights by simply imposing a licensing requirement.” In a short concurrence, Justice Kennedy dispensed with the idea that the First Amendment is outmoded. The viewpoint discrimination inherent in the FACT Act was “a matter of serious constitutional concern,” Kennedy concluded, and the law served as “a paradigmatic example of the serious threat presented when government seeks to impose its own message in the place of individual speech, thought, and expression.”
Though this decision is worth celebrating, it’s lamentable that the Supreme Court was ever asked to consider such an obvious and malicious violation of the First Amendment. The FACT Act is perhaps the best example of the rapidly growing extremism of the abortion-rights movement — and, of course, of the intensely progressive bent of California’s state government.
EXTRA: You’ll find the decisions in favor, concurring, and dissenting here. And David French’s amicus curiae brief (echoes of his position were found in Justice Clarence Thomas’ ruling) on behalf of 41 pro-family groups can be found here.
4. And in another squeaker 5-4 ruling for the good guys, SCOTUS, in Trump v. Hawaii, got the President’s “travel ban” right. From our editorial:
Quite apart from the fact that Trump was thus acting at the apex of his authority (in an area of core presidential responsibility with sweeping statutory support), the travel restrictions were imposed only after an exhaustive process in which executive agencies responsible for visa-issuance decisions evaluated every country in the world for compliance with U.S. needs for information-sharing and risk-assessment. The majority noted that the twelve-page proclamation was more detailed with factual findings than any ever issued under the statute. The restrictions imposed were not based on nationality per se, much less religion, but on inadequacies in addressing risks. There was, in addition, a proviso that the “conditional restrictions” would remain in force only as long as the cited countries failed to address the problems identified. And, indeed, the chief justice pointed out that three countries — Iraq, Sudan, and Chad — have been removed from the list.
Under long-standing precedent, the judiciary may not second-guess the denial of a visa, even if an American citizen claims derivative harm from it, if the executive branch offers a “facially legitimate and bona fide” reason. This, coupled with the manifest care taken by the administration to tailor the travel restrictions narrowly, should have been cause for the courts to stay their hand. The lower courts did not do so, however, because of Donald Trump’s purple prose on the hustings and in the early days of his presidency, in which sensible concerns about border security and jihadist terrorism were framed in terms that could be construed as anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim. Clearly, as the barely controlled rage of Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissent attests, that is why what should have been an easy decision turned into a 5–4 cliffhanger.
EXTRA: The Court’s ruling and the judges’ concurrences and dissents can be found here.
5. And in still another squeaker, but a crushing blow to the union Left, the High Court used Janus v. AFSCME to uphold the First Amendment and overturn the terrible Abood precedent that forced workers to bankroll objectionable political stands. From the editorial:
Unions generally doseek exclusive representation merely because they want the power that comes with it. As the Court explains, “Not only is the union given the exclusive right to speak for all the employees in collective bargaining, but the employer is required by state law to listen to and to bargain in good faith with only that union.” In fact, organized labor has been known to oppose legislation to expand members’-only unions precisely because they threaten this power. As James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation has written, “unions care about free-riding to the extent it justifies forced dues. They do not actually want to stop representing ‘free riders.’”
EXTRA: The Alito opinion and the Notorious Gang of Four’s dissent can be found here.
6. Tony, we’re not sorry to see you go. From the editorial:
Again and again, Kennedy made rulings that aggrandized the power of the Court and of himself as its swing justice. No justice, right or left, was more willing to substitute his judgment for that of elected officials and voters. No justice was less willing to tie himself down to clear rules or a legal philosophy that would constrain him in future cases, let alone rules or a philosophy that bore a plausible relation to the Constitution. We moved toward a system of government no Founder intended, in which his whim determined policy on a vast range of issues.
1. John J. Miller hits the milestone of his 200th The Bookmonger episode. In the newbie, he interviews NR’s former social-media czarina, Ericka Andersen, about her new book, Leaving Cloud 9. Now don’t you leave until you listen up first, which can be done here.
2. Episode 97 of The Editors is out and piping in the hotness: Rich, Charlie, Michael, and Luke discuss the latest SCOTUS decisions, the civility debate, and the most recent George Will column (Ugh). Strap on the headphones and learn a thing or three.
3. And then there is the special “Supreme Court Vacancy” episode of The Editors, with Rich and Bench Memos Lord and Master Ed Whelan discussing Anthony Kennedy’s legacy and the looming political uproar of the SCOTUS nomination battle. Oyez Oyez! Listen here.
4. On the new episode of The Great Books, JJM and Wilfred McClay discuss The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Listen to all the greatness here.
5. A busy week for Ordered Liberty. On the sorta-new “Red Hen” episode, David and Alexandra discuss the firestorm of controversy around a restaurant’s refusal to serve Sarah Huckabee Sanders, outline the dangers of directly confronting and verbally shaming Trump officials, and celebrate another Supreme Court victory for religious liberty. Learn what the cluck is going on here.
6. On a Bahnsen-AWOL episode of Radio Free California, Will Swaim is joined by Santa Ana education board member Cecilia “Ceci” Iglesias to discuss the Latino community and Golden State education — and much more. Listen and learn here.
7. But wait: Bahnsen returns! And in Episode 35 of Radio Free California, he joins Will to discuss the Janusruling and what that means for the future of California. Catch it here.
8. Bowers of flowers are blooming on the new episode of Jaywalking: Brother Nordlinger talks California, conservatism, personal responsibility, and trade — with some help from singers Al Jolson, Ella Fitzgerald, and Bryn Terfel. A sun-kist miss says listen here.
9. A new McCarthy Report episode awaits. In it, Andy and Rich discuss Paul Manafort’s impending trial, FBI agent Peter Strzok’s upcoming testimony before Congress, and recent travel ban developments. Catch it here.
10. Jonah invites Cato Institute legal scholar Ilya Shapiro back on The Remnant for some rank legal punditry: a rundown of the cases the Supreme Court decided this term and speculation about what happens to the Court now that Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring. Hear ye, hear ye. Here, ye.
Nineteen USDA Grade A, Mouth-Watering, Meaty NRO Articles into Which Your Teeth Are Yearning to Sink
1. Mex-hico what the heckico: A powerful Victor Davis Hanson column about what went and goes wrong, south of the border. From his piece:
Facts are stubborn and reveal Mexico, not the United States, as a de facto aggressor and belligerent on many fronts. Mexico runs a NAFTA-protected $70 billion trade surplus with the U.S., larger than that of any other single American trade partner (including Japan and Germany) except China. The architects of NAFTA long ago assured Americans that such a trade war would not break out, or that we should not worry over trade imbalances, given the desirability of outsourcing to take advantage of Mexico’s cheaper labor costs.
A supposedly affluent Mexico was supposed to achieve near parity with the U.S., as immigration and trade soon neutralized. Despite Mexico’s economic growth, no such symmetry has followed NAFTA. What did, however, 34 years later, was the establishment of a dysfunctional Mexican state, whose drug cartels all but run the country on the basis of their enormous profits from unfettered dope-running and human-trafficking into the United States. NAFTA certainly did not make Mexico a safer, kinder, and gentler nation.
In addition, Mexican citizens who enter and reside as illegal immigrants in the U.S. are mostly responsible for sending an approximate $30 billion in remittances home to Mexico. That sum has now surpassed oil and tourism as the largest source of Mexican foreign exchange. That huge cash influx is the concrete reality behind Obrador’s otherwise unhinged rhetoric about exercising veto power over U.S. immigration law.
2. Andy McCarthy eye rolls about the latest contortion from Congressman Trey Gowdy over FBI and DOJ bias against Donald Trump. From his piece:
This week, Gowdy did a 180: back on the warpath, slamming the politically biased Feebs over “prejudging” the outcomes of the Clinton-emails and Trump-Russia investigations and delivering a chest-beating vow that the House would “use its full arsenal of constitutional weapons to get compliance” with its subpoenas — a threat that includes holding recalcitrant FBI and DOJ officials in contempt.
If I seem frustrated by Representative Gowdy, it is the frustration of an admirer. He is singular among lawmakers in his ability to ask piercing questions and drive home important points. But often there is little follow-through after a hearing’s highlight reel, and some of the scintillating rhetoric is, well, extravagant. The House is most certainly not going to use its “full arsenal of constitutional weapons” to pressure stonewalling agencies.
3. First off, dear friend Mona Charen has a new book out: Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense. Second off, she has a big essay on NRO hitting the book’s themes. From Mona’s piece:
Sadly, among women high-school dropouts, 57 percent of births are non-marital. That compares with only 9 percent among college graduates. This is the key to growing inequality. Single mothers cannot afford the luxury of part-time work. They live one illness, one crime, one missed rent payment from disaster. America holds the dubious distinction of leading the world in chaotic adult relationships. Forty percent of American children will see their parents’ arrangement — whether marriage or living together — dissolve by the time they reach their 15th birthday. Forty-seven percent will see a new partner enter their home within three years of their parents’ separation, which is associated with even poorer outcomes for children than living with a single parent. Among cohabiting couples, the breakup rate is 55 percent after five years, the highest among OECD countries.
Perhaps due to feminism, or unquestioning attachment to the sexual revolution, or the deep-seated American reverence for freedom, we are reluctant to confront the price of neglecting duty and commitment. Consider what works: Among married African Americans, the poverty rate is 8 percent, or half the national rate. Among black single mothers, 46 percent live in poverty. The ratios are similar for other ethnic groups.
4. Jonah Goldberg bemoans the push to have politics fill the hole in society’s soul. From his new column:
It’s not merely that lifestyles are being politicized, but that politics is becoming a lifestyle.
Partisans are convinced that the answer to our woes lies in total victory over the other. This is disastrous, because the embrace of partisan identity exacerbates the problem, and because our government was never designed to fill the holes in our souls.
5. Intern Liam Warner takes a step backs and looks at the Jordan Peterson hullaballooing and sees that the effort (his and others’) to address the “crisis of meaning” is hurt by an obvious God deficiency. From the piece:
Oren Harman, a professor of the history of science, instead advises us to revive the mythological sense that gave rise to religion in the first place. This is the project of his new book, Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World. He aims to fashion modern scientific ideas such as the multiverse and natural selection into stories that can “help us live more comfortably with the uncertainty of wonder.”
If you suspected that this enterprise would turn out fatuous and lame, you were correct. The so-called myths are an irritating mixture of anthropomorphism and oversimplification. The prose style is intolerable, chiefly for compulsive overuse of the melodramatic terse-sentence-as-its-own-paragraph. Stories that are supposed to be replacing Virgil and the Psalms ought to demonstrate more literary merit than an infomercial for a blender. That such sophisticates as Professor Stephen Greenblatt, the world’s leading Shakespeare scholar, can call Evolutions a “revelatory restoration of wonder” is downright disturbing, unless he means something along the lines of “I wonder what else this publisher will buy.”
6. SCOTUS One: Big Ed Whelan gives a NIFLA v. Becerra verdict run-down at the esteemed Bench Memos blog. Get briefed here.
7. SCOTUS Two: In its Travel Ban ruling, the High Court (five members at least) was merely upholding the law as written by Congress, writes David French. From his piece:
Critics are already decrying the decision, talking about how in the “real world,” rather than the “debating parlor” of the Supreme Court, it’s motivated by nothing but anti-Muslim animus. No one can doubt Trump’s statements were absurd, extreme, and malicious. But the policy here is focused and targeted, and it leaves untouched the vast majority of Muslim believers across the world. Under the critics’ preferred doctrine, this president and future presidents would be hamstrung in promulgating facially neutral policies aimed even at enemynations if a collection of justices subjectively determined that his or her heart was not right.
8. SCOTUS Three: Janus presents the teachers’ unions with a real opportunity, writes Jeanne Allen. Fat chance if they notice it. From her piece:
The teachers’ unions may decry the ruling, but they would do well to look beyond the financial loss that it will entail and see the opportunity that it presents — the opportunity to secure support for their work based not on coercion, but on voluntary support from those who truly believe in the ideas, actions, and pronouncements of organized labor. They might also take this opportunity to abandon their entrenched stance against all things reform and embrace the cause of improving education for parents seeking new opportunities for their children.
RELATED: Max Eden sees Janus instigating collaboration between conservatives and teachers’ unions.
9. SCOTUS Four: Well, well, well it seems that after all these Supreme Court openings are important. In fact, their political ramifications are . . . immense! David French opines on the Kennedy retirement. From his piece:
If Trump holds firm to his promise to choose his next justice from the list he put forward last November, the Supreme Court will be dominated by a core of five largely originalist justices, and the next two oldest judges are both progressive. Justice Ginsburg is 85, and Justice Breyer turns 80 in August. It may be quite some time before a president will have the opportunity to so clearly and decisively impact the judicial philosophy of the Court. In the meantime, that means that originalists may well have a golden opportunity to reset our jurisprudence to align more with the words and meaning of the Constitution. It’s too much (perhaps) to argue that Roecould fall, but one can easily imagine the Court granting greater autonomy to state governments to regulate abortion providers. One can also imagine more robust protections for free speech and religious liberty, greater protection for the right to keep and bear arms, and further inroads against the unconstitutional administrative state.
10. The call by “woke” libertarians and leftists for a borderless, welfare-state nation is a call for massive internationalism. Fred Bauer connects the dots on “post-national egalitarianism” in this excellent piece, from which comes this slice:
If one of the premises of the free movement of people is that government should not be prejudiced against an individual for things behind his control (such as place of birth), it seems pretty clear that it would be unfair to limit redistribution only to those who immigrate to the United States. Plenty of things outside an individual’s control might prevent him from immigrating to the United States or make it harder for him to immigrate. For instance, by geography alone, it is much easier for someone from Mexico to immigrate than it is for someone from the Solomon Islands, and Mexico is a much wealthier country than the Solomon Islands. A very ill person might have a much harder time immigrating than someone in perfect health. Allowing international redistribution primarily through immigration would in turn end up favoring one group over another according to certain arbitrary standards (such as geographic proximity, personal health, and family connections).
As has been implied above, internationalizing the welfare state need not be sudden. Rather than calling for the end of entitlements, advocates for universal egalitarianism might instead call for means-testing them, with the savings rolled into international aid. They might also stop spending any political capital on new income-support programs for Americans and instead fight to increase international-aid spending.
11. Heather Wilhelm imagines a world without social media.
12. A few weeks back we called on controversy-immersed Scott Pruitt to step down. His pal (and ours) Cleta Mitchell gives NRand the editorial what for. From her response defending the EPA Administrator:
The attacks against Scott Pruitt are a pretext for what the Left is really angry about: President Trump’s election and his subsequent naming of Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator — and the remarkable job Pruitt is doing on policy matters at the EPA. He is wresting control of this taxpayer-funded agency from the clutches of the environmental activists and groups that have taken as given that the agency belongs to them rather than the American people.
As Scott Pruitt fights the battle to restore environmental common sense and the rule of law to the EPA, those who hate such ideas are treating all of us to a full display of how they fight. They rail against the substance, to be sure, but they are also skilled in the art of character assassinations — and that’s what is driving the narrative against Pruitt, as they hope that their sworn enemy can be toppled by their relentless attacks. The Left knows how to use the media and various government “ethics” officials and agencies to wage their wars, and that is exactly what they are doing to Scott Pruitt.
13. George Will, denigrator of Whittaker Chambers and Billy Graham, gets no plaudits in this weekly epistle, for those and other reasons. Such as this recent column urging voters to turn against the GOP in November. About that: I find Dan McLaughlin is too gentlemanly in his detailed rebuttal. From his take:
And what of executive powers? On one very important topic — trade — the Republican Congress has indeed been cowed into shameful inaction when they ought to be restraining Trump from economically ruinous tariffs. Would Democrats do better? Previous Democratic Congresses have tried to hobble free-trade agreements by imposing labor and environmental standards on our trading partners, and the Bernie Sanders movement was nearly as hostile to trade agreements as Trump is. The prospect of bipartisan action that effectively constrains Trump on trade is far from assured even with the Democrats in charge.
Would Democrats improve the integrity of government? One of the poster boys for ethical problems in the Trump administration is EPA head Scott Pruitt, who has been embroiled in an endless series of controversies over remarkably petty perks he has squeezed out of his department and the people who do business with it. Pruitt’s case is most remarkably similar to that of Mike Espy, Bill Clinton’s agriculture secretary, who was ultimately indicted but acquitted by a sympathetic jury for receiving football tickets, a car lease, and luxury-hotel stays — more or less the same sort of thing. Where is Mike Espy today? He’s running as a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Mississippi. If you followed George Will’s advice, you’d vote for him.
14. The border-immigration controversies have sparked Lefty call-’em-Nazis derangement. In his new column, Dennis Prager goes after some of the blathering fools who have trivialized the Holocaust. From his piece:
By contrast, Jewish children separated from their parents by Nazi guards were sent to gas chambers to die a gruesome, painful death by their lungs being filled with poisonous gas. And their parents almost always eventually suffered the same fate unless they were worked, starved, or tortured to death.
Comparing the two is not only a trivialization of the Holocaust; it is actually a form of Holocaust denial.
If Jewish children were treated by the Nazis the same way Central American children have been by America, then everything we know about the Holocaust would be false. Jewish children weren’t subjected to torturous medical experimentation, and they weren’t gassed and cremated. They were simply separated from their Jewish parents for a finite period of time, sent to stay with Jewish relatives or provided for by foster families while their parents were detained pending due-process legal proceedings. According to Donny Deutsch, Michael Hayden, and all the leftists comparing America and Trump to the Nazis, Jewish children weren’t gassed; they played soccer while waiting to be reunited with their parents.
15. As to why journalists think the First Amendment is a law banning the mockery of the Fifth Estate, especially by The Donald, Kyle Smith explains in this excellent piece, from whence comes this excerpt:
Even President George W. Bush did more damage to the First Amendment than Trump ever will when he signed the single most pernicious threat to it that has arisen in recent decades — the McCain-Feingold law that gave the federal government the power to ban political books and movies. Not only were the leading journalistic outlets sanguine about this, when it came to the Citizens Uniteddecision that struck down aspects of the law, they loudly supported the forces of censorship, not the First Amendment. The media are therefore (much) more dangerous opponents of the First Amendment than is the president they despise.
16. How can you not read an article titled The ‘Mustard Seed’ that Liberated Spanish Christians from Islamic Rule? From the piece by Raymond Ibrahim about events on the Iberian peninsula in 722 A.D.:
Contrary to the claim that Spain capitulated easily, that it reasoned that Muslim rule was no worse and possibly more lenient than that of the Visigoths, even Muslim chroniclers note how “the Christians defended themselves with the utmost vigor and resolution, and great was the havoc that they made in the ranks of the faithful.” In Córdoba, for example, a number of leading Visigoths and their people holed themselves up in a church. Although “the besieged had no hopes of deliverance, they were so obstinate that when safety was offered to them on condition either of embracing Islam, or paying jizya, they refused to surrender, and the church being set on fire, they all perished in the flames,” wrote al-Maqqari, adding that the ruins of this church became a place of “great veneration” for later generations of Spaniards because “of the courage and endurance displayed in the cause of their religion by the people who died in it.”
In the end, native Spaniards had two choices: acquiesce to Muslim rule or “flee to the mountains, where they risked hunger and various forms of death,” according to an early Christian chronicler.
17. More Spain: The Inquisition obviously needs a new P.R. agent — it may not have been as bad as you’ve been told. Ed Condon files a most interesting and detailed account of those little-understood court methods of 15th century Madrid and Toledo.
18. Intern Christian Gonzalez reviews Patrick Deneen’s “Why Liberalism Failed” and finds in many ways the book itself fails. From his essay/review:
While Deneen effusively praises the ancient forms of political philosophy, singling out especially the Greek cultivation of Aristotelian virtue, he largely elides the troublesome aspects of ancient Greek society — in particular its approval of slavery, its unbelievably cruel and at times genocidal wars (Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War is not an easy read), and its indifference to the condition of women. A fastidious reader might be willing to forgive these omissions ifDeneen gave due credit to liberalism’s triumphs. He does no such thing; rather, he dons horse-blinders and laments the defeat of ancient political theory without making any concessions. Of course, he is under no obligation to endorse liberalism despite its having separated church from state, contributed to slavery’s abolition, expanded democratic freedoms, secured private property, and legally emancipated minorities and women. But he certainly should feel compelled to acknowledgethese great instances of moral progress before attempting to draw contrasts between modern vices and ancient virtues.
19. Washington Post columnist Max Boot tried to justify Harvard’s practice of de facto discrimination against Asian-American applicants. Ramesh Ponnuru is having none of it. From his piece:
First, he says that admissions should not be based on grades and test scores alone. “You don’t necessarily want a student body made up entirely of bookworms . . .” This point is often made in defense of race-conscious admissions policies, but it always seems to me to be an attack on a strawman. Who argues that colleges should ignore musical talent, charitable works, or athletic ability? And where’s the evidence that positive non-academic qualities are generally correlated with race? From the proposition that not all students should be bookworms, it does not follow that therefore colleges should put a thumb on the scale for whites over Asians and for blacks and Hispanics over whites. But that logic would have to be valid for Boot’s argument to be pertinent to the controversy.
BONUS: I am among the many who love Jay Nordlinger’s travel journals. This week he treats us to his notes from a recent trip to Japan. In Part One, Jay is traipsing around and enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of Tokyo, and then in the sequel, he bullet-trains to Kyoto, the most archetypally Japanese of all her cities.
1. For the record, here is a PDF of the amicus curiae brief David French authored on behalf of 41 “family policy” organizations in NIFLA v. Becerra.
The Canadian government is willing to go to great (and presumably costly) lengths to “facilitate” the return of Canadian jihadists, unlike the UK, for example, which has revokedthe citizenship of ISIS fighters so they cannot return. The Canadian government has established a taskforce, the High Risk Returnee Interdepartmental Taskforce, that, accordingto government documents:
“. . . allows us to collectively identify what measures can mitigate the threat these individuals may pose during their return to Canada. This could include sending officers overseas to collect evidence before they depart, or their detention by police upon arrival in Canada.”
Undercover officers may also be used “to engage with the HRT [High Risk Traveler] to collect evidence, or monitor them during their flight home.”
In the sanitizing Orwellian newspeak employed by the Canadian government, the terrorists are not jihadis who left Canada to commit the most heinous crimes, such as torture, rape and murder, while fighting for ISIS in Syria and Iraq, but “High Risk Travelers” and “High Risk Returnees.”
3. At The University Bookman, Matthew Stokes reviews Zero Hour for Gen X: How the Last Adult Generation Can Save America from Millenials, Matthew Hennessey’s forthcoming book. From the review:
The millennials pose a very real problem for Hennessey, and technology is at the root of that problem. Sure, there are the issues with helicopter parenting and high-strung demands for validation, but the core problems with millennials revolve around their connectedness to the internet of things. In happily attaching themselves in such a manner, millennials have gleefully given up notions of privacy. There are no closed spheres anymore, and everything from dating to professional accomplishments are now publicly displayed in a manner heretofore unknown. Millennial overdependence on technology has left them strikingly ignorant on any number of topics necessary for good citizenship, while years of affirmation and self-esteem boosting have left them unable to accept there may in fact be a lot that they don’t know. Making matters worse, according to Hennessey, is the tendency of companies and startups to favor young employees at the expense of older ones, locking all of us in a vicious cycle at the mercy of millennials.
4. My old NR colleague Prof. Rich Samuleson cranks out the wisdom for Law and Liberty on the Constitution with an essay on “Madison’s Originalism.” From the piece:
How, then, to change the Constitution? Amend it. It is no coincidence that Madison urged, in his last act as President, amendment of the Constitution so as to add necessary powers that were not in the original grant.
The Madisonian view of the subject is not the only one, but there is a powerful logic to it, one that the votaries of the “living constitution” have quite successfully obscured. Many scholars seem to think that amendments are, somehow, a rejection of originalism. A few years ago, a very senior and distinguished colleague mocked originalists for blindly revering the Founders and for having no space for the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments in their view of the Constitution. Originalism, of course, is based upon the view that the proper way to change the constitution is to amend it.
5. The National Association of Scholars recently put out a report, The Irreproducibility Crisis of Modern Science: Causes, Consequences, and the Road to Reform, that is a must-read for anyone concerned with the politicization of science and the monkey-business rigging of “data” to achieve desired results. From the report’s preface by NAS president Peter Wood:
This report deals with an epistemic problem, which is most visible in the large numbers of articles in reputable peer-reviewed journals in the sciences that have turned out to be invalid or highly questionable. Findings from experimental work or observational studies turn out, time and again, to be irreproducible. The high rates of irreproducibility are an ongoing scandal that rightly has upset a large portion of the scientific community. Estimates of what percentage of published articles present irreproducible results vary by discipline. Randall and Welser cite various studies, some of them truly alarming. A 2012 study, for example, aimed at reproducing the results of 53 landmark studies in hematology and oncology, but succeeded in replicating only six (11 percent) of those studies.
Irreproducibility can stem from several causes, chief among them fraud and incompetence. The two are not always easily distinguished, but The Irreproducibility Crisis deals mainly with the kinds of incompetence that mar the analysis of data and that lead to insupportable conclusions. Fraud, however, is also a factor to be weighed.
Actual fraud on the part of researchers appears to be a growing problem. Why do scientists take the risk of making things up when, over the long term, it is almost certain that the fraud will be detected? No doubt in some cases the researchers are engaged in wishful thinking. Even if their research does not support their hypothesis, they imagine the hypothesis will eventually be vindicated, and publishing a fictitious claim now will help sustain the research long enough to vindicate the original idea. Perhaps that is what happened in the recent notorious case of postdoc Oona Lönnstedt at Uppsala University. She and her supervisor, Peter Eklöv, published a paper in Science in June 2016, warning of the dangers of microplastic particles in the ocean. The microplastics, they reported, endangered fish. It turns out that Lönnstedt never performed the research that she and Eklöv reported.
6. At City Journal, Joel Kotkin reports from Normandy, where he attended a conference on the state of democracy. There were plenty of big brains on hand, most sporting very glum faces. From the piece:
That order is now unraveling. Americans in the Donald Trump era have grown weary of carrying the defense burden, particularly for wealthy Germany (a complaint, incidentally, also voiced by President Obama). More important still has been President Trump’s critique of Europe’s cozy trade and monetary arrangements, which keep German products artificially cheap and allow for mass subsidization of industries and agriculture. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross points out that our leading trading partners have long imposed higher tariffs on incoming U.S. goods than what we levy on their exports.
With its ties to America fraying, Europeans, including those on the right, expressed frustration over a world where the big deals are now struck not with Europeans, but between America, China, and Russia. “We thought we were at the vanguard of the world,” conceded former French foreign minister Hubert Vedrine, “but we have become fragile on the inside.” The picture that emerged in Normandy was of a continent that has lost the will to do anything more than theorize and make broad statements. Americans, Chinese, and Russians, noted philosopher Pierre Manent, know how “to use their power.” Europeans, he added, “only wish for things.”
Most conference participants were from the center-right, but they did not regard President Trump highly. Figaro senior reporter Laure Mandeville noted that Europeans were not sure whether Trump was “the cause of evil or just the reflection of it.” Yet, as she and others acknowledged, Trump is not the cause of European demographic (one-third of the EU’s leaders are childless) and economic torpor. Few made a direct connection between the weakness of the European economy and the rise of nationalist and populist movements across the continent. Half of Europeans think that future generations will live worse than today’s, while only one-quarter believe that things will improve, which does much to explain why Europe’s center-right and center-left parties are contracting, while populist-right governments predominate in Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Italy. Nationalist movements are also ascendant in once reliably progressive strongholds of Germany, Holland, Sweden, and Finland. Some of these factions openly embrace the notion of “illiberal democracy,” which contradicts Tocquevillian notions of ordered liberty.
BONUS: Do not for a moment think that public-sector union bosses are rolling over because of Janus. Get ready for the hand-to-hand combat. At California Policy Center, once again Ed Ring provides critical analysis. From his piece:
The political power of public sector unions in California and other blue states is almost impossible to overstate. Returning governance to elected officials by rolling back the power of these unions will be a long and difficult fight. The highly visible steps the unions are taking or testing — the direct payment alternative, contracts that temporarily or permanently waive an employee’s right to free speech, forced dues for up to one year after opting-out — can be challenged in court. They may also be politically unpopular — direct payments in particular would be a hard sell to voters.
The more subtle ways unions are buttressing their power in the post Janus environment may be harder to stop, and collectively create daunting barriers to reform. Examples including denying right-to-work and pro-free-speech groups access to public employees, forbidding employers to discuss pros and cons of unionization, mandatory new employee “orientations” with union membership commitments filled with fine print and buried in multiple documents requiring a signature, handing dispute resolutions over to the union-packed PERB instead of the courts, broadening the base of employees eligible to join the unions.
Four Articles from the New Issue of National Review
I should say the “recent” NR (July 9, 2018 cover date) . . . and commence the flogging for my failure to promote it in the previous edition of WJ. But here you go, much better late than never.
1. If you think “fake news” is a problem, and so are the fixes, Andrew Stuttaford warns all in The Propagandist and the Censor.
2. The cover story by Nick Eberstadt scored it a Kim win in Singapore.
3. Michael Hendrix thinks Silicon Valley should disperse. From his piece, Go Midwest, Young Techie:
By investing so much in Washington, D.C., Silicon Valley risks doubling down on its main problem: working in a gilded bubble that is increasingly distinct from the rest of the world it claims to reach. Lived experience shapes the life and death of great ideas, yet coastal elites come from increasingly small circles of education, employment, and economic status. There is a limit to the number of tech-enabled services one can build on the same business model: providing to prosperous young knowledge workers what Mom once did for them, whether it is Rinse for laundry, Seamless for lunch, or Uber for a ride. If start-up formation is down, maybe it’s because Silicon Valley has simply run out of new ideas.
So why not move? By locating in emerging tech hubs outside Silicon Valley, leading venture capitalists could gain a measure of protection against changing politics. In an earlier era, the military and its industrial complex mitigated political risk by opening bases and plants in congressional districts across the country. Moving could also serve as a form of patriotic economic development if it meant investing in “comeback cities” of the Heartland such as Detroit, St. Louis, or Youngstown.
4. 100 years ago this summer, Eddie Rickenbacker was flying a Nieuport 28 biplane and dispatching German Fokkers from the skies over France. The Ace of Aces was a true and great American hero, the subject of a wonderful profile by John J. Miller.
What Do You Mean, ‘I Can’t Access Those NR Pieces’?
Why don’t you simply subscribe to NRPLUS, which is a very good thing, and an exceptional way to receive and enjoy all NR content (and groovy member benefits). Heck, if this wasn’t worth your while we’d have called it NRMINUS. But that’s not what we call it, is it? Find out more and subscribe to NRPLUS here.
1. Ericka Andersen, author of Leaving Cloud 9: The True Story of a Life Resurrected from the Abuse of Poverty, Trauma, and Mental Illness,visited the Heritage Foundation last week to discuss her new book. Watch her presentation here.
2. Soviet tactics, media-wise, are the subject of the new Prager U video, hosted by James O’Keefe. Watch it here.
3. Margaret Hoover, on the new episode of Firing Line, interviews Ohio governor John Kasich about what it means to be a conservative in the Age of Trump. Watch it here.
4. Margaret appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to discuss Firing Line and the Buckley legacy. Let’s go to the videotape.
5. The Federalist Society explains the Trump “travel ban.” Be informed here.
6. A recent and worthwhile episode of The College Fix’s “Campus Roundup” checks out the war on white authors. Watch it here.
7. Not-Too-Oldies-But-Goodies: Last year Peter Robinson taped a two-part Uncommon Knowledge with Victor Davis Hanson about his amazing book, The Second World Wars. You can watch Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
8. Maybe this was an attempt by Turner Classic Movies to mellow relations with our northern brothers? Whatever the reason, earlier this past week, TCM broadcast the sometimes hammy, often grand, beautifully filmed, patriotism-charged you-gotta-watch-it Canadian WW2 film, 49th Parallel.
From Days of Yore, it’s hard to imagine a more troubled fan than that of the Philadelphia Phillies (unofficially dubbed the “Blue Jays” from 1943 to 1949). From 1918 to 1949, the franchise had but one measly season performing .500 or better (1932, when they went 78-76). In twelve of those seasons they lost over 100 games, and during one ten-year period (1936 through 1945) the record was 511-1016, for a dismal .335 winning percentage. The team’s workhorse “ace” pitcher in the late 30s was the unfortunate Ed Mulcahy. He bore one of the worst nicknames in baseball history: “Losing Pitcher.” By the way, about those troubled fans: There weren’t many of them. On the final day of their 1938 season, which saw a pitiable total attendance of 161,111, the Phillies dropped a doubleheader to the Brooklyn Dodgers. A mere 500 fans saw losses 104 and 105.
To the Editor
In last weekend’s Jolt I recommended Stephen Klugewicz’s essay, A Requiem for Manners, from The Imaginative Conservative. Devoted reader Randall from Oklahoma, a retired Army Major, was not a fan of the piece (“It smacks of neo-Confederatism”) and wrote Yours Truly a response, which I provide here:
Stephen Klugewicz’s essay is a bit too much for me, starting with the lead-in story about Lee’s surrender to Grant. According to Klugewicz, Lee is the great man, of wealth, tradition, and good manners. Grant is the grubby failure who only made something of himself by leading armies that had overwhelming advantages of men and material.
It smacks of neo-Confederatism. Klugewicz implies the Old South was a land of noble gentlemen and virtuous ladies, and the happy, benevolently cared-for slaves worked in the fields, while they sang by the light of the moon. Because Lee had wealth (through his marriage) and manners (thanks to his mother and the wealthy relatives she mooched off of), no mention of his valiant efforts on behalf of a slaveholder society are mentioned. Seemingly, they do not matter.
And, were Mr. Klugewicz here, I would ask him why Grant’s accomplishment is so meager, how it was that George McClellan, Henry Halleck, Ambrose Burnside, Joe Hooker, George Meade, and others Union generals hadn’t been able to defeat Lee and bring the war to a successful end even though they also had those advantages that enabled Grant to win.
I’m a lifelong conservative and was reading National Review as far back as 1970. But nostalgia for a superficially glorious, but actually hideously immoral, Old South because the cream of society had good manners is not anything like what conservatism means to me.
Our freedom as Americans was promulgated with “a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,” per the Founders, who wrapped up the historic proclamation thusly: “We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” Wow. God bless their souls, and yours too, and those of all you hold dear.
Stalk-able at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S.: About ringing my bell . . . Anita Ward makes the case here. Hmmm, I don’t think it has much to do with the big broken metal “Liberty” thing in Philadelphia.
P.P.S.: Stop telling me that you want to come on an NR cruise. Actually DO IT! Sign up for NR’s 2018 Buckley Legacy Conservative Cruises (scheduled to sail the balmy waters of the Eastern Caribbean on Holland America Line’s MS Oosterdam from December 1-8) at www.nrcruise.com.