The Old Normal


Several conservative commentators have taken the position that Donald Trump’s tweets about The Squad last weekend were a PR blunder. One pundit described it as an “own goal.” I disagree. While I might not have phrased those tweets exactly as the President did, I believe that his main point—Why don’t you go straighten out one of those troubled foreign countries you admire (eg., Somalia, “Palestine”) to provide a worked example of how you think we should change America?—is a valid put-up-or-shut-up challenge to those congressional novices.

I also think that he’s been smart in refusing to back down, and there’s a post over at Bookworm Room that provides a partial explanation of my view. Over the past decade, the Left has successfully narrowed the range of “respectable” public opinion (called the Overton Window). Trump is forcing the allowable range of our public conversation back to realm of opinions held by most sentient adult Americans, including many, if not most, Leftists.

Think of ideas that were normal just a decade ago: using pronouns consistent with biological sex, worrying about Muslim-inspired terrorism, admiring the Founding Fathers, believing that a traditional male-female marriage is optimal for raising children, mentioning the Judeo-Christian God in public, questioning anthropogenic climate change, or being anything but mindlessly positive about a member of a “Progressive protected victim class.” Nowadays, thanks to relentless media, entertainment, political, and educational pressure, voicing those ideas creates the risk that the speaker will be shouted down, humiliated, fired, or even physically attacked.

Read the whole thing.

Donald Trump is sometimes inarticulate or coarse. But just as the economy has improved by the changes the President has championed to the New Normal economy, our public discourse will likely benefit in the long run as we allow the values that made America great to compete with the New Normal in the marketplace of ideas.

First Amendment 1, Baltimore 0


Several years ago, a Baltimore resident called 911 to report a burglary and wound being beaten, tased, and arrested by the police officers who responded to the call. Her claim against the Baltimore Police Department spent several years in the courts and was finally settled. Baltimore includes a “non-disparagement” clause in such settlement agreements, so when the women spoke to the press about her experience, the city reduced her settlement payment in accordance with the non-disparagement clause.

She sued in U.S. District Court, claiming that the clause violated her First Amendment right to speak freely about the government. She was joined in the suit by the Baltimore Brew. The Brew claimed that the city’s use of such agreements violated its free press right to investigate and report on matters of public interest such as police misconduct. That suit was thrown out by the District Court on summary judgment.

The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has reversed the District Court’s granting summary judgment in Baltimore’s favor and sent the case back to the lower court.

The City has not identified a comparably compelling public good or other legitimate governmental aim that was, or could be, furthered by enforcement of the non- disparagement clause (other than a general interest in using settlements to resolve lawsuits). Consequently, the City is not entitled to summary judgment on Overbey’s First Amendment claim.

Also,

we conclude that the Brew has sufficiently pleaded an ongoing or imminent injury in fact that is both traceable to the City’s challenged conduct and redressable by the court. As discussed above, neither the parties’ arguments below nor the district court’s disposition went meaningfully beyond the pleadings in evaluating the Brew’s standing. We therefore decline to do so ourselves— even though the order under review is nominally a grant of summary judgment to the City. Instead, we remand to give the parties and the district court an opportunity to develop the evidentiary record relevant to the Brew’s claims.

It will be interesting to see how the case unfolds.

Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others


House Democrats introduced their so-called Equality Act in March. If it became law, it would strike down religious freedom protections for private citizens if they ran their own businesses on the basis of their beliefs. In post titled Mayor Pete Will Make You Bake the Cake over at The Washington Free Beacon, Bill Morris discusses Pete Buttigieg’s support for the proposed legislation.

Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg’s public calls for pluralism do not apply to religious small business owners.

South Bend Mayor Buttigieg has made his Episcopalian faith and tolerance a centerpiece of his campaign, but the policies he champions would force religious small business owners to participate in ceremonies they find objectionable under penalty of law. Buttigieg, who is married to a man, will keynote the Human Rights Campaign’s annual dinner. The nation’s largest LGBT lobbying group credited his support for the Equality Act for the invitation.

So let me get this straight (pun intended). Because this guy has been petitioning for redress of what he sees as grievance based on his personal religious beliefs, he’s been invited to peaceably assemble with likeminded individuals. Uh, huh. I suppose that’s fine to a certain extent, but would he do if the law he advocates passes—and a Muslim demanded he bake (or pay for) a cake advocating the firm application of Sharia to homosexuals?

I’ll bet he’d expect that his beliefs should prevail and be protected by the First Amendment because protected class.

Quote of the Day


So we must beware of a tyranny of opinion which tries to make only one side of a question the one which may be heard. Everyone is in favour of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage.

—Winston Churchill