Choosing Not to Choose

Matthew Stewart has a post over at City Journal titled Multiculturalism, or Cultural Appropriation? in which he make a case that Progressives need to decide between one or the other. It looks at history and the facts and concludes

Another puzzling aspect of the cultural-appropriation focus is that it seems clearly to clash with another progressive imperative: the need to nurture multicultural appreciation. Multiculturalism has been a prominent cause among progressives for more than a generation, but today, admiration for other cultures apparently comes with a warning sign: look, but don’t adopt, lest you face accusations of “theft” or insensitivity.

Most reasonable people have no trouble understanding that to adopt an artifact or practice doesn’t diminish the culture from which it originates. “You can’t steal a culture,” as Columbia University linguist John McWhorter has observed. Cultural exchange is enriching, not impoverishing, and imitation remains, as in the old formulation, the sincerest form of flattery. It’s time for progressives to decide between embracing multiculturalism or policing “cultural appropriation.” They can’t have it both ways.

The Progressive position flies in the face of the logical principle that A is not not-A which our culture inherited from the ancient Greeks. But Progressives never let logic or the facts get in the way of their desire to be in control. O’Brien explained it this way—

‘You are a slow learner, Winston,’ said O’Brien gently.

‘How can I help it?’ he blubbered. ‘How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.’

‘Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.’

And have you noticed that Progressives keep trying to change the meanings of words?

They’re Not Going to Like Their New Rules

Victor Davis Hanson has a post over at American Greatness titled Would President Joe Biden Become 25th Amendment Material?.

Biden is only the most egregious example of the impending applicable double standard that progressives have crafted though their own unhinged effort to abort the Trump presidency. Knowingly or not, they have made the once normal—allow an incoming president to face the consequences of his policies in his first midterm election and ensuing reelection bid—into the taboo.

Apparently, Democrats never imagined that their own slate of candidates might, according to their own standards, have far greater liabilities than Trump himself. And as we are likely soon to see, and as Biden himself has darkly hinted, ol’ Joe’s sins may pale in comparison to those of his now acerbic rivals.

We are in new territory where nothing is sacred, nothing is a gaffe, nothing is just a slip of the tongue—given that any means necessary were long ago justified to achieve the end of ousting Trump. And those means are soon going to be applied to the very politicos who recalibrated and welcomed them—and Biden first, and most embarrassingly, of all.

Read the whole thing.

Our Betters

Kevin D. Williamson has a post over at NRO that starts out with

Progressives conceive of themselves as a caste apart, a special and specialized group of enlightened men and women whose job it is to organize other people’s lives for them, a necessity because those people are too dumb to do it for themselves.

Read the whole thing.

A good deal of the panic among the Progressives seems to stem from a fear that the 2016 election could be a sign that a significant portion of the rest of us are wising up.

Anti-Semitism on the Left

Yesterday, NPR talk-show host Diane Rehm (I sometimes listen to her so you don’t have to.) asked Bernie Sanders if he held dual citizenship: U. S. and Israeli. She said the information came from “a list we have gotten[.]” It appears that the list comes from a pro-Palestinian Facebook page. Her cheap shot question and its anti-semitic underpinning is not surprising given her long term anti-Israel bias.

Bernie Sanders is tied with Hillary Clinton for last place among my picks for President in the coming election (at least among the current candidates). There are plenty of substantive reasons to oppose his candidacy, but this sort of slimy, baseless attack is now becoming all-too-common. I expect a lot more of it aimed at candidates from both sides of the aisle who support Israel. The next year-and-a-half will be ugly.

Religious Freedom Restoration Act

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is a federal law that was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1993 and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. It was sponsored by then-Congresscritter Chuck Schumer of New York.

Since the federal law was passed, the following states have passed essentially identical laws: Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, 
Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, 
Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Alabama has enacted a RFRA constitutional amendment.

Additionally, these states have state supreme court decisions that essentially implement the terms of the federal legislation through case law: Alaska, Hawaii, Ohio, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, Washington, and Wisconsin.

So the courts in Massachusetts and Hawaii, the same courts that found gay marriage a constitutional right, have also found in favor of RFRA-like protections for religious people. The suggestion has been made that the whole flap over Indiana’s law is really a bunch of progressives yelling, “Squirrel!” during an unfavorable news cycle.

Could be.

The Rule of Lawless

That’s the title of an excellent short essay by Kevin Williamson over at NRO.

The relevant facts are these: 1) Very powerful political interests in Washington insist upon the scrupulous enforcement of environmental laws, and if that diminishes the interests of private property owners, so much the better, in their view. 2) Very powerful political interests in Washington do not wish to see the scrupulous enforcement of immigration laws, and if that undercuts the bottom end of the labor market or boosts Democrats’ long-term chances in Texas, so much the better, in their view.

Read the whole thing.

When you’re finished, take a look at this by George Will. His post deals with a fundamental disconnect between Conservatives and Progressives as described in a new book by Timothy Sandefur.

Progressives, who consider democracy the source of liberty, reverse the Founders’ premise, which was: Liberty preexists governments, which, the Declaration says, are legitimate when “instituted” to “secure” natural rights.

Progressives consider, for example, the rights to property and free speech as, in Sandefur’s formulation, “spaces of privacy” that government chooses “to carve out and protect” to the extent that these rights serve democracy.

Read all of this one too.

Guns, Cops, and the Posse Comitatus Act

Herschel Smith has a good post over at Captain’s Journal that examines the question of “When did the Left fall out of love with guns?” His answer is that the Left still loves gun–their guns.

Yes, the left still loves guns. There is no other reason for the fawning acceptance of the vulgar SWAT raid tactics in which innocent men like Mr. Eurie Stamps get shot and killed. These tactics are repeated all across America every day.

The left just doesn’t love guns in the wrong hands, and anyone who isn’t an agent of the state is the wrong hands. Listen to Representative Jim Himes (D – CT) tell you why high capacity magazines are still necessary in government hands.

There is absolutely no justification for weapons that were made for the explicit purpose of killing lots of people quickly to be in the hands of civilians.

Let that wash over you again. “Killing lots of people quickly” and “civilian hands.” The two don’t go together.

The police are civilians. If the arms the Progressives want to ban don’t belong in civilian hands, then the cops shouldn’t have them. After all, as was asked by a gun owner in New York, “Who are the police at war with?”

THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: OK, let’s say that civilians shouldn’t have these arms, but that the police need them. One solution would be to make the police part of the military, but that would require repeal (or severe amendment) of the Posse Comitatus Act. Well, if we’re going to let the military do policing, the current civilian police forces are redundant. Some of the cops could be rolled into the Army and the rest laid off. Think of the budget savings!

Also, think about what happened the last time we used a military force for law enforcement. Reconstruction. How did that turn out?

As long as we’re looking at history, what has been the outcomes of trying to restrict the possession of things rather than outlawing criminal behavior. Prohibition. Did That result in more or fewer societal problems? The War on Drugs. What has that done for crime?

Given that neither a bottle of booze nor a joint can shoot back, how much violence could we expect as a result of creating a black market in firearms?

UPDATE–Prof. Reynolds writes:

Why are you afraid of the Constitution? The answer, of course, is that the political class doesn’t want citizens. It wants subjects.

UPDATE 2–Or as Hubert Humphrey said:

Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. … [T]he right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, and one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.

Democrats/Progressives Begin Damage Control in re #NealRauhauser

Matt Osborne has a piece called Is the World’s Longest-Running Performance Art Piece Finally Ending? (H/T, @AaronWorthing) which looks like the beginning of the damage control spin by which mainline Progressives will try to disassociate themselves with Neal Rauhauser.

Neal Rauhauser … is really into performance art — ultimate, endurance performance art. He has spent much of the last two years perpetrating a merry prank that right wing bloggers have taken all too seriously. Indeed, Rauhauser’s epic comedy routine has consistently driven them to distraction ever since he earned their attention and enmity during the “Twittergate” nontroversy of 2010.

Most progressives have tired of the show, too. The only people who never get tired of Neal Rauhauser’s act are right wing bloggers. If the curtain is finally dropping on this marathon performance, I expect they will rush the stage, riot in the aisles, and burn down the theatre — but they will be all alone in there, because everybody else has already left the building.

I think I just heard a bus engine starting. Will Mr. Rauhauser be on it or under it?

Change and Federalism

Jacob Sullum has an essay over at Reason called Fair-Weather Federalists in which he argues that both Progressives and Conservative should be opposed to an overreaching federal government. While reading it, I was struck by how what is “progressive” and what is “conservative” change with time. Here’s the paragraph that triggered my thought:

Two Supreme Court cases decided during George W. Bush’s second term further illustrate how federal involvement can jeopardize progressive causes. In Gonzales v. Raich (2005), the Court ruled that the Commerce Clause authorizes the federal government to enforce its absolute ban on marijuana even in states that allow medical use of the plant and even against patients who grow their own. The decision arguably went even further than Wickard v. Filburn, the 1942 ruling that said Congress has the authority to stop a farmer from growing wheat for his own use because such self-reliance reduces aggregate demand, thereby exerting “a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce.”

Prohibition, first of drugs with the Harris Act and then of booze via the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act, were major Progressive achievements of the first quarter of the 20th century. Let me repeat that. Drug prohibition was originally a Progressive cause. Drugs, you see, are bad for you, almost as bad as a 17 oz cup of soda (Why do you think they call it Coke?), and Progressives want to care for you. That’s why they support nannystateism—until they get caught in their own nappies. When they started smoking dope, prohibition became a bad idea.

Conservatives are no better. We have our own hypocrisies. The French got it right when they created their proverb “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.”

The Exception That Proves the Rule

Andrew Klavan asks the following question:

Can you name a single left-wing policy that can’t be translated into, “The government knows better than the people”?

I think I can. It was the Progressives who really got behind the idea of using the referendum process to allow the people to legislate directly. It’s more “democratic.” But when it is as easy to get something on the ballot as it is in California, one of the important check and balance features of our republic is crippled. That’s the check that the legislature has on the people as a mob.