Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Men and Women

The Return of Nature?

Progress in the United Kingdom?

During a chat with a group of 17-year-old girls recently, our ­conversation turned to their dreams for the future. One girl, Patty, wants to be a lawyer. Another, Justine, has her heart set on becoming a doctor.

But it seems there's one aspiration that's proving surprisingly popular -- and it doesn't involve years of ­dedicated study, either.

Yes -- feminists look away now -- most of the girls I talked to are intent on marrying a rich man. . .

As a teacher, perhaps I should have argued with these teenagers and told them their happiness depended on financial independence and high-­flying careers. A few years ago I would have done, but not any more.

So what's changed? Well, four years ago my daughter Nancy was born and I became a harassed working mother. It was my implacable belief that a career was the path to female ­fulfilment that kept me working after her birth.

Back then, I honestly believed that women who didn't work were boring ­little drones who had given up all vestige of personality.

How wrong I was! 

Exit question: if, as a rule, men and women want different things out of life, and if one of the the central questions of liberal eduction is how to live, how should we address the differences between men and women in our schools?  A start would be recognizing at least the possibility that the reason why just about every society in history has had gender roles is because men and women like to differentiate themselves from each other. 

Has the idea of the equality of men and women been rendered secure enough in modern America to allow us to discuss the both the ways in which men and women are equal and the ways in which men and women are not the same, and don't want to be the same?

Categories > Men and Women

Quote of the Day

Quotation du Jour

Since some Progressives have been suggesting that amending the constitution to block the nationalization of health care is un-conservative, I thought it might be wise to post a bit from President Washington's Farewel Address:

You have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a constitution of government better calculated than your former for an intimate union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support.

Categories > Quote of the Day

Pop Culture

A Downside to Manliness?

How can there be a downside to manliness?  Well, Science magazine sez there is.

Maybe the problem is that not very many scientists are Republicans, so they aren't very familiar with manliness.
Categories > Pop Culture

Health Care

Secondhand Smoke, Firsthand Nonsense

See the Sage of Mt. Airy for air-clearing thoughts on the HHS report on second-hand smoke and how such an unscientifc focus underscores the left's astounding apologetics for disastrous social behavior (viz. immorality). 
Categories > Health Care

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Jonah Goldberg has an astute insight into what may be a possible explanation for what's been eating at the President and, therefore, for what may be a probable cause for his tirade of a press conference on Tuesday.  He thinks BHO is ticked at having to eat Hillary Clinton's words.  That is to say, during their primary debates, Hillary and Obama did not differ about the nature of the liberal transformation they both wished to see come to fruition in America.  But Hillary articulated her idea of the presidency as a job requiring discipline, organization, and a grinding style of give and take (along the lines of the LBJ model).  BHO disputed that vision of leadership and won the nomination on the premise that the JFK and MLK model of "inspirational leadership" was the key to winning hearts and minds and, therefore, that action would follow. 

But Obama found the limits of rhetorical leadership because he was trying to effect this liberal transformation.  He found that he could not win the hearts and minds of the American people once he started putting meat on the bones of his policy prescriptions and we decided to take a pass.  He did not understand that he would have to persuade us--that the aroma would not be inducement enough. As he failed to persuade and--worse--found himself unable to persuade, he also found himself having to step up the sneaky, back-room, push style of politics favored by liberals like Clinton and LBJ.  Interesting and a very good insight from Goldberg, I think.  I'd also add this:  Once he got going in this mode, he found that he was quite comfortable in it.  There's something very . . . oh, I don't know . . . Chicago, (that's it!) about it.  It must have felt like home.  But here's the thing:  Americans don't like naked grabs at power and Barack Obama does not know how to cover up.

The problem with this kind of politics for Barack Obama is that he is NOT Bill Clinton.  (Hilary isn't either . . . but that's another story and one that probably explains why Obama beat her.)  Obama, unlike Bill Clinton, does not have and cannot feign interest in or sympathy for his political adversaries--the sort of people that he finds beneath contempt. You need to feel Obama.  He will not condescend to feel you or "feel your pain." He is not like FDR either, for he does not understand the regime and the people that he seeks to transform as well as FDR did.  He's borrowed the FDR tactic of trying to pretend that the stuff he's peddling is good old-fashion American apple pie; but he doesn't try very hard to conceal the fact that the apples in it came from someplace else and might taste kinda funny at first.  Instead of trying to insist that they're really fruit from our vines, he just insists that we'll come to like them once we get used to them.  So while he is good at the soaring speech, he gets angry if you try savor it long enough to express surprise or distaste for it.  Moreover, the crust he's draped over those apples is pretty thin.  Besides, you're not supposed to chew on what he says, you're just supposed to feel it and to be so seduced by the scent your brain will tell your taste buds they must be wrong.  The pie is not off, you are

This is the essence of Barack Obama's dwindling support:  he does not get the American idea of self-government directed by the consent of the governed.  He is a full-throated and fully sold disciple of Progressivism and of its critique of the capacity of human beings to govern themselves.  He therefore addresses himself only to the passions and interests of the American people and does not engage their minds.  This is because he does not value the opinions that come from the people and their minds.  He does not think that most people are capable of the kind of "reason" that he and his friends are engaged in "on behalf" of the American people.  We are an object of his study, not his respect.  The more obvious this attitude of his becomes (and it's revealing itself with increasing regularity) the less likely it is that Barack Obama will have much longer to dedicate himself to this kind of entomology. 
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The Angriest Guy in the Room

It wasn't long ago that people were heard frequently expressing irritation with President Obama's penchant for always trying to play the "smartest guy in the room."  Peggy Noonan observes that these days he's more likely to put people off with his penchant for being the angriest guy in the room.  His press conference on Tuesday announcing the "deal" (that, apparently, isn't a deal) is one of the more remarkable examples of an angry and defensive politician that I can remember.  As Noonan notes, he expressed a kind of hatred and revulsion for everything about the deal, everyone surrounding the deal, and everyone who is critical of the deal.  Who is left?  Moreover, as Noonan put it: 

The president must have thought that distancing himself from left and right would make him more attractive to the center. But you get credit for going to the center only if you say the centrist position you've just embraced is right. If you suggest, as the president did, that the seemingly moderate plan you agreed to is awful and you'll try to rescind it in two years, you won't leave the center thinking, "He's our guy!" You'll leave them thinking, "Note to self: Remove Obama in two years."

I think it is revealing to the point--almost--of obscenity that Obama chose that particular moment to chastise his base.  Watching it, you get the sense, almost of having walked in on a private conversation that you were not meant to overhear.  It is remarkably aloof and abstract and distant--directed almost over your head, as if you were a bug crawling on the floor.  It is especially to be noted when you combine that outburst at the left with the utter dismissive contempt he demonstrated for Republicans (e.g., tax cuts for the wealthy are their "holy grail"!?).   It shows that he is only open to arguments and sensitive to criticism coming at him from his left flank.  This--and this alone--was the knife that cut at him.  His left flank is the only place where he imagines real political conversation happens.  And you will note, too, what "political conversation" looks like.  It is not about the ends.  It is ONLY about the means.  It is about what is possible and how to accomplish it.  This reveals that he does not believe that serious debate about the nature and meaning of justice in American politics is either possible or legitimate.  He does not consider his political opponents to be potential friends or, even, fellow citizens.  They are, alternately, "terrorists" or "enemies" or now "hostage takers."  It ought to go without saying, but I cannot let it pass without remarking that this is an utterly despicable way for a President of the United States to address himself to the people.

Whatever one wants to say about the relative merits or demerits of the so-called "compromise" is almost uninteresting in comparison to Obama's reaction to it.  That should serve to solidify the growing consensus that he is and always has been out of touch with the sentiments of the vast majority of the American people. It should harden hearts to him as he continues to set himself apart from the mainstream of conversation about America's current woes because he continues to demonstrate no understanding of her essential nature or foundation in the concept of consent.  It should serve as a reminder to the newly elected Congress of what they were elected to combat.  Will it?  We will see . . . 
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Pop Culture

Is It April Fool's Day Today?

Headline: "Michael Moore Checks Into Florida Weight Loss Camp."  I'd pay money to watch this documentary.

Maybe he's just trying to keep up with Dick Cheney, who has slimmed down "big time" (as he might say) lately.  Heh.

P.S.  Doesn't Moore know that Florida has no personal income tax, and moreover. . . it's where Rush Limbaugh lives??  Shouldn't he be at a California facility?
Categories > Pop Culture


The value of college degrees

Richard Vedder on "The Great College Degree Scam."  Not pretty.
Categories > Education



Reihan Salam gives us a remarkably thoughtful and civil critique of the DREAM Act.

Categories > Politics


Palin in "Time"

Time again features Sarah Palin.  Is Time trying to make her out to be a candidate, or is she becoming more open to the idea?
Categories > Politics



Both Justin and Pete (et al) below have good comments.  I am also enjoying all of this, and am trying mightily to learn from it.  I note in this WaPo story yesterday the last few paragraphs worth contemplating by any student of politics:

"So I pass a signature piece of legislation where we finally get health-care for all Americans, something that Democrats had been fighting for a hundred years," Obama began, "but because there was a provision in there that they didn't get that would have affected maybe a couple million people, even though we got health insurance for 30 million people and the potential for lower premiums for a hundred million people, that somehow that was a sign of weakness and compromise."

The result of such a inflexible approach, he said, is that "people will have the satisfaction of having a purist position and no victories for the American people."

Defending his own tactics, he invoked his race, something he rarely does in political discussions.

"This country was founded on compromise. I couldn't go through the front door at this country's founding," he said. "And, you know, if we were really thinking about ideal positions, we wouldn't have a union."

Categories > Politics


A Few Thoughts On the Compromise

1.  I'm enjoying the tantrum that many liberals are throwing.

2.  There is something weirdly hyperbolic about all this carrying on over extending the 35 percent top marginal income tax rate for two more years.  It isn't usually something people get that angry about.  If I thought that Bernie Sanders. Michael Lerner, and Keith Olbermann were serious about bringing down the short-term budget deficit, this hissy fit would make a little more sense, but even then not really.  They still support the deficit-financed middle class tax cuts and payroll tax holiday.  David Limbaugh argues that it is about a desire to get at the rich.  I don't think that is it.  A desire to see higher marginal tax rates on the rich might be a reason to oppose keeping the top marginal income tax rate at 35 percent rather than 39.9 percent but it doesn't begin to explain the current freakout.  I think a lot of this is about George W. Bush.  Repealing the "Bush tax cut" on the "rich" would have been a victory over Bush and one more step toward obliterating his economic legacy.  I wouldn't discount this kind of pettiness.  I remember a debate in 2004 where Howard Dean suggested repealing all of the Bush tax cuts.  The other Democrats reminded him that some of the tax cuts were actually quite popular even among Democrats.  Dean then suggested repealing all the Bush tax cuts and then re-passing some of them.  This isn't even about economics.  It is about pride and vengeance.  Now Bush has gotten the better of them again and worst of all Obama helped Bush make fools out of liberals one more time. 

3.  There is also a self-promoting, self-dramatizing, and principled explanation too.  As David Weigel points out, criticizing Obama in extravagant terms and threatening to support a primary challenge from the left brings more media attention to the left critique of the compromise and to to the people doing the critiquing/threatening.

4.  This tax cut extension/new round of economic stimulus won't break us of course, but there is something ominous about the fact that the bipartisan deficit commission reported last week, and this week we get a bipartisan bill that will increase the deficit.  I get the whole short-term weak economy vs. long-term thing entitlement crisis thing, but I don't see much reason to feel good about the long-term either.  

Categories > Politics


The View From the Top

Obama continues to excite the rage of the "professional left," as he has derogatorily referred to his liberal detractors. Still under fire for his compromise to freeze federal workers' pay, Obama yesterday faced "an uprising among angry Democrats who strongly opposed his deal with Republicans on tax cuts" Leftist commentators are even beginning to call for a challenge to Obama in the next Democratic primary.

And Obama isn't taking it lightly. Once rated the "most liberal member of the Senate," a visibly angry Obama branded his former compatriots "sanctimonious," accused them of not understanding that "the New York Times editorial page does not permeate across all of America," and chastised Democrats to remember the virtue of "compromise."

Hello pot. Meet kettle.

To be fair, the president has also repeatedly referred to the GOP as terrorists. But Obama's new-found charity toward compromise is amusing. No longer insulated by a Democratic super-majority, the harsh reality of an actual diversity of opinions has suddenly awakened our dear leader to an appreciation of the give-and-take of politics (as opposed to his usual tactic of brute-force, hyper-partisan warfare). 

So the president is now taking it from both sides. I'd say that is a good thing - both objectively (it shows compromise, which is necessary from so ideologically extreme a politician) and for the president's approval (again, it shows compromise - a quality of which he has been viewed as sorely lacking). Idle primary threats aside, such a course is the most likely to keep Obama in the Oval Office for six more years. Let's see if it lasts.

Categories > Presidency

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The Marriage Gap

UVA's National Marriage Project has released a study, The State of Our Unions (press summary here), which reveals the "striking reversal of historic trends" among middle and upper-class America.  

First, "highly educated Americans are embracing a pro-marriage mindset even as Middle Americans are losing faith in marriage."

...marriage is in trouble among so-called "Middle Americans," defined as the 58% of adults who have a high school diploma ... no four-year college degree.

...trends in non-marital childbearing, divorce and marital quality in Middle America increasingly resemble those of the poor, many of whose marriages are fragile. However, among the highly educated and affluent, marriage is stable and appears to be getting even stronger - yet more evidence of America's "marriage gap."

The "marriage gap" also accompanies a corollary "faith gap," as the upper-class now attend church more often than middle-class Americans. Another recently study by NMP concluded that "across America's major racial and ethnic groups ... shared religious activity - attending church together and especially praying together - is linked to higher levels of relationship quality."

The logic is not surprising. Religious people consistently report higher levels of happiness and stability, as do married people, and religious people are more likely to marry and remain married. It's a virtuous circle. Decrease either the religion or marriage components of the equation and you're certain to produce a decrease in happiness and stability.

The retreat from marriage in Middle America cuts deeply into the nation's hopes and dreams as well. For if marriage is increasingly unachievable for our moderately educated citizens--a group that represents 58 percent of the adult population (age 25-60)--then it is likely that we will witness the emergence of a new society. For a substantial share of the United States, economic mobility will be out of reach, their children's life chances will diminish, and large numbers of young men will live apart from the civilizing power of married life.

This retreat is also troubling because highly educated Americans (defined here as having at least a bachelor's degree) have in recent years been largely unaffected by the tidal wave of family change that first hit the poor in the 1960s and has since moved higher into Middle America. Indeed, highly educated Americans, who make up 30 percent of the adult population, now enjoy marriages that are as stable and happy as those four decades ago. There is thus a growing "marriage gap" between moderately and highly educated America.5 This means that more affluent Americans are now doubly privileged in comparison to their moderately educated fellow citizens--by their superior socioeconomic resources and by their stable family lives. 

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Men and Women

RIP Elizabeth Edwards

It deserves notice that Elizabeth Edwards passed away yesterday. The NY Times obituary summarizes her life as consisting of "idyllic successes and crushing reverses." In her own words, when she decided to forgo further treatment for her terminal breast cancer, Ms Edwards wrote:

I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces -- my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope... The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that.

Our prayers for her, her family and friends.

Categories > Men and Women


From Cancun to Kyoto and Back Again

Blogging very light these days as I'm way under water on several overdue projects, but I did manage to dash off a quick piece exploring the back story to the Cancun Climate Circus, over on NRO, complete with the obligatory Gipper references.
Categories > Environment


Forgetting Pearl Harbor

That's what we'll do unless we absorb the lessons of Roberta Wohlstetter's classic study of intelligence failure (she's the one who popularized  the term "noise").  Here's an incomplete digitized version.
Categories > Military


Michael Ramirez (and Groucho Marx) on the Debt Commission

"Why a four-year-old child could understand this report. Run out and find me a four-year-old child. I can't make head nor tail out of it." -- Groucho Marx
Categories > Politics


Boehner profile

Peter J. Boyer has a long profile of Bohner in The New Yorker.  I will do my catch-up reading next week...after I read the frosh finals on Aristotle and Locke.

Categories > Politics


Change You Can Believe In

George W. Bush's approval rating is higher than Obama's.

Categories > Presidency


Jewish Sharks?

Foolishly, I supposed that Helen Thomas' most recent meltdown would be the most fanatical anti-Semitic sentiment I would read today.

...we are owned by propagandists against the Arabs. There's no question about that. Congress, the White House, and Hollywood, Wall Street, are owned by the Zionists.

Then I read that Egypt has blamed the recent spree of shark attacks off their coast on ... the Jews.

Speaking on the public TV program "Egypt Today" yesterday, a specialist introduced as "Captain Mustafa Ismael, a famous diver in Sharm El Sheikh," said that the sharks involved in the attack are ocean sharks and do not live in Egypt's waters.

When asked by the anchor how the shark entered Sharm El Sheikh waters, he burst out, "no, who let them in."

Urged to elaborate, Ismael said that he recently got a call from an Israeli diver in Eilat telling him that they captured a small shark with a GPS planted in its back, implying that the sharks were monitored to attack in Egypt's waters only.

"Why would these sharks travel 4000 km and not have any accidents until it entered Sinai?" said Ismael.

Earlier today, General Abdel Fadeel Shosha, the governor of South Sinai, backed Ismael's theory. In a phone call to the TV program, he said that it is possible that Israeli intelligence, Mossad, is behind the incident and that they are doing it to undermine the Egyptian tourism industry. He added that Egypt needs time to investigate the theory.

GPS, meh. If only they had "sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads."

You can't make this stuff up - and shouldn't have to take it seriously.

Categories > Race


Flanking Maneuvers

The GOP is trying a new tactic for bringing down Obamacare and I while I don't think it will actually get Obamacare repealed in the forthcoming Congress, it might be a useful exercise.  Medicare is set to cut reimbursements to health care providers by 25 percent.  If the cut goes through, it might be tougher for many old people to continue seeing the same providers. The GOP is looking to pass a "Doc Fix" which would keep Medicare reimbursements at the current level.  This would of course cost more money, but the money to pay for the Doc Fix would come from shifting money from Obamacare to Medicare.  I especially like Douglas Holtz-Eakin's idea of trying to take money from the future Obamacare subsidies to finance the Doc Fix.

It's a neat trick that won't work, but might do some good.  As Jonathan Chait points out, the Senate will probably not pass and Obama would in any case veto a bill that shifted funds out of Obamacare.  So what?  The fight would dramatize that Obamacare took money out of an already underfunded Medicare program to create an expensive new subsidy that won't even exist until years from now - if ever. 

So I'm for this tactic, but only tepidly.  Most old people already know that Obamacare robbed Medicare and dramatizing this could have real, but only limited benefits.  I'm not even sure how many Americans will even hear of (never mind understand) the controversy.  Even one concrete state-level initiative to significantly increase the availability and usage of consumer-driven health insurance policies (and the attendant controversies with the HHS bureaucracy and with congressional Republicans cheering the state government on) would do more good in eroding the policy and political basis for Obamacare - though it isn't an either/or matter. 

Categories > Politics

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The New Morality of Government Benefits

Modern democracies have created a new morality. Government benefits, once conferred, cannot be revoked. People expect them and consider them property rights. Just as government cannot randomly confiscate property, it cannot withdraw benefits without violating a moral code. The old-fashioned idea that government policies should serve the "national interest" has given way to inertia and squatters' rights.

So opines Robert Samuelson in today's WaPo, drawing specific attention to Europe's present fiscal miseries, America's reckless similarities and the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform's "accounting exercise to shrink the deficit without trying to define what government should do and why." The overarching problem is that commission has failed to produce "a moral rationale for change."

The "entitlement" mentality has long been a feature of American politics, but the urgency of an economic downturn is finally forcing Americans to confront the unsustainability and pending consequences of this problem. Samuelson notes:

The social contract will be rewritten either by design or, as in Europe, under outside pressures. If we keep the expedient morality of perpetual programs - so that nothing fundamental can ever be abandoned - then Europe's social unrest could be a prelude to our own.

Samuelson hopes to begin a conversation about "the broader national interest" in order to form a philosophy of government. I salute his intention, second his diagnosis of the problem and commend his prescription for change - but I wonder if he has noticed that the Tea Party has already begun this particular conversation - and November's election was America's response.

The principle question now is whether our politicians have the knowledge and prudence to decipher the public will and translate it into governing policy. This would be a considerable accomplishment in the formulation of a new governing philosophy, as it would provide an example of true "politics": statesmen responding to sentiments of the citizens by crafting just and prudent laws respecting the will of the people and mindful of the good of the state.

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Wal-Mart Goes to Court

From WaPo:

The Supreme Court on Monday accepted what will likely become the highest-profile business case of the year, agreeing to decide whether 1.5 million female employees of Wal-Mart can pursue job discrimination claims [worth billions of dollars in damages -JP] in the largest employment class-action suit in the country's history.

Without having looked at any facts of the case, I presume that the underlying claim (that Wal-Mart "pays women less than men and promotes women less frequently") is factually true. However, I also assume it is irrelevant. This seeming inequality is likely due to a historical trend of women working less hours / part-time as compared to career-oriented men. The assertion that the world's largest private employer has somehow managed to convey a secret message of gender discrimination to store managers across the world seems a bit preposterous.

Wal-Mart is hated by the left, serving as the quintessential model of corporate evil - suffocating humanity beneath a plastic shell of enervating greed. Of course, most on the left have no idea that their regurgitated sound-bites are simply flowery rhetoric peddled by union bosses who recognize Wal-Mart's opposition to unionization as a grave threat to their existence. The largest employer in the world refusing to unionize workers. What could more directly strike at the heart of union power and prestige?

The left apparently fails to notice that Wal-Mart provides 1) jobs to unskilled workers and 2) a wide range of affordable commodities to low-income buyers. These are critical services which the government simply cannot duplicate. (What is the average cost per job created by Obama's stimulus package?) Unions have convinced liberals to sacrifice their concern for the poor, enlisting them instead to oppose the company providing the most benefits to low income families. All due to the left's blind loyalty to labor unions. 

The infamous 9th Circuit in San Francisco ruled that the class-action suit could continue to trial. The Supreme Court's acceptance of Wal-Mart's appeal of that ruling suggests the possibility for a dismissal. The high court will not rule on the merits of the underlying discrimination claim, but rather a question of class action suits. However, on my assumption that the global conspiracy theorists are wrong in their Wal-Mart-hates-women campaign, dismissal is the best ultimate conclusion. (I just hope Wal-Mart doesn't have to raise prices to pay for the lawyer bills!)

Categories > Courts

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New Public Philosophy needed?

This E.J. Dionne op-ed, combined with one by Robert J. Samuelson (in the same issue of the WaPo), is worth considering for each points to fundamentally different approaches to the role of government in society.  In tryin to understand the Dems losses, Dionne talks about problem solving and post-partisanship and how government should protect people from calamity, in other words make a renewed case for what government should do; that case hasn't been made well enough.  Samuelson thinks that a "new morality" has been created by entitlements and this morality cannot be opposed by the Bowles-Simpson "accounting exercise to shrink the deficit without trying to define what government should do and why."  An opportunity has been lost, in his view, to shape public opinion toward a "new public philosophy."  His argument is not complete, but it points in the right direction.
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TSA Intrusions

In reminding us of the Bill of Rights, indeed, of the origin of rights, Michael Schwarz explains how to start thinking more clearly about the TSA pat-downs and full-body scaners at airports.
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A) I Didn't Know It Was a Crime; and B) I Didn't Know It Was an Activity

President Obama issued nine pardons this week, the first since his inauguration.  One of them went to "Ronald Lee Foster of Beaver Falls, Pa., who was sentenced to a year of probation and a $20 fine for mutilating coins in 1963."

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Woodrow Wilson and Burke

John J. Miller visited Wilson's birthplace in Virginia, notes the portrait of Edmund Burke painted by his wife, and then this revealing comment about an aspect of modern conservatism: "The description says that Burke was one of Wilson's intellectual heroes. It reminded me of how differently Burke was viewed a century ago. Before there was a conservative movement, Burke was widely regarded as a liberal. Then came the rescue efforts of Russell Kirk and Peter Stanlis and the fundamental reorientation of Burke's legacy. This was one of the modern conservative movement's first intellectual triumphs. But it occurred a generation after Wilson's death, and so the image of a founding father of conservatism once gazed down upon a champion of progressivism. We can only imagine what Burke would have thought of his supposed disciple."

The really interesting question is how Wilson is viewed--how Wilson understood himself--not how Burke has been made this or that by Kirk and Stanlis.  John should read Wilson with more care for Wilson was very explicit in revealing how he broke with the Founding; in denying the possibility that political theory could explain the legitimacy of political power or why citizens or subjects should obey the law.  This is why much of Wilson's academic work talked about the evolution of states then in existence ("governments have their natural evolution and are one thing in one age, another in another") and why he was so against the theory of natural rights, inalienable rights, or the Laws of Nature.  No social contract for old Woodrow, no consent, and certainly no limits on government (he thinks modern social science, anthropology, for example, refutes this kind of thinking).  We should not be surprised that he becomes the first president to attack the Constitution, both its structure and its purpose.  Leadership, democracy, and efficiency become everything to him.  And this has what to do with what Miller calls conservatism, or maybe I should say, American conservatism?  And how will it help a Tea Party man, or any citizen, focus on the present crisis and re-connect him with our political principles?
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The Debate Over Taxes, Inequality and Fairness

I offer my thoughts in the current issue of Commentary.  A shorter version appeared earlier this week in the Los Angeles Times.
Categories > Politics


This Time They've Gone Too Far

The New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin gapes at the Extreme Court's brazen audacity: "Under [Chief Justice John] Roberts, the Court has continued to use the equal-protection clause as a vehicle to protect white people."  As everyone knows, of course, the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantees of due process and equal protection rights are expressly denied to persons of pallor.

Categories > Courts