Combating the College Free Speech Crisis

 

Increasingly, American college campuses are places where critical thinking is eschewed for group think; where thought police maintain total control and punish wrongthink in classrooms and outside. For PragerU, Greg Lukianoff, President at The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education explained the situation:

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A Disgrace

 

Judicial Watch has obtained a memo that shows that John McCain and his Senate staff sought to collude with the Obama Administration to target conservative advocacy groups.

In the full notes of an April 30 meeting, McCain’s high-ranking staffer (Henry) Kerner recommends harassing non-profit groups until they are unable to continue operating. Kerner tells (Lois) Lerner, Steve Miller, then chief of staff to IRS commissioner, Nikole Flax, and other IRS officials, “Maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous.” In response, Lerner responded that “it is her job to oversee it all.”

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Being Decent

 

Not too long ago, I returned to my parked car and found a sheet of paper on the windshield bearing an expletive-laden message. The anonymous poster had obviously gone to some effort to make these flyers on his home computer – complete with color cartoon figures and such. It let me know what a $#@&*%! I was. My sin was having parked my car a tiny bit over the white line. I confess. I’m guilty. The garage was full of empty spaces, mind you, and it was only a few inches, but still, it was wrong. But did it require that response? If he had to vent his rage, couldn’t he have left a note saying “It’s inconsiderate to park over the white line”? My offense seems to have been merely an excuse. This person, clearly overflowing with hostility to his fellow men, had preprinted these vulgar missives, and delivered them to everyone who offended him.  

Is it my imagination or has the tone of the Internet seeped into daily life? People often suggest that Twitter’s cruelty and misanthropy are unique to the format. Announcing that he was deleting Twitter from his phone, Andrew Sullivan advised: “Social media has turned journalism into junk, has promoted addictive addlement in our brains, is wrecking our democracy, and slowly replacing life with pseudo-life.” 

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It’s Not Obvious That the US Economy Is Becoming Less Competitive

 

It’s a red flag for me when someone makes an argument that makes little or no effort to deal with counterevidence. I never see news articles about the growing rise and risk of corporate concentration that contend with analyses suggesting concerns are overblown. The same goes for the way Big Tech is supposedly squelching competition and depressing innovation. And it’s also weird that claims the US economy is growing less competitive ignore evidence that there’s more creative destruction than ever, at least by some measures (though not by others). Check out the following chart from “Strategy When Creative Destruction Accelerates,” a 2016 analysis by Vijay Govindarajan and Anup Srivastava:

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Is Kicking Adult Kids Out of the House a Conservative Thing to Do?

 

I don’t have children. I come from a very large extended family, though, so I know a lot of kids. Thirty first cousins, and between all of them, they probably have over 80 children, most of whom are now in their 20s and 30s. Neither side of the family believes in kicking adult children out of the house; it isn’t something anybody talks about, they just don’t do it. The vast majority of my younger cousins no longer live at home, even though they are welcome to live there: most of them are actually married with kids. I hear all the time about young adults who are broke and living in their parents’ basements; the young people I know are not like that at all.

Many of my younger cousins didn’t go to college, but they are doing very well. They are far better off financially than their parents. Of the ones who did go to college, most of them attended local colleges and lived with their parents: every single one of them graduated on time with marketable skills, and immediately landed good jobs. Very few of them have student loan debt; most of them lived at home to keep costs down, and worked part-time to help pay for college. And, best of all, they are not snowflakes or pajama boys: most of them are Trump supporters, which is to say, they have not rejected the values they were raised with.

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Denouncing the Deviationists

 

In her memoirs, Russian combat pilot Anna Egorova remembered her mother ”kneeling before the icons, as she firstly listed all our names, the names of her children, begging God for health and wisdom for us, and then at the end of each prayer repeating: ‘God save them from slander!’” She didn’t understand that word ‘slander’ in her childhood, Egorova wrote, but after her brother was sent away as An Enemy of the People, “it was exposed before me in all its terrible nakedness.”

I was reminded once again of this story by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s agreement to pay $3.75 million to Maajid Nawaz and his organization, the Quilliam Foundation, for wrongly including them on its now-defunct list of “anti-Muslim extremists.” Sixty other organizations are also considering litigation against the SPLC.

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The Pawn

 

View original artwork here.

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The Moral Obligation of Failed States

 

Francis Fukuyama declared an end to history because the only viable political ideology left standing was liberal democracy. He was not wrong that this was the most logical outcome if the world were rational but we know that it isn’t. Various forms of tribalism and stupidity continue to delay the “end of history.”

Given the demonstrable superiority of political systems that combine even-handed rule of law, limited government, and market economics, doesn’t that mean every nation has a moral obligation to do what works? Sweden and the USA differ on the scope of government’s role in provision of social welfare but both systems protect property, freedom of contract, capital accumulation, and market economics. Failed nations do not do that.

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Never Hit That Button. Never!

 

Automation is a wonderful thing. Right up until it’s not. Wednesday, in what Mediaite referred to as a “Chyron malfunction,” ABC News convicted former Trump campaign official Paul Manafort of manslaughter. The headline ran at the bottom of the screen for about seven seconds.

Now, in the “old days,” there would be a human being behind the physical keyboard of the graphics machine. Not anymore. That person has been … ahem … retired. Now everything — and I mean everything — the script in the Teleprompter, video rolls, graphics — all gets on the air by entries made in the newsroom computer system by a producer.

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It’s Great Disability Rolls Are Finally Shrinking, But the System Still Needs Pro-Work Reform

 

Have Americans gotten way healthier over the past several years? Seems dubious. But the US economy sure has strengthened. And America’s hot job market seems to be finally draining a reservoir of hidden slack: disability rolls. The New York Times notes the number of Americans receiving Social Security disability benefits has declined to 8.63 million from a September 2014 peak of 8.96 million.

Now there might be other things going on as well, such as the big expansion of Medicaid and the Social Security Administration tightening the approval process for benefits. But as interesting as all these numbers are, more compelling is the story of Christian Borrero, told at the end of the Times piece. Born with cerebral palsy, Borrero until 2015 received disability benefits as he worked at a part-time job answering phones. The salary was low enough that he still qualified for benefits.

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Why Do We Cry When Celebrities Die Young?

 

Until his suicide, I never heard of Anthony Bourdain. Since I’m male and have no interest in purses, it’s more understandable that I never heard of Kate Spade, who also took her own life. I am surprised at the outpouring of grief by many including conservative writers, and not just youngish ones. Rob Long in a recent podcast said he was affected by Bourdain’s end, saying Bourdain lived the life he dreamed of living.

Bourdain was a stranger, or near stranger to all of them, as was Spade. In Spade’s case, I’m not even sure she was on television all that much, it’s just that many women had bought her high-end purses, or had been gifted one at a young age.

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Fabric Technology

 

Once upon a time fabrics were simple — cotton, linen, perhaps silk. But when synthetics started being made, some very cool things started to happen — impacting quality and cost and performance in very useful ways.

Here’s my latest example: I wear suits for business, and I often fly in and out on the same day, wearing the same suit. There is real value in a suit fabric that simply does not wrinkle, that looks fresh all the time even when I have slept in it. Lastly, it must look good. Perhaps not amazing (my industry, aerospace, is not highly fashion conscious), but definitely better-than-average. And it is a bonus if the suit is machine-washable. Did I mention that I am Jewish, and that overpaying is grounds for foreskin replacement surgery?

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Klavan: Family Separation = Katrina

 

On his excellent podcast, Andrew Klavan has identified what’s really going on here: reporters and Democrats are not suddenly concerned about children being separated from their parents at the border, they just think that have the next Katrina, a massive club they can use to beat Trump like they used the hurricane to beat Bush. It’s not real outrage — all the Left’s outrage is phony. It’s opportunism.

Bush never fought back — we have to hope Trump continues to. Fortunately he has more sheer cussedness than 100 normal people.

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How Trump’s Politics Betrayed Him and All of Us

 

On June 6, I wrote a post about the dangers of Trump following the Bush political playbook, as he does, and how that could trip him up. The parallels between W. Bush political strategy and Trump’s political strategy are uncanny. Further, the Left reacted to both men in almost the same way. We are still, for all the talk of Hope and Change and Draining the Swamp, in a Bush-Clinton Family political moment with the Republicans and Democrats both running different versions of Bush and Clinton when they aren’t running someone with that name.

In my previous post, I wrote that the danger for Trump would be the mainstream media finding a weakness in his aggressive, fighting tendencies or lack of knowledge about our norms. In his child separation policy, the media found a perfect and telling issue to hammer Trump and force him to fold.

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Quote of the Day: Cowardice and Courage

 

“This republic was not established by cowards; and cowards will not preserve it.” ― Elmer Davis

Just when you think the story of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School cannot get worse, it does. Apparently a security guard saw the shooter (I won’t name him) entering the high school armed. He did not confront the shooter. I cannot blame the guard for that; he was unarmed. Neither did he do what he was supposed to do: raise an alarm. Instead he called a fellow security guard inside the school (also unarmed), and went about his business. The fellow guard also did not raise the alarm. Instead he locked himself in a safe room.

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No One to Hate

 

In his new book, Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics, is Destroying American Democracy, Jonah Goldberg argues that classical liberalism – belief in individual responsibility, equality under the law, and free markets – is not natural. Human beings spent most of their 200,000 to 300,000 years on earth living in tribes organized on the basis of cooperation and mutual obligation.

Free markets are also based on cooperation and mutual obligation, but the scope is the world rather than the tribe. As Milton Friedman explains in his summary of Leonard Read’s classic essay, “I, Pencil,” free markets foster cooperation between millions of people in different parts of the globe – people who have never met, who don’t speak the same languages, or worship the same gods.

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Penn Law’s Amy Wax on Being Ousted from Her First-Year Class

 

Amy Wax is the Robert Mundheim Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she specializes in social welfare law and policy as well as the relationship of the family, the workplace, and labor markets.

Professor Wax has become a controversial figure because of her politically incorrect comments advocating in favor of bourgeois values and the WASP culture from which they stem, and in her claims that black students had generally performed at lower levels than other students in her classes in context of a conversation about the downsides of affirmative action — comments that got her ousted from teaching the first year civil procedure class for which she had previously won an award for “teaching excellence.”

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The Real Trump Doctrine

 

Trump baffles the Left and many on the Right. They just don’t “get” him. They find him unpredictable, unconventional, difficult, impulsive, erratic… He leaves them gasping, in full panic, unable to think, to breathe. As much as I enjoy watching their struggles, it is becoming tiresome. So, dear reader, generous as I am, I’m going to explain it all so people can stop hyperventilating.

There is a Trump Doctrine and understanding it will help you follow and understand our President’s novel but consistent approach to both domestic and foreign policy. The Trump Doctrine has nothing to do with embracing dictators or reversing progressive “gains” generously attributed to the Obama presidency. It is not defined by an absence of doctrine. It is not even “We’re America, bitch.” It is nothing that you have heard or read. The pundits have it all wrong.

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Democrats Are Desperate

 

The political rhetoric is heating up. Lies, distortions, and accusations have reached a new high. The Democrats are beginning to realize that their confidence about winning seats in the midterms this year may not be so certain. And they’ve moved beyond being concerned. They are desperate.

In looking at the following information, you’ll benefit by looking at it not through Conservative eyes, but through the eyes of the Left. You can be sure that their media pundits will disclaim the effects that I’m predicting. But the Democrats would be remiss if they didn’t at least consider that they may be in trouble in November.

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