Commentary: Mask Mandates Promote Servitude, Not Safety

Man on escalator with mask on

The other day, for the first time since March 2020, I embarked on a journey outside of the slave state of California. My wife and I drove to Montana. While I had heard tales of the existence of freedom in other states, I had yet to experience the thing firsthand.

My experience in Montana confirmed what I have long suspected and known, but not witnessed or experienced for myself—that there are two Americas and two very different types of Americans. There are free states and slave states. There are fearful, obedient slaves, and fearless, free Americans.

I didn’t wear a mask for an entire weekend in Montana—not entering my hotel, not walking down the street, not entering a grocery store or gas station convenience store, not getting a coffee, and not entering numerous restaurants and bars. At no point did I put on that filthy face diaper. Nor did anyone else.

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Commentary: Tuning Out Wokeism

Group protesting; "no justice no peace" sign

If wokeness should continue and “win,” by now we all know where it will end up. After all, this is not a prairie-fire, peasants-with-pitchforks, spontaneous bottom-up revolution.

The woke Left seeks a top-down erasure of America, engineered by the likes of LeBron James from his $40 million estate talking revolution to Oprah at her $90 million castle, as Mark Zuckerberg throws in $500 million here, and his colleagues $400 million there, and as the top executives of Coke, Target, and Delta Airlines believe their $17 million-a-year salaries make them experts on the crimes of non-diversity, exclusion, and inequity. Anytime revolutionaries at the outset of their enterprises seek exemption from the consequences of their own ideology, we know their plans will end badly for everyone else.

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Commentary: The U.S. Military Is Just Another Woke Institution

The backsides of American soldiers in uniform

Tucker Carlson spurred a much-needed reexamination of the military in March. His monologue criticizing the military’s political correctness drew a more furious response from top brass than any foreign threat is likely to do. The generals’ response only affirmed Tucker’s points about the degraded state of our armed forces. Why do generals—both current and retired—feel the need to condemn civilians who question the wisdom of putting women in combat?

The answer is that the military, along with the entire national security establishment, is at one with the Democrat-Media complex. The image we have of generals and senior officers as defenders of tradition is wildly out of step with reality.

This fact is underscored by its contrast with a letter issued in France last week. The letter—signed by 20 retired generals, 80 officers, and 1,000 lower-ranking soldiers—was stridently right-wing. “The hour is late, France is in peril, threatened by several mortal dangers,” the letter states. Though retired, we remain soldiers of France, and cannot, under the present circumstances, remain indifferent to the fate of our beautiful country.”

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Commentary: The Death Spiral of Academia

Library with several people at library tables, working.

On March 1, Eric Kaufmann published a remarkably detailed and comprehensive study of bias in academia, “Academic Freedom in Crisis: Punishment, Political Discrimination, and Self-Censorship.” Kaufmann’s writing is a product of California’s Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology, a small think tank set up to do research forbidden in today’s Academy. His research uncovering rampant leftist political bias in publication, employment, and promotion in the academy—and discrimination against anything right-of-center—qualifies as that kind of work.

In the academy, the free interchange of competing ideas creates knowledge through cooperation, disagreement, debate, and dissent. Kaufmann finds that the last three are severely suppressed and punished. This repression’s pervasiveness may be a death sentence for science, free inquiry, and the advancement of knowledge in our universities.

I am led to that dire conclusion because there doesn’t appear to be any way for universities to prevent it. No solution can arise from within the academy, as it self-selects lifetime faculty that are largely left-wing, making promotion of dissidents highly unlikely. Kaufmann demonstrates profoundly systemic discrimination by leftist faculty against their colleagues who disagree with them politically.

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Commentary: Cancer Screenings Plummeted in 2020 But the Results Are Grim

Patient receiving cancer screening

At Chicago’s Mount Sinai Hospital, Teresa Ruvalcaba was suffering on a cold January night. For months, she had tried to avoid thinking about the inflammation blooming in her chest, but the pain could no longer be ignored. So finally she had asked her 24-year-old son Sergio to drive her to the hospital.

Laying in the emergency room, the 48-year-old factory worker was a frightful sight for doctors.

“[Teresa’s] right breast [had] swollen to nearly twice the size of her left, the skin so thick and dimpled that the doctor examining her would note that it resembled an orange peel,” writes journalist Duaa Eldeib.

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Commentary: Championing America’s First Freedom

Person waving flag outside of window

The right to worship freely is often called America’s first freedom.  Our founding fathers understood religious freedom not as the state’s creation but as an unalienable right from God.

This universal right is enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.”

Today, however, religious freedom is threatened or restricted entirely for millions of people around the world.  Over 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries with high or severe restrictions on religious freedom.  In far too many places across the globe, governments and others prevent individuals from living in accordance with their beliefs.

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Commentary: ‘Bipartisan Border Solutions’ Bill Lacks Solutions

No disrespect to its border-state sponsors, Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) and House members Henry Cuellar and Tony Gonzales (both Texans, Democrat and Republican respectively), but there are better names for the “Bipartisan Border Solutions Act.”

The “Bipartisan Band-Aid for Biden’s Border Mess” works. It’s a little long, but more descriptive than the current title.

Given the severe overcrowding at Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shelters, building four new regional processing centers along America’s southern border, as the legislation calls for, may be necessary at this point.

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Commentary: One Way to Fix Plummeting Birthrates Is to Stop Bashing America

Mothers hand holding infants hand

The National Center for Health Statistics, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention subagency, reported this week that America’s fertility rate dropped for the sixth consecutive year. Total births declined by 4 percent in 2020, down to 1,637.5 children per 1,000 women. The statistical replacement rate for the U.S. population, by contrast, is roughly 2,100 births per 1,000 women. Overall, the 3,605,201 births last year in the United States represented the lowest number since Jimmy Carter’s presidency.

It is perhaps too early to tell whether yet another annual incremental birthrate decline is anomalous, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or flows naturally from existing demographic trendlines. Sociologists and demographers will pore over the data, but it is difficult to ignore the broader trend and place the blame squarely—or even predominantly—on the virus and the myriad draconian lifestyle restrictions the virus engendered.

On the contrary, many had speculated before this week’s report that the extended COVID lockdowns might lead to a one-time annual increase in the birthrate as couples sheltered in place together for months on end.

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Commentary: Joe Biden, Economy Killer

President Joe Biden

Along with a working vaccine, Joe Biden inherited a V-shaped economic recovery, but he is now planting the seeds of its destruction. Inflation, federal deficits, high taxes, incentives for workers to stay home, and incentives to avoid investment – they’re all coming back. Together, these elements create the perfect brew for a Lyndon Johnson-style stagflation. If Biden and the Democrats so quickly wreck the good economic path they were given, it will be one of the worst examples of government malpractice in U.S. economic history. 

In the first, dark days of the COVID-19 national economic shutdown last spring, there was a clear need for major stimulus. Both parties united to pass an effective and much-needed response. 

The U.S. gross domestic product saw a 33.4% surge in the July-September third quarter of 2020, after plunging 31.4% in the April-June second quarter. The economy continued to grow at a 4% rate in the fourth quarter, and the stock market (despite COVID) ended 2020 with the S&P 500 index up 16% for the year as a whole. 

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Commentary: Asking the Wrong Question About Liz Cheney

To the delight of actual conservatives everywhere, it appears that U.S. Representaative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) will soon finally be out of the GOP leadership, rectifying a huge mistake made less than three months ago by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House GOP leadership when they steadfastly supported her against a groundswell of calls from voters for her removal.

At that time, McCarthy passionately defended her presence in leadership ahead of a secret ballot vote, with many describing his contribution as decisive in turning the tide toward keeping Cheney as House GOP conference chairman. That McCarthy would be forced to reverse himself just a few months later shows that his judgment as a leader is fatally flawed.

The question conservatives should be asking now is not why we need to oust Liz Cheney but how she ever got into leadership in the first place?

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Commentary: The Left Will Not Let Go of COVID

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden

COVID’s grip on America is relaxing, not so the Left’s. The Left seized COVID as an unprecedented statist opportunity to advance their agenda. Unsurprisingly, they now resist relinquishing it. Since the Left refuse to let go of America, America must let go of the Left.

Last week the CDC relaxed its guidelines for outdoor mask-wearing by those fully vaccinated against COVID. It was more a rearguard action than a vanguard one, but at least it was a start. Several states are well ahead in their return to normalcy.

America’s virus statistics demonstrate the remission of the virus and validate accelerating relaxation of the lockdowns. On a seven-day moving average, active cases, daily new cases, and daily deaths have been plummeting since the beginning of the year.
On the ledger’s other side, vaccinations began in the U.S. in December, averaging over two million a day since February; as a result, around 31 percent of the population is now fully vaccinated at this writing.

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Commentary: Use Twitter’s New Weakness to Start Upending Big Tech

Person holding phone up with Twitter sign up page on smart phone.

Twitter’s stock fell 15 percent last week apparently because they’re not getting sufficient numbers of new users to please the market. People are not as intrigued as they used to be with an allegedly open social media platform that’s not really open, in fact is something of a dictatorship.

I know you’re not supposed to kick someone when they’re down. But when that someone has been acting in the most unAmerican, peremptory ways for years, as if the Bill of Rights never existed, censoring people without explanation—even a former president—blocking free discussion of medical science, for Heaven’s sake, and treating conservatives and libertarians pretty much the way Ferdinand and Isabella treated the Jews before they finally kicked them out of Spain, it’s time to take action.

And, when that “down” is the first chink in the armor of Big Tech that has dominated discourse in this country and around the world to a degree never thought possible, it is all the more urgent to let that foot fly and jump up and down on top a little as well if necessary.

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Commentary: Amateurish FBI Raid on Innocent Trump Supporter’s Home Ought to Chill Every American

Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Last week the FBI raided the home of an Alaska couple who had attended former President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 peaceful rally near the White House.

According to the Alaska Watchman:

Paul and Marilyn Hueper, owners of Homer Inn & Spa, woke with a start at 9 a.m. April 28 when a dozen armed FBI agents kicked down their front door in an investigation associated with Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s stolen laptop, which was taken during the Jan. 6 siege of the nation’s Capitol.

Homer resident Marilyn Heuper (left), posted this photo on Facebook to show the physical differences between her and the woman who FBI agents were looking for when they raided her home on April 28.

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Commentary: Democrats’ False Middle East Mythology

The Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel

What a disaster! And it’s only just begun — if we cannot do something to stop it.

Iran is up off the floor, regaining confidence in the strength of its bargaining position, restored to it as a free gift by the Biden team. Rockets from Gaza are again falling by their scores on Israeli civilians. The northern border of Israel is on highest alert. The last remaining Jews in Yemen have left as Iran’s proxies, the Houthis, consolidate their control over large areas of the country. The Palestinian Authority (PA) is appealing to the Democrats in control to take it off the U.S. terror list even as its leadership publicly encourages the wave of violence against Jewish civilians sweeping through Jerusalem.

It was only a few months ago that we were marveling at how peace was swiftly gaining momentum, and Iran, choked by powerful and effective sanctions, was being held to account for its actions and as a consequence had ever fewer resources to support its terrorist proxies. Most amazing, many Arab states began at last to see that Israel is no threat to them or their people and that they had common cause with Israel against Iranian imperialism. As if in a dream, we saw this trend begin as rumors, then peek into the light with a few gestures, and then finally, incredibly, burst into the limelight with the Abraham Accords. One Muslim state after another stepped forward to sign a real peace treaty with Israel and immediately open doors closed ever since Israel’s founding.

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Commentary: Two Studies on Immigration and Race, with Surprising Details

Group of people holding small American flags

Two mainstream think tanks have published new studies on immigration and race in America that come to the typical, safe conclusions. But a look at the data inside shows something more interesting.

A new Cato Institute report defending immigration begins by contending that immigrants are unlikely to negatively affect states’ fiscal health. But within the study’s findings, Cato may have inadvertently provided a new reason to oppose immigration.

Using state budgets as a proxy for the quality of economic institutions from 1970-2010, the authors of the Cato study assert that “a larger share of immigrants at the state level is correlated with slower state revenue and spending growth in the short-term, measured by total per capita government revenue and expenditure growth.” In other words, the more immigrants there are in a state, the less the state tends to take in in taxes and the less it spends on services. This is hardly groundbreaking; we have always known that immigration is linked to welfare chauvinism.

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Commentary: Virginia Can’t Seem to Make up Its Mind About Its New Math Curriculum

Classroom of students with teacher at blackboard

What the heck is going on with the Virginia Department of Education?

A little over a week ago reports surfaced that the state would be doing away with advanced math classes for all grades except 11 and 12.

But then reports came out noting the state’s education chief disputed those reports, saying “absolutely acceleration is not going away in mathematics courses.”

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Commentary: The Vatican Museums and Persevering Through a Pandemic

Vatican Saint Peter's Basilica at dusk

On Monday, May 3, the Vatican Museums will reopen to the public.  The Vatican Museums were founded in 1506, when Pope Julius II discovered and acquired the sculpture, Laocoön and His Sons.  Today, the Vatican Museums house one of the oldest and most important art collections in the world.

The Vatican’s impressive collection consists of over 200,000 works spanning five millennia.  The collection includes remarkable 15th and 16th century frescoes by Fra Angelico, Michelangelo, and Raphael, as well as stunning masterpieces by Caravaggio and Leonardo da Vinci.  Reflecting upon her work, Vatican Museums Director Dr. Barbara Jatta said, “It’s a cultural duty undertaken with a conviction that beauty can lead to faith.” 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vatican Museums were the 3rd most visited museum in the world, hosting an average of 6 million visitors per year and generating essential funding for the Vatican. 

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Commentary: If Biden Really Wants to Be FDR, He Should Oppose Public Sector Unions

Franklin Roosevelt

President Joe Biden has made it pretty clear he idolizes Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR). A painting of #32 hangs in his office, he frequently invokes the former president in his speeches, and the media often draws comparisons between the two progressives.
But as much as Biden seems to draw on FDR’s legacy, his knowledge of his positions seems to have one glaring omission. FDR was opposed to public sector unions.
Public sector unions are having a moment in the spotlight, and not in a good way. Their actions over the past year have incurred ire from all political directions. Many Americans have become aware of the role police unions play in protecting bad apples, blocking popular criminal justice reforms, and preventing transparency as extrajudicial killings and the resulting protests have demanded attention on our justice system.

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Commentary: Critical Race Theory Is About to Face Its Day(s) in Court

New York State Education Building, Albany, New York

As recently as last summer, few people outside academia had heard of critical race theory, whose central claim is that racism, not liberty, is the founding value and guiding vision of American society. Then, President Trump issued an executive order last September banning the teaching of this “malign ideology” to federal employees and federal contractors.

Trump’s ban was blocked by a federal judge in December and immediately revoked by Joe Biden upon occupying the White House in January. Since then, federal agencies and federal contractors have resumed staff training on unconscious bias, microaggressions, systemic racism and white privilege – some of the most common but also most disputed concepts associated with the four-decade-old academic theory.

Now critical race theory is about to face a major real-world test: a spate of lawsuits alleging that it encourages discrimination and other illegal policies targeting whites, males and Christians. But unlike Trump’s executive order, which ran into First Amendment problems by prohibiting controversial speech, the lawsuits name specific policies and practices that allegedly discriminate, harass, blame and humiliate people based on their race.

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Commentary: Census Data Update and If GOP Will See Apportionment Gains

Going into this decennial reapportionment, it appeared that states’ congressional delegations were poised for widespread reshuffling of the deck.  New York was on the cusp of losing two seats, while Texas and Florida were in a position to pick up three and two, respectively. Given the legislatures that control redistricting in these states, it seemingly offered substantial opportunities for Republicans to redraw the lines in ways that boosted their chances in the House significantly.

Instead, the reapportionment numbers announced by the U.S. Census Bureau on Monday were something of a wash.  Only seven states lost seats while six gained seats.

There were notable outcomes here: California lost a seat for the first time in its history. Rhode Island – widely expected to be reduced to a single-member state – held onto its two House seats (in fact it wasn’t a terribly close shave). New York, even with COVID deaths pushing it toward a loss of two seats, lost just one.

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Commentary: The Slow-Motion Suicide of the West

I have been thinking a good deal recently about Arnold Toynbee’s much-quoted observation that “Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.” As an historical proposition, I’d say that it was like the story of the curate’s breakfast egg. “I’m afraid you’ve got a bad egg, Mr. Jones!” “Oh no, my Lord, I assure you!” the curate replied. “Parts of it are excellent!”

And yet we all see the pertinence of Toynbee’s point. While there are, as a matter of historical fact, plenty of civilizations that succumb to invasion, occupation, and subjugation, there are also many that wither from within from a failure of self-confidence, of (for the Bergsonians out there) élan vital, of what your philosophy graduate student likes to call thumos: spirit, gumption, “heart,” manliness.

The fact that no one can even speak of “manliness” today without looking over his shoulder these days is an index that thumos is on the endangered species list (along, as it happens, with sperm counts in the Western world). Why this should be is a fraught question—something whose answer is “overdetermined” as our Freudian friends like to say.

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Commentary: President Biden’s Tax Hike Hits Keep on Coming

Joe Biden

Just over three months into his presidency, Joe Biden has been nothing if not active. Fresh off proposing two bills that could end up costing taxpayers $5 trillion over the next decade, the President is now proposing yet another $1.5 trillion spending package. This plan, intended to fund expanded childcare and education initiatives, would include huge tax hikes that would act as yet another sucker punch to a still-rebounding economy.

About the only tax increases the President hasn’t supported thus far arewealth taxes and financial transaction taxes. But just because the tax hikes in this package are less exotic doesn’t mean they wouldn’t prove to be harmful.

In keeping with Biden’s ongoing efforts to undo the 2017 tax reform law, the first tax increase proposed is the restoration of the top tax bracket to 39.6 percent, the level it was at before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) lowered the rate to 37 percent. The top individual rate isn’t the most influential piece of the tax code on economic growth — as the Tax Foundation estimated prior to the passage of the TCJA — but it’s also far from the only tax hike that Biden is proposing.

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Commentary: Elections Have Consequences; Cheating Doesn’t

Barack Obama liked to remind us that “elections have consequences.”

Boy, do they! For conservatives like me, the months since Democrats took over the White House and the Senate have been a tsunami of consequences. How do you think I like it when Joe Biden’s handlers aim 60 executive orders at the tip of his pen to effectuate a fundamental transformation of this country? Or when the Democrat-controlled Congress tries to push through statehood for the District of Columbia in order to guarantee their continued control of the Senate? Or when the southern border is turned into a 2,000-mile illegal-immigrant processing center?

Unfortunately, the dictum that “elections have consequences” is not recognized as a legitimate principle when Republicans defeat Democrats. That was obvious when Donald Trump won the 2016 election and spent the next four years being vilified as a Russian puppet, a racist and a danger to the republic. You see, Democrats consider elections to be their most legitimate means of seizing power, but not necessarily the most effective. For them, politics is the continuation of war by other means, and they have been waging war against not just Republicans, but against the Constitution for at least the last 50 years.

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Commentary: Coddling Criminals Is a New Front in the War on the Middle Class

"We who believe in freedom cannot rest," sign

The middle class is the traditional bedrock of American society. They are the rule followers, the volunteers, the middle managers, and small business owners. Being rule-oriented, they support the police and stability, as they have a stake in maintaining the status quo. Their values are defined by their economic and social position: self-sufficient, conscientious, and, lately, anxious.

The middle class is under pressure from numerous directions. Wages have been flat for 50 years, while prices have gone up, particularly for the traditional perquisites of middle-class existence: homes, healthcare, and education. Globalization and mass immigration increase the labor pool against which Americans must compete. Inflation and debt eat away at the ability of families to accrue wealth. And diversity and crime have made it so many families need to spend a small fortune (and a lot of time commuting) to recreate the lifestyle they enjoyed growing up.

Lately, riots and racial tension create additional anxieties for the middle class. The nihilism of these displays is alien to the middle class’s quest for security.   

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Commentary: Senate Republicans Just Handed Matches to Arsonists

One of the most fateful decisions of Donald Trump’s presidency happened just weeks after Inauguration Day.

In March 2017, Republican lawmakers joined Democrats to demand Jeff Sessions, a former Senate colleague and Trump’s new attorney general, recuse himself from anything related to the investigation into alleged Russian election collusion. Sessions’ two brief meetings in 2016 with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak—a figure who appeared often in collusion-related drama—amounted to evidence of collusion, collusion perps insisted.

Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) were just a few top Republicans who asked Sessions to step aside—so he did.

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Commentary: Chauvin Verdict Disappointed Democrats

Tuesday afternoon the Democrats and the Left at large got exactly what they said they wanted from the trial of Derek Chauvin. The jury found him guilty of all three counts — second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter — with which he had been charged in the death of George Floyd. Yet prominent Democrats who commented on the verdict seemed slightly bewildered and disappointed. Their collective response was captured in this statement from Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison: “I would not call today’s verdict justice, because justice implies restoration.” This is an odd assertion coming from the man who orchestrated Chauvin’s prosecution and secured an unequivocal conviction.

It is particularly odd considering that the city of Minneapolis agreed in March to pay $27 million to settle a civil suit brought by George Floyd’s family pursuant to his death. Neither that settlement nor Chauvin’s conviction will restore George Floyd’s life, of course, but it is all one can reasonably expect from the legal system. That, unfortunately, is the rub. When Ellison deploys words like “justice” and “restoration,” he isn’t talking about what most Americans think of when they hear such terms. He is claiming they are meaningless in a structurally racist legal system that is itself the root cause of tragedies like George Floyd’s death. This is what renowned legal scholar Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) means by this obloquy:

I don’t want this moment to be framed as this system working. Because it’s not working. We saw a murder in front of all of our eyes, and yet we didn’t know if there would be a guilty verdict — it tells you everything. Verdicts are not substitutes for policy change…. and there are way too many people including my colleagues that think that’s the case…. This one case and this one verdict, we still have people getting killed by police every single day on average in the United States…. We’re willing to accept violence against some communities as a necessary cost for “safety.”

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Commentary: The Teacher Pay Gap Is Really About the STEM Salary Premium

Teacher reading to student.

With classrooms finally reopening and hundreds of billions of federal dollars earmarked for public schools, the issue of teacher pay will soon re-emerge. Before the pandemic, public school teachers were fighting against a widely perceived “teacher salary penalty.” President Biden vowed to “correct this wrong,” promising a dramatic increase in federal education funding to “give teachers a raise.” But what causes these pay differences? New Census Bureau data suggest that most teachers are paid roughly what they’d receive in other jobs. But if public schools wish to attract the best-qualified graduates to teaching, they need to stop paying the physics teacher the same as the gym teacher.

The Economic Policy Institute, a teacher-union-affiliated think tank, reports that public school teachers receive salaries about 20 percent lower than non-teachers with equal levels of experience and education.

But what does it mean for education to be “equal”? College graduates attended different institutions, majored in different fields, and received different GPAs, leading to different salaries later in life. That’s why parents encourage their children to attend more competitive colleges and, increasingly, to favor STEM fields over liberal arts majors.

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Commentary: From ‘Insurrectionists’ to ‘Interruptionists’

Riot at U.S. Capitol

Well, this is a bummer for the sedition-baiting crowd.

The Biden Justice Department last week announced its first plea deal related to the January 6 protest on Capitol Hill: Jon Ryan Schaffer pleaded guilty to two charges—obstruction of an official proceeding and entering the Capitol with a dangerous or deadly weapon.

Schaffer, who has no criminal record, faced six counts of various trespassing and disorderly conduct offenses. (He did not plead guilty to any of the initial charges.)

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Commentary: Proposed Education Department Rule Would Prioritize Funding Critical Race Theory Grant Applications

Close up of person writing

The Biden Administration is wasting no time in working to promote highly controversial critical race theory and anti-racism concepts into curriculums nationwide.

A proposed rule from the U.S. Education Department seeks to prioritize funding grant proposals that support diversity and inclusion narratives within American History and Civics Education programs.

The department states on the Federal Register that such a move would “support the development of culturally responsive teaching.”

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Commentary: Too Much Data, Too Little Wisdom

Every day, we are bombarded with information. A police shooting under questionable circumstances. A tense encounter between people of different races. A flood of statistics on COVID-19 cases, mortality, and vaccine effectiveness. 

We receive the data in the form of easily digested soundbites and a never-ending reel of videos. We are supposed to respond by taking a stand and making a judgment. If there is any doubt as to what that stand should be, the mood music on the news and the explicit narratives on social media make it plain what we are supposed to feel and think. 

Objectively speaking, these videos present as many questions as they present answers. Maybe it’s grainy and fast moving. Maybe the lens is distorting perspective. With YouTube, we can slow it down, rewind, and enhance the color. Ah ha! See! The kid dropped the gun a tenth of a second before the officer’s shot went off, says the know-it-all. 

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Commentary: Biden Intelligence Community Breaches Authority to Target the Right

Ben Sasse

The freshly reelected Republican senator from Nebraska had kind words this week for Joe Biden’s intelligence chiefs. “The American people are blessed to have an [intelligence community] as serious as ours,” Senator Ben Sasse said during Wednesday’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. He called the group, which included FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director William Burns, “heroes” and wanted a chance to “say thank you” in front of the American people.

Sasse, who is supposed to act as a fierce skeptic not a fawning cheerleader of the world’s most powerful intelligence apparatus, singled out Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines for praise. “Your opening statement . . . was incredibly strong,” Sasse swooned.

Haines, the top deputy to former CIA Director John Brennan during the Obama Administration, undoubtedly marveled at winning such a groveling endorsement from a sitting Republican senator—or perhaps she internally laughed at winning over yet another reliable GOP dupe. (In fairness, most Republicans on the committee joined in Sasse’s praise for Haines.)

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Commentary: The Washington Post Fact-Checker and Holding Biden Accountable

After four years of relentless fact checks of statements by President Trump, many wondered whether fact-checkers would apply similar scrutiny to President Biden.

Responding to right-leaning critics who “have been urging fact checks of ‘Biden lies,’” Glenn Kessler, editor and chief writer of the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, tweeted, “We have no plans to start a Biden false or misleading claims tracker, just as we had no plans at this point to start a Trump tracker. The constant tweeting of falsehoods forced our hand. But we have an open mind and if the need arises we will consider one.”

Some remained skeptical. “We have no plans to hold Biden accountable the way we did the previous administration,” tweeted journalist Stephen Miller, mockingly interpreting Kessler’s statement. “Glenn, I for one thank you for this refreshing bit of honesty.”

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Commentary: Behold DeSantis, Destroyer of Narratives

Ron DeSantis

Those who are looking for someone who could be a post-Trump bearer of the MAGA standard within the Republican Party have had a keen eye on Ron DeSantis for a while now.

And this week it’s becoming perfectly clear why.

DeSantis was the subject of a tired and constant phenomenon in American politics: the 60 Minutes hit piece. That happened on Sunday, with a report by Sharyn Alfonsi alleging that DeSantis was running a “pay-for-play” scheme surrounding the state of Florida’s vaccine distribution.

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Commentary: Biden Border Policy Goes South

Border Surge

When the inevitable assessments of President Biden’s first 100 days in office begin to appear, his precipitous actions pursuant to illegal immigration at the southern border will be judged by most honest observers to have been his worst blunder. That is certainly the perspective of the majority of Americans, according to three recent public opinion surveys. An NPR/Marist poll, for example, found that 53 percent of respondents disapproved of Biden’s handling of immigration. An ABC News/Ipsos poll found that 57 percent were dissatisfied with his management of the situation, particularly as it affects unaccompanied minors. An AP/NORC poll found that 56 percent were unhappy with Biden’s performance on immigration.

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Commentary: Why America’s Elites Want to End the Middle Class

A sunset with a field of windmills

A recent column by Victor Davis Hanson titled “Radical New Rules for Post-America” lists “10 new ideas that are changing America, maybe permanently.” Hanson offers a thorough description of what’s wrong: Fiscal and monetary negligence, selective enforcement or nonenforcement of laws, anti-white racism, rights and privileges for immigrants over citizens, an infantilized culture, hypocrisy, urban chaos, censorship and cancel culture, politicized “science,” and “woke” as the new religion, with Big Tech as the clergy.

While there may not be a more succinct description of the new and radical rules Americans face these days, Hanson is covering familiar territory. But what is the cause of these changes?

It doesn’t require a conspiracy theorist to suggest these wholesale shifts in American culture are not happening by accident. Nor are they solely the result of nefarious intent, at least not among everyone occupying the highest rungs of power and influence in America. What motivates members of the American elite, billionaires and corporate boards alike, to approve of these radical changes?

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Commentary: Too Much of a Unity

“The city comes in to being for the sake of life, but it continues for the sake of the good life. ” — Aristotle, Politics

“[The Declaration of Independence] was the word, “fitly spoken” which has proved an “apple of gold” to us. The Union, and the Constitution, are the picture of silver, subsequently framed around it. The picture was made, not to conceal, or destroy the apple; but to adorn, and preserve it. The picture was made for the apple — not the apple for the picture.”—Abraham Lincoln, “Fragment on the Constitution and Union”

The crisis of our time requires clear thinking about political means and ends, and the ways they are connected. The two epigraphs above address this central question of practical wisdom—the first from the general perspective of theory, the second as relates to the particular nation of the United States. Both quotations may be familiar to educated conservatives, and particularly to those students of political philosophy broadly associated with the Claremont school of thought. Yet there is a danger that such familiarity may breed, if not contempt, then the forgetfulness that settles on “sonorous phrases” which lapse into clichés. I would like to reconsider these arguments made by Aristotle and Lincoln—along with some related observations by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson—not as hackneyed commonplaces but as genuine insights that remain relevant and even urgent. Circumstances in the coming years may require new or unusual means to secure the ends of liberty and justice. Our thinking must be appropriately radical.

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Commentary: Just Say No to Vaccine Passports

We all desperately want normal lives again. And I’m not talking about the finnicky “new normal” that accommodates Aunt Karen’s irrational fear of leaving her house. I’m talking about “normal normal,” where people crowd into concert halls with standing room only, restaurants operate crowded tables at 120 percent capacity, and cruise ship buffets shove food and alcohol down my throat like it’s Fat Tuesday, all day, every day. Ah … don’t you miss 2019? I sure do.

It was only a matter of time before some in our society turned the national COVID experiment into an excuse to say, “Papers, please.” That’s right — the so-called vaccine passport is now emerging in the United States. It’s an app that is advertised as a way to help people do the things they miss doing from pre-pandemic times. Want to feel completely safe in your favorite store, and surround yourself with others who, like you, have rolled up their sleeve and gotten the vaccine? There’s an app for that. Just scan your QR code and enter feeling sanctimoniously sanitized.

Last week, New York became the first state to offer such a vaccine verification app. The state-sanctioned app, called Excelsior Pass, claims to let participants “Attend sporting events, arts performances and more! Excelsior Pass supports a safe reopening of New York by providing a free, fast and secure way to present digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results.” Well that sounds fun to me! Sign me up!

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Commentary: Put the Woke Corporations to Sleep

Georgia finally enacted some laws to protect ethical voting. My American Spectator colleague, David Catron, refers to these laws as “election integrity laws” — and that is what they are.

“Jim Crow”? What on G-d’s Earth are the leftist Crazies talking about? What are the Leftists saying?

… that Blacks and Hispanics do not want election integrity?

… that Blacks and Hispanics, 158 years after slavery ended, do not have access to a photo ID?

… that Blacks and Hispanics, 158 years after slavery ended, cannot figure out how to vote honestly and need vote harvesters?

… that Blacks and Hispanics, 158 years after slavery ended, do not want integrity at the voting booth? 

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Commentary: Holding Big Tech Accountable for January 6

Nearly 300 Americans face a slew of charges related to the melee on Capitol Hill last January. As I’ve reported over the past few months, offenses range from assaulting a police officer to destroying government property to trespassing.

More than 70 protestors stand accused of “aiding and abetting” various crimes; even people who didn’t vandalize the Capitol or even enter the building have been charged with helping others do damage and interrupt Congress’ certification of the Electoral College results.

Nonviolent offenders languish behind bars for months, denied bail, and transported to Washington, D.C. to await delayed trials. Federal prosecutors suggest President Trump could be indicted for fueling the chaos that day. Democratic congressmen want their Republican colleagues held accountable for their alleged role, too.

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Commentary: Conflict with China Could Mean Nuclear War

Radioactive Caution Signs on fence

China is not our friend. Since the Clinton Administration, and through the Bush and Obama years, American policy proceeded as if trade and cultural ties would work automatically to liberalize the Chinese. Instead, these ties have enriched and strengthened China, allowing it to build first-class infrastructure, a robust economy, and a substantially more capable military in a mere 30 years’ time. 

Simultaneously, these policies have hollowed out our own industrial base, rendering most of our industries, including the tech sector, dependent on Chinese inputs. In the name of efficiency, we have lost resilience, jobs, and independence. 

The prospect of a military confrontation with China is now closer than it was at the beginning of this process. Along with its rising confidence and capability, China has advanced a self-serving and novel view of its authority, asserting sovereignty and rights of exclusion deep into the South China Sea. 

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Commentary: Movement Grows to Recall Progressive District Attorneys

George Gascón, District Attorney

The advocacy group “Fair and Just Prosecution” says the goal of progressive criminal justice reform is to create “a justice system grounded in fairness, equity, compassion, and fiscal responsibility.” Starting around 2016, this movement picked up momentum across the United States, primarily by funding candidates in county district attorney elections. There are now dozens of cities and counties with elected district attorneys that are enforcing massive shifts in prosecutorial conduct.

Reforms were needed. But so far, they have been a disaster.

While the most visible source of funding for these district attorney candidates is the notorious George Soros, the movement is much bigger than the agenda of one billionaire. It taps a core belief of progressives, that America’s criminal justice system is punitive and disproportionately targets nonwhite and low-income communities. It also taps into a sentiment shared by progressives and libertarians, that “victimless” crimes, primarily drug related, should not be crimes at all.

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Commentary: Today’s Real Systemic Injustice with COVID and Our Kids

Black Lives Matter. Believe All Women. Everybody wants to be on the right side of contentious civil rights issues — that’s why the debate over what that “right side” is becomes so intense. But the most quantifiable systemic injustice in our nation today is not black versus white, or male versus female. It’s old against young.

During the coronavirus pandemic, abandonment of adult responsibility in respected institutions — medical, educational, and parental — is indicative of sweeping moral collapse. Making sacrifices for future generations used to make sense in a grown-up world. But baby boomers, those children of the ’60s who have controlled the country for 30 years, have desensitized our culture with their apathy and entitlement. Why should healthy children be held to the same medical standard as a 70-year-old “boomer” with multiple comorbidities? Why have young people, who beat COVID-19 quicker than the annual flu, been forced to surrender a year of their lives to satisfy the anxieties of a paranoid gerontocracy? The calculated hysteria of our politicians has accelerated institutional fragility, a condition of paralysis in which medical and educational leaders refuse to acknowledge prejudicial restrictions on the young and the healthy.

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Commentary: Biden Will Prove Reagan Right About Big-Government Incompetence

Respected Washington Post journalist and CNN host Fareed Zakaria has thrown down the gauntlet by betting that President Joe Biden “can show us that Reagan was wrong” when the Gipper said that “government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem.”

The headline in the Washington Post was “Biden is showing government can work,” and this assertion was supported by a commitment from a Biden White House official that “For people like us who believe in government, task number one is to make government work.”

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Commentary: Save America From Action Civics

Booker was about twelve when he first set foot in a classroom and discovered that he needed a last name. He invented one on the spot, and for the rest of his life, he was Booker Washington. It was then and still is a civics lesson for America. As a slave born on the Burroughs Plantation in 1856, he was simply Booker. But as a freed individual determined to make something of himself, he chose to identify with his country’s founder. 

Booker T. Washington—he added the T later—spent the rest of his life getting educated and educating others, black and white. He is out of fashion these days because he preached black advancement through relentless hard work and veered away from challenging the racist public policies of his time. But he still has something to teach us, namely that Americans have to own their history.

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Commentary: Your Freedom of Speech Ends Wednesday

The Senate’s Committee on Rules and Administration Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has announced she is holding a hearing Wednesday, March 24th at 10:00 AM ET on H.R.1/S.1, the Democrats’ misnamed “For the People Act.”

This is the first announced Senate hearing on the Democrats’ plan to do away with your freedom of speech, and if you were hoping the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration would act to correct the outrages that are central provisions of the House-passed bill, think again.

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Commentary: Capitol Investigation Seeks to Criminalize Political Dissent

In the early hours of March 12, FBI agents in southwestern Florida barricaded a neighborhood to prepare to raid the home of one resident. Christopher Worrell of Cape Coral was arrested and charged with several counts related to the January 6 Capitol melee. Even though Worrell had been cooperating with the FBI for two months, the agency nonetheless unleashed a massive, and no doubt costly, display of force to take him into custody.

Law enforcement agents, according to one neighbor who spoke with a reporter, wore “whole outfits . . . like military and it was crazy. There was like six or seven . . . big black vehicles. They busted down the front door.” The raid included “armed men with helmets and a tanker truck” and was partially executed by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Worrell never entered the Capitol building on January 6; he isn’t accused of committing a violent crime. But a D.C. judge overturned a Florida judge’s ruling to release Worrell pending further review of his case. He remains in jail.

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Commentary: ‘Woke’ Science Has No Place in Government Policymaking

“Science, at its core, is a social phenomenon.” This observation, from Alondra Nelson, the newly appointed deputy director of President Biden’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), certainly qualifies for a prominent place in the Pantheon of Inane Statements. The core of science, in fact, is the scientific method—posing and testing hypotheses; carefully gathering, examining, and generating experimental evidence; and finally, synthesizing all the available information into logical conclusions. 

Dr. Nelson’s assertion is inauspicious, but perhaps we should not be too surprised by a “squishy” statement from someone whose undergraduate degree was in sociology, while her doctorate is in “American Studies.” What, we wonder, qualifies her to be deputy director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy? And how does it comport with President Biden’s commitment to always rely on “science and truth.” We suspect it is an example of how lip service to science has invaded the domain of real science. 

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Commentary: ‘Follow the Science’ with Dr. Fauci

No matter what we are told by the “experts,” science is constantly evolving and is rarely ever as settled as those in power want us to believe. Doctors are often forced to make consequential decisions and recommendations based on partial or incomplete sets of data and information. Perhaps no one knows this better than Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

According to Fauci, it is now safe for schools to reopen. All it took was the passing of President Biden’s “COVID relief bill,” which will likely be signed into law this week. “As we now have the relief bill signed at $1.9 trillion — a lot of that is going into addressing COVID-19 including help to the schools to allow them to more safely bring the kids back,” Fauci said on Monday. Considering that the Congressional Budget Office estimated that 95 percent of the money appropriated from the bill to fund schools will not be spent this year, there was no reason for Fauci to present its passing as a prerequisite for reopening schools — unless of course we fool ourselves into believing that he is motivated by science, and not by whatever the Biden administration tells him to say.

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Commentary: Critical Race Theory as a Leftist Hammer

You have to hand it to the Left: they are relentless and always at war on a thousand fronts. As my father once told me when he was in Congress, “The shame is our people come and go, while evil never sleeps.” As I have pointed out, leftists are on the level of religious zealots; politics and government are their religion, the vehicle by which perfection and utopia will be achieved in this world. 

The worst that can be said about many on the Right, however, is that they are just careerists. Most are nine to five types on weekdays and politics is not a religion for them. They consider politics a necessary evil. So if it seems like the Left is always on the move, it’s because politics is a lifestyle for them and they fully intend to reshape this country into their vision for it, everything else be damned.

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Commentary: A Trojan Horse For Woke Education

A massive new national project called “Educating for American Democracy” will be launched on Tuesday with the explicit aim of “redefining” and then “harmonizing” American civic education nationwide.

From the days of Thomas Jefferson, Noah Webster, Horace Mann, and the McGuffey readers to Ronald Reagan’s farewell address and the controversy over national history standards, citizenship education (broadly understood) has always been a vital function of American schools for the perpetuation of the American way of life. That’s about to change for the worse.   

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