Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Scalia: The Supreme Court's "Judicial Putsch"

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, from his dissent in Obergefell v. Hodges, on the pigs ruling the Orwellian barnyard and how they are rewriting the Constitution:
But what really astounds is the hubris reflected in today’s judicial Putsch. The five Justices who compose today’s majority are entirely comfortable concluding that every State violated the Constitution for all of the 135 years between the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification and Massachusetts’ permitting of same-sex marriages in 2003. They have discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment a “fundamental right” overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since. They see what lesser legal minds—minds like Thomas Cooley, John Marshall Harlan, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Learned Hand, Louis Brandeis, William Howard Taft, Benjamin Cardozo, Hugo Black, Felix Frankfurter, Robert Jackson, and Henry Friendly—could not. They are certain that the People ratified the Fourteenth Amendment to bestow on them the power to remove questions from the democratic process when that is called for by their “reasoned judgment.” These Justices know that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry. And they are willing to say that any citizen who does not agree with that, who adheres to what was, until 15 years ago, the unanimous judgment of all generations and all societies, stands against the Constitution.
Read more here.

Memo from Beshear to Conway about county clerks uncovered


FROM: Gov. Steve Beshear

TO: Attorney General Jack Conway

RE: Get Yer Act Together


I bin discussin' this matter of the county clerks who are defahing my order about enforcin' the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage last Friday with my advisors and we are wonderin' over here why yer office hasn't said a werd about it.

Hep' me out here.

Maybe I'm readin' my Constertution wrong, but ain't you the state's chief law enforcement officer? Where've you bin? Why am I having to do yer job for yer?

My daddy used to say that a man that don't do is job is no better then a run-over varmint.

Of course it doesn't hep that last year you did basically the same thang. You got up in front 'a the cameras over here and had yer little cryin' fit and told everyone you had to foller yer conchince and couldn't do whut ya swore you were gonna do when you got e-lected. And now people are dredgin' all that stuff up agin' an pointin' out that the county clerks got conchinces too.

If I hear anything more about conchinces, I'm gonna file a executive order agin' 'em.

In fact, now that I thank about it, I had to pay for a lawyer 'cuz a yer conchince. As soon as this county clerk thang is all over, I'm gonna start takin' it outta yer paycheck. You kin call it a "conchince de-duction."

So now here I am doin' this a second time. Fer one thing, you stand about six foot four and tawk pritty. I stand about five foot four and tawk like the Turtleman. Who you thank's gonna do this better?

So git your hind end in gear and do yer job.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Family Foundation Press Release: State county clerks should not have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples


June 29, 2015   

LEXINGTON, KY— "If it was okay for Jack Conway to do it, it should be okay for county clerks," said a spokesman for the group that pushed for Kentucky traditional marriage law that was struck down by Friday's U. S. Supreme Court decision. On Friday Gov. Steve Beshear told county clerks across the state that they were required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of Kentucky's Constitution. The Family Foundation said today that county clerks whose conscience would be violated by following the Governor's order should consider their options.

"There are county clerks out there who have a religious objection to same-sex marriage," said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst with the Family Foundation. "They should be able to do what our own attorney general did last year when he refused to defend Kentucky's marriage law on conscience grounds. County clerks have consciences too."

In fact, said Cothran, county clerks are on more solid ground than Attorney General Conway because they would not have to violate their oath of office to refuse to issue such licenses. "While Jack Conway violated his oath of office in not defending Kentucky voters, county clerks would actually be honoring theirs. County clerks take an oath to both the federal and state constitutions. The U.S. Constitution nowhere says anything about same-sex marriage and the Kentucky Constitution expressly prohibits it. In refusing to issue licenses, they would actually be complying with the constitutions to which they swore their oaths."

"If the Governor is so concerned about public officials doing their duty, why didn't he write the same kind of letter to Jack Conway that he wrote to county clerks?" asked Cothran.

Cothran also pointed out that there is 25-day period following Supreme Court decisions in which a request for rehearing can be filed, a technical fact that could also affect what county clerks can do.


Scalia: "No social transformation without representation"

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, from his dissent in the Obergefell v. Hodges decision striking down marriage laws in all 50 states, on just how unrepresentative of America the elite judges who now rule our country are:
Judges are selected precisely for their skill as lawyers; whether they reflect the policy views of a particular con­stituency is not (or should not be) relevant. Not surpris­ingly then, the Federal Judiciary is hardly a cross-section of America. Take, for example, this Court, which consists of only nine men and women, all of them successful lawyers who studied at Harvard or Yale Law School. Four of the nine are natives of New York City. Eight of them grew up in east- and west-coast States. Only one hails from the vast expanse in-between. Not a single South-westerner or even, to tell the truth, a genuine Westerner (California does not count). Not a single evangelical Christian (a group that comprises about one quarter of Americans), or even a Protestant of any denomination. The strikingly unrepresentative character of the body voting on today’s social upheaval would be irrelevant if they were functioning as judges, answering the legal question whether the American people had ever ratified a constitutional provision that was understood to proscribe the traditional definition of marriage. But of course the Justices in today’s majority are not voting on that basis; they say they are not. And to allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation.
Read the rest here.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Justice Scalia's Greatest Hits, Part II (does the 14th Amendment prohibit states from defining marriage as between a man and a woman?)

Justice Antonin Scalia responds to the reasoning in the Obergefell v. Hodges majority opinion that the 14th Amendment prohibits states from defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman:
When the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, every State limited marriage to one man and one woman, and no one doubted the constitutionality of doing so. That resolves these cases. When it comes to determining the meaning of a vague constitutional provision—such as “due process of law” or “equal protection of the laws”—it is unquestionable that the People who ratified that provision did not understand it to prohibit a practice that remained both universal and uncontroversial in the years after ratification. We have no basis for striking down a practice that is not expressly prohibited by the Fourteenth Amendment’s text, and that bears the endorsement of a long tradition of open, widespread, and unchallenged use dating back to the Amendment’s ratification. Since there is no doubt whatever that the People never decided to prohibit the limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples, the public debate over same-sex marriage must be allowed to continue. 
But the Court ends this debate, in an opinion lackingeven a thin veneer of law. Buried beneath the mummeries and straining-to-be-memorable passages of the opinion is a candid and startling assertion: No matter what it was the People ratified, the Fourteenth Amendment protects those rights that the Judiciary, in its “reasoned judgment,”thinks the Fourteenth Amendment ought to protect. 
... This is a naked judicial claim to legislative—indeed, super-legislative—power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government. Except as limited by a constitutional prohibition agreed to by the People, the States are free to adopt whatever laws they like, eventhose that offend the esteemed Justices’ “reasoned judgment.” A system of government that makes the Peoplesubordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy.

Amen, Tony.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Matt Bevin issues statement on High Court's marriage decision

Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin on today's ruling by the Supreme Court prohibiting states from defining marriage as between a man and a woman:

I strongly disagree with today's ruling by the Supreme Court.  When the definition of marriage was put on the ballot 10 years ago, 74% of Kentuckians made it clear that they supported traditional marriage. Since that time, however, activist judges have chosen to ignore the will of the people, and to ignore the Constitutional principle of state's rights.

More here.

Supremes, "Stop (your democratic activities) in the name of (politics)"

Scalia, in his dissent from today's Supreme Court decision prohibiting states from defining marring as between a man and a woman:
Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court ...  the Court’s claimed power to create “liberties” that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves. 
Read more here.

Family Foundation responds to Beshear order to county clerks on marriage

LEXINGTON, KY--The Family Foundation responded to Gov. Steve Beshear's order to all county clerks to issue marriage licenses on same-sex partners. The Governor told them in a letter: "Neither your oath nor the Supreme Court dictates what you must believe. But as elected officials, they do prescribe how we must act."

"Why is it," said Martin Cothran, spokesman for the group, "that county clerks are expected to 'do their duty' as elected officials on this issue, but Attorney General Jack Conway was not when he refused to defend Kentucky's marriage law? Conway was lauded for defying his oath of office, but now county clerks are being held to it. That's a blatant double standard."

"County clerks took an oath to the Kentucky Constitution," said Cothran, "not to a rogue Court that thinks it can repeal the votes of Kentuckians and that it can rewrite the U. S. Constitution."


Supreme Court "gone rogue" from the Constitution says group that passed Marriage Amendment

LEXINGTON, KY—"This is the Supreme Court gone rogue from the Constitution," said a spokesman for The Family Foundation, the advocacy group that pushed the passage of Kentucky's Marriage Protection Amendment in 2004, in response to the High Court's action overturning the law today.

"Not only does the 14th amendment say nothing about same-sex marriage, but no one seriously believes the 14th Amendment prohibits states from defining marriage as between a man and a woman," said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst for the group, "not the people who wrote it, nor the people who ratified it, nor the judges who today have rewritten it to make it mean what they want it to mean."

The group also charged that the decision was an abuse of power on the part of the Court. "This has nothing to do with interpreting the Constitution; this has everything to do with an elite caste of judges who think they have the power to rewrite it."

"Judges are supposed to be impartial legal referees. But if all of a sudden you see the refs shooting three point shots for the other team, you know things have gone wrong."

The decision helps create an uneven playing field on cultural issues, said Cothran. "When conservatives want to change the Constitution, they have to follow the democratic process; but when liberals want to change the Constitution, all they have to do is find sympathetic judges to do it by abusing their power. In the name of 'fairness', liberals have politicized the judiciary and created an uneven playing field."

"Social conservatives can see this as their Waterloo or as a 'Remember the Alamo' moment," said Cothran in regard to the decision. “When the abortion laws of all 50 states were invalidated by the Supreme Court in the 1972 Roe v. Wade decision, it was the beginning, not the end, of the pro-life movement. Ever since then, it has been a rallying cry for the unborn. This decision could very well become the same thing for traditional marriage."


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Scalia making sense again about another Supreme Court decision that doesn't

Here is Justice Antonin Scalia in another dissent to an increasingly liberal High Court, this time practicing its politics through King v. Burwell:
This case requires us to decide whether someone who buys insurance on an Exchange established by the Secretary gets tax credits. You would think the answer would be obvious—so obvious there would hardly be a need for the Supreme Court to hear a case about it. In order to receive any money under §36B, an individual must enroll in an insurance plan through an “Exchange established by the State.” The Secretary of Health and Human Services is not a State. So an Exchange established by the Secretary is not an Exchange established by the State—which means people who buy health insurance through such an Exchange get no money under §36B. 
Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is “established by the State.” It is hard to come up with a clearer way to limit tax credits to state Exchanges than to use the words “established by the State.” And it is hard to come up with a reason to include the words “by the State” other than the purpose of limiting credits to state Exchanges. “[T]he plain, obvious, and rational meaning of a statute is always to be preferred to any curious, narrow, hidden sense that nothing but the exigency of a hard case and the ingenuity and study of an acute and powerful intellect would discover.” Lynch v. Alworth-Stephens Co., 267 U. S. 364, 370 (1925) (internal quotation marks omitted). Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.
Read the rest here.

How the War on Confederate Symbolism Contributes to Racial Tension

I'm thinking of offering a reward to the person who can trace the logical connection from the fact that there have been nine Black people killed in a South Carolina church by a crazed racist to the need for the removal of the Confederate flag from state capitols.

But even a very large reward would yield very little, since there really is no connection at all.

Amid all the news stories showing politicians striking Politically Correct poses for the cameras was one which captured the full significance of the debate over Confederate imagery: Warner Bros. has decided it will no longer sell toys and models of the car featured in the old Dukes of Hazzard television show (which the boys called "General Lee") which sported a Confederate flag on the roof.

We all know how many Black deaths resulted from people watching the Duke boys and going out on shooting sprees. Don't we?

Nobody is going to be hurt by the continued flying of the Confederate flag or statehouses and neither will they be helped. Not a single Black will be better off because Warner Bros. is discontinuing the use of the Confederate symbol--any more than eliminating Confederate imagery anywhere else will.

In fact, it does the exact opposite.

Giving in to demands to eliminate Confederate symbols not only does not help race relations, it hurts them. To continue to capitulate to what amount to political fashion statements devoid of any substance is to continue to feed racial tensions.

The groups that demand removal of the Confederate flag and the elimination of other Confederate symbols are groups that thrive on such tensions, which is why they aggravate them at every possible opportunity. They are a part of what George F. Will once called the "indignation industry." Racial grandstanders like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and groups such as the NAACP (a group which used to actually help Blacks) would literally go out of business if racial tensions diminished. Consequently they have to constantly be ginning up false crises and pointing to imaginary racism they say all Whites harbor.

The only people the war on Confederate imagery helps are those in whose interest it is for Blacks and Whites to be at each other's throats. For many of these people, racial harmony would be bad for business.

Which is why capitulating to demands to remove Confederate symbols does one thing and one thing only: It enables the very racial animosities which we all say we should get over.

We've eliminated actual racists who, with only a handful of irrelevant exceptions, don't even exist anymore, so what else is there to do than attack regional symbols while pretending that they are a threat? It keeps the cause alive—and the donations coming in.

The Confederate flag long ago ceased to be thought of as a racist symbol, leaving its only symbolism that of regional pride. Their civilization destroyed and its homes and cities burned, Southerners have always harbored a healthy distrust of the centralized political power that was one of the unintended consequences of the Civil War. The Confederate flag is now little more than a statement of rebellion against Washington, DC.

If you want to throw gasoline on the rebellious spirit of the people whose flag symbolizes the spirit of rebellion, go after the Confederate flag. If you've ever been to South Carolina, you'll know what I mean. These are, after all, the very people who started the Civil War in the first place.

Of course, if you set these people off, then they'll get mad. And if they get mad, then they'll start defending themselves. And if they start defending themselves, then that will be pointed to as evidence of continuing racism. And if people believe there is continuing racism, then racial tensions will be aggravated.

But then that was the whole point. Wasn't it?

The June Proscription List

The monthly Proscription List is out, containing, as it always does, the nine things Martin Cothran hateth this month--nay, there are ten:

  • Diet drinks
  • Psychological excuses for immoral acts (even my own (acts))
  • Any movie with Ben Stiller in it
  • Diet advice (particularly when it is uninvited)
  • Sincerity (when voiced by politicians)
  • Scientific explanations for moral acts (or any other voluntary acts for that matter)
  • The View
  • Dancing (when done without rules and an equally strict dress code)
  • "Whole grain" anything
  • Pretentious coffee drinks (the exception being Starbuck's flat white which, although extremely pretentious, I also happen to find very tasty and is therefore exempt from this list)

  • Stay tuned for next month's exciting list of things which you too should avoid.

    The Liberal Pose: Politics as Fashion Statement

    I swear, every time I leave town, the world falls apart. Sheeez. Okay. I'm back. Can we all calm down now and be reasonable?

    Just as I was leaving last week, I heard the news about the Church killings in Charleston. Now according to news reports, nine people in a Black church were killed by a crazed racist with a gun. But, after listening to the commentary on the incident, it has became apparent to me that there are some people who are under the impression that the parishioners of this Black church were killed, not with a gun, but with a Confederate flag, although I have yet to hear anyone explain exactly how Dylann Roof could have killed nine people with a large red and blue piece of cloth.

    If you trace the reasoning back from consequent to ground, it seems clear that these people believe that, had these flags not been available, these deaths would not have happened. And further deaths, this implicit logic would seem to suggest, will be prevented if we will remove these flags.

    Of course, this is just the usual routine we all have to go through every time there is a high profile crime committed in this country--particularly if it has anything to with race or gender (or purported gender).

    Every crime that is committed now must, if possible, be universalized and fitted into some pre-existing narrative framework of oppression--that of widespread racism, or anti-gay oppression, or latent hostility toward women. These are categories into which, if at all possible, we must fit every violent event.

    And not only must it fit into the narrative of oppression, it must be seen as a crisis. Any particular act is not just a particular act: It is always an instance of some larger conspiracy of Intolerance against the oppressed group of the week. If a White person performs an act of violence against a Black person it is never an isolated act (whereas if it is Black on White violence, it is, of course, an isolated incident).

    Liberals don't want good race relations. It is in their interest to fan racial tensions as often as possible. Black leaders like Al Sharpton can't have much to say about Rachel Dolezal, the head of the NAACP. While she is not in fact Black, she shares with Sharpton and his ilk the fact that she is a professional Black--someone who strikes the oppressed Black pose. They're in the same business.

    The criminals themselves love this. They know their cause will be front and center on the evening news. When Dylann Roof was shooting members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, he intentionally left one survivor, telling her that he wanted her to live because "we need someone to survive," presumably so she could tell others what happened.

    Liberal politicians love it too. They can line up at microphones and strike the liberal pose, pretending to be at the forefront of the War on Racism to which they attribute all the violence is our society.

    It's not difficult at all.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2015

    What libertarianism has in common with Marxism

    I have observed before that the difference between libertarians and traditional conservatives lies in the fact that libertarians see freedom as an end in itself, whereas conservatives see freedom as the means to the end of the common good.

    This is, by the way, why libertarianism militates toward pure democracy, something the founding fathers eschewed, while traditional conservatism naturally inclines toward republican forms of government like that of the United States. In this sense, libertarians are at odds with, rather than inclined toward American constitutionalism.

    As Aristotle points out in his Politics, each form of government has its unique aim. The aim of democracy is freedom. Republican forms of government, on the other hand, contain mixed aims, since a republic is a hybrid form of government.

    This is why I think you will see (as we already have) so-called "libertarian conservatives" supporting Internet voting and multi-day elections and other means of "democratizing" the election process. And the next time the electoral college becomes an issue, just watch libertarians—who talk a good game on the Constitution, but don't seem to know much about why it was written the way it was written—line up in support of changes to make it a purely popular election irrespective of the role of the states.

    The founders put all kinds of complicating factors into the system to balance it and keep it stable and to protect it from the destabilizing forces of pure democracy.

    In any case, since libertarians have largely appropriated the "conservative" label these days, it is probably useful also to point out one way in which libertarianism is similar to Marxism.

    Under Marx's "materialist dialectic," it is material factors that determine socio-political realities through socio-economic factors. In this sense Marxism is all about economics. Economics determine everything.

    Under traditionalist conservatism, non-materialist values have played at least as much, perhaps a larger role in the well-being of a society. This is why values issues have always loomed large in conservative political rhetoric—always, until recent years.

    For traditionalist conservatives, values matter, because they shape events more than material factors. But if you listen carefully to libertarian rhetoric, which now focuses almost exclusively on pocketbook issues, you will detect the implicit assumption that values don't matter (unless they are "market values," whatever that means). In fact, many so-called "moderate" Republicans say this outright: politics is exclusively about material issues.

    This is why libertarianism can be referred to simply as the "materialist right." It is the materialist right that, unlike traditionalist conservatism, has given up on the culture.

    Now as you listen to the campaign leading up to this next election, note the almost complete dependence of Republican rhetoric on economics—even among candidates who are ostensibly traditionalist conservatives.

    This is also why, by the way, the Republicans will lose again—because they have given up on the heart issues. Voters vote their hearts, not their pocket books. That is why Reagan won—and Obama (It's also why Obama won re-election—right in the teeth of an economic crisis).

    Just watch it happen again.

    Tuesday, June 09, 2015

    Greatness for Its Own Sake: What makes the Triple Crown different from any other athletic honor

    As a Kentuckian it is hard to avoid horse racing. And it was hard for anybody to avoid the news of this last weekend's Belmont Stakes, in which the Kentucky-bred horse American Pharoah became the first horse in thirty-seven years to win the Triple Crown, having also won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.

    What makes the Triple Crown different from any other sporting honor. Julia Yost has done about as well as I've seen anyone explain it:
    The lack of partisan fandom in racing has something to do with the brevity of its stars’ careers. No sooner have you heard of the three-year-olds that run in the Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont, than they retire to the stud farm. So those of us who wanted to see a Triple Crown this year did not want it because we had grown up cheering for Zayat Stables’ American Pharoah (who was born practically yesterday). We wanted, this year as every year, to behold athletic greatness for its own sake.
    Read the rest here.

    Why I would be less bothered by a new mosque in my community than a new state college

    The conservatives who are so worried about the threat of Islam should look a little closer to home for the real enemies.

    If you asked most conservatives to identify the greatest threat to America, they will inevitably point outside the United States, usually to ISIS. Undoubtedly ISIS is a threat, and could some day actually affect the U.S., which it doesn't seem to be able to do right now.

    And then there is always the lurking suspicion of Muslims in the United States who, almost without exception, mind their own business and don't bother anyone.

    It is hard to figure out why liberals are so indulgent toward Muslims. My theory is that it is easy for liberals to be magnanimous toward Muslims. Unlike Christians, there are not a lot of them. And because of their low representation in the population they don't affect the culture much. In the United States, they're pretty harmless.

    Christians are dangerous because they are still culturally influential. That's why Muslims are tolerated and Christians aren't.

    But this inordinate fear of Islam is rife among rank and file conservatives. How many times have you heard someone say they believe Obama is a Muslim? Every time I hear a friend say this my response is the same: "We would be a lot better off if Obama were a Muslim. Think about it: He would be pro-life, against gay 'marriage,' and impatient if not condemning of the mindless egalitarianism he and his liberal friends are using to destroy the culture. No Muslim would take the positions Obama takes on issues of cultural significance.

    And this brings me to my main point, which is this: We have a lot less to fear from Muslims from faraway places than we do from liberals right here at home.

    It isn't Muslims who are destroying American culture: It is liberals who are destroying American culture, which leads me to a corollary observation: The average conservative American has far more in common with the average Muslim than he does with the liberal anchor of the news program he watches every night, or with the liberal professor at the university down the road, or with the liberal bureaucrats who run our government, or with the drug-riddled, serially monogamous, animal rights activist celebrity who appears on his television set every night. 

    In fact, one uncomfortable fact we don't want to face is that many of the excuses used by radical Muslim groups to oppose the United States are perfectly valid. We hear all about how how Arab Muslims are upset with the United States because of our over-involvement in their internal affairs. But that is not the main reason America is hated overseas by so many people—Muslims and non-Muslims.

    When I hear people talk about "exporting democracy" to other countries, I just laugh. Is that really what we export to the world? Here's what we export to the world: pornography and rap music written by misogynist thugs. And then we give them lectures on how to treat women!

    If you are a person in a traditional community living in a foreign country and you saw the garbage America was sending into your country, how would you feel? The world—and the underdeveloped world in particular—has become the cultural trash dump for America.

    This is not a justification for the violence perpetrated on Americans. If Americans are killed, we should go after the perpetrators and destroy them. But it sure does make it a lot harder to occupy the moral high ground when you are giving these people legitimate reasons to stir people up.

    The only thing saving us from being hated worse than Isis is that Isis cuts peoples heads off and enslaves women and doesn't apologize for it. Fortunately most people think that's worse than self-righteous Americans who simply corrupt their culture and pretend they're doing them a favor.

    I mentioned to a friend the other day, after having seen a very large new mosque just outside of Toledo, Ohio, that I would be less bothered by a new mosque moving into my town than by a new state college. Even if the mosque contained Islamic radicals, it could not come close to matching the cultural destruction perpetrated by the class of people occupying academia who seem determined to destroy the very beliefs, traditions and customs that have always held our society together.

    I'm less concerned about what Hillary Clinton let Al Qaeda radicals do to Americans in Libya than I am about what Hillary Clinton would do to America from the Oval Office.

    Go watch a Muslim wearing a burkha, bowing down and peacefully saying his morning prayers. Then go watch a man in a gay pride parade, in dark leather and metal spikes (before the police crack down on him for public lewdness). And then ask which thing bodes most ill for American culture.

    Are you more disturbed to know someone is shouting "Allah Akbar" 5,500 miles away, or someone saying "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western culture's got to go!" a half an hour down the road?

    The barbarians aren't at the gate. They're inside the gate pretending to manage the defenses.

    Monday, June 08, 2015

    College campuses too PC for ... Jerry Seinfeld?

    Why Elizabeth Warren never made the cover of Vanity Fair

    Does anyone remember when Elizabeth Warren claimed to be a native American? It was a claim she was expected to back up—not only by her conservative, but by her liberal critics—and couldn't. All she could produce was a rumor that she might be 1/32 Cherokee.

    Now we have Bruce Jenner claiming something much more biologically significant that what Warner claimed and yet he is not expected to back it up at all. There is no proof Jenner is even 1/32 female. But it doesn't seem to matter.

    Why in one case (the racial makeup of a person) is evidence expected and yet in another (the gender of a person) evidence is not only not expected, but considered completely irrelevant?

    We live in a culture that is so science obsessed that if you use the expression "A scientific study has found ..." you are almost guaranteed a serious hearing. We are told on an almost daily basis that everything about us, from our appearance to our psychological states—including our ostensibly free will decisions—are biologically determined.

    Everything is biologically determined. Everything—except one thing: gender.

    How in this science-worshiping culture can you say basically anything you want to about gender—anything (other than that it has some kind of verifiable, biological basis) and no one checks your credentials at the door?

    Funny how that works.

    Saturday, June 06, 2015

    Bruce Jenner and the Emotive Theory of Gender

    If you tried your hardest you could not make up the farcical drama we have seen played out on the national stage over the last two weeks in regard to Bruce Jenner (now calling himself "Caitlyn"), who has convinced a credulous national media that he has been able to change his sex by the simple expedient of a little cosmetic surgery and the donning of a corset for a national magazine.

    The whole XY chromosome thing that we were all told in high school science class was the way to determine gender in human beings is now a victim of political fashion. Now, in a move hard to justify as an actual scientific improvement, gender is determined by feelings.

    You are a man if you feel you are a man. You are a woman if you feel you are a woman. The actual biology is now incidental. Let's call it the "Emotive Theory" of gender determination, on contrast to the "Biological Theory" of gender. And of course the move to the Emotive Theory doesn't clarify anything; in fact, it makes things a lot more confusing, partly because, unlike the Biological Theory, where there are hard and fast rules, under the Emotional Theory of gender determination, anything goes.

    One chapter in the historical chronicles of the early 21st century will be about why, in a time when science is worshiped with more reverence than any god, scientific principles got thrown to the wind when it came to anything having to do with sex.

    It wasn't too long ago that Paul Gross and Normal Levitt could write a book like Higher Superstitions: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science, about the political distortions of even basic science. It was greeted with accolades by the hard-nosed scientific community at the time. Today the academic and popular left has become so predominant in academia and the media that Gross and Levitt would be thought old-fashioned, and scientists expected to tow the party line.

    In 1996 Alan Sokol took the criticism of postmodernist thought to new and hilarious heights when he wrote a paper filled with deliberate nonsense and submitted to Social Text, a prominent postmodernist academic journal. The editors published it, making themselves a laughing stock among their academic colleagues and attracting the derision even of the public that had never heard of Social Text.

    Again, here we are in 2015 living in a time when what Sokal wrote in his paper is no more nonsensical than what you hear on E! television, or the View, or CNN. The heights of nonsense have been scaled and conquered.

    Some day history is going have a good laugh at the expense of our generation, which has managed to confuse itself so badly about gender that it has literally rendered itself incapable of making sense of the common, everyday world. And not only that but they are even more confused about the reality they have created for themselves.

    Their ideology makes them scratch their head about the world, so they create another one for their own political convenience that ends up making them scratch their heads even harder.

    I would say that the Emotive Theory of Gender awaits its Alan Sokal, but in reality I don't think there is anything more nonsensical than what the media feeds us on a daily basis. You could try to make up something more ludicrous than what we are now seeing with the Bruce Jenner story, but you just wouldn't be able to do it.

    Not only are the doctrines of the Emotive Theory nonsensical in themselves, but they blatantly contradict themselves.

    How many times have we been told that our distinctions between the masculine and feminine are arbitrary and socially constructed. But right on the tails of that lecture, we watch Anderson Cooper's interview last week with Buzz Bissinger, where he solemnly asks,
    AC: You've spent hundreds of hours with Bruce Jenner, a lot of time with Kaitlyn, are they different? Do they seem different? You know obviously their appearance obviously ... 
    Buzz: Yes they're very different, very different in appearance obviously. 
    And they blather on about this, making no sense at all, going so far as to refer to the "soul of Bruce" being replaced by the "soul of Caitlyn."  It's amazing what reconstructive surgery can do nowadays.

    For one thing, how can Bruce become a woman if he has already been one from the beginning, which is what he claims? If he is simply bringing his body into alignment with his soul, then why are we all gushing about him "becoming" Caitlyn and the "soul of Bruce" leaving (and by the way, were exactly did it go?), and the "soul of Caitlyn" inhabiting this highly trafficked body?

    And for another, are there now really two Jenner selves--one inhabiting the body before the transformation and another entering it and taking over after the transformation? And when did this transformation occur? When he started taking estrogen? When he shaved his legs? When he put on the corset? Is the seat of the soul now the breasts, of which Bruce got a brand new and significantly larger set?

    What happened to masculinity and femininity being arbitrary social constructs? If they are arbitrary and don't reflect reality then how can Bruce be said to be different from Caitlyn?

    We now live in a society that believes that men and women are not fundamentally different from one another unless they have been first switched through reconstructive surgery.

    You just can't make this stuff up.

    Thursday, June 04, 2015

    CNN's Chris Cuomo criticizes Fox's Duggar interview, in denial about Bruce Jenner's deadbeat dad past

    CNN's Chris Cuomo criticizes Fox's Duggar interview for being a "conversation among friends." That's nothin'. He should check out his own network's treatment of deadbeat dad Bruce Jenner, who hurt his children far worse--and while they were wide awake, no less.

    In fact, the double standards and self-righteousness have reached fever pitch at CNN over the Duggar interview. Armies of psychologists have been enlisted in the campaign to lecture the Duggars about whether they did enough to protect their daughters from a brother who groped them in their sleep (as opposed to humiliating them fully conscious before the public, which is what CNN has done).

    We have yet to hear words of advice and reproval about what Bruce Jenner did to his children, who, by the way, are still dealing with what he did to them--as opposed to the Duggar children, who are over what Josh did to them and are now dealing with what CNN is doing to them.

    Where are the calls, like those CNN has been issuing for the Duggars, for Bruce to undergo treatment to come fully to terms with his deadbeat past (not to mention is self-indulgent present)?

    No. They are too busy rubbing the noses of the victims in what their brother did to them.

    These people are a menace to society.

    Is Morality Declining in America? Most Americans Think So

    A new survey has found that a majority of Americans think America is morally declining:

    'In the poll, taken in early May, 72 percent of respondents said that “the state of moral values” in America is “getting worse.” Only 22 percent said it is “getting better.”'

    That's good news and bad news.

    The bad news is that the majority of Americans are right about the decline in morality. The good news is that they still have enough sense of morality to know that it's declining.

    As I pointed out in my essay earlier this year in Canon and Culture, it's the point at which you start feeling warm that is the signal you are about to freeze to death. At least Americans are still moral enough to realize how threatened their morality is.

    Wednesday, June 03, 2015

    CNN lectures Duggars, excuses Jenner's abandonment of his children

    The children Bruce Jenner abandoned when they were young.
    So on CNN tonight, multiple psychological professionals joined Don Lemon to wag their fingers at the Duggar family and give them preachy sermons on being self-righteous, all apparently unaware of how self-righteous they looked doing it, as well as lecturing them on how they could have been better parents.

    Several of these "professionals" on the program suggested that the entire family--Josh and the sisters he victimized when he was a minor (who have been victimized even worse by CNN publicizing what happened to them despite the fact that their records were supposed to be sealed--all of whom just want to be left alone, get treatment.

    Meanwhile, back at Kaitlyn Jenner Central, amidst the blanket adulation of Kaitlyn Jenner--who abandoned his four children and refused to pay child support for ten years when he was an adult, and who is now free of his third wife--no moralistic lectures have been administered about all the things he could have done to be a better father and husband and no treatment has been suggested concerning his confused belief that he is really a woman and how this is connected with this selfish life leading up to now.

    Funny how these things work.

    Tuesday, June 02, 2015

    All Together Now: Let's all pretend that the whole Bruce Jenner affair makes perfect sense

    I have a longer post going up in the next day or two about the whole Bruce Jenner affair, but what has been so surprising about the whole surreal moral meltdown it represents is how so-called "conservatives," having laid aside whatever critical faculties they had (and, let's face it, it does vary), have surrendered to the mindless nonsense of postmodern gender ideology.

    When Jenner came out and announced that he was morphing into a woman, I expected the Anderson Coopers and Rachel Maddows of the world to sing their hosannahs, but last night on Fox News, it was a veritable love-fest in response to the Vanity Fair cover showing Jenner, newly-dubbed "Kaitlyn," in a corset.

    First off there was Meghan Kelly, who, having just finished bragging about how firmly she was going to deal with the Duggars because, you know, that's just the way she is with everyone, couldn't contain her admiration for Jenner.

    Then, just about 30 minutes later, Kelly appeared on Bill O'Reilly's show, where Bill asked her what she thought about Jenner's supposed gender change. But the patented Meghan Kelly tough girl act she likes to brag about was nowhere to be seen. "I give him a lot of credit," said Kelly. "I think he's courageous."


    I'm trying to imagine all the suffering and embarrassment that must be involved in being featured in a glowing cover story in a major pop culture magazine and having virtually everyone in the media, whatever their politics, fawning, if not outright salivating, all over you.

    Courageous? Really?

    Of course, there are some of us out there (called "males," a term used for humans with XY chromosomes before this system of gender determination became politically unpopular) who actually would be embarrassed to appear in a corset--on a magazine cover or anywhere else. But we are hard to find now, except at Nascar tracks and bowling alleys.

    At what point is this absurd "courage" meme going to be seen for what it is? When will we acknowledge that when gays or people who claim to be transgender "come out," it isn't to angry crowds, but to a sycophantic popular media?

    How long do we have to keep pretending that gays are really persecuted?

    But O'Reilly's response to Kelly's silly remarks was even more interesting. I mean, surely Bill, the impresario of the "No Spin Zone," would press Kelly on such a blitheringly nonsensical statement. Even O'Reilly--Bill the tough guy--caved without a fight. "Well, people can do what they want," he said. "This is America and nobody should comment on it."

    In other words, don't dare question the fact that a person can change his gender through the power of sheer emotion with a little assistance from a cosmetic surgeon. Don't even think about it.

    Thank you Fox News, for the advice. You just go on pretending this all makes sense while a few of the rest of us who think feelings can't change the nature of reality practice a little common sense.

    In fact, surprisingly, the most sensible coverage of the issue came on some CNN show (the one on late that features the male and female co-anchors with the British accents), who interviewed a transgender man critical of the whole Jenner affair, who pointed out (and you can only say this if you are transgender) that you can't change your gender.

    But back on Fox News is was all postmodern fluff.


    The Latin oration at this year's Harvard Commencement

    Monday, June 01, 2015

    How Rand Paul is playing his GOP enemies like a fiddle

    Rand Paul is playing his GOP establishment enemies like a fiddle. It's actually fun to watch: Rand sets the trap, which consists of some clever political stunt to try to get valuable media attention, and the knuckleheads in the establishment fall right into it.

    Every time.

    Paul's latest escapade was his filibuster of the Patriot Act, under which, in the name of counter-terrorism, the government is allowed to spy on you. The result? More valuable airtime for a politician who has already become a media magnet. There is simply no other politician in either party who is able to get the media attention Paul gets. I have no concrete evidence of this, but I would be willing to bet that Paul gets more media time then all the other Republican presidential contenders combined.

    And Paul doesn't suffer from media scrutiny. In practically every minute of camera time he gets, he sounds lucid, cogent, and well-informed. You may disagree with him, but you've got to admire the cleverness with which he is able to garner this kind of attention.

    But, you ask, is it good attention? Isn't a lot of the attention Paul gets negative? And isn't this bad? Well, that's certainly what the establishment thinks. But, quite frankly, the establishment is stupid.

    This is the establishment that successfully pushes for an establishment candidate to win the Republican nomination every presidential election and which, having gotten shellacked, then blames the very people who pointed out that if the establishment nominated an establishment candidate it would get shellacked.

    It happens every time.

    Now this establishment has convinced itself that Paul is risking his political credibility by going up against it. The Sunday news shows this last weekend featured a parade of grim Republican analysts, each wagging his finger at Paul for his transgressions against Republican orthodoxy and proclaiming that Paul was politically immolating himself in plain daylight.

    It really makes you marvel that there are people who are this politically tone-deaf.

    The establishment is clueless about the fact that getting the establishment to oppose you is a good thing, not a bad thing. The establishment, being an establishment, is blind to its own unpopularity. The only people who get excited about the Republican Party establishment is the Republican Party establishment. No one else is impressed with them except themselves.

    If you took a survey, the "Republican Party establishment" would rank somewhere between termites and stray dogs on the scale of popularity.

    MEMO TO THE REPUBLICAN ESTABLISHMENT: Yo, Establishment, are you complete idiots? Do you not get the fact that Rand Paul wants you to oppose him? Do you not realize that every time you get up on the Senate floor or on Fox News and condemn him you not only put his name in front of the public once again, but make him more attractive to voters, not less?

    Every time these people run Paul down on some news show or in some floor speech, Paul's campaign officials are high fiving back at campaign headquarters. Every time Charles Krauthammer or Brit Hume predicts that Paul is cutting his political throat by going questioning some establishment shibboleth, his campaign staff pops another champagne cork.

    There are depths of political imbecility that have yet to be plumbed, but few have delved as deeply as the people running the national Republican Party.

    T. S. Eliot and the Politics of the Permanent Things

    From "The Permanent Things of T. S. Eliot's Politics" at The Imaginative Conservative:
    The expectation of change, in the twentieth century, has been greater than the expectation of continuity, nearly everywhere. And the permanent things, as Eliot called them—those enduring truths and ways of life and standards of order—are awash in the flood of sensual appetite and ideological passion. As Eliot expressed this phenomenon of decadence, referring to standards of education, in his book Notes towards the Definition of Culture, we are “destroying our ancient edifices to make ready the ground upon which the barbarian nomads of the future will encamp in their mechanized caravans.” 
    Read more here.