Great America

Woke Neurosurgery?

Yes, even American medical education is being fundamentally transformed by left-wing nostrums of identity politics.

As a general surgery intern rotating through the university hospital neurosurgery service, I was immersed in learning all day and frequently all night. There was so much to learn, and my Socratic chief resident often reminded me, “that’s why the program is so long.” Six years after medical school for a neurosurgery residency, actually, and that’s not counting any additional subspecialty fellowship, which tacks on another year or two.

But now doctors in training are getting crash courses in the insistent mandates of identity politics. At the crucial stage of their long training when bedside and operating room experience is paramount, doctors are now being told what their new priorities should be—to heal society, not just individuals, and to prepare for their part in the progressive racial justice project. 

Does anyone believe that turning medical schools into woke madrassas will not come at the expense of expertise in taking care of the sick and injured?

Consider a young neurosurgeon in training at Harvard who recently charged in a Forbes article that U.S. medical schools don’t meet minimum standards for “racial justice.” The author cites as her “racial justice” creds a concurrent research fellowship at Harvard’s Program in Global Surgery and Social Change and being founder and co-president of something called the Gender Equity Initiative in Global Surgery.

In years past, neurosurgery residents took so seriously the mastery of brain surgery that they disappeared into that work for six years, typically at the expense of everything else—including family life. Few even stayed current with the daily news, to say nothing of an ongoing personal commitment to political activism. Such distractions were simply unthinkable.

It’s even worse at the Medical College of Wisconsin. The college’s ominously named Kern Institute for the Transformation of Medical Education aims to compel students, in the words of institute director Adina Kalet, M.D., MPH, to “fac[e] . . . ‘white fragility’ to describe the disbelieving defensiveness that white people exhibit particularly when they feel implicated in white supremacy.”

Another institute staffer rhetorically asks, “how might I help to dismantle and rebuild our [school’s] accommodations and remediation systems so that they favor equity over the bias-ridden concept of ‘fairness’?” and urges a “willingness as a community to engage in conversations about structural and interpersonal racism, hostile environments, and microaggressions without being concerned about the emotional fragility or anger of those with power and control.”

An apparent prerequisite for admission to the Medical College of Wisconsin is a readiness to take part in the public self-abasement rituals of white liberal guilt. And so we have the spectacle of a second-year medical student confessing in the college newsletter “I am white and I have been complacent . . . I recall times I failed to address systemic racism. I would like to acknowledge my cowardice in this . . . .”

These confessionals are disquietingly reminiscent of the “struggle sessions” in which young people under Chinese Communist Party chairman Mao Zedong’s rule labored to outdo each other in group displays of self-denigration. The expectation is a full confession of dark, private feelings, and it’s hard to escape the conclusion that the goal is the same as it was for the youthful raging Red Guards—to destroy individuality and force unquestioning conformity to the party line.

Most medical schools now boast a dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion whose job is to advance the broad and often ambiguous agenda of racial and gender politics. These professional identity group mediators vigorously prosecute affirmative action despite its decades-long history of failure in higher education and despite its illegality in several states.

It is long past time for taxpayers, alumni, and legislators to stop the politicization of our medical schools, if not to preserve American ideals of equality and liberty, then to avert the certain sabotage of quality of the nation’s doctors. 

Precious curriculum time properly spent shouldering the enormous responsibility of taking care of sick folks is being hijacked to train young doctors in the ugly tenets of identity politics. A woke neurosurgeon may not have the best surgical outcomes, but he will be able to lecture you authoritatively on your white privilege.

Great America

Second Chances’ Criminal Justice Initiative Is Radical and Dangerous

A George Soros-backed group is trying to Californiacate Arizona with a dangerous new criminal justice initiative.

At a time when our country is witnessing unprecedented social upheaval and the undermining of the rule of law, the last thing Arizona needs is a liberal group from California funded by George Soros infiltrating our state to rewrite our criminal justice laws.

Yet that is exactly what the “Second Chances” initiative would do if passed in November. Unlike other sensible criminal justice reform efforts, this jail-break initiative would gut much-needed protections to stop the release of dangerous predators into our neighborhoods and eliminate essential reporting and transparency requirements used to track criminal trends in the state.

Over the last several years the Free Enterprise Club has been a strong advocate for reasonable criminal justice reform efforts, including measured expansions of earned release credits for non-violent felons, requiring a criminal conviction in civil asset forfeiture cases, and ensuring individuals with a record can obtain any required licenses for employment. 

Many of these common-sense reforms were opposed by the very liberal groups now pushing this initiative, leaving one to question whether their commitment to criminal justice reform is more about politics than good public policy.

Soros Initiative Goes Too Far, Too Fast

When it comes to improving the experience of diving into the criminal justice pool, going in one toe at a time makes the most sense. Every tweak has consequences intended and unintended. Unlike many other areas of policy, those consequences can leave literal carnage in their wake. “Second Chances” dives head-first.

 For example, the initiative significantly expands the state’s Earned Release Credits (ERC) program by allowing for as much as a 50 percent reduction in an inmate’s sentence as well as making more felons eligible for the program.

Which criminals would benefit from the new ERC program? Felons who defrauded an elderly couple out of their life savings, con artists engaging in extortion, and anyone convicted of selling fentanyl-laced drugs to minors. Also, violent offenses that are pleaded down to non-violent offenses would be eligible as well. There is no exception or consideration for persons serving for non-violent offenses who are a part of a “security threat group”—i.e. gang members—from being released early. 

And perhaps worst of all, while the current law does not allow inmates who were previously convicted of a violent or aggravated felony to be eligible for early release, “Second Chances” eliminates that exception. Someone who is serving for a current drug offense, even if they previously served 25 years for 2nd degree murder, would be treated the same as the person who does not have a violent record under this proposed legislation. 

The backers of the measure clearly are worried that their initiative will lead to more crime. What else could explain why they purposefully removed the reporting requirements by the Department of Corrections designed to collect meaningful data on any earned release credit program? This intentional shift to remove transparency and accountability is a way to cover their tracks and dodge blame for creating more victims.

Further, the initiative makes sweeping changes to the state’s mandatory sentencing system, eliminating the ability to charge repeat offenders (such as someone who burglarizes 10 homes) more severely than someone who commits just one offense. Giving judges complete discretion to deviate from sentencing guidelines will lead to a wide spectrum of arbitrary sentences for the same offenses.

Initiative is Being Pushed by the Liberal Tides Network

So, who could possibly want to take a wrecking ball to Arizona’s criminal justice system? The answer is liberal Silicon Valley residents who do not have to live in our neighborhoods once the prison doors swing wide open. “Second Chances” is being bankrolled by Tides Advocacy, an arm of the Tides nexus that is funded by leftist billionaire George Soros.

It isn’t enough that Tides has destroyed their own state. Now they want to move next door.

In 2014, these same groups pushed Proposition 47 in California, which significantly lowered penalties for several criminal offenses. Since then, property crimes and drug offenses have gone through the roof, adding to an already serious homelessness problem. Fraudsters and organized theft rings are migrating to the state, confident that their criminal activity is unlikely to be charged by county district attorneys.

A coordinated jail break is only the start of this kind of madness.

Criminal Justice Should Never be Done at the Ballot Box

The area of criminal justice reform is too complex and the effects too severe to be decided on the level of initiative at the ballot box. This should resonate all the more given our inability to change voter-approved laws due to the Voter Protection Act. The drafters of “Second Chances” included language to make it clear that the legislature may only expand the generous benefits provided to convicted felons—they are not allowed to roll them back.

Backers are sure to spend a lot of time talking about the “Victim and First Responder” fund that is set up by transferring money from revenues from medicinal marijuana under this measure. Which is fitting because the initiative is sure to lead to a lot more victims.

Ultimately, Arizonans would be wise to not invite more chaos into our state. “Second Chances, Rehabilitation, and Public Safety Act” is not about justice and it is not about compassion. It will damage public safety, harm victims and is a tool being used by the Left to further promote their agenda. 

Great America

The Way to Prosperity Has Many Paths

Prosperity means different things to different people. Its importance is determined by not just geography but also popular culture.

PROSPERITY, Pennsylvania―How this little village earned its name is rooted in an old tale featuring a common last name, one-in-a-million odds and a likely exaggeration about how many settlers were attracted to the middle of the frontier.

“It was founded in 1848 by a gentleman named Robert Wallace,” explains Clay Kilgore, executive director of the Washington County Historical Society. “When he got the tract of land, he built a house on one of the lots he had laid out and then began selling more lots. It was not exactly the most favorable location for a town. There were a few Native American trails that went down by it, but not to it.”

“He really played it up as a sound place for people to kind of make a good living, and the opportunity was there for the taking,” Kilgore continues. “The idea was he was going to call it Wallaceton. When he sent his application in for a post office, he boasted how many lots were being sold so quickly.”

Kilgore is skeptical it was as robust as Wallace’s application read.

He says: “So, the story goes the government came back and told him there was already a Wallaceton in Pennsylvania, so they could not give him that name. But because if, as he said, the lots were being sold so quickly and settlers are coming in as fast as he reported, their suggestion was he call it Prosperity.”

And, supposedly, that’s how Prosperity got its name.

Not much has changed in Prosperity since the 1860s. It has about the same amount of homes, the same amount of people and the same amount of stores. As Kilgore explained, it doesn’t suffer from the highs and lows of cities and other towns, because it’s never had an economic burst to fall down from.

The post office Wallace coveted still stands. It does not bear his name, as he so hoped for, but the name Prosperity is just below the “United States Post Office” sign. It is an ancient and charming building, where postmasters have served long careers behind the service window and where the brass post office boxes still greet the locals picking up their mail.

Just across Prosperity Pike is Marie Phillips’ home, an expansive farmhouse with a broad, latticed front porch, a side porch, shutters on each window and a neatly cared-for front yard. Earlier this year, a local newspaper wrote about the fanciful collection of gnomes in her garden. The 90-year-old lifetime resident said she sits most of the time in the back, enjoying the rolling pastures of farmland.

Her late husband was the town’s postmaster for years.

“It’s just a nice little town. Not much has changed. We all got along well here when I was a child, and that continued when I married and had my own children,” Phillips explained. “We just did most everything any little town would do and really never felt we wanted for anything that wasn’t right in front of us. We played in our yards. The community had parades. And we went to church.”

It remains unknown whether Phillips’ parents understood how rapidly the world was changing in the months leading up to their daughter’s birth here in November 1929. On Jan. 13 that year, frontiersman Wyatt Earp died. Two days later, Martin Luther King Jr. was born. Earp was a famed lawman and illustrious gunfighter, and King obviously grew up to become a civil rights legend.

That was also the year Herbert Hoover was inaugurated; Babe Ruth hit his 500th home run, the first Academy Awards ceremony was held; Vatican City became an independent sovereignty; Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis was born; and the stock market crashed, spiraling the country into the worst economic downturn in history that would last until Phillips was 10.

Nothing was left unmoored. Our culture was on fire. Civic values were shifting. And the world’s economy had just collapsed―all before Phillips was born in this tiny village on the edge of Washington County.

Prosperity means different things to different people. Its importance is determined by not just geography but also popular culture. Is there a trade-off if individuals decide on society’s newest measure of success? Sure. But no one decision on how you, as an individual, measure prosperity is right or wrong.

For some, that pursuit of good fortune means the ability to provide themselves and their family shelter and food; a decent education, the dignity of a good job; access to health care; a place to practice your faith; and having all of your family near you.

For others, that satisfaction means a path to power; a demanding career and the lucrative bonuses that come with it; the ability to purchase what you want when you want it; a social media profile that influences popular culture; and living in the biggest house in the best neighborhood.

Neither is right or wrong. But you have to wonder: If the town of Prosperity were founded today, would it have to look like the latter to be granted that name, or would we still have enough room in our culture to accept all kinds of prosperity?


Great America

Wicked Whitmer vs. the Enchanted Land of Self-Government

What is self-government if it isn’t banding together to oppose the Whitmers of the world?

More than once, I’ve heard professors at Hillsdale College remark that the most dangerous words you can say to the government are “leave me alone.” Governor Gretchen Whitmer seems hellbent on proving the truth of this maxim.

Hillsdale, a small liberal arts school in the rural Michigan town from which it borrows its name, has a long history of standing alone. It is one of only a few institutions of higher education in the United States that refuses to take federal or state money—including money in the form of government-backed student loans. Hillsdale eschews federal dollars to avoid the regulatory strings that come along with them, like diversity reporting requirements. The difference is made up through private donations. 

And Hillsdale has a proud history of bravely defending freedom. During the Civil War, no college in the west saw a higher percentage of students enlist in the Union Army. This past Saturday that tradition of courage continued as Hillsdale College distinguished itself yet again as the only Michigan college or university to have an in-person graduation since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The move to hold in-person commencement ceremonies came over the objections of Whitmer and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who released a statement calling the proceedings illegal, a violation of the governor’s executive order forbidding gatherings of more than 100 people. 

Despite the administration’s objections on grounds of public health, Hillsdale’s commencement was perhaps one of the safest and healthiest places to be during a pandemic, short of an isolation tank. The school consulted four epidemiologists to devise a plan of action. They installed advanced filtration systems in buildings. They held the ceremony on the football field, spacing out chairs and putting stickers on the bleachers so that grads and guests alike would be six feet apart. They screened temperatures prior to entry.

None of this satisfied Whitmer, though she herself recently was photographed breaking social distancing measures in order to walk arm-in-arm with Black Lives Matter protesters. Nor did it please a functionary from the local department of health, who circulated an email detailing that “the Health Department would not endorse or state in any way that this event was acceptable”—the answer to a question likely never asked.

What Whitmer and America’s never-ending complex of bureaucrats and busybodies consistently miss is that Americans are supposed to be a self-governing people. Given reliable information, we can operate sensibly without their diktats. Hillsdale College did not conduct a deep scrub its campus and keep visitors socially distanced because of Whitmer’s insights or orders. They did these things because its administrators used their own faculties of reason to find a way to continue a time-honored ritual in the safest way possible under unique circumstances. They weighed all things in the balance and came to a reasonable resolution.

In so doing, they highlighted the arbitrary nature of Whitmer’s edicts. Why did Whitmer argue—apparently without evidence—that protests against her draconian executive orders back in May caused the virus to spread, only to proceed to participate in a Black Lives Matter protest less than a month later? Why should it matter how many people are in an open-air venue so long as they are appropriately distanced?

This is not to say that all critics of Whitmer’s overreach were satisfied with Hillsdale’s approach. One friend who is a Hillsdale student pointed out the dystopian vibe of the modified ceremony. Replete with students eerily spaced out, giant monitors overlooking the stage, and—I kid you not—a choreographed drone show to close the night, he said it reminded him of Apple’s famous “1984” commercial. 

Another former student said that Hillsdale’s sanitation measures—and the legal argument advanced by the school’s attorneys that the ceremony was actually in compliance with the governor’s order because the order contains language excusing first amendment exercises—represented capitulation to the scientism gripping the nation. 

Better to just go on as normal, he figures.

Unfortunately, there can be no “normal” until we wrest our liberties back from the clutches of people like Whitmer. Hillsdale may have tried to thread the needle a bit, but nevertheless they had the courage to go forward with an event deemed illegal by people with the power to make things difficult for them. This was no small act of courage. Whitmer had signaled her hopes that local law enforcement would break up the event, and she certainly could have dispatched state police. Hillsdale College knew these things and went on with the show anyhow.

Were the sanitary measures excessive? The answer to this question is essentially an article of religious conviction at this point. Depending on who you ask, wearing a mask is an effective method of curbing communicable diseases or an exercise in ritual humiliation. The real question is not whether such things are necessary, it’s whether we are capable of self-government regardless.

In an unfortunate coda, the department of health that refused to “endorse” Hillsdale’s graduation sent inspectors to issue warnings to several local businesses the day before the ceremony. The businesses were threatened with fines or even closure if they did not do a better job of enforcing Whitmer’s order requiring the wearing of masks.

Hillsdale’s mayor, Adam Stockford, said he called the department of health and an official denied that the warnings were in retaliation for the graduation. It’s not hard to see why someone might think otherwise—most of the businesses in question are restaurants frequented by college students. 

Stockford, who is currently waging an insurgent campaign for state representative against a moneyed establishment darling who relocated from outside of the district, was one of Michigan’s first mayors to push back against Whitmer’s orders, signaling that he would offer whatever support possible to businesses that unlawfully reopened, and endorsing a citizen-sponsored Fourth of July parade when the official event was canceled.

He did not mince words when I asked him for his thoughts on this latest overreach. “Governor Whitmer and her party scoff at the idea that people can govern themselves,” Stockford said. “She has buried the people of Michigan under more than 150 executive orders since this began. People should not be afraid of fines, imprisonment, or financial ruin if a health inspector shows up and sees someone without a mask. That is happening here in Hillsdale, and that is administrative tyranny, plain and simple.”

At a quickly assembled community meeting on the following day, Stockford, administrators from the college, and about 50 town citizens discussed strategies for countering the invasion by health inspectors, including flooding threatened establishments with business and coming together to raise legal defense funds. As I write, a Facebook video of the event has almost 1,000 views, no mean feat for a city whose population numbers 8,000. My friend Lance Lashaway, a farmer and small business owner active in local politics, told me that he could feel the mood turn as the event went on. 

“People came in afraid,” Lashaway said, “but by the end of the meeting those feelings had been replaced with a sense of community and empowerment.”

And after all, what is self-government if it isn’t banding together to oppose the Whitmers of the world? 

Great America

Former CIA Officer: Terrorists Will Learn From COVID And So Must We

It would be irrational to assume that terrorists will not attempt to duplicate the results they have observed during the current crisis. If we are to prevent such threats, we must learn as well.

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the media warned breathlessly of “chatter” that terrorists—domestic and international—were planning to exploit and spread the virus. So far no such plots have developed, but a former CIA officer warns that the lessons terrorists have learned from the inept and politicized response to the pandemic, if exploited, may be more dangerous to us than terrorist use of the virus itself.

In his chapter for a new book published by the Center for Security Policy, Defending Against BioThreats: What We Can Learn from the Coronavirus Pandemic to Enhance U.S. Defenses Against Pandemics and Biological Weapons, Charles Faddis argues that the pandemic has exposed several weaknesses likely to be exploited in the future by terrorists planning bio-terror attacks.

Establishing a serious bioweapons program has long been a goal of international terror groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, although both groups have made attempts with minimal success. In 2009, an al-Qaeda cell in Algeria reportedly was wiped out by bubonic plague in a bioweapons project that went badly for the jihadist group. In 2014, an ISIS laptop captured in Syria revealed proposals surrounding bioweapons, including a fatwa authorizing the use of weapons of mass destruction. 

One important lesson terrorists are likely to learn from COVID? The demonstrably weak security of biolabs. As Faddis illustrates, the failure at the Wuhan laboratory, from where COVID-19 is believed to have escaped, is the rule rather than the exception. Poor security is likely to make stealing, rather than developing, a bioweapon the preferred method of future terrorist efforts. 

Faddis writes: 

Control over dangerous organisms communicable to humans was tenuous at best.  If an organism can escape from a biolab without assistance due to poor practices and shortage in trained personnel and equipment, it also could be stolen. The need for the establishment of an independent bioweapons program by a terrorist group is eliminated if dangerous pathogens can simply be taken.

But the COVID-19 outbreak also shows what can be done with naturally occurring organisms released and spread by normal human to human contact.

As a result, terrorists are likely to realize they have wasted time and effort emphasizing research on weaponizing organisms, when simply spreading a naturally occurring disease through what Faddis calls “biological martyrs,” may be sufficient to cause worldwide disruption. That is particularly true if major air travel and borders remain open due to political reasons, as was the case between Iran and China, and would have been true in the United States as well if President Trump had not taken swift action to close the border despite pressure not to. 

The lockdowns and social and political unrest related to the COVID-19 pandemic also make clear that terrorists can achieve significant aims even without the risks and higher security surrounding access to pathogens with high lethality rates. For al-Qaeda in particular, economic devastation has often been as motivating as mass casualties in determining their target priorities.

Much needs to be done to improve U.S. biodefense to combat this threat, particularly when it comes to international cooperation.

Part of the problem, Faddis says, is that for the United States, and many other countries, early detection of pandemics is premised on international cooperation among scientists and policymakers. But the obstructive role played by China and—at Chinese insistence—the World Health Organization (WHO) during the COVID-19 crisis raises serious questions about how we prepare for future pandemics. 

As Faddis notes, previous tabletop exercises used by government officials to prepare to control pandemics have assumed all parties are willing and cooperative participants. They rarely consider the possibility that there may be deliberate efforts to spread the disease either by terrorists, or by a state sponsor. In retrospect, that assumption is a disastrous one. He writes,

Encouraging cooperation and information sharing is essential. We dare not, though, rely upon the good graces of hostile regimes for our survival. We should have had blanket intelligence coverage of the biolabs in Wuhan and known about any issues in security or safety in real time. We must do whatever is necessary to ensure that we have that kind of coverage of labs from which future pandemics may emanate.

Another example where competition rather than cooperation rules during a pandemic is in the acquisition of personal protective equipment (PPE). While the United States had programs intended to stockpile PPE for pandemic threats, those stockpiles were substantially depleted under the Obama Administration and had not been restocked. 

When the pandemic hit, the United States found itself competing with other nations to acquire the necessary gear. This was complicated by covert Chinese efforts to buy up PPE as well as multiple cases of Chinese companies distributing defective or mislabeled equipment. Faddis emphasizes the need to bring manufacturing of critical PPE back to U.S. shores as a necessary step for defending against the next pandemic.

One truism of the terrorism world is that tactics that work are sure to be repeated. While COVID-19 was not driven by terrorists, events clearly have demonstrated the economic, psychological, and societal impact a major pandemic can create. It would be irrational to assume that terrorists will not attempt to duplicate those results through the lessons they have observed during the current crisis. If we are to prevent such threats, we must learn as well. 

Great America

Coronavirus and the End of Authority

The pandemic response with its mask mandates have unmasked a hostile ruling class that does not deserve our obedience.

The spate of restrictive measures aimed at the coronavirus has revealed a crisis of authority. A lot of Americans are not following the rules, and they do not recognize the right of the rulemakers to command them. Masks and social distancing have become partisan issues, with many on the Right actively resisting restrictions and questioning their underlying wisdom.

Young people, for no particularly ideological reasons, simply want to live and are also ignoring most of these restrictions. While half the people have had enough, the other half are aghast at what they consider a rebellion against common sense and common decency. 

The vacuum of respected authority means that we cannot do what other countries have done more easily in the name of public health. We cannot do much of anything these days: have safe streets, build a wall, or preserve our industrial power. 

Someday when something more drastic occurs—a war of self-defense, a more virulent public health crisis, or a natural disaster—it’s doubtful that what is necessary can or will be done. Americans no longer trust the government and the ruling class to advance the common good during a crisis.

Roots of Authority

Where does authority—and its corollary, obedience—come from? There’s more than one kind of authority; that of your parents is different from that of your boss, and both of these are different from the authority of a policeman. Societies of course differ in how they are ruled. But all of these figures—kings and dads, governors and constables—depend upon their authority to accomplish the tasks of their jobs. 

Whether it is rooted in experience, wisdom, courage, birth, or virtue, all political authority derives from a belief that a leader is fit for the job. Which is most important depends on the culture of the society. But, in every case, authority derives from a belief that those in command deserve the job, are better at it than the common man, and, therefore, have the right to rule. 

Authority rises and falls based on perceived responsibility and empathy. For a ruler’s authority truly to be respected, ultimately he must demonstrate some concern for you, your family’s welfare, and the general flourishing of people like you. Someone who is superior and hostile may be feared and even respected—in the same sense one respects a capable adversary—but he would not have authority. 

Societies will endure curfews and rationing during a crisis. Soldiers will suffer great privation and near-certain death out of a sense of duty to their mission. But no one willingly suffers for things they consider meaningless. A stupid, unnecessary risk is an affront, a squandering of trust. If the rulers do not appear concerned for your welfare, do not share your burdens, and are willing to sacrifice the general welfare to advance their personal interests, they put their authority in jeopardy. 

Finally, there must be some justice. Rewards and honors should flow regularly, predictably, and to the right sorts, just as punishments and dishonor should be dispensed to wrongdoers. If the rules and the application of them is wholly arbitrary, the only lesson for the little people is “don’t get caught” and “there’s no way to get ahead.” 

This is what Sam Francis had in mind with his concept of anarcho-tyranny. In such a regime, the full weight of the government is simultaneously applied against one group, while completely loosened from another. One type of person is given a heavy sentence for vandalism, while a violent thug is freed to commit more mischief. 

If one group consistently is favored at another’s expense, the out-group may deem it “necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another.”

America’s Hostile Ruling Class

While democratic government pays homage to the people as rulers, that’s always been something of a fiction in practice. Along these lines, conservatives used to be fond of saying America is not really a democracy, but a republic. But over the last 100 years, it has moved far beyond even that. All of our major institutions—universities, corporations, government, and media—are now ruled by an increasingly insular managerial class that is defined by its credentials and common opinions. 

Urban, degreed, conformist, and operating within a closed system, they lack the independence of a true aristocracy, the courage and practicality of warriors, or the noble birth and sense of stewardship that used to be expected of kings. They are mediocre by design, prone to ambition and groupthink, and, lately, naked self-interest. 

The ones doing the voting and the buying are not the same as those doing the ruling and the selling, and everyone knows it. Whether it is geography, wealth, or tastes, the people in charge and those being ruled have little in common. 

The coronavirus crisis is just the last in a series of events that have undermined the authority of the ruling class. After 9/11 and Iraq, the American people endured and accepted a great deal of inconvenience to make us safer. But when weapons of mass destruction didn’t materialize in Iraq, and we heard the umpteenth defense of mass immigration from places filled with people who want to kill us seconds after they actually did so, the gap between the official line and reality was impossible to conceal. Clearly, another logic was at work. 

Similarly, after the 2009 economic crisis, in spite of all the talk of belt-tightening and the need to reform a risky financial system, we instead saw tons of money poured into connected enterprises, while homeowners and small businessmen were devastated. The Obamacare system further crushed those outside the managerial system, particularly small businesses, sole proprietors, and young people starting their lives. 

Just as things started to seem better, the coronavirus hit. We were told the entire country needed to shut down so we could “flatten the curve.” Stay home and save lives. People accepted this, more or less. Like increased airport security after 9/11, it had a certain logic to it. The virus looked serious, and the experts were making increasingly dire predictions.

But the pain was spread unevenly. Millions, mostly in the private sector, lost their jobs and couldn’t pay their bills. Those who still had jobs lived like people under house arrest. We were all in this together . . . but we were not. 

We were soon reminded of the privileges of the ruling class. The left-wing mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, decided she needed a haircut, even when she forbade others to get them. “I felt like I needed to have a haircut,” she said, barely defending her actions.  

CNN’s Chris Cuomo gave a star performance as an ailing victim of the coronavirus, constantly criticizing Republicans and the president for their more laissez-faire attitudes. But, in his spare time, he was gallivanting off to the Hamptons. When confronted by an overzealous local, Cuomo protested, “I can do what I want!” Indeed, he can; he’s not one of the little people. 

On a larger scale, the media and political class’s apologies for rioters shouting messages favored by the progressive elite, while lambasting beachgoers and shutdown protests, was simply too much to bear. Reflexive exceptions for themselves and their friends are the marks of a ruling class buttressed by callow disregard for ordinary people and deception. 

The Coronavirus Crisis Breaks the System

The ruling class purports to base its authority on science, but science doesn’t mean much without some basic honesty. First masks were bad, then they were good. Were we not supposed to notice? They said we had “15 days to flatten the curve.” It did not do much good, so instead of revisiting the assumptions behind this inhumane policy, some cities have been shut down for months

A handful of red states, including Florida and Texas, decided to reopen. People went out to the beach, got haircuts, got a drink, and saw their friends. Jobs came back. In spite of predictions, deaths kept dropping throughout June and July. Old deaths had to be unearthed to keep the narrative going

Now that the parade of horribles is not materializing, new goalposts are being erected—such as the number of cases. New outlandish predictions, much like those we endured only a month ago, are being repeated constantly. When is it over? 

The people in charge are barely affected by what they have imposed. While millions are unemployed, very few government workers are experiencing pay cuts or layoffs as a result of the coronavirus. Internet multinationals have thrived, while brick and mortar businesses have foundered. There are winners and losers in this crisis, and they align closely with those already favored or disfavored by the ruling class. 

There are times when a society must do something drastic, costly, and painful in order to avoid greater costs and greater pains. Wartime restrictions are the most prominent example, but extreme measures to preserve law and order and public health are close seconds. 

None of this can happen, however, without genuine authority, and we can’t have that without some trust. Recent events have squandered whatever trust was left in the people for the ruling class. It’s worse than the boy who cried wolf. It’s the boy who cried wolf in order to enrich and empower himself and got caught. 

While there have always been disagreements about what exactly constitutes the common good, it is now a question of whether there is even such a thing as a common good. We live in the same nation and are similarly situated to the rest of the world. We stand together when facing the faceless brutality of nature, including its deadly diseases. But we are not similarly situated to the legal regime, our economic vulnerability, or our values and priorities. Thus, the ruling class does not command the respect or obedience of nearly half the country. 

To the extent the government commands any obedience and respect, they will find it chiefly among the managerial class and its clients, who are concentrated in the blue states and the blue cities. This includes the very rich, the very poor, and government workers. 

On the other side are the productive members of the private sector, for whom these various rules and restrictions range from annoying to devastating. In other words, the ruling elite and its clients are engaged in a pincer movement against the property-owning middle class with meddlesome bureaucrats harrying them on one side and wild mobs coming for them on the other. The middle class is becoming self-conscious of the fact that it is now an oppressed group. This is not a tenable situation. 

There are solutions to this. A more robust federalism might solve the problem, as we could each live according to our own lights in our respective corners of the country. But the progressive ideology does not allow for deviation or diversity, ironically enough. 

The Declaration of Independence is a storied document of America’s founding and a powerful testament to the values of a young America. But it also is a story of things being so intolerable, that the old authority is lost, and separation is the best course for mutually hostile neighbors. The coronavirus and its mask mandates have unmasked a hostile ruling class that does not deserve our obedience

Great America

Towards a Colorblind America

Being colorblind does not “uphold racism.” It is the only way to eliminate racism.

According to the latest woke wisdom, to be “colorblind” is actually a way to “uphold racism.” Writing for Psychology Today, Monnica Williams, a licensed clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Ottawa, explains:

Colorblindness is the racial ideology that posits the best way to end discrimination is by treating individuals as equally as possible, without regard to race, culture, or ethnicity. However, colorblindness alone is not sufficient to heal racial wounds on a national or personal level. It is only a half-measure that in the end operates as a form of racism.

From expert psychologists to pop culture, the verdict is in. If you’re “colorblind,” you’re a racist. As Samantha Vincenty, a “white Latinx,” puts it in Oprah Magazine, “Being ‘Color Blind’ Doesn’t Make You Not Racist—In Fact, It Can Mean the Opposite.” Elaborating, she writes, “Color blindness relies on the concept that race-based differences don’t matter, and ignores the realities of systemic racism.”

Judging from recent and not-so-recent events, however, America is in no imminent danger of becoming “colorblind.” In pursuit of racial justice, America’s institutions now boast a 50-year legacy of preferential treatment for “people of color” in every significant facet of society. 

Affirmative action policies, either explicit or de facto, govern university admissions and faculty hiring. Similar policies are in place across corporate America, enforcing racial quotas in hiring and promotions. In applications for government loans and government contracts, minority-owned businesses always get preferential treatment.

And then of course there is the legacy of the “War on Poverty,” an entire ecosystem of government entitlements designed to elevate the less fortunate, including—even emphasizing—America’s “people of color.” Programs such as Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), subsidized housing, public housing, housing vouchers, Supplemental Security Income, welfare, the earned income tax credit, Head Start, Pell Grants, and much, much more.

Trillions have been spent on these programs. But according to the woke, from Black Lives Matter to the Biden campaign, trillions more need to be spent. Free college. A “right to shelter” (free housing). Guaranteed basic income. And, fundamental to achieving true racial justice, reparations for slavery.

Due to the immense public outlay already invested, and the demand that ever more is needed to achieve racial justice, it is necessary to declare openly and unequivocally that white Americans not only have a right to opinions on issues impacting black Americans but that it is a civic obligation to have them.

Challenge the Premises

The woke Left denies this. For them, a conscientious anti-racist white American “ally” must “stop talking, start listening.” They must “listen and learn.” They must “shut up and listen.” If you want to be a “good white ally,” then you must “listen more than you speak.”

There’s nothing wrong with listening, of course. But it’s time for white people—especially those who already recognize where the “woke” agenda is heading—to speak out as well. It is time for white people to speak out directly to the black community, and challenge some of the fundamental premises of the leftist narrative that dominates the black community.

The reason for this should be obvious: Black voters have been nearly monolithic in their support of Democratic candidates and causes. This November, the black voting bloc is going to determine the outcome of one of the most consequential elections in American history. And it isn’t just this election, it’s every election .

For decades, the Democratic Party has owned the black vote. The entire time, they’ve successfully tagged Republicans as racist and cast themselves as the only hope for black Americans. Their tactics are exploitative and infantile. It’s astonishing they work, but apparently they do. Joe Biden said to podcast host Charlamagne tha God: “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” Joe, are you kidding? This ploy works? Evidently, yes.

Nobody disputes the fact that black Americans, on average, have less income, less household wealth, and less education than whites. Nor does anyone dispute that black Americans are convicted of crimes and incarcerated at higher rates than whites. But it’s time to stop blaming all of this on racism.

Ordinary black voters, not the careerists in academia and politics who get rich saying it, but ordinary folks, ought to question why leveling the “racism” accusation in America today requires more and more creativity. Whites aren’t overt racists anymore. Everybody knows that. So now they have to be “unconscious racists.” They have to be found complicit in “systemic racism,” since otherwise, apparently, there would be no disparity whatsoever between white achievements and black achievements.

Hard Truths

Does anybody really believe this? And if so, is it merely because not enough whites, or blacks, are stepping up and speaking an alternative narrative? It would go something like this:

If you want to close the academic achievement gap, then get rid of the teachers’ unions and implement school choice. If you want to reduce incidents of police brutality, then get rid of the police unions, or at the least, make it impossible for them to continue protecting bad cops. If you want your children to stop ending up in prison, then stay married so they can grow up with a male and female role model in the home.

You can start right there. Because if you don’t, all the trillions in the world will not uplift your communities. That is the hard truth.

There are plenty of leaders in the black community who are trying to spread this message. With apologies to the thousands of black leaders not included, here’s a very short list of these heroes:

Justin Wilson, Antonia Okafor, Candace Owens, Dr. Carol Swain, Chandler Crump, CJ Pearson, Anthony Brian Logan, David J Harris Jr., Lynnett Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson (Diamond and Silk), Jesse Lee Peterson, KingFace, Larry Elder, Mike Nificent, Allen West, Pastor Mark Burns, Patricia Dickson, Horace Cooper (Project 21), Shekinah Geist, Stacy Dash, Star Parker, Terrence K. Williams, Taleed Brown, Keith Hodge and Kevin Hodge, Brandon Tatum, Will Johnson, Wayne Dupree, Jon Miller, Jamarcus Dove-Simmons, Derrick Blackman, Mind of Jamal, Jermain Botsio, Jay McCaney, Joel Patrick, Bryson Gray, Peggy Hubbard, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, Glenn C. Loury, and Ward Connerly.

Black voters need to realize the organizations that have emerged in the past few years to protest on their behalf, such as Black Lives Matter, are run by Marxists and are funded by white, left-wing billionaires. Black voters need to imagine what life is going to be like in the world these movements envision.

Is it going to help the black community in America if small businesses are crushed? If the price of basic essentials is higher than ever? If the only way to survive is through government subsidies? If private property and business ownership become something only available to the politically connected and the super-rich?

Is it going to help the black community if instead of learning the tough basics of math and English, students instead are indoctrinated to become politically correct, to become resentful and race-conscious in everything they see and do?

Do black voters understand that the only way to enforce equal outcomes and equal achievements by race is through a socialist tyranny that would permeate every facet of our economy and society? Do black voters recognize that socialism has never delivered freedom or prosperity, anywhere, anytime, throughout human history?

Conscientious white Americans, in their laudable desire to be allied with black Americans, cannot hope to do long-term good merely by “sharing the wealth.” They must also assert the values that created that wealth. 

The leftists who are manipulating the Black Lives Movement stigmatize core elements of Western civilization and the American experience such as capitalism, meritocracy, Christianity, cultural assimilation, and the nuclear family as inherently racist and oppressive.

This leftist slander of America’s character is inaccurate and unhealthy. It is a sick, nihilistic lie. If black voters are not convinced to reject this lie, they will elect increasingly extreme leftist politicians who will destroy America, and with it, opportunities for everyone, white and black. 

The lie must be challenged without reservation, equivocation, or apology. It must be challenged ceaselessly and persuasively, without rancor but with passion, with white and black conservatives speaking as one.

The American way, to reward personal initiative, to respect private property, to strive for limited government, cannot guarantee that all identifiable ethnic groups will achieve equality in average individual achievements. But in pursuit of greater equality in outcomes, it is idiocy to abandon the ideal of a colorblind society.

Being colorblind does not “uphold racism.” It is the only way to eliminate racism.

Great America

A Lesson From Ukraine on Revolution

Whether or not to “glorify” Ukraine in 2014 was a question as pressing as proclaiming “Black Lives Matter” or insisting all lives matter in America today.

When nationalist revolutionaries seized power in Ukraine in 2014, the slogan became “Glory to Ukraine!” It was, in fact, a greeting—aggressive youth barked it at police, at grocery store clerks, at strangers on the bus.

If you declared “Glory to Ukraine!” and your target woofed back “Glory to Ukraine!” your interlocutor was considered cool. If he didn’t respond, it was suspicious. If she told you to go take a hike, or that Ukraine could go to hell, well, people lost their jobs over that. People had the police called on them for refusing to respond favorably, and sometimes the police had to go through the motions, like this was some traitorous criminal who had to be investigated. And if the victim didn’t come to his senses fast enough, sometimes the secret services got involved, and the putz had to sign a confession, retraction, or improvement plan.

Whether to glorify Ukraine or not was a question as pressing to some victims as whether to go along with Black Lives Matter, or to insist that all lives matter in America, 2020.

Of course, the schools had to start teaching that the kids were always Ukrainians and that Russia had stolen their heritage, and if someone told them differently at home, well, kids, feel free to rat out your parents for the motherland. That didn’t happen very often, but the fear was real enough, so parents avoided talking politics while their children were awake.

Essentially all humanities and social sciences students and diploma-holders backed the new regime and its Ukrainist ideology. And of course, big business was on board—all the oligarchs were either Ukrainist from the start, or came around very quickly.

Few in the trades, engineering, or small business were into it. At the outset, even the military was not into it for the most part, but they needed to get paid. In fact, the army was so unreliable that the new regime had to found a “national guard” of vetted partisan loyalists to spearhead offensives and perform “filtration” duties in areas retaken from the Donbass rebels.

On the home front, wild mobs and masked-men-in-the-night shut down all open dissent in the capital within a matter of weeks and in some other major cities within two months. Mostly, it was small-scale—harassment, vandalism, a few broken noses or jaws, a few shots, a body here and a body there. The police acted like it wasn’t happening, not because they agreed with it, but because that’s what was expected of them. But it wasn’t enough. Half the country felt like it was slipping away at the grassroots level, and not just the Russian-targeted Donbass.

Something had to be done, so something was done. The coup de grace was the busing of soccer hooligan gangs (in the notorious British model) from Kiev to Odessa to confront local oppositionists.

Up to that point, Odessa’s minority Ukrainist and majority non-Ukrainist populations had thrown insults and a few bottles at each other, but the hooligans changed the equation. With oversight from a few career fascist gang leaders, the hooligans intimidated most people out of protesting. But what’s more noteworthy is what they did to those who still dared to venture out.

A group of local demonstrators—college-aged youth—was chased into and surrounded inside a government office building, several Molotov cocktails were thrown at the main entrance, and some 40 persons seeking refuge inside were asphyxiated as the insulation or drop ceilings caught fire. Yeah, political violence and all that.

No one was prosecuted for a few years. At long last—probably on the demand of European donor states—the authorities opened a case against one fascist ringleader who was on video firing a handgun at people trying to climb out of the burning building. The video had been widely available from day one—the fat, nasty man was a celebrity to his side. He died of cancer before spending one night behind bars.

The names of those who paid for and organized the hooligan buses to Odessa are lost to history. The Democrats—ahem, the winners in the struggle for Ukraine—don’t pursue their own.

Since then, scores of statues and busts have fallen or disappeared, hundreds of streets and towns have been renamed, even one city of 1 million souls has been renamed after its own defunct soccer team, for lack of any better ideas. At first, statues were pulled down or blown off their pedestals at night, without official sanction, but without any investigation or consequences. Eventually, municipalities got involved and sent crews to finish the rest. Only after that did the street and town names start to change.

 You can see the order; it’s shaping up to be the same here—first, they come for the statues, then they want to change the proper nouns. It has made no one’s life better, though.

It has all been to remove the Russian heritage. The funny thing is that most of the cities were founded by Russians. The entire southeastern half of the country was a barren waste picked bare by Crimean Tatar slavers until the czars and empresses moved in during the 1700s. Before that happened, the region had been known by a horrific name—chistoe pole, “the clean field.”

Vast numbers of Slavic girls and young women driven off from this land (and often from further north in Russia proper) changed the appearance of Anatolian Turks from Asiatic to European. Their fathers and brothers were worked to death in galleys and mines. The old and infirm were simply killed upon capture. Russian arms put an end to this centuries-long fiasco, which in raw numbers likely matched the transatlantic slave trade (don’t believe the ludicrous figures on Wikipedia.) You won’t see this in modern Ukrainian school textbooks.

Oh, and let’s not forget the kneeling. With the war against the rebels not going well, activists in Ukrainist regions would find out when army coffins were to be delivered for burial, then get a crowd together and have everyone kneel along the road to the cemetery when word came in that the body wagon was approaching. No salute or hand-over-heart or patriotic songs, just grotesque, silent kneeling. Kaepernick is a Slavic name, after all.

And yet, Ukraine 2014 and thereafter is not quite America 2020. In the new Ukraine, salvation was absolute. If you embraced the glory, then, in almost all cases, you had nothing to apologize for, no inherent guilt to whip yourself over. Everything was forgiven; your potential accusers simply found another target or boogeyman.

Non-Ukrainist politicos who were not central to the old regime, not high enough in those former ranks, changed their stripes overnight and continued their careers. And the kids in the Russian half of the country were not taught to feel guilty, or that they owed something to descendants of the Ukro-aborigines who were said to have inhabited those parts in antiquity. No, they all simply became Ukrainians, and that was that.

Meanwhile, those who had come to power on the back of “Glory to Ukraine!” stole likely over $1 billion in foreign aid, squirreling it away somewhere. Through “Glory to Ukraine!” they sent thousands of young men to die fighting Russians and Russian-backed rebels, keeping the public in a war psychosis to distract from the ever-worsening standard of living. In short, they got theirs.

What did the majority get? A failed state and a pauper’s existence. And not surprisingly, the useful fascists from the revolution days—the guys who had stormed the government buildings in Kiev—have been killed off, imprisoned for rape or drugs or whatever their vice, or at best, they have lost their sponsors or their shakedown rackets and have been forced to find real jobs, sometimes as guest workers in Russia. They were expendable. Today, it is as if they never existed.

If we allow the Democrats to win this year on the backs of chaos and Black Lives Matter, we might not all be pauperized overnight; but let me tell you, they will put a lid on this nonsense if it suits them. If it suits them, all the statues everywhere will be removed within days by municipal crews, quietly, no drama, and you won’t ever see those useful white idiots from Black Lives Matter anymore. All the Democrat mayors will get the memo that these runts are no longer en vogue, and the police will be allowed to do their jobs, and it will hardly make the news.

Furthermore, it will be as if black people no longer exist. You won’t hear anything about their problems, because with the Democrats in charge of everything, there can be no problems. 

Alternately, it may be all you hear about—but if Ukraine’s experience is any guide, I doubt it.

Great America

Ignarus Maximam: ‘Flat World’ Tom Friedman, Arch Globalist

The New York Times columnist is akin to Tom Ripley from Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley—evil wants status, even if it has to fake it or steal it.

Like the stubbornly ignorant (and wrong) ancient defenders of the “flat earth” theory, Tom Friedman, even in the face of mounting scientific reality and abundant evidence, continues to shill for everything ultra-chic, hyper-liberal, woke, and globalist. Indeed, he appears to be the principal spokesman for these causes. You could easily write his unoriginal New York Times columns for him because, as with any abhorrent novel plot, you always know what is coming next.

“Most writers are humble folk—an industry-wide lack of respect knocks the asshole out of most people pretty quick. But . . . he’d always been a pompous ass.” So goes a memorable passage from the novel, In the Heat of the Night. They must have had Friedman in mind. 

No one in the world is such a dithering dilettante, know-it-all, literal knee-jerk, self-assured, mindless, bloviating liberal.  Sir Tom, a Brandeis semi-educated wise guy, took a minor degree at Oxford and swallowed the arrogance pie whole. Watch him perform on CNN shows like the plagiarist Fareed Zakaria’s gig, and you have a prima facie example of the opposite of Socrates’ example: “I neither know nor think that I know.” 

Since he won three Pulitzer prizes for his mediocre writing, Friedman is permitted this haughty “attitude” by most interlocutors. On his lofty perch, he can say whatever he wants many times a week—and the Left listens, then applauds, loudly. As a constant fixture on the mainstream idiot talking head shows, Freidman also appears regularly in Switzerland at the Davos confab for dedicated, card-carrying globalists and at the Aspen Institute to beat his chest and act self-righteous. He claims to be “authoritative” on everything—from foreign affairs to global trade to the Middle East to environmental issues, and of course, climate change. He has bragged that Barack Obama sounds him out about a plethora of issues.

Although a staunch supporter of the ever-so-necessary war in Iraq, together with his neoconservative fellow-travelers, Freidman—a dedicated kibbutz Zionist who later came to detest Israel—has never apologized. He was even for a time a defender of Saudi power and the Mohammad Bin Salman regime. 

A true lover of any and all multilateralism, there is no globalist institution Friedman does not favor. He would gladly accede all American sovereignty to the highly esteemed United Nations. Yet curiously, at the same time he has repeatedly praised China’s one party rule and its communist dictator—the true beneficiaries of globalism.

Married to the daughter of a strip mall tycoon, Friedman does your typical liberal hypocrite routine one better. He gladly takes $75,000 for a scripted, regurgitated after-dinner speech and lives in a nearly 12,000-square-foot mansion in affluent Bethesda, Maryland, while sniping at the rich and (un)green.

New York Times reporters are not exactly disagreeing with my assessment, either. Many despise him. “Tom Friedman is an embarrassment. I mean there are multiple blogs and Tumblrs and Twitter feeds that exist solely to make fun of his sort of blowhardy bullshit,” one Times reporter recently told the Observer.

At Slate, Glenn Greenwald may have said it best: “If I had to pick just a single fact that most powerfully reflects the nature of America’s political and media class in order to explain the cause of the nation’s imperial decline, it would be that, in those classes, Tom Friedman is the country’s most influential and most decorated ‘foreign policy expert.’” Really.

In reality, Freidman is nothing more than a bad travel writer, an embarrassment to scholars and real experts, whatever their stripe or specialty. Journalist Matt Taibbi has said of Friedman’s writing: “Friedman came up with lines so hilarious you couldn’t make them up even if you were trying—and when you tried to actually picture the ‘illustrative’ figures of speech he offered to explain himself, what you often ended up with was pure physical comedy of the Buster Keaton/Three Stooges school, with whole nations and peoples slipping and falling on the misplaced banana peels of his literary endeavors.”

A huge Hillary Clinton supporter, Freidman, who claims to be a radical “centrist,” came out in 2020 in favor of Mayor Mike Bloomberg for president. After that debacle ended badly (and quickly), he easily sided with Joe Biden because any candidate is better than Donald Trump as far as he’s concerned. 

Friedman is a “Trump hater’s Trump hater” of the highest degree. He waxes poetic against America, favors its decline, and ardently wishes for the whole panoply of globalism, lock, stock and barrel. If there were a Goebbels for globalism you would be hard-pressed to find a better candidate for propagandist for the elitist cause. The French, as always, have a term for this: mensonge com homme.

Perhaps people need to stop taking the best-selling author of such trite non-classics as The World Is Flat and The Lexus and the Olive Tree so seriously. His silly prognostications are always wrong and entirely one-sided, so why give him notice? He marshals few facts and produces mostly self-infused hot air. Freidman is akin to the character Tom Ripley from Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley—evil wants status, even if it has to fake it or steal it.

Since Friedman’s lame idea of a “national unity government”—with the likes of Mitt Romney as secretary of state—fell on deaf ears, he needs to come up with a new and better idea. Maybe Barack Obama as head of the United Nations? Or Hillary Clinton for vice president? 

In retirement, Friedman (who soon turns 67) could recuse Sleepy Joe Biden as his primary speechwriter of yet more copied/borrowed platitudes and odes to globalism. Yes, Joe badly needs both a voice and a debate coach. Apply now. 

Great America

A Jewish Conservative Rant

There are so many how-comes, ifs, and whys, that it does make one wonder how come, and if, and why.

First off to prequalify, since we live in the Age of Prequalification: ‘’m Jewish, I’m a conservative, I am sober, and I suffer from alopecia. So, I’m all about intersectionality, and if you disagree with what I say you are a stone-cold anti-Semite.

How come those who want to raise taxes never pay more? The government will gladly accept the donation.

Why do all liberals who have been canceled by cancel culture, or comedians who constantly complain that they can’t entertain in this politically correct environment, keep voting for the party that is stifling them?

Why do blacks who have been kept down by “systemic racism,” brought upon them by the Democratic Party, keep voting for indentured servitude? Yes, that’s what a welfare system creates. Or to quote Sonny from “A Bronx Tale”: “I treat my men good, but not too good, or I’m not needed. I give just enough so that they need me, but they don’t hate me.” Sound familiar? 

Why do Jews—oh, my Jews!—constantly vote for a party that stands with Israel as much as Adolf Hitler would have done?

Why are people who constantly promise to leave America if so-and-so is elected still here? 

Why don’t the people who want to defund the police simply block 911 from their phones? Or never dial that number in case of any emergency?

Why are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton still relevant? Or Louis Farrakhan, for that matter? Add Maxine Waters to the mix. (Is it only me, or do Waters and Sharpton look eerily similar?) If people living in black inner cities are wondering why they are constantly being left back, look no further than the “murderer’s row” of snake-oil salesmen and anti-Semites they have chosen as their spiritual guides. 

Why are companies in America so damn scared of a group of trolls who, for the most part, can’t afford the products they are selling? 

Here is a tip for Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and all other agitators: if you are going to protest, riot, and loot, have an exit strategy. Otherwise, some of us might just get the impression that all you truly want to do is protest, riot, and loot. Or to paraphrase Neal Page, have a point, it makes it so much more interesting to the listener. 

Protesting in America is a lot like getting sunburned. There might be a little sting, but for the most part, it leaves no real imprint. If you truly want to protest, might I humbly suggest a good landing spot. Protest gay rights, women’s rights, and, well just about all rights. Just do it in the Middle East. Make sure, though, to wear your face mask, and please make sure to record it, so we can see how well their police and military treat you. 

How can we expect the best and the brightest to work in the U.S government, when we pay them so little? The starting salary at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta is $47,000 and the average salary is $72,000. Think this is our best and brightest fighting the epidemic?

If Americans truly want better representation in Congress, we should add a qualification or two. First, they should be able to afford to buy a home of their own and, second, they should be able to afford to live in it. Otherwise . . . well, we are living in the “otherwise.” Raise their salaries to $500,000 a year and “the squad” will be relegated to cleaning houses, not running the House.

There are so many how-comes, ifs, and whys, that it does make one wonder how come, and if, and why. So for you whiny miserable people who have decided to make life miserable and confusing for many of us, bravo! We may be confused, but it’s you who are miserable. 

Great America

Preambles to Revolution

Is Black Lives Matter becoming a state religion? Is the New York Times’ ‘1619 Project’ its scripture?

In my neighborhood lawn signs are popping up, declaring, in all capital letters, “WE BELIEVE”:

  • Black Lives Matter
  • No Human Is Illegal
  • Love Is Love
  • Science Is Real
  • Disabilities Are Respected
  • Kindness Is Everything

Such nostrums are more empty than not, but that’s beside the point. These front-yard litanies in bright rainbow colors might be preambles to revolution. 

In San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park the graceful statuary of Francis Scott Key, Miguel Cervantes, Junipero Serra, and U.S. Grant are vandalized. In a matter of weeks, the target has shifted from police brutality to Western civilization and society and its heritage.

As giants topple, Americans suffer the demoralizing spectacle of legislators kneeling for the television cameras in kente cloth. Presidential candidate Joe Biden—and former senator and vice president—proclaims that ending “systemic racism” is the “moral obligation of our time.” Is Black Lives Matter becoming a state religion?

A growing camp with enormous institutional power is positioning itself against the white race, men, Christianity, capitalism, private property, and heterosexuality, in other words, against the people, institutions, belief systems, and worldly activities that drove the nation’s development and dreams. 

Slouching Toward Sedition

The New York Times’ extraordinary “1619 Project” recasts American history to discredit its Anglo-European foundations. Its architect Nikole Hannah-Jones and others like her insist American society past and present is steeped in anti-black racism. She is proud to call the metro rampages of recent weeks the 1619 Riots. Hannah-Jones currently calls for reparations. With extraordinary nerve, she demands contrition and boundless good feelings from those whose past, reputations, and assets she hopes to rummage. 

Launched barely a year ago, the “1619 Project” is on fire. It seeks to “reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.” Editor Jake Silverstein claims, “Out of slavery—and the anti-black racism it required—grew nearly everything that has truly made America exceptional: its economic might, its industrial power, its electoral system.” 

Insinuating the U.S. is a criminal enterprise not worthy of survival, the 1619 Project has ambitions bordering on sedition. 

As the eminent historian Gordon Wood reads the manifesto, the “Revolution occurred primarily because of the Americans’ desire to save their slaves.” The Declaration of Independence is a fraud. Wood is especially disturbed that this effort to undermine the nation’s political legitimacy intends to flood schools with the “authority of the New York Times behind it.” When the 1619 Project appeared, The American Conservative’s Rod Dreher similarly warned of its toxin. More recently, he revealed the complicity of the Pulitzer Foundation. Yet many media executives and educators view its contents uncritically, as scripture.  

Andrew Sullivan, John McWhorter, and others correctly perceive contemporary radicalism’s religious dimension. Woke radicals demand greater temporal power to redeem virtue and punish the recalcitrant, mindful of their responsibility to crush heresies. Convinced of their own superior moral vision and divine duty, revolutionaries are constructing a creed that “could only be enforced by coercive, even totalitarian, methods,” notes John Fonte at the Hudson Institute.

A Dangerous State Within a State

Think of the culture wars in ancient Rome. To educated pagans, unreason and blind faith rendered early Christians contemptible. But what was a fringe nuisance and curiosity in the early Roman Empire came to threaten its stability and security: a state within the state. 

And Christians, once in power, shut down everyone else. In 380, Theodosius I declared Christianity the official religion of the Empire, proscribing all other religions. Freedom of conscience was an idea that only flowered during the 18th-century enlightenment, enshrined in a First Amendment that is now under siege. 

In the highest reaches of government, universities, and courts today, a powerful line of thought holds that justice demands equal outcomes. Not just equal opportunity or equal treatment but equal results. The larger the institution, the more likely that ascription will drive entrance and advancement, and that managers will embrace specious ideas—disparate impact, equal outcomes, systemic racism, white privilege, rape culture, transsexualism, and more. Differences in individual achievement are perceived as evidence of racism, prejudice, inequity, and social injustice. 

A priestly caste—a state within a state—allots value and rewards arbitrary human attributes such as race, ethnicity, gender, or disability. It is one thing to try to level the playing field from the standpoint of opportunity; it is another thing to get everyone to the finish line at the same time. The catechism permeates not only information and thought centers—academe, media, advertising, and entertainment—but increasingly steers the military, government agencies, corporations, and finance.

Americans Cannot Believe What They’re Seeing

But if Western civilization is declared anathema, what will comprise alternate ideals and standards of achievement and governance? Barack Obama’s promises of racial healing and harmony were, in hindsight, counterfeit. Where indeed has Obama the healer been during recent weeks of social wrecking and mayhem—and where will he be in November? 

Millions of peaceful Americans uncomfortably behold a racialized, poly-sexual, deracinated future—the deformed heir of one nation, under God. They foresee a nation challenged by high unemployment, aging infrastructure, impossible debt and pension plans, rampant homelessness, and rising lawlessness. Functional Americans of all backgrounds will seek to minimize and overcome these ominous conditions, changing location and lifestyle if they must to avoid pandemonium. Call it racism or white flight or anything you want. 

Yet those Americans who possibly can will make individual decisions involving their own location, safety, and tranquility; and collaterally, what schools their children will attend and what their children learn. They will determine the places they will shop and congregate, what and whom they will avoid, and what makes them feel safe and comfortable. They will go to any length to avoid living near Section 8 and public housing projects. They will avoid—if they can—blight and dangerous neighborhoods. 

Normies say nothing. They’ve learned the rules. They’ve been shamed and silenced so long. Some can spout revolutionary creed to protect themselves. Others really believe it. Condemning “ghetto” pathologies gets anyone into trouble—and has since the days of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s “The Negro Family: The Case For National Action” (1965).

Today’s progressives might wave away or disfavor two-parent wedlock, hard work and savings, patriotism, and good conduct. The faculty at the University of Pennsylvania might condemn these preferences articulated by law professor Amy Wax as “assertions of white cultural superiority.” But that’s not what most Americans—including blacks—think or want. 

“Who We Are” Revisited 

You might hate the idea—I do—but retreat into like-minded, class- and race-divided communities will almost surely accelerate during the 2020s. As author Bill Bishop documents in his influential The Big Sort, Americans are already choosing to live among those with common affinities and voting patterns. Coercive racial integration has failed. 

Rising Democratic Party politicians openly taunt native-born white Americans. Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and vice-presidential frontrunner declares, “We won’t be silent about race. We won’t be silent about sexual orientation. We won’t be silent about immigrant’s rights. These are the very issues that define our identity as Americans.” 

Most Americans still define themselves otherwise. They relish traditional law, family, enterprise, and culture—the very things that New York Times journalists and political opportunists condemn as malignant “white supremacy.” 

Invigorated ideologues surely feel they are breathing the air of liberation—or they sniff big-time power in the air. Another America watches helplessly as time-tested social bonds are suffocating. Painfully aware that inciting envy and revenge is not in the public interest, few any longer expect an amicable resolution. 

Great America

Our Worship of Power Over Truth

Orwell intended Nineteen Eighty-Four as a warning, an admonition. Our woke social justice warriors, supposing they are even aware of Orwell’s work, would seem to regard it as a plan of action, a how-to manual.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column about “purity spirals.” That’s what the journalist Gavin Haynes calls the familiar “moral feeding frenzy” that occurs whenever ideology triumphs over truth. The French Revolution provides vivid historical examples, as did Mao’s cultural revolution in the 1960s. Those caught in a purity spiral, I observed, invariably find themselves embarked on an endless search for enemies, “a concerted effort to divide the world between the tiny coterie of the blessed and the madding crowd of the damned. The game, Haynes notes, ‘is always one of purer-than-thou.’”

It is also, not incidentally, a contest to subordinate truth to the accumulation of power. 

In the course of that piece, I quoted the columnist Andrew Sullivan, who expatiated on the role that language—and the effort to police language—plays in the economy of coercion. 

“Revolutionaries,” he wrote, “also create new forms of language to dismantle the existing order.” And how. 

Sullivan was writing in New York magazine, a reliably trendy, i.e., left-wing, redoubt that had been his home for the past several years. I employ the pluperfect in the preceding, because Sullivan has just been defenestrated from that increasingly woke organ. 

“A critical mass of the staff and management at New York Magazine and Vox Media no longer want to associate with me,” he wrote in a decorous but devastating farewell column. 

They seem to believe, and this is increasingly the orthodoxy in mainstream media, that any writer not actively committed to critical theory in questions of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity is actively, physically harming co-workers merely by existing in the same virtual space. Actually attacking, and even mocking, critical theory’s ideas and methods, as I have done continually in this space, is therefore out of sync with the values of Vox Media.

I submit that when New York magazine loses Andrew Sullivan, it finds itself sucked deep into the rancid purity spiral disrupting our culture. For although you can still find some outlets that describe him as “conservative,” it is a decidedly odd variety of conservatism—or, not to put too fine a point on it, it is rather the opposite of what most people mean by “conservative.”  

“[I]n my case,” Sullivan notes drily, it “means that I have passionately opposed Donald J. Trump and pioneered marriage equality, that I support legalized drugs, criminal-justice reform, more redistribution of wealth, aggressive action against climate change, police reform, a realist foreign policy, and laws to protect transgender people from discrimination. I was one of the first journalists in established media to come out. I was a major and early supporter of Barack Obama. I intend to vote for Biden in November.”

That is quite a list. And it might—absent, perhaps, the bit about endorsing a “realist foreign policy”—incline you to think that Sullivan would be welcome with open arms at a magazine like New York. But no. For Sullivan remains obdurately unwoke when it comes to the smorgasbord of linguistic perversion sweeping through the ranks of our public discourse. In that earlier column, he noted, with simmering incredulity, some highlights of the process:

The use of the term “white supremacy” to mean not the KKK or the antebellum South but American society as a whole in the 21st century has become routine on the left, as if it were now beyond dispute. The word “women,” J.K. Rowling had the temerity to point out, is now being replaced by “people who menstruate.” The word “oppression” now includes not only being herded into Uighur reeducation camps but also feeling awkward as a sophomore in an Ivy League school. The word “racist,” which was widely understood quite recently to be prejudicial treatment of an individual based on the color of their skin, now requires no intent to be racist in the former sense, just acquiescence in something called “structural racism” which can mean any difference in outcomes among racial groupings. Being color-blind is therefore now being racist.

That way lies madness, which is part of Sullivan’s point. 

Calling things by their real names is a prerequisite of freedom, which is precisely why political correctness is addicted to euphemism, on the one hand, and linguistic hypertrophy, on the other. By subordinating truth to the requirements of an ideological agenda (what lit-crit types call “discourse” or “narrative”), political correctness—of which the embrace of “wokeness” is an aggravated allotrope—is at the same time an assault on freedom of thought and, beyond that, an assault on political freedom. Hence the vertiginous irony that behind leftist calls to “speak truth to power” is the corrosive assumption that truth is always and everywhere relative to power (except, of course, in the categorical assertion that “truth is relative to power”). It’s nice work if you can get it.

In essence, the subordination of truth to “narrative” rests upon a contradiction as old as Protagoras and Thrasymachus. Nor is it any more cogent for being updated in the forbidding argot of Foucault and his heirs in the critical race theory brotherhood.

Early on in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, the book’s unhappy hero Winston Smith writes that “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted all else follows.” But it is exactly that freedom—the freedom of the independent operation of reason—that Big Brother interdicts. Like Lenin years earlier, Big Brother is everywhere. There is no detail of life too small to escape his scrutiny and control. All of one’s behavior, even one’s thoughts, belong to him. Thus it is that at the end of the novel, his spirit broken, Winston sits in a café tracing the equation “two plus two equals five.” That is the ultimate woke calculation: 2 + 2 = 5. 

As Orwell noted, the chief instrument for the enforcement of conformity—at the end of the day, it is even more potent than the constant threat of terror—is language, the perfection and dissemination of “Newspeak,” that insidious pseudo-language that aims to curtail rather than liberate thought and feeling. 

“The purpose of Newspeak,” Orwell writes, “was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc [English Socialism, i.e., the existing regime], but to make all other modes of thought impossible.” Such is the ambition of the woke commissars who increasingly direct the expression of opinion in the media, the academy, and elsewhere. “It was intended,” Orwell wrote, “that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all . . . a heretical thought . . . should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words.” 

This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever. . . . Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum. . . . [I]n Newspeak the expression of unorthodox opinions, above a very low level, was well-nigh impossible.

Orwell intended Nineteen Eighty-Four as a warning, an admonition. Our woke social justice warriors, supposing they are even aware of Orwell’s work, would seem to regard it as a plan of action, a how-to manual. I’d like to put in a word for the t-shirt I have seen advertised lately: “Make Orwell fiction again.” Good advice. 

Great America

The ‘Fatal Conceit’ of Dr. Fauci

Let Anthony Fauci pontificate on cable news and pose for glossy photoshoots. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has a country to rescue.

More than four months after abruptly saying goodbye to the daily life we once knew, Americans still live in a surreal and virus-induced dystopia. Summer, essentially, has been canceled: no big family weddings, no trips abroad, no open public beaches and pools, no baseball. Tens of millions remain out of work while small businesses close up shop, permanently altering the landscape of big cities and small towns across the country. Mini Gestapo populated by once-friendly neighbors police face coverings and six feet of separation.

Power-grabbing, attention-addicted governors hog local news cameras each day under the guise of “Coronavirus Update!” to riff about their keen abilities to fight a virus or spew invective at Donald Trump or issue another decree to inflict further misery upon their willing subjects.

As school children and their parents anxiously check email boxes for any update about the fall semester and working parents with small children are scrambling to develop backup plans for online learning, Democrats are pushing hard to keep kids and teachers at home—at least until Election Day.

One person, however, seems to be basking in the chaos and confusion: Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. After toiling in relative obscurity at that position for more than 35 years, Fauci is earning the sort of rock star treatment that legitimate rock stars dream about—or at least pay big bucks to an A-list publicist to produce.

But Fauci, thanks to U.S. taxpayers, is getting a free ride on the media’s nonstop publicity train. This week, Fauci graces the cover of InStyle, a fashion magazine that has yet to feature one of the most stylish First Ladies of all time, Melania Trump.

Seated poolside at his D.C.-area home, Fauci, 79, dons a pair of dark shades—needed, presumably, to shield him from the glare of the spotlight he craves. The good doctor, as the headline for the puff piece describes him, and his wife were interviewed by their friend, CBS News anchor Norah O’Donnell. It’s standard Beltway fare—a mix of mutual admiration, deep reflections about their power over the little people, and cheeky personal anecdotes about how many languages they speak and how many books they read while the world burns.

Despite a number of serious missteps, Fauci remains unrepentant. In fact, Fauci claims the catastrophic lockdown he advised the president to support in late March didn’t go far enough. 

“If you look at the European countries, they shut down about 90 to 95 percent of the country,” Fauci explains. “Whereas when we shut down, the calculation is that we shut down about 50 percent.” Where he gets that figure, no one knows, but shooting from the hip is a Fauci specialty. And he argues again for a “pause” in states moving forward with reopening.

Asked about his changing advice on face masks, Fauci deftly spins his pivot to make himself look courageous, not clueless. He told O’Donnell that he doesn’t “regret anything I said then because, in the context of the time in which I said it, it was correct.” Fauci insists that he warned people back in March not to use masks in order to preserve a sparse supply for health care workers.

But that simply is not true. During a March 8 interview on “60 Minutes,” Fauci’s main argument against masks wasn’t based on PPE shortages but because face coverings offer a false sense of security without doing anything to stop the virus’ spread. 

“Wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better,” he said, “but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is. And often there are unintended consequences because people keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face.”

Fauci, at the time, was correct about the uselessness of masks. Nothing has changed over the past few months except irrational demands by busybodies, both in public and private, to “wear a mask!” There is no science to support the effectiveness of masks related to the spread of COVID-19, let alone the usefulness of homemade coverings made out of cheap dyed cloth to advertise a sports team, as Fauci did in a recent congressional hearing. 

(The good doctor told Georgetown students during a video conference this week—he’s really making the rounds—that he opposes a controlled study to determine whether masks specifically halted the spread of coronavirus versus other general viruses. “I would not want to do a randomized controlled study because that would mean having people not wear masks and see if they do better,” Fauci said. Science!)

In a one-on-one interview with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, Fauci continued to push the panic porn on face masks. The guidance has “evolved,” Fauci explained, “as we get more data.” Now, Fauci demands, everyone should wear face coverings at all times, even outside, because he stated, without evidence, that asymptomatic people can spread the disease by simply breathing freely outside.


There’s no getting around the fact that the Trump White House created this media monster. Early on, Fauci appeared to be a reasoned voice of expertise, refusing to fuel the hysteria that surrounded the pandemic. In fact, in January, he assured Americans not to be overly panicked about coronavirus; in February, he wrote a paper that concluded coronavirus was no more deadly than a severe flu.

So what changed? 

The spotlight is a hard thing to surrender, especially in the twilight of one’s career. Sticking with the legitimate science while refusing to play the media’s game of gotcha against Donald Trump doesn’t exactly get one invited on “The Daily Show” or played by Brad Pitt on “Saturday Night Live” or considered a heartthrob by The Atlantic. In the process, unfortunately, the country is nearly unrecognizable from what it was just four months ago. Meanwhile Fauci continues to show no compassion for those whose lives have been irreversibly upended.

Fauci’s ego trip, as Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) admonished in a hearing last month, is a “fatal conceit,” and one for which every American is paying a price. Peter Navarro, Trump’s no-nonsense trade advisor, penned a blistering op-ed that detailed Fauci’s missteps and mistakes including resistance to the president’s China travel ban and unscientific opposition to hydroxychloroquine. (The column, although correct on every score, nonetheless earned a “fact-checking” flag from USA Today.)

Some of us argued for the sidelining of both Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx after they presented the untested doomsday models to the president in late March, compelling him to encourage another month of stay-at-home orders which led to an unprecedented economic crash among other disastrous consequences. It would have caused another fury, but the country arguably would be better off right now without their changing goalposts and contradictory counsel.

It appears as though the White House finally is socially distancing from Fauci, which will only elevate his hero worship status in the media. Fine. President Trump has a large hole out of which he must dig now, one that Fauci helped plow, and he has serious work to do to put this virus in perspective and salvage the economy before it costs him the election. 

Let Fauci pontificate on cable news and pose for glossy photo shoots—Donald Trump has a country to rescue.

Great America

The Skin Game

It is past time to throw down with the self-described communist and full professor, Joshua Clover of UC Davis.

NFL’s Washington Redskins to change name following years of backlash,” runs the headline on a July 13 “ABC News” story. The team, owned by Dan Snyder since 1999, has not announced the new name and logo, but some ideas have been overlooked.

One can understand Native American objections to “Redskins” but those who want to clean up the name should be taking a harder look at the “Washington” part. Washington, D.C. is the only city where a politician such as Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) can claim to be a Native American, specifically a Cherokee, for her entire adult life, and when the claim proves utterly false she can still run for president of the United States. 

Washington is the only city where a politician such as Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) can claim to have served in Vietnam and suffer no penalty when the claim turns out to have been bogus. Those who actually served in Vietnam do not take kindly to those making false claims about service, but a gig in Washington seems to offer special protection and privilege. 

For three years, U.S. Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), claimed he had direct evidence that Donald Trump “colluded” with Russia to steal the 2016 election. Robert Mueller proved that claim utterly false, but Schiff simply repeated the lie louder and more frequently and suffered no penalty. Washington is the only city where that sort of thing happens all the time.  

Also in 2016, former secretary of state and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton claimed the 30,000 emails she destroyed were all about her daughter Chelsea’s wedding, yoga classes, and so forth. Washington is the only city where such a person could still run for president, with complete approval of the establishment media.

In a similar style, Washington is the only city where FBI and Justice Department bosses can collaborate together to attempt a coup against a duly elected president, commit actual crimes (such as altering evidence), and avoid prosecution. Should that be doubted, note that U.S. Attorney John “Bullshit” Durham, supposedly a man of great integrity, has yet to bring criminal charges against a single person. 

Back in 1976, a college student named John Brennan voted for the Stalinist Gus Hall, presidential candidate of the Communist Party USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Soviet Union. Washington is the only city where such a person can not only get a job at the Central Intelligence Agency but eventually come to run the place. And so on. 

Maybe the Washington FBIs or Washington Deep State would more accurately reflect the nature of the city that is home to this NFL team. Besides, Washington is no stranger to name switches. The Washington Bullets, with the great Wes Unseld—best outlet passer in NBA history—dead-eye shooter Bobby Dandridge, and true “power forward” Elvin Hayes, won the NBA championship in 1978. Then in 1995, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, a close friend of Bullets owner Abe Pollin, was gunned down in Tel Aviv. 

Four days after the funeral, Pollin decided to drop the Bullets from the name. The new choices included Sea Dogs, Dragons, Express, Stallions, and Wizards, which got the call.  As NBC Sports noted, “on top of the gun violence that took a close friend away from Pollin, Washington D.C. was in the midst of a terrible reign of drug abuse and gang-affiliated gun violence in the 1990s, marking it as one of the most dangerous, and deadly cities in the country.” That is still the case—and then some—so maybe Washington Bullets, in addition to having some name recognition, would be a more accurate replacement for the former NFL champions. 

While the Redskins mount a search, football fans should not rule out a name change for the San Francisco 49ers. California Governor Gavin Newsom, a former mayor of San Francisco, is on record saying that most evils in California took place after 1849, with the possible exceptions of the two terms of Jerry Brown and the emergence of Newsom’s swank PlumpJack Winery, catering to the landed gentry in Napa County. Maybe San Francisco Vintners or San Francisco Chardonnays would do the team more justice. 

Great America

A New Right Grounded in Insurgency Thinking

Conservatism, Inc. has been weighed in the balance and found wanting. To continue investing in it despite its dismal record is the very definition of insanity.

For conservatives it seems every day brings with it another betrayal from the professional Right. The hollow people leading the Republican Party and Conservatism, Inc., have been exposed. Some of us have known for years they wouldn’t be up to the task when a true challenge came, but it is still staggering to watch the meltdown happen in real-time.

So maybe it’s finally time for those on the Right to stop doing the same things they’ve been doing for nearly half a century, and instead form a new movement—a New Right that is actually equipped to defeat the Left. 

As the think tanks are shown to be ineffective in the face of the aggressive Left, more people are beginning to realize that perhaps the money given to places like Heritage, American Enterprise Institute, and Cato was squandered. And it was a lot of money. The three organizations combined raised roughly $2.45 billion between 2001-2018, and that does not include the hundreds of millions in investments and real estate. 

Rational people should acknowledge this reality and stop pretending it’s not happening. People invested billions of dollars in these entities, only to realize they never intended to be anything but sinecures. 

Even worse, so-called conservative think tanks have little if anything in common with America First and have been corrupted by corporatism and imagined access to power. 

It’s time to abandon the concept of institution building, as though we will ever have the ability to match the Left institution for institution. It’s time for a scrappy New Right to be built with an insurgency approach: we must accept that we are not in power, that we do not control the institutions, and that it’s time to go on the offensive. Our thinking, our strategy, and our investments must reflect that belief. 

Let’s Build Fleet of PT Boats

For too long we have accepted the rules of the game laid out by the statists and the Left. It’s past time to stop playing by Goliath’s rules; time to start playing by David’s. 

The article, “How David Beats Goliath,” by Malcolm Gladwell offers us some insights about how such an approach would work. Note especially the part about the Eurisko approach to war gaming. Doug Lenat, a computer scientist, fed the rules of the naval war game into Eurisko, his software program. Instead of building a fleet of battleships and aircraft carriers with the trillion-dollar budget each participant was given, Eurisko built an incredible number of PT boats with powerful weapons, but no defense and limited mobility. Guess who won the war game? The PT boat fleet annihilated every other fleet of battleships, cruisers, and aircraft carriers. Lenat won the tournament multiple times until the organizers finally said they would stop having the competition if he continued playing by his rules. 

What if we were to do the same? Instead of having Heritage, imagine there were in fact 30 entities built to fight and win; the same goes for AEI and Cato. This is not to say that there is no need for intellectual ammunition, quite the opposite. But why have so much invested into white papers when those are really about governing and only a fool thinks that conservatives are in a position right now to govern. Besides, most of the white papers being produced are essentially fire starter material. 

Better to have plans like, “The Four Year Plan for Dismantling the Administrative State” laying out a roadmap, department by department, agency by agency, to reduce the administrative state by 40 percent in four years. With a few full-time policy experts and researchers, and then an army of conservative intellectuals and policy experts from around the country, kept either on retainers or paid for work completed, the cost of having real, meaningful, and beneficial intellectual ammunition would be infinitesimally small compared to what it currently takes to power Heritage and AEI. 

The New Right must have its own version of PT boat outfits, small organizations with two or three investigative and opposition researchers who systematically take out targets on the Left: political figures, heads of left-wing organizations, propagandists in the media, heads of public sector unions, and corrupt local government officials. Heck, they could even go after “woke” corporate folks. Trust me, I bet you could find all sorts of stuff on the heads of TV channels, media outfits, and the CEOs of corporations—really awkward stuff that might make them shut the hell up. 

And since the Left seems to like pushing around fake dossiers, how about we create our own real dossiers, full of facts, very awkward facts? That would be lit.

The rate of success for the PT boats would be dependent on “body count”; how many on the Left are driven out of the public square, out of office, or quite frankly, put in jail for their very cavalier approach to say the rule of law, the laws governing non-profits, and things like voter fraud. 

Some people might think this is mean. To which I say: grow up. There is a war for the republic’s existence and some people are like, “Ew, this approach would make me feel so icky.” You know what will make you feel super icky? When your indoctrinated kids inform on you and get you sent to a re-education camp. So suck it up, buttercup.

Cultivate the Skills to Win

As we see more Republican senators working overtime to negotiate surrender terms with the domestic terrorists on the Left, maybe—and this is just a thought here—we should spend more time recruiting and training the right people to run for office at all levels; from local and state to federal. 

I know that’s a novel concept. But shouldn’t we invest in real champions of conservatism instead of taking whatever scraps are offered from the table by the Republican Party? That’s what American Majority has been working on for years now: training and equipping a farm team of conservative leaders who have the skills to win. 

I’m a big believer that politics, ultimately, is about ideas and policy. But you have to win politically before you can implement any ideas or policy. What if we could identify and train people like that to run for office in every state? What if we could train people everywhere to be effective activists who win?

There also needs to be “lawfare.” Incessant lawfare like what the American Center Law and Justice and Alliance for Defending Freedom are doing, but multiply it by a hundred at the state and local level. Honestly, there should be FOIA requests directed at every municipality; think Judicial Crisis Network times 10,000. 

Reexamine Everything

There should be a real funding mechanism for this, almost like a hedge fund. Not like the absurd dumbass Koch seminars that are really just a way to advance the Koch’s corporate interests, but instead a collection of committed donors who will commit $200 million every year to be distributed to effective groups. 

The New Right must be built around a set of ideals: life, family, strong military, Americanism, economic self-sufficiency; we’re not going to sacrifice American jobs anymore or willingly place ourselves in bad trade deals. We want national security, not interventionism or nation-building. 

Time to reexamine everything, including not looking at the Republican Party as a place to send money or something you bank on to represent you. Instead it should be seen as nothing more than a legal vehicle by which we achieve our political ends. The party is what people say it is, so use the GOP as the vehicle for Americanism. 

All of this to say that the American Republic is at stake. Conservatism, Inc. has been weighed in the balance and found wanting. To continue investing in it despite its dismal record is the very definition of insanity. Without a radical change in strategy and tactics, including funding, it will also virtually guarantee the destruction of the Republic.

Great America

‘Joe College’: A Modest Proposal to Improve Joe Biden’s College Plan

If we truly want all Americans to have the benefit of a college degree, a bolder, more modern solution than merely financing tuition is required.

In his first campaign appearance in New Hampshire, Joe Biden declared that “12 years of education is not enough anymore.” He advocated two free years of community college for all students. In July, he progressed to the full Bernie Sanders plan, calling for free college tuition without the two-year limitation.

The former vice president is thinking too small. It isn’t subsidized college attendance Americans need. That’s been true for some time, but it’s even more obvious in our “new normal” age of eternal pestilence. Today’s college classes are amateur media productions less professional than the average YouTube channel. 

Classes aren’t what the rising generation requires anyway. Degrees are what they need. This is the key insight.

If we truly want all Americans to have the benefit of a college degree, a bolder, more modern solution than merely financing tuition is required.

Fortunately, a simple solution is well within our national means.

The United States Congress should simply pass a law granting a college degree to every adult American.

The advantages of this legislation should be immediately obvious. The cost of printing and distributing college diplomas will be far less than the cost of housing, entertaining, and propagandizing undergraduates for a period of four or five years. It will also allow them to enter the workforce immediately, and at the higher initial salary rates accorded to a person with a college degree.

Conferring a degree immediately on every American will provide an immediate economic boost and be a real morale builder! That’s just the beginning, though. Fine-tuning this policy can also help us address other social issues.

For instance, historical imbalances can be adjusted. Women, traditionally underrepresented in the STEM fields, should all receive degrees in STEM subjects. Since jobs in those fields are generally higher-paying, this will also go a long way towards reducing the wage gap. And who will dare to repeat tired old stereotypes about male and female brains,once there are far more women than men holding STEM degrees?

Many problems generated by privilege could be eliminated at the same time. The most dangerous Americans, those who are currently guilty of membership in both the privileged gender and the privileged racial group, will all be awarded degrees in Intersectional Studies. When every white male is awarded an Intersectional Studies degree, all manner of evil will disappear. No Intersectional Studies major can be an oppressor, after all.

A few nay-sayers may be saying, at this point, “ . . . but you’ll be giving degrees to people who have not actually learned anything.” Yes, we will. 

But this already has been going on for many years, just in a less equitable fashion. Studies have shown that up to 36 percent of students who complete an undergraduate degree have made no significant gains in learning along the way, despite actual attendance, completion of academic requirements for a degree, and a great deal of money invested in tuition. This new policy would give them the job credential they needed, without wasting their time or anyone’s money. The 64 percent who are fooled into learning something along the way to their own credentials will also be benefitted, by being put on an equal footing with their peers at last.

It must be admitted that this plan, like all bold plans, will cause some short-term disruption. For instance, universal, automatic distribution of college degrees may well reduce enrollment at traditional colleges. This might cause some concern at first. Faculty members will soon see the bright side, however. They’ll have much more time for research, incoherent rambling, and bitter academic rivalries—and far fewer witnesses to their discomfort with distance learning technologies.

So let’s get those Joe Biden results, without the delay, expense, or hypocrisy. Tell your congresscritters to legislate immediate degrees for all!

Then, order yourself a keg. Our national graduation party is going to be epic!

Great America

The Left Uses Junk Studies to Show Racism

If unconscious bias could be demonstrated through properly designed and validated studies, it wouldn’t be necessary to rely on junk science.

On March 23, 1989, a room full of reporters and scientists was buzzing in anticipation of an announcement of a breakthrough that, if it panned out, would propel humanity into a new era of unlimited pollution-free energy. The University of Utah’s vice president for research introduced two scientists, Dr. Stan Pons, and Dr. Martin Fleishman. The scientists then announced that a simple device using palladium and heavy water could generate energy from a type of cold fusion resulting from chemical reactions.

We still don’t know whether this “discovery” was an intentional hoax or merely wishful thinking. 

At the time, real scientists—including my father who is a professor of mechanical engineering—immediately knew to roll their eyes with skepticism. They demanded the details of the experiment so they could attempt to replicate its results. Nobody could reproduce the results these Utah professors claimed to discover and the episode remains a cautionary tale to all of science. 

Scientific studies “confirming” America to be a racist country have become the modern equivalent of the cold fusion experiment. 

A research psychologist can attain fame and lavish funding if she can publish a study demonstrating an urgent need for government intervention to correct the epidemic of systematic racism. Most calls for drastic social change rely on platitudes and, “we know”-type statements. Asking for evidence or support for charges like these can be risky and might invite retaliatory criticism. But if one is patient and drills through the links, one can uncover the allegedly scientific studies said to support these assumptions about a racist America. 

Advocates commonly cite the Bertrand and Mullainathan study from 2004 to demonstrate that racial bias has infected all hiring decisions in America. This study submitted fictitious job applicants with names associated with African Americans to real employers. The study appeared to conclude that African Americans are far less likely to receive job interviews than applicants with traditional European or American names. 

In 2016, however, scientists could not replicate the conclusions of the Bertrand study. In the scientific community, that would mean one could not use the earlier study to make any further generalizations. But this fact doesn’t stop the New York Times from continuing to cite the study to advance its social justice agenda.

The blog, Replication-Index, observes that the entire field of social psychology suffers from a “validation crisis,” or “replication crisis.” The author notes, 

Many published results do not replicate in honest replication attempts that allow the data to decide whether a hypothesis is true or false. The replication crisis is sometimes attributed to the lack of replication studies before 2011. However, this is not the case. Most published results were replicated successfully. However, these successes were entirely predictable from the fact that only successful replications would be published (Sterling, 1959). These sham replication studies provided illusory evidence for theories that have been discredited over the past eight years by credible replication studies.

The author adds, “This is mostly due to self-serving biases and motivated reasoning of test developers. The gains from [confirming an assumption] that is widely used are immense. Thus, weak evidence is used to claim that [an assumption] is valid . . . ”

Of course, some research scientists commit outright fraud for the purpose of gaining fame and funding. For example, the Dutch social psychologist Diederick Stapel admitted faking data to support his discrimination hypothesis. This led to a discovery of massive fraud in dozens of Dutch social-psychology papers. 

In 2018, Replication-Index reviewed a roundup of studies that appeared to demonstrate that virtually all Americans have, “Implicit racial bias.” Again, the survey confirmed that conclusions of racial bias are virtually impossible to replicate legitimately in subsequent experiments. Nevertheless, the discredited studies remain a staple of woke orthodoxy. They are used to justify the divisive training in which white Americans are told they must be racist when the studies do not confirm this conclusion.

In 2019, Replication-Index exposed flaws in the Implicit Association Test (IAT), which is used to construct studies that attempt to show that all people suffer from “implicit bias.” According to the site, “The IAT is best known as a measure of prejudice, racial bias, or attitudes of White Americans towards African Americans.” A review of 21 studies revealed consistent unreliability in the methods and analysis of data. 

The Replication-Index concluded: “The race IAT is 20 years old. It has been used in hundreds of articles to make empirical claims about prejudice. The confusion between measures and constructs has created a public discourse about implicit racial bias that may occur outside of awareness. However, this discourse is removed from the empirical facts.”

It’s highly destructive to “teach” Americans to assume that their coworkers and neighbors harbor racial biases. These studies finding “biases” are the product of pandering and wishful thinking by researchers who understand that studies “confirming” the narrative will lead to fame and increased funding. These flawed studies and the propaganda that grows out of them stoke mistrust and tribalism. Academia has become a noxious echo chamber. 

Ironically, the continued reliance on flawed studies shows exactly the opposite of what these researchers wish to prove: America is not a racist country. 

If unconscious bias could be demonstrated through properly designed and validated studies, it wouldn’t be necessary to rely on junk studies. Without the meddling of biased researchers and social justice advocates, our country would be much further along in the principled goal of true legal and social equality regardless of race.

Great America

Intersectionality Vs. America

Our crossroads has never been clearer. Veer left for wokeness. Veer right for Americanism. Only one choice can save a country now teetering on the brink.

As the nation grapples in the throes of a once-a-generation soul search, the battle lines of our cold civil war between the Americanists and the civilizational arsonists only continue to harden.

This week saw the stunning public resignation of Bari Weiss as a New York Times opinion editor and columnist. In her cri de coeur, Weiss lamented the monolithic intellectual hegemony forcibly imposed at the Times by the left’s ascendant neo-Jacobin radicals—the dutiful foot soldiers of what Wesley Yang calls the “successor ideology.” In her plea, Weiss identifies Twitter—a synecdoche, of sorts, for leftist mob rule—as the Times‘ “ultimate editor.” What’s more, Weiss, a proud Jew and recent author of a book about fighting anti-Semitism, decried her cowardly Times ex-colleagues who’d complain about her “writing about the Jews again.”

Politically, Weiss is an old-school liberal centrist. But at the nation’s paper of record, traditional liberalism has been overrun by a successor ideology that is committed not to tolerance and pluralism but to multiculturalism, identity politics and the pseudo-intellectual grift that is “intersectionality.” The problem with these faddish schools of “thought” is both straightforward and terrifying: They are not merely totalitarian; they are at war with the very concept of America.

Under the tenets of the successor ideology, there is right and there is wrong. However, rather than using the barometer of moral truth, right and wrong are judged as our would-be ochlocracy defines the terms. 

According to the partisans of identity politics, right and wrong do not rely upon neutral appeals to truth, justice, egalitarianism or any other criteria that, for millennia, have guided Western political theory. Rather, right and wrong rely upon hierarchical appeals to gender, skin pigmentation, religious belief (or, more often, nonbelief), immigration status, sexual orientation and other categories of assigned “privilege.” 

To the multiculturalist or the intersectionalist, homogenous groupthink ought to be foisted upon an unsuspecting people, with the idiosyncratic beliefs and preferences of the less “privileged” necessarily elevated, by very identitarian nature of an expositor, over the beliefs and preferences of the more “privileged.” So “brown” Palestinian-Arabs must be elevated over “white” Israelis (itself a demographic mischaracterization). The insurrectionist, anti-Western civilization platform of the Black Lives Matter movement – which lists on its official website organizational goals such as “disrupt(ing) the Western-prescribed nuclear family” and “freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking”—cannot be called into question because the word “Black” is used in the name.

This is poisonous claptrap—a blight upon America’s founding ideals and a cancer upon the basic norms of civic comity without which a unified republic cannot endure. Two weeks ago, we celebrated the 244th birthday of a nation famously founded on the proposition “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” In a land conceived on that noble premise, there is no room for a politics of crass racial strife and other forms of rank identitarian subjugation. It is no exaggeration to claim that contemporary peddlers of such a morally bankrupt view of the world are the modern-day intellectual successors of the antebellum- and Jim Crow-era racists; they, too, viewed American society through a prism of race-based “right” and “wrong.” The two are flip sides of the same coin—a coin that is utter anathema to the Declaration of Independence.

On a more tangible level, a view of politics based on overarching hierarchies of “privilege” is also toxic to the sustainability of a civil society. Such a view of the world, predicated upon the diminution of individual moral agency and the pitting of identity-based groups against each other, sows dissension by its very nature. Those deemed “privileged,” or non-“woke,” are punished accordingly. White Christians always fit the bill. But so do Jews, despite their status as the world’s single most historically oppressed people and that we are living through a period of rising global Jew-hatred. 

Thus, we see complaints about Weiss spilling too much digital ink about Jewish issues. We see professional athletes, like DeSean Jackson, invoke infamous anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan on social media. We see “#JewishPrivilege” trend on Twitter. By purporting to fight bigotry, the intersectionalists deliberately excuse—and affirmatively abet—another form of bigotry. Such is the nature of a zero-sum conceptualization of politics.

Our crossroads has never been clearer. Veer left for wokeness. Veer right for Americanism. Only one choice can save a country now teetering on the brink.


Great America

Hey Cancel Culture: What About Buffalo Soldiers?

What will the cancel culture do when a hero to one group of non-whites massacred the ancestors of another group of non-whites?

The high priests of the cancel culture and their Black Lives Matter acolytes seek to erase history. While their first targets were Confederate statues, recently their wrath has targeted America’s Founders, particularly George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, for owning slaves. Black Lives Matter activists even defaced a statue of Abraham Lincoln, the man who freed the slaves, perhaps because his existence destroys their narrative that all white Republicans hate black people (and serves as an uncomfortable reminder that Democrats founded the Ku Klux Klan and enacted Jim Crow legislation).

The logical endpoint of this Orwellian crusade is to make anyone said to be on “the wrong side of history” an “unperson,” removing any positive, or even neutral, references or depictions. Some of the “allies” of this movement have extended the effort beyond the issue of slavery. In New Mexico, Pueblo activists have long complained about statues depicting conquistador Juan de Oñate.

Although I’m not Pueblo, my Choctaw ancestors were the original people forced to march along the Trail of Tears at gunpoint, and I’ve studied Oñate’s barbarity. Since a statue commemorating Adolf Hitler is inconceivable, the Oñate statues have always mystified me. And before anyone accuses me of reductio ad Hitlerum, I would point out that Oñate was convicted of war crimes and banished from New Mexico after ordering the siege of Acoma Pueblo that killed nearly a thousand. Of the 500 captured survivors, he personally sentenced everyone over 12 to 20 years of slavery and amputated the right foot of all men over 25. 

Note to the New York Times’ “1619 Project”: This atrocity happened in 1599 and enslaved 20 times more men, women, and children than arrived at Point Comfort aboard the “White Lion” 20 years later.

While Oñate’s war crimes are not in dispute, his “founding” of New Mexico has been celebrated in the Hispanic community for more than a century, including naming a high school after him a few miles from my house in Las Cruces.

Since agreeing to disagree without being disagreeable is heresy in the religion of “Wokeness,” what will the cancel culture do when a hero to one group of non-whites massacred the ancestors of another group of non-whites? This conundrum isn’t limited to Hispanic conquistadors.

A century before they were recast by Bob Marley as a symbol of black resistance, four volunteer regiments of black “Buffalo Soldiers” were killing Indians during the Indian Wars. While the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture acknowledges the “irony of African-American soldiers fighting native people on behalf of a government that accepted neither group as equals,” it defends theProud Legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers” and their massacre of Indians because some tribes fought alongside the Confederacy decades earlier. 

Try telling that to descendants of those slaughtered during the Ghost Dance War, which included the infamous Wounded Knee Massacre. Since precisely zero tribes that the Buffalo Soldiers fought against sided with the Confederacy, that lame attempt at justification is further proof that if it weren’t for double-standards, the cancel culture would have no standards at all.

If they had even a shred of consistency, Black Lives Matters and the rest of the cancel culture should call for the revocation of the 18 Indian War-era Medals of Honor issued to black Buffalo Soldiers. Better yet, we could all agree to preserve our history so we can reflect on our past and make sure we never repeat our worst mistakes. 

Great America

Gorsuch’s Oklahoma Sellout Shows He’s No Champion For Middle America

Gorsuch is a conservative who wants to be respected by liberals and will find “principled conservative” reasons for siding with them. This explains his many disappointments.

Did you know that the Supreme Court gave away half of Oklahoma to Amerindian tribes last week? You probably didn’t hear a lot about it.

Most media attention focused on the high court’s rulings on President Trump’s legal battles, yet the Oklahoma decision may prove to be far more important. And this liberal decision was authored by none other than Trump’s first court appointee, Neil Gorsuch.

The case, McGirt v. Oklahoma, centered on an Oklahoma man, Jimcy McGirt, who was convicted of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old in 1997. McGirt demanded the overturning of his state conviction on the basis that he is a member of the Seminole Nation and his crime allegedly took place within the Creek Nation’s jurisdiction. He claims the court that convicted him doesn’t have jurisdiction over where the crime occurred. The court’s four liberal justices and Gorsuch agreed with McGirt’s request and issued a majority ruling that recognizes nearly half of Oklahoma as Indian territory.

“On the far end of the Trail of Tears was a promise. Forced to leave their ancestral lands in Georgia and Alabama, the Creek Nation received assurances that their new lands in the West would be secure forever,” Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion. “Today we are asked whether the land these treaties promised remains an Indian reservation for purposes of fed­eral criminal law. Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word.”

This ruling effectively bars Oklahoma from properly governing the eastern half of the state. Even Chief Justice John Roberts, a notorious squish, thinks this ruling will hobble Oklahoma from enforcing the law and overturn “decades of past convictions.” 

“On top of that, the Court has profoundly destabilized the governance of eastern Oklahoma. The decision today creates significant uncertainty for the State’s continuing authority over any area that touches Indian affairs,” Roberts wrote in the dissent joined by the three other conservative justices. 

Oklahoma’s lawyers also informed the court that a ruling in favor of McGirt would harm state governance. “The State generally lacks the authority to tax Indians in Indian country, so turning half the State into Indian country would decimate state and local budgets,” the state’s brief explains. Oklahoma also claims the ruling will impede custody disputes and other legal matters.

Gorsuch dismissed these concerns in his ruling: “Dire warnings are just that and not a license for us to disregard the law. By suggesting that our interpretation of Acts of Congress adopted a century ago should be inflected based on the costs of enforcing them today, the dissent tips its hand.”

Gorsuch believes the only way for Oklahoma to regain sovereignty over its territory is for Congress to nullify long-dead treaties.

This is another example of Gorsuch offering the conservative case for selling out America.

Most readers are familiar with Gorsuch siding with the LGBT agenda last month. In Bostock v. Clayton County, Gorsuch authored the majority opinion that added sexual orientation to the categories covered by the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The originalist justice decided that the Act’s references to “sex” also included sexual orientation, even though the Act’s drafters clearly didn’t intend that meaning. 

The ruling potentially opens religious institutions to endless litigation if they refuse to hire people on the basis of their sexual orientation. Catholic schools will be forced to hire transgender teachers and evangelical groups won’t be able to do anything if an employee comes out as gay. Gorsuch’s ruling says there may be religious exemptions to the LGBT mandate, but it has to be decided in future cases. Social conservative groups were not satisfied with that and felt betrayed by the ruling

Less attention has been paid to Gorsuch’s stands on immigration and criminal justice. Gorsuch is not exactly an immigration hawk. In 2018, he struck down a Trump administration measure that deported criminal immigrants. Gorsuch ruled against the administration because officials didn’t properly specify what constitutes a “crime of violence.” The overruled policy would have deported all foreign nationals convicted of such an offense. 

His immigration record as a circuit court judge earned liberal praise. FiveThirtyEight found Gorsuch sided with immigrants more often than his circuit court. In his rulings, he made it easier for illegal aliens to obtain legal status and hindered the enforcement of federal immigration law. He says his wife’s immigrant background informs his views on the issue. 

He’s also the conservative Supreme Court justice with the most enthusiasm for reforming criminal justice. In 2019, he ruled with the liberal justices against a federal statute that mandates lengthy sentences for criminals who use a firearm in connection with federal crimes. Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion that said the statute was bad because it was “too vague.” The conservative justices, led by fellow Trump appointee Brett Kavanaugh, attacked Gorsuch’s opinion for transgressing on the separation of powers. The statute was created by Congress. Overruling Congress didn’t bother the “strict constitutionalist” Gorsuch in this situation. 

He has also voted with liberal justices in other cases concerning harsh criminal sentencing and policing. This disposition matters as the court may soon hear cases inspired by the recent unrest and decide whether police deserve qualified immunity and other protections that allow them to do their job.

Gorsuch was touted as the most conservative justice when he was first appointed to the court. His record, while not quite as bad as Roberts’ or Kennedy’s (yet), doesn’t measure up to Antonin Scalia’s legacy. Gorsuch is a conservative who wants to be respected by liberals and will find “principled conservative” reasons for siding with them. This explains his many disappointments.