Category Archives: Opinion

Freedom from speech becoming the new campus norm

Source: Heartland Institute
by Robert Holland

"Did our Revolutionary forebears have it all wrong? Do young social-justice warriors at elite universities have it right? Is it true or false that what Americans need is not the freedom of speech that is protected in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? Do they require instead freedom from speech—any speech, that is, that offends the prevailing leftist orthodoxy at the bastions of what used to be known as liberal learning? Maybe most Americans are not quite at the point of ditching freedom of speech, but universities are most certainly leading us that way." (03/29/17)

Policing the colony: From the American Revolution to Ferguson

Source: The Nation
by Chris Hayes

"When a cop tells you to do something, do it. You hear this folk wisdom a lot, and it
 basically comes in two varieties. The first version is the central lesson of 'the Talk' that so many African-American parents give their children about how to survive a police encounter: Keep your hands on the wheel. Don’t make sudden movements. Say 'Yes, officer. No, officer.' The other version isn’t merely practical advice but reflects a deeper belief about the sanctity of police authority. It’s what lies behind the question you so often hear: Why didn’t she just do what the cop said? That inquiry comes unbidden every time an incident of police violence is captured on video. Even when the citizen in question is, say, a 16-year-old foster child sitting at her desk in her classroom in Columbia, South Carolina, refusing to leave, only to be body-slammed and dragged across the room. 
Why didn’t she just comply? None of this would have happened if she’d just listened." (03/29/17)

Why elite universities are so illiberal

Source: spiked
by Joanna Williams

"On both sides of the Atlantic it is the most elite institutions, those that can take their pick of the brightest students, those that, in the US at least, are able to command the highest fees, that are leading the way in censorship. Students in receipt of the best education money can buy are neither less capable of refuting speakers they find offensive nor inherently more sensitive than the rest of us. Perhaps what they do have is a more finely tuned sense of entitlement, stemming from their place within the academic elite and exacerbated by their status as consumers. All too often this is enacted as a demand for freedom from speech. Some seem to assume that the cost and effort that goes into securing a top university place gives them the right not to be offended once there." (03/30/17)

Requiem for a sane immigration policy

Source: Cato Institute
by Jonathan Blanks

"Federal immigration enforcement policy has been working at cross-purposes with its stated goals for decades, and the Trump Administration seems dedicated to the most counter-productive policies to those ends. The walls and laws that were created to keep people out have kept far more undocumented people in the country than there had been in years past. Trump wants more laws and walls. Yet the overzealous tactics to target victims of crimes for possible deportation poison the relationship between local police and those they are sworn to protect and serve, allowing more crime to happen and more violent criminals to escape justice." (03/29/17)

Regnat Tyrannis

Source: Common Sense
by Paul Jacob

"Arkansas’s motto is Regnat Populus — 'The People Rule.' Unfortunately, the people’s so-called representatives are demanding that this motto be made more fitting: Regnat Tyrannis. I jest. The Natural State’s legislators aren’t nearly so honest. Just devious. A few years back, the fine people of Arkansas (where I grew up) had arguably the nation’s most accessible-to-the-people petition process. With it, they enacted issues that legislators despise: term limits, for instance. But in 2013, legislators passed several bills upping the difficulty and cost of the citizen initiative process. They’re back." (03/30/17)

To form a more corporate union

Source: In These Times
by Chris Lehmann

"The present crisis of the American republic stems, at least in part, from a willful misunderstanding of our civic life. Viewed from the soaring liberal presupposition that our nation is, and has always been, a paragon of Enlightenment virtues, Donald Trump seems like a grotesque aberration — a derogation of all that is good and great about America, from equality under the law to reverence for a free press. Viewed from the actual makeup of the U.S. political economy, however, Trumpism is a foreseeable outgrowth of a centuries-long siege upon democratic institutions. From colonial times onward, a feckless and entitled business class exploited unfree labor and consolidated wealth. With such winds of history blowing so strongly at his back, why shouldn’t Donald Trump — the exemplar of something-for-nothing capitalism — ascend to the Oval Office?" (03/30/17)

The change America needs is libertarianism

Source: Future of Freedom Foundation
by Laurence M Vance

"Americans have now endured yet another election cycle. Many promises have been made; many assurances have been given; many changes have been proposed. And many changes will undoubtedly take place. But what kind of changes will they be? If they are not changes in the direction of more liberty and less government, then they are the wrong kind of changes. That is why the change America needs is libertarianism." (03/30/17)

The price of liberation: Slaughtering civilians in Mosul

Source: CounterPunch
by Binoy Kampmark

"The narrative on fighting Islamic State is this: good guys size up bad guys and the former will triumph in a dark-light narrative of childish simplicity. But consequentially, it is always difficult to distinguish a Bomber Harris, architect of the Dresden bombing of 1945 that had no military value, from the camp commander who orders murderous gas for extermination camps. We can well draw distinctions about how wars begin, and regimes behind them, but the methods of war, including their outcomes, are also important. Put the treacle-pudding guff of humanitarian virtue to the side, and what matters is the result, which usually involves fresh graves strewn over fields of dissolved hopes." (03/30/17)

Does the religious right's decline help the alt-right?

Source: The American Conservative
by George Hawley

"Yes, organized conservative Christians were a major hindrance to certain progressive victories. And with the religious right in disarray and Christianity as a whole experiencing long-term decline, the progressive agenda may face fewer roadblocks on cultural issues in the future. Yet according to Beinart, we should not forget the progressive influence that Christianity has had on American culture and politics, or the role Christian institutions play in building social capital. It is not true that Christianity has served only reactionary ends. In fact, Christianity may have been one of the few forces keeping explicit white identity politics in check. No longer shackled to Christian notions of love and equality, the religious right's remnants may embrace the racial right. … Yet Beinart overstates the importance of Christianity as a defense against radical right-wing politics. Certainly, it is naive to assume that former conservative Christians will all become secular egalitarians, but the future of white identity politics is probably not closely tied to the future of Christianity in America." (03/30/17)

Baltasar Gracian's aphorism #195: Know how to appreciate people

by Wendy McElroy

"Much of Gracian's advice revolves around avoiding the damage that the malicious and the fools can do your life. It is important to treat everyone with civility and common decency until there is reason NOT to do so. For example, until or unless the vicious person purposely harms you, until or unless the fool makes you pay the cost of his own bad judgment." (03/30/17)