How do you turn “Obama’s Huge Blunder” (see the February issue) into a political win and paint the inept Republicans into a tight corner? Answer: you set a trap that they cannot avoid by converting a major issue involving the first amendment right to the free exercise of religion and the long-established freedom of conscience in religious matters into one that is focused on an entirely bogus debate on women’s health and access to contraception. There are three types of people: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened. Guess where the GOP fits on this scale? Right. They wander right into the perfect storm of what was a setup from the outset and just about the only thing that could bail Obama out of a real problem with a huge constituency. Some people are just very difficult to help.
If anyone can get them back on top of the real issue here, there is serious business at stake, namely a major foundational principle that is slowly, but surely, under attack by this regime at every turn. For the Obama crowd is intent on converting the essence of the free exercise clause, which stands for freedom of religion, to one that is limited to freedom of worship, a huge difference that will serve to privatize religion in this country and relegate it to the margins, if not eliminate it entirely from discourse in the public square. Remarks like “we are a nation that guarantees the freedom to worship as one chooses” are heavily coded, very instructive, and worthless. This is Euro-secularist talk.
Meanwhile, the administration “accommodates” its faith-based constituency on the left by merely switching the problematic mandate for free birth control services from the religious institution to its insurance provider, a gimmick which changes nothing of any moral substance. In addition to its constitutional violations, it is a mandate forbidden by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. How stupid do they think we are? The Catholic Church v0ws to continue the fight. They have been late to the game while helping Obama pursue “social justice”, but I hope they are finally wise to the duplicity of this administration, and they now deserve the strenuous support of all persuasions loyal to our founding traditions, whether faith-based or not.
Wilson was a favorite essayist and political and social scientist, and his book, The Moral Sense, was an important one for me. In it, he identifies our moral sense, what some have described as “written on the heart”, as a fact of human nature, the primary enemy of moral relativism, and an essence that statist regimes of all stripes must defeat in order to attain sovereignty. He could not be described as a political conservative, but he certainly had conservative instincts, as evidenced by remarks such as these which resonate in current issues: “Our freedom does not depend on eliminating acknowledgements of the power of religion; it relies instead on the fact that for many generations we have embraced a secular government operating in a religious culture. That embrace will be weakened, not strengthened, by silly attacks on religiosity, stimulating the spiritual to question the seriousness of people who profess a concern for civil liberties”.
It appears that my alma mater will be on the leading edge of what could be a watershed decision by the Supreme Court on affirmative action in the use of race-based criteria in college admissions. They have been there before–in breakthrough segregation cases like Sweatt vs. Painter and the previous affirmative action case of Hopwood vs. Texas–but this one, Fisher vs. The University of Texas, has the potential to end once and for all the notion of race-based admissions, either as a remedy for previous discrimination or, more importantly, to achieve diversity in admissions as a compelling state interest going forward. This latter manifestation of affirmative action, diversity as a compelling interest, was established by Justice Harry Blackmun in 1978 in the Bakke decision in California to continue to justify race as a factor in college admissions, and this concept was sustained in the Grutter vs. Bollinger decision in 2003, when Justice Sandra Day O’Conner was the deciding vote in a 5-4 decision.
There are supposedly educational benefits for students in this compelling interest of diversity, in the form of the unique viewpoint contributions that the students so admitted bring to the institution, but all of those contributions typically identified are racially stereotypical, and therefore racist. In fact, the very benefits claimed come as a result of using these students as a means to the ends of others. Furthermore, extensive studies have shown not only that these preferential admissions do not benefit powerless minorities, but that they very often do harm to the groups they are designed to help. Interestingly, in the face of this evidence and the pending Supreme Court review, the Obama administration has issued new guidelines for enhancing diversity in college admissions and proposing new ways in which colleges might factor race into their admissions process.
We have a much different court now than in 2003 and there is reason to hope and believe that it will finally come to the conclusion that this definition of diversity is an open-ended objective and serves as a continuing cover for discrimination that violates our sense of merit and racial equality and that neither serves a compelling state interest nor benefits the people it has been designed to help. Let’s quit mending it and end it.
This is an excerpt of what I had to say just before the Grutter decision in 2003 about the alternatives to the flawed approach of discrimination to achieve diversity, and it’s still valid today:
“It is clear that enrollment parity for economically and socially disadvantaged students will come only when these students are much better prepared for higher education by our public school system. When almost one-half of minority children do not complete high school and over one-half of all third graders cannot read at grade level, the lucky few who fit into the “diversity” quotas are insignificant in number compared to those condemned to permanent second class status by failing public schools.”
There is an old saying: fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Well, what happens the third time? That’s where we are with North Korea. In fact, they have now fooled three U. S. administrations, dating back to the Agreed Framework of 1994 negotiated by Jimmy Carter for Bill Clinton. This time it’s food for………..what? Another promise, this time to suspend nuclear tests. Secretary of State Clinton called it “a modest first step in the right direction”. After sixty years with this criminal regime and we’re into modest first steps? All this does is once again buy this murderous regime some time, when we should be pursuing every step possible to bring it down. This would be much preferable to its suffering people than buying time with food most of them will never see.
Many of you probably watched the recent CBS 60 Minutes segment on the Texas ranchers who have saved a number of species of African exotic wildlife by bringing them to Texas and providing incentives for their propagation by marketing their harvest as hunting trophies. The populations have now reached the extent of over a quarter million exotic animals from Africa and Asia, including at least three species that have been rescued from extinction in the process. The market for the animals makes the system work and in many cases there are now more representatives of the species in Texas than in their native countries.
But as you might guess, this is not good enough for the animal rights crowd. They deeply resent the application of market principles to their supposedly purely altruistic motives and are working fairly successfully to hinder the permitting to hunt certain species, which will of course dampen the market and significantly shrink the population. One activist said in effect that she would rather whatever numbers of the various species are left be returned to Africa. In other words, she would rather have them dead in Africa than alive and propagating in Texas if it means that otherwise someone is profiting from the process.
The true motives of these people are exposed here. They have no real interest in the animals at all. It’s all about the notion of the pristine wilderness “uncorrupted” by the social constructs of man, the romantic invention of Jean Jacques Rousseau that permeates animal rights activism as well as its cousin, radical environmentalism, to the detriment of both man and beast.
The media watchdogs are twittering with commentary about President Obama’s new hawkish turn of rhetoric on the Iranian nuclear weapons issue. Is this for real? With him, how can we ever know? You can be assured of one thing–Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is dead serious when he says “I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation” and we had better know that he will take military action when he feels threatened on that point, whether or not he has “approval” from the U. S. to do so. I suspect that Michael Barone is correct when he notes that there is a clear difference of views between the two leaders–Obama talks about preventing Iran from having a nuclear weapon, while Netanyahu talks of preventing them from having a nuclear weapons capability. This is a big difference. And, incidentally, don’t think that the fecklessness of the “deal” that we recently made with North Korea is lost on the mullahs in Tehran. So the U. S. continues with negotiations, while the sanctions on Iran tighten and continue to take their toll, but I’m betting that there is an Israeli military strike pretty soon, because the timing of this capability is a lot closer than a weapon that can actually be delivered, and Israel cannot live with that.
This was forwarded to me by a friend, who picked it up anonymously, but I think it might become a classic—INEPTOCRACY (in-ep-toc’-ra-cy), a new word to describe a totally dysfunctional political system, much as we have now, defined as follows:
“A system of government in which the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.”