Concluding NRB’s recent drug legalization debate is a post entitled, “This is What Happens When the Founders’ Philosophy of Government Is Ignored.” Setting aside the fact that just how the Founders would have treated drugs remains very much an open question, it seems to me that, given another recent NRB debate, a reminder of what else can happen when America’s founding principles are disregarded is in order. (Content Warning) Continue reading
Conservatism Can’t Survive Without the Pro-Life Movement, Part II
In Part I, I argue that it would be politically foolish for the Right to further backpedal or abandon the pro-life cause. Here I want to make the case that the right to life truly is inseparable both from core conservatism and from any meaningful effort to advance conservative ideas—that, in fact, pro-abortion tendencies actually endanger the prospects of those who value limited government, the free market, and strong national defense.
As I explained on June 15, abortion is an affront to the Declaration of Independence. As the unjust taking of a human life, it is wrong for the same reason slavery, theft, assault, honor killings, rape, eminent domain abuse, and individual health insurance mandates are wrong: they are all violations of human liberty and natural rights. Accordingly, society justly protects its citizens from them via law for the same reason. As long as conservatism still “holds these truths to be self-evident” that all men have “certain unalienable rights” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and as long as conservatism still accepts that “governments are instituted among men” for the purpose of “secur[ing] these rights,” then philosophically-consistent conservatives have no choice but to oppose legalized abortion. Nobody can support abortion in good conscience without either honestly confronting this conundrum head-on, or asking himself what definition of “conservatism” he’s been operating under all this time.
That pro-choice views are an egregious exception to conservatives’ and libertarians’ pro-liberty rhetoric should be obvious. What may be less obvious—but is no less true—is that such dubious thinking cannot help but undermine other core conservative principles and efforts. Continue reading
Conservatism Can’t Survive Without the Pro-Life Movement, Part I (Updated)
The more I reflect on The Great NewsReal Abortion Debate, the more convinced I am that I made a critical error.
I want to revisit the issue of whether or not the pro-life cause is central or peripheral to the conservative movement. I made clear where I stood on that question—as an egregious deprivation of human rights, abortion should be opposed by every lover of liberty with every fiber of his or her being—but I fear I didn’t go nearly far enough in explaining the implications of the answer. This essay will explore the practical aspects of the matter; my next one will address the moral and philosophical.
I conceded that I could “basically support” the kind of ‘truce’ David Swindle was talking about, i.e. candidates centering their campaigns on the “two unifying issues” of the free market and defeating Islamofascism. That’s more or less how wartime Republican presidents since Ronald Reagan have run for office anyway (in Reagan’s case swapping out Islamofascism for the Soviet Union), and that’s okay. I don’t have a problem with our candidates emphasizing some issues more than others to put voters’ most immediate concerns front and center, or to address crises that demand immediate resolution.
However, that doesn’t exempt a candidate from talking about the right to life at all, or from being pro-life. I have already argued that pro-life principles are inseparable from core conservatism, and that abortion cannot be regarded as merely one issue among many, and I’ll elaborate more on those points in the next post. But it’s also important because whether or not one is capable of recognizing abortion for the evil that it is, and is willing to do something about it, tells us something about what he or she is made of. I know there are exceptions (Ron Paul is pro-life but deranged, Joe Lieberman is radically pro-abortion, but firm on the war), but I truly believe that strongly pro-life candidates will tend to be of a higher caliber than pro-choice candidates in several qualities that will benefit public servants, and the American people, in all areas: Continue reading
This is What Losing an Argument Looks Like
Even if you aren’t violent, you are fanning the flames, inciting those that may be on the edge. There is more at stake here than whether someone is for or against the issue. There is the rule of law. This misogynistic thinking imitates Sharia law. This is America.
Blogosphere Tip of the Day: if your opponent can’t respond to your arguments with anything other than lying, hysterical hatred, you’re allowed to declare victory, and there’s probably nothing to be gained from a continued dialogue with said sore loser.
How the Teachers’ Unions and Democrats Scam Taxpayers
Charles Lane, in the Washington Post:
By now, you’ve probably heard about the urgent teacher layoff crisis that threatens public education across America. Due to shrinking state and local budgets, up to 300,000 teachers could be laid off, with devastating educational consequences for our children, such as burgeoning class sizes. The only cure is $23 billion in fresh federal deficit spending, rushed through Congress as part of a bill to fund U.S. overseas military operations. “The urgency is high,” President Obama warned congressional leaders in a June 12 letter.
Don’t believe the hype.
Start with that scary number of 300,000 teacher layoffs, which has been bandied about in numerous newspaper articles. The sources for it are interested parties: teachers unions and school administrators, whose national organizations counted layoff warning notices that have already been sent out this spring and extrapolated from there. Notably, however, even these sources usually describe the threatened positions as “education jobs” – not teachers. That’s because the figures actually include not only kindergarten through 12th grade classroom instructors, but also support staff (bus drivers, custodians, et al.) and even community college faculty. And 300,000 is the upper end of a range that could be as low as 100,000. Nationwide, there are about 3.2 million K-12 public school teachers.
Moreover, springtime layoff notices are a notoriously unreliable guide to actual job cuts in the fall, because rules and regulations in many public school systems require administrators to notify every person who might conceivably be laid off — whether they actually expect to fire them or not. As the New York Times recently reported: “Everywhere, school officials tend to overestimate the potential for layoffs at this time of year, to ensure that every employee they might have to dismiss receives the required notifications.”
Given these facts, it’s unclear how the bill’s supporters came up with its $23 billion price tag. It works out to about $77,000 per job saved in the 300,000-layoff scenario, but $230,000 per job if only 100,000 jobs are at risk. Maybe that’s why the bill’s fine print allows states to spend any excess funds left over from education hiring on other state employees. By the way, the bill distributes funds to states according to how many residents they have, not how many threatened layoffs.
Read the rest here.
Helen Thomas is Helen Thomas. Film at Eleven.
Yep, Helen Thomas has been saying ugly things about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I’m with Johan Goldberg:
But beyond that, can we do away with all of the shock and dismay at Thomas’ statement? Spare me Lanny Davis’s wounded outrage. Everyone knows she is a nasty piece of work and has been a nasty piece of work for decades.
And when I say a nasty piece of work, I don’t simply mean her opinions on Israel. She’s been full-spectrum awful. I’ve known a few people who knew her 40 years ago, and she was slimy then too. One small example can be found in James Rosen’s excellent book on John Mitchell, The Strong Man. Mitchell’s wife Martha was a mentally unstable alcoholic who would call reporters to vent sad, paranoid, fact-free theories and diatribes. At first, many reporters were eager to hear her out, but over time it became obvious that Martha Mitchell was not well and it was cruel to exploit her. Obvious, that is, to nearly everyone butHelen Thomas who continued to milk Martha Mitchell for damning quotes and nonsense
All of these condemnations, equivocations, repudiations, and protestations are all fundamentally silly because they are part of a D.C. Kabuki that treats the last straw as if it was wholly different than the million other straws everyone was happy to carry.
Around the Web
At NRB, I review Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One.
Also at NRB, Horowitz and Knepper tear apart Andrew Sullivan, Patron Saint of Fail, over the Gaza flotilla attack. The outrage over Israel defending herself (with, er, paintball guns) drives home one important truth America should have learned years ago: “international opinion” is worse than worthless.
Speaking of which, you probably won’t hear much about the Turkish “peace” activists’ terror ties on MSNBC or NPR…
“As many as three million Chinese babies are hidden by their parents every year in order to get around the country’s one-child policy, a researcher has discovered.” Yeah, but America has human-rights issues of its own, so really, who are we to judge?
Here’s LifeNews on the GOP’s dereliction of duty in letting pro-abortion zealot Elena Kagan slide.
Dan Riehl opines on Jim DeMint’s “telling inconsistency” on anti-war Republican candidates.
The Pope talks immigration. Do his words actually bring anything useful to the debate? They’re written in extremely general terms that don’t speak to whether or not any given voices are describing the issue’s various facets accurately.
Here’s a new site conservatives should keep an eye out on (h/t David Swindle).
Why Let Reality Get in the Way of a Good Meme?
When we last left Self-Defeating Left-Wing Zealot Scott, he was making an ethically-challenged fool of himself over abortion. This evening, while browsing Boots & Sabers (which I really need to get back in the habit of reading more often – sorry Owen!), I came across the following comment from our pal:
Many conservatives eschew expert opinion in the first place, so what’s the big deal? Everything from CBO reports to scientific opinion—it just doesn’t matter because you can’t trust those eggheads. Me, I’m a big fan of learning. I like to acknowledge someone else’s expertise and learn from it.
Again, the only proper response is:
For good measure, background behind his bull about the CBO can be found here & here, and about “scientific opinion” here.
Pot, Meet Kettle
At NewsReal, Kathy Shaidle has an early contender for Most Ironic Story of the Year: “Michael Moore says Fox News edited clips to make President look bad. (No, really.)”
There’s “Not Such a Thing” as Radical Islam?
Earlier this week, the always-slimy Alan Colmes was in rare form trying to defend Attorney General Eric Holder’s surreal inability to utter the phrase “radical Islam” (emphasis added):
COLMES: Because there’s not such a thing as radical Islam.
COLMES: It is not Islam. It is not part of the religion. People are not doing this in the name of true Islam.
KELLY: Nobody’s saying they’re doing it in the name of true Islam.
COLMES: Why don’t we say that when somebody bombs an abortion clinic, or Scott Roeder, who kills an abortion doctor, is radical Christianity? Why isn’t there a great movement to say, ‘you gotta call it radical Christianity’?
KELLY: It’s not Islam. No one’s condemning Islam. It’s radical Islam.
COLMES: Then don’t use the word…to attach the words of those religions to that act is wrong…they’re not Islamic; they’re not acting according to Islamic doctrine […] It’s religious bigotry! […] This is a political ideology, not a religious ideology. They are attacking us on political grounds, not religious grounds. They are misusing Islam, and to use the word ‘Islam’ to try to apply to them because it satisfies our need to demonize a religion, is absolutely wrong, and bigoted…why are we so hung up on words?
Why are we so hung up on words? I don’t know, Alan—go ask the guy you voted for.
Good gravy, where to begin? First, let’s tackle the nonsense about how attaching “radical” to something is a smear. Actually, Alan, it turns out that lots of people use the phrase “radical Christianity.” And y’know what? I don’t blame ‘em! It’s not anti-Christian to say there are radical versions of, or strains in, Christianity; it’s anti-Christian to say that “radical Christianity” IS “normal” or “true” Christianity. I suspect most people with an above-toaster IQ would recognize that saying “radical” before a religion’s name is meant to distinguish what you’re talking about from the religion as a whole. That Colmes needs something so elementary explained to him is clearly an indication that either he’s getting paid way too much, or I’m getting paid way too little. (Of course, Colmes’ blog is chock-full of whining about people using the word “radical,” but he has no qualms about identifying “radical tea partiers”…)
Second, Colmes and Holder are awfully certain that the jihadists can’t possibly be operating from an even remotely valid interpretation of the Qur’an. Unfortunately, anyone who’s actually studied Islam in any depth can tell you, that’s not such a safe bet to make. I think I may be forgiven for suspecting neither Alan Colmes nor Eric Holder has studied the matter as carefully as, say, John Quincy Adams and Winston Churchill. Of course we should acknowledge that there are lots of moral, peace-loving Muslims, but it needs to be acknowledged that, at the very least, it’s not at all obvious that the jihadists are the ones on flimsy theological ground.
At the risk of again stating the obvious, it’s important to accurately identify your enemy so you understand his goals, motivations, and level of rationality, and you can respond accordingly. But I guess hoping the United States Attorney General would understand that sort of thing is too much to ask.