Saturday, July 31, 2010
I guess we shouldn't expect any better from the guy who thinks you should be able to kill a human being with a heartbeat, a fully-formed brain, and the capacity to feel pain "for any reason at all."
(For more on the Civil War, click here.)
Of course, there are all sorts of practical reasons his particular examples don't matter all that much. Robert Gates, for instance, was already Defense Secretary before Obama took over, and he deals with military policy rather than economic anyway. There's the little matter of looking at the rest of Obama's czars and appointments. As one of FrumForum's brighter commenters points out, presidents have a publicized confirmation process to deal with, too. Overall, Debs' is essentially saying that in order to qualify as a socialist, one's appointment-making process has to be virtually all ideology and no practical or strategic considerations.
Speaking of socialism, how does a guy who names himself after one of America's leading self-proclaimed socialists expect to be taken seriously defending leftists from charges of socialism, again?
Oh, that's right: because David Frum takes him seriously. Somehow, in free-market Frum's mission to forge a rational, responsible "conservatism that can win again," a Democratic activist who takes the moniker of a socialist icon managed to get a platform on Frum's website.
Huh. I wonder how that happened...
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Of course, laws are rarely enacted with the expectation that they'll reduce something's occurrence to zero or near-zero. Legal prohibitions are meant to identify what society finds intolerable, prevent as much of it as can reasonably be expected in a free, imperfect society, and punish those who do it anyway. The argument against prohibiting abortion or drugs because people will still obtain abortions and drugs is no more logical than it would be to argue that it's pointless to prohibit murder, rape or robbery because in 2008 we had 16,272 murders, 89,000 rapes, and 441,855 robberies, despite long-standing laws firmly punishing all three.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I haven't read the books Ann Wentworth objects to.
Maybe they're inappropriate for middle school, maybe not (though author Julie Halpern's comment that Wentworth is "full of hate" certainly reflects poorly on her book's worth).
But Wentworth's critics don't seem to have read them, either—they just hate her for raising the subject at all.
Parents should absolutely judge whether schools should expose their children to certain content, and when they're ready for it.
Schools making it easy for children to stumble upon controversial material in its care rob parents of that choice. Promoting independence and free inquiry is great, but that hardly means schools must or should provide every topic or author imaginable.
Parents troubled by certain material are condescendingly told to "take care of that within their own families" (translation: if we give your kids questionable stuff, it's your problem), but why shouldn't parents who want their kids introduced to more adult subject matter be the ones to take the initiative and go to the public library or Waldenbooks?
Yes, some kids mature quicker than others, but communities shouldn't shy away from setting parameters for what's generally appropriate for certain age groups. People will naturally disagree on the details, but that's democracy — better to let each side argue the merits and let the chips fall where they may, than to stigmatize the open discussion of ideas, especially where our kids are concerned.
Indeed, demanding wholesale indifference to what schools should put on their shelves is much closer to thought control than anything Wentworth has done.Wentworth has been smeared as not taking responsibility for her own child's upbringing, but the opposite is true: This whole controversy arose because she's more attentive than the rest of the town. Even so, no one parent can possibly know the content of every single book in the library; that's supposed to be the responsibility of the people stocking the shelves. It seems to me normal people would be grateful that she's alerted them to the possibility that maybe that job isn't being done.
And don't be too quick to assume that the job is being done right in Fond du Lac. In April 2007, I was part of a small group of local Republicans that was permitted to examine the district's library database. We found that left-wing books outnumbered right-wing books four to one, including "The I Hate Republicans Reader," by Clint Willis and books by fraudulent filmmaker Michael Moore and fringe philosopher Peter Singer, who says "killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person."
The School Board was not interested in rectifying the bias at the time. If they have done so since, I am not aware of it.
It's no surprise that the School Board doesn't care about Wentworth's concerns, but it is shocking that her petition calling for a new content rating system and a committee to examine book content has received a paltry 30 signatures.
Really? A city of more than 40,000 people only has 30 interested in closer scrutiny of controversial material in our schools?
Ask yourself why none of Wentworth's critics have said, "These books actually are age-appropriate, and here's why."
The first answer is that you're not supposed to question the Fond du Lac School District. Ever.Second, lots of parents don't like to be reminded that someone is paying closer attention to their kids' education than they are, so they choose to instead tear her down as a bad parent. Fond du Lac should be so proud.
UPDATE: As usual, the comments are a treasure trove of unintentional hilarity - ultra-partisan hacks Pan "Cobweb1780" Zareta and DelScorcho ignore what I write and instead thoughtlessly snipe about partisanship and "censorship." Ever notice how rarely liberals even make an effort to argue honestly?
Monday, July 26, 2010
I was in another debate firestorm at NewsReal this weekend (see here, here, here, here, here, and here). The short version: provocatively standing up to Islamofascism is good, accidentally suggesting that conservatives support genocide is really bad.
Arizona's immigration law works! Imagine that...
Food for thought: what's the difference between libertarianism and conservatism?
Neil at Eternity Matters takes on a common pro-choice lie.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
But 1.) the piece has Sam Stein quoting Gautham Nagesh as saying it was, on balance, a collection of predominantly left-of-center figures, and 2.) just how many people on there thought what really isn't the story. The scandal is that certain journalists have been caught conspiring to kill coverage of political scandals, slander people as racists, speculating about using government to shut down media outlets, and enjoying the heart attacks of political opponents.
Not that we should expect Scum to care. Any excuse to present himself as the Last Principled "Conservative" in America TM is good enough to run with. He routinely allows his website to run badly-sourced, inflammatory misquotes, ugly and ill-founded insinuations of racism, and condemnations of pro-lifers generally for a crime committed by one. Scum's faux zeal for responsibility doesn't apply to Trig Trutherism crusaders, either. The real scandal is that this fraud still finds anyone willing to pretend he's anything more than the miserable creature he is.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
NewsReal's Michael Van Der Gailen:
Leftists clearly believe that politics is war. They call conservatives racists, not because they are, but because it harms their reputation beyond repair, after which it’s fairly easy to beat them in elections. Conservatives have to be destroyed – no matter how.
NRB's Paul Cooper:
Tomasky has often written for the hard Left and even once spoke at a Socialist conference, but as editor of Guardian America shouldn’t he be someone who isn’t pushing for silencing other journalists? (Ironically in 2003 Tomasky wrote a heralded piece attempting to prove that the liberal press wrote articles far more “civil” and “non-partisan” than conservative leaning press.)
On "Hannity," Tucker Carlson just said the Daily Caller's gonna break more news on the story tomorrow. Let the games begin...
I don’t want a House full of Republicans, I don’t want a House full of Democrats. It’s the mix that makes it work.
The Founding Fathers did discuss the importance of moderation and counterbalancing forces in government, to keep radical changes from being implemented too easily, but I don’t think quotas for each party is quite what they had in mind, especially when one of those parties doesn’t simply disagree on certain policies, but stands directly opposed to the core principles upon which America was founded.
If the war against radical Islam must be won, then we shouldn’t “want” anyone in office who stands for defeat. If unborn babies have a right to life, then we shouldn’t “want” anyone in office who stands for their murder. If Americans have a right to choose what to do with their own money, bear arms to protect themselves, or any number of other things, then we shouldn’t “want” anyone in office who would thwart those rights.
Besides, the Republican Party is so divided on both principle and strategy that they hardly need Democrats to keep them on their toes. Nikki Haley may turn out to be a great governor, but that’s one status quo we shouldn’t expect her to upend.