Lost weekend

September 20, 2015

hammock nap day off

Had an old friend visiting yesterday, and then today was filled with a bunch of chores and… naps. So, not much to post about, not even the controversy over Dr. Ben Carson saying that Islam is incompatible with the Constitution. (I did reply to Rick Moran’s excoriation of Carson, if you’re interested.) For what it’s worth, I don’t find Carson’s statement about Islam and the Constitution at all controversial.

So, anyway, it’s a weekend blog holiday. Enjoy what’s left of it. Maybe even take a nap or two.

(Video) Why we’re losing liberty

September 7, 2015

Via Prager University, Princeton University Professor of Jurisprudence Robert George looks at several reasons for the decline of liberty in America — from the growth of the national government particularly since the New Deal, to the growing willingness of the courts to “legislate from the bench” and the acquiescence and even collusion of the other two branches in that– and identifies one key reason: citizens’ own ignorance of our founding documents.

Here’s Professor George:

In other words, you’re not going to be a very successful owner, if you don’t understand the “owner’s manual.”

(Video) Does Free Speech offend you?

August 31, 2015

Yesterday I wrote about politically-correct silliness at Wesleyan University, head-shaking but largely harmless identity politics.

Today’s video, however, takes a look at a far grimmer trend at our colleges and universities: the assault on free speech in the name of not hurting anyone’s feelings.

What were once places of free inquiry and defenders of intellectual liberty are more and more becoming places where speech –and, by extension, thought– is controlled by a progressive “PC police.” The irony is rich, because it’s the intellectual descendants of the free speech movement of the Sixties who have become the new enemies of freedom of speech.

Meet the new Boss, same as the old Boss.

via Prager University

RELATED: The narrator of the video, Greg Lukianoff, has written two books about the assault on free speech at our universities — Freedom from Speech and Unlearning Liberty.

Sweet Cakes By Melissa Refuses to Comply With Gag Order

July 7, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

Good for the Kleins. Seriously. This bureaucrat’s decision was just appalling on so many levels.

Originally posted on Nice Deb:


As you might have heard, the state of Oregon has decreed that Sweet Cakes by Melissa  must pay $135,000 to the lesbian couple whom they (apparently) “mentally raped” by refusing to bake their wedding cake.

Via Rachel Lu at the Federalist:

The final judgment, which came last Thursday, came with another twist. Aaron and Melissa Klein have also been given a “cease and desist” order, which effectively decrees they must refrain from stating their continued intention to abide by their moral beliefs.

Let’s be clear on why this is so sinister. There are times when speech rights conflict with other legitimate social goods. The public’s right to know can conflict with individual privacy rights. Sometimes threats to public safety warrant keeping secrets. There can be interesting debates about intellectual property rights. These cases can get tricky, and we should all understand that speech rights necessarily do have certain pragmatic limits.

 None of…

View original 508 more words

Say it after me: “Guns save lives”

June 11, 2015

Gun Control Stupid

Via Hot Air, this woman is certainly lucky to be alive, but that’s largely because she was also wise enough to have a firearm handy to even the odds:

A Detroit woman was able to fight off five home invaders in a shootout early Tuesday morning. The woman, who has a concealed carry permit, took the robbers by surprise after they burst in her bedroom window, WDIV reports.

“I was able to get to my gun. They didn’t know I had it. By that time, it was just gunfire,” Ms. Dee said.

Free Beacon has video, and Allahpundit can give you the lowdown on how crime has declined in Detroit since the police chief there began encouraging private gun ownership. (I can imagine Mike Bloomberg clutching his pearls even now.)

The gun control crowd keeps claiming that allowing widespread ownership of firearms will lead to a bloodbath, but the opposite seems empirically true: in jurisdictions where the 2nd Amendment is respected, violent crime rates have gone down. (Let’s face it, someone is less likely to rob or assault someone if he can’t be sure his target isn’t packing.)

But, in “progressive” jurisdictions with strict gun regulations, the violent crime rates are much, much higherHello, Chicago! — probably because the potential targets can’t defend themselves, so the criminals feel they’re in their own “safe zone.”

Someday it’s going to get through to the “Moms Demand” crowd that denying a person’s natural right to self-defense is not the way to prevent gun violence. Until then, we can be grateful for those jurisdictions that do, so the “Ms. Dees” of the world can legally protect themselves.

PS: I’m not saying that correlation is causation, of course, but the correlation is strong.

(Video) National Popular Vote and the attack on the electoral college

May 25, 2015


The Electoral College is one of the more obscure features of our government, yet it plays a crucial role: it elects the president, not the popular vote. When people in a state go to the polls, they’re really voting for slates of electors pledged to a particular candidate. The electors have traditionally honored the voters’ wishes (with the occasional individual exception for a protest vote), but the fact remains that they could choose someone other than “the People’s choice.” It also means that, occasionally, a candidate could win enough electoral votes to win the presidency while not winning the overall popular vote, as happened in 2,000 in the race between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

The fact that the winner of the popular vote might not win the race has annoyed a lot of people, especially on the Left (1), and they have proposed something called the “National Popular Vote,” a compact among the states comprising 270 electoral votes (the number need to win) to award them to whomever wins the national vote, regardless of individual state results. Not surprisingly, given the source, this represents an end-run around the system established in the Constitution, rather than an honest attempt to amend it.

In the video below from Prager University, attorney and author Tara Ross explains how the Electoral College works, why it was set up this way, and why NPV is a very bad idea:

(1) Because, you know, the Electoral College is “unfair!” “Unfairness” meaning “I didn’t get what I want!”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

Free Speech: I find your lack of faith disturbing, America.

May 24, 2015

Do we need a refresher?

Via Tom Nichols, here’s Charles Cooke on the results of a survey showing a majority of Democrats and a significant minority of Republicans effectively favor repealing the 1st Amendment:

Depressing news from YouGov:

“YouGov’s latest research shows that many Americans support making it a criminal offense to make public statements which would stir up hatred against particular groups of people. Americans narrowly support (41%) rather than oppose (37%) criminalizing hate speech, but this conceals a partisan divide. Most Democrats (51%) support criminalizing hate speech, with only 26% opposed. Independents (41% to 35%) and Republicans (47% to 37%) tend to oppose making it illegal to stir up hatred against particular groups. Support for banning hate speech is also particularly strong among racial minorities. 62% of black Americans, and 50% of Hispanics support criminalizing comments which would stir up hatred. White Americans oppose a ban on hate speech 43% to 36%.”

What’s disturbing is that the speech in question doesn’t directly incite violence. It doesn’t urge people to go right now and burn the shops of those unliked people “over there.”

Rather, the “hate speech” referred to is a vague term (1) meaning “hurtful things you said that I don’t like.” To give a personal example, I’m very clear regarding my dislike for Islam: I think it an antisemitic, misogynistic, and bigoted faith with aggressive imperatives that lead it to demand supremacy over other faiths and to make war on their adherents until they submit. I have serious questions about whether it is or can be compatible with liberal, post-Enlightenment societies, at least with regard to Muslims who choose to live it as Muhammad intended.

For some, that would qualify as “hate speech”under the standards of that survey, because I would be “stirring up hatred” against Islam, though I would never advocate violence against Muslims, no matter how strong my criticisms of their faith. As Cooke explains, that standard is nevertheless exactly what would get me in trouble in the UK, where free speech protections are dying on the vine under the assault of laws such as the Public Order Act.

That a majority of the self-identified adherents of one of our two major parties would favor laws to criminalize the expression of thought — and that a large portion of the supposedly conservative party would agree with them! — is profoundly disturbing. I hope, indeed, I pray, that this is simply because people agreed with something they thought “sounded reasonable” and didn’t think through the implications thereof, rather than indicating a fundamental change to something that has made us, as a nation, truly exceptional.

Otherwise, we’re in deep trouble.

RELATED: While a number of Republicans have lost their way when it comes to free speech, let’s not forget that it was the Democrats who actually proposed an amendment effectively gutting the 1st Amendment.

(1) This is a great analysis of the increasing calls in the MSM for censoring free speech. Well-worth reading. (h/t Charles Cooke)


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