In a scathing rebuke Monday of a ruling supported by Chief Justice Roberts against abortion restrictions, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling has no constitutional basis and must be overruled.
Thomas issued the dissent in the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in June Medical Services v. Russo to strike down a Louisiana law. The law requires that individuals who perform abortions at clinics have admitting privileges in a nearby hospital.
The majority found the law unconstitutional, concluding it places an undue burden on women seeking abortions.
But in his 20-page dissent, Thomas called the right to an abortion an erroneous precedent grounded in a "legal fiction."
"This Court created the right to abortion based on an amorphous, unwritten right to privacy, which it grounded in the 'legal fiction' of substantive due process," Thomas wrote. "As the origins of this jurisprudence readily demonstrate, the putative right to abortion is a creation that should be undone."
Thomas pointed out that the Supreme Court in the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut case acknowledged the Constitution did not protect a right to privacy. Instead, the court "explained that this right could be found in the 'penumbras' of five different Amendments to the Constitution — the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth."
"Rather than explain what free speech or the quartering of troops had to do with contraception, the Court simply declared that these rights had created 'zones of privacy' with their 'penumbras,' which were formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance," Thomas wrote.
"This reasoning is as mystifying as it is baseless."
Thomas said "the idea that the Framers of the Fourteenth Amendment understood the Due Process Clause to protect a right to abortion is farcical."
He pointed out that in 1868, when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, a majority of the states and numerous territories had laws that limited, and in many cases nearly prohibited, abortion.
"It would no doubt shock the public at that time to learn that one of the new constitutional Amendments contained hidden within the interstices of its text a right to abortion," Thomas wrote. "The fact that it took this Court over a century to find that right all but proves that it was more than hidden — it simply was not (and is not) there."
Thomas criticized Roberts for claiming to adhere to stare decisis, or precedent. It's the legal doctrine that gives deference to previous decisions.
Thomas argued the justices exceed their constitutional authority whenever they "apply demonstrably erroneous precedent instead of the relevant law’s text."
"Because we can reconcile neither Roe nor its progeny with the text of our Constitution, those decisions should be overruled," Thomas asserted. "Because we lack jurisdiction and our abortion jurisprudence finds no basis in the Constitution, I respectfully dissent."
How would you feel if the person teaching your children American history argued that “the white race” — or any race — “is the biggest murderer, rapist, pillager, and thief of the modern world”? What if she claimed, “Christopher Columbus and those like him were no different then [sic] Hitler”? And what if she concluded that “the descendants of these savage people … continue to be bloodsuckers in our communities”?
Unfortunately, these are not mere academic questions. The New York Times’ Nikole Hannah-Jones has claimed them. The teachings of Times’ 1619 Project, Hannah-Jones’ brainchild, are being incorporated into the curricula of classrooms across the country. Her above-mentioned writings, as The Federalist recently reported, come from her days as a student at the University of Notre Dame.
The 1619 Project simply spreads an intellectual veneer onto the hatred and bigotry of her sophomore musings. “1619” marks the year English colonists first brought African slaves to what later became Virginia. Hannah-Jones and her followers view this as the pivotal year in American history, rather than 1776, when we declared independence from Great Britain.
In its own telling, the 1619 Project seeks to “reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding.” It says:
Out of slavery — and the anti-black racism it required — grew nearly everything that has truly made America exceptional: its economic might, its industrial power, its electoral system, diet and popular music, the inequities of its public health and education, its astonishing penchant for violence, its income inequality, the example it sets for the world as a land of freedom and equality, its slang, its legal system and the endemic racial fears and hatreds that continue to plague it to this day.
That is, in the eyes of the 1619 Project’s progenitors, all of America is the poisoned fruit of the seed of slavery and bigotry. Tyranny, not liberty, is at the heart of our country.
Hannah-Jones’ Arguments Drip with Inaccuracy
To proffer such a claim, one must either be wholly ignorant of the foundational principles upon which America was based, and the key historical events that demonstrate our commitment to them, or find oneself so filled with contempt for the American experiment as to ignore such truths in framing a false narrative.
Readers themselves can judge whether the 1619 Project’s sins are ones of omission or commission. In Hannah-Jones’ Pulitzer Prize-winning essay around which the project is based, she makes a number of specious arguments.
She claims America was “founded … on an ideal and a lie.” That lie comes in the Declaration of Independence, which “proclaims that ‘all men are created equal’ and ‘endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights,’” while “the white men who drafted those words did not believe them to be true for the hundreds of thousands of black people in their midst.”
A bevy of words and deeds from the likes of George Washington, JamesMadison, and John Adams, along with Adams’ Declaration of Independence drafting members — including Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, to name a few — lay waste to this argument.
Hannah-Jones also states that “one of the reasons we even decided to become a nation in the first place is over the issue of slavery.” Everyone from the most eminent of mainstream historians to avowed socialist ones have debunked this claim, and The New York Times itself was forced to issue a correction of it.
Hannah-Jones suggests that with the Constitution, “the framers carefully constructed a document that preserved and protected slavery without ever using the word.” She concludes, “Some might argue that this nation was founded not as a democracy but as a slavocracy.”
This argument fails to grapple with the reality of the prudential decisions facing the founders if we were to have a country. It minimizes their efforts to reduce the strength of the slaveholding South through the Three-Fifths Compromise, their effective writing out of slave importation via Article I, Section 9, Clause 1, and the reality that by omitting the words “slave” or “slavery” from the document, they undermined the practice’s legitimacy, keeping the greatest violation of our founding principles from tarnishing the document.
The Founders’ Own Words Betray the 1619 Project
As Abraham Lincoln — whom Hannah-Jones later slanders — said in his 1854 Peoria speech, the founders:
Hid away [slavery], in the constitution, just as an afflicted man hides away a wen or a cancer, which he dares not cut out at once, lest he bleed to death; with the promise, nevertheless, that the cutting may begin at the end of a given time. Less than this our fathers COULD not do; and NOW [MORE?] they WOULD not do … the plain unmistakable spirit of that age, towards slavery, was hostility to the PRINCIPLE, and toleration, ONLY BY NECESSITY. (Emphasis Lincoln’s)
Frederick Douglass, a hero unmentioned in Hannah-Jones’s lengthy essay, who provided perhaps the greatest rebuke of all to her vision of America, called the charge of a pro-slavery Constitution a “slander upon [the memory]” of the founders, noting that “the Constitution is a glorious liberty document.”
As he said in his 1857 speech in response to the Dred Scott decision:
I base my sense of the certain overthrow of slavery, in part, upon the nature of the American Government, the Constitution, the tendencies of the age, and the character of the American people. … I know of no soil better adapted to the growth of reform than American soil. I know of no country where the conditions for affecting great changes in the settled order of things, for the development of right ideas of liberty and humanity, are more favorable than here in these United States. … The Constitution, as well as the Declaration of Independence, and the sentiments of the founders of the Republic, give us a plat-form broad enough, and strong enough, to support the most comprehensive plans for the freedom and elevation of all the people of this country, without regard to color, class, or clime.
These brief refutations are but a small sample of the dubious and pernicious nature of Hannah-Jones’s scholarship. They represent the mistruths and apparent anti-American hostility evident throughout the 1619 Project.
To permit a curriculum based on that project to be taught in our children’s schools is to sanction slandering the founders and undermine the country they founded. That country that has come closer to achieving the ideals of liberty and justice than any that came before it or have sprung up after it.
The Threat Comes From Within
Hannah-Jones’ college musings — about which she has yet to comment when asked — are relevant in this context because one can draw a straight line from the hateful sentiments reflected in them to the 1619 Project. Of course, even if she were to chalk her column up to youthful indiscretion or disavow it in full, it would really be beside the point. The narrative of the 1619 Project will inevitably lead impressionable children, likely to remain unexposed to competing evidence, to arrive at the same hate-filled conclusions about America.
If you agree with Hannah-Jones — that America is a deplorable place with a horrible history, driven primarily by racism — you will see America as not only unworthy of defending, but worthy of being actively destroyed. As the anti-Western Marxists and anarchists are doing in our streets today, smashing America’s institutions will become a moral imperative. Everything American must be consigned to the dustbin of history — its statues toppled, books burned, and movies banned. This is to say nothing of the inevitable violence against perceived perpetrators of injustice that will follow.
In the end, the spirit of the Declaration of Independence and letter of the Constitution must be extinguished — replaced by a polity wholly antithetical to it. Polity might be too charitable a word. The result will be something of a national CHAZ or CHOP, a tyrannical zone masquerading as an “autonomous” one.
This is why it is truly apt to call the current insurrection, real and digital, the “1619 Riots” — a name Hannah-Jones herself has embraced. Her ideas are why we see images on social media and television of “1619” spray-painted on the wreckage of this anti-cultural revolution.
In some ways, Hannah-Jones and her 1619 Project are not radical. Like-minded radicals have controlled our formative institutions for years, particularly in schools, indoctrinating generations of children in an anti-American milieu that casts the United States as racist, imperialist, and oppressive.
The consequences, however, are no less devastating. The great threat to America’s existence comes not from without, but within — from Americans who wish to dismantle America by sowing seeds of racial division, particularly within schools.
Hannah-Jones’ words — both past and present — matter. They are the same words that may well emanate from our children’s lips if we do not begin our own Long March through our institutions to take them back.
Ben Weingarten is a Federalist senior contributor, senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, and fellow at the Claremont Institute. He was selected as a 2019 Robert Novak Journalism fellow of the Fund for American Studies, under which he is currently working on a book on U.S.-China policy. You can find his work at benweingarten.com, and follow him on Twitter @bhweingarten.
This past Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled by a vote of 6-3 that a woman is not real.
Writing for the majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch announced, “The six of us on the Court who are clearly smarter than the dissenting three, and, likewise, much brighter and wiser than the hundreds of millions of you deplorable rubes across the land who still believe in biology and genetics, have decided, by god-like fiat, that as of June 15, 2020, a female is no longer a fact, but a fantasy.”
The Sovereign One continued after using the Bill of Rights as a napkin to wipe the tears of postmodern joy from his eyes.
“Therefore, on this grand day of enlightenment, we proclaim that throughout the land, all subjects of the United States of America must now bow in submission to the Rainbow altar and its golden calf. You must pay homage to our Cult of Feelings. You must deny reality and cast all reason aside.
“How foolish of you think that there is a God and that He created man as a binary male and female. How naive of you to think a female is a fact. She is not!
“In our day of gnosis, we know that nothing can be known and, therefore, we know that a woman is little more than a fantasy and a fabrication. We are sure that nothing is sure, but of this one thing we are sure … Being a woman is a social construct and not an objective reality.
“A woman is not defined by her biology! A woman’s sex and gender are not confined to the antiquated categories of male and female.
“No! Such intolerant thinking cannot be tolerated. We will not permit your bigotry!
“So, in keeping with our superior knowledge, beginning immediately, any dysphoric male who wants to play dress-up and make-believe is declared an actual woman.
“Therefore, those of you who still cling to your antiquated belief that you are a female because of your physiology must immediately cease engaging in such micro-aggressions, and you must henceforth, give up your bathrooms, give up your showers, give up your scholarships, give up your sports, and give up your jobs, to those men who pretend to be what you truly are.
“You must also give up your identity. It is ours to define, not yours.
“And you must give up your dignity. It is ours to grant. It is ours to take.
“Reason and logic are dead.
“This court proudly works (with a hat tip to BLM) to ‘dismantle cisgender privilege. We believe in building a space that is free from sexism. We seek to disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure as we foster a queer-affirm network.’
“We will not be satisfied until the last heteronormative Neanderthal is strangled by the entrails of the last cisgender retrograde.
“We shout with Joe Biden, ‘We believe in truth (our truth), not facts!’
“We have deconstructed the Bible. Why wouldn’t you think we would do the same with the Constitution. We have dismissed the teachings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Why wouldn’t we do likewise with Madison and Jefferson?
“We laugh at your Creator.
“There are no unalienable rights.
“Original intent is the opiate of the masses.
“Self-evident truths are little more than intersectional power.
“All hail the god of feelings.
“Facts be damned!”
C.S. Lewis, in confronting the arrogance of the oligarchy of his time, said, “We simply found ourselves in contact with a certain current of ideas and plunged into it because it seemed modern and [woke] … We were afraid of a breach with the spirit of the age, afraid of ridicule …. Having allowed [ourselves] to drift, unresisting …, we reached a point where we no longer believed [in truth].”
Drifting, unresisting, afraid of ridicule, reaching a point where we no longer believe the truth …
When six people in black robes who fancy themselves our betters actually start telling us that a female is not a fact, that our human identity is nothing more than the sum total of our base inclinations, and that a man is defined by his libido and not his Lord, it might be time for us to remind these smart folks that there is a God and it is not them.
When “conservatives” on our Supreme Court arrogantly presume to write law based on what is “modern and woke” rather than what is right and real we might want to point to the words of someone who reportedly was a bit wiser than them: “There is a way that seems right unto man but the end thereof leads to death.” — Solomon.
• Everett Piper (dreverettpiper.com, @dreverettpiper), a columnist for The Washington Times, is a former university president and radio host. He is the author of “Not a Daycare: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” (Regnery).
As Tennessee’s 111th Tennessee General Assembly wound down to adjourn, the House passed a resolution recognizing the need to address legislation passed by one chamber but left unfinished by the other.
When the General Assembly came back to their second session after the three-month COVID-19 recess, the Senate only wanted to take up bills that were budget-related, time-sensitive, or COVID-19 related, while the House planned to complete all of their work.
The difference in approaches became evident early on when the House returned to a heavy committee schedule the week of Memorial Day, with some meetings lasting as long as four and five hours, while the Senate had just one committee meeting scheduled that week.
The trend continued over the following two weeks, with only slightly more committee meetings scheduled for the Senate, while the House had heated debates on a variety of bills.
As a result, Representative Micah Van Huss (R-Jonesborough) filed House Resolution 343 on June 11, addressing a more permanent solution to the situation.
HR 343 congratulates the House of Representatives for being the people’s chamber and for recognizing the need to amend the Tennessee Constitution as follows:
When a bill or resolution passes a house of the General Assembly, then that house shall not adjourn until the other house has voted on the bill or resolution; the other house shall vote on the bill or resolution regardless of whether it lies in the chamber or in a committee of that house; the house considering the bill or resolution in committee shall have at least five members eligible to cast a yes or no vote in that committee; and the bill or resolution shall not fail to be voted upon based on a procedural motion or lack of a procedural motion.
With regard to his resolution, Van Huss told The Tennessee Star, “If one body passes a bill, then the other body should have to vote it up or down. We’re here to serve our constituents, not ourselves.”
He went on to say, about being self-serving, “I want to go home to my family as much as everyone else, but my constituents sent me here to do a job.”
Expressing appreciation for the approach taken in the House, Van Huss said, “I’m thankful that House leadership didn’t limit the number of bills that we considered after the break.”
In light of his resolution, fellow House members brought a number of their important bills to the attention of Van Huss that either passed only in the House or were held in the House due to inaction by the Senate. While Van Huss shared the list with The Star, he made sure to point out that it was not all-inclusive.
HB 2134 by Cepicky – Teacher’s Discipline Act establishing a disciplinary process for students who have been removed from the classroom by the teacher. – House Vote 91-0 / SB 2252 by Hensley in Senate Education Committee
HB 1689 by Cepicky – Transgender Sports prohibiting a student from participating in a single-sex interscholastic sport or athletic event provided by the student’s public school unless the student verifies with the public school that the student is of the respective sex. – House Vote 73-13-2 / SB 1736 by Hensley in Senate Education Committee
HB 38 by Van Huss – Eliminates state mandated testing for grades K-2 for the purposes of teacher evaluation. House Vote 78-14-3 / SB 0496 by Bowling in Senate Education Committee
HB 1839 by Daniel – Prohibits public higher education institutions from contracting or affiliating with a foreign nation. House Vote 80-10-2 / SB 2339 by Gresham in Senate Education Committee
HB 77 by Van Huss – Heartbeat Bill. House Vote 65-21-7 in 2019 / SB 1236 by Pody Senate Judiciary Committee even following a Summer Study in 2019.
HB 2263 by Lamberth – Governor’s Heartbeat Bill. House vote 68-17-2 / SB 2196 by Johnson Senate Calendar Committee
HB 1946 by Daniel – Allows members of the U.S. armed forces and honorably discharged veterans who received certified occupational training to receive equivalent credit toward occupational licensing. House Vote 94-0 / SB 1915 by Bowling in Senate State & Local Government Committee
HB 2007 by Daniel – Authorizes the release of public records related to an audit or investigation by the Comptroller of the Treasury or other government audit staff used during the audit or investigation prior to the conclusion of the process, if such disclosure will not prejudice the audit or investigation. House Vote 93-1 / SB 2073 by Pody in Senate State & Local Government Committee
HB 1951 by Daniel – Requires state agencies to hold rulemaking hearings when promulgating proposed administrative rules that may affect a person’s right or imposes fees, penalties or fines and allows a person to file suit if rules are not properly adopted . House Vote 91-0 / SB 2322 Roberts in Senate Government Operations Committee
HB 2785 by Daniel – Gives the Tennessee General Assembly greater control over rules promulgated by state agencies, including suspension of any or all of the agency’s rulemaking authority. House Vote 91-1 / SB 2593 Senate Government Operations Committee
HB 2910 by Grills –Changes the compensation of the Reelfoot Lake regional utility and planning district from no more than $1,000 annually to no more than $200 per month. House Vote 74-1-4 / SB 2920 by Jackson Senate Delayed Bills Committee
Bills held in the House because of delays in the Senate:
HB 2113 by Grills – Requires acceptance of handgun carry permits as valid forms of government-issued photo identification, the same as a driver’s license. / SB 2082 by Haile Senate Calendar Committee
HB 2778 by J. Sexton – Bible Bill / SB 2696 by Pody Senate State & Local Government Committee
HB 2091 by Hulsey – Increases penalty for the offense of voluntary manslaughter from a Class C felony to a Class B felony. – House Finance / SB 1966 by Crowe in Senate Judiciary Committee
HB 2291 by Hulsey – Prohibits the Governor form using law enforcement to enforce unconstitutional executive orders that require a private business entity to close, restricting the freedom to peaceably assemble or restricting the freedom to travel– SB 2368 by Pody in Senate Judiciary Committee
HB 2339 by Hulsey – For state inmates who also have a detainer to serve a term of imprisonment in another jurisdiction, primarily federal, and have served more than 50 percent of their term and they are eligible for parole, they will be considered eligible for parole under certain conditions so they can be transferred, saving the state the cost of their incarceration. / SB 2257 by Crowe in Senate Judiciary Committee
HB 2380 by Hulsey – Increases the penalty for statutory rape, based on certain ages of the victim and the defendant. / SB 1964 by Crowe in Senate Judiciary Committee
HB 1948 by Daniel – Makes evidence obtained in an illegal manner inadmissible in a civil proceeding. / SB 1992 by Stevens in Senate Judiciary Committee
HB 2536 by Doggett – Creates a violation of an individual’s civil rights to infringe upon or deny an individual the full exercise and enjoyment of any right recognized and protected by Article I, Section 26 of the Tennessee Constitution or any right recognized and protected by the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and allows enforcement by means of civil action or prosecution as official oppression. / SB 2614 by Hensley Senate Judiciary Committee
HB 2539 by Doggett – Makes changes regarding restitution for victims of crime. / SB 2452 by Roberts in Senate Judiciary Committee
HB 2540 by Doggett – Requires that a court clerk offer a reasonable payment plan for fees and fines to person’s who were convicted of an offense and completed their sentence. – H Cal / SB 2460 by Roberts in Senate Judiciary Committee
HB 2454 by Terry – Medical Marijuana. / SB 2334 by Dickerson in Senate Government Operations Committee
HB 1947 by Daniel – Clarifies state statutes related to retaliatory termination of an employee for refusing to participate in or be silent about illegal activities. / SB 2909 by Bailey in Senate Commerce & Labor Committee
HB 1949 by Daniel – Allows certain state agencies to use a portion of their reserve fund to cover a deficit in the current fiscal year. / SB 2074 by Pody in Senate Finance, Ways & Means Committee
HB 2580 by Hulsey – Requires the state executive committees for each statewide political party to publish changes to the schedule of a candidate’s public appearance to their website within 48 hours, instead of as soon as it is available, after such information is available to the respective SEC. / SB 2530 by Southerland in Senate State & Local Government Committee
In presenting the resolution on the House floor, Van Huss said to his colleagues, “The citizens of Tennessee sent us here to do a job. We should be focused on doing that job and not looking for ways to quickly finish and quickly move on. We should vote based on what’s right and what’s wrong and not what will get us re-elected. Thank you House leadership for not limiting the number of bills that we are going to consider after this recent recess.”
House Republican Majority Leader William Lamberth thanked the sponsor for bringing the proposal and then gave his thoughts on the resolution.
I just want to say that even though we’ve had some tumultuous times over the past few weeks, this chamber’s worked very hard to work on ideas, policies and bills many of which have not yet proceeded in the Senate. I do hope that our Senate colleagues over the next few days, or however long it takes until we sine die, will take up many of these ideas that you have all worked so hard to be able to pass. So I appreciate the nature of this resolution, I appreciate your feelings on it, and I join you in saying that in a bicameral legislature obviously we can’t tell the other chamber what to do, but we could ask them to continue the work of the people and take up not just the budget and not just the bills that are already slated to come up and the additional ones that quite frankly they’ve added on, but just go ahead and finish the full slate of legislation that we’ve worked hard on.
Representative Jim Coley (R-Bartlett), who is not seeking re-election in 2020, said he wanted to reiterate sentiments of the leader and express his appreciation for the sponsor bringing the bill.
He added that he had a bill dealing with rape kits, that had the support of Nashville Democrat Representatives Bob Freeman and Bill Beck as co-sponsors.
Coley said that with a young lady coming to testify before the House Judiciary Committee about her experiences, “It’s things like this that don’t need to be overlooked.”
Coley expressed his displeasure with the Senate.
“I think it’s disgraceful that the Senate has chosen not to deal with issues like this,” and, therefore, supported the resolution.
While the 99 State Representatives are elected every two years, the 33 State Senators are elected every four years, with those in even-numbered districts being up for election in 2020.
Of the 16 up for re-election this year, only three have no primary or general election opponent and one is not seeking re-election.
Van Huss’s HR 343 had 28 Republican co-sponsors.
In seeking the support of Democrat as co-sponsors, Van Huss told The Star, they declined, saying that the Senate is needed to kill conservative legislation from the House as the only way to stop it.
The resolution passed the House with a vote of 69 Ayes, 3 Nays and 8 Present and Not Voting.
With the 111th Tennessee General Assembly adjourning last week, all of the unfinished bills will have to be started anew when the 112th General Assembly convenes in 2021.
Political rhetoric is a never-ending game of make-believe
As I said from day one, I’m not going to choose between public health and economic activity.” So insists Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York.
That is a lie, of course.
Everybody knows it is a lie, beginning with Governor Cuomo. We are going to choose between public health and economic activity. We are going to try to strike some intelligent balance between competing concerns, and, even if we do our very best, innocent people are going to get hurt on both sides of that balance, and some of them will surely die — either from COVID-19 or from the economic consequences of the lockdown.
We do not have very many adults in government, but if we did, those adults would understand — and make a point of dwelling on the fact — that every decision of any consequence in public policy involves tradeoffs. We are going to choose between liberty and security, between protecting the rights of the criminally accused and the interests of crime victims, between efficiency and stability, between our commitment to free speech and our desire to counteract disinformation, between the interests of today’s social-welfare beneficiaries and tomorrow’s taxpayers.
Pretending that there is no choice and no tradeoffs does not liberate us from choosing. Mostly, it ensures that we choose poorly and that the choosing is left to ignorant and irresponsible demagogues.
Speaking of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez . . .
The Solon of the Bronx got into a little public spat with my friend Jonah Goldberg, who made the mathematically sound point that the so-called Green New Deal proposals put forward by Representative Ocasio-Cortez et al. involve expenses that are not only ruinous but fanciful. “You could confiscate every penny held by every billionaire and multimillionaire in America and it wouldn’t cover a fraction of your Green New Deal fantasy,” Goldberg wrote. Representative Ocasio-Cortez gave the same answer as Governor Cuomo, denying that there would be any tradeoffs at all.
Of course she did this in the most intellectually shallow and dishonest way possible: “The Green New Deal is a non-binding resolution of values. It does not have a price tag or CBO score and costs us $0 if passed.” It is true that a non-binding statement of values can be had very cheap; it is not the case that doing the things that Representative Ocasio-Cortez and like-minded allies have proposed to implement those values costs zero, though there would be zeroes involved, a baker’s dozen of them or more. Representative Ocasio-Cortez was correct in the sense that you don’t get fat from ordering cheesecake for dessert after dinner every night but from eating the cheesecake.
Politicians live in the world of words about words. They are participants in a kind of purely symbolic economy in which the exchange of words supplants the exchange of goods and services. The Cuomos and Ocasio-Cortezes of the world have at best a little bit of verbal cleverness (I am afraid that Ocasio-Cortez does not have even that), and the processes of democracy make it easy to mistake verbal facility for deeper and more significant kinds of intelligence. I do not think that many of these ladies and gentlemen spend their time reading Continental philosophy, but they work in the economy described by Richard Vine in “The ‘Ecstasy’ of Jean Baudrillard,” in which the ordinary facts of life — including such physical facts as hunger, sickness, and mortality — have been superseded by the symbolic. In this view, “there is no biological essence of man,” as Vine wrote, “hence no constant and irreducible requirement for food, shelter, and safety. . . . Everything essential to humankind transpires symbolically.”
Imagine, then, Monsieur Baudrillard in a restaurant. He peruses the menu fastidiously, selecting at last, with the waiter’s recommendation, medallions of veal accompanied by lightly buttered haricots verts, followed by a simple green salad, fruit and mixed cheeses, espresso, and a sliver of apricot tart—complemented by a delicate Chablis and, to finish, a noble but little known Armagnac. Then, without a quiver, and without so much as having seen any food, Baudrillard languidly calls for his check, says a gracious farewell to the maitre d’hotel, and departs, having “consumed” the signs of a satisfying repast and fulfilled all the essential requirements of symbolic exchange.
In the high heyday of postmodernism, such loopy ideas not only were taken seriously but were treated as beyond questioning in many corners of academia. But, as we are all discovering, there are no perfect quarantines, and infections spread and mutate as ideas become unthinking habits and reflexes. By the time these ideas had reached such second-hand dealers in third-rate ideas as Andrew Cuomo and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, they had been drained of whatever modest intellectual content they may once have had. They became obviously and demonstrably false slogans — “I’m not going to choose between public health and economic activity” — which is to say, they became the lies we live by.
Lies beget more lies, and intellectual corruption begets more intellectual corruption. Representative Ocasio-Cortez reports that her little packet of nonbinding unicorn droppings does not have a score from the Congressional Budget Office as though this were of some self-evident interest. Some of you will remember the debate over the so-called Affordable Care Act, in which the CBO was asked to give the bill a score based on such risible assumptions that the CBO itself issued a report that read, in essence, Here’s the score we come up with if you belief this ridiculous horse***t, which we don’t. The CBO’s actual language (“a number of procedures that might be difficult to maintain over a long period of time”) was antiseptic, but the content was the same. Yet we ended up having a bare-knuckles political brawl over projections and estimates that nobody believed, including the people who made them, who did not even pretend to believe them.
Green New Deals aren’t going to pay for themselves. Neither are tax cuts. We cannot magic money into existence without consequence or wave a wand to increase the U.S. share of the world’s footwear-manufacturing market. We are going to make many choices that pit public-health concerns against economic dynamism. And until we acknowledge that those choices have to be made, that they are not cost-free, and that tradeoffs are inescapable, we will continue to choose poorly.
I hear a lot of bad constitutional arguments justifying this or that federal action. One common justification for expanding federal power is: “This thing is necessary! It needs to be done.”
But it doesn’t follow that the federal government has to do the thing. In fact, the founding generation expected that the states and the people would do most of the “necessary things” – not the federal government.
Tench Coxe was a prominent and influential advocate for ratification of the Constitution and a delegate for Pennsylvania to the Continental Congress in 1788-1789. He later served as Secretary of the Treasury. He wrote three essays published in the Pennsylvania Gazette in early 1788 under the pen-name “A Freeman.”
In these essays, Coxe offered some of the most forceful arguments asserting the limited nature of the federal government under the proposed Constitution. He insisted that many, if not most, of the “necessary” things for society would be taken on by state and local governments, not the federal government. He wrote:
“It will be found, on a careful examination, that many things, which are indispensibly necessary to the existence and good order of society, cannot be performed by the fœderal government, but will require the agency and powers of the state legislatures or sovereignties, with their various appurtenances and appendages.” [Emphasis added]
Why can’t the federal government perform these things? Because as James Madison explained in Federalist #45, “The powers delegated to the federal government by the proposed Constitution are few and defined.” [Emphasis added]
Coxe drove his point home by listing ten broad areas where the federal government has no authority to act. Several of these are self-evident, but the long list included in the tenth point drives home the extremely limited nature of the federal government supporters of the Constitution promised.
“They cannot interfere with the opening of rivers and canals; the making or regulation of roads, except post roads; building bridges; erecting ferries; establishment of state seminaries of learning; libraries; literary, religious, trading or manufacturing societies; erecting or regulating the police of cities, towns or boroughs; creating new state offices; building light houses, public wharves, county gaols, markets, or other public buildings; making sale of state lands, and other state property; receiving or appropriating the incomes of state buildings and property; executing the state laws; altering the criminal law; nor can they do any other matter or thing appertaining to the internal affairs of any state, whether legislative, executive or judicial, civil or ecclesiastical.” [Emphasis Added]
In his second essay, Coxe approaches the issue from the other side, enumerating “what the state governments must or may do.” Again, many of the items Coxe lists as the exclusive purview of the states reveals just how far the federal government has usurped state authority.
“The several states can create corporations civil and religious; prohibit or impose duties on the importation of slaves into their own ports; establish seminaries of learning; erect boroughs, cities and counties; promote and establish manufactures; open roads; clear rivers; cut canals; regulate descents and marriages; licence taverns; alter the criminal law; constitute new courts and offices; establish ferries; erect public buildings; sell, lease and appropriate the proceeds and rents of their lands, and of every other species of state property; establish poor houses, hospitals, and houses of employment; regulate the police; and many other things of the utmost importance to the happiness of their respective citizens. In short, besides the particulars enumerated, every thing of a domestic nature must or can be done by them.” [Emphasis Added]
So yes – a lot of things are “necessary.” But that doesn’t mean the federal government can do them. The federal government remains limited by its delegated powers. “Necessary” isn’t a constitutional argument.
The hatred for America expressed in the tearing down of statues, defacing of monuments, intimidation of those who stand for the anthem, and the canceling of politically incorrect thought is the result of three generations of brainwashing by the left, contends former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
"If we want America to survive as a constitutional republic under the rule of law, which protects the right of free speech and is dedicated to the belief that each one of us is endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we have no choice but to fight to defeat the anti-Americans and reassert our nation," he writes for FoxNews.com.
The indoctrination began in earnest in the 1960s, Gingrich said, when the German-born University of California, San Diego, professor Herbert Marcuse began teaching the philosophical foundation of Marxism to American students.
"We have watched the hard left, the America-hating totalitarians who want to define acceptable speech, as they took over the academic world," Gingrich writes.
The college boards, comprised largely of people regarded as sound community leaders, refused to fight.
"Public universities and colleges continued to hire vehement anti-American professors, the state legislatures and governors refused to fight," he says. "Alumni continued to give to schools, which were teaching their own children and grandchildren to despise them."
He says it should have been clear that graduates "who had been taught systematic falsehoods would take those falsehoods into their jobs."
He notes President Ronald Reagan's famous line that "the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so."
Reagan, in fact, warned of the rise of anti-Americanism in his farewell address in 1989 after defeating Marxism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Younger parents, he said at the time, "aren't sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children."
Gingrich noted the latest influence on media, with "the self-righteous fanatics of the New York Times" recently getting their opinion editor fired "for the sin of publishing a conservative senator’s op-ed." He was referring to Tom Cotton of Arkansas defending President Trump's consideration of the deployment of
A Philadelphia Inquirer editor was fired for running the headline "Buildings Matter Too."
"In case after case, the new fanaticism is imposing a thought police model reinforced by the Maoist tradition of public confession and group solidarity," he writes.
The writer, Adryan Corcione, praised Marx's influence, noting "The Communist Manifesto" co-author "inspired social movements in Soviet Russia, China, Cuba, Argentina, Ghana, Burkina Faso, and more."
And major historic figures such as Malcolm X and Helen Keller "integrated Marxist theory into their work decades after his death."
She discussed how teens "learn the legacy of Marx’s ideas and how they’re relevant to the current political climate," citing two high school teachers who teach Marxist theory.
Corionce said teacher strikes taking place at the time weren't "necessarily Marxist movements" but they demonstrated the "tensions between classes" that Marx wrote about remain.
"While you may not necessarily identify as a Marxist, socialist, or communist, you can still use Karl Marx’s ideas to use history and class struggles to better understand how the current sociopolitical climate in America came to be," she wrote. "Instead of looking at President Donald Trump’s victory in November 2016 as a snapshot, we can turn to the bigger picture of what previous events lead us up to the current moment."
If you value a robust media offering a variety of voices, you should be troubled by a chilling incident that occurred this week.
Citing the work of two foreign-based activist groups, NBC News reported Tuesday that Google would demonetize a conservative news and opinion outlet, The Federalist–meaning not allow it to carry Google Ads on its site.
Why? Because of The Federalist’s coverage of the George Floyd protests.
Later that day, Google clarified that its specific issue was the comments section below articles on The Federalist, not the articles themselves. When The Federalist removed its comments section, Google said it considered the issue resolved.
This episode shows how a media outlet such as NBC News apparently is willing to collude with radicals alongside one of the world’s most powerful tech companies to ruin the competition.
“Google’s ban of the websites [The Federalist and financial blog ZeroHedge] comes after the company was notified of research conducted by the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a British nonprofit that combats online hate and misinformation,” NBC initially reported, according to Fox News. “They found that 10 U.S-based websites have published what they say are racist articles about the [Floyd/ Black Lives Matter] protests, and projected that the websites would make millions of dollars through Google Ads.”
NBC worked with two left-wing advocacy organizations as sources in its reporting: the Center for Countering Digital Hate and Stop Funding Fake News.
NBC reported that Google blocked The Federalist from its advertising platform after NBC brought the project to its attention. The tech giant already had demonetized ZeroHedge, it reported.
“When a page or site violates our policies, we take action,” an unnamed Google spokesman told NBC. “In this case, we’ve removed both sites’ ability to monetize with Google.”
Shortly after NBC published its article, Google denied demonetizing The Federalist. Google said the issue was that The Federalist’s comments section, maintained by a third party, paired Google Ads with “dangerous or derogatory content” there.
Google said nothing about The Federalist’s articles, as NBC initially claimed in its report, which was changed significantly—although not retracted—after publication.
And although The Federalist removed the comments section below the pieces on its website, founders Ben Domenech and Sean Davis vow to bring back comments.
For full disclosure, I have written for The Federalist and my wife, Inez Stepman, is a senior contributor at the publication.
Unfortunately, the issues involved in this story are much bigger than a single NBC report.
The reporter who wrote the story, London-based Adele-Momoko Fraser, did little to hide the fact that she worked in “collaboration”—her words in a now-deleted tweet—with far-left groups.
Later, Fraser changed her tune and said on Twitter that she obtained her research “exclusively” from Stop Funding Fake News, but didn’t “collaborate” with them.
Regardless of what actually happened, this is deeply troubling.
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that these brute-force tactics to curb speech will end here. Far from it.
I wrote in 2018 how YouTube—which is owned by Google—partnered with the Southern Poverty Law Center to police content under YouTube’s “trusted flagger program.”
The SPLC is notorious for making wild and exaggerated claims about mainstream conservative organizations, lumping them in as “hate groups” with extremist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.
Last year, YouTube effectively censored the words of a medical doctor who writes about children and gender identity issues. She had said in a Daily Signal video: “See, if you want to cut off a leg or an arm, you’re mentally ill, but if you want to cut off healthy breasts or a penis, you’re transgender.”
Rob Bluey, vice president for communications at The Heritage Foundation and executive editor of The Daily Signal, criticized the actions of NBC and Google and said all Americans should be appalled.
This whole episode has disturbing implications for the free exchange of ideas in America, where the “cancel culture” of college campuses has been injected into the mainstream of our national political discourse.
The Federalist successfully fought back. But as noted by its founders, could they have done so if they didn’t already have a significant public megaphone?
In a commentary published by The Wall Street Journal, Domenech and Davis lambaste what they call an attack “not only individuals but free speech itself”:
NBC News colluded with a foreign left-wing group [Stop Funding Fake News] in an attempt to destroy us because it disagrees with our political commentary and media criticism. The episode illustrates how dangerous the combination of partisan media and monopolistic tech companies is to America. We survived the attack because our organization is well known.
NBC’s failed attempt at bullying The Federalist is just another example of how social justice warriors have taken hold of newsrooms, using the immense power of their positions to squash voices that dare to contest the all-important “narrative.”
It’s the narrative, rather than pursuit of the truth, that’s been prioritized.
Activists on the far left want to control how and what people think. Dissent is problematic; debate ensures that not everyone will come to the “correct” conclusions.
It’s far more effective simply to silence the opposition.
As Minneapolis prepares to “abolish” its police force, a recent survey found that most truck drivers won’t deliver to cities with defunded or disbanded police departments.
According to a survey from CDLLife, a resource site for the trucking industry, 79 percent of truck drivers said they will refuse to deliver freight to cities with defunded police departments.
The organization took an informal poll of drivers who use its “CDLLife App” and presented them with the question: “Would you pick up/deliver to cities with defunded police departments? Why or why not?”
As of June 13, the organization had received 1,283 responses and 79 percent of participants said they would refuse to deliver loads to cities with disbanded or defunded police departments.
“I will not deliver to an area with a disbanded police department. My life matters and I do this for my family. We are already at the mercy of these towns and cities with laws and hate against us for parking, getting a meal or even using a restroom,” said one truck driver who participated in the poll.
Another said he has already informed his dispatcher that he “will refuse all loads to cities that have defunded police departments.”
“Driver/sales workers and truck drivers had the most fatalities of any broad occupation group at 966. Among all detailed occupations, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers had the most fatalities at 831,” said the report.
The Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a resolution Friday declaring its intent to create a “transformative new model for cultivating safety in Minneapolis.”
“The murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, by Minneapolis police officers, is a tragedy that shows that no amount of reforms will prevent lethal violence and abuse by some members of the Police Department against members of our community, especially Black people and people of color,” states the resolution.
The council established a “Future of Community Safety Work Group” to create a preliminary set of recommendations for replacing the police department.
“American democracy is an experiment, each generation has an opportunity to move this experiment forward, toward living out the true meaning of its creed,” City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins said in a press release. “This resolution represents our moment to contribute to the progression of equality and freedom of every resident of the City of Minneapolis.”
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that federal sex-based civil rights law protects workers from discrimination on the basis on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The six-to-three decision established that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act covers sexual orientation as well as an employee’s sex, meaning workers will now be protected in the 29 states that do not have laws protecting all LGBTQ employees from job discrimination. The ruling upheld decisions by lower courts that concluded job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was included in illegal sex discrimination.
Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s liberal justices in voting with the majority, as did Justice Neil Gorsuch, who wrote the opinion for the court.
“We agree that homosexuality and transgender status are distinct concepts from sex,” Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion. “But, as we’ve seen, discrimination based on homosexuality or transgender status necessarily entails discrimination based on sex.”
Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh penned dissents to the decision, both accusing the high court of legislating from the bench.
“There is only one word for what the Court has done today: legislation,” Alito wrote, saying the court has essentially taken the provision on employment discrimination and sexual orientation in the Equality Act, which has yet to be passed, and “issued it under the guise of statutory interpretation.”
“A more brazen abuse of our authority to interpret statutes is hard to recall,” Alito wrote, adding that the majority’s opinion “sails under a textualist flag, but what it actually represents is a theory of statutory interpretation that Justice Scalia excoriated – the theory that courts should ‘update’ old statutes so that they better reflect the current values of society.”
How many homes have been destroyed in the riots of the past weeks? How many businesses?
How many Americans have died in the riots that began out of justified and peaceful protests over the killing of George Floyd?
How many homes have been destroyed in the riots of the past weeks? How many businesses?
How many Americans have died in the riots that began out of justified and peaceful protests over the killing of George Floyd?
My colleague Tyler O’Neill highlighted two of them in this piece. Their names are Princess Pope, of Dallas, and K. B. Balla, of Minneapolis. Looters burned Balla’s sports bar, which he built using his life’s savings, to the ground. And then they ran off, presumably to burn someone else’s life down.
“The night of the destruction.. whew,” Pope told a local TV station. “When I came in, it just was just so terrible. It was so terrible. I stand with the protesters, but I do not stand with the looters.”
Pope makes a distinction too many politicians and the national media have failed to make. Peaceful protest is thoroughly American and is protected in the First Amendment. Rioting and looting are criminal activity, often done opportunistically while others peacefully protest for justice and police and engaged in protecting them.
Riots destroyed Princess Pope’s Dallas boutique, but the community is coming together to save it.
Riots destroyed KB Balla’s bar. He built it with his life’s savings.
There are many victims beyond these two. They have names and faces, they have families. They’re in every major city in the country. They did nothing to warrant the violence and injustice done to them by rioters and looters.
Google “number killed 2020 riots George Floyd.” Other than a lone report from a local Fox affiliate, there isn’t much. That report has not been updated in several days. But it does list more than 20 Americans who have died because of the riots.
These are their names: David Dorn. David McAttee. Chris Beaty. Dorian Murell. Italia Kelly. Marquis Tousant. Patrick Underwood. Calvin Horton Jr. James Scurlock. Javar Harrell. Barry Perkins III. Jorge Gomez. Jose Gutierrez. Victor Cazares Jr. Marvin Francois. And there are two additional victims who as of the time or writing have not been identified. The youngest was athlete Dorian Murrell, 18; the oldest was retired police captain David Dorn, 77. Dorn was guarding his store when rioters broke in, killed him, and looted it. All of these victims were minorities, and most were black.
Patrick Underwood was a career law enforcement officer. He died literally guarding the rule of law.
“Pat was guarding the federal courthouse, a symbol of equal justice and the rule of law. During the riots in Oakland on the night of his death, it appears his death was part of a targeted attack on federal law enforcement,” Rep. Kevin McCarthy said at Underwood’s funeral.
“We pray that justice comes swiftly and completely for Pat, for George Floyd, and all victims of violence.”
But the media, along with most of the nation, is silent about these. If silence is truly violence, what does the media’s silence say to these victims and their families? The New York Times used its Memorial Day issue to print the names of 1,000 Americans killed by a mindless virus. It is ignoring the victims of the George Floyd riots.
There are many other victims. Right now a six-block section of Seattle is under the control of extremists calling the area the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ. There are 500 homes within the area the city and state have ceded to the extremists. There are businesses and jobs in that area. They’re all victims who have been left without a voice. CHAZ is under the control of an armed insurrectionist strongman who is extorting money from residents and businesses trying to continue their operations to keep their employees paid.
Who can they count on? Democratic governors and mayors have ceded their homes to extremists. Democratic candidates like Kim Olson in Texas say that “If people loot, so what. Burn it to the ground if that’s what it takes to fix our country.”
Those are Americans’ homes and their dreams and their lives. They deserve better than callous dismissal from the likes of Olson and the national media.
“We recognize how hard it is to build a small business and we are honored to play a small part in helping her come back from this,” Vista Bank President John D. Steinmetz said.
“First United Bank has been instrumental in helping the Black-owned businesses the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce sent during COVID-19 and now is no different. We appreciate their support to businesses in our communities across North Texas,” DBCC President Harrison Blair says.
Balla, a former firefighter, has raised over a million dollars to rebuild his bar, another case of Americans coming together to restore what was all too easy to destroy.
Neither Pope nor Balla sound like victims. They both sound like overcomers. They will thrive and hopefully pull many up with them.
Patrick Underwood’s sister, Angela Underwood Jacobs, directly addressed the riots during her brother’s funeral.
“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached, always avoid violence,” she said. “If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in your struggle, unborn generations will be recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.”
The national media could do good by focusing on these stories and relentlessly drawing distinctions between the peaceful protesters and the violent rioters. The former seek justice for a fellow American. The latter are nihilists who want to destroy the country and they do not care what and who they have to destroy along the way.
The UK-based Free Speech Union had an excellent thread on Twitter listing the staggering number of people who were forced to resign or are facing calls for termination for criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement. For one reporter, he got targeted for noting the lack of social distancing at a BLM rally in Wales. From academia to MTV, the Free Speech Union said there is an "alarming" amount of folks losing their jobs for exercising their free speech rights.
We all saw the massive meltdown at The New York Times over an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who argued that the military should be deployed to re-establish law and order in the wake of the rioting that ensued after the officer-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. The paper's woke legion of reporters revolted, saying the op-ed put black lives in danger. The paper twisted itself into a pretzel, finally denouncing the column, but not before being called out for creating a fraudulent standard from which they could argue that Cotton's piece didn't fit their standards. It was never about that. The Opinion Page editor was eventually forced to resign. At the Philadelphia Inquirer, Stan Wischnowski, a top editor who helped improve diversity in the newsroom and guided the paper to win a Pulitzer Prize for their series on school violence in Philly, was scalped by the left-wing mob for running a column with the headline "Buildings Matter, Too."
Free speech is violence to the far Left. Their goal is total domination, and they cannot accomplish that with differing opinions and views cutting through their trash ideas like Swiss cheese. Everyone who doesn't think like them must be muzzled. They don't want apologies. The Left never wants an apology from their targeted victims. They want to destroy them.
Hey, Drew Brees, did you hear that? The Super Bowl champion and future Hall of Fame QB for the New Orleans Saints was dragged for daring to say no one should disrespect the American Flag. If you want more of this authoritarian dystopia, vote for Democrats. This is what we'll see wholesale if we allow these woke wingnuts into positions of power. They already dominate some of the most prominent cultural bastions and fields of study, causing chaos. Imagine these folks in the Oval Office influencing policy. The Left-wing mob has grown and become more insane since 2016. Dark times are ahead for basic rights if the Left is in charge.
Here are some of the scalps they've taken from those who dared to offer a differing opinion on BLM. Some of the most unhinged are, of course, on college campuses where one professor is being threatened for not canceling an exam in the wake of the Floyd unrest:
Why We Need to Reemphasize America’s Founding Principles in Civics Education
Katie Gorka 2 weeks ago
We have a serious problem in this country with civics education and history.
Not only are there widespread efforts to undermine the country’s founding principles, such as Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” and The New York Times’ “1619 Project,” but the prevalence of civics and history as subjects in schools has declined.
In a recent conversation, Angela Sailor, vice president of The Heritage Foundation’s Feulner Institute, pointed out that multiple surveys show a negative trend in civic literacy.
Fewer Americans think that our nation is the best place of hope, opportunity, and community. That loss of confidence threatens the sanctity of the American ideal, and its validity and relevance to our self-governing republic.
How do we restore knowledge and understanding of America’s founding values and principles?
Lindsey Burke, director of the Center for Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation, said the driving force behind the establishment of public schools in America was exactly that—to cultivate civic knowledge and values.
Horace Mann, a leading advocate of public education in the mid-1800s, when America was still a young nation, said that a republic whose citizens were uneducated would be like an insane asylum. He believed that public education was essential to cultivating civic virtue and character in students.
That was the primary driver of taxpayer-funded public schools.
But today, the data suggests that our schools are not fulfilling that critical purpose. The National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the nation’s report card, recently released its assessment results, which show that only 24% of eighth-grade students performed proficiently on the civics exam.
Those results point to an evident crisis.
Jeff Sikkenga, executive director of the Ashland, Ohio-based Ashbrook Center, which seeks to strengthen constitutional self-government, says that this is a crisis both of knowledge and a personal devotion to our nation.
“When we ask students whether they believe America is a good country or not, we find some disappointing answers,” he said.
Sikkenga said it is not merely that students do not know particular facts, but that “they do not have a deep understanding of what is right and true and good and beautiful about America.”
Part of the challenge is that America’s history is not all right and true and good and beautiful. Slavery, racism, and racial segregation are major blemishes in our history, and are far from the only ones.
The promises of liberty and equality for all are at the heart of our nation, but as David Bobb, president of the Bill of Rights Institute, said, we have not always lived up to those promises.
Nonetheless, those promises, found in the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence, are what Gen. George Washington fought for, and Americans have continued to fight for over the decades and centuries.
They are still not fully realized, but that is what civic education can do: Civics can equip young people—indeed, all Americans—to say we share in those promises, and we will not give up on them.
As a nation, we must be more intentional about reaffirming, illuminating, explaining, and disseminating the founding principles of freedom and individual liberty in compelling ways to prompt the next generation to safeguard our republic for generations to come.
That means going beyond the rudiments of civics. We must teach the next generations a deeper understanding of why our Founders risked their lives for the right to govern themselves, why they believed a Constitution and the Bill of Rights were necessary, and why they committed to equality for all, but then failed to codify that in the Constitution.
Sailor, Burke, Sikkenga, and Bobb all agree that the solution lies in education, and in particular, in a return to primary sources.
The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and other key documents from our founding are easy to read in their original form. The ideas in the founding documents speak for themselves.
We must enable students to learn from the Founders themselves what is right, true, good, and beautiful about America.
To watch the full discussion, “Teaching American Exceptionalism and Overcoming Impediments to Teaching the History We Need,” click here.
For more information and addition articles, go here:
The Tennessee Supreme Court won’t reach down to hear appeal of Nashville judge’s ruling that Gov. Bill Lee’s school voucher law is unconstitutional. The state’s highest court also said it won’t lift injunction on implementing the program while the legal challenge is underway.
That means the case stays with the intermediate Court of Appeals, which isn’t scheduled to hear oral arguments until school is scheduled to resume in August.
Here’s the order:
On May 20, 2020, Intervening Defendants Ciera Calhoun, Greater Praise Christian Academy, Alexandria Medlin, Sensational Enlightenment Academy Independent School, and David Wilson, Sr. filed in this Court a motion to assume jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 48 of the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court and Tennessee Code Annotated section 16-3-201(d). On that same date, Intervening Defendants Natu Bah, Star Brumfield, Bria Davis, and Builiguissa Diallo filed a motion to assume jurisdiction. On May 21, 2020, Defendants the Tennessee Department of Education, Commissioner Penny Schwinn, in her official capacity as Education Commissioner, and Governor Bill Lee, in his official capacity, filed a motion to assume jurisdiction. On May 21, 2020, Defendants the Tennessee Department of Education, Commissioner Penny Schwinn, in her official capacity as Education Commissioner, and Governor Bill Lee, in his official capacity also filed a motion for review of orders denying a stay of injunction pursuant to Rule 7(a) of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure and Rule 62.08 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. On May 29, 2020, Roxanne McEwen, David P. Bichell, Terry Jo Bichell, Lisa Mingrone, Claudia Russell, Inez Williams, Sheron Davenport, Heather Kenney, Elise McIntosh, Tracy O’Connor, and Apryle Young (collectively the “McEwen Plaintiffs”) filed a motion for leave to file an amicus brief and tendered their brief pursuant to Rule 31 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure.
The McEwen Plaintiffs’ motion for leave to file an amicus brief is GRANTED, and the brief lodged by them shall be accepted as filed as of the date of this order.
The Court has carefully considered each of the motions to assume jurisdiction, the motion for review of orders denying a stay of injunction, Plaintiffs’ responses in opposition to those motions, and the brief of the amicus. Based upon the current totality of the circumstances, including the relevant timeline and the procedural posture of this case, the Court concludes that this case does not warrant the extraordinary action of the exercise of the Court’s authority to assume jurisdiction. As a result, the motions to assume jurisdiction must be DENIED. For similar reasons, the Court further concludes that the motion for review of orders denying a stay of injunction is DENIED.
Almost one in four American public-school families are expecting not to send their children back to government schools after they re-open from the coronavirus shutdown, according to the results of a shocking new survey on educational choices and COVID-19.
A staggering 15 percent of public-school families said they would choose homeschooling going forward, potentially quadrupling or even nearly quintupling the homeschool population if the results are accurate. Across America, that would translate to about 7.5 million new homeschoolers on top of the estimated 2 to 3 million already educated at home.
Another 3 percent of the 1330 families who responded to the survey expect to use virtual schools, which have become popular with some parents amid the coronavirus hysteria. About 2 percent of families surveyed said they would be opting for private-school options instead.
Of the traditional public-school families surveyed, a full 23 percent said they would be leaving government education if and when schools open up next year. Already, about 15 percent of children are either homeschooled or educated in private schools.
The new survey was done by education expert Corey DeAngelis, who serves as the director of school choice at the libertarian Reason Foundation, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and the executive director of the Educational Freedom Institute.
His poll asked parents what type of school their youngest child attended before the COVID-19 shutdown, and what type of school the child would attend after the coronavirus lockdown ends.
However, DeAngelis cautioned that the sample was not necessarily representative. “The parents who selected into this survey could be the most likely to switch out of brick-and-mortar schools,” he said. “These results are therefore likely upper bound estimates of the actual transfers that will occur.”
Still, the results are interesting and potentially hugely important, he said. “Although the sample is not representative of all families, this is the first quantitative evidence we have estimating the amount of switching between sectors,” DeAngelis added. “The expected losses to brick-and-mortar schools are larger than I expected, even for this nonrandom sample.”
The Newman Report recently highlighted the case of a California mother who saw an email inviting her middle school child to participate in a “private,” “invite only” so-called “LGBTQ+ Web Hangout” for “youth” featuring adult homosexuals and transgenders. She decided not to send her child back to the school for obvious reasons.
Over at The New American, for a recent cover story headlined “Coronavirus Opens Eyes to Homeschooling,” this writer interviewed a concerned mother who was shocked at the material being sent home for the student. She, too, decided to pull her child from government school.
However, despite the good news for advocates of liberating children from government schools, there is a potential risk to this, too. At least one analyst, Professor Eric Wearne with the Education Economics Center at Kennesaw State University, suggested that coronavirus-related economic hardships might cause some parents whose children are in private school to switch to governments schools instead.
Despite the hardships and other problems, the coronavirus represents a historic opportunity for parents to see the benefits of home education and scrutinize the so-called “education” their children are receiving from government schools. That is a good thing.
With enough work, it is possible that millions of children could be liberated permanently from government “education” once this is all done. Now is the time to rescue as many of America's children as possible — before it's too late. Get involved today.
A Pennsylvania school board has blocked the use of a proposed textbook after one school board member led the charge against the book on the grounds that it was nothing more than liberal “indoctrination.”
The West York Area school board rejected the book, “Rubenstein: The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography, 13th edition,” on a 5-4 vote after board member Lynn Kohler opposed its approach to teaching about climate change, according to the York Dispatch.
The newspaper summarized Kohler’s comments to say that he thought the book was “an anti-capitalist extension of the environmental movement.”
“I believe this falls into the indoctrination category of pushing a particular political belief,” Kohler said at the board’s May 19 meeting.
Kohler noted that differing opinions on climate change and globalization exist.
Board member Todd Gettys, who also voted against the book, said approving it would be an endorsement of its ideas.
Gettys said that if the district wants to move ahead with the human geography course for which it sought the book, it could be done as an independent study so that students, and not taxpayers, would buy the books.
The board’s action produced a buzz on Twitter.
Board member Donald Carl insisted science about climate change is not in dispute.
“While it’s OK for all of us to have different opinions, there really is only one set of facts,” Carl said.
Although school boards were created to ensure that local control over education is preserved, board member Douglas Hoover said his fellow members should be wary of interfering in textbook choices.
“It really doesn’t end well,” Hoover said.
Carl and Hoover are both teachers in other districts.
Legislators prepare to close out difficult session
We are constitutionally required to pass a balanced budget. We just can’t print money.”
— STATE SEN. MIKE BELL
By TIM SINIARD
The Tennessee General Assembly will resume its legislative session Monday after adjourning in March due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to ending the session, legislators were in the process of hammering out the state’s budget.
The current fiscal year ends June 30.
But when they return on Monday, instead of finalizing the budget, they will be facing budget cuts made necessary by revenue shortfalls caused by an economic downturn created by the pandemic.
State Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville), who represents the 9th Senatorial District, and state Rep. Dan Howell (R-Cleveland), who represents the 22nd Legislative District, said they expect the session to last approximately two weeks, although that's not set in stone.
Bell said the Senate will be mainly focusing on budget issues and COVID-19-related legislation.
Howell said the House will also be focusing on budget items, as well as some legislation that was left on the calendar when the General Assembly adjourned in March.
State Rep. Mark Hall (R-Cleveland), who represents the 24th Legislative District, and state Sen. Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga), who represents the 10th Senatorial District which includes part of Bradley County, will also be heavily involved in bill discussions and committee assignments during the General Assembly's final weeks.
Normally, the General Assembly meets 90 session days over a two-year period, with legislative sessions lasting from late January to April or May each year.
But that was until the pandemic struck.
Now, they must return to address the budget, which has been taken to the mat by COVID-19's vicious left hook.
The pandemic’s effect on the state’s economy has reduced general fund revenues by some $650.9 million, while other funds that share in state tax revenues have been $42.9 million less than the estimates.
In addition, sales tax revenues were $61.2 million less than estimated for April, as well as 6.01% less than April 2019.
Cuts are now in the future.
Bell said Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has ordered 12% cuts across all state departments.
“We are constitutionally required to pass a balanced budget,” Bell said. “We just can’t print money,” adding that the state is most likely facing the worst economy since the Great Depression.
The emergency budget passed before lawmakers left Nashville in mid-March could have a potential $700 million shortfall, according to media reports.
Bell also said the Senate will be considering legislation that will protect businesses and healthcare providers from lawsuits related to COVID-19, if they are adhering to guidance from the state’s Economic Recovery Group.
Howell said the House will resume its session Monday, although committees have been meeting since Tuesday.
He said House members want to vote on several items that have remained on the calendar since the body adjourned, including several transportation-related bills.
Howell chairs the House's all-important Transportation Committee.
“We want to close out the calendar and send those bills to the House floor,” he said.
One focus will be re-writing legislation for the Tennessee Billboard Act, which was declared unconstitutional by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals last year.
In that First Amendment case, the court considered whether the state had erred when it ordered the removal of a sign a state resident had used to cheer on the 2012 U.S. Summer Olympic Team.
The three-judge panel ruled that, “The Billboard Act’s on-premises exception scheme is a content-based regulation of free speech.”
Howell said the House session will begin Monday at 5 p.m.