July 20, 2017


For a state that prides itself on its cosmopolitanism and world-renowned research universities, [California’s] rule is perverse. By declaring that even minor carve-outs for conscientious objectors violate its anti-discrimination tenets — and that those tenets almost always trump other considerations — this proudly diverse state seeks to impose cultural homogeneity on the entire nation.

The travel ban is especially ironic as liberals lament state preemption laws that prevent cities in conservative states from enacting left-wing measures. California is trying to export its policies to places that aren’t even in its jurisdiction. And in many cases the ban punishes the same liberal oases hammered by conservative preemption statutes. It doesn’t matter if your conference is in Charlotte or Austin; California wants nothing to do with it.

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California’s intolerance in the name of tolerance is also selective and ethnocentric. It applies only to U.S. destinations. For many LGBT people around the world, living under Texas or Kansas law would be a great liberation. Forget high-profile offenders like Russia. What about Turkey or Singapore? A consistent policy would even deny travel funds for Poland. If the community of scholars can span regimes as diverse as China, India, and Iran, surely it can make room for North Carolina.

Related: Gov. Jerry Brown, in a counter to Trump, lands in China to affirm climate change alliance.

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