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CHINA SYNDROME: More popular heartburn medications recalled due to impurity.

VICTORY GIRLS: Purity Tests, Fascism And Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

MR. PRESIDENT, WE MUST NOT ALLOW A WINE CAVE GAP! Wine caves and ‘purity tests:’ Warren and Buttigieg clash over billionaire donors:

Warren, 70, had earlier attacked Buttigieg for holding fundraisers in “a wine cave full of crystals” and suggested he was trying to buy the election in “smoke-filled rooms.”

“The mayor just recently had a fundraiser that was held in a wine cave, full of crystals and served $900-a-bottle wine,” said Warren. “He had promised that every fundraiser he would do would be open-door, but this one was closed-door. We made the decision many years ago that rich people in smoke-filled rooms* would not pick the next president of the United States. Billionaires in wine caves should pick the next president of the United States.”

“I do not sell access to my time,” the Massachusetts senator responded.

Related: Elizabeth Warren reveals she earned $2 million from 30 years of private legal work as she feuds with Pete Buttigieg over financial transparency.

More: Ouch! Elizabeth Warren’s look after Pete Buttigieg’s comment about ‘issuing purity test you yourself can’t pass’ is heap big awkward.

And speaking of wine caves: Gavin Newsom Defends ‘Wine Cave:’ ‘Used By Democrats All Across the Country.’

* Politicians are still making “smoke-filled rooms” analogies in 2019? Though as Jonah Goldberg noted in November, “There’s no doubt mistakes were made by those party fat cats and fixers, but those smoke-filled rooms also gave us Lincoln, Coolidge, the Roosevelts, Eisenhower, Truman, Kennedy, et al. I don’t love all of those guys, but it’s not obvious to me primaries would have given us better. And you can hardly argue that they weren’t democratically elected. (We can talk about JFK’s election shenanigans another time.)”

(Classical allusion in headline.)

MINDING THE CAMPUS: The Campus Tendency To Extremism. “There is a common cultural dynamic in which competition among members of a social or political movement for the prestige of ideological purity and group leadership leads to more and more extreme substantive positions.”

If the right were trying to destroy the prestige and credibility of higher education it could do no better than higher education is doing for itself.

LIONEL SHRIVER: The abject stupidity of the San Francisco George Washington murals debacle.

So what’s the problem with these images? I fear I will bore you. ‘Don’t tell us,’ you say. ‘Pictures of slaves and dead Indians make students feel “unsafe”. The murals are “offensive” to certain “communities”. Did we get that right?’ Of course you did. But to be fair, when 49 freshmen at George Washington High were asked to write about the murals, only four wanted the works erased; the rest would preserve them intact, visible, and in place. Aside from a handful of noisy activists, this isn’t a snowflake story. It’s the grown-ups who are the idiots, and who assume that their city’s children are idiots — since if there are any kids who repeatedly pass these murals on the way to class and fail to get their message (and that’s hard to imagine), these children are already in a school where at least in theory one learns things.

It’s progressives of the sort who sit on the San Francisco School Board who are always banging on about the importance of teaching students the sordid aspects of American history. They’re the ones who would happily set aside lessons on the ingenious civic architecture of the Constitution in preference for concentrating solely on the document’s initial hypocrisy over slavery, and who denigrate George Washington as a slaveholder. They’re the ones who love nothing better than to induce a burning sense of hereditary shame in upcoming generations over how the West was won. So they’re the ones who, we presume, had they the talent, would paint the very murals they now want to obscure. ‘Bewildering’ doesn’t begin to say it.

Would that I could reassure my British readers that this urge to artistic vandalism is an American affliction, perhaps one specific to whackadoodle California. But campaigns to take down monuments and ban art that doesn’t pass an ever-stricter political purity test is not constrained to the US.

Read the whole thing, as the left’s cancel culture airbrushes down the memory hole the work of a communist painter hired by the FDR administration, in the name of what Rod Dreher dubbed “moralistic therapeutic barbarism.”

ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY: Bill Maher Calls BDS: Bullsh*t Purity Test–Rep. Talib Calls For Boycott Of Maher.

MAUREEN DOWD, ALWAYS THE LAST TO KNOW: “Progressives Are The Modern Puritans:”

After I interviewed Nancy Pelosi a few weeks ago, The HuffPost huffed that we were Dreaded Elites because we were eating chocolates and — horror of horrors — the speaker had on some good pumps.

Then this week, lefty Twitter erected a digital guillotine because I had a book party for my friend Carl Hulse, The Times’s authority on Capitol Hill for decades, attended by family, journalists, Hill denizens and a smattering of lawmakers, including Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Susan Collins.

I, the daughter of a D.C. cop, and Carl, the son of an Illinois plumber, were hilariously painted as decadent aristocrats reveling like Marie Antoinette when we should have been knitting like Madame Defarge.

Yo, proletariat: If the Democratic Party is going to be against chocolate, high heels, parties and fun, you’ve lost me. And I’ve got some bad news for you about 2020.

The progressives are the modern Puritans. The Massachusetts Bay Colony is alive and well on the Potomac and Twitter.

All the best people pointed out to me on their sandwich boards that the world is coming to an end in 14 months. As doomsday approaches, there’s no room for heretics to the revolution, let alone chocolate, high heels, parties, or heck, even plastic straws.

(As H.L. Mencken wrote in 1949, “Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” But why did it take this long for Maureen to discover that her fellow leftists were the new puritans?)

Earlier: Howard Fineman: Why does it make people so mad to see political elites and media elites hobnobbing at a Georgetown cocktail party?

JOSH HARRIS KISSES CHRISTIANITY GOODBYE, JOINS LGBT MOVEMENT:

Josh Harris, author of the bestselling 1997 book I Kissed Dating Goodbye, announced on Instagram Friday that he had kissed Christianity goodbye, as well. He is also divorcing his wife. In recent years, Harris has rightly repented of his extraordinarily stringent and slightly heretical teachings in the evangelical purity movement, but he seems to have thrown the baby out with the bathwater. Ironically, the evangelical ex-pastor went from preaching one worldly dogma dressed up in Christian garb to fully embracing another worldly dogma clearly opposed to Christianity.

“What is sin?”, a legendary community organizer was asked by a Chicago Sun-Times reporter covering religion-themed topics in 2004. He famously replied, “Being out of alignment with my values.” Or as the late Tom Wolfe wrote in his epochal 1976 article, “The ‘Me’ Decade and the Third Great Awakening,” “It is entirely possible that in the long run historians will regard the entire New Left experience as not so much a political as a religious episode wrapped in semi military gear and guerrilla talk.”

THE PENNY DROPS FOR MAUREEN DOWD? Ed Driscoll summarized earlier the NYT Op-Ed piece from Maureen Dowd, titled “Scaling Wokeback Mountain.” I couldn’t help but notice this rather telling paragraph:

“The progressives act as though anyone who dares disagree with them is bad. Not wrong, but bad, guilty of some human failing, some impurity that is a moral evil that justifies their venom.”

Conservatives and Libertarians and even a few still-sensible Democrats have been saying this for years, that substituting reason and logic with a self-appointed high moral ground is a form of “shut-upism” a way of avoiding solutions (other than your own) by demonizing (and subsequently deplatforming) the opposition.  A few, a very few, have begun to realize that Podesta and Hillary’s polarization game (“Deplorables!”) has contaminated — and possibly rendered toothless — Democratic politics for years to come. It was only a matter of time until they began to use this tactic on each other.

Maybe Maureen Dowd has looked around and asked what happened to the Mensheviks. And perhaps she’s inching closer to being red-pilled.

ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY: Rahm Emanuel calls AOC’s chief of staff “a snot-nosed punk,” according to Maureen Dowd in a column titled “Scaling Wokeback Mountain:”

And then there’s the real instigator, Saikat Chakrabarti, A.O.C.’s 33-year-old chief of staff, who co-founded Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress, both of which recruited progressives — including A.O.C. — to run against moderates in Democratic primaries. The former Silicon Valley Bernie Bro assumed he could apply Facebook’s mantra, “Move fast and break things,” to one of the oldest institutions in the country.

But Congress is not a place where you achieve radical progress — certainly not in divided government. It’s a place where you work at it and work at it and don’t get everything you want.

The progressives act as though anyone who dares disagree with them is bad. Not wrong, but bad, guilty of some human failing, some impurity that is a moral evil that justifies their venom.

Chakrabarti sent shock waves through the Democratic caucus when he posted a tweet about the border bill comparing moderate and Blue Dog Democrats — some of whom are black — to Southern segregationists in the ’40s.

Rahm Emanuel told me Chakrabarti is “a snot-nosed punk” who has no idea about the battle scars Pelosi bears from the liberal fights she has led.

“What votes did you get?” Emanuel said, rhetorically challenging A.O.C.’s chief of staff. “You should only be so lucky to learn from somebody like Nancy who has shown incredible courage and who has twice returned the Democratic Party to power.

Talk about projection — Chakrabarti simply doesn’t want to let an (imaginary) crisis go to waste to transform the entire American economy.

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE MEMORY HOLE: Destroying Our History: Of Wokeness and ‘Moralistic Therapeutic Barbarism.’

Pity future generations who will live in a world scrubbed clean of the sins of our forefathers.

And sins there were. No one denies that. No one questions it. But to judge their entire lives — their foibles as well as their majestic accomplishments — without viewing both sides of their Janus face, demonstrates a towering ignorance and an aggressive denial of the truth.

What is truly frightening about the current attitude present in our “woke” culture, is the utter lack of care and concern for the damage being done to history on the part of the self-proclaimed arbiters of purity. Someone (always unnamed), somewhere might/could be offended by a sculpture, a painting, or a statue. The “offense” is that viewing this devil’s work might/could “trigger” an unwanted emotion of some kind. (Not to mention the encouragement it gives to white supremacists!)

Then there’s the case of the San Francisco school board voting to spend $600,000 to destroy a Depression-era mural of George Washington painted by an ardent Communist.

Forget “future generations” — found via Maggie’s Farm, a Website called McSweeney’s is getting a jump on things by publishing satiric “Obituaries for the Recently Canceled:”

Matthew Edwards, 41, was canceled early Friday evening after he was seen in his car singing along to “Remix to Ignition.” Mr. Edwards has not watched the R. Kelly documentary, but colleagues say he was aware of its existence and general content. He leaves behind his intersectional feminist wife Julia and two woke children.

– – –

Following a long battle in defense of a controversial Facebook post, Meredith Van Dorn, 20, finally succumbed to cancellation at her home on Thursday night. Ms. Van Dorn was surrounded by friends and loved ones who, upon her cancellation, insisted they always had kind of a weird feeling about her, actually. Ms. Van Dorn’s parents, Peter and Linda, would like their daughter to be remembered for her sweet smile and love of dancing, rather than her provocative feelings about Japanese toilets.

* * * * * * * *

Simon Mulchfield, 27, was a rising journalist at The Atlantic. On Saturday he canceled himself at his parents’ Westchester home, after re-reading an essay he wrote in his freshman year of college about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mr. Mulchfield leaves behind his uncanceled fiancé, Shayna Al-Ahmadi, who is fluent in both Hebrew and Arabic and whose undergraduate essays have been read before Congress. Ms. Al-Ahmadi remains grateful for their time together and notes that if Mr. Mulchfield had not canceled himself, she absolutely would have done so.

* * * * * * * *

On Wednesday, three-day-old Lily Hobbes became the youngest person ever to be canceled, when her father read to her from Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming and she immediately started crying.

Mao’s Struggle Sessions: a warning from the past for the rest of us — a how-to guide for today’s left.

The Red Guard parades an official through a Peking street and force him to wear a dunce cap as a mark of public shame. He is the member of an anti-revolutionary group and, according to the writing on the cap, he has been accused of being a political pickpocket. This picture was made in the Peking on Jan. 25, 1967 and was obtained froom Japanese sources in Tokyo. (AP caption.)

ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY: Cancel Culture Comes for Counterculture Comics. Today it’s creators, not cops, who want to banish R. Crumb, onetime king of the comics underground:

The American culture that R. Crumb and his contemporaries grew up in restricted the ways people could talk about sex, violence, race, and class. The first wave of underground comix artists reacted with metaphorical explosive violence, especially once they realized nothing was stopping them but the constraints of their own minds. That freedom, in all its messiness and ugliness, upset and unnerved and offended many. It also inspired massive amounts of interesting, strange, life-enhancing art, not just in the comics world but in such offshoots of Crumb’s aesthetic as National Lampoon, Saturday Night Live, and The Simpsons.

The attitudes Crumb satirized were real and, he thought, deserving of ridicule via crazed exaggeration. His feelings of hostility toward women are, as he has insisted in his comics and in interviews, true to him (and, he is certain, to many other men). What is to be gained by pretending they’re not? Crumb was honest about being the sort of resentful nebbish who in his pre-fame days saw women as controlling something he desperately wanted and couldn’t have—what would now be called a corrosive “incel” mentality, after the men who self-identify as involuntarily celibate.

In a 1991 interview with The Comics Journal, Crumb said art should be judged not on ideological purity but on whether it is “interesting or boring…honest and truthful and real…saying what’s really on [the artists’] minds.…If it’s really in there it ought to come out on paper.” At the same time, he reflected, “I don’t know, maybe we’re all just dragging society down. Maybe we should all be locked up.”

The paradox of liberal tolerance remains: Neither the transgressors nor the offended have a right to force the other side to just shut up about what its members think, feel, or imagine. The two are intimately linked in a mutually frustrating tango. The offended want certain expressions to go away or be universally recognized as unacceptable, and the transgressors want a social space to express themselves without feeling driven from society.

Read the whole thing. I’m so old, I can remember when the left celebrated the 1970s for all of its radical changes to society. Eventually though, all of its pop culture will be airbrushed out of existence, as left’s overculture goes full-on Mao.

JOEL KOTKIN: The unwitting Committee to Re-elect the President.

Given his consistently poor approval ratings, and growing concern about the polarization that he has exacerbated, Democrats should have little trouble ousting President Trump next year. But instead, with a series of outlandish and often deeply unpopular proposals, they have morphed effectively into the Committee to Re-Elect the President.

Democrats could succeed easily if they focused on basic middle class issues, such as health care and reforming the tax system, where popular opinion, including among working class whites, is largely on their side. Infrastructure spending, if they can somehow disassociate it from the usual pork-barreling, could also gain support, particularly from construction workers.

Instead many Democratic candidates appear if they are trying to win the campus and media intersectionality challenge, emphasizing cultural “purity” in ways that worry such craftier politicians as Barack Obama. The views now commonly expressed on gender, race, immigration and the environment may work in the deep blue recesses of our majority cities, but are unlikely to play in Peoria.

I still say that getting Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Omar elected was Roger Stone’s finest dirty trick.

BEGUN THE 2020 PROGRESSIVE PURITY CONTEST HAS: The MSN-DNC Unsheathes the Long Knives for Tulsi Gabbard.

ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY: The most fun political subplot of the new year? Bernie Sanders fans hating Beto O’Rourke.

The winner of that battle will have to face this one: Joy Reid’s Racial Test: Democrats ‘Can’t Run Two White Guys’ in 2020.

I’m so old, I can remember when finding guys who can win elections was more important to Democrats than ideological or racial purity.

THERE SEEMS TO BE SOMETHING WRONG WITH OUR BLOODY DRUGS TODAY: 3rd blood pressure drug recalled in recent weeks over impurity.

VOTING RIGHTS REPORT: The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a report today entitled “An Assessment of Minority Voting Rights Access in the United States.” The press release repeatedly emphasizes that the report was “unanimous.” This is technically true, but highly misleading. My mother died about an hour before the telephonic meeting at which the vote was taken, so I was unable to call in. As I wrote in my Commissioner Statement, if I had been present, I would have voted no. I believe the same is true of my colleague Peter Kirsanow, who was stuck in a deposition at the time. Only Commissioners appointed by Democrats voted to approve the report.

The most remarkable part of the report can be found in the Statement of Commissioner Michael Yaki (the Pelosi appointee) on page 301:

[The Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder] has turned the concept of voting rights on its head, where officials now work to restrict, and not expand, the franchise. Worse, there is little attempt to conceal the racial animus underlying these actions or the transparency of their actions to block the franchise and empowerment of minorities. In this way, there is a direct line from Shelby to Charlottesville, where alt-right, neo-Nazi, and hate groups, in their putsch-filled delusions, believe they can turn back the clock and preserve the supremacy of their self-defined racial purity. When government is acting under the color of law to enact the legal equivalent, it becomes a distinction without a difference.

Got that? State legislatures enacting voter ID laws and other anti-fraud measures are the same as “alt-right, neo-Nazi, and hate groups” who “in their putsch-filled delusions, believe they can turn back the clock and preserve the supremacy of their self-defined racial purity.”  And it was all made possible by a Supreme Court that “turned the concept of voting rights on its head.”

Yaki has a history of intemperate statements. But the Chair Catherine Lhamon (an Obama appointee) concurred in his Statement. If it were a 40-page Statement with the crazy parts buried in the footnotes, I might be inclined to believe she just didn’t see it. But it isn’t even two pages long, and the crazy parts dominate the text. I have to assume she agrees with him.

I’ll post a link to my Statement in the report when I get a chance.

AND THEIR STUNNING LACK OF SELF AWARENESS WILL NOT HELP THEM SCRAMBLE FROM THE BRINK:  Purity Spirals Into Evil.

GREAT MOMENTS IN OCCUPATIONAL SELF-AWARENESS:

● Shot: Actor Bradley Whitford’s Advice to Fellow Libs: ‘We Need to Project Our Political Purity.’

NewsBusters, yesterday.

● Chaser: District Attorney Vance Announces Additional Charges Against Harvey Weinstein Including Predatory Sexual Assault.

—Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, today.

● Hangover: How #MeToo Has Undermined the #Resistance — The steady drumbeat of sexual scandal is eroding the Left’s moral authority.

—David French, NRO, May 16.

Why are leftwing-dominated industries such cesspits of sexual abuse and exploitation?

SENTENCE FIRST, TRIAL AFTERWARDS: Linda Greenhouse on the recently-deceased Judge Stephen Reinhardt: “Doctrinal purity mattered less to him than extracting even the most gossamer claim to a favorable result.” Greenhouse comes not to bury Reinhardt, but to praise him, but I don’t find the notion that judges should reason backward from the result they want generally praiseworthy. I don’t think Greenhouse would, either, if it had been a conservative doing so.

ROGER KIMBALL: Why Kevin Williamson Matters. I think the response to the Left’s purity campaign is to denormalize the institutions they control. Harvard, The Atlantic, etc. need to be treated not as mainstream cultural institutions, but as centers of leftist agitprop pure and simple. Because that’s what they’ve decided to be, and there’s no reason to treat them with the respect an actual mainstream cultural institution enjoys.

PHILIP ELLIOTT: Democrats Shouldn’t Get Too Cocky About Their Big Win in Trump Country.

The bigger fight in 2018 is unlikely to be a carbon copy of what narrowly happened in Appalachia for a number of reasons. For one, Democrats avoided a messy primary fight in picking Lamb, a Marine veteran who secured the nomination by winning over 319 Democrats’ backing in a high school gym filled with 554 activists back in November. In other scenarios, an energized activist base on the Left — populated by newcomers to the process who demand ideological purity — may have prevented Lamb from winning the nomination had there been a real contest. In recent weeks, more than a few progressive activists grumbled that whether Lamb won or lost, another white male who wasn’t a full-throated supporter of abortion rights would represent the district. (Lamb said he supported abortion rights but was personally opposed to the legal procedure, a stance that matches Democrats’ 2016 VP nominee Tim Kaine. Republicans called Lamb’s position “pro-life-ish.”)

At the same time, Lamb steadfastly avoided nationalizing the race and brushed off most questions about Trump. While liberals are largely united in their disdain of the President, Lamb gamely avoided moving him to center stage. Many of the loudest voices on the Left have tried to cast 2018 as a referendum on Republicans’ national agenda. Instead, Lamb kept the focus at home and talked about policy areas that matched the voters.

Democrats have acknowledged their problems with recruiting the right candidates. For every Lamb victory, there are at least as many idealists who fire up online activists and donors — only to fall in defeat when their progressive ideas are rejected by the voters who actually matter.

And maybe voters have wised up some since the 2006 election, when all those newly elected “moderate” Democrats voted in virtual lockstep with Nancy Pelosi.

FORREST NABORS: Why The Time Is Ripe For A Free Iran.

If different types of political regimes are plants that grow, the soil is the people, and different types of soil determine what kind of political regime is possible in a given nation. The rise, prosperity, or fall of a political regime depends upon the customs and temper of a people that have developed since time immemorial and are not easily changed.

This important insight was once commonplace when the classical analysis of political regimes was the starting point in understanding nations’ politics, but political science in its modern form no longer teaches our young citizenry in this way. This is why you will not find many journalists or analysts in the media or government who can convincingly explain the prospects for democracy abroad.

The cost of this change in education is apparent in the last 15 years of American foreign policy. The Bush administration expected Western-style democracy to immediately take hold in Iraq after it toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein. The Obama administration expected the same following popular unrest during the Arab Spring. Noble though the goals of those administrations were, an intelligent citizen informed by Bernard Lewis’s “What Went Wrong” and educated in regime analysis could have foreseen that efforts to establish stable democracies in place of removed Arab tyrannies would encounter profound difficulties.

In Iran the case is different. Iranians are a great people well prepared for successful self-government and boast one of the oldest and most refined cultures in human history. Unlike Sunni Islam, their version of Islam always recognized the separation of mosque and state, a tradition that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini struggled to reconcile with his goal of preserving Islamic purity in modernity. He finally abandoned the attempt, but that tradition is still remembered by Shiites and has shaped the political principles that they hold today.

Read the whole thing.

JONAH GOLDBERG: The real problem with the new liberal awakening about Bill Clinton isn’t the hypocrisy, it’s the historical revisionism.

Read this article from the New York Observer — if you can stomach it — titled, “New York Supergals Love That Naughty Prez.” They covered all the weighty issues, e.g., is oral sex cheating? And would you do him? “The consensus, as [Erica] Jong expressed it, was that a Presidential ‘f*ckabout’ was far better than a ‘fascist pig’ like Kenneth Starr.” The “only person who minds that Bill Clinton’s having sex without being in love,” said Elizabeth Benedict, “is Ken Starr.” Susan Shellogg, a former dominatrix, offered the only substantive criticism: “I think the President is reckless for not practicing safe sex if she has stains on her dress. She was not using a condom. That’s a big story.”

In an even more embarrassing Rolling Stone symposium, rapper DMX said,

All [Clinton] did was get some p***y, you know what I’m saying? . . . He’s a dog, man. Men are dogs. The fronting ones are the ones who don’t act like dogs. Those are the ones you watch. He’s doing his job. Whether he gets impeached should be determined by that, not where his (manhood) is at.

Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner, a man of famously Caligulan sexual appetites, summed up the attitude well:

What we have is a Republican majority in the House, held hostage by hate-drunk zealots and McCarthy-esque character assassins arguing the proposition that the president’s personal life must be absolutely flawless, [and] that should he have less than such moral purity, he has no right as a sworn officer of the Constitution to personal privacy.

In the same issue, Nicholson called the investigation a “coup d’état” and compared Bill Clinton to abolitionist zealot John Brown.

It was amidst all of this talk that the idea of Bill Clinton being “the first black president” was born, because, you see, he was being persecuted for not following bourgeois morality, or something. Jane Smiley, writing in The New Yorker, argued that Bill Clinton was so much more preferable to George H. W. Bush, because Bush was a warmonger who liked launching missiles more than having sex. . . .

Now, not all of these people excused, say, Juanita Broaddrick’s utterly plausible claim that Bill Clinton raped her. But one reason they didn’t was that NBC News kept that allegation secret throughout the impeachment hearings because they believed it was true.

They’ll say anything, or cover up anything, if they think it helps the cause — which is always lefty/Democratic Party power, whatever other language it’s wrapped in.

LUCIA MARTINEZ VALDIVIA: Professors like me can’t stay silent about this extremist moment on campuses.

No one should have to pass someone else’s ideological purity test to be allowed to speak. University life — along with civic life — dies without the free exchange of ideas.

In the face of intimidation, educators must speak up, not shut down. Ours is a position of unique responsibility: We teach people not what to think, but how to think.

Realizing and accepting this has made me — an eminently replaceable, untenured, gay, mixed-race woman with PTSD — realize that no matter the precariousness of my situation, I have a responsibility to model the appreciation of difference and care of thought I try to foster in my students.

If I, like so many colleagues nationwide, am afraid to say what I think, am I not complicit in the problem?

At Reed and nationwide, we have largely stayed silent, probably hoping that this extremist moment in campus politics eventually peters out. But it is wishful thinking to imagine that the conversation will change on its own. It certainly won’t change if more voices representing more positions aren’t added to it. . . . Nuance and careful reasoning are not the tools of the oppressor.

If some evil right-wing genius set out to marginalize and destroy the academy, xe could do no better than the campus left is doing on its own. But bravo to Prof. Valdivia for her courage.

MONTAGE: AS NFL RATINGS PLUMMET, ROGER GOODELL DEVELOPS ODD VERBAL TIC.

“Now look, Colonel… Bat Guano, if that really is your name, may I tell you that I have a very, very good idea, I think, I hope, I pray, what the recall code is. It’s some sort of recurrent theme he kept repeating. It’s a variation on Peace on Earth or Purity of Essence. E O P. O P E. It’s one of those!”

(Classical reference.)

MORE ON JIMMY KIMMEL ON LOSING REPUBLICAN VIEWERS: “I probably wouldn’t want to have a conversation with them anyway.”

We’ll get to Kimmel in a moment, but to understand how we got to this point, let’s flashback to the hypothesis that Robert Tracinski explored a week ago at the Federalist, in a column titled,“Why Late Night Hosts Like Jimmy Kimmel Are Suddenly So Political.” After discussing how DVRs, streaming and YouTube are fracturing their audiences, he concluded:

So the late-night shows are in a much fiercer competition for eyeballs than ever before, and I suspect the politicization is a response to that—a desperate way of getting in the news, of getting noticed, of securing the loyalty of a particular demographic. This is also my theory about the big entertainment awards shows like the Oscars and the Emmys. If the big, broad, general audience you used to have is gone, and deep down you think it’s never coming back, then why not make a harder bid for the loyalty of the smaller audience you’ve got left? In a time when the entertainment industry is (or thinks it is) a one-party state with no dissenters, you had better echo that politics back to your base.

What were once cultural institutions with a broad, bipartisan audience are becoming niche players with a narrow fan base. They no longer view partisan politics as a dangerous move that will shrink their audience. Instead, they’re using partisan politics as a lure to secure the loyalty of their audience, or what is left of it. Not that it’s going to work over the long term, because people who want to have their biases confirmed will just watch the five-minute YouTube clip Chris Cillizza links to the next day.

Tracinski’s theory dovetails perfectly with the above quoted tweet yesterday from the Washington Examiner: “Jimmy Kimmel on losing Republican viewers: ‘I probably wouldn’t want to have a conversation with them anyway.’” The article it links to goes on to note:

Critics like conservative commentator Ben Shapiro have slammed Kimmel for parading as a “moral arbiter.”

“I’m not. I mean, I agree with him. I’m nobody’s moral arbiter,” Kimmel told CBS. “You don’t have to watch the show. You don’t have to listen to what I say.”

A defiant Kimmel added that he doesn’t say “I don’t mind” because he preferred “everyone with a television to watch the show.”

“But if they’re so turned off by my opinion on healthcare and gun violence then, I don’t know, I probably wouldn’t want to have a conversation with them anyway,” he continued. “Not good riddance, but riddance.”

To paraphrase a legendary fictitious newscaster, you stay classy, Jimmy.

Kimmel is afraid to “have a conversation on healthcare and gun violence” because since 2001, the current Democratic Party purity test (just scroll through the Insta-archives on the topic) requires that Inner Party members make no contact with the lumpenproletariat, lest the bad think rub off. Kimmel runs the risk of learning about a topic and having his mind changed, and he and Disney and the DNC certainly can’t have that. And by echoing the party line, Kimmel keeps his base of remaining leftwing viewers, and his bosses pumped up as well.

As Salena Zito, who actually gets up from her desk and goes out to talk to everyday Americans — even icky flyover country Republicans despised by Hollywood! — and somehow survives the process tweets in response, “Narrow-minded commentary by [Kimmel.] Most Americans are willing to converse with someone who sees world differently than themselves.” But apparently, Democrats are done “having a conversation,” and are simply biding their time until they’re back in power to impose their will on us.

IN AMERICA THAT BLOOD AND SOIL THING IS MOSTLY ANOTHER FORM OF MAGIC DIRT: White Nationalists Take DNA Tests to Prove Their Racial Purity. The Results Are HILARIOUS.

HEH: FOR GOOGLE TO BE PURE, IT MUST PURGE MORE FULLY. “Now look: some innocent people are going to get caught up in this. Some people might even name names just to hurt enemies or to try and save their own skin. But that’s okay! It’s a small price to pay for ensuring ideological purity while also pretending to believe in the free exchange of ideas. The noble ends of a blacklist always justify the occasional abuse.”

The 21st century left has done an excellent job of making a generation worth of Hollywood blacklist movies obsolete.

OH GOODIE: The 2020 Democratic Purity Olympics Are Already Under Way.

Wouldn’t you know it, on the very delicious-to-watch week that Republicans start jumping off the leaky Trump frigate, some Democrats began testing attacks on one of their own, possible 2020 presidential contender Kamala Harris. The charge, leveled by a few folks on the left, including one member of the Democratic Party Unity Commission (!), is the usual one: that Harris is a corporate stooge in the mold of you-know-who and if the Democrats are even thinking about nominating her, the dis-unity commission will get to work sabotaging her.

I hold no particular brief for Harris, who’s been a senator for all of seven months. Frankly, to me, this presidential talk seems awfully premature. Yes, Barack Obama had served briefly; he was elected to the Senate in 2006 and started running for president the next year, whereas Harris would have three years under her belt. But Obama had electrified the political world with that convention speech back in 2004, and that night he showed obvious presidential potential. Harris asked some good questions in two Senate hearings, but I’m a little mystified as to why that gets her on presidential lists. She was shortlisted by some people before she was even elected.

She’s telegenic, a female of color, and sufficiently progressive — or is sufficient not sufficient enough for some Democrats?

As David Dayen pointed out in the New Republic in early 2016 as her Senate run was getting off the ground, she has a history of being overly cautious (uh, just like you-know-who), especially with regard to her decision not to prosecute Steve Mnuchin’s bank for foreclosure violations. The California attorney general’s office had found ample evidence of possible wrongdoing, but Harris declined to pursue the matter and hasn’t said why.

So she should say why, if she runs for president, and people can judge whether her response is adequate. That’s part of the scrutiny.

But these attacks have the feel of something else. They have the feel of a group of people, most or all of them Bernie Sanders supporters, itching to refight 2016 and demand a level of purity that lo and behold only one candidate can possibly attain.

Corn, popped.

A FAR-LEFTY WRITES: Excommunicate Me From The Church Of Social Justice.

There is an underlying current of fear in my activist communities, and it is separate from the daily fear of police brutality, eviction, discrimination, and street harassment. It is the fear of appearing impure. Social death follows when being labeled a “bad” activist or simply “problematic” enough times. I’ve had countless hushed conversations with friends about this anxiety and how it has led us to refrain from participation in activist events, conversations, and spaces because we feel inadequately radical. I actually don’t prefer to call myself an activist, because I don’t fit the traditional mold of the public figure marching in the streets and interrupting business as usual. When I was a Christian, all I could think about was being good, showing goodness, and proving to my parents and my spiritual leaders that I was on the right path to God. All the while, I believed I would never be good enough, so I had to strain for the rest of my life toward an impossible destination of perfection.

I feel compelled to do the same things as an activist a decade later. I self-police what I say in activist spaces. I stopped commenting on social media with questions or pushback on leftist opinions for fear of being called out. I am always ready to apologize for anything I do that a community member deems wrong, oppressive, or inappropriate—no questions asked. The amount of energy I spend demonstrating purity in order to stay in the good graces of a fast-moving activist community is enormous. Activists are some of the judgiest people I’ve ever met, myself included. There’s so much wrongdoing in the world that we work to expose. And yet, grace and forgiveness is hard to come by in the broader community. At times, I have found myself performing activism more than doing activism. I’m exhausted, and I’m not even doing the real work I am committed to do. The quest for political purity is a treacherous distraction for well-intentioned activists.

Well, if you want grace and forgiveness, you’d be better off going back to Christianity than looking for it from cultural Marxists. But it’s nice to see that even a “queer designer, trans baker, cultural studies scholar” can notice what’s going on.

And are they really “well-intentioned?”

PURITY SPIRAL: Professor Weinstein’s sin: He stepped outside the progressive bubble and spoke to Tucker Carlson.

I love how threats to defund Evergreen State count as “violence.” Plus: “There’s a certain irony in the fact that a faculty heavily engaged in social criticism of all kinds was unable to criticize even the worst behavior when it took place among their own little corner of society. Instead, they attacked the one person who dared to step outside the campus bubble and say what was obvious to everyone else: Something was badly amiss at Evergreen College.”

And: “Professor Weinstein didn’t embarrass the students, they embarrassed themselves. People left, right and center saw the videos and found the protester’s behavior unacceptable.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Are The Social Sciences Undergoing A Purity Spiral?

JOEL KOTKIN ON THE COMING DEMOCRATIC CIVIL WAR:

The two most remarkable campaigns of 2016 — those of Trump and Bernie Sanders — were driven by different faces of populist resentment. Yet, increasingly, the Democrats’ populist pretensions conflict with their alliance with ascendant “sovereigns of cyberspace,” whose power and wealth have waxed to almost absurd heights. Other parts of their upscale coalition include the media, academia and the upper bureaucracy.

This affluent base can embrace the progressives’ social agenda — meeting the demands of feminists, gays and minority activists. But they are less enthusiastic about the social democratic income redistribution proposed by Bernie Sanders, who is now, by some measurements, the nation’s most popular political figure. This new putative ruling class, notes author Michael Lind, sees its rise, and the decline of the rest, not as a reflection of social inequity, but rather their meritocratic virtue. Only racism, homophobia or misogyny — in other words, the sins of the “deplorables” — matter.

The Washington Post, owned by Jeff Bezos, the world’s third-richest man, reflects this socially liberal, but oligopolistic, worldview. Last spring, Bezos worked assiduously to undermine Sanders’ campaign, then promoted Clinton, and now has become a leading voice in the anti-Trump “resistance.” The gentry wing of the party, which dominates fundraising and media, as the opposition to Sanders reveals, likes its money. The tech community is famously adept at avoiding taxes.

How long can this odd pairing of socialism and oligopoly persist? There are growing sentiments on the left to begin confiscating some of the massive wealth of the tech firms. Bank of America’s Michael Harnett recently warned that continued growth of stock market wealth in a handful of tech stocks “could ultimately lead to populist calls for redistribution of the increasingly concentrated wealth of Silicon Valley.”

And note this related bit of irony from veteran left-leaning journalist Thomas Edsall, who discovers that too many wealthy leftists can be very bad for their own income distribution schemes. Or as Ace of Spades quips, linking to a new column by Michael Barone, “Who’s Standing in the Way of the Economic Left’s Dreams of Redistribution of Wealth…? The Affluent Social Left, Which Doesn’t Want to Share Their Money With the Riff-Raff:”

Thomas Edsall, the longtime Washington Post reporter now writing on his New York Times blog, laments the increasing tendency of high-income Americans to vote Democratic. That leaves the Democrats with an increasingly affluent constituency, presumably unwilling (or less willing than others) to support redistributive policies like Bernie Sanders’s proposal for higher tax rates on the affluent.

“In the past,” Edsall writes, “Democrats could support progressive, redistributive policies knowing that the costs would fall largely on Republicans. That is no longer the case. Now supporting these policies requires the party to depend on the altruistic idealism of millions of supporters who, despite being relatively well off, often feel financially pressed themselves.”

Kotkin concludes that “Trump, by his incoherence and incompetence, has opened the door to the Democrats. But the passage to redemption may prove more difficult if the party fails, as Hillary Clinton and the Democratic congressional delegation showed last year, to relate to the broad ranks of the citizenry.”

It will be interesting to see the left try and reconcile that with their concurrent goal of aiming towards ideological purity by casting off not just those Americans whom they declared “Deplorable,” but all Republicans.

QUESTION ASKED AND ANSWERED:

Are Democrats About To Reopen The Party To Pro-Lifers?

—The Federalist, April 21st.

Unity or else: DNC Chair Tom Perez demands ‘ideological purity’ on abortion from candidates.

Twitchy,  April 22nd.

As Progressive role model Frank Burns once said on M*A*S*H, individuality is fine, as long as we all do it together.

SALENA ZITO: The Democrats’ diversity challenge.

Today the Blue Dogs are decimated, there are only 17 left, only two of them women. And every year they face expensive, heated primary battles from progressives, and are about to face the same onslaught next year from the 2018 Bernie Sanders purists who want them out of “their” party.

Legendary Democratic strategist Dane Strother thinks that is a very bad idea.

“If the Blue Dogs do not have a seat at the table, and if they do not rebuild, the Democrats will never hold the majority again,” he said bluntly.

Strother added that if there is a progressive purity test, “Then we will be in the wilderness for the next forty years,” he said.

“I think the Blue Dogs have to be revived and respected this cycle. There will be a test. If the party does not back the incumbent Democrat Blue Dog in the primary then the Democrats will have a big problem for a long time.”

Progressivism is a jealous god.

SALENA ZITO ON THE DEMOCRATS’ DIVERSITY CHALLENGE:

Today the Blue Dogs are decimated, there are only 17 left, only two of them women. And every year they face expensive, heated primary battles from progressives, and are about to face the same onslaught next year from the 2018 Bernie Sanders purists who want them out of “their” party.

Legendary Democratic strategist Dane Strother thinks that is a very bad idea.

“If the Blue Dogs do not have a seat at the table, and if they do not rebuild, the Democrats will never hold the majority again,” he said bluntly.

Strother added that if there is a progressive purity test, “Then we will be in the wilderness for the next forty years,” he said.

“I think the Blue Dogs have to be revived and respected this cycle. There will be a test. If the party does not back the incumbent Democrat Blue Dog in the primary then the Democrats will have a big problem for a long time.”

“We can’t become so ideologically pure that we push moderates into the GOP … because that is what we are doing right now,” he said, adding that the party that holds onto the middle is the party that will govern.

Strother believes that the DCCC must back the incumbent Blue Dogs overtly during the primaries to send a message that the party does want a bigger tent.

Since the “Blue Dogs” lied about their moderate stance once – having posed as moderates in 2006, only to serve as what one pundit accurately described as “Nancy Pelosi’s Crash Test Dummies” in order to ram Obamacare through in 2009 – why should voters trust them again?

THAT’S BECAUSE OBAMA WAS A TERRIBLE PRESIDENT: The Obama years, which left us divided and angry, paved the way for the ascent of Donald J. Trump.

Start with the economy. It’s true that he inherited a wicked recession, that unemployment is much lower than when he entered office and that the stock market has reached an all-time high. On the flip side, the economic recovery has been unusually weak, with annual growth never exceeding 3 percent. (Until Mr. Obama, every president since Herbert Hoover had at least one year of 3 percent growth.) The labor force participation rate is at the lowest it has been since the 1970s. Since 2008, real wages have remained the same or fallen for the bottom four-fifths.

To make matters worse, the Obama presidency has been characterized by injurious incompetence, in particular with regard to his signature achievement, Obamacare. The unveiling of the website was a disaster, and the promises the president made — that Americans could keep their doctors and plans if they chose to — were false. Mr. Obama guaranteed lower insurance costs to families and lower health costs to the taxpayer; instead, costs rose. Several of the state-run exchanges appear to be headed for collapse.

Overseas, the Obama years have been defined by spreading disorder and chaos, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, with nations collapsing and borders dissolving. More terrorist safe havens have been established than ever before. Russia and China have become more aggressive and significantly increased their geopolitical influence. America is now held in brazen contempt by our enemies and mistrusted by many of our allies.

Yet in some respects the greatest failure of the Obama years is in the area where many people thought he would excel. Mr. Obama made the centerpiece of his 2008 campaign a promise to end a politics that “breeds division and conflict and cynicism.” In February of that year, I praised him for “a message that, at its core, is about unity and hope rather than division and resentment.” Yet he leaves office with America more conflicted and cynical than when he took office. More than 70 percent of Americans say the country is either more divided or no more united than it was in 2009. Race relations are the worst in decades, and our nation is as polarized as it has been in the modern era.

I wonder how many pieces like this will have to appear in the New York Times before the wall of denial collapses.

Plus:

Yet Mr. Obama never seemed to consider things from a different point of view from his own. He has shown withering disdain for his opponents, constantly impugning their motives even as he testified to the purity of his own. It was his arrogance that proved to be Mr. Obama’s undoing. (Even leaders of his own party felt Mr. Obama’s derision, as if dealing with them was somehow beneath him.) Mr. Obama dismissed those who disagreed with him like a professor forced to deal with simple-minded, wayward students.

And that arrogance and contempt, even more than his other failures, brought on Trump. Choose the form of your Destructor!

THINKPROGRESS SENIOR EDITOR IS SCARED OF HIS PLUMBER:

A visit from a plumber left ThinkProgress senior editor Ned Resnikoff “rattled” due to fear that the plumber may have voted for Donald Trump.

Resnikoff stated his fears in a November Facebook post, a screenshot of which is now making the rounds on the Internet.

The plumbing visit, which came four days after the 2016 election, became a harrowing experience for Resnikoff even though the plumber was “a perfectly nice guy and a consummate professional.”

“He was a perfectly nice guy and a consummate professional,” Resnikoff shared. “But he was also a middle-aged white man with a southern accent who seemed unperturbed by this week’s news.”

Resnikoff said his fear was rooted in the chance that the plumber knew he was Jewish.

“While I had him in the apartment, I couldn’t stop thinking about whether he had voted for Trump, whether he knew my last name is Jewish, and how that knowledge might change the interaction we were having inside my own home,” he said.

The “uncertainty” of the situation left Resnikoff “rattled for some time.”

“I have no real reason to believe he was a Trump supporter or an anti-Semite, but in my uncertainty I couldn’t shake the sense of potential danger,” he wrote. “I was rattled for some time after he left.”

Sheesh, what is it with the left being utterly paranoid about plumbers at the end of hard-fought presidential election? To be fair though, this plumber probably is a crypto-Russian sympathizer as well. Joe McCarthy says they’re everywhere, you know.

UPDATE: If Resnikoff wants to vet all of his tradesmen for ideological purity, I wonder if he realizes he just lived out the end of Saturday Night Live’s post-election “The Bubble” sketch?

 

MATTHEW SHEFFIELD: Rise of the alt-right: How mainstream conservatives’ obsession with purity fueled a new right-wing radicalism.

It’s great to see Matt, who helped create NewsBusters, writing in Salon; but it’s akin to Ross Douthat being the token conservative at the New York Times. One conservative pundit is nowhere near enough to offset the institutional leftism. Speaking of which, Salon itself should take a good look in the mirror for playing a role in creating the alt-right: the Website went hard racialist left around the time Obama took office, (not to mention simply hard left) and rarely took their thumb off the scale, to the point where then-Salon editor at large Joan Walsh (whose pigment looks about as pale as mine) wrote a book in 2012 with plenty of approving blurbs from her fellow elite leftists titled What’s the Matter with White People?

Immediately after the election, John Podhoretz tweeted, “Liberals spent 40 years disaggregating U.S., until finally the largest cohort in the country chose to vote as though it were an ethnic group.” Back in 2008, Jonah Goldberg received plenty of brickbats from the left for writing that “The White Man is the Jew of Liberal Fascism,” but Salon seemed to ensconce that notion on page one of their style-guide for writers and accelerated the left’s ongoing war against white males exponentially. Apparently they weren’t expecting much in the way of repercussions.

GOOD THING THERE ARE NO CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN IRAQ: ISIS suspected of mustard attack against US and Iraqi troops.

The shell was categorized by officials as either a rocket or artillery shell. After it landed on the base, just south of Mosul, U.S. troops tested it and received an initial reading for a chemical agent they believe is mustard.

No U.S. troops were hurt or have displayed symptoms of exposure to mustard agent.

One official said the agent had “low purity” and was “poorly weaponized.” A second official called it “ineffective.”

Ineffective or not, ISIS doesn’t fear us enough to refrain from attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Can Colleges Just Ban Everybody Already? It’d Save A Ton Of Time And Money.

Political correctness grew out of the Marxism of the first half of the 20th century, particularly via the “critical theory” obsessions of the Weimar-era socialist Frankfurt School. Similarly, with their purges, speech codes, and purity tests, college campuses in the 21st century are essentially a recreation of the internal terror wars of the Soviet Union under Stalin, without the left-on-left body count. At least not yet.

WHY IS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY SUCH A CESSPIT OF BIGOTRY? Outcry from Sanders supporters after leaked DNC ‘atheism’ emails.

Bernie Sanders supporters Friday tore into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on social media after a leaked email appeared to show a DNC official plotting to question Sanders’s religion.

The email, written by Chief Financial Officer Brad Marshall and leaked by the DNC hacker Guccifer 2.0 to WikiLeaks, suggests sending a surrogate to ask an unnamed candidate whether that candidate believed in God.

The email does not name the Vermont senator, but it talks about a man of “Jewish heritage” Marshall believes to be an atheist. It makes reference to voters in Kentucky and West Virginia, two states that were weeks away from a Democratic primary at the time.

“It might may no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist,” said the email, to other party officials in its entirety. . . .

The leaked email prompted swift outcry online Friday afternoon. One apparent Sanders supporter tweeted: “HRC folks called Sanders “McCarthyite” & ranted about purity while DNC plotted to smear him as godless commie Jew.”

Whatever works.

HMM: The ‘Enthusiast Version’ of a Car Should Cost Less, Not More.

IS OUR CHILDREN LEARNING? Liberals Rewrite History, Make a Few Mistakes:

A fetish for de-honoring objectionable historical figures is sweeping American college campuses. Targets range from unrepentant bastards like Jeffery Amherst to imperfect great men like Thomas Jefferson. I wonder if America’s undergrads realize that imperfection, and bastardy, are surprisingly widespread conditions:

“The white race of South Africa should be the predominating race,” said Mahatma Gandhi. He also said, of himself and his followers, “We believe as much in the purity of race as” white South Africans. He called black South Africans “kaffirs,” which is South Africa’s equivalent of “n***ers,” and objected to blacks living among South African Indians: “About this mixing of the Kaffirs with the Indians, I must confess I feel strongly. I think it is very unfair to the Indian population.” He wrote that “Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilized. . . . The reader can easily imagine the plight of the poor Indian thrown into such company!”

There are dozens of such Gandhi quotes. Students at Oxford tried to tear down a statue of Cecil Rhodes — who endowed Oxford’s Rhodes Scholarship — after they found out he held comparable, Gandhi-esque views. Should we expect a “Gandhi Must Fall” campaign targeting the innumerable Gandhi statues worldwide? Like the one standing in London, in front of the Houses of Parliament?

Read on for similarly damning quotes from t-shirt icon Che Guevara, pioneering “Progressive” Karl Marx, and the man whose name adorns seemingly every building in West Virginia, Robert Byrd.

As for Gandhi, skip the film, just read the great movie review ever written instead. (Text also online here, if article is behind the subscriber paywall.)

DOES THE NY TIMES KNOW THEY’RE ENORMOUS RACISTS? PERHAPS IT SHOULD PUT LAYERS AND LAYERS OF FACT CHECKERS ON IT:  “Identity Purity” and Republican Frontrunners – Did NY Times Reveal Its Racism?

JONAH GOLDBERG DEFENDS ANTI-TRUMP NATIONAL REVIEW COVER STORY:

The idea that National Review should be lumped in with that establishment is the kind of insight one can only discover after successfully inserting your entire cranium past your sphincter. The K-Street/consultant-class Republican establishment is conservative, but their conservatism is secondary to their need to make deals, maintain access and, to be fair, win elections.

That last bit is important. The Republican party is in the election-winning business first and foremost. And that’s largely as it should be. That’s partly why former National Review publisher, the late, great Bill Rusher always used to tell the new hires at NR to be on guard: “Politicians will always disappoint you.”

The reason politicians will disappoint principled conservatives — and, for that matter, principled liberals and libertarians — is that there is always an inherent tradeoff between the purity of principle and the necessities of electoral politics and the limitations of what can be done via government action. National Review has always recognized this tension, which is immortalized in the rule of thumb that we should support “the most conservative candidate electable.”

Every conservative is supposed to believe that incentives matter. The incentives for the K-street/consultant establishment is keep their influence and their access. The incentives for the ink-and-pixel-stained wretches who run NR are different. I’m open to the complaint that our self-interest has driven us to become too invested in an ideology that too few voters subscribe to. But if that’s the case, the remedy isn’t to abandon all principle and just join the mob. I’d rather go down with my ship, thank you very much.

Read the whole thing.

A DISH BEST SERVED ANNOYING: Making a Meal out of Everything. Me?  I’ve culturally appropriated your language, I’ve culturally appropriated your literature, and you might be able to pry your culturally appropriated constitution out of my cold dead fingers, but I wouldn’t bank on it. Smart people take the best of every culture.  Idiots lament about “purity.”

EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN: White Progressives Are The New Racial Purity Police.

Woodrow Wilson, call your office.

JON GABRIEL: Politics And Purity-For-Profit.

BAA, BAA RAINBOW SHEEP?: John Leo, “Ten Things You Didn’t Know Were Racist.” The list includes these tidbits:

“Baa, Baa Black Sheep” is racist. The nursery rhyme, which dates back to the Middle Ages, is under attack. Some schools and family centers in Scotland, England, and Australia have eliminated the word “black” as racist, and now refer to “rainbow sheep,” “happy sheep,” or “green sheep,” though these new adjectives make no sense at all. . . .

Liking white meat is racist. Writer Ron Rosenbaum said in Slate that racism accounts for the popularity of white-meat turkey over more flavorful dark meat. “White meat turkey has no taste,” he explained. “Despite its superior taste, dark meat has dark undertones for some. Dark meat seems to summon up ancient fears of contamination and miscegenation as opposed to the supposed superior purity of white meat.” . . .

Libertarians are racist. In an interview, testy HBO writer-producer David Simon (The Wire, Treme) severely criticized libertarians and suggested that libertarian rhetoric about “freedom” and “liberty” is just code for racism.

Disagreeing about any of this is, of course, racist. I was told several years ago by a colleague that when I said “let’s call a spade a spade,” it was racist, though of course it refers to a gardening implement (or to some, a suit of cards) and has nothing whatsoever to do with race. But that’s not really the point, is it?

RELATED:  “Sorry, Jeb, ‘Anchor Babies’ is a Slur.”  Because, you know, sometimes the babies are not white.

WHO ARE TRUMP’S SUPPORTERS? Not Who You Think. I think to some degree it depends on what you mean by “supporters.” Lots of people support Trump’s kicking sand in the faces of the media and GOP establishment who don’t actually support him for President.

UPDATE: It’s paywalled for some people, apparently, but I can get through fine. But here’s an excerpt for the gist, for those who can’t read the whole thing.

Today’s prototypical conservative base voters are infamously principled. Their views are hardened, their heels dug in. They are armed with all kinds of litmus tests and purity tests to make sure the “fake” conservatives are weeded out from the good ones, often to the chagrin of the party.

It shifts with time, but at the moment the ideological guillotine falls on issues like immigration (are you for a pathway?), abortion (are you for exceptions?), guns (are you for universal background checks?), education (do you support Common Core?) and climate change (do you think it’s real?). Departing from doctrine on just one of these can cast a foreboding shadow of skepticism upon an otherwise devout and disciplined conservative.

For Republican base voters, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush are unforgivably moderate. While to the rest of the country people like John McCain and Mitt Romney are sufficiently conservative if not “severely” conservative, to use Romney’s phrasing, to the hardened base voters the 2008 and 2012 presidential losses were proof that voting for the so-called electable candidate, instead of the principled one, leaves them with nothing to show for it. They got neither the satisfaction of voting their conscience — be it for Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum — nor the consolation of a less than conservative Republican in the White House.

The idea that in 2016 these voters would simply turn off their hard-wired orthodoxy and support a guy who has voted for Democrats, said “the economy does better under the Democrats,” refused to pledge to support the Republican nominee if it’s not him, openly defended Planned Parenthood, approved of exceptions to abortion bans, supported a single-payer health care system, backed an assault weapons ban and advocated a one-time 14.25 percent mega-tax on the wealthy to erase the national debt is, to put it in Trumpian language, really, really stupid.

Base voters will stick with candidates like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, who demonstrated their conservative bona fides by shutting down the government, filibustering the Patriot Act and pledging to repeal Obamacare. The more evangelically inclined will support Huckabee and Santorum, or maybe even Marco Rubio, who recently said he personally opposes any exceptions — rape, incest, health of the mother — for abortion.

So who is the Trump supporter, if not the conservative base? I’d argue it’s mostly disaffected moderates who no longer strictly identify with either party. They think the political system is rigged. They think politicians are corrupt. They want a total collapse of the ruling political class.

While Trump probably gets more support from the right, running as a Republican, he attracts from the left as well.

So there.

THE WAPO’S ERIK WEMPLE: Jake Tapper’s exclusive Bill Clinton interview: A timeline. “CNN is trading ethical purity for exclusivity. And in its defense, it knows well that its competitors are willing to do likewise. Heck, they already have! Last year, David Gregory, then of NBC News, did essentially the same twofer that Tapper and Harlow are doing — all against the backdrop of the Clinton Global Initiative banner. Top Clinton Foundation spokesman Craig Minassian says that the template dates back nearly a decade.”

I like Tapper, but as I said before, just because he pulled out as a speaker/moderator to be replaced by someone else from CNN doesn’t make CNN any less involved in the Clintons’ program.

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED AGAINST BARACK OBAMA, WE’D HAVE POLITICIANS OBSESSED WITH ETHNIC PURITY. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! “A Brooklyn city councilwoman wants to know why ‘blocs’ of Asians are living in two Fort Greene housing projects — and suggested it would be ‘beneficial’ to assign housing by ethnic group.”

IF YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT EBOLA, it’s because you’re a racist. “Ebola is now a stand-in for any combination of ‘African-ness’, ‘blackness’, ‘foreign-ness’ and ‘infestation’ – poised to ruin the perceived purity of western borders and bodies.”

So where are the biggest racists? In Africa! Africa stems Ebola via border closings, luck. “South Africa and Zambia slapped travel and entry restrictions on Ebola-stricken countries. Kenya Airways, the country’s main airline, stopped flying to the affected lands. In Zimbabwe, all travelers from West Africa are put under 21-day surveillance. Health officials regularly visit those travelers to check their condition.”

My presumption, now, is that anyone who goes on about racism is either a fool or a tool.

MEGAN MCARDLE: Are Liberals The Real Authoritarians?

In the ultra-liberal enclave I grew up in, the liberals were at least as fiercely tribal as any small-town Republican, though to be sure, the targets were different. Many of them knew no more about the nuts and bolts of evolution and other hot-button issues than your average creationist; they believed it on authority. And when it threatened to conflict with some sacred value, such as their beliefs about gender differences, many found evolutionary principles as easy to ignore as those creationists did. It is clearly true that liberals profess a moral code that excludes concerns about loyalty, honor, purity and obedience — but over the millennia, man has professed many ideals that are mostly honored in the breach. . . .

Jeremy Frimer, the author of the piece, noticed that socialists seemed unable to tolerate even mild questioning of Che Guevara’s eminently questionable legacy. Frimer is a researcher at the University of Winnipeg, and he decided to investigate. What he found is that liberals are actually very comfortable with authority and obedience — as long as the authorities are liberals (“should you obey an environmentalist?”).

This should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention.

THE MOTHER’S MILK OF POLITICS: Money Still Fuels The Political Machine.

In despair over money’s influence in politics, progressives have fitfully embraced plans for public financing of campaigns. Via Tyler Cowen, I see that a new paper from Andrew Hall explores the effects of these sorts of programs.

First, the good news: Public campaign funding would probably reduce the influence of “access-oriented interest groups,” which are made up of well-financed power players who use their campaign donations to get the ear of candidates. It would also reduce the bias toward incumbents, which I guess can be good or bad depending on how you feel about your local congressman.

Now, the bad news: That doesn’t necessarily lead to better political outcomes. When the money goes away, the candidates who are elected tend to be more partisan and divided. “Good government” may mean “more extreme government” — which, at least at the national level, may mean “government that can’t get anything done.”

This makes a certain amount of sense, when you think about it. Access-oriented groups care about getting things done. I may think that a lot of this stuff shouldn’t be done, and I’m sure you agree (though perhaps we are thinking of different stuff). But fundamentally, access-oriented groups are less interested in making emotive statements about free markets, sexual liberty, respect for immigrants or whatever you care to name than they are about getting actual laws passed. That gives them an incentive to favor candidates who will give them legislative results rather than the moral satisfaction of sticking to their principles.

The average voter — in particular, the average primary voter — cares a lot about moral purity and expressive politics. So if you disempower the money, you empower the ideological purists who want candidates first and foremost to demonstrate fidelity to shared principles.

Yeah, I think corruption will still find a way.

HOW’S THAT “SMART DIPLOMACY” WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): In Syria, Tehran Declares Victory. Enough is enough: Hashtag ’em!

UPDATE: Eliot Cohen: A Selfie-Taking, Hashtagging Teenage Administration: The Obama crowd too often responds to critics and to world affairs like self-absorbed adolescents.

As American foreign policy continues its long string of failures—not a series of singles and doubles, as President Obama asserted in a recent news conference, but rather season upon season of fouls and strikes—the question becomes: Why?

Why does the Economist magazine put a tethered eagle on its cover, with the plaintive question, “What would America fight for?” Why do Washington Post columnists sympathetic to the administration write pieces like one last week headlined, “Obama tends to create his own foreign policy headaches”? . . .

Often, members of the Obama administration speak and, worse, think and act, like a bunch of teenagers. When officials roll their eyes at Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Crimea with the line that this is “19th-century behavior,” the tone is not that different from a disdainful remark about a hairstyle being “so 1980s.” When administration members find themselves judged not on utopian aspirations or the purity of their motives—from offering “hope and change” to stopping global warming—but on their actual accomplishments, they turn sulky. As teenagers will, they throw a few taunts (the president last month said the GOP was offering economic policies that amount to a “stinkburger” or a “meanwich”) and stomp off, refusing to exchange a civil word with those of opposing views.

In a searing memoir published in January, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates describes with disdain the trash talk about the Bush administration that characterized meetings in the Obama White House. Like self-obsessed teenagers, the staffers and their superiors seemed to forget that there were other people in the room who might take offense, or merely see the world differently. Teenagers expect to be judged by intentions and promise instead of by accomplishment, and their style can be encouraged by irresponsible adults (see: the Nobel Prize committee) who give awards for perkiness and promise rather than achievement.

If the United States today looks weak, hesitant and in retreat, it is in part because its leaders and their staff do not carry themselves like adults.

Indeed. Related:

Obama doesn’t act presidential. Presidents act presidential not because they’re stuffy or out-of-touch, but because experience shows that when you don’t act presidential, it often winds up handing opponents a club to beat you with. Obama might know this if he had had significant experience in national politics before running for President, but he didn’t. His staff, alas, is taking its cues from him, instead of remedying his deficiencies.

Which are becoming increasingly apparent.

JAMES TARANTO: Justice Thomas Was Right: Citizens United And The Defenestration of Brendan Eich.

Brendan Eich was struck by OkCupid’s arrow, but that doesn’t mean he’s in love.

As the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross noted the other day, OkCupid, a dating website, urged its users to boycott Mozilla’s Firefox browser on the ground that “Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples.” Eich’s offense was to donate $1,000 in 2008 to the campaign of California’s Proposition 8, a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage that has since been nullified by federal courts. There has been no claim that Eich, an executive of Mozilla Corp. since its founding in 2005, discriminated against gay employees.

Ross had some fun with the hypocrisy of two of OkCupid’s co-founders, Sam Yagan and Christian Rudder. He searched the federal campaign-contribution database and found that Yagan gave to two candidates who opposed same-sex marriage: $500 to then-Rep. Chris Cannon of Utah, a Republican, in 2004; and $500 to then-Sen. Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Rudder donated $1,000 to Obama’s re-election effort, but that contribution came in September 2012, a few months after the president reversed his position. . . .

Eich’s support for Proposition 8 became public knowledge because of a California law requiring disclosure of personal information–name, address, occupation and employer’s name–of anybody who gives $100 or more to a campaign for or against a ballot initiative. The secretary of state’s office is required to post this information online, and, as HotAir.com’s “AllahPundit” notes, the Los Angeles Times made it available on its site as an easily searchable database.

So I guess it’s fair for people on the right to go after donors to lefty causes? Without mercy.

Related: Purge The 7 Million: The Purity of the Volk must be restored. “According to Wikipedia, 7,001,084 people voted for Prop 8. Why do any of those people still have jobs? Shouldn’t they all be forced to resign? And why should they have the privilege of living in California at all? I say round them up and move them someplace where they won’t do any harm.”

One reason why rich white guys like Eich are being targeted so viciously is that the many black churches who supported Proposition 8 — and, indeed, put it over the top — are out-of-bounds for criticism.

UPDATE: Uh oh: 60% of Intel employees who donated in Prop 8 debate supported banning gay marriage. “Exit question: When do we get a list of Silicon Valley donors to Obama’s campaign circa 2008, when he was still formally against [same-sex] marriage? True, he didn’t support Prop 8 or other attempts to legally ban SSM (a strong signal at the time that his stated view was a lie), but the whole point of the equal protection argument against traditional marriage laws is that you can’t reserve ‘marriage’ for straights without implicitly slapping a second-class-citizen stigma on gays. Obama was willing to do that, at least rhetorically. Let’s have the names.”

Purge them all!!!!!!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Mozilla set a new company record today for online customer dissatisfaction.

The comments on their feedback page seem uniformly negative at the moment.

JAMES TARANTO: 1930-Something: Old-school leftists are unhappy with Obama’s America.

Reed disdains what he calls “the cult of the most oppressed,” the idea “that there’s something about the purity of these oppressed people that has the power to condense the mass uprising. I’ve often compared it to the cargo cults. . . . As my dad used to say, ‘If oppression conferred heightened political consciousness there would be a People’s Republic of Mississippi.’ ” (This all seems a bit out of place in Salon, whose usual stock in trade is exotic identity-based grievances. Last week the site ran an article by Randa Jarrar, an Arab-American novelist, titled “Why I Can’t Stand White Belly Dancers.”)

Conservatives share Reed’s and Frank’s aversion to identity politics, though of course for different reasons. They (we) see it as anathema to the classical liberal ideas of individual freedom and equality of opportunity. Reed pointedly rejects what he calls “a neoliberal understanding of an equality of opportunity.”

What Reed wishes for instead, in his Harper’s article, is a radical “redistributive vision,” which “requires grounding in a vibrant labor movement.” There’s more than a bit of nostalgia here: He opens by observing that the left “crested in influence between 1935 and 1945, when it anchored a coalition centered in the labor movement,” and that “at the federal level its high point may have come in 1944, when FDR propounded what he called ‘a second Bill of Rights,’ ” including “the right to a ‘useful and remunerative job,’ ‘adequate medical care,’ and ‘adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.’ “

What we actually have is a coalition of Wall Street — they don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing — and gentry liberals, with enough minorities included as electoral fodder to provide key votes. But look who’s getting richer these days. It’s the .1 percent. A few rubes are just starting to catch on.

ANDREW KLAVAN: Purity or Strategy: The Debate We Need To Have.

Just to let you know where I stand emotionally, here’s a true story. The first time I made a speech before a Tea Party crowd, I felt as if I were floating two feet off the ground. I respected, admired and agreed with the Tea Partiers so completely, that my heart rose up and I began to believe that despite the Obama debacle, the country would ultimately be fine. As I was leaving the rally, I got a call from a friend asking me to come by for a drink with a couple of the highest ranking Republicans in Washington. It was me and them, having a glass together, eye to eye. By the time I left that gathering, I was so depressed by the establishment GOP’s blindness and philosophical corruption I could barely see straight. I phoned Andrew Breitbart for moral support. “I’ve just had a drink with [blank] and [blank],” I began. And he responded immediately, “Are they ***holes or what?”

All my sympathies, in other words, are with the tea party. And I would truly love to see the RINO’s skewered on their own horns.

And yet… In general, Tea Party candidates tend to do well in congressional races where small, homogenous districts are in play. In Senate races where you need votes across an entire state, a primary victory for someone like Christine O’Donnell or Todd Akin may briefly fill the conservative heart with joy, but the loss of a Senate seat that could have been won is simply too high a price to pay for that momentary triumph.

We need to talk this out with good sense and without pompous ranting. Politics is the art of the possible. Writing belligerently purist articles, blog posts or comments is relatively easy. Winning elections is hard. Barack Obama is one of the most destructive presidents this country has ever seen, but a talented politician. If stopping him in his tracks requires stomaching some RINO’s here and there, it seems a no brainer: It must be done.

Yeah, I agree. Also, a GOP-controlled Senate is necessary to block potentially horrible Supreme Court nominees. To get there requires that Tea Party activists sometimes grit their teeth. But it also requires establishment GOP types to treat the Tea Party base with respect, because when they don’t, you get 2012. This will be a test of maturity all around.

PROGESSIVES, PRESERVATION & PROSPERITY: “Many American progressives have shifted from their historic interest in economic growth and social mobility to a primary focus on environmental purity, whatever the social or economic cost,” Joel Kotkin writes in the Orange County Register.

They don’t call it the Catch-22 of radical environmentalism for nothing.  

PUNISHMENT: ESPN’s Parker Suspended For Conducting Racial Purity Test On RGIII.

UNDERBUSSING REDUX: As Glenn noted earlier, the Obama camp has been reduced to calling liberal bloggers the “Tinfoil Hat Crowd.”

Recall in late August of 2010, when the White House knew their party was flailing away before the midterms, they unloaded on “The Professional Left” — i.e., core liberals who originally put them in power:

The White House is simmering with anger at criticism from liberals who say President Obama is more concerned with deal-making than ideological purity.

During an interview with The Hill in his West Wing office, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs blasted liberal naysayers, whom he said would never regard anything the president did as good enough.

“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.”

The press secretary dismissed the “professional left” in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”

Of those who complain that Obama caved to centrists on issues such as healthcare reform, Gibbs said: “They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.”

Curiously, this was dubbed an “unexpected” development by the Huffington Post at the time. Perhaps they simply needed to watch more PJTV:

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THE NEW LEFT FASCISTS: At PJM, Robert Spencer writes:

This contempt for the freedom of speech is rapidly becoming commonplace on the Left. Washington Square News is the student newspaper of New York University, but it is editorially and financially independent from the university, and has a circulation of about 60,000 in lower Manhattan — one of the nation’s foremost epicenters of the far Left. An indication of how quickly the restriction of the freedom of speech has become a fashionable opinion among the Leftist intelligentsia at universities and elsewhere came last Wednesday, when the News ran a piece calling for restrictions on the First Amendment.

“It is difficult now to imagine a modern university intellectual saying something as simple and unequivocal as ‘I disagree with what you say, but I defend to the death your right to say it,’’ Theodore Dalrymple writes. He would be more likely to think, if not actually to say out loud or in public, ‘I disagree with what you say and therefore rationalise to the death my right to suppress it.’”

Of course, in that regard, it’s not like they’re that much different than the old left fascists.

RELATED: John Hinderaker of Power Line wonders what Obama’s optics and creepy cult of personality says about his policies and the worldview of his followers.

OPERATION COUNTERWEIGHT: Building An Unbossable Senate. “It understates the case to say that some conservatives are disappointed with the idea of nominating former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to face President Obama this fall. So what to do if and when Romney finally sews this up? The temptation is always there to drop out of the political process. But if conservatives are interested in advancing their cause from beneath Romney’s banner — as they will likely have to — they must think beyond the presidential race and to the elections that will provide context to its result for the next four years.”

UPDATE: Reader Roland Mar writes: “I have been recommending a two part process. If you cannot bring yourself to vote for Obama-lite Romney, vote for the Green Party candidate. The goal is to push them over the threshold of votes to qualify them for Federal funding in future elections. If the Greens can afford to run a real national campaign, their followers will vote for Green candidates in any future election rather than for Democrats like now. The second part is to concentrate getting Conservative/Patriot candidates elected to the House and Senate. Not all Republicans meet that qualification.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Mark Martin disagrees with the Obama-lite business:

Okay, Glenn, your reader is one of those Jack Ripper “Purity of Essence” types. You can say Romney isn’t conservative enough for you, sure. But Obama like?

That’s childish and silly. Hey, we *know* that the Governor doesn’t want to “spread money around”!

Seriously, these POE types are going to get us Four Worse Years. And *then* they will complain and carry on.

Well, Romney’s better than Zeeba, and I’d vote Zeeba over Obama.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Lightsquared Trouble Deepens With Grassley Allegations.

UPDATE: Zerohedge: Obama Puppetmaster Warren Buffett Biggest Winner From Keystone Pipeline Rejection. “As it turns out, it is not just natural resources and aquifer purity that Obama had in mind when sealing the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline. No – it appears there were far more relevant numerial metrics that determined Obama’s decisions. Such as the bottom line number of Buffett’s Burlington Northern, which according to Bloomberg, is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that stand to benefit from the Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit. . . . So those wondering how it is that AAR railroad statistics continue to be so very strong, it is not because the economy actually justifies it.”

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: The End of an Idea — Why Affirmative Action Should Stop. “First, what exactly is race today in America in which intermarriage and immigration have increasingly made it — and its ugly twin racial purity — often irrelevant? We are no longer a country largely 85-90% ‘white’ and 10-12% ‘black,’ but something almost hard to categorize in racial terms. Do university admission officers adopt the 1/16, one-drop racial rule of the old Confederacy?” Pretty much.

But then, the so-called “progressives” are keeping a death-grip on Jim Crow.

Related: Black Confederates Revealed. “Race is such bullshit. It’s important to keep that in mind.”

NARRATIVE FAIL (CONT’D): “According to the caricature, the tea partiers elected a group of freshmen Republicans who want government slashed right now, can’t compromise, and are ready to let the heavens fall for the sake of ideological purity. They are, to use E. J. Dionne’s unfortunate phrase in his column today, ‘fire-eaters.’ In reality, most freshmen voted for the continuing resolution. Most of them voted for the last one, too–the one that the Club for Growth, Heritage Action, and other conservative groups were whipping against. Maybe you’re disappointed by the way the freshmen are behaving, or maybe you’re pleased, but either way they’re not conforming to the storyline.”

I wish that E.J. Dionne were right — but, really, how likely is that?

THOUGHTS ON libertarian purity.

MAKING THE RUBBLE BOUNCE: Victor Davis Hanson on Colman McCarthy.

What does “the intellectual purity of a school” mean in 2010? That was tragically lost a long time ago in the 1960s when “relevant” courses (particularly -studies courses) became deductive, with preconceived ends that justified biased means of teaching. Examine questions of free speech, intellectual diversity, and tolerance for minority opinion on an average campus, and the notion of “intellectual purity” is rendered Orwellian

They told me if I voted Republican, narrowminded zealots would be subjecting universities to “intellectual purity” tests. And they were right!

COLMAN MCCARTHY: Now that Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell Has Been Repealed, Here’s Another Excuse For Keeping ROTC Off Campus. “ROTC and its warrior ethic taint the intellectual purity of a school.” Pathetic. What does McCarthy know about either intellectualism or purity? Not much, to judge from this column. His post-Post “academic” career is just further evidence of both a higher education bubble, and of the politicized lack of standards therein.

UPDATE: Reader Jason Johnson sends: “The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader C.J. Burch writes: “If you consider the quote from your reader and look at Washington DC it’s pretty much where we are. Anti-violence activists aren’t anti violence. They’re just against the rest of us being able to resist them.”

Looking at Colman McCarthy’s language drawing equivalence between U.S. soldiers and the Taliban, I don’t think he’s just a dreamy peacenik. And I’ve grown increasingly skeptical of the good intentions of “dreamy peacenik” types anyway, since, somehow, they always seem to promote things that help the other side. At best, they’re oikophobes.

MORE: Reader Dave Everson emails:

I don’t understand why people are so eager to reinstate ROTC at the Ivies. We have the finest military ever created and we did it without any substantial contribution from the Ivy League schools for the past 40 years. Why mess with success? The best officers I served under were state university graduates. I would not have followed the one Harvard officer I did serve under to a free lunch much less a war.

Ouch. And in response to Jason Johnson’s Thucydides quote above, reader David Swager writes: “Actually, the scholars are already cowards AND fools (notable exceptions, of course) while the warriors are heroic and highly ingenious. I know, I work with our soldiers and most of the officers have advanced college degrees.”

MORE STILL: In response to Dave Everson, Paul Baker writes:

You’re missing the point. We don’t want the military to be influenced by Ivy leagues, we want the military (and its values) to influence the Ivy leagues. I remember a few years after I graduated from a midwest Catholic college (University of Dayton), there was a sit-in protest about allowing the CIA to recruit on campus. It was diffused by having an open forum where the protesters argued that the CIA did not reflect the values of a Catholic institution and should therefore be banned. However, they were silenced when the counter-argument was made that if the goal is to infuse the CI with morals and values, what better place to recruit than at a Catholic institution?

Liberal values only succeed when they bully the other values out. When conservative values are infused, the liberal values wither on the vine due to lack of intellectual arguments. Get ROTC in the Ivy leagues, and the liberal monopoly is broken.

And, also, it’s just fun to watch them try to come up with a new excuse, in the process demonstrating that all the fierce moral urgency deployed behind the last excuse was just so much dishonest twaddle.

Meanwhile, reader Peter Davis offers a cautionary note:

Glenn, an infantry squad today is filled with young men who are brighter than an equal number of college students their age, as well as in better physical shape.

My war was some forty-five years ago. I never once spent time in a firebase where there was not a collection of paperbacks, and not just Louis L’Amour and Micky Spillane but philosophy and history, math and other heavy stuff.

A career enlisted man will have finished his AA degree by the time he’s made E-4 or E-5 and will likely have a BA or BS degree by E-7. Few officers will make Major without a graduate degree.

Your commenter is sort of wrong, the fighting is not done by fools. It is, however, more and more likely that the fighting will be by men with a deep and abiding contempt for “the elite”. This probably will not be good.

Indeed. The best solution would be for the elite not to be contemptible, of course. . . .

STILL MORE: Reader David Wharton — a classics professor — emails:

For the sake of scholarship, I thought you would want to know that the Thucydides quote about scholars and warriors you referred to here almost certainly isn’t from Thucydides, but is probably adapted from General Sir William Butler. As you know getting it right matters, in history and in law — as you know. Thucydides said many insightful things, but this isn’t one of them.

Noted. And Jason Johnson sends this followup:

Thank you for posting my Thucydides quote earlier. Since a few people disagreed with the “fighting done by fools” part I wanted to respond and say that, based on the down-to-earth people I’ve know in the military who were avid readers and closely followed world events, compared to outright insane postmodern drivel that gets counted as intellectualism, that I agree the country is definitely much more in danger from acquiring more foolish and cowardly thinkers than it is foolish fighters.

I’d also like to add, after reading McCarthy’s article again, one of his justifications for keeping ROTC off college campuses, is “America’s penchant for war-making.” Wouldn’t it be nice if all of the people who’ve caused trouble for America in the past held the same strong convictions about how much Americans loved war as your typical university teacher or left-wing commentator.

Maybe the world would be a less war-filled place if America’s enemies were given free scholarships to Ivy League schools, where the versions of history and views on current events taught there might fill their imaginations with ideas of how horrible we are and make some of them have second thoughts about attacking/threatening us or our interests.

From back to WWII when all but a few in the Japanese military thought Americans would be too disheartened after the sneak attacks at Pearl Harbor to fight and later by Kamikaze attacks and staging costly defenses when it turned out we weren’t, all the way to Saddam Hussein thinking Iran was a bigger threat to him than the US, it seems to me that while many of our university teachers and others who deeply drink from the “Americans are the ultimate warmongers” fountain of propaganda, many of our enemies don’t seem to actually swallow it themselves.

Indeed.

CHANGE: The Hill: Members seek earmark purity ahead of hotly contested 2012 races. The goal of PorkBusters was, as a start, to change earmarks from things that politicians brag about, to things that they’re ashamed of. Mission accomplished?

IN SLATE: “The guardians of feminist purity are not amused by the idea of right-wing girl power.” Reading the various other comments, the question of whether you can call yourself a feminist seems to be pretty much all about abortion.

Related: Kirsten Powers: Jerry Brown and the women-hating liberal women. “While we, sadly, are all too familiar with the casual misogynistic comment, what perhaps is more surprising is where these slurs lately have been coming from—progressive bastions like the Brown camp, and liberal women.” It’s like Mean Girls without Lindsay Lohan.

OKAY, I HAD THIS THE OTHER DAY, BUT IT’S WORTH REPEATING AGAIN: Dutch Oil Spill Response Ships Could Suck 99% of Oil From Gulf, But Can’t Get Approved, Because EPA Demands 99.9985% Purity. The 99% is an estimate, but the point holds.

NOBODY CAN PASS THE PURITY TEST: Kentucky libertarians: Rand Paul might not be libertarian enough.

IN TODAY’S NEW YORK TIMES, Ann Althouse has a column on PC hypersensitivity and legal education. It’s behind the damnable Times Select paywall, but here’s a key bit:

Ironically, you have to care enough about engaging energetically with issues of race to run into this sort of trouble. It’s so much easier to skip the subject altogether, to embrace a theory of colorblindness or to scoop out gobs of politically correct pabulum. It’s only when you challenge the students and confront them with something that can be experienced as ugly — even if you’re only trying to highlight your law firm’s illustrious fight against racism — that you create the risk that someone may take offense. . . .

It would have been so much easier to teach using simple, straightforward lecturing, with every sentence carefully composed, with a sharp eye on the goal of never giving anyone any reason to question the purity of your beliefs and the beneficence of your heart.

Your colleagues may sympathize with you in private, but most likely they’ll be rethinking this idea — heartily promoted in law schools since the 1980s — that they ought to actively incorporate delicate issues of race into their courses.

Publicly, the school goes into damage-control mode. After all, it has worked so hard to bring together a diverse student body and to convey a feeling of welcome to everyone. How can we bear to hear a student say, as one Wisconsin student did on Thursday, that ”unless we have a safe learning environment,” the school’s commitment to diversity ”doesn’t mean anything”?

But this is madness! Our question should not be about what we can do to make you comfortable or how we can make your life pleasant again.

The problem is that law school administrators, like administrators everywhere, tend to care more about having things run smoothly than about fairness, or the quality of classroom discourse. And that tends to be exploited by people with agendas.

UPDATE: Visit Ann’s blog for more on this. Just keep scrolling.

A WARNING TO DEMOCRATS from former Gore advisor Lawrence Haas:

Leading Democrats, none more so than their presidential candidates, are disavowing their previous votes or statements for the war and competing for anti-Bush purity. They are demanding that Bush end the war in Iraq before the next (presumably Democratic) president takes office in 2009. Momentum is building to block funding later this year.

But, in playing to their anti-war political base, congressional Democrats are pushing party orthodoxy on foreign policy further to the left. After a two-year campaign, any successful Democratic candidate for president may wind up with little leeway to project U.S. power abroad.

Unfortunately, the world will not likely cooperate with a hemmed-in president. Just as Soviet expansionism in the late 1970s reminded America that the Cold War was still on, so may the aftermath of Iraq remind Americans of the larger struggle at hand. Just as our withdrawal from Vietnam emboldened the Soviets, a withdrawal from Iraq may do likewise for today’s enemies.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Porphyrogenitus looks on the bright side:

As for the current crop of “anti-war candidates”, while it’s kind of cynical to say their campaign rhetoric will mean nothing when we’re faced with the need to “project force abroad”, it’s also reassuring to realize that the current Democratic candidates are, well, lying, even if they are getting credit for being “the candid truth tellers”. (Ok, Dennis Kucinich exempted: He’s sincere).

Just take Al Gore (please) – today he sounds as rabid anti-War Left as the rest of them, but during his actual career, he employed people like, well, Lawrence Haas. Right now the Dems are just saying what the “Netroots” demand to hear. Is this behavior corrosively destructive to our civic discourse? Yes. But it doesn’t have as many real foreign policy implications as people who are taking them at their word believe.

At least I hope that’s true. To the extent to which they’re sincere, instead of cynically playing to the “netroots” base, we’re in trouble.

It’s amazing how often I hear politicians talk and hope that they don’t mean what they say. And certainly with regard to extraordinary rendition, Al Gore has changed his tune since he was in office.

NOT EXACTLY THEOCRACY: In the mail, a copy of Andy Olree’s new book, The Choice Principle: The Biblical Case for Legal Toleration. According to the enclosure, its central thesis is that “God ordains governments, but only for the very limited purpose of protecting citizens from those who would directly harm others through force or fraud. This understanding would exclude legislation for other purposes, such as discouraging sexual impurity or the hoarding of wealth . . . . an evangelical commitment to moral absolutes and the authority of Scripture need not entail government endorsement of religious truths or legislation of any particular view of what constitutes a virtuous life.”

Not exactly theocracy, as I said. Or anyway, if this be theocracy, make the most of it. . . .

CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN IRAQ: Austin Bay has a roundup on this story.

UPDATE: The document is here. And a transcript of the press conference, just received via email, is in the extended entry area. Click “read more” to read it.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ed Morrissey has more, and observes:

The next question will be why the White House did not release this information at the time of their discovery. Santorum’s statement says, “The information released today proves that weapons of mass destruction are, in fact, in Iraq[.] It is essential for the American people to understand that these weapons are in Iraq. I will continue to advocate for the complete declassification of this report so we can more fully understand the complete WMD picture inside Iraq.” That implies that a broader analysis of WMD in Iraq exists — and that it differs significantly from the common understanding shown thus far.

Some will claim that the release is strictly for political purposes. They may have a point, but I doubt it will have anything to do with domestic politics. If Bush wanted to use it for that, he would have done so in October 2004 and not in June 2006. This information changes the picture about our pre-war intelligence in time for the Iranian confrontation — and I suspect that the White House wants to declassify it in order to convince European leaders that our intel actually paid off. . . .

So why keep this quiet? Perhaps CENTCOM did not want to tip the AQ-I forces to their continued existence. Another explanation may have been that some of this got captured through active intel sources that would have blown continuing operations. Obviously the Intelligence Committee felt that the need for secrecy had passed.

Stay tuned. WMD wasn’t the big issue for me, but it certainly has been turned into a keystone of the war debate, which may turn out to have been a mistake for war opponents.

MORE: Big roundup at the Hot Air blog, too. And here’s a transcript and audio of Rick Santorum talking about this on Hugh Hewitt’s show.

And Canada’s Western Standard blog observes: “The MSM will probably give more play to Saddam’s newly announced hunger strike.”

John Hinderaker has more, including an email from Michael Ledeen:

Please point out to your readers that Negroponte only declassified a few fragments of a much bigger document. Read the press conference and you will see that Santorum and Hoekstra were furious at the meager declassification. They will push for more, and we all must do that. I am told that there is a lot more in the full document, which CIA is desperate to protect, since it shows the miserable job they did looking for WMDs in Iraq.

Some future historians will have fun with the CIA’s bureaucratic turf wars. I just hope that they’re writing in English, and not Arabic . . . .

Continue reading ‘CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN IRAQ: Austin Bay has a roundup on this story.

UPDATE: The document is here. …’ »

SPURLOCK ON MINIMUM WAGE:

What’s up on the screen is a simple, hard truth: it is possible for two healthy young Americans (a) to virtually immediately find living quarters and work in an unfamiliar city (b) at or around minimum wage, and (c) to live on same with certain hardships for 30 days thereafter.

Spurlock (Super Size Me) and his producers designed the show as propaganda for minimum wage hikes, socialized child care, and expanded social insurance. The realities of the situation dilute the purity of the intended message in interesting ways.

First and foremost all those minimum wage jobs are scarcer than the producers apparently thought. All the easily-found jobs pay more than minimum wage. Spurlock signs on with a temp agency at $7/hr; his companion Jamieson dickers her wage down to minimum so as to not cheat the show’s premise. (Spurlock quits when he finds deductions bring his take home down to a measly $4.26. This is important. We return to the puzzle of his deductions shortly.)

Read the whole thing, for some questions that other reviewers seem to have missed.

More story ideas for Spurlock, at Michael Duff’s place.

STRATEGYPAGE:

Conservative Islam is the foundation of Islamic radicalism, which is Islam carried to a murderous extreme. This movement is weakening in the place where it originated; Saudi Arabia. One of the most telling signs has been the decline and fall of the religious police. The Mutawwain — national “religious police” – or “Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Suppression of Vice” has long been a force in Saudi Arabia, acting against any perceived “un-Islamic” behavior in an attempt to preserve religious purity (e.g., it’s better that women should burn to death in a fire than that they appear without their veils). Over the past few years, however, the Mutawwain have come under increasing pressure. Long regarded not only as arbitrary, but also corrupt, the organization is under investigation by the official state prosecutor, and its budget and personnel have been cut repeatedly; from over 2000 officers just five years ago there are now apparently only some 700.

It’s probably still too early to bid on the Riyadh “Hooter’s” franchise, though.

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, a Brit who has not gone soft in the war on terror, wonders why the New York Times is reluctant to call terrorists terrorists?

The Bin Ladenists did have a sort of “governing program,” expressed in part by their Taliban allies and patrons. This in turn reflected a “unified ideology.” It can be quite easily summarized: the return of the Ottoman Empire under a caliphate and a return to the desert religious purity of the seventh century (not quite the same things, but that’s not our fault). In the meantime, anyway, war to the end against Jews, Hindus, Christians, unbelievers, and Shiites. None of the “experts” quoted in the article appeared to have remembered these essentials of the al-Qaida program, but had they done so, they might not be so astounded at the promiscuous way in which the Iraqi gangsters pump out toxic anti-Semitism, slaughter Nepalese and other Asian guest-workers on video and gloat over the death of Hindus, burn out and blow up the Iraqi Christian minority, kidnap any Westerner who catches their eye, and regularly inflict massacres and bombings on Shiite mosques, funerals, and assemblies. . . .

The Bin Laden and Zarqawi organizations, and their co-thinkers in other countries, have gone to great pains to announce, on several occasions, that they will win because they love death, while their enemies are so soft and degenerate that they prefer life. Are we supposed to think that they were just boasting when they said this? Their actions demonstrate it every day, and there are burned-out school buses and clinics and hospitals to prove it, as well as mosques (the incineration of which one might think to be a better subject for Islamic protest than a possibly desecrated Quran, in a prison where every inmate is automatically issued with one.)

You’d think so, wouldn’t you?

UPDATE: Reader Barry Dauphin emails:

Yes, Hitchens actually takes bin Laden and Zarqawi seriously. He might revile them but he shows them enough respect to listen to their words. Anyone who reads the bin Laden fatwas knows what he’s up to; it’s all there. Either the NYT and others haven’t really read them or they think “he can’t be serious.” And today Krugman is bloviating that the war in Iraq is Vietnam redux and is making us weaker day by day. And the NYT actually wants people to pay for that crap?

There’s a subscriber born every minute.

AFRICAPUNDIT is back off hiatus. Drop by for Africa news. In particular, he notes this column on Liberia by Mark Steyn. Excerpt:

With Iraq, there was no agreement on what the thing was about: it’s all about oil, said the anti-war crowd; it’s about the threat Saddam represents to the world, said the pro-crowd. But with Liberia there’s virtually unanimous agreement: the US has no vital national interest in the country; its tinpot tyrant is no threat to anybody beyond his backyard; the three warring parties are all disgusting and none has the makings of even a halfway civilised government. For many on the Right, these are reasons for steering clear of the place. For the Left, they’re why we need to send the Marines in right now.

It’s precisely the lack of any national interest that makes it appealing to the progressive mind. By intervening in Liberia, you’re demonstrating your moral purity. That’s why all the folks most vehemently opposed to American intervention in Iraq — from Kofi Annan to the Congressional Black Caucus — are suddenly demanding American intervention in Liberia. The New York Times is itching to get in: ‘Three weeks have passed since President Bush called on the Liberian President, Charles Taylor, to step aside, and pledged American assistance in restoring security. But there has been no definitive word here on how or when.

So the question for the Americans is not whether you want to send 2,000 boys in to get picked off for a few months, until whichever warlord is willing to be bought can be installed as head of a provisional government after a token ‘election’ for the benefit of the international community (Taylor held his in 1997). The question is whether you want to commit yourself to fixing West Africa.

West Africa needs fixing, almost as badly as the Middle East. But it’s another case where patience will be required. Are people who already regard Iraq as a “quagmire” — and have done so since April — really willing to go the distance?

Probably. We’re still losing soldiers in Bosnia and you don’t hear much about that. It’s only a quagmire, you see, when certain people are against being there in the first place.

I PREDICT THAT JAMES TARANTO will have a field day with this story:

The Reuters news group and one of its US subsidiaries is being sued for racial discrimination over allegations that a “white, public school attitude” tolerated and encouraged a racist environment in which black employees were abused and persecuted.

The class action announced yesterday alleges that black employees at Radianz ­ a US-based internet services subsidiary of Reuters ­ were forced to work in “an outrageous, patently offensive environment”. One black employee was repeatedly referred to as “my nigger” by a white supervisor and was sent racially offensive emails, the action alleges. . . .

Asked if he thought it would have happened if the management had been American, he said: “There are plenty of American companies where racism happens ­ but I think it would have been less likely that it would have been done on such a wide-scale basis.”

Just remember: one man’s racist is another man’s exponent of Aryan purity!

UPDATE: Kevin Drum finds my comment above “disgusting.”

Sorry, Kevin. But Reuters repeatedly says that terrorism is a question of opinion.

I dare them to defend this suit on the basis that racism is merely the same. They won’t, and that’s because they’re hypocritical. Among other things.

ANOTHER UPDATE: It seems that Kevin must not read Taranto, and was unfamiliar with the Reuters “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” line. That’s discussed in his comments, which have devolved into a discussion of whether it’s racist to call me “instacracker” and a dispute as to whether I’m “windy” or whether I no longer write anything except links.

Why choose guys? I’m good enough to do both at once!

IT’S BEEN VERY DIFFICULT for me to take the various “where are the weapons of mass destruction — Bush lied!” conspiracy theories seriously. The desperation with which they’re offered is indication enough of their bogosity. But in any event, Robert Kagan points out just how absurd it is to argue that Bush swindled the world into believing in nonexistent weapons:

The absurdity of these accusations is mind-boggling. Start with this: The Iraqi government in the 1990s admitted to U.N. weapons inspectors that it had produced 8,500 liters of anthrax, as well as a few tons of the nerve agent VX. Where are they? U.N. weapons inspectors have been trying to answer that question for a decade. Because Hussein’s regime refused to answer, the logical presumption was that they had to be somewhere still in Iraq.

That, at least, has been the presumption of Hans Blix. Go back and take a look at the report Blix delivered to the U.N. Security Council on Jan. 27. On the question of Iraq’s stocks of anthrax, Blix reported there existed “no convincing evidence” they had ever been destroyed. On the contrary, he said, there was “strong evidence” that Iraq had produced even more anthrax than it had declared “and that at least some of this was retained.” Blix also reported that Iraq possessed 650 kilograms of “bacterial growth media,” enough “to produce . . . 5,000 litres of concentrated anthrax.”

On the question of VX, Blix reported that his inspection team had “information that conflicts” with Iraqi accounts. The Iraqi government claimed that it had produced VX only as part of a pilot program but that the quality was poor and therefore the agent was never “weaponized.” But according to Blix, the inspection team discovered that the Iraqi government had lied. The Iraqi government’s own documents showed that the quality and purity of the VX were better than declared and, according to the inspection team, there were “indications that the agent” had indeed been “weaponized.”

Blix reported as well that 6,500 “chemical bombs” that Iraq admitted producing still remained unaccounted for. Blix’s team calculated the amount of chemical agent in those bombs at 1,000 tons. As Blix reported to the U.N. Security Council, “in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we must assume that these quantities are now unaccounted for.”

Today they are unaccounted for. But the answer to the continuing conundrum is not that Bush and Blair are lying. The weapons were there. Someday we’ll find them, or we’ll find out what happened to them.

Unless, of course, you like your conspiracies to be as broad and all-pervasive as possible.

Well, it’s better than admitting that if you’d had your way, Saddam Hussein would still be shoveling children into mass graves, I suppose. And that’s what this is really all about. Having lost the argument about the war, and having had Saddam’s brutality proven beyond any reasonable doubt, the anti-war folks have to do something to regain the moral high ground — because, to them, the moral high ground is theirs by right, regardless of the nature or consequences of their actions.

But as Kagan notes, if Bush is lying, so are a lot of other people:

One would have to assume as well that the German intelligence service was lying when it reported in 2001 that Hussein was three years away from being able to build three nuclear weapons and that by 2005 Iraq would have a missile with sufficient range to reach Europe.

Maybe French President Jacques Chirac was lying when he declared this past February that there were probably weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that “we have to find and destroy them.”

And then there’s Al Gore, who declared last September, presumably based on what he had learned as vice president, that Hussein had “stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.”

Finally, we get to Bill Clinton. In a speech delivered at the Pentagon in February 1998, Clinton described what he called Iraq’s “offensive biological warfare capability, notably 5,000 gallons of botulinum, which causes botulism; 2,000 gallons of anthrax; 25 biological-filled Scud warheads; and 157 aerial bombs.” Clinton accurately reported the view of U.N. weapons inspectors at the time “that Iraq still has stockpiles of chemical and biological munitions, a small force of Scud-type missiles, and the capacity to restart quickly its production program and build many, many more weapons.”

People are changing their tune now — but it’s about ass-covering, and nothing more.

UPDATE: Read this Mark Steyn column too:

If I understand correctly, the British, having won the war, are now demanding a recount. Across the length and breadth of the realm, the people are as one: now that the war’s out of the way we can go back to bitching and whining that Blair hasn’t made the case for it.

This is all very odd. In Kirkuk the other day, they found another mass grave, this time with the bodies of 200 children who had been buried alive. Yawn. Doesn’t count. Wake me if they find a toxic warhead among the teeny skulls. The naysayers were wrong on so much – millions of refugees, Vietnam quagmire, Stalingrad, etc – you can’t blame them for clinging to the one little straw that hasn’t shrivelled up and slipped between their fingers: Come on, Tony, where’s the WMD?

Or as Iain Duncan Smith put it in the House of Commons: “The truth is nobody believes a word you say now.” Well, I do. Because what Mr Blair said is not only in line with what American officials told me, it is in line with what Continental officials told me – as recently as two weeks ago, when a big-time Euro paused midway through his harangue about the illegality of the war to assure me that “of course” Saddam had been up to WMD monkey business.

That’s why, if you notice, the axis of weasels (France, Germany, Russia) and its short-pants league (Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada), while undoubtedly enjoying Mr Blair’s discomfort, have nevertheless declined to join in the show-us-the-sarin taunts. They know what their intelligence services say (assuming, for the purposes of argument, Luxembourg has an intelligence service), and it’s the same as the British and Americans.

You might also want to read Colin Powell’s speech to the UN, which makes clear what the war was about, and that exposes the “it was all about WMD being about to be used” spin that we’re hearing now. Excerpt:

I asked for this session today for two purposes. First, to support the core assessments made by Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei. As Dr. Blix reported to this Council on January 27, “Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament which was demanded of it.” . . .

My colleagues, Operative Paragraph 4 of UN Resolution 1441, which we lingered over so long last fall, clearly states that false statements and omissions in the declaration and a failure by Iraq at any time to comply with and cooperate fully in the implementation of this resolution shall constitute — the facts speak for themselves — shall constitute a further material breach of its obligation.

We wrote it this way to give Iraq an early test, to give Iraq an early test. Would they give an honest declaration and would they, early on, indicate a willingness to cooperate with the inspectors? It was designed to be an early test. They failed that test.

By this standard, the standard of this Operative Paragraph, I believe that Iraq is now in further material breach of its obligations. I believe this conclusion is irrefutable and undeniable.

Iraq has now placed itself in danger of the serious consequences called for in UN Resolution 1441.

Iraq was required by the U.N. resolutions in force to prove its innocence, something that it did not do. This, in my opinion, is irrelevant. The UN is a body of no moral or — really — legal standing in such matters. But if you’re going to play that game, then it’s important to recognize that the question isn’t whether we find WMD. It was whether Saddam produced adequate evidence that they were destroyed. As Steyn notes:

The moment [Blair] prevailed upon Bush to go the extra mile with the UN, it was inevitable that there would be a fair amount of what I believe the British call “total bollocks”. That is, by definition, the official language of multilateralism, and one reason why I have little time for it. For 18 months, my position on Iraq was consistent: I was in favour of whacking Saddam because the price of leaving him non-whacked was too high for America’s broader interests. But once you get into auditioning justifications in front of a panel comprising France, China and Guinea, you’re in for quite a tap dance. In the end, Britain officially went to war on a technicality, and given that that technicality – Saddam’s technical non-compliance with Resolution 1441 – still holds, the WMD song and dance is irrelevant, both de facto and de jure. And as politics, two months after victory, it’s pathetically immature.

“Pathetically immature?” It’s worse than that, actually, but that will do. As Dean Esmay notes:

Now the spin is that we had an “intelligence failure?” It was the UN that said Saddam wasn’t cooperating, and the UN that said Saddam probably still had Weapons of Mass Destruction. . . .

The responsibility for proving that there were or were not Weapons of Mass Destruction fell to the United Nations and Saddam Hussein. They failed to prove his innocence. We had our reasons, some of which we gave the UN and some of which we didn’t.

Arguments finished, allies secured, we then went and freed the Iraqi people from a monster.

That’s what happened. It’s what the history books will record. I just wonder where some of you were during that whole thing. I really do.

Indeed. Probably here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Howard Owens has an excellent roundup of arguments on the WMD topic. It’s far more balanced than my coverage above, and more in line with what I planned to write before I got terminally irritated with the nasty emails I’ve gotten on the subject. That’s either because Howard doesn’t get those emails, or because he’s a better man than I am. Or both. Anyway, read it. Read this, too, and follow the links.

STILL MORE:

I don’t have complete research facilities here in the Kuwaiti desert (nor unlimited Google time), but I’m pretty sure that the original reasons for the French and British Armies to fight in WWII was because of entanglements in treaties that required declarations of war for infractions. The reasons the US entered WWII were many and varied, but I would not be out of line to say they included the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Anglophilism (is that a word?), and fear of a resurgent Germany. At the time we joined in, there were many patriotic Americans who believed that Europe was only getting itself into another one of it’s wars, for which it had a long inglorious history, and that the US had no reason to choose sides. Given what we knew at the time, they had every reason to believe they were right. I am pretty sure that there were only a few people, if any at all, who said that Hitler represented an evil that should be destroyed.

Now, in retrospect, the clearest most recognized reason for celebrating the Allied victory over Nazi Germany was because, in fact, Hitler was evil and he was bringing his nation to ruin because of his psychotic, unrestrained capacity to inflict harm on Germans and people of other nations. ALL of the original reasons for defeating Nazi Germany, ALL of the reasons that people understood at the beginning of the war, ALL of the reasons that the soldiers who fought the war knew of as they boarded the transports to cross the English Channel, or as they lay shivering in their foxhole in the cold Ardennes winter night, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE REASONS, pales in comparison to what we now accept as the real reason we should celebrate that great victory. Our world is better because Hitler is dead, the evil he was, is gone.

Now we, as a nation, are faced with the same dilemma. Will the Second Gulf War be viewed as an unnecessary conquest of a benign nation, as some of the pro-Saddam morons would have us believe? I say that one only needs to look into a mass grave, filled with the bones of children scattered among dolls and toys, to know that this war was necessary. Time will show that we did the right thing, and those who opposed it, fervently, completely and eternally, were wrong.

We may never find WMDs in Iraq, and I don’t give a shit if we ever do. My world, my children’s world, my grandchildren’s world (when it comes) will be better because we fought this fight and won.

I will never change my mind on this, I have seen the graves.

Major Diggs Cleveland
US Army
Camp Doha, Kuwait

Indeed. Read this, too. As Dean Esmay says in another post (not the one linked above), “There are good questions to be raised by this affair, but they can’t be asked until the ‘Bush lied’ people get over themselves.”

Yes. In a way, of course, the “Bush lied” stuff serves the Administration’s interests, by muddying the waters so that less dramatic, but more pointed, questions are hard to ask. It’s Karl Rove’s useful idiots, all over again.

Also, check out this cartoon.

TRENT LOTT’S ENDORSEMENT OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION wasn’t an abandonment of his racist past, of course. It was just an endorsement of racism in a different guise. Shelby Steele points out the double standard:

No doubt the abuses of racism once made the democratic imagination a centerpiece of black American culture. The rhetoric of Martin Luther King was about nothing else. But the race-focused reforms that became entrenched after the 1960s have made the black imagination more self-referential. Now we imagine ourselves more than others, although depressingly seldom as conservatives. Universities across the country provide “ethnic theme dorms” to spare the young the stresses of developing a democratic imagination. And how many million blacks have a fellow-traveling affection for Louis Farrakhan, who is as ardently opposed to interracial dating as anyone at Bob Jones University?

Today America supports a racialist value system for minorities while demanding a democratic expansion of the white imagination. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus can embrace “blackness” and demand government preferences exclusively for their race. Remove the double standard and Trent Lott looks perfectly innocent by comparison.

But not so innocent that he should remain Majority Leader.

UPDATE: As Michelle Boardman writes: “Lott has insulted anyone who wants unbigoted political representation by implicitly arguing that an endorsement of affirmative action demonstrates his purity.”

This oped by Abigail Thernstrom, meanwhile, notes that:

After an era of liberal leadership, the typical black or Hispanic student graduates from high school today with junior high skills, according to the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress.

If Mr. Lott cedes civil rights issues to the Democrats, how can Republicans in Congress join the majority of black parents who want vouchers so that their children can escape public schools that have become graveyards for hope?

For years, Republicans have run in terror from most controversial race-related issues. But it was not always so. More than 80 percent of Republicans in Congress voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Congressional Republicans can recapture the moral high ground — but not if their Senate leaders are unable to stand up to groups that are often at odds with the interests and even the views of their own minority constituents.

Lott has sold out everyone — from his own party to black schoolchildren who are ill-served by pork-obsessed interest groups — to save his skin. And he hasn’t abandoned racism, but has endorsed it out of opportunism and cowardice. That’s why he has to go.

SPEAKING OF EXPLODING ROUSSEAUVIAN MYTHS, Derek Lowe points out that life wasn’t so great in pre-Columbian America:

The study found a long-term decline in health as the populations grew in different areas, which is interesting. But any surprise people have at the general results surprises me. When my brother and I were small children, we accompanied our parents to achaeological digs back in Arkansas. My father was a dentist, and he was there for some forensic work on the teeth of the Indian remains. What he told me back then has stayed with me: these folks had lousy teeth. They had cavities, they had abcesses, impactions, the lot. (The weakened condition of their gums due to lack of Vitamin C probably had a lot to do with it.)

So, growing up, I knew that the Hollywood depiction of Indian life was rather idealized. For one thing, all the movie actors had great teeth. And the young braves weren’t like those 24-year-old actors – they were maybe 14. And the ancient medicine man, he wasn’t 80 years old at all. He was in his 40s; he just looked 80. You never saw extra tribesmen in the background, hobbling around because of poorly set broken bones or clutching their jaws in pain. No skin problems, no infections, not even so much as a bad allergy – no doubt about it, the tribe to belong to was MGM.

You can imagine how I feel about the rest of the cheap thinking that goes along these lines. Oh, the way preindustrial cultures loved the land, lived in harmony with it while everyone ate the wholesome diet of natural purity and stayed true to those simple values that we’ve lost touch with. . .spare me. I’m with Hobbes: the life of man in the natural state was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. And let’s not forget it.

Sadly, too many people have a vested interest in presenting bogus arcadian images to keep this clearly in mind.

MORE ON EUGENICS & GENETIC ENGINEERING: A reader sends this gem:

To tie two recent Instapundit threads together, I don’t see much difference
between anti-cloning and anti-genetic engineering laws on one hand and the old anti-miscegenation laws on the other. In both cases the Law declares that certain types of families and certain types of offspring are Officially Undesirable.

An anti-genetic engineering law is itself a eugenics measure, as much if not more so than as the old anti-miscegenation were. It’s a eugenic measure of the old style, where the State decides what genes and genetic combinations are “good” or “bad” and imposes its decisions with the force of law. An anti-genetic engineering law and an anti-miscegenation law differ only in that the later declares “genetic purity” to be “good” (socially desirable and required by law), while the former declares “genetic naturalness” to be “good.”

This bears repeating: Anti-genetic engineering laws would be no different, in style or motivation, from the eugenics laws of the ’30s. All that would change is the definition of “socially desirable” genetic combinations – “pure” genes in the case of the old laws, and “natural” (or “wild type”) genes in the case of the new ones.