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A Nation of Laws—Sort Of

Well over 300 sanctuary cities have unilaterally declared that federal laws do not apply within their jurisdictions. We thought this outrage had been settled some 184 years ago when John C. Calhoun fallaciously argued that South Carolina through its “ordinance of nullification” could pick and choose which federal laws it would follow—only to be slapped down by President Andrew Jackson, who saw the very idea of a constitutional United States threatened by such proto-Confederate invalidation. Jackson, remember, threatened to send in U.S. troops to settle the issue. Is it only a matter of time until conservative cities follow the Calhounist sanctuary cities and declare federal gun or environmental statutes non-binding? And then what might mayors of sanctuary cities say in reply: that it is secessionist to arbitrarily ignore federal law?

We talk a lot about Orwell’s 1984 as if it were a distant bogeyman. In fact, his dystopia is already here. We simply accept myth as reality and define it as true based on the degree of its utility in advancing a particular political agenda. “Hands up, don’t shoot” was a demonstrable falsehood, yet the sloganeering persists because it could have been said and thus should have been said and finally became said; the legal findings about the Ferguson shooting by the Justice Department were for all practical purposes rendered meaningless. The president’s made-up Cairo speech, the Duke lacrosse case, the Rolling Stone mythography, and the fantasies of “mattress girl” are evaluated only by the perceived intent of the falsifier: if these mythoi are deemed egalitarian and socially noble, then they become cries of the heart and thus true.

If one accuses a male on a contemporary campus of sexual assault, there will likely be no due process afforded the accused—and no consequences to the accuser should the allegations fall apart as groundless. The 5th and 14th Amendments simply vanished on campuses sometime around 2010, replaced by an Animal Farm slogan that one out of four women are sexually assaulted during their campus years (if true, Stanford, Yale, and Columbia parents certainly would long ago have moved their daughters from tony dorms to downtown apartments in statistically far safer East Palo Alto, downtown New Haven, or Harlem)—and thus any means are necessary to stop the violence.