URLs du Jour


  • Not Great Expectations. Alan Jacobs has a modest proposal for organizations that wear their politics on their collective sleeves. He'd like to know their expectations. Specifically:

    A few times over the past several years I have written to organizations of various sorts to ask them not to politicize their public presence, or at least to tone the politics down. (Some of these companies have been right-leaning, more of them left-leaning.) These have been products or services or institutions that have no intrinsic political slant, but their owners have insisted in bolting on their politics to everything they do. I have asked them not to do that, because the 24/7 politicization of culture gets really wearying. And in every single case their reply to me has been the same, in only slightly varying words: “If you don’t agree not only with our politics but with the emphasis we place on our politics, then we don’t want your business.” To which my first thought has always been: Wow, you guys must be really making bank.

    But my second thought has been: Maybe you should have the integrity to make public, right on your website, your expectations for your customers: What political positions do you demand that people take before you’ll condescend to accept their money?

    [That wasn't an excerpt. That's the whole thing.]

    The first organization I'd like to come clean on that front: the University Near Here. Thinking about studying or working there? Maybe you should ask some questions:

    1. "I noticed your Racial Justice Resources page is devoted exclusively to "woke" advocacy. Are people with different opinions on such matters welcome at UNH, or should they seek other options?"
    2. "The UNH Lecturers United site currently hosts an open letter saying that UNH must "actively oppose any political position structured around inequality", calling such positions (or perhaps the people that hold them) "reprehensible." That's pretty vague. Exactly what opinions are out of bounds at UNH? And what actions, specifically, do the UNH faculty take to "actively oppose" such opinions?"
    3. "This site says that UNH's "undergraduate enrollment fell about 9% between 2015 and 2020." Do you see any cause and effect here?"

    I'm sure more will come to mind. But the general question applies.

  • Tiptoeing, But Not Through the Tulips. Andrew Egger at the Dispatch has a what-could-go-wrong article: White House Tiptoes Into 'Anti-Racism' Culture War.

    The American History and Civics Education programs, through which the Department of Education distributes a handful of grants per year for teachers and high school students to learn more about their country and its history, are a tiny backwater of the sprawling $74 billion department. But thanks to a new proposed rule, the longstanding program stands to become a culture-war flashpoint as the Biden administration’s first foray into the world of “anti-racist” education.

    The rule, a draft of which was entered into the Federal Register last week, would prioritize “projects that incorporate racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse perspectives into teaching and learning.”

    To qualify for a grant under this priority, an applicant “must describe how its proposed project incorporates teaching and learning practices that take into account systemic marginalization, biases, inequities, and discriminatory policy and practice in American history.”

    Translation: "No Irish Unwoke Need Apply."

  • Incoherence? Biden Aspires To Incoherence. Kevin D. Williamson's "The Tuesday" offering is kind of a gem, the subject being Joe Biden’s Executive Incoherence.

    That the Biden administration should be incoherent is the least surprising development so far of 2021 — Joe Biden himself is generally incoherent on a personal level. Biden’s incoherence is not (contra the popular right-wing talking point) mainly the result of his advanced age or the state of his mental acuity — he has been a little bit dim and a little bit all over the place for the entirety of his very, very long career in public office, since he was a young man, because he is a creature of pure self-serving opportunism without a moral center or real principles.

    It would be easy to call him a weathervane, but a weathervane is anchored on something and centered. President Biden is more like that plastic bag blowing around in American Beauty — empty, lightweight, subject to the moment’s prevailing wind.

    Because of this debility, President Biden cannot manage a “team of rivals” the way more serious figures such as Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt did in their respective times. This is a particularly troublesome shortcoming in a president for whom FDR and his administration are the guiding lights, even if the guidance derived from that quarter is almost exclusively a matter of rhetoric and nostalgia.

    Bonus quote: "But from Joe Biden’s vantage point, John Kerry is a promising young man."

  • Or Less. Sean Higgins explains the Wheezy vocabulary: When Joe Biden Talks About Worker Choice, He Means Only 1 Choice.

    President Joe Biden believes joining a union isn't merely a right that workers have but something the federal government has an obligation to promote. He repeated this on April 26 as he announced the creation of a special Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment. "Since 1935, when the National Labor Relations Act [NLRA] was enacted, the policy of the federal government has been to encourage worker organizing and collective bargaining, not to merely allow or tolerate them," Biden claimed. (Emphasis his.)

    Unfortunately for workers, Biden's stance is a misreading of federal law, and it signals four years of aggressive sales tactics from this administration on behalf of its union allies.

    Sen. Robert F. Wagner (D–N.Y.), the primary author of the NLRA, also known as the Wagner Act, thought the government was neutral on the issue. "The malicious falsehood has been widely circulated that the measure was designed to force men into unions, although the text provides in simple English prose that workers shall be absolutely free to belong or to refrain from belonging to any organization," Wagner said in a 1935 radio address.

    But it's living legislation, which for Biden means: let's make it say something different than it does.