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  • A Worthwhile Suggestion. We're apparently still catching up with Independence Day-related content. In her column, Veronique de Rugy wonders about Rediscovering the Promise of the American Founding.

    Declaring their independence from British rule 245 years ago, the American colonists held "these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." They went on to announce, "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

    During the recent holiday, I reflected on how we've strayed from the ideals expressed so eloquently by Thomas Jefferson. You don't have to be a Reagan Republican to see how governments at the state, local and federal levels can obstruct our pursuit of happiness and at times even jeopardize our safety.

    Consider the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the virus's perils, governments abused their authority through lockdown policies and onerous outdoor mask mandates. Many schools remained closed despite data that revealed safe ways to bring the kids back. And when schools did reopen, the priority wasn't education but, instead, hygiene theater.

    As I've mentioned before: the truly depressing part of the pandemic was not governments abusing their powers. That's bad, but that's what governments do. Par for the course.

    No, the depressing part was how many of the citizenry demanded that government abuse its powers. That fueled my pessimism about the future of the country.

  • What Part of 'Right of the People' Don't You Understand? Damon Root has a good article out from behind the Reason paywall: SCOTUS Revisits Gun Control.

    In April, the Supreme Court announced it would consider [how the right to keep and bear arms applies in public] when it hears arguments in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Corlett. At issue is New York's requirement that anyone seeking a license to carry a concealed handgun in public satisfy a local official that he has "proper cause" to do so.

    What counts as "proper cause"? According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit's 2012 decision in Kachalsky v. Westchester, a "generalized desire to carry a concealed weapon to protect one's person and property does not constitute 'proper cause.'" In other words, basic self-defense is not sufficient.

    "A law that flatly prohibits ordinary law-abiding citizens from carrying a handgun for self-defense outside the home cannot be reconciled with the [Supreme] Court's affirmation of the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation," argues the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association. "The Second Amendment does not exist to protect only the rights of the happy few who distinguish themselves from the body of 'the people' through some 'proper cause.' To the contrary, the Second Amendment exists to protect the rights of all the people."

    Well said, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association. Pun Salad addition: "And don't give me any nonsense about being a member of the militia. It's the right of the people, not the militia."

  • Mark Pun Salad Down as "Against". Kevin D. Williamson says You’re Either with Maduro, or You’re against Him. And there's a problem with a group to which four current CongressCritters belong:

    To what standard should Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her socialist colleagues in the Democratic Party be held when it comes to the matter of the Democratic Socialists of America and its unwavering support for the brutal dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela?

    A word about these socialists: There’s a certain kind of talk-radio knucklehead who insists that every member of the Democratic Party — and about 80 percent of Republicans — is a socialist or a Marxist or a communist. That is nonsense. I am not even convinced that all of the Democrats who call themselves “socialists” are socialists. But we are not in this case talking about a subjective evaluation: We are talking about people who are members of a particular organization, the Democratic Socialists of America, who support that organization and who are supported by it in their pursuit of political power. And, as it happens, the DSA has for a long time — and quite recently — reiterated its support for the Maduro dictatorship, under which the people of Venezuela have been reduced to eating zoo animals and worse. Before that, the DSA supported his predecessor, the murderer and torturer Hugo Chávez, who bought progressive Democrats such as Chaka Fattah on the cheap, with a few stirring words and a couple of barrels of heating oil.

    Sometimes I think I should change the name of this blog from "Pun Salad" to "What the Hell is Wrong With You People?"

  • Can You Finish the Saying "We Have Met the Enemy, and…"? Mickey Kaus is one of those liberals that hardly ever says anything I get mad at. Populism, Pogoism, and J.D. Vance.

    In 2000, When Al Gore tried Shrumian populism in his presidential race, I complained.

    In 2021, when J.D. Vance tries populism in his Ohio Senate race. I'm all for it.

    Is there (a) a meaningful difference between the two or am I (b) a total hypocrite? I favor (a). It's true that the 2000 Gore and 2021 Vance sound alike. Both tell voters there are people at the top who are screwing them over. Vance even uses the default populist phrase of Gore strategist Bob Shrum -- about how he's "fighting for you" against the powerful. But there are at least three significant differences.

    1. Gore's populism was weird:  In his 2000 convention speech, Gore didn't talk about elites. He talked more vaguely about "powerful forces."

    “So often, powerful forces and powerful interests stand in your way, and the odds seem stacked against you. … I want you to know this: I’ve taken on the powerful forces. And as president, I’ll stand up to them. … It’s about our people, our families, and our future–and whether forces standing in your way will keep you from having a better life … [Emphasis added]

    Who are these mysterious "forces"? Are they living organisms? Presumably they take human form, but they seem to almost be something supernatural. "Occult populism." Nothing as clear and familiar as a "ruling class" or "elite."

    I haven't liked J. D. Vance's populism myself, but I agree with Mickey that he's a lot better than Weird Al.

  • Another Stolen Post From Professor Jacobs. He provides a quote a WaPo article from Will Oremus: le mot juste.

    Asked for comment on Facebook Bulletin, Substack spokeswoman Lulu Cheng Meservey said, “The nice shiny rings from Sauron were also ‘free.’”

    Kind of relevant to one of yesterday's items, amirite?

Last Modified 2021-07-08 10:05 AM EST