URLs du Jour

2021-01-22

[Amazon Link]

  • How many times have we heard/seen the word "democracy" in the media over the past few weeks? If you're like me, appoximately zillions.

    As an old-fashioned libertarian curmudgeon, I have a grudging admiration for the guy who said "Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner." (No, it wasn't Ben Franklin. I still like it though.)

    But it's kind of funny to hear the same folks who profess to love democracy turn right around and demand that Congress prevent Donald Trump from running again, as sort of a cherry on top of the impeachment sundae. (For details on that, see Ian Millhiser: Can Trump run for office again in 2024?)

    If you're a thoroughgoing democracy-lover, shouldn't that call be up to the voters? The peeepul? If they want him bad enough, and elect him, why should Congress be able to deny that popular will?

    Maybe they're only in favor of Democracy when it elects Democrats? That's my operating theory.

    As an extra reading assignment: Robert A. Levy claims Impeachment of an Ex-President Is Unconstitutional. Interesting take.

    Former judge Michael Luttig has argued correctly that the Constitution refers to impeachment of the president, not the ex‐​president. Article II, section 4 provides that “The President … shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Accordingly, once a person is no longer president, he can’t be impeached or convicted. Our federal government has only those powers enumerated in the Constitution; it does not have the power to impeach a former president.

    Of course, Trump wasn't a former president when he was impeached. But… well, I don't care that much, sorry.


  • Right up there at concept-overdose levels with "democracy" is "unity". Kevin D. Williamson throws that spinach at the wall: Against Joe Biden's Call for Unity (NRPLUS, sorry):

    Presidential calls for unity express the increasingly sacral and quasi-monarchical character of the American presidency and the person of the president himself, who is treated as a kind of holy person, the body politic incarnate. The train of thought is there in the underlying etymologies: unity, community, communion. The American political superstition sets the Confucian model on its head, holding that if there is order in the nation then there will be order in the community and in the family, that our hearts will be made right in national democratic communion. Applied to American politics at large, that mysticalizing tendency is superstition; applied to the president in particular, it is idolatry.

    We treat presidents like kings, when they are only employees — and temps, at that.

    I won’t pretend Joe Biden is my friend, or even that I respect him — he isn’t, and I don’t. But he won the election, so he holds the office, until he doesn’t. I hope President Biden takes the opportunity to do some good things, by which — of course — I mean things I agree with. I don’t expect that to be the case, because we disagree about what is best for the country. And those disagreements are over issues such as civil rights and the sanctity of life itself — not trivia. And so I will argue with him and his partisans, criticize him, and oppose him.

    And I’ll take a hard pass on ghastly calls for unity with Joe Biden or any other politician.

    And (of course) there's no reason for Democrats to demand or expect that people treat Biden any better than they treated Trump. #Resist!


  • I was kind of kidding two days ago when I speculated that the Trump Administration's "1776 Report" would be taken down.

    Reader, that speculation went up approximately one hour before the report was taken down. It was a real Memory hole moment for us Orwell fans. Report from the College Fix: On day one, Biden team removes Trump’s 1776 patriotic education report.

    As President Joe Biden was sworn into office Wednesday, his team removed a report detailing the history of America’s founding from the White House’s website.

    A commission convened last fall by President Donald Trump that aimed to advance what he called a patriotic education and take on leftists’ argument that America was never great released its report Monday.

    It's been "archived" here. Which is still a .gov site, so how long will that last?


  • President Wheezy, in a show of "unity", also abolished the authoring "1776 Commission". Tyler O'Neil optimistically reports: Biden Can't Silence the 1776 Commission.

    As soon as Joe Biden took office, his White House disbanded the 1776 Commission and scrapped its report, published a mere two days earlier. President Donald Trump had compiled the 1776 Commission to respond to the nefarious impact of Marxist critical race theory, which teaches that a hidden racist oppression is the true driver of American history and current society. That noxious idea arguably inspired the Black Lives Matter riots of the summer — and Biden coddled those rioters.

    The 1776 Commission is history [heh--ed.], but its members will continue to fight the noxious narratives about America’s past.

    “The 1776 Report calls for a return to the unifying ideals stated in the Declaration of Independence. It quotes the greatest Americans, black and white, men and women, in devotion to these ideals,” Commission Chairman Larry P. Arnn, Vice Chair Carol Swain, and Executive Director Matt Spalding wrote in a statement Wednesday. “The Commission may be abolished, but these principles and our history cannot be. We will all continue to work together to teach and to defend them.”

    Here's hopin'.


  • Ann Althouse quotes Jake Shafer on the media's tongue-bath of the Wheezy Administration:

    CNN glowed almost as brightly about the event as a state media would have.... Biden’s perfectly fine if pedestrian speech earned instant accolades from Wolf Blitzer, who jibbered that Biden had put 'his soul into his first address.'...  MSNBC worked from the same script, going gaga for not just Lady Gaga but the whole schmear. At day’s end, Rachel Maddow confessed to having worked her way through an entire box of Kleenex during the festivities and Joy Reid gushed like a partisan about the event.... The Washington Post got with the program, giving Biden credit for not waiting 'long to begin staffing up his administration, swearing in top White House aides,' as if previous incoming presidents had dilly-dallied about taking the reins. The New York Times swallowed whole the recent myth-making that has transformed Biden from a shifty politician into a statesman, conveying his call for civility and unity and portraying him as a disciplined, restrained character when anybody who has studied his career knows he’s anything but.... [B]y going overboard for Biden, the press was guilty of 1) hyping Joe; 2) inflating expectations to a volume he can’t possibly fulfill and 3) giving viewers and readers a reason to suspect if not distrust the gleaming Biden coverage. In an era when large portions of Americans think mainstream media is a tool of the left, a tad less bootlicking could help build trust among media skeptics.... [M]aybe we could embed a house cynic on each network and newspaper to police or at least tamp down the irrational exuberance that rains down on most inaugurations.

    Ann scoffs: "Notice that [Shafer]'s only arguing about how to do propaganda well."


  • And Philip Carl Salzman reminds us that as far as higher education goes: Systemic Racism and Sexism Are Now Mandatory.

    I must apologize at the outset for offering to the reader what is by now a truism known to everybody who has had even short periods of sobriety during the last decade. Whatever imaginings the reader may have had during the twentieth century about being a unique individual and about treating others as individuals, the twenty-first century rejected them and saw them off. Notions such as “individual character,” “merit,” and “colorblind assessment” are now seen as bad jokes that were never that funny in the first place, but really smokescreens for the wrong kind of supremacism and oppression.

    There is now a strong consensus in schools, universities, the media, big tech, big business, and government that there are good human races and bad human races, good sexes and bad sexes, good sexualities and bad sexualities, and good ethnicities and ethnicities: White people are bad, evil oppressors of soulful people of color. Males are toxic oppressors of gentle females. Heterosexuals deny and reject LGBTQ++ normality and rights. Christians and Jews are bigoted oppressors of righteous Muslims. America, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand are systemically racist and sexist and heteronormative societies, LGBTQ++ phobic, and Islamophobic.

    Can't be said enough. From later in the piece, a very good point:

    Do not imagine that all of the enthusiasm for “diversity” allows for diversity of thought and opinion. No, thought and opinion deviant from “social justice” ideology is actively suppressed by diversity and inclusion officers, who have the full backing of their university administrations.

    My advice to free-thinking students, faculty, and staff: keep your heads down.