Were the New Hampshire Constitution Authors Incredibly Prescient?

Could be: [NH Constitution Comic]

That's from the "new to me" website Live Free and Draw, brainchild of artist Marek Bennett. Click on the image for a larger version and the artist's commentary.

Briefly noted:

  • What's the most predictable outcome of a disaster that causes anger and fear on the news channels? If you're used to gun control debates, you probably already know the answer. But it applies in other situations too, and Dominic Pino describes the latest exxample: Buttigieg Uses Ohio Train Crash to Push Progressive Priorities.

    The Department of Transportation announced a suite of policy actions it intends to take in response to the February 3 train crash in East Palestine, Ohio. “We at USDOT are doing everything in our power to improve rail safety, and we insist that the rail industry do the same — while inviting Congress to work with us to raise the bar,” said Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

    Looking closer at the department’s proposals, safety does not seem to be the primary justification. Instead, they include demands that environmentalists and unions have made for years, and none of them would have prevented the East Palestine crash.

    Yes, it's the standard now: "This latest catastrophe tells me that we must do these ten things I've always wanted us to do, none of which would have averted that catastrophe."

  • You might have heard the outrage! A typical MSM story a couple weeks back: Florida school district pulls children's book about Roberto Clemente off shelves.

    A large Florida school district has pulled an illustrated children’s biography of Pittsburgh Pirates legend Roberto Clemente off its shelves to determine whether it is “developmentally appropriate for student use.”

    Those laws, the district said, require books in schools to be free of pornography; instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade; and discrimination “in such a way that an individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex or national origin, is inherently racist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”

    Those laws, the district said, require books in schools to be free of pornography; instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade; and discrimination “in such a way that an individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex or national origin, is inherently racist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”

    Accompanied by the usual op-eds who use the Clemente example to show what a fascist Ron DeSantis is.

    But I couldn't help but wonder if yanking the Clemente book (and others) from library shelves was intended by government schoolers to provoke that outrage.

    Certainly DeSantis thinks so. See this Axios article: DeSantis calls Roberto Clemente book removal "a joke".

    DeSantis told reporters at a press conference Tuesday that the removal of the Clemente book by the Duval County Public Schools was "outlandish" and suggested the district was trying to grab headlines.

    • "They're manufacturing that to try to create a narrative."
    • "First of all, I don't think parents are challenging that. I think they're doing it unilaterally to try to create an issue, but that can be resolved in about two minutes."
    • DeSantis said new state laws limiting diversity discussions target "pornography" and books with sex acts, not figures like Clemente.

    Axios seems unanxious about investigating to see whether there's any truth to DeSantis's claim.

    But here's an interesting article from Jonah Winter, author of the Clemente book: My books are banned by the right and the left. He seems to have bought the story that right-wing neo-Hitlers were behind the ban in Florida. Fine, can't really blame him, if he gets his news from (say) NPR or MSNBC. But:

    What hurts a book or an author is the far more effective cancel culture of the left, by which I mean the small but vocal subsection of illiberal ideologues who’ve commandeered both liberalism in general and the publishing world specifically, often using their power to attack well-meaning authors in the form of social media pile-ons and the resulting cancellations, both of which I’ve experienced.

    I’ve had two book contracts canceled because of my identity in relation to the subject matter. I am a white man. The irony of the big to-do being made over the banning of my Clemente book by conservative activists is that, were I to try and publish that exact same book today, I would not be able to get it published because of progressive activists.

    In today’s world of children’s books, governed by the ideological mantra of “own voices,” I am not allowed to tell the story of anyone who’s not white or male. I’ve been told this point-blank not just by many editors, including the main editors I have worked with throughout my 32-year career, but also by my agent, who sees little point in sending out manuscripts of mine about people of color, because she knows what the response will be.

    Winter also notes that his books, including the Clemente book, sell even better after their "bans" are publicized. (The never-published ones… well, they don't sell at all.)

  • Michael Shermer tries out a thesis at Quillette: Left or Right, Politicians Shouldn’t Be Telling Academics What They’re Allowed to Teach. After describing the leftist dominance of academia, tech, entertainment, the MSM,…

    Given this, it’s understandable that many American conservatives have become enraged by what they see as an uneven cultural playing field—as symbolized by universities selectively de-platforming conservative speakers, investigating (or even cancelling) academics who refuse to toe the expected ideological line, and promoting pseudo-scientific notions concerning gender and biological sex fluidity. Having observed progressives exploiting their control over the commanding heights of education, mass entertainment, and electronic media, some right-wing firebrands are trying to hit back with those institutions that they control—specifically, Republican-controlled state legislatures and gubernatorial offices.

    At the forefront of this movement is Florida, where likely GOP presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis has teamed up with advisor Christopher Rufo, an activist who’s become the unelected national leader of the conservative campaign against Critical Race Theory (CRT) and other illiberal progressive dogmas. “In Florida, we will not let the far-left woke agenda take over our schools and workplaces,” Gov. DeSantis announced in a statement introducing the 2022 “act relating to individual freedom.” According to an explainer on the governor’s website, House Bill 7 (as it is formally known) “deems CRT training to be an unlawful employment practice; ensures Florida’s K-20 students and employees are not subject to Critical Race Theory indoctrination; [and] requires development of [a] ‘Stories of Inspiration’ curriculum to demonstrate important life skills and the principles of individual freedom.” In other words, Florida’s governor and his fellow state Republicans are using their political power to tell educators what they can and cannot communicate in schools.

    Of course the "unelected" adjective applied to Rufo is gratuitous and irrelevant. How many activists are elected, after all?

    I understand Shermer's point. And he cites a couple of people I like in support of it: Steven Pinker and Jonathan Haidt.

    And I even agree with the underlying principle: kids should not be indoctrinated with whatever political ideology reflects that of the faction that currently holds the reins of brute power.

    But the long-term solution is not to give the wannabe indoctrinators a blank "teach whatever you want" check from the taxpayers. Instead, campaign for the separation of schools and state.

    Much like the honored tradition of separation of church and state.

    And for similar reasons.

  • Stephanie Slade has a bone to pick with a recently-declared presidential candidate: No, Vivek Ramaswamy, ‘Political Expression’ Shouldn’t Be a ‘Civil Right’.

    Shortly after announcing his candidacy for president on Tuesday, the biotech founder and anti-woke crusader Vivek Ramaswamy tweeted a short list of his goals. Alongside such items as imposing term limits on federal bureaucrats and achieving "total Independence from China" was one that might look unobjectionable but deserves a thorough rebuke: "Make political expression a civil right."

    The precise choice of language and larger context here are critical: Ramaswamy isn't saying he wants to stop the government from punishing citizens for their political views, something that is obviously already proscribed by the First Amendment (and something that certain anti-woke Republicans have themselves flirted with recently despite the crystal-clear constitutional prohibition). Instead, "civil rights" is a reference to laws such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which reach into civil society and constrain what private organizations, such as clubs and businesses, may do.

    In essence, Ramaswamy is suggesting that the government treat political opinions the same way it treats race, which under federal law is a protected class. Employers may not make hiring and firing decisions on the basis of skin color; same goes for landlords deciding whom to rent to, hotel or restaurant owners turning away customers, and so on.

    To treat viewpoints in the same way would amount to an egregious infringement on the right of free association—that is, our ability to join together with others who share our values or beliefs for a common purpose. Churches, charities, social clubs, and yes, even political entities such as advocacy organizations are all examples.

    I had missed this in yesterday's brief vivisection of Vivek's views. But Slade's right.

Last Modified 2024-01-30 6:42 AM EDT