Do Something. Or Something Else.

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One of the surest ways to set my teeth on edge is to have someone say "We need to do something about X." Where X can be just about anything.

And of course there's an entire serious, not-a-parody website: Do Something Dot Org. And (as I type) "something" is pretty uniformly "something leftist". As I type, on the linked page, you will be told "Gun Violence is a Public Health Crisis"; instructed "How to Celebrate Trans Day of Visibility"; encouaged "Read a banned book from our list to celebrate diverse perspectives and expand your cultural awareness."

I'd speculate that the original version of Ian Fleming's From Russia With Love is not on their list of "banned books". But just try to find it in a public school library.

Wikipedia, bless it, has a page about the Politician's syllogism:

  1. We must do something.
  2. This is something.
  3. Therefore, we must do this.

"Do something" invites comparison with the Lily Tomlin quote from a half-century or so ago ("back when she was funny"), featured on our Amazon Product du Jour.

Briefly noted:

  • Speaking of innocuous slogans hiding ideological agendas…

    I'm old enough to remember the founding of "Move On Dot Org", launched back in 1998 to help Bill Clinton avoid impeachment so we could all "Move On to pressing issues facing the country."

    That was then, this is now. And now, as I type, totally without irony or self-reflection, without the slightest nod to the fact that we still have "pressing issues facing the country", MoveOn's front page is hawking free "CONVICT TRUMP" bumper stickers, with the subtitle "NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW".

    Also old enough to remember is Dan McLaughlin, who recalls When a Democratic President Was above the Law.

    One of the mantras of Democrats and their media voices in response to Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg’s indictment of Donald Trump has been that “no one is above the law.” That’s a fine sentiment, but there are three very big problems with Democrats making this argument: They don’t believe it, they don’t mean the same thing by “law” as the rest of us, and Alvin Bragg is about the worst possible representative for the theory that violations of the law will never be tolerated.

    In particular, I never want to hear another word — not another syllable — about how “nobody is above the law” from people who spent years on end telling us that perjury and obstruction of justice by the president should not lead to consequences because it was “just about a blow job.” I never want to hear this from people who professed to be horrified by “lock her up” chants on the theory that one should never call for jailing political opponents even when they have violated specific federal criminal statutes regarding the handling of sensitive information — least of all in defense of a prosecutor who ran for office publicly promising to go after this particular political opponent of his. I never want to hear it from people who said that the vice president could break a federal law without consequence so long as there was “no controlling legal authority” interpreting the law. I certainly do not want to hear this from people who are, even today, arguing that the president can get away with breaking the law and seizing the powers of Congress to give away half a trillion dollars of our money to his supporters so long as he can argue that nobody has standing to sue him in federal court.

    Also weighing in on that topic, David Harsanyi: No One Is Above The Law? Give Me A Break.

    Lock Donald Trump up, or don’t lock him up, but don’t tell me that “no one is above the law.” It’s one of the most ludicrous fantasies peddled by the left.

    Plenty of people are “above the law.” James Clapper, who lied under oath to Congress about spying on the American people, is above the law. John Brennan, who lied about a domestic spying operation on Senate staffers, is above the law. Unlike Trump advisor Peter Navarro, Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder was never going to be handcuffed and thrown in prison for ignoring a congressional subpoena. He is above the law.

    There's a remarkable degree of non-overlap betwen the examples offered by Harsanyi and McLaughlin. Being above the law is pretty much a heavily-Democrat thing, and examples abound.

  • But what about the solidity of that "law" that Trump is not above? Andrew C. McCarthy doesn't feel the need to play the hypocrisy game. The onetime Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York judges that Alvin Bragg's Trump Indictment Fails as an Indictment.

    It’s always possible to be surprised. The indictment brought by Manhattan’s elected Democratic district attorney Alvin Bragg against Donald Trump is even worse than I’d imagined.

    Bragg’s indictment fails to state a crime. Not once . . . but 34 times. On that ground alone, the case should be dismissed — before one ever gets to the facts that the statute of limitations has lapsed and that Bragg has no jurisdiction to enforce federal law (if that’s what he’s trying to do, which remains murky).

    Bragg’s indictment charges 34 counts, just as we said it would, based on media reporting that clearly came from illegal leaks of grand-jury information — a crime, you can be sure, that goes in the overflowing bucket of serious offenses that Bragg refuses to prosecute.

    McCarthy convinces me that Bragg could well be a key character in a Kafka novel. You know which one.

  • George F. Will is cautiously optimistic, but not in a good way: Maybe, just maybe, this is rock bottom for embarrassing U.S. politics.

    “Wherever I have gone in this country,” said Kansas Gov. Alf Landon, the Republicans’ 1936 presidential nominee, “I have found Americans.” Time was, the nation rejected what it now needs: banal politics. Today’s embarrassments — Donald Trump, his prosecutorial adversaries, the tribalism on both sides — might be a foretaste of degradations proving that there is no rock bottom in U.S. politics.

    Before the jerry-built case brought against Trump by Manhattan’s elected Democratic District Attorney Alvin Bragg collapses, as it likely will in a courtroom, an elected Democratic prosecutor in Georgia might weigh in. And a federal prosecutor is considering Trump’s possession of classified documents in Mar-a-Lago and his possible obstruction of the investigation thereof. Trump might think: The more the merrier. Martyrdom might sell.

    Well, maybe he's not that optimistic.

  • Enough about Trump's legal worries. Walter Olson wonders: Is Proportional Representation On the Way?

    Would proportional representation be a better way of electing legislatures? This old idea, which dates back to John Stuart Mill and Nicolas de Condorcet, has been gaining ground among political scientists, commentators, and good-government groups. Protect Democracy and Unite America have released a report making the case for using proportional representation to elect the U.S. House of Representatives.

    That would be new for the U.S., which almost uniformly follows the winner-take-all norm that still typifies electoral practice in countries like Great Britain, Canada, France, and India. Most European countries, as well as Japan, employ some version of proportional representation, often as part of "mixed" systems that retain some winner-take-all elements.

    I plugged my own "proportional representation" scheme in the article comments.

  • Aaron Terr asserts that Florida Is Where the First Amendment Goes to Die. ("Also, many retirees," Pun Salad pointed out.)

    When Ron DeSantis became Florida’s governor in 2019, there was reason for optimism about an expansion of freedom of expression in the state. In April of that year, he called on Florida’s colleges and universities to adopt the “Chicago Statement.” It’s a resolution that my organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), endorses as the “gold standard” of institutional commitments to free speech on campus because it establishes, for example, that "it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.” That move built on the progress made by passage of the state’s speech-protective Campus Free Expression Act in 2018, which codified that same principle.

    But things started to go downhill last year when Gov. DeSantis signed the “Individual Freedom” Act (more commonly known as the “Stop WOKE Act”) into law. Ironically, the law abridges individual freedom by restricting how faculty at state institutions may speak about controversial subjects like race and sex in the classroom. It lists several concepts that faculty may not “espouse” or “advance,” such as the view that an “individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment to achieve diversity, equity, or inclusion.” That could, taking just one example, make it unlawful for professors to present arguments in favor of affirmative action or reparations for slavery. Whatever one thinks of the merits of those ideas, it’s well within a professor’s academic freedom to discuss, debate, and take positions on them in class.

    I see his point. Censorship is a game any number can play. And do.

Last Modified 2024-01-13 12:57 PM EDT