The Founders knew that liberty is never really popular, and that it cannot be entrusted to elected officials who must answer in the end to the demos, which is why they put the first liberties first, right there in the First Amendment. If we are willing to let a low-rent carny like Harry Reid take those liberties away from us, or a sanctimonious old crook like Hillary Rodham Clinton, or Elizabeth Warren, the most wooden Indian of them all, then maybe we didn’t deserve those first liberties in the first place.
Every normal person understands that every one of us stands on the shoulders of giants. Newton, Einstein, Aristotle, the inventors of the danish, and so on. And, though the West gave the East computers and plastic, and the East gave the West gunpowder and silk, undergraduates have given us nothing. But that’s not their fault — they’re young and innocent. They know nothing. You can’t blame an undergraduate for panicking about cultural appropriation any more than you can blame a puppy for chewing up your baseball mitt. That’s why these kids are in school — to learn things.
The spineless, weaselly deans and presidents of America’s universities should try to remember that.
If forgetting history is now the purpose of higher education, I may be taking some risk by reminding the flagship censors of the persecution of Boris Pasternak by Soviet officials when Dr. Zhivago was published in the West and awarded the Nobel Prize. I will go further into danger and remind them also that Thomas Merton wrote a brilliant appreciation of that novel and its author. Among much else of value Merton said this: “It is characteristic of the singular logic of Stalinist-Marxism that when it incorrectly diagnoses some phenomenon as ‘political,’ it corrects the error by forcing the thing to become political.”
I say to you, my friends, even though we face difficulties today, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights. I have a dream, that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold 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. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
I have a dream, that one day all across this country, all people will …. [more]
The problems purportedly addressed by stop-and-frisk and mandatory minimums are of the government’s own making. Thus, if we got to the root, the “need” for these bad policies would disappear.
Stop-and-frisk is largely aimed at finding youths who are carrying guns and drugs. Mandatory minimums are directed at drug sellers. It’s not hard to see what is at the root: drug prohibition. When government declares (certain) drugs illegal, those drugs don’t disappear; instead they move to the black market, which tends to be dominated by people skilled in the use of violence. Because the trade is illegal and the courts are off-limits for dispute resolution, contracts and turf will be protected by force. Those who operate on the street will find it wise to be armed.
So, as a result of prohibition and its attendant violence-prone black market, in some parts of town a percentage of young men will likely be walking around with guns and drugs. Seeing this, politicians and law-enforcement bureaucrats turn to stop-and-frisk and mandatory minimum sentences. But the only real solution is to repeal prohibition. There’s no need for intrusive police tactics or prison terms.
In a free society, government has no business telling us what we can and can’t ingest or inject. Before drug prohibition, America had no drug problem. It’s prohibition that created the problem, just as alcohol prohibition gave America organized crime on a large scale. As we’ve seen, when government tries to ban drugs, it creates bigger problems by putting drugs in the streets and gangs in control.
Contemporary police are increasingly an armed gang enforcing the many rules of the omniscient regulatory state, i.e., Big Brother. Easy to do in the time of Three Felonies a Day.
The so-called war on drugs was the casus belli for the militarization of the local police forces in the U.S., although it took time to effect the evolution far and wide. Near the end of the campaign in Iraq, the favorite think tank of the left, the RAND Corporation, published a report in 2009 entitled Does The United States Need A New Police Force For Stability Operations?
Too much law enforcement in America has lost all sense of proportion: If you need six armed officers to police a nonagenarian in an old folks’ home, seven armed officers to police a 20-year-old female you suspect might have a beer in her shopping bag, thirteen armed officers to terminate Giggles the baby doe, you’re doing it wrong — and you’re the real threat to public order.
A resident in DeKalb County, Georgia decided to grab his camera when police started banging on his door at 1:30 in the morning. He says he even called 911 to find out what the cops wanted but they didn’t tell him. Police say they had a warrant to enter the home based on a civil fine.
. . .
Forget A-Rod, maybe it’s time to start testing cops for steroids? [Ed. Or at least testing for a minimum IQ, like 80 or 90?]
A few weeks ago, President Obama advised graduates at Ohio State University that they need not listen to voices warning about tyranny around the corner, because we have self-government in America. He argued that self-government is in and of itself an adequate safeguard against tyranny, because voters can be counted upon to elect democrats (lowercase “d”) not tyrants. His argument defies logic and 20th-century history. It reveals an ignorance of the tyranny of the majority, which believes it can write any law, regulate any behavior, alter any procedure and tax any event so long as it can get away with it.
History has shown that the majority will not permit any higher law or logic or value — like fidelity to the natural law, a belief in the primacy of the individual or an acceptance of the supremacy of the Constitution — that prevents it from doing as it wishes.
Under Obama’s watch, the majority has, by active vote or refusal to interfere, killed hundreds of innocents — including three Americans — by drone, permitted federal agents to write their own search warrants, bombed Libya into tribal lawlessness without a declaration of war so that a mob there killed our ambassador with impunity, attempted to force the Roman Catholic Church to purchase insurance policies that cover artificial birth control, euthanasia and abortion, ordered your doctor to ask you whether you own guns, used the IRS to intimidate outspoken conservatives, seized the telephone records of newspaper reporters without lawful authority and in violation of court rules, and obtained a search warrant against one of my Fox colleagues by misrepresenting his true status to a federal judge.
The War on Drugs is going so well, the DoJ is run like the morally and ethically and legally upright institution we always hoped for, and we finally have the most transparent government in the history of the universe. Hallelujah!
Yes, we finally have angels running the federal government! Free at last! Free at last! Thank G-d Almighty, we’re free at last!
Forced lockdown of a city. Militarized police riding tanks in the streets. Door-to-door armed searches without warrant. Families thrown out of their homes at gunpoint to be searched without probable cause. Businesses forced to close. Transport shut down.
These were not the scenes from a military coup in a far off banana republic, but rather the scenes just over a week ago in Boston as the United States got a taste of martial law. The ostensible reason for the military-style takeover of parts of Boston was that the accused perpetrator of a horrific crime was on the loose. The Boston bombing provided the opportunity for the government to turn what should have been a police investigation into a military-style occupation of an American city. This unprecedented move should frighten us as much or more than the attack itself.
What has been sadly forgotten in all the celebration of the capture of one suspect and the killing of his older brother is that the police state tactics in Boston did absolutely nothing to catch them. While the media crowed that the apprehension of the suspects was a triumph of the new surveillance state – and, predictably, many talking heads and Members of Congress called for even more government cameras pointed at the rest of us – the fact is none of this caught the suspect. Actually, it very nearly gave the suspect a chance to make a getaway.
In the aftermath of the terrorist bombing—no lesser word will do—at the Boston Marathon, a major debate has broken out over the proper law enforcement procedures in two key areas: general surveillance and targeted searches. Many insist that a general right to privacy should limit the first, and that concern with racial and ethnic profiling should limit the second. Both of these overinflated concerns should be stoutly resisted.