1. I’m not going to dignify all of the online cheering of President Trump’s positive test for the Wuhan virus with quotes from celebrities and social media creatures, though I have them. There have been similar reactions to the fact that Kellyanne Conway recently tested positive as well. A reputable poll—assuming that any are reputable polls—found that 40% of Democrats surveyed were “happy” the President was sick. I have never been happy that anyone was sick in all my years on this planet. This is a mean, vicious, ethically warped group of people that are behind Joe Biden in this election, and one more factor pushing me to a tipping point. (No, I’m not there yet.) But I really do wonder how decent people can make common cause with hateful individuals like this.
For what it’s worth, my perspective is that if the President plays this right, the bout with the virus will help him in November.
I agreed with his decision to largely eschew masks in public appearances, just as FDR kept his wheelchair mostly hidden from public view and like George Washington riding into battle in full uniform, gleaming white wig, ring a tall white charger. That’s part of leadership: looking strong while also being strong. The President got sick while doing his job. Joe Biden has been hiding in the basement, taking half-days and yesterday gave a speech while wearing a mask. He looks weak, and is weak. There has never been anything especially leader-like about Biden, and most of his support is based on blind, irrational hatred of his opponent fanned into dangerous intensity by the news media and the Angry Left. I think Donald Trump may have been the only President elected more out of dislike of the opposition than genuine support of the winning candidate, and I’m not even certain of that. The candidate perceived as the strongest leader almost always wins.
2. Nah, the First Amendment isn’t in any danger from progressives! Don’t be silly! In June, the president of Miami University appointed a task force of faculty, students and staff to develop recommendations on improving the school’s “diversity, equity and inclusion.” Tellingly, no lawyers or civil libertarians make the membership list.
Now the task force has produced its recommendations, and a more confounding mass of Authentic Frontier Gibberish it would be hard to find. ( “As an Ohio public university, Miami may serve the greater community by expanding IGD pedagogy and praxis to alums and the business community”… “Create internal and external diversity marketing plans to promote literacy around intergroup dialogue and allyship across diverse social identities with sensitivity to Miami’s status as a predominantly white institution…”) Naturally, re-education and indoctrination are among the 43 recommendations: “Make IGD mandatory for all undergraduate students, beginning with first year students, by requiring incoming first-year students to take a 1-credit IGD course (equivalent to the CAWC’s Intro to Voices program) following UNV 101 (or similar discipline-designated courses; e.g., CHM 147). Thereafter, provide other academic and co-curricular IGD opportunities for further development.” Then there’s this:
“Miami University must be able to determine under what conditions employees can be terminated and students can be dismissed from the university if proven they have made discriminatory (e.g., racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.) comments.”
Never mind that any policy that allows a public school to kick out or discipline students based on the content of their their speech would violate the First Amendment. UCLA Constitutional Law professor Eugene Volokh pointed out the obvious, or what should be obvious:
“The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force may not ‘fear … First Amendment violations,’” he wrote, “but the university, which will have to pay for those violations (and which presumably wants to comply with the law) should.”
That’s a non-ethical consideration, though. A university should be concerned with the ethical point, which is that freedom of speech and expression is a bulwark of American values, and the foundation of liberty itself. It should also embrace the idea that the objective of higher education is to expand a student’s exposure to varying opinions, not restrict them. The Left of the 21st Century, however, views the entire Bill of Rights as an impediment to righteous power and mandated GoodThink, not as a crucial weapon against tyranny.
3. The weekend’s race-baiting note: Police at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches went to 17-year-old Christin Evans’ dorm room after receiving a false report that she was threatening other students with a scissors. This prank is called “swatting,” and it is obviously illegal.
Evans is black, so media reports are highlighting that in their headlines. So are Evans’ lawyers, who say the incident’ was plotted by her three roommates and seven other girls “who she said were mostly white.” Wait—each girl was “mostly white,” or the group that set up the raid had mixed racial membership? The Chief of the university police department issued a statement that said:
“The university is investigating a racially diverse group of students in an incident involving a false report to the university police department. The students responsible will be held accountable for their actions at every possible level.”
So just because the victim is black, we are to presume this was a racial incident? Would the same be true if Evans had been white and her tormenters were a “racially diverse group”?
This is the unwarranted unethical presumption of racism once again, just as in the various police incidents that have been used to justify riots, the deaths of innocent people, and millions of dollars in property damage. It is, I’ll concede, a wonderfully profitable starting point for lawyers and litigants seeking quick settlements from situations terrified of being labeled racist.
The fact that it also exacerbates racial divisions and distrust seems not to bother anyone all, at least not anyone with the guts and integrity to object to it.
Fact: every time something bad, unpleasant, unfortunate or wrongful happens to a black American, it is not due to racism. It is equally damaging to blacks and whites to claim otherwise, yet that is exactly the presumption that activists, political forces and the news media are pushing.
4. Ooooh! Dangerous ideas! Dangerous expression! Dangerous art!
Four major museums announced that they will delay until 2024 a retrospective of the work of modernist painter Philip Guston. The museums’ tweedy Chablis liberal boards concluded decided that Guston’s trademark motif of cartoonish, haggard white-hooded Ku Klux Klansmen “needed to be better contextualized for the current political moment”—you know, like “Blazing Saddles” and “Gone With The Wind.” The public is just so darn unsophisticated about anything involving race, the poor dears.
It’s funny, though: Some of the same museums exhibited “Piss Christ,” the 1987 photograph by the American artist and photographer Andres Serrano, depicting a crucifix submerged in the artist’s urine, and protests that the work was not sufficiently “contextualized” were dismissed as the whining of redneck Bible-clinging yahoos too dumb to understand the nuances of art.
This week, though, 33 years later. the directors of the four museums released a joint statement saying that they were “postponing the exhibition until a time at which we think that the powerful message of social and racial justice that is at the center of Philip Guston’s work can be more clearly interpreted.”
Some apparently see the problem with this. Darby English, a professor of art history at the University of Chicago and a former adjunct curator at the Museum of Modern Art, called the decision “cowardly” and “an insult to art and the public alike.” Mark Godfrey, a curator at Tate Modern in London who co-organized the exhibition, wrote that the decision was “extremely patronizing” to audiences because it assumes that they are not able to understand and appreciate the nuance of Guston’s works.
Right. They are afraid that Black Lives Matter won’t understand and appreciate it, will call all these nice, rich progressives racist, and will stage “mostly peaceful” protests outside the exhibitions. Darren Walker, the president of the Ford Foundation, said in an email that if the museums had not taken a step back to rethink the exhibition, it would have appeared “tone deaf.”
To whom, Mr. Walker? If “Piss Christ’ wasn’t ‘tone deaf,” why would it be tone deaf to exhibit this?
We are seeing how the mobs and violence cheered on by Kalama Harris and the Democratic base constrict culture, thought, and expression, which is exactly what they are designed to do. And once again, we are hearing doubletalk, vagueries and equivocation instead of what needs to be said.