Never Waste A Crisis – Libertarian Edition

I pointed out with a bit of mindly tart surprise last month that California, after voting in lock step with the statist agenda for the past thirty years, had rediscovered the virtues of federalism via the current public health crisis, and the (to progressives) greater crisis of Hillary losing the election.

That was a tad sarcastic – but as José Niño at the Mises Institute points out, after quite a few policians romping and playing in power like Scrooge McDuck bathing in his coin vault…:

Amusingly, the COVID-19 saga has been host to some of the most flagrant political posturing in recent memory. Early in March (which feels like eons ago in today’s frenetic media cycle) New York City mayor de Blasio was telling people to go to the movies and have fun. Now, he’s done a complete 180, shutting down most private businesses and even calling for the nationalization of certain industries and begging the federal government for military aid to combat the epidemic.

…there’ve been some object lessons show, and learned, on the value of federalism coming out of this crisis:

We are indeed living in the strangest of times when LA Times columnists are expressing sentiments that better belong in a passage of Human Action. The jury is still out on whether this is merely oppositional posturing from the Left, but any kind of conversation entailing the restoration of federalism is a welcome surprise.

The “authorized” right can generally be counted on to disappoint its constituents who genuinely believe in small government principles. To their credit, there have been some bright spots on their side in the present pandemic. States like Texas have gone out of their way to declare gun stores essential businesses and to deregulate several parts of its economy at a time where bureaucracy is impeding various vital economic functions.

Elected officials like State Representative Matt Gurtler in Georgia have raised the stakes by floating a proposal that would allow law-abiding Georgians to concealed carry anywhere. South Dakota governor Kristi Noem projected a stark contrast in her relatively lax approach to handling the pandemic. Jeff Deist used her example as the basis for several pragmatic measures that state governments can take to reopen their economies without throwing civil liberties into the wood chipper. No doubt there is much work to be done, but we can find glimmering signs of promise every now and then.

The example I like to use – after Katrina, gun rights groups noticed the speed at which Louisiana and New Orleans’ layers of incompetent Democrat governments turned to confiscating the firearms of law-abiding citizens. In 2015, Minnesota’s gun rights groups pushed a law in Minnesota barring the state from confiscating guns from law-abiding citizens under states of emergency, or shutting down gun stores before every other store in the state was closed. The bills passed, with bipartisan majorities in both chambers powerful enough to scare Governor Dayton’s handlers away from telling him to sign a veto.

We – the good guys – need to do that with every other civil right.

Starting in November.

Timing

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Newest Covid statistics.

10% of the people tested got the virus.  1.5% of those who got the virus, needed hospitalization. One-half of one percent of those who got the virus, died from it.  80% of the deaths are in nursing homes.  No child has died from it.
 
The computer model estimates from the press conference in March, when the Governor imposed the lock down, were that 2.5 million Minnesotans would get it, of all ages, from 6 months to 91 years; that 15% of those who get it would require hospitalization; 5% of them would require ICU care; 1% would die. 
 
Testing proves the computer model was wrong.  Can we abandon the model, now?  Focus our efforts on those who need them, liberate the rest to go back to work so we can pay for it all?
 
Joe Doakes

I’m not going to say “nothing about Govenor Walz’s response has anything to do with public health.

But nearly every part of the response – especially last week’s luke-warm reopening announcement – is driven by political expedience.

In this case, most notably, as defiance of the state of emergency burgeons, the expedience of appearing to still be in charge.

Representative Karen

Tina LIebling, representative from…

…well, it might as well be Eastasia, given her attitude about, well, the role of the elected legislature, especially the part that’s in opposition., But I digress.

Here’s the representative, talking about GOP Senators who were doing the – let me make sure I’m perfectly clear oh this – actual job they were elected to do, standing up for their constituents’ interests.

No matter, to Rep. Karen:

Hey, at least state rules forced her to unblock me!

Science Fiction

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Pretend Covid is a Science Fiction/Fantasy story.

***

President Trump is at the table with his senior advisors, discussing how
to deal with Covid.  Suddenly, a being appears in the room.  Eight feet
tall, red, horns and tail, leering.  People scream, Secret Service try
to rush the President out but the doors won’t open.  They shoot but the
bullets fall to the floor without harming the being.  Eventually, the
being flicks his fingers and everyone freezes in place.

“Enough.  I’m here to collect my due.  You – Orange Man – you’re going
to do exactly as I tell you.  Understand?”

The Orange Man does nothing.  “Oh, my bad,” the being says, flicking his
fingers at the Orange Man, who is suddenly able to move.

“Who are you?  What do you want?”

“I’ve been known by many names but I like the first one, best.  I am the
Light Bringer.  I brought you the opportunity for total power, through
the Covid virus.  And you wasted it!  You idiot – you had the perfect
chance to declare martial law, drain the swamp, clean out the Deep
State, cripple your enemies, restore your country’s greatness and
establish a world-wide empire – but instead you let those morons in the
state capitols run around like idiots ordering people to Stay Home and
now the economy is in such bad shape you’re in danger of losing
everything I gave you.  Well, that’s going to change.  You’re going on
television.  You’re going to announce that you can cure Covid,
completely.  That nobody will ever die from that virus again, anywhere,
in the whole world.  And all it’s going to take is one small favor.”

“What favor?”

“I want you to sacrifice your son to me.  Kill that one person, and
everyone else is saved.”

“Are you kidding?  That’s ridiculous.  I’m not doing that.”

“Why not?  There’s historical precedent.  Abraham was willing. Ivan the
Terrible and Peter the Great both did it,  Herod killed two of his
sons.  What’s the problem?  Any sacrifice is worth it, if it saves even
one life, right?”

***

If it saves even one life.  Now we know where that idea comes from.

Joe Doakes

After the news about the state’s Covid modelers, it doesn’t even seem all that terribly far-fetched.

Techno Peasants, Arise!

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There’s definite technological and age bias in the Governor’s Stay Home order.
Sure, curbside and drive-thru are open. But to pick up at the curbside, you must place an online order, and I can never make their menu website work. Old people are less tech-savvy. The order is age discrimination.

And to go through the drive-thru takes a million years because all the people who formerly parked to go inside and talk to one of the three order-takers at the counter, are now waiting to talk to the one order-taker on the tinny box. Cars at Chick-fil-A are backed up all around the parking lot, out across the driving lane, all the way to Barnes & Noble. I can never understand what the order-taker is squawking. Probably slight loss of hearing, what with being old and all. Again, more age discrimination.

What was wrong with going to Keys, sitting in a booth where the nice lady would take my order for meatloaf, bring me some water and bread, I could relax and read a book until my order came?

Joe Doakes

I’m thinking about building a replica of Mickey’s Diner (the one on West 7th, not downtown) in my basement.

Just One Life

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Governor Walz killed a man today.  He won’t be prosecuted for it. He’s
safe behind papers and attorneys and statutes.  But the man is dead by
Governor Walz’ act, same as if he’d done the deed in person.

Governor Walz killed a health care worker today.  The dead man was laid
off from a hospital.  They couldn’t afford to keep him. They were losing
too much money since the Governor banned non-emergency medical treatment
to keep hospital beds open for the surge of Covid patients that never
came.  But for the shut-down, the dead man would have been at work,
caring for patients, doing what he loved.

Governor Walz killed a father today.  The dead man was married, with
children ranging from 3 to 9 years old.  His wife is still in shock.
Family is staying with her.  The older ones are quiet, trying to
understand.  The little ones hear: “Daddy’s gone to Heaven” and ask:
“Yes, but when is he coming home?”  They don’t understand why he’s never
coming home.  None of us do. There will be no visitation, no memorial. 
They are illegal.

Governor Walz killed a son today.  The dead man’s parents still live in
the house he grew up in.  The father, in his 90’s, crying, asking, “Why
him, Lord?  Why not me? He had so much to live for.” The Governor claims
he had to shut down everything to save lives. But the lives saved are
those like the father – old, sitting at home, waiting to die – which are
never weighed against the lives lost.

Governor Walz killed a brother today. He was the smartest of us all: honors graduate, advanced degrees, quick with a quip but heart as big as the world. He was my baby brother.

Joe Doakes

My condolences to Joe’s family – to say the least.

Pass it around.

Civil Disobedience

Saint Paul barbershop, facing a life-or-death business decision, chooses life:

In the shadows of the State Capitol, King Milan Barbershop had, for the first time in seven weeks, its lights on. Milan Dennie is the owner.

“It’s my livelihood,” Dennie said. “I’ve been sitting here coming up with strategies and plans on how to open up and do it correctly.”

His customers outside had at least two things in common: The plea to reopen businesses, and the need for a haircut.

For two hours, Dennie enforced social distancing and sanitizing as a way to prove he’s serious for the 16 clients he served.

Government chooses…

…well, not “death”.  

Let’s go for “mindless, unquestioning acquiescence to even the most arbitrary decision of The State”

The 17th person to walk in was St. Paul police.

“We just stepped outside and he talked to me,” Dennie said. “He said he feels what I’m going through, but the order is in place right now.”

Technically, the state can shut him down and fine Dennie up to $25,000. He’s aware he could lose his shop by this decision to reopen. He’s convinced he’d lose it by staying closed.

When the doors did close, donations came in along with support. Some from fellow barbers who are also stressed from not providing.

“Everybody keeps saying, ‘File this, file that.’ You file everything you want to, until your hands hurt,” Burnsville barbershop owner Nile House said. “You can keep typing til your hands are aching, but you’re not going to get it because it’s not coming.”

When people stop respecting what government does, you can expect people to start working around, rather than with, it.

Government Is The Things We Do Together – Stupidly And Arbitrarily

A Long Lake restaurant tries to put on a drive in movie, complete with take-out food with all the socially-distance, plague-aware trimmings.

The state shut them down:

Birch’s On the Lake has lost around 70% of its regular revenue while doing take-out only during the stay at home order.

The owner came up with a plan to do a family night at the drive-in outside the Long Lake restaurant.

“It sold out in a day,” Burton Joseph said.

The plan was to hand out notes to customers explaining the safety rules: stay in their cars, maintain distance, and no alcohol. They would be allowed to call in an order for take-out to eat in their cars.

On Monday state officials told Joseph they could not have the event.

“If we’re coming up with the ideas to keep everyone safe at this point I feel like they deserve to give someone a chance,” Joseph said.

Yet again: we have a government run by a man who’s never had a significant job in the private sector, at the head of an administration that has nothing but contempt for businesspeople…

…telling the people who actually have the interests of not only their business, but the customers and communities that are their livelihood, and who have greatest stake in providing creative solutions to our mutual problems, how to behave.

This is the sort of thing that delegitimizes government authority, and leaves you with a Ukraine, a Belanus, a Venezuela.

Officer Friendly

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There’s a video of two Calumet County Wisconsin Sheriff’s deputies hassling a woman because her kids went to the neighbor’s house to play. 

In response, the Sheriff posted this message:  

The problem with both the video and the response is the attitude.  This is the kind of behavior that gets people upset at law enforcement.  

Look at the male deputy in the video.  His tone is berating.  His attitude is condescending.  His body language is aggressive.  The Sheriff says the Deputy is there to educate the mother, that the deputies were not there because of a violation of the order.  But that’s what the deputies accuse her of – violating the order by letting her kids play at the neighbor’s house. 

The male deputy’s posture and word choice is confrontational.  He doesn’t educate, he berates.  It angers me just watching it.  He did nothing to de-escalate the situation.  
The female deputy’s passive-aggressive behavior is little better.  She doesn’t educate or placate, she’s there to document the contact for future prosecution because now the mother has been warned.  And the mother was uncooperative!  That’s going on her Permanent Record!  

That is the sort of officious, snotty, condescending, infuriating behavior by petty tyrants that causes unrest, as in “unrest in the Middle East” or “another day of unrest in Northern Ireland.”  People who can’t behave professionally in customer-facing positions should find another line of work.

Let me be perfectly clear for law enforcement and other people of limited intellectual ability: I am not calling for people to shoot cops.  But if this woman had and I were on the jury, I’d vote to acquit.
Joe Doakes

There’s something about “public service” that brings the worst out of a certain type of personality – the kind wonderfully parodied by Rainn Wilson for nine years as “Dwight Schrute”.

Although this isn’t funny.

So Let Me See If I’ve Got This Straight

“We” – the Governor’s junta, at this point – can re-open Minnesota when we “have enough testing”, and we will be testing 20,000 people a day – or we will. We are assured is going to happen any day now.

Which we’ve been assured is happening any day now for over a month. And after a month of bureaucratic proclamations and excuses and deflection, we are testing about 10% of the rate that the governor says would make him talk about opening things up again.

And they wonder why people are protesting?

Stunning

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

“That which is not prohibited is permitted.”

It’s the underlying principle of American law. We inherited it from English constitutional law, which goes back at least 500 years. I suspect it was also Norman law and Roman law, going back more than 2,000 years.

Certainly, there were variations. And subpopulations had restrictions, there have always been slaves or persons treated differently. Religions imposed restrictions.  The guilds had rules. But the general societal rule throughout the history of Western Civilization has been to leave individuals free to do as they please, with limited exceptions.

Until last month, when Governor Walz flipped it on its head.

Everything is banned except those few items which are permitted. Every job is banned except those deemed essential. Every activity is banned except those deemed essential. Everything is banned, except.

Hitler didn’t do it.  Lincoln didn’t do it during the civil war. None of the Caesars did it. 

I’m not sufficiently familiar with non-western Traditions to know about other nations: Mao’s China, Pharaoh’s Egypt, Stalin’s Russia, Castro’s Cuba. Maybe they were all totalitarian states with everything run by whim of the Chief, and everyone bowing and scraping subserviently.

And now Walz’ Minnesota. We still have people commenting on Internet sites, demanding that the boot remain on their faces, insisting that people should be punished for violating the edicts. “No, no; don’t give us any of that freedom, we don’t want it.”

Stunning.

Joe Doakes

If we are smart…

…well, I was about to say “if we, The People, are smart we’ll make damn certain our legislature puts some guardrails around the executive’s emergency power in the future”.

Of course, betting on the wisdom of the crowd usually breaks one’s heart.

But not always. Five years ago, the Second Amendment groups in Minnesota got Governor Dayton to sign a bill forbidding the government from confiscating guns under a “state of emergency”, and foreclosing it from shutting down gun shops unless literally every other store in the state was also closed.

So it can be done.

Will we do it?

The Real Virus

Epidemics and other disasters come and go

But the worst side-effects of the Covid epidemic are going to be with us for years.

This was the Raleigh NC Police’s response to a protest against the government’s shutdown restrictions:

And if the people allow this attitude to continue, then they – we – will deserve what follows.

The First Amendment isn’t more important than the broad concept of “order” – but it is certainly more important than the Raleigh PD treats it in this case.

Someone needs to get hauled into court, but good.

The ACLU has been showing some signs of paying attention to actual civil liberties again during this crisis. Here’s hoping.

Blue Fragility, Part II

It’s a steroetype of “blue” America – at least, the “elite” version of it that gets (and makes) the headlines – that liberty, at least the kind that involves something other than waving one’s genitals about and dunking crucifixes in urine – terrifies them.

Stereotypes exist for a reason. Blue Amerca’s official vision is that liberty is a scary thing. Of course, this vision is broadcast by an “elite” that thinks they stand to benefit from living in a society where an elite – including them, natch – makes the trains run on time.

Which is why as calls from the hinterland to open up the economy get louder, you can expect to see a lot more of this sort of thing, equating those calls with scary backwoods guys with un-oiled bears and lots of guns.

Bonus steroetype: why did the New York Times put scare quotes around “liberty” in the headline?

Sort Of A Good News / Bad News Situation

As I discussed on my show on Saturday, I see potential good and potential immense bad coming from the Covid19 epidemic. It’s almost like one of those cartoon characters, with an angel sitting on one shoulder and a devil on the other, trying to convince the character of their next action.

Good Angel

On the one hand:

The Bad Angel

  • Progressive politicians are seeing an opportunity to exercise the Emanuel Commandment (“Never Waste a Crisis”), and they’re running with it
  • For a brief moment, it seemed like identity politics might fall ill with coronavirus.  But not so much.  

Let’s all give the good angel a boost, shall we? 

The Progressive Totalitarian Impulse

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Democrats contemplate asking the National Guard to seize firearms from citizens.  And the leader of the Guard doesn’t rule it out.  
Leaving aside the irony of Democrats endorsing one form of sanctuary city (illegal immigrants) while threatening to crush another form of sanctuary city (guns), this might make an interesting test case.
Will Virginians who serve in the National Guard take up arms against their friends and neighbors who decline to give up arms?  Will Virginia National Guard members shoot homeowners who object to having their firearms confiscated? 
If the answer is “Hell, yes, the law is the law and we obey orders even if we disagree with them,” then Second Amendment activists must rethink things in a big way.  We’ve been confident the military won’t obey gun grabbers, won’t open fire on civilians, won’t act the part of British Redcoats at Lexington and Concord. 
What if we’re wrong?  Might be a good time to find out, before we pledge our lives, and the lives of our families, to a losing battle.
Joe Doakes

More on the VNG Adjutant General’s comments later today.  

For my part?   I believe most of the military, being overwhelmingly drawn from the same part of society that “gun culture” grows in, will side with The People…

…which is why I think the real attack on our freedom will be a lot more subtle than Governor Blackface McMinstrel’s japery.  

And that’s the danger – too many people will think “attacks on our freedom” will be this sort of comic book foolishness.  

There’s the danger. 

When The Title Says It All

Goons disrupt a showing of Dennis Prager and Adam Carolla’s No Safe Spaces, in – where else – California:

“After all of the previews and ads were over and the movie was just starting, two thugs sporting hoodies, masks, sunglasses and carrying huge duffel bags ran, not walked, up the aisle and sat at the back of the theater right behind us. They looked like bank robbers, home invasion criminals… they were trying to act scary,” a moviegoer named Vanessa, who asked for her last name not be used, told Fox News.
“As you can imagine, I was nervous that they were planning something even more nefarious than just visual intimidation,” Vanessa said.
Vanessa and other moviegoers complained to the theater and called the police. She said she was issued a refund and left.
“When the manager went in to check on them they had removed all intimidating items. They knew what they were doing,” Vanessa said. “Potential criminals got to stay while we had to leave because we were afraid they might do something violent. My son did not want to leave because he didn’t want them to succeed in their plan of intimidation and free speech suppression. But I told him a movie was not worth our lives in case they had weapons or something.”

I figured this would happen. The movie commits, to Big Left, the ultimate sin: it tells the truth about it.

By the way – I highly recommend you see it. I caught a screening a few weeks ago – and it’s everything I’d hoped. I may have to do a proper review.

In re this incident? The cops never filed a report.

“They came full sprint to the top of the theater with bandanas on their face,” another attendee, Scott Stroud, confirmed to Fox News.
Stroud said that he pressured management to call the police, and they eventually obliged after initially downplaying the situation and assuring that the backpacks of the men were searched. Stroud said he explained the subject matter of the movie to theater workers in an effort to be taken seriously.
Stroud said police told him theater management didn’t think it was necessary to investigate further, but he disagrees.

It’s California. Progs get a pass. Sort of like Saint Paul.

Not that I want to see anything terrible happen, but it’d be just a shame – a shame – if one of those wannabe thugs gave someone just enough reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm to get his face legitimately blown into the next county.

No, I said a shame. We just do not want this to happen.

Poison, Picked

Who am I talking about?

  • A group with a political point of view gains control of the means not only of disseminating the nation’s history – its very story.
  • The official story is made to comport with that dominant group’s narrative – in schools, journalism, academia, even museums.
  • They even bring the apparatus of the state to bear to enforce that narrative, squashing freedom of speech.

Am I referring to America’s universities and public education system!

Well, yeah – but not just them. It’s not quite that simple.

Freedom to Talk Freedom: If you’ve read this blog any length of time, you know I’ve had a longstanding fascination with the history of underdog nations and peoples – the land of most of my forefathers, Norway, as well as Israel, Finland, the Baltics (particularly Estonia), Denmark, Taiwan, and of course Poland.

Now, in Poland’s case, it’s not a story of absolutely unalloyed heroism; the Communist reign in Poland was administered and run by Poles – and there were wartime observations that some of the rural Poles living around the extermination camps were every bit as antisemitic as the Nazis themselves. And antisemitism didn’t end there; after the war, waves of antisemitic violence killed many of those who’d survived (including the leader of a heroic extermination camp breakout); in 1968, the Communist government of Władysław Gomulka expelled many of the remainder. While many Poles are represented among the “Righteous Among Nations”, they truly did face an uphill battle in large, rural swathes of the country.

Like all collections of humans, there are good ones and evil ones, and a whole lot in the middle that just wanted to survive, let along prosper, under atrocious circumstances.

That being said, Poles have for for freedom – theirs and others – since the 1700s. Poles were among the first Europeans to fight for what we now call liberal democracy, in their own homeland and ours (the American Revolution owed a debt to Kosciuszko and Pulaski). And the first tangible cracks in the Iron Curtain happened in Gdansk – in 1956 as well as 1980. There is much in the Polish heritage to balance the evil that popped up, here and there.

Poland is currently ruled by an electoral majority for the “Law and Justice” party – a party the media call “right wing”, although along with their rather fervid nationalism they have established one of the most expensive social welfare states in the European Union – which doesn’t protect them from the hatred of the Big Media, who links them, not completely inaptly, to Orange Literal Hitler Man.

And, as befits a nationalist party, they’re leading with the things that make their nation proud, and de-emphasizing the parts that don’t. Law and Justice is exerting political clout on controlling the narrative about Polish history that gets presented – via some means that should give First Amendment supporters critical pause. They’re not above a little Polish jingoism.

“On the Media” – which is to New York’s “elite” media what Pravda was to the Politburo – “tackled” the story over the weekend, with a series by reporter Laura Feder on the rise of Law and Justice, and the way they’ve exerted their control over the official history.

And it’s not all bad – it certainly helps that it’s not produced by the show’s usual hive enforcers, Bob Garfield and Brooke Gladstone. There are certainly some questions worth asking of Law and Justice, if one is a Polish voter (as I definitely am not). And a few that could be asked of “On the Media” and Ms Feder; while she covers Gomulka’s forced expulsions, she softpedals the notion that that was as much Communist policy as Polish nativist bigotry.

I actually recommend giving the pieces, above, a listen, albeit a critical one; the progsplaining and the “liberals wear the white hats” schtick gets a little galling at times.

But here’s my real question: It’s a bad thing that Law and Justice is blocking free speech to spread their preferred narrative, squeezing out the honest, complete telling of the story.

So when will “On the Media” report on the very similar effort on the part of the American Big Left in media, academia and politics to similarly control, and dishonestly skew, their own narrative?

The mainstream media – specifically, the New York Times’ – coddling Joseph Stalin, including the genocide in Ukraine? The Times’ embrace of Hitler, and the burying of the origins of the Holocaust? Their extended french kiss of the Soviets during the Cold War? The modern left’s strong-arm take-over of the American narrative in academia?

It’s a rhetorical question, I know.

Too Free

“Progressives”, 2005 – “Question Authoritah! Speech is the greatest of rights!”

“Progressives”, 2019 – “I’m from the non-profit/industrial complex, and I’m here to protect you from all that ‘freedom'”.

I’m waiting for the first of them to say free speech is “against peoples’ best interests”.

That “Exploding Heads” Sound In Dinkytown Last Friday…

Actual anti-fascists coming to the U of M:

A global debate over democracy and Hong Kong’s relationship with China boiled over at the University of Minnesota on Friday, as Hong Kong protesters marched through campus in the state’s first known organized event. 
The organizer of the march, a Hong Kong native and university student who remained anonymous due to fear of retribution, said he hopes to raise awareness in Minnesota about Hong Kong’s democratic struggle. The demonstrators spent the afternoon chanting and carrying signs that read “FIGHT FOR FREEDOM, STAND WITH HONG KONG” and “SUPPORT THE HONG KONG HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY ACT.”

Amazingly, the counterprotest wasn’t actually upper-middle-class white kids with “Anti”-Fa banners, but rather students from the “Peoples’ Republic”. Never mind them, they’re on the payroll for just that sort of thing.

Freedom Is Dangerous

“Liberals”, 2004: “Question authority! Free speech is *the* most essential right!”

“Progressives”, 2019: “Free speech is too dangerous for people without tin ‘journalist’ badges to be using”


In the old Soviet Union, citizens used to joke that when a shortage of butter was anticipated, the state media would start running stories on how *bad* butter was for you.

I couldn’t help but think about this over the weekend. And not *just* because our media is resembling the old Soviet media more and more, either.

Following on the NYTimes’ op-ed on free speech being too “dangerous” for mere proles, NPR’s “On the Media” – which is to the big media what a fawning mall cop is to your local blue-and-white – took up the same refrain, giving Marantz a full hour to reiterate his claim (and in so doing giving a whole new spin on “physician, heal thyself”).

Oh, they wrap it in a dirty-sounding word, “absolutism” – but like the NYTimes piece…

…it’s all a rationalization for turning speech over to the “professionals”, to whittle that right (or “right”) down to a size that proles can handle.

And we’re seeing a *lot* of this lately; how checks and balances are just tooooo haaaaard, and the Bill of Rights is just tooooo complex for the herd to deal with.

Makes me think of Soviet Radio. Apropos nothing.

Just saying, Democrats – I liked y’all better 15 years ago.

Cafeteria American

I had the rare treat of listening to the utterly ironically named “MPR News with Keri Miller” earlier this week.  And by “treat” I meant “update of the notion that Keri Miller is the one “journalist” in the Twin Cities that’d be ill-advised to tell Esme Murphy “dial back the shilling for the DFL and Big Left, you Big Left Shill, you””.  

Anyway – she had a show on Tuesday featuring a Hindi woman talking the co-option of Yoga by non-Hindi.  Not “decrying” it, per se – just urging people to be aware of, and perhaps learn something of, its Hindi roots.  

Pull quote:  the woman, Suhag Shukla, describing the various non-Hindi permutations of Yoga, including…:

SHUKLA: “…even Christian Yoga!”

MILLER: (In the background) (Disgusted, mocking snork)

Now, Ms. Shukla has a point – part of her culture has been appropriated. Like solstice trees and Chow Mein and polyrhythm and virtually everything else about every culture in the world that hasn’t been isolated from every other culture in the world, “appropriation” is a two-way street.

As someone who’s lost eighty pounds and wants to gain some flexibility and joint resiliency, I’m interested in yoga (although I haven’t done it yet). As a Christian, I have only intellectual interest in Hinduism. You wanna talk, Ms. Shukla? We’ll talk.

But since Keri Miller – and by association, the modern progressivism for which she shills – is the venue that brought me and Ms. Shukla together, let’s talk appropriation.

Big Left, like a suburban housewife going to an agnostic Hot Yoga class in a strip mall in Minnetonka, appropriates the convenient parts of the American experiment – the fun parts, like free speech and privacy. Like that housewife, or the Cafeteria Catholic, or the Allah-carte Muslim (actor, comedian, and observant but not fundie muslim Rami Yusef’s term, and I love it), they leave out the inconvenient parts – the citizen as self-sufficient atomic political unit, with the same rights, powers and responsibilities in microcosm of actual states are. The whole “government by consent of the governed” and “Free Association of Equals” bit.

If you want to practice the fun parts of the American experiment – immigrating to a country with freedom and opportunity, getting paid to be on the radio, free speech and waving signs about? Then pay some thought to the complex stuff – the tension between order and liberty, the moral right of the free market versus the stifling moral decay of socialism.

It’s a fine day for that, isn’t it?