Monday, April 16, 2018
Some weeks there are too many topics to restrict a column to just one and/or a backlog of opinions that needs to be cleared; hence the following:
• The most annoying part of our debate over guns is David Hogg, who has been granted oracle status by the liberal media only because of his willingness to spout anti-gun, anti-NRA gibberish consistent with their agenda.
But gibberish is still gibberish, however self-righteously expressed. And someone doesn't acquire moral superiority or insulation from criticism just because they survived a tragedy.
As Derek Hunter put it, "A good rule of thumb in politics is to ignore the musings of anyone who hasn't completed puberty."
• The NFL has a new "targeting rule" that isn't setting well with many of its players, based on the claim of Commissioner Roger Goodell that the helmet should never be "used as a weapon"; which begs the question of how you can play football without ever lowering your head (a natural reaction when you are about to crash into something or be crashed into).
A better solution, before we end up with flag football--get rid of the helmets altogether.
There was, after all, a time when the game was played without them.
• The resort to euphemism is always in the service of dishonesty and mendacity, most recently in the tendency of liberal pundits and politicians to use the phrase "undocumented persons" when referring to people who are in this country illegally.
So does "undocumented" mean that they simply woke up one day and noticed their documents had gone missing? And that they will eventually find them and clear up the misunderstanding?
Is it really that hard to just say "illegal alien?" Has that term now become politically incorrect because it's too accurate?
• Perhaps the silliest phrase in our public discourse is "Twitter erupts."
Why should anyone care? Twitter isn't the real world, or remotely representative of opinions in it. Most people, meaning most normal, well-adjusted people with real lives, have never used Twitter because they have better things to do.
Seldom has technology so obviously contributed to shrill imbecility.
• What's not to like about schoolchildren staging walkouts as a form of political protest? After all, the kids get to play hooky, the teachers get a break, and everybody gets to pat themselves on the back for raising consciousness about this or that, even if they really didn't and the entire exercise consisted of pointless grandstanding.
So we are looking forward to next year's walkouts over the failure to provide properly ventilated doghouses or health warning labels on those 32-ounce sodas at the multiplex. Or maybe just the injustice of homework, grades, and the ACT.
• One of the funniest but ironically revealing juxtapositions of headlines was on RealClearPolitics a couple of days after this year's Oscars ceremony.
The top headline said "The 10 most political moments from this year's Oscars." The one beneath said "Oscars score lowest ratings ever."
Obliviousness is the distinguishing quality of contemporary leftism.
• One of the more peculiar research surveys in recent memory came from the otherwise reliable folks at the Pew Research Center. The survey represented an attempt to assess the level of support among college students for "free speech" versus "inclusion."
But contrary to what Pew suggests, there is no conflict between such values, especially when one considers that any historical effort to make our society more inclusive, from the civil rights movement and women's rights up through same-sex marriage, depended upon the First Amendment and the freedom of speech it guarantees. None of those movements would have gotten off the ground without it.
• How wonderful it would be to have a president like Calvin Coolidge again, a man with a modest (and thus constitutionally appropriate) view of the duties of the presidency, who was committed to reining in federal spending and keeping the budget balanced on the assumption that Americans could tend to their own business if government didn't screw it up.
To have, in other words, "Silent Cal" instead of "Tweeting Donald"; a plain old boring presidency rather than a reality television version of one.
• China's edge in any trade war is its authoritarian system: There will obviously be far less public pressure for China's president for life (Xi Jinping) to cave than for an American president hoping to be re-elected to a second term in two years.
Trade wars are always a bad idea, especially if the foe is a system whose leaders don't care about their people because those people have no means of expressing grievances.
• Donald Trump doesn't read books, or, apparently, much of anything. Let that slosh around the mind for a bit: a political leader so confident of his own genius that he doesn't need to read or listen to the advice of people who do, and doesn't know anything because he doesn't think he has to.
So does this mean that Trump's most ardent admirers don't read either? That he has the "we don't need any stinkin' books" core of the electorate sewn up?
A lot can happen, most of it bad, when the commander-in-chief reads less than your typical 6-year old.
Freelance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.
Editorial on 04/16/2018
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