Every year I wait for a call from the MacArthur Foundation telling me I was going to receive more than half a million bucks. Alas, I didn’t get one of the so-called “genius grants” again this year.

What I came to realize many years ago was that the foundation is simply funding a band of social justice warriors, numbering nearly 1,000 since the grants started in 1981.

Let’s look at some of the recipients announced earlier this month:

–Cristina Jimenez Moreta founded United We Dream in 2008 to secure the rights of immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

–Rami Nashabi is a community leader who focuses on poverty in Chicago’s Muslim communities.

–Nikole Hannah-Jones writes about “urban segregation” in education.

Critic Martin Morse Wooster made the point about leftist bias in “The MacArthur Foundation: A donor without a cause spawns a foundation with an agenda.”

“What do the Federation of American Scientists, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Arms Control Association, the League of Women Voters, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, and the National Commission on Energy Policy have in common — aside from solid leftist credentials? Each receives funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.” MacArthur is everywhere on the left, openly supporting the progressive policy agenda, including the “climate change agenda — which is often a cover for more nefarious, radical economic change.”

 
In December 2015, MacArthur Foundation President Julia Stasch co-authored an opinion piece in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, calling upon “fellow grant makers, advocates, business leaders, government officials, and citizens” to make climate change a priority. In doing so, Stasch used her influence to lead other organizations into a complicated web of progressive foundations, pushing radical economic change.

Some “genius grants” have been known to go awry. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, was a 2003 recipient who created fictitious documents to discredit a conservative group that attacked climate change. See http://fakegate.org/

The MacArthur Foundation also has a geographical bias that favors leftists, with New York and California leading the pack in getting “genius” grants. Apparently, the foundation has yet to find a “genius” in Wyoming, my family’s home state, and not many in flyover country, where I spent most of my formative years. See http://www.aei.org/publication/the-reluctant-philanthropist/

The foundation was set up as a tax dodge by John D. MacArthur, an insurance magnate who often played fast and loose with other people’s money. Maybe the IRS should look at the foundation’s books—as the Obama Administration did with conservative groups. See http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/18/politics/irs-scandal-fast-facts/index.html

Whatever happens, I probably won’t get a call again next year. But Colin Kaepernick, members of Black Lives Matter, and other social justice warriors will likely become so-called “geniuses” some day soon.

The National Congress of the Communist Part of China, which sets the course of the nation’s leadership and policies every five years, opens next week during one of the most critical times in the relations with the United States.

President Xi Jinping, [pronounced she] who will be elected to a second, five-year term, faces some interesting problems, including the probable retirement of some top leaders, the ongoing North Korea nuclear program, and relations with President Trump.

It has been customary for leaders to retire at the age of 68. That would include five of the seven most powerful leaders in China, including Wang Qishan, Xi’s right-hand man and anti-corruption campaign leader.

SupChina, a great source for anyone who wants to follow developments in China, provides as excellent backgrounder at http://supchina.com/2017/09/26/will-happen-19th-party-congress-fall/

As SupChina notes: “Contrary to many who have posited that Wang is too important to Xi’s agenda to be sidelined, the Macro Polo initiative at the University of Chicago has come down firmly on the position that retirement norms will be followed this year. The initiative’s experts assigned only a small chance to the ‘norm-wrecking’ scenario that keeps Wang in his position, saying that ‘even with a very strong Xi Jinping, [this] would face significant criticism and pushback at every level of the CCP.’”

Xi is likely to opt for a selection of loyalists that both accelerates the ascension of some people leading to more attention “devoted to focusing on executing the many economic reforms that have stalled or taken a backseat to politics.”

On North Korea, China has initiated steps to implement the latest United Nations sanctions. That doesn’t mean that China and the United States are on the same page, but the relationship is better than most legacy media types would have us believe. An exception is a recent Reuters story at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-usa-congress/china-support-for-north-korea-clampdown-growing-u-s-official-idUSKCN1C32J2

Only a few weeks after the China meeting, President Trump will visit Asia, where he will travel to five countries from November 3 to 14, attending summits held by both the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Expectations for a shift in U.S.-China relations are high, according to the influential South China Morning Post.

POLITICO also reports that the Trump Administration is conducting an extensive review of policy toward China. See http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/28/white-house-china-policy-review-243274

During the past three years I have spent visiting China, I found that the Chinese, particularly business people, see Trump as someone they can deal with. It may not be a perfect marriage, but neither is it as vitriolic as it was under President Obama. Moreover, U.S.-China relations would have been disastrous under Hillary Clinton. Simply put, China was rather curious and somewhat relieved when Trump became president.

The FBI annual report that violent crime, including homicides, rose significantly for the second consecutive year rated only a few passing references in the news.

Violent crimes increased nationally last year by more than 4 percent and homicides rose by nearly 9 percent, one year after violence rose nearly 4 percent and homicides jumped by nearly 11 percent. A total of 17,250 people were murdered in 2016, the FBI said, an increase of about 20 percent over the past two years alone.

“This is ominous,” said Mark Kleiman, a criminologist at New York University’s Marron Institute of Urban Management. “What you worry about is that the trend is broken, and the numbers are going to go back up. A 20 percent increase in homicides over the past two years is not trivial. We’ve got what looks like a serious problem here.”

In 2016, Chicago again led the nation in murders with 765–more than double the 335 people killed in New York, which has more than 5.8 million more people than Chicago.

Large cities–those controlled by Democrats and with populations of more than a million people–saw homicides rise by 20.3 percent, and all violent crime increase by 7.2 percent in 2016. The trend toward greater violence was felt in cities and towns of all sizes. In towns with populations of fewer than 10,000 people, for instance, murders rose by 8.4 percent, according to the FBI.

Crime is lower than it was in the 1980s and 1990s, but that gives little solace to victims and their families.

Here are a few more pertinent facts:

–Murder victims, as well as those arrested on murder charges, were disproportionately young, African-American, and male.

–The demographic group where a significantly higher rate of violence occurs–those between 18 and 34–is getting smaller. So the percentage of crimes committed by that age group should be getting smaller, but it’s not. It’s way up.

–More than three-quarters of U.S. law enforcement officers say they are reluctant to use force when necessary, and nearly as many–72 percent–say they or their colleagues are more reluctant to stop and question people who seem suspicious as a result of increased scrutiny of police, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/01/11/ferguson-effect-study-72-us-cops-reluctant-make-stops/96446504/

–The number of police officers and their starting salaries have declined since the mid-1990s.

Many theories exist about why violent crime is up. Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit has a good analysis: “People worry more about crime when they feel that the authorities don’t have their backs. When they feel confident that the government will make all reasonable efforts to keep them safe, that’s one thing. When they think that the political class has other priorities–or even sees them as expendable in the service of ‘social justice’ goals–they get their backs up. I think it’s also a recognition that things can go from good to bad pretty fast.”

What’s clear is that violent crime is getting worse, and it could go from bad to much worse if we don’t do something about it.

Update DTG;  I think Christopher’s piece is one of the most important stories that nobody is talking about.  It will remain pinned to the top for at least the next two days.  If you only share one post from our site this week, make it this one.

“We are moving to Sioux Falls, South Dakota,” my father said matter-of-factly.

I don’t think I knew exactly where South Dakota was, having spent my formative years in Denver, a truly wonderful place to live as a kid back then. I could obtain an occasional Coors beer—an exclusive adult beverage only available in the area around Colorado, where it was brewed. I could grab a train every weekend to ski. Life was good! No, life was great!

My family moved to Sioux Falls in 1966, the year I started high school, and left in 1969, the year I graduated. Our class was the first to spend all three years at Lincoln High, which had just been built.

Those years still provide my moral compass as a journalist and an educator.

This past weekend I was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Lincoln High, an honor indeed for someone who spent much of his time exploring the boundaries of teenage life in flyover country.

I thanked the committee who overlooked my smoking and drinking in the school parking lot, my suspension for fighting in the hallways, my arrest for car theft, and my protests against Vietnam.

I was one of the better students in the class of more than 600—technically No. 21 in the days when everyone knew everything about one another. No one got trophies for participation back then.

My main contribution at Sioux Falls Lincoln, however, was rock ‘n’ roll. I was the lead singer of The Trippers, a garage band before garage bands became vogue. We practiced in a basement because garages in South Dakota were too cold!

Along with other bands, The Trippers brought psychedelic music from the West Coast and rhythm and blues from Detroit. We traveled throughout South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota, playing small towns like Lane, a bump in the road of 25 people where hundreds turned out from the farmlands every Saturday to listen to rock music, to large venues where we played with Neil Diamond, The Turtles, and The Lovin’ Spoonful.

The Trippers had one recording, “Have You Ever?,” which made it into Billboard’s Top 100. Well, it made it to No. 99 for a week. The Trippers, a band of great desire and somewhat limited talent, were inducted into the rock ‘n’ roll halls of fame in South Dakota in 2010 and in Iowa in 2016. Here is a short video about the band:

In the 1960s, the radio provided the window on the world for the teenagers of Sioux Falls. KISD served up the top of the pops from The Beatles to Jimi Hendrix, with a lot of bubble gum in between.

It wasn’t an easy time. The 1960s almost tore the country apart because of war and race relations. Some of my classmates went to Vietnam. Fortunately, no one died, but many returned broken and unappreciated.

In a book I wrote a few years ago called “Flyover Country,” I told the story of the Class of 1969 and its students. The class produced doctors, lawyers, business people, and educators. It also produced criminals and con men. Many from the class died way too young. See https://www.amazon.com/Flyover-Country-Boomers-Their-Stories/dp/0761853324/

Most importantly to me, Lincoln High School sculpted me. It took a cocky kid from Colorado who wanted to be anywhere but South Dakota and made him into young man with an appreciation for people who didn’t complain about 100 inches of snow every winter or the vagaries of how the world treated them. If there was a job to do, it got done. If there was a neighbor to help, it got done. If there was a problem to fix, it got done.

I learned a lot about life in my three years in South Dakota. I learned about friendship and kindness. I learned about truth and trust. I learned about community and caring.

No excuses! No complaints! That’s what I learned in South Dakota; lessons I still hold dear today.

It’s also wonderful spending time with folks from flyover country. I saw an old friend, former U.S. Senator Jim Abourezk, a longtime liberal. He is an original. He and I don’t agree on much. But we can talk about politics as a discussion rather than an argument.

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 4.09.33 PM
Former U.S. Senator Jim Abourezk (right) and I have some apple pie in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

I even saw a man with a T-shirt for Reagan-Bush in 1984 at a diner in Sioux Falls. Imagine wearing one of those outside of flyover country! It was a reinvigorating visit that will help me deal with the insanity of urban politics in Philadelphia.

Here is an added bonus. My cover of Light My Fire at the induction of the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame:

One of the most revealing examples of the cultural divide occurred when Emmy voters determined that The Handmaid’s Tale was the best drama on television. Furthermore, Elisabeth Moss won an Emmy for her role as best actress. All told, this dreadful television program won eight awards.

Based on a novel by Margaret Atwood, this series is set in Gilead, a totalitarian society in what used to be part of the United States. Gilead is ruled by a “Christian” regime that treats women as property of the state and is faced with environmental disasters and a plummeting birth rate. To repopulate a devastated world, the few remaining fertile women are forced into sexual servitude.

The regime hangs gays, abortion clinic workers, and… wait for it…Catholics.

I admit I tried 15 minutes of Episode One a few months ago without really knowing what the program was about. Simply put, I quickly found the show offensive, including the use of Gilead, an actual region from the Bible in what is now Jordan.

The author is a feminist from Canada who writes what she calls “speculative fiction.” In The Guardian, she says, “Speculative fiction could really happen.”

That’s right. She thinks that a totalitarian government based in the United States could create a state with women as sexual slaves.

Furthermore, Atwood is virulently anti-American, seeing Canada as the only hope for North America.

According to various sources, the author is part of the animals-are-people-too brigade. In Surfacing, one character remarks about eating animals: “The animals die that we may live; they are substitute people…And we eat them, out of cans or otherwise; we are eaters of death, dead Christ-flesh resurrecting inside us, granting us life.”

This wingnut is a leftist in every sense of the word.

Atwood has received numerous awards for her books—an indication that something is clearly wrong with the sensibilities of the cultural elite.

In a related development, Axios.com, a leading political website, reported about a study of 3,500 viewers nationwide that “showed that viewers who voted for … Hillary Clinton are more interested in dark comedies and programs featuring unconventional families, antiheroes, and strong female leads … Clinton voters also like political satire.”

Trump voters “are more likely to favor shows that depict traditional family values. They prefer male leads and heroes who are not conflicted and ‘tend to do the right thing’ … They are likely to tune out entertainment shows with depictions of gay people in sexual situations, negative portrayals of religion, and political humor.”

It seems clear that the Emmy voters fall on the Clinton side of this equation. It’s scandalous that this piece of tripe, The Handmaid’s Tale, became the darling of the cultural elite. Fortunately, the series runs on Hulu, so not that many people saw it.

Well, I guess it’s time for me to get back to Shooter, The Last Ship, and a few other favorites of my fellow Trump supporters.

Footnote: I hope that Hulu does a better job with The Looming Tower, which is the best book on 9/11 and scheduled for broadcast in the next year.

During my recent trips in Asia, I was struck by how many Catholic churches and seminaries existed in places like Yangon, Myanmar, and Da Nang, Vietnam. In Hong Kong, I happened upon a standing-room-only church service, and in Guangzhou, China, the Sacred Heart Cathedral has become a tourist stop for many Chinese.

After the 1949 takeover of China, the Communist Party outlawed religious groups and continued attacks during the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, which included the destruction of numerous Buddhist temples and Christian churches.

The government still controls the land for religious buildings and constrains the leadership of congregations, particularly those with foreign ties. There have been significant religious crackdowns, such as that against the Dalai Lama and the Falun Gong movement. The Dalai Lama fled China in 1959 after Tibet came under the control of the central government. The case of the Falun Gong, who faced a concerted attack in 1999 and was later banned, is a bit more complicated. See https://www.pri.org/stories/2014-07-14/why-china-fears-falun-gong

In recent years, however, the Communist Party of China has become somewhat more tolerant of Christian churches. All told, an estimated 300 million Chinese, or 25 percent of the population, including about 30 million Christians, expressed a belief in some faith.

Officially, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is an atheistic state under its Communist government. According to 2010 estimates by the Pew Research Center, Buddhists constituted about 16 percent of the population, and around 8 percent of the Vietnamese were Christians who are mostly Catholic. It was a nice treat to stop by a large roadside shrine on Highway 1 between Da Nang and Hue.

In Myanmar, which has only recently cast aside five decades of socialist/Communist rule, more than 6 percent of the population follow Christianity. The Baptists have become particularly strong, although the Catholic Church has a seminary and large cathedral in the capital.

St. Mary’s Cathedral in Yangon, Myanmar

Just around the corner from my hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand, stood a Mormon meeting house. I’ve seen Mormons all over the world, but I guess I didn’t expect a site in northern Thailand.

According to the church’s website, the first Mormon missionary to Thailand arrived in 1854. The congregation in Chiang Mai got started in 1970. In 2009, the Mormons reported that they had 16,000 members in Thailand.

A sign for a Mormon meeting house in northern Thailand

After many trips through temples devoted to Buddhism, which remains the dominant faith in Asia, I had a greater understanding of the religion’s intentions, which, although still rather foreign to me, stress good works and conscientious, ethical living.

As the Dalai Lama, who has his own significant disputes with the Chinese government, wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal:

“Today the world faces a crisis related to lack of respect for spiritual principles and ethical values. Such virtues cannot be forced on society by legislation or by science, nor can fear inspire ethical conduct. Rather, people must have conviction in the worth of ethical principles so that they want to live ethically.”

Whatever the case, the embrace of religion among many people throughout Asia—whether Buddhist or Christian–gave me hope, particularly when the West has seen the role of faith drop precipitously over the past few decades.

Many college students have become increasingly strident in their views about the U.S. Constitution despite understanding little about the document.

These trends have grown more troublesome in the past few years in the media law course I teach. In the past, most students recognized that they didn’t know too much about the U.S. Constitution. Now many think the most important treatise in U.S. history got many things wrong.

This generation–known as iGen–were born between 1995 and 2012. These young people have spent much of their lives with a smartphone in their hands. Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, has written about this generation–many of whom populate today’s colleges and universities. “Opposing viewpoints can’t just be argued against; they have to be shut down,” she wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal. For the most part, it appears that these viewpoints come from the social justice warriors they had as teachers.

In an online discussion for my law class, some students said they simply want to do away with the U.S. Constitution and start over. “The Constitution is America’s sacred cow,” one student wrote. “It was written by a bunch of rich, white men to protect other rich, white men. The framers did not trust ‘ordinary’ people to make every day decisions. It is a racist document, although others would argue this. It is completely ambiguous. It was written in 1787 and it is now 2017 and we still refer back to this document and debate what the framers truly meant…. Progressives want government to change things while conservatives favor the status quo.”

The student was nonplussed when I pointed out that 12 states—almost all controlled by Republicans—have passed legislation to call a constitutional convention. The central focus of the bid to rewrite the U.S. Constitution comes from people who want to limit government power. For more information, see http://prospect.org/article/march-toward-constitutional-convention-slows-crawl

The argument that the U.S. Constitution is racist and sexist was a constant theme in the students’ responses.

A typical response came from one student. “It was stated that slavery was not prohibited, and it basically encouraged taxing on these human beings that were deemed as property. One simple section made way for racism, prejudice, and everything in-between…. Since this was the foundation of our country, it has obviously led to more issues involving race hundreds of years later.”

It was rather ironic when I asked if anyone in class whether they could describe the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments for me. No one could. These amendments eliminated slavery and provided the power to enforce the change. No one could name the five freedoms guaranteed under the First Amendment–let alone provide the protections of more than two or three amendments. Alas, that is probably true for many Americans.

Other complaints centered on the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment—a constant meme from leftists, including many educators.

“[T]here is no reason a regular citizen needs an assault rifle for ‘protection,” one student wrote. “It is too vague and has allowed for people to get away with literal murder in some cases because they can invoke their ‘right to bear arms.’”

Anti-Trump sentiment appeared in many comments. Many students thought that the Electoral College should be abandoned because Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in 2016. One student argued that the law should require that presidential candidates must have political experience.

Another student maintained that no one over 50 years old should be allowed to seek the presidency.

“If anyone under the age of 35 is considered too young, then anyone over the age of 50 should be considered too old,” the student argued. “They are still yearning for the good old days, and they try to replicate their youth or young adulthood. They are not in touch with the changes that are going on around them, or they refuse to accept the changes.”

I pointed out that such a requirement would violate laws—much like those against racism and sexism—under which age cannot be used as a criterion for discrimination.

Simply put, the attitudes in the discussion struck me as a fundamental change in the views of my students. I think these attitudes are largely a result of the increased number of social justice warriors in academia.

Unlike many of my colleagues, I don’t impose my conservative views on my students. Nevertheless, I do try to point out the logical fallacies of many of the positions leftists take about the U.S. Constitution.

It appears that I have a lot of work to do this semester.

Get your hammers and chisels out! Ready the bulldozers! Tear down the statues and remove the names of presidents who are considered “racists”!

Writing in The Huffington Post last year, Ibram Kendi, a professor at American University, provided the names of the most racist U.S. presidents. Kendi won the 2016 National Book Award for his analysis of racism in which he saw Angela Davis and the Black Panthers as the good guys.

I just want to make certain everyone knows just how crazy it could become. Here’s the list from No. 11 through No. 1:

No. 11. George W. Bush

Kendi’s rationale: No Child Left Behind Act and Katrina

No. 10. Calvin Coolidge

Kendi’s rationale: The Immigration Act of 1924 rationalized discrimination against Asians and restricted immigration from southern and eastern Europe, severely restricted African immigrants and banned the immigrations of Arabs and Asians. “America must be kept American,” President Coolidge said during his first annual message to Congress in 1923.

No. 9. Dwight Eisenhower

Kendi’s rationale: President Eisenhower did not endorse Brown v. Board of Education and dragged his feet to enforce it. He “did not wage war against segregation. And he remains as much to blame as anyone for its persistence, for the lives lost fighting against it.”

No. 8. James Polk

Kendi’s rationale: President Polk waged the Mexican American War (1846-1848). “War propagandists framed the U.S. as bringing freedom and civilization to the backward Mexicans. From the war spoils, the U.S. seized from Mexico nearly all of what is now the American Southwest—a gargantuan land seizure that mirrored the ongoing violent seizures of Native American land and the ongoing violent seizures of Black labor.”

No. 7. Woodrow Wilson

Kendi’s rationale:  “Professor Wilson and then President Wilson unapologetically backed what he called the ‘great Ku Klux Klan,’ and championed the Klan’s violent disenfranchisement of southern African Americans in the late 19th century. President Wilson began the brutal two-decade U.S. occupation of Haiti in 1915, preventing Haitians from self-governing. And possibly most egregiously, at the Versailles Convention settling World War I in 1919, President Wilson effectively killed Japan’s proposal for a treaty recognizing racial equality, thus sustaining the life of European colonialism.”

No. 6. Franklin Roosevelt

Kendi’s rationale: “President Roosevelt’s executive order in 1942 that ended up rounding up and forcing more than 100,000 Japanese Americans into prisons during World War II is arguably the most racist executive order in American history.”

No. 5. Thomas Jefferson

Kendi’s rationale: He owned slaves. [Note: Kendi doesn’t mention his affair with a slave.]

No. 4. James Monroe

Kendi’s rationale: The Monroe Doctrine, which was aimed at protecting U.S. interests in Latin and South America, was used “as a rationalizing cord for U.S. intervention into sovereign Latin American states, including the toppling of governments unfriendly to U.S. interests. This Monroe Doctrine was as racist and devastating to Latin American communities abroad as the doctrine of Manifest Destiny was to indigenous communities at home.”

No. 3. Ronald Reagan

Kendi’s rationale: “President Reagan attracted voters through racially coded appeals that allowed them to avoid admitting they were attracted by the racist appeals.

“President Reagan took President Nixon’s racist drug war to a new level, and the mass incarceration of Black and Brown bodies accelerated…. Reagan stands on this list as the representative of all these mass incarcerating presidents in the late 20th century.”

No. 2. Andrew Jackson

Kendi’s rationale: President “Jackson stepped into the U.S. presidency as a wealthy Tennessee enslaver and military general who had founded and spearheaded the Democratic Party. Jacksonian Democrats, as historians call them, amassed a winning coalition of southern enslavers, White working people, and recent European immigrants who regularly rioted against abolitionists, indigenous and Black communities, and civil rights activists before and after the Civil War.”

No. 1. Andrew Johnson

Kendi’s rationale: “President Johnson offered amnesty, property rights, and voting rights to all but the highest Confederate officials (most of whom he pardoned a year later). He later ordered the return of land to pardoned Confederates, null and voided those wartime orders that granted Blacks forty acres and a mule, and removed many of the Black troops from the South.

“Feeling empowered by President Johnson, Confederates instituted a series of discriminatory Black codes at the constitutional conventions that reformulated southern states in the summer and fall of 1865. The immediate postwar South became the spitting image of the prewar South in everything but name—as the law replaced the master. These racist policies caused a postwar war since an untold number of Black people lost their lives resisting them.”

Here in Philadelphia, the city is debating whether to remove the statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo, who was the city’s top cop in the 1960s and went on to become mayor. Somehow lost in the debate is how poorly the city has done under African-American leadership, including the bombing of fellow African-Americans in 1985.

But there’s more. The Associated Press reports that there are other non-Confederate monuments that might be toppled. https://apnews.com/c8875d316f5f4c4bab4d48812cb7d253/In-dispute-over-statues,-where-do-you-draw-the-line

Christopher Columbus is a favorite target. But so is Peter Faneuil, whose name graces the colonial meeting place in Boston nicknamed the “Cradle of Liberty,” because he had ties to the slave trade.

Simply put, it’s clear that we need to get rid of the statues of all dead white guys who oppressed the lives of so many Americans! We could build memorials dedicated to Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and many others to replace the symbols of injustice.

It might be funny except more and more people actually think some of these are good ideas.

If you’re looking for people to blame for the events in Charlottesville, you can add liberals to the list, particularly those in the ACLU and the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ability to march in Charlottesville comes directly as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1977, with the ACLU arguing for neo-Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois, where many Holocaust survivors lived.

In the case, National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, 432 U.S. 43 (1977), the ACLU got the liberal bloc of the court to determine that the use of the swastika was a symbolic form of free speech entitled to First Amendment protection. The court also ruled that the neo-Nazis, under the right of assembly in the First Amendment, could march through the predominantly Jewish city near Chicago.

As a reporter for Newsweek, I covered the Skokie story and found myself puzzled about the events back then. Today, as I teach media law, I still am rather puzzled why the neo-Nazis in Chicago and Charlottesville were allowed to protest. Here is some background on those events: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-neo-nazi-skokie-march-flashback-perspec-0312-20170310-story.html

On its website, the ACLU lauds its stance as “taking a stand for free speech.” Moreover, the organization notes: “The notoriety of the case caused some ACLU members to resign, but to many others, the case has come to represent the ACLU’s unwavering commitment to principle. In fact, many of the laws the ACLU cited to defend the group’s right to free speech and assembly were the same laws it had invoked during the Civil Rights era when Southern cities tried to shut down civil rights marches with similar claims about the violence and disruption the protests would cause.”

The ACLU says now that it will not defend people’s freedom of speech and right to assemble if they carry guns. I guess the Second Amendment doesn’t count anymore.

Nevertheless, here’s some of what is protected under the First Amendment:

–People can burn a flag.
–Burn a cross.
–Say “f***” in public but not on the radio.
–Curse a police officer.
–Use hate speech.
–Show sexual intercourse on HBO and the Internet but not on ABC.
–Call Marines homosexuals during a funeral as long as you are on a public sidewalk.

Many members of the liberal bloc on the U.S. Supreme Court supported these protections, while some, if not all, of the conservative bloc did not.

The argument usually follows the notion of the marketplace of ideas—a theory put forward by John Stuart Mills that all ideas should be allowed to be expressed because only those with the most validity will triumph. Furthermore, an arbiter of what constitutes improper speech might exclude disagreeable opinions.

Somehow, I think the founders may have had other ideas about what should constitute freedom of speech and right to “peaceably” assemble. The founders generally agreed that freedom of religion was the most important characteristic of the First Amendment, but there was a split when it came to other parts.

As the Heritage Foundation notes in its extensive background on the U.S. Constitution:

[John] Marshall and other Federalists argued that the freedom of the press must necessarily be limited, because “government cannot be…secured, if by falsehood and malicious slander, it is to be deprived of the confidence and affection of the people.” Not so, reasoned [James] Madison and other Republicans: even speech that creates “a contempt, a disrepute, or hatred [of the government] among the people” should be tolerated because the only way of determining whether such contempt is justified is “by a free examination [of the government’s actions], and a free communication among the people thereon.” It was as if half the country read the constitutional guarantee one way, and the other half, the other way.

The founding generation undoubtedly believed deeply in the freedom of speech and of the press, but then, as now, these general terms were understood quite differently by different people. Many people did not think about their precise meanings until a concrete controversy arose; and when a controversy did arise, the analysis was often influenced by people’s political interests as much as by their honest constitutional understanding.

When people argue that President Trump should be blamed for the actions of neo-Nazis, just tell them to read about Skokie and thank the liberals for providing the ability for wingnuts to speak and to assemble.

An Ivy League professor, a Google engineer, and a writer for a leftist publication walked into a bar…

Even though they didn’t actually join one another over a round of drinks, the group provided an interesting cocktail of ideas that provided some inconvenient truths and interrupted the annoying noise of news in recent days.

Amy Wax, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and Larry Alexander, a law professor at the University of San Diego, have offered insights into the role of diversity and today’s culture. It is not a pretty picture.

In a recent column in philly.com, they wrote: “A combination of factors — prosperity, the Pill, the expansion of higher education, and the doubts surrounding the Vietnam War — encouraged an antiauthoritarian, adolescent, wish-fulfillment ideal — sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll — that was unworthy of, and unworkable for, a mature, prosperous adult society.

“All cultures are not equal. Or at least they are not equal in preparing people to be productive in an advanced economy,” they continued. “If the bourgeois cultural script — which the upper-middle class still largely observes but now hesitates to preach — cannot be widely reinstated, things are likely to get worse for us all.”

Professors Wax and Alexander obviously did not swallow the academic pill that promotes diversity over everything else and sees all cultures as equal.

“Would the re-embrace of bourgeois norms by the ordinary Americans who have abandoned them significantly reduce society’s pathologies? There is every reason to believe so. Among those who currently follow the old precepts, regardless of their level of education or affluence, the homicide rate is tiny, opioid addiction is rare, and poverty rates are low. Those who live by the simple rules that most people used to accept may not end up rich or hold elite jobs, but their lives will go far better than they do now. All schools and neighborhoods would be much safer and more pleasant. More students from all walks of life would be educated for constructive employment and democratic participation,” they said.

Read the entire column at http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/commentary/paying-the-price-for-breakdown-of-the-countrys-bourgeois-culture-20170809.html

But Professors Wax and Alexander are not alone. James Damore, a software engineer, wrote the now-famous treatise: Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.

“At Google, we talk so much about unconscious bias as it applies to race and gender, but we rarely discuss our moral biases. Political orientation is actually a result of deep moral preferences and thus biases. Considering that the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices,” he wrote in the 10-page memo.

Damore, who lost his job after the document went viral, described himself as a “classic liberal.” His argument that some women may be less temperamentally suited to work as engineers than men got him into hot water. Here is the entire memo: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/evzjww/here-are-the-citations-for-the-anti-diversity-manifesto-circulating-at-google

But there’s more. The Nation, a historically left-leaning magazine, published an article arguing that Russia may not have been behind the hack of the computers at the Democratic National Committee. Instead, the hack may have been the work of a DNC insider, The Nation reported. Here is the article: https://www.thenation.com/article/a-new-report-raises-big-questions-about-last-years-dnc-hack/

Not surprisingly, the left attacked each of these individuals who failed to conform with today’s overarching memes. Nevertheless, it was refreshing to see alternative viewpoints as part of an actual debate about important issues that run against the grain of conventional wisdom, particularly in light of the continuing screeds after the events in Charlottesville.