sometimes justice is swift

Caren Z. Turner is now a former commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, following her bizarre interrogation of two law enforcement officers who had pulled over a vehicle her daughter was riding in. An expired registration on the vehicle led to it being impounded, Ms. Turner’s daughter called, and Ms. Turner seemed put out by the inconvenience, which prompted her tirade.

The way Ms. Turner perceives the officers makes clear she only thinks of the law in the abstract, not in real, practical terms. I’m confident if asked she would fully endorse the laws and regulations in New Jersey governing window tinting, license plate visibility, and registration, and the penalties that go with their violation. She was, after all, a commissioner of the Port Authority, which enforces a lot of laws and regulations. Yet when enforcement personally affects her in a negative way, she shows she believes it should not occur.

Our current populist moment gains much of its fuel from the perception of many that there is one set of rules for the privilege, protected class, and another for what the protected class regards as the unwashed mass of hoi polloi. Ms. Turner epitomizes that perception. More than a single instance of a quick resignation, as occurred here, is going to be required to alter the current mood across the nation. Unfortunately, our current governing class doesn’t appear to me to have the wisdom or self-control to do what will be required to restore a sense of order. Populism, I’m afraid, will get stronger before it begins to fade.

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“the center cannot hold”

Victor Davis Hanson surveys the current trend of political upheaval and channels the concern W. B. Yeats expresses in his poem “The Second Coming.” One hopes some sort of influence from better angels might turn aside the trends, but I’m as uncertain as Yeats and Hanson as to what might come next.

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on financing health care

It’s always interesting listening to discussions about government involvement in financing healthcare. One of the most interesting aspects is that the participants are frequently talking about different issues, so very little clarity usually comes out of them.

This report by the Fraser Institute, based in Canada, provides some clarity on one aspect that needs to be addressed, the actual costs to Canadian families of their healthcare system. It’s not free, nor is it particularly inexpensive in actuality, despite how it’s perceived since, as the report says, there are no direct costs. It’s the indirect ones that get costly.

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on Starbucks

No one can accuse Starbucks of putting profit over principle, even if the principle is dubious. Shutting down all their stores for a day will be noticeable financially.

But to what end? Long-term branding is more likely to be the result than any real reduction in racism. Putting all their employees through implicit bias training is unlikely to have a meaningful affect on racism, as current research about the IAT makes increasingly clear. It’s none of my business how Starbucks runs their business, of course, but I am interested in truth and clarity.

I took the IAT once, or something like it. I wonder if I can still find my results.

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on mockery

Every once in a while someone writes a column that is so overwrought and wrong-headed that it must be mocked, and by someone who knows how.

New Yorker columnist is the latest entry with a pearl-clutching column about the presence of Chick-fil-A in New York City, as if it’s an infiltration of some malignant cabal. No link to the nonsense; it’s easy to find.

Father Dwight Longenecker provides the needed mockery.

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on fighting and losing

I am among those who believe Kelo v. City of New London was a travesty, a clearly unjust decision based on a warped conception of what constitutes a “public purpose.” The notion that a city’s hope to increase tax revenues constitutes a “public purpose” for which a government can seize private property is a tortured definition. The fact that in this case the city was wrong, that tax revenues did not increase, because the development never materialized, shows how uncertain government planning always is.

A movie about the case, “Little Pink House,” is due for release soon. It would be interesting to follow to see if those who see it have any development or changes in their attitudes about the extent of the power of government should have over private citizens, property, and liberty. You may not be interested in the government, but the government is interested in you.

More details on the case and the movie in this column by law professor Glenn H. Reynolds.


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on non-violence

As a rule I’m uncomfortable with the apparent level of comfort many in our nation have with interpersonal violence. That said, I’ve never been persuaded by those among my religious tribe who have aimed to make a case for non-violence as an absolute principle.

In that light, here are some interesting reflections from Stacy McCain on following Jesus, responsibility, and views on the legitimacy of violence.

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on Andrew McCabe

So it begins. I have a feeling the next several weeks and months are going to have regular occurrences of releases of information damaging to our view of our governing class.

The Inspector General for the Department of Justice released a report about the conduct of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. It’s not flattering to him, or to the FBI’s leadership. It’s a shame, but as someone who believes Lord Acton was correct, and as someone who believes the federal government has accrued for itself far too much power, I can’t say I’m surprised.



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One of Chesterton’s best

You should read the whole thing:

About the Telephone_

I READ a chance phrase in a daily paper the other day; indeed, I had
read it in a great many other daily papers on a great many other days.
But it suddenly revealed to me the deep disagreement that divides
most modern people about the nature of progress; even those
who are so superficial as to imagine that they all agree.
The sentence ran something like this:  "The time will come when
communicating with the remote stars will seem to us as ordinary
as answering the telephone."

To which I answer, by way of a beginning:  "Yes, that is what I
object to." . . .
Let it be noted that this is _not,_ as is always loosely imagined,
a reaction against material science; or a regret for mechanical invention;
or a depreciation of telephones or telescopes or anything else.
It is exactly the other way.  I am not depreciating telephones;
I am complaining that they are not appreciated. . . .

. . .  In short, my doubts about modern
materialistic machinery are doubts about its ultimate utility
in practice.  But I never questioned its poetry, its fantasy;
the fitness of so sublime a conjuring trick for a children's party.
What I complain of is that the modern children have forgotten
how to shriek.
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on 2nd Amendment scholarship

This is a very informative profile of an important scholar on the meaning of the 2nd Amendment. It’s nice to see that genuine study can have a positive affect on policy.

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