More Tolerance, Please

 

The more significant the disagreement, the more important it is that something as easily settled as the meaning of the words we use not prevent us from having a civil discussion. There are many real and important things about which we differ; our words should not be counted among them.

The word “tolerance” implies disagreement. After all, we are never asked to tolerate something of which we approve. Rather, we’re asked to tolerate things that we don’t necessarily like. Approval and tolerance are two different things, and asking someone to approve of something is not the same as asking them to tolerate it.

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Nick Sandmann Lawsuit against WAPO for $250 Million and Clarence Thomas’ Solo Opinion

 

Two stories have intersected making for intriguing discussions about the First Amendment as well as the laws against defamation.

The first story is the defamation lawsuit of Nick Sandmann against the Washington Post for $250 million. WaPo’s coverage of the confrontation between Sandman and a Native American man exploded into a national story and was fed by the inflammatory and reckless coverage by WaPo and other media outlets. Sandmann’s lawyer, Lin Wood, said, “Nick Sandmann was perceived as an easy target. He is 16. Inexcusable on every level.”

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Unwarranted: Elizabeth Warren’s Flawed Idea

 

Elizabeth Warren, one of the – what is it now, 211 candidates for president? – seems intent on proving that having been a Harvard law professor is no bar to fatuous policy prescriptions. She has endorsed the farrago of foolishness called the Green New Deal, promises to tax the rich “make the economy work for us,” and recently proposed a shiny new policy idea fresh from 1971 – government-funded, universal pre-school.

Decade after decade, this old chestnut is trotted out as a pro-family, pro-middle class reform, and every time, assumptions about government’s competence to perform this task are blithely assumed.

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Jeffrey Hart, R.I.P.

 

Thursday morning in Hanover, New Hampshire, the finest teacher I have ever known will be laid to rest.

Jeffrey Hart, who died Sunday at 88, taught at Dartmouth for thirty years. By 1975, when I matriculated at the College, he had become a campus celebrity, one of the professors every student learned about as a freshman. In a town in which the faculty all seemed to own Volvos, Jeff would drive to work in a limousine, a gift from his friend, William F. Buckley, Jr., pulling up each morning to Sanborn House, the home of the English Department, where he would occupy not one parking space but two. At football games, Jeff would appear in a raccoon coat. If you saw him on campus—Jeff loved to stroll down to the athletic fields to watch the tennis team practice—he would invariably be smoking an elaborate pipe. He owned a churchwarden a foot-and-a-half long and meerschaum that looked as though it had belonged to Sherlock Holmes.

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How Do You Make That Hose?

 

http://hbd-ther.knowledge4you.ca/wp-content/uploads/industrial-hose_product-image.pngYou likely use things made with the help of my maternal grandfather’s patent every day. From cars to jet airliners, from garden hoses to welding torches, reinforced hose is used. You need an inner layer that stands up to whatever flows through the hose, you need a reinforcing layer to keep the hose from bulging and bursting under pressure, and you need an outer coating to protect the hose from the external environment. So, how do you make that? Therein lies a tale.

F. Merrill Galloway was my maternal grandfather. Born in 1908, he went home at 95. He worked his entire adult life until the Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA) or mini-strokes ended his ability to work in his late 80s. He worked with both his hands and his mind, from his garden, to clocks, to rebuilding a violin from broken pieces in a cigar box. Then there was the work that paid the bills and in which he took enormous pride.

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ISIS Mother Pleads to Return—to Alabama

 

We knew this would happen. All the men and women who were excited about fighting for ISIS wanted to be involved with the ISIS cause and they went to fight in Syria. And now one of them wants to come home with her child.

Hoda Muthana went to Syria in 2014; she was one of 1,500 foreign women and the only American staying in a Kurdish-run refugee camp. She was married three times and widowed twice. And now she has an 18-month old son. She is asking to return to the United States.

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The Farcical “Green New Deal”

 

The dominant source of energy for the foreseeable future for both the United States and the world will be fossil fuels, chiefly in the form of oil, natural gas, and coal. Throughout the world, many groups will push hard for massive subsidies to wind and solar energy. Yet, that attempt, no matter how bold, will fail to shift the overall balance of energy production toward green sources. The fatal drawback of wind and solar is their lack of storability. Solar works when the sun shines. Wind works when breezes blow. Both often provide energy when it is not needed and fail to provide it when required. Any legal diktat that puts these renewable sources first will only produce a prolonged economic dislocation. Pie-in-the-sky proposals like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, which stipulates 100 percent of energy needs be supplied by “clean, renewable, and zero emissions” sources, should be dead on arrival.

The major challenge of sound energy policy today is to find ways to make the production of fossil fuels both cheaper and safer. Fortunately, private-sector innovation has paid off handsomely such that the total social cost of fossil fuels has trended sharply downward and shows every indication of continuing to do so. The point is especially true with fracking, which has been driven by large cumulative improvements at every stage of the production process. Since 1950, carbon dioxide emissions have increased over fivefold, but, as policy analyst Marlo Lewis has demonstrated, it is difficult to link these emissions to any negative global consequences. After all, over the same period of time, there have been massive increases in life expectancy, crop yields, and wealth. In my view, the current scientific record offers no support for the claim that increases in CO2 emissions pose an immediate, let alone existential, threat. Indeed, global temperatures have declined 0.56 degrees Celsius between 2016 and 2018 for the largest two-year drop in the past century—a trend that has gone largely unremarked upon in the press.

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ACF Critic Series #20: Interviewing Titus

 

Here’s a strange new podcast–our own @FlaggTaylor interviewed me for a change. He got me to spill the beans about the American Cinema Foundation, its past and its projects now that I run it. Also, how I learned about American cinema in post-Communist Eastern Europe, how I became a film critic, how I became a writer for American audiences, and assorted other matters about our podcasts, college lecturing, and educational ideas. Listen and share, friends!

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Uncommon Knowledge: Reagan And John Paul II — The Partnership That Changed The World

 

Did President Reagan and Pope John Paul II have a secret alliance or simply an aligned foreign policy strategy that helped end the Cold War? Former attorney general to President Reagan Edwin Meese III answers these questions and more in this episode of Uncommon Knowledge.

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The Undue Alarmism over America’s Wealth Inequality ‘Crisis’

 

At least the fantastical Green New Deal attempts to address an actual problem: climate change. That’s less obviously the case with various new tax proposals meant to solve America’s “wealth inequality crisis.” Evidence that America’s ever-expanding stock of wealth has become concentrated in fewer hands isn’t itself evidence of a crisis. Nor does “tolerating extreme inequality mean accepting that it’s not a gross policy failure,” as inequality researchers Gabriel Zucman and Emmanuel Saez recently wrote.

In what way is it a policy failure if extraordinary wealth is derived from the rise of innovative companies (who invest as if their continued existence depends on it) that sell gadgets and services that we greatly value? (Which is more the case than it used to be. The opposite trend, one that favored inheritance or cronyism, is what would be alarming.) How is it, given this reality, that the more billionaires there are and the richer they are, the worse things are? More, please. (It’s also worth pointing out Zucman’s much-cited data shows wealth inequality has drifted lower the past few years. Likewise, income inequality has slowed markedly over the past decade.)

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First Principles: When Is Executive Action Acceptable?

 

On Friday, President Trump took the step of declaring a national emergency for the purposes of helping build a wall on the US border with Mexico. I do not wish to litigate that decision here. If you want to discuss the merits or details of that decision, we already have a great conversation about that which you can find here.

Rather, I want to discuss the general principles that make one kind of presidential action acceptable and another not acceptable, and where the line should be drawn between the two.

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Medicare for All Would be a Disaster for All

 

The Democrats running for president are at it again: they are submitting a completely unrealistic proposal for single-payer health insurance and they aren’t sharing the facts. We must get the word out to everyone that we have to stop this proposal that will take us in a catastrophic direction.

The media, of course, will tell everyone that the public loves the idea of single-payer insurance aka, Medicare for All. Although those running for President have several different plans, none of them would be good for this country. But according to one poll, the public supports the idea :

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A Fan Letter to Michael Ramirez

 

Dear Michael,

I’ll apologize from the start if I seem to be gushing in this post. I can’t help myself. I happen to think that you are one of the most brilliant political cartoonists of our time. Maybe the best. And I’m so grateful to have your cartoons on Ricochet.

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The 411 on the Latest National Emergency

 

President Trump’s declaration, on 15 February 2019, of a “national emergency,” is quite ordinary, the latest in a long line of such declarations going back to President Carter. Far from creating some dangerous precedent, it only reinforces our constitutional order. While it will certainly be challenged in federal court, this may actually be the opportunity to set Article III courts back on their proper path, ending bad behavior by the lowest level, federal district judges.

The Ricochet editors desk posted the entire text of the declaration in Trump Declares National Emergency at the Southern Border. The text is quoted from the White House page, Presidential Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Southern Border of the United States. C-SPAN has the video and transcript of President Trump’s remarks, followed by some hostile questions on the lawn.

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Breasts

 

Now that I have your attention, I wish to direct it to a split decision handed down today by the 10th Circuit. On equal-protection grounds, the court struck down an ordinance in place in Fort Collins, CO forbidding women from baring their breasts in public except for the purpose of breastfeeding. Ed Whelan at National Review is on the case, and he reports the following:

In his majority opinion (joined by Judge Mary Beck Briscoe), Judge Gregory A. Phillips cites with approval the district court’s objection that the ordinance “perpetuates a stereotype engrained in our society that female breasts are primarily objects of sexual desire whereas male breasts are not.” In a classic false dichotomy, Phillips concludes that the city’s “professed interest in protecting children derives not from any morphological differences between men’s and women’s breasts but from negative stereotypes depicting women’s breasts, but not men’s breasts, as sex objects.” Ditto for “notions of morality” that might underlie the law.

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Anti-Vaccine Moms are Risking Children’s Lives

 

In 1956, an infant contracted whooping cough. It was agonizing for the family to watch a child suffer through this illness. She was so sick one day that her parents had to call the fire department; they were able to revive her and likely saved her life. This incident took place just before the whooping cough vaccine came out.

That infant was my sister.

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Build a Wall Around Nouveau Intellectual Know-Nothings

 

Brandon Darby has a target on his head from the Mexican cartels. Concealing his Second Amendment rights under his vest, he hides among some of the most dangerous people in the Western Hemisphere. With more than half of the 32 Mexican states being run by the cartels, Brandon, a father and family man, understands his life is on the line daily.

We just interviewed Brandon, who was at an undisclosed location on the southern border. Unfortunately, it was a phone call and only after the interview, we realized we didn’t pick up his feed. Truly tragic as he discusses the reality at the border most of the media is missing.

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There Is No More Valuable ‘Digital Dividend’ Than Technological Progress

 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “digital dividend” plan suffers a fatal flaw. Consumers are already sharing in the wealth “that is created from their data,” as Newsom puts it. They are already receiving tremendous value from the zero-price content their data supports via targeted advertising. That may seem trivial to those politicians who want Big Tech to start cutting checks. (Or more checks since they do pay taxes and cut paychecks to their workers, who then spend the money, which turns into income for someone else.) But what consumers get in return indisputably is worth something.

Maybe quite a bit. Studies put the value of that content as somewhere in the multiple trillions. This from “The Economics of Attention Markets” by David Evans: “In 2016, American adults spent 437 billion hours mainly consuming content on ad-supported media based; that time was worth $7.1 trillion using the average after-tax hourly wage rate and $2.8 trillion using the average after-tax minimum wage rate.”

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Valentine for Alexandria

 

View original artwork here.

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Senate Confirms Barr as New AG

 

Three Democrats supported William Barr to be Trump’s new Attorney General, all from red states: Doug Jones (AL), Joe Manchin (WV), and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ). One Republican voted no: Rand Paul (KY). Do you think Barr will be an improvement over Sessions?

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A Green Modest Proposal

 

Although Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal has drawn the derision of all serious people, I for one want to voice my support for it.

There are many laudable aspects to this plan, such as eliminating air travel, for instance. Who doesn’t love the idea of shuttering the TSA, after all? Also: you won’t have to live with the dread of potentially being seated between two morbidly obese, putrescent rubes from flyover country clutching desperately to their emotional support ferrets. (Bernie already eliminated their choices in deodorant, you see.)

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You Can’t Say That on Twitter

 

She tweeted that “men are not women,” and for that, Meghan Murphy, a feminist journalist, was banned from Twitter. An anodyne statement of biological reality qualifies as “hate speech” for some of the gnomes at Twitter HQ. Murphy received a rote notification that “you may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.”

Excuse me, but that sound you heard was me spitting my coffee across the desk. I cannot count the number of times I’ve been harassed on Twitter on some of the above grounds. Twitter has benefits, but let’s face it, threats, vile abuse, and harassment have become a key part of Twitter’s brand. Louis Farrakhan has an account. Terrorists romp through its pixels with ease, and the Russians deploy bots like biological agents. Only a select few offenders are punished or banned.

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How Does He Make That? Watching a Cigar Roller

 

Nicaragua, the Undiscovered Luxury Beach Destination for Billionaires and CelebritiesThis past December, a conversation with a local cigar lounge owner turned to his plans for 2019. He was planning to become the first cigar establishment in Arizona to be approved as a cigar manufacturer, to be legally selling cigars rolled on the premise.

A week ago, I stopped by and watched the roller at work. So, how do you roll a cigar? It turns out that the more important question is “how do you make a cigar?”

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Video: Ilhan Omar vs. Elliott Abrams

 

Fresh from attacking AIPAC using antisemitic slurs, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D–MN) lays into special envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams. Inexplicably, she refers to him as “Mr. Adams” and it goes downhill from there.

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