An honest liberal

Joel Stein wrote, in today’s Los Angeles Times,

Warriors and wusses

I DON’T SUPPORT our troops. This is a particularly difficult opinion to have, especially if you are the kind of person who likes to put bumper stickers on his car. Supporting the troops is a position that even Calvin is unwilling to urinate on.

At last, an anti-war activist (?) who is willing to tell the truth. Mr. Stein said what a lot of other liberals feel, but are too afraid to say.

But I’m not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they’re wussy by definition. It’s as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn’t to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.

He continued, a few paragraphs further down:

But blaming the president is a little too easy. The truth is that people who pull triggers are ultimately responsible, whether they’re following orders or not. An army of people making individual moral choices may be inefficient, but an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying.

I’d guess that a lot of liberals would not agree with Mr. Stein’s sentence that “blaming the president is a little too easy.” They’d object that the soldiers must obey their orders, while Mr. Stein is making the soldiers responsible because they have not rebelled. But he comes very near to the real conundrum for the left: to support our troops is to support the success of their mission. If the mission succeeds, fewer soldiers are killed, and the troops get to return to the United States sooner. And while there certainly are those who don’t support the war because they don’t believe it can be won, there is also a substantial segment of the opposition which doesn’t support the war because they don’t believe it should be won. Mr. Stein referred to it as “an army of people ignoring their morality,” by which, of course, he meant the troops, but the implication is clear: he considers their mission to be immoral.

We are in Mr. Stein’s debt. I spent part of the 2004 election season arguing in a mostly leftist e-mail group that to support the troops required wanting them to succeed, and desiring their success meant supporting something that would improve George Bush’s reelection chances. I was told that no, it didn’t mean that at all, even though one writer said, at one point, that if the deaths of American soldiers contributed to the electoral defeat of President Bush, they would have died for a good cause.

Well, Mr. Stein wrote publicly what so many of the leftists feel privately, but have been unwilling to say in public; perhaps a lot of them simply couldn’t admit it to themselves. I think it’s time for complete honesty here: those on the left who think that George Bush is a tremendous danger to the world ought to admit, to themselves and to the world, that they want the mission of the troops to fail.

And if that required increased deaths on the part of American troops, they ought to admit that such is a price they are willing to see our country pay.

___________________________

Update: Mr. Stein was interviewed by Hugh Hewitt, and didn’t necessarily come out of it looking good. Patterico addresses a point that I did not consider, namely that Mr. Stein assumed that his moral views controlled the moral views of the soldiers. A good discussion follows Patterico’s article.

Second Update: Keith Thompson of Sane Nation took the same position that I did:

At least he’s honest. He opposes taking the battle to the Islamofascists and so it follows he can’t bring himself to support the American soldiers who are on the front lines of that battle. None of this “Oppose the war but support the troops” stuff that Kerry, Kennedy, Boxer, Durbin, Dean and all the usual suspects stutter and stammer on a regular basis. Many find Joel Stein’s views vile. I find them refreshingly straightforward. Still, it’s evident he’s pulling his punch when he says “I’m against the war. (I have no regrets) if this helps us get out of that war and bring our troops home safely.” It’s hard not to hear something very much like: “The more dead American soliders, the sooner the war will end. More U.S. blood, please.”

Hat tip to Sister Toldjah: Candor from a hardcore anti-war leftist.

The Alito Confirmation: Part 8

I think they’ve gotten the fax. :)

All of a sudden, the high volume far-left websites, The Lost Kos and MyDD, have dropped their almost daily “filibuster Alito” columns.

The closest that they come is Armando’s Extend Debate on Alito article, in which he writes, tamely:

Given the stakes, an additional period of consideration and debate seems appropriate. The length of this additional period need not necessarily be long nor the debate protracted. It seems to me that with a fairly brief period of consideration, the members of the Senate can chart a course for appropriate action regarding Judge Alito. (Emphasis mine.)

I’d like to think that they’ve been reading this site, but I’m not foolish enough to think that they’ve even noticed that it’s here. I guess they finally got the fax from Pat Leahy! :roll:

The Alito Confirmation: Part 7

The editors of The New Republic have taken what I see as a strange position on the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. In Restraining Order, they have suggested that Democrats vote against confirmation, but advised against attempting to filibuster the nomination.

Although the decision is not easy, our concerns about Alito’s lack of commitment to bipartisan judicial restraint compels us to urge Senate Democrats to vote against his nomination. We recognize that this strategy has risks: If the Democrats regain the White House and Republicans retain the Senate, well-qualified Democratic nominees may face an uphill battle when senators feel free to oppose them on the grounds of judicial philosophy alone. But the confirmation process has already become so polarized that we suspect Republicans will oppose Democratic nominees no matter what Democrats do now. Still, we urge Democrats to resist the call of liberal interest groups for a symbolic and self-defeating filibuster, which would prompt Republicans to retaliate by eliminating the filibuster with the so-called nuclear option, ensuring Alito’s confirmation while permanently marginalizing Senate Democrats. If the Senate vote takes place more or less along party lines, Alito will be confirmed but Democrats will at least have taken a stand for bipartisan judicial restraint.

I agree that the filibuster option is self-defeating. The editors advocated the confirmations of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, saying:

During the Clinton era, we enthusiastically championed the candidacies of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, predicting that they would serve as liberal models of restraint. On the Court, Justices Ginsburg and Breyer have surpassed our hopes, voting to strike down fewer state and federal laws than any other justices.

Of course, other than the Chief Justice, who has been on the Court for less than a full term, Justices Ginsburg and Breyer have had fewer opportunities to do so, having been on the Court the shortest amount of time. :)

The Republicans could have been obstructionist when it came to the nominations of those two justices. Mrs. Ginsburg, in particular, despite efforts to paint her as a “moderate,” was clearly known to be on the left; she had been counsel for the ACLU! Yet Republicans did not try in any serious way to obstruct either nomination, and both justices received the votes of a majority of the Republicans in the Senate at the time.

The editors of The New Republic have, in effect, advocated that the Democrats further politicize these nominations. They have advocated a policy that cannot stop Mr. Alito’s confirmation, but guaranteed that future nominations by Democratic presidents will be opposed by Republicans on purely philosophical grounds. They stated, as quoted above, that they believe the confirmation process has been so polarized that the GOP will oppose such nominees regardless of what Democrats do now. Maybe, maybe not. But the policiy advocated by the editors pretty much guarantee that there will be no more Ginsburg confirmations, where only three negative votes were cast.

I guess that they think they can polarize the process, and then blame the Republicans for doing it.

Street Justice

A very interesting article from today’s Philadelphia Inquirer points out that more than 70% of the 380 people murdered in the City of Brotherly Love last year had criminal records.

Grant Coleman – convicted of voluntary manslaughter for fatally shooting another man in 1999 – was released from prison Oct. 24 and sent to a halfway house in North Philadelphia.

Eighteen days later, he was shot nine times as he sat in a white Nissan Maxima parked in his old South Philadelphia neighborhood.

There has been no arrest, but police believe it was payback.

“He got the death sentence the street-justice way,” Staff Inspector Jerrold Bates said.

And this interesting statistic:

From Dec. 1 through Jan. 8, 12 of 46 victims – 26 percent – had 10 arrests or more, Homicide Capt. Michael Costello said. One had 23 arrests, and another had 31.

And another:

Last year, of 205 people arrested on murder charges, 161 had at least one previous arrest – 79 percent.

But, of course, if we just had gun control laws, why the bad guys would obey them, and the killing would cease!

The days have long passed . . .

. . . when you could publish a blatant lie in a major newspaper and not have someone catch it and publicize it. Jonathan Adler of National Review Online caught Kate Michelman’s Anti-Alito Lie, a column in the San Francisco Chronicle, in which Mrs. Michelman wrote:

(Samuel Alito) patronizingly believes that the state needs to assist women in recognizing the moral dimensions of their decisions — not only abortion but the forms of birth control, such as the Pill and the IUD, that are the most effective ways to prevent unwanted pregnancy. He sought to uphold abortion restrictions that would have treated a grown married woman no differently from a child, forcing her to notify her husband in all circumstances, including abuse and rape, before obtaining an abortion. (Emphasis mine.)

By saying that Judge Alito “sought to uphold abortion restrictions,” Mrs. Michelman is referring specifically to his decisions from the bench, not simply some personal belief (to which Judge Alito has not testified). Further, Mrs. Michelman said that Judge Alito’s decision was overturned by the Supreme Court, in a decision in which Justice Sandra O’Connor wrote:

Women do not lose their constitutionally protected liberty when they marry.

That means Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Unfortunately for Mrs. Michelman, it also specifies the law that Judge Alito voted to uphold, and, surprise, that law did contain exceptions under which a married woman did not have to notify her husband, including rape and abuse along with a couple of others.

Now, people can make mistakes: they can write about things of which they are not informed. But Mrs. Michelman, as Mr. Adler pointed out, was the former President of NARAL Pro-Choice America. To believe that Mrs. Michelman did not know that what she wrote was factually incorrect, one would have to believe that the President of NARAL was uninformed about the issues in which the organization specialized.

Oh.

So, I guess that Mrs. Michelman really could have just made an honest mistake.

Thanks to Patterico for pointing out Mr. Adler’s article. One of the commenters, and frequent Patterico contributor, who styles himself The Angry Clam, wrote:

A lie told often enough, particularly to an uncritical audience, becomes true to them.

Exactly. And the lie was certainly repeated to an uncritical audience, as Georgia10 repeated it on the Daily Kos, including putting Mrs. Michelman’s false claim in boldfaced emphasis.

That the audience was uncritical becomes apparent if you read the comments by registered Daily Kos readers.

How can we expect our friends on the left to ever come to reasonable conclusions when they lie even to themselves?

Social Injustice

If liberals really understood economics, they wouldn’t be liberals.

Boosting Pa.’s minimum wage
The governor wants an increase, but critics say it will hurt business.
By Jane M. Von Bergen and Amy Worden
Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writers

One more thing to make it even tougher to be in business.

That’s what a proposed increase in Pennsylvania’s minimum wage would feel like to Kyung Hye Park, who owns a modest luncheonette on Chelten Avenue in Philadelphia’s Germantown section.

“We’re slow,” she said yesterday, as one customer nursed a cup of coffee and five people worked behind the counter. “Rent is too high. Utilities are too high.” If the minimum wage goes up, she said, she may reduce hours, or employees, or just figure out whether it’s worth staying in business.

Yesterday, Gov. (Edward) Rendell urged the General Assembly to boost the salaries of the state’s lowest-paid workers.

Speaking at a news conference, Rendell said he wants lawmakers to pass a bill raising the state’s minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.25 this year and to $7.15 by 2007, to keep pace with neighboring states, including New Jersey and Delaware.

There really aren’t too many people working at the minimum wage anymore; even convenience stores and fast food joints are starting around $6.50 to $7.00 an hour. We have, in effect, reached an economic minimum wage, the point below which businesses simply cannot get employees. However, there are always a few exceptions; apparently Kyung Hye Park’s luncheonette is one of them.

So, let’s assume that the governor gets his minimum wage increase; what effect does that actually have? Well, for the people at the economic minimum wage, it doesn’t mean much; they’re already above what Mr. Rendell has proposed. But for those few who are below that amount, it might mean just what Mrs. Park suggested: they have to be let go, because the businesses that employ them can’t afford to pay them any more.

Rendell said that because the federal government has not increased the minimum wage since 1997, it was up to the states to improve their workers’ living standards.

“We must pass an immediate increase in the minimum wage,” Rendell said. “We must get to $7.15 to lift people out of poverty and give people hope.”

Opponents say raising the minimum wage will impose too heavy a burden on employers, causing them to cut jobs or curtail hours, and that the effect could be far-reaching.

Rendell said that if the bill becomes law, by 2007 a total of 423,000 Pennsylvanians would earn more. An additional 100,000 who earn about $8 an hour would likely get raises as their wages were bumped up by the new minimum.

And that would mean what? These people would earn more money, but would they become wealthier or better off? What Mr. Rendell is saying, quite literally, is that he wishes to see an inflation in wages.

We all know what that means: if increases in wages are not coincident with increases in productivity, unit costs for the goods and services produced have to increase, and that means that prices have to increase. In dollar terms, Pennsylvanians would have more, but in real terms (how much they could purchase for their money) they would be no wealthier.

Indeed, they might well be poorer: as income increases, tax rates increase. For some people, pushed into higher marginal brackets, their real, after-tax wealth could be lower. And the real value of whatever savings they had accrued would decrease.

That would be good news to Rasool Howard, 26, who scrubs five toilets, empties 123 trash cans, and spot-mops dozens of feet of flooring daily at Suburban Station. He earns $6.50 an hour, or $189 net a week with no health insurance, after the standard deductions plus $5 weekly for child support.

The 65 cents more Howard would earn per hour “might not seem like much,” he said, “but it would make a big difference. That’s more food and better clothes for my son and I.”

By the time he pays $125 a week for his efficiency apartment on Lehigh Avenue and $18.75 for his weekly transit pass, only $45 is left for food, soap, toothpaste, and, once in a while, a toy from the dollar store for his son, 6.

Of course, the governor’s proposed increase wouldn’t help Mr. Howard, at least not this year: he is already earning more than the $6.25 Mr. Rendell has proposed for 2006. In 2007, he’d see a 65¢ an hour raise.

But would that actually mean any more money? Sixty-five cents an hour times forty hours is $26.00 a week. Pennsylvania’s state income tax rate of 3.08% will take 80¢. Social Security and Medicare taxes will take $1.99. Local wage taxes (commonly 1% in Pennsylvania) will take another 26¢. If the inflation pushed by the minimum wage increase (which would begin before Mr. Howard received his raise) raised his rent by $10.00 a week, he’s now down to a $12.95 raise. Pennsylvania’s 6.0% sales tax will eat up 78¢ of that, bringing him down to $12.17. Count on inflation on things other than Mr. Howard’s rent to consume every bit of that.

And that’s due to simple economics: the proposed minimum wage increase has nothing to do with Mr. Howard’s productivity. For Mr. Howard, or anyone else, to receive a real raise, he has to do more work or produce more with the work he does currently. Anything else is just inflation.

Labor unions and advocacy groups such as the Philadelphia Unemployment Project and Jobs With Justice are lining up behind Rendell’s proposal. On Tuesday, they’ll take a bus from Philadelphia to Harrisburg to lobby legislators.

“We can’t afford to lose the fight for the minimum wage in 2006,” said Henry Nicholas, president of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees and of District 1199C, a Philadelphia-based health workers’ union. Describing it as an issue of social justice, Nicholas spoke at a companion news conference yesterday at the union hall on Locust Street.

Well, of course, there it is, that wonderful term, “social justice.” Now, what the heck is social justice?

Michael Novak, of the American Enterprise Institute, wrote a thoughtful article on the concept in the December 2000 issue of First Things. In Defining Social Justice, Mr. Novak points out that there is no accepted definition, but that it hangs out there, pretty much meaning what the speaker means it to be at the time he speaks.

Last year marked the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Friedrich Hayek, among whose many contributions to the twentieth century was a sustained and animated put–down of most of the usages of the term “social justice.” I have never encountered a writer, religious or philosophical, who directly answers Hayek’s criticisms. In trying to understand social justice in our own time, there is no better place to start than with the man who, in his own intellectual life, exemplified the virtue whose common misuse he so deplored.

The trouble with “social justice” begins with the very meaning of the term. Hayek points out that whole books and treatises have been written about social justice without ever offering a definition of it. It is allowed to float in the air as if everyone will recognize an instance of it when it appears. This vagueness seems indispensable. The minute one begins to define social justice, one runs into embarrassing intellectual difficulties. It becomes, most often, a term of art whose operational meaning is, “We need a law against that.” In other words, it becomes an instrument of ideological intimidation, for the purpose of gaining the power of legal coercion.

Hayek points out another defect of twentieth–century theories of social justice. Most authors assert that they use it to designate a virtue (a moral virtue, by their account). But most of the descriptions they attach to it appertain to impersonal states of affairs—“high unemployment” or “inequality of incomes” or “lack of a living wage” are cited as instances of “social injustice.” Hayek goes to the heart of the matter: social justice is either a virtue or it is not. If it is, it can properly be ascribed only to the reflective and deliberate acts of individual persons. Most who use the term, however, ascribe it not to individuals but to social systems. They use “social justice” to denote a regulative principle of order; again, their focus is not virtue but power.

Naturally, those who use the term tend to think of themselves as having only the best of motivations; who can think that wanting poor workers to have a better life is a bad thing? Unfortunately, such a wish is completely disconnected from those things which determine whether a worker will be poor or not: productivity and the laws of economics.

This notion presupposes that people are guided by specific external directions rather than internalized, personal rules of just conduct. It further implies that no individual should be held responsible for his relative position. To assert that he is responsible would be “blaming the victim.” It is the function of “social justice” to blame somebody else, to blame the system, to blame those who (mythically) “control” it. As Leszek Kolakowski wrote in his magisterial history of communism, the fundamental paradigm of Communist ideology is guaranteed to have wide appeal: you suffer; your suffering is caused by powerful others; these oppressors must be destroyed. We need to hold someone accountable, Hayek notes, even when we recognize that such a protest is absurd.

At this point I would disagree: far too many do not see such protests as absurd.

We are not wrong, Hayek concedes, in perceiving that the effects of the individual choices and open processes of a free society are not distributed according to a recognizable principle of justice. The meritorious are sometimes tragically unlucky; the evil prosper; good ideas don’t pan out, and sometimes those who backed them, however noble their vision, lose their shirts. But a system that values both trial–and–error and free choice is in no position to guarantee outcomes in advance. Furthermore, no one individual (and certainly no politburo or congressional committee or political party) can design rules that would treat each person according to his merit or even his need. No one has sufficient knowledge of all relevant personal details, and as Kant writes, no general rule has a grip fine enough to grasp them.

This point seems to have eluded those who are concerned with “social justice.” While we hold it as a point of law that all men were created equal, in fact we were not: we have different abilities, different skills, different talents, different ambitions, different senses of discipline, and different work ethics. We are rewarded differently by the economy precisely because we are not all equal in ability and drive and productivity. And the “solutions” of socialism, to try to level out such inequities, have produced, at the minimum, in the semi-socialist European economies, reduced social mobility, chronicly high unemployment, and an “underclass” the Europeans are very reluctant to recognize. At the more serious levels of socialist economic controls, the results have been truly leveling — at a very low level for all save the favored government and party functionaries.

But the realities of economics will not be seen by those who do not want to see them. Thus, the Pennsylvania General Assembly will slog on, and minimum wage increase bills will be introduced, and everyone will wind up congratulating himself, for having secured a raise for the poorest of Pennsylvania workers. And, in the end, the poorest of Pennsylvania workers will be no better off, because the solutions of our friends on the left are solutions of the heart, but not of the head, solutions which do not recognize that pay is compensation for productivity, and not simply some amount of money being generously given out from above.

John Kerry solidifies his status as a Lost Kos.

It seems that the honorable 2004 Democratic Presidential Nominee, Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, is now writing on The Daily Kos. While any idiot anybody can create an account on The Daily Kos, the person styling himself John Kerry has actually posted two articles. Since being able to do that would require a log in and permission from site owner Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, I am assuming that the John Kerry posting on Kos is the “real” John Kerry.

That further assumes, of course, that there is a real John Kerry! :) After the 2004 campaign, I’d suggest that there is some doubt about that!

But this does raise the interesting question of why Mr. Kerry would do that. The Daily Kos is a very popular site, receiving hundreds of thousands of visitors every day. Right now, the site is #3 on the TTLB Ecosystem, with a Link Score of 2357 (one of which comes from this site) and 584,154 average daily visits.

But The Lost Kos is not only the highest rated site on the American political left, it is also the home for the weirdos and whackos of the left. I check teh site because of its popularity, and I’ve found some interesting starting points for articles therein, but it isn’t a place for reasoned political debates. The Lost Kos is the home of the flamers, the people more interested in being the Pickett’s Charge of the left than actually figuring out how to persuade the doubters and win elections.

My guess is that Mr. Kerry is trying for the same net-based early money raising grab that was so successful for Howard Dean in 2003. And I think that’s a large part of the theme of Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots and the Rise of People-Powered Politics that Mr. Zúniga coauthored and hawks on his site.

I’d actually like to read, and review, that book, but since the order form says, “We’ll donate $1 per book to progressive organizations fighting the radical right,” I’m not certain that I can buy the book with a clear conscience.

Perhaps Senator Kerry thinks he can endear himself to the far left this way; other than that, this seems like a strange move for a politician who wishes to be seen as responsible or shed enough of his most-liberal-member-of-the-Senate label to be able to win the general election.

Modes of Censorship

My ideological attitudes were formed in childhood but were never force-fed with any permanent result. I tended to pick and choose. From Catholic school, I accepted the premise that Communism was evil and that moral relativism is wrong. Yet I rebelled against the idea that I should follow the dictates of the so-called ‘Legion of Decency’ when it came to what movies should be avoided. I wondered what was so bad about ‘The Outlaw’.

I could not understand what right a government had to impose prohibitions on what people drink, inhale, ingest, or inject. While I had no curiosity about drugs, I resented the government telling people what to do. I was on the libertarian fringe but had no affinity for anarchy. I found censorship offensive but consciously avoided the pornography that was available in those little comic booklets. That Catholic school stuff was working. I would like to find some of them that were parodies of popular comic strips and wonder how many were illustrated by people who went to work for Mad Magazine.

Perhaps conversations at the dinner table had something to do with my attitudes. There were never any discussions about sports but politics and religion were fair game. Skepticism was an article of faith. I did not know the meaning of a first down but was aware that the current speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates cheated at poker and that the head of the community association had political ambitions (he became governor and now serves as comptroller). I know the names of the political bosses who ruled the city of Baltimore. Ideas were discussed and there was usually a new book to be read. My father leaned towards the classics and my mother liked historical fiction. I read both.

I was in my teens when Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn started to pierce the veil of censorship and I read both. Before that, I read a lot of history books and also enjoyed forbidden works of Balzac and Boccacio.

I recently heard entertainer George Carlin on satellite radio fulminating about the threat of censorship. His complaint is that he will not be able to use dirty words. He railed about the influence of religion. Comstockery and prudery are offensive and ludicrous and often overlay a layer of hypocrisy. Yet I found Carlin to be an utter ass whose longish hair adds to his essential irrelevance.

It is considered ‘hip’ in some entertainment circles to denigrate the Administration and those who do not fall in ideological lockstep with the New Conformity. The televised exchange between Bill O’Reilly and David Letterman was done in front of a hip-friendly audience. Letterman displayed his shallowness and bias when he claimed that he disliked something that he had never seen. I made a similar mistake a few years ago about the MTV show Beavis and Butthead. A friend gave me a DVD of their full-length show and I had to admit that I was wrong. An entity as biased as MTV was suckered into putting on a satirical blast at political correctness and the jackbooted thugs sometimes found at ATF. I was immediately drawn to a more concentrated bit of political satire in South Park. Priggish social conservative Brent Bozell (who is probably a very nice guy) takes the medium far too seriously and misses the message. That happens quite often with satire.

Yet what censorship do the George Carlin type fear that makes them verge on hysteria? There are some entertainers whose stock in trade is gratuitous vulgarity. Is it truly funny? There are times when vulgarity is appropriate. The Mel Brooks ‘History of the World’ had some good toilet humor. The critic urinating on a cave drawing was excellent. The scene where the black man called Oedipus ‘motherfucker’ was one of the few times that phrase has been appropriate.

Unfortunately, the word ‘fuck’ is often used as a filler rather than to precisely convey an idea or meaning (which is the basic rationale for verbal communication). When used by a nun who struck her finger with a misdirected hammer, it has great effect. When used gratuitously, it loses all impact and makes the speaker appear to be little more than an inarticulate dolt. Were I never to use the word again, my ability to communicate would not be limited although my repertoire of jokes could be reduced. This might be of some relief to those who would be spared their repetition.

Yet I do fear a censorship that the neo-clowns such as Howard Stern and George Carlin seem to ignore. It is political correctness, the embodiment of what Orwell called Newspeak. As with any evil, it has a benign façade, one of sensitivity. We must avoid hurting feelings so all manner of euphemisms must be created to sugar-coat any form of misfortune or adverse physical outcome.

By declaring words with clear meaning off limits, we are limiting our ability to communicate with clarity. We must celebrate diversity as a vehicle ignoring differences that may be meaningful. Affirmative action is a synonym for reverse discrimination. Social justice is a (temporary) redistribution of wealth that inevitably sees the natural disparities return.

The more dangerous form of political correctness deals not with the censorship of words but of ideas. We must not delve into any studies that might prove that race can be a factor in some form of activities. Attacks on The Bell Curve demonstrated the nature of sensitivity of the mavens of political correctness. We must ignore race and let quotas (shabbily disguised as diversity and equal opportunity) rule. Yet why are there so few Jewish basketball players? Why are some areas of research forbidden in academe?

The Church has long been ridiculed for obliging Galileo to recant his theory of a heliocentric solar system. Now, in spite of an intervening Enlightenment, a new Inquisition would enslave our minds. This may be as much a threat as that from the web of terror.