Conservatives must understand the threat posed by critical race theory.Christopher F. RufoSeptember 16, 2020 The Social Order
President Trump recently issued an executive order prohibiting federal agencies from using “critical race theory” as part of their personnel-training programs. The president acted in response to my reporting exposing the use of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” training courses in federal agencies. These programs, based on a neo-Marxist ideology that originated in law schools a generation ago, purport to expose and correct “unconscious racial bias” and “white privilege” among their employees. Critical race theory treats “whiteness” as a moral blight and maligns all members of that racial group as complicit in oppression. Critical race theory now forms the basis of personnel-training programs around the country, from corporate America and universities to churches and nonprofits.
The racial narrative that underlies these initiatives poses a grave threat to the ideal of colorblind justice under the law enshrined in the American constitutional system. Yet, despite its growing reach and cultural influence, and its role in motivating the Black Lives Matter and Antifa-led riots over the last three months, critical race theory has gone largely unchallenged by conservative leaders. Many have been slow to oppose the radical demands of groups such as BLM, either out of fear of being labelled racists or because of ignorance about the ideological agenda of these groups. Instead, conservatives have continued to “fight the last war” against the familiar enemies of cultural relativism or tax-and-spend liberalism, not recognizing that a new, virulent form of radicalism now animates the American Left.
Under the dogma of critical race theory, the neo-Marxist Left now treats members of “oppressor” groups (whites, males, Christians, Jews, conservatives) as inherently guilty by virtue of their group membership; conversely, members of victim groups are considered morally innocent. By this logic, claims of victimization by members of victim groups necessarily must be believed, while members of oppressor groups are already guilty by virtue of their group membership. This formula eliminates any need for due process, since the mere perception of victimization constitutes proof of same.
One can trace a direct line from the critical race theory trainings in government, education, and universities to the recent violence and destruction in the streets of so many American cities. Many committed to the cultural Marxist narrative are now entrenched in vital American institutions. The recent riots have exposed the extent to which leaders in the Democratic Party have embraced the ideology of the woke Left. With such widespread penetration of that ideology, the crisis is unlikely to fade away.
The riots of the last three months could open the door to a radical transformation of our constitutional system, including an end to colorblind application of the rule of law—especially if the political coalition that has permitted, and even encouraged, violent protesters regains power at the national level. If leftists merely accuse others of racism, without these accusations being subject to scrutiny from conservative political leaders, they will retain their political momentum—and millions of Americans will continue to face the threat of accusation and cancellation.
Whether it comes to racism or any other sin, few Americans believe that all members of any group are inherently innocent while all those of another are inherently guilty. Adherents of critical race theory do believe this, though—and they’re aggressively teaching it. Our leaders must expose critical race theory as the destructive ideology that it is.
Christopher F. Rufo is a contributing editor of City Journal and director of the Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth & Poverty. He’s directed four documentaries for PBS, including his new film, America Lost, which tells the story of three “forgotten American cities.” Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
Chances are that by the time you get to the end of this article, there will be news of another information operation targeting Donald Trump. There’s one a day now—each trumpeting a new mortal threat to the republic or some dastardly revelation based on sources that are usually anonymous. Whatever it is, it will serve the same purpose as the hundreds of similar sallies launched over the last four years—namely, to preserve and protect the position and privileges of America’s ruling elite.
Trump stories are rarely about Trump. The same stories, or versions of them, would have targeted anyone who threatened to sever the American political, corporate, and cultural elite’s economic lifeline to the Chinese Communist Party. It is largely because Trump sought to decouple the United States from the CCP that America’s China Class, which owns the platforms on which Americans communicate, has waged a relentless campaign of information warfare against him through its social media and prestige media brands.
Consider the last two anti-Trump info ops: He gratuitously denigrated the historical suffering of African Americans, and he expressed contempt for America’s war dead. These are the sort of false allegations that political operatives are tasked to manufacture and disseminate during election season. Their purpose is to reinforce a negative impression of the opposing party among whatever cohort is being addressed, and make the target spend resources—time and money and sometimes blood—on defense. That’s politics 101, since the time of the Romans.
What’s new is that this is now journalism too. Since the internet defunded the press at the end of the 20th century and social media became the dominant player in America’s information space, journalism has abandoned the traditional standards and practices that once defined reporting. For instance, the smear holding that Trump is contemptuous of the military was supposedly based on four anonymous sources recalling exchanges from three years ago, which have been contradicted by dozens of named sources, some of whom were physically present when the comments were supposedly made—and some of whom have been public Trump opponents. In traditional journalistic terms, that’s not a news story—that’s a failed attack line.
The press that existed in America from the end of the 19th century until the turn of this one was designed to inform, influence, and sometimes inspire or inflame fellow citizens. But for people under 30, the only kind of “journalism” they’ve ever known is more like Pravda in the old Soviet Union or the kinds of party media found throughout the Third World. Journalism is an insider’s game, in which the stories are often outlandish, but rarely true; their actual news value is the hints they may offer about shadowy maneuverings that affect people’s lives but take place out of public view, like the rise or fall of a particular colonel who is pictured standing closer to or farther away from El Caudillo or Al Rais. Stories aren’t about the realities they purport to depict; the real stories are always the stories about the story.
American journalists, who now draw their paychecks directly and indirectly from the country’s largest economic interest—technopolies like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook—are now turning the public sphere into a phantasmagoria of conspiracy theories and hysteria to cement the politburo’s position and privilege.
Accordingly, the debate in Washington, D.C., over which great power is feeding more disinformation into the 2020 election cycle isn’t real—it’s not Russia, as collusion impresario and Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff claims, nor, as Attorney General William Barr says, is it China, though he’s closer to the truth. The source of the purposeful disinformation pouring into the American public sphere like untreated sewage is the American elite, led by its tech oligarchs, who own the platforms on which information campaigns are staged and laundered to protect their core interests—foremost among them being cheap Chinese labor and access to Chinese markets.
Let’s return to the two smears from above: Trump scoffs at Black suffering and Trump says military service is for suckers and losers. The former comes from the Washington Post’s famous Watergate reporter Bob Woodward’s new anti-Trump book, and the latter was posted on the website of the Atlantic. Strip away the decorative paraphernalia that dresses them up to look like news articles, and both of these pieces of “journalism” are actually just tweets. The stories they’re attached to are hollow vessels festooned with brand names to ensure their reach and reception as they circulate through the information ecosystem of social media and cable news platforms.
Of course, when Jeff Bezos bought the Post and Woodward brands in 2013, he had no more idea than Vladimir Putin did that the host of “Celebrity Apprentice” would one day sit in the Oval Office. Bezos acquired them for the same reason the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs picked up the Atlantic—to defend the industry, tech, and political arrangements with China’s manufacturing base that drive their profits from “political interference.”
A little historical background may help explain how America’s information supply has become so badly poisoned. The Atlantic magazine was founded in the mid-19th century in Boston, where it published some of the founding figures of the American nationalist movement in literature like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Oliver Wendell Holmes. In 2005, its owner moved the Atlantic to Washington, D.C., where it accomplished the rare feat of turning a profit in the contemporary publishing industry—not by selling magazines or ad space, which had been turned into cheap commodities by the rise of the internet, but by billing Beltway lobbyists and tech and defense executives for the opportunity to influence well-known thought leaders at conferences, luncheons, and parties hosted under the Atlantic label in Washington, Aspen, and elsewhere. Laurene Powell Jobs bought a majority share in 2017.
The big message her property sent with its anti-Trump blog post was that Trump is contemptuous of a significant part of his base. What many Trump supporters saw was something else, though: Another proof of the elite’s determination to replay the 2016 election cycle.
Four years ago, few normal Americans imagined that their political class was capable of manufacturing a conspiracy theory out of whole cloth and laundering it through the nation’s spy agencies and the press in the hope of overturning the result of a democratic election. But after four years of Russiagate, and subsequent operations (the Mueller investigation, Ukrainegate, the razing and looting of American cities disguised as “peaceful protests,” etc.), no one is unaware that such coordinated campaigns are possible. In fact, they have become normal.
This time around, the role played by spies in the 2016 election is being filled by former senior Pentagon officials, including James Mattis, Trump’s one-time defense secretary. In June, Mattis wrote an article—in the Atlantic—likening Trump to the Nazis for wanting to dispatch the military to protect the lives, homes, and businesses of American voters.
Gen. Mattis is no stranger to Silicon Valley or its scandals. As head of U.S. Central Command, the four-star Marine general pushed for the products of one Silicon Valley startup to be used on wounded Americans in uniform, and after retiring he won a lucrative seat on the board of the same company, Theranos, which turned out to be the biggest fraud in the history of biotech.
Then there’s Stanley McChrystal, a retired four-star Army general who is reportedly advising a Democratic PAC called “Defeat Disinfo” on how to use Pentagon software to wage information warfare operations against the Trump campaign. McChrystal resigned his post in 2010 after a magazine reporter documented how he and his aides savagely mocked then-Vice President Biden, the man his information warfare campaign is now supposed to install in the White House.
McChrystal’s beef with Trump is something more than just greed or ego. He has been openly critical of Trump for wanting to get American forces out of the Middle East. He ripped the president when Mattis left his Pentagon post because the Marine wanted to keep more troops in Syria. McChrystal was head of operations in Afghanistan and thinks Trump should stay there, too. The problem is, he’s not sure why. As he told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he thinks the best option is to stay in Afghanistan and “muddle along.” And now he’s getting paid by Silicon Valley, too.
Trump is right that top military brass has it out for him and probably for the reasons he states—because pointless engagements like Afghanistan advance them personally and land them lucrative seats on the boards of defense and technology companies. But the personal ambitions of Pentagon officials are finally no more relevant here than those of the FBI, DOJ, CIA, and State Department bureaucrats who played a role in the first installment of the Russiagate franchise. They’re walk-on parts, as are the various media operatives and outlets like Bob Woodward and the Atlantic, in a much larger corruption of our politics.
The central pillar of the corrupt new order is the American elite’s relationship with China. To be clear, the issue is not that former media organizations like the Post and the Atlantic are pro-China. Both publish articles about the Chinese military, intelligence services, propaganda campaigns, human rights abuses, etc.—at the same time as the Postruns a regular insert produced by the Chinese Communist Party called China Daily. The point is that terms like pro- or anti-Red China are from a different era, when publications like Henry Luce’s Time Magazine were partisan and had points of view.
What matters now are platforms. And for the purposes of information warfare, what’s important is not the content but rather the availability and reach of the platforms, whose job is to protect the American ruling elite’s wealth and preferences by spreading whatever propaganda the elite sees as beneficial. By threatening to split the United States from China, Trump earned the enmity of America’s China Class, which is working hard to remove him from office, and replace him with someone more pliant.
Trump was not the first presidential candidate who noticed there was a tremendous political opportunity in picking up the support of a middle class undone by the ruling class’s foreign trade practices. Democratic Congressman Richard Gephardt made the same case during the 1988 election cycle. Gephardt lost. He lost again in 1992.
By the time the Clinton White House granted China most favored nation trade status in 2000, all of Washington knew that America was running a vast trade deficit that was destined to increase with accession to the World Trade Organization. The price for lifting tens of millions of rural Chinese peasants out of poverty through favorable trade arrangements would be tens of millions of American lives ruined, even as large American companies like Apple and Nike and bankers like JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs got richer. The elite reasoned that they had no choice: The rise of China was inevitable. Why fight it?
American political and corporate elites didn’t choose decline. They chose to get rich. By shipping America’s manufacturing base off to China, they seized a business opportunity the likes of which had never been seen before—an enormous captive labor force controlled by an authoritarian regime that guaranteed the steady production of goods at a fraction of what it would cost at home. American cultural elites (Hollywood, sports, art, etc.) who exploited the increasingly large Chinese market for their products provided cover for the China Class cohort with messaging that dovetailed with CCP propaganda.
Who were Americans to judge a great and ancient civilization like China’s for jailing dissidents and enslaving the Uighur minority? Doesn’t America have its own history of slavery and political prisoners? It’s racist to protect American jobs. Those jobs aren’t coming back and there is nothing to be done about it, as Barack Obama famously said—unless you have a magic wand …
Calling out the American elite for betraying American interests in the service of their own personal and corporate bottom lines helped Donald Trump win the presidency. But it’s not clear that he truly understood how deeply entwined Beijing’s interests were with America’s China Class—and that trying to decouple the two would lead to an attempt at a permanent coup by the new techno-elite, targeting not just him and his supporters but the foundations of the republic, from our military to the media, and from our justice system to the institution of the presidency itself.
The American elite’s financial relationship with China is the key to understanding what’s been happening in America the past four years. Any president, Democrat or Republican, who took on China would have been targeted by the China Class. Because it was Trump flying the Republican banner who sided with America’s working men and women, the Democrats resorted to alliances with powers that now threaten the stability and security of the country.
So, In 1966 I did My Thesis on The Impact of Technology on Education ; In 2020 —the Headline ‘ Virtual schools face rocky start — with delays, confusion and technical problems’
How do you like that! 54 years ago and today——————hard to believe , isn’t it , that such headlines would be so prevalent.
Here are more from that CBC Article this morning :
‘We’re flying the plane as we build it,’ says Regina school official.’
‘There’s a lot of unanswered questions, a lot of ‘I don’t know’ and ‘We’ll figure it out as we go.’ I’m a planner, so that kind of stuff makes me very anxious,” said Ashley St John, a Toronto mother of a blended family of five children between two months and 12 years old.
Because St John is currently on maternity leave, she said she feels lucky to be able to choose online learning for her school-aged children — a decision made because two members of her multigenerational household are immunocompromised.
But school-related emails being sent to an outdated address and no followup phone calls forced her to rush around to confirm that her kids had indeed been enrolled in virtual school this fall.
‘I have zero faith that they’re organized…. The feeling I get is that they don’t have a plan, they’re not prepared,” she said.’
‘We just don’t have any information as to what time we need to be home and in front of our computers to be able to let the kids connect with their teachers,” said Tamara Rose, who is working from home full time because of multiple autoimmune diseases. ‘
Yes, sir, we have really come a long way , haven’t we?
How many times have I been sneered at when I have mentioned that, you know, we should be careful in our introduction and use of technology in our education systems ————-ensuring that the person remains the center and technology is just to assist ——-
But in every day life it is all pervasive—-there’s no one to talk to as people slavishly punch the phone as they pass you by , with things dug in their ears and now masks covering their face—-and
A volley of 13 rockets from Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip were fired at southern Israel before dawn on Wednesday, in apparent response to Israel signing peace deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain at a White House ceremony earlier in the evening.
The Israeli Air Force retaliated by striking Hamas targets across Gaza, including a subterranean tunnel, a Hamas training base and rocket launching site and a weapons cache.
The rockets violated an unofficial ceasefire agreement struck two weeks ago, in which the Gaza-ruling Hamas and other local terror groups promised a month of quiet.
Eight of the projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, the military said.
Earlier in the evening, during the White House ceremony, two more rockets were firedinto the Israeli towns of Ashdod and Ashkelon, injuring six people.
Two Israelis were evacuated to hospital and treated for shrapnel wounds, the Magen David Adom EMT service said.
Netanyahu’s strategic adviser and former Breitbart Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein slammed the “terrorist cowards.”
“Gaza terrorist cowards are desperately launching rockets at Jews because they know this new era of peace will isolate their paymasters in Tehran,” he wrote on Twitter. “Iran-backed terrorists are not going to stop peace for 1 sec[ond] as the children of Abraham come together to forge the path of real peace.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=BreitbartNews&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1305921627671199757&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.breitbart.com%2Fmiddle-east%2F2020%2F09%2F16%2Fgaza-terror-rockets-rain-down-on-israel-in-wake-of-uae-israel-bahrain-peace-deals%2F&siteScreenName=BreitbartNews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px
Hamas released a statement shortly after the rockets were fired, blasting the peace deals.
“The normalization agreements between Bahrain, the UAE, and the Zionist entity are not worth the paper they were written on,” a spokesperson for the terror group said. “Our people insists on continuing its struggle until it secures the return of all its rights.”
During his address at the ceremony, Netanyahu said the peace accords would “bring an end to the Israeli-Arab conflict once and for all.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in response to the attack: “On this historic night of peace, we received a reminder from our enemies that we must always be strong and prepared to defend Israeli citizens on all fronts and at all times — and this we will do.”
“While it might not be popular to say in the wake of the recent social disorder, the true plight of black people has little or nothing to do with the police or what has been called ‘systemic racism.’ Instead, we need to look at the responsibilities of those running our big cities.” — Walter E. Williams, professor of economics at George Mason University.
“Democratic-controlled cities have the poorest-quality public education despite their large, and growing, school budgets. Consider Baltimore…. It’s the same story of academic disaster in other cities run by Democrats. — Walter E. Williams.
“Our families have fallen to pieces: 75% of all black children are born out of wedlock, without a father. I don’t care how many social programs you have. You’re not going to overcome that. That’s where we, as black Americans, have to begin to take our fate back into our own hands and move it — stop crying racism.” — Shelby Steele, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution.
“But there also comes a time when he must stop thinking of himself as a victim by acknowledging that… his fate is always in his own hands. One of the more pernicious corruptions of post-1960s liberalism is that it undermined the spirit of self-help and individual responsibility in precisely the people it sought to uplift.” — Shelby Steele.
“Please don’t allow yourself to be manipulated to believe that you’re a victim and that somebody else is causing all of your problems. The person who has the most to do with what happens to you is you. It doesn’t mean there aren’t any problems in life, but your success or failure in life depends on how you react to those problems.” — Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon, currently the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
“The policies you [the Democratic Party] have implemented have been the figurative knees on the necks of my people for centuries. And it is because of you and your failed leadership that many of us still can’t breathe today.” — Damani Bryant Felder, political commentator.
“‘Black lives matter’ was a noble phrase when it signified a demand for justice for blacks. Tragically, it since has been perverted and what once had been a movement of peaceful protest has descended into wanton violence and lawlessness that have taken their greatest toll among the most vulnerable low-income communities.” — Robert L. Woodson, veteran civil rights activist. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)
A previous series revealed the anti-American agenda of Black Lives Matter, which, under the guise of fighting racism, seeks to transform the United States into a communist dystopia. BLM’s leaders openly admit that they want to abolish the nuclear family, police, prisons and capitalism. BLM leaders have threatened to “burn down the system” if their demands are not met.
The series also documented, in Part II, BLM’s ideological influences and sources of funding. BLM has lifted much of its agenda from radical leftist groups active in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. BLM is an ideological descendant of the Black Power Movement, the Black Panthers, the Black Liberation Army and the Weather Underground, all of which sought to overthrow the U.S. political system. BLM’s focus on racial issues appears to be a smokescreen for a much larger effort to dismantle the American economic, political and social systems and rebuild them from scratch — according to Marxist principles.
This new multi-part series focuses on the perspectives of blacks — conservative, liberal or libertarian — who appraise BLM and its agenda. The following selection of commentary by blacks from all walks of life — actors, athletes, businesspeople, civil rights activists, clergy, commentators, physicians and politicians — demonstrates that black public opinion is not monolithic and that BLM does not speak for all African Americans.
Thomas Sowell, economist and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, noted:
“If not a single policeman killed a single black individual anywhere in the United States for this entire year, that would not reduce the number of black homicide victims by one percent. When the mobs of protesters declare ‘black lives matter,’ does that mean ALL black lives matter — or only the less than one percent of black lives lost in conflicts with police?
“We keep hearing that ‘black lives matter,’ but they seem to matter only when that helps politicians to get votes, or when that slogan helps demagogues demonize the police. The other 99% of black lives destroyed by people who are not police do not seem to attract nearly as much attention in the media.”
“Today, the media keep repeating the mantra that there was a ‘peaceful demonstration,’ even when it ends in violence. How many people have to die in ‘peaceful demonstrations’ before the media admit that those who promote mob disruptions have to know what is likely to happen when you put mobs in the streets at night?
“Mob rule is not democracy. It threatens democracy, as it threatens lives — black or white — and all lives should matter.”
Walter E. Williams, professor of economics at George Mason University, wrote:
“While it might not be popular to say in the wake of the recent social disorder, the true plight of black people has little or nothing to do with the police or what has been called ‘systemic racism.’ Instead, we need to look at the responsibilities of those running our big cities.
“Some of the most dangerous big cities are: St. Louis, Detroit, Baltimore, Oakland, Chicago, Memphis, Atlanta, Birmingham, Newark, Buffalo and Philadelphia. The most common characteristic of these cities is that for decades, all of them have been run by liberal Democrats. Some cities — such as Detroit, Buffalo, Newark and Philadelphia — haven’t elected a Republican mayor for more than a half-century. On top of this, in many of these cities, blacks are mayors, often they dominate city councils, and they are chiefs of police and superintendents of schools….
“Democratic-controlled cities have the poorest-quality public education despite their large, and growing, school budgets. Consider Baltimore. In 2016, in 13 of Baltimore’s 39 high schools, not a single student scored proficient on the state’s math exam. In six other high schools, only 1% tested proficient in math. Only 15% of Baltimore students passed the state’s English test. That same year in Philadelphia, only 19% of eighth-graders scored proficient in math, and 16% were proficient in reading. In Detroit, only 4% of its eighth-graders scored proficient in math, and 7% were proficient in reading. It’s the same story of academic disaster in other cities run by Democrats.
“Violent crime and poor education is not the only problem for Democratic-controlled cities. Because of high crime, poor schools and a less pleasant environment, cities are losing their economic base and their most productive people in droves….
“Academic liberals, civil rights advocates and others blamed the exodus on racism — ‘white flight’ to the suburbs to avoid blacks. But blacks have been fleeing some cities at higher rates than whites. The five cities whose suburbs have the fastest-growing black populations are Miami, Dallas, Washington, Houston and Atlanta. It turns out that blacks, like whites, want better and safer schools for their kids and don’t like to be mugged or have their property vandalized. And like white people, if they have the means, black people cannot wait to leave troubled cities.
“White liberals and black politicians focus most of their attention on what the police do, but how relevant is that to the overall tragedy? According to Statista, this year, 172 whites and 88 blacks [nationwide] have died at the hands of police. To put police shootings in a bit of perspective, in Chicago alone in 2020 there have been 1,260 shootings and 256 homicides with blacks being the primary victims. That comes to one shooting victim every three hours and one homicide victim every 15 hours. Three people in Chicago have been killed by police. If one is truly concerned about black deaths, shootings by police should figure way down on one’s list — which is not to excuse bad behavior by some police officers.”
Shelby Steele, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, in a television interview, said:
“Our families have fallen to pieces: 75% of all black children are born out of wedlock, without a father. I don’t care how many social programs you have. You’re not going to overcome that. That’s where we, as black Americans, have to begin to take our fate back into our own hands and move it — stop crying racism.
“There’s a little racism out here, always was, and always will be. Why is that an argument to stop, to not move forward, to not be responsible for your own fate?”
In his book, Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country, Steele wrote:
“Today’s racial disparities are due more to dysfunctions within the black community, and — I would argue — to liberal social policies that have encouraged us to trade more on our past victimization than to overcome the damage done by that victimization through dint of our own pride and will. One can say this stance ‘blames the victim’ by making him responsible for the injury done him by bigotry and oppression. But there also comes a time when he must stop thinking of himself as a victim by acknowledging that — existentially — his fate is always in his own hands. One of the more pernicious corruptions of post-1960s liberalism is that it undermined the spirit of self-help and individual responsibility in precisely the people it sought to uplift.”
Ben Carson, neurosurgeon, currently the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, remarked:
“Please don’t allow yourself to be manipulated to believe that you’re a victim and that somebody else is causing all of your problems. The person who has the most to do with what happens to you is you. It doesn’t mean there aren’t any problems in life, but your success or failure in life depends on how you react to those problems.”
Robert L. Woodson, veteran civil rights activist, in a television interview, said:
“The pretext of all of this, of course, was pursuing social justice and challenging institutional racism, and they used George Floyd as the symbol of that. They’re always trolling for other ‘George Floyds.’ The head of Black Lives Matter went to Houston when a 7-year-old girl was killed and raised $100,000 in reward money while anticipating that the person who killed her was white — only to discover that the murderer was black and so then it was not a story after that….
“This is not about social justice. Low-income black Americans are being used by the group to promote insurrection in the country, and anarchy…. These people are really out to destroy civil society. If a police precinct can be taken over by a mob, then why not your home?”
Woodson, in a separate television interview, also said:
“Black Lives Matter, that advertised itself as the champion of social justice for blacks, has really become a parasite. It has migrated from social justice to an attack on the nuclear family. The burning of Bibles, desecration of the cross … It was the nuclear family and our Christian faith that enabled us to survive slavery and discrimination.
“Where are the voices of dissent of the civil rights movement? Where’s the Urban League? Where’s the NAACP? Where’s the Congressional Black Caucus to speak out against these race grievance vigilantes that are destroying this nation? Where are they?
“The reality is that 80% of low income blacks in the country support the police. They want more police. But they are not the ones given a voice. We have the gatekeepers that are rewarded by the press and corporate America keeps paying these parasites and our country continues to decline.”
“‘Black lives matter’ was a noble phrase when it signified a demand for justice for blacks. Tragically, it since has been perverted and what once had been a movement of peaceful protest has descended into wanton violence and lawlessness that have taken their greatest toll among the most vulnerable low-income communities.
“In the name of social justice for blacks, Black Lives Matter turned to condemning capitalism and declaring that the nuclear family is Eurocentric and, therefore, racist. The senseless violence has reached an abyss in which Bibles are burned and the Christian cross has been condemned as a symbol of white supremacy. Violence and looting of a downtown business district in Chicago was proclaimed by one BLM organizer to be a form of reparations. The police have been demonized as an extension of an all-powerful ‘institutional racism’ that supposedly determines the destiny of Black America. Because police are targets of attacks, and even local political leaders fail to support them, many are leaving the profession. Crime has surged this summer, and for decades, Black-on-Black homicides have been the norm in many communities….
“Martin Luther King brought a very different message: ‘Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred, rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue, rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.'”
Clarence Henderson, civil rights pioneer, in a television interview, said:
“Black Lives Matter is not a civil rights movement. They are Marxists. They have told us who they are. Their intention is to tear down the fabric of America.”
Brandon Tatum, former police officer and commentator, said:
“I am not a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement. I don’t think that the intentions or spirit behind Black Lives Matter are effective, nor do I think that they are genuine about their approach. I have not seen one legitimate result that has come from Black Lives Matter. If you ask me, they’ve been more destructive, more counterproductive, than doing anything positive in America.
“To me it seems like a racist or prejudiced overtone to even suggest that black lives matter. The reason why is that everyone matters. You shouldn’t isolate one group and say let’s emphasize that these individuals matter more than anyone else. I get some of the ideas behind it, that some black people are being held behind, but I think it does more harm by isolating one racial group, therefore leaving out others.
“In America, if a white group were to say white lives matter, people would have a problem with that, racially biased. I don’t think they should have gone down that path.
“We should look at facts. If we’re going to have a conversation we need to start from a point of being equal. It should not be one side bashing the other side thing that we’re going to accomplish anything.
“Black Lives Matter, as an organization or an approach, it comes across as disingenuous when you look at their arguments because when they are basing their arguments on black lives, it appears to be only when a black person dies at the hands of police.
“When you look at the overwhelming majority of black lives being lost through abortion, through bad health, heart disease and other things, including black-on-black violence, then they are missing in action, they are not present. Their argument appears disingenuous because they are not worried about all black lives. Just as an example, this past weekend, in one city, in one state, we had 25 African American people killed in Chicago, Illinois. That’s more people killed in one weekend than unarmed black people who have been killed by police in 2019 and 2020 combined. So, when you see things like that and you never see Black Lives Matter mention the names of these victims, you become suspicious of their motives.
“People are using George Floyd’s death as an excuse to accomplish other agendas. Their outrage is not consistent with the problem of police brutality and actually trying to fix it. You see people tearing down statues. What does a statue have to do with George Floyd? What does looting and burning down buildings in the United States of America have to do with George Floyd? What does looting and stealing and murdering other people in protest have to do with George Floyd?”
Damani Bryant Felder, political commentator, in a video that went viral, said:
“To the rioting thugs of America: This was all supposed to be about calling for justice for George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a few bad cops. But your actions have made it clear that you don’t really care about George Floyd. You have made this about you. So now I will address you directly:
“You have a right to be furious at the Minnesota cops who killed George Floyd. You have the right to demand severe punishment for all four officers on the scene. And you have the right to peacefully protest injustice wherever it may be. But you do not have the right to ravage the cities we all live in without consequence.
“You do not have the right to put your own fellow citizens of all colors out of work as you raze their places of employment to the ground. You do not have the right to assault the police officers trying to keep you safe as you protest them. You do not have the right to beat small business owners to the brink of death for doing nothing more than trying to protect their own establishments.
“You do not have the right to say your skin color makes you a target for police violence, break other laws as a response, and expect your own skin color to absolve you of any accountability. You do not have the right to say black lives matter but only be outraged when a black life is taken by a white person.
“You do not have the right to travel in from out of town to be part of a violent throng, destroy everything in your path, and leave thinking you did something productive. You do not have a right to be offended by stereotypes that say black people are inherently violent when that is exactly you act when given the first opportunity. And you do not have the right to dishonor George Floyd’s legacy by using his wrongful death as an excuse to justify your criminal behaviors and then have the gall to turn around and use convoluted circular reasoning to try to blame white people or police for this chaos when it was you who made the conscious decision to destroy your own communities in the first place.
“But I have a right to say I see right through you. And I know this stopped being about George Floyd a long time ago. I have a right to say your conduct is absolute trash. And I have a right to call you out for the warped, hateful, animalistic, shameful, thuggish, self-serving, rabid, exploitative, counterproductive hypocrites that you are. So I will.”
“To the feckless, hypocritical, virtue-signaling Democrat leaders of America: You took the time to kneel for George Floyd so you could pretend to care about black people, but I know the truth, the truth you continue to ignore. So now allow me to call you on the carpet for your many failures in the black community that you refuse to acknowledge.
“How about kneeling to acknowledge that the worst riots and the worst instances of police brutality in this country are in your cities, and your cities alone. You are the common denominator. How about kneeling to apologize for having some of the lowest minority literacy and graduation rates, but some of the highest single-motherhood, abortion and black-on-black crime rates in your own districts that you yourselves represent?”
“How about kneeling for the millions upon millions of black children who never had a chance to live because your friends over at Planned Parenthood butchered them before they even had a chance to be born? How about kneeling for the untold numbers of my ancestors who were lynched by your former counterparts in the KKK for simply daring to ask to be treated as equals? They didn’t get justice.
“And even today — by kneeling and apologizing for your white privilege — you still don’t treat as us equals. You feel like you have to apologize for your privilege because deep down, you still think you’re better than us by default. If you had held your friend Amy Klobuchar accountable for not prosecuting Derek Chauvin when she had the chance to — after he had ten complaints filed against him in his 19 years with the Minneapolis police force — maybe George Floyd would still be alive.
“The fact of the matter is, if you had to take a knee for every black life lost due to your failed leadership, you would be on your knees forever. The only black lives that matter to you are those that fit your agenda. You know it. I know it. And the world knows it too.
“Your party is the party that filibustered for months to prevent the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Your party is the one that only had 23% support for the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, and had zero percent support for the 14th Amendment, which granted free slaves citizenship, and zero percent support for the 15th Amendment, which gave us the right to vote.
“The policies you have implemented have been the figurative knees on the necks of my people for centuries. And it is because of you and your failed leadership that many of us still can’t breathe today. But I’ve got news for every last one of you. If you think all you have to do is shamelessly pander and kneel to get the support of people like me, if you think you can wear the kente cloth of the Ashanti, an African tribe known for selling their own people into slavery, if you think you can tear down statues, and rename buildings and roads to hide your sordid history from everyone, if you think that’s all it takes to win over my people, if you think our skin color will keep us from thinking critically, you’ve got another thing coming.”
Star Parker, columnist, in an article titled, “BLM Suppresses the Truth About Poverty,” wrote:
“I have been working on policy issues dealing with race and poverty through my organization, UrbanCURE, for 25 years.
“We purchased billboard space in hard-hit cities across the nation and posted a short, time-tested message that strikes at the heart of what drives poverty.
“The billboards show a picture of a young black man or young black woman and say: ‘Tired of Poverty? Finish school. Take any job. Get married. Save and invest. Give back to your neighborhood.’
“The billboard then refers to Proverbs 10:4, which says, ‘A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.’
“This is a message delivered with care and love. It’s a message I know is true.
“It is so true that it produced an immediate reaction from Black Lives Matter, which contacted the billboard company, Clear Channel Outdoor, demanding that the billboards be taken down.
“Claims from Black Lives Matter — laced, of course, with profanity — that our message is racist, inaccurate and self-hating are a crude distortion of reality….
“The impact of the ‘success sequence’ on poverty is well documented.
“Brookings Institution scholars Ron Haskins and Isabell Sawhill published their findings in their book, ‘Creating an Opportunity Society,’ in which they report that those who follow three steps — finish high school, get a full-time job and get married before having children — face a 2% chance of being poor.
“Brad Wilcox and Wendy Wang of the American Enterprise Institute followed on this work, showing that among millennials — ages 28-35 — there was a 53% incidence of poverty among those who did not follow these steps and a 3% incidence among those who did.
“But regardless of whether or not you want to believe me or agree with me, what about freedom of expression?
“What about the inherent importance of keeping dialogue open and free in our nation, with a goal of reaching truth? How can shutting down communication serve anyone’s interests?
“Shutting down dialogue, shutting down free and open exchange of ideas, is exactly what Black Lives Matter wants. It said as much in a Facebook post to the billboard vendor that read, ‘At the end of the day, messaging and narrative control is priceless.’
“Unfortunately, Clear Channel Outdoor responded to the intimidation of Black Lives Matter and took down CURE’s billboards, saying, ‘We strive to respect a wide variety of viewpoints on diversity and racial sensitivity.’
“But can shutting down a powerful and truthful message because Black Lives Matter doesn’t like it reflect respect for ‘a wide variety of viewpoints’?
“The nation’s shock after the terrible murder of George Floyd at the hands of a policeman was justifiable. But the pushback unfortunately put wind in the sails of Black Lives Matter.
“The question is: What does America, and what do black Americans, need? What will fix our problems?
“For sure, suppression of free expression will make no one better off.
“These are communities that need truth, that need love, that need empowerment.”
Darrell Scott, pastor of an evangelical megachurch in Ohio, in a YouTube interview, said:
“There is always an insidious, nefarious criminal element that seems to exploit what they consider to be human tragedies, suffering or grief, they seek to exploit that. The George Floyd incident and the Ahmaud Arbery incident, they use those incidents as catalysts to advance their nefarious causes.
“This is not about George Floyd anymore. It’s not about Ahmaud Arbery anymore. It’s about the undermining of the fabric of the American system of government, they’re trying to overthrow what we know is the ‘American Way.’
“There is a political intent behind it as well. They’re trying to make things as disruptive in this country as possible leading into the election in November. I can remember back 2016 we had rioting in the streets and we had a lot of civil unrest to try to influence the elections in a negative way. Once again, there are those with sinister purposes, who are advancing their purposes through gullible people and through people that are not so gullible who are actually in cahoots with them to undermine our American system of government.
“Black Lives Matter is an American domestic terrorist group because they want to advocate the overthrow of the American system of government, to infiltrate our government, to undermine law and order. People have caved to the pressure of the left-wing media. It’s as if the left-wing media has become the propaganda arm for the Black Lives Matter organization.
“They are doing this to further their own sinister and nefarious purposes. They’re not really interested in black lives. They are interested in black lives if the black life expires at the hands of a white person. They don’t care about black-on-black crime. They don’t care about black-on-white crime. They don’t care about black-on-brown crime. The only crime they are interested in is white-on-black crime. If a white person kills a black person they become nothing more than ambulance chasers, they rush to the scene of the crime, and make a great big incident out of it, and overblow and exacerbate the situation. But when you look at Chicago and see people being slaughtered en masse, when you see babies being killed, they are quiet as a church mouse because it does not feed into this narrative they have. It’s ridiculous.”
Morgan Freeman, actor, in an interview with 60 Minutes, when asked what he thought about Black History Month, said: “It’s ridiculous. I don’t want a black history month. Black history is American history.” When asked, “how are we going to get rid of racism,’ he responded: “Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man, and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace, and you know me as Morgan Freeman.”
Freeman, when asked by black anchor Don Lemon if race plays a role in income inequality, replied:
“No. No. I don’t. You and I are proof. Why would race have anything to do with it? Stick your mind on what you want to do and go for that. Making race a bigger issue than it needs to be is the real problem here.”
For six months, Americans in 43 states have lived under unprecedented executive orders restricting freedoms as basic as whether they can work, leave their homes, and expose their faces in public. These mandates are not duly enacted laws — they are orders issued by one of the three branches of government. They constitute a system of one-person rule — something none of us expected could ever happen in the United States — and no one, apart from the 43 newfound state dictators, is sure when it will expire.
Today, after six months of this, a Pennsylvania Federal Court in Butler County v. Wolfreviewed the indefinite “emergency” restrictions imposed by the executive branch of Pennsylvania government, declaring limitations on gathering size, “stay-at-home orders,” and mandatory business closures unconstitutional. Refusing to accept the alleged need for a “new normal,” the Court stated that an “independent judiciary [is needed] to serve as a check on the exercise of emergency government power.”
About time. The Judicial Branch is coming to save us.
The Judicial Branch exists to check Executive authority even in times of emergency.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Our safety, our liberty, depends upon preserving the Constitution of the United States as our fathers made it inviolate. The people of the United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” In 2020, sad to say, there are numerous governors across this nation who have perverted the Constitution — New Jersey’s Phil Murphy even declared its interpretation “above his pay grade” — with unprecedented orders restricting Americans’ rights to peaceably assemble, practice their religions, earn a living, travel freely, engage in commerce, and even manage their own health and exposure to risk. While global pandemics pose challenges for governors — particularly when the population is panicked by a hysterical mass media — entire populations cannot be indefinitely subjected to tyranny and deprived of fundamental rights and liberties. As the Court said today:
“There is no question that our founders abhorred the concept of one-person rule. They decried government by fiat. Absent a robust system of checks and balances, the guarantees of liberty set forth in the Constitution are just ink on parchment.”
We cannot allow our freedom to become “ink on parchment.” Many of our governors seek to do just that — they won’t even designate an endpoint to their “emergency” powers. When does the “emergency” end? This should be easy to say — X number of deaths per million, X number of deaths over X number of weeks — yet they will not say it. They want us to live under the constant threat of house arrest and livelihood deprivation, even though all we ever agreed to was a two-week effort to “flatten the curve.” We never agreed to an indefinite or permanent “new normal,” or to do whatever our wise governor dreams up and declares necessary to “eliminate infections.”
“In times of crisis, even a vigilant public may let down its guard over its constitutional liberties only to find that liberties, once relinquished, are hard to recoup and that restrictions — while expedient in the face of an emergency situation — may persist long after immediate danger has passed.”
Thank you, Judge Stickman, for recognizing our predicament, and for taking the first step towards restoring our freedom today by reminding those with authoritarian leanings that “governors cannot be given carte blanche to disregard the Constitution for as long as the medical problem persists.” The response to an emergency cannot undermine our system of constitutional liberties, or the system of checks and balances protecting those liberties. Liberty before “governor-guaranteed safety” — this is the American way, famously stated by Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
“Stay-at-home orders” are so draconian as to be presumptively unconstitutional.
Substantive due process is “a recognition that the government may not infringe upon certain freedoms enjoyed by the people as a component of a system of ordered liberty.” Plaintiffs in Butler County v. Wolf argued that the governor’s “stay-at-home order” violated substantive due process in restricting intrastate travel and freedom of movement in a manner that exceeded legitimate government need and authority. Incredibly, Governor Wolf responded that his stay-at-home orders are “not actually orders at all, but merely recommendations,” and that they are constitutional because they do not “shock the conscience.” I’m willing to bet that Pennsylvania citizens would beg to differ.
In analyzing the constitutionality of “lockdowns,” the Court first traced the origin of the concept to its source — Wuhan, China — and recognized that population-wide lockdowns are “unprecedented in American law.” Even during the Spanish Flu, the deadliest pandemic in history by far, “nothing remotely approximating lockdowns were imposed.” Although the United States has faced many epidemics and pandemics, “there have never previously been lockdowns of entire populations — much less for lengthy and indefinite periods of time.” Quarantines are legally recognized, but refer to the isolation of sick people and those known to have been directly exposed to sick people. They are statutorily limited to the duration of the incubation period of the disease — a period which Governor Wolf’s “lockdown” plainly exceeded.
Not only have lockdowns never been imposed in American history, but they are not even mentioned in recent pandemic management guidance offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”). In its 2017 guidelines for managing pandemics, the CDC recommends numerous protective measures such as hand washing, limited-duration school closures, and cancellations of mass gatherings, but nothing “even approximating the imposition of statewide (or even community-wide) stay at home orders or the closure of all [‘non-essential’] businesses.” Even for pandemics of “Very High Severity,” the CDC recommends only voluntary isolation of sick persons and their household members. “This is a far, far cry from a statewide lockdown such as the one imposed by [Governor Wolf’s] stay-at-home order.”
The Court speculates that United States lockdowns were imposed due to a “domino effect” instigated by China, a nation “unconstrained by concern for civil liberties and constitutional norms.” In the United States, by contrast, the default concept is liberty of movement. Our government has never before dreamt of implementing mandatory house arrest, no matter the threat — it has always used far less restrictive, voluntary means to manage pandemics, similar to those used by Sweden during COVID19. (Notably, Sweden has lower per-capita mortality for weeks 1-33 of 2020 than it did for weeks 1-33 of 2015 — a far better mortality outcome than heavily locked-down U.S. States such as NJ, NY, and MI).
Ultimately, the Court concludes that lockdowns are so draconian that they are nearly “presumptively unconstitutional”:
“The stay-at-home components of Defendant’s orders were and are unconstitutional. Broad population-wide lockdowns are such a dramatic inversion of the concept of liberty in a free society as to be nearly presumptively unconstitutional unless the government can truly demonstrate that they burden no more liberty than is reasonably necessary to achieve an important government end. The draconian nature of lockdown may render this a high bar, indeed.”
This bears repeating: the burden of proof that “lockdown” is absolutely crucial to achieve a scientifically-substantiated goal rests with the government. The burden does not rest with the people to disprove the necessity of lockdown. Liberty is the default!
Mandatory business closures violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee that every citizen may support himself in an occupation of his choosing.
Mandatory business closures, like “stay-at-home” orders, are utterly unprecedented in American law. There is not even any historical jurisprudence for the Court to consider in its analysis of the issue — a rare event, indeed.
“Never before has the government exercised such vast and immediate power over every business, business owner, and employee. Never before has the government taken a direct action which shuttered so many businesses and sidelined so many employees and rendered their ability to operate, and to work, solely dependent on government discretion.”
While playing with people’s lives and livelihoods, Governor Wolf and his task force never even bothered to put a definition in writing of what constitutes a “life-sustaining” business. Rather, the entire concept remained in flux, subject to executive whim. The Court held that this fast and loose system — still in place six months after the effort to “flatten the curve” was supposed to end — violates the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees every citizen the right to support himself by pursuing a chosen occupation.
“A total shutdown of business with no end-date and with the specter of additional, future shutdowns can cause critical damage to a business’s ability to survive, to an employee’s ability to support him/herself, and adds a government-induced cloud of uncertainty to the usual unpredictability of nature and life.”
It is truly incredible that Americans who worked their entire lives to build up businesses were instantly forced to lock their doors, go home, and deplete their emergency funds while they awaited the day their monarch should declare that “the world is safe for boutique shopping/plumbing work/haircuts again.” The impact of this shutdown on businesses was immediate and severe— it left the Butler County v. Wolf plaintiffs and many others “financially devastated” within weeks. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were lost, entire emergency funds were depleted, and perhaps worst of all, each business owner now lives under the cloud of the next indefinite “shutdown” edict. The Court found this system to be “so arbitrary in creation, scope, and administration as to fail constitutional scrutiny.” It is a blatant violation of basic human rights for an executive’s policy team to arbitrarily “apply their common sense” to people’s lives.
“Defendants were exercising raw governmental authority in a way that could (and did) critically wound and destroy the livelihoods of so many. The people of [Pennsylvania] at least deserved an objective plan, the ability to determine with certainty how the critical classifications were to be made, and a mechanism to challenge an alleged misclassification. The arbitrary design, implementation, and administration of the business shutdowns deprived the Business Plaintiffs and their fellow citizens of all three.”
The Court found particularly offensive the fact that some businesses were forced to close although they sold the same products and services as larger businesses that were allowed to remain open. One Plaintiff, a small business appliance and furniture store, was forced to close, while his corporate competitors at Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, and Home Depot were allowed to remain open. This nonsensical, obviously unjust mandate flies in the face of the stated goal of “managing contagion”: “It is paradoxical that in an effort to keep people apart, Defendants’ business closure orders permitted to remain in business the largest retailers with the highest occupancy limits.”
Paradoxical, indeed. The government, in issuing these orders, was “playing God,” determining who could work and who could not, who would profit and who would deplete reserves, who would receive a paycheck and who would join the unemployment line. An economy is not “a machine that can be shut down and restarted at will by government. It is an organic system made up of free people each pursuing their dreams.” This is not nothing. This is everything. The deprivation of the right to work, with no recourse — while others are permitted to work — is a crime against humanity. It is unconstitutional in the United States of America.
“Even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered. The liberties protected by the Constitution are not fair-weather freedoms — in place when times are good but able to be cast aside in times of trouble. There is no question that this country has faced, and will face, emergencies of every sort. But the solution to a national crisis can never be permitted to supersede the commitment to individual liberty that stands as the foundation of the American experiment. The Constitution cannot accept the concept of a ‘new normal’ where the basic liberties of the people can be subordinated to open-ended emergency mitigation measures. Rather, the Constitution sets certain lines that may not be crossed, even in an emergency. Actions taken by Defendants crossed those lines. It is the duty of the Court to declare those actions unconstitutional.”
Thank heaven for the judicial branch — for checks and balances. The Founding Fathers knew what they were doing. John Adams: “power should never be trusted without a check.” James Madison: “you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” It’s been six months coming, but this brilliant machine is finally grinding back to life. Orders like Judge Stickman’s today remind the American people that they are not, actually, legally governed by fifty individual dictators, each empowered to declare at whim unlimited “emergencies” restricting basic, unalienable rights. No, we are not that. We are a government by the people, for the people, and of the people. We must — we will — work together, using the courts, to ensure that our elected officials never again forget this fact.PrintFacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterestEmailShareREAD MORE
Stacey Rudin is a writer, activist, community leader, volunteer, and former litigator active in the grassroots movement to ensure future pandemics are managed in accordance with established public health guidelines. An avid tennis player and reader, Stacey lives in Short Hills, New Jersey. Read more from Stacey Rudin on Medium.
Check out any professional and most college basketball teams. Their starting five, and most of their other 10 players, are black, as is 80% of the NBA. This does not come anywhere close to the diversity and inclusion sought by the nation’s social justice warriors. Both professional and college coaches have ignored and threw any pretense of seeking diversity and inclusiveness. My question to you is: Would a basketball team be improved if coaches were required to include ethnically diverse players for the sake of equity? I have no idea of what your answer might be but mine would be: “The hell with diversity, equity and inclusion. I am going to recruit the best players and do not care if most of them turn out to be black players.” Another question: Do you think that any diversity-crazed college president would chastise his basketball coach for lack of diversity and inclusiveness?
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (National Accelerator Laboratory) is home to the world’s most powerful experiments, fastest supercomputers and top-notch physics researchers. Much of SLAC’s research is on particle accelerators that are complicated machines that are designed, engineered and operated to produce high-quality particle beams and develop clues to the fundamental structure of matter and the forces between subatomic particles. You can bet that their personnel makeup exhibits very little concern about racial diversity, equity and inclusion. The bulk of their scientists is not only Americans of European and Asian ancestry but mostly men. My question to you is: What would you do to make SLAC more illustrative of the racial, ethnic and sexual diversity of America? As for me, my answer would be the same one that I gave in the basketball example: I am going to recruit the brightest scientists and I do not care if most of them turn out to be men of European and Asian ancestry.
In the hard sciences, one will find black Americans underrepresented. For example, a 2018 survey of the American Astronomical Society, which includes undergraduates, graduate students, faculty members and retired astronomers, found that 82% of members identified as white and only 2% as black or African American. Only 3% of bachelor’s degrees in physics go to black students. In 2017, some fields, such as structural engineering and atmospheric physics, graduated not a single black Ph.D. The conspicuous absence of black Americans in the sciences have little or nothing to do with racism. It has to do with academic preparation. If one graduates from high school and has not mastered a minimum proficiency in high school algebra, geometry and precalculus, it is likely that high-paying careers such as engineering, medicine, physics and computer technology are hermetically sealed off for life.
There are relatively few black fighter jet pilots. There are stringent physical, character and mental requirements, which many black applicants could meet. But fighter pilots must also have a strong knowledge of air navigation, aircraft operating procedures, flight theory, fluid mechanics, meteorology and engineering. The college majors that help prepare undergraduates for a career as a fighter pilot include mathematics, physical science and engineering. But if one graduates from high school without elementary training in math, it is not likely that he will enroll in the college courses that would qualify him for fighter pilot training.
At many predominantly black high schools, not a single black student tests proficient in math and a very low percentage test proficient in reading; however, these schools confer a diploma that attests that the students can read, write and compute at a 12th-grade level and these schools often boast that they have a 70% and higher graduation rate. They mislead students, their families and others by conferring fraudulent diplomas.
What explains the fact that over 80% of professional basketball players are black, as are about 70% of professional football players? Only an idiot would chalk it up to diversity and inclusion. Instead, it is excellence that explains the disproportionate numbers. Jewish Americans, who are just 3% of our population, win over 35% of the Nobel prizes in science that are awarded to Americans. Again, it is excellence that explains the disproportionality, not diversity and inclusion. As my stepfather often told me, “To do well in this world, you have to come early and stay late.”
Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at http://www.creators.com.
In the general election campaign, he has rolled out his own multi-trillion-dollar platform that a new study finds would push long-term Washington spending to its highest level in decades.
The former vice president has proposed a total of $5.4 trillion in new spending over the next 10 years, according to an analysis published Monday by the Penn Wharton Budget Model, a nonpartisan group at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. That includes historically high allocations for sectors from education and health to child-care and housing.
Mr. Biden’s proposed budget is more than double that of Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee. It is a fraction of the $30 trillion to $50 trillion spending plans that progressive Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren laid out during the Democratic primary. But since effectively sealing the nomination in March, Mr. Biden’s plan has grown in response to the pandemic, the lockdowns, and the resulting recession.
The plan also reflects a nod to Mr. Sanders, who has prodded Mr. Biden to move closer to his agenda to help solidify the support of the progressive wing. “I’ve talked to Joe on a number of occasions and I think he recognizes the suffering that is taking place out there right now,” says Mr. Sanders. “I believe he is prepared to respond to that pain once he’s elected president.”
If enacted, the Biden budget would elevate federal spending to 24% of gross domestic product by 2030, according to the Wharton study. Outside the two big crisis-driven spending spikes—the budgets swollen by the 2009 financial crisis and the 2020 pandemic—that would be the biggest federal budget going back more than half a century, according to Wharton.
“This is the largest proposed spending increase by a presidential nominee since George McGovern, ” says Kent Smetters, a Wharton economics professor who oversees the budget model project. He was referring to the losing 1972 Democratic presidential candidate who ran on a liberal platform that included a guaranteed minimum income for all Americans.
The Wharton team based its estimates on the Biden campaign’s public proposals, and on discussions with Biden aides. Other analysts have come up with higher tallies for Mr. Biden’s proposed total spending, but those appear to double-count campaign proposals repeated at different times for different purposes. The Wharton estimates attempt to adjust for that duplication.
The Biden campaign said it couldn’t confirm the accuracy of the Wharton numbers, nor would it make public its own cost estimates.
The Biden plan sets up a contrast with President Trump over the role of government in the economy. The Republican incumbent hasn’t laid out a detailed second-term agenda that could be subject to a similar accounting analysis, the Wharton analysts said. But the president has indicated that his fiscal policy would tilt more toward tax cuts than spending.
Mr. Trump regularly paints the Biden plan as extreme, saying in his August speech to the Republican convention: “This election will decide whether we save the American dream, or whether we allow a Socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny.”
“Our response to the economic turmoil caused by President Trump’s mismanagement…requires immediate stimulus spending and unprecedented investments in our middle class to rebuild our economy,” said Biden campaign spokesman Michael Gwin, when asked to comment on the size of the economic program.
If fully enacted, the Biden plan would mean federal spending would equal nearly a quarter of all economic activity in the U.S. That is up from 21% in 2019, but well below the jump to 30% this year amid the pandemic.
It is also below the level of government spending in most of the world’s developed countries—and far short of the social democracies of Europe, where the public sector in many countries equals roughly half of GDP.
Aides say the former vice president remains committed to avoiding an expansion of government debt, instead paying for all of his proposed permanent spending increases through tax hikes or spending cuts. The Biden camp offers that as a contrast with Mr. Trump, who has fueled record-high budget deficits, even before the emergency spending prompted by the pandemic, by enacting in 2017 a $1.5 trillion tax cut without offsetting spending reductions.
Mr. Biden would seek to repeal many of Trump’s tax cuts, especially for corporations, and would increase income, investment, and payroll taxes for those households making more than $400,000. The Wharton study estimates the Biden plan would also cut federal spending by more than $1 trillion over 10 years through measures aimed at cutting prescription drug prices.
“We’re in a very urgent moment where spending is necessary in order to keep our economy afloat and in order to save lives,” says Pete Buttigieg, the former South Bend, Ind., mayor and one-time Biden rival who is now advising the candidate’s transition team.
But, Mr. Buttigieg adds, “We need to decide how the services and the investments that we make are going to be funded.”
Progressives worry efforts to contain the deficit could “hamstring our ability to carry out big infrastructure and investment projects that are necessary to tackle a lot of the problems that we have in our society,” says Varshini Prakash, a co-founder of the grass-roots climate group Sunrise Movement, who led a Biden-Sanders climate task force earlier this year.
The Biden team has left itself wiggle room, by saying that their commitment to paying for new spending only covers plans they consider permanent, and needn’t apply to short-term stimulus to counter the recession. Aides also say that some big-spending proposals—such as fixing crumbling infrastructure—are intended to last only a few years, and wouldn’t expand the budget over the long run.
“The vice president has committed to paying for every last dollar, acknowledging that we are going to have to spend some stimulus in 2021 to get us out of the Trump recession,” says a campaign adviser.
The Wharton study estimates Mr. Biden’s platform would raise $3.4 trillion in new revenues over the next decade—$2 trillion short of new net spending over that time period, further inflating the near-term deficit. But the study says the Biden plan by 2050 would reduce federal borrowing compared with current law.
The Biden platform is designed to expand the reach of the federal government in sectors where his team sees failures, either by the private sector or state and local governments. Biden advisers say health insurance, child care and clean-energy production are areas needing a significantly expanded government role.
The Biden budget has continued to grow in recent weeks. One of the most significant proposals the candidate has released since the pandemic is a four-year, $2 trillion plan to create green jobs while rebuilding the country’s infrastructure. The proposal was a significant increase and acceleration from the $1.7 trillion plan, stretched over a decade, he laid out for similar purposes during the Democratic primary.
“We’re not just going to tinker around the edges,” Mr. Biden said during the $2 trillion plan’s rollout. ”We’re going to make historic investments that will seize the opportunity and meet this moment in history.
Party moderates feel some of his plans have gone too far. Rep. Kendra Horn, a Democrat who represents an Oklahoma district President Trump won by nearly 14 points in 2016, says any pandemic-related spending should be bipartisan and targeted.
“If you’re starting with a plan that isn’t based in the reality of what we’re dealing with right now and what is possible, then we’re not really talking about dollars that are the best spent,” she said.
Party progressives, meantime, are satisfied—for now. “Where Biden has moved is an important set of steps forward,” says Washington Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Just when the fear starts to subside, and growing public skepticism seems to push governors into opening, something predictable happens. The entire apparatus of mass media hops on some new, super-scary headline designed to instill more Coronaphobia and extend the lockdowns yet again.
It’s a cycle that never stops. It comes back again and again.
A great example occurred this weekend. A poll appeared on Friday from the Kaiser Family Foundation. It showed that confidence in Anthony Fauci is evaporating along with support for lockdowns and mandatory Covid vaccines.
The news barely made the headlines, and very quickly this was overshadowed by a scary new claim: restaurants will give you Covid!
It’s tailor-made for the mainstream press. The study is from the CDC, which means: credible. And the thesis is easily digestible: those who test positive for Covid are twice as likely as those who tested negative to have eaten at a restaurant.
“Eating and drinking on-site at locations that offer such options might be important risk factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the study says.
Thus the implied conclusion: don’t allow indoor dining! Otherwise Covid will spread like wildfire!
After six months of this Corona Kabuki dance, driven by alarmist media and imposed by wacko, power-abusing governors and mayors, I’ve become rather cynical about the whole enterprise, so I mostly ignore the latest nonsense.
In this case, however, I decided to take a closer look simply because so many millions of owners, workers, and customers have been treated so brutally in the “War on Restaurants.”
It turns out, of course, that this is not what the study said. What’s more interesting is to consider exactly what’s going on here. The study was based on interviews with 314 people who had been tested of their own volition. It included 154 patients with positive test results and 160 control participants with negative test results.
The interviews took place two weeks following the tests, and they concerned life activities two weeks prior to getting the test.
Before we go on here, remember that what alarmed people about Covid was the prospect of dying. The study says nothing about this subject, nor about hospitalization. It’s a fair assumption that the positive cases being interviewed here got it (presumably, if the tests are accurate, which they are not) and got over it.
This alone is interesting simply because it reveals how much the whole subject has been changed: the pandemic has become a casedemic.
Now, to the question of life activities. In the study, based on answers to a survey, the following were not correlated in any significant degree with positive cases of Covid:
Wearing a mask or not wearing a mask
Going to church
Riding on public transportation
Attending large house parties
Going to the gym
Going to the office
Going to the hair salon
Now one might suppose, if you think the study has any merit, that this would be the headline.
The massive power of the state has been deployed all over the United States and the world to force the closure of churches, gyms, offices, salons, and malls. This all happened and is still happening. Also mask mandates became the new normal. The public has been invited by health authorities to jeer at, denounce, and turn in anyone who doesn’t have a cloth strapped to his or her face.
All of this happened in complete contradiction to every commercial right, property right, or normal human freedoms. We threw it all away in the name of virus control. Our lives have been completely upended and our assumptions about our rights and liberties have been overturned.
And yet here is a study that is unable to document any correlation between these life activities and catching the disease.
That’s an amazing conclusion that could have generated headlines like:
Salons Won’t Get You Sick, CDC Reports
You Won’t Catch Covid at the Gym, CDC Shows
No, Your Hairstylist Doesn’t Spread the Coronavirus
Scared to Go Shopping? Don’t Be, Says the CDC
Your Mask Is Pointless, New Study Says
Church Goers Shouldn’t Fear Sickness, Scientists Reveal
Study: Your House Party Didn’t Spread the Virus
And so on. But none of this was to be. Not one single story in the mainstream press said anything like this, even though this was all implied by the CDC study.
The one place that the study revealed a positive correlation between positive cases and life activities was going to restaurants.
So that’s what got the alarmist headlines. Yes, these are all real.
And so on for thousands of times in every mainstream venue. They are all competing for clicks in the great agenda of extending lockdowns and feeding public fear as much as possible. So the worst-possible spin on this slightly sketchy study gets all the headlines.
Thus is it burned into many people’s minds that restaurants are really disease-spreading venues. Go out to eat and you might die!
And here is what makes this even stranger. The interviewers never asked the people in the survey whether they were eating indoors or outdoors, as incredible as that seems. The authors admit this: “Of note, the question assessing dining at a restaurant did not distinguish between indoor and outdoor options.”
Why not? Did they just forget to ask? What’s going on here?
Which is to say that even if the results are meaningful – and there’s so much about this study that is murky and error prone – they are practically useless for knowing what to do about it. If there is no distinction between indoor and outdoor, all speculation about ventilation or crowds or the presence of food and so on, is utterly pointless.
Without knowing that, we are at a loss to figure out any answer to the question of why and what to do. Instead, the message comes down to: don’t go out to eat.
Here is how bad the science has become. In the discussion, the authors write the following:
“Direction, ventilation, and intensity of airflow might affect virus transmission, even if social distancing measures and mask use are implemented according to current guidance. Masks cannot be effectively worn while eating and drinking, whereas shopping and numerous other indoor activities do not preclude mask use.”
Here is what is weird: the study itself supports none of that paragraph.
The survey never asked about ventilation because the people who made the survey somehow forgot to make a query concerning indoor vs. outdoor dining. As for masks, the study did in fact ask respondents about mask wearing and the results showed no correlation between the sickness and whether and to what extent people were wearing masks!
In other words, that paragraph in the discussion is contradicted in two places by the authors’ own study.
In addition, the authors themselves point to an intriguing issue: the people in the survey might have biased their answers based on their personal knowledge of the test results.
Think about it this way. The people who had a positive Covid test are more likely to ask themselves the great question: how did I get this? Going to restaurants is such a rare activity these days that it stands out in one’s mind. When the survey asked people if they had gone out to eat, it is possible that the memory of the Covid positive person might be more likely to blame the restaurant, whereas the Covid negative person might be more likely to have forgotten the locale of every meal in the last 30 days.
In other words, the real result of the study might be: Covid patients are more likely to scapegoat restaurants than gyms, churches, and salons.
Alas, none of these interesting considerations appear in the media-rendered version of this study: panic and keep the lockdowns in place!
Lockdowns have become a conclusion in a desperate search for evidence.
This is precisely where we’ve been for six solid months now. The media has become the handmaiden of lockdown tyranny, blasting out simplistic versions of sketchy studies to keep the panic going as long as possible. And the public, which is far too trusting of the media and its capacity for rational and accurate reporting, eats it up.
For now. Once the dust settles on all of this, it seems highly likely that media science reporting will lose credibility for a generation. It certainly deserves that fate.
Jeffrey A. Tucker is Editorial Director for the American Institute for Economic Research. He is the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and eight books in 5 languages, most recently The Market Loves You. He is also the editor of The Best of Mises. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture. Jeffrey is available for speaking and interviews via his email.