Month: October 2015

Free thinkers are an endangered species on campus

Perhaps the most eloquent explanation of free speech is the famous line attributed to the enlightenment thinker Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”Roll over in your grave Voltaire, and tell Jefferson the news: free speech is dying in this supposedly enlightened future of ours. Each month brings increasingly preposterous news about some group of college students forcing a speaker from campus in the name of diversity, or inclusion, or multiculturalism, or some other liberal notion that they’re proving they either don’t understand or don’t honestly value. Earlier this month Williams College cancelled a speech by conservative author Suzanne Venker after students became absolutely unhinged and flooded the sponsoring group’s Facebook page.“When you bring a misogynistic, white supremacist men’s rights activist to campus in the name of ‘dialogue’ and ‘the other side,’” read one particularly tedious comment, “You are not only causing actual mental, social, psychological and physical harm to students, but you are also -- paying -- for the continued dispersal of violent ideologies that kill our black and brown (trans) femme sisters … you are dipping your hands in their blood.”Proving that truth is stranger than fiction, the cancelled speech was part of a campus series titled “Uncomfortable Learning.”With all the fuss, one would think these students are protesting visits by brutal dictators or holocaust deniers. Not exactly. Actually, many recently banned speakers shared something in common with Venker -- they’re women. Due to strident prattling…

The House GOP is far from a crisis

The establishment wing of the Republican Party is having a full-blown panic attack.Crisis. Chaos. Disaster. Those are just a few of the words being over used to describe the House Republican Conference after embattled Speaker John Boehner suddenly quit and his hand-picked successor gave up his brief attempt at the gavel last week.As the dust settles, GOP lawmakers supposedly look “divided and in disarray” according to NBC News, while the Politico says some are “just exasperated.” Are things really that bad? No. The conference is cleaning house. But for a group that’s supposed to be full of businessmen, it’s surprising that many think the ouster of an ineffective leader, and then passing on his recommended replacement, wasn’t necessary. Had the speaker and his lieutenants been running a company, they’d have all been fired long ago. That’s why all of this supposed tumult is music to the ears of many conservatives. Far from chaos, we see the shakeup as a promising sign that we may be getting closer to the type of legislative branch leadership we’ve asked for since giving Republicans control of Congress. We see a real opportunity to direct the flow of coming events not only with who we support as the next speaker, but by firmly telling them what they must deliver once in office. And that’s what it’s about: policies, not personalities. In the past few days we’ve heard that “recalcitrant” conservatives ran poor old Boehner off because the veteran lawmaker wasn’t conservative enough. Now, they say,…

It’s the garbage in our minds, not the guns in our hands

Last week’s mass shooting in Oregon once again has the usual suspects on the left calling for more gun laws and those on the right blaming the mentally ill.“Some say the answer is stricter gun laws,” said a visibly shaken Stephen Colbert on The Late Show the evening after the shooting. “Others say the answer is mental health care, that we need better treatment or just keep the guns out of the hands of the insane. Maybe it’s both. I honestly don’t know.”Few do, but that doesn’t stop the debate from playing its endless loop.“We’re going to have to change our laws,” President Barrack Obama said. The liberal echo chamber then became predictably saturated with similar demands for more laws.  But what laws, specifically? They never say, because they cannot say. “The way they talk is as if they have the answer and there are these recalcitrant forces in the country that say ‘no, no, no,’ even though deep down they know their legislation will work,” said conservative writer Charles C.W. Cooke during a debate on MSNBC. “That’s simply not the case. It’s far more complicated than that.”Cooke is right. Conservatives aren’t opposing legislation that could prevent such crimes, but nothing the president’s party has ever proposed would have stopped Chris Harper-Mercer from purchasing the firearms that he used to kill nine people at Umpqua Community College. He wasn’t a criminal. He wasn’t under the care of a physician for a severe mental illness. He didn’t use any sort of outlandish…