Category Archives: Mainstream Media

Sloppy Thinking About ‘Torture’

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine 

photo via FrontPage Magazine

photo via FrontPage Magazine

Torture is one of those topics that often overwhelm sober reason with lurid emotion. Even people who usually are clear-eyed and rational sink into sloppy thinking and incoherent argument when it comes to torture. Peggy Noonan’s recentWall Street Journal column about the Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation techniques illustrates this phenomenon perfectly.

Noonan is usually an astute analyst, but her column on the report is riddled with received wisdom and unexamined assumptions. For Noonan, the “important lesson” of the report is not that progressives, as usual, are shameful hypocrites and partisan hacks who will damage their country’s interests for ideological or political advantage. It is not that when fighting a brutal enemy who obeys no laws of war, things are done we’d rather not do in order to save lives. No, her “lesson” is that the enhanced interrogation techniques, “torture” in her view, are “not like us” or “part of the American DNA,” and that, quoting John McCain, such techniques damage “our reputation as a force for good in the world.” These assertions, however, are based on simplistic psychology and flawed reasoning.

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The Campus as California

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media 

college_anarchy_graffiti_1-19-14-1Campuses are becoming the haunts of the very wealthy and the poor, with little regard for any in-between — sort of like California.

Let me explain. Lately lots of strange things have been in the news about college campuses — from the Rolling Stone’s mythography [1] of the University of Virginia fraternities to Lena Dunham’s invented charges [2] of rape against a supposed Oberlin College Republican to courses on “white privilege” to “hands up; don’t shoot” demonstrations protesting the police shooting of Michael Brown.

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Lying for the Cause

If myths do more for social progress than facts — then why worry?

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Ripples of Ferguson

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media

Police tape in front of smoldering remains of Prime Beauty Supply in Ferguson in the aftermath of riots. Photo taken on 11/25/14 by R. Gino Santa Maria / Shutterstock.com.

Police tape in front of smoldering remains of Prime Beauty Supply in Ferguson in the aftermath of riots. Photo taken on 11/25/14 by R. Gino Santa Maria / Shutterstock.com.

There is some blame to go around in nearly all racial confrontations. Why the body of Michael Brown was left in the street for hours seems inexplicable. The apparent chokehold that contributed to the death of Eric Garner, with the benefit of video hindsight, does not seem to square with the de facto exoneration of the officer involved. In contrast, there has been absolutely no credible evidence that the unfortunate shooting of Michael Brown was not in self-defense.

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The End of Feminism

Image credit: Duke University

Image credit: Duke University

by Bruce S. Thornton // Defining Ideas

California recently passed a law requiring that sexual encounters between students in universities and colleges can proceed only on the basis of “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement.” Failure to resist or to ask the partner to stop the encounter can no longer be taken as consent. Institutions that wish to receive state funds or financial aid must adhere to this standard when investigating charges of “sexual assault,” a phrase redefined to include behaviors once considered boorish or insensitive, but not legally actionable. The California law follows on the 2011 Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights’s “dear colleague”letter that instructed schools investigating sexual assault complaints to use the “more likely than not” or “preponderance of the evidence” standard of evidence rather than the “clear and convincing” one.

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When the Law Is a Drag

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media

Photo via PJMedia

Photo via PJMedia

In the Ferguson disaster [1], the law was the greatest casualty. Civilization cannot long work if youths strong-arm shop owners and take what they want. Or walk down the middle of highways high on illicit drugs. Or attack police officers and seek to grab their weapons. Or fail to obey an officer’s command to halt. Or deliberately give false testimonies to authorities. Or riot, burn, and loot. Or, in the more abstract sense, simply ignore the legal findings of a grand jury; or, in critical legal theory fashion, seek to dismiss the authority of the law because it is not deemed useful to some preconceived theory of social justice. Do that and society crumbles.

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The Democrats’ Waterloo

Their refusal to acknowledge the administration’s failures did not make them go away.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Plutocratic Populism Pays

What’s with rich liberals who blast other people for being rich?

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Crimes of Exactly What?

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJMedia

Photo via: hoodmetal.com

Photo via: hoodmetal.com

The recent unfortunate shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and its violent aftermath seem to have had everything and nothing to do with race.  Brown was black and unarmed and the officer white; but it is equally true that the 292-pound Brown likely committed a number of crimes in the minutes before his death. He was high on drugs [1]; he robbed a store and strong-armed the clerk [2]; he was walking down the middle of a road; and he started a physical altercation with policeman Darren Wilson (who tried to question him), inflicting injuries on the officer before being fatally shot. If that were a typical day in the life of an American citizen, then civilization, as we now know it, could no longer exist.

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The Moral Failures of Eric Holder

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media

Photo via PJMedia

Photo via PJMedia

Eric Holder’s left many baleful legacies: being censured by the House of Representatives; withholding subpoenaed documents, proving untruthful about a failed gun-walking caper in Mexico; failing to enforce laws on the books, from immigration to the elements of the Affordable Care Act; illegally billing the government for his own private use of a government Gulfstream jet; snooping on Associated Press reporters; giving de facto exemptions to renegade IRS politicos; and trying to create civilian trials for terrorist killers like KSM, one of the architects of the 9/11 attacks. But he will be known mostly for re-teaching Americans to think of race as essential, not incidental, to our characters.

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