Charting liberal hypocrisy is now old hat. From academia to the Sierra Club, elite progressives expect to live lives that are quite different from what they envision for the less sophisticated. No one believes that Elizabeth Warren would wish affirmative action to work for everyone in the way that she herself subverted it. Nor would we expect Warren not to be in the 1 percent that she so scolds — any more than we would assume that Al Gore would not leave a carbon footprint as large as those of thousands of the less environmentally sensitive put together.
First lady Michelle Obama recently lamented that “many young people are going to schools with kids who look just like them.” And she added: “And too often those schools aren’t equal, especially ones attended by students of color, which too often lag behind.” But that anguish should not mean that the Obamas have put or would put their children in the inner-city public schools the way President and Mrs. Carter did with Amy.
Americans now have more computer power in their smart phones than did the
Pentagon in all its computer banks just 30 years ago. We board a sophisticated jet and assume that the flight is no more dangerous than crossing the street.
The downside of this complete reliance on computer gadgetry is a fundamental ignorance of what technology is. Smart machines are simply the pumps that deliver the water of knowledge — not knowledge itself.
What does it matter that millions of American students can communicate across thousands of miles instantly with their iPads and iPhones if a poorly educated generation increasingly has little to say?
The latest fad of near-insolvent universities is to offer free iPads to students so that they can access information more easily. But what if most undergraduates still have not been taught to read well or think inductively, or to have some notion of history? Speeding up their ignorance is not the same as imparting wisdom. Requiring a freshman Latin course would be a far cheaper and wiser investment in mastering language, composition, and inductive reasoning than handing out free electronics. Continue reading “Technology and Wisdom”→
By the beginning of 1980, Jimmy Carter was in big trouble. Almost everything he had said or done in foreign policy over the prior three years had failed — and he was running for reelection.
Carter had come into office in 1977 promising a new American stance abroad predicated on human rights. He bragged of an end to our supposedly inordinate fear of Soviet-inspired Communism. He entertained the hope of not losing a single American soldier in combat during his tenure. And he rejected the realpolitik of the Nixon-Kissinger years.
The State Department would end the excessive influence of the bellicose National Security Council. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance would put a kinder, gentler face on American diplomacy. We championed Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe over more moderate black reformers. We broke with the Shah of Iran, who fled his country in January 1979. We for a while praised the Ayatollah Khomeini and sought ways to reach out to him. Carter’s U.N. ambassador, Andrew Young, called Khomeini “some kind of saint.” Young met secretly with PLO representatives in Kuwait. In an interview, he falsely alleged of his own country that “We still have hundreds of people that I would categorize as political prisoners in our prisons.” Continue reading “A New Obama Doctrine?”→
President Obama entered office promising to restore the sanctity of science. Instead, a fresh war against science, statistics, and reason is being waged on behalf of politically correct politics.
After the Sandy Hook tragedy, the president attempted to convert national outrage into new gun-control legislation. Specifically, he focused on curtailing semi-automatic “assault” rifles. But there is no statistical evidence that such guns — semi-automatic rifles that have mostly cosmetic changes to appear similar to banned military-style fully automatic assault weapons — lead to increased gun-related crimes.
The promiscuous availability of illegal handguns does. Handguns are used in the vast majority of all gun related violent crime — and in such cases they are often obtained illegally. Yet the day-to-day enforcement of existing handgun statutes is far more difficult than the widely publicized passing of new laws.
Late-term abortions used to be justified in part by an argument dating back to the 1970s that fetuses were not yet “human.” But emerging science has allowed premature babies five months old or younger to survive outside the womb. Brain waves of fetuses can be monitored at just six weeks after conception. Such facts may be unwelcome to many, given the political controversy over Continue reading “The Anti-Empirical Left”→
President Obama came to California. He saw a drought. He announced the cause to be global warming and left. How accurate was the president’s diagnosis of harmful, man-made climate change in stopping rain and snow? First, a bit of a reminder about what the president has called “settled science.”
Until 1982 “settled science” decreed that stomach ulcers were a result of bad diet, too much gastric acid, or undue stress. Then Australian scientists Barry Marshall and Robin Warren shocked the medical community with an unlikely thesis: The real culprit for peptic ulcers more often was infection by the Gram-negative bacterium H. pylori, a common but sometimes dangerous agent in the gut that could be treated with antibiotics. The practice of gastroenterology was turned upside down. Continue reading “Obama’s Pseudo-Scientism”→
Secretary of State John Kerry, a veritable billionaire who is not shy about acquiring carbon-consuming luxury boats, cars, and toys, and who leaves an incorrectly large carbon footprint when he engages in private travel, just gave a screed to relatively poor Continue reading “Aristocratic Sermonizing”→
Al Gore is at it again, recently charging that “American democracy has been hacked” by special interests and accusing his political opponents of “political terrorism.”
This comes from a big-government, high-tax advocate who raced to unload his share of a hyped, but failed cable station to avoid newly enacted higher capital-gains taxes. Gore sold his wares to an anti-Semitic and often anti-American Continue reading “A Man for the Times”→
America is in great shape energy-wise. We have more gas and oil reserves than ever before. Indeed, the United States could shortly become the world’s largest exporter of coal. Our cheaper power rates may bring energy-intensive industry back from Europe and Asia. Continue reading “Life in the Twilight”→