A bouquet of stuff from all over

Quick Link and Open Thread imageThere’s so much good stuff out there on Mondays.  All the pent-up writer’s instinct and energy from the weekend seems to pour over into this day.  Here’s some of that good stuff:

Camille Paglia points out the obvious:  it’s false that a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.  Men are necessary to women’s survival and well-being.  The important thing, as I frequently point out, is to cultivate men’s virtues — and, as my readers have pointed out, to raise women who appreciate men’s best qualities.

And while we’re on the subject of men’s importance, did you know that the majority of crazed mass shooters in the past decades have come from single-mom homes with no stable male role model?  Guns are just tools.  What’s interesting is to see the dynamic social forces that lead young men to those tools:  my list now includes boys and young men who take psychotropic drugs, have Democrat or other leftist backgrounds, and were raised in broken homes usually headed by single moms.  Those are the types of people who use tools destructively.

I keep saying that Charles C.W. Cooke is rapidly becoming one of my favorite pundits.  Posts such as this one, about the media’s endless efforts to pin mass shootings on the Tea Party (instead of on the shooter, or psychotropic drugs, or Democrat backgrounds, or single moms, all of which actually tie in to mass shootings) explain why I like him so much.

Whatever Al Qaeda touches, it turns to shattered human flesh and bones.

Lawlessness at the top of an institution invariably filters downwards.  In Obama’s America, sheriff’s are now refusing to enforce gun laws.  Actually, though, to the extent that this “lawlessness” involves sheriff’s refusing to enforce new laws that violate the Second Amendment, I’m inclined to say that the nation’s sheriffs aren’t being lawless.  They are, instead, engaging in the time-honored American tradition of righteous civil disobedience.

Of course, the lawlessness isn’t just at the top.  There’s also a deep dishonesty that permeates the Left from top to bottom, with its most malevolent outlet in the American media.

North Korea is looking increasingly unstable.  While I’d love to see Kim’s government collapse, I worry that, given North Korea’s massive dysfunction, and the result of 60 years of national brainwashing, anything that is able to topple the Kim dynasty will be worse than the Kim dynasty (assuming that’s possible).

Good for ESPN’s Stephen Smith to speak out against the pariah status imposed on conservative blacks.

Obama’s efforts to polarize America for political ends have resulted in something very dangerous:  a polarized America.

Two on Kerry:  (1) His horrible, awful, dreadful, truly horrible (did I mention horrible?), self-defeating diplomacy; (2) and the fact that he never shuts up, but just keeps spouting nonsense.  In England’s Restoration period, the Earl of Rochester got himself banished from King Charles II’s court when he wrote this little doggerel:  “Here lies our sovereign Lord and King, whose word no man relies on; Who never said a foolish thing, nor ever did a wise one.”  Had I a knack for rhyme, I would rewrite that for Kerry, emphasizing both foolish talk and dangerous action.

Add the University of Maryland to the list of schools that wants to have all students pay $15 more per year for insurance so that a very small number of transgendered students can get free surgery.  On the one hand, $15 is only about 1% of the total cost of student insurance.  On the other hand, if you keep adding in these small amounts, you end up with big amounts.  And to show you how that works, I had a poetry book when I was young that included a poem in which the narrator describes  how Jane would offer him some pie.  “‘Will you have some pie?’” asked Jane.  Said I, ‘Just a little bit.’”  The narrator and Jane repeat this pattern several times.  Eventually, the narrator decides not to wait for Jane to ask him if he wants some pie.  Instead, he asks her for a slice of pie.  To his chagrin, Jane tells him that there’s none left:  “Little bit by little bit, I’d eaten every bit of it.”  And so it goes with trying to insure for every eventuality, including politically correct ones aiming at making everyone feel included in the insurance pie — at the end of the day, there’s nothing left.  Little bit by little bit, insurance costs have became unsustainable and no one can be insured.

“Extremism” when it comes to late term abortion and guns

Kirsten Powers, one of Fox News’ resident Democrats, is the person who forced the Kermit Gosnell mass murder onto the front page.  Before Powers shamed the media into pretending, if only for a few days, that the trial of one the most prolific serial killers in American history actually mattered, the media had managed to ignore almost entirely Kermit Gosnell’s trial.  With Powers’ “J’Accuse” moment on USA Today, however, the media was forced to acknowledge the trial, if only momentarily, and to engage in a cursory analysis of its motives.  The analysis was pathetic, but they did it.  (E.g., “We’ve decided that we didn’t ignore the trial because it was about an abortionist; we ignored it because our incredibly savvy business sense, which has seen most liberal print media outlets totter to the edge of the grave, told us that there was no money in this one.”)

Powers has written another indictment of the Left’s fanatic support for abortion.  This time, her focus is on the pathological denial that sees the Left pretend that a fully matured fetus is just a clump of cells:

What we need to learn from the Gosnell case is that late-term abortion is infanticide. Legal infanticide. That so many people in the media seem untroubled by the idea that 12 inches in one direction is a “private medical decision” and 12 inches in the other direction causes people to react in horror, should be troubling. Indeed, Gosnell’s defense attorney Jack J. McMahon has relied on the argument that Gosnell killed the babies prior to delivering them, therefore he is not guilty of murder. His exact words were: “Every one of those babies died in utero.”

[snip]

We live in a country where if a six-months-pregnant woman started downing shots of vodka in a bar or lit up a cigarette, people might want her arrested. But that same woman could walk into an abortion clinic, no questions asked, and be injected with a drug that would stop her baby’s heart.

I’ll put my cards on the table: I think life begins at conception and would love to live in a world where no women ever felt she needed to get an abortion. However, I know enough people who are pro-abortion rights—indeed, I was one of them for most of my life—to know that reasonable and sincere people can disagree about when meaningful life begins. They also can disagree about how to weigh that moral uncertainty against a woman’s right to control her body—and her own life. I have only ever voted for Democrats, so overturning Roe v. Wade is not one of my priorities. I never want to return to the days of gruesome back-alley abortions.

But medical advances since Roe v. Wade have made it clear to me that late-term abortion is not a moral gray area, and we need to stop pretending it is. No six-months-pregnant woman is picking out names for her “fetus.” It’s a baby. Let’s stop playing Orwellian word games. We are talking about human beings here.

Powers is absolutely right.  I’m pleased and proud to say that, even in my most fiercely pro-Choice days, I wouldn’t have countenanced the abortion of a viable infant.  Nevertheless, I do have to part ways with the core premise in Powers’ article, which is that NARAL and the NRA are both equally extreme, and therefore both equally open to being castigated and disregarded

Speaking as a liberal who endorses more government regulation of practically everything—banks, water, air, food, oil drilling, animal safety—I am eternally perplexed by the fury the abortion rights contingent displays at the suggestion that the government might have a serious role to play in the issue of abortion, especially later-term abortion. More and more, the abortion rights community has become the NRA of the left: unleashing their armies of supporters and lobbyists in opposition to regulations or restrictions that the majority of Americans support. In the same way the NRA believes background checks will lead to the government busting down your door to confiscate your guns, the abortion rights movement conjures a straight line from parental consent to a complete ban on abortion.

Powers is wrong to claim that the two institutions are alike and that both are equally extreme.  They’re not the same and for one very specific reason:  the Constitution.

NARAL is predicated upon a Supreme Court case that found an emanation of a penumbra of an assumed, but never explicitly named, constitutional right to privacy and, from that, created an unfettered right to abort a fetus during its first trimester.  Somehow that limited right morphed into an equally unfettered right to abort a fetus, not just in the first trimester, but right up to, including, and after its birth.  Even the authors of Roe v. Wade would concede that those on the Left who defend late term or post-birth abortions have hit a high note on the extremist scale.  Extremism in defense of an illusory right premised on a magical interpretation of a clearly written historic contract between the people and their federal government is . . . well, extremely extreme.

But about the NRA. . . .  Where does it get the idea that the government should absolutely and completely stay away from law-abiding citizens’ guns?  Are those gun rights nuts also relying on an emanation of a penumbra of an unstated right?  In a word, no.  Instead, the NRA is ensuring that the government does not overreach its explicitly described limitation of power under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

This is not even Goldwater’s “extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.”  There is no extremism here because the NRA, contrary to Progressives’ frequent attacks, is not pushing any boundaries.

Which brings me to one of the best pro-Second Amendment articles I’ve seen.  Iowa State University has a newspaper called the Iowa State Daily.  Until about yesterday, one of its writers was a guy named Barry Snell.  At some point before he attended the university, Barry Snell wore a uniform (police?  military?  He doesn’t say).  Attending an American university and writing for a student newspaper exposed Snell to a lot of anti-gun people.  He doesn’t shy away from the fact that many of them are extremely nice people.  (I know that to be the case when it comes to all the anti-gun people I know.  They’re not professional Leftists.  They’re just myopic.)  Snell’s word for these people, these nice Leftists who turn into slavering gun grabbers whenever a shooting occurs is that they’re “uninformed” — and how.

On his last day as a writer for the Iowa State Daily, Snell un-pented all the pent up irritation, frustration, and anger he has when it comes to those liberals who feel it is their obligation to tar all gun owners as crazy, baby-killing lunatics.  Admirably, Snell’s decency and intellect are such that, even when he let ‘er rip, he stuck to his facts and avoid ad hominem attacks.  Before I start discussing some of the points that specifically interested me in his article, I urge you to read it and share it, through any social media you have (email, Facebook, Twitter, a blog, etc.).  It’s that good.

What Snell does so well is to is explain why NRA types are so defensive when it comes to their Second Amendment rights.  They’ve learned over the years not to trust the Left, which speaks with forked tongue and, no matter what it says, wants to grab guns.  He makes more good arguments than I can count, so let me just give you a taste, and then hone in on my abortion point:

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because anti-gunners always talk about 90 percent of Americans supporting this gun control measure, or 65 percent supporting that one, as if a majority opinion is what truly matters in America. We don’t trust anti-gun people because you think America is a democracy, when it’s actually a constitutional federal republic. In the American system, the rights of a single individual are what matters and are what our system is designed to protect. The emotional mob does not rule in America.

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they keep saying they “respect the Second Amendment” and go on about how they respect the hunting traditions of America. We don’t trust you because you have to be a complete idiot to think the Second Amendment is about hunting. I wish people weren’t so stupid that I have to say this: The Second Amendment is about checking government tyranny. Period. End of story. The founders probably couldn’t have cared less about hunting since, you know, they just got done with that little tiff with England called the Revolutionary War right before they wrote that “little book” called the Constitution.

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they lie to us. President Obama directly says he won’t tamper with guns or the Second Amendment, then turns around and pushes Congress to do just that. We don’t trust anti-gunners because they appoint one of the most lying and rabidly (and moronically) anti-gun people in America, Vice President Biden, to head up a “task force” to “solve” the so-called “gun problem,” who in turn talks with anti-gun special interest groups instead of us to complete his task.

Snell neatly addresses the way the abortion makes the First Amendment sacrosanct, even while relegating the Second Amendment to the inner circle of Hell:

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because they look down on us for defending the Second Amendment as vigorously as they defend the First Amendment — a fight we too would stand side-by-side with them on otherwise. We don’t trust anti-gunners because someone defending the First Amendment is considered a hero, but a someone defending the Second Amendment is figured down with murderers and other lowlifes. Where the First Amendment has its very own day and week, both near-holy national celebrations beyond reproach, anti-gunners would use the First Amendment to ridicule any equivalent event for the Second Amendment, like they did for a recent local attempt at the University of Iowa.

Nicely, for purposes of my post here, Snell actually touches on the abortion question.  He doesn’t do so in a constitutional way, but I’m still throwing it in here, just because he makes such a good point, and manages to show how fundamentally flawed the Leftist position is:

Gun people don’t trust anti-gun people because when it comes to their “We need gun control to save the children” argument, many of us can’t understand how an anti-gun liberal can simultaneously be in favor of abortion. Because you know, a ban on abortion would save a child every single time. I’m personally not rabidly against abortion, but the discongruence makes less sense still when the reason abortions are legal is to protect a woman’s individual rights. That’s great, but does the individual rights argument sound familiar? Anti-gunners think that for some bizarre reason, the founding fathers happened to stick a collective right smack dab at the top of a list of individual rights, though. Yeah, because that makes sense.

Hmmm.  I got a little carried away and off-topic there, and ended up quoting a lot of choice paragraphs that don’t actually tie into the NARAL versus NRA argument.  They’re such good paragraphs, though, that I’m not going to delete them.  I’m just going to drag this post back to my original point, which is that, while Powers is right about late-term abortion, she’s wrong to compare NARAL and the NRA.

Where Powers’ analogy fails is that she believes that the two organizations — NARAL and the NRA — are comparable because both are single issue organizations and both have members who have staked out bottom line positions for their belief.  This is a false comparison, because it mistakes form for substance.  That is, it implies that, because they have a superficial similarity, their beliefs are equal — equal in morality, equal in logic, and equal in law.  They are not.  And this is where I can circle back to Snell.

My takeaway from Snell’s article is that there is no extremism in the defense of the Second Amendment.  It is every bit as important an inherent right as those jumbled almost carelessly together in the First Amendment.  When we defend it against anti-gun people, our actions aren’t motivated by our extremism, but by theirs.  We hew to the Constitution.  They hew to a false understanding of our republican form of government, dishonest statistics, political lies, emotional hysteria, fallout from their own bad policies, etc.  Gun rights advocates, unlike NARAL supporters are not denying reality, and they are not making up imaginary rights.

So while I applaud Powers’ for having the courage to take her Progressive brethren to task for their immoral position when it comes to late term abortion, I can’t give her a pass for pretending that abortion rights and gun rights are the same.  They’re not, and vigilance in defending against unconstitutional, illogical, and immoral attacks against the Second Amendment is not the same as extremism in defense of a made-up right that has been stretched and twisted to give legal cover to something that is, under any interpretation of law, morality, and biology, cold-blooded murder.

Hat tip:  Pierre LeGrand