Required Reading for Republicans

The country is in desperate need of another Ronald Reagan.

From VDH:

On almost every contemporary issue there is a populist, middle-class argument to be made against elite liberalism. Yet the Republican class in charge seems ossified in its inability to make a counter-argument for the middle class. Never has the liberal agenda been so vulnerable, a logical development when bad ideas have had five years to prove themselves as very bad ideas. When Obama is all done he will have taken high presidential popularity ratings, a supermajority in the Senate, and a large margin in the House and lost them all — if only the Republicans can make an adequate case that they represent the middle class, the Democrats only the very wealthy and the very dependent.

Illegal Immigration

We know the entry of 11 million illegal aliens depresses the wages of the poor and entry-level working class. Illegal immigration overwhelms state services, and that too hurts citizens most in need of help. The lower-middle classes do not have low-paid nannies, gardeners, and house-keepers. We know the illegal influx pleases La Raza activists, most of them second- and third-generation elites in government, politics, journalism and education, who without illegal immigration would not have much of a moral or legal justification for the continuance of affirmative action and identity politics, given that statistically Latinos would soon follow the pattern of other assimilated groups. (For example, is there affirmative action for Armenian immigrants? An Italian Razza movement? Punjabi Studies?)

We also know that cheap labor in the shadows benefits corporate business, eager for low-wage laborers. So how hard is it for a Republican simply to say, “I oppose illegal immigration because (1) it is illegal. It undermines the sanctity of the law and discriminates against the law-abiding waiting in line to enter the U.S. legally. (2) It benefits corporate grandees at the expense of working people. (3) It is driven by self-serving elites of the ethnic-grievance industry to enhance their own advantage, rather than to help poor folks struggling to find decent wages and schools. Illegal immigration, in short, is the most illiberal issue of our time.

Energy

Fracking and horizontal drilling help the middle class. Stopping them on federal lands or banning Keystone makes the lower classes pay for the pipe dreams of the upper class. The Berkeley Sierra Club professor doesn’t worry whether he can find a job welding on a pipeline. He does not drive along the Westside 50 miles to work and so cares little about the price of gas for his third-hand pick-up. It is about 70 degrees year round in Menlo Park, so it is easy to jack power bills up to subsidize wind and solar, when you don’t need to survive 105 degree temperatures in Bakersfield. Discouraging energy development is a pastime of the rich, who have the money to shield themselves from the consequences of their advocacy, and do not associate with the less well-off, who always seem to suffer from elite pipe dreams. Why not headquarter the Sierra Club in Bakersfield, where the cost of electricity is real for real people? Cannot a Republican rebuttal to the State of the Union simply say, “Mr. President, you are shamelessly taking credit for gas and oil production that you did all in your power to thwart. The middle class is enjoying a temporary cut in gas prices, despite, not because of, you.”

Gun Control

How hard it is for Republicans to say to liberals, “I accuse! The wealthy have their security details, most of them armed. The underclass has access to illegal weaponry as the armed crime sprees in a Detroit or Chicago attest. Why then go after the middle class, who neither outsource their security nor break the law? Before we issue sweeping edicts aimed at the law-abiding, let us disarm all the security guards of Hollywood and Washington, D.C., and put away for good the criminals who use illegal firearms to hurt the innocent.”

The Federal Reserve

Barack Obama’s Wall Street is booming, not because of a superb business cycle, but because there is no interest on capital anywhere else to be found. The rich profit from their more sophisticated knowledge of stocks, the poor from debt relief. The middle?

What good is it to them that they played by all the rules and saved money — if only to receive no interest on any of their passbook accounts? The self-employed man who was not a pensioned employee in the public sector, who does not chat with his stock broker each week, and who is not eligible for mortgage-debt relief, student-debt relief for his children, credit-card relief, or any federal relief of any sort is a veritable fool. He socked away each month a few hundred dollars in his savings — but in an era when having cash in the bank means that inflation eats it away faster than minimal interest can preserve it.

Young People

Obamacare is a gift to the old and affluent, who use subsidized health care from the young and poor. It is the greatest tax on the youthful cohort in the history of the republic at a time when student debt already exceeds $1 trillion. How liberal is that? Or for that matter, how liberal were colleges to up their annual tuition rates higher than inflation, assured that their own pyramidal cultures (compare the disparities in salaries of the part-timer and full professor for the same class) were subsidized by federally guaranteed (and mostly high-interest) loans? How many rants on race and gender are necessary to win exemption from the exploitation in the classroom next door?

“Fairness”

We talk about fairness. Do men and women make the same on the president’s own staff? Why does Kobe Bryant make so much and some of his gifted colleagues make so little in comparison? Does Johnny Depp really need $40 million a year when the Hollywood sound tech cannot afford a cottage in South Central L.A.? Did not the Malibu grandees hear their president say that they did not build their film careers, and at some point long ago had made enough money? Could not the gardeners or nannies of Santa Monica at least be unionized? Is there a chapter of ACORN at Google? Can graduate-school TAs get the SEIU interested in their plight? At some point cannot a conservative make the case that liberalism, as preached by its elites, is a psychological mechanism to shield wealthy progressives from the ramifications of their own ideology? Do Apple executives not outsource? Does Facebook not offshore? What is so liberal about Mark Zuckerberg besmirching his opponents as nativists, as he tries to access as much cheap labor as he can, at a time when the Other in Silicon Valley — from his gardeners to computer programmers — could not afford to rent a cot in his tool shed? Cannot a Republican ask Obama at least to forgo Martha’s Vineyard next summer or the next zillionaire golfing outing if he wants to rant about the perks of the 1%?

Green

How liberal was it that a few hundred Bay Area elites went to court over the last few years to divert about 20 million acre-feet of precious irrigation water to flow out to the sea, in vain pursuit of their fantasies about expanding bait fish populations in the delta or in hopes of seeing a salmon jump out of the river by Fresno? Tens of thousands of poor people will lose their jobs this summer, as irrigation water reserves are exhausted and acreage goes out of production. What is more liberal: allowing an out-of-work poor logger of 23 to go into the Sierra to salvage timber from a burned-out Sierra Nevada forest, or to keep him jobless and on the dole in order that the precious lumber rots and breeds precious populations? In the liberal calculus, is Coleoptera more valuable than homo sapiens? Is the distant bark beetle a more cuddly creature than the jobless, tobacco-chewing chain-sawer having a beer at the Lakeshore bar?

Diversity

Yes, let us all hail diversity and insist that it be applied across the board. Cannot California find a senior elected leader other than Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, and Nancy Pelosi? How diverse, given California’s trumpeted diversity, are three elderly multimillionaire women, with hyper-capitalist spouses, who live within commuting distance of each other in the Bay Area? Should the United States Postal service base correct its current labor profile by hiring in accordance with ethnic percentages within the population? Should Asians depart from UC Berkeley so more whites, blacks, and Latinos might enroll commensurately with their percentages in the population? Should the NFL have quotas for non-African-Americans, to give others a chance — to paraphrase Kanye West — to have insider contacts to land such lucrative athletic billets? How many Asians are on the L.A. Lakers versus the size of the Asian community in L.A. County? Have the military casualties of the last decade in Afghanistan and Iraq been computed to ensure that all groups suffered commensurately? Just when or when do we not insist on proportional representation based on ethnicity? Are the heads of Hollywood studios reflective of the rich diversity of California? And if we are going down the diversity and fairness routes, then surely Al Gore needs a sermon — after he unloaded a failed network to an anti-Semitic, carbon-burning medieval sheikdom, in failed efforts to beat the new capital gains tax that he so strenuously supported. How fair, how egalitarian, how diverse is all that? What is the ethnic profile of Sierra Club membership?

In 2014 Republicans are going to be kamikazeed by very wealthy, highly educated, and relentless operatives in the Boston-New York-Washington, D.C., nexus, with backup from the San Diego to San Francisco bookend coastal corridor. These critics mostly rest at the top of the capitalist heap, and will assail those who are not, on grounds that they are unfair to every hyphenated group in America.

To survive, Republicans must go on the offensive and point out that their accusers never live the lives they advocate for others. Liberal feminists seem to be John Edwards and Bill Clinton. Liberal men of the people are Al Gore, John Kerry, and Jon Corzine. Their populists who deplore outsourcing, offshore accounts, and non-unions are Apple and Facebook grandees who embrace all three. White privilege is not the fate of the West Virginian or West Texan working at Target, but the tiny, inbred old-boy and old-girl world of prep-school to Ivy League to the insider pull of Dad and Mom to land up with a phoned-in job in journalism, politics, finance, entertainment, the arts, and academia on the East and West coasts, followed by pro forma praise of diversity — for others. Open-borders zealots have their children behind the walls of private academies.

Surely there is a populist case to be made — or is the Republican establishment to manage a permanent, sober, and judicious out-party, as it is demagogued to death by the privileged?

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The Intolerance of Academia

From George F. Will:

In 2007, Keith John Sampson, a middle-aged student working his way through Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis as a janitor, was declared guilty of racial harassment. Without granting Sampson a hearing, the university administration — acting as prosecutor, judge and jury — convicted him of “openly reading [a] book related to a historically and racially abhorrent subject.”

“Openly.” “Related to.” Good grief.

The book, “Notre Dame vs. the Klan,” celebrated the 1924 defeat of the Ku Klux Klan in a fight with Notre Dame students. But some of Sampson’s co-workers disliked the book’s cover, which featured a black-and-white photograph of a Klan rally. Someone was offended, therefore someone else must be guilty of harassment.

This non sequitur reflects the right never to be annoyed, a new campus entitlement. Legions of administrators, who now outnumber full-time faculty, are kept busy making students mind their manners, with good manners understood as conformity to liberal politics.

Liberals are most concentrated and untrammeled on campuses, so look there for evidence of what, given the opportunity, they would do to America. Ample evidence is in “Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate” by Greg Lukianoff, 38, a graduate of Stanford Law School who describes himself as a liberal, pro-choice, pro-gay rights, lifelong Democrat who belongs to “the notoriously politically correct Park Slope Food Co-Op in Brooklyn” and has never voted for a Republican “nor do I plan to.” But as president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), he knows that the most common justifications for liberal censorship are “sensitivity” about “diversity” and “multiculturalism,” as academic liberals understand those things.

In recent years, a University of Oklahoma vice president has declared that no university resources, including e-mail, could be used for “the forwarding of political humor/commentary.” The College at Brockport in New York banned using the Internet to “annoy or otherwise inconvenience” anyone. Rhode Island College prohibited, among many other things, certain “attitudes.” Texas Southern University’s comprehensive proscriptions included “verbal harm” from damaging “assumptions” or “implications.” Texas A&M promised “freedom from indignity of any type.” Davidson banned “patronizing remarks.” Drexel University forbade “inappropriately directed laughter.” Western Michigan University banned “sexism,” including “the perception” of a person “not as an individual, but as a member of a category based on sex.” Banning “perceptions” must provide full employment for the burgeoning ranks of academic administrators.

Many campuses congratulate themselves on their broad-mindedness when they establish small “free-speech zones” where political advocacy can be scheduled. At one point Texas Tech’s 28,000 students had a “free-speech gazebo” that was 20 feet wide. And you thought the First Amendment made America a free-speech zone.

At Tufts, a conservative newspaper committed “harassment” by printing accurate quotations from the Koran and a verified fact about the status of women in Saudi Arabia. Lukianoff says that Tufts may have been the first American institution “to find someone guilty of harassment for stating verifiable facts directed at no one in particular.”

He documents how “orientation” programs for freshmen become propaganda to (in the words of one orthodoxy enforcer) “leave a mental footprint on their consciousness.” Faculty, too, can face mandatory consciousness-raising.

In 2007, Donald Hindley, a politics professor at Brandeis, was found guilty of harassment because when teaching Latin American politics he explained the origin of the word “wetbacks,” which refers to immigrants crossing the Rio Grande. Without a hearing, the university provost sent Hindley a letter stating that the university “will not tolerate inappropriate, racial and discriminatory conduct.” The assistant provost was assigned to monitor Hindley’s classes “to ensure that you do not engage in further violations of the nondiscrimination and harassment policy.” Hindley was required to attend “anti-discrimination training.”

Such coercion is a natural augmentation of censorship. Next comes mob rule. Last year, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the vice provost for diversity and climate — really; you can’t make this stuff up — encouraged students to disrupt a news conference by a speaker opposed to racial preferences. They did, which the vice provost called “awesome.” This is the climate on an especially liberal campus that celebrates “diversity” in everything but thought.

“What happens on campus,” Lukianoff says, “doesn’t stay on campus” because censorship has “downstream effects.” He quotes a sociologist whose data he says demonstrate that “those with the highest levels of education have the lowest exposure to people with conflicting points of view.” This encourages “the human tendency to live within our own echo chambers.” Parents’ tuition dollars and student indebtedness pay for this. Good grief.

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The Diversity Racket

From Heather MacDonald:

As protesters festively (oops! I mean “heroically”) rally on college quads across California in the wake of the gratuitous macing of a dozen Occupy Wall Street wannabes at University of California–Davis last Friday, UC Berkeley’s Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion declared that the rising tuition at California’s public universities is giving him “heartburn.” It should, since Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri and his fellow diversity bureaucrats are a large cause of those skyrocketing college fees, not just in California but nationally.

[…]

Basri commands a staff of 17, allegedly all required to make sure that fanatically left-wing UC Berkeley is sufficiently attuned to the values of “diversity” and “inclusion”; his 2009 base pay of $194,000 was nearly four times that of starting assistant professors. Basri was given responsibility for a $4.5 million slice of Berkeley’s vast diversity bureaucracy when he became the school’s first Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion in 2007; since then, the programs under his control have undoubtedly weathered the recession far more comfortably than mere academic endeavors.

UC Berkeley’s diversity apparatus, which spreads far beyond the office of the VC for E and I, is utterly typical. For the last three decades, colleges have added more and more tuition-busting bureaucratic fat; since 2006, full-time administrators have outnumbered faculty nationally. UC Davis, for example, whose modest OWS movement has been happily energized by the conceit that the campus is a police state, offers the usual menu of diversity effluvia under the auspices of an Associate Executive Vice Chancellor for Campus Community Relations. A flow chart of Linnaean complexity would be needed to accurately map all the activities overseen by the AEVC for CCR. They include a Diversity Trainers Institute, staffed by Davis’s Administrator of Diversity Education; the Director of Faculty Relations and Development in Academic Personnel; the Director of the UC Davis Cross-Cultural Center; the Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center; an Education Specialist with the UC Davis Sexual Harassment Education Program; an Academic Enrichment Coordinator with the UC Davis Department of Academic Preparation Programs; and the Diversity Program Coordinator and Early Resolution Discrimination Coordinator with the Office of Campus Community Relations. The Diversity Trainers Institute recruits “a cadre of individuals who will serve as diversity trainers/educators,” a function that would seem largely superfluous, given that the Associate Executive Vice Chancellor for Campus Community Relations already offers a Diversity Education Series that grants Understanding Diversity Certificates in “Unpacking Oppression” and Cross-Cultural Competency Certificates in “Understanding Diversity and Social Justice.”

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Diversity

From Heather Mac Donald:

California’s budget crisis has reduced the University of California to near-penury, claim its spokesmen. “Our campuses and the UC Office of the President already have cut to the bone,” the university system’s vice president for budget and capital resources warned earlier this month, in advance of this week’s meeting of the university’s regents. Well, not exactly to the bone. Even as UC campuses jettison entire degree programs and lose faculty to competing universities, one fiefdom has remained virtually sacrosanct: the diversity machine.

Not only have diversity sinecures been protected from budget cuts, their numbers are actually growing. The University of California at San Diego, for example, is creating a new full-time “vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion.” This position would augment UC San Diego’s already massive diversity apparatus, which includes the Chancellor’s Diversity Office, the associate vice chancellor for faculty equity, the assistant vice chancellor for diversity, the faculty equity advisors, the graduate diversity coordinators, the staff diversity liaison, the undergraduate student diversity liaison, the graduate student diversity liaison, the chief diversity officer, the director of development for diversity initiatives, the Office of Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the Committee on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Issues, the Committee on the Status of Women, the Campus Council on Climate, Culture and Inclusion, the Diversity Council, and the directors of the Cross-Cultural Center, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, and the Women’s Center.

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University Diversity

In, as George Will wrote, everything but thought.

From Fox News:

A longtime professor at UCLA, told that he would not be rehired because his “research is not aligned with the academic mission” of his department, says he’s being fired after 36 years at the prestigious school because his scientific beliefs are “politically incorrect.” But UCLA says Dr. James Enstrom’s politics have nothing to do with its decision.

Enstrom, an epidemiologist at UCLA’s School of Public Health, has a history of running against the grain. In 2003 he wrote a study, published in the British Medical Journal, in which he found no causal relationship between secondhand smoke and tobacco-related death – a conclusion that drew fire both because it was contrary to popular scientific belief and because it was funded by Philip Morris.

Now Enstrom says his studies show no causal link between diesel soot and death in California – findings that once again set him far apart from the pack and put him in direct conflict with the California Air Resources Board, which says its new standards on diesel emissions will save 9,400 lives between 2011 and 2025 and will reduce health care costs by as much as $68 billion in the state.

The expected benefits of the new standards have been used to justify their estimated $5.5 billion price tag, which opponents say will cripple the California trucking industry at a time when the state can least afford it. The new standards, the critics warn, also could set the stage for national regulations.

Enstrom questions the science behind the new emissions standards, and he has raised concerns about the two key reports on which they were based – exposing the author of one study as having faked his credentials and the panel that issued the other study as having violated its term limits.

[…]

Enstrom also expressed concerns that the review panel “is supposed to have term limits of up to three years” to keep the panel from being dominated by one school of thought, yet “many of them had been in their posts for over 20 years.”

He said he voiced those concerns in 2008 to CARB, former UC President Robert Dynes, and current UC President Mark Yudof. The UC president is charged with making nominations for the Scientific Review Panel.

At least five of the nine panel members have since been replaced.

[…]

nstrom also blew the whistle on a CARB staffer, Hien Tran, who authored a report that was central to the legislation – after faking his credentials.

“He said he had a Ph.D. from UC Davis. Turns out he had bought his Ph.D. online for $1,000,” Enstrom said.

Tran was demoted, but his report was still used to “set the context for the health benefits of reducing diesel emissions” when the board voted on the trucking regulations, CARB spokesman Stanley Young told FoxNews.com.

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Counting minorities

Had to post this because it involves one of my favorite thinkers, Thomas Sowell. From Daniel Foster:

America May Be Post-Racial, But Liberaland Ain’t

As a general rule, the nicer the guy, the poorer the polemicist. And Alan Colmes is a real sweetheart.

That’s why there isn’t much sting in this post on his “Liberaland” blog about the dearth of black faces in our symposium on race and the recession:

National Review conducted an online symposium called “Really a racial recession?” The purpose was to answer whether “blacks in America [are] suffering a Great Depression, suffering worse than other Americans because of undeniable employment discrimination?” (h/t Think Progress) Oliver Willis has a question of his own, while acknowledging you don’t have to be black to talk about black issues:

But considering the way the conservative movement insists that it is diverse, they couldn’t find one black person for their symposium? Not one?

Daniel Foster of National Review tweeted to Willis that they do have a black guy who writes for them named Thomas Sowell. Good that they could find one.

Willis and I did indeed have a bit of a back and forth on one of the left’s favorite pastimes — counting minorities — and were joined in it by the American Prospect’s Adam Serwer and past NR contributor Robert A. George. Here is the my original tweet to Willis:

“We don’t do quotas. But there’s this Thomas Sowell guy who writes for us a lot. Pretty sure he’s an economist.”

Admittedly, nobody wins when conservatives feel the need to start name-dropping minorities to prove their diversity bona fides; and trying to convey sarcasm via social media is a rookie mistake. So I’ll take ownerhsip of all that. But c’mon, if you’re reading this post, you either know who (National Humanities Medal-winning economist and NRO immortal) Thomas Sowell is, or you’re Alan Colmes.

My point was that one of the preeminent economists and public intellectuals of our age — a man whose thought effortlessly transcends his color — is a philosophical anchor for NRO, and Willis is fretting that we don’t have an African-American perspective to interpret some unemployment data.

The fact that nobody — not my Twitter sparring partners, not Think Progress, not Colmes — got the joke about Sowell is telling in its own right. What is worse is that Colmes’ ignorance is compounded by his apparent belief that Sowell is the lone non-white voice on the Corner. Anybody who’s spent any time around here knows that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, I’d take National Review’s lineup to bat against any liberal blog in terms of its “diversity.”

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