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October 2017

The Passionate Non-Sequiturs of the Gun Debate The legislation most gun-control advocates call for would not have stopped Stephen Paddock. By Rich Lowry

The mind boggles at the horror of Las Vegas, where Stephen Paddock perched himself in the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay and sprayed bullets into a crowd of outdoor concertgoers in the worst mass shooting in American history.

If this slaughter of innocents were an act perpetrated by a foreign power, the U.S. military retaliation would begin immediately, and rightly so.

The impulse to act to stop the domestic massacres that have become a heartbreakingly metronomic feature of American life is laudable and understandable. “It’s time,” as Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy said, giving voice to the sentiment, “for Congress to get off its a– and do something.”

The problem is that the “something,” namely all the usual gun-control proposals, isn’t well-suited to stopping mass shootings. But liberal politicians never let the inapplicability of their proposals stop them. The passion with which they advocate for new gun-control measures is inversely related to their prospective efficacy.

The go-to proposal is universal back-ground checks, although the perpetrators of mass shootings usually haven’t been adjudicated and therefore have passed background checks, as Paddock did in purchasing at least some of his guns.

He had no history of mental illness, and people who knew him didn’t report any bizarre behavior. He had no criminal record, beyond a minor violation years ago. He didn’t even have politics that anyone was aware of. ISIS is claiming responsibility, but the FBI says it hasn’t found any evidence of a connection. His brother seemed sincerely dumbfounded and called Paddock “just a guy.”

No enhanced background-check regime, no matter how vigorous, would have stopped him from purchasing guns.

Hillary Clinton immediately singled out so-called silencers, or suppressors. “The crowd fled at the sound of gunshots,” Clinton tweeted. “Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make it easier to get.” This conjures an image of the killer shooting down people with a gun impossible to hear, a conception straight out of a James Bond movie.

In a piece on Republican-supported legislation to make suppressors easier to acquire (it currently requires a long approval process and purchase of a $200 tax stamp), the Washington Post notes that one of the devices would lessen the sound of an AR-15 to 132 decibels, or comparable to “a gunshot or a jackhammer.” In other words, a rifle still sounds like a gun even with a suppressor.

If Hillary cares so much about the issue, she might take ten minutes to learn something about it, but gun-controllers tend to be low-information advocates.

Are Wars Caused by Accidents? History shows that a lack of deterrence, not loose rhetoric, spurs aggression. By Victor Davis Hanson

As tensions mount with North Korea, fears arise that President Trump’s tit-for-tat bellicose rhetoric with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un might lead to miscalculations — and thus an accidental war that could have been prevented.

Is there evidence in history that wars break out largely because of an accident or over a misplaced word?


Enemies Fight, but Neutrals, Rivals, and Friends Rarely Do

The precise timing of particular outbreaks of war, of course, can depend on unique factors.

A sudden perception of a loss of deterrence can cause an army to mobilize. So can almost anything, from the introduction of a new weapon to a change in government.

Yet the larger events that originally drove two sides to fight are rarely, if ever, accidental in the manner of car wrecks.

Enemies go to war; rivals, neutrals, and friends rarely do. There is little chance that an accidental foreign incursion across the Canadian or even the Mexican border will result in war. The apparently accidental, but quite lethal, 1967 Israeli air attack on the USS Liberty did not result in a U.S. retaliatory strike on Tel Aviv, much less escalate to a general war. Yet a similar Soviet strike might have.

In general, the best deterrent policy in dealing with multiple aggressors is Teddy Roosevelt’s dictum to speak softly and carry a big stick — because loud speech is sometimes misinterpreted as a compensatory effort to disguise military incapability, and thus paradoxically it can lead to a fatal loss of deterrence.

Next best perhaps is speaking loudly while carrying a big stick. Intemperate words are not fatal if ultimately reinforced by overwhelming force.

Most dangerous is speaking loudly (and especially sanctimoniously) while carrying a twig — basically what we have seen in the past eight years with Russia, Iran, and Syria.

Was World War I Really an Accident?

It is often said that accidents and extraneous forces — nearly automatic and mindless mobilization, fumbled diplomacy, greedy arms merchants, archaic alliances on autopilot, confused messaging, or bellicose strutting and rhetoric in August 1914 — triggered World War I, which otherwise might have been prevented.

But a continental war had come close to breaking out earlier in 1911 over Morocco and again in 1912–13 in the Balkans. A war would likely have broken out later, if not in 1914. Berlin by 1914 held views that were incompatible with peaceful resolution:

1) Germany felt cheated that its economic dynamism, population, and military power somehow had not resulted in what Germany thought it deserved: commensurate colonial expansion overseas and dominant influence on the Continent;

2) the German army since 1871 had felt that its size, and organizational and technological excellence, increasingly replicated in a rising and powerful navy, made it nearly unstoppable vis-à-vis other European rivals;

3) any sudden German strike in either the East or West could not be immediately deterred or stopped by the existing forces of Britain, France, or Russia.

The net result of these unchallenged assumptions was a likely German war of aggression sometime in the second or third decade of the 20th century.

Democrats Take a “Knee” Over Las Vegas Victims They won’t stand for the anthem or for a moment of silence. Daniel Greenfield

Congressman Seth Moulton will be boycotting the moment of silence for the victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting. It’s not just NFL football players who take a knee during the anthem. It’s also Harvard grads who like to announce that they were “approached” to run for President of the United States.

The NFL’s millionaire racists are taking a knee to protest America. But why protest a moment of silence for the victims of the worst mass shooting in this country’s history even if you, like some lefties, think they’re a bunch of country-music listening, Trump-voting Republicans who don’t deserve any sympathy?

If you can’t stand for the anthem, can’t you at least stand for the innocent victims of a monstrous killer?

But, Moulton, like many Democrats, will instead take a knee over the bodies of the Las Vegas dead.

According to Moulton, he’s protesting in support of gun control and demanding, what he calls a, “universal background check”.

“There’s a lot of evidence that shows it would reduce the chances of crimes like these,” Moulton insisted. While all the facts aren’t in (and that hasn’t stopped Moulton or Hillary Clinton), but the evidence does show that the killer’s only previous brush with the law was a traffic citation.

How was a background check supposed to stop a guy with nothing in his background? Ask Moulton or Congressman Chris Murphy, who right on cue, is bringing a background check bill back.

Moulton and Murphy don’t know. And don’t care.

Congressman Moulton is however obscenely eager to upstage a moment of silence for the victims of the Las Vegas shootings to get 30 seconds of attention from CNN. And then maybe a gun control donor with deep pockets will ask him to run for the White House. Walking out on the victims of a brutal massacre is a small price to pay for winning the heart of a big billionaire donor like Michael Bloomberg.

His disgusting behavior isn’t an aberration. A number of Democrats, including Moulton, have boycotted previous moments of silence by staging publicity stunts for gun control. After an Islamic terrorist carried out the Pulse massacre in Orlando, Democrats boycotted it and then disrupted the aftermath.

When Paul Ryan asked that, “the House now observe a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the terrorist attack in Orlando”, Democrats began walking out.

San Francisco State University: Allied with Hamas “My heroes have always killed colonizers.” Sara Dogan

As revealed in recent congressional testimony, Students for Justice in Palestine is a campus front for Hamas terrorists. SJP’s propaganda activities are orchestrated and funded by a Hamas front group, American Muslims for Palestine, whose chairman is Hatem Bazian and whose principals are former officers of the Holy Land Foundation and other Islamic “charities” previously convicted of funneling money to Hamas. The report and posters are part of a larger Freedom Center campaign titled Stop University Support for Terrorists. Images of the posters that appeared at SFSU and other campuses may be viewed at www.stopuniversitysupportforterrorists.org.

San Francisco State University

San Francisco State University (SFSU) has the distinction of being singled out by Jewish students and community members with a lawsuit in U.S. district court charging that “it has systematically supported these departments and student groups as they have doggedly organized their efforts to target, threaten, and intimidate Jewish students on campus and deprive them of their civil rights and their ability to feel safe and secure as they pursue their education.” This claim is borne out by SFSU’s record of enabling the anti-Semitism and threatening behavior of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS), an SJP surrogate group which has repeatedly terrorized pro-Israel speakers and students—including Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat—by shouting exhortations to terrorist violence and succeeded in curtailing his address. At Barkat’s speech, demonstrators shouted “Intifada,” a call for terrorism against Israel, and chanted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” a call for the obliteration of the Jewish state. The former president of GUPS wrote dozens of social media posts threatening violence to pro-Israel students, Israelis, the IDF and others. He also praised Hamas and the violent Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). While he was eventually kicked off campus, GUPS continues to propagandize for Hamas and harass Jewish students at SFSU.

Supporting Evidence:

In June 2017, Jewish students at SFSU together with members of the local community filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against SFSU and the trustees of California State University charging that SFSU has fostered a hostile environment for Jewish students on campus who are “often afraid to wear Stars of David or yarmulkes on campus, and regularly text their friends to describe potential safety issues.” The lawsuit was prompted in part by an incident in April 2016 when a speech by the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, was disrupted by anti-Israel protestors who chanted “Intifada” (a call for violence and terrorism against Israel) and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” (a statement urging the genocide of Israel’s Jews). During this incident, university administrators told campus police to “stand down” and allowed the protest to continue.

The suit filed against the University claims, “SFSU has not merely fostered and embraced anti-Jewish hostility — it has systematically supported these departments and student groups as they have doggedly organized their efforts to target, threaten, and intimidate Jewish students on campus and deprive them of their civil rights and their ability to feel safe and secure as they pursue their education.” The suit also specifically names SFSU professor Rabab Abdulhadi, the director of SFSU’s Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diaspora Initiative (AMED) and the faculty advisor for SFSU’s Hamas-supporting GUPS chapter, who has a long history of supporting terrorists and their allies.

In April 2017, GUPS held a commemoration of the “Nakba,” a term used by Hamas and its allies to describe the creation of Israel as a “catastrophe.” Signs and advertisements for the event stated “Never Forget, Never Forgive,” and called for the Palestinian’s “Right of Return” which would mean the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state, one of Hamas’s chief aims.

In March 2017, GUPS again brought the anti-Israel hatefest “Israeli Apartheid Week” to campus. This year’s festivities featured a mock checkpoint and a “political discussion and film screening” at which a large banner was featured stating the Hamas libel that “Zionism is racism.”

SFSU GUPS held a March 2017 event on “Israeli Policies in Relation to the Trump Era” at which they attempted to smear both the Trump administration and the Jewish state. The event description claimed “Since the settler colonial project of Israel was established as a state in 1948, the Israel government has used ‘security’ as a pretext to further oppressive and racist policies and practices against the Palestinians. This include[s]… building an Apartheid Wall…a racist ID system… and torture, resulting in the policing, and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.”Israel’s “apartheid wall” is actually a security fence that has saved thousands of Jewish lives by preventing Palestinian terrorists from entering.

Vegas Atrocity As Political Opportunity Matthew Vadum

The deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history has been cravenly transformed into anti-American propaganda by the Left, as Democrat commentators race to ghoulishly savage white men, gun rights and the NRA, Republicans, and President Trump, blaming them for what otherwise looks like a terrorist atrocity.

The president described the attack as “an act of pure evil.”

Nowadays there should be a working assumption – or perhaps a rebuttable presumption is a better way of putting it – that when a terrorist-style attack like this happens, jihadists are behind it either directly or indirectly. It is important to note that videos produced by Islamic State (also called ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh), specifically show the Las Vegas Strip, presenting the area as a prospective terrorist target.

The rat-a-tat-tat of machine gun fire rang out while country music performer Jason Aldean was on stage on the Las Vegas Strip Sunday night singing at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the massacre that was carried out several football fields away from a two-bedroom suite on the 32nd floor of MGM’s Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino by 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, who killed himself before police could apprehend him.

Relatives say the shooter kept to himself and wasn’t prone to angry outbursts. Described as a retired accountant turned professional gambler, Paddock owned several homes around the country. His brother said he was a “multi-millionaire.” He apparently owned an apartment complex in Texas.

The brother, Eric Paddock, told reporters that Paddock had no religious or political affiliations or history of mental illness. “He just hung out,” the brother added, leaving out the fact that the father of the two men, Benjamin Hoskins Paddock, was a violent psychopath who was on the FBI’s most wanted list.

Witnesses say a woman attended the concert and told people that they were all going to die that night. Sky News interviewed a concert-goer identified only as Brianna who said the incident happened about 45 minutes before gunfire broke out.

Former Chicago Police superintendent Garry McCarthy told Brian Kilmeade of Fox News that it is too early to rule out terrorism as Paddock’s motivation. “I’m not ready to dismiss the terrorism angle here until we find out for sure that that’s not the case because it certainly was executed like a terrorist operation, even though this guy, Paddock, doesn’t fit the profile.”

The extensive, meticulous planning and preparation required for this attack makes it very hard to believe a lone wolf was behind it. Merely getting all the materiel to his hotel suite would have required dragging a caravan of suitcases or boxes filled with heavy weapons and thousands upon thousands of live rounds through the casino grounds replete with eye-in-the-sky security cameras without arousing suspicion in a place where management views everyone, including employees, as potential cheats. The hauling operation could have taken days.

That the shooter apparently had fully automatic weapons, that is, firearms that fire continuously, eating up vast quantities of ammunition, is significant. Such weapons, referred to in federal law as “machine guns,” are extremely difficult and expensive to obtain. Owners are subjected to far-reaching, intrusive background checks at the federal level by ATF, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is also possible that the weapons used were illegally modified to allow continuous fire.

Anyone who follows the news knows that Muslim terrorists are increasingly targeting concert venues.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, on May 22 that killed 22. On August 23 authorities in Rotterdam in the Netherlands foiled a suspected Muslim terrorist attack that was to take place during a performance by Allah-Las at the Maassilo concert complex. On November 13, 2015, Muslim terrorists attacked the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, France, leaving 89 dead during a performance by Eagles of Death Metal. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the assault.

Peter Smith: Climate-Change Idolaters

The recent wave of hurricanes that lashed the US had no sooner done their worst than all the paid-up and grant-fed members of Climate Catastrophe Inc., were crying ‘We told you so!’ Yes, they have told us, repeatedly. And just as often they have been wrong, as they are now and once again.

Don’t know why. There’s no sun up in the sky. Stormy weather. Ah! Gaia is very, very, angry.

Windmills providing expensive, intermittent and unreliable power — the idols of our age — must be built to appease Gaia. Deplorables are dispensable. Those without base-load power in developing countries, plus coal miners, the old, the infirm, the poor must all be sacrificed. Only then will Gaia smile on us again.

I told some ‘warmist’ friends about a Category 4 hurricane hitting Galveston in Texas, generating a fifteen-foot tidal surge, and killing an estimated 8000 people. The deadliest natural disaster in US history. I let it stew for a moment or two before revealing the time: September 1900. I don’t think it made an impression. The climate change ethos has etched itself so deeply into the minds of disciples that it is impervious to clashing information.

Effectively, climate change has become an idolatry masquerading as science. Destructive climate events, however commonplace historically, cause much wailing, finger-pointing and scapegoating. High priests in the guise of climate gurus, like Gore, Flannery, Mann and Suzuki, come into their own. Reason succumbs to superstition.

Take hurricanes.

The latest information, sourced from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), indicates that hurricane activity has not increased by either frequency or scale during recent decades – so far as can be determined. The data going back is patchy and unreliable; as, in fact, is all climate-related data.

I looked at the hurricane data from the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA for the Atlantic Basin for the period from 1851 to 2016. In the ten years to 2016, there were 28 “major” hurricanes recorded. In the previous ten years 39 were recorded. This is relatively high when compared with the whole period from 1851. However, 39 major hurricanes were recorded for the ten years to 1956 and 32 for the ten years to 1966, before dropping to 17 and 16 in the next two succeeding decades. So, what to say? Hurricanes come and go.

There is nothing markedly unusual happening. But, you wouldn’t think that if you suffer the unfortunate experience of tuning into widespread alarmist commentaries and news bulletins. Those who claim to believe in science are quick to dispense with it when it doesn’t suit their storyline. They point to the latest hurricanes as yet more evidence of climate change. And you can bet your life that every storm, drought and heat wave from now on will draw the same response.

They suffer no embarrassment in making such outlandish claims. They are impervious to any factual rebuttals. They have a higher calling.

I understand that the current scientific theory is that warmer water tends to engender more airborne turbulence. Maybe it does. I don’t know. I am not a climate scientist, just an ordinary Joe. But what I do know is that warmer water is not necessarily man-made. Maybe the climate is just warming as it has in early periods of time; and, in any event, maybe it is not warming as much as the high priests tell us. This brings me to a recent climatologist recantation.

Refugees, Intersectionalists, and Jews by Denis MacEoin

According to a leaked German government report, up to 6.6 million migrants — both refugees and migrants seeking a better life — are currently waiting to cross to Europe from Africa.
The “mistake” the Israelis made seems to have been that, although driven out as refugees, they exercised their right to self-determination, returned to their homeland, and turned it into one of the most successful countries in the world. The Palestinians, who had an equal opportunity to achieve that, remain in poverty and disarray, with terrorism for 80 years as their only notable achievement. If they had agreed to work with the Jews instead of fighting them, who knows where they might be today?
To begin with, there actually are no Palestinian people, as used in the current sense of the term. The Oslo Accords accurately refer to Arabs, which is what they are — Arabs who left Israel in the war of 1947-8 in order not to be involved in a conflict in which other Arabs fought with Jews and Christians and who currently make up more than a million of the Arabs now living in Israel as citizens with equal rights.

Refugees are back in the news. This summer, the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa is likely to rise significantly. According to the Daily Telegraph:

“Europe could face a new wave of migrant arrivals this summer, a leaked German government report has warned. Up to 6.6m people are waiting in countries around the Mediterranean to cross into Europe, according to details of the classified report leaked to Bild newspaper.”

With the closing of the route through the Balkans and entry via Greece, most refugees, economic migrants and asylum seekers are crossing the Mediterranean into Spain or Italy, putting those countries under enormous strain. Since 2016, Austria has strengthened border police to prevent thousands more entering from Italy, and increased the number of troops and armored vehicles on the border in 2017.

On World Refugee Day 2016, the United Nation’s High Commission for Refugees announced that there are now more displaced persons than there were after World War Two: “The total at the end of 2015 reached 65.3 million – or one out of every 113 people on Earth… The number represents a 5.8 million increase on the year before.” During the past three years, Gatestone Fellow Soeren Kern has published a strong series of well-researched articles examining the impact of the refugee crisis on Europe overall and on individual countries such as Germany and Sweden. The rise in criminality in general, rape, Islamic radicalization, and even terror attacks as a result of a barely controlled influx of migrants from mainly Muslim countries has created alarm in country after country.

Austria: Integration Law Goes into Effect “Integration through performance” by Soeren Kern

The new law also requires immigrants from non-EU countries to sign an “integration contract” which obligates them to learn written and spoken German and to enroll in courses about the “basic values of Austria’s legal and social order.” Immigrants are also required to “acquire knowledge of the democratic order and the basic principles derived from it.”

The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible. In Vienna, where the Muslim population now exceeds 12.5%, Muslim students already outnumber Catholic students at middle and secondary schools. Muslim students are also on the verge of overtaking Catholics in Viennese elementary schools.

“The immigration seen in recent years is changing our country not in a positive but in a negative way… Uncontrolled immigration destroys the order in a country.” — Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz.

A groundbreaking new law regulating the integration of immigrants has gone into effect in Austria. The so-called Integration Law — which bans full-face Muslim veils in public spaces and prohibits Islamic radicals from distributing the Koran — establishes clear rules and responsibilities for recognized asylum seekers and refugees who are granted legal residence in the country.

Austrian officials say the main goal of the law is to promote respect for Austrian values, customs and culture; Muslims claim that the measure unfairly targets them and will promote “Islamophobia.”

As of October 1, anyone covering his or her face in public with a burka, niqab or mask is subject to a fine of €150 ($175). The law, which follows similar bans in Belgium, France and the Netherlands, requires the face to be completely visible in all public spaces, including bus, rail, air and sea transport. Those who refuse to comply are subject to arrest.

The new law also requires immigrants from non-EU countries to sign an “integration contract” which obligates them to learn written and spoken German and to enroll in courses about the “basic values of Austria’s legal and social order.” Immigrants are also required to “acquire knowledge of the democratic order and the basic principles derived from it.”

Immigrants are subsequently required to take an “immigration exam” to prove that they have “in-depth knowledge of the German language for independent use” and “in-depth knowledge of the fundamental values ​​of the legal and social order of the Republic of Austria.”

Immigrants have a period of two years to prove their compliance with the integration agreement. Those who fail to comply are subject to fines of up to €500 ($585), imprisonment of two weeks and the loss of social welfare benefits — but not deportation.

The new integration law is the brainchild of Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, the leader of the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP). Kurz, who has taken an increasingly hard line on immigration, is leading the opinion polls in the run-up to parliamentary elections on October 15 and is on track to becoming Austria’s next chancellor. He explained the rationale behind the new law:

“The new integration law regulates the central framework conditions for the integration of people who want to settle in Austria: We need clear rules and regulations in order to achieve social solidarity and social peace. The principle on which this law is based is ‘integration through performance.’ People are not judged by their country of origin but by their will to contribute to Austria. The main goal of this law is to promote integration.”

Constitution Day On the enduring success of the Constitution of the United States & on George Washington’s Farewell Address of 1796.By Roger Kimball

As we write, the two-hundred-and-thirtieth anniversary of the ratification of the Constitution of the United States just passed. The holiday, celebrated on or about September 17 (depending on whether that date falls on a weekend), was known as “Citizenship Day” until 2004, when Congress officially renamed the commemoration “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.” The new law stipulated that all federally funded educational institutions, and indeed all federal agencies, provide additional programming on the history and substance of the Constitution.

In that spirit (although The New Criterion receives no federal funding), we wanted to offer a few brief observations about that remarkable document and its contemporary significance.

The U.S. Constitution is, by a considerable measure, the oldest written constitution in the world. (Only half of the world’s constitutions make it to their nineteenth birthday.) It may also be the shortest. The main body of the text, including the signatures, is but 4,500 words. With all twenty-seven Amendments, it is barely 7,500 words. The Constitution of the European Union, by contrast, waddles to the scale at 70,000 words—an adipose document the girth of a longish book.

The U.S. Constitution is the oldest written constitution in the world. It may also be the shortest.

What really distinguishes the U.S. Constitution, however, is its purpose. The Framers— James Madison first of all, but also John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and others—were well acquainted with the effects of arbitrary and unaccountable state power courtesy of the depredations of George III. Accordingly, they understood the Constitution prophylactically, as a protection of individual liberty against the coercive power of the state. “In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men,” as Madison noted in Federalist 51, “the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed”—that is hard enough. But then “in the next place [you must] oblige it to control itself.”

As many observers have noted—though perhaps not so many among the governing class—the U.S. government has, in recent decades, done a better job at the former than at the latter.

Part of the problem is the proliferation of laws. The U.S. Constitution may be admirably compact. But the U.S. Code of Laws runs to fifty-three hefty volumes. And then there are the thousands of Statutes at Large representing the blizzard of Acts and Resolutions of Congress. There is a great deal to be said, we think, for proposals to include an annual or biennial sunset provision in laws so that those not deliberately renewed would lapse.

But the proliferation of legal instruments is only part of the problem. Perhaps even more serious is the proliferation and institutionalization of administrative power that operates outside the direction and oversight of Congress, the sole body invested by the Constitution with legislative power. As the legal scholar Philip Hamburger has noted, the explosion in the number of quasi-governmental agencies and regulations over the last few decades has become “the dominant reality of American governance,” intruding everywhere into everyday economic and social life. As if in explicit violation of the second part of Madison’s observation about the difficulty of framing a government, the growth of what has come to be called “the administrative state” seemingly flouts the obligation of state power to control itself.

In our view, the question of how best to deal with the enervating and liberty-sapping effects of the administrative state should occupy a prominent place on the agenda of our national conversation. Doubtless a first step is rhetorical: to bring about a more broad-based and vivid recognition of the extent of the problem. From time immemorial, complacency (often abetted by simple cowardice) has been a great enabler of despotism (and the reality of the administrative state is nothing if not despotic). Challenging that complacency with appropriate bulletins from the front is the first order of business. It is a task that—living up to Madison’s quiet phrase “great difficulty”—will be as protracted as it is important.

But in the context of Constitution Day, we wanted to sound a note of homage as well as admonition. To this end, we would like to remind readers of a document from America’s founding generation that is well known without quite being, we suspect, known well: George Washington’s Farewell Address of 1796.

A first draft of this speech was completed with the help of James Madison in 1792 but was shelved when Washington embarked on a second term. As that drew to a close, Washington once again turned his mind to valedictory remarks and engaged Alexander Hamilton as his principal editor. Probably the most famous part of the six-thousand-word address comes towards the end, when Washington warns the country against “interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangl[ing] our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice.” It is folly, Washington observes, for any nation to look for “disinterested favors from another.”

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns.

The Tragic Incoherence of the NFL Protests By Victor Davis Hanson

It has become a sort of reflex to object to the National Football League’s players’ bended knee/sitting through the National Anthem—while also conceding that their complaints have merit.

But do they?https://amgreatness.com/2017/10/02/the-tragic-incoherence-of-the-nfl-protests/

To answer that question, one would have to know precisely what the protests are about. But so far the various reasons advanced are both confused and without much merit. That is why the players will eventually stand for the anthem before their tragic incoherence loses them both their fans and their jobs with it.

Inordinate Police Brutality Against the African-American Community?
While there certainly have been a large number of well-publicized shootings of African-American suspects, statistics do not bear out, as alleged, a supposed wave of police violence against black unarmed suspects. Is the anger then directed at regrettable though isolated iconic incidents but not at prevailing trends?

White police officers are more than 18 times more likely to be shot by African-Americans than white police officers are to shoot unarmed black suspects. Does anyone care?

In absolute numbers, more white suspects were shot yearly by police than were black suspects. Given respective crime rates and the frequency of relative encounters with police, black suspects were not statistically more likely to be victims of police violence than were whites.

Given the topics of race, crime, and violence, the frequency of black-on-white crime versus white-on-black crime—depending on the particular category—while comparatively rare, is still widely disproportionate, by a factor of 7 to 10.

Roughly 40-50 percent of all reported U.S. arrests for various violent crime involve teen or adult African-American males, who make up about 4-5 percent of the population. Blacks are well over 20 times more likely to be shot and killed by other blacks than by police officers.

The Left often does not pay much attention to such facts—though it grows angry when others do. Or to the extent progressives acknowledge these asymmetries, they contextualize the alarming frequency of inordinate black male crime, and the police response to it, by citing the legacy of slavery and claiming contemporary racism as well as police and judicial bias.

But such rationalization is largely academic.

The general public—and by extension the NFL fan base of all racial backgrounds—feels these imbalances to be true and, in their own lives—fairly or not—make adjustments about where they live, put their children in school, or travel. The antennae of wealthy, virtue-signaling white liberals are the most sensitive to crime disparities; the latter are also the most likely to have the desire and wherewithal to navigate around them. The makeup of elite neighborhoods and prep schools of Washington, D.C., is a testament to that unspoken fact.

It is certainly true that black males, regrettably, may be watched or stopped by police with greater frequency than Latino, Asian, or white males tend to be; but arguably not in a disproportionate fashion when seen in light of the data of those arrested and convicted of crimes.

Such proclivities, while again regrettable, are due less to racism than to statistically based preemptive policing—or statistically-based (and therefore rational) police fears.

Colin Kaepernick’s protests allegedly focusing on inordinate racially biased police brutality had no statistical basis in fact. To the extent his argument was logically presented, the irate NFL fan base rejected it.

Racial Disparity Attributable to Institutionalized Prejudice?
Were the players then frustrated about general racial disparities in landscapes beyond their own privileged positions? That larger question of why African-Americans have not yet statically achieved the same level of education, income, and family stability as the majority is more complex.