Elizabeth Warren’s “Accountable” Court

Considering that Sen. Elizabeth Warren is a professor at Harvard’s law school, one would think her policy pronouncements would be more in line with judicial procedure and requirements…but that doesn’t seem to be the case, an analysis by Greg Weiner

Elizabeth Warren, the Senator from Harvard Law School, has a plan—of course she does—for guaranteeing an “impartial and ethical judiciary” based on “the basic premise of our legal system,” which is “that every person is treated equally in the eyes of the law.” Shortly before its unveiling, she tweeted a promise to nominate “a demonstrated advocate for workers” to the Supreme Court.

In other words, she seeks a justice who would violate Canon 3 of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, which requires jurists to disqualify themselves from cases in which they have “a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party.” The Code does not apply to the Supreme Court, but buckle up: The aforesaid “plan for that” would extend the ethical rules to the Supreme Court, which means Warren is promising to appoint justices whose conduct she will seek to classify as unethical.

This tangle of contradiction—as to her plans, Warren likely wants us to behold the magnificence of the forest, not the individual trees—illustrates the outcome-based constitutionalism that has infected American jurisprudence. It may be true, as Chief Justice John Roberts has said, that we do not have Obama judges or Trump judges. But we are apparently supposed to have worker judges or employer judges, abortion judges or gun judges.

Conspicuously lacking from Warren’s plan for an impartial judiciary is any sense of what that means for the judge’s role in the constitutional order. The bulk of the plan seeks to root out among judges the corruption Warren sees lurking around the corner of every disagreement. Judges retire to escape ethics inquiries; take away their pensions. “Ban judges from owning or trading individual stocks.” Supreme Court justices would have to explain recusal decisions. She would apply to Supreme Court justices the judicial code of conflict. She would fast-track impeachment of judges by changing the rules of the House of Representatives.

There may be some merit in some of this. There is certainly none in her comical description of the Federalist Society as “an extremist right-wing legal group.” (Try the American Bar Association as “an extremist left-wing legal group.” Neither rolls plausibly off the tongue.)

Other proposals, such as Congress dictating which justices can rule in which cases, may present separation-of-powers concerns. Requiring justices to explain recusal decisions because litigants asked for them would encourage frivolous recusal requests. As to fast-tracking impeachments, could someone please tell the vaunted law professor that (Article I, Section 5) “each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings”? There is nothing there, and everything disturbing, about the president telling Congress what its rules for impeachment should be.

But the plan’s real significance lies in two broader points. The first is the overall thrust of the proposals, which assume, as the Progressive movement did, that sweeping away the detritus of corruption will do away with disagreement (read: politics) and illuminate right answers in all their sparkling clarity. In this schema, we can be done with the messiness of prudential judgment.

The second is the negative space. Warren has no conception of the proper judicial role other than that it should favor litigants whose political stances she supports. The plan does not even do the courtesy of endorsing living constitutionalism. It apparently assumes that such is the natural result of eliminating corruption.

The first rule for constitutional law students should be that if their policy preferences and constitutional conclusions always align, they should reassess their interpretive methods. A similar question of judicial nominees—from Warren or others—would be to name a case in which a policy was substantively wrong but constitutionally permissible. Warren’s constitutional and policy views coincide with suspicious consistency. Nor is she alone. Robert Bork used to say that most constitutional law was a question of whose ox was being gored.

That appears to be the case for Warren. But what is even more striking is that she elucidates no judicial philosophy at all other than evaluating judges according to the outcomes they reach and assuming that those who reach the wrong ones must have been corrupt. This is a one-way standard, of course, unless Warren would assume that her pro-worker judges must be corruptly beholden to organized labor.

To be sure, corruption among judges should be rooted out, and there is a case for continuing investigations after judges leave the bench. But this incessant talk of “accountability” is no substitute for a judicial philosophy that encompasses a substantive, constitutional idea of the judge’s role in a republic.

There is nothing inherently wrong with holding misbehaving judges—according to Federalist 81, even judges who consistently rule abusively—accountable. But to reduce jurisprudence to accountability is to assume that judges have two choices in every case: Warren’s preferred outcome and the corrupt one for which they must be held responsible.

Would that constitutionalism and politics were so simple. On second thought, we may be thankful they are not. The need for judgment is what makes politics as opposed to technocracy possible. If Warren is to be president, as opposed to a senator-cum-orator, she had better get used to the fact of politics. The sheer scope of Warren’s plans for everything means she has no hope of achieving them if her legislative strategy is to stigmatize those with opposing views as corrupt.

Perhaps most disturbing, while Warren’s judicial proposals evince no judicial philosophy, there may in fact be a latent constitutional theory discernible in her spate of “plans for that.” It is that the president runs the regime and everyone else is a minion in it. We have ingested an ample serving of that philosophy for the last 12 years, perhaps longer. The word “Congress” appears only twice in Warren’s judicial plan—once to refer to judges lying to Congress and the other to demand that Congress “take action” when a judge is accused of an ethical violation. Consider this in reverse: Would anyone give serious consideration to a congressional candidate whose platform was to proclaim how the president will behave?

They would not. Nor should they. If the basis of Warren’s candidacy is that she has a plan for everything, perhaps she should have a defensible plan for the Constitution too.

Deniable Dishonesty

An analysis of an answer Sen. Warren gave in a recent debate by Theodore Dalrymple

A paradigm shift is a sudden change in fundamental assumptions about, or way of looking at, the world. Senator Elizabeth Warren illustrated one of the most startling ones of recent years with the answer that she gave to a question put to her recently on television.

“How would you react,” she was asked, “to a supporter who said to you, ‘I’m old-fashioned and my faith teaches me that marriage is between one man and one woman.’” Warren replied, “Well, I’m going to assume it’s a guy who said that. And I’m going to say, then just marry one woman. I’m cool with that. Assuming you can find one.”

The audience, reportedly, laughed. The Guardian newspaper said that she had won plaudits for this sally, but it surely must have been something other than the sheer wit of her distinctly sub-Wildean reply that caused the audience to laugh.

For many centuries it was assumed that marriage is between a man and a woman. However, we have changed all that, as Sganarelle, pretending to be a doctor, said when he was told that the heart is on the left and the liver on the right. And we have changed it all in an historical twinkling of an eye.

Senator Warren’s semi-facetious reply was a masterpiece of deniable dishonesty. In that sense it was worthy of admiration for its subtle employment of the old rhetorical tricks of suppressio veri and suggestio falsi. What did her assumption that it was a man who asked the question mean to imply? Surely that men are the principal beneficiaries of marriage and that women its victims—under the assumption that human relations are a zero-sum game. In one circumstance, the senator’s implication was correct: that of forced marriage as practiced, say, by the people of Pakistani descent in Britain, which allows men their freedom to play around while the wife stays at home as a drudge, whether domestic or sexual or both. But it is unlikely that the senator had this situation in mind, since it would have contradicted her multicultural sensibilities, and her audience’s politically correct sensitivities, to have said so.

In fact, ample evidence exists that marriage is protective of women rather than harmful to them, to say nothing of their children. If I were a Marxist, I would say that Warren’s attitude was a means by which she strove to protect the interests and power of the upper-middle classes against those of the lower classes, for the higher up the social scale you go, the stronger the institution of marriage becomes, for all its hypocrisies and betrayals. The upper-middle classes pretending to despise marriage are no more sincere than was Marie Antoinette playing shepherdess, though they do more harm by their pretense than Marie Antoinette ever did, for no one was ever encouraged to become a shepherdess by her playacting. It is otherwise with the upper-middle class’s playacting.

But perhaps the most destructive (and surely insincere) aspect of Warren’s answer was the implication that it now requires tolerance to countenance marriage, the assumption being that marriage is abnormal and therefore to be reprehended—the need for tolerance implying reprehension, for there is no need to tolerate what we already approve of.

As for the senator’s implication that men with traditional views will have difficulty in finding a woman to marry—or even have trouble getting a second date, after they express their deplorable opinions on the first one—my experience of treating unmarried mothers is that they hope that their daughters will not follow their own path in life, but rather find a responsible, stable man as the father of their children. The problem is that such men seem in short supply in their social sphere.

The audience’s laughter implied that at least a part of the population is willing, perhaps eager, to be complicit in Warren’s dishonesty. If criticized, she could always claim that she was only joking, but behind her joke she was deadly serious. Or should I say deadly frivolous?

Candace Owens: Dems Using White Supremacy Issue to Scare Blacks into Voting for Them

By Melanie Arter | September 20, 2019 | 3:25 PM EDT

Conservative commentator and Blexit leader Candace Owens testified in Congress Friday at a hearing on confronting violent white supremacy, telling a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee that Democrats are using the issue of white supremacy to scare blacks into voting for the Democrat Party.

During her opening testimony, Owens acknowledged that white supremacy is “indeed real,” but added that “despite the media’s obsessive coverage of it, it represents an isolated, uncoordinated and fringe occurrence within America.”

 

“It’s a fringe occurrence that is being used in my opinion by Democrats to scare Americans into giving up their votes to a party that can no longer win based on simple ideas, which is why we’re seeing so many of these hearings back-to-back despite other threats that are facing this nation,” she said.

“I want to reiterate that point. White supremacy is real, just as racism is real, but neither of these ideologies are real in this room. They have become mechanisms for the left to continue to call these hearings and to distract from much bigger issues that are facing this country and which threaten minorities, much bigger issues that they are responsible for,” Owens added.

She ticked off a handful of issues that she said are greater threats to black America: father absence, illiteracy, and abortion.

White nationalism sounds a lot better as a threat than father absence. When are we going to call a hearing on the 74 percent of single motherhood rate in black America today? My guess is probably never. Since Democrats are the author of that epidemic, which leaves us – black Americans – 20 times more likely to end up in prison, nine times more likely to drop out of high school, and five times more likely to lead a life in poverty and to commit crime.

White nationalism also sounds a lot better than illiteracy rates. I’m assuming we’re never going to call a hearing on that, which is a real epidemic which is facing black Americans and minority Americans today, an epidemic which by the way has a lot closer of a tie to our nation’s history of white supremacy. Slave codes in the early 19th century made it illegal for black Americans to learn to read. Why? Because if slaves could read, they could access information. I don’t believe that much has changed.

On the most recent National Assessment of Education and Progress, just 17 percent of black students scored proficient in reading at a 12th grade level. Eighty-three percent of blacks in America were not found proficient in reading at a 12th grade level. Are we going to have a hearing on that? Probably not.

White nationalism also sounds a lot better than abortion as a threat, which has resulted in the slaughter of 18 million black Americans since 1973 and points to a bigger crisis, which is the fact that the black population growth has stagnated in this country. The crisis, and in major cities like in New York, we have more black babies aborted than born alive. If we’re talking about preserving lives and we’re talking about white supremacy, we should probably have a conversation about that.

Owens said that Democrats in the hearing are focused on white supremacy on the Internet so they can get permission to censor conservatives.

“But today in this room, we’re going to see Democrats try to connect the dots to white supremacy on the Internet. So the question is why? So that people who have absolutely nothing to do with propagating white supremacy are censored, silenced and controlled. What they are actually after is our permission to censor and silence and control any dissenting voices that go against the mainstream narrative that they wish to propagate,” she said.

Owens described attempts by liberals to silence her on social media.

To give a glimpse into just how absurd and expansive the definition of white supremacy has become, I offer to the committee that I have been libeled and smeared by Democrat media cohorts as someone who supports white supremacy. You need but look at me to determine that that just isn’t true.

Why? Because I routinely say black people don’t have to be Democrats. I am now considered somebody that is radicalizing people on the Internet. What a radical idea – black people waking up to the abuses in the Democrat Party, which has been instigated upon black America over the last 60 years. There have been sincere attempts – just so everybody knows – to censor me on social media, because I am radical.

YouTube once censored me for criticizing Black Lives Matter. They reversed the censorship, and they apologized, and they called it a mistake. Facebook once censored me for calling out liberal supremacy as a threat facing black America. What I said specifically was that in any community where liberal policies reign supreme, you’ll find that black America is hurting. I stand by that assessment.

Facebook reversed my censorship, apologized and claimed it was a mistake. Of course, I’m fortunate that I have a big enough platform that when I get branded something extreme, I can reverse it, but the majority of Americans don’t have that platform. The majority of Americans with dissenting opinions are silenced forever.

Owens said that liberals use the term racist to silence those who disagree with them and the term white nationalism is being used to anger black Americans into voting for the Democrat Party.

Many words which have once held very serious meanings have come to take on a very different definition over the last couple of years as Democrats have desperately tried to grapple with the fact that they are no longer able to manipulate Americans with broad claims and broad strokes of racism, sexism, misogyny and the like, words like racism, which today most nearly means anything or anyone that disagrees with a liberal and terms like white nationalism, which today and in this room and upon this floor most nearly means that it’s election time in America.

It’s time for the left to do what they do best – divide, distract and hope to keep the most important voting block to their party – which is black Americans – angry and emotional and reactive enough to keep voting for the same party that has systematically destroyed our families, sent our men to prison, and deferred all of our dreams.

I will close out by telling you that this is not going to work. America and more importantly, black America, is waking up to the ploy, the bad acting, the faux concern, these hearings. It’s not going to stop black America from breaking the chains of victimhood, and it’s certainly not going to stop me from being one of the loudest voices against it.

Several U.S. states and cities have banned conversion therapy, which rests on the belief that being LGBT+ is a mental illness that can be cured

Just to show how the media can distort “news”, the basis for the challenge of the New York law was an Orthodox Jewish therapist who opposed the law on religious grounds, not a right-wing Christian group as described below…..

 

By Oscar Lopez

MEXICO CITY, Sept 12 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – New York City took the first step on Thursday toward repealing its ban on gay conversion therapy, aiming to avert a legal challenge that could put LGBT+ rights at risk nationwide, officials said.

The legal challenge has come from a conservative Christian group, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), that claims the therapy ban is censorship of free speech and unconstitutional.

Several U.S. states and cities have banned conversion therapy, which rests on the belief that being LGBT+ is a mental illness that can be cured, either for minors or altogether.

Hundreds of thousands of LGBT+ Americans have undergone the widely discredited process that uses psychological, spiritual or physical practices, according to a study by the UCLA School of Law in California.

A bill to repeal the therapy ban in the New York City Council was introduced on Thursday by its speaker, Corey Johnson, who said he had consulted with LGBT+ rights advocates.

Advocates fear the legal challenge by the ADF could make its way through the increasingly conservative federal courts to the U.S. Supreme Court.

President Donald Trump has made scores of conservative judicial appointments, including two Supreme Court justices.

If successful, advocates fear, the ADF case could give the conservative courts an opportunity to set legal precedents that could have broad negative implications for LGBT+ rights.

“The courts have changed considerably over the last few years, and we cannot count on them to rule in favor of much-needed protections for the LGBTQ community,” Johnson, who is openly gay, said in a statement emailed to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“This was a painful decision,” he said. “I listened to the advocates who know the issue best, as well as my heart. I will never stop fighting for the community I am so proud to be a part of.”

In the ADF’s view, the ban threatened the constitutional right of New York citizens “to have whatever private conversations they want to have,” said Roger Brooks, an attorney for the group, in a statement.

“A Supreme Court decision making clear that psychologists, counselors, and their patients continue to enjoy their First Amendment rights … would be an important victory for free speech,” he said.

Attorneys for ADF also represented a Colorado baker who won a Supreme Court victory in 2018 over his refusal to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

The ADF is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization that tracks and monitors right-wing groups.

If New York City repeals its ban, “that will be the right thing to do,” the ADF said in a statement. “We commend them for it.”

Nationwide, however, efforts to ban conversion therapy for people under age 18 are gaining momentum, and this year New York state lawmakers approved such a ban.

“The City Council’s action will stop unnecessary litigation after the passage of statewide protections and save valuable resources that can be used to help LGBTQ residents,” said Amit Paley, the head of The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention group, in an email.

Eighteen U.S. states have banned conversion therapy for minors, with legislation pending in 21 more, according to Born Perfect, an advocacy group that wants to ban the practice.

The Provocations of Camille Paglia The maverick critic and scholar has championed great art, defended free speech, and offered groundbreaking analysis of popular culture.

The word “person” captures a concept so fundamental to Westerners that it can be jarring to discover that it once had a different meaning. Etymologically, “person” comes from the Latin word persona, which means “mask.” To be a person is to wear a mask, act out a role—what people today might call being fake.

But to Camille Paglia, the dissident social critic, a mask does not conceal a person’s true nature; it helps reveal it. This is why Halloween was her favorite holiday as a child. It was “a fantastic opportunity,” she told an interviewer recently, “to enact one’s repressed and forbidden self—which in my case was male.” When she was five, she dressed up as Robin Hood; at seven, she was a Roman soldier; at eight, Napoleon; at nine, Hamlet. “These masks,” Paglia told me in Philadelphia recently, “are parts of myself.”

Paglia, 72, grew up in the 1950s, when girls played house, not Hamlet. It was an unforgiving time to be different. As a fifth-grader, Paglia shoved a boy in order to be first in line; her teacher made her look up “aggressive” in the dictionary after school, an exercise that left her in tears. But at Halloween, she could defy conventions. Eventually, she would explain not only her personality but also the development of Western civilization through sexual masks. “I show how much of Western life, art, and thought,” she writes in Sexual Personae, her 735-page history of Western culture, “is ruled by personality, which the book traces through recurrent types of personae (‘masks’).”

A professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she has taught since 1984, Paglia became an intellectual celebrity after the 1990 publication of Sexual Personae, her first book, which carries the subtitle Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson. Melding history and psychology with art and literature and laced with references to popular culture, the book delivered a one-two punch to academe. A feminist critical of the modern women’s movement, Paglia insisted on the greatness of Western civilization, though it was already unfashionable to do so. And she asserted that its greatness resulted from a creative but violent tension between male and female—between the Apollonian male principle of order (civilization) and the Dionysian female principle of chaos (nature). Two of the book’s most quoted lines are “If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts” and “There is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper.” Reading Sexual Personae, one reviewer wrote, was “a bit like being mugged.”

Now, nearly 30 years later, Paglia has once again found herself in the middle of the culture wars. Taking aim at the #MeToo movement, she told an interviewer that it is “ridiculous that any university ever tolerated a complaint of a girl coming in six months or a year after an event. If a real rape was committed, go frigging report it to the police.” In April, students at her university, upset by such statements, tried to de-platform Paglia, a lesbian who identifies as transgender. When they failed to get her scheduled lecture, “Ambiguous Images: Sexual Duality and Sexual Multiplicity in Western Art,” canceled or moved off campus, they organized a protest during the talk—and someone pulled the fire alarm. Later, the protesters urged the university to replace Paglia with a “queer person of color.”

Fortunately, the university’s president, David Yager, did what many of his peers at other schools roiled by such protests have failed to do: issued a statement defending freedom of expression. “Artists over the centuries,” Yager wrote in an e-mail to campus, “have suffered censorship, and even persecution, for the expression of their beliefs through their work. My answer is simple: Not now, not at UArts.” Paglia was delighted. An outspoken defender of free speech, she is horrified by the rise of censorship in academia—and was especially aghast, given her own history, at Yale’s attempt to police students’ Halloween costumes in 2015.

In her latest book, an essay collection called Provocations, she states that she’d like to be remembered as a “dissident writer who defended free thought and free speech.” But Provocations is not just a polemic against political correctness. The career retrospective, which includes writings from the last 25 years, covers subjects like gender, education, popular culture, and art. It showcases Paglia’s sweeping scholarship and puckish irreverence for PC pieties. “To questioning young people drawn to the siren song of hormones and surgery,” she writes, “I say: Stay fluid! Stay free!”

The book also reveals Paglia’s humility, a quality usually concealed by what she calls her “raging egomania.” Provocations, she writes, is for people who see art “as a medium of intuition and revelation.” It’s for those who stand in awe before nature, “a vast and sublime force”; for people “who see life in spiritual terms as a quest for enlightenment”; and “for those who elevate free thought and free speech over all other values, including material considerations of wealth, status, or physical well-being.”

Behind that devotion to heterodoxy lies something softer. She admitted that she’s chosen to censor herself in front of her students, no longer teaching them, for example, Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” a song about lynching, which was for years an important part of her course “The Art of Song Lyric.” “I don’t want to upset them. The historical material is too painful for a music class,” she said.

This reveals something important about Paglia. Her project in Provocations, and in much of her later work, is not to provoke simply for the sake of it, in the manner of, say, Milo Yiannopoulos. Her project is cultural populism. “I feel I should use my name recognition for service, for art,” she told the blog Bookslut in 2015. “I’m just a teacher in the classroom from beginning to end,” she added. Paglia sees culture, from the stories of the Bible to the paintings of Picasso to the ballads of Joni Mitchell, as a vast patchwork of meaning that inspires awe and delivers wisdom. She wants to bring the riches of art, literature, and religion to everyday people.

Like Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom who sprouted adult-like from the head of Zeus, Paglia appears to have entered the world fully formed. She was born in working-class Endicott, New York, in 1947, when thousands of immigrants were arriving in the upstate town looking for work in the shoe factories. Her mother, Lydia, and her four grandparents were Italian immigrants. Her father, Pasquale, was the only member of his family to attend college, later becoming a professor of Romance languages at LeMoyne College in Syracuse. “I got my intellectuality, studiousness, and severity from my father,” she told New York magazine in 1991. “And I got my energy, optimism, and practicality from my mother.” Her sister, Lenora, was born when Paglia was 14.

Paglia’s early childhood was, she said, a “total immersion in Italian culture.” She and her parents lived with her maternal grandparents in the Italian section of Endicott. Her paternal grandparents lived two long blocks away, next to a Sons of Italy hall. Though her parents spoke English at home, Paglia was otherwise surrounded by people who communicated in “mutually unintelligible Italian dialects.”

Endicott was in many ways like a rural Italian village—which meant that Paglia saw how gender dynamics worked in the premodern world. Her grandmothers were matriarchal, goddess-like figures, who ruled home and hearth. They dictated the affairs of Paglia’s daily life. “Eat!” they’d command her in Italian. “Sleep!” Even more severe were the petite elderly Italian ladies who would visit their homes. “You had to watch out for them,” she said, “because when they kissed you, they’d bite your earlobe.” When Paglia and her parents moved from Endicott to the top floor of a dairy farm in Oxford, New York, where her father taught high school Spanish and her mother worked as a teller at the local bank, she encountered more tough women—farmers working the animals and land. Paglia dedicated Sexual Personae to her grandmothers and a paternal aunt.

Looking back, Paglia saw that her grandmothers had their own sphere of power at home, separate from the male sphere—where older women ruled. “Young women were nothing” in that world, Paglia said. Today, it’s the opposite: women try to gain power in the male sphere of work and lose status culturally as they age. “You’re unhappy,” Paglia said of today’s professional women, “because you’re spending all day long in this mechanical professional world. But we willingly put up with that because we want the financial autonomy and freedom.”

Her childhood also instilled in her an appreciation of men, especially working-class men—the plumbers, factory workers, and policemen who keep the world going. Paglia’s paternal grandfather was a barber, and her maternal grandfather operated a leather-stretching device at the Endicott-Johnson shoe factory. Four of her uncles served in the military during World War II, and her father was an army paratrooper. “One of the reasons I’m not anti-male,” Paglia told me, “is because I saw the sacrifices made by my father’s generation in those men.”

Paglia encountered her first works of art with her family at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Endicott. The stained-glass windows and polychrome statues of the saints entranced her. So did the large art book Art Treasures of the Louvre, which her father brought back from France after spending a year at the Sorbonne on the GI Bill. Five-year-old Camille was enchanted by the “gorgeous plates, in chronological order, of the history of oil painting.” One image made a special impression—a big photograph of a marble sculpture of the goddess Diana, the huntress, by the School of Fontainebleau. Paglia hung the image in her room. “I loved the idea of the armed woman,” she said. Prekindergarten, she made her first visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the Egyptian section mesmerized her. “I can remember very clearly that you could smell the age, the mummy casing, the wood.”

The other “overwhelming” experience she remembers from her early childhood is seeing the movie Show Boat, starring Ava Gardner, at the theater with her parents when she was four. This ignited Paglia’s passion for popular culture, “the master mythology of my postwar generation.” Gardner, Paglia’s “first crush,” was a goddess in the Hollywood pantheon. “When she’s performing ‘Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man,’ ” Paglia said, “and they have her face filling the big screen—this is what knocked me out!” She admired Gardner’s glamour and confidence. “The quality she exudes on screen is kind of eerie, almost, like, vampiric.”

Paglia laments the loss in today’s world of the wonder that defined her childhood. “When I was young,” she said, “there was all this energy, color, grandeur exploding from the big screen.” But today, people increasingly watch videos on the small screens of their phones or laptops. When she was a child, the Met overwhelmed her senses and filled her with awe. Today, the museum feels too sanitized, the objects too remote. “I can’t believe they redesigned it with all those stupid glass cases!” she said.

“I loved the idea of the armed woman,” Paglia said of Diana the Huntress, whose image entranced her as a child. (LEEMAGE/CORBIS/GETTY IMAGES)
“I loved the idea of the armed woman,” Paglia said of Diana the Huntress, whose image entranced her as a child. (LEEMAGE/CORBIS/GETTY IMAGES)

It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that Paglia’s favorite book as a child was about a girl living in a land of wonder. She still owns the worn copies of Through the Looking Glass and Alice in Wonderland that her parents read to her as a child. She loved Lewis Carroll’s playful language. She memorized lines from the story, like the Red Queen’s command “Remove the joint!” “It was the first thing that I heard that inspired me about language,” Paglia said about Through the Looking Glass. “It’s so crisp and witty.”

She also credits Time and Oscar Wilde’s epigrams with teaching her to write in a condensed and succinct manner. “I love the one-liner, the axiom. I adore and parody them in my work,” she said. “Like in Sexual Personae, I’m talking about the status of cats in ancient Egypt and I say, ‘The cat is the least Christian inhabitant of the average home.’ ” She laughed. “I’m parodying the marketing analysis of ‘average home.’” But the greatest sentence she ever wrote, she said, is “God is man’s greatest idea.”

In adolescence, she wrote poetry and kept notebooks in which she’d copy prose that she admired from newspapers or novels, studying the passages to understand what made them good. Her writing would eventually bring her into contact with feminism for the first time. At 14, after seeing an item about Amelia Earhart in the newspaper, she began obsessively researching the feminist aviator, with the goal of writing a book about her. Earhart became a symbol to Paglia of “female freedom, thought, and movement.” As she researched Earhart, she also encountered figures such as politician Clare Boothe Luce, journalist Dorothy Thompson, and aviator Anne Morrow Lindbergh. “These women of the twenties and thirties were amazing pioneers without all this male bashing that goes on now,” Paglia said.

She worked on the Earhart project for three years, showing an academic’s patience and proficiency for research. By this point, she knew she wanted to be a scholar when she grew up. She wrote nearly 300 letters of inquiry, spent Saturdays at the Syracuse public library, and made pilgrimages to Earhart sites during family road trips. But Paglia drifted from the Earhart project after she turned 16, in 1963. For her birthday that year, one of her father’s colleagues, a Belgian woman, gave her a copy of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. Reading it changed Paglia’s life. “I date my intellectual independence from that moment,” she wrote.

In Beauvoir, she found not only a vision of feminism but also a model. “Her commanding voice and enormous historical scope were huge inspirations for me,” she said. “She’s so magisterial and did such copious scholarship.”

After reading The Second Sex, Paglia “began to imagine a vaster project, which would build on Beauvoir and go beyond her.” That project began to take shape when Paglia was a student at Harpur College at SUNY Binghamton between 1964 and 1968. She majored in English and began writing essays on gender and sexual ambiguity in literature that would shape her ideas in Sexual Personae. “No one,” she said, “was thinking about sex in those days in academe.”

After graduating as valedictorian from Harpur, Paglia landed at Yale in 1968 for graduate school in English literature. It was a year of revolutionary social change, but at Yale, traditionalism ruled, especially in the English department, where Beat poetry and leftist literary critics like Leslie Fiedler, two major influences on Paglia, were disdained. Her genteel, WASP professors didn’t know what to make of this young woman decked out in psychedelic outfits who wrote about Freud and sex in her papers. One professor felt so uneasy around Paglia that he nervously rolled and unrolled his necktie with his fingers whenever she spoke in class. When rumors circulated that Paglia wanted to write a doctoral dissertation about sex in art, Harold Bloom summoned her to his office and declared, “My dear, I am the only one who can direct that dissertation!”

Paglia resisted the reigning approach to literature of the time, the New Criticism, whose epicenter was Yale. The twentieth-century literary movement championed “textual explication,” or close readings, of literary works, treating them as self-contained objects. Paglia admired the “microscopic” method but wanted much more—to ground literature in history, biography, and psychology, which included sex. That became the aim of her dissertation, originally called “The Androgynous Dream” and later known as Sexual Personae. Paglia ransacked Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library looking for different approaches to literature. She read Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Erich Neumann, and Carl Jung, but the scholar who floored her was Sir James George Frazer. His seminal work The Golden Bough was a synthesis of myth. “My largest ambition,” Paglia writes in her preface to Sexual Personae, is “to fuse Frazer with Freud.”

Sterling Library was a gothic temple to scholarship—and Paglia worked with the reverence of a medieval monk. “To be a scholar,” Paglia has written, “is the greatest of vocations: to compose a devout commentary, a talmud, on the created world.” Her mother, she likes to point out, was born near the sixth-century monastery where Thomas Aquinas was educated. Her two mentors, Milton Kessler and Harold Bloom, were “visionary rabbis.” “Universities descend from medieval institutions,” she told me, “that were [intended] to train clergy, and there’s always been a model of withdrawal from the world and contemplation and honor and ethics in the academic tradition.”

Paglia admired Ava Gardner’s glamour and confidence: “The quality she exudes on screen is kind of eerie, almost, like, vampiric.” (MONDADORI PORTFOLIO/GETTY IMAGES)
Paglia admired Ava Gardner’s glamour and confidence: “The quality she exudes on screen is kind of eerie, almost, like, vampiric.” (MONDADORI PORTFOLIO/GETTY IMAGES)

Her devotion to this noble vision explains why Paglia was appalled by what happened next in academia. In the early 1970s, as she was finishing her doctoral course work, a new school of literary studies gained its first U.S. foothold at Yale and would eventually overthrow New Criticism as the main way academics would interpret texts in English departments across the country. It was known by many names: post-structuralism, continental theory, and deconstruction. Its leaders were the French theorists Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, and Michel Foucault.

Paglia was repelled by the pretensions of these French thinkers. Though she had her problems with the “old-guard professors at the Yale Graduate School,” she recognized them as “genuine scholars, passionately devoted to study and learning. They believed they had a moral obligation to seek the truth and to express it as accurately as they could,” she writes in Provocations. But the French theorists and their converts in American universities were “like high priests murmuring to each other.” Rather than revealing and clarifying the meaning of literature, they obscured it.

As Paglia found herself on the wrong side of literary fashion, she also found herself at odds with feminism. In 1970, Paglia, a lover of rock and roll, told members of the New Haven Women’s Liberation Rock Band that she thought the Rolling Stones’ song “Under My Thumb” was a work of art. They considered the song sexist and “went into a rage,” Paglia wrote, and “surrounded me, practically spat in my face, literally my back was to the wall.” In another incident, Paglia was at dinner with some women professors who “went ballistic” on her and told her she’d been “brainwashed by male scientists” because she alluded to hormonal differences between the sexes. “I was rebuffed and rejected from the women’s movement from day one,” Paglia said.

The irony was that Paglia had always been a feminist. In high school, she wrote a letter to the editor of Newsweek, which was published in the magazine, about Amelia Earhart’s pioneering status as a woman aviator. In college, she rebelled against the sexist parietal rules that imposed curfews on women but not men. And in her first job, as a professor at Bennington College, originally an all-girls’ school that had gone co-ed two years before Paglia arrived, she kicked a male student in the derriere for an offensive nightclub skit he had performed on campus. “He sprawled out on the floor, and his glasses flew!” Some of the women students, delighted, gave Paglia the Award of the Order of the Golden Boot, a poster with an image of a gleaming yellow Frye boot that Paglia had worn to do the deed. But after a final incident, at a dance, where Paglia got into a fistfight with another student, it was Bennington’s turn to try to give her the boot. In the end, Paglia accepted a settlement and quietly resigned.

Paglia said that Bennington is where she “grew up.” She realized that her “do your own thing” attitude was wasting the time of her colleagues and students and diverting her from her vocation as a teacher. When I asked about the “kick story,” Paglia was bashful. “Oh, my God, when I look back—oh, my God,” she said. She held her hands up to her face. “That was so wrong,” she said. “Who am I, a free-speech militant?” In an interview published in Provocations, Paglia said that the one thing she would edit from her past is “the arrogantly militant Amazon feminism which I foolishly tried to impose” at Bennington. “Deep social change,” she learned, “takes time.”

The early 1980s were Paglia’s wilderness years. Unable to find steady employment in academia, she worked to finish Sexual Personae, which was rejected by five agents and seven publishers. When I asked Paglia if she had despaired that her work would never reach an audience, she mentioned Emily Dickinson, dubbed “Madame de Sade” in Sexual Personae, who was virtually unknown in her day. Whenever Paglia felt frustrated by her lack of success, she reminded herself “how a great genius like Dickinson got absolutely nothing back from her staggeringly innovative work.”

Her fate would not be Dickinson’s, however. Thanks to a chance meeting that Paglia had with a senior editor of Yale University Press, Sexual Personae would appear in February 1990, but with little fanfare—no publicity, no marketing, no picture of the author on the flap. Still, it started making its way into the hands of influential readers. One was Herbert Golder, a classics professor at Boston University and the editor of Arion, a literary journal. He contacted Paglia and asked if she’d review two books on classical antiquity by openly gay academics. When Paglia read the books, One Hundred Years of Homosexuality, by David M. Halperin, and The Constraints of Desire, by John J. Winkler, she was appalled. When post-structuralism took root at Yale in the early 1970s, Paglia assumed that it would be a short-lived fad. “Not until I read those awful two books,” she said, “did I realize how bad the situation was—and that what was going on was the literal destruction of a scholarly tradition that began in medieval monasteries and universities.”

Perceiving that the contamination of the humanities by theory represented a crisis for higher education, she devoted the next six months to researching and writing a mega-essay called “Junk Bonds and Corporate Raiders” for Arion. According to Paglia, Bloom told her that she was wasting her time. But to Paglia, nothing was more important than saving the universities from the “soulless, beady-eyed careerists” who “cynically deny the possibility of meaning” in the great works of the past and have ruined the humanities with their “shallow, juvenile attitude toward culture.” During our conversation, Paglia called them “absolutely the most corrupt and evil individuals on the landscape.”

In “Junk Bonds,” she argued that Lacan, Derrida, Foucault, and their followers were frauds. “These minor French theorists,” she wrote in a version of the essay that appeared in the New York Times Book Review, “have had a disastrous effect on American education. Lacan encourages pompous bombast and Foucault teaches cheap cynicism, while Derrida’s aggressive method, called deconstruction, systematically trashes high culture by reducing everything to language and then making language destroy itself.” “Junk Bonds” contains one of Paglia’s other favorite sentences: “Better Jehovah than Foucault.”

To Paglia, it made no sense to study French theorists in America. Their work, she argued in a Fordham University lecture in 2000, is specific to French language and to the culture of postwar Europe, and it doesn’t transfer to the Anglo-American tradition, where pragmatism and Romanticism infuse the arts. In the lecture, “The North American Intellectual Tradition,” republished in Provocations, she offers a counter-canon to Lacan, Derrida, and Foucault in the critics Marshall McLuhan, Leslie Fiedler, and Norman O. Brown. Their theories of culture, she told me, rely on “social observation of real people, real experiences, and of nature itself and the material world.”

As Paglia worked on “Junk Bonds,” a generally favorable review of Sexual Personae appeared in the New York Times Book Review. Then, in November 1990, she gave a slide lecture about the history of women in Hollywood at the 92nd Street Y, the New York cultural center. The novelist and journalist Francesca Stanfill attended and approached Paglia about writing a magazine profile on her. Because Paglia’s talk had celebrated Madonna, the New York Times invited her to write about the controversy over alleged pornography in Madonna’s music video for “Justify My Love.”

“Madonna—Finally, a Real Feminist,” appeared in December 1990, and it rocketed Paglia to fame. A month later, her notoriety was secured when she wrote an op-ed on date rape for Newsday, which has become her most reprinted piece of writing. Another month later, New York magazine published “Woman Warrior,” Stanfill’s cover story about Paglia. After “Junk Bonds” appeared in Arion, publications around the country excerpted it, including the New York Times Book Review, which ran it on its front page in May 1991 with the headline “Ninnies, Pedants, Tyrants and Other Academics.” When Paglia lectured at MIT in September of that year, she drew an overflow audience of thousands of people.

Paglia had broken through. She was called the second Marshall McLuhan and “the academic Joan Rivers.” New Yorker cartoonists caricatured her, and the New York Post’s Page Six gossip column even chronicled her doings. Paglia seemed to relish her celebrity.

Paglia’s next two books—Sex, Art, and American Culture and Vamps and Tramps—were essay collections with extensive appendixes documenting her media appearances and mentions, but they also contained real scholarship. Paglia’s essays can leave readers with the impression that she contains the whole of Western civilization in her mind. In her slender 1998 book The Birds, for example, published by the British Film Institute, she writes that the Hitchcock classic is “in the main line of British Romanticism, descending from the raw nature-tableaux and sinister femmes fatales of Coleridge.”

For lovers of the humanities, her subsequent volumes, Break, Blow, Burn (about poetry, and published in 2005) and Glittering Images (about art, and appearing in 2012), are the jewels in the Paglia canon. Her mission in these books is to “save culture from theory,” in the words of the poet Clive James. “Technical analysis of a poem is like breaking down a car engine,” she writes, “which has to be reassembled to run again. Theorists childishly smash up their subjects and leave the disjecta membra like litter.” Paglia instead sought to make the arts accessible and relevant to ordinary readers through a series of concise, smart explications of the greatest works of Western civilization, from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73 and Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy” to Titian’s Venus with a Mirror and Piet Mondrian’s Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow.

Both books end with Paglia’s signature nod to pop culture. The final poem covered in Break, Blow, Burn is Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock,” and the last essay in Glittering Images is a tribute to the Star Wars film Revenge of the Sith. Mitchell’s ballad, she writes, is a commentary on the 1960s, “a harrowing lament for hopes dashed and energies tragically wasted.” George Lucas, meanwhile, was the “only” cultural figure “during the decades bridging the twentieth and twenty-first centuries” with “the pioneering boldness and world impact that we associate with the early masters of avant-garde modernism.” To Paglia, filmmakers like Lucas are our modern mythmakers; singers like Joni Mitchell, our modern bards.

But Paglia worries that we are moving into a “soulless future” as art, literature, and religion recede from the public square. In one essay in Provocations, “The Magic of Images,” she writes that today’s young adults “are unmoored from the mother ship of culture.” For Paglia’s generation, popular culture was the “brash alternative” to religion, literature, and the fine arts. For young adults these days, raised on the “darting images” of television and social media, it is the culture. Manic, jittery, and kinetic, it has produced adults with the same qualities.

To Paglia, the antidote to this is the kind of education she received at Harpur College, which counterbalances the sensory immediacy of pop with the philosophical depth of complex high art. But unless they deliberately seek them out, today’s students are rarely exposed to the greatest and most influential works of Western civilization. What they often encounter instead is a watered-down Marxism that sees the world in terms of society, politics, and economics—a materialistic philosophy that has no sense of the spiritual or sublime.

“That’s why they’re in a terrible fever and so emotional,” Paglia said. “There is a total vacuum in their view of life. They don’t have religion any longer. Religion teaches you metaphysics. It shows you how to examine yourself and ask questions about your relationship with the universe.” The Bible, she said, is “one of the greatest books ever written.”

Instead of finding meaning in religion or culture, today’s new generation has turned to politics. This, Paglia said, is “absolute idolatry.” Her students believe that “human happiness is possible through social reform—that utopia is possible.” A much better understanding of human nature is found in the great works of art and literature, which reveal “the tragic view of life.” The fact that Break, Blow, Burn became a national bestseller reveals that there is a craving for the kind of education Paglia is advocating.

The route to a renaissance in education and the arts, she argues, lies in the study of religion. “All art began as religion,” Paglia said in a debate at the Yale Political Union in 2017. Its metaphysics “frees the mind from parochial entrapment in the immediate social environment.” Its “stress on personal responsibility for the condition of the soul,” she added, “releases the individual from irrational blame of others.” And it has the potential to satisfy students’ existential yearnings. In her remarks at Yale, published in Provocations, Paglia argued that college students should be taught religion as culture, not morality, and that a study of comparative religion is the “true multiculturalism.”

Her fascination with comparative religion began as a college student. Like many spiritual seekers of her generation, she was drawn to mysticism, nature, and the occult. The British scholar Alan Watts, who helped to popularize Zen Buddhism in America, had a profound influence on her. His books on Eastern and Western culture, “comparing the way a Hindu or Buddhist sees the world to the way a Judeo-Christian sees the world,” gave her the multicultural education she advocates for students today.

In a brilliant essay in Provocations, “Cults and Cosmic Consciousness,” she argues that the spiritual yearnings of her generation gave rise to the New Age movement that flowered in the 1980s and 1990s. She “absolutely” considers herself part of that movement, she said. Though acknowledging that it is “choked with debris,” Paglia believes that New Age “deserves respect for its attunement to nature and its search for meaning at a time when neither nature nor meaning is valued in discourse in the humanities.” It has a “core of perennial wisdom” that draws from “Asian religion, European paganism, and Native American nature-cult.”

Her latest research project is New Age to the core. Ten years ago, as she was researching Glittering Images, she started noticing odd stone formations near her home in the Philadelphia suburbs. Wondering what they could be, she went to the library at the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and inspected the vast collection on Native American culture. Eventually, she became convinced that these stone formations had religious significance. She is now working on a book about the nature religion of Native Americans of the Northeast. “I’ve found stone objects that are mind-boggling,” she said. “I now can just cross a lawn and find fragments of artifacts everywhere. I have many tools—scrapers, hammers, and knife blades, some of them still razor sharp,” she said. Stone tools in Pennsylvania “may date from 10,000 BC, which makes them older than the pyramids of Egypt.”

Cosmic reality is both wondrous and terrifying to her. “The sublime,” she said, “opens up the vastness of the universe, in which human beings and their works are small and nothing!” The world may be less enchanted than it was when Paglia was a child, but she still stands in awe of it. Her life’s work has been to share that message with others.

Emily Esfahani Smith, a journalist in Washington, D.C., is the author of The Power of Meaning.

Top Photo: In her latest essay collection, “Provocations,” Paglia writes that she wants to be remembered as a “dissident writer” who defended free thought. (PETER KRAMER/BRAVO/NBCU PHOTO BANK/GETTY IMAGES)
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Kristen Gillibrand’s Tangled Web

Original article published in American Thinker by Christopher Skeet. I’ve re-printed here because of the detail that the author includes about the Trayvon Martin shooting, details the mainstream media never reports…….

During the second Democratic debate, New York senator and political weathervane Kristen Gillibrand bragged that she could explain to white suburban women who voted for Trump “what white privilege actually is.” No doubt. When you presume to lecture Joe Biden about being a single father, anything is possible. Still, I question the strategy of scything a path to the White House by arrogantly condescending to a voting bloc whose overriding motive for their previous presidential vote was a stern disavowal of arrogant condescension.

But Gillibrand wasn’t finished. “When their son is walking down the street with a bag of M&Ms in his pocket, wearing a hoodie,” she scolded, “his whiteness is what protects him from not being shot.” From not being shot? Gillibrand is a lawyer, presumably schooled in the art of courtroom rhetoric, but I’m not sure I would trust her to defend me against shoplifting at Wal-Mart, much less to defend America as president. Mr. Skeet, isn’t it true that you didn’t not steal that inflatable Judy doll? Please keep in mind that you aren’t not under oath.

But the point that Gillibrand was clumsily trying to make was entwined in a rehash of the Trayvon Martin shooting. According to accepted mythology, Trayvon was walking down the street, having recently purchased candy and iced tea from a nearby 7-11. Having been spotted and followed by the local Grand Wizard and ethnically pretzeled “white Hispanic” George Zimmerman, the black Trayvon found himself running from, brawling with, and tragically being shot by the Afro-Peruvian Klansman.

For the umpteenth time, the facts of this case belie the myth. Trayvon was not shot for wearing a hoodie, or for carrying candy, or for being black. He was shot because he was on top of Zimmerman, pummeling his head off the pavement with MMA-style punches. Attorney General Eric Holder, who haughtily fancied himself John Shaft of the DoJ, left no stone thrice unturned in its investigation. If there was even a shred of a legal case against Zimmerman, you can bet Holder would have pounced on it.

But Gillibrand takes the myth an extra step. In her scenario, the hypothetical white son is walking down the street with a bag of M&Ms. But Trayvon wasn’t carrying a bag of M&Ms. He was carrying a bag of Skittles and an Arizona brand beverage. OK, so what’s the big deal? you might ask. She made an honest mistake with the brand of candy.

But she didn’t make a mistake. She deliberately substituted M&Ms for Skittles. Anyone following the case knew that the nationwide pro-Trayvon demonstrations in the aftermath of the shooting featured Skittles as a central tenet. Protestors carried Skittles packages, attached them to signs, and taped them over their mouths. The Guardian ran a story about how Skittles symbolized Trayvon’s alleged innocence.

But as the case unfolded, it emerged that Trayvon’s Arizona Iced Tea wasn’t iced tea, but in fact was Arizona Watermelon Fruit Juice Cocktail. Again, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that M&Ms and Arizona Iced Tea are what a normal American teenager, black or white, might be expected to be carrying on any given evening. On the other hand, Skittles and Arizona Watermelon Fruit Juice Cocktail are what an experienced drug abuser might be expected to be carrying on any given evening (during his third school suspension of the year for vandalism and illegal drugs).

Popular in hip hop culture is a drug called Lean (a.k.a. Purple Drank, Sizzurp, Dirty Sprite, etc.). Lean is made by mixing cough syrup, Skittles, and Arizona Watermelon Fruit Juice Cocktail. The result is a codeine-based concoction, one effect of which causes its abuser to lean (hence the name). Trayvon chatted extensively on Facebook about his abuse of codeine, among other drugs, as well as about the ingredients needed to make lean.

The evening Zimmerman spotted him, Trayvon was carrying two of these three ingredients. In Zimmerman’s 911 call, he stated that Trayvon appeared to be “on drugs”. Is it possible that a sober Trayvon, pondering his dreams of being a brain surgeon, just happened to be in the mood for Skittles and juice that day? Yes, it’s possible. And it’s possible that the local moonshiner just bought some yeast, sugar, and a large vat because he wants to bake hot cross buns for the new congregants at his church.

One of many long-term effects of codeine abuse is liver damage. Trayvon’s autopsy revealed a patchy yellow discoloration of the liver, due to mild fatty metamorphosis. Such fatty buildup is one early indication of drug abuse, though it admittedly could also be the result of a number of other perfectly legitimate medical factors. What it is most definitely not indicative of is M&M overdoses.

Notice what Gillibrand did not say. She did not say that Trayvon was carrying M&Ms. She only used M&Ms in her hypothetical “white son” scenario. So she technically never lied, and she left herself wiggle room in case the CNN debate “moderators” called her out on it (no laughing, please). Her very lawyerly intention was to lie by false equivalence and, by doing so, score a notch for the white privilege polemic.

If white privilege was so axiomatic, one would think its opponents would have stockpiles of evidentiary ammunition with which to batter down the ramparts of American society. As it stands, their most flaunted example of such institutionalized bigotry was built on deliberate falsehoods from its inception. It has long since been exposed as such, yet it continues to be exploited by ambulance chasers like Gillibrand.

My intention here is not to change anyone’s mind about the Trayvon shooting, race relations, or stand-your-ground laws. My intention is to reiterate an important fact underpinning a controversial incident. In the larger picture, this fact may seem irrelevant. But this fact was intentionally distorted by Gillibrand to alter the narrative of the Trayvon shooting, which in turn has been touted as evidence of systemic racism in America, which in turn is being used to peddle untenable theories of white privilege, which in turn is being used to cultivate support for reparations. The attempted implementation of reparations would be nothing short of catastrophic, and would leave in its wake an unbridgeable schism between black and white Americans.

I don’t imagine Gillibrand gave much thought, and even less concern, about the accuracy or effects of her words. As evident from her shameless flip-flopping over every conceivable issue, her ambition is the presidency at whatever cost. In the grand scheme of things, her ambiguous M&M duplicity is small fry compared to the If you like your health care plan whoppers. But if we concede the singular facts on which these individual incidents are grounded, we eventually concede the overall narrative. The facts of these incidents are on our side, and we have no reason to surrender them.

We’ve locked horns with the Left for almost a decade over the Trayvon shooting and its underlying causes, and after struggling for so long, it’s tempting to throw our hands up in exasperation and say Ah screw it, let them have this one. But there is too much at stake to succumb to battle fatigue. Call the Left out on every single lie, no matter how insignificant it may seem. The small lies are constructed into guard towers from which the big lies are imposed. Fight for every inch and don’t back down a centimeter, because that’s what the socialists who very well might take power in 2020 are doing.