Be Careful What You Ask For

In “Obamacare, Abortion and the Ease of Extremism,” Megan McArdle discusses “how much easier it is to hold radical opinions when you have no hope of passing legislation.” She makes a powerful if familiar argument that much of our current extreme partisanship “began with the sweeping decision in Roe v. Wade. At a stroke, the Supreme Court cut down all the nation’s abortion laws, and took the question out of the political process.”

… Roe turned what had been a local political battle into a national one, and thereby galvanized social conservatives in (future) red states who would have otherwise been content not to think much about the issue. And starting in the 1980s, when conservatives began a concerted effort to make the judiciary more friendly to laws restricting abortion (along with other conservative priorities), it similarly galvanized people on the left who otherwise would not have invested a considerable portion of their political identity in the question of abortion.

…. A normal legislative process would have to actually address this complex set of opinions head-on…. But when the Supreme Court exempted abortion from the legislative process, it also exempted political figures — and voters — from having to actually think through what abortion law should look like…. When a court has precluded making actual policy, talk is cheap and extreme opinions abound

Roe energized conservatives, nationalized what had been a state and local issue, and, more importantly, converted political struggles into an all-out war to control the courts.

McArdle doesn’t discuss immigration, but she well could have. I don’t normally waste time by attempting to give Democrats advice, but I’ll make an exception now: Pause for a moment and consider the effect — the political effect, if nothing else — if you succeed in enlisting the courts to block the president from imposing reasonable, temporary immigration restrictions based on national origin. It may make the response to Roe seem mild and the Tea Party response to Obamacare seem like, well, a tea party.

 

Universities And The “Undocumented”

I was in college across the Bay from Berkeley when the Free Speech Movement erupted on that campus. I recall a headline, probably in the San Francisco Chronicle, announcing at one point that UC Chancellor Clark Kerr would “crack down on off-campus non-students.”

I thought at the time that doing so would be unrealistically ambitious, the world being filled as it is with off-campus non-students. And now I’ve just been reminded of that headline by an article in today’s Charlottesville Daily Progress, “Hundreds rally at UVa against Trump immigration order,” reporting that ” UVa President Teresa A. Sullivan issued a statement saying the university supports undocumented and refugee students.”

“Being a great university in the 21st century means being a global university,” President Sullivan preened in her statement that was high on moral gloss but low on relevance to the current controversy, “and our entire University community is enriched and enlightened by interacting with teachers and students from other nations. Providing these experiences is an investment in the future as we seek to build international cooperation and peace.”

Perhaps it is time for all public universities to eliminate their exclusionary, divisive residency requirements based on parochial national, state, and local borders and open admissions on equal terms to residents of the world.

DeVos “Divisive”?

No one has written more incisively and even-handedly about controversial issues on campus than the Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Peter Schmidt. Thus it was both surprising and disappointing to see him describe Dept. of Education nominee Betsy DeVos’s recent statements about Title IX enforcement as “divisive.” “Divisive,” according to the New Oxford American Dictionary on […]

Will Jews Continue To Support Democrats Despite Obama/Kerry Betrayal?

In my recent post, “Are Jews The New Blacks,” I wondered whether Jews would continue to support Democrats as slavishly as they have in the past, including the recent past. Although it is obviously too soon to say, apparently many influential Democrats are worried and are rapidly attempting to put some daylight between them and Obama’s […]

Are Jews The New Blacks?

Every since Daniel Golden’s The Price of Admission and Jerome Karabel’s The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, and in many other sources such as Ron Unz’s influential “The Myth of American Meritocracy,” Asians have been described as the “new Jews” because, like Jews in the past, they are now […]

Enough Is Enough! Bipartisan Hypocrisy

Yesterday the Supreme Court heard two cases in which black plaintiffs claimed that Virginia (Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections) and North Carolina (McCrory v. Harris) discriminating against them in the way they created “majority-minority” legislative districts. “The claim made by black voters in both states,” the Associated Press reports, “is that Republicans created districts […]

Criticizing Racial Preference Is Not “Begging The Question.” In Fact …

Regarding my letter to the editor in the November 27 Washington Post (discussed below, here), a good friend here in Charlottesville — I’ll call him Bob — responded: I think you’re right…almost.  It begs the question though about what is the morally responsible thing to do about social and economic effects lingering from having had […]

Democrats, Blue Collar Whites, And My Washington Post Letter

Two Washington Post Articles In One!

Almost Black

(Former) Lynchburg School Board Member Is A “Fearful Moron”

Is Colorblind Equality On The Trump Agenda? It Should Be.

An (Unwittingly) Successful Attempt At Anti-Trump Humor

The Day After

Roger Clegg Asks: Do You Really Think That?

Both Brazille AND Clinton Cheated

Some Clinton/Trump Thoughts — Election Minus Three Days