One thing we can all be thankful for today is that we’re not China, where dictator Xi Jinping controls all the information you get, monitors all your activity online, captures your comings and goings by tens of thousands of cameras with facial recognition, and uses its enormous data stores of information to rate your loyalty to Xi Jinping Thought and the State. That rating, in turn, influences your job and education prospects in an economy in which companies are either entirely state-owned or ostensibly private but with party cadre now mandated on the boards of directors and on the shop floor.
“But wait,” as they say in late night tv ads, “there’s more.” China is one-upping Planned Parenthood’s profiteering on fetal body parts. In China, the state can not only execute you for alleged crimes against the state but has an economic incentive for doing so. Without your consent, your body parts, including your head, will then be harvested for transplants and classroom lab exercises. That is why the alleged head transplants recently in the news are taking place in China and nowhere else.
Mayflower Compact, John Quincy Adams, private property
The democratic republic that is the United States began humbly in 1620 with the Mayflower Compact. In an 1802 speech, future President John Quincy Adams commented: “Here was a unanimous and personal assent, by all the individuals of the community, to the association by which they became a nation.”
The pilgrims almost starved that first winter in 1620 because they followed the collectivist approach of Bernie Sanders to farming, John Stossel writes. After Governor Winthrop distributed farm land as private property, the colony prospered and the rest, as they say, is history.
Freedom of the press and the internet
The freedom of the press guaranteed in the Constitution’s first amendment gives us lots of silly stuff, to be sure. George Will surveys some of the year’s highlights here.
Some of this material is downright disgusting, for example this comparison of President Trump to murder cult leader Charles Manson. Unlike China and its puppet state North Korea we don’t execute people for lèse majesté.
Other recent cringe-inducing hit pieces include the press slanders rather than sympathy and honest reporting on Senator Rand Paul’s suffering in the face of a dastardly assault by a leftist. Or this gratuitous, uncalled for National Review attack on Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s wife.
But truth is strengthened by a diverse opposition, as the Founders, readers of John Milton’s famous Areopagitica, knew well. Regulation of speech is the first step toward tyranny, which is why Senator Ted Cruz and FCC chairman Ajit Pai oppose President Obama’s “net neutrality” regulation of the internet. Obama introduced this regulation to favor his political allies Google, Facebook, and Amazon.
Home of the least diversity: the university
University of California (Santa Cruz) German professor emeritus and chairman of the California Association of Scholars John M. Ellis explains why US universities have become progressively more intolerant and why this is destroying intellectual standards there:
“In most humanities and social-science departments—especially those central to a liberal education, such as history, English and political science—the share of left-of-center faculty already approaches 100%.
“The imbalance is not only a question of numbers. Well-balanced opposing views act as a corrective for each other: The weaker arguments of one side are pounced on and picked off by the other. Both remain consequently healthier and more intellectually viable. But intellectual dominance promotes stupidity. As one side becomes numerically stronger, its discipline weakens. The greater the imbalance between the two sides, the more incoherent and irrational the majority will become.
“What we are now seeing on the campuses illustrates this general principle perfectly. The nearly complete exclusion of one side has led to complete irrationality on the other. With almost no intellectual opponents remaining, campus radicals have lost the ability to engage with arguments and resort instead to the lazy alternative of name-calling: Opponents are all ‘fascists,’ ‘racists’ or ‘white supremacists.'”
Professor Ellis proposes some some remedies. The letters to the editor responding to his op ed are also of interest, especially economist Richard Vedder’s. Clearly Milton’s Areopagitica would make better summer reading for entering freshmen than the pap most colleges currently assign.