Mona Charen | Editorial
22024
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  • The Future is Female: But Is That Entirely a Good Thing? for 09/17/2021

    "Men are abandoning higher education in such numbers that they now trail female college students by record levels." So declares the opening sentence of a Wall Street Journal piece that is creating quite the buzz. Here are some of the eye-popping statistics: Women now account for 59.5% of college students in the United States. They also earn 58.5% of master's degrees and 52.9% of Ph.D.s. Women have been earning the majority of doctorates for 13 straight years. In the 2020-21 academic year, a million more women than men applied to college. You can be forgiven if you find these numbers startling. The popular press focuses on the challenges women face, not on their achievements. We are constantly warned about silencing girls' voices, discrimination against female athletes, glass ceilings, pay gaps, "mansplaining" and the paucity of women in the top ranks of corporate America. There are innumerable programs, scholarships and inducements to increase the share of girls and women who study STEM subjects (the only fields where men continue to earn more Ph.D.s than women). And the assumption persists that it's a man's world.Updated: Fri Sep 17, 2021 […]

  • Pro-Life Cause Deserves Better Than Texas Law for 09/10/2021

    The Supreme Court's fateful step of judicializing abortion in 1973 effectively removed it from the political process for nearly a half-century. Americans' passionate feelings on the matter were displaced from legislative disputes (where they belonged) to the composition of the Supreme Court, resulting in crude, openly political, circuslike nomination battles that have characterized nearly all recent appointments. But now the Court seems poised to toss the question back into the political realm. I say this not so much because of what happened with the Texas law but because the Court is scheduled to hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a Mississippi case aimed squarely at Roe v. Wade. The Texas Heartbeat Act currently causing such angst may be remembered as a sideshow. Bear in mind that in declining to issue an injunction, the Supreme Court did not endorse the substance of the law. It ruled only that the appellees lacked standing. Updated: Fri Sep 10, 2021 […]

  • The Party of Violence for 09/03/2021

    A Republican running for Northampton County executive in Pennsylvania gave a heated address on Aug. 29 about mask mandates in schools. Steve Lynch is tired, he said, of providing his school board arguments and data (he apparently thinks the data support letting kids go maskless), but the important thing about his rant is the threat of force: "Forget into these school boards with frigging data. ... They don't follow the law! You go in and you remove 'em. I'm going in there with 20 strong men." That's the kind of language that Republicans are now employing. Lynch has not run for public office before, but he did attend the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, D.C., and has posted on social media that the violence that day was a false-flag operation meant to discredit Trump supporters. Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina spoke last weekend at an event sponsored by the Macon County Republican Party. He delivered the kind of lies that have become routine among some Republicans. The election was stolen — and not just the presidential contest but also that won by Gov. Roy Cooper (who defeated his opponent by a quarter of a million votes). Cawthorn told the crowd that vaccines are harmful to children and urged them to "defend their children." A woman asked what he plans to do about the "535 Americans who have been captured from Jan, 6." Cawthorn, who has apparently heard this before, thundered, "Political hostages!" When someone in the crowd asked, "When are you gonna call us back to Washington?" he replied, "We are actively working on that one."Updated: Fri Sep 03, 2021 […]

  • Nation Building Was Not the Point for 08/27/2021

    Damon Linker is one of the sharpest political/cultural observers writing today. If you're not already reading his contributions to The Week, you should. He is also my colleague on The Bulwark's weekly podcast "Beg to Differ." In the spirit of our podcast, I must beg to differ with his recent column about the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Linker writes that the argument over Afghanistan is in part partisan (as nothing can escape that sinkhole) but more broadly part of a well-established disagreement about America's role in the world. Those who are criticizing President Joe Biden today, Linker writes, are Wilsonian idealists. They are united in thinking that the United States is responsible for spreading liberal democracy around the world, that our safety depends on the success of this effort, that the effort requires us to use military force against opponents of liberal democracy and that we must never pull back from that confrontation. Well. Let's concede that liberal internationalism or neoconservatism or Wilsonianism has a long history in this country, but it's a bit of a leap to suggest that even these interventionists are so sweeping in their enthusiasm for military force. In fact, believers in liberal internationalism understand that there are practical and prudential limits to what can be achieved militarily.Updated: Fri Aug 27, 2021 […]

  • What Orban's Apologists Reveal About Themselves for 08/13/2021

    As someone who was weaned on stories of leftist intellectuals and journalists traipsing off to communist countries to pay obeisance, I can only shake my head as a parade of right-wingers are making their way to Hungary to sing the praises of authoritarian Viktor Orban. Tucker Carlson of Fox News is the highest-profile rightist to make the trek, but the path was already well-trod. Former National Review editor and Margaret Thatcher speechwriter John O'Sullivan has moved to Budapest to head the Danube Institute, a think tank funded by Orban's government. He likes his nationalism straight up. A few years ago, at the National Conservatism conference in Washington, D.C., Orban was an honored guest, which was a bit head-snapping for those inattentive to the drift toward authoritarianism on the right. Speakers at the conference (and a follow-up one held in Rome) have featured mainstream figures such as John Bolton, Chris DeMuth, Peter Thiel, Oren Cass and Rich Lowry. In addition to Orban, other questionable invitees included Marion Marechal (she has dropped Le Pen from her surname) and Steve Bannon pal Matteo Salvini.Updated: Fri Aug 13, 2021 […]

  • Vaccinate the World. Now. for 08/06/2021

    About six weeks ago, I wrote a piece urging that the United States take the lead in vaccinating the world. The case for doing so is even more compelling now. Yes, we've been scratching and clawing at one another domestically over vaccine hesitancy, vaccine disinformation, vaccine mandates, masks, schools and every other damn thing. It's a disgrace that right-wing infotainers have made basic public health the enemy. Masks and vaccines are weak, they sneer, while simultaneously declaring that any effort to mandate them is communism. But consider how the vaccinophobes would feel if vaccination became the next great American gift to humanity.Updated: Fri Aug 06, 2021 […]

  • Cheney and Kinzinger May Be Too Late for 07/30/2021

    I wish I could be a Cheney fan. I really do. Rep. Liz Cheney has conducted herself honorably for the past nine months. Her courage in telling the truth about the election and the insurrection of Jan. 6 has been punished by the Republican conference, which booted her from leadership and replaced her with the lying, scheming Trumpist, Rep. Elise Stefanik. Former President Donald Trump is apparently working feverishly to unseat Cheney from Congress altogether, and his lickspittle lieutenants are joining the effort. The invertebrate minority leader, Kevin McCarthy — who, let's recall, declared on Jan. 13 that "the president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters" — has long since scurried back under Trump's skirts, from whence he issues barbs against the few remaining Republicans who still have some principles. McCarthy sniped that Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, the other Republican appointed to the Jan. 6 committee over the objections of party leadership, are "Pelosi Republicans." The opening segments of the Jan. 6 committee were another fine moment for Cheney. She began by thanking the police officers who testified about their experiences defending the Capitol that day:Updated: Fri Jul 30, 2021 […]

  • Can National Solidarity Solve Our Race Problems? for 07/23/2021

    On Oct. 16, 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House. As Edmund Morris relates in "Theodore Rex," many Americans were pleased with this precedent-shattering dinner. But not all. Definitely not all. In the South, disgust and vitriol shook the rafters. A sample of headlines: "Roosevelt Dines a Darkey" and "Our Coon-Flavored President." Sen. Benjamin Tillman of South Carolina said, "The action of President Roosevelt in entertaining that n——- will necessitate our killing a thousand n——- in the South before they will learn their place again." In 1918, Will and Annie Johnson, young, Black sharecroppers in Marlboro County, South Carolina, would name their son Theodore Roosevelt Johnson to honor the 26th president. They could have chosen to honor Washington, but as their great-grandson Theodore R. Johnson writes in his new book "When the Stars Begin to Fall," by choosing the president's name, they were making a "bold proclamation about who could be truly American."Updated: Fri Jul 23, 2021 […]

  • What We Lost When We Won the Cold War for 07/09/2021

    Almost exactly 60 years ago, the newly appointed Chadian ambassador to the United States, Adam Malick Sow, was heading south on Maryland's Route 40 toward Washington, D.C. He stopped at the Bonnie Brae diner and asked for a menu. The owner, Mrs. Leroy Merritt, sneered, "We don't serve n——-s here," and threw him out. The same thing happened to other African diplomats at other Maryland establishments, and it became an international embarrassment. President John F. Kennedy worried that this treatment of diplomats from Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Congo and other newly independent African nations would harm U.S. efforts to limit Soviet influence in Africa. The story, recounted in Ted Johnson's exploration of race and history, "When the Stars Begin to Fall," illustrates something that's worth pondering: How much did Cold War competition spur us toward fulfilling our national ideals?Updated: Fri Jul 09, 2021 […]

  • Decency RIP for 07/02/2021

    Sen. Mitt Romney appeared on Jake Tapper's CNN show last weekend, and for a few brief minutes, I felt transported to a saner world. Asked about the gross things some on the right are saying about Gen. Mark Milley, he responded that "Gen. Milley is a person of extraordinary accomplishment and personal character and a brilliant man." Asked about continuing allegations from the former president and his enablers that the election was stolen, Romney didn't hesitate to call it "the big lie." On substance, Romney was rock solid. He opposes government efforts to dictate what is taught in schools. He supports spending $1.2 trillion on roads, bridges, rail, air, water pipes, broadband and more, but when Tapper noted that the American Society of Civil Engineers wants to spend an additional $800 billion, Romney responded politely but deftly: "Well, I must admit that I do pay a lot of attention to the engineers, but, of course, they're paid based upon how much we spend in their arena." Spoken like someone who wasn't born yesterday. Romney knew the infrastructure bill in detail. He praised President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. He differed with Democrats about social spending and taxes. He stated unequivocally that the election was free and fair. In short, he was completely out of step with modern "conservatism" and the GOP. Updated: Fri Jul 02, 2021 […]

  • The Difference a Father Makes for 06/25/2021

    There was a Father's Day parade in Washington, D.C., last week that warmed my family-obsessed heart. It was called the Black Fathers Matter motorcade, and it featured silver and black balloons, a band serenading the crowd aboard a flatbed truck, kids singing their dads' praises, community leaders, politicians and at the end, a pop-up tent to provide COVID-19 vaccines for those who needed them. Boy, do we need more celebrations like that! Black fathers — all fathers — need a helluva lot more appreciation because they are so crucial to children's well-being, and they rarely get the recognition they deserve. A new survey adds bricks to the huge wall of evidence that dads are important to children's welfare. Though you might get the impression from certain quarters that no Black kids come from intact families these days, that's an exaggeration. According to the Census Bureau, 41.3% of African American children are being raised by their biological moms and dads (37.9% married, 3.4% unmarried); 50.8% are living with a single parent (4.5% with fathers); and 8% live with a nonparent. For the population at large, a little over 70% of children live with their biological parents; 21% live with their mothers alone; 4.5% live with their fathers alone; and 4% live with someone other than a parent.Updated: Fri Jun 25, 2021 […]

  • America's Next Noble Act for 06/18/2021

    Speaking to the Munich Security Conference in February, President Joe Biden proclaimed that "America is back." It's a pleasing sentiment, but our allies as well as our adversaries can be forgiven for taking a wait-and-see attitude. America's approach to the world has gyrated over the past two decades from George W. Bush's assertive interventionism to Barack Obama's lead-from-behind modesty. Donald Trump's "America First" posture was a mixture of obsequiousness toward dictators and truculence toward traditional allies. Biden attempted to reify the "America is Back" slogan by urging a unified G-7 position toward China. He hoped for a unanimous declaration condemning China's use of forced labor, and while Canada, Britain and France were ready to sign on, others demurred. It seems likely that the Biden administration will continue to press allies on taking a hard line toward Beijing. He has repeatedly emphasized that confronting China is a defining challenge of his presidency. "This is a battle between the utility of democracies in the 21st century and autocracies," he told reporters at his first news conference as president. "We've got to prove democracy works."Updated: Fri Jun 18, 2021 […]

  • Don't Cry for H.R.1 for 06/11/2021

    When Sen. Joe Manchin announced he would oppose the For the People Act, Steve Benen of MSNBC spoke for many Democrats when he declared that "Joe Manchin is prepared to be remembered by history as the senator who did little more than hope as his country's democracy unraveled." One can share Democrats' alarm about the state of our democracy without concluding that the For the People Act was the answer. H.R. 1 is a mashup of sound ideas (requiring a paper record of each vote) with outdated and arguably unconstitutional measures — banning so-called dark money at a time when small-dollar donations are more important; and limiting speech, which the American Civil Liberties Union, among others, opposes.Updated: Fri Jun 11, 2021 […]

  • Communist China's Family Values for 06/04/2021

    The Chinese communist government is going to permit three children per family. How nice. Here's how The New York Times put it: "The announcement by the ruling Communist Party represents an acknowledgment that its limits on reproduction, the world's toughest, have jeopardized the country's future." To describe China's "one child policy" as "limits on reproduction" is like calling Jim Crow laws "limits on political participation." The Times account, which at least used the word "brutal" after the jump, also featured a sidebar timeline of China's population policies that was even more anodyne. In 1978, it informs readers, the central government "approves a proposal in which family planning offices encourage couples to have one child, or at most two."Updated: Fri Jun 04, 2021 […]

  • Inflation and Crime Threaten Democrats for 05/28/2021

    The economy is reviving. On the East Coast, the cicadas are singing their love songs. There's a supermoon on the West Coast. We are at peace (at least with other nations). And yet President Joe Biden's approval rating remains almost precisely where it was in the first week of his presidency — 55%. We are so trapped in negative partisanship that the actual performance of the duties of president simply does not matter to most of the electorate. The vast majority of Democrats will support Biden no matter what, and Republicans will oppose him. From 1948 to 1992, The Wall Street Journal reports, about 18% of voters said they voted for candidates of different parties in different years. Today, fewer than 10% do. Those voters hold the fate of the nation in their hands.Updated: Fri May 28, 2021 […]