Mona Charen | Editorial
22024
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  • Are We Doing Our Best for Trans Kids? for 04/08/2021

    Seventeen legislatures are considering laws that would dictate how medical personnel can treat transgender youth — the latest flash point in the culture war. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson surprised observers this week when he vetoed one of those bills. It would have outlawed puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone treatment and "gender affirming" surgeries for children. The Arkansas legislature and 16 others are attempting to big foot a complex issue. With rare exceptions (such as limitations on assisted suicide and abortion), legislatures are not the best place for decision-making about medical issues. But in our hyper-hysterical culture, it's becoming less and less possible to engage in these debates where they belong — in the realm of science and journalism. Questions about how best to treat children with gender dysphoria surely belong in the evidence-based world of medical science, psychology and psychiatry, and in the journals, newspapers, books and websites that test ideas for reliability and truth. Jonathan Rauch's new book, "The Constitution of Knowledge," is a brilliant meditation on how the mechanisms of truth-testing have evolved over the centuries. Conservatives are attempting to use government power to shut down an argument; progressives are attempting to use intimidation and shaming. Amazon recently stopped selling Ryan T. Anderson's 2018 book "When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment."Updated: Thu Apr 08, 2021 […]

  • What We Can Learn from Asian Americans for 04/02/2021

    This much can be said without fear of contradiction: There has been a spike in disgusting crimes against Asian Americans during the past year. One analysis of 16 of the country's largest cities found that acts of anti-Asian bias, not just crimes, increased by 145% between 2019 and 2020, even as other hate crimes declined. They range from vile insults hurled at subway riders in New York ("Get the f—- out of NYC"), to violent assaults. Is the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes a symptom of white supremacy? Most left-of-center outlets interpret it that way. It's certainly possible that many of the crimes were expressions of white supremacy. But how do we categorize the anti-Asian attacks committed by African Americans and Hispanics? Voice of America looked at some of the data:Updated: Fri Apr 02, 2021 […]

  • Sidney Powell Admits It Was All a Lie for 03/25/2021

    The Big Lie is starting to unravel. One of Donald Trump's disinformation stars, Sidney Powell, is backing down. But while we're considering the matter of truth and lies, let's recall when conservatives cared about truth (or seemed to). In the 1990s, Guatemalan activist Rigoberta Menchu was a phenomenon. Of Mayan descent, she offered harrowing testimony about the conduct of the Guatemalan military during that country's civil war. Her 1983 as-told-to memoir, "I Rigoberta Menchu," was a sensation. In 1992, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.Updated: Thu Mar 25, 2021 […]

  • J.D. Vance Joins the Jackals for 03/19/2021

    The question of what will become of the Republican Party in the post-Trump era seems to be on everyone's lips. A New York Times survey found that Republicans themselves have five distinct views of Donald Trump, including 35% who are either "Never Trump" or "Post Trump." But 65% fall into the "Die-hard" camp (27%), the "Trump Booster" faction (28%), or the "InfoWars" segment (10%). Whatever the future of the Republican Party will be, the shape-shifting J.D. Vance sheds light on the dynamics of how we got here and where the Republican Party is headed. This week, billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel announced that he is donating $10 million to a super PAC supporting Vance's potential run for the United States Senate seat from Ohio. Updated: Fri Mar 19, 2021 […]

  • COVID-19's Big Fat Non-Surprise for 03/12/2021

    "A Covid Mystery" proclaimed a New York Times newsletter. "Why has the death toll been relatively low across much of Africa and Asia?" Like a know-it-all kid in 7th grade, I thought: "Call on me! I know this!" and clicked on the item. But to my surprise, the account that followed completely failed to mention what I thought was the obvious answer. David Leonhardt's piece notes the fact that, against all expectations dating from the early stages of this pandemic, poorer countries of Africa and Asia have suffered only a small fraction of the death rates from the coronavirus that wealthier nations have experienced. In the U.S., we've had 1,580 deaths per million inhabitants. Italy has had 1,651, whereas Egypt has had 109, and Nigeria 10. Updated: Fri Mar 12, 2021 […]

  • How Mike Lee Ditched Constitutional Conservatism for Trump for 03/05/2021

    I didn't watch much of this year's CPAC. My digestion is sound, but there's no point in taking unnecessary risks. Still, I did note the presence of Sen. Mike Lee, a legislator who styles himself a "constitutional conservative." Lee is the son of a distinguished former solicitor general of the United States, a graduate of Brigham Young University and its law school, and the author of three books on the Founding era: "Our Lost Constitution," "Our Lost Declaration" and "Written Out of History: The Forgotten Founders Who Fought Big Government." That's a lot of losing and forgetting. But it seems that Lee is the one who has forgotten what the founding was about.Updated: Fri Mar 05, 2021 […]

  • Cancel Cancel Culture for 02/25/2021

    The term "cancel culture" is rapidly losing its meaning. Just as Donald Trump adopted the term "fake news," which originally referred to the misinformation flow that was a crucial part of his 2016 campaign, and was used to disparage his opponents and critics (or even just factual reporters) in the news media, so, too, "cancel culture" is beginning to mean both itself and its opposite, depending who's using the term. "Cancel culture" was first conceived to describe a leftwing phenomenon of imposing Draconian penalties on those who transgress woke sensibilities, even unintentionally. Reason's Robby Soave offered a good summary of what it usually includes: "(A) relatively obscure victim; an offense that is either trivial, or misunderstood, or so long ago that it ought to have been forgotten; and an unjust and disproportionate social sanction." David Shor, a progressive who labors to get Democrats elected, lost his job at a data analytics firm because he tweeted an academic study showing that riots tend to help Republicans in election years. The study had been published in a leading journal and authored by a Black academic. No matter. Because it debuted in the midst of the first protests against George Floyd's murder, it was deemed by some progressives to be "concern trolling."Updated: Thu Feb 25, 2021 […]

  • Will Trump Face the Music, Finally? for 02/18/2021

    There has been some cheering about the 10 House and seven Senate Republicans who voted for impeachment. All honor to those who took the difficult path. But, good God! The president attempted to steal the election. He launched an insurrection against Congress. That only a handful of Republicans could vote to convict him is a sign of deep rot. It also leaves millions of Americans who thirst for justice unsatisfied. Chances of a criminal indictment for incitement to riot are slim. What else?Updated: Thu Feb 18, 2021 […]

  • Mitt Romney Tries to Save Policymaking for 02/11/2021

    It may be coincidence that the best policy idea to come out of the 117th Congress was offered by the one guy who has demonstrated the integrity to brave harassment and death threats to do what's right vis a vis former President Donald Trump. Mitt Romney has an excellent plan to reduce child poverty. This country has a serious child problem. Our birth rates are low and heading lower, which endangers the prospects for Social Security and Medicare for our large elderly population. Also, old countries tend to lack dynamism, which has always been an American specialty. Some couples are happy with their small family sizes, but most Americans want more children (2.7) than they are likely to have (1.8). About 20% of American kids live in poverty compared with 13% among all OECD countries. Part of the reason our kids are struggling is due to changes in family structure. Though the marriage norm has declined nearly everywhere, the U.S. holds the dubious distinction of leading the developed world in unstable adult relationships. Child Trends reports that the 2017 poverty rate for children in married couple families was 8.4%. For kids in single mother homes, the poverty rate was 40.7%.Updated: Thu Feb 11, 2021 […]

  • McConnell Condemns QAnon, Except When He Doesn't for 02/04/2021

    So, now Mitch McConnell tells us that Marjorie Taylor Greene's views are a "cancer" on the Republican Party and on the country. Odd that he neglected to make that point when one of his preferred candidates in the Georgia runoff, Kelly Loeffler, campaigned with Greene. McConnell is now leaning heavily on the other body to clean up its act, denouncing "looney lies and conspiracy theories." McConnell's deputy in Senate leadership, John Thune, chimed in, too, asking his colleagues: "Do they want to be the party of limited government ... free markets, peace through strength and pro-life, or do they want to be the party of conspiracy theories and QAnon?"Updated: Thu Feb 04, 2021 […]

  • Proud of My Vote for Biden for 01/28/2021

    I've been getting a lot of mail from critics lately asking if I'm happy with the Biden administration. They point to some of the new president's executive orders — the one about the Keystone XL pipeline, or the one rescinding the "Mexico City" policy withholding funds from international organizations that perform or advocate for abortion. They ask, snidely, whether I'm proud of my vote for the Democrat. My answer is a resounding yes. It's not because I think Joe Biden will pursue a policy agenda I will agree with most of the time. It's because we just came within a whisker of losing our democracy, and this presidency is a chance to rebuild it. We may yet blow it. Matters like the Keystone pipeline and even the Mexico City policy are trifles by comparison.Updated: Thu Jan 28, 2021 […]

  • Republicans Must Confess Complicity in the Big Lie for 01/19/2021

    If you missed the retraction from the right-wing online magazine The American Thinker, it's one for the ages. Noting that they had received a warning from lawyers for Dominion Voting Systems, the editors admitted that they had published pieces that "relied on discredited sources who have peddled debunked theories ... These statements are completely false and have no basis in fact. ... We apologize to Dominion for all of the harm this caused them and their employees. We also apologize to our readers for abandoning 9 journalistic principles and misrepresenting Dominion's track record and its limited role in tabulating votes for the November 2020 election. We regret this grave error." Fox News has issued similar retractions. This is the beginning, not the end, of the story. Dominion has sent letters to 20 other entities and individuals, including One American News Network, Newsmax, Lin Wood, White House Counsel Pat Cippolone and Rudy Giuliani. Sidney Powell, the "Kraken" lawyer in Donald Trump's orbit, got more than a warning. She was slapped with a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit for her outrageous and outlandish claims including that Dominion's voting machines were designed by Hugo Chavez to help him rig elections; that the machines contained secret algorithms to change Donald Trump votes into Joe Biden votes; that Dominion had bribed Georgia officials to obtain its contract with the state; and that she had a video showing the company's founder bragging that his system "could easily change a million votes, no problem." Updated: Tue Jan 19, 2021 […]

  • Trump Always Had a Whiff of Fascism for 01/15/2021

    Throngs of self-styled conservatives and Republicans have now reached the thunderous realization that Donald Trump is not just a harmless clown. Former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney acknowledged to Chuck Todd that Trump's rhetoric was incendiary, but insisted that this kind of incitement was par for the course in politics, and he was shocked that people took Trump literally. It seems we have an entire party stocked with Captain Renaults.Updated: Fri Jan 15, 2021 […]

  • The Wall Street Journal Epitomizes the Failure of Elite Conservatism for 01/06/2021

    The Wall Street Journal editorial page is probably the most influential elite conservative outlet in the country. Fox News, talk radio and the rest may hold more sway with the grassroots, but the Journal has always been the gold standard for educated opinion shapers. Millions of busy people who may not follow politics closely rely on the Journal to provide a sober voice of informed conservatism to balance or rebut the editorial page of The New York Times. In the Trump era, the Journal's editorial board has betrayed its readers. It has trimmed and hemmed and to-be-sured its way through the most sustained assault on truth and the American political order of our lifetime. Every now and then — usually on textbook economic matters like tariffs — the board has issued stern rebukes of the president's policies. But rarely. For the most part, it has retreated into anti-anti-Trumpism, averting its gaze from the president and focusing disproportionately on his opponents. Some columnists have become outright cheerleaders for the Russia hoax narrative. Their Jan. 3 editorial is a classic of the genre. They began with both sidesism:Updated: Wed Jan 06, 2021 […]

  • Our Merciless Culture for 12/31/2020

    When did we become so merciless? I'm not talking about the 18-year-old kid, featured in a New York Times article, who elected to torpedo a fellow student over a three-year-old video clip — though what he did was cruel. No, I'm talking about all of the supposed adults who created the world these kids navigate through. The outline of the story is as follows: Mimi Groves, a 15-year-old high school freshman in Leesburg, Virginia, posted a Snapchat video when she got her learner's permit. Speaking into the camera, she said, "I can drive, n——-." Whoa. Who uses the N-word like that? We'll come to that. The video circulated among a few people and was forgotten. Three years later, it surfaced again, this time coming to the attention of a classmate, Jimmy Galligan, who filed it away. Later, after Mimi Groves had been accepted to her dream college, the University of Tennessee, and welcomed onto the cheerleading team (apparently the national champion), Galligan released the three-second video.Updated: Thu Dec 31, 2020 […]