Mar 16Liked by Robert Tracinski

Ugh. I firmly believe that we get the government that we deserve. We need to check ourselves.

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Mar 15Liked by Robert Tracinski

While I get that debating which of the two is worse can move the focus away from where it needs to be, everything is going to get debated because that's how it is these days.

My opinion (based in small part on living in DeSantis's state):

If they're clowns, Trump is Bozo and DeSantis is Pennywise.

Trump's a grifter with thuggish tendencies; DeSantis is just all thug all the time.

I'm not sure which one is ultimately more dangerous. And I'm not sure there's a Democrat out there who's less dangerous than either of them.

But, then, I haven't voted Republican or Democrat for president since 1988, and have no plans to. So I guess I don't have to choose from the box of assorted poisons the two parties have on offer.

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This argument would have more teeth if you argued that the executive branch should have less power in order to stop potential abuses.

You don't make that argument, which leads me to conclude that the whole point of this is just to tar and feather Republicans.

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I don’t dispute this article’s conclusions, but I come at it from a totally different angle.

I believe what both Orban and DeSantis are doing is good, because Woke ideology is so dangerous to western civilisation, that liberal democratic norms can be overrided as a means to the end of destroying woke institutional dominance.

There is no such thing as institutional neutrality, these supposedly ‘independent’ universities in Hungary and Florida were deeply committed to a postmodernist, intersectionality DEI agenda (less so in Hungary only because it was less far gone.) Institutions should instead preach an ideology of empiricism and classical moral virtue.

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Critics of 2023 Hungary love to regurgitate each others' "news" --- with hardly any of them ever visiting the country or learning about it. All that know-nothingness makes for a minor irritation to those of us who know Hungary.

A weighty example of this empty litany: While in "woke" Europe Jewish schools and institutions have to be protected by armed guards and many Jews emigrate, Hungary's Jewish community is flourishing.

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" . . . They threaten not just to impose a few bad policies, but to undermine the institutions of a free society."

State-owned universities are not the institutions of a free society.

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Illiberalism begets illiberalism. DeSantis is guilty as charged, but there's plenty of blame to go around.

“The rule of law implies impartiality in the use of power'?

So who picked this fight? Who decided that "colorblind" equals "racist"? What's "affirmative action"? Where's the impartiality in policies that explicitly direct resources to "the underserved," "the marginalized," "the most vulnerable" (as defined by those who wield the very power in question)?

As Joel Kotkin writes, "The fate of Asians and Jews in America is about the efficacy of equal and fair treatment under the law, and a democratic system based on merit rather than ethnicity. Neither Jews nor Asians—nor our increasingly diverse society—benefit from the replacement of the 'post-racial' ideal by what writer Wesley Yang describes as a racialist 'successor ideology' that instead celebrates victimization as the prime value."

Such striving also applies to Latinos, who are following in the footsteps of (equally "brown") immigrants from Italy. And don't even get me started about "Latinx"!

As it happens, I’ve fought all my adult life to advance a recognition that there's nothing "Queer" about same-sex attraction. I’m attracted to guys; I’ve never hidden that fact, and (as my parents raised me) I’m proud simply to be myself.

I’m old enough to remember “sodomy” laws — when government was taking an intrusive position on intimacy itself. OTOH, I never signed up to "smash cisheteropatriarchy" in the name of some Brave New World, promulgated through the schools.

So much for (self-)marginalization.

Meanwhile, as we mince our pronouns and pick each other to pieces over "privilege," the oligarchs keep laughing all the way to the bank.

Every person exists at a unique intersection of identities. Respect the individual, AS an individual -- and to heck with the would-be arbiters of the Oppression Olympics.

Got a problem with that?

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In response to some of the comments below, the left generally respects rule of law. The right should too. I thought the point of "small government" was to lessen government interference. But, apparently, the new thing is to use government power to fight the culture war for keeps. Tracinski is exactly right: the red states are becoming "laboratories of autocracy". Besides Orban, I think the real impetus for this is Putin's style of governing Russia. Use a conservative Christian ideology and associated conspiracy theories to drive people's fears about a despised group - LGBTQ in order to justify using the levers of the state to come down on independent critics of the regime. The more that religion comes into the political picture, the more the tactics, and the metaphors become the all or nothing perspective of warfare. Iran should be a lesson to us all. Once a religious group takes power the best and the brightest leave as fast as they can and the country becomes a stagnant backwater. The leader can be like Trump - and be irreligious, as long as he pays lip service to his Christian Nationalist allies and gives them the bullhorn. The conservative Christian majority on the U.S. Supreme Court is another example. Overturning Roe vs Wade should be seen as a violation of the first amendment - the separation of church and state. Red state republicans are using religion both to motivate their political base and to suppress dissent. I think it was Pat Buchanan, a conspiracy theorist Presidential candidate that came up with the term "culture war". It's not hard to see what's coming: the red states become "laboratories of autocracy". The voices for "secession" become louder, and racially and religious motivated mass shootings become more and more frequent. The religious motif is an accelerant to violence and the end state is Fascism.

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