Tuesday, September 20, 2016

TheCollegeConservative.com

TheCollegeConservative.com


What The Numbers Tell Us

The Guttmacher Institute, another pro-choice advocacy center, researches issues of reproduction thoroughly, and it provides some analysis regarding why women get abortions.

The numbers are overwhelming: 74% of the women surveyed had abortions because having a baby would dramatically change their lives. 38% said a baby would have interfered with careers or educations. Other high-percentage answers were related to relationship statuses, and many of the women provided more than one answer.

By contrast, health and rape scenarios were vastly in the minority. The Guttermacher Institute found that only 12% of the women had abortions for personal health reasons, and only 1% aborted because they were victims of rape.

These numbers are from 2004, but the Guttermacher Institute notes that they have stayed consistent since 1987. Further, these numbers have been supported elsewhere in more recent years.

The women that Guttermacher surveyed simply didn’t want to have a baby because it would have changed their lives, not because their lives were threatened or they had been assaulted.

Editorial: Higher minimum wage means fewer jobs

Editorial: Higher minimum wage means fewer jobs


Last week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill to hike the state’s minimum wage by nearly 80 percent over five years, from $8.38 per hour to $15 per hour. It was the right move because minimum-wage laws hurt the people they purport to help.

Fight for $15, a national group advocating higher wages, lost in New Jersey. But the “living wage” folks are active in Michigan and have a Detroit chapter, mostly focusing on fast-food jobs in the city.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees earning the minimum wage “tend to be young.” Roughly 48 percent of all employees earning the federal minimum wage, $7.25 an hour, are between the ages of 16 and 24.

Instead of benefiting these younger individuals entering the job world, minimum-wage hikes benefit older, more established workers. Mandated higher wagers serve as a barrier to these entry-level positions.

By raising the cost of an employee, forced wage hikes make it more expensive to hire less experienced workers.

Most businesses are not altruistic. A company’s owner does not hire an employee because the employee needs a job. Rather, business owners have specific positions to fill and are best suited to determine the value of that work.

Minimum wages require businesses to pay more for employees than they are “worth” in the marketplace. If the cost of hiring employees increases, business owners will be incentivized to hire only employees with longer employment records and more credentials, discouraging employers from hiring younger individuals with fewer skills and shorter resumes.

Making entry-level work more expensive prevents young people from learning good work habits necessary for advancing their careers, such as punctuality and workplace etiquette.

What’s more, pricing new workers out of the system by increasing the minimum wage disproportionately impacts other disadvantaged groups, such as people of color. Nearly three out of every 10 African-American teens are jobless, according to BLS. White teens are unemployed at about half that rate.

Raising the minimum wage might make a small portion of the workforce happy in the short-term, but few of them will be smiling once businesses are forced to reduce hours or lay off employees to maintain their current costs.

Consider Seattle’s experiment to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour and the repercussions that have followed. Workers were scheduled for fewer hours and many lost their jobs. When Chicago’s minimum wages for both non-tipped and tipped employees went up this summer, restaurants began to close. Expect similar results in Detroit if the wage is hiked here.

If the lowest-level worker must be paid more because of laws, not economic forces, then everyone else will expect a pay increase as well. Eventually, prices of consumer goods will rise, reducing quality of life back to its current level.

The government should not try to legislate economic growth or force employers to give their employees a better life. There will always be negative consequences tied to such government intervention.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Waking up from minimum wage fairy tales

Waking up from minimum wage fairy tales
In a survey done by Pew Research in 2014, 73 percent favored increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10.

Bernie Sanders became a surprisingly popular presidential candidate, promising a federal minimum wage of $15. And now several left-wing organizations are mobilizing to pressure candidates in Senate races to support a $15 national minimum wage.

Currently, two places now have enacted $15 minimum wage laws – New York, California and Washington, D.C.

Reporting on the move in Washington, D.C., to a $15 minimum wage, The Washington Post explains that “Supporters, mostly Democrats, say a $15 floor is needed to help close the country’s growing income gap, especially in big cities.”

Really, it sounds so beautiful. Politicians wave their wand and dictate wages. But to ask the obvious question, why only $15? Why not make it $20? $30? $50?

Let’s recognize that there is something to the social science we call economics. One rule of that science is that demand runs opposite to price. If the price of soap is raised from $2 to $5, consumers will buy less soap. And, if the price of soap is lowered from $5 to $1, consumers will buy more soap.

Wages are the price of labor. It stands to reason that this follows the same rules as any market. The higher the price for labor, the lower the demand and vice versa.

Again, it sounds so compassionate that a politician proposes to use the power of government to mandate what salary a business owner must pay. But what politician, even one who proudly calls himself a socialist like Bernie Sanders, would claim that government can mandate how many workers a business must hire at the wage government mandates?

Politicians mandate a minimum wage and then business owners simply comply because they have no choice, but then they hire fewer workers.

We can see the latest evidence in the nation’s capital: Prior to the recent move to raise the minimum wage to $15, which is scheduled to go into effect fully in 2022, there have been two recent minimum wage increases. A minimum wage hike to $10.50 went into effect in July 2015 and then this was increased to $11.50 in July 2016.

What happened?

University of Michigan and American Enterprise Institute economist Mark Perry reports, using recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that “Since the DC minimum wage increased in July 2015 to $10.50 an hour, restaurant employment in the city has increased by less than 1 percent (and by 500 jobs), while restaurant employment in the surrounding suburbs (in Virginia and Maryland) increased 4.2 percent (and by 7,300 jobs). An even more dramatic effect has taken place since the start of this year – DC restaurant jobs fell by 1,400 jobs (and by 2.7 percent) during the first six months of 2016 … the largest loss of District food jobs during a 6-month period in 15 years.”

Perversely, low-wage earners that the minimum wage is supposed to help are the ones hurt the most by shrinking the demand for their labor. In the first quarter of 2016, overall black unemployment in Washington, D.C., was 12.7 percent, compared to 8.5 percent and 7.0 percent in neighboring Maryland and Virginia. And the gap in unemployment between whites and blacks in Washington, D.C. – 2.3 percent for whites compared to the 12.7 percent for blacks – was the highest in the nation.

Earlier this year, Wal-Mart canceled plans to open in two new locations in the nation’s capital, partially because of labor regulations.

If we really care about low-income workers, let markets be free, let businesses create jobs, and let’s fix our schools so poor kids can get an education and move up the ladder.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Rape, SJW, and virtue signaling



Rape, SJW, and virtue signaling


Facebook Heroism And The Decline Of Masculinity --Warden
One of my main problems with social media is that it tends to make me like people far less than if had I only interacted with them in meatspace. And this is because people tend to be less free with their big, dumb, annoying political opinions when they’re face to face with their audience, freeing me to pretend that most people don’t have big, dumb, annoying political opinions lurking behind their otherwise pleasant and reasonable public demeanor.

Last week was a case in point. A twenty-something adult male from my church posted an instructional video that purported to teach women how to protect themselves from rape with the following (paraphrased) commentary:

This rape prevention video is 6 minutes long. I have a better idea. Why don’t we instead simply spend 3 seconds on a video that tells men not to rape? God didn’t need long instructional videos for the 10 Commandments. "Thou shall not" is pretty direct.

Six women had "liked" this post by the time it came across my feed.

I stared at that bit of knee-jerk progressive virtue signaling foolishness for a good minute or more before breaking a personal social media rule and writing what I hoped was a polite correction.

But I couldn’t get that post out of my head because the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much there was to unpack. Just who are these men out there don’t understand that rape is wrong? Other than African and Middle Eastern Muslim immigrants, I can’t think of any.

Of course rapists know that rape isn’t okay, just as thieves know that stealing isn’t okay, just as murderers know that murder isn't okay. There is literally no other serious crime in America where we take the position that the criminals just need to be “taught” that their misdeeds are wrong.

And in no other case would a progressive be outraged at an instructional video that teaches people how to avoid victimization. No one angrily asserts that, instead of telling people to lock their car doors at the mall, we just need to teach people to not steal Christmas presents from other shoppers. This would be an insane position to take and everybody knows it.

So, what exactly is going on here? Well, the obvious difference between rape and almost every other crime is that it’s one where men are almost always the offenders and women the victim. This distinction provides a convenient cudgel for Cultural Marxists to shame and smear men generally as violent and beastly. (By way of evidence, you will notice that the very similar crime of child rape is handled completely differently because it is often a male on male crime, which invokes homosexuality, a protected and privileged class among progressives.)

But that’s not what this young fella was thinking when he made the post--that’s the evil, insidious nature of Cultural Marxism--he was not, in fact, thinking at all. Rather, he was subconsciously angling for approval by obliquely smearing other men. The implicit message of that post was, “I am against rape,” but the subtext was, “Other men are NOT against rape and I should be praised for this because I am uniquely opposed to rape in ways that other men are not.”

Remember, the message was, "Teach MEN not to rape." Not some men. Not rapists... MEN.

Teach men not to rape.

This is a social media trend that I’ve noticed among progressives. They position themselves as fighters against injustice, but only take public stands against things that earn them approval and praise. One way to really amp up your cred is to call out the group to which you belong, thereby absolving yourself of the your group's collective sin in doing so. It’s a particularly dishonest, cowardly and backstabby way to operate.

Note, too, that helping women protect themselves from rape is not even a secondary concern. Rather, the very idea of it is a source of anger. Pragmatic, real-world solutions are replaced with the strange and childish fantasy that less enlightened men just need a good scolding about all their rapeyness and all will be well.

Do progressives even believe this? Again, I don't think they've even considered it long enough to believe or not believe. At this point, they're just reacting to stimuli like a single cell organism reacting to a low voltage electrical shock. They've been swimming in Cultural Marxism for so long that they've lost their ability to think.

The most appalling part of his post wasn’t that it was so devoid of logic and common sense; it was that a grown man sought and received praise for the almost universally agreed upon position of-- being against rape.

Bold stance, bro. And truly outside the box. You've got us all thinking about stuff in, like, a whole new way.

This is where we are. Seeking and receiving praise for "taking a stand" against what is a universally despised crime.

What does that say about our standards?

I have a theory on this that as we become softer, weaker and more technologically dependent, men--who are genetically hardwired to hunters, risk takers, and physical protectors--will increasingly rely upon this kind of limp-wristed virtue signaling in absence of any sort of real masculine achievement.

Heroism used to be defined by deeds. Today it is defined by words--ones everybody in your tribe agrees with, and directed at phantom menaces who cannot do you actual harm.

It's safe. It's easy. And it's fake, just like everything else about the progressive left.

I find it to be incredibly sad, this state we're in. And deep down, I think that progressives also know how shallow and full of bullshit they are.

Ace recently had a post about the NFL that caused a bit of ruckus in the comment section. And while I loosely agree with him that watching a bunch of grown men compete from the comfort of your couch is not a truly masculine endeavor, I do think that football is an important aspect of our rapidly diminishing warrior culture and to see it violated and diminished by a bunch of bed-wetting SJWs is a net loss to the masculine spirit.

Football is a fantastic game for teaching boys toughness, teamwork and discipline. The fact that it is in decline while less violent sports like soccer ascend in America is no accident.

I started my 10 year old in tackle football this fall, not in spite of the football’s propensity to bang kids up, but partially because of it. And each time my wife freaks out from the stands because her boy is limping off the field, I nod my head and think, “Good.” I do not think this because I’m a sadist, but because I think that boys who learn to play through pain, to meet difficult challenges, and to get up after being knocked on their asses over and over again are more apt to become men who display genuine bravery and heroism rather than the phony take-a-stand-that-everyone-already-agrees-with Facebook kind.

And God knows we need more of that.

UNC Rape Case Reveals Race Double Standard






While there should never be a rush to judgment, what I find curious about this case is the hypocrisy, not only relating to an athlete (many of whom, historically, have been protected because of their status as a valued player), but regarding the impact of race on this case -- or the lack thereof.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Simple, 3-Step Approach to Defending Voter ID Laws

A Simple, 3-Step Approach to Defending Voter ID Laws



Follow these three simple steps to tackle a discussion with those who are adverse to voter ID laws.

1. Common Ground

Start with the areas where we agree.

We can all agree that we want free and fair elections, as guaranteed by our democratic republic. That said, it must be reasonable to enact certain policies that safeguard the election process.

Everyone has to go through the same process to obtain a valid ID, which makes the ID the great equalizer. Your ID says who you are and certifies that you met a series of requirements in order to acquire it.

There are many unquestioned restrictions on voting currently in place, such as age requirements (a voter must be at least 18 years old) and U.S. citizenship. It only seems reasonable that those seeking to cast a vote should have to show a valid ID to prove they meet the requirements assigned.

Regardless of policy preference, both sides want corruption and illegal practices out of the voting box. Nobody likes a cheater. Rules are only useful if they are enacted. A valid ID does just that.

2. Examples

Cite examples to prove your point. It’s pretty hard to deny numbers and anecdotes, so use both to your benefit.

A perennial anecdote for those fighting voter ID fraud is how many dead people continue to show up at the ballot box year after year. To take just one example, The Daily Signal recently reported on the voter fraud taking place in California. An “investigation revealed that 265 deceased persons voted in Southern California, 215 of them in Los Angeles County.” Voter ID laws would go a long way to prevent this from happening.

Using comparisons in your examples can also help you make your case. Think of all the other activities—many of them far less impactful than voting—that require you to show identification. Getting a library card, buying a beer, picking up baseball tickets at will call, applying for food stamps, renting a car, obtaining a fishing license, purchasing NyQuil—the list goes on and on.

We whip out an ID for daily entertainment and responsibilities without giving it a second thought. Surely we can expect to do so for such an important action as electing the president of our country and leader of the free world.

3. Words

Remember that your argument is only as successful as your words. Words matter.

Those who oppose voter ID laws often feel they have ownership of the “emotional” or “compassionate” side of the debate. Use their language to help them see why this isn’t so. Not only are voter ID laws perfectly fair, they actually safeguard equal opportunity.

Those who meet the requirements to vote should be allowed to vote—that’s fair and it gives everyone equal opportunity to exercise this right. Those who do not meet the requirements to vote should be prevented from casting a vote—that is also fair, and it safeguards the equal opportunity of all citizens.

When the stakes are as high as an election, it’s more than fair to take the steps necessary to prevent fraud and abuse—both of which are highly unfair.

The bottom line? Every eligible citizen’s vote should be guaranteed, not stolen or diluted by thieves or fraudsters.

Whether you’re talking to someone who opposes voter ID laws or trying to explain the issue to someone who doesn’t see its importance, you need to use the right words and examples to convince them.

After all, voting is not only a great honor, it is a great responsibility that should be taken seriously. So many brave men and women have died fighting for the right we have to vote. Showing an ID is the least we can do to honor their sacrifice and carry out our civic duty responsibly.

The new "voodoo", Scott Sumner | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

The new "voodoo", Scott Sumner | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty


John Cochrane writes, Economics is a work in progress. But it is certainly brand-new, made-up-on-the spot economics, designed to buttress policies decided on for other reasons. He is describing the economic analysis that claims that policies to distort labor markets to try to increase wages will increase aggregate demand [AD], so that instead of reducing employment these policies will raise employment.
I am reminded of the made-up-on-the spot economics of the Laffer Curve, which claimed that cutting taxes would reduce budget deficits. That became known as "voodoo economics."

I'd say this is the just the tip of the iceberg. Old hydraulic Keynesianism from the 1960s was already a pretty implausible model. But what's happened since 2009 involves not just one, but at least five new types of voodoo:

1. The claim that artificial attempts to force wages higher will boost employment, by boosting AD.

2. The claim that extended unemployment benefits---paying people not to work---will lead to more employment, by boosting AD.

3. The claim that more government spending can actually reduce the budget deficit, by boosting AD and growth. Note that in the simple Keynesian model, even with no crowding out, monetary offset, etc., this is impossible.

4. More aggregate demand will lead to higher productivity. In the old Keynesian model, more AD boosted growth by increasing employment, not productivity.

5. Fiscal stimulus can boost AD when not at the zero bound, because . . . ?

In all five cases there is almost no theoretical or empirical support for the new voodoo claims, and lots of evidence against. There were 5 attempts to push wages higher in the 1930s, and all 5 failed to spur recovery. Job creation sped up when the extended UI benefits ended at the beginning of 2014, contrary to the prediction of Keynesians. The austerity of 2013 failed to slow growth, contrary to the predictions of Keynesians. Britain had perhaps the biggest budget deficits of any major economy during the Great Recession, job growth has been robust, and yet productivity is now actually lower than in the 4th quarter of 2007.

Arnold is right about the similarity between this and the old supply-side voodoo (especially item #3), but I'd say this is even worse. Supply-side economics was taken to extremes by some of its more fanatical proponents, but was ultimately based on sound economic principles---incentives matter. The new demand-side voodoo represents (in part) a denial of many of the most basic tenets of economics. As recently as 10 years ago, New Keynesians would have scoffed at the list above. Their current willingness to adopt these heterodox views represents a triumph of wishful thinking over hardheaded reasoning.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Sordid History of Liberals Calling Republicans Racists | PJ Media

The Sordid History of Liberals Calling Republicans Racists | PJ Media


Hillary Clinton’s recent attack on Trump voters -- calling them “deplorables” and accusing the GOP nominee of building “his campaign largely on prejudice and paranoia and giving a national platform to hateful views and voices” -- isn’t rooted in reality. It’s just another instance of liberals labeling Republicans as racists.

Something they’ve been doing effectively for decades.

By manipulating white guilt and railroading a race-conscious agenda through every area of American society, including the media, pop culture, and the education system, liberals have stigmatized -- and to a large extent, delegitimized -- conservatism and the GOP. (I made this point in a recent article at The Federalist titled “Conservatism’s ‘Racism’ Isn’t What You Think It Is”.)

As result of this racist labeling, conservatives have lost their moral authority, and their voices have been stifled in the public square.

This chilling effect has been exacerbated during the Obama presidency, as people have been afraid to criticize a black president because they don’t want to be called a racist.

That fear is dissipating, however.

After eight years of America becoming less prosperous, less safe, and, yes, less American, people are lashing out -- and, of course, as predicted, they’re being called racists. This backlash certainly looks nasty at times, but to characterize it as motivated by racism (covert or overt) is to play into the hands of the Left.

Buckley Vs. Vidal: The Labeling Agenda

To help you see how this labeling by the Left has been transforming political discourse and altering the perception of conservatism in the minds of Americans, I’d like to go back to 1968 to give you a snapshot of labeling and to apply it to the bigger picture.

In 1968, a debate occurred at the Republican National Convention between conservative William Buckley and liberal Gore Vidal. The environment surrounding the convention and the debate was fraught with racial strife. Conflicts between police and blacks had Democrats accusing Republicans of racism, fascism, and neo-Nazism. Slanderous, malicious rhetoric was heavy in public dialogue.

Sound familiar? While the degree of conflict changes, the essence of it doesn’t. Neither do the alarmist and exaggerated depictions of racism on the Right. This was evident to Buckley when, just before the debate began, ABC put on the screen images of “police brutality,” creating the impression that there was a “police state” in Chicago run by racist Republicans.

Buckley challenged this assumption:

There was no evidence of such a thing ... It was all imagery. Any actual violations by police should be dealt with, Buckley said, and they should be held to account. However, he added:

[D]on’t do what’s happening in Chicago tonight, which is to infer from individual and despicable acts of violence a case for implicit totalitarianism in the American system. This was the acrimonious environment in which the debate occurred, and Vidal used it to his advantage.

Instead of delivering sound arguments, he resorted to personal attacks and threw a long list of accusations at his opponent, making it, as Buckley later complained, nearly impossible to counter with reasonable rebuttals. The debate then devolved into, as one reviewer wrote, “personal opprobrium” in which “nothing really was decided other than Buckley’s clear debating superiority.”

The debate hit its lowest and most infamous point when Vidal called Buckley a “crypto-Nazi.”

Buckley retorted with visible fury, unleashing a response that stunned everyone but Vidal himself:

Now listen, you queer. Stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in your goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered.

Vidal, who was sexually depraved in just about every way -- by his own report -- wrote later in “A Distasteful Encounter with William F. Buckley Jr.: Can there be any justification in calling a man a pro crypto Nazi before ten million people on television?”:

All in all, I was pleased with what had happened: I had enticed the cuckoo to sing its song, and the melody lingers on. … There was nothing that Buckley was not prepared to invoke in order to keep me from establishing him as anti-black, anti-Semitic, and pro-war.

In other words, it didn’t matter what Buckley said in that debate. Vidal, like all Leftists then and all Leftists now, had one goal, and it wasn’t debating fine points of policy. It was to portray Buckley -- a prominent and influential conservative -- as a hateful racist and a bigot.

On Experiencing A Leftist Troll

Buckley, of course, agonized over his ill-tempered reaction, and, in an effort to explain what happened, wrote a lengthy piece in Esquire called “On Experiencing Gore Vidal: Can there be any justification in calling a man a queer before ten million people on television?” (This was published prior to Vidal’s article.) In that article, Buckley responded to a critique in Commentary magazine of his behavior in which the author said Vidal’s slur wasn’t personal but political:

One wonders how the editor of Commentary would have reacted if he had been called a crypto Nazi in the presence of a dozen million people. Would he take the position that that was merely a political charge, in a response to which one has no reason to lose one’s cool? If, in non-academic circumstances, you call a man a Nazi, are you evoking ethnocentric nationalism -- or Buchenwald? Buckley recognized at the time the seriousness of being labeled a Nazi.

He saw how liberals were casting conservatism in that racist frame, and how it would be deadly to the conservative movement to let that label stick. His response was emotional because he knew being labeled in that way without responding or countering it had long-term consequences -- and not just for himself but for conservatism, and for truth.

To have been unmoved by what Vidal said, Buckley wrote, was a dangerous oversight:

[To] not perceive it at all -- not even to be tempted to resentment -- to accept it as the most ordinary thing in the world -- argues a terrifying sensibility.



[The] absence of anger, especially that sort of anger which we call indignation, can in my opinion, be a most alarming symptom.

Even when that indignation passes into bitter personal vindictiveness, it may still be a good symptom, though bad in itself. It is a sin; but it at least shows that those who commit it have not sunk below the level at which the temptation to that sin exists -- just as the sins (often quite appalling) of the great patriot or the great reformer point to something in him above mere self.

If the Jews cursed more bitterly than the Pagans, this was, I think, at least in part because they took right and wrong more seriously.

Buckley was worried that slanderous, malignant rhetoric so easily expressed -- something he called “rhetorical totalism” -- made every slur, “every epithet” benign and acceptable:

It was commonplace at Chicago to call the police and the mayor Fascists and Nazis, and the country yawned. Everybody gets away with everything.

Not only do they get away with it, but they are unmoved by the labels:

I do not believe that anyone thought me a Nazi because Vidal called me one, but I do believe that everyone who heard him call me one without a sense of shock, without experiencing anger, thinks more tolerantly about Nazism than once he did, then even now he should.

The more groups are labeled racist, the more people become accustomed to the language until true racism and Nazism are no longer understood or perceived. Real racists become indistinguishable from those who are only labeled as such.

The Boy Who Cried Racist

Have we not seen this today? For decades we have been ruled by this "rhetorical totalism," inoculating people to what real fascism and racism look like to the point that we don’t recognize it. “Republicans are the racists” is the epithet repeated over and over again.

The term is nearly meaningless, as anyone -- whether they oppose illegal immigration, affirmative action, or welfare, or whether they support cops and recognize that there is more violence in black neighborhoods than in white -- is labeled a bigot or a fascist.

And yet, real fascists -- Islamists, for example, and Leftists themselves -- are not recognized for what they are, and they advance unchallenged into every corner of the West.

This is really the danger of “rhetorical totalism” and the stigmatized labeling that goes with it: It clothes the good in evil as true evil struts about naked on the stage; yet, we don’t see it because we have grown so senseless our eyes cannot see.

Over time, as the lie has been repeated, the slur of racism has stuck to conservatives.

Part of the reason for this is they haven’t fought back.

They have chosen, instead, to elevate their messaging through debate and argumentation. A noble effort, but the problem is they’re the only ones who have been sitting at the debate table. Leftists like Vidal haven’t been debating, they’ve been propagandizing, setting a trap to wrest moral authority away from conservatives and stigmatize them.

Vidal remained unapologetic for his slur, as all liberals are -- because that’s part of the plan. Buckley, however, knew that mixed with his righteous impulses was sin and that “the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

And so Buckley apologized to Vidal for calling him a queer, saying the “imputation of homosexuality” was “not justified.”

Despite Buckley’s guilty feelings for losing control and taking the low road, he did recognize the importance of the moment and why name-calling (that eventually turns into labeling) is such a great threat.

Republicans have failed to understand that threat. The labeling has continued through the years, rolling like a snowball downhill, with unrelenting, unapologetic, and shameless audacity.

Racism and GOP Politics

Very few politicians on the Right have escaped at least the attempt to smear them with the racist label. In 1980, Jimmy Carter accused Reagan of stirring up racist hate by using “code words like ‘states’ rights’ in a speech in Mississippi.” In an interview with 60 Minutes, Reagan responded to the allegations, accusing Civil Rights leaders of doing what the Left does: keeping the appearance of racism alive so they can maintain their power.

And keep it alive is exactly what they’ve done, maligning any effort to conserve American values and American culture with the smear of racism. No wonder they went nuts over Pat Buchanan’s 1992 speech on the culture wars. Its message of “put America first” was the precursor of Tea Party slogans and Trump speeches -- and it was also called horribly racist.

(Read it. I don’t see the racism.)

Fast forward to George W. Bush’s administration and its handling of Hurricane Katrina. Remember when Kanye West said “Bush doesn’t care about black people”? That prompted Bush to do an interview with Brian Williams in which he defended himself. But that didn’t stop the labeling. Not only was his entire campaign accused of racism, his response to 9/11 was called racist.

Then came Barack Obama, and the floodgates of race-smearing were thrown wide as Leftists became even more bold and efficacious in their promotion of race identity politics and labeling of the Right.

Mitt Romney felt the heat of it. Look at some of these headlines from 2012:

“Nine most racist moments of the 2012 election”

“As the Romney Campaign unskews, will the GOP’s Racist ID Take Over?”

“Romney and the Deceptive Use of Racist Language”

“Republicans are Racists...And they’re not shy about it”

“White Racist Supporters Crushed When Mitt Romney Lost to Barack Obama”

And here’s “The 10 Most Racist Moments of the GOP Primary (So Far)” in which the author writes something that could be published today:

The Republican Party is digging deep into the old bucket of white racism, using the politics of fear, hostility and anxiety to win over white voters. The labeling even came from the Right.

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Colin Powell aide, said:

My party, unfortunately, is the bastion of those people -- not all of them but most of them -- who are still basing their decisions on race. Let me just be candid. My party is full of racists. He was excoriated by Republicans then, but today, too many of them sound just like Wilkerson. Somehow all those people they defended in 2012 have magically transformed into racists in 2016.

No, Uncle John Isn’t a Racist; He’s Just Angry

Is it logical to think that in four years’ time the GOP has suddenly been overrun by hateful racists? Is your brother, your aunt, your neighbor, or your friend, who is sick and tired of racial politics and is fighting back with righteous indignation (and maybe even taking the low road at times, as Buckley instinctively did), now a white supremacist? Is that even reasonable?

The truth is, except for a small group of fringe racists, the GOP and most of the people voting for Trump are not racists. They’re angry, they want our laws and values of freedom to be respected, they want to stop America from being artificially transformed through mass immigration, and they want liberalism stopped and their moral authority as cultural conservatives restored.

Republicans concerned about racism in the GOP need to take a deep breath and get some perspective.

Instead of attacking those in their own ranks (even those who don’t conform to every jot and tittle of the conservative code), they need to focus on what’s most important: ripping off the racist (along with homophobic and sexist) label that has been slapped on them and put it squarely where it belongs: on the Left.

As they struggle to undo what liberals have been accomplishing for decades, Republicans must be bold, unified, and civil, refusing to take the low road by lashing out and singing the racist song liberals so desperately want them to sing.

In this fight, there will be failure. Someone is going to yell, “Now, listen you queer, I’ll sock you in your goddamn face.” But tolerant and respectful correction to those on our side, not condemnation or alienation, must be the response.

Mistakes will be made -- this is an emotionally charged and bloody fight -- but Republicans must stand united and stay the course. Failure to regain moral authority for the sake of liberty and justice is not an option. If conservatives don’t defeat the true evil of these times -- Leftist ideology -- our country will be lost.

Racial Issues - Thomas Sowell

Racial Issues - Thomas Sowell

Ordinarily, it is not a good idea to base how you vote on just one issue. But if black lives really matter, as they should matter like all other lives, then it is hard to see any racial issue that matters as much as education.

The government could double the amount of money it spends on food stamps or triple the amount it spends on housing subsidies, and it will mean very little if the next generation of young blacks goes out into the world as adults without a decent education.

Many things that are supposed to help blacks actually have a track record of making things worse. Minimum wage laws have had a devastating effect in making black teenage unemployment several times higher than it once was.

In my own life, I was very fortunate when I left home in 1948, at age 17 -- a high school dropout with no skills or experience. At that time, the unemployment rate of black 16- and 17-year-old males was 9.4 percent. For white males the same ages, it was 10.2 percent.

Why were these unemployment rates so much lower than we have become used to seeing in later times -- and with very little difference between blacks and whites?

What was different about those times was that the minimum wage, established in 1938, had been rendered meaningless by a decade of high inflation. It was the same as if there were no minimum wage.

In later years, as the minimum wage was repeatedly raised to keep up with inflation, black teenage unemployment from 1971 through 1994 was never less than 3 times what it was in 1948, and ranged as high as more than 5 times the 1948 level. It also became far higher than the unemployment rate of whites the same age.

The relations between the police and the black community are another issue that has gotten a lot of attention, and produced counterproductive results. After all the rhetoric and all the efforts towards more tightly restraining the police, the net result has been that murder rates have soared in cities where that policy has been followed -- and most of the people killed have been black.

None of the most popular political panaceas for helping black communities has a track record of making things better, and some have made things much worse.

The one bright spot in black ghettos around the country are the schools that parents are free to choose for their own children. Some are Catholic schools, some are secular private schools and some are charter schools financed by public school systems but operating without the suffocating rules that apply to other public schools.

Not all of these kinds of schools are successes. But where there are academic successes in black ghettos, they come disproportionately from schools outside the iron grip of the education establishment and the teachers' unions.

Some of these academic successes have been spectacular -- especially among students in ghetto schools operated by the KIPP (Knowledge IS Power Program) chain of schools and the Success Academy schools.

Despite all the dire social problems in many black ghettos across the country -- problems which are used to excuse widespread academic failures in ghetto schools -- somehow ghetto schools run by KIPP and Success Academy turn out students whose academic performances match or exceed the performances in suburban schools whose kids come from high-income families.

What is even more astonishing is that charter schools are being opposed, not only by teachers' unions who think that schools exist to provide guaranteed jobs for their members, but also by politicians, including black politicians who loudly proclaim that "black lives matter."

Apparently these black children's futures do not matter enough for black politicians -- including the President of the United States -- to stand up to the teachers' unions. The teachers' unions produce big bucks in campaign contributions and big voter turnout on election day.

Any politician, of any race or party, who fights against charter schools that give many black youngsters their one shot at a decent life does not deserve the vote of anybody who really believes that black lives matter.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Why Obamacare failed - Chicago Tribune

Why Obamacare failed - Chicago Tribune


Come November, the grim trudge across the increasingly barren Obamacare landscape begins anew. Illinois consumers likely face staggering price hikes for individual insurance policies. Some types of plans could cost an average of 43 percent to 55 percent more. Ditto across the country: A first tranche of states approved 2017 rates with similarly cardiac-arrest-inducing premium increases.

Many Illinois consumers will find fewer choices because major carriers fled this market. UnitedHealthcare bolted. So did Aetna. Land of Lincoln Health collapsed mid-year, leaving policy holders to scramble for coverage that could cost them plenty. In many places across Illinois and the nation, people will find drastically fewer choices of plans than they did last year.

Those insurers fled because they didn't want to lose more money on a government-run market that is so far out of whack — a market they think likely will never be profitable for them. That isn't surprising, as we enumerate below.

But by diagnosing Obamacare, all of us can see the mistakes that any repair or replacement can avoid. So let's look at the failings and how they can drive solutions:

Obamacare failed because it flunked Economics 101 and Human Nature 101. It straitjacketed insurers into providing overly expensive, soup-to-nuts policies. It wasn't flexible enough so that people could buy as much coverage as they wanted and could afford — not what the government dictated. Many healthy people primarily want catastrophic coverage. Obamacare couldn't lure them in, couldn't persuade them to buy on the chance they'd get sick.

Obamacare failed because the penalties for going uncovered are too low when stacked against its skyrocketing premium costs. Next year, the penalty for staying uninsured is $695 per adult, or perhaps 2.5 percent of a family's taxable household income. That's far less than many Americans would pay for coverage. Financial incentive: Skip Obamacare.

Obamacare failed because insurance is based on risk pools — that is, the lucky subsidize the unlucky. The unlucky who have big health problems (and big medical bills) reap much greater benefits than those who remain healthy and out of the doctors' office. But Obamacare's rules hamstring insurers. They can't exclude people for pre-existing conditions, and can't charge older customers more than three times as much as the young. Those are good goals, but they skew the market in ways Obamacare didn't figure out how to offset. Result: Young and healthy consumers pay far more in premiums than their claims (probably) would justify in order to subsidize the unexpectedly large influx of older, sicker customers who require expensive care. Too many unlucky people, too few lucky people: That will collapse any insurance scheme.

Obamacare failed because it allowed Americans to sign up after they got sick and needed help paying all those medical bills. Insurance should be structured so that, although you don't know if you'll need it, you pay for it anyway, just in case; your alternative is financial doom. But if you can game the system and, for example, buy auto coverage after you crash into your garage, then you have no incentive to buy insurance beforehand.

Obamacare failed because it hasn't tamed U.S. medical costs. Health care is about supply and demand: People who get coverage use it, especially if the law mandates free preventive care. Iron law of economics: Nothing is free; someone pays. To pretend otherwise was folly. Those forces combined to spike the costs of care, and thus insurance costs.

Obamacare failed because too many carriers simply can't cover expenses, let alone turn a profit, in this rigidly controlled system. Take Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, the state's dominant Obamacare insurer. Last year, for every dollar the carrier collected, it spent $1.32 buying care and providing services for customers, according to BCBS President Maurice Smith. No wonder BCBS is proposing rate increases from 23 percent to 45 percent for its individual plans.

A question looms: Is Obamacare plunging in a so-called insurance death spiral? Is the market so unstable that plans are doomed to get more and more expensive, driving more Americans and more insurers out of the market until ... Obamacare thuds to the pavement?

We won't predict that, but neither do we see a mathematical alternative. What's clear is that the solutions to Obamacare are implicit in its failures. A repaired or replaced system has to be more flexible, letting insurers offer a wider range of plans so that consumers, not lawmakers or bureaucrats, dictate what's best for them. That system should protect those who carry continuous coverage, not coddle those who duck in and out of plans when their health needs change.

A new system also should scrap the job-killing Obamacare mandates that discourage companies from hiring and discourage workers from adding hours. Instead of gearing subsidies to incomes, let Americans not covered via an employer reap tax credits to help finance their insurance purchases on the open market. And tell us again: Why can't insurers sell policies across state lines? Imagine the pricing competition that would unleash.

We can deny the current system's failings, or we can parlay our evolving knowledge into something much better.

Put another way: The next president and Congress either reckon with Obamacare's failures or ... wait for the thud.

Commentary: Black Lives Matter vs. charter schools

Commentary: Black Lives Matter vs. charter schools

The Movement for Black Lives Matter coalition has recently issued education-policy "demands" that demonstrate that not all the lives of black children matter to the group.

In the preamble of the BLM demands, the group uses language that seems drawn straight from teacher-union talking points. BLM talks about "an international education privatization agenda," which sounds very similar to a recent National Education Association tweet claiming, "Privatization is a global threat to public education." And like the NEA, the BLM authors believe that deregulated public charter schools are an instrument of this feared privatization agenda.

Despite the fact that charter schools are government funded and must receive initial and periodic approvals by local school boards, the fact that charters can be operated by private education management organizations causes BLM to froth about "corporate school reformers" who turn schools into "test subjects of experimental, market-based education reforms." BLM thus demands "a moratorium on charter schools."

In a hypocritical twist, The Atlantic reports that a child of Jonathan Stith, one of the authors of the BLM demands, is "enrolled in a charter school." Yet, Stith told the publication that his desire to eliminate charters "comes from a lived experience" - whatever that means.

What empirical research shows is that the lived experience of black children in charter schools has been very positive.

A 2015 study by Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes found that low-income black students in urban charter schools had higher achievement in math and reading than their peers in traditional public schools.

Looking across all 41 urban regions examined in the study, the Stanford researchers found, "Black students in poverty [in charter schools] receive the equivalent of 59 days of additional learning in math and 44 days of additional learning in reading compared to their peers in [traditional public schools]."

Urban charter schools were also more effective for black students who were not from low-income backgrounds. The Stanford study found that black students not in poverty gained the equivalent of 43 additional days of math learning and 29 additional days of reading learning in urban charter schools compared with similar students in traditional public schools.

Charter schools in cities such as Newark, New Orleans, and Memphis, which have large black populations, had some of the largest impacts on student achievement.

Further, the study found that charter schools in heavily black Detroit, the District of Columbia, and Newark have "small shares of low-performing [charter] schools and a majority of charters outperforming their local traditional public schools."

Yet, despite this overwhelming evidence that charter schools help improve the learning of black students, BLM would cut off this educational lifeline to the very children and parents for whom they purport to speak.

Why would BLM throw black children overboard? It is instructive to note that Hiram Rivera, one of the authors of the BLM document, is executive director of the Philadelphia Student Union, which has received funding from the American Federation of Teachers.

Also, the NEA and the AFT are members of the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, which is listed in the BLM document as a resource on education policy.

In addition, the NEA has passed a resolution supporting BLM and the head of the union has said, "The NEA is honored to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter." No wonder the BLM document specifically worries about how privatization would "destroy organized labor."

The authors of the Stanford charter-school study concluded: "[T]hese charter sectors clearly refute the idea that some groups of students cannot achieve high levels of academic success. They need only to be given the opportunity."

Black Lives Matter would destroy that opportunity and, along with it, the lives of thousands of black children.

Lance Izumi is Koret is senior fellow in education studies and senior director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute

Thursday, September 08, 2016

No, Math Isn't Racist | National Review

No, Math Isn't Racist | National Review


To understand the critique, you have to understand the social justice warrior’s definition of “fair.” A fair result is one that either breaks down precisely along demographic lines (for example, if 40 percent of a city’s population is black, then 40 percent of its cops should be black) or favors preferred identity groups. In other words, if a university program admits more women than men, it’s a testament to the grit and courage of women to overcome historic discrimination. If it admits more men than women, then it’s evidence that the patriarchy is alive and well.

Corporations and other entities are constantly on the lookout for race and gender-blind methods of measuring risk, and the information era allows unprecedented access to hard numbers. To exactly no one’s surprise, these hard numbers show that risk and competence don’t break down neatly along demographic lines — that history, culture, and numerous other factors influence different people in different populations to make choices that impact their employability, insurability, or credit worthiness.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Welfare Reform & Child Poverty: Did the 1996 Law Help Poor Children? | National Review

Welfare Reform & Child Poverty: Did the 1996 Law Help Poor Children? | National Review


If you think your opponent is arguing for miracles, it is likely that you are misinterpreting their claims.


Too many liberals are far too confident that the reforms they advocate would have been better than PRWORA and would be better than continuing current policy, because they tend to not seriously consider unintended consequences. Reforms that make receipt of welfare relatively more attractive will tend to draw more families onto the rolls and thereby run the risk of preventing them from benefiting from the advantages of employment. Or it will discourage planned and responsible childbearing by reducing its costs.

Relatedly, many critics of reform are too dismissive of paternalistic anti-poverty policy. “Don’t people know what’s best for themselves?” ask liberals and libertarians who assume that if work pays, people will naturally work. There is much to be said for this view, undoubtedly, but even if most people know what’s best for them most of the time, some do not at least some of the time.

Furthermore, policy shouldn’t necessarily strive to give people what they think is best for themselves in a world where wants are potentially unlimited and someone else is paying. Some people value leisure more than work at the margin, and in that case we have to ask whether working taxpayers are obliged to support the leisure of those who could work but do what’s best for themselves by not working. The same may be said of people whose childbearing decisions are what’s best for them; none of us is entitled to do what’s best for ourselves and expect others to bear the costs. These particular ways of evaluating the success of welfare reforms are, in a sense, moral rather than economic. But conservatives hold these normative views, in part, out of the belief that work and responsible childbearing may benefit children economically even if they do not make parents happier in the short run. For that matter, they may make society better off economically in the long run by promoting economic growth.

In the end, the conservative resistance to weakening the tough provisions in the 1996 law stems from the belief that — regardless of whether there might have been a better way — welfare reform improved the lives of the poor when compared with the old system. We get very nervous about departing from a model that a lot of evidence suggests was better than the status quo.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

D.C. Restaurants Lose 1,400 Jobs Amid Minimum Wage Increase | PJ Media

D.C. Restaurants Lose 1,400 Jobs Amid Minimum Wage Increase | PJ Media


Whenever someone tells you an increase in the minimum wage doesn't cost jobs, just point to the nation's capital in 2016.

In the first six months of 2016, leading up to a $11.50 per hour minimum wage, Washington, D.C., lost 1,400 restaurant jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is a full 2.7 percent decline in food service jobs in two quarters, the largest such drop since the 2001 recession 15 years ago. In fact, this is the first time since 1991 that restaurants lost jobs in five of the first six months of a year. Even the 2008 recession pales in comparison to this loss of employment.

The new minimum wage took effect on July 1, a $1.00 increase from 2015. Further increases will continue in the future, as the minimum wage will be determined by the Consumer Price Index starting July 1, 2017. The $15 per hour minimum wage will be reached by 2020, according to a city council ordinance. That's more bad news for the restaurant service industry.

The decline in such jobs appears limited to the confines of the district. In the Maryland and Virginia suburbs surrounding D.C., restaurants added 2,900 jobs during the first six months of this year. In Virginia, the state minimum wage is only $7.25 per hour, 37 percent below D.C.'s, and in Maryland the state minimum wage is $8.75 per hour (although two counties, Montgomery County and Prince George's County, have scheduled increases to bring their local minimum wage up to $10.75 per hour).

As Mark Perry, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan, explained, the circumstances provide "a natural experiment to test for the employment effects of DC's minimum wage law," and those seem 100 percent negative.
If the restaurant industry in the nation’s capitol, with one of the highest costs of living in the country, is stumbling on the road to a full $15 an hour minimum wage in 2022, just imagine the troubles lower-cost cities like Minneapolis and Cleveland would have adjusting to a $15 an hour wage. Further, if the DC restaurant industry can’t easily absorb an $11.50 an hour minimum wage without experiencing the greatest job losses over the last six-months than in any comparable period in 15 years, just imagine the troubles adjusting to further labor cost increases of more than 30% (and $3.50 an hour) for minimum wage workers in the coming years to the full $15 an hour.

"While it might take several more years to assess the full impact, the preliminary evidence so far suggests that D.C.'s minimum wage law is having a negative effect on staffing levels at the city's restaurants," Perry wrote. Classic understatement.

Conservatives have long argued that increasing the minimum wage would actually hurt the very workers such a measure is intended to help. Businesses would be unable to hire as many workers, and many would instead opt to replace costly employees with automated equipment.

A recent study by the Heritage Foundation's James Sherk found that a nation-wide minimum wage hike to $15 per hour would cost 9 million jobs across the country. Some states would be harder hit than others. Populous states would suffer more: California, for instance, would lose 981,000 jobs, while Texas would lose 986,000, and Florida would lose 727,000. Even less populous states , such as Colorado (111,000 jobs) and Louisiana (214,000 jobs), would suffer a great deal. Washington, D.C., would lose 11,000, as would Vermont. Virginia would lose 221,000 jobs, while Maryland would lose 115,000.

But don't take Sherk's word for it — look at what's already happening in the nation's capital. The next time you see "Fight for $15," think of the 1,400 restaurant workers out of a job. That's the kind of change I don't want to believe in.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What happened to my party? - The Orange County Register

What happened to my party? - The Orange County Register


Today, this is changing. Liberals now constitute roughly three in five Democrats, a share twice as large as in 1992, when we elected the first Clinton. Increasingly, liberals, or progressives, are at best ambivalent about economic growth, particularly in such blue-collar fields as fossil fuel energy, manufacturing, agribusiness and suburban homebuilding. Bill Galston, a former close advisor to Bill Clinton, notes that party platform “is truly remarkable – for example, its near-silence on economic growth.” In 2012, for example, Democrats touted the environmental and economic benefits of natural gas. This year’s party platform endorses ever-stricter regulation of the industry, while Sen. Bernie Sanders’ faction demands a quickly decarbonized economy.

Ironically, such steps will hurt precisely the blue-collar workers Sanders and his minions allegedly care most about. But the Vermont socialist’s base is not blue-collar production workers, but rather millennials, low-paid service workers and academics with few ties to tangible industries. Suspicious of broad-based economic growth’s impact on the environment, they logically favor redistribution of wealth over seriously growing the pie – in effect, contradicting nearly a half-century of mainstream Democratic thinking. The Bernie Bros and Gals think that higher taxes and more generous welfare benefits can turn America into a kind of mega-Scandinavia. They ignore the fact that, as author Nima Sanandaji has pointed out, the Nordic welfare state drew from generations of rapid growth built on small government, free markets and cultural factors, and that, in more recent years, countries such as Sweden have embraced a stronger free-market stance in order to pay for their generous welfare systems.

....
The Democratic Party’s embrace of racial equality in the 1960s represented an enormous step forward for both the country and the party, whose past was mired in slavery and segregation. Yet the Democrats leading the civil rights charge, like Hubert Humphrey, did not endorse the institutionalization of racial quotas. Old-line liberals preferred the notion, advanced by Martin Luther King, that discrimination on the basis of race is always wrong, and that people should instead be judged primarily on “the content of their character.”

Yet as the party has alienated its old white working- and middle-class base, racial and gender identity politics have become more important to Democrats. Older white women and minorities essentially saved Hillary’s campaign as she lost badly to Sanders among both the young and the remnants of white Democratic working- and middle-class voters. Now Hillary and the Democrats are likely to double down on racial identity politics. This can be seen in the courting of the Black Lives Matter activists and Latino nationalists and the stepping away from Bill Clinton’s embrace of tough policies on crime.

Hillary’s campaign website, as Oren Cass recently pointed out in a City Journal column, expends many more words talking about racial redress than about the economy. Clinton’s policy agenda, he notes, focuses more on “framing issues as who instead of what” in a way that divides people by gender, race, age and sexuality. This applies also to feminist politics that are intrinsic to her appeal. She has already talked about having a cabinet that is half female. Women certainly deserve more seats at the table, as they now outperform men in many areas, but chromosomes should not trump character in a democratic society.

But this kind of categorical imperative seems to have won over the Democratic Party, so much so as to render it unrecognizable to some of its old adherents. Similarly, it’s hard to see how more regulations, concessions to well-connected cronies and ever-higher taxes will revive the middle class. Since the awful alternative of Donald Trump makes the GOP even more noxious, can someone please point me to the closest dumpster fire?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

5 Legal Rights Women Have That Men Don’t | Thought Catalog

5 Legal Rights Women Have That Men Don’t | Thought Catalog


I’ve had an opportunity lately to speak to a lot of feminists about why so many young women are rejecting feminism, and one theme that has come up repeatedly is that feminism is interested in equal rights for everyone. I have yet to meet a single feminist who was not completely astonished to discover that not only do women have equal rights to men, they actually have more rights than men. Most feminists will backpedal when confronted with that reality and try to justify why they are deserving of more rights than men, but the stark fact remains that in 2014, women do indeed have more rights than men. Here are five legally enshrined rights that women have and men do not:

1. Women have the right to genital integrity

Regardless of how you personally feel about the practice of circumcision (I personally find it barbaric, cruel and completely unjustifiable), the legal fact is that infant girls are protected against any genital cutting of any kind and infant boys are not. Many feminists will argue that female genital mutilation (FGM) is a magnitude of brutality beyond male genital mutilation and while that may be true, I do not find the “it’s only a little bit brutal” argument to be very compelling. It’s like saying cutting off a toe is okay because cutting off a foot is much worse. Ultimately, the argument is immaterial to the fact that women have the legal right to be protected from having their body parts sliced off. Men do not.

2. Women have the right to vote without agreeing to die

In the US, citizens are free to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to democratically choose their own leaders through the process of casting a ballot in an election once they reach the age of 18. Women achieve this right by the simple act of surviving 18 years. Men may not actualize their basic rights as a citizen without first signing a Selective Service card, in which they agree that at the discretion of the democratically elected government, they will take up arms and die to defend their liberty and way of life. The draft. Men may vote if, and only if, they agree they will face death if required. Women have no such obligation, but they do get to vote for the governments that can potentially send men to meet death. Again, regardless of how you feel about the draft, women have the right to vote without agreeing to be drafted. Men don’t.

3. Women have the right to choose parenthood

I’ve written about this before, but it is worth repeating. Women have three options to absolve themselves of all legal, moral, financial and social responsibility for children they did not intend and do not want. Women may abort the child before it is born, they may surrender the child for adoption without notifying or identifying the father or they may surrender the infant under Safe Haven laws and walk away from all responsibility and obligation. Women cannot be forced or coerced into parenthood, but they are legally allowed to force men into financing their reproductive choices. In many states, men can be forced into financial responsibility for children whom they did not biologically father. As long as a particular man is identified as the father, he will be held accountable. Paternity fraud is legal. In no state is legal paternal surrender permitted without the express agreement of the mother.

Again, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with legal paternal surrender, the fact remains that women have the legal right to choose parenthood. Men do not.

4. Women have the right to be assumed caregivers for children

When parental relationships irretrievably break down, current custody laws assume one primary caregiver (almost always a woman) and one tertiary caregiver (almost always a man). In order to win equal or shared custody, the tertiary caregiver must litigate to prove they are worthy of equal parenting, a proposition that is not only very difficult to “prove”, it is also very expensive. The legal presumption of shared parenting upon divorce – that children have a legal right to an equal relationship with both their mother and their father following relationship breakdown – is strongly resisted by the National Organization for Women (NOW) and other feminist organizations who know that women will almost always win custody of children under the default laws. In actual fact, men who can afford to purse legal remedies and challenge primary custody stand a good chance of winning, because women do not have the market cornered on loving or caring for children. So while the law does not specifically indicate that custody will be awarded to women, the defacto result of primary/tertiary caregiver custody law is that women have a legal right to be assumed caregivers for children. Men do not.

5. Women have the right to call unwanted, coerced sex rape

The original FBI definition of rape specifically identified women as the victims, excluding the possibility of male rape victims. When the FBI updated that, it did so in way that includes a small minority of male rape victims but excluded most male rape victims by retaining the “penetration” clause. Penetration of any orifice must occur for rape to have happened. The FBI does collect another set of statistics though, under the category of “other sexual assault” – it’s the awkwardly named “made to penetrate” category, which includes men who were coerced, tricked or bullied into penetrative sex with women they would otherwise not have had sex with. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey similarly considers the two types of assault separately, despite the fact that occurrences are virtually identical. 1.27M women report rape (p.18) and 1.26M men report “made to penetrate” (p.19). By collecting the information under separate categories, following the legal definitions, women have the right to have their rapes called “rape”. Men do not.

Why does any of this matter? Feminism is under attack in the popular media for failing to address real problems that have real consequences for real people. Despite insisting that feminism cares for everyone, and wants equality for everyone, the facts suggest the opposite is true. Women have more rights than men and those discrepancies need to be addressed. But more importantly, gender is just one thing that defines who a person is, what advantages and disadvantages they might have, what opportunities are in front of them, or foreclosed. Class, wealth, race, ability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion – all of these things have a profound influence on individuals, and the only way to understand how a specific person can be helped or hindered is to see that person as a human being, first and foremost. Perhaps the reason I don’t need feminism is because what I really need is humanism. And maybe you do, too.

5 Legal Rights Women Have That Men Don’t | Thought Catalog

5 Legal Rights Women Have That Men Don’t | Thought Catalog


I’ve had an opportunity lately to speak to a lot of feminists about why so many young women are rejecting feminism, and one theme that has come up repeatedly is that feminism is interested in equal rights for everyone. I have yet to meet a single feminist who was not completely astonished to discover that not only do women have equal rights to men, they actually have more rights than men. Most feminists will backpedal when confronted with that reality and try to justify why they are deserving of more rights than men, but the stark fact remains that in 2014, women do indeed have more rights than men. Here are five legally enshrined rights that women have and men do not:

1. Women have the right to genital integrity

Regardless of how you personally feel about the practice of circumcision (I personally find it barbaric, cruel and completely unjustifiable), the legal fact is that infant girls are protected against any genital cutting of any kind and infant boys are not. Many feminists will argue that female genital mutilation (FGM) is a magnitude of brutality beyond male genital mutilation and while that may be true, I do not find the “it’s only a little bit brutal” argument to be very compelling. It’s like saying cutting off a toe is okay because cutting off a foot is much worse. Ultimately, the argument is immaterial to the fact that women have the legal right to be protected from having their body parts sliced off. Men do not.

2. Women have the right to vote without agreeing to die

In the US, citizens are free to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to democratically choose their own leaders through the process of casting a ballot in an election once they reach the age of 18. Women achieve this right by the simple act of surviving 18 years. Men may not actualize their basic rights as a citizen without first signing a Selective Service card, in which they agree that at the discretion of the democratically elected government, they will take up arms and die to defend their liberty and way of life. The draft. Men may vote if, and only if, they agree they will face death if required. Women have no such obligation, but they do get to vote for the governments that can potentially send men to meet death. Again, regardless of how you feel about the draft, women have the right to vote without agreeing to be drafted. Men don’t.

3. Women have the right to choose parenthood

I’ve written about this before, but it is worth repeating. Women have three options to absolve themselves of all legal, moral, financial and social responsibility for children they did not intend and do not want. Women may abort the child before it is born, they may surrender the child for adoption without notifying or identifying the father or they may surrender the infant under Safe Haven laws and walk away from all responsibility and obligation. Women cannot be forced or coerced into parenthood, but they are legally allowed to force men into financing their reproductive choices. In many states, men can be forced into financial responsibility for children whom they did not biologically father. As long as a particular man is identified as the father, he will be held accountable. Paternity fraud is legal. In no state is legal paternal surrender permitted without the express agreement of the mother.

Again, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with legal paternal surrender, the fact remains that women have the legal right to choose parenthood. Men do not.

4. Women have the right to be assumed caregivers for children

When parental relationships irretrievably break down, current custody laws assume one primary caregiver (almost always a woman) and one tertiary caregiver (almost always a man). In order to win equal or shared custody, the tertiary caregiver must litigate to prove they are worthy of equal parenting, a proposition that is not only very difficult to “prove”, it is also very expensive. The legal presumption of shared parenting upon divorce – that children have a legal right to an equal relationship with both their mother and their father following relationship breakdown – is strongly resisted by the National Organization for Women (NOW) and other feminist organizations who know that women will almost always win custody of children under the default laws. In actual fact, men who can afford to purse legal remedies and challenge primary custody stand a good chance of winning, because women do not have the market cornered on loving or caring for children. So while the law does not specifically indicate that custody will be awarded to women, the defacto result of primary/tertiary caregiver custody law is that women have a legal right to be assumed caregivers for children. Men do not.

5. Women have the right to call unwanted, coerced sex rape

The original FBI definition of rape specifically identified women as the victims, excluding the possibility of male rape victims. When the FBI updated that, it did so in way that includes a small minority of male rape victims but excluded most male rape victims by retaining the “penetration” clause. Penetration of any orifice must occur for rape to have happened. The FBI does collect another set of statistics though, under the category of “other sexual assault” – it’s the awkwardly named “made to penetrate” category, which includes men who were coerced, tricked or bullied into penetrative sex with women they would otherwise not have had sex with. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey similarly considers the two types of assault separately, despite the fact that occurrences are virtually identical. 1.27M women report rape (p.18) and 1.26M men report “made to penetrate” (p.19). By collecting the information under separate categories, following the legal definitions, women have the right to have their rapes called “rape”. Men do not.

Why does any of this matter? Feminism is under attack in the popular media for failing to address real problems that have real consequences for real people. Despite insisting that feminism cares for everyone, and wants equality for everyone, the facts suggest the opposite is true. Women have more rights than men and those discrepancies need to be addressed. But more importantly, gender is just one thing that defines who a person is, what advantages and disadvantages they might have, what opportunities are in front of them, or foreclosed. Class, wealth, race, ability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion – all of these things have a profound influence on individuals, and the only way to understand how a specific person can be helped or hindered is to see that person as a human being, first and foremost. Perhaps the reason I don’t need feminism is because what I really need is humanism. And maybe you do, too.

5 Legal Rights Women Have That Men Don’t | Thought Catalog

5 Legal Rights Women Have That Men Don’t | Thought Catalog


I’ve had an opportunity lately to speak to a lot of feminists about why so many young women are rejecting feminism, and one theme that has come up repeatedly is that feminism is interested in equal rights for everyone. I have yet to meet a single feminist who was not completely astonished to discover that not only do women have equal rights to men, they actually have more rights than men. Most feminists will backpedal when confronted with that reality and try to justify why they are deserving of more rights than men, but the stark fact remains that in 2014, women do indeed have more rights than men. Here are five legally enshrined rights that women have and men do not:

1. Women have the right to genital integrity

Regardless of how you personally feel about the practice of circumcision (I personally find it barbaric, cruel and completely unjustifiable), the legal fact is that infant girls are protected against any genital cutting of any kind and infant boys are not. Many feminists will argue that female genital mutilation (FGM) is a magnitude of brutality beyond male genital mutilation and while that may be true, I do not find the “it’s only a little bit brutal” argument to be very compelling. It’s like saying cutting off a toe is okay because cutting off a foot is much worse. Ultimately, the argument is immaterial to the fact that women have the legal right to be protected from having their body parts sliced off. Men do not.

2. Women have the right to vote without agreeing to die

In the US, citizens are free to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to democratically choose their own leaders through the process of casting a ballot in an election once they reach the age of 18. Women achieve this right by the simple act of surviving 18 years. Men may not actualize their basic rights as a citizen without first signing a Selective Service card, in which they agree that at the discretion of the democratically elected government, they will take up arms and die to defend their liberty and way of life. The draft. Men may vote if, and only if, they agree they will face death if required. Women have no such obligation, but they do get to vote for the governments that can potentially send men to meet death. Again, regardless of how you feel about the draft, women have the right to vote without agreeing to be drafted. Men don’t.

3. Women have the right to choose parenthood

I’ve written about this before, but it is worth repeating. Women have three options to absolve themselves of all legal, moral, financial and social responsibility for children they did not intend and do not want. Women may abort the child before it is born, they may surrender the child for adoption without notifying or identifying the father or they may surrender the infant under Safe Haven laws and walk away from all responsibility and obligation. Women cannot be forced or coerced into parenthood, but they are legally allowed to force men into financing their reproductive choices. In many states, men can be forced into financial responsibility for children whom they did not biologically father. As long as a particular man is identified as the father, he will be held accountable. Paternity fraud is legal. In no state is legal paternal surrender permitted without the express agreement of the mother.

Again, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with legal paternal surrender, the fact remains that women have the legal right to choose parenthood. Men do not.

4. Women have the right to be assumed caregivers for children

When parental relationships irretrievably break down, current custody laws assume one primary caregiver (almost always a woman) and one tertiary caregiver (almost always a man). In order to win equal or shared custody, the tertiary caregiver must litigate to prove they are worthy of equal parenting, a proposition that is not only very difficult to “prove”, it is also very expensive. The legal presumption of shared parenting upon divorce – that children have a legal right to an equal relationship with both their mother and their father following relationship breakdown – is strongly resisted by the National Organization for Women (NOW) and other feminist organizations who know that women will almost always win custody of children under the default laws. In actual fact, men who can afford to purse legal remedies and challenge primary custody stand a good chance of winning, because women do not have the market cornered on loving or caring for children. So while the law does not specifically indicate that custody will be awarded to women, the defacto result of primary/tertiary caregiver custody law is that women have a legal right to be assumed caregivers for children. Men do not.

5. Women have the right to call unwanted, coerced sex rape

The original FBI definition of rape specifically identified women as the victims, excluding the possibility of male rape victims. When the FBI updated that, it did so in way that includes a small minority of male rape victims but excluded most male rape victims by retaining the “penetration” clause. Penetration of any orifice must occur for rape to have happened. The FBI does collect another set of statistics though, under the category of “other sexual assault” – it’s the awkwardly named “made to penetrate” category, which includes men who were coerced, tricked or bullied into penetrative sex with women they would otherwise not have had sex with. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey similarly considers the two types of assault separately, despite the fact that occurrences are virtually identical. 1.27M women report rape (p.18) and 1.26M men report “made to penetrate” (p.19). By collecting the information under separate categories, following the legal definitions, women have the right to have their rapes called “rape”. Men do not.

Why does any of this matter? Feminism is under attack in the popular media for failing to address real problems that have real consequences for real people. Despite insisting that feminism cares for everyone, and wants equality for everyone, the facts suggest the opposite is true. Women have more rights than men and those discrepancies need to be addressed. But more importantly, gender is just one thing that defines who a person is, what advantages and disadvantages they might have, what opportunities are in front of them, or foreclosed. Class, wealth, race, ability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion – all of these things have a profound influence on individuals, and the only way to understand how a specific person can be helped or hindered is to see that person as a human being, first and foremost. Perhaps the reason I don’t need feminism is because what I really need is humanism. And maybe you do, too.

The Modern Feminist Rejection of Constitutional Government

The Modern Feminist Rejection of Constitutional Government


Many people assume that it is modern feminism, not the Constitution, that has secured freedom and political equality for women. In reality, the Constitution has always been compatible with women’s equal political rights and provides a framework for the expansion of those rights. Although contemporary feminists ostensibly pursue the goal of ensuring that men and women enjoy equal opportunity and treatment under the law, the feminist movement has largely strayed from this narrow mission in favor of a far more radical agenda. In the name of “equality,” it has sought to promote women’s full autonomy by eliminating gender distinctions and forcing gender parity. Achieving these goals would require a vast expansion of centralized government, the redefinition of freedom, and the destruction of equal protection and due process of law. This movement undermines America’s constitutional system, which limits the scope and character of the law with a view to protecting the individual rights of both men and women.

The Modern Feminist Rejection of Constitutional Government

The Modern Feminist Rejection of Constitutional Government


Many people assume that it is modern feminism, not the Constitution, that has secured freedom and political equality for women. In reality, the Constitution has always been compatible with women’s equal political rights and provides a framework for the expansion of those rights. Although contemporary feminists ostensibly pursue the goal of ensuring that men and women enjoy equal opportunity and treatment under the law, the feminist movement has largely strayed from this narrow mission in favor of a far more radical agenda. In the name of “equality,” it has sought to promote women’s full autonomy by eliminating gender distinctions and forcing gender parity. Achieving these goals would require a vast expansion of centralized government, the redefinition of freedom, and the destruction of equal protection and due process of law. This movement undermines America’s constitutional system, which limits the scope and character of the law with a view to protecting the individual rights of both men and women.

The Modern Feminist Rejection of Constitutional Government

The Modern Feminist Rejection of Constitutional Government


Many people assume that it is modern feminism, not the Constitution, that has secured freedom and political equality for women. In reality, the Constitution has always been compatible with women’s equal political rights and provides a framework for the expansion of those rights. Although contemporary feminists ostensibly pursue the goal of ensuring that men and women enjoy equal opportunity and treatment under the law, the feminist movement has largely strayed from this narrow mission in favor of a far more radical agenda. In the name of “equality,” it has sought to promote women’s full autonomy by eliminating gender distinctions and forcing gender parity. Achieving these goals would require a vast expansion of centralized government, the redefinition of freedom, and the destruction of equal protection and due process of law. This movement undermines America’s constitutional system, which limits the scope and character of the law with a view to protecting the individual rights of both men and women.

A Former Cop Takes On 'The War On Cops'

A Former Cop Takes On 'The War On Cops'


The original “Ferguson Effect” was supposed to be attacks on police everywhere, and for months that never happened. Instances of police being killed were actually dropping. But then Baltimore protests over the death of Freddy Grey turned into rioting; then Baton Rouge, Dallas, Minneapolis, and now Milwaukee. I began to realize this wasn’t hyperbole.

Mac Donald’s book starts with Ferguson. The Ferguson incident brought the issues of police racism and brutality to the forefront, and gave birth to the Black Lives Matter movement. It is, unquestionably, the most divisive environment American law enforcement has seen since the Rodney King incident in California in 1991. The current environment may be worse, as the Rodney King issue was often framed as a California problem. The riots after the police officers were acquitted in the King case were severe, but they were limited to Los Angeles. Now, 25 years later, every city seems to be capable of bursting into flames as soon as a police officer fires a weapon.

‘Toxic environment’ for sons accused of campus sex offenses turns mothers into militants - The Washington Post

‘Toxic environment’ for sons accused of campus sex offenses turns mothers into militants - The Washington Post

In the course of a year, Sherry Warner-Seefeld went from high school teacher to activist promoting fairness for students accused of sexual misconduct. Explaining why, for her, means revisiting a night of shock and a phone call she will never forget.

She was grading social science papers on a cold, late January evening in Fargo, N.D., when her cellphone rang, she told The Washington Post.

It was her son, Caleb Warner, calling to tell her he had heard from a dean at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. A woman with whom he had had a short sexual relationship, the dean told him, had accused him of sexual misconduct, of nonconsensual sex, that she alleged had occurred on the night of Dec. 13, 2009.

The charge was filed after the winter break in January 2010, his mother said, after he had “made it clear to her that he was not interested in having a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship.” Then out of the blue this notice arrives, with its intimidating legal language.
...
It was in this context that Caleb Warner’s case played out, after his mother got that phone call.

“Three days later they get to this hearing. They found him guilty that night and he’s immediately expelled. He’s not to set foot on campus. He falls to the floor and starts crying. That’s what he did for hours, lay on the floor and sob, fall on the floor and sob.”

The case of Caleb Warner might have ended then and there and never become public but for what happened next.

The family learned that the young woman had repeated her complaint against Caleb to the Fargo police, which assigned a detective to interview her.

The police investigator found so many holes and contradictions in the woman’s version of events that the police and a prosecutor concluded she was lying and charged her with filing a false complaint. She failed to show up for a hearing, however, left town and has not been heard from again, according to Warner-Seefeld.

Surely this would save her son from expulsion, the family thought.

But when the university was informed of the woman’s alleged lies, it refused to reopen Caleb’s case, saying, among other things, that the fact that she was accused of lying to the police did not mean she did. Besides, Caleb’s deadline for appeal or rehearing had passed.


...snip...

The experience inspired her to co-found, with other aggrieved mothers, an organization called FACE (Families Advocating for Campus Equality) designed to assist other parents who received similar phone calls and, bewildered and scared, don’t know where to turn.

Damien Walter’s Ugly Tie | The Liberty Zone

Damien Walter’s Ugly Tie | The Liberty Zone


I also note that aside from a few outliers, Dimwit’s blog averages about as many comments per entry as mine does – UNLESS he is writing about the Sad Puppies, which brings out the pusillanimous Puppy Kickers to pile on and pat one another on the back about how enlightened they are for hating that pulp fiction pablum. This tells me Dimwit simply trots out the Puppies when things get particularly slow on his Guardian blog, because let’s face it, folks – Dimwit needs the hits.

And that’s pretty much what he’s done in this latest gutless harangue.
For the last few years, the Hugo awards for science fiction have been campaigned against by a group of writers and fans calling themselves the Sad Puppies – mostly male, very white, and overwhelmingly conservative. Unhappy with sci-fi’s growing diversity, the Puppies have deliberately block-voted for certain titles to get them nominated for Hugos at the expense of a wider field. They say it is their goal to “poke the establishment in the eye” by nominating “unabashed pulp action that isn’t heavy-handed message fic”. I say it is to sponsor awful writers.

So Dimwit starts out with a deliberate lie, given that Sad Puppies 4 was run by all women, who are overwhelmingly libertarian, and that those “certain titles” recommended by the Puppies were voted on by anyone who has read a work and liked it, and included such SJW favorites as Ann Leckie.

Private Prisons: Justice Department Ban Is a Bad Idea | National Review

Private Prisons: Justice Department Ban Is a Bad Idea | National Review


The Department of Justice’s recent decision that the federal Bureau of Prisons should wind down its private-prison contracting was apparently based on private prisons’ bad record of safety and security violations relative to their public counterparts. It turns out, though, that the DOJ’s understanding of private prisons’ record is informed by a serious over-reading of faulty comparative studies, in particular a recent study by the Office of the Inspector General.

As a result of this over-reading, the federal government — and any states that follow the federal government’s lead — may not be able to take advantage of the power of contracting to provide incentives for good behavior.

* * *

First, let’s look at how the IG’s report compared public and private prisons. The report took the 14 private federal prisons and matched them with “14 comparable BOP institutions.” What made the public prisons “comparable” was that they housed male inmates with “the same security level (low), similar population sizes, and similar geographical locations.”

Early on in the IG’s report, the IG compares “annual per capita costs” for public and private prisons. Over fiscal years 2011–14, these costs range from $23,780 to $25,251 for public prisons, and from $21,838 to $23,003 for private prisons — an apparent savings of about 3 percent to 12 percent for private prisons. Wisely, though, the IG’s report cautions against drawing any conclusions from these numbers. There are many reasons a direct price comparison is problematic, but the report stresses one important reason in particular:

We were unable to compare the overall costs of incarceration between BOP institutions and contract prisons in part because of the different nature of the inmate populations and programs offered in those facilities.


How different were the inmate populations? Elsewhere, the IG explains:
As of January 2014, inmates incarcerated in private facilities were primarily non-U.S. citizens with 72.1 percent from Mexico, while the selected BOP institutions had an average of 11.8 percent non-U.S. citizens.

Every prison researcher understands that the demographic makeup of a prison is important, especially in a prison environment where gangs based on ethnic or racial affiliation play an important role. This is why the best empirical studies try to compare prisons that are matched in terms of demographic makeup. The IG report didn’t control for demographics, and it recognized that this made cost comparisons inadvisable.

The report goes on to compare how the public sector stacked up against the private sector based on eight measures of “safety and security.” Private prisons did better in two of those measures: urinalysis drug testing and sexual misconduct (both inmate-to-inmate and inmate-to-staff). But in the other six areas — contraband, reports of incidents, lockdowns, inmate discipline, grievances, and telephone monitoring — “the contract prisons had more incidents per capita than the BOP institutions.”

Remember, though, that the report was “unable to evaluate all of the factors that contributed to the underlying data, including the effect of inmate demographics.” So perhaps we should refrain from drawing any conclusions from this simple comparison of raw numbers?

Moreover, some of these measures wouldn’t really tell us much even if they did lend themselves more readily to direct comparison.

Consider, for instance, the contraband measures — cell phones, weapons, tobacco, and drugs confiscated. Private prisons had more contraband confiscations than the public prisons, but that can be interpreted both ways: Are the private prisons worse because more contraband was found? Or are the private prisons better because they try harder to find contraband? The trouble is that we don’t know the true amount of contraband; we just know about contraband confiscation, and that’s something that’s particularly manipulable by prison officials. In fact, I know one great way to keep your contraband numbers down: just stop searching for it.

Same goes for grievances: If private prisons have more grievances filed than public prisons, does it mean there’s more to complain about in private prisons? Or does it mean that private prisons make grievance forms more available or that inmates at private prisons are less concerned about retaliation if they complain? Again, we don’t know the true numbers of things to be aggrieved about; we just know the numbers of grievances filed.

* * *

On balance, though, one might think that the IG report is fairly harmless. Yes, it compares prisons that probably aren’t comparable, and some of what it measures has no obvious relationship to actual quality of confinement. No, we shouldn’t take it terribly seriously as a comparative study, since there already are better studies out there. But overall it does an okay job of not overstating its results; its basic recommendation is a call for further study.

Even a harmless study can lead to harmful changes, however. The Justice Department, not sharing the IG report’s caution, went ahead and read too much into its results. Where the IG’s office hedged its conclusions with caveats about comparability and merely called for greater investigation, the DOJ memo made broad claims:
Private prisons . . . compare poorly to our own Bureau facilities. They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security.

Based on this slim reed, Deputy AG Sally Yates ordered the BOP to “either decline to renew” contracts as they expired “or substantially reduce [their] scope.” It’s not clear whether the DOJ was relying on studies other than the IG report, but if it was, I’d like to see those studies: All available evidence does little to suggest that private prisons are worse than public prisons overall, or that they cost more.

* * *

What will the result of this be? Let’s assume that (probable future) President Clinton maintains the DOJ’s new policy, and that BOP private-prison contracting winds down. This will affect roughly 25,000 inmates — about 15 percent of the total number of federal prisoners — who will have to be moved to BOP facilities. Of course, the DOJ’s policy is limited to the federal system — the states’ privatization policies are unaffected, except to the extent they want to follow the federal example. On average, states keep only 7 percent of their prisoners in private prisons, or 90,000 private state prisoners in all.

Will this be harmless? If private and public prisons don’t differ much on quality, that means the quality of confinement shouldn’t change much. If private prisons save some money, the cost of confinement should go up, though maybe not by much. It’s not clear whether either sector has an edge in reducing recidivism, so who knows what difference this will make on rates of re-offense.

The far greater problem is what might have been. Prisons have begun experimenting with performance measures and performance-based contracting — which, surprisingly, is almost unprecedented. These new metrics could offer substantial possibilities for improvement in prison conditions in the future. Monetary incentives could work in the public sector — think of performance-based bonuses for public-prison wardens — but the private sector is probably best positioned to take advantage of them: If there’s one thing the private sector is good at, it’s trying to make money in any way it can. The DOJ could have directed the BOP to take a “mend it, don’t end it” approach by truly making an effort to encourage higher quality through better contracting. The BOP could have taken the lead in developing state-of-the-art prison-contracting practices and helping to spread good performance measures nationwide. But that’s unlikely to happen now.