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The Redistribution of Ideas

Georgewill

from The Progressive Itch to Regulate Speech by George Will in The National Review

Sanders and Clinton detest the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which they say their court nominees will promise to reverse. It held that unions and corporations — especially incorporated advocacy groups, from the National Rifle Association to the Sierra Club — can engage in unregulated spending on political advocacy that is not coordinated with candidates or campaigns. The decision simply recognized that Americans do not forfeit their First Amendment rights when they come together in incorporated entities to magnify their voices by speaking collectively.

If corporations had no rights of personhood, they would have no constitutional protections against, for example, the arbitrary search and seizure by government of their property without just compensation. And there would be no principled reason for denying the right of free speech (the First Amendment does not use the word “person” in guaranteeing it) to for-profit (e.g., the New York Times) or nonprofit (e.g., the NAACP) corporations.

In his attack on the Bill of Rights, Sanders voted to exempt for-profit media corporations from government regulation of corporate speech. Why? Because such corporations, alone among for-profit and nonprofit corporations, are uniquely altruistic and disinterested? Please.

In 2007, in a Cato Institute lecture, Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit warned us: People who are eager to weaken protection of private property in order to enable government to redistribute wealth will also want to weaken constitutional protections of free speech in order to empower government to redistribute ideas.

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What About Gandhi ?

MRS. CLINTON ADVISERS

from National Review,Liberals Rewrite History, Make a Few Mistakes by Josh Gelernter

“The white race of South Africa should be the predominating race,” said Mahatma Gandhi. He also said, of himself and his followers, “We believe as much in the purity of race as” white South Africans. He called black South Africans “kaffirs,” which is South Africa’s equivalent of “niggers,” and objected to blacks living among South African Indians: “About this mixing of the Kaffirs with the Indians, I must confess I feel strongly. I think it is very unfair to the Indian population.” He wrote that “Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilized. . . . The reader can easily imagine the plight of the poor Indian thrown into such company!”

“The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink,” said Che Guevara. He added that members of the “African race” had “maintained their racial purity thanks to their lack of an affinity with bathing.” After the Cuban Communists took over, Che promised that they were “going to do for blacks exactly what blacks did for the revolution. By which I mean: nothing.”

And do those students realize that the only man as universally well-regarded as Gandhi — Nelson Mandela — said, during a visit to Israel, “I cannot conceive of Israel withdrawing [from the West Bank and Gaza] if Arab states do not recognize Israel within secure borders”? Of course, that’s an opinion that carries the day on NRO, but what would all those undergrads chanting Viva, Viva Palestina! say about Madiba supporting Israeli “apartheid”?

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Obama’s World

bernieA

from John Podhoretz at The New York Post Apparently we should get on a boat and leave America ASAP:

The two candidates for the Democratic nomination spent most of two hours arguing over who was the better diagnostician of the moral diseases, ideological calamities, spiritual infirmities, racial injustices and downright evils that are being visited upon the suffering 320 million who have found themselves through no fault of their own trapped between two oceans in a dystopian oligarchic hell they call America.

Only the America from which they want to liberate us is Barack Obama’s America. Oh, they don’t say as much. Hillary blames the Koch brothers. Bernie blames millionaires and billionaires and the campaign finance system. They both blame the Republicans.

But let’s face it: It’s Obama’s world. They and we are all just living in it.

And what a world. “There is,” Sanders said, “massive despair all over this country.” Wages low. Millions in prison.

The highest rate of childhood poverty in the world. The old have inadequate health care, don’t have enough money for food, are chopping up their pills to make them last longer.

Hillary said immigrants are living in fear. There’s systemic racism. Police brutality.

HKO

It’s like the Democratic candidates are doing the Republican’s job for them. The Democrats controlled Congress from 2006 through 2010 for the House and 2012 for the Senate and controlled Congress and the White House from 2008 to 2010 and the White House for 2008 – 2016.  Yet somehow all of our economic problems are the fault of the Republicans.  The laws passed under Democratic control have no consequences; our problems are due to structural shifts in the economy and Republican obstruction.

And do not even start with the disastrous foreign policy.

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Folly and Presumption

The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted to no council and senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.

From Adam Smith’s An inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, published first in the momentous year of 1776.

HKO Comment:

We think we need unique and new solutions to what we perceive to be a unique and new set of problems, but our problems are not new. They are in fact classical throughout  our history. The solutions and outcomes are also not new, though still painful.  We suffer for our lack of a sense of history.

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Extorting the Producers

Stephens_Bret

From Bret Stephens at The WSJ, Bernie’s Wall Street Slander

But the reason Mr. Sanders is drawing his big crowds is neither his fanatical sincerity nor his avuncular charm. It’s that he’s preaching class hatred to people besotted by the politics of envy. Barack Obama, running for president eight years ago, famously suggested to Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher that “when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody.”

Mr. Sanders dispenses with the niceties. “I do not have millionaire or billionaire friends,” he boasts, as if there’s an income ceiling on virtue. That’s telling the 10,100,000 American households with a net worth of at least $1 million (excluding the value of their homes) to buzz off.

It is also telling any intellectually sentient voter that the drift of the modern Democratic Party runs in the same illiberal direction as the Trumpian right, only with a different set of targets. Mr. Sanders thinks Wall Street’s guilt is proved by its capitulation to the demands of a government that could barely prove a single case of banker fraud in court.

Another interpretation is that a government with almost unlimited powers to break, sue, micromanage or otherwise ruin an unpopular institution is not a government banks are eager to fight. The problem with capitalism isn’t that it concentrates excessive economic power in the hands of the few. It’s that it gives political power ever-tastier treats on which to feast. Covering for that weakness is the reason Wall Street plows money into the pockets of pliable Democrats like Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker—and Mrs. Clinton.

That’s something Mr. Sanders will never understand, being the sort of man whose notion of wisdom is to hold fast to the angry convictions of his adolescence. That may be why he connects with so many younger voters. But it’s also why his moral judgments are so sweeping and juvenile. Wall Street remains one of America’s crowning glories. To insinuate that the people who make it work are swindlers is no less a slur than to tag immigrants as criminals and moochers.

My colleague Holman Jenkins once cracked that some plausible ideas vanish in the presence of thought. I would add that some widespread beliefs vanish in the presence of decency. That goes as much for Bernie Sanders’s economic prejudices as it does forDonald Trump’s ethnic ones, a thought that ought to trouble the placid consciences of this column’s more liberal readers.

HKO

While many lament the power of money to bribe politicians it is more accurate to lament the power of politicians to extort the producers.