Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Insidious "Larger Truth"

In this essay, Kevin Williamson examines how progressives' totalitarian aspirations are advanced by the utilization of fictitious "crises" and "emergencies".

Emergencies are occasions for suspending the usual systems of checks and balances, due process, the transparent and careful consideration of documented evidence, and — notably — for curtailing the rights of the accused. If there really were an epidemic of rape on college campuses, and if college administrations really were guilty of covering that up, then the rational thing to do would be to make colleges “mandatory reporters” — those who are legally obliged to alert the police when they are informed of an alleged sexual assault. (Progressives already are arguing that universities act in loco parentis — one of the defenses of campus speech codes — so this would hardly represent an expansion of their reading of the university’s role in the lives of students.) But this is the one thing that the self-identified activists, feminists, and progressives always resist.
The reason for that is that even when American justice miscarries, as it did in the daycare cases, the appeals process generally provides an opportunity for evidence to be properly examined, for all accounts to be heard and evaluated, and for the rights of the accused to be considered. (Generally.) On the other hand, the emotionally driven kangaroo courts run by sundry deans of students — dealing in shame and recrimination rather than evidence and due process — are quite a bit closer to what progressives prefer than the traditional criminal-justice process, with its patriarchic history, its Anglo-American rationalism, its niggling insistence upon the documentation of reality (all of it no doubt rooted in “privilege” of one sort or another) rather than its blind obedience to what members of various elevated victims’ groups sometimes refer to as “my truth,” as though truth required that qualifier.
The progressive project requires that American elites become acculturated to such processes, because the major obstacles to the progressive project are the rule of law, our constitutional order, and competing centers of power outside the state, all of which are on the progressive enemies list: corporations, churches, private schools, tradition-minded social organizations, etc. It takes a certain highly cultivated view of the world to see the Boy Scouts as the enemy.

KW also looks at the politics transforming a serious problem - California's ongoing drought - into a catastrophe.

California has X amount of water at its disposal, and it has politicians in charge of overseeing how it gets divvied up. Which politicians? The same ones responsible for the current sorry state of California’s water infrastructure, of course. Should be a hoot.

...the fundamental problem is that nobody knows what a gallon of water in California costs. Water allocations are made mainly through politics rather than through markets, with the state’s legal regime explicitly privileging some water uses over others.
There are two possible ways to allocate water in California: The people in Sacramento, Governor Brown prominent among them, can pick and choose who gets what, with all of the political shenanigans, cronyism, inefficiency, and corruption that brings. Or Californians can get their water the same way they get most everything else they need and value: by buying it on the open market. This is an excellent opportunity to apply the cap-and-trade model that many progressives favor when it comes to carbon dioxide emissions, with an important difference: This deals with real, physical scarcity, not artificial scarcity created by regulation.
(Incidentally, it here bears repeating that notwithstanding the inaccurate proclamations of Governor Brown and President Obama, California’s drought almost certainly is not the result of global warming; the climate models supporting the scientific consensus on global warming predict wetter winters for California, not the drier winters that have produced the current crisis. California’s climate is complex, but a great deal of it is dominated by desert and arid to semi-arid Mediterranean conditions.)

...Whether the commodity is water or education or health care, if you care about something, put a price tag on it. You can’t afford for it to be cheap, and you sure as hell can’t afford for it to be free.

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