Wynette! Thou Shouldst Be Living At This Hour!

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I thought I'd put up the Spanish version of Mr. Ramirez's recent cartoon. You can click on the pic for the English version if necessary. Note the portrait on the wall…

And (if necessary) headline references are here and and here.

But as to the topic in question: David Harsanyi writes, with a headline you might expect at the Federalist: We Don't Need A 'National Divorce,' We Need More Federalism.

Marjorie Taylor Greene says the country needs a national divorce. “We need to separate by red states and blue states and shrink the federal government,” she tweeted. “Everyone I talk to says this. From the sick and disgusting woke culture issues shoved down our throats to the Democrat’s traitorous America Last policies, we are done.”

Generally speaking, I’m sympathetic to the idea that the political left is unable to accept a truly diverse nation. Virtually every legislative policy proposal from modern Democrats — and every policy issued by edict — strengthens federal power and economic control over states. Modern Democrats are champions of direct democracy, an effort to undercut the choices of local communities and individuals. When they don’t get their way, the D.C. bureaucracy steps in to circumvent the will of states. And when courts stop them, Democrats work to delegitimize and weaken the judiciary. Just this week, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., argued states should simply disregard the Supreme Court when they don’t agree with a decision. Ignoring the division of power is far more likely to cause a national schism than any Greene tweet.

None of that means a “national divorce” — really secession, since other states are unlikely to concede to a split — isn’t a reckless thing for someone who took a vow to defend the Constitution to advocate. Even if we took a moment to seriously contemplate the idea, how would it be achieved? We aren’t separated ideologically into large geographic regions or even states, but rather urban, suburban, and rural areas. Conservatives like to share that map showing virtually the entire country painted in electoral red — and it matters more than Democrats like to admit. But we can’t discount that density also matters. A “national divorce” would create even smaller minorities and divisions, but little difference in the way of policy. (How are the Greenes going to shrink the government when they won’t even reform entitlements?)

Also weighing on on MTG is KDW (Kevin D. Williamson): My Own Private East Pakistan. Check it out for a history lesson on the India/Pakistan/Bangladesh experience. His bottom line:

Of course, “national divorce” is silly talk, but Marjorie Taylor Greene is still a member of the House of Representatives who has the ear of the speaker of the House and sits on the Homeland Security Committee in spite of her stated desire to implement a program that would—let us be plain about this—obliterate that homeland to such an extent that it ceases to exist as the United States of America. Destroying the United States as such would not be an unhappy side effect of this policy—it is the policy.

I do not blame Marjorie Taylor Greene for being what she is any more than I blame an oyster for not being Itzhak Perlman. The same is true for Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, George Santos, and the rest of the Republican clown show. I do blame the people who have benefited politically and financially from elevating these lunatics and grifters and for putting them in a position that obliges us to worry about their proposal to smash the country to bits in a tantrum.

Unconvinced? Well, maybe Wilfred Reilly can persuade you Why ‘National Divorce’ Is an Insanely Bad Idea. His bottom line:

The most basic, heart-rending questions would immediately arise: Who gets the national anthem, the eagle symbol, and most especially the former United States flag, which so many have willingly died for? For that matter, who gets the nukes: Are these simply broken up on a state-by-state basis, with Montana and North Dakota immediately becoming world-stage power players? Xi Jinping would cut off his own right arm to see this happen.

It should not and will not. But there is a genuine and much less drastic solution to the very real issue — the sheer size and diversity of the modern United States — that underlies Greene’s ill-considered notion. That solution is a revitalized federalism. Almost no one on the political right would disagree that federal-government overreach into the traditional prerogatives of the states is a problem, or that at least some politicians — including President Biden, who recently signed an executive order promoting “equity” in virtually every arena of public life — seem poised to make this problem worse.

Yet there seems no real reason to let this trend continue — given the counterbalances of a Supreme Court that currently slants 5–4 or 6–3 to the right, a competently led GOP majority in at least the U.S. House, the statistically likely election of a conservative president in 2024, and plain citizen preference for greater state independence — instead of working hard to reverse it. Simply put, North Dakota does not want the same policies regarding gun ownership and “gender-affirming care” for teens as California — but it should not have to leave the country to get different ones. There’s a Constitution for that.

MTG snorts at your Constitution, Professor Reilly! You expect her to read it?

Briefly noted:

  • The folks at the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) have come up with a dandy proposal for state legislation: the Intellectual Freedom Protection Act Draft. And there's a local angle for us Granite Staters right in paragraph one:

    WHEREAS in 1957’s Sweezy v. New Hampshire, the Supreme Court of the United States observed that “[t]he essentiality of freedom in the community of American universities is almost self-evident. No one should underestimate the vital role in a democracy that is played by those who guide and train our youth. To impose any strait jacket upon the intellectual leaders in our colleges and universities would imperil the future of our Nation. . . . Teachers and students must always remain free to inquire, to study and to evaluate, to gain new maturity and understanding; otherwise, our civilization will stagnate and die.”; and

    The Marxist economist Paul Sweezy was targeted for (among other things) a lecture he gave in 1954 at the University Near Here; the state's Attorney General, Louis Wyman, wanted to make sure there was none of that Commie subversion goin' on. Sweezy objected to that, and SCOTUS agreeed.

    Today, of course, the ideological strait jackets are being tailored by the Left, in the form of required fealty to the holy trinity of "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion", amen. For example, it appears the University Near Here requires a "diversity statement" from all applicants to faculty positions, and even some non-teaching spots.

    The meat of FIRE's proposal:

    No public institution of higher education shall condition admission or benefits to an applicant for admission, or hiring, reappointment, or promotion to a faculty member, on the applicant’s or faculty member’s pledging allegiance to or making a statement of personal support for or opposition to any political ideology or movement, including a pledge or statement regarding diversity, equity, inclusion, patriotism, or related topics, nor shall any institution request or require any such pledge or statement from an applicant or faculty member.

    I almost never write to legislators, but I thought it would be fun to recommend FIRE's proposal to my State Senator, David Watters. I'll let you know if I hear anything back.

  • In our "Bad Ideas Never Die" Department, David McGarry notes the NetNeut fans are trying, trying again: Biden Renominates Gigi Sohn, Net Neutrality Advocate, to the FCC.

    President Joe Biden has renominated Gigi Sohn to fill the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) now-vacant fifth seat. This is the third time Sohn has been nominated. Should she gain the Senate's approval, she will break the agency's current 2–2 Democrat-Republican logjam and allow the agency to re-enact Obama-era net neutrality regulations, which are economically nonsensical and largely unnecessary.

    The FCC's 2015 regulations forbade internet service providers from blocking content or discriminatorily slowing specific content and banned the practice of paid prioritization—i.e., a company paying an internet service provider (ISP) to favor its content. Left unregulated, Sohn and other proponents insist, greedy ISPs would create a two-tier internet that benefits the rich and powerful to the detriment of everyday internet users. The FCC rolled back its net neutrality regulations in 2017, and the two-tiered hellscape Sohn predicted has yet to materialize. On the contrary, today's median download speed for fixed broadband is nearly 200 megabits per second; in 2015, the average speed was just 55 Mbps.

    Here at Pun Salad Manor, we've managed to avoid the bleak hellscape, which I was promised would occur under a non-Neutral Net. I'm a little jealous, however of that 200 Mbps number. I usually clock in at 75 or so. But it's certainly "fast enough".

  • Addendum to yesterday's item concerning the Bowdlerization of the Roald Dahl oeuvre: Dahl's publisher has committed to bringing out the Roald Dahl Classic Collection, the originals.

    Puffin announces today the release of The Roald Dahl Classic Collection, to keep the author’s classic texts in print. These seventeen titles will be published under the Penguin logo, as individual titles in paperback, and will be available later this year. The books will include archive material relevant to each of the stories.  

    The Roald Dahl Classic Collection will sit alongside the newly released Puffin Roald Dahl books for young readers, which are designed for children who may be navigating written content independently for the first time. 

    "Navigating written content"? I think they mean "reading".

    So that's good news, I guess. Bur as I said in an update to yesterday's item: publicity about all this will have the Dahl Estate and the publishers giggling all the way to the bank.

Last Modified 2024-01-30 6:42 AM EDT