Cancelled Saints

Dear Weekend Jolters,

Another week, another stockpiling of political, cultural, and scientific absurdities to further frustrate a people who truly believed they were enjoying the Blessings of Liberty — only to be told (via screech) by furious scolds and silver-spooned demagogues that no, all along they had been cashing in on the Pigmentation-Favoring Byproduct of Slavery, that the Spirit of '76 was a coverup of the Calumny of 1619, that saints were sinners, that monasteries were concentration camps, that heroes were villains, and that you — you in all your excuse-mongering ignorance of all this — are complicit in the whole filthy affair, no matter when grandma hit the beach at Ellis Island.

Has the madness reached the crescendo? Have we experienced Peak Leftist? Victor Davis Hanson has a better term for it: "Peak Jacobinism." Along with a question mark, it's the title of his latest NR piece, which catalogues signs that the insanity might have crested. From the article:

The lines are thinning a bit for the guillotine. And the guillotiners are starting to panic as they glimpse faces of a restless mob always starved for something to top last night's torching. Finally, even looters and arsonists get tired of doing the same old, same old each night. They get bored with the puerile bullhorn chants, the on-spec spray-paint defacement, and the petite fascists among them who hog the megaphones. For the lazy and bored, statue toppling — all of those ropes, those icky pry bars, those heavy sledgehammers, and so much pulling — becomes hard work, especially as the police, camera crews, and fisticuffs thin out on the ground. And the easy bronze and stone prey are now mostly rubble. Now it's either the big, tough stuff like Mount Rushmore or the crazy targets like Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

There are only so many ways for adult-adolescents to chant monotonously "Eat the Rich! Kill the Pigs! Black Lives Matter!" blah, blah, blah. And there are only so many Road Warrior Antifa ensembles of black hoodies, black masks, black pants, and black padding — before it all it ends up like just another shrill teachers'-union meeting in the school cafeteria or a prolonged adolescent Halloween prankster show.

Some 150 leftist writers and artists recently signed a letter attesting that they are suddenly wary of cancel culture. They want it stopped and prefer free speech. Of course, they first throat-cleared about the evil Trump, as if the president had surveilled Associated Press reporters, or sicced the FBI on a political campaign, or used CIA informants and foreign dossier-mongers to undermine a political opponent. And some petition signers soon retracted, with "I didn't know what I was doing" apologies. Nonetheless, it was a small sign that not all of the liberal intelligentsia were going to sit still and wait for the mob to swallow them.

By the way: Kathryn Jean Lopez was at the Vatican in 2015, writing for NR about the upcoming canonization of Junipero Serra by Pope Francis. The calumnies against the missionary are many, and have been debunked by serious scholars. Such truth has failed to stop the toppling of statues and the arson of churches by the hellbent, but do read KLO's piece for a dose of reality.

Now, let us get to the conservative horn of plenty that follows.

Editorials

1. We find the commutation of Roger Stone's sentence indefensible. From the editorial:

The media and Democrats are incandescent with outrage over the commutation for someone they say covered up Trump's treacherous dealings with Russia in 2016. But the indictment of Stone and subsequent trial definitively established that Stone had no inside knowledge of Russian hacking or WikiLeaks's role in disseminating stolen DNC emails; instead, he tried to parlay media gossip and what he heard from an intermediary into a sense that he knew more than he did. Never before has an alleged spy been such a fatuous figure and ridiculous braggart.

There is no doubt, though, that Stone was guilty of perjury and a laughably ham-handed attempt at witness tampering. He was justly convicted of these charges and deserved to go to jail; in our system of justice, self-parody is no defense.

Attorney General Bill Barr reportedly opposed the commutation and was right to do so. The act of clemency is made worse by the fact that Stone repeatedly argued that he was owed it for his loyalty to the president.

Again, there is no reason to believe that Stone actually knows more damaging information about Trump's dealings with Russia. Mueller's investigators interviewed, subpoenaed, and searched hundreds of witnesses and prosecuted a couple of dozen Russian operatives and entities, and concluded that the Russians neither got help nor were looking for help from the Trump campaign. Even if Stone's talk of omerta is a pose, it is grotesque and alone makes him unworthy of clemency.

2. The White House's blame-game with Anthony Fauci is a ridiculous gambit. From the editorial:

One of the memo's more legitimate criticisms is that Fauci advised against wearing masks early in the pandemic. He thought that scarce protective equipment should be reserved for health-care workers, which makes sense, but he also pooh-poohed the effectiveness of masks for the public, which was ill-advised. (That the experts so flagrantly contradicted themselves on masks surely has played a role in the resistance to wearing them — although Trump's reluctance to being seen wearing one hasn't helped, either.)

All in all, the assault on Fauci is a sideshow that distracts from the very real question of how states should proceed as COVID-19 spreads in new places, as the economy continues to limp, and as the public tires of endless COVID-19 restrictions. Fauci himself has acknowledged that his role is to assess the public-health side of the equation, not to evaluate the many tradeoffs that lockdowns pose. As director of NIAID, he is best understood not as a cable-television personality but as the leader of the public research enterprise that is developing treatment and vaccine protocols to fight the virus. Assuming he has no intention of going anywhere, he should continue to do that to the best of his ability, whether it annoys the president or not.

As for Trump, one reason that his ratings are so low on the handling of COVID-19 is that he has been unwilling, with exceptions at times, to frankly acknowledge the seriousness of the virus. Warring with Anthony Fauci over the scientist's sincere judgments about our policy failures and the continued threat of the virus is just another way of avoiding the matter at hand — namely the resurgence in cases that puts at risk the partial reopenings in much of the country.

3. Amen, it cannot be said enough: Andrew Cuomo is no COVID hero. From the editorial:

You would never know from listening to Cuomo's glowing press notices (with the honorable exception of CNN's Jake Tapper) that more than 32,000 New Yorkers have died from the coronavirus — over twice as many as in any other state. Brooklyn and Queens each lost more than 5,500 people, compared with 4,521 thus far in the entire state of Florida. On a per capita basis, New York's COVID-19 death rate has been a third higher than any nation on earth, and higher than that of any state besides neighboring New Jersey. Italy, an early epicenter of the pandemic, lost 561 people per million; New York lost 1,667.

This is not just a random occurrence. New York's authorities were reassuring the public to go on as normal until well past the point where the coronavirus had spread pervasively throughout the community. They had let languish the city and state stockpiles of emergency equipment. Most disastrously, Cuomo and New Jersey governor Phil Murphy both ordered nursing homes to take back patients who tested positive for the virus, unleashing catastrophic death tolls in both states' nursing-home populations.

Cuomo's claim for success is that the state's infection, hospitalization, and death rates have come down, which is rather like if New Orleans had celebrated the water level coming down after Katrina. And just this week, it was reported that infection rates are rising again among young adults and in affluent neighborhoods; New York may not be entirely out of the woods.

Nearly Two Dozen Pieces, Alone and Collectively Examples of Conservative Brilliance, Herewith Offered in Sampling Form to Tempt Your Intellect's Ravenous Appetite.

1. Jim Geraghty takes on the media's swooning for the governors, in particular New York's Andrew Cuomo, whose coronavirus tactics filled morgues. From the piece:

Strictly by the numbers, if a political journalist wanted to praise Democratic governors as doing a terrific job, that writer would start with Hawaii's David Ige. Hawaii's low numbers came at enormous cost, however. Ige implemented a 14-day quarantine for all visitors and residents returning to Hawaii, back on March 21, more or less killing the state's tourism industry. (Few travelers can afford to fly to Hawaii and then spend two weeks in a hotel room before enjoying themselves.) A year ago, the Hawaiian unemployment rate was 2.8 percent; now it is above 22 percent, which is down from 23.8 percent in May.

After Ige, the Democratic governors whose states have been most successful at containing the virus, according the available raw data, have been Bullock, Oregon's Kate Brown, Maine's Janet Mills, Kentucky's Andy Beshear, and Kansas's Laura Kelly. My guess is that unless you live in or near one of those states, you've heard little about these governors, compared with what you've heard about New York's Andrew Cuomo, Michigan's Gretchen Whitmer, California's Gavin Newsom, and New Jersey's Phil Murphy.

No governor has been more ostentatiously praised than Cuomo, who a little while back was joking around with Jimmy Fallon about his fanbase of fervent "Cuomosexuals." The Los Angeles Times editorial board wrote of "the Newsom the outside world sees: a calm, confident and intelligent (and verbose) governor handily guiding his massive state through an unprecedented crisis, informed by science and a sincere desire to protect the public's health" — but at least acknowledged that Newsom hasn't always lived up to the image he aims to project. A largely gushing New York Times profile described Whitmer as "approaching it all with the same practical mind-set and vocabulary she brought to more manageable governmental challenges like fixing potholes." The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that Murphy "channel[s] his inner technocrat at hour-plus news briefings. He comes armed with graphs and projections of the virus' spread, saying he's determined 'to break the back of that damn curve.'"

The personality, the pugnaciousness, the presence, the poll numbers . . . these governors have assembled all of the ingredients for a classic success story — except for the actual record of success.

2. Madeleine Kearns scrutinizes the Cuomo Poster and finds it depicts fantasy. From the beginning of the piece:

Have you seen Andrew Cuomo's poster? The New York governor's pandemic-themed design was apparently intended as a celebration of the state's effort against coronavirus. It's difficult to describe, but there's a mountain in the middle labeled "111 Days of Hell," a rope around it labeled "Pulling Down the Curve Together," a river marked with dollar signs and labeled "economy falls," a plane captioned "Europeans," a wind-blowing devil titled "winds of fear," and overhead, a banner positioned above a rainbow that reads (what else?) "love wins," as a sun smiles and a blonde man on a crescent moon says, "It's just the flu."

I don't have anything nice to say about it, except that it's a helpful insight into a singularly incompetent and disorganized mind.

Without the labels, the design would be utterly incoherent, though with them, there's a certain child's logic. Nevertheless, it must remain one of the weirdest political stunts to come out of a crisis. But then, perhaps diversion is the point. For while the governor was getting ready to wow the nation with his 19th-century-style propaganda (did I mention there is a table at the bottom of the mountain labeled "New York State Leads Again"?), the rest of the country has been noticing that, in the wake of coronavirus, conditions in New York are getting worse, not better.

3. David Harsanyi finds the MSM's Cuomo-gaslighting to be shameless. From the commentary:

By any standard, the New York tristate area's numbers are the worst in the country. By most measures, the numbers are some of the worst in the world. As the New York Times noted in May, New York City seeded the wave of outbreaks across the nation. Some of the carnage was likely unavoidable, but we can attribute the high number of nursing-home deaths, at the very least, to Cuomo's ineptitude.

Yet, even as his state was failing to meet its most serious challenge since 9/11 — it wasn't until May 6 that cleaners began disinfecting the subway system, for example — Cuomo was busy taking softball questions on national cable news from his obsequious brother, Chris. On The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon marveled at how "smart" and "honest" Cuomo was as the two discussed the governor's global popularity and "Cuomosexual fans."

For those who tell you the media don't matter, Cuomo now has among the highest approval ratings of any governor in the nation, almost all of whom have governed far more capably. As I write this, the coronavirus death toll in New York stands at 166 people per 100,000 (even if we exclude New York City, the rate is 78.5 per 100,000), while it is still only 30 per in Arizona, 20 per in Florida, 17.7 in California, and 11.1 in Texas. Will Florida governor Ron DeSantis be heralded as a great governor should his state end up with a fraction of the deaths New York experienced? If there had been widespread testing in New York in March, April, and May, those numbers likely would have dwarfed what we're now seeing elsewhere in the country.

If all of that wasn't bad enough, after more than 32,000 deaths, Cuomo and his fans are now celebrating a victory over coronavirus.

4. Andrew McCarthy explains, again, the consequences of the Supreme Court becoming an increasingly political institution. From the beginning of the commentary:

Whither the Electoral College?

The Supreme Court had its say on the matter during the always-eventful last week of the term. To repeat a contention often made in these columns, the High Court has evolved into an essentially political institution, robed in the judiciary's apolitical veneer. Given that we are a deeply divided nation, that the late-term cases are usually the most controversial, and that the four left-leaning justices — those appointed by Democratic presidents Clinton and Obama — tend to vote as a bloc in these cliffhanger rulings, one doesn't expect many 9–0 decisions when the calendar reaches late June (let alone July).

Yet there it was on Monday: Chiafalo v. Washington. At issue was the question of "faithless electors." Specifically, may a state enforce the pledge it compels electors to make to vote for the presidential candidate who wins the state's popular vote? The Court's holding that states have the power to do so was unanimous. Significantly, though, the Court was not of one mind about why.

The case is worth our attention because of what's been going on under the radar.

Among the Left's many transformative projects is the drive to have presidents elected by a national popular vote. The project, known as the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, would effectively eliminate the Constitution's Electoral College system. It would reduce the College to a nullity by requiring a state's electors to vote for the candidate who wins the national popular vote — regardless of whether that candidate loses the state's popular vote. As Hillary Clinton and Al Gore could tell you, that would radically change how presidents are elected, and ultimately how we are governed.

5. Only in America! Kyle Smith looks into the capitalist genius of race-industry gurus. From the beginning of the essay:

You, there. Yes, you, white person. Ever attended a wedding at which only white people were present? How about an all-white funeral? Ever watched as a black person mopped the floor? You, I'm afraid, are racist.

Lists of billionaires? Racist. Lists of top-grossing movies? Racist. Unselected Jeopardy categories? Racist. Today's successor to the Ludovico technique has been ingeniously engineered by the White Fragility author, and America's Race Whisperer, Robin DiAngelo. DiAngelo is a white lady who has gotten very, very rich speaking to litigation-averse corporations, campus groups, self-flagellating white progressives, and black allies joining the cause of white guilt, which is apparently like the rain in Blade Runner, a mephitic poison that is forever soaking everyone to the bone.

People have been mocking DiAngelo. We should be in awe of her instead. She's the absolute master of this, a P. T. Barnum for our time. As detailed in a New York Times Magazine piece (from which the six examples I mentioned above are drawn), DiAngelo is a great American capitalist marketing genius, up there with the inventor of the pet rock or the people who figured out how to get rich by creating prestige brands of water. Like them, she didn't invent anything useful, didn't do any noteworthy work whatsoever. She simply exploited an opportunity. Someday there will be a wing devoted to her in the Marketers' Hall of Fame. No, they'll rename the whole institution for her. She's that good.

6. Not content with burning down missions, lefties want to change the names of cities. Such as . . . St. Louis. Kevin Williamson wonders if the saintly French king would want the Missouri murder hotbed to be named after him. And there's plenty more. From the essay:

The American city began as a French settlement in Spanish Louisiana. The French fur traders who set up shop there named it for Louis IX, the sainted French king whose Christian zeal and personal integrity caused him to be regarded by his contemporaries and many who came after as an ideal monarch. But the saints are fallen creatures like the rest of us, and Louis IX had pretty ugly attitudes about Jews and Muslims, along with the usual assortment of human failings. And so there is an effort under way to knock down the statues of St. Louis and — naturally enough — to change the name of the city.

This is an excellent idea. Having St. Louis's name on the city is an intolerable wrong, and it should be corrected.

The city named for him became part of the French possessions in the New World in 1800 and then came under U.S. sovereignty with the Louisiana Purchase. St. Louis once was famous as "the gateway to the West," an important commercial center on the Mississippi River, the young nation's most important commercial waterway. At its apex, it was one of the most important American cities. In 1904, it both hosted the World's Fair and became the first city outside of Europe to host the summer Olympics.

In 1950, St. Louis was the eighth-largest city in the country, more populous than Boston or Washington. Today, it is the 65th-largest U.S. city, with fewer residents than the Dallas suburb of Arlington or the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson. It has the highest homicide rate of any major American city: At 66 homicides per 100,000 residents, it is almost twice as murderous as Detroit, more than three times as homicidal as Philadelphia, and 25 times as dangerous as Austin. Its high-school dropout rate is twice New York City's (New York City cannot boast of a particularly low rate itself), and in some schools nearly half the students fail to graduate.

7. Washington and Lee University is ground zero for the culture war. Institutional name-changery is in the air. Alum Garland Tucker has a thing or two to say about it. From the reflection:

Like countless other W&L graduates, I have linked my formative college years not just to blissful memories of life in Lexington, to lasting college friendships, and to memorable professors but also back to the character of two men: George Washington and Robert E. Lee. Although both were military leaders of rare ability, it was their character — their integrity — that has permeated life at W&L and provided the moral compass for the institution and for students like me.

Henry Lee (Robert E. Lee's father), Washington's contemporary, pronounced the most definitive accolade about America's founding president: "first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen." It was a reverence for Washington that guided R. E. Lee as well. Historian Paul Johnson concluded that "Lee was a noble and virtuous man, like Lincoln. . . . Honor was the key word in Lee's life and vocabulary. It meant something very special to him." Lee once said, "'Duty' is the most profound word in the English language." It was his sense of duty and honor that led him to Washington College and enabled him to become a post-war leader in education and a force for national reconciliation.

The current rush to "reimagine" American history is focused more on Lee than Washington, but both men are clearly in the sights of radical revisionists. Statues of Washington have already been pulled down. When President Trump delivered his speech at Mt. Rushmore, the weekend of July Fourth, CNN dismissed Washington as merely "a former slaveholder." The lives of Washington and Lee have been reduced to one insurmountable flaw: racism as defined in the 21st century. Where will this attempt at ethical cleansing end? In pronouncing both Lee and Abraham Lincoln "real heroes," Paul Johnson wrote, of Lincoln: "He freely admitted an attitude to blacks which would today be classified as racist." History should whitewash neither the past nor present.

8. Dmitri Solzhenitsyn investigates the expertise of one Paul Krugman, who may be unrivaled when it comes to . . . selective fault-finding. From the piece:

So perhaps a hand-waving, one-size-fits-all, nationalized approach to the virus is not appropriate. COVID presents more danger to some regions of the country than to others. Then, contra Krugman, Republican voters are not mindless zombies "presumably taking their cue from the White House and Fox News" on reopening (though they are sure to note Krugman's patronizing tone and to keep it in mind at the ballot box this November). Rather, these voters often have their own valid reasons for wanting to reopen their communities, which tend to be safer to reopen than, say, Seattle or Philadelphia: jobs, income, mental health, access to religious services, quality of education, quality of social life, etc. But even focusing solely on the coronavirus at the expense of these factors, it is rank intellectual dishonesty not to acknowledge the role that Democrats such as Andrew Cuomo have played in the virus's spread and fatality — most egregiously, by allowing COVID-19 patients to be admitted to nursing homes fresh from the hospital.

It should come as no surprise that Krugman falls short in politics and public health. Even in economics, his supposed area of expertise, the good doctor has been pitifully wrong through the years. In 1998, he predicted that by 2005 the Internet's impact on the economy would prove "no greater than the fax machine's." He also predicted a rapid end to the Great Recession, deflation in the years following 2010, dire consequences from the sequester of 2013, the death of the euro, the crash of the world economy from Trump's election, and positive economic consequences from Trump's impeachment. None of these came true. True, Krugman has admitted the inaccuracy of many of his predictions. But, far from being discouraged, the man continues to put forth his biweekly partisan tirades, arrogantly dismissing large numbers of Americans as stupid all the while. One can only wonder what fantastical headline will come next out of Krugman's quill.

9. Has SCOTUS created a "CHAZ" for religious believers? Michael Brendan Dougherty has some thoughts. From the piece:

The First Amendment and the religious-freedom legislation that was used to bolster it were designed to give the entire American polity — believers and non-believers alike — the character of a free nation. And that is a problem, because as we unpack the "T" and "Q" in LGBTQ, we find gender theories that are rejected by at least as many secular Americans as religious Americans. The Bostock decision elides this issue by obliging employers to treat trans women as women. But for many in the sexual-identity wars, "fluid" and "non-binary" identities are part of the cause too. How will those work?

For several centuries, the Christian Church has been denounced by liberals as a hothouse of oppression, shame, and guilt, a place where people go to be told the rules and ordered around by clerics spouting unprovable metaphysics. But in a curious way, what the Supreme Court has done has marked the church as a zone of freedom — the Calvary Hill Autonomous Zone, if you will. Don't want to be dragooned into a social project of "disrupting the nuclear family" or overturning cisgender privilege? Want to live in a world where women and only women become mothers, and where you're free to say there is a "male and female"? Then I'd suggest you find faith, because the Court has made being free to live in nature contingent upon the acknowledgement of nature's God. The "secular" is now marked as a zone of taboos and superstitions, and the church as a house of freedom from ideological cant, metaphysical impossibilities, and bullying.

10. John McCormack scopes out the state of religious freedom in the wake of the Bostock and Our Lady of Guadalupe decisions. From the article:

Although Guadalupe was a clear win for the First Amendment, there is still a great deal of uncertainty about whether the Bostock decision will impinge on religious freedom in the years to come.

One outstanding question, for example: Does the "ministerial exception" apply to high-school teachers at a religious school who teach a particular subject — say, math or computer science — and don't explicitly instruct students in religion? It's not clear.

Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation thinks it would. "Even if you're the math teacher, the logic of this opinion [in Guadalupe] is that if the school asks you to embody the faith, that you're a minister," he tells National Review. Anderson points to several passages from the majority opinion, including the fact that Alito noted the schoolteachers were "expected to guide their students, by word and deed, toward the goal of living their lives in accordance with the faith."

But University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock disagrees with that interpretation of the majority opinion. "I don't think the Court will expand this to say that those who teach only secular subjects are ministers, even if they are expected to be role models," Laycock tells National Review in an email. "Time will tell, of course. But if I'm right about that, then most teachers in religious elementary schools may be ministers, because they teach the whole curriculum, including religion. But most teachers in middle schools and high schools will not be, because they each teach a particular subject, and most of those subjects are secular."

11. Lewis Farrakhan continues with the persistent Jew-hate. Jonathan Tobin decries the poison. From the piece:

At a moment in American cultural history when even a hint of opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement can result in jobs being lost and people hounded out of the public square, the muted reaction to open expressions of anti-Semitism is striking.

When Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson posted fake Adolf Hitler quotes about Jewish perfidy and praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan last week, he was criticized and eventually apologized. But the outrage was nothing compared with that encountered by Drew Brees, the star quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, when he spoke last month of his opposition to fellow National Football League players kneeling during the national anthem. While many NFL players condemned Brees for preaching respect for the flag, few of Jackson's fellow players responded to his calumnies, and, among those who did, expressions of support outnumbered criticisms.

A week later, another Farrakhan-related flap has hit the news, and the public reaction has been strikingly similar. Over the weekend, it was revealed that television personality Nick Cannon, the host of Fox's The Masked Singer, had spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and praised the Nation of Islam leader on his YouTube channel. Like Jackson, Cannon was caught repeating a popular NOI claim that African Americans are the "true Hebrews" and the real "Jewish people." He also ranted about the power supposedly held by "the Illuminati, the Zionists, the Rothschilds." Yet Fox was silent in the face of the news about his anti-Semitic diatribes, and there's been no indication that it's reconsidering its relationship with him.

12. More from Big Jim G: College sports is facing an apocalypse. From the piece:

For a long time, even fans of college sports wondered if it was a good idea for so many institutions of higher education to turn their sports teams into de facto developmental programs for the NFL and NBA. It's easy to see why so many schools did so, of course. At the highest levels, college football and basketball offer fan experiences on par with the NFL or NBA. They stir campus enthusiasm, provide hours of free advertising, and of course, bring in enormous amounts of money each fall and winter, helping cover the costs of other college sports that don't bring in enormous revenues.

More than a few observers noted, however, that the entire system was built upon young men, often from poor backgrounds, who chose to risk a career-ending injury in exchange for a college scholarship and, maybe, a chance at a lucrative career as a professional. Some schools took educating student athletes seriously; others, not so much. As collegiate basketball and football scandals piled up, it became less and less absurd to ask whether big-time athletic programs existed to serve the needs of universities or universities existed to serve the needs of big-time athletic programs.

Those concerns have become more pressing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and a day of reckoning may now be coming for college sports. If Stanford, with the fourth-largest endowment in the country, cannot sustain its less-prominent sports programs, how many other colleges will end up making similar cuts? How many students will lose their athletic scholarships in the process? If, as seems likely, the answer to both questions is "many," the NCAA landscape will soon look dramatically different, with fewer sports, fewer teams, fewer scholarships, and fewer student-athletes.

13. The pros aren't in any better shape. Victor Davis Hanson finds a woke NFL may also be on the brink. Offended fans can change the channel after all. From the column:

Racial issues are often virtue-signaled in the NFL — but almost never in an honest way. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees recently objected to players not honoring the flag. But he quickly caved when a media mob damned him. In contrast, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson posted a series of anti-Semitic tweets last week, even falsely attributing a quote to Adolf Hitler. That disconnect posed a bizarre question for the NFL: Is it worse for a player to be pro–American flag or anti-Semitic?

NFL owners and head coaches are almost all white. But nearly three-quarters of the players are black. Those who play the game obviously want to see more diversity in coaching and ownership.

In a culture so obsessed with identity politics, is it the players or the owners and coaches (or both) who do not "look like America"?

Given that about 13 percent of the U.S. population is black, and given that the Black Lives Matter movement embraces concepts such as proportional representation, today's NFL teams hardly qualify as diverse. Social activists might argue that the league should mentor and recruit more Latinos, Asian Americans, and Native Americans to better reflect their percentages of our diverse national population.

Perhaps an NFL compromise could ensure that 30 percent of coaches and owners are nonwhite, thus reflecting current U.S. demography. But then, in reciprocity, the players would match such mandatory demographic diversity — leading to Native Americans, Latinos, Asians, whites, and those of mixed ancestry accounting for 87 percent of the player population. The NBA might also take note.

14. President Erdogan has decreed that Istanbul's Hagia Sophia is now a mosque. Cameron Hilditch contends this deserves a strong Western response. From the commentary:

The global response to Erdogan's move has ranged from indifference to outrage. The Turks have close ties with Moscow, and the Russian deputy foreign minister said last Monday that changing the status of the church to a mosque was the internal business of the Turkish government. (Given the way in which the Kremlin has sought to blur the lines between Orthodox Christianity and Russian Nationalism, its acquiescence to the desecration of an iconic, non-Russian Orthodox church is perhaps unsurprising.) By contrast, the Greek culture minister called Erdogan's move an "open provocation to the civilized world" in a statement on Friday, and the Greek government is pushing for the European Union to impose diplomatic sanctions on Turkey. The leader of the Italian Northern League, Matteo Salvini, has also criticized the decision, citing it as evidence that "the pre-eminence of Islam is incompatible with the values of democracy, freedom and tolerance of the West."

The Turkish government's response to the criticism has been positively schizophrenic. Erdogan and his deputies tend to rhetorically oscillate between the language of national sovereignty and the language of Islamic expansionism. On the one hand, a deputy chairman in the governing party told a local publication that "estranging a structure, the property of which belongs to Turkey, was going against our sovereignty." On the other, Erdogan himself said in a public address that "the resurrection of Hagia Sophia [as a mosque] follows the express will of Muslims throughout the world" and will serve as a first step towards "the liberation of Al Aqsa" in Jerusalem. Even before his speech, crowds had gathered outside Hagia Sophia chanting "Onward to Jerusalem!" In what will come as a shock to absolutely no one, it seems that many Turks do not believe that national sovereignty obtains for Israel. Hamas was quick to endorse Erdogan's decision.

The religious vision of pan-Islamic civilization that appears to drive Erdogan's attempts to dismantle the secular constitution of Turkey, a document of which many Turks are still very proud, does not stand up to any kind of scrutiny. In historical terms, there is vanishingly little evidence of Islamic civilization to begin with. Most of the great achievements attributed to Islamic cultures have been those of conquered peoples, or dhimmis, to use the theological term, whose work has been co-opted by their conquerors. Hagia Sophia is a case in point. The dome that was so ingeniously designed by Anthemius and Isidore has been used as the model for mosque architecture ever since. Indeed, when Caliph Abd el-Malik commissioned the Dome of the Rock, now considered one of the great masterpieces of Islamic art, to be built in Jerusalem, he employed Byzantine architects and craftsmen, which is probably why the structure looks so much like the same city's Church of the Holy Sepulchre. "To the extent that Arab elites acquired a sophisticated culture, they learned it from their subject peoples," the sociologist Rodney Stark has noted. The much-vaunted "Arabic" numeral system is in fact Hindu in origin, based on the concept of zero, which had theretofore eluded the Muslim overlords of Hindu populations. The earliest scientific text that appeared in Arabic, the holy language of Islam, was translated by a Jewish physician from the work of a Syrian Christian priest in Alexandria, which would have surprised no Arabian Muslim of that time. As Stark notes, "'Muslim' or 'Arab' medicine was in fact Nestorian Christian medicine; even the leading Muslim and Arab physicians were trained at the enormous Nestorian medical center at Nisibus in Syria." It was the Nestorian Christian Johannitius who collected and supervised the translation of Hippocrates, Galen, Plato, and Aristotle into Arabic. Furthermore, a Muslim writer of the eleventh century, Nasir-i Khrusau, reported that "the scribes here in Syria, as is the case of Egypt, are all Christians. . . . It is [also] most usual for the physicians . . . to be Christians."

15. Seth Cropsey and Harry Halem make the strategic case for a strong U.S. Navy. From the analysis:

But a recognition of strategic uncertainty also has implications for conventional forces, particularly at sea. Naval power is the ultimate strategic enabler. Only ground forces can hold territory and physically impose one's will upon the enemy. Modern ground combat is inseparable from air combat — whatever other roles an air force plays, coordination with ground forces through close air support or battlefield air interdiction will always remain a core mission. However, seapower provides a flexibility and depth unlike land power and airpower, and today "space power" and "cyberpower." Particularly for a great power like the United States, seapower's effects go far beyond direct warfighting. Of course, warships are built to destroy other warships. But the "sea control" that they obtain through fleet actions or amphibious assaults in turn facilitates all other military operations. More broadly, naval power allows its user to pressure the enemy's economy through blockade in peacetime or wartime, transit forces between theaters unimpeded, communicate with — and by its presence, demonstrate support for — far-flung allies, and in modern contexts mount strikes against exposed targets inland. The U.S. understood this essential fact from its founding through most of the 20th century, although as America's defense budget flattens while China's continues its precipitous rise, the clarity of the U.S.'s understanding about the purpose of naval forces is diminishing.

The maritime domain is unique, with its own geography and logic as compared with land power. Indeed, land and sea are the two fundamental human geographic domains: The Greeks distinguished between maritime and terrestrial powers for this very reason. Understanding sea power — and, one must note, land power and arguably air power — therefore requires significant military and strategic specialization, stemming from the domain's unique defining factors.

These unique factors make maritime power the most naturally political of military domains. Thus, it undergirds conventional deterrence in any great-power struggle. Major-power naval forces must operate forward. The natural constraints of maritime geography make the sort of "surge" capacity that airborne ground and air forces rely upon during conflict impossible because maritime transport takes time. The large-surface combatants, capital ships, and submarines that define blue-water naval power are by physical necessity relatively slow. Moreover, naval forces are naturally more expensive than their ground and air counterparts. They are flexible, versatile platforms designed to fulfill multiple missions, and built with the capacity for upgrades.

16. Itxu Díaz ventures into the world of hair-triggered nerves, increasingly defining what he calls our "Fearful Society." From the beginning of the essay:

I've been shopping at the supermarket. In the chocolate aisle, I recently saw a dear old grandma dressed in some kind of diving suit (for a moment I wondered if she was fishing for octopus), accompanied by her granddaughter, who wore a giant mask that covered her belly button. The girl was looking for her favorite chocolate. Suddenly, the grandmother covered her face with her hands as if she had just seen the devil himself and shrieked, "Let's go!" But the girl kept on looking for the chocolate. The old woman, already pale, grabbed the girl by the arm and tugged her violently, screaming, "We have to get out of here, a girl without a mask just entered the supermarket!" The covered girl resisted, and the dear old lady finally resorted to stunning her with a couple of well-placed slaps before carrying her out of the store, saying, "I'm sorry, honey, it's for your own good!"

The scene has left me with a strange feeling. Of course, it is a bad idea to go to the supermarket without a mask, and it is better to stay away from whomever does so. But I find it worrying that grandma reacted as if the woman without a mask were a jihadi armed with a Kalashnikov. You have to ask yourself what could make a sweet old grandmother behave like that.

Back home, still in shock, I decided to relax and read the papers. Let's see. New swine flu virus with global potential. The possible return of bubonic plague causes alarm. A cat dies from an unknown virus after biting its owner. Waves, outbreaks, and tsunamis of COVID-19. The coronavirus is also transmitted by air. The second wave of the pandemic will be devastating. Oh my God!

I have also read that sea levels will engulf us in a few years if we don't vote for the Democrats, that the U.N. warns that illegal species trafficking causes an infinite number of unknown diseases, and that a large meteorite is expected to fall to Earth this year (it doesn't matter when you read this) — which explains why nine out of ten dentists recommend that during the next few months we walk the streets with our mouths shut.

It's even worse than what grandma thought.

17. Armond White is calling the match between Dolly Parton and Iris Dement. Jesus is way ahead on points. From the beginning of the piece:

Dolly Parton's "There Was Jesus" rebukes Iris Dement's "How Long." These peak country/folk/pop artists are not in competition, yet their latest recordings offer contrasting responses to America's current spiritual turmoil. Dolly keeps the faith while Iris follows the mob. If the truth lies somewhere in between, note that "There Was Jesus" just became Parton's first song to enter Billboard's Hot Christian Songs and Christian Airplay charts, while Dement's release went nowhere — except the uncharted territory of progressive ingrates.

Parton clings to the rock of gospel tradition while Dement seems unsure, grasping a weaker tradition that currently dominates the culture.

"There Was Jesus" is Parton's collaboration with the song's composer Zach Williams, the Christian-rock artist from Arkansas writing about his religious conversion, realizing God's presence in all stages of his life. Her stirring back-up vocals raise the song's testimony from an individual statement to wider affirmation. Parton's irresistibly sweet, soaring notes connect to cultural memory, making this a pop record — no longer the subgenre of a minority group that, ironically, has been marginalized by the mainstream media.

Dement has always performed on the margins, despite a brief major-label stint in the Nineties, but her new release is what insiders call "a pop move." She joins the moment of political piety in which the radical Communist origins of Black Lives Matter are confused with sentimentality about racial prejudice. Dement's lonesome voice on "How Long" echoes an old folk-music trap; her political conversion, unlike Williams's gruff realism, is rapt with self-righteousness. This serious error demands clarification.

18. Dan McLaughlin offers a history of "Redskins," scalped by the Thought Police. From the piece:

Is "Redskins" a bad word? Even today, many schools in Native-American communities use Native-American team names, so perhaps some judgment is called for. My own gut instinct is that "Redskins" is quite different from "Braves"; the former is a racial distinction that sounds like a racial slur — and has often been used as one. Braves, by contrast, designates the Native-American warrior with all the martial virtues that conveys, and is no different in that regard than teams naming themselves Warriors, Vikings, Cavaliers, Knights, Crusaders, Rangers, Patriots, 76ers, or other names that identify with some particular military or nationalistic tradition. Nobody would insult a man — to his face or behind his back — by calling him a brave.

The history of the word redskin, however is somewhat more complex. It remains much in dispute where, when, and how the term "redskins" first began to describe Native Americans, but it is clear that the term was in use as far back as the final third of the 18th century. Even the Washington Post's effort to trace the etymology finds it in use as much by the tribes as by whites. "Oklahoma," for example, was introduced by a Choctaw missionary in one of the 1866 treaties establishing the territory; the term is generally regarded as combining two Choctaw words, "okla" meaning people, and "humma" meaning "red." (There are those who dispute this, too.)

"Redskins" acquired more of the nature of a slur in the second half of the nineteenth century, as Americans advanced across the frontier and came to see Native Americans less as equals and more as obstacles. Words, of course, have traditions of their own; while it is important for historians and lawyers to understand the language of the past, it is not of much cultural relevance today what a term meant in 1815, if that meaning no longer lives. The odor of a slur is hard to dispel. If any sports team deserves a name change, it is the Redskins.

But does it actually harm anybody today, or even offend many people who aren't going looking for offense to take? It depends on whom you ask, and how. Widely cited polls conducted in 2004 and 2016 found little sentiment among Native Americans for demanding a name change.

19. The New York Times Gail Collins sucker-punched the Little Sisters of the Poor, fresh from their SCOTUS win. Kathryn Lopez hit back. From the piece:

The Collins op-ed was an insult to these remarkable women, and it was also an insulting dismissal of one of the most powerful images in Christianity. She begins with a hypothetical about a group of nuns whose devotion to the Sacred Heart was such that they created gods out of the human heart, essentially. What a cartoonish caricature. To see the Heart of Jesus as the prism through which you love is a transformative reality.

And, as it happens, there is a group of women religious founded with a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. And instead of making an idol out of the human heart, they, with their foundress, Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, started some of the first Catholic schools, orphanages, hospitals in the United States.

Some of our heroes of American history are missionaries who came here out of love of God and were trailblazers. This weekend, a California mission founded by Franciscan priest Junípero Serra was burned. And as the Little Sisters were given protection of basic religious freedom at the Court, hostility to these essentials of civil society certainly seems to be growing.

It, of course, doesn't help that the Church wasn't considered an essential service during the beginning weeks and months of pandemic shutdown. An accomplished woman treating these women who could help us all see God in the world more clearly as malicious simpletons should not pass without pushback. The Little Sisters of the Poor have been fighting for a most basic freedom, when they had plenty of others things to be doing. Among them: showing us how to love our elderly brothers and sisters — and family members.

20. As did Alexandra De Sanctis, who sent a knuckle sandwich Times-ward. From the piece:

But to Collins, what these nuns do outside the courtroom doesn't even bear mentioning. Instead, she focuses her entire column on painting an entirely unsubstantiated picture of the Little Sisters as a mask for the real actor: Donald Trump and his hatred of female autonomy.

"You have to admit the anticontraception forces were brilliant to get the Little Sisters of the Poor as their star in court," Collins writes, insinuating that the Trump administration, hiding behind the Little Sisters, is waging a war on birth control. But the fight at the heart of the Little Sisters case and the Trump exemptions isn't a fight over contraception itself. (Though in my opinion it ought to be, as the fight over this mandate will never end until we address the Obama administration's flawed presupposition that subsidized contraception is a necessary component of health care.)

This legal fight has been dragging on for nearly a decade now because the Obama administration and progressive state governments have refused to allow religious believers to operate businesses or their religious orders without underwriting birth control and abortion-inducing drugs, things that many faithful Americans find morally objectionable.

21. And then Ramesh Ponnuru threw a haymaker. It connected. From the piece:

Collins begins by spinning a hypothetical in which a group of nuns had a religious objection to cardiac care and refused to cover it for their employees. It would be absurd, she suggests, to allow this refusal.

In the past, people on Collins's side of this argument have conjured hypothetical employers who refused to cover blood transfusions in line with the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses or refused to cover health care at all following Christian Science tenets. No such actual cases have ever materialized, either in the pre–Obamacare mandate decades or in the years since the Supreme Court's pro–religious liberty ruling in Hobby Lobby (2014). Perhaps that's why we've moved on to wholly made-up religious beliefs.

But let's take Collins's hypothetical example more seriously than it deserves and think through what else would need to be true for it to be truly parallel to the cases we've actually been arguing about for the last eight years. In the full hypothetical, we would have had no mandate that cardiac care be covered for all of our history until recently. Then an administration would introduce that mandate but exempt the employers of tens of millions of people from it, often for reasons of administrative convenience, explaining to the Supreme Court (see p. 65) that these people would have plenty of sources of contraceptive coverage other than their employers. But it would simultaneously insist that the nuns who have a religious objection to the mandate should not get an exemption. And it would find no employee of theirs, in years of litigation, who expressed any concern about losing access to cardiac care.

Under these circumstances, it is hard to see how it could reasonably be maintained that making the nuns provide the coverage was the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest — as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act requires. So even these hypothetical nuns might win their case, and deserve to.

22. Castro-smooching Wasp Network is dishonest and deceptive say Roberto González and Zoe Gladstone. From the review:

Although the director delivers a thrilling narrative, he deceives viewers unfamiliar with Cuban history. The film portrays the spies as courageous heroes who were just defending their homeland and the members of Cuban exile organizations, along with some of their leaders, as terrorists. Not only is this approach devoid of nuance, it's a move that attempts to rewrite history in an irresponsible way. At the time, the Cuban Five were universally understood as a spy network that produced actionable intelligence enabling the Cuban government to commit extrajudicial killings.

The film falls short of being accurate in several ways. First, it does not contextualize the relationship between Cuban exile leaders — many of whom were forced to flee as refugees — and their homeland, nor does it show why certain members of the Cuban diaspora chose to establish civil-society groups abroad. These individuals were driven from their home country largely owing to their own government's ruthless repression.

The Cuban Revolution pushed millions of people to leave the country as Fidel Castro proceeded to persecute and punish those who engaged in dissent. Fundamental freedoms were suppressed, and thousands of Cubans were imprisoned, beaten, and executed. Yet the director of Wasp Network has no qualms about letting his characters refer to legitimate political dissidents with the official label of "worm" in Spanish (which the English subtitles translate as "traitor").

Many Cubans in exile began establishing organizations like the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) and Brothers to the Rescue — both depicted in the movie — that were dedicated to a democratic transition on the island. Their activities did not go unnoticed by the Cuban regime, which suspected these organizations of planning to conduct guerrilla warfare against the government and even plotting terrorist attacks. Subsequently, the Cuban interior ministry commissioned several agents and tasked them to infiltrate some of these organizations in Miami as well as U.S. government facilities. The exact number of spies that operated in Florida is still unknown. Ten were arrested and tried in the U.S.; five of them pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the prosecution. The remaining five are the ones Havana later lionized as the "Cuban Five."

23. Phillip Magness sees the Constitution as a roadmap destined for racial equality. From the beginning of the piece:

A stunning legal drama unfolded before the King's Bench in London in early 1772. James Somerset, a slave brought to England from the American colonies, petitioned the court for a writ of habeas corpus, which would free him from confinement on his enslaver's ship. Lord Mansfield, the judge reviewing the case, granted the writ in a stinging rebuke of Somerset's captors: "The state of slavery is of such a nature, that it is incapable of being introduced on any reasons, moral or political; but only positive law, which preserves its force long after the reasons, occasion, and time itself from whence it was created, is erased from memory." As no such law existed in England proper, Somerset was to be freed.

The judgment's narrow construction intentionally limited its immediate implications. When word of the case crossed the Atlantic, Benjamin Franklin wrote his abolitionist friend Anthony Benezet to denounce "the hypocrisy of this country, which encourages such a detestable commerce by laws for promoting the Guinea trade; while it piqued itself on its virtue, love of liberty, and the equity of its courts, in setting free a single negro." Somerset's case would nonetheless put the first chip in the legal edifice of plantation slavery, and with it set the foundations for a neglected tradition of anti-slavery constitutionalism.

When mentioned at all today, Somerset's case often suffers from the political distortion of our present moment. The New York Times' 1619 Project attempted to repurpose Mansfield's ruling as evidence that the American colonies revolted some four years later in response to the existential threat that the case supposedly created for the colonial slave system. In reality, the British Empire still remained a half century removed from emancipation — a cause that found its earliest parliamentary support among Charles James Fox, Edmund Burke, and other Whig supporters of the American revolutionaries. And while the Times grudgingly walked back its claim that protecting slavery provided a primary impetus for the events of 1776, the paper offered no indication that Somerset's brand of anti-slavery constitutionalism took root in the nascent United States.

The Six.

1. The Hungarian Review provides the second part of Daniel J. Mahoney's important analysis of conservative French political philosophers taking on Communism and Western self-hate. From the essay:

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago had a dramatic impact on French public opinion and intellectual life, when the first of its three volumes was published in France in early 1974. The scales of ideology, and ideological justification for criminality and tyranny that posed itself as progressive and emancipatory, seemed to massively fall from individual and collective eyes. But that positive reception to the greatest anti-totalitarian work of the 20th century was, in retrospect, rather misleading. Many French intellectuals turned almost immediately to an ideology of "human rights" as the alleged alternative to the totalitarianism that had deformed so much of the 20th century. They thus received Solzhenitsyn through the lenses of a modified version of the "thought of 68" — opposition to domination, to "heteronomous" institutions, to power in all its forms, was the effectual truth of anti-totalitarianism as they understood it. As Raymond Aron and the political theorist Marcel Gauchet both wrote almost simultaneously in 1980, such an anti-political understanding of human rights does not make for an effective or viable politics. It is another form of utopianism that tends to confuse authority as such with "totalitarian domination". In this new understanding, rights have no ultimate ground and no recognisable limits, and thus become a form of self-assertion that limits true political deliberation and a reasonable articulation of a civic common good. This has also been a major theme of the recent political and philosophical reflection of Pierre Manent, most recently in Natural Law and Human Rights: Toward a Recovery of Practical Reason, published in English translation in early 2020. When human rights are affirmed in contradistinction to the goods of our nature, they eat away at those authoritative institutions (the nation, the Churches, the army, the family, the university) that once exercised salutary authority in free and decent societies. True anti-totalitarianism thus demands an affirmation of the moral law and legitimate authority and institutions. Moral anarchy is an invitation to lawless tyranny, and not its opposite or antidote.

Aron, who had always been reasonably but adamantly anti-totalitarian and anti-Communist, drew exactly the right lessons from his reading of The Gulag Archipelago. It might even be said that his engagement with Solzhenitsyn deepened his understanding of, and opposition to, Communism. He came to see that the "idealism" undergirding Communism was in fact as criminal and monstrous as the open brutality and cruelty heralded by National Socialism. A humanism, such as Marx's, without any acknowledgment of unchanging moral principles above the human will, could not support ordered liberty or liberty under law. Far from it. As Aron wrote in 1976, in a lucid and passionate reflection on Solzhenitsyn and Sartre, Solzhenitsyn taught all of us committed to authentic liberty and human dignity that there is no other "defence against the raging of fanaticism" and "no other hope for the future than in respect for moral laws and the rejection of ideological knavery". Liberty without an acknowledgment of the sempiternal distinction between good and evil was a dead end, one that provided no ground for opposition to modern tyranny and no support for a principled recognition of the inherent dignity of the human person. In an interview with the radio network France Culture in 1975, Aron declared himself, like Solzhenitsyn, "essentially anti-revolutionary", since revolutions of an ideological stamp "cost very dearly and finally cause more evil than good". Aron added that since personally witnessing the barbarism of Nazi totalitarianism unfold in Germany in the winter and spring of 1933, he had always tied together opposition to totalitarianism with the firmest rejection of the allure or illusion of revolution. Ideological revolution was both inherently nihilistic and an invitation to the most inhuman tyrannies in history. These lessons, affirmed in distinctive but complementary ways by Solzhenitsyn and Aron, are among what the distinguished French political theorist Chantal Delsol calls "the unlearned lessons of the twentieth century". Too many intellectuals and activists associate hope in history with the revolutionary transformation of human nature and society. But as Aron often pointed out, the rejection of messianic illusions was a precondition for true politics, and in no way a reason for despair. Authentic politics has a dignity all its own.

The publication of The Black Book of Communism in France in 1998 was a revelatory moment. Even some of its contributors rejected any affirmation of moral symmetry between National Socialism and Communist totalitarianism. But all of them saw Communism as a grave threat to the lives, liberties and inherent dignity of human beings. But as Alain Besançon has pointed out, far too many intellectuals, journalists and politicians in France and abroad insisted in response to this great work that 85–100 million deaths at the hands of Communist regimes (and this estimate is a conservative one), and political and intellectual tyranny on an unprecedented scale, "did not in any way tarnish the Communist ideal". One could not be a Nazi in good conscience after Auschwitz, and surely that is a very good thing. But one could be a Communist in good faith despite the Gulag, murderous collectivisation, the Cultural Revolution in China, and the Killing Fields in Cambodia. Emancipatory ideals justified every crime, every murder, as well as endless, soul-destroying mendacities. Like the decorated historian Eric Hobsbawm in the United Kingdom, these apologists for the unjustifiable would do it all over again if given the chance. And for the 22 years since the publication of the Black Book, esteemed intellectuals such as Badiou and Žižek have continued to applaud the "Communist idea" as the only real hope for humanity. That ideal, it appears, is never capable of being falsified or rejected. It is immune to moral and political judgement. It has the right to what Pierre Manent has called "human extraterritoriality".

2. More from The Hungarian Review: John O'Sullivan reflects on cultural revolutions, of the Red Chinese and current Western varieties. From the essay:

As for almost all other Westerners in 1966 and later, we looked at the theory-intoxicated antics of the cultural revolutionaries with amazement and thought "it could never happen here".

Well, it is happening here now, of course, at least in Britain and the United States, and even in parts of Western Europe and the Anglosphere, though less aggressively. The scenes of crowds burning cities, attacking the police, looting small businesses, and then in an illogical but somehow understandable progression, pulling down statues, destroying national symbols, and doing their best to erase familiar signposts and symbols of their (and our) own past leave little doubt about what is going on. It is a revolution against our culture, our history, our countries, and ourselves. Its immediate cause was the brutal murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis policeman. That immediately became the worldwide symbol of racism against Black Americans, especially at the hands of the police, and it led in turn to a metastasising directionless anarchy.

We can explore many speculations about why this spread was so swift, dramatic, and largely un-resisted. People are bored and angry after eight weeks of lockdown. They are afraid of the economic consequences of COVID-19 which may bring about a sharp fall in their own standard of living, when the pandemic finally ends. They want to blame someone for their own anxieties, preferably the government which, as it happens, really deserves blame for its handling of the pandemic. A large body of unemployed graduates, some unemployable, others employable only in non-graduate jobs — in other words, the traditional cannon fodder of revolution — already existed and will inevitably soon be joined by others as the post-COVID economy sheds jobs made uneconomic by the lockdown. All of these things have combined to foster a climate of febrile discontent, free-floating anxiety, and distrust of authority that coincidentally distrusts itself.

All these help to explain the spread of anarchy once it has started. None explains why the murder of one man, George Floyd, in one country should start a revolution against the cultural symbols and identities of several nations which do not have the social evils that the murder supposedly symbolises. It is not as if the murder is being justified or covered up. On the contrary, it is universally condemned; it seems likely to be punished with remarkable speed (by the standards of American justice); and it is not even one particular example of a general war on Black America by racist police because, though it is dangerous to say so, there is no such war.

Black Americans suffer many serious social disadvantages, but they are the result of many causes most of which are unrelated to the racism of cops and other Americans. The figures for fatal shootings of men by the police show that about two thirds of such victims are white and one third black — amounting to nine people last year. In addition, such shootings have been falling for several years. Admittedly, police shootings of black men are disproportionately high in relation to the Black percentage of the population, but they are disproportionately low in relation to Black involvement in crime. And they are very few in comparison with the overwhelming majority of murders of Blacks committed by other Blacks. Even though racism plays a part in the social problems of Black America, it is not the main explanation of those problems, let alone a complete one.

3. The great George Nash marks the 60th Anniversary of the late Russell Kirk's dynamic quarterly, The University Bookman. From the reflection:

Volume I, number 1 of the University Bookman appeared in the autumn of 1960. The journal's subtitle — "A Quarterly Review of Educational Materials" — defined its sphere of interest. Its opening editorial, written by Kirk, defined its purpose: "To restore and improve the standards of higher education in America" (italics in the original). In keeping with his sponsor's roots and raison d'être, Kirk announced that his "bulletin" would concentrate on reviewing college and university textbooks and engage in "sensible criticism" of contemporary educational theory and practice. "The return to first principles of liberal and scientific study," he added, "and the imaginative betterment of state and private institutions in this country," would be "our objectives." Twice he promised that the bulletin's approach would be "temperate": a subtle distancing, perhaps, from the controversies in which Mrs. Crain had become embroiled while editor of the Educational Reviewer. As if to underscore the loftiness of his ambition, the bulletins' cover contained a Latin motto: "Ex Aequo et Bono" ("According to the Right and the Good").

On one subject Kirk was unyielding: "As president of The Educational Reviewer," he said of himself, he was "wholly his own master, and can criticize without dread of publishers, college administrators, professors, or business managers." He did not intend to endure again the unpleasantness he had experienced at Michigan State College and Modern Age.

In some ways the launching of the University Bookman was unusual, particularly in 1960. What other new magazine in that era would have announced itself to the world with a Latin motto and a sketch of a Greek Doric column on its cover? The bulletin was not flashy in appearance. It contained no advertising. Its size was small: only twenty-four pages at first (and eventually just forty). The pages themselves were barely 5 1/4 by 8 1/4 inches. Rarely, in its early years, did a quarterly issue contain more than a handful of articles. In content, tone, and self-presentation the publication seemed almost defiantly countercultural, evoking an earlier era.

Yet Kirk had one unique advantage: because the University Bookman was distributed free to National Review's subscribers, the little bulletin debuted in 1960 with a circulation of more than 30,000 — more than nearly every academic and literary periodical in the United States. As National Review's circulation increased, so, too, did the University Bookman's, until, sometime in the Age of Reagan, it exceeded 100,000.

4. At Gatestone Institute, Burak Bekdil analyzes the roots of Erdogan's decree turning the Hagia Sophia into a mosque. From the report:

Erdoğan comes from the ranks of political Islam, which made its debut in Turkey in the late 1960s — and was not then on the global radar. In the 1970s, Islamists of all flavors, including Erdoğan's mentor, Turkey's first Islamist prime minister, Necmettin Erbakan, made the "Hagia Sophia Mosque" a symbol of the completion of Istanbul's conquest. The iconic church also became a symbol in the Islamists' fight against Atatürk's secularism.

Why now? Erdoğan possibly thought the move could reverse the ongoing erosion of his popularity due, among others, to a looming economic crisis. All the same, it appears to be wrongly timed, as presidential and parliamentary elections are three years from now and Turks are notorious for not having a good memory. Praying at the Hagia Sophia Mosque will not turn a hungry man into a happy man.

The conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque has once again underlined the insane racism of the majority in Turkey against the sanity of a dwindling minority.

One Muslim theologian, Cemil Kılıç, argued against the decision: "This is against the Quranic commandments," he said. "Prophet Mohammed never converted a Jewish or Christian house of prayer into a mosque."

5. At The College Fix, Greg Piper has the pathetic story of UCONN's just-elected student government leaders resigning because they are . . . white. From the article:

It's a view also embraced by the president and vice president of the University of Connecticut's Undergraduate Student Government, who spurned the students who voted for them four months ago by resigning their elected positions.

Their rationale is both ludicrous and probably genuine: White people shouldn't lead.

VP Alex Ose was the first to go last week, according to The Daily Campus. She cited "the climate and incidents of racial injustice across the country and at the university" without elaborating on what's wrong at UConn (or why she can't address the perceived problem as an elected official):

I feel that it is my duty to step down from my position to make space for BIPOC (black, indigineous and people of color) voices to truly rise and be heard. It is my responsibility to make space, not to create an echo.

Ose is also pressuring the remaining white members of the student government to resign, asking them to consider their "intent" in student leadership (to lead?) and whether they "truly" believe "they are making space for the voices that need to be heard right now" — the aforementioned BIPOCs.

President Joshua Crow didn't go that far when he announced his own resignation prompted by white guilt two days later.

"It is important in this time to ensure that marginalized groups have the platforms they need," he said, according to The Daily Campus. (Their paralyzing white guilt makes a little more sense when you consider that Crow and Ose beat a nonwhite ticket, Jase Valle and Guymara Manigat.)

6. At Quillette, Canadian journalist Margaret Wente recounts her cancellation. From the story:

Massey College was created in the early 1960s by Torontonians eager to evoke the genteel old Oxbridge days. And it remains a charming place, though a bit precious. It is made up of senior fellows (distinguished professors from the university, as well as luminaries from the city's intellectual elite) and junior fellows (graduate students), who don their gowns to dine together, and perhaps mingle over a glass of port. The senior fellows are overwhelmingly white; the junior fellows increasingly multicultural. Until recently, the head of the college held the anachronistic title of "Master", after the British style. Yet despite these antiquated trappings, Massey College prides itself on being a vibrant forum for high-minded debate and liberal ideals.

The college has an appendage called the Quadrangle Society, which is basically a jumped-up book club. Its members, of whom there are hundreds, are drawn from the non-academic world. Although membership is by invitation only, it is not terribly exclusive, and nobody is quite sure of its purpose. It is a WASPish take on what once might have been called a "salon" — back in the days when words like that could be used unironically without provoking eye rolls.

Last winter, I was asked to join. I said yes because I have several friends who belong to the Quadrangle Society, and I thought this would be a fun excuse for us to have lunch together in Massey's great hall. Two Quadranglers wrote too-kind nomination letters for me. I was assured that the approval process was a mere formality. And sure enough, in due course I received a call from the recently appointed head (whose title now has been changed to "Principal"). She was delighted to inform me that I'd been accepted. And there my troubles began.

I am a journalist, now mostly retired, who for several decades served as a senior editor, and then an opinion columnist, for the Globe and Mail, the closest thing Canada has to a New York Times. Some of my opinions were controversial — or at least what passes for controversial in this country. My specialty was deflating Canada's numerous liberal pieties. I did it rather well. Among Canada's liberal elites, who take their pieties very seriously, I was an abomination.

Baseballery

Once upon a time, back when teams named the Robins and Browns and Senators played, the "save" was not a formal concept, nor did it carry statistical bragging rights. Yes, the save was real: The infamous 1927 New York Yankees, with 110 wins, had 22 of them.

In the era of the complete game, saves were nothing like they are in modern times. Freg’sample: Even the lowly 2019 Detroit Tigers, with a painful 47-114 record, registered 31 saves.

It all prompts the meaningless-yet-entertaining curiosity: Who were the last single-digit leaders in saves for the AL and NL? It must have been once upon a time, and it was: The answers are two interesting hurlers who pitched mostly in the 1940s. As regards the Junior Circuit: Bob Klinger actually broke into the majors as an aged rookie — he was 30 when he earned a 12-5 record for the 1938 Pittsburgh Pirates (in first place in the season's last week, the Bucs dropped 6 of 7 games and finished two games behind the pennant-winning Cubs). Used as a starter over the next few seasons, war interrupted Klinger's career, and upon returning to the Pirates after World War Two service in 1946, he fond himself released without ever playing a game. It turned out to be a lucky break: In May the pennant-bound Red Sox signed him as a free agent, and assigned him to the bullpen. There Klinger performed well, becoming the Red Sox top closer, with his 3-2 record accompanied by a league-leading 9 saves. That was the last time an AL saves leader would be in single-digit territory.

Klinger appeared in one game in the classic 1946 World Series against the Red Sox, and it involved him in one of the National Pastime's greatest moments. Brought in to relieve in Game Seven in the bottom of the 8th, the contest knotted at 3-3, he gave up a single to Enos Slaughter, then got two outs, but then served up a textbook single (later ruled a double) to Cardinals outfielder Harry Walker. But Slaughter was off with the pitch, and scored from first — his famous mad dash — to give the Cardinals the lead and the victory. Klinger took the loss. He would pitch in 28 games for the Bosox in 1947, then kicked around the minors for a couple of years before hanging up the spikes at the age of 42.

Sitting in the Cardinals bullpen that October day in 1946 was a 30-year-old righthander named Ted Wilks, known as "Cork," and like Klinger, he appeared in the Majors as an old rookie (28) in 1944, also like Klinger debuted with a splash: His 17-4 record — earned mostly as a starter — for the NL pennant winners made him the league leader in winning percentage (.810). Within two years though, Wilks was a full-time reliever, and in 1946 he was 8-0 for the Birds. In that year's World Series, he had one appearance (in Game Three, giving up an unearned run on two hits in a 4-0 loss to Boston).

That wasn't Wilks first Fall Classic: He was the starting and losing pitcher in Game 3 of the 1944 Series against the St. Louis Browns (the last and one of only two post-season games the Browns would ever win), and he was on the mound to earn the save in the final game, throwing 3 2/3 innings of hitless ball to secure the Cardinals' championship.

Wilks led the NL in saves in 1949 with 9 — the last time the league ace in that category was ever so measly. He also led the NL in saves in 1951 (13–1 coming for his Cardinals, and then, having been traded in June to the Pirates, registering another dozen for the Bucs). He went on the pitch for the Indians, retiring as a player after the 1953 season having earned a career 59-30 record.

It's been 37 years since anyone led either league with fewer than (or is it less than?) 30 saves.

A Dios

Speaking of saves . . . may the Creator of us, the Ancient of Days, save this country — a thing unto itself but also a beacon to all mankind — from the malicious thugs intent on eradicating our history, and promising a tormenting future. Seriously: Ask the Alpha to boot them beyond the Omega.

Abundant Graces and Blessings and All Things Holy that Will Sanctify You and Yours,

Jack Fowler, who can be scolded by pitch-count nerds at jfowler@nationalreview.com.

P.S.: Now that Editor Phil has escaped, the Humble Correspondent, being on his own — not only to assemble this weekly conservative cornucopia, but to get it all website-inputted (a verb?) and then e-mail-readied for its Saturday deliverance by the Interweb Postal Service — will put this sucker to bed on Friday mornings. Alas, content that is published on NR in the ensuing hours will have to wait another week for it to get Jolt-ified.

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WITH JACK FOWLER July 18 2020
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WITH JACK FOWLER July 18 2020
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Cancelled Saints

Dear Weekend Jolters,

Another week, another stockpiling of political, cultural, and scientific absurdities to further frustrate a people who truly believed they were enjoying the Blessings of Liberty — only to be told (via screech) by furious scolds and silver-spooned demagogues that no, all along they had been cashing in on the Pigmentation-Favoring Byproduct of Slavery, that the Spirit of '76 was a coverup of the Calumny of 1619, that saints were sinners, that monasteries were concentration camps, that heroes were villains, and that you — you in all your excuse-mongering ignorance of all this — are complicit in the whole filthy affair, no matter when grandma hit the beach at Ellis Island.

Has the madness reached the crescendo? Have we experienced Peak Leftist? Victor Davis Hanson has a better term for it: "Peak Jacobinism." Along with a question mark, it's the title of his latest NR piece, which catalogues signs that the insanity might have crested. From the article:

The lines are thinning a bit for the guillotine. And the guillotiners are starting to panic as they glimpse faces of a restless mob always starved for something to top last night's torching. Finally, even looters and arsonists get tired of doing the same old, same old each night. They get bored with the puerile bullhorn chants, the on-spec spray-paint defacement, and the petite fascists among them who hog the megaphones. For the lazy and bored, statue toppling — all of those ropes, those icky pry bars, those heavy sledgehammers, and so much pulling — becomes hard work, especially as the police, camera crews, and fisticuffs thin out on the ground. And the easy bronze and stone prey are now mostly rubble. Now it's either the big, tough stuff like Mount Rushmore or the crazy targets like Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

There are only so many ways for adult-adolescents to chant monotonously "Eat the Rich! Kill the Pigs! Black Lives Matter!" blah, blah, blah. And there are only so many Road Warrior Antifa ensembles of black hoodies, black masks, black pants, and black padding — before it all it ends up like just another shrill teachers'-union meeting in the school cafeteria or a prolonged adolescent Halloween prankster show.

Some 150 leftist writers and artists recently signed a letter attesting that they are suddenly wary of cancel culture. They want it stopped and prefer free speech. Of course, they first throat-cleared about the evil Trump, as if the president had surveilled Associated Press reporters, or sicced the FBI on a political campaign, or used CIA informants and foreign dossier-mongers to undermine a political opponent. And some petition signers soon retracted, with "I didn't know what I was doing" apologies. Nonetheless, it was a small sign that not all of the liberal intelligentsia were going to sit still and wait for the mob to swallow them.

By the way: Kathryn Jean Lopez was at the Vatican in 2015, writing for NR about the upcoming canonization of Junipero Serra by Pope Francis. The calumnies against the missionary are many, and have been debunked by serious scholars. Such truth has failed to stop the toppling of statues and the arson of churches by the hellbent, but do read KLO's piece for a dose of reality.

Now, let us get to the conservative horn of plenty that follows.

Editorials

1. We find the commutation of Roger Stone's sentence indefensible. From the editorial:

The media and Democrats are incandescent with outrage over the commutation for someone they say covered up Trump's treacherous dealings with Russia in 2016. But the indictment of Stone and subsequent trial definitively established that Stone had no inside knowledge of Russian hacking or WikiLeaks's role in disseminating stolen DNC emails; instead, he tried to parlay media gossip and what he heard from an intermediary into a sense that he knew more than he did. Never before has an alleged spy been such a fatuous figure and ridiculous braggart.

There is no doubt, though, that Stone was guilty of perjury and a laughably ham-handed attempt at witness tampering. He was justly convicted of these charges and deserved to go to jail; in our system of justice, self-parody is no defense.

Attorney General Bill Barr reportedly opposed the commutation and was right to do so. The act of clemency is made worse by the fact that Stone repeatedly argued that he was owed it for his loyalty to the president.

Again, there is no reason to believe that Stone actually knows more damaging information about Trump's dealings with Russia. Mueller's investigators interviewed, subpoenaed, and searched hundreds of witnesses and prosecuted a couple of dozen Russian operatives and entities, and concluded that the Russians neither got help nor were looking for help from the Trump campaign. Even if Stone's talk of omerta is a pose, it is grotesque and alone makes him unworthy of clemency.

2. The White House's blame-game with Anthony Fauci is a ridiculous gambit. From the editorial:

One of the memo's more legitimate criticisms is that Fauci advised against wearing masks early in the pandemic. He thought that scarce protective equipment should be reserved for health-care workers, which makes sense, but he also pooh-poohed the effectiveness of masks for the public, which was ill-advised. (That the experts so flagrantly contradicted themselves on masks surely has played a role in the resistance to wearing them — although Trump's reluctance to being seen wearing one hasn't helped, either.)

All in all, the assault on Fauci is a sideshow that distracts from the very real question of how states should proceed as COVID-19 spreads in new places, as the economy continues to limp, and as the public tires of endless COVID-19 restrictions. Fauci himself has acknowledged that his role is to assess the public-health side of the equation, not to evaluate the many tradeoffs that lockdowns pose. As director of NIAID, he is best understood not as a cable-television personality but as the leader of the public research enterprise that is developing treatment and vaccine protocols to fight the virus. Assuming he has no intention of going anywhere, he should continue to do that to the best of his ability, whether it annoys the president or not.

As for Trump, one reason that his ratings are so low on the handling of COVID-19 is that he has been unwilling, with exceptions at times, to frankly acknowledge the seriousness of the virus. Warring with Anthony Fauci over the scientist's sincere judgments about our policy failures and the continued threat of the virus is just another way of avoiding the matter at hand — namely the resurgence in cases that puts at risk the partial reopenings in much of the country.

3. Amen, it cannot be said enough: Andrew Cuomo is no COVID hero. From the editorial:

You would never know from listening to Cuomo's glowing press notices (with the honorable exception of CNN's Jake Tapper) that more than 32,000 New Yorkers have died from the coronavirus — over twice as many as in any other state. Brooklyn and Queens each lost more than 5,500 people, compared with 4,521 thus far in the entire state of Florida. On a per capita basis, New York's COVID-19 death rate has been a third higher than any nation on earth, and higher than that of any state besides neighboring New Jersey. Italy, an early epicenter of the pandemic, lost 561 people per million; New York lost 1,667.

This is not just a random occurrence. New York's authorities were reassuring the public to go on as normal until well past the point where the coronavirus had spread pervasively throughout the community. They had let languish the city and state stockpiles of emergency equipment. Most disastrously, Cuomo and New Jersey governor Phil Murphy both ordered nursing homes to take back patients who tested positive for the virus, unleashing catastrophic death tolls in both states' nursing-home populations.

Cuomo's claim for success is that the state's infection, hospitalization, and death rates have come down, which is rather like if New Orleans had celebrated the water level coming down after Katrina. And just this week, it was reported that infection rates are rising again among young adults and in affluent neighborhoods; New York may not be entirely out of the woods.

Nearly Two Dozen Pieces, Alone and Collectively Examples of Conservative Brilliance, Herewith Offered in Sampling Form to Tempt Your Intellect's Ravenous Appetite.

1. Jim Geraghty takes on the media's swooning for the governors, in particular New York's Andrew Cuomo, whose coronavirus tactics filled morgues. From the piece:

Strictly by the numbers, if a political journalist wanted to praise Democratic governors as doing a terrific job, that writer would start with Hawaii's David Ige. Hawaii's low numbers came at enormous cost, however. Ige implemented a 14-day quarantine for all visitors and residents returning to Hawaii, back on March 21, more or less killing the state's tourism industry. (Few travelers can afford to fly to Hawaii and then spend two weeks in a hotel room before enjoying themselves.) A year ago, the Hawaiian unemployment rate was 2.8 percent; now it is above 22 percent, which is down from 23.8 percent in May.

After Ige, the Democratic governors whose states have been most successful at containing the virus, according the available raw data, have been Bullock, Oregon's Kate Brown, Maine's Janet Mills, Kentucky's Andy Beshear, and Kansas's Laura Kelly. My guess is that unless you live in or near one of those states, you've heard little about these governors, compared with what you've heard about New York's Andrew Cuomo, Michigan's Gretchen Whitmer, California's Gavin Newsom, and New Jersey's Phil Murphy.

No governor has been more ostentatiously praised than Cuomo, who a little while back was joking around with Jimmy Fallon about his fanbase of fervent "Cuomosexuals." The Los Angeles Times editorial board wrote of "the Newsom the outside world sees: a calm, confident and intelligent (and verbose) governor handily guiding his massive state through an unprecedented crisis, informed by science and a sincere desire to protect the public's health" — but at least acknowledged that Newsom hasn't always lived up to the image he aims to project. A largely gushing New York Times profile described Whitmer as "approaching it all with the same practical mind-set and vocabulary she brought to more manageable governmental challenges like fixing potholes." The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that Murphy "channel[s] his inner technocrat at hour-plus news briefings. He comes armed with graphs and projections of the virus' spread, saying he's determined 'to break the back of that damn curve.'"

The personality, the pugnaciousness, the presence, the poll numbers . . . these governors have assembled all of the ingredients for a classic success story — except for the actual record of success.

2. Madeleine Kearns scrutinizes the Cuomo Poster and finds it depicts fantasy. From the beginning of the piece:

Have you seen Andrew Cuomo's poster? The New York governor's pandemic-themed design was apparently intended as a celebration of the state's effort against coronavirus. It's difficult to describe, but there's a mountain in the middle labeled "111 Days of Hell," a rope around it labeled "Pulling Down the Curve Together," a river marked with dollar signs and labeled "economy falls," a plane captioned "Europeans," a wind-blowing devil titled "winds of fear," and overhead, a banner positioned above a rainbow that reads (what else?) "love wins," as a sun smiles and a blonde man on a crescent moon says, "It's just the flu."

I don't have anything nice to say about it, except that it's a helpful insight into a singularly incompetent and disorganized mind.

Without the labels, the design would be utterly incoherent, though with them, there's a certain child's logic. Nevertheless, it must remain one of the weirdest political stunts to come out of a crisis. But then, perhaps diversion is the point. For while the governor was getting ready to wow the nation with his 19th-century-style propaganda (did I mention there is a table at the bottom of the mountain labeled "New York State Leads Again"?), the rest of the country has been noticing that, in the wake of coronavirus, conditions in New York are getting worse, not better.

3. David Harsanyi finds the MSM's Cuomo-gaslighting to be shameless. From the commentary:

By any standard, the New York tristate area's numbers are the worst in the country. By most measures, the numbers are some of the worst in the world. As the New York Times noted in May, New York City seeded the wave of outbreaks across the nation. Some of the carnage was likely unavoidable, but we can attribute the high number of nursing-home deaths, at the very least, to Cuomo's ineptitude.

Yet, even as his state was failing to meet its most serious challenge since 9/11 — it wasn't until May 6 that cleaners began disinfecting the subway system, for example — Cuomo was busy taking softball questions on national cable news from his obsequious brother, Chris. On The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon marveled at how "smart" and "honest" Cuomo was as the two discussed the governor's global popularity and "Cuomosexual fans."

For those who tell you the media don't matter, Cuomo now has among the highest approval ratings of any governor in the nation, almost all of whom have governed far more capably. As I write this, the coronavirus death toll in New York stands at 166 people per 100,000 (even if we exclude New York City, the rate is 78.5 per 100,000), while it is still only 30 per in Arizona, 20 per in Florida, 17.7 in California, and 11.1 in Texas. Will Florida governor Ron DeSantis be heralded as a great governor should his state end up with a fraction of the deaths New York experienced? If there had been widespread testing in New York in March, April, and May, those numbers likely would have dwarfed what we're now seeing elsewhere in the country.

If all of that wasn't bad enough, after more than 32,000 deaths, Cuomo and his fans are now celebrating a victory over coronavirus.

4. Andrew McCarthy explains, again, the consequences of the Supreme Court becoming an increasingly political institution. From the beginning of the commentary:

Whither the Electoral College?

The Supreme Court had its say on the matter during the always-eventful last week of the term. To repeat a contention often made in these columns, the High Court has evolved into an essentially political institution, robed in the judiciary's apolitical veneer. Given that we are a deeply divided nation, that the late-term cases are usually the most controversial, and that the four left-leaning justices — those appointed by Democratic presidents Clinton and Obama — tend to vote as a bloc in these cliffhanger rulings, one doesn't expect many 9–0 decisions when the calendar reaches late June (let alone July).

Yet there it was on Monday: Chiafalo v. Washington. At issue was the question of "faithless electors." Specifically, may a state enforce the pledge it compels electors to make to vote for the presidential candidate who wins the state's popular vote? The Court's holding that states have the power to do so was unanimous. Significantly, though, the Court was not of one mind about why.

The case is worth our attention because of what's been going on under the radar.

Among the Left's many transformative projects is the drive to have presidents elected by a national popular vote. The project, known as the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, would effectively eliminate the Constitution's Electoral College system. It would reduce the College to a nullity by requiring a state's electors to vote for the candidate who wins the national popular vote — regardless of whether that candidate loses the state's popular vote. As Hillary Clinton and Al Gore could tell you, that would radically change how presidents are elected, and ultimately how we are governed.

5. Only in America! Kyle Smith looks into the capitalist genius of race-industry gurus. From the beginning of the essay:

You, there. Yes, you, white person. Ever attended a wedding at which only white people were present? How about an all-white funeral? Ever watched as a black person mopped the floor? You, I'm afraid, are racist.

Lists of billionaires? Racist. Lists of top-grossing movies? Racist. Unselected Jeopardy categories? Racist. Today's successor to the Ludovico technique has been ingeniously engineered by the White Fragility author, and America's Race Whisperer, Robin DiAngelo. DiAngelo is a white lady who has gotten very, very rich speaking to litigation-averse corporations, campus groups, self-flagellating white progressives, and black allies joining the cause of white guilt, which is apparently like the rain in Blade Runner, a mephitic poison that is forever soaking everyone to the bone.

People have been mocking DiAngelo. We should be in awe of her instead. She's the absolute master of this, a P. T. Barnum for our time. As detailed in a New York Times Magazine piece (from which the six examples I mentioned above are drawn), DiAngelo is a great American capitalist marketing genius, up there with the inventor of the pet rock or the people who figured out how to get rich by creating prestige brands of water. Like them, she didn't invent anything useful, didn't do any noteworthy work whatsoever. She simply exploited an opportunity. Someday there will be a wing devoted to her in the Marketers' Hall of Fame. No, they'll rename the whole institution for her. She's that good.

6. Not content with burning down missions, lefties want to change the names of cities. Such as . . . St. Louis. Kevin Williamson wonders if the saintly French king would want the Missouri murder hotbed to be named after him. And there's plenty more. From the essay:

The American city began as a French settlement in Spanish Louisiana. The French fur traders who set up shop there named it for Louis IX, the sainted French king whose Christian zeal and personal integrity caused him to be regarded by his contemporaries and many who came after as an ideal monarch. But the saints are fallen creatures like the rest of us, and Louis IX had pretty ugly attitudes about Jews and Muslims, along with the usual assortment of human failings. And so there is an effort under way to knock down the statues of St. Louis and — naturally enough — to change the name of the city.

This is an excellent idea. Having St. Louis's name on the city is an intolerable wrong, and it should be corrected.

The city named for him became part of the French possessions in the New World in 1800 and then came under U.S. sovereignty with the Louisiana Purchase. St. Louis once was famous as "the gateway to the West," an important commercial center on the Mississippi River, the young nation's most important commercial waterway. At its apex, it was one of the most important American cities. In 1904, it both hosted the World's Fair and became the first city outside of Europe to host the summer Olympics.

In 1950, St. Louis was the eighth-largest city in the country, more populous than Boston or Washington. Today, it is the 65th-largest U.S. city, with fewer residents than the Dallas suburb of Arlington or the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson. It has the highest homicide rate of any major American city: At 66 homicides per 100,000 residents, it is almost twice as murderous as Detroit, more than three times as homicidal as Philadelphia, and 25 times as dangerous as Austin. Its high-school dropout rate is twice New York City's (New York City cannot boast of a particularly low rate itself), and in some schools nearly half the students fail to graduate.

7. Washington and Lee University is ground zero for the culture war. Institutional name-changery is in the air. Alum Garland Tucker has a thing or two to say about it. From the reflection:

Like countless other W&L graduates, I have linked my formative college years not just to blissful memories of life in Lexington, to lasting college friendships, and to memorable professors but also back to the character of two men: George Washington and Robert E. Lee. Although both were military leaders of rare ability, it was their character — their integrity — that has permeated life at W&L and provided the moral compass for the institution and for students like me.

Henry Lee (Robert E. Lee's father), Washington's contemporary, pronounced the most definitive accolade about America's founding president: "first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen." It was a reverence for Washington that guided R. E. Lee as well. Historian Paul Johnson concluded that "Lee was a noble and virtuous man, like Lincoln. . . . Honor was the key word in Lee's life and vocabulary. It meant something very special to him." Lee once said, "'Duty' is the most profound word in the English language." It was his sense of duty and honor that led him to Washington College and enabled him to become a post-war leader in education and a force for national reconciliation.

The current rush to "reimagine" American history is focused more on Lee than Washington, but both men are clearly in the sights of radical revisionists. Statues of Washington have already been pulled down. When President Trump delivered his speech at Mt. Rushmore, the weekend of July Fourth, CNN dismissed Washington as merely "a former slaveholder." The lives of Washington and Lee have been reduced to one insurmountable flaw: racism as defined in the 21st century. Where will this attempt at ethical cleansing end? In pronouncing both Lee and Abraham Lincoln "real heroes," Paul Johnson wrote, of Lincoln: "He freely admitted an attitude to blacks which would today be classified as racist." History should whitewash neither the past nor present.

8. Dmitri Solzhenitsyn investigates the expertise of one Paul Krugman, who may be unrivaled when it comes to . . . selective fault-finding. From the piece:

So perhaps a hand-waving, one-size-fits-all, nationalized approach to the virus is not appropriate. COVID presents more danger to some regions of the country than to others. Then, contra Krugman, Republican voters are not mindless zombies "presumably taking their cue from the White House and Fox News" on reopening (though they are sure to note Krugman's patronizing tone and to keep it in mind at the ballot box this November). Rather, these voters often have their own valid reasons for wanting to reopen their communities, which tend to be safer to reopen than, say, Seattle or Philadelphia: jobs, income, mental health, access to religious services, quality of education, quality of social life, etc. But even focusing solely on the coronavirus at the expense of these factors, it is rank intellectual dishonesty not to acknowledge the role that Democrats such as Andrew Cuomo have played in the virus's spread and fatality — most egregiously, by allowing COVID-19 patients to be admitted to nursing homes fresh from the hospital.

It should come as no surprise that Krugman falls short in politics and public health. Even in economics, his supposed area of expertise, the good doctor has been pitifully wrong through the years. In 1998, he predicted that by 2005 the Internet's impact on the economy would prove "no greater than the fax machine's." He also predicted a rapid end to the Great Recession, deflation in the years following 2010, dire consequences from the sequester of 2013, the death of the euro, the crash of the world economy from Trump's election, and positive economic consequences from Trump's impeachment. None of these came true. True, Krugman has admitted the inaccuracy of many of his predictions. But, far from being discouraged, the man continues to put forth his biweekly partisan tirades, arrogantly dismissing large numbers of Americans as stupid all the while. One can only wonder what fantastical headline will come next out of Krugman's quill.

9. Has SCOTUS created a "CHAZ" for religious believers? Michael Brendan Dougherty has some thoughts. From the piece:

The First Amendment and the religious-freedom legislation that was used to bolster it were designed to give the entire American polity — believers and non-believers alike — the character of a free nation. And that is a problem, because as we unpack the "T" and "Q" in LGBTQ, we find gender theories that are rejected by at least as many secular Americans as religious Americans. The Bostock decision elides this issue by obliging employers to treat trans women as women. But for many in the sexual-identity wars, "fluid" and "non-binary" identities are part of the cause too. How will those work?

For several centuries, the Christian Church has been denounced by liberals as a hothouse of oppression, shame, and guilt, a place where people go to be told the rules and ordered around by clerics spouting unprovable metaphysics. But in a curious way, what the Supreme Court has done has marked the church as a zone of freedom — the Calvary Hill Autonomous Zone, if you will. Don't want to be dragooned into a social project of "disrupting the nuclear family" or overturning cisgender privilege? Want to live in a world where women and only women become mothers, and where you're free to say there is a "male and female"? Then I'd suggest you find faith, because the Court has made being free to live in nature contingent upon the acknowledgement of nature's God. The "secular" is now marked as a zone of taboos and superstitions, and the church as a house of freedom from ideological cant, metaphysical impossibilities, and bullying.

10. John McCormack scopes out the state of religious freedom in the wake of the Bostock and Our Lady of Guadalupe decisions. From the article:

Although Guadalupe was a clear win for the First Amendment, there is still a great deal of uncertainty about whether the Bostock decision will impinge on religious freedom in the years to come.

One outstanding question, for example: Does the "ministerial exception" apply to high-school teachers at a religious school who teach a particular subject — say, math or computer science — and don't explicitly instruct students in religion? It's not clear.

Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation thinks it would. "Even if you're the math teacher, the logic of this opinion [in Guadalupe] is that if the school asks you to embody the faith, that you're a minister," he tells National Review. Anderson points to several passages from the majority opinion, including the fact that Alito noted the schoolteachers were "expected to guide their students, by word and deed, toward the goal of living their lives in accordance with the faith."

But University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock disagrees with that interpretation of the majority opinion. "I don't think the Court will expand this to say that those who teach only secular subjects are ministers, even if they are expected to be role models," Laycock tells National Review in an email. "Time will tell, of course. But if I'm right about that, then most teachers in religious elementary schools may be ministers, because they teach the whole curriculum, including religion. But most teachers in middle schools and high schools will not be, because they each teach a particular subject, and most of those subjects are secular."

11. Lewis Farrakhan continues with the persistent Jew-hate. Jonathan Tobin decries the poison. From the piece:

At a moment in American cultural history when even a hint of opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement can result in jobs being lost and people hounded out of the public square, the muted reaction to open expressions of anti-Semitism is striking.

When Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson posted fake Adolf Hitler quotes about Jewish perfidy and praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan last week, he was criticized and eventually apologized. But the outrage was nothing compared with that encountered by Drew Brees, the star quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, when he spoke last month of his opposition to fellow National Football League players kneeling during the national anthem. While many NFL players condemned Brees for preaching respect for the flag, few of Jackson's fellow players responded to his calumnies, and, among those who did, expressions of support outnumbered criticisms.

A week later, another Farrakhan-related flap has hit the news, and the public reaction has been strikingly similar. Over the weekend, it was revealed that television personality Nick Cannon, the host of Fox's The Masked Singer, had spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and praised the Nation of Islam leader on his YouTube channel. Like Jackson, Cannon was caught repeating a popular NOI claim that African Americans are the "true Hebrews" and the real "Jewish people." He also ranted about the power supposedly held by "the Illuminati, the Zionists, the Rothschilds." Yet Fox was silent in the face of the news about his anti-Semitic diatribes, and there's been no indication that it's reconsidering its relationship with him.

12. More from Big Jim G: College sports is facing an apocalypse. From the piece:

For a long time, even fans of college sports wondered if it was a good idea for so many institutions of higher education to turn their sports teams into de facto developmental programs for the NFL and NBA. It's easy to see why so many schools did so, of course. At the highest levels, college football and basketball offer fan experiences on par with the NFL or NBA. They stir campus enthusiasm, provide hours of free advertising, and of course, bring in enormous amounts of money each fall and winter, helping cover the costs of other college sports that don't bring in enormous revenues.

More than a few observers noted, however, that the entire system was built upon young men, often from poor backgrounds, who chose to risk a career-ending injury in exchange for a college scholarship and, maybe, a chance at a lucrative career as a professional. Some schools took educating student athletes seriously; others, not so much. As collegiate basketball and football scandals piled up, it became less and less absurd to ask whether big-time athletic programs existed to serve the needs of universities or universities existed to serve the needs of big-time athletic programs.

Those concerns have become more pressing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and a day of reckoning may now be coming for college sports. If Stanford, with the fourth-largest endowment in the country, cannot sustain its less-prominent sports programs, how many other colleges will end up making similar cuts? How many students will lose their athletic scholarships in the process? If, as seems likely, the answer to both questions is "many," the NCAA landscape will soon look dramatically different, with fewer sports, fewer teams, fewer scholarships, and fewer student-athletes.

13. The pros aren't in any better shape. Victor Davis Hanson finds a woke NFL may also be on the brink. Offended fans can change the channel after all. From the column:

Racial issues are often virtue-signaled in the NFL — but almost never in an honest way. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees recently objected to players not honoring the flag. But he quickly caved when a media mob damned him. In contrast, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson posted a series of anti-Semitic tweets last week, even falsely attributing a quote to Adolf Hitler. That disconnect posed a bizarre question for the NFL: Is it worse for a player to be pro–American flag or anti-Semitic?

NFL owners and head coaches are almost all white. But nearly three-quarters of the players are black. Those who play the game obviously want to see more diversity in coaching and ownership.

In a culture so obsessed with identity politics, is it the players or the owners and coaches (or both) who do not "look like America"?

Given that about 13 percent of the U.S. population is black, and given that the Black Lives Matter movement embraces concepts such as proportional representation, today's NFL teams hardly qualify as diverse. Social activists might argue that the league should mentor and recruit more Latinos, Asian Americans, and Native Americans to better reflect their percentages of our diverse national population.

Perhaps an NFL compromise could ensure that 30 percent of coaches and owners are nonwhite, thus reflecting current U.S. demography. But then, in reciprocity, the players would match such mandatory demographic diversity — leading to Native Americans, Latinos, Asians, whites, and those of mixed ancestry accounting for 87 percent of the player population. The NBA might also take note.

14. President Erdogan has decreed that Istanbul's Hagia Sophia is now a mosque. Cameron Hilditch contends this deserves a strong Western response. From the commentary:

The global response to Erdogan's move has ranged from indifference to outrage. The Turks have close ties with Moscow, and the Russian deputy foreign minister said last Monday that changing the status of the church to a mosque was the internal business of the Turkish government. (Given the way in which the Kremlin has sought to blur the lines between Orthodox Christianity and Russian Nationalism, its acquiescence to the desecration of an iconic, non-Russian Orthodox church is perhaps unsurprising.) By contrast, the Greek culture minister called Erdogan's move an "open provocation to the civilized world" in a statement on Friday, and the Greek government is pushing for the European Union to impose diplomatic sanctions on Turkey. The leader of the Italian Northern League, Matteo Salvini, has also criticized the decision, citing it as evidence that "the pre-eminence of Islam is incompatible with the values of democracy, freedom and tolerance of the West."

The Turkish government's response to the criticism has been positively schizophrenic. Erdogan and his deputies tend to rhetorically oscillate between the language of national sovereignty and the language of Islamic expansionism. On the one hand, a deputy chairman in the governing party told a local publication that "estranging a structure, the property of which belongs to Turkey, was going against our sovereignty." On the other, Erdogan himself said in a public address that "the resurrection of Hagia Sophia [as a mosque] follows the express will of Muslims throughout the world" and will serve as a first step towards "the liberation of Al Aqsa" in Jerusalem. Even before his speech, crowds had gathered outside Hagia Sophia chanting "Onward to Jerusalem!" In what will come as a shock to absolutely no one, it seems that many Turks do not believe that national sovereignty obtains for Israel. Hamas was quick to endorse Erdogan's decision.

The religious vision of pan-Islamic civilization that appears to drive Erdogan's attempts to dismantle the secular constitution of Turkey, a document of which many Turks are still very proud, does not stand up to any kind of scrutiny. In historical terms, there is vanishingly little evidence of Islamic civilization to begin with. Most of the great achievements attributed to Islamic cultures have been those of conquered peoples, or dhimmis, to use the theological term, whose work has been co-opted by their conquerors. Hagia Sophia is a case in point. The dome that was so ingeniously designed by Anthemius and Isidore has been used as the model for mosque architecture ever since. Indeed, when Caliph Abd el-Malik commissioned the Dome of the Rock, now considered one of the great masterpieces of Islamic art, to be built in Jerusalem, he employed Byzantine architects and craftsmen, which is probably why the structure looks so much like the same city's Church of the Holy Sepulchre. "To the extent that Arab elites acquired a sophisticated culture, they learned it from their subject peoples," the sociologist Rodney Stark has noted. The much-vaunted "Arabic" numeral system is in fact Hindu in origin, based on the concept of zero, which had theretofore eluded the Muslim overlords of Hindu populations. The earliest scientific text that appeared in Arabic, the holy language of Islam, was translated by a Jewish physician from the work of a Syrian Christian priest in Alexandria, which would have surprised no Arabian Muslim of that time. As Stark notes, "'Muslim' or 'Arab' medicine was in fact Nestorian Christian medicine; even the leading Muslim and Arab physicians were trained at the enormous Nestorian medical center at Nisibus in Syria." It was the Nestorian Christian Johannitius who collected and supervised the translation of Hippocrates, Galen, Plato, and Aristotle into Arabic. Furthermore, a Muslim writer of the eleventh century, Nasir-i Khrusau, reported that "the scribes here in Syria, as is the case of Egypt, are all Christians. . . . It is [also] most usual for the physicians . . . to be Christians."

15. Seth Cropsey and Harry Halem make the strategic case for a strong U.S. Navy. From the analysis:

But a recognition of strategic uncertainty also has implications for conventional forces, particularly at sea. Naval power is the ultimate strategic enabler. Only ground forces can hold territory and physically impose one's will upon the enemy. Modern ground combat is inseparable from air combat — whatever other roles an air force plays, coordination with ground forces through close air support or battlefield air interdiction will always remain a core mission. However, seapower provides a flexibility and depth unlike land power and airpower, and today "space power" and "cyberpower." Particularly for a great power like the United States, seapower's effects go far beyond direct warfighting. Of course, warships are built to destroy other warships. But the "sea control" that they obtain through fleet actions or amphibious assaults in turn facilitates all other military operations. More broadly, naval power allows its user to pressure the enemy's economy through blockade in peacetime or wartime, transit forces between theaters unimpeded, communicate with — and by its presence, demonstrate support for — far-flung allies, and in modern contexts mount strikes against exposed targets inland. The U.S. understood this essential fact from its founding through most of the 20th century, although as America's defense budget flattens while China's continues its precipitous rise, the clarity of the U.S.'s understanding about the purpose of naval forces is diminishing.

The maritime domain is unique, with its own geography and logic as compared with land power. Indeed, land and sea are the two fundamental human geographic domains: The Greeks distinguished between maritime and terrestrial powers for this very reason. Understanding sea power — and, one must note, land power and arguably air power — therefore requires significant military and strategic specialization, stemming from the domain's unique defining factors.

These unique factors make maritime power the most naturally political of military domains. Thus, it undergirds conventional deterrence in any great-power struggle. Major-power naval forces must operate forward. The natural constraints of maritime geography make the sort of "surge" capacity that airborne ground and air forces rely upon during conflict impossible because maritime transport takes time. The large-surface combatants, capital ships, and submarines that define blue-water naval power are by physical necessity relatively slow. Moreover, naval forces are naturally more expensive than their ground and air counterparts. They are flexible, versatile platforms designed to fulfill multiple missions, and built with the capacity for upgrades.

16. Itxu Díaz ventures into the world of hair-triggered nerves, increasingly defining what he calls our "Fearful Society." From the beginning of the essay:

I've been shopping at the supermarket. In the chocolate aisle, I recently saw a dear old grandma dressed in some kind of diving suit (for a moment I wondered if she was fishing for octopus), accompanied by her granddaughter, who wore a giant mask that covered her belly button. The girl was looking for her favorite chocolate. Suddenly, the grandmother covered her face with her hands as if she had just seen the devil himself and shrieked, "Let's go!" But the girl kept on looking for the chocolate. The old woman, already pale, grabbed the girl by the arm and tugged her violently, screaming, "We have to get out of here, a girl without a mask just entered the supermarket!" The covered girl resisted, and the dear old lady finally resorted to stunning her with a couple of well-placed slaps before carrying her out of the store, saying, "I'm sorry, honey, it's for your own good!"

The scene has left me with a strange feeling. Of course, it is a bad idea to go to the supermarket without a mask, and it is better to stay away from whomever does so. But I find it worrying that grandma reacted as if the woman without a mask were a jihadi armed with a Kalashnikov. You have to ask yourself what could make a sweet old grandmother behave like that.

Back home, still in shock, I decided to relax and read the papers. Let's see. New swine flu virus with global potential. The possible return of bubonic plague causes alarm. A cat dies from an unknown virus after biting its owner. Waves, outbreaks, and tsunamis of COVID-19. The coronavirus is also transmitted by air. The second wave of the pandemic will be devastating. Oh my God!

I have also read that sea levels will engulf us in a few years if we don't vote for the Democrats, that the U.N. warns that illegal species trafficking causes an infinite number of unknown diseases, and that a large meteorite is expected to fall to Earth this year (it doesn't matter when you read this) — which explains why nine out of ten dentists recommend that during the next few months we walk the streets with our mouths shut.

It's even worse than what grandma thought.

17. Armond White is calling the match between Dolly Parton and Iris Dement. Jesus is way ahead on points. From the beginning of the piece:

Dolly Parton's "There Was Jesus" rebukes Iris Dement's "How Long." These peak country/folk/pop artists are not in competition, yet their latest recordings offer contrasting responses to America's current spiritual turmoil. Dolly keeps the faith while Iris follows the mob. If the truth lies somewhere in between, note that "There Was Jesus" just became Parton's first song to enter Billboard's Hot Christian Songs and Christian Airplay charts, while Dement's release went nowhere — except the uncharted territory of progressive ingrates.

Parton clings to the rock of gospel tradition while Dement seems unsure, grasping a weaker tradition that currently dominates the culture.

"There Was Jesus" is Parton's collaboration with the song's composer Zach Williams, the Christian-rock artist from Arkansas writing about his religious conversion, realizing God's presence in all stages of his life. Her stirring back-up vocals raise the song's testimony from an individual statement to wider affirmation. Parton's irresistibly sweet, soaring notes connect to cultural memory, making this a pop record — no longer the subgenre of a minority group that, ironically, has been marginalized by the mainstream media.

Dement has always performed on the margins, despite a brief major-label stint in the Nineties, but her new release is what insiders call "a pop move." She joins the moment of political piety in which the radical Communist origins of Black Lives Matter are confused with sentimentality about racial prejudice. Dement's lonesome voice on "How Long" echoes an old folk-music trap; her political conversion, unlike Williams's gruff realism, is rapt with self-righteousness. This serious error demands clarification.

18. Dan McLaughlin offers a history of "Redskins," scalped by the Thought Police. From the piece:

Is "Redskins" a bad word? Even today, many schools in Native-American communities use Native-American team names, so perhaps some judgment is called for. My own gut instinct is that "Redskins" is quite different from "Braves"; the former is a racial distinction that sounds like a racial slur — and has often been used as one. Braves, by contrast, designates the Native-American warrior with all the martial virtues that conveys, and is no different in that regard than teams naming themselves Warriors, Vikings, Cavaliers, Knights, Crusaders, Rangers, Patriots, 76ers, or other names that identify with some particular military or nationalistic tradition. Nobody would insult a man — to his face or behind his back — by calling him a brave.

The history of the word redskin, however is somewhat more complex. It remains much in dispute where, when, and how the term "redskins" first began to describe Native Americans, but it is clear that the term was in use as far back as the final third of the 18th century. Even the Washington Post's effort to trace the etymology finds it in use as much by the tribes as by whites. "Oklahoma," for example, was introduced by a Choctaw missionary in one of the 1866 treaties establishing the territory; the term is generally regarded as combining two Choctaw words, "okla" meaning people, and "humma" meaning "red." (There are those who dispute this, too.)

"Redskins" acquired more of the nature of a slur in the second half of the nineteenth century, as Americans advanced across the frontier and came to see Native Americans less as equals and more as obstacles. Words, of course, have traditions of their own; while it is important for historians and lawyers to understand the language of the past, it is not of much cultural relevance today what a term meant in 1815, if that meaning no longer lives. The odor of a slur is hard to dispel. If any sports team deserves a name change, it is the Redskins.

But does it actually harm anybody today, or even offend many people who aren't going looking for offense to take? It depends on whom you ask, and how. Widely cited polls conducted in 2004 and 2016 found little sentiment among Native Americans for demanding a name change.

19. The New York Times Gail Collins sucker-punched the Little Sisters of the Poor, fresh from their SCOTUS win. Kathryn Lopez hit back. From the piece:

The Collins op-ed was an insult to these remarkable women, and it was also an insulting dismissal of one of the most powerful images in Christianity. She begins with a hypothetical about a group of nuns whose devotion to the Sacred Heart was such that they created gods out of the human heart, essentially. What a cartoonish caricature. To see the Heart of Jesus as the prism through which you love is a transformative reality.

And, as it happens, there is a group of women religious founded with a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. And instead of making an idol out of the human heart, they, with their foundress, Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, started some of the first Catholic schools, orphanages, hospitals in the United States.

Some of our heroes of American history are missionaries who came here out of love of God and were trailblazers. This weekend, a California mission founded by Franciscan priest Junípero Serra was burned. And as the Little Sisters were given protection of basic religious freedom at the Court, hostility to these essentials of civil society certainly seems to be growing.

It, of course, doesn't help that the Church wasn't considered an essential service during the beginning weeks and months of pandemic shutdown. An accomplished woman treating these women who could help us all see God in the world more clearly as malicious simpletons should not pass without pushback. The Little Sisters of the Poor have been fighting for a most basic freedom, when they had plenty of others things to be doing. Among them: showing us how to love our elderly brothers and sisters — and family members.

20. As did Alexandra De Sanctis, who sent a knuckle sandwich Times-ward. From the piece:

But to Collins, what these nuns do outside the courtroom doesn't even bear mentioning. Instead, she focuses her entire column on painting an entirely unsubstantiated picture of the Little Sisters as a mask for the real actor: Donald Trump and his hatred of female autonomy.

"You have to admit the anticontraception forces were brilliant to get the Little Sisters of the Poor as their star in court," Collins writes, insinuating that the Trump administration, hiding behind the Little Sisters, is waging a war on birth control. But the fight at the heart of the Little Sisters case and the Trump exemptions isn't a fight over contraception itself. (Though in my opinion it ought to be, as the fight over this mandate will never end until we address the Obama administration's flawed presupposition that subsidized contraception is a necessary component of health care.)

This legal fight has been dragging on for nearly a decade now because the Obama administration and progressive state governments have refused to allow religious believers to operate businesses or their religious orders without underwriting birth control and abortion-inducing drugs, things that many faithful Americans find morally objectionable.

21. And then Ramesh Ponnuru threw a haymaker. It connected. From the piece:

Collins begins by spinning a hypothetical in which a group of nuns had a religious objection to cardiac care and refused to cover it for their employees. It would be absurd, she suggests, to allow this refusal.

In the past, people on Collins's side of this argument have conjured hypothetical employers who refused to cover blood transfusions in line with the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses or refused to cover health care at all following Christian Science tenets. No such actual cases have ever materialized, either in the pre–Obamacare mandate decades or in the years since the Supreme Court's pro–religious liberty ruling in Hobby Lobby (2014). Perhaps that's why we've moved on to wholly made-up religious beliefs.

But let's take Collins's hypothetical example more seriously than it deserves and think through what else would need to be true for it to be truly parallel to the cases we've actually been arguing about for the last eight years. In the full hypothetical, we would have had no mandate that cardiac care be covered for all of our history until recently. Then an administration would introduce that mandate but exempt the employers of tens of millions of people from it, often for reasons of administrative convenience, explaining to the Supreme Court (see p. 65) that these people would have plenty of sources of contraceptive coverage other than their employers. But it would simultaneously insist that the nuns who have a religious objection to the mandate should not get an exemption. And it would find no employee of theirs, in years of litigation, who expressed any concern about losing access to cardiac care.

Under these circumstances, it is hard to see how it could reasonably be maintained that making the nuns provide the coverage was the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest — as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act requires. So even these hypothetical nuns might win their case, and deserve to.

22. Castro-smooching Wasp Network is dishonest and deceptive say Roberto González and Zoe Gladstone. From the review:

Although the director delivers a thrilling narrative, he deceives viewers unfamiliar with Cuban history. The film portrays the spies as courageous heroes who were just defending their homeland and the members of Cuban exile organizations, along with some of their leaders, as terrorists. Not only is this approach devoid of nuance, it's a move that attempts to rewrite history in an irresponsible way. At the time, the Cuban Five were universally understood as a spy network that produced actionable intelligence enabling the Cuban government to commit extrajudicial killings.

The film falls short of being accurate in several ways. First, it does not contextualize the relationship between Cuban exile leaders — many of whom were forced to flee as refugees — and their homeland, nor does it show why certain members of the Cuban diaspora chose to establish civil-society groups abroad. These individuals were driven from their home country largely owing to their own government's ruthless repression.

The Cuban Revolution pushed millions of people to leave the country as Fidel Castro proceeded to persecute and punish those who engaged in dissent. Fundamental freedoms were suppressed, and thousands of Cubans were imprisoned, beaten, and executed. Yet the director of Wasp Network has no qualms about letting his characters refer to legitimate political dissidents with the official label of "worm" in Spanish (which the English subtitles translate as "traitor").

Many Cubans in exile began establishing organizations like the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) and Brothers to the Rescue — both depicted in the movie — that were dedicated to a democratic transition on the island. Their activities did not go unnoticed by the Cuban regime, which suspected these organizations of planning to conduct guerrilla warfare against the government and even plotting terrorist attacks. Subsequently, the Cuban interior ministry commissioned several agents and tasked them to infiltrate some of these organizations in Miami as well as U.S. government facilities. The exact number of spies that operated in Florida is still unknown. Ten were arrested and tried in the U.S.; five of them pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the prosecution. The remaining five are the ones Havana later lionized as the "Cuban Five."

23. Phillip Magness sees the Constitution as a roadmap destined for racial equality. From the beginning of the piece:

A stunning legal drama unfolded before the King's Bench in London in early 1772. James Somerset, a slave brought to England from the American colonies, petitioned the court for a writ of habeas corpus, which would free him from confinement on his enslaver's ship. Lord Mansfield, the judge reviewing the case, granted the writ in a stinging rebuke of Somerset's captors: "The state of slavery is of such a nature, that it is incapable of being introduced on any reasons, moral or political; but only positive law, which preserves its force long after the reasons, occasion, and time itself from whence it was created, is erased from memory." As no such law existed in England proper, Somerset was to be freed.

The judgment's narrow construction intentionally limited its immediate implications. When word of the case crossed the Atlantic, Benjamin Franklin wrote his abolitionist friend Anthony Benezet to denounce "the hypocrisy of this country, which encourages such a detestable commerce by laws for promoting the Guinea trade; while it piqued itself on its virtue, love of liberty, and the equity of its courts, in setting free a single negro." Somerset's case would nonetheless put the first chip in the legal edifice of plantation slavery, and with it set the foundations for a neglected tradition of anti-slavery constitutionalism.

When mentioned at all today, Somerset's case often suffers from the political distortion of our present moment. The New York Times' 1619 Project attempted to repurpose Mansfield's ruling as evidence that the American colonies revolted some four years later in response to the existential threat that the case supposedly created for the colonial slave system. In reality, the British Empire still remained a half century removed from emancipation — a cause that found its earliest parliamentary support among Charles James Fox, Edmund Burke, and other Whig supporters of the American revolutionaries. And while the Times grudgingly walked back its claim that protecting slavery provided a primary impetus for the events of 1776, the paper offered no indication that Somerset's brand of anti-slavery constitutionalism took root in the nascent United States.

The Six.

1. The Hungarian Review provides the second part of Daniel J. Mahoney's important analysis of conservative French political philosophers taking on Communism and Western self-hate. From the essay:

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago had a dramatic impact on French public opinion and intellectual life, when the first of its three volumes was published in France in early 1974. The scales of ideology, and ideological justification for criminality and tyranny that posed itself as progressive and emancipatory, seemed to massively fall from individual and collective eyes. But that positive reception to the greatest anti-totalitarian work of the 20th century was, in retrospect, rather misleading. Many French intellectuals turned almost immediately to an ideology of "human rights" as the alleged alternative to the totalitarianism that had deformed so much of the 20th century. They thus received Solzhenitsyn through the lenses of a modified version of the "thought of 68" — opposition to domination, to "heteronomous" institutions, to power in all its forms, was the effectual truth of anti-totalitarianism as they understood it. As Raymond Aron and the political theorist Marcel Gauchet both wrote almost simultaneously in 1980, such an anti-political understanding of human rights does not make for an effective or viable politics. It is another form of utopianism that tends to confuse authority as such with "totalitarian domination". In this new understanding, rights have no ultimate ground and no recognisable limits, and thus become a form of self-assertion that limits true political deliberation and a reasonable articulation of a civic common good. This has also been a major theme of the recent political and philosophical reflection of Pierre Manent, most recently in Natural Law and Human Rights: Toward a Recovery of Practical Reason, published in English translation in early 2020. When human rights are affirmed in contradistinction to the goods of our nature, they eat away at those authoritative institutions (the nation, the Churches, the army, the family, the university) that once exercised salutary authority in free and decent societies. True anti-totalitarianism thus demands an affirmation of the moral law and legitimate authority and institutions. Moral anarchy is an invitation to lawless tyranny, and not its opposite or antidote.

Aron, who had always been reasonably but adamantly anti-totalitarian and anti-Communist, drew exactly the right lessons from his reading of The Gulag Archipelago. It might even be said that his engagement with Solzhenitsyn deepened his understanding of, and opposition to, Communism. He came to see that the "idealism" undergirding Communism was in fact as criminal and monstrous as the open brutality and cruelty heralded by National Socialism. A humanism, such as Marx's, without any acknowledgment of unchanging moral principles above the human will, could not support ordered liberty or liberty under law. Far from it. As Aron wrote in 1976, in a lucid and passionate reflection on Solzhenitsyn and Sartre, Solzhenitsyn taught all of us committed to authentic liberty and human dignity that there is no other "defence against the raging of fanaticism" and "no other hope for the future than in respect for moral laws and the rejection of ideological knavery". Liberty without an acknowledgment of the sempiternal distinction between good and evil was a dead end, one that provided no ground for opposition to modern tyranny and no support for a principled recognition of the inherent dignity of the human person. In an interview with the radio network France Culture in 1975, Aron declared himself, like Solzhenitsyn, "essentially anti-revolutionary", since revolutions of an ideological stamp "cost very dearly and finally cause more evil than good". Aron added that since personally witnessing the barbarism of Nazi totalitarianism unfold in Germany in the winter and spring of 1933, he had always tied together opposition to totalitarianism with the firmest rejection of the allure or illusion of revolution. Ideological revolution was both inherently nihilistic and an invitation to the most inhuman tyrannies in history. These lessons, affirmed in distinctive but complementary ways by Solzhenitsyn and Aron, are among what the distinguished French political theorist Chantal Delsol calls "the unlearned lessons of the twentieth century". Too many intellectuals and activists associate hope in history with the revolutionary transformation of human nature and society. But as Aron often pointed out, the rejection of messianic illusions was a precondition for true politics, and in no way a reason for despair. Authentic politics has a dignity all its own.

The publication of The Black Book of Communism in France in 1998 was a revelatory moment. Even some of its contributors rejected any affirmation of moral symmetry between National Socialism and Communist totalitarianism. But all of them saw Communism as a grave threat to the lives, liberties and inherent dignity of human beings. But as Alain Besançon has pointed out, far too many intellectuals, journalists and politicians in France and abroad insisted in response to this great work that 85–100 million deaths at the hands of Communist regimes (and this estimate is a conservative one), and political and intellectual tyranny on an unprecedented scale, "did not in any way tarnish the Communist ideal". One could not be a Nazi in good conscience after Auschwitz, and surely that is a very good thing. But one could be a Communist in good faith despite the Gulag, murderous collectivisation, the Cultural Revolution in China, and the Killing Fields in Cambodia. Emancipatory ideals justified every crime, every murder, as well as endless, soul-destroying mendacities. Like the decorated historian Eric Hobsbawm in the United Kingdom, these apologists for the unjustifiable would do it all over again if given the chance. And for the 22 years since the publication of the Black Book, esteemed intellectuals such as Badiou and Žižek have continued to applaud the "Communist idea" as the only real hope for humanity. That ideal, it appears, is never capable of being falsified or rejected. It is immune to moral and political judgement. It has the right to what Pierre Manent has called "human extraterritoriality".

2. More from The Hungarian Review: John O'Sullivan reflects on cultural revolutions, of the Red Chinese and current Western varieties. From the essay:

As for almost all other Westerners in 1966 and later, we looked at the theory-intoxicated antics of the cultural revolutionaries with amazement and thought "it could never happen here".

Well, it is happening here now, of course, at least in Britain and the United States, and even in parts of Western Europe and the Anglosphere, though less aggressively. The scenes of crowds burning cities, attacking the police, looting small businesses, and then in an illogical but somehow understandable progression, pulling down statues, destroying national symbols, and doing their best to erase familiar signposts and symbols of their (and our) own past leave little doubt about what is going on. It is a revolution against our culture, our history, our countries, and ourselves. Its immediate cause was the brutal murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis policeman. That immediately became the worldwide symbol of racism against Black Americans, especially at the hands of the police, and it led in turn to a metastasising directionless anarchy.

We can explore many speculations about why this spread was so swift, dramatic, and largely un-resisted. People are bored and angry after eight weeks of lockdown. They are afraid of the economic consequences of COVID-19 which may bring about a sharp fall in their own standard of living, when the pandemic finally ends. They want to blame someone for their own anxieties, preferably the government which, as it happens, really deserves blame for its handling of the pandemic. A large body of unemployed graduates, some unemployable, others employable only in non-graduate jobs — in other words, the traditional cannon fodder of revolution — already existed and will inevitably soon be joined by others as the post-COVID economy sheds jobs made uneconomic by the lockdown. All of these things have combined to foster a climate of febrile discontent, free-floating anxiety, and distrust of authority that coincidentally distrusts itself.

All these help to explain the spread of anarchy once it has started. None explains why the murder of one man, George Floyd, in one country should start a revolution against the cultural symbols and identities of several nations which do not have the social evils that the murder supposedly symbolises. It is not as if the murder is being justified or covered up. On the contrary, it is universally condemned; it seems likely to be punished with remarkable speed (by the standards of American justice); and it is not even one particular example of a general war on Black America by racist police because, though it is dangerous to say so, there is no such war.

Black Americans suffer many serious social disadvantages, but they are the result of many causes most of which are unrelated to the racism of cops and other Americans. The figures for fatal shootings of men by the police show that about two thirds of such victims are white and one third black — amounting to nine people last year. In addition, such shootings have been falling for several years. Admittedly, police shootings of black men are disproportionately high in relation to the Black percentage of the population, but they are disproportionately low in relation to Black involvement in crime. And they are very few in comparison with the overwhelming majority of murders of Blacks committed by other Blacks. Even though racism plays a part in the social problems of Black America, it is not the main explanation of those problems, let alone a complete one.

3. The great George Nash marks the 60th Anniversary of the late Russell Kirk's dynamic quarterly, The University Bookman. From the reflection:

Volume I, number 1 of the University Bookman appeared in the autumn of 1960. The journal's subtitle — "A Quarterly Review of Educational Materials" — defined its sphere of interest. Its opening editorial, written by Kirk, defined its purpose: "To restore and improve the standards of higher education in America" (italics in the original). In keeping with his sponsor's roots and raison d'être, Kirk announced that his "bulletin" would concentrate on reviewing college and university textbooks and engage in "sensible criticism" of contemporary educational theory and practice. "The return to first principles of liberal and scientific study," he added, "and the imaginative betterment of state and private institutions in this country," would be "our objectives." Twice he promised that the bulletin's approach would be "temperate": a subtle distancing, perhaps, from the controversies in which Mrs. Crain had become embroiled while editor of the Educational Reviewer. As if to underscore the loftiness of his ambition, the bulletins' cover contained a Latin motto: "Ex Aequo et Bono" ("According to the Right and the Good").

On one subject Kirk was unyielding: "As president of The Educational Reviewer," he said of himself, he was "wholly his own master, and can criticize without dread of publishers, college administrators, professors, or business managers." He did not intend to endure again the unpleasantness he had experienced at Michigan State College and Modern Age.

In some ways the launching of the University Bookman was unusual, particularly in 1960. What other new magazine in that era would have announced itself to the world with a Latin motto and a sketch of a Greek Doric column on its cover? The bulletin was not flashy in appearance. It contained no advertising. Its size was small: only twenty-four pages at first (and eventually just forty). The pages themselves were barely 5 1/4 by 8 1/4 inches. Rarely, in its early years, did a quarterly issue contain more than a handful of articles. In content, tone, and self-presentation the publication seemed almost defiantly countercultural, evoking an earlier era.

Yet Kirk had one unique advantage: because the University Bookman was distributed free to National Review's subscribers, the little bulletin debuted in 1960 with a circulation of more than 30,000 — more than nearly every academic and literary periodical in the United States. As National Review's circulation increased, so, too, did the University Bookman's, until, sometime in the Age of Reagan, it exceeded 100,000.

4. At Gatestone Institute, Burak Bekdil analyzes the roots of Erdogan's decree turning the Hagia Sophia into a mosque. From the report:

Erdoğan comes from the ranks of political Islam, which made its debut in Turkey in the late 1960s — and was not then on the global radar. In the 1970s, Islamists of all flavors, including Erdoğan's mentor, Turkey's first Islamist prime minister, Necmettin Erbakan, made the "Hagia Sophia Mosque" a symbol of the completion of Istanbul's conquest. The iconic church also became a symbol in the Islamists' fight against Atatürk's secularism.

Why now? Erdoğan possibly thought the move could reverse the ongoing erosion of his popularity due, among others, to a looming economic crisis. All the same, it appears to be wrongly timed, as presidential and parliamentary elections are three years from now and Turks are notorious for not having a good memory. Praying at the Hagia Sophia Mosque will not turn a hungry man into a happy man.

The conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque has once again underlined the insane racism of the majority in Turkey against the sanity of a dwindling minority.

One Muslim theologian, Cemil Kılıç, argued against the decision: "This is against the Quranic commandments," he said. "Prophet Mohammed never converted a Jewish or Christian house of prayer into a mosque."

5. At The College Fix, Greg Piper has the pathetic story of UCONN's just-elected student government leaders resigning because they are . . . white. From the article:

It's a view also embraced by the president and vice president of the University of Connecticut's Undergraduate Student Government, who spurned the students who voted for them four months ago by resigning their elected positions.

Their rationale is both ludicrous and probably genuine: White people shouldn't lead.

VP Alex Ose was the first to go last week, according to The Daily Campus. She cited "the climate and incidents of racial injustice across the country and at the university" without elaborating on what's wrong at UConn (or why she can't address the perceived problem as an elected official):

I feel that it is my duty to step down from my position to make space for BIPOC (black, indigineous and people of color) voices to truly rise and be heard. It is my responsibility to make space, not to create an echo.

Ose is also pressuring the remaining white members of the student government to resign, asking them to consider their "intent" in student leadership (to lead?) and whether they "truly" believe "they are making space for the voices that need to be heard right now" — the aforementioned BIPOCs.

President Joshua Crow didn't go that far when he announced his own resignation prompted by white guilt two days later.

"It is important in this time to ensure that marginalized groups have the platforms they need," he said, according to The Daily Campus. (Their paralyzing white guilt makes a little more sense when you consider that Crow and Ose beat a nonwhite ticket, Jase Valle and Guymara Manigat.)

6. At Quillette, Canadian journalist Margaret Wente recounts her cancellation. From the story:

Massey College was created in the early 1960s by Torontonians eager to evoke the genteel old Oxbridge days. And it remains a charming place, though a bit precious. It is made up of senior fellows (distinguished professors from the university, as well as luminaries from the city's intellectual elite) and junior fellows (graduate students), who don their gowns to dine together, and perhaps mingle over a glass of port. The senior fellows are overwhelmingly white; the junior fellows increasingly multicultural. Until recently, the head of the college held the anachronistic title of "Master", after the British style. Yet despite these antiquated trappings, Massey College prides itself on being a vibrant forum for high-minded debate and liberal ideals.

The college has an appendage called the Quadrangle Society, which is basically a jumped-up book club. Its members, of whom there are hundreds, are drawn from the non-academic world. Although membership is by invitation only, it is not terribly exclusive, and nobody is quite sure of its purpose. It is a WASPish take on what once might have been called a "salon" — back in the days when words like that could be used unironically without provoking eye rolls.

Last winter, I was asked to join. I said yes because I have several friends who belong to the Quadrangle Society, and I thought this would be a fun excuse for us to have lunch together in Massey's great hall. Two Quadranglers wrote too-kind nomination letters for me. I was assured that the approval process was a mere formality. And sure enough, in due course I received a call from the recently appointed head (whose title now has been changed to "Principal"). She was delighted to inform me that I'd been accepted. And there my troubles began.

I am a journalist, now mostly retired, who for several decades served as a senior editor, and then an opinion columnist, for the Globe and Mail, the closest thing Canada has to a New York Times. Some of my opinions were controversial — or at least what passes for controversial in this country. My specialty was deflating Canada's numerous liberal pieties. I did it rather well. Among Canada's liberal elites, who take their pieties very seriously, I was an abomination.

Baseballery

Once upon a time, back when teams named the Robins and Browns and Senators played, the "save" was not a formal concept, nor did it carry statistical bragging rights. Yes, the save was real: The infamous 1927 New York Yankees, with 110 wins, had 22 of them.

In the era of the complete game, saves were nothing like they are in modern times. Freg’sample: Even the lowly 2019 Detroit Tigers, with a painful 47-114 record, registered 31 saves.

It all prompts the meaningless-yet-entertaining curiosity: Who were the last single-digit leaders in saves for the AL and NL? It must have been once upon a time, and it was: The answers are two interesting hurlers who pitched mostly in the 1940s. As regards the Junior Circuit: Bob Klinger actually broke into the majors as an aged rookie — he was 30 when he earned a 12-5 record for the 1938 Pittsburgh Pirates (in first place in the season's last week, the Bucs dropped 6 of 7 games and finished two games behind the pennant-winning Cubs). Used as a starter over the next few seasons, war interrupted Klinger's career, and upon returning to the Pirates after World War Two service in 1946, he fond himself released without ever playing a game. It turned out to be a lucky break: In May the pennant-bound Red Sox signed him as a free agent, and assigned him to the bullpen. There Klinger performed well, becoming the Red Sox top closer, with his 3-2 record accompanied by a league-leading 9 saves. That was the last time an AL saves leader would be in single-digit territory.

Klinger appeared in one game in the classic 1946 World Series against the Red Sox, and it involved him in one of the National Pastime's greatest moments. Brought in to relieve in Game Seven in the bottom of the 8th, the contest knotted at 3-3, he gave up a single to Enos Slaughter, then got two outs, but then served up a textbook single (later ruled a double) to Cardinals outfielder Harry Walker. But Slaughter was off with the pitch, and scored from first — his famous mad dash — to give the Cardinals the lead and the victory. Klinger took the loss. He would pitch in 28 games for the Bosox in 1947, then kicked around the minors for a couple of years before hanging up the spikes at the age of 42.

Sitting in the Cardinals bullpen that October day in 1946 was a 30-year-old righthander named Ted Wilks, known as "Cork," and like Klinger, he appeared in the Majors as an old rookie (28) in 1944, also like Klinger debuted with a splash: His 17-4 record — earned mostly as a starter — for the NL pennant winners made him the league leader in winning percentage (.810). Within two years though, Wilks was a full-time reliever, and in 1946 he was 8-0 for the Birds. In that year's World Series, he had one appearance (in Game Three, giving up an unearned run on two hits in a 4-0 loss to Boston).

That wasn't Wilks first Fall Classic: He was the starting and losing pitcher in Game 3 of the 1944 Series against the St. Louis Browns (the last and one of only two post-season games the Browns would ever win), and he was on the mound to earn the save in the final game, throwing 3 2/3 innings of hitless ball to secure the Cardinals' championship.

Wilks led the NL in saves in 1949 with 9 — the last time the league ace in that category was ever so measly. He also led the NL in saves in 1951 (13–1 coming for his Cardinals, and then, having been traded in June to the Pirates, registering another dozen for the Bucs). He went on the pitch for the Indians, retiring as a player after the 1953 season having earned a career 59-30 record.

It's been 37 years since anyone led either league with fewer than (or is it less than?) 30 saves.

A Dios

Speaking of saves . . . may the Creator of us, the Ancient of Days, save this country — a thing unto itself but also a beacon to all mankind — from the malicious thugs intent on eradicating our history, and promising a tormenting future. Seriously: Ask the Alpha to boot them beyond the Omega.

Abundant Graces and Blessings and All Things Holy that Will Sanctify You and Yours,

Jack Fowler, who can be scolded by pitch-count nerds at jfowler@nationalreview.com.

P.S.: Now that Editor Phil has escaped, the Humble Correspondent, being on his own — not only to assemble this weekly conservative cornucopia, but to get it all website-inputted (a verb?) and then e-mail-readied for its Saturday deliverance by the Interweb Postal Service — will put this sucker to bed on Friday mornings. Alas, content that is published on NR in the ensuing hours will have to wait another week for it to get Jolt-ified.

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