Somehow Michigan’s governor, and others like her, will have to be compelled to respect the rule of law and the rights of the people.
When Abraham Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation he was criticized by abolitionists for not issuing a more sweeping order. He refused to do so, asking “If I take the step, must I not do so . . . without any argument, except the one that I think the measure politically expedient, and morally right? Would I not thus give up all footing upon constitution or law? Would I not thus be in the boundless field of absolutism? Could this pass unnoticed, or unresisted?”
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer stepped into this boundless field at the end of April. The legislature refused to extend her emergency powers as required by the Emergency Management Act of 1976, so she granted herself the extension the legislature refused. She declared a new, separate state of emergency under a dubious interpretation of the Emergency Powers to the Governor Act of 1945, and granted herself the extension the legislature refused. Sound statutory construction dictates that when two statutes cover exactly the same ground, the more recent statute governs, and the more recent statute limits the governor’s power to 28 days unless extended by the legislature.
Even if both laws are still fully operative, they must be read in a way that is not nonsensical. Whitmer’s construction of the two acts effectively reads, “The governor’s emergency power shall extend no longer than 28 days, unless extended by the legislature, unless the governor, according to her own unfettered will, shall choose to extend her own power, in which case it shall last as long as she pleases it to last.”
The 1976 statute obviously was intended to limit the duration of the governor’s emergency powers, and she has simply ignored that. The state of Michigan will be governed by Whitmer’s unlimited, arbitrary will until she deigns to allow the rule of law to resume.
In usurping power, Whitmer merely is revealing her nature, and it is far from unique in our history. In the antebellum American South, slaveowners and their apologists frequently asserted the relationship of master and slave was a paternal one, and that slaves were perpetual children who needed to be ruled absolutely for their own benefit. The difficulty is that adults cannot be ruled like children, for the simple reason that they are not children.
Adults can be ruled only politically, as equals, or despotically, as inferiors. Paternal rule, unlimited power exercised by one over another, when applied to adults, under whatever guise, is simply despotic rule—it is tyranny.
She has a tyrannical soul, and a tyrannical soul will yield to nothing but superior force.
Whitmer’s official biography reads “the most important title she boasts is MOM,” and in keeping with that, one supposes, she treats the people of Michigan like children. When protesters arrived in Lansing, she responded by stating that their continued misbehavior may result in extended lockdowns. Translation: “I’m going to continue to punish you until you behave, and it’s for your own good.” She refuses to be bound by law or constitution. She refuses to negotiate. She threatens, she digs in her heels, she makes arbitrary pronouncements.
When these America’s slaveholding oligarchs once upon a time went to Congress, they found life there confusing. Self-government requires that people treat each other as equals; this is essential to negotiation and deliberation, to accepting adverse decisions as legitimate, and to the notion that the majority ought to respect the rights of the minority. The slaveholding oligarchy could not do this.
Bred to be an elite class, they were accustomed in their home states to commanding and to being obeyed by everyone who was not also of their social class. In Congress, however, they had to work with northerners with different opinions and who did not defer to them, and thus these elites did not know what to do. Frequently angered by what they saw as “impudence,” they often resorted to threats of violence, and occasionally to actual violence, in order to cow their opponents into submission—the same tactics, in other words, that they used against their slaves.
Whitmer, likewise, flatly rebuffed offers from the Republican-controlled legislature to negotiate. She’s done this before. Her primary campaign promise was to “fix the damn roads” and she wanted a 45-cent-per-gallon increase in the state gasoline tax to do it. When the legislature balked she dug in her heels, refused to negotiate, and attempted to browbeat legislators into giving her exactly what she wanted—though mercifully she failed. When the budget reached her desk, out of sheer pettiness she used her line-item veto power to strike additional funding for charter schools. For Whitmer, it’s her way or no way.
Frederick Douglass, having lived under the heel of tyranny for the first 20 years of his life, understood the nature of it and the soul of the tyrant better than most. When the slaveholders rebelled after Lincoln’s election, it came as no surprise to him. As tyrants, he said, “they know no law, and will respect no law but the law of force.”
We would do well to recognize the type, as this crisis has revealed that it is appallingly common in our government at all levels. Whitmer has already defied the legislature and ignored the law. What reason is there to believe she would yield to a state supreme court decision? She has a tyrannical soul, and a tyrannical soul will yield to nothing but superior force. Somehow Whitmer, and others like her, will have to be compelled to respect the rule of law and the rights of the people. One can only hope that the federal government will intervene and supply that superior force.
There was always a yin-yang thing to conservatism. Its hard-headedness and philosophical realism about human nature and the limits it imposes on utopian schemes appealed to some and repulsed others. For those who see politics as a romantic enterprise, a means of pursuing collective salvation, conservatism seems mean-spirited. As Emerson put it: “There is always a certain meanness in the argument of conservatism, joined with a certain superiority in its fact.” That’s what Ben Shapiro is getting at when he says “Facts don’t care about your feelings.” The hitch is that the reverse is also true: Feelings don’t care about your facts. Tell a young progressive activist we can’t afford socialism and the response will be overtly or subliminally emotional: “Why don’t you care about poor people!” or “Why do you love billionaires!?”
.. What Is Neoconservatism?
Here’s the opening paragraph of the Wikipedia page for neoconservatism:
Neoconservatism (commonly shortened to neocon when labelling its adherents) is a political movement born in the United States during the 1960s among liberal hawkswho became disenchanted with the increasingly pacifist foreign policy of the Democratic Party, and the growing New Left and counterculture, in particular the Vietnam protests. Some also began to question their liberal beliefs regarding domestic policies such as the Great Society.
.. The first neocons were intellectual rebels against the Great Society and the leftward drift of American liberalism (The Public Interest, the first neocon journal, was launched in 1965. It was dedicated entirely to domestic affairs, not foreign policy). Unable to reconcile the facts with the feelings of liberalism, a host of intellectuals decided they would stick with the facts, even if it meant that former friends and allies would call them mean for doing so.
.. The Harrington essay that cemented the term “neoconservatism” in American discourse was titled “The Welfare State and Its Neoconservative Critics.” In other words, the original neoconservative critique wasn’t about foreign policy, but domestic policy.
.. According to William F. Buckley, the neoconservatives brought the rigor and language of sociology to conservatism, which until then had been overly, or at least too uniformly, Aristotelian. The Buckleyites (though certainly not folks like Burnham) tended to talk from first principles and natural laws and rights. The neocons looked at the data and discovered that the numbers tended to back up a lot of the things the Aristotelians had been saying... The idea that neoconservatism was primarily about foreign policy, specifically anti-Communism, further complicates things. Part of this is a by-product of the second wave of neoconservatives who joined the movement and the right in the 1970s, mostly through the pages of Commentary. These were rebels against not the welfare state but détente on the right and the radical anti-anti-Communists of the New Left (National Review ran a headline in 1971 on the awakening at Commentary: “Come on In, the Water’s Fine.”) Many of those writers, most famously Jeanne Kirkpatrick, ended up leading the intellectual shock troops of the Reagan administration.
It is certainly true that the foreign-policy neocons emphasized certain things more than generic conservatives, specifically the promotion of democracy abroad. In ill-intentioned hands, this fact is often used as a cover for invidious arguments about the how the neocons never really shed their Trotskyism and were still determined to “export revolution.” But for the most part, it can’t be supported by what these people actually wrote. Moreover, the idea that only neocons care about promoting democracy simply glosses over everything from the stated purpose of the First World War, the Marshall Plan, stuff like JFK’s inaugural address (“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty”), and this thing called the Reagan Doctrine... And then there are the Joooooz. Outside of deranged comment sections and the swampy ecosystems of the “alt-right,” the sinister version of this theory is usually only hinted at or alluded to. Neocons only care about Israel is the Trojan horse that lets people get away with not saying the J-word. Those bagel-snarfing warmongers want real Americans to do their fighting for them. Pat Buchanan, when opposing the first Gulf War in 1992, listed only Jewish supporters of the war and then said they’d be sending “American kids with names like McAllister, Murphy, Gonzales and Leroy Brown” to do the fighting. Subtle... In his memoir, Irving Kristol, “the Godfather of the Neoconservatives,” argued that the movement had run its course and dissolved into the conservative movement generally.So today, neoconservatism has become what it started out as, an invidious term used by its opponents to single out and demonize people as inauthentic, un-American, unreliable, or otherwise suspicious heretics, traitors, or string-pullers. The chief difference is that they were once aliens in the midst of liberalism, now they are called aliens in the midst of conservatism. And it’s all bullsh**... The editor of American Greatness, a journal whose tagline should be “Coming Up with Reasons Why Donald Trump’s Sh** Doesn’t Stink 24/7” opens with “Neoconservatism is dead, long live American conservatism” and then, amazingly, proceeds to get dumber... A bit further on, he asserts that “for years, neoconservatives undermined and discredited the work of conservatives from Lincoln to Reagan . . .” This is so profoundly unserious that not only is it impossible to know where to begin, it’s a struggle to finish the sentence for fear the stupid will rub off. Does he have in mind the Straussians (Walter Berns, Robert Goldwin, et al.) at that neocon nest the American Enterprise Institute who wrote lovingly about Lincoln at book length for decades?
And what of the scores of neoconservatives who worked for Ronald Reagan and helped him advance the Reaganite agenda? Were they all fifth columnists? Or perhaps they were parasites attaching themselves to a “host organism,” as Buskirk repugnantly describes Kristol?
He doesn’t say, because Buskirk doesn’t rely on an argument. Save for a couple of Bill Kristol tweets out of context, he cites no writing and marshals no evidence. Instead, he lets a wink, or rather the stink, do all of his work. He knows his readers want to hear folderol about neocons. He knows they have their own insidious definitions of what they are and crave to have them confirmed. Bringing any definition or fact to his argument would get in the way of his naked assertions and slimy insinuations... American Greatness ran a piecefloating the idea that Trump’s “covfefe” tweet just might have been a brilliant piece of historically and linguistically literate statecraft. That’s actually plausible compared to the idea that Trump is Moses saving conservatism from a “a purified strain of backward idolatry.”
.. Who is in conflict with the best principles of America: the magazine that for 23 years lionized the founders, Lincoln, and Reagan or the website that rationalizes literally anything Donald Trump does — from crony capitalism to denigrating the First Amendment to paying off porn stars — as either the inventions of his enemies or a small price to pay for national greatness? Not every contributor to American Greatness is dedicated to the art of turd polishing, but that is the site’s larger mission.
.. Trump’s sense of persecution is as contagious as his debating style. Facts are being subordinated to feelings, and the dominant feelings among many Trumpists are simply ugly. And even those who have not turned ugly see no problem working hand in hand with those who have. And how could they, given who they herald as their Moses.
Rachael Denhollander’s college-aged abuser began grooming her when she was 7. Each week, as Denhollander left Sunday school at Westwood Baptist Church in Kalamazoo, Mich., he was there to walk her to her parents’ Bible-study classroom on the other side of the building. He brought Denhollander gifts and asked her parents for her clothing size so he could buy her dresses. He was always a little too eager with a hug. The Denhollanders led one of the church’s ministries out of their home, which meant the man would visit their house regularly, often encouraging Rachael to sit on his lap, they recalled.
The man’s behavior caught the attention of a fellow congregant, who informed Sandy Burdick, a licensed counselor who led the church’s sexual-abuse support group. Burdick says she warned Denhollander’s parents that the man was showing classic signs of grooming behavior.
.. And so when Larry Nassar used his prestige as a doctor for the USA Gymnastics program to sexually assault Denhollander, she held to her vow. She wouldn’t put her family through something like that again. Her church had made it clear: No one believes victims.
.. Tchividjian says sexual abuse in evangelicalism rivals the Catholic Church scandal of the early 2000s.
.. The sex advice columnist and LGBT rights advocate Dan Savage, tired of what he called the hypocrisy of conservatives who believe that gays molest children, compiled his own list that documents more than 100 instances of youth pastors around the country who, between 2008 and 2016, were accused of, arrested for or convicted of sexually abusing minors in a religious setting.
.. Over 2016 and 2017, Mullen found 192 instances of a leader from an influential church or evangelical institution being publicly charged with sexual crimes involving a minor, including rape, molestation, battery and child pornography. (This data did not include sexual crimes against an adult or crimes committed by someone other than a leader.)
.. a 2014 GRACE report on Bob Jones University ..
56 percent of the 381 respondents who reported having knowledge of the school’s handling of abuse (a group that included current and former students, as well as employees) believed that BJU conveyed a “blaming and disparaging” attitude toward victims.
.. half said school officials had actively discouraged them from going to the police. According to one anonymous respondent, after he finally told the police about years of sexual abuse by his grandfather, a BJU official admonished him that “[you] tore your family apart, and that’s your fault,” and “you love yourself more than you love God.”
.. she was told that her husband “was not attracted to his 11-year-old daughter but rather to the ‘woman’ she ‘was becoming.’ ”
.. Franklin Graham, CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said President Trump’s “grab them by the p—y” comments and other crude language didn’t matter because “all of us are sinners.”
.. 39 percent of evangelicals were more likely to vote for Moore after multiple accusations that he’d initiated sexual contact with teenagers when he was in his 30s. “It comes down to a question [of] who is more credible in the eyes of the voters — the candidate or the accuser,” Jerry Falwell Jr., president of the evangelical Liberty University, said at the time. “. . . And I believe [Moore] is telling the truth.”
.. It was the same message 7-year-old Denhollander heard: Stay silent, because the church won’t believe you.
.. many worshipers he encountered felt persecuted by the secular culture around them — and disinclined to reach out to their persecutors for help in solving problems. This is the same dynamic that drove a cover-up culture among ultra-Orthodox communities in New York, where rabbis insisted on dealing with child abusers internally
.. 41 percent of Americans believe that the end times will occur before 2050.
.. In some evangelical teachings, a severe moral decay among unbelievers precedes the rapture of the faithful. Because of this, many evangelicals see the outside world as both a place in need of God’s love and a corrupt, fallen place at odds with the church.
.. “His interest was in protecting the church and its reputation more than protecting his daughter.”
.. forced to reconcile a cognitive dissonance: How can the church — often called “the hope of the world” in evangelical circles — also be an incubator for such evil?
.. SGC president C.J. Mahaney’s return to ministry. Mahaney had been asked to step down from his role in 2011 because of “various expressions of pride, unentreatability, deceit, sinful judgment and hypocrisy.” In 2012, a class-action lawsuit held that eight SGC pastors, including Mahaney, had covered up sexual abuse in the church. Mahaney and the SGC claimed vindication when a judge dismissed the lawsuit for eclipsing the statute of limitations.
.. Denhollander says she told her church’s leaders this was inappropriate, as Mahaney had never acknowledged a failure to properly handle allegations of sexual abuse under his leadership.
.. when Denhollander went public with accusations against Larry Nassar in the Indianapolis Star, a pastor accused her of projecting her story onto Mahaney’s. When she persisted, he told her she should consider finding a new church.
.. Denhollander was there; she spoke at length in the courtroom, reminding Nassar that the Christian concept of forgiveness comes from “repentance, which requires facing and acknowledging the truth about what you have done in all of its utter depravity and horror, without mitigation, without excuse, without acting as if good deeds can erase” it.
One day in March of 2015, Weinstein invited the model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez to his office for a morning meeting
.. To see Weinstein turn himself in on Friday at the same precinct where Gutierrez made her report, in the same neighborhood where he caused so many women anguish and pain, was simply cathartic.
.. For all the handwringing about the mob power of #MeToo, the fact is that most men who have assaulted women will not face criminal charges for doing so.
.. Weinstein had spent time hiding out in Arizona.
.. the news elicited a response similar to the “galvanizing shock” produced in April, when Bill Cosby was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault.
.. is mouth alternated between a grimace and a smirk.
.. Entering the precinct, Weinstein was a spectacle of smugness, as if trying to project the posture of an intellectual dissident.
.. In his hands were three books, two of which have been identified. They were corny totems suggesting, respectively, artistic revolution and false persecution: Todd Purdum’s “Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution,” and Richard Schickel’s biography of Elia Kazan, the Hollywood director who famously “named names” to the House Un-American Activities Committee, in 1952.
.. After he turned himself in, Weinstein was made to do a perp walk, the queasy practice meant to emasculate the suspect and flex the prosecutor’s power.
It is a public humiliation, a feast for the kinds of New York tabloids that Weinstein himself once manipulated so ruthlessly.
.. The books he walked in with had vanished. With his head hung low, Weinstein looked small, insignificant.
.. In the Manhattan Supreme Court, prosecutors charged him with two counts of rape and one count of a criminal sexual act.
.. He surrendered his passport and was released on bail
.. “Will the sight of Harvey Weinstein in handcuffs encourage more women to come forward/press charges?”