Category Archives: Freedom

Bari Weiss: “You are the Last Line of Defense”

by James C. Sherlock

Video courtesy of the Free Press.  See that link for a full transcript.  I recommend it to everyone.

Bari Weiss recently delivered a speech that will be long remembered.

She offered eloquence in the service of experience, sorrow and determination.  And defined the internal, and existential, threat to America.

I will share with you below short slices of the transcript.

She spoke to the Federalist Society about college radicalism turned antisemitism.  But not just antisemitism.

It is a radicalism that turns with threats, career assassinations and even violence on everything outside its very narrow, “intersectional” acceptance zone.  It is – proudly – a threat to America’s security and the western civilization it hates.

She would not have been welcome at some of Virginia’s most prestigious public IHEs.

And all of us know it. Continue reading

Harvard History Professor to Lead Monticello

Jane Kamensky, new President of Monticello. Courtesy of Harvard Crimson. Photo credit Soumyaa Mazumder

by James C. Sherlock

She is certainly qualified.

On Oct. 17 the Thomas Jefferson Foundation announced that Jane Kamensky, Harvard history professor and director of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, will be the next president of Monticello.

From an interview with Harvard Crimson.

  • “The combination of celebration, commemoration, and reckoning that takes place at Monticello in 2026 will not only do all those things, but will show America how to do it,” she said.
  • Kamensky said she looks forward to engaging the American public, especially young people, in a “shifted tone of conversation about American ideals and imperfections and possibilities,” she said.

“Show America how to do it” is an aggressive vision, but we wish her well.

There is evidence that there are mines in that field. She needs to try to carefully clear them, not set them off. Continue reading

The Californication of Virginia

by Kerry Dougherty

Does anyone really think fewer gas mowers will make a difference?

More importantly, is it the role of government to tell citizens what they must use to trim their fescue?

Of course it isn’t.

Why should we in Virginia care? Because we’re just one car back on California’s crazy train.

During the disastrous Ralph Northam era, when both chambers of the General Assembly were controlled by Virginia’s far-left Democrats, the Old Dominion linked its automotive climate policies to California’s.

Unless sanity is restored in the November elections and the Senate flips to the GOP, gas-powered cars will no longer be sold in Virginia after 2035. Continue reading

Hatred of Jews at UVa – A Pot Brewed in the Faculty Lounge Boils Over

PHOTOS of smiling infants hang next to their bullet-ridden coat pegs in a bloodstained nursery devastated by Hamas terrorists. A little girl’s bicycle lays in a bullet-ridden yard. Credit Internewscast.com

by James C. Sherlock

Israel was attacked by Hamas on October 7.

On October 8, this letter was issued in Charlottesville.

“Events” were “a step towards a free Palestine.”

On October 11, President James Ryan issued a strong message condemning the savage Hamas massacre in Israel. He deserves credit for that, but has not gotten it on the grounds of the University.

Also on October 11, Jewish students at the University felt it necessary to address the University community in the Cavalier Daily. Continue reading

Youngkin Orders Flags at Half-Mast to Honor the Dead in Israel

by The Republican Standard

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin issued an order Sunday to fly flags around the state at half-staff.

This was the statement issued by his office:

“In accordance with the authority vested in me as Governor, I hereby order that the flags of the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Virginia be flown at half-staff on all state and local buildings and grounds to honor the lives lost in the horrific terror attack committed against Israel and to hold those injured and held hostage in our thoughts.

I hereby order that the flags shall be lowered immediately on Sunday, October 8, 2023, and remain at half-staff until sunset on Saturday, October 14, 2023.”

Iranian-funded Hamas terrorists attacked Israeli citizens on Saturday morning, a day that totaled the single largest loss of Jewish life since the Holocaust. The attacks were also carried out on the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War.

Roanoke College Swimmers Stand Up for Equality

Roanoke College women’s swim team (front row) and supporters at press conference at Hotel Roanoke, Oct. 5. (photo/Scott Dreyer)

by Scott Dreyer

At noon on Thursday, October 5, the Hotel Roanoke’s Washington Lecture Hall was the scene of a press conference featuring ten members of the Roanoke College women’s swim team. Aided by Riley Gaines and several women’s rights groups, they sought to shine a spotlight on what they portrayed as gross negligence and “emotional blackmail” at the hands of Roanoke College administrators, the NCAA, USA Swimming, and, by extension, state and federal politicians who have allowed them to suffer in many ways. Continue reading

Meeting the Free Speech Challenge in Richmond

Journalist Andy Ngo

by Scott Dreyer

On the evening of Friday, Sept. 22 and on Saturday, Sept. 23, The Virginia Council and Common Sense Society were planning to host citizen-journalist Andy Ngo (pronounced no) at a forum in Richmond. The intention was to hear Ngo speak about his experiences exposing the violence and intimidation from leftwing Antifa and autograph copies of his book, “Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy.”

The original venue was to be at downtown Richmond’s Commonwealth Club. According to their website’s “Welcome” page, “Founded in 1890, the Commonwealth Club is proud of its history as a premier social club, outstanding event venue, dining destination, and Richmond institution.”

However, when word about the event got out, Antifa began an intimidation campaign, club management buckled, and withdrew their welcome. Scrambling, the event sponsors quickly found a second venue: the Westin Hotel, owned and operated by Marriott Corporation.

Seemingly encouraged by their success at intimidating the Commonwealth Club, the bullies next directed their attacks at the Westin by sending threatening phone calls.

As Ngo shared in his PowerPoint, one example of a threat was a tweet on X, formerly known as Twitter, that stated: “Example script: ‘Hey, the event this evening features a racist, misogynistic, homophobe intent on provocative neo nazi (sic) speech. His name is Andy Ngo and he’s a violent extremist. Many of his attendees are armed neo nazis.’”

The threats fly in the face of all reality. As for racism, Ngo is himself non-white, the first-generation son of parents who fled communism in their native Vietnam. As for homophobia, Ngo is himself an open homosexual.

Nevertheless, around 7:00 am on Sept. 22, a mere twelve hours before the event was to begin, Marriott too folded.

The Roanoke Star reached out to the managers of The Commonwealth Club and Westin, Eric Abuneel and Rodney Moubray respectively, asking what was the exact wording and nature of the threats received, and why they chose to cancel. Continue reading

Thunder in the Pulpits

by Michael Giere

“But this was not always so. In fact, for much of our history, it has been just the opposite. Godly men and women who were fearless, bold, strong, and savvy have been central to the American experience.”

There has never been anything in history like the US Constitution, signed on September 17, 1787. It is the crown jewel of human advancement and bids freedom not for some but for all. It stands alone, enshrining and paying homage to the core reality of man’s existence – that the dignity and rights of every person and their personal freedom don’t come from the word or works of an impermanent ruler, a mob, or government but from the permanent promise of the Creator.

The Constitution began with a convention and 55 delegates from the newly-free Colonies called to modify the Articles of Confederation. It became a convention that would reshape history. Influential members such as James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and George Washington, among others, were convicted that the Confederation needed a stronger national government, and the Convention settled on Mr. Madison’s Virginia Plan as a starting document to replace the Articles of Confederation. Continue reading

Revisiting the Intellectual Foundations of Conservatism — One Book at a Time

by Suzanne Munson

From time to time, members of every great movement such as American Conservatism need to stop, take a breath, and see where the movement is going. Great movements, founded by great individuals, can sometimes be hijacked by lesser minds.

Many of the founders of modern conservatism were intellectuals. William F. Buckley was able to criticize liberalism articulately from the foundation of a fine education, intellectual curiosity, and deep reading.

While there are knowledgeable thought-leaders in today’s conservative movement, there are others who call themselves conservatives who may be giving the movement an unfortunate image.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines conservatism as “a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change.” Much more can be added to this definition, such as limited government, fiscal responsibility, and a belief in traditional, wholesome values.

It is interesting to examine a recent incident in Florida to see where some who term themselves “conservatives” have created an embarrassing situation. Members of a book club, reported to consist of conservative members, rescinded an invitation to a respected author to speak to their group.

The program was a book and author event at $100 a plate, so one would assume some level of education and sophistication. Rachel Beanland, a well-regarded Richmond, Virginia author and teacher, was invited to speak about her new novel, The House Is on Fire.

She had spent hundreds of hours researching the tragic theater fire of 1811 in which some of Virginia’s most prominent citizens perished. The book features individuals, real and imagined, who resided in Richmond at that time–tradesmen, theater workers, politicians, slaves, doctors, widows.

Yes, there are slaves in the book and yes, their lives were difficult, and yes, some white characters in the book treated them poorly. What else is new? There were white characters in the story who also had poor treatment at the hands of other whites. There is always plenty of trouble to go around in an interesting novel. Continue reading

Labor Day: A New Start

by Kerry Dougherty

Labor Day. America’s most ambiguous national holiday.

Think about it. On other special days – Memorial, Independence, Veterans, Thanksgiving, Presidents, Martin Luther King and Christmas – we pause, however briefly, to honor a beloved person or a historical event.

We have parades, visit cemeteries, blast fireworks, give thanks, recite a famous speech or watch It’s a Wonderful Life.

Not on Labor Day.

Take a peek at the festivities scheduled this weekend. Wait. What festivities? The Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon has moved on, so there’s nothing to do today other than hit the beach and cook out.

Swimming and eating burgers has nothing to do with Labor Day’s grittier, trade union roots.

And that’s a good thing.

I’m not sure anyone wants to mark Labor Day by dragging a picket sign to the beach or by joining a national scavenger hunt to look for Jimmy Hoffa’s body.

Does anyone plan to watch Norma Rae today? Or gather the family together for a few choruses of “The Ballad of Joe Hill”?

Anyone inviting the repulsive Randi Weingarten to their cookout?

I didn’t think so.

On Labor Day, it’s not what we do, it’s what we don’t do – labor. Continue reading

Roanoke’s Remarkable Symphony Under the Stars

Maestro David Stewart Wiley took the baton and launched the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra’s 71st year.

by Scott Dreyer

As more folks are putting the Covid lockdowns in the rearview mirror, larger gatherings are occurring, as seen by the crowds at the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra’s (RSO) “Symphony Under the Stars” on Saturday, August 26. The hillside amphitheater in Roanoke’s Elmwood Park was packed by music-lovers as the sun went down, the temperature dropped, and the excitement rose as Maestro David Stewart Wiley took the baton and launched the RSO’s 71st year.

In an age tarnished by so much disappointment with failed leadership, Wiley stands out as a bright success. The RSO board just announced they had extended his contract for another four years, making him the longest-tenured conductor in their seven-decade history. In fact, Maestro Wiley was recently honored during his 25th season leading the RSO by the governor and a joint bipartisan resolution in the Virginia General Assembly. Continue reading

Equal Protection, Affirmative Action and Effecting Generational Change

by James C. Sherlock

America is the most successful nation in the history of the world because of the freedoms and rights guaranteed by our Constitution.

More than a hundred other nations have emulated the American Constitution.

Without constitutionally guaranteed freedoms and rights, we would be chained to the whims of the state. Most immediately to the whims of the executive branch. There would be precious little for the judicial branch to protect.

A recent Supreme Court decision found affirmative action in college admissions to be unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment, Section 1:

No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Justice Roberts for the majority ruling that the Harvard and UNC admissions programs cannot be reconciled with the guarantees of the Equal Protection Clause:

Both programs lack sufficiently focused and measurable objectives warranting the use of race, unavoidably employ race in a negative manner, involve racial stereotyping, and lack meaningful end points. We have never permitted admissions programs to work in that way, and we will not do so today.

Three justices disagreed.

Justice Sotomayor read her opinion from the bench — a sign of strong disagreement. An excerpt:

Today, this Court stands in the way and rolls back decades of precedent and momentous progress. It holds that race can no longer be used in a limited way in college admissions to achieve such critical benefits. In so holding, the Court cements a superficial rule of colorblindness as a constitutional principle in an endemically segregated society where race has always mattered and continues to matter.

Note that Justice Sotomayor, as always careful of the words in her opinions, chose “endemically” to modify “segregated.” Oxford dictionary: “regularly found and very common among a particular group or in a particular area.”

That is different than the word “systemically” — Oxford: “in a basic and important way that involves the whole of an organization or a country and not just particular parts of it.” Continue reading

Patriotism in Virginia

by Robin Beres

In less than a week, Virginians, like Americans everywhere, will celebrate Independence Day. This year, despite high inflation, high gas prices, a sharply divided electorate, and rising crime rates, there seems to be a growing consensus that we celebrate this occasion with all the gusto we can muster.

Despite the holiday falling on a Tuesday, from Winchester to Norfolk to Abingdon, plans are afoot for a glorious Fourth, complete with fireworks, parades, and hot dogs. Mount Vernon is celebrating the naturalization of hundreds of new American citizens. Colonial Williamsburg is offering free admission to its historic area and art museums on July 4. Virginia Beach is hosting free concerts on 17th Street, 24th Street, and 31st Street. Just about every small town and village is having a parade. With 27 military installations around the state, expect to see lots of marching troops and military static displays.

Audience members hold their hands over their hearts while the U.S. Air Force Band plays the national anthem at Williamsburg, Va., July 4, 2012.

Thankfully, Virginia has so far managed to avoid the oppressive heat dome that sits over much of the United States. But even if the temps do soar above the 90-degree mark, it probably wouldn’t deter many Virginians from celebrating our Independence Day. It’s what we do — and studies show we do it with more pride than any other state in the union. Continue reading

School Boards, Model Policies and Parental Rights in the Raising of Children

by James C. Sherlock

The Virginia Beach School Board will vote tomorrow.

The announced subject will be transgender rights in schools.

It is couched by The Virginian-Pilot as the school board defending transgender students against “unnecessarily cruel policies.  As opposed, one supposes, to necessarily cruel policies.

The local paper refers, of course, to the Youngkin administration’s “Model Policies” on the subject. Which, like their predecessors from the Northam administration, are not mandatory, so need not be debated at all.

The School Board debate is at its core constitutional.

You will note that the Youngkin Model Policies linked its constitutional interpretations to court decisions. The Northam version did not. Northam’s just asserted what the constitution meant. Must have been an oversight.

My take:

  • Families are responsible for shaping the values, beliefs, and personalities of children;
  • Government is required to protect children from abuse and neglect. But government schools are not allowed to substitute their judgements on values and beliefs for those of the families;
  • They are most certainly not permitted to define parental moral or political disagreements with school personnel as emotional abuse at home. Or as harassment of government schools or teachers;
  • And government schools, absent evidence of abuse or neglect, must never be allowed to substitute their own moral judgments for those of parents.

But that’s just me. Not a lawyer. Continue reading

Reagan Republican AG Miyares Put on Russia’s List of ‘Banned Americans’

by Shaun Kenney

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares was included in an elite list of American leaders and political figures as being sanctioned by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a press release from the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Miyares, who had recently completed visits to Poland and Israel, is the sole Virginia statewide political figure targeted by the Russian government, outpacing both Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia), who serves on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Continue reading