by James A. Bacon
The greatest ideological division in the United States today separates those who support policies geared to creating equal opportunities for all and those who support policies geared to creating equal outcomes. Each orientation reflects contending views of human nature and prescriptions for making the world a better place.
I believe — and I think most Americans believe — in equal opportunity. I believe that public policy and civic endeavor should be directed to giving all Americans access to the tools that allow them to improve their stations in life. An equal opportunity agenda would articulate pragmatic, achievable goals that lead to incremental but steady gains over time. I do not believe in harnessing the power of the state to achieve equal outcomes. A world of equal outcomes is an unachievable utopia. The path to utopia is strewn with violations to individual liberties. Equality is never achieved. The only thing that changes is the people in power.
An opportunity agenda seeks win/win solutions to society’s ills. While it sees a role for collective action through civic groups and government, the opportunity worldview recognizes that there is no substitute for individuals acting to optimize their own good and that of their loved ones. The engine of the opportunity agenda is individual initiative and personal responsibility. It is forward-looking and optimistic. It is win-win. One person’s gain does not come at the expense of any one else. Continue reading
More than 80,000 Virginians have been given the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, according to data reported today by the Virginia Department of Health. Presumably, the overwhelming majority has been administered to health care workers, who are most likely to be exposed to, and to spread, the virus. Very few vaccines have been given to the elderly. Less than 2% of the doses have been given to the 80-year-old-and-up demographic that is most likely to die from the virus.
We can also see from the VDH data that the vast majority of people getting the vaccine are white. Blacks are under-represented, accounting for 8.6% of those vaccinated by 20% of the state’s population. Whether that shortfall can be attributed to the percentage of blacks in the healthcare workforce, fear of vaccination in the black population (you know, Tuskeegee and all), or some amorphous structural racism is too early to say.
The other obvious disparity is between men and women. Women are getting vaccinated at twice the rate of men — even though men are slightly more likely to die from the disease. Continue reading
by Kerry Dougherty
It started Wednesday morning with an innocent phone call to the “Kerry and Mike Show.”
A caller was talking guns – what else? – with Mike Imprevento and mentioned that someone had wanted to GIFT him a gun.
What’s wrong with GIVE, I thought, gritting my teeth.
Mike responded with something about GIFTING firearms and I couldn’t control myself. I was in such a state that I could no longer focus on the firearm issue.
“Stop!” I begged. “Gift is a noun. Give is a verb. You give a gun, you give a gift. You do not GIFT!” Continue reading
by James C. Sherlock
I read an op-ed by Scott Johnston this morning in the Wall Street Journal: “Revolution Consumes New York’s Elite Dalton School.” The subtitle was “Teachers of $54,000 Zoom classes demand a lowering of standards and hiring of a dozen diversity staffers.“ It is very much worth a read. Told of an eight-page list of demands by most of the faculty and staff of the Dalton School, a hyper-expensive Upper East Side school. One of its insights was:
“It is telling that the manifesto begins with a quote from a Marxist professor named Robin Kelley, someone who professes admiration for Trotsky’s “permanent revolution.” Should the Dalton administration give in to every last demand, there will be a new list tomorrow. The goal posts move quickly in this racket.”
It reminded me that there is a secret about the race industry that corporations, government agencies, universities and school systems must understand. Most of them actually do understand but either support Critical Race Theory or seek what they think is the path of least resistance whose costs can be contained with other people’s money. Those in the “least resistance” camp are fools.
The race industry in America is in the grievance business, a very large and profitable enterprise. It is self-justifying, necessary because it says — loudly and backed with a combination of shaming and threats — it is. It is expanding daily and providing six-figure jobs for people who learned nothing positive, creative or otherwise useful in college, only grievance. Continue reading
by Dick Hall-Sizemore
Perhaps the most surprising item in the Governor’s recently-presented budget bill was the proposal to increase the size of the Virginia Court of Appeals by four judges, from 11 to 15. It is certainly one of the most controversial. The Republicans immediately decried the proposal as “court packing”.
As usual, the issue is more complicated than its opponents would have one to believe. The Governor’s proposal reflects the unanimous recommendation of a two-year study conducted by a working group appointed by the Virginia Chief Justice and the Judicial Council. (The membership of the Council consists of eight judges, two attorneys in private practice, and the chairmen of the House and Senate Courts of Justice Committees.) That recommendation is supported by both the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia Manufacturers’ Association. Continue reading
Nasiyah Isra-Ul. Credit: The Virginia Star
by James A. Bacon
The homeschooling movement is a seething pool of innovation, and the most unlikely of people are driving the change. For example, Nasiyah Isra-Ul, a Liberty University sophomore, has launched a venture to provide customized courses, interactive lessons, and consulting services to homeschooling families.
Isra-ul was homeschooled, and when her mother began working full time, she developed personalized learning plans for her younger brother. She was just 15 years old. Then she developed plans for other families in their homeschool group. Now, thanks to a $10,000 grant from the National Society of High School Scholars, she has launched Canary Academy, writes The Virginia Star.
“What we want to do is leave it up to the parents to make the final decision as to how they want to homeschool,” she said. “Our goal is to help parents homeschool better, but not to take control.” Continue reading
Cartoon circulating among University of Virginia alumni. — JAB
Monticello at sunset
by James A. Bacon
My wife and I had the good fortune to join friends in a “private” tour of Monticello last evening. (Because of COVID, Monticello no longer conducts the traditional tours of 25 or so people per group, so all tours are small and “private.”) It has been a decade or more since I last visited the place, but considerable progress has been made in renovations of the house and grounds. I learned many tidbits about Jefferson that I either never knew or had long forgetten.
As the movement gains momentum to delegitimize the founding fathers, especially slaveholders, T.J. remains a subject of controversy and debate. Accordingly, I report here some of what I learned that might illuminate aspects of that debate.
Indebtedness. Jefferson began construction on Monticello in 1768 on a plantation of 5,000 acres. His first design for the building was, quite frankly, unremarkable. After visiting France, where he was exposed to both classical architectural styles as well as architectural novelties, he totally redesigned the building and scrapped the work that had been done to that point. The result was an architectural masterpiece — and a significant addition to his debt. Continue reading
by Asra Q. Nomani
FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va — In a series of attacks in mid-October, a troll using the anonymous account @AntiRacist14 lashed out at Harry Jackson, the Black father of two local students. When Jackson called him out, the troll responded: “Motherfucker how is this me trolling you? I’m the OP [original poster], the victim narrative is trite, give it a rest. Sell segregationist bullshit elsewhere, snowflake.”
What is shocking here is that the attack didn’t come from some random troll, and it doesn’t fit the narrative that civil rights activists challenge white racist bigots hurling insults at minorities. The person behind the account is a white self-described “Dirtbag Left” Fairfax County Public Schools teacher, pressing the “anti-racist” politics that have become politically correct — and divisive — today from California to Virginia. Continue reading
The Bacon family has a tradition of assembling every year to take a Christmas card photo. In the COVID epidemic, that wasn’t possible in 2020, so we gathered on Zoom. We’ll miss our other tradition, reuniting for a Christmas Eve feast with friends and relatives. Still we are profoundly thankful for how blessed we are. We have our health, we have gainful employment, and we have each other. We yearn for the day when all Virginians can say the same. — JAB
by Kerry Dougherty
Far be it from me to say anything bad about Santa Claus, especially on Christmas Eve. But there was a Christmas, ages ago, when I was a tad disappointed in the old boy. In fact, I thought Mr. Claus — Father Christmas, Ole St. Nick — was getting lazy.
You see, back when Eisenhower was president, when TV shows were in black and white and movies weren’t rated because they didn’t need to be, Santa not only brought toys. He brought the family Christmas tree.
At least to our house. Maybe we were special, although at the time I assumed he did the same for every family in the world.
That’s right, Santa dragged a 7-foot fir down the chimney along with the toys. Then he set it up, tossed on the lights, hung every ball and draped every icicle. And he still found time to eat a plate of cookies.
What an industrious guy. Continue reading
by Emilio Jaksetic
On November 18, 2020, Attorney General Mark R. Herring informed NAACP Loudoun Branch and Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) that a Final Determination (Determination) had been made by the Division of Human Rights (DHR) in DHR Case No. 19-2652. In making its Determination, DHR used a procedure that poses a serious threat to due process, specifically using confidential witness statements as evidence against the LCPS.
The case addressed the admissions policies at the elite Loudoun Academy, where African American students were enrolled at lower rates than Asians and whites. While describing how the DHR collected information regarding the witnesses offered by the NAACP, the Determination makes the following statement:
Because of apparent witness concerns surrounding confidentiality and retaliation, the Division includes below a select group of pertinent narratives reported to the Division by the fact witnesses who responded to the Division’s inquiry through correspondence or interview.
Following that statement are slightly more than six pages of extracts from multiple sources who are identified only generically. Nothing in the Determination indicates whether LCPS was provided with a copy of the statements from which the quoted extracts were taken. Even if LCPS counsel received a copy of those statements, the testimony might well have been redacted to protect the identity of confidential witnesses (1VAC45-20-82 and 1VAC45-20-83.C). (The Department of Law’s regulations implementing the Virginia Human Rights Act are available here.) Continue reading
by Bill Tracy
Season greetings to Bacon’s Rebellion readers, and the Happiest of Holidays to the D.C. Metro system.
In a major coup for Virginia and its Metro partners, Senator Mark Warner and friends have secured $830 million for Metro in the to-be-approved-someday COVID stimulus package, thus avoiding the Doomsday scenario of severe schedule cutbacks, reports WJLA.
Was the Doomsday scenario announced as a scare tactic to get the funding package? Food for thought. Continue reading
Last Thursday my son tested positive for COVID-19. The previous Sunday evening, he and I had cooked dinner together and watched “Mosul” on Netflix. (Worth viewing, by the way.) We were in close proximity for three hours or so. If he was infectious at that time, I was certainly at risk of catching the virus.
As it happens, both my son and I are registered with CovidWise, the state-sanctioned app that is supposed to alert users if they have been exposed to someone with the virus. The app uses a Bluetooth signal on your smart phone to know how close and how long you are to someone else with the cell phone app. If someone tests positive for COVID, the health department gives you a PIN, which you enter into the app. The app identifies everyone who was exposed to you within six feet for 15 minutes or longer within 24 hours within the past 14 days.
That’s the theory…. Continue reading
Mark-Paul Gosselaar (left) and Alexis Bledel.
by James A. Bacon
America’s media and cultural elites are increasingly obsessed with race and ethnicity, viewing every public policy issue through a racial prism. But the American people aren’t cooperating. In their real-world behavior, race and ethnicity are becoming less important. The distinction between “whites” and “Hispanics,” never clear to begin with, is steadily eroding. Meanwhile, the increase of intermarriage between all racial/ethnic groups has given rise to a category of people, numbering in the millions, who identify as members of two (sometimes more) races.
Those are the thoughts that come to mind as I read Hamilton Lombard’s latest contribution to the StatChat blog about the misleading narrative of a disappearing white majority.
As Lombard writes, media headlines have touted a population tipping point in which the “white” majority of Americans will be overtaken numerically by minorities of other races and ethnicities. This narrative, I would add, has fed the fears of white supremacists who vow they will not be “replaced” as well as the aspirations of leftist politicians who believe they can ride minority grievances to power. Continue reading