Tag Archives: Shaun Kenney

John Reid Says What Everyone Is Thinking

John Reid

The WRVA talk show host calls out the men without chests. Good on him for doing so.

by Shaun Kenney

Outrage Is No Substitute for Thought

UVa students push back against learning about other viewpoints.

by Shaun Kenney

WARNING! This is a long one . . . so pour your favorite scotch or cup of coffee and be prepared to consider alternate viewpoints that may offend. As the libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick remarks, “My thoughts do not aim for your assent, just place them alongside your own for awhile.”


One of the things I deeply appreciated about my time at the University of Virginia was its treatment of the humanities writ large. In short, everyone — no matter what their intelligence or depth — should expose themselves to something more than just their profession. “What good is it to earn your first million at the age of 30,” opined one professor, “only to find out you can’t have a conversation because you are a boring person!

I had the privilege of encountering not just one but two generations of Virginia students. The first was among my peers during the late 1990s; the second when I darkened the towers to pursue my own academic career, which remains an ongoing project to be sure.

Of course, I was instantly identified by more than one professor as having a Jesuit background. For those unfamiliar with the accolade, a Jesuit education is considered to have a certain approach to the world. Continue reading

Liberal Democracy, Illiberal Institutions

Maybe no one wants to work for a public education system that hates our values.

by Shaun Kenney

Carl Schmitt isn’t precisely a household name. The German political theorist was a deep reader of Thucydides and Thomas Hobbes, whose evolution of thought occurred during the fratricidal tumult of Weimar Germany in the 1920s.

One of Schmitt’s particular insights was the totalitarian nature of political parties, namely that the adjudication of power is both an authoritarian act and a totalitarian demand on the consciences of those who participate in it.

Consider for a moment those who waver on any particular piece of Republican orthodoxy — tax cuts, the right to life, the Second Amendment, immigration, supporting our police, or a robust national defense posture. Or on the left with the presence of a social welfare state, abortion on demand, gun control, open immigration policies, defunding the police, or a liberal internationalist order.

One could be an avowed communist, but if that person also happened to be pro-life? The Democrats would savage that individual. Conversely, consider a Republican who was rock solid on every issue except life. Would most Republicans vote for that person? Probably not.

Continue reading

Youngkin Breaks VCCS Stonewalling Over New Chancellor — Ivan Drago Style

by Shaun Kenney

After a months-long standoff between the Governor’s Office and the Virginia Community Colleges Board over the appointment of a new chancellor, Glenn Youngkin had to break the impasse in a tersely worded letter.

“Virginia has the opportunity to lead the nation, and we need a Chancellor that will take us there. As we start a new fiscal year on July 1st, I earnestly ask you to fully commit to this challenge and opportunity,” Youngkin wrote. “Transformation is hard work-this takes time, energy, focus, and commitment. If for any reason you feel like you cannot commit to this mission, I will accept your resignation by June 30 with gratitude for your service.”

Rather than resign, the VCCS chose to allow the Governor’s Office to appoint a non-voting member to the board.  From WRIC in Richmond: Continue reading

Virginia Budget Deal Stalled as Democrats Demand $3B in Increased Spending

by Shaun Kenney

Just to illustrate how fanatically out of touch Senate Democrats are as they frantically try to spend $3 billion on more government, check out State Senator Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) on Twitter as he blasts Governor Glenn Youngkin’s proposal for gasoline tax relief:

Remember — we are sitting on a $3bn surplus fueled by COVID relief dollars and not by any metric of economic success. Yet Senate Democrats continue to lean into the hammock of so-called budget cuts as they continue to shove money into the maw of state government for the sake of producing mediocre results. Continue reading

Virginia Dems Sense Blood In The Water

Virginia Republicans are bumping into a new reality of unelected institutions fighting them every inch of the way.

by Shaun Kenney

Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn is much less of a household name if he ever was one to begin with — author of the oft-quoted and barely read “Gulag Archipelago.”

Upon his arrival to the United States after fleeing the Soviet Union, his first remarks upon coming to the West were not ones of relief but utter horror.

Instead of a repressive police state, Solzhenitsyn discovered a tabloid media on the verge of becoming the 24/7/365 monstrosity we see today. Solzhenitsyn’s efforts to avoid the public eye were fruitless, and within a matter of days he was quick to observe:

“You are worse than the KGB!”

By 1978, Solzhenitsyn’s Harvard commencement speech was more indictment than anti-communism, because he saw the same disease in the capitalist-driven West that he observed at work in the communist-driven East: Continue reading

End the Subminimum Wage for Disabled Virginians

Virginia is top ranked as a business-friendly state. How we treat employees with disabilities in the workplace matters.

by Shaun Kenney

What are the hallmarks of a business-friendly environment? Competitive wages, opportunities to build wealth, support for entrepreneurial endeavors, freedom to create and innovate, dignity of work, and economic independence and sustainability – to name a few.

There’s a law on the books in Virginia that legislators and advocates on both sides of the aisle argue stands in direct contrast to many of these principles. It goes back to 1938.

According to Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers with a 14(c) certificate from the Wage & Hour Division of the Department of Labor are legally permitted to pay wages below the minimum wage to employees with physical, developmental, cognitive, mental or age-related disabilities. Continue reading

Restoring Process Over Politics

by Shaun Kenney

Over the last eight years, Virginia Democrats have been swift to impose their will in violation of political process — a fact that continues to frustrate Virginia Republicans on fronts as wide as economic shutdowns, mask mandates, the tearing down of history and war memorials, the imposition of Critical Race Theory in government schools, and the enforcement of gender ideology in state government.

The list is long and needs to be truncated quickly.

Republicans acted in November, and with the election of Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin there was the hope that incoming Republicans would act with the swiftness and speed demonstrated by the Democrats.

Yet Youngkin has walked into a few checkpoints. Rather than run over top of them, Youngkin has chosen not to de-escalate but adjust on at least two fronts — namely Northam’s cap-and-trade schematic under RGGI and on repealing the mask mandates.

But notice the play here. Continue reading

Meritocracy Against the Wokes

Progressive Democrats are awfully riled up about the term “meritocracy” in Youngkin’s EO 1 — and they ought to be.

by Shaun Kenney

Poor Democrats — they haven’t been this ruffled about Republicans taking over Richmond since 1865.

Truly, it’s hard to feel much sympathy for the Virginia Democrats, whose lust for power and the damage they did in just two years was something to behold. What they deemed progress consisted mostly of bulldozing history, embedding outright racism into our classrooms and bureaucracy, and institutionalizing mental illness to the degree where if such things are questioned you are swiftly beaten out of the public square — or worse, the Twitter mob is followed up by a media no one reads and you are marched off to your own private gulag.

Yet I digress.

This morning’s brass ring for the left is Youngkin Executive Order 1, which repeals by fiat much of the Critical Race Theory embedded into state government by the Northam administration, and does so in such a way that any challenges will be in the face of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The offending passages? Continue reading

Youngkin’s Ministry of All Talents

by Shaun Kenney

The Daily Caller has an article on how Republican governor-elect Glenn Youngkin’s new selection for Secretary of Education was the founder and CEO of Data Quality Campaign (DQC) — an organization which collected data on public schoolchildren, including their class schedules, grades, and other data in order to provide metrics to enhance student performance at a policy level.

The firm was so successful that Bill Gates threw $26 million at DQC, which like most corporate firms included some hat-tip to the wokeisme — my new favorite word — drive for equity. Which might offend me if not for the fact that every institution seems to have bent the knee to these modern-day Jacobins in order not to be cancelled, looted, spat upon, and so forth.

Obviously, The Daily Caller wants me to be outraged.

Equally clear is that “data” and “reason” are two very scary words for woke progressives who believe both to be inherently racist functions of the white patriarchy. Continue reading

Burning Flags OK, Burning Smut Bad

BLM/Antifa domestic terrorists in Portland, Oregon burning Bibles and American flags during the August 2020 riots. source: Twitter/Flopping Aces

Just because “33 Snowfish” gets printed doesn’t make it literature… but we can know that only if we contrast smut against actual literature.

by Shaun Kenney

“Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen.”
“Thus, where men burn books, in the end they will also burn men.”
     — Heinrich Heine, Almansor: A Tragedy (1823)

Since we are all clutching pearls at the idea of burning books quite suddenly, let’s take a moment to remind ourselves when progressive Democrats are entirely complacent about the actual practice of book burning — yes?

For instance? When progressive rioters in August 2020 engaged in BLM and Antifa’s favorite pastime — only instead of burning out small businesses they instead burned Bibles in Portland, Oregon — the Democrats initially denied that it happened… until video evidence verified that the BLM/Antifa rioters actually did burn Bibles.

Even Snopes rated the claim true, despite the legacy media and the perpetually offended Democratic Party offering barely a single word of objection. One has to wonder whether they would have been as blasé about the whole thing if it was a Holy Quran or The Vagina Monologues or even a copy of The Turner Diaries.
I digress.

Of course, just days after parents threw the Democratic Party out of their high church of Virginia state government, they have found a new bogeyman — where the Spotsylvania County School Board has issued an ultimatum to its school superintendent to conduct a survey of objectionable books. Continue reading

Earning the Right to Govern


by Shaun Kenney

Now that a solid week has passed between Virginia and the November elections, the sobering up can begin in earnest. With a Republican sweep that gave Youngkin 50.59% of the vote, Sears 50.72%, and Miyares 50.36%, it is clear that rhetoric caged in the spirit of a Roman triumph is a touch overstated. With a 52-48 Republican majority in the House of Delegates, what should be clear to most conservatives is that November doesn’t seal the deal.

If we want Virginia back, we are going to have to fight for it.

Which means the level of intensity directed against heavy-handed school boards and local administrators cannot — and by all appearances, is not — going away anytime soon. Nor are the progressives shying away from a fight on this and many other questions they have forced during their four-year reign of shame.
Which is why governing is going to be critically important, on precisely two fronts. Continue reading

Miyares Seeks to Override Progressive Prosecutors

by Shaun Kenney

Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares announced Thursday that he’s looking to pass legislation that will override “social justice” commonwealth’s attorneys who refuse to prosecute entire categories of crime.

Miyares said his plan has the support of Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin.

Fox News reports:

Under current law, the AG’s office can prosecute a case on behalf of a commonwealth’s attorney – Virginia’s version of a district attorney (DA) – so long as the DA requests it.

The new bill “would essentially say, if the chief law enforcement officer in a jurisdiction — either the chief of police or the sheriff — makes a request because a commonwealth’s attorney is not doing their job, then I’m going to do their job for them,” Miyares said. “I’m thinking specifically, some of the so-called ‘social justice’ commonwealth’s attorneys that have been elected, particularly in Northern Virginia. We’re obviously aware of some pretty horrific cases” where these DAs have not pursued justice. Continue reading

Dying for a Photo Op

Lieutenant H. J. Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates

This post has been excerpted from a longer column published in The Republican Standard. — JAB

by Shaun Kenney

Two things have always bothered me about Charlottesville 2017.

First, that the political Left never mentions that three people died that day. Yes, we all know the name of Heather Heyer.

But you never see the left or the media mention Jay Cullen and Berke Bates.

Why?

They don’t mention Cullen or Bates because they were Virginia State Police officers who died in the line of duty.

That leads me to the second thing that has bothered me ever since. Continue reading

McAuliffe: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

by Shaun Kenney

Remember the old adage — the goal isn’t to win the debate, but to make sure you don’t lose the debate.

Former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe was pressed on graphic textbooks — and I mean graphic — of a sexual nature being included in government school libraries, and McAuliffe exploded with rage.

Not towards school districts, mind you — but towards busybody parents who had the audacity to look into what their children were actually being taught in the classroom.

That’s when McAuliffe decided to say the quiet part out loud:

That sound you heard last night was the simultaneous squealing of wheels on the mental pavement of a million Virginians. Continue reading