"There are no libertarians in a global pandemic." So goes the smug punchline of large-government advocates who point to the necessity of collective action in the face of an unprecedented global crisis. Without government, they say, we'd all be dead. Few libertarians would disagree. The hardcore libertarians at Reason magazine aren't spending their days fulminating over the evils of government-required lockdown orders in the face of a fast-spreading, deadly disease. That's because they, like all other sentient human beings, recognize that collective action is sometimes necessary.
This week, President Donald Trump began openly considering at what point the American government ought to take steps to reopen the American economy. He explained: "Our country wasn't built to be shut down. America will again and soon be open for business," suggesting that the timeline will be weeks instead of months.
This week, President Donald Trump came under fire for his use of the phrase "Chinese virus" to describe the coronavirus, the source of the new pandemic that has led to a global economic shutdown as well as lockdowns of citizens in every major Western country. That media have somehow found time to hone in on the one issue that matters least -- the labeling of a Chinese virus as such -- in the middle of an unprecedented planetwide freeze demonstrates the utter unseriousness of those objecting. That the term should be controversial at all is nearly beyond belief.
In 1966, there were 654 murders in New York City. The next year, that number increased by about a hundred. Then two hundred. By the mid-1970s, nearly 1,700 people were being murdered every year in New York City. That insane level of violence maintained until the early 1990s. Then, in 1994, the level of murder in New York City began to decline. It declined from approximately 2,000 people killed in 1993 to 289 in 2018 — a level not seen since the end of World War II. Needless to say, on a per capita basis, the murder rate had never been that low.
This week, the world marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Allied forces during World War II. Politicians of all stripes dutifully tweeted, “#NeverAgain.” Meanwhile, many of those same politicians continued to forward the worst sort of anti-Semitism, blithely ignoring the fact that anti-Semitism isn't a relic of the past but a thriving part of the present.
On Monday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D-N.Y.), sat for a discussion with author Ta-Nehisi Coates. She dropped a number of shocking statements -- statements that elicited nothing but murmurs of agreement from Coates. AOC claimed: “No one ever makes a billion dollars. You take a billion dollars.” How, pray tell, are American billionaires responsible for such massive theft? According to AOC, the very mechanisms of capitalism mandate such theft.
In 2008, Democrats nominated for president a first-term U.S. senator with no serious legislative experience, Barack Obama. They nominated him over the long-championed, long-celebrated presumptive heir apparent to the Democratic leadership, Hillary Clinton. Obama was, of course, the first black Democratic nominee, and he would be the first black president.
In October 2018, during Sabbath morning services, a white supremacist attacked the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, murdering 11 people and wounding another six. In April 2019, in the middle of Passover, a white supremacist attacked the Chabad of Poway synagogue, murdering one person and seriously wounding another three. Both incidents started absolutely necessary conversations about the prevalence and nature of the white supremacist threat to Jews across the country.
This week, the Supreme Court effectively mandated continued legal tolerance for homelessness across major cities on the West Coast of the United States. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that Americans have a right to sleep on the streets, and that it amounts to “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Constitution to levy fines based on such behavior.
In the lead-up to the 2016 election, Democrats fretted openly about the possibility that Donald Trump, being a rather poor sport, might refuse to acknowledge an election loss. To be fair, Trump refused to state that he would accept election results, depending on the circumstances: “I'll keep you in suspense,” he stated in his Oct. 19, 2016, debate with Hillary Clinton. Clinton, for her part, called his statement “horrifying,” adding that he was harming American democracy.
This week, Paul Krugman of The New York Times posited a theory: Red states cause depression and suicide. In a column titled “America's Red State Death Trip,” Krugman wrote: “In 1990, today's red and blue states had almost the same life expectancy. Since then, however, life expectancy in Clinton states has risen more or less in line with other advanced countries, compared with almost no gain in Trump country. At this point, blue-state residents can expect to live more than four years longer than their red-state counterparts.”
This week, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who has risen to the top of the heap in early Democratic presidential primary polling in Iowa and New Hampshire, came under serious sustained attack for the first time in his candidacy. Buttigieg's early candidacy gained credibility thanks to the moderation he displayed compared with other Democrats. He quickly lost steam when he tacked to the left. Now Buttigieg has swiveled back toward the center, launching a series of assaults on the radical plans of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and stealing her momentum in the largely white early primary states