Monday, March 25, 2013


           When Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and the other Founding Fathers gathered for the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, their hopes for a lasting republic were tempered by the realistic caution of men of the world.  When their historic work was done, and they emerged from Independence Hall after creating the framework for the world's first democratic republic, a lady in the crowd asked Franklin if the delegates had opted for a monarchy or a republic.  He famously responded, "A republic, madame, if you can keep it."  Franklin and his illustrious colleagues understood that the preservation of the liberty and freedom they sought to ensure in the Constitution was by no means a foregone conclusion.
                                           The Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia
            For two centuries, our Nation credibly fulfilled the cautious expectations of the Framers.  Through civil wars, world wars, depressions, the New Deal, the civil rights upheavals, and countless other crises, the basic freedoms of American citizens have heretofore been faithfully preserved.  But as we lurch forward into the darker days of the 21st century, Benjamin Franklin's cautious warning about the preservation of a free republic has been strikingly justified on the very streets of Philadelphia where he uttered it.  And the suppression of constitutional freedoms occurring there is merely an especially egregious example of a menacing trend occurring at all levels of government in the era of Obama.

            An arrogant, anti-constitutional tyrant today runs roughshod over the liberties of the people of Philadelphia in the very shadow of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.  His name is Michael Nutter, the city's Democratic mayor, and, if there were a scintilla of spirit left in the citizenry, or if there were any justice left in our legal system, he would be quickly called to account for his race-based assault on First Amendment freedoms.  His recent attempt to censor a free press is a glaring affront to the Constitution that was conceived in the city that he misrules today.  Regretfully, the spirit of Philadelphia Freedom appears to have withered in that supine city, and Nutter is likely to bluster on with impunity.
            Earlier this March, the liberal Philadelphia Magazine published a relatively timid and euphemistic article about the cowed and uncomfortable status of whites in certain sections of Philadelphia, entitled "Being White in Philadelphia."  This was no hard-nosed, combative argument on race issues like the ones that appear in conservative publications or blogs like mine (see, e.g., "Two Generations of Racial Preference," on  It simply related, with all the politically correct euphemisms, various situations in which white Philadelphians had found it increasingly uncomfortable to be confronted with distrust, hostility, or worse by black fellow Philadelphians.  The atmosphere portrayed in the article may help explain the 32% decline in Philadelphia's non-Hispanic white population between 1990 and 2010.
          Nutter responded to the article in a manner that might be expected of an authoritarian bully in a Third World dictatorship.  He furiously declared that this pallid and understated depiction of uneasy race relations in Philadelphia was "disgusting" and offended black sensitivity to the point of possible retaliation.  Continuing in a vein that would be laughable were it not darkly threatening, Nutter contended that the article fell beyond the protections of the First Amendment because it might constitute "incitement to extreme action."   He was particularly disturbed that the article focused on the views of white people on the city's troublesome racial issues.  Of course that aspect of the article was hardly surprising, since the very point of the piece was to bring those often suppressed views into the open.

            But Nutter was not content to merely attack the article and leave it at that.  Nutter called upon the ironically named Philadelphia Human Rights Commission (PHRC) to investigate the Philadelphia Magazine, with possible sanctions to follow, for having the temerity to publish an article expressing a white point of view on race issues.  (This is the same Big Brother Commission that was unleashed against the frustrated owner of Philly's legendary "Geno's Steaks," Nick Taliaferro, for having the similar audacity to post a sign in his popular cheese steak shop asking customers to "please order in English.")  The Commission's executive director promptly fell in line with Nutter's unconstitutional assault, saying that the Commission shared Nutter's concerns about the article and denouncing its alleged perpetuation of harmful stereotypes.  In short, verdict first, investigation to follow.
            In a sane and civil American city, the newspapers, TV stations, and concerned citizens would have raised a furious outcry against the mayor's blatant threat to the magazine's freedom of speech and press.  Instead, in the upside-down world that is Philadelphia, the anger was directed against the victims.  The magazine's editor and the article's author soon found themselves placed on the defensive at a public forum that bore an eerie resemblance to the kangaroo courts that were once used to punish deviation from the Party Line in Maoist China.  Rather than vigorously standing behind his writer and indignantly asserting the magazine's First Amendment rights against government intimidation, the magazine's editor sheepishly confessed he was sorry if the article offended anyone.  He was also forced to respond to the crowd's angry charges concerning the magazine's alleged lack of diversity and other crimes of racial insensitivity.  In other words, the victims of the mayor's unconstitutional oppression were subjected to a form of public re-education reminiscent of Mao's proletarian cultural revolution, while the mayor himself could trample on with the smugness of those who enjoy the impunity of one-party urban rule.

            This sorry episode was not the first time that Mayor Nutter has demonstrated his contempt for the liberties and beliefs of those who do not fall in line with the leftist policies of the Philadelphia Democrats and President Obama.
            During his campaign for mayor, Nutter directed his political antagonism against the Boy Scouts of America and their traditional moral values.  In a televised debate, he confirmed that he would use the mayor's powers to punish the local Scouts organization for adhering to the BSA's established policy of excluding practicing homosexuals from membership and leadership positions.  Falsely depicting a policy designed to protect the morals of young Boy Scouts as a form of unlawful discrimination, Nutter supported a retaliatory measure that would effectively evict the Boy Scouts organization from city-owned land it had rented since 1928 by raising their rent from a $1 token payment to $200,000.  Nutter has pursued his anti-Boy Scout position as mayor, but a federal court has  thus far upheld the Scouts' lease rights.

            More recently, Nutter has demonstrated his antagonism for the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms.  He is a determined advocate of extreme gun control measures.  In his role as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, he has not only advocated bans on so-called assault weapons and even modest capacity magazines and mandatory background checks on private gun sales, but has urged the government to adopt an even more expansive anti-gun regime called the "Sandy Hook Principles."  This Orwellian program seeks to frustrate citizen access to firearms by imposing harsh economic sanctions against the companies who manufacture and sell guns and ammunition if they do not comply with a list of 20 crippling gun control directives.  The directives not only target companies that sell government-disfavored firearms but also would force companies to, among other things, conduct universal background checks, adopt ammunition-tracking systems, and promote the use of biometric locks on guns.  Non-compliant companies would be subject to "economic divestment" at the hands of the government.  In short, Nutter's disdain for the First Amendment appears to be rivaled by his contempt for the Second.
           Moreover, in keeping with his hostility to free speech by those who do not share his views, Nutter furiously attacked the National Rifle Association when it ran an advertisement exposing President Obama's hypocrisy in opposing the NRA's proposal for armed protection for schools while Obama's daughters enjoy a phalanx of protection that would put Caesar's Praetorian Guard to shame.  Nutter demanded that the NRA ad "should be removed immediately."

            These and other actions and policies had already given a hint of Mayor Nutter's tyrannical tendencies.  But whatever doubts may have lingered on that score have been dispelled by his effort to suppress protected speech through means of race-related intimidation.  He does not want white persons speaking their minds on racial issues.
            Not so long ago, Obama's black Attorney General, Eric Holder, declared that we were a "nation of cowards" for not having "the guts" to talk about race issues.  The Philadelphia Magazine article attacked by Nutter was a conscientious attempt to discuss the very race issues that Holder insisted Americans must have the courage to confront.  But because Nutter considers the white perspective on these issues "disgusting," he not only seeks to suppress the publication of such views by official condemnation, but enlists a government commission to investigate and possibly sanction those who dare to express them.

            The Department of Justice has the authority and responsibility to sue state and local governments that use their power to violate the constitutional rights of citizens.  Under Holder, that authority has been misused to sue conscientious officers like the hard-charging Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, Joe Arpaio.  DOJ has sued Arpaio and Maricopa County for merely attempting to do what Holder and the rest of the Federal Government refuse to do – enforce the immigration laws against massive illegal immigration.  The Government's suit even makes the patently absurd allegation that Maricopa County and Sheriff Arpaio have violated the First Amendment in responding to efforts to undermine their legitimate enforcement efforts by illegal aliens and their supporters.
            Holder and his minions should make better use of their time, and our tax dollars, by dropping their politicized claims against Arpaio and actually filing a meritorious civil rights action against Mayor Nutter and the PHRC.  Not only does Nutter's effort to employ the PHRC in a campaign against a magazine and an author infringe freedom of speech and press, but, because the persecution is based upon the racial viewpoint of the article, it also violates the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law.  But expecting even-handed law enforcement from the Justice Department of Obama and Holder -- especially against their political allies like Mayor Nutter -- is utterly delusional.  Just ask the voters who vainly requested the Justice Department to enforce the Voting Rights Act against blatant voter intimidation at the polls in Philadelphia by the New Black Panther Party in the 2008 presidential election.  In the age of Obama, Holder, and Nutter, Philadelphia Freedom is not for everybody.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


             Saul of Tarsus was a Roman citizen of the first century, A.D., who had been a harsh persecutor of the early Christians.  But in one of history's most famous conversions, he experienced a life-changing epiphany when he heard the voice of God while traveling on the Road to Damascus.  He emerged from this conversion to become St. Paul, the great apostle who played a paramount role in spreading the seed of Christianity that would ultimately serve as the greatest civilizing influence for much of mankind.

                Twenty centuries later, an outbreak of epiphanies of an entirely different sort is taking place in one of the most rapid and dramatic transformations of fundamental beliefs in human history.  These conversions are not occurring under the influence of the voice of God on the Road to Damascus, but under the influence of tout le monde on the road to something like Gomorrah.  As though on cue from some unseen drillmaster, millions of Americans are suddenly marching in lockstep support of a concept that, not so many years ago, was so alien and radical as to be far outside the realm of serious contemplation – the strange oxymoron of marriage between persons of the same sex.

                For the entire two millennial span of the Christian era, the nuclear family centered around one man and one woman united in marriage has been the fundamental organizing unit of civilized society.  Century after century of modern history has passed without any significant doubt or dissent regarding the exclusively heterosexual nature of marriage which, after all, is an inevitable reflection of the natural order.

                But now, in the early years of the 21st century, millions of Americans are experiencing precipitate conversions to the view that marriage is not, after all, a union between a man and a woman to facilitate the procreation of children and the establishment and nurturing of families.  It can just as well, they now profess, be an entirely different kind of coupling between two men, or two women, without any capacity for conjugal procreation or the establishment of biological families. 

           What had somehow escaped the knowledge or even the suspicion of the brightest and most imaginative human thinkers through the full span of civilized history has been suddenly and simultaneously discovered by millions of ordinary Americans not heretofore noted for their reflective bent -- the discovery that civilization's historical restriction of marriage to opposite sex couples has been a profound and glaring mistake all along.  As they might say in the current jargon, "Who knew?"

                The most recent prominent "convert" to this view is a 57-year-old Republican senator from Ohio named Rob Portman.  In 1996, Portman had voted in support of the federal Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA"), which established marriage as solely between one man and one woman for purposes of federal law and which was signed into law by President Clinton (who has now likewise experienced the same epiphany and repudiated the very legislation he had unhesitatingly signed into law).  Presumably, Portman gave considerable thought to his vote on this important bill, and it is fair to conclude that his vote reflected his mature and considered opposition to same-sex marriage. 

                But last week, with eyes moistened on the brink of tears, Portman dramatically announced his conversion to supporting same-sex marriage in a maudlin interview – which he had initiated and requested -- with a fawning CNN reporter.  He declared that he adopted this position because his son, a student at Yale University, had revealed to Portman that he (the son) was a homosexual and Portman wished to be supportive.  This patently incoherent mode of reasoning leads one to wonder whether Portman would announce his support for legalizing heroin upon learning that his son was an addicted  heroin user.  The notion that a parent should abandon previously held moral and religious standards because they conflict with a child's desire to enjoy activities that conflict with those standards is preposterous.  In a saner era, it would be taken for granted that the son should attempt to conform his behavior to the moral standards passed down to him by his father.  But we live in the Age of Inversion.

                Portman is merely the latest prominent politician to perform an about-face, fall into step, and march with the growing mob in support of the oxymoron known as same-sex marriage (SSM for short).  Clinton and President Obama (who opposed SSM when he ran for President in 2008) are the most prominent converts, but their ranks now spread across partisan lines.  More importantly, various polls assert that in the past decade a majority of the overall population (58% according to a just-released Washington Post/ABC News poll) has abandoned the historical understanding of marriage and now support SSM.  Most disturbingly of all, another recent poll purported to show that a majority of self-identified Catholics also support this view, even though homosexual acts (let alone the sanctification of a union based upon such activity) are unambiguously condemned as intrinsically sinful by firmly established Catholic doctrine

                The above-noted Post poll also shows an astonishingly precipitate reversal of American opinion on this issue, from only 37% support of SSM in 2003 to 58% only ten years later – i.e. roughly 60 million epiphanies in a single decade.  The extraordinary speed of this widespread popular conversion (at least in America) on this fundamental matter is stunning, and highly suspect.  After all, the understanding that marriage is exclusively heterosexual has been longstanding, uncontroversial, fundamental, and shared across all subdivisions of society throughout the history of Western Civilization.

                What would cause so many people suddenly to reject the long-settled and heretofore virtually universal understanding of such a fundamental human institution?  Is it likely that the millions of digital-age Americans (with their notoriously limited attention spans) who now profess to "support" same-sex marriage have actually sat down and carefully pondered and sorted-out the issues and implications entailed by such a radical societal change?  Or is it more likely that these abrupt conversions reflect a widespread desire to conform their views to those considered "acceptable" among the most prominent and influential opinion-makers in popular society -- to simply march with the right crowd? 

                The latter is the far greater likelihood --  especially considering that any carefully reasoned decision to support the legalization of same-sex marriage would also require most of such converts to first adopt the following radical or insupportable corollary positions:

                      --  Endorse the view that conjugal reproduction and family formation by and through the married couple is now entirely irrelevant to marriage, because it is flatly impossible in same sex marriages (artificial reproduction via third-party sperm or egg donation is something entirely different, and an utterly alien and implausible alternative for society).

                         --   In the case of persons who are adherents of most prominent religions, reject and violate a fundamental doctrine of those faiths.  As noted above, for example, to lend support to the legalization of same sex marriage would be in direct violation of fundamental and invariable Catholic doctrine.  The same can be said for other prominent religions, such as Islam, Mormonism, the Southern Baptist Convention, and Orthodox Judaism.

                          -- Conclude that legalization and normalization of SSM will not increase the popularity and attraction of homosexuality, and therefore will not result in more widespread adoption of the homosexual life, a reduction in heterosexual marriage, and a commensurate reduction in the birth rate – UNLESS the convert believes (a) that there is nothing undesirable or counterproductive about an increase in the portion of the population practicing a homosexual life; or (b) that adoption of a homosexual life is in every and all cases compelled by genetic predisposition and entirely involuntary, even, for example, in the case of the class referred to as bisexuals, a position which is in clear conflict with observable reality.
                           -- Endorse and accept the proposition that there is no moral, social, medical, or hygienic difference between heterosexual and homosexual sex activity, because the mandatory legalization of SSM entails that position.  This point is linked to the radical argument that is essential to the legal and constitutional establishment of same sex marriage, namely, that there is no "rational basis" to the limitation of marriage to a man and a woman.  If, for example, homosexual sex is more dangerous and risky to health than normal heterosexual intercourse -- and there is every indication that it is -- then there is plainly a rational basis (wholly apart from the fundamental interest in simply propagating the race) for limiting marriage to a man and a woman.

                          -- For related reasons, those who endorse SSM should be prepared to accept a regime whereby children will be taught (as they already are in some locations) that homosexual practices and homosexual marriages are in no respects inferior to the heterosexual alternatives.  Stated another way, are those who purport to support SSM prepared to state that they are wholly indifferent to whether their own children are heterosexual or homosexual?  If not, they do not embrace the "equivalence" thesis, and the critical premise for their support collapses.

                        -- Converts must also reject the principle, followed in various religions, legal systems, and traditions, that heterosexual consummation is a prerequisite to a valid and binding marriage, in the sense that absent consummation, the purported marriage is subject to nullification.  This follows because such consummation is impossible in a same sex union.  Nor is the requirement for consummation an obsolete relic that has no relevance today, because it serves at least two relevant purposes:  (1) the avoidance of fraudulent marriages; and (2) the prevention of marriages that could not possibly result in spousal procreation against the legitimate expectations of at least one of the marrying couple.
                Regardless of where one stands on the above issues and implications (and there are many other omitted for brevity here), they surely warrant thoughtful consideration before one joins in the radical transformation of a historical institution which, like traditional marriage, has served as a foundation for civilized society for so long and so well.  But if the recent polls are even close to the truth, it appears that millions of Americans are prepared to embrace a contorted re-invention of marriage without the slightest regard for the disturbing consequences. 

              They seem content to accept a confused new vision of marriage in which white lace and promises must make room for black leather and the ambiguous arrangements of a strange new world.