One of the most gratifying things I've been involved in over the last year has been the reinvigorated interest in the constitutional underpinnings of the American Republic. Whether it's the Tea Party Movement or our work with ReConstituting America, Let Freedom Ring, and Liberty Central, there is something truly satisfying as this resurgent interest in the principles upon which this nation was founded.
Conversely, it is more-than-irritating when folks grossly misstate these principles--and, in fact, write in such a way as to perpetuate misconceptions. It is, in fact, entirely destructive of those principles. So it was, today, with the Associated Press' Mark Sherman, whose initial piece on the Supreme Court's Decision in McDonald v. Chicago claimed that the High Court had "expanded" gun rights in America. So I decided to drop Mr. Sherman a note:
I read with great interest your reporting on the Supreme Court's decision today in McDonald v. Chicago. But the headline, and your introductory paragraph, make an erroneous statement: the Supreme Court today did NOT expand or extend
gun rights. Today, the High Court struck down unconstitutional
limitations on those rights - restoring what had been erroneously taken
There is a tremendous difference between the two perspectives. The
latter recognizes that we, as a people, are endowed with a collection
of rights, a state of being that was affirmed and sought to be
protected by the founders and the documents that set about the rules
under which our system operates.
The former, on the other hand, leaves a reader with the impression
that rights can be expanded or narrowed at will, and that in this case,
the Justices of the Supreme Court were going beyond the scope of what
is constitutionally warranted. That perspective is unfortunately both
persistent and ubiquitous among Americans, a misunderstanding of the
nature of rights which puts them constantly under the threat of
assault. If we believe that rights are held at the whim of government
officials, and can be narrowed or expanded at will, then it becomes
that much harder to defend them when they are so narrowed.
I'll put it to you this way: assume for a moment that the High
Court had spent years chipping away at the ability of journalists to
practice their craft--and, in fact, had affirmed state-based rules
which sharply limited the proliferation or even existence of news
outlets. If, today, McDonald v. Chicago had struck down these rules, would you have announced that the Supreme Court had "extended" or "expanded" 1st Amendment rights?
I doubt that highly.
Facts are important things, Mr.
Sherman. This is especially important when talking about the
fundamental principles which underlie our Republic. I'd ask that you
take greater care when reporting on them in the future.
President, The Institute for Liberty
Gen. David Petraeus is now the darling of the Democrats. Having been picked by President Barack Obama to lead U.S. efforts on the ground in Afghanistan, Petraeus, the architect of the surge in Iraq, is being praised by the Democrats from pillar to post.
It wasn’t always so.
U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal is now out of a job, thanks to some unguarded and unflattering comments made about President Barack Obama within earshot of a reporter working on a freelance piece for Rolling Stone. This is as it should be.
Read more here
The President’s Oil Spill Commission: The Lazarus Effect
Earlier this week, the Obama Administration announced
the appointment of Richard Lazarus, to serve as executive director of the
National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore
Drilling. Lazarus, a notorious environmental lawyer, is a curious
choice considering the technical nature of the task at hand.
Energy experts have raised eyebrows at the pick, suggesting
that perhaps someone with a
technical background, a career in the energy industry, or better yet, any
experience at all with offshore drilling, would have been a more suitable
I wasn’t so surprised at this dubious choice. The Administration
is clearly pushing industry experts, best practices, and knowledge aside in the
pursuit of a predetermined political outcome - namely, closing access to
America's offshore energy resources.
Using this crisis as a pretext for shutting down drilling is grossly
irresponsible and detrimental to solving the problem at hand. Now more
than ever it's important that our government tap the most informed available
experts – the brightest engineers we have to offer – to identify the most
promising technologies for coping with this ongoing crisis and to begin
developing the guiding principles that will reduce the likelihood of this type
of incident from occurring in the future.
While we usually need a trial, a jury, and a guilty verdict before a death
sentence is pronounced, here we're through the looking glass: we have no
need of trials, juries, or executioners. The verdict is predetermined,
regardless of the overwhelming expert opinion that demonstrates that something
much different ought to be done. Almost from the start of this
crisis, the President's unfocused, bureaucratic and obstructionist response has
caused this disaster to get infinitely worse. Whether it's payoffs to his
political cronies or slavish devotion to this anti-energy ideology, the outcome
is still the same: the American people, especially those on the Gulf
Coast, lose and lose big."