Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Opinion

Selected readings from the left and from the right

We live in a partisan age, and our news habits can reinforce our own perspectives. Consider this an effort to broaden our collective outlook with essays beyond the range of our typical selections.

FROM THE LEFT

From "Civil-Rights Protests Have Never Been Popular" by Ta-Nehisi Coates in the Atlantic at http://theatln.tc/2ytbo0Y.

The context: From Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Colin Kaepernick, activists can't persuade their contemporaries — they're aiming at the next generation.

The excerpt: Whatever symbols they embraced, civil-rights activists — much like black activists today — never successfully connected with the hearts of the majority of adults of their own day. The process was neither neat nor particularly unifying. ... The point (now) is not to convince people who boo even when a team kneels before the anthem is sung. The point is to reach the children of those people. The point is the future.

From "The Equifax Apology Tour Is an Insulting Charade" by Helaine Olen in the Nation at http://bit.ly/2xY8Szf.

The context, from the author: CEOs will express remorse; some might even be fired. But in an oligarchy like ours, nothing will change.

The excerpt: Many commentators have been quick to point out that Equifax's abysmal customer service can be explained by the fact that the word "customer" is a misnomer in this case. The 145.5 million people whose information is almost certainly compromised for the remainder of their lives are not, for the most part, purchasing services from Equifax. Instead, it's the banks and other firms interested in consumer data who buy Equifax products.

From "America's Gun Fantasy" by Kurt Andersen, an excerpt of his book Fantasyland, in Slate at http://slate.me/2ghjbEq.

The context, from the author: Three percent of the nation owns half the firearms — to prepare for an ultraviolent showdown that exists only in their imagination.

The excerpt: Are the gun zealots like dogs who catch the car but don't want to stop barking and snarling? Or the child who threatens to hold his breath until he dies? Despite their essentially total victory, they demand more: the freedom to fire dozens of rounds without reloading; to carry guns anywhere they please, like cops or soldiers; a still greener green light to shoot people if they feel threatened. They have to look hard for things that still outrage them,

FROM THE RIGHT

From "Living In A Free And Dangerous Country Is Better Than Living In A Restricted And 'Safe' Country" by Brandon Morse in RedState at http://bit.ly/2ytuIev.

The context, from the author: We're fresh off of another man-made atrocity (the Las Vegas shooting), and right on schedule, all the usual suspects are demanding government save us all from one boogie man or another.

The excerpt: Freedom is being able to possess available firearms for self-defense, while also meaning someone else can legitimately, or illegitimately, get them for nefarious purposes. We want to be able to buy that sugary drink because we want to enjoy a treat, or smoke that cigarette because we want to relax, knowing that it's not good for us, but are willing to accept the consequences anyway. It's our right to do so.

From "Bret Stephens Indeed Does Not Understand the Second Amendment" by Charles C.W. Cooke, who excoriates the columnist for suggesting repeal of the Second Amendment, in the National Review at http://bit.ly/2wCIlDD.

The context, from the author: "I have never understood the conservative fetish for the Second Amendment," writes Bret Stephens (a conservative columnist, formerly of the Wall Street Journal, now of the New York Times). And then he proceeds to prove that.

The excerpt: The logical jump at the heart of his case is an astounding one. Stephens concedes that the gun-control crowd is a hapless bunch, unable to get even modest measures through Congress. ... And then he submits that these same people should switch their focus to all-out repeal. ... How this would work in practice is never explained. How a movement that can't get to 50 percent would win two-thirds of Congress and three-quarters of the states is left to the imagination. Why, given his own concessions, the attempt would represent anything less than widespread political suicide is left unaddressed.

From "Pope Francis Is Just Like Donald Trump" by Jonathan V. Last in the Weekly Standard at http://tws.io/2xkm0dM.

The context, from the author: The deeper we get into his papacy, the clearer it is that he's incredibly similar to President Trump.

The excerpt: (The pope is) dismissive of long-standing traditions and established theological "experts" and instead wants the church to be more populist. He's prone to speaking off-the-cuff and without the pieties of formality. He likes to bully his subordinates instead of building consensus. He has a knack for searching out hot-button issues where he can sow division rather than building consensus. He has an incredibly healthy sense of his own executive acumen.

Comments
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