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
The context, from the author: Democrats better get more comfortable with peaceful protest — even at justices’ homes — if we want to get our rights back from a dangerous minority.
The excerpt: I’m very worried about the civility fetish among Democrats today. I’m for nonviolent protest only. I don’t support property destruction, especially because it can inadvertently lead to injuring or even killing innocent people. But I think we’d better get used to more nonviolent (if perhaps noisy) protest, as a minority of Americans impose their rules on the majority, thanks to the undemocratic slant of institutions like the Senate and the Electoral College. The fact is, throughout American history none of our rights have been secured — not women’s rights, not labor rights, not the civil rights of people of color, nor LGBTQ rights — without massive protest.
From “The Scientific World Is Far Too Obsessed With ‘Genius,’ ” by Simon Grassmann in Jacobin at bit.ly/3M1vnWK.
The context, from the author: We’ve been conditioned to believe that scientific advances come from individual geniuses making breakthrough discoveries. That’s wrong.
The excerpt: There are major procedural problems with the competitions for academic grants that facilitate an unjustified bundling of resources in the hands of the few. But the root problem is the idea that competition should serve as the main basis for resource allocation in science in general. Those who believe that competitions promote scientific discovery adhere to the idea that individual geniuses are the principal drivers of scientific progress. ... Competitions are thought necessary to identify such geniuses. But as nice as it would be to be able to identify the Einsteins of our time this way, it is not possible. Most researchers that are later declared “geniuses” come from totally unexpected backgrounds. That’s no coincidence: the mechanism of scientific discovery is not primarily determined by genius but largely by chance.
The context, from the author: Christians must reclaim Jesus from his church.
The excerpt: The aggressive, disruptive and unforgiving mindset that characterizes so much of our politics has found a home in many American churches. As a person of the Christian faith who has spent most of my adult life attending evangelical churches, I wanted to understand the splintering of churches, communities, and relationships. I reached out to dozens of pastors, theologians, academics, and historians, as well as a seminary president and people involved in campus ministry. All voiced concern.
FROM THE RIGHT
From “DOJ’s Silence on the Left’s Lawless Intimidation of Supreme Court Justices,” by Andrew C. McCarthy in the National Review at bit.ly/3PfKTjK.
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The context, from the author: Fox News has a report on the Biden Justice Department’s refusal to take enforcement action against radical leftists who have been conducting demonstrations at the homes of Supreme Court justices, blatantly seeking to intimidate and influence the Court while it has the Dobbs abortion case under consideration.
The excerpt: It could not be more blatant. Legally, the Justice Department has the same obligation to protect the Supreme Court as it does to protect the Congress. But politically, Capitol riot prosecutions of protesters promote the Biden-administration and Democratic Party line that Trump supporters are white-supremacist domestic terrorists; by contrast, prosecutions of protesters trying to intimidate Supreme Court justices would undermine the Biden-administration and Democratic Party line that the offense here is not the criminal leak and obstruction of the judicial process but the substance of a draft opinion that may not reflect the final Dobbs ruling (but that would be entirely lawful if it does). Because politics, not law, drives the Biden Justice Department, the January 6 prosecutions are pursued but the unlawful interference with the judicial process is ignored.
From “Has the West Abandoned Restraint in Its Proxy War with Russia?” by Noah Rothman in Commentary at bit.ly/38fXlQ7.
The context, from the author: What was once unthinkable is now not just possible but increasingly likely: Russia will lose its war of choice in Ukraine.
The excerpt: The scope of Kyiv’s victory depends on many factors, but one of the most important is the continued provision of Western lethal aid to Ukraine. Western policymakers have gotten the message. Our prohibitive fear of what Russia would do to Ukraine and the West has been properly replaced with the understanding that Russia should be afraid of us.
The context, from the author: As law enforcement agencies patrol for profit, the secrecy surrounding cash seizures must stop.
The excerpt: The best policy solution is simple: Lawmakers should ... end civil forfeiture, an inherently corrupt practice. Short of that, lawmakers should improve transparency. IRS auditors don’t ask politely for information. Neither do police officers when serving a warrant. They bust open doors, rummage through closets, and pore over computer files. Along the way, if they find cash, they take it. The least the government could do is provide detailed accounts of every seizure and track the money through the system. The information belongs to the public anyway. The more the public knows about civil forfeiture, the less they like it. The IRS and other agencies know the score, which is why they prefer secrecy.