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Jim Verhulst - Deputy Editor of Editorials
Here’s what to read from the left and the right | Column
Here’s some interesting commentary from the opposite poles of the political spectrum.
Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo (this was before Ketanji Brown Jackson formally joined the court at the end of the current term. Seated from left: Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Stephen Breyer (now retired) and Sonia Sotomayor. Standing from left: Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett.
Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo (this was before Ketanji Brown Jackson formally joined the court at the end of the current term. Seated from left: Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Stephen Breyer (now retired) and Sonia Sotomayor. Standing from left: Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett. [ ERIN SCHAFF-POOL | Getty Images North America ]
Published Jul. 23

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 “This Court Has Revealed Conservative Originalism to Be a Hollow Shell,” by David H. Gans in The Atlantic.

The context, from the author: The Supreme Court’s right-wing justices claim to be originalists, but then they pick and choose the history that fits their ideological preferences.

The excerpt: Although conservative originalists have for years been touting their method as restrained, sensible and tightly tethered to constitutional text and history, this (Supreme Court) term blew away such pretenses. If this is the great conservative originalism, then those professing it have finally and conclusively revealed it to be what many skeptics already considered: a hollow edifice designed to hide an ugly and aggressive ideological agenda.

From “Police Departments Spend Vast Sums of Money Creating ‘Copaganda,’ ” by Alec Karakatsanis in Jacobin.

The context, from the author: U.S. police departments spend tens of millions of dollars every year to manipulate the news, flooding the discourse with “copaganda.” These aggressive tactics give the public a distorted view of what public safety means, what threatens it, and how to solve it.

The excerpt: Copaganda does three main things. First, it narrows our understanding of safety. Police get us to focus on crimes committed by the poorest, most vulnerable people in our society and not on bigger threats to our safety caused by people with wealth and power. ... The second function of copaganda is to manufacture crises or “crime surges.” ... The third and most pernicious function of copaganda is to manipulate our understanding of what solutions actually work to make us safer. A primary goal of copaganda is to convince the public to spend even more money on police and prisons.

From “Texas Claimed It ‘Fixed’ Its Power Grid, but It Doesn’t Seem That Way,” by Nitish Pahwa in Mother Jones.

The context, from the author: Extreme temperatures are testing the Texas system’s integrity again.

The excerpt: While it’s certainly not unreasonable to ask citizens to forgo certain activities for the public good, some wondered whether life-or-death decisions involving electricity reliability should fall on Texans every time there’s a weather threat, no matter what kind.

FROM THE RIGHT

From “The Most Self-Destructive Force in the World,” by Rich Lowry in The National Review.

The context, from the author: Pursuers of the green agenda impede human endeavor while doing next to nothing to affect global temperatures.

The excerpt: If a hostile actor were to consider the best way to harm a society from within, it would unquestionably be to increase the sway of climate alarmists and other environmentalists who believe it is their righteous duty to make it harder and more expensive to power a modern economy, as well as to build and grow things. They seek to throw the gears into reverse on the millennia-long human quest for cheaper, more abundant, and more reliable sources of energy, while putting new obstacles in the way of other human endeavor. Since they are fired by a quasi-religious vision of an existential climate crisis on the verge of ending Planet Earth, they reject cost–benefit analysis, not to mention basic realism. The resulting wreckage is all around us.

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From “Will There Be War With Russia?” by Patrick Buchanan in The American Conservative.

The context, from the author: It is a dictum of geostrategic politics that a great power ought never cede to a lesser power the ability to draw it into a great war.

The excerpt: (Vladimir) Putin is a Russian nationalist who regards the breakup of the U.S.S.R. as the greatest calamity of the 20th century, but he is not alone responsible for the wretched relations between our countries. We Americans have played a leading role in what is shaping up as a Second Cold War, more dangerous than the first. Over the last quarter-century, after Russia dissolved the Warsaw Pact and let the U.S.S.R. break apart into 15 nations, we pushed NATO, created to corral and contain Russia, into Central and Eastern Europe.

From “Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: ‘Good Samaritan’ Who Saved Indiana Mall Goers Is Denounced as No Hero,” by Alex Parker in RedState.

The context, from the author: (At the Greenwood Park Mall near Indianapolis) the man’s plans were thwarted because more than bad guys carry guns. Elisjsha Dicken, 22, stopped the mass shooter’s spree.

The excerpt: So goes America’s divide over guns. For many advocates, if a firearm is used to do evil, it’s apparently the fault of the weapon. But if a gun is used to stop the act, that implement earns no points. Nor does the person who rightfully employed it.

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