Of Course the Supreme Court Got it Right
A lot of ink has been spilled and a lot of hands wrung–and a lot of lies told and misinformation (disinformation?) disseminated–by progressive-types. In typical sky-is-falling fashion, they are convinced that the recent Supreme Court decisions (most specifically the ones eliminating affirmative action and preventing the state of Colorado from compelling a web designer to create a website advocating gay marriage) will return us to some Stone Age of racism, “homophobia”, and chronic halitosis (OK, I just made up that last one).
Poppycock, I say! And again I say, poppycock!
So let’s take a quick look at what actually happened, breathless MSNBC-types notwithstanding.
Three rulings came out rapid-fire on the last two days of the Court’s session, and bear commenting upon. The first involved the decision to squelch the Biden Administration’s noxious “student loan ‘forgiveness'” plan.
Which, for starters, had nothing to do with “forgiveness” of student debt; the lie of phrasing it this way is but the beginning of the perniciousness attached to this ill-fated, ill-considered plan. Nobody’s debt would be “forgiven”, but rather, of course, big chunks of student indebtedness would be transferred to the American taxpayer. This was a fundamentally flawed enterprise from the get-go:
– It entailed the selective giving of money to one group of people, and not nearly the most “deserving”, if that word can be used.
– It amounted to, instead, political pandering in the guise of “compassion” (there seems no limit to the bad ideas that regressives will get behind if somehow they can couch those ideas as “compassionate”).
– It was undertaken under the preposterous guise of being necessitated by the Covid-19 epidemic (Saul Alinsky smiles up from his grave, as this “crisis” wasn’t allowed to go to waste under this plan).
– Most egregious among several egregious things about it, it was attempted as a diktat from the President…and that ain’t the way our Constitution designs government to work.
Now it’s certainly true that we’ve had at least three presidents in a row now who fancy themselves royalty, who believe that their words alone should suffice to make things so, and of course this is aided by a Congress far too willing to abdicate its role and go along with the would-be potentates. But this Supreme Court suffers no fools lightly, and rightly put the kibosh on this tomfoolery.
The second decision, raising considerable consternation among far-lefties but supported by a significant majority of Americans (in fairness, sometimes the results of polling depends upon the phrasing of the question), effectively ended affirmative action. By the lights of one poll, a significant number of Democrats support this outcome. By another, done after the ruling, more black Americans support the ruling than oppose it. And yet, of course, this is troglodyte racism pure and simple, if we listen to the Mother Jones crowd, which seems to concern itself with the counting of beans rather than the actual facts on the ground, some of which are:
– Of Black Americans who get into college, only 42% graduate within six years, meaning that it’s more likely that a black student will drop out rather than graduate…shouldn’t this raise a concern about lowering admissions bars and thus placing students in a position of greater peril vis a vis actually graduating with a degree?
– 40% of black students and 37% of Hispanic students abandon STEM majors, as opposed to 29% of white students. Again, does it help black students succeed by lowering the bar?
– Interestingly, 71% of Harvard’s black and Hispanic students come from the top 20% of families in income. So is Harvard really interested in “diversity”, in helping students who are really disadvantaged? Maybe taking income level into account is more important than counting different melanin beans? Oh, and end legacy admissions (we can probably ALL agree on that).
– On the other hand, excellent HBCUs, despite enrolling just 10% of black undergraduates, produce 19% of black STEM graduates, 50% of black lawyers and doctors, and 80% of black judges. This isn’t an argument for racial segregation whatever; it’s an argument for ceasing this infernal quota system.
Rightly as well, the Court said that skin color could be taken into account as part of the student’s life experiences, as part of the picture of their life stories, as examples of those students overcoming whatever difficulties they might have experienced as a result of race and other factors. And that seems dead-on right. But college admissions–unlike economics, generally–is a zero-sum game, and Asian students, first and foremost, have experienced discrimination simply as a result of their heritage.
Is anyone else amazed by the fact that Dr. King’s vision (“by the content of their character, not the color of their skin”) has been effectively embraced by Americans of all stripes, including conservatives and many liberals, but seems adamantly opposed only by those on the regressive far left?
The Smith case, the third to be considered, may have garnered the most vitriol of all, and is likely at the same time the case least accurately depicted by the talking-head regressives. The basic facts are simple: the state of Colorado, long an aggressor in culture-war battles revolving around sex and gender issues, had demanded that people such as the plaintiff, in her case a web designer, create websites of all kinds, with discrimination according to conscience disallowed under penalty of law. This was described as a “religious liberty” case (it was not, though Smith is a Christian), and the outcome was described as allowing Smith to discriminate against groups of people (this also was not the case at all). Some dude who acted in the Sopranos decided that “bigots and homophobes” could no longer watch any of his work after the Supreme Court’s decision, opining that “hate and ignorance is not a legitimate point of view” and adding, “America is becoming dumber by the minute.”
I’m sorry, but the irony of this guy choosing those words is almost too much to bear.
Because the ruling had zero to do with “hate” or “ignorance” or “bigotry” or “homophobia” or “America becoming dumber by the minute” (though in other contexts, I might find agreement with Mr. Imperioli on that last one). Zero.
For starters, the plaintiff stipulated that she’d have no problem serving gay clients, and this is a constant theme with all the various “creatives” who have objected to using their talents in the service of gay marriage (the wedding photographer, the florist, the cake designer, and now the website specialist); each of these folks have made abundantly clear that they’d happily serve people of all stripes without prejudice or discrimination. In fact, given the widespread support of gay marriage in society, the same request could well have been made by a group of happily-married heterosexuals. that a website supporting gay marriage be designed. And the Court did not rule whatsoever upon the legality of discriminating against gay people–BECAUSE THAT WAS NOT IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM WHAT WAS BEING CONSIDERED.
Next, it was cast as a “religious freedom” case; that’d be a big “nope” as well, though it was a First Amendment case. It rather involved freedom of speech, and the ruling thusly–and correctly–applies to people of all faiths, and/or people of no particular faith. What was at issue instead was this question: can a person with particular creative skills (web design, cake creation, photography/videography, floral design, song-writing, poetry writing, cinematography; the list goes on and on when you think about it) be compelled against his/her will to create messages contrary to his/her personal convictions, at the point of a gun, as a condition of owning and running a business?
The best way to illustrate this and to give the lie to the…liars…is with a little quiz, which involves doing something Americans seem to have lost the ability to do (I trust my astute readers still have this empathetic ability). Here goes:
– You are approached by the Trump campaign (or the Biden campaign, pick your poison), a campaign you intensely oppose, and are told, “hey, we hear you are the very best at producing commercials. We want to hire you to head up all of our campaign work in this area.” Are you compelled by the state, as a condition of continuing to do business, to produce these commercials?
– You are approached by the American Nazi Party, and as a website designer whose grandparents died in the Holocaust, are asked to design their website, replete with swastikas, anti-Semitism, and the like. Do you gotta?
– You are a homosexual, and the best in the business when it comes to videography. Focus on the Family approaches you and attempts to hire you to promote its messages via video. Does the state have the right to make you do it?
– You are an atheist, and a group of fundamentalists approaches you…or a Christian photographer, and a porn site want you to work for them…or (the possibilities are seemingly endless).
If you believe that you must say “yes”, as a condition of continuing to own a business, then you are in agreement with the state of Colorado, and you can legitimately complain about the Supreme Court’s ruling. One “no”, however, to any of the above, and you have to agree that there are limits to the government’s ability to compel speech, and you must celebrate the ruling. Because far from the nonsense that the Supreme Court legalized discrimination against gays on the grounds of religion, the Court instead ruled that compelled speech is not free speech, that business owners do not give up their rights to freedom of speech and expression as a condition of conducting business, that the state of Colorado’s ham-handed attempts to force compliance (“you will be MADE to care”) are not consonant with the First Amendment and a robust understanding of freedom of speech.
And that, friends, is a decision that every freedom-loving American should wholeheartedly embrace.