June 10, 2021
ITEM #1: Florida Governor — and 6th Annual Basque Fry speaker — Ron DeSantis has stood out during the COVID-19 crisis for his willingness to challenge the left’s dogmatic narratives and arrogant directives regarding the appropriate response to the virus’ outbreak.
As the heavy-handed approach adopted by so many Democrat governors and championed by the press continues to be discredited by emerging facts, DeSantis, whose approach instead prioritized the preservation of liberty and deployed greater tactical precision in combatting the virus, has become increasingly vindicated.
While Floridians can count themselves blessed to have had such a competent and responsible leader throughout the pandemic, the unfortunate reality is that many Americans suffered and continue to suffer because of the poor decisions made by so many of our country’s so-called “experts.”
And at a recent press conference, DeSantis showed he’s not shy about calling out the guilty parties by name
Writing for National Review, Caroline Downey reports:
“During a press briefing Friday, Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R.) slammed the U.S. government agencies and individuals responsible for managing the COVID pandemic, namely Dr. Anthony Fauci, for issuing contradictory guidance that wasn’t supported by scientific evidence.
“A trove of Fauci’s email correspondence from the last year was recently released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In one email, Fauci admitted the dubious efficacy of mask-wearing for protecting against COVID infection, despite publicly imploring Americans to wear face coverings in most venues and settings for the better part of the year.
“'I think now with Fauci’s emails ... it’s pretty clear that a lot of this stuff was fly by the seat of your pants guidance. This was not based on hard data,' DeSantis stated.
“'This bureaucracy needs to be brought to account. You can’t have a bureaucracy that’s just going out and issuing these rules on the fly. They literally said, "If you’re sunbathing on a cruise ship you have to wear a mask." Really? I mean, give me a break,' he added seemingly in critique of the CDC.
"The governor criticized legacy media’s strict adherence to the accepted COVID orthodoxy in 2020 and neglect of intellectual openness that might give way to other competing, compelling explanations. He lambasted the tech companies’ censorship of those who discussed the lab-leak hypothesis of COVID’s origin on the internet."
It's never easy to go against the conventional wisdom, particularly when doing so invites so much heat and criticism from the media, as was the case for DeSantis. Which only makes his willingness to stand his ground and fight to expose the truth that much more important and admirable.
We suspect the Governor will have a thing or two to say about all this when he joins us on August 14 for the Basque Fry at Corley Ranch in Gardnerville, and if you haven’t yet bought your ticket to attend, you can do so here.
ITEM #2: In a piece for the Atlantic, John McWhorter shares yet another troubling development in the wild, woke world of academia:
“The classics department at Princeton University recently decided that the idea that classics majors ought to know Latin or Greek has been a mistake. Old-fashioned, perhaps. Until now, undergrads who wanted to major in the study of classical texts needed to come into the concentration with at least an intermediate level of Latin or Greek. But those students will no longer even have to learn either language to receive a degree in classics.”
Not surprisingly, McWhorter notes, advancing “racial equity” appears to be the chief motive here.
While he acknowledges that the “official argument for the new policy at Princeton does not explicitly follow racialized lines,” he also points out that:
"The department had considered the policy change before, the Princeton Alumni Weekly reported, but saw it as taking on a 'new urgency' by the 'events around race that occurred last summer.' The department’s website includes a proclamation that the 'history of our own department bears witness to the place of Classics in the long arc of systemic racism.'
"The website also announces that the department wants to 'create opportunities for the advancement of students and (future) colleagues from historically underrepresented backgrounds within the discipline.' This will mean 'ensuring that a broad range of perspectives and experiences inform our study of the ancient Greek and Roman past.'”
McWhorter also informs us that, “One of the department’s faculty, Dan-el Padilla Peralta, is a Black man who declared in 2019, ‘If one were intentionally to design a discipline whose institutional organs and gatekeeping protocols were explicitly aimed at disavowing the legitimate status of scholars of color, one could not do better than what classics has done.’”
McWhorter, himself a professor of linguistics at Columbia University, does an excellent job of spelling out the many serious problems with Princeton’s approach. He makes a strong case that “a justification of Princeton’s policy change on the basis of countering white supremacy is gravely thin,” and also notes that the decision would deprive students of the “pleasant challenge of mastering Latin or Greek.”
“The works that classics scholars are examining were created — and have been embraced and interpreted — by people whose selves and views would not pass our anti-racism tests today. … But making that our primary measure of classical texts qualifies less as reflection than as declaration, a one-note clarion call that discourages anything but assent. It leads to no further questions. It is, beyond a certain point that we arrive at quickly, unscholarly.”
And he calls the decision “a typical example of a university rushing to make policy changes under the guise of promoting racial equity that are as likely to promote racism as to uproot it.”
The full piece is well worth a read, and available here.
ITEM #3: And just when you thought the national conversation involving race couldn’t get any nuttier…
Fox News’ Brian Flood reports:
"The top editor for National Geographic was mocked on Monday when she literally played the race card in an email, calling herself, 'white, privileged, with much to learn.'
"National Geographic editor-in-chief Susan Goldberg had the unusual line beneath her signature, in a message to readers promoting the magazine's 'race card' project that encouraged personal 'six-word micro-essays about race.'
"'We invite you to add your thoughts about race and identity to the project. It’s challenging to take a subject such as race and distill it into six words. We all have a lot of "race cards" inside of us, and no doubt they change with time and circumstance. I asked a friend who had participated in the project to share hers: '"Only Black family in the neighborhood'" was one of her race cards. "Suburban soccer mom. Doesn’t fit narrative" was another,' she wrote.
"Most Americans have seen it all in the modern era of things such as preferred pronouns being included in email signatures and social media bios, but the 'race card' still caught people off guard who quickly mocked it."
For commentary on this, it’s hard to top this tweet from American Conservative senior editor Rod Dreher, who helpfully includes a screenshot of Goldberg’s email signature:
ITEM #4: So what will happen if Democrats fail to pass their massive federal overhaul of our elections? Congressman Jim Clyburn has some rather … interesting … thoughts on the matter. And apparently he’s got at least one person in the press on board with his theory.
Joseph A. Wulfsuhn reports:
"MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace was in agreement with House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., who argued that not passing the sweeping Democratic voting bill that would federalize how elections are run in every state is equivalent to the 'fall of the Roman empire.'
"Appearing on 'Deadline: White House' on Monday, Clyburn was welcomed by Wallace, urging the top Democrat to 'fill me up with wisdom!'
"Clyburn was later asked by Wallace about the 'urgency' to pass For the People Act, which is facing a major roadblock after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., announced his opposition to the bill and his refusal to eliminate the filibuster. ...
"'We have got to decide whether or not members of Congress are going to stand up for constitutional principles before a democracy or will not allow … the tyranny of the minority to run the country and when you do that then you are headed downhill fast,' Clyburn said. 'When I used to teach history I used to tell my students all the time I want you to remember two dates. 476 AD. That’s the year the Roman empire fell and passed the whole world into darkness. And it did not come to light again until 1066 when William the Conqueror opened it up again and if we’re not careful — the greatest democracy on the face of the Earth will go the way of the Roman empire. The history is very clear.'
"He continued, 'I would say this is not a Democratic problem. This is not a problem for Democrats. This is a problem for every person in these United States of America and we better wake up or we can gonna find ourselves going the way of the Roman empire and many others since.'"
We’re not sure which is scarier — that these ideas are coming from a current member of the United States Congress … or that they’re coming from someone who actually used to teach history!
ITEM #5: And yet, somehow, that may not have been the most insane thing said by a Democrat member of Congress this week.
Fox News’ Houston Keene reports:
"Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., on Monday appeared to place America in the same category as the Taliban and Hamas, saying the U.S., Israel and the terrorist groups have all committed 'unthinkable atrocities.'
"Omar, a member of the progressive 'Squad,' posted a tweet that said that the U.S. needs to 'have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity.'
"The Minnesota Democrat then claimed America and Israel have committed 'unthinkable atrocities' like those committed by the terrorist groups.
"'We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban,' wrote Omar."
Just as outrageous as Omar’s words is the silence from her fellow Democrats, who lack either the courage or the moral clarity to criticize their colleague’s disgusting, anti-American hatred.
ITEM #6: And lastly this week, we wanted to share a piece from Seth Barron, who, writing for The American Mind, takes a look at how the national “news” media continue to embarrass themselves with their kid-gloves coverage of President Biden — while blatantly ignoring or downplaying stories of real consequence.
“Last week, Biden exited an ice-cream shop, decked in his trademark aviator shades, holding a cone. A small crowd, composed mostly of fans, oohed and ahhed his appearance. ‘We are so excited about what you are doing for the country,’ one enthusiast gushed. ‘Well, thank you,’ responded the President.
“A reporter called out, ‘Mr. President, what did you order?’ Biden gestured with his cone and answered, ‘Chocolate chocolate chip,’ to gasps of wonderment and approval, the way benevolent aunts might applaud a 3-year old who has buttoned his pants correctly. The reporter followed up her initial salvo by asking what Biden would say to Republicans who were blocking the establishment of a commission to investigate the disorder at the Capitol on January 6. ‘Eat some chocolate chocolate chip,’ he riposted.”
“The release of the emails of Anthony Fauci (‘Dr. Fauci’) has further frayed the edges of the standard narrative, especially following the general acknowledgement that the novel coronavirus almost certainly did emerge from the lab in Wuhan that conducted advanced research into bat viruses, contradicting 18 months of fevered insistences that the virus appeared ‘naturally.’
“Even speaking as a non-scientist and just as someone who reads newspapers, the massive effort by the media and other servants of power to pretend that the virus emerged out of a batcave seemed absurd and coordinated from the beginning. As early as February or March 2000, I recall reading that there was a major virology lab a few hundred yards from the ‘wet market’ that was first identified as the source of initial contagion. Wasn’t this coincidence worthy of investigation?
“Instead, we were subject to constant insistences that the lab-leak hypothesis was a racist ‘conspiracy theory’ that Trump was using to deflect attention away from the 500,000 people he had murdered through denial and mismanagement of the pandemic response. Not too long ago we were informed that the Chinese claim that the virus came from meat imported into China from abroad — possibly from America — was credible. ‘Who knows?!’ became the correct response.”
Barron concludes with this wonderfully incisive kicker: “The real story apparently was too hot to keep covered up forever, and seems to be leaking out slowly. Eventually we may know the truth. Meanwhile, Dr. Fauci still has his job, and Joe Biden laps contentedly at his ice cream.”