The problem with writing opinion columns in the stupid age is that there are so many cases of stupid that it becomes nearly impossible to focus on just one. Hence the occasional column which tries to touch on stupid things that haven't gotten touched on yet, among which:
• "Public health experts" (a phrase I hope we hear a lot less in 2021, along with "follow the science" and "social distancing") recommending a racial preference system for covid vaccinations even if it means vaccinating a healthy 25-year-old Black male who is at virtually no risk and letting an 80-year-old white female with underlying conditions die (just to even out those virus death rates among races; the "equity" thing).
By such (truly morbid) identity politics logic we could also just arrest lots of white people for crimes they didn't commit and fail to charge lots of Black people for crimes they did in order to reduce pesky disparities in law enforcement. We might have to go especially hard on lots of innocent Asian Americans given the huge disparity between Asian American and white crime rates.
Is that what social justice means, and if so, how compatible is it with the traditional kind?
• The way in which claims regarding the integrity of mail-in voting--that a number of states have used it over time without significant evidence of fraud--conveniently ignore that the primary criticism of such a voting method is that, by breaking the chain of ballot custody, it makes it more difficult to uncover such evidence.
Put differently, defenders of mail-in voting want us to rely upon a system that makes it difficult to identify fraud and then claim that all is well because no fraud has been identified.
Ballot integrity in a free, fair election requires that fraud be discouraged by both making it hard to commit and easy to catch. Mail-in voting doesn't meet either criterion.
• People accusing one of my favorite essayists, Joseph Epstein, of "sexism" and "misogyny" for poking fun at "Dr. Jill Biden" in his now infamous Wall Street Journal column.
I've held a doctorate for over 30 years from a respected institution of higher learning and I've never stuck out my hand and introduced myself to someone as "Dr. Gitz," let alone insisted that I be referred to that way by others.
I don't really care if certain people feel the need to alleviate status insecurity by embracing titles (much like tinpot dictators award themselves medals), but it might make more sense to limit the use of "Dr." to people who can help if your buddy has a heart attack on the 18th green.
• The economically regressive logic of college debt forgiveness proposals which require working-class stiffs without college degrees to pay off the college loans of doctors, lawyers, and CPAs.
Such proposals also unintentionally tell us something about the value of a college degree these days--if those degrees signify the acquisition of the knowledge and critical reasoning skills that they are supposed to (that the holder is indeed properly educated, and therefore a presumably valuable employee), then why do those possessing them need debt relief?
• Would-be tyrants like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reminding us why the First Amendment is so important.
Cuomo, who seems to specialize in periodic authoritarian displays to applause from liberals who really aren't liberals, has now signed into law a ban on the sale of so-called "hate symbols" on state property.
As many have pointed out on many previous occasions, there is no "hate speech" exception in the Constitution for the simple reason that what one person considers hateful another might not. And the last thing we should want is the government making the call.
A circumstance in which government decides what we can and cannot say (and thus, eventually, what we can and cannot say about those who govern us) is precisely what the First Amendment sought to prevent.
Those proposing such bans, including even Cuomo, probably know that they are unconstitutional but prioritize scoring points with woke lefties over legal punctiliousness. As David Harsanyi recently pointed out, they also want to "get people who still believe in liberal values to sound like they're defending ugly things like the Confederate flag rather than a neutral principle."
• The lesson in fiscal logic provided by Chuck Schumer when he proclaimed during the debate over stimulus checks that he didn't "want to hear that we can't afford it."
Granted, "We can't afford it" is seldom something anybody wants to hear, but that doesn't mean we don't need to, at least occasionally, and perhaps especially at a time when our national debt has soared way past our gross domestic product and continues soaring. (And if not then, when? Ever?)
It might have taken him over 20 years in the Senate to accomplish it, but Schumer has thus finally performed a useful public service, albeit unintentionally, by succinctly reminding us of the stupid thinking that put us in the fiscal hole in the first place.
But the hunch is we'll keep on digging anyway. Because that's just what stupid does.
Freelance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.