Making up enemies

It is often said that Republicans need an enemy. Moreover, if none is conveniently available. they'll invent one. We have all experienced how insurgents on Jan. 6, 2021, blamed "Antifa" for the violence. "Antifa" meaning "anti-fascist." It takes but a moment's reflection to understand how the term is misapplied in the context of the attack on the U.S. Capitol and other demonstrations by violent right-wing groups.

The Allies in World War II fought fascist regimes in Europe. Thus, the American military was part of a larger, and victorious, "antifa" force against Hitler and Mussolini. The term simply doesn't fit the modern use by right-wing rioters hiding behind a made-up enemy called "Antifa." In fact, if properly applied, today's users are labeling themselves as fascists.

We now have a new word enemy. Republican politicians are throwing around the term "woke" in their campaigns to cast blame for everything they don't like, from children's books to bank failure. Former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are both vowing to crush "wokism." Once again, a moment's reflection or Internet search reveals that the derivation of the term "woke" goes back to African American slang, as a warning to stay alert tor social injustice. Which, in its original use, meant injustice wrought by white people against Black folks.

Once again, the modern use of the term by Republicans does not fit the definition. And, perhaps more importantly, it tends to reveal the misusers as demagogues, white supremacists or both. It is high time that these would-be political leaders are called out for their deliberate misuse of semantics to create enemies and inflame rather than educate.


Hot Springs Village

On tuition vouchers

I believe Gwen Faulkenberry is well advised to seek “redemption.” We should all do likewise.

More immediately, she should first seek enlightenment, of which it seems she is sadly bereft, if her March 19 column is any indication.

Tuition vouchers empower parents in charting the educational path of their children. Vouchers are in no rational sense a “diversion” or “misappropriation” of “public” funds to which (indeed) government schools have no a priori “entitlement” in the first instance.

Children belong to their parents and not (to the extent that they can be said to “belong” to anyone other than God and themselves) to government bureaucrats.

There is nothing historically inevitable, foreordained, or morally or constitutionally inexorable about government schools. Indeed, for a long time they did not even exist in this country. They are, properly understood, merely an ongoing experiment; an experiment whose time, in the minds of more than a few people, has come and gone.


Little Rock

There’s no free lunch

In the LEARNS Act, the state of Arkansas is requiring a minimum salary of $50,000 for teachers employed by the state. This is no different than the federal government placing a minimum wage on employment in general. Wanting to attract more teachers to lessen the current shortages and believing the market wage for teachers in Arkansas insufficient to do so, the LEARNS framers inserted the minimum.

Fortunately, the state is willing to fund raises to $50,000 for teachers below that salary and an additional $2,000 raise for all other teachers. Unfortunately, there is no free lunch. The state will have to get the money from other programs or raise taxes.

More unfortunately, the state has adopted a one-size-fits-all approach with no recognition of differing supply and demand conditions in various academic fields, or low-income areas. This will create inequities and dissatisfaction. The costs of rectifying these difficulties will fall on the individual school districts at a time when their revenue is being taken away by the LEARNS voucher system. School districts will be forced to cut costs (larger classes, curtailing special programs for small groups, etc.) or convince their electorates to increase property-tax rates. There is no free lunch.

Even the Arkansas Legislature, the governor concurring, cannot repeal the basic laws of economics. There still is no free lunch.



Amazing things here

It is amazing what one can learn by reading just one page of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, say page 5H (the Voices page) on March 5, 2023.

One reader informs us that our new governor is wrong to blame our president and our government for inflation. The writer says the government has nothing to do with causing inflation. Gee, how I have been misinformed for so many years? Another writer tells us the last Ice Age ended 15,000 years ago. During this time the ice was two miles thick in St. Louis. He warns us not to listen to the dingbats about the benefits of solar panels and windmills. Actually, he might be raising a common-sense approach on these two sources of energy; perhaps he is simply ahead of his time. Still another writer has a solution to the quickly rising crisis on Social Security. Since these funds have been borrowed by Congress in a unified budget approach, just have Congress pay the money back. Simple, you see!

On that same page our local liberal who has the answer to all the world’s problems tries his best to make a hero out of Sen. Clarke Tucker and make a clown out of Sen. John Payton. Naturally, he fails to do so and John Payton, who I have known and worked with for years, can run circles around the likes of John Brummett. John Payton should feel gratified and in good company that Brummett is trying to conjure up bad things on him just as he tries to do with our new governor and our junior United States senator.

All this and more in just one page of our daily newspaper.


Heber Springs

The ghost of Dilbert

Interesting you dropped Dilbert but continue to show his character in the header of your comics pages on Sunday. Either complete the cancel-culture act or reinstate the comic strip because your replacement comic strip Curtis should be seriously rethought.



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