Saturday, January 26, 2008


Two weeks ago San Diego’s City Council followed the lead of City Attorney Mike Aguirre and agreed to pay $760,000 to James McElroy, the lawyer for deceased atheist Philip Paulson—the litigant in the Mount Soledad cross case.

Apparently Aguirre (a long-time opponent of the cross) and federal Judge Gordon Thompson Jr. think McElroy deserves remuneration despite the fact that Mr. Paulson is no longer with us and that the veterans memorial cross still stands atop Mount Soledad. Indeed, Aguirre facilitated this taxpayer-funded windfall by blithely acquiescing to a plaintiff swap for this death-defying lawsuit.

Four years ago the city of San Diego agreed to pay $950,000 to the ACLU because of a suit over the Boy Scouts’ dollar-a-year Balboa Park lease. In both these cases plaintiffs utilized a “fee shifting” rule first instituted by Congress to aid poor victims of racial discrimination. This same rule keeps school districts and municipalities supine before the ACLU’s well-funded legal threats.

All this anti-religious legal activity is made possible because of an opinion written in 1947 by Justice Hugo Black in Everson v. Board of Education, the critical case upon which the role of religion in American public life now turns.

It was in Everson that Black, citing a letter written by President Thomas Jefferson to Connecticut’s Danbury Baptists, asserted that the Constitution erects a “high and impregnable” wall between church and state that doesn’t admit “the slightest breach.” Inexplicably, Black ruled that New Jersey’s funding of transportation to religious schools did not violate his unprecedented judicial standard—a standard that would have rendered unconstitutional the God-sated language on the recently constructed Jefferson Memorial.

Our current legal intolerance toward religious expression arose because subsequent justices took seriously the standard that Black himself didn’t take to heart. Nor did Thomas Jefferson place Black’s interpretation on the words he penned to his Connecticut admirers, since two days latter the president attended (as he regularly did) the church services that were held in the capitol building from 1795 to 1866. (These and other little-known facts are discussed in Stephen Mansfield’s instructive book, “Ten Tortured Words.”)

Nowadays the ACLU and other secularist organizations wield these recently crafted legal cudgels to see that public monies and institutions are only employed to disseminate ideas they embrace—either via the SB 777 legislation that recently passed in Sacramento or via gay pride parades manned by reluctant city firefighters.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the naïve notion of state neutrality in matters of religion is only a ruse employed to censor traditional perspectives. Meanwhile, a host of anti-religious ideas fill the ethical vacuum.

Anyone who thinks that public schools and colleges aren’t indoctrinating young people with the whole “progressive” playbook--from support for gay marriage to reverence for an elite-led socialist society--simply hasn’t been paying attention. Indeed, as Jonah Goldberg’s new book explains, dissenting parents are now paying, through taxes and legal awards, to have their children converted to the religion of liberal fascism.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


In 2003 Solana Beach outlawed smoking on the beach. In the following years communities from Del Mar to Oceanside followed suite. Beachless Poway, along with other North County municipalities, outlawed smoking in city parks.

Last year the northern California city of Belmont approved an ordinance that would restrict smoking not only in the workplace but also in all multilevel, multi-unit housing—a restriction so comprehensive that a total ban on smoking seems the next logical step.

Recently the San Diego City Council, responding to a booze-fueled melee in Pacific Beach, passed a one-year trial ban on alcohol consumption on city beaches—a ban that has been met with an apparently successful petition calling for a public vote on the measure.

On another restrictive front, the California Coastal Commission recently published a 236-page staff report that warned against completing a toll road (Highway 241) on the San Diego-Orange County line because the project might threaten the Pacific pocket mouse and arroyo toad populations.

Topping those news items, the California Energy Commission was recently pushing revisions in its Building Energy Efficiency Standards that would mandate “programmable communicating thermostats” in all new residential buildings. These thermostats would have contained a non-removable Radio Data System that allowed state officials to set temperatures during “emergency events.” Fortunately, protests have caused the Commission to rethink this non-overridable feature.

What all these developments have in common is government control—a “helping hand” that reaches from the beach to your living room and that covers concerns as varied as cigarette-butt litter to the number of arroyo toads living near the ocean.

Last week the North County Times published columnist Rich Lowry’s review of Jonah Goldberg’s new book, “Liberal Fascism” (Jan. 10, “Who you calling ‘fascist’?”). Goldberg, Lowry notes, points to the historical and ideological links between fascism and the state-centered policies of the left—policies that suppress individual freedom and private group rights for the sake of the whole.

According to Lowry’s Goldberg, “liberal fascism” is “pacifist rather than militaristic and feminine rather than masculine in its orientation, but it also seeks to increase the power of the state and overcome tradition in sweeping crusades pursued with the moral fervor of war.”

While I don’t fancy encounters with streams of smoke at the beach or at city parks, I’m more concerned about the way powerful groups are transforming almost every aspect of life into a matter requiring state intervention. Already a drumbeat for regulating fast food is building—a drumbeat that will grow frenetic as healthcare is socialized.

As for arroyo toads, I’d wager a Franklin that Coastal Commission staff doesn’t give a kangaroo rat’s behind about endangered species—that their real agenda involves a “holistic” vision of a non-capitalist society with them at the controls.

In 1981 Professor Daniel Callahan composed an article (“Minimalist Ethics”) that warned of a morally neutered society where all matters of conduct become, by default, legal issues. Goldberg might note that “liberal fascism” flourishes in a culture where self-control has become passé.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


In George Orwell's world, "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength." Those definitions are from the same ideological dictionary that today touts the virtue of "diversity." Put succinctly, "Diversity is conformity." The longer rendering concerns persons of every race, ethnicity, sex or perceived sexual identity who believe exactly the same thing.

In an attempt to further politicize a public school system saturated with ideological indoctrination, the Democrat-dominated California Legislature recently teamed with the Governator to pass another law, Senate Bill 777, to strengthen protections for gay and transgender kids in our public schools.

SB 777, sponsored by state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, guarantees that districts will get the message that no dissent on the gender agenda will be tolerated. Indeed, that landmark piece of pedagogical propaganda paves the way into the brave new world of perceived gender identity.
Having preempted parents with respect to sex education and abortion facilitation, California's spectacularly mediocre public schools are now undertaking the task of reprogramming little tikes from "show me yours" curiosity to the liberating frontier of "imaginative plumbing."

According to Kuehl's new civil rights lexicon, gender discrimination now includes a person's gender identity and gender-related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person's assigned sex at birth. This preposterous definition literally drips with diversity dogma, implying that administrators who are wary of gussied up guys are guilty of stereotyping because of an arbitrary label that was affixed to those students in the maternity ward.

Kuehl and the gender police in Sacramento insist, of course, that SB 777 is only a cosmetic alteration of pre-existing policy, but the gay lobby that pushed this new legal formulation is already planning to introduce curriculum that helps implement the idiotic idea that genitals have nothing to do with one's "assigned sex at birth."

The Gay-Straight Alliance Network, for example, is pushing a curricular guide called "Sharing Our Dreams" that purportedly "sets the record straight" about the historical contributions of LGBT individuals. No doubt in the next few years pervasive PC inserts will clutter the already dumbed-down history texts so that students without a clue about Alexander Hamilton will become as familiar with the civil rights contributions of Latina transwoman Sylvia Rivera as they now are of the Revolutionary heroism of Crispus Attucks.

Currently a petition is being circulated that would put SB 777 on a referendum ballot. North County petition centers in Escondido, Vista, and Carlsbad are listed on the SaveOurKids Web site. Most of our avant-garde educational system, however, seems not to need legislative sticks to compel them to push social agendas that a great number of parents find repulsive and that put words like "mom" and "dad" into the same category as ethnic slurs. With or without SB 777, educators' enthusiasm for "diversity" will silence their voices.

John Tierney's Take on Global Warming Hysteria

It's in the New York Times no less! Another inconvenient opinion for Algore.