Equality versus Discrimination

     Open the loony bins! Turn the patients loose! I used 
to work in a mental institution, and I can assure you 
that the people who were locked up there weren't much 
crazier than this country is today. Imagine debating 
whether to amend the Constitution to outlaw flag-burning 
and sodomite "marriage."

     Why didn't the Founding Fathers think of this? In 
those days, I suppose, people putting Betsy Ross's 
handiwork to the flames had not yet become the public 
menace it is today, and Washington and Jefferson could 
complacently assume that the problem might be dealt with 
locally rather than nationally.

     Likewise, the Founders might pardonably assume that 
marriage by definition meant a union between persons of 
opposite sexes, for the same reason that sodomy rarely 
occurs between two bulls in the same pasture. How were 
they to know that the judiciary branch of government, 
making creative use of the principle of equality, would 
one day rule that it was "discriminatory" to require that 
it, marriage, be denied to two persons of the same sex?

     Well, you can't think of everything, as it turns 
out, so now we have to deal with the Founders' 
oversights. Come to think of it, why arbitrarily stop 
with the number two? Why not three or more parties? 
Restricting the institution of matrimony to couples 
clearly discriminates against Mormons, for example. Isn't 
that religious discrimination?

     Anticipating future judicial lunacies is quite a 
challenge, and amending the Constitution is a cumbersome 
method of meeting it. Impeaching judges or stripping them 
of jurisdiction might be better approaches, but these 
would also require a level of sanity in the state and 
federal legislative branches that no longer exists. At 
the official level, this country has gone plumb loco.

     Welcome to democracy, folks. In a democracy, every 
form of discrimination is intolerable. It is our duty to 
be the opposite of discriminatory. In all things, 
equality requires us to be indiscriminate.


     To most of us, and I emphatically include myself, 
the words "economics" and "financial" are arid signals of 
bafflement and boredom. I guiltily rush past them to get 
to the sports pages. I don't really care how the dollar 
is doing on the world market today, even though I realize 
my own fate and the future of my beloved grandchildren 
are involved.

     A startling book has me paying more attention. 
Bill Bonner with Addison Wiggin (John Wiley & Sons), 
contends that the United States is headed for no less 
than "catastrophe."

     Why? Previous empires have tried, with varying 
success, to live off tribute from their conquests; the 
United States, perversely, has created a false prosperity 
by borrowing from poorer countries, building an enormous 
debt that has far outrun its ability to pay.

     Bonner traces most of the trouble to Woodrow Wilson, 
a fool of colossal proportions. Wilson combined imperial 
ambitions with economic folly, backing the Federal 
Reserve System which, allegedly founded to stabilize the 
currency, has actually reduced the dollar's real value, 
in less than a century, to that of a 1913 nickel. He also 
took this country into World War I, the first of many 
costly foreign misadventures. George W. Bush, equally 
blind and profligate, is his worthy successor in the 
final stages of America's decline.

     (Bonner also blames others for continuing this 
baleful tradition: Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, 
Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Alan Greenspan.)

     Nothing could be further from the truth, in Bonner's 
view, than Francis Fukuyama's thesis that we have arrived 
happily at "the end of history." The United States is 
only the latest of many empires Bonner surveys with 
cold-eyed detachment to succumb to the temptations of 
power; its follies have been aggravated by the delusion 
that it has been acting, every step of the way, for the 
benefit of all mankind.

     It isn't history that is coming to an end, but 
American prosperity. The superdebt is bound to collapse 
soon. Then Americans will bitterly learn the old lessons 
our ancestors knew, but which we thought didn't apply to 

     If you think Patrick Buchanan's DEATH OF THE WEST 
was pessimistic, read EMPIRE OF DEBT.

Cover Girl

     By now I always get a little nervous when one of my 
old friends' photos appears on the front page of the New 
York tabloids. On June 7, Ann Coulter was featured on the 
DAILY NEWS, with the headline "Coulter the Cruel" 
(subhead: "Right-wing author's brutal TODAY show tirade 
on 9/11 widows" and "New book accuses victims' wives of 
exploiting their grief"). The NEW YORK POST gave her 
similar coverage.

     Well, nobody can accuse Ann of parroting the 
conventional wisdom! In her new book GODLESS: THE CHURCH 
OF LIBERALISM, she calls four high-profile 9/11 widows 
"witches" and adds, "I've never seen people enjoying 
their husbands' deaths so much." She fires off red-hot 
opinions -- the only kind she has -- and doesn't take 
refuge in context, nuance, and the safe middle ground.

     If you wait for her to back off, you'll wait a long, 
long time.

     As William Blake said, "The tigers of wrath are 
wiser than the horses of instruction." Ann's most 
excessive-sounding opinions usually turn out to be right. 
And her wrath, though sincere, is full of fun and humor. 
When she's wrong, I just stand back in the confidence 
that she'll come around.

     As Blake also said, "If the fool would persist in 
his folly, he would become wise." And: "The road of 
excess leads to the palace of wisdom."

There He Goes Again

     While most pundits are distracted by such ephemera 
as war in Iraq, federal spending, and global warming, one 
man is keeping his eye on the ball. Writing from Rome, 
Richard Cohen decried Pope Benedict's "deafening silence" 
on, yes, the Holocaust.

     Good old Richard! He never disappoints. The Pope had 
actually just spoken at Auschwitz, saying the pious 
things dignitaries always say there, but Cohen wasn't 
taken in. He found the Holy Father insufficiently 
apologetic for the Church's conduct during World War II, 
and for good measure got in a swipe at St. Maximilian 

     More and more often these days, I find myself 
agreeing with Cohen on other matters. I simply resign 
myself to the expectation that he'll also keep writing 
these periodical monotonous tirades about the Church and 
the Holocaust.

     It's tempting to offer him a few facts, but it seems 
cruel to deprive an old-timer of his pet peeve.

                 +          +          +                  

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