Jan. 6, Brazil mobs pointless, the GOP’s new-old impasse and other commentary


From the right: Jan. 6, Brazil Mobs Pointless

Mobs like those that stormed government buildings in Brasilia “can’t build anything” and “can’t make any serious claim to legitimacy or constitutional authority” — making them more like our Jan. 6 rioters “than the would-be insurrectionists might realize,” argues National Review’s Jim Geraghty. Such groups “can only hope, against long odds” to “summon enough of a threat of violence that the entire previously existing constitutional order collapses” so they can “rule by force.” Yes, “populist movements have an easy time whipping people up into an angry frenzy.” But “the anger burns itself out eventually” because “average human beings, from the U.S. to Brazil to the far corners of the Earth,” want to “live in peace and provide for their families.”

Libertarian: The Occupational Licensing Scam

Occupational licensing is “a weapon to enforce conformity,” thunders Reason’s J.D. Tuccille. Witness the move by the Ontario College of Psychologists to make Jordan Peterson take re-education classes over “offenses” such as “criticizing Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.” The action cloaks “authoritarianism in the language of concern,” and though “creepy in a typically Canadian way” may be headed to the US soon via a California law restricting what doctors can say about COVID. “Politicized licensing would bypass debate and shut down dissent through force of law,” so “unless you’re a fan of handing political weapons to regulators who want to muzzle dissent, there’s little good to say about making people seek permission to make a living.”

Conservative: The GOP’s New-Old Impasse

The days of “the Republican Party that existed before Donald Trump came along” are back, observes The New York Times’ Ross Douthat — that is, an establishment “without any particular vision or agenda” bedeviled by “conservatives with a lot of legitimate complaints about process joined to a policy vision that’s mostly performative gestures and fiscal apocalypticism.” An “escape is imaginable”: Focus on passing bills where the GOP has “an advantage with the public: a crime bill, a border security bill,” etc., but “recognize the impossibility” of forcing “meaningful fiscal changes on a Democratic-controlled Senate and White House.” So “seek cuts in places that matter to Democratic interest groups,” as deals that “just preserve the status quo” are “what will happen anyway.” Either “House Republicans present themselves as a plausible governing party” or “their internal divisions yield both emptiness and chaos.”

Energy beat: Some Inconvenient Truths

“Without question, America’s commitment to the ‘energy transition’ is now in high gear,” cheers Bernard L. Weinstein in The Hill, but “fossil fuels aren’t going away soon, either here or around the globe.” The US is “the world’s number one oil producer at 18.6 million barrels per day,” making American energy exports, including natural gas and coal, “a lifeline for Europe” amid disruptions from Vladimir Putin’s war. And “fossil fuel use in fast-growing countries such as India and China will continue indefinitely.” Realistic discussions should focus on “technologies such as carbon sequestration and methane capture, rather than passing bans on hydraulic fracturing, fighting new pipelines, or requiring new office buildings and homes to be all electric.”

Educator: The School-Discipline Crisis

“Misbehavior, office referrals, and violence spiked this past year in schools and districts across the country,” Daniel Buck warns at National Affairs, and one key reason is “the trend away from punitive discipline.” Many schools embrace “ ‘restorative justice,’ which focuses on mediation and restitution as opposed to punishment,” but “it doesn’t achieve its promised goals.” Indeed, it “degrades academic performance while failing to reduce misbehavior — or, in some cases, fostering it.” In fact, “the purpose of a suspension isn’t necessarily the reformation of the one,” but the protection of the 30 other children in that student’s class and the hundreds of others in the building.” This needn’t be partisan: “A poll from the National Education Association found that 90% of teachers say burnout is a serious concern; 76% identify student behavior as a driver of it.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board


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