It’s comical to hear a leftist advocacy group complain that someone
else doesn’t “understand the meaning of the Constitution,” especially
when the organization’s officials themselves, rather obviously, have no
I reference a story published
yesterday by CNN, which reported that the first lady doesn’t think the
City of New York has the right to pull funding from a Brooklyn art
exhibition for displaying “artwork” depicting the Virgin Mary covered in
elephant dung. That “revelation,” in and of itself, shouldn’t surprise
anyone. The first lady is the epitome of a statist, and virtually every
one of her ideas since coming to Washington has involved enlarging the
federal government with your tax dollars.
But aside from the obvious, the obscenity and religious insensitivity
such a “work of art” emulates shouldn’t be funded with tax money
— nor should any other art project or art exhibit. The Constitution
doesn’t mandate that Americans support “art” with tax dollars.
Rather, these mechanisms of support are the brainchildren of liberal
statist politicians who want others to pay for things they enjoy.
What is disturbing is New York Civil Liberties Union Director Norman
Siegel’s assertion that Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s threat to cut funding
violates the First Amendment.
“His assertion that New York City can withdraw all funds for the
museum based on a single exhibition that he finds offensive illustrates
a serious misunderstanding of the Constitution,” Siegel said.
Oh, really? In other words, Mr. Siegel, you believe the First
Amendment mandates that you and I have to share our wages with
the Brooklyn Museum of Art? You are asserting that it is your
right to take money from taxpayers in order to be able to exercise
the First Amendment? Are you out of your mind, or just so liberally
subverted that you’re not thinking straight?
Mr. Siegel, the exercise of rights in the Constitution has
nothing to do with money. The amount of tax money paid to
support anything in this country is very carefully defined in the
Constitution (Article I, Sect. 8), and nowhere does it say that
taxpayers must fund art exhibits — offensive or otherwise.
Mr. Siegel, would you feel the same way if the Ku Klux Klan demanded
tax money for an art exhibit depicting blacks in an unflattering
manner? How about Jews? Of course you wouldn’t; you’d call their
exhibits a violation of federal “hate crimes” laws, not an extension of
their right to free speech under the First Amendment.
Can you say, “hypocrite?”
The reality is, Mayor Giuliani and the New York City Council have
every right to vote to withhold city funds for anything they
wish. Taxpayers and voters have entrusted them to make these kinds of
Besides, no one has ever said the museum cannot display this
twisted image (created by
an “artist” who claims to be Roman Catholic?). Rather, Mr. Giuliani is
— rightfully — saying New Yorkers are not mandated to support
financially an art exhibit many of them find offensive. And that, Mr.
Siegel, is no violation of the First Amendment.
Mrs. Clinton said she personally wouldn’t go see this exhibit, but
that the museum has “a right” to display this painting and other
offensive stuff. That would be fine, and she’d be correct, if only
she were sincere. But I’m betting she — like Mr. Siegel —
would call other offensive stuff desecrating other religious icons and
nationalities “hateful,” and move to have them banned or even have the
artists arrested and tried.
When Americans allow their elected officials to alter the meaning and
intent of the Constitution, it no longer serves as an evenhanded,
unbiased document guaranteeing the same rights to all people. Instead,
it becomes a tool to use when convenient, or an anachronism to discard
when it prevents some favored group from doing something it wants to do
— and getting Americans to pay for it.
Truth and lies about Buchanan
Rush Limbaugh and other conservative commentators are sure getting a
lot of mileage out of Pat Buchanan’s expected decision to leave the
Republican Party. But truth be told, country club Republicans and
“mainstream” conservatives have been getting a lot of mileage out of
bashing Buchanan for quite some time, so really, this isn’t new.
On yesterday’s show, Limbaugh compared Buchanan’s expected departure
from the GOP to a little boy who was “taking his ball and going home”
because “he can’t have his way.” Oh, please. And this from a man who
boasts about his own intelligence the way other people boast about their
kids. Limbaugh’s simplistic explanation of Buchanan’s departure may work
on an equally simplistic audience that gushes at the mere sound of his
bumper music, but it doesn’t wash anymore with Americans who are fed up
with status quo politics from both sides of the aisle.
And make no mistake about it — what “Dubya” offers is not much
different than what Gore or Bradley offer: Status quo politics. Only the
details differ slightly, but the result, rest assured, will be the same.
What is new about Republican attacks on Buchanan, however, is
the fevered pitch of that criticism — suggesting panic — and the
inability of these conservatives to grasp why so many of their brethren
are leaving the so-called “Big Tent” in the first place.
One common theme opponents from both parties continue to harp on is
the ridiculous (and tired) assertion that Buchanan is anti-Semitic
because of what critics perceive he wrote in his latest book. But for that aspect of
Buchanan’s defense, I let Pat himself tell the story that so few in
either major political party seem capable of comprehending:
“Listening to John McCain, I may be the first man ever read out of
the Republican Party for refusing to support the Danzig policy of
Neville Chamberlain. For those unfamiliar with ‘A Republic, Not an
Empire,’ let me summarize what I believe:
“Hitlerism was conceived in the brutal gang rape of a defeated
Germany in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles in 1919, as Woodrow Wilson,
who had promised justice to the German people, looked on. The
Harding-Coolidge-Hoover policy of easing reparations and seeking to
bring a defeated, demoralized, divided, democratic Germany back into the
family of Western nations was morally and politically sound.
“Chamberlain’s Danzig Policy, giving Poland a war guarantee he had
neither the capacity nor will to honor, was not only immoral, it was, as
Lloyd George said, ‘demented,’ and led to war in the West, the Nazi
occupation of the European democracies, the death of 400,000 British
soldiers, and the destruction of the British Empire.
“It was Wilsonism, liberal interventionism, not ‘isolationism,’ that
created the moral-political swamp in which fascism, Hitlerism, and
Stalinism were spawned. Unable to deal with the truth — that their own
heroes produced the disasters that may yet bring down the curtain on
Western Civilization — the blind children of Wilson now scapegoat
[Pope] Pius XII and America First.
“Do those attacking me realize they are defending the policies that
produced World War II and virtual annihilation of the Jewish population
of Europe? While the West is busy erecting Holocaust museums, it has
failed to study the history that produced it.
“Today, the United States is handing out war guarantees all over
Eastern Europe, guarantees a future generation of Americans may refuse
to honor, guarantees that are driving a defeated, demoralized, divided
and democratic Russia, with 20,000 nuclear weapons, straight into the
arms of a Chinese Communist regime whose rulers bristle with hatred and
resentment at hubristic American attempts to create some arrogant
“My book was written to prevent that cataclysm; my book was written
to save lives. As for my Republican rivals, opportunistically piling on
me, to the giddy applause of the Establishment, do you really think you
will be spared, should you, too, violate the norms of Political
Correctness and speak truth to power?”
And to Buchanan’s explanation, I add this: Who among the current crop
of candidates masquerading as conservative Republicans can debunk these
truths about our 20th Century history? Who among them can honestly say
their alternative — the status (statist) quo — will produce different
results “this time,” when so much of the world is already
against the very hegemony these candidates continue to endorse?
No one can debate Buchanan on these issues, either because they
simply do not have the learned knowledge of history, or because they are
genetically incapable of accepting the rationality of his argument.
Either way, it doesn’t bode well for the future of this country.