We must start with what was done. Terrorists calling themselves a resistance movement passed over the border from Gaza and murdered little children; they took infants hostage as they screamed. They murdered old women, tormented and raped young women, targeted an overnight music festival and murdered the unarmed young people in cold blood or mowed them down as they ran screaming. They murdered whole families as they begged for their lives; they burned people alive; they decapitated babies.
There is no cause on earth that justifies what these murderers did. There is no historical grievance that excuses or “gives greater context” to their actions. Spare me “this is the inevitable result when a people are long abused.” No, this is what happens when savages hold the day: They imperil the very idea of civilization. They killed a grandmother and uploaded pictures of her corpse to her Facebook page. They cut an unborn child from a mother’s body and murdered both.
This wasn’t “soldiers morally brutalized by war who, in a frenzy, butchered people.” Butchering people was the aim. It is what they set out to do. This wasn’t cruelty as an offshoot; it was cruelty as an intention.
This sadism was strategic. It’s meant to force something.
I have been troubled by, angered by, Israel for years—expanding settlements, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s high-handedness with American political leaders, his party’s embrace of an ignorant populist nationalism. I feel no shame at this and am certain I am right. But you can’t see what we have seen this week and not feel—how to put it?—a reawakened sense of affiliation with this suffering people, a sympathy reborn; as an American Catholic I am experiencing it as a renewed sense of loyalty to kin. And if you can’t feel any of these things, or appreciate how they might be justified, and if you instead use this occasion to say Israel deserves it as the price of its sins—sorry, wrong word, they don’t even know what sin is—then you are a walking, talking moral void.
There is turmoil in the party that controls only one congressional chamber and cannot control itself. The unfolding presidential campaign is doing nothing to elucidate intelligent responses to two regional wars abroad and fiscal incontinence at home.
As the world becomes more ominous, clownishness among Republican presidential aspirants — let’s attack Mexico! — becomes more insufferable. Ron DeSantis promises gas at $2 a gallon — cheaper in inflation-adjusted terms than when the price was 26 cents in 1948. At a July event, a crazed New Hampshirite told Vivek Ramaswamy that the Federal Reserve is “adding zeros to the bank accounts to the media or maybe your political opponents.” Ramaswamy’s response included this: “You’re correct to point out what very few people are aware of. Absolutely, that happens.”
“The new GAO study confirms that the ARPA spending was not needed,” Chris Edwards, chair of fiscal studies at the Cato Institute, tells Reason. “By the fall of 2020, it was clear that the states were in good fiscal shape and not facing Armageddon as many policymakers were claiming. They did not need federal handouts.”
Edwards had argued against the bailout of state and local governments during the pandemic, and he wasn’t alone. Before the American Rescue Plan passed, there was widespread skepticism about the proposed bailout, in part because three other pandemic-era spending bills had already sent about $360 billion in aid to states and localities.
I’ve been saying for years that the only reason speech restrictions persist is because those who support them know they’ll be applied [in] a biased manner. Once they are applied in an even-handed manner support would evaporate.