- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Puppet and master
"The United States Senate has been called the greatest deliberative body ever designed, but after the recent refusal of the Senate's Judiciary Committee to report the nomination of Judge Charles Pickering to the full Senate, a new characterization is probably more apt that of puppets dancing at the ends of strings controlled by leaders of the radical left, particularly grand master puppeteer Ralph Neas, former head of the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights and current president of People for the American Way. As Sen. Orrin Hatch aptly noted, the character assassination of Judge Pickering was 'engineered by extreme-left Washington special-interest groups' who had 'lynched' Judge Pickering.
"Let us put the rejection in context. There are currently 95 vacancies on the federal courts. Half of the 16 seats on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals are vacant. Chief Justice William Rehnquist has called it a judicial 'crisis,' but he's not the only one. Back in 1996, when the number of vacancies was roughly two-thirds of what it is now, Sen. Patrick Leahy who now serves as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee described that much-lower number of vacancies as a judicial emergency. And in 1997, he declared: 'Those who delay or prevent the filling of [judicial] vacancies must understand that they are delaying or preventing the administration of justice.'"
John C. Eastman, writing on "Puppets on a String," an April editorial from the Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs at www.ashbrook.org

Socialism vs. history
"What is socialism? In part, it is optimism translated into a political program. 'Man is born free,' Rousseau famously exclaimed, 'but is everywhere in chains.' That heart-stopping conundrum is the fundamental motor of socialism. It is a motor fueled by this corollary: that the multitude unaccountably colludes in perpetuating its own bondage and must therefore be, in Rousseau's ominous phrase, 'forced to be free.'
"[T]he French Revolution was 'the manger' of socialism. It was then that the philosophy of Rousseau emerged from the pages of tracts and manifestos to strut across the bloody field of history. The architects of the revolution invoked Rousseau early and often as they set about the task of 'changing human nature.'
"Human nature is a recalcitrant thing. It is embodied as much in persistent human institutions like the family and the church as in the human heart. All must be remade from the ground up if 'Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity' are at last to be realized. Since history is little more than an accumulation of errors, history as hitherto known must be abolished."
Roger Kimball, writing on "The death of socialism," in the April issue of the New Criterion

Last, best hope
"We were all unprepared for September 11 not just in the sense that our intelligence services, our policies, were flawed, although that is certainly true.
"You can see the intellectual and moral confusion of the average American who asked, 'Why do they hate us?' and 'Did we bring this on ourselves?' and 'Shouldn't we work on getting rid of poverty and oppression the root causes of terrorism?'
"Many of these Americans, it should be said, were and are supportive of our military campaign in Afghanistan. But that these questions arose and in some cases arose immediately bespeaks lessons that have been forgotten and, for the young among us, have not been learned at all. We have forgotten why America is the last, best hope of earth."
William J. Bennett, interviewed by Kathryn Jean Lopez yesterday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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