On Wednesday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont independent, will lecture a paying audience at a trendy Washington waterfront entertainment venue about his new book, “It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism.”
The irony might be lost on Mr. Sanders, but tickets for the dubious privilege of hearing the oxymoronically socialist millionaire — who owns three houses — lecture at The Anthem on the supposed evils of capitalism will set you back $75 for the “cheap” seats, $95 for the better ones. And that doesn’t include the respective $15.45 or $16.45 per-ticket Ticketmaster fees and service charges.
The New York Times Magazine’s Nikole Hannah-Jones could afford to buy $95 ($111.45, including the fees) tickets to the speech for herself and 325 of her closest friends with the $36,350 that the Fairfax County, Virginia, Public Library system and the McLean, Virginia, Community Center jointly paid the fabulist faux “historian” for a one-hour Black History Month speech on Feb. 19.
Let that sink in for a moment: Taxpayers in a Virginia suburb of the nation’s capital were shaken down for more than $36,000 for a 60-minute speech from Ms. Hannah-Jones, the Black racist author behind The New York Times’ factually flawed “1619 Project” who is an ideological soulmate of Mr. Sanders in his criticism of capitalism.
Her stipend comes out to nearly $606 per minute. Even Washington’s foremost white-shoe law firm attorneys don’t command anywhere near that kind of billable hour.
By contrast, at least Mr. Sanders’ Wednesday payday will come from people voluntarily buying tickets to hear him expound on his economic illiteracy.
Sarcasm aside, it’s unconscionable that the library system and community center thought for a nanosecond that it was a prudent and appropriate expenditure of $35,000-plus of county taxpayers’ money that could have been much better spent in any number of ways. Fairfax County Public Schools, for example, says it spends an average of $16,505 per student per year, so Ms. Hannah-Jones’ extravagant — and wholly unwarranted — stipend was more than enough for two students for a full year.
“It’s a grave misuse of taxpayer funds to pay Hannah-Jones to peddle lies about our country,” Alex Nester, an investigative fellow at Parents Defending Education, told The DailySignal.com, the news and opinion website of The Heritage Foundation, in a statement last week.
Worse, this irresponsible spending promoting a far-left, revisionist version of American history and lending undeserved legitimacy to hateful and divisive critical race theory was far from a one-off for Fairfax County. Ms. Hannah-Jones’ appearance came on the heels of a pair of speeches that her CRT fellow traveler Ibram X. Kendi, author of “How to Be an Antiracist,” gave there in 2022 for $22,500 and in 2020 for $20,000.
Far from embracing U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts’ eminently sensible approach to issues of race (“The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race”), Mr. Kendi is best known for saying: “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”
Fairfax County’s utterly indefensible squandering of taxpayer funds on far-left, racist diatribes by Ms. Hannah-Jones and Mr. Kendi is a direct consequence of one-party rule in the dark blue Washington suburb, where the county Board of Supervisors is made up of nine Democrats and just one Republican. The library system and community center were reasonably certain that there would be little or no blowback for it.
As such, the cynical among us might be tempted to ask: How do we get in on this wildly lucrative critical race theory grift?
It’s far more remunerative than Mr. Sanders’ book tour and even more so than the global warming scam that Al Gore and John Kerry have parlayed into a post-elective-office life of Riley.
As George and Ira Gershwin might have said, “nice work if you can get it.” But taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill.