“Every great cause begins as a movement,” the television philosopher Eric Hoffer once observed (maybe), “becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” There’s some dispute about whether Mr. Hoffer ever actually said it, but there’s no dispute that it’s an accurate description of what happened to the Zimbabwe of Robert Mugabe.
Salutes to the president can be monetized, and a middle-finger salute to a passing presidential motorcade can sometimes be worth more than a hundred grand. Is this a great country, or what?
War is hell, especially for the losers. Rather than winding up in a World War II-type concentration camp, defeated terrorists of ISIS are merely gathering up their wounded egos and bloody heads and heading home. Mom might be overjoyed to welcome the return of little Jihadi Joey, but the neighbors, not so much. When reauthorizing the nation’s surveillance code, Congress must make sure that in protecting the privacy of the law-abiding they don’t overlook the dangers posed by returning fighters who have lost the battle abroad but intend to continue the fight at home.
“You can’t beat Somebody with Nobody” is one of the first rules of politics, but occasionally Somebody is exposed as a wolf in borrowed clothes and Nobody wins by default. Nobody in Alabama is a man named Doug Jones, and a fortnight ago his chances of defeating Roy Moore were somewhere between Slim and None. And then Slim unexpectedly left town.
There’s a lot about the law and the Constitution that California does not understand, particularly the First Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court, perhaps willing to offer the needed tutorial in the law, has agreed to hear a legal challenge to a California law requiring private pro-life pregnancy counseling centers to tell their clients that the state will provide an abortion instead.