In the War Against Jihadists, Think ‘Endurance’ Not ‘Endgame’

by David French

Donald Trump is continuing and expanding Barack Obama’s late-term expansion of the war against jihadists, and the New York Times is taking notice:

The United States launched more airstrikes in Yemen this month than during all of last year. In Syria, it has airlifted local forces to front-line positions and has been accused of killing civilians in airstrikes. In Iraq, American troops and aircraft are central in supporting an urban offensive in Mosul, where airstrikes killed scores of people on March 17.

Two months after the inauguration of President Trump, indications are mounting that the United States military is deepening its involvement in a string of complex wars in the Middle East that lack clear endgames.

Rather than representing any formal new Trump doctrine on military action, however, American officials say that what is happening is a shift in military decision-making that began under President Barack Obama. On display are some of the first indications of how complicated military operations are continuing under a president who has vowed to make the military “fight to win.”

There’s much more to say about all this, but I want to add a quick note about “endgames.” Wars end when all parties either decide to stop fighting or when so victory (exhaustion) is so complete that defeated combatants are unable to continue the fight. Let’s be blunt: There is no reasonable, plausible scenario under which jihadists will agree to stop fighting the United States or threatening our vital interests. There is no reasonable, plausible military strategy for defeating jihadists so comprehensively that the war ends entirely. Instead, we are left with a persistent enemy combined with a perpetual duty of self-defense. 

Thus, we need to orient our nation more towards endurance rather than provide false promises of “endgames.” Better strategy and superior tactics can suppress the jihadist threat and lead to periods of relative calm. Retreat or poor tactics can lead to periods of relative strife and facilitate jihadist growth (think of how ISIS ran wild when we created a power vacuum in Iraq.) But until jihadist theology is removed from the DNA of Islam, jihadists will always plague this world. So long as we remain the world’s most powerful non-Islamic state, they will view us as an enemy. We have no choice but to fight. 

Good for Mike Pence

by Charles C. W. Cooke

Two days ago, the Washington Post ran a fascinating profile on Mr. and Mrs Mike Pence, once sentence from which has inspired both outrage and mockery:

In 2002, Mike Pence told the Hill that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side, either.

If the more pointed among the reactions are to be believed, this rule suggests that Pence is a religious weirdo, an enemy of women, a reactionary, or a closet pervert — or perhaps all of the above. Were I to sum up the responses in a single word, that word would be “yuck.”

And I can’t for the life of me figure out why. For a start, I cannot imagine being critical of or caustic toward the private decisions that any couple makes in order to strengthen their marriage. If there is any over-zealotry at play here, it is in support of the Pences’ most sacred promises to each other. Have we really reached the point at which that’s abominable?

Moreover, I suspect that we are really arguing over degrees, not absolutes. Among the arguments that I’ve seen leveled against Pence are that he “doesn’t trust himself”; that he “doesn’t trust women”; that he must be some sort of sex-addict; that he sees all females as “temptresses” or “sirens”; and that he erroneously regards himself as an “adonis.” “Why,” some have inquired, “does Pence seem to believe that having dinner with a woman will lead inexorably to sex?” None of these critiques makes sense to me. Suppose that instead of saying that he “never eats alone with a woman other than his wife,” Pence had said that he never lets a woman who is not his wife into his hotel rooms. Would that imply that he thinks he’s irresistible? Or that he can’t control himself? Or that he thinks that women are innately nymphomaniacal? Or, alternatively, would it suggest that he wants to avoid giving off the wrong impression – either to other women or to the press — and that he is aware of human nature and the way in which temptation works? I’d argue that the latter is the case, and that by avoiding one-on-one dinners and eschewing drinking when alone, he is merely drawing the line a little closer than would others (and would I).

Is that a problem? If it is, then we need to rethink the whole area of preventative behavior. I am fairly sure that I could smoke a large number of cigarettes before I became addicted, and, indeed, that I could indulge in them casually without ramping up my habit. As such, I’m not averse to having the occasional smoke. But suppose I were averse to that. Suppose, instead, that I was unwilling to embark on even the first step of that journey. Suppose that, in defense of my health and my wallet, I drew a much harsher line in the sand. Well, why the hell would that matter? What possible failing could that be held to imply? Caution is no vice when the end is so undesirable.

And that, for me, is the key. If you read the Post’s story in full, you’ll see that Mike Pence believes that, in Karen, he has a great thing going. For knowing himself well enough to avoid screwing that good thing up, he should be praised by the culture, not mocked and maligned. There’s a decency at play there. There’s a humility, too. Good for the vice-president. He’s made his vows, and he’s sure as hell gonna keep ‘em.

‘Vet Hiring Preference Hinders Police Diversity’

by Roger Clegg

Yes, that’s the complaint in this USA Today article: There are too many white males applying to work for the Boston Police Department who get a hiring preference because of the fact that they served in the military. This is making it harder for the police chief there to hire more blacks and Latinos, and so he is attempting “to circumvent the state’s pro-veteran hiring preferences.”

Well, there you go. Either this article makes you throw your newspaper across the room in disgust or it doesn’t.

It’s hard for me to believe that it is irrational or unfair to give a preference to veterans when hiring police officers. But whether it is a good idea or a bad idea should not hinge on their skin color.

Do We Need the Feds to Offset ‘Good Luck’?

by George Leef

Academic liberals are forever coming up with new reasons for government activism. Among the alleged problems that it needs to deal with is the fact that some Americans get exceedingly rich, apparently through good luck. In his recent book Success and Luck, Cornell University economics professor Robert Frank argues that the wealth of the super-rich is often due more to good fortune than their endeavors. And all that wealth has bad effects for the rest of the country. He wants to change our tax code to offset good luck — specifically by adopting a consumption tax.

I don’t think good luck is a problem and think that federal activism to deal with it would be counterproductive, as I explain in this Forbes article.

Complaining about luck is merely another excuse for redistributionism, essentially no different from Obama’s “you didn’t build that” trope.

America does have a problem with undue wealth, but it stems from governmental policies that allow the politically connected to line their pockets at the expense of the rest of us. Forget about “luck” and concentrate on cronyism.

Uncommon Knowledge: A Soldier in the Trade Wars

by Peter Robinson

Professor Douglas Irwin defends the benefits of free trade and explains why protectionism, high tariffs, and currency wars could cause economic problems. Irwin explains the misconceptions around trade surpluses and deficits and the historical consequences and benefits of trade. He talks about an absolute versus comparative advantage with trade and why and how a trade deficit with China still benefits the United States. Irwin refers to Adam Smith’s view of trade in explaining the absolute advantage of trade. Smith argued for unregulated foreign trade, reasoning that if one country can produce a good, for example, steel, at lower costs than another country, and if a different country can produce another good, for example, an iPhone, at lower costs, then it is beneficial to both parties/countries to exchange those goods. This has become known as the absolute advantage argument for both international and domestic trade.

Trump’s Threat Against the Freedom Caucus

by Rich Lowry

As I noted in my column today, Trump and the Freedom Caucus don’t have much in common except their hatred of the establishment — he’s a populist deal-maker; they’re conservative purists. So it’s understandable that there is a divorce here, but Trump’s threat on Twitter this morning is obviously not thought through and is unlikely to have any follow-up:

Overall the pile-on against the Freedom Caucus from all corners over the last week, ranging from the Wall Street Journal to Paul Ryan to Trump himself, has been unwarranted. It’s reminiscent of the establishment sentiment in the primaries that Trump would be more reasonable than Ted Cruz. To be sure, the Freedom Caucus can be prone to self-defeating tactical maximalism, but on the health-care bill, it was right — the legislation was neither a full repeal of Obamacare nor sound policy.

Speaking French in Madison

by Jack Fowler

Or, French (David) will be speaking in Madison — Wisconsin, that is. About? About the “Trends that Are Tearing America Apart,” and you should hear him discuss it with Mike Nichols in a joint event sponsored by the National Review Institute and the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, scheduled for Tuesday, April 4, at The Madison Club (5 East Wilson Street). There’s a reception at 5:30 p.m., and the discussion, followed by a Q&A, starts at 6:00 p.m. Do come (there’s a $10 registration fee — you can swing that). Make that happen by registering here or by contacting Sue at (414)225-9940 or [email protected].

Catholic University, Peggy Noonan & ‘Fireworks in Heaven’

by Kathryn Jean Lopez

“We live in a time of greatness,” Peggy Noonan wrote in her book, John Paul II the Great. I’m convinced she’s right. And that she makes a great contribution to that reality herself. Which is why I’m thrilled by the news this morning that she will be the commencement speaker at my alma mater, The Catholic University of America.

Greatness, she insists:

is all around us. There are people whose daily and unknown bravery and kindness must set off fireworks in heaven, and yet among us it is hardly noticed. There is the person who sees that all the opinion of the powerful people in the world is going in one direction, and yet his thoughts and convictions lead him in another, and he summons the courage to follow his convictions, and to take the blows, seen and unseen, that such a decision entails. There are people who find a five-year-old throwaway child in Mexico and bring her up with love in their home, and are grateful in the day to day.

Courage, too, she sees all around. “And the most obvious example was the old man of the Vatican whose crozier shook as he held it high, and whose message was never more eloquent than when he could not speak.”

That would, of course, be the late, great, Saint John Paul II she’s remembering.

“He held on to life as if to show us that he had for so long told us – life is precious, love it, use it, pour yourself out,” she wrote in the book, of his final days. His message: “Spend yourself.”

 “Great men lift us up,” she wrote. “They tell us by their presence that everything is possible, that as children of God we are part of God, and as part of God, we can, with him, accomplish anything. Anything.”

That’s just a window into the Catholic lens and sensibilities to the pages of the Wall Street Journal and political analysis shows. She does so thoughtfully, beautifully, honestly.

She listens well and is translucently transparent. She listens and she shares. She’s just the kind of honest voice you want at any time, but is especially appreciated now.

When she published The Time of Our Lives in 2015, she opened the book with a quote from Pope John XXIII that she had seen in Rome during his joint canonization with JPII. “Do not walk through time without leaving worthy evidence of your passage.” She wrote that, “I think that’s what all writers are trying to do, leave worthy evidence of their passage.”

She’s got that John XXIII quote taped up in her office now – or at least did while writing The Time of Our Lives — a reminder of something she already naturally does. I was with her once in St. Peter’s at the tomb of now Good Saint John. Her words and her prayers radiated gratitude, humility, grace, and wisdom. The same can be said for what she writes and says and tries to be – as we all live this same journey of life.

Keep reading this post . . .

‘I Just Read Over at’

by Jim Geraghty

From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt

Is ‘Conservative Media’ Now as Divergent as Non-Conservative Media?

Politico writes about Tomi Lahren, and offers this unexpected phrase…

… in a blink of the eye, Lahren has gone from darling of conservative media to a thorn in its side. Just last month, President Trump himself called Lahren to praise her for praising him. Conservative publications like Freedom Liberty News raved about her “gorgeous” selfies taken in the name of veterans. But now, in spite of fans’ hopes that Fox would snap her up, Lahren remains, as the month ends, a pepperpot without a pulpit—and one worth watching.

Okay, raise your hand: Have you read Freedom Liberty News before? Are you sure you’ve read that site, and not one whose name sounds like it?

Are you sure you’re not thinking of the Liberty Alliance? Or the Liberty Conservative? These are different from Liberty News.  Or Liberty Unyielding. Or The Liberty Beacon. And Restoring Liberty. Or Personal Liberty.  Or Freedom Daily. Or Freedom’s Back. Or Freedom Outpost. Or the Washington Free Beacon. Or Free Republic.

How about WideAwakePatriot? Or Trick question, those last two exist only in an Onion parody.

There are a lot of small conservative news sites out there with the words “Liberty” “Patriot” “Freedom” “Right” “Red” and “American” in their name and almost all of them have a red, white and blue visual design and an eagle in their logo. Some do fine work with exceptionally limited resources, and some… don’t.

Folks on the Left used to grind their teeth at the phrase “Even the liberal New Republic [is agreeing with conservative position X]” because in their eyes, The New Republic wasn’t all that liberal (debatable, particularly today’s version) and traditionally enjoyed showcasing unorthodox or non-liberal voices (indisputable). Their fairest point is that finding one article by one writer in The New Republic was hardly representative of a liberal surrender on a particular issue. The phrase “Even the liberal New Republic” represented cherry-picking an idiosyncratic example to characterize an entire political movement and offering a fundamentally inaccurate picture of the debate.

So when someone writes “Conservative publications like…” and they don’t mention one of the big ones… it’s a good chance they had to reach deep to find an example of the phenomenon they sought.

As Noah Rothman pointed out, the entire concept of the Politico article relies on an assessment of “conservative” opinion that he’s simply not encountered.

Thursday links

by debbywitt

It’s Vincent Van Gogh’s birthday - here are his rarely-seen sketchbooks and the unexpected math behind Starry Night.

Who Owns Your Face? Advertising companies, tech giants, data collectors, and the federal government, it turns out.

Brutalist Sand Castles.

On March 30, 1848, Niagara Falls Ran Dry. Bonus: Niagara Falls sketch by Abbott & Costello and The Three Stooges.

Great Migrations: Following human genes around the world.

The United States v. Paramount and How Movie Theater Concessions Got So Expensive.

ICYMI, Monday’s links are here, and include how big land animals can get, where to hide from nuclear bombs, a collection of vintage celebrity endorsements, and the origin stories of famous sports.

Krauthammer’s Take: Obamacare Repeal Not Dead, but ‘It’s a Little Early for a Resurrection’

by NR Staff

Charles Krauthammer said that Republicans will take another shot at a health-care bill, but it will come later in the year when Obamacare rate hikes cause dissatisfaction.

I don’t think its dead in the long run, but I think it’s a little early for a resurrection . . . 

The distance between the moderates in the House Republican caucus and the conservatives, I think is too big, and it’s hard to see them agreeing. The distance between the Republicans and the Democrats is a chasm, as we saw. That letter by Schumer, by the Democrats, demanding that Trump essentially rescind his attempt to repeal Obamacare is a nonstarter that’s meant to humiliate the Republicans. And they actually hold the cards, it would be insane for them to acquiesce. I think August and September will be when the insurers publish their new rates for the Obamacare exchanges. That is when you get sticker shock, and that’s when I think we’ll get a dissipation of the current nostalgia for Obamacare.

It was remarkable how Obamacare rose in the polls during the recent debates; I think there will be a decline as a result of that.

California’s Abortion-Obsessed Progressives Contemplate a Grave Assault on Religious Liberty

by David French

David Duleiden’s ordeal at the hands of the California attorney general is hardly the only California threat to the First Amendment. Because abortion is paramount to some progressives — and religious freedom, free speech, and freedom of association hardly worth mentioning by comparison — the California Assembly is currently pondering a bill that would directly infringe on the rights of religious organizations to uphold and advance their principles and beliefs regarding sexuality and marriage. The relevant text of AB-569 follows:

An employer shall not do either of the following:

(1) Take any adverse employment action against an employee based on the use of any drug, device, or medical service related to reproductive health by an employee or employee’s dependent.

(2) Require an employee to sign a waiver or other document that purports to deny any employee the right to make his or her own reproductive health care decisions, including the use of a particular drug, device, or medical service.

(b) An employer that provides an employee handbook to its employees shall include in the handbook notice of the employee rights and remedies under this section.

(c) For purposes of this section, “adverse employment action” includes, but is not limited to, termination, demotion or refusal to promote or advance, loss of career specialty, reassignment to a different shift, reduction of hours, reduction of wages or benefits, refusal to provide training opportunities or transfer to a different department, adverse administrative action, or any other penalty or disciplinary or retaliatory action.

To put this in plain English, it prevents religious organizations (including colleges and schools) from imposing entirely normal and conventional rules of Christian conduct. If you have any doubt regarding the bill’s purpose, look no further than the supporting statement from NARAL Pro-Choice California, which singles out exclusively religious employers as the villains opposing “women’s health.” Here is NARAL’s list of alleged injustices that it believes the bill will combat:

Financial aid specialist Teri James was fired from San Diego Christian College in 2012 for becoming pregnant while unmarried.

In 2015, the Archbishop of San Francisco added a morality clause to teacher contracts that condemned same-sex relationships, premarital sex, sperm donation and assisted reproductive technologies. The Diocese of Santa Rosa dropped a similar plan after facing backlash.

Emily Herx was fired from her teaching job at a Catholic school in Indiana for using in vitro fertilization.

In 2014, after an anonymous letter revealed her pregnancy, unmarried middle school teacher Shaela Evenson was fired by a Catholic school district in Montana for having sex outside of marriage. She was fired despite her 10 year career at the school and the fact that the principal called her an “excellent teacher.”

What do all those examples have in common? They represent Christian organizations applying orthodox Christian theology to employees who voluntarily work at the institution. No one is conscripted into teaching at Catholic schools. Under the text of this bill, a dean of students at a Christian school could violate the terms of her employment agreement, get pregnant out of wedlock, abort the child and not suffer the slightest job consequences — even if it’s her job to live by the values she is supposed to advance. 

The bill is flatly unconstitutional in any reasonable jurisdiction, but California is in the Ninth Circuit, so it’s always better to defeat bills in committee rather than test them in court. The good folks at the California Family Council are mobilizing to oppose the bill. Not all progressives are as dismissive of the First Amendment as the pro-abortion radicals, and conservatives can still win victories by appealing to constitutional tradition, fundamental fairness, and respect for civil liberties. California conservatives ought to know. They’ve done it before

Nearly 70 Percent of Californians Oppose Seceding from the Union

by Austin Yack

California’s secession movement, CalExit, gained momentum immediately following Donald Trump’s victory in November, but it seems to have already fizzled out.

“Yes California,” the leading political action committee fighting for California’s independence from the union, capitalized on the shift in public opinion after Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton overwhelmingly carried the state on Election Day. Last January, for example, the campaign committee submitted a proposal to Secretary of State Alex Padilla, allowing it to collect the signatures necessary to create a ballot-box measure for the November 2018 election. The proposal, intended to repeal the provision in California’s Constitution that describes the state’s relationship to the union, must receive 585,407 signatures by July 25 in order to qualify for the ballot.

According to a Berkeley IGS Poll published on Monday, nearly 70 percent of Californians say they will oppose the CalExit provisions if it makes it onto the 2018 ballot. The majority of Californians may loathe Trump, but not enough to declare their state’s independence.

The leaders of “Yes California” argue that “the United States of America represents so many things that conflict with Californian values.” Kevin de León, the Democratic leader of the California State Senate, has echoed this sentiment: He and his Democratic legislators — who hold a super majority in both legislative chambers — argue that they ought to resist the Trump administration to safeguard “the values of the people of California.”

Indeed, Democratic legislators have resisted Trump in his mere 69 days in office, and this effort seems to have failed in the eyes of the public. According to the Berkeley IGS Poll, 53 percent of Californians would rather have their state leaders compromise with Trump than oppose him — especially “if it risks negative consequences and losses in federal funding.”

The liberal safe haven can’t always choose the president. It’s time for California’s leaders to listen to their constituents: compromise with the Trump administration, don’t resist.

Replace or Tinker?

by Ramesh Ponnuru

New York Post columnist Seth Mandel says that Republicans should admit that Obamacare is here to stay and push for incremental reforms of the health-care system rather than its repeal. Among his examples of worthwhile reforms are capping medical-malpractice awards, work requirements on Medicaid recipients, and letting insurers sell policies for the individual market across state lines.

None of these policies, it seems to me, should be high on conservatives’ list of priorities. Robert Rector has explained why work requirements for Medicaid are likely to prove impossible to implement. The rules governing medical malpractice should be left under the control of states, not usurped by the federal government. Interstate purchase isn’t going to achieve much, given that health insurance is tied to local networks of medical providers and that the federal government now extensively regulates benefit levels. If this is the sort of thing Republicans can still achieve on health care, then they are better off moving on to tax reform.

Still, Mandel’s advice is a thousand times better than what Republicans are hearing from points left, which is that they should shovel taxpayer money at insurance companies to shore up Obamacare.

All of this advice comes from overreacting to the failure of a deeply flawed bill. Republicans should, because they still can, do quite a bit to make it possible for nearly everyone to buy renewable, catastrophic health coverage and for them to choose between such plans and more extensive coverage on a level playing field. I think moving toward such a system is most accurately described as “repealing and replacing Obamacare,” and that using that description would be more politically advantageous than calling it something else, like “learning to live with Obamacare.” But the description of course matters less than the substance.

House Hearing on Campus Free Speech

by Stanley Kurtz

The Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice of the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on “First Amendment Protections on Public College and University Campuses” on Tuesday, April 4 at 11:30 AM. I have been invited to appear as a witness. My testimony will focus on the question of why, despite the many public condemnations of campus assaults on free speech, the problem continues to worsen. Following that, I will outline possible solutions, touching on the state-level model legislation offered by the Goldwater proposal, as well as the plan I’ve outlined for conditioning federal funding on the protection of campus free speech.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He can be reached at [email protected]

Senator Shaheen Opts to Filibuster

by Ramesh Ponnuru

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.), Feb. 7: “Unlike the Republican majority, I haven’t heard any Democrats saying we don’t think that Judge Gorsuch should get a hearing or that he should get an up-or-down vote. Everybody I’ve talked to agrees he should get a hearing and an up-or-down vote.” Within hours she “explained” that a vote to filibuster a nomination counts as an up-or-down vote on one.

This week she confirmed that she will join a filibuster against Gorsuch, which is to say that she will block a final up-or-down vote on his nomination.

Hearings were going to take place whatever Sen. Shaheen thought about them. When she was patting herself on the back for her open-mindedness and fairness, she was piously renouncing steps she had no power to take, and trusting that people would be too unsophisticated to understand the con.

‘A trade war is brewing inside the White House between rival camps’

by Rich Lowry

I never thought there would be any doubt where Trump would come down on trade, but unexpectedly here we are.

How Many Cypriot Bank Accounts Does One Man Need?

by Rich Lowry

This story on Paul Manafort – like all stories on Paul Manafort lately — is disturbing and almost comically true to type.

The Loyalty Oath Returns as the ‘Faculty Diversity Statement’

by George Leef

For decades, American higher education has been caught up in a mania over “diversity.” Most colleges and universities now have at least one course on “diversity” but often more, sometimes mandatory for graduation. (Those courses are invariably Trojan Horses that bring in a host of “progressive” notions to be planted in impressionable young heads.) They have offices of “Diversity and Inclusion,” staffed with lots of earnest believers, college graduates who would have trouble getting a job that didn’t depend on the ability to utter clichés. They have campaigns to “diversify” their faculties, meaning tha they will hire to meet group quotas.

Fitting perfectly into all of that is the nasty development I discuss in my Martin Center article today, the faculty “diversity statement.” Those are statements required of current and prospective faculty members at an increasing number of schools. The point is to help schools separate true believers in “diversity” from those who just pretend or, worse, don’t hold with the tenets of “diversity” at all.

My article was inspired by a recent paper published by the Oregon Association of Scholars on this subject. Diversity statements are big in the Oregon higher-education system. I tip my hat to Portland State political-science professor Bruce Gilley, who has gone out on a limb in blowing the whistle on this development.

Can this juggernaut be stopped?

I think that mandating what amounts to a loyalty oath to a political creed is on thin ice as far as the First Amendment goes. The more expeditious route to go, however, would be to use the Higher Education Act and the Department of Education (much as I’d rather get rid of both) to put an end to “diversity statements.” Make colleges and universities that persist in using them face the loss of federal money. That would do the trick.

No to ‘Racial Impact Statements’

by Roger Clegg & Hans A. von Spakovsky

The Federalist Society blogsite has an interesting post by James Scanlan on proposed legislation in New Jersey that would require racial and ethnic impact statements for any legislative measure that affects pretrial detention, sentencing, probation, or parole policies. Mr. Scanlan notes that racial-impact-statement laws have already, alas, been enacted in Connecticut, Iowa, and Oregon and that similar legislation has recently been introduced in Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, and Wisconsin; and, what’s more, frequently the legislation addresses not just post-arrest and conviction policies, but what is made criminal in the first place.

Mr. Scanlan does a wonderful job of pointing out how this law is methodologically flawed and practically unworkable, and we’d like to elaborate briefly on why the whole approach is bad policy and probably unconstitutional as well.

There are, for starters, no laws that don’t have a disparate impact on some racial or ethnic group — tax laws, antitrust laws, environmental laws, criminal laws, you name it. In the criminal context, this is because human beings don’t commit crimes in the same exact proportion that their particular racial or ethnic group is to the general population, and indeed those proportions change over time.

And what is the government supposed to do with this information, anyway? What it should do, of course, is ignore it: Criminal laws should be written without regard to race, and let the chips fall where they may. It is disturbing to contemplate a legislature carefully crafting a law with an eye on racial and ethnic outcomes; such race-based decisionmaking is precisely what the Constitution enjoins, and its presence will only encourage lawsuits.

But obviously there is an expectation here that the disparities will be addressed and, in some way, diminished. There are two ways that this might be done, both bad.

The first is not to make some type of behavior illegal that should be illegal because it is dangerous or in some other way bad for the community. This will be unfortunate for the public generally, and especially for those who live in the area where the activity is going on — most often, poor urban areas with high crime rates. But as is often the case, the Left appears more concerned with the race of the perpetrator than it is with the race of his or her victims, even though they are usually the same.

The second way to deal with a predicted disparity is to tweak the law so that more white (or, likely, Asian American) people are arrested, too. That’s probably not what the ACLU has in mind, but one could see an effort to bundle together two bills so that there is racial “balance”: the original one that had a disparate impact on blacks, say, and a second one written not because it is really needed but so that it has a disparate impact on whites. So, for example, a bill that increased penalties for some of the types of street crime that happen in poor, inner-city neighborhoods would be combined with a bill that increased penalties for some types of white-collar crime.

The next white-collar criminal prosecuted under that law would then have a ready-made challenge, namely that the law being applied to him was passed with racially discriminatory intent. That’s unconstitutional.

According to the crime statistics amassed by the FBI for 2015, it is an unfortunate, and politically incorrect, fact that African Americans commit crimes at a greater rate than other racial and ethnic groups including Asian Americans, whites, and Hispanics. But the reason for this is that too many African Americans grow up in homes without a father and live in broken and dysfunctional communities; and those problems will not be solved, and indeed will be exacerbated, by the Left’s ignoring and excusing this reality and instead insisting that any disparity is due to “institutional racism” in our criminal justice system.