The Law Under the CCP Is a Sham

Talking about the rule of law in a place like China (more specifically, CCP-occupied China) is as absurd as talking about traffic regulations in the wilderness. The so-called law is the law of kings, wielded at whim. Only ending authoritarianism, establishing the balance of power, and respecting the rule of law will stop the government from being a tool of the CCP’s desires and evil aims.
There are several ways to define sex precisely. Any good definition will capture the central concept of biological sex—the orientation of male and female bodies for reproduction. It will also refer to what happens under normal development while accounting for disorders. Finally, it will accommodate the fact that organisms have and do different things at different stages of development.
My reading of the current economic and geopolitical situation is that at least in the short term, the United States will control enough pressure points to make life seriously difficult for the Chinese semiconductor industry.
To some, my rejection of “privilege” discourse revealed that I was arrogant, ungrateful, and ignorant of the ways in which I was not solely responsible for my success thus far in life. But to others, it was evidence of gratitude and the desire to share my forebears’ recipe for intergenerational mobility as widely as possible, to reject the pessimism inherent in systemic thinking.
Is it really wrong for a person who has saved enough funds to pay the cost of a new factory to ask for a portion of the returns from that factory? Why should anyone lend with no expectation of a return to someone who is going to use the loan to reap profits?
An explanation for the military’s recruitment challenges goes deeper than trends in the labor market. Ultimately, the civic honor on which voluntary service depends has quietly been eroding for some time, and is being replaced by an ethos of individual self-fulfillment.
Strauss lived the philosophic life as had all philosophers before him: with one eye on the demands of necessity and the other on the full scope of the questions. His continual emphasis on this twofold character of philosophic writing has the twofold benefit of cultivating both theoretical and practical humility, humility about what can be known and what can be done.
The Greeks lost their marbles, and the British could kindly return them. Bad arguments why the British must return them do not gainsay the fact that they may. Such magnanimity, moreover, would put into practice one of most unexpected innovations in human history: St. Paul’s understanding of grace.
Art is a convening point for many different avenues of pursuing beauty. It is the bridge between chemistry and history and between theology and engineering. Beauty is something every specialist cares about, even in the fields that seem most technical.
As economies developed, the idea that a commodity has an inherent just price faded away. We now think of the value of a thing as being a price on which a buyer and seller agree. But the legacy of this idea of a just price lingers in the popular imagination. It is an odd lingering notion, however. If asked, few people would be able to explain when a price is just.
Key Founders believed that America’s future was to be a polity in which free and dynamic commerce would play a powerful role in defining society, as opposed to, say, the priorities of aristocratic or feudal societies. The “republic” side of this political economy equation is that this commercial society would operate within the context of institutions and sets of virtues that draw upon classical, religious, and moderate Enlightenment sources.
James Bradley Thayer sternly taught an iron discipline in constitutional judging of holding one’s own views—even one’s conviction that one understood the Constitution better than the legislature did—firmly in check. And he taught this because he believed it was the only approach consistent with the Constitution’s text, purposes, structure, and traditional interpretation.
Aquinas’s argument is not that killing an offender is always lawful, much less that it is mandatory. It is lawful upon a condition, namely, that it is necessary to protect the common good from a threat. Absent that condition, Aquinas does not argue or even suggest that killing a malefactor, including one who has committed murder, is lawful.
When it comes to premeditated murder, compensation is not available. As much of human history attests and as the biblical witness affirms, it is the one crime that carries a mandatory death sentence. To suggest or argue that the ultimate human crime should not be met with the ultimate punishment is a moral travesty because it fails to comprehend the nature and meaning of the imago Dei, and thereby undermines the common good.
Aristophanes suggests that, like so many political matters, there are tradeoffs involved in the absolute versus relative wealth debate. There is no obvious, universally desirable solution: different societies will tolerate different levels of inequality and might be willing to sacrifice different levels of absolute wealth. Nonetheless, the warning from Aristophanes’ Poverty is clear: absolute equality means absolute destitution.
The attempt to control thought can do incalculable damage, however doomed it is ultimately. Just as Plato’s guardians are to be kept on the path to virtue by the elimination of all examples of vice, so the self-appointed guardians of contemporary culture have decided that “inclusion” is the virtue of our time, and all literature that might make the path to inclusion a bumpy one must be flattened, bulldozed, paved over.
All those we love, and we ourselves, will one day go through that great black door of death. We need to acknowledge that fact and not try to evade or soften it. Without God, life really is a tragedy, and our mourning is a meaningless biochemical reaction. But our story doesn’t end there. The door has another side: a side of light, with a waiting, loving God.
Our Constitution’s carefully designed processes for democratic self-governance, and the means and mechanisms for ensuring accountability, are evaded and eroded. In his 2021 book “Purchasing Submission,” Philip Hamburger reveals the many hidden ways this evasion occurs—through spending conditions and contractual terms, yes; but also through “dangerously benevolent” nudges, incentives, intermediaries, accreditation, licensing, permits, and permissions.
What you think about democracy probably comes down to what you think about the nature of your fellow citizens. What are they like? Are they children of God, made in the image of their Creator and thus in possession of common sense and common reason? Do they have enough sense to distinguish between truth and falsehood on the issues that drive our current political conflicts? Or are they ignorant bumpkins?
Michael Lamb’s A Commonwealth of Hope: Augustine’s Political Thought is an important intervention not only in Augustine studies, but also in our politics of stagnation and hopelessness. Lamb shows that if we hope rightly, we can work in and for the pilgrim city and for earthly cities. Augustine’s descriptions of life’s evils and turmoils should awaken us to life’s uncertainties, our lack of self-sufficiency, and our need for mercy.
Present-day Americans are a people consumed by anger—an anger that rests on deep pools of sadness, isolation, loss, and fear. In spite of his reputation for dry, unemotional logic, Thomas Aquinas has a great deal to say about the way in which disordered passions can undermine our capacity for getting at the truth. His work can teach us how to resist the vices encouraged by social media, pursue truth in concert with others, and achieve rational disagreement.
Life’s biggest questions are almost never resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, and if we don’t study the differences between the Epicureans and the Stoics, between Locke and Rousseau, and between legal originalists and non-originalists, we are missing out on our own music: sometimes a battle of the bands, sometimes cacophony, always fascinating.
Without a leading semiconductor industry of its own, China will not have the military capability to challenge the United States for world military leadership and, for example, be able to “reconquer” Taiwan. Similarly, without the best in-house processors, it is difficult to exploit all the advantages promised by artificial intelligence, including its military applications such as programming advanced drones.
The stories of Chloe and other detransitioners are the ultimate rebuke to the arrogant claims of activists and the medical groups they have captured.