WASHINGTON -- If you look beyond Donald Trump's comprehensive unpleasantness -- is there a disagreeable human trait he does not have? -- you might see this: He is a fundamentally sad figure.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Although he is just 22, Andrew Zeller is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in mathematics at Purdue University. He is one reason the school is a rare exception to the rule of unreason on American campuses, where freedom of speech is under siege.
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Sen. Tim Scott, who evidently has not received the memo explaining that politics is a grim and bitter business, laughs easily and often, as when, during lunch in this city's humming downtown, he explains that South Carolina's Lowcountry is benefiting from what are called "halfbacks."
WASHINGTON -- Give thanks this day for some indirect blessings of liberty, including the behavior-beyond-satire of what are generously called institutions of higher education. People who are imprecisely called educators have taught, by their negative examples, what intelligence is not.
WASHINGTON -- Yale's president, Peter Salovey, dealt with the Crisis of the Distressing Email about Hypothetical Halloween Costumes about as you would expect from someone who has risen to eminence in today's academia. He seems to be the kind of adult who has helped produce the kind of students who are such delicate snowflakes that they melt at the mere mention of even a potential abrasion of their sensibilities.
The IRS scandal -- the denial of essential tax-exempt status to conservative advocacy groups, thereby effectively suppressing the groups' activities -- demonstrates this: When government is empowered to regulate advocacy, it will be tempted to suppress some of it. And sometimes government will think like Oscar Wilde: "The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it."
Americans have been betting on sports since the first time a Puritan pilgrim boasted that his horse was the fastest in Massachusetts Bay Colony and another said, "Wanna bet?" But fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly and government gotta fret about gambling on fantasy sports. Torrential television advertising by DraftKings and FanDuel is creating millions of customers for these sports fantasy businesses, thereby creating government anxiety lest Americans make unregulated choices inimical to their material and moral well-being.
The Republican Party, like Sisyphus, is again putting its shoulder to a boulder, hoping to make modest but significant changes in the Electoral College arithmetic by winning perhaps 12 percent of the African- American vote. To this end, they need to hone a rhetoric of skepticism about, and an agenda for reform of, the criminal justice system. They can draw on the thinking of a federal appellate judge nominated by Ronald Reagan.
WASHINGTON -- A supremely important presidential issue is being generally neglected because Democrats have nothing interesting to say about it and Republicans differ among themselves about it. Four Supreme Court justices are into the fourth quarters of their potential centuries -- Stephen Breyer (77), Antonin Scalia (79), Anthony Kennedy (79), and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (82). So, presidential candidates should explain the criteria by which they would select judicial nominees.
"Look," wrote Lois Lerner, echoing Horace Greeley, "my view is that Lincoln was our worst president not our best. He should [have] let the [S]outh go. We really do seem to have 2 totally different mindsets." Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, was referring to Southern secessionist states when he urged President-elect Lincoln to "let the erring sisters go in peace."