Workin’ for the Weekend #16: Kmelian Civility, Criminal Justice Truthiness, and the DEI School Exodus
Also: Sorry about that Patreon snafu.
First of all, apologies for those who suffered from the Patreon snafu; we’re getting refunds to everyone who’s been charged, and taking steps to ensure that never happens again. (You can also just proactively unsubscribe from the dormant Patreon feed.)
Secondly, welcome to everyone coming over here from Common Sense, where pal Bari Weiss (who has appeared locally on episodes #89, #115, #159, #180 & #187) has reposted our great July dispatch on “Racial Identity, Abolition and Reckonings.” From Bari’s intro:
Today’s episode is borrowed from the feed of the great podcast The Fifth Column. Usually hosted by Kmele Foster, Michael Moynihan, and Matt Welch, this episode, which aired in July of 2022, features Kmele and two guests who have become elder statesmen around the persistent issue of race in America: John McWhorter and Glenn Loury.
If you liked that episode (and you did), let me also recommend the complementary and much-beloved #121 & #188. You are probably also aware of, but here’s another link to, Kmele’s Common Sense work on “The Real Story of ‘The Central Park Karen.’” And don’t sleep on Michael Moynihan writing for Bari in defense of vaping.
The Fifth Column Podcast gives free subscribers (looks around) all *this*, plus, paying subscribers get a bonus epi every week, a livestream every months, first crack at live shows, and access to the comments.
Talking It Out
I’ve lately come across three examples of people with significant disagreements attempting constructive conversations about them in the audio medium. At The Fifth Column, my colleague Thomas Chatterton Williams joins Kmele Foster and Adam Davidson to interrogate the concept of white privilege. At The Weekly Dish, Louise Perry discusses her recently published book, The Case Against the Sexual Revolution, with Andrew Sullivan. And at Common Sense, Patrick Deneen and Bret Stephens debate whether we have too much or too little freedom.
* Keeping with the constructive-conversations theme, last week Kmele appeared on Arizona PBS’s Keeping it Civil podcast. From the write-up:
One of the main topics of discussion was the influence of innovation in entrepreneurship. With his work at Freethink, Foster hopes to encourage conversations that promote human thriving and innovation.
“We want to profile people who are thinking differently”, he says. “Who are taking on the world’s biggest challenge(s) and trying to make a difference in the world, who have ambitious ideas that in many instances are very likely to fail, but if they manage to succeed that could change the entire world.”
Also discussed were Foster’s many ventures as a ‘serial’ entrepreneur. He has notably hosted a TV show and even started a tech company in the early 2010’s. Foster spoke about how having a clear philosophical disposition during his early career making media appearances was a major help. During the interview, he describes being decidedly [l]ibertarian.
“I’m classical liberal, who believes in economic liberty, which means I also believe in free speech as kind of a bulwark of a free society,” he says. “And political liberty, to the extent that there is a political order that has to be one that is largely democratic, but constrained in ways that protect the rights of the majority or the minorities who might be impacted by the laws that are enacted. So, limited government becomes really important.”
Included in this episode are deeper thoughts on our freedom of speech and Kmele Foster’s critique of the Black Lives Matter movement and organization.
Earlier this month, a public defender tweeted confidently that body camera footage released by the NYPD show they had recently killed a man who never fired at them as they claimed, and in fact was shot in the back while running away. 16,000 people shared the tweet.
It took a journalist, Kmele Foster, and a criminologist, Peter Moskos, to correct the record by "doing the work" of slowing down the footage to show that Rameek Smith's gun was clearly visible at the moment of firing; the law enforcement officials who analyzed the footage were right, and the social media warriors were wrong.
But their corrections to the record have a fraction of the online engagement.
* I wrote more about the role of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion-related policies in driving down public school enrollment over at Reason (expanded audio here). And, following up on a no-doubt slurry discussion in #374 about brain-rot and market opportunity for political grifting, here’s a longer Reason piece on same (audio here). Excerpt:
Fervent consumer-side political passion—the more negative, the better—is the raw material of huckster fortunes: in politics, in media, in publishing, in advertising, in think-tanking, in lobbying, in consulting. And most vaporwarish of all, in headline-chasing overnight nonprofits, preferably attached either to quasi-celebrities or to a celebrated cause (or both). […]
While it is probable, given his superlative qualities, that Trump et al have exceeded prior levels of brazen scuzzbucketry, the market for ideological pocket-stuffing exists everywhere there are people ready to express their political emotions by mashing the "donate" button. […]
No doubt there are some individual donors miffed that their generosity helped finance the lavish lifestyles of a few chosen insiders without otherwise delivering many results. But as with [Steve Bannon’s border] wall project, [Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation] was the biggest and most obvious receptacle for expressive giving at a specific and particularly emotional moment in time. The end product was not necessarily specific criminal justice reforms, or even the completion of a border wall project that was right there in the name, but rather in the act of giving itself.
* I talked more about that piece, plus the temptations (or not) of National Conservatism and libertarian populism, on Austin Peterson’s Wake Up America Show (start at the 1:34:00 mark).
* Almost forgot to mention I’ll be appearing at International Students for Liberty’s LibertyCon in Miami Oct. 14-15, along with a solid dozen of past Fif’ guests. Say hi if you’re there, though I’ll probably be pretty harried for time. From the press release:
NBA star and human rights activist Enes Kanter Freedom has been announced as the featured presenter at LibertyCon on Saturday night. Kanter Freedom is a civic activist who gained lots of attention with his outspoken criticism of human rights violations around the world, even when it came at the price of his career and personal safety. Matt Welch, editor-at-large for Reason Magazine, which sponsored this event, will lead the discussion with Enes Kanter Freedom on the main stage Saturday evening.