Just Not The Heritage Foundation’s Month.


Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

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53 Responses

  1. Avatar Sam says:

    I’m shocked, SHOCKED!, to encounter a rank double standard in American political “thought.”Report

  2. Avatar MikeSchilling says:

    To be fair, the two pieces you cite are from different authors. Doesn’t the principle that “Cato didn’t say this, someone at Cato said it” apply to Heritage too?Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

      We do tend to acknowledge our differences. Also, to say “this is not even a valid topic for public policy consideration” seems a different thing from two authors just having a difference on what to do about it.Report

  3. Avatar Sam says:

    Total technological sidenote: where is this posted? I can’t find it anywhere other than on the site’s sidebar. Is this a front page post?Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      Probably just have to refresh. It’s freaky when you see comments to posts that, on your screen, don’t exist, but apparently the people running the show have never figured out how to fix that.Report

      • Avatar MikeSchilling says:

        It all works better if you read The League in porn mode (what they call an incognito window, but we know what it’s for.) That turns off the caching that causes the inconsistencies.Report

  4. Avatar MikeSchilling says:

    Bu the way, the author of the Right to be Wrong piece, Stuart Jones Jr., was the 2000 Kevin Kline intern at Heritage. So I’m wondering if he was In or Out.Report

  5. Avatar Art Deco says:

    What is your complaint, exactly? Heritage addresses two aspects of an issue: one the propriety of a court decree compelling a particular policy and the other an invitation to a discussion about the advisability of abandoning a policy. Why is this contradictory?Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

      In one, they assert a right to be wrong, and they ask that people leave the Boy Scouts alone.

      In the other, they assert that it’s a matter of public interest, and they have an opinion, and they’re not going to leave the Boy Scouts alone.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco says:

        Unlike an appellate court, the Heritage Foundation is not an organ of government. They ‘leave people alone’ as a matter of course.Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

          They are also in the business of public policy. Which this topic surely is not.Report

        • Avatar Rogue Economist says:

          If only they would. I look forward to the day when they take your advice, learn to leave people alone as a matter of course, and shut the hell up for good.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco says:

            and shut the hell up for good.

            Ah, tolerance.Report

            • Avatar Rogue Economist says:

              Discussions of tolerating the intolerant, being intolerant of those who tolerate the intolerant, being intolerant of those intolerant people who tolerate the intolerant, and so on and so forth will inevitably devolve into either a land war in Asia or going in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.

              It is your assertion that Heritage Foundation “‘leave people alone’ as a matter of course.” It is also clear from Heritage Foundation’s history and commentary that they do no such thing.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Rogue, its a research and advocacy group that has been producing position papers for decades and represents a quite familiar and ordinary spectrum of opinion. Get over it.Report

              • Avatar Rogue Economist says:

                In other words, a group of busybodies who’ve been sticking their noses in other people’s business for a long time and whom you falsely claimed ‘leave people alone’ as a matter of course anyways?Report

      • Avatar Sam says:

        Art Deco,

        I’d swear you’re just aggressively trolling the website right now. It is perfectly obvious what Jason was talking about; I doubt anybody else who read his brief missive was at all confused. That you apparently happen to back what Heritage is doing here by feigning ignorance of an obvious objection contributes nothing to the back-and-forth that I think the website strives for.

        Or, to put that another way, please make a positive argument for why it is acceptable for Heritage to demand that we leave a private organization alone when that private organization’s policy reflects what Heritage wants, and why it is then also acceptable for Heritage to wade into that private organization’s policy making when its proposed policy does not reflect what Heritage wants.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco says:

          Or, to put that another way, please make a positive argument for why it is acceptable for Heritage to demand that we leave a private organization alone when that private organization’s policy reflects what Heritage wants, and why it is then also acceptable for Heritage to wade into that private organization’s policy making when its proposed policy does not reflect what Heritage wants.

          The ‘we’ in the first instance was an appellate court and a mess of lawfare entrepreneurs, who apply coercive power and impose real costs.

          In the second instance, Heritage is inviting discussion of what the BSA governing bodies are doing now. I am not terribly concerned when Heritage comments on a private organization’s activities even if I think it a suboptimal use of their time. If they commented on the doings of J.P. Morgan Chase, I do not imagine anyone here would mind.

          I’d swear you’re just aggressively trolling the website right now.

          Waal, you all hit the eject button on Cheeks and van Dyke. I’ve lots to do.Report

          • Avatar John Howard Griffin says:

            Waal, you all hit the eject button on Cheeks and van Dyke. I’ve lots to do.

            Oh, lordy! I can’t wait!

            Wait. Yes I can.Report

      • Avatar ThatPirateGuy says:

        Do you think that hiring Jim Demint might be hurting the quality of the organizations output?Report

      • Avatar Barry says:

        Jason, the HF’s problem is that in the end (and the beginning) they’re nothing but a pack of liars. They conducted a fraudulent study to support the Ryan plan, they wouldn’t back their own healthcare plan once it moved from a fraudulent alternative to Obamacare, and of course the latest lies with a fraudulent cost of immigration study coauthored by a guy whose dissertation is basically ‘The Bell Curve II – This Time Against the Hispanics’.

        When you’re like that, you have to have some organization in your lies to keep from appearing too ridiculous.

        Of course, appearing ridiculous probably isn’t a problem in practice, and certainly Jim DeMint hasn’t suffered by being a ridiculous person.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Deco, the whole “we should leave people alone” argument is a pretty good one. It’s nice, it’s principled, and it shows a pretty fundamental respect.

      To use this argument in service of a group that is arguing some variant of “we should not leave people alone” is somewhat discordant but, hey, we contain multitudes, right?

      It’s when “we should leave people alone” gets abandoned in service of “we should intervene” on behalf of this same group deciding “we should leave people alone”, that I realize that the argument “we should leave people alone” was not being given because *THEY* believed it… but because they knew that *I* (and those like me) believe it.

      And that’s pretty messed up. Worth condemning, even.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco says:

        You are most persistent in ignoring the difference between an appellate court-cum-public-interest-shysters insisting that an organization modify its membership criteria under penalty of law and an advocacy group inviting people to discuss courses of action that might or should be taken by said organization.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          It sure sucks when private individuals criticize advocacy groups for using arguments that mask a transparent agenda, doesn’t it?Report

        • Avatar MikeSchilling says:

          What did the first linked post say about advocacy groups that wanted the Scouts to include gays?Report

          • Avatar Rogue Economist says:

            “Like other Scouts, I have no interest in forcing gay groups to accept heterosexuals in leadership positions. Is it too much to ask them to extend us the same courtesy?”

            “In the opinion of the Boy Scouts, homosexuality is wrong. Those who disagree are free to whine and complain all they want – and even form their own alternative organization – but it doesn’t give them the right to try and use the government to force a private organization to alter its code of ethics.

            It’s not as if membership in the Boy Scouts is compulsory for all males. Those who don’t like the way the Scouts operate don’t have to join.”

            It’s not as if whites-only lunch counters are a big deal. Blacks who don’t like the way the lunch counter operates don’t have to eat there.Report

          • Avatar MikeSchilling says:

            That is, people who don’t like the decisions the Scouts have made are whiners and complainers they can go elsewhere.

            What does that make the discussion group in the second linked post?Report

            • Avatar Rogue Economist says:

              Maybe Heritage’s argument might be represented better this way?

              “It’s not as if white and black segregated sections of the bus are a bad thing. Blacks aren’t required to use the bus. If they don’t like the policy they can walk or create their own bus company.”Report

      • Avatar Barry says:

        Jaybird, you hit the nail on the head. ‘Leave them alone’ is a rather variable concept for the HF.Report

  6. Avatar MikeSchilling says:

    The first (leave them alone!) article is a bit disingenuous, since it presents two alternatives for people who oppose the Scouts’ anti-gay discrimination:

    1. Use the court to change it
    2. Accept it

    and makes a principled stand against number 1. It completely ignores:

    3. Persuade the Scouts to change it.

    Which is interesting. One of the people quoted as opposing discrimination is an Eagle Scout, but the author doesn’t even consider that his opinion matters. Given the analogies made (e.g. the Scouts admitting gays would be like the Girl Scouts admitting boys), he’s tacitly assuming that “no gays” is an essential part of Scouting’s identity.

    That is, all in all it’s a pretty crappy piece.

    The second piece makes the same tacit assumption and proceeds to panic about Teh PC liberals and Teh Gay. Viewing the two together makes it obvious that the first piece was dishonest, but, really, it wasn’t hidden all that well in the first place.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 says:

      Are the Scouts still going with that “it’s okay to be gay until you’re an adult, and then you’re not trusted around kids” “compromise” thing?

      I’m not sure implicitly telling gay kids “You’re all pedophiles” is actually an improvement over “We don’t like you and don’t want you around”. Might actually be worse, really. Then again, I’m not gay — so no telling if I’d find it more or less insulting.Report

      • Avatar MikeSchilling says:

        I haven’t been paying that much attention, since my kids are too old to be Scouts anyway.Report

      • Avatar Rogue Economist says:

        I had a long discussion about this with a friend of mine about this. He claims to be a libertarian and normally stands on the side of marriage equality.

        His son’s in a scout troop right now and he surprised me by saying that if he found out a boy in the troop was gay, he would instantly withdraw his boy and look for a new troop.

        His reasoning was that to him it’s all about “opportunity.” He says gays should have equal rights to live their lives as they choose. He says that he’s fully in favor of equal marriage rights. But he also says that he personally can’t trust a gay 12-year-old being involved in any of their camping activities for fear of his son being sexually abused because his son is young, unathletic, and somewhat unpopular. We’ll set aside for the moment the fact that historically it’s the straight male scout leaders, authority figures over the boys, whom he ought to really be worried about.

        He further says that he fears what happens when the boys reach 15-16 years old and are talking among themselves if another boy would make an advance towards his son because there’s opportunity for “experimentation” there that doesn’t exist if all the boys are required to be straight.

        The idea that this might be his personal bias and a bit of unfounded fear at work doesn’t resonate. To him the abstract of “I’m ok with gays living their life as they want because libertarian principles say to get out of their lives” is entirely different from “I’m going to let a gay 12-year-old be in the same scout troop, room, or friend circle as my 12 year old son.”

        I can’t explain it, nor understand it. What it tells me is that the conservative demonization of LGBT persons and their rhetoric of LGBT = pedophile or LGBT = promiscuous predator has taken root far deeper in society than we normally like to admit. Fear is a powerful motivating factor, especially when it roots in subconscious bigotry.Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

          The fact that he’s a libertarian — even assuming he’s a “good” one — says nothing about whether he has his head screwed on right in any other respects.

          Me? I wouldn’t want my daughter to be in an organization that discriminated against gay people.

          As to how this guy proposes to identify gay twelve-year-olds and reliably keep them out, I have no idea. Did you ask him? And has he considered what he might do if his own son came out to him?Report

          • Avatar Chris says:

            If every libertarian isn’t a perfect human being, this calls into question the very notion that libertarianism can be a valid normative perspective.Report

          • Avatar Rogue Economist says:

            Thank you for a thoughtful response.

            “As to how this guy proposes to identify gay twelve-year-olds and reliably keep them out, I have no idea. Did you ask him?”

            I did ask. His re-insistence did not quite answer the question. He insists that having a no-gays policy gives the BSA a “legal shield” against liability if any homosexual conduct were to occur between boys, where the BSA could become liable if they allowed open homosexuals into the organization. The fact that the Girl Scouts do not discriminate makes no difference to him. He insists that rules against sexual conduct are insufficient and that the only way to be “certain” that nothing goes on is to make sure that no openly gay boys are allowed into the organization.

            “And has he considered what he might do if his own son came out to him?”

            I asked the question. I’ll let you know if he ever provides an answer. He was surprisingly quiet after it was asked and I don’t wish to badger him about it.

            “Me? I wouldn’t want my daughter to be in an organization that discriminated against gay people. ”

            I have similar feelings about this. However, the BSA decision is not as clear-cut. They control a near-monopoly on a number of things that I would like to do with my son. Most of the reliable campgrounds are under their control. They have preferential access, granted to them under local city law to FREE use of public school facilities for meetings and other gatherings that the smaller, competing organizations such as the co-ed Camp Fire organization are barred from using even if one could gather enough youths in a smaller community to meet the minimum size for a troop charter.

            I believe two of the allegorical statements I have made clarify this point but it falls into a category of mythical “separate but equal” treatment. The BSA have an unfair advantage. They have an unfair advantage against any competing organization due to the size of their land holdings and a near-monopoly on recruitment in smaller communities. Moreover their advantage has been granted to them by over a century of government endorsement, funding, and preferential access law. They should not be viewed as a “private” organization unless and until they are willing to give all of this up, and then even as a private organization they ought to be required to obey the same nondiscrimination laws that any lunch counter is required to obey.Report

            • Avatar Rogue Economist says:

              In case you have missed it, the parallel discussion I refer to regarding separate-but-equal begins here.Report

            • Avatar Rogue Economist says:

              Following up to this, he’s given me a reply.

              One of his children is about to go to college and shows no interest in relationships with either sex. It may be something they grow out of or it may be related to something the child is hiding from the parents. The other child, significantly younger, is “too young to be developing into relationships anyways.”

              I am assured that IF one of the children came out of the closet, the parents would love the child the same, be supportive, be supportive of their relationships unless there was evidence of abuse, and supportive of their right to marry.

              I have no reason to doubt his sincerity.Report

              • Avatar Kimsie says:

                … seems reasonably logically coherent, if somewhat overprotective.Report

              • Avatar Rogue Economist says:

                I still think there is some cognitive dissonance regarding the idea of keeping gay youths away from his children to discourage “experimentation” while being supportive if one of the children come out of the closet and that this is likely related to the amount of propaganda regarding homosexuals he has been exposed to. However, I have no reason to doubt his sincerity that his love for his children is his primary concern.Report

              • Avatar Kimsie says:

                I agree. But he might be keeping his kid away from girls as well…Report

              • Avatar Rogue Economist says:

                I had a reply here, but I don’t see it now.Report

  7. Avatar Kolohe says:

    I’m not quite agreeing that this is hypocrisy, though I disagree with the assertion that “this is not in the best interests of Scouting” (nor am I “deeply concerned”)

    The Federation can have a prime directive not to interfere in the affairs of less advanced societies, yet still have an opinion (and seminars!) on the latest developments in Mintakan society. Or, if you like, stay out of the Klingon Civil War, yet still have a side its rooting for.Report

    • Avatar MikeSchilling says:

      The hypocrisy is “This is the Scout’s business alone! Stop, all you outside pressure groups!” when they do what Heritage wants vs. “We’re very concerned about the changes they’re making.” when they don’t.Report

    • Avatar RTod says:

      I don’t know that I would call what Jason is pointing out reveals hypocrisy so much as it does that THF is relying on specious arguments.Report

    • Avatar Barry says:

      Actually, from TOS, the Federation can have a Prime Directive, but have a major agent (Kirk) interfere in the internal affairs of planet after planet……..while having many affairs on planet after planet.

      Obviously, the Prime Directive is just a propaganda screen to cover the nefarious subversive activities of this ‘Federation’.

      And have you noticed that most of those running it are pink skins?Report