Monthly Archives: September 2018

Ideas Have Consequences . . .

They do indeed, as so well illustrated by the ongoing Judge Kavanaugh confirmation kerfuffle. Since we cannot say it any better, here is a quote from Heather McDonald’s article in the City Journal:

“The sexual revolution declared that the traditional restraints on the male libido—norms of male chivalry and gentlemanliness and of female modesty and prudence—were patriarchal and oppressive. Men should stop protecting women and putting them on a pedestal. Males and females were assumed to desire easy sex with equal fervor, and to be able to walk away from a one-night stand with equal complacency. With regard to students, adults should remain nonjudgmental and as far out of the picture as possible. Chaperones were relegated to the relic pile, as fusty as a mothballed corset. Starting in the 1970s, affluent parents often absented themselves from their teenager’s parties, leaving the house liquor cabinet unattended. Popular culture became hyper-sexualized.

“The results were not pretty: the male libido, free to act as boorishly as it wanted; females getting drunk to reduce their innate sexual inhibitions, unprotected by any default assumptions against casual premarital sex. Whether a 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh took advantage of this putative sexual liberation, many other teenagers have, and in so doing, merely followed the new script for sexual relations.

“Those derided Victorian values of chivalric paternalism are now being reimported covertly on college campuses, however, where male students are deemed responsible for female well-being during drunken hook-ups, even if the male and female student are both equally inebriated. The #MeToo movement is going further, turning a drunken pat on the butt in a suburban kitchen into a criminal offense and a squeeze on the knee under a dinner table grounds for banishment. A panelist on The View complained that the “white men” on the Senate Judiciary Committee were “not protecting women.” One might have thought that the committee’s role was to protect the constitutional balance of power.”

To which one should add that if women are to be treated as men’s equals, why are they in need of such male protection? These days, they serve as police officers, combat troops, firefighters, Air Force fighter pilots, etc., so why do they require paternalistic oversight that shields them from life’s adversities and male misbehavior in their chosen occupations? Ironically, in all those battles for women’s equality in the military, opponents of male-female troop integration argued unsuccessfully that this was a bad idea because male soldiers would tend to be protective of their female comrades-in-arms, thus reducing their own effectiveness as warriors. But now, all of a sudden, we are told from on high that women, after all, are the weaker sex in need of male protection not just in combat, but at college parties. Sounds like Orwellian double think to us.

Equally important, if such new male protectiveness is where it’s at these days, why don’t the male Senators rise to the occasion, don their knightly armor and provide such chivalrous protection? Cat got their tongues? Evidently. Thus it took a woman — the inimitable Heather McDonald — to lay it all out and to remind us that social mores are adopted for a reason, and that we discard them at our peril. So we better learn how to think long and hard before we get rid of them just “because it feels good” at the moment.

As is our habit, every now and then we depart from our usual topics to comment on important matters of broader interest. And this topic surely falls into that category.

NY Times: Constitution? What Constitution?

Check out a long piece in the Sunday NY Times by a lady named Nellie Bowles, Sue at Your Own Risk, 9-2-18, Business Section, p. 2. It’s about the kerfuffle in California — where else? — that pits the state against a high-tech multi-billionaire named Vinod Khosla. His misfortune stems from the fact that he bought a 53-acre beachfront parcel, and — silly man that he is — he thought that this entitled him to all the indicia and prerogatives of land ownership. But hey man, this is California where private land ownership (particularly of beachfront land) though not quite a crime, is not something that is entitled to the law’s protection either.

Long story short, the land’s previous owner kept the land closed to the public but had maintained a gated fence surrounding the property. The gate would be opened now and then, allowing members of the public to enter and park for a fee. Mr. Khosla wasn’t interested in such an arrangement, so he closed and locked the gate. Anywhere else that would be the end of the story. But like we said, this is California, man. So local dudes calling themselves the Surfrider Foundation took umbrage and demanded that Khosla keep that gate open for their convenient access to the beach. So this being California, quick as a bunny the State Lands Commission asked the legislature for funds wherewith to acquire an access easement to the sea across Khosla’s land. Also, the California Coastal Commission took the position that locking that gate was “development” which Khosla could not engage in without a Commission permit. No, we are not making this up.

California courts (which have never seen a government beach seizure they didn’t like) upheld the Commission’s contention, and the California Supreme Court denied review. Mr. Khosla then petitioned the US Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari seeking reversal of the California courts’ ruling, thus restoring Khosla’s rights in the subject property, being as the state never paid for them. SCOTUS, however, has been sitting on that petition, and went home for its summer break without either granting or denying Khosla’s plea. So we’ll have to wait until some time after the first Monday in October to learn whether California will have to comply with the Fifth Amendment’s “just compensation” clause, or whther SCOTUS will permit it to go on its merry way of flipping off that provision of the US Constitution.

What makes this particular NY Times dispatch interesting is that in spite of its length (about two broadside newspaper pages) it never mentions the Constitution, nor any takings cases decided by SCOTUS in the recent past. Like Kaiser Aetna, for example, which is directly on point (holding that the government may not order private land owners to open their property to the public, without paying just compensation. We recommend you read that article yourself and check us out. The way the Times describes this controversy sounds like a private quarrel between some local, beach-loving surfer dudes, and a wicked, greedy land owner who has the temerity to think that his ownership of land (on which he pays taxes) is protected by law, or that he has the right to exclude strangers from it, and that the Constitution (as well as the California Civil Code) grant him the right to exclude third-party strangers from his land.

So as we are fond of saying, stay tuned and keep your eye on the calendar to see if, come that first Monday in October, constitutional rights will be restored to California land owners.