Small Wars Journal

06/12/2021 News & Commentary – National Security

Sat, 06/12/2021 - 2:40pm

News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Daniel Riggs

1. "Prepare for War," China military warns in new propaganda poster for Taiwan

2. Was Taiwan Ever Really a Part of China?

3. Ex-Mossad director dismisses China threat, criticizing hardline U.S policy

4. China, US diplomats clash over human rights, pandemic origin

5.  China’s Censorship Widens to Hong Kong’s Vaunted Film Industry, With Global Implications

6. Why the China - Russia Relationship Should Worry You - Part One

7. Why the China – Russia Relationship Should Worry You – Part Two

8. ‘Tear Down This Wall’: The Power of Reagan’s 1987 Speech Endures

9. US Attache Disappointed at Curb on Navy Base Visit (Cambodia)

10. The Biden administration's investigation into COVID-19’s origins misses half of the problem

11.  Myanmar’s Coming Revolution: What Will Emerge From Collapse?

12. DOD Leaders Share Their Intelligence Threat Assessments

13. U.S. Presses China on New Covid-19 Study as Beijing Resists

14.  Top China Envoy Urges U.S. to Restore Normal Bilateral Ties

15. The US is scrambling to deal with cyberattacks, and that may mean new roles and missions for special-ops units

16. Racism didn’t exist in the military before Biden, US Senator says with straight face

17. Military Diversity: A Key American Strategic Asset

18. We Have Come a Long Ways … We Have a Ways to Go (Diversity in the Military)

19. What Do Conservatives Fear About Critical Race Theory?


1. "Prepare for War," China military warns in new propaganda poster for Taiwan

Newsweek · by John Feng · June 10, 2021

China's three warfares: psychological warfare, legal warfare, media warfare.

Is anyone advising Taiwan on its own psychological operations campaign and designing themes and messages? E.g.,  Taiwan will be a black hole for the PLA, One forces come ashore they will never leave and are never heard from again as they are absorbed by the terrain and resistance (hopefully the people of Taiwan will never be pacified).


2. Was Taiwan Ever Really a Part of China? · by Evan Dawley · June 10, 2021

Excerpts:All of these markers of separation were evident before 1947, when the divergence between Taiwanese and Chinese came into high relief during the 2-28 Uprising and its brutal suppression by Nationalist Chinese military forces, and the White Terror that began soon thereafter. Political opposition to the Nationalist Party and pro-independence sentiment went underground or overseas, but Taiwanese identities intensified. Although sharp divisions continued to exist between indigenous and non-indigenous populations, by the 1990s many defined “Taiwanese” to include both groups. Decades of single-party rule under martial law by Chiang Kai-shek’s regime did not effectively instill most of Taiwan’s residents with a new sense of Chinese national identity. Indeed, most of the roughly 1 million people who left China for Taiwan, and their descendants, came to identify themselves with Taiwan, not China.

The ROC nevertheless successfully continued Taiwan’s condition of political separation from China, a fact that has been in existence now for almost all of the past 126 years, and it has maintained full sovereignty for about seven decades. Chinese insistence on the idea of Taiwan as a part of China has failed to convince the roughly 23 million Taiwanese.

As Cena’s apology shows, Chinese views have been much more effective in shaping international opinion, but they do not change Taiwan’s modern history or the reality that Taiwan is a country. Individuals, countries, and companies can make their own choices about how to interact with China and its citizens, but they should do so with an accurate understanding of the underlying history.


3. Ex-Mossad director dismisses China threat, criticizing hardline U.S policy

Axios · by Barak Ravid

We should not over-hype threats but we should not "over"-downplay them either.

But this is an important critique:

“If there is anybody here who knows what the U.S. wants from China, I would be happy to hear. I am not sure we fully understand if there is a coherent U.S. policy on China."

— Yossi Cohen

I would ask, what is the acceptable, durable political arrangement we would like to see in Asia that will protect, sustain, and advance US interests?


4. China, US diplomats clash over human rights, pandemic origin


Excerpts:Relations between them have deteriorated to their lowest level in decades, with the Biden administration showing no signs of deviating from the established U.S. hardline against China over trade, technology, human rights and China’s claim to the South China Sea.

Beijing, meanwhile, has fought back doggedly against what it sees as attempts to smear its reputation and restrain its development.

On Thursday, its ceremonial legislature passed a law to retaliate against sanctions imposed on Chinese politicians and organizations, threatening to deny entry to and freeze the Chinese assets of anyone who formulates or implements such measures, potentially placing new pressure on foreign companies operating in the country.


5.  China’s Censorship Widens to Hong Kong’s Vaunted Film Industry, With Global Implications

The New York Times · by Raymond Zhong · June 11, 2021

Three warfares... combination of legal warfare and media warfare?

Excerpts:The new guidelines, which apply to both domestically produced and foreign films, come as a sharp slap to the artistic spirit of Hong Kong, where government-protected freedoms of expression and an irreverent local culture had imbued the city with a cultural vibrancy that set it apart from mainland megacities.

They also represent a broadening of the Chinese government’s hold on the global film industry. China’s booming box office has been irresistible to Hollywood studios. Big-budget productions go to great lengths to avoid offending Chinese audiences and Communist Party censors, while others discover the expensive way what happens when they do not.


Censorship worries have loomed large over Hong Kong’s creative industries ever since the former British colony was returned to China in 1997. But concerns that once felt theoretical have become frighteningly real since Beijing enacted a national security law last year to quash the antigovernment protests that shook the city in 2019.

So while few in the local movie industry said they felt caught totally off guard by the new censorship guidelines issued Friday, they still expressed concern that the sweeping scope of the rules would affect not just which movies are screened in Hong Kong, but also how they get produced and whether they get made at all.


China has become more important to Hollywood in recent years because it is one of the few countries where moviegoing is growing. Ticket sales in the United States and Canada, which make up the world’s No. 1 movie market, were flat between 2016 and 2019, at $11.4 billion, according to the Motion Picture Association. Over that period, ticket sales in China increased 41 percent, to $9.3 billion.

As a result, American studios have stepped up their efforts to work within China’s censorship system.

Last year, PEN America, the free-speech advocacy group, excoriated Hollywood executives for voluntarily censoring films to placate China, with “content, casting, plot, dialogue and settings” tailored “to avoid antagonizing Chinese officials.” In some instances, PEN said, studios have been “directly inviting Chinese government censors onto their film sets to advise them on how to avoid tripping the censors’ wires.”


6. Why the China - Russia Relationship Should Worry You - Part One · by Mark Kelton · June 8, 2021

Conclusion: "Both Beijing and Moscow seem to have come to the realization that there is little the West can do using traditional means to dissuade them from their espionage activities. It is now apparent that declaring intelligence officers persona non-grata, issuing arrest warrants for those involved in espionage and imposing sanctions against governments or persons responsible for those operations appreciably alter neither Russian nor Chinese behavior. There is, therefore, no easy or formulaic riposte to the espionage threats this duo pose. We can, and should, step up our counterintelligence programs; intensify efforts to clandestinely penetrate their intelligence and decision-making circles; and harden our cyber defenses (to include increased information sharing on threats between government and industry). We should not, however, expect that such steps alone will deter this pair’s spying. This is particularly true of Chinese espionage given the impunity with which the PRC is waging economic war against us. Yet, we must to do all we can to protect American industrial know-how and supply chains from Beijing’s depredations. To that end, we need to consider more aggressive use of sanctions against our real Chinese adversary – the CCP, its officials and organizations – as well as other PRC institutions and companies directing, facilitating, or benefiting competitively from such spying. And we should do so even at the risk of PRC retaliation against US companies and officials. Some will argue that this will hasten the economic decoupling of the US from China. So be it. The policy of engagement as a means of altering Beijing’s behavior has long since been proven a chimera. And with Xi himself arguing against decoupling, it is probably wise to try to do just that where feasible in order to protect our crucial industries and supply chains."


7. Why the China – Russia Relationship Should Worry You – Part Two

Cipher Brief · by Mark Kelton · June 9, 2021

Conclusion: "This is a profoundly dangerous moment for our country.  Any perception of US weakness can translate into peril as the two autocrats consider their next move. President Biden has identified competition with China as his administration’s greatest foreign policy challenge, pledging to maintain a strong U.S. military presence in the Indo-Pacific and to boost U.S. technological development. Whether the US will win what President Biden termed “a battle between the utility of democracies in the 21st century and autocracies” will not, however, only be decided economic power and military force. Victory in that conflict will also be determined by the ability of the US to unify around, and demonstrate national will in defending, its founding principles in the face of those embodying their antitheses. “I think”, Churchill wrote to Lloyd George just before the 1938 Munich Conference, “we shall have to choose in the next few weeks between war and shame, and I have little doubt what that decision will be.”[2] Churchill was sadly proven correct as a lack of sufficient resolve in confronting the aggressors of his day propelled the world further along the road to global cataclysm. American failure to stand athwart the designs of today’s infernal twins – even at the risk of war – will garner similar ignominy and likewise may well end in a war that might have been avoided or limited had we acted with greater resolution earlier."


8.  ‘Tear Down This Wall’: The Power of Reagan’s 1987 Speech Endures

National Review Online · by H. R. McMaster · June 12, 2021

Excerpts:Reagan used the physical wall to illuminate the stark contrast between two systems, leaving little room for moral equivalence. He described the wall and the border complex that comprised the Iron Curtain as an “instrument to impose upon ordinary men and women the will of a totalitarian state” and observed that the “news photo and the television screen have imprinted this brutal division of a continent upon the mind of the world.” He made that barrier and the oppression it represented important to all people. “Standing before the Brandenburg Gate, every man is a German, separated from his fellow men. Every man is a Berliner, forced to look upon a scar.” Sadly, after Berliners tore down the wall in November 1989, man-made barriers that divide free and oppressed peoples persisted, such as the fences, minefields, and guard towers that run along the 38th parallel and separate South Korea’s thriving democracy from the Kim family’s destitute dictatorship.

But it is the 180-kilometer-long strait that connects the East China Sea and the South China Sea that marks the most consequential political obstacle between peoples who share a common culture — much as the Berlin Wall did during the Cold War. Taiwanese appear as today’s West Berliners because Taiwan’s successful democracy exposes the CCP’s lie that the Chinese people are culturally predisposed toward not wanting a say in how they are governed. Reagan expressed respect for Berliners in 1987, noting “the feeling of history in this city, more than 500 years older than our own nation.” Leaders across the free world today might show respect for the Taiwanese and all Chinese people by acknowledging that China’s recent history — from the Republican Revolution of 1911 to the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 to the Hong Kong protests of 2020 — reveals the CCP’s Leninist system as unnatural and sustainable only through oppression. Like West Berlin during the Cold War, Taiwan’s vibrancy and openness can provide hope to those who, from Xinjiang to Hong Kong to Tibet to Beijing, might otherwise despair. The Taiwanese people need, as West Berliners did during the Cold War, the support of the free world to counter the CCP’s aggression and deter conflict at a dangerous flashpoint that could lead to a devastating war.

Reagan delivered a confident, positive message. It has been largely forgotten that many in the West extolled the relative strengths of Soviet communism up to the moment that the system collapsed. Reagan, however, saw the competitive advantages of America and the free world. He declared that “there stands before the entire world one great and inescapable conclusion: Freedom leads to prosperity. Freedom replaces the ancient hatreds among the nations with comity and peace. Freedom is the victor.” Across the world’s democracies, in today’s season of self-doubt brought on by the aforementioned traumas, Reagan’s speech provides a reminder that self-respect is foundational to the competition with the CCP. The free world has a competitive advantage in unalienable rights: freedom of expression, of assembly, and of the press; freedom of religion and freedom from persecution based on religion, race, gender, or sexual orientation; the freedom to prosper in our free-market economic system; rule of law and the protections it affords to life and liberty; and democratic governance that recognizes that government serves the people rather than the other way around. While the free world’s democratic governments and free-market economic systems are imperfect and require constant nurturing, those who extol the relative strengths of China’s system and argue that the best that democracies can do is to manage their relative decline may one day find themselves as surprised as Soviet advocates and apologists were in 1989.


The Berlin speech and other Reagan speeches that addressed the Cold War competition with the Soviet Union, such as the Westminster Address of June 1982 and the “Evil Empire” speech given at the annual convention of the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Fla., in March 1983, explained what was at stake, for the United States and humanity, in the competition with the Soviet Union. In the latter speech, he lamented the “historical reluctance to see totalitarian powers for what they are.” That reluctance abides, as some argue that, in the competition with the Chinese Communist Party, the United States faces a binary choice between accommodation and a disastrous war. Others prioritize profits over principles as they surrender to the Party’s coercive power. Some rationalize their silence over heinous human-rights abuses with tortured arguments of moral equivalence. President Ronald Reagan’s Berlin speech demonstrated that direct language is itself an essential element of effective competition. The speech retains its importance because it demonstrates the need for an unambiguous understanding of the nature of today’s competition with the CCP, reveals how that understanding can help restore confidence in and gratitude for democratic governance, and encourages a renewed international commitment to the unalienable rights to which all peoples are entitled.


9. US Attache Disappointed at Curb on Navy Base Visit (Cambodia) · by Phoung Vantha· June 12, 2021

Chinese influence?


10. The Biden administration's investigation into COVID-19’s origins misses half of the problem

Washington Examiner · by Anthony Ruggiero · June 11, 2021

Excerpts: “Now that the WHO meeting has finished, Biden or Becerra should publicly detail what the next steps are. China is not cooperating with the investigation; what is the Biden administration’s plan? Will it study the issue for 90 days while Beijing’s obstruction continues?

A better approach is for Biden to assemble a public-private investigation with like-minded countries that reviews available information and provides a judgment on the likely scenarios.

China’s cover-up cost the lives of nearly 600,000 people in America, and over 33 million have been infected. The country deserves concrete answers immediately. It’s time for the Biden administration to switch from rhetoric to action.


11. Myanmar’s Coming Revolution: What Will Emerge From Collapse?

Foreign Affairs · June 11, 2021

I hope we are in close contact with the handful of Americans who have built long term relationships in Burma and are advising and assisting indigenous forces. They certainly have information, insights, and intelligence that can be crucial to effective policy making and strategic planning. And of course some are prepared to serve as pilot teams should there be a decision to act on some scale (most likely directly or through proxies).

Excerpts:These new guerilla movements can certainly keep the junta off balance. But the insurrectionists will not be able to build a new army to challenge the existing one without significant help from a neighboring country, which seems next to impossible. And nothing in the history of Myanmar’s army suggests that a sizable chunk of its forces would break away and join a rebellion. That leaves the ethnic minority armies as the only other possible agents of a broader uprising. The Kachin Independence Army and the Karen National Liberation Army, in the far north and southeast of the country, respectively, have already mounted new attacks on army positions. Other groups, too, may move from statements of political support to armed action. But even the combined might of the ethnic armed organizations—numbering perhaps 75,000 fighters in total—would be no match for a military that has far superior artillery and a monopoly on airpower. Moreover, the most powerful ethnic armed organization, the United Wa State Army, with 30,000 troops, has deep links to China, having emerged from the old communist insurgency. It will heed the advice of Beijing, which has no love for the Myanmar army but does not want to see an all-out civil war.


Second, outside powers must support and encourage all those working not only for democracy in Myanmar but also for the broad transformation of Myanmar politics and society. That includes serious efforts, possibly through an expanded UN civilian presence in Myanmar, to monitor human rights abuses and negotiate the release of political prisoners. It is critical, however, not to raise false hopes by offering people in Myanmar the chimera of international salvation; that would only steer energy away from building the necessary and broadest possible coalitions at home.

Third, outside help needs to be based on an appreciation of Myanmar’s unique history, one in which past army regimes have withstood the strictest international isolation, and the unique psychology of the generals themselves, molded by decades of unrelenting violence. The international community’s usual carrots and sticks won’t work.

Fourth, foreign governments should assist poor and vulnerable populations as much as possible, perhaps focusing initially on providing COVID-19 vaccinations. But such assistance must be handled with tremendous political skill and designed in collaboration with health-care workers themselves, so as not to inadvertently entrench the grip of the junta. Many of the junta’s opponents have wanted to crash the economy to help trigger revolution, but as weeks stretch into months and years, it will be necessary to protect the civilian economy as much as possible, to prevent a worsening humanitarian disaster. Responsible global firms that do not do business with the army should be encouraged to stay in the country. A population that is healthy and well fed is one that will be better able to push for political change.

Governments must try different initiatives with as much flexibility and international coordination as possible. There is no magic bullet, no single set of policies that will solve the crisis in Myanmar. That’s because the crisis isn’t just the result of the February coup; it is the outcome of decades of failed state building and nation building and an economy and a society that have been so unjust for so long to so many. The outside world has long tended to see Myanmar as a fairy tale, shorn of its complexities, in which an agreeable ending is just around the corner. The fairy tale must now end and be replaced with serious diplomacy and well-informed, practical strategies. With this, there is every chance that over a few years—not magically overnight—Myanmar can become the peaceful democracy so clearly desired by its people.


12. DOD Leaders Share Their Intelligence Threat Assessments · by David Vergun

Excerpts: “The expansion of the competitive space beyond traditional military domains and geographic boundaries increases and complicates demands for defense intelligence, collection, analysis and planning, he said.

Challenges from strategic competitors such as Russia and China, rogue states such as Iran and North Korean, and violent extremists require that the defense intelligence enterprise invest in the ability to seamlessly share and fuse information, synchronize capabilities and expand partnerships with other government agencies, the private sector, academia and partner nations, he said.

The department is taking a whole-of-government approach, which includes reviewing classification processes, pursuing wider dissemination of classified information through alliances and partnerships, and the thoughtful release to the public of certain unclassified information to support U.S. interests, Moultrie said.

The department is focused on countering insider threats through better vetting procedures and protecting its vital supply chain, he said.


13.  U.S. Presses China on New Covid-19 Study as Beijing Resists

Bloomberg · June 11, 2021


14. Top China Envoy Urges U.S. to Restore Normal Bilateral Ties

Bloomberg  · Charlie Zhu

Excerpts: “Beijing officials have repeatedly denied that the virus leaked from the lab, and pointed to a WHO report earlier this year that said the most likely origin was natural.

Yang also urged the U.S. not to use human rights issues to interfere with internal politics in other countries. Top diplomats from the G-7 called last month for China to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, condemning Beijing’s treatment of its Uyghur minority over forced labor and compelled sterilization. Beijing rejects accusations that human rights abuses are being committed in Xinjiang.


15. The US is scrambling to deal with cyberattacks, and that may mean new roles and missions for special-ops units

Business Insider · by Stavros Atlamazoglou

Excerpts:The Pentagon and the Intelligence Community have differing aims for cyber operations, and inside the military there are varying capabilities and goals — mainly those of US Cyber Command and US Special Operations Command — in that domain.

Those divides underline the absence of a broader cyber strategy.

The US special-operations community has been paying more attention to the cyber domain, which offers the community an opportunity to understand an adversary, find its weaknesses, and use them against it.

American commandos have already used these capabilities to fight ISIS. In the age of great-power competition with more sophisticated adversaries, like China and Russia, US commandos deployed to study Chinese capabilities or to track Russian influence operations can also take advantage of those capabilities.

"Not only does SOF have an interest in more cyber, but they have made it known they plan on significantly increasing their investment in cyber- and electronic-warfare capabilities," Herm Hasken, a partner and senior operations consultant at MarkPoint Technologies, told Insider.

For Special Operations Command and Joint Special Operations Command, that investment is reflected in the National Defense Authorization Act, an annual bill that funds defense and national-security programs.


In addition to offensive operations, the US special-operations community is flexible and can use cyber to gain an advantage against adversaries in more traditional missions.

For example, Special Operations Command's Army Special Forces, Civil Affairs, and Psychological Operations units can use cyber operations to better understand the local populations they work with and to influence their views of the US. Information gathered through cyber operations can also be used to improve US training of foreign partner forces.

Conversely, Cyber Command is more interested in knowing where an adversary's communications networks are and how to take them out. In the absence of a broader US cyber strategy, such a capability is wasted, as it's reserved for combat operations.


As people give more devices more access to their daily lives — whether through online banking or internet-enabled appliances — cybersecurity takes on more importance for ordinary citizens, and demand for private-sector cybersecurity services is growing is growing.

Companies like SMU — which is led by former special-operations and intelligence professionals who specialize in individual online privacy and cybersecurity — are becoming the go-to choice.

"There's no longer a need to wait for the NSA or FBI or DHS to put out a bulletin warning individual citizens of the risks of cybercrime," an expert at the Signature Management Unit, one of those firms, told Insider.

The increasing potential for cyber operations by a nation-state or a criminal group to affect the public has raised the stakes for those families and businesses, according to the SMU expert, who has joint special operations and intelligence experience and spoke anonymously to discuss the firm's projects.

"While we invest a lot in national cyber and the cybersecurity infrastructure protection, this is not a replacement for individual responsibility," the SMU expert said.


16.  Racism didn’t exist in the military before Biden, US Senator says with straight face · by Jeff Schogol · June 11, 2021

Senator Cotton and Rep. Crenshaw undermine their own legitimacy with their statements. And the treatment of Secretary Austin for political theater is unbecoming.

And those who call for the ban against ideas and theories ought to rethink their understanding of the Constitution and American ideals and values. If you have to ban an idea or theory it must mean you cannot present an equal better alternative and allow people to think for themselves and determine what they choose to believe and accept. Do they really think they can legislate their way to ensure people think the way they do and accept their version of political correctness?


17. Military Diversity: A Key American Strategic Asset

Worth reading from one of our four star generals. Compare this to the article on our "woke military" published under the pseudonym Robert Berg here:  I take General Garrett's side even as I acknowledge Mr. Berg's right to hold and express his ideas.

Excerpts: “A diverse and inclusive force helps young Americans, families, and veterans trust and relate to the U.S. Army. Outside of recruiting and talent management, the Army is also a symbol of our Nation’s values—a source of pride for the American conscience and our partners. A recent Reagan Foundation survey found that Americans’ trust in the U.S. military has declined since 2018, though it is still above the public’s trust in six other public institutions.25 In the wake of a divisive 2020 marked by racial tension and conflict, the military can and should be a source of national unity.

A diverse and inclusive force represents American values abroad. In 1997, a Bolivian army corporal named Rodrigo Mendoza trained alongside soldiers from 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) during a training exchange in his own country.26 Inspired by this experience, Mendoza completed his mandatory national military service, moved to Puerto Rico, enlisted in the 82nd Airborne Division, gained U.S. citizenship, and eventually earned a Special Forces green beret of his own. Every day, diverse and cohesive teams of soldiers across the world represent the democratic values that make America strong. And while these exchanges are meant to build partner capacity, not recruit foreign citizens, Mendoza’s story demonstrates the reach and impact of American values. Without this reach, we would not only lose influence abroad but also present adversaries with opportunities to undermine our Nation’s credibility.

As an organization that has declared “People First!,” we have an obligation to follow through on this promise by ensuring respect and decency across our formations.27 And ultimately, a diverse Army will attract the best of America’s next generation when they see themselves in the chain of command and know they have equal opportunities to lead and advance.

Leaders who look at the Army’s top priority, “People First!,” in a strategic context are well-prepared to balance “people” and “readiness” in their units. Specifically, diversity and inclusion within the military are vital strategic assets that keep our force strong and set our Nation apart on the global stage. However—beyond strategy—diversity, inclusion, tolerance, respect, and fair opportunities are essential rights for all people. Leaders who disagree with the idea that diversity is a strategic asset have no less responsibility to ensure inclusion at their level. It is their legal and ethical responsibility.

This article’s strategic context is a new way for leaders to think about diversity, but at the end of the day, these justifications are not the reason the U.S. Army takes care of its people. We take care of our people because it is right, because we care, and because they deserve it.

The Army is fortunate to have leaders who have the heart to take care of people today and the perspective to understand the long-term impacts of unit culture on military readiness.


18. We Have Come a Long Ways … We Have a Ways to Go (Diversity in the Military)

Perhaps someone could ensure Senator Cotton and Representative Cresnhaw could receive a copy of this article. Maybe someone in the Army OCLL can deliver a copy to them. It might help them be better informed on issues of race and diversity and to understand it existed in our Army before January 20, 2021.

This sums up the discussions I often observe: “After answering this question, the follow-on conversation typically is reflective of the person’s race. Black friends and associates spend more time trying to convince me that “we have a very long way to go” as they focus on the glass that is half empty: personal encounters with racism or bias, discrimination, or statistics tied to selection rates for battalion and brigade command or senior service college. My White coworkers or lifetime friends reflect on legal and cultural changes since the 1960s and believe that the Army “has come a very long way” in embracing Black Americans. Can both voices be right?


19. What Do Conservatives Fear About Critical Race Theory?

The New Yorker · by Benjamin Wallace-Wells · June 10, 2021

The use of legislation to ban ideas with which you disagree is anathema to American values. And the very act of trying to do so is an admission that you cannot intellectually compete with the ideas with which you disagree.

That said this conclusion really gets to one important aspect of this entire issue and something both sides of this issue should reflect upon:That is reason to think that the conflict over critical race theory might endure, even when the attention of Fox News inevitably drifts. The question of what children are held responsible for cuts deep, and the answer isn’t always determined by a person’s ideology or partisan identity. When I spoke with Terry Stoops, a conservative education-policy expert at the John Locke Foundation who had been appointed to a task force on “indoctrination” in public schools by the conservative lieutenant governor of North Carolina, he told me that he wasn’t sure how long the outrage of some grassroots conservatives would ultimately last. But he did think their anger had been misunderstood. “I’ve seen so much discussion about the fact that conservatives are advancing these critical-race-theory bills because they don’t want the truth of slavery or racism to be taught, and I haven’t seen that at all. I think parents want their children to learn about the mistakes of the past in order to create a better future,” Stoops said. “They don’t want their children to be told that they are responsible for the mistakes of their ancestors, and that unless they repent for those mistakes then they will remain complicit.” The debate isn’t about history, exactly. It is about the possibility of blamelessness.




“If it is not right, do not do it, if it is not true, do not say it.” 

– Marcus Aurelius


“That’s why the philosophers warn us not to be satisfied with mere learning, but to add practice and then training. For as time passes we forget what we learned and end up doing the opposite, and hold opinions the opposite of what we should.” 

– Epictetus


“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him.” 

– Viktor Frankl

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