This week in the Republican-descent-into-batshit-authoritarianism beat: U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance tells Fox News host Tucker Carlson that the federal government should seize money from nonprofit organizations and redistribute their wealth.
The proximate cause of these brain farts is the fact that a fellow with the Ford Foundation—a nonprofit organization dedicated to social justice—got into an argument with some of her fellow students at Arizona State University over a "Police Lives Matter" sticker. For daring to associate with someone who would commit this heinous transgression, Vance suggests that the Ford Foundation should have their assets seized and redistributed.
"Why don't we seize the assets of the Ford Foundation, tax their assets, and give it to the people who've had their lives destroyed by their radical open borders agenda?" Vance asked on Carlson's show last night.
In the past, conservatives and libertarians have freaked out—with very good reason—at the idea of the IRS or any other government agency targeting tax-exempt groups based on these groups' beliefs. To have charities, think tanks, grant-making foundations, activist groups, and other nonprofit organizations subject to the whims and will of each passing political administration would be antithetical to free speech, free markets, and the civil liberties of these groups and their donors.
Republicans—including Tucker and Vance—would surely be horrified if the Biden administration started taking any action against conservative nonprofits, let alone seizing their assets and handing it over to causes liberals support.
Having the federal government seize assets of nonprofits whose politics they don't like doesn't feel like a very smart long term plan for conservatives. https://t.co/THJ13zqaK4
— Tim Miller (@Timodc) September 29, 2021
I know, I know—Carlson and Vance are not principled torchbearers of conservative ideology but people who routinely espouse whatever outrage-mongering nonsense will get them attention and rile up their audiences. Still, they have huge audiences among conservatives and the influence that goes along with that.
And last night's segment is a good reminder of the kind of anti-conservative, anti-liberty, authoritarian logic they employ.
Throughout the segment, Carlson and Vance try to portray nonprofit groups as an exotic Democratic Party plot and the whole idea of tax-exempt status as some sort of left-wing conspiracy. Carlson complains that groups like the Ford Foundation can "completely change the country, non-democratically, using their tax exemption" and acts aghast that politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) aren't calling for taxing "openly partisan" nonprofits. Vance called groups like the Ford Foundation, the Gates Foundation, and the Harvard University endowment "fundamentally cancers on society."
But Carlson and Vance probably wouldn't like it if Democrats came after the Heritage Foundation, Turning Point USA, the Independent Women's Forum, and other GOP-friendly groups that enjoy tax-exempt status, too.
As with arguments about social media, a policy requiring "nonprofit neutrality" wouldn't actually make anyone happy.
Is libertarianism incompatible with conservatism? Aaron Ross Powell of the Cato Institute weighs in on Twitter and at Libertarianism.org.
Conservatism is incompatible with libertarianism because they have different aims. Inevitably, conservatives will turn on liberty. To remain allies, they have to abondon conservative politics. That's the argument in my new essay at @libertarianism, but here's the short version.
— Aaron Ross Powell (@ARossP) September 28, 2021
The Argument tackles OnlyFans and online sex work:
— Jane Coaston (@janecoaston) September 29, 2021
• The U.S. has deported almost 4,000 Haitian migrants in a little over a week.
• A federal judge has blocked (for now) South Carolina's ban on mask requirements in schools.
• People are fleeing Washington, D.C. In 2020, the city lost "nearly 19,000 households to moves in 2020, according to U.S. Postal Service permanent change-of-address data. That was more than every state in the U.S. except California, New York, Illinois and Massachusetts."
• Against the concept of punching up and punching down: "The whole concept is childish and unworkable," writes Freddie deBoer. "The entire notion is an absurd pretense. For it to make any sense at all, human beings would have to exist on some unitary plane of power and oppression, our relative places easily interpreted for the purpose of figuring out who we can punch."
• "We have submitted evidence showing that the most common search query on Bing is by far Google," a lawyer for Google's parent company told the European Union's General Court.
• "You do sort of need the word 'woman' for feminism, by which I mean, for addressing issues that almost exclusively impact women, and things like the ACLU tweet [rewriting Ruth Bader Ginsburg's woman quote] or the Lancet 'bodies with vaginas' cover (sounds so much racier than it is…) are not helping," suggests Phoebe Maltz Bovy.
• "A Harvard Crimson survey of the incoming Harvard Class of 2025 revealed that 87% of the class voted for Joe Biden, compared to 6.7% for Howie Hawkins and 6.3% for Donald Trump," notes Matthew Yglesias, in a riff on political polarization in education.
• The new Texas social media law "is blatantly unconstitutional," writes Reason's Jacob Sullum.
• Amazon is introducing a home robot.
• Here's a fun takedown of political children's books.