Pages

Monday, February 11, 2019

Leftism - Not Just Wrong, But Evil


Conservative commentator Dennis Prager once made an insightful distinction between the political left and right. The right, he noted, generally sees the left as wrong but not evil, whereas the left sees the right not merely as wrong but as evil. This was a valid assessment once upon a time, but as the left has increasingly exposed itself in the Trump era as rabidly illiberal, irrational, and immoral, it is time for the right to acknowledge that the left is not merely wrong, but evil.
What is evil? Let us set theological explanations aside for the moment and settle on a practical definition upon which most can agree: if cruelty means the willful disregard for human suffering, even taking pleasure in inflicting suffering on others, then evil is profound cruelty. It is a malevolence so dark and bottomless that ordinary people cannot fathom it. Psychologists may prefer less highly-charged terms to describe people who commit unconscionable acts, but evil is as evil does, and what leftism has done over and over again throughout history and around the world is provide a worldview which justifies perpetrating unimaginable horrors on untold numbers of victims.
To be clear: evil is hardly the sole domain of the left. It can inhabit individuals of any color, sex, political persuasion, or religious belief. But as an ideology, Progressivism – the rebranding of Communism – embraces totalitarianism and absolute statist control, which always and everywhere leads to misery, corruption, and brutality, and never elevates humanity. Can anyone look objectively at the ghastly devastation wrought by Communist in the 20th century – the gulags and the mass starvation, the torture and executions, the existential fear and hopelessness, the tens of millions dead and countless more lives destroyed – and not conclude that leftism is an ideology of evil? Add to that its unholy alliance with fundamentalist Islam today to subvert the whole of Western civilization, and there can be no doubt.
At the core of the true leftist is a hatred for anyone and anything that stands in the way of his or her lust for power over others: the nuclear family, Christianity, the Constitution, Donald Trump, etc. As David Horowitz had noted on numerous occasions, during a presidential debate in October 2016, candidate Trump spoke more naked truth about leftists than any establishment Republican would ever have dared when he said that his opponent Hillary Clinton had “tremendous hate in her heart.”

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Apeshit at the Louvre


As 2018 drew to a close, The Washington Post published an arts-and-entertainment piece titled, “To understand culture in 2018, you must understand Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson.” Considering that Grande is a Grammy-winning but ultimately forgettable pop singer and Davidson is another in a decades-long line of ultimately forgettable Saturday Night Live comedians, the assertion that they are the key to understanding culture in America today says something significant about our culture, and it isn’t good.
The WaPo article argued that Grande and Davidson happened to be linked, albeit coincidentally, to certain trending topics in 2018, such as the #MeToo movement and mental health issues. But this is less insightful than the assumption of the article itself, which is that the state of our culture can be charted by Things That Happen to Celebrities. Celebrity – a shallow, transitory degree of fame – has dominated American culture for so long that we now simply conflate the two. Pop culture is American culture, and has been for over fifty years. For most people from the Baby Boomer generation on down, what used to be called – without irony or sarcasm – “high culture” has faded into irrelevance at best and oblivion at worst.
“A high culture,” writes philosopher Roger Scruton, “is the self-consciousness of a society. It contains the works of art, literature, scholarship and philosophy that establish a shared frame of reference among educated people.” As our educational system has gradually shifted from transmitting that culture to our youth, to focusing instead on boosting self-esteem and preaching about tolerance and diversity, fewer and fewer people share that frame of reference. The memes and ephemeralities of pop culture have become our shared frame of reference, and the wisdom and insight of the classics are increasingly lost.
Is this going to be just another elitist condemnation of “low” culture, you ask? To some extent, yes. Much of pop culture – not all, but arguably the vast majority – is brainless vulgarity and dispiriting ugliness, and our humanity is suffering for it. We could use a bracing dose of elitism.
I am not calling for a total rejection of pop culture. It is certainly possible to appreciate both high and low cultures. I was a child of pop culture myself, raised not on Michelangelo, Mozart, and Milton, but on The Beatles, Batman, and Bewitched. But I was lucky enough to have been educated and/or educated myself about Western civilization’s astounding intellectual and artistic heritage before our universities became full-time indoctrination mills promoting anti-Western multiculturalism and reducing the entire field of humanities to the Marxist obsession with race and gender power struggles.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Exterminating Whitey


In case anyone still needs confirmation, the rage and frenzy surrounding the supposed standoff caught on video last week between Covington Catholic High School students and an anti-Catholic, Native American activist demonstrates as nothing else has lately that the political left’s primary aim, the end game of identity politics, is the demonization of white Christian men.
Covington student Nicholas Sandmann (pictured above) was the unfortunate epicenter of this tempest-in-a-teapot concocted entirely by the activist media, in which he and his classmates were falsely portrayed as racist bullies surrounding and taunting a frail Native American “elder,” Nathan Phillips. The truth – that it was the schoolboys who were verbally assaulted by Black Hebrew Israelite activists, and that Sandmann did and said nothing but stand his ground and smile in the face of Phillips’ provocation – swiftly came to light, but not before the entire country had squared off over the lie.
It wasn’t that the news media got the story wrong, which would imply that they made a mistake, but that they didn’t care about getting it right. They didn’t care, because they saw an opportunity to dehumanize a white male wearing that triggering symbol of white supremacy, the “Make America Great Again” cap, and decided to run with a narrative that could be weaponized against President Trump and his “angry white male” supporters. “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it,” master strategist Saul Alinsky once taught, and Catholic white boy Sandmann became the left’s target of the moment.
Some media outlets gradually and quietly backed off from their original rush to judgment as more video and context emerged, but the damage was done, the political divide between Americans was widened, and the more fervent leftists clung to their bigoted view that Sandmann represents the toxic, Christian white male underbelly of an America that bears racism in its very DNA, as Barack Obama once declared.

Gillette: The Worst a Man Can Get


So far, 2019 seems to be establishing itself as a year in which the cultural Marxists are intensifying their war on traditional masculinity. But it may turn out to be the year in which the misandrist tide begins to turn.

In just the last week, the American Psychological Association (APA) caused a stir by declaring traditional masculinity – “marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression” – to be a “harmful” mental disorder. Then People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), sharing online a grotesquely suggestive video declaring that “Traditional masculinity is dead,” suggested that we “cure toxic masculinity by going vegan.” In another example, the New York Times posted a piece last Friday praising “The New Angry Young Men: Rockers Who Rail Against ‘Toxic Masculinity’” with songs that “protest old notions of manhood.” The article concludes with one singer declaring, “Toxic masculinity is real.”
It is not real. Toxicity is not an inherent feature of masculinity, just as “stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression” are not inherently bad – far from it, in fact. Without those propulsive masculine qualities, which the APA deems harmful, humankind would never have elevated itself from cave to civilization. Unfortunately, the term “toxic masculinity” has become deeply embedded in our cultural consciousness now and is being conflated intentionally with traditional masculinity. That’s because the endgame of the totalitarians pushing this concept is to emasculate Western civilization in order to erect a collectivist utopia in its stead.
But the most controversial assault on masculinity in the last week was razor company Gillette’s release of a two-minute promotional video called “We Believe: the Best Men Can Be.” It immediately went viral with well over 19 million views (as of this writing) and spurred a massive backlash. Down-votes on YouTube were originally running at a 10-to-1 ratio over up-votes (that gap narrowed quickly and suspiciously to a 2-to-1 ratio). “Bullying… the Me Too movement against sexual harassment… masculinity,” the voiceover begins, clearly linking all three and depicting various examples of ugly behavior on the part of (almost exclusively Caucasian) boys and men. “We believe in the best in men,” the voiceover intones unconvincingly, after shaming men collectively for the worst in men. “To say the right thing, to act the right way. Some already are, in ways big and small. But some is not enough. Because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.”
 

Is the Right Underestimating Ocasio-Cortez?


The gaffe-prone new U.S. Representative for New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has been an easy target for rightwing mockery thanks to her tenuous grasp of economics and the self-mythologizing of her youth on the Brooklyn streets (the daughter of an architect, she actually grew up mostly in an affluent town in Westchester County, New York). Conservatives are having great fun online with internet memes ridiculing the proud “Democratic Socialist” as a brainless fraud. But if those who dismiss her aren’t careful, it will be Ocasio-Cortez who has the last laugh.
A self-declared “radical,” Ocasio-Cortez wants to tax the wealthy as high as 70% to fund her climate change plan called the "Green New Deal." She supports Medicare for all, tuition-free public college, the cancelation of all student loan debt, and housing as a federal right. Steeped in the oppressor/oppressed paradigm of identity politics, she is predictably pro-Black Lives Matter, anti-Israel, and wants to abolish ICE. She lacks both knowledge of and reverence for the U.S. Constitution. In other words, she checks off all the right boxes among a growing number of young Americans who find the idea of “democratic socialism” appealing, despite the fact that they can’t actually define it. It helps her enormously that new-Latina-on-the-block Ocasio-Cortez has a hip, youthful, multicultural appeal in a party burdened with doddering old white people like Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Hillary Clinton.
As Ocasio-Cortez was being sworn in to Congress on Thursday, a LiveLeak video featuring the rising star of the Democratic Party began going viral on Twitter after being shared by an anonymous account called, well, AnonymousQ1776. “Here is America’s favorite commie know-it-all acting like the clueless nitwit she is,” the tweet read. “High School video of ‘Sandy’ Ocasio-Cortez.”

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Becoming the Strong Horse: Reviving Christian Europe


The bestselling French novel Soumission (Submission in translation), by the always-provocative nihilist Michel Houellebecq, features a literature professor at the Sorbonne named François who is the very embodiment of Europe’s secularized decadence. After an alliance between the Socialist Party and the Muslim Brotherhood Party results in a fundamental transformation of the country’s political landscape, François finds himself living in an Islamic patriarchy in which polygamy is legal, all teachers are required to be Muslim, and his university is renamed the Islamic University of Paris-Sorbonne.
“The facts were plain,” François observed. “Europe had reached a point of such putrid decomposition that it could not longer save itself, any more than fifth-century Rome could have done. This wave of new immigrants, with their traditional culture – of natural hierarchies, the submission of women, and respect for elders – offered a historic opportunity for the moral and familial rearmament of Europe.” The fight “to establish a new organic phase of civilization could no longer be waged in the name of Christianity. Islam, its sister faith… had taken up the torch.”
With no moral or spiritual center to ground him, François is easily seduced by the new order and converts to Islam in order to gain a more prestigious position at the university and to indulge in arranged marriages with sexually compliant young wives. He chooses the path of least resistance to the “foregone conclusion” of Muslim domination. His submission, symbolic of Europe’s ongoing capitulation to an ascendant Islamic fundamentalism, is every bit as chilling as Winston Smith’s embrace of Big Brother at the conclusion of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Many books have been written identifying the causes of Europe’s slow-motion cultural suicide, among them a tsunami of Muslim immigration, the corrosive effects of political correctness and multiculturalism, willfully blind political elites, and perhaps most significantly, the decline of Christianity. What Matthew Arnold called “the melancholy, long withdrawing roar” of Christianity’s retreat from the continent is leaving a vacuum of moral and spiritual conviction which a virile, unconflicted Islam is filling. Christianity, as François notes, “had renounced its temporal powers, and so had sealed its own doom.”
The result, as we are all painfully aware, is that an enervated Europe now is riddled with Muslim no-go zones and sharia courts. Calls to prayer are blasted publicly from loudspeakers and streets blocked by praying believers. Polygamy and female genital mutilation abound. Sexual assaults and anti-Semitic hate crimes are skyrocketing. The push for blasphemy laws is finding increasing support. And of course, the continent experiences periodic bursts of violent jihad ranging from “lone wolf” attacks to coordinated assaults on concert crowds and commuter trains.

Escaping the Hotel USSR



Despite the abundance of internet memes ridiculing New York Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s questionable grasp of economics, the self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist’s rising star confirms what disturbing recent polls are showing: that socialism has a burgeoning appeal for millennial Americans. As historian Bruce Thornton has written for FrontPage Mag, trying to reason young people out of supporting socialist policies is likely a doomed strategy, so how can they be made to see the light about what many call “the gateway drug to communism”? The most effective way may be through the compelling personal experiences of those who have escaped its confinement, and there is arguably no better current record of that than Oleg Atbashian’s just-published memoir titled Hotel USSR.

A writer and graphic artist from Ukraine, disillusioned Soviet propagandist Atbashian emigrated to the United States in 1994 and created the hilarious The People’s Cube, a Communist-themed satirical website that brilliantly captures the tone and perspective of the totalitarian left. Rush Limbaugh has accurately called it “a Stalinist version of The Onion.” Atbashian is also the author of Shakedown Socialism, an illustrated study of why that economic system cannot work. David Horowitz has said of it, “I hope everyone reads this book.”

Hotel USSR, Atbashian’s second book, is the riveting, darkly comic, and poignant story of his coming of age in a totalitarian state, a real-life “Hotel California” (in homage to The Eagles song) that one could never leave – at least until it collapsed. The book follows his tragicomic adventures from childhood through his stages as a worker in Siberian oil fields, an army conscript, an inmate at a forensic psychiatry facility, a visual propaganda artist, a Soviet dissident, and finally an immigrant to America. It is illustrated with many examples of Atbashian’s own colorful, perceptive artwork which includes portraits of himself, loved ones and strangers, and landscapes both real and fantastical – all of which help immerse the reader in the artist’s own perspective of his world.

“People have often asked me what growing up in the USSR felt like,” Atbashian writes. “This book is my answer... Rather than debating Marxism directly, I demonstrate how it fails in practice and what absurdities ensue when the entire state lives in denial of its failures, forcing people not to trust their own eyes.”

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Pics From My Talk With Kenneth Starr

On Wednesday at the Beverly Hills Hotel I interviewed former Clinton prosecutor Ken Starr about his new book Contempt, before a lunch crowd of the Wednesday Morning Club. A good time was had by all. Here are a few pics...





Jim Jones, Harvey Milk, and 10 Days That Shook San Francisco


We are approaching the 40th anniversary of two shocking events that most people are unaware are linked: the assassinations of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Mosconi by disgruntled Supervisor Dan White in November, 1978, and – ten days later – the ghastly, bizarre murders and suicides of 918 cult followers at Jonestown, which constituted the largest loss of civilian life in American history (until the terrorist attacks of the morning of Sept. 11, 2001) and the largest mass suicide of the modern era.
These dark episodes have been brought back into the light in an investigative new page-turner titled Cult City: Jim Jones, Harvey Milk, and 10 Days That Shook San Francisco by Daniel J. Flynn, also the author of The War on Football: Saving America’s Game, Blue Collar Intellectuals: When the Enlightened and the Everyman Elevated America, A Conservative History of the American Left, Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas, and Why the Left Hates America.
I interviewed the author via email about his just-released book, recently reviewed at FrontPage Mag here.
Mark Tapson:           Your book dispels some widely-held myths about both the murder of Harvey Milk and the Jonestown mass suicide. For example, Milk swiftly became a martyr for the gay community after his assassination, and the media helped promote this. What is the truth about Milk and about why Dan White targeted him?
Daniel J. Flynn:       Looking to make sense of a senseless crime, gay activists immediately advanced a narrative that Dan White killed Harvey Milk because of his homosexuality. I interviewed White’s campaign manager, chief of staff, and business partner, a gay man, who rejects this thesis. As I detail in Cult City: Jim Jones, Harvey Milk, and 10 Days That Shook San Francisco, White occasionally supported liberal causes, including some gay-rights measures, and generally thought of Milk as a friend during his short time on the board —particularly in the first few months. Harvey Milk’s homosexuality had as much to do with his murder as George Moscone’s heterosexuality had to do with his death.
Dan White murdered Harvey Milk because he believed that Milk had aggressively lobbied San Francisco Mayor George Moscone to prevent the supervisor from reclaiming the seat he had resigned from on the board. Moscone initially refused, in a very public way, to accept White’s resignation. But after Milk and others persuaded him to go back on the words he had uttered to the media Moscone decided to appoint someone more inclined to vote his way on the board. In other words, a petty man nursing a petty grievance lashed out against the two men he believed most responsible for denying him the $9,500-a-year job back from which he had recently resigned. He should have blamed himself. Instead, he blamed others—and sought revenge.
White felt betrayed by Milk and Moscone. Perhaps more importantly, he came to feel that in abruptly resigning he had inadvertently betrayed allies—their identities, importance, and the nature of their dependence on White which I will leave for a fuller explanation in the book. That’s part of the untold story. Another untold part of the story involves White’s history of violence. Out of my interviews came several shocking revelations and accusations involving White on this front. As Dianne Feinstein, White’s mentor on the board of supervisors, reflected long after the fact, “This had nothing to do with anybody’s sexual orientation.”
MT:     Another myth stems from the favorable media coverage then and now about the Peoples Temple, which turned the Jonestown horror into a cautionary tale about the dangers of evangelical Christianity. What’s the truth about the Peoples Temple?

Why You Must See ‘Gosnell’


Masked by innocuous language like “pro-choice” and “reproductive care,” and protected by a media conspiracy of silence, the grim reality of abortion rarely surfaces in our cultural awareness. But a new movie, drawn from a real-life courtroom drama that exposed what is arguably the deepest, darkest episode in American abortion history, is poised to have a dramatic impact.
Directed by openly conservative Justified star Nick Searcy, who does double-duty playing the role of the defense attorney, and written by novelist and political pundit Andrew Klavan, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer is based on the riveting book Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer, written by investigative journalists and filmmakers Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer. The husband-and-wife team are well-known for their controversial documentaries FrackNation and Not Evil Just Wrong, as well as for a play called Ferguson about the shooting of Michael Brown by a white police officer. To produce this controversial film that pro-abortion Hollywood studios wouldn’t touch, McAleer and McElhinney miraculously crowdfunded over $2 million from over 30,000 investors composed of “average” citizens – more money than any film project in the history of the Indiegogo crowdfunding site.
Former TV Superman Dean Cain stars in the film as the Philadelphia narcotics investigator without whose dedication Dr. Kermit Gosnell, played with chilling normality by character actor Earl Billings, might still be butchering babies today. Cain’s real life alter ego exposed not only the shockingly filthy state of the abortion doctor’s clinic, but also the grotesque evil being undertaken there. In addition to manipulating ultrasound readings to falsify fetal ages in order to perform late-term abortions well beyond the state’s legal limit, Gosnell’s practices included killing babies that were born alive by plunging scissors into the backs of their necks and snipping the spinal cords. In one powerful scene in the movie, the camera lingers on each face of the jury as the members peruse photographs of such examples of Gosnell’s victims. That scene alone is enough to drive home the undeniably evil nature of abortion.