Thursday, April 11, 2019

Why Calling America ‘Great’ Triggers the Left

When then-presidential candidate Donald Trump seized upon the campaign slogan “Make America Great Again,” he could not have more shrewdly marked the battle line where the election and the next four years of his term would be fought. Resonating with Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign slogan “Let's make America great again,” “MAGA” was perfectly calculated to galvanize Americans on the right who were fed up with eight years of predecessor Barack Obama apologizing for our country, denying American exceptionalism, alienating our allies, and empowering our enemies. It also was the perfect phrase with which to expose the seething hatred leftists feel for this country and its supporters. Trump won the election, no matter what the sore losers of both left and right insist, and two and a half years after he was swept into the White House by heartland patriots (which is exactly why the coastal elites want to eliminate the electoral college), his slogan continues to trigger the rage and animosity of America-haters.

For example: last week in an interview with MSNBC, a question about American greatness prompted a rant from Obama-era attorney general Eric Holder. "I hear these things about 'Let’s make America great again' and I think to myself, ‘Exactly when did you think America was great’?” he said on the network. “It certainly wasn’t when people were enslaved. It certainly wasn’t when women didn’t have the right to vote. It certainly wasn’t when the LGBT community was denied the rights to which it was entitled…

“You know, America has done superb things,” Holder continued. “It has done great things. And it has been a leader in you know, a whole range of things. But we are always a work in process and… looking back, ‘Make America Great Again’ is inconsistent with who we are as Americans at our best where we look at the uncertain future, embrace it and make it our own.”

The rant was a direct shot at Trump, his MAGA slogan, and American citizens who believe in this country’s exceptionalism. It highlighted the fundamental divide between the leftists who are determined to override human nature in pursuit of their utopian vision of human perfectibility, and conservatives who understand that people are fallen beings who can be both flawed and great. For the left, on the other hand, Americans cannot be great because we aren’t yet perfect; not only that, we aren’t merely imperfect but evil because we came by our unparalleled power and prosperity through the exploitation and oppression of others. Thus, we will never be truly great until we atone for those sins by diminishing our greatness.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Free Brigitte Bardot!

In America we are accustomed to celebrities publicly virtue-signaling their conformist Progressive contempt for flyover Americans and spewing their profane hatred of President Trump in interviews and social media. They have every right to do this, and without fear of government suppression, because the United States is (for now) blessed with a degree of freedom of speech found nowhere else in the world. Meanwhile in Europe, one of the most celebrated entertainment icons in France’s history has been criminalized and fined repeatedly for speaking her mind.
Breitbart News reports that Brigitte Bardot, former sizzling sex symbol and current fierce animal rights activist, is being charged – yet again – with hate speech and incitement to racial hatred, this time after condemning the religious practices of some inhabitants of the French-ruled island of Réunion near Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.
Réunion is largely Christian, but a Hindu minority still carries on certain rituals involving the gruesome sacrifice of goats, dogs, and cats. Animal rights groups have long condemned abuses there. The 84-year-old Bardot, who in 1986 created an organization dedicated to animal protection called The Brigitte Bardot Foundation, bluntly expressed her displeasure in a letter to the authorities of the island, in which she declared the practices to be “demonic” and sadistic, and labeled those responsible as “aboriginals who have kept the genes of savages.”

Unsurprisingly, the prefect of Réunion did not take this criticism kindly and called on the courts to indict Bardot for inciting racial hatred. Equally unsurprisingly, Bardot was unapologetic and declared that she fully intended to keep speaking out against the abuse of animals everywhere.

Scholar Blames Christchurch Massacre on – What Else? – Western Civilization

In the wake of the recent mosque massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, Nick Riemer, a senior lecturer in English and linguistics at the University of Sydney, offered up a suggestion for preventing more such atrocities by presumed white supremacists: stop universities from promoting Western civilization.

In a Sydney Morning Herald opinion piece titled, “After Christchurch universities have a responsibility: abandon Ramsay,” Riemer argues that if “Australian universities really want to combat Islamophobia after Christchurch, only one course is possible: abandon Ramsay immediately.” He’s referring to the controversial Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation located in the University of Sydney. The Centre, funded by Australian philanthropist Paul Ramsey with the biggest education bequest in the country’s history, is controversial because it dares “to foster and promote an interest in and awareness of Western civilization,” according to its mission statement. As former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a board member at the Centre, put it in an article at Quadrant, “The key to understanding the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation is that it’s not merely about Western civilisation but in favour of it.”

And for Riemer and the left in general, that, of course, is the problem with the Ramsey Centre. There is no community in the First World less in favor of Western civilization than leftist academics, the vast majority of whom are cultural and/or economic Marxists, multiculturalists, radical feminists, identity politics ideologues, or any combination thereof. All are committed to the deconstruction of the incomparable values, traditions, institutions, and unrivaled achievements of the West. For decades they have worked tirelessly to subvert our civilizational pride by equating the capitalist West with colonialist exploitation, the oppressive “othering” of nonwhite peoples, and the environmental degradation of the planet, among other evils. Any perspective that runs counter to their perverse viewpoint is simply demonized as white supremacism.

Riemer is alarmed that “despite all its claims of non-partisanship, Ramsay’s 2019 public lecture series overwhelmingly showcases the right.” Among his examples of right-leaning speakers are The American Conservative’s Rod Dreher – hardly an alt-right firebrand – and medievalist Rachel Fulton Brown, whom he decries as “notorious for her celebration of ‘white’ culture.” (The provocative article Riemer specifically references is one in which Brown sought “to push back against the negative image of the Western tradition that has become so prevalent in our national culture, particularly the way in which people have been talking for decades about ‘white men’ as if they were the source of everything repressive and intolerant.” For this, Riemer implies that she is a white supremacist.) It doesn’t seem to occur to Riemer that the reason a pro-West academic program might be showcasing right-leaning thinkers is that left-leaning thinkers like himself are almost uniformly anti-West, often rabidly so. Riemer himself, a member of a social justice pro-refugee organization which seeks permanent residency and full rights for refugees, has written that political neutrality in the classroom is “a fiction” and that teachers should not be “pressure[d] into hiding their convictions” – unless they are conservative, that is; that kind of thinking must be delegitimized, as he says of the Ramsay Centre. 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The War to Destroy Christian America

Today, the free exercise of religion has ceased to be a guaranteed right in America. Instead, it has become a battlefield. – David Horowitz
For years, Morris County in New Jersey had been giving historic churches money to make repairs under an historic preservation program. In 2015, the State Supreme Court ruled that taxpayer funds should not be used to repair places of worship. A challenge to this ruling recently went before the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case, but Justice Brett Kavanaugh pointed out that “[b]arring religious organizations because they are religious from a general historic-preservation grants program is pure discrimination against religion.” This “would raise serious questions under this Court’s precedents and the Constitution’s fundamental guarantee of equality.”
This seems like a relatively minor, local issue but it is yet another instance of the fierce conflict referred to in Horowitz’s quote above. As the Freedom Center’s founder notes in his brand new book Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christian America, we are engaged in “a war against this nation and its founding principles: the equality of individuals and individual freedom. For these principles are indisputably Christian in origin. They are under siege because they are insurmountable obstacles to radicals’ totalitarian ambition to create a new world in their image.”
Those totalitarian radicals are today’s progressives. “Since its birth in the fires of the French Revolution,” Horowitz writes, “the political left has been at war with religion, and with the Christian religion in particular.” He knows this from personal experience. As a “red-diaper baby,” he learned early on that his parents and their leftist friends were true believers in a faith, but not one concerned with the fate of souls. The label “progressivism” masked their true religion, which was Communism, and their “cause was the salvation of mankind” – but “they thought of themselves as the redeemers, not God.”
As Horowitz demonstrates in his slim but compelling and disturbing new volume, the left’s ruthless antagonism toward Christianity stems from its own arrogant determination to shape the world according to atheist Karl Marx’s utopian vision of perfect equality and social justice (with Edenic environmental harmony thrown in for good measure). “Those who believe they are changing the world, or saving the planet, or transforming the human race,” Horowitz writes, “are intoxicated with self-aggrandizing pride.” Those afflicted with this arrogance, such as the so-called New Atheists like political comedian Bill Maher, condemn the violence and bigotry spread in the name of religion (especially Christianity; Islam is usually off-limits to condemnation partly because it shares an anti-Western animosity with the left, and partly because open criticism of Islam tends to get the critic targeted for death). But they “are blind to all the positive influences religion has had on human behavior, and they ignore all the atheist-inspired genocides of the last 250 years,” Horowitz writes. He rightly points out that the danger lies not in religion but in human nature; it is our flawed humanity that sometimes poisons religion, not the other way around.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Jussie Smollett’s Hate Crime

On October 25, 1994, a frantic young South Carolina mother named Susan Smith told police that her car had been carjacked by a black man who drove away with her two boys, aged three years old and 14 months. For nine days, with a nationwide search underway, she made tearful pleas on television for their safe return. “I wanna say to my babies,” she sobbed with her distraught husband by her side, “your mama loves you so much.” Finally her story unraveled and she confessed to intentionally sending her Mazda into a nearby lake with her two young sons strapped inside.
Apart from the unconscionable drowning of her own helpless children, Susan Smith’s story contained a racial dimension that tore at the nation’s social fabric: her false accusation that a black man had victimized a young white mother and murdered her innocent babies. It was an ugly but shrewd lie that exploited bigotry for sympathy in order to conceal her own evil.
On January 29, 2019, Jussie Smollett, a 36-year-old, gay black actor on the Fox drama series Empire, told police he had been assaulted outside his apartment building at 2 a.m. on a snowy Chicago night by two men in ski masks who identified him as the Empire actor, hurled racial and anti-gay slurs at him, draped a makeshift noose around his neck, and tossed some bleach on him before disappearing. TMZ reported that sources claimed the attackers had boasted to Smollett, “This is MAGA country”; he confirmed this in a follow-up interview with the police.
The story instantly made big news, but anyone not consumed by hatred for President Trump and his supporters immediately suspected a hoax because Smollett’s narrative lacked any credibility whatsoever. A pair of Trump supporters were walking the icy streets of Chicago at 2 a.m. with a noose and bleach (which inexplicably did not freeze in the literally sub-zero weather) when they recognized a little-known (to anyone but Empire fans) actor from a cable show that no white supremacist would watch, assaulted him without causing any more physical damage than a scratch on his cheek but managed to get a noose around his neck, and then made sure to announce that “This is MAGA country”? Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago is “Make America Great Again” country? Who knew?

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.”