Thursday, October 11, 2018

Interviewing Clinton Prosecutor Ken Starr

I'll be interviewing Bill Clinton prosecutor Ken Starr onstage about his book Contempt at this lunch event next Wednesday in Beverly Hills. Check it out if you'll be in the area.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Chivalry, Masculinity, and Islam

I'll be speaking on chivalry, masculinity, and Islam this Saturday near Wilkes-Barre PA. It's free to the public although you have to pre-register for it. Check it out if you're in the area.

Zero Hour for Gen X

“America stands anxiously on the cusp of an unknown future,” writes Matthew Hennessey in a new book titled Zero Hour for Gen X: How the Last Adult Generation Can Save America From Millennials. “We are about to get swamped by a millennial wave that has already started crashing hard into the worlds of business, politics, entertainment, religion, dating, medicine, and education.” Considering that millennials are the generation that seems eager to embrace socialism, limits on freedom of speech, and Amazon’s “Big Brother” Alexa in every home, this generational passing of the torch will have dramatic and adverse implications for the future of America as we know it. Matthew Hennessey’s thesis is that Generation X – which emerged between the baby boomers and millennials – must get its act together swiftly if there is to be any hope of a collective national redemption from baby boomer destruction and to avert the Brave New World into which millennials will usher us.
The author defines the parameters of the three relevant generations for the purposes of his book: “Baby boomers are those born roughly between 1946 and 1964. Generation Xers are those born roughly between 1965 and 1980. The millennials are those born roughly between 1981 and 1997… [They] are already the largest American generation, and they’re still growing due to immigration.” They are tech-obsessed, coddled by political correctness, and indifferent to the advance of corporate and government intrusion into every aspect of our increasingly digital lives.
Hennessey is the Associate Editor of Editorial Features at The Wall Street Journal and former Associate Editor at City Journal and Managing Editor at the Manhattan Institute. I connected with him to ask a few questions about the book, which I’ve read and strongly recommend.
Mark Tapson:             In what ways has the baby boom generation “nearly destroyed America,” as you put it? You mention that baby boomers and millennials are “cut from the same cloth,” so what fresh hell, as Dorothy Parker would say, are we facing with the ascendancy of the millennial generation?

Friday, July 27, 2018

Springtime for Snowflakes

In the fall of 2016, New York University professor Michael Rectenwald created an anonymous Twitter account to critique the alarming spread across campuses of an “anti-education and anti-intellectual” social justice ideology. Before long he was outed as the man behind the controversial @antipcnyuprof account, and despite being a leftist himself, became the target of shunning and harassment from his colleagues and the NYU administration. But instead of caving in to the campus totalitarians as so many academics do, Rectenwald declared himself done with the Left, and though still not a conservative, began appearing often in right-wing media to defend free speech and academic freedom, and to expose the “bilious animosity and unrestrained cruelty” he endured from his former compatriots.
I previously interviewed Prof. Rectenwald for FrontPage Mag here back in January. At the close of that interview he mentioned a book he was working on about the experience, and it is now available in paperback and on Kindle: Springtime for Snowflakes: Social Justice and its Postmodern Parentage. Short but dense with insights about postmodern theory, social justice ideology, and academic conformity, the book is a must-read for understanding the intellectual collapse of the American university under the weight of a totalitarian ideology.
Rectenwald begins the book by relating his experience of “becoming deplorable” and being pushed toward apostasy, which forced him to reexamine the political herd with which he had formerly run. “I didn’t leave the left,” he writes. “The left left me,” echoing Ronald Reagan’s famous declaration, “I didn't leave the Democratic party. The Democratic Party left me.” “In trying to correct me,” Rectenwald writes about his fellow academics, “they did indeed correct me – but not as they’d hoped. They corrected my vision by forcibly dislodging the scales of their ideology from my eyes.” He realized that the “institutions of North American higher education have taken a hairpin turn, and a wrong turn at that. They have surrendered moral and political authority to some of the most virulent, self-righteous, and authoritarian activists among the contemporary left.”

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Left's Beheading Obsession

This week a Portland art gallery chose to display in its front window, facing the sidewalk at a busy intersection, a large black-and-white painting depicting the grisly decapitation of President Donald Trump. The painting is more than just another example of what a grotesque travesty modern artists have made of art. It is also a window into the left’s bloodlust and why progressivism is the totalitarian soulmate of Islamic fundamentalism.
The image at One Grand Art Gallery shows a hunting knife being drawn across the president’s neck as the executioner’s other hand grips Trump’s hair. Blood gushes from POTUS’ throat and streams from his nose while his eyes roll back in his head. Flames rise symbolically from an American flag pin on the president’s lapel, and the image is captioned in large capital letters, “FUCK TRUMP.”
This execrable excuse for art is so vile and violent that it could have been produced by ISIS. It actually was produced by an “artist” apparently named Compton Creep, whose personal website displays extremely disturbing, gruesome samples of his literally satanic work. A local news reporter spoke with him about the Trump painting; art is meant to provoke thought, he said . Of course, this image is the opposite of thought-provoking; it is purely visceral agitprop, which is designed not to spark thought but to replace it with propagandized emotion.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Future is Conservative

Referring to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Congressional election victory last month, Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez said in a radio interview last week that the 28-year-old rising star from the Democratic Socialists of America represents "the future of our party." There is no other way to interpret this except as a direct admission that Democrats see socialism itself as the future of America, which will come as no surprise to anyone on the right.
Democrats love to dream about the future. The past is a tragic span of class oppression and the present is the workers’ revolution in progress, but the future is where it’s at. Like the proletariat heroes on Communist propaganda posters, leftists are fond of gazing off into the distance at a glorious Shangri-LaShangri-La on the horizon.. What they tend to downplay is the genocidal totalitarianism necessary to pave the way for that new dawn new dawn – but hey, you can’t make the ideal omelet without breaking a few million eggs.
The future as conceived by the left is always a utopian vision in which inconvenient human nature has been hammered (and sickled) into compliance and in which equality of outcome – except for the political elites at the top –is brutally enforced. It’s worth reminding ourselves here that the word “utopia,” coined in the 16th century by Sir Thomas More for his political satire of the same name, was a play on Greek words meaning “no place” – for that is where utopia is to be found. That is why the left insists on ruthlessly engineering reality and human nature in order to mold them to fit the dream – or else. And that is why the left always begins by declaring “We’re on the right side of history” and ends by blithely proclaiming, “We’ll get it right next time.” In between, the utopians leave behind a wasteland, an archipelago of gulags, and untold numbers of murdered victims and crushed spirits.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Fiery Angel

As Europe commits slow-motion suicide via a flood of Muslim migrants, and as Marxist mobs in America exploit the issue of immigrant family separation to advance their open-borders agenda, it is useful to step back from the hysteria and reflect on the bigger picture of the cultural history of the West and the inimical forces seeking to subvert it.
Michael Walsh’s compact new book The Fiery Angel: Art, Culture, Sex, Politics, and the Struggle for the Soul of the West provides that salutary perspective. A subtitle as grand as that promises a sweeping survey of the West’s artistic and intellectual heritage, as well as an insightful portrait of its enemies, and Walsh is one of the few writers who can deliver on that promise.
One would be hard-pressed to find another conservative intellectual, or intellectual of any political stripe, of Michael Walsh’s caliber. In terms of the depth and breadth of his familiarity with both high and low culture, only the iconoclastic Camille Paglia comes to mind as a rival. But Paglia isn’t also an American Book Award-winning novelist, journalist, distinguished classical music critic, and screenwriter. Walsh also writes political commentary for – among others – PJ Media, American Greatness, and the New York Post under both his own name and occasionally his alter ego David Kahane (Rules for Radical Conservatives: Beating the Left at its Own Game to Take Back America). He also happens to be a friend of mine, but my praise is not simple favoritism; his accomplishments speak for themselves.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Speaking on Toxic Masculinity

Next Saturday, June 30, at noon, I'll be speaking to the Ramona Tea Party near San Diego on the topic, "Toxic Masculinity: The War on Boys and Men and its Impact on America." See the details below and don't miss it if you're in the SoCal area. Contact the Tea Party here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Left and the F-Word

Exactly a year ago, coincidentally, I wrote for FrontPage Mag about the left’s obsession with obscenity. In that piece I enumerated many examples of the Democrat penchant for public profanity, and I noted that swearing sends a thrill up the left’s collective leg because, as good Marxists, they consider decency to be a contemptable bourgeois value; they still fancy themselves to be counterculture revolutionaries sticking it to The Man. Nothing has changed in the last year; if anything, the left has intensified its love affair with vulgarity as President Donald Trump continues to trigger their basest instincts.
Language alert: there are quite a few f-words ahead and I’m not going to censor them, so that you can feel the full repellent impact of the left’s degrading, junior high school mentality.
One unsurprising example is foul-mouthed Kathy Griffin, whom you may remember as the purported comedienne who thought it would be courageous and hilarious to pose with the mock, bloody, severed head of President Trump. In the wake of the massive, well-deserved backlash she received, she played the victim and claimed that Trump had “broken” her. Apparently that last bit was true; as evidence, witness this recent gutter musing on Twitter:

Thursday, June 14, 2018

What Justice Demands

On Wednesday a United States amendment to a draft resolution that would have condemned the terrorist group Hamas was blocked at the U.N. General Assembly even before getting to a vote. U.S. Ambassador and future POTUS Nikki Haley called the move “shameful” and declared, “It is no wonder that no one takes the U.N. seriously as a force for Middle East peace.” This is just the latest example of the sort of anti-Israel resistance that the tiny Middle East democracy and its ally the United States confront daily in the Arab-Israeli forever war. What will it take to resolve this conflict? What is the solution?

Elan Journo offers one in his new book, What Justice Demands: America and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The book is not a comprehensive history of this complex conflict, but a clarification of its essential nature and moral significance. Its central point is that America must reexamine and change its two-state approach, which Journo argues has not only come to nothing, it has made matters worse. While ostensibly supporting Israel, we actually have sold her out and empowered jihadists in the process.
Born in Israel and raised in the United Kingdom, Journo is a Fellow and Director of Policy Research at the Ayn Rand Institute whose articles have appeared in a such publications as Foreign Policy, Middle East Quarterly, and the Los Angeles Times. He is the co-author of Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism, a contributor to Defending Free Speech, and editor of Winning the Unwinnable War.
In What Justice Demands, Journo puts forth a secular moral framework for the conflict in terms of justice. He begins in Part I by evaluating the moral standing of Israel and, in Part II, that of the Palestinians. He does this by asking the simple question, “Where would you rather live?” In what one French diplomat called the “shitty little country” of Israel, or in any of its neighboring Arab states? The latter, Journo details, are all authoritarian, totalitarian, and/or failed states which impose thought control, gender apartheid, and religious oppression, including honor killings and the dehumanization of gays; Israel, by contrast, offers intellectual freedom, gender equality, and a sexual tolerance unheard of anywhere in the Muslim world. Israel also offers prosperity and progress to all, in contrast with the Arab world’s widespread poverty, ignorance, and stagnation. Despite “the international chorus of denunciation against Israel—at the U.N., on campuses, in editorials, from the advocates of boycotts, sanctions, and divestment,” Journo writes, “[i]t is only in Israel that individuals in their daily life are free to set and pursue their own path and to achieve their own vision of a good life.”