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Sunday, November 22, 2020

Why History Matters


“The teaching of history is continuing to be transformed into indoctrination by illiberal, leftist propaganda,” writes historian Bruce Thornton in his new booklet Why History Matters from the David Horowitz Freedom Center. The result, he notes, is that “the abandonment of belief in objective historical truth makes possible a politicized history that legitimizes tyrannical power.” George Orwell dramatized this in his novel 1984, a fictional scenario that, Thornton warns, “has traveled a long way to becoming fact” in America today.

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Fellow at the Freedom Center and professor of Classics and Humanities at California State University in Fresno. He is also the author of nine wide-ranging histories on classical culture and its influence on Western civilization, including The Wages of Appeasement and Democracy’s Dangers & Discontents.

Covering more ground in forty pages than some books do in several times that number, Why History Matters reaches back to the origins of historiography in Herodotus and Thucydides, and brings the reader forward to the current, dangerous trend of ideological history found in Howard Zinn’s ubiquitous, subversive work A People’s History of the United States and, more recently, The New York Times’ discredited but influential “1619 Project,” which falsely posits that America was founded “to ensure slavery would continue.” This sort of historiography “that villainizes our country,” Thornton argues, is a suicidal fashion that “insidiously erodes” our love of country, emboldening our enemies “to see us as weak and primed for a fall.”  

Bruce Thornton’s Why History Matters is a must-read for understanding how modernity has eroded our grounding in “the tragic truth about human nature,” and why we need a common history that gives us a context for understanding ourselves. “Without that perspective,” he writes, “the past becomes a Cubist painting, everything flattened on the canvas of the present… and judged in terms of present ideologies and political aims and interests.”

Don’t miss it. Get your copy of Why History Matters here.

From FrontPage Mag, 11/22/20

Sunday, November 8, 2020

The Left Goes Full-Fascist With an Enemies List


Even as last week’s election results are being contested and the Democrats’ massive voter fraud is being exposed, the supporters of empty-suit candidate Joe Biden are already claiming victory and chafing at the bit to implement their radical agenda.
And in contrast to his hypocritical call to “put away the harsh rhetoric” and unify Americans after the purported divisiveness of Donald Trump, Biden’s supporters have already begun threatening their political opponents with vicious retribution for supporting their #MAGA nemesis.

True to their totalitarian nature, newly-reelected New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other high-profile Democrats tweeted Friday that Trump supporters essentially should be blacklisted for their role in advancing his unacceptable agenda to make America great again. “Is anyone archiving these Trump sycophants for when they try to downplay or deny their complicity in the future?” the socialist Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “I foresee decent probability of many deleted Tweets, writings, photos in the future.

“Lol at the ‘party of personal responsibility’ being upset at the idea of being responsible for their behavior over last four years,” she added later. It takes enormous chutzpah to accuse Republicans of misbehavior in our current, thuggish “cancel culture” marked by rampant leftist violence.

“Complicity” is a loaded word, which she no doubt chose intentionally. It means participation in criminal or wrongful activity. The implication, of course, is that both President Trump and his supporters are not simply political opponents but are legally guilty of wrongdoing and must be punished.

In a democratic political system, one party “punishes” the other by beating it in elections. Losing the election – being denied the opportunity to implement your agenda – is the punishment. The opposing parties then move forward together in an often uneasy or even contentious coexistence until the next election. But totalitarians by definition reject coexistence; after seizing power they punish their opponents literally and brutally, out of pure vindictiveness and with the intent to eradicate any opposition once and for all.

Friday, November 6, 2020

ObamaGate: the Movie


As the Democrat Party moves from one duplicitous, often illegal anti-Trump operation to another without pause (such as presidential impeachment and massive, nationwide voter fraud), their earlier scandals – even recent ones – get pushed into the background of our memory. As an example: the Deep State sabotage of the 2016 Trump campaign and presidency known as “ObamaGate,” which President Trump described as “the biggest political crime in American history, by far.” Charles Lipson at Real Clear Politics wrote that ObamaGate’s abuses of power “represent some of the gravest violations of constitutional norms and legal protections in American history… The entrenched elites behind these scandals are the Swamp at its most sulfurous. They spied illegally on Americans and used powerful tools of government to damage the party-out-of-power, its outsider candidate, and then his new presidency.”

This would be great fodder for a gripping Hollywood drama – except that Hollywood doesn’t dramatize Democrat abuses of power. So it fell to conservative filmmakers, award-winning journalists, and bestselling authors Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer to capture the essence of the scandal on film for posterity.

Co-produced by the Unreported Story Society and Tom Fitton’s Judicial Watch, ObamaGate: The Movie, available to watch for free here on YouTube, exposes the Deep State plot to subvert the Trump candidacy and presidency, and lays bare the lies behind the Russian collusion hoax relentlessly perpetuated by the Democrats and their abettors in the mainstream news media. Filmed in Los Angeles on the Comedy Central stage at the Hudson Theater, it stars openly-conservative actor Dean Cain, best-known as TV’s Superman, and Kristy Swanson, star of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, as “FBI lovebird” agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. It also features familiar face John James from the Dynasty TV series as Obama administration FBI Director James Comey.

McElhinney and McAleer founded The Unreported Story Society in 2017 “with a mission to tell the stories that the mainstream media ignores through art and modern media,” as the website states. The Unreported Story Society has created successful plays like FBI Lovebirds: Undercovers and has produced several podcasts such as The Ann & Phelim Scoop. McElhinney and McAleer are best known for their films Fracknation and Gosnell, which I reviewed here, based on their compelling book of the same name (which I also reviewed, here).

Friday, October 30, 2020

Cultural Marxism for Kids: The Left’s Subversive Weapon of Mass Instruction


My friend, filmmaker Gloria Z. Greenfield​, started a blog last month called "Deep Dives into Critical Issues" at her Doc Emet Productions website. This month I'm honored to be the contributor. Check it out below, and check out her site while you're there. Most of all, check out her important documentaries like 'Fight of Our Lives.'

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In a revealing 2013 network promo, then-host Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC caused a stir by declaring, in the context of children’s education, “We’ve always had kind of a private notion of children: ‘Your kid is yours, and totally your responsibility.’ We haven’t had a very collective notion that these are our children… We have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”

Conservative critics such as Glenn Beck pounced on this eyebrow-raising statement as evidence that the left is hostile to the sanctity of the nuclear family and has ideologically predatory designs on our children. Harris-Perry tried to backtrack, dismissing these concerns as overreactions and claiming she merely meant that we should all take responsibility for ensuring that our kids grow up in safe neighborhoods and good schools.

Had she phrased it that way in the promo, no one would have objected; who doesn’t want our kids to have safe neighborhoods and good schools? But she didn’t. She clearly, explicitly stated that our children and society are better served if we break the private bonds of the traditional family model, and instead adopt the collectivist view that kids should be shared by the entire community. In other words, as then-First Lady Hillary Clinton put it in a 1996 book title, “It Takes a Village” to raise our children.

Harris-Perry, who has a Ph.D. from Duke University and taught political science at Princeton, is no dummy. You don’t get to host your own political talk show on a major cable TV network unless you are skilled at articulating your messaging. And this was undoubtedly a carefully-scripted and -vetted network promo, not an off-the-cuff remark. It is difficult to believe that both she and MSNBC were clueless or careless about the content of its message. On the contrary – Harris-Perry’s disingenuous reassurances notwithstanding – this promo was crafted to signal to MSNBC’s Progressive audience that she and the network represent their forward-looking vision, as opposed to the hidebound worldview of the capitalist oppressors at Fox News.

Today’s Progressivism is simply rebranded communism, a central strategy of which was what Karl Marx openly labeled “the abolition of the family.” For Marx, the bourgeois family structure was inextricably linked to “private gain,” both of which must “vanish” to liberate humanity from its serfdom. “The family deprives the worker of revolutionary consciousness,” wrote Marxist theorist Aleksandra Kollontai, and therefore must be discarded. Marx’s co-author Friedrich Engels wrote that when the proletariat revolts and transfers the means of production to common ownership, “the single family ceases to be the economic unit of society. Private housekeeping is transformed into a social industry. The care and education of the children becomes a public affair; society looks after all children alike, whether they are legitimate or not” [emphasis added]. This is the utopian ideal Melissa Harris-Perry was hinting at in her promo (the tagline for which was “Lean Forward”).

Communists single out the family for elimination because, as the fundamental bond of humanity, it is the most formidable line of defense against totalitarian state control, which is the inevitable end of any attempt to fashion a collectivist utopia. To destroy the family, the American left has undertaken a decades-long campaign to denigrate marriage and motherhood, to obliterate gender distinctions, to delegitimize traditional masculinity – and perhaps most importantly, to indoctrinate younger generations into a new, “woke” worldview that is at irreconcilable odds with the capitalist, Judeo-Christian value system of their parents and grandparents.

Friday, October 23, 2020

20 Days to Save the USA


I'm honored to be one of the speakers at this ongoing event, 20 Days to Save the USA, which includes people like Dinesh D'Souza, Franklin Graham, Movieguide's Ted Baehr, Sheriff David Clarke, Kevin Jackson, Jihad Watch's Robert Spencer, Gen. Jerry Boykin, and lots more.

I'm scheduled for a 15 min. pre-recorded talk on cultural Marxism this Friday evening 10/23 at 7:34 p.m. Find out more at this link.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Trump Card


Perhaps the most overarching choice facing American voters in the upcoming presidential election is, which vision of the future do we want to embrace for our country: capitalism or socialism? The choice is just that stark and polarized. In defense of the capitalist worldview, author and documentary filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza recently released his latest film, Trump Card, “to make the moral case for capitalism and show that its rewards are just. We need to show that socialism – even democratic socialism – inevitably leads to misery and tyranny.”

D'Souza, of course, is the New York Times bestselling author of such books as The End of Racism, What’s So Great About America?, and The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the Democratic Left. He is also the filmmaker behind a few of the biggest-selling documentaries of all time, including 2016: Obama’s America, America: Imagine the World Without Her, and Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party. An immigrant from largely socialist India, D’Souza is a passionate speaker in defense of the American Dream and American exceptionalism, two concepts the left has worked hard to discredit. In Trump Card, he comes to their defense again, in the process discrediting the left’s push for the illusory dream of so-called “democratic socialism.”  

The documentary includes some animated sequences and dramatic reenactments (of Abraham Lincoln, of the brainwashing of Winston Smith from Orwell’s 1984, and even of D’Souza himself receiving a call from President Trump to pardon D’Souza for his 2014 conviction of making an illegal campaign contribution). It also includes news footage of everything from Antifa violence to Stormy Daniels interviews, and socialist pronouncements from the likes of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders. But the most compelling segments feature D’Souza interviewing a wide range of speakers, many of whom the left would consider unlikely conservatives – gay men, blacks, and women – about their war stories of conflict with so-called “liberals” in Hollywood, the media, and the Deep State.

Among those interviewed are gay journalist Andy Ngo, who has literally risked his life to expose Antifa violence while mainstream media figures like CNN blowhard Chris Cuomo defend them; outspoken black conservative actor Isaiah Washington, who stands by his convictions despite Hollywood ostracism; investigative journalist Peter Schweizer, who has done more to expose political corruption than entire mainstream networks; Second Amendment activist Andrew Pollack, whose daughter was murdered in the Parkland mass shooting; and black comedian Terence K. Williams, who left the Democrat plantation because he doesn’t embrace victimhood.

Monday, October 19, 2020

What Killed Michael Brown?

In the wake of the violent worldwide protests that followed the death in police custody of black Minneapolis resident George Floyd, it is easy to forget that what created the conditions for all that racial chaos was the 2014 shooting of black Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. Yes, the Black Lives Matter movement began before that, after George Zimmerman’s acquittal for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. But BLM didn’t pick up steam and acquire national recognition until after Brown. And Zimmerman wasn’t a cop; it was Michael Brown’s death that really galvanized what author Heather Mac Donald called “the war on cops” and created the mythic slogan, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” which the leftist news media promoted in spite of an absence of evidence or witnesses that Brown ever said it.

The brilliant scholar Shelby Steele has now revisited that complex tragedy in a new documentary called What Killed Michael Brown?, written and narrated by Steele, and beautifully directed and filmed by his award-winning filmmaker son Eli. Steele père, you will remember, is the black conservative author of The Content of Our Character and White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era. His film seeks to answer what Steele calls “a daring question, one that a group like Black Lives Matter would forbid: is Michael Brown in any way responsible for his own death?”

What Killed Michael Brown? is grounded by Steele’s calm, thoughtful presence and his almost poetic narration, delivered in a measured, mellifluent voice and backed by a moody, jazz trumpet soundtrack. The film features him strolling down the streets of Ferguson, in his childhood home in Chicago, and in neighborhoods of the black underclass in both cities as he muses about the nature of race, power, and character in America. This is woven in with footage of riots and press conferences, and interviews with white Ferguson residents, local black leaders, and even race hustler Al Sharpton, whom Steele depicts as a self-aggrandizing agitator exploiting black anger.

Steele begins by noting that he has learned one overriding truth in his lifetime of thinking about race: “We human beings never use race except as a means to power. Race is never an end. It is always a means… America’s original sin was not slavery. It was the use of race as a means to power.”

The Ferguson shooting perfectly exemplifies that ugly truth. Steele states that Brown’s body lying in the street ignited a wildfire that swept across black America before a single fact was known about how he came to be there: “If you’re black and you see Brown’s body, there is already a framework of meaning in place. You don’t think so much as step into that meaning, and at that moment, before any evidence or witness testimony, all you can see is a victim of American racism.”

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Leading America

 

As the revelations of international influence-peddling and multimillion-dollar corruption on the part of Joe Biden and his disgrace of a son go utterly ignored by the Democrat media, and suppressed on social media by Big Tech overlords Twitter and Facebook, it couldn’t be more obvious that the crisis in American journalism has peaked. That makes Sean Spicer’s new book, Leading America: President Trump’s Commitment to People, Patriotism, and Capitalism, all the more relevant and essential.

Former White House Press Secretary and Communications Director Spicer, also the author of the compelling account of his time in the White House titled The Briefing: Politics, the Press, and the President, has written another page-turning, eyewitness account of the volatile intersection of journalism and politics in America today. In ten highly readable, easily digestible chapters, each devoted to an aspect of left’s tightening grip on the culture, the normally calm and collected Spicer absolutely savages the Progressive activists in academia, the news media, and Hollywood. He also argues that re-electing President Trump is America’s only hope to win this “battle for the soul of this great nation.”

David Horowitz, founder of the Freedom Center and bestselling author, most recently, of Blitz: Trump Will Smash the Left and Win, sums it up in his jacket blurb for Leading America:

Sean Spicer has written an indispensable book about the destruction of American journalism by the American left. As an insider who was press secretary to President Trump, is now an anchor on Newsmax TV, and in between was a quarter-finalist among celebrity leftists on Dancing With the Stars, Spicer has written an irresistible insider’s book about the wars that are engulfing us as a nation and threatening our future.

Spicer begins the book setting up the state of the union in 2020 (“Welcome to the current state of American society, one in which all politics is personal and all persons are forced to be political”), and laying out what the stakes are in this critical, upcoming election. What are those stakes? The very principles of our nation, and the Constitution itself, which are threatened by today’s radical Democratic Party: “They will stop at nothing in their attempt to turn capitalism into socialism, patriotism into globalism, and American values into progressive values. They’re willing to run small businesses into economic ruin, turn academic institutions into harmful social experiment centers, use children as political pawns, and ruin America’s favorite pastimes with political polarization – and they’re leaving a nearly unrecognizable country in their wake.”

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Growing Patriots

 


In my previous article, a review of Rating America’s Presidents by the Freedom Center’s own Robert Spencer, I lamented the fact that American public schools no longer give students a solid foundation in what should be a critical subject: civics. There is a surfeit of indoctrination in social justice activism, Howard Zinn-fueled anti-Americanism, and programs promoting the New York Times’ debunked 1619 Project, which posits that America’s origin was rooted in slavery, not freedom; but there is less and less instruction about how our country truly was formed, what makes it exceptional, how our system of government works, and what our God-given freedoms are.

This is a difficult learning environment in which to raise children to be patriotic citizens. Indeed, patriotism is now viewed as the last refuge of white supremacist nationalists. Especially in this time of pandemic lockdowns and school closures, America-loving parents who suddenly find themselves homeschooling their younger children and/or overseeing their "remote learning" need all the help they can get finding educational resources about our country that aren’t tainted by Progressive propaganda, that will inspire children to be proud of and more informed about our history, and that will help shape a future “educated electorate,” as Thomas Jefferson put it, upon which rests “the cornerstone of democracy.”

Years ago, Amelia Hamilton found herself faced with a similar problem. Having trouble finding a patriotic book for a friend’s small child that would teach him about America and spark his interest in American history, Hamilton decided to write one herself. That was ultimately the origin of her website Growing Patriots, which features a podcast, growing in popularity, aimed at a young audience. She hosts experts on topics about early America who answer real questions posed by real children on the broadcast. “Every patriot needs a place to start,” the site declares, “and that’s why Growing Patriots is here.”

The podcast includes dozens of episodes of just the right length and tone for kids to digest, on such topics as Paul Revere’s midnight ride, the creation of the American military, revolutionary Thanksgiving, colonial clothing and music, the Boston Tea Party, the Pilgrims, and more.

Hamilton, a writer and American patriot with a master’s degree in both English and 18th century history, spoke to me about the site and her podcast.

Mark Tapson:           Amelia, what made you feel that a project like Growing Patriots was necessary, and why did you decide to be the one to launch it?

Amelia Hamilton:  I wrote my first children’s book One Nation Under God as a gift for a friend's son when he was learning to count. I just printed it out and stapled it together – certainly nothing fancy! I started hearing from other parents that they wanted copies, too, because even their "big kids" weren't learning these things in school – and this is extremely basic civics. Things like "there are three branches of government." That's when I realized there was a lot more to this project. Kids aren't learning about civics and they aren't learning about how America works, how it was founded or why. To touch on those latter two, I wrote the second book 10 Steps to Freedom: A Growing Patriot's Guide to the American Revolution.  

I launched the podcast so that I could really walk kids through why people came to America, why they fought for freedom, how the new country was set up, and why. It's easy to take things for granted if you assume everyone has them or that we've always had them. It's easy to forget how special and rare the American experiment is if your teachers are always telling you that it's inherently bad. If I can teach kids some basic facts about how America was founded and how it works, it puts them light-years ahead of the general population in terms of understanding what we have here – and why it's worth protecting.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Rating America's Presidents


My wife and I homeschool our very young children, and as part of their education we have introduced them to a topic that has tragically diminished in importance in today’s public schools: civics. We’ve taught them a bit about various American presidents (my seven- and ten-year-olds have even memorized all of them in order; I’m lucky to get as far as Andrew Jackson), and occasionally one of the kids will ask about a particular president, “Was he a good president, or a bad one?”

I can easily answer about the most notable ones from my own lifetime like Reagan or Carter offhand, but Zachary Taylor? James Buchanan? William Taft? The answers don’t come so easily. It occurred to me that to keep one step ahead of my kids as time goes on, I must either dive deeper into knowing all the presidents and/or find a handy reference resource about them that I can trust will not reek of Progressive propaganda.

Lo and behold, along comes Robert Spencer’s new book, Rating America’s Presidents, published by Bombardier Books. An unofficial subtitle on the front cover sums up the book’s theme: “An America-first look at who is best, who is overrated, and who was an absolute disaster” – those categories accompanied by photos of Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and Jimmy Carter, respectively. The back cover explicitly assures the reader that this book

rates the presidents not on the basis of criteria developed by socialist internationalist historians, but on their fidelity to the United States Constitution and to the powers, and limits to those powers, of the president as delineated by the Founding Fathers. America’s presidents are rated on the extent to which they put America First – not in the sense of narrow isolationism, but whether they really advanced the interests of the American people.

In short, Rating America’s Presidents “offers what should be the only criteria for rating the occupants of the White House: were they good for America?” After all, as Spencer puts it in his short introduction, “The president’s primary job is clear from the oath of office that every president recites in order to assume office, and it isn’t to provide health care for illegal aliens, or to make sure that Somalia isn’t riven by civil war, or to make sure America is ‘diverse.’” It is to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Spencer also points out that while the cry “America first” has become unfairly associated with xenophobia and white supremacy today, “the Founding Fathers and every president up until Woodrow Wilson took it for granted that the president of the United States should put his nation first and would have thought it strange in the extreme that this idea should even be controversial.”

Spencer adds that “[t]his criterion upends much of the conventional wisdom” of historians’ surveys of the presidents, recent ones of which have put Donald Trump at or near the bottom of the heap and Barack Obama at or near the top, reflecting the priorities and preferences of academics who skew politically left. By the refreshing measure of Rating America’s Presidents, however, Trump ranks “as one of the greatest Presidents the United States has ever had, if not the very best,” even though his first term has not ended yet. Conversely, Obama “is actually the most damaging and disastrous president this nation has ever had.”

Robert Spencer is, of course, well-known to FrontPage Mag readers as the director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s Jihad Watch website and the author of a whopping nineteen other books, almost entirely on the topic of Islam. So it might be counterintuitive to think Spencer is qualified to assess all fifty presidents’ accomplishments and shortcomings. But as he notes in the book’s acknowledgements, this “is a topic with which I’ve been fascinated for no less than five decades now.” Additionally, Spencer is a peerless researcher, a clear, compelling writer, and a lover of history and America (the book is dedicated “with love and respect to all Americans who are grateful to live in this extraordinary land”). So while some patriot readers may argue with Spencer’s takes on the presidents, they can at least be confident that they won’t be sucker-punched by the kinds of misinformation or subversive disinformation one too often finds in the judgements of left-leaning historians.