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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.”

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...