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Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Truth is No Defense


As the totalitarian left advances ever more successfully toward amending or abolishing freedom of speech, it is crucial to keep in mind that hand-in-hand with curtailing the speech of those who hold “incorrect” opinions comes the enforcement of Islamic blasphemy laws, the ulterior motive of which is to shield Islam from any criticism whatsoever. This has been the longstanding goal of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the world’s largest Muslim collective, which has worked closely with leftist allies such as Hillary Clinton to promote and implement such censorship. This already has been largely embraced among the multiculturalist elites in Europe; think, for example, of today’s England, where jihadist stabbings are rampant but complaining about them in a tweet will earn you a visit and stern lecture from the police, if not actual arrest.
To grasp just how unacceptable it is to speak the truth about Islam in a multiculturalist society, read Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff’s jaw-dropping account of her legal ordeal in Austria, titled The Truth is No Defense, recently published by New English Review Press. Ms. Sabaditsch-Wolff is an Austrian human rights and anti-sharia activist who, as the daughter of a diplomat and then later as an ambassador’s assistant, had extensive experience living and working in Muslim countries (she was even held hostage during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait). She came to the unfortunate conclusion that sharia and Western values aren’t compatible.
In 2009 she found herself charged with “hate speech” in Austria over factual statements she made during a seminar she gave on Islam. Thus began a Kafkaesque legal odyssey resulting in her conviction for “denigrating the teachings of a legally recognized religion” – i.e. Islam, of course, because can anyone imagine that someone would ever be convicted of denigrating Christianity? Ms. Sabaditsch-Wolff subsequently took her appeal before the European Court for Human Rights, but Europe tragically has no First Amendment and therefore, “the truth is no defense” when it comes to critiquing Islam. “This is what totalitarianism looks like,” the Freedom Center’s own Robert Spencer has said of her miscarriage of justice (Spencer is one of more than half a dozen notable experts who present insightful analyses of her case at the book’s conclusion).
Ms. Sabaditsch-Wolff was recently in Los Angeles promoting her book, and graciously made the time to answer some questions.
Mark Tapson:           You preface the book by juxtaposing the lives of two 9-year-old girls, “Emma” and “Aisha,” who might be very much alike except for the contrasting cultures in which they live: Western and Islamic. Why did you choose to begin the book this way?
Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff:        I chose these two girls and their stories for one reason only: there are millions of Aishas in the Islamic world and millions of Emmas in the Western, non-Islamic world. We still have a choice: do we want the Emmas to turn into Aishas? Or do we protect the Emmas from a life as Aishas? My choice is clear. What is yours?
MT:     When did you first realize that, for the multiculturalist European elites who are determined to shield Islam from criticism, the truth is truly no defense?

The Google Archipelago


Back in January, 2018, I interviewed New York University professor Michael Rectenwald for FrontPage Mag (here) about his experience being outed as “the Deplorable Prof,” the man behind an anonymous Twitter account which he used to criticize the “anti-education and anti-intellectual” social justice ideology of his fellow leftist academics. The subsequent shunning and harassment he endured from his colleagues and the NYU administration drove Rectenwald to declare himself done with the Left, and he later published a book about it titled Springtime for Snowflakes: Social Justice and its Postmodern Parentage (which I reviewed for FrontPage Mag here). The book is a must-read for understanding the intellectual collapse of the American university under the weight of a totalitarian ideology.
Now the prolific Rectenwald has published another short but vital work, Google Archipelago: The Digital Gulag and the Simulation of Freedom from New English Review Press. In it he argues that what he calls the “Big Digital” technologies and their principals like Google represent a new form of corporate state power and leftist authoritarianism. The once-and-future Deplorable Prof agreed to answer a few questions about this dangerous development.
Mark Tapson:           Michael, thanks for taking time out for another interview. In Springtime for Snowflakes you exposed and combatted social justice totalitarians. How does your new book Google Archipelago follow from and expand upon the former one? What insights and/or experiences took you in that direction?
Michael Rectenwald:         Hi Mark. Thanks very much for conducting this interview. I’m particularly grateful that you’ve asked me, again, to write out my answers, because I believe that I’m a much better writer than speaker. 
Google Archipelago (hereafter GA) traces the metastasis of social ideology into the digital realm. It may be regarded as the second in a series of installments on social justice, a series that I began in Springtime for Snowflakes, and which I may continue in a third book, thus completing a trilogy.
The book represents a study of the vastly extended and magnified manifestation of the leftist authoritarian-totalitarian ideology as it expands into cyberspace, extends throughout the cyber-social body, and penetrates the deepest recesses of social and political life. In GA, I connect Big Digital's politics with its technologies. I argue and demonstrate that the technologies are intrinsically leftist and authoritarian. 
For reasons I give in the book, the only way to make sense of the politics of such organizations as Google, Facebook, Twitter, et al and how this politics is reflected in its technologies is to see Big Digital as the leading edge of an economic and governmental conglomeration that aims to monopolize human life on a global scale. Big Digital’s political ambition is to establish a two-tiered system consisting of global corporate-cum-state monopolies on top, with “actually-existing socialism” for everyone else. I call this two-tiered system “corporate socialism,” which I choose over the term “techno-feudalism,” used by others. I have very good reasons for adopting the name corporate socialism rather than techno-feudalism, not the least of which is the penchant of the monopolists for using socialist rhetoric and ideology in their attempts to bring the two-tiered system into existence. Corporate socialism aims to arrive at a singular, one-world state, with vast globalist monopolies controlling production. These monopolies would be paralleled by a socialism or equality of reduced expectations for everyone else. Unwary dupes like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez serve corporate socialists by habituating the masses to this state of affairs. The objectives of corporate socialism are ushered in under the guise of an economic and social equality, an equality of reduced expectations for the vast majority. The corporate socialists don't need equality; equality pertains strictly to the majority deemed destined to live under the reduced expectations of “actually-existing socialism” on the ground.
Ultimately, Big Digital attempts to replace reality with a digital simulation or simulations, simulacra posing as substitutes for reality—to introduce simulated and faux realities or simulacra that displace and replace the real. Forget fake news. Try fake reality. 
MT:     The title of your book obviously echoes Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. How are the social media of today, what you call Big Digital, imprisoning us in a sort of gulag of simulated realities?

Peter Collier, 1939-2019


Peter Collier – publisher, editor, bestselling author, and co-founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center – passed away on November 1, 2019 All Soul's Day – at the age of 80.
Peter Anthony Dale Collier was born June 2, 1939 in Los Angeles, California. Like his close friend and longtime writing partner David Horowitz, whom he met while both attended UC Berkeley, Collier began his intellectual life as a New Left radical. In 1966 he became an editor at Ramparts magazine, the Left’s most influential publication at the time, as did Horowitz two years later. Collier and Horowitz took over the magazine in 1969 and edited it until 1973, when they left to write a best-selling biography of the Rockefeller dynasty.
Called by the New York Times Book Review “the premier biographers of American dynastic tragedy,” Collier and Horowitz went on to write The Kennedys: An American Drama (1984), which was a number one New York Times bestseller. This was followed by The Fords: An American Epic (1987) and The Roosevelts: An American Saga (1994). On his own, Collier went on to write The Fondas: A Hollywood Dynasty, as well as a notable biography of Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, titled Political Woman.
In the mid-seventies, Collier and Horowitz both became disillusioned with the Left, an intellectually courageous, slow-motion odyssey the pair recorded in their 1989 bestseller Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the Sixties, which made them enemies of their former comrades. While Horowitz became the more public face of their apostasy, the more private Collier pursued an astonishingly prolific career as an author, publishing numerous bestsellers in genres ranging from politics to biographies to novels and screenplays, even short fiction.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Sword and Scimitar


On the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 jihadist attacks on United States soil, as on every anniversary, the cry “Never forget!” went out across social media as Americans somberly vowed to keep the memory of 3,000 murdered innocents alive. But the danger today is not that we will forget the victims, but that we will forget the perpetrators. The New York Times epitomized this willful blindness with a commemorative tweet on the day declaring that “airplanes took aim at the World Trade Center” on 9/11 – a cowardly evasion by the Times, denying any human agency whatsoever behind the attacks instead of placing the blame squarely where it belongs: on Islamic terrorists waging war on unbelievers in the West.
In our politically correct self-loathing induced by decades of leftist indoctrination, the West – or what properly used to be called Christendom – has spent the past eighteen years not extinguishing the Islamic supremacism that brought down the Twin Towers, but often aiding and abetting it, welcoming the barbarians inside the gates and pretending we can coexist. As Raymond Ibrahim writes in his new book Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War Between Islam and the West, “The West has learned to despise its heritage and religion, causing it to become an unwitting ally of the jihad.” As a culture we now lack the historical perspective to view the 9/11 attacks in the context of this ongoing, 1400-year clash of civilizations. “Very few understand,” Ibrahim notes, “that this modus operandi stretches back to and has been on continuous display since Islam’s first contact with Christian civilization.”
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and a scholar at the Middle East Forum. His previous books include the eye-opening The Al Qaeda Reader and Crucified Again, a must-read about the genocidal persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Sword and Scimitar, an elegantly packaged book (with 16 pages of black-and-white plates) from Da Capo Press, is a deeply researched, thoughtfully analyzed military history of the ancient, existential struggle between the mortal enemies Islam and Judeo-Christian civilization. “[W]hile this book is not a general history of Western-Muslim relations,” Ibrahim clarifies, “it is most certainly a history of the most general aspect of said relations – war.” It “demonstrates once and for all that Muslim hostility for the West is not an aberration but a continuation of Islamic history.”

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Feminist: 'Heterosexuality is Just Not Working'


It will come as no news to FrontPage Mag readers that feminism, like every facet of Progressivism, has gone completely off the rails since the triggering ascension of Donald Trump to the White House, but it’s worth an occasional reminder to grasp fully just how desperate and detached from reality feminism is. The latest case in point: a self-described lesbian feminist columnist has declared that pop singer Miley Cyrus, “suicided” sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and the mass shooters in Dayton and El Paso are examples of how heterosexuality “is just not working.”
In an opinion piece for NBC News, Marcie Bianco curiously claims that recent trending news stories — Epstein’s downfall; the “toxic masculinity” of male mass shooters; the bisexual Cyrus’s marital breakup; and entertainer Julianne Hough’s public announcement that she’s “not straight” — present “a snapshot of 2019 America” which depicts “an American patriarchy on the edge of a nervous breakdown.”
Bianco – a columnist at the Women’s Media Center, a nonprofit created by Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, and radical activist Robin Morgan to “raise the visibility, viability and decision-making power of women and girls in media” – observes that Cyrus’ separation from actor Liam Hemsworth and her subsequent dalliance with at least one other woman is more significant than just another failed celebrity relationship. It’s “a blow to the patriarchy.” I am skeptical that it was even a blow to Hemsworth, much less to the entire so-called patriarchy, but the collapse of any marriage, no matter how “consciously uncoupled,” is nothing to celebrate.
Bianco approvingly quotes Cyrus’ redefinition of “what a relationship in this generation looks like. Sexuality and gender identity are completely separate from partnership.” Considering that Hemsworth’s and Cyrus’s “partnership” dissolved, perhaps the lesson here is that indulging a trendy sexuality that is at odds with your partner’s isn’t the best way to redefine a relationship – and doesn’t bode well for this generation. Bianco also praises Julianne Hough’s self-empowering revelation to her husband that she’s not straight. Although Hough’s initially-surprised husband seems supportive of her thus far, anyone who thinks a marriage can survive in which the sexuality of one partner is “completely separate” from the other is living in an ideological fantasy utterly divorced (pun intended) from the reality of human nature – which of course, feminism is.

2+2 = White Privilege

 
In the end, the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. – George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

It’s no secret that leftist educators have utterly ruined the fields of the humanities with their Marxist wokeness, postmodern deconstructionism, and openly anti-Western bias. Now The College Fix reports that educators are increasingly imposing a social justice agenda in at least one field that you might expect would be free from any sort of ideological perspective: mathematics.

Math is often referred to as a universal language because its principles are universally true. Theorems and formulas are equally valid in America and China and Zimbabwe, and equally apolitical. Nothing seems more politically incorruptible than a math equation. What policy is there to debate in 2+2 = 4? How can one take sides over the fact that the area of a rectangle equals its length multiplied by its width? But for the social justice Left, politics is, or should be, as omnipresent as God. No corner of the universe may remain unilluminated in their quest to overturn the flawed existing order, free the oppressed, and rebuild the world according to their utopian vision. There can be no topic of discussion or field of endeavor in which politics is absent or in which neutrality and objective truth reign.

Mathematics is no exception. Having successfully reduced other pursuits of knowledge from the search for the true, the good, and the beautiful to the subversion of the true, the good, and the beautiful, the relentless Left is now taking aim at the methodological bias supposedly inherent in our Eurocentric (read: racist and colonialist) understanding of math. The goal is “math equity,” because there is no more unforgivable iniquity for the Left than, well, inequity.


Monday, July 22, 2019

Is There Any Hope for Western Europe?


Years ago as I was awakening from my long Democrat slumber and educating myself about Islam, one of the most eye-opening books that I read was a 2006 page-turner titled While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West From Within, by a gay American living in Western Europe. Not only was it enlightening, but it made me an instant fan of Bawer’s compelling storytelling. In addition to following his subsequent books such as Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom, The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind, and even a thriller about Islamic terrorism called The Alhambra, I was fortunate and honored to become friends with Bruce through our mutual work for the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Now Bawer has released a new volume with a stark black cover titled Islam: The Essays, a massive collection of well over three hundred of his articles on this crucial subject dating from the fall of 2002 through the summer of 2018. Though he suggests that the reader undertake the book chronologically in order to understand the evolution of his understanding of the topic (“Early on, for instance, I refer to ‘fundamentalist Islam’; soon enough, I drop the word ‘fundamentalist,’ having realized that Islam itself, properly understood, is fundamentalist.”), Bawer is such an engaging, perceptive writer that one can open the book at random to literally any page and find it impossible to stop reading. A chilling chronicle of the Islamization of multicultural Europe over the last 17 years, Islam: The Essays is a must-have for FrontPage Mag readers and for others in need, like I once was, of awareness and insight into the Religion of Peace™.
Bruce Bawer was able to find time to answer a few of my questions about the book and about the Islamization of Europe today.
Mark Tapson:             Bruce, you note in your opening essay that it wasn’t until you moved from your native New York to Western Europe in ’98 that what you then called “fundamentalist” Islam became a daily reality for you. How was that daily reality different, and how long did it take you to fully grasp what the Islamization around you meant for Europe and the West? Was there any particular incident that showed you the writing on the wall?

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Colin Kaepernick’s Symbols of Hate


Just in time for Independence Day 2019, sports apparel giant Nike released the Air Max 1 USA shoe, featuring a miniature “Betsy Ross” flag on each heel. This, of course, is the flag with the earliest American colonies represented by thirteen white stars in a circle which, legend has it, Mrs. Ross presented to George Washington himself. But when Nike pitchman Colin Kaepernick, former NFL national anthem protester, got wind of the plan, he complained to Nike that the flag recalls a time when blacks were enslaved. Also, according to a person who reportedly was privy to the conversation, Kaepernick informed Nike that the flag has recently been appropriated by American white supremacists.
Instead of telling Kaepernick, “So what?” and going forward with the patriotic product, Nike sparked controversy by recalling the shoe from retailers and issuing a statement in which it claimed the decision was “based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday” – a pathetic excuse. If anything detracted from the Independence Day holiday, it was the controversy that erupted over Nike’s choice to offend the patriotic majority of Americans by sending the message that the Betsy Ross flag is a shameful symbol of racial oppression.
On MSNBC, race-huckstering Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson chimed in on Nike’s decision, of which he predictably approved. He claimed that the Betsy Ross flag
hails from the revolutionary period of this nation’s founding which was deeply embroiled in, you know, in enslavement... But also, it’s the recent use of this flag that has been the most opprobrious. Right-wing white supremacists have used it as a rallying cry for their own cause... Right now this flag has been used by people who want to pummel African-Americans, Latinos, Jews and other people, neo-Nazis that want to claim that they have the true copyright on American identity. So why not choose a flag that is representative of everybody? The diversity of identities, ideologies, people of color and mainstream people who exist in this country? That’s the kind of blowback against the use of this particular flag.
The notion that white supremacist groups have appropriated the Betsy Ross flag is ludicrous. They aren’t in a position to appropriate anything unless the American people allow it. There is no more marginalized, politically impotent extremist element in America today than actual white supremacists, who have been hyped by the leftist media complex as a rising Hitlerian tide empowered by President Trump’s purported bigotry. (Meanwhile the media downplays or even covers for actual threats such as the violent Antifa network, human traffickers at our collapsing southern border, and Islamic terrorists). Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow for the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said that the ADL does not even include the flag in its database of hate symbols. “It’s not a thing in the white supremacist movement,” Pitcavage asserted. Lisa Moulder, director of the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, said she has never heard of the flag being used as a hate symbol. Even if random bigots have tried to adopt the Betsy Ross flag, we only empower and legitimize them when we declare that we don’t have the cultural power to stop them from making the flag their own.  

The Crackup of the Israeli Left



In recent weeks the mostly left-leaning news media have published articles about the turbulence of this year’s elections in Israel with such handwringing titles as “Is the Israeli left doomed to marginalisation?,” “The Decline of the Israeli Left,” and “Whatever Happened to the Israeli Left?” But if one really wants to educate oneself deeply and broadly about this shift in the tiny democracy’s political landscape, one can hardly do better than to read Mordechai Nisan’s new book, The Crack-Up of the Israeli Left, published by Mantua Books. In it, Dr. Nisan brilliantly dissects the rise of the Right and the decline of the Left in the Jewish state. To quote from the book cover’s description, it details how “the Left detached its moorings from reality and principle, raised its voice against the Zionist enterprise, and chose surrender to the Arab enemy.”
If anyone is qualified to expound upon Israel’s political and cultural battlegrounds, it’s Mordechai Nisan. Dr. Nisan (with a doctorate in Political Studies from McGill University) has been a teacher and consultant for a number of academic and public institutions in Israel, including Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he taught Middle East Studies for 35 years. Among his many books are Toward a New Israel: The Jewish State and the Arab Question (1992), Only Israel West of the River: The Jewish State and the Palestinian Question (2011), and Politics and War in Lebanon (2015). He has written articles for The Jerusalem Post, Israel National News, Global Affairs, Middle East Journal, and many other publications. He has also been an activist for Jewish settlement in the territories of Judea and Samaria.
Dr. Nisan was kind enough to take time to answer some questions for FrontPage Mag.
Mark Tapson:             You begin your book by describing Israel as “a fable and a myth, but also a Great Truth.” What do you mean by that?

Mortality and Faith


In 1996, David Horowitz published Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey, which became the most noted autobiography of political conversion since Whittaker Chambers’ Witness nearly half a century earlier. Like Horowitz himself, the book became and remains a conservative classic.
The founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center passed his 80th birthday earlier this year and has just released a less political and more meditative autobiographical follow-up to that iconic work: Mortality and Faith: Reflections on a Journey Through Time. This book collects three* of Horowitz’s previous observations on life, death and meaning, titled The End of Time (published in 2005), A Point in Time: The Search for Redemption in This Life and the Next (2011), and the arrestingly-titled You’re Going to Be Dead One Day: A Love Story (2015), together with a short concluding chapter fittingly called “Staying Alive.” As Horowitz puts it in the new book’s preface, Mortality and Faith explores the beliefs which we embrace to answer the existential questions of our lives, and how we are impacted by those answers.
Readers who are familiar only with David Horowitz the political firebrand, the political general who preaches a take-no-prisoners strategy to combatting his former comrades on the left, may be surprised to discover that he is capable also of a disarming sensitivity, vulnerability, and personal honesty. He does not flinch from self-criticism nor engage in self-mythologizing, which is refreshing for a public figure, particularly in the arena of politics. Every page of Mortality and Faith is redolent of a battle-scarred wisdom, earnestness, and humility earned from trials and tribulations both public and private.
Though one gets the impression he might have wished otherwise, a belief in God is not a sustaining or consoling worldview for Horowitz. He freely confesses that his philosophy of life and death stem from a melancholic agnosticism. In You’re Going to be Dead One Day he declared that “All questions about death begin with observations that only a religious faith can answer. I have no such faith,” he says, “and therefore my posing of these questions is without a hope that life eternal awaits us where all will become clear.”