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Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism



A 2015 Pew survey reported that the total number of Catholics in the United States dropped by 3 million since 2007, now comprising about 20 percent - or one-fifth - of the total population. Catholicism is losing more members than it gains at a higher rate than any other denomination – a recent development which the radical progressives at Salon celebrate. Why is this an issue that should worry Americans and the Western world at large?
One key reason is that the fastest-growing religion in the country and around the world is Islam – something Salon radicals also no doubt celebrate. But the fundamentalist brand of Islam that is once again on the rise is antithetical, indeed openly hostile, to the values of Western civilization, and for many centuries Catholicism as a central component of European identity was a bulwark against its spread. But for various reasons the West has lost confidence in its cultural identity and moral authority in recent decades, and the result has been submission to decadence, to cultural Marxism, and to Islam. If we are to reverse a civilization in rapid decline, we must undertake a resurgence of Western exceptionalism with a militant Christian ethos at its core.
For Catholics who have backslid or grown apathetic, that means waking up to what is at stake, and then making a renewed commitment to understanding and manifesting the tenets of their own religion, a religion that has been steered toward emasculation, socialism, and interfaith suicide by the radical left. For non-Catholics as well – even atheists – it means acknowledging how crucial a revivified Christianity is to a defense of Western civilization, and educating themselves about the myths and realities of Catholicism.
Enter John Zmirak’s timely book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism, published by Regnery. Zmirak is an editor, teacher, screenwriter, political columnist, and the author of the popular Bad Catholic's Guides and The Race to Save Our Century: Five Core Principles to Promote Peace, Freedom, and a Culture of Life. His work has appeared in First Things, The Weekly Standard, USA Today, and FrontPage Magazine, among other venues.
The book’s cover declares Catholicism to be “the most politically incorrect institution in the world!” and features a trinity of grinning nuns with guns – itself politically incorrect enough to trigger leftists who prefer a less militant, more social justice-oriented, and submissive Christianity. The cover also features such triggering bullet points as:
  • Catholic teaching favors gun rights, capitalism, and a strong defense
  • Catholic “social teaching” isn’t liberal, it’s conservative
  • Catholic doctrine doesn’t require open borders

and perhaps most politically incorrect and offensive:
  • The Crusades are something to be proud of

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Fight of Our Lives


“Civilizations, empires, great powers, can fall apart very fast. Collapse can come suddenly, like a thief in the night. And we should be very wary of assuming that our civilization, the civilization of the early 21st century West, will oblige us by declining gradually.”
That warning from noted historian Niall Ferguson is the opening and the theme of the vital new documentary The Fight of Our Lives: Defeating the Ideological War Against the West from filmmaker Gloria Z. Greenfield.
Greenfield’s previous work includes Body and Soul – The State of the Jewish Nation in 2014 (which I reviewed for FrontPage Mag here), Unmasked Judeophobia in 2011, and The Case for Israel – Democracy’s Outpost in 2009. She is the president of Doc Emet Productions, the simple and powerful motto of which is “Truth in film.” Unlike, say, propagandist Michael Moore’s front-and-center, demagogic presence in his films such as Fahrenheit 9/11, director Greenfield gets out of the way and crafts her narratives about anti-Semitism, history, Judeo-Christian values, freedom, and democracy from the authoritative, articulate arguments of the many intellectuals who lend their expertise to her projects.
Such is the case with her latest documentary, which features compelling observations and insights from well-known historians, journalists, and thinkers such as Niall Ferguson, Victor Davis Hanson, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Alan Dershowitz, Melanie Phillips, Bruce Thornton, Raymond Ibrahim, Brooke Goldstein, Ibn Warraq, Alan West, and many more respected commentators from academia, human rights organizations, and think tanks. [Full disclosure: I am included among the featured speakers, as are David Horowitz Freedom Center Fellows Thornton and Ibrahim.]
The Fight of Our Lives addresses the various internal and external threats facing Western civilization today, and cautions that if we don’t recognize these grave dangers now and rouse ourselves to resist and overcome them, then it is no hyperbole to say that the West as we know it will come to – as Ferguson warned – a swift and inexorable end.

‘Deplorable’ Professor Fights Back Against Campus Totalitarians



“In the fall of 2016,” New York University professor Michael Rectenwald recently told The Daily Caller, “I was noting an increase of this social justice ideology on campuses, and it started to really alarm me. I saw it coming home to roost here at NYU, with the creation of the bias reporting hotline, and with the cancellation of the Milo Yiannopoulos talk because someone might walk past it and hear something which might ‘trigger’ them.”
Rectenwald, himself a leftist, created an initially anonymous Twitter account, @antipcnyuprof, to speak out against that ideology and the “absolutely anti-education and anti-intellectual” classroom indoctrination he was witnessing, as well as the collectivist surveillance state that the campus was becoming, as students were urged to report each other for the sin of committing microaggressions.
In October of that year, he outed himself as the man behind the controversial Twitter account, and “all hell broke loose.” He swiftly found himself the target of shunning and harassment from his colleagues and the NYU administration. In true Cultural Revolution fashion, several colleagues in his department in the Liberal Studies Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group published an open letter declaring him guilty of incorrect thinking. “The thing that is interesting here is that they were saying that because I don’t think like them, I am sick and mentally ill,” Rectenwald said to the Daily Caller.
Instead of kowtowing to the campus totalitarians, Rectenwald declared himself done with the Left in a February 2017 tweet (“The Left has utterly and completely lost its way and I no longer want anything to do with it.”) and has gone on to be an even more fervent defender of free speech and academic freedom. He has appeared often in conservative media to discuss those issues and the harassment he has received from the Left.
Recently Rectenwald even filed a lawsuit against NYU and four of his colleagues for defamation. He consented to answering some questions for FrontPage Mag about his conflict with the NYU ideologues.
Mark Tapson:  A year ago on Twitter you wrote, “Goodbye to the Left, goodbye.” Can you describe your intellectual journey from “left-liberal activist” to outspoken “deplorable” and what drove that seemingly sudden transition?

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Michael Savage at the Four Seasons


The David Horowitz Freedom Center is hosting another Wednesday Morning Club luncheon this Thursday at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. I'll be introducing the speaker, radio talk show host and bestselling author Michael Savage.

Savage's new book is a very personal rumination on God, Faith, and Reason.

Check out the event details here.


Next month's WMC luncheon speaker will be the fearless journalist Melanie Phillips.

Confessions of an Islamophobe



With the possible exception of freedom fighter and European political party leader Geert Wilders, there is arguably no critic of Islam more despised and feared by the Religion of Peace’s apologists than the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s own Robert Spencer, director of the indispensable Jihad Watch website and the author of nearly twenty books.
Spencer is routinely labeled a so-called Islamophobe by those who conflate criticism of Islam with bigotry toward Muslims. This makes him the target of an astonishing amount of hatred and even threats of violence because our media and political elites have inflated the purported danger of “Islamophobia” to a degree of cultural concern greater than the danger of actual Islamic terrorism.
The George Soros-funded smear organization known as the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the “extremist” Spencer “one of America’s most prolific and vociferous anti-Muslim propagandists” (note the use of the inflammatory terms “propagandist” and “anti-Muslim,” the latter of which falsely paints him as a hater of Muslims themselves rather than as a critic of the ideology).
His speaking engagements, when they are not disrupted by protesters or cancelled by those who refuse to debate him or even hear him out, require personal security to protect him from the violence of those who accuse him of inciting violence. After a presentation in Iceland earlier this year, Spencer was actually poisoned by a suspected opponent who wanted to silence him permanently.
Robert Spencer is certainly not alone in being branded an Islamophobe; he is simply one of the most prominent because he is the best-educated about Islam and the most relentless thorn in the side of those who would whitewash it. Any public critic of Islam’s demonstrably hateful, violent, and supremacist tenets risks being smeared by the ugly label.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Fight of Our Lives

I'm very excited about this documentary that the David Horowitz Freedom Center is premiering in Santa Monica in 2 months. The Fight of Our Lives: Defeating the Ideological War Against the West features luminaries such as Niall Ferguson, Victor Davis Hanson, and many others on the internal and external threats to western civilization. I'm honored to be among the lineup as well, discussing the war on masculinity.

Documentary filmmaker Gloria Greenfield (Body and Soul: The State of the Jewish Nation and The Case for Israel - Democracy's Outpost, among other films) has put together a riveting discussion of the crucial fight we face today.

I'll have more news about this as time goes on. Meanwhile, if you'll be in the SoCal area on February 19th, do your best to attend this event in Santa Monica.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Are a Protective Father and a Sexual Harasser Equally Sexist?



In light of the recent #MeToo movement of women claiming to have experienced sexual harassment or assault – a movement whose members TIME magazine just collectively named its Person of the Year – one would think that Americans had united behind a crystal-clear moral perspective on such behavior. One would think that this perspective would recognize the obvious difference between men who are predators (bad) and men who are protectors (good). But then The Washington Post saw fit to post an opinion piece Sunday whose author declared that a father who sees himself as his daughter’s defender is objectifying her just as much as the pervert he wants to defend her from.
In her morally muddled piece “Paul Ryan and Harvey Weinstein are both ‘fathers of daughters,’” Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg says that when men begin a public condemnation of sexism with some variation of the phrase “As the father of daughters…,” it indicates that these fathers think they have some special appreciation for women because they have girl children, but they actually do not see women – even their own daughters – as “three-dimensional people worthy of respect and care.” Instead, they view them as prized possessions whose honor and virginity must be kept intact. “The focus is ever on her body parts, used or unused, available or protected,” writes Ruttenberg.
As an example, she takes Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan, who recently commented on the tsunami of sexual harassment accusations sweeping the country involving power players from Washington, D.C. to Hollywood.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Victor Davis Hanson at the Four Seasons

Once again I'll be introducing a speaker at a David Horowitz Freedom Center's Wednesday Morning Club event - this time the astute historian, agrarian, and political analyst Victor Davis Hanson, author of the new The Second World Wars, at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills.

 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Was John Wayne’s Masculine Image a Lie?



There is perhaps no manlier icon in Hollywood history than John Wayne. More than 40 years after his last film, he remains the cinematic apotheosis of the rugged, principled, red-blooded, tough-as-nails, frontier-conquering, patriotic American male. Not even Steve McQueen or Clint Eastwood can measure up to The Duke. But was Wayne’s masculine image a sham, and even worse, an ideal that no man could ever live up to?
The Atlantic’s Stephen Metcalf would like you to think so. In his recent “How John Wayne Became a Hollow Masculine Icon,” Metcalf writes about Nancy Schoenberger’s book Wayne and Ford: The Films, the Friendship, and the Forging of an American Hero, which explores the creative partnership of John Wayne and director John Ford. The dynamic duo made 23 pictures together, including Stagecoach (1939), The Searchers (1956), and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), which Metcalf concedes are among the best and most important Hollywood films ever made.
Schoenberger, an English professor at William & Mary, wrote that “the two men succeeded in defining an ideal of American masculinity that dominated for nearly half a century.” She argues that that masculine ideal “is still salvageable, honorable even,” writes Metcalf. “Stoic, humble, gallant, self-sufficient, loyal—put that way, who could disagree?”
Stephen Metcalf, that’s who. He claims that the oversensitive Ford, whom he implies was gay, “was terrified of his own feminine side, so he foisted a longed-for masculinity” on a supposedly reluctant Wayne, molding his hypermasculine image. Rather than be inspired by that image, Metcalf dismisses it contemptuously: “[M]asculinity (like the Western) is a by-product of nostalgia, a maudlin elegy for something that never existed—or worse, a masquerade that allows no man, not even John Wayne, to be comfortable in his own skin.”

Monday, December 4, 2017

‘Good Girls,’ Bad Boys, and Better Men



Ever since sexual harassment revelations about film producer Harvey Weinstein opened a floodgate for such scandals among the rich and powerful, some culture critics are suggesting that to eradicate such predatory behavior, we must raise boys to be more like girls.
Writing in “The Bad News on ‘Good Girls’” in last Friday’s New York Times, for example, contributor Jill Filipovic expressed frustration that, even though parents today claim they want their daughters to be strong and independent, there still exist “entrenched and often invisible gender biases” that nudge girls toward being “sweet and passive.” Meanwhile, boys are “raised to embrace risk-taking and aggression.” The result, she claims, is that women are socialized into staying home as mothers and homemakers, and men are encouraged to go out into the world and fill the roles of leaders and bosses.
Part of the reason for this, Filipovic says, is that “[g]irls are taught to protect themselves from predation, and they internalize the message that they are inherently vulnerable; boys move through the world not nearly as encumbered and certainly not seeing their own bodies as sources of weakness or objects for others’ desires.”
But the biological reality is that the weaker are inherently vulnerable to the stronger. Both girls and boys are vulnerable to predatory adults. The old are vulnerable to the young. Weaker boys are vulnerable to stronger boys. And yes, girls and women, generally speaking, are inherently vulnerable to boys or men who are, generally speaking, physically stronger and more aggressive. This is not simply a matter of how they are raised, although this certainly can be ameliorated to some extent by teaching girls from an early age how to defend themselves.