2016 Election • America • Americanism • Big Media • Democrats • Donald Trump • Editor Picks • feminists • Hillary Clinton • Identity Politics • Obama • Political Parties • Post • Republicans • The Media

Womansplaining the Women’s Vote

I have always liked Michelle Obama. I admire her personal story and respect how she conducted herself as our First Lady. I find her smarter, more authentic, and more good-humored than her husband. Although I strongly disagreed with her school lunch program and wrote about it extensively, I always prefaced my criticism by saying she was well-intentioned. In principle, there is nothing wrong with respected leaders trying to encourage children to eat healthier and get more exercise, even when we may criticize the poor science behind and ineffectiveness of particular policies.

Still, I guess the respect I’ve always had for Mrs. Obama is not reciprocated. Not only does she not like me, it seems Mrs. O. is of the opinion that I don’t like me, either.

During a speaking event in Boston on Wednesday, the former first lady expressed her disapproval of women who, like me, voted for Donald Trump:

As far as I’m concerned, any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice. To me, that doesn’t say as much about Hillary . . . and everyone is trying to wonder, well what does this mean about Hillary? No, no, no, what does this mean about us as women? That we look at those two candidates, as women, and many of us said, that guy [scoffs], he’s better for me. His voice is more true to me. Well, to me that just says, you don’t like your voice. You like the thing you’re told to like. The voice you’re told to like.

But Obama didn’t stop there. She went on about how us po’ womenz have been programmed to do what the menfolk tell us to do.

We have been socialized to sort of sit there and be quiet. We think 12 times before we open our mouths, we argue with ourselves in our head, and we think, before I can speak up, it has to be perfect. While the guy is like, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. He’s not thinking about perfect, right, or anything, he’s just like, “I’m used to hearing my voice.” That’s what happens to a lot of people.

Gee, I wonder to whom she might be referring. Projection isn’t always as evident to the speaker as it is to the audience. Or perhaps she’s watched too many episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale?

Presumably, even though Mrs. Obama was making big bucks to speak in front of a rapt and attentive audience about the ways in which women have been silenced (irony alert!), it’s not as if she was saying something original about the presidential election. In fact, she was pretty much just repeating what Mrs. Sore Loser offered recently about why the majority of white women voted for Donald Trump. In an NPR interview, Hillary Clinton relayed a discussion she had with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg: “And Sheryl ended this really sobering conversation by saying that women will have no empathy for you, because they will be under tremendous pressure—and I’m talking principally about white women—they will be under tremendous pressure from fathers and husbands and boyfriends and male employers not to vote for “the girl.””

Putting aside the arrogance of these two women, focus on this singular fact: They are famous, powerful, and rich almost entirely because of their husbands! As a female Trump voter, I am somehow supposed to be shamed by two women who are only in a position lecture me because their husbands were once president? Please.

Moreover, I wonder if the Michelle Obama of 2008 (who, we must presume, voted in the primary for her husband) needs to have a talk with the Michelle Obama of 2017? Was the 2008 Michelle guilty of scorning her own voice?

Hillary Clinton quit her law career to support her husband’s political career. Michelle Obama quit her law career to support her husband’s political career. Both women traveled around the country—twice—to stump for their husbands. They gave speeches other people wrote to say how great their husbands are. They gave interviews for years talking on and on—not about themselves—but about their husbands. And we all know the extra humiliation Hillary Clinton suffered at the hands of her husband, yet she stayed with him nonetheless.

Now they are lecturing me about being controlled by men? Spare me, sistas.

It isn’t just these two former first ladies who are still lamenting that the majority of white women (and 46 percent of college-educated white women) voted for Donald Trump. In an exchange between CNN’s Brooke Baldwin and Dana Bash about Mrs. Obama’s comments, Bash painfully recounted her experience with female Trump voters just before the election:

I go back to being in the suburbs of Philadelphia right after the “Access Hollywood” tape came out…hearing from woman after woman after woman that they didn’t care about the “Access Hollywood” tape, that’s just Donald Trump, they just don’t like Hillary Clinton. Woman after woman would say, we just want the person that’s going to be best for Americans. Even at that point, just a couple of days after “Access Hollywood” came out and the now-president said what we now know he said, they didn’t care. And I think that is a reality that a lot of Hillary Clinton supporters, Michelle Obama on down, still understandably have real trouble wrapping their minds around.

It is obvious Bash is having that problem, too.

Maybe I can explain to the first ladies and the sad CNN gals why nearly all of the suburban women I know voted for Trump. With multiple policy preferences and varying degrees of enthusiasm, and though few of us voted for him in the primary, there was one thing we all had in common: we did not want Hillary Clinton to be president. It was not because she is a woman; that’s ludicrous. And it was not because our husbands told us not to vote for her. They didn’t have to. It was simply that, over the course of two decades in the public eye, Clinton  repeatedly squandered any trust we may have had in her. It was because she is a political liberal who wanted to expand the cost and power of the federal government and we are Republicans who strongly oppose that. It was because her presidency, essentially, would have been a third term for Obama, a president we largely consider to be a failure. And because, as Clinton continues to prove on her book tour, she has no regard or respect for our values, our priorities, or our points of view. She considers herself to be our superior and if we are of no use to her politically, we are of no use to the country, period.

We saw that. We noted it. And we acted accordingly.

That is the bitter truth Hillary  Clinton refuses to accept and Michelle Obama now tries to shade because her husband is as much to blame for Trump’s victory as Hillary is. Ladies, if you really want to know why we voted for Donald Trump, get a mirror.

 

element_content=””]

America • Americanism • Democrats • Editor Picks • Greatness Agenda • Political Parties • Post • Republicans • The Culture • The Left

Primary Things

A Southern summer fades to Fall,
And ‘Bama’s voters made a call
Which wasn’t Strange. We might say Moore:
It’s no longer safe to ignore
The voice of ordinary folks
(The butt of all those late-night jokes.)

Yes, we like our Bibles, and guns;
Ladylike daughters, manly sons;
“Faith, hope and love” (which never fails),
And Clint Eastwood, as “Josey Wales”.
To our ways we cling merrily.
(And stubbornly? Yea, verily!)

Of late, we’ve enjoyed the defeats
Of cosmopolitan elites
Who seem offended we exist.
Nevertheless, we persist—
Don’t scorn the values we hold dear.
Y’all come back to them, now—ya hear?

 

element_content=””]

2016 Election • American Conservatism • Big Media • Conservatives • Donald Trump • Editor Picks • Immigration • Post • Republicans • Trump White House

Who’s the Con: Trump or . . . Ann Coulter?

As long ago as April 2011, I argued Donald Trump would stand a good chance of winning if he decided to make a serious run for the White House. My “excitement over the prospects of a Trump presidency” was “mounting” back then. Yet from that time and throughout Trump’s 2016 campaign, I have been at pains to remind readers that they could expect only so much from a President Trump. We all know—because we heard it ad nauseam during the Republican presidential primaries— the man had never been a traditional conservative or libertarian. He was never going to make “all of your wildest dreams come true.”

It isn’t just that Trump had spent most of his adult life contributing the bulk of his political donations to Democrats.

It isn’t just that he had never lifted a finger to decelerate the culture’s movement to the Left, much less to advance any recognizably conservative cause.

It isn’t just that he derided such principled men of the Right as Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan.

Another reason I specified for qualifying conservative support for Trump is his background as a businessman, and a Big Businessman at that. Republicans have long held—mistakenly—that success in business can translate to success in politics. In reality, the more successful the businessman in today’s highly regulated, crony-capitalist economy, the more likely he is a political failure—or, at least failure as judged by the liberty-lover’s benchmarks of success.

None of this is to suggest that conservatives didn’t have good reasons for supporting Trump. But legitimate, realistic reasons for supporting him shouldn’t be confused with reasons that were and remain illegitimate and unrealistic.

While Trump’s rhetoric on some key questions was music to the ears of millions of conservatives, anyone who pays close attention to American politics knows talk is cheap.

And as NeverTrumpers were only too happy to point out, Trump had no record that would suggest that he had any intention of doing all that he claimed he wanted to do. Besides, those who are even remotely familiar with federalism, the Constitution, and gridlock know all too well that the president is neither king nor God. As powerful as the president has become, his powers are not unlimited.

So Trump’s pledge to deport illegal immigrants and build a wall was never, in itself, reason enough to back him. Nor was the fact that Trump was preferable to Hillary Clinton. Similarly, the likelihood that he would appoint “conservative” Supreme Court Justices was also a gamble and not, by itself, a reason to move any fence sitter.

Trump, as I argued more than once, deserved support not because of what he promised to do in the future, but because of the single most important thing he had already achieved as a candidate and seemed likely to  continue achieving as president (whether he planned on doing so or not):

The Donald blew the lid off of the whole government-academia-media-entertainment (GAME) complex. He assumed the role of a human bomb that detonated right in the heart of the regime, a party making space for itself within a party.

Trump, in short, revealed the underground ocean of corruption in which The Big GAME is saturated. As a result, American politics will never be quite the same.

Trump was a “disruptive force” in the 2016 election and many of us voted, not necessarily for the man himself so much as for “the Trump Process,” as the paleo-libertarian author Ilana Mercer characterizes it.

Evidently, Ann Coulter was not among our number. The woman who as recently as last summer published In Trump We Trust now says that she voted for “a loser” and, along with some of her hard-Left counterparts, has even gone so far as to call for Trump’s impeachment.

Such a dramatic turn of events provokes one to wonder: How could a seasoned and presumably savvy political analyst like Coulter be genuinely disappointed or surprised by Trump’s performance, given he is only eight months into his presidency?

More to the point: How could any experienced pundit have gotten as enthusiastic as Coulter did over Trump?

Unlike those of us who supported a “process,” Coulter apparently thought that she had found a messiah. To hear her tell it now, she pinned her hopes for national salvation on a Big Business, Big Government, liberal-Democrat from New York.

What else should the impartial observer make of Ann’s metamorphosis from enraptured Trump cheerleader to betrayed, vengeful Trump critic?

While basking in the attention that the leftist press has showered on Ann since she expressed outrage over Trump’s DACA-centered meeting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Coulter insisted to The Daily Beast that she had not been conned by her man. But if she hadn’t—if she always recognized Trump for who and what he is—then one would think that she wouldn’t be so surprised or outraged now.

And maybe she isn’t really shocked at all.

Coulter’s about-face on Trump does not reflect well on her. If she is genuinely surprised that Trump has eight months into his presidency failed to make good on his promises, then she is incorrigibly naïve and incompetent in her field. Twitter memes notwithstanding, the vast majority of American patriots voted for a mere mortal politician, not a political savior or “God Emperor.”

If on the other hand, Coulter is only now feigning shock and outrage, then she is showing herself to be a fake, a cynical opportunist.

Those who followed Ann’s advice and placed their trust in Trump may need to recalibrate when it comes to their president.

They may also need to rethink things if they’ve ever placed their trust in Ann Coulter.  

element_content=””]

America • Americanism • Cultural Marxism • Editor Picks • First Amendment • Free Speech • Post • Sports • The Culture • The Left

Don’t Blame the Kneelers—Blame Those Who Brainwashed Them

The brouhaha over political demonstrations during the National Anthem makes me think of a scene from “Junior Bonner,” a 1972 Sam Peckinpah film about rodeo cowboys starring Steve McQueen. A barroom brawl has broken out during the rodeo’s noontime break, and the biggest bruiser in the joint decides to put a stop to it. How do you make a bunch of drunken cowboys stop throwing punches? Call the cops? Use tear gas? Turn on the sprinkler system?

No, our big guy wades through the melee, approaches the bandstand, and tells the musicians, “I think it’s time to play something patriotic, fellas.” So the band strikes up “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and before you can sing “Home of the Brave,” all those drunks have quit fighting and come to attention. Even McQueen, who’s been necking with his girlfriend in a phone booth, stops, stands up and places his hat over his heart.

That may be the funniest and most light-hearted moment you’ll ever find in a Peckinpah picture. But I wouldn’t pretend the early ’70s were a Golden Age of patriotism. It was the Vietnam era, after all, and even the military was riven with anti-war and even anti-American sentiment. When I saw that movie scene together with a bunch of soldiers and Marines at an Army training camp near Mount Rainier, I heard someone in the audience give a disgusted shout: “Rednecks!” Or maybe he appreciated them, I don’t know. But the point is that the National Anthem once was something that could make people stop trying to stand off against one another and stand shoulder to shoulder instead.

Not like now.

Since President Trump weighed in on the kneeling protests, professional football players seem more inclined than ever to disrespect the flag. You can’t really blame the athletes for their sideline antics, however. They are young men, and no one’s ever taught them any better—not in school, not in college, not in the movies they watch or the songs they hear or the pop icons they worship.

Worse, they’ve been bombarded for years with lies about how Americans invented slavery, about how cruel pioneers made war on peaceful Indians, about how racist cops shoot black men for sport, about how evil Bible-thumpers want to reduce women to baby-making Handmaids, and God knows what else.

The whole idea of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” born as the poem “Defense of Fort McHenry,” is of America as an embattled nation, whose people stand or fall together, along with the flag that represents us all—and that idea is foreign to the generation being produced by today’s culture.

America embattled? Some of those sideline kneelers don’t have any direct memory of 9/11. Most of them were just kids at the time. As for the night a decade before, when Whitney Houston electrified the nation at the Super Bowl with her fantastic rendition of the National Anthem, defiantly performing without fear even as people warned that Saddam Hussein might attempt to blow up the Super Bowl in retaliation for America’s part in the first Gulf War—that happened before many of the kneelers were even born. No one who witnessed it will ever forget how that joyful, triumphant moment swallowed up the fears that preceded it. But the kneelers know nothing of that. Sadly, they can remember nothing like it.

So don’t blame the kneelers. Blame the liars who brainwashed them. Rather than punish the players or try to drive their league out of business, give a big Bronx cheer to the whole boatload of teachers and professors, rap music moguls, Hollywood stars, late-night “comedians,” red-carpet celebrities, left-wing politicians. and America-bashing pundits whose every word is designed to kill any feeling of patriotism, and instead stigmatize it as “chauvinism,” “jingoism,” and “white supremacism.”

Boycott them. Drive them from office. Mock their pretensions, pop their balloons, dry up their revenues, until they are turned out into the street and have to flip burgers for a living. Because those people are the ones to blame.

Don’t try to coerce patriotism out of anyone. Just pray that God and we might kindle its fire in the kneelers’ hearts and in ours, so that we all may someday feel again the joy and love Whitney and all her countrymen once felt for one another, on that January night in 1991.

element_content=””]

Americanism • Donald Trump • Economy • Editor Picks • Energy • Foreign Policy • Post • The Left • Trade

U.S. Sanctions on Venezuela’s Oil Exports Won’t Work

President Donald Trump is considering imposing sanctions on Venezuela by blocking the country’s oil from U.S. ports, Axios reports. Likewise, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley criticized the regime of Nicolas Maduro, and confirmed that oil sanctions “are not off the table.” This represents a marked escalation: last month President Trump advocated a more finely targeted approach by limiting Venezuela’s access to U.S. financial institutions; now oil is a target. This is regrettable: sanctions on Venezuelan oil would likely do more harm than good and would punish the wrong people.

Without question, Venezuela is a horrible place to live, and the socialist government is to blame. Corruption, incompetence, and ideological fervor in Caracas has transformed South America’s richest economy into a poverty-stricken backwater. Against all the odds, the socialist government has managed to create starvation in a land of rich soils and year-round growing seasons—people are literally breaking into zoos and eating zebras to survive. Likewise, they have impoverished a nation that sits on the world’s largest oil reserves: not even Saudi Arabia’s brutal despots are this inept.

Nevertheless, imposing sanctions on Venezuelan oil is a bad idea. Sanctions are generally ineffective if imposed on fungible goods, meaning that such goods are completely interchangeable on international markets. Oil is a fungible good. Therefore, aside from the initial logistical disruption, boycotting Venezuelan oil would likely have little impact on the country’s exports. Venezuela will simply sell more to Europe, China, and South America, while we buy more oil from Saudi Arabia or other less-than-friendly regimes. Remember, Europeans do not condemn Venezuela’s socialist dictatorship, and China is actively courting South Americans as allies and trading partners. Without Europe and China on board, an oil embargo would have little chance at success.

But for the sake of argument, assume the sanctions are effective and what remains of Venezuela’s economy is completely ruined by America’s import ban. Would it matter? Venezuela’s ruling class is insulated from the general population and cares little about their wellbeing. Fact is that most autocrats would rather let millions starve to death than relinquish their power—we have seen this before in Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and the Soviet Union. Venezuela is no different: brutal street battles have been fought, people are starving, and still, the government continues trying to manifest its socialist utopia. Sanctioning Venezuelan oil will not impact the government aristocracy; it would simply impoverish ordinary people who are already on our side.

Consider another recent example: our sanctions on Syria caused starvation, and contributed to the rise of ISIS, but had literally zero impact on the welfare of Bashar al-Assad, or the rest of the ruling elite. Sanctions made Syrians poorer, not the nation’s ruling class. The same was true in Cuba and Iran. Worth reading is a recent report from the Foundation for Economic Education: it looks at the impact of sanctions in the Balkans and finds that sanctions do not work, they just further concentrate power in the hands of the ruling class.

Broader political ramifications are also worth considering. Economics and politics are intertwined: when we attack a regime with economic sanctions, we unwittingly play into their political narrative, thus strengthening the regime. Simply put: sanctions will empower Maduro’s socialist regime. Consider the case in the former Soviet Union. Every time America engaged in economic warfare against the USSR, no matter how much damage it did, we gave credence to the Soviet government’s narrative: the United States is an evil empire trying to destroy the USSR and harm its people. We played right into their hands. And of course, the same thing happened in North Korea and Cuba—the political strength of their regimes was intimately tied to their economic hardship. The same will be true in Venezuela: sanctions will unite Venezuelans against a foreign “enemy,” and this will do more harm than good.

Finally, sanctions can be counterproductive because they limit the organic spread of Western values. Western values terrify dictatorships. Why? Because freedom is natural. Desirable. It spreads all by itself. This is why authoritarian regimes expend great time and energy to scrub the internet of Western influences—they do not want their people “getting any ideas.” These values do not just spread through popular culture, they spread through commercial connections. When we do business with foreigners, we give them a glimpse of what it is like in America. They experience a little bit of freedom and wealth. The spread of free markets, and the riches they generate, is what ultimately opened up China, and it is what continues to reduce the power of the Communist Party.

By imposing sanctions, we end up helping dictators. We do their dirty work for them. If we want to liberalize Venezuela, the best way to do it would be to increase our connection with them, not restrict it.

Clearly the desire is strong to do something about the crisis in Venezuela—no one wants to sit on his hands and ignore human suffering. But we should be skeptical about the efficacy of sanctions, and foreign intervention in general. Sanctions have a poor track record.

Given that Venezuela will collapse with or without America’s involvement, we must take extra care to ensure we do not strengthen the regime by accident. Sometimes doing nothing is the best choice—even if it feels wrong.

element_content=””]

Donald Trump • Editor Picks • Foreign Policy • Post

The U.N. Is Designed to Fail

The annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly last week, and President Trump’s widely noted remarks there, focused much-needed attention on the organization. The dithering and inaction on critical international problems Trump noted served as a reminder that the U.N. has long been dysfunctional and disappointing. That is not surprising: It was designed to fail.

Best-known for its so-called “peace-keeping” efforts in areas of conflict—where it enjoys a mixed record, at best—the organization’s other agencies, commissions and panels have a dismal record of accomplishment, especially while acting as the world’s regulator-wannabe for all manner of products and processes. The U.N. regularly panders to activists and, not coincidentally, adopts policies that expand its own scope and responsibilities. Science routinely gets short shrift in U.N. brokered international agreements, where everything becomes an exercise in international horse-trading.

As both a candidate and as president, Donald Trump has criticized the under-performance and lavish self-indulgence of U.N. bureaucrats. The United States has long been a hugely disproportionate funder of U.N. activities—our mandatory assessment and voluntary contributions totaling some $8 billion each year—but the era of America as the U.N. sugar-daddy is about to end. In the Spring, State department staffers were instructed to find significant cuts in U.S. funding for U.N. programs (above the mandatory assessment). That was the first signal of long-overdue belt-tightening.

Why are incompetence and profligacy rife within the sprawling organization? In several respects, it’s in the U.N.’s DNA.

First, the U.N. is essentially a monopoly. Inefficiency and incompetence are not punished by “consumers” of their products. It is not as if the services of the U.N. can be spurned in favor of patronizing a more efficient and competent competitor. On the contrary, it is not uncommon in these kinds of bureaucracies for failure to be rewarded with additional resources. Contrary to good business practice, if a program isn’t working, government bureaucrats clamor to make it bigger.

Second, recall economist Milton Friedman’s observation that if you want to understand the motivation of an individual or organization, follow the self-interest. U.N. officials are rewarded for making the bureaucratic machinery run—that is, for producing reports, guidelines, white papers and agreements, and for holding meetings—whether or not they are of high quality or make any sense at all.

A related phenomenon is what the leader of a prominent national delegation to the Codex Alimentarius (a creature of the U.N.’s World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization) biotech task force dubbed “glamor fever:” The participants become so enamored of the trappings of the meetings—the formal and dignified proceedings, the simultaneous interpretation of the proceedings into various languages, and exotic venues—that they seem to forget why they’re there. (And they certainly don’t want the activity—and the opportunity for all-expense-paid, luxurious travel—ever to end.)

Third, there’s no accountability—no U.S. Government Accountability Office, House of Lords Select Committee, or parliamentary oversight, and no electorate to kick the U.N. reprobates out when they act contrary to the public interest. It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that we see egregious examples of arrogance and corruption, let alone day to day featherbedding, laziness and incompetence in the thousands of individual U.N. programs and projects. A recent example was a bizarre report from the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, which called for a global “agroecology” regime, including a new global treaty to regulate and reduce the use of pesticides and genetic engineering, which it labeled human rights violations. In reality, these products and technologies improve the efficiency of agriculture and enhance food security, especially among subsistence farmers.

Fourth, in the absence of accountability, U.N. officials feel little need for transparency of policymaking; and the PR offices simply spin, spin, spin. Several years ago I attended a major World Health Organization event in Geneva at which the NGO I represented was denied accreditation because it was known to be an advocate of free markets and a critic of the lack of science in the U.N.’s policies. You get to participate in the U.N.’s marketplace of ideas only if there is official approval of what you’re selling.

Fifth, there’s the issue of the quality of the pool from which senior U.N. officials are selected. The organization is no meritocracy: The country or region of origin of a candidate seems to be more important than his credentials and qualifications. Finally, concerning candidates who are seconded to the U.N., if you were a nation’s president, or its environmental or health minister, would you give up your best and brightest people and send them to work for the U.N.?

U.S. discretionary contributions should go only to U.N. programs that are highly relevant to the United States, and we should withhold funding and participation from U.N. agencies and programs that are found to be corrupt or incompetent—which is a huge fraction of them. Better still, we and other like-minded countries should cease paying any dues at all until the entire organization undergoes fundamental and genuine reform. That is the only language the international bureaucrats will fully understand.

 

element_content=””]

America • Americanism • Cultural Marxism • Editor Picks • Education • Post • self-government • The Culture • The Left • The Media

Take a Knee to PC

It’s time to stop listening in silence to the social justice catechism—the propagandists take silence as consent, and so do your fellow Americans. It’s time to let everyone know that we do not consent to nonstop progressive hectoring and that we do not regard it as simple virtue.

Colin Kaepernick shows us what we need to do. Take a knee.

Take a knee when your college’s convocation speaker is a co-founder of Black Lives Matter. Take a knee when your university’s commencement speaker calls for amnestying illegal immigrants. Take a knee when the college president calls on you to work for social justice.

And proudly wear a t-shirt that says “Liberty Matters.”

Take a knee when your teacher spends class time ranting against the president. Take a knee when you’re forced to undergo “diversity training” at your new job. Take a knee when you listen to the chairman of a corporation that fires its employees for speaking up against PC.

Take a knee every time your conscience tells you “I do not assent and I will not let my silence be taken as consent.”

Take a knee, and invite your friends and neighbors to join you.

Take a knee, and when the henchmen of the authoritarian Left try to fire you, shun you, yell at you, or simply beat you up—

Then is the time to stand up and sing the national anthem.

 

element_content=””]

America • Americanism • Donald Trump • Editor Picks • First Amendment • Greatness Agenda • Identity Politics • Post • self-government • Sports • The Culture • The Media • Trump White House

Trump, Football, and Natural Right(s)

Sunday was a rough day for the NFL and for football fans.

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), never one to miss an opportunity to oppose President Trump, made sure to tweet his guidance to the adults of America: “NFL players: You have the right to protest Trump.”

The problem for Sasse is this controversy has nothing to do with anyone’s rights; and even less to do with Trump.

Trump’s battle with the NFL about anthem protests is about what is right, not one’s rights. The whole affair is not about what one can do, but about what one should do.

To start, Trump has made as appropriate an argument as one can make about public displays of disrespect for one’s country. It was entirely based on freedom of association and the free market. Players, as private employees, can protest America by kneeling during the National Anthem. Likewise, owners can, as Trump suggested, say “get that son of a bitch off the field. He’s fired!” Nowhere has Trump argued that it should be against the law to kneel, or that the force of government should be used to make men stand. Instead, the president has argued that economic pressures from a boycott would correct the disrespectful behavior.

Trump’s comments serve an immediate tactical purpose; they follow the same communications strategy Trump has used for years. With every comment by Trump, the elites respond by driving a wedge even deeper between themselves and common Americans. It’s clarifying. This division benefits Trump because it frames the issue in a way that will mobilize voters. Even Rich Lowry and Ben Sasse have started to figure this out.

But what the NeverTrumpers of the world have not grasped is that the battle is not just about tactical gains; it is about something fundamental to our survival as a nation: educating our young people to respect their country.

Just last week, a bunch of 8 year-olds were led to take a knee by a coach in St. Louis. What started as a desperate move by a sub-par player on his way out the door has already transformed into a destructive fad. How long should we expect to have a country if our young people are trained to hate and despise it in this way?

Truth is, if we do not work to instill patriotism and love of country in our children, this country will not last long. People with modern sensibilities may disagree, but the fact remains. A civil religion is not idolatry or empty rituals; it is a necessary component of free, republican life.

In his Lyceum Address, President Lincoln explained civil religion. He said,

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap—let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs;—let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

In his famous letter to Mrs. Bixby, Lincoln used the same religious language for the other end of life. Using the words of our civil religion, he sought to comfort a grieving mother who had lost five sons in the Civil War, praying that she be left with “the solemn pride . . . to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”

Lincoln understood that preserving our republic requires that citizens be willing to make great sacrifices. This willingness does not come from nothing, but is born from a proper education of children.

Melania Trump echoed this sentiment in a wonderful speech recently at the United Nations. There she said:

If you look at the present state of children in any society, we will see the future that our world can expect tomorrow. Show me your civic lessons of today and I will show you your civic leaders of tomorrow. Show me your history lessons of today and I will show you your political leaders of tomorrow. Show me the loving bonds between your families today and I will show you the patriotism and moral clarity of your nation tomorrow. Our choices on how we raise and educate our children will in fact provide the blueprint for the next generation.

Like Lincoln before, the first lady points to the same connection between morality, patriotism, education, and a free government as extolled in Article III of the Northwest Ordinance.

And President Trump has made it clear that he understands patriotism to be the linchpin of our nation. In nearly every public speech, he echoes what he said in his inaugural address:

At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.

Unity, necessary for the existence of these United States, comes from patriotism. Patriotism, in turn, comes from a proper civic education. This education is the thing at stake in Trump’s battle with the NFL.

How do we know? Trump said so himself when he started this fight in Alabama. Our shared values and our respect for our country, he said, unify us. That is why it is important to call out these destructive protests for what they are. The tragic irony in all of this is that President Trump has correctly identified the one thing—a national unity rooted in real patriotism—that will solve the problems that the original kneeling protest was meant to highlight. The elites, including the “principled conservatives” who oppose Trump, are just too blind to realize it.

The common sense of regular Americans who are capable of ruling themselves is here opposed to the befuddled sense of entitled elites who wish to rule everyone else. Elites think liberty is license and they confuse the issue with talk of rights and the 1st Amendment, as if this is a question of what one is allowed to do. The rest of America understands that liberty requires self-government, and the anthem protest question is about what one ought to do. Trump’s quarrel with the NFL is a necessary fight, not about rights, but about what is right.

element_content=””]

America • American Conservatism • Editor Picks • Harry Jaffa • Leo Strauss • Lincoln

Crisis of A Strauss Divided

Steve Hayward has been a friend for more years than we’d like to count and his new book, Patriotism Is Not Enough, is a tour de force. He writes the history of one of the most important debates in post-war American conservatism in a way that is lively, readable, and intellectually satisfying even for people who know the debate and the participants well. Tod Lindberg writes an equally interesting review which begins:

“Steven F. Hayward’s Patriotism Is Not Enough is a loose intellectual portrait of the life and thought of Harry V. Jaffa and his circle of close friends and even closer enemies. Jaffa, who died two years ago at the age of 96, was a prominent student of Leo Strauss’s who held forth and shaped a generation of students of his own at Claremont McKenna College and its associated graduate school and institute in California. Jaffa was the author, most famously, of the classic study of Abraham Lincoln, Crisis of the House Divided, a book that sought to establish Lincoln not only as a statesman of the first rank but also as a profound political thinker in his own right.

Jaffa was also among the most quarrelsome men of letters ever to reside in the groves of academe, and it is this fact that gave Hayward’s book its impetus and provides its propulsion throughout. Hayward begins with a juxtaposition of Jaffa and Walter Berns, another prominent student of Strauss’s, with whom Jaffa quarreled incessantly throughout their adult lives. Jaffa and Berns, born six months apart, died on the very same day in 2015. This quirk of mortality set Hayward, a tremendous admirer of both men, on his way, and it informs the book’s personal style, which will painlessly acquaint newcomers with some pivotal moments and issues in recent intellectual history, even as it keeps those who already know the subject entertained.

Jaffa had a uniquely high regard for the American “regime” (if we may indulge the vocabulary of the Straussian school). And it was Lincoln, in Jaffa’s view, who played the pivotal role in its true establishment. The framers of the U.S. Constitution had done admirable work. But coping as they had to with a grave political problem—how to create a union of both slaveholding states and states where the practice was forbidden—they lost their grip on what Jaffa takes as the true founding document of the United States: the Declaration of Independence. In dissolving their ties with England and establishing a nation of their own, the Americans claimed they were acting in accordance with “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Lindberg’s entire review does justice to one of the best books of the year. Read the rest at Commentary.

element_content=””]

2016 Election • America • Democrats • Donald Trump • Editor Picks • Hillary Clinton • Russia

The vast right-wing conspiracy 2.0, Russia edition

We were all shocked this week when Hillary Clinton took responsibility for her loss to Donald Trump. As long as you understand “taking responsibility” to mean that her loss was the result of a nefarious alliance between “The Russians” and Hillary’s longtime nemesis, “The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.” James Antle explains:

“Hillary Clinton did something more interesting Wednesday than blame others for her loss in last year’s presidential election.

She has done that many times before, though her dig at the Democratic National Committee was a new and interesting twist.

Clinton publicly stitched together a comprehensive theory of how Russian interference into the 2016 campaign led to her defeat at the hands of President Trump.

That theory may prove to be conspiratorial nonsense or the dominant storyline of the Russia probe. But Clinton spelled it out more clearly and succinctly than ever before, laying it all out in the public eye.

Speaking at a California tech conference, Clinton said she tried to warn us about Russian collusion with the Trump campaign at the time.

“Like, oh, you know, there she goes, vast right-wing conspiracy, now it’s a vast Russian conspiracy,” she said. “Well, it turned out we were right, and we saw evidence of it.”

This is the vast right-wing conspiracy 2.0, the Russian edition.”

Read the rest at The Washington Examiner.

element_content=””]

America • Center for American Greatness • Editor Picks • History • The Constitution

Populism, X: The imperative of freedom

It is curious how certain words accumulate a nimbus of positive associations while others, semantically just as innocuous, wind up shouldering a portfolio of bad feelings.

Consider the different careers of the terms “democracy” and “populism.”

Do you know any responsible person who would admit to being opposed to democracy? No one who does not enjoy a large private income would risk it. But lots of people are willing to declare themselves anti-populist. The discrepancy is curious for several reasons.

It was not at all clear, Madison thought, that democracy was a reliable custodian of liberty.

For one thing, it is a testament to the almost Darwinian hardiness of the word “democracy.” In the fierce struggle among ideas for survival, “democracy” has not only survived but thrived. This is despite the fact that political thinkers from Plato and Aristotle through Cicero and down to modern times have been deeply suspicious of democracy. Aristotle thought democracy the worst form of government, all but inevitably leading to ochlocracy or mob rule, which is no rule.

In Federalist 10, James Madison famously warned that history had shown that democratic regimes have “in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” “Theoretic politicians,” he wrote—and it would be hard to find a more contemptuous deployment of the word “theoretic”—such politicians may have advocated democracy, but that is only because of their dangerous and utopian ignorance of human nature. It was not at all clear, Madison thought, that democracy was a reliable custodian of liberty.

Nevertheless, nearly everyone wants to associate himself with the word “democracy.” Totalitarian regimes like to describe themselves as the “Democratic Republic” of wherever. Conservatives champion the advantages of “democratic capitalism.” Central planners of all stripes eagerly deploy programs advertised as enhancing or extending “democracy.” Even James Madison came down on the side of a subspecies of democracy, one filtered through the modulating influence of a large, diverse population and an elaborate scheme of representation that softened (Madison said “excluded”) the influence of “the people in their collective capacity.”

“Democracy,” in short, is a eulogistic word, what the practical philosopher Stephen Potter in another context apostrophized as an “OK word.” And it is worth noting, as Potter would have been quick to remind us, that the people pronouncing those eulogies delight in advertising themselves as, and are generally accepted as, “OK people.” Indeed, the class element and the element of moral approbation—of what some genius has summarized as “virtue signaling”—are key.

It is quite otherwise with “populism.” At first blush, this seems odd because the word “populism” occupies a semantic space closely adjacent to “democracy.” “Democracy” means “rule by the demos,” the people. “Populism,” according to The American Heritage Dictionary, describes “A political philosophy directed to the needs of the common people and advancing a more equitable distribution of wealth and power”— that is, just the sorts of things that the people, were they to rule, would seek.

Read the rest at The New Criterion.

 

Content created by The Center for American Greatness, Inc is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com

element_content=””]

2016 Election • America • American Conservatism • Americanism • Conservatives • Deep State • Donald Trump • Editor Picks • Featured Article • Greatness Agenda • Republicans • Section 1

GOP Leaders, Remember Trump Ran Against Your Pieties … and Won

Politics is a team sport. It’s a basic truth of republican government—one that was even written into the nation’s founding document. The signers of the Declaration of Independence all agreed to “pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” In short, they would stand together or hang separately, to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin. The stakes were high and they knew they had to rely on each other.  Still, every team has its stars and in politics that is the president.

After years in the political wilderness, Republicans have honed their skills as an opposition party to a fine edge, but their electoral success requires that they govern. With control of both houses of Congress and the White House, Republicans need to close the gap between theory and practice quickly.

President Trump acts decisively, reflecting his entrepreneurial background, and expects similar alacrity from Congress. The American people entrusted the GOP with a level of power not seen in nearly a century and they expect results. This is especially true of the party’s most loyal supporters who are tired of excuses from their elected representatives. That sense of frustration, even betrayal, set the stage for the accession to power of Donald Trump.

Remember that Republican voters categorically rejected the party’s dream team during the primary in favor of an outsider who happily overturned many conservative pieties. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Donald Trump ran against the congressional leadership of his own party and won.

 Read the rest at The Hill.

America • Black Lives Matter • Center for American Greatness • Cities • Cultural Marxism • Democrats • Donald Trump • Editor Picks • Identity Politics • Law and Order • self-government • Trump White House

Trump: Ending the War on Cops

As the ambush of two police officers in Miami last week reminds us, the war on police, fomented to some extent by former President Obama and his cronies, is not over.

But in the two months since President Trump took office, things are much more positive in the law enforcement community.

Trump, who was unapologetically pro-police from the outset of his campaign, has demonstrated since becoming president that his campaign promises were not just talk.

In his first two weeks in office, he signed a series of executive orders designed to curb violence against law enforcement, reduce crime, and enforce federal law to rein in transnational criminal organizations.

He had a statement posted to the White House website that said, “The Trump Administration will be a law and order administration. President Trump will honor our men and women in uniform and will support their mission of protecting the public. The dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong. The Trump Administration will end it.”

He used the high-profile occasion of his late-February speech to Congress to reiterate his strong endorsement of the work police do. “We must work with – not against –the men and women of law enforcement,” the president said in his speech to Congress. “We must build bridges of cooperation and trust – not drive the wedge of disunity and division.”

And, of course, he appointed Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a noted advocate of law enforcement, to be Attorney General.

President Trump aims to change the anti-police narrative, relentlessly and continually expounded by Obama and the Eric Holder-Loretta Lynch Justice Department. That campaign began with Obama’s remark that police were “stupid” in the way they handled the confrontation with Harvard Law Professor Henry Louis Gates, and it continued with his immediate condemnation of police in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson and in the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore.

Obama’s ambivalence—and sometimes even hostility—toward the police may have played well to his liberal base, but it had a real impact on the lives of Americans—and that impact was not positive.

It led to the “Ferguson effect”—the reluctance of police to become involved in confrontations, investigations, and arrests that are no-win situations for them.

That, in turn, led to police going on defense and criminals on offense, which led to chronic offenders remaining on the streets to commit additional crimes, which led to generational increases in crime rates in major cities across America.

Baltimore set records for murders in 2015, and crime jumped more than 50 percent in Washington, D.C., that year. Shootings in Chicago returned to numbers not seen since the violent 1990s with an astounding 4,400 people shot and 760 murdered in 2016. Most of the victims were black – 900 more black men were killed in 2015 than the year before.

The former president’s rhetoric fueled a protest movement led by Black Lives Matter and other radical groups, who claimed the entire law enforcement apparatus to be a racist enterprise and drug laws to be a means by which our country seeks to reinstitute slavery. Black Lives Matter activists were regular visitors to the White House, to “help mend frayed ties between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” according to one of them.

Police officers knew well before the election they had a friend in Trump, which is why a poll shortly before the election by Police Magazine found Trump with 84 percent support among the men and women in blue to 8 percent for Hillary Clinton.

Not all the increase in crime can be blamed on Obama but as Heather MacDonald—one of the nation’s leading authorities on crime and policing—said in her 2016 book The War on Cops:

As 2015 progressed, few law-enforcement practices escaped attack for allegedly imposing unjust burdens on blacks. But it was the virulent anti-cop rhetoric that was most consequential. Officers working in inner cities routinely found themselves surrounded by hostile, jeering crowds when they tried to make an arrest or conduct an investigation. Cops feared becoming the latest YouTube pariah when a viral cell-phone video showed them using force against a suspect who had been resisting arrest.

There is no hard evidence yet, but it seems morale among police is improving and the kind of violent and radical opposition seen last summer is abating.

Attorney General Sessions has sent strong signals he will bring a refreshing support for prosecutors and law enforcement officers, push back on the Ferguson Effect, which has led to less proactive policing in dangerous communities, and change the climate in which law enforcement is maligned for what he calls “the unacceptable deeds of a few bad actors.”

For better or worse, President Trump is learning his words carry tremendous weight. America’s police officers are listening, and one can’t help but be optimistic those words will have an impact on their work and, eventually, the crime rate.

 

Content created by The Center for American Greatness, Inc is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com

Editor Picks • Neil Gorsuch • political philosophy • self-government • The Constitution • The Courts • The Left • Trump White House

What Plagues Gorsuch’s Critics is Ignorance, Not Originalism

Ken Levy, an associate professor of law at Louisiana State University, recently took to the pages of the New York Times to lend his voice to the fevered, en vogue, and media-driven fusillades against Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch and his judicial philosophy: originalism. He also echoed Senator Diane Feinstein who, last week, smeared Gorsuch’s originalism as a “really troubling” judicial philosophy.

The first mistake Levy makes is in not understanding the originalism he sets out to criticize, and he proves this ignorance when he says that originalism is about “genuinely following the Founders’ intent.” This is not what serious originalists understand originalism to be—just ask Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett. What it’s really about is determining the original public meaning of constitutional language and provisions, i.e., what the words meant when they were written.

But Levy goes on to one-up that first display of ignorance by smearing Judge Gorsuch, associating him and his method of constitutional interpretation with one of the most foul and incorrect Supreme Court decisions ever penned—Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)—and then implying that originalism lacks the justificatory intellectual resources to have prevented Plessy and will therefore also permit or even hasten into being future ghastly decisions of that very sort.

Here is the substance of his claim: If the Court in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) had followed “the text of the equal protection clause as it was understood by the ratifiers (the 39th Congress) it would have had little choice but to affirm Plessy.” Set aside for a moment that this characterization of originalism is a straw man that has been ably taken apart by Barnett and many others and focus instead on the substance of his claim: that originalism requires—or is it at least wholly unable to prevent—vile decisions like Plessy; worse, it cannot give us good decisions like Brown. (We may as well go for the trifecta and say it probably had something to do with Dred Scott, too.)

But this is rubbish. The 14th Amendment absolutely is designed to prevent exactly the sort of “separate but equal” nonsense-cum-wickedness given to us by the non-originalist Plessy Court.

Immediately after it confers citizenship on “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States,” the 14th Amendment cabins state action—“No state shall make or enforce any law …”—pursuant to protecting said citizens’ (1) privileges and immunities, (2) right to life, liberty, and property, and (3) right to be equally protected by the laws. At issue in Plessy is a Louisiana railway car law which mandated separate railway cars for whites and blacks. This is a blindingly clear case of state-mandated discrimination, and a plain reading of the text of the amendment makes it equally obvious that such state-sanctioned discrimination is inimical to the purpose of the 14th Amendment (to say nothing of the private discrimination Congress attempted to stamp out with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1875). And yet the Court ruled in Plessy that “separate but equal” facilities established by law were constitutional. How can this be?

It’s simple, really. The outcome and logic in Plessy were unfaithful to any reasonable construal of originalism vis-à-vis the 14th Amendment. In addition to referencing Justice John Marshall Harlan’s powerful and compelling dissent in the Plessy case, we know this because of a case that was decided before the ratification of the 14th Amendment—a case which revealed Congress’ intended scope for the amendment and its goals for Reconstruction: Railroad Company v. Brown (1873).

In that case, the Court found that the practice that the Alexandria and Washington Railroad Company had of segregating its cars based on race (in direct defiance of Congress’ 1863 directive, a directive that proscribed any person’s being “excluded from the cars on account of color,” and in precisely the same manner as the Louisiana law at issue in Plessy would later mandate) was nothing more than “an ingenious attempt to evade a compliance with the obvious meaning of the requirement” and that the “temper of Congress at the time” made it obvious that this type of discrimination was “unjust” and therefore unconstitutional.

Congress placed that restriction on the railroad company in 1863, five years before the ratification of the 14th Amendment. To suggest that the 14th Amendment would not have come to embody a logic similar to this 1863 directive and entail a similar outcome is a difficult, if not impossible, circle to square.

Moreover, the question of whether railway cars could be segregated based on race without violating the 14th Amendment also arose in debates over an 1870 school desegregation bill advanced by Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner, a bill that postdated the ratification of the 14th Amendment.

Senator Joshua Hill of Georgia, an exponent of segregation, explicitly argued that railroads should be permitted to segregate their passengers by race “provided all the comfort and security be furnished to passengers alike.” Proponents of the bill, however, found Sen. Hill’s position risible. They asserted that the notion that color and race could be reasons for distinctions among citizens was “a slave doctrine.”

Evidence that antedates and postdates the existence of the 14th Amendment makes it clear that it was obviously intended to nullify laws like Louisiana’s and, by extension, rulings like Plessy.

Levy’s laying Plessy and all manner of other judicial sins at the feet of Gorsuch and his originalism is grossly irresponsible, brings dishonor to the legal academy, and indicates that when he and his ilk attack Judge Gorsuch they are engaged more in wishful thinking than they are in reasoned argument.

After all, it’s much easier to casually tar one’s forebears—especially when they represent a political party that is positively despised in your professional community—as disgusting bigots than it is to be intellectually honest. I have no idea if Levy is a progressive, leftist, or member of the Democratic Party. But he certainly seems to share the Left’s inability to debate without resorting to flinging loaded rhetorical slurs.

The Court, as it so often does when it seeks to be a “super legislature” or a supremacist institution, just got it wrong in Plessy—as Justice Harlan in his superb dissent in that case made clear. Indeed, Plessy—and Dred Scott before it—are great examples of the ways in which the Court can err. The Court is not the final word on the Constitution as so many today on the Left seem to think it is when it is advancing the cause of Progressivism. Bad precedent can and should be overturned. The Senate should confirm Gorsuch immediately and ignore Prof. Levy’s anachronistic, incorrect, anti-GOP, and anti-originalist shrieks. Gorsuch’s originalism is all that stands between We the People and another disaster like Plessy.

 

Donald Trump • Editor Picks • Education • Government Reform • Greatness Agenda • self-government • The Constitution • The Culture • The Leviathian State • Trump White House

Let My People Go: Removing the Shackles of Academic Jim Crow

On Wednesday March 29, Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, gave a thoughtful speech before the Brookings Institution. The speech was a substantive development in a week otherwise dominated by the ongoing investigation into the Trump administration, which—as it happens—is turning into an investigation of Democrat spying.

In her speech DeVos’s noted that, “parents know what is best for their kids. No parent should be denied the opportunity to send his or her son or daughter to a school with confidence that he or she can learn, grow and be safe.”

The sad fact is that many parents and their children are trapped in neighborhood public schools that do deny them these opportunities. Administrators and teacher unions consistently have failed to respond to their cries for responsibility and accountability. For example, in Chicago, the teacher’s union blocked measures parents and reformers wanted, preferring to keep things the way they were. But those ways have failed the city and her residents badly. According to the Illinois Policy Institute, “Forcing students to attend schools that routinely fail them is wrong and can leave scars that last well into the future. They need immediate relief, not broken promises about how things will change for the better five or 10 years down the road.”

Traditional public schools, and their state government clients, stand in the way of educational choice. As Donald Trump Jr. remarked during the Republican Convention, “our schools used to be an elevator to the middle class; now they’re stalled on the ground floor. They’re like Soviet-era department stores that are run for the benefit of the clerks and not the customers, for the teachers and the administrators and not the students.”

Many states have recognized that for some, another option is necessary. Many have opted to allow charter schools to fill the educational void. Charters are public schools held to the same standards as traditional public schools but, unlike the failing public schools, charters are subject to closure if they do not perform. In my own state of North Carolina, charter schools have outscored their traditional public school peers in 12 out of 13 demographic categories.

Increasingly, parents and state government officials in communities with a preponderance of minorities are supporting school choice. The Department of Education has heard their concerns and responded. In the proposed 2018 budget, the present administration has increased spending for charter and private school education.

DeVos noted in her speech that one parent understood the situation to be so dire that she had to act on her “inalienable right” to find her child an educational alternative providing an education in keeping with her dignity and nature as a human being. As many parents in poor communities are coming to realize, they need a choice if they hope to see their children escape the stranglehold foisted upon them by the traditional public school system. Freedom and liberty demand they have the option to help their children rise to the level of equality America, at her best, seeks to secure.

Defense of the West • Editor Picks • Middle East • Religion and Society • Religion of Peace • Terrorism • The Culture • The ME Agenda • The Media • Trump White House

Christophobia and Islamophobia

A Christian man in Egypt is beaten by Muslims.

“Islamophobia” is a real problem.

Or so we’re led to believe by the usual suspects in the grievance industry par excellence, the Racism-Industrial-Complex (RIC).

It’s a problem because, it is tirelessly declared, “Islamophobia” is only going to create more Islamic “extremists.”

An article from a December 2015 edition of The Independent represents this all too common view. The title of the piece reads: “Want to create more extremists? Ignore the Islamophobia people like me face every day.” The author is Shehab Khan, a Muslim who lives in England.

Khan opens his editorial by relaying a story. Supposedly, an 11 year-old boy and the child of one his friends was the only one of his peers to have not been invited to a classmate’s birthday party. The reason, according to Khan, is that the parents of the birthday child expressly said that they didn’t want any Muslims to attend the party, for it was Muslims who were responsible for “7/7,” the London bombings on July 7, 2005 that took the lives of 52 people and injured over 700 more.

Khan continues, stating that, “as a Muslim myself, I face similar prejudice every day [.]” He is more direct: “Violence and aggression motivated by Islamophobia has, unfortunately, become almost routine.”

However, “arguably the biggest issue is the clear and persistent presence of institutional Islamophobia.”

“Islamophobia,” Khan says, “is endemic and insidious in almost all sections of society and doesn’t just occur when people’s smartphones are on and the headlines are made.”

But here Khan delivers his ultimate point: If the biggest threat the West faces today stems from such Islamic terrorist organizations as ISIS, then “Islamophobia” is a genuine crisis, an issue of national security in every one of those countries that comprise Western civilization. Why? Khan elaborates:

Continually singling out Muslims and questioning them about affiliations with Isis and whether they are extremists is a personification of Islamophobia. Institutional or casual, Islamophobia not only affects British Muslims but also plays into the narrative put forward by extremists that the west will never accept Muslims.

He concludes: “If we want successful counter-terrorism policy, we need to start with tackling the racism which plays into the terrorist narrative. We ignore prejudice at our own peril.”

Notice, the “terrorist narrative” to which Khan alludes is his narrative, the tale of talking points that RIC agents promote at every turn. Let’s call it “the Islamophobia narrative.”

First, there is the assumption that “Islamophobia” is a meaningful term.

Second, we have the assertion, always presented as axiomatic, that Islamophobia is at once pervasive and oppressive.

Third, the case for this last typically depends, as it depends here, on unverifiable anecdotes of the kind that Khan shares, stories of Muslims who felt as if they had been slighted or inconvenienced because of their religion.

Finally, the Islamophobia narrative, like that of the “terrorist narrative” (at least as Khan understands the latter), insists in so many words that unless Westerners refrain from lending offense to those Muslims that they have allowed into their lands, they will pay for it with their own blood.

Islamophobia, you see, is guaranteed to fuel terrorism.

Interestingly, but unsurprisingly, the Khans of the world never utter a peep about “Christophobia,” the oppression, the often brutal oppression, to which Christians around the world are subjected on a daily basis. Nor are they willing to mention that much (though certainly not all) of this anti-Christian cruelty is perpetrated by Muslims in majority-Muslim societies.

There are 44 Muslim-majority countries in the world comprised of a total of 1.1 billion practitioners of Islam. In 38 of these countries, Christians constitute the single largest religious minority. About 56 million, or 2.6%, of the people living in these 44 countries are Christian.

There are degrees of persecution that Christians face, it’s true, but as immediately becomes obvious to any unprejudiced observer, the examples that Westerners like Khan offer as proof of anti-Muslim oppression are outright embarrassing when compared to those that Christians can and have provided of the treatment to which they are prey.

If it’s true that an 11 year-old Muslim child was excluded from a classmate’s party just because of his religion, this is indeed sad. But when it is considered in juxtaposition with the fact that over the span of a decade, from 2005 to 2015, militant Muslims reduced the ancient Christian community in Iraq from 1.5 million residents to 300,000, and over half of the latter have been displaced from their homes, things don’t sound like their all that rough for Muslims in historically Christian countries.

If it’s true that innocent Muslims in, say, England have been questioned by authorities on the basis of their religion alone about possible connections with terrorist groups, and they were inconvenienced by this, then while this may be unfortunate, it hardly screams of oppression when it is contrasted with ISIS armies chasing tens of thousands of Christian families from their homes.

One study suggests that Christians are facing genocidal conditions of an enormity such that by 2020 or so, Christians will have been cleansed from much of the Middle East, a region in which they’ve resided for two millennia.

And yet, no one who has dared to note any of this ugliness has ever so much as remotely suggested that the persecution of Christians should stop because it will fuel Christian terrorism.

If we insist on talking about “Islamophobia,” then we have no option but to admit that it stands as a cold next to the stage five cancer of Christophobia.

2016 Election • America • Cultural Marxism • Editor Picks • Mike Pence • Religion and Society • The Culture • The Left

Every Day is Mother’s Day for Mike Pence—and the Left Hates Him for It

Mike Pence takes the oath of office as vice president as his wife Karen holds the Bible and looks on.

When I ran across an article headlined, “Internet Erupts Over the Name Mike Pence Reportedly Calls His Wife,” my heart sunk a little. That’s because I knew it was a spinoff of this salacious Rolling Stone article about the vice president and I knew that the object of the post was yet another attempt to cast aspersions upon a good man and his family for nothing so much as being completely normal.

What is the horrible name Mike Pence is discovered to have used when speaking to his wife? Does he, in the parlance of some of the “artists” asked to perform at Hillary’s campaign rallies, refer to her as a “*itch” or a word that rhymes with “sore”?

No. It’s much worse than that, apparently. The name Mike Pence uses to refer to his wife of nearly 32 years and the mother of his three children is—brace yourself—“mother.”

Once again, the media is looking for scandal where none exists.

As a fellow Hoosier who has lived most of her adult life in and around the Midwest, I find the assertion that Mike Pence was seeking to demean or belittle his wife, Karen, by calling her “mother” to be utterly lacking in a core understanding of that part of America. It is laughable these journalists consider themselves to be tolerant and cosmopolitan. Is anything more provincial than their elitist disdain for the rest of the country?

This essential lack of understanding and, even, curiosity on the part of these reporters is one of the the key reasons why the Democratic Party lost the 2016 election.

That calling your wife “mother” is, somehow and in its essence “demeaning” is news that would have come as a shock to my own father—a man who always called my late mother “Mom.” She, in turn, called him “Dad.” In our family’s case this was done, partially, to avoid the confusion that would have resulted from calling her by the first name she shared with me. You see, my father loved and respected my mother so much that he insisted on naming his first and only daughter after her. How demeaning! She got him back, though. My brother is named after him.

Though unusual, this always struck my brother and me as an enormous display of respect and mutual love in our parents—both for us and for each other. They literally gave us their names and adopted the titles “Mom” and “Dad” for themselves. This taught us the value they saw in their important roles as our parents. They did not want us growing up to call them by their first names. It also gave us the clarity we needed to know our parents were in charge and that we, as children, were not to be considered their equals until we reached adulthood. If we wanted titles, and not just names, we’d have to earn them.

My mom and dad became accustomed to calling each other by these titles which, of course, became terms of endearment between two loving and committed people. These were affectionate names used both out of habit and because of respect.

Pence, like my father, is a man of deep religious conviction. He has worshipped in Catholic and Protestant churches. The Bible commands “husbands love your wives as Christ loves the Church.” This is how Pence chooses to cherish and adore her and, quite apart from being completely reasonable and beautiful in this context, there is also this to say about it: It’s nobody else’s business.

Shakespeare’s Juliet asked, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would still smell as sweet.” And I have no doubt that my own mother would have been every bit the wonderful wife and mother she was had my father chosen to call her something else. But in choosing to call her “Mom,” my father not only honored my mother, he gave my brother and me a gift.

Mike Pence seems likely to be doing the same. In calling his wife “Mother” he is saying to the world that this is the woman I have chosen to be the mother of my children and with whom I intend to spend the rest of my life. “Mother” is her title and her crown.

This kind of fidelity and love must be a hard concept for many liberals to grasp. I am lucky to have witnessed it firsthand with my parents. I am lucky to have a loving husband that calls me his Wife, his Bride and even, sometimes, Mom. And I have been too busy feeling loved to have ever considered that I should be offended.

In this insipid reporting, we find the media once again hoping and grasping at the chance to catch another political figure, in this case the vice president, in a “gotcha” moment and once again demonstrating nothing so much as the great personal virtue and character of their subject as well as their own provincialism and ignorance. Pence reveals his character even in private situations when he thinks no one is watching, he reveres his wife in a way that tells her every day is Mother’s Day! I am sure that if the out of touch media would ever deign to venture out and talk with the regular people in middle America, they would find that Mike Pence is not alone in how he honors his wife, the mother of his children.