Great America

The Misdirected Rage of Young Rioters

If Americans don’t fix our problems together we’ll be fostering even more generational disillusionment.

These ongoing protests in American cities are anything but peaceful, but they are driven by a variety of factors.

 Recently a group of young aspiring anarchists attempted to take their Antifa tactics into a peaceful neighborhood. They were prevented from doing so, however, by several armed citizens who told them, firmly, to turn around. The whining that ensued was delicious, including: “We are peaceful! You pointed a gun at my face!” To which a resident replies, “That’s why you’re peaceful.” The protestors, obviously realizing they were outgunned, turned around and left.

Part of what we are dealing with in these violent protests, particularly when we see them being carried out by predominantly white people on behalf of Black Lives Matter nonsense, is a spoiled, enabled, and poorly educated generation or two. We shouldn’t be so surprised when we see them looting, rioting, and tearing down statues. 

Clearly they’ve never been told “no” in their lives. 

There are a lot of factors involved in this ongoing ridiculousness. Some of it is attributable tothe self-esteem movement of the 1990s, when children were always told they were the best—even if they really weren’t. We should be honest: there’s a reason the words “average” and “median” exist, at the same time the words “winners” and “losers” likewise exist. 

Because they’re real. 

Because in the real world, many fall within the parameters of average—average looks, average intelligence, and so on. This isn’t meant to be harsh. It’s just the reality of the world and how it works. This is why some people truly win (they don’t just hand out Super Bowl trophies or Olympic medals) and why many actually lose. 

But generations have been told they’re all winners. “Participation trophies for everyone!” was the norm as those pathetic awards were passed out like candy without the recipients actually winning anything (existing isn’t winning, just so we’re clear). So now you have a spoiled and enabled generation believing that they’re the greatest, the “most best of the bestest,” with a collection of fluff awards cluttering their shelves. 

Add to that dynamic the fact that they’re being shipped off to indoctrination centers of higher learning where they are spoon-fed all these lies about how evil our country is, that this place is rotten to the core, and that it should just be burned to the ground. So when you feed all these lies to average kids who have never been taught to think in their entire lives, it’s almost inevitable you end up with the insufferable losers you see on the streets, raging in many ways like mindless animals.

What deepens their rage is that they’ve also been smacked in the face by the two-by-four of reality—despite the fact that they’ve been told that they’re the greatest all their lives, now they’re finding out that just maybe it actually isn’t true. 

They’ve graduated from indoctrination centers with worthless degrees that make them papered members of the idiocracy, saddled with staggering debt, but when they go into the real world they find out that outside the confines of mommy and daddy’s enabling they’re really not winners at all. They can’t find jobs, so they rage against the system they’ve been indoctrinated to believe is the source of all their troubles: that evil, free-market capitalist system that has betrayed them. They’re blaming the wrong system.

Instead, they ought to be blaming the indoctrination centers and the flawed parenting methodology according to which they were raised up to believe these lies. 

Blaming their woes on free-market capitalism is to be sucked in again by the people who lied to them in the first place. Belief in the ideology pushed by the people who failed to prepare them for life is at the heart of most of the problems we face today. 

Of course, we should also be clear that what these young people perceive as authentic free-market or “conservative” principles are nothing of the kind. In fact, they are attacking a bastardised version of “capitalism” implemented by American corporatists. They should join President Trump and other people on the America First Right in that fight if they really want to effect change. But that would require listening and thinking on their own.

Republicans and Conservatism, Inc. have failed because they’ve been seduced by corporatism. We don’t have a free market capitalist system in America today. We have a crony capitalist system, filled with vulture capitalists who manipulate markets and politics to their advantage. Yet these enraged young people think it is the real deal and want to burn “capitalism” in principle to the ground. They need to focus their targets and pay closer attention.

This culture and this system of lies have led them to nothing but disappointment and disillusionment. You don’t get participation trophies in life. You win, you lose, you succeed, you fail; and everyone who wins also loses a lot in life. That’s just life. It’s not supposed to be easy. 

Failure is how you learn to succeed. None of this is to say that we’re not all unique human beings created in the image and likeness of God. And of course we all have infinite value in His eyes. But it’s up to us to live up to God’s understanding of our capacities. Success is not simply handed out and we’re also not the best at everything we try. Who is?

We all have to work for what we want, we have to strive to reach our goals knowing we might not succeed.

It’s well past time we took a hard look at everything that has led us to this juncture in our history: from damaging self-esteem curricula to participation awards and from the tax benefits our higher education system gets to the corporatism enabled by both the Democratic and Republican uniparty. The rage of today’s young people is not unfairly felt, but it is misdirected. If we don’t fix these things together we’ll be fostering even more generational disillusionment. 

Great America

Political Football Is No Substitute For the Real Thing

Many people who are not engaged politically will recoil at pin-headed dilettantes canceling college football because of politics.

The most material political news that broke this week was not the selection of Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as Joe Biden’s running mate, but the disastrous decision of major college football conferences to cancel their 2020 seasons. Specifically, in battleground Midwest states, legions of football fans who may not be particularly politically oriented will become animated to punish candidates unwilling to vociferously defend football. 

“I cannot believe that God put us on this earth to be ordinary,” legendary college football coach Lou Holtz once said. His observation certainly rings true pertaining to America. As a people, we have long embraced an exceptional view of our place in the world and our national potential. Even the games we play exemplify our exceptionalism—none quite so much as football.

More than just a game, football forms a key pillar of our national culture and consciousness. For generations, football has helped to transform American boys into men, all the while providing scintillating entertainment for fans who cannot get enough of gridiron action. 

Given this backdrop, the decision of major college conferencesespecially the Big Ten and PAC 12to abandon football this fall, understandably disgusts Americans. The soft and selfish administrators of universities and their NCAA conferences have stolen a season away from young athletes and deprived adoring alumni and fans of the rituals of autumn. 

Why? For politics. 

Like many lockdown charlatans, these college presidents and administrators hide behind bogus claims of “science.” But the actual reality of the virus substantiates that young people are overwhelmingly not vulnerable to COVID-19. As with any disease, there will be heartbreaking outlier cases of serious health consequences, but we never submit to societal closure to ward off manageable risks that are infinitesimally small. Accordingly, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly support in-person schooling for children and young adults. 

Looking specifically at sports, young athletes comprise the very definition of people who are nearly totally immune to dire ramifications of the virus. Not only are elite athletes like Division 1 college football players young and physically strong, but they are also beneficiaries of perhaps the best medical and physical care of anyone in society.

We are all called to be better than ordinary. Part of being extraordinary—as Americans—is celebrating our national sport of football.

Dr. Scott Atlas of Stanford’s Hoover Institution was formerly chief of radiology at that university’s medical center, and recently joined the president’s coronavirus task force. He told Martha MacCallum of Fox News that “the environment of college sports is a very, very sophisticated environment . . . they couldn’t get a better and safer environment.”  

Dr. Atlas continued: “we have to again become rational here. The risk for people that age is less than seasonal influenza . . . we need to get a grip, look at the science, understand who we are talking about here. There’s not a lot of obese, diabetic 78-year-olds playing football.”

Despite the clear scientific evidence, a corrupt campaign has largely succeeded in canceling much of college football this year. So far, among major conferences, only the SEC, Big 12, and the ACC remain committed to safely playing football, starting in just a few weeks. 

It’s clearly no coincidence that those conference maps largely overlay with red states in America, while the inverse is true of the now-canceled Big Ten and PAC 12 conferences. What seems clear here: politics drives this dreadful decision-making.

University officials overwhelmingly lean to the left. For example, a Harvard Crimson survey of that school’s faculty reports that 80 percent of professors identify as liberal while only 1.6 percent identify as conservatives.  Students acknowledge this reality, as a 2019 College Fix poll found that 73 percent of conservative students hide their politics from professors for fear of retribution via poor grading. It is not a reach to conclude that liberal university officials, with the constant support of a highly left-leaning sports-media complex, aggressively embrace a position of paranoia that will depress our society, economically and psychologically.

President Trump quite correctly ascertains this reality and argues strenuously for college football to play on. Trump recognizes that young people in our country can largely return to normal routines of school, extra-curriculars, and sports. College athletics represents a pageantry and affinity like no other sport. Many people who are not politically engaged understandably will recoil at pin-headed dilettantes canceling college football because of politics. 

In fact, once the mostly-southern SEC and ACC schools pull off a safe and fun season of football, I predict Donald Trump will rightly earn the electoral support of many of the bitterly-disappointed football fans in the upper Midwest. The faithful fans of the Gophers, Badgers, Wolverines, Spartans, Buckeyes, and Nittany Lions will know that they were robbed of their football Saturdays by dishonest and conflicted political actors. 

Thankfully, the military academies promise to play football. Perhaps those games will gain an elevated status this season? Trump the commander-in-chief could attend all three of those contests and showcase our country’s ability to appropriately handle health risks while still maintaining our way of life and enthusiasm for the great game of football. Perhaps these games will even be played in these Midwest states suddenly deprived of football by inept college administrators? 

After all, as Coach Holtz exhorted us, we are all called to be better than ordinary. Part of being extraordinaryas Americansis celebrating our national sport of football.

Great America

Why Is Desperately Poor India Beating New York’s COVID-19 Response?

For some reason, Andrew Cuomo and Anthony Fauci have become the faces of responsible COVID-19 policy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

New York spends more money per capita on healthcare than any other state in the Union. It ranks third in the country in physicians per 100,000 population at 375.1. In terms of raw infrastructure and medical resources, New York should have been one of the best places in the world to receive treatment for COVID-19.

Yet analysis of New York’s COVID-19 statistics reveal it to be one of the most deadly places in the world for a COVID-19 patient. Consider that the tiny country of San Marino reports the worst “deaths per 1 million population” for COVID-19 at 1,238 per million. Belgium, which is the second worst, reports 852. New York is a disaster compared to even those grim numbers. New York is second in the nation at 1,688 deaths per million. If it were a country, it would lead the world. 

The numbers don’t lie. New York should be the poster child of what not to do. Because whatever it’s doing to respond to COVID-19, it’s not saving lives. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci somehow learned the opposite lesson from these morbid statistics. He said, “Many parts of the United States didn’t do enough to combat the coronavirus—but New York state did . . . New York got hit worse than any place in the world. And they did it correctly by doing things [that are recommended to fight the disease].” One of those recommendations was to ban or severely restrict the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19. This ban came quickly in response to President Trump endorsing the drug.

India, many warned, would become a humanitarian disaster. With a population density of over 75,000 people per square mile in Mumbai, for example, it triples the density of Manhattan, New York. India has only 0.9 doctors per 100,000 population. It spends only $69.29 per capita on healthcare. 

Indeed, India is now third in the world for recorded cases of COVID-19. But India is 126th in the world for tests per million so it’s reasonable to assume that the real infection rate in India is far higher than the 2.2 million cases it currently reports. While India has had 45,888 deaths attributed to COVID-19, greater than New York at 32,847, India’s deaths per million population is an astonishing 33 (compared to New York’s 1,688). New York reports a total of 451,025 cases and 32,847 deaths. India seems to have a much more favorable ratio of 2.2 million cases and 45,000 deaths. 

Again, if testing in India were more widespread, it would likely show an even more favorable ratio of infections to death. 

India has also approached the use of hydroxychloroquine differently. In June, the journal Nature warned that India was ignoring “safety concerns” over hydroxychloroquine. Noting a study in the Lancet, the journal warned, “that the drug offered no treatment benefit, and that people who took it were more likely to die than those who didn’t.” But the authors were forced to correct the Nature article when the authors of the Lancet study withdrew it after questions emerged about the data. 

Nature further warned, “Despite the lack of clear evidence that the drug is safe or protects people from coronavirus infection, on 22 May an Indian health ministry task force released the advice for front-line workers, including the police and people conducting door-to-door surveys to estimate the COVID-19 burden to take hydroxychloroquine to prevent infection. The advice expands on a similar recommendation, made in March, in which the task force said that health-care workers caring for people with COVID-19, and household contacts of people with confirmed COVID-19, should also take the drug.” 

In July, the Indian Express credited the widespread early intervention with hydroxychloroquine for reducing COVID-19 mortality by half. The authors wrote, “HCQ is obviously not a panacea for severe cases of Covid-19. Given early, it helps reduce mortality by about half, compared to those not given HCQ. In India the drug is widely available and not expensive. A number of Indian states have already incorporated a short course of HCQ in their Covid-19 treatment protocol, and states that have not done so will do well to implement this quickly.”

In the United States, the media vigorously combats accounts of hydroxychloroquine reducing COVID-19 mortality. As I wrote here, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube joined forces to censor American doctors who claimed to have observed positive outcomes from hydroxychloroquine. 

There remains a great deal of controversy over hydroxychloroquine. Nevertheless, it seems illogical to hold up New York—an undeniable failure—as a model to be imitated. With higher population density in its larger cities, fewer doctors, and less healthcare spending, India seems to be beating New York’s outcome for COVID-19. If hydroxychloroquine does not get the credit, then what does? 

For some reason, Cuomo and Fauci have become the faces of responsible COVID-19 policy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Both have advocated policies which seem to have made the pandemic worse in the areas that most faithfully followed their advice. The New York Times faulted Cuomo’s policy on sending COVID-19 positive patients back to nursing homes for 6,200 deaths. For Fauci to praise these actions causes one to also question his judgment.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has become another “get-Trump” project. Legacy media like CNN and MSNBC relentlessly terrify viewers with hyped stories of a murderous plague decimating the population. While the total U.S. deaths approaches 200,000, the disease continues to trail other causes of death in the United States such as heart disease, smoking, and abortion. If COVID-19 deaths top out at around 250,000, it will have been a fraction of the deaths from the 1918 Spanish Flu which claimed 675,000 Americans at a time when the U.S. population was much smaller. 

Trump derangement syndrome is silencing real scientific debate and glorifying bumbling autocrats at the expense of public health. There’s something behind India’s success when compared to New York’s failure. We need a fact-based approach, because public health is more important than the 2020 election.

Great America

Why America Is in Real Danger

Without a vaccination, what replaced Christianity in Europe may well do the same in America.

Americans have long been proud of the fact that, unlike European countries, America never went the route of totalitarianism as embodied in communism, fascism and Nazism.

This achievement may be coming to an end.

In order to understand why, it is first necessary to understand why European countries embraced—or fell victim to—totalitarian doctrines.

Until World War I, the primary beliefs that gave life meaning, both on a national and personal level, were Judeo-Christian religions and patriotism (love of one’s nation). What gave people moral guidance were Judeo-Christian values.

For most Europeans of the younger generation, World War I, with its seemingly senseless slaughter of millions, ended belief in Christianity and, in many cases, ended the people’s faith in their nations. God was deemed absent; religion was deemed unnecessary; and national identity was widely seen as a cause of the war.

That left a void that was almost immediately filled by communism, fascism and Nazism.

In Russia, World War I led directly to the Russian Revolution. Even before the war ended, in 1917, the czar was overthrown, and later that year, the Bolsheviks (the Russian communists) took over. As awful as the czar was, there was far more freedom under him than there was in the Soviet Union until the fall of communism 72 years later, not to mention the murder of more people—20 to 40 million—under the Soviet regime.

In Italy, the rise of fascism followed World War I. And in Germany, the Nazis came to power just 15 years after the end of the Great War. Nazism conquered most of the European continent during WWII, and after Germany’s defeat in 1945, the Soviets imposed communism over all of Eastern Europe.

Though there were communists, communist fellow travelers, Nazi sympathizers, racists and anti-Semites in the United States, neither communism nor fascism nor Nazism took root here. The primary reason was that, unlike most Europeans, Americans did not lose their faith in Judeo-Christian religions and values or in America after World War I. America remained so religious that, in 1954, the words “under God” were inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance recited daily in American schools.

However, by the 1950s, faith in America, Christianity and what we call bourgeois middle-class values was largely limited to older Americans. The post-World War II baby-boomer generation was already being indoctrinated in secularism and anti-Americanism. As early as 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that school prayer was unconstitutional.

By the late 1960s, vast numbers of baby boomers were attending demonstrations that were as much against America—routinely characterized as an imperialist and colonialist aggressor country with an evil military—as they were against the war in Vietnam. It was not uncommon to see America spelled “Amerikkka” or “Amerika” at protests and in graffiti.

When I was in graduate school at Columbia University in the early 1970s, I was taught that men and women are not inherently different from one another and that the Cold War was between two superpowers (equally at fault), not between freedom and tyranny.

Another generation has passed, and the post-Christian, left-wing baby boomers have come close to achieving complete success. The mainstream print and electronic media, universities, high schools and elementary schools, the arts and now sports have all been conquered by the left. Except for sports, from the beginning of the 20th century, they were almost all liberal, but now they are left.

We now have the answer to the question: What will happen to America if Americans lose faith in God and country as the Europeans did after World War I? What will happen to America when Christianity dies as it did in Europe after World War I?

The way things now look, America may have its bout with some totalitarian doctrine—almost surely some form of leftism. Liberty has never been a left-wing value. From Lenin on, wherever the left has come to power, it has suppressed liberty, beginning with free speech. Already, despite a Republican president and a Republican Senate, America has less free speech than at any time in its history. Exactly one year ago, I testified before a Senate subcommittee and wrote an op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal about YouTube (owned by Google) placing more than 100 Prager University, or PragerU, videos on its restricted list.

And things have gotten much worse. Last week, PragerU was locked out of its Twitter account for retweeting a press conference of eight physicians in Washington, D.C., which had already received 17 million views, and Facebook has just informed us that if we even cite studies that show possible benefits of hydroxychloroquine (with zinc) in the early stages of a patient with COVID-19, we will lose our Facebook account.

And then there is the “cancel culture”—which is merely a euphemism for leftist suppression of dissent. People are booted from internet platforms, fired from their jobs or have their reputations smeared and their businesses ruined for differing with the left—on anything.

We are also undergoing a nonviolent (as of now) version of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, with individuals forced to issue humiliating public recantations of their beliefs and attend reeducation sessions (we don’t yet have reeducation camps, but they should not be ruled out as a possibility if the left is in control).

Another communist norm taking root in America is the rewriting of the American past. We are living a famous Soviet dissident joke: “In the Soviet Union, the future is known; it is the past that is always changing.”

On almost all social issues and many economic ones, the American left is more radical than the left in Europe. Europeans across the political spectrum are more wary of ideological fanaticism because of the vast scale of death and suffering that resulted from communism, fascism and Nazism.

One might say that Europe was inoculated against fanaticism. Europeans are more preoccupied with working less, traveling more and being taken care of than with ideological movements. But America, which has not suffered under fanatical, irrational, liberty-depriving ideologies, has not been inoculated.

Without such a vaccination, what replaced Christianity in Europe may well do the same in America.


Great America

Last Gasp of the Mensheviks?

Will the signers of the Harper’s letter realize that only an alliance with the Right can save liberal values?

Some note has been taken of a letter appearing in Harper’s titled “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate.” Signed by an impressive array of eminent left-leaning literary and academic figures, it challenges the intolerance of the new radical Left. While denouncing “right-wing demagogues” and, of course, Donald Trump, its main focus is to call out the broader “intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.”

The letter points generally to recent incidents where researchers and writers have lost positions and platforms for routine actions which aired even small deviations from the new orthodoxy of the radical Left. It concludes by refusing “any false choice between justice and freedom,” and calls for a culture that preserves “the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences.” 

The letter has not been well-received by the woke Left. Nonetheless, close on the heels of the Harper’s letter came a poll from the Cato Institute revealing that 62 percent of all American respondents say that the current political climate inhibits them from expressing their honest views. 

Pertinent to the Harper’s Letter, 37 percent of those under 30 and 44 percent of those with postgraduate degrees feel that their careers could be harmed by expressing their sincere political beliefs. Even centrist liberals feel the increasing hostility to open expression, with 52 percent feeling the need to self-censor, an increase from 45 percent only a few years ago. Only those with strongly held liberal views showed a majority who did not feel inhibited. 

This is not the first time that luminaries of the Left have found themselves outflanked by intolerant radicals even further to the Left. Examples from the last century suggest three possible approaches for dealing with this dilemma.

After the turn of the last century, Russian socialism had divided into two main factions, the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. Although the name “Menshevik” means minority, ironically by 1918 the Mensheviks were more numerous and influential than the more extremist Bolsheviks, who were led by Vladimir Lenin in exile from Switzerland. When the czar was overthrown in February, most Mensheviks joined with liberals and agrarian socialists in a democratic government. It is this government, not the czar’s, that Lenin’s Bolsheviks overthrew that October. 

Resistance to the radical Bolshevik regime began almost immediately, leading to a civil war. The anti-Bolshevik forces included many former supporters of the czarist government, but pragmatically they generally recognized that a tsarist restoration was now out of the question. Nonetheless, antipathy toward the czar led the Mensheviks to support the Bolsheviks. Lenin accepted this support until Bolshevik rule was secured. He then quickly turned on the Mensheviks. Those who were not imprisoned or killed fled into permanent exile. 

The next approach comes from 1948. During the 1930s many on the American Left became enamored with the Soviet Union. When the United States allied with the Soviets in World War II, many of these came into the Democratic Party. 

By 1948, they looked to take over many state parties. In Minnesota, centrist Democrats led by a young mayor of Minneapolis named Hubert Humphrey succeeded in pushing the socialists and Communists out of the state party. (What a contrast with Minneapolis’ current municipal leadership!) Having purged his state party of radical leftists, Humphrey was then able to go on to the national convention that year free of their baggage, and make a historic speech calling on the Democratic Party to take up the cause of civil rights. 

This became the Democratic Party that would nominate John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and then Humphrey for president—men who would champion both civil rights and opposition to leftist totalitarianism.

The last example does not fit in one year, but decades. By the 1970s, the McGovern/Ted Kennedy wing of the Democratic Party was in ascendance. They accepted that the Soviet Union was never going away, and urged a foreign policy of appeasement toward the Communist state. This disturbed many liberal Democrats. In addition, many of these began to question the efficacy of the expensive social programs which had been put in place in response to the civil turmoil of the 1960s. 

No longer finding any home in the Democratic Party, and finding in the Republican Party of Ronald Reagan compatriots willing to stand against leftist radicalism, these liberals took the dramatic step of becoming Republicans. Dubbed “neoconservatives,” they were described as liberals who had been mugged by reality. Although this element’s ties to the GOP have been frayed by Donald Trump and his insistence that the United States can no longer afford to be the world’s policeman, the neocons gained great influence in, and made many contributions to, the conservative movement over many decades.

Now, historical analogies are never exact. The times and people will always differ. For example, the Harper’s letter was written by literary, not political people. Also, dangerous as they are, Antifa is not known to have nuclear weapons. 

And personalities are key. No one expects Noam Chomsky to become Irving Kristol. Nonetheless, if the old liberals who signed the letter don’t want to become forgotten footnotes to our current revolutionary moment, they may consider the choices faced by their predecessors in fighting for an open and civil society. 

First, it can safely be said that the 1948 option is already gone. The contemporary Democratic Party has fully surrendered to the divisive and intolerant cancel culture and identity politics of the radicals. In doing so, and in sharp contrast to the liberal Humphrey Democrats of the 1950s and 1960s, modern Democrats have forfeited any possibility of constructive and productive engagement with racial issues which persist in our society. 

Second, given their visceral antipathy to Donald Trump, the neocon “1980” option also seems unlikely. 

This leaves them in a position similar to that of the Mensheviks after 1918. After they overthrew the democratic government in October, the Bolshevik hold was initially very uncertain. Had the Mensheviks joined with the anti-Bolshevik forces, there might have been some chance that Russia could have gained the democratic government that it still lacks a century later. Instead, however, their antipathy to the czar, like modern leftists’ antipathy to Trump, led the Mensheviks into the embrace of the radicals who despised and would destroy them.

Is there a happier 2020 option? On their side, the signers of the Harper’s letter might recognize that decades of being on the receiving end of the radicals’ cancel culture vehemence have massively increased conservatives’ appreciation for the preciousness and precariousness of free speech. 

The Cato poll showed that 60 percent of Republicans (and 49 percent of independents) with postgraduate education fear that letting their political views be known could harm their careers. If the signers could look past the radical-dominated media’s demonization of conservatives, they would see that the modern Right is not the one they think they know from their youth. 

For their part, conservatives need a coherent program to promote open and civil society. This could include encouraging corporate neutrality on political matters (isn’t the Left always decrying corporate influence on politics?), aligning academic financial incentives to encourage free speech and, most importantly perhaps, standing with the letter’s signers in favor of open and civil debate. 

Great America

China Means to Take Over the World

China’s reach is far more widespread than many people have understood, and China’s ultimate goal is total control of the world and its economy.

China means to take over the world. That is not hyperbole or overstatement. That is their intention. Whether the U.S. public hears them or not, the Chinese are broadcasting this intention loudly.

China is a communist country. In order to run a communist country, there must be total control of every aspect of the lives of a populace. There can be no dissent because people must behave to please the structure of communism. Even the most altruistic leader will make mistakes when governing 1.4+ billion people, and China’s leaders are hardly self-sacrificing. They restrict and censor the information people see and hear, only allowing government-sanctioned propaganda to be broadcasted.

Unlike governments in the West, the Chinese government demands that all businesses operate, not according to what is best for the business and the public, but according to what is best to further Chinese government interests. If that means your business must spy for the government, then that is what you must do. If that means insisting doctors don’t tell the world about a plague that China unleashed on the world, the doctors who disobey must disappear and die.

Individual citizens must obey the communist government without question or hesitation as well. Until 2015, China’s One Child Law would not allow parents to have more than one child. Traditionally, the Chinese community favors having sons, so female babies would be aborted, leaving the population to this day with far more men than women. Forced abortions and sterilizations were commonplace as millions of Chinese parents endured the strict enforcement methods the CCP deployed to advance this policy. Ethnic minorities in China, mostly Uighurs, have been forced into sterilization and slave labor in work camps while U.S. companies profit from their forced labor.

The Chinese communist government plans to economically and militarily dominate the world by 2050 and has said as much. In order to accomplish this goal, they must dominate the only current world superpower, the United States of America. In the past couple decades, they have been slowly, methodically, buying us up. Some of the largest U.S. companies the Chinese have purchased are: Starwood Hotels (the company that owns Waldorf-Astoria), Ingram Micro (specializing in aviation and logistics), General Electric Appliance Business, Terex Corporation (which makes machinery for construction), Legendary Entertainment Group (producers of such hits as “Jurassic Park” and “Pacific Rim”), Motorola Mobility, and AMC Entertainment Holdings.

In healthcare they have purchased AppTec Laboratory Services, Datascope Corp., Complete Genomics, and Zonare Medical Systems. In technology they bought Westinghouse (turbine generator), IBM (PC business), Quorum Systems, Hoku Scientific, ION Geophysical, Mochi Media, Boston-Power (financing), iTalk, and A123 Systems. In energy, they scooped up First International Oil, The AES Corp., Oil & Gas Assets, Friede Goldman United, Chesapeake Energy, Cirrus Wind Energy, GreatPoint Energy, Wolfcamp Shale, Mississippi Lime, and Woodbine Acquisition. In finance, China owns a large stake in Morgan Stanley and Blackstone Group LLP. In property, they own Sheraton Universal Hotel, Cassa Hotel and Residences, Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, General Motors Tower, and One Chase Manhattan Plaza.

The buying up of strategic locations and property is happening not only in the United States, but around the world. The Chinese government owns or manages other countries’ ports, including Le Havre and Dunkirk in France, Antwerp and Bruges in Belgium, and Miami and Houston in the United States. It holds a majority stake in Greece’s Piraeus port, and holds large shares of Italy’s Genoa, Spain’s Valencia, and the Netherlands’ Rotterdam. It’s almost as if they were planning strategic military takeovers.

China also owns Smithfield Foods, the biggest U.S. pork food company, and the hotspot for the COVID-19 outbreak in South Dakota in April this year. Companies that have sold tainted Chinese dog food are being held responsible in court. Among other hazards, lead paint and chemicals are frequently found in toys made in China and, since the Chinese virus outbreak, it has come to the public’s attention that most of our drug ingredients are manufactured in China.

The Government Accountability Office reported in 2016 that 80 percent of the ingredients in our drugs come from outside the United States, mostly from China and India. In a letter from Senator Chuck Grassley to the Food and Drug Administration last year, Grassley expressed his concern with the infrequency of FDA inspections of foreign drug manufacturing. He cited a pilot program in India that combined unannounced visits and coordination with the embassies rather than the manufacturers. This program was successful as it “exposed widespread malfeasance,” but the Obama administration “shut [it] down without explanation” in 2015.

China’s reach is far more widespread than many people have understood, and China’s ultimate goal is total control of the world and the global economy. It sounds like a bad spy movie playing out in real life. While the U.S. entertainment industry and the U.S. media, much of which is controlled by China, keep many Americans otherwise occupied, China stays focused and patient as Democrats prop up a senile old man for the most challenging job in the world.

Great America

Why We Can’t Afford to Abandon Taiwan

The only way to prevent Chinese ascendancy and a potential war is to make it clear that we will not accept their bullying.

In the Munich Conference of September 1938, Great Britain and France threw Czechoslovakia to the wolves. In order to appease Adolf Hitler, the Western democracies forced the Czechs to give up the Sudetenland, a heavily fortified region on the border with Germany. This region contained millions of ethnic Germans which Hitler wanted to incorporate into his empire, and the German dictator claimed this would be his “last territorial demand.”

Of course, not long after his “last territorial demand” was satisfied, Hitler invaded and annexed the rest of the country (with the exception of a small Slovak rump state that became a German vassal), and then invaded Poland, starting the deadliest conflict in human history and resulting in at least 60 million deaths. The Western democracies easily could have stopped Hitler at Munich and prevented World War II—we now know that some of Hitler’s top generals were ready to arrest him if the negotiations failed—but instead, cowardice and appeasement won the day. 

In the next few years, it is likely that America will find itself in the position that France and Britain were in during the Munich Conference, and we would do well to learn from their mistakes. Only this time, the country facing the threat of annexation will be Taiwan.

Like Czechoslovakia, Taiwan is a small nation, a prosperous democracy, and a balancing force against an aggressive, totalitarian neighbor: Communist China. And as with Czechoslovakia’s fate at Munich, allowing Taiwan to be gobbled up would only embolden China, leading to more aggression, more territorial claims, and, eventually, the outbreak of war.

At the end of the Chinese Civil War between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Kuomintang Nationalist Party in 1949, the Kuomintang fled to Taiwan and ceded mainland China to the Communists. Since then, Taiwan has become a model democracy and a close U.S. partner, though the CCP never gave up its dream of conquering Taiwan under the banner of “reunification.”

One need only to look at China’s recent statements and actions to see their growing belligerence. CCP rhetoric has been growing increasingly truculent: in a 2018 speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping threatened to “fight bloody battle” and refused to “cede a single inch of land” with regard to Taiwan and Hong Kong; in January, 2019, he stated that China “makes no promise to renounce the use of force” against Taiwan; and in May 2020, China vowed to “resolutely smash” any Taiwanese attempt to declare formal independence from China.

The CCP’s words are not just empty rhetoric, and are amply backed by its actions. In the past few years, China has launched a series of military reforms to hone its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and transform it into a force capable of conducting sustained overseas operations. Beyond that, China has also been consistently provoking Taiwan by violating its airspace with military flyovers, and sailing its ships in the Taiwan Strait. 

But why is all of this happening now? After all, China’s dispute with Taiwan goes back decades, and the PLA has previously attacked minor islands around Taiwan without launching a full invasion. So why are the next few years dangerously ripe for another Munich moment? 

The CCP hopes to conquer Taiwan soon in order to boost its flagging legitimacy. The Communist Party has traditionally portrayed itself as a guardian of stability and prosperity, both of which have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Regarding stability: the CCP easily could have stopped the incipient pandemic, but its mismanagement, lies, and silencing of whistleblowers guaranteed that the coronavirus would go global. Their malfeasance has hurt both their international image and their domestic reputation as guardians of stability, and some Chinese citizens are beginning to see through the lies of their regime. 

Regarding the economy: earlier this year, the Chinese economy shrunk for the first time in a half century of near constant growth, and though the economy rebounded after the coronavirus-induced panic, its long term prospects still don’t look promising

With these two pillars of the CCP’s legitimacy severely weakened, the Communists now will likely turn to foreign conquest to bolster their domestic image. Just as Hitler’s conquests were popular in Germany, allowing him to portray himself as the “protector” of Germans living abroad, so does Xi Jinping wish to portray himself as a great “re-unifier” who finally brought Taiwan back into the fold. 

The United States should take all of these factors into consideration when it comes to our strategic competition with China. President Donald Trump has been wise so far not to enter into any pointless and harmful foreign conflicts that have no bearing on American national security. He has withdrawn American troops from Syria and Afghanistan, while still effectively safeguarding our national interests: in the past few years and without starting new foreign entanglements, he has managed to eliminate the leader of ISIS, take out Iran’s top terrorist mastermind , and restore U.S. deterrence after the years Obama spent eroding it. 

It is in America’s national interest to defend Taiwan because Taiwan will not be China’s “last territorial demand.” The CCP, illegally, has been building and militarizing islands in the South China Sea, has grown increasingly belligerent in territorial disputes with surrounding nations, and repeatedly has coerced many of its neighbors in economic matters. If China takes Taiwan, not only will it gain a territory of great strategic importance, it will also be emboldened to continue in its trajectory of bullying its neighbors and continuously pressing for more and more territorial claims.

But this worst-case scenario doesn’t need to happen. Taiwan is a highly defensible island with a patriotic populace and an advanced, well-motivated, powerful military. It would not be able to survive in a protracted conflict against the Chinese juggernaut, but it would be able to hold out long enough for America to come to its defense.

That is why America must now make clear that any Chinese attack on Taiwan will be met with overwhelming military force, a stance that has never been stated outright by U.S. officials, but only implied. The Taiwan Relations Act which maintains the U.S.-Taiwan relationship only states that America will “maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion” against Taiwan, without committing the United States in any concrete way. When Chinese military officials in 1995 asked Joseph Nye, a high-ranking Defense Department official, about the U.S. reaction to a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan, he responded: “We don’t know and you don’t know; it would depend on the circumstances.” 

That answer isn’t good enough, but fortunately there are already more promising signs that Trump is moving to a closer relationship with Taiwan. Trump called Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen in 2016 shortly after his election—the first president or president-elect to do so in decades. Trump also sent his Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on the highest-level visit to Taiwan in years, has taken strong steps to improve U.S. military readiness, and has been sounding the alarm bell about China for years.

Trump should continue along this path and make it clear that America will defend Taiwan. Any ambiguity will only make the CCP think they can get away with anything, increasing Chinese belligerence and the risk of invasion.

Like Taiwan, Czechoslovakia was also a small nation that could punch above its weight. Czechoslovakia had a ring of fortresses on the border with Germany, the large industrial conglomerate of the Skoda Works, and an efficient military. Had the Czechs decided to fight with French and British support, it’s almost certain Hitler would have lost (if he had not been arrested or assassinated by his generals first). Instead, France and Britain left Czechoslovakia to its fate, hoping the crocodile would eat them last.

Before the Munich Conference, Winston Churchill stated that “the idea that safety can be purchased by throwing a small state to the wolves is a fatal delusion.” China will not stop with Taiwan, and it won’t stop until it becomes the next global hegemon. The only way to prevent Chinese ascendancy and a potential war is to make it clear that we will not accept their bullying.

Great America

The Economy Is Struggling, but Gun Sales Are Soaring

When protests and riots started sweeping the country after the May 25 death of George Floyd, the FBI clocked another record in June by conducting more than 3.9 million background checks.

OAKMONT, Pennsylvania—Long before you find yourself standing in front of the Smoke N’ Guns shop, the delicate aroma of coffee beans and hand-rolled cigars beckons your senses as you walk along Allegheny River Boulevard.

Outside the shop, four black leather chairs spread a respectable 6 feet apart are waiting for either the overflow of customers or locals such as Marcello Frollo to hold court. He enjoys a rolled cigar along with his double espresso as he listens to the cars rumble along the brick-lined street.

Inside, the store is a visual delight, with a coffee bar and a handful of tables and chairs at the entrance. Boxes filled with the best cigars money can buy are stacked high, and an impressive walk-in humidor is designed to keep them preserved at the perfect temperature.

In the back, a balcony overlooks the rest of the store and spans its entire width. A glass display case with an array of long guns hangs along the wall. In the center, begging to be held, is a Tommy gun. Gregory “Gooch” Ionadi, the owner, waits to help you find the gun you need or want to protect yourself.

That is, if there are any left to buy.

“Prior to the COVID outbreak, President Obama was the best gun salesman we ever had,” says Ionadi. “Anytime he was going to ban this, ban that, there was a rush on gun sales. When President Trump was elected, the fear of a gun ban subsided, and sales were so flat that several gun manufacturers went out of business.”

Things changed dramatically in gun shops across the country in February, when the first concentrated COVID-19 cases in one town were reported out of New Rochelle, New York. “We made more here in … March and April than we did in the last three years,” he says. “It was crazy.”

It wasn’t just his regular customers walking in the door or calling the store. Many of them never imagined themselves owning a gun, an experience reflected in the latest FBI statistics on background checks associated with the sale, transfer or permitting of firearms. An all-time sales high was recorded in March, when the virus outbreak hit and much of the country closed down: The FBI saw 3.7 million background checks.

When protests and riots started sweeping the country after the May 25 death of George Floyd, the FBI clocked another record in June by conducting more than 3.9 million background checks.

Last month, as activists set fires, looted and called for defunding or abolishing the police, the FBI showed that more than 3.6 million firearm background checks were conducted, making July the third-highest month on record.

Those numbers reflect Ionadi’s experience: a surge in sales in March and April, and big numbers in June and July following the riots.

“You wouldn’t believe the first-time gun buyers I’ve seen,” says Ionadi. “I started seeing little old ladies—70, 80 years old—wanting to defend themselves because of what was going on. So, I had to change my thinking. I had to start buying .22 Magnum revolvers. I have some revolvers here, but I had to start buying revolvers that women and older folks could use because they are easy to handle. Semi-auto and a revolver are two different things.”

Smoke N’ Guns is the kind of place where everyone has a nickname, beginning with Gooch and extending to the customers. It is a place of family, roots and connection. There are guys sitting outside smoking a cigar and inside getting their coffee. People from around the region call nonstop to see if there are particular guns and ammo in stock.

When Gooch’s mom had her dress shop here, it used to be the kind of place where young women bought their wedding gowns, bridesmaids’ dresses and elegant eveningwear.

“It was called Ionadi Bridal and Boutique,” says Gregory Ionadi, Gooch’s father, sitting outside and taking in the breezy summer day. “My wife had that for 25 years. The bottom floor was all prom dresses. Where the balcony is, we used to do an upscale women’s casual, mother of the bride and bridal.”

When the dress store closed, Ionadi the elder found himself bored, and Gooch had long envisioned the store they have today in his head. Between the elder’s boredom and the younger’s idea, both men are living the dream.

Pre-pandemic, Gooch worked full time as a Local 5 electrician during the day and then at Smoke N’ Guns from 4 p.m. until closing. He was laid off from his day job in February. The elder Ionadi worked full time as the Verona postmaster during the day and then, after 4 p.m., worked the dress shop with his wife.

“Work ethic is a big deal in our family,” 75-year-old Gregory Ionadi says. “You eat every day. You work every day. That’s the way it is. I’ll work until I can’t work.”

Within five minutes, Gooch takes a half-dozen calls from people looking to buy something specific, saying everything from “Not sure about that Glock” to “I am out of that ammo” to “Sure. Come in this evening and I’ll show you what we have.”

His father serves up a frosty coffee confection with an impressive amount of whipped cream on top to a customer outside. A “Make America Great Again” hat is propped on top of a beautifully carved wooden statue. Behind it is a framed photo of President Donald Trump.

Inside and out, everyone is in a mask (that is the rule); everyone is at a distance; respect for each other is key. “I am not arguing with people who don’t want to wear a mask before coming in here,” Gooch says. “Wear a mask. I don’t want this thing. I don’t know what it is. To this day, you’re getting arguments that it’s fake. Well, maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. But I want to be safe. I want my dad to be safe. I want my mom to be safe. I want my wife to be safe, my kids.”

His wife, Kim, smiles and brings him a cut from a hoagie about as long as the counter she set it on and urges him to take a break for lunch, as noon passed hours ago. “I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be a busy, long night.”


Great America

Cotton to Higher Ed: Loosen Up or Lose Your Money

This is a campaign issue that frightens the Left, and with good reason. Republicans should move swiftly.

This is how bad higher education has gotten: Republican Senators who worry about federal overreach and don’t wish to harm large institutions in their own states have decided that colleges and universities have fully abandoned their Ivory Tower mission and can only be repaired from the outside. The remedy is called the “Campus Free Speech Restoration Act,” which was introduced by Tom Cotton. Stanley Kurtz explains the salient elements of the Act here

The proposal is simple. “Under CAFSRA,” Kurtz writes, “public colleges and universities that promulgate restrictive speech codes, so-called free-speech zones, and other unconstitutional speech policies will lose their eligibility to receive federal student loans and grants through the Higher Education Act.” Private universities will face lesser scrutiny, required only to disclose their rules for free speech and adhere to them or else face lawsuits.

That’s it: Protect free speech or the federal faucet is shut off. College leaders will have a decision to make. They can maintain illiberal practices such as the sequestered free speech zones (which cabin free speech to postage-stamp areas of campus and have even led the ACLU to protest them) and thereby see federal dollars disappear, or they can dismantle those practices and keep the money coming. They can revise their speech codes to fit the First Amendment and lose no funding, or they can maintain those codes and suffer at the bottom line.

The law has several provisions that Kurtz enumerates regarding complaint procedures and review processes, the role of the U.S. Department of Education, etc. that might slow down its passage. A few Republican legislators may claim discomfort with federal intrusion into state and private entities, although massive federal subsidies to higher education happen all the time and, currently, support these unconstitutional practices. Democrats likely will oppose it for the obvious reason that higher education has become a liberal stronghold and pipeline. The censorious campus has worked very well for the Left. Democrats won’t want to change it.

We’ve seen reform efforts in the past fail, too, such as David Horowitz’s Academic Bill of Rights campaign. But past history doesn’t matter, nor do the old debates. Today, life on campus has changed dramatically. Ten, 20, 30 years ago, conservatives complained about liberal bias, but liberal bias doesn’t describe the mood in higher education in 2020. If you are privy to emails circulating among the professors, proposals and pledges issued by presidents, provosts, and deans, ramped up diversity and “systemic racism” training programs, and organized malicious campaigns led by activist students such as the ones who got the UCLA business professor suspended last term, you know that the problem is not merely the tipping of the ideological scales to the left. 

Things have gotten more aggressive and insidious. The atmosphere is coercive and intimidating. Accusations of racism and white supremacy are loud and shameless, and hardly anybody raises a voice of challenge. (Classics professor Joshua Katz at Princeton is one of the very few exceptions.) It feels like a soft version of Girondins giving way to Montagnards, Mensheviks to Bolsheviks. The infamous demand letter signed by hundreds of Princeton teachers was no statement of liberal bias. It was a direct threat to academic freedom and disinterested inquiry and instruction. It put identity politics at the center of personnel and professional practices. No benign gestures toward “diversity” here, but rather outright insistence on preferential treatment for some and surveillance of the rest. With the subsequent criticism the letter has received from liberals as well as conservatives, some signers regret their participation. But if such proposals come up for an open vote in a college faculty meeting, will they stand up in opposition? No way.

Amelioration cannot come from within. Even our more timid Republican legislators understand this. They know, too, that the issue is a political winner. In March 2019, after President Trump announced his Executive Order securing free inquiry on college campuses, McLaughlin & Associates published the results of a poll on the issue. The tally was a surprise. Nearly three-fourths of respondents (73 percent) stated that they favored the edict (42 percent “strongly favor,” 31 percent “somewhat favor”). 

That means a whole lot of liberals backed the effort. Even some college students who lean left believe open expression is in jeopardy, 41 percent of the overall student population telling the Knight Foundation in 2019 that “Freedom of speech” is “Threatened” or “Very threatened.”  In 2016, the rate was only 27 percent. If we were to ask that question of all students today, now that the Woke Revolution has grown so much more voluminous and impatient, the rate would go significantly higher. (Overall, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, liberal and Left students make up just more than one-third—36 percent—of all college students.) 

Republican politicians, in other words, have no political reason for opposing Senator Cotton’s bill. As for Democratic politicians, they must face the many Democratic voters who acknowledge the problem. They can’t deny it when liberals such as Bill Maher and Michael Bloomberg have experienced it firsthand, or when comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock won’t do campus visits any more. President Obama himself criticized it. 

Senator Cotton’s proposal couldn’t come at a better time for Republicans. I have heard that Senator McConnell has signed on—a clear sign that this is a political winner. It puts Democrats in a bind: either vote against one of your best constituencies or defend an unpopular situation. Imagine how a Republican candidate can paint a Democrat rival who opposes Cotton’s bill. A campaign video might record his “Nay” and then show images of mobs at Berkeley setting fires to keep Milo Yiannopoulos and others away, the Turning Point USA guy socked while manning a table at Berkeley, Heather Mac Donald hounded by chanting dunces at Holy Cross, the infamous episode of Charles Murray at Middlebury, and then present several liberals who decry the censorship such as Jay Leno and President Obama himself. Show the hysterical girl screaming obscenities at her professor on the quad at Yale and calling him “disgusting.” Finally, the Republican candidate can say, “My opponent won’t do anything about this. I will.”

The censorious crusader cutting off free speech in higher education, whether the speaker be student or professor, president or trustee, has few supporters off-campus. They’re not likable. They turn college into a zone of scolds. People already hate the cost of college, and they know what professors think of average Americans. The woke craze of the present time only further estranges ordinary men and women on the street. They are ready to see it curtailed. 

Those of us who have witnessed one reform after another peter out have learned that the only method of ending censorship is to stop the flow of funds. College leaders, in fact, are primarily evaluated on how much money they bring in. A loss of cash will stiffen the spines of those leaders who otherwise appear so craven and conciliatory in the face of the shouters and marchers. One might note the immediate benefit of this bill by turning once again to the case of Professor Katz at Princeton, who will be spared any official rebuke by the administration because the school adopted the University of Chicago’s Principles of Free Expression a while back, and New Jersey courts will honor that commitment should Katz’s colleagues fail to do so.

 This is a campaign issue that frightens the Left, and with good reason. Republicans should move swiftly.

Great America

The Singularity Is Near

Can we, for the sake of our children’s children, find at the last moment a way to reverse course, to step back from the brink, to find a future timeline that avoids the dreadful singularity of civil war?

It’s obvious to all, at this point, that factional division is reaching a breaking point in America. Like a pair of locked-together tectonic plates pulling slowly in opposite directions, the strain has been increasing for a long time now—and when seismic ruptures finally occur, they happen suddenly, and release enormously destructive energies.

Some years back, John Derbyshire referred to this pent-up tension as a “cold civil war,” and here in 2020 more and more of us are getting the feeling that the term is apt. Is it? (The question has also been the subject of an ongoing weekly discussion between the radio host John Batchelor and historian Michael Vlahos.)

Scholars have argued over the nature of civil wars since the Romans first gave us the term. As described in David Armitage’s fascinating book Civil War: A History in Ideas, they have settled, over time, on a three-way taxonomy: 

Secessionist civil wars are those in which one part of a nation wishes to separate itself and go its own way. Both of the wars fought on American soil, it could be argued, fall into this category: not only the one we now call “the Civil War,” but also the one we proudly refer to as the American Revolution.

Successionist civil wars are conflicts in which factions vie for control of a nation’s political system. In these conflicts the form of the nation is not at issue, just who shall occupy the throne. History is rich with examples.

Supersessionist civil wars are those in which two factions, with incompatible visions of what the form of the nation should be, vie for sovereignty over the nation’s territory. The French and Russian revolutions were of this type. 

Throughout history, civil war has been regarded as uniquely evil. It pits neighbor against neighbor and brother against brother. It is the form of war in which, no matter who wins, the nation loses. Charles de Gaulle once said, “All wars are bad . . . But civil wars, in which there are brothers in both trenches, are unforgivable because peace is not born when war concludes.” Montaigne said, “Civill warres have this one thing worse than other warres, to cause every one of us to make a watch-tower of his owne house.”

One of the peculiarities of civil war is that it is hard to say, except in retrospect, when a nation has passed the point of no return. There is rarely anything so distinct as Caesar’s fateful crossing of the Rubicon. It is, rather, like falling into a black hole: there is an “event horizon,” at some distance from the singularity, beyond which nothing can escape. To a space-traveler falling through it, there is no visible difference, no noticeable boundary—but once you have crossed that fateful border, there’s no possibility of turning back. All future timelines must pass through the singularity.

Is that where we are today? For the answer to be “no” means either that one side in this great political conflict will simply admit defeat, or that there will be some softening of grievances, some sort of coming together in a newly formed political center. Does that seem likely?

Looking at the yawning rift in American politics—the fundamentally incompatible visions of society and government that the two factions hold, the dehumanizing mutual antipathy that finds freer expression every day, the unforgettable damage already done, and the implacable fury with which they grapple for every atom of power—can any of us imagine some way forward in which Right and Left just “bury the hatchet” and “hug it out”? 

Which Way America?

Comity requires a minimum of commonality—but the social and political axioms of “blue” and “red” have moved so far apart as to be wholly incommensurate. Even the most basic axiom of all—that the United States of America, for all its flaws, is essentially good and worth preserving—is now the subject of acrid, even violent, disagreement. (Our nation’s “newspaper of record” has even gone out of its way to insist that the premise is not debatable, but false.)

If we have crossed the event horizon, then what sort of singularity—which of the three forms of civil war—are we falling toward?

Although the 2020 election will be bitterly contested—it may even turn out, in retrospect, to have been the singularity itself—the stakes here are much larger than who gets to spend the next four years in the White House. No matter who wins, the underlying strain will only increase. (Indeed, it will probably increase sharply: if you think things are tense in America now, just wait till mid-November or so.) If civil war is coming, then, it isn’t of the “successionist” variety.

Will the conflict be of the “secessionist” type? Alas, no. Would that it were!

If we look at the current state of American affairs as a failed marriage, the best solution would be some sort of divorce. A secessionist solution might very well be welcomed by all, and avoid civil war altogether. The problem, though, is that, unlike our previous civil war, the two sides do not occupy distinct and contiguous geographical regions, but are, rather, mixed together county by county, or even house by house. Nobody has yet arrived at any plausible plan for the factions to disaggregate—and without physical separation, it is hard to imagine a realistic means of political separation. 

That leaves the “supersessionist” type, which seems closest to the mark.

An Existential Fight

“Red” and “blue” have profoundly different visions of the scope and structure of the federal government, and of the role of government in American life generally. They differ also on fundamental questions of religion, ethics, morals, and even human nature. Red believes that the American founding was a work of astonishing insight and inspiration and that it represents the best compromise yet struck by the minds of men to enable the possibility of ordered liberty and the individual citizen’s pursuit of happiness and prosperity.

Blue seems to believe increasingly that the whole thing was a sinister power-grab by a cadre of rich white males, designed to preserve and consolidate their immoral supremacy, and that the whole thing is so rotten that it should be torn up by its roots and replaced with something fairer and nobler. (Blue has already revealed that it wishes to see the Second Amendment, the Senate, the Electoral College, and our nation’s borders abolished—and its grievances hardly end there.)

We are fighting, then, not over who shall rule over the existing system, nor about whether the United States should be broken up into two distinct nations, but about whether the United States as currently constituted should continue to exist, or should be wholly replaced with an entirely new regime.

Yes, the idea of civil war is always repugnant. But there is another form of conflict that is very closely related to civil war—indeed they are often quite the same thing—that has exactly the opposite emotional polarity, and is especially well-related to civil wars of the supersessionist type: revolution.

Consider the difference. As David Armitage reminds us, “Civil wars, by the conventional understanding, betoken the blighting and collapse of the human spirit, while revolutions affirm and actualize it.” Civil war is a sickening thing, a noisome evil—but revolution is something to stir the heart, a pathway to fame and glory. (That the latter is so often just what the victors later call the former is quite beside the point.)

A Narrowing Presentism

A characteristic of revolutions is that they rupture the fabric of history. In periods of high civilization, however, that fabric is strong: healthy societies exist not only in the present, but extend both backward and forward in time. The citizens of a robust and prosperous polity are taught from childhood to have a reverent appreciation for what their ancestors have bequeathed them, and a sense of duty to preserve, cherish, and build upon it for generations yet unborn. (Just so was my own generation raised, long ago in mid-20th-century America.) 

To rupture that fabric is far easier when it is already weakened—and this is precisely what has happened in America, and in the West more generally, over the past half-century. Insofar as the American past is taught or remembered at all today, it is as a litany of sins, deserving not propagation, but denunciation. The result is that American culture has, to a very great extent, lost its extension in time, and exists in an increasingly narrow present.

Roger Kimball has called this, in a lovely coinage, “temporal provincialism.” We might also call it historical “stenosis”: a pathological narrowing of the channels through which the life-blood of the past flows into the present and the future. And in the sense that the present is always being born from the womb of history, it brings to mind the tying off of an umbilicus—though that is really far too optimistic a metaphor. A better one is the cutting of a flower.

This narrowing presentism tears at a fundamental requirement of civilization: that its citizens see themselves as a living bridge between past and future. If the past is rejected or forgotten, then we have no estate to bequeath to posterity, other than what we can build, ex nihilo, in the present. To create a viable nation from scratch, however, is a daunting task, and one that rarely succeeds. Revolution may make for an exhilarating present, but it destabilizes the future. 

Civilization depends also on low “time preference”: we defer present consumption to profit from the increased relative value of the things we build for the future. But too-rapid technological and social changes, and of course the deliberate obliteration of history, work to diminish confidence in the surety of the future and drive time-preference toward the present. This in turn manifests itself in hedonism, anomie, present consumption, loss of social cohesion (why pull together when there’s nothing to pull for?), and declining birth rates. This all feeds back upon itself in an intensifying, destructive cycle.

These are dangerous times. Civil war is nothing to wish for. But under the name of “revolution,” it can be a powerful attractor, especially in an era of pathological presentism. Have we already crossed the event horizon? Can we, for the sake of our children’s children, find at the last moment a way to reverse course, to step back from the brink, to find a future timeline that avoids the dreadful singularity of civil war? Only future historians can answer that question. But one thing is certain: things that are falling tend to accelerate. Time is short.

Great America

Are Americans Being Conditioned for Despotism?

Embattled Americans should run regular checks on what condition their conditioning is in.

Fans of the His Dudeness or El Duderino—the Dude for those not into the whole brevity thing—will recall the wonderful “gutterballs” scene from “The Big Lebowski,” musically accompanied by “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In).” Contrary to what some viewers might think, this tune was not written for the movie.

It dropped onto the charts for the First Edition way back in 1968, when people wore T-shirts emblazoned “There Is No Hope Without Dope” and bearing the image of the Zig Zag Man. That’s the late Kenny Rogers on vocals, and Kenny finds his mind in a brown paper bag, after tearing it on a jagged sky. So you couldn’t blame him for checking to see what condition his condition is in. Fans of Kenny Rogers and the Dude might jump ahead to 2020 when the ruling class is deploying a pandemic to condition the people. 

For example, Dr. Anthony Fauci has been head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 without ever facing the voters. Fauci tells people the pandemic is no problem—until he says it is. No need to wear a mask, but now you have to. It’s safe to have sex with people you meet online, but shaking hands is dangerous. With help from the media, the people are being conditioned to regard this guy as infallible. 

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is not a doctor and, unlike Fauci, does not even play one on TV. Even so, in Michigan, the people are being conditioned to regard the Democratic governor as some kind of sage. Whitmer conditions people not to drive, even to a vacation house they own. Michiganders can shop, but they can’t buy paint. Like the Waco Kid in “Blazing Saddles,” the people are very puzzled. 

California Governor Gavin Newsom conditions people to regard churches as “nonessential,” and forbids singing and chanting. Yet abortion clinics and liquor stores remain open. California cops bust solitary paddle boarders but allow sub-nihilist mobs to loot and burn. Newsom also conditions the people to regard House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a wise leader. 

All told, the people are being conditioned to believe that Fauci, Newsom, Whitmer, et al. “know what’s best for everyone.” This crowd supplies plenty of motivation for pushback.

“Governor Newsom, why did you cut a $1 billion deal for 100 million masks with a Chinese company that never made them?” someone could ask. “There are only 40 million people in California, and masks are widely available and easily improvised.” 

Governor Whitmer could be queried, “Where did you get the idea that buying paint was dangerous?” and “When will it be safe to buy it?” The governor went to law school, so someone might ask: “Does a pandemic cancel the Bill of Rights?”

“Dr. Fauci,” one might ask, “where did you earn your Ph.D. in molecular biology?” Back in the 1980s, Fauci predicted AIDS would ravage heterosexuals. Someone could ask, “Were you right or wrong about that?” Or, “Angelo Codevilla describes you as a deep state fraud. Your response?” 

Could all this conditioning somehow be intentional, preparing the people for a more authoritarian regime? Hard to say at this point. Then again, new information is coming to light on the pandemic’s origins. 

According to Fred Guterl of Newsweek, “Dr. Fauci Backed Controversial Wuhan Lab with U.S. Dollars for Risky Coronavirus Research.” The National Institutes of Health had been manipulating viruses but the Obama Administration put a stop to it because of the risk. The Wuhan lab was a place where dangerous “gain of function” research could be conducted in secret, and Fauci knew that when he backed the funding by U.S. taxpayers.

True to form, Fauci did not respond to Newsweek’s request for comment. And as Codevilla noted, when asked whether China had been forthcoming about the scope of the pandemic, Fauci was deliberately deceptive. Some independent investigative body should look into the NIAID boss and institutionalized white-coat supremacy. 

For their part, embattled Americans should run regular checks on what condition their conditioning is in. If they opt to push back, it would be hard to blame them. Meanwhile, for an even earlier version of Kenny Rogers, check him out on “Green Green,” a hit for the New Christy Minstrels back in 1963. 

Great America

Swampy AARP

Like so many other organizations that began in the service of a reasonable—even noble!—cause, AARP has become merely an excuse to rake in the cash for a handful of executives.

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) was founded to represent the interests of close to 40 million seniors. Over time, the group has become one of the most powerful lobbying interests in the country. And you’ve got to hand it to them—for an organization that bills itself as an advocacy group for the elderly, it sure knows how to rake in the profits, making billions off the backs of the very people it purports to help.

From 2010 through 2018, the AARP received approximately $5 billion in profits selling Medigap supplemental insurance to seniors. Ironically enough, however, AARP doesn’t expend much effort “selling” that product at all. Instead, the organization contracts with UnitedHealthGroup, the nation’s largest health insurer, to offer Medigap policies to seniors under the AARP brand.

Even though UnitedHealthGroup does virtually all of the work to market and sell Medigap insurance policies to seniors, AARP gets a 4.95 percent “royalty fee” on every premium dollar paid. This percentage-based “royalty fee” means AARP and United have an incentive to sell seniors the most expensive policies—and to get seniors to buy insurance policies they don’t need—because AARP makes more money for every additional dollar of insurance it sells.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners recommends that insurance companies or brokers relying on percentage-based commissions—one in which the salesman gets paid more for selling more expensive policies—explicitly disclose that fact to would-be customers. Yet AARP does not disclose its “royalty fee” scheme to its members in a transparent manner. In fact, multiple members have sued AARP, claiming that its practice of taking money from seniors, and not acting in a transparent manner while doing so, constitutes fraud.

When defending itself against this corrupt scheme, AARP often uses the argument that it is not an insurance company, and does not sell insurance. That claim is entirely true. An insurance company could actually lose money if medical claims paid out exceed premium payments paid in. 

By contrast, AARP bears no financial risk. It can just sit back and watch seniors fork over billions of their hard-earned dollars via “royalty” payments that most seniors don’t even know they are paying.

As for UnitedHealthGroup, it continues to rake in profits as well. During the second quarter of 2020, it posted more than $6.6 billion in net revenue—“by far the conglomerate’s highest quarterly profit ever.” Because many patients delayed or deferred medical care during the coronavirus pandemic, United profited by receiving far more in premiums than it paid out in medical claims.

Just as AARP has its own sordid history of acting against its members’ interests, so too UnitedHealthGroup has faced repeated claims of swindling doctors and its members. 

In 2009, the company settled a lawsuit and a complaint by the New York state attorney general related to a database maintained by one of its subsidiaries. That database contained flaws that artificially lowered the payments United made to out-of-network doctors—inflating UnitedHealthGroup’s profits.

The 2009 case echoes a more recent lawsuit that also alleges UnitedHealthGroup continues to underpay doctors. In June, a federal district court judge in Nevada ruled against United’s motion to dismiss the case, allowing the lawsuit, filed under the federal anti-racketeering statute, to proceed.

Seniors deserve quality health insurance provided by names and organizations they can trust, particularly during a pandemic. Given their long history of shady and non-transparent actions, neither AARP nor UnitedHealthGroup fit the bill. If seniors want to do business with organizations that look out for their needs and interests, they should look elsewhere.

In that sense, AARP is not unique. Like so many other organizations that began in the service of a reasonable—even noble!—cause, AARP has become merely an excuse to enrich a handful of executives. An old and predictable story, perhaps, but one that should be exposed while those responsible for it are held to account. Instead, we see it being tolerated as though it were simply business as usual.

Great America

Boston Blowup

How President Trump can achieve justice for the American people.

Rarely has anybody deserved the death penalty more than the Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,” said President Trump in a recent tweet. “So many lives lost and ruined.” And yet, “the appellate court tossed out the death sentence,” and “it is ridiculous that this process is taking so long!” Hard to deny that the president has a point or two.

Dzhokhar and brother Tamerlan planted bombs along the Boston Marathon route, and the April 15, 2013 blasts killed three people, including Krystle Campbell, 29. The victim’s mother Patricia Campbell told reporters, “I just don’t understand it. It’s just terrible that he’s allowed to live his life. It’s unfair.” 

Consider also April Haslet, who lost a leg in the attack and outside the court encountered supporters of the convicted terrorist. 

“Fuck you!” said Haslet, as she flashed half a peace sign. The bomb victim also had words for the court. “I would like to make something crystal fucking clear to the ‘defense’ and the press who is hounding my family and me this week. Make no mistake. I will testify again in a heartbeat.” 

Tsarnaev gets to keep on living because the jury selection process allegedly was unfair, but there was more to it. 

“Since the first trial,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement, “we have always known that the perpetrator of that horrific violence would never leave the four corners of a prison cell.” Looks like it was a done deal from the start—small comfort to the victims. In response, President Trump should take action in another case that is taking far too long. 

In 2013, the same year as the Boston Marathon bombing, a jihadist U.S. Army major was sentenced to death for his attack at Fort Hood, Texas on November 5, 2009. The Army psychiatrist, a self-described “soldier of Allah,” gunned down 13 unarmed American soldiers, including Private Francheska Velez, 21, who was pregnant. The Fort Hood shooter wounded more than 40 others, chasing them down and shooting them in the back. 

This was the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11, but then-President Barack Obama called it “workplace violence.” Victims included African Americans but the president did not call the shooter a racist. One year later, Obama declined to meet with Sergeant Alonzo Lunsford, who took seven bullets from the murderous major. The terrorist mass murderer was sentenced to death in 2013 but the sentence was never carried out. 

Rarely has anybody deserved the death penalty more than Nidal Hasan. President Trump, commander in chief of U.S. armed forces, should give the order now.  A firing squad would be appropriate, and volunteers would line up. In his White House press conference, the president can recall the Fort Hood attack for those who forgot or never knew about it in the first place. In similar style, some details of the Boston Marathon bombers have also been overlooked.  

The Tsarnaev brothers are Chechens. In 2011, Russian authorities warned the FBI about their connections to Islamic militants. The brothers duly entered the United States and the rest, as they say, is history. The Boston victims could be forgiven for believing the Tsarnaevs should never have been allowed entry in the first place. Their case offers other lessons for law enforcement.

On December 2, 2015, Islamic terrorists gunned down 14 people at an office party in San Bernardino, California. As noted in “Bringing Calm to Chaos: A Police Foundation Review of the San Bernardino Terrorist Attacks,” local police gave chase as the terrorists continued firing from their SUV. Police shooters hit the male Islamist 25 times and the female 13 times, all without injury to innocent civilians. Inside the SUV, police found more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and the trigger apparatus to detonate secondary devices at the county building where the attack took place. The couple’s other targets included schools and freeways. 

Had the terrorists survived and stood trial in California courts, they would have had a good chance of getting off on some technicality. If the mass murderers did get the death penalty, it would never be carried out. Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019 imposed a moratorium on the death penalty and reprieved 737 convicted murderers currently on California’s death row, including child killers and serial killers. By the governor’s standards, Islamic terrorist mass murderers would be no problem.  

In San Bernardino, police were right to take down the two terrorists, and in future attacks police everywhere would do well to follow suit. It’s a job social workers just won’t do, and as April Haslet said, “make no mistake.” Taking out terrorists on location will save lives and prevent judicial atrocities like the one now taking place in Boston. 

Great America

‘Systemic Racism’ or Systemic Rubbish?

Unlike systemic racism, intellectual indentureship could quickly become a reality in America.

The “systemic racism” refrain is a meaningless abstraction.

Operationalize the nebulous abstraction that is “systemic racism,” or get out of my face!

To concretize a variable, it must be cast in empirical, measurable terms—the opaque “racism” abstraction being one variable (to use statistical nomenclature).

Until you have meticulously applied research methodology to statistically operationalize this inchoate thing called “racism”—systemic or other—it remains nothing but thought crime.

That is to say, it is impolite and impolitic thoughts, spoken, written, or preached. Says you.  

Thought crimes are nobody’s business in a free society. (By logical extension, America is not a free society.)

The law already mandates that people of all races be treated equally under its protection. The law, then, is not the problem—logic is. In particular, the logical error of reasoning backward.

“Backward reasoning, expounded by mystery author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle through his famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes,” writes Dr. Thomas Young, “applies with reasonable certainty when only one plausible explanation for the . . . evidence exists.”

Systemic racism is most certainly not “the only plausible explanation” for the lag in the fortunes of African-Americans, although, as it stands, systemic racism is inferred solely from one single fact: In aggregate, African-Americans trail behind whites in assorted academic and socio-economic indices and achievements.

This logical error is the central tenet of preferential treatment—affirmative action, and assorted quotas and set-aside edicts and policies.

According to diversity doxology, justice is achieved only when racial and ethnic groups are reflected in academia and in the professions in proportion to their presence in the larger population. On indices of economic well-being, the same egalitarian outcomes are expected.

Equalizing individual and intergroup outcomes, however, is an impossibility, considering that it is axiomatically and self-evidently true to say that such differences have existed since the dawn of time.

Nevertheless, absent such wealth egalitarianism and proportional representation in the professions, the walking wounded who control America’s cultural discourse have concluded that racism, systemic or of some other variety, reigns.

The systemic racism non sequitur is even harder to sustain when considering the Asian minority, a minority that has had its own historical hardships. In professions and academic pursuits where mathematical precocity is a factor, Asians are overrepresented, consistently outperforming whites. If proportional underrepresentation signals oppression, then overrepresentation, likewise, must reflect an unfair advantage.

And if social justice requires that government and corporate America act as social and economic levelers—then surely fairness demands that all minority groups that are overrepresented in assorted endeavors similarly be kneecapped in the name of equality? Should not such leveling policies be deployed to make the NBA or the 100-meter dash more “representative” of America?

High among corporate America’s priorities is acting as a race leveler—voluntarily sniffing out deviationists and generally proceeding against and “reeducating” pay-dependent prey. 

Corporate America’s human resource departments are in the habit of deluging employees with the piss-poor racial agitprop of illiterate, if degreed, pamphleteers. The woman who wrote White Fragility comes to mind.

In a workplace so shot through with hatred of whites, quite foreseeable is a form of intellectual reparations, where the designated white “oppressors” labor behind the scenes, while the officially “oppressed” manage them and take credit for their intellectual output.

As recounted in Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for American From Post-Apartheid South Africa , the African National Congress has pioneered “the creation of a unique cognitive caste system.”

Throughout the South African workforce, white subordinates with graduate and postgraduate degrees are doing the hard-core intellectual and technical work for their black bosses. The latter often have no more than a 10th-grade diploma but are paid a great deal more than their intellectual skivvies. A black matriculant (possessor of a high-school diploma) is perfectly poised to climb the South African corporate structure; yet, in order to have a ghost of a chance at remaining employed, a white person had better possess a masters or a doctoral degree. Given their pallor, promotion for whites is less and less likely.

Unlike systemic racism, intellectual indentureship could quickly become a reality in America.

Great America

Kick the ‘1619 Project’ Out of Schools

The federal government is more than justified in preventing students, parents, and teachers from being subjected to anti-American “history.”

America needs to get the “1619 Project” curriculum out of its schools. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has introduced a new bill that would go a long way toward that goal—the Saving American History Act of 2020 (SAHA 2020).

The New York Times introduced The “1619 Project” last August. The “1619 Project” mainstreamed the anti-American ideology of a new generation of woke activists, who have graduated from college radicalism to careers in progressive institutions such as the Times. The “1619 Project” seeks to rewrite American history with the claim that it is based on slavery and oppression, rather than on liberty and democracy, in order to delegitimize the American republic. 

The “1619 Project” claims to be “revisionist” history—but many of the best scholars of American history swiftly demonstrated that it was nothing more than a shabby, fact-free polemic. Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Pulitzer Prize-winning mastermind of the “1619 Project,” recently admitted that the effort never had a historical basis—and never even intended to be history. 

“I’ve always said that the ‘1619 Project’ is not a history,” Hannah-Jones said in a series of tweets. “It is a work of journalism that explicitly seeks to challenge the national narrative and, therefore, the national memory. The project has always been as much about the present as it is the past.”

Nevertheless, the “1619 Project” has had a profound impact on America’s schools. 

School districts in cities ranging from Buffalo to Chicago to Newark to Washington immediately announced that they would incorporate the “1619 Project” into their school history curriculums—using a1619 Project” curriculum that the Pulitzer Center posted to the internet as soon as the Times published the special edition of its Sunday magazine last year. The Pulitzer Center claims more than 3,500 classrooms have adopted their curriculum. 

Clearly, the project’s creators of the “1619 Project” had coordinated with the Pulitzer Center and school district leaders to transform the nation’s curricula immediately—without bothering to wait for input from parents, school boards, or historians. 

The “1619 Project” was meant to be a revolution from above, imposed on America’s children to teach them to despise their country.

We know that 1619 is a symbol of hatred for America. Wherever Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters succeed in defacing monuments or buildings, they leave behind graffiti—grotesque obscenity, hammers and sickles, every sort of slogan of hatred of America—and 1619. What 1488 is to neo-Nazis, 1619 is to the America-hating Left.

The federal government is more than justified in extending a helping hand to students, parents, and teachers, to prevent them from being subjected to the anti-American “history” foisted on them by woke infiltrators in the progressive establishment.

SAHA 2020 thoughtfully prevents carefully described sources of federal funding from reaching school districts that support the “1619 Project.” School districts won’t be allowed to use federal funds for direct support for teaching the “1619 Project” initiative. Nor will they be allowed to receive any funds for professional development. 

But Cotton carefully tailored SAHA 2020 to avoid measures that would harm students who are the victims of woke administrators. No school lunch funding would be affected, nor would funding for students with disabilities—no funding would change except for these two specific funding streams.

Indeed, Cotton would be warranted in strengthening SAHA 2020 considerably, to deal effectively with the challenge posed by the 1619 Project curriculum. Cotton might amend SAHA 2020 to:

1) Define what is meant by the 1619 Project curriculum, by reference to the contents of the Pulitzer Center’s the 1619 Project Curriculum.

2) Extend the federal government’s financial sanctions to prohibit funding that supports any third-party organization or curriculum that incorporates substantial elements of the 1619 Project Curriculum, such as the Zinn Education Project or Facing History.

3) Extend the federal government’s financial sanctions to prohibit funding that supports any state-level standardized assessment that incorporates substantial elements of the 1619 Project Curriculum.

4) Draft standard procedures by which individuals and organizations may report to the Department of Education that a school district has adopted some or all of the 1619 Project Curriculum.

5) Require the Department of Education to report annually to Congress which school districts have adopted some or all of the 1619 Project Curriculum.

6) Restrict eligibility for further carefully defined Department of Education grants and programs to school districts that the Department of Education certifies as free of the 1619 Project Curriculum.

Legislation to restrict the 1619 Project Curriculum should be as rigorous as possible.

America’s future depends on knowing our true past. We must get rid of the 1619 Project Curriculum to save our children from the anti-American lies of the woke establishment.

Great America


BoyWiki’s supposedly informational purpose masks a more sinister service: networking for members of the international pedophile community.

Online predators have used the same web software as Wikipedia and Wikifan sites to design what they describe as a place to record “our history and our culture” for men attracted to boys, or as they are called by everyone else: pederasts. The site’s administrators are connected to the Free Spirits Council, an international network of people from multiple countries seeking to normalize pedophilia as a legitimate sexual orientation and social behavior rather than the predatory exploitation of children that it is. 

In order to shield themselves from professional or legal scrutiny, members of the FSC maintain strict anonymity. The resources provided by this network of websites are specifically geared toward connecting advocates of liberalizing social and legal constraints on pedophilic behavior while skirting the current laws governing them. On the surface this is already disturbing to the rational reader; but it turns out that it’s not illegal. These platforms may act as a venue for others to connect and engage in illegal sexual conduct. Thanks to a lax legal structure and a burgeoning new effort to legitimize deviant adult attraction to children, they may be able to get away with more than just advocacy.

The site in question is called BoyWiki, and along with the Free Spirits, it operates parallel sites in French and German. Like many other pedophile social circles, its log is a maze in the shape of a triangle. The counterpart website for adults attracted to minor girls is called AnnabelleLeigh/GirlChat and functions only as a message board, and states up front concrete rules for speech on the site in order to prevent illegal material from jeopardizing the site.

The creators of BoyWiki call themselves and its intended audience “boy lovers” and on its main page the site has a “Did you know. . .” section informing users of an online message board “for boy lovers all over the world.” 

This is not the first such site to attempt to organize information for such a community., now an inactive site available only in archived form, operated for several years as a wiki website dedicated to the broader purpose of supporting all of the attraction combinations, and it includes pages for debate guidelines on justifying adult-child physical contact and “testimonials” of historical cases that attempt to show such contact in a positive light. 

One such testimonial cites a book by sociologist Floyd Martinson in which a girl interviewed describes a forcible rape by her father. The fact that the writer was searching for source material for positive anecdotes and this was the best that could be found is a window into the delusional mentality of the people involved. would also feature articles critical of anti-pedophile “vigilante” organizations such as the defunct blog Absolute Zero United. Both and BoyWiki classify Absolute Zero as a “hate campaign,” even though their function has mainly been to monitor gatherings of pedophiles for illegal activities.

Strange Bedfellows

There is also IPCE (the International Pedophile and Child Emancipation) and the better-known NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association), two advocacy groups that compile long-form academic and literary websites for scholarly discussion about the “emancipation of mutual relationships between children or adolescents and adults.” In the past these groups would attempt to hold meetings where the men involved would gather supposedly to advocate lowering the legal age of consent. The real function of these get-togethers, however, would often be to exchange and distribute sexually explicit materials involving minors. 

NAMBLA was formed in the late 1970s just as the gay rights movement was attempting to eliminate sodomy laws and other restrictions. One of the events that triggered its formation was the 1978 arrest of 24 Boston men in a raid where they were discovered to have lured boys between the ages of eight and 14 into their clutches by using drugs and video games. A segment of the area gay community formed a campaign called the Boston/Boise Committee to oppose the prosecution of the men, and NAMBLA eventually evolved out of it. Among those who lauded the efforts of the committee was a little-known Massachusetts state representative named Barney Frank. He would come out as the first openly gay congressman in 1987. 

In 1993 Adi Sideman, an Israeli-American sophomore at NYU and child sex abuse victim, filmed “Chickenhawk” which included in-person interviews with NAMBLA members and activists. Considered one of the most disturbing documentaries of all time, the film allowed the subjects to describe their attraction in their own words, often showing the warped way that they misrepresented their interactions with children as young as seven years old as expressions of interest. One of the most haunting subjects of the film, Leland Stevenson, would be arrested on a second child pornography charge in Florida years later. Sideman closed the film, after the credits, with a ghoulish monologue in which he warns opponents of pedophilia that “your day is over . . . when it [suppression of pedophilia] breaks, it is going to break suddenly.”

By this time, the broader gay rights movement had ostracized NAMBLA. According to the group’s leading light David Thorstad, lesbian activists began to urge for a break from the movement as a result of NAMBLA’s inclusion. While Thorstad protested that such adult-child relationships were common between women and girls as well, all available data shows that the overwhelming majority of child sex offenders are men. And while the majority of sexual abuse victims are girls, it is believed that male cases are underreported. In the 2000s NAMBLA was weakened both by the stress litigation and infiltration by activists seeking to expose pedophile identities and activities. It is no longer a functioning organization. 

Illegal Activity Made Possible Via Legal Channels

While the “informational” resource provided by BoyWiki is troubling, it is entirely legal so long as there is no explicit sexual content or incitement to illegal activities. But BoyWiki’s supposedly informational purpose masks a more sinister service: networking for members of the community. One article permanently featured on the main page  (unlike Wikipedia which changes theirs daily) is for “BoyLand,” a message board for pedophiles. BoyWiki also has on its main page a link to the Free Spirits Council’s own message board BoyChat. 

On these message boards prospective predators can share with each other their prurient thoughts and potentially establish contact in order to solicit and share illegal child porn or even set up meetings. Chat rules prohibit soliciting meetings with persons under 18 but not with each other. In every sense possible, these chat rooms serve the same purpose of providing the first connection for potential sex criminals so they can meet and share illicit child porn or even discuss child sex trafficking.

Other resources once used to promote BoyWiki and likeminded forums were the semi-functional WEIRD-PM Radio, Ethos Magazine, and formerly the Enchanted Island. All of these were creations of a person named “Kermie” who according to BoyWiki died in October 2016. These were all used in order to direct listeners and readers about ways to reach out and contact other “BLs” (boy lovers). The news presented on the WEIRD programs invariably skewed to child-centered topics. In his last broadcast before his passing, Kermie referred to a child prodigy and high school graduate as a “9-year-old man.” He would go on to conclude by saying that “the world is changing” and the time is coming when “BLs” would be accepted as any other sexual lifestyle would. If it sounded like he was echoing Leland Stevenson, it may not be a coincidence. 

Hedonism, Child Health Be Damned

When Stevenson died in 2013, a forum user posted a tribute thanking him “for all your good work.” One of the men paying tribute, Eric Tazelaar, would tweet in 2019 a random photo of a boy wearing a shirt with the caption “Pizza is my jam” and much of his feed concerns what he considers the severe nature of sex offender laws. In a 2016 Vice article on the state of NAMBLA (or what’s left of it), Tazelaar claimed that changing public opinion about such sexual activities would take decades. Thanks to well-meaning but misguided efforts of government researchers, however, his goal is on the fast track in some countries. 

In 2018 Madeleine van der Bruggen, a psychologist with the Netherlands’ National Rapporteur on Trafficking which researches child sex crimes, delivered a now-infamous TEDx Talk. “I truly do believe that every person is longing for love at some point in their life,” she said. “And what if this love that you really wish for will forever be impossible? That must be a very lonely situation to be in.” She then went on to deliver a spirited appeal to think of pedophiles as a sexual orientation and called for “clever solutions” and pleaded with the audience to imagine an acquaintance or relative being arrested. 

This section will be a lot of preaching to the choir, but adult-child sexual relationships, whatever their level of acceptance in other cultures, are not shown to be healthy according to any existing study. According to a Temple University study in 2019, youth before the age of 18 attain adult cognitive capacity at an average age of 16, but psychosocial maturity only at the age of 18. This “maturity gap” contradicts the notion that younger teens and children who have attained neither of those mental competency levels are capable of making decisions about sexual relationships. 

Another study from 2013 featured in World Psychiatry found that adults who had a history as child sex abuse victims were more prone to suicide and that the earlier the abuse occurred, the more frequently the subject would attempt suicide. There is no countervailing evidence that sexual abuse supports mental health. A 2019 Oxford University review of academic literature on the topic reveals that such activity has been linked to more frequent occurrence of later life health problems ranging from borderline personality disorder to obesity.

With the advent of the sexual liberation movement of the 1970s, normalizing previously taboo sexual lifestyles among adults, advocates of adult-child sexual relationships saw an opening to promote themselves as victims of persecution as well. In West Berlin in the 1960s, psychologist Helmut Kentler proposed that denial of sexual urges among children by their parents would make them into “sexual cripples.” Thanks to the receptive government of Mayor Willy Brandt, Kentler was able to receive funding to place homeless children with male pedophiles beginning in the early 1970s and continuing for decades. Many of the men who became foster parents and subsequently exploited the sheltered children were themselves educators at top-flight German universities and an elite private boarding school.

The content of BoyWiki and the Free Spirits Council websites blatantly echoes the same sentiments of NAMBLA and other pro-pedophilia advocates like those of the Kentler study, yet it carefully avoids the sharing of explicit sexual content and encourages users not to disclose private information or their own activities. In preparation for this story, I contacted the National Human Trafficking Hotline, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), and local police. An ICAC representative acknowledged by phone this week that the task force is aware of the BoyWiki website, but declined to respond when asked if it is under investigation. 

Great America

What Will AT&T Do When the Suits See What CNN Does to Profits?

An unfair comparison of AT&T CEO John Stankey and Admiral Takijiro Onishi of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

AT&T chief John Stankey is in a position not unlike that of Admiral Takajiro Onishi of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

In case you don’t recall, Admiral Onishi consolidated all Kamikaze activity under his command during World War II.

John Stankey, like Admiral Onishi, commands a consolidated AT&T, which includes Warner Media, whence he sprang, and its subsidiary, CNN.

CNN is run by Jeff “Mother” Zucker, who initiated the concept of journalistic Kamikaze attacks as his signature activity at the former news organization that once commanded a monopoly of global television news.

Stankey, the open-collared Joe Cool from Warner Media, finds himself at dear old buttoned-down AT&T, beset with minor problems like a sliding stock price, loss of customers from DirecTV, and a stockholder revolt if he lowers dividends.

Meanwhile, a lack of attention has led to his underling Banzai Zucker’s launching of waves of Kamikaze attacks on the president.

In the last few days, Zucker has not only catapulted his rotund, sock puppet doppelganger Brian “Macro Me” Stelter into the fray, but also his calorically-challenged pet piranha, April “Macro-She” Ryan. It is a determined, flashy, but utterly futile move against the USS Orange Man Bad. (Counterproductive comes to mind).

Like Admiral Onishi, John Stankey must be proud of his distant subordinates crashing into things and leaving only great smoking holes for their efforts.

First, Stelter, whose reptilian grin is well-matched to his reptilian brainpower, managed not only to shade the truth but to eclipse it completely.

This “media critic” (CNN shorthand for “Mall Rat Opportunist Turned Moonbat Propagandist”) somehow decided the rumor that Joe Biden doesn’t want to debate the president came from right-wing sources.

This is the height of lunacy!

Even a dunderhead like Stelter should know that everyone on the Right is looking forward to POTUS debating Biden, with the same focused anticipation as a seasoned trap shooter with his $150,000 Purdy 12-gauge shotgun awaiting the first clay pigeon. And the instantaneous disintegration that follows.

Perhaps Stelter could learn the keyword: “Pull!”

Contemporaneously, his female counterpart, April Ryan—former disc jockey, radio personality, and stupendous hypocrite—most noted for violence against journalists not seen since the Dragon Lady left the comic strips, proceeded on an illogical, vapid and completely baseless rant about POTUS being removed post-election by armed forces.

Meanwhile back in Dallas, one wonders if John Stankey, like Admiral Onishi before him, has any idea what’s going on.

He must know that CNN is part of the AT&T Empire. Does he know that some CNN folks are, like a vast horde of termites, eating up the credibility and profitability that could be achieved if CNN were actually a news organization?

It might be noted that Admiral Onishi realized his blunders too late, and showed his regret to the emperor by not using a kaishakunin.

What will John Stankey do when AT&T stockholders blame him for CNN’s cratering of the company’s overall profitability? Or God forbid, cutting the dividend?

Easy choice: “Mother” Zucker or 52 cents a share?

Great America

Institutional Wokeness Is Destroying American Higher Education

With the possible exception of narrowly targeted investments in science and technology, it is long past time to defund American higher education of every single taxpayer dollar.

The English department at Rutgers University, the eighth-oldest university in America, recently went woke. In an email obtained by The College Fix, Rebecca Walkowitz, English department chair, announced to faculty, staff and students that the department would implement a set of “anti-racist” initiatives. Lest the gullible be led astray by such anodyne phraseology, these initiatives include “limit(ing) emphasis on grammar/sentence-level issues so as to not put students from multilingual, non-standard ‘academic’ English backgrounds at a disadvantage.”

A pedagogical insistence on proper English grammar and syntax, you see, is now racist.

Once upon a time, in those halcyon days before America’s Great Awokening, education was heralded as the best ticket to success. Generations of hardworking immigrants arrived on these shores from the farthest-flung reaches of the globe, toiling away in menial, minimum-wage jobs to provide their children a greater chance at success. They strived to assimilate into our culture and integrate into our politics. Learning the English language was — and still is — a necessary steppingstone.

Alas, the leading lights of Rutgers University would now hold that steppingstone to be a hallmark of insensitivity. What was and still ought to be universally lauded is now condemned as an outmoded bigotry.

The Walkowitz missive represents yet another pawn in our roiling society-wide chess match between the Americanists, preservers of the American regime who rightly prize assimilation as necessary for a functioning body politic, and the civilizational arsonists, who espouse an anti-American, multiculturalist vision of intersectionality. The Rutgers English department rejects “e pluribus unum,” America’s traditional motto of unity, preferring instead to stoke the flames of divisiveness. Worse yet, those Rutgers feigns to help are the very ones who will be most hurt; their odds of assimilating, and therefore building distinctly American lives, will be most hindered.

Shortly before the Rutgers kerfuffle, it was Princeton University—a leading Ivy League light less than 20 miles to Rutgers’ southwest—that offered its own sacrifice at the pagan altar of wokeness. On Independence Day, hundreds of Princeton faculty members co-signed a disgraceful letter to Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber. That letter, echoing the worst of The New York Times‘ mendacious “1619 Project,” baldly asserted that “anti-Blackness is foundational to America.” The letter includes its own overtly racist elements, such as rewarding certain faculty members with extra privileges and perks based on nothing more than their melanin levels.

Princeton classics professor Joshua Katz dissented, penning a public “declaration of independence” four days later on Quillette. For his thoughtful, nuanced rejection of our harrowing new dogma, Katz was denounced in the public square, excoriated by Eisgruber, smeared as “abhorrent” on his own department’s website, publicly threatened with an investigation by a Princeton administration spokesperson and very nearly “canceled.”

Welcome to the world of American higher education in the year 2020, where up is down, left is right, good is bad, and right is wrong. William F. Buckley Jr.’s 1951 book, “God and Man at Yale,” famously painted a portrait of an elitist, parochial academe at war with America itself. Buckley could not have possibly imagined just how bad the situation would be a full seven decades later. U.S. taxpayers are on the hook—via subsidized student loans, over $1 trillion in student loan debt, calamitously spiked tuition, exacerbated administrator-to-faculty ratios, the hiring of ever-more diversitycrats and the intellectual poisoning of each new generation—for the very rope to hang ourselves.

Let’s be clear about this: We the people, one subsidized student loan and one gender-studies major at a time, are actively complicit in destroying the United States of America. The propagation of a noxious myth about college as an indispensable rite of passage has now come full circle to bite us in the derriere. Each generation that emerges from the smoldering ashes of the once-noble academy is further indoctrinated in insufferable anti-American, anti-Western, self-renouncing claptrap. There is nothing noble about bamboozling, on the taxpayer dime, impressionable teenagers into indebting themselves to major in unemployable “academic disciplines” nonetheless feted by the woke as cutting-edge scholarship.

How long a society can perdure while its educational apparatus is oriented toward churning out heavily indebted pompous ignoramuses is anyone’s guess. But we should not wait to find out. With the possible exception of narrowly targeted investments in science and technology, it is long past time to defund American higher education of every single taxpayer dollar.


Great America

The NHL Gets Woke

In what sense do professional hockey players “skate for black lives”? How does hockey, whether played well or poorly (or at all), “end racism” or bring about “better days”? Does the act of playing hockey “fix” racism?

The National Hockey League’s COVID-delayed playoffs began in earnest on Sunday. After months without hockey, I was keen to watch the best of the best compete for Lord Stanley’s Cup, the greatest trophy in all of sports.

But I was not permitted simply to enjoy the return of hockey—a sport on which I was reared and have played since I was 2 years old.

Instead, I discovered I had tuned in to a woke seminar.

While all the players ringed center ice, the stadium announcer’s voice boomed out a series of messages over the loudspeakers:

“We skate for you. We skate for the cup. We skate for better days. And today and always, we skate for the right reasons.”

And at that, suddenly the words “END RACISM” were emblazoned on the jumbotron. Ringing the arena on smaller screens was #WeSkateForBlackLives. OneRepublic’s “Better Days” played over it all.

It was just as Orwellian as it sounds. In what sense do professional hockey players “skate for black lives”? How does hockey, whether played well or poorly (or at all), “end racism” or bring about “better days”? Does the act of playing hockey “fix” racism?

Obviously it’s all nonsense. This was little more than ritualistic, saccharine, impotent (and very cheap) virtue-signaling by the NHL, done in the desperate hope that the antiracist mob might devour it last.

But it wasn’t over. Not even close.

The announcer then introduced Matt Dumba, a defenseman for the Minnesota Wild, who walked to center ice wearing a “Black Lives Matter” hoodie and brandishing a microphone.

My stomach lurched. I prayed he wasn’t about to do what I feared he would and reveal once and for all that my beloved sport finally had been colonized by fun-hating ideologues brimming with foolish, utopian schemes masquerading beneath the banners of “social justice” and “racial equality.” Would I be forced to pay respect to the NHL, now a mere husk of itself—a mouthpiece and force multiplier for modern-day white-people-hating racial essentialists?

Sadly, yes.

Even so, this event—Dumba’s speech (whose throat-clearing opening lines have been omitted for brevity’s sake)—is worth exploring in some depth because it’s not every day that we are presented with plainspoken “antiracist” rhetoric; usually, it’s mindless sloganeering designed to bludgeon dissenters into submission and eventual, artificial agreement by eschewing totally the art of persuasion, the coin of the realm in a self-governing republic such as ours.

“During this pandemic, something unexpected, but long overdue, occurred: The world woke up to the existence of systematic racism, and how deeply rooted it is within our society.” Attention citizens! The correct term is now “systematic racism.” Pay no attention to the fact that just five minutes ago, it was “systemic racism.” Such petty differences are, to these anointed wokesters, mere details; they are easily brushed aside by those who trod upon the righteous path to The Right Side of History.

Then, brimming with cloying sentimentality:

For those unaffected by systematic racism, or unaware, I’m sure that some of you believe that this topic has garnered too much attention during the last couple months. But let me assure you: It has not. Racism is a man-made creation, and all it does is deteriorate from our collective prosperity. Racism is everywhere. Racism is everywhere. And we need to fight against it. On behalf of the NHL and the Hockey Diversity alliance, we vow and promise to stand up for justice, and fight for what is right.

Protip: If you repeat things more slowly for emphasis, they become true! Take notes, Whitey.

“I know first hand, as a minority playing the great game of hockey, the unexplainable and difficult challenges that come with it. The Hockey Diversity Alliance and the NHL want kids to feel safe, comfortable, and free-minded every time they enter an arena.”

It was here that the cameraman made the unfortunate choice to zoom in on Malcolm Subban, a black man and one of the goalies for the Chicago Blackhawks. Can’t you just see how it went down? Some drone with a Wesleyan bachelor’s degree in communications and a minor in African American studies and the pancaked soul of a middle manager perked up in a brainstorming session and said, “How about—and just hear me out here—we zoom in on a black guy while another black guy is talking because they both think and act and feel exactly the same? That’s progressive, right?”

Our woke overlords fail to realize how insanely cringy and grossly dehumanizing this kind of behavior is. Why should we assume that Subban, just because of the color of his skin, agrees with Dumba’s speech? Are Subban’s experiences the same as Dumba’s? How would we know that—just because of the color of his skin?

When you stop and consider the message the camera’s zoom in on Subban is sending, you start to realize how, well, racist it is. You have to give yourself permission to think it, though, because that natural recognition process has been beaten out of us by ceaseless propaganda pumped out from the legacy media, K-12 education, the universities, and Hollywood. Don’t worry, no one will know you did this thinking unless you say something. So your job is still safe.

And after all that, we still have yet to assess one more sweet nugget of ridiculous gobbledygook: “I know first hand, as a minority playing the great game of hockey, the unexplainable and difficult challenges that come with it.”


If the “challenges” are “unexplainable,” how can Dumba accurately identify them—even to himself? And even if, by some miracle, he does know what these so-called unexplainable challenges are, how would he tell us about them so that they could be fixed (if that’s even what he and his comrades really want)? And again, to reiterate, why should any other black person necessarily agree with any of that? Because all black people think the same?

Dumba finished up as pathetically as he began:

So I stand in front of you today on behalf of those groups and promise you that we will fight against justice [sic]—[rather,] we will fight against injustice, and fight for what is right. I hope this inspires a new generation of hockey players and hockey fans. Because black lives matter. Breonna Taylor’s life matters.

Hockey is a great game, but it could be a whole lot greater. And it starts with all of us.

Hilariously, Dumba’s Freudian slip says it all. These people are not fighting for justice. How could they be, when our founding charter, the Declaration of Independence, identifies justice as the moral equality of all people and government by consent, not a racial caste system and government by force?

Further, nobody has said black lives don’t matter. Those who oppose the Marxist Black Lives Matter organization do so because it destructively inflames racial grievances and strikes at the core of Western civilization: the nuclear family, organized religion, private property, and civic friendliness.

At the close of the speech, Matt Dumba, a Canadian, knelt for the “Star-Spangled Banner”—becoming the first NHL player to do so—but he promptly stood up again for his own country’s anthem (because apparently “systematic racism” is a uniquely American problem; it’s funny how that works).

People watch sports to come together and escape rancorous partisan battles. The NHL has sold that, its noble purpose and birthright as a professional hockey league, for a mess of pottage: cheap, ignorant, racialized hatred.

And we’re all worse off for it.

Great America

Charge of the Lightfoot Brigade!

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to gin up counts for the 2020 Census in Chicago involves an interesting, if appropriate, mascot.

Ms. Hizzoner Lori Lightfoot, moonbat mayor of Chicago, continues on the megalomaniacal but slapstick path first blazed by the fictional Dr. Miguelito Loveless.

In her latest effort at legerdemain, she appealed to Chicagoans in West End wards to fill out their 2020 census questionnaires because Chicago needs more resources!    

This, of course, is the same Lori Lightfoot who, when offered assistance by POTUS because Chicago is burning and its citizens are being gunned down in the streets, insisted that Chicago needed no resources!

Then, in convoluted logic, she gathered the media to explain that as a child she loved “Batman” on TV. Whenever Gotham City was in trouble, the mayor would shine a searchlight with a bat on it into the night skies. At this point, the media anticipated the roar of the Batmobile. Instead, she reached into her podium, donned a slime green cowboy hat, and introduced . . . the Census Cowboy

Huh? What are you going to do, Mayor Lightfoot, shine a searchlight with an equine derriere?  While that might be an appropriate symbol of your reign, it might not be an effective means of communication.

At this point, a horse-borne cowboy appropriately dressed in what appeared to be a bulletproof vest trotted out with a black and green 2020 census flag. (Note that Census Cowboy appears to be a descendent of the Dread Head Cowboy, an all-purpose BLM protest symbol).   

He was “appropriately dressed” because in those wards, inside of 10 minutes any actual cowboy would be missing, the saddle and the bridle would have vanished, the horseshoes would be stripped, and the mare would be up on blocks in front of a barbeque joint.

So why did Mayor Lightfoot go from a Batmobile equipped with loudspeakers to a cowboy meant to tweak the neighborhoods? Given Chicago politics, when gathering Census forms (or mail-in ballots) a horse won’t leave tire tracks while canvassing cemeteries. 

One could easily visualize Lightfoot reaching into her rumpled blazer for three steel balls to massage in her palm, as she attempts the geometric logic of connecting her census cavalry to the Democratic Green New Deal: A horse doesn’t need gasoline and eats only grass (actual grass), and this will stop global warming because it will stop pollution. If you don’t count the pungent trail of horse dung characteristic of Democratic policy across America. 

Maybe some clever engineer in Chicago will build a giant searchlight that projects a horse’s ass into the sky.

The mayor would surely respond! The cowboy, flashlight in his teeth, would be too busy counting headstones.