Great America

Conservatism, Inc. Informs Us That Opposition to Lagoa Is Racist

With instructions like this, one can be forgiven for doubting that institutional conservatism wants to win.

For an alarming example of institutional conservatism’s response to the emerging conflict on the Right over judicial nominations, look no further than John Fund’s recent column arguing for Barbara Lagoa to get the nod over Amy Coney Barrett as the replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Fund’s piece is based on the absurdly pandering claim that Lagoa would be easier to confirm because Democrats will be wary of attacking a Hispanic nominee as they rely on Hispanic votes. This is daft.

Fund omits that the Democrats’ savaging of Miguel Estrada inaugurated their use of procedural tactics to close the federal bench to good nominees. Estrada being Hispanic failed to tame Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) then. Has anything happened since to make him feel any heat from Hispanic voters?

Fund’s claim is even weirder when you add the stakes in this nomination. The last vacancy in which an iconic liberal was replaced with a robust conservative followed Thurgood Marshall’s retirement in 1991. A few of the older kids might remember the dignified hearings over which Joe Biden presided on the nomination of one Clarence Thomas.

Is that the restraint into which Fund hopes Lagoa’s Cuban birth will shame Chuck Schumer?

John Fund is too experienced a political hand to forget the treatment Democrats gave Thomas and Estrada. So what is he doing? I have no brief against Judge Lagoa, but Fund’s arguments for her can only be read as capitulation in the face of victory. And the only counter he makes to critics on the Right is that they are—you guessed it—racists.

What are his talking points in her favor? And how persuasive are they? Any of them taken alone suggests unfamiliarity with the recent history of Republican Supreme Court nominations. But taken together, his piece amounts to a purposeful call to stack arms.

First, he argues that Lagoa’s nomination to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals last year had the support of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Planned Parenthood), whose defense of Roe v. Wade in confirmation hearing is as ill-informed as it is intransigent. So, if you want to make a transformative appointment based on Feinstein’s opinion, do you want the judge she easily voted for, or the one to whom she famously glowered “the dogma lives loudly in you.” Fund wants us to prefer the one Feinstein supported over the one Feinstein could only bigotedly denounce.

Fund also says Lagoa is the choice because her hearings were peaceful, while Barrett’s were only mostly peaceful. This is an attempted con, and you are the mark if you believe it. As if Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh were treated well as Supreme Court nominees because their confirmation to the circuit courts were nonevents.

John Fund is serious about grasping generational defeat from the jaws of unlooked-for victory: if you are a right-winger who is not sold on Barbara Lagoa, you just might be a racist.

Nothing about what is to come will be peaceful. Any competent political analyst would acknowledge that what the Democrats are preparing right now for whoever is nominated will be the most astonishing “shite show” in the history of the U.S. Senate. And yes, I include the caning of Charles Sumner on the Senate floor.

This confirmation will mark the most significant shift in the Supreme Court since Thomas was confirmed in 1991. And Thomas joining the court did not approach creating a Kennedy/O’Conner/Souter-proof majority. This nomination could do exactly that: a five-member squad that won’t need to deal with Chief Justice Roberts if they don’t want to. The entire Left will consider this worthy, in fact demanding of, their last desperate throw. They will leave no weapon unused.

Against the logic of this, does Fund think that the Left will stand down? It is incompetent to even imagine they would. Going into this den, why would you prefer a nominee who had an easy confirmation over one who has already stared down Feinstein and her unhinged colleagues and acquitted herself with mastery?

If this is not enough Expert Professional Conservatism, Fund informs us that Lagoa’s nomination would win Florida for Trump. Aside from the slight problem that a “go it safe, don’t anger the Left” nomination would certainly lose Trump the Great Lakes states and Mitch McConnell the Senate, that might be totally cool.

If it were even true. Home state Supreme Court nominations have no demonstrated track record of delivering that state for a president. Eisenhower appointed liberal William Brennen to the Supreme Court in 1956 ostensibly to woo New England liberals to the cause of his reelection. Eisenhower swept New England in both of his elections, along with most of the rest of the country, so there is no proof Brennen got him anything electorally. But Brennen stayed on the Court until 1990, contributing heavily to its leftward drift until he was replaced by David Souter, whom we were assured would be a “home run for conservatives.” Talk about being tired of winning.

That brings us to the reason conservatives might be skeptical of Lagoa, especially in comparison to Barrett. Where Barrett has such a solid paper trail, suggesting to almost all observers that she would vote to overturn Roe, Lagoa has been a judge since 2006 with little to indicate what she thinks of such things. Fund expertly assures us that her short time as a federal judge (following several years on the Florida bench) and lack of paper trail on constitutional questions should be no more a cause for concern on the Right than it was for, that’s right, David Souter.

At this point, I am wondering if Fund is trying to break into the sort of satire best left to the pros at the Babylon Bee and CNN.

But Fund is serious about grasping generational defeat from the jaws of unlooked-for victory: if you are a right-winger who is not sold on Lagoa, you just might be a racist. Good thing we have the expert professional conservative guidance to know that wanting the better choice for America’s future is evidence, as it always is, of racism.

With instructions like this, one can be forgiven for doubting that institutional conservatism wants to win.


Great America

The Loathsomeness of Reza Aslan

No one who was familiar with Aslan’s writings should have been terribly surprised by his Friday night tweet, which some would justifiably describe as an explicit threat of physical violence.

The tweet, sent out on the evening of September 18, only minutes after the announcement of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, was succinct and straightforward: “If they even TRY to replace RBG we burn the entire f—ing thing down.” Within hours, these words had been widely retweeted and commented upon. 

Apparently, it was the author’s most attention-getting tweet since January 19, 2019, when—in the wake of the instantly famous encounter at the Lincoln Memorial involving a group of polite MAGA cap-wearing boys from Covington High School in Kentucky, a drum-banging Native American provocateur named Nathan Phillips, and a trash-talking gang of Black Hebrew Israelites—the selfsame author posted the now-iconic picture of one of the boys, Nick Sandmann, standing calmly in the face of Phillips’ provocation, and wrote: “Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s?”

The author in question was Reza Aslan, who, when he himself was a kid, fled the Iranian Revolution with his parents for the United States, where he grew up in the Bay Area. He went on to collect a B.A. in religious studies from Santa Clara University, an M.A. in theological studies from Harvard, an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Iowa, and a Ph.D. in sociology from UC Santa Barbara. His first book, No god but God (2005), whitewashed Islam and blamed Islamic terror on Western imperialism; the predictable plaudits in such left-wing organs as the New York Times, New York Review of Books, Los Angeles Times, and Financial Times made it a “worldwide success” (The Guardian) and launched his career as a “multimedia force” (L.A. Review of Books). 

After his second book—which was entitled How to Win a Cosmic War (2009) in hardcover and Beyond Fundamentalism in paperback, and which, essentially, was more of the same—Aslan moved on to Christianity, depicting Jesus, in Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (2013), as a fanatical and faith-driven political rebel not unlike Osama bin Laden. Most recently, in God: A Human History (2017), Aslan summed up the history of monotheism in such a way as to make Islam, particularly in the form of Sufism, seem its natural apotheosis. 

In addition to his books, Aslan has served as a consultant on Islam for various media projects. He hosted a short-lived CNN religion series, “Believer,” on which, in one memorable episode, he ate part of a human brain. He’s sat on the board of the National Iranian American Council, which lobbies for the Mullahs in Iran, and he’s given talks under the auspices of groups linked to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. In several articles over the years, the indispensable Robert Spencer has documented Aslan’s chronic dishonesty about a wide range of topics, from Islam and Christianity to his own academic credentials.

One thing that Spencer repeatedly has pointed out is that Aslan is not terribly bright or well informed: he makes endless simple mistakes on subjects about which he poses as an expert and is a fount of spelling and usage errors. Yet dumb though he may be about a lot of things, he’s a genius at self-promotion. After 9/11, to borrow a phrase from George Washington Plunkitt, he seen his opportunities and he took ’em, making himself eminently useful to the media as an apologist for Islam. 

What repeatedly has gotten in the way of Aslan’s own attempt to maintain this image of serenity and equanimity is his own poisonous hatefulness, which frequently gets the better of him.

Presentable in appearance, measured in tone, he packaged himself at once as a standard-issue left-winger and as an authentic believer in an orthodox yet somehow “modern” Islam. Like the now-disgraced Tariq Ramadan, he was a “bridge-builder,” thoroughly assimilated into Western civilization, who sought nothing more than to educate Westerners about the beautiful beliefs and traditions of his faith—and thereby dispel the ugly suspicions that flow from ignorance. 

What repeatedly has gotten in the way of Aslan’s own attempt to maintain this image of serenity and equanimity, however, is his own poisonous hatefulness, which frequently gets the better of him. This phenomenon is not unique to Aslan. It can be observed in the cases of many Muslim public figures in North America and Europe who try to project a calming, moderate profile but who, in certain circumstances—for example, when strongly contradicted—can let the mask slip and sound, suddenly, like nothing so much as a firebrand imam calling for someone’s head. 

This has happened with Aslan again and again. In 2012, for example, he responded to a foolish comment by Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) by tweeting that he hoped Akin would be raped. He’s used the words “piece of s—” to describe Sean Hannity, former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, and both Donald Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. (He is particularly hostile to the president, whose supporters are, in his view, Islamophobes, possessed of a discomfort with Islam that has nothing to do with 9/11 and myriad other acts of jihadist terror but with insidious anti-Islam propaganda.) 

In May 2017, he called the president a “lying conniving scumbag narcissistic sociopath piece of s—.” A month later, following the London Bridge terrorist attack, the president tweeted: “We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” Instead of deploring the vile act of jihadist mass murder, Aslan condemned Trump’s utterly reasonable response: “This piece of s— is not just an embarrassment to America and a stain on the presidency. He’s an embarrassment to humankind.” 

This tweet was too much even for CNN, which cut Aslan loose as a result. But Aslan was undeterred. Discussing the incident with a reporter some months later, he reiterated, matter-of-factly: “The president is literally a piece of s—.” He hasn’t changed his mind on this subject: last fall, in the lead-up to the Trump impeachment hearings, Aslan tweeted that instead of trying to remove Trump from office, the Congress should “waterboard him instead.” 

Some may argue that you shouldn’t have to lose your job for criticizing a president, any president, even in scatological and violent terms. Fair enough. But Aslan’s disgusting tweet about Nick Sandmann was another story. At the time, Sandmann was an unknown kid from Kentucky; without the malicious, irresponsible media storm that broke around him and his friends that day, he might have lived a long and happy life without ever becoming a public figure. But that episode changed everything. He was soon a household name. And of the many inexcusable things that were written and said about him by people in positions of responsibility—people who should have known better—none were more reprehensible than Aslan’s: “Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s?” 

No one who was familiar with Aslan’s writings should have been terribly surprised by that tweet, which some would justifiably describe as a thinly veiled threat of physical violence. This was, after all, a man who, however civilized his prose, had made it his errand in one book after another, as well as in any number of essays and TV appearances, to downplay, relativize, excuse, and even defend the bloodthirsty perpetrators of Koran-inspired murder. If you’re capable of looking benignly upon killers of children, it’s no stretch at all to describe the face of a teenager whom you’ve never met before, and about whom you really know nothing except for that he supports the sitting president of the United States, as “punchable.” 

This year Sandmann sued ABC, CBS, CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Gannett, and Rolling Stone for millions of dollars for their depictions of him; he has since privately settled with CNN and the Post. While he has not yet taken legal action against Aslan, several other Covington students have done so, and have also filed suits against CNN’s Ana Navarro (who called the boys “racists”) and half a dozen or so other media figures, politicians, and activists. While we have yet to see how the suit against Aslan turns out, the fact that he has been called out in this very public way is exceedingly satisfying to observe. For this loathsome figure who had presented himself for years as an educator about Islam had, indeed, with a single malevolent tweet, taught millions of Americans a memorable lesson about the dark, destructive faith that animates him. 

Moreover, the violence implied in his Sandmann tweet was made thoroughly explicit in his tweet responding to the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. That the passing of a woman who, whatever you thought of her views, was famously civil in her interactions with political opponents, including her good friend Antonin Scalia, could evoke such a cry of rage only underscores just what kind of a monster hovers behind Aslan’s placid façade—and, indeed, beneath the surface of the savage ideology that calls itself a religion of peace. 

Great America

Randi Weingarten,
You’ve Been a Bad Girl

An open letter to the president of the American Federation of Teachers.

Yo Randi!

I am really concerned about you, girl! First, at Al Sharpton’s National Day of Action lefty-fest in Washington, D.C. a couple of weeks ago, you informed the throng that teachers are sooo frightened of going back to work that they’re “writing their wills.” Yet you delivered your rant mask-free and did not practice social distancing, spitting potential corona-cooties at the masses while doing so. Mercy! What were you thinking? (Also, just between us Yids, maybe keep some distance from that vile anti-Semite and tax cheat, Al Sharpton.)

Then, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) unveiled a new coronavirus relief package 10 days ago, you got a tad meshuge. The $300 billion proposal “focuses on some of the very most urgent health care, education, and economic issues.” But you were not happy, preferring instead the Democratic-led House $3 trillion HEROES Act, the largest spending bill in history. Actually, truth be told, you were more than “not happy.” In fact, you descended into serious snit-mode and called the $300 billion proposal “bulimic.”

Bulimic?! Ewww! I mean you could have said “anemic” or “paltry” or anything else frankly. Also, because the Republican package offers help for students who attend private schools, you became even angrier. “They’ve given a tax cut to rich people by basically saying that anybody is going to get a tax credit who wants to spend money for any kind of private schools but they have defunded and emasculated public education.” (Sidebar: Since you haul in almost $600,000 a year as a union boss, maybe go a little easier on “rich people.” After all, my dear, you yourself are a 1-percenter!)

But if you are really concerned about wealthy people sending their kids to private schools, I have an idea! How ‘bout we offer a voucher to the hoi polloi? That would give more power to parents and level the playing field.

No? Another bulimic move, huh, Randi?

Also, regarding your “defunding public education” comment, oy vey! Do you have any idea how much we spend on education in this country? Well, you apparently have been ignoring my blog posts and op-eds because I have written about this issue countless times. But don’t feel bad, much of the mainstream media spits out the same hooey as you.

Your friends at The Washington Post—the people who solemnly proclaim that “Democracy dies in darkness”—published a story in late 2019 which made the dark claim that “adjusting for constant dollars, public funding for schools had decreased since the 1980s.” Anyone who knows anything about this subject knows that this is just, well, “bulimic” to use your word.

But to Post’s credit, they came into the light, and admitted that they screwed up. The fact is that we now spend over $15,000 per K-12 student each year—almost double what we spent in 1980, and yes, that is correcting for inflation. Maybe now you will join the newspaper and finally stop banging the defunding drum.

Most sadly, the media and people like you have influence. A lot of it. According to a recent EdChoice survey, 80 percent of Americans underestimate the amount of money we spend on education.

I hope the truth about education spending has you feeling a bit better, Randi. If not, here’s something that’s sure to cheer you up! Between 1970 and 2017, the number of public school teachers increased 57 percent and non-teaching staff was up 151 percent, but there was only a 10.4 percent increase in students. Of course, the increased staffing and outlay had zero effect on student performance, but it sure increased the teachers’ unions’ bottom line big-time, didn’t it?

OK, OK, I suspect that you may be getting a wee bit defensive right about now, but let me explain. It’s not that I think you dislike children or want to do them any harm whatsoever. After all, I know you, and we’ve been friends for a long time. But it’s just that children are not your primary concern . . . or secondary . . . or tertiary for that matter. If they were, you wouldn’t be spreading myths about defunding and, more importantly, you wouldn’t constantly fight to deny parents the right to choose the best education fit for their child.

In closing, I know how busy you are these days, but if you ever get out my way, lunch is on me, Randi! But please, no references to bulimia while we are eating. Please. Looking forward!

All the best,


Editor’s note: This article first appeared at the California Public Policy Center. It is the sixth in a series of open letters to the president of the American Federation of Teachers. The first five may be read here.


Great America

Critical Race Theory Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg in Woke Government Training

President Trump can counter this dystopian vision with a more aggressive attack on diversity and inclusion training.

The Trump Administration put critical race theory on notice this month. The White House issued a directive outlawing the inclusion of exercises based on this theory in government training. “These types of ‘trainings’ not only run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our Nation has stood since its inception, but they also engender division and resentment within the Federal workforce,” the directive declared.

Government agencies, such as the Department of Education, followed the directive’s lead and now aim to root out this insidious indoctrination. The Education Department’s memo singles out training “that teaches, trains or suggests the following: (1) virtually all White people contribute to racism or benefit from racism (2) critical race theory (3) white privilege (4) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country (5) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil (6) Anti-American propaganda.”

This is a strong and correct move by President Trump. Researcher Christopher Rufo has done a phenomenal job exposing these racist, anti-American teachings. Critical race theory has no place in our government and it’s commendable that the president is doing something about it.

But it must be understood this only scratches the surface of the problem. These employees will still learn about the absolute necessity of “diversity and inclusion.” They may not hear the worst excesses that Rufo has exposed, but they will be taught about why they must strive to make their agency more politically correct.  The White House directive leaves diversity and inclusion material standing—a major component of government training. The Education Department’s memo affirms its diversity and inclusion training satisfies the White House directive. 

Diversity and inclusion training is just a mild form of critical race theory. You can see this from the many examples of diversity and inclusion training offered by government agencies. 

Consider the Department of Veterans Affairs training on the subject. In its standard PowerPoint, it criticizes the idea of the American melting pot and tells employees to think of America as a “vegetable soup instead.” It supports resistance to assimilation, with one bullet point declaring: “Members of various cultural groups may not want to be assimilated, they want their tastes, looks and texture to remain whole.” The PowerPoint extols diversity as the greatest thing ever, claiming there is a business, economic, and human imperative for this trait. 

“Diverse teams are more creative and perform better in problem-solving than homogeneous teams,” the training states. It also argues: “the human costs of intolerance to diversity is incalculable.” The training curiously blames the 1986 Challenger disaster on NASA’s lack of diversity. The presentation also presents a case where an employee is supposed to overlook a Costa Rican worker’s tardiness and lack of apology due to cultural differences.

This is less outrageous than teaching employees to hate whites or whites to hate themselves, but it is still left-wing indoctrination. 

Some departments are even keeping critical race theory training and simply changing the name. On Monday, Rufo exposed a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention teaching series that demands white employees acknowledge their privilege and claims America was founded on white supremacy. Thankfully, the administration announced the session was canceled soon after it was exposed, but there could be many more like it skirting the president’s directive. 

Sources tell me that the proposed directive was supposed to target all diversity training. That would make perfect sense, since much of the material and coursework also encourages white privilege-checking and anti-American views. But administration officials, fearful of a backlash, scrapped this expansive plan in favor of one more narrow in its aim at critical race theory training. 

Of course, it’s good that government employees will no longer be subjected to the more radical versions of diversity training. White employees won’t be told directly they’re racist and that they need to check their white privilege. They also probably won’t be told that America was founded on white supremacy and racial exploitation.

But the directive does not eradicate the woke rot within our government. The new plan merely restores the government’s level of indoctrination back to how it was under Barack Obama. Sadly, this training is not just limited to the government—nearly every corporation imposes some form of this indoctrination on their employees. Some corporations are implementing the radical anti-white training the administration is scrapping for government employees.

The Democrats want all of this to be expanded in the public and private sectors. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) introduced legislation in July that would demand more diversity and inclusion initiatives from government agencies and contractors. Under the legislation, agencies and contractors would have to submit diversity plans to boost this most cherished project in their offices. 

“Our Federal Jobs Act strives to make a government by the people and for the people, look more like the people it represents. Increasing diversity in the workplace also creates a culture of inclusion that is reflected in the policies and programs advanced by the federal agencies, giving visibility and a voice to communities that are often left behind,” Menendez said of his bill.

Democrats also have legislation targeting private companies to make sure they comply with the diversity cult. The Promoting Diversity and Inclusion Act of 2019 is one such example. The bill would rate financial institutions based on how much they promote diversity and inclusion, essentially making this trait equivalent to a bank’s assets. 

“When you have power, you have to use it,” said bill sponsor Rep. Al Green (D-Texas). “We have the power. Regulations may be the thing to do. I think the carrot was a good idea, but after having heard some things today, I think we have to move to the stick, that’s regulations.”

“Move to the stick” is a good summary for how a government entirely controlled by the Democrats will promote diversity.

Trump can counter this dystopian vision with a more aggressive attack on diversity and inclusion training. America is a meritocracy that should not prize workers based on skin color. It should focus on training the best workers to do their jobs effectively. Diversity training shifts employee and employer focus toward left-wing imperatives and away from getting the job done right. It’s anti-American and a waste of resources. 

In the words of our president, this is a sickness that cannot be allowed to continue.

Great America

A Collection of Liars

There is nothing at all comical about the implosion of the American media.

How quaint this admonition from Dr. Johnson seems today: “Accustom your children constantly to this,” Johnson told Boswell; “if a thing happened at one window, and they, when relating it, say that it happened at another, do not let it pass, but instantly check them; you do not know where deviation from truth will end.”

Where is Dr. Johnson when we need him? How well could we profit from his scruples when it comes to the question of truth. For we live at a time when truth is everywhere under attack. I am not talking about anything arcane or polysyllabic: just plain, factual truth, as in “The battle of Agincourt took place in October 1415” or (more generally) “the documents support my claim and do not support his” or “the police station has been torched; this is not a peaceful protest but a riot.”

It is perhaps easy enough to discount some of the more florid examples of the assault on truth. I daresay that few sensible people take seriously the claims of Holocaust deniers. What is significant, however, is the way in which such extreme doctrines tend to be dismissed. Increasingly, they are repudiated not as pernicious falsehoods—the response that Dr. Johnson would have insisted upon—but as more or less unfortunate “perspectives” or “points of view,” the gospel being that everyone is “entitled” to his own such hobbyhorse, no matter how flagrantly at odds with the truth it might be. Never mind that such an attitude not only disparages truth but also erodes the legitimacy of serious opinion.

There are no doubt many reasons for this development. One important reason is the degree to which Western intellectual elites—in the media, the world of culture, and above all in the academy—have reneged on their commitment to truth. This abdication has a long and complex heritage. And it comes in many forms and degrees of finality, from various modes of trial separation to, in extreme cases, irrevocable divorce. 

Downgrading Facts

As always in the world of ideas, what matters is not so much the existence but the influence and prevalence of such commitments. In the present case, the cavalier attitude toward truth has reached epidemic proportions. It has, indeed, become part of the intellectual furniture of our age, presupposed rather than argued for.

One depressing sign of this situation is the absolute horror with which the idea of “objective truth” is regarded in chic academic circles today—and, increasingly, in the decidedly nonacademic circles of elite cultural opinion. Another sign is the widespread tendency to downgrade facts to matters of opinion—a tendency that follows naturally from the rejection of objective truth. 

This shows itself in the amazingly prevalent assumption that truth is “relative,” i.e., that the truth of what is said depends crucially upon the interests, prejudices, even the sex or ethnic origin of the speaker rather than—well, than the truth or falsity of what the speaker says. 

The basic idea is that truth somehow is invented rather than discovered. Typical of this position is the feminist complaint about “male-centered” or “white-centered” epistemologies that make false claims to universality (another word that inspires panic) or objectivity.

The British historian Simon Schama provided a more genteel expression of this attitude toward truth in the afterword to his best-selling harlequinade, Dead Certainties. “The claims for historical knowledge,” Schama assured his readers, “must always be fatally circumscribed”—fatally circumscribed, mind you—“by the character and prejudices of its narrator.” In other words, the limitations of the historian make the achievement of historical truth impossible. 

How many college-educated people today would dare to dissent from this assertion? Schama was at pains to deny that his was a “naïvely relativist position”; yet at bottom, his claim is little more than a chummy periphrasis for Nietzsche’s famous declaration of nihilism: “There are no facts, only interpretations.” 

It is unfortunate that we lack a squadron of Dr. Johnsons: they might remedy the situation considerably by applying a series of refutations like that delivered against Bishop Berkeley’s idealist philosophy. Except in the case of Michel Foucault, who might have grown overly fond of Johnson’s method of refutation, the results would almost certainly be salutary.

Nihilism in the Academy

Not surprisingly, the flight from truth has had especially devastating consequences in the academy. Among other things, it has undermined the integrity of many academic disciplines—has, in fact, done much to undermine the very idea of an academic “discipline,” that is to say, a field of study with a generally agreed upon subject matter and shared tools of inquiry.

The dizzy proliferation of “studies” programs is an important sign of this decay. Women’s studies, LGBTQ+ studies, African-American studies, Chicano studies, peace studies, textual studies: the metastasis of these and other such pseudo-subjects in the academy betokens not the extension but the breakdown of academic disciplines. 

It is worth stressing that such programs, though advertised as “cross-disciplinary,” in reality are anti-disciplinary; they require not the mastery of multiple disciplines but the abandonment of disciplinary rigor for the sake of fostering a prescribed ideology. 

The paradigm of all such efforts is “cultural studies,” an alarmingly popular intellectual solvent that is characterized not by its subject—which can be anything at all—but by its attitude. The two mandatory ingredients for cultural studies are 1) political animus and 2) hostility to factual truth. “Content” is entirely discretionary.

To date, the assault on truth in the academy seems to have been most damaging to the study of literature—partly because departures from factual truth are not always so readily detectable when the subject is literature, partly because departments of literature were among the first to capitulate to such trendy and destructive fads as deconstruction, structuralism, and cultural studies in all their unlovely allotropes. 

But few if any subjects have escaped unscathed. Philosophy, law, art history, psychology, anthropology, sociology: all have been playing an aggressive game of catch-up with literature departments in this regard. Even history, whose raison d’être, one might have thought, was a commitment to factual truth, has suffered. So, too, the natural sciences: the theory and philosophy of science—if not yet the actual practice of science—have increasingly become hostage to sundry forms of epistemological incontinence, as the logic and substance of science is deliberately confused with the sociology of science. 

According to some observers, such ideas have even begun making headway in schools of business management and accounting—though regrettably not, it seems, among those accountants employed by the Internal Revenue Service. I remember a splendid chap called Nicholas Fox, who lectures in English medical schools, who in his book Postmodernism, Sociology and Health assured readers that such terms as “patient” and “illness” are “sociological fictions” that can be cleared up by “elements of feminist theory and Derridean concepts of différance and intertextuality.”

Malodorous Fumes Escape the Academy

But if the progress of this assault on truth has been most conspicuous in the university, its colonization of more workaday precincts of society has been startling. This is something that Attorney General William Barr underscored in an interview with Townhall Friday. “They’re basically a collection of liars,” he said, summing up the behavior of “most of the mainstream media.”

They’re a collection of liars and they know exactly what they’re doing. A perfect example of that [was] the riots. Right on the street, it was clear as day what was going on, anyone observing it, reporters observing it, it could not have escaped their attention that this was orchestrated violence by a hardened group of street fighting radicals and they kept on excluding from their coverage all the video of this and reporting otherwise and they were doing that for partisan reasons, and they were lying to the American people. It wasn’t until they were caught red-handed after essentially weeks of this lie that they even started feeling less timid.

Does anyone doubt this? If you were to ask representatives of the Fourth Estate point-blank about Barr’s claim, they would sputter, roll their eyes, and tell you that the attorney general is the despicable tool of Donald Trump, a man too low to warrant the epithet “despicable.” 

But would they deny the charge? Tricky, because at least since the New York Times admitted (or do I mean “bragged”) that it had given up even trying to cover Donald Trump fairly it has been an open secret that the media does not cover the news—i.e., things that happen—it reinforces The Narrative, the storyline that this week’s wardens of wokeness tacitly agree upon. 

The Times’ admission that it had given up on telling the truth came in 2016. Since then, the declivity has been both rapid and steep. 

The Times is a poster child for this development, but it is merely a representative poster child. We’ve heard the word “pandemic” a lot recently as people scurry about trying to discover ways of exploiting our latest Chinese import. Something that is politically and morally more toxic than the coronavirus is the pandemic of mendacity in the media. I suspect many—maybe most—people understand this, which is why public distrust of the media is skyrocketing.

Barr is right that “the national mainstream media . . . has dropped any pretense of professional objectivity and are political actors, highly partisan who try to shape what they’re reporting to achieve a political purpose and support a political narrative that has nothing to do with the truth.” Not only that, “[t]hey’re very mendacious about it,” a development that is “very destructive to our Republic,” partly because the partisanship and mendacity are so one-sided, partly because it is so “monolithic.”

Escape from Mendacity

If you are able to distance yourself from the realities being described—or, rather, misdescribed—the procedure can seem comical. 

I think back, for example, to May when an MSNBC reporter stood in front of a burning police station and assured his viewers that the “protests” were “not generally speaking unruly,” or—a more recent case—when a CNN reporter described the mayhem in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as a “fiery but mostly peaceful protest.” This prompted a spate of parodies, including one that substituted an image of the burning Hindenburg behind the hapless reporter (“Hindenburg completes fiery but mostly successful journey”).

But in fact, there is nothing at all comical about the implosion of the American media. Their derelictions, as the attorney general observed, constitute a threat to the Republic. I’m told that only a tiny percentage of the voting public gets its news primarily from the mainstream media. That is consoling.

Less heartening is the reflection that the mainstream media nevertheless exerts a disproportionate influence on the climate of elite opinion. Their “fiery but mostly peaceful” yarns have done serious damage to the horizon of shared assumptions that makes our public life together inhabitable. These liars—to employ the attorney general’s apposite term—squeal like stuck pigs when the president refers to these scribes and broadcasters as purveyors of “fake news.” 

But the president is right about that, just as he is right to call them “enemies of the people.” Their irresponsibility has been toxic since the days of Richard Nixon. It went on steroids with the election of Donald Trump. 

Now, in the midst of riots in Democratic-run cities across the country, as we head into the final stretch of what is perhaps the most consequential presidential election since 1860, they have joined the forces of dissolution and anarchy. 

I am delighted that someone of the stature and authority of Bill Barr has called them out with Johnsonian frankness. I hope it will prove to be a tonic preliminary to some sort of reckoning. 

Greatness Agenda

It’s Not a Conspiracy If It’s Out in the Open

As the global neoliberal corporatists openly tell us what they are up to, there are a few inconvenient truths we cannot ignore.

The party line used to be there is no such thing as globalism—no one wants to eliminate nations and only conspiracy theorists believe in a New World Order, one-world government campaign going on. If you were to say you opposed globalism, the response would be “What size tin-foil hat do you wear?”

That was then. This is now. The globalists no longer hide their plans.

While everyone else is asked, cajoled, or shamed into wearing masks, the globalists have let theirs slip.

The crowd from Davos—the World Economic Forum, a.k.a. the High Church of Globalism—now openly pushes something they call “The Great Reset”—essentially the Great Globalist Reset. According to its promoters, it will end inequality, racism, climate change, and, of course, coronavirus. Make no mistake, this is about more than vaccines.

“The world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions,” the oligarchs of the World Economic Forum helpfully advise. “Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed.” (Emphasis added.)

Governments should improve “coordination” in tax, regulatory, and fiscal policy, and implement “long-overdue reforms that promote more equitable outcomes.” Such reforms include “wealth taxes,” eliminating “fossil-fuel subsidies,” and new regulations on intellectual property, trade, and competition.

These “long-overdue reforms” carried out in “coordination” will “advance shared goals, such as equality and sustainability … reimagine, and reset our world to create a healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous future … and urgently build the foundations of our economic and social system for a more fair, sustainable and resilient future,” a “new social contract centred on human dignity, social justice and societal progress.”

Sounds like an intersectional Green New Deal “new normal” on a global scale, what Hudson Institute scholar John Fonte has dubbed “transnational progressivism.”

An Old Idea in Slick New Packaging

On the practical governance level, the Reset is nothing other than rule by a global technocratic-corporate elite.  Just as Brussels has stripped Europe’s national parliaments of decision-making powers, the Resetters would arrogate to themselves the authority to set economic, energy, immigration, and trade policies.

Their plan is not new. 

George Ball, a Wall Street grandee who served in the State Department under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, laid out the globalist game plan before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress in 1967:

the multinational corporation must be able to operate with little regard for national boundaries—or . . . restrictions imposed by individual national governments . . . commercial, monetary, and antitrust policies—and even the domiciliary supervision of earth-straddling corporations—will have to be increasingly entrusted to supranational institutions.

This required “a considerable erosion of the rigid concepts of national sovereignty” and the elimination of the “antiquated political structures in which most of the world is organized”—in other words, sovereign nation-states—Ball told the lawmakers. 

But even then, 53 years ago, the globalist plan was not new.

U.S. Representative Bertrand Gearhart (R-Calif.) was onto the game 20 years earlier, in 1947.

The State Department had been pushing an International Trade Organization headquartered in Geneva, something that indeed would come into being decades later as the World Trade Organization. 

Gearhart described Foggy Bottom’s negotiators as “boatloads of smug diplomats, all-wise economists, experts, theorists, specialists and whatnots sailing gaily from our shores to barter away our economy, not in the interest of American prosperity, our standard of living, the welfare of our people, but in the interest of world uplift, of international do-gooding.” 

“When the truth is told and the facts become known, the trade-agreements program will be revealed as . . . no less than a plot to merge the American economy with that of the world,” Gearhart predicted. “This, despite an inevitable destruction of our standard of living, our high wage scales, and our most favorable working conditions, in all of which is inextricably involved the American way of life… The danger at Geneva is a reckless disregard of America’s welfare . . .  a determination to substitute international control for domestic control.”

The smart set dismissed Gearhart and his colleagues as kooks, or worse, as nativists and racists.

Coronavirus Is the Battering Ram

But even as elite opinion-mongers told the public dismantling national sovereignty was a fever dream of right-wing lunatics, amongst themselves they discussed how to do it. The Outer Party preached patriotism while the Inner Party practiced globalism.

Strobe Talbott served in Bill Clinton’s State Department when the World Trade Organization was founded. He now heads the Brooking Institution or the “we must cooperate with China” think-tank. 

Talbott in 1992 described “The Birth of the Global Nation” in Time magazine: “Countries are . . . artificial and temporary. . . .Within the next hundred years . . . nationhood as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority. A phrase briefly fashionable in the mid-20th century—“citizen of the world”—will have assumed real meaning by the end of the 21st.”

Richard Gardner, a respected diplomat and Bill Clinton’s ambassador to Spain, explained: “The ‘house of world order’ will have to be built from the bottom up. . . . An end-run about national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece, will accomplish much more than a frontal assault.”

Now, after decades of erosion, the Resetters are ready to storm the ramparts. 

Coronavirus has replaced climate change as the preferred battering ram.

“There are many reasons to pursue a Great Reset, but the most urgent is COVID-19,” Davos Man tells us. “There is an urgent need for global stakeholders to cooperate in simultaneously managing the direct consequences of the COVID-19 crisis.”

The pandemic has an immediacy whereas climate change lies in the future. But whatever the problem, the solution remains the same: greater global coordination and cooperation.

Or as the Resetters tell us, “stronger and more effective governments“ along with “private-sector engagement every step of the way.” Strong government working hand-in-glove with private capital?  I seem to recall there’s a name for that setup.

Beijing Looms Large

And with whom is all this cooperation supposed to happen?  The parties responsible for creating the problem in the first place? Well, naturally, it is the Chinese Communist Party and its enablers, the multinational corporations and banks. 

At the same time, we are told we should coordinate with the World Health Organization and collaborate with Beijing to create a vaccine against the China virus. Never mind, as the New York Times tells us, the Chinese have been rummaging through the files of the WHO to steal any information they can find to gain a national advantage in the vaccine race.

As the global neoliberal corporatists openly tell us what they are up to, there are a few inconvenient truths we cannot ignore. 

The CCP is using the structures and institutions of the post-war international rules-based order as a Trojan horse to advance its goal of subjugating the industrial democracies of the West, foremost among them the United States.  

Too many of the cheerleaders of that international order are blind to that fact, whether wittingly or unwittingly. While they have been dragged kicking and screaming into acknowledging the need to reform the WTO, for example, or to address the CCP’s multitudinous abuses, they remain unable to explain just how they would do it. “Dialogue” and “working with allies” are platitudes, not strategies.  

The fact remains many of those internationalist cheerleaders are hopelessly compromised when it comes to China—financially, philosophically, or both. 

The architects of the China engagement policy have yet to admit their error and issue full-throated apologies. We have heard no such mea culpas from Bill Clinton, Larry Summers, or the cadre of foreign policy “experts” likely to staff a Biden Administration.

Such apologies will not come easy.  Their China policies were not one-offs, after all. They are cut from the same cloth as their grand design, which is the integration of sovereign nations into a seamless global economic order, its rules set by a central executive authority. Pull the China thread and the whole fabric unravels.  

The undeniable fact is this: The apparatchiks of a Biden Administration would be down with the Great Reset; it’s what they were taught to believe and what they have worked to build for decades. 

Conveniently, the new administration wouldn’t have to wait long to salute the new order. The Great Reset will be the theme of a summit in January 2021, convened by the World Economic Forum.

Great America

America Is in Danger of Becoming a Byword to the World

Blind rage is driving events in America’s own “Age of Dreyfus.”

Toward the end of the 1969 political thriller “Z,” a senior Greek army officer, long a pillar of the establishment, finds himself accused of murder for involvement in the 1963 assassination of the leftist politician Grigoris Lambrakis. Striding angrily out of the prosecutor’s office, the officer must make his way through a crowd of reporters and photographers, one of whom asks him, “Are you a martyr like Dreyfus?” His spluttering reply: “Dreyfus was guilty!

Thus did the notorious “Dreyfus Affair” reverberate across Europe more than a half-century after its conclusion. In brief, French Captain Alfred Dreyfus was convicted in 1894 of treason and sent to Devil’s Island for supposedly betraying military secrets to Germany, France’s mortal enemy. Two years later, the real culprit was discovered, but rather than admit its mistake, the Army covered it up and reaffirmed the original conviction. 

When celebrated writer Émile Zola took up the Dreyfus cause, the affair exploded into a full-blown culture war, pitting anti-clerical, anti-“militarist” intellectuals against anti-Semitic elements in the Army and the Catholic Church (Dreyfus was Jewish). 

Dreyfus was finally exonerated in 1906 and reinstated in the Army, serving honorably in World War I. But for his countrymen, questions of his guilt or innocence had long since been superseded by the bitterness, even the rage they felt against one another. 

The result was to make the Dreyfus affair a byword for foolish political hysteria. Among the nations, it gave France her worst black eye since the Reign of Terror.

Two illustrations of this:

  • The early 20th-century American satirical cartoonist Gluyas Williams included among his many full-page illustrations of the human comedy a picture of the proceedings of a certain legislative assembly. At the tribune, an orator is in full flight, weeping, gesturing with one hand, and holding a handkerchief with the other. Behind him, the presiding officer yawns and the clerks to either side show head-in-hands boredom. But all else is bedlam. Members applaud or boo, and glare at each other for it. One kicks another in the shins. Members tear their hair, they tug at their beards, they climb the tribune to cheer the speaker on or they stand in the well of the house, challenging him to come down and fight. One member pounds the wall, another lies flat, drumming his heels on the floor. Another tears a sheaf of papers to shreds, like Nancy Pelosi during the last State of the Union address. Yet another aims a revolver at his own head, while his colleagues seek to dissuade him from pulling the trigger. In the backbenches, a phalanx of patriots waves the tricolor and sings “La Marseillaise.”

    The drawing’s title? “The French Chamber of Deputies Debates a Minor Appropriation Bill.”
  • When, in 1982, Argentina suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Great Britain in the Falklands War, Argentine strongman Leopoldo Galtieri’s Italian roots (a heritage shared by more than half his countrymen) gave currency to this contemptuous comment: “An Argentine is an Italian who speaks Spanish, wishes he were British, and acts like he is French.”

    So Argentina’s humiliation became the punchline for a joke about France. And that was 13 years before “The Simpsons’” Groundskeeper Willie coined the phrase “cheese-eating surrender monkeys.”

No one wants to become a byword to the nations as France did. We Americans certainly don’t want our country to go that way. We like to think of the United States as a “shining city on a hill.” That’s what Ronald Reagan called her, referring to the sermon John Winthrop preached in 1630 while bound for Massachusetts. What few people now realize is that Reagan had turned an admonition into a boast. Here’s what Winthrop actually said:

For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God, and all professors for God’s sake. We shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whither we are going.

Winthrop didn’t use the word “shining.” If he had, and if we had begun dealing falsely with our God, as he feared we might do, then our shining would likely strike him the way John Randolph once described a political rival: “He is a man of splendid abilities but utterly corrupt. He shines and stinks like rotten mackerel by moonlight.

The question of whether we shall end up dealing falsely with our God is, I regret to say, very much an open one. But I don’t raise this byword business to drive home Winthrop’s point, well-taken as it may be, nor to expatiate on the ongoing feud between Donald Trump and his Democratic foes, for all of Pelosi’s paper-shredding tantrums.

After all, Trump, despite the endless calumnies his enemies have thrown at him, has yet to take ship for Devil’s Island. He is not what is making America a byword through the world. It is our race relations that threaten to do that.

Race has always been a black eye for us. Back in 1775, the English writer Samuel Johnson answered our complaints about “taxation without representation” with the retort, “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?” Sometimes the black eye has worked in our favor. During our Civil War, distaste for slavery helped keep a cotton-starved Britain from intervening in favor of the Confederacy and thus breaking the United States apart. Other times, it has worked against us. In the heyday of the Soviet Union—long before “Russian meddling” supposedly tipped the 2016 election in Trump’s favor—condemnation of American race relations was a constant theme in communist propaganda. (Billy Wilder included a throwaway gag about that in his 1961 Cold War comedy, “One, Two, Three.”)

What stands out is this: Despite all the progress America has made over the years—the abolition of slavery, the integration of the military and of professional and collegiate sports, the prohibition of racial discrimination in education, employment, housing, and public accommodations, the acceptance of interracial marriage, even the election and reelection of an  African-American as president of the United States—racial strife is afflicting us as much as ever.

I won’t even try to analyze all the causes for that, let alone try to offer solutions for each one. Better men than I are already hard at it. Let me instead focus on just one aspect of the problem: violent encounters between police officers (or in one case a neighborhood watch volunteer) and unarmed black men.

These are the flashpoints for rioting, as they were in the 1960s. They also paint America in the strongest resemblance to the France of the Dreyfus Affair. For while some officers’ handling of black men has been so clearly wrong that no one disputes it—the death of Walter Scott, for example—other notorious examples look much different upon closer examination than they first appeared. Yet some Americans are too caught up in bitterness and rage against other Americans either to know or care about such findings.

Consider the following four cases.

Rodney King. America was shocked in 1991 when a bystander’s video of Los Angeles police beating King came to light. I remember reading aloud to my family a George F. Will column denouncing the officers involved. But the video, which covered only the last part of the struggle, did not give a complete picture.

King, a convicted robber who feared having his parole revoked if he was arrested for DUI, had led officers on a high-speed chase (over 100 mph at one point). Once the cops finally pulled him over, they ordered him and his two passengers (both black) to exit the car and lie face down with hands behind the back so they could be handcuffed. The passengers complied and, having committed no crimes, were later released unharmed. King likewise could have escaped harm, but he chose to fight instead.

Not wanting to risk killing King, the sergeant in charge ordered everyone to holster their guns. Four officers then “swarmed” him, one on each hand and foot, so as to wrestle the cuffs onto him. King, who was buffed by the use of prison weightlifting equipment, shook them off. The police next tried tasing him, but the intoxicated man shook that off, too. That’s when the batons came out. Careful not to strike his head, officers rained blows on his limbs and torso, pausing between salvos to give him a chance to comply. His rolling around under this onslaught, which looks so pitiable on the videotape, showed the cops he was determined to keep resisting. Finally, King said, “Please stop.” He still wasn’t in the required compliance posture, but those words ended the beating. The officers swarmed him again, and he was cuffed, hogtied, and sent off to the hospital.

The force used was the minimum necessary, because of King’s own choices, to effect his arrest safely. What were the cops supposed to do, just let him walk away? When a California jury heard it all, it found the four officers charged in the beating “not guilty.” But when that verdict was announced in 1992, people who hadn’t been paying attention were amazed. Few wanted to hear the jury’s reasons for its verdict. Instead, Los Angeles saw the worst rioting since the 1960s.

Trayvon Martin. When neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed Martin in 2012, no video existed to set people off on the wrong foot. But the media accomplished that anyway, through means such as the choice to deceptively edit a police dispatcher’s recording to make it appear that Zimmerman had focused on Martin because “he looks black” rather than because of any suspicious behavior, and the choice to call Zimmerman a “white Hispanic,” the better to support a racial oppression narrative. (Hispanics do come in all colors, as white as Marco Rubio or as black as Roberto Clemente, but Zimmerman, whose mother is Peruvian, is as brown as any San Antonio Mexican.)

When Zimmerman went to trial in 2013, the jury found no reason to doubt testimony that Martin, angered at being shadowed by the watch volunteer while walking around in the gated community, confronted Zimmerman, knocked him down, pounded his head against a concrete sidewalk, and continued punching him, cursing him and threatening to kill him, with him screaming for help all the while, until Zimmerman drew his pistol and fired one shot, killing Martin. Police dispatcher tapes, photos of Zimmerman’s injuries, and neighbors’ eyewitness accounts corroborated that version of events, and the verdict was “not guilty.”

The moral of this story might have been, “Before you try to beat a guy’s brains out, check to make sure he’s not packing heat.” But that’s not the lesson that was drawn. Instead, people went full Dreyfus. Retaliatory assaults against whites ensued around the country, along with a few larger disturbances, though nothing to compare with the L.A. riots. The verdict did, however, inspire a woman named Alicia Garza to use the phrase “black lives matter” in a Facebook post, and that led to the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Michael Brown. BLM really got going after Brown was shot to death in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. Rioting started the very next day. Ferguson went up in flames, and what Heather Mac Donald has called “the Ferguson effect” had police departments drawing back from “proactive policing” nationwide. Yet in this case, the evidence that Officer Darren Wilson was justified in shooting Brown was so clear that a grand jury declined to indict Wilson and a federal civil rights investigation also cleared him. Brown didn’t put his hands up in surrender, and he didn’t say “Don’t shoot.” He did punch Wilson and wrestle him for his gun, and he did charge toward him as the fatal shots were fired. But that didn’t stop people from chanting “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” all over the country. The facts of the case just don’t matter to Black Lives Matter.

George Floyd. As in the Rodney King beating, we have video of Floyd dying while pinned to the ground by Minneapolis police officers on May 25 this year. As in the Michael Brown shooting, rioting in response to the case began immediately, in many cities around the country, with everyone from BLM and Antifa to President Trump decrying Floyd’s death and vowing punishment. I myself called what was done to Floyd “clearly a cruelty, likely a crime, and certainly not good police work.”

But then I read George Parry’s American Spectator article, “Who Killed George Floyd?” “Why couldn’t Floyd breathe, and how did he die?” Parry asks. “The clear answers to those questions are to be found in his toxicology report, which overwhelmingly and unerringly supports the conclusion that Floyd’s breathing difficulties and death were the direct and undeniable result of his ingestion of fentanyl mixed with methamphetamine.” Floydwho repeatedly had cried “I can’t breathe” while he was still standing and also while he was sitting, well before he ended up lying on the groundhad 11 nanograms per milliliter of fentanyl in his blood. People have died from fentanyl overdoses of as little as 3 ng/mL, with symptoms identical to those Floyd exhibited.

The police had already called for an ambulance for Floyd before they pinned him down, and one of them gave him CPR on the way to the hospital. But he was already dying before they ever touched him. Parry—a former federal and state prosecutor who for five years investigated cases of police brutality for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office—doesn’t think the cops in the Floyd case should be on trial at all. “Who killed George Floyd?” Parry asks. “He did.”

Does any of this matter, in America’s own “Age of Dreyfus”? I wish I could say it does. For now, blind rage is driving events, and we indeed are becoming a byword throughout the world. Bringing us out of it would require someone as famous and as courageous as Emile Zola to shout “J’Accuse!” to our country’s cultural masters, to the ones who are cultivating that rage. Pray that someone will, and soon. 

Great America

Facts Be Damned

The media and those who want to curry favor with the media have a dual agenda.

Every left-wing radical who thinks of himself as a “journalist” with his camera phone and Twitter account knows the pathway to success and a mainstream media job: first, you create a crisis of whatever size possible. Perhaps it’s about race or #MeToo or some obscure LGBTQ matter; ideally, it involves all three of those things. Promote it no matter what the facts may be. Then attack the Right and Fox News for it, regardless of the truth.  

It worked phenomenally well for Ben Smith, the former editor of Buzzfeed who rode his lies and misinformation all the way to a cushy job with the New York Times.  Recall that Smith while at Buzzfeed published the now fully discredited Steele dossier that is at the center of the Russian collusion fairy tale, now the subject of no less than three different investigations by U.S. attorneys offices around the country.  

Smith’s slipshod work, which in reality provided yeoman’s work for former FBI Director James Comey, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and perhaps even segments of the Russian intelligence community, also jumpstarted fraudulent congressional investigations. It also launched millions of online rumors, tweets, and TV talking head careers—including Smith’s own. 

At some point, you might expect accountability and repercussions. In a healthy, mature, and responsible society, that is what takes place: the rule of law is enforced, there is equal application of justice, and those caught in monumental and intentional lies are punished. With a truly free and honest press what we have seen over the past three and a half years might have engendered just a modicum of shame and inspired some cause for the media to step back, take a deep breath and consider facts over ratings and clicks, ego, and the sneering distaste so many show for the majority of Americans and the country that has blessed all of us with so much. 


All of what has made the media even less trusted by the public than Congress and used car salesmen was on display last week with the reporting from Kenosha, Wisconsin. Over the past few days due to the shooting of Jacob Blake, the media converged on the city using the same playbook that worked for them in Minneapolis earlier this summer. First, spread misinformation and half-baked reporting, then help light the fuse for violent riots and social chaos, then staggeringly pretend that the protests are “fiery but mostly peaceful.”

In the case of Blake, the initial reporting indicated that the man was simply walking away from police for no apparent reason before being shot seven times. That reporting alone, with no context or additional information touched off a level of violence, looting, property damage, and physical harm more common to the nightly rioting in Chicago than a suburban community in Wisconsin.  

A day later, the important facts that a responsible media might have sought out before reporting told a somewhat different story. Blake’s girlfriend had called police fearing for her and her children’s safety. Police attempted to calm the situation, but when Blake continued to be perceived as a threat, police attempted to use a taser. Blake ran to his car and police believe he was reaching for a knife when he was shot. 

No doubt, the police use of force must be part of this investigation. But none of the above facts that would have added important context were part of any initial reporting on the scene, creating a very different narrative that played into the hands of Black Lives Matter terrorists and Antifa scum headed to Kenosha on Monday. I am going to remind everyone, again, of the Ned Ryun Rule: always, always, wait 24 hours to see what happens to the mainstream story. Ninety-nine percent of the time it changes as the original narrative is a falsehood meant to cause political damage, not report the truth. 

The Wages of Media Malpractice

Out of the media’s irresponsible and false reporting were last Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights’ devastating riots and arson that damaged family businesses, created chaos in neighborhoods, and bred unnecessary fear. If the reporting had been more responsible, perhaps the state of Wisconsin and local officials would have acted responsibly instead of standing by helpless while Kenosha residents saw their lives burned to the ground and felt threatened in their own homes. As it was, local authorities allowed BLM and Antifa to treat Kenosha like their playground. 

The result was the story of Kyle Rittenhouse, an Illinois teen who traveled to Kenosha when citizens there asked for civilian help to protect lives and private property. A member of a youth police cadet program in his nearby hometown, Rittenhouse showed up in Kenosha to help protect property, even assisting several protesters in need of first aid. But he was caught up in the riots, assaulted, and allegedly opened fire to defend himself, killing two protesters and injuring another.  I believe we can all agree that what happened is tragic; this should never happen on American streets.  

Watching a small Midwestern town explode in mob violence resulting in deaths is not in the least bit healthy for society. But the mainstream media’s irresponsible reporting and distortions—consistently characterizing as “mostly peaceful” these and all the violent protests in cities and communities across America—have only fanned the flames of anarchy. 

The Rittenhouse shootings were caught on video. Tucker Carlson last Wednesday night used the Rittenhouse story to highlight what happens when communities surrender to mob rule and governments fail to protect their citizens. Carlson rightly, correctly, and responsibly noted that there was more to be learned about the Rittenhouse case and that a court will determine if Rittenhouse’s act “qualifies as self-defense.”  

For those reasoned comments, the Ben Smith wannabes went, well, ballistic. The reporting was irresponsible, misleading, dishonest, and included all the elements that furthered their agenda in the hopes of becoming the next Smith, or Don Lemon, or whatever brand of idiocy MSNBC is broadcasting nowadays.

As we’ve seen in so many instances with the media’s unethical misinformation war against the Trump Administration, or its role in hysteria and misinformation around COVID-19, or the BLM and Antifa riots, the media and those who want to curry favor with the media have a dual agenda: facts be damned. Do whatever it takes to gain the respect of future propaganda employers like the Times or the Washington Post, which nowadays pretty much entails whining and spreading misinformation about Tucker Carlson’s effective demolition of the other side.

Great America

How To Think About Conservatism Post-Trump

Whether Trump wins or loses this November, American conservatism faces a crossroads.

With this week’s Republican National Convention and the formal coronation of Donald Trump as the party’s 2020 presidential nominee, many have seized the moment to speculate about the political future of the Republican Party—and, by extension, the intellectual and pragmatic future of American conservatism itself.

The 2016 romp of Trump, the reality TV star-turned-commander in chief, upended decades of outmoded GOP orthodoxies and ushered in a seismic shift in American politics. Throughout the Cold War, and even in the two-and-a-half decades between the fall of the Berlin Wall and Trump’s infamous campaign-launching 2015 golden escalator descent, conservatism in America had assumed a credal, almost cultish tenor. What emerged as an instrumentality to retain a viable political coalition and counter the Soviet foe—”fusionism,” in the parlance of National Review, which morphed into Ronald Reagan’s “three-legged stool” platform—had, by at least the time of the lackluster 2012 Romney-Ryan presidential ticket, decayed into a hodgepodge of some claimed political truths with warmed-over policy nostrums befitting the idiosyncratic problems of three decades prior.

Worse, by 2012, it had become clear that the gap between what Republican voters in flyover country wanted and what bicoastal Republican elites in the political and donor classes deigned to offer their subjects was positively yawning. The median Republican voter wanted law and order secured, religion protected and promoted, immigration levels reduced, a more restrained (if, paradoxically, still forceful) foreign policy, and an unabashed defense of the greatness of the American regime and the American way of life. The median Republican congressman or senator, by contrast, whispered, in a hushed voice, conservative pieties to credulous voters while duping those very voters behind their backs with a neoliberal agenda, in thrall to Wall Street and Silicon Valley, that secured mass benefits for some at the expense of many.

The Trump phenomenon exposed this long-simmering dissension for the whole world to see. The old, washed-up hands of Conservatism Inc. expressed either bemusement or outright disdain. But the Trump revolt, especially viewed in tandem with its 2016 cousin, Brexit, is no passing phenomenon. The astonishing nightly ratings of Fox News host Tucker Carlson help demonstrate that, contra the old guard’s wistful pining, there will be no putting this nationalist, populist genie back into the bottle.

Many on both the Left and Right speculate whether the “Trump effect” might be dismissed as a one-off electoral fluke attributable to the president’s universal name-brand recognition and overwhelming personality. But decades of opinion polling belie this conceit. The reality is that there are more voters concerned with the core tenets of cultural Americanism—secure the border, limit immigration to promote assimilation, fight multiculturalism, support law and order, promote religion, and orient economic and foreign policy around a narrowly tailored conception of the American national interest—than there are voters wedded to the lofty precepts of Lockean classical liberalism. Reagan himself may have once asserted that “the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism,” but on this, the Gipper was wrong.

A conservatism that steadfastly refuses to grapple with changing circumstances, preferring instead to wax poetic from the stale hymnal of yore, is not conservatism at all. There is no epistemological humility—the cornerstone of Burkean conservatism—in consigning oneself to the ruinous confines of a performative perennial political minority. Humility comes instead from a willingness to reassess a moment in history and rethink the proper means to meet the timeless ends of politics—justice, human flourishing, individual liberty and the good life. There is no virtue, nor any moral high ground, in stubbornly refusing to change one’s ways.

Fortunately, though Trump was a crass wrecking ball to the old paradigm, many on the American right are now constructively engaged in helping to shape the future of our movement. That future will meet conservative voters as they are—rather than as elites would prefer they be. It will be more avowedly nationalist and worker-friendly and less tied to laissez-faire absolutism, in matters of economics. It will vehemently resist the siren song of liberal internationalism, preferring instead a foreign policy rooted in disparate alliances that, assessed independently, redound to the national interest. Above all else, it will be ordered toward the elevation of the inherent dignity of the American citizen and the robust defense of the American way of life.

Whether Trump wins or loses this November, American conservatism faces a crossroads. But there is only one proper path: that which recognizes the stakes of our roiling cold civil war and is unafraid to wield the levers of state power to promote good political order and subdue the civilizational arsonists who would burn down our nation. The fight will only get uglier in coming months, but thankfully, the path forward is clear.


Great America

American Valor Once Thwarted a Marxist Revolution 100 Years Ago—We Can Do It Again

Merian C. Cooper helped to stop the Communist takeover of Europe in 1920. Today another Marxist revolution is surging—in the United States. We can stop it again by following his example.

Hollywood mogul Merian C. Cooper, creator, producer, and co-director of the original “King Kong,” was an authentic hero of the August 15, 1920 Battle of Warsaw, which in David and Goliath fashion saved Europe from Communism. Remembered today in its centennial year as the “Miracle on the Vistula River,” the battle eternally links Poland and America in a historic fight against totalitarian revolutionaries.

Following World War I, the map of Europe was radically redrawn. Poland, occupied and dismembered by aggressor nations for more than 100 years, was recreated as an independent nation. Lenin and the Bolshevik Party, having seized control of a demoralized and destabilized Russia in a brazen 1917 coup, marched on Poland in 1919, expecting to sweep across its fragile, uncertain borders and export their Communist revolution to Germany and beyond.

A fighter pilot in World War I, Cooper sought to repay America’s debt to the Polish heroes Tadeusz Kościuszko, Casimir Pulaski, and others who risked their lives fighting for America’s freedom in our Revolutionary War. He recruited nine fellow American aviators and veterans of the Great War to fly with him on Poland’s behalf against the oncoming Bolsheviks. 

Cooper and his Kościuszko Squadron flew over 400 combat missions in the 20-month-long Polish-Soviet War and had a dramatic impact on the miraculous Polish victory. The mission of the Kościuszko Squadron was to prevent the Bolsheviks’ 16,000-strong Cossack cavalry from linking up at Warsaw with more than 100,000 Soviet infantry. The “magnificent ten” succeeded, relentlessly diving out of the sky and scattering the fierce Cossacks so effectively they were eventually forced to retreat.

With the Bolshevik infantry smashed at the gates of Warsaw, Lenin sued for peace, settling instead to build his fanciful utopia within the boundaries of Russia. Diplomat and author Edgar Vincent, First Viscount D’Abernon, called “The Miracle on the Vistula” the 18th-most decisive battle in world history. Had it gone the other way, all of Europe likely would have fallen under the red flag. 

Three American aviators were killed in the heroic campaign. Cooper himself was shot down, captured by the Bolsheviks, and imprisoned in a Soviet prisoner of war camp in Moscow. 

The first M.I.A. in the long campaign to contain Communism, Cooper escaped six months after the Polish-Soviet War ended. Returning to Warsaw, he received a hero’s welcome by the Polish government and people. Thousands of Polish citizens attended the ceremonies in Warsaw when Cooper and his fellow squadron members received Poland’s highest military honor, the “Virtuti Militari,” the equivalent of the Congressional Medal of Honor. 

Marshal Jósef Piłsudski, Polish head-of-state and commander-in-chief, personally pinned the medals on Cooper and his comrades. The Polish parliament offered Cooper an estate and lifetime pension. He graciously declined, reminding everyone present that Tadeusz Kościuszko had received and declined a similar offer from the American Continental Congress. “The honor of fighting for your liberty is reward enough,” Kościuszko had said. Cooper repeated those same words.

He returned to the U.S. and became one of the leading Hollywood producers of the first half of the 20th century, with a filmography of more than 40 classic motion pictures in addition to “King Kong.” As head of production at RKO in the 1930s, Cooper gave Katharine Hepburn her first big break and teamed Fred Astaire with Ginger Rogers. He promoted the three-strip Technicolor process and helped launch Selznick International in partnership with David O. Selznick, and Argosy Pictures in partnership with John Ford.

In 1942, at the height of his cinematic career, he left Hollywood and voluntarily reenlisted in the Air Force, becoming the oldest active aviator flying combat missions for the United States in World War II. Cooper helped plan the Doolittle raid on Japan and became chief of staff to the commander of the Flying Tigers, General Claire Chennault. He retired from the Air Force as a Brigadier General and received an honorary Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement. Despite that glittering resume, he looked back upon his work with the Kościuszko Squadron as the greatest accomplishment of his eventful life.

Today another Marxist revolution is surging, not in Eastern Europe but in the major cities of our own country. It is streaming in a riotous frenzy out of the universities to the streets, its slogans reverberating through the airwaves, online, and in the editorials of once-eminent newspapers. 

Cooper died in 1973 at the age of 79, but his spirit still lives. It lives in the red white and blue emblem of the Kosciuszko Squadron, emblazoned on the fuselage of the aircraft of the Polish Air Service, along with his image. It lives in the memory of the Polish people who will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the “Miracle on the Vistula.” And it lives in the hearts of all of us inspired by the stirring films he made with John Ford and John Wayne, “Fort Apache,” “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon,” “Rio Grande,” “The Searchers.”

We know what to do. He showed us. Lest we forget.

Sheldon Bart’s latest book is Race to the Top of the World: Richard Byrd and the First Flight to the North Pole (Regnery History). He is president of Wilderness Research Foundation, a trustee of the Foundation to Illuminate America’s Heroes (, and associate producer of a forthcoming theatrical film about Merian Cooper and the Kosciuszko Squadron, a project of Genesis Productions LLC.

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

Defending the Right To Stand for the Anthem Is a New Low in the Culture War

The only way to resist that is to turn off the game and refuse to buy pro sports merchandise. To continue watching is surrender.

Imagine taking a time machine back to 2016—say, right when Colin Kaepernick started kneeling for the national anthem. The vast majority of the country is outraged by this demonstration and vows to boycott NFL games. Nearly every other player stands for the anthem and the few who kneel are ridiculed by the fans and press. 

Now imagine the shock on a random 2016 sports fan’s face when you, the time traveler, explain that in just a few years, almost all pro athletes would be kneeling for the anthem and only a handful would stand. The new front in the cultural war is fighting over whether a player has the right to stand, not whether he may kneel. 

This is our bizarro world right now. Conservatives have lost the culture war so badly that they now need to praise players for doing what all players did just a year ago.

The National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, and the National Hockey League restarted play recently and made sure that they conveyed Black Lives Matter propaganda at the start of every game. 

Most NBA and MLB players knelt for the anthem or showed some other kind of solidarity with BLM. The few basketball and baseball players who did not had to defend that decision to the press. San Francisco Giants pitcher Sam Coonrod was blasted by sports media for standing for the anthem and criticizing BLM. Coonrod said that he only kneels for God. NBC Sports and Sports Illustrated said Coonrod did not offer an acceptable reason for not kneeling and declared him a hypocritical Christian. Sports Illustrated even argued that kneeling was not a protest but a “carefully constructed display coordinated and approved by Major League Baseball.” Thus, all players must kneel.

Major sports outlets attacked Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac for standing for the anthem for similar reasons. Isaac also said his faith compelled him to not kneel for the anthem. Yahoo! Sports said that was nonsense and the claim made Isaac a “token” and a fake Christian. The San Antonio Spurs had to issue a defense of their coach, Gregg Popovich, standing for the anthem. Popovich is an outspoken liberal and Trump hater. 

In contrast, most NHL players are standing for the anthem, likely due to the awkwardness of kneeling on ice in full hockey gear. The first player to kneel wore street clothes and laid his knee down on carpet. The league did its best to show it was woke by displaying “End Racism!” and other platitudes on stadium jumbotrons. But the lack of kneeling was still offensive to the Left and angry fans tweeted out pictures of themselves kneeling to protest the players standing.

The NFL hasn’t started play yet, but teams plan to put social justice slogans in the end zone for the opening week. It’s likely most players will follow the NBA and MLB’s lead in kneeling during the anthem.

In June, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees apologized for saying players should stand for the anthem to show respect for the flag. In his apology, he had to say that kneeling for the flag had nothing to do with the flag and everything to do with social justice. Even Brees’ wife apologized for her husband’s pro-standing comments, stating “we are the problem.”

It wasn’t too long ago when conservatives threatened to boycott sports leagues over kneeling. Now they’re left to defend the handful of players who don’t kneel. 

Conservative outlets celebrated NBA great Charles Barkley’s defense of standing for the anthem. Showing the lopsided nature of this cultural war fight, Barkley had to emphasize the anthem standers were not “bad” people. This is quite the change from when pundits had to claim the kneelers were not America-haters. 

An official Trump campaign account declared this week: “Standing for our national anthem does not make you a racist.” The mere fact that anyone has to make such a basic statement is a loss in itself. No one said it was racist a few months ago.

The sports world has turned entirely against conservatives. The big game is no longer an escape from politics, but a left-wing political rally. When a conservative fan sees “Black Lives Matter” everywhere and watches teams share memes about systemic racism, they get the message loud and clear: we hate you but we still want your money. 

There is an indication that conservatives are turning off the MLB and NBA. Both leagues’ ratings are lackluster, especially considering the dearth of sports for the last five months. But it doesn’t appear the leagues will ditch overbearing social justice messages in an attempt to win these fans back. The players and teams feel it is much more important to advocate for left-wing policy goals than it is to appeal to red-state Americans.

Sports was arguably the one area of the culture that was not completely hostile to conservatives. Every game would begin with the national anthem and the troops would be honored. There were no political messages during the play and Americans could enjoy a respite from polarization. That escape hatch has been replaced with a Black Lives Matter billboard outside of Fenway Park.

While it’s admirable that some players stand for the anthem, the best response for conservatives is to not fawn over the one player who stands. The right call is to turn the game off entirely. Many conservatives may disagree with that stance, saying we shouldn’t let politics invade all aspects of our lives. This opinion ignores how professional sports leagues are already imposing woke politics on our lives. 

The only way to resist that is to turn off the game and refuse to buy their merchandise. To continue watching is surrender in the culture war. 

Great America

The Man Who Conquered Polio

Jonas Salk never patented his vaccine or earned any money from his discovery, preferring it to be distributed as widely as possible. When asked who owned the patent to the polio vaccine, Salk answered, “Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”

While visiting Florida in early March, I received an email notifying me that my Rector was “Patient Zero” in Washington, D.C. On that day, a seemingly obscure flu from Wuhan came into my world. How could this be possible? Not only had I shook his hand and dined with him and his wife recently, but I had taken communion and drank from the chalice. So much for being a good Episcopalian, I thought. I wasn’t sure whether I was in the “Book of Job” or a bad science fiction movie. 

Parishioners who had come in contact with him were advised to self-quarantine for 14 days. It was already seven days from my last contact, but, once back in Washington, I retreated from a world that was slowly closing down. I checked in with the public health agency in Washington—D.C. Health—to inquire about what I should do. The woman who answered the phone put me on hold so that she could find an official list of symptoms, which she began to read. I had no symptoms and was not eligible for testing. I contacted a senior person at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and got the same response. No need to wear a mask, I was told. I was scared, but I was healthy. 

In the news, there were endless historical accounts of the horrors of prior epidemics. I was not old enough to remember the Black Plague or the Spanish Flu. Asian Flu, Swine Flu, SARS and Ebola were terrible, but they hadn’t shut down the world. Suddenly, the “bring out your dead” scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” wasn’t funny anymore.

I was old enough, however, to recall the terrors of polio. I remembered how proud the people of Pittsburgh were that they had been part of the making of the vaccine. 

In his 2010 novel—Nemesis—Philip Roth describes the fear of polio that swept through his childhood neighborhood in Newark during the summer of 1944. “Fear unmans us. Fear degrades us,” Roth wrote.

The disease terrified the nation. The lives of millions of Americans were disrupted. Many of the victims were left paralyzed—or dead. 

When—or if—an effective vaccine could be developed was an open question. Sound familiar?

It struck in the summer, and it hit young children the hardest. No one knew how it was transmitted. The insecticide DDT was sprayed widely in many cities to kill flies which were thought to be carrying the disease. Alley cats were rounded up and killed. Swimming pools and movie theaters were closed. Quarantines were imposed across the country; travel was restricted; social distancing was practiced. People were scared to shake hands, touch money, or even talk on the telephone. Parents kept their children at home. 

The disease seized the United States, and indeed the entire world, in fear. 

During the 1940s and 1950s, poliomyelitis—also known as infantile paralysis, or polio—killed or paralyzed more than 500,000 people worldwide each year. According to the CDC, polio was once one of the most feared diseases in the United States—causing more than 15,000 cases of paralysis each year in the early 1950s. A 1952 public opinion survey found the only thing Americans feared more than nuclear annihilation was polio. 

Polio is a virus that attacks the nervous system. There is no cure. We now know that poliomyelitis is caused by poliovirus, which is an enterovirus. Entero is from the Greek word enteron, referring to the intestine—the transmission route for the viruses. It is spread through contact between people, entering the body through the mouth, multiplying along the way to the digestive tract, where it further multiplies.

The first major polio epidemic in the United States occurred in the summer of 1894 in Vermont. By the early 20th century, the virus killed or paralyzed thousands every year. Outbreaks of the disease appeared each summer, typically hitting children ages 5 to 9 the hardest. 

Another epidemic struck the nation in the summer of 1916. In the first week of July alone, 552 children in New York City were stricken with polio, and more than 1,000 the second week. The outbreak killed more than 2,000 people in New York City that year. New York and other cities shut down then as they shut down now. That year, polio killed some 6,000 people, leaving thousands more paralyzed. 

In the summer of 1921, future president Franklin D. Roosevelt contracted the disease while on holiday on Campobello Island in the Bay of Fundy. At 39, his legs were permanently paralyzed. He would never walk on his own again.

Major outbreaks reached their peak in 1952, with over 58,000 new cases reported and more than 3,000 deaths. In 1954, polio struck hardest among children 5 and 6 years old. 

In about 98 percent of cases, polio is a mild illness, with flu-like symptoms or no symptoms at all. The less fortunate ended up in child-sized coffins. The lucky victims could only walk with wooden crutches. Many wore heavy metal leg braces for the rest of their lives. Polio victims were often so paralyzed that they could no longer breathe on their own. 

In 1928, industrial hygiene professors Philip Drinker and Louis Agassiz Shaw, Jr. at the Harvard School of Public Health invented a device called the “Drinker Respirator,” better known as the iron lung. Resembling a miniature submarine, patients, usually young children, were placed inside the devices for up to two weeks until they could breathe on their own. Powered by electric motors, the iron lung pulled air in and out of the lungs by changing the pressure inside the airtight metal vessel. 

The ventilators of their day, iron lungs came to symbolize the terrifying effects of the disease. 

So, how was polio conquered? One man played a critical role.

Cloyd Teter/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Jonas Salk was born on October 28, 1914 in New York City to Lithuanian Jewish emigres. His father was a garment worker. As a child, Salk prayed that he could do something good for mankind. His brothers teased him, calling him “little Jesus.” He was the first member of his family to attend college, entering the City College of New York at the age of 15. His mother talked him out of being a lawyer, and he ended up earning a medical degree from the New York University School of Medicine in 1939. 

He married Donna Lindsay the day after he graduated from medical school. The daughter of a prominent Manhattan dentist, her father only agreed to the marriage after Salk could be legitimately listed as an M.D. on the wedding invitation. Dr. Lindsay also instructed Salk to improve his “rather pedestrian status” by giving himself a middle name. Edward was the name Salk chose. They divorced in 1968, but their three sons all became doctors. 

While in medical school, Salk first conducted research on influenza viruses. Salk interned at Mount Sinai Hospital for two years and then earned a fellowship at the University of Michigan. There, while studying influenza viruses with his New York University mentor Dr. Thomas Francis Jr., he helped pioneer a new approach to vaccine development—ultimately developing a flu vaccine that is still in use today. 

At the time, the medical community believed that, to be effective, a vaccine needed to utilize a live virus. Salk’s unorthodox approach was to kill several strains of virus and inject the benign—or “inactivated”—viruses into a healthy person’s bloodstream. The person’s immune system would then create antibodies to fend off the disease. 

Salk’s work on an inactivated influenza vaccine at the University of Michigan so impressed William McEllroy, dean of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine, that he recruited him in 1947 to head their new virus research laboratory. 

In 1948, the University’s Graduate School of Public Health was founded thanks to a $13.6 million grant from the Mellon family, and Salk was given a grant by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis to begin work on a polio vaccine. Within two years, he had an early version of a vaccine for polio.

The Foundation was created in 1938 by Franklin Roosevelt during his second term as president. The Foundation came to be known as the “March of Dimes” thanks to comedian Eddie Cantor, making a play on the name of the newsreel series “March of Time.” 

Over 80 million people donated to the foundation in a single year. Children across the country collected coins to fund polio vaccine research. Roosevelt also later transformed his estate in Warm Springs, Georgia, into a recovery retreat for polio victims. In 1946, on what would have been his 64th birthday, Franklin Roosevelt’s image was added to the 10-cent coin to posthumously honor his role in the effort to eradicate polio. 

Working out of a cramped, 40 by 40-foot laboratory located between a morgue and a darkroom in the basement of the Pittsburgh Municipal Hospital—constructed in 1941 by Roosevelt’s Public Works Administration—Salk’s five-person research team included Julius Youngner, who had earlier worked on the Manhattan Project. Outside the hospital were a line of ambulances, bringing in up to seventeen new polio admissions daily, pushing doctors and nurses to the limit. On the third floor of the same building was a ward filled with children suffering from polio. All of them were in iron lungs. 

By using inactivated poliovirus, Salk believed that they could immunize without risk of infecting the patient. Salk’s team developed the first inactivated polio vaccine using virus grown on monkey kidney cells and “killed” with formaldehyde. 

Skeptical of Salk’s approach was Dr. Albert B. Sabin who focused on developing a live poliovirus vaccine. In the end, Sabin’s vaccine was proved not as reliable as the Salk vaccine because recipients excreted live virus in their stool, causing the disease to spread further. Five years after Salk’s death, the United States discontinued the use of Sabin’s live virus vaccine. 

After successfully testing their vaccine on thousands of monkeys, Salk began to test the vaccine on humans. In 1952, Salk took his vaccine home. After boiling the needles and syringes on his kitchen stove, he injected himself, his wife, and his three sons in his kitchen. All developed anti-polio antibodies and experienced no negative reactions to the vaccine. Salk announced the initial success of the human trials on a national radio program on March 26, 1953.

In 1954, the team launched the largest controlled national field trial in history. Nearly two million children, ages 6 to 9, who became known as the Polio Pioneers, were injected with the vaccine. 

The final results were announced on April 12, 1955, at the University of Michigan’s Rackham Auditorium. Speaking to a crowd of scientists and reporters, Salk’s mentor, Dr. Thomas Francis, Jr. who directed the vaccine’s evaluation project, described the vaccine as “safe, effective, and potent” in preventing paralytic polio. As a result, the federal government approved the vaccine for the public. 

The nation celebrated as if a war had been won. Church bells rang out. Newspapers ran banner headlines “Polio is Conquered.” The announcement was described by Newsweek as a “summit moment in history.”

Soon after the vaccine was introduced, a faulty batch of the vaccine manufactured by Cutter Laboratories caused some 40,000 cases of polio, leaving 200 children with varying degrees of paralysis and killing 10. The Cutter lab failed to effectively kill the virus—so their batches contained active viruses rather than inactivated viruses. Despite this tragic setback, new polio cases dropped to under 6,000 in 1957, the first year after the vaccine was widely available.

Within three years, cases of polio in the United States dropped by 85 percent. 

PhotoQuest/Getty Images

Salk never patented the vaccine or earned any money from his discovery, preferring it to be distributed as widely as possible. In an interview with Edward R. Murrow on April 12, 1955, Murrow asked Salk who owned the patent to the polio vaccine. Salk answered, “Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”

Despite his monumental scientific contribution to humanity, Salk never received a Nobel Prize for his work. Although he was nominated in 1955, 1956, and again in the 1960s, his work was not considered prize-worthy. 

On April 25, 1955, 40-year-old Jonas Salk was honored at a ceremony at the White House by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In the Rose Garden, the former Supreme Allied Commander was so moved he broke down. Tearing up, the president removed his reading glasses and slid them into the breast pocket of his suit jacket. 

Before handing Dr. Salk a citation for his extraordinary achievement, Eisenhower said to him, “When I think of the countless thousands of American parents and grandparents who are hereafter to be spared from the agonizing fears of the annual epidemic of poliomyelitis . . . all the agony that these people will be spared . . . I must say to you that I have no words in which adequately to express the thanks of myself and . . . all 164 million Americans, to say nothing of all the people in the world that will profit from your discovery.”

He described Salk as a “benefactor of mankind” and his work as the “highest tradition of selfless and dedicated research.” 

In his remarks, Salk described the moment in his laboratory when he realized the success of his research, “when a light glimmered through the darkness with hopeful brilliance.” He added, “I had never even dreamed of meeting the president of the United States, much less on an occasion such as this.”

The president also cited the role of the March of Dimes for its “unswerving devotion to the eradication of poliomyelitis” and its founder—the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt—“whose personal courage in overcoming the handicap of poliomyelitis stands as a symbol of the fight against this disease.”

The man who prayed as a child to do something good for mankind had conquered polio. The building that housed the Pittsburgh Municipal Hospital and Salk’s laboratory is now known as Salk Hall. Salk is still considered a hometown hero in the Steel City—along with such legends as Terry Bradshaw, Roberto Clemente, Franco Harris, Mario Lemieux, Bill Mazeroski, Fred Rogers, Willie Stargell, Jonas Wagner, and Andy Warhol. 

Today, we follow the news, reporting daily on the increasing number of COVID-19 cases throughout the world. We follow the economic and social carnage, and we pray for a solution. We hope for a miracle to eradicate this plague. We pray that in a cramped laboratory somewhere, there might be another Salk. We pray that once again the darkness might be pierced by a light of hopeful brilliance.  

Great America

The Great Pale Scarecrow of White Supremacist Violence

White supremacy needn’t have any actual substance behind it; the media will simply stuff it with myth and hyperbole to make it seem real enough to be useful. 

The topic of racism in America has been mutilated into a panic device by self-interested media and politicians. The danger from this is that bona fide racially motivated crimes come to be viewed as part of a broad conspiracy, while incidents that are not criminal are roped in by extrapolating on that conspiracy. There are people in America who have violent intent connected to racist beliefs, but it has become harder than ever for them to remain undetected before perpetrating a violent act. 

Nevertheless, the specter of this threat is constantly exaggerated in order to stoke fears of the next lynching, and if possible, ensnare law enforcement into the scandal.

When a person perpetrates a crime motivated by white supremacist ideology, that is national news. 

The perpetrator of the 2015 Charleston Shooting at Emanuel AME Church that left nine black parishioners dead, had his name immortalized by headlines from CNN, NBC, ABC, and virtually every other major media outlet. Thanks to citizen bystanders and his own sister, the shooter was arrested in less than 24 hours of his crime in North Carolina. 

Persistent myths surrounding the crime have cropped up that refuse to die, despite the fact that the man was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in his home state, and was sentenced to death in his federal trial. After the recent killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, enraged Twitter users objected by tweeting that the Charleston shooter had been treated to a dinner at a Burger King after being arrested. Nobody mentioned that he had been arrested without resisting, whereas Brooks had scuffled with three officers, firing a taser at one. 

Fact is, the police were legally obligated to feed the Charleston shooter pending his return to South Carolina. As the Legal Aid Society noted, Burger King was simply convenient. Finally, the shooter did not dine at a Burger King; one of the police officers had brought the food to the room where he was being held at the police station, as even the leftist Snopes confirmed. 

This one example encapsulates the activist approach to violence involving police and black suspects: zeroing in on one detail in order to contend that a white supremacist received favored treatment. This small obsession is patterned in virtually every incident used during the BlackLivesMatter activist campaigns since the beginning:

  • Trayvon Martin was marked for death and assaulted by George Zimmerman for buying some Skittles in the wrong neighborhood. In reality, Martin had detected Zimmerman prior to their confrontation, and, according to physical evidence, was the real assailant until Zimmerman shot and killed him. Zimmerman was referred to as a “white Hispanic,” a label that caused a sociologist interviewed on NPR to claim his race is a “social reality,” and not a biological one. 
  • The “hands up, don’t shoot” falsehood surrounding the 2014 death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson. In March 2015, the Washington Post admitted the scenario was not true—that Brown, in fact, had been advancing aggressively on Wilson when he was shot. Just days earlier, Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department compiled the report debunking “hands up, don’t shoot,” said he was prepared to dismantle Ferguson’s police department if necessary.
  • The notion that the University of Missouri student protests in 2015 led the Mizzou’s president to resign was fueled by any real racist episodes. Not so. The only incidents in question were an alleged racial slur yelled at the student association president from a passing pickup truck, a poop swastika in a dorm restroom, and a false rumor (spread by the same student president) of KKK members being present on campus. 

This is just a select sampling of hearsay, rumors, and canards propagated by BLM and like-minded groups. Some of the most high profile cases, like the celebrity hate crime hoaxes by Jussie Smollett, Michael Bennett, and Bubba Wallace, elicited nationwide sympathy until they were discovered to be complete fabrications. In none of these cases did the so-called victim do the right thing and admit that he had lied and made buffoons out of all who believed them.

APB on Cleetus and Colonel Klink

In the current crisis ignited by the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, some new myths are developing. 

The first is that the rioting in Minneapolis was partially fomented by white supremacists. This was examined by New York Times columnist Neil MacFarquhar on May 31, with a heavy emphasis on the “Boogaloo” accelerationists and men wearing Hawaiian shirts. In his own article, however, he cited a professor who admitted that such suspicions were unproven. CBS News reported May 30 that “authorities suspect white supremacists and far-left extremists are behind violence at protests.” 

The white supremacists were placed first in order, but lost in the report was the fact that, in featured footage, none of the rioters had any visible ties to white supremacist groups or activities, and so far not a single such person has been arrested or identified by authorities in any of the metro areas affected by rioting. Plenty of left-wing extremists have been arrested, however, including:

  • Samantha Shader and sister Darian Shader of Catskill, New York were arrested in Brooklyn for throwing Molotov cocktails. Shader had 11 prior arrests in just as many states. When questioned by police, she attempted to cover for a white friend by implicating a fictitious black accomplice. 
  • Dylan Robinson was arrested on June 19 in a Colorado ski resort on suspicion of being involved in the destruction of a Minneapolis police station weeks earlier. There is no evidence of Robinson’s membership in a white supremacist group, nor any report of him receiving a Burger King meal and crown as part of the terms of his apprehension.
  • Chiara de Blasio, daughter of New York City Mayor Warren Wilhelm and wife Chirlane McCray, was arrested on May 31 for throwing projectiles at NYPD officers. De Blasio will be able to await her trial (if it ever happens) at Gracie Mansion, unlike the homeless woman who was dismissed while confronting Wilhelm over his betrayals for interrupting his gym workout.
  • On May 30, lawyers Urooj Rahman and Colinford Mattis were arrested when Rahman hurled a Molotov cocktail into a police cruiser and was recorded by a CCTV camera. 
  • On July 25, Antifa militant Blake Hampe stabbed the Trump-supporting videographer Drew Duncomb in Portland. Hampe was convicted in 2007 for possession of child pornography while crossing the U.S.-Canada border by ferry to Maine, and released in 2010. 

As they were respectively Pakistani and black, it is unlikely that Rahman and Mattis will be pumping iron with the Aryan Brotherhood in federal prison à la “American History X.” NPR’s coverage of this story included this notable phrase: “Federal prosecutors haven’t accused Urooj Rahman, 31, or Colinford Mattis, 32, of harming anyone that night. But they have indirectly cast the two defendants as characters in the favored Trump administration narrative that suggests that last month’s violent protests weren’t just an eruption of anger from peaceful protesters, but rather the work of dedicated extremists.” (Emphasis added.) NPR neglected to mention the fact that Salmah Rizvi, an ex-Defense and State Department official under Barack Obama, posted a $250,000 bail for the two detained suspects. 

Then in late June, two black teens were killed in separate incidents in Seattle’s CHOP district by members of its militia. 

Weeks later, The Intercept continues to harp on the “boogaloo boys” chimera using the example of Steven Carrillo, a California Air Force airman who murdered a federal law enforcement officer in California on May 29. The same article insists that there is no Antifa violence of note because, according to them, there is no Antifa. 

I have previously likened this wilful deception to the “noble lie” of J. Edgar Hoover, who said the American Mafia did not exist until 1957 because it was inconvenient for Hoover’s agenda of how to run the FBI. Despite Hoover’s denials and the secret members who never openly identified as members of the crime syndicate, no journalist today would claim that the Mafia doesn’t exist. Antifa is not a hierarchical criminal enterprise, but a rigid structure is not required in order for such a group to exist. 

A key difference, of course, is that unlike Hoover, the media has no problem contradicting its previous reporting in order to suit its agenda. And unlike Antifa, the Mafia’s crimes at least sometimes create prosperity for someone rather than destroy it for everyone. 

NPR this month undercut its own coverage and The Intercept’s Antifa denial article by writing a retrospective one year after the death of Willem van Spronsen, a Dutch immigrant who attacked a Tacoma ICE facility last July. They quoted him yelling “I am Antifa” in the article title and acknowledged that his far-Left cohorts continue to idolize him. 

In August 2017, ABC’s 20/20 went even further and defined two people that it interviewed as Antifa group leader Lacy Macaulay and “intelligence expert” Daryle Lamont Jenkins. That same month Michelle Goldberg, one of the most partisan opinion writers at the New York Times who would later characterize the #MeToo movement as a “trap” for Democrats after previously being a full-fledged #MeToo megaphone, profiled Jenkins and his One People Project in Slate as the “CIA of Antifa.” 

If Antifa isn’t a real organization, what happened between 2017 and now that has gone unexplained? These major details are smothered due to the no-accountability, high-prestige environment in which these reporters exist. 

Meanwhile, NPR and other media outlets have gone wild because a Minneapolis investigator has alleged in a sworn affidavit that the main suspect in the May 29 incident where an umbrella-wielding man broke the windows of an Autozone is an unnamed, unidentified Hell’s Angel biker and white supremacist.  

What else is there to deny? NPR has also for years deliberated over whether the Juggalos, a subculture of hardcore fans of the Insane Clown Posse, are a violent gang or not. But the taxpayer-supported news radio network is almost allergic to acknowledging the role of Antifa in present-day political violence. Joining them in taking the Hoover approach is Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) who this week told vlogger Austin Fletcher that Antifa violence in Portland, Oregon is a “myth.”

Evidence? Who Needs Evidence?

Media organizations feel no obligation to admit the truth when an allegation they deny (e.g., Antifa’s involvement in rioting and looting) is validated, or when a story they peddle as likely true (e.g., white power thugs) fizzles out. 

One report that got wide circulation highlighted an internal Department of Homeland Security memo stating a racist Telegram channel had suggested that extremists fire into crowds in order to turn protests into violent riots, and used the example of the fake @ANTIFA_US account as proof. Nowhere is it mentioned on which Telegram account this allegedly occurred or who might be behind it, let alone whether anyone acted on its instructions. Supposedly these white supremacists, even though they are portrayed by the media as ignorant slobs living in the backwoods of coal country, are smart enough to avoid notice in the field by law enforcement, media cameras, and the fury of the “real” protesters.

Similarly, accusations have cropped up that some of the violence was caused by police infiltrators. A person with an umbrella smashing windows at a Minneapolis Autozone on May 28 was alleged on Reddit to have been a police officer working for the departments of neighboring cities. The allegation was based on the belief that the man was wearing a “police-issue” gas mask, meaning that the man was identified solely based on his eyes, cheekbones, and brows. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison even alleged that “this man doesn’t look like any civil rights protester I have ever seen. Looks like a provocateur. Can anyone ID him?” The St. Paul Police Department released surveillance footage of the officer in question present at a department building at the same time, thereby giving him an alibi.

Racist police officers exist, of course, and there have been findings that some departments are permeated by police gangs like the “Lynwood Vikings.” But having such officers on the police force actually works counter to the narrative of anti-racist activists, because any person suspected of having been detained or arrested by them could have a pending fine or conviction dismissed as part of Brady material

This is already happening in the case of a group of Wilmington, North Carolina officers who were recorded saying off-color racial remarks last month and have since been fired. In many of the cities questioned, the police departments are disproportionately black. Atlanta, with a black population of 52.2 percent has a police department that is 57.9 percent black. The LAPD has an 11.6 percent share of black officers compared to an 8.8 percent black population in Los Angeles. A plurality of LAPD officers is Hispanic. Does this really sound like a system where bigoted policing can thrive?

Another theory that has been published by the New York Times holds that black people found hanging in various parts of the United States may have been targeted for lynchings by secret crews of white supremacists. When a 17-year-old black youth was found hanging in Spring, Texas outside of Houston, Rep. Sheila Jackon-Lee (D-Texas) called for a federal investigation despite a history of suicide attempts. A Hispanic man from the same area was found hanged and his family confirmed he had been suicidal

Malcolm Harsch, a homeless man found dead from hanging near an encampment in Victorville, California, was also characterized as suicidal by his family. A similar case in Palmdale, California concerning Robert Fuller also resulted in calls for a lynching investigation despite no signs of struggle or defensive wounds. The eventual conclusion was that Fuller committed suicide. In fact, Fuller had been treated in 2017 after threatening to kill himself. 

Lumped in with these is the case of the homeless transgender Portland resident Titi Gulley, who was found hanged in June 2019. Somehow Jackson-Lee and others think a conspiracy is afoot, even though the Harvard Public Health Review found that suicide rates among the homeless are estimated at nine times those of other Americans. In 2017, a total of 13,075 deaths were classified as suicide by suffocation (hanging) per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, so would it not be reasonable that at least some of these would be black males? All that is necessary in order to propose a conspiracy is the race of the victim and the method of suicide, at least according to the Boston Globe’s Jeneé Osterheldt who titled a recent column “Black men dying by hanging—whether by suicide or murder—are a visceral reminder of America’s roots.” 

These exploitative interpretations of tragedies are an abhorrent but all-too-common hallmark of modern progressive activists and the media. It is almost futile to analyze and rebut these deceptions because by the time the work is done they have already moved on to a new lie. The contrived scarecrow of white supremacy needn’t have any actual substance behind it; the media will simply stuff it with myth and hyperbole to make it seem real enough to be useful.

Great America

From Alinsky to AOC:
Will Communism Finally Win in America?

Thirty years after “winning” the Cold War, America faces an even greater threat from within—and it’s a threat that has internalized key elements of fascism as well.

Have you heard anyone say that the threat America faces is from Communism? I don’t mean before the Berlin Wall fell. I mean now. In 2020. I know you have. But it’s strange, isn’t it? Especially for someone like me whose parents actually lived under Communism, whose father was tortured and imprisoned by a Marxist regime. When I would hear talk of Communism inside America, I used to react in a knee-jerk fashion with: “No, we are not East Germany, or the Soviet Union!”

Not anymore.

With last weekend bringing us violence across the country from “peaceful protestors” who believe America as we know it must be dismantled and capitalism should be replaced with a utopian system of “social justice”—sentiments not rejected but embraced by the Democratic Party and its presumptive presidential candidate, Joe Biden—we have to conclude that while we may have won the Cold War in Europe, here in America, it rages on.

Yes, America and her allies may have defeated the deadly totalitarian, Communist Soviet Union, but Communism is very much alive today. I am not referring to China, North Korea, or Cuba—all Communist regimes that survived the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviets. Thirty years after “winning” the Cold War, America faces an even greater threat from within—and it’s a threat that has internalized key elements of fascism as well.

How did we get here? Can those of us who understand what Communism and socialism would mean for our republic win the election that will be upon us in less than 100 days? Only if we understand how on earth Karl Marx’s ideology survived the end of the Cold War to flourish and grow here in America.

Marx in the U.S.A.?

The fundamentals are clear enough. The New Left in America, which is the conveyor belt for everything from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) Green New Deal to Black Lives Matter, can trace its genetic roots back to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who almost single-handedly upturned centuries of Western philosophical and theological wisdom.

Instead of believing that man is fallen, fatally flawed, and prone to selfishness and evil, Rousseau denied the reality of thousands of years of human history and posited that man is inherently good. Further, this goodness could be maximized by engineering society away from individual rights and liberties, prioritizing communal good, communal needs, and the communal will.

Thus civilization built according to how man actually behaves in real life fell out of favor; and eventually, Karl Marx’s collectivist ideology predicated on the subversion of individual human souls to the common interest (as defined by political leaders) gained steam.

Like an ideological scrapbooker, Marx picked and purloined the ideas of others to build his theory.socialism is but a temporary stepping stone towards the eventual and inevitable end-state of all mankind, the utopian “Worker’s Paradise.” Marx stole the “inevitability” factor  from Hegel and his eponymous “dialectic.”

Hegel, a profoundly religious man, unlike the rabidly and militantly atheist Marx, saw the history of man as a perpetual progression, a series of qualitative improvements in our collective lot as one new idea (antithesis) impacted upon an existing idea (thesis) and resulted in an improved conceptualization (synthesis) that has more truth value than the previous two ideas combined. This progression, so Hegel believed, would increase our enlightenment, until we perceived the ultimate synthesis, the purest version of truth’s expression, which is God himself.

Marx took Hegel’s key inevitability dynamic and removed the metaphysical elements. For Marx the intangible was irrelevant. His “dialectic materialism” posits that thesis and antithesis are instead expressions of the inherent conflict within society—the clash between the have and have nots, the oppressor and the oppressed, the capitalist and the exploited workers—which will result in a final revolution permanently removing class distinction and conflict from society.

This garbage is what Karl Marx sold the world with his books Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto. And incredibly, some people believed this rubbish. So much so that they used it as a blueprint to sabotage and subvert multiple nations around the world, starting with czarist Russia and stretching all the way to Cuba and China. But then there was a problem. In all their attempts to effect a Communist revolution west of the Russian Empire, Marx’s followers would fail. America was an especially tough nut for Marxists to crack, because of how our nation was born.

America’s Founders, knowing full well that man is fallen and tends toward the selfish and the bad, built America with a system of separation of powers and also bequeathed us a written Constitution founded not on some absurd utopian collectivist vision of society, but built upon the recognition of the liberty of the individual and the unalienable God-given rights we each possess. Despite the advent of Progressive presidents, such as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, America remained staunch in its resistance to socialism. Marx’s disciples, however, were not ready to surrender.

This is where the influence of a hunchback Italian cripple comes in.

Gramsci and Cultural Marxism

Antonio Francesco Gramsci is the ideational grandfather to all that threatens modern America and our freedoms today, from AOC’s Green New Deal to the violence of Antifa. His writings, penned in an Italian prison cell, would be leveraged by the Hungarian Jewish writer and politician, Gyӧrgy Lukacs, each sharing the same conviction: Communism had failed in established Western democracies—as opposed to the backward and mostly peasant society of czarist Russia—because these societies are too resilient and too developed. For Marxism to flourish in the rest of Europe and America, these “bourgeois” societies must be dismantled piece by piece. From the inside.

The conceptual progeny of that realization leads straight to the panoply of Democratic Party articles of belief today—from Obamacare’s unprecedented intrusion into private healthcare choices to the anti-scientific insanity of transgenderism and beyond. This isn’t a random accusation, devoid of context. It’s not some accusation floating in space. The path from Gramsci and Lukacs to Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is a path that may be mapped historically, geographically, and institutionally.

The Institute for Social Research

Institutionally, after Gramsci and Lukacs, the story moves to Germany and a wealthy philosophical playboy called Felix Weil, who used his family’s wealth to make a home for these radical ideas under the name of the Institute for Social Research. (Funny how they always find the most innocuous and anodyne labels for their nefarious activities). You may have heard of the institute by its other name, based upon where it was founded: The Frankfurt School. Here Weil gave a home to Lukacs, as well as a certain German philosopher named Max Horkheimer, a man most Americans have never heard of but whose lethal ideas now dominate American colleges.

Horkheimer, too, recognized that Marxism would not prevail against established and robust developed societies. The status quo in the West was simply immune to radical ideas of “social justice” and equality enforced by state fiat. So he came up with an otherwise inoffensive-sounding weapon to destroy that status quo: critical theory. According to this “theory” that now dominates the social sciences across America and most of the Judeo-Christian world, the current state of affairs must be relentlessly challenged on all fronts. Because power is in the hands of those who do not deserve it, all standing relationships and all dominant concepts must be criticized and dismantled, even language itself, until modern society lies deconstructed, in pieces, and incapable of defending itself from being rebuilt along Marxist lines.

Horkheimer recruited fellow-travelers whose names are now revered by leftist radicals—philosophers who hated the traditions of the West like Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, and Erich Fromm—each committed to the belief that all of our civilization’s legacy institutions must be repeatedly attacked until they collapse, starting with the family unit and ending with the nation-state itself.

Thanks to Herbert Marcuse’s ideas and Saul Alinsky’s tactics, we have been brainwashed into believing that America is the problem.

As Horkheimer built his team of academic revolutionaries, however, history intervened. With the rise of Adolf Hitler, the future of these avowed Marxists—many of whom were also Jewish—was grim should they stay in Germany. So where did they go? With the usual open heart and open arms we have shown to those persecuted in their own nations, we Americans welcomed the Frankfurt School’s subversives to our shores, and specifically to Princeton, Columbia, Brandeis and the University of Chicago.

Marcuse would take the “deconstructionist” ideas of his mentor Martin Heidegger and promulgate them across academe until he was recognized as the father of the New Left. (Which is ironic, considering how Heidegger’s own ideas had become central to the ideology of Hitler and the Third Reich. But, truth be told, Marxism is far closer to fascism than it is to any other extremist philosophy).

Marcuse’s genius was to see that the Marxist expectation of a revolution happening in America was a fantasy. Marx predicted the ineluctable clash with the capitalists and the bourgeois because sooner or later the working class would simply have enough of being “exploited” and the class war would explode by itself.

But Marcuse realized that America is a nation uniquely unburdened by a class structure, at least in the way most European nations are defined along incredibly strict stratifications of class distinction, down to how one’s class can be identified almost immediately just by one’s accent. In America, the boundless upward mobility afforded by a republic based on the rights of the individual as opposed to the privileges of a special class, are what explained how an autodidact prairie lawyer like Abraham Lincoln became president, or how a biracial son of a single mother like Barack Obama did exactly the same.

Fomenting a class war was clearly not going to work in a country where even the idea of class distinction was frowned upon by the majority.

Marcuse’s Excuse

In order for social strife to be exacerbated so established societal structures could be dismantled in America, another dividing line had to be found and exploited, and Marcuse found it in what he called “victim groups.” Who needs a proletariat to build a revolution when one can say that women are victimized by men or when one can perpetuate a sense of exploitation by stoking tensions between white Americans and non-white Americans, or even between homosexual Americans and their heterosexual neighbors? Andrew Breitbart, as usual, expressed this approach eloquently when, in his autobiography, Righteous Indignation, he described Marcuse’s mission as one “to dismantle American society by using diversity and ‘multiculturalism’ as crowbars with which to pry the structure apart, piece by piece.”

And what would be the best weapon to affect the assault on the structures, to maximize the tension between victim and oppressor? Well, quite simply, totalitarianism. But how could you sell totalitarianism to an America coming out of a world war with Hitler and heading into the “age of love” and “flower power?” Easy.

In a move that would have astounded even George Orwell, Marcuse instructed his acolytes to sell their totalitarianism as tolerance, “partisan tolerance,” which he introduced in an essay he penned in 1965 as a guide for how to shut down debate and silence the critics of critical theory.

According to Marcuse, in his seminal 1965 essay, “Repressive Tolerance,” classic tolerance has failed our societies. Why? Because it tolerates all ideas, even those that are “wrong.” As a result, tolerance as it has always been practiced is, in fact, “repressive tolerance,” since it permits the expression of “unjust” views that perpetuate exploitation and oppression.

As a result, we must redefine tolerance in such a way that oppression is removed. This means that from now on one need only tolerate that which does not maintain established societal norms of “oppression.” Tolerance, to be “real” tolerance from now on must be “partisan tolerance.” Did you track that? Could you follow the lunacy that maps beautifully with Orwell’s fictional work, Nineteen-Eighty-Four, wherein Big Brother states again and again that “war is peace” and that “freedom is slavery?”

But What Has Any of This Got to Do With Today?

Now before you say: “Enough already! Stop it with the crazy professors!” just consider this: What Marcuse sold his fellow radicals as “partisan tolerance” in 1965 is today’s political correctness.

Marcuse is why observant Jews like Dennis Prager and Ben Shapiro are labeled bigots and Nazis on internal Google emails, why conservative speakers are disinvited from speaking on college campuses where anti-Semitic initiatives like the “Boycott, Divest, Sanctions” movement are celebrated, and why anyone who calls a man a man on Twitter can be summarily suspended for “dead-naming” if that man just happened to declare himself a woman yesterday.

Now can you see how Ocasio-Cortez and Omar are not fringe accidents but the direct consequence of a 90-year degeneration that began when some Marxist realized there was no way to take over the countries of the free West except from the inside?

Even so, you cannot get from Antonio Gramsci to Ocasio-Cortez without mentioning one more person—the person who was, and remains, a muse and hero to so many radical leftists and who, in fact, was the subject of Hillary Clinton’s thesis at Wellesley: Saul Alinsky. To quote Andrew Breitbart again:

[I]f Marcuse was the Jesus of the New Left, then Alinsky was his Saint Paul, proselytizing and dumbing down Marcuse’s message, making it practical, and convincing leaders to make it the official religion of the United States, even if that meant discarding the old secular religion of the United States, the Constitution.

[And his book] Rules for Radicals might just as well be entitled How to Take Over America from the Inside. It’s theory made flesh. Alinksy laid it out step by step, but we were too busy fighting the results to reread his game plan.

Alinsky was the first modern “community organizer.” He was a Communist, too, but he was a pragmatic one and a realist who knew from experience what would work and what wouldn’t when you faced a much stronger foe. He knew how to co-opt the people one needs to co-opt and start the revolution on the inside of the structures one wishes to control, as opposed to trying to destroy them from the outside.

Alinksy took the abstruse and pretentious ideas of the Frankfurt School and turned them into clear and actionable rules for war, a war with Judeo-Christian civilization informed above all else by the maxim that the ends justify the means. Here are the key elements of Alinsky’s strategy to destroy all that is good in America so it can be replaced with a Marxist horror. As you read them, think about where you see these axioms being deployed today in American politics and what it will take to face up to and defeat them.

1) Live by the Rule of Personal Destruction. Treat your adversary as non-human, deserving of zero respect or compassion. Whether it is Sarah Palin, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, or President Donald Trump, identify the target, immobilize them, make your attack personal, and polarize public opinion about them. Make it impossible for your victim to blame someone or something else and demonize them until they are deemed Evil.

2) The established status-quo abhors being ridiculed. Use humor without end so as to make them ill-at-ease and subvert their legitimacy.

3) Never let up with your pressure on your foe. Always be on the offensive so your enemy can never rest and never regroup.

4) Force them to live every second of their lives by every rule they preach and be merciless when they fail to live up to their own standards so you can label them hypocrites.

5) Keep your troops in a world they understand and are comfortable with and whenever possible draw your enemy out of his comfort zone.

6) Always have your next move ready for when your current tactic wins. Never rest after a victory. Pile on as your foe is still in shock. Show no pity.

7) Your actions are only important insofar as they engender an overreaction or a misstep by your enemy. Look at yourself as a provocateur whose mission is to make the other side make mistakes, again and again, until their position is untenable.

8) Power isn’t just measured by how strong you actually are, but in how strong your enemy believes you to be. Never let your foe have an accurate measure of the state you are in. Disinformation and deception are your friends.

These are the rules that have been used against our nation and our values since the 1960s.

We have been pitted against each other based upon our skin color, our gender, even our sexual preferences. The fundamental building block of our world, the nuclear family, has been decimated—especially in the black community with fatherless homes becoming the norm in far too many cities in America. Thanks to Marcuse’s ideas and Alinsky’s tactics, we have been brainwashed into believing that America is the problem.

This is how an ideology that has failed in all 40 countries in which it has been tried, and which cost the lives of over 100 million humans, has been exported to and now thrives in America. According to the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, more than 70 percent of American Millennials would prefer to live in a socialist or Communist America. If freedom-loving patriots do not do everything possible to ensure that President Donald Trump is reelected in less than three months’ time, that is exactly what we’ll get.

Great America

Former CIA Officer: Terrorists Will Learn From COVID And So Must We

It would be irrational to assume that terrorists will not attempt to duplicate the results they have observed during the current crisis. If we are to prevent such threats, we must learn as well.

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the media warned breathlessly of “chatter” that terrorists—domestic and international—were planning to exploit and spread the virus. So far no such plots have developed, but a former CIA officer warns that the lessons terrorists have learned from the inept and politicized response to the pandemic, if exploited, may be more dangerous to us than terrorist use of the virus itself.

In his chapter for a new book published by the Center for Security Policy, Defending Against BioThreats: What We Can Learn from the Coronavirus Pandemic to Enhance U.S. Defenses Against Pandemics and Biological Weapons, Charles Faddis argues that the pandemic has exposed several weaknesses likely to be exploited in the future by terrorists planning bio-terror attacks.

Establishing a serious bioweapons program has long been a goal of international terror groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, although both groups have made attempts with minimal success. In 2009, an al-Qaeda cell in Algeria reportedly was wiped out by bubonic plague in a bioweapons project that went badly for the jihadist group. In 2014, an ISIS laptop captured in Syria revealed proposals surrounding bioweapons, including a fatwa authorizing the use of weapons of mass destruction. 

One important lesson terrorists are likely to learn from COVID? The demonstrably weak security of biolabs. As Faddis illustrates, the failure at the Wuhan laboratory, from where COVID-19 is believed to have escaped, is the rule rather than the exception. Poor security is likely to make stealing, rather than developing, a bioweapon the preferred method of future terrorist efforts. 

Faddis writes: 

Control over dangerous organisms communicable to humans was tenuous at best.  If an organism can escape from a biolab without assistance due to poor practices and shortage in trained personnel and equipment, it also could be stolen. The need for the establishment of an independent bioweapons program by a terrorist group is eliminated if dangerous pathogens can simply be taken.

But the COVID-19 outbreak also shows what can be done with naturally occurring organisms released and spread by normal human to human contact.

As a result, terrorists are likely to realize they have wasted time and effort emphasizing research on weaponizing organisms, when simply spreading a naturally occurring disease through what Faddis calls “biological martyrs,” may be sufficient to cause worldwide disruption. That is particularly true if major air travel and borders remain open due to political reasons, as was the case between Iran and China, and would have been true in the United States as well if President Trump had not taken swift action to close the border despite pressure not to. 

The lockdowns and social and political unrest related to the COVID-19 pandemic also make clear that terrorists can achieve significant aims even without the risks and higher security surrounding access to pathogens with high lethality rates. For al-Qaeda in particular, economic devastation has often been as motivating as mass casualties in determining their target priorities.

Much needs to be done to improve U.S. biodefense to combat this threat, particularly when it comes to international cooperation.

Part of the problem, Faddis says, is that for the United States, and many other countries, early detection of pandemics is premised on international cooperation among scientists and policymakers. But the obstructive role played by China and—at Chinese insistence—the World Health Organization (WHO) during the COVID-19 crisis raises serious questions about how we prepare for future pandemics. 

As Faddis notes, previous tabletop exercises used by government officials to prepare to control pandemics have assumed all parties are willing and cooperative participants. They rarely consider the possibility that there may be deliberate efforts to spread the disease either by terrorists, or by a state sponsor. In retrospect, that assumption is a disastrous one. He writes,

Encouraging cooperation and information sharing is essential. We dare not, though, rely upon the good graces of hostile regimes for our survival. We should have had blanket intelligence coverage of the biolabs in Wuhan and known about any issues in security or safety in real time. We must do whatever is necessary to ensure that we have that kind of coverage of labs from which future pandemics may emanate.

Another example where competition rather than cooperation rules during a pandemic is in the acquisition of personal protective equipment (PPE). While the United States had programs intended to stockpile PPE for pandemic threats, those stockpiles were substantially depleted under the Obama Administration and had not been restocked. 

When the pandemic hit, the United States found itself competing with other nations to acquire the necessary gear. This was complicated by covert Chinese efforts to buy up PPE as well as multiple cases of Chinese companies distributing defective or mislabeled equipment. Faddis emphasizes the need to bring manufacturing of critical PPE back to U.S. shores as a necessary step for defending against the next pandemic.

One truism of the terrorism world is that tactics that work are sure to be repeated. While COVID-19 was not driven by terrorists, events clearly have demonstrated the economic, psychological, and societal impact a major pandemic can create. It would be irrational to assume that terrorists will not attempt to duplicate those results through the lessons they have observed during the current crisis. If we are to prevent such threats, we must learn as well. 

Great America

5 Arguments Against ‘America Is a Racist Country’

Even regarding the past, the promoters of the “America is racist” libel need to lie to paint America as bad as possible.

The left-wing charge that America is a racist country is the greatest national libel since the Blood Libel against the Jews. America is, in fact, the least racist multiracial, multiethnic country in world history.

Neither the claim that America is a racist society nor the claim that it is the least racist country can be empirically proven. Both are assessments. But honest people do need to provide arguments for their position. I have found every argument that America is racist, let alone “systemically” racist, wanting.

For example, the police almost never kill unarmed blacks, and on the rare occasions they do (about 15 times a year), there is almost always a valid reason (as in the infamous 2014 case in Ferguson, Missouri); police kill more unarmed whites than blacks; the reason there are proportionately so many more blacks in prison is that blacks disproportionately commit violent crimes; and so on.

There are very powerful arguments against the charge that America is a racist society.

I offered one in my column last week:

No. 1: If there is so much racism in America, why are there so many false claims of racism and outright race hoaxes?

I offered 15 recent examples. Moreover, there were probably no racist hoaxes when America really was racist, just as there were no anti-Semitic hoaxes in 1930s Germany, when anti-Semitism was rampant. You need hoaxes when the real thing is hard to find.

No. 2: The constant references to slavery.

If there were a great deal of racism in America today, there would be no reason to constantly invoke slavery and the Confederacy. The very fact that the New York Times, the leader in racist dishonesty, felt it necessary to launch its “1619 Project,” which seeks to replace 1776 as the founding of America with 1619, when the first African slaves arrived in America, is a perfect illustration of the point. The fact that “The 1619 Project” was labeled false by the leading American historians of that era (all of whom are liberals and at least one of whom led a campaign to impeach President Donald Trump) adds fuel to the argument.

Even regarding the past, the promoters of the “America is racist” libel need to lie to paint America as bad as possible.

No. 3: The reliance on lies.

“The 1619 Project,” which will now be taught in thousands of American schools, is based on lies. All Americans who care about America and/or truth should inquire if their children’s school will teach this and, if so, place their child in a school that does not.

Two of the biggest lies are that preserving slavery was the real cause of the American Revolution and that slavery is what made America rich.

Even the charge of endemic racist police brutality is a lie. There are undoubtedly racist police, but racism does not characterize police interactions with blacks.

No. 4: The large African immigration to the United States.

Nearly 2 million black Africans and more than 1 million blacks from the Caribbean have emigrated to the United States in just the last 20 years. Why would so many blacks voluntarily move to a country that is “systemically racist,” a country, according to the promoters of the “America is racist” libel, in which every single white person is a racist? Are all these blacks dumb? Are they ignorant? And what about the millions more who would move here if they were allowed to? How does one explain the fact that Nigerians, for example, are among the most successful immigrant communities?

No. 5: The preoccupation with “microaggressions.”

According to the University of California’s list of racist “microaggressions,” saying, “There is only one race, the human race,” is a “racist  microaggression.” This is, of course, Orwellian doublespeak. Anyone who believes there is only one race is not, by definition, a racist. If everyone in the past had believed there was one race, the human race, there would never have been racism, let alone a slave trade based on racism.

The very fact that the left came up with the intellectual farce known as “microaggressions,” like the race hoaxes, proves how little racism there is in America—because the entire thesis is based on the fact that there are so few real, or “macro,” aggressions.

The race riots, the ruining of people’s careers and lives over something said or done at any time in their lives, the ruining of professional sports (especially basketball and football), the tearing down of America and its history, the smearing of moral giants like Abraham Lincoln—all of this is being done because of a lie.

As I wrote in a column three years ago: “The Jews survived the Blood Libel. But America may not survive the American Libel. While the first Libel led to the death of many Jews, the present Libel may lead to the death of a civilization. Indeed, the least oppressive ever created.”


Great America

Welcome Barr’s Offensive Against Antifa, But It Won’t Stop ‘Cancel Culture’

In the near future, the leftists won’t need to riot in order to exert control over the American people.

If it seems as though rioting militants and statue-destroyers have been given the green light by blue state governors and big city mayors, prosecutors, and (shell-shocked) police chiefs to terrorize ordinary Americans, to deface and destroy public property, and to extort public officials into making further concessions to left-wing ideologues, that’s because they have.

Last week, however, the Trump Administration struck back. Attorney General Bill Barr announced that 150 extremists have been arrested for their roles in the recent unrest. Meanwhile, more than 500 investigations are ongoing that inevitably will lead to an even broader crackdown.

Finally, Antifa and other similarly violent and radical organizations are being treated as the font of domestic terrorism they are.

The problem, however, is that even if the Trump Administration succeeds in stifling the “armed wing” of the Democratic Party—for now—and thus restores order and calm to our streets, left-wing radicals will remain in a dominant position in most of our key institutions. 

Moreover, the Marxist firebrands who hold sway over many of our corporations, over every level of U.S. education, over our popular culture, over social media, and over the news media, will increasingly move to take off the gloves as they sense an opportunity to expunge conservatives and patriots from the public sphere, and even from private sector employment, once and for all.

Progressives have long possessed a louder, more robust voice than conservatives in debates over public policy and social-cultural values. If the proponents of “cancel culture” have their way, however, the now-timid voices on the Right may be silenced for good.

Consider the recent firing of a vice president at Michigan State University. His offense? Sharing on his blog an objective, scientific study that found no evidence of a racial disparity in the incidence of police shootings.

The administrator in question is not, in fact, a conservative. He is more accurately described as a liberal who accepts most of the “diversity and inclusion” dogmas of the dominant crypto-Marxist culture of academia.

He failed, however, to understand that there is only one perspective on police brutality and racism now welcome among progressives. The propagation of any other narrative, even if it is backed by unimpeachable data, is inadmissible.

As the fired administrator remarked, the consequences for “academic freedom and freedom of inquiry” will be dire. In effect, there is now a litmus test for all academic and scientific research: does it advance “the cause”—that is, the agenda of the Left? If not, it serves no purpose, at best, and it embodies “white supremacy,” at worst.

Speaking of “whiteness,” the city of Seattle recently subjected its white employees to a bizarre form of training designed to help them “examine [their] complicity in the system of white supremacy.” City workers were encouraged to “[undo] your own whiteness” and to accept that social justice requires them to give up “physical safety,” “expectations or presumptions of emotional safety,” “the certainty of your job,” and “control over other people and over the land.” They were further reminded that even seemingly innocuous concepts such as “individualism,” “silence,” “intellectualization,” “comfort,” and “objectivity” are pillars of white domination.

Journalist Christopher Rufo, who exposed Seattle’s misguided attempt at the racial deprogramming of its white employees, says it best: “This is exactly the kind of thought-policing they want to implement everywhere . . . The new cultural revolution is being fought via corporate HR, city diversity training, and public school curriculums. When you find something like this in your community, expose it, criticize it, mock it, and reject it.” 

In Seattle’s case, there has been public pushback to the shaming of whites, but in all too many companies and institutions a training session like this would be just another day at the office.

Remember, academics and public employees have far more protection from coercive employers, and from outright dismissal, than do most American workers. If even they feel intimidated in the present climate,  what chance do the rest of us have of preserving our right to free speech and our freedom of conscience?

Conservatives had better wake up soon. They need, in the words of Rufo, to “expose” and “reject” the Left’s reverse racism and thought control while they still can.

Otherwise, in the near future, the leftists won’t need to riot in order to exert control over the American people. They will simply tell us to jump through whatever “anti-racist” hoops they choose, and, if we know what’s good for us, we’ll ask meekly, “How high?”

Great America

What the Zeitgeist Has Wrought

The knowledge that one is merely a bystander to History—or worse, born guilty and existing as an impediment to the progress of History—is soul-crushing.

We are tasting the bitter fruits of more than a half-century of the “zeitgeist”—the Marxist theory of history—reigning supreme in our public schools. This pedagogy replaced the “Great Man” approach, which teaches that history is catalyzed by individuals of unusual personal strength and rare attributes. 

“Great Man” history studies bravery, wisdom, uncommon prudence, unparalleled fortitude (and sometimes unsurpassed vice) alongside historical events, with biographies and diaries featured prominently in history class. The underlying assumption is that uncommon virtue and personal excellence are what make great men and women, and the actions of these unique people are what move and shape history.

Thus, George Washington is remembered as a great man who, upon winning the Revolutionary War, refused to entertain even a suggestion that he be crowned king of the United States of America. His countrymen thought him deserving of a crown, but he refused the idea, thinking them deserving of self-rule and freedom instead. Washington’s modesty, humility, and prudence changed the course of history and enabled the United States to be a true republic. Had it not been for his special virtue, his country might have become just another monarchy complete with an aristocracy, titles, and all the rest.

Though horrendously out of fashion, the Great Man theory of history is still operative today, tolerated only outside the realm of the official Marxist historical narrative taught in public schools. Fawning biographies of industrialists like Steve Jobs or Howard Hughes remain, but the greatness of these men is only allowed to explain economic changes or improvements in our standard of living. Stories of true justice and geopolitical change are reserved for groups of the aggrieved and oppressed, beginning with indigenous peoples, through women’s rights, civil rights, gay rights, and finally the transgender and nonbinary rights movement of today. This “zeitgeist” enjoys total dominance in the nation’s schools. 

Perceived Helplessness

Marxist history teaches children that consequential historical events are brought about by large groups of people engaging in civil disobedience, unrest, or violence, usually featuring the Democratic Party as the savior of the oppressed group, with the passing of landmark democratic legislation as the capstone of each particular chapter of history. Thus, the public school student of today could be entirely forgiven for believing that history is simply a series of movements by aggrieved groups, and “historical events” are simply those public agitations sufficiently deserving of notice and legislation by the Democratic Party, the great Keeper of History. There is no “1978 taxpayer’s revolt history month,” for example. Only mobs agitating for leftist policy outcomes need apply. 

The more aggrieved and therefore in need of official Democratic Party (and increasingly corporate) sponsorship the group happens to be, the better. This is why transgender and nonbinary Americans, though very small in numbers, receive more attention and support than groups like the Tea Party or California farmers. The salient fact is not the size of the group or even the nature of the group’s grievance: it is the perceived helplessness of the group without the sponsorship of the Democratic Party. 

The Left’s monopoly on history will crack, and the American child’s innate desire to matter and to sacrifice for the greater good will find an alternate path to glory, far from the madding crowd.

On the surface, the zeitgeist theory offers a more democratic view of history—instead of a few great, mostly white, aristocratic men, history now remembers groups of people who did great things together. Indeed, the true merits of the Civil Rights Movement or the Women’s Suffrage Movement are the reason the group history narrative is so powerful. Yet alongside the benefits of teaching history as a series of things otherwise ordinary people achieved together, there are significant downsides. 

For example, one convenient aspect of the Marxist approach is that the group can be absolved from any wrongdoing perpetrated by its individual members, such that the personal problems and vices of Martin Luther King, Jr., Margaret Sanger, or Malcolm X are expunged from history entirely. The focus is on the good the group did together, not the bad character traits individual group members may have had. Separately, they are sinners with imperfections and peccadilloes. Together, the movement is innocent, pure, and without stain. 

This teaches children that group action is the only means to be pure, just action can only be found in the mob, and the sole means of forgiveness for one’s mistakes is membership in an entitled group. For what imperfect individual can stand alone and suffer the unforgiving gaze of historical scrutiny?

How could Frederick Douglass possibly measure up to the Civil Rights Movement? How could the flesh-and-blood version of Joan of Arc survive in comparison with the Woman’s Rights Movement?

Compulsory Mis-education

The most unfortunate consequence of the dominance of zeitgeist theory, therefore, is the opportunity it affords public schools to brainwash millions of kids into thinking that great acts of heroism, achievement, or virtue are only possible in a group. And, when only groups espousing the Democratic Party’s particular zeitgeist are remembered in history classrooms, it doesn’t take many decades before the public has simply forgotten that there was ever any virtue to aspire to outside of the mob.

The Marxist view of history ensures that children—who are hardwired to need heroes and who naturally look for virtuous paths to follow—aspire only to mimic liberal heroes, and they identify only with those appointed heroes who share their skin color, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic group. If they don’t happen to spring from a so-called oppressed circumstance, then shame is their badge of honor. 

The scores of wealthy white women virtue signaling on Instagram since the start of the BLM protests are neither spontaneous nor novel; rather, they are the fruit of an education system purposely designed to render American kids as useful to radical Leftist causes as possible. 

The death of George Floyd inspires a cry for justice in every person who watches the video of his horrific death; yet rather than volunteer to heal racial strife in one’s own community, among one’s own friends or family, or in one’s own local school district, the overwhelming instinct is to become a part of a large group agitating for justice, and to prove one’s membership in this clan by immediately parroting any and all slogans passed among the group’s members. 

Even when agitating for justice requires members of the group to do absolutely nothing and have no part in any real action, still people will choose this over acting alone. 

The message was clear from the start: privileged whites were not welcome in the actual BLM movement, but were expected to stay in their homes, blackout their Instagram profile pics, and “listen” to the voices of color around them. Even when the Left is telling white Americans that the only thing they are allowed to do to help the cause of justice is to remain completely silent and watch as members of other races “make history,” the old public school training that virtue, justice, and change are only achieved via membership in a large group is so strong that millions of people are brainwashed into believing that sitting at home while doing and saying nothing is indeed “making history.” 

Worse, they feel they have contributed to the cause of justice by posting on social media and remaining completely silent while their cities and neighborhoods are burned to the ground.

Sham Justice Cannot Last

The silver lining, if there is any, is that the support for BLM and the civil unrest of the last several weeks may be viewed as the American public’s attempt to participate in history, right wrongs, and exhibit virtue, in what is, truly, the only way many of them have ever been taught possible. The instinct to join the mob, though misdirected, is born of good intentions. Yet at some point, the invitation to sit on the sidelines of history, ashamed, guilty, and silent will induce despair. The knowledge that one is merely a bystander to History—or worse, born guilty and existing as an impediment to the progress of History—is soul-crushing.

Today there is no script available to individuals who aspire to be great men and women on their own account. If there can be no lives of consequence outside of mob history, then many ambitious and talented Americans will revolt against the zeitgeist narrative and seek alternative—and not always salutary—means of distinguishing themselves. 

As of now, the public school system and the Left have cornered the market on virtue and justice. But their picture of justice is a sham, and their narrative of how history happens is incomplete; for no matter how moving the sight of millions of people marching together to achieve a common good is, the course of history inevitably is composed of more than those few episodes which are politically expedient for the Democratic Party. 

Despite the spirit of the age, the personal virtue and uncommon excellence of great men and women of all races will continue to change history and chart the course of the nation. The Left’s monopoly on history will crack, and the American child’s innate desire to matter and to sacrifice for the greater good will find an alternate path to glory, far from the madding crowd.

Great America

It’s Not Left vs. Right,
It’s Big vs. Small

Global corporations make token payments to anti-racism activists in the United States while funding the Chinese Communist Party’s racist dictatorship and sowing the destitution that causes unrest at home.

The primary contradiction in our society, the fault line that defines our politics and economy, is not Left versus Right. It’s big versus small.

Anyone surprised to see corporate America (an anachronism in itself) kowtowing to cultural Marxism is trapped in the old Left-Right map that tells us “capitalists oppose Marxists.”

But today’s landscape is dominated not by capitalists but instead by corporatists—and by any objective assessment, corporatism and socialism are birds of a feather.

Take John Kenneth Galbraith, the darling economist of the 1950s and ’60s. He posited a triumvirate of big business, big labor, and big government efficiently managing American society for endless affluence. No need to worry about a cold or hot war with the Soviet Bloc. In the “New Industrial State” he envisioned, the bureaucracies of Soviet Communism and Western corporatism would converge.

A half-century earlier, G. K. Chesterton noted little difference between (nominally capitalist) corporate bureaucracy and socialist bureaucracy. Insofar as a socialist society “was criticized as a centralized, impersonal and monotonous civilization, that is an exact description of existing civilization . . . [T]he unification and regimentation is already complete . . . Capitalism has done all that Socialism threatened to do. The clerk has exactly the sort of passive functions and permissive pleasures that he would have in the most monstrous model village . . . exactly the tastes and virtues he could have as a tenant and servant of the state.”

Centralized ownership of property and the means of production are hallmarks both of corporatism and Marxism. Both corporatism and socialism stand in opposition to a truly humane and free society founded on faith and privately owned, widely distributed property.

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis believed the consolidation of ownership pursued by Wall Street financiers was the socialist’s best friend. 

“Just as Emperor Nero is said to have remarked in regard to his people that he wished that the Christians had but one neck that he might cut it off by a single blow of his sword, so they say here: ‘Let these men gather these things together; they will soon have them all under one head, and by a single act we will take over the whole industry,’” Brandeis observed.

We are closer to that beheading now than many realize.

Small Business on the Brink

Small business startups are at a historic low. The Kauffman Foundation, citing its own research and U.S. Census data, reports the number of companies less than a year old as a share of all businesses had declined by nearly 44 percent between 1978 and 2012. MIT researchers found the four largest companies in the average industry had a significantly larger share of sales in 2012 than they did in 1982.

The consolidation of the financial industry coincides with consolidation in other industries. Small regional banks have been the prime lenders to small businesses, and as these banks get swallowed up or regulated out of existence, the independent businessman goes down with them.

Self-described progressives tend to be happy with this development. They profess to be for the little guy, but that does not include the owners of little businesses, a group that tends to be conservative. As opposed to small businesses, big corporations readily fall in line with the leftist social justice orthodoxies.

The long list of large companies giving millions to the Black Lives Matter movement is just the latest manifestation of the Left’s long-running alliance with corporatism and distrust of small holdings.

Historically, progressives and reformist liberals regarded small business as the enemy. They regarded monopoly as an inevitability, and the regulated monopoly was their preferred economic model. Gabriel Kotko documents how Progressive Era regulation served to entrench rather than dislodge big business and big finance.

The first generation of progressives considered the corporation to be more modern, efficient, and therefore more desirable than the small independently owned shops and workshops, which they saw as backward and dirty. There was more than a whiff of racist, anti-Catholic, and anti-immigrant bias to their ideology. 

Should it ever come time to pay reparations, present the bill to these companies.

Robert Moses, a product of the Progressive Era, sacrificed “dirty” neighborhoods in pursuit of his “scientific” urban planning. In the same vein, sanitary chain stores would replace the filthy mom-and-pop butcher shops and grocers.

Popular postwar historian Richard Hofstadter sneeringly dismissed small businessmen, farmers, populists, and other critics of concentrated financial and corporate power as backward, mentally ill racists and proto-fascists yearning for a past when WASPs were supreme. When Hillary Clinton smears half of Americans as deplorable and Nancy Pelosi says Make America Great Again really means “make America white again,” they are echoing Hofstadter. 

The civil rights advances of the 1960s helped cement the stereotype of small shop owners as grubby racists who should be replaced by more enlightened corporate chains. (Ironically, many black small business owners were displaced by their better-capitalized and now integrated competitors, despite Martin Luther King’s exhortation to support black-owned enterprises.) 

Corporate Woke Hypocrisy

Now we have global corporations showcasing their concern for social justice when, in fact, it is these same companies that are responsible for creating the problem in the first place.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon kneels in front of a bank vault. Tim Cook has Apple donating to organizations that challenge racial injustice and mass incarceration. General Motors CEO Mary Barra says her company is as focused on social injustice as it is on the bottom line.

But Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Detroit outsourced entire industries to China. They can end the income inequality, lack of opportunity and other inequities they decry by bringing those jobs, many of them once held by black Americans, back to the United States.

Tim Cook sees “deeply rooted discrimination . . . in the inequalities in neighborhood services and the educations our children receive.” Yet Apple’s offshore tax avoidance schemes starve “underserved school systems” of the resources he then wants the rest of us who can’t hide our money offshore to pay.

“We can have no society worth celebrating unless we can guarantee freedom from fear for every person who gives this country their love, labor, and life,” says Cook. Yet Cook should not be counted as a “person who gives this country their love, labor, and life” because he has given those things to the Communist Party of China.  He has handed over money and technology to our enemies that never would have existed were it not for the people of the United States of America.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra lectures us about the “unconscionable list of black Americans who have lost their lives” but she ignores the unconscionable list of black Americans who have lost their livelihoods thanks to her “global supply chains.” Flint, Michigan used to be Buick City. Now, GM’s Buick SUV is made in China.

Barra strikes a courageous pose, writing, “We stand up against injustice—that means taking the risk of expressing an unpopular or polarizing point of view, because complacency and complicity sit in the shadow of silence.”

Just don’t expect her to risk expressing an unpopular or polarizing point of view inside the People’s Republic China. Rather, Cadillac sponsored a propaganda film celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. 

Sitting in the shadow of Apple and GM’s silence is their complacency and complicity in the enslavement and extermination of the Uyghur people. A report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, “Uyghurs for sale,” found slave labor from the CCP’s concentration camps in Western China are working in factories supplying 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, GM, Gap, Nike, Samsung, BMW, Sony, and Volkswagen.

Uyghur Genocide, Corporate Profit

The Chinese Communist government has facilitated the mass transfer of more than 80,000 imprisoned Uyghur Muslims from the far west region of Xinjiang to factories across the country between 2017 and 2019.

The Uyghurs transferred out of Xinjiang typically live in segregated dormitories, undergo ideological training outside working hours, are subject to constant surveillance, and are forbidden from participating in religious observances.

Watchtowers, barbed-wire fences, and police guard boxes ring a factory in eastern China that manufactures shoes for Nike. Uyghur workers are unable to go home for holidays.

Uyghur workers were transferred directly from one of Xinjiang’s “re-education camps” to another factory supplying sportswear multinationals Adidas and Fila.

Several Chinese factories making components for Apple or their suppliers are also using Uyghur labor.

When the CCP is not conscripting Uyghurs for its export industries, it’s erasing this ethnic minority from the face of the earth. The party forces intrauterine birth control devices, sterilization, and abortion on hundreds of thousands of Uyghur women.

“It’s genocide, full stop. It’s not immediate, shocking, mass-killing on the spot type genocide, but it’s slow, painful, creeping genocide,” Joanne Smith Finley of Newcastle University in the U.K. tells the Associated Press. “These are direct means of genetically reducing the Uighur population.”

Nothing says “systemic racism” like genocide.

So where are the calls to defund China?

Global corporations make token payments to anti-racism activists in the United States while funding the CCP’s racist dictatorship in China and sowing the destitution that causes unrest at home.

Should it ever come time to pay reparations, present the bill to these companies.