Elections

It’s All About November 3

The Democrats thought they could ride the tiger to victory.  Instead, they will be consumed by the monster they created but could not control.

Everything is what it is, and not another thing.” That lapidary observation from the Sermons (1726) of Joseph, Bishop Butler, is one of the most profound philosophical observations I have ever encountered. One of the simplest, too. In nine short words, it introduces a principle of mental hygiene that Marxists, Freudians, Hegelians, astrologers, sociobiologists, and other lovers of mystification ignore at their—or, more to the point, at our—peril.

Butler’s chief target was what we now call the selfish theory of human nature—the “strange affection in many people of explaining away all particular affections, and representing the whole of life as nothing but one continued exercise in self-love.” Butler zeros in on the fundamental confusion that nurtures this unflattering view of humanity. It is this: a (deliberate?) confusion between the proposition that we cannot knowingly act except from a desire or interest which is our own, and the proposition that all of our actions are self-interested. 

The first is not only true, it is a necessary truth: it could not be otherwise. The second proposition— that all of our actions are self-interested—far from being self-evidently true, is a scandalous falsehood.  

It is a tautology that any interest we have is an interest of our own: whose else could it be? But the objects of our interest are as varied as the world is wide. 

No doubt much of what we do we do from motives of self-interest. But we might also do things for the sake of flag and country; for the love of a good woman; for the love of God; to discover a new country; to benefit a friend; to harm an enemy; to make a fortune; to spend a fortune. 

“It is not,” Butler notes, “because we love ourselves that we find delight in such and such objects, but because we have particular affections towards them.” How much wandering in mental thickets might have been avoided had Sigmund Freud acquainted himself with Butler’s Sermons?

Not, in truth, that I think it would have saved the world from the nonsense of Freudianism, any more than it would have saved the world from the monstrosity that is Hegel’s dialectic. Motives more powerful than the search for truth stand behind the erection of those mental bureaucracies, and it would be idle to think that mere logical cleanliness would rescue us from the egotism of intellectuals.  

A Monolithic Wall of Noise

I begin with Bishop Butler’s incandescent observation because I am going to say a few words that might seem—but only seem—to contradict them. As we look around at American society today, what do we see? A confusing mélange that seems partly mindless, partly vicious. Our response to the latest Chinese import, the novel coronavirus—what was that? How long will we be in sorting out the petty and sometimes murderous tyrannies enacted by various state governors and other officials? 

And what about the malignant nonsense that is Black Lives Matter? How did that happen? How is it that celebrities, major corporations, and tony schools and colleges experienced simultaneous multiple paroxysms of woke self-abasement because a lowlife career criminal with serious cardiac problems died in police custody? How do you go from an arrest in Minneapolis to the desecration of the Lincoln Memorial, the looting and burning of businesses across the country, and a regime of racially based (and racially biased) communal penance? 

I do not believe I am violating the principle of Bishop Butler’s argument when I say that almost everything happening in our society—all the craziness, all the posturing, all the distracting noise, exaggeration, and downright mendacity—all of it is not about itself but about something else, and that something else is Donald Trump. 

A new, flu-like virus is abroad in the land. The anti-Trump establishment goes to work: How can we blame it on Trump? He shuts down flights from China at the end of January: charge him with being racist and xenophobic. He consults experts. They tell him it is not a serious threat. He goes on television and says that: hysteria! Then he swings into action, mobilizes American manufacturing prowess and turns out more ventilators, protective gear, testing kits, and new therapies than anyone thought possible. The curve flattens. The political weapon that was COVID-19 falters. No problem. Declare a race war!  Smash up the storefronts. Get everybody talking about racism all the time. Ignore the fact that the people overwhelmingly harmed by Black Lives Matter are inner-city blacks. Blame everything on Donald Trump. 

The unremitting, monolithic wall of noise that has been crashing against Donald Trump since election day 2016 has gotten louder and louder, more cacophonous, more furious, more irrational. Everything is what it is, and not another thing. But the one thing that takes precedence over everything now is defeating Trump, which means defeating not only Trump himself but what he stands for—those 63 million voters who put him in office, for starters. 

The Fundamental Choice

But it’s more than that. The forces of anti-Trump hatred comprise not just Democratic aspirants to high office but also, and more significantly, the media (social and otherwise), the spoiled, pajama-boy Left, and—above all, perhaps—the entrenched administrative apparatus of government, the self-engorging bureaucracy of the state whose fundamental allegiance is to the principle of self-perpetuation.  

It is all of that which Donald Trump came to office to sweep clean, like Hercules confronting the Augean stables. The first time around the reaction was a compact of contempt and ridicule, but that was only because Trump could not win. The smartest people in the world—Bill Kristol, Nancy Pelosi, Rachel Maddow—they all knew he couldn’t win. So they didn’t come together in a single caterwauling primal scream to stop him.  

This time they have. And since they control almost all the major megaphones, it can sometimes seem that everyone is against Donald Trump and no one is for him.

It can seem that way, but of course it is not. And that is chiefly for two reasons. First, there are those 63 million voters—perhaps it will be 66 or 68 million this time. Voters whose voices you don’t hear in the pages of the New York Times and whose rigged Google searches and Facebook hot spots somehow leave out of account. They’re sitting at home watching their cities burn, watching monuments to Columbus, to Washington and Thomas Jefferson be defaced or toppled. They see that, and they hear a nonstop litany telling them how racist they are and how evil  America is. 

And just about now, a great chasm is opening up. The choice, they see, is not so much between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. It is between the America they love—that Donald Trump celebrates—and the out-of-control forces of anti-American hatred that, though he does not understand them, Joe Biden manages to blink and nod and gibber around. 

Everything that is happening between now and November 3 is about November 3. But the fundamental choice is not really Donald Trump or Joe Biden. It is civilization and America on one side, anarchy and woke tyranny on the other. The Democrats thought they could ride the tiger to victory. Instead, they will be consumed by the monster they created but could not control.

Great America

Fauci Is a Deep State Fraud

The pandemic’s guru, unfortunately, behaves as an ordinary creature of the Washington swamp.

I knew for sure that Anthony Fauci is a fraud after listening to him for about 10 seconds—as anyone who listens carefully would have known as well. President Trump had been charging the Chinese government with obscurancy and deception in its handling of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Fauci had dealt intimately with the Chinese on that matter. His National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Centers for Disease Control had partially financed the notorious Wuhan laboratory where Chinese scientists were researching the virus. Fauci knew a lot.

A reporter asked Fauci if he agreed with Trump that the Chinese have not been fully forthcoming about the scope of the pandemic. Fauci answered that although the Chinese had lacked candor in previous years, this time they had turned over “the sequence of the virus.” Spoken like a wily swamp reptile!

His words were factually correct. The Chinese had turned over all they knew about the virus’s “sequence”—namely, its genetic structure. But the reporter and the audience neither knew nor cared about that. They were interested in the Chinese government’s misrepresentations of the virus’s contagion, fatality rate, and so forth. That is what they had dissembled and lied about. 

Fauci’s answer artfully deceived the audience into believing the opposite of the truth. Thus did Fauci help plant a dagger between Trump’s shoulder blades and help his party—the Democrats and the deep state—extort the American people’s compliance to their agendas.

Deep State Doctor

Donald Trump’s decision to accredit Dr. Anthony Fauci as the COVID-19 pandemic’s guru is largely responsible for the extent of the panic that gripped America in the spring and now summer. Fauci is a bona fide graduate of medical school. Many attest to his earlier epidemiological brilliance. But none of the words by which he has helped inflict chaos on America have reflected either medical or epidemiological facts. Fauci has acted as, and has been, a politicized, partisan bureaucrat while pretending to be the disinterested authority of physicians and scientists. 

The pretense that COVID-19 is something like, and hence is to be treated like, the plague is the essence of the scam that the deep state and the Democratic Party are perpetrating on America. Anthony Fauci’s pseudo-medical, pseudo-scientific pretense is the foremost pillar of that lie.

Sowing and maintaining confusion about the severity of cases of  COVID-19 infections—indeed, about the very meaning of the word “case”—has been the heart of that lie. 

Understanding the truth begins with comparing the infection/fatality rate (IFR) of ordinary seasonal flu, 0.01 percent, with that of the bubonic plague or smallpox—around 30 percent—and then realizing that COVID-19’s IFR is roughly that of the flu.

Although Fauci was not the sole author of the confusion, he surely was most influential in spreading it. And it was a lie, because by January Fauci knew that, despite the Chinese government’s indications and media management to the contrary, COVID-19 was what we in the West have since learned from experience: deadly to the very old and otherwise compromised, but milder than most flu strains for just about everyone else. 

That knowledge notwithstanding, Fauci concurred with the mathematical modelers’ dire forecasts of frightful across-the-board mortality rates. He substantiated their (baseless) assumptions of an IFR around 5 percent for everyone by citing as a “case” any sick person who tested positive for the virus or who had a fever, cough, and other respiratory symptoms like those caused by the virus. He then agreed that all such persons who died should have their deaths attributed to the virus. 

In late March, Fauci convinced President Trump that a wave of such deadly “cases” would overwhelm America’s healthcare system unless Americans huddled at home. Trump agreed. (Remember, “15 Days to Slow the Spread?) Thereafter, the lockdowns took on a momentum of their own.

Mindless Momentum 

So mindless of reality was this momentum that it shoved aside the only medical fact that made any difference, namely, the vulnerability of old, fragile people. Hence, Fauci’s CDC, all keen to free up hospital space, advised state and local health systems to transfer all manner of patients into nursing homes and long-term care facilities. 

Thus did Fauci’s CDC become the efficient cause of the holocaust that killed perhaps 60,000 practically captive old folks.

By mid-April however, as the great wave simply was not happening, any number of independent studies were establishing COVID-19’s true, low IFR. Fauci retreated, no longer linking “cases” to deaths, he used the panic he had helped foment and the credit that Trump had naively given him, to finagle Trump into agreeing to a staged plan to end the lockdowns which, upon closer look, was really a plan for perpetuating them regardless of what happened.

The essence of this fraud is the pretense that all COVID-19 infections are “cases” requiring sequestration and quarantine, even if they involve persons to whom the virus poses no danger—i.e., nearly all Americans. To keep down the number of “cases” Fauci now preaches, Americans must be willing to accept any number of arbitrary restrictions, not least of which is superintendence by “contact tracers” empowered to allow or disallow anyone from ordinary employment and human contact.

To grasp Fauci’s dishonesty—being anything but ignorant, he knows exactly what he is doing—we need not recall his self-contradictions regarding the wearing of masks or regarding the risks associated with Holy Communion versus sex with strangers. Let us only recall what this board-certified physician has said and done about the drug hydroxychloroquine.

This standard antimalarial drug’s usefulness against COVID-19 was discovered accidentally as physicians around the world found it useful for treating patients, especially in the disease’s early and mid-stages. President Trump praised it. 

The deep state howled. Fauci tried to backstab Trump by pointing out that the drug had not been specifically approved to treat COVID-19. Reporters refused to accept a backhanded put-down. When one asked whether he would take the drug were he infected with COVID-19, Fauci said yes, but qualified that he would do so only as part of an FDA study. Later, as the deep state’s campaign against “Trump’s drug” produced studies obviously biased against it, Fauci happily retreated to saying that the drug was now off the table. 

But by June, as major peer-reviewed studies confirmed hydroxychloroquine’s usefulness, Fauci remained silent. He was doing the best he could for his class. Not for us.

This is not how scientists behave. Much less is it how doctors behave who take seriously the Hippocratic Oath. Fauci, unfortunately, behaves as an ordinary creature of the Washington swamp.

Elections

Where the Hell Is John Durham?

Trump has every right to be enraged that four years after Barack Obama’s top henchmen concocted and executed the biggest political scandal of all time, not one person has been held criminally responsible while trials against his associates drag on.

In May 2019, Attorney General William Barr made an announcement millions of Americans had been waiting for: A U.S. attorney outside the Beltway would investigate the corrupt origins of the FBI’s probe into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and government efforts to sabotage the incoming president after he was elected.

For the past 14 months, we have been waiting (impatiently, I confess) for news from John Durham, the Connecticut prosecutor Barr tapped to lead the long-delayed inquiry. After all, by the time the attorney general initiated the targeted probe, there was plenty of evidence of wrongdoing by top officials in the Obama Administration, including James Comey, John Brennan, and Andrew McCabe among others. Special Counsel Robert Mueller had wrapped up his two-year partisan witch hunt and despite unlimited resources—along with the unflinching support of Republicans on Capitol Hill—Barack Obama’s former FBI director could find no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

But Mueller did plenty of damage in the interim. Just weeks after his May 2017 appointment, Mueller started rounding up Trump associates: George Papadopoulos was arrested at Dulles Airport in July 2017 on a concocted charge. A few months later, Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, was arrested; Lt. General Michael Flynn finally relented to a plea deal for which he still hasn’t been sentenced. (The judge in the case is refusing to drop the charges against Flynn, per the government’s request.) All that and more happened within the first six months of Mueller’s investigation.

Yet Durham has produced nothing for public consumption.

In an interview last month, Barr said there might finally be some news in the next month or so. “[Durham] is pressing ahead as hard as he can, I expect we will have some developments hopefully by the end of this summer,” Barr told Fox News Channel’s Maria Bartiromo on June 21. “His investigation will continue, it’s not going to stop because of the election. What happens after the election will depend on who wins the election.”

In other words, the clock is ticking—and Barr knows it.

A Post-Election Announcement?

On Thursday, hope for a pre-election resolution took a big hit when Fox News reported that if Durham can’t finish his work in the next several weeks, he will “punt it until after the election,” one unnamed source disclosed.

In some respects, it might already be too late for Durham to present a case that’s legitimate in the eyes of the public. Obamagate continues to be of intense interest to Trump’s base but it could be considered old news by most Americans. Further, Democrats and the media have waged full-out war on the attorney general, attempting to discredit Barr as a Trump lackey doing the president’s political bidding. Indictments announced even this summer undoubtedly will be condemned as attempted election interference, and it’ll be hard to dispute that claim at this late date.

So, what in the world is taking so long?

Yes, the coronavirus crisis slowed all court proceedings and investigative work. But it’s hard to understand why clear-cut evidence of criminal misconduct hasn’t been enough to justify a single indictment so far. The report issued by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz outlined extensive instances of abuse of power, including false presentations to a secret court. One FBI lawyer intentionally doctored evidence. More than three years ago, former Obama officials leaked classified information to the media, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail. Those suspects have never been identified let alone charged with a crime.

Former CIA Director John Brennan told Congress the infamous Steele dossier wasn’t used as back-up material for his damning Intelligence Community Assessment that claimed the Russians meddled in the election to help Trump win. That, according to Horowitz’s report, was a lie.

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe admitted lying to federal investigators under oath three times, yet he’s a free man and a CNN contributor.

Former FBI Director James Comey and his top gang—including McCabe, Peter Strzok, and Lisa Page—long ago should have been charged with conspiracy against the United States for masterminding the entire Russian collusion hoax and foisting it on the American people for nearly three years.

There’s more low-hanging fruit. Fusion GPS chief Glenn Simpson was representing a Russian businessman before the Justice Department while seeding the bogus Steele dossier to that same agency and to the American news media but has never been charged with a foreign lobbying violation. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) repeatedly lied about evidence of Russian collusion, including in a February 2018 memo addressed to his House colleagues, but never has been charged with lying to Congress.

In fact, nearly every Obamagate perpetrator misled the American people about Russian collusion but, as Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) pointed out, they told much different stories to Congress behind closed doors.

“Guilty As Hell, Nothing Happens”

It appears Trump, like his supporters, are fed up with the delays and inaction.

The president lashed out Thursday in a series of tweets blasting the “totally corrupt” Obama administration and the inept overseers of justice. “This crime was taking place even before my election, everyone knows it, and yet all are frozen stiff with fear,” Trump raged. “No Republican Senate Judiciary response, NO ‘JUSTICE,’ NO FBI, NO NOTHING. Major horror show REPORTS on Comey & McCabe, guilty as hell, nothing happens. Catch Obama & Biden cold, nothing.”

Hard to argue with that. Ironically, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) last week expressed the same frustration with Durham’s probe. The former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, now led by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), whined on Twitter that it would be “SAD SAD” if there were no indictments related to the scandal until after the election.

That’s awfully rich coming from Grassley. As chairman of the committee in charge of overseeing the Justice Department, Grassley did little but write letters for two years. Senate Republicans knew in early 2017 that the Steele dossier was opposition research paid for by the Democrats and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign but backed Mueller’s witch hunt anyway. While Nunes and House Republicans did the heavy lifting and took the shots, Senate Republicans dithered.

Graham is performing no better than Grassley, despite months of threats. Graham, too, is permitting Obamagate conspirators to testify in private rather than forcing them to come clean with Americans in an open hearing. After finally convincing his Republican-controlled committee to approve a weak resolution authorizing subpoenas for about 50 Obamagate perps, Graham has only questioned Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department official friendly with Christopher Steele, whose wife worked on the anti-Trump project for Fusion GPS behind closed doors.

Trump has every right to be enraged that four years after Barack Obama’s top henchmen concocted and executed the biggest political scandal of all time, not one person has been held criminally responsible while trials against his associates drag on.

Further, the president been betrayed by the leadership of his own party. It was a matter of nanoseconds after Democrats took control of the House before they leveraged every ounce of their new power to savage Trump and Republicans. Republicans, on the other hand, have sat “frozen stiff” while wielding powerful gavels and making empty promises. (I wrote a partial list of the Senate GOP’s failures here.)

Something could change in the next week or so but for now, between Trump’s tweets and Fox News reporting on a possible delay until November, it looks more and more like justice for Trump—and the country—will be denied.

Great America

Big Philanthropy and the Battle Against ‘Systemic Racism’

The millennialist mindset of Big Philanthropy and its fellow travelers leaves one susceptible to any world-saving scheme that comes down the pike.

Who would have thought the Gates Foundation would endorse tearing down statues of Christopher Columbus, Ulysses S. Grant, George Washington, and other dead white men?

Sure, you won’t find “mob violence,” “vandalism,” or “destruction of public property” in any grant applications, but the paroxysms of rage racking our country and the desire to rip racism from America by root and branch is the end-product of Big Philanthropy’s governing ideology.

To understand why, you have to know the difference between charity and philanthropy.

When a charity sees a hungry widow and her toddler daughter, it buys food and gives it to them. Save-a-Soul Mission would offer a sermon with the soup but that was pretty much the end of it.

When a philanthropy sees a hungry widow and child, it pays 1,800 overeducated, post-graduate credentialed, deracinated, privileged children of the elites to study crop yields, food distribution patterns, income inequality, demographic trends, and to design and implement a comprehensive 600-page program using the most sophisticated computer models to predict what will absolutely, certainly, definitively eliminate poverty. In the meantime, it will place the widow’s child with foster parents of better means and provide a micro loan to develop the mother’s entrepreneurial superpower.

Where charity seeks to feed the hungry, scientific philanthropy seeks to eliminate the causes of hunger. The charitable impulse says if you save one person you have saved the world. The philanthropic impulse says system-wide change will be the salvation of humanity.

Asked why it hadn’t given to the homeless camped in front of its $500 million headquarters, a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation spokesperson said, “We’re trying to move upstream to a systems-level to either prevent family homelessness before it happens or to end it as soon as possible after it happens.”

This impulse “to identify an underlying cause” has become a reflex among our governing classes. This explains why some look at a nine-minute video and see incontrovertible evidence of “systemic racism”—something that requires the wholesale transformation of society—rather than evidence of one incident of wrongdoing. There must be something “upstream” of the horrific spectacle that needs to be fixed at the “systems-level.”

We saw the upstream tropism at work when the Obama State Department declared “we need to go after the root causes that lead people to join” ISIS, “whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs” or poor governance. “We cannot kill our way out of this war,” they believed, as if only an unsophisticated simpleton would consider winning a war by killing the enemy.

Big Philanthropy and Big Government: Partners in Technocracy

Big Philanthropy’s rise coincided with the rise of the Progressives and the mindset of scientific philanthropy has much in common with Progressive ideology. They share a belief that technology, centralization, and rationalism can be deployed by specially trained technocrats to guide the world to perfection. Sociologist James C. Scott describes it as, “a supreme self-confidence about . . . increasing control over nature (including human nature) commensurate with scientific understanding.”

Big Philanthropy works in partnership with Big Government. The nonprofit sector provides a proving ground for programs the state then brings to scale. Government is the biggest nonprofit of them all.

The Progressives’ and philanthropy’s belief in technocratic solutions—the notion that the principles of efficient industrial engineering can be applied to society—gave rise to numerous social engineering experiments.

To save children of indigent Catholics from poverty, reformers would remove children from their parents and send them to be raised by Protestant families in the Midwest. The child-saving zealots moved on from Catholic families to the native inhabitants of the United States, Canada, and Australia. It was hubris and condescension, not racism, that drove them.

Those earlier reformers’ readiness to tear apart families has an analog in today’s Maoist activists who announce their intent to “disrupt” the nuclear family. We can’t let something as backward and primal as human instincts get in the way of a new and improved social order.

Against Busybody-ism

The millennialist mindset of Big Philanthropy and its fellow travelers leaves one susceptible to any world-saving scheme that comes down the pike, whether it be socialism, eugenics (another favorite of the early Progressives and philanthropists), prohibition or one-world-ism.

Eliminating systemic racism, including the elimination of the American nation and the nuclear family as we know it, is the latest in a long line of irrational projects Americans have signed on to in the name of scientific and technological rationality.  

But it makes sense that liberal reformers would see America is irredeemably flawed, though not for the reasons they say. It has nothing to do with racism, be it systemic, entrenched, unconscious or otherwise.

The political philosophy governing America is Leave-me-alone-ism, and that, at its root, is antithetical to busybody reformers who want to get in everyone’s business with grandiose schemes to remake the world.

First Principles

A Reign of Error

What we think about things can be as important as the things themselves, because it forms our moral stance toward the world. But what if our thoughts are in error?

At the end of The Unheavenly City: The Nature and the Future of Our Urban Crisis (1968), Edward Banfield presents a prospect regarding race relations that seems to have been fulfilled since his tumultuous years and ours: a reign of error.

Let me set the stage. America had become the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, and the wealth was making its way to the lower classes also. Thus the main “accidental factor” that had locked Americans in a vicious cycle of white discrimination and prejudice on one side and low standards and attainments for blacks on the other would be largely alleviated. Such prejudice, said Banfield, writing during the years of urban riots, was already in decline.

By any reasonable criterion, he was correct about that decline. Consider, for one example, our nearly universal acceptance of interracial marriage. Such acceptance was unimaginable when “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? was nominated for the Academy Award for best picture of 1967, largely on account of its message (for a much superior and gut-ripping film on interracial marriage, racial animosity, and rank injustice, see 1964’s “One Potato, Two Potato”). More than 1-in-6 new marriages in the United States are interracial. That alone, I had once thought, would suffice to put those animosities to rest, as it had done between other embittered groups.

Why have improvements in our material circumstances and markedly improved attitudes about race not settled the problem, even now that for tens of millions of people interracial marriage is a family affair? Banfield warned that such things might not be enough. 

Improvement causes expectations to rise, and that means bad actions will appear more perverse, injustices more unjust. 

“To a large extent,” Banfield says, “our urban problems are like the mechanical rabbit at the racetrack, which is set to keep just ahead of the dogs no matter how fast they may run.” Such is the case when we define poverty by ever-rising standards, so that although the level of material privation that my parents and my wife’s parents knew when they were children is now a thing of the past, we still have the problem of relative poverty, whereby people will feel less content than my parents felt, because we measure our welfare by comparison with what other people have.

Relative poverty, if it were a matter of extrinsic circumstances alone, might be eliminated by a redistribution of goods; that was the reasoning behind the welfare system. But perhaps it is not so easily cured. Banfield, who had written about a dysfunctional village in southern Italy in The Moral Basis of a Backward Society (1967), never forgot that man was a moral creature and not just a passive thing acted upon by forces from without. We possess moral codes, he says, “certain styles of life that are learned in childhood and passed on as a kind of collective heritage.” 

In America, one’s social class depended upon two moral factors: the “ability to imagine a future,” and the “ability to discipline oneself to sacrifice present for future satisfaction.” But the lower-class individual, white or black, lacked those abilities. 

He “suffers from feelings of self-contempt or inadequacy, and is often apathetic or dejected,” . . . “suspicious and hostile, aggressive yet dependent.” He “resents all authority . . . and is apt to think that he has been ‘railroaded’ and to want to ‘get even.’” The lower-class household is usually headed by a female, and the boy so raised “is likely to learn at an early age to join a corner gang of such boys and to learn from the gang the ‘tough’ style of the lower-class man.” 

Such a boy will have a strong taste for risk and violence, nor will he want to marry or to settle down to one mate. It follows, then, that government initiatives which, despite the best of intentions, encourage the formation of female-headed households, or make it harder or to all appearances unnecessary to domesticate the strongest, most aggressive, and most spirited young men and direct their energy toward productive ends, will confirm the self-thwarting pathologies of the lower class: “Overgenerous welfare programs may destroy more incentives to look ahead and provide for the future than improved job and other opportunities can provide.”

So it is that what we think about things can be as important as the things themselves, because it forms our moral stance toward the world. But what if our thoughts are in error? 

There is less violent crime in our cities now than there was 30 years ago (in part because of our dreadfully high rate of incarceration, including self-incarceration behind gates and guards). But people still register the violence. Mass media causes an atrocity in Boise to be known in Perth, when most of the people in each city could not find the other city on a map. 

Persuaded that their cities are war zones, people retreat to their havens, and the streets are abandoned to the most antisocial. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Jane Jacobs said much the same thing in The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961). When you think that your streets are unsafe for children, they become so: for children are eyes, and they are everywhere and unpredictable, a strong deterrent to serious crime.

This is how “a false public definition of the situation may,” says Banfield, citing the sociologist Robert K. Merton, “evoke new behavior that makes the originally false definition come true, thus perpetuating a ‘reign of error.’” The decline in racial prejudice “counts for little if the Negro thinks that white racism is as pervasive as ever.” The opening up of his opportunities “counts for little if he thinks that ‘massive’ government welfare, housing, and other programs—and only these—can help him.” 

The original error, shared by many people who wish him well, may cause him to “do things that are counterproductive (for example, to cut himself off from ‘white’ schools, jobs, and politics and to enter the fantasy world of black separatism).” Indeed, it would be better for him, says Banfield, to put the best construction on things rather than the worst, “for a self-fulfilling prophecy of the unimportance of racial factors would be as great a blessing as its opposite would be a curse.”

One way to determine whether racism or a destructive perception of racism is at work is to control for race and separate groups by perception. The fabulous success of Nigerian immigrants to America is powerfully suggestive. It is not simply that the best and brightest are leaving Nigeria for America—explaining why Nigerian-Americans have higher educational attainments than any other ethnic group in the nation. It is also that they come without the burden of history. Nigeria is a deeply divided country, with plenty of Islamic terrorism. But the Nigerian does not arrive in New York thinking, “Here I will be despised for my race,” or, “Every light-skinned person I meet might be the great-grandchild of slave owners.” That story is not his story. 

Instead, the Nigerian immigrant is likely to assume that most people will like him if he treats them cheerfully, and they will be glad to see him succeed, and this assumption contributes to his chances of success. It enters his behavior. He has no wicked past to forget.

Banfield seems to have had little religious sensibility. The true aim of life lay beyond what he could imagine. It was not—and is not—success in this world. It is friendship with God and man. In what soil does friendship flourish? Gratitude, modesty, generosity, self-denial; the willingness to see the best in your friend and to overlook or to forgive the worst; and, of paramount importance, the knowledge that if God should give us what we justly deserve, none of us would see salvation. 

If we do not know that, we dwell in a reign of error indeed.

Elections

Point of No Return

The time to choose between irreconcilable opposites is almost at hand.

Donald Trump gave the greatest speech of his career on Friday night at Mount Rushmore, an address that will soon take on historic importance. The president has now forced his opponents out of their fetid hothouse of snobbery, humbug, and subversion. In the process he has forced the Bush Republicans, who led the party between the retirement of Ronald Reagan and the rise of Donald Trump, to show their colors.

George H. W. Bush became president because James Baker, his campaign manager in 1980 when he was running against Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination, persuaded him to throw his lot in with Reagan after the former California governor’s nomination victory was assured, but while Bush could still win another primary. Not having strong views on the subject, Reagan gave Bush (as the distant runner-up for the nomination) the vice-presidential position. He was a dutiful vice president and competent president, but he never understood how or why Reagan had moved the Republican Party. 

When Bush sought reelection in 1992, he lost 20 million mainly Republican votes to the political charlatan Ross Perot, thereby bringing the Clintons down upon America. President Clinton moved the Democratic Party closer to the center, away from the nostrums of Jimmy Carter and George McGovern. And the Bush-McCain-Romney Republicans were almost Clintonian political look-alikes.

It was OBushinton government for seven terms and, on balance, it was a disaster. 

There was almost permanent entanglement in the Middle East after 2001, with the principal consequence that Iran gained a dominating influence over most Iraqis. International terrorism was skillfully fought and contained but Iraq, Syria, and Yemen disintegrated, an immense humanitarian disaster involving millions of pitiful refugees resulted; the greatest financial crisis in the world since the Great Depression occurred—traceable directly to President Clinton’s regulatory and legislative sponsorship of the housing bubble; 10 to 15 million unskilled people entered the U.S. illegally, and the working and middle classes of America experienced a prolonged period of no increase in their income as measured by purchasing power. Iran and North Korea were allowed to get to the edge of nuclear military power and China was challenging U.S. interests everywhere. 

It was the most incompetent period of presidential government in American history, exceeding the decade prior to the Civil War and even the Prohibition, isolationism, and the crash of 1929 which led to the Great Depression of the 1930s. 

Distinctions became blurred between Republicans and Democrats, and the mediocre performance of the United States in the world and the failure of scores of millions of hard-working Americans to better their lot created the discontent in which Donald Trump was able to win control of the Republican Party by sweeping the primaries in 2016. 

At the same time, the Democratic Marxist Left led by journeyman socialist Bernie Sanders came close to defeating Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2016. Sanders was on the way to winning the nomination this year when the party elders picked Joe Biden out of the ditch where the Democratic primary voters had put him and installed him as the candidate.    

Embracing the Chaos

Since Trump led a revolution against all the established factions of both parties, they joined hands to deny him any honeymoon. The first three years of his presidency were consumed by the almost certainly criminal Trump-Russian collusion hoax and the spurious impeachment attempt. 

By late January, Trump’s success in almost eliminating unemployment, oil imports, and illegal immigration, and his revival of economic growth, revision of trade agreements, and elevation of nearly 200 constitutionalist judges, had made his election appear almost inevitable. 

The Democrats naturally shrieked with glee at the prospect of shutting down the economy to fight the COVID-19 virus, and have continually demanded an economically self-strangling shutdown for an indefinite period. The pandemic has had the additional blessing of giving Democrats an excuse to hide their candidate in his basement, as Joe Biden is obviously not up to the very tough process that a successful presidential candidacy requires.

The pandemic’s cumulative impact on the voters, the precipitation of more than 15 million people into unemployment in the resulting shutdown, and the severe urban violence that assaulted every principal tenet of American patriotism following the death of George Floyd, all combined to produce the astounding anomaly that Joe Biden appears to lead Donald Trump in pre-election polls by as much as eight or ten percent.     

Emboldened by what they took to be the long-anticipated dissolution of the Trump political phenomenon, the NeverTrumpers (Republicans who had never rallied to this president) have come snorting out of the undergrowth in full fraternization with the Biden Democrats. This adherence to Biden, whom they had reviled or at least disdained for decades, occurred as the Democrats themselves waffled ambiguously in the face of urban guerrillas smashing up many of America’s greatest cities, and as the flaccid and corrupt Democratic governments of those cities abased themselves before Black Lives Matter and Antifa. 

Nothing But the Truth

As the leadership of Black Lives Matter is professedly Marxist and rejects the proposition that all lives matter, it is an overtly and violently anti-white, racist institution of the far Left. Antifa are violent, racist fellow-travelers. In failing to condemn these groups unequivocally, the Democratic Party will soon discover that it has been mortally infected by cohabitation with them.     

President Trump spoke nothing but the truth at Mount Rushmore on Friday when he said “Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children. Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities. Many of these people have no idea why they are doing this but some know exactly what they are doing.” 

It is inconceivable that the FBI—particularly with the opprobrium it has rightly attracted for its antics in the Russian collusion canard—is not close to being able to indict the leadership of Black Lives Matter and Antifa for sedition and incitement to a range of violent crimes, including murder and arson. It is also inconceivable that the country could fail to choose the president’s championship of patriotic continuity with strong emphasis on racial equality and the highest standards of civilized law enforcement over the nihilism and Americo-phobic mob rule of the post-George Floyd rioters whom the Democrats in their decadent insipidity have appeased.

The almost inexpressibly contemptible Democratic de Blasio regime in New York City has reduced the police budget by $1 billion as violent crime has more than doubled. The president’s reopening of the economy brought back nearly 5 million workers out of unemployment in June and this process should continue. The fatality rates of the pandemic have declined by nearly 90 percent from their high, with spread of the virus now concentrated amongst those who can best resist it. The subject of pathetic Democratic hand-wringing, the surge in new cases is effectively irrelevant other than that it increases national immunity to it.  

Former conservatives and pillars of the pre-Trump Republican Party are now facing the point of no return. If they confirm their support for the almost leaderless Democratic Party now closely allied with pestilence and racist mayhem, they will never have any political influence in any party again. The time to choose between irreconcilable opposites is almost at hand.

Elections

An Industry of Untruth

The brand of all cultural revolutions is untruth about the past and present in order to control the future. Why we have this happening to our country is the only mystery left.

The current revolution is based on a series of lies, misrepresentations, and distortions, whose weight will soon sink it.

Viral confusion

Unfortunately few in authority have been more wrong, and yet more self-righteously wrong, than the esteemed Dr. Anthony Fauci. Given his long service as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and his stature during the AIDS crisis, he has rightly been held up by the media as the gold standard of coronavirus information. The media has constructed Fauci as a constant corrective of Trump’s supposed “lies” about the utility of travel bans, analogies with a bad flu year, and logical endorsement of hydroxychloroquine as a “what do you have to lose” possible therapy.

But the omnipresent Fauci himself unfortunately has now lost credibility. The reason is that he has offered authoritative advice about facts, which either were not known or could not have been known at the time of his declarations.

Since January, Fauci has variously advised the nation both that the coronavirus probably was unlikely to cause a major health crisis in the United States and later that it might yet kill 240,000 Americans. In January, he praised China for its transparent handling of the coronavirus epidemic, not much later he conceded that perhaps they’d done a poor job of that. He has cautioned that the virus both poses low risks and, later, high risks, for Americans. Wearing masks, Fauci warned, was both of little utility and yet, later, essential. Hydroxychloroquine, he huffed, had little utility; when studies showed that it did, he still has kept mostly silent.

At various times, he emphasized that social distancing and avoiding optional activities were mandatory, but earlier that blind dating and going on cruise ships were permissible. Fauci weighed in on the inadvisability of restarting businesses prematurely, but he has displayed less certainty about the millions of demonstrators and rioters in the streets for a month violating quarantines. The point is not that he is human like all of us, but that in each of these cases he asserted such contradictions with near-divine certainty—and further confused the public in extremis.

In terms of how the United States “fared,” it is simply untrue that Europe embraced superior social policies in containing the virus. The only somewhat reliable assessments of viral lethality are population numbers and deaths by COVID-19, although the latter is often in dispute.

By such rubrics, the United States, so far, has fared better than most of the major European countries—France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain, Sweden, and Belgium—in terms of deaths per million. Germany is the one major exception. But if blame is to be allotted to public officials for the United States having a higher fatality rate than Germany, then the cause is most likely governors of high-death, Eastern Seaboard states—New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in particular. They either sent the infected into rest homes, or did not early on ensure that their mass transit systems were sanitized daily as well as practicing social distancing.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, more than any other regional or national leader, is culpable for decisions that doomed thousands of elderly patients. He did not just suggest long-term-care facilities receive active COVID-19 patients, but ordered them to take them—knowing at the time that the disease in its lethal manifestations targeted the elderly, infirm, and bedridden.

Then in shameful fashion, after thousands died, Cuomo claimed that either the facilities themselves or Donald Trump were responsible for the deaths. In truth, in the United States, the coronavirus is largely a fatal disease in two senses: the vulnerable in just four states on the Eastern Seaboard that account for about 12 percent of the nation’s population but close to half of its total COVID-19 fatalities, and/or patients in rest homes or those over 65 years old with comorbidities.

Why are there currently spikes in cases among young people in warmer states and those of less population density in late June? No one is certain. But one likely reason is that millions of protestors for nearly a month crammed the nation’s cities, suburbs, and towns, shouting and screaming without masks, violating social distancing, and often without observant hand washing and sanitizing—most often with official exemption or media and political approval.

The period of exposure and incubation is over, and the resulting new cases—for the most part asymptomatic and clustered among the young—are thus no surprise. Still,  what is inconvenient is the rise in these cases—given that the Left either had claimed its mass demonstrations would not spread the disease, or, if they would, the resulting contagion was an affordable price to pay for the cry of the heart protests.

Perhaps, but the real cost of four weeks of protesting, rioting, and looting was to undermine the authority of state officials to enforce blatant violations of the quarantine. Obviously, if some can march with impunity in phalanxes of screaming, shoulder-to-shoulder protestors, while others are jailed as individuals trying to restart a business, then the state has lost its credibility with people and they will simply ignore further edicts as they see fit. Now what adjudicates quarantines are the people’s own calibrations of their own safety.

Mismanagement of the virus? There have been four disastrous official policy decisions: sending patients into rest homes; allowing millions en masse for political reasons to violate state mandates on masks and social distancing; retroactively attempting to reissue quarantine standards that their advocates and authors had themselves earlier de facto destroyed; and consistently issuing pandemic alerts solely on the flawed basis of new positive cases, without distinguishing those who were asymptomatic, or who were infected and recovered without ever being tested, or who were asymptomatic and tested positive for antibodies, or who were only briefly ill, recovered, and by no means still a case-patient.

Endemic Racial Violence?

Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and other revolutionary groups hijacked the tragic death of George Floyd. Within hours they created a mythology of rampant white police lethal attacks on innocent black victims. But that trope, too, was without a factual basis.

The wrongful deaths of unarmed African-Americans in custody have been on the decline, is far less than the number of police murdered per year, less than the number of white suspects killed, and proportionally fewer, in terms of percentages of those arrested by police, than other racial groups.

In rare interracial violence, blacks are five times more likely to attack whites than vice versa. There is a tragic war against young, black males—over 7,000 murdered per year—but it is an urban genocide of sort perpetrated in liberal cities, governed by liberal mayors and governors, and overseen by liberal police chiefs. The shooters are overwhelmingly other black males.

Somehow those facts were distorted by the Left into a trope that George Floyd was typical of an epidemic of white-generated lethal racial hatred. One can certainly argue about systematic racism as being a factor in all these asymmetries, but that is not what the rioting and their apologists have done in trafficking in accusations that have no data to support them.

Iconoclasm Redux

There is no logic to statue toppling, name changing, or culture canceling other than the quest to assert power, humiliate authorities, and create crises where they do not exist in order to manufacture a faux state of emergency—in service of a political agenda. In some sense, whether any statues fall is contingent entirely on the lack of resistance.

We know this because the ignorant rioters and protestors cannot explain why monuments to Ulysses S. Grant, Cervantes, black Civil War veterans, or Abraham Lincoln need to be toppled and destroyed as much as a statue of Robert E. Lee. We are not told why the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton is canceled out, but not the Wilson Center in Washington, or why a memorial to President Washington is targeted for defacement but not the hit play, “Hamilton,” another founder who at one time owned slaves. And what or who, if any, exactly is to replace our fallen luminaries? Name the most iconic—Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, or Che Guevarra and the current rules of perfection would disqualify them all.

The abettors of the madness—corporations, the Democratic National Committee, universities, and the media—are not so mad. Yale, named for a slave owner, is now mostly a brand name, not a certification of a first-class, disinterested, and classically liberal education.

Take the elite stamp away, and what replaces it might as well be an online degree mill—given that it is no longer so demonstrable that a Yale graduate learned more than in his four years than did a graduate of Cal State Stanislaus.

So university presidents at Princeton, Yale, Stanford, and Columbia, know that by the standards of BLM their brand names must be changed. But to do so is synonymous with multi-billion-dollar losses and the destruction of centuries-old brands. Perhaps that is why they pander to the mob the way a Roman would-be emperor outbid rivals seeking to win over the Praetorian Guard.

Trial Balloon Lies

The truth is that the COVID-19 epidemic, the lockdown, and the rioting were seen by the Left, the media, and now the Democratic Party as a renewed effort in this election year to do what Robert Mueller, Ukraine, and impeachment had not—abort the presidency of Donald Trump, or make it impossible for him to be reelected.

So Trump was to be reconfigured as a racist responsible for the death of George Floyd. Then he was smeared as a Herbert Hoover who supposedly crashed the economy all on his own. And then he became a Typhoid Mary purveyor of death who sickened and killed tens of thousands of Americans at his rallies in a way millions at left-wing protests did not.

To that end, almost daily, entire fantasies were birthed, floated, crashed, and then were replaced by new hoaxes. The strategy was that while one lie might be refuted, the bigger and more numerous the lies, the more a continuous narrative could be fabricated.

Consequently, the last two weeks, in succession we were told by the media that a noose was left in a NASCAR garage as a racist threat to NASCAR’s only major African-American driver, typical of Trump’s racist America; that Donald Trump, in dejection and self-incrimination, was soon to quit rather than face the humiliation of a landslide defeat in November; that the president knowingly rejected intelligence that the Russians were paying bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan, as part of his obeisance to Vladimir Putin; and that Trump went to Mount Rushmore to honor racist presidents and dishonor sacred Native American land.

All were not just lies, but respectively unimaginative and banal successors to similarly long ago discredited lies—the Jussie Smollett hoax, the “Trump never wished to be president in the first place” hoax, the Russian “collusion” hoax, and the hoax that Trump’s presence turns once esteemed monuments that prior presidents, most recently Barack Obama, visited into racist dog whistles.

Then there was the monstrous lie that Joe Biden has no cognitive disabilities. That he does was the consensus of one in five polled Democratic voters, of many of his own primary rivals in numerous Democratic debates, of handlers who bragged that his basement quarantine need not end because it resulted in him outpolling Trump, of a scramble to turn the vice-presidential nomination into a veritable presidential bid, and in a litany of gaffes, blank outs, and tragic memory lapses of familiar names, places, and common referents.

Biden finally came out of his bunker to do some tele-fundraising and talk to a few preselected reporters. He almost immediately blasted a reporter as a “lying dog face.” In one of his next appearances, his opening statement started with “I am Joe Biden’s husband, even as the liberal media insisted “Joe” was “Jill.” There is now a Biden-inspired cottage industry of arguing that what Biden is recorded as saying is not what he was saying—on the theory that he so poorly pronounces words that they can become almost anything you wish.

What is cruel is cynically using a cognitively challenged candidate for the purpose of winning an election and then replacing him with a far-left vice president who otherwise likely would never have been elected.

FDR and the Democratic Party did something similar in his successful fourth-term bid in 1944 because of FDR’s anticipated early death in office—but in matters of hiding physical rather than cognitive impairment. Moreover, at least that dishonest gambit was undertaken in order to prevent a socialist takeover of the United States by jettisoning the hard leftist, Vice President Henry Wallace.

In 2020, the effort is not to ensure that a socialist not be appointed president who otherwise would not have been elected, but rather to ensure that she will be.

The brand of all cultural revolutions is untruth about the past and present in order to control the future. Why we have let this happen to our country is the only mystery left.

US President Donald Trump arrives for the Independence Day events at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota, July 3, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)
Elections

A Magnificent Speech

Looking back on the 2020 election, historians will say the Mt. Rushmore speech was the moment that Donald Trump won reelection.

Donald Trump did not mention Lincoln’s First Inaugural address in his speech commemorating the spirit of American Independence at Mount Rushmore on Friday night. But the president’s speech—perhaps his most forceful and eloquent to date—vibrated with the same energy and existential commitment that fired Lincoln in March 1861. 

Lincoln came to office at a time of crisis. His election had precipitated the secession of seven Southern states. His inaugural address was both a plea for conciliation and unity as well as a warning that violence would be stopped with force. “We are not enemies, but friends,” Lincoln said

Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Donald Trump issued a kindred invitation to unity in the midst of conflict. The signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia in July 1776 was a world-historical event. It represented, the president rightly said, “the culmination of thousands of years of Western Civilization—and the triumph not only of spirit, but of wisdom, philosophy, and reason.” At the center of the triumph was the animating possession of liberty, made possible by the unanimous affirmation of the principles Thomas Jefferson articulated in the Declaration: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights . . .” 

The president’s speech was a passionate celebration of American freedom and American greatness—a greatness, he noted, that was embodied by the sublime majesty of the heads of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt sculpted into the granite pinnacle of Mt. Rushmore. 

But just as Lincoln spoke on the eve of civil war, so Donald Trump spoke in the midst of widespread and organized violence against the emblems and the spirit of the American promise. “[T]here is,” he warned, “a growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought, struggled, and bled to secure.”

Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children. Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities. Many of these people have no idea why they are doing this, but some know exactly what they are doing. They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive. But no, the American people are strong and proud, and they will not allow our country, and all of its values, history, and culture, to be taken from them.

I might just say “Amen!” and be done with it. But the president was not content with generalities. He sees deeply into the nature and the source of the forces besieging our country, and he is refreshingly forthright and specific about describing the malady and outlining his intended response. 

The president was especially strong in challenging what is perhaps the most obnoxious manifestation of our petulant antinomianism—that species of politically correct intolerance that has come to be called “cancel culture.” In essence, cancel culture is the malignant inversion of liberalism’s defining virtues, openness and tolerance. It is born of historical ignorance and a stunning lack of empathy—an ironic fact, since one of the chief premises of cancel culture is its own supposed superior sensitivity. 

In fact, the emotional payload of cancel culture is not more sensitive than its accommodating alternative, just more narcissistic. It operates by proxy, filing claims for redress on behalf of a ghostly population of abstractions: “indigenous peoples,” slaves of yesteryear, and on and on in an endless litany of complaint. 

What is not at all abstract, however, are the effects of cancel culture. As the president noted, it is wielded as a weapon, “driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters, and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees.” In a word, cancel culture is “the very definition of totalitarianism” and is “completely alien to our culture and our values.” It should have “absolutely no place in the United States of America.” And here is where his speech took on a steely seriousness. “This attack on our liberty must be stopped,” he said, “and it will be stopped.” 

In short, the president has promised to cancel cancel culture. Is that a contradiction, a violation of the spirit of tolerance he has promised to uphold? No. 

The enemies of civilization routinely use and abuse its freedoms in order to destroy it. Candid men understand this and act to prevent it. As G. K. Chesterton put it, “There is a thought that stops thought. That is the only thought that ought to be stopped.”

The alarming thing about the spirit of cancel culture, and the thing that makes its violence and intolerance different from similar interdictions in the 1960s and 1970s, is that the toxin of woke intolerance has insinuated itself deeply into the tissues of our society, not just the universities—petri dishes for all sort of malevolence—but even grade schools. It has infected not just the coddled elite that, safely insulated itself, has always loved playing at radicalism, but also mainstream corporate culture. The president accurately diagnosed the extent of the malady and its true goal:

In our schools, our newsrooms—even our corporate boardrooms—there is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance. If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted and punished. Make no mistake: this left-wing Cultural Revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution. In so doing, they would destroy the very civilization that rescued billions from poverty, disease, violence and hunger, and that lifted humanity to new heights of achievement, discovery, and progress.

Remember this the next time you see a mob come for a statue of Christopher Columbus or George Washington or Teddy Roosevelt, or, indeed, of Robert E. Lee. What they are coming for is our history—who we are. 

The Left, the president rightly noted, are “determined to tear down every statue, symbol, and memory of our national heritage.” And just as Lincoln warned that violence would be met with force, so Donald Trump put the world on notice that he means business. “I am deploying federal law enforcement,” he noted, “to protect our monuments, arrest the rioters, and prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law. I am pleased to report that yesterday, federal agents arrested the suspected ringleader of the attack on the statue of Andrew Jackson in Washington, D.C.—and hundreds more have been arrested.” The penalty for many of these destructive anarchist acts is 10 years in prison. Making an example of some of these miscreants will have a clarifying effect, not unlike that ascribed by Dr. Johnson to the prospect of hanging in a fortnight

The Mt. Rushmore speech was so good because it spoke half-forgotten home truths in an atmosphere of excited confusion and discontentment. 

We know that all of our most pathological cities have been run as Democratic monopolies for decades. Donald Trump had the temerity to point this out. We know that our public schools are increasingly factories of left-wing, anti-American indoctrination. The president had the temerity to point that out as well. The narrative is that Trump is a crude and bumbling ignoramus, but can you imagine Joe Biden or any other Democrat in office today having the moral courage and clarity of mind to say this:

The violent mayhem we have seen in the streets of cities run by liberals, is the predictable result of years of extreme indoctrination and bias in education, journalism and other cultural institutions. Against every law of society and nature, our children are taught in school to hate their own country—and to believe that the men and women who built it, were not heroes, but villains. The radicals’ view of American History is a web of lies—all perspective is removed, every virtue is obscured, every motive is twisted, every fact is distorted, and every flaw is magnified until the history is purged and the record is disfigured beyond all recognition. 

There were many other great moments in the Mt. Rushmore speech. I especially liked what the president had to say about that popular tool of moral blackmail, “social justice.” 

“The radical ideology attacking our country advances under the banner of Social Justice,” he said. “But in truth, it would demolish both justice and society. It would transform justice into an instrument of division and vengeance, and it would turn our free and inclusive society into a place of repression, domination, and exclusion.” That is as good as anything Friedrich Hayek said about that portmanteau instrument of intimidation and meritless virtue signaling. 

I also liked what he said about our government’s first obligation—“to care for its own citizens first”—what he said about free speech—“We want free and open debate, not speech codes or cancel culture”—and what he said about law enforcement and the second amendment—eager support for both. 

Finally, I liked what he said about equality. 

“We believe in equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal treatment for citizens of every race, background, religion, and creed. Every child, of every color—born and unborn—is made in the holy image of God.” Again, can you imagine any Democrat saying that—any of it? It has often been pointed out that black lives do not matter to the Black Lives Matter movement, which is really just a gigantic machine for hoovering up money from left-wing donors and despoiling the institutions and emblems of our civilization. 

It is a sad irony indeed that Black Lives Matter is explicitly dedicated to the destruction of the nuclear family—it’s part of their mission statement—since the ruination of the black family, actively abetted by the Democrats’ welfare policies, is largely responsible for the continuing plight of black Americans. 

The gospel of the radicals assailing our society today is a gospel of self-abasement. The president preaches a different message: “We stand tall, we stand proud—and we only kneel to Almighty God.” 

Colin Kaepernick was unavailable for comment.

Looking back on the 2020 election, historians will say that last night’s speech was the moment that Donald Trump won reelection. It was a magnificent speech that will, I predict, take an honored place in the library of great American political addresses. 

Elections

Sheep in Elephant Costumes

Republicans need to wield their power forcefully and unflinchingly over the next four months—or they will deserve to lose it in November.

Imagine for a moment that this is how Senate Republicans had used their power over the past three and a half years:

 

  • Objected to the appointment of a special counsel into an imaginary crime most Republican senators already knew at the time didn’t happen and denied funding for the probe when it was stacked with Trump-hating Democrats;
  • Instead of issuing subpoenas for the president’s son, they had subpoenaed every member of Barack Obama’s inner circle, including the former vice president, and held weeks of public hearings into how a foreign operative paid by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee peddled anti-Trump fabulism about Russian election “collusion” to some of the most powerful government officials in the country and the compliant news media in an attempt to sabotage Trump’s presidential campaign;
  • Investigated Obama holdovers for their role in framing the president’s national security advisor, a three-star Army general;
  • Exposed the Obama-era officials who illegally leaked classified information to the media (and named the reporters involved) and made sure the Justice Department prosecuted those felonious partisans accordingly;
  • Supported the president’s national emergency order to secure the southern border;
  • Followed up on its own lengthy report detailing all the treachery associated with the character assasination of Brett Kavanaugh, including criminal referrals for perjury and the suspected involvement of Democratic staffers;
  • Called witnesses during the Senate impeachment trial including Rep. Adam Schiff, the contemptible chair of the House Intelligence Committee who lied to Congress and the public for three years about evidence of Russian collusion;
  • Drafted legislation to punish discriminatory social media companies now attempting to interfere in the 2020 election to favor Joe Biden and the Democrats.

This list could continue, but you get the point. One could convincingly argue that had Senate Republicans followed through on just half that list, we would be experiencing a very different political climate right now—one that didn’t reward lawlessness and promote thuggery, or leave our constantly-imperiled president out to dry.

Instead, aside from a brief burst of courage during the Kavanaugh debacle, Senate Republicans have been an embarrassment to the party—a textbook example of how to squander your political power and betray your constituents. The past few weeks have been a particularly shameful period for Senate Republicans; while the country burned, they had little or nothing to say in defense of the country or our president. 

One senator, a former Republican candidate for president who lost a winnable race, continued his execrable, boot-licking slide to the Left without a word of objection from his colleagues. Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) marched with Black Lives Matter, an extremist insurgency hellbent on destroying every foundation of a free and civilized nation, in a show of solidarity. “Black Lives Matter,” he tweeted on June 7.

As usual, the only Republican leader who spoke up against Romney’s knee-bending was President Trump. When Trump randomly tweeted, “THE LONE WARRIOR!” a few days ago, he wasn’t being funny or even self-aggrandizing. Trump is almost single-handedly taking on the rampaging mob—this after fighting impeachment, dealing with an unprecedented national health crisis, and now orchestrated racial unrest just in the past six months alone. Senate Republicans, however, have not had the stomach or the cajones or the backbone to join the president in any of these fights.

To the contrary, Senate Republicans are capitulating to the Left. They canonized George Floyd, a repeat offender high on drugs when he was killed by a white Minneapolis cop. One by one, GOP senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, fed into the trope that the country is afflicted with “systemic racism” and blacks are routinely killed by whites because we are a fundamentally racist nation. 

After mentioning Floyd and the names of two other blacks killed by whites over the past few months, McConnell preached: “These events do not look like three isolated incidents,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on June 1. (They were, of course, isolated incidents, each with circumstances very different from the others.) “They look more like the latest chapter in our national struggle to make equal justice and equal protection under the law into facts of life for all Americans rather than contingencies that sometimes depend on the color of one’s skin.”

In a video posted on Twitter, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) echoed these treacly boiler plate sentiments. But he went a step further, insisting the riots and violence that had decimated cities across the land the prior weekend were caused by “domestic terror groups on BOTH the far left and right.” (He later tried to walk that claim back when pushed for evidence.)

And when Trump made his walk across Lafayette Square to stand up against the mobs attempting to vandalize an historic church, Senate Republicans clucked in disapproval. “I’m against clearing out a peaceful protest for a photo op that treats the Word of God as a political prop,” lectured Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), one of many known politicians who took the oath of office while touching a Bible. Sasse later said that he would support Democrats’ calls to investigate Trump’s visit to St. John’s Church.

This week, Senate Republicans continue to beclown themselves. During a June 30 appearance on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, Senator Mike Braun (R-Ind.) fumbled his way through a heated interview about his bill to make it easier to sue police officers and his support for Black Lives Matter. Just as statues of Christopher Columbus started to fall across the country, Senators James Lankford (R-Ok.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) introduced a bill to scrap Columbus Day and instead declare a national holiday for Juneteenth.

Democrats have been rebranding Columbus Day as Indigenous People’s Day, so why shouldn’t the Republican chairman of the Senate Homeland Security committee play along?

But it isn’t just Senate Republicans acting badly. The Republican governors of Texas and Arizona are succumbing to the latest coronavirus hysteria by reinstituting nonsensical and unscientific lockdown orders. Doug Ducey and Greg Abbott once again have ordered the closure of various businesses, including bars and fitness centers, while limiting the number of free citizens allowed to congregate on private property. On Thursday, Abbott issued a mandatory face-covering order which applies to people outside and children over age 10. Anyone caught violating Abbott’s decree after one warning will be fined $250.

Who needs Andrew Cuomo when you’ve got Greg Abbott?

There is much more at stake in November than the White House. Republicans hold the slimmest of margins in the Senate with several GOP incumbents on the ropes. State legislatures will control redistricting decisions after the 2020 census is complete, with huge ramifications for the political future of the country.

This is no time for weakness, let alone groveling to the Left. Republicans in the Senate have done little with their power while their Democratic counterparts in the House have run roughshod over their political opponents, especially the president. Time is ticking; Republicans need to wield their power forcefully and unflinchingly over the next four months—or they will deserve to lose it in November.

Elections

What a Great Time to Be President!

The die is cast; history’s verdict pends. President Trump will either be a dismal failure or a legendary leader.

Those who seek the presidency have many reasons for doing so, but anyone who seeks the nation’s highest office hopes to make his mark as a leader of our free republic. For some presidents, the times provide less difficult challenges to surmount, and history little notes their tenure; for other unfortunate souls, events overwhelm them, and their failures are duly and ruefully recorded.

The most fortunate of presidents, however, are faced with tremendous challenges and yet are still able to lead our nation in ways that transcend these trials. 

For President Trump, the present challenges are transformational. To overcome them, he will continue to face fierce, unprecedented opposition from the Left who, even prior to Trump’s election have engaged in lawless, seditious activities to undermine his campaign, his legitimacy, and hamstring his administration. 

This leftist opposition is not dispositive of his ruin, however. Indeed, as every leftist leader, organization, and institution sounds more and more like an MSNBC commentator, the American people will do to them what they have done to that ill-fated network: Continue to tune them out. 

After all, there is a reason left-leaning networks have fewer viewers than Fox, and liberal talk radio pales before the audiences of conservative radio: Americans don’t want to hear their country and themselves slandered as immoral and evil. There are simply more Americans who want to hear that they and their country are good and decent and can accomplish great deeds. 

It will require great deeds to transcend today’s immediate challenges—a pandemic, a government-mandated recession, the alarming shift from Dr. King’s dream to a separatist racial agenda; anarcho-Marxists rioting in the streets; illegal immigration; and the continuing international difficulties caused by terrorism, Iran, North Korea, Communist China, Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, and our continuing military presence in kinetic theaters across the world.

Yet as the ancient Chinese saying holds: in every crisis exists danger and opportunity. The Left sees only danger and despair; and they are actually exacerbating the danger and encouraging despair with their demagoguery and disorder, hoping their continued tantrum will finally be rewarded come November. In short, the Left is extorting Americans, implicitly warning that the only way to calm the country is to reward them with power. 

But when one rewards bad behavior, it only guarantees more bad behavior. Should the Left win the coming election, their bad behavior will not abate. It will be institutionalized. Sovereign Americans’ power and control over their elected officials and governmental institutions and their ability to combat the increasing Stalinism on American campuses and within American corporations will erode; and our free republic will slide into despair and decline.

President Trump can and must seize the opportunity in this dangerous time. Honing in on four key issues and implementing appropriate policies to address them, President Trump can help rally the American people to greatness: 

1776 not 1619

America was founded in 1776 not 1619. America’s legacy of liberty must be promoted despite and protected from the lawless Left. 

The Founders knew human beings were imperfect; and admitted it when they said we must perpetually strive to form a more perfect union—not the perfect union. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew, it is this legacy of liberty that facilitated the progress of race relations in America by holding us to the ideal that all human beings have a God-given right to liberty and equal justice under law. 

Though there has been tremendous progress, there remains much to be done. Yet, if we abandon or barter our legacy of liberty in exchange for the Left’s tendentious, Marxist critical race theory and buy the lie of systemic racism, we will sinfully squander our ability to make greater progress for all Americans. This must not happen. 

Prosperity not Misery

President Trump’s policies allowed Americans to make our economy boom. Despite the Left doing everything in its power to “make America miserable again” (MAMA), America and President Trump can make our economy great again. Pimping panic porn about COVID-19 to perpetuate or reinstate lockdowns to ravage Americans’ livelihoods is the MAMA Left’s economic plan. It is designed to gain them political power at the expense of the thriving of hard working Americans. Sadly, that’s nothing new from the redistributionist Left. 

The good news is that Americans are ready to restore our prosperity. With the Trump administration continuing to take on unfair trade practices of countries like communist China, and once more leveraging our legacy of liberty to free the entrepreneurial genius of Americans, our economy will boom again. 

Once more, our free market will make it possible for us to see record-high employment levels for all Americans, including women and minorities. And we will see real incomes climbing for the first time in generations. The fundamentals of the American economy are strong. The resiliency of Americans is even stronger and our prosperity will return at levels higher than ever.

Americanism not Globalism 

The central tenet of the Trump candidacy and administration is bringing it all back home—be it American jobs, our troops overseas, or the power of the sovereign people to control the “swamp,” we want America to be an independent and self-governing nation. Rightly viewing the current challenges through the prism of our legacy of liberty, President Trump is hated because his goal has been to restore the power of the people over the failed elites who have run America into the ground.

These elites, both Leftists and crony Republicans, make a ton of money and other perks based upon their venal support of globalism. Consequently, we have witnessed their four-year chaotic tantrum known as #TheResistance. Of course, as is their wont, the elites blame the victim and project their chaos onto Trump. Again, the reason is to mendaciously demand the electorate discard Trump to end the chaos, without mentioning they are the driver of the chaos.

In truth, what else could these elites offer Americans? More outsourced jobs? Less control over governmental decisions? Less control over their own lives and livelihoods? More endless wars and undeclared engagements to claim the most honorable and noblest among us, our men and women in uniform?

No wonder Biden is hiding in his basement.   

Show the World What We Can Do!  

At home and abroad, the Left’s Greek Chorus is in full cacophonic hue and cry that America will fail. They are wrong.

Our legacy of liberty has been and remains the true and noble cause of America’s sovereign citizens and our elected servants. We will continue to inspire the world with what our free people can achieve. For our country and President Trump, the present challenges are transformational. The question is whether the president will help us lead our nation in a way that transcends these crises and proves the doubting Leftists wrong. 

The die is cast; history’s verdict pends. President Trump will either be a dismal failure or a legendary leader. Fortunately for President Trump and all the world, as at all such trying times in our exceptional nation’s history, Americans are ready to show the world what we can do!

Elections

Trump’s Goose Isn’t Cooked Yet

In their preemptive exuberance the president’s enemies have begun what amounts almost to a post-mortem on the Trump era. This prematurely fattened goose is cackling too loudly and too soon for several reasons.

The current speculation about a likely Joe Biden victory in the November presidential election ignores a number of extraordinary factors. Since the speculation is in the media and the media is overwhelmingly hostile to President Trump, there is a spontaneous urge to consider his declining fortunes in the polls as a vindication of both their professionalism and their prophetic talents. Their self-confidence is misplaced. 

In the last four months the United States has endured the greatest public health crisis in a century, requiring a substantial economic shutdown that has induced the swiftest and most profound economic recession since the 1930s, followed by the worst rioting and public disorder, and the greatest racial strife in more than 50 years. It is not surprising that the president has lost some ground in the polls.

Premature Pandemic Excitement

Four months ago, in the midst of perhaps the most flourishing economy in American history, Trump’s innumerable enemies were sinking into an almost resigned state of gloom about his reelection. Since the pandemic and its consequences seemed to produce a benign deliverance for the president’s enemies—a political miracle—it has temporarily deprived most of the anti-Trump media of any perspective. It has transported them to pinnacles of righteous overconfidence, and it has emboldened the furtive anti-Trump and NeverTrump Republicans to come snorting out of the undergrowth, bellowing their long-muted hostility to the incumbent. Now they openly cavort with the Biden Democrats. 

In their preemptive exuberance, the president’s enemies have begun what amounts almost to a post-mortem on the Trump era. This prematurely fattened goose is cackling too loudly and too soon for several reasons.

They have clambered aboard the bandwagon that Trump has failed at managing the COVID-19 crisis, and (temporarily) have persuaded a majority of Americans of this lie. The administration will have to make its case carefully and soberly with no petulance, being careful to steer clear of any danger of seeming to make an exchange between rising prosperity and coronavirus fatalities. 

In their cold terror of a vertical economic recovery, the national political media who are conducting the Democratic campaign in the absence of a viable presidential nominee, are ringing the bells threadbare with false alarms about the spread of the coronavirus. Only about one person in 7,000 under the age of 65 and in good health is in danger of dying from the coronavirus, and over 90 percent of people of all ages have minimal or no symptoms of the illness when they contract it. Those who survive the coronavirus help to build what inelegantly is called “herd immunity” as those who have been infected and have recovered develop antibodies that make them much more resistant to a recurrence, curbing subsequent outbreaks. 

Unless a vaccine emerges with unexpected promptness, this is going to be the method by which the United States and other countries defeat the coronavirus. In the endless Democratic media celebration of the increasing spread of the illness in a majority of states, there is almost no mention of the fact that the national fatality rate has declined by approximately 80 percent from its high in March, and is still declining.                                       

There will be room for plenty of dispute, but Trump probably will be seen to have moved effectively in shutting down to break the momentum of the illness and in encouraging the states after three months to reopen the economy at whatever rate appeared locally to be sensible, while reinforcing protection for those in vulnerable communities, especially the elderly. A continued or resumed massive economic shutdown to reduce marginally the rate of fatality amongst only 20 percent of the population (almost all of them with shortened life expectancies, which does not reduce the sadness of fatalities, but should factor in strategic judgment) is not justifiable, despite the Democrats’ advocacy of it. 

With the rates of incidence of the coronavirus revealed by continued heavy testing, it is no more deadly a disease to the population as a whole than some previous less pernicious viruses. The president’s enemies are claiming victory prematurely and for the wrong reasons.

Patriotic Backlash and Electoral Whiplash

There will be a backlash among the silent majority of Americans who love and admire their country even as they acknowledge that racial relations require continued work and enhanced sensitivity. On Election Day, they will punish those who have been tolerant or even ambiguous about what amounts to urban terrorism and the desecration of the highest traditions of America. 

No significant percentage of Americans of any pigmentation will approve the destruction or desecration of a monument to Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, or their armies or the veterans of the World Wars. They all fought for liberty and judicial equality for all people and the horrible George Floyd murder and other valid current grievances deduct nothing from the homage owed them for having made the highest and noblest sacrifice. 

The president is again following the right course by putting down a marker to show where his administration stands, invoking an old statute to protect national monuments, and systematically preparing cases to prosecute offenders in large numbers.    

Those now celebrating their prophetic talents have made no discernible allowance for what the voters may think of the Democrats crumbling into equivocation and moral relativity opposite rioters, arsonists, murderers, and anarchists; and of partially approving a reduction of police effectiveness and responsiveness. They will not indulge an environmental policy that would inflict a grievous wound on American industry for no precise discernible ecological benefit. They will make the Democrats pay for their open alliance with Black Lives Matter, an organization founded by anti-white racists, formerly identified with the murder of white police officers, especially in Dallas and Baton Rouge in 2016, and whose leader in New York, Hawk Newsome, informed Fox news last week that the country will give us what we want or “we will burn down this system.” 

The Democrats are now effectively allied with both a pestilence and with black racist extremists. The egregious mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, is cooperating with a celebration of Black Lives Matter on Fifth Avenue (near the Trump Tower), even as Joe Biden professes that he will force all Americans to wear masks when he is president, and as Mitt Romney marches in a BLM parade. The leaders of BLM do not accept the proposition that all lives matter. Their organization or, rather, the phrase is popular following the George Floyd horror, but will be an onerous handicap in November given this overreach.

Confidence that the president is electorally doomed takes no account of the likely indictment for serious breaches of the Constitution of senior officials of the Obama-Biden administration, not an image-builder for those endlessly disparaging Trump’s ethics. 

Finally, Biden will have to meet Trump in single-combat political war. Barack Obama’s former vice president is not intellectually fit for the office he seeks, as anyone can see by listening to him for one minute. That was the judgment of Democratic voters in the early primaries, before the party elders and bosses, terrified by a Marxist Sanders candidacy, picked Biden up and conducted him to the finish line. They won’t be able to do this in November.

The president should raise his game, speak less lengthily and repetitively, focus less on his grievances with the media, give the country a clear vision for the future (including health care, where he has been silent), and make sure that the people know by Election Day just how far from acceptable positions the Democrats have strayed. Trump should still win, but we are chasing a bouncing football.

Elections

Trump Will Win If He Responds to Righteous Voter Rage

The hour of reckoning is here. Either Trump will crush the lawlessness and win swing voters to his side, or he will listen to the trimmers and lose the country.

The 2020 election will be decided in the fall by swing voters in ten or 15 states.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, those voters were leaning to reelect President Trump, largely on the powers of incumbency and a near-record vibrant economy. The Democratic left-wing primary agendas, from the New Green Deal to reparations, the clownish candidates of the Beto O’Rourke and Corey Booker sort, the arrogance and meltdown of Mike Bloomberg, and Joe Biden’s cognitive impairment collectively frightened voters. 

Meanwhile, the booming economy, record energy production, record-low minority unemployment and reckoning with China had overshadowed Trump’s cul de sac tweeting, 93 percent unfavorable media coverage, and the three-year slow-motion coup of the 25th Amendment nonsense, Russian “collusion,” Robert Mueller, Ukraine, and impeachment.

Then came the contagion, the lockdown, the recession, and the collective madness of looting and arson, which in turn led to the present anarchy of statue toppling, cancel culture, name-changing, and McCarthyism 2.0. 

Of course, a president is blamed for chaos on his watch even if he did not create the chaos. He either stops it and is praised as a winner or, like Jimmy Carter during the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-1980, is written off as a loser. 

What Stands Between the Public and Mob Rule?

The hour of reckoning is here and either Trump will crush the lawlessness and win the swing voters to his side, or he will listen to the trimmers and lose the country. Trump’s dilemma, however, is real and in some sense unprecedented. We are in uncharted waters when blue-state officials don’t mind the violent chaos in their midst, or at least feel that in a cost-benefit analysis it serves their November purposes more than a restoration of law and order. 

In our federal system, the Trump Administration cannot police Philadelphia or Seattle without calling in federal troops. Yet our most “esteemed” retired military has already hinted that to use federal forces would be supposedly unprecedented and thus rally military patriots and bemedaled retired grandees to resist such an order—so much so that even an addled Joe Biden interpreted such a veiled warning from the military-intelligence complex as a green light. He pontificated that if he thought Trump stole the election or wouldn’t leave in defeat (apparently defined by whether Biden believed Trump’s winning margin was fraudulent), his newfound allies in the military (who had “skinned” Trump), retired and active, would remove Trump “with dispatch.” 

So if blue states don’t want federal help, and the military-intelligence complex might well oppose such an act, Trump is left with either sounding tough while carrying a popsicle stick or using the powers of federal attorneys to start indicting veritable terrorists, charging negligent state authorities with impairing the civil rights of their own citizens by knowingly exposing them to violence, cutting off federal funds to wayward states, and reclaiming federal properties within blue state sanctuary states to ensure monuments and federal buildings are safe and national parks open to the public. 

If that way the Trump Administration can show the public that the federal government is restoring calm, then, at what point do these fence-sitting swing voters conclude that Trump could be the only thing between them and the Antifa/Black Lives Matter mob at their local suburban shopping center, or their child’s class rebooted into a reeducation camp, or their once tranquil local park now a cemetery of unburied bronze and stone corpses, or their police either defunded or in silent slowdowns? How many times do the liberal-minded have to be slandered as “white racists” before they say “you are the racially obsessed, not me”?

For others, the question will be rephrased as, what will markets, investors, the Chinese, the Russians, and the Iranians make of the traditional bastion of global sanity, the United States, now mired in abject madness, as it prints more funny money and Joe Biden and retired generals talk ominously of their moral right to remove or neuter an elected president the “sooner the better”?

How Much Is Too Much?

Each person, I suppose, has his breaking point. The Catholic Democrat may bolt at the desecration and destruction of anything to do with hallowed icons such as Saint Junipero Serra, a man undeniably of the 18th century mental landscape, yet whose own poverty, suffering, courage and vision outweighed the racism that he grew up with, but who is smeared now as a veritable monster by the quarter-educated. 

Even the unaffiliated and apolitical may finally conclude that revolutionaries want to erase his collective memory, his history, his national anthem, and his American identity. A Colin Kaepernick airport? Antifa Drive? Saul Alinsky’s head grafted onto the decapitated bronze of Columbus? Obama’s visage chiseled over Teddy Roosevelt on Mt. Rushmore? 1619 in our schools swapping out 1776 as the new founding of America?

Independents might have shrugged at the destruction of abolitionist statues, the defacement of the World War II monument, the graffiti on the Lincoln Memorial, and the efforts to ruin the icons of the Emancipation Monument and to topple Old Hickory—the erstwhile hero of 1950s liberals who once praised the “The Jacksonian Revolution” as the destruction of the entrenched power of the blue-blood American aristocracy. 

But when you get all that daily, even as the most progressive independent fears a busy signal after dialing 911, what then?

If the Washington obelisk on the National Mall, or the Jefferson dome on the Potomac is defaced, then is there even a symbolic country left? I think independents know that all that saves Mt. Rushmore is the cowardice of leftists who accept that driving up to South Dakota and duking it out with the state national guard, some federal officers, a no-nonsense governor, and local ad hoc volunteers is something not worth the CNN and MSNBC face time.

Still others of the disaffected traffic in video downloads of mass looting and gratuitous cruelty. The scenes that flash across the internet are sickening: stores ransacked, cars trashed, dozens of thieves nonchalantly stealing then gratuitously destroying anything they cannot find profit in. The independent silently wonders whether he is watching a scene from Fallujah, Helmand Province, Mogadishu—or Santa Monica. There seems little difference these days.

For still others, it is again the passive-aggressive cowardice of the Antifa and the Antifa-spin-off crowd. One moment middle-class white kids get in the face of police—often black—scream obscenities, taunt them, and yet the next, in nasal-tones, shriek like stuck pigs when the police began to march forward and push them back. 

Just when you thought these anarchists were real revolutionaries who would retire to the Rockies and Sierras as maquis to continue their war on the corporate state, they seem terrified of being arrested, and charged with résumé-staining racketeering or felonious assault. In extremis, they prove petite bourgeois careerists, not Bolsheviks on the barricades. Hollywood central casting could not have dreamed up more audio-visually off-putting characters. The distance between them and the unjustified death of George Floyd is now a vast abyss.

Weakness and Insanity on Parade

Or is the breaking point for the swing voter—the noonday press conference of the wet-noodle authorities? Another Bill de Blasio insane moment of playing John Lennon’s “Imagine” as his city is looted and his police attacked? Or Andrew Cuomo explaining why his orders to force COVID-19 patients into pristine but vulnerable long-term care homes that doomed thousands were always someone else’s fault—the rest homes’, the president’s, the families’—anyone’s fault but his own?

Or perhaps one has had it when listening to the mayor of Seattle, speaking of a fetid violent “Capitol Hill Organized Protest” as a “summer of love,” or the mayor of Minneapolis trying to contextualize the mass nightly murdering of young men while he jabbers about in Hamlet fashion whether to or not to defund the police? 

What is the suburbanite to make of the past commentaries of Nikole Hannah-Jones, the 2020  Pulitzer Prize winner for commentary, and self-described moral architect of the New York Times’ anti-racist “1619 project”:  

The white race is the biggest murderer, rapist, pillager, and thief of the modern world…The descendants of these savage people pump drugs and guns into the Black community, pack Black people into the squalor of segregated urban ghettos and continue to be bloodsuckers in our community.

Are supporters of redating America’s Founding supposed to shrug at all that in the current landscape, in which we are told that there is no such thing as a statute of limitations, no allowance for human frailty, no excuse for a single past racist statement? And are we to replace the Founders with such enlightened thinking?

Are Americans supposed to take seriously the corporate leftist media, when one moment the mindless anchors are reading the same scripted Orwellian talking points about systematic NASCAR racism, the suffering of Bubba Wallace, and hyping a garage door pull-rope as if they were discussing the Dred Scott case? And in the next Jussie Smollett moment, after the narrative is discredited, they of course move on to a Foucauldian farce, along the lines of what really did not happen, most surely could have happened, and thus in a sense did happen?

So each day, ill-defined groups of Americans silently drift into the “I can’t take this insanity anymore” camp. The polls assure us that it is not so. The media praises the basement strategy of an addled Biden. The op-ed writers gleefully preen that Trump is through—and perhaps he could be if he stays portrayed as ineffectively dealing with the recession, the virus, and the violence. 

The Choice Is Still Trump’s

Nonetheless, quiet masses will desert from the progressive narrative, if they feel someone else will guarantee their safety and security from it. They as yet do not know always where or to what there are deserting, but they have had it with the looting, the arson, the banal “you are a racist!” empty rhetoric, the hatred, the violence, the juxtaposition between cries of inequality and poverty and the televised shots of seemingly comfortable middle-class anarchy and the looting of high-end Adidas sneakers and high-definition TVs rather than staples.

Many have retreated already into their own monasteries of the mind. By that, I mean that if the coaches take a knee in the fall, they will turn off the NFL—for good. They will not answer any more alumni summons to donate to their almae matres. Some are shopping for homes in the hills or countryside or small towns. Others are worn out from being asked to pay ever more taxes and work ever harder, only to earn smears that they are racists, or homophobes, or somehow Neanderthals for being skeptical of socially constructed gender. 

They shrug at whatever progressive stew created a wannabe Fifth-Avenue revolutionary like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez—they don’t want any part of it. To the degree these disaffected who feel enough is enough, stay home, then perhaps Biden will win. 

But if they translate their growing fury into voting for someone perceived as answering calmly and forcefully back, protecting them, and punishing those who so brazenly flaunt the law and humiliate any who call them to account, then Trump will be reelected and more easily than our experts can imagine.

Despite the tsunami of unforeseen contagion, mass quarantine, and national riot, the choice is still Trump’s: stay calm, speak softly, and carry a club, while promising for the future to protect the vulnerable of all races and classes, and restore a great nation; or talk loudly carrying a twig while whining about unfair personal treatment of the past. 

The former is victory, the latter socialism, in November. 

Elections

A Coup Against Our Institutions

The systematic campaign to undermine an incoming presidential administration through politicized investigations is a true constitutional crisis.

Matthew Spalding, a scholar of the Constitution and dean of Hillsdale College’s Van Andel Graduate School of Government in Washington, D.C., has written an important essay on the troubling possibility that the treatment of General Michael Flynn by the Obama administration and, later, by holdovers in the FBI, the Justice Department, and the CIA, represents not just a personal disaster for Flynn—who was, for a week or so, President Trump’s national security advisor—but also a brewing constitutional crisis for the United States.

Many commentators, myself included, have described the whole “Donald-Trump-was-a-Russian-Asset” caper as the biggest political scandal in U.S. history. We were ridiculed or condemned by the Left and the NeverTrump fraternity alleged to be on the Right for saying that, but time has proven us right. We were right, too, that this scandal was less a “hoax,” as it was sometimes called, than an attempted, if slow-motion, coup. It was an attempted coup because it aimed to disrupt the peaceful transition of presidential power from one administration, and one party, to another.

That sounds pretty dramatic, I know—aren’t “coups” things that happen in South American banana republics, not the United States? But as I wrote in May 2019, “coup” 

accurately expresses the deliberate effort by actors in the Obama Administration, including by President Obama himself, to assure Hillary Clinton’s victory by destroying the reputation of Donald Trump. “Most Presidents leave office,” the commentator L. J. Keith recently wrote, “and essentially step back from public life. Not Barack Obama. Shellshocked by Hillary Clinton’s loss, Obama, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, and Clinton set in motion a series of events that will forever tar his presidency, and decimate the concept of a peaceful transition of power.”

I returned to Keith’s point last September, noting that “the Obama administration’s actions threatened not just Trump and his presidency, but the very processes and protocols by which the peaceful transition of power has been effected in the United States.”

This troubling truth is Spalding’s theme, and he brings together the threads of the argument in masterly fashion. 

As the cocoon of deep-state lies surrounding Michael Flynn has unravelled, we can see the extent to which he stands at the very origin of the attempted coup against Donald Trump. The Russian-born historian Svetlana Lokhova, a British citizen who met Flynn at a conference dinner in 2014, was smeared by the Obama operative Stefan Halper as Flynn’s mistress who was taking orders from the Kremlin. It was a complete and vicious fabrication, every piece of it, as Lokhova shows in her new book Spygate Exposed. Lokhova, in fact, was the only relevant Russian in the whole “Russian collusion” fantasy, and it turns out that she was totally innocent of the accusations made against her, just as was Flynn. 

But while the case of Michael Flynn stands at the beginning of the multi-pronged attack against Trump and his administration, the effort by the FBI to frame Flynn is only one piece in a much more complex puzzle. 

As Spalding observes, what happened to Michael Flynn was part of a much bigger initiative, namely a “systematic campaign to undermine an incoming presidential administration through politicized investigations.” And this, Spalding notes, is not just “another political scandal, but threatens a true constitutional crisis.”

Flynn’s treatment by the Obama administration’s FBI and DOJ seems to be a case study in how administrative elites, charged with executing the law, undermined the very rule of law. Our country was founded on fundamental republican principles: equal rights, individual liberty, and the consent of the governed. These sacred rights are secured, protected, and perpetuated by our civilization’s greatest political achievement: the constitutional rule of law. And while often taken for granted, the peaceful and unobstructed transition of power from one presidential administration to the next, frequently from the control of one political party to its political opposition, is the crown jewel of the American constitutional system.

Nota bene “the peaceful and unobstructed transition of power from one presidential administration to the next. . . is the crown jewel of the American constitutional system.”

“Is” or “was”? 

Spalding rehearses the course of events surrounding Flynn, from the opening of a counter-intelligence investigation on the basis of no legitimate predicate (the pretext was a congeries of sordid rumors assembled by an anti-Trump Brit named Christopher Steele and commissioned and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign) to the deliberate entrapment of Flynn by the FBI in January 2017. 

As Spalding notes, each of the moves against Flynn is disturbing in its own right. But taken together, they reveal a “pattern of politicizing the legal process to subvert the outcome of our electoral system.” 

Among much else that can be said about the mobilization of the machinery of government against a duly elected president of the United States, it is impossible to overlook the matter of precedent. It happened once. What is to stop it from happening again? 

“If it is appropriate,” Spalding asks, “for one political party, having lost an election, to use the authority of government outside of the bounds of the law against their opponents who have won that election, what is to stop the next political party from doing the same?”

I frankly do not think that we have a convincing answer to that question. And this brings Spalding to his troubling conclusion. 

To circumvent or undermine a valid election denies the legitimacy and sovereignty of popular rule. What appears to have been done to Mr. Flynn and the incoming Trump administration at the hands of the intelligence agencies of the Obama administration may seem merely another partisan squabble but is ultimately a rejection of republican government. 

The possibility of that rejection is the issue behind the issue with which we must conjure. 

The covert deployment of sundry aspects of governmental power, from actors deep within our intelligence services, to high-ranking bureaucrats in the Executive Branch, is troubling not because it was directed at Donald Trump. It is troubling because this extraordinary and nearly monolithic effort at repudiation has had as its target not just the “bad orange man” Trump but the very authority of the political institutions he represents by virtue of having been elected president in a free, open, and democratic election. 

The campaign against Donald Trump has involved every department of the so-called deep state and the myriad cultural institutions—the media, academia, Hollywood, the art world—which nourish it and impart legitimacy to it. To date, the coup against this president seems to have failed. But it seems to me less certain that an interior coup, a coup against our fundamental allegiance to democratic institutions, has not already taken place and succeeded. 

Elections

The Left Wants to Distract Us from a Choice in 2020

Every time the president attacks Biden, Trump is trying to make the coming election a choice; every time populists attack Trump for being weak they unwittingly abet the Left’s attempt to make the coming election a referendum on the president.

In Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square during the Left’s latest attempt to create “Year Zero” by erasing American history, the less-than-peaceful protestors endeavored to create a “Black House Autonomous Zone” (BHAZ). As is their destructive wont, they defaced St. John’s Episcopal Church and a statue of President Andrew Jackson. Before they could topple the statue of Jackson, however, D.C. police intervened and, using pepper spray and other tactics, pushed the crowd back.

The statue is safe for now; and some protestors should become quickly acquainted with the Veterans Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act which, as Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was kind enough to remind these “criminal masterminds,” carries a 10-year sentence for destroying a statue of a veteran on federal property. In his own tweet, President Donald Trump also cited this federal law and urged the vandals to “Beware!”

Should these lawless desecrators demur, the president later tweeted that he has

authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent… This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!

Clearly, the president’s message comes not only in response to the vandals, but also in response to the president’s populist critics who have chided him for appearing weak in the face of the lawlessness. These populist critics may not find the president’s actions to be enough, for he is not sending in the federal troops to put an end to the disorder. 

Understandably disgusted by the vandals’ ahistorical Philistinism, these populists ought to look beyond this latest attack on America’s rule of law and legacy, and view the protestors’ effort to establish a BHAZ outside the gates of the White House in a larger strategic context. Kurt Schlichter has done precisely that:

Not doing what the enemy wants is not ‘not doing anything . . . ’ I want to win. Not just the election, though we must win that. I want to win the whole cultural war and burn Marxism to the ground. And doing that means cold calculated ruthlessness, not mindless reaction to jerks trying to get our eyes off the prize.

It is no coincidence the Left tried to create the BHAZ at the very time, as Schlichter notes, “Seattle’s garbage mayor [a.k.a., Jenny Durkan] is pulling the plug on the Summer of Love 2.” The president did not send federal troops into Seattle to disperse the CHAZ. That task is finally and rightfully being done by that municipality. Consequently, with the CHAZ imploding under the weight of its own violent inanity into a national laughing stock, the Left returned to Lafayette Square to try to incite a more direct confrontation with President Trump. 

The Left wants our legacy and social media littered with propaganda they can use to project their own chaos and violence onto President Trump and his supporters. Instead, in the nascent BHAZ, the municipal jurisdiction of Washington, D.C. dispersed the disorderly—not federal troops. Once more, a president not known for restraint showed it; and refused to give the Left what it wanted—the manufacture of chaos and violence they and their media enablers and abettors could weaponize to attack Trump.

The Left’s reason for wanting to provoke Trump is obvious every time Joe Biden escapes his basement, virtually or physically. The Left knows it has to hide and carry an historically weak nominee to victory. Hence, it isn’t just the protests and riots, it is everything the lawless Left is doing across the spectrum of American life. All of these things are done to distract the electorate, prevent the coming presidential election from being a choice between two candidates, and turn it instead into a referendum on President Trump.

Kurt Schlichter knows it. And President Trump knows it: “[Where the disorders occur] All of these places are run by Democrats . . .  They don’t know what they’re doing. And if Biden got in, this country would be a disaster.”

Every time the president attacks Biden, Trump is trying to make the coming election a choice; every time populists attack Trump for being weak they unwittingly abet the Left’s attempt to make the coming election a referendum on the president. Like Kurt Schlichter, I want to win. I suggest the populists cease and desist abetting the Left.

I do have one caveat: I might change my mind if the vandals build an autonomous zone outside Biden’s basement. 

Elections

Obama and his Gang of Untouchables

In Washington Obama is feared, not loved; no one dares to cross him. It’s the Chicago Way.

In the 1987 classic “The Untouchables,” federal crime fighters take on legendary mafioso Al Capone and the Chicago mob during the Prohibition era. At the time, Capone controlled every power base in the city—from local newspapers to sitting judges. The film spawned a famous line—“he pulls a knife, you pull a gun”—from the scene where Sean Connery’s character explained how to overcome Capone and his thugs.

The term “The Untouchables” referred not to the Chicago mafia but to Eliot Ness’ incorruptible gang of cops. In the Obama era, however, that term is flipped on its head. It applies to the former president himself and his own sort of mob—a broad syndicate of henchmen, including corrupt cops, who continue to serve their Don and enrich themselves in the process. Barack Obama still calls the shots and pulls the strings while his goombahs in the news media, federal government, and Democratic Party carry out his orders. 

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said in 2008, cribbing Connery’s line, during his first campaign for president. It was a warning that the Chicago-machine raised politician would use any weapon at his disposal to defeat his foes—which is exactly what he did.

And it’s the reason why to this day, Obama and his consigliere, Joe Biden, escape any culpability for the biggest shakedown in U.S. political history—the attempted hit on Donald Trump. After getting away with what would have been presidency-ending scandals for anyone else—illegal gun-running in Mexico, intimidating Tea Party activists with the IRS, shipping billions to Iranian mullahs, and lying about a terrorist attack to avoid losing re-election—Obama and Biden knew they could pull off one more caper. But this time, Obama’s lackeys didn’t just ignore or excuse his bad behavior, they were in on it. Now they are trying to hide the evidence.

Despite a steady flow of evidence confirming that Obama’s White House directed the operation to infiltrate, spy on, and sabotage Trump’s presidential campaign and then employ those same forces against Trump after he won, the media refuses to report any of it. Notes released this week once again reveal that the targeting of Lt. General Michael Flynn, Trump’s incoming security advisor, was openly discussed during a high-level Oval Office meeting in early January 2017 with Obama, Biden, James Comey, Susan Rice, and Sally Yates.

The notes, apparently transcribed by disgraced FBI official Peter Strzok based on a debriefing with Comey after the January 5, 2017 meeting, indicate Obama wanted to make sure the “right people” would investigate Flynn. (The 3-star general was one of four Americans investigated by Comey’s FBI for imaginary “collusion” with Russia to influence the 2016 election.) Biden apparently jumped in with the idea of using the Logan Act as a pretext to pursue criminal charges against Flynn, a one-time Obama administration intelligence chief. (Biden’s name also appeared on a declassified list of people who requested the unmasking of Flynn’s name in intelligence reports.)

This is just the latest tidbit tying the former president and the current Democratic candidate for president to the framing of Flynn. The notes also contradict claims by both Obama and Biden about their involvement in federal investigations. In an April 2016 interview, Obama claimed he did not speak to FBI directors about “pending investigations.” But the report issued last year by the Justice Department’s inspector general revealed that Comey told Obama in August 2016 about Crossfire Hurricane, the official name of the FBI’s counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign. That meeting, according to Comey’s testimony to Michael Horowitz, also included Rice, John Brennan, and James Clapper.

So, it’s clear that on at least two occasions, President Obama and his FBI director discussed the investigation into Trump and his associates. That bombshell is not hearsay or a Deep State “conspiracy theory” or the delusions of Fox News hosts; it has been confirmed by Obama’s closest aides. (In her congressional testimony, Sally Yates disclosed that Comey brought up the Logan Act.)

Further, Biden has denied any knowledge about the Flynn case. Biden told ABC News’ George Stephanopolous last month that he knew “nothing about those moves to investigate Michael Flynn.” His denials have been preposterous all along; the vice president attended secret meetings led by former CIA director John Brennan in the White House Situation Room months before the election while Team Obama crafted the Russian collusion hoax.

But Biden, safely ensconced in his basement in Delaware, hasn’t fielded any tough questions about his central role in the scandal. Stephanopoulos’ interview was the only effort by any journalist to confront Biden; even when he was on the campaign trail, not one reporter asked Biden the question of the ages: What did he know and when did he know it?

For his part, Obama remains ensconced in his Washington, D.C. mansion, just a few miles from the studios and offices of every major news organization, yet not one journalist in the past three years has dared to stand outside Obama’s home—the “shadow White House,” Lee Smith calls it—demanding that he set the record straight. In any other political time, a massive scandal that touched both the former president and a candidate for president would have the world of journalism on fire. Reporters and editors would be clawing each other’s eyeballs out for a new scoop, shoving microphones in the face of every Obama/Biden friend and confidant, seeking statements from former Democratic Party officials and officeholders and donors.

Of course, that’s not the case today. Instead of facing tough inquiries about these new disclosures, the coosome twosome appeared together in a “virtual fundraiser” this week; Obama rambled about his reverence for the “rule of law” and American institutions. “What we have seen over the last couple of years is a White House…that sees the Justice Department as simply an extension and an arm of the personal concerns of the president,” Obama said, referring to Attorney General William Barr.

Got that? Trump’s Justice Department, not Obama’s, is a corrupt fiefdom that targets the president’s enemies. Obama can get away with that accusation, and no one in Washington balks, because he remains untouchable. Obama is feared, not loved; no one dares to cross him. That approach, to borrow another line from “The Untouchables,” is the Chicago Way. Given current political and cultural realities, however, it is unlikely that Obama’s day of reckoning will ever arrive as Capone’s did.

Great America

We Need the Voice of America

As mobs deface monuments to America’s heritage, major media personalities cannot summon a voice to denounce the anarchy or defend our heritage.

The corporate media’s outrage du jour concerns the Voice of America (VOA).

VOA is the government-funded international broadcast service, our official radio channel to the world. President Trump has exercised his prerogative to replace the political appointees overseeing the enterprise.

The usual suspects, the New York Times and Washington Post among them, are sounding the alarm because the man President Trump chose, Michael Pack, is—gasp!—a conservative with ties—quelle horreur!—to Stephen K. Bannon!

Dozens of stories and editorials raise the specter, without evidence as some like to say, that VOA will become VO-MAGA, an arm of the Trump reelection committee. “The potential for Mr. Trump to impose his own self-interested vision of news,” is worrisome, the Gray Lady worries.

The alarmist articles say more about the corporate media themselves than about the Voice of America.

Dysfunctional Culture

First, it’s necessary to set a baseline: VOA and its parent, the U.S. Agency for Global Media, have been mismanaged for years. (A wag might say it has this in common with its corporate media counterparts.)

“Since 2007, [Agency for Global Media] has been at or near the bottom in the ‘Best Places to Work in the Federal Government’ ratings,” the Washington Post tells us. “In all nine categories rated in the 2013 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS), conducted by the Office of Personnel Management, the [agency] was lower than the government-wide average.”

Despite morale-boosting events such as raffles, a fitness-center open house, a chocolate bake-off in time for Valentine’s Day, bingo night, happy hour, checkers and chess, “Morale at the agency is still abysmal,” Timothy Shamble, president of the American Federation of Government Employees told the Post.

The dysfunctional nature of the organization is no secret. Hillary Clinton told Congress VOA was “practically defunct in terms of its capacity to be able to tell a message around the world.” The State Department inspector general called it “dysfunctional.”

Then we had the senior official who pleaded guilty to stealing government money in 2018 while he was employed at the agency in Washington, D.C. This former State Department employee padded his expense account, forged doctor reports, and submitted falsified invoices and repair estimates to an insurance company regarding a claim for repairs to his home in Virginia. The criminal mastermind even used his government-issued laptop to create the fake documents. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison

And let’s not forget the 15 VOA employees were sacked for taking a $5,000 bribe from a Nigerian state governor visiting the VOA’s D.C. offices in 2018. A member of the Nigerian official entourage “handed down ‘a brown envelope’ containing $5,000 to one of the VOA staff that walked them to their car” and that staffer shared it with the other staffers, Nigerian media reports:

Sources familiar with the issue said that almost all “government officials from Nigeria that visit VOA drop some money after the encounter. That is the tradition. That doesn’t mean that it was solicited by the journalists. The fact is officials give money, and the journalists collect it,” the source who declined being named said.

The head of VOA’s Nigerian language service also is suspected of alleged “sundry illegal financial activities,” including padding the rent at the Nigeria office, skimming salaries of part-time staff, and falsifying payments of ghost stringers. The FBI sent agents to Nigeria to speak with staff members who were forced to kick back a “huge part of their monthly pay.”

The kickbacks may be one reason employees have been giving the agency such low ratings.

The “Death of Objectivity”? Oh, Please

This long history of dysfunction and criminality was forgotten once President Trump moved to put fresh leadership in place.

Now the problem, the doomsayers predict, is the imminent death of independent objective reporting at VOA.

What’s amusing about this claim is how our corporate media overlords show a complete lack of self-awareness by holding themselves up as exemplars of said independent, objective reporting.

They are essentially saying that if VOA doesn’t do what the rest of the Washington press corps is doing, that’s prima facie evidence of political interference in the newsroom.

This assumes, falsely, that the commercial media are unbiased. Moreover, it assumes that the VOA is supposed to do what the commercial news media do.

The VOA’s charter clearly states it has a responsibility to “represent America, not any single segment of American society, and will therefore present a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions.”

Further, VOA “will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and will also present responsible discussions and opinion on these policies.”

That tells us VOA is, or at least is supposed to be, a cat of a different color than corporate media.

No one would accuse CNN and MSNBC of presenting “a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions.” If you support President Trump you have an easier time getting booked for arrest than getting booked for an appearance on either of those outlets.

Neither can the cable networks’ programming be described as offering “responsible discussions and opinion on the policies of the United States.” If only Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo, Rachel Maddow, and Joy Reid lived up to that standard.

Citizens of Nowhere

The other point in the charter says “VOA will serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news.” That’s strike three against CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, Washington Post, New York Times, AP and all the others who force-fed America one-sided totally false baseless Russia collusion conspiracy theories for years and then didn’t even bother to admit they were wrong when the truth came out.

The United States would be well served if our commercial news media were consistently reliable and authoritative, presented a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought, and presented responsible discussions and opinion on the policies of the United States.

Instead, they stoke racial animosity and undermine faith in America’s fundamental institutions if that helps them attract the largest possible audience to sell to globalist corporate sponsors.

And therein lies the deeper problem. The executives, journalists, and pundits populating the New York-D.C. media universe see themselves as global, not American, citizens. They equate nationalism with fascism. CNN uses John Lennon’s paean to a world without nations as its New Year’s theme song. NBC sponsors the Global Citizen Festival.

As mobs deface monuments to American heritage, major media personalities cannot summon a voice to denounce the anarchy or defend our heritage.

Now more than ever, we could use a Voice of America—at home as well as abroad.

Greatness Agenda

All Livelihoods Matter

The only way black livelihoods, or any American livelihoods, are going to be uplifted is when black and white workers find common ground and work together to reject the agenda of the global Left.

When examining the challenges facing the black community in America, the conservative response—if they have the courage to respond at all—is to attack the policies Democrats have implemented supposedly to help blacks.

This is a valid response, which can be summarized as follows:

Increased spending in public schools is futile because Democrats have taken away the ability to discipline disruptive students, and the teachers union has monopolized public education. For example, instead of being fired, thanks to these unions, bad teachers end up teaching in low income communities. Public education is a disaster in black communities.

Welfare spending has taken away the necessity for households to have a male breadwinner, and hence, a male role model and authority figure. This has disproportionately impacted black families because a higher percentage of them collect welfare and other entitlements. Two-thirds of black children are growing up in single-parent households.

There are other reasons conservatives may cite, centering around the theme of personal and community accountability. Why aren’t more black conservatives stepping up and demanding school choice, family values, and collective rejection of gang culture? And why isn’t the media elevating those black conservatives who do speak out, instead of pointing the cameras at the same old Sharptonesque hacks, year after year?

These responses explain a lot, and deserve to be heard, but there’s another factor at work affecting black lives in America, and it’s also mostly the fault of Democrats.

The Democratic Attack on Black Lives and Black Livelihoods

Between 1916 and 1970, in what is called the Great Migration, more than 6 million blacks moved from the rural South to the cities of the North, Midwest, and West. This was a time of rapid industrial expansion in the United States, and high-paying factory jobs attracted workers of all races. During the period after World War II until about 1970, America’s economy dominated the world. Millions of black workers were able to afford homes and raise families. But three things happened to change that starting in 1970.

First, the world caught up with the United States. In the immediate aftermath of World War II, the United States was the only industrialized nation that wasn’t devastated. As foreign manufacturers were slowly rebuilding atop the ashes, American exports poured into recovering markets all over the world. America’s labor unions enjoyed unique leverage during this time, because management could afford to negotiate excellent wage and benefit packages for the workers and yet still make a profit.

Starting around 1970, all of that changed. Japan, then the “Four Tigers” of Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and now dozens of nations including Brazil, India, Indonesia and heavyweight China are all competing with American manufacturers. 

Which brings us to the first great betrayal by Democrats: They joined with their Republican counterparts to adopt the gospel of “free trade,” heedless of the consequences. This began slowly, but by the Clinton years, the Democrats were indistinguishable from the Republicans. Good jobs went away, lost to cheap labor overseas. White and black workers alike suddenly found themselves working harder and making less, if they had jobs at all.

The second trend that attacked black livelihoods, along with the livelihoods of everyone else, was the increase in the cost-of-living. This is probably the least discussed element in the destruction of black livelihoods, along with the livelihoods of everyone in America, but it is perhaps the most important because relative to the other factors, it has just begun. 

The cost-of-living is continuing to rise, despite the fact that productivity is higher than ever. Why is this?

In some areas, such as imported high-tech gear and generic consumer products, costs are declining. This is misleading. For most households, the products that are getting cheaper are nonessential, whereas the cost for essentials like housing and healthcare are soaring. To show why Democrats are to blame for this assault on affordability, consider this excerpt from a California Policy Center analysis evaluating home prices in different parts of the United States:

The median price of a home in Los Angeles is a larcenous $617,000, whereas the same home in Houston will only set a family back by $189,000. Based on a 4 percent, 30-year fixed mortgage, this translates into a crippling $2,900 monthly payment in Los Angeles, [versus] a manageable $915 mortgage payment in Houston. Making house payments that low used to be normal in California. They still are in those parts of this nation, Houston included, where the progressive Democrats haven’t yet taken control.

The Democratic response to poor schools and unaffordable housing is to expand government. Hire more union teachers. Build more government housing. For 50 years, this has been their solution, and the only thing they have to show for it are the highest taxes and spending deficits in history. In recent years, building affordable housing has become more corrupt than ever, with Democrat-run cities spending over a half-million on average per unit of subsidized housing. At those prices, only a fraction of needed housing is built, and only crony developers benefit from the arrangement.

The solutions, which even Republicans usually lack the courage to espouse, are to restore competition in public education, ideally via school vouchers—good for homeschooling, religious schools, private schools, charter schools, and public schools. Break the teachers’ union monopoly. For affordable housing, break the grip of extreme environmentalists who successfully have lobbied for laws in blue states and cities that effectively have cordoned off all development. Allow suburban expansion, spend public budgets on roads instead of pensions, and the market price of housing will come back down to earth.

The Economics of All Lives Matter

One of the saddest betrayals of black and white workers in America is their betrayal at the hands of their unions. 

Arguably, these unions have been too militant about protecting wage and benefit packages and trying to increase them to keep pace with inflation, but ultimately these are tactical battles. 

On the defining strategic issues, however, these unions have betrayed their members. If that betrayal was not evident initially back in the 1970s, it should be by now. These unions have not fought effectively to prevent jobs from migrating overseas, and they haven’t fought at all to prevent an ongoing flood of cheap immigrant labor. On the issue of lowering the cost-of-living, these unions have scarcely recognized extreme environmentalism as a primary reason housing and building materials cost so much, much less tried to challenge it.

When it comes to the livelihoods of middle class and aspiring middle-class people, these overarching trends are having a decisive and decidedly colorblind impact. And the union betrayal goes beyond their failure to address the issues of offshoring, immigration, and environmentalism in a manner consistent with the interests of their members. Instead, they have adopted and supported the entire agenda of the American Left.

Moreover, they utterly fail to recognize that public-sector unions aren’t unions at all. They are government workers using government for themselves over, and sometimes even against, the interests of the public. As a result, private-sector unions support public-sector union monopolies in public education, along with the attendant leftist indoctrination of students on issues of race, gender, economics and American history, and they offer unqualified support for more government spending. This doesn’t do anything to help the members of private-sector unions which, unlike public-sector unions, have a legitimate and vital role to play in American society. Why can’t they be focused on the economic interests of their members, properly understood, and nothing else?

The Black Lives Matter movement, much like the labor movement in America today, is unconcerned with black livelihoods. Or if they are, they are tragically delusional. Black livelihoods will not be uplifted by eliminating whatever vestiges of racism may still exist in America and implementing socialism. They will be uplifted by black and white workers finding common ground within a capitalist framework, working together to reject the agenda of the global Left: offshoring manufacturing, importing cheap labor, and imposing extreme environmentalist laws.

Elections

The Con of the Surrender Cons

If legacy conservatism had its own statue, it would be one big slippery slope curving left and capped with a white flag.

The column, written in the heated aftermath of George Floyd’s killing, sounded like a typical anti-American screed published in the New York Times or posted on MSNBC.

“Racism in America is a fatal wound,” the author lamented. “Every time another incident occurs we put a Band-Aid on it, but the Band-Aid keeps falling off. Band-Aids are not enough to ever stitch this country back together.”

She went on: “Nothing can bring George Floyd back to life. But if his horrific and needless death proves to be a turning point to make Americans finally end the ugly racism that stains our nation’s history and afflicts us like a cancer of the soul, he will leave behind a legacy we sorely need.”

That inflammatory, crude condemnation of America—not to mention the glorification of Floyd, a man with a criminal record who was doped up on drugs and committing another crime when the fatal encounter occurred—was made by Kay Coles James, president of the Heritage Foundation. James, the first woman and first African American to head the conservative think tank, like so many on the performative Right, jumped on the Left’s latest anti-America crusade while betraying the constituency her organization purports to represent.

Embracing the Left’s Language

It is a reflex, unfortunately, that’s commonplace on the establishment Right, an infuriating capitulation to our country’s most insidious foes. The Left intends to destroy the nation and use race as the carpet-bomb—and that approach is working even as blacks continue to make solid economic, occupational, and educational gains.

So, what was James’s point? There is no evidence Floyd’s death had anything to do with race. One incident, or even a random handful, hardly proves her diagnosis that racism is a “fatal wound” to America. The unfolding mayhem and chaos that followed Floyd’s death would have been a perfect opportunity for James to explain why conservatives, not radicals on the Left, have better solutions to improve the lives of all minorities. James, after all, has a triumphant personal story of her own; her success is a testament to our country’s unparalleled progress on matters of race and equality.

But at a pivotal moment, James instead chose to invoke the language of the Left. And she wasn’t alone. 

A few days after James’ column was posted, Tucker Carlson detailed a marquee roster of “conservative” leaders who lined up to reprimand a racist America and, in effect, condone the Black Lives Matter insurgency. The list included James, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and former Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina. Carlson even called out Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s national security advisor for jumping on the time-for-soul-searching bandwagon.

Defending the Left’s Language

Predictably, the same outlets and pundits that surface whenever the Left needs backup rushed to cover for the race-baiting “conservatives.” Carlson’s monologue was labeled a “misleading attack on prominent conservatives,” by Ramesh Ponnuru, an editor at National Review

In a rebuke that was part strawman, part cherry-picking, and part rambling word salad, Ponnuru failed to make his case. But no matter, Ponnuru—a visiting fellow for the American Enterprise Institute, another what-have-you-done-for-me-lately conservative think tank populated by NeverTrumpers—had achieved his goal of shivving Carlson while defending race-hustlers on the Right. (Ponnuru, however, was filled with praise for Joe Biden’s response to the Floyd killing, cooing over Biden’s “old-time liberalism” and decency in the midst of crisis.)

Speaking of National Review, some of its editors and columnists continue to play footsie with the Left—unsurprising behavior considering NR contributors have been invaluable allies to Democrats in their crusade against Donald Trump. Just consider their work as foot soldiers in the effort to perpetuate the Russian collusion hoax; bolster Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into imaginary crimes; warn about surges in “white supremacy”; oppose the president’s emergency declaration to protect the southern border; and back impeachment—to name a few. Not even the Covington Catholic High School pro-life students were spared an immediate condemnation and thrashing from National Review’s “conservatives.”

Confederate statues, argues the magazine’s editor-in-chief, should not be protected by conservatives. People like us, opines Rich Lowry, “reflexively oppose politically correct campaigns to destroy anything giving offense. They fear where the slippery slope of woke iconoclasm will lead—first it’s Jefferson Davis, ultimately George Washington. This impulse, though, is a mistake.” 

That same day, vandals in Portland wrapped the head of a statue of George Washington in an American flag, set it on fire, and tore it down. Statues of Francis Scott Key and Ulysses S. Grant were destroyed in San Francisco. On Sunday, New York City’s American Museum of Natural History announced it would remove a statue of Theodore Roosevelt in an effort to erase a “painful legacy of colonial expansion and racial discrimination.”

Like many Surrender Conservatives embarrassed over their impulse to assemble some sort of Leftist Lite alternative to defining political matters, Lowry later presented an unrealistic compromise. “The upshot is that we are going to have to fight like hell to keep Thomas Jefferson and George Washington regardless of what happens to the Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart statues,” he wrote.

Fight like hell, you say? Fight who—and how? What united front has establishment conservatism built over the past few decades with the exception of unified opposition to Donald Trump, and perhaps the pro-life movement? 

Conservatism Inc. Bends the Knee

As I wrote last week, our current crisis speaks as much to the failure of the conservative movement as it confirms the victory of the Left. It is they, not Trump, who have left conservatives nearly defenseless at this moment, yet they still pretend there’s a third way, that some parcel of imaginary common ground exists amid the rubble and ruin.

Over the weekend, American Greatness contributor Ned Ryun confronted a top Heritage staffer, demanding an explanation for how the elite organization prepared for this moment: “[W]ay to waste that $1.25 BILLION you raised between 2001-2018. What are you gonna do to beat the Left? Swat them with your white papers?”

No, these Surrender Cons will do what they always do: Pretend a debate about Confederate statues is actually about Confederate statues and not about the inexorable destruction of our country’s history that eventually leads straight to the Founders and the Constitution. Placate the Left with meaningless canards about race and social justice that feed the flames of racial division the Left has been seeking to stoke in order to burn down the country. Bend the rhetorical knee before Black Lives Matter for fear of being called a racist while hanging your own supporters out to dry. Assign weakness to Donald Trump rather than own up to their own failures.

At what point will the benefactors of the Surrender Cons understand they are supporting a con job? Or, better yet, when will the subscribers and regular donors catch on? James is right about one thing: Band-Aids won’t stitch this country back together if that’s even possible. Joe Biden certainly won’t. The only small hope is that freedom-loving, America-defending people on the Right unify to reject every single demand of the Left.

There is no compromise or common ground with people who hate the foundations of this country. The slippery slope Lowry downplayed is already thoroughly greased. In fact, if legacy conservatism had its own statue, it would be one big slippery slope curving left and capped with a white flag.

The careerists in the establishment Right can surrender if they want; that’s their prerogative. Just don’t expect the rest of us to join in bending the knee.

TOPSHOT - A child rides a scooter past a mural by artists Malik Crawford and Jerome Tiunayan on a boarded up store in the Union Square section of New York June 15, 2020. - Many stores in the New York City area were boarded up after looting in the city following the death of George Floyd. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
Great America

What Happens When the Madness Ends?

Today’s corporate revolutionary enthusiasts had better prepare for the inevitable turn.

When something cannot go on, it certainly will not go on. But what are the symptoms of what cannot go on and when? 

There are two historic red lines and our revolution is getting close to both. 

When Normal People Grow Weary 

One is when “average” people, both white and nonwhite, who identify neither with Left nor Right, woke nor unwoke, become frightened or appalled by the violence and the anarchy—and thus finally move to dismantle the guillotine as the razor increasingly starts haircutting friends, idols, and compatriots. 

Their verdict can be known either by demonstrating themselves, boycotting, voting, or massive civil disobedience. At some point, tonight’s hero on YouTube torching Wendy’s or kicking a downed policeman on CNN, becomes tomorrow’s commonplace, unnoticed felon—with a new warrant issued out on his head, and about whose fate and lengthy CV no one other than his parents much cares.

Governors and mayors can demand masks and all sorts of social distancing measures. But once they declared that only those not demonstrating—the non-looting and nonviolent—were subject to their rules, while millions both peacefully protesting and violently looting were exempt, then their words meant nothing. It will be impossible for them ever to be seen as credible again. Virus or no virus, crowded freeways, and busy malls will soon be referenda on the bond of governors like Gavin Newsom and Gretchen Whitmer. 

In a few weeks, we are promised that multimillionaire NFL players and coaches in unison will not deign to stand up for the National Anthem. Promises, promises. 

TV play-by-play announcers will praise them—or else likely lose their jobs. But millions of Americans simply will decouple from the NFL. Their silent disappearance will make the prior Kaepernick drop-off in attendance and viewership seem like child’s play. The same will be true perhaps of the more canny NBA, if they foolishly emulate the NFL. Millions will surmise that billionaire basketball players can far better make their billions in China and should—an NBA deity whose dictatorship players and coaches fear and worship while criticizing their own democracy.

Recently, there was murder in the CHAZ/CHOP-shop summer of love, and more random violence. Soon average Seattle citizens will want their city’s core back if only to reclaim their full 911 response. When the police begin not showing up for assaults, thefts, and break-ins, and criminals do what criminals do without consequences, the proverbial victims and vulnerable will have had enough and either move away or organize. 

Today’s opportunist virtue-signaler will be tomorrow’s gullible fool. Tonight’s brave looter and edgy arsonist will be tomorrow’s matter-of-fact felon.

Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio vie for televised braggadocio. But when the cameras leave, and they will soon, both will be left with billions of dollars in damage, lost commerce, bankrupt budgets, and urban flight. And their whiny appeals to American deplorables for financial assistance, their attempts at shaming clingers for a bailout, will likely be the stuff of comedy. What will California’s multimillionaire Governor Gavin Newsom do when his silly press conferences end, but his 13.3 percent income tax rate and 47-cent gas tax still don’t come close to closing his $50 billion annual deficit? Give more adolescent lectures about how the virus and lockdown are “reimagining a progressive era as it pertains to capitalism”?

When Important People Find Themselves Out of Luck

Second, when important people start to suffer the concrete consequences of their own abstract ideology, then the revolution sputters—in the manner that #MeToo Tara Reid got nowhere in accusing Joe Biden of a brutal sexual assault. Suddenly, handsy and heavily breathing Joe who once swore “women must be believed” appealed to statutes of limitations, presumptions of innocence, and the right to cross-examination as if he were Robespierre suddenly deploring the promiscuous use of the guillotine.  

When hysteria fades, so too the current Antifa/BLM movement will go dormant to go enjoy the millions that they garnered from terrified virtue-signaling corporatists. When pistol-packing, AR-15 toting Raz Simone declares himself exempt from his own past homophobia and repulsive N-word vocabulary, and struts armed to the teeth at the head of his posse while blocking the police from aiding those shot and dying, then there is no society left. And those who want society back at some point will act, whether silently or visibly. Either Raz will be arrested—or bought off by a social justice Seattle billionaire and retired to a gifted lakeside home. Either way, he will go soon.

For all the conservatives who virtue signaled that Confederate statues had to come down now, the logical trajectory of their acquiesce was the toppling of Ulysses S. Grant, Columbus, and Father Junipero Serra, and the defacements of Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington. And it won’t do to deplore the mob’s insanity when it turns on abolitionists, Cervantes, and black Civil War veterans. After all, from the time of the dismemberment of Cinna the Roman poet, that’s precisely what mobs do when appeased: turn on the innocent without apology.

Declaring that Confederate statutes must fall, but only through pro forma deliberation is fine and good. But prejudging that such democratic deliberations will reach the proper end results, sends the signal to the mob of “Well, why wait for a slowcoach vote that will only confirm our violence?” If a sober and judicious observer declares that all Confederate generals are the same and all their stone and bronze images are illegitimately on public display, and all their removals must result from and be confirmed by majority votes, then why have majority votes unless one believes in the legitimacy of the old Soviet Duma or Saddam’s Iraqi parliament?

Both liberals and conservatives have red lines, for without them there is no civilization in which liberals and conservatives can disagree without tribal and ritual violence. When would-be looters and defacers turned toward liberal Beverly Hills, they were met by politically incorrect tear gas. And behold, not a single former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or retired military grandee was to be found to tweet out that America ended on that very day when those in the uniform tear-gassed civilians.

Nocturnally decapitating Robert E. Lee’s head in an obscure city park is one thing, marching in daylight on Stone Mountain with dynamite to erase the locus classicus of Confederate commemoration is quite another. Were that to happen, even Fort Bragg, California is not safe and the Wilson School at Princeton would be next in line for the guillotine.

Academics are now bombarded in their campus emails with lists of BLM demands and administrative acquiescence to them. But when the smoke clears and the flames subside, Hadley, Connor, and Palmer will have to give up their legacy spots at Stanford and Yale to meet demands for mandated increases in the size of the African-American student body. Will the edgy radical professor in his elbow patched tweed still virtue-signal from the lounge, when his kid’s 800 English SAT and straight-A prep school grades no longer are considered required admission data, and his salary in no way will match the donor heft of rival Silicon Valley tech parents?

When the frenzy subsides, what will universities themselves say after charging jacked up tuition and room and board costs for indebted students to take their classes on zoom from their parents’ basements? Will they cite “overhead” or praise the new “digital learning,” or institute “givebacks” of student payments, or claim new diversity coordinators and administrators to combat white privilege necessitate budgetary constraints?

What about the Chick-fil-A CEO—worried about corporate losses from vandalized stores and past bad PR from gay boycotts—who urged that whites wash the feet of black people? What will he do when it is again against the law to loot and deface, and when few of any racial lineage would enjoy such groveling hands on their feet? 

The Thermidor Reaction Is Coming

If a revolution is based on the untruth that blacks are daily violently terrorized by whites, what happens when data reveal facts contrary to that narrative? What happens when people come to understand that in those relatively rare interracial crimes, blacks are far more likely than whites to commit interracial violence? Or when people discover that more than 7,000 blacks are murdered per year by other blacks? When the hysteria fades, such data reasserts the truth that there is not currently a white racial war against blacks.

Now is the hour of the virtue tweeting has-been celebrity, who wishes to avoid the fate of Jimmies Fallon and Kimmel. Did the latter two, now on forced sabbaticals, think they are any more important to American entertainment than the beheaded Danton and Hébert were to the revolution of Robespierre and Saint-Just? In a cultural revolution, radicalism is a fluid and relative state, and no exemption from the violence that one advocates for others.

Just as reformers wanted King Louis XVI to give up some power but not to lose his head, so too peaceful protestors sought to institutionalize accountability for rogue cops. But also, just as a constitutional parliament was forgotten by the time of the Reign of Terror, so too the legitimate protests over George Floyd’s horrific death are now light-years distant from torching Santa Monica and defacing the World War II monument.

Instead, this is the unhinged age of the sexagenarian general mysteriously awakening from his politically incorrect slumber to publicly announce that he threw his suddenly despised framed picture of Robert E. Lee against his wall—as a good business hedge, or to rediscover mysteriously in his seventh decade that his lifelong association with Fort Bragg could be a liability in the suddenly petrified world of corporate clientage. 

The Reign of Terror will end and the Thermidor reaction is on the horizon. Today’s opportunist virtue-signaler will be tomorrow’s gullible fool. Tonight’s brave looter and edgy arsonist will be tomorrow’s matter-of-fact felon. This morning’s memo-writing social justice executive and administrator will be seen as tomorrow’s rank abettor of McCarthyite persecutions. And the coveted and esteemed racial arsonist of the moment soon will become the ostracized segregationist.

Americans believe there is one thing more regrettable than a falsifier—and that is an opportunistic and careerist falsifier.

Elections

Joe Biden and Friedrich Nietzsche

How the “resounding tinkle of virtue” has poisoned our politics.

According to Joe Biden, the basement candidate for president, ending “systemic racism” in the United States is “the moral obligation of our time.”

Too late, Joe! Systemic racism in the United States ended with the Union victory in the Civil War. Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. On June 19 of that year, Union General Gordon Granger announced in Galveston, Texas, that all slaves in the state were free—Texas being that last state to comply with the Emancipation Proclamation. That is the date that the latest Kwanzaa-like manufactured racialist holiday, “Juneteenth,” is intended to celebrate and that Joe’s minders intended to capitalize on by writing “Juneteenth: A Reminder Of Black America’s Long-Fought Fight For Justice.” 

The institution of slavery, which ended nearly 150 years ago, has no bearing—zero—on the plight of American blacks today. What does affect them, mightily, is the destruction of the black family, a project brought to us by more than five decades of Democratic welfare policy. 

The PR surrounding Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program told the world that its aim was to abolish poverty. It’s actual effect was to institutionalize poverty and promulgate an endless agenda of dependency, which all but guaranteed black subservience to the governmental overlord. It also institutionalized the gigantic network of government workers charged with servicing—and, by extension, perpetuating—the welfare state. The metabolism of this establishment was expertly anatomized by Christopher Caldwell in his latest book, The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties. It makes for a mournful story. 

The New Iconoclasm

Also mournful is the spectacle of violence and destructive iconoclasm sweeping the country in the wake of the death of the career criminal George Floyd while in police custody. 

For the last few of weeks, we’ve seen stores looted, police stations and police cars torched, and all manner of public monuments defaced or destroyed. As we know from (in the words of Laplace) expériences nombreuses et funestes, it is one thing to start a revolution, quite another to bring it to an end. Those gleefully riding the tiger at the beginning often wind up inside it before the journey comes to an end. 

At first, the rioters’ attention was riveted by Confederate statues. But it was not long before Christopher Columbus was enrolled as an honorary Confederate and statues to his memory, too, were toppled and destroyed. Then we saw the Lincoln Memorial defaced and, more recently, statues of Ulysses S. Grant and even George Washington consumed by the mob’s fury. 

There are at least two sides to the ongoing displays of anarchy. On the one side are the actual perpetrators, a combination of garden variety hooligans and various types of left-wing activists. On the other side are the supporters and fellow travelers, the timid if shrill coddlers of Black Lives Matter and Antifa, college-educated folk who never met a radical cliché they couldn’t embrace.

I agree with Charles Kesler and Christopher Flannery that the riots have much less to do with the death of George Floyd than with the spirit of the malign, racially inspired and New York Times-endorsed “1619 Project,” an effort to recast the story of America’s founding as a racist plot. The sharp uptick in violence and spectacle of efforts to create “autonomous zones” outside the law has led some of us to invoke 1793 and the murderous excesses of the French Revolution as an illuminating historical analogue as well. 

“How They Thirst to be Hangmen!”

And of course we must also keep in mind a third date, one that is still a few months in the future. I mean November 3, 2020, the date of the U.S. presidential election. 

How much of the theatrics we’ve been treated to—the riots, the groundless accusations of universal racism, the posturing by Democratic politicians—how much of all that is served up for the consumption of the nightly news in order to damage Donald Trump? We do not have instruments equipped to make that calculation, though the reality of the case is nevertheless clear enough. 

What has not perhaps been appreciated sufficiently is the rancorous psychological dimension of the assiduously cultivated racialist follies roiling America and other Western democracies just now. 

For a first glimpse into that story, we might turn to some observations Friedrich Nietzsche made in his 1887 book On the Genealogy of Morals about a certain species of nihilistic self-hatred. “What a display of grand words and postures,” Nietzsche wrote. “What an art of ‘honest’ calumny! . . . [L]et’s admire the skillful counterfeiting with which people here imitate the trademarks of virtue, even its resounding tinkle, the golden sound of virtue.” 

Read that column on “Juneteenth” that Joe Biden’s speech writers created for him; attend to the endless—and groundless—accusations of racism that fill the airwaves and brittle communiqués from college presidents and business owners terrified of being called “racists.” Don’t you hear the resounding tinkle of that counterfeit virtue Nietzsche adduced? “They’ve now taken a lease on ‘virtue’ entirely for themselves,” Nietzsche continues. 

“We alone are the good men, the just men”—that’s how they speak: “We alone are the homines bonae voluntatis.” They wander around among us like personifications of reproach, like warnings to us, as if health, success, strength, pride, and a feeling of power were inherently depraved things, for which people must atone someday, atone bitterly.

And then there is the other side of the conviction that virtue is the exclusive prerogative of one’s own tribe: the impulse to judge and punish, the Robespierre expedient. “How they thirst to be hangmen!” Nietzsche noted. 

Among them there are plenty of people disguised as judges seeking revenge. They always have the word “Justice” in their mouths, like poisonous saliva, with their mouths always pursed, constantly ready to spit at anything which does not look discontented and goes on its way in good spirits.

Nietzsche may not have the last word about the disgraceful parade of counterfeit virtue tearing at the fabric of American society today, but I think he makes an illuminating first foray. His is not an inquiry that you will see aired on CNN or in the pages of the New York Times, to say nothing of those rancid corridors of pseudo-intellectuality, the American university.