Kevin D. Williamson: It did not take very long to get from ‘Punch a Nazi!’ to ‘assassinate a congressman’

The Alexandria shooting is the continuation of the riots in Berkeley and Middlebury.

This is why the standard liberal motto — that violence is never legitimate, even though it may sometimes be necessary to resort to it — is insufficient. From a radical emancipatory perspective, this formula should be reversed: for the oppressed, violence is always legitimate (since their very status is the result of the violence they are exposed to), but never necessary (it will always be a matter of strategy whether or not use violence against the enemy).

Slavoj Žižek, On Violence and Democracy

Kevin D. Williamson writes: It did not take very long to get from “Punch a Nazi!” to “assassinate a congressman.”

” … the relevant question here is not violent rhetoric but violence itself. The violence at Berkeley and Middlebury did not lead to the shooting in Alexandria — they are part of the same phenomenon: The American Left has embraced political violence.”

A great deal of spittle has been deployed in the debate over whether or to what extent the Left’s recent indulgence of its penchant for violent rhetoric can be linked to the shooting of Representative Steve Scalise and other members of a Republican congressional baseball team by an angry Democratic activist and Bernie Sanders partisan. But the relevant question here is not violent rhetoric but violence itself. The violence at Berkeley and Middlebury did not lead to the shooting in Alexandria — they are part of the same phenomenon: The American Left has embraced political violence.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

More precisely, the Left has embraced “anarcho-tyranny.” (Yes, I know what kind of man Sam Francis became; his phrase remains useful.) The anarcho part: Progressives including mainstream Democrats have embraced the sort of violence that has been directed against the likes of Charles Murray as an instrument of liberationist politics.

Representative Val Demings, a Democratic congressman from Florida, shared her view that the riots greeting Milo Yiannopoulos at Berkeley were “a beautiful sight.” After a physical attack on white nationalist Richard Spencer, Jeremy Binckes of Salon wrote: “Maybe the question shouldn’t be, ‘Is it okay to punch a Nazi?’ but, ‘If you don’t want to be punched in the face, maybe you shouldn’t preach Nazi values to the public?’” A lively debate about the ethics of using violence to suppress certain political views ensued. Short version: Free speech did not experience a runaway victory.

“A Middlebury professor had to be briefly hospitalized after being physically attacked for having invited Charles Murray to campus. That is not free speech. That is violence, and Democrats, judging by their non-response to these episodes, have more or less made their peace with it.”

Things are worse on campus. The editorial board of the Daily Californian defended blackshirt violence on the grounds that, without it, “neo-Nazis would be free to roam the streets of Berkeley.” Read the rest of this entry »


Kevin D. Williamson: ‘How To Lose Followers And Influence People!’

williamson-Trump

We expect to lose 27% of our followers for this: ‘s new Broadside is coming in Nov.

(Get this broadside!)

via  


National Review Cover: Kevin D. Williamson on ‘The Colorado Pot Experiment’

NR-cover-July-2015

[Read it here at National Review Online]

 


Kevin D. Williamson: The GOP Should Turn its Attention to Prosecutorial Misconduct

prison

Kevin D. Williamson writes:

“…The Democrats have long been acculturated to the climate of corruption that attends government agencies that are largely free of ordinary accountability, where a carefully cultivated lack of transparency shields operatives from scrutiny and normal oversight. Republicans can rouse themselves to action, if only barely, when this involves the federal Internal Revenue Service or Environmental Protection Agency. But deference to police agencies and prosecutors is so habitual among the members of the law-and-order party that they instinctively look for excuses when presented with obvious examples of police misconduct, and twiddle their thumbs in the 99 percent of cases of prosecutorial misconduct that do not involve a Republican elected official.…”

[Read the full article at NRO]

National Review Online


Kevin D. Williamson: ‘Texas is where ISIS Wannabes Get Outgunned at An Art Gallery’

3-17-Texas

BANG-woman-gun

 

 

 


‘We have a winner’: Kevin D. Williamson perfectly nutshells the Baltimore problem


Kevin D. Williamson: ‘Today’s discussion suggests that some people have forgotten how government works. Here’s a quick explanation’

how-government-works

Kevin Williamson via Twitter


Kevin D. Williamson: The War on the Private Mind

Dr. Bill van Bise, electrical engineer, conducting a demonstration of Soviet scientific data and schematics for beaming a magnetic field into the brain to cause visual hallucinations. Source: CNN Source: Supplied

Dr. Bill van Bise, electrical engineer, conducting a demonstration of Soviet scientific data and schematics for beaming a magnetic field into the brain to cause visual hallucinations. Source: CNN

In Indiana, in Arkansas, and in the boardroom

Kevin D. Williamsonkevin-williamson writes: There are two easy ways to get a Republican to roll over and put his paws up in the air: The first is to write him a check, which is the political version of scratching his belly, and the second is to call him a bigot. In both cases, it helps if you have a great deal of money behind you.

Tim Cook, who in his role as chief executive of the world’s most valuable company personifies precisely the sort of oppression to which gay people in America are subjected, led the hunting party when Indiana’s governor Mike Pence signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, while Walmart, a company that cannot present its hindquarters enthusiastically enough to the progressives who hate it and everything for which it stands, dispatched its CEO, C. Douglas McMillon, to head off a similar effort in Arkansas, where Governor Asa Hutchison rolled over immediately….(read more)

millen-anguish

“Adlai Stevenson famously offered this definition: ‘A free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.’ We do not live in that society.”

…There are three problems with rewarding those who use accusations of bigotry as a political cudgel. First, those who seek to protect religious liberties are not bigots, and going along with false accusations that they are makes one a party to a lie.

[Read the full text here, at National Review]

Second, it is an excellent way to lose political contests, since there is almost nothing — up to and including requiring algebra classes — that the Left will not denounce as bigotry. Third, and related, it rewards and encourages those who cynically deploy end-is-nearaccusations of bigotry for their own political ends.

[Kevin D. Williamson’s book  “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome”  is available at Amazon]

An excellent illustration of this dynamic is on display in the recent pronouncements of columnist and gay-rights activist Dan Savage, who, in what seems to be an effort to resurrect every lame stereotype about the shrill, hysterical, theatrical gay man, declaimed that the efforts of those who do not wish to see butchers and bakers and wedding-bouquet makers forced by their government at gunpoint to violate their religious scruples is — you probably have guessed already — nothing less than the consecration of Jim Crow Junior. “Anti-black bigots, racist bigots, during Jim Crow and segregation made the exact same arguments that you’re hearing people make now,” Savage said. Given the dramatic difference in the social and political position of blacks in the time of Bull Connor and gays in the time of Ellen DeGeneres, this is strictly Hitler-was-a-vegetarian stuff, the elevation of trivial formal similarities over dramatic substantial differences. The choices for explaining this are a.) moral illiteracy; b.) intellectual dishonesty; c.) both a and b…(read more)

National Review


REWIND: Kevin D. Williamson on Harry Reid

NR-Reid

Good piece : In honor of ‘s retirement, ‘s cover piece from June

Via 


Kevin D. Williamson: Exposing Intellectual Dishonesty Among the ‘Fact-Checkers’

politifact_national-oops

Politifact and Me

National Review‘s Kevin D. Williamson Responds to Polifact

Kevin D. Williamsonkevin-williamson writes: Politifact, which is published under the flag of the Tampa Bay Times, the chief executive of which, Paul Tash, is the chairman of the Poynter Institute, a member of the Pulitzer prize committee, and a disgrace to his trade, recently decided to “fact-check” my colleague Jonah Goldberg, but it was really fact-checking me, as Jonah was citing a claim in a column of mine.

The claim is a straightforward one: That under the so-called Affordable Care Act, the federal government will recognize and subsidize a great deal of hokum, things like naturopathic medicine and acupuncture that have no scientific basis, that have been clinically shown to be useless or worse, and that are rooted in rank mysticism, from the “qi” energy that acupuncturists claim to manipulate—and which does not, technically speaking, exist—to the “innate intelligence” underpinning chiropractic theory—which does not, in fact, exist, either. As endless peer-reviewed scientific studies document, this stuff is pure quackery, but it is, thanks to the Affordable Care Act and the focused exertions of former Iowa Senator Tom Harkin—one of those Democrats who really love science we’re always hearing about—it is hokum with increasing official status.

[Kevin D. Williamson’s book  “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome”  is available at Amazon]

Senator Harkin successfully campaigned for ACA provisions that would forbid “discrimination” against any practitioner of purported healing arts who is licensed. Many states, California prominent among them (quelle surprise!) license practitioners of superstitious hokum, including naturopathic “doctors” and acupuncturists.

[read the full text here, at National Review Online]

[follow Kevin D.Williamson on Twitter]

There are many reasons for this: One is that superstitious hokum is extraordinarily popular, and the state desires to keep an eye on its practitioners; a second is that California is, as advertised, full of lunatics and the entrepreneurs who service their lunacy; the third is that reasons Nos. 1 and 2 combine to generate revenue for the state, which will—in what must be the most perfect example of progressivism in practice—yank your license to practice medically null but voguish Eastern mysticism in the state of California for failure to pay your crushing California taxes. I once encountered a Whole Foods with a yoga studio inside it, and thought that if one could only get Chris Hayes to broadcast from there (there’s still time, Chris!) it would have constituted a turducken of lifestyle liberalism upon which there would be no improving, but losing your California acupuncturist’s license to the Sacramento taxman surely surpasses that.

If you are wondering where the fact-checking comes in for all of that, you’re going to keep wondering. Politifact doubly embarrassed itself on the issue, first with the risibly sloppy and shockingly (if you don’t know very many reporters) lazy reporting habits of Louis Jacobson, who wrote that neither Jonah nor I had “returned inquiries,” by which he means to say responded to them. He tried to contact Jonah by sending a single email to a rarely used public account, and me he tried to contact—if you can call it that—by tweeting that he was fact-checking something. I do not follow him on Twitter, having been contentedly unaware of his existence, and I do not follow Politifact, for that matter. I am not sure that what Jacobson did constituted an “inquiry” at all, but I am sure that it does not constitute “inquiries.”

“This is one of those ‘context’ things that people who do not wish to admit the truth like to talk about. The point is that you could be sure that if similar concessions were made to pseudoscientific hokum less popular among Democrats–intelligent design, for example, or various kinds of gay-conversion therapies–the response would be loud, long, and heavy on the theme of Republicans’ hating and distrusting science.”

When I pointed this out—and noted that National Review is in the telephone directory and has been since the Eisenhower administration, that we employ an energetic young man to answer the telephones, that my email address is obtainable from the web site, that National Review retains the services of various publicists and whatnot for the purpose of connecting its writers with media figures, etc.—“pick up the goddamned telephone,” in short—Jacobson responded in an odd way: by sending the same email again to Jonah the next morning, long after the piece had been published. His editor, the feckless, gormless, and in any intelligent world unemployable Angie Holan, noting the general mockery and merriment that my complaints about Politifact’s practices produced on Twitter and elsewhere, very quickly found a way to get in touch with me—turns out that it’s not that hard!—and asked for a telephone conversation, which I declined, having nothing to say to the intellectually dishonest, the cretinous, or the servile, except in those cases in which I am matched with such on cable-news panels. (Hello, Sally.)

B-s5hTiUIAAc8b0

Politifact later apologized for Jacobson’s reportorial slobbery—though not for the fact that he lied about it; “inquiries,” indeed—but stood by its rating of the piece in question: “half true.”

Why half? Read the rest of this entry »


Kevin D. Williamson: Rudy is Right

Barack Obama

Barack Obama Doesn’t Even Like America

Kevin D. Williamsonkevin-williamson writes: Rudy Giuliani is in the stocks for saying that he does not believe that President Barack Obama “loves America.” He said this at a small, private dinner for Scott Walker, who probably will not be inviting Giuliani to very many events in the near future.

Giuliani went on to say that he wasn’t questioning the president’s patriotism — angels and ministers of grace defend us! — only noting that the president’s rhetoric is decidedly low-cal on the American exceptionalism but full-fat when it comes to criticism.rev-wright-obama

“For the progressive, there is very little to love about the United States…”

It may be the case that the president is a practitioner of the Smokey Robinson school of patriotism: “I don’t like you, but I love you.” Something’s really got a hold on this guy, and it is not an excessive fervor for the American order.

“…Washington, Jefferson, Madison? A bunch of rotten slaveholders, hypocrites, and cowards even when their hearts were in the right places. The Declaration of Independence? A manifesto for the propertied classes. The Constitution? An artifact of sexism and white supremacy…”

[Read the full text here, at National Review Online]

Questions about patriotism and love of country are, according to our self-appointed referees, out of bounds, déclassé, boob bait for bubbas, etc. Those are questions that we are not allowed to ask in polite society. Why? holden_caulfield__finished_by_westwolf270Because polite society does not want to hear the answers.

“There is a personality type common among the Left’s partisans, and it has a name: Holden Caulfield. He is adolescent, perpetually disappointed, and ever on the lookout for phoniness and hypocrisy.”

Does Barack Obama like America? The people around him certainly seem to have their reservations. Michelle Obama said — twice, at separate campaign a-kornacki-rudyevents — that her husband’s ascending to the presidency meant that “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.” She was in her mid 40s at the time, her “adult lifetime” having spanned decades during which she could not be “really proud” of her country. Barack Obama spent years in the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s church as the churchman fulminated: “God Damn America!” The Reverend Wright’s infamous “God Damn America!” sermon charges the country with a litany of abuses: slavery, mistreatment of the Indians, “treating citizens as less than human,” etc. A less raving version of the same indictment can be found in the president’s own speeches and books. His social circle includes such figures as Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn, who expressed their love of country by participating in a murderous terrorist campaign against it.

[Also see – Lunatic,’ ‘Repugnant’ Rudy Giuliani says Obama doesn’t ‘love America’; Media hits the ‘fainting couches’ – punditfromanotherplanet.com]

Does Barack Obama love his country? Call me a rube for saying so, but it’s a fair question. Read the rest of this entry »


Kevin D. Williamson: The Obama Administration’s Curious Cable Jihad

enemy-state-bill

“Mr. O’Reilly became an enemy of State when he conducted an interview with Fox News reporter James Rosen, who had some mildly unflattering things to say about Ms. Harf’s superior, Jen Psaki, the witless off-brand Pippi Longstocking who is the current media face of the American diplomatic project.”

National Review‘s Kevin D. Williamsonkevin-williamson writes: Marie Harf, whose career has alternated between government jobs and campaign jobs, is the deputy spokesman for the State Department, and if her recent communications are any indication, the face of the most acute foreign-policy crisis facing these United States is Bill O’Reilly’s — an admittedly self-satisfied visage, to be sure, out of which pours a psaki-redacted-oh-crapstream of apparently inexhaustible glibness. But he’s never beheaded anybody, so far as I know.

“Ms. Psaki was something less than convincing in trying to explain what exactly the administration has been up to between that group’s beheading.”

cia-barbieMr. O’Reilly became an enemy of State when he conducted an interview with Fox News reporter James Rosen, who had some mildly unflattering things to say about Ms. Harf’s superior, Jen Psaki, the witless off-brand Pippi Longstocking who is the current media face of the American diplomatic project.

“Instead of a philosophy, the Left has an enemies list”

The Obama administration is, to be charitable, currently unsure of how to go about dealing with the Islamic State, and Ms. Psaki was something less than convincing in trying to explain what exactly the administration has been up to between that group’s beheadings.

Ms. Harf proclaimed (here I’ll translate from the Twitterese): “Jen Psaki explains foreign policy with intelligence and class. Too bad we can’t say the same about Bill O’Reilly.”end-is-near

[If you haven’t read Kevin D. Williamson’s  “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome”  then your Global Panic checklist is incomplete. Fear not, it’s available at Amazon]

This is not a new thing for the Obama administration, for Democrats, and for the Left. White House communications director Anita Dunn denounced Fox News in the early days of the Obama administration, and Megyn Kelly has recently been elevated to the status of sacred hate totem for Democrats.

[Also see – Failed Messenger: State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki’s Smirking Contempt punditfromanotherplanet.com]

Read the rest of this entry »


Kevin D. Williamson on Barry’s Good Idea: Police Interactions Should All be on Video

Ferguson-Police-Stop

National Review‘s Kevin D. Williamson writes:  Barack Obama once had a good idea, or at least half of one: As the president himself pointed out in his recent remarks on the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., during his time in the Illinois state legislature he backed a law requiring that police take video of interrogations and confessions. Here’s a better idea: Capture all police interactions on video.end-is-near

[Kevin D. Williamson’s book – “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome” is available at Amazon]

Doing so can make an important difference in how incidents such as the Brown shooting are understood. Consider the case of Erin Forbes, who was shot dead by police in the Philadelphia suburbs in circumstances similar to those of Mr. Brown.

Conflict, Chaos, and Confusion in Ferguson

Conflict, Chaos, and Confusion after dark. Ferguson isn’t a monster, it’s just ahead of the curve. 

Erin Forbes was a young black man who was shot by a police officer while unarmed. (Mostly unarmed — more on that in a bit.) Like Mr. Brown, he had robbed a convenience store not long before the shooting, taking a small amount of money from the cash register. Like Mr. Brown, he did not have a criminal record.

Thought-Police-on-Patrol

 Just what those musket-clinging enlightened founders warned us about: Permanent armies on the streets.

“The deployment of armored vehicles by small-town police departments responding to domestic disturbances is un-republican and ridiculous.”

But there are differences, too. Mr. Forbes was not from a poor, heavily black community where relations with the police were difficult. Mr. Forbes was, in fact, from a solid, upper-middle-class family. His mother was a professor of African-American studies at Temple University, and he himself had been a soldier in the U.S. Army. His family lived in the suburbs, and he sometimes attended the Presbyterian church in Gladwyne, home of the seventh-wealthiest ZIP code in the United States. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Kevin D. Williamson: Ferguson Policing ‘a Demonstration of Failure’

I missed this broadcast. From The Corner a few moments ago. Jonah Goldberg and Kevin D. Williamson are among Pundit Planet‘s favorite book authors and at-large news analysts, but we don’t get to see Mr. Williamson on TV often enough. Mr. end-is-nearWilliamson’s National Review reporting on Ferguson can be found herehere, and here.

[Kevin D. Williamson’s book – The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome” is available at Amazon]

NRO


Kevin D. Williamson: The Eternal Dictator

Generalissimo Francisco Franco

Generalissimo Francisco Franco

The ruthless exercise of power by strongmen and generalissimos is the natural state of human affairs. 

kevin-williamsonFor National Review OnlineKevin D. Williamson writes: I’m 41 years old, which doesn’t feel that old to me (most days), but history is short. With the exception of those trapped behind the Iron Curtain, the world as I have known it has been remarkably free and prosperous, and it is getting more free and more prosperous. But it is also a fact that, within my lifetime, there have been dictatorships in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Poland, India, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, South Korea, and half of Germany — and lots of other places, too, to be sure, but you sort of expect them in Cameroon and Russia. If I were only a few years older, I could add France to that list. (You know how you can tell that Charles de Gaulle was a pretty good dictator? He’s almost never described as a “dictator.”) There have been three attempted coups d’état in Spain during my life. Take the span of my father’s life and you’ll find dictatorships and coups and generalissimos rampant in practically every country, even the nice ones, like Norway.

“Rexford Tugwell, a key figure in Roosevelt’s so-called brain trust, was particularly keen on the Italian fascist model, which he described as ‘the cleanest, most efficiently operating piece of social machinery I’ve ever seen.'”

[Kevin Williamson’s book “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier, and More Secure” is available at Amazon]

That democratic self-governance is a historical anomaly is easy to forget for those of us in the Anglosphere — we haven’t really endured a dictator since Oliver Cromwell. The United States came close, first under Woodrow Wilson and then during the very long presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. Both men were surrounded by advisers who admired various aspects of authoritarian models then fashionable in Europe. Read the rest of this entry »


Kevin D. Williamson: The Photoshop Cops

The-Photoshop-Cops2

Cosmopolitan does not cause anorexia

Taking a pause from being NRO‘s most controversial firecracker-thrower in the gender identity wars, currently the most-hated voodoo doll of the radical institutional Left, Kevin D. Williamson writes again about sex and identity. This time, challenging a colossally stupid misguided pro-censorship bill being introduced in Congress. Read the whole thing here.

Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.) and Lois Capps (D., Calif.) have, at the urging of reformed adman Seth Matlins (D., formerly of Creative Artists Agency, Rock the Vote, etc.), offered up a very silly bill to empower the federal government to censor advertising on the theory that the overuse of photo-editing software causes anorexia and other eating disorders.The world being full of stupid people, there is an emotionally incontinent for-the-children petition demanding that the Federal Trade Commission crackpot-femimplement this censorship, on top of Mr. Matlins’s earlier demand that advertising in which images have been altered end-is-near— which is to say, advertising — be labeled to alert beef-witted Americans to the fact of that alteration.

[Kevin D. Williamson’s highly recommended book – The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome” is available at Amazon]

Anorexia nervosa is a terrible condition that is not caused by Cosmopolitanmagazine. The most significant risk factor for anorexia is genetic composition, not photo composition. While the research on the matter is far from settled, anorexia appears to be associated with a malfunction involving the EPHX2 gene, which, among other things, affects the metabolism of cholesterol and is associated with familial hypercholesterolemia. This points to a possible explanation of the counterintuitive fact that anorexics tend to have high cholesterol despite their restricted diets. Read the rest of this entry »


Kevin D. Williamson: The Emerging Junta

obama-blue-linear

The IRS’s illegal actions — and its efforts at cover-up — undermine the foundations of our government.

This article identifies the legitimacy problems facing the U.S. government at this time in our nation’s history better than anything I’ve read all year. Though it offers little comfort, the explanation of the known facts is essential reading. News articles about the IRS’ abuse of power too often focus on play-by-play details and neglect to include this overview. I will confess to more than a little despair, but I appreciate the work Williamson does here to build in the required context. Read the whole thing here.

For NROKevin D. Williamson writes:

I will confess to a little despair over the relatively mild reception that has greeted the evidence, now conclusive and irrefutable, that the Internal Revenue Service, under the direction of senior leaders affiliated with the Democratic party, was used as a political weapon from at least 2010 through the 2012 election. It may be that the American public simply does not care about the issue; it is always difficult, if not impossible, to predict what issues will seize the electorate’s attention, or to understand why after the fact. It may be that the public does not understand the issue, in which case a brief explanation of the known facts may be of some use.

Here is what happened. In the run-up to the 2012 election, senior IRS executives including Lois Lerner, then the head of the IRS branch that oversees the activities of tax-exempt nonprofit groups, began singling out conservative-leaning organizations for extra attention, invasive investigations, and legal harassment. The IRS did not target groups that they believed might be violating the rules governing tax-exempt organizations; rather, as e-mails from the agency document, the IRS targeted these conservative groups categorically, regardless of whether there was any evidence that they were not in compliance with the relevant regulations. Simply having the words “tea party,” “patriot,” or “9/12” (a reference to one of Glenn Beck’s many channels of activism) in the name was enough. Also targeted were groups dedicated to issues such as taxes, spending, debt, and, perhaps most worrisome, those that were simply “critical of the how the country is being run.” Organizations also were targeted based on the identity of their donors. Read the rest of this entry »


Kevin D. Williamson: The Brendan Eich Case Brings Out the Nature of Liberal Fascism

The Liberal Gulag

Kevin D. Williamson writes:  The word “liberal” has taken a beating over the last few days: A Mozilla executive was hounded out of his position at the firm he co-founded by left-wing campaigners resolved to punish him for having made a donation to a successful California ballot initiative that defined marriage in traditional terms; Adam eich-caseWeinstein, whose downwardly mobile credibility has taken him from ABC toGawker, called for literally imprisoning people with the wrong views about global warming, writing, “Those malcontents must be punished and stopped”; Mr. Weinstein himself was simply forwarding a dumbed-down-enough-for-Gawkerversion of the arguments of philosophy professor Lawrence Torcello; Katherine Timpf, a reporter for Campus Reform, faced a human barricade to keep her from asking questions of those attending a feminist leadership conference, whose organizers informed her that the group was “inclusive” and therefore she was “not welcome here”; Charles Murray, one of the most important social scientists of his generation, was denounced as a “known white supremacist” by Texas Democrats for holding heterodox views about education policy; national Democrats spent the week arguing for the anti-free-speech side of a landmark First Amendment case and the anti-religious-freedom side of a case involving the Religious Freedom Restoration Act; Lois Lerner, the Left’s best friend at the IRS, faces contempt charges related to her role in the Democrats’ coopting the IRS as a weapon against their political enemies; Harry Reid, a liberal champion of campaign-finance reform, was caught channeling tens of thousands of dollars to his granddaughter while conspicuously omitting her surname, which is also his surname, from official documents, cloaking the transaction, while one of his California colleagues, a liberal champion of gun control, was indicted on charges of running guns to an organized-crime syndicate.

[Order Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning”  from Amazon]

The convocation of clowns on the left screeched with one semi-literate and inchoate voice when my colleague Jonah Goldberg, borrowing the precise words of one of their own, titled a book Liberal Fascism. Most of them didn’t read it, but the ones who did apparently took what was intended as criticism and read it as a blueprint for political action.

Welcome to the Liberal Gulag.

Read the rest of this entry »


Flashback: Reasons Why National Review’s Kevin D. Williamson Is Cooler Than You

KEVIN-WILLIAMSON-screen

Downtrend.com has a funny item, Here Are 7 Reasons Why National Review’s Kevin D. Williamson Is Cooler Than You, from September, 2013, that I just stumbled on, even though it’s not brand new, it’s as fresh and silly as it was when it first appeared. Readers here know I’m a fan of Williamson’s writing, and frequently plug his book  The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome, you can get it at Amazon] (See? I did it again) so it’s natural that I’d not resist an opportunity to promote Kevin’s coolness. Kevin’s also from Texas, which isn’t mentioned here, so it really should be 8 reasons. Here’s the post from Downtrend.com:

7 Reasons Why National Review’s Kevin D. Williamson Is Cooler Than You

If you’re a conservative or a libertarian, you’ve probably heard of Kevin D. Williamson. If not, shame on you.

He’s an author who writes for National Review. If you’re unlucky enough to have never read any of his work, then drop what you’re doing immediately and go read. Call in sick if that’s what’s required, but you must read his articles right this moment.

Read the rest of this entry »


Kevin D. Williamson: ‘Politicians Steer the Economy Like Chimps Fly Rockets’

space-monkey

Kevin D. Williamson writes: When I was about four years old, I was having dinner with my family and eating spinach. Being a slightly unnatural child, I’d always liked spinach, but developed an odd way of eating it: I’d take a mouthful, chew, lean way over to the left, swallow, take another mouthful, chew, lean way over to the right, swallow, etc. My mother was used to a fair amount of inexplicable behavior from her younger son, but this eventually caught her attention, possibly because she feared I was suffering from vertigo. When she inquired, I responded that spinach is well known as a source of physical strength and muscular development — such was the inescapable influence of Popeye cartoons in the 1970s — and that while gravity could be counted on to deliver spinach-y benefits to my lower extremities, I wanted to make sure plenty got to my arms, thus the leaning. To a four-year-old, that was a perfectly sensible thing to do. My understanding of human anatomy was literally skin-deep — everything deeper was unknown to me.

We only know what we know.

popeye-spinachTwenty-odd years later, I was visiting my mother and making dinner for her: spinach crepes. Being a southern woman, she was incurably suspicious about anybody else operating in her kitchen, and she peeked over my shoulder as I chopped the spinach: “What’s that?” she asked. I told her that it was spinach, and her face went blank for a second — and then I could almost literally see the metaphorical light bulb going on. She’d never seen fresh spinach before. Or, almost certainly, she had — I bought the spinach at the same place she habitually bought her groceries — but her formative marketing experiences had been in the 1940s and 1950s, in small towns in the Texas panhandle, and to her spinach was something that came in a can marked “Del Monte,” as soggy and densely packed as seaweed. She’d probably been walking past fresh spinach stocked next to the iceberg lettuce for years, but it was not part of her mental matrix.

[Note: I’m reading Kevin D. Williamson’s book, The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome, you can get it at Amazon]

We only know what we know.

On Tuesday, the president of these United States called for an end to the “rancorous argument over the proper size of the federal government,” so that he might move forward with his economic agenda uninhibited by “stale political arguments.” It was an interesting moment. The president’s childlike faith in his own ability to direct resources according to his own vision is almost touching in its way, though when the actual costs are accounted for it is terrifying. Read the rest of this entry »


Award: The Kevin D. Williamson 100+ Word Single-Sentence SOTU Adjective-Bomb

crown-halo-obamaIn case you missed it at NRO, or in our earlier post, it’s too good not to feature as a highlighed quote. Keep in mind, it’s a long time before the keyboard hits the period key. A bottle of Champagne goes to anyone who can memorize this and perform it, in one breath, at a cocktail party, in front of a roomful of humorless Democrats.

Without further ado, here’s Kevin D. Williamson‘s Award-winning, adjective-loaded (adjectives and qualifiers?) uninhibited description of a America’s most outdated tradition: The State of the Union Address.

“The annual State of the Union pageant is a hideous, dispiriting, ugly, monotonous, un-American, un-republican, anti-democratic, dreary, backward, monarchical, retch-inducing, depressing, shameful, crypto-imperial display of official self-aggrandizement and piteous toadying, a black Mass during which every unholy order of teacup totalitarian and cringing courtier gathers under the towering dome of a faux-Roman temple to listen to a speech with no content given by a man with no content, to rise and to be seated as is called for by the order of worship — it is a wonder they have not started genuflecting — with one wretched representative of their number squirreled away in some well-upholstered Washington hidey-hole in order to preserve the illusion that those gathered constitute a special class of humanity without whom we could not live.”

Thanks again to Mr. Williamson (and his editors) for providing today’s Award-winning quote.

[Feast on Kevin D. Williamson’s fine book The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome]


Interview with Kevin D. Williamson: What Doomed Detroit

williamson_detroit_cover_11-26-13-1Ed Driscoll writes: Has there been a more spectacular downfall to an American city than Detroit? As late as 1965, Jerome Cavanagh, its then-mayor, the first of what would be to this very day an unending series of Democrat party officials leading the city, could say with some honesty, “frequently called the most cosmopolitan city of the Midwest, Detroit, today, stands at the threshold of a bright new future.”

And the Titanic was thought to be unsinkable as well, right up until she left the Southampton docks.

The riots of 1967 would be Detroit’s equivalent of the iceberg; the 1974 election of Coleman Young as the city’s mayor for the next two decades would cement its doom permanently, until ultimately, it was forced to declare bankruptcy this past July. And in addition to the city’s institutional reverse-racism, its fiscal mismanagement has been spectacular as well. As PJM’s own Richard Fernandez noted back in September, inside Detroit’s City Hall, from 1985 through 2009, “the pension trustees were draining the pension because they were so sure, so absolutely certain that the taxpayers would have to refill the pot they felt safe helping themselves to whatever they wanted… What could go wrong? To everyone’s amazement something completely unprecedented happened: City Hall went broke. ‘They didn’t reckon with the possibility,’ [Megan McArdle wrote inBloomberg News] ‘that the city would simply run out of money, and the state would decline to step in, leaving them with no deep pockets to make up for their mismanagement.’ And so the Detroit pension is bust unless they find something they can siphon off to replenish it.”

To borrow from one of Glenn Reynolds’ recurring leitmotifs, a paraphrase of economist Herb Stein, something that can’t go on forever, won’t.

Read the rest of this entry »


Kevin Williamson Firing Shows the ‘Nonpartisan’ Media’s True Colors

Williamson came to The Atlantic from the conservative National Review, and his hiring sparked an uproar on the left. After combing through over a decade of his writings, detractors found a tweet where he called for death, by hanging, for abortion. When Goldberg learned Williamson also had referenced the tweet on a podcast, he gave in.

Surely Williamson’s quip was mere hyperbole, meant to provoke. After all, he never wrote an actual column making that argument, despite having written extensively, including about abortion. And his first tweet simply argued that “the law should treat abortion like any other homicide.”

Only when he was asked what kind of punishment he had in mind did he tweet back: “hanging.” He was “absolutely willing to see abortion treated like regular homicide under the criminal code.”

You don’t have to agree with that; I don’t. But Williamson’s position (not all pro-lifers’) is that abortion is murder (literally, the killing of a baby), that it should be made illegal and carry a punishment equal to that of similar crimes.

Is this more radical than Ruth Marcus’ view in The Washington Post? “I’m going to be blunt here: That was not the child I wanted,” she wrote about how she would have aborted her child if the baby was found to have had Down Syndrome. Her view is disgusting to conservatives, yet there was no move to get her fired. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] The Meaning of Socialism: Q&A with National Review‘s Kevin Williamson


What’s the real definition of socialism? How is it distinct from regulation and a social welfare state? Why are intellectuals still enamored of a system that brought us Stalin, Hitler, and more recently Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong-Il? And what can the United States learn from Sweden about free enterprise and capitalism?

Reason.tv’s Nick Gillespie sat down with Kevin Williamson, who is deputy managing editor of National Review and author of a new book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism, to discuss the meaning of socialism in history and the current moment.

 


Williamson in Wonderland: ‘The Supreme Court Has Firmly Established That It Does Not Matter What The Law Says Or Does Not Say’

Illustration: Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Alice in Wonderland original vintage engraving. Tea party with the Mad Hatter, Dormouse and the White Rabbit. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Illustration from John Tenniel, published in 1865. TEXT: Kevin D. Williamson, National Review http://www.nationalreview.com/article/420406/john-roberts-decision-kevin-d-williamson

Opening paragraph of “Ayatollah Roberts and His Sharia Council” by Kevin D. Williamson
Read Kevin D. Williamson‘s article about the SCOTUS rulings here, at National Review 

 


Goldberg, Williamson on Ginsberg: ‘We Only Whisper It’, ‘Abort the Poor’

Ruth-Ginsberg

Justice Ginsburg sings another verse of “Kill the Poor.”

Kevin D. Williamsonkevin-williamson writes: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, having decided for some inexplicable reason to do a long interview with a fashion magazine (maybe it is her celebrated collection of lace collars), reaffirmed the most important things we know about her: her partisanship, her elevation of politics over law, and her desire to see as many poor children killed as is feasibly possible.

“This is not her first time weighing in on the question of what by any intellectually honest standard must be described as eugenics.”

Speaking about such modest restrictions on abortion as have been enacted over the past several years, Justice Ginsburg lamented that “the impact of all these restrictions is on poor women.” Then she added: “It makes no sense as a national policy to promote birth only among poor people.”

kill the poor

This is not her first time weighing in on the question of what by any intellectually honest standard must be described as eugenics. In an earlier interview, she described the Roe v. Wade decision as being intended to control population growth, “particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” She was correct in her assessment of Roe; the co-counsel in that case, Ron Weddington, would later advise President Bill Clinton: “You can start dead-kennedys-kill-the-poor-1980immediately to eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy, and poor segment of our country,” by making abortifacients cheap and universally available. “It’s what we all know is true, but we only whisper it.”

In 1980, the punk band the Dead Kennedys released a song called “Kill the Poor.” In it, singer Jello Biafra considers the many benefits to be had from the policy he is singing about…(read more)

Ginsburg: Abort the Poor

Jonah Goldbergpage_2014_200_goldberg_square writes: Let me offer three cheers for Kevin’s post on Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Let me also join the pile-on.

First, Ginsburg’s view that we don’t want more poor babies is perfectly consistent with a century-old progressive tradition as I explain at some length here. It is simply a restatement of Margaret Sanger’s “religion of birth control” which would “ease the financial load of caring for with public funds . . . children destined to become a burden to themselves, to their family, and ultimately to the nation.” Read the rest of this entry »


“Government powers are like Chekhov’s gun: If you see it in the first act, it’s getting used in the third.”

Kevin D. Williamson: How going broke could leave America richer

Kevin D. Williamson writes about the intersection of economics, politics and culture for National Review and National Review Online, including his well-regarded Exchequer blog. His new book —The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier, and More Secure — argues that American governance is falling apart under its own weight, which is ultimately good. Williamson, a Lubbock native and University of Texas graduate, takes on Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, and challenges them to see the future through a decidedly more libertarian lens. This is a longer version of the Q&A that appears in Sunday’s Points section.

That’s some book title. In retrospect, do you think it drew more readers to your ideas?

It is a mouthful. I’d been looking for something to express my combination of short-term pessimism and long-term optimism. We are in for some interesting times, with the possibility for real social disruption. Some kinds of social disruption are good and should be welcomed, but most of them are painful — at least, they’re painful to somebody. But I do not want to give the impression that I am predicting a Mad Max future with all of us fighting over the last bottle of clean water and the last can of tuna. I don’t think that future is impossible, but I assign it a fairly low likelihood, maybe one in 10.

Without giving away the ending, then, what would you like readers to most take away from the book?

The most important idea in the book is that the fundamental problem with politics is not ethical but epistemic. There are good and bad people in politics, but the basic problem is information management. Things like iPhones, Wikipedia and food production get better and cheaper every year because you have millions or billions of trial-and-error experiments, countless people working on tiny, specialized aspects of well-defined problems. Politics, on the other hand, tries to take things as complex as the U.S. health-care economy or the political institutions of the Arab world and “solve” them with a one-time, one-in-a-generation event like landmark legislation or a war. Politics is a pretty blunt instrument, and it is good only for certain things. The most important aspects of modern life are too complex to manage through politics.

Your book obviously was put to bed before the recent Obama administration scandals hit the news, specifically the IRS’ tea party scrutiny and, then, the NSA’s secret data-collection. When they became public, what were your thoughts as they relate to your book’s themes?

All governments are structurally similar to crime syndicates: They use violence and the threat of violence to coerce you into paying for services that you did not ask for. When some people do that, it’s called “a protection racket,” and when others do it, it’s called “government.” The role of special-interest groups in our system tends to be exaggerated, because people do not adequately appreciate that every government agency is its own special-interest group. The IRS is its own constituency, and it is in no way surprising that it would use its investigatory powers to bully its political opponents. Government powers are like Chekhov’s gun: If you see it in the first act, it’s getting used in the third.

You write that most Americans “romanticize government” and more than others “look to our form of government to define us as a people.” Does this blind Americans to the need, as you also note, to force their government to become “less wrong”?

Our reverence for our founding documents is a good and necessary part of our political culture, but there are aspects of it that are strange, if you think very closely about them. I’m politically radical, but conservatives — conservatives! — are all the time saying that we could solve our problems if we’d just go back to the Constitution was it was originally understood … in 1787, which would be a far more radical change in our public institutions than anything I have contemplated. And I’m a borderline anarchist, for Pete’s sake, albeit a pretty conservative borderline anarchist. The U.S. is in a weird position in that we have a very old government — one of the oldest surviving governments in the world — but we are a very young nation. India may not have been a state before 1947, but it is a very old civilization. France has had many different kinds of government, but the French are always the French, and they know who they are. In the U.S., we talk about freedom and democracy the way the English used to charge into battle crying, “God for Harry, England and St. George!” But our political institutions are in some ways totems — we invoke them, attribute power and meaning to them, and tremble to consider the possibility that they may just be idols and edifices.

A reader might infer that you interchange “government” and “politics,” being more discouraged with the latter. Is this an institutional (government) vs. people (politics) question that, in fact, can be improved by hiring better people?

There is no difference between politics and government. The greatest political deception is to convince people you are beyond politics. That’s why politicians always try to hijack prestige from scientists and economists — “I’m not pursuing a political agenda, I’m just doing what the experts say we should do!” That is why politicians always describe themselves as “pragmatists,” people who want to “do what works.” The only meaningful question, as Lenin put it, is: “Who? Whom?” Of course you get better results with better people and when people are diligent about their sense of duty. That’s why you have better government in Canada and Switzerland. But that only goes so far. If you spend much time around Congress, the unexpected thing is that it’s mostly full of smart and honest people. You have the occasional crook like Charles Rangel and the occasional cretin like Mark Foley, but they’re atypical. It’s the institution that is defective. If everybody in government had an IQ of 185 and the disposition of a saint, we’d still have the same problems.

It’s hard for most people, Americans, to imagine a country without government and/or politics. That isn’t what you’re advocating, is it?

Is it really so unthinkable? Politics killed 160 million people in the wars and genocides of the 20th century alone — improving on that record does not seem to me like an impossibly lofty goal. There is a negative aspect to what I’m advocating and a positive aspect. The negative aspect will be to some extent familiar to many people: radically limiting the government’s monopoly powers, reducing the number of opportunities it has to interfere with our lives, etc. But I think the more interesting aspect is the positive one: We can do a much, much better job taking care of the poor, the sick and the aged using the social and economic tools we already have at our disposal. Looking after the vulnerable is, in theory, the moral reason for having a coercive welfare state, but in fact politics does very little for them. The deep problem with the welfare state isn’t that it is expensive, wasteful and corrupt — though it is all those things — but that it hurts those it purports to help.

The people pushed out of politics, then, would end up in the private sector, which would grow larger and absorb many currently governmental functions. How would those same people not get the tasks and duties wrong as they got them wrong in the political sector?

The desire to get it “right” and the belief that there exists such a thing as the “right” policy is part of the problem. We have 900 kinds of shampoo on the shelves but basically one model of K-12 education. Is one of those 900 shampoos the right one? Right for whom? Some of them are probably terrible. There will be new ones tomorrow, and some of the old ones will go away. That combination of things — choice, a great diversity of options, an iterative process of experimentation and improvement — allows for most people to have their preferences satisfied, so far as shampoo goes. There is no real economic reason that the same principles cannot produce equally good results for things like education, health care and retirements. To believe so is not utopian — it’s based on endless examples and evidence that present themselves to us every day. Our iPhones work and our schools don’t, and there is a reason for that.

And that reason, in short, is because “Spontaneous orders can evolve and adapt, while preconstructed systems cannot”?

Yes. By “evolve” and “adapt” I mean that spontaneous orders can incorporate new information and experience, that they can learn. It’s like playing chess: You can’t plan the game out in advance, because you do not know what your opponent is going to do, but the more games you play, the better you get at it. The key is having lots of interactions with lots of different kinds of players. In politics, you don’t have that kind of learning process. We have federal elections every two years with basically two possible outcomes (R or D). By way of comparison, Wikipedia gets about 1 million edits per week with an open-ended number of possible outcomes. The feedback loop in politics is too crude to support complex learning. Trying to use politics to manage complex social concerns is like trying to get better at chess by playing checkers or tic-tac-toe.

How did growing up in Texas, if at all, shape your views that led to The End is Near?

There’s a long-observed relationship between the preference for activist government and population density, so I suppose that growing up in Lubbock made me a marked man so far as libertarian sympathies go. There’s still a bit of frontier culture in West Texas, but I think that what really shaped me was growing up in a college town. There are wonderful things about living in a college town, but there is also a mandarins-vs.-peasants mentality that I still find off-putting. On the other hand, it’s hard to be too snooty if you live in Lubbock. I find that there is a great deal less social distance between the rich and poor in West Texas than there is in New York, where I now live, which is practically a segregated city, but economically rather than racially.

Living in New York, one might think, would be a daily stress test for the ideas you wrote about, too. How’s that composting going?

New York is both a testament to what we can do as human beings and, unfortunately, top-notch evidence of the failure of politics. The Empire State Building was built in 410 days; if all goes according to plan, it will have taken the city 87 years to open the Second Avenue subway line. The Empire State Building cost about $368 million in today’s money to complete; New York has transit projects currently underway that cost more than $1 million per foot. My book opens with a young Bengali immigrant who works at a coffee shop down the street from my office in Manhattan. She has the same cell phone as the president of the United States, but her health care and retirement, and her children’s education, probably will be far inferior to that received by President Obama and his family. Once you understand why that is, then you will start to see the world as I do, and my ideas will not seem so radical at all.

This Q&A was conducted and condensed by Dallas Morning News editorial writer Mike Hashimoto. His email address is mhashimoto@dallasnews.com. Kevin D. Williamson can be reached at kwilliamson@nationalreview.com.


[VIDEO] Reality Check: Health Care is Not a Fundamental Right 

The ‘Right’ to Health Care.

There isn’t one.

Kevin D. Williamson writes: With the American Health Care Act dominating the week’s news, one conversation has been unavoidable: Someone — someone who pays attention to public policy — will suggest that we pursue policy x, y, or z, and someone else — someone who pays a little less careful attention, who probably watches a lot of cable-television entertainment masquerading as news — responds: “The first thing we have to do is acknowledge that health care is a human right!” What follows is a moment during which the second speaker visibly luxuriates in his display of empathy and virtue, which is, of course, the point of the exercise.

REUTERS/Jason Reed

It’s kind of gross, but that’s where we are, politically, as a country.

Here is a thought experiment: You have four children and three apples. You would like for everyone to have his own apple. You go to Congress, and you successfully persuade the House and the Senate to endorse a joint resolution declaring that everyone has a right to an apple of his own. A ticker-tape parade is held in your honor, and you share your story with Oprah, after which you are invited to address the United Nations, which passes the International Convention on the Rights of These Four Kids in Particular to an Individual Apple Each. You are visited by the souls of Mohandas Gandhi and Mother Teresa, who beam down approvingly from a joint Hindu-Catholic cloud in Heaven.

Question: How many apples do you have?

You have three apples, dummy. Three. You have four children. Each of those children has a congressionally endorsed, U.N.-approved, saint-ratified right to an apple of his own. But here’s the thing: You have three apples and four children. Nothing has changed.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

Declaring a right in a scarce good is meaningless. It is a rhetorical gesture without any application to the events and conundrums of the real world. If the Dalai Lama were to lead 10,000 bodhisattvas in meditation, and the subject of that meditation was the human right to health care, it would do less good for the cause of actually providing people with health care than the lowliest temp at Merck does before his second cup of coffee on any given Tuesday morning. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] MILOMAGEDDON: Protests Against Breitbart Editor at Berkeley Turns Into Riot 

The Breitbart News editor was set to deliver a speech inside a UC Berkeley campus building but hundreds of protesters began throwing fireworks and pulling down the metal barricades police set up to keep people from rushing into the building. Windows were smashed and fires were set outside the building as masked protesters stormed it.

milo

The Berkeley Police Department said people threw bricks, smoking objects, and fireworks at police officers. University police locked down all buildings and ordered a shelter in place, and later fired rubber pellets into the crowd of protesters who defied orders to leave the area.

“This is what tolerance looks like at UC Berkeley,” said Mike Wright, a Berkeley College Republican member said as smoke bombs went off around him. Someone threw red paint on him. “It’s sad.”

Protesters argued that hate speech isn’t free speech, countering the university’s explanation — free speech — on why it had allowed the event to proceed even as students demanded that the university cancel it.

920x920

Yiannopoulos was invited to speak at the campus by the Berkeley College Republicans, a student group that was warned Tuesday by university officials that the event could result in the targeting of undocumented students. Yiannopoulos, an editor for the right-wing Breitbart News website, was expected to use the event in Berkeley to kick off a campaign against “sanctuary campuses” that have vowed to protect undocumented students as President Trump cracks down on illegal immigration.

Three lines of zip-tied metal fencing separated the crowd of protesters from campus police officers who had secured the building where Yiannopoulos was supposed to speak at 7 p.m. He had arrived earlier, escorted by security, and police said he had left the building after the protests erupted. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama Worship: Clap-Out Recalls Stalin’s Grim Loyalists 

obama-tv-screens-2

kevin-williamsonKevin D. Williamson writes: Applause was a serious business in the Soviet Union, as it is in Cuba, as it is in Venezuela, as it is in all unfree societies and at our own State of the Union address, which is modeled on the ex cathedra speeches of unfree societies. The less free you are, the more you are obliged to applaud. Joseph Stalin’s pronouncements were greeted with perfervid applause, which would continue, rapturously — no one dared stop — until Stalin himself would order its cessation.

“The desire to rule is complexly mixed up with the desire to be ruled, just as the most masterful among us bow the lowest and grovel the most enthusiastically when presented with a strongman-savior.”

But what to do when Stalin was not there? The mere mention of his name, even in his absence, would trigger fanatical applause, and nobody wanted to be the first to stop. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn related one famous story:

aleksandr-solzhenitsyn

The director of the local paper factory, an independent and strong-minded man, stood with the presidium. Aware of all the falsity and all the impossibility of the situation, he still kept on applauding! Nine minutes! Ten! In anguish he watched the secretary of the District Party Committee, but the latter dared not stop. Insanity! To the last man! With make-believe enthusiasm on their faces, looking at each other with faint hope, the district leaders were just going to go on and on applauding till they fell where they stood, till they were carried out of the hall onend-is-near stretchers! And even then those who were left would not falter.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

[Kevin D. Williamson’s book  “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome”  is available at Amazon]

Then, after eleven minutes, the director of the paper factory assumed a businesslike expression and sat down in his seat. And, oh, a miracle took place! Where had the universal, uninhibited, indescribable enthusiasm gone? To a man, everyone else stopped dead and sat down. They had been saved! The squirrel had been smart enough to jump off his revolving wheel.

That, however, was how they discovered who the independent people were. And that was how they went about eliminating them.

That same night the factory director was arrested.

Stalin is long gone, and the Soviet Union, too, having been deposited, as Ronald Reagan predicted, onto the “ash heap of history.” But the craven instinct on display in the scene Solzhenitsyn described remains.

cheneytribe

The desire to rule is complexly mixed up with the desire to be ruled, just as the most masterful among us bow the lowest and grovel the most enthusiastically when presented with a strongman-savior. There is something atavistic in us that is older than the human part — the inner chimp — that makes those who listen to its voice keenly aware of their places in the social hierarchy. Even a predator instinctively recognizes a predator higher up the food chain.

chimp4

“The language there is interesting: She did not write that Price ‘did not applaud,’ ‘refrained from applauding’, or even ‘failed to applaud,” but that he refused to applaud, a formulation that converts passivity into a positive act, one from which we are to derive something of significance about his fitness for the role of secretary of health and human services.”

Which is not to say that National Public Radio’s Marilyn Geewax is a Stalinist, but rather that they were what she is, representatives of the same species.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

Geewax, who is a senior business editor for NPR, is very interested in applause. This week, she expressed some concern that Representative Tom Price has been nominated to serve as the next secretary of health and human services. Read the rest of this entry »


REVEALED: The Bolton Doctrine

bolton-doctrine

 


Trump Disses DC

snubs

Downgrading Washington’s importance is one of the few good ideas Trump has had.

kevin-williamsonKevin D. Williamson writes: I do not agree with Donald Trump about much of anything. Early in the primary season, I wrote a little book titled “The Case against Trump.” I believe him to be morally unfit and intellectually unprepared for the office to which he has been elected. Which is why one of the most annoying of my tasks for the next four (one assumes!) years is going to be pointing out that while Trump may not be right about very much, his critics often are wrong.

“Politics should not be the central activity in our lives, or even in our shared public life, and consequently the political capital should be subordinate to the financial and cultural capitals.”

Example A: Trump apparently does not want to live in Washington, and this has inspired a chorus of cxv6ldkuuaa89se-jpg-smalldiscord and dissonance to rival the oeuvre of Yoko Ono.

[Read Kevin D. Williamson’s articlhere, at National Review]

There is no particular reason for Trump to live full-time in Washington. Washington is a dump, one of the least attractive and least inspiring American cities. Trump Tower is a dump, too, a big vertical void in the middle of one of the least interesting parts of Manhattan, but Trump apparently likes it, and he has gone to the trouble of gold-plating his toilets, which you do not do unless you 51jnsxuodgl-_sl250_are really planning to plant yourself in place.

[ALSO SEE – The Case Against Trump at Amazon.com]

Trump’s hesitation to set up housekeeping in our nation’s hideous capital is not causing klaxons of alarum because people are concerned about good government.

[Splendid Washington: Our Nation’s Capital Is Too Rich]

A nation genuinely concerned about good government would not have entrusted its chief administrative post to Donald J. Trump, a frequently bankrupt casino operator and game-show host. Read the rest of this entry »


Americans Are Ignoring Radical Gun Laws… As They Should

A group of local public school teachers from nearby schools use rubber training guns as they practice proper firearms handling during a teachers-only firearms training class offered for free at the Veritas Training Academy in Sarasota, Florida January 11, 2013. The December 14 tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 first-graders and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, has sparked a national debate about whether to arm teachers, prompting passionate arguments on both sides. REUTERS/Brian Blanco (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY POLITICS EDUCATION)

An increasingly radicalized Democrat Party is attempting to strip citizens of their natural rights, inspiring citizens to unheard of levels of disobedience.

The editorial board of the New York Times has once again decided to focus their energies on making the world a safer place for tyrannical government.

After an op-ed last week calling on the federal government to gut the right of citizens to bear those arms best suited for defeating tyrants, they’ve taken one of many gutless decisions by the Robert’s court to call for states to do what the federal government will not:

On Monday, the court declined to hear a challenge to a Chicago suburb’s law banning semiautomatic assault weapons and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

The town of Highland Park, Ill., passed the 2013 ordinance, which bans categories of weapons as well as specific guns by name, including the AR-15 and the AK-47, in the wake of the massacre of 26 children and educators at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. The shooter in that attack, like those in many mass shooting, used a semiautomatic assault rifle with a high-capacity magazine.

It was the 70th time since 2008 that the Supreme Court has declined to consider a lawsuit challenging a federal, state or local gun regulation. This creates a big opportunity for Americans to put pressure on their state and local leaders, especially since Congress refuses to approve even uncontroversial measures like universal background checks for gun sales, which are supported by nearly nine in 10 Americans. Until that changes, states and cities have the constitutional authority and moral obligation to protect the public from the scourge of gun violence.

Let’s be very, very clear: the Founding Fathers would have been appalled by the 2013 ordinance passed by Highland Park, and if the Founders were alive today, there is a good chance that the Highland Park’s leaders would have been roughly pulled from their homes and tarred and feathered in disgrace before their homes were burned to ash.

Men like Jefferson and Adams were patriots who had just won a long and costly war that was triggered by a gun control raid on April 19, 1775 in the towns of Lexington and Concord, and did not suffer fools.

safe-act-forms

Unfortunately, the Robert’s court is feckless and craven. They passed on hearing the case because they know that if they took it up, they must overturn it. Once they overturned it, the precedent would once and for all gut the basis of all assault weapons bans on any level of government, henceforth. We warned in early November that the court would set us on a path towards a very uncivil civil conflict, and they have not disappointed our low expectations of their integrity. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] William F. Buckley Jr. Interviews Hugh Hefner on Firing Line (1966) Part 1 

WashMonument-BuckleyJr

h/t Jacob Appelbaum,  Twitter

 


‘American Progressivism is a Cult of Whiteness’

The American’s Left’s Blond-Haired, Blue-Eyed Fantasyland

kevin-williamsonKevin D. Williamson writes: The curious task of the American Left is to eliminate “white privilege” by forcing people to adopt Nordic social arrangements at gunpoint.

Progressives have a longstanding love affair with the nations of northern Europe, which are, or in some cases were until the day before yesterday, ethnically homogeneous, overwhelmingly white, hostile to immigration, nationalistic, and frankly racist in much of their domestic policy.

When leftists preach socialism, they have in mind a very white version of it.

In this the so-called progressives are joined, as they traditionally have been, by brutish white supremacists and knuckle-dragging anti-Semites, who believe that they discern within the Nordic peoples the last remnant of white European purity and who frequently adopt Nordic icons and myths, incorporating them into an oddball cult of whiteness.

“In this the so-called progressives are joined, as they traditionally have been, by brutish white supremacists and knuckle-dragging anti-Semites, who believe that they discern within the Nordic peoples the last remnant of white European purity and who frequently adopt Nordic icons and myths, incorporating them into an oddball cult of whiteness.”

American progressivism is a cult of whiteness, too: It imagines re-creating Danish society in Los Angeles, which is not full of Danish people, ascribing to Scandinavian social policies certain mystical tendencies that render them universal in their applicability.

Call it “Nordic Exceptionalism.”

[Read the full story here, at National Review Online]

The Left occasionally indulges in bouts of romantic exoticism — its pin-ups have included Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, Patrice Lumumba, Mao Zedong; we might even count Benito Mussolini, “that admirable Italian gentleman” who would not have been counted sufficiently white to join Franklin Roosevelt’s country club — but the welfare states that progressives dream about are the whitest ones: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, etc. The significance of this never quite seems to occur to progressives.

[Kevin D. Williamson’s book  “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome”  is available at Amazon]

When it is suggested that the central-planning, welfare-statist policies that they favor are bound to produce results familiar to the unhappy residents of, e.g., Cuba, Venezuela, or Bolivia — privation, chaos, repression, political violence — American progressives reliably reply: “No, no, we don’t want that kind of socialism. We want socialism like they have it in Finland.” Read the rest of this entry »


The Imaginary ‘Gun Show Loophole’: Why Hillary Clinton’s Proposal Is A Joke

Here’s how Slate described Hillary Clinton’s proposal:

What makes Clinton’s plan particularly noteworthy, though, is her suggestion that she’d be able to go it alone on at least one of the proposals if elected president: the gun show loophole.

Photo by: Brennan Linsley

And just how would she do that? According to her campaign, even if Congress were unwilling to act, Clinton would be able to use her executive authority to tweak the existing rules to reclassify anyone who sells a “significant number of guns” as someone “in the business of selling firearms”—a distinction that would make those high-volume private vendors who sell guns at gun shows
and over the Internet subject to the same rules as larger, licensed brick-and-mortar retailers. Clinton doesn’t appear to have settled on an answer to the question of just how many guns constitutes a “significant” number, but even if her chosen definition didn’t close the loophole completely, it would at least shrink it.

[Read the full text here, at TheFederalist.com]

Such an effort could face legal challenges in the courts and, at the very least, a guaranteed NRA-led political freakout in Washington. And, even if the effort survived both, it wouldn’t come close to ending gun violence in the United States. But for gun safety advocates and like-minded voters who are desperate for action on a problem that can feel politically impossible, Clinton’s outside-the-box plan will be a welcome start.

[Also see – Don’t Play the Shooters’ Game by Kevin D. Williamson]

Slate’s Josh Voorhees characterized Clinton’s plan as “clever,” which leads me to the inescapable conclusion that neither Voorhees nor Hillary Clinton is even remotely familiar with existing federal gun laws.

hillary-orange

For starters, the federal government already has the statutory authority to define who does and does not qualify as an individual “in the business of selling firearms.” It derives that authority from 18 U.S. Code § 921. Here’s how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) specifically defines whether an individual is engaged in the business of selling firearms and should therefore be subject to federal firearms licensee (FFL) requirements:

Dealer in firearms — a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business
with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or
for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms (18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(21)(C));

[Order John R. Lott’s essential book “More Guns, Less Crime” at Amazon]

Here’s the federal statute from which the ATF derives its existing authority to define who is and isn’t engaged in the business of selling guns:

(21) The term “engaged in the business” means—
(A) as applied to a manufacturer of firearms, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the
firearms manufactured;
(B) as applied to a manufacturer of ammunition, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing ammunition as
a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition manufactured;
(C) as applied to a dealer in firearms, as defined in section 921(a)(11)(A), a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms;
(D) as applied to a dealer in firearms, as defined in section 921(a)(11)(B), a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to engaging in such activity as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional repairs of firearms, or who occasionally fits special barrels, stocks, or trigger mechanisms to firearms;
(E) as applied to an importer of firearms, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to importing firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the firearms imported;
and
(F) as applied to an importer of ammunition, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to importing ammunition as a
regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition imported.

hillary-gunz-trippy

Contra Hillary Clinton’s campaign, “high-volume private vendors” cannot legally exist under current law. Under the ATF’s existing definition, it is impossible to sell high volumes of firearms without triggering the definition of a dealer in firearms. The “repetitive purchase and resale of firearms” makes you a dealer, not a private individual. Anything other than “occasional sales” makes you a dealer, not a private individual. Unlicensed dealing is against the law. Refusing to conduct background checks as a dealer (licensed or not) is against the law.
Read the rest of this entry »


Ethel Rosenberg: War Criminal, Soviet Spy, Executed for Treason, Lovingly Celebrated by the American Left for Her ‘Bravery’

NYC-city-council-NYPost

Born in 1915 in New York City, Ethel Rosenberg went to Seward High School. After finishing school in 1931, she went to work for the National New York Packing and Shipping Company. Rosenberg became involved in a workers’ union there and soon became a supporter of the Communist Party.

Ethel_Rosenberg_mugshot

Ethel Rosenberg, Still Dead

“Karl Marx, in whatever spectral afterlife the old monster is enjoying, must be smiling as American history repeats itself, moving on from tragedy to farce. Just as denunciations of the “Red Scare” were used to draw attention away from the crimes of American individuals and institutions undertaken in service of the Soviet Union, now cries of “Islamophobia!” are being used to muddy the waters in the matter of the participation of American and Western people and institutions in the worldwide Islamic jihad against the West… (read more)

Rosenbergs_coffin

From AceOfSpadesHQ:

Look, there’s no question that “OSA” (Russian for “bee;” Ethel’s code-name) was a member of Karl Fuch’s (code-name: KALIBR) spy ring charged with working on “ENORMOZ” (the code-name for the US atomic bomb program). She urged Ruth Greenglass to recruit her husband David Greenglass (who worked for the Manhattan Project) into the spy ring; she did, Greenglass joined, and Greenglass delivered over key information to the Soviet Union.

stalin-head

We read their secret communications at the time; we have since disclosed this fact; and former Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschev said so in his pothumously-published memoirs.

From Wikipedia:

In his posthumously published memoirs, Nikita Khrushchev, leader of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, said that he “cannot specifically say what kind of help the Rosenbergs provided us” but that he learned from Joseph Stalin and Vyacheslav M. Molotov that they “had provided very significant help in accelerating the production of our atomic bomb”.

So there’s no question she did what she was alleged to have done; nor, in fact, was there much doubt at the time — most Soviet-leaning/communist-sympathizing progressives made the Rosenbergs their heroes not because they thought they were innocent, but rather because they knew they were guilty.

Or, as they would put it: they knew the Rosenbergs had “demonstrated great bravery” on behalf of the Worker’s Paradise of Mother Russia….(read more)

New York City Honors a Monster

For National Review, Kevin D. Williamson:

…There is practically no one left defending the innocence of Julius Rosenberg — even his children have admitted that he was a traitor and a spy. The only people who doubt the guilt of his wife, Ethel, are those with a very strong ideological resistance to the facts of the case. Among other things, we have the word of Nikita Khrushchev, who writes in his memoirs of the help the Rosenbergs, plural, provided in the Soviet nuclear-weapons program; we have the communications of the Soviet spymaster to whom they answered, who in his missives to Moscow describes Ethel as an operative; we have the Vedona papers, the declassified Soviet archives in which that same handler, Aleksandr Feklisov, writes of Ethel’s role in recommending new espionage recruits, etc. Yes, there are instances of conflicting testimony in the case, as there are in every mugging, and Ethel’s brother, who had originally omitted any mention of his sister’s role in the spy ring, changed his testimony when his wife told a different story. None of this is enough — not nearly — to outweigh the plain archival evidence in Soviet records.

“‘But, McCarthy was mean!’ Not mean enough. Not by half.”

There is some controversy, a matter of historical trivia, about whether the Rosenbergs were effective spies; some Soviet scientists involved in the nuclear-weapons program have dismissed the information they provided as useless. Being a bad spy, however, is not a defense against espionage charges. The record is clear that in the matter of the crimes with which they were charged — treason and conspiracy to commit espionage — the Rosenbergs, both of them, were guilty as charged.

tumblr_inline_nbpbsfYuLN1rfk15l

The Communist movement worldwide murdered some 100 million people over the course of the 20th century The Soviet enterprise specifically, to which the Rosenbergs were fiercely committed — they are described as “devoted” in the Soviet literature — had at the time of the Rosenbergs’ recruit already intentionally starved to death some 8 million people in Ukraine for the purposes of political terror. Read the rest of this entry »


The Ratchet Effect  

John Boehner

John Boehner’s successor inherits a diminished role.

Kevin D. Williamson writes:

…The plot of the Shakespearean succession drama is fixed as the stars: The entertainment wing of the conservative movement prepares to rain brimstone upon Republican whip Kevin McCarthy, the presumptive front-runner among House leaders, or Paul Ryan, a conservative hero until the day before yesterday now cast into the outer darkness for various heresies related to his being an elected lawmaker rather than the host of a radio program.

“Due in part to the massive shift in power away from the most accountable representatives of the people to a president and five judges, we have needed leadership with vision for the future that did not continue the downhill slide.”

— Representative Louie Gohmert

Expect Louie Gohmert or another conservative standard-bearer to shine for a moment before opinion settles on some disappointment or another, and expect the vast majority of the American electorate to go on not knowing who the speaker is or what he does regardless of who is elected.

“The waxing of the president and the consequent waning of Congress is a result of the deep psychological structure of mass democracy on the American scale, probably an inevitable one.”

On the subject of Representative Gohmert, his statement following the speaker’s resignation is on point: “Due in part to the massive shift in power away from the most accountable representatives of the people to a president and five judges, we have needed leadership with vision for the future that did not continue the downhill slide.”

obama-facing-right

“…these United States are in the process of transforming the form of their union government from that of a democratic republic to that of a unitary autocratic administrative state. Barack Obama and other progressives have hastened that transformation in no small part because they consider the American constitutional order in purely instrumental terms rather than as a good in and of itself.”

As Gohmert notes without quite saying so, these United States are in the process of transforming the form of their union government from that of a democratic republic to that of a unitary autocratic administrative state. Barack Obama and other progressives have hastened that transformation in no small part because they consider the American constitutional order in purely instrumental terms rather than as a good in and of itself. Sometimes the constitutional order serves progressive ends and sometimes it constrains them, which is why President Wilson despised the Constitution and President Obama simply ignores it when he believes it necessary, adopting as he has — with rather less fuss than one might have expected — a Gaullist rule-by-decree model.

wilson

“Sometimes the constitutional order serves progressive ends and sometimes it constrains them, which is why President Wilson despised the Constitution and President Obama simply ignores it when he believes it necessary, adopting as he has — with rather less fuss than one might have expected — a Gaullist rule-by-decree model.”

The familiar ratchet effect is in operation: The Left in power expands the state, particularly the executive, and the Right in power does not reverse the turn, in part because conservative politicians like power, too, in part because reversing those expansions is difficult, and in part because even if conservatives win the fight there’s not much juice in it.

[Read the full text of Kevin D. Williamson‘s article here, at National Review Online]

As my colleague Charles C. W. Cooke points out, the lack of an American king and an American prime minister has not prevented the traditional English contest between crown and parliament from sneaking into American politics. And the crown is winning.

snap-ons-quick-release-ratchets-fr936-and-sr936-are-versatile-and-p

“The familiar ratchet effect is in operation: The Left in power expands the state, particularly the executive, and the Right in power does not reverse the turn, in part because conservative politicians like power, too, in part because reversing those expansions is difficult, and in part because even if conservatives win the fight there’s not much juice in it.”

This isn’t only a matter of executive opportunism and legislative sloth. The waxing of the president and the consequent waning of Congress is a result of the deep psychological structure of mass democracy on the American scale, probably an inevitable one. Read the rest of this entry »


Pope Francis Reverses Position On Capitalism After Seeing Wide Variety Of American Oreos 

“Only a truly exceptional and powerful economic system would be capable of producing so many limited-edition and holiday-themed flavors of a single cookie brand, such as these extraordinary Key Lime Pie Oreos and Candy Corn Oreos. This is not a force of global impoverishment at all, but one of endless enrichment.”

WASHINGTON—Admitting the startling discovery had compelled him to reexamine his long-held beliefs, His Holiness Pope Francis announced Tuesday that he had reversed his critical stance toward capitalism after seeing the immense variety of Oreos available in the United States.

[Read “Not Exactly Satire by Kevin D. Williamson]

“Oh, my goodness, look at all these! Golden Oreos, Cookie Dough Oreos, Mega Stuf Oreos, Birthday Cake Oreos—perhaps the system of free enterprise is not as terrible as I once feared,” said the visibly awed bishop of Rome while visiting a Washington, D.C. supermarket, adding that the sheer diversity of flavors, various colors and quantities of creme filling, and presence or absence of an outer fudge layer had led to a profound philosophical shift in his feelings toward the global economy and opened his eyes to the remarkable capabilities of the free market….(read more)

Source: The Onion – Commentary at The Corner


National Review Cover: Uber and Goliath

NR-cover

In the August issue, Kevin D. Williamson writes:

“…Uber’s ability and willingness to serve underserved communities and to provide a technology end-around for some of New York City’s most charged social problems — unlike the situation when you’re hailing a cab at 96th and Lexington, on the Internet nobody knows you’re black — have made it more difficult for the so-called progressives to dress up their cartel-servicing as consumer protection. Even the nation’s oldest consumer-advocacy organization thinks Uber et al. serve the public better than the highly regulated cartels. ‘Government has a really important role in protecting consumers,’ says Joe Colangelo of Consumers’ Research, ‘and that applies to Uber. But it applies to protecting the public’s safety and well-being, not to preventing new technology from entering the market. The landscape that these regulations were crafted for no longer exists.’ New York, he points out, developed its taxi regulations in the inter-war era, and they were designed to address inconsistencies in service and costs. Uber solves those problems in a trans-regulatory way: Fares are advertised in advance, before the pick-up is even scheduled, and customer ratings mean that inspections effectively happen during every trip rather than once a year.

[Kevin D. Williamson’s book  “The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome”  is available at Amazon.com]

That’s not lost on the young people who are accustomed to having services such as Uber, Seamless, and Open Table acting as their own personal 24-hour concierge.”

Read more at: National Review 

UPDATE: On newstands today:

NR-aug10