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[VIDEO] Goldberg & Hemingway: Is the Senate GOP Healthcare Bill Dead On Arrival? 

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[VIDEO] Jonah Goldberg to Congress: What Have You Done? 


[VIDEO] President Trump’s Budget Blueprint Sparks Concerns: Jonah Goldberg, Mara Liasson & Guy Benson on Special Report

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What Explains CPAC’s Dance with Milo Yiannopoulos?

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‘The enemy of my enemy is my ally’

editor-commen-deskHuman monkey behavior is often an under-explored element in articles about group dynamics in politics. That’s why we’re pleased to find National Review‘s Jonah Goldberg liberally including quotations from evolutionary psychologist John Tooby. This is from Jonah’s weekly column in the LATimes:


Jonah Goldberg
lanews-jonah-goldberg-20130507 writes:

…From the outset, many on the right who do not consider themselves part of the Cult of Milo opposed his invitation. The disturbing thing is that, absent these videos, we would have lost the fight.

“John Tooby, the evolutionary psychologist, recently wrote that if he could explain one scientific concept to the public it would be the ‘coalitional instinct.’ In our natural habitat, to be alone was to be vulnerable. If ‘you had no coalition, you were nakedly at the mercy of everyone else, so the instinct to belong to a coalition has urgency, pre-existing and superseding any policy-driven basis for membership … This is why group beliefs are free to be so weird’.”

Even now, Schlapp defends the initial decision to invite Yiannopoulis. On Monday’s ”Morning Joe,” he insisted: “The fact is, he’s got a voice that a lot of young people listen to.” A lot of young conservative people, he should have added, precisely because he enrages so many young liberals.

“If ‘you had no coalition, you were nakedly at the mercy of everyone else, so the instinct to belong to a coalition has urgency, pre-existing and superseding any policy-driven basis for membership,’ Tooby wrote on Edge.org. ‘This is why group beliefs are free to be so weird.’”

And that’s part of the problem. We are in a particularly tribal moment in American politics in which “the 41diaueofdl-_sl250_enemy of my enemy is my ally” is the most powerful argument around.

[Check out John Tooby’s book “The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture at Amazon.com]

John Tooby, the evolutionary psychologist, recently wrote that if he could explain one scientific concept to the public it would be the “coalitional instinct.” In our natural habitat, to be alone was to be vulnerable. If “you had no coalition, you were nakedly at the mercy of everyone else, so the instinct to belong to a coalition has urgency, pre-existing and superseding any policy-driven basis for membership,” Tooby wrote on Edge.org. “This is why group beliefs are free to be so weird.”

[read the full story here, at LA Times]

We overlook the hypocrisies and shortcomings within our coalition out of a desire to protect ourselves from our enemies.

Today, the right sees the left as enemies — and, I should say, vice versa. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Goldberg, Krauthammer: Is POTUS Within His Bounds With The Travel Ban? 

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Liberal Fascism Author Jonah Goldberg: ‘UC-Berkeley Should Be Ashamed of Itself’

“I wrote a book called ‘Liberal Fascism’ about a decade ago, and even then the best working definition of a Fascist in America is ‘a conservative who’s winning an argument’. The way the Left operates, they just try to shout down anyone who disagrees with them, these campuses are little, sort of soft-Totalitarian states where disagreements is actually a heresy.”

A protester runs back after smashing windows during a protest against right-wing troll Milo Yiannopoulos who was scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. (Doig Duran/Bay Area News Group)

“By all means, Milo has a right to speak, he has free speech rights, they should have let him speak, the far smarter strategy would be to ignore these things, but the clampdown on free speech that’s more troubling is when they block people like Condoleeza Rice from being able to give a speech. The whole point to protecting outrageous speech is that it keeps the zone of speech for reasonable important speech safer, the way they do this kind of stuff is so counterproductive, it feeds into the worse impulses on both the right and the left, and Berkeley, and the administration of Berkeley should be ashamed of itself.”


liberal-fascism

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

[And Jonah’s other popular bookThe Tyranny of Cliches, also available at Amazon]

[NEW – Berkeley’s Shame – NR Editors]

[Also see – [VIDEO] Jonah Goldberg with Bill Kristol: Trump’s Candidacy, Conservative Exile, and ‘Liberal Fascism’ Revisited]

[More – Charles Murray: The Trouble Isn’t Liberals. It’s Progressives]

[More – Populism Is Not Fascism]



[VIDEO] Jonah Goldberg: Trump has the Power and Obligation to Vet Refugees 

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[VIDEO] Future of Israel Relations After U.S. Abstains from UN Vote

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[VIDEO] Trump and Conservatism: Constitution Day Celebration 

Hillsdale College President Larry P. Arnn, National Review Senior Editor Jonah Goldberg, and Professor of Political Science John Marini discuss presidential candidate Donald J. Trump‘s role in conservatism in America.

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Hillsdale College’s annual Constitution Day event celebrates the signing of the United States Constitution with lectures and panel discussions about the history of the Constitution and constitutional issues facing the nation today.

WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 15: Ethan Kasnett, an 8th grade student at the Lab School in Washington, DC, views the original constitution. (Brendan Smialowski/GETTY IMAGES)

The 2016 event featured U.S. Senator from Alabama Jeff Sessions, Larry P. Arnn, Jonah Goldberg, John Marini, Todd Huizinga, Ronald J. Pestritto, Bradley Watson, F.H. Buckley, and Terry M. Moe.

 

 


[VIDEO] What is Social Justice? 

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“Social Justice” is a term you hear almost every day. But did you ever hear anybody define what it actually means? Jonah Goldberg of the American Enterprise Institute tries to pin this catchall phrase to the wall. In doing so, he exposes the not-so-hidden agenda of those who use it. What sounds so caring and noble turns out to be something very different.


[VIDEO] Obama’s ‘Arc of Justice’

“History is not a moral force in and of itself, and it has no set course.”

— David A. Graham

‘The phrase is utterly lacking in feck because it outsources the bulk of the punishment to an abstract future rather than the concrete here and now.’

— Jonah Goldberg

December 2015, David A. Graham writes:

“..Obama’s own fresh contribution to the genre is his invocation of “the arc of history.” It’s his adaptation of an older phrase, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice,” which was popularized by Martin Luther King Jr. but coined (evidently) a century earlier by Theodore Parker. Obama has mentioned “the arc of history” a dozen times since his election.

“Forget that history doesn’t tell such simple stories and you end up employing this seemingly inexorable progression as evidence that humanity will continue to improve inexorably in the future. Butterfield warned in particular about the temptation to read moral judgments into history, to assume the thrust of events was determined by or proved the validity of reality over alternative possibilities that had not come to pass.”

The problem with this kind of thinking is that it imputes an agency to history that doesn’t exist. Worse, it assumes that progress is unidirectional. But history is not a moral force in and of itself, and it has no set course. Presuming otherwise embraces the dangerous tendency that the great English historian Herbert Butterfield dissected in his 1931 essay, The Whig Interpretation of History. Butterfield was writing about the inclination among certain historians to see the Reformation as a unalloyedly positive force—a secularizing, liberalizing movement that led inexorably to liberal democracy in the 20th century. Butterfield objected that this wasn’t at all how things worked. It was just a retrospective reading.

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“The total result of this method is to impose a certain form upon the whole historical story, and to produce a scheme of general history which is bound to converge beautifully upon the present,” he wrote. In fact, “the more we examine the way in which things happen, the more we are driven from the simple to the complex.”

“The problem with this kind of thinking is that it imputes an agency to history that doesn’t exist. Worse, it assumes that progress is unidirectional.”

Viewing history from the standpoint of the present not only misrepresented the complexity of events, he wrote, but also risked framing history as a natural progression wherein humans improved over time, going from darker, less intelligent and moral times to an ever-improving present. Butterfield warned against that:

History is all things to all men. She is at the service of good causes and bad. In other words she is a harlot and a hireling, and for this reason she best serves those who suspect her most. Therefore, we must beware even of saying, “History says […]” or “History proves […]”, as though she herself were the oracle; as though indeed history, once she spoken, had put the matter beyond the range of mere human inquiry. Rather we must say to ourselves: “She will lie to us till the very end of the last cross-examination.”

Forget that history doesn’t tell such simple stories and you end up employing this seemingly inexorable progression as evidence that humanity will continue to improve inexorably in the future. Butterfield warned in particular about the temptation to read moral judgments into history, to assume the thrust of events was determined by or proved the validity of reality over alternative possibilities that had not come to pass.

Within a decade of The Whig Interpretation, World War II broke out, providing a visceral example of how the passage of time didn’t necessarily result in progress. But the fallacy recurs occasionally, and Obama seems to have fallen into it. If history is on a trajectory toward perfection, it follows that there can be a right and a wrong side of history…(read more)

Source: The Atlantic

In March 2014, Jonah Goldberg writes:

“…The progression of history is scientifically knowable, quoth the Marxists, and so we need not listen to those who object to our program. Later, Lenin, Stalin, Mao and others would use this reasoning to justify murdering millions of inconvenient people. It was a “God is on our side” argument, minus God.

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In fairness, I doubt Barack Obama and John Kerry have Marx or Hegel on the brain when they prattle on about the right and wrong sides of history. They more properly belong in what some call the “Whig school” of history, coined in 1931 by historian Herbert Butterfield. The Whiggish tendency in history says that the world progresses toward the inevitable victory of liberal democracy and social enlightenment. Again, I doubt Obama and Kerry have ever cracked the spine of Butterfield’s book.

obama-podium

Still, this administration has used the “wrong side of history” phrase more than any I can remember. They particularly like to use it in foreign policy. In his first inaugural, Obama declared, “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” Ever since, whenever things haven’t gone his way on the international scene — i.e., on days that end with a “y” — he or his spokespeople have wagged their fingers from the right side of history. Read the rest of this entry »


‘A $400 million payoff in laundered money, delivered in the dead of night in an unmarked cargo plane, isn’t what it looks like!’

JoshEarnest

 ‘We would not, we have not, we will not pay ransom to secure the release of US citizens.’

Jonah Goldberg writes: One of my all-time favorite lines is from Henry Thoreau: “Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.”

It came to mind this week when the White House and State Department insisted that the charge the US paid a ransom to get back American hostages was purely circumstantial. Sometimes, a $400 million payoff in laundered money, delivered in the dead of night in an unmarked cargo plane, isn’t what it looks like.

“Sometimes you just have to marvel at the way smart people can talk themselves into stupidity.”

Jan. 16 was “Implementation Day” for the nuclear deal between the United States and Iran, in which the state sponsor of terror received sanctions relief possibly worth as much as $150 billion — which would be roughly equivalent to 40 percent of its GDP — in exchange for some guarantees against developing nuclear weapons … for a while. (The merits, and even the nature, of the Iran nuclear deal are hotly disputed, but that’s a topic for another time.)

ransom

That same day, the Obama administration announced a prisoner swap between the US and Iran, in which we traded seven Iranian criminals and removed another 14 from an Interpol “most wanted” list. In exchange, they returned four innocent Americans, illegally held by the Iranian regime.

[Read the full story here, at New York Post]

Back then, Secretary of State John Kerry boasted about what a masterful diplomatic breakthrough it was. Those Americans were freed thanks to “the relationships forged and the diplomatic channels unlocked over the course of the nuclear talks,” Kerry preened.

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Yes, well, maybe. But few things really cement a solid working relationship like $400 million in cash. Kerry failed to mention that part in his press conferences or congressional testimony. In fact, the Obama administration kept the whole thing a secret.

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“The whole point of not paying ransoms to terrorists isn’t to save money. The reason we don’t pay kidnappers is that we understand that it will only encourage more kidnapping.”

The White House concedes that it all looks very bad. But it insists this was in no way a ransom payment; the trout got in the milk for perfectly normal reasons. You see, the Iranians were suing for funds deposited with the Pentagon in 1979 for a weapons purchase that was later blocked when the ayatollahs deposed the Shah. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Jonah Goldberg with Bill Kristol: Trump’s Candidacy, Conservative Exile, and ‘Liberal Fascism’ Revisited

editor-commen-desk‘The Newsletterist of Our Time’. My favorite part appears at 1:16:03 – 1:32:20, where Jonah discusses some important books and essays that have influenced his writing. Spoiler: Goldberg, a bonafide scholar and ‘deep diver’ as an adult (the recommended readings discussed here include some of the most influential texts of 20th century conservative thought) was an ardent fan of science fiction and comics as a young man. Jonah’s absurdist flourishes and madcap pop-culture riffing are a happy result of this early influence. I’ve often thought Goldberg could easily ended up as a screenwriter, or sitcom/variety show writer, but accidentally became a professional conservative instead.

sci-fi

Also revealed: Both Goldberg and Kristol grew up in Manhattan. Their familiarity with the local media climate liberal-fascismthat gave rise to Donald Trump’s public persona is briefly explored here.

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

Exit question: Is American conservatism preparing to go into exile? As the two leading presidential candidates offer competing versions of statism? Watch the whole thing.

Published on Jul 17, 2016

The National Review senior editor on Donald Trump’s candidacy. Click “Show more” to view all chapters. For more conversations, visit conversationswithbillkristol.org
Chapter 1 (00:15 – 41:02): On Trump and Conservatism
Chapter 2 (41:02 – 57:38): Liberal Fascism Revisited
Chapter 3 (57:38 – 1:16:03): Liberalism, Conservatism, and 2016
Chapter 4 (1:16:03 – 1:32:20): Suggested Reading Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] SHUT UP: You’re On The Wrong Side of History



Thomas Sowell: Socialist or Fascist

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What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.

Thomas Sowellthomas_sowell writes: It bothers me a little when conservatives call Barack Obama a “socialist.” He certainly is an enemy of the free market, and wants politicians and bureaucrats to make the fundamental decisions about the economy. But that does not mean that he wants government ownership of the means of production, which has long been a standard definition of socialism.

“What socialism, fascism and other ideologies of the left have in common is an assumption that some very wise people — like themselves — need to take decisions out of the hands of lesser people, like the rest of us, and impose those decisions by government fiat.”

What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.

01 Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini during Hitler's 1938 state visit to Italy

“The left’s vision is not only a vision of the world, but also a vision of themselves.”

Politically, it is heads-I-win when things go right, and tails-you-lose when things go wrong. This is far preferable, from Obama’s point of view, since it gives him a variety of scapegoats for all his failed policies, without having to use President Bush as a scapegoat all the time.

[Read the full story here, at TownHall.com]

Government ownership of the means of production means that politicians also own the consequences of their policies, and have to face responsibility when those consequences are disastrous — something that Barack Obama avoids like the plague.

socialism-fascism

Thus the Obama administration can arbitrarily force insurance companies to cover the children of their customers until the children are 26 years old. Obviously, this creates favorable publicity for President Obama. But if this and other government edicts cause insurance premiums to rise, then that is something that can be blamed on the “greed” of the insurance companies.

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

The same principle, or lack of principle, applies to many other privately owned businesses. It is a very successful political ploy that can be adapted to all sorts of situations.

italy-benito-mussolini

One of the reasons why both pro-Obama and anti-Obama observers may be reluctant to see him as fascist is that both tend to accept the prevailing notion that fascism is on the political right, while it is obvious that Obama is on the political left.

“Mussolini, the originator of fascism, was lionized by the left, both in Europe and in America, during the 1920s. Even Hitler, who adopted fascist ideas in the 1920s, was seen by some, including W.E.B. Du Bois, as a man of the left.”

Back in the 1920s, however, when fascism was a new political development, it was widely — and correctly — regarded as being on the political left. Jonah Goldberg‘s great book “Liberal Fascism” cites overwhelming evidence of the fascists’ consistent pursuit of the goals of the left, and of the left’s embrace of the fascists as one of their own during the 1920s. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] William F. Buckley Jr. Interviews Hugh Hefner on Firing Line (1966) Parts 2-6






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

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h/t Jacob Appelbaum,  Twitter

 


Live from the Cato Institute: Magna Carta and Modern Controversies from Multiculturalism to Political Correctness

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Go here for live broadcast

Featuring the author David Starkey, Author, Magna Carta: The Medieval Roots of Modern Politics, and BBC Radio and Television Presenter; with comments by Jonah Goldberg, Senior Editor, National Review and author of The Tyranny of Clichés; moderated by Marian L. Tupy, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Liberty and Prosperity, Cato Institute.

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The Magna Carta was a milestone that circumscribed the power of the sovereign for the first time in human history. In his new book, distinguished British historian and television personality David Starkey looks at the origins of the david-starky-coverGreat Charter in the 13th century, its significant early revisions, and the ways in which it has been interpreted and reinterpreted by subsequent generations.

[Order David Starkey’s bookMagna Carta: The Medieval Roots of Modern Politics” from Amazon.com]

Starkey explains how core principles of this quintessentially English document migrated to the North American colonies and eventually became the cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution. He also explores how the Magna Carta indirectly led to the enshrinement of human rights in such documents as the Bill of Rights. Please join us for a discussion of the past and current state of constitutional politics in the western world—including the assault on our freedoms by the proponents of multiculturalism and political correctness.

This event is happening now. Watch it on video live from the Cato Institute and join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #CatoEvents. Also follow @CatoEvents on Twitter to get future event updates, live streams, and videos from the Cato Institute.

Source: Cato Institute


[VIDEO] Is There a Wrong Side of History?

Are you on the wrong side or the right side of history? Is there even a “wrong side” or a “right side”? What do those terms mean and why do politicians and pundits use them? Nationally syndicated columnist and best-selling author Jonah Goldberg explains.

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You can support Prager University by clicking here. Free videos are great, but to continue producing high-quality content, even small contributions are greater. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Jonah Goldberg, Prophet

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“It seems we are days away from my prediction being truly fulfilled by the Clinton campaign.”

Source: National Review Online


[VIDEO] Megyn Kelly Dismisses Debate Criticisms: ‘If You Can’t Get Past Me How Are You Gonna Handle Vladimir Putin?’

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 writes: Fox News’ Megyn Kelly opened up for the first time this morning about all the criticism she and Fox have gotten about last week’s Republican debate, talking with MediaBuzz host Howard Kurtz.

And, basically, she took the high road, not necessarily singling out Trump but instead defending her tough questions and saying, “If you can’t get past me, how are you gonna handle Vladimir Putin.”

She explained that the goal was, for every candidate, to “drill down to their most vulnerable areas and then give them a chance to explain them” because these same things will most definitely resurface in the general election.

Kelly anticipated a few boos (which they got), but said of all the criticism, “It’s okay, I’m a big girl. I can take it.” Furthermore, she made it clear she didn’t want her male co-moderators being her white knights in case she came under attack….(read more)

Kurtz noted at the top he conducted his interview with Kelly before Trump’s ridiculous “blood” remark. And in case you needed a reminder of what Trump said of her before that:

Trump

(read more)

Mediaite


The Socialist Economics of Italian Fascism

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If classical liberalism spells individualism, Fascism spells government. Sound familiar? 

Lawrence K. Samuels writes: The economics of Italian Fascism is often ignored or trivialized because so much of it is found in today’s world economies. Consider some of the components of fascist economics: central planning, heavy state subsidies, protectionism (high tariffs), steep levels of nationalization, rampant cronyism, large deficits, high government spending, bank and industry bailouts, overlapping bureaucracy, massive social welfare programs, crushing national debt, bouts of inflation and “a highly regulated, multiclass, integrated national economic structure.”1

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“The Fascist conception of life accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with the State…Fascism reasserts the rights of the state. If classical liberalism spells individualism, Fascism spells government.”

— Benito Mussolini, from “Doctrine of Fascism

On numerous occasions, Benito Mussolini identified his economic policies with “state capitalism”—the exact phrase that Vladimir Lenin used to usher in his New Economic Policy (NEP). Lenin wrote: “State capitalism would be a step forward as compared with the present state of affairs in our liberal-fascismSoviet Republic.”2 After Russia’s economy collapsed in 1921, Lenin allowed privatization and private initiative, and he let the people trade, buy and sell for private profit.3 Lenin was moving towards a mixed economy.

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

He even demanded that state-owned companies operate on profit/loss principles.4Lenin acknowledged that he had to back away from total socialism and allow some capitalism.

 “In his 1928 autobiography, Mussolini made clear his dislike for liberal capitalism: ‘The citizen in the Fascist State is no longer a selfish individual who has the anti-social right of rebelling against any law of the Collectivity.’”

Mussolini followed Lenin’s example and proceeded to establish a state-driven economic model in Italy. In essence, Mussolini’s fascism was simply an imitation of Lenin’s “third way,” which combined market-based mechanisms and socialism—similar to Red China’s “market socialism.” In short, Lenin’s revised Marxism culminated in “socialist-lite” policies that helped inspire Mussolini to craft his own Italian-style fascism with a right-wing socialist twist. Thus, one could argue that Lenin’s politics were the first modern-day version of fascism and state-corporatism.

01 Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini during Hitler's 1938 state visit to Italy

“As the effects of the Great Depression lingered, Italy’s government promoted mergers and acquisitions, bailed out failing businesses and ‘seized the stock holdings of banks, which held large equity interests.’ The Italian state took over bankrupt corporations, cartelized business, increased government spending, expanded the money supply, and boosted deficits. The Italian government promoted heavy industry by ‘nationalizing it instead of letting the companies go bankrupt.”

Economist Ludwig von Mises, who fled the Nazi conquest of Europe, contended that the “economic program of Italian Fascism did not differ from the program of British Guild Socialism as propagated by the most eminent British and European socialists.”5,6

mussolini-LIFE

“The Fascist conception of life accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with the State…Fascism reasserts the rights of the state. If classical liberalism spells individualism, Fascism spells government.”

— Benito Mussolini

In The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, Sheldon Richman succinctly states: “As an economic system, fascism is socialism with a capitalist 36b25ade-47bd-11e1-9a92-00144feabdc0.imgveneer.”7 He contends that socialism seeks to abolish capitalism outright, while fascism gives the appearance of a market-based economy, even though it relies heavily on the central planning of all economic activities. According to authors Roland Sarti and Rosario Romeo, “[U]nder Fascism the state had more latitude for control of the economy than any other nation at the time except for the Soviet Union.”8

[Read the full text here, at Library of Economic Liberty]

Interestingly, Mussolini found much of John Maynard Keynes’s economic theories consistent with fascism, writing: “Fascism entirely agrees with Mr. Maynard Keynes, despite the latter’s prominent position as a Liberal. In fact, Mr. Keynes’ excellent little book, The End of Laissez-Faire (1926) might, so far as it goes, serve as a useful introduction to fascist economics. There is scarcely anything to object to in it and there is much to applaud.”9

After the worldwide Great Depression, Mussolini became more vocal in his claims that fascism explicitly rejected the capitalist elements of economic individualism and laissez-faire liberalism.10 In his “Doctrine of Fascism,” Mussolini wrote: “The Fascist conception of life accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with the State…Fascism reasserts the rights of the state. If classical liberalism spells individualism, Fascism spells government.” In his 1928 autobiography, Mussolini made clear his dislike for liberal capitalism: “The citizen in the Fascist State is no longer a selfish individual who has the anti-social right of rebelling against any law of the Collectivity.”11 Read the rest of this entry »


Knock Knock: What’s the Difference Between the Democratic Party and Socialists?

Read Jay Nordlinger‘s commentary here.

 National Review Online


‘I’ll Get to Keep What’s Left Over. That’s my allowance.’ Jim Geraghty: ‘Does That Make You Want to Punch Someone in the Face?’

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‘The Dark Side: Citizens Choosing Perpetual Psychological Adolescence’

This morning, at The CornerJim Geraghty writes:

…my colleague Charlie Cooke offered a perfectly clear and depressing summary of the young, low-information, progressive-by-default mindset. (I’m paraphrasing here; refer to his columns for his precise words.)

A significant number of young people now conclude, ‘The government will pay for and take care of all the big things in life – health care, college education, retirement income, day care. This will require higher taxes, but all of those taxes cover all the important things. I’ll get to keep what’s left over. That’s my allowance.’

Does that make you want to punch someone in the face?

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Go here to follow the thread

Jim Geraghty continues:

First, even if you think that’s a good idea and better than the liberty-minded free market we’ve had for most of our history… what makes you think the federal government is good at taking care of people? The VA scandal? How about the federal government’s program for the disabled?

The nation’s premier federal program that provides work for people who are severely disabled is mired in widespread corruption, financial fraud and violations of the law, numerous sources tell CNN. And instead of helping the severely disabled find work, the taxpayer-funded agency is at times allowing jobs to be taken away from the disabled, the sources say.

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[Read the full text here, at The Corner. Follow Jim Geraghty on Twitter]

The government will legally require you to purchase health insurance, and then send you to a site that doesn’t work to buy it. More importantly, government is not our father and not our mother…(read more)

National Review Online


Molotov Cocktail, American Style

TRUMPTINI!

Perry: Trump Offers ‘a Toxic Mix of Demagoguery and Nonsense’

Read more at National Review Online 

 


EXCLUSIVE: Leaked List of Osama Bin Ladin’s Top-Secret Conservative Book Collection

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Bin Laden’s Right-Wing Reading List Goes Viral

editor-commen-deskThe list includes an archive of radical right wing books, history books, humor texts, and conservative philosophy belonging to the former al-Qaeda chief, some of which are still being withheld by the U.S. government, but leaked online this afternoon.

Among the volumes of books on law and military strategy that were publicly released this week, are a not-yet-declassified list of books by popular conservative authors such as Ann Coulter, Jonah Goldberg, and Andrew Breitbart, as well as scholarly texts by Ludwig von Mises, Milton Friedman, and Friedrich von Hayek. The collection includes:

The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome by Kevin D. Williamson

Ideas Have Consequences by Richard M. Weaver

Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change by Jonah Goldberg

Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama by Ann Coulter

The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich von Hayek

Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman

God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of ‘Academic Freedom by William F. Buckley, Jr.

Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World! by Andrew Breitbart

On Liberty by John Stuart Mill

Human Action, The Scholar’s Edition by Ludwig von Mises

The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945 by George Nash

Witness by Whittaker Chambers

The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot by Russell Kirk

Ethnic America: A History by Thomas Sowell

Natural Right and History by Leo Strauss

The leak comes shortly after the fourth anniversary of Bin Laden’s death at the hands of US special forces…

developing…


THINK TANK: National Review Institute’s IDEAS Summit 2015 Streaming Guide

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editor-commen-deskFrom our mailbox: Today, the National Review InstituteNational Review‘s sister organization, opens it’s biennial Ideas Summit in Washington, D.C.

Special segments of the Summit will be LIVE streamed on the Corner for free — watch Rich LowryIDEAS and Jeb Bush, Jim Geraghty and Marco Rubio, John Fund and Carly Fiorina, and Heather Higgins and Bobby Jindal discuss why the future is conservative, and more!

First live stream starts today at 4:25 p.m. EST with Jeb Bush. Don’t miss it!

Full schedule is below. Click on the event to watch.

Thursday, April 30

3:00 P.M. NRI Ideas Summit Livestream Event: Rich Lowry, Welcome Address

4:25 P.M. NRI Ideas Summit Livestream Event: A Conversation with Jeb Bush and Rich Lowry

5:15 P.M. NRI Ideas Summit Livestream Event: A Conversation with Paul Ryan and Eliana Johnson

8:30 P.M. NRI Ideas Summit Livestream Event: A Conversation with Ben Sasse and Larry Kudlow

9:20 P.M. NRI Ideas Summit Livestream Audio Event: The Night Owl Read the rest of this entry »


Jonah Goldberg: Why Aren’t Heads Rolling at Rolling Stone?

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Ignoring the most basic rules of journalism

Jonah Goldberg writes: Rolling Stone screwed up.

jonah-GIn most media scandals, it’s unfair to paint with such a broad brush. When Stephen Glass concocted his fables at The New Republic, he went to antiheroic lengths to conceal his deceptions from his colleagues. Janet Cooke, who famously won a Pulitzer for her Washington Post series about an Janneight-year-old heroin addict, “Jimmy’s World,” lied to her editors.

“The field of journalistic ethics can get ridiculously Talmudic. But it’s all based on a very simple rule: Tell the truth.”

That’s not the case with Rolling Stone’s publication of “A Rape on Campus,” the story of the brutal gang rape of a student named “Jackie” at the University of Virginia that turned out to be false. Its failure was a group effort, from editor-in-chief Jann Wenner on down.

[Also See – Campus Rape and the ‘Emergency’: It’s Always An Excuse for Authoritarianism]

The best thing you can say about this fiasco is that there was little deliberate lying involved. According to an exhaustive report by the Columbia Journalism School, the article’s author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, and her editors didn’t purposefully publish falsehoods.

[Read the full text of Jonah Goldberg‘s column here, at National Review]

Of course, this is faint praise. The field of journalistic ethics can get ridiculously Talmudic. But it’s all based on a very simple rule: Tell the truth. If the truth is unclear, tell what you know and give both sides (or as many credible sides to a story as might exist) an opportunity to make their case. (For opinion journalists, like yours truly, the rule is even easier: Don’t say anything you don’t believe.)

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“At every stage, editors and reporters knew what they should do: Talk to the accused rapists, confirm the identities and testimony of alleged witnesses, give the University of Virginia and the leadership of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, where the rape allegedly occurred, a fair opportunity to rebut the charges, nail down corroborating details…”

Rolling Stone ignored this basic rule. At every stage, editors and reporters knew what they should do: Talk to the accused rapists, confirm the identities and testimony of alleged witnesses, give the University of Virginia and the leadership of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, where the rape allegedly occurred, a fair opportunity to rebut the charges, nail down corroborating details, etc.

“And, at almost every turn, they collectively went another way, caving to Jackie’s refusal to help confirm her story.”

And, at almost every turn, they collectively went another way, caving to Jackie’s refusal to help confirm her story.

[Also see – Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s OTHER Possibly Fake Rape Story]

The Columbia report, requested by Rolling Stone and written pro bono by the journalism school’s dean, Steve Coll, and colleagues, has a single major failing. It’s dispositive on the who, what, when, where, and how the system broke down, but it’s remarkably weak on the question of “why?” Read the rest of this entry »


Monday Morning News Dump

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Go here, to Ace of Spades HQ for clickable links. The top story, The Bergdahl Affair…” by Jonah Goldberg, is our recommended highlight.


‘Let’s Give ISIS the Benefit of the Doubt’

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“The suicide of the west in one opening sentence. Amazing.”

Jonah Goldberg 

The Guardian


Mollie Hemingway: Anatomy Of A Smear: The Media Vs. Republican Senators On Iran Letter

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The claims in the Daily Beast story are completely 100% unsubstantiated

mollie writes: This week, a group of Republican senators led by Tom Cotton of Arkansas (pictured above, with a kitten, in Iraq) issued a very brief open letter to the leaders of Iran explaining the differences between mere executive agreements and international treaties ratified by the Senate. It’s a fairly basic letter that includes reminders about the Constitutional system under which we operate. I couldn’t begin to speculate why, but the media lost their collective minds over this letter. Along with other Democrats and progressive activists. You can read the breathless, outraged, totally-over-the-top headlines if you’d like to see this melt-down in action.

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Now, that’s fine. That’s their business. To be completely honest, and not that you care, I’m not the biggest fan of such letters myself. I mean, they’re not as bad as Nancy Pelosi going to Syria to undermine Bush’s foreign policyJimmy Carter helping North Korea get nuclear weaponsTed Kennedy secretly asking the Soviets to interfere in the 1984 election or any of the many other interjections we’ve seen, but I think it’s generally a good idea to yield to the president on foreign negotiations, even if it’s a really bad president who couldn’t negotiate his way out of a paper bag if the stakes involved, oh I don’t know, going ahead with Iran as a nuclear power.

“What he sure as MOTHERFREAKING FREAK doesn’t say is that he’s a senator, that he thought it was a dumb idea to sign the letter, that he signed it and then realized it was a bad call or that he represents the ‘some’ in the headline.”

But let’s look a little deeper at just one part of this media campaign against Republican senators. It comes from Tim Mak of the Daily Beast and it looks like he’s got an explosive story:

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Whoa. Check that out. Republicans now “admit” that the letter was “a dumb idea”! That’s huge. And “some Republicans who signed on” are now “realizing” it was a bad call? I can’t wait to read this story — taglined “HINDSIGHT” for extra flair — can you?

“Other than this low-level staff aide who didn’t even say he thought the letter was a bad idea, much less a dumb one, we have two Republican Senators who always opposed the letter and then also a Democratic Senator who didn’t like the letter…”

What are their names? Which of the senators are changing their minds and “admitting” and “realizing” that the media were right after all? Who are they?

[read the full text here, at The Federalist]

Oh dear. That’s … weird. Very weird.

“So, in other words, we have a story that in no way supports the headline. Not even close…”

Hunh. Tim Mak’s story doesn’t even claim a single senator changed his mind. Not even close. Yikes.

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Um. So it turns out that the only people quoted in the story against the letter are people who always opposed the letter. There’s also a quote from an unnamed, completely anonymous “Senate Republican aide” who doesn’t in any way say anything even remotely close to the claims made in the headline or anywhere else in the piece. Read the rest of this entry »


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

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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.)

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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 »


Charles Murray: The Trouble Isn’t Liberals. It’s Progressives.

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Not everyone on the left wants to quash dissent or indulge President Obama’s abuses of executive power

Charles Murray writes: Social conservatives. Libertarians. Country-club conservatives. Tea party conservatives. Everybody in politics knows that those sets of people who usually vote Republican cannot be arrayed in a continuum from moderately conservative to extremely conservative. They are on different political planes. They usually have just enough in common to vote for the same candidate.

 “To simplify, progressive intellectuals were passionate advocates of rule by disinterested experts led by a strong unifying leader. They were in favor of using the state to mold social institutions in the interests of the collective. They thought that individualism and the Constitution were both outmoded.”

Why then do we still talk about the left in terms of a continuum from moderately liberal to extremely liberal? Divisions have been occurring on the left that mirror the divisions on the right. Different segments of the left are now on different planes.

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 “That’s not a description that Woodrow Wilson or the other leading progressive intellectuals would have argued with. They openly said it themselves.”

A few weeks ago, I was thrown into a situation where I shared drinks and dinner with two men who have held high positions in Democratic administrations. Both men are lifelong liberals. There’s nothing “moderate” about their liberalism. But as the pleasant evening wore on (we knew that there was no pointliberal-fascism in trying to change anyone’s opinion on anything), I was struck by how little their politics have to do with other elements of the left.

[Jonah Goldberg‘s classic “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change” is available at Amazon]

Their liberalism has nothing in common with the political mind-set that wants right-of-center speakers kept off college campuses, rationalizes the forced resignation of a CEO who opposes gay marriage, or thinks George F. Will should be fired for writing a column disagreeable to that mind-set. It has nothing to do with executive orders unilaterally disregarding large chunks of legislation signed into law or with using the IRS as a political weapon. My companions are on a different political plane from those on the left with that outlook—the progressive mind-set.

“It is that core philosophy extolling the urge to mold society that still animates progressives today—a mind-set that produces the shutdown of debate and growing intolerance that we are witnessing in today’s America. Such thinking on the left also is behind the rationales for indulging President Obama in his anti-Constitutional use of executive power.”

Wait, doesn’t “progressive” today reflect the spirit of the Progressive Era a century ago, when the country benefited from the righteous efforts of muckrakers and others who fought big-city political bosses, attacked business monopolies and promoted Good Government?

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“As a libertarian, I am reluctant to give up the word “liberal.” It used to refer to laissez-faire economics and limited government.”

The era was partly about that. But philosophically, the progressive movement at the turn of the 20th century had roots in German philosophy ( Hegel and Nietzsche were big favorites) and German public Obama-incandescentadministration ( Woodrow Wilson’s open reverence for Bismarck was typical among progressives).

“Making a clear distinction between liberals and progressives will help break down a Manichaean view of politics that afflicts the nation.”

To simplify, progressive intellectuals were passionate advocates of rule by disinterested experts led by a strong unifying leader. They were in favor of using the state to mold social institutions in the interests of the collective. They thought that individualism and the Constitution were both outmoded.

That’s not a description that Woodrow Wilson or the other leading progressive intellectuals would have argued with. They openly said it themselves.

[read the full text of Charles Murray‘s article here, at the Wall Street Journal]

[Speaking of abuses of executive power, read Charles C.W.Cooke‘s “Obama Defies the Will of the Senate” at National Review Online]

[Also see Fred Siegel’s book “The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class at Amazon]

[Jonah Goldberg‘s “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change” at Amazon]

[And Jonah’s other popular book, The Tyranny of Cliches, also available at Amazon]

It is that core philosophy extolling the urge to mold society that still animates progressives today—a mind-set that produces the shutdown of debate and growing intolerance that we are witnessing in today’s America. Such thinking on the left also is behind the rationales for indulging President Obama in his anti-Constitutional use of executive power. If you want substantiation for what I’m saying, read Jonah Goldberg’s 2008 book “Liberal Fascism,” an erudite and closely argued exposition of American progressivism and its subsequent effects on liberalism. The title is all too accurate.

“Too many of us see those on the other side as not just misguided but evil. The solution is not a generalized ‘Can’t we all just get along’ non-judgmentalism. Some political differences are too great for that. But liberalism as I want to use the term encompasses a set of views that can be held by people who care as much about America’s exceptional heritage as I do.

Here, I want to make a simple point about millions of people—like my liberal-minded dinner companions—who regularly vote Democratic and who are caught between a rock and a hard place. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Toy Journalist’: Politifact Hack’s Not-So-Extensive Effort to Contact National Review Writer Mercilessly Mocked


Jonah Goldberg: Progressives’ Peculiar Sense of Patriotism

Sheer naked panic, from which there may be no return

The best thing Obama can seem to say about the country is that it elected him into office

Jonah Goldberg writes:

…Patriotism for progressives has always been deeply bound up in the role of government and the cause of reform. That’s fine, to a certain extent. But underlying it is the assumption that America as it exists is a problem that needs to be fixed, if not “fundamentally transformed.” And, let’s be honest about it, there were times when progressives had the better part of the argument.

[Read the full text of Jonah Goldberg‘s newsletter here, at National Review Online]

But, culturally and psychologically, what endures is the pious progressive conviction that the government is better than the people it serves, at least when the right people are running it — and that the job of progressives is to bring the bitter clingers up to the government’s ideals, as best they can. The Left and the cultural elite of a hundred years ago were fairly honest about this point of view. From The Tyranny of Clichés:

The Nation ran a whole series of articles under the heading “In These United States” purporting to reveal that Manhattan was an island of sophistication in a vast wasteland of American tyranny-of-clichesbackwardness.

[Jonah’s book, The Tyranny of Cliches, is available at Amazon]

This was the era when it became an article of faith that the artist must hate the society in which he lives, that he must be “a public enemy” in the words of H. L. Mencken, and that the “vox populi is, to him, the bray of an ass.” The writers for the Nation ridiculed what is today called “fly-over country”—which back then was really “train-through country” or perhaps “cruise around country”—with relentless condescension. Chronicling his impressions of Minnesota, Sinclair Lewis lamented that the “Scandinavians Americanize only too quickly!” Perhaps not surprisingly, the South was an object of particular scorn. One writer believed that Mississippi could only be saved by an invasion of civilizing, cultured, missionaries from the North. Another scratched his head to ask what, if anything, Alabama had ever contributed to humanity . . .

All in all, the cultural elite of the 1920s had firmly convinced itself that they were, in Christopher Lasch’s words, “a civilized minority in a nation of Babbitts, Rotarians, and rednecks.”Revolt-Masss

This theme, by the way, is the thesis of Fred Siegel’s Revolt Against the Masses.

[Check out Fred Siegel’s book “The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class at Amazon]

The attitude has evolved since then. Today’s progressives aren’t adherents to the Social Gospel for the most part, and they certainly aren’t eugenicists — but they’re also a lot less honest than their predecessors. Occasionally, someone will let it slip that they don’t believe in, say, the “private ownership of children” or will claim that the only reason liberal politicians don’t do better is because the voters are racists and sexists. Sometimes, they feel free to barf up their condescending bigotry for the South and paint it on the wall. Even the president of the United States has hinted that he favors increased immigration for its deleterious effects on his political opponents. And, once in a blue moon, you get the Democratic Senate majority leader explaining how displeasing he finds the musk of the little people. But for the most part, liberals have to lie about how much they believe they’re better than the country they serve.

[Read the full text of Jonah Goldberg‘s newsletter here, at National Review Online]

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WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO, GOT TO DO, WITH IT?

Simply put, there’s a tension between the desire to change something and loving something for what it is. As I’ve said many times, if you desire something solely for your ability to have your way with it, that is not love; it’s lust.

And for generations, American reformers have argued that there’s nothing wrong with America that being more like Europe wouldn’t fix. Countless leading liberals hate — and I mean hate — the suggestion that America is the best country in the world. Just two weeks ago, I think, I linked to this progressive mind-porn from the opening scene of HBO’s The Newsroom. Stephen Colbert’s whole shtick for the last nine years has been to mock people who love this country too much. Indeed, for eight years under Bush we heard that “dissent is the highest form of patriotism” — a profoundly stupid and self-serving bumper sticker of a notion. It’s a very strange understanding of love — and that’s all patriotism is; love of country — that its greatest expression is biting criticism, regardless of said criticism’s merit. For eight years, every calumny and slander imaginable was hurled at Bush and the United States, and whenever anyone pushed back on it, we were told that it was patriotic. We just love our country! Dissent is the highest form of patriotism! Read the rest of this entry »


Jonah Goldberg: NBC’s Puffed Up Anchor Brian Williamson: ‘He Couldn’t Stop Himself’

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Surrounded by fans and protected from criticism, it’s no wonder Brian Williams became a serial fabulist

Jonah Goldberggoldberg_square writes: By now everyone knows about his transgressions. If even only some of the reports are true, Brian Williams is a serial embellisher, a self-aggrandizing fabulist.

No doubt everyone knows somebody like this, and if you don’t it’s probably because you’re that guy. But Williams’ case is special. This isn’t some sad Willy Loman at the end of the bar who needs to invent impressive stories about himself. If anything, he needed to not tell such stories, given that he reportedly makes more than $10 million a year to be a trusted name in news.

Yet he couldn’t stop himself.

“To walk down a street with an anchor is to be stunned both by how many people recognize them and how many viewers call out to them about specific stories. There’s a respectful familiarity different from the awe displayed to Hollywood celebrities. The anchor is treated as the citizen’s trusted guide to the news. As a result, they can feel expected to dominate discussions, to tell war stories, to play God.”

— Ken Auletta, The New Yorker’s media critic

I have no doubt that’s true. But I am also certain that Williams is hearing only from the people who see him as their trusted guide to the news, and that can be very deceptive.

[Jonah Goldberg‘s book, “The Tyranny of Cliches, is a few keystrokes away, at Amazon]

If Kathy Griffin is the quintessential D-list celebrity, then I’m probably somewhere south of Z. But I do get recognized at airports and restaurants from time to time, mostly because of my stints on Fox News. A couple dozen times a year, someone will come up and compliment me. (Or, they’ll compliment The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes, thinking I’m him.)

But you know what virtually never happens? Someone coming up to me to tell me how much they hated my column, my comments, my book, my face, or my existence. Read the rest of this entry »


A Campus Epidemic: Rape Hoax Culture

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Rolling Stone deserves all the suffering it can possibly enjoy.

editor-commen-deskFriday, December 5th, 2014, may be recorded as the worst single day for Left Wing Media in more than a decade, as two of its most iconic institutions self-destructed, independently, but simultaneously, on the same day, in the same news cycle. The New Republic, and Rolling Stone Magazine, for very different reasons, suffered major setbacks. The more important of the two — The New Republic — is getting less media attention than it deserves. Which is understandable, of the two, its problems are more complex, less visible, and not as controversial. The majority of The New Republic‘s staff resigned, en masse. If almost no one noticed, it’s perhaps because the New Republic isn’t as relevant as it once was. Unfortunate, because of its long history, NR is a first-rate political journal that’s enjoyed the attention and respect of its admirers and critics alike. But mainly because the epic, high-profile disaster at Rolling Stone was sucking up all the oxygen.

And let’s fact it: Rolling Stone deserves all the suffering it can possibly enjoy.

Providing both the matches, and the gas, Rolling Stone willingly made itself into a bonfire for its opponents and critics. A preexisting record of journalistic mismanagement set the stage for disaster. Years of lurid, sensational, sloppy journalism had already established it as a bad actor in media. Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s bogus, discredited rape reportage — though a spectacular failure in itself — isn’t even the problem. It’s a emblematic of larger problem, not just with Rolling Stone, but with Left-Wing advocacy journalism and progressive-activist media culture in general. One of deception, invention, and opportunism.

As the Rolling Stone scandal unfolds, one question that bothers me — that I haven’t seen explored much yet — is, where were the lawyers and editors, before the story went to press? For purely financial reasons, institutions like Rolling Stone have to weight costs and risks, especially when dealing with controversial material that could expose them not only peer scrutiny, but to litigation. That’s what the suits are for. Think about it, if the writer and editor won’t do due diligence with sources, and investigate more than one side of a story, they can be sure their critics will. Writers and editors might be willing to go out on a limb to advance an activist agenda or pump up sales, but every publication has its legal advisors and bean-counters to protect the publication’s reputation, or at least avoid inviting lawsuits. Where were they? What happened?

In the coming days, answers to this question may be revealed. In the meantime, the following is a sampling of commentary from Jonah and Kevin (both of whom are familiar to our readers, and are promoted so frequently here that I take the liberty of referring to them by their first names) at National Review Online. Stay tuned for more.

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Rolling Stone should be held accountable for its false accusations against UVA’s Phi Kappa Psi chapter.

jonah-GFrom Jonah Goldberg‘s The UVA Gang Rape that Wasn’t

“…So I am having a hard time getting my head around something. All week people have been calling me a “rape apologist” and “pro-rape.” I’m being constantly informed that I don’t understand “rape culture.” These often hysterical accusations tend to come from people who seem to understand rape culture the same way some people understand the geopolitics of Westeros or Middle Earth: They’ve studied it, they know every detail about it, they just seem to have forgotten it doesn’t exist.

[Also see – Meltdown: Rolling Stone Backtracks on Explosive UVA Rape Story, Issues Apology]

Now, hold on. I certainly believe rape happens. And I definitely believe we have cultural problems that lead to date rape and other drunken barbarisms and sober atrocities. But the term “rape culture” suggests that there is a large and obvious belief system that condones and enables rape as an end in itself in America. This simply strikes me as an elaborate political lie intended to strengthen the hand of activists. There’s definitely lots that is wrong with our culture, particularly youth culture and specifically campus culture. Sybaritic, crapulent, hedonistic, decadent, bacchanalian: choose your adjectives.

[More – So, How Much Fact-Checking Did Rolling Stone Do?]

What is most remarkable about our problems is that they seem to take people by surprise. For instance, it would be commonsense to our grandmothers that some drunk men will do bad things, particularly in a moral vacuum, and that women should take that into account. I constantly hear that instead of lecturing women about their behavior we should teach men not to rape. I totally, completely, 100 percent agree that we should teach men not to rape. The problem is we do that. A lot. Maybe we should do it more. We also teach people not to murder — another heinous crime. But murders happen too. That’s why we advise our kids to steer clear of certain neighborhoods at certain times and avoid certain behaviors. I’m not “pro-murder” if I tell my kid not to walk through the park at night and flash money around any more than I am pro-rape if I give her similar advice…” (read more here)

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The Left believes that lies can serve a greater truth.

Kevin D. Williamsonkevin-williamson‘s Bad Journalism, Even If It Were True

“The Left is committed to the notion that American colleges are hotbeds of sexual violence, racial bigotry, hatred of homosexuals, etc., because they are committed to the notion that the largely white and male upper echelons of American society — mostly products of those colleges — are secretly but unalterably committed to white supremacy, homophobia, and to using the threat of sexual violence to keep women in their place. 

The evidence suggests otherwise: Far from being an epidemic, sexual assault today happens at a rate about one-third that of 20 years ago, and rape seems to happen less often on college campuses than it does elsewhere. That should not be entirely surprising: Rape, like other crimes, tends to disproportionately affect people who are poor and non-white. As expected, the evidence points to sexual assault’s being more common in poor rural areas, Indian reservations, poor urban areas, etc. It is also more common where people tend to be relatively isolated, with Alaska having the nation’s highest rate of sexual assault. Read the rest of this entry »


‘You Can’t Be On The Wrong Side of History. History Does Not Actually Take Sides’

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The Most Bullying Argument in Politics

editor-commen-deskIs it just me? Or is everybody in the media stealing ideas from Jonah Goldberg these days? I’m not suggesting Dougherty‘s column was inspired directly or indirectly by previously-articulated arguments calling attention to this phrase, to the contrary, Dougherty’s take here is insightful and original. But readers familiar with Jonah’s book will recognize the “wrong side of history” cliche as one of its funniest chapters. And it gives me another excuse to encourage people to read it. (Plus, any orders made through links to Amazon helps support my cigar habit, so there’s that)

As Dougherty illustrates, the verdict of history is never really final. Enjoy. The whole text is here.

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For The WeekMichael Brendan Dougherty  writes:

There is no more bullying or empty piece of rhetoric in political conversation today than to accuse someone of being on the wrong side of history.divine-judgment-2

“To tell someone that the story of history will be the story of their demise is to make a bet on your future power and to make a frightening promise: The arc of the moral universe is long, and those who disagree with me should be impaled on it.”

And yet, we do it all the time. Over the past month, we’ve heard that the Washington Redskins are on the wrong side of history because of their refusal to change their name. Vladimir Putin, of course, is an enemy of the future. Politicians who are against gay marriage, them too. Even poor Scarlett Johansson is set to fall under the opprobrium of tomorrow.

“We invoke the future’s verdict of guilt precisely because we’d like to smuggle back into our politics the moral force of Divine judgment. But our appeals to progress are a pathetic substitute for the concept of Providence.”

These days, the phrase is most often deployed against social conservatives. But in the 1980s, it was often aimed at advocates for strong labor unions, tight industrial policy, and trade tariffs.tyranny-cliche

[You’re on the wrong side of history if you haven’t read Jonah Goldberg‘s book, “The Tyranny of Cliches, but you can order it from Amazon]

At its most innocent, telling someone they are on the wrong side of history is an assertion that they stand in the way of others who will deservedly soon acquire more power and respect.

But often, the phrase has the ring of a threat. Read the rest of this entry »


Democrats, Let’s Go To Our Happy Place

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 With Defeat Looming, Democrats Retreat Into Fantasy

editor-commen-deskOne of the unfortunate things about being addicted to reading news about politics is that it doesn’t take long to become overexposed to the parallel hypocrisy and predictable self-delusions of each side’s columnists and loyalist OP-ED writers. One longs for relief. One thing I like about The Federalist is their media coverage of media coverage. Media criticism and analysis isn’t exactly in short supply in the blogosphere, especially in the run-up to the 2014 election. But finding good sources of media commentary (about media commentary) that are revealing, on-target, and reliably entertaining isn’t easy. The Federalist delivers. Particularly when conducted at the savage keyboard of virtuoso ego-slayer Mollie Z. Hemingway. But you know who else has a good aim? . Here’s a sample of Harsanyi’s latest column, from which I borrow liberally in the following post. To enjoy the full text, go here.

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 writes: With prospects of Republicans recapturing the Senate a chilling reality—though certainly not a given—I’ve noticed a number of pundits, including, the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson, embrace some conventional self-soothing myths about our political situation. Each one means to reaffirm liberal intellectual and moral superiority and rationalize events that aren’t exactly going according to plan.

“Maybe Obamacare killed for decades the idea of big centralized governance? I find the prospect heartening.”

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It is inconceivable voters could be unhappy with Democrats’ recent body of work or the content of their message. A GOP victory will sit atop a mandate-free edifice of anxiety, hate, rage, and lies. “Republicans are conducting a campaign of atmospherics,” Robinson explains. “Be afraid, they tell voters. Be unhappy. Be angry.”

“Parties often fool themselves after setbacks.  The GOP will, as well. No doubt, we’ll soon have a barrage of post-election autopsies that will get to the heart of the matter. You know the drill…”

Is Robinson referring to the campaign to persuade voters that plutocrats have the ability to steal democracy by drilling into the collective subconscious of America and forcing all of us vote for Republicans? That kind of atmospheric? Or is he talking about the condom-thieving vote-stealing white men whose detestation of entire genders and races is so fervent that it leads them to a career in reactionary politics? You know the type. The kind of scum that still supports slavery. Or maybe, when Minnesota becomes a desert because we haven’t pumped enough subsidies into windmills conservatives will be happy? After all…

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 “Civilization as we know it today would be in jeopardy if the Republicans win the Senate.” 

says the rational, idea-driven leader of the House Democrats.

“…what if people aren’t interested in being governed in such dramatic ways any longer? Maybe Americans are increasingly uncomfortable with the notion of politicians planning so much of their future.”

Sure, only one party has a laser-focus on the issues that matter.

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Only One Party Is Irrationally Rigid

In a recent POLITICO piece sifting through potential bipartisanship measures after the midterms, Norm Ornstein ascertains that trade policy (please retard your excitement) is the most feasible low-key legislation Washington can hope to pass, because Republican “activists will not go ballistic over a signing ceremony conducted by the Socialist Kenyan president.”

[You’re on the wrong side of history if you haven’t read Jonah Goldberg‘s book, “The Tyranny of Cliches, but you can order it from Amazon]

So biting! You hear this sort of thing often, of course. I’d say believing GOP obstinacy is driven exclusively by fantasies and bigotry is almost as inane as believing in a Manchurian candidate. But if you think there’s gridlock now, wait until Republicans are driving policy. Should Republicans win, I do look forward to a slew of Ornstein columns lamenting the Democrat minority’s filibustering and sabotage…

Read the rest of this entry »


Rod Liddle: The Top 10 Most Fatuous Phrases in the English Language

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Rod_Liddle-40x63Rod Liddle writes: Below are a bunch of the clichés, lies, evasions, obfuscations, PC euphemisms and disingenuous balls words and phrases which, in recent years, have annoyed me the most. There are countless others, but these are the ones which for one reason or other stick in my craw. And of course we begin with:

1. Battling my demons 

It was demons who held down that actress/pop singer/reality TV star and rammed four kilos of charlie up her left nostril leaving her with the IQ of an aspidistra and, alas, sans septum. It was demons who injected Philip Seymour Hoffman with skag. The same creatures regularly waylay the former footballer Paul Gascoigne and siphon several rosenbach-the-headache-george-cruikshank-detaillitres of vodka down his throat. And it was demons, a whole bunch of them, who grappled with Brooks Newmark’s penis and ensured it was transmitted digitally to the fictitious woman of his choice. This was my original Fatuous Phrase of the Week, an utterly ubiquitous cliché which serves only to absolve people from responsibility.

2. Vulnerable

It’s official — the most abused word in the English language these days. Today, as used by the whining liberal left, it means anyone who isn’t an able-bodied middle-aged white heterosexual male in full possession of his mental faculties. In other words, about 70 per cent of the population. It is frequently used as a euphemism for educationally retarded, or what we used to call ‘backward’; when you hear on the news that someone was ‘vulnerable’, you have to work out for yourself why. It’s not tyranny-clicheusually hard.

[You’re on the wrong side of history if you haven’t read Jonah Goldberg‘s book, “The Tyranny of Cliches, but you can order it from Amazon]

[The complete text of ‘s article is here, at The Spectator]

3. Diversity 

Something brilliant, to be championed. We all love diversity, don’t we? As used by the left it means ‘lots of ethnic angels-fighting-demons-paintings-wallpaper-pictures-of-angels-fighting-demons-wallpaper-hd-e1405873872626minorities’. Quite often it is deployed to mean precisely the opposite of its original meaning. As in ‘the area is very diverse’, referring to a place populated exclusively by Bangladeshis.

4. Denier

A horrible and recent confection of, again, the liberal left. You can be a ‘climate change denier’, which means you might doubt that global warming will cause quite the catastrophic circumstances — annihilation of all living creatures, earth burned to a crust, polar bears howling in agony — dreamed up by the maddest, gibbering eco-warriors. You can be a ‘sexual abuse denier’, which means you have one or two doubts about Operation Yewtree. The term was appropriated from the Holocaust, of course: the implication being that to deny that absolutely all 1970s celebrities were busy molesting kiddies is on a par with denying that Nazi Germany murdered six million Jewish people. Nice. Read the rest of this entry »