Some of us are old enough to remember Mario Savio and the 1964 Free Speech Movement. Unfortunately, the young radicals of those days, many of whom had a legitimate point or two against the Establishment, began the "long march through the institutions" and are now the Establishment, still fancying that they are "speaking truth to power" even as they control the levers of power. As might have been expected, power has corrupted them. Former radicals have hardened into dogmatic apparatchiks of political correctness and unbending authoritarians. Those who stood for free speech and civil rights have become enablers of and apologists for left-wing fascism. What began as a free speech movement has transmogrified into a no speech movement, as Ron Radosh shows . . . (Read more).
Another example. (HT: Karl White) My correspondent, an Irishman living in London, really ought to change his 'racist' surname. And while he's at it, he should ditch his 'Nazi' Christian name or have the decency to change the spelling to 'Carl.' His very name is a two-termed 'micro-aggression'!
Then you are guilty of 'cultural appropriation' unless you are English.
A philosophy professor comments:
The claim in your post today, strikes me as clearly false.
Just because someone speaks a language (even as a primary language) doesn't mean they are cultural appropriators guilty of something. Imagine the English colonize your land and people and force English upon you. Then this conditional, which is what I think you are claiming, is false: "If you speak English and you are not English, then you are guilty of 'cultural appropriation'.
The good professor has found a counterexample to my conditional claim. But he misses the point of my pithy little poke. My intention was to ridicule the politically correct silliness of those who see something reprehensible in, say, donning a sombrero when one is not a Mexican. Aphorisms, maxims, and other sayings derive their punch from their pith. You have heard it said, briefly, and with wit, that "Brevity is the soul of wit."
Let us note en passant and in defiance of the content of the witticism that it can be found in William Shakespeare in Hamlet, Act II wherein the Bard has Polonius say:
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief: your noble son is mad.
Was this beautiful coinage first put into circulation by Shakespeare? I have no idea. But I digress.
Consider the following piece of folk wisdom,
He who hesitates is lost.
Counterexamples abound. And the same goes for the competing maxim,
Look before you leap.
If one were to rewrite them to make them proof against the punctilios of philosophers and logicians, the result would be something clunky and not particularly memorable. For example,
It is often, but not always, the case that one who hesitates before acting misses his opportunity and in consequence of such hesitancy either loses his life or suffers some lesser, but nonetheless regrettable, loss.
But then one has traded the lawyerly for the literary.
Victor Davis Hanson nails down some important points. I add a bit of commentary in blue.
But first a question. Do we really need the designator 'Alt-Left'? Isn't the referent of this term pretty much indistinguishable from the contemporary Left? Granted, we need to distinguish between the contemporary Left and old-time liberalism. There is not much, or anything, that is paleo-liberal about the contemporary Left, as will emerge below. We also need to distinguish between the Right and the Alt-Right. Let me make it clear that I am not now, and never have been, Alt-Right. My brand of conservatism takes on board key elements of paleo-liberalism. It is also far from anything that could be called white nationalism, although it does espouse what I call an enlightened nationalism. (See here and here.) But I am having a hard time seeing any need to distinguish between the (contemporary) Left and the Alt-Left.
My impression is that 'Alt-Left' is a knee-jerk coinage brought onto the field by commentators such as Sean Hannity to counter the false notion that Trumpism is an Alt-Right movement. Be that as it may. Now a few excerpts from Hamson's piece.
Its overarching ideology seems to be a filtered version of campus postmodernism. Therefore the “truth” is simply a pastiche of “stories” or “narratives.” They can gain credence if those with power and influence “privilege” them, in efforts to enhance their own status and clout. “My story” is just as viable as “the truth,” a construct that does not exist in the abstract.
BV: Correct. For the Alt-Left there is no such thing as truth. There are only power and narratives. A narrative is a story, and we all know that a story need not be true to influence people and inspire them to action. The influence of Nietzsche is unmistakable here. For Nietzsche there are no facts, only interpretations. (Cf. W. Kaufmann, The Portable Nietzsche, p. 458) A narrative is an interpretation that subserves the interests of some individuals or groups that either have power or seek to gain power.
Interpretations and perspectives are ideological reflections of power. Their function is to legitimate the power of those in power. The question of truth cannot arise since there is no truth, only competing perspectives of competing power centers. There is no truth because the world is devoid of intrinsic intelligibility. All intelligibility is partial and perspectival and projected by the stories we tell in support of our interests and power prerogatives. Intelligibility is relative to us and our narratives. We make the world intelligible and in many different ways since we are many and competing. Why is there no way things are, no nature of things, no intrinsic intelligibility? Because, at bottom, the world is the will to power. This is Nietzsche's central ontological claim. Die Welt ist der Wille zur Macht und nichts anders. (Nietzsche, Der Wille zur Macht) This ontological claim underpins his central epistemological thesis, perspectivism. Both the ontology and the epistemology are consequences of the death of God, as N. himself clearly sees. No God, no truth. No God, no unitary source of all things but a blind seething will to power at odds with itself. See my Nietzsche category for more on this.
I would say that Nietzsche is as important as Marx for understanding the Alt-Left. Nietzsche is part of what makes cultural Marxism cultural.
For the Alt-Left, there are not really inanimate [immutable?] laws of human nature or language. Instead political mobilization can construct powerful narratives of change: Opposition to gay marriage can be endorsed by both Obama and Clinton in 2008 and then be reconstructed as proof of right wing bigotry by 2012.
BV: Thus for the Left truth doesn't matter. The narrative or party line shifts with political needs. It's about power and control. If power can be achieved by reversing the narrative, then the narrative is reversed. Nothing new here: it is right out of the commie playbook.
Zones of neo-Confederate federal nullification to stop the deportation of illegal alien criminals can be rebranded as “sanctuary cities” to protect the innocent “migrants” from arbitrary and racist immigration laws. “La Raza” does not really mean “The Race.” Instead Raza simply denotes the “people” in reference to oppressed communities.
BV: As I have said a hundred times, leftists regularly engage in self-serving linguistic distortions and innovations even unto the Orwellian. The Orwellian template: X, which is not Y, is Y. War is peace. Slavery is freedom. Less liberty is more liberty. La Raza is not La Raza. Illegal aliens are neither illegal nor alien.
Leftists also refuse to make obvious distinctions such as that between legal and illegal immigrants. Not because they are stupid, but because their power agenda swamps every other consideration. Power rushes to fill the vacuum left when truth absents itself in the wake of the death of God.
The Alt-Left also believes that racial, ethnic, sexual, and religious identity is essential not incidental to character—as evidenced from the profound by the recent racialist statements of would-be candidates to head the DNC, to the ridiculous, as the careerist-driven and invented identities of a Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Ward Churchill or former white/black activists such as Rachel Dolezal and Shaun King attest.
BV: The Alt-Left shares this anti-personalism with the Alt-Right. Both are race-based and identity-political. The reactionary stance of the Alt-Right ties it to its opponent with which it shares the repugnant, anti-Christian, and anti-paleoliberal notion that one's very identity as a person is racially determined. The issue of personalism is crucial. I will explore it in future posts.
Perhaps the battle between the Alt-Left and the Alt-Right comes down to the struggle between two forms of atheism, a febrile socially constructivist anti-realism and a biologically determinist naturalism.
Please read the whole of Hanson's outstanding article.
Saw your post today. I really do think that modern Leftism is best understood as a religion. I realize also that understanding something as if it were a religion is different from saying it is a religion, and so I've just written a response to your post, in which I try to make the case that Progressivism is, in effect, a religion to the people who espouse it -- that it activates all the same behaviors and cognitive postures.
I'm hoping we might come to a "meeting of the minds" on this one, because I believe that seeing the Left as embodying a religion is, when it comes to having to deal with them, a helpful (and accurate) stance for the rest of us.
I will have to read Malcolm's lengthy response, but for now a couple of quick rejoinders.
1) Is leftism a religion to the people who espouse it? I rather doubt it. I don't think your average committed lefty would cop to being religious in his beliefs and practices. If you could find me a communist or other atheistic leftist who understands his stance as religious I would be very surprised. Of course there are 'progressives' who are members of Christian and other churches. They water down Christianity to bring it in line with their 'progressivism.' They are lefties first, and Christians second, if at all. But we are not talking about them.
2) Why is it "helpful" for us in our battles with destructive leftists to view them as adhering to and promoting a religion? I say it is not helpful. It is obfuscatory and inaccurate. It blurs important distinctions. And it is unnecessary.
But if people want to say that leftism functions in the psychic economy of a committed leftist in a manner closely analogous to the way religion functions in the psychic economy of a committed religionist, then I have no objection. Just don't say that leftism is a religion. Or if you insist on using the sentence 'Leftism is a religion,' make sure you make it clear that you are using it to express the above proposition.
Just as a salt substitute is not salt, a substitute for religion in the life of a leftist is not a religion.
Via Malcolm Pollack, I came to an essay by William Deresiewicz in The American Scholar in which surprising claims are made with which Pollack agrees but I don't. Deresiewicz:
Selective private colleges have become religious schools. [Emphasis added.] The religion in question is not Methodism or Catholicism but an extreme version of the belief system of the liberal elite: the liberal professional, managerial, and creative classes, which provide a large majority of students enrolled at such places and an even larger majority of faculty and administrators who work at them. To attend those institutions is to be socialized, and not infrequently, indoctrinated into that religion.
[. . .]
What does it mean to say that these institutions are religious schools? First, that they possess a dogma, unwritten but understood by all: a set of “correct” opinions and beliefs, or at best, a narrow range within which disagreement is permitted. There is a right way to think and a right way to talk, and also a right set of things to think and talk about. Secularism is taken for granted. Environmentalism is a sacred cause. Issues of identity—principally the holy trinity of race, gender, and sexuality—occupy the center of concern. The presiding presence is Michel Foucault, with his theories of power, discourse, and the social construction of the self, who plays the same role on the left as Marx once did. The fundamental questions that a college education ought to raise—questions of individual and collective virtue, of what it means to be a good person and a good community—are understood to have been settled. The assumption, on elite college campuses, is that we are already in full possession of the moral truth. This is a religious attitude. It is certainly not a scholarly or intellectual attitude.
Dennis Prager is another who considers leftism to be a religion:
For at least the last hundred years, the world’s most dynamic religion has been neither Christianity nor Islam.
It has been leftism.
Most people do not recognize what is probably the single most important fact of modern life. One reason is that leftism is overwhelmingly secular (more than merely secular: it is inherently opposed to all traditional religions), and therefore people do not regard it as a religion. Another is that leftism so convincingly portrays itself as solely the product of reason, intellect, and science that it has not been seen as the dogma-based ideology that it is. Therefore the vast majority of the people who affirm leftist beliefs think of their views as the only way to properly think about life.
I begin with Prager and return to Deresiewicz.
While I agree with the rest of Prager's column, I have trouble with his characterization of leftism as a religion.
It is true that leftism is like a religion in certain key respects. But if one thing is like another it does not follow that the first is a species of the other. Whales are like fish in certain key respects, but a whale is not a fish but a mammal. Whales live in the ocean, can stay underwater for long periods of time and have strong tails to propel themselves. Just like many fish. But whales are not fish.
I should think that correct taxonomies in the realm of ideas are just as important as correct taxonomies in the realm of flora and fauna.
Leftism is an anti-religious political ideology that functions in the lives of its adherents much like religions function in the lives of their adherents. This is the truth to which Prager alludes with his sloppy formulation, "leftism is a religion." Leftism in theory is opposed to every religion as to an opiate of the masses, to employ the figure of Karl Marx. In practice, however, today's leftists are rather strangely soft on the representatives of the 'religion of peace.' (What's more, if leftism were a religion, then, given that leftism is opposed to religion, it follows that leftism is opposed to itself, except that it is not.)
Or you could say that leftism is an ersatz religion for leftists. 'Ersatz' here functions as an alienans adjective. It functions like 'decoy' in 'decoy duck.' A decoy duck is not a duck. A substitute for religion is not a religion. Is golf a religion? Animal rescue?
An ideology is a system of action-guiding beliefs. That genus divides into the two species religious ideologies and nonreligious ideologies. Leftism, being "overwhelmingly secular" just as Prager says, is a nonreligious ideology. It is not a religion, but it shares some characteristics with religions and functions for its adherents as a substitute for religion.
You might think to accuse me of pedantry. What does it matter that Prager sometimes employs sloppy formulations? Surely it is more important that leftism be defeated than that it be fitted into an optimal taxonomy!
Well yes, slaying the dragon is Job One. But we also need to persuade intelligent and discriminating people. Precision in thought and speech is conducive to that end. And that is why I say, once more: Language matters!
Now let's consider the criteria that Deresiewicz adduces in support of his thesis that the elite liberal schools are religious. There seem to be two: these institutions (i) promulgate dogmas (ii) opposition to which is heresy. It is true that in religions there are dogmas and heresies. But communism was big on the promulgation of dogmas and the hounding of opponents as heretics.
Communism, however, is not a religion. At most, it is like a religion and functions like a religion in the lives of its adherents. As I said above, if X is like Y, it does not follow that X is a species of Y. If colleges and universities today are leftist seminaries -- places where the seeds of leftism are sown into skulls full of fertile mush -- it doesn't follow that these colleges and universities are religious seminaries. After all, the collegiate mush-heads are not being taught religion but anti-religion.
Pace Deresiewicz, there is nothing religious or "sacred" about extreme environmentalism. After all it is a form of idolatry, nature idolatry, and insofar forth, anti-religious.
Why would a critic of leftism want to label it a religion? Prager, who promotes religion, might be thinking along these lines: "You lefties cannot criticize religion since you have one too; it is just that yours is an inferior religion." Someone who opposes religion might be thinking along the following lines: "Religion is a Bad Thing, not conducive to human flourishing; leftism is a religion; ergo, leftism is a Bad Thing too."
This may be what is going on in Deresiewicz's mind. He is opposed to extreme leftism and thinks he can effectively attack it by labeling it a religion. This strategy encapsulates two mistakes. First, leftism is not a religion. Second, religion is a good thing. (I would even go so far as to argue that Islam, "the saddest and poorest form of theism" (Arthur Schopenhauer, reference and quotation here), has been of service to the benighted peoples who know no better religion: they are better off with Islam than with no religion at all.) There is also the question whether dogmas are bad for us.
But now's not the time to worry about whether religion with its dogmas is good for humans. My present point is that leftism is not a religion, and that no good purpose is served by confusing it with a religion.
Isn't This All Just a Semantic Quibble?
I don't think so. It goes to the question whether religion has an essence or nature. Some say it doesn't: the concept religion does not pick out an essence because it is a family-resemblance concept in Wittgenstein's sense. I say religion has an essence and that the following points are ingredient in that essence:
1. The belief that there is what William James calls an "unseen order." (Varieties of Religious Exerience, p. 53) This is a realm of absolute reality that lies beyond the perception of the five outer senses and their instrumental extensions. It is also inaccessible to inner sense or introspection. It is also not a realm of mere abstracta or thought-contents. So it lies beyond the discursive intellect. It is a spiritual reality. It is accessible from our side via mystical and religious experience. An initiative from its side is not to be ruled out in the form of revelation.
2. The belief that there is a supreme good for humans and that "our supreme good lies in harmoniously adjusting ourselves" to the "unseen order." (Varieties, p. 53)
3. The conviction that we are morally deficient, and that this deficiency impedes our adjustment to the unseen order. Man is in some some sense fallen from the moral height at which he would have ready access to the unseen order. His moral corruption, however it came about, has noetic consequences.
4. The conviction that our moral deficiency cannot be made sufficiently good by our own efforts to afford us ready access to the unseen order.
5. The conviction that adjustment to the unseen order requires moral purification/transformation.
6. The conviction that help from the side of the unseen order is available to bring about this purification and adjustment.
7. The conviction that the sensible order is not plenary in point of reality or value, that it is ontologically and axiologically derivative. It is a manifestation or emanation or creation of the unseen order.
If I have nailed down the essence of religion, then it follows that leftism, which is a form of secular humanism, is not a religion. Leftism collides with religion on all of these points. This is not a semantic claim but an ontological one. And the issue is not a quibble because it is important.
In sum. We must try to think as clearly as we can. We must therefore not confuse what is distinct. Hence we ought not confuse leftism with a religion.
In the last few weeks, there has been a spate of columns by writers on the left condemning the left-wing college students who riot, take over university buildings and shout down speakers with whom they differ.
These condemnations, coming about 50 years too late, should not be taken seriously.
[. . .]
Here's the problem:
It is the left that transformed universities into the moral and intellectual wastelands most are now.
It is the left that created the moral monsters known as left-wing students who do not believe in free speech, let alone tolerance.
It is the left that has taught generations of young Americans that America is essentially a despicable society that is racist and xenophobic to its core.
It is the left that came up with the lie that the university has been overrun by a "culture of rape."
It is the left that taught generations of Americans that everyone on the right is sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, racist and bigoted.
It is the left that is anti-intellectual, teaching students to substitute feelings for reason.
Neven Sesardic’s recent book, When Reason Goes on Holiday, provides a detailed account of the morally questionable actions undertaken in the interest of political causes by some of the most important philosophers in the analytic tradition: Otto Neurath, Rudolf Carnap, Imre Lakatos, Donald Davidson, Hilary Putnam, among several others. Some of their actions were not just questionable from a moral point of view, but outright reprehensible. Yet, as Sesardic points out in the conclusion to his book, the reaction from the philosophical community has been one of utter indifference . . . .
Concerned as he rightly is with the pollution of the physical environment, the liberal yet cannot seem to muster much moral enthusiasm over the pollution of the cultural environment, if he's even aware of it. Hillary, you will recall, cozied up to Jay Z. If you don't know who he is, good.
Trump Labor Secretary nominee Anthony Puzder is under fire for having employed an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper. But why should liberals care given that they do not distinguish legal from illegal immigrants while standing for open borders and sanctuary jurisdictions in defiance of the rule of law? Suddenly, these destructive leftists care about immigration law? Liberals should praise Puzder for giving the poor woman a job. After all, as they say, no human being is illegal!
What the Left is doing here is employing a Saul Alinsky tactic. The fourth of his Rules for Radicals reads:
Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.
Leftists judge us by rules for which they have nothing but contempt.
The ordinary hypocrite will not practice what he preaches, but at least he preaches, thereby paying lip service to ideals of conduct that he puts forth as binding on all. The Alinksyite leftist is a hyper-hypocrite who preaches ideals of conduct, not to all, but to his enemies, ideals that he has no intention of honoring.
Of course, I am not saying that Puzder did not do wrong in hiring the illegal immigrant. He did, assuming he knew she was illegal.
Neven Sesardić is a Croatian philosopher, born in 1949. He has taught philosophy at universities in Croatia, the United States, Japan, England, and Hong Kong. An earlier book of his is Making Sense of Heritability (Cambridge U. P., 2005).
“Gripping, thoroughly researched and documented, judiciously argued, and alternately depressing and infuriating, Sesardić’s courageous book offers the astounding spectacle of some of the greatest minds of the past century―including Carnap, Einstein, Gödel, and Wittgenstein―adopting odious political views, supporting Lenin, Stalin, and Mao, for simplistic and plainly fallacious reasons. More shocking still is the story of how prominent journals, encyclopedias, and the American Philosophical Association itself have sacrificed academic integrity on the altar of political activism. Great philosophers repeatedly reveal themselves as terrible thinkers when it comes to morality and politics, plunging headlong into complex controversies without drawing elementary distinctions or differentiating degrees of good or evil.” ―Daniel Bonevac, professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin
The book arrived yesterday. Flipping though it, I was surprised and pleased to find a quotation from one William Vallicella on p. 168. This is from a letter that protests a proposed group resolution on the death penalty:
What then could justify the APA in taking sides on the sort of broadly philosophical issues that tend to become bones of contention in the political arena? . . . Furthermore, by what principle was the death penalty chosen as the topic of an APA resolution rather than, say, partial-birth abortions? Should the APA endorse a package of positions, issuing pronunciamentos on the Balanced Budget Amendment, handgun control and ebonics? If not, why not? (William Vallicella).
Here is a second, later letter of protest (November 2003) that I sent to the A. P. A. before cancelling my membership:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada responding to the fatal shooting at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec located in the Ste-Foy neighbourhood of the city of Québec:
Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear.
I should think that strength derives from unity, not diversity. "United we stand; divided we fall." See Mark 3:25: "And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand"; Matthew 12:25: "And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand," and Luke 11:17: "But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth."
Diversity is of course good within limits. But a diversity worth having must submit to the control and discipline of the competing value, unity. Otherwise, diversity divides and destroys.
Given that we are united in our commitment to religious liberty, we can tolerate a diversity of religious and anti-religious views. Unfortunately, Islam is not known for its toleration of competing faiths and non-faiths. In its core doctrine Islam is radically totalitarian and suppressive of dissent. So radical Islam cannot be tolerated since it opposes toleration and religious liberty.
A diversity so diverse that it tolerates the enemies of toleration and diversity is destructive.
Much of the yammering about diversity by liberals is nothing but empty virtue-signalling. Liberals need to show appreciation for the competing value of unity. Until they do so we should denounce them as destructive fools.
I of course condemn the attack on the Québec mosque.
All this raises an uncomfortable question for people who have no use for PC’s agenda, and who value the freedom to think for themselves. How do you respond to someone who is determined to smear you for your alleged bigotry regardless of what you think and why? How do you win an argument against someone who willfully changes the meaning of words, maintains that the truth is completely relative, and feels perfectly justified in accusing virtually anyone of the gravest moral failure?
If our opponents are going to accuse us of being evil-minded bigots, regardless of what we say or think, then what’s the point in bothering to convince them otherwise?
Enter the right-wing postmodern antihero. Unlike just about every other presidential candidate who ran on the Republican ticket, Trump grasps our postmodern culture intuitively, and put it to use with devastating effect.
As the horrors of the next four years unfold, with Climate Change deniers, women's reproductive rights opponents, public school opponents, gun enthusiasts, proponents of eliminating any minimum wage at all, those eager to up the rate of deportations, and war starters in control of the government, there are people on the left who will devote all their time and energy to condemning what they see as the inadequate ideological purity of others well to the left of the center of American politics.
This is typical leftist stuff from a very intelligent and learned man. Judging from it, how could one imagine a fruitful conversation with a leftist?
My thesis is that productive discussions with leftists are highly unlikely. This is because they take as settled questions that to an objective and fair-minded person are not settled. My present point is not that they give the wrong answers, although I believe they do; my present point is that leftists refuse to admit as genuine questions what are in fact genuine questions.
A skeptic is a doubter, not a denier. To doubt or inquire or question whether such-and-such is the case is not to deny that it is the case. It is a cheap rhetorical trick of Global Warming (GW) activists to speak of GW denial and posture as if it is in the ball park of Holocaust denial. People who misuse language in this way signal that they are not interested in a serious discussion. When GW activists speak in this way they give us even more reason to be skeptical. Their claim is not just that there is global warming, but that there is catastrophic, anthropogenic global warming, the human and non-human causes of which are understood, and that this catastrophic warming trend can be stopped or impeded by human efforts, efforts the effect of which will not be as bad, or worse, that the effects of the supposed catastrophic, man-made, global warming. Obviously, there is quite a lot to be skeptical about here. For one thing, has it been established that the human contribution to global warming is large enough to justify drastic measures?
Women's Reproductive Rights
To subsume abortion under the rubric of women's reproductive right is willfully to blind oneself to the moral questions that abortion raises. Again, there is a refusal to admit as genuine questions what are in fact genuine questions.
To support vouchers and school choice is not to oppose public education. Here again a signature tactic of the leftist ideologue: the slandering of the political opponent and the refusal to present his position fairly.
Enough of the howling of Howlin' Wolff and his pack of destructives. This garbage is really beneath reply. Luckily, we now have a president who knows how to counterpunch.
9. To say that the right to free expression is a natural right is not to say that it is absolute. For the exercise of this right is subject to various reasonable and perhaps even morally obligatory restrictions, both in public and in private. There are limits on the exercise of the right in both spheres, but one has the right in both spheres. To have an (exercisable) right is one thing, to exercise it another, and from the fact that one has the right it does not follow that one has the right to its exercise in every actual and possible circumstance. If you say something I deem offensive in my house, on my blog, or while in my employ, then I can justifiably throw you out, or shut you up, or fire you and you cannot justify your bad behavior by invocation of the natural right to free speech. And similarly in public: the government is justified in preventing you from from shouting 'fire' in a crowded theater, to use the hackneyed example. You are not thereby deprived of the right; you are deprived of the right to exercise the right in certain circumstances.
I have been a fan of Nat Hentoff ever since I first read him in the pages of Down Beat magazine way back in the '60s. He died at 91 on January 7th. My tribute to him is a repost from 4 June 2012:
A Prime Instance of Political Correctness: The Blackballing of Nat Hentoff
Nat Hentoff is a civil libertarian and a liberal in an older and respectable sense of the term. He thinks for himself and follows the arguments and evidence where they lead. So what do contemporary politically correct liberals do? They attack him. His coming out against abortion particularly infuriated them. Mark Judge comments:
Hentoff's liberal friends didn't appreciate his conversion: "They were saying, 'What's the big fuss about? If the parents had known she was going to come in this way, they would have had an abortion. So why don't you consider it a late abortion and go on to something else?' Here were liberals, decent people, fully convinced themselves that they were for individual rights and liberties but willing to send into eternity these infants because they were imperfect, inconvenient, costly. I saw the same attitude on the part of the same kinds of people toward abortion, and I thought it was pretty horrifying."
The reaction from America's corrupt fourth estate was instant. Hentoff, a Guggenheim fellow and author of dozens of books, was a pariah. Several of his colleagues at the Village Voice, which had run his column since the 1950s, stopped talking to him. When the National Press Foundation wanted to give him a lifetime achievement award, there was a bitter debate amongst members whether Hentoff should even be honored (he was). Then they stopped running his columns. You heard his name less and less. In December 2008, the Village Voice officially let him go.
When journalist Dan Rather was revealed to have poor news judgment, if not outright malice, for using fake documents to try and change the course of a presidential election, he was given a new TV show and a book deal -- not to mention a guest spot on The Daily Show. The media has even attempted a resuscitation of anti-Semite Helen Thomas, who was recently interviewed in Playboy.
By accepting the truth about abortion, and telling that truth, Nat Hentoff may be met with silence by his peers when he goes to his reward. The shame will be theirs, not his.
Oikophobia is an irrational fear of household items, surroundings, and the like. Political oikophobia is an irrational aversion to one's own country, culture, traditions, and countrymen. I suggest we call the opposite political oikophilia, an irrational love of one's own country, culture, traditions, and countrymen. This distinction 'cuts perpendicular' to the xenophobia-xenophilia distinction. Thus,
Political oikophobia: irrational aversion to one's own country, etc. Political oikophilia: irrational love of one's own country, etc. Xenophobia: an irrational fear of foreigners and the foreign. Xenophilia: an irrational love of foeigners and the foreign.
Clearly, one can be an oikophobe without being a xenophile, and an oikophile without being a xenophobe.
Trump Derangment Syndrome takes the form of political oikophobia in many. Glenn Reynolds supplies examples. Here is one:
Ned Resnikoff, a “senior editor” at the liberal website ThinkProgress, wrote on Facebook that he’d called a plumber to fix a clogged drain. The plumber showed up, did the job and left, but Resnikoff was left shaken, though with a functioning drain. Wrote Resnikoff, “He was a perfectly nice guy and a consummate professional. But he was also a middle-aged white man with a Southern accent who seemed unperturbed by this week’s news.”
This created fear: “While I had him in the apartment, I couldn’t stop thinking about whether he had voted for Trump, whether he knew my last name is Jewish, and how that knowledge might change the interaction we were having inside my own home.”
When it was all over, Resnikoff reported that he was “rattled” at the thought that a Trump supporter might have been in his home. “I couldn’t shake the sense of potential danger.”
Here is a second example:
In fact, another piece on reacting to the election, by Tim Kreider in The Week, is titled "I love America. It's Americans I hate." Writes Kreider, “The public is a swarm of hostile morons, I told her. You don't need to make them understand you; you just need to defeat them, or wait for them die. . . . A few of us are talking, after a couple drinks, about buying guns; if it comes to a fascist state or civil war, we figure, we don't want the red states to be the only ones armed.”
“A vote for Trump,” Kreider continues, “is kind of like a murder.” Though his piece concludes on a (slightly) more hopeful note, the point is clear: Americans, at least Trump-voting Americans, are “pathetically dumb and gullible, uncritical consumers of any disinformation that confirms their biases.”
And a third:
And in a notorious Yale Law Journal article, feminist law professor Wendy Brown wrote about an experience in which, after a wilderness hike, she returned to her car to find it wouldn’t start. A man in an NRA hat spent a couple of hours helping her get it going, but rather than display appreciation for this act of unselfishness, Brown wrote that she was lucky she had friends along, as a guy like that was probably a rapist.
Clearly, these three people are topically deranged: they lose their mental balance and the boat of brain capsizes into irrationality when the topic of Trump obtrudes. This is not to say that they cannot negotiate the world sensibly in other ways: they are not globally deranged. Nor is it to say that everyone with objections to Trump the man or Trump's policies and appointments is deranged topically or globally.
The phrase 'Trump Derangement Syndrome' refers to a real phenomenon and is justified by this fact.
Horace Jeffery Hodges is the oldest of my cyber-friends dating back to the '90s. He writes:
In a recent post on Islam - how to conceive of it and how to deal with it - my cyber-friend Bill Vallicella notes that some who undertake this task mistakenly assume:
that Islam is a religion like any other. Not so. It is a hybrid religious-political ideology that promotes values inimical to the West and . . . [the West's] flourishing. Sharia and the West do not mix.
Bill emphasizes that Islam is not a religion like any other, that it's a hybrid religious-political ideology. My view differs little from Bill's view, though I would add a point.
Not only do I find Islam a hybrid religious-political ideology, I would describe it as a throw-back to an earlier stage of religious development, the religion of the priest-king, a figure with both a religious role and a political role to fill. Think of the Caliph, who fills both of these roles, and recall the recent Caliphate, which attempted to install shariah as the law of the land that it occupied.
In Islam, there is no separation of mosque and state. The mosque is, in fact, an extension of the state, which clarifies why Islam restricts all other religions wherever it gains political power, for other religions are suspect, potentially, as extensions of some other state's power, and the adherents of other religions are, technically, considered to be foreigners.
Just some things to consider in considering Islam . . .
Jeff has a deeper knowledge of these matters than I do, so it is gratifying to receive his endorsement. What he adds to my post is also correct as far as I am able to judge.
Jeff rightly points out that under Islam there is no separation of mosque and state. This is one of the reasons why Islam is incompatible with the values of the West.
The threat of Islam in this regard is actually two-fold. There is the general threat to the separation of church/mosque/synagogue and state. And there is the more specific threat posed by Islam's being the worst of the great religions. Suppose the USA were ruled by a Christian theocracy. That would not be good, but it would be far better than if it were ruled by a Muslim theocracy.
As for immigration, one point that needs to be made over and over in the teeth of retromingent leftist incomprehension is that immigration is justified only if it benefits the host country. Trump understands this; Hillary and her ilk do not. This is another reason why his defeat of Hillary is cause for jubilation. No doubt it is good for Muslims that they be allowed to flood into Germany; but what the Germans need to ask is whether there is any net benefit to them of this in-flooding. And the same for every country.
This is just common sense, a commodity in short supply among lefties whom I call retromingents because of their tendency to piss on the past and its wisdom.
UPDATE : Claude Boisson (France) sends the following:
I think Horace Jeffery Hodges is absolutely correct.
Islam is in many ways a total system that is not unlike what anthropologists describe as "culture" in the case of traditional (olim primitive) societies. The various strands that we would call economy, politics, science, philosophy, religion, law, custom, etiquette, personal hygiene, etc. are closely interwoven.
Islam is (a) a religion, and in fact the native religion of every child, which is why the (Cairo) Declaration of the Rights of Man in Islam, signed by all Muslim countries, carefully mentions the (logical) impossibility of leaving Islam in its article 10; (b) a system of rules for the daily life of the faithful (what he should not eat, how he should dress, how he should urinate and defecate, what he should not draw, etc.), largely in imitation of the Prophet's ways around 630 in Arabia; (c) a system of laws for society; (d) a political ideology compelling Muslims to rule the world and dominate (or expel or kill) the infidels.
Yes, all of this.
Hence the power and resilience of the system. Imagine Bolshevism or Nazism being at the same time a full-fledged religion and a list of stipulations for eating, shitting, washing after copulation, etc. Or imagine a priest delivering a sermon telling Catholic men that, when pissing, they should hold their penis in their left hand, squat whenever possible, avoid facing Jerusalem, and pronounce special prayers against toilet devils.
This can only be understood when one studies the doctrine of Islam where it should be studied according to the best experts, namely the ulamas and ayatollahs: in the Qur'an AND in the Sunna (the canonical hadiths and the Sira, Muhammad's life (notably the one by Ibn Ishaq/Ibn Hisham)). The fiqh is derived from it. And the Qur'an should be read under the principle of abrogation, which cancels generous verses with violent verses.
The following text, among very many on the Web, explains that Isam's shariah is to dominate the world:
It is common for Muslim preachers to argue that one of the many obvious signs of superiority of Islam over, say, Christianity, is that it is a total way of life, including the social/economic/political dimensions.
Please note that the European Court of Human Rights has twice stated that shariah is incompatible with the European Convention on the Rights of Man, to which my own country, France, is signatory. This fact seems to have escaped the notice of almost every politician and pundit. Everywhere we hear versions of the inane dictum proferred by French politicians: "Islam is perfectly compatible with the laws of the Republic". Ignorant fools (or liars?), who think they know Islam better than ulamas!
Malcolm Pollack goes Dennis Prager one better. BRIXISH is indeed superior to SIXHIRB for Malcolm's reasons below, but also because it is in the vicinity of BREXIT. After all, the BRIXISH would tend to support BREXIT. Here's Malcolm:
Saw an unfamiliar acronym over at Maverick Philosopher the the other day: “SIXHIRB”. I had to look it up. It’s a coinage of Dennis Prager’s, and it stands for Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Islamophobic, Racist, Bigoted: the “basket” of cudgels routinely applied to anyone to the right of the Vox editorial staff.
I’d have preferred “BRIXISH”: it sounds more like an adjective, and carries a faint echo of America’s founding people and culture (i.e., the usual target). But it’s still handy to have a linguistic shortcut for these reflexive and ubiquitous slurs, so here’s a nod to Mr. Prager.
I am slightly surprised that Malcolm did not instantly recognize the Pragerian provenience of SIXHIRB inasmuch as every other time I have used it I have credited Prager. I didn't this time to save keystrokes, figuring that everyone knew by now that it is Prager's coinage.
An acronym is a pronounceable word formed from either the initial letters of two or more words, or from contiguous letters of two or more words. For example, 'laser' is a pronounceable word formed from the initial letters of the following words: light, amplification, stimulated, emission, radiation. And Gestapo is a pronounceable word formed from contiguous letters of the following words: geheime, Staats, Polizei.
But what about BREXIT? It is not an initialism or a truncation as I define these terms:
An initialism is a string of contiguous letters, unpronounceable as a word or else not in use as a word, but pronounceable as a list of letters, formed from the initial letters of two or more words. For example, 'PBS' is an initialism that abbreviates 'Public Broadcasting System.' 'PBS' cannot be pronounced as a word, but it can be pronounced as a series of letters: Pee, Bee, Ess. 'IT' is an initialism that abbreviates "information technology.' In this case 'IT' is pronounceable as a word, but is not in use as a word. You can say, 'Mary works in Eye-Tee,' but not, 'Mary works in IT.' The same goes for 'ASU' which abbreviates 'Arizona State University.'
A truncation is a term formed from a single word by shortening it. 'App,' for example is a truncation of 'application,' and 'ho' is presumably a truncation of 'whore' (in black idiom). 'Auto' is a truncation of 'automobile,' and 'blog' (noun) of 'weblog.'
So I book BREXIT under acronym despite its difference from the other two. BREXIT fits my definition of 'acronym' inasmuch as it is a pronounceable word formed from contiguous letters of two or more words, in this case, 'Britain' and 'exit.' The fact that all of the letters of 'exit' are packed into BREXIT does not stop the latter from being an acronym.
A correspondent has just emailed me, completely out of the blue, to tell me that you're a “racist, islamophobe, bigot”. Thought you would like that. 😀
I like it very much except that he leaves out the remaining SIXHIRB epithets: sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, and homophobic. But three out of seven ain't bad.
To understand the Left, you must understand that they see politics as war. Von Clausewitz held that war is politics pursued by other means. But what I call the Converse Clausewitz Principle holds equally: politics is war pursued by other means. I wish it weren't so, and for a long time I couldn't bring myself to believe it is so; but now I know it is so.
David Horowitz, commenting on "Politics is war conducted by other means," writes:
In political warfare you do not just fight to prevail in an argument, but rather to destroy the enemy's fighting ability. Republicans often seem to regard political combats as they would a debate before the Oxford Political Union, as though winning depended on rational arguments and carefully articulated principles. But the audience of politics is not made up of Oxford dons, and the rules are entirely different.
You have only thirty seconds to make your point. Even if you had time to develop an argument, the audience you need to reach (the undecided and those in the middle who are not paying much attention) would not get it. Your words would go over some of their heads and the rest would not even hear them (or quickly forget) amidst the bustle and pressure of everyday life. Worse, while you are making your argument the other side has already painted you as a mean-spirited, borderline racist controlled by religious zealots, securely in the pockets of the rich. Nobody who sees you in this way is going to listen to you in any case. You are politically dead.
Politics is war. Don't forget it. ("The Art of Political War" in Left Illusions: An Intellectual Odyssey Spence 2003, pp. 349-350)
As the old saying has it, "All's fair in love and war." And so it is no surprise that leftists routinely proceed by the hurling of the SIXHIRB epithets.
One soon learns that it does no good patiently to explain that a phobia is by definition an irrational fear, that fear of radical Islam is entirely rational, and that therefore it is a misuse of 'phobia' to call one who sounds the alarm an Islamophobe. Nor does it do any good to point out to those who use these '-phobe' coinages that they are thereby refusing to show their interlocutors respect as persons, as rational beings, but are instead ascribing mental dysfunction to them. Our enemies will just ignore our explanations and go right back to labeling us sexists, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic . . . deplorable, etc.
Again, it is because they see politics as a war to the death.
Leftists that they are, they believe that the end justifies the means. They see themselves as good people, as their 'virtue-signaling' indicates, and their opponents as evil people. So why to their minds should they show us any respect?
To ask Lenin's question, What is to be done? One has to punch right back at them and turn their Alinskyite tactics against them.
"But aren't we then no better than them? We are hen doing the same things they do!"
Suppose A threatens to kill B, shoots at him but misses. B shoots back and kills A. Suppose the weapons are of the same type. Both A and B instantiate the same act-type: shooting at a man with the intention of hitting him using a 1911 model .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol.
While A and B 'do the same thing,' B is morally and legally justified in doing it while A is not. So there's the difference.
We are defending ourselves against leftist assault, and this fact justifies our using the same tactics that our enemies use.
This helps explain the appeal of Donald Trump. He knows how to punch back, unlike Mitt Romney, Jeb! Bush, and so many other clueless gentlemen who "seem to regard political combats as they would a debate before the Oxford Political Union . . . ."
Liberal loons continue to whine about 'voter suppression' with the demand for photo identification at polling places being an example of 'voter suppression.'
This view is so contemptibly stupid, and so obviously motivated by the lust for partisan advantage, that it is beneath refutation. You may as well argue that traffic laws amount to 'driver suppression' inasmuch as they suppress creative automotive maneuvers.
Here as elsewhere mockery is the best way to counter liberal insanity.
A while back on C-SPAN I heard one Steve Cobble claim that long lines at polls are 'voter suppression.' Only a leftie could come up with a loony line like that. Suppression requires a suppressor. Who, pray tell, is the suppressive agent behind the long lines?
Part of the reason I got embroiled in this [gender identity] controversy was because of what I know about how things went wrong in the Soviet Union. Many of the doctrines that underlie the legislation that I’ve been objecting to share structural similarities with the Marxist ideas that drove Soviet Communism. The thing I object to the most was the insistence that people use these made up words like ‘xe’ and ‘xer’ that are the construction of authoritarians. There isn’t a hope in hell that I’m going to use their language, because I know where that leads.
[. . .]
I was also quite profoundly influenced by [Alexsandr] Solzhenitsyn’s book The Gulag Archipelago. People say that real Marxism has never been tried – not in the Soviet Union, in China, in Cambodia, in Korea, that wasn’t real Marxism. I find that argument specious, appalling, ignorant, and maybe also malevolent all at the same time. Specious because Solzhenitsyn demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that the horrors [of the Soviet system] were a logical consequence of the doctrines embedded within Marxist thinking. I think Dostoyevsky saw what was coming and Nietzsche wrote about it extensively in the 1880s, laying out the propositions that are encapsulated in Marxist doctrine, and warning that millions of people would die in the 20th century because of it.
You’ve painted a pretty bleak picture for the future.
There are bleak things going on. To start with, Bill C-16 writes social constructionism into the fabric of the law. Social constructionism is the doctrine that all human roles are socially constructed. They’re detached from the underlying biology and from the underlying objective world. So Bill C-16 contains an assault on biology and an implicit assault on the idea of objective reality. It’s also blatant in the Ontario Human Rights Commission policies and the Ontario Human Rights Act. It says identity is nothing but subjective. So a person can be male one day and female the next, or male one hour and female the next.
Finally, Castro’s death and the outpouring of praise from his fans should remind us about the essence of the Cold War: it will never really be over, because it was always more than a geopolitical struggle between two nation-states. It was and is a struggle between those who value the liberty of the individual above all else versus those who embrace utopian dreams of a state than can solve all problems and make everyone happy, as long as the “right people” are in charge.
I pity people who celebrate the life of Fidel Castro in a knee-jerk reaction to salve their consciences for years of having committed themselves to failed and morally bankrupt ideas. They are not ignorant or stupid: they know Castro was a murderous tyrant who built a slave-state and ruined his country and has handed on that legacy to his brother who is even now planning to leave it to their heirs, helped along by the foolish policies of the American president and others in the West who always think their goodwill gestures and magnanimity will bring everyone around to a better way. Pity them or not, however, we cannot absolve them of accommodating the Castro brothers’ crimes.
Imagine having seven pints of your blood forcibly extracted prior to being executed for your political dissent. You are not allowed to face the firing squad with dignity, but murdered while dazed and confused from blood loss. And yet the Left sings the dictator's praises. Here:
Castro’s body count varies depending on who you ask. The Cuba Archive Project has one of the most reliable data sets. The group’s records cover a period from May 1952 to the present. In order to be counted, the stories of each victim must be verified by two independent sources. To date, the Archive attributes some 10,723 deaths to the regime. Including nearly 1,000 deaths linked to “disappearances,” more than 2,000 extrajudicial killings, and over 3,100 people killed by firing squad. Some 100 minor children have been murdered by the regime via beating, the withholding of medical attention, and other methods. In addition to these killings, some 78,000 people are estimated to have died while trying to flee the country.
To those unconvinced by mass murder that Castro was a lamentable dictator, consider his government’s practice of forced blood donation. This can range from taking a person’s blood forcibly without their consent to coercing individuals to offer their blood.
The Cuba Archive has credible information on at least 11 cases of forced blood extraction prior to execution. According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of States (OAS) 1967 report regarding the practice at Havana’s La Cabaña prison, an average of seven pints of blood were forcibly taken from prisoners on their way to be executed, causing “cerebral anemia and a state of unconscious paralysis.” (For perspective, the average adult has around 10 pints of blood in their body.) Victims would then be taken to the firing squad on a stretcher.
The Cuban government would then sell the blood to the North Vietnamese for around $50 a pint.
Today, Cubans are required to “donate” blood before even minor medical procedures. Year-round media campaigns encourage citizens to donate in an effort to “save lives.” In reality, the Cuban government has kept up with its history of exporting blood products. According to Cuba’s Oficina Nacionel de Estadísticas (National Office of Statistics), the country exported some $622.5 million—an average of $31 million per year—of blood products between 1995 and 2014. (It’s worth noting that these numbers may very well be understated. Other products made from blood derivatives may not be classified as blood products when exported.)
President Obama welcomed Black Lives Matter activists several times to the White House. He racialized the entire criminal-justice system, repeatedly accusing it of discriminating, often lethally, against blacks. At the memorial service for five Dallas police officers gunned down in July 2016, Obama declared that black parents were right to fear that “something terrible may happen when their child walks out the door”—that the child will be shot by a cop simply for being “stupid.”
Obama put Brittany Packnett, a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement, on his President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Packnett’s postelection essay on Vox, “White People: what is your plan for the Trump presidency?” is emblematic of the racial demonology that is now core Democratic thinking. Packnett announces that she is “tired of continuously being assaulted” by her country with its pervasive “white supremacy.” She calls on “white people” to “deal with what white people cause,” because “people of color have enough work to do for ourselves—to protect, free, and find joy for our people.”
Packnett’s plaint about crushing racial oppression echoes media darling Ta-Nehesi Coates, whose locus classicus of maudlin racial victimology, Between the World and Me, won a prominent place on Obama’s 2015 summer reading list. Coates has received almost every prize that the elite establishment can bestow; Between the World and Me is now a staple of college summer reading lists.
According to Coates, police officers who kill black men are not “uniquely evil”; rather, their evil is the essence of America itself. These “destroyers” (i.e., police officers) are “merely men enforcing the whims of our country, correctly interpreting its heritage and legacy. This legacy aspires to the shackling of black bodies.” In America, Mr. Coates claims, “it is traditional to destroy the black body—it is heritage.”
Coates’s melodramatic rhetoric comes right out of the academy, the inexhaustible source of Democratic identity politics. The Democratic Party is now merely an extension of left-wing campus culture; few institutions exist wherein the skew toward Democratic allegiance is more pronounced. The claims of life-destroying trauma that have convulsed academia since the election are simply a continuation of last year’s campus Black Lives Matter protests, which also claimed that “white privilege” and white oppression were making existence impossible for black students and other favored victim groups. Black students at Bard College, for example, an elite school in New York’s Hudson Valley, called for an end to “systemic and structural racism on campus . . . so that Black students can go to class without fear.” If any black Bard student had ever been assaulted by a white faculty member, administrator, or student, the record does not reflect it.
These claims of “structural racism and institutional oppression,” in the words of Brown University’s allegedly threatened black students, overlook the fact that every selective college in the country employs massive racial preferences in admissions favoring less academically qualified black and Hispanic students over more academically qualified white and Asian ones. Every faculty hiring search is a desperate exercise in finding black and Hispanic candidates whom rival colleges have not already scooped up at inflated prices. Far from being “post-racial,” campuses spend millions on racially and ethnically separate programming, separate dorms, separate administrators, and separate student centers. They have created entire fields devoted to specializing in one’s own “identity,” so long as that identity is non-white, non-male, or non-heterosexual. The central theme of those identity-based fields is that heterosexual, white (one could also add Christian) males are the source of all injustice in the world. Speaking on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer show in the wake of Trump’s election, Emory philosophy professor George Yancy, author of Look, A White!, called for a nationwide “critique of whiteness,” which, per Yancy, is at the “core side of hegemony” in the U.S.
You shouldn't be. The election result is in part a massive repudiation of the insanity of the Left of which there is new evidence almost every day. A couple of recent examples: The flag incident at Hampshire College; FDNY's hiring of ex-cons for diversity.
Ah yes, Diversity! The goddess before whom the loons of the Left genuflect when they are not genuflecting before that god of diversity, Barack Hussein Obama, the self-diverse apotheosis of diversity, both black and white, he who brought the races together. What a legacy!
●He turned Cuba into a colony of the Soviet Union and nearly caused a nuclear holocaust.
●He sponsored terrorism wherever he could and allied himself with many of the worst dictators on earth.
●He was responsible for so many thousands of executions and disappearances in Cuba that a precise number is hard to reckon.
●He brooked no dissent and built concentration camps and prisons at an unprecedented rate, filling them to capacity, incarcerating a higher percentage of his own people than most other modern dictators, including Stalin.
●He condoned and encouraged torture and extrajudicial killings.
●He forced nearly 20 percent of his people into exile, and prompted thousands to meet their deaths at sea, unseen and uncounted, while fleeing from him in crude vessels.
●He claimed all property for himself and his henchmen, strangled food production and impoverished the vast majority of his people.
●He outlawed private enterprise and labor unions, wiped out Cuba’s large middle class and turned Cubans into slaves of the state.
●He persecuted gay people and tried to eradicate religion.
●He censored all means of expression and communication.
●He established a fraudulent school system that provided indoctrination rather than education, and created a two-tier health-care system, with inferior medical care for the majority of Cubans and superior care for himself and his oligarchy, and then claimed that all his repressive measures were absolutely necessary to ensure the survival of these two ostensibly “free” social welfare projects.
●He turned Cuba into a labyrinth of ruins and established an apartheid society in which millions of foreign visitors enjoyed rights and privileges forbidden to his people.
●He never apologized for any of his crimes and never stood trial for them.
A 36-year-old biological male dominated the women’s division of the El Tour de Tucson last weekend, an annual cycling competition in Arizona that attracts thousands of amateur and professional cyclists.
Jillian Bearden — who identifies as a transgender woman — won the 106-mile race in 4 hours and 36 minutes, the Arizona Daily Star reported.
[. . .]
The International Olympics Committee recently changed its ruled to allow biological men to compete as women without first undergoing a sex-change operation. [emphasis added]
Let me see if I understand this. A biological male, who identifies himself as a woman, is allowed to compete against biological females in an athletic event. Am I missing something? Bear in mind that the competitor in question, at the time of the event, has the standard male 'equipment': he hasn't had a sex change operation. And with that equipment come the sorts of muscles useful for powering a bicycle.
When we conservatives refer to liberals as loons, examples like this are what we have in mind. Don't you have to be unhinged from reality to suppose that a biological male who merely fancies himself a biological female can thereby transform himself into one?
The paradox here is that while biological reality is being denied, it is at the same time being used to gain an unfair advantage over women.
There is a denial of biological reality if you imagine that your being male or female is simply a matter of a free self-construal or self-construction via thoughts and feelings. But it is that very same biological reality which gives the biologically male cyclist who fancies himself a woman the edge over biological females.
How would it be any different if a 25-year-old male runner were to enter a footrace in the 60-70-year-old male division on the ground that he 'identifies' as an old man?
Another paradox is that feminists are typically constructivists; but in a case like this it comes back to bite them. Shouldn't they be howling over the unfairness of a biological male's domination of women in a women's event? But their political correctness has them hamstrung.
What is ultimately at the bottom of all this nonsense? The denial of reality and the substitution for it of various types of constructions, both social-collective and individual. It is a long story.
The National Science Foundation has spent more than $400,000 on a study that published scientific results on the “relationship between gender and glaciers.”
The paper “Glaciers, gender, and science,” published in January 2016, concluded that “ice is not just ice,” urging scientists to take a “feminist political ecology and feminist postcolonial” approach when they study melting ice caps and climate change.
Yet another reason to rejoice and be thankful this Thanksgiving over the defeat of the hilarious Hillary and her Pee Cee ilk. Leftists politicize everything they touch, and they touch everything.
Beef is the flesh of a formerly sentient being, a dead cow. And of course beef is edible. For present purposes, to be edible is to be ingestible by mastication, swallowing, etc., non-poisonous, and sufficiently nutritious to sustain human life.
But is everything that is edible food? Obviously not: your pets and your children are edible but they are not food. People don't feed their pets and children to fatten them up for slaughter. So while all food is edible, not everything edible is food.
What then is the missing 'ingredient'? What must be added to the edible to make it food? We must move from merely biological concern with human animals and the nutrients necessary to keep them alive to the cultural and normative. Sally Haslanger: "Food, I submit, is a cultural and normative category." ("Ideology, Generics, and Common Ground," Chapter 11 of Feminist Metaphysics, 192)
This is surely on the right track, though I would add that food is not merely cultural and normative. Food, we can agree, is what it is socially acceptable to eat and/or morally permissible to eat. But food, to be food, must be material stuff ingestible by material beings, and so cannot be in toto a social or cultural construct. Or do you want to say that potatoes in the ground are social constructs? I hope not. Haslanger seems to accept my obvious point, as witness her remark to the effect that one cannot chow down on aluminum soda cans. As she puts it, "not just anything could count as food."(192) No construing of aluminum cans, social or otherwise, could make them edible to humans.
Could it be that certain food stuffs are by nature food, and not by convention? Could it be that the flesh of certain non-human animals such as cows is by nature food for humans? If beef is by nature food for humans, then it is normal in the normative sense for humans to eat beef, and thus morally acceptable that they eat it. Of course, what it is morally acceptable to eat need not be morally obligatory to eat.
Haslanger rejects the moral acceptability of eating beef but I don't quite find an argument against it, at least not in the article under examination. What she does is suggest how someone could come to accept the (to her) mistaken view that it is morally acceptable to eat meat. Given that 'Beef is food' is a generic statement, one will be tempted to accept the pragmatic or conversational implicature that "there is something about the nature of beef (or cows) that makes it food." (192)
For Haslanger, 'Beef is food' is in the close conceptual vicinity of 'Sagging pants are cool' and 'Women wear lipstick.'
Surely there is nothing intrinsic to sagging pants that makes them 'cool': 'coolness' is a relational property had by sagging pants in virtue of their being regarded as 'cool' by certain individuals. It is not in the nature of pants to sag such that non-sagging pants would count as sartorially defective. We can also easily agree that it is it not in the nature of women to wear lipstick such that non-lipstick-wearing women such as Haslanger are defective women in the way that a cat born with only three legs is a defective cat, an abnormal cat in both the normative and statistical senses of 'abnormal.' One can be a real woman, a good woman, a non-defective woman without wearing lipstick.
These fashion examples, which could be multiplied ad libitum (caps worn backward or sideways, high heels, etc.), are clear. What is not clear is why 'Beef is food' and 'Cows are food' are like the fashion examples rather than like such examples as 'Cats are four-legged' and 'Humans are rational.'
Cats are four-legged by nature, not by social construction. Accordingly, a three-legged cat is a defective cat. As such, it is no counterexample to the truth that cats are four-legged. 'Cats are four-legged' is presumably about a generic essence, one that has normative 'bite': a good cat, a normal cat has four legs. 'Cats are four-legged' is not replaceable salva veritate by 'All cats are four-legged.'
Why isn't 'Cows are food' assimilable to 'Cats are four-legged' rather than to 'Sagging pants are cool'? I am not finding an argument. Haslanger denies that "cows are for eating, that beef just is food":
Given that I believe this to be a pernicious and morally damaging assumption, it is reasonable for me to block the implicature by denying the claim: cows are not food. I would even be willing to say that beef is not food. (192)
Beef is not food for Haslanger because raising and slaughtering cows to eat their flesh is an "immoral human practice." But what exactly is the argument here? Where's the beef? Joking aside, what is the argument to the conclusion that eating beef is immoral?
There isn't one. She just assumes that eating beef is immoral. In lieu of an argument she provides a psycholinguistic explanation of how one might come to think that beef is food.
The explanation is that people believe that beef is food because they accept a certain pragmatic implicature, namely the one from 'Beef is food' to 'Beef has a nature that makes it food.' The inferential slide is structurally the same as the one from 'Sagging pants are cool' to 'There is something in the nature of sagging pants that grounds their intrinsic coolness.'
Now it is obvious that the pragmatic implicature is bogus is the fashion examples. To assume that it is also bogus in the beef example is to beg the question.
We noted that not everything edible is food. To be food, a stuff must not only be edible; it must also be socially acceptable to eat it. Food is "a cultural and normative category." (192) But Haslanger admits that "cows are food, given existing social practices." (193) So beef is, as a matter of fact, food. To have a reason to overturn the existing social practices, Haslanger need to give us a reason why eating beef is immoral -- which she hasn't done.
And the Left continues to melt down over the election result.
A curious exercise in hyperventilation from the pen of Andrew Sullivan. Here are a couple of gasps:
In the U.S., the [populist] movement — built on anti-political politics, economic disruption, and anti-immigration fears — had something else, far more lethal, in its bag of tricks: a supremely talented demagogue who created an authoritarian cult with unapologetically neo-fascist rhetoric.
Anti-political politics? That's like saying that proponents of limited government are anti-government. To oppose the politics of the Left is not to oppose politics unless the only politics is the politics of the Left -- which is not the case.
Anti-immigration fears? Andy is as mendacious as Hillary. Few conservatives, populist or not, oppose immigration. Conservatives oppose illegal immigration and an immigration policy that does not discriminate between those who share our values and are willing to assimilate, and those who do not and are not. Conservatives hold that immigration must have a net positive benefit for our nation.
That Sullivan elides the distinction between illegal and legal immigration shows that he is intellectually dishonest.
And then there is the endlessly deployed leftist tactic of reducing the political opponent's view to a mere product of emotion, in this case fear. Probably the only effective response to this shabby tactic is to reply in kind. "Look, Sullivan, you are just a hate-America leftist scumbag who wants to undermine the rule of law."
By the way, Trump understands that it does no good to respond to a leftist with a learned disquisition (not that Trump could produce one); he understands with his gut that punching back is far more effective. He understands that the leftist thug will ignore your careful and polite arguments and go right back to name-calling: racist, sexist, homophobe, Islamophobe, bigot, deplorable . . . .
This is now Trump’s America. He controls everything from here on forward. He has won this campaign in such a decisive fashion that he owes no one anything. He has destroyed the GOP and remade it in his image.
This is delusional. How delusional? An army of proctologists in a month of Sundays could not bring Sully's head into the unsullied light of day.
Trump controls everything? False: the Left controls almost all mainstream media outlets, the courts, public education K-12, the universities, and many of the churches. (Think of all the leftist termites in the Catholic Church.)
He won in a decisive fashion? False: he lost the popular vote, a fact the liberal-left crybullies trumpet repeatedly.
He has destroyed the GOP? False: The GOP retained both houses of Congress. The truth is that he destroyed the Dems and the legacy of Obama.
Sully's rant does not get better as it proceeds, as you may verify for yourself.
M.B. of Alexandria, VA writes:
You said: "Trump controls everything? False: the Left controls almost all mainstream media outlets, the courts, public education K-12, the universities, and many of the churches. (Think of all the leftist termites in the Catholic Church.) "
You could add: the federal bureaucracy, most charitable foundations (Rockefeller, Ford, Soros etc), and, not least, the human resources (HR) departments of most corporations, which are now heavily staffed with ideological diversicrats.
Excellent points which I shouldn't have omitted, especially the one about the HR departments of most corporations. Why can't leftists see the extent of leftist control of the culture? Well, why is the fish unaware of the medium that sustains it?
On C-SPAN this morning I watched part of a re-run of a program from last Wednesday. A bunch of leftists were bemoaning Hillary's defeat. One Steve Cobble uncorked a real doozy to the effect that long lines at polling places are a form of 'voter suppression.'
This is too stupid to waste time refuting, but it's good for a laugh.
Turns out this Cobble character writes for the The Nation. Surprise!
For articles of mine on 'voter suppression,' see here.
For background, read thisInside Higher Ed article.
As far as I can make out, NYU professor Michael Rectenwald is a commie who takes issue with the trigger warning nonsense because it gives the Left a bad name. The following from an interview in the NYU student newspaper:
Michael Rectenwald: My contention is that this particular social-justice-warrior-left is producing the alt-right by virtue of its insanity. And because it’s doing all these things that manifest to the world, the alt-right is just eating this stuff alive. That’s why I adopted Nietzsche as the icon for the @antipcnyuprof and that’s why I said “anti-pc.” Frankly, I’m not really anti-pc. My contention is that the trigger warning, safe spaces and bias hotline reporting is not politically correct. It is insane. This stuff is producing a culture of hypervigilance, self-surveillance and panopticism.
WSN: Could you explain your feelings towards trigger warnings and safe spaces?
MR: One of the major problems of a trigger warning is this: according to trauma psychology, nobody has any idea what can trigger somebody. It’s completely arbitrary, and I don’t want to be indelicate, but let’s say a woman is raped while the guy happened to have this particular pack of gum on the table. So the woman would see this type of gum, and she’s going to feel triggered by this. Who could possibly anticipate such a thing? There is no way to anticipate just what would trigger people. As for safe spaces, I’m more ambiguous about it. I do think some people need safe spaces from different things, such as different beleaguered populations or groups who have been harassed or hounded — even murdered. People have their right to assemble as they wish. A safe space represents such an assembly. I do question their legality at some kind of state university for example, because it’s exclusionary, and that’s a public space.
WSN: How does that manifest at NYU?
MR: What happens is that the left presents its needs to the administration in universities, and the administration seizes on these opportunities to produce power and control to actually discipline the subjects under them. They don’t care what ideologies — whether it’s right, left, center. My dean two years ago — I mentioned the words trigger warning, and he snickered out loud, as if it was some foreign concept. Then last year, towards the end of the semester when we had a colloquium, he was floating the idea that they would be required on the syllabi. This is what happens. Once the administration gets it, it becomes a tool — an instrument — for them. Then they are able to compute to have more leverage and control over the curriculum, which should be faculty controlled in every university.
WSN: How do students handle this?
MR: Identity politics on campus have made an infirmary of the whole, damn campus. Let’s face it: every room is like a hospital ward. What are we supposed to do? I can’t deal with it — it’s insane. Look at the rules about Halloween costumes now. There’s a hoopla and hysteria surrounding Halloween. I tweeted something the other night about this self-surveillance — that they’re calling on people to do as reference to their Halloween costumes. It literally says “track your own online behavior” — self-surveillance. Safe spaces are turning the whole campus into an infirmary. And what do hospitals require? They require certain containment. They require a certain restriction of movement. They require surveillance. They require all of these things that I’m talking about, and that’s the problem with having a hospital as a university.
WSN: So how does this tie into Trump? Could you explain your support for him?
MR: I don’t support Trump at all. I hate him — I think he’s horrible. I’m hiding amongst the alt-right, alright? And the point is, this character is meant to exhibit and illustrate the notion that it’s this crazy social-justice-warrior-knee-jerk-reaction-triggered-happy-safe-space-seeking-blah, blah, blah, blah culture that it’s producing this alt-right. Now, I’m not dumb enough to go there. And my own politics are very strong — I’m a left communist. But I think that in fact, the crazier and crazier that this left gets, this version of the left, the more the more the alt-right is going to be laughing their asses off plus getting more pissed. Every time a speaker is booed off campus or shooed off campus because they might say something that bothers someone, that just feeds the notion that the left is totalitarian, and they have a point.
More proof of the collapse of American universities and Catholic universities in particular. As a result of the abdication of authority on the part of administrators, 'Catholic' universities have become anti-Catholic leftist seminaries, hotbeds of cultural Marxism. Am I exaggerating? Read Rod Dreher's interview with Professor Esolen and see for yourself. Here is the message that has to go out to parents thinking of sending their children to Providence College (PC !), or DePaul, or Georgetown, or Notre Dame, etc.:
What advice would you give to young Christian academics? To Christian parents preparing to send their kids to college?
It’s long past the time for administrators at Christian colleges to abandon the hiring policies that got us in this fix to begin with. We KNOW that there are plenty of excellent young Christian scholars who have to struggle to find a job. Well, let’s get them and get them right away. WE should be establishing a network for that purpose — so that if a Benedictine College needs a professor of literature, they can get on the phone to Ralph Wood at Baylor or me at Providence or Glenn Arbery at Wyoming Catholic, and say, “Do you have anybody?”
Christian parents — please do not suppose that your child will retain his or her faith after four years of battering at a secular college. Oh, many do — and many colleges have Christian groups that are terrific. But understand that it is going to be a dark time; and that everything on campus will be inimical to the faith, from the blockheaded assumptions of their professors, to the hook-ups, to the ignorance of their fellow students and their unconscious but massive bigotry. Be advised.
There is little or no point in writing letters of protest to the administrative and professorial crapweasels that oversee and enable this leftist insanity. They will ignore your respectful objections and go back to calling you racist, xenophobic, homophobic, etc. To these willfully enstupidated shitheads you are just bad apples at the bottom of Hillary's "basket of deplorables."
What you have to do is cut off their funding. If you are an alumnus of DePaul or PC -- how felicitous the abbreviation! -- refuse them when they ask for donations. And let them know that you will not send your children there.
That will get their attention.
I believe it was Lee Iacocca who said, "When money talks, ideology walks." We need to give leftist ideologues, especially stealth ideologues like Hillary, their walking papers.
. . . Progressive Liberals have viciously criticized Justice Clarence Thomas for refusing to represent his racial class on the Supreme Court. He sees his duty, instead, as following the rule of law and the Constitution. When the law classifies on the basis of race or attempts to promote racial class interests, he has written many times, it undermines the rule of law by violating the crucial principal that all persons are equal before the law. Progressive Liberals despise Thomas for arguing that “benign” racial classifications to benefit racial classes or groups are morally equivalent to invidious racial classifications designed to harm or disadvantage racial or ethnic groups. Race, an arbitrary, inessential feature of the human persona, has no role to play in the rule of law. Since rights belong to individuals, Thomas correctly insists, they are not conditioned by the racial class an individual happens to occupy.
Justice Thomas is so politically incorrect that he may not even be black. (We “cannot tell every story,” says the Smithsonian Institution about Thomas’s absence from the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.) If race is as much a political fact as a biological one, then the failure or refusal to promote a group’s interests and identity nullifies membership in that group. Conversely, Bill Clinton was acclaimed America’s first black president.
The vicious insanity of contemporary liberals is truly mind-boggling. But that's nothing new. What may be worth pointing out, however, is that the bolded passage, with which I fully agree, is contested not only by leftists but also by alt-rightists and neo-reactionaries.
Both groups, while otherwise at each other's throats, jump into the same bed when it comes to the importance of 'blood.' Both groups favor an identity politics in which race is an essential determinant of one's very identity. I have a post (56 comments) in which I lament the tribal identification of so many blacks and in which I recommend getting beyond tribal identifications. But certain 'alties' or NRs would have none of it: they think that the right response to black tribalism is white tribalism.
In another post I cited the Declaration's "all men are created equal," which elicited from an NR the riposte that it is false! The response displayed a failure to grasp that the famous declaration in the Declaration is not an empirical claim about the properties and powers of human animals whether as individuals or as groups, but a normative claim about persons as rights-possessors.
Some good points are made by some on the Alternative Right. But their response to the insane extremism of the Left is -- wait for it -- a reaction that is also extreme, though not insane. Trads and the alties share some common ground, so dialogue is possible; but self-enstupidated leftists are beyond the pale of dialogue. They are enemies that have to be defeated, not fellow rational beings with whom it would make sense to have a conversation. One hopes that their defeat can be achieved politically; but extrapolitical means remain 'on the table.'
A lot rides on the concept of person when it comes to differentiating a tenable conservatism from the reactionary particularism of the Alt Right. A separate post will sketch a personalist conservatism.
TRIGGER WARNING! Clear, critical, and independent thinking up ahead. All girly-girls, pajama boys, and crybullies out of the room and to their safe spaces and sandboxes. If you play nice, Uncle Bill may serve milk and cookies.
The following is excerpted from a much longer discussion with some alt-rightists/neo-reactionaries. I am not one of them. I am more of a traditional conservative. But the alties and the trads agree in their opposition to the effete and epicene, spineless and supine, go-a-long-to-get-along, yap-and-scribble, do-nothing, milque-toast 'conservatives.'
Differences in social role as between the sexes are grounded in hard biological facts. The biological differences between men and women are not 'social constructs.' The male sex hormone testosterone is not a 'social construct' although the words 'hormone' and 'testosterone' and the theory in which which they figure are. That women are better at nurturing than men is grounded in their biological constitution, which lies deeper than the social. This is not to say that all women are good at raising and nurturing children. 'Woman are nurturers' is a generic statement, not a universal statement. It is like the statement, 'Men are taller than women.' It does not mean that every man is taller than every woman.
Does it follow from the obvious biologically-grounded difference between men and women that women should be discouraged from pursuing careers outside the home and entering the professions? Here I begin to diverge from my alt-right interlocutors. They don't like talk of equal rights though I cannot see why a woman should not have the same right to pursue a career in medicine or engineering or mathematics or philosophy as a man if she has the aptitude for it. (But of course there must be no erosion of standards.) How do our alt-rightist/NRs, who do not like talk of equality, protect women from men who would so dominate them as to prevent them from developing their talents? On the other hand, men as a group are very different from women as a group. So we should not expect equal outcomes. It should come as no surprise that women are 'under-represented' in STEM fields, or in philosophy.
Why are women 'under-represented' in philosophy? Because women as a group are not as good at it as men as a group, because women as a group are not as interested in it as men as a group, and because the feminine nature is conciliatory and averse to what they perceive as the aggressive, combative, and hostile aspects of philosophical dialectic. This is surely a large part, if not the whole, of the explanation, especially given the Affirmative Action advantage women have enjoyed over the past half a century.
The hostility often felt by women reflects something about the nature of philosophy, namely, that its very lifeblood is dialectic and argument. Argument can be conducted civilly, often is, and of course ought to be. But it still looks to the female nature as a sort of 'fighting,' a sublimated form of the physical combat that men are wont to engage in, even when dialectic at its best is no such thing. So there is something in the nature of philosophy and something about females that explains their 'under-representation.' Those are sneer quotes, by the way. Anyone with an ounce of philosophical intelligence can see that the word I am sneering at conflates the factual and the normative. Therefore it shouldn't be used without sneer quotes.
You cannot refute my point about women by citing women who like the blood-sport aspect of philosophy. They are the exceptions that prove the rule. Harriet Baber, for example, who is Jewish and exemplifies the Jewish love of dialectic, writes:
I *LIKE* the blood-sport aspect of philosophy. To me, entering my first philosophy class, freshman year (1967) and discovering that you were not only allowed to fight but that the teacher actually encouraged it was liberating. As a girl, I was constantly squeezed and suppressed into being "nice" and non-confrontational. I was under chronic stress holding back, trying to fudge, not to be too clear or direct. But, mirabile dictu: I got into the Profession and through my undergrad, and, oh with a vengeance in grad school at Johns Hopkins, everything I had been pushed throughout my childhood to suppress, and which I failed to suppress adequately to be regarded as "normal," was positively encouraged.
Anecdote. I once roomed with an analytic philosopher at a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute. I recall a remark he made about philosophical discussion: "If you are not willing to become a bit of an asshole about it, you are not taking it seriously." The guy was obnoxious, but he was right. In a serious discussion, things can get a little tense. The feminine nature shies away from contention and dispute.
If you deny that, then you have no knowledge of human nature and no experience of life. Ever wonder why women are 'over-represented' among realtors? It is because they excel men when it comes to conciliation and mediation. I don't mean this as a snarky put-down of the distaff contingent. I mean it as praise. And if females do not take it as praise are they not assuming the superiority of male virtues?
It is a non sequitur to think that if the Xs are 'under-represented' among the Ys, then the Xs must have been the victims of some unjust discrimination. Men are 'under-represented' among massage therapists, but the explanation is obvious and harmless: men like to have their naked bodies rubbed by women in dark rooms, but women feel uncomfortable having their naked bodies rubbed by men in dark rooms. It is not as if there is some sort of sexism, 'institutional' or individual, that keeps men out of massage therapy.
Blacks are 'over-represented' in the NFL and the NBA. Is that because of some racism 'institutional' or individual, that keeps whitey out? Of course not. Blacks are better than whites at football and basketball. Jews are just terrible. Chess is their athletics. Jews dominate in the chess world. Is that because the goyim have been suppressed?
Does my talk of blacks and Jews make me a racist and an anti-Semite ? To a liberal-left dumb-ass, yes. For they are incapable of distinguishing between a statement whose content is race and a racist statement.
As it seems to me, I am treading a via media between the excesses of the neo-reactionaries and the even worse excesses of the leftists. My challenge to the NRs: How can you fail to see the importance of equal treatment of men and women? One of the NRs claimed that the notion of equality of opportunity is vacuous. Why? To require that applicants for a job not be discriminated against on the basis of race, sex, or creed, is not vacuous. It has a definite content. That it could use some spelling out is not to the point. What I mean is this. Some creeds are such that people who hold them must be discriminated against. Suppose you are an orthodox Muslim: you subscribe to Sharia and hold that it takes precedence over the U. S. Constitution. You ought to be discriminated against. You ought not be allowed to immigrate. The U. S. Constitution is not a suicide pact. This is a point that Dr. Ben Carson made a while back in connection with eligibility to become POTUS. But the scumbags of the Left willfully misrepresented him.
For more on this exciting topic, I send you to Rightly Considered where a brief entry by Criticus Ferox has ignited a lively discussion.
This Holtschneider (Woodcutter) must have sawdust for brains. Where is the 'bigotry' in standing up for the rights of the unborn? How can a Catholic cleric who is the president of a Catholic university grovel in such sickening and supine fashion before the forces of political correctness?
Holtschneider is an all-too-common case of administrative cowardice and abdication of authority. No sane person ought to be concerned about 'hurting the feelings' of the thugs of BLM by stating the obvious: ALL lives matter, and therefore,
So what else is new? That the sky is blue? The trouble with Trump is that he doesn't know enough about the issues to punch back effectively when Mrs. Clinton lets loose with one of her whoppers. He let her escape several times during their third and final debate. Sean Davis:
In her answer to a question about her views on gun rights, Clinton said she opposed the Supreme Court’s Heller decision, which recognized the constitutional right for individuals to own and carry firearms, because it was about whether toddlers should have guns.
[. . .]
So what was the Heller case really about? It was about whether Dick Anthony Heller, a 66-year-old police officer, should be legally allowed to own and bear a personal firearm to defend himself and his family at home.
[. . .]
If Clinton opposes an individual’s constitutional right to keep and bear arms to protect his or her family, she should just come out and say so instead of blatantly lying about the Supreme Court’s decision on the matter. But it gets better: after claiming that the Heller decision was all about toddlers, Hillary then claimed that the Constitution guarantees a right to partial-birth abortion, a practice that requires an abortionist to rip an unborn baby from the womb, stab or crush her skull, and then vacuum out her brains. Because Hillary Clinton’s top priority is protecting innocent children from violence.
Hillary is a stealth ideologue who operates by deception. This is what makes her so despicable. If she were honest about her positions, her support would erode. So not only are her policies destructive; she refuses to own them. She is an Obamination both at the level of ideas and at the level of character.
Do you value religious liberty? Then you must work to defeat Hillary Clinton, which is to say: you must vote for Donald Trump.
The Left, being totalitarian, brooks no opposition and is brutal in its suppression of religion. Consider the example of Fr. Ernest Simoni:
Persecution in Albania was exceptionally harsh, even for Communist Eastern Europe. Among the living martyrs who were present and greeted Francis was Fr. Ernest Simoni. He gave a moving account of his almost three decades spent in Albanian labor camps; Francis was visibly moved.
The history behind this personal story is worth recalling. The conflict between the Catholic Church and Communist state in Albania can be divided into three stages:
1) 1944-1948 when the government terrorized and persecuted believers and clergy;
2) 1949-1967 when the government tried to “nationalize” or Albanize the country’s religions, and to establish a National Albanian Catholic Church similar to the Patriotic Church created by Albania’s then-ally, Communist China. This stage reached its culmination with Albania proclaiming itself the world’s first atheist state;
3) 1990 to the present, during which the Albanian Church awoke after decades of martyrdom and persecution.
Fr. Simoni was arrested on December 24, 1963, just after he had finished celebrating the Christmas Vigil Mass in the village of Barbullush, Shkodër. Four officers from the Albanian Secret Police (Sigurimi) showed up at his church and presented him with arrest and execution orders. “They tied my hands behind my back and began beating me, while we were walking to the car,” he recalled.
He was brought to the interrogation facility and kept in complete isolation, suffering unbearable tortures for three consecutive months. The accusation was that he had been teaching his “philosophy.” He taught his people “to die for Christ.” During three months of confinement and interrogation, the persecutors tried to force him provide evidence against the Catholic hierarchy and his brother priests, which he refused.
There is an interesting American connection to his persecution. One of the accusations against Fr. Simoni was that he had celebrated a requiem Mass for the repose of President Kennedy’s soul, exactly a month after the Catholic president’s death. A journal found in Fr. Simoni’s room featured a picture of President Kennedy and was presented to the court as material proof – of something or other.
“By God’s grace, the execution was not carried out,” Fr. Simoni recalled. After the trial, he was sentenced to twenty-eight years of forced labor, working first in the mines and then as a sanitary and sewage worker, until the fall of Communism in 1991.