The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information

 TeasersPaul Gottfried Blogview

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New Reply
🔊 Listen RSS

Looking at a French nationalist website Boulevard Voltaire this morning, I notice a repetition of the conventional American media account of what occurred in Charlottesville on Saturday. The news commentary explained that a white racist had run down and killed with a vehicle a thirty-two-year-old “anti-racist” demonstrator, Heather Heyer, while injuring other anti-racists who were protesting a “Unite the Right” rally in downtown Charlottesville. The supposed occasion for the demonstration, the removal of a twenty-six foot statue of Robert E. Lee, did not seem to interest the French commentator, although presumably if French anti-fascists were calling for dismantling statues of Charles de Gaulle or Joan of Arc all over France, the writer might have reacted differently. As an American observer of these events, who makes no bones about his utter revulsion for contemporary American “liberal” and “conservative” commentaries (which I find mostly indistinguishable), I think there’s more to the story of what went on in Charlottesville on Saturday than our authorized political sides want us to believe.

First of all, I find no heroes emerging from these events. The police showed no ability or perhaps no willingness to keep the two sides separated; and when they met it was inevitable that these armed partisans who hated each other’s guts would clash. Although the dismantling of Lee’s statue (in May a judge placed a six-month stay on this outrage) may have been only the pretext for obnoxious youth to raise holy Hell, the removal of Confederate statues and the renaming of parks and streets commemorating Confederate commanders is sheer lunacy. It should be opposed by all possible legal means. The NAACP and leftist cranks like Max Boot who push this agenda are the American equivalent of the Taliban. Are we supposed to do the PC cringe again when the usual pests demand that we remove the names of Jefferson, Madison and Washington from every city in this country because our country’s Founders owned slaves?

As for the bloody clash in Charlottesville, it’s impossible for me to read the account provided by neocon princeling John Podhoretz in the New York Post this morning without losing my breakfast. The villain for Podhoretz (as it always is these days when’s he’s not attacking critics of the Likud Party) is Donald Trump who refused “to denounce Nazis and white supremacists unqualifiedly and by name.” It seems that Trump had the “shamelessness” to suggest that there were two sides involved in the clash in Charlottesville. (Donald Trump has since unloaded all his fire on Pod’s target.) The anti-fascist and BLM protestors, according to Podhoretz’s doctored narrative, were merely “responding” to hate; and the president whom Podhoretz wouldn’t back against Hillary and whom he continues to denounce “refused to name the evil in our midst,” thereby showing “the behavior of a man whose moral sense is stunted.” On Saturday evening, Fox-news offered an interview by Julie Banderas of a Weekly Standard senior editor who scolded Trump for not treating the Altright in the same denunciatory manner as ISIS. Both, according to Ms. Torrance, were equally dangerous terrorist organizations.

Needless to say, I’ve never heard our authorized conservative opposition vent the same ferocious denunciations they’re now showing on anti-fascist vandals or on the Bernie Sanders supporter who tried to kill a crew of Republican Congressmen while practicing for a baseball game in Arlington, Virginia. Nor did the authorized leftist media agonize in the same way about left-wing extremism as Fox-news commentators did when they began screeching on Saturday night about right-wing dangers that are comparable to ISIS. The Left acted according to script, when their commentators tried to blame the attempted annihilation of Republican Congressmen on our right-wing extremist president.

But our bogus Right couldn’t leave their pandering to the Left with calls for special vigilance against a pervasive right-wing danger. On Fox’s Judge Jeanine segment we had the pleasure of listening to various Republican Congressmen from Virginia defining their “conservatism” as some kind of diversitarian globalist fantasy. One Latino Republican Congressman described the US as the world’s greatest multicultural success. All the Republican interviewees gave the impression that Charlottesville had been a sleepy serene college town, like a throwback to Monty Wooly’s “Halls of Ivy,” before it was invaded by neo-Nazis. These saccharine comments revealed little about the reality of life in an area controlled by the PC Left and led by a bona fide leftist radical from New York City, Mayor Mike Signer.

I’ve also come to doubt that the group organized by Richard Spencer et al was more responsible for violence than the anti-fascist side. From the film I’ve just seen it seems conclusive that leftist thugs were at least as ready to rumble as were the white nationalists and neo-Nazis. Whether or not the Left initiated the fisticuffs (and there’s a high probability that it did) those who led it were far from naïve humanitarians who were “shocked” by white racists. Moreover, both sides, including the white nationalists, integrated into their demonstrations basically decent people, who were simply reacting against something they found intolerable, such as a PC police state or neo-Nazi symbols. Such people were used by others on both sides who were looking for trouble. And the police did little to prevent it.

Finally I would observe as a representative of the independent Right that Richard Spencer and his friends did us a horrible disservice by contributing to the confrontation that took place on Saturday. Much of what Richard and other members of the Altright say about the growing indistinguishability of our authorized Right and authorized Left is entirely on the mark. But the way to combat this deplorable situation is not to team up with Nazis and encourage demonstrators to come armed to Charlottesville to protest the leftist Taliban. One has to create a counter-media to what our shared enemies have done and be willing to accept decent people, whatever their race, to combat left-wing totalitarians and fake conservative enablers.

(Republished from LewRockwell by permission of author or representative)
🔊 Listen RSS

Although I generally agree with the Latin adage “de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est,” sometimes the death of someone leads one to reflect on the gushing eulogies that are showered on the deceased. The recent premature passing at the age of sixty-five of Peter Lawler, a professor of political studies at Berry College in Georgia and the Editor of Modern Age, is a case in point. Although from all accounts a decent person and a genuine devotee of Southern literature, Lawler provided, perhaps unwittingly, the textbook case of how a “conservative” academic can keep his professional standing without becoming, to use John Derbyshire’s phrase, the new “Emmanuel Goldstein” in our emerging 1984 society.

Lawler’s passing set off an explosion of praise in the authorized “conservative” press. National Review devoted a glowing eulogy to Lawler [Peter Lawler, RIP, by Peter Spiliakos May 23, 2017] The Federalist and Weekly Standard spoke about him even more extravagantly. [In Fond Memory Of Peter Augustine Lawler Upon His Sudden Death, By Yuval Levin, Federalist, May 24, 2017] And there were many others.

Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in AmericaFrom these eulogies, it is possible to infer that Lawler was a faithful Catholic, but one with a sense of humor; he was also a devotee of Leo Strauss (on whom I’ve written an unmentionable book) and was on exceedingly friendly terms with Strauss’s disciples. Above all, he was a “thoughtful” conservative, who was polite about Bernie Sanders, described the notorious John (“Civil Rights icon”)Lewis, as heroic, and was offended by the bullying behavior of Donald Trump. [Lewis Baits and Trumps Trump, by Peter Augustine Lawler, NRO, January 17, 2017]

On the few times I met Lawler, it seemed that he was a low-key kind of person, who liked to talk in a non-threatening way about “values.” Both of us wrote at one time for ISI’s Modern Age, and I noticed that Lawler’s views, unlike mine, were safely conventional. It’s not that Lawler ever landed up in a really cushy job at a distinguished university. But he remained in good standing with Conservatism, Inc. by not taking on what the late Sam Francis once called in conversation with me “the hard issues.”

Let me explain what these hard issues are by providing illustrations of the opposite, starting with those positions taken by “cultural conservatives” that couldn’t hurt their careers because most Leftists don’t give a damn about them. Favoring the wider use of the Latin Mass, proposing more concentration in public education on classical languages, deploring the lack of “values” in the contemporary West, and mixing in the phrase “permanent things” during cocktail conversation all exemplify “soft” stands. These are the stands taken by intellectuals who are trying to navigate through life without Tsuris (go look it up).

Although one can certainly take some of these positions out of genuine conviction, they also provide an easy way out for someone who wants to be known as a genteel “conservative” but who doesn’t want to catch flak as a journalist or academic.

In the political sphere, one can easily recognize the advocates of soft positions, because they abound in Republican think-tanks and throughout Establishment Conservative journalism. They lament the racism of Democrats who refuse to pay for the charter schools attended by blacks (although for some reason blacks don’t seem to mind this outrage and vote overwhelmingly for the “racists” who won’t pay for their charter schools.) Then there’s the one-note “moderate feminists” whom I see on Fox News warning women who wish to be liberated not to vote for the Dems. The Republicans, we are told by these blond-haired adolescent deep thinkers, will do more for “moderate feminists.”

Another soft or safe position for “conservatives” to embrace: supporting the right of the Israeli government to build settlements on the West Bank until this area is made to look like a replica of Long Island. Indeed, being for the right of any Israeli Right to do anything it wants will not likely hurt any budding “conservative” career. Nor will denouncing Islamicist oppression, directed against women, gays, Jews and (oh yes!) Christians.

Another soft position mentioned by John Derbyshire: inviting Leftist professors on to “conservative” talk shows and weeping with them about how badly their more demonstratively Leftist colleagues have been treating them lately.

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
🔊 Listen RSS

Thanks to at least nine opposing Republican senators, Congress left for its July 4 break without passing a replacement bill for Obamacare.

The opposition from these Republicans was two-fold: Four conservatives thought the GOP bill on the table went too far in retaining government control over the medical insurance market, while five centrist members complained it doesn’t go far enough in providing federal funding for Medicaid in their states, and would leave 22 million Americans overall without medical insurance.

The free-marketers in the party have countered the centrist Republicans by indicating that many of the 22 million who will not be insured under the new system are young people who were forced to buy Obamacare insurance. Why should they continue to be forced to buy what they don’t want and probably don’t need? Moreover, payment for Medicaid expenses will be left to the states, which will be free to deal with this arrangement as they see fit. And within a few years both medical premiums and the taxes currently being raised to cover Obamacare will fall dramatically. None of these arguments seems to carry weight with Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Sherry Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who seem to think they can please their voters by tinkering with Obamacare rather than replacing it.

There may be many reasons why the Republicans can’t muster enough votes to pass this replacement for Obamacare. But high on the list is the fact that the present GOP Congress differs from its Democratic predecessors in a way that hurts them grievously. The Democrats were and are internally unified to a degree that Republicans can’t hope to match. The Democrats passed Obamacare by making sure that every Democrat in the Senate voted for it. The same party in Congress continues to practice exemplary party discipline by standing as a monolithic bloc against anything attempted by the divided opposition. Even those of us who disagree with the Democrats about 99 percent of the time have to marvel at the united front they maintain. The party is not full of warring contrarians like John McCain and Rand Paul; nor does it have to worry that one wing will do in the other.

Part of this difference stems from the fact that most of the media, Hollywood, and the so-called deep state have the backs of congressional Democrats. The more vociferously and ferociously they resist the Republicans, the more backing they can count on from CNN, the national press, and other voices of the Democratic Left. The Republicans have nothing like this massive support system; and even if the chief executive were less reckless in his speech, he would still likely be pummeled by the media since he’s willy-nilly a Republican. (I don’t remember the media showing any special fondness for moderate Republicans like George W. Bush and Mitt Romney.)

But there is another reason that Democrats seem far better unified than Republicans. They are more driven by ideology, and as more and younger Americans are raised in the same ideology, Democrats may be able to create a consensus for what drives them and provides internal unity. This ideology is a combination of statist control of social behavior and an extended welfare state, both in the name of achieving greater human equality. This ideology depends for support on racial minorities, increased immigration, mass education, and radicalized social and entertainment elites. One needn’t like what the Democrats are pushing and what they themselves embody to notice how well it sells in our changing American society. The Republican Party by contrast stands for nothing in particular, except for a more slowly growing federal welfare state, a neoconservative foreign policy except at its libertarian margins, and government incentives for business. Republicans in Congress have a sprinkling of libertarians, mostly on its right, but otherwise it’s an organization that wants to manage public administration, keep down the minimum wage, and get its candidates elected.

In any case I’m challenging the “conservative” talking point that Democrats don’t have a unifying philosophy or program but are a collection of grievance-driven constituencies. Although this observation includes more than a grain of truth, it also understates the ideological unity that holds the Democrats together. We are talking about an ideology of the cultural Left that also attracts, perhaps out of opportunism, Republicans and “conservatives.” In social questions the establishment Right has come to embrace just about everything the other side has advocated. The conservative press is now praising gay pride parades and calling for more anti-discrimination laws to protect the employment prospects of the LGBT community. When Democratic mayors started pulling down the statues of Confederate heroes, objections from the GOP were not even audible. But I did notice foreign policy think tank fellow and leading pro-war neoconservative Max Boot extolling the mayor of New Orleans for his facelift and calling upon Americans to do more to obliterate any token of honor paid to the slave-owning racist traitors in the Civil War. When action was taken to deal with illegals who committed felonies, the initiative came from the populist president who imposed himself on the Republican Party. If left to their own devices, the GOP Congress would in all probability have done little to rectify this problem, lest it be accused of xenophobia or racism.

Unless I’m mistaken, the direction in which social policy has moved for both parties is toward the Left. Republicans have typically followed the Left in this tendency rather than vice versa. The worldview represented by the Democrats has long-term power, while the moderateness and piecemeal concessions featured by the other side betrays weakness and indecision. Appearances in this case are not deceptive. Democrats in Congress look much more cohesive than their opposition because they really are.

I would also note that the incriminatory speaking style of Democrats in Congress and of Democratic Party operatives should not be taken as literally as Republican talk show hosts are inclined to do. When Elizabeth Warren or Maxine Waters rails against the racists, homophobes, sexists and plutocrats in the other national party, their remarks should not be judged by the standards of scientific research. They are engaging in illocutionary rhetoric, a form of speech that politicians often resort to in targeting particular constituencies. These Democrats are “appealing to their base,” something Republicans do less effectively when they promise to “get government off our backs” or insist that “government is the problem.”

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Democrats 
🔊 Listen RSS

The most recent of incident of Cultural Marxist commissars refusing to admit that dissidents are to be treated as fellow citizens is the crazed female professor who accosted the NPI’s Richard Spencer while he was exercising at a Alexandria gym. She, recognizing him from coverage of the election campaign, started haranguing him and calling him a “Nazi.”

Instead of having her ejected for this behavior, the gym’s management terminated Spencer’s membership. [Georgetown professor confronts white nationalist Richard Spencer at the gym — which terminates his membership , By Faiz Siddiqui May 21, 2017]

Back in 2011 VDARE posted a commentary of mine on the legitimacy of the “Cultural Marxist” concept. (I reluctantly accepted the term only because I couldn’t think of a better one.)

As I pointed out, this ideology was very far from orthodox Marxism and was viewed by serious Marxists as a kind of bastard child. Yet many of those designated as “Cultural Marxists” still viewed themselves as classical Marxists and some still do.

Exponents of what the Frankfurt School called “critical theory”— like Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, and Erich Fromm—were considered by orthodox Marxists to be fake or ersatz Marxists. But they did adopt orthodox Marxist-Leninist theory in key aspects:

  • Like orthodox Marxists, they viewed the bourgeoisie as a counterrevolutionary class.
  • Like orthodox Marxists, they viewed the world, arguably simplistically, in terms of interest groups and power relationships.
  • Like orthodox Marxists—whose break from Victorian classical liberalism in this respect was shocking in a way that is easily overlooked after the totalitarian experience of the twentieth century—they explicitly eschewed debate in favor of reviling and if possible repressing their opponents. (This is fundamental to the Marxist method: although it claims to be “scientific”, it is in fact an a priori value system that rejects debate and its concomitant, “bourgeois science”. Hence Political Correctness—the most prominent product of “cultural Marxism”.)
  • Like orthodox Marxist, they supported, at least in principle, a socialist i.e. government-controlled economy.
  • Like orthodox Marxists, they inclined, in varying degrees, toward the Communist side during the Cold War. (Marcuse, who cheered the Soviet suppression of the Hungarian uprising in 1956, was an outright Stalinist—as I can confirm from personal knowledge as his onetime student.)

These disciples of the Frankfurt School, like Marx, were eager to replace what they defined as bourgeois society by a new social order. In this envisaged new order, humankind would experience true equality for the first time. This would be possible because, in a politically and socially reconstructed society, we would no longer be alienated from our real selves, which had been warped by the inequalities that existed until now.

But unlike authentic Marxists, Cultural Marxists have been principally opposed to the culture of bourgeois societies–and only secondarily to their material arrangements. Homophobia, nationalism, Christianity, masculinity, and anti-Semitism have been the prime villains in the Cultural Marxist script.

This is especially true as one moves from the philosophy of the interwar German founders of the Frankfurt school, like Theodore Adorno, Max Horkheimer and Herbert Marcuse, to the second generation. This second generation is represented by Jürgen Habermas and most of the multicultural theorists ensconced in Western universities.

For these more advanced Cultural Marxists, the crusade against capitalism has been increasingly subordinated to the war against “prejudice” and “discrimination.” They justify the need for a centralized bureaucratic state commanding material resources not because it will bring the working class to power, but to fight “racism,” “fascism,” and the other residues of the Western past.

If they can’t accomplish such radical change, Cultural Marxists are happy to work toward revolutionizing our consciousness with the help of Leftist moneybags– hedge fund managers, Mark Zuckerberg etc. Ironically, nationalizing productive forces and the creation of a workers’ state, i.e. the leftovers from classical Marxism, turn out to be the most expendable part of their revolutionary program, perhaps because of the collapse of the embarrassing collapse of command economies in the Soviet bloc. Instead, what is essential to Cultural Marxism is the rooting-out of bourgeois national structures, the obliteration of gender roles and the utter devastation of “the patriarchal family.”

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
🔊 Listen RSS

The story of Eastern European Jews who immigrated to America in the beginning of the twentieth century is a story of “self-marginalization.” The more dramatically Eastern European Jews progress socio-economically, the more strenuously they identify with “marginalized groups” and seek to undermine the white Christian majority population. And though he takes care to guard against charges of being Politically Incorrect, David R. Verbeeten’s The Politics of Non-Assimilation: Three Generations of Eastern European Jews in the United States in the Twentieth Century (De Kalb: NIU Press, 2017) is a goldmine of sociological evidence revealing this critically important phenomenon which so many scholars are happy to ignore.

The Dissident Right may find Verbeeten controversial as well. Though Kevin MacDonald argues his theory about Jewish group behavior ably, I believe it is unwarranted to generalize about the social behavior of all Jews simply because of the behavior of Eastern European Jews. [In Search of Anti-Semitism, by Paul Gottfried, Takimag, April 6, 2009] Other Jewish immigrants in other times and places have behaved very differently, including backing causes which today would be called reactionary or even “racist.”

Most Sephardic and German Jews who came to this country disappeared quickly into the gentile gene pool. As late as 1920, a plurality of American Jews, mainly those of German and Sephardic descent, voted for the Republican presidential candidate, Warren Harding. (Presumably the 38% who voted for the socialist Eugene Debs came from the newly enfranchised Eastern European Jews) [U.S. Presidential Elections: Jewish Voting Record, Jewish Virtual Library, Accessed April 20, 2017]. One of the earliest religious congregations to declare for Southern secession was the Temple in Charleston, Beth Elohim, the congregation of Confederate secretary of state Judah Benjamin. Thousands of Jews, of German or Sephardic origin, fought for the Confederacy [Jewish Confederates, by Hunter Wallace, Occidental Dissent, June 5, 2013].

Verbeeten gamely attempts to explain the change in American Jewish political attitudes but sometimes avoids the obvious. There is no demonstrable correlation, he tells us not very convincingly, between the fear of anti-Semitism and the compulsive affinity of Eastern European Jews for “left-wing activism.” Although Eastern European Jews went into the Democratic Party en masse, we’re told the party they chose may have “harbored” more anti-Semites than did the Republican Party. He also claims that “rather than antisemitism, the Jewish Left is far more decisively correlated with secularization.” The proof we are given is that Orthodox Jews, even of Eastern European provenance, remained “conservative.”

The author, a Cambridge PhD with whom I’ve corresponded for years, is far too intelligent to take such assertions seriously. It seems unlikely those Jews who eagerly assimilated feared and/or loathed the goyim whose company they were seeking. It’s equally unlikely Jewish leftist organizations like the Anti-Defamation League, which constantly claim rampant anti-Semitism among white Christian heterosexuals, are free of any fear of antisemitism.

Besides, the attraction of Eastern European Jews to the Democratic Party was not the chief measure of their radicalism. There was a disproportionately large Jewish membership in the Communist Party. Verbeeten analyzes this inconvenient truth in his discussion of Eastern European radical Alexander Bittelman, one of the architects of the American Communist Party. He also notes the heavy Jewish vote cast in 1948 for the Soviet-appeaser Henry Wallace and the very noticeable Jewish presence in almost every culturally Leftist pressure group in the US for the last century. This radicalism tells us more about American Jewish political attitudes than the fact Jews voted for FDR.

Verbeeten’s insistence that Jewish radicalism and Jewish self-marginalization correlates not with fear of antisemitism but secularization raises an obvious question. Why were earlier Jewish immigrants to America far less likely than the Eastern European latecomers to become permanently radicalized once they stopped attending synagogue or performing Jewish rituals?

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: American Jews, Jews 
🔊 Listen RSS

Recently, one of my neighbors saw students from Elizabethtown College, where I taught for many years, walking down the street wearing what looked like the puzzle pieces featured as symbols by Autistic Awareness.

When he asked why they were wearing the all-white puzzle pieces, one of the coeds proudly explained that they were dramatizing the outrage of “white privilege.” About 50 students and alums had pledged to wear these puzzle pins for the next month, until everyone became sensitive to how we were oppressing blacks.

A detailed Daily Mail story concerning this campaign against “white privilege” informed readers, “The school’s 203-acre campus is situated in Lancaster County, where according to the latest US Census data from 2015, more than 90 percent of the population is white.” The article also featured a picture of our administrative building, which it noted was packed full of white people. The borough where the president of the College Democrats wants “to get people to talk openly about race and white privilege” is likewise overwhelmingly white.

The student handing out puzzle pins poured her heart out to the local CBS affiliate with these words: “People of color have to wake up everyday and think about race and just about their life. What they have to do to not negatively impact their life. As a white person we don’t usually have to think about that.”

If this young woman is as deeply concerned as she suggests about the presumed suffering of blacks in the U.S., she should go somewhere where she can find some to help. The few blacks who live in Lancaster County don’t need her help and live here precisely because they want to wake up each morning without having to fear the crime that infests our large cities.

One of our close friends in the borough happens to be a black woman, an accountant, who voted for Trump. She scoffs at the idea that the problems of many black Americans are caused by the “privileges” enjoyed by whites.

The British paper correctly underlined the hypocrisy of whites pretending to be advocating for oppressed blacks while choosing to reside in a lily-white environment. This is the dirty little secret at Elizabethtown that I indiscreetly revealed in newspaper articles while I held an endowed chair at the college.

For decades, some of our departments, such as social work, education, and communications, have been full of young radicals who opt for a college that is at a safe distance from the minorities whom they claim to be championing. More than one such student has complained to me: “We don’t recruit enough students from inner cities to give us diversity.” To that I usually responded: “If you want diversity, then why don’t you go to a college in a black neighborhood, say Temple in Philadelphia?” This invariably caused the complainer to walk away.

The adolescents sporting the puzzle pins exemplify the prevailing spirit at the institution, but such grandstanding hasn’t always been the custom at the college. When I arrived there in the 1980s, Elizabethtown College seemed to be on the right path, educationally, fiscally, and in most other ways.

The president who hired me, Gerhard Spiegler, was a German scholar who hoped to make the institution into a first-rate center of learning. Spiegler hoped to elevate academic standards for students and faculty alike, and he practiced Teutonic thrift by keeping the size and salaries of the administration exceedingly low. He was hated by most of the old guard on campus, particularly by the faculty with terminal master’s degrees in education who taught their courses, as he would say, on “automatic pilot.”

Spiegler also hired assistants who were able to increase the school’s meager endowment and to raise funds for new buildings. Among the buildings that he arranged to erect were a state-of-the-art library and an Anabaptist Center, created for the study of the German Pietist sect that had established Elizabethtown College in 1899. He worked energetically to retain the loyalty of traditional Brethren alumni and donors and continued to look upon their coreligionists as a recruiting base.

Unlike much of the faculty, Spiegler leaned politically toward the Right and had no patience for academic agitators, especially for troublemakers who combined radical political views with a lack of professional accomplishments. Unfortunately, the troublemakers outlasted Spiegler, who laid down his duties in 1996.

During the next two administrations, the troublemakers got the “hope of change” they thought they wanted. It came in the form of lavishly salaried administrators (certainly by comparison to those who preceded them), rapidly escalating tuition, and a shifting emphasis at the college from a strict Pietist environment to the PC fad du jour, lately “white privilege.”

I’ve never seen an institution change so fundamentally within just a few years. The changes came on a number of fronts.

The cultural transformation moved from such Anabaptist-sounding activities as peace studies, to diversity deans and diversity studies through consciousness-raising events for blacks, women, and gays, “safe spaces” for LGBT, and special living arrangements for the transgendered. Black History and Women’s Months went on interminably and brought to the college a steady stream of outraged victim speakers.

Such commotions served a practical as well as ideological function. They gave special prominence to non-ideational disciplines (that is, majors that are more open to expressing grievances than teaching written bodies of knowledge), and the social justice exhibitionists are usually drawn from the students and faculty in these areas. Not insignificantly, those departments are now the cash cows at the college: they don’t require much in the way of equipment and have delivered loads of tuition-bearing students.

Needless to say, there’s no way the college could return to its historic Anabaptist roots. When I retired six years ago, less than one percent of the students belonged to one of the German “peace churches” once heavily represented at the college. The largest religious denomination among the student body is now Catholic, and our students, faculty, and administrators all lean strongly toward the left wing of the Democratic Party.

But the increasing emphasis on PC and diversity is bringing declining benefits. The incurious students who praise “hands-on learning” (which typically involves little serious learning) seem less and less likely to choose a middling college with a price tag of $55,000 a year. (Even with the negotiated bargains given to prospective buyers, the average yearly cost is around $30,000.) Students can major in primary education, social work, and communications for considerably less at a state institution, where they can also do their demonstrating.

In a nutshell, the college has become too expensive for what it offers its average student; an erosion of the customer base has started. Since 2009, the student body has declined from 1,866 to 1,707 and the school is encountering increasing difficulty meeting its annual goal of 450 entering freshmen. This year it trimmed $3 million from its budget. Justified fear has set in among the faculty that further savings will be extracted from their salaries and benefits.

It’s hard to imagine why one would go to Elizabethtown to partake of a uniqueness that no longer exists. If someone wants safe spaces for LGBT or intends to march against “white privilege,” why choose an expensive college that’s unknown to people outside our region?

(Republished from The James G. Martin Center by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Academia, Political Correctness 
🔊 Listen RSS

About ten years ago I published a book, The Strange Death of Marxism, which argued strenuously that the present Left is not Marxist, but post-Marxist. Unlike traditional Marxists and European democratic socialists, the type of Left that has gained ground since and even before the fall of the Soviet Empire is culturally radical but only secondarily interested in economic change. Our present Left makes its peace with private enterprise and even large corporations, providing it can impose its idea of social and cultural transformation on increasingly powerless citizens and their increasingly indoctrinated children. Not that this Left is particularly friendly to anything that is private, including economic transactions. But it treats the economy as something that it can influence without having to nationalize, thereby avoiding those disastrous policies that socialist governments of the past tried to enact. Our own master class has sensibly concluded that it’s better to allow market forces to operate while making sure that public administration can dip, when it advances a pretext, into the profits. Further, the master class endlessly bullies the public into going along with increasingly complicated behavioral guidelines, supposedly intended to fight “discrimination.” It is the culture and only instrumentally the government that the post-Marxist Left seeks to dominate; and the type of administrative state that has expanded explosively in every Western country since the 1960s is an effective instrument by which social engineers and sensitivity commissars can do their work.

Although I haven’t change my view about how the Left has transformed itself since I wrote my book, it does seem that in some ways there’s been more continuity between the old and the new Lefts than I once suggested. Old-time Marxists here and in Europe became multiculturalists almost overnight, while our current leftists still admire Communists of the past (like Castro) and associate anti-Communists with fascism. Moreover, as I’ve watched the organized anti-Trump hysteria that is gripping our grievance-crowds, soi-disant entertainment industries, and unhinged media, it is obvious that the PC-multicultural Left is following the older, more cerebral Marxist Left in three critical respects.

  1. Like the Communists and also like the Italian Fascists, the multicultural Left never sees itself as occupying positions of authority and or being able to force the unwilling to comply with its demands. As the Left understands its situation, it is always struggling to take power. Also when it seems to be on the verge of getting somewhere (as in Obama’s America), it is still in danger of being crushed by hostile forces. Just as the Left once contended that no socialist revolution had ever been fully carried out and that Communist countries were still “on the way to becoming socialist,” so too are today’s PC regimes, as viewed by their advocates, only tentative first steps toward overcoming the past. They are first steps on the long march to power; and even these steps became threatened when Hillary Clinton failed to win the presidency.
  2. There is no way that the Left can retreat from what it has achieved in transforming society without the entire edifice of change being imperiled. This corresponds to Trotsky’s formula that if the revolution is made to retreat from stage D to stage C, then the entire march toward the new society could be reversed. Therefore the march out of the gloomy repressive past must be continued unconditionally, and any retreat from it is tantamount to counterrevolution — or in the leftist fear-mongering phrase, having women forced to have abortions in back alleys, re-imposing racial segregation, and jailing homosexuals. This kind of thinking makes perfectly good sense, if one begins with the assumption that one is in an “all or nothing” situation. It also doesn’t matter that President Obama stopped flights to the U.S. from Iraq in 2011 or that Bill Clinton spoke in a State of the Union address in 1994 about stopping the presence of illegals in the U.S. Nor should we notice that Donald Trump’s predecessor opposed gay marriage at the time he was elected to the presidency. It is our duty to protect whatever revolution is underway in its most advanced state. Any retreat from the present into the past, even the recent past, should be seen as an attempt to undo every bit of Progress that’s been gained until now.
  3. Anyone who threatens the still fragile, reversible process of change must be dehumanized. There can be no honest disagreements with those who either by design or because of dangerous ignorance are working against “hope and change.” One is therefore justified in condemning these reactionaries as the lowliest and most malevolent of beings. Like the Communists, the current Left, particularly in Western Europe, characterizes its opponents as “fascists.” Note that for the old Left, “fascism” had a quasi-scientific meaning. It referred to the defenders of a form of late capitalism, which had already reached a point of mortal crisis. “Fascists” repressed socialist revolution by creating right-wing nationalist dictatorships. In the process phony “fascist” revolutionaries drove real leftist revolutionaries underground.

For the multicultural Left, by contrast, the once meaningful Marxist term “fascist” has been reduced to a smear. It now signifies those the Left is combatting, that is, those who disagree with all or some aspect of the Left’s social agenda. Those who oppose this agenda may or perhaps should be attacked as Nazis and even Holocaust-deniers (which an acquaintance of mine recently called me for voting for Donald Trump). If the people under attack don’t deny Nazi crimes explicitly, their view of “social justice” is so hopelessly negative that presumably they would have enthusiastically endorsed Hitler. What else should one think of someone who is trying to push us back into the Dark Ages, perhaps as far back as 2008?

(Republished from American Thinker by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Cultural Marxism, Donald Trump, Marxism 
Anti-Trump demonstrations are far from irrational. The opposite is more likely.
🔊 Listen RSS

Every day I hear exasperated Trump-backers exclaim that the Left has gone crazy. And their complaint seems justified, at least up to a point. The demonstrations against Trump, which now involve such gestures as setting fires, destroying property and beating up suspected Trump backers, look utterly “irrational.” It’s as if the election and subsequent inauguration of Donald Trump released forces of madness that can no longer be contained. Wild accusations are being made against those who voted for Trump, that they yearn to exterminate blacks and gays and put Jews into concentration camps, etc. One of my close acquaintances has turned her home into “a safe space for Jewish children,” so there will be no more Anne Frank-deaths during the terrible persecutions that our “illegitimately appointed, fake head of state” will soon supposedly unleash. I myself have been called by leftist ex-friends a “Holocaust-denier” because I think Trump’s decision to stop the influx of visitors and immigrants from terrorist-laden countries is entirely justified. How this shows that I deny Hitler’s murderous activities is never explained to me, but I’m sure the Trump-haters in Hollywood, CNN and at Berkeley would understand the connection.

Note that I’m not saying that everyone out there making noise or burning property is a model of scientific rationality. Nor am I claiming that the entertainment community makes sense when they scream against the Donald, or that students who recently set fires on the Berkeley campus to protest a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos were engaging in Aristotelian reasoning. What I am asserting is that viewed from the top, this agitation and violence reveal careful thought. In fact, from the vantage point of George Soros and such protest organizers as the Democratic National Committee and the leaders of the grievance culture, noisy demonstrations are a reasonable means toward a predetermined end. Max Weber, Vilfredo Pareto, and other sociologists who understood functional rationality as working systematically toward a desired end would have pointed to these protests as illustrating perfectly rational action, at least on the part of those who organize them.

The useful idiots are all over the place, but that’s exactly what they are, mere stage extras. They are impressionable adolescents, Hollywood airheads, middle-aged women who want to “assert themselves,” perpetually incited racial minorities, and Muslim activists. Many of them can be mobilized at the drop of a pin to “march for tolerance,” however that term is interpreted by those who organize the march and by politicians, like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, who seek to increase their influence through well-prepared displays of “righteous indignation.” Please note that Schumer’s obstructionist tactics in the Senate, blocking or delaying cabinet nominees and threatening to shoot down Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, have been applied to the accompaniment of non-stop anti-Trump protests. Only a fool or unthinking partisan would believe these events are unrelated.

Most of what we see and hear is profoundly hypocritical. Trump is not threatening gays or blacks; he is far from being an exterminationist anti-Semite, he is surrounded by Jewish family members and Jewish advisers and is adored by the population of Israel. He is not an anti-Muslim religious bigot; and the temporary travel restriction that he established last week affects non-Muslims as well as Muslims trying to enter the USA from certain countries. Only 109 travelers were detained last weekend because of the ban; and one may easily surmise that other passengers who were jostled by the loads of screaming, gesticulating demonstrators suffered far more grievously than those who were temporarily detained. Moreover, since Obama imposed a four-month travel ban on passengers from Iraq in 2011, we may assume that even more people during the supposedly sensitive Obama years were inconvenienced. But, strange as it seems, I don’t recall mass demonstrations by our selective humanitarians against Obama’s travel restrictions. Perhaps I didn’t notice them when they were taking place.

I also hear from establishment Republicans, and even from family members who should know better, that Trump is bringing all this on himself because he is too free with his words. If only he could explain himself calmly and read more often from a teleprompter, none of this would be happening. Moreover, if Trump were a nice conciliatory guy, like, say, W, Romney or Kasich, the PC crowd would be pacified—or would stop running riot. This gives me food for thought. Does anyone really believe that the Left was nice to George W. Bush, whom they also smeared as a racist and religious bigot? And is any Republican or Never-Trumper naïve enough to believe that if it had been Ted Cruz rather than Trump naming Neil Gorsuch as his pick to the Supreme Court, there would be no demonstrations against this outstanding non-leftist jurist? Perhaps if the silver-tongued Cruz were defending Gorsuch in Ciceronian accents, Schumer and his friends in the Senate would not be trying to block the confirmation? Come to think of it: Cruz has already endorsed Gorsuch—to no effect.

The only question that should be asked in this matter concerns the end game of those who are organizing the insurrectionary masses. What do they expect to gain from the continuing noise and escalating violence? At the very least they may hope to disempower Trump and his administration–perhaps to render them so powerless that they won’t able to do anything that the Left and the Democratic base (to make a perhaps unnecessary distinction) don’t want them to do. The Democrats are also hoping to take advantage of the chaos to which their fans and operatives have contributed by posing as the true party of order. Only the Democrats, the electorate will be impelled to assume, could end the civil unrest by bringing back the glorious days of the Obama administration.

This transfiguration of the bungling leftist Obama into the guarantor of American order may not be as strange an idea as it first seems. Last week I found myself sitting next to a sixty year old black woman on a train going to Philadelphia; and this traveler began telling me how nice it had been under Obama. At first I reminded her of the growing criminality in our cities during the last few years, but then I noticed she wasn’t talking about crime. Things had been nicer under Obama because back then one didn’t witness daily and even hourly eruptions of organized anger, with the media, entertainment industry, and in varying degrees the Democratic Party egging on the mobs. The woman whom I spoke to wasn’t looking for deeper causes. All she knew was that since Trump had taken office, pandemonium was loosed on the country. And it’s not yet clear that this pandemonium will be blamed on those who are causing it, namely the organizers, the media, and the throngs of useful idiots.

(Republished from Front Page Magazine by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: American Left, Antifa, Donald Trump 
🔊 Listen RSS

Let’s not imagine that Trump can alone pick up his popularity ratings.

Several days ago I picked up the Inquirer while in Philadelphia and saw on the front cover, next to a puff piece for Michelle Obama, a headline that Trump’s popularity is now down to 40%. Although I’ve no implicit faith in polls, given the likely politics of the pollsters and given their obvious downplaying of Trump’s support throughout the presidential campaign, from what I’ve seen and heard, it seems that Trump’s approval rating is in fact well below 50%. Despite Obama’s longtime associations with onetime terrorists and raving black nationalists, Mr. “Hope and Change” had an 80% approval rating when he took office; and it remained at about 60% when he flew off on Inauguration Day for a California vacation. And that often tongue-tied establishment Republican George W. Bush enjoyed a 60% approval rating when he entered the Oval Office. Although Trump continues to benefit from an intensely loyal following, it seems hard for him to raise his general support level above 50%.

One reason for this problem that may be overstated is that Trump is too impulsive to win the confidence of most Americans. He tweets too much and divulges indiscreet thoughts, and, as I never cease hearing from Trump’s critics, he is far too rude in the way he goes after his critics. And finally he gives the impression of being prejudiced against all sorts of minorities, which makes him sound, according to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, downright “Hitlerian.” Contrary to this last attack, Trump demonstrably reached out to racial minorities in order to win their approval. Even his controversial inaugural address spoke sympathetically to inner city blacks, who voted overwhelmingly against him—and predictably in favor of his Democratic opponent.

As for the charge of being racially or socially divisive so often leveled against Trump, one might respond “In comparison to whom?” Former president Obama never missed a chance to play up white racism or Christian intolerance whenever he went into his moralizing mode. When Muslim terrorists slit the throats of Christians, he warned American Christians about “getting on a high horse.” Americans were told to use the occasion to ponder the evils of the Christian Crusades and the white Christian stigma of slavery. What was left unspoken were the Muslim conquests of formerly Christian regions that led to the Crusades and the widespread practice among Muslims of taking Africans as slaves. Equally missing from Obama’s blather was any mention of the fact that unlike Christians and Jews, Muslim zealots are now carrying out terrorist acts worldwide.

I won’t even get into all the things that Obama did to thumb his nose at middle class whites. Out of a very long list, we might note in passing his demonstrations of support for Black Lives Matter, thereby undermining the authority of the police, and his apparent epiphany that the teenage thug Trayvon Martin “could have been my son.” Undoubtedly if the media and educational establishment (both of which have been vocal in their denunciations of Trump’s insensitivity) had looked a bit harder, they would have found in Obama at least the same degree of offensiveness that they discovered in Trump. Of course this never happened, because the insensitivities revealed by Obama were music to the ears of his followers. And this brings me to my core argument: Trump is hampered in his efforts to become more popular by the enmity of culturally leftist institutions that now are dominant throughout the West. Like other politicians who are seen by the media and cultural elites as being against “diversity,” or whatever the weasel word of the moment, Trump will have to labor mightily to overcome media-created low approval ratings. And the obstacles he faces are not likely to go away in the foreseeable future.

Unlike other heads of government who try to buck the PC tide, Trump now holds the highest office in the richest and most influential country on Earth. What he says or does to affect the political culture is far more important than what a conservative nationalist in a small country, say the outspoken Victor Orban in Hungary, could hope to achieve worldwide. We might also note that the American cultural, communication and educational industries have far more impact worldwide than they do in other countries with less of a global presence. And, not insignificantly, these forces are allied against the spoiler Donald Trump. There’s also no use kidding ourselves about the danger posed by these enemies to anyone they’ve targeted. Such a target is lucky to survive as a public figure or someone with a more or less intact reputation.

Trump did survive; and because of his public relations genius and his ability to express the grievances of the grunge class, went on to become president, by winning an electoral majority. I take off my hat to this daring new president; and like my wife and friends among Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables,” I stayed up on Election Night rejoicing at the Donald’s unexpected victory. And I genuinely like the man and his attractive family and find myself cheering every time he says something to insult our arrogant leftist elites. But I won’t fool myself by believing that he can make himself popular in the same manner as the person he’s replacing. Educators, mediacrats, and the “Hollywood community” are almost solidly committed to discrediting him, and at the very least, they should be able to depress his popularity index, by attacking him as a racist, homophobe, misogynist and anti-Semite. It makes no difference that these charges, which are repeated daily through thousands of fake news sources, had to be invented. If you hear these fabrications often enough, you may start to believe them.

Postscript: I just spoke to one of my daughters, who was asked to join the enraged women who were going from Boston to Washington to protest Trump’s attack on “women’s rights.” My daughter responded that she was unaware of what right Trump was now assailing. In any case, she wouldn’t join this multitude of yentas because it was clear that what they were really about was discrediting the Trump administration even before it began.

(Republished from The Liberty Conservative by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, Political Correctness 
Sometimes the Outreach Becomes Intolerable
🔊 Listen RSS

Lately I’ve been watching the blossoming lovefest between the conservative-Republican establishment and those on the Left who are raging over the Obama administration’s reaction to the UN resolution against Israel. Arguably, this resolution was an attempt to take away Israel’s bargaining chips in negotiating with the Palestinians. The UN Security Council, which passed the resolution, made unmistakably clear that Israel is illegally occupying both East Jerusalem and the territory on the West Bank that had been taken during the Six Day War. The resolution may also have the effect of justifying terrorist acts designed to dislodge Israelis from areas that they’re no longer supposed to be occupying. Finally it challenges Israeli claims to East Jerusalem, although there is no chance that the Israeli government will acquiesce in making Jerusalem once again a divided city.

Although some of the reactions coming from Republican publicists and politicians have bordered on the hysterical or histrionic, I won’t disagree that the US might have done better by not lobbying for the troublesome resolution, which it appears is the case. And I wouldn’t question the view of the Israeli Premier that the Trump administration would have handled the resolution differently. Trump undoubtedly would have taken a different course, as he indicated in a tweet. But to move on to other matters: I’m appalled by how Fox-news and other disseminators of GOP party-lines have been fawning on leftist politicians and celebrities who share their “indignation” over the Obama administration’s treatment of the Israeli premier. Since the passage of the fateful resolution, we’ve been inundated by expressions of friendship from GOP celebrities for liberal Democrats who have now turned against Obama. For example, Chuck Schumer, Elliot Engel, and Kirsten Gillibrand are all outraged by how the outgoing president has turned on the “only democracy in the Middle East.” As a sign of the new relationship between us and them, we were treated last week on Fox news to a bathetic interview with a longtime political leftist and a bosom buddy of Obama, Alan Dershowitz. In this memorable interview Dershowitz explained how the President betrayed the Jewish people after assuring him that “I’ll have the back of Israel.” This may have been one of the great acting moment in the life of a seventy-eight year old courtroom performer. And the people in the studio were lapping it up.

Let me point out the obvious. Those who are being celebrated by Fox News, New York Post, and Wall Street Journal are mostly Democratic politicians representing heavily or disproportionately Jewish constituencies. Their reaction to what happened with the UN resolution was as predictable as the fact that North Carolina Senators vote for tobacco subsidies. Alan Dershowitz throughout his career has been a left-leaning Democrat but also a committed Zionist. Only a fool would have expected him not to take the side of Israel, even against a left liberal administration that he has tirelessly defended. Why the interviewer on Fox-news and her colleagues were awash in compassion for Dershowitz as he whined on about how Obama let him down, is something I still can’t get my head around.

Do Republican commentators and TV producers really think they can make pals of liberal Democrats simply because they all oppose the UN resolution on Israel? If that is the case, then these Republicans must be hopeless fools. Once the Obama administration’s failure to veto that resolution fades from the news, Schumer, Dershowitz and the other protestors will become the relentless opponents of the heartless, xenophobic, homophobic, racist Republicans once again. Don’t expect them to assist the Trump administration in replacing Obamacare or support the candidates for the Supreme Court whom President Trump will likely nominate. And because Schumer and the others are accidentally taking the same side on the UN resolution as Evangelical Christians, don’t expect them to respect the religious liberties of those who out of conscience refuse to cater gay weddings. Needless to say, these pro-Israel Democrats will be hot to trot for allowing men who have just changed their gender preference to enter shower facilities previously reserved for young women.

My other reaction to these unseemly overtures on the part of Republicans is that these folks must be desperate for the approval of left liberal politicians. Perhaps they’re trying to show that contrary to what the Left has been saying about them, they’re not anti-Semites after all. GOP luminaries have therefore decided to kiss up (no other phrase will do here) to the pro-Zionist Left by showcasing their solidarity over the Jewish state with Schumer, Dershowitz, etc. Of our two national parties, the Republican Party has been the more effusively pro-Israel, but perhaps its partisans now feels impelled to go further, by demonstrating their fervent Zionist sympathy in the company of solidly leftist allies. Such overcompensating behavior is not unusual for the conservative establishment; I’ve been observing it for decades. Republican publicists and Republican politicians often go all out trying to outdo the Left, for example, in praising Martin Luther King and deploring American incidents involving racial and gender prejudice. The GOP establishment can sometimes bring off such gestures without looking utterly ridiculous. Unfortunately this is not one of those occasions.

Paul Gottfried
About Paul Gottfried

Paul Edward Gottfried (b. 1941) has been one of America's leading intellectual historians and paleoconservative thinkers for over 40 years, and is the author of many books, including Conservatism in America (2007), The Strange Death of Marxism (2005), After Liberalism (1999), Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt (2002), and Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America (2012) . A critic of the neoconservative movement, he has warned against the growing lack of distinctions between the Democratic and Republican parties and the rise of the managerial state. He has been acquainted with many of the leading American political figures of recent decades, including Richard Nixon and Patrick Buchanan. He is Professor Emeritus of Humanities at Elizabethtown College and a Guggenheim recipient.