Wednesday, June 6, 2018

June 6, 2018

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

Why the Modern Conservative Movement (AKA, Neoconservatism) is Dangerous to the Health of the American Nation:

Essays by Buchanan, Gottfried and Kerwick

First, I urge you to remember in your thoughts this significant day--this anniversary--in American history: D-Day, the 6th of June, 1944, seventy-four years ago, and the Normandy invasion. Most of the wizened veterans of that momentous day, indeed, of World War II, are now gone. But we must never forget that day in our history, or the sacrifices the greatest generation made....

This morning I am going to limit—well, at least try to limit—my comments, because I want to send on several very pertinent and useful essays, actually extremely valuable analyses by friends (Drs. Paul Gottfried and Jack Kerwick and columnist author Pat Buchanan).  And that will take up the space I would ordinarily employ for my extended commentary.

I continually get questions about my attacks on what is termed Neoconservatism, and, in particular, on certain of its specifically identified leaders. Over the past several years I have written extensively about that “ism,” but mostly deferred in my columns to much more detailed studies and critiques, notably by Paul Gottfried, Claes Ryn, Gary Dorrien, Jack Kerwick, Mel Bradford, and others.

The one question that is asked of me the most is this: can’t we support the Neocons when they say and do things that are “good”—that is, that seem to be favorable to the defense of our Western and Christian traditions and culture? In other words, isn’t there a way to support those things advocated by them that we support, while not supporting those things that we disagree with?

The problem here is with the question, itself.

Obviously, if you are a member of Congress and Lindsey Graham proposes legislation to raise the pay of members of the military, the answer is probably “yes.” Indeed, if Senator Chuck Schumer were to do the same thing, the answer would most likely be “yes,” also. But what about Graham’s staunch support for what essentially would be amnesty? Or his allegiance to globalist trade treaties and regulations? Or his extreme advocacy of American intervention to impose liberal democracy on every God-forsaken oasis or jungle on the face of the globe?

Raising military pay ordinarily is not an ideological issue, but perforce, questions about committing American boys in wars to impose equality and democracy, or about support for “moderate feminism, or whether to enact amnesty, or whether Confederate monuments should be taken down, I would suggest, are.

In the past, if you have read my previous essays, you’ll see that I have offered severe criticism of, among others, the following leaders of Neoconservatism: Ben Shapiro, Jonah Goldberg, Victor Davis Hanson, Bill Kristol, James Kirchick, David French, Kevin Williamson, George Will, Dinesh D’Souza, Guy Benson, John Bolton, Nikki Haley, Rich Lowry, Max Boot, and some others. Many, if not most of these gentlemen write for the National Review (or The Weekly Standard). And most of them appear with some frequency on Fox News. [If interested, ask for references; there are too many to list here.]

To the earlier question, let me pose a counter-question: How long would it be if you support the Neocons on some issues, before you end up supporting them on the other issues they write about? Let me state it in a simpler way: if you begin to trust Writer X because he seems to be writing what you think is “good” and right on one or two points, is there a moment when you begin to trust and then believe Writer X on the other points he writes about? Is there not a slippery, ideological slope here—I read Writer X on two or three issues, I see him on Fox and he sounds “good,” so I probably can believe him and, eventually, I may share his views on other things, as well.

In short, it becomes a seductive educational process, or, in effect, a process of acculturation and gradual acceptance of views that perhaps, if I thought them clearly through, I probably would reject.

Yet, this is exactly what has happened to the old “conservative movement” since its intellectual heyday in the 1960s, and specifically with the migration into it and control of it by those ex-Trotskyite Marxists from the Left, the Neoconservatives.

Since then the essential vision, the views of conservatism have been radically transformed, and those “Old Right” conservative writers and scholars who continued to believe those older views have been dis-authorized, banned from publications, had their reputations and careers attacked and damaged, if they don’t tow the new and authoritarian Neocon party line (which is, curiously, just like their praxis in the “good old days” when they were full-fledged, open Marxists).  The list of those Old Right conservatives who’ve received this censorious treatment is long, and includes such scholars as Gottfried, Kerwick, Mel Bradford, most of the writers associated with the Lew Rockwell/von Mises Institute, Chronicles Magazine, and various others.

So, my response would be to that initial question: any “good” thing that a Neocon pundit or writer has written or said, has, without doubt, been written or said better by a more reliant and less Leftist-infected writer of the Old Right…and without the ideological baggage and infectious afterbirth that almost inevitably accompanies a “good” statement from a Ben Shapiro or a Victor Davis Hanson.

And with that, I pass on five short essays, by Jack Kerwick (1), Paul Gottfried (3), and Pat Buchanan (1).


 What Is America's Cause in the World Today?

By Patrick J. Buchanan  Tuesday - May 29, 2018

After being sworn in for a fourth term, Vladimir Putin departed the Kremlin for Annunciation Cathedral to receive the televised blessing of Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The patriarch and his priests in sacred vestments surrounded Putin, who, standing alone, made the sign of the cross.

Meanwhile, sacred vestments from the Sistine Chapel were being transported by the Vatican to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art to adorn half-clad models in a sexy show billed as "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination." One model sported a papal tiara.

The “show” proved a sensation in secular media.

In Minsk, Belarus, on May 17, to celebrate “International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia,” Britain's embassy raised the rainbow flag. Belarus's Ministry of Internal Affairs was not amused:  "Same-sex relationships are a fake. And the essence of fake is always the same — the devaluation of truth. The LGBT community and all this struggle for 'their rights,' and the day of the community itself, are just a fake!"

Belarus is declaring moral truth — to Great Britain.

What is going on? A scholarly study sums it up: "The statistical trends in religion show two separate Europes: the West is undergoing a process of secularization while the post-socialist East, de-secularization."

One Europe is turning back to God; the other is turning its back on God.

And when Vladimir Putin and Belarus' Alexander Lukashenko are standing up for traditional values against Western cultural elites, the East-West struggle has lost its moral clarity.

And, so, what do we Americans stand for now? What is our cause in the world today?

In World War II, Americans had no doubt they were in the right against Nazism and a militaristic Japan that had attacked us at Pearl Harbor.

In the Cold War, we believed America was on God's side against the evil ideology of Marxism-Leninism, which declared the Communist state supreme and that there was no such thing as God-given rights.

With the moral clarity of the Cold War gone, how do we rally Americans to fight on the other side of the world in places most of them can't find on a map?

A weekend article in The Washington Post discusses the strategic difficulty of our even prevailing, should we become involved in wars with both Iran and North Korea.

"You would expect the U.S. and its allies to prevail but at a human and material cost that would be almost incalculable, particularly in the case of the Korean example," said Rand researcher David Ochmanek.  Added John Hopkins professor Mara Karlin, "If you want to ensure the Pentagon can actually plan and prepare and resource for a potential conflict with China or Russia, then getting into conflict with Iran or North Korea is the exact wrong thing to do."

One wonders: How many of these potential wars — with North Korea, Iran, Russia, China — could we fight without having America bled and bankrupted. What conceivable benefit could we derive from these wars, especially with a China or Russia, to justify the cost?

Looking back, only one great power survived the last century as a world power. The German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires did not survive World War I. World War II brought to an end the British, French, Italian and Japanese empires.

The Soviet Union and the United States were the only great surviving powers of World War II, and the USSR itself collapsed between 1989 and 1991. Then, in 1991, we Americans started down the well-traveled road of empire, smashing Iraq to rescue Kuwait. Heady with that martial triumph, we plunged into Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. Though still embroiled, we are now talking war with North Korea or Iran, or even Russia or China, the former over its annexation of Crimea, the latter over its annexation of the South China Sea.

Donald Trump is president today because he told the people he would "Make America Great Again" and put "America First."

Which bring us back to the question: What is America's cause today?  Defeating Nazism and fascism was a cause. Defending the West against Communism was a cause. But what cause now unites Americans?  It is certainly not Christianizing the world as it was in centuries long ago, or imposing Western rule on mankind as it was in the age of empires from the 17th to the 20th century.

Democracy crusading is out of style as the free elections we have demanded have produced Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq, and nationalists, populists and autocrats from Asia to the Middle East to Europe.

Perhaps our mission is to defend and protect what is vital to us, to stay out of foreign wars where our critical interests are not imperiled, and to reunite our divided and disputatious republic — if we are not too far beyond that…


Remaking the World in the Neoconservative Image

What they advocate isn't a foreign policy; it's an ideological fixation.

New York Post, star columnist Benny Avni has raised alarms that President Trump may be getting too friendly with President Xi of China. This could cause serious international complication if it prevents us from limiting Chinese influence in the world: “A domineering China is bad for America and for the world, as it presents a dictatorial model of governance aiming to compete with Western democracy.”

An ardent partisan for the Israeli Right but also closely tied to the neoconservative orbit, Avni can be relied on to convey the neoconservative conception of world politics. 

According to this script, the U.S., our showcase democratic ally Israel, and Western European leaders, like France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel, who control nationalist impulses in their countries, stand for democracy. In contrast Russia, China, the European Right, and Iran are the bad guys; and the rest of the planet is waiting at the existential crossroads trying to decide whether to go with Team A or Team B.  

Those at the crossroads, moreover, behave morally when they side politically with the U.S. and practice the counsels of perfection when they obligingly adopt “Western democracy.” The “West” of course means the U.S. and those in Western Europe who describe themselves as Atlanticists and do what the American political establishment wants them to do. The West also includes European globalists and parties of the Left, providing they’re not anti-Israeli and providing they’re willing to cooperate with our State Department. The West, needless to say, does not embrace the nationalist Right, anywhere outside of the U.S., except in Israel.

The democracy that neoconservatives wish to export to foreign countries involves adopting the political culture that now prevails in America and in other advanced democracies. Feminism and gay rights are now parts of the package, according to younger neoconservatives like Jamie Kirchik. Neoconservatives of an older generation, whom I knew while working in Washington in the 1980s, required from our political friends a less rigorous observance of the true faith, e.g., holding regular free elections and voting with the U.S. and Israel in the UN. But the goal for Charles Krauthammer, Joshua Muravchik, Elliot Abrams and the National Endowment for Democracy has always been the same, converting the entire globe to American-style democracy.

Presumably countries will continue to fight until this noble goal can be attained. Since democracies presumably never make war on each other and since the U.S. presumably never started a foreign war unless provoked by bad hombres, we won’t have to worry about armed conflicts once “Western democracy” is instituted everywhere.  Right?

As the Russian radical leftist (living in Paris) Alexander Kojeve pointed out during the Cold War, having one superpower put in a position to dominate the globe might indeed end armed struggles, albeit at the price of establishing tyranny almost everywhere else.

Kojeve, who was an admirer of Stalin, thought that the advantage of having a world at peace with uniform set of beliefs was well worth the acceptance of Soviet domination. But in Kojeve’s case we are not talking about international politics, but embracing a brutal means for making politics go away. International relations assume the operation of varying and often conflicting national interests that must be brought into line in order to maintain stability. Avni and his friends at the New York Post look forward to something very different, namely a world controlled by people like themselves in which ideological and significant political differences will no longer be tolerated.

Contrary to what their critics have said, I see no reason to doubt that neoconservatives genuinely believe in their unipolar, ideologically homogenized view of the world. Even if they give a pass to Israel by turning the other way when it expels thousands of African asylum seekers, American neoconservatives may also be sincere when they articulate their general vision of the global future. Presumably they’d like to see troublesome ethnic identities vanish in most of the world and be replaced by their ideal version of the American system.   And they are genuinely committed to having the U.S. lead the crusade to bend the world to their vision.

This enthusiasm may be re-enforced by certain personal considerations. Neoconservative journalists, academics, and political advisers have attained a level of success that most envy. They may therefore believe they’re doing humanity a favor by conferring on them their preferred version of “American values.”  The fact that they continue to enjoy immense power in the Republican Party and the national media and that their foreign policy is widely considered to be the only “conservative” one suggests that they’re not expressing isolated views. I hear lots of obliging followers repeat their clich├ęs on Fox News and on Republican talk radio. It would also not be a stretch to describe their “armed doctrine” (to use Edmund Burke’s phrase) as a variation on the liberal internationalism that has marked American foreign policy through most of the twentieth century. What the neoconservatives preach is a more revolutionary as well as more idealistic formulation of what our “democratic” and human-rights based dealings with the rest of the world are supposed to look like.

Still neoconservatives like Avni are advocating not a foreign policy but an ideological fixation. And it may be a mistake to treat it as anything else, and least of all as a recipe for serious diplomacy.

Paul Gottfried is Raffensperger Professor of Humanities Emeritus at Elizabethtown College, where he taught for 25 years. He is a Guggenheim recipient and a Yale PhD. He writes for many websites and scholarly journals and is the author of 13 books, most recently Fascism: Career of a Concept and Revisions and Dissents. His books have been translated into multiple languages and seem to enjoy special success in Eastern Europe.


Saying NO to the Imperialism, Racism, and Islamophobia of Neoconservatives

Posted by Jack Kerwick  June 5, 2018

How times have changed.

Love him or hate him, everyone and anyone who is genuinely interested in achieving “transparency” owes President Donald J. Trump an eternal debt of gratitude, for had it not been for his meteoric political rise, it would still be possible for some to doubt the existence and profound corruption of the Government-Academic-Media-Entertainment complex (GAME).

Courtesy of President Trump, this phenomenon is now axiomatic.

In the Age of Trump, those who not long ago labored inexhaustibly to convince their respective constituencies that they were mortal ideological enemies have pulled back the curtain on this act so as to fulfill their sole objective:

Stopping the Great Disruptor, Donald J. Trump.

For example, Max Boot has long been recognized by friend and foe alike as the quintessential neoconservative, a tenacious military interventionist whose support for George W. Bush’s “War on Terror”—and every American military engagement for which this has served as the pretext—has been uncompromising.  Yet Boot, doubtless because he is an outspoken Never Trumper, now appears in the pages of the unapologetically anti-Trump Washington Post.

And in his most recent editorial, Boot accuses Trump of “normalizing racism.”

In December of 2017, in an essay published by Foreign Policy, Boot claimed that for years he had been “a smart-alecky conservative who scoffed at ‘political correctness,’” but “the Trump era has opened my eyes” on the reality of “white privilege.”

Boot represents the GOP-Neoconservative Media Axis—what I call “Big Conservatism,” or “the Big Con”—insofar as he is a self-styled conservative who spares no occasion to ingratiate himself to recognizable leftists by renouncing Trump and his supporters as “racist.” George W. Bush, John McCain, Megan McCain, talk radio host Michael Medved, Mitt Romney, the writers at National Review, and a whole lot of other self-described conservative (neoconservative) politicians and commentators have seized every available opportunity to do the same.

For reasons that I’ve listed repeatedly, I am usually the last person to hurl the “R-word” at others.  The main reason that I refrain from doing so is that the term, perhaps from overuse, has become all but meaningless.  However, if a white “racist” is not someone who habitually endorses actions that lead to the destruction of millions of non-white men, women, and children, then there is no white racism.

The point, though, is that Max Boot and every one of his Never Trumping neoconservative fellow travelers have repeatedly appropriated their substantial resources for the express purpose of waging war.

Almost without exception, these wars have been waged against Third World peoples of color.

Although Boot and his comrades labor inexhaustibly to convince The New York Times and The Washington Post of their unmitigated contempt for the “bigotry” and “racism” of those to their right, it is the latter who have no moral alternative but to unequivocally condemn the racially and religiously charged imperialism of neoconservatives like Boot.

Boot claims to have belatedly arrived at the revelation that he has “white privilege.” Whether this is an expression of sincerity or but another attempt on Boot’s part to posture for the left is anyone’s guess. At any rate, that the hundreds of thousands of dead, maimed, orphaned, and displaced brown and Islamic peoples whose fate was sealed by the very wars for which he was the loudest of cheerleaders didn’t suffice to awake Boot from the dogmatic slumbers of his ethnocentric ideology, makes it all but a foregone conclusion that Boot remains a champion of the same neo-imperialism that he’s always favored.

Max Boot is the proverbial textbook illustration of the Big Con in another critical respect:

He is morally unserious.

The Boots of the world compete with one another over who can come up with the greatest number of adjectives in condemning the allegedly “racist” remarks of a public figure on whom the left has set its sights.  Yet they continue to advocate on behalf of literally homicidal policies, of actions, that result in seas of blood for legions of non-white men, women, and children.

If “racism” and “Islamophobia” have any meaning at all, then surely Max Boot and his fellow neoconservatives, given that their imperialist ideology is almost invariably directed toward Muslims and people of color, are guilty of these moral transgressions in spades.

Back in January, Joy Reid, of MSNBC, accused National Review writer David French of arguing that nuclear war was worth risking because “it will only kill Democrats and minorities.” Reid is a disreputable person whose intellectual dishonesty renders her unfit to be a public figure. She radically misread French.  That being said, given that French is an Iraq War veteran, and since he does indeed write for a publication that not only vigorously advocated for this war that by now virtually everyone recognizes for the catastrophe that it is but which, to this day, refuses to apologize for its part in promoting it, can it be any surprise that some would interpret French as viewing the loss of non-white lives as a price worth paying for a war that he and his neoconservative colleagues regard as “just?”

When National Review writer Kevin Williamson was hired by left-leaning The Atlantic, the leftist rag Mother Jones blasted Williamson and NR for their “race problem.”  To make the point, Kevin Drum alluded to a 2014 piece of Williamson’s in which the latter, in an ostensible critique of the Democratic governor of Illinois, superfluously offered a depiction of black underclass existence that featured an anti-white black kid using ghetto-slang, a kid who Williamson said made “the universal gesture of primate territorial challenge.”

By the lights of this Mother Jones commentator, Williamson’s “primate” reference in his description of the conduct of a black youth convicts him and, by implication, his editors at NR of having a “race problem.”

Mother Jones, but one more clog in the vast machinery that is the Racism-Industrial-Complex (RIC), has zero credibility on questions regarding race and “racism.”  However, given NR’s extensive track record of advancing preemptive invasions of foreign lands, the Third World countries of peoples of color who, most recently, tend to be overwhelmingly Muslim, it is not surprising that Williamson and his benefactors are susceptible to charges of racism (and Islamophobia).

So as to avoid any misunderstandings, it should be noted in no uncertain terms that the neocons’ leftist critics are disingenuous.  That they are concerned only with defeating those Republicans who happen to be in power at the moment should be obvious from two facts:

First, leftist Democrats have favored the very same imperialist war-mongering for which neocon Republicans are known.  Barack Obama, for instance, launched over 100,000 drone attacks on seven (Third World, non-white countries) over an eight year period. No other American president has launched war in that many places over that long a period of time.

Second, for decades, leftists spent all of their time demonizing George W. Bush, John McCain, and every other Republican national figure for their imperialism and racism (and everything else).  Now, though, and through the prism of Donald Trump, leftists like Bill Maher claim to have discovered “a new found respect” for those who they once reduced to the status of devils or things.

The bottom line is this: No one, least of all those libertarians and traditionalist conservatives who, at considerable cost to their own livelihoods and reputations, have long resisted the unnecessary and unjustified destruction of the lands of people of color, should be subjected to lectures on racism by Max Boot, National Review, and like neoconservatives.

Relative to neoconservatives, the hands of those on the old right are as pure as the driven snow.  Moreover, the old right has defined itself to a significant extent by its efforts to spare the lives of countless numbers of non-white, often non-Christian, men, women, and children who neoconservatives threatened with their militarist, imperialist policies.

No, neither Max Boot nor any of his ideological ilk have an ounce of moral capital with which to pontificate on matters of race, religion, and “racism.”


Gottfried on Goldberg: “Suicide Of The West”—Or Of "Conservatism"?

Paul Gottfried   May 16, 2018, 07:15 AM

wrote a lot in the early aughts about Jonah Goldberg’s apotheosis at National Review in the wake of William F. Buckley’s purge of immigration patriots like John O’Sullivan and Editor Peter Brimelow because I regarded Goldberg as a symbol and a symptom of the intellectual and moral degeneration of a magazine I once loved, and of the movement it purported to lead. Indeed, I gather that my habit of referring to the post-purge NR as “The Goldberg Review” caused Norman Podhoretz to ostracize Brimelow, once his close ally in Manhattan conservative circles, an unimaginable disaster for which I am deeply sorry. Subsequently, Goldberg apparently lost his editorship of NRO for some trivial reason of girly-boy intrigue. But Conservatism, Inc-ers never die. For his newest venture into deep thought, Goldberg has crassly stolen the title of James Burnham’s great work, Suicide of the West, published in 1964 at the height of the Cold War.

That is where the similarity ends. Unlike Burnham’s scalding indictment of liberalism as “the ideology of Western suicide,” Goldberg’s random opinions represent the very pathology that Burnham railed against. Goldberg hates national identities (although he makes an exception for Israel), opponents of the Deep State, immigration patriots, and those who imagine that democracy has something to do with the popular will. Rather his “conservative” view of democracy privileges public administration, the operation of multinational corporations, and socially sophisticated journalists such as himself.

One need only cite this passage from Burnham’s work to grasp the extent to which Burnham might have been thinking of someone like Goldberg when he described the quintessential liberal:

"Liberalism has always stressed change, reform, the break with encrusted habit whether in the form of old ideas, old customs or old institutions. Thus liberalism has been and continues to be primarily negative in its impact on society: and in point of fact it is through its negative and destructive achievements that liberalism makes its best claim to historical justification."

By now, however, Burnham’s Leftist hallmarks are “conservative” positions. After all, Goldberg’s book, which abounds in the Leftist virtue-signaling mandatory for Main Stream Media Token Conservatives, is being sold by “conservative” book clubs. It is also featured in a Crown Forum Series devoted to conservative thought (whose editor pointedly refused to correspond with me about a book proposal).

For those who may doubt whether the author is an authorized “conservative,” one need only turn to National Review, a publication at which Goldberg still holds an editorship, or else watch him jaw with other Fox News Allstars as a designated Man Of The Right.

I regard Goldberg as a prime example of the near-total ideological primacy of the Cultural Marxist Left. We are living in a time and place in which what would be crazy-Left up until about two generations ago is assigned a “Right-Wing” label, in order to keep alive a dialectic that is transparently phony.

In about a ten-page digression into the nature of conservatism—his entire book is really nothing more than a series of digressions—Goldberg identifies “conservatism” with resisting Donald Trump. The U.S. President, whom Goldberg with other Never-Trumpers has inflexibly opposed, is described as a vulgar throwback to the 1930s “on both sides of the Atlantic.” People back then (let’s guess who they were!) believed “decadent Western capitalism and ‘Manchester liberalism’ were inadequate to the challenges of the day.”

All of this coming from Goldberg is utter chutzpah, considering that he now happily accepts massive social engineering in order to overcome “discrimination” against certain groups.

His version of Suicide Of The West indicts—in what by now is neoconservative ritual—Bismarck, the Prussian state and the administrative model of late nineteenth century Germany. All these pernicious forces allegedly laid the conceptual foundations of American managerial democracy.

But in fact this development was by no means due mostly to malignant Germans. Parallel developments took place at about the same time in most Western states that had introduced universal suffrage and in which the populace as well as political elites believed in a “science” of administration.

If Goldberg had deigned to read my work on the subject(which I wouldn’t expect him to given my unpopularity among his employers), he might have understood how widespread the growth of the democratic administrative state was in the decade before the First World War. Curiously some of the most zealous supporters of an expanded American welfare state, like Herbert Croly, Thorstein Veblen, and (after a youthful infatuation with Hegel) John Dewey, were by 1914 rabidly anti-German. In a heavily-researched study “World War One as Fulfilment: Power and Intellectuals,” Murray Rothbard showed how Anglo-American progressives presented World War One as a struggle between their Social Democratic project and German authoritarians who only pretended to believe in the same ideal.

 Although Goldberg deplores the beginnings of our Administrative State, he has no trouble supporting some of its recent expansions. For example, he offers these impromptu opinions after telling us how thoroughly wicked the creators of the welfare state were:

Freed slaves certainly did deserve forty acres and mule (at least!), as many post-Civil War Radical Republicans proposed. Similarly, the early affirmative action programs targeted specifically to blacks in the wake of the Civil Rights Acts have intellectual and moral merit.

This kind of inconsistency runs through Goldberg’s tome. Although he vehemently objects to America’s early welfare state, later broad government interventions intended to overcome “discrimination” are perfectly fine with him. And, of course, Goldberg joins the post-Civil War Radical Republicans in calling for punishing Southern whites during Reconstruction by taking away their property and giving it to blacks.

Goldberg grovels shamelessly whenever he turns to racial problems in the US. In contrast to the traditional Right, Political Correctness is OK with him, providing it doesn’t get too nasty—and It’s not quite clear at what point he would admit that occurs:

At its best, PC is a way to show respect to people. If black people don’t want to be called “Negroes,” it is only right and proper to respect that desire. If Asians object to “Oriental,” lexicological arguments can’t change the fact that it is rude not to oblige them.

But what if (when) Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or some other Civil Rights leader decides he doesn’t want people of color to be called “black” any longer because he finds it demeaning? Are we required to go on changing the name of a particular group that enjoys a high victim profile in order to show appropriate “respect”?

And why are certain other groups, like Southern white Christians and those who want to preserve ancestral monuments that the Left and (now) National Review don’t happen to like, not to be accorded the same sensitivity to group feeling?

Because in Goldberg’s eyes they’re not Left-certified victims that professional Token Conservatives know they must acknowledge.

Thus Goldberg predictably goes berserk attacking the opponents of Brexit, the supporters of the National Front in France, and “the story of Donald Trump’s victory” as part of a “new global crusade against ‘globalism.’ “Those who participate in this neo-Nazi enterprise are supposedly undermining democracy, like those Hungarians who overwhelmingly endorse what George Will has proclaimed an “essentially fascist government” in Budapest. [ George Will: What artifacts from Nazi murder machinery can teach the U.S. and the world now, MercuryNews, April 26, 2018]

What this means: democracy can only survive if citizens vote for neocon-approved candidates. Otherwise, assuming Will is correct, “Anti-Semitism” will be “coming out of the closet.”

I am intrigued how often Goldberg, who is essentially recycling conventional views interspersed with chunks of history that seem to have been extracted from a high school survey, uses the phrase “I tend to believe…”

Although he clearly shows no trace of research curiosity, he may have no professional reason to do so. And so he can get away with idiocies like this one:

I tend to believe that high levels of immigration, particularly skills-based immigration, are economically desirable policies. Also, the evidence that low-skilled immigration is a net detriment to the country is not as cut-and-dried as some claim. (The field of economics that studies immigration is shot through with methodological and ideological problems.)

Really! Are there no reliable studies (I’ve seen dozens of them) that show that low-skilled immigration impacts negatively on low-income earners in the US? And can’t most high-skilled positions that are available in the US be filled by those who are already here?

Not surprisingly what Goldberg “tends to believe” corresponds to the inclinations of the Koch brothers, Paul Singer and other patrons of National Review. (Full disclosure: I’m putting together an anthology on the funding sources of Conservatism, Inc.)

Goldberg inserts silly complaints about how academic Leftists diss him and his pals from National Review, like Kevin Williamson, when they pop up at universities to speak on “conservative” issues. (I note he  did not condemn the disruption of my own recent lecture at Hamilton College.)

Personally, I can’t imagine what “conservative” teaching Goldberg could possibly convey during his sojourn in academe. His book conspicuously avoids taking hard conservative stands on anything. When he complains about the breakdown of marriage, he noticeably stays away from gay marriage, which he has already praised as a good thing. [A banner day for gay marriage on the right, By Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, March 15, 2013] Instead Goldberg blandly chides those who live in “open marriages” and coyly alludes to his own marital bliss—as the husband of Nikki Haley’s speechwriter, Jessica Gavora. [Why Is Nikki Haley Still Trump’s UN Ambassador?, by Philip Giraldi, American Conservative, July 7, 2017]

In the acknowledgements he lists Jessica as his “best confidante, friend, and partner.” Perhaps it is this “partner” whom we should blame for Jonah’s egregious book of opinions and recycled historical platitudes. 

A friend has described Goldberg’s enviable career as the “curse” inflicted on us because his mother Lucianne (of betrayed the trust of Monica Lewinsky and ratted out Monica’s secret affair with Bill Clinton to Republican operatives. Because of this betrayal, Lucianne’s self-important son was launched on a legacy path as a “conservative” luminary, the end of which is not yet in sight.

But this curse has not worked the same way as the fate that befell the subjects of Greek tragedies or those who sinned in Hebrew Scripture. There, the offenders and their descendants suffered the consequences of evil acts. Here the son of the betrayer of confidences is lavishly rewarded, as the beneficiary of his mother’s act, and the rest of us are made to endure his insufferable presence.

The older idea made much better sense. 


March 6, 2018

Corporate America and the Left

A distinguished social economist of my acquaintance, Carl Horowitz, produced a penetrating essay, which is available in the latest issue of Social Contract, on "The Alliance of Corporate Capitalism with Political Radicalism."  Carl demonstrates that black nationalists, revolutionary socialists, and off-the-wall feminists have loyal benefactors among the corporate boards of high-tech enterprises and in older corporations like Pepsi-Cola and Citibank.  Carl's illustrations are vivid and shocking, and his well-constructed speech leads me to raise two questions occasioned by his evidence.

One: Carl describes his targets as people who are betraying the free enterprise system that has allowed them to flourish, but it might be asked whether this is really the case.  Can't it be argued that someone like Mark Zuckerberg, the socially radical billionaire founder of Facebook, is being economically rational even when he indulges his infantile leftist fantasies and sports a Che Guevara shirt?  Many of those who avail themselves of Zuckerberg's invention hold the same political and cultural beliefs.  I'm not even sure that the decisions made by Facebook and Google here and in Western Europe to kick political conservatives off their sites is a bad business practice.  Perhaps most users of these internet conveniences welcome P.C. intolerance.  They may be like those college students who are demanding safe spaces and who cheer anti-fascist demonstrators keeping "intolerant" views from being expressed on their campuses.  Political pressures are coming almost entirely from the cultural left, and it might make perfectly good business sense to accommodate these politically engaged customers.

Capitalists a hundred years ago were generally on the political right.  But that was owing to very different circumstances from our own.  Unlike Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, and Andrew Carnegie were devout Protestants, and they lived in societies in which both rich and poor were expected to conform to certain bourgeois proprieties that hardly exist anymore.  In any case, the old "sexist, racist, homophobic" morality has been replaced by the equally demanding standards of political correctness, and there can be no doubt that those figures whom Carl blasts are obsessively scrupulous in observing our post- and anti-bourgeois social morality.  Also, we are now living in an age of global capitalism and multinational corporations, in which the exaltation of diversity may have considerable advertising value.  Because the traditional right (to which Carl and I both belong) may not value the cultural destruction that we see happening all around us, that does not mean it's bad for business.

There are those lower down on the capitalist pecking order – e.g., purely American enterprises run by serious Christians, like Hobby Lobby – that try to uphold traditional cultural values, often at great expense to themselves.  These lower-end capitalists put up with widely proclaimed boycotts from the left and with government pressure in order to be true to their principles.  We should also note the presence of much smaller, ideologically independent mom-and-pop businesses.  The owners of these enterprises really don't have to worry about being politically out of step unless they are located in some leftist enclave like Greenwich Village or Haight-Ashbury.  But those at the top of the economic heap showcase their culturally leftist positions because it helps them commercially.  It also protects them against boycotts from an activist left, whose collective strength is totally unmatched by anything on the right. One would have to be sight-impaired not to notice that when representatives of the left pulverize Confederate memorial statues, there is no significant physical response from the other side.  As in Western Europe, the anti-fascist left raises Cain, through boycotts and violent demonstrations, without evoking an equivalent response from its presumed adversaries.

Two: I have to wonder whether Carl's villain "Marxism" has much to do with what he's lamenting.  Marxist slogans may provide window dressing for some on the left with whom our global capitalists are partnering, and this ism may still be tried in a ruinous, selective fashion in some South American countries.  But the feminists, black nationalists, transgendered, and other designated victims whom Carl mentions are rarely obsessive socialists.  They are for the most part anti-bourgeois, anti-Christian, anti-white radicals who are trying to extract benefits from the modern administrative state.  It is possible that their political and cultural enablers here and in Europe were onetime Marxists or members of communist parties.  But this continuity is not so much ideological as personal.  Those who hated or feared the inherited social order or, in the cases of former European communists, wished to remain relevant to a changing left have adapted themselves to a new age.  They have moved from being Marxist to post-Marxist leftists.  Carl notes this transformation when he explains: "Most importantly, Marxists have shifted their primary focus from class to race and sex.  This is not to say they have given up the class struggle.  But their most passionate identification for the last several decades has been with 'people of color,' women, and gender-bender sexual minorities."

The question that should be asked is whether, once having retailored Marxism, the modern left is still recognizably Marxist.  In my judgment, the current left has forfeited that identity.  Marxists and Marxist-Leninists are right to denounce this multicultural reformulation of Marx's socio-economic critique of capitalism.  A corporate executive who insists on transgendered restrooms in public buildings or who demands gender-inclusive language in the workplace does not become a Marxist or a Marxist sympathizer by taking this cultural stand.  Rather, he shows himself to be what he is: an easily intimidated or morally unprincipled capitalist.

No comments:

Post a Comment

                                                         April 30, 2021   MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey   The Survival of Western Culture...