Friday, June 11, 2021

                                               June 11, 2021


 

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

  

The Battle for the West is Also a Cultural One

 

 


Friends,

One-hundred and eighty four years ago Danish playwright, novelist, and, most famously, fairy tale author, Hans Christian Andersen, published one of his most memorable stories: “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Appearing at the same time as another of his noted fairy tales, “The Little Mermaid,” that endearing story of pomposity and pretentiousness, finally revealed as one of a public convinced by fakery, has been translated into over 100 languages.

Children everywhere since have read it and heard it. It’s one of those quaint little stories from our past we were exposed to, we picked up, or maybe our parents told us.

Commentators have sometimes used the tale as a metaphor. In that sense it can mean the ability of adroit and cunning public opinion leaders—especially politicians and TV newscasters—to convince people to believe what they say and ignore what we actually see. In common modern parlance: “Who you gonna believe, what I say or your lying eyes?”

As a parable, in our contemporary age, it perhaps has more relevance than ever before.

Just recently several news outlets reported on a major artistic event which occurred in Italy…or should I say, a kind of mindless replication of Andersen’s tale of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”?  You see, noted Italian sculptor Salvatore Garau just sold his latest “object d’art,” an “invisible” sculpture for the fat price of 15,000 Euros ($18,300 US). Titled “Io Sono” (Italian for "I am"), the sculpture is "immaterial," meaning that the sculpture does not actually exist. It’s invisible. The buyer paid $18,300 for…nothing…only receiving a “certificate of authenticity” for his Euros!

Garau defends his “artistry” and the high price, telling reporters that his work of art is not really “nothing,” but a “vacuum.”  And a “vacuum is nothing more than a space full of energy, and even if we empty it and there is nothing left, according to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, that 'nothing' has a weight…Therefore, it has energy that is condensed and transformed into particles, that is, into us." Additionally, the now-purchased “creation” (if we can call it that), according to Garau’s strict instructions, “must be displayed in a private home free from any obstruction, in an area that is about 5 ft. long by 5 ft. wide.” No doubt, the new owner will want to proudly offer visitors an unobstructed and admiring view of his purchase.

Let me add, this is not the first such sculpture Garau has produced; even more striking, if I can use that word, is his “Buddha in Contemplation,” which is now displayed (sorry for the physical description!) in the historic Piazza della Scala, in Milan, Italy (photo above). For this “object d’art,” since it cannot be seen, its “location” is taped-off—obviously to prevent curious viewers from bumping into it. In Garau’s words:

"Now it exists and will remain in this space forever. You do not see it but it exists. It is made of air and spirit. When I decide to 'exhibit' an immaterial sculpture in a given space, that space will concentrate a certain amount and density of thoughts at a precise point, creating a sculpture that, from my title, will only take the most varied forms."

Ah, yes, and the propinquity of “Buddha in Contemplation” to one of the most historic and fabled opera houses in the world, the Teatro alla Scala, cannot but be noticed.

Regarded as perhaps one Italy’s supreme artistic treasures, arguably the leading opera theater in the world (along with the Vienna Staatsoper, the Metropolitan in New York, and the Bolshoi in Moscow), La Scala was built under the inspiration of the Empress Maria Theresa and inaugurated in 1778. The opera house has produced major works of musical art for 243 years. Equally, from an architectural viewpoint, it is quite stunning in its classical style, a remarkable icon of Western culture and tradition.

Reading this account, I remembered as a youngster experiencing the joy of discovering and listening to music, especially the great classical music of Western civilization.

I would do that in some curious ways.

Like a lot of boys my age, we would watch “The Lone Ranger” or “Sergeant Preston of the Yukon” on our little black and white TVs. For me the beginnings of my musical education had a lot to do with the music I heard played for those programs. Who can forget the stirring opening strains of “The Lone Ranger,” with its dramatic call, “Hi! Yo! Silver,” accompanied by the gallop of Rossini’s overture to “William Tell”? You could get an entire musical education listening to the background music of “The Lone Ranger.” Or, Emil von Reznicek’s delightful “Donna Diana” overture introducing each week the exploits of Sgt. William Preston, his dog King, and horse Rex?

During my first summer job for the North Carolina State Archives, I became friends with a person equally interested in classical music. One day he could not wait for me to “hear” his latest discovery: a 1952 work by American composer John Cage, his composition 4′33″, which is performed in the total absence of sound!  Musicians who present the work do nothing aside from being present for the duration specified by the title. The content of the composition is the sound of the environment heard by the audience during the performance, nothing else! I kept waiting in vain for an instrument to break in, something, anything…but just silence, and maybe a distant cough or muffled sneeze to punctuate the piece.

I thought: maybe I could write something just as good, and receive a hefty stipend like Cage would probably have gotten? I bet that my “nothing” would have been better than his!

Reading the account of Garau’s sculpture put me in mind of John Cage: we increasingly live in an age of “the emperor’s new clothes.” And we do that especially in what has become of—what we have done or allowed to be done to—our culture, our cinema and entertainment, and in the more generally, in the “fake news” that dominates our airways.

Music, architecture, painting, sculpture, and the arts in far too many cases no longer have roots in the traditions, history and culture of a people. Whereas Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantatas drew from the chorales and music of his German homeland, and built upon long and cumulative traditions of Western music, our modern artists it seems take delight in severing themselves from the culture they have inherited. In too many cases they create in rebellion, in rejection of what they have received, of the two millennia vouchsafed to them as a trust. And in so doing, they also disconnect themselves from the lived traditions and the wisdom of historic society, where our artistic heritage organically developed.

Now, with that separation, and lacking the recognition and appreciation of our civilization’s inheritance, we are starved for true greatness. Real inspiration in the arts has largely dried up, or, worse, become “Buddha in Contemplation” or “4’33”—a rotten porridge in lieu of what our ancestors confected and passed on to us as a trust.

Just watch a PBS “Great Performances” these days…or try to find a radio station, especially a commercial one that programs classical music. Even “educational” or university-connected stations have stopped doing that.

Have you been to an art museum lately and seen the accretions of “modern art”?

A culture—and its artists—which cuts itself off from its past, which rejects and debases it, will eventually dry up and die, its inspiration scattered and corrupted. Instead of “standing on the shoulders of giants,” as 12th century philosopher Bernard of Chartes declared that we must, and adding thereto, we despoil—and enable educators and politicians to destroy—our civilization and its culture. They are disparaged as “racist” and the product of “white supremacy” and hegemony, which must be canceled, banned, torn down, or ripped out. Far too many of our fellow citizens now think that way thanks to our educational system.

Too often these days I hear the echo of William Butler Yeats in his prophetic poem, “The Second Coming” (1919):

  “…Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

  Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, 

  The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere 

  The ceremony of innocence is drowned; 

  The best lack all conviction, while the worst

  Are full of passionate intensity.”

Our choice, then, is either to disappear into the pages of history, scorned and reviled by future generations, or, to fight like hell for our patrimony, our inheritance—because it is worthy of the fight, because it is glorious, and because it is ours.

We may not see victory in our lifetime or in our children’s, but Yeats’s words later in his poem point the way to our Hope, if we persevere:

          “Surely some revelation is at hand;
          Surely the Second Coming is at hand….”

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, June 3, 2021

                                             June 3, 2021

 

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

 

The Federalist, Abraham Lincoln, and the Misinterpretation of American History

 

The Federalist online magazine has a problem. It’s a condition that characterizes and infects almost the entirety of the present national conservative media.

This hit home for me on May 31, in an essay by Leslie McAdoo Gordon. Founded in 2013 by Ben Domenech, thefederalist.com it is not connected to The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, which is composed of conservatives and libertarians dedicated to reforming the current legal order.

I read thefederalist.com Webzine almost every day, and occasionally it is the source for items of value and good information. But Gordon’s ill-informed attack on Confederate iconography was not one of them.

Peddled as a defense of retaining “Antietam” as the name of an American naval vessel, she begins her piece: “There is a move these days to revisit our monuments and the names we choose to publicly honor. This movement is good and just. It is a sign of our mature democracy that we can choose to stop honoring things that do not reflect our American ideals and celebrate those that do,” including rejecting anything related to the Confederacy.

Honoring and celebrating the history and symbols of the old South, once a common occurrence in the pages of the conservative quarterly Modern Age or in National Review, are now verboten, beyond the pale. General Robert E. Lee, praised by President Eisenhower in 1960 as “one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation...noble as a leader and as a man, and unsullied as I read the pages of our history,” is now exiled from the conservative pantheon, as is anything memorializing or commemorating Confederate heroes and iconography. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Colonel John “the Gray Ghost” Mosby, General Nathan Bedford Forrest—are now canceled, their monuments ingloriously pulled down, and their exploits stricken from textbooks, or worse, treated like depredations of Nazi fanatics.

Like most established conservative media organizations, thefederalist.com appears to be part of what Paul Gottfried calls “ConInc.,” that is, the stagnated national conservative bureaucracy, centered in Washington DC, dominated by Neoconservatives, and more concerned about not rocking the boat too much so as not to be attacked by the frenzied Left as “racist” or protecting “white supremacy”—or perhaps being taken off the A-List of invitees to posh DC social events and soirees.

Perhaps the worst thing is to be a traditional or paleo- conservative type, most especially a representative of Southern traditionalism like the late Mel Bradford (who was unceremoniously dropped from National Review and whose nomination to head the National Endowment for the Humanities was torpedoed by the Neoconservatives) or Dr. Clyde Wilson (the world’s greatest authority on John C. Calhoun).

Now, whether hurled at us every night by Fox News, like bilge spewed from a broken drainage pipe, or screaming at us from the scurrilous pens of a Victor David Hanson, Rich Lowry, or Brian Kilmeade, our new icons to whom we must pay obsequious homage are Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and Frederick Douglass. I would argue strenuously that none of these personalities was a real conservative; indeed, I would suggest that they were revolutionaries who assisted in corrupting our original Constitution. An older generation of conservatives—a Russell Kirk, a Stephen Tonsor, a Peter Stanlis—understood this.

Gordon’s essay  of Memorial Day shows up in thefederalist.com’s daily assortment of essays where she is eager to present what she asserts is the “correct” interpretation of what battles like Antietam (AKA “Sharpsburg”) and Gettysburg were all about, what they mean. They “seared into the nation’s consciousness the immense human sacrifice her people were offering on the altars of union and universal freedom. Make no mistake, these Union soldiers died ‘to make men free’.” And then quoting from the ballad, “The Battle Cry of Freedom,” she ends with a flourish: “The people of the Union in the 1860s knew well what Antietam stood for”: to free the slaves.

That proposition is false and demonstrates Gordon’s basic ignorance of both American history and Lincoln’s enunciated war goals. From the very beginning of the war he saw the conflict as a battle over the interpretation of the Constitution and states’ rights. He stated this forthrightly to Horace Greeley, of The New York Tribune, on August 22, 1862, only a few months before the “Emancipation Proclamation”:

“If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union” 

As is abundantly clear from the press of the period, a large majority of Northerners would not have supported a “war to free the slaves.”  Lincoln knew that. The “Emancipation Proclamation” of January 1, 1863 only extended to states of the Confederacy not controlled by Federal arms. Thus, where it was intended to apply it could not free not a single slave, but it did not apply to the several Border slave states where it could have freed the slaves. It was, as Lincoln indirectly confirms, a propaganda measure, intended to buoy up sagging support for the war both internationally and among more abolition-minded citizens.

In more recent times especially the Neoconservatives and followers of academic Harry Jaffa have latched onto Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” (November 19, 1863), attempting essentially to amend by sleight-of-hand our understanding of the original Constitution and inserting a clause from the Declaration of Independence, via Lincoln, to the effect that “(f)our score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” In other words, 1776 was the real founding of the United States and that five little words define us, our history, and our goals as a people. It was a radical assertion greeted even at the time by many in the Northern press as “a perversion of history so flagrant that the extended charity cannot regard it as otherwise than willful.” It remains so today.

Leslie Gordon apparently accepts this fraudulent view of history. Ironically, in so doing, she like other Neocons who assert equality as America’s founding principle, places herself over with the progressivist vision of the country. For they also maintain that egalitarianism is the American “proposition,” the difference being that while establishment conservatives like Gordon believe we have substantially achieved the desired equality uttered in poetic terms in 1776 by what is basically a propaganda document stating American grievances against King George and the reasons for separation, the progressive Left sees equality as an always elusive goal, requiring continual government action to insure what is called “equity.”

The words recently written by David P. Goldman about such “conservatism” ring ever so true: “their ideology is a sort of right-wing Marxism,” with an origin philosophically in the not-so-distant past on the Trotskyite Left. And a movement based on what is essentially the same foundation as its supposed opposition is hobbled and fatally flawed from the beginning. It will always succumb to the greater logic and conviction of its progressivist enemies who will always out-promise and out-argue its votaries. 

Such a movement has little room for defenders of a Lee or Calhoun and those who rejected the idea of a “proposition nation” and understood that the United States was not founded on an idea, but on the concrete reality of families who brought their traditions and beliefs with them to a new land, created a new country, and made it their own.



Monday, May 31, 2021

                                            May 31, 2021

 

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

 

Defending the West Against the Barbarians – Recent Essays in this Series

 

Friends,

On occasion I will list other venues than my little Web site where some of my essays have been (re)published. Given that for an entry on MY CORNER, usually no more than a few hundred folks will access it—I think perhaps just twelve or so of my original Web essays (since August 2017) have received more than one-thousand views—republication has meant a lot more exposure (and perhaps notoriety), both national and international.

Although since April 2 I have authored eight essays, my pieces have shown up in other venues eighteen times, including LewRockwell.com, The Abbeville Institute, Reckonin.com, The Unz Review, Straight Line Logic, Confederate Veteran magazine, and Reddit.com. LewRockwell.com has published all eight, and I remain deeply gratified for that exposure by such a highly-trafficked Web site. Additionally, two earlier ones have also been republished.

Readers of my articles will know that I normally do not focus on the most salient or talked-about aspect of a current question. If others—a Pat Buchanan, Ilana Mercer, DissidentMama, Paul Craig Roberts, Brion McClanahan, Paul Gottfried, etc.—are examining a significant issue, I try to view it from a slightly different perspective. And sometimes my commentaries, well, they may seem a little arcane.

More than once I’ve had a friend ask me: “Why did you write on that? What were you trying to say?” My response has always been that just about everything I attempt to convey, to write, is in some way connected to and comes under a broad heading of “the defense of Western Christian civilization and culture.” Thus, everything, from my staunch defense of Confederate monuments, to my long essay on the role of tradition in music, film and the arts, to my belief that the public schools have become toxic, to my continuing criticism of egalitarianism—all of these topics, I believe, are very important ones and should be examined.

I believe that the cultural artifacts of our civilization, including the arts and music that it has produced, are just as significant, if not more so, than the everyday debates over such topics as the budget or some “January 6 commission.” Those artifacts are part and parcel of what we call “the West,” our inheritance stretching back not only to Rome, but to classical Greece and Jerusalem. And they define it, convey its talent and its virtues, and give it expression.

For the wide-ranging, nearly irresistible forces of Revolution and its possessed zealots desire our total extinction not just politically and economically, but in every facet of our lives. Indeed, no one can stand by idly for long, no one can escape its tentacles and its reach. In the end, neutrality or fleeing “to the tall grass” can only be a temporary solution which ends in disaster.

Even worse, attempting to placate the Beast or to pretend that the forces which oppose us are like in the “good old days,” when Democrats and Republicans could sit down and work out some equitable compromise or solution, a la Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan, is not only foolish but encourages our fanatical enemies, emboldens them, and speeds up their barbaric work of demolition.

English critic Hilaire Belloc’s description, from over a century ago, is an apt summary of what has come to pass in our age:

“[T]he Barbarian is discoverable everywhere in this that he cannot make; that he can befog or destroy, but that he cannot sustain; and of every Barbarian in the decline or peril of every civilisation exactly that has been true.  We sit by and watch the Barbarian, we tolerate him; in the long stretches of peace we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence, his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creeds refreshes us: we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond: and on these faces there is no smile.”  (This and That and the Other,1912, p. 282)

In some recent essays I have compared our enemies to “pod people,” a cinematic trope that makes an analogy with a classic Hollywood film from 1956 (“Invasion of the Body Snatchers”). I have used G. K. Chesterton’s imagery and definition of unhinged lunacy (fr0m his volume, The Poet and the Lunatics, 1929). But I think the description I gave back on March 11, 2019, after I had stared into the fierce and burning eyes of members of a mob of “woke” social justice warriors who were attempting violently to “cancel” the annual Confederate Flag Day that we were celebrating at the old North Carolina State Capitol, may be the most acute and chilling.

What I observed then, and I recently described again, was “…a very real madness, an unleashed fury, eyes filled with uncontrolled hatred…. [which] betrayed ruptured souls, corrupted and demonized, existing in a kind of counter-reality with their own set of always-advancing rules, but dedicated in a fearsome and unambiguous way to the destruction—salvation through destruction—of Western Christian civilization, of mankind as we have known it.”

There is, I believe, no other way to put it: the enemies we face and that increasingly destroy our patrimony, our culture, our birthright, our civilization, are indeed in some ways possessed—yes, even in the traditional theological sense. Not all, of course, to the same degree; but nevertheless there is a common denominator between the screaming lunatic Antifa demonstrator in the streets who exults in the truly demonic destruction of our cities and the artifacts of our history, and the lunatic professor who rubrics his vicious mental assault on “historic white supremacy” in the classroom or in supposedly-scholarly journals on the in-vogue passion for Critical Race Theory—and the lunatic political leader who enables and abets such insanity.

In some ways all these individuals are possessed, in some ways perhaps like characters in Dostoevsky’s novel The Possessed. And increasingly there appears no immediate successful means to repel them, much less communicate with them—they may use some of the same words we do, but essentially their language becomes incomprehensible to us.

We counsel and urgently suggest severe educational reform to staunch the putrefaction in our schools and colleges, we plead for border security, we demand of conservative and Republican leaders that “they do something.” When a bull-in-a-china-shop like Donald Trump does actually come along and attempt, if only a little, to stand up to them, he is criticized and ostracized by those same supposed opposition leaders who, in reality, serve the very forces of Hell they profess to thwart. And then by deceit and illegality, the unwashed one is expelled from the presidency so that things can get back to normal: the lingering, sputtering demise of 2,000 years of Western civilization.

I have suggested—and I am not the only one to do so—some sort of internal separation or secession. And we see strong movements in places like eastern Oregon and Texas where people are beginning to discuss that and take preliminary action. That might be the most peaceful means to, at least for a time, alleviate the slow death we are experiencing as a nation.

I have also suggested that our future options are limited.

Most of my neighbors are now armed, many heavily armed. I pity a social justice warrior who would attempt a disturbance on my rural street. Senile Joe Biden, a puppet in the hands of an increasingly “woke” and crazed Democratic Party and its unhinged allies, is no bulwark against them. Our elections and election integrity can no longer be trusted after the 2020 election. Packing the Supreme Court, Washington DC and Puerto Rico as new states, open borders to millions of illegals, ending the filibuster, implementation nationally of Critical Race Theory—these are just a few of the revolutionary advances which await us if we do not stand forthrightly and intelligently.

And that is why I write, but not as much directly about those specific topics; others do that, and they do it better than I can. Rather, around the edges, as it were, with the hope that what I publish can offer support and just maybe broaden our understanding of the enemies—and they are Legion—we face, and possibly plant some ideas about things we should closely examine and action we should take.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Here, then, is a list, most likely partial, of where my essays have shown up since early April. I am honored by and grateful to these publications. My desire is that what I write will cause us to think and just maybe examine what we can do. Our options are limited, but inaction is not one of them:

First, my essay of April 2, “American Foreign Policy Advances the Globalist Revolution,”  was published by LewRockwell.com on April 5, 2021.

Then, my April 10 offering, “Equality is NOT America’s Founding Principle,” appeared in three publications: LewRockwell.com (April 12, 2021), Reckonin.com (April 15, 2021), and the Abbeville Institute (April 21, 2021).

Next, on April 19 came my essay, “Slouching towards Armageddon: American Foreign Policy’s Death Wish,” which appeared at LewRockwell.com (April 23, 2021) and Straight Line Logic (also April 23, 2021).

Then came my entry into the debate between Dr. Brion McClanahan and Chronicles magazine, on one side, and Michael Anton of the Claremont Institute, on the other, on what Dr. McClanahan and Chronicles believe to have been the nefarious role of Abraham Lincoln, not only in American history but globally. That debate continues to rage; my commentary of April 27 came in the essay, “Lincoln, Chronicles Magazine, and the Disappearance of Southern Conservatism,” which then appeared at LewRockwell.com (April 29, 2021), the Abbeville Institute (May 3, 2021), and at Reckonin.com (May 5, 2021).

On April 26 I republished a very slightly updated essay I wrote for the New English Review, originally in October 2019: “Richard Strauss and the Survival of Western Culture.” It appeared in The Unz Review on April 26, 2021, and was widely commented on. I added a new introduction to it, and it ran at MY CORNER as: “The Survival of Western Culture: The Response of Richard Strauss,” on April 30, and was picked up by LewRockwell.com (May 3, 2021) and Reddit.com on April 28, 2021.

My essay, “Aggressive Abroad and Despotic at Home: VE Day and the End of the ‘American Century’,” appeared on May 8, and was featured at LewRockwell.com (May 10, 2021), Reckonin.com (May 13, 2021), and the Abbeville Institute (May 25, 2021).

My clarion-call, “Time to Privatize Our Public Schools,” appeared at MY CORNER on May 19, and was then picked up by LewRockwell.com (May 21, 2021).

My most recent essay, “Fake News, PolitiFact, and Media Cancel Culture,” from MY CORNER, May 26, has now been printed by LewRockwell.com (May 28, 2021)

Finally, my review of the new edition of The South Was Right! by James Ronald Kennedy and Walter Donald Kennedy which I wrote earlier has been published in Confederate Veteran magazine (May/June 2021, vol. 79, no. 3),. Essentially it reproduced the review I offered at MY CORNER on November 28, 2020.

In this time of increasing censorship and brutal cancel culture, I appreciate the confidence of these outlets, and equally, I am grateful to readers for their interest and comments.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

                                           May 26, 2021

 

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

 

Fake News, PolitiFact, and Media Cancel Culture

Welcome to “1984” and Newspeak

 

Friends,

Back in early December 2019 I wrote a short essay, a critique of the media “fact checker,” PolitiFact.  PolitiFact is one of several such organizations that reviews for truthfulness not only political assertions made by politicians but various claims and statements in everything from climate change, to immigration, to economics.  PolitiFact and groups like it have become a standard fall back source enabling the media to solemnly pronounce on just about anything said or written appearing in the public square.  And thus supposedly giving the media the right to assert a kind of infallibility when examining such questions.

In this they are closely allied to actions of the tech giants in censuring and cancelling undesirable speech.

Especially during the presidency of Donald Trump PolitiFact and other media-created fact checkers were extremely busy, churning out pronouncements on truth and error that would make a traditional Catholic pope envious. For it permitted them to re-write headlines and accompanying stories, and, in effect, to disallow and “cancel” opinions with which they disagreed as false.

For instance, instead of a headline that reads: “Donald Trump Claims that Muslims Celebrated the Fall of the Twin Towers in New York by Dancing on Rooftops,” the progressivist media recast the story. Now it would read: “Donald Trump Falsely Claims Muslims Celebrated the Fall of the Twin Towers in New York by Dancing on Rooftops.” And within the body of the story that theme is developed and compounded.

That occurred literally hundreds of times during the Trump years.

President Trump and many of his spokesmen were inveterate liars, and the media could prove it by referring back to unimpeachable fact checkers like PolitiFact.

It is a kind of brain-draining incestuous tautology—I refer back to a much vaunted “fact checker” which my (Leftist) friends and allies in the media have created, and they in turn confirm the headlines and statements I emit as truthful and unassailably correct.

This morning (May 26) I noticed the tactic once again deployed, this time by Associated Press Fact Checks [http://apnews.com/APFactCheck]. The news story, which showed up on AOL (and thereby also Huffington Post), is titled: AP FACT CHECK: House GOP falsely blames Biden for gas prices” . The AP is thereby enabled to declare as unequivocally false assertions made by the GOP: case closed, there can be no debate, you are wrong, and that’s it.

Yet, on closer inspection the AP’s fact checking leaves several significant points out, including notably the decision of Biden to reject and shutdown the Keystone XL Pipeline, and the effects that had on gasoline prices: “On the first day of Biden’s presidency, he issued an executive order canceling the Keystone XL pipeline — making good on his promise to the climate activists who helped get him elected….” That pipeline would have supplied more than 800,000 barrels of tar sands oil per day from Alberta, Canada, to Nebraska, where it would have met existing pipelines to continue on to Texas refineries. It would have also meant at least 10,000 well-paying jobs and an economic roll-over effect in areas affected by it. 

My own experience at the gasoline pump was that when Biden assumed office in January, prices for regular gasoline near me ranged from around $2.15 to $2.25 a gallon. Within several months of his action to cancel the pipeline, gasoline had soared to about $2.75 to $2.80 a gallon at the local station I shop at—an increase of nearly $.60 a gallon. 

True, as AP asserts, the temporary shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline affected the southeast (including my state North Carolina) for a few days and occasioned a spike in prices. AP Fact Check dwells on this and assures us that this is the reason that gas prices have risen to over $3.00 on average per gallon. 

But they conveniently forget the cancelling of Keystone XL and anti-fossil energy actions by the Biden administration, an administration that from the beginning has boasted of its belief that traditional fuels cause climate change.

In my December 9, 2019, edition of MY CORNER I mentioned that the local NBC television affiliate here in the Raleigh, North Carolina, area, WRAL, a major news outlet for the eastern part of the state, had recently announced with some fanfare that it would be using the services of PolitiFact to determine the truth or falsity of statements and claims made publicly.”

I continued: “…over recent years … WRAL has moved steadily left and slants its news coverage towards Democrats and, increasingly, in favor of those rabid social justice warriors we now see out in the streets.”  And I added: “What a far cry from the broadcasting company founded by the conservative A. J. Fletcher which featured Jesse Helms as its one-time vice-president and on air editorialist (from 1960 until 1972)!

At that time in 2019, I decided to write to the station, to the Capitol Broadcasting Company Opinion Editor, and inquire about their claim that using PolitiFact would establish “truth” beyond all shadow of a doubt.

Here is a copy of the letter I sent:


December 4, 2019

Mr. Seth Effron

Capitol Broadcasting Company Opinion Editor

WRAL - TV

Raleigh, North Carolina

 

Dear WRAL,

Several weeks ago (November 17) WRAL-TV News announced proudly that they would henceforth be utilizing the services of professional “fact checker,” PolitiFact to verify the truthfulness of a politician’s assertion or an organization’s claim. Thus, TV 5 began a series of on-air PolitiFact-produced evaluations of several statements made by, for example, US Representative Mark Meadows on the firing by President Trump of ambassadors, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on the Border Wall, Republican statements that leading Democrats promised impeachment before President Trump even took office, and the president’s negative description of several witnesses in the “impeachment hearings.”

Invariably, the Truth-O-Meter came down hard on Republicans and conservatives. That prompted me to question the data utilized and the measures employed to make such evaluations. And just what kind of organization is Politifact and why Channel 5 would utilize it.

Examining a broad wealth of information, most of it widely accessible via the Internet, the conclusion became inescapable: PolitiFact, set up originally to monitor the truth or falsity of statements made in our political environment, itself has been accused quite credibly of a marked and demonstrable bias in its methodology and evaluations.

Thus, I believe one is permitted to seriously question the reasons behind WRAL’s embrace of this service, and why with much on-air fanfare it was  announced to viewers that, at last, there was an objective source for analyzing political statements—when, indeed, there is considerable doubt about the pronounced political bias of the very “fact-checker” employed.

Let me offer just a few examples, a few brief critiques of PolitiFact, easily discoverable on the Web:

First, there is the verdict of the reputable, non-partisan AllSides group: “PolitiFact AllSides Media Bias Rating: LEANS LEFT.” Their evaluation is based on a number of factors, including third party analysis, editorial review, community feedback, blind surveys, independent research, and confidence level evaluation.

Second, Newsweek magazine, certainly no shill for Republicans or conservatives, reported on June 27 of this year, that:

A 2013 study from George Mason University Center for Media and Public Affairs called into question who fact checks the fact-checkers, noting "Politifact.com has rated Republican claims as false three times as often as Democratic claims during President Obama's second term ... A majority of Democratic statements (54 percent) were rated as mostly or entirely true, compared to only 18 percent of Republican statements."

 

The Newsweek report went on to state: “[the] George Mason [study] concluded that news organizations overwhelmingly choose to fact-check reports or comments made by right-leaning politicians or fellow news outlets,” and then grade them almost always negatively.

The USNews & World Report, in an evaluation from 2013, also cited the detailed study from George Mason University concerning PolitiFact’s history of favoring a pro-left viewpoint:

[A] study from the George Mason University Center for Media and Public Affairs … demonstrates empirically that PolitiFact.org, one of the nation's leading "fact checkers," finds that Republicans are dishonest in their claims three times as often as Democrats. "PolitiFact.com has rated Republican claims as false three times as often as Democratic claims….”

Lastly, I offer some commentary from the standard online reference, Wikipedia, which once again presents the accusation of political bias on the part of PolitiFact:

Mark Hemingway of The Weekly Standard criticized all fact-checking projects by news organizations, including PolitiFact, the Associated Press and the Washington Post, writing that they "aren't about checking facts so much as they are about a rearguard action to keep inconvenient truths out of the conversation". In February 2011, University of Minnesota political science professor Eric Ostermeier analyzed 511 PolitiFact stories issued from January 2010 through January 2011. He found that the number of statements analyzed from Republicans and from Democrats was comparable, but Republicans have been assigned substantially harsher grades, receiving 'false' or 'pants on fire' more than three times as often as Democrats…. [Italics mine]

As I wrote earlier, these pronouncements represent just a few of the evaluations available. 

But, then, my question: why would WRAL want to employ such an obvious and well-documented leftwing “fact-checker” to present to viewers what purport to be “unassailable truth” (and thus corrections of those deemed not to be telling the truth)? Does not the station and Capitol Broadcasting Company have a duty to viewers to at the very least let them know that PolitiFact is not the shining-truth-knight “sans reproche” that it is purported to be? 

Are there not parallels with the use of “information” on hate crimes by such now-largely discredited organizations as the Southern Poverty Law Center?

I recall many years ago, as a boy, when WRAL first came on the air, and I have watched it consistently since then, in particular its weather and sports coverage. But I must tell you that in this age of “fake news,” the Internet social media news sources, and thousands of supposed “news” items that appear daily in the ethosphere, what I have seen in recent years via WRAL as news often raises very serious issues for me—and I think for many other viewers as well.

It may not be possible to always offer “objective” reporting; indeed, it may be virtually impossible in our current environment when “fake news” dominates most of the national news media. But, as an old-fashioned believer in trying to do just that, I am deeply disappointed by your use of PolitiFact and, more so, by your unfounded claim that somehow such usage will establish the “truth” or “falseness” of a claim or statement.

That simply will not do. Your Leftwing bias is showing, and you owe it to your viewers to let them know.

Sincerely yours,

Boyd Cathey

Dr. Boyd D. Cathey    

-----------------------

I never received a reply, much less an acknowledgment of my communication.                                                                                          

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

                                                     May 19, 2021

 

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

 

Time to Privatize Our Public Schools

 

Friends,

Recently, a good friend related to me some of the experiences his daughter was having in a high school not too far from him. You see, his daughter is a history teacher—or should we say “social studies” teacher, to be politically correct? It seems that the curriculum she must teach and the approved texts her students must use in the classroom are redolent thematically with the idea that from its beginning America was characterized by ingrained racism: indeed, a white racism which infected and colored practically everything, from the social structures in the colonies and later codified by a racist Constitution, to the dealings—both legal and familial—between inhabitants, to the very language they used to communicate their thoughts, beliefs, and ideas.

Like other teachers at her school my friend’s daughter is instructed to impart these insights as part of an overall educational template that suggests that from its earliest settling the America colonies, and then the American republic, were moored historically in a quasi-religious belief in “white supremacy” and the pervasive “racism” which defined it.

While not as forward or fulsome perhaps as the “1619 Project’s” recommendations and its embrace of “Critical Race Theory,” grammar and high school curricula echoing the “Project” now shape students in such a way as to prepare them, if they are college bound, for a fuller indoctrination as they continue their education.

Given that most freshly minted teachers coming out today from the vast majority of our country’s schools of education already possess a well-developed predisposition and vision that comports with the vision projected by the “1619 Project,” and that many local school boards are dominated by the same vision, is it any wonder what students in public schools are being taught?

And for those who go on to college, the ground is well prepared. From a young seven year old boy who is proud that his conservative parents supported Donald Trump, who goes to church with them regularly, whose everyday thoughts turn to games, sports and friends, and are millions of miles away from “wokeness,” we transition to the molded college journalism grad at age twenty-two from the University of North Carolina or from any number of other institutions of higher learning across the nation, who mouths fierce and unrelenting slogans about “systemic racism,” “white privilege,” and “intersectionality,” and demands “equity.”  And “equity” is a weasel word never fully defined, but an essential ingredient in the Critical Race Theory (CRT) lexicon.

As Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, in their volume, Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (2012, 49) describe it, CRT calls for “aggressive, color conscious efforts to change the way things are,” meaning the use of race as the determinant in making decisions as to how property, positions of power, and prestige are allocated in society. And since for the past two millennia the white race has oppressed and abused black and brown peoples around the world, simple equality of opportunity is not enough, in fact is evil, just one more effort of the white man to maintain his privileged position. Indeed, what is entailed in the current talk about “equity” is the requirement for various forms of reparation, a kind of reverse discrimination to satisfy the social injustices and the effects of white colonialism, slavery, and exploitation of black and brown peoples over past centuries.

True, while the curricula in thousands of public schools may not be this explicit, they nevertheless seed impressionable minds and groom students for what is to come. The results are evident…on the downtown streets this past summer of nearly every large or medium-sized American city set ablaze by howling mobs, or as dozens of historical monuments have come down because they honor white people who helped create this nation, or as “woke” corporate executives, media barons, entertainment glitterati, as well as the educational establishment censor and cancel hundreds and thousands of years of Western civilization and culture...because it was created by whites.

For some twenty years I have chaired North Carolina’s Confederate Flag Day, held in early March each year. Sponsored by the North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the event was held in the House of Representatives chamber of the historic 1840 State Capitol building, honoring the historic flags of the Confederacy and the citizen soldiers who fought under those flags. The event was always peaceful. Back in 2019, with heightened racial tensions nearly everywhere after the Charleston shootings, as we ended our observance, a large violent mob of Antifa thugs, Black Lives Matter demonstrators, and others assembled outside the Capitol blocking our exit. I’ve recounted what happened in a column published on March 11, 2019. Nearly 200 armed police and State Troopers had to form a cordon to enable us to exit the building safely and find our way to our cars.

I wrote then: “As I exited with other attendees I looked into the faces of the mob: what I observed was a very real madness, an unleashed fury, eyes filled with uncontrolled hatred…. Those angry faces—those glaring and fierce eyes…betrayed ruptured souls, corrupted and demonized, existing in a kind of counter-reality with their own set of always-advancing rules, but dedicated in a fearsome and unambiguous way to the destruction—salvation through destruction—of Western Christian civilization, of mankind as we have known it.”

That hatred, that fury, that lunacy so apparent in the eyes of those demonstrators in March 2019 and so evident in thousands and thousands like them, begins in our schools with administrators and teachers, and with local school boards, dousing our children with the flammable ingredients which corrupt and pervert, and turn them into what I have termed modern “pod people.”

These “pod people” serve a larger and more fearsome purpose: the ultimate success of the Revolution against God and man. For their fanatical assault against what they perceive as white supremacy and racism is in fact an attack on Creation itself, on the natural laws of that Creation, and the God Who made it.

It is time for our cowardly legislators to begin the process of privatizing the public schools and turning education over once more to the parents where it belongs. 

                                                June 11, 2021   MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey     The Battle for the West is Also a Cult...