Dear Weekend Jolters,
If the Genie presented himself to Your Proud Jingoist Correspondent with an offer to grant one wish, the response would be: Make the flannelmouths and dimwits admit that Marxists and other America–hating ideologues are engaged in a culture war intent on destroying this grand and great thing we have been bequeathed, a thing bought and paid in blood — this land of the free, home of the brave and e pluribus unum, of sacred unalienable rights, of Old Glory waving o’er the ramparts and purpled mountain majesties and fruited plains, this house I live in where, as Frank Sinatra crooned, one has the right to speak your mind out.
Mobs send messages, not in the way Old Blue Eyes was defending but more like Ignatz communicating with Krazy Kat. The mob aspires to chaos and anarchy, it intends the destruction of beliefs and of our civilization. It calculates that the abyss is the opportunity to claim power and wield it, to death do we swiftly part. The mob seeks no honest discussion — your abject supplication and subjugation will do just fine. The mob’s motto echoes the demented hiss of Ahab: From hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.
About honest discussions: Indeed, we need one. Let’s keep it short. Not one about how to contain it, nor how to diminish it, but one about calling out this mob and rabble for what it is — a revolutionary enterprise, a Marxist undertaking. And let us end the discussion by confirming our obligation to the More Perfect Union to which we are indebted: It now needs our courage and direct action.
Would that we fix bayonets and charge at the orders of a General Grant. The bronze one has been toppled — but the memory of the real one has been polished nicely by Dan McLaughlin. You really need to read his piece, In Defense of Ulysses S. Grant. Here’s a slice:
Grant was a great man, if a flawed one. He was, moreover, a humble man who needed great events to uncover his strengths. Understanding both his flaws and the context of his life underlines the greatness of his accomplishments. Reading history requires empathy. People in the past believed different things than we do, sometimes for very good reasons. Things that appalled them as immoral then do not scandalize us now, and things that appall us as immoral now did not scandalize them then. Ideas and tactics that would succeed today would fail miserably then.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize–winning 1619 Project author, waved away efforts to put Grant in context in a since-deleted Tweet: “Hitler was a man of his time, Osama bin Laden was a man of his time.” This is an obscene parallel: Hitler was not the norm among veterans of the First World War, and bin Laden was not the norm even among Saudis born in the 1950s. It is also not how history works. To say that figures of the past were men of their time is not to exonerate them from all judgment but to recognize that judgment requires perspective as to what things were hard, what things were possible, and what things required courage.
Grant always believed that slavery was wrong, though, as with many Americans of his day, it took time for him to be convinced to act on it. He was from the free state of Ohio, and his father was a vocal abolitionist. (Grant’s father was too vocal about a lot of things for the tastes of the soft-spoken, reserved Grant). Yet Grant fell in love with a Southern woman, whose wealthy family owned slaves. His father-in-law remained an unreconstructed Confederate even while living in Grant’s White House literally in the middle of Reconstruction. Was Grant wrong to marry her? Was he wrong, as his critics imply, not to impose sterner patriarchal discipline over his wife and her “property,” and a more unforgiving posture toward his father-in-law? Perhaps he was. But their marriage was long and happy, and Julia Grant was essential to keeping him sober when he needed her help. Dealing with the intransigence of his ultra-Yankee father and ultra-Rebel father-in-law gave Grant a unique appreciation for the nation’s divisions and the careful work needed to accommodate and overcome them.
Grant knew a real rebellion when he saw it. And he defeated it. Inspiring, no? Now, onto the Jolt!
1. The President’s decision to cut U.S. troops in Germany is ill-advised. From the editorial:
If it is being undertaken to punish Germany for its trade policies and defense spending, as Trump has said, it’s unlikely to bring results. Trump was right to call Germany “delinquent” for consistently failing to spend at least 2 percent of its GDP on defense, the NATO target. Germany’s disregard for its commitments to the transatlantic alliance is disgraceful, but unfortunately, unlikely to fundamentally change, notwithstanding a minor increase in defense spending last year. Germany has also pressed ahead with Nord Stream 2, a natural-gas pipeline that will run between Russia, and Germany and render our allies beholden to the Kremlin for their energy needs.
Regardless, the reason to keep our forces in Germany isn’t as a favor to Berlin, but because it serves our interest in a stable Europe. And there are better ways, including economic measures, to thwart EU–Russia collaboration.
If it is being undertaken as a slap at Chancellor Angela Merkel for saying that she would not attend a G-7 meeting Trump had wanted to host in Washington this month, it constitutes a substitution of personal pique for military strategy. (Administration officials have claimed that the withdrawal announcement had been in the works for months.)
If it is being undertaken to save money, as some have suggested, it’s not going to work because it will also cost money to house the troops removed from Germany in, say, Texas.
2. We condemn the rabble’s statue-toppling. From the editorial:
Alas, too many of our institutions seem to believe that the answer is “Easier.” The Pulitzer prize-winning lead essayist of the New York Times’s “1619 Project” has suggested that it would be “an honor” if all this vandalism were called “the 1619 riots,” and, separately, has expressed indifference toward the destruction of statues of Ulysses S. Grant. Given that the central premise of the 1619 Project is that the Founding was predicated upon a lie and that white supremacy has always been the nation’s animating value, this makes a perverted sort of sense, and yet we cannot help but notice how absurd it is that, by flattening American history into a single unexceptional lump, the supposedly “anti-racist” position is rendered indistinguishable from the position that was held by the Confederacy. As ever, the death of context leads inexorably to the death of understanding.
And, if left unchecked, it leads to the death of history itself. Every great figure from America’s past has been flawed in one way or another; the salient question is whether those flaws were incidental, or whether they were central, to their celebration. Thomas Jefferson is remembered primarily for setting into aspic what Abraham Lincoln described as an “abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times” and what Martin Luther King described as a “promissory note.” George Washington is remembered for his role throwing off the colonial yoke and then setting an unprecedented example of republican leadership as the nation’s first president. Lincoln saved the Union and helped to bring an end to slavery; Churchill identified the Nazis as having created “a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime,” and helped rally the world to their destruction; Gandhi pioneered and practiced a form of non-violent protest that has been exported worldwide and used to remarkable effect. A full understanding of each man requires the imposition of a “but . . . ”. It does not require the wholesale destruction of his memory.
3. We applaud the President’s executive order with broad immigration restrictions. From the editorial:
We wish Congress would not delegate its powers so extensively. But it has, and therefore it falls under the president’s purview to decide whether the pandemic has temporarily changed America’s immigration needs. Seeing the jobless rate elevated throughout the economy, he has decided, correctly, that yes, it has.
The new rules apply to a broad swath of legal immigration. They extend a previous order restricting new green cards. They also cut back on the H-1B visa, a favorite of tech companies both because it allows them to bring in rare talent from abroad and because it allows them to replace American workers with lower-paid foreigners acquired through outsourcing firms. Also affected are visas for temporary low-skill workers, au pairs, exchange students, and employees whom companies wish to transfer from foreign offices to American ones.
More notable, however, is what the order does not affect. It exempts everyone who is already in the country — so it will not disrupt the lives of people who have come here, only stop additional immigrants from arriving while the economy is struggling. It also exempts workers crucial to the nation’s food supply, those treating or researching COVID-19, and several other categories, including a catch-all of immigrants whose entry, in the administration’s judgment, “would be in the national interest.” And visa processing abroad has already slowed to a halt thanks to the pandemic, further limiting the proclamation’s impact.
4. We unabashedly reject the idea of D.C. statehood. From the editorial:
Friday’s D.C. statehood vote in the House is also entirely symbolic. Only a constitutional amendment can convert the seat of the federal government into a state. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution gave Congress plenary local lawmaking power to “exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District” — the broadest power Congress exercises anywhere. The 23rd Amendment, passed by Congress at the urging of Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy in 1960, gave D.C. the votes in presidential elections that it would have as a state. But it defines D.C. as a permanent constitutional entity of its own, outside of statehood. The Justice Department has repeatedly concluded, under administrations of both parties, that D.C. statehood requires amending the Constitution. That isn’t going to happen. The last time an amendment was tried, in the 1970s, only 16 states signed on.
On the merits of the proposal, it is difficult to see how the people of D.C. are oppressed, easy to see how their influence is already disproportionate, and easier than ever to see why the federal government would be imperiled by subjecting its physical security to District authorities. True, the Founding Fathers did not anticipate a time when the federal district would have more residents than Vermont. But early Americans also never conceived a time when the federal government would spend 4.5 trillion dollars a year and employ more people in D.C. alone than the entire populations of Syracuse or Dayton.
A Goodly 20 Examples of the Conservative Brilliance Served Up This Week Past by Your Favorite Conservative Website
1. When chaos ensues. . . advantage: Country Mouse. Victor Davis Hanson profiles the upside of bumpkinhood and the downside of city slickerage. From the essay:
For many liberal urban dwellers, all the violence, filth, dependency, plague, incompetence, and sermonizing were no longer worth the salaries earned from globalized high-tech and finances. Even the city’s retro, gentrified neighborhoods, its internationalism and sophistication in food, drink, and entertainment, its cultural diversity, and its easy accessibility to millions of similarly enlightened liberals with superior tastes and tolerance began to wear. When stores go up in flames, or the 58th floor comes down with the coronavirus, or Mayor de Blasio plays “Imagine” to illustrate why there are no police on the streets, then who cares about the intellectual stimulation that supposedly comes by osmosis from the nation’s tony universities anchored in cities or their nearby suburbs?
Increasingly over the past four months, millions of city folk have discovered that the police are as essential as water, food, sewage, and gasoline. Without them, life reverts not to a summer of love but more often to the Lord of the Flies and Deadwood. The urban hipster and marketing executive discovered that a spark somewhere 2,000 miles away can ignite their own neighborhood, and all the kneeling, foot-washing, and social-media virtue-signaling won’t bring safety or food.
For the boutique owner, whose store was looted, defaced, and burned, the existential crisis was not just that capital and income were lost, and a lifetime investment wiped out, after the earlier one-two-three punch of plague/quarantine/depression.
Instead, the rub was that the urban store owner and his customer grasped that all that mayhem could easily happen again and on a moment’s notice — and the ensuing losses would once again be written off as the regrettable collateral damage that is sometimes necessary to “effect social change.” When the mayor and police look the other way as the mob carries off Louis Vuitton bags, and CNN reporters assure us of peaceful protests while flames engulf our television screens, why rebuild or restore what the authorities and the influential deem expendable? Why live in Detroit in 1970 when a constant 1967 repeat was supposed to be a tolerable cost of doing business there?
2. In reality, says Conrad Black, the attack on statues is an effort to topple Western Civilization. From the piece:
There is only a weak argument for removing the statues of great generals such as Lee and Stonewall Jackson. There is no argument whatever for removing from the front of the Museum of Natural History in New York the splendid statue of Theodore Roosevelt, which is being done preemptively, according to the director, because statues now attract controversy. (That one is accompanied by a Native American and an African American beside a mounted TR — he was a supporter of both communities). They should retain TR’s statue and get rid of the director. She represents precisely the sort of cowardice that feeds and is exploited by the extremism that quickly gets to the head of these apparently well intended movements. There is no earthly excuse for taking down the statue of General (and President) U. S. Grant in San Francisco, or for defacing the statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square in London. Compare Confederate leader Jefferson Davis’s views of black people to those of Farrakhan’s hero and Churchill’s arch-foe, Hitler, on the same subject. The first person who advocates the removal of General Sherman’s statue in New York’s Grand Army Plaza by St. Gaudens, should be pitilessly mocked and chastised.
The Democratic Party has left the back door open to these anti-democratic extremists and has been infiltrated. It has morally atrophied and is ambiguous between mob rule and sensible law enforcement. The Democrats have a phantom presidential candidate who is clearly unequal to the office which he seeks and have left their campaign to the biased and unprofessional national political media, since the candidate can’t make the race. The Democrats are trying to avoid the issues, profit from the coronavirus, and hope for a referendum on Trump stacked by the Trump-hating media. Jefferson, Madison, FDR, Truman, and LBJ were Democratic presidents who importantly strengthened the foundations of American liberty. Those who would remove a statue of Robert E. Lee because he led the Army of Virginia, no more realize that they are facilitating the work of those who would tear down statues of Lincoln and Churchill than those who peacefully protested the criminal death of George Floyd realized their efforts would be hijacked by those who burned and pillaged the businesses of thousands of decent Americans.
3. On the idiocy of threatening the Emancipation Memorial, Jack Butler says hands off. From the commentary:
Lincoln Park’s typical quiet was broken on Tuesday by an increasingly familiar sight: a crowd seeking a statue to tear down. The more such groups deviate further from anything resembling legitimate protest against the unjust death of George Floyd, the more one questions their historical literacy. Indeed, it seems clear at this point that any old-looking statue will do: Figures of everyone from the Union general and racially progressive president Ulysses S. Grant to the abolitionist Hans Christian Heg have gotten the treatment. But if the protesters knew anything about the history and a character of the Emancipation Memorial, they would abandon their stated promise to tear the statue down.
It’s worth starting with an aspect of the statue that those who recently flocked to it in the hopes of consigning it to oblivion have the least excuse for not knowing. The man who appears to be leading these efforts on the ground proclaimed on Tuesday that he sees them as part of a campaign of consciousness-raising. “We are going to show up and wake these rich white people up,” he said while standing in front of the statue. If he had turned around, he might have noticed a plaque at the statue’s base that reads as follows:
In grateful memory of Abraham Lincoln, this monument was erected by the Western Sanitary Commission of Saint Louis MO: With funds contributed solely by emancipated citizens of the United States, declared free by his proclamation, January 1st A.D. 1863. The first contribution of five dollars was made by Charlotte Scott, a freed woman of Virginia, being her first earnings in freedom and consecrated by her succession and request on the day she heard of President Lincoln’s death to build a monument to his memory.
So, just to make it absolutely clear: The statue in question here owes its existence not to “rich white people,” but to newly freed slaves, the first of whom contributed to it her first-ever earnings as a free citizen of the United States. To tear it down would be a grave insult to the memory of those who created it.
4. Statuary Jacobinism: The topplings of bronzed Francis Scott Key, Father Junipero Serra, and Confederacy defeater Ulysses S. Grant in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park draw the ire of Greg Weiner. From the commentary:
That brings us to Grant. In the spirit of charity that those who destroyed a bust of him lack, set aside the patent absurdity of celebrating Juneteenth by deplatforming the general whose victorious troops read the Emancipation Proclamation and the president who subdued the first incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan. Grant’s unforgivable and all-defining sin was having owned a slave, William Jones.
That is true. So is the fact that Grant was raised in an abolitionist family and went to court in 1859 — in St. Louis, hardly an oasis of political calm or racial enlightenment — to free Jones, whom he could instead have sold to relieve his serious financial troubles. The least generous and nuanced interpretation that can be imposed on Grant’s life is that he was a slave owner who saw the error of his ways and proceeded to destroy slavery. Even that much requires caricature, but as caricatures go, it is an admirable one. Still, it requires a time-elapse photograph rather than a snapshot. It also requires that such an image be placed in context and understood in subtle terms.
In the Golden Gate strain of protest, the rejection of memory and complexity in favor of a bastardized version of Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence — that is, live in and for the now alone — has overtaken an initial and noble opposition to racism and police brutality. It will not turn out well for its adherents.
There are conservatives who dispense “Jacobinism” as a casual epithet, but here it genuinely applies. Edmund Burke defined the essence of Jacobinism as “the destruction of all prejudices.” In today’s climate, it is necessary to specify that, by “prejudice,” he referred not to racial animosity but rather to moral habit. The new Jacobins compress past, present, and future into the almighty now.
5. More Statuary Madness: Rich Lowry hails Teddy Roosevelt, kaputed from the entrance to the American Museum of National History. From the article:
As president, he enhanced the country’s role on the world stage. He sent the Great White Fleet (surely, another count against him) on its 43,000-mile trip, with 20 globe-spanning ports of call. The voyage is regarded, as an account by naval historians relates, as “one of the greatest peacetime achievements of the U.S. Navy.”
He brokered the peace in the Russo-Japanese War, becoming the first U.S. president to win a Nobel prize.
He negotiated a settlement of a dispute between France and Germany over control of Morocco.
He extended the 1823 Monroe Doctrine from its original formulation that warned against European intervention, adding a corollary that made the United States the “policeman” of the Western Hemisphere and asserting the right to intervene in the affairs of Latin American countries so misgoverned that they might invite European meddling.
In 1906, he became the first president to travel out of the country, to visit Panama at the time of the construction of the canal that he had done so much to promote, taking the controls of a steam shovel for a jaunty photograph. The largest building project in U.S. history, the canal linked the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, boosting commerce and easing American naval operations by cutting the trip from San Francisco to New York by 8,000 miles. It was yet another sign of the arrival of the United States as a world power.
Roosevelt clearly understood the role of America in the 20th century. “Whether we wish it or not,” he said in his “big stick” speech, “we cannot avoid hereafter having duties to do in the face of other nations. All that we can do is to settle whether we shall perform these duties well or ill.”
6. Davis Harsanyi checks out an example of progressivism’s fact-challenged efforts to rewrite history. From the piece:
In the progressive retelling of history, the role of both victim and oppressor is predestined according to the hue of a person’s skin. Everyone involved is stripped of agency. And every injustice is retroactively framed in the light of contemporary racial grievances.
This week, a bunch of people decided that it was time to portray Jesus, an ancient Jew living in Roman Palestine, as a man subjugated over his skin color. The activist Shaun King says “white Jesus” was a symbol of white supremacy. Jesus, he argued, fled to Hellenistic Egypt rather than “Denmark” so he could blend in with the African population. No amount of evidence will dissuade him, I’m sure.
“Wasn’t Jesus a person of color brutalized by an oppressive colonial regime? Jesus is a symbol of victims of violence, not of authoritarians who erect statues,” explained New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof to his two million Twitter followers.
If Jesus was “a person of color,” then so were the crowds that pleaded with Pilate to “crucify him.” So were the members of the Sanhedrin who convicted him of apostasy. As, most likely, were the Roman soldiers — pulled from all over the Empire — who drove the nails into his hands and feet.
When confronted with these facts, Kristof pivoted to moral truth, noting that “one of the points of Christianity is to apply a basic lesson of Scripture” and “Jesus spoke up for the poor and marginalized.”
Well, yes. But the initial point, of course, was to depict Jesus as a man crucified over the color of his skin; just another victim to fall to the perpetual evil of racism. There is no historical basis for this claim. Though I’m not a theologian, I’m relatively certain that the “point” of Jesus is that he is the Son of God and died for the sins of all mankind, and not that he is a prop for your preferred public-policy initiatives.
7. John Yoo condemns the Supreme Court’s DACA ruling. From the analysis:
Suppose President Donald Trump decided to create a nationwide right to carry guns openly. He could declare that he would not enforce federal firearms laws, and that a new “Trump permit” would free any holder of state and local gun-control restrictions.
Even if Trump knew that his scheme lacked legal authority, he could get away with it for the length of his presidency. And, moreover, even if courts declared the permit illegal, his successor would have to keep enforcing the program for another year or two.
That incredible outcome is essentially what happened with the Supreme Court decision last week in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California (the latter being my employer, I might add). Regents blocked President Trump’s repeal of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which halted the deportation of aliens brought to the U.S. illegally as children, and a parallel 2014 program that suspended the removal of their parents (DAPA). Until the Trump administration goes through the laborious result of enacting a new regulation to undo DACA and DAPA, approximately 6 million aliens can remain in the U.S. in defiance of federal immigration statutes.
While supporters of broader, more humane immigration policies (among whom I count myself) may have welcomed the result, they may well regret the Court’s disruption of executive power. President Barack Obama could issue his extralegal visa programs for children and their parents aliens by simple executive fiat, according to Chief Justice John Roberts and four liberal Justices (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan), but President Trump had to pretend the order was legal and use the slow Administrative Procedure Act to reverse them. “Even if it is illegal for DHS to extend work authorization and other benefits to DACA recipients,” Roberts found, DACA “could not be rescinded in full without any consideration whatsoever of a” non-deportation policy other than on the ground of its illegality.
According to Chief Justice Roberts, the Constitution makes it easy for presidents to violate the law, but reversing such violations difficult — especially for their successors.
8. More Gorsuch comeuppance, this time from Josh Blackman and Randy Barnett. From the analysis:
Through the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Congress took momentous steps to eradicate prejudice and bias in the workplace. Title VII of that landmark law made it unlawful for employers to “discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” Despite how some critics characterized Bostock, all nine Justices agreed — at least for purposes of this case — that “sex” referred to the “biological distinctions between male and female.” The meaning of the word “sex” did not evolve, and the majority did not “update” or “rewrite” the statute. What fractured the Court was the relationship between two critical terms: “discriminate against” and “because of.”
Let’s start with the first term. How was the phrase “discriminate against” understood in 1964? Justice Gorsuch cites the definition of “discriminate” from Webster’s 1954 New International Dictionary: “To make a difference in treatment or favor (of one as compared with others).” But that’s not the entire phrase used in the statute. Title VII refers to “discriminate against.” And the additional word “against” modifies the meaning.
To define “discriminate against,” Justice Gorsuch relied on a 2006 decision by Justice Breyer, which stated “no one doubts that the term ‘discriminate against’ refers to distinctions or differences in treatment that injure protected individuals.” However, Justice Breyer was interpreting a different provision of Title VII that governed retaliation. Moreover, Justice Breyer made no effort to understand how “discriminate against” was understood in 1964. Instead, he relied on a 1989 decision by Justice William Brennan. But this decision did not turn on the meaning of “discriminate against.” Rather, Justice Brennan considered the phrase “because of.” Justice Gorsuch’s research trail slammed into a brick wall. Yet despite this incomplete analysis, Justice Gorsuch concluded that the phrase “to ‘discriminate against’ a person, then, would seem to mean treating that individual worse than others who are similarly situated.”
9. David Bahnsen warns that prolonged low-interest rates are some day going to bite. From the analysis:
The cost of capital is an important component of macroeconomic reality. When the cost of capital exceeds the return on invested capital, recessions result, businesses retreat, and jobs are lost. Ideally, given that there will be recessions from time to time, I would rather see volatility in the ROIC (which is market driven) than in the cost of capital. That said, interest rates (the price of money) are subject to market forces, too, like any other price. Unlike many other prices, the price of money is what enables price discovery of everything else. But the cost of capital is not determined by market conditions alone. In a society with a central bank it is hugely influenced (although not fully controlled) by the interventions of that bank. Different central banks have taken on different levels of intervention throughout history, but their ability to change the cost of money is not up for debate.
The problems with distorting the cost of capital above and beyond those periods of emergency intervention are many. They begin with the way that emergency interventions never seem to stay “emergency interventions.” Temporary government programs become long-term government solutions, as Milton Friedman taught us, and central banks have not been immune to this in Japan, the U.K., the European Union, or the United States, at least in the last quarter century or so. During “normal” periods, emergency provisions are at best not accelerated further — only very rarely are emergency provisions actually removed or reversed.
And it’s all the more dangerous when the emergency provision is one that strikes many as benign: low interest rates. Who wouldn’t want a lower cost of funds to finance both consumption and production? It is one thing if we are talking about Fed facilities to buy corporate bonds — surely, we all see that as an outlier of aggressive accommodation; but low interest rates? Who could possibly find fault with such a thing?
10. Jimmy Quinn exposes an effort by bought-and-paid ChiCom errand boys to prevent the publication of a book about Beijing’s western influence. From the beginning of the piece:
The release of a forthcoming book on the Chinese Communist Party’s influence in Western democracies was put on hold in Canada last week following a British trade association’s threat to sue for what it says are defamatory allegations.
The book in question, Hidden Hand, is a comprehensive account of the CCP’s “global program of subversion, and the threat it poses to democracy,” according to the London-based Oneworld Publications, which owns the book’s English-language rights in the Northern Hemisphere.
Last week, Oneworld received a notice from lawyers representing the 48 Group Club, a British trade association, and its chairman, Stephen Perry. In the book, authors Clive Hamilton, an Australian academic, and Mareike Ohlberg, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund’s Asia Program, characterize the 48 Group Club as a conduit of CCP influence in elite British circles. Perry and his organization take issue with several sentences, which they say are incorrect or defamatory. Druces Law, the firm representing Perry, did not return National Review’s request for comment.
Oneworld tells National Review that it disagrees with Perry’s defamation claims. It is currently taking legal advice, but the publisher’s plans to launch the book in the U.S. and U.K. on September 8 will “go ahead as planned,” said Novin Doostdar, publisher of Oneworld. The book was released in Australia last week and was previously released digitally in Germany.
11. More Quinn: The ChiComs are furious over an Aussie think tank’s report. From the piece:
This month, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute — a Canberra-based think tank focusing on defense issues — published groundbreaking reports on Chinese genomic surveillance, disinformation on Twitter, and united-front influence operations in Western democracies. Just in June, ASPI’s work has boosted public understanding of the mechanisms by which the Chinese Communist Party clings to power at home and seeks influence abroad.
Impactful as these studies may already seem, they’re actually far more important than you’d expect. Why? Well, the Chinese government is bringing its weight to bear on discrediting ASPI’s work — the research center has struck a nerve in Beijing.
Take this piece published by Xinhua News Agency yesterday. Citing a pro-Beijing former Australian foreign minister, the director of an institute with which that former foreign minister is associated, a Chinese foreign-ministry spokeswoman, and others, the state-owned media outlet paints the picture of a hopelessly pro-American puppet organization manipulated by the defense contractors that fund it.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said earlier this month that with such strong ideological bias, the institute is actually spearheading anti-China forces and its academic credibility has been seriously questioned . . .
The institute has fabricated reports on policies in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which the Chinese government has repeatedly refuted.
12. Kyle Smith says that the usually honest Dave Chappelle is punking out on the truth. From the rebuttal:
‘Trayvon Martin,” says Dave Chappelle, “was murdered by George Zimmerman.” No, he wasn’t.
Taking exception to the points made by a standup comic can be obtuse: “Relax, I’m only joking” usually ends the discussion. Comics use hyperbole, anecdote, and cherry-picked facts to drive laughs, sometimes hiding behind a naive or moronic alter ego.
None of that applies to 8:46, Chappelle’s 30-minute YouTube special inspired by the death of George Floyd, whose title evokes the time Floyd’s neck spent under a police officer’s knee before he died. Chappelle’s latest isn’t a comedy routine at all; he makes no attempt to shape his outrage about police brutality into comic bits. Nor does he hide behind a character. 8:46 is a 30-minute monologue on current events frankly delivered by Chappelle in his own voice — an address, not an act. For the duration of this special, Chappelle isn’t a comic but a political commentator. He therefore opens himself up to the same kind of scrutiny as any political columnist, who can and should be criticized for conceptual errors and misstatements of fact.
Moreover, since Chappelle commands a much larger audience than virtually any political commentator (the new special, which is streaming on YouTube, has racked up 25 million views since it dropped June 12) his errors are more, not less, worrying than Tucker Carlson’s or Rachel Maddow’s. If you are concerned about “fake news” or “misinformation campaigns” in which, say, five million Americans get nudged to believe things that didn’t happen — and you should be — how concerned should you be about the false assertions of a man whose views engage tens of millions of viewers?
13. Cameron Hilditch castigates Amazon’s footsie-playing with the despicable Southern Poverty Law Center. From the report:
The next time you buy something from Amazon (I say “the next time” because there’s really no point using the conditional tense anymore when it comes to our collective patronage of this company as a species), you’ll be asked if you want to make a donation to a charity under the auspices of their “Amazon Smile” program. This donation won’t cost you a thing. Amazon themselves donate 0.5 percent of the cost all eligible products to the charity of your choice if you opt into “Smile,” and over $160 million has been raised so far through this program for various charities across the world. The only shortcoming of this otherwise laudable venture is that Amazon have outsourced the decision-making process for which nonprofits are eligible for Smile to the extremely dubious Southern Poverty Law Center.
For those who do not know, the SPLC is a legal-advocacy organization that tries to police the Overton Window of acceptable discourse in the United States. They are notorious for their famous list of “hate groups,” which names nonprofits like the Alliance Defending Freedom and the American College of Pediatricians alongside groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the Nation of Islam. The SPLC’s promiscuous proclivity for damning any group or individual to the right of Samantha Bee on social issues now restricts the ability of Amazon’s customers to donate to nonprofit organizations of their choice. It’s somewhat baffling that Amazon would choose to place their flagship charitable enterprise under the yoke of the SPLC given that its reputation has been in free-fall for some time, and not only in the eyes of those on the right. The nonprofit watchdog CharityWatch gives the SPLC an F, its lowest grade, on account of the fact that it has over six and a half years worth of available assets in reserve.
14. More Dan McLaughlin, this time giving a New York Times claptrapper an education in American history. From the piece:
According to New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie, “Neither Abraham Lincoln nor the Republican Party freed the slaves.” Instead, “the slaves freed the slaves.” Emancipation “was something they took for themselves.” The most that can be said of Lincoln and the nation’s political leadership is that they “helped set freedom in motion and eventually codified it into law with the 13th Amendment” (emphasis added). Of the Union Army, Bouie allows only that it “delivered the news of the Emancipation Proclamation.”
It should not be necessary to defend the proposition that Lincoln, the Republicans, and the Union Army played a major role in ending slavery, but here we are. The very act of casting their role aside so blithely is a species of gaslighting. As is the case with most deliberately distorted history, there are elements of uncontroversial truth to Bouie’s narrative, yet its most sweeping claims are false — and the true parts are merely tools for advancing the falsehood.
Bouie is right that black Americans played a significant role in contributing to the abolitionist movement, the escalating sectional tensions that led to secession, the transformation of the Civil War in the North from a war for the Union to a war of liberation, and the Union’s victory. He is wrong to claim that those contributions in and of themselves were enough to bring about the end of slavery, and that Lincoln, the Republicans, the Union Army, and the majority of the American population were merely passive conduits, bobbing like a cork on the unstoppable streams of history.
Bouie skips the crucial step. All the abolitionist agitation in the world only mattered because the people with real political, military, cultural, and economic power in America — the federal government, Northern state governments, the military, the churches, the leaders of the economy, and ultimately, the voting public — eventually chose to side with the abolitionist movement. It was not a given that they would; in the 1820s and 1830s, they had chosen not to.
15. Tobias Hoonhout is all over the New York Times’ new brand of doxx-your-enemies journalism. From the report:
The popular pseudonymous blogger behind Slate Star Codex claims that he’s been forced to delete the blog after a New York Times reporter threatened to reveal his identity. It is the latest example of the paper’s willingness to grant anonymity according to inconsistent, ideologically self-serving criteria.
In the only post remaining on the site, Slate Star Codex founder “Scott Alexander,” who claims to write under his real first and middle names while withholding his last name, reveals that he recently spoke to a Times technology reporter who expressed interest in writing a “mostly positive” article about his blog.
Danielle Rhoades Ha, vice president of communications for the Times, told National Review in a statement that “we do not comment on what we may or may not publish in the future. But when we report on newsworthy or influential figures, our goal is always to give readers all the accurate and relevant information we can.”
Slate Star Codex is a popular blog in the “rationalist” subculture with an active community of readers. It began in 2013 and became famous for technical deep-dives into a wide range of subjects, including philosophy, medicine, psychology, politics, and social science. Among other topics, Alexander has questioned “progressive” conventions around the mutability of intelligence in his writing. He also noted the threat posed by coronavirus well before many mainstream publications began devoting extensive coverage to it.
Perhaps the Times intended to cover this blog and the broader subculture it inhabits. But Alexander, who did not return a request for comment, writes that the supposedly flattering article would come with a catch — the Times had “discovered” Alexander’s full name and planned to reveal it in the story. When Alexander pushed back, the reporter told him “it was New York Times policy to include real names, and he couldn’t change that.”
16. Armond White has issues with Miss Juneteenth, but then he also sees things he likes about the new flick. From the review:
Except for one scene that tours a modest, amateurish museum in Fort Worth devoted to the history of the Juneteenth celebration, the movie Miss Juneteenth focuses on the personal, emotional life of a black Texas woman, Turquoise Jones (Nichole Beharie), and her efforts to win an ethnic-beauty-pageant crown for her 14-year-old daughter. Miss Juneteenth is not about trendy politics — despite its novelty title — so it may seem out of joint. But debut director Channing Godfrey Peoples and producer David Lowery deserve credit for avoiding the opportunistic occasion.
Miss Juneteenth refuses the political correctness that suddenly overtook the nation last week, exemplified by New York governor Andrew Cuomo officially declaring Juneteenth (a local Texas event) a state holiday and the media forcing the public into commemoration mode in order to promote Black Lives Matter dissent. Instead, Miss Juneteenth was made by Texans Godfrey Peoples and Lowery, and made without guile, showing how Turquoise passes her history — and her values — on to her daughter Kai (Alexis Chikaeze), who boasts a teen’s very relaxed ideals.
Blackness and womanhood mean different things to this Gen Y mother and Millennial daughter. Neither Turquoise nor Kai is particularly political, and in this way, Miss Juneteenth gently reproves the current enthusiasm that all black generations experience the same social conditions — a notion that’s imposed on blacks by activists, media, and pandering politicians. The pageant scholarship means less to Turquoise than her own memory of winning. That experience “made me feel like I had a chance,” she says — while holding a straightening comb, Godfrey Peoples’s perfect image of a certain black female’s ego and striving.
17. Dmitri Solzhenitsyn makes the case for human exceptionalism in the age of artificial intelligence. From the piece:
In 1980, philosopher John Searle crafted a thought experiment in his essay Minds, Brains, and Programs that aimed to disprove the hypothesis that machines could truly have understanding. Searle imagines himself in a locked room, with men standing outside the door and feeding him a story in Chinese characters through a slot. The men receive Searle’s “questions” about their story (also in Chinese) through the same slot and conclude that he must understand the Chinese language. However, unbeknownst to the men, Searle has a large sheet in front of him on which instructions are printed for receiving certain combinations of characters and returning others in response. Searle is mindlessly receiving sequences of characters, following his sheet’s instructions, and returning other sequences of characters. He need not understand the story, or even know that the characters are Chinese, to feign comprehension. In representing a computer through his parable, Searle shows that a program-running machine does not really understand — it only shuffles symbols mechanically.
In the same way, AI lacks the understanding of what it means for sound to be emotive. There is no concise value that can be assigned to the passionate ardor one feels at the opening of Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 1, nor to the tristesse one undergoes in the Funeral March of Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 2. And even if we could train AI to produce motifs that sound pleasant and authentic — as we have started to — the stretch from short phrases to a long work imbued with an underlying artistic message is vast. There seems to be something unquantifiable and ineffable about the artistic license displayed by the greatest composers, something we can understand only by virtue of having a mind that feels emotion and grasps sound beyond the mechanical plane.
Yet we have been wrong about AI before. It is not unimaginable that, through the brute force of its computing power, machine intelligence will find a way to surpass humans someday even in creativity. Still, our fierce pride would be left with some consolation.
18. The Sino-Indian border strife is something that should concern us all, write Helen Raleigh. From the analysis:
In 2013, Xi rolled out a major foreign-policy initiative called “One Belt and One Road” (OBOR). The initiative consists of building infrastructure projects across continents and expanding China’s economic and geopolitical influence. Xi deemed the OBOR initiative “the project of the century.” At least 157 nations and international organizations have signed up to be part of it.
India has a good reason to feel threatened by some of the OBOR initiatives. One is an oil and natural-gas pipeline from Kunming, a city in southern China, to Myanmar’s Arakan coast in the Bay of Bengal. The pipeline would not only give China easier access to cheap oil, but would also enable China’s ships, commercial as well as military, to establish a presence close to the Indian Ocean, right in India’s backyard.
Another OBOR initiative troubling to India is the China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor, a signature OBOR project, which passes through Kashmir, a disputed territory between India and Pakistan. India views this project as China’s taking a stand on Pakistan’s claim to Kashmir. Some in India, such as Chintamani Mahapatra, a professor at the School of international studies at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, have even called this OBOR initiative “a new kind of colonization.” Consequently, India refused to send a high-level delegation to China’s OBOR summit in May 2017. At the time, India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar, said, “No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Then, in June 2017, India and China arrived at their first serious border dispute in more than five decades, when Indian soldiers stopped a Chinese-army construction crew from building a road in a pocket of land in the Doklam region. Since this land lies between Bhutan, China, and the Indian state of Sikkim, all three countries had claimed ownership of it. China treats the region as part of Chinese-controlled Tibet. India claimed it was intervening on behalf of both India and Bhutan, because both have historical claims to the disputed land, and Bhutan is a tiny country that relies on India for security protection. The standoff between the two nations lasted about ten weeks before both sides agreed to deescalate. Although Beijing did not continue its road construction, it has kept Chinese forces in Doklam since then.
19. Leslie Ford commends the president for his executive order on foster-care reform. From the piece:
This week, President Trump signed an executive order to help kids like Anthony and David. The order, which will decrease the time that children spend in foster care and help them find loving families, is desperately needed to give some of America’s most vulnerable kids a better shot at a better life.
The foster-care system is full of despair. Of the more than 437,300 children currently in care, over 125,000 are waiting for their forever family. More than 50 percent have been in foster care for two years — or more. The kids left behind are usually those who need love the most: children over the age of nine, siblings who want to stay together, and kids with disabilities.
Worse, every year, around 20,000 young people age out of foster care without any legal connection to a family. The results for these young adults are terrifying: Researchers who have conducted longitudinal studies find that four in ten will experience homelessness; more than 25 percent will end up incarcerated; and 71 percent of the young women will be pregnant by age 21.
20. Madeleine Kearns high fives the 2019 film Mr. Jones, about the Soviet’s mass starvation of Ukrainians and the American journalist — the New York Times’ Walter Duranty — who covered for Stalin’s depravities. From the review:
Duranty, meanwhile, supped with Franklin Roosevelt (then governor of New York) and wrote of Stalin’s experiment in the New York Times (“all the news that’s fit to print”) that “to put it brutally — you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.” Sally J. Taylor’s 1990 biography of Duranty, Stalin’s Apologist, details how in addition to his inaccurate reporting, the correspondent participated in Satanic orgies as well as heavy drug and alcohol abuse. Taylor documents “the bitter, ironic story of a man who had the rare opportunity to bring to light the suffering of the millions of Stalin’s victims, but remained a prisoner of vanity, self-indulgence and success.”
While Mr. Jones accurately characterizes Duranty, Gareth Jones’s family complains that the same is not true of him. Jones’s niece, Margaret Siriol Colley, published her uncle’s notebooks in the 1990s, which are now exhibited at his old Cambridge college next to memorabilia belonging to fellow alumnus Isaac Newton. Jones’s family complained of the “multiple fictions” in the Mr. Jones screenplay. His great-nephew told the Sunday Times that Jones “didn’t witness any dead bodies or cannibalism, let alone take part in any.” Nevertheless, Andrea Chalupa’s thoughtful screenplay is more about the truth Jones exposed. And in that regard, the script is in alignment with scholarship. Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands recounts how in desperation people would eat the dead, including family members. Anne Applebaum candidly discusses cannibalism within families in her book Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine. As for the scene in Mr. Jones in which a crying baby is tossed with its mother’s corpse onto a cart of dead bodies, that is taken from a survivor of the Holodomor, Chalupa’s own grandfather, whose memoir she interweaves in her book Orwell and the Refugees: The Untold Story of Animal Farm.
In Mr. Jones, Jones briefly meets Malcolm Muggeridge, a correspondent for the Manchester Guardian, who also managed to smuggle stories about the famine out of the USSR, publishing them anonymously. Back in England, Jones also meets George Orwell, a socialist writer, whose mind he seems to change about Stalin’s experiment. It is not clear that, in reality, the two ever met. But there is a symbolic truth here, too.
1. At Law & Liberty, Daniel J. Mahoney reflects on the 80th anniversary of the Fall of France. Expect the usual brilliance. From the essay:
What were the principal sources, or causes, of the French calamity? In the English historian Julian Jackson’s thoughtful, informative, and competent account in The Fall of France: The Nazi Invasion of 1940, a serious effort is made to put the death throes of the French Third Republic in some perspective. Jackson argues, for example, that the English political elite was deeply corrupt in its own ways, and had supported appeasement of the Nazi regime, partly out of cowardice, and partly because the appeasers preferred to deal with an anti-Bolshevik Nazi Germany rather than attempt a defensive alliance with a Soviet Union they (rightly) abhorred. Because of this, the majority in Churchill’s own party still distrusted him for months after he became Prime Minister of Great Britain on May 10, 1940.
Jackson also argues that France had made serious progress in rearming by the time the Second World War broke out in September 1939. In some sense, Jackson argues, France was “ready for war,” at least in terms of the requisite number of tanks and guns. Jackson acknowledges the eloquence and forcefulness of Charles de Gaulle’s critique (in his 1934 book Vers l’armée de métier, published in English in 1941 as Army of the Future) of an outmoded approach to national defense that left all initiative to the enemy, hid behind the series of defensive fortifications known as the Maginot Line, and that gave France little or no ability to strike the enemy if and when war broke out. France massively, and unwisely, over-relied on short-term conscripts and reservists. The French had better tanks than the Germans but could only conceive them as supports of infantry. But despite de Gaulle’s discernment, Jackson faults him for combining a “prescient” technical argument for the use of tank formations in a dynamic and offensive manner, with “the politically sensitive issue of the professional army.”
But de Gaulle’s argument was never an essentially “technical” one. In Vers l’armée de métier the French military intellectual was calling for nothing less than a renewal of France and her army. The old republican and revolutionary dogmas, the ideological reliance on civilian armed forces at all costs, were inadequate to confronting the needs of the time or the immense danger posed by Berlin after Hitler’s ascendance to power in January 1933. This was indeed a moment “that changed everything,” as we are too keen to say today. Jackson faults de Gaulle for having written a book “suffused with a romantic and almost mystical celebration of the military vocation and the role it could play in national regeneration.” “This,” he adds, “was not the best way to win converts.”
2. More Law & Liberty: The eminent George Nash looks at the work of master historian Bernard Bailyin. From the piece:
Bailyn was also fascinated by—and repelled by—a Hegelian philosophy professor at Williams whose lectures were dazzling but whose “aphoristic, metaphysical talk” seemed to be “beyond criticism and beyond validation.” Reacting against this and against the “philosophical chatter” of some of this professor’s student acolytes, Bailyn was drawn to a “tough-minded” professor of history at Williams whose skepticism and “devotion to the facts” Bailyn found “entirely congenial.” The doorway to his becoming a historian had begun to open.
After just two and a half years at Williams College, Bailyn was drawn into the U.S. Army in 1943, in the midst of World War II. During his service in uniform, he was eventually placed in a German language-and-culture immersion program as preparation for possible duty in Occupied Germany after the war. He learned German and became “extremely interested” in German history. Bailyn never returned to Williams, which awarded him his BA in 1945 while he was still in the Army. After his discharge in 1946, he entered Harvard University as a graduate student in history.
During the chaotic opening weeks of the Fall 1946 semester, on a campus overflowing with war veterans and other students, Bailyn struggled to find his bearings. Which specific subjects and problems did he wish to study? He did not yet know. But he did have an idea of the “general principles” and “connections” that interested him, and one day he wrote these down on a page detached from a calendar. First, he would like to study “the early modern period of Western history” and “the connections between a distant past and an emerging modernity.” Second, he wished to examine the “connections” between ideas and “reality.” Third, he wanted to investigate “the connections between America and Europe, in whatever sphere.” He could not know it, but he had just sketched the contours of his entire career. “In retrospect,” he now writes, “everything I have done in history can be seen as following the principles of my main interests as I had defined them in 1946.”
3. At Gatestone Institute, Soeren Kern provides an essential look at the breadth and depth and history of Antifa. From the piece:
The ideological origins of Antifa can be traced back to the Soviet Union roughly a century ago. In 1921 and 1922, the Communist International (Comintern) developed the so-called united front tactic to “unify the working masses through agitation and organization” … “at the international level and in each individual country” against “capitalism” and “fascism” — two terms that often were used interchangeably.
The world’s first anti-fascist group, Arditi del Popolo (People’s Courageous Militia), was founded in Italy in June 1921 to resist the rise of Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party, which itself was established to prevent the possibility of a Bolshevik revolution on the Italian Peninsula. Many of the group’s 20,000 members, consisting of communists and anarchists, later joined the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39).
In Germany, the Communist Party of Germany established the paramilitary group Roter Frontkämpferbund (Red Front Fighters League) in July 1924. The group was banned due to its extreme violence. Many of its 130,000 members continued their activities underground or in local successor organizations such as the Kampfbund gegen den Faschismus (Fighting-Alliance Against Fascism).
In Slovenia, the militant anti-fascist movement TIGR was established in 1927 to oppose the Italianization of Slovene ethnic areas after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The group, which was disbanded in 1941, specialized in assassinating Italian police and military personnel.
In Spain, the Communist Party established the Milicias Antifascistas Obreras y Campesinas (Antifascist Worker and Peasant Militias), which were active in the 1930s.
The modern Antifa movement derives its name from a group called Antifaschistische Aktion, founded in May 1932 by Stalinist leaders of the Communist Party of Germany. The group was established to fight fascists, a term the party used to describe all of the other pro-capitalist political parties in Germany. The primary objective of Antifaschistische Aktion was to abolish capitalism, according to a detailed history of the group. The group, which had more than 1,500 founding members, went underground after Nazis seized power in 1933.
4. More Gatestone: Kern provides a second part of his Antifa history, this focusing on its US operations. From the report:
American media outlets sympathetic to Antifa have jumped to its defense. They argue that the group cannot be classified as a terrorist organization because, they claim, it is a vaguely-defined protest movement that lacks a centralized structure.
As the following report shows, Antifa is, in fact, highly networked, well-funded and has a clear ideological agenda: to subvert, often with extreme violence, the American political system, with the ultimate aim of replacing capitalism with communism. In the United States, Antifa’s immediate aim is to remove President Trump from office.
Gatestone Institute has identified Antifa groups in all 50 U.S. states, with the possible exception of West Virginia. Some states, including California, Texas and Washington, appear to have dozens of sub-regional Antifa organizations.
It is difficult precisely to determine the size of the Antifa movement in the United States. The so-called “Anti-Fascists of Reddit,” the “premier anti-fascist community” on the social media platform Reddit, has approximately 60,000 members. The oldest Antifa group in America, the Portland, Oregon-based “Rose City Antifa,” has more than 30,000 Twitter followers and 20,000 Facebook followers, not all of whom are necessarily supporters. “It’s Going Down,” a media platform for anarchists, anti-fascists and autonomous anti-capitalists, has 85,000 Twitter followers and 30,000 Facebook followers.
Germany, which has roughly one-quarter of the population of the United States, is home to 33,000 extreme leftists, of whom 9,000 are believed to be extremely dangerous, according to the domestic intelligence agency (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, BfV). Violent left-wing agitators are predominantly male, between 21 and 24 years of age, usually unemployed, and, according to BfV, 92% still live with their parents. Anecdotal evidence suggests that most Antifa members in the United States have a similar socio-economic profile.
In America, national Antifa groups, including “Torch Antifa Network,” “Refuse Fascism” and “World Can’t Wait” are being financed — often generously, as shown below — by individual donors as well as by large philanthropic organizations, including the Open Society Foundations founded by George Soros.
5. Because . . . Conservative. At Commentary, Steve Hayward recounts his cancel-culture experience with the SJW harpies and cowering administrators at Berkeley. From the reflection:
If mainstream liberal academics find today’s campus climate tricky, imagine what it’s like for the increasingly rare conservative academic. The story of my time at the University of California at Berkeley offers some guidance.
When I was appointed a visiting (and non-tenured!) faculty member at Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies in the fall of 2016, friends and observers wondered how such an unlikely thing came to be—and how long it would be before I was “canceled” and run off campus. How I ended up at Berkeley is a circuitous story, but the relevant fact is that even many liberals at Berkeley knew that the campus was ideologically unbalanced, and I was warmly welcomed and encouraged to teach classes in political science and at the law school.
I never used to declare my ideological leanings to a class, and then as now, I teach the subject matter in a deliberately neutral fashion that in the past has sometimes prompted students to ask mid-semester whether I am a liberal or a conservative. But over time I have come to embrace being a conspicuous conservative and telling students of this fact on Day One. This ironically may provide me a greater degree of safety than would be the case for someone who concealed his opinions and was then “outed” as a conservative. Berkeley’s student newspaper, the Daily Cal, ran a news story and an editorial when I first arrived in 2016 about what a horrible human being I am, but the adverse publicity had the predictable effect: I had a long waiting list for my first course, which included a lot of liberal and even far-left progressive students telling me they were interested in hearing something different. (They were terrific, by the way, as have been the smart Berkeley progressive students in all of my subsequent classes.)
It was perhaps naive to think this constructive circumstance could last indefinitely, even at an institution as large as Berkeley. I wondered whimsically at times what I was doing wrong. Maybe I wasn’t testing the limits, or I was being too timid.
I wonder no more.
6. Idiocy on the March: The College Fix’s Greg Piper reports on how the word “Freedom” has the knickers twisted of dimwit SJWs at Robert Morris University. From the report:
A private university named after a founding father has changed the name of student identification cards following a petition that said their nomenclature was harmful to minority students.
A spokesperson for Robert Morris University disputes, however, that the two-week-old Change.org petition was the impetus for the change from “Freedom Card” to “RMU ID Card.”
Student Melanie Hall created the petition, which claims racial minorities are 24 percent of the student population at the Pittsburgh school. Like many names on campus, the Freedom Card refers to the American Revolution.
“This poorly named form of identification has made minority students (black students in particular) feel like we are being dehumanized,” the petition reads: “Gifting us with IDs that grant us our ‘freedom’ is of extremely poor taste.”
It drew just 130 signatures before Hall, a rising senior, posted an update Tuesday morning that said Dean of Students John Michalenko told her both the card name and design would be changed.
BONUS: At Spectator USA, Chadwick Moore looks into the Marxist occupation of gay rights. From the article:
Everything you know about gay history is a lie. The history of homosexuality is constantly in flux, rewritten by whoever is in power at the time. There’s no guarantee the stories we tell ourselves today will still be true in five years. Naturally, transgender women of color hurled the first bricks at Stonewall, the uprising outside of a gay bar in 1969 that sparked the modern gay rights movement. Except they didn’t. This little bit of historical revisionism appeared about 10 years ago and has been completely digested as fact by the entirety of the LGBT Industrial Complex, for one simple reason: LGBTQAI+ is no longer interested in gay individuals, or equality, but has been transformed into yet another vehicle of social Marxism, their specific target being to confuse and chip away at norms surrounding gender, sexuality, and relationships.
To drive their new, fake narrative home, Big Gay deified two non-white, self-identified ‘cross-dressers’ who were regular fixtures around the gay scene at the time, Silvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson. I didn’t need to unearth the video interview with Silvia Rivera where he admits he wasn’t at Stonewall when it started. And I didn’t need to look at all the historical accounts that show Marsha Johnson was passed out on heroin, 30 blocks north in Bryant Park, when it happened and arrived at the scene two hours later. My friend Willson Henderson told me all that.
‘Silvia Rivera stunk so bad, we used to call her Skunk Rivera,’ Willson says to me over martinis at a restaurant just up the street from the Stonewall where, on the weekend of June 28, 1969, he was among the 22 people arrested during the uprising. ‘Last year when the mayor’s wife said something about “whitewashing” Stonewall, I’ve never in 50 years heard of such a thing. Stonewall was a white, gay club. Next they’re going to say the Founding Fathers were black trannies in white face,’ he says.
BONUS BONUS: At City Journal, Thom Nickles regards the lefty tag-team of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and district attorney Larry Krasner may bring the City of Brotherly Love to its knees. From the piece:
South Philadelphia no longer registers as a safe space for public monuments. Shortly after the Rizzo statue’s removal, leftists across the U.S. began beheading and removing Christopher Columbus statues, which, during the twentieth century, were erected in communities to celebrate Italian heritage and the immigrant experience. In South Philadelphia, word spread that Kenney, to placate leftists, wanted to remove Columbus from the neighborhood’s Marconi Plaza. In response, residents—many living in multigenerational brick rowhomes built by Italian ancestors—formed an armed militia to guard the monument.
Kenney, a South Philadelphia native and a product of its political machine, jumped into the fray. Noting “groups of armed individuals ‘protecting’ the Columbus statue,” Kenney tweeted, “All vigilantism is inappropriate, and these individuals only bring more danger to themselves and the city.” District Attorney Krasner added: “Prosecutors and police will uphold the law in Philly, consistent with their oaths, against criminal bullies. So save your bats for a ball game. And save your hatchets for chopping wood. We remain the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.”
This so-called affection, however, was nowhere to be found during days of looting, worsened by what the Philadelphia Inquirer called the police department’s “critical mistakes.” In fact, last week, despite the need for police as Philadelphia’s crime rate spiked, the city council voted to cut the department’s 2021 funding by $14 million. And while the local press vilified the Columbus statue’s protectors, it withheld criticism of vandalism elsewhere—including the defacing of a statue of Matthias Baldwin, founder of the city’s famed Baldwin Locomotive Works and an abolitionist who funded the education of black children. The Baldwin statue’s defacers—historically illiterate—only saw a white man on a pedestal.
Before You Grill That Steak, Apply to Be an NR Institute Regional Fellow in Dallas, San Francisco, or Chicago
Granted, you don’t want to be thinking about the fall, the newly minted summer providing barbecue opportunities and other plentiful welcome distractions, but folks, you have to face facts like this: now is the time to consider, and apply for, National Review Institute’s terrific “Regional Fellows” program.
Let’s restate that in officialese: National Review Institute is seeking applicants for its Fall 2020 Regional Fellowship Programs in Dallas, San Francisco, and Chicago, and we urge you to apply.
“You?” Who is this you who should apply? Glad you asked: The ideal applicant for the program — which helps participants develop a deeper understanding of the foundations of conservative thought — will be a mid-career professional (ages 35-50ish), with an interest, but not professional experience, in policy or journalism. Past fellows have represented diverse industries and professions ranging from oil and gas, finance, real estate, medicine, sporting industries, law enforcement, education, nonprofits, and the arts.
The program takes place over eight moderated dinner discussions. The 2020 class will run from September to November. Moderators include popular NR writers and leading academics at local universities. The rewards of participating are plentiful and will last a lifetime. The deadline to apply is July 15, but we encourage interested conservatives, libertarians, and the curious to apply as soon as possible.
Do that pronto. You’ll find more information about the program here. What if you don’t live in one of the three program cities, but know folks who do and who might be NRI fellow material: Go ahead and please share with them this link. Good. Now I’d like mine well done! And where’s the bug spray?
1. On The Editors, Rich, Charlie, and Michael discuss the current monument-defacement frenzy and the ridiculous media circus around Trump’s Tulsa rally. Catch it here.
2. On The Victor Davis Hanson Podcast, Victor discusses statue-toppling; the self-cannibalizing appetite of cultural revolutions; Juneteenth; President Trump’s new immigration order; chaos; John Bolton’s book; favorable winds that Donald Trump needs to harness to prevail in November; and an attack of his criticism of retired generals. Listen here.
3. On Radio Free California, Will and David discuss state lawmakers ordering the century-old statue of Cristoforo Colombo removed from the capitol, the FBI’s cracking of widespread corruption in LA City Hall, the real John Sutter, what causes homelessness (a brief survey), how Oakland’s mayor sees lynching where others see sports equipment, Vallejo’s real-time experiment in “defunding” police, and the Cal State faculty union’s dumb teaching of American history. Listen here.
4. On The Great Books, John J. Miller is joined by Haley Stewart to discuss Lucy Maude Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. Listen here.
5. And then on The Bookmonger, JJM is joined by J. Todd Scott to discuss his book, Lost River. Listen here.
6. On Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Kevin and Charlie discuss the reworking of Splash Mountain, muse over Tina Fey’s takedown of her own shows, and consider Europe’s ban on U.S. travelers thanks to our COVID response. Listen here.
Could it happen? Did it happen? Did a team with 100 or more losses ever beat a team with 100 or more victories? Sure you’ve been wondering that, and so has Your Humble Correspondent, whose curiosity prompted a search of the National Pastime’s records (admittedly limited — we prefer to keep our affairs here pre-expansion and/or pre-division; i.e., up through 1968). The answer: Yes, it has happened, but with the rarity of the hen’s tooth.
The rarity makes sense: There are not all that many teams registering 100-plus seasons for either wins or losses, a threshold that can only be achieved very late in the season. Layer onto that the long, long odds that a team with 100 wins is by coincidence scheduled to play a basement dweller in the season’s final days. Stars must align.
And they have. Thrice!
Yankee Haters will be pleased to learn that the Bronx Bombers were on the losing end of this trio on each occasion. The first time this happened was in 1932, when the Yankees, already achieving 108 wins under their pinstripes, and destined for a brutal four-game World Series beatdown of the Chicago Cubs, found themselves on the last day of the regular season at Fenway Park, where they had just taken two games from the dead-last Red Sox, who were experiencing the franchise’s worst-ever season. They stood at 42–111 as righthander Gordon Rhodes, who had started the season in The Bronx, took the mound for Boston, hoping to keep the Yankee bats quiet. He did, sorta — Rhodes held a 2–1 lead into the top of the fifth, when he was replaced by Ivy Andrews — who had also been traded to the Red Sox earlier in the season from the Yankees. He had his stuff that day and held Babe and Lou and the boys to just 2 runs over the next 5 innings. Andrews took the victory as the Sox put 8 runs up on the scoreboard (thanks in part to five Yankee errors). There would be no 112th Red Sox loss.
And then lightning struck twice at the end of 1954, as the second-place Yankees — having a terrific year, but not as terrific as the AL champ Cleveland Indians (with 111 victories) — were sporting a 102–49 record while awaiting a season-ending three-game series against the visiting 49–102 Athletics. Of note: These would prove to be the final Big League games for the As while calling the City of Brotherly Love home — in the offseason they were sold and relocated to Kansas City, where the Athletics would play for the next 13 seasons before rebooting in Oakland.
Back to 1954: In the first game, played on Friday, September 24, before a measly Yankee Stadium crowd of 2,032, the As’ rookie righthander Arnie Portocarrero held the Yankees to 5 hits as Philadelphia prevailed 5–1. The As would pick up their 103rd loss the next night, courtesy of a 10–2 drubbing, but on the season’s final day — and the last time the Philadelphia Athletics would ever play a game — the 103-loss visitors defeated the 103-win home team by an 8–6 margin. Former Yankee Bill Renna was the last man to bat for the Athletics (flying out in the top of the ninth), rookie pitcher Art Ditmar started, went seven innings, and earned his first career victory, and righthander Marion Fricano threw the As’ last pitch and took the save.
A man named Moses once said “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Amen to that.
God Grant Courage to All and Especially to Those Called to Confront the Wicked,
Jack Fowler, whose snare can never capture you but who can be tempted via missives sent to email@example.com.