Articles

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Personalization of the Political

Much has been said about the politicization of the personal. Politics is no longer about Washington D.C. It's about the movies you watch, the brands you buy, who your friends are and where you live. Everything from your choice of shoes to the car you drive is political. And if it isn't political to you, it is very political to the college student next door or the political activist running for city council.

But the politicization of the personal is the flip side of the personalization of the political. The intrusion of politics into the pettiest and most personal aspects of human life is a manifestation of the same trend that has personalized politics so thoroughly that even the biggest issues are reduced to the pettiest common denominators of personal animosity.

The personal is political because the political is personal. Millennials and their younger siblings lead the trend. Their politics is so personal that it doesn't exist apart from their emotions. When campus leftists shout about their pain as an argument, it's because there is no distance between their emotions, their sense of entitlement and their politics. They literally can't even... because there is no ability to reason abstractly. Objectivity is a construct of dead white men. Feelings matter. Facts don't.

But that is a generation that grew up on the internet. Existing in social media spaces is a very different assertion of identity than the one that humanity was used to for thousands of years. The Darwinian struggle to form an identity in a space of total free speech produced the most illiberal generation in over a century. The only way to win an argument online was through humiliation, victimhood or censorship. The SJW/Alt-Right paradigm of millennial political margins rests on that.

Social media quickly soured cyber-narcissism into cyber-bullying. Politics became cyber-bullying by another means. And the politics never ran very deep. Beneath the passion were layers of irony or deconstructionism which recognized that everything except the crybully's needs were unreal. Nothing was real, but the anger and the pain. Politics was an illusion. Personal entitlement was all that's real.

As the internet dominated politics, millennial politics became our politics. The medium had become the message. And the message was emotional. In the abstractions of the internet, abstract ideas don't do nearly as well as raw emotion wrapped around lowest common denominator talking points.

Abstract ideas made way for emotional keening. "Hands up, don't shoot" and "I can't breathe" were louder and more resonant than any number of statistics about rising crime rates and police shootings. No amount of pro-Israel hasbara has ever matched a photo of a Muslim child splattered with red paint. From Puerto Rico to Muslim migrants to transgender bathrooms, each leftist argument is reducible to "people will die" or its precondition, "vulnerable groups are being made to feel unsafe."

Panic, fear, outrage and anger dominate the national discourse. Each president is the latest incarnation of Hitler. Opposition is resistance. The politicization of the personal injects these national panics into the individual while the personalization of the political projects individual fears into national politics.

Think about the Hillary supporters screaming at Trump's inauguration. Is that the politicization of the personal or the personalization of the political? When upper middle class white people claim that they fear for their lives under Trump, is it one or the other? Or is it a toxic cocktail of both, with personal emotions bleeding into national politics, and then national politics stirring personal anxieties in a feedback loop?

Either way the erosion of the distinction between ideas and emotions, between feelings and politics is the dominant trend of the day. And when there is no wall between politics and emotions, it's impossible to discuss ideas. The only thing left to do is express anger., Politics favors negative emotions, not positive ones. And when there is also no wall between the personal and the political, political disagreement becomes a threat to personal identity. And violence swiftly follows.

Classical liberalism is based on ideas. The American system requires that we discuss and debate. When a society can no longer discuss ideas, it becomes illiberal and totalitarian. When discussion becomes impossible, then politics becomes based around stratagems of compulsion. And compulsion eventually meets its match. Meanwhile the system is discredited. And there is no exit strategy.

The Founders welcomed the people to participate in politics even as they sought to limit the politicization of personal life. The abstractions that they set up, such as the Electoral College, were meant to build walls between the personal and the political. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were documents of ideas. And the Founders hoped to disprove the European monarchists who sneered at republican government as anarchy and mob rule.

But when politics is purely personal, then the individual loses his freedom and the society loses its organizational principles. The layers of abstraction between our views and our emotions vanish. Politics becomes all Id. All political discourse becomes reducible to anger and pain. Pain justifies anger. And frustrated anger is experienced as pain. Political victimhood and anger have made campuses hellish places. Workplaces are next, as Google's firing of James Damore revealed.

The tantrums masquerade as civil rights causes, but unlike actual civil rights, no concession or accomplishment is enough. Instead acceding to a tantrum worsens it because its cause is internal, not external, and surrendering to it only increases the scope for the personalization of the political. That same phenomenon has destroyed campuses. And if it isn't stopped, it can destroy a civilization.

Civilizations exist because their members control their impulses. When their impulses control them, civilizations fall.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Global Failure of Globalization

“We cannot allow to fall back into pre-globalization times,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned.

Merkel was welcoming Obama back to Berlin for the last time. The election had been fought and won nine days earlier. And Obama and Merkel were defending globalism against President-elect Trump.

To Merkel and Obama, returning to pre-globalization times was every bit as mad as going back to the caves. Globalization had become synonymous with civilization. And its prophets, like Thomas Friedman, traced back its rise to the fall of the Berlin Wall in the city where Merkel and Obama were chatting.

But globalization didn’t bring down the Berlin Wall. Nationalism did. The pro-democracy activists wanted a country where the people had a voice. That’s the opposite of globalization in which there are no nations and only the influential figures of various stripes have any kind of impact.

Globalization built the Berlin Wall to unite East Germany with a Communist bloc built around a set of political ideas that disregarded nations and individual peoples. Leftists had drawn a deeply misguided lesson from the fall of Communism. Rather than attributing the fall to the overreach of central governments and unaccountable bureaucrats, they developed a new postmodern historical materialism of globalism. The Communist bloc had fallen not because of too much globalization, but because there wasn’t enough of it. There were still too many borders and nations. And they all had to fall like the Wall.

Where Communism had failed by being too narrow, globalism would succeed in creating a new world.

By the time Merkel and Obama were mourning what Trump’s victory and Brexit meant for globalization, Berlin had become a wonderful laboratory for observing the end results of their philosophy. Haunted by the specter of national decline and falling birth rates, Merkel had opened her country’s borders to a million Muslim migrants who had flooded in from the Middle East and from as far away as Afghanistan.

The migrants were supposed to supplement the German workforce. Syrians would build the Mercedes coupes of tomorrow, Pakistanis would put together Siemens ultrasound devices and Somalis would produce Bayer’s pharmaceuticals. There would be no need for Germany to continue exploring the Japanese model of smarter automation to replace a falling population. Globalization would provide.

But the migrants weren’t coming to Germany to work. And they aren’t working. It’s still Germans and Eastern Europeans on the floor at Siemens, Mercedes and Bayer. The “refugees” came for Germany’s generous welfare programs. And they’ve wrecked enough of the country that Merkel wants to pay them to leave.

The welfare state so ubiquitous to Europe is there to compensate for the discrepancy between the expected standard of living and the declining options for earning that living. Globalization didn’t magically link together economies to create a new golden age. Its prophets, like Thomas Friedman, are being jeered as neo-liberals by a radicalized left looking more to East Germany than to Berlin.

Globalization moved jobs and production to countries with the lowest standards of living, the least human rights and the greatest government intervention in their economies. It’s no wonder that China thrived or that America declined in that environment. But at the same time it also moved immigrants with the lowest work ethic to America and Germany to benefit from the welfare programs that were meant to soften the economic impact of globalization on the native population.

The old immigrants had come to benefit from a booming economy. But if you want a booming economy with lots of entry level jobs, 21st century America is hardly the place to go. You can’t just walk off the street and get a manufacturing job that will take you up the ladder to the middle class.

The West gets two kinds of economic immigrants these days: scroungers and hustlers.

Hustlers can make their own opportunities. They’re the Koreans running local grocery stores and the Russian Jews starting revolutionary dot coms. But hustling demands creativity, smarts and an ambitious work ethic. Most immigrants are scroungers. They get by on some combination of welfare and semi-legal marginal jobs. If they have an ambition, it’s getting a comfortable government job.

Immigrants brought over as cheap labor quickly plug into the welfare state and become a net loss.

Globalization exports jobs and imports welfare scroungers making it a double blow to the West. The outbound jobs and the inbound migrant swarms punish countries with higher standards of living and human rights by depriving them of both. It’s hard to think of any better way to destroy a civilization.

The political and social gifts of globalization have been every bit as destructive as its economic effects.

Globalization doesn’t just make it possible for a million Muslims to show up in Germany, but for transnational Islamic terror organizations like Al Qaeda or ISIS to operate. It’s no coincidence that they took off with globalization. Or that globalized Islamic terror networks have used the machinery of globalization: jet planes, trains, human trafficking, the internet and multicultural cities to wreak havoc.

Instead of binding the world closer together, globalization financed a renewed wave of aggression by former failed Communist states and enabled Islamic terrorists to strike deep in the heart of the West.

Globalization finances China’s expansionism program in the South China Sea and a growing conflict that could lead to a regional war. It allowed the Russians to turn Americans against each other by pretending to be everyone from Black Lives Matter to Republicans on the internet. And it allows Islamic terrorists thousands of miles away to coordinate devastating attacks across America and Europe.

The internet, once the symbol of globalization, hasn’t brought us together. Instead it tore us apart into warring tribes living in separate bubbles. A generation raised on the internet has become the most intolerant of free speech in a century. And even the pro-globalization media is demanding new means of censoring social media and the internet to fight “fake news” from the political opposition.

The ambitious dreams of globalization that once appeared to unite big government advocates on the left with free marketers on the right have become a nightmare. Their failures have led to a renewed affinity for Socialism and even Communism on the left. The rise of Bernie Sanders and the growing comfort with Socialism among Democrats are road signs of the rejection of a free market. And on the right, populist nationalism is displacing an unquestioning commitment to a free market.

But globalization is also a global failure. It has driven China into a blind alley of economic bubbles, compulsive spending and colonialism. China is rapidly replicating a century’s worth of Western economic progress in a matter of decades. And it’s replicating the same problems and the same dead end. It won’t find the solutions by seeking cheap labor in Africa or by distracting its population with a new war.

Globalization interlinks economies and societies often more by their weaknesses than by their strengths. It exports instability more easily than stability and conflict more easily than progress.

Sophisticated systems are more vulnerable than primitive ones. It’s why Afghanistan and Iraq made more of an enduring mark on America than the other way around. In a globalized world, colonialism works in reverse with unstable societies exporting their instability to stable societies. The prophets of globalism marveled at the internationalization of culture. But culture in traditional societies goes far deeper than Marvel or Harry Potter. It’s only in the West, where culture, tradition and religion are being lost, that pop culture becomes culture. And that identity becomes equally shallow and unstable.

Globalization isn’t bringing us to a bright new golden age, but to an old age of iron. The new colonialism is being carried out by those cultures with a strong sense of identity against post-moderns who lack it. The decline of Western nations doesn’t open the door to a world government, but to the rising power of China, Russia and Iran. All our social progress has left us more intolerant and divided than ever.

Tearing down borders, physical, economic and cultural, hasn’t made us more open. Instead we live in hostile, divisive and unstable societies that pride themselves on their “openness” even as they unveil new schemes for censoring the internet, restraining free speech and punishing social dissent.

Globalization is a dead end. Open societies are open internally and mutually to people and ideas that share the premise of that ‘openness’. Not with those who hate them. Free markets are free when they interact with other free markets, not totalitarian slave labor camps that can always win on price.

As globalization falls, we can rebuild functional nation states or be swept away with the global flood.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Europe's Next World War Begins in France

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb made it official. France is "in a state of war”.

It’s not just rhetoric. Bombs turn up in a posh Parisian suburb. Two young women are butchered at a train station. And it’s just another week of an Islamic World War III being fought in France.

From the November attacks in 2015 that killed 130 people and wounded another 400+, to the Bastille Day truck ramming attack last year that killed 86 and wounded 458, the war is real.

French casualties in France are worse than in Afghanistan. The French lost 70 people to Islamic terrorist attacks in Afghanistan. And 239 to Islamic terrorist attacks in France.

The French losses in Afghanistan were suffered in over a decade of deployment in one of the most dangerous Islamic areas in the world. The French losses in France were suffered in less than two years.

There’s something very wrong when Afghanistan is safer than Paris.

10,000 French soldiers were deployed in the streets of their own country in Operation Sentinelle after the Charlie Hebdo - Kosher supermarket attacks in 2015. Thousands of French soldiers are still patrolling, guarding and shooting in French cities which have become more dangerous than Afghanistan.

Operation Sentinelle has deployed twice as many French soldiers to France as to Afghanistan. And French casualties in the Islamic war at home have been far higher that they were in Afghanistan.

When the French intervened to stop the Islamist takeover of Mali, they suffered a handful of losses. The 4,000 French soldiers came away from Operation Serval with 9 casualties and Operation Barkhane amounted to 5 dead. The Gulf War? Another 9 dead. It’s a lot safer to be a French soldier fighting Al Qaeda in a Muslim country than a Parisian civilian going to a concert in his or her own city.

French casualties in the struggle with Islamic terror in just the last two years are approaching the 300 casualties of the Korean War.

France is at war. That’s why there are soldiers in the streets.

Its new anti-terrorism bill creates a permanent state of emergency. Suspected extremists can be placed under “administrative detention” in their own homes and neighborhoods under police surveillance and remote monitoring.

Pop-up checkpoints can appear in public spaces that are designated as “security zones” where anyone can be stopped and searched. Mosques can be shut down for six months. Public gatherings can be banned. Warrantless searches can be conducted within miles of potential targets.

The Interior Ministry will have police state powers. And it will be able to wield quite a few of them without having to go through the formality of asking judges nicely for permission.

Some of these measures should be familiar. France is the new Israel.

France's Interior Minister called the anti-terrorism bill, a "lasting response to a lasting threat". The choice of words recognizes that Islamic terrorism is here to stay.

The “State of War” is permanent. And France has no plans for winning the war. Instead it’s trying to get better at playing defense. And that’s what most Western domestic counterterrorism efforts amount to.

France is just taking the lead because it has the biggest problem.

The British put soldiers on the streets after the Manchester Arena bombing. The Italians and the Belgians began deploying soldiers in cities around the same time that the French did.

When an illegal alien Muslim terrorist due to be deported murdered two young women in Marseille while shouting, “Allahu Akbar”, French soldiers opened fire. The 24-year-old who shot the terrorist was a reserve member of a regiment of combat engineers in the French Foreign Legion.

The French Foreign Legion isn’t off fighting in a foreign desert somewhere. It’s fighting in France.

French soldiers are told to loudly announce, “Stop or I Shoot”. And then open fire. And that’s what he did. And French soldiers are being forced to learn the phrase and expect to come under attack.

In February, French soldiers were attacked by a Muslim terrorist outside the Louvre. The Egyptian Jihadist shouted, “Allahu Akbar” and came after them with a machete. One soldier from the 1st Régiment de Chasseurs Parachutistes was wounded. The attacker was shot down.

The 1st Régiment de Chasseurs Parachutistes had been deployed to Afghanistan and Mali. Now they were at the Louvre. You don’t need to be Napoleon to know that counts as a major retreat.

A month later, a Muslim terrorist shouted "I am here to die in the name of Allah" while holding a female air force soldier hostage at Orly Airport.

He got his wish courtesy of her fellow soldiers.

In August, six soldiers from the 35th Infantry Regiment were hit by a BMW driven by a Muslim terrorist. Members of a regiment which had been deployed in Afghanistan were sent to a military hospital after an attack in the wealthy Levallois-Perret suburb of Paris. A year earlier, soldiers from the 5th Infantry Regiment had been hit by a Tunisian shouting, “Allahu Akbar” while they were guarding a mosque.

France has entered its longest state of emergency since the Algerian War. The 2015 attacks saw its first state of emergency since 1961. But where is France supposed to withdraw from this time? Paris?

It was one thing to abandon the beleaguered Algerian Christians and Jews to Muslim terror. And to abandon them a second time when they fled to France only to face persecution by their old Islamic neighbors who had tagged along and settled down in Marseille. But can France abandon the French?

The issue once again is colonialism. But the new colonists are Algerians, Tunisians and other Islamic imperialists who have settled in France and wave the black flag of the Jihad over their no-go zone settlements in French cities. And they have made it abundantly clear that they will not stop there.

Last year, former Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that, "Every day attacks are foiled... as we speak."

And it’s no wonder. Thousands of Muslim settlers left France to fight in Syria and Iraq. Valls was looking at 15,000 potential threats domestically. France has one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe. We don’t know exactly how many millions of Muslim settlers live in France. But we can measure their growth by the expansion of the terror threat. Islamic terrorism is, despite the spin, reducible to Islam.

There is no Islamic terrorism without Islam. As Islam expands, so does Islamic terrorism.

France is in the middle of a civil war. The civil war is based on religious differences. As the religious divide between the Islamic colonists and the militantly secular French government increases, the violence will worsen. The outcome of the war will determine whether France will be a secular republic or an Islamic state. The Jihadists have a plan for winning the war. The French authorities don’t.

And what goes for France also goes for Western Europe. And for the West.

The French combination of social appeasement and police state enforcement isn’t working. The same model ultimately fails wherever it’s applied. Breaking up terror cells and stopping attacks is far better than the alternative, but the scale of the problem will always continue increasing because of demographic growth and a globalized terror infrastructure.

Demographics dictate that France’s terror problem will only keep growing. And the French authorities understand this. That’s why its governments increasingly talk about Islamic terrorism as a lasting threat.

Our War on Terror has squandered endless blood and treasure while avoiding the root cause. Western nations deploy massive armies to root out small terror networks while allying with their Gulf backers. Soldiers patrol major cities waiting for a terrorist or several terrorists to attack. Meanwhile the mosques that indoctrinate them to hate and kill non-Muslims are also protected by those same soldiers.

That’s not how you win a war. It’s how you lose everything.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Puerto Rican Genocide That Wasn't

The Mayor of San Juan recently took a break from her tour of every cable news network on the planet to text an accusation of genocide aimed at President Trump.

"WE WILL NOT BE LEFT TO DIE,” Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz texted. “I ask the United Nations, UNICEF and the world to stand with the people of Puerto Rico and stop the genocide.”

The death toll in Puerto Rico currently stands at 48.

Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20. As we approach October 20, the death toll from the hurricane is a lot less than the death toll from the deadliest month in Chicago.

Despite media arm waving, with only 117 people not accounted for, the actual death toll in Puerto Rico isn’t likely to rise very much. And even a death toll of 48 was only achieved by listing people who died of heart attacks and other medical problems that could not be treated because of hurricane damage. It’s unknown whether some of them might have lived without the hurricane. It’s guesswork.

The previous, incomplete death toll showed that the actual hurricane seemed to have only killed 19 people. 2 suicides were also attributed to the hurricane. As were respiratory failures “indirectly linked” to the hurricane.

But the media has been working hard to inflate the death toll.

"We'll probably never know exactly how many people died," the Washington Post speculates. "Hurricane Maria likely killed more people than Puerto Rico says," the Daily News ghoulishly insists.

Some media accounts fantasize about hundreds of bodies piling up in morgues. How many of those deaths are due to the hurricane and how many to the ordinary course of disease and crime? (Puerto Rico has higher crime rates and mortality rates for many diseases than the United States.)

Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security implying that the "true death toll" is being underreported to "portray relief efforts as more successful than they are".

Velasquez demanded a Federal audit of the local authorities with findings to be delivered in 10 days.

The numbers just aren’t high enough. It’s hard to have a genocide with only 48 people.

And that’s the real agenda.

Velasquez and the Washington Post aren’t trying to help Puerto Rico by raising the death toll. Instead they want a higher death toll because it gives them ammo for their attacks on President Trump.

To have a proper death toll, you need it to be hundreds. Or even better yet, in the thousands.

A genocide of 48 people makes Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz parading around in her “WE ARE DYING” t-shirt for Anderson Cooper look silly.

“We are dying,” the left-wing politician warned on CNN on September 29. These days, she’s warning of some sort of future genocide that will eventually come about due to “the lack of appropriate action of a president that just does not get it.” Weeks later, the genocide has yet to materialize.

The House passed a $36.5 billion disaster relief package, most of which will go to Puerto Rico. Both President Trump and Speaker Ryan came to see the disaster firsthand. Meanwhile there are constant accusations that local politicians and their supporters are stealing relief supplies.

Puerto Rico has major political, social and economic problems that have nothing to do with the hurricane. If President Hillary Clinton were guzzling chardonnay in the White House in between delivering cross presidential addresses about the vital importance of gun control and socialized medicine, Hurricane Maria would have been a passing story in the press.

Hurricane Georges and Tropical Storm Jeanne took out power and water in much the same way as Maria. After Georges, President Clinton didn’t visit Puerto Rico. Hillary Clinton did.

Why did Hillary visit Puerto Rico?

Less than six months later, Hillary’s Senate campaign had begun creaking to life. New York has a large Puerto Rican population. Instead of paying a presidential visit, Bill sent his wife to kickstart her political campaign by exploiting a natural disaster. It’s unsurprising that Hillary attempted to politicize the latest natural disaster in Puerto Rico. That’s just what she soullessly does.

And it’s what the left does.

Their standards are now so low that 48 people dying in a natural disaster qualifies as a genocide.

But this was never about Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria, like the Las Vegas shootings, was one of many backdrops whose only purpose is political posturing.

The left doesn’t care about Puerto Rico. It’s only sad that more Puerto Ricans didn’t die so that their corpses could be exploited for more partisan political attacks until the next shiny object comes along.

Think how much better their headlines could be if there were 48,000 dead or 480,000 dead.

Meanwhile in San Juan, Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz is still waiting for the genocide while exploring the limits of the local t-shirt printing place whose proprietors are apparently the only survivors.

Them and the guys who have to blow dry Anderson Cooper’s pants each time he gingerly descends down to the waist into the water so that the viewers at home can be properly horrified and impressed.

Puerto Rico is a tragedy, but it’s not a genocide.

The fake news narrative has come apart. The death toll isn’t there. And as the repair crews do their work, as the power comes on, the roads are cleared and drinking water is restored, normalcy will come back. There may be attempts to inflate the death toll by attributing assorted deaths to the storm on dubious grounds. But even then the end result will fall far short of the left’s genocidal fantasies.

But by then the left will have moved on. There will be more shootings to link to gun control or another natural disaster to link to global warming. Any attempts to impose a reality check on the Iran Deal or action against North Korea’s nuclear weapons program will be met with alarmism about nuclear war.

The left will always have something to freak out about. Even now, Harvey Weinstein’s grotesque bulk has pushed Puerto Rico and its genocide off the front pages. And the media is already, with unerring inevitability, trying to clumsily connect the crimes of the top Dem donor to President Trump.

But that is just how the media works. Disaster + Trump = Story. That’s the formula for everything.

The Great Media Puerto Rican Genocide of 2017 didn’t pan out. But neither did Katrina. There will always be another story, another lie, another scandal and another thousand hit pieces wrapped around it. For a brief moment, the cameras of the media turned on Puerto Rico. And even now, they’re turning away. Eventually all the reporters will depart leaving behind only their luggage tags and mango aftershave. The warm wind will blow through their empty rooms and stir their stained bedsheets.

And Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz will sit surrounded by t-shirt mementos that remind her of the time when everyone knew her name.

(This article originally appeared at Front Page Magazine.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Harvey Weinstein's Victims Were Collateral Damage in the Left's Culture War

In the spring of his final year as a movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein was doing what he always did. Or rather what he always did in public view: as opposed to what he has been accused of doing in hotel rooms and deserted office storage rooms. He was fighting a ratings war over a movie with adult content.

The movie was 3 Generations. It had been made two years earlier to cash in on the transgender
boom.  Back then it was called About Ray. But the reviews were bad and the movie was pulled a few days before it was supposed to be released. What do you do with a bad politically correct movie that you paid $6 million for? You start a culture war. And that’s exactly what Harvey Weinstein did.

He enlisted GLAAD, the gay rights group, to lobby for a PG-13 rating for the newly renamed movie.

"The Weinstein Company dared to tell culture-changing LGBTQ stories that Hollywood too often shies away from,” GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis shilled.

It didn’t hurt that Harvey was a donor to GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign. Weinstein had even presented his pal, Bill Clinton, with a GLAAD award at its awards show.

Harvey’s gambit didn’t pay off financially. The reviews for 3 Generations were just as bad this time around. And it took in $60,000. Or 1 percent of what Harvey had paid for it. But Harvey had known two years ago that the movie wouldn’t make money. The 3 Generations campaign wasn’t about the movie, but about Harvey Weinstein’s brand as a courageous mogul on the political cutting edge of the industry.

Harvey Weinstein wasn’t really in the movie business. He was in the culture business.

Some of his movies were meant for general audiences. But mostly he sold the illusion of culture to a prosperous leftist elite. Sometimes that meant traditional highbrow British Oscar bait like The King’s Speech or Shakespeare in Love. But much of the time it meant pandering to their politics.

And thus, 3 Generations, for the transgender category, The Hunting Ground, for the campus rape category, Fruitvale Station, for police brutality, Wind River, for Native American oppression, and, if you reach back far enough, Fahrenheit 9/11 for the anti-war category and Miral, for the anti-Israel category.

And countless others.

Harvey Weinstein didn’t get all his Oscars and his clout in the industry because he had good taste. Or even a good idea of what would work. The 3 Generations debacle is a reminder of that. The New York Times pulled the trigger on the story that brought him down, after blocking a similar story in his heyday, because his company was faltering and no longer all that valuable to the finances of the big lefty paper.

Even at his peak, he was never all that big when compared to the big boys of the industry. His estimated net worth is under $300 million. What made him think he could grab Gwyneth Paltrow, the goddaughter of Steven Spielberg, an industry titan with a net worth of $3 billion, and get away with it?

All that clout which brought in Oscars, fawning media profiles and the frightened compliance of the women he abused, didn’t come from his cash, it came from his role as a culture warrior of the left.

When Harvey Weinstein wanted to bully the MPAA and promote a bad movie, he had the heads of the biggest gay rights groups at his beck and call. When he wanted to push Miral, an anti-Israel movie that was just as bad, he got it screened at the UN General Assembly Hall. When he wanted to promote, The Hunting Ground, a discredited documentary, Planned Parenthood was eager to step up.

Why was everyone from the United Nations to GLAAD so eager to accommodate Harvey?

Money was an obvious factor. Harvey donated enthusiastically to left-wing groups like Planned Parenthood and GLAAD. Just this year, he helped endow a chair in Gloria Steinem’s name.

But money wasn’t enough. Hollywood’s bigwigs routinely write big checks for trendy causes.

Harvey Weinstein got his clout as a culture warrior. An alphabet soup of lefty groups, right up to the UN, was eager to give him what he wanted because they saw him as championing their agenda.

He rolled out movies that pushed the left’s social and political agendas like no other company did. And in return, he got the same “rape pass” that Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton and other top lefties did.

It wasn’t mere money that intimidated his victims. Harvey’s millions alone didn’t buy him the right to assault and then silence women, some of whom became famous and powerful in their own right, in an industry that is the subject of constant media attention and scrutiny. It was his connections on the left.

Harvey Weinstein shoveled large amounts of money into the media and lefty groups. But more than mere cash, he had their loyalty because he fought the cultural battles that they wanted him to fight.

And they provided him with exactly the stories he wanted. And none of the stories he didn’t want.

The media is hunting through Hollywood to find out who knew about Harvey. And everyone knew and said nothing. They said nothing because the media would have destroyed them. Look back at the old stories about Harvey’s conflicts with the MPAA, with Jewish groups over Miral, and so many others, and it’s easy to spot the heavy hand of Harvey in every article. The media let him write the story.

It let him write the story because he was telling their stories in theaters across the country.

What no one in Hollywood or the media can say is that the women whom he abused were collateral damage in a culture war. Harvey ran an assembly line on which movies about the left’s latest social agenda were rolled out. If you wanted campus rapes, police brutality, transgender, gay rights, anti-Israel or anything from the Left “R” Us emporium, he made it happen. And the price was ignoring the screams coming from his hotel rooms and the office storage rooms that he allegedly brought women to.

The left paid that price. It paid it, until Harvey wasn’t good for it anymore. And then it came to collect.

Harvey Weinstein didn’t assault women ‘despite’ his leftist politics as the media alleges in its fumbling efforts to connect him to toxic masculinity. He assaulted women because of his leftist politics. It was his politics that made him feel safe assaulting women. And it was his politics that made them feel unsafe about turning him in. How do you take on a man who has Planned Parenthood in his back pocket?

And it was his cultural transgressiveness that won him a pass. The cultural pioneers of the left who break all sorts of sexual boundaries are expected to occasionally transgress boundaries like consent. That’s true across the entertainment industry. And it was true across the counterculture in general.

How many rapes were there at Occupy Wall Street camps and how much sexual harassment was there in the Bernie Sanders campaign? That’s how leftist political and culture wars have always worked.

Harvey Weinstein’s willingness to push cultural boundaries insulated him from accusations of abuse by, on the one hand, making him appear too virtuously leftist to do such a thing, and on the other hand, giving him a pass for being too transgressive to be bound by the conventions of bourgeois morality.

And Harvey’s shabby defenses have called on both arguments, trying to wrap himself in the cause of gun control, signaling his usefulness to the left, and invoking the culture of the 70s, to create complicity.

Harvey is still hoping that the left’s culture war can be invoked to protect its fallen monster.

Following its “Tragedy + Trump = Story” formula, the media has run numerous stories trying to tie Harvey to Trump. It’s revealing, not only for the partisan cynicism of trying to associate the actions of a top Obama and Hillary donor with Trump, but because it shows why the media covered for Harvey.

Even now, it’s still incapable of acknowledging that a leftist can sexually abuse and rape. Its political tribalism is so strong that it needs to associate Harvey with Trump to be able to condemn him.

And that, more than anything else, shows why the media covered for Harvey Weinstein.

The women whom Harvey allegedly abused knew that the media’s rule is that there are no enemies to the left. And Harvey had worked hard to always stay to the left of everyone else. Including his victims.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

The Culture War of Gun Control

After Vegas, the gun control memes and myths come out. It doesn't matter how wrong they are, they will echo in the mediasphere and then the talking points will leak into everyday conversations.


“Guns are uniquely lethal.”

Last year, a Muslim terrorist with a truck killed 86 people and wounded another 458.

Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, the Tunisian Muslim killer, had brought along a gun, but it proved largely ineffective. The deadliest weapon of the delivery driver was a truck. Mohammed, who was no genius, used it to kill more people than Stephen Paddock would with all his meticulous planning in Vegas.

Do we need truck control?

Deadlier than the truck is the jet plane. Nearly 3,000 people were killed on September 11 by terrorists with a plan and some box cutters. And then there are always the bombs.

The Boston Marathon bomber wounded 264, a suicide bomber at the Manchester Arena last year wounded 250 and the Oklahoma City Bombing (the only non-Islamic terror attack on the list) killed 168 and wounded 680. Paddock was also stockpiling explosive compounds. If he hadn’t been able to get his hands on firearms, he would have deployed bombs. And potentially killed even more people.

We know how many people Paddock was able to kill with firearms. We don’t know how many people he would have been able to murder with a truck or with explosives.

The mass killer who most ominously resembles Paddock was Francisco Gonzales: a Filipino with financial problems who shot the pilot and co-pilot on a gambler’s special flight from Reno. Back in Reno, Gonzales had told a casino worker that it wouldn’t matter how much he lost. The plane went down with everyone on board. Gonzales had a gun, but his actual murder weapon was a plane.

Guns are not uniquely lethal. We live in a world filled with extremely lethal objects from chemical compounds to big trucks. We can license and regulate some things. But we can’t regulate everything.


“This is the only country where this happens.”

That’s the leftist meme deployed after the Vegas shooting. But Paddock’s death toll narrowly edges out that of South Korea’s rampage killer Woo Bum-kon who murdered 56 people. America is not the only country where rampage killers operate. And their attacks have nothing to do with the racist construct of “white privilege”. It’s the leftist conviction that America is uniquely evil that accounts for the myth.

Seung-Hui Cho, one of this country's worst rampage killers who murdered 32 people at Virginia Tech, was South Korean.

But the worst rampage killer in South Korea didn’t use a gun. He set a train on fire.

Kim Dae-han, a paralyzed middle aged man, started a subway fire that killed 192 people and wounded 150 others.

Guns aren’t uniquely lethal. Neither is America. Or South Korea. Or anywhere.


“A mass shooting happens in this country every few days.”

There’s no myth that is getting a bigger workout after the Vegas shootings than that of the ubiquitous mass shooter. The myth conflates drug violence in Chicago, which is nearly constant, with rampage killers like Stephen Paddock or Adam Lanza, who are far rarer, and Islamic terrorists like Omar Mateen.

Mass shootings and rampage killers are not the same thing.

Do we really have a “mass shooting” every few days? Most gun violence in this country is really gang violence. The mass shooting trackers list gang violence incidents in urban areas before the Vegas attack. And gang violence doesn’t depend on guns. It sharply rose in the UK despite gun control.

And it’s the left that has crippled the laws meant to fight gangs and drug dealers. Obama initiated a drug dealer pardon amnesty even while calling for more gun control. But the only way to control gang violence is by cracking down on gangs, not on guns. The pro-crime left deems such measures a “school-to-prison pipeline” that’s little more than “modern slavery”. And so the gang violence goes on.

Most gun violence takes place in Democrat territory. And it’s caused by leftist pro-crime policies.

By conflating an Adam Lanza with a gang member shooting up a street corner in Chicago, the media hides what is really going on. Rampage killers are rare. Gang violence is commonplace. By making rampage killers into the face of gun violence, the left gets to blame its own policies on the NRA.


“If only we had gun control.”

Gun control works as well as any prohibitionist policy. It works as long as you follow the law. If you don’t follow the law, then getting the prohibited item is a matter of money and connections.

And it’s those people who shouldn’t have guns that are most likely to be able to get them.

The left will lecture on the failure of drug prohibition, but is sure that gun prohibition would work. Why? Because they usually have some personal experience buying drugs, but little experience buying guns. And so they’re sure that a ban that they would ridicule in any other area will somehow work with guns.

There’s always some country that’s a shining example of how gun control works.

The Europeans, who are progressive, suave and sophisticated, have no doubt figured out gun prohibition, along with socialized medicine. But just this April, a Muslim terrorist opened fire on the Champs-Élysées in Paris with an AK-47 rifle. He killed a police officer and wounded several others.

Two months later, another Islamic terrorist with an AK-47 rammed his car into a police van on the Champs-Elysees.

French gun control was working wonderfully.

The Bataclan attackers and other members of their cell had no trouble getting their hands on Kalashnikovs either. The Charlie Hebdo attackers used an AK knockoff.

Muslim terrorists were able to repeatedly strike in France despite its gun control laws. And they used the weapons that the media refers to with ominous dread as “assault rifles”.

“We have so many weapons in Paris,” the spokesman for France's police union had complained.

The French authorities seize some 1,200 “assault rifles” every year. Meanwhile in the capital of the European Union, you can get a “military weapon” for $500 in half an hour.

Gun control works as well at keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists as enforcement does at keeping drugs out of the hands of criminals.

Legal firearms make it easier for people to defend themselves and for the authorities to track criminals. Criminalizing firearms just creates a massive black market in which anything goes.

The Charlie Hebdo terrorists brought a rocket-propelled grenade launcher to the party. That's what happens when you let the black market take over. You don't control guns. Instead you feed a black market and lose all control over the sorts of weapons being sold in your country.







After every attack, the clamor for “common sense” gun control begins by political hacks, talk show hosts and celebrities who don’t set foot outside their homes without an armed guard. None of these “common sense folks” seem to know the first thing about guns. And none of them care.

Gun control isn’t a policy. It’s a moral panic. Like prohibition, it’s a xenophobic reaction to a different culture that shares the same country with them. Guns have come to embody a rural conservative culture in the minds of urban leftists the way that alcohol once embodied foreign immigrants to prohibition activists and the way that drugs represented urban decadence to rural America.

It’s why the “common sense solution” talk quickly gives way to broad denunciations of a “national gun culture”, of “white privilege”, of rural folk “clinging to their bibles and guns”, of American militarism and toxic masculinity, and of all the things for which guns are merely a symbol to the leftists who hate them.

A cultural critique is very different than a common sense solution. It isn’t guns that the left wants to ban. It’s people. It was never really about banning guns. It was always about the culture war.

Monday, October 02, 2017

The Center for Jewish History's Jewish Problem

The Jewish community was shocked when it learned that David N. Myers, a militant anti-Israel activist, had been quietly put into place as the head of the Center for Jewish History.

There was even more shock at the unquestioning support that Myers received from establishment figures at the Center and its constituent organizations like the American Jewish Historical Society.

There is a very good reason for that.

David N. Myers did not end up in his position by accident. The defenses of his anti-Israel activism contend that we should ignore his political views because they have nothing to do with his position. But it’s because of these views that he got the job and because of them that he will keep the job.

Myers’ appointment was not the beginning of a problem at the Center for Jewish History. It’s just the most obvious symptom of a serious ongoing anti-Jewish crisis in Jewish Studies.

Let’s start with an organization misleadingly named Scholars for Israel and Palestine which came up during the Myers debate because some of its members had called for sanctions against Israeli government officials.

Scholars for Israel and Palestine’s founding members included veteran anti-Israel activists such as Peter Beinart, Eric Alterman and David Myers. But its list of members also includes many key figures at the Center for Jewish History and the American Jewish Historical Society.

The Myers appointment was an inside job.

The Center posted a statement of support for Myers from members of the academic councils of the Center for Jewish History and the American Jewish Historical Society.

The most notorious figure on the list is Hasia Diner. Unlike some opponents of Israel who fashionably claim to be liberal Zionists, Diner co-wrote an editorial viciously denouncing Zionism and Israel.

In a hatefilled rant, Hasia Diner wrote that she abhorred visiting Israel, that the Law of Return was racist and that though she abhorred “bombings and stabbings”, the murder of Jews is what “oppressed individuals resort to out of anger and frustration”.

“I feel a sense of repulsion when I enter a synagogue in front of which the congregation has planted a sign reading, ‘We Stand With Israel’”, Hasia Diner concluded her ugly rant.

Hasia Diner had also complained that “it is impossible to have a conversation about Israel or BDS because one is accused of being anti-Semitic.” She suggested that anti-Semitism is “profoundly overused” and is “an easy, convenient label used to end a conversation or analysis instead of exploring what is really going on.”

Hasia Diner is a member of the Academic Advisory Council of the Center for Jewish History. And is a founding member of SIP.

Beth Wenger is the Chair of the Academic Advisory Council of CJH. Wenger signed a petition in defense of BDS anti-Israel activists and has accused Israel of mistreating “Palestinians.”

Wenger is also another founding member of SIP.

Marion Kaplan, the third Jewish CJH Academic Advisory Council member to sign the pro-Myers letter, had also signed a letter calling on Obama to end aid to Israel over its campaign against Hamas.

The letter demanded a permanent end to the blockade on Hamas and the withdrawal of Israeli soldiers.

Kaplan had signed the “NYU Out of Occupied Palestine” divestment letter which called for boycotting, among others, companies that provide fences that protect Israeli families from being murdered.

After the Students for Justice in Palestine hate group harassed Jewish students at NYU, Marion Kaplan signed a letter in their defense. Kaplan had also signed the same pro-BDS activist petition as Wenger.

Like his other pro-Myers CJH Academic Advisory Council colleagues, Jeffrey Veidlinger had also signed the pro-BDS activist petition alongside Diner, Kaplan and Wenger.

And of course, David Myers.

The situation on the American Jewish Historical Society side is little better.

AJHS Academic Council members who signed both the Myers letter and the pro-BDS activist petition include Ari Kelman, Riv-Ellen Prell, Deborah Dash Moore, Rachel Kranson, Lila Corwin Berman, Libby Garland and Kirsten Fermaglich. Moore, Prell and Kelman are also founding SIP members.

Deborah Dash Moore had signed a petition, alongside Peter Beinart, calling for a “targeted boycott” of “all goods and services” from ’67 Israel. And to penalize Jewish charities operating there. She had also co-signed an op-ed in defense of a Dartmouth dean who supported an academic boycott of Israel.

Lila Corwin-Berman is the chair of the Academic Council of the American Jewish Historical Society and serves on its board of trustees. She is also a member of the Open Hillel Academic Council.

Open Hillel is an "alternative" anti-Israel version of Hillel that rejects a ban on BDS activism.

Other CJH and AJHS members of the Open Hillel council include Hasia Diner, Marion Kaplan, and David N. Myers.

Also listed is Judith Butler, a BDS activist who described Hamas and Hezbollah as progressive organizations.

Lila Corwin-Berman fulminated against Jewish and Israeli efforts to combat BDS and warned of "efforts to conflate any boycott ideas with anti-Semitism.” It goes without saying that those most worried about such “conflation” are overt or covert boycott supporters.

She fumed that efforts to donate to the anti-Israel hate group IfNotNow through the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles had been stymied. The issue became a cause célèbre for anti-Israel activists. It was in keeping with the agenda of IfNotNow which specializes in a Soft BDS campaign harassing Jewish charities to compel them to stop providing services and support for Jews in ’67 Israel.

Lila Corwin-Berman described the anti-Israel hate group as “progressive and outspoken”. When IfNotNow haters burst into an African-American church to scream about their hatred for the Jewish State, Pastor Dumisani Washington said, “I and my church members are having a hard time distinguishing between this harassment and the appalling racist harassment we have suffered previously in our lives.”

These are some of the figures with a great deal of power at the Center for Jewish History. And these are some of their views. CJH and some of its associated organizations have been hollowed out by a left-wing network. Some of its members openly support BDS. Others covertly aid BDS activists and supporters.

Its members sign the same petitions and support each other because they share a common agenda.

That is how David N. Myers, an anti-Israel activist unfit for any role in the Jewish community, ended up heading the Center for Jewish History. Myers is the tip of the iceberg. The radical activists appropriating and hijacking Jewish culture, thought and history to pursue an anti-Israel agenda are the iceberg.

The Center for Jewish History needs a thorough housecleaning. As does the American Jewish Historical Society. And it’s not alone. But anti-Israel activists won’t voluntarily clean themselves out.

And their media allies will defend them, lie for them and smear their critics every step of the way.

Jews and friends of the Jewish people however need to be able to distinguish between Jewish organizations and organizations with Jewish names that have been hijacked for anti-Jewish agendas.

That includes the Center for Jewish History, the American Jewish Historical Society and possibly its other constituent organizations. These include YIVO, the Leo Baeck Institute, the American Sephardi Federation and the Yeshiva University Museum. Also signing the Myers letter was Annie Polland, a leading figure in the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.

Donors would be well served by donating to Jewish causes instead of anti-Jewish ones.

But beyond that is the larger challenge of cleaning out and reclaiming Jewish Studies as a Jewish, rather than an anti-Jewish discipline. On many campuses today, such as Myers’ home base at UCLA, Jewish students are not only isolated by anti-Israel activism, but by the complicity of even Jewish Studies faculty. The Communists and Nazis didn’t simply seek to physically destroy the Jewish people, but to warp Jewish identity into a distorted anti-Jewish caricature to serve their ideological purposes.

Anti-Semitism isn’t only an external phenomenon, but an internal one. And so Jewishness has to constantly be reclaimed in an ongoing process of moral liberation from internalized anti-Semitism.

Resistance to anti-Semitism is not just an external struggle, but an internal one within the Jewish people.