Before the Soviet Union imploded in 1989, liberals denounced conservatives as anti-Russian paranoids and supporters of emergency measures, even martial law. But that was then. Since the election of Donald Trump, liberals, especially of the Left Coast Hollywood variety, have peddled anti-Russian conspiracy theories involving Vladimir Putin supposedly getting Trump … Keep Reading
The late great Christopher Hitchens was nothing if not surprising. To cite one example of his iconoclasm, Hitchens, an almost life-long supporter of Leon Trotsky, did not apply an ideological litmus test when picking his favorite novelists. For topping the list were fascist sympathizers such as Evelyn Waugh, and gruff Tories like George MacDonald Fraser. With the latter, Hitchens had, despite obvious political differences, a kinship with Fraser because of both men’s dislike of political correctness. Fraser’s novels centered around an amoral, cowardly, selfishly-indulgent, traitorous soldier in the mid-19th Century named Harry Flashman, who Fraser appropriated the bully character in Tom Brown’s Schooldays. But Fraser’s politics, which were decidedly socially conservative, championed the very values Flashman did not subscribe to: “standards of decency, sportsmanship, politeness, respect for the law, family values.”
One of the most insightful observations made by Sun Tzu in his seminal masterwork, The Art of War, is the following: “When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.” Tu Mu was more specific in his elaboration on the point; the ancient Chinese poet said the enemy must be made to think “that there is a road to safety, and thus prevent his fighting with the courage of despair.” The beauty of Sun Tzu’s tome is in its timelessness; the succinct profundity of his proverbs is as relevant today as it was in the 5th century BCE. In today’s world, there is no place where Sun Tzu’s wisdom is needed more than the Korean Peninsula, specifically the territory to the north of the 38th Parallel, the tiny nation-state of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. We in the west know it by a much shorter epithet, simply, North Korea. In 1950, North Korea’s Soviet-backed founder, Kim Il Sung, launched a…
Myron Ebell, a libertarian policy hero and the environmental chief of the Competitive Enterprise Institute struck a chord with me when he characterized Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as being a part of the “swamp” of the beltway. And, frankly, I agree with him. Before we go on any further, I went to the national stage to advocate for the confirmation of Secretary Tillerson during his contested confirmation phase. This is also the case for many of my conservative and libertarian brothers and sisters who sought out an accountable and steadfast diplomat to negotiate on our nation’s behalf.
From their plush apartments, over groaning dinner tables, pseudo-intellectuals have the luxury of depicting squalor and sickness as idyllic, primordially peaceful and harmonious. After all, when the affluent relinquish their earthly possessions to return to the simple life, it is always with aid of sophisticated technology and the option to be air-lifted to a hospital if the need arises. Is there any wonder, then, that “the stereotype of colonial history” has been perpetuated by the relatively well-to-do intellectual elite? Theories of exploitation, Marxism for one, originated with Western intellectuals, not with African peasants. It is this clique alone that could afford to pile myth upon myth about a system that had benefited ordinary people. What is meant by “benefited”? Naturally, the premise here is that development, so long as it’s not coerced, is desirable and material progress good. British colonists in Africa reduced the state of squalor, disease, and death associated with lack of development. To the extent that this is condemned, the Rousseauist myth of the noble, happy…
In one of those ironies history throws at us, Lee Harvey Oswald’s failed attempt on the life of the ultra-Rightist General Edwin Walker eight months before the Kennedy assassination ended Walker’s importance. Don Delillo caught Walker’s descent into mediocrity best in his JFK assassination novel, Libra. In the novel, one of the most bizarre suspects in the Kennedy assassination, the body-hairless, ultra-Rightist David Ferrie tells Oswald to forget about continuing his assassination attempts on Walker: “No one listens to Walker anymore. Your missed bullet finished him more surely than a clean hit. It left him hanging in the twilight. He is an embarrassment. He carries the stigma of having been shot at and missed.” But for a while, Walker was listened to intently by enraged deep Southerners who swooned and howled at his message that the internal Communist Conspiracy was operating out of the White House, and by the Kennedys themselves.
I‘m about to drop a thesis that some might find…a bit controversial. And that thesis is—contrary to the popular wisdom, with its talk of “invisible knapsacks” (my featured image being a visible knapsack) and “stereotype threat”, stereotypes may, in fact, be beneficial! And not in the typical sense of stereotype formation having evolved as a quick ‘n dirty way to characterize a group of people when a more in-depth sociological profile is not an option in order to determine whether they are friend or foe.
In the film Lawrence of Arabia (1962), a firm believer in the British Empire grudgingly compliments the decidedly anti-Colonial Lawrence on his military performance in capturing a previously impregnable Turkish port; it “doesn’t matter what his motives were; it was a brilliant bit of soldiering.” This phrase perfectly encapsulates the soldierly view of SS Special Forces leader Otto Skorzeny, although his motives were much more detestable than Lawrence’s – the former wanting to help the Arabs build their own government free of British control. By contrast, Skorzeny never gave up the Nazi dream, aiding in the escape of several SS men from Germany into Spain, and attempting to establish a “Fourth Reich” in Latin America.
In the 1920s to the late 1930s, Ernest Hemingway and leftist author John Dos Passos were the best of friends. But something happened toward the end of the Depression decade. Both men parted company, Hemingway angrily, and Dos Passos, shocked, and never regained their friendship. That “something” was Jose Robles.
In The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987), Tom Wolfe’s British journalist uses his accent and his British sense of humor to cadge meals from his spellbound American colleagues. By the 1960s to 1980s, being a spellbinding conversationalist was all actor/director Orson Welles had left. Because of his excesses (relying on style rather than substance in his films; an almost self-destructive refusal to tailor his films for mass audiences not leaning to the avant-garde; self-destructively taking on studio heads) no studio would touch him.
In the genre of film noir, the movie Laura (1944) looms large. In 1999, the Library of Congress chose the film for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant. The American Film Institute ranked Laura 73 on their 100 years…100 Thrills. As a film noir, it is ranked no. 4 on the best mysteries of all time. Despite the political orientation of its main stars, Dana Andrews (who was the lead in the radio series, I was a Communist for the FBI), and Gene Tierney (a Republican who campaigned for Nixon in 1960), the author who wrote the book the movie was based on, was a card-carrying Communist.
As with the Kennedy assassination documents still “classified” under “national security,” pundits have long believed that the sealed Nixon Watergate tapes contain the answers to historical mysteries; chief among them the true motive for the Watergate burglaries; whether Nixon ordered executive actions against foreign leaders (Camelot pundits have long blamed Nixon, and not JFK, for constructing a Mafia/CIA nexus to kill Castro). But they’ve also sought ammunition to confirm their worst impressions of Nixon as a paranoid, insecure totalitarian. On what’s available they zeroed in on the potty mouth (the biggest surprise for my Republican parents), the anti-Semitism, the enemies list (the work of a “fascist,” according to William F. Buckley), the payoffs, the disturbing plots against political enemies (for example, slipping LSD to hostile reporter Jack Anderson).
With its patriotism and lone-man-against-the-system theme, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939) is a popular favorite among conservatives. But, although directed by conservative populist Frank Capra, the script was in actuality penned by a then-member of the Communist Party named Sidney Buchman. It is difficult to believe in our era of flag-burning and bomb-throwing leftism that once upon a time American Communists promoted patriotism, which depending upon your point of view, was either authentic or a pose to meet the needs of Moscow. But Buchman may have been the real deal, as evidenced by his clashes with director Frank Capra and his later abandonment of Communism because it wouldn’t fit the democratic conditions of his country.
Eighty-four years ago, the Marx Brother’s film, Duck Soup (1933), premiered and despite being considered their masterpiece today, flopped. Its anti-war, anti-establishment, anti-politician message (if there can be a message in a Marx Brothers’ film), flew against the zeitgeist. Leader-worship was in vogue in 33, from Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany (both countries banned the film) to even FDR’s America. Satire and criticism, rampant in the 20s, which was really the Marx Brothers’ decade, was considered politically incorrect in “let’s pull together” ethos of New Deal America. Literally in Duck Soup, the Marx Brothers, un-plugged, un-policed, refuse to close ranks. There is no loyalty to any country. Chico only joins Groucho’s side because “the food is better over here.” Harpo switches sides constantly from spying on Groucho to recruiting soldiers for him. Groucho himself switches uniforms from scene to scene (Napoleonic one minute, Confederate General the next—there was no feverish debate of banning the Confederate flag in those days) as if to say it doesn’t matter who he represents.…
It would appear that higher education has become a Politically Correct caricature of itself. Yet for an increasing number of students, this is no laughing matter, for academia’s ceaseless drift toward the abyss of far-left ideology has been accompanied by an increase in threats of violence. College campuses in many places have become dangerous for certain kinds of students. Specifically, they have become dangerous for conservative students. The College Fix (TCF) is a student-run publication. It is also a national treasure. Its writers deserve praise for drawing the public’s attention to the outrages that pass for higher education today. Parents should be particularly appreciative to learn that those of their children who they plan on sending to university could be harassed and threatened with violence for not endorsing the ideological groupthink that substitutes for education in the contemporary academic world.
In the Western world today, particularly in America, there persists this idea among both Christians and non-Christians alike that, to be a Christian, one must endorse a specific kind of vision of how societies should be organized politically. While it is true that few if any contemporary Christians endorse a theocracy, and while it is true that few advocate on behalf of anything approximating a utopian politics, it is no less true that a good number, and possibly most, Western Christians are political perfectionists.
One of the oldest sayings is that there are “no atheists in foxholes.” But for those soldiers either wounded or hit with the body parts of their exploding friends, the more apt expressions were caught by Paul Fussell, forty-percent disabled World War II vet and the most articulate historian of war. Before combat, Fussell catches the mindset of the virgin soldier: “It can’t happen to me. I’m too clever/agile/well-trained/good-looking/beloved/tightly laced etc.” Then after combat, the realization hits: “It is going to happen to me, and only my not being there is going to prevent it.” Kurt Vonnegut, definitely “there,” amazingly, emerged from the war more optimistic and, although not believing in God, saw such faith as necessary.
Gun rights are one of the most defining issues for many conservatives. It isn’t my top issue, due to my devotion to the First Amendment; but, the Second Amendment rights to many are even more sacred than their right to freely speak, practice their faith, and slam politicians. Nevertheless, the way you perceive your gun rights links back to one basic principal: human’s natural survival instinct.
During his lifetime, British writer George Orwell was characterized as a follower of exiled Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky. H.G Welles dismissed Orwell as “a Trotskyite with big feet.” On a more lethal note, the Spanish secret police, on orders from Moscow, hunted Orwell during the Spanish Civil War for the crime of”Trotskyism” because he fought in a Marxist military unit at odds with Stalin. His “Trotskyism” even affected his livelihood; Orwell’s submission of Animal Farm to the publisher Faber and Faber was rejected by poet and employee T.S. Eliot for expressing “Trotskyite” views. At first glance, the literary evidence seems to bear this out. In both novels, Animal Farm, and Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Trotsky figure is the victim of the Stalin one. In Animal Farm, Trotsky appears as the pig “Snowball,” who initially rules the animal republic with the Stalin pig, aptly named “Napoleon” (in real life, Trotsky, exiled by Stalin, labeled the Soviet dictator and his military-style methods as the “Napoleon” of the Bolshevik Revolution); but “Napoleon,” craving power,…
Robert Benchley, humorist and member of the famed Algonquin Round Table, once said of writing for the New Yorker in the 1920s, “you could write anything you liked, as long as you did it in evening clothes.” Benchley, no radical, was likely referring to the magazine’s toleration of him skewering everything and anything with his lethal wit.
A cliche so overused it is at ad nauseam level is the one where villains tell heroes that “we are not so different, you and I.” But occasionally this rings true. A prime example is Richard Nixon and Alger Hiss. Despite then-Congressman Nixon being the one who, probably more than any other figure at the time, exposed former State Department official Alger Hiss as a Soviet spy (later re-confirmed by declassified Soviet documents), Nixon and Hiss, as the years rolled by had more in common than not.
For all of its conceits, the post-modernist treatment of narrative, which eschews a traditional beginning, middle, and end, does nevertheless convey the mindset of the tortured. Psychiatrists tell us that traumatic events are remembered, not in coherent order, but in jumbled flashbacks. The mind apparently cannot structure the unendurable into a story line. The figures most associated with flash-backing terror are the Vietnam Vet and the Holocaust survivor. It is, in reality, the former inmate of the Soviet gulag system, those graying figures who today jump at knocks on the door or accidental flashlights in the eyes, who has been ignored.
Conservative humorist P.J. O’Rourke has been compared to journalist H.L. Mencken. But on closer examination, the comparison is not so apt; for Mencken’s attacks on white trash Southerners, Democrat and Republican Presidents, puritan-types, and “red scares,” was powered by a pro-German, even borderline fascist agenda. O’Rourke, although obviously conservative, has no grand vision, save that of human beings being retarded, especially when personified by liberals who believe they know what’s best for everyone else.
Attached to the Kennedy Assassination has always been what was lost when the President was murdered. For some, it was America’s innocence; for others, it was the center, which would no longer hold. Perhaps the most peddled of these answers comes from the Camelot camp. For them, what was lost when Kennedy died was the opportunity to end the Cold War, and thus, avoid the quagmire of Vietnam. In their history lesson, Kennedy, chastened by the Cuban Missile Crisis, became an American Gorbachev, attempting to normalize relations with Castro and withdraw troops from Vietnam.
Herman Mankiewicz, who, according to all evidence was the chief writer of the screen classic, Citizen Kane, was unusually well-informed politically for a Hollywood screenwriter in Golden Age Hollywood (and, given, the Meryl Streeps of the world, even more so, today). His huge library was composed almost primarily of political books, and his research on the thinly-veiled subject of Kane, William Randolph Hearst was impeccable. Although taking “progressive” stands, (he supported the ACLU, labor leader John L. Lewis, and despised conservative president Calvin Coolidge) Mankiewicz blasted born-again Communists in Hollywood as uninformed idiots, whose information came solely from The New Masses. A former member of the Algonquin Round Table (famed for its diners, George S. Kaufman and Dorothy Parker among them, trying to top each other in the wit category), the screenwriter/producer unleashed his lethal wit on them. Reds, he asserted, thought Woodrow Wilson “was someone who founded a high school in Glendale.” And four years before Reds “discovered” Hitler was a threat he was peddling a script attacking…
A picture of Hemingway, mere months from suicide, has him leaning drunkenly against a wall separating him precariously from a bullfight, guzzling a bottle. The immediate impression is one of pity toward an old man pathetically trying to recapture days of glory in a setting that once made such days possible. The same could be said of the photos of Hemingway with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro; one more last hurrah for an old man pining for Spanish Civil War days when he was relatively young and still capable of writing.
Asked before his death about his proudest achievement, liberal actor Paul Newman stated, “making Nixon’s enemies’ list.” And that is a view shared by many 70s-era liberals (their counterparts today are probably hoping that Trump keeps such a list and that they will soon be on it). But to my mind, the more dangerous list, given their penchant for overseas’ liquidations, at least during the 30s and 40s, would be that compiled by the Soviet Union. And the person who made the top of the list, a title he held from 1968 to 1989, from the Brezhnev era to the collapse of the Soviet Union, was not a Trotskyite, or a KGB defector but a British historian/poet.
Do you have federal student loans? I do and, if you are anything like me, it sucks. Regardless of being on the receiving end of a loan, the program administered by the U.S. Department of Education is clearly flawed. In fact, one can easily make an argument claiming that because of widespread borrowing, the student loan program was a direct link to the epidemic of ever-rising tuition rates in American higher education. Millions take out multi-thousand dollar loans from institutions that have to comply with federal standards to allow such things and the end cost is a steeply subsidized environment. With the popularity of Federal subsidized loans, in effect, could corroborate the increase of higher education tuition prices by astronomical rates. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York conducted a study on the subsidization of higher education costs and concluded the darn’dest thing… Costs for tuition increase whenever someone takes out a loan.
During the 70’s and 80’s, Generation X children grew up watching “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”; wholesome programming focused on character development. Near the end of each episode, good old Fred Rogers would take his young viewing audience on an exciting journey to the “Land of Make Believe”. A kingdom of sorts where imagination could run wild and all life’s problems were resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. Now, fast forward to today and you’re likely to find many on the far left clinging to the idea that Mr. Roger’s “Land of Make Believe” really exists, and why shouldn’t they? Like a rich kid with no athletic skills and barely able to maintain a C-average, Obama used his position to win over his constituents with charity. Whenever his diehard supporters cried out for special rights and privileges, in many cases, they got it. The only tradeoff, boost his ego and click the like button when he posted selfies.
In the modern era of technology and digital communications, the issue of leaks has become more prominent. Hackers can access internal documentation and communication that, in the past, would have been unavailable. This point was on full display last year, when whistleblower website Wikileaks released a series of dumps containing e-mails from Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The contents of these e-mails ranged from questionable campaign tactics to revealing actions by politicians and media figures alike, but overall provided an intimate glimpse of the inside. Other times, it can reveal activities of questionable legality and constitutionality. Perhaps the most prominent example is Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who revealed massive secrets about the United States surveillance programs. Since his disclosures, the intelligence community and the United States Government as a whole have struggled to prevent further leaks. How can the government prevent leaks from occurring?
Students at Furman University rallied against Trump’s order on immigration in February at the “Students For Solidarity Rally.” The event, held on the steps of Furman’s James B. Duke Library, was billed as “a showing of public opposition to the Executive Order banning refugees and Muslims from 7 countries from entering the United States.” Prior to the rally, a petition circulated online, designed to “urge SGA to issue a statement regarding the security of students,” referring to Furman’s Student Government Association (SGA). The petition garnered 131 signatures out of its goal of 200, stating, “it is expected that SGA responds to political actions that create feelings of insecurity and exclusion for members of the student body.” “Members of our Furman community remain fearful for their safety, their futures, and their pursuit of a Furman education,” the petition continued. Over 150 people attended the event, holding signs with slogans such as, “Students For Solidarity,” “Hate Never,” “All are Welcome,” “Don’t Try to Ban Our Ideas,” and “I Believe in the…
It was more than fitting that Hugo Chavez died in 2013 on the 60th anniversary of Josef Stalin’s death. Although Chavez, with his relatively meager police apparatus, could not match the 20th-century leading mass murderer in body counts, he nevertheless emulated the Soviet leader. Both made themselves leaders for life, outlawed opposition, created a state-run media, and transformed formerly independent government branches into their yes men. Both manufactured trumped up charges against opponents.
In Oliver Stone’s wildly conspiratorial JFK, the chief plotter behind the Kennedy assassination, identified as “General Y,” is obscured by the shadows, and is identified with enough letters visible on his nameplate on the desk to reveal the identity of “Y.” “Y” is General Edward Lansdale, a counter-insurgency expert who, unfortunately for Stone’s thesis that Kennedy was killed by “Y” and his cohorts because the president was about to withdraw the American advisers from Vietnam, was actually less of a hawk on Vietnam than Kennedy; indeed, the more one looks at Lansdale the more apparent it is it that, among the hawkish Cold War establishment, he was a voice of reason.
Children of the blacklisted are usually associated with the Communist—if they bother to admit that—Left. From the undoubted suffering visited upon their parents by the red-hunting climate of the 1950s (but it should be noted that that their parents lost in effect their swimming pools, while the truly persecuted in the Soviet Union, the country the blacklisted defended, lost their lives), children like the late Christopher Trumbo, son of the Stalinist screenwriter who toppled the blacklist, strum the violin and attack all forms of anticommunists. But there were other children of the blacklisted, largely ignored by the mainstream media, because they and their parents don’t fit the Leftist agenda; indeed, they represent a danger to the standard liberal blacklist narrative by showing that their anti-communist parents were blacklisted by the very leftists who years later cloaked themselves in the Bill of Rights when it was their turn to be persecuted.