Author

Ron Capshaw

Ron Capshaw has 192 articles published.

Ron Capshaw
Ron Capshaw is a Senior Contributor to The Liberty Conservative from Midlothian, Va. His work has appeared in National Review, The Weekly Standard, and the American Spectator.
News

Carlson Says Griffin’s Victimhood Attempt Is Symptomatic Of The Left As A Whole

Despite condemnations from liberals, Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson asserted on his program, “Tucker Carlson Tonight”, on Friday, that liberal comedian Kathy Griffin represents “the perfect embodiment of what the modern left believes.” Griffin recently came under fire for posing in a picture in which she held up a replica of the bloodied severed head of President Donald Trump. Keep Reading

Culture/Politics

Glenn Frankel’s High Noon

In the film The Contender, a liberal female politician who is undergoing a bruising confirmation hearing for a position in the president’s cabinet, uses the blacklist as an example as to why she won’t answer questions from Congress about her sex life. In true Atticus Finch fashion, she instructs a young hothead who wants her to answer the questions that, had the first witness before HUAC refused to name names, then other witnesses would have done likewise and the whole nightmare of the blacklist would have been stopped in its tracks. Thus the point of her “history lesson” is that she must refuse, otherwise blacklist part two will occur. This is a prime example of the navel-watching that Left Coast Hollywood indulges in when they need an event to show America betraying its democratic ideals. In these sweepstakes, the more horrific event of the Japanese Internment cannot compete with their almost continuing citation of the blacklist–always the blacklist. For it happened to “them”: tinsel-town liberals, whose, more often than not,… Keep Reading

News

Wonder Woman Banned In Lebanon

A Middle Eastern country is banning the new film Wonder Woman, but not because the film is about a feminist icon who battles criminals like her male counterparts, Superman and Batman. The ban from Lebanon, which was put in place a mere two hours before the film was to appear on movie screens in the country, has to do with the background of the actress portraying the superhero. Keep Reading

Politics

Chucking The Constitution

During his time as a Nation columnist, Christopher Hitchens reported noticing that some staff members considered Joe McCarthy a bigger menace than Josef Stalin. Such views implied a support of purges and murders if committed by the “right side” as opposed to mere Congressional inquiries, that, however brow-beating, did not kill anyone. But the politically correct violence implied to Hitchens has now been unequivocally championed by Leftists, justifying and cheering the most thuggish manner of street violence because of the election of the “fascist” Donald Trump. Keep Reading

Politics

The Yiannopolous-Hitchens Comparison

Last month liberal talk show host Bill Maher, during an interview with Milo Yiannopolous, compared the controversial right-winger to a “young, gay, alive Christopher Hitchens.” But such a comparison of Maher’s is false and does dirt to the much more thoughtful—and libertarian—Hitchens. On sexuality alone, the two differ. Although Hitchens admitted to gay relationships in the past (some of whom were with Hitchens’ hated Tories who later served in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet), he never engaged in bashing homosexuals as does Yiannopoulos. It’s not just Hitchens’ public stances on homosexuality, endorsing gay marriage as a “form of love,” and attacking anti-sodomy laws, that frustrates any comparison with Yiannopoulos. It is that Hitchens in his time battled the kind of far right gay bashers of the Yiannopolous sort. He even argued that homosexuality was often the province of the right: “the sexual outlaw world may be anarchic, but it is also servile and deferential. It is, to put it crudely, generally right-wing.” Keep Reading

Politics

Yiannopolous’ Tent Show

In an example of stubbornness, courage, or suicidal tendencies, right-wing lightning rod Milo Yiannopoulos is announcing a return to the lion’s den of UC Berkeley, where previously his appearance resulted in violence by leftist students. His plan is to hold “Milo’s Free Speech Week,” which he calls a weeklong event of rallies and speeches attacking such “enemies of free speech,” as feminists, Black Lives Matter members, and the Islam religion. Keep Reading

News

Free College Tuition For Black Students: Whites Must Pay For Racial Oppression

For those non-minority parents who struggle to pay their children’s college tuition, things may get worse. On Tuesday, the student government at Western Kentucky University voted, 19-10, in support of free tuition for black students as a means to apologize for slavery. The “reparation” bill’s co-author, Andre Ambam, said that it will level the economic playing field for black students who cannot afford to go to WKU as well as be a symbolic apology by the current generation of white students for racial oppression: “If you really care about diversity, if you really care about inclusion, if you really care about making this campus safe and accessible to everybody, having the student government’s support of reparation[s] for black students would be amazing,” Ambam said. Keep Reading

Politics

No Free Speech For Fascists: The Selective Civil Liberties Of The Pomona College Left

In a legal powwow with their lawyers, Hollywood Communists, forever known as “The Hollywood Ten,” who were summoned by Congress to testify about their political affiliations in 1947, were given the hypothetical question about freedom of expression for all by their attorneys. When asked if they believed in freedom of speech for Communists, the immediate answer from all was a resounding “yes.” Some of the group even supported the next hypothetical question of whether “fascists” were eligible for the same free speech protections. But John Howard Lawson, the uber-sectarian head of the Hollywood Party, advised otherwise, saying, “The answer is that you do not believe in freedom of expression for fascists,” only Communists because what we “say is true,” and what the fascists say “is a lie.” And off Lawson went to testify before Congress in which he defended freedom of expression for all. Keep Reading

Politics

Teaching The Americans Democratic Procedure: Russian Dissident Masha Gessen

Russian dissidents are usually proponents of American-style libertarianism. Lech Walesa loved Ronald Reagan, as did prisoners in Gulags, who would risk it all and cheer whenever the guards would counter-productively broadcast Reagan speeches. Having been subjected to big government run amok in Russia, dissidents who immigrate to the United States appreciate what is exceptional about American society. The same can be said of Masha Gessen, a former Russian dissident and writer-in-residence at Oberlin College. In a period where other anti-Trump activists refuse to consider the arguments of the other side and seek to deny those “fascists” the right to express pro-Trump sentiments, Gessen has a libertarian tinge. Keep Reading

History

The Selective Pacifism Of Dalton Trumbo

Probably the most mocked of anti-Communist claims by anti-anti-Communists was that the American Communist Party of the 1930s and 40s was dedicated to the violent overthrow of the American government. Former Communist and blacklisted screenwriter Ring Lardner Jr. said that even though Communism had “taken a violent form in the Soviet Union” it did not mean the American Communist Party wanted to use the same Leninist methods of seizing the government. Rather, he asserted, the CPUSA sought to bring socialism about through democratic gradualism. But a generation later, in the 1960s, the New Left was committed to that very goal the Old Left was accused of. They didn’t want the U.S. to withdraw from Vietnam; they wanted the Vietcong to defeat “fascist America.” They didn’t want to make the U.S live up to its democratic principles; they wanted it overthrown a la the methods of Castro, Mao, and Ho Chi Minh, who many modeled their units after (New Leftist Tom Hayden called his violent Weathermen faction an “American Vietcong”). Keep Reading

News

Angela Davis: Still Bashing The U.S. And Israel

A quality lauded by today’s Left is for those of their ranks to never abandon their principles. The immediate riposte to this is that Hitler did also. And such adherence can violate the cardinal rule of being an intellectual: the ability to entertain the possibility that one might be wrong. An excellent example of leftists never engaging in second thoughts is Angela Davis, who despite claiming to be a former member of the American Communist Party and the Black Panthers, has retained her anti-Semitism and hatred of America. Invited to speak at George Washington University last month, Davis devoted the bulk of her speech to bashing both America and Israel. She denounced the latter as an occupier nation in Palestine and guilty of “ethnic cleansing.” And like the U.S. promoted itself as a “paragon of democracy,” when in reality it is homophobic toward “queer Palestinians who call for justice for their people.” Keep Reading

News

Fighting Back: Pro-Trump Supporters Organize Against Anti-Trump Violence

Street fights at Berkeley seem to be a common feature in the age of Trump. For the third time in mere months, street violence occurred on Saturday over a conservative event; this time around a pro-Trump “Patriots Day” rally held in downtown Berkeley. But what may distinguish this event from the previous two street battles, in which pro-Trump students were beaten up by anti-Trump students and an international masked terrorist group called Antifa, was that the local Trump activists had out of state supporters who were ready for a fight. Keep Reading

News

Catering To Diversity: Students Remove American Flag From Their Meeting Rooms

In the days following 9-11, Nation columnist Katha Pollit initially refused her daughter’s request to fly an American flag outside their apartment window. “The flag stands for jingoism and vengeance and war,” Pollit said. According to Pollit, her daughter countered, “the flag means standing together and honoring the dead and saying no to terrorism.” To her credit, Pollit concluded, “In a way, we’re both right,” and allowed her daughter to fly the flag if she purchased it with her own money and if she hung it solely out of her own bedroom window. The University of California Student Senate is using the flag’s multiple meanings to different people as an argument to remove it from the sight of offended members in their meeting room. On Thursday, the Senate introduced a bill designed to strike down a law requiring the American flag to adorn their meetings. Keep Reading

News

Militant Anti Trump Group’s College Tour

An anti-Trump group demanding that Trump “fascism” be stopped now is seeking to swell their numbers by touring college campuses in search of recruits. “Refuse Fascism” has been touring campuses across the Northeast asserting that time is running out to stop Trump. Despite comparing the Trump administration to “Nazi Germany,” the group has asserted that the administration had not yet “fully consolidated their regime.” But, as a flyer reads, “We do not have much time,” as it “might only take a single serious crisis—international or domestic—for this regime to drop the hammer.” Keep Reading

History

HSCA At 40: Validating The Warren Commission

As the credits to his wildly-conspiratorial JFK (1991) rolled, Oliver Stone, to buttress his argument that Kennedy was killed by a conspiracy and not Lee Harvey Oswald, listed the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations’ conclusion that the president was indeed the victim of some group. But in reality, this Congressional investigation did not exonerate Oswald; indeed, the Committee validated the Warren Commission’s conclusion but with one caveat: that, in addition to Oswald’s shots from the School Book Depository, someone might have fired from the Grassy Knoll. But this addition was last-minute, and today, the evidence for a fourth shot is rejected. Keep Reading

Politics/World

Domino Theory Validated

Once during an interview, conservative actor Brian Dennehy was asked if he ever questioned the intellectual foundations of the Cold War; he answered in the affirmative, citing as an example his denouncement of the “Domino Theory” while in high school during the height of the Cold War, the early 1960s. Whether true or not, and one should bear in mind that on occasion, Dennehy has claimed to have fought in Vietnam when in actuality he was stationed in the Pacific, this is an example of how the Domino Theory has been mocked and blamed for leading the U.S. into the quagmire of Vietnam. Keep Reading

News

Policing The Puritans: Harvard Changing Their Alma Mater Song

First the Redskins, now the Puritans. The Harvard Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging at Harvard is calling on students, alumni, and faculty to amend or even completely change the following line from their alma mater song, “Fair Harvard:” “Till the stock of the Puritans die.” The Task Force is holding a contest to change the line of the college’s 181-year-old alma mater song because it believes “it’s time for a change.“ Keep Reading

Culture/Politics

Occupy Wall Street: Nihilism And Communism

Six years ago, what was known as the “Occupy Wall Street” movement situated itself in Zuccotti Park, which is located in the Wall Street district. The group of mostly millennials protested the worldwide economic inequality emanating from New York’s financial district. Their protest created, or depending upon your point of view, spawned, new terms: “99 percent” and “1 percent,” to illustrate the economic disparity between the majority of the population being controlled and impoverished by the one percent elite that controlled Wall Street and the world’s wealth. Keep Reading

History/Politics

Orwell: Not So Private With Ukrainians

By and large, British author George Orwell addressed his essays and novels to the English-speaking world. During the war, he wrote a “London Letter,” about the political situation in England, to the readers of the anti-Stalinist American journal, Partisan Review. Even his stint as a BBC broadcaster with programs designed for Indian consumption were to audiences who spoke English. But there was one instance in which Orwell wrote to a non-English-speaking audience, the Ukrainian readers of Animal Farm. Orwell wrote a preface to the Ukrainian edition that is remarkable in what he revealed about himself. Something about writing for a foreign audience, particularly one with Stalin’s boot on their throat, liberated Orwell, a notoriously private man, and the essay is invaluable because it contradicts what biographers would later write about him. Keep Reading

History/Politics

The Old Left And The “Warmonger” Roosevelt

In the Vietnam era, when the “New Hollywood,” shorthand for sixties’ leftists taking charge of the movies, lionized the Old Left in films like The Way We Were and The Front, they did so with the script used by American Stalinists during the early days of the Cold War; that those blacklisted were merely innocent New Dealers in “a hurry,” who were unfortunately caught in a crunch when the political climate shifted from FDR liberalism to anti-New Deal rightism. An example of this was The Way We Were, a moist treatment of Hollywood Stalinists, and the vicious treatment afforded them by American “fascists.” In a genius of casting, Barbara Streisand played a hyperactive Communist who was more New Deal than Marxist. By turns, those who attacked her were Roosevelt haters (in one scene she is shell-shocked when Roosevelt dies, while a blue-blood for making crude jokes about him). Keep Reading

Politics

Robert Redford: Sympathy For Terrorism?

In our age of terrorist bombings, intentionally designed for “collateral damage,”, one would assume that the Left would holster their bizarre views of terrorists as either misunderstood victims or patriots. Not so with liberal actor Robert Redford, who back in publicity junkets for his film, The Company You Keep (2012), expressed sympathy for the Weathermen, an ultra-violent Maoist-worshipping terrorist group from the 1960s. Keep Reading

History

Did JFK Admire Hitler?

During his presidency, John F. Kennedy was accused by the far right of being a communist appeaser at best, a secret sympathizer at worst. Now, thanks to the release of his diaries from the 1930s, it may be more valid to accuse JFK of admiration of fascism, however youthful the passion. In a series of diary entries, the future president recorded complimentary references to Nazis during a 1937 visit to Nazi Germany. He found that fascism to be “the right thing for Germany,” and regarding its brutish features, he rhetorically stated, “what are the evils of fascism compared to communism?” Keep Reading

History/Politics

John E Rankin: Equal Opportunity Racist

When his activist wife criticized FDR for not addressing the plight of blacks, the president always stated that to do so would lose him crucial Southern Congressional support for his New Deal measures. A perfect case in point for Roosevelt’s dilemma was personified by Congressman John E. Rankin of Mississippi. Rankin, who served for sixteen terms, from 1920-1952, was proof one could be both economically liberal and virulently racist; and his “Yellow Dog Democrat” constituency, who swore never to vote for Republicans because of Reconstruction, reflected both of Rankin’s political tendencies. Keep Reading

History/Politics

Gary Cooper: Fairminded Conservative

When Lucille Ball was accused of being a Communist at the height of her fame in the 1950s, she pleaded contextual circumstances. She cited her pressure by her Party-line uncle, but also noted that “in those days it was considered shameful to be a Republican.” And indeed it was, even in Hollywood, which was presided over by rock-ribbed studio heads. To subscribe to any type of anti-New Deal conservatism in Hollywood was to invite charges of fascism from Hollywood reds, who were at the high tide of their influence in the 1930s, and especially during World War II. Keep Reading

Culture/History

Hoover And Homosexuals: A Form Of Overcompensation?

The closeted Roy Cohn called him less a homosexual and more a “voyeur,” getting his jollies by listening the sex tapes of political leaders he acquired through FBI wiretaps. Oliver Stone disagreed, having him in his laughable Nixon (1995) practically french-kissing the help. The wife of a mobster provided information of him in drag in a hotel room with Cohn present: “[He was] wearing a fluffy black dress, very fluffy, with flounces, and lace stockings and high heels, and a black curly wig. He had make-up on and false eyelashes. It was a very short skirt, and he was sitting there in the living room of the suite with his legs crossed. Roy introduced him to me as ‘Mary'”. Why, in our age of gay tolerance, does it matter whether the above-mentioned FBI director J.Edgar Hoover was gay? After all, shouldn’t right-wingers be allowed the same orientation? The easy answer lies in Hoover’s behavior to those he might have shared an orientation with. A lifelong bachelor who lived with… Keep Reading

Politics

Steven Hayward: Fair And Balanced

It is a given that today the Left dominates the historical profession. And accordingly, they edit out any inconvenient facts favoring the other side to achieve their liberal slant. In the process, they adopt the very Manichean view of history they accuse the Right of fostering; or in the words of their recently departed President, the view that the Republicans are “wrong,” and “we are right.” Hence, there is a temptation for the meager batch of conservative historians to counter-attack using the same Manichean model. Keep Reading

Culture

Roger Scruton: The New Left’s Owning Of The Language

In his lifetime, George Orwell diagnosed the symptom of leftists and their power worship of Stalin as partly stemming from having no contact with reality; specifically no contact with the working classes they supposedly champion. Despite the considerable numbers of writer/intellectuals who supported Stalin, Orwell never had to contend with those who took over the universities. This feature, so part of our time, is addressed, Orwell-like, by British conservative intellectual Roger Scruton toward the intellectuals of a New Left whose control of the language of political discourse (a particular beef of Orwell’s) is chiefly responsible for their takeover of academia. Keep Reading

Culture

George MacDonald Fraser: Political Incorrectness With A Vengeance

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.” Keep Reading

History

Edwin Walker: Ruined By Oswald

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. Keep Reading

News

Michael Moore: Ground Government To A Halt

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 elected, and because of this foreign “assistance,” have asserted that Trump is an “illegitimate” president. Keep Reading

History

Otto Skorzeny: Nazi To The End

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. Keep Reading

Culture/History/Politics

Orson Welles: Frustrating The Left

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. Keep Reading

History/Politics

Vera Caspary: Leaving The Communist Fold

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. Keep Reading

History/Politics

The Nixon Tapes: No Smoking Guns

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). Keep Reading

Culture/History/Politics

Mr. Smth: The Ultimate Libertarian

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. Keep Reading

Culture/History/Politics

Groucho Marx And Duck Soup: No Sacred Cows

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.… Keep Reading

Culture/History

Kurt Vonnegut: Eternal Optimist

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. Keep Reading

History/Politics

Orwell And Trotsky: At Odds

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,… Keep Reading

Culture/History

Politics Over Humor: Donald Ogden Stewart

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. Keep Reading

History/Politics

More Alike Than Not: Richard Nixon And Alger Hiss

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. Keep Reading

Culture

Going Political: Martin Amis’ Soviet Novel

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. Keep Reading

Culture

P. J. O’Rourke: At War With Babyboomers–and The Greatest Generation

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. Keep Reading

History/Politics

The Assassination Of JFK: Losing The Last Conservative Democrat

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. Keep Reading

History

Frank Mankiewicz: Not Following In Dad’s Footsteps

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… Keep Reading

Culture/Politics

Hemingway And Castro: One Last Hurrah

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. Keep Reading

Culture/History

Conquest At 100

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. Keep Reading

Politics/World

Weeping For The Dictator: Hollywood And Chavez

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. Keep Reading

History

Edward Lansdale: The Lone Voice Of Reason In The Vietnam War

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. Keep Reading

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