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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Neocon has been the go-to pejorative in libertarian circles for many years, and deservedly so. The Bush Administration ripped up the Constitution, thrust the country in endless wars, and sent the debt through the roof. These policies were then aggressively continued during the Obama regime, but times are finally beginning to change. In the age of Trump, neocon influence is waning. His “America First” talk does not align with their agenda, and tensions are bubbling to the surface. The neocons are clearly working to undermine Trump, and their star within Republican circles is fading fast. They floated Evan McMullin as an Independent Presidential candidate for the sole purpose of sabotaging Trump’s chances. Former neocon all-stars Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain are now national laughingstocks. Perhaps it has come time for libertarians to take the term neocon. Libertarians have the opportunity to Make Neocons Great Again, but not in the traditional way. Instead of meaning neoconservativism, the term must be co-opted and re-appropriated to mean the far more interesting and…
Rep. Steve King walked back his remarks with ease. King had told Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson that “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” The Republican congressman quickly re-framed the comments. It was not race he was alluding to, but “our stock, our country, our culture, our civilization.” Those sound like proxies for race. Nice try, congressman. More instructive than what Rep. King said or meant to say are the lessons about what we’re not supposed to say. We dare not suggest that a civilization created by a particular people with a particular religious and racial profile, may well perish once those people are replaced or have engineered their own replacement.
To conservatives, film critic Pauline Kael will forever be known as the one who labeled the Silent Majority film, Dirty Harry as fascist, and for registering her confusion as to how Richard Nixon was re-elected in 1972 since “everyone I know voted for McGovern (Nixon’s Democratic opponent).” But an examination of her career shows that she was far from being part of the mainstream media. This is particularly apparent when Kael reviewed films that peddled heroic views of American communists.
When I was a graduate student, my mentor of sorts, John Patrick Diggins, told me of an incident he had with blacklisted screenwriter Lester Cole, who along with nine others, testified before Congress 70 years ago, in 1947. Both were watching the Watergate hearings, when Cole exploded to Diggins, “See, it has to be done like Castro—democracy doesn’t work!” Whether true or not, this moment certainly fit Cole’s character. For, as the only member of the Hollywood Ten who remained a Stalinist, Cole hated till his dying day.
When it was rumored that leftist actor Ed Asner was slated to play Stalin it was only natural, for although deprived of Stalin’s lethal tools, Asner has emulated all the left-wing hate and paranoia of the Soviet dictator. Serving two terms as president of the Screen Actor’s Guild in the 1980s, Asner sought to use the Guild to oppose then-President Ronald Reagan’s policies against the totalitarian Sandinistas in Nicaragua, who ruled the country with an iron fist, shutting down opposition newspapers, jailing critics, and beating up those who tried to vote.
In his life, John Updike was considered to be one of, if not the, premier American novelists of the 20th century-his Rabbit Angstrom books are still considered to be one of the best satires of the archetypical downtrodden American husband and father (the genre arguably started by Sinclair Lewis’ Babbit), full of broken dreams and mediocrity as he struggles against the changes of the world around him. But that’s not what I’ve come here to discuss: My favorite of his works is the 1978 best seller The Coup, an excellent read in its own right, but so much more than that: For The Coup is quite possibly the only satire of post-colonial Africa (or at least, the only one I’m aware of). More to the point, in satirizing latter 20th-century Marxist states, The Coup shines a light on some aspects of modern leftist ideology that confuse and infuriate us today, and shows that even back then there were competing camps in the leftist “big tent”. And of course, there is an…
Liberals today smirk at American Cold War culture of the late 40s to early 60s with their typical moral vanity. Unable to avoid the failures and horrors of communism, they nevertheless try to salvage 1960s’ era views of American culture as hysterically misinformed about a superpower that had missiles pointing at the U.S. But upon examination, it is apparent that the Left has done considerable editing by halting history around 1970, thus skipping whole decades of Venona revelations, the Berlin Wall falling and workers in Red Square toppling Lenin’s statue, resuming it. Hence archaic terms like military industrial complex can seem fresh and applicable.
“I fear I am writing pornography.” So said former Communist and blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo about his on-again off-again attempt to address the Holocaust through the first-person narration of a concentration camp officer. When Auschwitz was liberated (ironically by the Red Army, which would soon institute a pogrom against Jews), a variety of writers tried to grapple with the Holocaust. Various interpretations of the Holocaust have been offered though out the years: Marxist (the Final Solution was the logical culmination of heartless capitalism and the fascism inherent in it); the banality of evil, the we-are-all-responsible school, etc.ect. ad nausaem.
Asked once toward the end of his life about what he was proudest of, liberal activist and actor Paul Newman cited his appearance on Nixon’s “enemies list.” The flip side to this occurred with conservative actor John Wayne making it onto Stalin’s enemies list, with much more lethal consequences than anything Nixon had at his disposal. According to those close to Wayne, Stalin ordered Wayne liquidated after learning of the outspoken conservative actor’s popularity and anticommunist beliefs from a Russian film-maker who visited New York in 1949.
Our once great nation is overflowing with poseurs who make believe they’re fighting the good fight against an uneducated army of Philistines, that is, anyone who votes Republican. And so, the myth goes, without the posturing of pawns in entertainment, news media, social media, politics and government, the least fortunate and most misunderstood among us (blacks, Hispanics, gays, transgenderism, etc.) would be crushed under the unfeeling boot heels of puritan era artifacts who long ago outlived their usefulness, if they were ever useful to begin with. Unpaid big-mouthery is all the rage these days and it always has been; people are frequently lazy but they’re opinionated too. The bifurcated quest for righteous bragging rights and the path of least resistance leads inevitably to the human inclination to proclaim outrage at the supposedly outrageous while doing next to nothing to correct often wholly imagined injustices.
When William Peter Blatty, author of The Exorcist (and whose screenplay for its adaptation won him the Academy Award), died in January, tributes poured in praising the former Jesuit student for creating the ultimate horror masterpiece. But now as then, people didn’t realize that despite the bull-bellowing blasphemies and head-spinning, Blatty had an ideological purpose in writing the book–a purpose that was socially conservative in nature.
For those writers who began as conservatives on his magazine and graduated into liberalism, William F. Buckley of National Review called them the “apostates.” Probably the most notorious of these figures was Joan Didion, who, in the words of Buckley’s sister Priscilla, started as “a conservative” staffer and ended up a “flaming liberal.” At first glance, Joan Didion’s trajectory seemed to bear this out. She went from writing for National Review and voting for arch-conservative Barry Goldwater to defending Bill Clinton at the height of his impeachment proceedings, to lambasting George W. Bush, to voting for Barack Obama in 2008. She seemed to be that familiar figure of the Baby Boomer generation: a conservative pushed leftward by the sixties. But in her view, though, this “Goldwater girl” never really changed. Like Reagan (who Didion criticized and was alone in seeing him as too unprincipled to qualify as the heir to Goldwater), she stated that the “parties changed” and that her “unorthodox conservatism” hadn’t. She reminded readers into the 21st…
Despite the exposure of the Cambridge Spies, a group of Soviet moles operating out of British Intelligence, and their subsequent defection to the other side, the British have always boasted of not succumbing to a panic attack of McCarthyism. It was true that investigations into Soviet espionage were done quietly and almost exclusively directed at the employers of Philby, Burgess, McLean, and Blunt rather than any publicity-grabbing interrogations of the entertainment industry. To rescue some national pride for America, it should be noted, however, that unlike the Spies who settled any debate about their guilt by escaping to the other side, the American public was never allowed the luxury of such closure and the State Department officials denying everything (like Hiss) gave some credence to McCarthy’s conspiracy so immense charges.
Groucho Marx, a reluctant petitioner for the Hollywood Ten, once lamented that the 1947 HUAC hearings into Communist influence in Hollywood, had not been used as source material for a Marx Brothers’ film. The brothers’ unique brand of surrealist comedy would, he believed, found an ideal setting in the question-answer format and the perfect set of foils with the career politicians of HUAC. In a sense, one of the brothers did participate, and there was comedy, but not from him, nor of the intentional kind.
One of the charges lodged at Hollywood communists who voluntarily revealed their politics to Congress during the blacklist period was that said volunteers did it to avoid jail or get back on the studio payroll, or both. Director Edward Dymytrk has always been hard for them to spin. Originally one of the Hollywood Ten, the first set of communists in 1947 to testify, or in their case, not to testify by refusing to answer direct questions from Congress, Dmytryk, although having left the Communist Party two years before, nevertheless went to jail with the other 9 in order to prove that his future cooperation with Congress would not be to avoid jail time. Although not agreeing with the Ten’s legal strategy of refusing to directly answer questions from Congress but appearing to, Dymtryk closed ranks with them.
We are now currently two months (or thereabouts) into the Trump administration. As you have probably noticed, the putsches and death squads and concentration camps and secret police that President Trump was supposed to enact have not really come around yet. And nor will they ever—for all of the “Literally Hitler” talk, bear in mind that Hitler’s goals were explicitly enumerated in Mein Kampf (in all of its 800+ page denseness), whereas Trump has never expressed any desire to be a fascist dictator (And you’d think he would have done so in the four New York Times Bestselling Books he’s written). Regardless of Trump failing to be Literally Hitler, the Left continues to howl about how “racist” and “xenophobic” the man allegedly is, saying that any control over America’s borders is “not who we are as a country”—with the implication there being that, of course, America is a “nation of immigrants”/”proposition nation”, and thus the very idea of even temporarily halting immigration from any nation on is a vast affront…
When the Left requires a distraction for their own bad behavior, they always cite the 1950s, a decade ingrained in even the most uneducated mind as owned by a censorious, hysterical Right. In their estimation, spearheaded by an anti-anti-communist Victor Navasky, the Right burned books, shredded the Constitution, and caused suicides with their fascist behavior. But even within this decade, there were challenges to this view that it was only the Right who acted undemocratically. Against the very real threat to free speech fostered by Senator Joseph McCarthy, in which books by communist authors were removed from overseas Army libraries (and in some cases burned), there was the Congressional campaign to censor comic books. It bore all the features attached to the Right: playing fast and loose with charges, censorship, books thrown into bonfires, hysteria, and causing mass firings of employees.
Christopher Hitchens once wrote of George Orwell that “it is possible to reprint every single letter, book review, and essay composed by Orwell without exposing him to any embarrassment.” The same could be said of Clive James–essayist and poet–when examining his output. At first glance, knowing James’ politics (to this day he calls himself part of the “proletarian left,” despises the free market, and favors a state-run media—he should emigrate here), one would expect dreary repetition. Certainly, that is what we got from James’ contemporary Gore Vidal. No matter the topic, Vidal always steered it toward his military-industrial complex conspiracy. Even Christopher Hitchens didn’t completely give up the Trotsky ghost; in one of his last essays, Hitchens scrambled to find something of relevance about the Old Man and found it in Trotsky’s conclusion that communism had failed.
Stockholm syndrome is a term used by psychiatrists specializing in the study of terrorism to describe how a hostage falls in love with their captor. One could not find a better example of a group version of this syndrome than in Russia today. March 5th marked the 64th anniversary of Josef Stalin’s death, and scores of elderly Russians are already laying wreaths on the grave of the ruler who murdered 20 million of their countrymen. But this admiration goes beyond the aged; a recent survey commissioned by the Carnegie Endowment reveals that Stalin remains widely admired in Russia.
Toward the end of his life, liberal actor Orson Welles reported being told by Nikita Khrushchev on a Hollywood visit by the Soviet premiere that Stalin had once targeted conservative actor John Wayne for liquidation. Although not reaching this height and honor on Stalin’s “enemies’ list,” conservative matinee idol Robert Taylor was able to have the distinction of having his films banned in Communist Hungary and in Czechoslovakia. And, depending upon your point of view, Taylor had the distinction of organizing Hollywood anticommunists into a political group (The Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals), and being the only major star to name names during the 1947 Congressional investigation into communism in the film industry.
Upon receiving the manuscript of what would be George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, publisher Frederic Warburg considered the novel the most “depressing” and “pessimistic” thing he ever read. Many Orwell scholars, sharing this view, attributed the novel’s bleakness to Orwell dying by inches during the composition of the novel. But despite the novel’s depiction of a broken Winston Smith, Orwell’s hopes never wavered, which must have been considerable when viewing the world of 1948-49. The Soviets had Eastern Europe and an atomic bomb. China would soon go Communist. Time was running out, but Orwell didn’t rule out that the English could be awakened: “The scene of the book is laid in Britain in order to emphasize that the English-speaking races are not innately better than anyone else and that totalitarianism, if not fought against (italics mine), could triumph anywhere.” This wake-up call was no easy task. As far back as 1938, Orwell was complaining about the British being a “sleep walking people” and only Hitler’s bombs would wake them up.…
When Hollywood Communists Adrian Scott, a producer, and Edward Dmytryk sought material that was both entertaining and capable of making their anti-capitalist points, they searched no further than noir writer Raymond Chandler. Chandler’s hyper-cynical portrayal of a murdering, drug-taking upper class, corrupt brutal cops and all of the above’s business relationship with LA’s criminal element must have seemed perfect for communist agitprop. The result of Scott and Dymtryk’s labors was Murder My Sweet (1944), an adaptation of Chandler’s second novel, Farewell My Lovely. In it, an unshaven and punch-drunk Dick Powell weaves through a maze of quacks capitalizing on neurotic rich women, former showgirls murdering to retain the position they’ve married into, and ex-cons duped and then framed because of their romanticism.
In the recent film Trumbo, about the blacklisted screenwriter–and Stalinist–who helped end the barring of communists from working in Hollywood, a sinister, bespectacled figure threatens a poverty-row filmmaker who is employing Trumbo. “Fire him,” the sinister figure says, or “we”–who he identifies as the Motion Picture Alliance For The Preservation of American Ideals–“will shut you down.” In point of fact, such an incident could have and probably did happen, for that organization did try to enforce the blacklisting of suspected or actual communists from studios. But the makers of this eulogy to Trumbo overshot their mark by having said sinister figure cite Ronald Reagan as one of the members. Reagan, then a liberal, but anticommunist Democrat, was not.
As I write this and as you read it, millions of people the world over are starving and yet the number of malnourished persons worldwide is steadily declining as it has been for years. This is due to many factors such as increased crop yields, and perhaps in no small part to innovative agricultural techniques such as The System of Rice Intensification. Much to the chagrin of the muckrakers and doomsayers and pushers of trivialities in America’s free press, our small blue planet is, in many ways, becoming a better place to live for a larger number of people. That sound you hear is Malthus rolling over in his grave. Poverty is the on the mid- to long-term path to extinction. Even the liberal Brookings Institute has displayed some cautious hope for the future, a heresy that stands in stark contrast to the doom and gloom dogma of the so-called “progressive” Left. There’s a lot of good news out there, more than you might think. The world is coming…
As most have probably noticed, the state of race relations in the United States could certainly be better. And with animosity between black and white will inevitably come demands for slavery reparations. The last time organized demands came was a few years ago, and it will likely come again soon enough. I will certainly not deny that blacks were treated poorly in the United States for many years-after all, I’m using Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Slavery as my main source for this article. However, said book also reveals why the case for reparations may be a bit overstated. To clarify, the net value of all the slaves that had ever been brought to the United States, and their labor, from 1655 to 1865, has been calculated to be roughly 1 trillion dollars (calculated by analyzing average cost of slaves over the years, estimated net worth of slave owners, annual output of slave plantations, and etc.). That is a lot of money indeed…
Susan Chorley was resolved to have an abortion. The Massachusetts native felt confident the child would be a burden on her, her family, and her career. In a desperate attempt to salvage some superficial sense of morality, she justified her decision as a “mercy killing”. Already convinced the child was an inconvenience, she was worried child might feel that way too. Therefore, she did what was best for them both (how noble, right?). Chorley’s story is no different than other stories from women who’ve chosen abortion. Her career and lifestyle took precedence over the life growing inside her womb. So, what makes her story any different from others? Chorley’s an ordained Baptist Minister.
Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell were clearly polar opposites. Hemingway had much more plush circumstances owing to a rich wife; Orwell by turns was subsisting with his wife on an almost all-potato diet. But ideologically Hemingway claimed Orwell on the basis of the latter’s attack on Stalinist duplicity in Spain. But the history of both men’s experiences in 1930s Spain said otherwise. Their one and only meeting accentuated both men’s experiences in the Spanish Civil War. In recently liberated France in 1945, Ernest Hemingway reported soothing George Orwell as he would a mental patient. Instead of a drink, he calmed the author’s fears “the communists were going to assassinate him,” by loaning him a broken pistol.
To anti-communists, he was the leader and epitome of the well-fed Hollywood communists. Among his comrades behind closed doors, he was regarded as a “sectarian son of a bitch,” who was, outside of Stalin, the cause of defections. For the California Democratic Party during World War II, and much to their later embarrassment, he was deemed worthy enough to write their 1942 state platform. John Howard Lawson, screenwriter, activist and head of the Hollywood branch of the American Communist Party, he was all of the above. A celebrated playwright, on the basis of one play, Lawson came to the Communist Party fairly late in the game, in 1934, five years after a Stock Market Crash that sent so many into the Communist Party.
The past week has been a wild one in the libertarian movement that resulted in a great deal of soul-searching and reflecting. With left-libertarians triggered and showing their nasty, totalitarian colors under the pressure, many rational libertarians are realizing that this poison must be removed from the movement post haste before even more damage is done. Anarcho-capitalist author and philosopher Christopher Chase Rachels has taken the lead in this valiant effort. In an apparent response to the growing acceptance of violence, harassment, and mob tactics by left-libertarians, Rachels is striking back. He drafted a manifesto for his new right-libertarian alliance that he published earlier today. “We as the libertarian right seek first and foremost to promote a society whose prevailing legal system(s) is/are firmly rooted in the private property ethic and the NAP,” Rachels said in his manifesto. “That this is the fundamental core of the peaceful, civilized, and prosperous society.” Those words sound like doctrinaire libertarianism, but Rachels’ manifesto definitely could appeal to those on the right as…
During the height of the violent protests by the anti-war movement in the late 60s, a cartoon circulated that reflected the shock parents experienced at their long-haired, profanity-spewing communist-flag waving children. In an attempt to soothe said parents the cartoon had one wife telling her husband, “Don’t worry about it, honey. Why, even Max Eastman ended up writing for Readers’ Digest.” This implication that Eastman, once nearly thrown in jail for supposedly violating the Espionage Act by opposing World War I on socialist grounds, had now embraced the establishment depends heavily on which establishment one is talking about.
When mentioned by female journalists today, Martha Gellhorn is cited as a pioneer by breaking the bounds of females reporting in combat conditions. But Gellhorn is also a pioneer in another area; that of the mainstream media. As with today’s leftist-dominated news media, Gellhorn threw objectivity to the wind (although, to her credit, she was much more forthright about this than the CNN crowd today who feign objectivity), and was clearly soft on the political left. Gellhorn came from a liberal background; her mother was a decided feminist. Her marriages were all to left-wing men. But it took the Great Depression and the New Deal efforts to combat it that activated her political sentiments. Working for the government as a field investigator into the living standards of the poor, she blasted the capitalist system that allowed such misery, and soon came to the attention of the FBI as a “dangerous communist” determined to incite riots. Acting like a groupie to Ernest Hemingway, she managed to persuade the anti-war writer…
In his lifetime, journalist Dwight MacDonald was regarded by his fellow New York intellectual crowd as an ambulance-chasing ideologue. From Macy’s employee to Trotskyite to liberal anti-communist to anarchist to born-again New Leftist, MacDonald gave the appearance of being intellectually promiscuous. The reality, though, is that MacDonald was the best kind of journalist: intellectually rigorous, unwilling to embrace dogmatism in any form, unworried about whether he was providing ammunition to the “enemy,” be they left or right. A graduate of Yale (which, by itself, separated himself from his group, The New York Intellectuals, who were composed primarily of Jews who graduated from City College in New York), MacDonald briefly worked for Henry Luce at Fortune Magazine. With the Great Depression raging, MacDonald broke with the pro-business Luce over wanting to move the magazine further left. MacDonald found a better fit for his developing anti-Stalinist leftism with Partisan Review, the flagship of anti-Soviet Marxists. MacDonald fell under the spell, as did some of the New York Intellectuals for a time,…
Benjamin Franklin once wrote that “Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government: When this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins.” Liu Xiaobo, in challenging the oppression of Chinese communism, said, “Free expression is the base of human rights, the root of human nature and the mother of truth. To kill free speech is to insult human rights, to stifle human nature and to suppress [the] truth.” Louis D. Brandeis, a U.S. Supreme Court justice appointed by Woodrow Wilson, proclaimed that “It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.” What all of these figures from recent human history, including scores of other great voices for freedom of speech (American or foreign), have in common is the basic, underlying acceptance of unhindered free speech as a weapon of peace and diversity in the great experiment of humanity’s free will.
In 1947, actor Humphrey Bogart, who had just signed with Warner Brothers the most lucrative contract in the history of motion pictures, awoke to see his picture on the front page of the Daily Worker praising him as a fighter for the Communist Party. An FDR liberal, Bogart had as little sympathy for communism, he once stated, as J.Edgar Hoover. What prompted his photo on the flagship paper of the American Communist Party was Bogart, along with his new wife, Lauren Bacall, organizing the Committee for the First Amendment, a group of liberals formed to defend ten industry figures subpoenaed by the House Committee on Un-American Activities to testify under oath about any communist affiliations.
When African-American writer and communist Richard Wright was physically expelled by his comrades during a May Day parade in 1937, he concluded that he “would always be for them, but they would not be for him.” He quietly left the Party but would not go public with his departure until 1944. What earned Wright the violence from the marchers was his determination to write as an African-American first and as a Party member second. Such a view was verboten in the Party despite their loud clamor about civil rights for blacks.
Because of his role in outing Soviet spy Alger Hiss, Whittaker Chambers’ other career, not that of paid witness he would become, has been overshadowed. For Chambers was a journalist par excellence. He had the distinction of having written for the New Masses, Time, and National Review. At the time of his testimony, he was a highly-paid writer at Time. The pro-Hiss left no doubt wishes he’d stayed at the typewriter rather than appearing behind a congressional microphone. Without Chambers, the Hiss case would never have gotten off the ground and Chambers would have toiled away his remaining days writing for Time, and Hiss leaking from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to Moscow.
For those that aren’t aware: I am an anthropologist by training. And as you are all well aware, I am something of a “shitlord”. These two traits are corroborated in more than a few esteemed members of this field of anthropology, and should be corroborated in all anthropologists-in fact, I will go as far as to say that anthropology, a subject that deals with the deepest of modern taboos (namely: the biological realities of the human species and different populations and clades therein) should be the “shitlordiest” of all academic disciplines. Unfortunately, and ironically, it is, in fact, responsible for a lot of the talking points of progressivism. This is due to what I have dubbed the anthropology schism. This schism lies between my faction, the biological/physical/evolutionary anthropologists (the terms are for the most part interchangeable), and the cultural anthropologists. To put it very simply: biological anthropologists study the biology, both macro (bones, dentition, musculature, behavior, etc.) and micro (genes, hormones), of all peoples in the world and extinct hominids (aka: the…
We all enter the world through a woman and (spoiler alert) everyone dies. Regardless of how you exit this world (natural causes or freak accident), no human being is immortal. We’re all here today and gone tomorrow. Aside from various man-created hierarchies, are there any universal categories to determine who’s greatest among us? Is someone’s significance based on: • What family they’re from? • Their level of attractiveness? • What their occupation is? • How financially stable they are? All these categories are based on one person’s opinion over another’s. Humans are notorious for judging one another based on this set of criteria.
As a Jew on the libertarian Right, I am sickened by the compulsion of some American Jews to force President Donald Trump to convulse over Jewish angst. The Anti-Defamation League and other largely self-anointed representatives of Jewish interests are kvetching, accusing the President of not making it abundantly clear that he will not tolerate violence against Jews. #AnswerTheQuestion is the dramatic, petulant hashtag these nudniks have tweeted out. Apparently, President Trump must spell out, tweet out, and beat on the breast at every opportunity to showcase his abhorrence for the specter of Jewish community centers, cemeteries, businesses, and places of worship being vandalized.
When former Sen. Jeff Sessions was announced as Trump’s pick for Attorney General, many leftists and even some libertarians cried foul. This would be the end of marijuana legalization, they claimed! Others claimed that he was the big bad racist boogeyman who loved the Klan. The histrionics were almost unbearable. Nevertheless, their whining and their crying did woefully little to stop the confirmation of Sessions. After he was confirmed, news reports have circulated indicating that the Attorney General under Trump will be focused on taking out serious drug cartels while leaving the recreational marijuana industry relatively unscathed. The U.S. News reports: