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Culture

News and commentary pertaining to our society, western civilization, and traditional values.

WATCH LIVE: Purdue University Hosts Abortion Debate

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  CLICK HERE to watch the debate starting at 7 pm Eastern. West Lafayette, IN – Today, as Israel marks another Holocaust Remembrance Day, Purdue University’s Forney Hall will host a debate on what many consider to be a modern holocaust – abortion. Seth Drayer, Director of Training for the pro-life group Created Equal, will square off against Dr. David Sanders, Associate Biology Professor at Purdue.  According to a press release from Created Equal, The pair will debate the question of whether abortion is a moral injustice, with Drayer taking the affirmative side and Sanders arguing in opposition.

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Some Thoughts On The United Airlines Incident

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So, as you’ve probably noticed, the United Airlines incident has been in the news quite a bit, in which an elderly Asian doctor with a somewhat checkered past was asked to leave an airplane due to seats being needed for repairmen to do repairs at the airport that was the destination for the flight. The man refused and was forcibly dragged off the plane, being somewhat bloodied in doing so. This incident made the news around the world, and as one might expect everybody has their own take on this.  Some side with the airline, some side with the good Dr. Dao, and there are a million arguments for each.

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Based Stickman Shows Libertarians That Bold Grassroots Leadership Is Necessary

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In a time where naked parasitic leftism is running wild, libertarians are faced with a choice. They can either stand and fight against this menace, or wave the white flag of surrender. This seems like it would be an easy choice for any lover of liberty, but if you listen to certain voices within the movement, cowardice is the most noble of options. “The left-wing combatants claim to be anarchists, and yet are furthering the state,” commentator Dan Sanchez wrote in a FEE column. “The right-wing combatants claim to be for liberty, and yet are putting liberty in danger. If these conflicts continue to escalate, no matter which side “wins,” liberty will lose.” Sanchez’s commentary is indicative of the academic, elitist, ivory tower mindset that plagues the libertarian movement. This mindset fosters passive inaction and stagnation. It has gotten especially pernicious since Ron Paul retired from public life. Isolated in his bubble, Sanchez and others like him have forgotten what the people need right now. They don’t need a…

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Internet Fame Brings Out The Skeletons

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By now you’ve likely seen the April 9th video of a 69-year-old Asian doctor being forcibly dragged off a United Airlines flight at the Chicago O’Hara Airport. If not, check it out here. According to United Airlines, the flight was overbooked. There were enough seats for passengers, just not enough for the entire flight crew.  Therefore, passengers had to be removed to open seats for members of their crew. At first, the staff offered money and a free night’s stay at a Chicago hotel for anyone willing to give up their seat. Only two accepted the offer. When no one else offered up their seats, the staff had to decide who else would need to give up their seat. Through some sort of random selection process, Kentucky doctor, David Dao, was chosen.

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The Enigma Of North Korean Film

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If you have read in my past columns, I have a “love-affair” with North Korea. No, I don’t want to defect like James Joseph Dresnok did in the 1950s; but, more or less, I hold a deference for the people that comprise the true makeup of the oppressed population. To our avail, analysts of North Korea long question the grip that the country has on its people. Obviously, the one thing that prevents an uprising against a despotic government is an effective international and domestic propaganda machine that demonizes the United States as imperialists, etc.

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The Appropriateness Of Appropriation

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You, the humble reader, might have noticed that race relations in the United States (particularly between blacks and whites) are at something of a nadir-not THE nadir of race relations, as that is an actual name given to a period from the end of Reconstruction to some point early in the 20th century, but pretty close to it-certainly the nadir of race relations in the last 30 years. There are a variety of reasons for why this is case, depending on who you ask: police shootings, media denigration of (insert race here depending on your viewpoint), white privilege, black criminality, “The Cathedral” stoking resentment of white people, the political class supporting any of the above, the internet giving millions “the red pill” and, of course, Donald Trump. These alleged reasons also vary in terms of accuracy. One of the most common charges leveled at the scions of Europe-and indeed, often cited as a reason for POC resentment towards the pale devils-is the charge of “cultural appropriation”. This concept, which…

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“You Don’t Want To Be Like The South, Do You?”

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Contrary to popular opinion, we at The Liberty Conservative are quite capable of entering stable, monogamous relationships—and I’m certainly no exception to that, as I am currently in a stable, monogamous relationship with a single woman. Why do I bring this up, and what does it have to do with the title of this article? The other day, the lady and I were discussing literature. More specifically, we were discussing a book I had recently purchased, that being Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard To Find. In describing Ms. O’Connor, I raised some umbrage when I described her as “…Harper Lee but for grown-ups”.

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Christophobia And Islamophobia

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“Islamophobia” is a real problem. Or so we’re led to believe by the usual suspects in the grievance industry par excellence, the Racism-Industrial-Complex (RIC). It’s a problem because, it is tirelessly declared, “Islamophobia” is only going to create more Islamic “extremists.” An article from a December 2015 edition of The Independent represents this all too common view. The title of the piece reads: “Want to create more extremists? Ignore the Islamophobia people like me face every day.” The author is Shehab Khan, a Muslim who lives in England.

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Book Review: The Conservative Heart – By Arthur C. Brooks

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If you are like me, you love liberty. I am sure if you are reading The Liberty Conservative, you hate big government. You probably imagine the founding fathers turning over in their graves by the government’s intrusions of your God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. One of the reasons I write for The Liberty Conservative is because I desire to hone my ability to articulate the principles of liberty. Every day I met people who want to share with me the problems they see with our government. The more I study the principles of liberty, the better I am at sharing the principles of liberty.

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Occupy Wall Street: Nihilism And Communism

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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.

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The Experts Killed Expertise

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Public policy expert Tom Nichols recently wrote an article entitled, “The Death of Expertise.” In it, he writes at some length about his fear of “a Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laymen.” Expertise, Mr. Nichols explains, is being replaced by “a sanctimonious insistence that every person has a right to his or her own opinion,” which in his words is both “silly” and “dangerous.” For Mr. Nichols, it’s silly because “without real experts, everyone is an expert on everything.” It’s dangerous to him because you can’t have a bunch of uneducated proles running around making decisions, can you? His fears aren’t completely unfounded and the article as a whole is a generally good examination of the relationship between us common folk and the egghead class in the information age. But there are some observations to be made on behalf of the laymen he chastises.

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Jihad’s Triumph On Westminster Bridge

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The attacks keep coming. Murder or maiming by Muslims living among us is an almost daily occurrence in the West. The latest was knifeman Khalid Masood, who plowed a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, London, and then proceeded to slash at them with a 12-inch blade. Immoral media counted five dead, with the killer. In addition to the four murdered, 50 people were injured. Promptly did Prime Minister Theresa May get her Churchill on: “[W]e are not afraid and our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism.” How easy it is to wax fat from the safety of a bunker! May was whisked away from the Houses of Parliament by an armed security detail. In fact, the only reason Masood hadn’t claimed more lives for his vampiric God (a peaceful entity, promised Prime Minister May) was because he committed Jihad at the Parliamentary estate. There, a “close protection officer,” essentially a bodyguard to a politician, drew a gun and dispatched the rampaging Muslim.

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Hoover And Homosexuals: A Form Of Overcompensation?

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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…

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

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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.

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George MacDonald Fraser: Political Incorrectness With A Vengeance

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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.”

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Stereotypes Can Be Beneficial

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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.

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Orson Welles: Frustrating The Left

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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.

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Mr. Smth: The Ultimate Libertarian

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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.

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Groucho Marx And Duck Soup: No Sacred Cows

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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.…

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Higher Education: No Safe Spaces For Conservatives

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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.

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Revisiting The Christian Past: No Political “Progressivism” Here

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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.

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Kurt Vonnegut: Eternal Optimist

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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.

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Politics Over Humor: Donald Ogden Stewart

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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.

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Going Political: Martin Amis’ Soviet Novel

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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.

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

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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.

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Hemingway And Castro: One Last Hurrah

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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.

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Conquest At 100

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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.

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The Trans-World Of Make Believe

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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.

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Meet The “Neocons” That Every Libertarian Should Applaud And Embrace

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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…

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What Rep. Steve King’s ‘Racist’ Statements Teach

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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.

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Pauline Kael: Seeing Through The Propaganda

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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.

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Lester Cole: Hater

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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.

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Ed Asner: Professional Hater

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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.

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Things Gleaned From Updike’s “The Coup”

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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…

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American Cold War Culture: Liberal’s Favorite Boogeyman

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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.

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X-Rating The Holocaust: Dalton Trumbo’s Night Of The Aurochs

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“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.

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John Wayne: Stalin’s Target

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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.

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Transgenderism Is a Myth

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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.

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William Peter Blatty: Social Conservatism Beneath The Gore

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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.

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Joan Didion: Tough Girl

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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…

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Hitchens And Hiss

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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.

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Morrie Ryskind: Communism Not Funny

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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.

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Edward Dmytryk: Paying His Dues

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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.

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Isn’t “The Nation Of Immigrants” A Bit Offensive?

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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…

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Censoring Comic Books: The Left And Political Correctness

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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.

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Clive James: Always Relevant

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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.

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Stalin’s Death: Stockholm Syndrome

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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.

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Robert Taylor: Accurately Naming Names

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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.

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The Optimism Of George Orwell

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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.…

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