Klavan On The Culture

Klavan On The Culture

The Left Embraces the Logic of Fascism

July 27th, 2015 - 9:53 am
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The logic of fascism is this: “Your X constitute[s] an act of violence, so I’m justified in using violence against you.” For X, you can fill in just about anything except actual violence. Some of the more popular choices are: “Words; Opinions; Positions; Race; Presence; Borders; Jewishness.” Once you equate any of these things — anything — with violence, once you feel justified in committing violence in response, your actual positions no longer matter. You’re a thug. You’re a fascist. You’re a tyrant, petty or otherwise. You no longer have a place at the discussion table.

Violence is not in the same category as any other human interchange. Our right to life and safety is our first right and the one on which all others depend. Free speech, religious freedom, freedom of the press — none of these means anything if people are allowed to hurt or kill you for them. That’s why every civilized system of law recognizes: Violence is justified only as a response to actual or threatened violence. You can say the most awful things to me, but if I can’t show that real physical violence was a reasonable threat, I can’t legally respond with force.

Even the logic of fascism understands this — and seeks to disguise it by labeling as violence what is not violence at all: your words, your opinions, your race, the fact that you’re a Jew.

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Good News and Bad from the NR Cruise

July 25th, 2015 - 10:11 am

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Back from the National Review cruise to Alaska — or at least, on my way back in Seattle’s Sea-Tac Airport. It was a genuinely good time and in many ways not what I expected. The highlight, of course, was when Rob LongJonah Goldberg and Kevin Williamson came dancing off the ship in sailor suits and started singing Comden and Green songs (the video’s above). All right, that didn’t really happen, but a man can dream, can’t he?

I was thinking there’d be a lot of gloom and doom and Obama-has-destroyed-the-country and gay-people-are-getting- married-and-it’s-the-end-of-civilization-as-we-know-it and so on. And there was some of that, but a lot less than I feared. Euro MP Daniel Hannan, whom I’ve always admired, kept braving the frowning faces in the audience here and there to remind people that life is getting better for most people and that, even with Obama dragging us down like an anchor, the U.S. economy continues to grow.

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North To Alaska

July 17th, 2015 - 9:08 am

I’m off to Alaska on the National Review Cruise next week (pictured above). These cruise ships often make it difficult and expensive to get online so I may not be able to file. In my absence, you can get all the Klavan you want in fictional form. For adults, there’s Werewolf Cop, recently reviewed here, as:

One of the most clever uses of being a werewolf that I have ever read… Don’t start this book late at night because you are going to want to finish it before you go to bed. A high-octane suspenseful thriller.

For the young and young at heart, there’s Hostage Run, the second book in my MindWar trilogy, just reviewed at Redeemed Reader, where they said:

While Mindwar was very good, Hostage Run is even better.  Character development, nail-biting suspense, and action keep readers on the edge of their seats, and the ending?  You will have to read and see!

Those should keep you busy until I return to annoy you with more of my opinions!

 

The Future of Planned Parenthood

July 16th, 2015 - 7:45 am

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“So it is true that every one of our actions leaves some trace on our past, either dark or bright. So it is true that every step we take is more like a reptile’s progress across the sand, leaving a track behind it. And often, alas, the track is the mark of our tears!” [Spoken by a baby-killer in Alexandre Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo]

There will come a time when the people who run Planned Parenthood will be viewed as we view slaveholders today.

Today, you hear young people say, “Why should we listen to the people of the past?  Why should we admire their accomplishments? They held slaves. They were racists. They conquered other nations. Who cares what books they wrote? What discoveries they made? What governments they created? They owned people. They owned human beings as property. Why should we do anything but despise them?”

In the future, young people will say, “Who cares about 21st century technology? Those people murdered their babies. The very mothers who should have nurtured them had them torn out of their wombs piece by piece, their bodies sold in parts, burned for heat. Why should we admire their computers and phones? Their spaceships to Pluto? The medicines they discovered that we still use today? They killed their children. The very fathers who should have protected them, turned their backs and left them to die. Babies with no voice, no vote, no way to protect themselves. Those people slaughtered them just to insure they could have sex whenever they wanted, with whomever they wanted, without consequence to themselves. For their pleasure and convenience, they murdered millions and millions and millions.”

I sometimes try to explain to young people that the people of the past didn’t have our perspective. They had to fashion the ideas we already have. You can’t see what you can’t see, I tell them. You can’t know what you don’t know. Have pity. Have compassion. Take the good from the past and leave the bad behind.

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Anger Is Making Us Stupid

July 14th, 2015 - 10:18 am

“Hillary’s a great friend of mine. Her husband is a great friend of mine. They’re fantastic people. I mean, they’re — you know, the thing, they get a bad knock. She’s a very nice woman. People think, tough, tough. And I guess she’s tough, but she’s a very nice woman. And he’s a very nice guy. We know all about the smarts and how smart they are, and all, but they are good people.”  Donald Trump

“Fear is the path to the dark side,” said Yoda. “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

The glorified muppet had a point. I’ve been watching Republicans cheer for Donald Trump, the pro-amnesty, pro-government healthcarefriend of Hillary Clinton, and all-around Democrat backer, who, it seems pretty likely, is running for president to bleed off enough Republican support to ensure the Democrat candidate’s election.

Why are Republicans supporting a man who, for all his millions, can’t even buy himself a decent hairpiece? Because he said something that sounded sort of kind of nasty about all the Mexican criminals pouring into the country and then refused to back down when the corporate left pulled its usual Frankenstein mob scene to shut him up.

Why does that do it for us though? Why should some sort of nasty-sounding remarks make us support a RINO clown who doesn’t believe in anything we believe and can only help Hillary? I’ll let Jonah Goldberg explain it. He’s almost as wise as Yoda, much taller and slightly better looking:

The base of the party is angry. They’re angry about Obama’s lawless chicanery on immigration. They’re angry about the GOP’s patented inability to cross the street without stepping on its own d*ck and then having to apologize for it. They’re angry that the Left’s culture warriors are behaving like an invading army that shoots the survivors even after they’ve surrendered. They’re angry that Republicans have to bend over backward so as not to offend anyone, while Democrats have free rein (and at times free reign) to do and to say as they please.

Enter Trump, stage left. He makes no apologies. He’s brash. I can understand why some see him as a breath of fresh air.

Anyone who wants the truth about Trump should read this entire column. It’s Jonah at his best which means it’s as good as any political writing out there. In fact, the column is so good I have nothing to add to it except the following novelist’s observation.

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“Game Over” Is Coming!

July 10th, 2015 - 10:13 am

Game Over the final book in my MindWar trilogy won’t be out until January. But the young adult sci-fi thriller can be pre-ordered now and its very cool cover is already on display:

Great cover, I think. Thomas Nelson has done a wonderful job.

The trilogy, by the way, tells the story of Rick Dial. A high school football hero, he gets crippled in a car accident. Depressed, he locks himself away in his room playing video games — and becomes so expert at them, the government recruits him for a secret project. His mind is injected into a computerized world being used by a terrorist as a form of entry into our security systems. It’s him against the monsters of the terrorist’s sick imagination.

MindWar and Hostage Run are the first two installments.

Summer Reading From NRO

July 8th, 2015 - 11:16 am

The good folks at National Review Online asked me to contribute some ideas for summer reading. Here’s my response:

When I think of summer reading, I think of ragingly entertaining fiction, so if you want to go out and buy my own Werewolf Cop, I’ll understand, really.

Unfortunately for me, though, all the best books I’ve read so far this year have been serious non-fiction, and not particularly summery. Here they are:

Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag Montefiore. A look at the Soviet Union through the personal life of a mass-murdering psychopath and the people who loved him even as he murdered them. So powerful, it actually lowered my opinion of humankind! My wife asked me to stop reflecting on the book out loud because I was depressing her. So come on, this ought to make for a lovely day of beach reading for one and all!

Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country by Shelby Steele. Steele writes so well and thinks with so much humanity and compassion, he’s just a joy to read any time. Here he tells how his personal encounters with both racism and radicalism led him to embrace conservatism as the best way into the new age. I don’t always share his view of the 1960s, but I’m always interested to hear what he has to say.

John Wayne: The Life and Legend by Scott Eyman. I’m not much for Hollywood biographies but . . . John Wayne. And the book’s terrific, too. Eyman can’t quite comprehend Wayne’s conservatism, but for the most part he puts his prejudice aside and just brings the man to life. And Wayne comes across as a terrific guy, larger than life, vital, talented, modest, and kind. Eyman really understands movies and acting too. It’s a wonderful read.

The responses of the other contributors are here. And did I mention you should buy Werewolf Cop?  You should buy Werewolf Cop.

Me With Crowder

July 5th, 2015 - 8:20 am

On his weekly radio show/podcast, Steven Crowder and I discuss the important issues — like, if Spiderman identifies as a spider, does that make him a spider? (This is the off-the-air, uncensored version so there may be some language.)

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Second Kings, Chapter 6, contains one of my favorite Bible stories. The King of Aram (which was more or less Syria) is waging war against Israel. But every time he sets up an ambush, the prophet Elisha tips off the Israelites and they get away. Because Elisha is a prophet! So he knows what the Syrians are planning. Mightily ticked off, the Syrian king decides to take Elisha out. So he sends his army to surround the city of Dothan where Elisha is staying.

The next morning, Elisha’s servant steps outside, looks up and sees that the city is surrounded by Syrian horses and chariots. Panicked, he cries out to Elisha, “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?”

The prophet answers calmly, “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

He then prays that the servant’s eyes will be opened — and when the servant looks again, he sees that the hills are filled with horses and chariots of fire.

Recently I’ve been hearing a lot of conservatives saying things like, “It’s over. The left has won. This is no longer America. I’m not even going to celebrate the Fourth of July this year.” I confess this disturbs me. I expect feminists to squeal like hysterical little girls. I expect Social Justice Warriors to act like small boys who pretend to be heroes against imaginary enemies then run away from actual danger.

I expect conservatives to act like men and women — men and women who understand they are part of a fight for liberty that began when Moses killed the Egyptian slavedriver and will not end until Jesus comes again.

Open your eyes. The hills are filled with chariots of fire. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.

Happy Fourth of July.

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When Sociologists Go Bad

July 1st, 2015 - 11:50 am

I just finished reading Alice Goffman‘s in-the-field study of Philadelphia’s black slums, On The Run: Fugitive Life in an American City. I recommend it highly. It’s a wonderful piece of reporting. It’s also nuts. It’s worth reading for both reasons.

Goffman — a slight, attractive white girl and the daughter of famous sociologist Erving Goffman — lived for six years in a place she calls Sixth Street in Philly. There she befriended various black drug dealers and gangsters and their girlfriends. Completely losing her objectivity along the way, she actually reached a point where she chauffeured one of these thugs around town while he, his gun on his lap, searched for a man he wanted to kill. She’s lucky he didn’t find him. I don’t think that would’ve been sociology exactly. More like felony murder.

Anyway, Goffman writes well and observes well. She brings these dysfunctional characters and their milieu thoroughly to life. Then she proceeds to explain to us that ”this book is… a close-up look at young men and women living in one poor and segregated Black community transformed by unprecedented levels of imprisonment and by the more hidden systems of policing and supervision that have accompanied them.” Or as they put it in the musical West Side Story:  They ain’t no delinquents, they’re misunderstood.

This is silliness, of course. My City Journal colleague Heather Mac Donald — herself one of the nation’s truly great reporters — takes Goffman’s view to pieces in this excellent article.

Goffman’s own material demolishes this thesis. On the Run documents a world of predation and law-of-the-jungle mores, riven with violence and betrayal. Far from being the hapless victims of random “legal entanglements”—Goffman’s euphemism for the foreseeable consequences of lawless behavior—her subjects create their own predicaments through deliberate involvement in crime.

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