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Ed Driscoll

A Pinch of Agreement Between the Far Left and Far Right

January 31st, 2015 - 2:30 pm

“Would Reason writer prefer Chris Kyle were killed instead of an Iraqi? ‘If that’s the only choice, yes,’” as spotted by Twitchy:

We’ve already read plenty of criticism of “American Sniper,” which this weekend has overtaken “Saving Private Ryan” at the box office as the No. 1 war movie of all time. Some lefty magazines, such as The New Republic, have published “reviews” of the movie written by critics who openly admit they haven’t seen it. Frequent Huffington Post contributor Ferrari Sheppard tweeted that “people like [Chris] Kyle would blow my head off for walking down a dark street,” adding, “Don’t try to include me in the American family when it’s time to kill brown people overseas.”

So, what would the libertarian Reason magazine contribute to the conversation? Well, do you remember the writer whose hot take was to compare Kyle to Adam Lanza, the madman behind the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school?

* * * * * * *

Reason thought it would be a great idea to reprint that very essay.

If you thought that was the bottom of the barrel, you’re mistaken. Confronted on Twitter by TheBlaze contributor John Cardillo, Sheldon Richman admitted that if it came down to it, he’d prefer “invader” and “trespasser” Chris Kyle had been killed rather than an Iraqi.


His source was the New York Times, to borrow from the classic line in Dr. Strangelove. Or at the least, Richman’s tweets to Cardillo sound identical to the rants of Times scion Pinch Sulzberger at the height of his 20-something radical chic phase, as spotted by the Times’ fellow Manhattan lefties at the New Yorker:

“He had been something of a political activist in high school — he had been suspended briefly from Browning for trying to organize a shutdown of the school following the National Guard’s shooting of students at Kent State — and at Tufts he eagerly embraced the antiwar movement. His first arrest for civil disobedience took place outside the Raytheon Comapny, a defense and space contractor; there, dressed in an old Marine jacket of Punch’s, he joined other demonstrators who were blocking the entrance to the company’s gates. He was soon arrested again, in an antiwar sit-in at the J.F.K. Federal Building in Boston.

“Punch had shown little reaction after the first arrest, but when he got word of the second one he flew to Boston. Over dinner, he asked his son why he was involved with the protests and what kind of behavior the family might expect of him in the future. Arthur assured his father he was not planning on a career of getting himself arrested. After dinner, as the two men walked in the Boston Common, Punch asked what his son later characterized as ‘the dumbest question I’ve ever heard in my life’: ‘If a young American soldier comes upon a young North Vietnamese soldier, which one do you want to see get shot?’ Arthur answered, ‘I would want to see the American get shot. It’s the other guy’s country; we shouldn’t be there.’ To the elder Sulzberger, this bordered on traitor’s talk. ‘How can you say that?’ he yelled. Years later, Arthur said of the incident, ‘It’s the closest he’s ever come to hitting me.’”

How could Pinch even think of slugging Punch? After all, it’s the other guy’s mansion.

Linking linking to Richman’s piece at Reason, Ace’s co-blogger Maetenloch writes, “ask yourself whether [Richman's] article could have been comfortably published in say Mother Jones or the Guardian. That will tell where the real home of Libertarian foreign policy lies.” Or the New York Times, come to think of it. As Maetenloch writes, “reason #12 why I’m not a Libertarian.”

Ultimately, I concur, no matter how much I often agree with numerous libertarian writers and many of the articles at Reason.

Related: “Can the US ever win another war? It’s a question that everyone should face up to, and facing up to it isn’t easy.”

The Left is Slowly Devouring Itself

January 31st, 2015 - 12:55 pm

If you’ve ever wondered “What the Hell Does ‘Politically Correct’ Mean?” and would like to hear the Marxist origins of the phrase, and how it mutated into one of the catchphrases of the 1990s until today, Jesse Walker has you covered at Reason. Everyone on the right knows what it’s like to argue with someone whose been infected by the PC virus, a “word fetish,” as novelist John C. Wright dubs it, in pungent terms. “What the Leftist does in debate is utter his idiot word fetishes and slogans with the sneering hauteur of a card player displaying his trump card, or a chessmaster a checkmate,” Wright notes. “And when his nonsense does not win the debate, or even address the debate, he realized you are the OTHER, and he blames you, and insults your character, your intelligence, your education, your moral stature, your maturity, et cetera:”

When you do not return the handshake, he knows you to be the dread and dreaded OTHER, those peoples of whom he has heard but dim rumor, the non-Leftists who use that horrible thing called reason, a lamp that he hates as dearly as Gollum hates the sun.

Leftists always resort to this shift because it is the only arrow in their quiver. They do not have any reasoning to give. If they could reason, they would not be Leftists.

The Leftist must attack you. Your very existence is an affront to him, proof positive that his worldview is wrong. He has nothing to say to support his position, and he cannot shut up.

Certainly we’re seeing that played out on a national scale this month, with the crude Vietnam-era attacks from Michel Moore, Seth Rogen, Howard Dean, Bill Maher and others on the far left on Chris Kyle’s legacy due to the blockbuster success of American Sniper. These double as thinly-veiled (often not-so-thinly veiled) slurs on the rest of Red State America as well, of course, with “soft America” seething at the resurgence of “hard America,” to use Michael Barone’s phraseology from his 2004 book. How angry is soft America these days? As John Nolte noted last night at Big Hollywood, the Onion’s otherwise often enjoyable A.V. Club film and TV Website took a nasty shot this week at the owner of a small restaurant chain in Michigan who symbolically “banned” Michael Moore and Seth Rogen after their submoronic anti-American remarks. “And how does the AV Club respond to this symbolic but righteous protest? By using no fewer than 7 paragraphs to relentlessly mock the Little Guy and his business,” Nolte writes, “the saddest piece of starf**king I’ve ever come across:”

Is anyone else old enough to remember when speaking truth to and defying power was the in-thing?

When the American Left reveals who they are really for and against, it is chilling.

Know your place and shut your mouth, little man.

In one post, The AV Club revealed itself to be nothing more than a bunch of elite snobbish frat boy starf**kers at the ready to protect the wealthy and powerful against … some guy in Michigan.

Palace Guarding: The New Edgy.

However, as the PC virus spreads and metastasizes, it’s begun to devour those who carry the disease within them as well. Or as Charles Cooke writes at NRO, “The Left Realizes Too Late that Political Correctness Is a Virus, and now it’s eating their movement from within:”

Once upon a time, “political correctness” was little more than a benign left-wing version of old-church-lady tut-tutting. Today, by contrast, the designation is used to describe what has become a sprawling, unhinged, and invariably unfalsifiable conspiracy theory that can be used to dismiss anybody who violates this morning’s edition of the progressive catechism. “Gosh,” one can almost hear DeBoer and Chait asking themselves, “have we unleashed a brigade of poorly educated, parodically self-indulgent, and chronically illiberal morons into our movement, the better to destroy it from within? And, if we have, will we ever be able to rid ourselves of them?”

The answer to the latter question, one suspects, may well be “No,” for as Hollywood has taught us repeatedly over the years, it does not pay to unleash unpredictable viruses into the ecosystem — even if one gains temporarily by doing so. And make no mistake, “political correctness” is a virus — a nasty, cynical, destructive sickness that is akin in both theory and in practice to the sort of irritating malware that pushes endless streams of nonsensical dialogue windows onto your grandmother’s computer and prevents her from e-mailing her friends.

This efforts by the left to remove all who are “not of the body” as they say on Star Trek have been going on for a while — recall the intramural struggles in 2006 when the Kos Kidz tossed earnest liberal Joe Lieberman from the Democrat Party, and the equally nasty scrum in 2007 and 2008 in which the Obama supporters accused everyone of racism — starting with Hillary and Bill Clinton and their supporters. But as John Madden used to say whenever a long-struggling NFL team temporarily thrills its fan base finally made it to the Super Bowl, “winning is the best deodorant.” Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 papered over a lot of the cracks in the century-old coalition of self-described “Progressives.”

But once Obama revealed himself to be the tyro politician that all of his critics from Bill and Hillary on the left to John McCain and Sarah Palin on the right warned that he was in 2008, and once it was obvious that Socialist Utopia wasn’t going to be immediately reached, the left resumed its slow crack-up. 2011 saw the rise of Occupy Wall Street, which was largely a far left versus center left battle. As Cooke notes in his article, this week saw Jonathan Chait of New York magazine finally noticing that the PC movement has gotten out of hand, when it began to devour him, and he’s been as loyal a foot soldier in the attack on the rest of America as can be imagined.

How crazy has the left gotten? Take it away Jonah Goldberg, whose latest G-File is titled “China Syndrome Liberalism:”

Anyway, I am kind of excited, or at least entertained, by the spectacle of watching the Left eat itself. It’s like a terrible virus escaped from a lab at Brown University and is now spreading across the country, island hopping from campus to campus and beyond (I don’t merely mix metaphors, I put them in a salad spinner). My buddy James Lileks writes about how left-wing students at Berkeley (sort of redundant, I know) are starting to turn on Marx, not because of his potted theories of the dialectic, his crude reductionism of man to homo economicus, or even the fact that he set the foundation for turning the 20th century into an abattoir. No, Marx is bad because he’s just another dead white guy. The students write in the school paper:

We are calling for an occupation of syllabi in the social sciences and humanities. This call to action was instigated by our experience last semester as students in an upper-division course on classical social theory. Grades were based primarily on multiple-choice quizzes on assigned readings. The course syllabus employed a standardized canon of theory that began with Plato and Aristotle, then jumped to modern philosophers: Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, Marx, Weber and Foucault, all of whom are white men. The syllabus did not include a single woman or person of color.

First let me interject by noting that the moment anyone says to you “We are calling for an occupation of syllabi,” you can put your headphones back on and finish watching the latest episode of Gotham, because nothing that follows will be worth your time.

Anyway, they go on to gripe that Marx worked from the assumption that there are — or were — differences between men and women. The madman! The professor’s statement in defense of Marx, that “women give birth while men do not,” was enough to make some students flee the room, no doubt in search of a gender-neutral fainting couch. (“Don’t look at me! I’m all man” — The Couch).

This is like watching Godzilla stomp across Tokyo and your only complaint is he’s not wearing pants.

This is followed in Jonah’s G-File by the story of Mount Holyoke College cancelling their showing of Eve Ensler’s play “The Vagina Monologues” because “it is demeaning to ‘women’ who have penises,” as National Review on Dead Tree (accurately) deadpans. Meanwhile Reason spots even more campus PC madness as, “CUNY Tells Profs Not to Say ‘Mr.’ or ‘Ms.’ Because That’s Offensive and Illegal-ish (It’s Not).”

Or as Jonah adds:

[W]hen you think about it, the really funny part is that we’re still hearing how we conservatives need to get control of our nutjobs and extremists before average Americans will take us seriously. I’ll tell you what: “What.” I’ll also tell you that the typical Joe on the street will find gun rights and the Tenth Amendment reasonable and mainstream long before he gets his head around the idea that The Vagina Monologues is sexist because it lacks wangs in the cast — and I don’t mean Asians.

Heh.

Recently, Robert Tracinski asked at the Federalist, “Have We Already Reached Peak Leftism?” Certainly its efforts to consume itself are one sign of that, as is the recent implosion of the New Republic and the Andrew Sullivan’s self-imposed timeout announcement this week. And somewhat related to all of the above, there’s an understandable level of exhaustion among several of the left’s key components after having to defend the Obama administration’s insanities over the past six years (seven or eight actually, counting the time that Democrat operatives with bylines like Sullivan began to actively cheerlead for him.)

As Tracinski concludes:

What I mean to suggest is not that reversion to the mean is inevitable, but that this is an opportunity. The Left’s very strength, its nearly exclusive control of key cultural institutions, is also a weakness. Holding the line on a 95 percent groupthink in academia and the arts might end up being a lot harder than disrupting the leftist orthodoxy.

That disruption can happen only if a lot of people put forth a lot of effort to make it happen. But we have a powerful factor on our side: reversion to the mean.

I hope he’s right, but I fear the left’s century-long efforts bunkering deep into the media, academia and (of course) bureaucracies from the federal down to local governments throughout America means that it will be quite sometime before it’s even temporarily morning in America again, to coin a phrase.

The Biden 2016 campaign is certainly steaming along nicely, no?

At an event this morning, Vice President Joe Biden told Democrats that, “To state the obvious, the past six years have been really, really hard for this country.”

“And they’ve been really tough for our party. Just ask [former DCCC chair] Steve [Israel]. They’ve been really tough for our party. And together we made some really, really tough decisions — decisions that weren’t at all popular, hard to explain,” said Biden.

At the end of 2000 election, Slate noted, “In the wake of a successful centrist presidency and the best economy in memory, Gore adopted an angry populism as the tone of his campaign. Michael Kinsley aptly characterized this stance as ‘You’ve never had it so good, and I’m mad as hell about it.’”

Biden has reversed this formula: “To state the obvious, the past six years have been really, really hard for this country. And they’ve been really tough for our party.” So vote for me for four more years!

As for where things stand with the suddenly Romney-less GOP field, Tom Blumer has you covered over at the PJM homepage, along with one of my Photoshops for “George Stephanopoulos, Democrat Sniper.”

Related: Tanned, rested, and ready!

Correction of the Day

January 30th, 2015 - 4:53 pm

 

Somehow, I doubt the Gray Lady regrets the error.

“The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies,” historian Robert Conquest once said. As a corollary to that, I’m starting to think Eastwood hired Moore to be his secret PR man to promote American Sniper. This article in the London Daily Mail should ensure an extra $10,000,000 in ticket sales alone:

Michael Moore has confirmed that Clint Eastwood had previously threatened his life as the fallout between the pair continues after the filmmaker criticized the director’s movie, American Sniper.

Writing on his Facebook page, the documentary maker said Eastwood made the comments in January 2005 – ’10 years ago this week’ at the National Board of Review Awards dinner.

Moore said Eastwood announced ‘to me and to the crowd that he would ‘kill’ me if I ever came to his house with my camera for an interview.

‘I’ll kill you,’ he declared.’

Moore goes on to say that he thought Eastwood was “joking,” but hey, that’s the risk of how Moore chose to make his (exceedingly well-padded) bones: sometimes the ambush interviewer gets ambushed himself.

In other news concerning American Sniper:
chris_kyle_day_1-30-15-1

Michael Moore to imitate cover of first Led Zeppelin album when he hears this news in 3…2…1…

“From the Jewish point of view, European anti-Semitism is a sideshow,” Charles Krauthammer writes today. “The story of European Jewry is over. It died at Auschwitz. Europe’s place as the center and fulcrum of the Jewish world has been inherited by Israel. Not only is it the first independent Jewish commonwealth in 2,000 years. It is, also for the first time in 2,000 years, the largest Jewish community on the planet.”

“The threat to the Jewish future lies not in Europe but in the Muslim Middle East, today the heart of global anti-Semitism, a veritable factory of anti-Jewish literature, films, blood libels and calls for violence, indeed for another genocide,” he adds:

For America, Europe and the moderate Arabs, there are powerful reasons having nothing to do with Israel for trying to prevent an apocalyptic, fanatically anti-Western clerical regime in Tehran from getting the bomb: Iranian hegemony, nuclear proliferation (including to terror groups) and elemental national security.

For Israel, however, the threat is of a different order. Direct, immediate and mortal.

The sophisticates cozily assure us not to worry. Deterrence will work. Didn’t it work against the Soviets? Well, just 17 years into the atomic age, we came harrowingly close to deterrence failure and all-out nuclear war. Moreover, godless communists anticipate no reward in heaven. Atheists calculate differently from jihadists with their cult of death. Name one Soviet suicide bomber.

Former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, known as a moderate, once characterized tiny Israel as a one-bomb country. He acknowledged Israel’s deterrent capacity but noted the asymmetry: “Application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel, but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.” Result? Israel eradicated, Islam vindicated. So much for deterrence.

And even if deterrence worked with Tehran, that’s not where the story ends. Iran’s very acquisition of nukes would set off a nuclear arms race with half a dozen Muslim countries from Turkey to Egypt to the Gulf states — in the most unstable part of the world. A place where you wake up in the morning to find a pro-American Yemeni government overthrown by rebels whose slogan is “God is Great. Death to America. Death to Israel. Damn the Jews. Power to Islam.”

All of which makes this headline from Jeff Dunetz at his “Yid with Lid” blog, linking to an article in the Jerusalem Post all the more harrowing: “Report: Obama Has Already Given Iran 80% Of What They Want.”

In his latest column today at PJM, Andrew McCarthy quotes a great observation from Newt Gingrich:

At the Freedom Forum in Iowa last Saturday, Newt Gingrich drew an apt analogy to the period from the end of World War II through 1948, as the Iron Curtain consigned half of Europe to tyranny: Imagine that the president of the United States had been not Harry Truman but Stalin’s useful idiot, Henry Wallace – the former vice president whom FDR thankfully dumped from the Democratic ticket in 1944.

Had that happened, Gingrich opined, our president would have been assuring us, “There is no KGB. There is no Comintern. The Soviet Union is not a threat. Communism is okay. I don’t think you should be worried about all these things.”

Meaning: What we’d have had is defeat in the Cold War.

In 2007 and 2008, when the media pretended not to understand Obama’s radical chic far left worldview, he was compared with many well-known Democrats of history, such as FDR, JFK, Truman, and Bill Clinton. Funny, I don’t recall Wallace’s name being mentioned very often back then, but the comparison is certainly apt.

Romney Drops Out

January 30th, 2015 - 11:07 am

“Former GOP nominee Romney will not run for president in ’16,” AP reports:

After a three-week flirtation with a new campaign for the White House, Mitt Romney announced Friday that he will not seek the presidency in 2016.

“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” Romney told supporters on a conference call.

The exit of Romney, who was the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, comes after several of his former major donors and a veteran staffer in the early voting state of Iowa defected to support former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would have served as Romney’s most likely rivals for the support of the Republican Party’s establishment-minded voters.

A good man, but like John McCain before him, someone who was not prepared to close the sale and do whatever it took to win in the final weeks of his campaign. As the Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell told me in an interview that was one of many postmortems on Romney’s campaign, Romney was the only candidate he had ever seen who went into prevent defense mode in the final weeks of his campaign, even though he wasn’t winning.

And certainly, the Jonathan Gruber connection wouldn’t have helped him in 2016 if he was competing with Hillary Clinton, the mother of Obamacare.

‘It Doesn’t Get More Hostile Than This’

January 29th, 2015 - 6:57 pm

“Ugly anti-Muslim taunts by Texas lawmaker, protesters are embarrassments to Texans,” a Dallas Morning News columnist writes, with a severe case of the vapors:

Enter Rep. Molly White, R-Belton, who on her FaceBook page, directed staffers to ask Muslim visitors in to the Capitol for the seventh annual Texas Muslim Capitol Day to pledge allegiance to the U.S.

“I did leave an Israeli flag on the reception desk in my office with instructions to staff to ask representatives from the Muslim community to renounce Islamic terrorist groups and publicly announce allegiance to America and our laws,” she said on Facebook. “We will see how long they stay in my office.”

On top of that, about 200 Muslims intending to speak with legislators about the session were heckled by about 30 ”Christian protesters,” who shouted such mindless things as ”Islam will never dominate the United States and by the grace of God it will not dominate Texas.” Throughout the rally, Muslim children became upset when protesters shouted “get out” and “ISIS will gladly welcome you.”

So much for a warm Austin welcoming. It doesn’t get more hostile than this.

What a curious phrase from the author. Actually, as we’ve seen on 9/11, 7/7 and earlier this month in Paris, things can get far more hostile than this, hence Islam’s dramatically tarnished brand in the West since 9/11.

The photo the Dallas Morning News chose to tweet to promote their article is a fascinating choice:

As the first commenter to the Dallas Morning News‘ Tweet asks, “Which one of those signs do you people think embarrasses native Texans like me?”

Update: “Woman yanks mic at Texas Muslim Capitol Day: ‘False Prophet’ Muhammed ‘Will Never Dominate Texas!’” Video at link.

If only the protestors in Texas had flashed the approved PC hashtags — the most effective tool mankind has ever known!

#GamerGate: The Videogames of the Anointed

January 29th, 2015 - 2:46 pm

“Attention Peasants: The Show Trials Have Been Cancelled Until Further Notice!” shouts Brian Cates of the Draw and Strike blog, as he takes Thomas Sowell’s classic Vision of the Anointed playbook diagramming coordinated leftwing activism and its aftermath and applies it to GamerGate:

THE FOUR PATTERNS OF SOCIAL POLICY FAILURE

“STAGE 1. THE ‘CRISIS: Some situation exists, whose negative aspects the anointed propose to eliminate. Such a situation is routinely characterized as a ‘crisis’ ….Sometimes the situation…has in fact already been getting better for years.

STAGE 2. THE ‘SOLUTION’: Policies to end the ‘crisis’ are advocated by the anointed, who say that these policies will lead to beneficial result A. Critics say that these policies will lead to detrimental result Z. The anointed dismiss these latter claims as absurd and ‘simplistic,’ if not dishonest.

STAGE 3. THE RESULTS: The policies are instituted and lead to detrimental result Z.

STAGE 4. THE RESPONSE: Those who attribute detrimental result Z to the policies instituted are dismissed as ‘simplistic’ for ignoring the ‘complexities’ involved, as ‘many factors’ went into determining the outcome. The burden of proof is put on the critics to demonstrate to a certainty that these policies alone were the only possible cause of the worsening that occurred. No burden of proof whatever is put on those who had so confidently, [but wrongly], predicted improvement. Indeed, it is often asserted that things would have been even worse, were it not for the wonderful programs that mitigated the inevitable damage from other factors.”

As they say at BuzzFeed (and yes, I’ve been leaning hard on this horrible headline trope this week), you won’t BELIEVE what happens next! Read on, to see how the GamerGate attack on ordinary every day video game players who were minding their own business before being singled out as the this week’s Emmanuel Goldstein by the Socialist Justice Warriors played out using precisely this formula.

Andrew Klavan punches back twice as hard against the Killer But-Heads of the left in his latest Revolting Truth  video.

As their many “we support free speech, but…” statements indicate, it’s been obvious for quite some time that left doesn’t support free speech at all, As I said last year, the left’s longest modified limited hangout has officially concluded; militant Islam’s attack on Charlie Hebdo simply “heightened the contradictions” as Lennin would say.

And speaking of Lenin’s descendents

Related: “Is Jonathan Chait liberal?”, James Taranto asks at the Wall Street Journal. Read the whole thing.™

Goodbye to Sullivan & Sophistry

January 29th, 2015 - 1:10 pm

In his “A Long Overdue Goodbye to Andrew Sullivan,” Pejman Yousefzadeh, whom I believe first started blogging in 2002, right around the same time I did, writes, “Andrew Sullivan was one of two big-time bloggers–the other being, of course, Glenn Reynolds–to have helped put me on the blogospheric map. For that, I shall always be grateful.” Those early days of blogging were heady times indeed; living in California, I remember Glenn would sign off at around 9:00 or 10:00 PM pacific time, then I’d switch over to James Lileks’ Bleat, which would go live right around that time, then check if Steven Den Beste had written his daily mega-post of at least 5,000 words (or so it seemed at the time), and then around midnight, I’d see what new items Andrew Sullivan had posted. Forget Carson, Cavett, Snyder, and Letterman, this was some quality late-night programming tailor-made for discussing the immediate aftermath of the post 9/11-world:

At the outset, when I first started blogging, Sullivan’s political views and mine coincided quite neatly. After a while, they began to diverge. I certainly changed some of my political views as the years went on, and I don’t quite see how anyone could go an appreciable period of time without reappraising at least some political views. Sullivan’s views, of course, changed drastically. He went from being a supporter of George W. Bush to a fervent opponent. The shift began when Bush signed on to the Federal Marriage Amendment issue, and Sullivan reacted with outrage. I always got the sense that this issue became the jumping-off point for other Sullivanesque disagreements with the Bush administration; over Iraq, over interrogation and detention policy, and over foreign policy in general. Of course, it ought to go without saying that Sullivan was and is entitled to change whatever political views he wanted and wants to change.

So while Sullivan and I had our differences, some of those differences were reasonable in nature. Others . . . not so much.

In 2008, Sullivan decided that he really liked Barack Obama a lot. But he didn’t want to be identified as a contemporary American liberal, so he started concocting all sorts of ridiculous claims that the onetime senator and future president was and is a conservative. Hayek was cited, as was Locke, as was Oakeshott. Oakeshott was cited a lot. The claims, of course, made no sense whatsoever, but that didn’t stop Sullivan from making them, even as the rhetoric and policies from the White House became more and more port-sided. Of course, Sullivan could have taken the honorable road and simply announced a fundamental shift in his political philosophy. But instead, Sullivan, like Shakespeare’s Caesar, claimed and claims to be as constant as the North Star when it comes to his ideology, and his approach instead has been to desperately try to shoehorn Barack Obama into that ideology. It never worked before, it doesn’t work now, and it won’t work in the future, but Sullivan, not recognizing defeat when it stares him in the face, keeps on trying to make it work. The whole thing is rather pathetic, really.

Sullivan had begun that shtick four years earlier, in the aftermath of George W. Bush not supporting the notion of gay marriage during the election year of 2004. Sullivan, who had previously dubbed Bush 2002′s “Man of the Year”, at first hemmed and hawed over whether he would support him in again. And then this classic bit of sophistry appeared in the Sunday addition of the London Times and on Sullivan’s own Daily Dish blog:

The argument that Kerry must make is that he can continue the war but without Bush’s polarising recklessness. And at home he must reassure Americans that he is the centrist candidate, controlled neither by the foaming Michael Moore left nor by the vitriolic religious right.

Put all that together and I may not find myself the only conservative moving slowly and reluctantly towards the notion that Kerry may be the right man — and the conservative choice — for a difficult and perilous time.

I guess you could make the case that Kerry’s conservative in some fashion — he dresses nicely; his hair style is a cross between cold warriors JFK and Jack Kemp, freeze-dried to Shatner Turbo-2000 levels of perfection. But back in the real world, one need only look at Kerry’s infamous radical chic, anti-war, anti-American C.V. to realize that Sullivan was making himself look increasingly silly trying to make Kerry into something he obviously wasn’t rather than simply saying, I disagree with Bush on my defining issue, and as a result, I’ve moved to the left. Or, rather I moved back somewhere to the left; Sullivan was associated the New Republic magazine prior to blogging, after all.

And then the late summer of 2008 would of course see the emergence of Andrew Sullivan, Ace Uterus Detective, as Pejman goes on to note. By that time, Sullivan’s self-beclowning was complete.

Six years prior though, when he named GWB his man of the year in 2002, Sullivan wrote, “Forget the bloviations of the Hate-America-First crowd. History will one day credit Bush with patience, multilateralism and conviction. But right now, history is still being made. And there is a war to be continued and to be won.”

Well, it sounded good at the time, I guess.

Related: Will Andrew quit blogging permanently? “That’s what he says. I kinda doubt it,” Kathy Shaidle writes, and she’s been blogging as long as Andrew.

As they say in the music world, you have to break up the band before you can have the triumphant reunion tour to replenish the coffers — as Andrew himself well knows.

Update: “Conspiracy Theorist Andrew Sullivan Quits Blogging,” John Nolte writes at Big Journalism. But like the Stones and The Who sitting out most of the 1980s, it’s only a matter of time before the lucrative reunion tour begins: “Because Sullivan trained his debunked conspiracy theories at the child of a conservative woman and the Pope, he will always be welcome in the mainstream media.”

MSNBC: Still Jim Crow TV

January 29th, 2015 - 10:47 am

“Just when you thought MSNBC was giving up on calling everyone racist…”, Noah Rothman writes at Hot Air. Though that headline precedes from a false assumption: Nobody thinks that paranoid NBC and its spin-off channels would give up on calling its enemies racist:

In a discussion on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Thursday, NBC Foreign Affairs Correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin was asked for his thoughts on the wildly popular film American Sniper. After conceding that the film is powerful, Mohyeldin was prompted to expand on his obvious reservations about the movie’s subject matter. He let the veil drop.

“When you juxtapose it with the real Chris Kyle, and the story, and what has emerged about what kind of personality he was in his own words,” Mohyeldin began, “A lot of stories about when he was back home in Texas. A lot of his own personal opinions about what he was doing in Iraq; how he viewed Iraqis. Some of what people have described as his racist tendencies toward Iraqis and Muslim as he was going on some of these, you know, killing sprees in Iraq on assignment.”

Jaws hit the floor. To describe the performance of a decorated combat veteran in a hostile theater as a killing spree is to confess a level of bias that is virtually disqualifying for a foreign affairs reporter. The stigma associated with serving as a sniper in a war is painful enough for proficient sharpshooters, but to directly equate the actions of those servicemen with the behavior of a mass murder is beyond the pale.

Add this to the remarks from Michael Moore, Seth Rogen, and Max Blumenthal on Kyle, the left is once again revealing themselves as really not supporting the troops, no matter what their mission, a regression to their McGovern-era id. As with their lack of support of free speech and their terror over losing the PC overculture they’ve built, it’s a reminder that yet another modified limited hangout of the left has now concluded. (Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it.) And as Jeffrey Lord wrote at the American Spectator last year, MSNBC won’t be losing its sobriquet as “Jim Crow TV” anytime soon.

Vaginal Steaming? Is It Right For You?

January 28th, 2015 - 6:02 pm

“Vaginal Steaming Is the Only Way to Solve Your Problems,” Jezebel reports, in a headline that might just be slightly sexist:

Feeling tired, stressed or a little bit grumpy? Angry at your husband/wife/pet cockatoo? Feminine odors got you down? Well, there’s a centuries-old cure for all of that, and it’s getting hot air blown all the way up into your laughing place in a public setting. And it only costs 50 bucks. Isn’t your health worth that?

Laura Beck, Jezebel alumna, recently visited a “uterus spa” for Fast Company and the experience was… special. Beck, who I’ve been privileged to know for over a decade and whose vaginal health I’m always concerned about (some might say too concerned) went because Gwyneth Paltrow told her to. And you know what the rules are: If Gwyneth says you do it, you do it. If Gwyneth’s jumping off a cliff, mom: f*** yeah we’re all doing it.

Faster, please, to coin a phrase.

Alternate headline: Uterus Spas? Well now we know why the real reason why Andrew Sullivan is retiring.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Few among us have the raw intellectual firepower to go where he has. Fortunately, the internet tubes allow us to track his movements over time — an otherwise dizzying effort made more vertiginous by Sullivan’s kaleidoscopic mind. As with all things Sullivan, the best place to start is with human genitalia.

To say that Sullivan has focused his laser-like mind on human reproductive organs is to engage in an understatement worthy of the master himself. We could simply look at Sullivan’s relentless, years-long focus on circumcision (a relentlessness not well-captured by the internet tubes, as Sullivan’s archives traditionally become difficult to search when he moves from site to site), an unusual genre for a man who will never have children and who is not Jewish or Muslim, though perhaps not so unusual given his general interest in the member in question—

But to spend too much time on mere ponderings on the presence or absence of foreskin is to do Sullivan an injustice. Anyone can bloviate on that. Few men of letters — indeed, few doctors — can diagnose a woman’s pregnancy forensically from a handful of news articles and photographs. Few are gifted with the ability to toss out thousands of words as tightly organized as Ulysses at the drop of a hat and still able to offer informed medical opinions on changes to the female body during mid- and late-term pregnancy –opinions at odds with normal understandings of human biology and the preeminent textbooks of the field.

But then again, few men are Andrew Sullivan. Depending on the day, Andrew Sullivan might not even be Andrew Sullivan.

And soon, he will no longer be gracing us with his pixels. How, oh how will the Internet survive?

Related: Last of the Four Horsemen Of The Ablogalypse still riding!

Update:

Of course, these are the same journalists who upon his recent death described Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah as a modernizing forward-thinking reformer, so consider the source. In the MSM, One man’s slimy opportunistic uterus detective is another man’s respected journalist, as Reuters and Al Jazeera might say.

As always, life imitates Liberal Fascism, which had several passages devoted to the “Wrong Turn” theory of history, which is an ever-popular-trope with a diverse group of lefitsts who wish to identify as victims, and/or wish to hit the control-alt-delete button on progress in general:

Nowhere is the idea of the Wrong Turn more starkly expressed in both National Socialist and contemporary liberal thought than in environmentalism. As many have observed, modern environmentalism is suffused with dark Rousseauian visions about the sickness of Western civilization. Man has lost his harmony with nature, his way of life is inauthentic, corrupting, unnatural.

* * * * * * * *

Hitler believed that man had mistakenly acquired the habit of eating meat out of desperation during the Ice Age and that vegetarianism was the more authentic human practice.

* * * * * * * *

The myth of the Wrong Turn at the heart of liberal fascist ideology doesn’t merely generate exotic conspiracy theories and pseudo history, but, as suggested above, it promotes a profound moral relativism. Indeed, feminism’s embrace of Wicca is a perfect illustration of the pagan narcissism mentioned earlier. Many Wicca ceremonies conclude with the invocation “Thou Art Goddess.” There are no explicit rules to Wicca, merely exhortations to cultivate “the Goddess within,” to create the spirituality that best conforms to your already-formed prejudices, desires, and instincts.

* * * * * * *

Gore alternately blames Plato, Descartes, and Francis Bacon as the white male serpents who tempted mankind to take the wrong turn out of an Edenic past. What is required is to reunite our intellects, our spiritual impulses, and our animalistic instincts into a new holistic balance. Nothing could be more fascistic.

And alas nothing is more common among the left. But on the plus side, to paraphrase Moe Lane’s headline, if you can read this, thank a cisgender patriarchal male oppressor for making it happen!

Related: At Breitbart London: “Pictures: Animal Rights Thugs Beat Hunt Master Senseless With Iron Bars,” an example of the Wrong Turn school of leftism getting violent. Well, not as violent en toto as World War II, but still.

Quote of the Day

January 27th, 2015 - 11:59 pm

I’ll never forget Claude Lanzmann, the director of Shoah, the nine-and-a-half-hour Holocaust documentary, shouting at me, accusatorially, in his Parisian flat: “There is even a baby picture of Hitler!” Virtually aghast at the very idea that there could be such a picture, because it would insidiously ensnare people into the evil enterprise of trying to explain why — why that innocent infant evolved into a genocidal monster.

Lanzmann rejected any such “understanding,” preferring a Hitler who sprang full-blown like a demon in our midst. Almost like Macduff, not “of woman born,” Hitler not of human formed. A hostility to the baby picture, almost disclaiming the picture’s right to exist because of its misleading potential. All of which led, after the French publication of the book, to my clash with Lanzmann, which the Parisian magazine Le Figaro called “L’Affair Rosenbaum. ”

Of course, it is true, many explanations become exculpations, but I would suggest that does not deny, prima facie, the validity of the search to know more than we do. Or entail forgiveness — on the grounds that “to understand all is to forgive all” — no matter how much we know. Maybe we will never know all, never know enough, but it won’t necessarily be because we’re dealing with a supernatural creature beyond human explanation. It may be because human nature has more profound depths than we imagined. Or it may be that we lack some crucial piece of his personal history.

But something or some things made Hitler want to do what he did. It wasn’t a concatenation of impersonal, external forces, a kind of collective determinism. It required his impassioned personal desire for extermination, even at the potential cost of defeat for Germany. It required him to choose evil. It required free will.

“Hitler, Continued: Afterword from the Updated Edition of ‘Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil,’” by Ron Rosenbaum, Los Angeles Review of Books, July 10th, 2014.

Political Correctness is the Essence of Leftism

January 27th, 2015 - 10:42 pm

“In a widely praised piece for New York Magazine, liberal writer Jonathan Chait says the leftist language police are perverting liberalism,” Sean Davis writes at the Federalist. “Chait is wrong. The politically correct language police don’t pervert modern liberalism; they embody it. And amateur leftist thought cop Jonathan Chait himself is proof.” Read the whole thing, including this passage:

Now, some will say that Chait has been unnecessarily provocative in his writing. That he should’ve made a better effort to reach out to the people he’s criticizing. The problem with this framing is that it presumes the angry rage mobs roaming Twitter in search of someone who has insufficiently checked his or her or its privilege are open to debate, to having their mind changed. That they’re interested in having a calm, rational discussion. This is a faulty presumption. It’s impossible to have a polite discussion on this topic because the outraged don’t want to have any discussion on this topic. As Chait puts it:

If a person who is accused of bias attempts to defend his intentions, he merely compounds his own guilt. (Here one might find oneself accused of man/white/straightsplaining.) It is likewise taboo to request that the accusation be rendered in a less hostile manner. This is called “tone policing.” If you are accused of bias, or “called out,” reflection and apology are the only acceptable response — to dispute a call-out only makes it worse. There is no allowance in p.c. culture for the possibility that the accusation may be erroneous. A white person or a man can achieve the status of “ally,” however, if he follows the rules of p.c. dialogue. A community, virtual or real, that adheres to the rules is deemed “safe.”

Actually, there’s been a term for this since at least 2010, when Eric Raymond of the Armed & Dangerous blog coined the portmanteau “Kafkatrapping”:

One very notable pathology is a form of argument that, reduced to essence, runs like this: “Your refusal to acknowledge that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…} confirms that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…}.” I’ve been presented with enough instances of this recently that I’ve decided that it needs a name. I call this general style of argument “kafkatrapping”, and the above the Model A kafkatrap. In this essay, I will show that the kafkatrap is a form of argument that is so fallacious and manipulative that those subjected to it are entitled to reject it based entirely on the form of the argument, without reference to whatever particular sin or thoughtcrime is being alleged. I will also attempt to show that kafkatrapping is so self-destructive to the causes that employ it that change activists should root it out of their own speech and thoughts.

My reference, of course, is to Franz Kafka’s “The Trial”, in which the protagonist Josef K. is accused of crimes the nature of which are never actually specified, and enmeshed in a process designed to degrade, humiliate, and destroy him whether or not he has in fact committed any crime at all. The only way out of the trap is for him to acquiesce in his own destruction; indeed, forcing him to that point of acquiescence and the collapse of his will to live as a free human being seems to be the only point of the process, if it has one at all.

This is almost exactly the way the kafkatrap operates in religious and political argument. Real crimes – actual transgressions against flesh-and-blood individuals – are generally not specified. The aim of the kafkatrap is to produce a kind of free-floating guilt in the subject, a conviction of sinfulness that can be manipulated by the operator to make the subject say and do things that are convenient to the operator’s personal, political, or religious goals. Ideally, the subject will then internalize these demands, and then become complicit in the kafkatrapping of others.

But it’s all moot anyhow, since the blunt force of the mob doesn’t arrive en masse to discuss an issue, but to pummel the soon to-be-unperson guilty of doubleplusungood thoughtcrime into submission, or at least into silence, as Davis writes in his response to Chait, and as Ace writes in his:

Mobs do not “argue.” They intimidate or humiliate (or both). Mobs do not engage in an enlightened, reasonable dialogue. They shout ritualized chants. Mobs are not interested in persuading someone of their wrongness of their claims; they only care about shutting the speaker up, whether he’s changed his mind or not.

An argument from a single author (or group acting together to write a single paper) is an instrument of reason; a mob which selects a target and then attacks that target with wolf-pack like tactics is an instrument of emotion.

Human beings are in fact hard-wired, as an evolutionary matter, to cringe before the baying mob; and they are further hard-wired to feel empowered by being part of an angry, screaming mob.

So it’s not quite true that joining up with a mob is “speech” just like any other speech. The “speech” of a mob is emotionally abusive and personally intimidating — and it is hardwired into our brains to find it such, when directed at we ourselves.

On the other hand, we’re also hard-wired to really enjoy leading a mob against someone. It feels good. There is no denying that; I’ve felt damned good everytime I’ve joined up with a mob.

And it is precisely because it Feels So Good to engage in coordinated mob cruelty that thoughtful people must resist the lure and call out mobs where they see them.

And of course, it’s not like Chait himself is very pure in this department, but as Steve Hayward quips at Power Line, “A Foolish Consistency Is the Hobgoblin of Chait’red Minds”:

Except that Chait doesn’t seem to live by his own principles.  Because last week he wrote a column in which he argued that climate skepticism ought to disqualify someone from holding public office:

The Republican Party confidently and forthrightly rejects the firm conclusions of science on a major public-policy question. Isn’t that a completely disqualifying position? If a candidate for a managerial job at your office insists that two plus three equals seven, it wouldn’t matter how well-qualified this candidate may be at any other aspect of the job. Even if you agreed with everything else the Republicans stood for, how could a party so obviously unhinged be entrusted with power?

Never mind Chait’s completely tendentious rendering of the climate debate in those three sentences: I guess there are limits to Chait’s embrace of free expression.

And as Kevin D. Williamson adds at the Corner, Chait’s main beef is that the leftwing mob is now using PC “as a cudgel against white liberals such as Jonathan Chait, who had previously enjoyed a measure of immunity”:

Chait isn’t arguing for taking an argument on its own merits; he’s arguing for a liberals’ exemption to the Left’s general hostility toward any unwelcome idea that comes from a speaker who checks any unapproved demographic boxes, the number of which — “cisgendered,” etc. — is growing in an appropriately cancerous fashion. “White males” is a category that includes Jonathan Chait and Rush Limbaugh, and Chait, naturally, doesn’t like that much.

As Williamson notes, Chait still hates the right far more than he does any activity by the left. His piece in New York magazine even mentions:

liberals are correct not only to oppose racism and sexism but to grasp (in a way conservatives generally do not) that these biases cast a nefarious and continuing shadow over nearly every facet of American life. Since race and gender biases are embedded in our social and familial habits, our economic patterns, and even our subconscious minds, they need to be fought with some level of consciousness.

Nice. Is this a subconscious attempt at the old Marxist trope that those who aren’t true believers are suffering from “a false consciousness?” Or that those on the right have no conscience at all? Additionally, Sean Davis has a screen shot of Chait calling those who oppose Obamacare not just wrong but both “denialists” and “insane” a year ago, which simultaneously dovetails with his aforementioned wish to blacklist those who don’t tow the global warming orthodoxy, and mashes up a callback to Holocaust deniers with the classic Soviet political psychiatric style of declaring your opponents insane.

Of course, madness is a trait Chait has some familiarity with himself; 12 years ago he explored “Why I Hate George W. Bush” in a piece published by the New Republic.

P.C. M.D., heal thyself.

Recently, Ace’s sidebar linked to a piece by a left-leaning journalist at Splice Today.com who found himself caught up in the middle of the Socialist Justice Warrors  and the GamerGate brush wars.  He described himself as being “Swiftboated on Twitter” by the SJWs, which, of course, he described as a pejorative:

John Kerry started off as a war hero but then got swiftboated by the opposition with lies. As a result, an honorable soldier who had risked his life in the service of his country came to be seen by many voters as having a compromised military record.

Oh to be a fly on the wall if he was ever asked how exactly did Kerry’s fellow vets lie about him, especially Kerry’s own “JJJJenggggghis Khan” moment where he launched his far left political career by selling out his fellow vets in the Senate.

I don’t want to rehash the history of 2004 — or 1971. But as with Chait inserting his imagined superiority over the right at a moment where he could use their help in his defense, why use a phrase that instantly alienates half of your potential allies on the right?

Because being attacked by the left apparently isn’t as bad as facing banishment to the complete intellectual Siberia of being declared an apostate, which seems to be Chait’s fear as well.

At least for the moment. Don Kilmer, an attorney and, like me, a fellow conservative denizen behind the Blue State lines of Silicon Valley argues it’s just a matter of time for Chait to really have second thoughts. On Twitter, at least one person attempted to disabuse Kilmer of this notion:

I agree — and it’s difficult to be sympathetic to someone who will probably resume attacking conservatives and the right in general even more vociferously now, if only to tacitly beg for admittance back into the (alas) PC club. I’d like to be more sympathetic to Chait’s current plight, but until he stops attacking the right, I’m inclined to agree with Michael Walsh at the PJ Tatler when he declares Chait’s current predicament “a Laughing at the Death of Little Nell” moment.

Though to be fair, if anyone would accuse the right of having a heart of stone, it’s Jonathan Chait.

Update: Dispatches from the Manichean left:

Life Has Become Super-Cereal

January 27th, 2015 - 12:47 pm

“Why A Fake Article Titled ‘Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?’ Was Accepted By 17 Medical Journals,” Fast Company explains:

Shrime decided to see how easy it would be to publish an article. So he made one up. Like, he literally made one up. He did it using www.randomtextgenerator.com. The article is entitled “Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?” and its authors are the venerable Pinkerton A. LeBrain and Orson Welles. The subtitle reads: “The surgical and neoplastic role of cacao extract in breakfast cereals.” Shrime submitted it to 37 journals over two weeks and, so far, 17 of them have accepted it. (They have not “published” it, but say they will as soon as Shrime pays the $500. This is often referred to as a “processing fee.” Shrime has no plans to pay them.) Several have already typeset it and given him reviews, as you can see at the end of this article. One publication says his methods are “novel and innovative”!. But when Shrime looked up the physical locations of these publications, he discovered that many had very suspicious addresses; one was actually inside a strip club.

Shrime decided to see how easy it would be to publish an article. So he made one up. Like, he literally made one up. He did it using www.randomtextgenerator.com. The article is entitled “Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?” and its authors are the venerable Pinkerton A. LeBrain and Orson Welles. The subtitle reads: “The surgical and neoplastic role of cacao extract in breakfast cereals.” Shrime submitted it to 37 journals over two weeks and, so far, 17 of them have accepted it. (They have not “published” it, but say they will as soon as Shrime pays the $500. This is often referred to as a “processing fee.” Shrime has no plans to pay them.) Several have already typeset it and given him reviews, as you can see at the end of this article. One publication says his methods are “novel and innovative”!. But when Shrime looked up the physical locations of these publications, he discovered that many had very suspicious addresses; one was actually inside a strip club.

Shrime’s experiment, uncovering numerous bogus scientific publications that will publish anything for a buck is sort of the reverse of the experiment by an NYU physics professor named Alan D. Sokal, who in 1995, who drafted the most densely-written academic gobbledegook he could imagine, titled it “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity,” sent it off to a leading academic publication, who happily, cluelessly published it.

Ultimately, unless you’ve set out to publish a long form advertorial or quasi-direct response ad, if you have to pay to publishing something (beyond say, monthly badwidth charges if you host your own Website or blog, of course), you’re doing it wrong.

But two questions: Why shouldn’t Michael Crichton’s “Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect” apply exclusively to laymen?

And doesn’t this article call out for the expert commentary of one superstar political commentator in particular?

Scenes from The Dark Knight Rises

January 26th, 2015 - 10:45 pm

Huh. The reporting out of Bill de Blasio’s New York turned into a Batman movie a lot sooner than even I expected when I Photoshopped him into Bane a year ago:

di_blasio_bane_batman_1-2-14-3

By the way, the doomsday “reporting” on CNN tonight was hilarious: Don Lemon leaves his usual search for airplane-sized black holes to stand under slushy snow coming down in midtown Manhattan, while other CNN anchors stand and drive in snow down Park Ave. and Boston. They covered no other news, and there wasn’t even a ticker at the bottom on the screen reporting on news elsewhere in the US and around the world. And the Chryon described “‘Historic’ Snow Falls,” complete with unnecessary quotation marks around “Historic” for extra-added postmodern irony. Dave Barry’s tweet sums up the tone perfectly:

And speaking of wintery movie tie-ins:

But hey, news mastermind Jeff Zucker always knows what he’s doing, right?

Related: Andrew Klavan on the media, decades of their zany global warming predictions, and “All of the Leftists, All of the Time.”

When Memes Collide

January 26th, 2015 - 6:13 pm