“This is David. He’s the most right-wing person I know.”
– Howard Bloom introducing me to others before his talk, immediately blowing my cover. #DangIt #FacePalm
I didn’t know what to expect a few weeks ago when my friend Howard Bloom — author of science books The Lucifer Principle, Genius of the Beast, Global Brain, The God Problem, and the new e-book The Mohammed Code — invited me to hear him present his new proposal for space colonization to a small group. Howard has been one of my major intellectual influences for years. All of his books are included in my counterculture conservative reading list and I’ve focused on studying his most recent two on Saturdays for the “Radical Reading Regimen” I’ve started developing to try to organize my research. I already knew what to expect from Howard, both in content and delivery. He had sent me the visual outline he was to present many months ago. And I knew his infectious, enthusiastic delivery style. The big mystery that perplexed me: who exactly might I encounter at this gathering? (Hopefully not anyone in the counterculture community I had already offended — and I could think of a few in Howard’s circle…)
I knew the spectrum of Bloom enthusiasts. Over the past few decades since retiring from a wildly successful career in the music PR business to transition to full-time science author and public intellectual, Bloom had attracted a number of different followings as varying demographics connected with the VERY WIDE range of postions he articulated. Initially Howard attracted varieties of countercultural, secularist, and futurist audiences from his first two books. Many people first connected with Howard’s work as I did a decade ago when Richard Metzger’s Disinformation Company was at its peak and showcased him in books and a legendary TV show. He still has that legion of fans and acquaintances — who make themselves known on his Facebook page. I’m the rare one among this fan base who after graduating from college in 2006 as a secular progressive drifted toward political conservatism by 2009 and *gasp* the dreaded social conservatism and Bible-based religion by 2011. By this time Howard had released a third book, The Genius of the Beast, that I connected with, as it provided a new, innovative defense of my newfound radical capitalist creed.
As I got to know Howard personally after reviewing Beast, I found other views which synched with my unapologetic Tea Party conservatism. Howard was raised by secular Zionists and had spent decades studying Islam, arriving at an analysis in The Mohammed Code comparable to Robert Spencer’s in indicting the faith of Mohammed as an inherently violent, totalitarian, desert death cult.
But I was going to keep my mouth shut about all my nonsense. Three years now living out in Los Angeles as a full-time, professional conservative new media editor I’ve learned very well how to downplay my profession or to spin it in ways that sound harmless so as not to draw attention to myself at social gatherings. When I’m at a dinner party with my wife’s art colleagues and grad school friends, it doesn’t do me (or her) any favors to get detailed about how I spend my days editing ex-Marxists, former Soviet spymasters, and both dissident Muslim mystics and polemical ex-Muslim anti-jihad activists. And I’ve been calling the president an evil, antisemitic criminal who needs to be impeached and go to jail since before the election…
But there Howard went and did it as we stood talking with a retired music executive, a documentary filmmaker, and a music video director: “Most right-wing person I know!” I think Howard “outed” me for two reasons, first to signal that I could be myself and second to demonstrate the point that he then made explicitly to the others there, that his ideas had a broad appeal and could be appreciated by people across the political and religious spectrums.
Or he was probably just not thinking, just being off-the-top-of-his-head-himself, following his first rule of science: the Truth at any price, even the price of your life.
We have chatted and swapped emails about our occasionally differing views of popular culture. But we have yet to really dialogue in a constructive manner to try and illuminate and — perhaps, I sincerely hope — resolve our differences. With your compelling defense of Game of Thrones and your encouragement of Christians to engage with reality and the culture at large, this looks like a good opportunity to illustrate how my perspective on film has changed over the last four years and why we’re now in some ways polar opposites on pop culture preferences, at least when it comes to HBO’s offerings. You’ve named Game of Thrones as your favorite show. Sorry, but having watched everything up to tonight’s finale, I really HATE this show. It’s a textbook example of everything that sickens me about our culture today and that someday I’ll write a book about to diagnose fully. I agree with th commenter “Recovering Lutheran” from your post:
First, let’s get the obvious out of the way. “Game of Thrones” is not art. It is “Dungeons and Dragons” crossed with Playboy magazine, with a dash of “Days of Our Lives” thrown in. The plot is meandering and often pointless, the dialogue is tedious and sometimes predictable, the acting is mostly wooden, and the only thing that keeps much of the audience from tuning out is the prospect of a shapely actress doing the Full Monty. Most of the things that make science fiction and fantasy absorbing are diminished or absent in “Game of Thrones”. If you ever wondered what would have happened if Hugh Hefner had tried to make “Lord of the Rings”, you need not wonder any longer.
You’ve known me since not long after I started editing full time. I was 25 and was only a defense hawk and fiscal conservative but still “socially liberal.” Since then, for a variety of reasons (particularly my return to belief in God), I’ve come further in my ideological shift. I’m genuinely embarrassed by some of the socially conservative positions I find myself now arguing. Never in a million years did I foresee myself as the type that would ever side with those cautioning against pornography’s downsides and the “shocking” content in art. You’ve talked in the past about how you disagree with our mutual friend Ben Shapiro about his Orthodox Judaism-inspired approach to culture and sex. I used to also — and I still disagree with Ben from time to time on issues and tactics (particularly on gay marriage. This is a theological difference deriving from an interpretation of scripture. He and I will just have to keep arguing about it). But on the fundamental issue, the social conservatism he explicates from his traditional reading of the Torah is correct: sex is sacred. It’s impossible to have “casual sex” with someone — every sexual act is transformative. I came to this understanding differently than him, though, through first-hand experience and painful mistakes.
I present an email exchange (in full, unedited) that I had Friday afternoon from an email received via the PJ Media contact form, reprinted with permission from the sender. Consider this a warning to all who would seek to study the work of Whittaker Chambers and urge others to buy copies of his stunning, historically important memoir Witness using blogs and New Media. PJ Lifestyle will no longer discuss or quote from Whittaker Chambers, out of sincere respect for the author’s descendants’ wishes. Plenty of other books I’m eager to read explore similar ideas about history, courage, ideology and extraordinary lives that I’m currently researching for my own books and ebooks.
So I will cease my study of Chambers — I’ve read enough to get the idea… And I will now give other figures in the history of the conservative movement the attention they deserve. I’m also burnt out on Ayn Rand, the author I was reading juxtaposed with her nemesis Chambers on Thursdays. I’m 116 pages in and was expecting by now to be so hooked that I would’ve ignored all other books in favor of following Dagny Taggart and John Galt. It’s a fun book and I agree with most of its general points (minus the atheism) and individualist spirit but I guess my fanatical radical capitalist train already left the station. I already delight in shocking my Democrat friends and family by proclaiming we have no need of Social Security and the goal of my generation over the course of the next 20 years should be to dissassemble about 85-95% of the New Deal and its demonic government grandchildren, the Great Society and Obamacare… Perhaps it’s time to move on to reading Marvin Liebman’s Coming Out Conservative: An Autobiography and William F. Buckley Jr.’s novel Getting It Right for my Thursday study of Conservative Movement history.
PJ Lifestyle is also still very interested in studying and promoting the stories of ex-leftists, ex-Marxists, ex-Communists, ex-”Liberals”, ex-Muslims, ex-Secularists, ex-Democrats, as well as any other individual who has escaped a cult or poisonous political, religious, or cultural ideology. Please contact me at DaveSwindlePJM [@] gmail [.] com to share your story and your book recommendations. I’m currently accepting additional suggestions to add to my 7 piles in my Radical Reading Regimen. And if you are a publisher and would like excerpts from your book featured at PJ Lifestyle (or reviews of your book by our authors) then please contact me. I am a lifelong book enthusiast raised by a librarian mother and seek only to encourage all humans to read widely and deeply every day of their lives of the books that can improve and transform both them and their country…
Subject: [PJM EDITORIAL] Please contact me
Date: June 7, 2013 1:49:58 PM PDT
FROM: David Chambers
Dear PJ Media,
Please contact me regarding continued quotes from Whittaker Chambers by “PJ Lifestyle.”
He was either wanting to discourage my promotions of Witness or offer some kind of assistance or collaboration. I responded already knowing that my attempt at celebrating a heroic figure’s memory had likely already been misinterpreted:
——– Original Message ———
Subject: Re: [PJM EDITORIAL] Please contact me
From: “Dave Swindle”
Date: 6/7/13 5:01 pm
I hope my use of quotes from Witness has not caused any offense. Is something wrong?
David Swindle Associate Editor
Follow me on Twitter:http://twitter.com/DaveSwindle
David Chambers responded quickly…
Read more at TMZ. And some recommended books on the subject:
Why Benghazi Is a Crime More Evil Than Anything a President Has Done in Our Lifetimes… in 60 Seconds
I published this on November 4, the conclusion of an article titled “The 15 Best Books for Understanding Barack Obama’s Mysterious Political Theology,” and a summation of my conclusions after more than three years spent investigating the president’s ideology full time:
Sitting here on this Sunday morning before the election, the Sun now up, reflecting back on these years scouring through dusty old Marxist books, trying to understand a president who built his career on a mountain of lies, I confess a peace with either electoral result on Tuesday. A part of me almost wishes that Obama
stealswins reelection (as I anticipate he will). The thought of him quietly retiring to a mansion in Hawaii in January to live out the rest of his life in comfort and adoration should inspire nausea. Only if Obama wins reelection do conservatives have a chance to hold him accountable for Benghazi, Fast and Furious, and all the crimes we don’t even know about yet. The man has blood on his hands and we can’t let him get away with it.
An ancient dictum popularized in recent years by the late Christopher Hitchens on the path forward, should Tuesday disappoint:
Fiat justitia ruat caelum
Do Justice and Let the Skies Fall
On this Memorial Day reflecting back on the heroic men and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedom, I recall a symbol in our popular culture who signifies how much we’ve lost. Back in January I published a 7000-word polemical analysis of the religious, philosophical, and esoteric themes in my favorite superhero film: 10 Secret Reasons Why The Avengers Is the Best Superhero Film.
In the article I make the case that the reason why these characters resonate with us at such a deep emotional level is because they reinvent mysterious themes and symbols buried within our culture that we don’t fully understand. Here’s what I had to say about the significance of Captain America and how we can apply his lessons to our own fight against today’s tyrants both big and small:
5. Captain America Embodies the Disk, Steve Rogers Has Mastered the Physical World. As the Super Soldier He Stands Shield-in-Hand as an Inspiring Symbol Against Nazi Slavery.
Back to Stan Lee’s deposition on the origins of the Marvel universe’s pantheon of demi-gods:
Q. To your recollection, were there any characters that Kirby had created before he was working with you or anyone at Marvel that he brought to Marvel and then were then published by Marvel?
STAN LEE: No, I don’t believe so. I don’t recall any. Oh, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Captain America, for God’s sake. He and Joe Simon had created Captain America.
STAN LEE: Now, by the time in the 60s, Jack came to work for us, we weren’t — there was no more Captain America. We weren’t publishing it because Martin Goodman thought it was just a World War II character and people wouldn’t be interested in it anymore.
I always loved the character, so I decided to bring it back. And I tried to write a story where he had been frozen in a glacier for years, and they found him and he came back to life, and so forth. And I tried to give him some personality where he always felt — he was an anachronism. He was living in our day, but yet he had the values of 20 or 30 years ago. And I tried to make him a little bit interesting.
Captain America reflects the ideal American soldier both in body and patriotic values — two realms not often understood as interrelated. He reveals that the real power lies in ideas. Captain America’s authority flows from his moral character — the pursuit of mastering one’s mind, emotions, and will generates the strength to control one’s own body and then the rest of the physical world. One must master his body in order to accurately project his will out from it.
We don’t often realize that the shield is not just a big hunk of metal one hides behind. Captain America reminds us of its devastating use as a weapon. With shield in hand one can deflect an opponent’s attacks back at him. Then, when the moment is right and they are most vulnerable, you fling your shield with precision like a discus. Just because the shield is smooth doesn’t mean the edges can’t cut deep.
Here’s a clip of Breitbart.com Editor-At-Large Ben Shapiro providing an example of how to do this in real life:
And here’s what the edge of the shield feels like:
SHAPRIO: This is what I wanted to ask you, Piers, because I have seen you talk about assault weapons a lot, and I have seen Mark Kelly talk about assault weapons. The vast majority of murders in this country that are committed with guns are committed with handguns, they are not committed assault weapons. Are you willing to ban handguns in this country, across this country?
MORGAN: No, that’s not what I’m asking for.
SHAPIRO: Why not? Don’t you care about the kids who are being killed in Chicago as much as the kids in Sandy Hook?
MORGAN: Yes, I do.
SHAPIRO: Then why don’t you care about banning the handguns in Chicago?
Click here to read all of 10 Secret Reasons Why The Avengers Is the Best Superhero Film. But really you should just bookmark that for another day. If you read one article today before starting up the barbecue make it Paula Bolyard’s moving reflection:
But as of Feb 14, 2013, I am ending my tenure as CEO. Roger Simon, the novelist-screenwriter, is calling to me. After more than seven years, he is feeling extremely neglected. I am going to return to my creative writing while I still, to be honest, have some ability to do it.
The Hollywood Reporter today offered a sneak preview of what our old boss does with his time when he’s not writing must-read articles on the newest disturbing developments in the Benghazi scandal, ”Cannes: Roger L. Simon to Pen ‘The Future of Now‘”:
Oscar-nominated screenwriter Roger L. Simon will pen the script for The Future of Now, the second feature from newly launched Primeridian Entertainment.
Arcadiy Golubovich, a principal of Primeridian, will make his directorial debut with the dystopian drama. His Primeridian partner, Tim O’Hair, will produce.
Primeridian is full financing the Washington, D.C.-set pic, with casting slated for June and shooting aiming for fall.
Read the whole write-up here.
On April 10 I published the next step in my developing self-improvement program, an application of Charlie Martin’s 13 Weeks method to my problem of better organizing my research. I looked forward to diving back into a deep reading routine filled with novels and culture while blogging my results here at PJ Lifestyle so all the wiser, more enlightened souls who make it their business to fill the comments section with their manifestos could tell me what an idiot I was for not seeing the world exactly the way they did.
But then on April 15 — Patriot’s Day — bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon, resulting in 3 deaths and 264 injuries. The real world had intruded on the Wonderland of Books I’d constructed for myself. As Charlie has pointed out from time to time in his 13 Weeks series, life has a way of throwing off our plans.
For days the country sat in nervous panic as police searched for the killers. Partisans of every persuasion speculated about the motives of the evil monsters who would load pressure cooker bombs with shrapnel to mutilate the bodies of innocent human beings they had never met. David Sirota of Salon longed for the murderous act to serve as fodder for his goal of demonizing his political opponents. I liked the way PJ columnist Roger Kimball put it on on the morning of April 18:
One of the curious, but also most predictable, responses to the Boston Marathon bombings from the Left has been the fervent expression — amounting nearly to a prayer — that the perpetrator or perpetrators of this act of mass murder be “homegrown,” preferably white, male, Christian, and conservative.
Why? Why does the Left prefer to have its terrorism served up by Timothy McVeigh rather than Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad? It’s an interesting question. That the Left exhibits this prejudice is, like Falstaff’s dishonesty, “gross as a mountain, open, palpable.”
David Sirota, writing at Salon, gives almost comic expression to the genre in an essay with the really special title “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American.” Why does Mr. Sirota wish that the Boston murderer of 8-year-old boys be a white American? Because a spectral quality called “white male privilege” operates insidiously behind the scenes. If Timmy McVeigh blows up a government building, says Mr. Sirota, only he is blamed. If Mohammed does it, Muslims are likely to be “collectively slandered and/or targeted with surveillance or profiling (or worse).”
What do you think of that argument? I think it’s hooey.
But how can intellectual and cultural warriors do battle with hooey level arguments? PJ Media Legal Editor J. Christian Adams offered advice to the Benghazi whistleblowers that is just as applicable to every American striving to fight for these issues in their own way:
I know a thing or two about being a whistleblower. I appeared on the Huckabee show this weekend (see video below) and explained how simply telling the truth is the way to shield yourself from the sinister deceptions from places like the Huffington Post and the George Soros-funded Media Matters. They can try to smear you, but the truth of your testimony will rise above their smears.
All we can do is present the truth about the nature of the enemy. If that doesn’t work, then what else is left?
1. Belief in God Is Logical. God’s Fingerprints Cover the Universe. It Is Irrational to Believe That the Universe Was Created Out of Nothingness.
Dear [Insert Name of Your Secularist Friend or Family Member Who Does Not Understand Why You No Longer Share Their Hatred of Traditional Religion Anymore],
It seems like our arguments on Facebook and over email have been increasing lately with all the horrific news stories. And again you continue to misunderstand why I approach the stories of the day from Kermit Gosnell to the Boston Bombers with a good and evil, Bible-based perspective.
One of the best places online you can go to better understand my approach to these issues is Prager University. Every month they release two five-minute courses designed to educate people in a quick, entertaining way about history, philosophy, religion, and politics. I discovered Prager University’s videos when I noticed that they decided to start featuring every new one at PJ Lifestyle, a publication that I enjoy reading which shares the same goals of reaching out and engaging with the culture at large instead of just preaching to the choir.
I’ve collected six of Prager University’s videos on God and religion, starting with their newest one above that they just released yesterday featuring Boston College philosophy professor Peter Kreeft answering the question “God or Atheism — Which is More Rational?” I hope if you want to understand better how it is that I’ve come to reject your ideology and returned to faith in the God of the Bible you would consider these videos along with these six points I’ve written in relation to them.
Another example of the kind of violent fantasies that one can expect to start seeing bubbling up as the war against America intensifies:
Here’s why Rosenberg hates “neocons” so much. He fully embraces the progressive dogma that every single death in Iraq is a murder and that “neocons” are responsible for it. In Rosenberg’s eyes, anyone who so much as wrote in favor of the Iraq War is morally equal to any terrorist who may only be responsible for a handful of murders:
Reuters reported at 11:54 AM EST on the ideology inspiring the terrorists who murdered and butchered Americans in Boston on Monday:
His “World view” is listed as “Islam” and his “Personal priority” is “career and money”.
He has posted links to videos of fighters in the Syrian civil war and to Islamic web pages with titles like “Salamworld, my religion is Islam” and “There is no God but Allah, let that ring out in our hearts”.
He also has links to pages calling for independence for Chechnya, a region of Russia that lost its bid for secession after two wars in the 1990s.
The page also reveals a sense of humor, around his identity as a member of a minority from southern Russia’s restive Caucasus, which includes Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia and other predominately Muslim regions that have seen two decades of unrest since the fall of the Soviet Union.
“I don’t have a single American friend,” one caption quotes him as saying. “I don’t understand them.” [emphasis added]
I will state my position about what has happened this way:
Al Qaeda’s Attack on America on September 11, 2001 = the beginning of World War 1
Two NON-ARAB, WHITE, WHOLLY AMERICANIZED Homegrown Millennial Jihadists Take America Hostage And Launch a New Template for How to Wage A DIY, Low Budget-Download-The-Instructions-Off-The-Internet Terror War = the beginning of World War II.
We are now entering a new phase of the Islamic war to replace liberal societies with Sharia law. This is World War IV, a multi-decade conflict that will be for our generation what the war against Nazism and Fascism was for our grandparents. Except it will probably be worse.
As such, I would like to primarily address those who have not yet given up progressivism, moral relativism, and the Democratic party — the three idols I grew up worshiping for the first two decades of my life. (I realize now that the reason I abandoned progressivism is simply that I didn’t go to graduate school whereas most of my friends did. My brainwashing gradually wore off after I got out into the real world and had to try and survive.)
This is not an oppressive, Corporate Imperial war waged against harmless Muslims. It is a war that Islam has declared against Enlightenment-based societies. The problem is not the Koran or Islam. The problem is radical (as in going to the root of the idea) Islam or Islamism, or Orthodox Islam, or the traditional Islam of history that requires the marriage of mosque and state accompanied by full implementation of chop-your-hands-off-style Sharia. Muslims who reject Koranic literalism and affirm Enlightenment philosophy are A-OK. (See Robert Spencer’s article this morning to see the great Jazz music some of them have made. And note Roger L. Simon today — Islam is not a race.) Muslims who embrace America instead of demanding American submission can enjoy the riches of Liberty just as every immigrant who has come to this land throughout the centuries to worship their God and work hard.
We need to stand with genuine Muslim liberals against both the terrorists and stealth (non-violent) jihadists rebelling against the Modern world.
That requires identifying those in the political and media classes who sabotage these efforts. Here are 10 examples of those whose ideas undermine the safety of Americans and the twin projects to nurture political liberalism in the Muslim mind and Enlightenment values in the Islamic soul.
1. Progressive Filmmaker Michael Moore:
“They know nothing.” It’s very important for Moore to try and undermine the credentials of anyone who can affirm that Sharia is a real threat. In Moore’s world Global Warming is more dangerous and cigarettes and car accidents cause more deaths per year than Islamists. Corporations have killed plenty more people than this “one teenager.”
“I guessed correctly. the bombings were not carried out by women.”
There will be more Jihad Janes, Mike…
Additional Books mentioned in post:
Click here for the rules of Season 1 of the 13 Weeks Radical Reading Regimen. Image courtesy shutterstock / Patrick Poendl
- Version 1.0 of my 2013 Self-Improvement Program: 7 New Year’s Resolutions I Invite Others to Steal
- Version 1.5, published a month later after my 29th birthday: The Plan So I Don’t Waste the Last Year of My 20s
Today I am joining Charlie Martin and Sarah Hoyt in attempting a 13 Weeks Blogging Self-Improvement Program. I invite others to join me and assist in the continued development of what we should call The Charlie Martin 13 Weeks Method. (Has a nice alliterative ring to it, methinks.) Back in February Charlie laid out his approach:
By accident, however, I’d noticed a process, or pattern.
- Decide there’s something you want to change.
- Find ways to measure your progress.
- Decide on some small unthreatening things you can do that should affect those measures.
- Track the results for 13 weeks and see what happens. It helps to pick appropriate tools and techniques for that tracking, but something as simple as a Seinfeld calendar, where you just draw an X on a calendar for every day you do something can be very powerful.
So here’s my 1-2-3-4 for The 13 Weeks Radical Reading Regimen:
1. The problem that I’d like to change is the one that Sarah identified in her PJ Lifestyle article yesterday: being buried in books for research. Over the past year I’ve tried to figure out how to organize the various subjects that I want to study in order to best make sense of them and find the connections across the disciplines. I want to read more books and do a better job of staying organized with the ideas and research that I find in them for my future writing and editing projects. I want to continue to explore connections across disciplines, reading both novels and a wide variety of nonfiction, both very serious philosophy and absurd satire.
2. I will continue to share the most interesting nuggets of my research in one daily PJ Lifestyle Bookshelf post that features an excerpt. Additional snapshots from my research will appear at my Instagram and Twitter accounts which can be followed here and here.
3. I will only create seven piles of books, one for each day, and then base each day’s reading on the titles from that pile. I won’t have to think about which books I’ll read each day. I’ll just draw from each pile. Each day will be based on 1-3 authors and 1-4 related subjects that I want to juxtapose together. This will not be a hard rule that I can only read from that day’s pile. If a book on another subject has caught my enthusiasm then I can still read it after dong the day’s necessary reading.
But I need to find at least two excerpts worth Instagramming and at least one of them should appear as a PJ Lifestyle Bookshelf selection to inspire debate and discussion. (That’s the purpose of those posts — for the regular readers who have complained, asking why I don’t take a few paragraphs to spell out my opinion of each excerpt offered. They appear because I am more interested in hearing reader feedback on them than pontificating my own ideas.) These seven piles will then flow into the six categories that I created in my original Counterculture Conservative book list from back in October. The seventh (and last) category I plan to add will be based on my list of the The 15 Best Books for Understanding Barack Obama’s Mysterious Political Theology. (This will be the basis for Friday’s systematic exploration of evil ideas.)
4. I will create a calendar on a page of my journal broken up into 13 weeks and at the beginning of each day I will notate which page I am on in the books that I am reading associated with that day. I will photograph this calendar and blog about it each week, noting and analyzing my results on Tuesdays (the PJ Lifestyle day focused on writing, media, and technology). At the end of the 13 weeks I will see the progress I made on each author and subject. Then I will decide how to adjust each day’s reading focus, maybe taking a break from an author for a bit or adding another writer whose ideas are worth juxtaposing with the other thinkers of the day.
So what will the reading subjects be for the seven days of this “first season,” as Charlie calls it, of the The 13 Weeks Radical Reading Regimen? I’m doubling down on the authors and subjects of previous self-improvement plans, but focusing some plans and expanding others. As always, your recommendations for additional books and authors that I need to read are sincerely appreciated. Please leave suggestions in the comments or email me.
And publishers, authors and publicists: any and all paperback/hardback books received by mail will be photographed and blogged about. (And e-books that are especially interesting may also be featured. But actual books are of course more photogenic.)
From Richard Metzger, publisher and lead blogger at Dangerous Minds:
I’ve written in the past about the big impact Metzger had in introducing me to counterculture and my disappointment following his embrace of Orthodox Marxism in 2009 — the same year that I started working full time as a conservative new-media troublemaker in the Breitbart tradition. I’m not offended by Metzger’s poor taste, rather just at how predictable and nonsensical it is. Two observations of the paradoxes inherent in the strange tradition that has emerged of using social media to emotionally unload on recently deceased public figures:
1. It’s sort of strange the way that atheist Marxists are so happy to declare belief in an afterlife childish except when they feel a need for a hell to stick in everyone they hate.
2. It’s even stranger the way people who normally roll around in moral relativism all of a sudden gain the confidence to label the most effective opponents of Communism as not just evil, but “pure evil.”
My friend RJ Moeller has done it again. Last fall, when he first told me about his hopes to start a series of interfaith, cross-cultural dialogue events, I knew he had a great idea, but whether he would actually pull it off seemed to me an open question. RJ always overflowed with great ideas and an infectious enthusiasm to share them with others. So as great as it would be for him to bring together more Adam Carolla-Dennis Prager-style combinations, I wondered if this idea would really come to fruition or if another of his entrepreneurial efforts would take off instead.
And I have to say, I’m really a bit stunned not just that RJ pulled this off, but that he managed to organize it all so quickly. And not only that, but could he have picked a more appropriate subject to begin with than defining the Judeo-Christian value system?
“Ask a Jew” will take place on Sunday, March 17 from 4:00-6:00 at Mariners Church in Irvine, CA, and tickets can be purchased here for $25, or $75 for VIP reserved tickets and a pre-show reception. This week I asked RJ a few questions to learn more about what he’s cooked up for us:
PJ Lifestyle: Given the success of the events you organized with Dennis Prager and Adam Carolla dialoguing, it’s no surprise you would want to expand and try new combinations of speakers. Why “Ask a Jew: An Evening With Dennis Prager And Hugh Hewitt“?
RJ: The Prager-Carolla connecting was in many regards “lightning in a bottle.” In a very real sense of the cliche, I simply happened to be in the “right place at the right time” to help make that thing happen. However, what I learned from that exciting experience was this: if you have a good idea, pursue it — because often the reason something like it hasn’t happened before (or hasn’t happened in the way you believe it should) merely boils down to other folks not taking a risk or putting forth the effort to bring it to life.
In the case of “Ask A Jew,” both Dennis and Hugh are fairly well-known commodities but they are known primarily for their political radio shows, columns, and best-selling books. But what I want to personally hear from both men — and many other articulate voices in the public square like them — are their perspectives on cultural, moral, and philosophical issues that matter to all of us. This event is the kick-off of what I hope will end up being a long-running series of candid conversations among those who describe themselves “center-right” politically.
My goal is to bring the people I enjoy listening to and reading the most to new audiences. I want evangelicals to interact with Jewish and Catholic intellectuals. I want secular libertarians to hear how thoughtful and interested in limited government and free markets so many brilliant religious conservatives are. Hugh and Dennis typify the dynamic I’m talking about. They are from such different backgrounds, have different personalities, part ways on key theological points — and yet they are best friends and share so many common values. It’s so much bigger (and more important) than politics, and anyone who listens to a show like Dennis Prager’s knows how serious he is about engaging all issues and areas of life.
Politics is dominating and suffocating Americans because, in my opinion, they’ve stopped talking (and thinking critically) about all of the infinitely more important things in life. Not every show we do will be “Ask A Jew,” and we’ll have other interesting combinations and pairings of well-known writers/thinkers across the country this year, but I wanted to start with Hugh and Dennis because they are two of the most candid, knowledgeable, and good-natured voices in the public square. Oh, and they are entertaining. Remember when that was important?
Today is the one year anniversary of the death of New Media pioneer and American patriot Andrew Breitbart. In his memory I’m reprinting the article I published a year ago in response, explaining the impact he had, originally titled “Immortality: Andrew Breitbart’s 5 Gifts to Generation Y Conservatism.”
My wife called him the wizard, for he could conjure up anything at any time with limitless energy.
As an enthusiast for pop culture’s fruits, perhaps Big Hollywood’s founder would allow a Harry Potter reference to describe the impact he left on American political culture and the lives of those who knew him.
During the final years of his life Breitbart transformed into the Bad Guy, a political assassin in the vast right-wing conspiracy who could fire lightning bolts to sizzle political careers and collapse Marxist organizations. He became the dark lord Voldemort, the great Boogeyman masterminding the Tea Party New Media Revolution.
And as with the horcrux relics of J.K. Rowling’s fantasy, Breitbart planted pieces of his soul everywhere. Now that he’s gone his spirit will exert greater influence. His seeds will continue to grow and everyone will see his touch from beyond the grave.
What will come? Here are five directives Breitbart imprinted on the next generation of conservatives.
5. Focus on the Right Culture War.
As children growing up during the Clintonian Age, “culture war” meant baby boomers obsessing over sex and fantasy violence: V-Chips for TV, abstinence sex education, Monica’s stained dress, Ellen DeGeneres and Mortal Kombat. With an economy booming and twin towers standing, the maintenance of Millennial innocence dominated parental political priorities. And so the conservative media critique remained for a generation.
With Breitbart’s rise, a new generation began to shift culture war to something else. Not Christian morality vs secularist hedonism, but universal American values vs cultural Marxism.
To see the Breitbart principle in action, consider Big Journalism’s recent fight to hold accountable Keith Olbermann for covering up the sexual violence of Occupy Wall Street. (Minimizing the severity of criminal behavior remains a preferred cultural Marxist tactic in the effort to initiate greater societal destabilization for revolution.)
A practical danger hides within Olbermann’s meme. Bad ideas have real-world consequences. How many future victims will think, “Well if Keith Olbermann says this rape-at-occupy stuff is more crap from this racist Breitbart then we might as well go…”?
That’s why the culture war matters. These ideas destroy lives. They must be stopped. But to do that we need to know their origin. And here too Breitbart led the way.
I’m always stumbling across strange items early in the morning as my dog Maura and I run around our San Fernando Valley neighborhood. Today we found this pair of broken sunglasses sitting on the stoop outside an apartment building.
I popped it into my pocket and as we continued jogging up the street my mind speculated over the range of possibilities: whose were they? How did they get broken? Did somebody break them by accident? Or were they intentionally broken? How come whoever left them didn’t bother to throw them away? Were they forgotten?
Today I am inaugurating a new tradition. From now on whenever there is a Malcolm X-related anniversary I am going to do a blog post dedicated to telling the truth about who he really was and what cruel values he actually dedicated his life to promoting. Malcolm X was not a “black pride advocate” or a “civil rights leader” as the postmodern Marxist grad student teaching your undergraduate will claim. He was a career criminal, pathological liar, racist, black nationalist, and antisemite. He’s not just a hip Martin Luther King Jr but with guns the way Spike Lee’s films try and mythologize him. He was an evil man who lived a life of racial hatred, the polar opposite of the Christian love and color blind unity preached and lived by King.
Here’s an excerpt from an article I published here at PJ Lifestyle in November, The 15 Best Books for Understanding Barack Obama’s Mysterious Political Theology, regarding books to read to discover the reality of Malcolm Little, the man behind the Myth of Malcolm X:
5. The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley
6. Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
7. Dreams from my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama
8. Barack Obama: The Story by David Maraniss
Why do so many Democrats insist on giving Islam the benefit of the doubt? Even amongst many Republicans, the establishment narrative, set by George W. Bush, endures: Islam is “a religion of peace,” Al Qaeda is a fringe group of misinterpreters, Allah is the same god worshiped by Jews and Christians, and the Koran is just the Bible in Arabic, teaching universal love and compassion.
I bought this Big Lie about Islam for years. And looking back I wonder how much of it had to do with how my progressivism led to an unquestioning embrace of the mythology of Malcolm. In high school I loved The Autobiography of Malcolm X and watched Spike Lee’s film adaptation multiple times. Recall the ending: Malcolm doesn’t fully reject racism and become complete as a human being until he escapes the Nation of Islam, takes his hajj to Mecca, and renames himself El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. Once outside of the evil, racist America Malcolm can see that within Islam whites could gain their humanity and become his brothers. Islam really could bring peace. Just look at Malcolm.
But multiple authors have debunked The Autobiography as fictional. (See my friend David Forsmark’s review of Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention and Bruce Perry’s Malcolm: The Life of a Man Who Changed Black America.)
Once one learns the truth about who Malcolm X really was, what the Nation of Islam preached then (and still does today), and the contents of the orthodox Islam Malcolm believed at death, then the only moral response is shame. And that’s what I feel today as I reflect back on the fact that for years a poster of an antisemitic conspiracy theorist hung tacked to my walls like a religious icon.
But Barack Obama never felt that embarrassing epiphany of realizing he’d based his life on a lie. According to Dreams from my Father, Obama discovered The Autobiography as a teenager. He then used the myth of Malcolm during his community organizer days as a symbol:
“Power! X Register to Vote Here”
“It’s a POWER thing! X Vote Tues Nov. 3″
That’s what the symbol of Malcolm X means and Obama knew how to use it: the misunderstood, oppressed proletariat can take power away from the corrupt conspiracy at the top that’s enslaved everyone. It’s a message that appeals to both the impoverished in the ghettos, and the spoiled, angsty, idealistic, upper-middle class high schooler growing up in white suburbia. And it too was a Big Lie. Power doesn’t come through voting in politicians who will give you healthcare and other free stuff.