This is Week 1 of Season 3 in my new 13 Weeks of Wild Man Writing and Radical Reading Series. Every week day I try to blog about compelling writers, their ideas, and the news cycle’s most interesting headlines.
I’ve grown quite fond of the model presented in America 3.0, the previous book discussed in this ongoing series of my favorite authors, writers, activists, and troublemakers. James C. Bennett and Michael Lotus tell the story of a colonial/frontier America 1.0, its post-Civil War transition into the big government/corporate America 2.0 that would win World War II, the system’s gradual collapse over the previous decades into the mess we have today, and the solution of a decentralized/technological America 3.0 now propelled by Glenn Reynolds’s Army of Davids. In understanding what America 2.0 is and why it’s now failing we can adapt our movements and businesses to dominate in the coming individual-empowering America 3.0.
The 1.0/2.0/3.0 Bennett-Lotus model is applicable beyond the broad scope of their book. As America itself goes through the shifts from one era to the next so too do the cultures and institutions within it. So I will apply it to one of my preoccupations, political ideology. How does this sound?
Conservatism 1.0 = The Old Right, those who fought against the expansion of the federal government and US entry into World War II, often referred to as isolationists. This ideology was soundly refuted by US victory over the Axis. It turns out that foreign policy ideologies that assume muskets and months to sail across the Atlantic have limited utility in post-Hiroshima worlds. The heirs of this tradition today are the so-called paleo-conservatives (Pat Buchanan) and paleo-libertarians (Ron Paul) and their stealth advocate who has duped Republicans and infiltrated the Tea Party, Rand Paul. (My ax-grinding against all three will continue for the foreseeable future. These people should have been cast out of polite society long ago to hang out so they’d have more time to spend with their Holocaust-denying buddies.)
Conservatism 2.0 = The New Right, built by William F. Buckley Jr. and Barry Goldwater and institutionalized at the presidential level by Ronald Reagan. While adapting the Old Right’s traditionalism and opposition to the New Deal, the big shift came in reacting to the new foreign policy reality threatening human freedom: Soviet imperialism. The battle against murderous Marxism was what really animated Buckley, Goldwater, and Reagan more than anything else. (It was in reading the extraordinary Reagan, In His Own Hand: The Writings of Ronald Reagan that Reveal His Revolutionary Vision for America that this started to become more apparent.)
So I’ve come to conclude that what we call “the conservative movement” was really just the political/cultural wing of what began as anti-communism. Thus, the reason for the degradation of Conservatism 2.0 is that with anti-communism as the primary base the ideological tent could widen to bring in people who do not actually believe in American values. Opposing the Soviets for one reason or another does not require one to be an advocate of America’s founding principles. Thus with the removal of the Soviet threat — only for a time really, of course… — the Reagan coalition has collapsed as each faction now squabbles for power and attention.
Conservatism 3.0 = As anti-communism created Conservatism 2.0, Robert Spencer’s counter-jihad movement will provide a foundational justification for the shift to Conservatism 3.0. As previous generations were fueled by reports of the horrors within Marxist slave states, today the truth about Shariah slave states will gradually bring together people across cultures, borders, and ideologies. And I say Robert Spencer’s counter-jihad movement because he has been a leader in this war for over a decade, documenting not just what is happening but explaining why.
His new Not Peace But a Sword: The Great Chasm Between Christianity and Islam is a handbook for fighting back in the political and cultural battles for American hearts and minds. Robert goes down the line, explaining how Jihadists and Sharia-based states have substantial support in the Muslim world and a long tradition of Koranic interpretation to justify their brutality. It is not easy to always connect the dots when trying to explain this to people — how the Koran and the Bible articulate fundamentally different value systems which result in incompatible civilizations, one free and wealthy, the other oppressed and impoverished. Robert puts the pieces together here, showing how the Koran and the life of Mohammed resonate as the primary inspiration in today’s Jihad against the West.
A secular political ideology like “conservatism” may have been able to defeat another secular political ideology — communism — but the last two decades have demonstrated that a value-neutral, secular approach will not have the will to win against a suicidal death cult. Senator John McCain, perpetual advocate of the Arab Spring and defender of Muslim Brotherhood infiltrator Huma Abedin, is the standard bearer for a Conservatism 2.0 today in which “for someone to say Allahu Akbar, it is about as offensive as someone saying ‘thank God.’”
Yes, “Allahu Akbar” means the same thing as “Thank God” and any American mother would respond this way when learning her sons had perpetuated a heinous act of mass murder:
The solution to this disinformation about Islam is the 12th rule of Andrew Breitbart’s Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Revolutionaries: Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.
In future posts of this series I’m going to try to jumpstart a Conservatism 3.0 conversation, an assessment of the conservative past as we transition to a conservative future equipped to defend America from slave states and totalitarian ideologies that continue to antagonize her.
I’m going to continue reading through all of Robert’s books on Mondays as part of this season’s Radical Reading Regimen. I’ve now loaded the ones I haven’t read yet onto my “want to read” list at the Freedom Academy Book Club — a new free program that I encourage everyone to join.
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) is the next of Robert’s books that I’ll be blogging on and it’s on my “reading now” shelf. To see what’s on Robert’s “reading now” shelf click here.
An excerpt from the appendix of Not Peace But a Sword.
PJ Media Story Round Up
Lead PJM Stories on Tuesday, October 8
I very much agree with Blumer.
America’s going to have to go through a few more “economic crises” before she learns the hard way that socialism doesn’t work.
PJ Lifestyle Stories on the Home Page
It appears Bridget had much more pleasant junior high and high school experiences than I did. She makes some great points and I agree with many of her sentiments. (And her writing is so good.) But I’ll try to write a response soon countering about why I regret going to public schools. We should have listened to my pediatrician who in junior high suggested to my parents that I go to a private school instead. My younger sister — on her second semester now at Bellarmine — figured this out and managed to finish her last two years at a Catholic high school
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the most talented millennial actor today. And now he demonstrates his writing and directing chops:
Megan has really taken off with her cultural commentary on the Hollywood gossip gutter and self-destructing celebrity stupidity beats. I’m so happy to be editing her posts regularly again.
Walter Hudson jumped into the inter-faith discussion Rhonda started with her series on Shmuley Boteach’s Kosher Jesus. I hope to this Sunday too. The theological questions of who gets into heaven and how are ones that I spent much of junior high and high school obsessing over endlessly.
I wish our president had the courage and moral clarity to call out the evil Iranian regime.
New at PJ Lifestyle
These op/eds from Imholt and Forsmark on the powerful effect technology can have on politics, economics, and culture have been wonderful. Here are their previous pieces:
Kathy does such a first-rate job of reporting on some of the most alternately fascinating, disturbing, hilarious, and bizarre stories from up North.
From the PJ Tatler’s Editor Bryan Preston
The postmodern presidency in action.
Obama’s position is that Obamacare is law and therefore there is nothing to negotiate. But laws have always been subject to revision. Even the Constitution itself can be amended. Obama himself has frequently sought to curb the constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms, enshrined clearly in the Second Amendment. Obama’s position that once a law is on the books it can no longer be negotiated or changed has no grounding in American tradition or history.
The Saul Alinsky Community Organizer presidency in action.
From PJM’s Washington D.C. Editor Bridget Johnson at the Tatler
10 Interesting Stories Around the Web Today
That I Might Blog About Soon
At News Aggregators
Some Catholic priests under contract or GS (general schedule) to the military are not allowed to offer the Catholic sacraments–including saying Mass, consecrating marriages, or performing baptisms–on military property during the government shutdown, and if they do, even on a volunteer basis, they risk being arrested, according to the general counsel for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA.
About 25% of the U.S. military is Catholic, some 275,000 service members, but there are only 234 active-duty priests. To fill the gap, contract or GS priests are brought in. But under the rules of the shutdown, many of those priests cannot perform their religious duties on military bases unless their contracts allow it.
“These men are employed by the government to ensure that a priest is available when an active duty Catholic Chaplain is not present,” said John Schlageter, general counsel for the archdiocese for the Military Services, USA. “With the government shutdown, many GS and contract priests who minister to Catholics on military bases worldwide are not permitted to work – not even to volunteer. “
On Tuesday, George Washington University Associate Professor Lara Brown told Wall Street Journaleditorial board member Mary Kissel that incumbents are going to be targeted by dissatisfied voters. She added, however, that the GOP House may be shielded from the wrath of the electorate while the Democratic Senate may not be.
Kissel began by asking Brown how the collapse in America’s faith in government, evidenced by a Gallup polling trends which show a pronounced breakdown in the faith American voting blocs place in government, could impact the midterm election.
Brown said that the “number of fiscal standoffs” that have characterized politics in Washington from 2008 to today have made Americans frustrated with the political establishment.
Left of Center News and Opinion Sources:
At ABC News/Good Morning America:
I’m not a Scarlett Johansson fan. To me she’ll always be the boring half of Ghost World (my high school anthem that I saw 4 times in 2001 and named the best film of the year. Those who have seen Terry Zwigoff’s first fictional film can probably understand now why I do not share Bridget’s enthusiasm for public schools.)
Johansson is just so overwhelmingly boring — and because of that I don’t think she’s all that sexy. Mannequins with no personality and who can only play one role — the quiet, sultry sex goddess who will beat the crap out of you — are only sexy for teenage boys (which is essentially the maturity level of the mass media which insists on making these lame pronouncements each year to sell magazines).
Sorry, but physical beauty just isn’t enough to be sexy today. Maybe it was 50, 60 years ago before 24/7 all-encompassing media bombarding us with images of photoshop-enhanced “sexy” women. But not anymore.
Right of Center News and Opinion Sources:
At Truth Revolt:
Make a point to keep up with Ben Shapiro’s new site. He’s launched it with the right target, the most disgraceful personality on MSNBC, the antisemitic racist Al Sharpton.
At National Review:
A hat trick at NRO today from three of my favorites:
Rejection of the old is a reason the Left has contempt for the Bible. To progressives, it’s ludicrous that 2,000- and 3,000-year-old texts could guide a person’s behavior today.
Low regard for the old is also a major factor in the Left’s dismissal of the Founders and of the original intent of the Constitution. Talk about “old white males” — the Founders are white males who are now over 250 years old. What could they possibly have known or understood that a progressive living today does not know more about or understand better?
What, then, is at the core of the Left’s contempt for the old, and its celebration of the new and of “change”?
There are two primary answers.
One is the yearning for utopia. Since Marx, the Left has sought utopia in this world. And that means constantly transforming every aspect of society. As then-Senator Barack Obama said before the 2008 election: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”
By definition, those who seek to transform consider the old essentially worthless.
The other answer is self-esteem. The Left began the self-esteem movement in large measure owing to its own high self-esteem. Those on the left are certain that they are smarter, kinder, more moral, and more compassionate than — in every way superior to — their opponents.
Among elite liberals today, all too few are of this classical mold — guided by reason and empirical observation. By far the majority are medieval and reactionary. By medieval I mean that they adhere to accepted doctrine — in this case, the progressive doctrine of always finding solutions in larger government and more taxes — despite all the evidence to the contrary. The irony is that they project just such ideological blinkers onto their conservative opponents.
Reactionary is a good adjective as well, since notions of wealth and poverty are frozen in amber around 1965, as if the technological revolution never took place and the federal welfare state hadn’t been erected — as if today’s poor were the emaciated Joads, rather than struggling with inordinate rates of obesity and diabetes, in air-conditioned apartments replete with big-screen TVs, and owning cell phones with more computing power than was available to the wealthy as recently as the 1980s. Flash-mobbing sneaker stores is more common than storming Costcos for bags of rice and flour.
In the medieval-liberal worldview, gun control stops violence like that in Chicago or Detroit. Solar panels are the energy way of the immediate future; fracking is not. Voting fraud is almost nonexistent and mostly a right-wing conspiracy trope. High-speed rail is an efficient and economical means of transportation. The problem with public assistance is that there is too little of it, not too much. Affirmative action ensures fairness. Climate change is proven; further debate is counterproductive, and disturbing data to the contrary are little more than propaganda of the ignorant.
Like a medieval bishop, the new medievalists also seek to avoid the ramifications of their own ideologies. Like residents of a walled medieval city or religious order, they prefer enclaves and cloisters filled with others of their kind.
The Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, epitomized what has been wrong with the Republicans for decades when he emerged from a White House meeting last Wednesday, went over to the assembled microphones, briefly expressed his disgust with the Democrats’ intransigence, and walked on away.
We are in the midst of a national crisis, immediately affecting millions of Americans and potentially affecting the kind of country this will become if Obamacare goes into effect — and yet, with multiple television-network cameras focused on Speaker Boehner as he emerged from the White House, he couldn’t be bothered to prepare a statement that would help clarify a confused situation, full of fallacies and lies.
Conservatism 2.0 in action — or lack thereof — today.
At the Daily Mail:
Up is down.
Randa al-Kaleeb, a social worker from the hospital where Lama was admitted, said the girl’s back was broken and that she had been repeatedly raped.
Her injuries were then burned.
Rather than the death penalty or a long prison sentence, the judge in the case ruled the prosecution could only seek ‘blood money’, according to activists.
The money is compensation for the next of kin under Islamic law.
Activists said the judge ruled the few months al-Ghamdi spent in prison since his arrest in November 2012 was sufficient punishment.
He has reportedly agreed to pay £31,000 ($50,000), which is believed to have gone to Lama’s mother.
The amount is half that would have been paid if Lama had been a boy.
Alan Dershowitz in April:
“Carter during his presidency sat idly by while 2 million Cambodians were killed by Pol Pot. He has been bought and paid for by Saudi Extremists. His Carter Center stopped investigating human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia when he received payment from important and wealthy Saudi businessmen,” Dershowitz said. “He has used the word apartheid to describe Israel but he never used the word in reference to Saudi Arabia which practices gender apartheid, religious apartheid, sexual preference apartheid.”
At the Daily Caller:
Truly horrific — Andrew Breitbart’s widow is now being sued for her husband’s editorial decisions.
Get to Know Everyone on the #ReadEverythingTheyWrite List!
14 of My Favorite Writers And Most Important Intellectual Influences:
On Foreign Policy:
- Monday, August 5: ‘War, and Preparation for War, Are the Normal Conditions of Mankind, While Peace Is Extremely Rare.’ – Michael Ledeen
- Tuesday, August 6 on Andrew C. McCarthy: Muslim Brotherhood Operatives Have Infiltrated America’s Political and Cultural Institutions to Conquer Us from Within
- Wednesday, August 7 on Barry Rubin: First We Define Anti-Americanism, Then We Crush It Again Even Harder
- Thursday, August 8 on Claudia Rosett: The United Nations is a Corrupt Failure That Does Not Unite Nations
- Friday, August 9 on David P. Goldman: No to Corporate Neoconservatism, No to Paleo-Libertarian Anarchism, Yes to Augustinian Realism
- Tuesday, August 13 on Victor Davis Hanson: The Price We Pay for Our Ignorance of Military History Is Dead Americans