Make a point to see PJ Lifestyle’s analysis of the ideology driving the Boston Jihadists, an altogether different threat than what Whittaker Chambers witnessed:
Theodore Shoebat and Walid Shoebat: The Tsarnaev Brothers and the Coming Savage Empire of Islam
Image courtesy shutterstock / Stephen Finn
- 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.”
This week, the rehabilitation of the most extreme of the New Left groups — the Weather Underground — entered a new stage.
Yesterday, the New York Post revealed that convicted felon Kathy Boudin — who was released from jail a decade ago after serving 22 years for her role as getaway driver in a deadly 1981 Brinks truck robbery — was given the position of adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of Social Work.
At the same time, Boudin was also(!) given a position held concurrently at New York University, where she was appointed Sheinberg Scholar-in-Residence. She recently gave a lecture for that program on “the politics of parole and re-entry,” something which she obviously knows about.
There are, of course, many other candidates who could have been given both positions, and none of them were part of a leftist terrorist group whose action resulted in the death of the first African-American police officer in that area, and two other police officers. Two of the three had families; children grew up without their fathers.
When she was pulled over, Boudin shouted to the officers whose guns were drawn: “Put the gun back.” They put their revolvers in their holsters.
At that point — as the officers went to inspect the back of the van she was driving — her cohorts came out with weapons blazing, killing the two policemen and one other who had joined in pursuit.
Boudin was never repentant.
As David Horowitz points out today at NRO:
[Boudin is a] murderess who betted the cold-blooded massacre of three law-enforcement officers, including the first African-American on the Nyack police force; a woman whose actions left nine children fatherless and who has shown no genuine remorse for that.
I used to hate politics. Then I met Ann Coulter.
In case you haven’t seen PCU, allow me to explain: I am only one of many in my generation who grew into adulthood harboring a strong desire to avoid all forms of political discussion. For many of us growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, the deafening liberal attacks coming across cable news, talk radio, and then the internet defined politics as a source of talking-head tsuris and therefore best avoided at all costs.
The unavoidable reality hit when I enrolled in grad school and promptly learned the phrase: “Everything is political.” And that was before I got the chance to interview the prospective film studies professor who declared himself a communist without blinking an eye.
Critical theory, my chosen area of study, comes in many forms. The most memorable (and popular) being a series of schools based on race/ethnicity/gender/sexual demarcations that could easily be classified under the heading “White Men Are Coming To Get You Studies.” All theories are taught under the general pseudo-philosophical guideline of postmodernism. I could spend entire articles trying to explain that one. Instead, I’ll just let this handy little comic do it for me.
Nothing I learned made sense yet all of it was accepted as holy. Any time I would question these ideas I would receive furrowed brows, gobsmacked expressions, or simply be told in so many words that I just “didn’t get it.” These reactions probably wouldn’t have bothered me so much except for the fact that they were coming from the professor who would sign off on my thesis, providing me with the paperwork I needed to graduate and get the hell out of Dodge.
Hell. I was in hell. Instead of being taught how to think, I was paying to be told what to think. Waiting in the airport for my flight back to campus after winter break, I contemplated throwing in the towel. And then, I heard an angel’s voice and a bright light beckoned me to the bookstore in the terminal…
Okay, not totally. But I do know for a fact that finding Ann Coulter’s Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right on my way to the plane was a divine appointment. Three hours later I landed on solid ground and felt my feet beneath me for the first time in 18 months. Finally, someone was making sense.
Perhaps if conservatives had had total control over every major means of news dissemination for a quarter century, they would have forgotten how to debate, too, and would just call liberals stupid and mean.
Ann waited until page 2 to verbalize the crux of the problem I’d been facing: This liberal professor had total control and, therefore, could demean and dismiss me whenever he liked.
Or so he thought and so did I, until I met Ann Coulter.
“He was, in an idiom he would have understood, a petty bourgeois individualist who esteemed collectivism at least some of the time but never submitted to it himself. He resented the rich and powerful but enjoyed their company.” As I read these words, which appear in the prologue of a new book by Richard Seymour, I made an incomplete mental list of people to whom they could apply: George Bernard Shaw seems to fit quite nicely, as does J.K. Galbraith. Moving along the spectrum from alleged intellectuals to proven fools, one could add Oliver Stone, Sean Penn, and Edward Asner. It becomes clear rather quickly that the only ones susceptible to this charge are those who base their politics on a distinction between the individual and the collective—a dubious premise in itself, and thus one that is bound to lead to stark differences between theory and practice.
The target of the charge, therefore, is usually those on the Left, who are to varying degrees comfortable with the distinction, and who face the ire of both foes on the right as well as their more puritanical comrades. The accused this time around is Christopher Hitchens (Peace Be Upon Him), a man whom Seymour regards as the quintessential “apostate leftist.” Titled Unhitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchens, this book (excuse me: “extended political essay”) is published by Verso, ironically the same radical press that put out many of Hitchens’s own books, including The Trial of Henry Kissinger, from which Seymour draws his subtitle. The tradition of Verso is to perform surgery without anesthesia, to get the job done in a hundred pages or less, and to use a shotgun instead of a scalpel. The aim is always nothing less than the pure destruction of one’s opponent: to burn him and scatter his ashes and then send wilted flowers to the mourners.
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.
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
Crime, violence, infamy are not tragedy. Tragedy occurs when a human soul awakes and seeks, in suffering and pain, to free itself from crime, violence, infamy, even at the cost of life. The struggle is the tragedy—not defeat or death. That is why the spectacle of tragedy has always filled men, not with despair, but with a sense of hope and exaltation. That is why this terrible book is also a book of hope. For it is about the struggle of the human soul —of more than one human soul. It is in this sense that the Hiss Case is a tragedy. This is its meaning beyond the headlines, the revelations, the shame and suffering of the people involved. But this tragedy will have been for nothing unless men understand it rightly, and from it the world takes hope and heart to begin its own tragic struggle with the evil that besets it from within and from without, unless it faces the fact that the world, the whole world, is sick unto death and that, among other things, this Case has turned a finger of fierce light into the suddenly opened and reeking body of our time.
– Whittaker Chambers, Witness
New Year’s Resolution #5, over the course of 2013 read these books:
** Main Currents of Marxism by Leszek Kolakowski
** Witness by Whittaker Chambers
** Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
** A History of the American People by Paul Johnson
Related at PJ Lifestyle today:
For 2013 at PJ Lifestyle we’re going to try to organize the seemingly endless abyss of “Lifestyle” topics with a general theme each day. These appear on the About Us page and include links to some of the articles we’ve published this past year:
We try to blog on seven general subjects each week from a variety of perspectives that do not always agree. The topics include:
Every Tuesday, we post career advice, self-improvement tips, product reviews, and how-to guides as well as blogs on entrepreneurship, disaster preparation, gardening, and self-sufficiency.
The middle of the week requires some laughter. That’s why every Wednesday we’ll have humorous pieces featuring satire, viral videos, goofy images and amusing photoshops, cute animals, slideshow galleries and other memes from across the Web.
On Thursday, PJ Lifestyle is your go-to place for the latest info on pop culture – ranging from movies, TV, novels, music and celebrities – as well as posts about other cultures – like military culture, counterculture, California culture, traditional culture, international culture, odd subcultures, geek culture – and more.
Spend Saturdays finding new recipes and cooking tips, learning about new ways to exercise and stay healthy, reading medical stories, and keeping up with sports and outdoor life.
And on Sundays, you’ll find content featuring interfaith dialogue, religion-based commentary, and posts on spirituality, ethics and morality.
One of the most important contributors to PJ Lifestyle this year has been Charlie Martin. His Thirteen Weeks diet and and exercise regimen has been an inspiration. This past fall Charlie has updated us every week on his progress to improve his health and live a long, long life. We’re going to try to provide more content like this — but on all seven subjects. Not just blog posts pontificating on what should be, but articles documenting what we do. Too often as writers and bloggers we forget that these New Media tools aren’t the end. They’re merely the means to whatever end we want to pursue and achieve. And at PJ Lifestyle that end is a happier, more fulfilling, richer life appreciating all the possibilities of what it means to be free.
I’ve decided on 7 New Year’s Resolutions this year, each corresponding with one of these themes and inspiring my daily blogging. I invite others to join me and offer their suggestions.
Back in June of 2009, my friend Jimmy and I attended the NINJA tour, a double show of Nine Inch Nails and Jane’s Addiction with a new band called Street Sweeper Social Club as the opener. I wrote at the time:
One of the songs we heard was from the leftist band Rage Against the Machine, no doubt because the evening’s opening act was a new group called Street Sweeper Social Club, co-founded by Rage guitarist Tom Morello. As we finished our drinks, stuck the cooler back in the car, and began walking toward the concert I said to Jimmy, “You know even though I understand now that the guys in Rage Against the Machine are a bunch of Stalinists I still enjoy their music.” The same sentiment could be said of Morello’s new effort.
Street Sweeper Social Club is a joint project of Morello and Raymond “Boots” Riley, the lead singer of the radical hip-hop group the Coup. And Riley is so far to the left that he makes Rage lead singer Zack de la Rocha look like Pat Buchanan. Throughout Street Sweeper’s short set Riley declared his political positions, at one point arguing that the government needs to have “a people’s bailout, not a corporate bailout.” They also played a cover of the popular M.I.A. song “Paper Planes,” a catchy track that’s become the leftist anthem of late.
Riley’s quite open and blunt about his political religion:
“I am a communist. I have been a communist/socialist since I was 14 years old. I think that people should have democratic control over the profits that they produce. It is not real democracy until you have that. And the plain and simple definition of communism is the people having democratic control over the profits that they create. When you first have a revolution, you are heading into socialism. People who were against communism have defined communism for us. People that are for communism and who have dedicated their lives and given their lives to giving people power, they are the ones that created the concept.”
Riley hasn’t shown up on my radar much since, at least until the other day when one of my Marxist friends shared this interview with him from Mark Maynard. Here are a few choice selections for PJ Lifestyle readers’ comedic enjoyment.
First, Boots explains why it’s OK for a communist to sell his music to Fox for an episode of The Simpsons but not to K-Mart for an advertising jingle:
MARK: I’m curious as to where you draw the line. You mentioned earlier that folks in the Progressive Labor Party had told you that no artistic endeavor could come out of the Capitalist system and have any meaning, or something along those lines. And you pursue this line as a career. But you draw a line at advertising…
BOOTS: I didn’t believe them (that nothing good could come from works produced within the system)… In reality, that’s where music comes in. It’s advertising. Music is licensed to TV shows. It’s advertising. TV shows are there to keep people watching, so they’ll watch commercials. So, the music that’s licensed to them helps that to happen. And we do that.
MARK: Yeah. You’ve done that. You’ve written music for the Simpsons, and done other stuff. But yet, when it comes to selling a song to Levi’s, you’ve said something like, “That’s a line that I won’t cross.” And I’m curious about that line, and where you draw it. Like you say, the TV show is there to sell ads, and you work with them. So, that line is kind of fuzzy… I’m just wondering what your thought process is. Do you consider, for instance, the good stuff you could do with the money that you’d receive from selling a song to a company, or the fact that it would get your music out to a broader audience? I guess what I’m asking is, how firm is that line?
BOOTS: Well… for instance, K-Mart offered us a bunch of money for the Magic Clap. They wanted to make it a part of their main commercial ad campaign for the fall. So, you’d turn on the TV, and you’d hear, “K-Mart, Magic Clap,” forever. And you’d think of K-Mart when you hear that song. And do I want to spend my life with that? Like, the job market is hard out there, but… that would erase a lot of shit, you know? If I were going to try to make money, I could probably think of some other things to do, that weren’t music-related. If I did that, though, I’d reach more of an audience, but people would be thinking of that song, or whatever it is, as connected to that group. So, you know, when they offer The Coup money, they’re not only offering The Coup that. They’re buying a group. They’re buying an idea, you know? The idea that, “Even these dudes, are behind this product.”
Next Boots explains why it’s OK for a communist to participate in an evil exploitative system like capitalism:
MARK: I know that Bill Maher gave you a hard time about it on his show, and he also, as I recall, said something about you being a Communist, like “people who sell records aren’t Communists.” Are you getting better at answering those kinds of challenges now, after having heard them for a couple of decades?
BOOTS: The idea of wanting to make a revolution…. You have to be in the system to do it. You can’t say, “You can’t be a Communist and work retail.” If you work in an automotive factory, you’re participating in Capitalism, but how else do you organize anyone, if you’re not part of it? Folks that say stuff like that either don’t understand, or they’re looking for a quick retort. The reality is that what people are saying is not that they don’t want to participate, but that they don’t want other people to be affected. I don’t want other people to be affected by Capitalism. I feel that, in reality… and I may be deluding myself.… I’m a pretty crafty dude. I can figure out how to survive. I could figure out how to be the crab that climbs up the barrel, or whatever. But I don’t want for there to be a barrel. I don’t want everybody else to get cooked. And that’s the point.
If we can turn away from the elections for a moment, and the future of the Republican Party, a more fundamental problem exists. It is nothing less than the nature of the American culture. By the term “culture,” I am not referring to the social issues that usually come up when one talks about culture wars; i.e., abortion, gay rights, religion, etc. Rather, I am talking about the perception and outlook that stand beneath the way our American public define the very nature of civic life in our democratic capitalist society.
That is why I regularly borrow from the Left, as some astute observers of my previous column noted in some comments, the works of the Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci, and particularly his theory of cultural hegemony. As I wrote in my concluding paragraph, we have to “wage a war of position on the cultural front and to do all possible to challenge the ascension of a failed intellectual liberal ideology, whether it is in the form of Progressivism, liberalism or socialism.” I’m referring to the kind of work Fred Siegel carries out in a new book he has just finished writing, and which I had the pleasure of reading in manuscript form, on the nature of American liberalism. When it is eventually published, I believe it can have the kind of impact that great works of history like Richard Hofstadter’s books had in the 1940s and ’50s.
Siegel shows that from its very inception, liberalism was a flawed ideology whose adherents substituted its would-be virtues as a way of distancing themselves from most Americans and their workaday lives; an ideology based on a view whose believers saw themselves as superior to most Americans, including those who were merchants, workers, or regular folk, who could not be counted on to comprehend the backwardness of their beliefs.
Continuing on through the post-war decades, Siegel deals with liberalism’s failure to accurately confront the issue of race; its love affair with the New Left and its moral collapse in the face of its anarchism and nihilism; the effects of McGovernism on the political collapse of the Democratic Party, and the resulting politics of “rights-based interest groups” and the new power of public sector unionism, a far different breed than that of the old labor movement of Walter Reuther and George Meany. If we want a different kind of social polity than the one we have now — based on catering to the power of competing interest groups that compose the core strength of the Democratic party — we have to address first the essential question of the kind of social order that liberalism has built.
I’m also referring to the work the intellectuals who edit National Affairs and those who edit The Claremont Review of Books — solid theoretical and analytical work on social policy, education, and law, all of which challenges the intellectual foundations of contemporary liberalism.
If you doubt that this intellectual work is necessary, you might ponder the question of why college-educated Americans are overwhelmingly liberal Democrats or among those even much further to the political Left. An answer appears in this article by Richard Vedder, which appears today in Minding the Campus. Vedder shows that the majority of professors who teach our young people in the humanities are primarily on the Left, as he writes, “62.7 percent of faculty said that they were either ‘far left’ or ‘liberal,’ while only 11.9 percent said they were ‘far right’or ‘conservative.’ The notion that universities are hot beds for left-wing politics has a solid basis in fact. Moreover, the left-right imbalance is growing — a lot. The proportion of those on the left is rising, on the right declining.” The latest research reveals that there are 5.7 professors on the left for each one on the right!
The irony is that this occurs only in the academy, since studies also show that more and more Americans define themselves as basically conservative rather than liberal. So it should come as no surprise that the suburban middle-class and university-educated Americans, having learned their liberalism and leftism at college, vote the way that they do. One study shows that 41 percent of Americans call themselves conservative while only 21 percent call themselves liberal. Thus, as Vedder says, the university faculties are truly “out of sync” with the country at large.
Why is it, he asks, that the faculty are so leftist? He answers:
Regarding politics, while some devise esoteric theories how the inquisitive mind leads to non-mainstream political views, historically intellectuals have sometimes been largely oriented to what today would be called “conservative” views. I think today’s leftish-faculty orientation is easily explained: the academy, even at so-called private schools, is heavily dependent on public funds, and liberals tend to be more disposed to larger government. Liberals like big government, and big government means a better, more secure life for more faculty.
Since the gateway to the professoriate is through professors themselves, right-leaning prospective faculty are sometimes turned off by the usually correctly perceived need to suppress their views in order to get an appointment and tenure. Those who do not share the affinity for big government are often shunned, leading conservative/libertarian groups such as the Charles Koch Foundation to fund little campus enclaves where right-minded professors can teach and do research without harassment. Attempts to form those enclaves are often bitterly fought by the faculty. Promoting “diversity” in higher education means supporting relatively trivial variations in physical attributes of humans (such as skin color or gender differences), not the far more important differences of the mind manifested in verbal and written expression.
Another realm of mis-education is that of the popular media. This week, I have written about this in an article published in The Weekly Standard, which fortunately the editors have not put behind their firewall. It is titled “A Story Told Before: Oliver Stone’s recycled leftist history of the United States.” Stone’s TV weekly series premiers Nov.12th on the CBS-owned network Showtime, and will eventually be used by leftist professors in their own history courses on our campuses. It is, I show, nothing less than a rehash of old Communist propaganda from the 1950s offered up as both something new and as the true hidden history of our country’s past.
Political theology, as defined by Wikipedia:
Political theology or public theology is a branch of both political philosophy and practical theology that investigates the ways in which theological concepts or ways of thinking underlie political, social, economic and cultural discourses.
Writing amidst the turbulence of the German Weimar Republic, Carl Schmitt argued in Political Theology that the central concepts of modern politics were secularized versions of older theological concepts.
Center-Left polemicist John Avlon at The Daily Beast claims that “Over the past four years, no less than 89 obsessively anti-Obama books have been published.” This isn’t true — and Avlon knows it — as a casual stroll through “Interactive Hate: The Great Obama-Loathing Canon” reveals. Many of the titles he calls “books,” those who made them understood as short pamphlets. I recognize several that I helped edit and produce for a conservative 501(c)3. Others come from obscure, self-published authors with no influence.
Avlon’s big number of anti-Obama “books” hides the reality: plenty of titles with scary Obama pictures on the cover filled the market since 2008 but few offered little more than a polished collection of what you could find for free doing anti-Obama google searches. To understand the president one must look beyond the new release shelf.
Here are the 15 books I’ve found most useful in grasping the intentionally confusing worldview of our commander-in-chief: 4 recent books focused on Obama by conservative critics, 6 historical books on movements and ideologies, and 5 titles by the president, his supporters, mentors, and influences.
To grasp Barack Obama we need to understand the books he read when he first began his community organizing journey three decades ago. We have to put ourselves in the head of the young, college-age Barry to understand how ideological seeds grew into the disastrous public policy of his administration. To know where to begin we start with the two books by Barack Obama’s best, most underrated analyst, Stanley Kurtz.
Since its publication in October of 2010, Radical-in-Chief has served as my primary map for navigating the stormy media waters of the Obama presidency. I reviewed it here for the publication I edited at the time, instructed all my writers to read it, and applied a blunt headline to summarize its importance: “Case Closed: Barack Obama is a Socialist Working to Destroy America.”
My progressive friends laugh their heads off when I argue this with a straight face. They see Obama as a corporate sell-out still carrying on most of Bush’s war policy. Obama’s just a wimpy, moderate liberal and party hack beholden to Wall Street. To which I respond,
That’s what Obama wants you to think. In his memoir he admits attending Socialist Scholars conferences in New York City in the early 1980s. Stanley Kurtz has verified which ones he attended, who spoke there, and what ideas were argued. It’s there that Obama learned about what community organizing really is all about. And when you read these people’s books — like Saul Alinsky — they admit it quite openly that they are just pretending to be centrist pragmatists in order to dupe do-gooder liberals like I was and you still are so they can gradually implement a European social welfare state. There’s a reason why over 90% of Europeans would vote Obama. He’s one of them.
That’s when my friends usually change the subject.
How do we know for certain that Obama’s ideology is still the same as in the early 1980s when he began his career as a stealth socialist community organizer? It’s not just because his administration draws from the ranks of community organizers and employs the movement’s tactics on the national level. It’s because Obama still works with the same people who are still pursuing the same goals. All that’s changed is now Obama’s the “good cop,” a friendly politician, instead of the hardball activist “bad cop.”
In Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities, Kurtz shows Obama’s second term plans. He reveals that the exact same community organizing mentors who trained Obama now work for him. Their goal? To quietly, as no one pays attention at the national level, use regulatory boards to implement “Regionalism.” The objective: create regions based around metropolitan areas that can swallow up and redistribute tax money from the richer suburbs to the poor inner cities. They would also seize control of schools, lower educational standards, and implement regulations to stop the growth of suburbia. Kurtz describes it as replicating the collapsing system of the European Union here in the United States. This is the “fundamental transformation.” And Kurtz unearthed documents within the archives of these stealth socialist community organizing groups irrefutably identifying Obama as a partner in the effort.
Barack Obama may have begun as a minor figure within the world of community organizing but by the mid ’90s he was a major player, responsible for directing millions through his position on the boards of numerous charitable foundations. The paper trail Kurtz assembles between his two books of Obama’s deep associations with this ideological movement to transform America lies too deep for any of the president’s defenders to explain. So they can only follow the president’s lead, a favored tactic of Alinsky, and obfuscate.
Just like the youtube deception with Benghazi, and just as we see in the next two books, focusing on the methods of ACORN and Eric Holder’s Department of Justice…
Related from Ron Radosh: The Book to Defeat Obama: Stanley Kurtz’s Spreading the Wealth
Traditionalist conservatives who feared the Drug War would take a lax, hopey change turn under Obama have instead found a tougher clone of the previous administrations. In an aeon in which their president mostly fills them with dread, they should celebrate the day’s Boardwalk Empire-style prohibitionist surge.
This morning’s announcement by four California officials from the U.S. Attorney’s Office that hundreds of pot shops have been ordered to close down marks the most serious attempt, to date, to eradicate the state’s medical-marijuana industry.
They told press and angry advocates that the new crackdown will initially go after ”pot shops located close to schools, parks, sports fields and other places where there are a lot of children and … ‘significant commercial operations’ … [including] includes farmland where marijuana is being grown.” But from there on out, it’s free game.
The Drug Policy Alliance is furious: They just blasted a press release titled “Obama Administration’s Medical Marijuana Policies Now Worse Than Bush and Clinton Policies” — and they’re pretty spot on.
Dear Professor Mary Grabar,
I hope you’re doing well and I do ever so look forward to collaborating with you in the future here at PJM.
I would like to revisit an old debate that you and I had back in December of 2009 regarding marijuana legalization and the difference between the political Left and the Counterculture.
Almost two years after our first discussion on the subject I believe the evidence is more abundant than ever that I am correct in my revised theses that:
A) Tea Party conservatives should not support the federal government spending billions of taxpayer dollars to try and prevent people from becoming drug addicts.
B) Barack Obama and the movement he represents are most accurately understood as Marxist, not Countercultural.
Let’s work our way backwards on these two points — from the nature of our enemies on to the values that you and I share in spite of our very different cultural backgrounds. On the next pages I’m going to state my case on these matters and welcome your rebuttal to help refine the bold propositions. I’m also certain that PJM’s commenting community will no doubt have some perceptive analyses of these issues.