THE TENTH ANNUAL H.L. MENCKEN CLUB CONFERENCE
tHE FUTURE OF THE RIGHT: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
NOVEMBER 3-4, 2017
By Paul Gottfried
It is with considerable pleasure that I observe this turnout for the tenth annual gathering of the H.L. Mencken Club. Our organization has survived both its troubled beginnings (which I won’t bother to recount on this happy occasion) and its growing pains to become a focal point for the independent Right. This has come to pass because of your kind participation, generous donations, and the persistent work of those who serve on our board. Unlike those who work for the Beltway conservative movement, the H.L. Mencken Club depends entirely on voluntary efforts; and these have come from dedicated people who feel strongly about our mission. And let me acknowledge at the outset the work of our board, all of whose members serve tirelessly without compensation.
A question that some of us may ask ourselves in our darker moments is why bother to maintain an organization like ours. Many of our members are nearing seventy, some even eighty. The Village Voice and other vehicles of establishment opinion depict us as geriatric babblers who are too doddering to be dangerous. The gargantuan media enterprise that Peter Brimelow styles “conservatism, inc.” runs away from us like bearers of the Black Plague. The employees of this multibillion dollar enterprise avoid mentioning our names, except to deny they had met us. Until recently, being involved in the H.L. Mencken Club carried a heavy price, at least for those who crave the company of successful professional conservatives.
Allow me to begin my remarks with this question. Have those who mock our mostly older members made note recently of all the graying Fox-news-viewers and aging subscribers to National Review? The average age of the first (according to information gleaned from the British Daily Mail) is 68; while the average age of a National Review reader is 66. Viewers of MSNBC and CNN range on average between 62 and 64. But there is more disheartening news for media conservatism. Although Fox-news desperately showcases blacks in order to acquire a more politically correct audience, these efforts have yielded meager results. Less than 1.1 per cent of Fox-news viewers are black; and this percentage gives no indication of rising.
The remarks which follow are not being aimed at us. We in this organization have exemplified the principle of open discussion and intellectual freedom in a way that the movement I’m criticizing has, with few exceptions, no interest in. Next to our record of open debate and intellectual tolerance, conservatism, inc. is hardly better than the PC Left it sanctimoniously attacks. If I now dwell on the failures and misdeeds of this establishment, it is precisely to show a path we have not taken, and one that I doubt we would have taken, even if we had been faced by the temptations to which others have readily succumbed. Let me also confess that I’m dwelling on these failures in much the same way that Hebrew Scripture dwells on the depravity of the Israelites’ neighbors. Underlining the misdeeds of others may have the effect of keeping the virtuous on the straight and narrow.
Unlike us, “conservative” spokespersons have a foreign policy that appears to be fixed in concrete—and one that seems designed to attract certain donors. Among its unshakeable pillars are lockstep support for AIPAC, diatribes against Vladimir Putin as the new Hitler, and demands that we bestow on the entire planet our vintage democracy, including feminism and gay rights. Promoting democracy means among other things having Max Boot, Charles Krauthammer, Ralph Peters, James Kirchik or one of their impersonators warn us that our failure to get entangled militarily somewhere, could lead to a new “Munich.” Supposedly the hour calls for another Churchill, who will address the latest Nazi menace or the current reincarnation of Kaiser Wilhelm. We must also battle Muslim extremists everywhere because “they hurl gays off buildings” and deny women equal rights.
Conservatism, inc. has a selective approach for dealing with academic intolerance. Fox-news and townhall rage about how their representatives have been kept by intolerant mobs from addressing various universities. But there is another side to this repetitious complaint that Peter Brimelow has called to my attention. Invitations that “conservative” celebrities receive to speak on campuses are usually accompanied by lavish funding from Washington-based organizations. Campus GOP clubs are used to lure speakers who are likely to create incidents with the far Left. Once this occurs, and rioting conveniently erupts, the conservative media spew forth indignation. But this “fascist riot,” as Fox-news then designates the commotion, get chased off the screen by other “hot items.” This is especially the case when there’s a counterdemonstration on the Right. Then we’re told that our side believes in discussing differences (with the Left of course but never with the unauthorized Right). Fox-news viewers are made to believe that they’re too high-minded to act out, unlike those leftist activists who are dragged on to Fox-news to present their case. The “conservative” media then move on to another incident that furnishes a fresh “news cycle.”
The same establishment also delights in highlighting socially acceptable victims of academic intolerance. And this too may cause us to wonder. Why are those victims of intolerance showcased by authorized conservatives so often situated on the Left, e.g., a liberal professor at Evergreen University who has been abandoned by his black allies or a Muslim feminist who is berated by her colleagues for scorning Sharia? Is there no one further on the Right who has suffered sufficient discrimination to be noticed by the conservative establishment? And why should the fact that Berkeley has refused to welcome some employee of conservatism, inc. matter more to us than the far more glaring injustice that befell, for example, Jason Richwine who was ousted from the “conservative policy community”? Poor Richwine was fired by Heritage Foundation after it was learned that his Harvard dissertation made reference to IQ disparities. While Scientific American may explore this topic freely, movement conservatives who show a similar curiosity are stripped of their careers.
Lest I burden you with my horror stories, I shall keep this narrative short. Over the last thirty years, all efforts at destroying me professionally have come exclusively from the conservative establishment. Attacks on me from the Left have never had the same harmful effect because they were not as persistent or as insidious. Since my only sin has been to comment critically on the neoconservative takeover of the conservative movement and its ensuing leftward lurch, this retaliation may have been disproportionate with my crime. But mine is no different from the punishment that befell other right-wing and libertarian dissenters, a practice that punctuates the history of the cm but which its official scribes have happily whited out. Particularly worthy of mention in my case was an unsolicited letter sent to Yale University Press aimed at dissuading the director from publishing my manuscript on Leo Strauss. The letter-writer, whom I instantly recognized from his klutzy prose, warned the director against publicizing the work of an “angry man.” Needless to say, I had every right to be angry, although this was not reflected in my book. In fact if I had the letter-writer in my grasp as I read his epistle I would have strangled him at once.
Another characteristic of the fake Right I’ve highlighted in books is that no approved “conservative” can fall out of media favor by moving too far to the Left. In 2015 a New York Post and Commentary contributor Seth Mandel published essays defending Black Lives Matter, as a highly principled response to racist police targeting inner-city blacks. Mandel then modified his position when he lamented in Commentary that BLM members had demonstrated with Palestinian advocates against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Mandel thereby proved his good standing to his patrons by turning against BLN for the proper reason, namely that black activists were on the wrong side in the Middle East. Presumably Mandel’s gushing defense of these radicals against police officers did not faze his patrons in the least.
Parroting the Left has in fact never hurt an authorized conservative, as can be seen by looking at the careers of Bret Stephens, Bill Kristol, George Will, Megyn McCain, David Frum, Charles Sykes and David Brooks. None of these longtime conservative celebrities became anathema to their movement for fraternizing with the enemy. It is they who turned their backs on their erstwhile comrades because they wished to move up professionally. Such a motive may likewise account for the concerns recently expressed by Max Boot as a Russian Jew allegedly facing right-wing xenophobia. Arguably minicons who say these things are doing more than venting their inner selves. They may also be queuing up for jobs in a more socially respected environment than the one they’re presently in.
The conservative movement exhibits a boundless capacity for generating meaningless opposition to itself, which Sam Francis described as “artificial negativity.” Since the ascendancy of Donald Trump, well-financed websites, like American Thinker and National Affairs, have popped into existence that pretend to be resisting the “movement.” I’ve noticed that none of the editors of these websites will even return my polite inquiries for information from them. The most ridiculous representative of this bogus populism may be the Fox-news host Steve Hilton, who dresses up each Sunday evening like a fascist black shirt and prattles about “the next revolution.” Significantly, most of the “people” whom Hilton invites on to his program are Fox-news regulars like Dana Perino and Chris Steierwalt, and Democratic operatives who are encouraged to debate with Hilton’s establishment GOP regulars.
I don’t mean to castigate (at least not this evening) the conservative establishment for its narrow range of permissible topics. This movement is joined to certain interests, such as the GOP and a donor base, which demand compliance with its wishes. I myself was struck by the way “conservative philanthropy” has exploded since the late 1980s, when I worked on the revised edition of The Conservative Movement. At that time Heritage and AEI were each raising about 15 million dollars per annum. The last time I checked Heritage was pulling in many times that amount every year. Of course obligations come with these gifts. Republican members of the Washington “policy community” strive to be “socially respectable.” When their Democratic counterparts lavish praise on MLK, Heritage rushes in with even more fulsome tributes. And when other policy foundations in the Acela Corridor deplore the history of American racism or sexism, the Republican ones naturally follow suit.
When all is said and done, I don’t think conservatism, inc. can act any differently and still maintain itself as a well-financed movement. In this matter I take my lead from Karl Marx who explained why the members of a particular class behave as they do. Objective circumstances require the historical actors to take certain positions, and so personal feelings have to be subordinated to collective interests. While I wouldn’t deny the actors in this case are mostly personally vile, I’m not sure they could act in a less vile fashion without hurting their interests. I would also apply this observation to essentially decent people (and there are some) who work for the movement I’ve targeted. Those who find themselves favored by the heads and donors of this movement may feel pressured to conform when it comes to examining certain questions and (yes) avoiding contact with those whom their leaders have purged.
I thought about these restrictions recently when I read National Review-senior editor David French, who was briefly neoconservative presidential alternative to Donald Trump. French was responding to an attack on his reputation by the SPLC. Because of his membership in a Christian Evangelical political group, French was accused by leftist activists of being a bigot. In NR, he expressed shock that someone of his immaculately antiracist background (he famously adopted a black child) would have such a charge leveled against him. He then gave this advice on how the SPLC might improve its performance: “What’s the solution? The media should stop using it as a source — unless the SPLC again starts focusing on its original valuable mission of exposing and combating racist terrorists and white supremacists. “
Given his professional position, should French have noticed that the SPLC has been corrupt since its beginnings in 1979? Should he have pointed out that the SPLC’s head Morris Dees has always shaken down frightened donors for money, which he has often spent on himself, by exaggerating or fabricating far Right dangers? Would NR’s key donors have been pleased if French assaulted the entire history of a longtime antiracist sacred cow? Would his superior Rich Lowry, who has recently seconded the NAACP in demanding the dismantling of Confederate monuments, have sat by quietly if French had been more outspoken in going after the SPLC?
The fact is Lowry can’t even finish a column about NFL players disrespecting the American flag (on September 26), without declaiming against Confederate monuments, which are apparently “the opposite” of the American flag. French’s boss seems so fixated on his left flank that he’s not likely to indulge right-wing deviationists on his staff. Let’s think about Lowry’s onetime employee John Derbyshire, who lost his gig at NR for speaking out of turn. Might this not serve as a cautionary tale? Please note that I’m not depicting French as a principled man or even as a credible right-winger. I am suggesting that his references to the glorious past of the SPLC may have been influenced by his life situation.
Unlike the examples I’ve cited, we do not engage in purging and blacklisting people in order to accommodate our associates on the Left; nor do we live with the expectation that the liberal media or national press will help advance our careers if we pull punches or besmirch those on a more serious Right. Let me avoid overgeneralization: Not everyone or everything associated with the conservative establishment displays the same bad behavior. But the character flaws in question seem deeply embedded in the movement and reveal themselves in the double standard that acceptable conservatives apply in how they relate to the Left and to those further on the Right. In one case dialogue is pursued even when the other sides scorns those wanting to converse; in the other case marginalization and dehumanization are the order of the day.
I am furthermore astonished by the chutzpa of those who practice this double standard, by posing as defenders of academic and intellectual freedom. The reason many of us came together to form the Mencken Club, in honor of a no-holds-barred journalist who fearlessly exercised his First Amendment right to political speech, is that we were sick of the shabby behavior of what calls itself the cm. Whether or not its most disturbing traits and actions, suppression of dissent on the Right, groveling to the center Left, and blatant hypocrisy, are driven by personal character defects, fear of losing one’s donor base, or (more likely) both, no one in this room could mourn the disappearance of this establishment.
If conservatism inc. does begin to disintegrate, what challengers on the Right could take its place? One possibility is there will be no replacement, because no rival to the conservative establishment will acquire the resources and media connections necessary to replace it. These long entrenched opinion-shapers still dispose over massive financial and media backing; and it’s not at all clear that any rival could muster comparable resources. In some Western countries, like Canada and Germany, the Right has shrunk to near non-existence, and any attempt to revive it has been met with cries of “racism” and “fascism.”
In this at least imaginable American future without a Right, some token opposition to the Cultural Marxist Left will remain but mostly as a meaningless place-marker. This neutered Right in all likelihood would provide a constant diet of Max Boot, Rich Lowry, David Brooks and Ross Doutat, and I doubt anyone in this room would be able to read this pap without losing his dinner. A friend told me about how a gathering of conservative dignitaries sponsored by an organization headquartered in Indianapolis turned into a therapy session for those who were panicking that someone might identify them, however remotely, with the Altright. One of the most frightened attendees was the young owner of a website that claims quite implausibly to speak for “the people.” It is at least conceivable that conservatism in the future will be dominated by such wusses. Watching an ad run by Fox-news multiple times every night celebrating October as LGBT Month, I had to ask myself whether the conservative movement could rise to even higher levels of misrepresentation. The answer of course is an emphatic yes.
And then there is this unpleasant possibility: If a future Right starts out looking different from conservatism, inc., it might be ultimately forced to rely on the same donor base as the one that now funds the official conservative movement. Defense industries, Las Vegas casino owners who are Middle Eastern super-hawks, the pro-immigrationist and pro-amnesty Koch Brothers, the gay-rights promoter Paul Singer and liberal media that will only deal with a domesticated opposition, may turn this Right into the spitting image of its predecessor. I have to think about this when I consider the prospects for adventurous websites like Daily Caller or TV personalities like Tucker Carlson, who try to chart an independent course within the conservative movement. How long will they be able to continue this course, before their patrons and the movement’s ideological censors come down on them for straying too far from party lines?
But I’m assuming hypothetically that some group on the independent Right can make it over the hurdles. And for the sake of argument, let’s imagine this Right looks markedly different from the one we now have. From whence will it come and who will support it? Quite possibly, no one group on the now marginalized Right would be able to unify all the competing factions. This alternative Right might find itself in the same position as the anti-Communist opposition to Soviet-controlled dictatorships in the 1980s. Groups that were brought together by a common tyranny began to compete for power as the occupying empire withdrew. Would paleolibertarians, the Alt-Right, and what is left of the Old Right suddenly come together in a sacred union with the weakening of their shared enemy? More likely, different groups on the Right would vie for public attention; and even conservatism, inc. might survive, as one of several alternatives being marketed as “conservatism” or “the Right.”
What I’m suggesting as a possible future is a free market of right-wing ideas in place of the sclerotic democratic centralism that presently characterizes the conservative movement. Given our present situation, I’d find nothing objectionable if this were indeed our future. In fact given the relative powerlessness of outsiders on the Right, what I’m outlining may look like a dream. But for any of this to happen, two preconditions must be met. The conservative movement must begin to come unglued from internal contradictions; and another Right must be able to crash the party (for certainly it won’t be invited in) with sufficient resources to become a media force. Unless these things happen, any repeal and replacement of the conservative establishment will remain beyond our reach.
Let me however close on this upbeat note. I applaud those who labor to improve the American Right properly understood; and I am pleased they have not yet abandoned themselves to despair. Their labors remind me of a line from the golden oldie movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” in which the youthful Jimmy Stewart tells the corrupt Senator Payne, famously played by Claude Raines: “the lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.” I know everyone in this room believes that. I certainly do.
The Alt Right Among Other Rights
By Keith Preston
Speaking about the intricacies of different ideological tendencies can often be a bit tedious, and certainly a topic like the Alt-Right can get very complicated because there are so many currents that feed into the Alt-Right. I know that when I spoke here last year I was speaking on the right-wing anarchist tradition, which is a highly esoteric tradition, and one that is often very obscure with many undercurrents. The Alt-Right is similar in the sense of having many sub-tendencies that are fairly obscure in their own way, although some of these have become more familiar now that the Alt-Right has grown in fame, or infamy, in the eyes of its opponents. Some of the speakers we have heard at this conference so far have helped to clarify some of the potential definitions of what the Alt-Right actually is, but given the subject of my presentation I thought I might break it down a bit further, and clarify a few major distinctions.
What is the Alt-Right?
The Alt-Right can be broadly defined as a highly varied and loose collection of ideologies, movements, and tendencies that in some way dissent from the so-called “mainstream” conservative movement, or are in actual opposition to mainstream conservatism. Of course, this leaves us with the task of actually defining mainstream conservatism as well. I would define the conservative movement’s principal characteristics as being led by the neoconservatives, oriented towards the Republican Party, and as a movement for whom media outlets like Fox News, talk radio, and publications like National Review and the Weekly Standard are its leading voices. Outside of the framework of what some here appropriately call “Conservatism, Inc.,” we could say that there is an Alt-Right that can be broadly defined, and an Alt-Right that can be more narrowly defined.
The Alt-Right broadly defined would be anything on the Right that is in opposition to the neocon-led Republican alliance. This could include everything from many Donald Trump voters in the mainstream, to various tendencies that have been given such labels as the “alt-lite,” the new right, the radical right, the populist right, the dark enlightenment, the identitarians, the neo-reactionaries, the manosphere (or “men’s right advocates”), civic nationalists, economic nationalists, Southern nationalists, white nationalists, paleoconservatives, right-wing anarchists, right-leaning libertarians (or “paleolibertarians”), right-wing socialists, neo-monarchists, tendencies among Catholic or Eastern Orthodox traditionalists, neo-pagans, Satanists, adherents of the European New Right, Duginists, Eurasianists, National-Bolsheviks, conspiracy theorists, and, of course, actually self-identified Fascists and National Socialists. I have encountered all of these perspectives and others in Alt-Right circles.
Under this broad definition of the Alt-Right, anyone from Steve Bannon or Milo Yiannopolis all the way over to The Daily Sturmer or the Traditionalist Workers Party could be considered Alt-Right. In fact, ideological tendencies as diverse as these have actually embraced the Alt-Right label to describe themselves. For example, Steve Bannon said at one point during the Trump campaign in 2016 that he wanted to make Breitbart into the voice of the Alt-Right, but then I have also encountered people who are actual neo-Nazis using the Alt-Right label to describe themselves as well.
A narrower definition of the Alt-Right might be to characterize what is most distinctive about the Alt-Right. In this sense, the Alt-Right could be characterized as a collection of tendencies that is specifically oriented towards some of kind identification with European history and tradition, and regard Europe and, by extension, North America as part of a distinct Western civilization that was developed by European and, predominantly, Christian peoples. Consequently, the Alt-Right tends to be much more oriented towards criticizing ideas or policies like multiculturalism, mass immigration, and what is commonly called “political correctness,” than what is found among mainstream conservatism. This is in contrast to the Left’s views, which are increasingly the views of mainstream liberalism as well, and which regards the legacy of Western history and culture as nothing but an infinite string of oppressions such racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, patriarchy, hierarchy, nativism, cisgenderism, speciesism, and the usual laundry list of isms, archies, and phobias that the Left sees as permeating every aspect of Western civilization. Presumably, other civilizations have never featured any of these characteristics.
In this way, the Alt-Right is obviously in contrast to mainstream conservatism given that the so-called “conservative movement” is normally oriented towards what amounts to three basic ideas. One idea is that of the foreign policy “hawks,” or advocates of military interventionism for the ostensible purpose of spreading the Western model of liberal democracy throughout the world, whose greatest fear is isolationism in foreign policy, and which is a perspective that I would argue is also very convenient for the armaments manufacturers and the Pentagon budget. A second idea is a fixation on economic policy, such as a persistent advocacy of “tax cuts and deregulation,” which in reality amounts to merely advancing the business interests of the corporate class. And the third idea is a type of social conservatism that is primarily religion-driven, and has opposition to abortion or gay marriage as central issues of concern, but typically gives no thought to cultural or civilizational issues in any broader or historical sense. For example, it is now common in much of the evangelical Protestant milieu, as well as the Catholic milieu, to welcome mass immigration, as a source of potential converts, or as replacement members for churches that are losing their congregations due to the ongoing secularization of the wider society. In fact, the practice of adopting Third World children has become increasingly common within the evangelical Protestant subculture in the same way it has among celebrities and entertainers like Madonna or Angelina Jolie.
Predictably, there has been a great deal of conflict that has emerged between the Alt-Right and the mainstream conservative movement, with many movement conservatives and their fellow travelers going out of their way to attack or denounce the Alt-Right. In this sense, the attacks on the Alt-Right that have originated from mainstream conservatism essentially mirror those of the Left, or of the liberal class. For example, the Associated Press issued a description of the Alt-Right that was intended for writers’ guideline policy purposes, and which reads as follows:
The 'alt-right' or 'alternative right' is a name currently embraced by some white supremacists and white nationalists to refer to themselves and their ideology, which emphasizes preserving and protecting the white race in the United States in addition to, or over, other traditional conservative positions such as limited government, low taxes and strict law-and-order. The movement has been described as a mix of racism, white nationalism and populism ... criticizes "multiculturalism" and more rights for non-whites, women, Jews, Muslims, gays, immigrants and other minorities. Its members reject the American democratic ideal that all should have equality under the law regardless of creed, gender, ethnic origin or race (John Daniszewski, Associated Press, November 26, 2016)
While the above quotation is from the Associated Press, I do not know that there is anything in it that could not have come from the pages of not only The New Yorker, The Atlantic, or the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report, but also from the pages of the National Review, Weekly Standard, the Federalist, or a Prager University video.
As for some specific examples, writing in The Federalist, conservative political scientist Nathanael Blake stated that “Christianity and Greco-Roman philosophy, rather than race, are the foundations upon which Western Civilization was built,” and suggested that the Alt-Right is actually attacking the legacy of Western Civilization rather than defending the Western cultural heritage. These questions have become a major point of contention between cultural conservatives and the racialist right-wing. Writing in National Review, David French (Bill Kristol’s one-time proposed presidential candidate), called Alt-Right adherents "wanna-be fascists" and denounced “their entry into the national political conversation.” I suppose the difference between the views of David French and the views of the Left would be that the Left would say that the Alt-Right are actual fascists, and not merely “wanna-be” fascists. Presumably, this is what separates the mainstream Right from the Left nowadays.
Writing for The Weekly Standard, Benjamin Welton has characterized the Alt-Right as a "highly heterogeneous force" that "turns the left's moralism on its head and makes it a badge of honor to be called 'racist,' 'homophobic,' and 'sexist'". Based on my own experiences with the Alt-Right, I would say this assessment by Welton is largely true. In the National Review issue of April, 2016, Ian Tuttle wrote:
The Alt-Right has evangelized over the last several months primarily via a racist and anti-Semitic online presence. But for Allum Bokhari and Milo Yiannopoulos, the Alt-Right consists of fun-loving provocateurs, valiant defenders of Western civilization, daring intellectuals—and a handful of neo-Nazis keen on a Final Solution 2.0, but there are only a few of them, and nobody likes them anyways.
Jeffrey Tucker, a libertarian writer affiliated with the Foundation for Economic Education, describes the Alt-Right as follows:
The Alt-Right "inherits a long and dreary tradition of thought from Friedrich Hegel to Thomas Carlyle to Oswald Spengler to Madison Grant to Othmar Spann to Giovanni Gentile to Trump's speeches." Tucker further asserts that Alt-Right adherents "look back to what they imagine to be a golden age when elites ruled and peons obeyed" and consider that "identity is everything and the loss of identity is the greatest crime against self anyone can imagine."
Whatever one thinks of the Trump presidency, it is highly doubtful that Trump actually draws inspiration from Hegel.
Writing in The Federalist, a libertarian feminist named Cathy Young criticized a Radix Journal article on abortion that criticized the pro-life position as "'dysgenic,” because it supposedly “encourages breeding by 'the least intelligent and responsible' women." So apparently, it is not enough to simply favor abortion rights. Instead, one has to be “pro-choice” for what are apparently the “right reasons,” such as a “woman’s right to choose,” as opposed to “bad reasons,” such as eugenic practice. This line of thought is in keeping with the fairly standard leftist viewpoint which insists that motives and intentions rather than ideas and consequences are what matters, and the standard by which people ought to be morally judged.
Another interesting aspect of these criticisms is that the mainstream conservatives have attacked the Alt-Right by using leftist terminology, such as labeling the Alt-Right as racist, sexist, fascist, xenophobic, etc. But a parallel tactic that has been used by mainstream conservatism has been to denounce the Alt-Right as leftist. For example, at this year’s gathering of CPAC, or the Conservative Political Action committee, Dan Schneider, who is currently the executive director of the American Conservative Union, an organization that hosts the annual CPAC conference, criticized the Alt-Right as “a sinister organization that is trying to worm its way into our ranks,” insisting that, quote, “We must not be duped. We must not be deceived,” and said of the Alt-Right:
“They are nothing but garden-variety left-wing fascists..They are anti-Semites; they are racists; they are sexists. They hate the Constitution. They hate free markets. They hate pluralism. They despise everything we believe in.”
This sounds very similar to the rhetoric that often comes from the far left where dire warnings are issued concerning the supposed threat of fascist entryism into leftist organizations. For example, there is term called the “the fascist creep” that is used by some very far Left antifa and Maoist tendencies to describe what are supposedly ongoing nefarious plots by “fascists” to infiltrate and co-opt leftist movements, and steer these towards fascism. Ironically, this conspiracy theory is very similar to traditional anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about how Jews supposedly infiltrate and take over everything, and manipulate institutions in order to advance all sorts of supposed nefarious plots. It would appear that the far Left, and apparently increasingly mainstream conservatism, has developed its own rhetoric about the “fascist conspiracy” as a counterpart to far Right fantasies about the “Jewish conspiracy.” Perhaps we could characterize the former as the “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Thule.”
Jeff Goldstein, writing in The Federalist on September 6, 2016, suggests that, quote, “the Alt-Right is the mirror image of the New Left,” and describes the Alt-Right “an identity movement on par with Black Lives Matter, La Raza, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and other products of cultural Marxism.” Goldstein further says of the Alt-Right:
The Alt-Right is a European-style right-wing movement that is at odds with the classical liberalism upon which our country was built, and which the Left has redefined as “Right.” That is to say, the European “Right” is mapped onto a political spectrum different than our own. Our “right” — conservatism or classical liberalism —is dead-center on our spectrum, no matter how persistently the Left tries to claim otherwise. It is constitutionalism, which incorporates federalism, republicanism, legal equity, and a separation of powers.
These comments are fairly representative of the rhetoric used by mainstream conservatives who attempt to either portray the Alt-Right as leftists, or label the Alt-Right as fascists and then claim fascism is really on the Left. The general argument that is made by mainstream conservatives in response to the Alt-Right is that “true” conservatism or the “true” Right is actually veneration for the Enlightenment-influenced ideas found in the Declaration of Independence, veneration of the Founding Fathers, and reverence for the Constitution as a kind of secular Bible. Parallel to these claims is the idea of America as a “propositional nation” that has no roots in any kind of history, culture, or tradition other than just a very vaguely defined “Judeo-Christianity.” This idea of what “conservatism” supposedly is basically amounts to being for so-called “limited government,” so-called “free enterprise,” “individualism,” and various other vaguely defined abstractions, plus policy preferences like a so-called “strong national defense” (which is often just a euphemism for the neoconservatives’ foreign policy agenda), and various center-right policy prescriptions like tax cuts, opposing Obamacare, opposing affirmative action, opposing gun control, opposing abortion, opposing gay marriage, supporting school vouchers, and other ideas we are all familiar with.
These policy preferences will often be accompanied by silly platitudes like “Democrats are the real racists,” or dubious and often flagrantly false claims like “Martin Luther King was a conservative,” or that foreign policy hawks are the real friends of feminists and gays because of their opposition to so-called “Islamo-fascism.” At times, Democrats will be labeled as fascists and anti-Semites because of their supposed pro-Islamic views, or because some on the far Left are pro-Palestinian. Taken to extremes, there are characters like Dinesh D’Souza who would probably claim that the Democrats crucified Jesus.
The representatives of “Conservatism, Inc.” will also give lip service to opposition to attacks on free speech and academic freedom in the name of political correctness, but they are very selective about this. For example, their defense of the politically incorrect does not extend to anti-Zionists like Norman Finkelstein. On the immigration issue, while there are some mainstream conservatives that are immigration restrictionists, it is just as common that the proposed method of reducing illegal immigration advanced by mainstream conservatives is to make legal immigration easier, on the assumption that the only problem with illegal immigration is its illegality. A defining characteristic of mainstream conservatism when contrasted with the Alt-Right is the total lack of seriousness, or any kind of solid philosophical or intellectual foundation that is displayed by mainstream conservatism.
The Alt-Right is more of a meta-political movement than a political one, and the specific policy proposals that are found among Alt-Rightists vary enormously. I do not know that it would even be possible to draft a platform for an Alt-Right political party because the Alt-Right contains so much diversity of ideas. However, the Alt-Right is far more serious about ideas than mainstream conservatism in the sense of having an understanding of the reality of demographic conflict, recognizing the difficulties that are associated with rapid demographic change, understanding the reality of class conflict as well as cultural and civilizational conflicts, understanding that Western liberal democracy is particular to the cultural foundations and historical circumstances of the West, and not something that can be easily transplanted elsewhere, and concerns that mainstream conservatives normally have no perception of, or do not take seriously.
I will end my presentation by pointing to an observation by Professor George Hawley of the University of Alabama, who suggested that the Alt-Right may pose a greater threat to progressivism than the mainstream conservative movement. I would agree that this is true, but only in the sense that the mainstream conservative movement poses no threat to progressivism at all. I would argue that far from being a threat to the Democratic Party, mainstream media, the corporate class and the cultural elite, the mainstream conservative movement is actually partners in crime with the progressives. The Alt-Right at least proposes ideas that are an ideological threat to progressivism even if this small size prevents the Alt-Right from being a political threat, at least at the present time.
“The Corporation and Political Radicalism: A Bad Business Partnership”
By Carl Horowitz
Thank you, everyone, especially Paul and Mary, for giving me yet another opportunity to speak before fellow dissenters.
Over a year ago, as many of you may recall, I spoke here about the tradition of American populism and the possibility that Donald Trump would be elected president in a few days. I explained that despite populism’s deficiencies, it was crucial that he win. I was not all that enamored of The Donald. But the overriding reality was that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, embodied the worst instincts of both globalism and Leftism. She was our Angela Merkel and Justin Trudeau rolled into one.
You can believe it – America dodged a bullet on Election Day.
Today I’m talking about a related subject: why so many of this country’s corporations, especially those that provide information technology, are promoting a brand of radicalism commonly known as “cultural Marxism.”
For it is a fact: As an institution, the corporation, whether out of self-interest or conviction, is allying itself, and rather brazenly, with the hard Left. And the consequences could be devastating for our nation.
Now when I speak of “radicalism,” I’m not referring to the tradition of businessmen using the State to achieve and maintain market advantage. Monopoly in this country is a more than a century-old tradition, and it is anything but radical. Nor am I referring to the more recent tradition of corporations paying radical accusers a “diversity tax” in hopes of shooing them away. That’s capitulation, not commitment.
No, what I’m referring to is the arms-length agreement between corporations and far-Left activists to subvert deeply ingrained human loyalties, especially those related to national identity. Most corporate executives today see America’s future as post-national, not national. The two factions differ by motive. Businessmen act out of material self-interest. They want to hire people from abroad at much lower wages and benefits than the native-born would accept. And they want to sell in untapped markets. Radicals, by contrast, act out of emotional self-interest. They crave total multiculturalism in one nation, that feeling of singing in unison, “We Are the World.”
Where these camps converge is the belief that national identity is outdated and must be replaced by an elaborate system of global coordination. A nation ought to have no right to define itself in terms of race, language or collective memory. In the world of information technology, in fact, business and radicalism now mean almost the same thing.
America, in this view, has an obligation to accommodate the crush of people from abroad wanting in. We cannot discriminate. We shouldn’t even ask about their motives. America is a global sanctuary, a coast-to-coast UN General Assembly.
Mass immigration is a global way of saying “diversity.” And that refers not to a diversity of opinion, but to a diversity of demography holding identical opinions. Some have likened this to a cultural equivalent of Marxism, hence the common term “cultural Marxism.” Whatever one’s preferred term, it is now the coin of the realm in the world of big business. Examples:
PepsiCo. Ex-CEO Steven Reinemund remarked about a decade ago: “It’s easier to recruit diverse talent than it is to create an inclusive culture. The challenge comes with creating an environment in which every associate – regardless of ethnicity, gender orientation, gender or physical ability – feels valued and wants to be part of our growth.” His successor, Indra Nooyi, feels the same way.
Comcast. Several years ago, the company greeted attendees at the annual convention of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network this way: “We live and breathe innovation every day. By embracing diversity of thought, philosophy and experience, we have become the nation’s leading provider of entertainment, information and communication products and services. By embracing diversity of communities, we have become an employer and a provider of choice. Our diversity is our strength…Comcast proudly supports the National Action Network.”
eBay. The company website declares: “Diversity and inclusion at eBay goes well beyond a moral necessity – it’s the foundation of our business model and absolutely critical to our ability to thrive in an increasingly competitive global landscape.”
I could extract similar statements from literally thousands of companies. In today’s environment, a corporate executive cannot keep his job unless he advances and enforces this party line.
One corporation, the worldwide online lodging service, Airbnb, is going that extra mile. Back in late January, one day after President Trump issued an executive order barring entry into the U.S. from seven terrorist-occupied or terrorist-sponsoring nations for up to 90 days pending executive review (i.e., the “Muslim ban”), Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky, current net worth roughly $4 billion, announced that his company would provide free shelter to anyone adversely affected by the order. Apparently, Chesky wasn’t adversely affected by Title 8, Section 1324 of the U.S. Code, which states that facilitating illegal immigration is punishable by up to five years in prison.
Airbnb’s resistance to “intolerance” isn’t limited to presidential executive orders. Only days after his announcement, the company on short notice produced and aired a 30-second Super Bowl TV spot depicting a diverse group of people with the accompanying text: “We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept.” The company also has committed itself to donating $4 million over four years to the International Rescue Committee, a New York City-based refugee relief fund headed by prominent British Labour politician David Miliband.
The goal here is monopoly. But it is more than simply a monopoly over a particular market. It is a monopoly over public opinion. And right now, the opinion that matters most is that President Donald Trump, and the people who support him, don’t fit into America’s future.
Consider these recent developments:
- Discover Financial Services ended its merchant agreements with “hate organizations.” And its competitor, Visa, cut ties with several “hate” websites based on a list provided by “concerned organizations.”
- Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison denounced President Trump’s statement criticizing the Right and Left for the recent violence in Charlottesville on grounds that only the Right had done wrong. She said: “Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and are not morally equivalent to anything else that happened in Charlottesville.”
- Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, following President Trump’s “Muslim ban,” issued this companywide memo: “(W)e will neither stand by, nor stand silent, as the uncertainty around the new administration’s actions grow with each passing day. There are more than 65 million citizens of the world recognized as refugees by the United Nations, and we are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business.”
- Facebook chairman-CEO Mark Zuckerberg, a vocal supporter of the sanctuary movement, unveiled a manifesto outlining plans to retool his company as a global issues advocate. He asked: “Are we building the world we want?”
So how did we get here? Why are some of our fastest-growing, largest and best-managed enterprises leading campaigns to dissolve America’s historical identity – and often the personal reputations of those who affirm it? Aren’t they acting against their own interests? From their frame of reference, they are not.
It is here where we come to the idea known as “cultural Marxism.”
The truth is I’ve never liked the term. Karl Marx himself wrote very little about culture beyond his pre-Communist Manifesto, “Young Hegelian” phase. To the extent culture mattered, it was subordinate to class struggle. I thus use “cultural Marxism” out of convenience, not conviction.
Marxism is based on a core assumption: the irreconcilability of labor and capital. Everything flows from that.
As Marx saw it, the central fact of modern history is the evolution of two rival social classes: those who sell labor (workers, or the “proletariat”) and those who buy labor (industrial capitalists, or the “bourgeoisie”). Large landowners, as remnants of feudalism, are not a major factor. The capitalist-worker relationship, by nature, is exploitative. Capitalists, in their pursuit of profit, pays them poverty-level wages. As a consequence, workers become alienated from work, family and society.
At first, workers can’t explain their situation. But with proper proselytizing, everything comes into focus. The proletariat acquires a class consciousness and becomes rebellious. Capitalists, with the State supplying the muscle, respond with repression. The conflict replicates itself worldwide and becomes more volatile over time. This is capitalism in its “late” stage. Eventually, capitalism collapses under the weight of its contradictions and revolution arrives. The outcome is historically preordained: Labor wins, capital loses. Private property is overthrown and a better world is born.
Well, we all know how that worked out. Even regimes that are formally Communist, such as the People’s Republic of China, know better than to abolish private property.
In modern societies, Marxists have gone off the original script in three ways:
First, Marxists accept law and policy as a means of revolution. They are more than willing to pursue “bourgeois parliamentary reforms” of the sort Marx disdained. Marxists are willing to build socialism in such areas of material well-being as pensions, health care and housing.
Second, they recognize that capitalists can evolve into natural allies and not simply allies of convenience in which they donate the rope from which they later will hang. In time, capitalists may absorb the lessons of their critics to the point where they no longer are capitalists.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, Marxists have shifted their primary focus from class to race and sex. Mind you, they haven’t given up on class struggle. But their most passionate identifications are with “people of color,” women and various gender-bender sexual minorities. These are the new proletariat. Especially helpful are hybrid categories such as “women of color” and “Latino workers.”
The importance of race here cannot be underestimated. Beginning in the 1960s, white people, here and in Europe, began to reject their identity. This was especially significant because the main disseminator of this view, higher education, experienced dramatic increases in enrollment. The idea that whites owe a gargantuan debt to “people of color” became absorbed into our frame of reference. So did the idea that in their primal and violent behavior, nonwhites are more “authentic” than whites. This view got its unofficial launch – at least among whites – in 1957 with the publication of Norman Mailer’s essay, “The White Negro.”
While the influence of the Frankfurt School of Marxism can’t be ignored here, I find it vastly overstated. The crucial game-changers have been black authors, for the most part home-grown Americans. Ur texts include Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, Malcolm X’s Autobiography and Richard Hamilton & Stokely Carmichael’s Black Power. Over the next several years, as the Black Panthers turned up the heat, Eldridge Cleaver’s Soul on Ice, Bobby Seale’s Seize the Time and Huey Newton’s Revolutionary Suicide became must-reads. Recent additions to the canon have been Derrick Bell’s Faces at the Bottom of the Well, Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, and Cornel West’s Race Matters.
The newest and most potent symbol of this rebuke of all things white is Ta-Nehisi Coates, winner in 2015 of a five-year, $625,000 MacArthur Foundation “genius grant.” His father, William Paul Coates, by the way, is a former Black Panther who founded a Baltimore-based publishing house called Black Classic Press. Truly, Ta-Nehisi was “to the manor born.”
The rise of such authors could not have happened without the support of pliant and guilt-ridden white benefactors. The best explanation for this prostration remains Pascal Bruckner’s now-classic 1983 book, The Tears of the White Man: Compassion as Contempt. Observing his fellow Frenchmen, the author concluded that white swooning over the Third World, at bottom, is groveling, reflexive self-abasement.
This racial masochism today is not just a trend; it’s a virtual default setting. More than ever, the violence, poverty and illiteracy endemic to Third World cultures, especially that of blacks in America, cannot be criticized. And since class struggle and racial struggle are of a piece, eliminating inequality across nations requires linking capitalism and whiteness in the minds of audiences.
Liberal guilt, in fact, may be the key to understanding why the “color-blind” Civil Rights Act of 1964 morphed into racial quotas within several years despite assurances from its backers that it wouldn’t. The year 1964 also saw the first of several “long hot summers” that rocked our cities. Lawmakers, policymakers, academics, journalists and civil rights leaders desperately searched for ways to head off more rioting.
Eventually, corporations joined this coalition. It proved to be a smart proposition for themselves – and a bad one for the country.
Understand this about corporations. They are neither inherently Leftist nor inherently Rightist. They are inherently profit-seeking. They will undertake a strategy or project only if they see profit in it. Accordingly, they will avoid a strategy or project if they anticipate losing money from it. Starting in earnest during the Seventies, and accelerating since, companies have redefined their mission to “have it both ways:” mollify their inquisitors and please their shareholders. CEOs and other corporate officials see racially-based redistribution of wealth and power not just as sound philanthropy, but as sound business strategy.
In this mission, profit depends on two related principles: 1) Corporate Social Responsibility; and 2) globalism.
Corporate Social Responsibility. This is the principle that a corporation is answerable not just to people connected to the company, but to the broader society – i.e., stakeholders – seemingly affected by company decisions.
In this view, companies must address stakeholder concerns. Business isn’t just about delivering value to employees, shareholders and customers. It’s also about promoting the general welfare. Corporations should partner with sovereign governments, supranational governments (e.g., the European Union, the United Nations) and nongovernmental organizations.
Globalism. In this view, nation-states are irrelevant to multinational corporations. To maximize competitiveness, we must recognize the inter-connectedness of people the world over, and abandon protectionism and other obstacles to market efficiency.
This principle flowered in the Nineties, aided by several influential books. The Twilight of Sovereignty, was one such book. The author, Walter Wriston, chairman emeritus of Citibank, called for transforming corporations into semi-autonomous global entities. The old managerial class, he argued, is a dinosaur and should give way to a “global conversation.”
Likewise, Kenichi Ohmae, a senior partner with McKinsey & Co., argued in The Borderless World and The End of the National State that nation-states, unable to control events, are on their way out. As economies are global, governance must reflect that. Nations should cede most of their sovereignty to pro-market supranational entities. Ohmae argued in The Borderless World that the main goal of the U.S./Europe/Japan sovereign triad should be “ensuring the free flow of information, money, goods, and services as well as the free migration of people and corporations. Traditional governments will have to establish a new single framework of global governance.”
On the surface, this has nothing to do with Marxism. Yet indirectly, it has facilitated its advance. Since nations no longer matter, it follows that borders no longer matter either. And as unrestricted cross-national movement of labor is crucial for industry competitiveness, support for the free market goes hand in hand with elimination of immigration restrictions.
Related to this, corporations see value in working with nonprofit groups to root out “hate.” And they’re getting out their checkbooks. This past summer, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, a company with a market cap of $800 billion, informed employees that Apple would be donating $1 million to the Southern Poverty Law Center and providing a 2-to-1 match for all employee contributions. And JPMorgan Chase announced plans to donate $500,000 to the SPLC to promote its “tracking, exposing and fighting hate groups and other extremist organizations.”
Corporations also are forming anti-Trump coalitions.
Example: This February, after a Seattle federal judge had invalidated President Trump’s “Muslim ban,” top officials from Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Reddit, Twitter, Uber and dozens of other information technology firms submitted an amicus brief to an appeals court in support of the lower court ruling. Even before that ruling, our friend Tim Cook had stated: “Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do.”
Example: At the start of this September, executives of nearly 400 companies – including Amazon, Apple, Crate & Barrel, Facebook, General Motors, Marriott, Microsoft and Starbucks – announced their signed opposition to President Trump overturning President Obama’s 2012 order creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The petition, circulated by FWD.us, a lobbying group co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg, claimed our economy would severely suffer if DACA’s roughly 800,000 beneficiaries returned home. “These young people represent the future of our country and our economy,” Zuckerberg wrote.
The outsized role of Google in the Obama administration should dispel any illusions about corporate radicalism being “libertarian.” Consider that Google lobbyists visited the White House on at least 427 occasions. Consider as well that more than 250 persons either left Google for a position with the federal government or vice versa and that 53 of those transitions were White House-related. In addition, Google used the White House Office of Science and Technology as though it were a company back office, and in ways that skirted federal employee ethics rules. The Google-Obama pipeline also helped ward off a possible Federal Trade Commission antitrust suit.
Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google’s holding company, Alphabet Inc., travels in lofty political circles. On election night last year, he was at Hillary Clinton headquarters wearing a “Staff” badge. Schmidt, whose Forbes magazine-listed net worth now exceeds $13 billion, initiated a policy allowing Google to combine user browsing data from third-party websites with individual Google search and email data. Hacked emails by top Clinton campaign adviser John Podesta virtually confirm Schmidt’s motivations. One email from Schmidt to Clinton aide Cheryl Mills read: “Key is development of a single record for a voter that aggregates all that is known about them.”
All this sounds like spying on behalf of the government. That movie of several months ago, The Circle, may be more prophetic than many realize.
For the record, Schmidt has donated roughly $2 million to four organizations opposed to President Trump’s immigration policies.
Difficult as it is to resist the temptation, it’s important not to panic or get cynical – at least for now. In all fairness, business still does many terrific things that we take for granted, certainly a lot more often than socialism. And not every businessman has joined the multicultural ride.
That said, capitalism may be planting the seeds of its demise. This is not a new observation among partisans. Seventy-five years ago, Austrian-born Harvard economist Joseph Schumpeter wrote a book, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, in which he argued that capitalism is unsustainable. Unlike Marx, he did not welcome this. But he feared it would come to pass. In brief, Schumpeter argued that the monopoly-seeking tendencies inherent in capitalism would alienate the general population. But rather than resort to revolution, voters would elect anti-capitalists to office who in turn would transform their economies into social democracies.
Now the ability of a society to resolve its problems through the market shouldn’t be underestimated. That said, corporations have altered their mission in ways that are exacting a heavy price. Corporate officials should focus on what they do best – create profits and raise living standards – and stop being paymasters and pitchmen for global salvation.
So how do we encourage corporations to move back to their basic role? One approach is to buy voting shares of stock and introduce proxy resolutions at annual shareholder meetings. Most resolutions do not pass, something I know all too well from experience. But over the long run, they can initiate change. Talking about a taboo subject in front of a couple thousand shareholders really can get a debate going.
Another approach is to sue companies that inhibit free speech. Example: The alternative social media network, Gab, this September filed an antitrust suit against Google for banning Gab from the Google Store. Gab, you see, openly promotes free speech. And Google sees that as promoting violence and hate. Google had allowed Gab in its app stores until August, days after Google fired an engineer, James Damore, who had circulated a memo criticizing the company’s “diversity” programs. Apple already had banned Gab in 2016. Gab needs to win this one.
I am far less enthusiastic about organized boycotts. Generally, they don’t succeed. And more to the point, they shouldn’t. They thrive on factual misrepresentation, panic-peddling, character assassination and guilt by association. “The Left does it too” is not an argument.
Meanwhile, resentment against capitalism is surging once again. Anti-business authors such as Naomi Klein, Thomas Piketty, Paul Krugman and Alfie Kohn are virtual superstars. And anti-business politicians such as Bernie Sanders (U.S.), Jeremy Corbyn (U.K.) and Jean-Luc Melanchon (France) are enjoying large and growing audiences.
Young adults, here and elsewhere, are the prime audience. Consider the following recent survey data:
- A Harvard poll last year revealed that millennial adults supported capitalism over socialism by a mere 42 percent to 33 percent.
- A 2015 Gallup poll indicated that 70 percent of millennials would consider voting for a socialist presidential candidate.
- A survey released in October 2016 by the Victims of Communism Memorial found that only 55 percent of millennial respondents (born 1982-2002) believed that Communism is, or ever was, a problem. By contrast, 80 percent of the baby boomers and 91 percent of the elderly felt this way.
Ironic, isn’t it? Corporations are going all out to impress or join the Left, and this is the thanks they get.
I now briefly will sum up.
Corporations are not parties, philanthropies or think tanks. Yet by taking on such roles, they are working against their own interests and those of their nations. Even more frightening is the looming prospect of corporations drawing closer with “deep state” operatives, street radicals and organized gangsters to form of a global ruling coalition. It sounds like dystopian fiction. And it could become dystopian fact.
We should be worrying less about the end of the corporation than about the end of our nation.
Thank you very much.
Trump and The Constitution
By Joseph Cotto
It was in the heat of the Republican primaries for last year’s presidential election that Donald Trump – who was proudly responsible for most of said warmth – ratcheted up the flames to a level of blue-white intensity. He said something that establishmentarians within the Republican ranks found entirely unacceptable; even more entirely than whatever Trump said the day before. What was the Donald rattling on about? He called for the federal judiciary to revisit the Fourteenth Amendment, which was passed after the Civil War concluded. Granting naturalization to recently-freed slaves, the Amendment was subsequently interpreted to mandate birthright citizenship for anyone and everyone born on United States soil.
Trump believed that such a broad interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment – which specifically states that “(a)ll persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside” – did not serve any productive end. No small number of voters, spread throughout what has come to be known as ‘flyover country’ or, in less dignified terms, ‘the hinterlands’ and ‘the middle of nowhere,’ agreed. Trump’s words resonated with them to such an extent that President Jeb Bush remains a punchline, rather than a nightmarish reality; though, to be fair, it is highly unlikely that Jeb would have dispatched Hillary Clinton when the rubber met the road.
For his remarks about the Fourteenth Amendment, Trump was called – what seemed to me – every name in the book. This was far from surprising as he had surely been called each of these one media cycle prior on account of some totally unrelated issue. It also seems to me that these names and the innuendo surrounding them are thrown at the man who is now our president no less severely, and no less frequently, than they were shortly after his famous ride down the escalator in July of 2015. As the old saying goes, ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same.’ Being a journalist – one of the few, the proud, and the brave who voted for Trump – I am tempted to expand on this theme further, but the Constitution calls.
One biting remark concerning Trump’s take on the Fifteenth Amendment was that he cared nothing for constitutional law and, therefore, naturally sought to thwart it. Replace the Fifteenth Amendment with matters ranging from transgender folks in the military to the repeal of DACA and you have contemporary headlines. The President’s opponents, in both major parties and the political movements generally beholden to them, are hard at work pushing the narrative that he is an enemy of the ideals Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and others stood for. The claim is simple – Trump cares nothing for the Constitution, so why should anyone regard him as a legitimate chief executive? Russia probably gets thrown in here somewhere for good measure.
The question sharp minds should pose is even simpler: Does this assertion hold water? While I am no lawyer or political scientist, I have had the good misfortune to spend much time observing our nation’s political process; not merely insofar as current events are concerned, but the historical time-line which led to them. It would be easy to state my reply in a single word, but this would be a very short speech; one ending on an abrupt, and perhaps vaguely rude, note. Therefore, we return to the Fourteenth Amendment.
Although I am not a proponent of originalism, favoring a plain-meaning interpretation of constitutional text, the intent of those responsible for the Amendment makes good sense by my standards. At the risk of alienating a significant portion of those in this room – myself included – I quote a National Review writer by the name of Edward J. Erler: “Today, we somehow have come to believe that anyone born within the geographical limits of the U.S. is automatically subject to its jurisdiction; but this renders the jurisdiction clause utterly superfluous. If this had been the intention of the framers of the 14th Amendment, presumably they would have said simply that all persons born or naturalized in the U.S. are thereby citizens.” I do not enjoy speaking positively of anything relative to the National Review, but credit must be given where it is due. Erler is on the money here, for reasons which will now be brought to light.
Before the Fourteenth Amendment was passed by Congress, let alone ratified by the states, intense debate swept the Senate chamber. The topic of contention was whether the Amendment-to-be would grant American Indians citizenship. While more than enough senators were on board with the idea of naturalizing freed slaves, allowing Amerindians to become citizens was virtually unthinkable. Jacob M. Howard, a Vermont-born Republican from Michigan, was the driving force behind the Fourteenth Amendment. He wrote it and tirelessly lobbied his fellow senators for electoral support. A sticking point with many of Howard’s coworkers was that the language of his amendment was so broad – to reiterate, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” – one might interpret it to cover matters unrelated to emancipated slaves. Chief among these matters, of course, was the legal status of Amerindians.
Howard reassured other senators that, although American Indians were born on U.S. soil, they ought not be deemed subject to its jurisdiction as their primary allegiance was directed at the tribe into which they were born. Despite being, by the standards of his time, a liberal firebrand, Howard bonded the concept of national loyalty with eligibility for full protection under the country in question’s legal system. This meant that, in his view, Amerindians would not be denied citizenship alone under the Fourteenth Amendment, but also “persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers, accredited to the government of the United States”. Howard specified that “every other class of persons” birthed “within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction is, by virtue of natural law and national law, a citizen”.
It is difficult to imagine the Fourteenth Amendment’s true nature becoming any clearer. Just in case some in the audience would like further information, Lyman A. Trumbull, a Republican from Illinois who served as the Senate Judiciary Committee’s chairman, backed Howard’s perspective. Trumbull stated “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” really boiled down to “not owing allegiance to anybody else and being subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States.” Erler noted that “there has never been an explicit holding by the Supreme Court that the children of illegal aliens are automatically accorded birthright citizenship.” Beforehand, he declared that “(a) correct understanding of the intent of the framers of the 14th Amendment and legislation passed by Congress in the late 19th century and in 1923 extending citizenship to American Indians provide ample proof that Congress has constitutional power to define who is within the ‘jurisdiction of the United States’ and therefore eligible for citizenship. Simple legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president would be constitutional under the 14th Amendment.”
Taking this into consideration, Trump’s request for the federal judiciary to address whether birthright citizenship applies to the spawn of illegal aliens seems downright moderate. He could have simply requested Congress draft and pass a law mandating that children of illegals are not citizens period. Needless to mention, now that Trump is in the Oval Office, getting Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan together on such legislation appears less likely than Elvis still being alive somewhere, holed up with Tupac in wait of an opportunity to make some grand entrance to throngs of adoring fans. Nonetheless, at least in theory, Trump could pursue this option – yet chose the more moderate path of allowing federal judges to state their peace on the matter.
What did the Donald get for such restraint? As we all no doubt recall, he was lambasted by the political establishment, hounded by the press, and generally made out to be an undesirable of the highest order. Smeared as an enemy of the Constitution just for following it in an especially reasoned fashion, large segments of the public adopted an image of him as a dictator-in-waiting. Is it any surprise that, having won the presidency, none too few in this country cannot, under any circumstances, accept Trump as a legitimate leader? This sad phenomenon represents how Trump relates to the Constitution in the eyes of tens of millions of Americans. Intense personal animus colors any perception they have of not only the man himself, but issues over which he holds influence. A perpetually-expanding web of proxies is used to exact revenge on Trump – precisely because he represents a threat to the neoconservative-slash-neoliberal Washington establishment, along with its bovine supporters across the fruited plains.
The Constitution only factors into this as far as it can be used like a hot button to initiate and intensify conflict in Trump’s political career. Far from him weaponizing it, the Constitution is being used as a weapon against Trump. Interestingly, while those manipulating the idea of constitutional law really do loathe the ground he walks on, Trump is – when all is said and done – a proxy for these people. What they ultimately despise is the truth that almost 63,000,000 Americans voted against the fundamental transformation Barack Obama brought this nation. Trump is considered the most rueful error of history imaginable, and all who support him – even if not on every issue (including some major ones), such as myself – are considered complicit in denying the ‘marginalized’ their long-anticipated victory in altering the image of America. Ultimately, this sea change would require significant constitutional change, if not scrapping the document altogether. Inklings of this were already publicized with repeated calls for the Electoral College’s abolition.
To think – as Obama said – “Change we can believe in” would stop there is ludicrous. In the modern left’s idealized America, it is probable that freedom of speech would be rehashed so conferences along the lines of this are outlawed. Does it occur to those who besmirch Trump as a foe of the Constitution that they are defending a document which, to a large extent, they dislike? Perhaps, but as their goal is delegitimizing, and dehumanizing, Trump, constitutional law is little else than the means to an end. Since the ends always justify the means in leftist ideology, expecting philosophical consistency from its adherents is a fool’s errand. Though I am not one who believes that the Constitution will save the day, nor do I view it as the perfect governing document, it is a damn sight better than what social revolutionaries bring to the table as an alternative. Perhaps the fundamental relationship between Trump and constitutional law is that he prevented it from wholesale perversion, which would have been a prelude to its annihilation. Regardless of any differences we may have with the Donald, this is an unmistakably freer country for his election.
It goes without saying that illegal aliens and the babies they have anchored on our shores disagree with my summation. They view freedom as a license to live wherever they please for whatever reason compels them. With the rise of multiculturalism, most of these folks likely feel stronger positive sentiments about their respective ancestral homelands rather than the country in which they live today. On that note, illegals and their progeny refuse to return home because of poor conditions there. This creates the paradoxical situation in which scores of people harbor paramount loyalty to a place where they actively avoid spending time, yet they expect their host nation to go out of its way in accommodating them. All the while, these people are either sponging off their host illegally or they are fruits of a poisonous tree. In any case, the situation is wretched. The longer it persists, the worse the outcome will be for everyone.
In Trump’s America, an essential freedom of mine is peace of mind; knowing that illegal aliens, at long last, no longer feel an abiding sense of welcome from the federal government. This means that, aside from some highly idiotic rebels, they retreat into the shadows – and hopefully back across the border – so this nation may be relieved of their presence and the inevitable change it promises. This change would alter our longstanding Anglo-centric macro-culture, thwart the free enterprise system to accommodate notions of wealth redistribution popular with downscale immigrants, and create a comprehensively lower standard of living for virtually anyone who does not currently occupy the lowest rungs of America’s socioeconomic ladder. Freedom, at least for the present time, from having to deal with this is a tremendous burden lifted from my shoulders and, I have no doubt, the shoulders of every person in this room.
For all these reasons and more, I find Trump to be a friend of constitutional law and the liberty it affords. If I were an originalist, I would take issue with his penchant for executive orders. Then again, I would probably maintain that every president since George Washington has mistreated the Constitution. If I were a living constitutionalist, I could pretty much say whatever I want since constitutional law would go interpreted according to my political beliefs and the deeply personal convictions that underpin them. As a sociopolitical realist, however, I favor plain-meaning. This provides respect for the great minds of our past while realizing their imperfections and the necessity of adapting to new situations. I believe Trump is something of a plain-meaning man himself; his ruthlessly practical nature probably precludes him from taking a more philosophical approach to legal texts.
An individual who reviews the Constitution with the sole ambition of understanding how it might be used to solve problems – rather than one who looks at it to pseudo-deify long-dead framers or another who considers it the means to an end of his or her abstract political ideology – is always good to have in office. Simply put, Donald Trump has a great working relationship with constitutional law. We all should rest easier because of this; especially fellows like myself who are thankful to get any sleep at all.
Mencken Club Address
By John Derbyshire
Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. My title is “The Alt Right Perspective.” I assume this means that I should tell you what the Alt Right is, and how Alt Righters see the world.
That’s unfortunate because I don’t actually know what the Alt Right is. Casual acquaintances—neighbors and such—sometimes ask me if I am Alt Right. I never know what to say. Am I? Pass.
Some of this is just temperamental. I’m not by nature a joiner. I don’t feel strong affinity with any sports team or church. I’m not an Elk or a Shriner. I’m just not a herd animal—not well-socialized. I’m the little boy calling out that the Emperor has no clothes. (Although I’ve always thought that story would be more true to life if the little boy had been chased down and lynched by a howling mob of well-socialized Goodthinkers.)
The rest is Englishness. We English don’t do ideology. We leave that stuff to our more erudite continental neighbors. In matters social and political, we default to compromise and muddle. The nearest thing I have to an ideological hero is George Orwell, whose ideological position could fairly be described as reactionary-Tory-patriotic-socialist.
There’s some overlap between the last two paragraphs. I have utmost difficulty following any kind of ideological script. Sooner or later I always bang my shins against the boundary fences of ideological orthodoxy.
On race, for example, I get incoming fire from both sides. Goodthinkers point’n’sputter at me for my negative comments about blacks; race purists snarl at me as a race traitor because of my marriage choice.
Has my email bag familiarized me with the expression “mail-order bride”? Oh yeah.
It doesn’t help that I’m a philosemite, although I don’t much like that word. It sounds a bit cucky and patronizing. I prefer “anti-antisemite.” On any terminology, though, many self-identified Alt Righters would consider me off-reservation on this point alone.
So it’s no use looking to me for exposition of an ideological program. To present my assigned topic honestly, I therefore thought it best to seek out someone who believes he does know what the Alt Right is, and who has spelled out his knowledge clearly but concisely.
Here are Vox Day’s 16 points, embroidered with my comments
1. The Alt Right is of the political right in both the American and the European sense of the term. Socialists are not Alt Right. Progressives are not Alt Right. Liberals are not Alt Right. Communists, Marxists, Marxians, cultural Marxists, and neocons are not Alt Right. National Socialists are not Alt Right.
No argument from me on that, although I don’t know what a Marxian is. Typo for “Martian”?
2. The Alt Right is an ALTERNATIVE to the mainstream conservative movement in the USA that is nominally encapsulated by Russell Kirk’s 10 Conservative Principles, but in reality has devolved towards progressivism. It is also an alternative to libertarianism.
I’m fine with that one, too; and I’m glad to have been prompted to re-read Kirk’s principles. He was big on prudence: the word, or its derivatives, occurs nine times in the ten points, which Kirk included in a book titled The Politics of Prudence. This inspired a section of my Radio Derb podcastlast week.
I liked Vox Day’s batting away of libertarianism, too, though I think at this point it’s kind of superfluous. My impression is that libertarianism has succumbed to an intellectual version of the Aspidistra Effect. That is to say, it has moved down-market. (The aspidistra is a potted plant that decorated wealthy households in Victorian England. By the time Orwell used it in the title of a novel a generation later it had been taken up by the lower-middle classes, and of course abandoned by the gentry.)
It used to be that if someone told you, “I am a libertarian,” it was at a gathering of conservative intellectuals, perhaps even at the Mencken club. You could then get into an interesting conversation about what kind of libertarian he was: Classical, Objectivist, Paleolibertarian, …
3. The Alt Right is not a defensive attitude and rejects the concept of noble and principled defeat. It is a forward-thinking philosophy of offense, in every sense of that term. The Alt Right believes in victory through persistence and remaining in harmony with science, reality, cultural tradition, and the lessons of history.
That’s OK, except for the word “philosophy.” Let’s not get ideas above our station here. Aristotle had a philosophy. Descartes had a philosophy. Kant had a philosophy. What the Alt Right has is an attitude.
4. The Alt Right believes Western civilization is the pinnacle of human achievement and supports its three foundational pillars: Christianity, the European nations, and the Graeco-Roman legacy.
5. The Alt Right is openly and avowedly nationalist. It supports all nationalisms and the right of all nations to exist, homogeneous and unadulterated by foreign invasion and immigration.
No problem with that. We should, however, bear in mind what a knotty thing nationalism can be. There is a case to be made—a conservative case—for big, old, long-established nations resisting disaggregation. Does Catalan nationalism trump Spanish nationalism? Does it do so even if only half of Catalans wish to separate from Spain?
That kind of nitpicking doesn’t belong in a manifesto, though. For these purposes, Point 5 is fine.
6. The Alt Right is anti-globalist. It opposes all groups who work for globalist ideals or globalist objectives.
Again there are nits to pick, though again this isn’t the place to pick them. When the slave traders arrive from Alpha Centauri, or an asteroid hits, or a supervolcano pops, we shall all become globalists overnight.
7. The Alt Right is anti-equalitarian. It rejects the idea of equality for the same reason it rejects the ideas of unicorns and leprechauns, noting that human equality does not exist in any observable scientific, legal, material, intellectual, sexual, or spiritual form.
8. The Alt Right is scientodific. It presumptively accepts the current conclusions of the scientific method (scientody), while understanding a) these conclusions are liable to future revision, b) that scientistry is susceptible to corruption, and c) that the so-called scientific consensus is not based on scientody, but democracy, and is therefore intrinsically unscientific.
It’s what? The word “scientody” is not known to dictionary.com; nor is it in my 1971 OED with supplement; nor in my 1993 Webster’s.
I tried digging for etymologies, but got lost in a thicket of possibilities. Greek hodos, a path or way; so “the way of science”? Or perhaps eidos, a shape or form, giving us the “-oid” suffix (spheroid, rheumatoid); so “science-like”? Then there’s aoide, a song, giving … what? “Harmonizes like science”? Or maybe it’s the Latin root odor, a smell; “smells like science.”
In any case, all three of the “understandings” here are gibberish.
a) There is a large body of solidly-established scientific results that are not liable to future revision.
Saturn is further from the Sun at any point of its orbit than Jupiter is at any point of its. A water molecule has two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Natural selection plays an important role in the evolution of life.
I promise Vox Day there will be no future revisions of these facts, at any rate not on any time span he or I need worry about. (I add that qualification because there are conceivable astronomical events that could alter the sequence of planetary orbits—a very close encounter with a rogue star, for example. Those are once-in-a-billion-year occurrences, though.)
b) “Scientistry”? Wha?
c) The scientific consensus is unscientific? Huh? And why is the consensus “so-called”? There usually—not always, but usually—is a scientific consensus. It occasionally turns out to have been wrong, but it’s a consensus none the less, not a “so-called” consensus.
9. The Alt Right believes identity > culture > politics.
Again, not bad as a first approximation, but this ignores a lot of feedback loops. Has politics not affected culture this past 72 years in North Korea? Did not North Korea and South Korea have the same culture a hundred years ago?
10. The Alt Right is opposed to the rule or domination of any native ethnic group by another, particularly in the sovereign homelands of the dominated peoples. The Alt Right is opposed to any non-native ethnic group obtaining excessive influence in any society through nepotism, tribalism, or any other means.
As several commenters pointed out, the Iroquois and the Sioux might have something to say about that. Bitching about historical injustices is such an SJW thing, though, I can’t bring myself to care. I’m fine with Point 10.
11. The Alt Right understands that diversity + proximity = war.
Again, there are nits to be picked. Diversity per se is neither good nor bad. Numbers are of the essence.
I’m a salt-in-the-stew diversitarian. I want to live in a society with a big fat racial and ethnic supermajority: somewhere north of ninety percent. Small minorities of Others can then be accommodated with friendly hospitality and accorded full equality under law. (I don’t say they necessarily will be; but they can be.)
That’s the kind of country I grew up in, 1950s England. It’s the kind of country the U.S.A. was in 1960, just barely: ninety percent European-white, ten percent black, others at trace levels.
Vox Day is using the word “diversity” in its current sense, though: as a code word for massive, deliberate racial replacement. In that sense his equation, and the embedding sentence, are both correct.
12. The Alt Right doesn’t care what you think of it.
13. The Alt Right rejects international free trade and the free movement of peoples that free trade requires. The benefits of intranational free trade is not evidence for the benefits of international free trade.
I’m an economic ignoramus, but I’d like to see a good logical proof of the proposition that free trade requires free movement of peoples. I am sincerely open to being enlightened on this point.
14. The Alt Right believes we must secure the existence of white people and a future for white children.
I doubt there is an existential threat to white people. I’d be content to secure the existence of a racially self-confident white race—one not addled by ethnomasochism—and by a future for white children free of schools, colleges, and authority figures telling them they are the scum of the earth.
15. The Alt Right does not believe in the general supremacy of any race, nation, people, or sub-species. Every race, nation, people, and human sub-species has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and possesses the sovereign right to dwell unmolested in the native culture it prefers.
Hmm. That’s a bit kumbaya-ish (or “-oid”). No doubt the Bushmen of the Kalahari are much better at hunting with spears than are Norwegians or Japanese. As Greg Cochran points out, though: “innate superiority at obsolete tasks (a born buggy-whip maker?) doesn’t necessarily translate to modern superiority, or even adequacy.”
What do the “unique strengths” of the Bushmen, or of Australia’s aborigines, avail them in the world we actually live in? On the plain evidence it looks very much as though some “races, nations, peoples, or sub-species” are better able to cope with modernity than others. The less-able seem to agree. Great masses of them prefer not to dwell in their native culture, but in someone else’s. Boats crammed with such people have been crossing the Mediterranean from Africa for the past few years. The revealed preference of these people is not their native culture.
16. The Alt Right is a philosophy that values peace among the various nations of the world and opposes wars to impose the values of one nation upon another as well as efforts to exterminate individual nations through war, genocide, immigration, or genetic assimilation.
I get the point and agree with it; but again, reality is knottier than this allows. “If you desire peace, prepare for war,” said the Romans, who knew a thing or two about human affairs.
That’s Vox Day’s sixteen-point definition of the Alt Right. There have been other Alt Right manifestos from other quarters; here for example is Richard Spencer’s.
Supposing this is a fair picture of the Alt Right perspective, am I on board with it? Do I belong to the Alt Right?
As you can see from my comments, I have plenty of quibbles, and I’d prefer to get my manifesto from someone acquainted with the elementary principles of scientific inquiry.
Still, it’s not bad. I can sign up to most of Vox Day’s points.
Yes, I’m on board … until I bang my shins against a fence post.
Why Professors Happily Drink the PC Kool Aid
By Robert Weissberg
For most outsiders, the contemporary university is a paradoxical place. On the one hand, most professors are reasonably smart, at least brighter than average. But, taken as a whole, our institutions of higher learning, in particular the humanities and social sciences resemble quasar-like stellar body that instead of radiating light and energy emanates a stream of nonsense, much of obvious bold-faced lies. How could any intelligent academic, even an administrator, insist that diversity is America’s greatest strength, all racial and ethnic groups are cognitively equal, sex differences in scientific accomplishments merely reflected discrimination or that the cure for racial/ethnic animosities is compulsory sensitivity training? Surely these reasonably intelligent people, at least privately, must know this stuff to be lies. After all, they witness these lies first hand, often daily. Where are all the truth-tellers?
My befuddlement recently ended with a Eureka moment derived after nearly forty years in the academy: while a handful in the university genuinely believe the PC Orthodoxy (especially the diversity apparatchiki), deep down most faculty are non-believer who calculate that affirming the official religion outshines being a heretic. The classic example of this tactic is, of course, what was supposedly said by King Henry IV on July 25, 1593 regarding his conversion to Catholicism (he was Huguenot) so as to become King of France and end the French Wars of Religion: “Paris vaut une messe.” (“Paris is worth a mass.”) Actually, on today’s PC-infested campus, any white male who fails to at least fake a conversion is crazy.
What facilitates this public embrace is that outward acquiescence entails little beyond living amid a sea of mendacity. Moreover, as with today’s “lite” religions, there are no special forms of dress, dietary rules, and ritual prayers or just about anything that differs from one’s prior existence as a non-believer. Nor must these converts worry about church, mosque or synagogue membership dues and the religious instruction of their children, navigating mixed marriages, or the burdensome, time-consuming rituals of full strength fundamentalist faiths. Similarly unnecessary are mandatory conversion lessons, learning a foreign language or publically proclaming the new faith.
Stone silence suffices if one’s department assembles to extend a job offer to an unqualified black; just hold one’s tongue and vote the party line. For the untenured, perhaps just mumble a perfunctory remark about the benefits of diversity and join the blessed.
Acceptance is also a snap in the classroom, for example, awarding “B’s” to students of color for “F” work or writing law school recommendations for semi-literate social justice warriors who should not be in college. Nor do fake converts need fret about looking “too un-PC” or otherwise having a give-away “wrong” last name that raises suspicions among co-believers.
Of the utmost importance, the career benefits from this outward conversion are immense given that a tenured position at a decent university is one of the greatest jobs on the planet. Yes, professors are under-paid compared to private sector executives but they enjoy great job security, ample free time and, if they so choose, can easily retire early in-place and nobody really cares.
Now for the bottom line for those unfamiliar with today’s life of the mind: building what passes for a solid scholarly career is a snap if one drinks the Kool Aid. Ideology mongering is certainly much easier than struggling with reality since the only necessity is twisting “research” to fit ideological dogma. In a professional journal submission, for example, PC conclusions decorated with the right citations and buzz-words virtually insures immunity from pesky questions about one’s data, the appropriateness of analytical methods, the misuse of past research and other key details that can easily kill a journal submission that challenges campus orthodoxy.
In effect, outside of elite schools, a successful career can be built on academic favor-trading among the faithful: requests for contributions to scholarly anthologies, invitations to colloquiums, guest lectures, book reviews, evaluating research proposals (particularly for government funding), reviewing journal submissions, serving on disciplinary committees, garnering scholarly citations, membership on editorial boards and participating in professional meetings.
Particularly in today’s electronic world it takes little to create an ideologically driven e-journal, appoint co-believers to the editorial board and declare it to be refereed. Within a week it could be “printing” turgid jargon filled rants as “scholarly contributions in legitimate scholarly outlets.” That these activities are evaluated by fellow participants in the patronage system guarantees that this activity, regardless of its intellectual value, will be treated as bona fide scholarly contributions.
Academic outsiders cannot possibly grasp how easy it is to convert PC nonsense into the coin of “scholarship.” To those unfamiliar with these possibilities, here’s a brief sampling of outlets for feminist scholarship:
"Ada is a feminist, multimodal, peer reviewed journal that examines the intersections of gender, new media, and technology. It is a publication of the Fembot Collective, and the product of countless hours of volunteer labor on the part of senior and junior scholars and graduate students around the world."
[A] "scholarly research journal devoted to critical work in a variety of formats that reflects current scholarship and approaches to the discipline of Women's and Gender Studies. It incorporates a diversity of feminist, anti-racist and critical identity, intersectional, transnational, and cultural studies approaches to a wide range of contemporary issues, topics, and knowledges (sic). Atlantis is dedicated to the ongoing growth of knowledge in the field of Women's and Gender Studies, as well as to critical reflections on the field itself."
"The Canadian Online Journal of Queer Studies in Education was created to provide a forum for scholars, professionals, and activists to discuss queer topics in education and the social sciences in the Canadian context. For the purposes of this journal, the term education is understood broadly, to include all levels of education in every discipline. This journal is devoted to supporting and disseminating research and theory that promotes social justice for all queer people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, intersex, two-spirited and trans-identified people."
For more items, visit the website http://lib.guides.umd.edu/c.php&g=326588&p=2193552
Best of all, moving up the academic ladders is often just a matter of personal politicking, logrolling and intrigue. The parallel is court politics—intrigue and flattery will get you everywhere. After all, friendships often dictate professional judgments and academic friendships are easily manufactured. Just openly reaffirm the Orthodoxy, no matter how stupid and obviously bogus, and live happily afterward. As in old-style boss politics, to get along, go along.
What facilitates this charade is that bean-counting administrators love this “scholarly” activity for it facilitates accreditation and might boost a school’s ranking. Even intellectually challenged professors can regularly filling up all white space on one’s yearly report to assure tenure, salary increases, and promotion. Yes, all totally dishonest, factually incorrect raving and ranting about the evil of whiteness or police brutality, but what politically savvy wind-sniffing administrator would dare dismiss the “activity” as intellectually unworthy? This is especially true for judging the busywork of faculty from “historically under-represented groups.” What Dean will challenge the scholarly contribution of “Queering the Civil Rights Movement,” an actual paper recently presented at the Modern Language Association’s annual meeting?
There are two important implications here. First, and contrary to what many non-academics insist, imposing tougher academic standards will only create even greater volumes of ideologically-driven PC back-scratching. Far better would be academic birth control—don’t link benefits to “professional activity” per se since nearly all of this leftish “activity” only further poisons the well. Bring back an earlier era when professors only taught, worked in their gardens and drank. In the context of protecting Western Civilization, promoting inactivity is a wise investment considering the damage caused when airhead professors get busy.
Second, given the practical career benefits from drinking the Kool Aid, imploring rational faculty to abandon their destructive PC ways is futile. Even independently wealthy professors will pay a heavy cost. Why invite social ostracism by announcing that 2+2=4 when it is so painless to say “5”? Why invite the sting of having one’s journal submissions and book proposals rejected for bogus reasons?
Let me conclude on a possible upbeat note. Eventually the campus craziness (and all the accompanying “scholarship” dreck) will implode as students (actually their parents) increasingly refuse to pay $50,000 a year for a Gender Studies degree. Meanwhile, universities will finally realize that caving into militant snowflakes and multiple other crack-pot “communities” guarantees bad press and administrators are sensitive to bad press, especially when it mocks their “leadership.” The very thought of a 10% reduction in applications from those who actually pay tuition can concentrate the mind of the most airhead college administrator. These paper-pushers may also come to realize that those graduating with a degree in “Communications” with a Third Word Oppression Studies minor are unlike to be future major donors. All and all, self-interest might cure the pox.
Remember, nearly all academic “experts” insisted that the Evil Empire was forever. Things can change.