Did you have that stupid idea in high school too?
That on prom night or graduation, you and your two or three hippie or punk or goth friends (the only ones you had) would go, all right, but wear tuxedos (if you were girls) or drag (if you were guys) and maybe somehow sneak on some real music, right, or even pull off some Carrie-like prank (except you were the school’s “Carries”…)”oh, man, you”d show them…
Except you all sat out the evening in somebody’s rec room instead, smoking menthols, drinking lemon gin, singing along to the Rocky Horror soundtrack, and watching all the Malcolm McDowell movies you could rent, because those losers weren”t worth it anyhow.
Well, I think that was Richard Spencer’s plan for CPAC, except he made the mistake of actually showing up.
Not that I understand why anyone would want to go to CPAC, but what Spencer expected to accomplish is even more mysterious. If his goal was to get conspicuously kicked out, he succeeded”but that’s a pretty puny aspiration, on par with muling itching powder into the balloon-festooned gym. Like me and my friends, Spencer should have stayed home.
Because whatever your opinion of his opinions (and no one who’s witnessed more than twelve minutes of The Jerry Springer Show can swallow “white supremacy” whole), the undeniable persuasive power Spencer has acquired toiling online all these years is drastically depleted every time he goes out in public, like the half-life of boron-16.
In one short stretch, Spencer has been sucker punched (not a great look); sucker punched himself at his own conference, declaiming, “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory” with all the quavering conviction of a one-line extra from They Saved Hitler’s Brain. (Pro tip: As a vehicle for conveying sincerity, volume alone is a rickshaw at best); and now this multilevel mortification:
Spencer was ostensibly expelled from CPAC last week for heading a “left-wing fascist group”; he “asked if he could stay if he would simply “stay out of trouble””; and then said something even weirder:
One reporter “asked if he liked rock music,” and Spencer replied cryptically, “Depeche Mode are the official band of the alt-right.”
As a snotty mic-drop response to an irritating journalist, that comment isn”t just unwarranted under the circumstances, it doesn”t work, the way a patently absurd pick like the Partridge Family or the Grateful Dead would have.
And it lacked the knowing trolling potency of Trump’s “Sweden” streamer fly. If only Spencer had namechecked Eric “Enoch was right” Clapton or, orders of magnitude better, David “yes, I believe very strongly in fascism“ Bowie, thereby dispatching droves of Bowie’s postmortem millennial fans to lose their ideological innocence in the archives of The Guardian or Rock’s Backpages.
Someone just smart enough to be stupid might have chosen Sham 69, the Cockney Rejects, or even Siouxsie and the Banshees.
Someone stupid enough to be smart? Skrewdriver.
But Depeche Mode? The most serious of that batch of po-faced new-wave synth-based “haircut” combos who oozed up post-punk? Okay, “Master and Servant“ gives off a Night Porter vibe, but that just means they”re Englishmen, not Nazis.
There was nothing remotely fascist about Depeche Mode. I say this as an avid consumer of the U.K. music press during the band’s heyday, and an owner of their most popular album, although never exactly a fan”a species that, I was startled to see, still exists in sufficient numbers to get “Depeche Mode” and “Richard Spencer” briefly trending on Twitter after his remark went viral. (Although a hastily conceived hashtag, #AltRightAn80sSong, yielded predictably disappointing results.)
Along with the band itself, its fans swiftly mocked and denounced Spencer. A clip from Matt and Trey’s ill-fated Orgazmo (1997) suddenly started making the rounds, one in which a mulleted, trashy weirdo says, “I don”t wanna sound like a queer or nothin”, but I think Depeche Mode is a sweet band.”
Now, Depeche Mode’s lead singer had recently”along with now-countless historically incontinent celebrities”compared Donald Trump to Hitler, and a few hours earlier, the group had unveiled early ticket access to their “Global Spirit” tour with some fanfare. So maybe Spencer just had Depeche Mode on the brain”a condition I haven”t experienced since around 1988.
OMAHA, Neb.”Several years back, two Hell’s Angels showed up in Dallas to give me an award.
It was a gold-plated ball-peen hammer mounted on wood, which was a reference to the most notorious scene in the pseudo-documentary Hell’s Angels Forever. At the time I was the only critic who”d ever reviewed that movie, and the Angels were especially grateful because they”d made it themselves. They believed all the biker movies of the late “60s and early “70s portrayed them in a bad light, so they decided in 1972 to “make our own movie” and set about getting people to carry 16-millimeter cameras into bars where they were partying. Since feature film editing was not one of the Hell’s Angels” strong points, they didn”t finish it until eleven years later. Then none of the major theater chains would play it, despite the fact that Willie Nelson, Bo Diddley, and Jerry Garcia all donated music to the soundtrack. It finally opened in a few drive-ins in the Deep South, and I booked it at the World Drive-In Movie Festival and Custom Car Rally. To celebrate, they gathered at their clubhouse in Ventura, Calif., decided to give me an award, and set out on a run to Dallas.
Here’s where it gets interesting. The indoor part of the festival was held at the Inwood Theater, managed at the time by my cohort Bob Berney, now head of marketing and distribution at Amazon Studios. On opening day, I was on stage in the upstairs screening room introducing a movie when Bob suddenly interrupted.
“You”ve gotta come downstairs right now,” he told me. “The Hell’s Angels are here, and they”re saying that unless you”re on stage with them in five minutes, they”re gonna bust up the place.”
Implied in that threat, apparently, was that they would also have to bust me up.
Needless to say, I quickly made my way to the main stage, accepted the Ball-Peen Hammer Award, which I treasure to this day, and conducted an interview with George Christie, the legendary Ventura chapter leader. One of the questions from the audience was “Is it true that you guys make all your money from narcotics and prostitution?”
Christie grimaced, as though offended, and said, “Not all of our money.”
Afterwards I knocked back a few beers with Christie and another Angel that I”ll just call “Animal.”
George Christie is one of the most articulate guys to ever don Angel colors, but Animal was 300 pounds, a little earthier, and a lot more standoffish.
After a while I said, “Were you guys really gonna beat me up?”
“Well, the way it works,” Christie said, “is that I might not want to beat you up, but if Animal here decided that he wanted to beat you up, I would have to join in.”
I was reminded of this Angels principle while rereading that great study of the French Revolution”you gotta hang with me this week, we”re covering a lot of ground”written a decade or so ago by Eli Sagan. It’s called Citizens & Cannibals: The French Revolution, the Struggle for Modernity, and the Origins of Ideological Terror. And it’s not so much history as an extended study of why some countries can handle democracy and some can”t ever do it right. Even France couldn”t do it right for a long, long time. And the most common reason countries fall apart is that they can”t get that “loyal opposition” thing down. After every election, the losers are so mad they wanna kill the winners”so, in order to avoid being killed, the winners go ahead and get proactive and kill the losers.
Anyway, in Sagan’s main passage, he goes over all the countries that have transitioned from the Middle Ages into modernity (some aren”t there yet), and he notes that there are only six kinds of government that ever result. Five of them are bad.
The one you”re shooting for, of course, is Stable Democratic Society”the United States, Canada, England, Australia, most of Europe.
But you don”t usually end up with that. As Jimmy Carter can tell you, you can have free and open elections, all the trappings of a modern state, and still end up with one of the other five:
Anarchy (Syria, Palestine, northern Iraq)
Gangsterism (Russia in the “90s), which can also take the form of Military Despotism (Burma, Portugal in the “80s)
Ideological Terror (North Korea)
Conservative Dictatorship (Russia, Zimbabwe, Turkey)
Religious Fundamentalism (Iran)
But I think Eli Sagan left one out. I think societies transitioning from medieval to modern can also go through a phase called:
Consider the evidence:
Numero Uno: Motorcycle gangs are superpatriotic in a tribal way. Go to any federal prison where cycle gangs are locked up, usually on narcotics, racketeering, and extortion charges. They have American-flag tattoos, they believe America is the best at everything, they”ll whale the crap out of anybody who disrespects the country, and they”re especially hostile toward foreigners who are mucking up the amber waves of grain. Cycle gangs were started in the late “40s by World War II Air Force veterans, so they”re willing to die to “Make America Great Again.”
Numero Two-o: The band of brothers is more important than anyone outside the clan. “I may not want to beat you up, Joe Bob, but if my brothers do, then I have to join in.” This is basically what Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said to the president of Mexico last week.
Numero Three-o: Motorcycle gangs sometimes pick fights to show their dominance. They”ll fight over stuff that seems ridiculously petty to the public, like who can drink in which bar, who can park bikes on a certain street, which names belong to which club, which patches can be used on a jacket, or which restroom you”re allowed to use.
Numero Four-o: Motorcycle gangs have “One Percenter” patches. Unfortunately the phrase has been appropriated to mean “billionaires””the top one percent in terms of wealth”but originally it was a response to the Hollister Riot in 1947, when the American Motorcycle Association said 99 percent of motorcycle riders are law-abiding citizens and so we shouldn”t judge by the one percent. A One Percenter says, “Judge by me, I”m outside the rules, I”m an outlaw.” If you”re in a weaker gang”one of the 99 percenters”then the best you can hope for is to wear a support patch saying you”ll back a dominant gang. The Hell’s Angels would never wear a support patch, nor would the Bandidos, the Pagans, or the Outlaws. But the Real Kings of South Carolina, to use one example, wear patches supporting the Outcasts. Other examples of weaker “support” gangs who back the principal outlaw gangs are the Red Devils, the Black Pistons, the Tribe, the Blitzkrieg, the Thunderguards, the Amigos, the Pistoleros, and the Republican Party.
Numero Five-o: Every once in a while somebody has to go to jail or go into exile for the gang. During this time you can have no contact with the convict, because that would constitute another felony, but that doesn”t mean he loses his colors or that he won”t be welcomed back at a later date. Examples would be Michael “Bandido Tick” Mensen (24 years for racketeering), Outlaws leader Taco Bowman (two life sentences for racketeering and murder), Ghost Riders leader Karl Twilleager (17 years for murder and conspiracy), and Michael Flynn.
As far as I can tell, globalism is a scheme concocted by the rich to destroy the working and middle classes through worldwide financial imperialism.
I have a strong hunch that globalism is also a plot hatched to obliterate indigenous cultures and real human differences under the deceptive ruses of “multiculturalism” and “diversity.”
This is why I’m confused whenever I hear someone say they hate “the rich,” oppose “imperialism,” and support “the working class” while being an unquestioning cheerleader for open borders and global government.
Like Marxism’s pipe dreams about an eventual and irreversible dictatorship of the proletariat, the most seductive hook about globalism is the idea that it’s inevitable. Technology has made us an increasingly interconnected planet, and therefore the only logical and moral thing to do is establish a benevolent global governmental authority with the power to tax and imprison and torture and abuse.
But communism proved to be far from inevitable. After peaking last century, it has retreated from much of the globe. I”d like to think the same is true about the one-world-government schemes that underpin what is cheerily referred to as “globalism.”
I suppose that if you fetishize some dimwitted internationalist abstraction of the global “working class,” globalism may suit your emotional needs and your complicated bourgeois psychological issues regarding “wealth guilt” just fine. But if you support the American working class”and more importantly, if you happen to be a member of the American working class”you”d realize that globalism is your sworn enemy.
Those who”ve lived most of their lives with a sad and simple choice between working and starving can feel the disdain that the sneering global elites have not only for them personally, but for their culture and their humanity and their very existence.
Whatever jobs these wealth-crazed control freaks couldn”t pack into wooden crates and send overseas, they are more than happy to undercut wages here by importing “migrants” both legal and illegal who have nothing in common with you culturally and are trained to deride you as an evolutionary throwback if you dare to complain that the elites are laughing in your face as they pull the rug out from under you.
Globalism replaces First World workers with Third World workers and calls them “racists””the modern equivalent of “niggers””if they dare to make a peep about it. While it may be a boon for transnational financiers and manual laborers in Malaysia, for workers throughout the West, globalism has been a trapdoor through which they are likely to hang swinging at any moment. For the Western working class, globalism has meant retreat and defeat and dislocation.
After November’s election, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon described what had happened:
The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get fucked over.
But as many of us are learning, the mere act of realizing you”re being fucked over”much less trying to stop it from happening”automatically makes you a Nazi and an anti-Semite and a white supremacist and a toothless, low-information rube who needs to be replaced on the assembly line by someone with more melanin and less money.
As the world’s financial elites grow more rootless and international, they no longer even pretend to find a common bond with the peasants and the pissants in the countries who host them. Instead, they openly deride them.
But to the horror and dismay of the ultra-arrogant cosmopolites, the rural rubes in flyover country are waking up to the fact that at the very best, they are viewed as obstacles to progress. At the very worst, they sense that the global planners would have no problem bulldozing straight over their corpses in order to pave the way for such “progress.”
The Week’s Most Melodious, Odious, and Incommodious Headlines
LE PEN REFUSES TO WEAR HEADSCARF
In a bold “n” brilliant act of political theater that will undoubtedly draw parallels to Rosa Parks, Joan of Arc, Charles Martel, Mahatma Gandhi, and maybe even the bra-burning feminists of the 1960s, French presidential front-runner Marine Le Pen refused to wear a headscarf live and on camera before a meeting with Lebanon’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Latif Derian, a dude who wears really funny hats.
Lebanese officials say they had notified Le Pen that she”d be required to wear the headscarf prior to the meeting, which means that the leader of the allegedly “far-right” Front National party may have staged the whole thing for maximum symbolic impact. After turning on her heels and walking away from the meeting in a huff, Le Pen sniffed, “You can pass on my respects to the Grand Mufti, but I will not cover myself up.”
France banned the wearing of Islamic face coverings in public back in 2010. At press time, it’s still legal to be a Muslim, though.
“ANTI-FASCIST WITCHES” CAST SPELL ON TRUMP
Still flailing in increasingly idiotic ways in the wake of Donald Trump’s thunderous electoral victory, the Loser Left suffers no shortage of creativity when it comes to embarrassing itself.
A cabal of “Anti-Fascist Witches“ aims to “destroy fascism with poetic witchcraft,” which doesn”t sound unreasonable or downright silly at all. Starting last week and continuing through “every night of a waning crescent moon until he’s driven from office,” they intend to cast a “binding spell” on Donald Trump and anyone who supports him, who is by the force of magical thinking a natural-born fascist as well.
According to Michael M. Hughes, who is apparently a big mover-and-shaker in the anti-fascist witch movement:
We’re not wishing harm on anyone, we’re just trying to stop the harm they’re doing. It’s not the equivalent of punching a Nazi in the face, it’s the equivalent of tying him up and taking his bullhorn away….My feeling was people were feeling so helpless in the face of all this. So many of us are overwhelmed by this guy’s face, this energy”it’s ever present and beating a lot of us down. I see this as a way of people reclaiming their own power…it’s not just that we can stop him, but we can expunge him from ourselves.
We wish the anti-fascist witches all the luck in the world. We also hope to see emergent waves of anti-racist astrologers and tarot card readers who can cure Islamophobia.
RAPIN” AND RIOTIN” IN SWEDEN
Our wonderful, handsome, flawless, and unfairly persecuted dear leader Donald Jong-il Trump was recently lambasted and gaslit for suggesting that Sweden has a problem with immigrant crime. Trump was mocked for two solid days for suggesting such an absurdity, when suddenly a neighborhood north of Stockholm erupted in rioting after police attempted to arrest a convicted criminal. There were the by now drearily familiar Molotov cocktails and torching of cars and rocks flung at police and trashing of storefronts.
In the migrant ghetto whose official name is Rinkeby but is known as “Little Mogadishu,” the rioters demanded that police release 17-year-old Maikal Hassan, whose parents were born in Ethiopia. Hassan first appeared on a police report at the tender age of ten and by fifteen had been detained in a youth facility “for eight counts of assault, robbery and burglary.” Police arrested him in what is considered one of Sweden’s fifty-three “no-go zones.”
Sweden’s migrant situation has gotten so bad that even The New York Times has grudgingly acknowledged it’s a problem. It quotes a Swedish police investigator rattling off the names of criminal suspects, “all but one of which were traditionally Middle Eastern”:
What I”ve been handling Monday-Friday this week: Rape, rape, serious rape, assault rape, blackmail, blackmail, assault in court, threats, attack against police, threats against police, drugs, serious drugs, attempted murder, rape again, blackmail again and abuse.
He said rape five times. Those migrants must like rape.
Sweden’s population is around 10 million. Nearly two million of those are refugees and migrants that have been arriving since the 1990s. What could possibly go wrong?
In one of the Platonic dialogues, the Charmides, the subject is the nature of temperance. No final definition is arrived at, but that does not mean that the word has no meaning or that temperance therefore ceases to be a virtue. If we could talk only of what we could define, we should soon cease to speak at all, for definition has to come to an end somewhere. We cannot be what Karl Popper accused Wittgenstein of being, a man eternally polishing his spectacles without ever looking through them.
Certainly there is temperance of language as well as of action. I was reminded of this in a secondhand bookshop yesterday. I picked up a book of poems for children by a modern poet whom I happened to have quoted in an essay written a few days before. There was an inscription in the book, not by the author (I think):
For James, who loves children and who, more unusually, is loved by them.
This is not the inscription of an uneducated person; but what most struck me about it was that the recipient, or at any rate someone, had crossed out the words loves and loved, and written over them, in a different hand, likes and liked. (The difference of the hand was important: It meant that it was not the original inscriber who changed the verb.)
I found this impressive. It was not an act of mere pedantry; the pedant delights in error rather than in truth (he reads a book of 500 pages and underlines the one misprint in it, often with glee masquerading as anger or disgust). Here, on the contrary, was someone who tried to be as truthful and precise as words would let him be, including”on the assumption that it was the recipient who made the correction”about his own feelings. If he said, or allowed himself to think, that he loved children when in fact he only liked them, what word would be left to him for something or someone whom he truly loved? Intemperance of expression is the enemy of distinctions in meaning. This is important, for actions are often predicated on words rather than on realities or things; if we are intemperate in our use of words, we are likely to become intemperate in our actions, to our own detriment but, more important, to the detriment of others.
I think it can hardly be denied that we live at a time of intemperance of language. It is not enough for us to say that we like or dislike something; we find it necessary, in order to draw attention to ourselves or our feelings, to say that we love or hate it. The language used on the internet is often intemperate, and, just as Falstaff was not only witty in himself but a cause of wit in others, so intemperance in our own language encourages intemperance in the language of others, and vice versa. A soft answer may turn away wrath, as Proverbs tells us, but bad language encourages the use of further bad, or even worse, language. Intemperance, far from being cathartic, breeds intemperance.
When we use strong language to describe small things, we deprive ourselves of the means to describe great ones, and only violent gestures or violence itself is left to us. In the case of slight or even more serious moral harms, we have no words left to describe or reprehend true evil. If everyone is Hitler, no one is.
From my chalet high up above the village, I look up at the immense mountain range of the glistening Alps and my spirit soars. Even youthful memories receding into sepia cannot bring me down from the high. Mountains, more than the sea, can be exhilarating for the soul. Then I open the newspapers and the downer is as swift as an alpine blizzard. Television is even more of a bummer. Last week I saw Piers Morgan tell an American TV personality—a big-time Trump hater whose face looks exactly like a penis—how strange he found it that two people like Bush and Blair, who lied about the war and caused over a million Iraqi and thousands of American deaths, were hardly vilified for their crimes when compared with the stuff being hurled at Trump after only four weeks in the saddle. The penis (Bill Maher) shouted and raved at Piers, who laughed it off.
But is it a laughing matter? That Bush and Blair and the neocons are walking around free and, in the case of Blair, even telling us how wrong we were to back Brexit? How does Blair dare open his mouth? Mind you, it’s worse in America, where the FBI, the Justice Department, and the intelligence agencies were complicit in a conspiracy to leak the contents of a private conversation in order to bring down the national security adviser and embarrass Trump. They should be prosecuted and exposed, but like Bush and Blair they will not be. This is the Deep State, one that is not best pleased with the election, and one that will play very dirty in cahoots with the lefty media.
Last week my sensei Richard Amos came to visit after a trip to Japan, and we talked about the busted flush that is the regressive E.U., and the wonder of Japan. The country has been in a financial crisis for thirty years, yet the prices are the same as when Richard was there as a 21-year-old going through hell in karate instructors’ class, as tough a class as anything among Special Forces. Japan has low crime, even lower immigration, a homogeneous population, and always a great respect for the old and the traditional. In other words, the direct opposite of what Europe and the West stand for. More Europe means more immigration and more crime and more alienation.
Richard, now in his early 50s, had gone back to a class given by an 88-year-old sensei, who smiled, bowed, and gingerly attacked him without saying a word. Needless to say, Richard kept him at bay, but respectfully. He visited old dojos, sparred with various old-timers—and some not old at all—dined and drank with them, and left with a heavy heart. Japan is probably among the most pleasant countries to live in. Good manners and respect are the answer to a civil society, not inclusion and diversity. I can’t wait to return to Tokyo with him this coming autumn and look for two senseis I want to fight with: Wada San, 68 years old and present champion of 60 and over; and the 88-year-old who attacks without warning. What fun, it will make me feel 75 again.
We rose early, took our time after breakfast, then hit the dojo. Kicks, punches galore, always looking for perfect posture and balance. Then we sparred, hard. Following that came lunch in the sun on my terrace. In the afternoon we went back to the gym, this time for kata training and, of course, kumite, which means fighting. Four hard sessions in two days made me feel like a new man. There is nothing like karate training to make one feel well. Perhaps cross-country skiing comes close, but what do you do when a mugger or a wise guy starts trouble? Put on your cross-country skis?
As the culture war is about irreconcilable beliefs about God and man, right and wrong, good and evil, and is at root a religious war, it will be with us so long as men are free to act on their beliefs.
Yet, given the divisions among us, deeper and wider than ever, it is an open question as to how, and how long, we will endure as one people.
After World War II, our judicial dictatorship began a purge of public manifestations of the “Christian nation” that Harry Truman said we were.
In 2009, Barack Obama retorted, “We do not consider ourselves to be a Christian nation.” Secularism had been enthroned as our established religion, with only the most feeble of protests.
One can only imagine how Iranians or Afghans would deal with unelected judges moving to de-Islamicize their nations. Heads would roll, literally.
Which bring us to the first culture war skirmish of the Trump era.
Taking sides with Attorney General Jeff Sessions against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the president rescinded the Obama directive that gave transgender students the right to use the bathroom of their choice in public schools. President Donald Trump sent the issue back to the states and locales to decide.
While treated by the media and left as the civil rights cause of our era, the “bathroom debate” calls to mind Marx’s observation, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”
Can anyone seriously contend that whether a 14-year-old boy, who thinks he is a girl, gets to use the girls’ bathroom is a civil rights issue comparable to whether African-Americans get the right to vote?
Remarkably, there was vigorous dissent, from DeVos, to returning this issue to where it belongs, with state and local officials.
After yielding on the bathroom question, she put out a statement declaring that every school in America has a “moral obligation” to protect children from bullying, and directed her Office of Civil Rights to investigate all claims of bullying or harassment “against those who are most vulnerable in our schools.”
Now, bullying is bad behavior, and it may be horrible behavior.
But when did a Republican Party that believes in states rights decide this was a responsibility of a bureaucracy Ronald Reagan promised but failed to shut down? When did the GOP become nanny-staters?
Bullying is something every kid in public, parochial or private school has witnessed by graduation. While unfortunate, it is part of growing up.
But what kind of society, what kind of people have we become when we start to rely on federal bureaucrats to stop big kids from harassing and beating up smaller or weaker kids?
While the bathroom debate is a skirmish in the culture war, Trump’s solution—send the issue back to the states and the people there to work it out—may point the way to a truce—assuming Americans still want a truce.
For Trump’s solution is rooted in the principle of subsidiarity, first advanced in the 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum by Pope Leo XIII—that social problems are best resolved by the smallest unit of society with the ability to resolve them.
Tony Blair sought to return to frontline politics last week with a speech to the Open Britain movement, in which he called on those of us who voted to remain in the European Union not to accept a hard Brexit as inevitable, and even suggested that last year’s referendum decision might yet be reversed. His speech was not well received. This was not surprising. Blair is yesterday’s man”or even the day before yesterday’s”and he is probably the most reviled politician in the United Kingdom.
Few prime ministers have seen their reputation plummet as quickly and steeply as Tony Blair. Anthony Eden’s reputation was destroyed by his unsuccessful Suez war in 1956. The architects of appeasement in the “30s, Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain, were branded as “Guilty Men” in 1940, though Chamberlain had been rapturously acclaimed as the man who had saved us from war on his return from Munich in 1938.
Yet Blair’s fall has been even more complete, so complete that it is hard even to remember how popular he once was, or even that he was in electoral terms by far the most successful leader the Labour Party has ever had, winning elections in 1997, 2001, and 2005. Moreover, for most of that time Blair and his government could be considered a success. What sank him was the Iraq War and his close relationship with President George W. Bush.
There are myths about the Iraq War. People forget that it was supported by the Conservative opposition, support that ensured a handsome majority in the House of Commons. It was opposed by the left wing of Blair’s own Labour Party, by the Liberal Democrats and the nationalist parties in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The country itself was more or less evenly divided.
The second myth is that Blair took the country to war on what he knew was a false prospectus”the so-called “dodgy dossier.” One hesitates just now to use the word “fact”; nevertheless the fact is that the intelligence agencies in the U.S. and Britain believed that Saddam Hussein did indeed have these “weapons of mass destruction.” So indeed did the French intelligence service, even though President Chirac declined to commit France to war.
That war is now generally seen as disastrous”with good reason, it may be said”and Blair is condemned as the man who dishonestly led the country into a war widely regarded as illegal. (He continues to believe he acted rightly.)
His reputation has been further damaged by his behavior since leaving office””money-grubbing” is the most polite term applied to the activities that have made him a very rich man”and, of course, he was quite sharply criticized in the Chilcot report into the Iraq War.
Accordingly the harsh reception of his speech was to be expected. The man is damaged goods, and the message he gave was not likely to be judged on its merits. The Leave camp is in the ascendancy and it’s full steam”or fairly full steam”for Brexit. Nobody really believes it can be checked or the decision of the referendum reversed. Even fully committed Remainers accept that this was a democratic decision that must, however reluctantly, be accepted. Any criticism of the government’s march to Brexit is met with the question “What part of the word “Leave” don”t you understand?” Fair enough, you may say.
Yet Blair made some good points. First, though there was a majority for Brexit, 48 percent of those who voted, more than 16 million people, were opposed to it. Are their objections, doubts, hesitations simply to be set aside as of no account?
“There are certainly people who are capable of giving consent at a younger age,” Milo Yiannopoulos said on a late-night podcast full of nerds. “I consider myself to be one of them.” He then went on to say some more outrageous things. He said he wouldn”t be “nearly as good at giving head if it wasn”t for Father Michael.” He also said boys (he meant young, gay men) can benefit from sexual relationships with older men. Priest jokes and ambiguous relationship discussions not withstanding, the crux of the problem here is that Milo suggested there are 13-year-olds (an age that came up later in the discussion) who can have consensual sex. Though he may be technically correct, it was a remarkably naive thing to say and a great example of how someone talks when they”ve been getting away with murder for years. For the record, gays, no, you may not have sex with 13-year-olds under any circumstances. Even if you suspect said teen is gay. Normalizing such behavior is how young straight boys get molested by camp counselors. Though there are gays who may have convinced themselves they enjoyed the experience, there are plenty of straights who contemplate murder for decades after the event. Others choose suicide.
I know Milo and he understands this. Later in the interview he said, “The law is probably about right.” Of course the left has been out for blood since Milo took everything they hold dear about homosexuality and used it to promote a conservative agenda. The hounds attacked until his talk was canceled at CPAC, he lost his book deal, and he was no longer employed at Breitbart. This seems an egregious punishment for someone who said something that was factually incorrect. Deep down, they know Milo doesn”t want boys to be molested. He’s written about it extensively. He’s also one of the most accessible people in media. If you”re not sure how he feels about a subject, ask him. Most of this went down on Monday and by Tuesday Yiannopoulos hosted a press conference where the Q&A was longer than the apology speech. He played it formal and straight as opposed to the openly camp character he played on TV. He also unequivocally denied any underage sexual behavior might be appropriate. None of it was sufficient however because there are so many other factors regarding the persecution of the right’s most charming man.
Firstly, he violated the right’s ultimate taboo. As Michael Malice pointed out on my show, the right can be just as politically correct as the left. They just choose different hills to die on. You can mispronounce someone’s pronouns or refuse to let a drag queen in the women’s bathroom but you can”t have an open mind about pubescent sexuality. The right is not interested in nuance when it comes to this subject and that gets complicated when we move around genders and sexual preference. If a 40-year-old male teacher has sex with his 14-year-old female student, I want to take him into the parking lot and beat him within an inch of his life. If a female teacher does the same thing, I don”t feel nearly the same rage. Similarly, gays have less chastity than straights. If a woman is known as a complete whore, she may have trouble finding a man. The law reflects this. If a newspaper calls a woman a slut, they”re likely to get sued for a lot more money than if they were to accuse a man of the same thing. However, gays never get dumped for being a slut. No gay man is turned off by how many partners his lover has had. I am willing to concede there are adolescent homosexuals out there who would not be traumatized by sex with an older man but the risk just isn”t worth it. Sorry, sexually advanced gay teens” you”re going to have to wait.
This brings me to the second factor at play here. Liberals have no idea what gays get up to. I”ll never forget Jon Stewart on The Daily Show claiming that gays have the same lifestyle we do. He claimed he knew this because he lives in the West Village. I”ve been surrounded by homos my entire adult life and the shit they get up to would turn your hair white. They laugh in my face when I brag about threesomes and say anything under an eightsome isn”t worth talking about. They are incapable of monogamy and will screw pretty much anything that moves several times a day. At Circuit Parties they will do meth and have sex, non-stop for two days straight. A friend of mine caught AIDS that way. Their relationships with adolescent men are no different. When old men become less attractive (trolls) they use money to entice younger men (twinks) and buy them whatever they want in exchange for sex. I often recount the story of author Bruce Benderson who once told me he was sitting in a room full of teenage boys when he was visiting Montreal and it occurred to him his culture was corrupt (I believe his actual words were “This is simply not right”). Liberals have been normalizing the gay lifestyle and pretending they”re exactly the same as us for so long, they forgot to check in on what goes on behind closed doors. It’s pretty gross to be honest. I love gays and enjoy their company but every time a sex story comes up, I”m forced to put my hand up in the air and exclaim, “No thanks.” The left doesn”t really care about what gays get up to the same way they don”t care about black crime. They see both groups as pawns who come in handy on the front lines of the culture war. They also don”t really care about pedophilia. In fact, they often glorify it. None seem worried that open borders with Mexico are open borders with a country where the age of consent is 12, and their lack of disgust when Lena Dunham confessed to molesting her sister was also telling (her sister is now gay).
In my column several weeks ago, I took a swipe at certain types of Christian conservatives, suggesting that their belief in the reality of “demonic possession” leads them to accept wild notions about how the entertainment industry can magically influence the voting preferences of average Americans. I was trying to make the point that conservatives, especially those in the Midwest and Deep South to whom Hollywood is a foreign, bizarre, unknown entity, get a little magical in their thinking regarding the entertainment industry’s ability to “possess” people and influence or control their thoughts and lives.
Naturally, I heard from a couple of my left-leaning readers, congratulating me for sticking it to those “superstitious religious Neanderthals” on the right. It was not an unexpected response. If today’s leftists pride themselves on anything, it’s their supposed rationalism. Leftists see themselves as enlightened and logical. They “fucking love” science and reject religious hokum, in contrast to the superstitious buffoons on the right, who live in, to quote Carl Sagan, a “demon-haunted world” of their own making. With every leftist I know, this is the characteristic about which they are most proud: They are rationalists and skeptics, with shibboleth-shorn minds free of bewitchment. The problem is, leftists who consider themselves rational and non-superstitious are like scrawny nerds who look in the mirror and see a chiseled Adonis in the reflection. One almost feels bad for people so possessed of a delusion.
Let’s examine a few of the ways in which the wrongheadedness of leftists resembles the religious bunkum they claim to reject.
To begin with, leftists believe in the power of money to solve all problems, much the same as Christians believe in the power of prayer to do the same. Leftists believe that the solution to everything is to throw more money at it. Failing schools? Recession? Institutionalized poverty? If the government simply throws more money at it, all will be well. It matters not how many times throwing money at something has failed to solve a problem; for leftists, the money solution is a matter of faith. Here in bluest-of-blue California, every few years, the teachers” union demands money to “save our schools” in the form of new bonds, taxes, and ballot propositions. And still, even after voters approve whatever the hell the union asks for, our schools continue to lurk in the lowest-third rankings in the nation. So of course the solution is to ask for more money in the form of new bonds, taxes, and ballot propositions. To the religious, the proper response to a prayer that fails is more prayer. For leftists, even briefly entertaining the notion that money isn”t a guaranteed cure-all is not allowed, lest ye be seen as turning your back on your faith.
Following the deadly Philadelphia Amtrak derailment in 2015, L.A. Times editorialist and letters editor Paul Thornton wrote an op-ed in which he claimed that the head of the Association of American Railroads had stated that “financial hurdles””lack of money”were the reason Amtrak hadn”t installed the safety features that could have prevented the crash. I emailed Thornton, pointing out that the AAR head had, in fact, stated that money was not the problem, but rather “regulatory issues” were to blame. To his credit, Thornton admitted his error, confessing that he had just assumed that lack of money was the reason. And why did he make that assumption? A belief system that teaches that all problems are caused by a lack of government money, and are solved by an increase in government spending. Just as Christians take comfort from the very act of praying, regardless of whether or not the prayer is fully answered, so too do leftists take comfort in government spending. The act has as much meaning as the results.
If spending is the equivalent of prayer to a leftist, “climate change” is the equivalent of Christian “end-time” cultism. Let me share with you a very recent, and very relevant, example. Over the past week, we here in sunny insane California have faced the prospect of a major calamity as three merciless months of near-nonstop rainfall have led to the possibility of a massive failure at the tallest dam in the U.S., in Oroville, near Sacramento. It’s a big deal; 188,000 people have been evacuated. Concerns about how the aging Oroville Dam would fare in the face of record rainfall were raised years ago, but the state and the feds ignored them.
The story has been amply reported locally and nationally. But what the press conveniently leaves out of its coverage is the underlining theory behind the dam inaction: climate-change apocalyptics had convinced the Silly Putty-brained California powers-that-be that rain was never returning to the state. Quite literally, new dams, and improvements on old ones, were rejected because a doomsday cult had convinced politicians that water was “over,” that the drought that began in 2012 was not a passing thing but an “era,” something that would last decades if not a century. And why build new dams if there”ll be no water for them to hold? Why refurbish old ones if there’s no chance they”ll ever be filled again?
From the L.A. Times, July 2015:
Dams are a relic of the Industrial Age…. They”re particularly ill-suited to the era of extremes”heat waves, floods and droughts”that climate change has brought on.
The New Republic, April 2015:
The Pacific Institute’s Peter Gleick said: “Even if we built a couple of dams, we don”t have water to fill them. We”re tapped out. The traditional answer of building more reservoirs won”t solve our problems.” Building additional reservoirs does little when there’s no snow or rain to fill them.
California governor Jerry Brown in August 2015, responding to calls from GOP presidential candidates to build new dams and renovate old ones:
I”ve never heard of such utter ignorance. Building a dam won”t do a damn thing about fires or climate change or the absence of moisture in the air and ground of California. If they want to run for president, they had better do eighth grade science before they made such utterances.
The Sacramento Bee summed it up succinctly: “Questions loom about the value of such projects in an era of scarcity.” Because indeed, leftist voodoo practitioners had brainwashed the state into believing this was an “era of scarcity.” We were told that Mother Earth was punishing us for our CO2 sins by withholding her precious water, and rainfall would only return once we submitted to cap and trade and international climate-change treaties. And anyone who dared suggest that the drought was a passing thing, that weather was not permanent but fluctuating, was ridiculed for not knowing “eighth grade science.”