NEW YORK—Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, was founded by a minister in order to train other ministers.
Just like Harvard and Princeton.
The difference is that Harvard and Princeton are both listed on all the “best universities in the world” rankings, and Liberty always has an asterisk next to its name.
And I understand the reason why. As the definition of “university” expanded over the past four centuries, we decided that it should be all about academic freedom, inclusion, open-mindedness, and a willingness to look out into the world and study everything—not just the limited concerns of the founders.
And so Liberty has this one big problem: It’s segregated. It’s not segregated by race, but it is segregated by religious belief. If you’re not an evangelical Christian, you probably shouldn’t go there. It’s got everything universities are supposed to have—17 colleges, a medical school, a law school, a business school, an engineering school—and it does basic research and offers master’s degrees and doctorates. The Liberty Flames play Division I NCAA sports. But they also have a course in “young Earth creationism” as well as a “code of conduct” similar to the ones at military schools, so we can assume that atheists won’t fit in and Darwinists won’t fit in and…well, a lot of people won’t fit in.
And so I get why the guys who compile the “best universities” lists tend to downplay its importance or place it in subcategories like “regional” or “specialized.”
What I don’t get is why they don’t do the same thing to, say, Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Clark is a liberal arts school where incoming students are indoctrinated to detect and understand their unconscious “microaggressions” (implying that they’re all racist or sexist in one way or another) and given trigger warnings and safe spaces and all the other protections of Generation Snowflake. In other words, they’re required to “attend chapel”—it’s just a different kind of chapel.
To quote The New York Times, which chronicled the standard instructions at the Clark orientation program:
Don’t ask an Asian student you don’t know for help on your math homework or randomly ask a black student if he plays basketball. Both questions make assumptions based on stereotypes. And don’t say “you guys.” It could be interpreted as leaving out women, said [the chief diversity officer], who realized it was offensive only when someone confronted her for saying it during a presentation.
Of course, as soon as she was confronted during a presentation, the chief diversity officer asked to be absolved of her original sin (not being able to speak precisely enough to avoid all offense at all times) and so altered herself to make sure she was Clark material. She’s giving her conversion testimony.
So Clark, like Liberty, is segregated. It’s not segregated by race, or religion, it’s segregated by a belief in the fallenness of all mankind—excuse me, humankind—in the form of ingrained bias and prejudice. If you don’t believe this—if you’re a member of the Young Republicans and don’t see color or gender as legitimate ways of separating people—then you don’t belong at Clark. Clark should have an asterisk by its name because it’s exclusive, not inclusive. It has a doctrine that rules out certain people and, undoubtedly, certain campus speakers.
So I’m going to make a proposal for a simple and effective way to upend the various anti-free-speech movements currently afoot on university campi:
Incorporate “doctrinal exclusion” into the algorithm for rating universities.
For example, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings are based on thirteen “performance indicators,” but 50% of those are derived from surveys (what professors at other schools think), and 30% of them are simply search-engine analysis (how many articles are published, how many are cited by other articles, etc.). So you would simply add a fourteenth indicator based on two factors:
(1) A survey of what tenured faculty believe about the school’s openness to controversial points of view. (Is censorship going on? Are they tolerant of unpopular schools of thought? Does the administration react in a knee-jerk way when students protest?)
(2) A search-engine analysis of how many times the university responds to free speech with disciplinary action, forces a student or faculty member to resign or leave, or blackballs a speaker.
*Albright College suspending a student for wearing blackface in a YouTube video that had nothing to do with her performance at the school.
*Dartmouth outlawing the use of the term “illegal alien.”
*Princeton banning the use of “man” and “woman” in school documents.
*Rutgers rescinding an invitation to Condoleezza Rice.
*Brandeis taking back the honorary degree of Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
*Smith College forcing Christine Lagarde to withdraw from an appearance (because, among other things, she is “patriarchal”!).
*Yale forcing a teacher to resign because she said the wrong thing about Halloween costumes.
*Wesleyan University threatening the funding of the student newspaper because a columnist criticizes Black Lives Matter.
*Bowdoin disciplining students for wearing sombreros to a party.
*Brown University allowing Raymond Kelly, the New York City Police Commissioner, to be shouted down.
*LSU firing a tenured professor for saying that the longer two people are in a relationship, the worse the sex gets.
*Hampshire College removing the American flag because it’s a symbol of hatred.
Elizabeth Warren, call your wigwam.
The Wall Street warrior and Native American wannabe is about to have her baby snuffed out, like the Lakota at Wounded Knee.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a bureaucratic body created in the brutal aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis to protect the public against big-bank excesses, was in limbo. Departing Director Richard Cordray, an Obama appointee, named Deputy Director Leandra English as his replacement.
President Trump had other plans. As Cordray left the building, Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney was given the dual assignment of running the CFPB along with his own department.
On Monday, it was a showdown at high noon, or rather, 9 a.m. The doors to the agency opened with no clear captain at the helm. Who was the real director of the consumer watchdog? Government runs on predictability. Two acting directors makes for bureaucratic anarchy—the governmental equivalent of a prisoner break at an insane asylum.
It only makes sense that the next step was the courtroom. Sunday night, just before the mismatch was to go into effect, English filed suit, suing to block Mulvaney from taking the head post. The lawsuit didn’t stop Mulvaney from walking into the CFPB Monday morning, doughnuts in hand, and dashing off an email to staff, instructing them to disregard anything English may say under the designation of “Acting Director.”
For all her hand-wringing over her appointment, English spent Monday conspiring with Democratic senators, including Warren. The Massachusetts senator is right to be worried. Warren was instrumental in establishing the foundational structure for the CFPB. Nobody wants to see their progeny gutted by people charged with running it.
Moreover, Mulvaney has a history of being unsparingly critical of the agency. The former South Carolina congressman called the regulatory body a “sick, sad” joke that’s “a wonderful example of how a bureaucracy will function if it has no accountability to anybody.” During his first day on the job, he tore into the CFPB’s legalistic structure, describing it as “unaccountable to the people who are supposed to oversee it or pay for it.”
Mulvaney went further, saying he had “fundamental principled misgivings” about the organization’s structure and lamenting that Congress had little oversight over his position as director. “If you really studied the constitutional nature of our government, you’ve studied the way that the bureaucracy is supposed to work; it would both frighten and disturb you that this agency is as independent as it is,” he warned during a press conference.
Fidelity to our constitutional framework is of little concern to Warren and the rest of the CFPB’s defenders. Mulvaney is seen as an existential threat to the agency. He’s not so much a fox in the henhouse as a rapist running a convent.
Mulvaney’s criticism is, however, apt. The Bureau was deemed unconstitutional by a federal appeals court back in October. The position of director is insulated from Congress and isn’t governed by a separate independent body, as per other executive agencies. In the court ruling, Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote that the “Director of the CFPB is the single most powerful official in the entire U.S. Government, other than the President.”
No wonder there’s a tug-of-war going on for control of the agency. Being director of the CFPB is like being master of the financial universe, with near-unilateral authority to crack down on dubious banking practices.
In some ways, the power is justified. The risk-taking and reckless lending in the lead-up to the financial crisis demonstrated a willingness by Wall Street traders to play chicken with Washington. With the stakes high and the money hot, lenders, packagers, and bean counters used all types of complicated financial instruments to repackage and sell mortgaged-backed securities in excess, sloughing off risk on a bet that weak-kneed lawmakers would cover their behinds if things went south. And south they went. When the bottom fell out of the subprime-mortgage market, it was taxpayers left holding the bag.
The celebrity battles of the 21st century tend to be fought most fanatically by foot-soldier fans who assume that they will in some way benefit from their idol’s triumph.
There’s a lot of magical thinking these days about how the good fortune of some individual celeb will somehow benefit the mass of her co-ethnics. For example, in The New York Times on Tuesday:
Can Meghan Markle Save the Monarchy?
By IRENOSEN OKOJIE
I’m a black British woman who never cared about the royal family—until now.
One of the stranger culture wars at present is being waged by fans of pop diva Beyoncé who are excoriating rival pop diva Taylor Swift for her “silence” on partisan politics: In other words, Swift hasn’t gifted us with her denunciation of the president like most of our other moral role models in the entertainment industry. For instance, the editorial board of The Guardian of London recently proclaimed:
‘The Guardian’ view on Taylor Swift: an envoy for Trump’s values?
Personally, neither lady’s music is of much interest to me, but they do both work extraordinarily hard for their fans.
In turn, Swift’s fans love Swift, while Beyoncé’s fans not only love Beyoncé but hate her rivals for her. Thou must have no strange goddesses before her. It’s not enough that Beyoncé triumph, but all others must lose.
Beyoncé, for example, has won 22 Grammy awards in her career, which stretches back to the last millennium, but that is far too few for her fans. Beyoncé must win all the prizes. For example, after the Grammy Awards show last winter, The New York Times headlined:
#GrammysSoWhite: Will Awards Face Race Problem?
Beyoncé lost three major awards to Adele, who praised “Lemonade” in her acceptance speech.
It has become standard practice for white winners of Grammy awards to apologize in their speeches to the black losers.
Simply put, the Grammys, like America, have an inclusion problem, our critic writes.
Dude, it’s the Grammy Awards. The Grammys have always been lame because the most interesting music is made by guys too young to vote for the Grammy Awards.
In recent years, however, the critics have decided that all previous rock critics going back to the first rave over the Velvet Underground were “rockist,” which is the same as racist (and sexist). Instead, in the name of diversity, the critics now believe they should all worship the same female pop stars who make nine figures annually (and thus don’t need the critics).
All this racial grievance-mongering paid off in the new Grammy nominations announced on Tuesday, with Beyoncé’s 47-year-old husband, Jay-Z, getting eight to bring his career total to 74. The NYT reported:
With all major awards shows under scrutiny for how they incorporate diversity, the Grammy nominations are striking, as minority artists dominate the ballot in nearly all of the most prestigious categories, including record, song and album of the year….
The nominations this year all but guarantee that a nonwhite performer will win at least one of the major awards, which would reflect the current pop market but has been far from a given at the Grammys. At the 2017 awards, for example, the awards were criticized when Adele beat Beyoncé for all three top trophies.
Now, Beyoncé is not some edgy outsider ignored by the mainstream. She’s a 36-year-old superstar who has been immensely rich for, roughly, ever. As Newsweek headlined this week:
Taylor Swift Isn’t the Highest-Paid Female Musician, Beyoncé Is
According to Forbes, Beyoncé made $105 million over the past twelve months versus only $69 million for Adele and $44 million for Swift, those losers. (On the other hand, Beyoncé earned only $54 million the previous year to Swift’s $170 million.)
What’s really going on is that Swift is very slender and very blond, while Beyoncé is not quite as slender nor quite as blond. Granted, Beyoncé is awfully blond for a black (she’s a Louisiana creole of color on her mother’s side). Indeed, back in 2011 she briefly went downright transracial in what appeared to have been an attempt to look like Scarlett Johansson.
Why would Christian conservatives in good conscience go to the polls Dec. 12 and vote for Judge Roy Moore, despite the charges of sexual misconduct with teenagers leveled against him?
Answer: That Alabama Senate race could determine whether Roe v. Wade is overturned. The lives of millions of unborn may be the stakes.
Republicans now hold 52 Senate seats. If Democrats pick up the Alabama seat, they need only two more to recapture the Senate, and with it the power to kill any conservative court nominee, as they killed Robert Bork.
Today, the GOP, holding Congress and the White House, has a narrow path to capture the Third Branch, the Supreme Court, and to dominate the federal courts for a decade. For this historic opportunity, the party can thank two senators, one retired, the other still sitting.
The first is former Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
In 2013, Harry exercised the “nuclear option,” abolishing the filibuster for President Obama’s judicial nominees. The Senate no longer needed 60 votes to confirm judges. Fifty-one Senate votes could cut off debate, and confirm.
Iowa’s Chuck Grassley warned Harry against stripping the minority of its filibuster power. Such a move may come back to bite you, he told Harry. Grassley is now judiciary committee chairman.
And this year a GOP Senate voted to use the nuclear option to shut down a filibuster of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, who was then confirmed with 55 votes.
Yet the Democratic minority still had one card to play to block President Trump’s nominees—the “blue slip courtesy.”
If a senator from the state where a federal judicial nominee resides asks for a hold on proceedings, by not returning a blue slip, the judiciary committee has traditionally honored that request and not held hearings.
Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota used the blue slip to block the Trump nomination of David Stras of Minnesota to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Franken calls Stras too ideological, too conservative.
But Grassley has now decided to reject the blue slip courtesy for appellate court judges, since their jurisdiction is not just over a single state like Minnesota, but over an entire region.
Thus have the skids been greased for a conservative recapture of the federal judiciary unseen since the early days of FDR.
Eighteen of the 179 seats on the U.S. appellate courts and 119 of the 677 seats on federal district courts are already open. More will be opening up. No president in decades has seen the opportunity Trump has to remake the federal judiciary.
Not only are the federal court vacancies almost unprecedented, a GOP Senate and Trump are working in harness to fill them before January 2019, when a new Congress is sworn in.
If Republicans blow this opportunity, it is unlikely to come again. For the Supreme Court has seemed within Republican grasp before, only to have it slip away because of presidential errors.
Nixon had four nominees to the Supreme Court confirmed and Gerald Ford saw his nominee, John Paul Stevens, unanimously confirmed. But of those five justices confirmed from 1969 to 1976, Stevens and Harry Blackmun joined the liberal bloc, and Chief Justice Warren Burger and Lewis Powell voted for Roe v. Wade.
There are few hard-and-fast rules in politics, but here’s one that’s as set in stone as any you’ll find: Whenever leftists call for an “honest dialogue,” what they’re actually seeking is a purge. “Honest dialogue” is nothing more than a ruse to get people to expose themselves as opponents of the “social justice” agenda. It’s a way for leftists to discern the enemies in their midst. Think Michael Corleone holding court with his capos and asking, “Okay, let’s have an honest dialogue about who’s the spy for the Barzini family.”
The wise man keeps his mouth shut in such circumstances.
Australia recently had one of those “honest dialogue” moments. Last week, the Aussie government announced the result of the nation’s nonbinding vote on the issue of same-sex marriage. During the voting period, LGBT alphabet soupers, along with their friends and supporters in the media, waxed eloquent about how important it was for Australia to have an “open” and “honest” dialogue on the topic…even as antigay marriage activists were slammed as bigots, prevented from holding rallies, and vigorously protested when they found willing venues.
Gay-marriage proponents won the vote decisively, 61.6% to 38.4% (with 20% of Aussies declining to cast a ballot for either position). Naturally, not everyone was pleased with the results. But surely the gay-marriage advocates were gracious in victory, right? Surely, the victors extended an olive branch to those who came out on the losing end.
Very funny, Dave. That’s a good one!
With victory secured, it was time for the purge. And the first guy to get strung up? Richard Wolstencroft. Who’s that, you ask? Richard Wolstencroft is an institution of sorts in the Aussie film scene. In 2000, he founded the Melbourne Underground Film Festival (known by its colorful acronym, MUFF) as a way of rebelling against what he saw as the Melbourne International Film Festival’s safe, commercial, unchallenging choices regarding the films it screens. Over the course of eighteen years, MUFF has given a litany of Aussie filmmakers their start, including James Wan (the Saw films, The Conjuring, Furious 7, and the upcoming Aquaman), Greg McLean (Wolf Creek 1 and 2), the Spierig Brothers (Undead, Daybreakers, Jigsaw), and Patrick Hughes (The Expendables 3). Without question, Wolstencroft has done his part to advance the Australian film industry, giving publicity to independent Aussie films that might otherwise never be seen and helping to elevate Australian filmmakers to the Hollywood big leagues.
But more than anything else, Wolstencroft loves to stir pots. He’s a free-speech absolutist who prides himself on giving a forum to films and filmmakers that other festivals ban. When Australia’s Office of Film and Literature Classification (such a formal name for a censorship board! The least they could do is give it an Australian-sounding moniker, like the Office of Film Censoridoo or Movie Suppressawollabong) decided to ban the homosexual-themed zombie film L.A. Zombie because of its depiction of gay sex and male nudity, Wolstencroft defied the law in order to screen it, an act that led to his home being raided by the kangaroo cops. No less than The New York Times hailed Wolstencroft’s fight against the censoring of L.A. Zombie. Wolstencroft even invited L.A. Zombie’s director—prominent and controversial gay Canadian filmmaker Bruce LaBruce—to appear at the festival, where he won the award for best foreign director.
Other controversial films accepted by Wolstencroft for screening at MUFF included Vaxxed (the anti-vaccination documentary that Robert De Niro scheduled and then pulled from the Tribeca Film Festival), The Red Pill (the movie in which “former feminist” filmmaker Cassie Jaye explored the “men’s rights movement”), and The Search for Truth in History (a documentary about British revisionist historian David Irving). Wolstencroft’s genius was that he was able to screen banned films alongside films that aren’t especially controversial. It was a skilled balancing act, and one that Wolstencroft executed superbly.
Until last week, when the champion of banned films got banned.
Richard Wolstencroft is a friend of mine. He’s appeared on my podcast, and I’ve appeared with him on other people’s podcasts. He’s a typical Aussie—gregarious, boisterous, and cheerful. No question, he’s “alt-right”-friendly, but his dedication to free speech and shit-stirring is such that he would in a millisecond defend and champion a left-of-center filmmaker, or a filmmaker of color, or a gay filmmaker (as he did with Bruce LaBruce), should they become the target of the thought police. He’s been able to survive being outspokenly pro-Trump, something that would kill the career of any U.S. film-festival organizer. Hell, for a while it seemed as though Richard Wolstencroft was as untouchable as a wallaby’s bum…until he decided to use his Facebook page to call unfair dinkum on the gay-marriage vote:
A Black day. The Decadence and Degeneracy of the Bourgeois Elite has been normalized and they will use this to destroy us. The Family and The Nation will be under direct attack. Homosexuality is created often through child abuse and it has been embraced by the Majority of Australians as normal. The Australian public really was fooled, bullied and cajoled in to this decision ruthlessly by the Government and Media Elite. I would also suspect some vote rigging from The Elite who wish to advance this abusive and destructive agenda. This is the beginning of the End of our Great Country. -unless we fight back. This is a horrible black day of infamy. The Gay Community have allowed their politics to be weaponized by the Globelists. A Tragedy.
Down under? Richard Wolstencroft was now six feet under. The dude’s career went the way of the thylacine. Filmmaker Arden Pryor, a doughy doppelgänger of Dr. Evil if he were a gay fat guy, screencapped Wolstencroft’s post and spread it far and wide. Within days, Wolstencroft became a pariah. On Pryor’s Facebook page, members of the Australian arts community declared their desire to destroy Wolstencroft, to “hunt” him, to “ban” him. Soon enough, the controversy reached the Aussie press. Sponsors and filmmakers threatened to withdraw from MUFF. It made no matter that Wolstencroft had stood by gay filmmakers when their work had been deemed offensive by Canberra. Wolstencroft was now deemed offensive by gays, and he had to go.
Wolstencroft apologized for his post. His detractors, led by Pryor, rejected the apology. He had to be destroyed; there was no other alternative. After all, this is the tolerant LGBT left. And what does tolerance mean if not intolerance? Pryor (who did not respond to my requests for comment) intensified the drumbeat. Those who initially defended Wolstencroft quickly changed course and denounced him, and Wolstencroft, his apologies rejected, resigned from MUFF.
Yay! A champion of free speech was silenced by the very people whose free speech he championed. Is there an Australian term for irony? Perhaps ironidoo?
A few days after Wolstencroft said goodbye to the film festival he had nurtured for almost two decades, I spoke with him about his situation. “Australia’s a very easygoing country,” he told me. “We’re very much a country that does not like things like political correctness, does not like this kind of witch-hunting thing that’s just happened against me. What happened was pretty extraordinary. I’ve said lots of crazy things on Facebook over the years, but the timing of this one was particularly bad, because it was the day the yes vote won. I take that on board. I try to take on legitimate criticism when it comes my way, and yes, maybe that’s not the smartest thing to have posted on that day.”
Charles Manson, who for decades existed as an emblem of wide-eyed 60s idealism gone fatally wrong, died last week.
Within moments, leftist scribes rushed to disavow him and to insist he had nothing to do with leftism or the 1960s counterculture.
“Charles Manson Was Not a Product of the Counterculture,” claimed Baynard Woods against all evidence in a New York Times opinion piece:
Apart from the long hair and the casual sex, however, Mr. Manson, who spent much of his life in prison with a swastika carved into his head, had more in common ideologically with far-right groups like the John Birch Society than he did with the anarchic leftism of, say, the Yippies….The paranoid, racist and apocalyptic ramblings of Mr. Manson are the DNA of the reactionary alt-right.
As of this writing, Mr. Woods has not responded to my questions about when the John Birch Society prophesied a race war or, for that matter, even bothered to mention race. Thus I was unable to ask him a follow-up question about his feelings regarding this quote from Yippie leader Jerry Rubin:
I fell in love with Charlie Manson the first time I saw his cherub face and sparkling eyes on TV. His words and courage inspired us.
The increasingly desperate Newsweek—which, like most of what remains of the mainstream press, seems to exist only to defame Donald Trump and all his supporters as “Nazis”—immediately sought to link Manson to Trump. Last Monday they originally published a piece with the headline “How Murderer Charles Manson And Donald Trump Used Language To Gain Followers,” wherein female scribe Melissa Matthews interviewed a psychologist who shared the following rather obvious insight:
Our current president speaks in an emotional or affective way to large numbers of people in our country who feel a kind of alienation or disconnection from the government.
However, this time even Newsweek overplayed their hand by linking Manson to Trump. They removed the original title, changed it to “How Murderer Charles Manson Used Language To Gain Followers,” and plunged yet another dagger into their own credibility by appending a note that read, “An earlier version of this story did not meet Newsweek’s editorial standards and has been revised accordingly.”
So what remained of the piece alleged that charming people often use language to persuade others. Pulitzer-level stuff right there.
At VICE magazine—which at the moment appears to be on the verge of about 100,000 sexual harassment lawsuits, give or take a few—we are told that Manson was a “virulent racist” and that “If Charles Manson were alive and literate, he would be writing for Breitbart.”
The Huffington Post refers to the Manson Family as a “Far-Right…Cult.” It further alleges that both Charlie Manson and leaders of the modern Alt-Right such as Richard Spencer were ultimately seeking power, as if no one on the left ever cloaks their unquenchable thirst for power beneath bullshit phrases such as “equality” and “justice.”
Even in India they’re trying to shackle Manson to Donald Trump and the Alt-Right. An essay in The Hindu aggressively denies that Manson was in any way a product—and especially not the reductio ad absurdum—of the 1960s counterculture:
Manson had a well-documented hatred of Jewish people, African-Americans and women. Rather than the liberal counterculture movement of the 1960s, his bigoted philosophy bears a disturbing resemblance in some respects with the far-right or alt-right brand of neo-fascism that has mushroomed in certain pockets of U.S. politics recently.
Writing for Raw Story, 85-year-old hippie icon Paul Krassner blames imprisonment and Scientology—Manson for many years claimed to be a Scientologist—rather than the 60s counterculture for molding Manson’s psychology: “Manson was never really a hippie,” he writes.
Would anyone care to explain the fact that the Manson Family first took root in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district during 1967’s “Summer of Love”? What about all the orgies and long hair and LSD? Care to account for the communal living and dumpster-diving? How about the Manson Family’s rock-star aspirations and the fact that the Beach Boys covered one of Charlie’s songs? What about their vocal opposition to the Vietnam War, to “the establishment,” to “capitalist filth,” and all the inflamed rhetoric about “pigs”? What about the fact that Richard Nixon openly hated Charles Manson and vice-versa? How about Manson girl Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme’s failed 1975 assassination attempt on Nixon’s successor, Gerald Ford?
What about when John Lennon approvingly noted that Manson “took children in when nobody else would” and claimed that “I just think a lot of the things he says are true”? How about the fact that folksinger Phil Ochs and Jerry Rubin visited Manson in jail? How do you explain Bernadine Dohrn of the far-left murderous terrorist group Weather Underground—and later cosponsor of Barack Obama’s fledgling political career—describing the LaBianca murders in the following psychotically exultant terms?
First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they even shoved a fork into a victim’s stomach. Wild! The Weathermen dig Charles Manson.
To claim that Charles Manson had nothing to do with the 1960s counterculture is like saying that the 100+ million killed under communist regimes had nothing to do with real communism. Anyone who isn’t blinded by ideology would easily realize that the Manson Family had far more in common with the Symbionese Liberation Army and the Weather Underground than they did with the haplessly and serially misrepresented John Birch Society.
As “evidence” that Manson was a Bircher back then and would have been a Breitbart writer now, they trot out Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi’s “Helter Skelter” theory about the Tate/LaBianca murders, which occurred on two consecutive nights in August 1969. According to Bugliosi and a handful of Manson acolytes who were apparently gunning for lighter prison sentences, these murders were a deliberate attempt to frame Black Panthers and thus ignite a race war that whites would inevitably lose, only to be redeemed when blacks proved unable to govern themselves and the Manson Family—which by that point would have reproduced to 144,000 members strong after holing themselves away in a bottomless pit somewhere beneath Death Valley—would usher in a brave new all-white ethnostate where an irredeemably corrupt USA had once stood.
The advent of a White Christmas is now heralded by Black Friday: this infamous moment when the grand coalition of Western capitalism starts whipping its adherents toward the tills. Six weeks later, the same people are spat out into the dawn of a New Year, bleary-eyed and broke. Black Friday gives way to Blue Monday, the “most depressing day of the year.” If Einstein was right—and insanity is repeating the same thing and expecting different results—then the West has it bad.
Everyone knows consumerism is a crock. Yet like a hooker returning to her pimp, it grips us with forces too deep to be escapable. These are partly anthropological. We have human needs, which are expertly subverted into human wants by the marketing machine. We have a desire to compete, which is brilliantly exploited by the semiotics of different brands. We assuage our moral consciences by decrying these appetites, while becoming evermore engorged on them.
This is partly because we castigate our materialism without realizing that consumerism is much worse. The past was nothing if not materialistic; but it was a materialism intended to last. Leonardo would leave The Last Supper for weeks at a time before returning to add a brushstroke. It is a revealing detail for an era when life was “nasty, brutish, and short,” and when death by accident awaited at every street corner. To adapt a phrase from Tolkien: If something was worth doing, it was worth doing slowly. Leonardo knew he was only flesh and blood, so the painting would outlast him.
In a consumer society, our products cannot be allowed to outlast us. Quite the reverse. The apotheosis of our relationship with a possession is when we buy it. The moment of purchase is a moment of orgasm. When no longer animated by the thrill of acquisition, the new thing soon reveals its indifference. The high fades, only to be bettered by another purchase. This irrational value proposition is precisely the opposite of historical norms of commerce, which used to mean an object’s value being released over time and use. Now its value is not in its use but in its consumption, which happens in the moment we part with our money. It is, by nature, transient.
And the more transient, the better. Hence the ever-shortening replacement cycles of iPhones; the fickle demands of fashion; the pressure to replace your car without any improvement in its core technology. This drives a huge efficiency paradox in the West. Our markets and supply chains and digital price platforms are minutely efficient, yet we generate mountains of waste. This has a significant bearing not only on our emotional lives but on our shared future. Economic growth may mean making things cheaper, which means making them disposable; but it cannot do so forever.
Yet what is the alternative? Capitalism is a natural consequence of free societies; and consumerism appears to be the natural consequence of capitalism. The agoraphobia of endless choice remains more congenial to human instincts than Communism. The average individual may be de facto powerless in the face of corporate marketing, but they are de jure free: No one is forced to make a consumer purchase. As Erich Fromm wrote in The Art of Being, the chains that bind them are on the inside.
This is especially true as consumerism works by infantilizing people. It narrows focus to the self and the immediate at the expense of others and the long term. It is emotional junk food. The altruistic consumer does not exist, and neither do corporates want him to exist. The altruist—like the financial saver—becomes economic dead weight. Physical consumerism is further abetted by financial consumerism, driving us toward the next debt crisis
Here is the real toxicity of modern consumerism: that it is a philosophy not of plenty but of lack. The person who has enough is useless to a modern government or a modern economy. Advertisers know this, so they reach for the Big Lie, turning the notion that the “best things in life are free” to commercial advantage. Hence we see businessmen tearing off their suits and jumping into lakes, or the smile of a newborn baby—all mendaciously turned to serve a corporate brand.
The reality is that consumerism does nothing to strengthen the individual, let alone family life. The consumer is a brittle creature, ill-suited to the demands of human cooperation. He is prone to sudden psychoses, erupting into violence to beat someone else to a cut-price product that neither wanted a moment before. This Black Friday saw such fights break out across the globe. In London, the febrile atmosphere led to an affray when two people bumped into each other on a subway platform. The resulting panic and stampede triggered a full-scale terror alert, shutting Oxford Street. As a vignette of twin fault lines acting on Western society, it could not have been better constructed.
The Week’s Most Segregated, Agitated, and Constipated Headlines
CHURCH OF SWEDEN TELLS GOD THE FATHER TO TAKE A HIKE
Sweden is a beautiful nation in Northern Europe that once was the home of vikings but is now saddled with a low-T population of she-wolves and geldings. To be accused of rape in this country where everything is rape, a man has to do little more than be a man.
Until the year 2000, the national Evangelical Lutheran Church was Sweden’s state religion. In this country of 10 million, over 60% of Swedish citizens are still baptized members of the church. Because Sweden is “progressive,” its national church allowed females to become ordained priests all the way back in 1960. Women now account for 45% of all clergy and “an even greater share among the leadership.” In 2013 a beast of a woman named Antje Jackelen became the Church of Sweden’s first female archbishop, a title she still holds in the grip of her cold, steely, unforgiving vagina. Jackelen has gone on record to state that those who see the virginity of Mary, Mother of God as “a biological issue have completely missed the point.” She has also stated unequivocally that “God is beyond our gender determinations.”
In other words, this shrew-like Phil Donahue doppelgänger insists that, despite everything the Bible says, God is not a dude.
On Thursday, the Church of Sweden’s female-heavy upper crust updated their official handbook with guidelines urging clergy to refer to God as simply “God” rather than “he” or “the Lord.” In place of referring to the “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” cuckolded clergymen and those irascible clergywomen are advised to instead pay homage to “God and the Holy Trinity,” which sort of implies a fourth member whom we’ll assume is named Ringo.
Apparently, they still haven’t figured out a way to castrate Jesus. According to Church of Sweden spokesbabe Sofija Pederson, “We talk about Jesus Christ, but in a few places we have changed [the liturgy] to say ‘God’ instead of ‘he.’ We have some prayer options that are more gender-neutral than others.”
While the Church of Sweden was quibbling over gender pronouns for deities, Muslim refugees were gang-raping indigenous women all over Sweden.
Priorities, people. Priorities!
MS-13 VICTIM STABBED 100 TIMES, DECAPITATED, HEART RIPPED OUT AND TOSSED IN GRAVE
Mara Salvatrucha, AKA MS-13, is a gang that originated in El Salvador but has firmly established a reputation in America as the most insanely brutal of all street gangs.
On Wednesday, court documents in Maryland revealed that this past spring, around eight to ten MS-13 members plotted for weeks to murder a man in Wheaton Regional Park. According to NBC News, 19-year-old member Miguel Angel Lopez-Abrego has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with the killing. He stands accused of helping to dig a grave for the victim and using a walkie-talkie to help other gang members pull off the spectacularly grisly homicide:
[After the victim arrived in the park], the gang members choked him, stabbed him more than 100 times, decapitated him and dismembered him, the informant said. They ripped his heart from his chest and threw it into the grave they dug for him.
Diversity, people. Diversity!
PENNSYLVANIA TEACHERS RESIGN OVER STUDENT VIOLENCE
According to the Harrisburg [PA] Education Association, at least 45 teachers resigned between July and October, and they have continued resigning ever since.
The main problem appears to be rampant student violence at a minority of schools. According to Association President Jody Barksdale:
Teachers and students are being hit, kicked, slapped, scratched, cussed at…and observing other students flip over tables, desks and chairs. Teachers have had to take the rest of their class into the hallway to protect them during these outbursts.
A teacher named Amanda Sheaffer publicly testified about the abuse she’d received at the hands of students:
I have been kicked, punched, hit, scratched. I’ve had a student physically restraining me in front of my other students….And many of the personal things that I have bought for my classroom have been broken or destroyed….Many minutes are spent each day dealing with violence that is happening in the classroom.
It bears noting that these ultra-violent students are first-graders.
First America had a violence problem with “teens” and “youths.” But now that children as young as six are getting violent, the preferred noun to describe them is “students.”
COMMUNITY UPSET AFTER NONWHITE STUDENT WRITES “WHITE LIVES MATTER” IN HIGH-SCHOOL BATHROOM
The predominantly white St. Louis suburb of Chesterton, MO was wracked with shame, guilt, self-loathing, and even a wee bit of self-flagellation when it was reported that some anonymous hateful bastard had scrawled “WHITE LIVES MATTER” and “the N-WORD” on a local high-school bathroom mirror.
Now officials at Parkway Central High School have identified the perpetrator of this sick and dastardly deed of derring-do as “nonwhite.” However, Principal Timothy McCarthy—who is both white and chubby—refuses to let this opportunity to engage in racial self-hatred slip through his little ham-colored fingers:
This incident caused significant harm to and within our school community by provoking feelings of hurt and distrust. The use of the N-word, in the context of the message on the bathroom mirror, provoked feelings of hate, not love.
We suggest a different path toward racial healing: Everyone—young and old, rich and poor, black and white, red state and blue state—should liberally use the N-word in a spirit of humor, not hate.
One of the pleasures of working as a prison doctor was to learn the language of prison. It was often colorful and expressive, and it changed rapidly, sometimes because of technological change.
For example, when I started working in prison I was sometimes called to attend a prisoner who had just been PP9’d. A PP9 was a large, squarish battery that was used (in respectable circles) to power transistor radios; but in prison it was sometimes put in a sock and swung round like the bola of an Argentinean gaucho, inflicting quite serious injury on the head of the person at whom it was aimed. Such batteries soon became technologically redundant, however, and the verb went out with them. No one is PP9’d these days. I suppose that is progress.
Another verb in common use when I started was twock. To twock was to Take Without Owner’s Consent, that is to say to steal a car. This was a verb in use outside prison, too, as in, for example, “My car’s just been twocked.”
Twock was a noun as well as a verb. “I’m in for twock,” a prisoner would say, in reply to the question of why he was in prison. Another related offense, less commonly used in the form of a verb, was tada: “I’m in for tada,” that is to say Taking and Driving Away. I never really discovered the difference between twock and tada, which I presumed was subtle, if it existed at all.
The black aspirin was the prison officer’s boot, used to subdue the recalcitrant, and the liquid cosh was a suspension of chlorpromazine, a powerful tranquilizer used sometimes for reasons that were not strictly medical. The officers ceased to wear boots and chlorpromazine was more or less banned. Some of the prisoners missed it.
The tradition of tramlining persisted, however. Someone was tramlined when his face was slashed by the plastic handle of a toothbrush into which two parallel razor blades had been melted. It was impossible to sew the resulting injury up neatly, which meant that the victim was scarred for life.
Prisoners, according to the officers, could be lippy, mouthy, or verbal. Lippy was when they answered back insolently, more or less with repartee; mouthy was when they shouted cruder abuse at greater length; verbal was when they spouted nonsense, quite possibly as a result of psychiatric disorder.
“Shall I bring the body in, sir?” an officer would ask me. The body was the patient. “He’s on the Rule.”
The Rule was Rule 45, later Rule 43, that is to say the prison rule by which a prisoner could ask for protection from other prisoners if he felt himself to be in danger from them. He was placed on a separate wing from all the other prisoners; most of the prisoners on the Rule, but not quite all, were nonces, that is to say sex offenders. Others were, or were believed by other prisoners, to be grasses, that is to say informers.
The problem with going on the Rule was that, once you were on it, you were, in effect, always on it, for the rest of your prison career. If you came back to prison ten years after your release, though no one actually remembered you in person, it would somehow get about that you had once been on it and you would be assumed to be a sex offender and therefore the legitimate target of attack. Moreover, many of the areas from which the prisoners came were in effect extensions of the prison, but prison without warders (the worst kind); and the news that you had been on the Rule would follow you there when you were released. That too would make you the legitimate object of attack, according to the prevailing morality. Being on the Rule was therefore in effect a life sentence, irrespective of what you had done. Incidentally, there was no such thing as innocence of sex offenses: You were guilty if charged and even if acquitted.
Some of the prisoners would ask me anxiously, “You’re not going to nut me off, doctor, are you?” By nutting them off, they meant sending them to psychiatric hospital, a fate they regarded as being far worse than mere imprisonment. And I think they were right: On the whole they were better treated in prison than in hospital. For one thing, the food was better; and for another, the prison officers were often kinder than the nurses.
Two rather splendid dinners given in the Bagel by George Livanos and Mick Flick, where the subject of the faux Leonardo that sold for 400 million greenbacks—plus a $50 million fee for Christie’s—was a subject dissected again and again during the glitterati’s chitchat. Mind you, my fellow guests were not the types to be outraged or shocked at the obscenity of the moola involved, but it beat talking about the weather or why the media hates Trump as much as it does. For any of you who might have missed it, the phony Leonardo, painted by Leo’s bugger Giovanni Boltraffio, scrubbed over and repainted, was bought by—who else?—those people who have ruined football, the hooker market, yacht sales, and everything else they touch: the Gulf camel drivers from Abu Dhabi and their so-called Louvre museum.
Enough said about an unpleasant subject controlled by extremely unpleasant people. When the bubble bursts, some of us who actually appreciate art and are not in it for the money will be cheering, but not yet. Next New York outrage is a female column in that unspeakable old bag of a newspaper, and I quote: “The solution is putting people in positions of power who are not male, not straight, not white. This is not taking away something away unfairly—it is restoring opportunities that have been historically withheld.” Gee whiz, I thought that had been tried with affirmative action, and it was a real disaster. Now the girls over on this side of the ocean want to try it again, with cutie-pies getting the nod. Nurse, help! The power imbalance between men and women is about to change forever, with some hairy American lesbians leading from the front. Don’t hold your breath.
Everyone around these parts—except for people who are wellborn—seems to be doing a mea culpa nowadays. Harvey Weinstein got the ball rolling, and some moron who used to edit The New Republic has just written a self-flagellating meditation pouring ashes on his own dumb head for being white and well educated and having enjoyed “unearned privileges” that served to exclude others. Nurse, please, this is a real emergency. The guy is writing this bullshit in order to impress his peers about how anguished he feels about the free ride he’s had being a hack. All he has to do instead of showing off is quit his writer’s job and go out and start digging ditches, instead of showing off in such an absurd manner. Better yet, ditch the ditches and head for Africa and some leper colony, asshole.
Funny, but I’ve yet to feel guilty about being white and having had an education, and that’s because I skipped the latter and only thought of girls and sports, and in that order. I also do not feel, nor have I ever felt, guilty for having inherited wealth such as houses, furniture, pictures, and moola in a Swiss bank. And there’s nothing you can do about it, assfaces. Airbrushing the past is a lefty trick that cannot tolerate truth. The more they try to hide the past, the clearer it becomes. At least to those of us who don’t fall for PC bullshit.
Toward the end of a very hectic week I met with my buddy Sir Bob Geldof, someone who does not agree with me on most subjects, yet we consider each other very good friends. The first thing Michael Mailer asked Bob was when are they going to go after the rock & roll crowd for sexual harassment. Bobsie, as we call him, laughed out loud. “What they’ll say is yeah, we did, fuck you.” I love Sir Bob because he says it like it is, and although he had two beautiful redheads coming on to him, he mentioned “Frogette”—his wife—and that put a damper on their nocturnal dreams. At one point Bobsie said that I always take the side of the dictators, which I do, and that’s because there’s less hypocrisy involved. The left is as dictatorial as the right, if not more so, but they hide it with virtue signaling. The left’s desire to stop free thought and free expression hides behind the pose of holding the right views and positions. Maduro in Venezuela is a perfect example. Millennials who will not allow anyone they disagree with to speak at their universities is another. Give me old-fashioned dictators with beautiful flaring breeches and boots any day.
Finally, a prediction: Harvey Weinstein will not win any Oscars this year. What I am most proud of is that for 25 years Graydon Carter has very kindly invited me to the Oscar party. I have never attended because I loathe Hollywood and the people who lurk there. My children once went when they were very small. Now that he’s no longer editor, there will be no more invites and no temptation to go. This year it promises to be a real funeral. Of men. The speeches will slide into absurdity and irrelevance and will be all about how big ugly men have been mistreating cutie-pies these past couple thousand years. Make that three thousand. Hollywood has been lecturing us for much too long. Its sanctimony makes even old salts throw up. Cancel the Oscars. Bring on the Harveys.