SCHLOSS WOLFSEGG—I was watching two very old men slowly approaching the open doors of the Pilatus airplane I was leaning up against when it dawned on me that they were the pilots who were about to fly me to my daughter’s wedding. The one called Willy extended his hand; so did Alex, a short little guy who looked in his 90s. “Ah, Herr tennis man,” he said, and then mentioned a match I had won more than fifty years ago when on the tennis circuit, “wie geht es?” Willy then told me that Alex had retired from flying Airbuses thirty years before and now flew as insurance in case the pilot dropped dead en route. I could not care less. Pilatus is my favorite airplane, with six wide seats and one just behind the two pilots. With a Pratt & Whitney engine of 1,700 horsepower, it cruises silently at 250 knots and can fly without refueling for close to 2,000 klicks. It can land on a postage stamp, and there are 1,500 of them buzzing around the globe.
We left Saanen, a private airport near Gstaad, and arrived in Salzburg one hour and fifteen minutes later. Alexandra (the mother of my children) had brought all sorts of goodies along, but so had the two pilots, so by the time we landed, the champagne was starting to take effect. My beautiful daughter, the future Gräfin Saint Julien, was waiting for us on her last day as plain Miss Taki.
My first thought at seeing the white 1,000-year-old castle that will be her home from now on was a simple one: At least she won’t be mugged by some thug called Muhammad as she was in London, in SW10, and where her local MP, one Greg Hands, showed as much interest in her case as I do when local Burundi elections are mentioned. (The fuzz were polite but understaffed, and there was nothing they could do; the area continues to be terrorized by council estate tenants.) So, there was this huge white castle on a hill surrounded by thick woods and overlooking a hamlet by the same name; the castle makes Badminton House look like a semidetached near Reading. (More about Badminton in two weeks, if I survive the upcoming party.)
My son-in-law, Count Edouardo Saint Julien-Wallsee, is an Austrian nobleman whose family and title go back close to 900 years. (Louis IX rewarded the family after the Second Crusade.) He and his family and I get along like a house on fire, and on the night of the wedding we stayed up far too late and got stinko. Edo is the head of the household, and I met all his close friends the first night at the schloss. Although I hate to sound corny, I have never met such really old-fashioned gentlemen in all my years of traveling the globe. They were all young, all titled, with beautiful wives and beautiful blond children, and beautiful manners. In fact, the setting and the place were straight out of The Sound of Music, without the vulgarity of the von Trapps.
The pomp and pageantry of a long-ago Austrian empire were evoked in the castle’s chapel as Pastor Himmelbauer (“heaven builder”) presided over my girl’s marriage to Edo, with a large and beautifully dressed oompah band playing their hearts out afterward in the courtyard. Incidentally, in the village church the next day—my wife and daughter attending, as the bridegroom and I were much too hungover—the place of worship was packed, people dressed to the nines in traditional costumes, the chorus singing heavenly, and the twenty-man oompah band marching in step outside. There were even plumed helmets worn by old officers—Strauss’ “Radetzky March” was the only thing missing. What I miss the most, however, is the swagger that went with being an imperial officer of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
In one of the numerous salons I noticed two portraits of two very good-looking young officers in their cavalry uniforms, Edo’s great-uncles. They were both killed in 1918 in Bessarabia, dead at ages 23 and 21. Their nieces, now aged but wonderfully friendly and funny, came for the wedding.
The schloss, about 35 miles east of Salzburg, is surrounded by forests of tall fir, pine, and spruce trees, the Upper Austrian Voralpenland mountains in the distance. It felt a bit like Lampedusa land, a time warp of elegance and good manners and dress of long ago. As human waves of African and Middle Eastern immigrants wash ashore daily, this part of Austria is still resisting, just. But in Wolfie’s capital, Salzburg, its baroque architecture is still the best preserved anywhere. I noticed lots of refugees looking glum and Salieri-like. Worse, however, are the tourists, the bane of our time, eating and drinking and clogging up those beautiful streets where Wolfie was born. God, how I loathe the modern world and its modern non-manners, the lack of style, the horrors of modern music and modern mores. I just might move in here for good, but at last we’ve come full circle. My paternal ancestors came from these parts, I married a German whose family went to Austria in the 18th century, and now my daughter is married to an Austrian. I couldn’t be happier. Auf Wiedersehen, meine Lieben.
The cover of this week’s British Medical Journal is emblazoned with the words “Sex workers risk prosecution under UK law if they carry more than six condoms.” The words “six condoms” are emphasized by a change of color of lettering from blue to green. Then the cover asks, “Would decriminalisation be safer?”
The commonly employed argument that prostitution is the oldest profession and no law has ever eradicated it seems to me a bad one. Whether or not it is the oldest profession in any literal sense, it is certainly a very old one; but then murder (if the Bible is to be believed) was one of mankind’s earliest activities. We do not propose to legalize murder simply because no law has ever eradicated it.
On the other hand, I can see the practical advantages of freeing prostitution from the attentions of the law (within limits, of course). But this question was not what I found most interesting about the cover. It was the replacement of the word “prostitutes” by “sex workers”—a replacement that is virtually de rigueur in medical journals these days.
A century and a half ago, Charles Dickens satirized the tendency of his countrymen to use euphemism from a false sense of delicacy. Mr. Podsnap was a character in Dickens’ last completed novel, Our Mutual Friend, a “man so eminently respectable” that “he was sensible of its being required of him to take Providence under his wing.” Mr. Podsnap had a daughter whom it was necessary for him to protect from the vulgarity and wickedness of the world:
A certain institution in Mr Podsnap’s mind which he called ‘the young person’ may be considered to have been embodied in Miss Podsnap, his daughter. It was an inconvenient and exacting institution, as requiring everything in the universe to be filed down and fitted to it. The question about everything was, would it bring a blush into the cheek of the young person? And the inconvenience of the young person was, that, according to Mr Podsnap, she seemed always liable to burst into blushes when there was no need at all. There appeared to be no line of demarcation between the young person’s excessive innocence, and another person’s guiltiest knowledge.
The world’s medical journals seem to me in turn to be guilty of fulminating Podsnappery, treating doctors as if they were blushful Miss Podsnaps, who might faint at the mere mention of prostitution or its cognate words.
Of course, the BMJ might be trying to reform our moral thinking, insinuating by its words the notion that prostitution is a job like any other—medicine, for example. No opprobrium should attach to it; and if you accept money to say, write, or do something that you believe to be wrong, you do not prostitute yourself, you merely sex-work yourself. As for pimps, they are sex coordinators, sex agents, or sex facilitators, who bring sex worker and client together as a literary agent brings author and publisher together.
I have twice been asked to appear on a panel at literary festivals on the subject of prostitution. Why I should have been selected for this honor, I do not know; but on both occasions I shared a panel with a chairwoman of a prostitutes’ collective and a female sociologist who claimed that prostitution was work like any other—better, in fact, since it entailed flexible hours, tax-free pay, a better hourly rate than average, and the like advantages. The sociologist was herself very prim and proper.
I pointed out that, having taken this “normalizing” view of the activity, the government of a German state had suggested that women who claimed unemployment benefits could rightly be put to sex work, as they were obliged to accept work if it were offered. The experiment did not last long, which suggested (to me, at least) that the work was not the same as, say, that of shelf stacker or secretary.
Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand,
They rave, recite, and madden round the land. —Pope
American democracy, said H.L. Mencken, is “the worship of jackals by jackasses.” This definition is as harsh as it is colorful, but Mencken was a kind of philosopher, and his judgment is consistent with philosophy’s tradition of profound skepticism about the value of democracy.
That skepticism is quite justified, recent events suggest. Consider, for instance, the immigration question. It is intractable, and the reason appears to be the human mind itself. For plainly there are many Americans, both Democrats and Republicans, who are either unable or unwilling to entertain two conflicting ideas at once: a sense of duty to needful immigrants, and the need to enforce the southern border and protect the national good generally.
Immensely complicated, the first idea comes into conflict with other goods, and therefore must be negotiated. For however much pity we may feel for the peoples of Mexico, Honduras, and elsewhere, the reality is that excessive low-skill immigration is not good for our own working class or Americans in general. There are only so many jobs in landscaping, construction, and other blue-collar industries, so it’s undesirable for there to be millions of people who will work for wages that don’t meet the expectations of 21st-century Americans, because the presence of such persons entails fewer jobs and lower wages for native citizens.
It’s estimated that around 50,000 illegal aliens enter the country each month. Sixty-two percent of all illegals receive welfare. Needless to say, this is not a sustainable situation. Nor is it fair. “The Trump administration,” according to Bloomberg, “plans to pay a Texas nonprofit nearly half a billion dollars this year to care for immigrant children who were detained crossing the U.S. border illegally.” Says Ilana Mercer:
The profits from the immigration industry, material and political, are privatized; the costs are socialized.
In exchange for throwing America open to The World, Americans get crime, poverty, unemployment, depressed wages; environmental despoliation; overburdened public services, and zero comity and harmony across their communities.
So, the sense of duty many feel toward needful immigrants, if acted on, must be limited. The value of this endeavor needs to be weighed against other, conflicting ends. Arriving at a compromise won’t be easy, and any reasonable compromise shall be reached only through cold, rational analysis: Taking account of the context and all the ends to be considered, we can come to the best set of trade-offs.
The problem here is that cold, rational analysis is something at which most people are dreadful. Learning of “separated families,” jackasses like Maxine Waters immediately become hysterical. Far from recognizing the need for national sovereignty, and the need to weigh moral duty against other interests, such persons cant about racism, xenophobia, and the like moralistic delusions. Indeed, Waters even went so far as to urge the mob to harass Trump administration officials. Not that such encouragement was needed—Americans are reliably zealous vigilantes, as Kirstjen Nielsen and Sarah Sanders, both heckled while out to dinner, found recently.
As H.L. Mencken understood, the jackasses are symbiotic with the jackals, who profit tremendously from them. For indeed, not everyone who supports open borders and doing whatever it takes to keep illegal-immigrant families together is motivated by altruistic feelings. There are corporate jackals who want cheap labor, and Democrat jackals who want more voters, especially when it comes to turning red states into blue ones. Above all, ignorant support of cynical and unaccountable politicians allows them to live cushy lifestyles, which are insulated from the destructive consequences of their bad policies.
Of course, American jackasses are also helpful to jackals outside the U.S. For its next president, Mexico may soon elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador. An unscrupulous demagogue, Obrador has told Mexicans that they have “a human right” to “leave their towns and find a life in the United States,” a right Obrador says Mexico “will defend.” What is the purpose of such loony rhetoric? Money, of course. Mexican illegal immigrants in the U.S. send roughly $30 billion in remittances back to Mexico each year, the country’s largest source of Mexican foreign exchange. This when Mexico already runs a $70 billion trade surplus with the U.S. Out of all our trade partners, only China’s trade surplus is larger.
Shortly after issuing his executive order on June 20, President Trump ordered U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop referring illegal-immigrant families to the Department of Justice. So for now, anyway, we are back to the catch-and-release policy of the Obama and Bush administrations.
What’s the lesson here? That by letting policy be determined by blind pity, we reward people for invading our country. We are not going to prosecute these families, because children being separated from their parents is a hurtful experience. Now, common sense tells us that belligerent violating of a nation’s border should have hurtful consequences. Crime deserves punishment. Nor is this changed by the fact that some of the immigrants are in flight from horrible conditions. That is true in just the same way that being in an abusive relationship does not give you the right to break into your neighbor’s home and take up residence in it. Such punishment could serve as a deterrent, but for that to happen far more people would have to see the issue for what it is. And that is evidently asking too much of democratic man, who rejects thorny reality and demands sentimental delusion in its place.
On Tuesday, in a narrow 5–4 decision, the Supreme Court upheld the president ’s so-called travel ban. The current version levels travel restrictions against five majority-Muslim countries—Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen—and also North Korea and Venezuela. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion: “The Proclamation is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices.”
In a dissenting opinion, in which she was predictably joined by Justice Ginsburg, Justice Sotomayor wrote:
Despite several opportunities to do so, President Trump has never disavowed any of his prior statements about Islam.
Taking all the relevant evidence together, a reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was driven primarily by anti-Muslim animus, rather than by the Government’s asserted national-security justifications.
Given President Trump’s failure to correct the reasonable perception of his apparent hostility toward the Islamic faith, it is unsurprising that the President’s lawyers have, at every step in the lower courts, failed in their attempts to launder the Proclamation of its discriminatory taint.
Rather bizarrely, Sotomayor takes pains to list numerous statements and tweets by the president, on the belief that these demonstrate “apparent hostility toward the Islamic faith.” Well, then, let’s grant for argument’s sake that she’s right. Logically, such hostility, however wrong in a moral sense, is not incompatible with “national-security justifications.” You can feel a deep animus for Muslims, but this in itself does not show that your policy exists for that purpose, or for that purpose only. Nor does it follow that your policy is not sound, that is, not warranted by the circumstances. The only way to know whether it’s sound is to examine the policy as it relates to them.
NEW YORK—This November, California is gonna vote on dividing itself into three states.
That doesn’t go nearly far enough, in my opinion. I would encourage all you restless Californians to endlessly subdivide, like reverse amoebas, until all 40 million of you have your own state. Isn’t that the California way?
First of all, what is this thing where, once a year, we have to focus on some wackadoodle idea of what the new laws should be in California? Apparently they have some system whereby, if you get enough people to sign a petition, you can put “A Law Requiring All Citizens of the Golden State to Wear Turquoise Shorts on Alternate Thursdays” on the ballot.
And actually, a turquoise-shorts amendment would probably pass in California, simply because it sounds good when approached through a marijuana haze.
But the busybody in this case is one Tim Draper, a billionaire Silicon Valley investor who collects Bitcoin and still believes that Theranos is going to revolutionize the blood-testing industry while company founder Elizabeth Holmes heads to prison in one of the largest fraud cases ever brought by the SEC.
Tim tried this once before. Back in 2014 he tried to force an initiative onto the ballot that would have broken California into six states. Unfortunately 70,000 of his signatures were disqualified by a court when it was revealed that the people didn’t exist—Tim, you really have to start vetting your partners—and so he revised his reorganization plan to a mere trio of mini-Californias, to be named…
Northern California: the largest chunk, including San Francisco, Sacramento, the redwood forests all the way up to Oregon, the mountains over toward Nevada including the Tahoe snow bunnies, and, of course, all the counties south of San Francisco that involve the tech industry.
Southern California: Oddly enough, this does not include El Lay. It’s all the farmers in the Central Valley, plus San Diego, plus Orange County, Riverside, and San Bernardino, and, of course, the Mojave Desert and every oasis on the way to Vegas. Talk about a wicked boundary line—this looks like an attempt to create the nation’s first 98 percent Republican state.
And finally, we have…
California: El Lay gets to save money on address changes by retaining the original state name. And they also get everything up the coast, Santa Barbara all the way to Monterey, but nothing to the east or south because those counties are needed for the Richard Nixon Memorial State called Southern California.
Asked to explain why California needs to do this, supporters of “Cal 3” always use the word “ungovernable.” California has become impossible to govern. Just ask Schwarzenegger. If Conan the Barbarian couldn’t get it done, who could?
There are tensions in the state, they say. There are hassles and bad vibes, the kind of scene that would cause Peter Fonda to climb aboard his Captain America chopper and head east. The populated areas on the coast don’t understand the farming communities in the west. Silicon Valley and Hollywood can’t get along. San Diego has too many, you know, military guys to get with the whole California program.
I had no idea it had gotten this bad in an American state—people with different points of view forced to live in close proximity.
You know what might help with that? Wyoming seems to have it together. I mean, yeah, sometimes Laramie has a spat with Casper, but it can all be smoothed over with a barbecue. So maybe the magic number is 579,315 people—the ideal population to make statehood bearable.
So let’s give it a shot. If we carved California into states with no more than 580,000 people per state, we would have 68 new states—man, the star field on the flag is gonna be a mess!—and we could use Big Data from dating sites to make sure everybody in each state makes the same amount of money, shops at the same stores, and falls at about the same place on the Donald Trump Love-Hate scale. Sure, there would be inequities—I hate the idea of the State of Oxnard getting almost all the strawberries—but it would make it so much easier to ignore Needles and Calexico.
Unfortunately, something tells me that the creation of 136 new members of the Senate from present-day California might cause consternation in Rhode Island.
So maybe we should use a Rhode Island model. Since we’re kind of out of practice in the business of new-state creation—59 years since Hawaii joined up, 155 years since we carved a new state out of Virginia—we could assuage the fears of smaller states by limiting land area to the 776,957 acres of Rhode Island, which makes sense because Roger Williams went there to establish freedom from the “ungovernable” Massachusetts.
So let’s do the math on that. Even better! California divided into Rhode Islands would create 129 new states so homogeneous that all we would have to worry about would be Van Nuys inbreeding.
But once again, we have those 258 new senatorial seats. It would require a rebuild of the Capitol and, while that was going on, the senators would have to bring collapsible beach chairs.
When I was growing up I used to grab a book off my father’s bookshelf called The Five States of Texas, and it was mostly about regional differences, but it was based on the agreement made by Sam Houston in 1845 that, if the Republic of Texas gave up its sovereignty and joined the Union, it would have the right to divide itself into five states at some later date. You’ll still find blowhards in Texas roadhouses talking about “Oh yeah, we have that right, we can divide any ole time we want to.” It’s one of those everlasting Texas myths, like “It’s illegal to drive barefoot.” But the fact is, once you decide to leave the Union and join the Confederacy, they don’t come back to you after the war is over and say, “By the way, would you like all your charter privileges back again?”
I’m still ticked off at him for not building the wall, but THANK YOU, PRESIDENT TRUMP, FOR POINTING OUT THAT MAXINE WATERS HAS A LOW I.Q.!
And there’s more great news! Contrary to every single New York Times editorial and opinion piece on the president’s “Muslim ban,” this week, the Supreme Court upheld the ban.
Or, as a Times op-ed put it back on Jan. 27, 2017: “(T)he order is illegal. More than 50 years ago, Congress outlawed such discrimination against immigrants based on national origin. …”—“Trump’s Immigration Ban Is Illegal,” by David J. Bier, immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute.
For your immigration news, New York Times, maybe stop thinking you’re getting “both sides” by going to open borders activists at the International Refugee Assistance Project and, for the opposing view, open borders activists at the Cato Institute.
Last week, in a column that does not misstate the facts and the law about immigration, I covered some typical asylum and refugee admissions to our country, including Beatrice Munyenyezi. She was the Rwandan who got into our country by claiming to be a victim of the genocide that killed nearly a million people, even though she had helped orchestrate it.
Munyenyezi wasn’t the only participant in the Rwandan genocide who’s gotten in as a victim and then been unmasked as a perpetrator. So far, nearly 400 Rwandans granted special refugee status have been convicted of lying on visa applications about their role in the genocide. Great job, U.S. refugee admission officials!
Courts are dealing with so many genocidal Rwandans who came to America as “refugees” that just last Friday, a federal appeals court upheld the conviction of another one, Gervais “Ken” Ngombwa, who not only lied about his participation in the genocide, but also about his family relationships. (You can’t get anything past our State Department!)
Aside from our immigration authorities missing little things like the Rwandan genocide, what is the argument for taking in millions of people from backward cultures, hotbeds of real racism, pederasty and misogyny—as opposed to the “microaggressions” that are the bane of our culture?
It’s one thing to use quotas as a response to slavery and Jim Crow in our own country, but why do we have to have an immigration quota for “people who don’t live here, have never seen an indoor toilet and rape little girls for sport”?
Liberals act as if they are striking a blow for feminism by importing desperate women from misogynistic cultures to America. But, even to the extent they’re telling the truth, the women aren’t always victims only. They’re often co-conspirators.
Remember the Baby Hope case? In 1991, a little girl’s unidentified body was found in an Igloo cooler alongside the Henry Hudson Parkway. Twenty-two years later, the New York City police finally solved the case: The perpetrator turned out to be Baby Hope’s illegal alien cousin from Mexico, who had raped and killed her when she was 4 years old.
And how had he escaped justice for 22 years? The girl’s mother and aunt, also illegals, helped orchestrate the cover-up. The aunt helped dispose of the body and the girl’s mother never said a peep, despite admitting that she suspected all along that the corpse in the cooler was her unreported missing daughter.
Hmong girls in Minnesota are regularly gang raped by Hmong men, but the Hmong community—even the girls’ mothers—blame the rape victims, and the attacks go unreported. These aren’t cultures of strong women and criminal men. It’s more like criminal men and complicit women.
(One of the major articles reporting on the Hmong rape culture helping diversify America was Pam Louwagie and Dan Browning’s “Shamed Into Silence,” published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2005. It used to be here. The detailed story won first place for In Depth Reporting from the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists, but it seems to have disappeared from the Tribune’s website. Welcome to the Soviet Union!)
What proportion of the top creative artists in Hollywood, the heavyweight auteurs, are men of the right?
This old question has come up again with the box office triumph of the anti-egalitarian Brad Bird’s The Incredibles 2 and the comments about Donald Trump by David Lynch, director of Twin Peaks and Eraserhead.
Lynch’s work isn’t to everyone’s taste, but obviously he’s an American original who makes movies and television shows that nobody else could (or perhaps would). If you are as admired as David Lynch (his Mulholland Drive came in No. 1 in a recent poll of critics as the best film of the 21st century, although that could be an artifact of the survey methodology), you can, hopefully, continue to have a career after saying to The Guardian:
“[Trump] could go down as one of the greatest presidents in history because he has disrupted the thing so much. No one is able to counter this guy in an intelligent way.” While Trump may not be doing a good job himself, Lynch thinks, he is opening up a space where other outsiders might. “Our so-called leaders can’t take the country forward, can’t get anything done. Like children, they are. Trump has shown all this.”
“There’s David Lynch. Enjoy it because his career in Hollywood is officially over.”
The square-jawed Lynch, who identifies himself on Twitter as “Filmmaker. Born Missoula, MT. Eagle Scout,” has many obsessions, but few that overlap with those of the social justice jihadis. Fortunately for Lynch, much of the press can’t imagine that his assessment of Trump could be anything other than some complex aesthetic put-on. They assume: By definition, unique artists such as Lynch must agree with everybody you know.
Clearly, even the most valuable film directors are forced to tread carefully in today’s entertainment-industry political monoculture.
Yet, a suspiciously large fraction of this century’s most influential movies, such as Gladiator, Lord of the Rings, and Iron Man, have been devoted to conservative themes such as honor and courage.
Granted, a few major directors, most notably Mel Gibson and Clint Eastwood, dare to be outspoken in their conservatism. Several more, such as Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), would appear to lean right.
The vastly successful Marvel film universe has its corporate roots in the Israeli Zionist right. Marvel’s first black director, Ryan Coogler of Black Panther, revived conservative he-man Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky franchise with Creed; his portrayal of the xenophobic African utopia of Wakanda seemed slightly to the right of Shaka Zulu.
The rightward tilt of auteurs is not confined to blockbusters. In a 2016 BBC poll of critics, the top ten movies of the 21st century wound up rather reactionary, including Japanese nationalist Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away and Iranian patriot Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation. The four American directors on the list are Lynch for Mulholland Drive, Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood, Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, and the Coen brothers’ adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men.
Strong directors tend to be strong men who believe in responsibility and hierarchy (as long as they are on top).
No Weinstein brothers’ Oscar-bait social-message movies made the top ten. My hunch is that producers tend to be more liberal than directors (with actresses the most softheaded leftists, of course). So the kind of films more assembled by producers than envisioned by directors perform better at the Oscars than with auteur-worshipping cinephiles.
The auteur theory that Hollywood once scoffed at but now mostly subscribes to was dreamt up by young anti-communist Parisian critics; the most famous, François Truffaut, was a working-class social conservative. But what they really wanted to do was direct.
Auteurism is a concept based on hero worship of the artistic superman, who is presumed to be master strategist and battlefield tactician. Not surprisingly, their auteur ideology proved congenial to France’s new president Charles de Gaulle, who subsidized the ex-critics’ New Wave movies to revive France’s international glory.
My guess is that due to the hostile environment of the Hollywood workplace, conservative filmmakers have to work harder and more artfully to disguise their political leanings in metaphor. They can’t risk being on the nose the way a liberal hack can.
This could help explain why so many top filmmakers’ politics are opaque. For example, what is the political orientation of the Coen brothers? I’ve seen all seventeen of their movies, but I still couldn’t tell you. Perhaps it’s worth noting that their two Hollywood movies, Barton Fink and Hail, Caesar!, make fun of old-time Malibu Marxist screenwriters who are more typically portrayed as tragic martyrs of the McCarthy era.
Pixar, the distinguished computer animation studio, has been relatively skeptical about auteurs, preferring to employ co-directors and teams of screenwriters. But their one filmmaker who’s so talented and assertive that he gets to play auteur on Pixar’s dime is Brad Bird, who won the Best Animated Feature Oscars for 2004’s The Incredibles and 2007’s Ratatouille.
Like Lynch from Missoula, Bird was born in Kalispell, Montana. And rather like Malick, the son of an energy-industry engineer in Texas and Oklahoma, Bird is the son of a man in the propane business. (Perhaps coincidentally, among the many animated TV shows Bird has consulted upon is Mike Judge’s King of the Hill, on which Hank Hill sells “propane and propane accessories.”)
The Incredibles is about a nuclear family of superheroes, led by the large blond Mr. Incredible, who looks much like the large blond Mr. Bird. They are sidelined into normal life due to lawyers, insurance companies, and politicians whining about the heroic amount of pulverized infrastructure their crime-fighting exploits leave behind.
The Incredibles is, by general acclamation, one of the great movies of the previous decade. It is also one of the most clearly Republican movies as well. Bird metaphorically asks: Why must the John Galts of the oil and gas business be so pestered by EPA quibbling about externalities like a little environmental damage? (Indeed, the energy industry’s recent unexpected leaps forward in energy extraction technology, such as fracking, have largely bailed out the American economy.)
Did I ever tell you about the time I had dinner with a war criminal? It’s not exactly my funniest story, but it’s still somewhat instructive. It was September 1992. The United States was under aural assault from a multiracial triad of evil—Billy Ray Cyrus, Jon Secada, and Sir Mix-a-Lot—so I sought refuge abroad to escape the din. I’d decided to spend a few months in Europe for my second research expedition to the former Nazi concentration-camp sites. I had a busy schedule—Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia (Yoko hadn’t broken up the band yet), Austria, and Germany.
The previous month, Holocaust denier and Hitler fanboy Ernst Zundel had won a decisive victory over his Canadian government foes; his conviction for spreading “false news,” a criminal offense in Canada at the time (no, Mr. President, we can’t enact a similar law here), had been overturned, and the law under which he was convicted had been ruled inconsistent with Canada’s Charter of Rights and Poutine. For the first time in a decade, Zundel was free as a bird, able to travel with no restrictions.
So he decided to return to Germany, the nation of his birth, to take a victory goose-step.
In the previous years, I’d been corresponding with Zundel. In those days, if you were interested in Holocaust revisionism, you had to correspond with Zundel. His well-funded and exceptionally capable defense team had amassed the world’s largest storehouse of revisionist information, much of it available nowhere else. So dealing with Zundel was unavoidable. When he heard I was going to be in Europe the same time he was, he asked if we could meet. We agreed that we’d meet on the grounds of Auschwitz, so that I could share the results of my research, in return for all the info he had previously shared with me.
After a surreal couple of days trudging through the swampy remains of Birkenau with Zundel in tow (plus my bleached-blond camerawoman and Zundel’s Waffen-SS cameraman), he asked me if I would meet up with him again when I got to Munich. Since Munich was new to me (I’d previously been only to Berlin), I agreed, as I always enjoy experiencing a city with someone who knows it well.
When I arrived in Munich two weeks later, Ernst had prepared a fine welcome for me. In a giant beer hall, which he had reserved in its entirety for the night, there were several hundred Zundel supporters, eager to meet this “Jewish revisionist” they’d heard so much about. My camerawoman and I sat at Zundel’s table, along with Zundel’s Munich “inner circle”: Ewald Althans (his armband-wearing second-in-command), about four other nameless young neo-Nazis, a Mickey Mouse-voiced French fascist named “LeLoup,” and “Major Chicago,” real name Tomislav Madi. This guy (who I’d never heard of before that night) was a real piece of work. He was the commander of a ragtag group of modern-day “SS” cosplay soldiers who were murdering and torturing Serbs during the Croatian War of Independence.
The actual SS guy I met at Auschwitz hadn’t disturbed me one bit. He’d fought honorably on the Eastern Front, and, after receiving a massive head wound in battle, his story about having his life saved by a kindly Russian medic was the stuff of Lifetime movies. But “Chicago”? This cat gave me the creeps. He wouldn’t stop going on about killing Serbs. Man, did he love killing Serbs. After the war, he was tried and convicted as a war criminal. If you guessed that it was for killing Serbs, that’s a bingo.
I noticed that the youngsters at the table seemed to despise “Chicago.” After dinner, Althans and the other sieg heilers asked me if I wanted to come out with them to document a typical night in the life of young Munich neo-Nazis.
How could I say no? In this situation, I viewed myself as a journalist, and this was an invite that any good documentarian would accept.
What I learned was that these neo-Nazis hated “Chicago” because, to them, he represented a disease of their fathers: the “brother war.” Europeans killing Europeans. Sure, the Serbs had been enemies of the Nazi state, but that was then. Hitler’s hatreds were old news. These young radicals didn’t even have that much of a problem with Jews (at the time, there were only about 40,000 Jews in all of Germany…most of these kids had never actually met one). To these youthful nationalists, the issue that truly mattered was the increasing number of non-European refugees being granted asylum in Germany. What they were worried about was the possibility that one day Germany would be flooded with Turks, North Africans, and West Africans. This is not to say that these kids liked Jews. But what concerned them was what they could see with their own eyes in their own cities.
I brought up what I had read in the papers—that the German government shared those concerns, and that it had promised to clamp down on Germany’s generous asylum laws. At the time, German media allowed vigorous opposition to immigration to be voiced in its newspapers (Der Spiegel even allowed the use of the popular far-right term “asyl-schwindel”), and German politicians assured the public that making the asylum laws more restrictive was a top priority.
“They lie,” Althans shot back. “They say that now, because they see the public anger at just a few thousand coming in. But in time, these politicians and globalists will have us to where there’ll be hundreds of thousands coming in, and the German people will have no voice against it.”
I followed the kids for the rest of the night as they plastered the city with anti-asylum pamphlets, posters, and placards. It was harmless mischief, and I remained thoroughly dismissive of Althans’ warning. Millions of impoverished refugees pouring into Germany? The authorities promised that would never happen!
Speaking as a Jew, I can safely say that there is nothing more soul-crushing than being proven wrong by a neo-Nazi. Give me back my foreskin; I’m unworthy of the tribe.
Within the space of about twenty years, Germany went from “We promise, no flood of refugees” to “You vill accept ziss flood offf refugees, und all criticism ist verboten.” And guess what? Ewald Althans was exposed by Der Spiegel as a double agent and informer! He’d been conspiring with the authorities (and with actual neo-Nazis) to organize “Nazi”-style anti-asylum protests to create the impression that being against refugees meant being Hitler (the left tries that “Hitler” shtick everywhere, but in Germany it works really well). Zundel had never fully trusted Althans, because, as he whispered to me over dinner at the beer hall, “Dat mann ist a homozekshul, und you should never trusht a mann who chooses not to breed” (I fought back the urge to reply, “You mean, like Hitler?”). But back in Toronto, Zundel swore by his mann Freitag, Grant Bristow. Bristow, who was leading the anti-third-world immigration fight in Canada, was the real deal, Zundel assured me. Bristow was dedicated and clever, a master strategist. Through his white nationalist “Heritage Front” organization, Bristow would keep Canada white!
Except, no. Bristow turned out to be a government agent too. He was a mole planted in the far right by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (see page 25 here). Bristow had been tasked with whipping up acts of violence and harassment in order to discredit the far right and make anyone who objected to open Canadian borders look like a potentially deadly skinhead in the eyes of the public.
That was the early ’90s. And now, it’s practically illegal to speak too forcefully against Canada’s immigration policies.
As the United States deals with issues regarding refugees and asylum, the examples of Germany and Canada teach us one very important lesson: When it comes to flooding the West with immigrants, the left has been playing the long game. Using false promises, dirty tricks, and an always-compliant media, the left has slowly, incrementally managed to get its way. In the 1990s, leading Democrat politicians assured us that border security and enforcement were top priorities. Hell, even in the 2000s, Bill and Hillary Clinton took positions that these days would get them labeled “Nazis.” The left—and by that I mean the “intellectual” left: the academics, the top politicos, the think-tankers, the funders and backers—is damn good at the long game. And honestly, it’s a game the right is ill-suited for. The right has no patience. Maybe it’s their gun culture, but right-wingers like to think they can just “kablam!” their way out of any situation. “Gimme mah gun, gimme a rope ’n’ a torch, let’s go git them traitors! Kablam! Kablam! Kablam!”
The right’s way is more honest, but the left’s is more effective. Maybe this is why Jews have always been the left’s intellectual leaders. For centuries, we couldn’t “kablam” our way out of a tight spot. We had to plot and plan; we had to learn patience. Not to revisit a recent column, but that’s why the Israeli right wing is failing. It’s trying to use brute force to “kablam” its way out of a dilemma with no long-term viable plan. That’s fundamentally un-Judaic.
If Trump’s supporters are truly “a basket of deplorables … racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic” and “irredeemable,” as Hillary Clinton described them to an LGBT crowd, is not shunning and shaming the proper way to deal with them?
So a growing slice of the American left has come to believe.
Friday, gay waiters at the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia, appalled that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was being served, had the chef call the owner. All decided to ask Sanders’ party to leave.
When news reached the left coast, Congresswoman Maxine Waters was ecstatic, yelling to a crowd, “God is on our side!”
Maxine’s raving went on: “And so, let’s stay the course. Let’s make sure we show up wherever … you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”
Apparently, the left had issued marching orders.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was heckled and booed at a Mexican restaurant last week, and then hassled by a mob outside her home. White House aide Steven Miller was called out as a “fascist” while dining in D.C. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was driven from a movie theater.
Last June, the uglier side of leftist politics turned lethal. James Hodgkinson, 66-year-old volunteer in Bernie Sanders’ campaign, opened fire on GOP congressmen practicing for their annual baseball game with the Democrats.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was wounded, almost mortally. Had it not been for Scalise’s security detail, Hodgkinson might have carried out a mass atrocity.
And the cultural atmosphere is becoming toxic.
Actor Robert De Niro brings a Hollywood crowd to its feet with cries of “F—- Trump!” Peter Fonda says that 12-year-old Barron Trump should be locked up with pedophiles. Comedienne Kathy Griffin holds up a picture of the decapitated head of the president.
To suggest what may be happening to the separated children of illegal migrants, ex-CIA Director Michael Hayden puts on social media a photo of the entrance to the Nazi camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
What does this tell us about America in 2018?
The left, to the point of irrationality, despises a triumphant Trumpian right and believes that to equate it with fascists is not only legitimate, but a sign that the accusers are the real moral, righteous and courageous dissenters in these terrible times.
Historians are calling the outbursts of hate unprecedented. They are not.
In 1968, mobs cursed Lyndon Johnson, who had passed all the civil rights laws, howling, “Hey, hey, LBJ: How many kids did you kill today!”
After Dr. King’s assassination, a hundred cities, including the capital, were looted and burned. Scores died. U.S. troops and the National Guard were called out to restore order. Soldiers returning from Vietnam were spat upon. Cops were gunned down by urban terrorists. Bombings and bomb attempts were everyday occurrences. Campuses were closed down. In May 1971, tens of thousands of radicals went on a rampage to shut down D.C.
A cautionary note to progressives: Extremism is how the left lost the future to Nixon and Reagan.
Word has it that tiny brown children are screaming at our southern border, but you probably can’t hear them because too many other people—in most cases, much paler and larger people—are drowning them out by screaming even louder about how evil the whole rotten situation is.
Mind you, public outrage on social media is the easiest and most risk-free way to prove to the world that you’re a good person without actually having to help anyone. This is why so many sit at their keyboards in Dubuque waxing wroth about hunger in Africa but so few seem willing to send the poor rail-thin bastards so much as a hoagie.
If you’re going to step up on a digital soapbox and complain about a situation without doing anything of substance to fix the situation, I will immediately suspect that you are more concerned with appearing to be good than actually doing anything good. If I were a dictator, empty public displays of virtue-signaling would be a capital crime. This is probably why it’s good that I’m not a dictator, because most people with social media accounts would be dead under my regime.
Just when you think the modern left can’t get more hysterical, they mainline another 100CC of estrogen and prove you wrong. Last week I was jolted out of my daily ablutions by deliberately shocking news that the Evil Demon Monster Donald Trump was “ripping” and “tearing”—they actually used those words, as if they were talking about abortions or something—innocent tiny brown children from their innocent tiny brown parents at our evil white border with Mexico, a nation that is so great it seems that everyone wants to flee it.
Since losing the White House the left has behaved like a mother with postpartum psychosis, so nearly all of their appointed mouthpieces these days sound roughly as stable as a mother who’s ready to drive her kids into a lake. But Peter Fonda—he did a movie back in 1969, remember him?—won the prize last week for unhinged malice masquerading as compassion, of sadism cowering behind a fake-ass shield of “justice”:
WE SHOULD RIP BARRON TRUMP FROM HIS MOTHER’S ARMS AND PUT HIM IN A CAGE WITH PEDOPHILES AND SEE IF HIS MOTHER WILL STAND UP AGAINST THE GIANT ASSHOLE SHE IS MARRIED TO. 90 MILLION PEOPLE IN THE STREETS ON THE SAME WEEKEND IN THE COUNTRY. FUCK
OK, restrain your Clydesdales just a wee minute there, Captain America. Are you implying that a substantial quotient of the humble migrants streaming northward into our nation like tiny brown indistinguishable ants are pedophiles? All Trump did was say that many of them are rapists. Isn’t it even worse to be a pedophile?
Other leftist “activists,” blind to their ridiculous hyperbole as is their wont, likened the situation to slavery and the Holocaust. They were slamming Trump as a “child-snatcher” and “baby-killer” and someone who breaks up families. Since when did leftists care about breaking up families? That’s their MAIN GOAL. It’s rancidly ironic to watch the same sad crew who livestream their abortions on Facebook suddenly bawling crocodile tears about two-year-olds they will never have to meet, feed, nor raise.
Rachel Maddow—a horse-faced sapphite who is rumored to have a womb although it is doomed to be barren until it is laid in a tomb—actually cried tears on camera to prove that she cared about these pre-K brown children whose parents dragged them on thousand-mile rape journeys with coyotes under conditions that were highly treacherous and dangerous UNTIL the moment they crossed the American border.
Never mind that according to most estimates, over 80% of the children who cross the southern border do so with strangers that aren’t their parents. Pay no heed to the fact that this means the main people “pulling families apart” are the families themselves.
This was all illustrated beautifully last week after TIME magazine released an instantly iconic Photoshopped image of Big Mean Trump staring down at a screaming two-year-old Token Brown Girl with the headline “Welcome to America.”
I have to tell you—if America is as bad as TIME magazine implies, why the hell do all these innocent brown people want to come here? What, are they masochists or something?
That magazine cover was pivotal in helping stoke the volcanic eruption of Social Justice PMS that afflicted much of the nation last week.
Suddenly to these mush-brained zombies, it was irrefutably clear that Trump DIDN’T CARE about these babies and THEY CARED and that if you DIDN’T CARE like they did, you were a subhuman monster who deserved neutering and torture.
I’m not sure whether you’ve noticed, but the overwhelming percentage of online “discourse” these days is nothing loftier than grown men and women acting like schoolchildren in their bloody competition to out-care each other. Forget about policy and numbers and reason and what will work and what won’t. It’s all about whether you have a heart, and if you don’t, well, you should probably be hit with a shovel.
Although it wasn’t directly stated, the TIME cover was read by many to imply that Trump had brutally ripped this child abortion-like from its mother’s side and was ready to send her into a tiny dog kennel where she’d scream to the delight of ICE officials.
In reality, the girl was never separated from her mother, whom TIME had conveniently airbrushed out of the original photo. The mom, 32-year-old Honduran native Sandra Sanchez, had previously been deported in 2013. The first offense had been a misdemeanor, but reentering the USA after deportation is a felony. So she was dragging her two-year-old daughter along in the midst of purposely committing a felony. And when she left Honduras in early June with her two-year-old daughter, Sanchez split up her family, leaving her husband and three other children behind—and according to her husband, she didn’t even say goodbye. Denis Sanchez says that when he saw the image of his screaming daughter in the news, it broke his heart since he hadn’t seen nor heard from her in nearly a month.
Why is the World Getting Dumber?
Jim Goad’s article of 18th June: ‘Why Is The World Getting Dumber?’, brought to mind an observation made by my tenth-grade biology master. He said that the greatest problem facing this country, was that the wrong people were having children. The right people, he went on, were too busy enjoying themselves. He concluded by saying that we were all going to pay for this. (I do not think we shall ever stop paying.)
Of course, an unintelligent population is a politician’s dream, and the educational system panders to stupidity, encourages it, and takes advantage of it through indoctrination. One has heard a variety of people say that most people now are incredibly stupid. One would add to that, literal-minded, and slow on the uptake.
Take away their telephones, and try to converse with them.
People who think correlation=causality all die as a result 🙂
The central premise of this article is wrong: IQ is increasing, a phenomenon known as the Flynn effect . Ironically, the term “Flynn effect” originates in “The Bell curve” by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray. Murray claimed that while the data showed an increase in IQ scores in the USA, intelligence (“real IQ”) was actually declining. So according to Murray, IQ tests don’t measure intelligence or even IQ and he is hoisted on his own petard (or should that be “burning cross”?)
East Germans have considerably lower IQ’s than West Germans. Croatians have lower IQs than their genetically indistinguishable Austrian neighbours (same pattern all along the iron curtain, as you can see from the links you quoted). Irish people have lower IQs than Irish Americans. Social discrimination depresses IQ, as the differences in IQ between Northern Irish Protestants and their Catholic cousins shows. Education raises IQ. Pretty sure I can thank my high school Math teacher for a hefty chunk of my IQ score, because he taught me to solve the kind of problems found in IQ tests. The more IQ tests you do, the higher your score becomes. The environmental factors affecting IQ are huge.
Development is the best contraceptive, and seems to be linked to both low birthrates and higher IQ. Ethiopia currently has a birthrate similar to that of the USA in 1910. Environmental factors affecting birthrate are also huge. Note that birthrate is not the same as reproductive success. High infant mortality also encourages higher birthrates.
If you read up on this subject and conclude that IQ is a reliable measure of intelligence, genes are the most important factor controlling IQ and evolution is making us dumber, then you need to read more.
I felt as though some of my brains leaked out through my ears while I was reading this article.
Dr. Ian Sanders
My guess is that the people who brought us H-C were aware of the correlation you noticed, and reasoned that the less educated the populace, the easier they would be to control.
Same mindset that brought us government education.
A list from The Naked Communist, by Clean Skousen, was read into public record in 1963 by congressman Albert Herlong Jr. The list was 45 goals of Communists. Early in the 20th Century, the Soviets actively tried to create a “Black America” to split the US. At the time, blacks as a whole in America were too well educated to fall for it. But keep diluting the gene pool with imports from the five countries you listed and over time we’ll be so easily manipulated we can kiss the Constitution goodbye.
Enjoy your work.
Wow, what a great column. Mr. Goad says, in a beautiful way, what I think. To have the ability to express ones self like that borders on genius. Mr. Goad should be required reading for every American.
This seems to be the same thing that is happening at the border too.
Charlotte, North Carolina
When in human history have racial demagogues—of any color—ever been satisfied with “just enough”?
Why limit it? What about political? Ideological? LGBTQQIA+? Alinsky was simply pro-division!
Los Angeles, California
Secure the border.
A moratorium on all immigration. Repeal the immigration act of 1965. Deportation of anyone here illegally. Prosecute anyone that knowingly hires an illegal.
End birthright citizenship.
I think an “accelerating” cause of the quest for racial immunity was the actions over eight years in office of our beloved first black president. Obama broke the law when necessary (Fast and Furious), wrote his own law when he wanted to (EPA Clean Air Standards) and refused to enforce the laws when politically expedient (Obamacare). With a track record like that as an example you can hardly expect the lawless among us to not want the same type of carte blanche that this man accorded unto himself.
Gary R. Wood
For as much is being said about the separation of children from their parents after being detained crossing the border illegally, little is made of the children that die regularly making the journey to come here. Crossings occur in remote inhospitable areas where people do die of thirst, heat and exposure. Other people are jammed into small spaces with no air conditioning or ventilation as they are smuggled into the states. As it happens things go wrong and people die.
It is anyone’s guess as to how many people die each year crossing over, or those who are killed or assaulted just getting to the border. Border patrol regularly finds bodies. This whole situation rarely crosses the minds of the concerned classes. The great prize of these “Hunger Games” is to get into the country. Maybe it is not discussed because the only way to stop the incentive for trying is to truly secure the border, something they can never allow.
Robert G. Barker
Mormon eschatology is even a bit more complicated than you make it. The short answer being that no one goes to heaven or hell after death until after the judgement. Some wait in Paradise and the remainder in Spirit Prison. After the judgement, some, including all infant children, will be rewarded to be in the presence of God. The remainder will have something less, away from God’s presence, in two other kingdoms. In effect, the greater your distance from God the greater your punishment. A few, the worst of the absolute worst, will be cut off completely and be with Satan and all who follow him. The first resurrection began with the resurrection of Christ and is continuing. The second resurrection will occur sometime before judgement and is for those not good enough to be resurrected earlier. Whole books have been written on the long answer.
Just for the fun of it, you might submit to any Italian the description of Eugenio Scalfari as a “… flamboyant … celebrity reporter” and watch the reaction.
It really is a gem… of course, non-Italians couldn’t appreciate it.
Thank you for your very interesting article
I always say, when we stopped believing in Hell, we started to create it on earth.
The LDS (Mormon) take on Hell is a bit more nuanced than presented in Joe Bob’s article, which captures some of its spirit but falls down on the details. Mormons actually believe in three types of “hell”, with only a handful of people making it to the third and permanent one. In the first there is real suffering: anguish in anticipation and clear knowledge of our guilt, despair and darkness with the absence of the light of Christ, while in the second, there is actual compensatory suffering for the sins for which we have not repented.
Bruce F. Webster
In my DC region telephone technician days, I passed through the offices of all the greats in the think-tank industry. Brookings, Heritage, CATO, AEI, an Alphabet Soup of Depravity, the usual suspects. You undoubtedly have run across some of them. But man, the think tanks are chock-a-block filled with brilliant people and lot of articles and much research is generated by these folks, all paper. Back then, in “organized” in folders and stacks, big piles, all around them. The best of them were the sloppiest perhaps, but they knew where every document they needed was in the pile. Remarkable. Messy-study syndrome IS the sign of a busy mind. For all the talk of paperless, we print. It has to land somewhere. T’anks for the chuckle.