Permit me to confess that I’m not exactly a fan of our friends in the insect kingdom. Regarding one of the most disgusting sights mine eyes have ever seen—that of a rat scurrying across Manhattan’s Washington Square Park with a cockroach in its mouth—my revulsion was rooted in the fact that the noble little rodent would deign to forever degrade himself in this way. It’s not that I’m warmly disposed toward rats or snakes, but there’s something about insects that is so mechanical and hyper-prehistoric—and, dare I say, 100% soulless—that they inspire a rare level of dread in me.
If you’ve ever seen the episode of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery called “The Caterpillar”—in which Laurence Harvey is strapped to a bed in Borneo and endures weeks of searing torture as a female earwig eats its way through his brain—you probably don’t want to be reminded that it ends when a physician tells him the good news is that the earwig came out the other ear, while the bad news is that she laid eggs on his brain.
If you claim that there’s a God, explain why he allows earwigs to exist. Good luck with that theological apologia.
So when I clicked on the ad for Cricket Protein Bars, I foolishly assumed that “Cricket” was a brand name rather than a primary ingredient. When I landed on the site’s home page, I was assailed with a locust swarm of propaganda in a simple and eyeball-popping style I’ll call “Modern UN Globalist,” informing me that not only are the carcasses of crickets who’ve been Holocaust-roasted and ground into powder nutritious and delicious, these insect-addled protein bars will actually SAVE THE EARTH AS WE KNOW IT:
Crickets are a complete protein source, containing all the essential amino acids….Cricket powder also contains over twice as much iron than spinach does. Plus they’re packed with B12!…Crickets produce 1% of the greenhouse gases that cows produce….80% of the world already feasts on bugs daily….For starters, they produce virtually no methane and require minimal feed, water and space compared to traditional protein sources….Crickets require a tiny fraction of the water that cows do to make the same amount of protein.
Yeah, but they’re crickets.
And that “80% of the world already feasts on bugs daily” claim is either a dimwitted misreading of an actual statistic or a far more sinister act of purposeful deception—while 80% of the world’s countries practice some kind of primitive, disgusting ritual collective insect-mastication, at the moment bug-eaters account for about two billion out of the seven billion souls on this planet—two billion souls that I don’t think I’m entirely out of line for characterizing as at least partially subhuman.
To my knowledge, I’ve consciously eaten insects twice. First time was in the late 1960s when my brother brought home chocolate-covered bees and ants from Vietnam. They tasted like chocolate with toasted coconut, although I remember spotting a bee wing. The second time was in the late 1980s in LA when I thought it’d be adventurous to purchase some ant larvae from a Thai supermarket and add it to an omelet. I took a couple bites and realized that some of the larvae had matured to the point where they were looking at me. Then I spit it out and tossed my ant-maggot omelet in the waste bin.
Still, all of us already eat bugs daily, whether we like it or not—and if you like it, I am not your friend. The Food and Drug Administration allows there to be up to 400 insect fragments in every two ounces of cinnamon you buy, 30 fragments in every gram of oregano, 75 mites and 20 maggots per 100 grams of mushrooms, one maggot per cup of canned citrus juice, and a whopping 13 insect heads per 100 grams of fig paste.
This is why I make a point of staying away from fig paste. Don’t take it personally if you have me over for dinner and I decline to eat any of your fig paste.
And then you look at the very few places where bug-eating has been adopted publicly in North America and realize that both are clustered in the Pacific Northwest, which tells you everything you need to know about the type of people that are peddling this nonsense full-throttle.
I don’t mind learning about different cultures. If I have to learn how to say, “No, I’m not eating that goddamned insect” in every language spoken at the United Nations, I will do it.
“Entomophagy”—pronounced en-toe-MOFF-uh-gee”—is a fancy way of saying “the practice of eating bugs.” This is Professor Arnold Van Huis. He is reputedly “the world’s leading expert in entomophagy.” I mention him and link to his picture for no other reason beyond the fact that I suspect at this point, his body is primarily composed of insects. What’s worse, the process appears to be irreversible.
We are informed—as if it’s supposed to be a good thing—that people all over the planet practice entomophagy.
When they’re feeling peckish, natives in the Amazonian jungle gobble down a few mouthfuls of leafcutter ants.
In Southern Africa, the local yokels routinely munch on the barbed and squirmy mopane worm.
In Northeastern India, hungry dotheads are prone to lazily feasting on a pest known as Udonga montana.
In Australia, the aborigines—which, I think we all agree, are the ugliest people on the planet by far—stave off starvation by popping a few witchetty grubs—a breed of large white wood-eating larvae—on the barbie.
In the hyper-humid swamplands along the Indonesian archipelago, they’ll consume termites, palm weevils, bees, crickets, and grasshoppers.
Mexicans are keen on chewing the dead toasted flesh of giant yellow grasshoppers they call chapulines.
In East Java they’ll season a larvae-oozing beehive with spices and shredded coconut, wrap it inside a banana leaf, steam it, and chow down like it ain’t no thang. I wouldn’t be surprised if they all laughed at each other’s arthropod-fueled flatulence afterward, either. I can see that. East Javans have no filter.
In sub-Saharan Africa, they are said to be extremely fond of shoving fistfuls of termites in their malnourished maws.
But here in the American South, I would rather shoot you point-blank between the eyeballs than even think of eating a fried grasshopper.
Notice how none of those bug-eating countries is located in what we consider to be “the West”? Well, “the West” is getting blamed for having deeply ingrained cultural prejudices against bug-eating that is preventing the spread of entomophagy as well as the presumed demographic invasion of peoples from bug-eating climes.
The global Powers That Be are apparently pushing entomophagy as a way to integrate the world under their solitary jurisdiction, white and black and red and yellow all squashed together in the same worldwide underclass, humbly eating cucarachas in a world with no borders while the elites huddle in their castles feasting on antelope tartare.
Last week, The New York Times instructed us “How to Develop an Appetite for Insects.”
According to a 200-page report issued by the United Nations in 2013, this irrational Western phobia against insects is a “bias,” which is a word I’m assuming they chose because even the UN is aware how ridiculous it sounds to say that hating insects is a form of racism:
Westerners should become aware of the fact that their bias against insects as food has an adverse impact, resulting in a gradual reduction in the use of insects without replacement of lost nutrition and other benefits.
I would rather eat human flesh than insects. After all, it’s what my people do.
Despite the global chants of “Westerners should start eating bugs to save the planet,” we don’t hear much along the lines of, “Well, maybe Africans shouldn’t be having so many babies, and we wouldn’t even be having this ridiculous discussion, now please pass me a napkin.”
So the choice is clear—we all start eating bugs, or we curb Third World population growth in the most humane yet effective way possible.
How many human lives need to be stopped—before they even get a chance to start, so I’m not talking about murder but rather preemptive murder in the form of economic sanctions and general indifference—to ensure that we have sufficient supplies of beef, pork, and poultry? Are you willing to swap out a potential three billion more people—many of whom may have been trained since birth to be hostile toward you—for easy access to cheeseburgers?
I am, and I don’t even like cheeseburgers that much.
If it’s a stark choice between Big Meat and Big Bug, sign me up for Team Meat.
Let’s divide the world into two camps—those who eat insects and those who are evolved enough to realize it’s gross—and let’s go to war.
I will not go to war over ideology, religion, or even my “group,” however you wish to define that group beyond myself and a handful of loved ones. But I may have to go full nuclear if you try shoving even one bug in my mouth. If there’s a part of the elusive “West” that I truly want to save, it’s the part that doesn’t eat bugs.
We hear an awful lot these days about the lamentable prevalence of mental cruelty being inflicted upon children, so it is with this in mind I reflect on the millions of apparently traumatized teenagers around the world who have taken to the streets recently to vent their fury and express their grief because they believe their world will soon end in a blistering heat wave caused by greedy capitalists; most if not all of whom are presumed white and led by a supervillain called Donald Trump. We are hearing of children in their millions suffering from “climate grief,” “eco-anxiety,” and deep depression. Mr. Scott Morrison, the Australian prime minister, has referred to the “needless anxiety” being caused to the young.
This is truly sad, and while I empathize with them, it is only because they know no better, and this is where I point an accusing finger at the media and the children’s tutors, teachers, and lecturers. Such has been the potency of the propaganda these young people have been bombarded with, one can understand why they have jumped to the certain conclusion that they—and indeed we all—are doomed. So woeful is the message being broadcast, one wonders why they are even bothering to protest, because we are told the damage done by their elders is so severe, apocalypse is certain.
The public face of this youthful “revolution” is a charmless 16-year-old, Greta Thunberg, from Sweden; an instant media-manufactured sensation who pours vitriolic scorn upon an older generation she believes has done little else other than consume and destroy. I cannot help but think this entire discussion might have been more constructively pursued had the mighty media moguls who created this panic selected someone more civil and likable than this nasty little girl. She presumes herself to be blessed with divine wisdom denied the rest of us stupid earthlings, who, despite our age, and in some cases, earnest efforts, remain confused and uncertain about much that afflicts our lives and the world in which we find ourselves.
This hysteria she has helped create might have been avoided had the information she and her acolytes have been fed been a little more balanced, but this is a single-script narrative with the likes of CNN, Sky News, and the BBC dictating the story. The liberal fascists who run the BBC, being infallible, have decreed that there can be no challenge to “climate change” theory as it is accepted as “happening” and therefore cannot be denied or even questioned. So, no need to broadcast any alternative view whatsoever. Just as powerful people once proclaimed the world to be flat and woe betide the dissenters, the same rules apply here.
I remember when I was a teen, worrying about the “acid rain” that was going to destroy all forms of aquatic life. I also remember being told the world was about to run out of oil and that a new ice age was coming. Later, we were told the world sea levels were rising and the Maldives would soon be underwater. Then along came Al Gore in 2008 to inform us that the arctic would be ice-free by 2013 and polar bears would soon be extinct. (The ice caps are thicker now in places and the polar bear population is said to be growing.) It was only ten years ago when that other great prophet and scientist, Prince Charles, warned us we have little time to act decisively and save the world from man-made destruction.cIt seems none of the doomsayers have gotten much right, and yet their voice is rising and, incredibly, their credibility remains intact! Now we have Greta!
A great pity how this has played out because watching the youthful being mobilized, I am reminded there is so much to be said in favor of creating a sense of environmental awareness among the younger generation. Not to be misunderstood, I am very aware of the damage being done to our planet by humans, and if the new generation can be motivated to address those problems then that’s highly commendable. But that is unlikely to happen and the simple reason is they are not being told the truth.
For instance, they are not being told that, according to the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, just ten rivers carry 90% of the plastic into the sea and all these systems are in Africa and Asia—not in Europe or America, where pollution controls are stringent and enforced. They are also not being told that the industrialized West is only responsible for roughly 25% of the world’s carbon emissions, while pollution levels are rising in the Third World. Little or nothing about the thermal power stations popping up all over China and the lack of environmental controls there.
And not a whisper in the “virtue signaling” wind about the fact that the biggest environmental catastrophe currently unfolding on planet Earth is caused by overpopulation, and the most explosive numbers are right here. The population of sub-Saharan Africa is set to double in thirty years and quadruple in ninety. This, against a backdrop of collapsing economies and infrastructure, with desperate people already flooding into Europe in search of a better life.
Too many subsistence people are causing rapid deforestation, pollution, acidification of watercourses, soil erosion, and the decimation of wildlife. Many rivers and lakes in Africa are indeed lifeless, and not only because of pollution but because there are too many people with too many fishing nets and they have eaten all the fish. If apocalypse is nigh anywhere, it’s right here, close to where I write, but this gargantuan elephant in the room gets absolutely no attention and seems to cause no concern simply because the organizers of the “climate change” hoax are liars and frauds and they don’t have the guts to identify, let alone confront, the chief problem that demands immediate attention: uncontrolled birth rates in the developing world, especially Africa.
I read former president Barack Obama is totally behind Ms. Thunberg and the message she is sending. Well, if he believes it’s all true and sea levels are set to rise imminently, why is this much-loved bullshitter buying a $15 million home on the U.S. East Coast, only ten feet above sea level? Maybe he should dig deep, explain himself honestly to the millions of teenage disciples who revere him, and help them relax and get some sleep.
The Week’s Most Shocking, Rocking, and Cock-Blocking Headlines
BLACK-POWER-FIST-RAISING OLYMPIC ATHLETES FINALLY ADMITTED INTO HALL OF FAME
One of the most iconic—don’t you hate that word?—Olympics images in history is that of two black American runners named Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fists in defiance as they begrudgingly and rather petulantly accepted their gold and bronze medals for the 200M sprint in Mexico City in the summer of 1968.
At the time, many Americans perceived Smith and Carlos as a bunch of uppity would-be janitors who were disrespecting the Stars and Stripes and the mighty righteous global military empire that tattered-and-blood-splattered flag represented.
In the grand scheme of things, the only difference we see between a black-power fist and a Sieg Heil is that the latter is open-handed and light-skinned. Otherwise, it’s the racial equivalent of a full-armed middle finger. As they stood their flashing the world their big racial “fuck you,” they also wore black socks with no shoes because this somehow symbolized black poverty.
As punishment, Smith and Carlos were banished from the team and sent home prematurely. The controversial nature of their protest also prevented them from landing the lucrative advertising deals they would have snagged if they’d just kept quiet and pretended they actually liked white people. They also were never inducted into the US Olympic Committee’s Hall of Fame…until now.
Brothers and sisters, the times, they have a-changed, and now being a septuagenarian black radical former sprinter is just about the coolest thing this side of toasted keto bread with sliced avocado. Smith and Carlos are now in the Olympic Hall of Fame, and everyone’s saying that yes, we were wrong and those two upstanding young black men were right, and it’s good to finally be on the right side of history, and everyone wants to pretend that they were secretly on Smith and Carlos’s side the whole time, and what the hell were we thinking back then, and although we’ve made progress there is still much more progress and racial shaming to be done, and Mein Gott if we don’t get over this endless guilt-tripping soon there’s a strong possibility that every last one of us is going to snap simultaneously.
MR. CHINAMAN, HE NO LIKEY THE MUSLIMS
About 22 million Muslims—imagine the smell—are currently huddled in China, a country of 1.4 billion Chinamen and Chinawomen. And because Islam has a special appeal for low-IQ inbreds and those whose limited cognitive functioning and lack of an ethical core make them vulnerable to fanaticism and collective acts of senseless violence, Chinese authorities are slapping Muslims on the wrist across the country.
Maybe that’s a bit harsh—what’s actually going on is that Islam poses a threat to the authoritarian fanaticism of Chinese communism, and so it must be crushed wherever it threatens to take root.
Not content with merely persecuting the Uighurs, Chinese officials are now taking pokes at the Hui, China’s largest Muslim ethnic minority.
In 2015, Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping promoted what he called the “Sinicization of Islam,” urging that all ideologies and cultural influences should submit to Chinese culture and the Communist Party. A directive was issued prohibiting the use of the Islamic financial system, forbidding Arabic-language schools from teaching religion, and banning the traditional call to prayer. In extreme instances, minarets and domes have been ripped off of mosques in what must certainly be an emasculating sight for your average hapless minority Muslim living in China.
We have no dog in this fight. There are roughly as many Muslims on this planet as there are ethnic Chinese people, so let them have at each other, and may the most hygienic group win!
IS GRETA THUNBERG A PAWN, OR ARE WE?
Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old Swedish girl who braids her hair, has been diagnosed with (at last count) three mental disorders, and has emerged from nowhere to become the Howard Beale of climate alarmism.
She first shot to fame after encouraging students worldwide to play hooky on Fridays as some sort of vague protest about environmental degradation but was instead an ingenious way to exploit children’s innate hatred of school and tendency toward laziness and delinquency.
She has handed out leaflets that say, “I am doing this because you adults are shitting on my future.” She says that global warming is the greatest crisis in human history—even greater than the international emergency that erupted after David Lee Roth left Van Halen—and that everyone should panic and freak out and scream at corporations and politicians and listen to the scientists and a 16-year-old mentally ill girl unless you all want to boil in lava while being tormented by the hauntingly shrill condemnation of dead souls whispering “shame on you” into your ears.
Some people are suggesting that Greta might not be the best PR person for the environmental movement. Others suggest that she perfectly represents radical environmentalism’s youthfully naïve tantrum-throwing and that the movement couldn’t have found a better spokes-teen.
Whether or not the climate actually changes, we are certain that most people will remain stubbornly annoying.
BOWL HAIRCUTS AND “OK” SIGN ADDED TO A.D.L.’S HIGHLY ENTERTAINING HATE-SYMBOL DATABASE
The Anti-Defamation League is a nonprofit organization designed to fight evil on behalf of good. As long as you understand that and don’t ask any questions, nobody will enter your bedroom at night and kill you in your sleep. The ADL maintains a database of hate symbols that is best enjoyed if one pretends that it’s a T-shirt catalogue.
This year the ADL has added 36 new entries to its hate database, including:
• The “OK” hand symbol , which was never simply a mild affirmation but instead a sinister gang sign which forms the letters “WP,” i.e., “White Power.”
• The “Happy Merchant” cartoon, a universally beloved anti-Semitic caricature of a big-beaked man in a yarmulke gleefully rubbing his hands together.
• McDonald’s “Mac Tonight” moon-man character, which has been shamelessly appropriated by white supremacists who think it’s cute to record violently racist hip-hop songs.
As always, we thank the ADL for keeping us safe from bad people, bad hand symbols, bad cartoons, bad haircuts, and bad McDonald’s characters.
THIS WEEK’S BRUTAL STREET ATTACKS THAT KINDA SEEM AT LEAST A WEE BIT RACIAL
Dozens of people across the Anglosphere began to doubt that this whole “multiculturalism” thing was all it was cracked up to be after a string of violent black-on-white attacks subverted The Narrative and made all the egalitarians seem like the drooling dupes that they are.
Minneapolis police have charged 18 suspects ranging in age from 15 to 27 in connection with a pair of vicious black-on-white robberies that were captured on video. One clip shows 24-year-old victim Brendan O’Brien being beaten unconscious. According to O’Brien, who says he suffered a concussion and now lives in constant fear:
I didn’t realize how hard I’d been kicked in the face. It was much more brutal than I thought it was going to be. I assumed that they hit me a couple of times and I gave up and they went on their way but I was knocked unconscious…I don’t feel as safe as I used to. I think that’s the best way of putting it is that something like this kind of takes a part away from you and I don’t know if I’m gonna get that back.
In Maryland, a pair of black brothers aged 15 and 16 have been arrested in connection with an attack on a 59-year-old white man at a local fair that left the man dead. The teens were reportedly angry that the man refused to give them a dollar as requested. The boys’ father says that the son who allegedly landed the fatal punch “made a mistake” but is “not an animal.”
In London’s Finsbury Park, a group of 16 youths or teens or whatever euphemism they’re using over there these days allegedly attacked a group of six males who were leaving a gym. According to Dynamic Sports Academy coach Adrian Klemens:
They were being tailed by one of them on a bike. Then there were 16 of them. They circled them and picked one off to the side and said: ‘Give me your phone or I will stab you – put in your Apple Pay password.’…Out of our group three were white and three were black and they said to the black guys: ‘You’re good,’ and just attacked the white guys.
Pardon us for thinking that sounds a little discriminatory.
STUDY: WHITE WORKING CLASS SHRINKING INTO OBLIVION
According to a study released by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis—which we thought was involved in the business of printing worthless currency rather than statistical analyses of American demographic trends, but what do we know?—the white working class now accounts for a paltry 40% of the country’s entire population. This is in contrast to 1975, when it accounted for 70% of the country’s population. Although white workers still represent the nation’s largest single racial/class demographic, researchers predict they will be overtaken by someone else in around 15 years—but they aren’t sure exactly whom.
Whether or not the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 was intended to neuter America’s white working class, that has been the end result. But as long as they don’t publicly complain about what’s being done to them, we should all get along just fine.
Every Monday, Jim Goad reads the previous day’s “Week That Perished” on his podcast.
There are certain public figures upon whose face I cannot bear to look. They are not necessarily the very worst of such figures. For example, I don’t mind looking at, indeed I even derive a certain amusement from, the face of Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader. And in my kitchen I have had framed several banknotes bearing the portraits of tyrants whom I like to look upon as I sit at my kitchen table. Colonel Gaddafi, Mao Tse-tung, Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, the Ayatollah Khomeini, and Kim Il-sung watch me eat. Oddly enough, the collection as framed is aesthetically very pleasing.
It came about this way: I was walking past a shop in London that sells banknotes when I noticed in the window what it called the Tyrant Collection. Of modest price, I went in to buy it. The shop was small, and when I asked the man behind the counter for the collection, he turned to his assistant and said, a little disparagingly, “Janet, pass me a Tyrant.” No doubt he recognized in me a dilettante rather than a real collector. To the tyrants depicted on the banknotes he probably felt no sense of disparagement.
I framed a second collection of tyrants in my kitchen, this time of countries all (instead of only some) of which I have visited, tyrants both major and minor: Lenin and Ho Chi Minh; Kenneth Kaunda (of Zambia); Omar, formerly Albert-Bernard, Bongo (of Gabon); Joseph Momoh (of Sierra Leone); Jean-Claude Duvalier (Baby Doc); and Francisco Macías Nguema (of Equatorial Guinea). They, however, can watch me only as I go to the fridge, not while I’m eating.
The two framed collections establish, I think, that I am not squeamish when it comes to looking at the faces of bad politicians. But the three faces that I cannot bear to look upon are those of Anthony Blair, the former prime minister of Britain whom I refuse to call by the chummy, familiar diminutive of Tony; Justin Trudeau of Canada; and Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand.
Of course, I do not suppose for a minute that either Trudeau or Ardern are among the great monsters of our epoch (at worst they are absurd), and for all I know they are charming, decent, amusing people in private. But aversion is not under wholly conscious control, any more than is liking; and what I think displeases me most about them is that peculiarly Anglo-Saxon unctuous moral self-satisfaction that they exude as slugs exude slime. (I use the term “Anglo-Saxon” in a cultural rather than in a biological sense.) The main difference between the two is that Trudeau is jollier than Ardern, whose face suggests that she feels personally every instance of suffering in the world, no matter how remote. She seems to be a professional feeler of other people’s pain, and has done very well out of it.
No doubt it is very wrong of me, but when I saw that New Zealand’s answer to la Pasionaria was in some political difficulty herself because she had failed to act promptly after allegations of sexual impropriety by a political ally or allies, I felt a distinct frisson of pleasure. Saintliness and secularism do not consort well, especially in the field of politics.
My pleasure was somewhat marred by nausea when I read an article in one of the daily bibles of the anglophone liberal communion, The Guardian, which generally sees Ardern as the hope of the world. It ended as follows:
Her credentials at home and abroad as a new kind of leader—kind, caring, compassionate and honest—all hang on her next move.
If I say that I do not want leaders to be kind, caring, or compassionate, no doubt I will be taken to mean that I want them to be the reverse: brutal, ruthless, and utterly indifferent to the welfare of others. This does not follow in the least, nor am I against compassion as a human quality. But the qualities of being kind, caring, or compassionate (if those qualities can really be distinguished from one another) are appropriate to nuns and nurses rather than to political leaders in a competitive market for political leaders.
What in practice compassion in political leaders boils down to in our democracies is the advocacy of greater forced contributions by some parts of the population to the incomes of, or expenditure on, others, administered by a class of officialdom that soon develops interests of its own. The actual results of these forced contributions, especially for those on whom the compassion is supposed to be expended, are of small importance by comparison with the self-satisfaction of having behaved, if not with compassion itself, at least with the intention of being compassionate. In other words, it comes down to sentimentality, that resort of people who feel they ought to feel more than it is possible for anyone to feel.
The desire for kind, caring, compassionate leaders is symptomatic of the overvaluation of these qualities as if they were the summum bonum of human virtue in all circumstances and on all occasions. If I were to say that I wanted a new kind of forensic pathologist who was kind, caring, and compassionate, I hope you would laugh. Trying to find clues as to who deposited a strangled body in a river or dug it into a shallow grave in a piece of waste ground does not call for kindness or compassion, it calls for other qualities entirely. A kind, caring, compassionate, but incompetent forensic pathologist is not preferable to one who is indifferent to human feelings but a brilliant analyst of any little clue that is to be found; nor would a society in which forensic pathologists were of the former sort be better—or more compassionate, if it comes to that—than one in which they were of the latter.
We don’t want our politicians to be utter swine because we don’t want anyone to be utter swine (though I think that literature would be much the poorer if everyone were nice and utter swine had never existed). We want Miss Ardern to be nice to her baby because we think all children should be brought up with love. But qualities that are appropriate to one sphere of life are not necessarily appropriate to another. I certainly don’t want my politicians to love me. Mainly I want them to leave me alone, and to keep their kindness for their grandmothers.
NEW YORK—The master of the love letter to New York, E.B. White, eloquently described the city as a place that “can offer the gift of loneliness and the gift of privacy.” Like many of us he believed the place would last and would always matter. White was an optimist, sophisticated and thoroughly American. He was lucky to die in 1985. I say lucky because fate spared him from seeing the wreckage of what was once his dream city. It was also my dream place, an indelible part of my youth, a poem of steel and limestone majesty, of high-end shops, hotels, theaters, and nightclubs, of dandies and high-class women, of hustlers and gents, of tall, blond Irish cops, gangsters in fedoras, and kids playing stickball in empty Bronx streets.
Walking down Park Avenue this week, I had problems spotting the tip of the Chrysler Building’s spire. Ugly glass behemoths were in the way. Tall, slender, and glassy is the choice du jour in buildings; short, squat, fat, and ugly is le gout du jour in humans. Never have I seen a people more “replaced” than what used to pass for New Yorkers in my day. There are no more Winston Guests, not to mention Vanderbilts, Whitneys, or Rockefellers. We now have hygiene-challenged Silicon Valley imitators—ugly, slovenly, foul-smelling, and probably far richer than those mentioned above. (It’s even worse out west. A hero airman/tycoon Howard Hughes has been replaced by a Jeff Bezos; a champion sailor/magnate Ted Turner, by a Mark Zuckerberg.)
Bemoaning the changes can sound bitter, an old man’s cry against progress. It’s nothing of the sort. It’s a protest against ugliness and the constant search for the lowest common denominator. The city’s character has been irretrievably lost, what with diners, cigar stores, newsstands, bars, and strip joints gone forever. Landmarks have disappeared and Times Square is now Hollywood lite, without the grit and splendid squalor of old. Small businesses are disappearing, with ultra-luxury condos replacing them. Yet the quality of those moving into the ultra-luxury flats is less than zero, greed and self-interest being the operative words. Edward Hopper’s 1941 painting Nighthawks, an emblem of the city’s description by E.B. White, is a distant memory, the city’s golden melancholy light extinguished. And over in Central Park the bums of City Hall now tell us that the statues of Robert Burns and Christopher Columbus must come down and be replaced by those of women. (Lily St. Cyr, the most beautiful and sexiest stripper of all time, is my choice, and maybe even Stormy Daniels.)
What is even worse than the destruction of the city’s grandeur is its politics. The major networks are all based in New York, and the hacks working for these networks have had a collective nervous breakdown for the past three years. Led by probably the most dishonest major newspaper in the world, The New York Times (the paper recently reported sexual allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, despite the fact the “victim” had no memory of any such incident; still, the paper published the made-up charge), Trump Derangement Syndrome has morphed into an antiwhite campaign of rare virulence and hate. The structure of white power must come down, is the slogan, and the Supreme Court and the Electoral College, the two institutions that guarantee fairness and equality for all states, are the main targets of this campaign. The loss of white cultural identity will then be achieved through multiculturalism.
That awful Susan Sontag announced back in 1967 that “the white race is the cancer of human history.” Sontag was an opportunistic publicity-seeker all her miserable life, and her very good brain was situated in her backside. Nevertheless, antiwhiteness is now a sturdy pillar of state ideology throughout the Western world. Whiteness is now considered the original sin. My friend and colleague at Takimag Jim Goad has written a book about it, but he has been shut out from TV talk shows and the reviews that move a book’s sales. I’m not surprised. Critics of antiwhiteness are firmly excluded from our culture. We are now on the same level with Afrikaners in the closing days of apartheid in South Africa. Just think: Today’s left holds the position that white-majority countries are hellholes of oppression for nonwhite inhabitants, yet what outs the lie to this notion is that global immigration patterns show nonwhites desperately trying to get into white countries. Jim Goad himself says he hates white people because they already hate themselves far too much.
Well, if you think North Devon people are too white and don’t know people from other countries, come to the Rotten Bagel and see for yourself. It will remind you of Africa and Central America in the future. No picturesque villages, no sweet children playing football barefooted. No bananas hanging from trees, no colorful dresses on lithe females, no fearsome cops—over here they now douse them with buckets of water and the fuzz does not react. The crowds jeer and they go home to change. The cops, that is. The whites are resisting by moving to the suburbs. Once the Electoral College is done away with, big cities like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles will be all a candidate needs to be elected president. White votes will be redundant. It will be strange to live in Singapore at my age.
Last month Splinter published an article that exposed the leaked emails of some conservatives who between them had worked for the Institute for Humane Studies, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and the Daily Caller. A week later, Timothy Carney, the commentary editor at the Washington Examiner and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, published an article that is representative of the general conservative cluelessness with respect to matters of race. The leaked emails contained some racist remarks, but though they’re the work of only a few people, Carney thinks there is a racism epidemic on the right. According to Carney,
What’s needed is not mere “outreach” to black, Hispanic, or Jewish voters. Conservatives ought to make elevation of African Americans, immigrants, and religious minorities so central to conservatism that all dedicated racists will be thoroughly repelled. If we can’t make them stop calling themselves the “alt-right,” because they won’t want to be associated with us, we can at least disgust them with such a focus.
Elevation? And yet I’d thought there’s already enough worship of “victim” groups in this country!
Of course, neither outreach to nor elevation of these groups is desirable. To begin with, people who want to be racist, or on the alt-right, are going to be so in any event, and assigning some special status to blacks and others would do nothing but bring over to the right a distinctly left-wing problem: the conflicts that inevitably arise from the assumption that one is entitled to things because of one’s “oppressed” identity. It is this assumption that has made the left so comically self-defeating, feminists, gays, trans persons, and other querulous types all being in a mad race to win victimization goodies. This affair finds these groups more and more at odds with one another, and there’s no sign that this is going to change.
A man who, like Carney, considers himself a conservative should understand that in order for democracy to work, you need what Rousseau called “the General Will,” that is, shared values and ends. Democracy is difficult, and in some cases impossible, to the extent that a society is large and pluralist, or “diverse.” In Max Weber’s words, “the various value spheres of the world stand in irreconcilable conflict with each other.” Nor are argument and debate much help here, for in most cases, where there is not a General Will that people can take for granted, argument and debate function as tools of incoherence and manipulation, albeit often unwittingly.
Conservatives have long valued cultural homogeneity; after all, it mitigates the intractable conflicts about value that characterize our time. Carney, however, doesn’t grasp that putting more competing groups under the conservative tent would serve only to further complicate (and perhaps indeed undermine) a vexed movement, which already has its work cut out for itself trying to defeat the culturally dominant left.
I rather doubt that Carney even knows what he means by elevation in regard to “African Americans, immigrants, and religious minorities.” Precisely how should these groups be elevated? Of what would this elevation consist? Carney doesn’t tell us. Nor is that a wonder. Men like him write in the service of their vague and shallow moral sentiments. Their syntactically correct sentences obscure the fact that they use words without knowing what they mean, and that they write without seriously considering the implications of their ideas.
“For what it’s worth,” says Carney, “[John] Elliott [one of the conservatives involved in the scandal] apologized for the emails and said he no longer believes those things. I pray that’s sincere.” Does Carney think his readers are as fake as he is, that they’d really believe he prays about Elliott’s sincerity? If Carney prays for anything, it should be for an editor. Reading his article, I was reminded of A.E. Housman’s savage put-down: “This method answers the purpose for which it was devised: it saves lazy editors from working and stupid editors from thinking. But somebody has to pay the price, and that somebody is the author.”
Carney is like any number of lefties in that he leaps from group differences in income and in well-being generally to the false claim that these differences entail discrimination, so that somebody has to be blamed. Here, it is worth quoting Carney at length:
Conservatives don’t give it enough attention, but one of the greatest evils in the U.S. today is rank racial inequality. The median income of African Americans is below $31,000, which is less than half the median income of white Americans. More blacks are imprisoned in America than are whites, even though there are nearly five white people here for every black person.
There are a thousand points of data like this, all confirming that being an African American means living with the odds stacked against you.
Do you remember playing video games that allowed you to set the difficulty level? Imagine if you could set the difficulty level for your life. The data all suggest that being an immigrant or an African American means setting a much higher difficulty level than being a white guy.
[Things] in the U.S. still aren’t fair and can be improved. And if the game is rigged so badly in the U.S. that thousands of young men are shot on the streets of Chicago, that tens of thousands of black babies are aborted every year, that hundreds of thousands are born out of wedlock, then isn’t that a crisis that deserves attention?
Conservatives ought to make it a priority to fight for the fundamental dignity and equality of racial minorities who have been denied that dignity and equality. It will require overcoming decades of injustice, and so won’t happen quickly. We won’t disabuse the Left of their self-satisfied smears and conceits, but that’s not the point. Conservatives will be able to take solace in the fact that we’re fighting the good fight and pissing off the racists.
See what Carney has done in his lazy moralism? Yes, there is “racial inequality” in the U.S., but it doesn’t follow from this fact that “racial minorities” “have been denied…dignity and equality.” Carney may think he is “fighting the good fight,” but in reality, his ill-considered views can only harm the conservative cause.
Certain immigrant groups—Asians, Jews—do pretty well in America on the whole. Hispanics may have lower mean incomes than whites (who, for their part, have lower mean incomes than Asians and Jews), but if Hispanics are oppressed, why have so many chosen to live here? Why do they remain here?
As for blacks, it is necessary to recognize the large amount of dysfunction that besets them. For Carney, presumably, that dysfunction is an effect of poverty. But how, one wonders, would he explain the fact that though Asians are the poorest racial group in New York City, they still outperform all other groups academically? Again, how has it happened that several generations of Asians and of Jews have risen from poverty to distinction in this country? Why is it that poverty supposedly causes crime and dysfunction only in regard to Hispanics and blacks? The strange answer seems to be that these groups are not doing as well as other groups on certain measures.
It is simply not serious to maintain, as Carney does, that since “thousands of young men are shot on the streets of Chicago,” since “tens of thousands of black babies are aborted every year,” and since “hundreds of thousands [of black babies] are born out of wedlock,” blacks are playing a “rigged game.” Nobody is making blacks behave in these ways; they have free will, like the rest of us. Instead of telling blacks they’re victims, conservatives need to address the problems of black culture.
Those problems spring in the main from black misbehavior. That misbehavior has turned parts of Detroit, of Baltimore and Chicago, even of Minneapolis into very dangerous places. “This summer,” Heather Mac Donald writes in City Journal,
three shockingly violent mob attacks on white victims in downtown Minneapolis were captured by surveillance video. On August 3, in broad daylight, a dozen black assailants, some as young as 15, tried to take a man’s cellphone, viciously beating and kicking him as he lay on the ground. They jumped on his torso like a trampoline, stripped his shoes and pants off as they riffled through his pockets, smashed a planter pot on his head, and rode a bike over his prostrate body. On August 17, another large group kicked and punched their victim until he was unconscious, stealing his phone, wallet, keys, and cash. In July, two men were set upon in similar fashion. Such attacks have risen more than 50 percent in downtown Minneapolis this year.
Unlike Carney, Mac Donald is a serious writer, and ever empirical. In the same article, she writes:
Just this month, the Bureau of Justice Statistics released its 2018 survey of criminal victimization. According to the study, there were 593,598 interracial violent victimizations (excluding homicide) between blacks and whites last year, including white-on-black and black-on-white attacks. Blacks committed 537,204 of those interracial felonies, or 90 percent, and whites committed 56,394 of them, or less than 10 percent. That ratio is becoming more skewed, despite the Democratic claim of Trump-inspired white violence. In 2012–13, blacks committed 85 percent of all interracial victimizations between blacks and whites; whites committed 15 percent. From 2015 to 2018, the total number of white victims and the incidence of white victimization have grown as well.
Blacks are also overrepresented among perpetrators of hate crimes—by 50 percent—according to the most recent Justice Department data from 2017; whites are underrepresented by 24 percent. This is particularly true for anti-gay and anti-Semitic hate crimes.
Here, then, are what conservatives should be addressing: the nationwide problems of black crime and cultural dysfunction. If Carney had guts, he’d talk about black crime against whites. Instead, he imitates the leftist crowd.
Seventy percent of black children are born out of wedlock, and since the vast majority of blacks lack a father who embodies traditional values (education, responsibility, self-restraint, delayed gratification, obeying the law, thrift, sobriety), blacks will continue to be in a bad way unless they change their behavior. Nor, it goes without saying, can anybody do that for them. The welfare state may keep you alive, but it cannot provide you with an authority figure who can teach you to live well.
Conservative intellectuals tend to be a genteel and cowardly bunch. If they don’t blame black misbehavior on external forces in the manner of the left, then they ignore it altogether. There are some politically incorrect exceptions, but they are just that. Carney’s twaddle may keep the left from calling him a “racist,” yet for the right, and for America, it is worse than useless.
The transcript of President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky is yet another illustration of the rule: Never ask a question you don’t know the answer to.
But on the basis of one drama queen’s overreaction to a rumor she’d heard about what was said on a phone call she didn’t hear (I’m assuming the whistleblower is Christine Blasey Ford), the Democrats have launched impeachment proceedings against the president.
I guess they figured it’s easier than flying to South Dakota with picks and chisels and carving Trump into Mount Rushmore. But it will have the same effect.
Now that the transcript has been released, it’s The New York Times that doesn’t want anyone to see it.
The transcript I’d like to see is the one of Nancy Pelosi reading the Trump transcript.
F@@@@@@CK! Whose f***ing idea was it to demand this goddamn transcript?
The absolute worst version for Trump — i.e. the one being repeated non-stop on MSNBC — is that he did exactly what Obama and Biden were doing to Ukraine: intimidating an ally into giving us something in exchange for the foreign aid we were giving them.
Biden himself bragged about getting Ukraine’s prosecutor fired by threatening to withhold a big fat check from them.
The Democrats’ argument is: No, no, no! When WE were pressuring Ukraine, we were doing it for good! Don’t you understand? We’re good; they’re bad.
The other reason the media are going to have to bury this transcript is that Trump brought up a few items that the media have been hoping the public would never find out about.
Trump said: “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.”
Well, that’s something the media haven’t mentioned before. Ninety-nine percent of Americans will be hearing about the funny business with Biden’s son, Hunter, for the first time with the release of this transcript.
Why did Vice President Biden order the Ukrainian president to fire the prosecutor investigating the Ukrainian company paying his son millions of dollars? Are Democrats claiming that this company was clean as a whistle and it was an absolute OUTRAGE that it was being investigated?
Ukraine was looking into the company that conveniently placed Hunter Biden on its board long before Trump came on the scene. Something must have made the Ukrainian prosecutor want to investigate Biden’s company — and it sure wasn’t to curry favor with the Obama/Biden administration.
The second issue the media does not want anyone to think about is CrowdStrike.
What is CrowdStrike, you ask? That is the cybersecurity firm that is the sole source of the claim that the Russians hacked the DNC’s emails — which launched the conspiracy theories that tied our country in knots for the past three years.
The Russian collusion story was originally hatched by Hillary Clinton in the summer of 2016 to cover up the utter corruption revealed by the dump of Democratic National Committee emails on Wikileaks. As was her practice whenever a scandal threatened to engulf her, Hillary rushed out and told the press to investigate something else.
And “the great story” about the DNC email hack wasn’t about a “vast right-wing conspiracy” — as she claimed when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke. No, this time, it was a vast Russian conspiracy!
At the time, the entire media laughed at Hillary’s Russian conspiracy nonsense — The New York Times, New York Newsday, the Los Angeles Times and so on. But then Trump won the election, and suddenly the Russia conspiracy seemed totally believable. What else could explain how Americans could put this boob in the White House?
The subsequent three years of breathless Russia coverage was based entirely on the word of one cybersecurity firm, CrowdStrike, that the DNC’s emails had been hacked by Russia. Recall that the DNC wouldn’t allow the FBI or any other U.S. government official anywhere near its computers. That’s precisely why so many cybersecurity experts doubted that it was the Russians: The FBI was never allowed to perform its own investigation.
CrowdStrike was founded by Ukrainian Dmitri Alperovitch (now an American citizen apparently — because who isn’t?) and funded by the fanatically anti-Russian Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk Foundation.
Talk about interfering with our democracy! Alperovitch and Pinchuk sent one political party and nine-tenths of the American media off on a wild goose chase into Russian collusion that, after years of accusations, investigations and embarrassing conspiracy-mongering … turned up goose eggs.
The entire Russian insanity was launched by a couple of Ukrainians. I think a lot of us would like to get to the bottom of that.
This is why Trump said to President Zelensky: “I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say CrowdStrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people … The server, they say Ukraine has it.”
(How’d you like to be the Ukrainian translator for a Trump conversation?)
Trump has been justly criticized for hiring his daughter and son-in-law at the White House. But at least when he pressures a foreign leader for a favor, it’s to investigate corruption, not to get a prosecutor off his son’s back. Maybe Biden’s son was guilty, maybe he was innocent. But it is a fact that Joe Biden held up foreign aid to a desperately needy ally in exchange for their halting prosecution that implicated his son. It’s not Trump’s fault that Biden is now running for president.
I’ll give the Democrats this: They’ve gotten so good at trying to remove Trump from office that, instead of three years, their insane accusations blow up in their faces within a week.
The conventional wisdom of the Great Awokening is in sizable part the dumbed-down heritage of the brilliant and sinister French philosopher Michel Foucault (1926–1984), who happened to be a dead ringer for Austin Powers’ archenemy Dr. Evil. According to Google Scholar, Foucault is the most cited academic of all time.
When Ta-Nehisi Coates, for instance, talks about people who believe they are white doing violence on black bodies via FDR’s redlining, he’s artlessly piling up a number of vaguely recalled affectations of Foucault’s. (Coates confesses, “I loved Foucault but didn’t finish.”)
In his ham-handed way, Coates’ hilarious tic of refusing to admit that white people are white, but instead only grudgingly allowing that they might “believe they are white,” is reminiscent of the hermeneutics of suspicion in Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, and, more recently, Foucault, who never saw a noun he couldn’t put scare quotes around. For instance, on one page of his book Power/Knowledge, Foucault felt the need to put “body,” “children,” “childhood,” and “phase” within quotation marks.
The antiquarianism that has become so prevalent in recent years, as seen in the constant invocations of Emmett Till, New Deal FHA regulations, and 1619, is in part a nod to Foucault’s historicizing flair. The intensely Eurocentric Foucault knew an immense amount about rather dull bureaucratic aspects of 17th- and 18th-century France. He had a knack for disclosing details from dusty royal reports on how to organize hospitals and schools as if they were the smoking-gun evidence in a conspiracy thriller.
African-Americans were once famous for their souls, but now, 35 years after Foucault, they just have black bodies. Foucault loved the term “the body.” In fact, Foucault loved bodies, so long as they were male and engaging in violence, either to him or by him.
Sexual torture was Foucault’s favorite pastime. He was a homosexual sadomasochism fetishist who habituated the bathhouses of San Francisco and thus died of AIDS in 1984. How many men he killed by infecting them with the HIV virus is unknown.
“Power” was Foucault’s favorite word. His woke followers assume that he was of course on the side of the marginalized against the powerful. But if you pay careful attention, you may notice that Foucault saw power less as an illegitimate usurpation than as the capability to get things done.
Foucault was aroused by power, as the title of his book on the history of prisons, Discipline and Punish, ought to suggest.
That Foucault was not a good person was obvious to at least a few leftists. After a debate with Foucault in 1971 on whether “there is such a thing as ‘innate’ human nature,” linguist Noam Chomsky, who is a boyish idealist, like a Jimmy Stewart character of the left, said Foucault struck him as “completely amoral.”
Foucault is often considered a forefather of postmodern identity politics and social constructionism. But it’s not clear that Foucault, who was extremely smart, believed the things his dumber acolytes take for granted.
Note that, considered together, social constructionism and identity politics are fundamentally incoherent. To argue that, say, race does not exist in nature and that black hair must be liberated to be natural is clearly contradictory.
Foucault escaped this conundrum by being radically anti-identity. He saw identities as part of a plot by power to impose categories on individuals.
One interesting contribution Foucault made was to point out that the historical record is unclear whether the type of male homosexual that we are familiar with today existed several centuries ago. There was homosexual behavior, but was there homosexual identity? Similarly, it’s struck me that of all the characters in Shakespeare’s plays, there don’t appear to be any who were written so they had to be played like, say, Jack on Will & Grace.
Because homosexuality doesn’t, so far as we can tell, play an evolutionary role, social constructionist theorizing about homosexuals is less implausible than when discussing basic males and females.
Of course, Foucault’s implication that gays were socially constructed contradicts Lady Gaga’s dogma that they are born this way, because it implies that they could be socially deconstructed. But that’s a forbidden thought these days.
My guess would be that Foucault didn’t like the idea that some men are born this way because that would imply that other men aren’t born this way, which would suggest that he would never get to have sex with those men, a conclusion he found intolerable.
For Foucault, innate identities got in the way of his ideal of polymorphous perversity. In Foucault’s mind, identity was the enemy of anonymous sex and its partner, death. Foucault’s biographer James Miller writes:
In his 1979 essay, he imagines “suicide-festivals” and “suicide-orgies” and also a kind of special retreat where those planning to commit suicide could look “for partners without names for occasions to die liberated from every identity.”
Foucault was one sick puppy.
He reminds me of a gay version of France’s rightist sci-fi novelist Michel Houellebecq crossed with actor Kevin Spacey. But because Foucault was on the culturally dominant left, he has, so far, been in little danger of being canceled.
Foucault, with his labyrinthine prose style, was adept at crafting his sentences to make it hard to quote any single one that nails down his position. It’s hard to imagine that if Foucault had survived to 2019, he would be saying the kind of things his acolytes are declaring along the lines of:
Race doesn’t exist, but Rachel Dolezal can’t possibly be black, while Caitlyn Jenner is of course a woman.
Foucault was much slipperier. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy summarizes his ploy on the sexes:
He critically appraises the idea of a natural, scientifically defined true sex by revealing the historical development of this form of thought. He does not claim that sex, understood as the categories of maleness and femaleness, was invented in a particular historical period. He rather analyses the ways in which these categories were founded and explained in discourses claiming the status of scientific truth, and how this allegedly “pure” explanation in fact constituted these categories so that they were understood as “natural.” This idea has had enormous influence on feminist philosophers and queer theorists.
In other words, Foucault wouldn’t let himself get trapped saying anything clearly stupid, such as that maleness and femaleness were socially constructed. But he didn’t mind if you assumed that his use of scare quotes meant he believed that, as long as you were on his side.
Foucault was an immensely intelligent man who devoted his cleverness to promoting stupidity among his acolytes by delegitimizing distinctions, such as between adults and “children.” Miller writes:
Through…an uninhibited exploration of sadomasochistic eroticism, it seemed possible to breach, however briefly, the boundaries separating the conscious and unconscious, reason and unreason, pleasure and pain—and, at the ultimate limit, life and death—thus starkly revealing how distinctions central to the play of true and false are pliable, uncertain, contingent.
It turned out, however, that even for Foucault, death was not pliable, uncertain, contingent.
Foucault was not all that politically active by the engagé standards of French intellectuals. The son of a Catholic surgeon, he’d been a member of the French Communist Party when young, but became an anti-Communist Gaullist technocrat in the early 1960s. He missed out on the fun of May 1968 by being out of France, but remade himself as a leftist soixante-huitard.
Late in his life, he seemed to be drifting rightward, speaking up for Poland’s Solidarity movement and praising the ideas of U. of Chicago free-market economist Gary Becker. As he spent time indulging his proclivities in the prospering San Francisco Bay area, he perhaps came to see that capitalism and his decadent hedonism weren’t so averse.
One political issue close to Foucault’s heart was American sociologist Erving Goffman’s successful crusade to shut down insane asylums, which liberated the poor lunatics to be homeless and sleep on the sidewalks. (Erving’s daughter Alice Goffman is now a leading crusader against “mass incarceration,” so you know that will turn out equally well.)
Another cause to which Foucault devoted himself was liberating children to have sex with grown men. In France, the age of consent in 1977 was only 15 years old, but Foucault nevertheless signed a petition, along with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Jacques Derrida, to decriminalize pedophilia.
Foucault did a 1978 radio interview to promote the abolition of age-of-consent laws in France. It’s noteworthy how smoothly Foucault’s usual arguments on other topics service this campaign.
For example, Foucault begins with his usual tactic of making the assertion that history shows that something that might seem like common sense (making child molestation illegal) was only recently socially constructed, so therefore it could (and thus should) be deconstructed:
This regime is not as old as all that, since the penal code of 1810 said very little about sexuality, as if sexuality was not the business of the law….
How do we know, Foucault goes on, that the child didn’t want to be the victim of statutory rape?
It could be that the child, with his own sexuality, may have desired that adult, he may even have consented, he may even have made the first moves. We may even agree that it was he who seduced the adult.
And who is to say who is a child?
In any case, an age barrier laid down by law does not have much sense.
In arguing for the legalization of boy bothering, Foucault never quite gets around to claiming that age is just a social construct, but that’s the mood music.
How much of Foucault’s vast intellectual enterprise of denouncing categorization of individuals as possessing distinct identities was intended to undermine the legal category of children too young to consent? Did Foucault happen to dream up his ideas first and only then realize that his logic proved that it should be legal for him to have sex with boys? Or did he want to have sex with boys first and then dreamt up his vast system of justification?
Foucault himself once said:
In a sense, all the rest of my life I’ve been trying to do intellectual things that would attract beautiful boys.
Foucault was an evil man.
But he was right about something: that power helps you control discourse and controlling discourse helps you have power.
Today, though, it’s Foucault’s fans who have the whip hand.
With the revelation by an intel community “whistleblower” that President Donald Trump, in a congratulatory call to the new president of Ukraine, pushed him repeatedly to investigate the Joe Biden family connection to Ukrainian corruption, the cry “Impeach!” is being heard anew in the land.
But revisiting how this latest scandal came about, and how it has begun to unfold, it is a good bet that the principal casualty could be the former vice president. Consider:
In May 2016, Joe Biden, as Barack Obama’s designated point man on Ukraine, flew to Kiev to inform President Petro Poroshenko that a billion-dollar U.S. loan guarantee had been approved to enable Kiev to continue to service its mammoth debt.
But, said Biden, the aid was conditional. There was a quid pro quo.
If Poroshenko’s regime did not fire its chief prosecutor in six hours, Biden would fly home and Ukraine would get no loan guarantee. Ukraine capitulated instantly, said Joe, reveling in his pro-consul role.
Yet, left out of Biden’s drama about how he dropped the hammer on a corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor was this detail.
The prosecutor had been investigating Burisma Holdings, the biggest gas company in Ukraine. And right after the U.S.-backed coup that ousted the pro-Russian government in Kiev, and after Joe Biden had been given the lead on foreign aid for Ukraine, Burisma had installed on its board, at $50,000 a month, Hunter Biden, the son of the vice president.
Joe Biden claims that, though he was point man in the battle on corruption in Ukraine, he was unaware his son was raking in hundreds of thousands from one of the companies being investigated.
Said Joe on Saturday, “I have never spoken to my son about his various business dealings.”
Is this credible?
Trump and Rudy Giuliani suspect not, and in that July 25 phone call, Trump urged President Volodymyr Zelensky to reopen the investigation of Hunter Biden and Burisma.
The media insist there is no story here and the real scandal is that Trump pressed Zelensky to reopen the investigation to target his strongest 2020 rival. Worse, say Trump’s accusers, would be if the president conditioned the transfer of $250 million in approved military aid to Kiev on the new regime’s acceding to his demands.
The questions raised are several:
Is it wrong to make military aid to a friendly nation conditional on that nation’s compliance with legitimate requests or demands of the United States? Is it illegitimate to ask a friendly government to look into what may be corrupt conduct by the son of a U.S. vice president?
Joe Biden has an even bigger problem: This issue has begun to dominate the news at an especially vulnerable moment for his campaign.
Biden’s stumbles and gaffes have already raised alarms among his followers and been seized upon by rivals such as Cory Booker, who has publicly suggested that the 76-year-old former vice president is losing it.
Biden’s lead in the polls also appears shakier with each month. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has just taken a narrow lead in a Des Moines Register poll and crusading against Beltway corruption is central to her campaign.
“Too many politicians in both parties have convinced themselves that playing the money-for-influence game is the only way to get things done,” Warren told her massive rally in New York City: “No more business as usual. Let’s attack the corruption head on.”
Soon, it will not only be Trump and Giuliani asking Biden questions abut Ukraine, Burisma and Hunter, but Democrats, too. Calls are rising for Biden’s son to be called to testify before congressional committees.
With Trump airing new charges daily, Biden will be asked to respond by his traveling press. The charges and the countercharges will become what the presidential campaign is all about. Bad news for Joe Biden.
Can he afford to spend weeks, perhaps months, answering for his son’s past schemes to enrich himself through connections to foreign regimes that seem less related to Hunter’s talents than his being the son of a former vice president and possible future president?
“Ukraine-gate” is the latest battle in the death struggle between the “deep state” and a president empowered by Middle America to go to Washington and break that deep state’s grip on the national destiny.
Another issue is raised here — the matter of whistleblowers listening in to or receiving readouts of presidential conversations with foreign leaders and having the power to decide for themselves whether the president is violating his oath and needs to be reported to Congress.
Eisenhower discussed coups in Iran and Guatemala and the use of nuclear weapons in Korea and the Taiwan Strait. JFK, through brother Bobby, cut a secret deal with Khrushchev to move U.S. missiles out of Turkey six months after the Soviets removed their missiles from Cuba.
Who deputized bureaucratic whistleblowers to pass judgment on such conversations and tattle to Congress if they were offended?
Ten years or so ago Stephen Fry, an English polymath, stage and screen actor, writer, TV personality, and many other things, gave a Spectator-sponsored lecture at the prestigious Royal Geographical Society. The theme was that he would live in America in a heartbeat. I know Stephen and paid extra attention to his speech because I’ve lived between his country and the U.S. for most of my adult life.
His love affair with Uncle Sam began watching “Wagon Train, Rawhide, The Lone Ranger, Lucille Ball, Bewitched, and Dick Van Dyke.” (Fry is in his late 50s or maybe older.) Not with rock & roll, nor Elvis, nor the blues or jazz. “Certainly not Steve McQueen. I have always disliked cool.” What helped him fall in love with America were American actors such as Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, James Stewart, Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, and others like them. But what really turned him into an America lover was a Brit, P.G. Wodehouse, creator of Jeeves, who ended his life as an American citizen. Everything Wodehouse wrote about the energy, vivacity, warmth, welcome, and excitement of America thrilled Fry. (The British class system does not—did not, rather—encourage any of the above.)
Fry then went on to compare a British middle-class (translate that into upper-middle-class in the U.S.) childhood in a drab, early-1960s British world of gray “where everyone wore gray trousers and had gray attitudes, to dripping colorful slacks, sparkling jewels, thrilling cameras, and perfumed furs.” His American cousins would write and tell him that in America they had ice machines and air-conditioning, stereo sets and color television. “Damn it, in Britain even our TV was gray.” Young Stephen would sit and dream about basketball sneakers, yard sales, drive-in movies, spelling bees, and homecoming queens. (When he said that, someone laughed out loud because Stephen is a very gay man.)
Fry’s father was a physicist who was offered tenure at Princeton but refused it because he feared bringing his children up in America. As Stephen put it, “He liked America but was disinclined from having ‘Gee, Dad’ directed at him over breakfast.” I thought that a wonderful touch, British stiff upper lip as opposed to American informality. Fry then went on to decry his dad’s decision because it would have entailed “granola or creamed wheat over hominy grits, the eggs would have been sunny side up or over easy, and maple syrup would have been poured over bacon and sausages.”
Although Fry was born and lived in a large house in Norfolk with gardeners, staff, and a fireplace in every room, he imagined himself as an American, Steve, who was confident, happy, strong, and secure, “in exactly the way that I was unconfident, unhappy, weak, and insecure.” He went on to admit that falling in love with America suggested falling in love with the idea of America, a phrase that makes little sense if one substituted another country for the word “America.” For example, what is the idea of Greece (a bunch of ruins?), of France (lots of garlic and the cancan?), of Britain (warm beer and a vicar on his bike?)? But the idea of America does—or used to, rather—make sense.
According to Fry, America was one huge pile of contradictions, so many of them that space forbids me from even beginning to list them. But I will go back sixty years or so, to when two French intellectuals, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, arrived in America fresh from surviving the German occupation of their homeland. Here’s what they thought of “les Americains”: “There is a myth of freedom and there is the dictatorship of public opinion. Nowhere will anyone find such a discrepancy between myths and men.” La Simone traveling in the South added rather acidly: “Wherever we stop, we can smell hatred in the air: the arrogant hatred of the whites, and the silent hatred of the blacks.”
My, my, how things have changed seventy years on. I visit America twice a year nowadays, and I do agree with Simone—I too feel the hatred, but it’s the other way round. What Americans meant to Fry was their restless DNA that drove capitalism and their hopeful can-do spirit. Their ability to “transform a disappointment into a dollar.” To the two French intellectuals, America was a place where spoiled children hated everyone who didn’t look like them, a place where universities produced linguists, chemists, sociologists, and such but did not train their minds. “As a result, the academic life seemed divorced from the intellectual life of the nation.”
What would be interesting is to have Stephen Fry, who is very much alive, and the two very-much-dead French see America today: a nation where students place nooses around the heads of statues and drag them down and spit on them because they fought for the Confederacy; a place where grim enforcers stalk campuses with baseball bats; a home to universities gripped by a fanatical brand of left-wing identity politics that push policed speech codes and near-total suppression of contrary thought. And where Hollywood actors demand lists of Trump donors in order to bar them from work.
Fry is, and Beauvoir and Sartre were, lefties, but pro-freedom. I wonder what they would think of what the U.S. has become today. It could be the Soviet Union circa 1936. After all, it has its Pravda, The New York Times.