Totalitarian Narcissism

From Mark Steyn:

I did my best to keep my spirits up on Tuesday while guest-hosting America’s Number One radio show, but actually I was near overwhelmed by an awful sickening sadness, which is not the best disposition for broadcast entertainment. I woke up to the news that, during the night, in Baltimore, Maryland, the oldest monument to Christopher Columbus in the United States had been destroyed by someone called “Ty” and his chum:

A 225-year-old monument commemorating Christopher Columbus was vandalized early Monday amid the nationwide debate on removing Confederate statues and monuments.

A video posted on Monday shows the monument being smashed. It shows two unidentified people taping a sign reading “The future is racial and economic justice” on the monument. One of them then hits the monument with what appears to be a sledgehammer while the other stands next to the monument holding a sign that reads “Racism: Tear it down.”

“Christopher Columbus symbolizes the initial invasion of European capitalism into the Western Hemisphere. Columbus initiated a centuries-old wave of terrorism, murder, genocide, rape, slavery, ecological degradation and capitalist exploitation of labor in the Americas,” the video’s narrator, who identifies himself as “Ty,” says.

As you can see at right, almost every word painstakingly engraved on that obelisk has been obliterated. It stood for 225 years, and it was destroyed in the blink of an eye. Julia Manchester, The Hill’s reporter, continues:

This comes amid a heated debate across the country over removing Confederate monuments…

That’s one way of putting it, but not an honest one. Mark Steyn Club member David Elstrom left a comment here that deserves to be more widely distributed:

Mark,

I notice that the left media and even Fox News talk about the “discussion” on statues, or opine on the “conversation” concerning public monuments.

This Newspeak is apparently supposed to con the plebes into thinking something civil or democratic is happening. All I’ve seen is politicians or other apparatchiks rushing to remove statues (fearing the wrath of the mob) or actual mobs tearing things down.

If this is discussion, or conversation, then rape must be a “social event,” and sticking up the local convenience store a “financial transaction.”

Indeed. It’s hard to have a “conversation” with a guy wielding a sledgehammer. I was just sent a link to an Ohio newspaper purporting to report that one municipality was now “exhuming” the bodies of Confederate soldiers. I’m relieved to report that website appears to be fake. But it’s getting increasingly hard to tell. We live in a decadent age of totalitarian narcissism.

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Our National Affliction

From Paul M. Johnson:

THE MENTAL INFECTION known as “political correctness” is one of the most dangerous intellectual afflictions ever to attack mankind. The fact that we began by laughing at it–and to some extent, still do–doesn’t diminish its venom one bit.

PC has an enormous appeal to the semieducated, one reason that it’s struck roots among overseas students at minor colleges. But it also appeals to pseudo-intellectuals everywhere, since it evokes the strong streak of cowardice notable among those wielding academic authority nowadays. Any empty-headed student with a powerful voice can claim someone (never specified) will be “hurt” by a hitherto harmless term, object or activity and be reasonably assured that the dons and professors in charge will show a white feather and do as the student demands. Thus, there isn’t a university campus on either side of the Atlantic that’s not in danger of censorship. The brutal young don’t even need to impose it themselves; their trembling elders will do it for them.

The insidious thing about PC is that it wasn’t–and isn’t–the creation of anyone in particular. It’s usually the anonymous work of such Kafkaesque figures as civil servants, municipal librarians, post office sorters and employees at similar levels. It penetrates the interstices of society, especially those where the hierarchies of privilege and property are growing. To a great extent PC is the revenge of the resentful underdog.

Nowhere has PC been more triumphant than in the U.S. This is remarkable, because America has traditionally been the home of vigorous, outspoken, raw and raucous speech. From the early 17th century, when the clerical discipline the Pilgrim Fathers sought to impose broke down and those who had things to say struck out westward or southward for the freedom to say them, America has been a land of unrestricted comment on anything–until recently. Now the U.S. has been inundated with PC inquisitors, and PC poison is spreading worldwide in the Anglo zone.

For these reasons it’s good news that Donald Trump is doing so well in the American political primaries. He is vulgar, abusive, nasty, rude, boorish and outrageous. He is also saying what he thinks and, more important, teaching Americans how to think for themselves again.

No one could be a bigger contrast to the spineless, pusillanimous and underdeserving Barack Obama, who has never done a thing for himself and is entirely the creation of reverse discrimination. The fact that he was elected President–not once, but twice–shows how deep-set the rot is and how far along the road to national impotence the country has traveled.

Under Obama the U.S.–by far the richest and most productive nation on earth–has been outsmarted, outmaneuvered and made to appear a second-class power by Vladimir Putin’s Russia. America has presented itself as a victim of political and economic Alzheimer’s disease, a case of national debility and geopolitical collapse.

None of the Republican candidates trailing Trump has the character to reverse this deplorable declension. The Democratic nomination seems likely to go to the relic of the Clinton era, herself a patiently assembled model of political correctness, who is carefully instructing America’s most powerful pressure groups in what they want to hear and whose strongest card is the simplistic notion that the U.S. has never had a woman President and ought to have one now, merit being a secondary consideration.

The world is disorderly and needs its leading nation to take charge and scare it back into decency. Donald Trump fits the bill. Other formidable figures, including Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, have performed a similar service in the past. But each President is unique and cast in his own mold. Trump is a man of excess–and today a man of excess is what’s needed.

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The Left Is Coming for You Next

From Kevin D. Williamson:

We think in language, and we think in stories, a fact that is appreciated most keenly not by writers or literary critics but by censors.

In the course of writing about the ongoing fraud in which a cabal of left-wing lawyers with connections to the administrations of Barack Obama and Andrew Cuomo has attempted to extort many billions of dollars from Chevron, I had a memorable conversation with an executive at the energy giant. “We are the least sympathetic defendant there is,” he said. “We’re an oil company. You can say almost anything about an oil company. There are no stories in which the oil company is the good guy.” There is one: The one where you go to the 7-Eleven and fill up your miraculous machine with a miraculous energy source that would, within the recent history of the human species, have been indistinguishable from magic.

But the point stands. You can say anything you like, no matter how wild the claim, about an oil company or a financial firm, or, indeed, about any corporation, “corporation” now being the English word that means “a business that I hate.” The demonization of the word “corporation” has proceeded alongside the demonization of the concept. The word “corporation” already had slightly sinister overtones (it is naturally associated with the English word “corpse,” though that word is not in fact derived from the Latin “corpus”) which has been intensified by the immortal, galaxy-spanning corporations of science fiction; I have always thought (here I glance nervously over my shoulder at Kathryn Jean Lopez) that the writers of Star Trek missed an opportunity with the Borg, whose habitual promise that “you will be assimilated” would have been much better rendered “you will be incorporated,” since they, like a Portuguese man-o’-war, form a single colonial organism. Incorporation is a word that strikes terror into many hearts. (Particularly those beating in proximity to Houston.) I spent part of Friday night among Hillary Rodham Clinton supporters in New York, and one very nice young couple warned me darkly that Republicans would “do whatever the corporations tell them to.” The corporations: As if they were all part of the same team, and had meetings.

The American Left, which long ago abandoned its hereditary liberalism for totalitarianism, is very much interested in policing language. Writing this week in Time, which still exists, Katy Steinmetz complains about the use of the word “transgendered” to describe people who were until five minutes ago known as transsexuals, and five minutes before that weird guys in dresses. (The argument, in case you are wondering, is that the implicitly passive form “transgendered” suggests that something was done to these people, as though we could not distinguish between a tossed salad and a spotted owl.) She offers other sage advice: “If you meet a trans person — someone who identifies with a gender other than the sex they were assigned at birth — it’s generally a good idea to ask which pronouns (he or she, him or her) they prefer and to use whatever that is.” Other than establishing that she isn’t a reliable guide to pronouns, the merry assumption of absolute nonsense — “the sex they were assigned at birth” as opposed to the sex they are — isn’t just illiteracy. People instinctively resist the lie, which makes it necessary to make the truth almost literally unspeakable, even unthinkable. The lie isn’t quite sold yet, inasmuch as people still roll their eyes a little at the phrase “women with penises,” but it is getting there.

Progressive tut-tutting about that sort of thing may be the mild stuff, but it isn’t innocuous. Activists for the so-called transgendered have argued that my work on the issue should be not criticized but banned, as in suppressed by the force of state violence. The usual banalities — “hate speech” and all that — are invoked. So far, it isn’t a crime to get on the wrong side of the men-in-dresses activists. We aren’t, after all, Canadians.

Global warming, though, is a different matter. The attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Claude Earl Walker, has issued a subpoena to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian-leaning think tank that has been critical of a great deal of global-warming scholarship. This is part of a coordinated campaign by Democratic attorneys general, including those in New York and California, to prosecute persons and institutions with nonconforming views on global warming, with special attention being given to Exxon and to groups that it may have supported financially. The subpoena against CEI is a pure fishing expedition, a search for anything that might be potentially embarrassing that can be used as part of the public-relations campaign rather than as part of a prosecution, the prosecution bit being tricky because there isn’t much of an argument that any laws have been broken.

New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, is taking a similar approach. He isn’t sure what law Exxon has broken, but he promises to find one, making different accusations and arguments as the venue demands. Barack Obama’s so-called Justice Department is considering filing a case of its own.

Despite the insistence of Democrats in positions of power, this is not a “fraud” investigation. There has been no credible case made — none whatsoever — that any fraud has been committed.

We should, while it is permitted, be as plain as possible about what is happening here: This is an act of obvious, gross, and indefensible political suppression, with two ends: One is riling up young, white, middle-income progressives before the 2016 election (in which California’s Democratic attorney general, Kamala Harris, is a Senate candidate), voters who care a great deal about global warming and not very much about freedom of speech; the second is financial, in that Exxon, the second most valuable firm on Earth by market capitalization, has a great deal of money, and may be bullied into a settlement that will fund a great deal of Democratic activism for years to come.

This is banana-republic stuff.

Kamala Harris, Eric Schneiderman, Claude Earl Walker, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch should not resign — they should be hounded from office, and from polite society. Prosecuting political institutions and businesses for political activism is brown-shirt business, plain and simply and ugly and heinous. If you believe that this will stop at prosecuting wicked, evil “corporations,” you are deluding yourself.

You’re next.

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Micro-Totalitarianism

From Walter E. Williams:

George Orwell said, “There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.” If one wants to discover the truth of Orwell’s statement, he need only step upon most college campuses.

Faculty leaders of the University of California consider certain statements racism and feel they should not be used in class. They call it micro-aggression. To them, micro-aggressive racist statements are: “America is the land of opportunity.” That is seen as perpetuating the myth of meritocracy. “There is only one race, the human race.” Such a statement is seen as denying the individual as a racial/cultural being. “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.” That’s “racist” because it gives the impression that “people of color are given extra unfair benefits because of their race.”

These expressions don’t exhaust the list of micro-aggressions. Other seemingly innocuous statements deemed unacceptable are: “Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough,” “When I look at you, I don’t see color,” or “Affirmative action is racist.” Perhaps worst of all is, “Where are you from or where were you born?” For more of this, see a document released by The College Fix titled “Diversity in the Classroom,” UCLA Diversity and Faculty Development.

This micro-aggression nonsense, called micro-totalitarianism by my colleague Dr. Thomas Sowell (http://tinyurl.com/nxulxc), is nothing less than an attack on free speech. From the Nazis to the Stalinists, tyrants have always started out supporting free speech, and why is easy to understand. Speech is vital for the realization of their goals of command, control and confiscation. Free speech is a basic tool for indoctrination, propagandizing, proselytization. Once the leftists gain control, as they have at many universities, free speech becomes a liability and must be suppressed. This is increasingly the case on university campuses.

Daniel Henninger, deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, writes about the campus attack on free speech and different ideas in his article titled “Obama Unleashes the Left: How the government created a federal hunting license for the far left.” He says that in the Harvard Crimson, an undergraduate columnist wrote: “Let’s give up on academic freedom in favor of justice. When an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue.” The student was calling for the suppression of the research of conservative Harvard government professor Harvey Mansfield.

Oberlin College proposed that its teachers be aware of politically controversial topics such as “racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, capitalism and other issues of privilege and oppression.” The presumption that students must be protected rather than challenged in a classroom is at once infantilizing and anti-intellectual.

Last year Vassar College faculty and students held a meeting to discuss the school’s movement to boycott Israel. Before the meeting, an English professor announced the dialogue would “not be guided by cardboard notions of civility.” That professor’s vision differs little from Adolf Hitler’s brown-shirted thugs of the paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party in their effort to crush dissent.

Azusa Pacific University “postponed” a speech by political scientist Charles Murray to avoid “hurting our faculty and students of color.” Brandeis University officials rescinded their invitation to Somali writer and American Enterprise Institute scholar Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whose criticisms of radical Islam were said to have violated the school’s “core values.” Brandeis officials claimed that allowing her to speak would be hurtful to Muslim students.

Western values of liberty are under ruthless attack by the academic elite on college campuses across America. These people want to replace personal liberty with government control; they want to replace equality before the law with entitlement. As such, they pose a far greater threat to our way of life than any terrorist organization or rogue nation. Leftist ideas are a cancer on our society. Ironically, we not only are timid in response, but also nourish those ideas with our tax dollars and charitable donations.

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