Archive for the ‘Reality vs Narrative’ category

The Racist Attacks on America and Trump

August 25, 2017

The Racist Attacks on America and Trump, Front Page MagazineDavid Horowitz, August 25, 2017

Let’s start by noticing the obvious. The biggest hate group in America – by a wide margin – is the anti-Trump chorus, which has advanced from calling him “unfit to be president” to accusing him (in the words of CNN’s Ana Navarro) of being “unfit to be human.” In between are malignant accusations that he is a “neo-Nazi,” a “white nationalist” and a “white supremacist” – all revelations about Trump’s character that somehow remained hidden during the thirty years he was a public figure and before he ran against Hillary Clinton. Nor is the hate confined to Trump alone but includes his aides and supporters. Congressman Jerrold Nadler and other House Democrats have even attacked Trump’s policy adviser Stephen Miller as a “white supremacist” for defending a merit-based immigration reform. The attacks from the anti-Trump left also include the charge that America itself is a “white supremacist” country.

In a nation which for eight years was headed by a black president, had two chief law enforcement officers who were black, has recently had two black secretaries of state and three black national security advisers, and has elected more than 10,000 black government officials; in a nation that has been governed for fifty years by statutes that outlaw discrimination by race and whose national culture is saturated with non-white heroes and icons – in such a nation, people who refer to America as “white supremacist” would normally be dismissed as an oddball fringe, members of a fraternity that includes people who think Elvis is still alive and on the moon. Unfortunately, we live in times that are not normal.

Recent events have turned out crowds in the tens of thousands denouncing “neo-Nazis” and “white supremacists” both real and imagined, who number in the hundreds, if that. Yet the outpouring of righteous rage in a veritable orgy of virtue signaling has extended across both ends of the political spectrum, as though Nazism hadn’t been defeated more than seventy years ago, or racial discrimination outlawed for sixty. The ranks of actual neo-Nazis and white supremacists are so minuscule that besides the universally despised David Duke and Richard Spencer there are no figures on this “alt-right” that even informed observers could actually name.

In contrast to the trivial representatives of organized Nazism, there are – to take one obvious example – tens of thousands of members of the American Communist Party, also a defeated totalitarian foe. Yet no one seems alarmed. There have been “Million Man” marches led by black racists Farrakhan and Sharpton, while “white nationalists,” and Klan members can’t attract a sufficient number of supporters to even constitute a “march.” Black Lives Matter is an overtly racist and violent group that is led by avowed communists and has allied itself with Hamas terrorists. It is an organization officially endorsed by the Democratic Party and lavishly funded by tens of millions of dollars contributed by Democratic donors like George Soros. But the self-congratulating denouncers of Nazism and white racism find nothing wrong with them.

On any rational assessment, “white supremacy” as a descriptor of American society or American institutions or a significant segment of the American right is loony toons paranoia. Yet on the political left it is now an article of faith, and also a convenient weapon for disposing political opponents. Its power as a weapon is actually a tribute to America’s success in institutionalizing the principles of diversity and tolerance. It is because America is a truly inclusive society that makes the mere accusation of intolerance is so effective.

Notwithstanding the marginal existence of actual Klansmen and “neo-Nazis” in American culture and institutions, the term “white supremacy” currently turns up 3.7 million references in a Google search – a tribute to its rampant mis-usage. Of these references, 1.2 million are linked specifically – and absurdly – to Donald Trump. The term “white nationalism” turns up 4.2 million references, of which 2.1 million are linked directly to the president. Only a slightly lower number – 1.8 million – link Trump to “Nazi.” The parity of the numbers is easily explained by the fact that in the lexicon of the left they are identical. As a leftwing smear site created by the Southern Poverty Law Center explains, “White nationalist groups espouse white supremacist or white separatist ideologies.”

The malicious charge that Trump and his supporters are white racists is the central meme of a concerted effort to overthrow the Trump presidency before it has run its course – or before it had even gotten started. The accusation is made despite the fact that Republicans who elected Trump also voted for Barack Obama, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindahl, and that Democrats – not Republicans – were the principal resistors to the Civil Rights Acts. Reality aside, just 12 days after Trump’s inauguration Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi was already denouncing Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, as a “white supremacist,” while Rep. Maxine Waters was revving up the call to impeach him with her colleagues not far behind. Six months later, the lead headline at Salon.com, was proclaiming, “White Supremacy Week at the White House.” Not to be outdone, The Week, whose commentators include the Atlantic’s David Frum, and Kerry adviser, Robert Shrum, ran a piece titled, “It’s White Nationalism Week at the White House.” Really.

Obviously the terms “white supremacy and “white nationalism” can’t actually mean what they say. If they did, one would have to conclude that half the country had simply lost its mind and morals. To make sense of the terms one has to understand them as expressions of an ideology that has emerged out of its university incubators to become a dogma of the Democratic Party and progressives generally. This radical perspective, known as “cultural Marxism,” divides society into a white majority that oppresses, and “people of color” who are oppressed, attributing all racial and ethnic disparities to “racism.”

As Wikipedia explains: “The term white supremacy is used in academic studies of racial power to denote a system of structural or societal racism which privileges white people over others, regardless of the presence or the absence of racial hatred.” In other words, actual racism –  racist hate by individuals – is not the problem. If eighty percent of corporate executives are white, that is prima facie evidence of what the left calls “institutional racism,” even though there are no racists pulling strings to keep non-white people down. Racism is redefined as defending the invisible system – e.g., the system of standards – that allegedly perpetuates these disparities. But note the hypocrisy. If 95% of the multimillionaires in the National Basketball Association or the National Football League are black, no one regards these as anything but disparities based on merit.

The unexamined premise of the argument that regards white Americans as racists is that statistical disparities are all the result of oppression. But who is oppressed in America? There are an estimated 65 million refugees in the world today fleeing oppression, but not one of them is fleeing oppression in the United States. Why do Haitians and Mexicans risk life and limb to come to America? To be oppressed? They come because in America they have more rights, more privileges and more opportunities than they would in Mexico and Haiti, which have been governed by Hispanics and blacks for a hundred years and more.

The reality that the academic theory of faculty leftists tries futilely to deny is that America is the least racist most tolerant multi-ethnic, multi-racial society in the history of the world. America has outlawed racial supremacies of any kind. The only group oppressed in America are illegal immigrants who cannot defend themselves because they have already put themselves on the wrong side of the law. For everyone else, the law – the civil rights laws – are their protector.

In the end, however, all the spurious outrages over white supremacy and homegrown Nazism, and all the canards about “white nationalism” in the Trump White House are not really about Trump. What they are about is America. More particularly, they are about the left’s ongoing indictment of America for the sins of its past (sins by the way that are shared by every other nation both white and non-white).

To see how the leftist attack actually proceeds – how deeply embedded it is in the liberal mind – one has only to recall the notorious exchange between CNN’s anti-Trump correspondent, Jim Acosta, and Stephen Miller, the president’s chief advisor for policy, over immigration reform. The exchange was triggered by Acosta’s appalled response to Miller’s announcement of a proposed new immigration policy that would privilege English-speaking applicants for American citizenship. Requiring familiarity with English might seem a reasonable way to make assimilation of immigrants easier and to put more opportunity within their reach in a country in which it is the official language. But not to liberals like Acosta. Acosta objected: “This whole notion of … they have to learn English before they get to the United States. Are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?”

Miller’s response was this: “Jim, actually, I have to honestly say, I am shocked at your statement that you think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English.” Miller’s shock was not hard to understand. According to Wikipedia: “In 2015, there were 54 sovereign states and 27 non-sovereign entities where English was an official language.” In addition, “many country subdivisions have declared English an official language at the local or regional level.” Among these English speaking countries are Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Liberia, Belize, India, Fiji, Micronesia – a veritable rainbow of ethnicities and racial identities.

Behind Acosta’s clueless question lay the racial animus characteristic of the left’s attacks on Trump, his policies and supporters. This is the official CNN transcript: “ACOSTA (OFF-MIKE) Sounds like you’re trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country through this policy.” In other words a “flow” of whites; in other words the policy is “white supremacist,” racist. Miller’s response: “Jim, that is one of the most outrageous, insulting, ignorant, and foolish things you have ever said…. “The notion that you think that this is a racist bill is so wrong.” To even think the policy was racist, Acosta had to overlook the fact that non-white English speakers actually outnumber white English speakers globally. Yet the left immediately began charging Miller with being a “white supremacist.”

This embarrassing but revealing moment is what the anti-Trump movement comes down to: the racist accusation that white supremacists, backed by 63 million American voters, have seized control of the American government and need to be overthrown.

But this hateful movement is not really about Trump. It is about America. Beyond that it is about the left’s attack on the democratic societies of the West in general, and specifically their foundations in individual rights rather than group identities. This was evident in the reactions to the major foreign policy address Trump delivered in Poland on July 6. His speech was a full-throated and often eloquent defense of the West and its values, and of America’s role in defeating the Soviet Union and the global Communist empire. In a climactic passage, Trump delivered a paean to the values that had inspired the West’s resistance to the totalitarians left and right, to the values that created western civilization. These were the values – above all that of individual freedom – that the wars against Nazism and Communism had been fought to defend. What Trump said was this:

“We reward brilliance.  We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honor God. We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression. We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success.  We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives. And we debate everything. We challenge everything. We seek to know everything so that we can better know ourselves. And above all, we value the dignity of every human life, protect the rights of every person, and share the hope of every soul to live in freedom. That is who we are. Those are the priceless ties that bind us together as nations, as allies, and as a civilization.”

On finishing this tribute, Trump issued a call to the people of the West to rally again to the defense of these values in the face of the new totalitarian threats that confront us: “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?”

Despite, and more likely because of its reaffirmation of American values, Trump’s speech was immediately attacked by the political left. The common theme of these attacks was once again the left’s race war against Trump and the country he leads. Slate.com, an online publication of the Washington Post ran with this headline: “The White Nationalist Roots of Donald Trump’s Warsaw Speech.” The Bernie Sanders’ left at Salon.comrepeated the accusation: “Trump’s Alt-right Poland Speech: Time to Call His White Nationalist Rhetoric What It Is.” The respected Atlantic Monthly followed with this: “The Racial and Religious Paranoia of Trump’s Warsaw Speech.” For the left, American patriotism is white nationalism.

The Atlantic article was written by Peter Beinart, and began this way: “In his speech in Poland on Thursday, Donald Trump referred 10 times to “the West” and five times to “our civilization.” His white nationalist supporters will understand exactly what he means. It’s important that other Americans do, too.”

The West, Beinart explained, is neither a “geographic term,” nor an ideological category. “The West is a racial and religious term. To be considered Western, a country must be largely Christian (preferably Protestant or Catholic) and largely white.” Whatever else one might think, this was certainly a perverse way of looking at Trump’s description of the West, or at the way the West has traditionally understood itself. Beinart’s attack displayed the racist animus that informs leftwing politics across the board these days, and that shapes its war against the White House and a Western civilization we have all celebrated until now.

The political left is relentless in its commitment to identity politics, which is a not so subtle form of racism. This animus is rooted in a racial and gender collectivism that is antagonistic to the fundamental American idea of individual rights applied universally and without regard to origins – to race, ethnicity or gender. The war to defend this idea is what created Trump’s candidacy and has shaped his political persona.

An American patriotism – which is precisely not about blood and soil, which is the antithesis of racism and collectivism – is what drives Trump and his presidency. If we are loyal to our country we will be loyal to each other; if we have patriotism in our hearts there will be no room for prejudice; we are black and brown and white but we all bleed patriot red. This is the mantra of Trump’s inaugural address; it was the mantra of his announcement of a new strategy to fight the terrorists in Afghanistan; and it is the mantra behind the call to “make America great again.” Patriotism – a specifically American patriotism – is the loyalty that unites us and makes us equal. It is this patriotism with which the political left is at war, and the reason they hate this president and are determined to destroy him.

Requiem for a Narrative

December 9, 2016

Requiem for a Narrative, Washington Free Beacon, , December 9, 2016

President Barack Obama gestures during a U.S. counterterrorism strategy speech at MacDill Air Force Base Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

President Barack Obama gestures during a U.S. counterterrorism strategy speech at MacDill Air Force Base Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

At a dinner in Washington earlier this week—one packed with well-meaning folks who really, really wanted this year’s election to have gone the other way—I heard a speaker cite Elizabeth Bishop’s One Art by way of consoling the audience. “The art of losing isn’t hard to master,” the poem famously begins. The speaker hastened to remind the room that, later in the poem, we are informed numerous times that losing “is no disaster.” With that in mind, those who didn’t like the election’s result should buck up and dive back into the fight, and so forth.

It didn’t seem like the time or place for me to point out that the poem’s declarations that losing isn’t a disaster are clearly ironic. It also didn’t seem the time to note that among the most important reasons why so many people supported Trump was that they were conscious of a series of painful disasters, the existence of which the Obama administration, abetted by a friendly press, refused to acknowledge. The nature of our politics today—and perhaps immemorially—is that every ambitious mayor or governor of a state feels the need to create a narrative of success: build a stadium or bridge that he can slap his name on, massage the crime statistics to show civic healing, and call it good.

If the reality matches the narrative, so much the better—but you won’t find too many politicians admitting that things haven’t improved, or that they have actually grown worse. Obama and his aides certainly weren’t big on admitting shortcomings, and after the electoral wipeout they have just suffered, it looks like their most lasting impact will be to have discredited the word “narrative” among a large portion of Americans. That’s something, I guess.

For years, Americans were told that after the financial panic in 2008, the president’s policies had put us on a steady course to a strong economy. But in much of the country, people looked around them and thought, That just doesn’t seem right. Especially in those parts of the country hit the hardest by the transition from the Industrial Era to the Information Age, people asked a number of questions. If the economy is doing so great, why are my adult children not moving out? If the unemployment rate is declining, why are so many prime-age males not working? And doesn’t it matter that the quality of jobs for non-college graduates is so obviously worse than it was a generation ago? Why, instead of working, are so many people dependent on public benefits and falling prey to addiction?

All of these questions had answers—but looking to the Obama White House for clarity about the uncomfortable tradeoffs their policies involved was a fool’s errand. Take, as an example, the crusade against coal, pushed by activists and coastal liberals for whom shutting down these companies was a clear and uncomplicated good deed on behalf of Mother Earth, of which the only real victims would be the greedy energy executives. The miners could retrain, or get “green jobs,” or something.

Well, a lot of the coal companies did shut down, or all but shut down. Many of the owners cut their losses and moved on—capital may be inconvenienced, but it generally does not suffer. The workers just lost their jobs. The economy in places like southeastern Ohio wasn’t exactly ready to absorb them, and as for retraining—well, you give that a try when you’re 45 years old. The availability of welfare and disability payments is a bitter replacement for the dignity of an honest, decently paid job. The only good news in some of these regions for much of the last eight years was the fracking revolution, a phenomenon that generally occurred in spite of the president’s best efforts.

We were also told, again and again, that things were going well abroad. The tide of war was receding. Afghans and Iraqis were taking the lead. Osama bin Laden was dead, and al Qaeda was on the run. And people again thought, That just doesn’t seem right. As recently as this Tuesday, President Obama was still at it, telling troops assembled at MacDill Air Force Base (side note: polls suggest that a plurality in that room must have voted for Donald Trump) that, a few bumps in the road notwithstanding, things were going pretty well out there.

Characteristic of the head scratchers in Obama’s speech was this howler: “No foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland.” Elsewhere in the speech the president cited the “homegrown and largely isolated individuals” who killed Americans in Orlando, San Bernardino, Boston, and Fort Hood, and who were “radicalized online.” Never mind the fact that the Fort Hood terrorist exchanged a dozen or so emails with Anwar al-Awlaki, the American cleric who worked so hard to encourage American Muslims to murder their fellow citizens, or that al Qaeda and ISIS were actively calling for such attacks, and providing instructions for how to carry them out in their online magazines.

People listen to this sort of hairsplitting, and they think, that just doesn’t seem right. One hears the president, during the same speech, praise the campaign against the Islamic State as “sustainable,” and one can’t help but wonder, since when did we want a military effort against a trumped up gang of women-beating thugs like this to be “sustainable”? Swift, yes; crushing, sure; but “sustainable?” How about “victorious”? How about “over”?

“Fake news” is becoming a catch-all explanation for Democrats to explain Hillary Clinton’s loss. Voters didn’t trust Hillary, and didn’t appreciate the great deal they were getting from Obama, because of right-wing lies. The problem with this explanation is that it was hardly necessary for Russian troll farms to sow distrust about the Obama administration, when the administration (not to mention the Clinton campaign!) was itself such a relentless and strategic purveyor of half-truths and convenient omissions. For eight years, the word from the top just didn’t seem right—and the lack of trust such habitual semi-honesty engendered is why the left is very much the author of its own disaster.