Archives For Classical Liberalism

Weiss’ resignation last week raised eyebrows, ruffled feathers, and furthered speculation about the existence of an internal war being waged between the traditional Left and radical Leftists within modern liberalism.

This “civil war” isn’t new.

What has been emerging from a series of high-profile defections and protests over the past decade, is evidence of an unstable hegemonic power purging itself of the rational in order to exalt the radical.

Wiess’s protest exit adds to a growing list of intellectuals walking away from Leftism and its corrosive “convert, pay a tax or else” culture. The late Roger Scruton was exiled for not towing the party line, as was ex-Guardian journalist, Melanie Phillips. The rise of black conservatives, disingenuously called Uncle Toms by Leftists, also find themselves in a similar social position. Add to this the growing number of professionals calling out Apocalyptic Climate Change.

All of which is reminiscent of Jean-Paul Sartre’s disdain (and that of his French Communist intellectual clique) for Albert Camus’ critique of the Soviet Union, epitomized in Camus’, 1950 book ‘The Rebel.’ Cancelling people, they don’t like, or who disagree with them is what the radical left does.

Just as Sartre disowned Camus for questioning the new normal, for being applauded by the Right, and ‘refusing to call himself a Marxist’, Weiss has found herself in her own clash with ‘upstarts of the revolutionary spirit, nouveau riche and Pharisees of justice.’ (Camus)

For example, The New York Times ran a petty article snidely listing an array of Weiss’ “wrong think” misdemeanors. The list included Weiss ‘questioning aspects of [recent] social justice movements’ and expressing concerns about the “believe all women” witch hunt applied to Trump Supreme Court Justice nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

They made no mention of Weiss’ allegations about being called a “Nazi and a racist” by staff members. No real surprise. Many on the Left genuinely believe those who aren’t ideologically aligned or marked on the forehead in exactly the same way are Nazis’ and racists. It’s also the manipulative fallback for any Leftist not willing to engage in an intelligent debate, or the thought process in an honest way, generally.

As if to prove my point, the NYT gave special attention to Weiss’ comments on Twitter. Specifically, those made about “staff unrest” over James Bennett deciding to run the now infamous opinion piece from Senator Tom Cotton ‘calling for military response’ to extremists hijacking civil protests in response to the killing of George Floyd.

The Left’s response to Wiess has been somewhat more of a laugh it off, arrogant “meh”. They’re both dismissive and indifferent. Despite the restrained tone, the NYT couldn’t hide its contempt for her. They may as well have just said: “Weiss was never really one of us, so don’t take anything she has to say seriously.”

Odd, since Weiss is Jewish, a (lower case) liberal, and is staunchly anti-Trump.

Set the smug NYT piece alongside Wiess’ resignation letter, and it’s pretty clear why the Leftist activists in the NYT, who self-identify as journalists, are happy for her to move on. It’s better for the brand. There’s no effort required in having to remove her, nor defend against the very Nazified image of the New York Times “canceling” a Jewish woman’s livelihood because she wasn’t welcome within the culture, or didn’t fit its ideological mold.

In true intersectional inquisition fashion, The Guardian published a bizarre academic rant mocking Weiss. Her allegations were discounted and the author declined to call her a victim of ‘illiberal liberalism.’ According to the Guardian, the culprit wasn’t Leftism, it was “right wingers”. The piece strongly insinuated that Weiss was a ‘professionally cancelled pundit; a genre of primarily center-right contrarian who makes their living by deliberately provoking outrage online.’

The reaction from the Left solidifies Weiss’ her overall claim about experiencing hostility in the workplace simply for having, and voicing a different opinion. The fact the Guardian so easily discounted her accusations, and that NYT seemed happy enough to see the back of someone who thinks for themselves, instead of following herd thinking, speaks volumes.

In line with Weiss’ resignation, Andrew Sullivan, former editor of The New Republic, resigned from the New York Magazine saying the reasons were “self-evident”.

Sullivan’s support of Weiss seems to have triggered his own departure from a Mainstream media organization dominated by the Leftist cult of modern liberalism.

Sullivan wrote:

“Mainstream Media seems to believe, that any writer not actively committed to critical theory in questions of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity is actively, physically harming co-workers merely by existing in the same virtual space. Actually attacking, and even mocking, critical theory’s ideas and methods, as I have done continually in this space, is therefore out of sync with the values of Vox Media.’

Despite Weiss and Sullivan being staunchly anti-Trump. Weiss won huge support from Conservatives.

Donald Trump Jnr responded to the news on Twitter saying: “NYT editor Bari Weiss resigns in STUNNING fashion & exposes the Times’ rampant attacks on anyone who breaks from the far-left narrative.”

Rita Panahi tweeted: “Bari Weiss isn’t a conservative, far from it, and they still made her life unbearable because she challenged aspects of Leftist orthodoxy. The modern Left is ruled by its fanatics & poses the greatest threat to free expression.”

Miranda Divine added,

“What an indictment of the NY Times. Rational leftie Bari Weiss driven out by the “illiberal environment” governed by trends on Twitter and workplace “bullying.” Appalling what Weiss endured. Kudos to her integrity.”

To be anti-leftist is not the same as being anti-Liberal (big “L” Classical Liberal). An anti-leftist, refuses to join the Leftist cult, an anti-Liberal is someone who tries to cancel those who refuse to join the Leftist cult.

It’s pretty simple math.

Weiss is another reminder that radicals on the Left are taking a form of theocracy; superiority. Where to be “sinless” is to be a Leftist.

I agree with Weiss. The Left has a serious problem.

Those who’ve pandered to the new normal, fanning the flames of cancel culture, shouldn’t wonder at why it’s so pervasive.  They are Frankenstein, and cancel culture is their monster. Literati on the Left shouldn’t be one bit surprised that they cannot control it, nor that they are finding themselves being cancelled by it.

Here, Hannah Arendt’s ‘revolutions devour’ its own, joins Karl Barth’s analysis of revolution: ‘far more than the conservative, the revolutionary is overcome of evil, because with his or her “No” they stand so strangely near to God. This is the tragedy of revolution. Evil is not the true answer to evil… Order and not disorder is the meaning of Divine revolt. The real revolt comes from God, not human revolution.’ (The Epistle to the Romans, XIII)

For Weiss there’s also the impossible-to-overstate irony of her signing an open letter that boldly claims Donald Trump ‘is a powerful ally of illiberalism’; that he’s a ‘threat to democracy,’ yet says nothing about the “illiberal” Leftist dominated Mainstream Media, and it’s repression of ‘the free exchange of information and ideas.’

Which is odd, since Donald Trump supports Classical Liberal freedoms, and is himself hounded by the Mainstream Media, Big Tech and American liberal elites. Some who have openly voiced how much they themselves want to cancel him, if not his Presidency.

Weiss’ resignation is a protest against the increasingly fascist Leftist hegemony. Her negative experiences provide the perfect reason for a Trump 2020 win. They also give reasons for why The Daily Wire, PragerU, and Caldron Pool (among others) are essential grass roots media service providers.


First published on Caldron Pool, 21st July 2020.

Photo by Marco Lenti on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020

One of the highlights of State of the Union Addresses, is the build-up and debriefing offered by commentators. Mainstream media “expert” panels have their place,  but in favour of a more conversational tone, I prefer to steer away from them. If you’re an Aussie, and are old enough to remember Channel Ten’s excellent, late night program, ‘The Panel’,  you’ll know exactly what I mean. One of the better American versions, is the gathering of Daily Wire front-men, and their, all-issues-on-the-board, round table.

Although a lot of what Donald Trump said throughout the blockbuster address, was worth a post on its own (particularly the last 45 minutes of his speech), the content of a four-minute discussion between Ben Shapiro, Michael Knowles and Andrew Klavan, during the Daily Wire’s post-SOTU discussion, also deserves highlighting.

Here’s why:

“You know it’s amazing; it just occurred to me when you watch that speech, you see all these Democrats and they’re constantly talking about check your privilege this, and check your privilege that; here’s the fact, everyone who is born today is privileged everyone who was born in the last 30, 40, 50 years in the United States these are the most privileged human being ever so check your privilege seriously check your damn privilege. Like all these women who are dancing there, “oh, look at us we finally overcame; [no], you didn’t overcome a damn thing. Your grandmother’s overcame something, your great grandmothers overcame something and that’s really what the speech was about”
“When Trump was saying, when he was paying homage, half the people he was paying homage to are people who are over the age of seventy, right? And he was saying you know our privilege is to be their grand-kids, our privilege is to be their kids. They’re the ones who did the heavy lifting. We’re just here picking up the leftovers and it’s our job to push it on to the next generation.”
“The one privilege that people will not recognise on the left is the privilege of having been born here and the privilege of standing on the shoulders of giants. They act as though the earth began spinning the moment they arrived here, and that they’ve had to overcome such terrible burdens. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez has not had to overcome a burden. Neither have I by the way. With very rare exceptions there are some people who have had to overcome [terrible burdens].“ (Shapiro)

In the space of four minutes, Shapiro and company achieved, what large amounts of naval gazing commentators have failed to do from 2016 onward; and that is provide a succinct, proper explanation of what “Make America Great Again” actually stands for, and why its impact is important to understand.

 “…this is what the Left number understood about Trump’s slogan Make America Great Again. MAGA was never about this idea that America was ever at any point in the past to utopia it was about the idea that the people who inhabited America were infused with the idea of an American Dream that they were motivated by that idea and if you want to make America great again you have to get back to that idea that motivated people are grandparents to storm the shores of Normandy anybody in that chamber is storming the shores of Normandy, they’re bitterly storming the shores UC Berkeley.” (Shapiro)

Shapiro’s right. It’s wrong to say that MAGA is only the manifestation of old white men and their desperate, failing, attempt to hold onto a Utopian past. It’s just as wrong to say that MAGA is the product of a hidden pseudo-Nazi religion; as is pushed by some who’ve hijacked Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, amongst Leftist theologians; or Leftist politicians, and the small amount of delusional Neo-Nazis, who Leftists need in order to justify their own fascist tendencies (which include the widespread use of manipulation, reckless labelling and generalisations).

Despite what you’ve been told, or may think about Donald Trump, there’s no denying that the MAGA movement is multi-ethnic. Looking at MAGA through its multi-ethnic lens, shows that it was more than just an election slogan for Donald Trump, or the Republican Party. The multi-ethnicity of MAGA proves what many said from the start, often against a barrage of hatred, deliberate misinterpretation and false accusation: “Make America Great Again” was never about race, colour or religion.

MAGA’s popularity, even amongst ethnic groups, can be explained by its line-in-the-sand message.  It’s about Americans. It’s about inheritance, faith and tradition.On a broader scale, it’s about taking a firm stand against the abuse of hard fought for freedoms, and the blurring of definitions; a firm stand against the surrender of Western Civilisation behind a veil of compassion, and the downgrade of both Judeo-Christianity and Classical Liberalism.

MAGA is the defiant stand of a free people, thrown into a culture war they didn’t ask for; a war that is being waged on the West from within, while opportunistic people, determined to make an enemy of the West circle overhead.

MAGA is a megaphone, not for racists, but for ordinary everyday people. It’s allowed, and allowing, an increasing majority, who are not aligned, or who were once aligned with Leftism, to break free from Leftist ideology, such as their obsession with victimisation and their mob mentality. Significant examples of people who are breaking free are the #walkaway and #Blexit movements.

It wasn’t just Trump’s 2016 election win that unveiled just how far the culture war had advanced. It was also the fact that Hilary Clinton lost. Clinton’s “shock” election loss, unmasked Leftism and it’s war against all who disagree on reasoned ground with them. Clinton’s election loss exposed the Leftist march against people who are on both the Left and the Right. That loss woke people up to the actual nature of Leftism, as it began charging at them, celebrity venom at the ready, Antifa flag flying, faces hidden and bayonets drawn.

The fact that things have been allowed to get so hostile, isn’t entirely the fault of the Leftist cult of modern liberalism or its cult members. The culture war has been, by and large, triggered by the long complacency and entitlement of many in the West. As Shapiro and company explain, while there is a unity in universal privilege, there’s an absence of unity in gratitude and awareness of that privilege. Gratitude and universal privilege are overlooked in the American psyche, (and I’ll add, most of the West).

Michael Knowles and Andrew Klavan added weight to Shapiro’s grand-slam response to the State of the Union address stating:

“Yeah, this is the thing that makes this speech so jarring even for me in this culture but especially for people on the left is gratitude we have utterly lost gratitude, there’s nothing but pride, and entitlement that people feel, and so [Trump] goes and he says thank you. Thank you for what you guys who stormed the beaches of Normandy. Thank you for what you did; and it’s so that we’re just not used to saying thank you anymore.” (Knowles)
“I’ve never seen a major war. I’ve seen racism and I’ve seen it disappear; they disappear, it vanished, you know. It was gone and I think it’s not personal racism. That’s always there; with us, but institutional racism it’s just erased. You know I’ve seen all this stuff I’ve never had to fight I’ve never had to pick up a rifle I’ve never had to do any of those things and I’m so grateful, I’d be of jerk if I weren’t an optimist.” (Klavan)

Through this lens, MAGA, is about showing gratitude for freedom, opportunity and American privilege. It’s not an empty boast about American exceptionalism, a longing for some Utopian past, or some fanatical quixotic return to a doctrine of “manifest destiny.””

As Ronald Reagan, said in 1964,

The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honoured dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn’t die in vain. Where, then, is the road to peace? Well it’s a simple answer after all. You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, “There is a price we will not pay.” “There is a point beyond which they must not advance. [This is] the meaning of “peace through strength.”[…] We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.” [i]

MAGA is a renewed line-in-the-sand, drawn and backed by a people who refuse to surrender freedom in the name of what others call “progress”. Make America Great Again” was never about race, colour or religion. It’s no longer just about Donald Trump. MAGA is a bulwark against Leftism, not just for Americans; not just for the Right, but for anyone in the West, who chooses to pick up both prayer and gratitude, knowing that we have what we have today, because we were not handed a gift to abuse, but a gift to preserve, and build responsibly upon.


References & Notes:

[i] Reagan, R. 1964 A Time For Choosing 

Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

American conservative media organization, PragerU, is facing an uphill battle against an increasing trend towards censorship of conservative content.

Founded by Dennis Prager in 2009, and currently run by CEO, Marissa Streit, PragerU provides commentary and information on a wide range of subjects, from prominent thinkers and doers. PragerU also considers themselves to be a platform for the preservation of Judeo-Christian values, and “the concepts of freedom of speech, a free press, free markets and a strong military to protect and project those values.” (PragerU ‘What we Do)

In an official Facebook post from January 26th, 2019, PragerU admins wrote:

“PragerU has officially filed a new lawsuit against Google and YouTube in the state of California [over unjustifiable censorship].

Adding that, streaming service, Spotify:

“has completely banned PragerU from advertising its content. This is clearly in line with the censorship we’ve experienced on Youtube, Google, and Twitter.” (PragerU Facebook)

According to a PragerU Twitter post, Spotify’s reason for blacklisting the organization, was because their content didn’t ‘comply’ with Spotify’s editorial policies. Consequently, Spotify “stopped all existing ads, and stated that they will not be approving any new ones.” (PragerU Twitter) Not only this, but as of the January 26th, PragerU, “still hadn’t received any explanation from Spotify as to which specific policy we didn’t comply with.” (PragerU Facebook)

PragerU’s battle against censorship began in 2016[i], with decisions from YouTube to place some PragerU content in the “restricted mode” category. Videos like ‘Don’t Feminists Fight For Muslim Women?’ and ‘Are the Police Racist?, among 100 others, such as the counter Marxist, Jordan Peterson, information video, ‘Dangerous People Are Teaching Your Kids’ and ‘The Suicide of Europe’, are deemed by Google as being “inappropriate for the younger audiences.”[ii]

Since 2016, PragerU has experienced controversy after controversy, with other social media platforms also restricting PragerU content. Facebook removed videos from PragerU’s three million plus, strong Facebook page, only later reinstating those videos, along with an apology, because “the videos in question were mistakenly removed. While we continue to research what caused this error, we have restored the content because it does not break our Community Standards[iii]

If you’re up to date with the developing concerns over big tech companies threatening to censor conservative content, and big tech companies actually censoring conservative content, you’ll know that an ambiguous reason like, “mistakenly removed”, in all probability means, “removed by an employee, who took personal offence to the content, acted unanimously, making a subjective (highly unprofessional) decision to delete it.”

Although, in this case, Facebook deserves kudos for acknowledging the error and fixing it; the increase in uncalled for restrictions on content that challenges the overarching ideological predisposition of the big tech companies, should be of deep concern to everyone. It is a direct threat to the right to freedom of information, freedom of speech, and the right to come to conclusions independent of those who may seek to make us co-dependent on them.

For now, PragerU, and organizations like Caldron Pool are free to publish content in line with the values and faith that made, and still makes, the West a destination for many.

For now, PragerU stands as a city on a hill, at the forefront of a conflict that is unnecessary, unethical and uncalled-for. Even though doors are being shut on PragerU, as long as PragerU stands by its mandate, as outlined in their mission statement, they will continue to be that city, providing an open door for discussion, which runs against the stream.


References:

[i] The Federalist, sourced 4th February, 2019

[ii] PragerU Petition, YouTube Continues to restrict many PragerU videos, sourced 4th February, 2019

[iii] Business Insider, sourced 4th February, 2019

Also published @ The Caldron Pool, 4th February, 2019 under the heading: PragerU’s Uphill Battle Against Censorship As Ads are Permabanned by Spotify