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Paul Collits: Ideology Stomps on Truth

The Left’s rules: The personal is political. Belief trumps argument and evidence. Don’t change your mind when the facts change, simply summon a Twitter posse of the abusively like-minded. ‘Shut up’ is a valid argument. There can be no debate with racists/misogynists/climate deniers…

The increasing inability to reach a “sensible center” consensus on important political and cultural issues – what the late Christopher Pearson called “club sensible” – has been much noted across Western countries. The capacity to “reach across the aisle” in the USA, for example, is all but a distant memory. Ideological and partisan opponents have dug into entrenched positions on most issues and refuse to budge. More and more, we find that ad hominem attacks substitute for reasoned, solutions-oriented, respectful conversations among antagonists. There are a number of reasons why this has occurred.

One is the pervasive influence of relativism – the belief that there is no truth, not in relation to anything. Another is the coming of social media, which encourages all sorts of people with all sorts of views to vent them boldly to audiences they may not know personally and will ikely never meet face to face. A third reason is the general shallowness and incoherence of the age in which we live. A fourth is the decline of critical thinking skills that were, in former times, routinely developed in the many classics, humanities and liberal arts programs that now more or less no longer exist. Critical skills that supported reasoned arguments, and therefore reasonable positions on topics of the day. A fifth, I believe, is that now it is just about universally (and erroneously) accepted across most political and cultural institutions that “everything is political”, and that “the personal is political”. Again, this is post-modernism 101. A sixth is the close contemporary alignment of the political with one’s group “identity”, guaranteeing a deeply personal and entirely subjective stake in one’s political positions. This applies specifically to those of the left, who so often are allowed to set the agendas for political and cultural debate.

But there is something else at work. This is an age of ideology, of group identity, of culture wars and warriors. Of in-built, reflexively and tightly held positions on issues. There is much intransigence, often viciously expressed. And the stakes are high. If you are religious, for example, it matters deeply when supporters of gay rights press on beyond the acquisition of agreed, sensible respect for all persons and their dignity, towards dictating whom Christian schools can employ. We see all around the attacks on freedom of speech and of belief, their enemies gussied-up with awards and accolades despite representing the antithesis of that which they are purported to champion. The stakes are indeed high. People can lose their jobs, their careers even, when they express the “wrong” views (especially in public) on a contested subject where there are ideologically entrenched positions in play.

There seems very little desire abroad to say, “Well, you have a point, you know. Let’s sit down and discuss this over a coffee. We might both be right, or at least we might both hit upon parts of the truth.” Yeah, right.

Intersectionality, Tribalism and Farrakhan A movement of bigotries can only divide us. Daniel Greenfield

A funny thing happened on the way to the intersectional future. The proverbial knapsack was unpacked in the Women’s March and inside wasn’t just racial tribalism, but racial and religious supremacism.

Why do Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour of the Women’s March like Farrakhan and his hate group?

The Nation of Islam preaches that black people are the master race. It doesn’t just hate white people, Jews and a whole bunch of other folks. It hates them out of a conviction in its own superiority. According to its teachings, “the Blackman is the original man” and lighter skinned people were “devils” created by an evil mad scientist to rule over black people until they are destroyed by UFOs.

It even teaches that monkeys are descended from white people.

Progressive media essays defending Obama, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Danny Davis, Mallory and other black leaders for their Farrakhan links have urged concerned liberals to look at the positive aspects of the Nation of Islam, its love for black people, not the negative, its hatred for white people.

But it is the “positive” that is the problem.

Intersectionality promises to package tribal identity politics into a utopia of social justice. But the essence of tribalism is the superiority of your people and the inferiority of all other groups. Tribalism doesn’t have to be violent, hostile or hateful. Most peoples are tribal after all. But when you combine the most radical identity politics elements, as the left does, then bigoted supremacism is certain.

‘Social Justice’ Is About Anything but Justice By David Solway *****

Most people are blissfully unaware of the havoc wrought by our misnamed “Social Justice” and “Human Rights” ideology until they are themselves hit by a summons, a legal suit or a ruling in law that deprives them of their peace of mind, robs them of productive time and leaves them substantially out of pocket. It is like being struck by a bolt of lightning while believing oneself to enjoy adequate shelter. My wife and I have been struck by such unexpected intrusions into our lives on three separate occasions over the last few years.

Indeed, the first strike was like a political klaxon alerting us to the perils of telling the truth in a climate of moral evasion and widespread hypocrisy. We received a notice of defamation from a large Muslim organization in response to a candid article my wife had written when she was editor of Freedom Press Canada, an online journal run by my publisher at the time. This was our first experience of lawfare in action. Apprized by legal council that a court case could set us back two or three years and up to a quarter of a million dollars with little to no prospect of winning, we had no choice but to settle. Since we live in a country in which Muslims are regarded as innocent victims of bigotry and anti-Islamophobia legislation is pending, the alternative would have been bankruptcy.

A short while later, my wife found herself once again under siege as the result of a complaint of discrimination brought by a disgruntled student before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. The charges were baseless and plainly refutable by email records and other evidence. The fact that there was “nothing there,” as our lawyer commented, did not deter the HRT from pursuing a hearing. After two years of our living under a cloud of anxiety, the case went to mediation and the charges against Janice were “disappeared.” (The proceedings are described in her recently posted Fiamengo File series.) But the legal fees were astronomical and, since we were not engaged in a Civil Court trial but an HRT tribunal operating according to its own arbitrary laws, the costs were not reclaimable. We asked our lawyer whether we could counter-sue the student for defamation and related damages, but it turns out that, unlike the process in Civil Court, HRT complainants are protected from “reprisal.” “My experience was just a little glimpse,” Janice wrote in an introductory comment to the video, “into how a society becomes totalitarian when it decides to work outside the law (or too often, now, even within the law) to create ‘justice for the weak’ rather than justice for all.”


Whatever happened to those friendly, blue pith- helmeted British “constables on patrol” of yore? The stolid ones who walked the foggy streets armed only with nightsticks, and gave you some visible assurance they were on the lookout for bad guys, and not you?

They’ve been long buried, or retired, or have been replaced by PC-friendly, PC-compliant nonentities who’ll take orders and harass or arrest advocates of the freedom of speech, rather than risk dismissal and a pension for calling a Muslim a Muslim. They’d prefer to arrest Winston Churchill for bad-mouthing Nazis or Muslims than blow a whistle in pursuit of criminals. Paul Weston, a British libertarian, was arrested and silenced for reading excerpts from Churchil’s The River War. The “constables” are now on the lookout for you and for any evidence of “hate speech” against especially Muslims.

It’s evidence of Britain’s capitulation to Islam that it persecutes the advocates of the opposition of such capitulation that three individuals were barred from entering Britain because they allegedly posted a threat to “public safety” by holding their views. Lauren Southern, and Austrian activist Martin Sellner of Génération Identitaire and his girlfriend, American author and YouTuber Brittany Pettibone. Southern was detained in Calais, while Sellner and Pettibone were imprisoned for three days after being grilled on their political beliefs and speeches in Islamized Europe.

Sadiq Khan, the Muslim mayor of London, and determined to “transform” the City into a Sharia-compliant center of Islamic triumph, has called for the tech companies to sift out and crush free speech, as though the tech companies weren’t doing enough already. Do not defame Islam with “Islamophobia” or you will “spend a night in the box” or worse. Khan makes Oliver Cromwell look like a Quaker. The American Thinker has his number. On March 14th it ran this article, “Sadiq Khan Squelches Freedom of Thought and Expression”:

Leave McMaster Be By Victor Davis Hanson

About every two months, there are rumors that Gen. H. R. McMaster might be let go as Trump’s national-security adviser (along with many other stellar appointees).

The world, however, is a much more logical and predictable place than it was 14 months ago. We’ve restored ties to the Gulf monarchies; Israel is again treated with respect. There is no talk any more of an ascendant ISIS caliphate. Ukrainians have been armed; Putin has had tighter sanctions slapped on him. NATO-member defense expenditures are up 5 percent. The U.S. military is being rebooted. Controversial moves, such as leaving the Paris climate accords and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, are no longer controversial and are winning a consensus that such moves were overdue. The existential threat of a North Korean nuclear missile with the potential to hit the West Coast that was dropped on the nation last year is being dealt with through stepped up efforts to recalibrate missile defense, regional allied solidarity, historically tough U.N. sanctions, and a restored U.S. deterrence, rather than the old talk, talk, talk/give, give, give protocol of the “Agreed Framework,” “Six-Party Talks,” and “Strategic Patience” failures of the last 30 years.

The general doctrine of the National Security Council’s strategic blueprint — principled realism — is more or less a euphemism for the restoration of deterrence. Perhaps it is now less likely that Iran will send missiles in the direction of U.S. warships or take American sailors hostage or that U.S. diplomats in hostile countries will be subject to hearing loss. Much of that turnabout has been due, in various ways, public and private, to Trump’s national-security team of Mattis-Haley-Pompeo — and McMaster — who all have tried to define Trump’s Jacksonianism as an approach that is neither Obama recessional nor Bush-era preemptory nation-building. The appointment of Mike Pompeo at State solidifies that team.

On the principle that failure is punished and success rewarded, it makes no sense to lose someone integral to such progress, much less to chronically leak a wrongheaded move that would disrupt a successful team on the eve of dealing with both the North Korean threat and the various surreal side agreements and absurd protocols of the flawed Iran nuclear deal.

Morality Upside down By Marilyn Penn

NY State has just granted parole to one of three killers in the Black Liberation Army who in 1971 shot two cops in the back, shooting one 22 times as he pleaded for his life. The three member State Parole Board claimed that the 70 year old prisoner had finally taken responsibility for his actions and expressed regret and remorse for his crimes. Think of that standard compared with the Metropolitan Opera firing 74 year old James Levine for incidents of purported sexual harassment which took place many decades ago and were not reported until years after. Think of the 83 year old architect Richard Meier whose exhibition of collages was just canceled by Sotheby’s and whose gift to his alma mater Cornell was similarly declined due to allegations of sexual harassment, which included the affront to one of his assistants in having to look at images of female genitalia in the collages.

The pack hysteria that has overtaken America has been headlined by the Hollywood response to Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey , Bill Cosby and many other members of that community, largely on the basis of testimony of sexual harassment or assault given years after that may have occurred. In the case of James Levine, the media reported abuse of teenagers and of interest, the film which received many Academy Award nominations, winning the Oscar for its screenwriter, is Call Me By Your Name, a languorous look at a homosexual affair between a teenage student and a much older graduate student. The difference in age is never questioned, nor is there any trace of assumption that the older man might have unduly influenced the younger one. To the contrary, the boy’s father confesses his own regret at not having had the courage to experience a similar rite of passage in his own youth. Almost every man accused by the MeToo and TimesUp posses has apologized profusely either for wrong-doing or for being insensitive albeit misinterpreted, yet this has been insufficient for the various corporations, foundations, museums, universities and media centers for whom dismissal is the only appropriate response.

The Era of “the Other” Rewarding returning ISIS fighters – while imprisoning critics of Islam. Bruce Bawer

In a recent article for the New Republic, Nell Irvin Painter, a retired Princeton historian whose work focuses largely on race, discussed “othering” – a concept that she explained with reference to Flannery O’Connor’s 1955 story “The Artificial Nigger”:

A white man, Mr. Head, and his grandson Nelson visit Atlanta for the day. Mr. Head, a poor and sad old man, undertakes to tutor Nelson in racial hierarchy. On the train to the city, a prosperous black man passes by. At first, Nelson sees “a man.” Then, under Mr. Head’s questioning, “a fat man…an old man.” These are wrong answers. Nelson must be educated. Mr. Head corrects him: “That was a nigger.” Nelson must undergo the process of unseeing a well-dressed man and reseeing a “nigger,” to understand the man as Other and himself and his uncle as people who belong to society.

This episode in O’Connor’s story does indeed capture a lamentable fact of mid twentieth-century life: back then, many Americans belonging to certain groups did view members of certain other groups primarily, or even exclusively, as members of those groups, and as their inferiors. Fortunately, this type of reflexive prejudice receded dramatically in the decades after O’Connor wrote her story. In no country in human history, in fact, have members of such a wide range of ethnic and religious groups succeeded in truly becoming a single people, viewing one another not as parts of an “Other” but as fellow and equal citizens – and as friends – as was the case in late twentieth-century America.

Yet leftist ideologues in the media, academy, and politics would have us believe otherwise. For decades now, high-school students – and even children in grade school – have been taught that America, far from being the land of opportunity, is the land of bigotry. Their teachers have told them all about America’s legacy of slavery – but have omitted to explain that until a few generations ago, slavery existed in every human society, that it still exists now (mostly in the Muslim world), and that what makes America distinctive, when it comes to this subject, is not the fact that white Americans once owned black slaves but the fact that white Americans fought our nation’s bloodiest war to liberate blacks from bondage.

Peter Smith : Free Trade at the Bottom of the Garden

Pacts such as the TPP find expression in long and complex documents because all parties know the others are predisposed to cheating. And cheat they do. Unlike Donald Trump, those now lambasting his position on tariffs refuse to accept that genuinely free trade is no better than a fairy tale.

When Donald Trump announced the imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminium many conservative commentators – some of whom I suspect have never been within cooee of an economics text – became free-market economists overnight. I heard some bringing Adam Smith into the frame in support of free trade. Now it is true to say that Smith favoured ‘free trade’ but with more nuance than those who casually drop his name.

Like most people who studied economics I read some of Smith’s work but not much of it. The late, great economist Mark Blaug in his book Economic Theory in Retrospect spoofed the notional man who laboured through every word of The Wealth of Nations before revealing his view that there “probably never was any such man.”

That said, it’s a safe bet that Blaug read a lot more of Smith’s magnus opus than most economists of the past and infinitely more than the current breed. He makes the point that Smith supported free trade but also understood that “protectionist measures are justified…in retaliation against foreign tariffs.” There, you see, fair trade. Trump and Smith in furious agreement.

This is my view. Those who spout the free-trade mantra live in fairyland. They simply don’t know what they are talking about. There is no such thing as free trade between independent nations.

Free-trade deals find expression in long and complex documents. They are long and complex because of a litany of carve-outs and also because each side knows that the other is predisposed to cheating. And cheat they do.

Does anyone think that a US vehicle manufacturer setting up shop in Mexico doesn’t get a sweetheart deal from the Mexican government? Does anyone think that China operates in the best traditions of laissez-faire? And where are the purists in arguing for dismantling the plethora of barriers that every country puts around its agricultural sector? Let me repeat for the benefit of so-called free traders: there is no such thing as free trade.

What is the truth about international trade? On the whole, without doubt, it has been enormously beneficial. But, like many beneficial things, it should not be embraced willy-nilly or lauded beyond its potential bounty.

International trade provides scope for all sides to reap gains as specialisation increases the total quantity and quality of the output of goods and services. However, the distribution of these benefits between countries is indeterminate; in the sense that economic theory offers no reliable way of predicting the outcome.

Tyranny of Shaming American Race Wars as Seen by an Immigrant by Nonie Darwish

The bias of many Americans against American values has blinded them from seeing the reasons we immigrants went through hell to come to this country. Many Americans believe that those who criticize the culture from which we escaped must be “Islamophobic.” They seem not to understand why we never again want to see what we have gone through so much to escape from.

Such attacks on the white majority in Americans are, bluntly, racist. It is a shame that so many Americans are unable or refuse to see what many immigrants see: that it was under this white majority that millions of oppressed people — of all colors and creeds — from around the world were rescued from tyranny, Sharia law, slavery, discrimination, Islamism and a miserable existence under corrupt, war-torn and famine-stricken nations. Instead, many seem to want to bring all that here.

We watched American freedoms as a dream: to be able to smile back at a man who opened the door for you without accusations of being a loose woman for smiling. To be able to wear what you want, go out when you want, work or get an education or not, and venture to hope one day to live under a system that respects monogamy and equal rights for women and minorities. Yes, it is the American culture where whites are the majority, no problem with that, that made our dreams come true. Despite its shortcomings no other country in the world offers its citizens the chance to be whatever they would like. We might never get back what we already have.

Every day we hear on television, “We need an honest discussion about race in this country”.

Many well-meaning Americans, however, may have had enough of this endless, empty and dysfunctional discussion of race. To an outsider, Americans seem obsessed with race; and the discussion always deteriorates to shouting, insulting, blaming, finger-pointing, distorting reality and removing any hope of taking responsibility for oneself. The goal of the discussion always seems to be to try to claim that “I am holier than thou.”

We immigrants, on the other hand, the minute we land in the US, we feel the political struggle for our vote.

The day I got my citizenship and went out to register to vote, some people in the room told me to register as a Democrat because the Democrats would protect my rights from the racist establishment and give me “stuff.” Many of the people who had come with me did register that way, but I found the urging alarming. I grew up under a socialist, totalitarian system under the leadership of President Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt — a nanny state that also gives you “stuff’.” What many Americans do not realize is that the free stuff can be too expensive

On Trade, Trump Is Acting in the Best Interest of the USA By Howard Richman, Jesse Richman, and Raymond Richman

On Thursday, President Trump, surrounded by steel workers in the Oval Office, signed a memo imposing tariffs on steel (25%) and aluminum (10%) that are imported to the United States.

He carved out two exceptions to the tariffs:

Canada and Mexico would be temporarily exempted from the tariffs, pending the outcome of the ongoing renegotiation of NAFTA. The U.S. will likely insist that products imported tariff-free into the U.S. use steel produced within NAFTA.
He directed USTR (U.S. trade representative) Robert C. Lighthizer to negotiate with those military allies that want to be excluded from the tariffs, but such exclusions would require trade reciprocity. The Trump administration is expert at using economic leverage to produce negotiated outcomes that benefit the United States.

This announcement marks a victory for the trade deficit hawks in President Trump’s inner circle of economic advisers, including Wilbur Ross, Trump’s secretary of commerce, and University of California at Irvine economics professor Peter Navarro, who was recently elevated to the ranks of the president’s top-level advisers.

The economic recovery being produced by President Trump’s tax cuts and deregulation is at stake. During the fourth quarter of 2017, real GDP grew at a 2.5% clip, which is good compared to growth rates during the Obama years, but it could have been much better. Here are the contributions to growth during the fourth quarter: