The crocodiles of Foggy Bottom 0

A trenchant quip made years ago about the British Foreign Office could be applied with equal validity to the US State Department, thus:

They found a mole in the State Department: he was working for America.

As the rest (it is implied) are working against America, the only periods in recent history when its own policies were not different from those of the president, were when Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were in the White House. And the only time when the music from Foggy Bottom was in complete harmony with the Song of the Oval Office was when Barack Obama was taking the solo lead in “Apologies to the World for America”.

An editorial at American Greatness describes the swampy crocodile pond at Foggy Bottom:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has isolated himself from his own department and allowed subordinates to fill a handful of top positions with people who actively opposed Donald Trump’s election, according to current and former State Department officials and national security experts with specific knowledge of the situation. …

Rumors have circulated for months that Tillerson either plans to resign or is waiting for the president to fire him. The staffers describe an amateur secretary of state who has “checked out” and effectively removed himself from major decision making.

About 200 State Department jobs require Senate confirmation. But the Senate cannot confirm nominees it does not have. More than nine months into the new administration, most of the senior State Department positions — assistant and deputy assistant secretary posts — remain unfilled.

What’s more, the United States currently has no ambassador to the European Union, or to key allies such as France, Germany, Australia, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. Meantime, Obama Administration holdovers remain ensconced in the department and stationed at embassies in the Balkans, Africa, and the Middle East.

The leadership vacuum has been filled by a small group opposed to the president’s “America First” agenda.

At the heart of the problem, these officials say, are the two people closest to Tillerson: chief of staff Margaret Peterlin and senior policy advisor Brian Hook, who runs the State Department’s in-house think tank.

Peterlin and Hook are longtime personal friends who current staffers say are running the departmentlike a private fiefdom for their benefit and in opposition to the president and his stated policies.

The lack of staffing gives the duo unprecedented power over State Department policy. Since joining Tillerson’s team, Peterlin and Hook have created a tight bottleneck, separating the 75,000 State Department staffers — true experts in international relations — from the secretary. … That has meant Peterlin and Hook make the decisions. …

Peterlin and Hook have stymied every effort by pro-Trump policy officials to get jobs at the State Department. “Peterlin is literally sitting on stacks of résumés,” one national security expert told American Greatness. Together, Peterlin and Hook are “boxing out anyone who supports Trump’s foreign policy agenda”.   

Peterlin, an attorney and former Commerce Department official in the George W. Bush Administration, was hired to help guide political appointments through the vetting and confirmation process. She reportedly bonded with Tillerson during his confirmation hearings, and he hired her as his chief of staff. Peterlin then brought in Hook, who co-founded the John Hay Initiative, a group of former Mitt Romney foreign-policy advisors who publicly refused to support Trump because he would “act in ways that make America less safe”.

In a May 2016 profile of NeverTrump Republicans, Hook told Politico, “Even if you say you support him as the nominee, you go down the list of his positions and you see you disagree on every one.”

And that is the Man who is making US foreign policy.  It is not the policy of the elected president.

Hook now directs the department’s Office of Policy Planning, responsible for churning out policy briefs and helping to shape the nation’s long-term strategic agenda.

In September, Peterlin and Hook hired David Feith, a former Wall Street Journal editorial writer and the son of Douglas J. Feith, one of the architects of the Iraq War. Feith shares with Peterlin and Hook a deep dislike for President Trump. Feith, according to one State Department employee with knowledge of the hire, had been rejected by the White House precisely because of his opposition to the president and his policies. Peterlin and Hook forced him through anyway.

Incredibly, even the State Department’s spokesman, R.C. Hammond, was an outspoken NeverTrumper before the election, frequently tweeting jibes and barbs at the candidate. … .

State’s anti-Trump climate has shut out several top-notch foreign policy hands.

Kiron Skinner, founding director of the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University and a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, worked on Trump’s national security transition team and was hired as a senior policy advisor. She was considered for the job Hook now has in the Office of Policy Planning. But she was isolated from career staffers and quit after a few days.

At least Skinner managed to get into the building. Another former Reagan Administration staffer with decades of experience in U.S.-Russian affairs and international economics had spent months in 2016 campaigning for the president in critical battleground states, including Pennsylvania and Ohio. As soon as Trump won the election, this experienced analyst and several other pro-Trump associates were passed over for State Department jobs. It’s to the point that even internship candidates are being rejected if they volunteered for the Trump campaign. …

No name given there. But among the “pro-Trump associates passed over” we think of John Bolton, who would make an excellent Secretary of State.

In government today, the maxim that “personnel is policy” is truer than ever. As a result, the State Department mirrors the management style not of its leader, but of Tillerson’s chief aides who are at odds with the president’s stated foreign policy agenda.

A State Department staffed with opponents of the president is hardly useful to Americans who voted to reject the failed foreign policies of the past two administrations.

President Trump made “draining the swamp” a cornerstone of his campaign. How can he drain the swamp if the swamp dwellers control his administration and drown out voices of his most innovative supporters?

The biggest political scandal in American history 4

Why did Obama corruptly put the full power of his administration – his State Department, his Department of Justice, the intelligence services – behind the Clintons’ drive to get $145 billion (plus a few hundred thousand and a few pennies more) into their “Clinton Foundation” gofundme hoarde, by selling one fifth of US uranium to Russia?

What the heck did Obama gain by it?

And why, knowing how deeply guilty their president and secretary of state were of colluding with the Russian regime, did the Democratic Party launch a formal investigation into whether Donald Trump had colluded with the Russians, knowing full well he had not – though going to great lengths to fabricate some flimsy “evidence” that he had – when such an investigation was bound to turn up their own filthy racket? Stupidity? Obviously. Panic for cover-up? Certainly. Whopping chutzpah? That too.

Of course they never expected they’d have to take action to conceal the treasonous racket , because they were so sure that Hillary Clinton, for whom the foul plot was woven, would be president.

Oh, what a shock it was, and what agonizing fear gripped them when she lost the election!

Perhaps they imagined that if the people doing the investigation into the non-existent Trunp “collusion” were party to their own collusion, their secrets would be kept safe, the false case against Donald Trump brilliantly concocted without anyone suspecting that the real collusion had happened under the Obama presidency. As we said, stupid!

Andrew McCarthy writes at the National Review:

The Uranium One scandal is not only, or even principally, a Clinton scandal. It is an Obama-administration scandal. The Clintons were just doing what the Clintons do: cashing in on their “public service”. The Obama administration, with Secretary Clinton at the forefront but hardly alone, was knowingly compromising American national-security interests. The administration green-lighted the transfer of control over one-fifth of American uranium-mining capacity to Russia, a hostile regime — and specifically to Russia’s state-controlled nuclear-energy conglomerate, Rosatom. …

At the time the administration approved the transfer, it knew that Rosatom’s American subsidiary was engaged in a lucrative racketeering enterprise that had already committed felony extortion, fraud, and money-laundering offenses.

The Obama administration also knew that congressional Republicans were trying to stop the transfer. Consequently, the Justice Department concealed what it knew. DOJ allowed the racketeering enterprise to continue compromising the American uranium industry rather than commencing a prosecution that would have scotched the transfer. Prosecutors waited four years before quietly pleading the case out for a song, in violation of Justice Department charging guidelines. Meanwhile, the administration stonewalled Congress, reportedly threatening an informant who wanted to go public.  …

Naïvely viewing Russia as a “strategic partner” rather than a malevolent competitor, the Bush administration made a nuclear-cooperation agreement with the Kremlin in May 2008. …

Then Russia invaded Georgia.

 In 2009, notwithstanding this aggression (which continues to this day with Russia’s occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia), President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton signaled the new administration’s determination to “reset” relations with Moscow.

In this reset, renewed cooperation and commerce in nuclear energy would be central. There had been such cooperation and commerce since the Soviet Union imploded. In 1992, the administration of President George H. W. Bush agreed with the nascent Russian federation that U.S. nuclear providers would be permitted to purchase uranium from Russia’s disassembled nuclear warheads (after it had been down-blended from its highly enriched weapons-grade level).

The Russian commercial agent responsible for the sale and transportation of this uranium to the U.S. is the Kremlin-controlled company “Tenex” (formally, JSC Techsnabexport). Tenex is a subsidiary of Rosatom. Tenex (and by extension, Rosatom) have an American arm called “Tenam USA.” Tenam is based in Bethesda, Md. Around the time President Obama came to power, the Russian official in charge of Tenam was Vadim Mikerin.

The Obama administration reportedly issued a visa for Mikerin in 2010, but a racketeering investigation led by the FBI determined that he was already operating here in 2009. The Racketeering Scheme As Tenam’s general director, Mikerin was responsible for arranging and managing Rosatom/Tenex’s contracts with American uranium purchasers. This gave him tremendous leverage over the U.S. companies. With the assistance of several confederates, Mikerin used this leverage to extort and defraud the U.S. contractors into paying inflated prices for uranium. They then laundered the proceeds through shell companies and secret bank accounts in Latvia, Cyprus, Switzerland, and the Seychelle Islands — though sometimes transactions were handled in cash, with the skim divided into envelopes stuffed with thousands of dollars in cash.

The inflated payments served two purposes: They enriched Kremlin-connected energy officials in the U.S. and in Russia to the tune of millions of dollars; and they compromised the American companies that paid the bribes, rendering players in U.S. nuclear energy — a sector critical to national security — vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow. 

But Mikerin had a problem. To further the Kremlin’s push for nuclear-energy expansion, he had been seeking to retain a lobbyist — from whom he planned to extort kickbacks, just as he did with the U.S. energy companies. With the help of an associate connected to Russian organized-crime groups, Mikerin found his lobbyist. The man’s name has not been disclosed, but we know he is now represented by Victoria Toensing, a well-respected Washington lawyer, formerly a federal prosecutor and counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee. When Mikerin solicited him in 2009, the lobbyist was uncomfortable, worried that the proposal would land him on the wrong side of the law. So he contacted the FBI and revealed what he knew. From then on, the Bureau and Justice Department permitted him to participate in the Russian racketeering scheme as a “confidential source” — and he is thus known as “CS-1” in affidavits the government, years later, presented to federal court in order to obtain search and arrest warrants.

At the time this unidentified man became an informant, the FBI was led by director Robert Mueller, who is now the special counsel investigating whether Trump colluded with Russia.

The investigation was centered in Maryland (Tenam’s home base). There, the U.S. attorney was Obama appointee Rod Rosenstein — now President Trump’s deputy attorney general, and the man who appointed Mueller as special counsel to investigate Trump.

Because of CS-1, the FBI was able to understand and monitor the racketeering enterprise almost from the start. By mid-May 2010, it could already prove the scheme and three separate extortionate payments Mikerin had squeezed out of the informant. Equally important: According to reporting by John Solomon and Alison Spann in the Hill, the informant learned through conversations with Mikerin and others that Russian nuclear officials were trying to ingratiate themselves with the Clintons. 

There is no doubt that this extraordinarily gainful ingratiation took place. …

In 2005, former President Clinton helped his Canadian billionaire friend and benefactor, Frank Giustra, obtain coveted uranium-mining rights from Kazakhstan’s dictator. The Kazakh deal enabled Giustra’s company (Ur-Asia Energy) to merge into Uranium One (a South African company), a $3.5 billion windfall.

Giustra and his partners thereafter contributed tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation.

Besides the valuable Kazakh reserves, Uranium One also controlled about a fifth of the uranium stock in the United States.

Alas, Putin, the neighborhood bully, also wanted the Kazakh uranium. He leaned on Kazakhstan’s dictator, who promptly arrested the official responsible for selling the uranium-mining rights to Giustra’s company. This put Uranium One’s stake in jeopardy of being seized by the Kazakh government.

As Uranium One’s stock plunged, its panicked executives turned to the State Department, where their friend Hillary Clinton was now in charge. State sprung into action, convening emergency meetings with the Kazakh regime. A few days later, it was announced that the crisis was resolved (translation: the shakedown was complete). Russia’s energy giant, Rosatom, would purchase 17 percent of Uranium One, and the Kazakh threat would disappear — and with it, the threat to the value of the Clinton donors’ holdings.

For Putin, though, that was just a start. He didn’t want a minority stake in Uranium One, he wanted control of the uranium. For that, Rosatom would need a controlling interest in Uranium One. That would be a tall order — not because of the Kazakh mining rights but because acquisition of Uranium One’s American reserves required U.S. government approval. Uranium is foundational to nuclear power and thus to American national security.

A foreign entity would not be able to acquire rights to American uranium without the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment [CFIUS] in the United States.

CFIUS is composed of the leaders of 14 U.S. government agencies involved in national security and commerce. In 2010, these included not only Secretary of State Hillary Clinton … but Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department (and its lead agency, the FBI) were conducting the investigation of Rosatom’s ongoing U.S. racketeering, extortion, and money-laundering scheme.

In March 2010, to push the Obama “reset” agenda, Secretary Clinton traveled to Russia, where she met with Putin and Dimitri Medvedev, who was then keeping the president’s chair warm for Putin. Soon after, it emerged that Renaissance Capital, a regime-tied Russian bank, had offered Bill Clinton $500,000 to make a single speech — far more than the former president’s usual haul in what would become one of his biggest paydays ever. Renaissance was an aggressive promoter of Rosatom. ...

The exorbitant speech fee … is a pittance compared with the $145 million … donated to the Clinton Foundation by sources linked to the Uranium One deal.

[Obama] met  with Putin and Medvedev. You’ll be comforted, I’m sure, to learn that aides to the Clintons, those pillars of integrity, assure us that the topics of Rosatom and Uranium One never came up.

Meanwhile, congressional opposition to Russia’s potential acquisition of American uranium resources began to stir.

As Peter Schweizer noted in his essential book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, four senior House members steeped in national-security issues — Peter King (R., N.Y.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.), Spencer Bachus (R., Ala.), and Howard McKeon (R. Calif.) — voiced grave concerns, pointing out that Rosatom had helped Iran, America’s sworn enemy, build its Bushehr nuclear reactor. The members concluded that “the take-over of essential US nuclear resources by a government-owned Russian agency . . . would not advance the national security interests of the United States.” Republican senator John Barrasso objected to Kremlin control of uranium assets in his state of Wyoming, warning of Russia’s “disturbing record of supporting nuclear programs in countries that are openly hostile to the United States, specifically Iran and Venezuela”.

The House began moving a bill “expressing disfavor of the Congress” regarding Obama’s revival of the nuclear-cooperation agreement Bush had abandoned. Clearly, in this atmosphere, disclosure of the racketeering enterprise that Rosatom’s American subsidiary was, at that very moment, carrying out would have been the death knell of the asset transfer to Russia. It would also likely have ended the “reset” initiative in which Obama and Clinton were deeply invested — an agenda that contemplated Kremlin-friendly deals on nuclear-arms control and accommodation of the nuclear program of Russia’s ally, Iran.

So is the answer to “what was in it for Obama?” that he wanted friendly deals on nuclear arms control?

Obama wanted that? We don’t buy it.

But “accommodation of the nuclear program of Russia’s ally, Iran”? Now that is a possibility.

That was not going to be allowed to happen.

It appears that no disclosure of Russia’s racketeering and strong-arming was made to CFIUS or to Congress — not by Secretary Clinton, not by Attorney General Holder, and certainly not by President Obama.

In October 2010, CFIUS gave its blessing to Rosatom’s acquisition of Uranium One.

Even though the FBI had an informant collecting damning information, and had a prosecutable case against Mikerin by early 2010, the extortion racket against American energy companies was permitted to continue into the summer of 2014  … [after] Russia annexed Crimea. …

Furthermore –

The prosecution of Mikerin’s racketeering scheme had been so delayed that the Justice Department risked losing the ability to charge the 2009 felonies because of the five-year statute of limitations on most federal crimes.

Still, a lid needed to be kept on the case.

It would have made for an epic Obama administration scandal, and a body blow to Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes, if in the midst of Russia’s 2014 aggression, public attention had been drawn to the failure, four years earlier, to prosecute a national-security case in order to protect Russia’s takeover of U.S. nuclear assets.

The Obama administration needed to make this case go away — without a public trial if at all possible. …

The Justice Department and FBI had little to say when Mikerin and his co-conspirators were arrested [for extortion, fraud, and money laundering]. They quietly negotiated guilty pleas that were announced with no fanfare just before Labor Day. It was arranged that Mikerin would be sentenced just before Christmas. All under the radar. How desperate was the Obama Justice Department to plead the case out? Here, Rosenstein and Holder will have some explaining to do.

Mikerin … was permitted to plead guilty to a single count of money-laundering conspiracy. …  Under federal law, that crime (at section 1956 of the penal code) carries a penalty of up to 20 years’ imprisonment — not only for conspiracy but for each act of money laundering. But Mikerin was not made to plead guilty to this charge. He was permitted to plead guilty to an offense charged under the catch-all federal conspiracy provision (section 371) that criminalizes agreements to commit any crime against the United States. Section 371 prescribes a sentence of zero to five years’ imprisonment.

The Justice Department instructs prosecutors that when Congress has given a federal offense its own conspiracy provision with a heightened punishment (as it has for money laundering, racketeering, narcotics trafficking, and other serious crimes), they may not charge a section 371 conspiracy. Section 371 is for less serious conspiracy cases. Using it for money laundering — which caps the sentence way below Congress’s intent for that behavior — subverts federal law and signals to the court that the prosecutor does not regard the offense as major. Yet, that is exactly what Rosenstein’s office did, in a plea agreement his prosecutors co-signed with attorneys from the Justice Department’s Fraud Section.  No RICO, no extortion, no fraud — and the plea agreement is careful not to mention any of the extortions in 2009 and 2010, before CFIUS approved Rosatom’s acquisition of U.S. uranium stock. Mikerin just had to plead guilty to a nominal “money laundering” conspiracy charge. This insulated him from a real money-laundering sentence. Thus, he got a term of just four years’ incarceration for a major national-security crime — which, of course, is why he took the plea deal and waived his right to appeal, sparing the Obama administration a full public airing of the facts.

Interestingly, as the plea agreement shows, the Obama DOJ’s Fraud Section was then run by Andrew Weissmann, who is now one of the top prosecutors in Robert Mueller’s ongoing special-counsel investigation of suspected Trump collusion with Russia.

There was still one other problem to tamp down. That was the informant — the lobbyist who alerted the FBI to the Russian racketeering enterprise back in 2009. He wanted to talk. Specifically, as his attorney, Ms. Toensing, explains, the informant wanted to tell Congress what he knows — about what the FBI and the Justice Department could already have proved in 2010 when CFIUS signed off on Russia’s acquisition of American nuclear material, and about what he’d learned of Russian efforts to curry favor with Bill and Hillary Clinton. But he was not allowed to talk. It turns out, the lawyer explains, that the FBI had induced him to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The Justice Department warned him that it was enforceable — even against disclosures to Congress.  …

In addition, when the informant was primed to file a federal civil lawsuit to recover his own losses from the scheme, he claims that the Justice Department threatened him with prosecution, warning that a lawsuit would violate the non-disclosure agreement. The Hill reports that it has obtained emails from a civil lawyer retained by the witness, which describe pressure exerted by the Justice Department to silence the informant. What a coincidence: That was in 2016, the stretch run of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

This stinks.

Will Attorney-General sessions nullify the non-disclosure agreement – which he could simply do? We wait to see.

Lou Dobbs of Fox Business News has said that this might turn out to be “The biggest political scandal in American history”.

When will the culprits be brought to trial?

Those of them engaged on the phony investigation into the “Trump-Russia collusion” need to be stopped now. Shades of the prison house are falling upon them.

And on the Clintons? And Eric Holder? And Barack Obama?

Will justice be done and be seen to be done?

Hollywood whores 4

Women’s liberation has become women’s libertinism.

By nature, the human woman is a peacock. We like to be noticed. The conservative among us prefer the allure of modesty. Others don’t. On social media, women outstrip men in the narcissistic and exhibitionist departments. In TV ads, American women, fat, thin, young and old, are grinding their bottoms, spreading their legs, showing the contours of their crotches, and dancing as though possessed (or like primates on heat), abandoning any semblance of femininity and gentility, all the while laughing like hyenas and hollering hokum like, “I Own It.” …

Look, Harvey [Weinstein] is a lowlife. But Hollywood hos are not … “naive, innocent young things” … 

So Ilana Mercer, libertarian, writes at Townhall.

We quote more of her article: :

I’d like to better understand the conservative media’s orgy over Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced and disgraceful Hollywood film producer and studio executive who used his power over decades to have his way with starlets.

To listen to conservative talkers, the women affronted or assaulted by Weinstein were all Shakespearean talent in the making … who made the pilgrimage to Sodom and Gomorrah in the Hollywood Hills, for the purpose of realizing their talent, never knowing it was a meat market. …

The reason the female figure is so crudely objectified nowadays has a great deal to do with women themselves. By virtue of their conduct, women no longer inspire reverence as the fairer sex … For they are crasser, vainer, more eager to expose all voluntarily than any male. Except for Anthony Weiner, the name of an engorged organism indigenous to D.C., who was is in the habit of exposing himself as often as the Kardashians do.

The latter clan is a bevy of catty exhibitionists, controlled by a mercenary matriarch called Kris Kardashian. Kris is madam to America’s First Family of Celebrity Pornographers. (To launch a career with a highly stylized, self-directed sex tape is no longer even condemned.) Lots of little girls, with parental approval, look up to the Kardashians.

From Kim, distaff America learns to couch a preoccupation with pornographic selfies in the therapeutic idiom. Kardashian flaunts herself with pure self-love. Yet millions of her admirers depict her obscene posturing online as an attempt to come to terms with her body. “Be a little easier on myself,” counsels Kim as she directs her camera to the nether reaches of her carefully posed, deformed derriere. While acting dirty and self-adoring, Kardashian delivers as close to a social jeremiad on self-esteem as her kind can muster. Genius!

Liberalism and libertinism are intertwined. The more liberal a woman, the more libertine she’ll be — and the more she’ll liberate herself to be coarse, immodest, vulgar and plain repulsive. Think of the menopausal Ashley Judd rapping lewdly about her (alleged) menstrual fluids at an anti-Trump rally. Think of all those liberal, liberated grannies adorned with pussy dunce-caps on the same occasion. …

The phrase a “bum’s rush” means “throw the bum out!”. When it comes to Allison Williams, daughter of NBC icon Brian Williams, a bum’s rush takes on new meaning. Thanks in no small measure to her famous father, the young woman has become a sitcom star. And Ms. Williams has worked extra-hard to hone all aspects of an actress’s instrument (the body). Alison has carried forth enthusiastically about a groundbreaking scene dedicated to exploring “a** motorboating” or “booty-eating”, on HBO’s “Girls”.

The lewder, more pornographic, and less talented at their craft popular icons become — the louder the Left lauds their artistically dodgy output. (The “Right” just keeps moving Left.) “Singer” Miley Cyrus was mocked before she began twerking tush, thrusting pelvis and twirling tongue. Only then had she arrived as an artist, in the eyes of “critics” on the Left. The power of the average pop artist and her products, Miley’s included, lies in the pornography that is her “art,” in her hackneyed political posturing …

Liberal women, the majority, go about seriously and studiously cultivating their degeneracy. If Raising Skirts to Celebrate the Diversity of Vaginas sounds foul, wait for the accompanying images. These show feral creatures (women, presumably), skirts hoisted, gobs agape, some squatting like farmhands in an outhouse, all yelling about their orifices.

Do you know of a comparable man’s movement? If anything, men are punished when they react normally to women behaving badly.

Female soldiers got naked and uploaded explicit images of themselves to an online portal. The normals — male soldier — shared the images and were promptly punished for so doing. And the conservative side of that ubiquitous, dueling-perspectives political panel approved of the punishment meted to the men.

So endemic is distaff degeneracy these days that “protesters” routinely disrobe or perform lewd acts with objects in public. …

If men flashed for freedom; they’d be arrested, jailed and placed on the National Sex Offender Registry.

Talk about the empress being in the buff, I almost forgot to attach an image of this celebrity, bare-bottomed on the red-carpet. Rose McGowan is hardly unique. Many a star will arrive at these events barely clothed. (Here are 38 more near-naked Red-Carpet appearances.)

Follow those links. They are pictures of Hollywood actresses … wait, no. They are pictures of common whores selling their bodies.

Expect a feminist lecture about a woman’s right to pretend her bare bottom is haute couture, rather than ho couture, and expect the Harveys of the world to behave like choir boys around her?

We have added the question mark to that last sentence.

None of this excuses the exploitation of these silly women by repulsive, uncivilized, priapic Weinstein.

But yes, it must be said that these women are begging to be “exploited”. They are whores.

Posted under Sex, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, October 20, 2017

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A cry from Europe 1

A document titled The Paris Statement: A Europe We Can Believe In has recently been published that calls for the preservation, or restoration, of Europe. Its authors recognize that Europeans are losing their European home.

We agree that is the case. And we agree with some of the analysis of what is killing it.

But there is much in the Statement that we do not agree with.

The signatories are three French authors (a preponderance which, with the title, suggests that the initiative came from one of them), and seven others, respectively Czech, Hungarian, Polish, British, German, Dutch, and Belgian.

The Statement as a whole has a sentimental, romantic quality which expresses the continental spirit rather than a rational Anglo-Saxon one, despite the co-authorship of one Englishman.

The whole thing may be read here.

THE PARIS STATEMENT

Europe belongs to us, and we belong to Europe.These lands are our home; we have no other. The reasons we hold Europe dear exceed our ability to explain or justify our loyalty. It is a matter of shared histories, hopes and loves. It is a matter of accustomed ways, of moments of pathos and pain. It is a matter of inspiring experiences of reconciliation and the promise of a shared future. Ordinary landscapes and events are charged with special meaning — for us, but not for others. Home is a place where things are familiar, and where we are recognized, however far we have wandered. This is the real Europe, our precious and irreplaceable civilization.

Europe is our home. Europe, in all its richness and greatness, is threatened by a false understanding of itself. This false Europe imagines itself as a fulfilment of our civilization, but in truth it will confiscate our home. It appeals to exaggerations and distortions of Europe’s authentic virtues while remaining blind to its own vices. Complacently trading in one-sided caricatures of our history, this false Europe is invincibly prejudiced against the past. Its proponents are orphans by choice, and they presume that to be an orphan — to be homeless — is a noble achievement. In this way, the false Europe praises itself as the forerunner of a universal community that is neither universal nor a community.

One fact lies in all that fluff, in part of the last sentence. It could be worded for clearer communication, as: the globalist rulers of Europe see the EU as a model for a world union under world government. 

Those flesh-and-blood traitors are turned into an abstraction as “the false Europe”.

The Statement goes on to elaborate on the “false Europe” – the Europe led by those globalist rulers who are letting millions of Muslims into their countries; not demanding that they assimilate, or adapt to the customs of the host countries, or obey their laws, or even learn the indigenous languages. In its high-flown style, it does not plainly state that the Islamic invasion is killing Europe, but continues to complain about the wrong attitude of the “false Europe” to the invaders.

And they believe that “the true sources of the humane decencies” that they think characterized pre-Islamic  (or “post-national. post cultural”) Europe comes from its “Christian roots”. We have argued, in many articles on this site, against that thesis, but will not make more of our disagreement here than merely to note it.

The patrons of the false Europe are bewitched by superstitions of inevitable progress. They believe that History is on their side, and this faith makes them haughty and disdainful, unable to acknowledge the defects in the post-national, post-cultural world they are constructing. Moreover, they are ignorant of the true sources of the humane decencies they themselves hold dear — as do we. They ignore, even repudiate the Christian roots of Europe. At the same time they take great care not to offend Muslims, who they imagine will cheerfully adopt their secular, multicultural outlook. Sunk in prejudice, superstition and ignorance, and blinded by vain, self-congratulating visions of a utopian future, the false Europe reflexively stifles dissent. This is done, of course, in the name of freedom and tolerance.

The words in bold say something with which we emphatically concur. The stifling of dissent is a plain and horrid fact.

Then comes a flat denial that “the  greatest threat” to Europe is the Muslim invasion. It continues shadow-boxing the “false Europe”, as if, were those globalists who believe (with Karl Marx) that “History is on their side” to be defeated in argument, the facts on the ground – the Islamification of Europe – would disappear.

We are reaching a dead-end. The greatest threat to the future of Europe is neither Russian adventurism nor Muslim immigration. The true Europe is at risk because of the suffocating grip that the false Europe has over our imaginations. Our nations and shared culture are being hollowed out by illusions and self-deceptions about what Europe is and should be. We pledge to resist this threat to our future. We will defend, sustain and champion the real Europe, the Europe to which we all in truth belong.

Next it describes the Europe that has been lost, the Europe the authors take pride in. It is a rosy picture of “open political systems” born out of “love for the homelands”. It misses the main point, that because the Enlightenment broke the near-totalitarian power of the Christian churches, European greatness grew with rational thought, the doubt which drives science, and the freedom that allowed European man to innovate and explore. 

The next two paragraphs continue the description of the virtues of theEuropean system as the authors perceive them. So does part the following one, which, however,  ends with the assertion of an important fact:

[The] nation-state …  became the hallmark of European civilization.

But that is followed with a passage that includes this:

… In the aftermath of the terrible bloodshed of the world wars in the first half of the twentieth century, we emerged with an even greater resolve to honor our shared heritage.

Which is simply not true. It was in the aftermath of the Second World War that many – even most? –  Europeans began to lose confidence in their cultural heritage. Birth rates began to fall and have fallen drastically. Fear that the welfare states would not have enough people to maintain them contributed to the disastrous acceptance of the hordes of Muslims who are changing the character of Europe. The Muslim newcomers have many children. That is the process of Europe’s Islamization, which is insufficiently dealt with in this document.    

The next few paragraphs praise Christianity as a “spiritual empire” that was better than “political empire”, in that it brought “cultural unity” to the continent. (Yes, but it was a cultural unity of illiteracy and terror.) It also ascribes the growth of secular order to Christianity’s separation of the divine and mundane powers. It lists the “gentle virtues” of Christianity: “fairness, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, peace-making, charity”, those ideals more honored in the breach than the observance throughout the history of Europe in our common era.

It goes on to praise marriage and the raising of children, and on that we can again agree.

We also like its acknowledgment of the “inspiration” modern Europe drew “from the Classical tradition”; and its declaration that “men and women of Europe” crafted “musical and artistic works of unsurpassed beauty” and achieved “extraordinary breakthroughs in science and technology”.

“We are losing our home”, the authors cry. 

The false Europe … sells itself as liberation from all restraints: sexual freedom, freedom of self-expression …

But not of speech,

The Generation of ’68 regards these freedoms as precious victories over a once almighty and oppressive cultural regime. They see themselves as great liberators, and their transgressions are acclaimed as noble moral achievements, for which the whole world should be grateful. … [In fact] the Generation of ’68 destroyed but did not build. They created a vacuum now filled by social media, cheap tourism and pornography.

There’s truth in that.

But most wrongly, the authors condemn the ’68 generation – which is to say, the New Left – for promoting individualism!

Our societies seem to be falling into individualism …

Good grief! They were Marxists, Maoists, collectivists through and through. Individualism was the very thing they most abominated.

Then again comes truth:

European life is more and more comprehensively regulated. Rules — often confected by faceless technocrats in league with powerful interests — govern our work relationships, our business decisions, our educational qualifications, our news and entertainment media. And Europe now seeks to tighten existing regulations on freedom of speech, an aboriginal European freedom — freedom of conscience made manifest. … Europe’s governing classes wish to restrict manifestly political speech. Political leaders who give voice to inconvenient truths about Islam and immigration are hauled before judges. Political correctness enforces strong taboos that deem challenges to the status quo beyond the pale.

Right.

And they come to a direct denunciation of multiculturalism, and at last touch on the damage done by “Muslim newcomers”:

The false Europe also boasts of an unprecedented commitment to equality. It claims to promote non-discrimination and the inclusion of all races, religions and identities. Here, genuine progress has been made, but a utopian detachment from reality has taken hold. Over the past generation, Europe has pursued a grand project of multiculturalism. To demand or even promote the assimilation of Muslim newcomers to our manners and mores, much less to our religion, has been thought a gross injustice. A commitment to equality, we have been told, demands that we abjure any hint that we believe our culture superior. … Europe’s multicultural enterprise … trades on the Christian ideal of universal charity in an exaggerated and unsustainable form. It requires from the European peoples a saintly degree of self-abnegation. We are to affirm the very colonization of our homelands and the demise of our culture as Europe’s great twenty-first century glory — a collective act of self-sacrifice for the sake of some new global community of peace and prosperity that is being born.

But they have not apparently noticed the mind-set of those European “multiculturalists” who long for total capitulation; the self-contempt; the positive preference for the primitive, woman-enslaving, enlightenment-suppressing ideology of Islam, the longing for it to replace the culture of Europe – expressed most explicitly by a former prime Minister of Sweden that his country does not belong to native-born Swedes but to the [Muslim] immigrants.

Most in our governing classes doubtless presume the superiority of European culture — which must not be affirmed in public in ways that might offend immigrants. Given that superiority, they think that assimilation will happen naturally, and quickly … that, somehow, by the laws of nature or of history, ‘they’ will necessarily become like ‘us’ — and it is inconceivable that the reverse might be true.

No, no.  Those “governing classes” do not “presume the superiority of European culture”. They urge their citizens to adapt to the ways of the immigrants.

Next the authors speak of  “globalization”:

There is more bad faith at work, of a darker kind. Over the last generation, a larger and larger segment of our governing class has decided that its own self-interest lies in accelerated globalization. They wish to build supranational institutions that they are able to control without the inconveniences of popular sovereignty. It is increasingly clear that the “democratic deficit” in the European Union is not a mere technical problem to be remedied by technical means. Rather, this deficit is a fundamental commitment, and it is zealously defended. Whether legitimated by supposed economic necessities or autonomously developing international human rights law, the supra-national mandarins of the EU institutions confiscate the political life of Europe … This is the soft but increasingly real tyranny we face.

Right again.

And this is right too:

European societies are fraying badly. If we but open our eyes, we see an ever-greater use of government power, social management and educational indoctrination. It is not just Islamic terror that brings heavily armed soldiers into our streets. Riot police are now necessary to quell violent anti-establishment protests

They then throw in a complaint about “drunken crowds of football fans”, and try to make it relevant by adding: “The fanaticism of our football loyalties is a desperate sign of the deeply human need for solidarity, a need that otherwise goes unfulfilled in the false Europe.”

How does the violence of rival football fans become a sign of a need for solidarity? That’s plain nonsense.

Deploring what has become of the universities is on the mark:

Europe’s intellectual classes are, alas, among the chief ideological partisans of the conceits of the false Europe. Without doubt, our universities are one of the glories of European civilization. But where once they sought to transmit to each new generation the wisdom of past ages, today most within the universities equate critical thinking with a simpleminded repudiation of the past. A lodestar of the European spirit has been the rigorous discipline of intellectual honesty and objectivity. But over the past two generations, this noble ideal has been transformed. The asceticism that once sought to free the mind of the tyranny of dominant opinion has become an often complacent and unreflective animus against everything that is our own. This stance of cultural repudiation functions as a cheap and easy way of being “critical”. Over the last generation, it has been rehearsed in the lecture halls, becoming a doctrine, a dogma. … As a consequence, our universities are now active agents of ongoing cultural destruction.

Our governing classes are advancing human rights. They are at work fighting climate change. They are engineering a more globally integrated market economy and harmonizing tax policies. They are monitoring progress toward gender equality. They are doing so much for us! What does it matter by what mechanisms they inhabit their offices? What does it matter if the European peoples grow more skeptical of their ministrations?

They imply scorn for a market economy, and again misrepresent the globalists, who want global trade, yes; but they are children of the New Left and favor socialism – ideally world socialist government.

We hope they are right that “the European people are growing skeptical of  their [the globalists’] ministrations”.

That growing scepticism is fully justified. Today, Europe is dominated by an aimless materialism that seems unable to motivate men and women to have children and form families. A culture of repudiation deprives the next generation of a sense of identity. Some of our countries have regions in which Muslims live with an informal autonomy from local laws, as if they were colonialists rather than fellow members of our nations. … Globalization transforms the life prospects of millions. When challenged, our governing classes say that they are merely working to accommodate the inevitable, adjusting to implacable necessities. No other course is possible, and it is irrational to resist. Things cannot be otherwise. Those who object are said to suffer nostalgia — for which they deserve moral condemnation as racists or fascists. As social divisions and civic distrust become more apparent, European public life grows angrier, more rancorous, and no one can say where it will end. We must not continue down this path. We need to throw off the tyranny of the false Europe.

How might that be done?

They propose that European public life be “re-secularized”. Which means they rightly see the globalist Leftist movement which despairs of Europe and promotes the Third World as a new religion – which it is.

Some well thought-out paragraphs follow which we suspect are of Anglo-Saxon authorship:

The work of renewal begins with theological self-knowledgeThe universalist and universalizing pretensions of the false Europe reveal it to be an ersatz religious enterprise, complete with strong creedal commitments — and anathemas. This is the potent opiate that paralyzes Europe as a political body. We must insist that religious aspirations are properly the province of religion, not politics, much less bureaucratic administration. In order to recover our political and historical agency, it is imperative that we re-secularize European public life.

This will require us to renounce the mendacious language that evades responsibility and fosters ideological manipulation. Talk of diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism is empty. Often, such language is deployed as a way to characterize our failures as accomplishments: The unravelling of social solidarity is “actually” a sign of welcome, tolerance, and inclusion. This is marketing language, a language meant to obscure reality rather than illuminate. We must recover an abiding respect for reality. Language is a delicate instrument, and it is debased when used as a bludgeon. We should be patrons of linguistic decency. Recourse to denunciation is a sign of the decadence of our present moment. We must not tolerate verbal intimidation, much less mortal threats. We need to protect those who speak reasonably, even if we think their views mistaken. The future of Europe must be liberal in the best sense, which means committed to robust public debate free from all threats of violence and coercion.

Breaking the spell of the false Europe and its utopian, pseudo-religious crusade for a borderless world means fostering a new kind of statesmanship and a new kind of statesman. A good political leader stewards the commonweal of a particular people. A good statesman views our shared European inheritance and our particular national traditions as magnificent and life-giving, but also fragile gifts. He does not reject that inheritance, nor does he chance losing it all for utopian dreams. Such leaders covet the honors bestowed upon them by their people; they do not lust for the approbation of the “international community”, which is in fact the public relations apparatus of an oligarchy.

Recognizing the particular character of the European nations … we need not be perplexed before the spurious claims of the multiculturalists. Immigration without assimilation is colonization, and this must be rejected. We rightly expect that those who migrate to our lands will incorporate themselves into our nations and adopt our ways. This expectation needs to be supported by sound policy.

Yes. But then the Statement goes off the rails again:

The language of multiculturalism has been imported from America.

It has not. The United States have encouraged and proved the value of multi-ethnicity, not multiculturalism; many ethnicities, one culture – and that an open, hospitable one that integrates anything from any other culture that is useful to it. (An enriching eclecticism now condemned by the Left as “cultural appropriation”.)

At least one of the authors then got it right:

But America’s great age of immigration came at the turn of the twentieth century, a period of remarkably rapid economic growth, in a country with virtually no welfare state, and with a very strong sense of national identity to which immigrants were expected to assimilate. … That experience tells us that …  a generous welfare system can impede assimilation … We must not allow a multicultural ideology to deform our political judgments about how best to serve the common good, which requires national communities with sufficient unity and solidarity to see their good as common.

“Demographic change” is called by its name at last:

After World War II, Western Europe cultivated vital democracies. After the collapse of the Soviet Empire, Central European nations restored their civic vitality. These are among Europe’s most precious achievements. But they will be lost if we do not address immigration and demographic change in our nations. Only empires can be multicultural, which is what the European Union will become if we fail to make renewed solidarity and civic unity the criteria by which to assess immigration policies and strategies for assimilation.

The Statement then drifts off again into high-falutin sentiment about “spiritual greatness” needing to be restored to “counter the growing power of mere wealth”, and the need for “the populace” to be “guided toward a virtuous life”. And this:

While we recognize the positive aspects of free-market economics, we must resist ideologies that seek to totalize the logic of the market. …  Economic growth, while beneficial, is not the highest good. Markets need to be oriented toward social ends.

No, they do not. They need to be left alone.

After going on a bit about the arts needing to be about “the sublime and the beautiful”, and stressing that “marriage and family are essential”, they come to weigh the merits of “populism” – the movement begun in America by Donald Trump (and spreading rapidly and effectively, we hope, in Europe). They see it as a source of “anxiety”, but acknowledge that it may be a salutary correction to the “globalist” trend.

There is great anxiety in Europe today because of the rise of what is called “populism” — though the meaning of the term seems never to be defined, and it is used mostly as invective. We have our reservations. Europe needs to draw upon the deep wisdom of her traditions rather than relying on simplistic slogans and divisive emotional appeals. Still, we acknowledge that much in this new political phenomenon can represent a healthy rebellion against the tyranny of the false Europe, which labels as “anti-democratic’” any threat to its monopoly on moral legitimacy. The so-called “populism” challenges the dictatorship of the status quo … and rightly so. It is a sign that even in the midst of our degraded and impoverished political culture, the historical agency of the European peoples can be reborn. …

In this moment, we ask all Europeans to join us in rejecting the utopian fantasy of a multicultural world without borders. We rightly love our homelands, and we seek to hand on to our children every noble thing that we have ourselves received as our patrimony. As Europeans, we also share a common heritage, and this heritage asks us to live together in peace as a Europe of nations. Let us renew national sovereignty, and recover the dignity of a shared political responsibility for Europe’s future.

We must take responsibility.

Phillipe Bénéton (France)

Rémi Brague (France)

Chantal Delsol (France)

Roman Joch (Česko)

Lánczi András (Magyarország)

Ryszard Legutko (Polska)

Roger Scruton (United Kingdom)

Robert Spaemann (Deutschland)

Bart Jan Spruyt (Nederland)

Matthias Storme (België)

Islam’s colonization policy 1

The most interesting thing Ann Corcoran says in this video is that Muslim “refugees” are being sent to America (as they were sent to Europe) by the Organization of the Islamic Conference*,  in collusion (or a better word may be conspiracy) with Leftist bureaucrats. And – in America’s case – with sentimental religious groups.

The video was published in 2015. The influx of Muslims was encouraged under the disastrous Obama presidency.

Now President Trump has significantly reduced the number of Muslims admitted into the United States by banning all entry from certain Muslim countries.

 

*Now calling itself the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

In defense of classical liberalism 7

A Harvard University reader of this website, who goes by the pseudonym of Adam Smythe, sent us by email this well-informed reply to the Yoram Hazony article we posted yesterday. He explores the issues with admirable intellectual rigor:

The article is interesting, though rather confused – mainly because the categories that he is trying to describe are themselves confused. In turn, I found much of his article confusing, and my response will, doubtless, further confuse the issues in question. So confused at first was I by his article that I did not know whether I wholeheartedly agreed or abjectly opposed it.

First things first: von Mises strongly believed (too much, I would say) in the right of self-determination. The comment  he made about world government mentioned in the article was predicated upon all countries first adopting his brand of liberalism. He argued that the size of a state was an irrelevancy, and that if all states happily adopted liberalism, then a world government in line with the liberal program would be favorable.

That von Mises opposed hugely bureaucratic institutions, of the kind lauded by “globalists”, is even more clear. It is true that German and Austrian 19th century liberalism did generally argue for the widespread adoption of governmental bureaucracies full of well-educated administrators; one might conclude from this that Mises, an outspoken “liberal” himself, would be in favor of a world bureaucratic government. Nothing could be further from the truth — he wrote extensively against bureaucracies in, among other things, his scathing book Bureaucracy, and was the originator of the entire intellectual opposition to the idea of “educated” planning with his essay Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth. In this respect he was opposed to his “liberal” colleagues.

The “liberal” infatuation with bureaucracies further confounds the author’s thesis that liberalism is fundamentally rationalist. Most liberals liked these bureaucracies because they could be empirically minded, and pragmatic, whereas laws originating from legislative bodies could not. Von Mises, however, generally opposed this position.

To argue that von Mises was in favor of big government, on the basis of the single comment mentioned by the author, and to further conclude that this is the backbone for the case for widespread “liberalizing” military intervention in contemporary American politics, is absurd. In particular, a man in favor of international government in general or forcible interventions by liberal states into the affairs of non-liberal ones, would not write as von Mises did in Man, State and Economy:

Liberalism knows no conquests, no annexations; just as it is indifferent towards the state itself, so the problem of the size of the state is unimportant to it. It forces no one against his will into the structure of the state. Whoever wants to emigrate is not held back. When a part of the people of the state wants to drop out of the union, liberalism does not hinder it from doing so. Colonies that want to become independent need only do so. The nation as an organic entity can be neither increased nor reduced by changes in states; the world as a whole can neither win nor lose from them.

In fact, I would say von Mises went too far in opposition to world government — he believed strongly (I believe too strongly) in the right of self-determination. Also from Man, State, and Economy):

The right of self-determination in regard to the question of membership in a state thus means: whenever the inhabitants of a particular territory, whether it be a single village, a whole district, or a series of adjacent districts, make it known, by a freely conducted plebiscite, that they no longer wish to remain united to the state to which they belong at the time, but wish either to form an independent state or to attach themselves to some other state, their wishes are to be respected and complied with. This is the only feasible and effective way of preventing revolutions and civil and international wars.

As for Hayek: it is true that Hayek broadly favored multinational trade federations, and a European trade federation in particular. He enunciated the conditions for such trade federations in an early essay from the 30’s.  Most of Hayek’s followers despised and despise the EU itself, however. (I cannot find Hayek’s point of view on the EU.) But Hayek outspokenly did not identify himself as a conservative. The AEI has an interesting piece on this: http://www.aei.org/publication/europes-hubris-and-nemesis/

In both cases, any discussion of world government was predicated upon the government being, in the first place, little more than a nightwatchman state. So it is wrong to read into them the kind  of technocratic “globalist” view so reviled by Trumpist or Bannonist conservatives.

The author is right insofar as he claims that von Mises and Hayek believed that liberalism and human liberty were universally good, and that all states ought to adopt liberal policies. He is wrong to suggest that these ideas lead to the conclusion that liberal states ought to forcibly liberalize illiberal ones. (Ayn Rand, however, did say that liberal states had the right — though not the obligation — to liberate illiberal states. But, she wrote, there were, in fact, no presently existing states – America included – that were “liberal” enough to have earned this right .)

The position that liberal states like America ought to forcibly liberalize illiberal states is quintessentially “neoconservative” — a philosophy which certianly borrowed some things from the liberal tradition, but, in this respect, not only parts company from its classical liberal forebears, but lies in opposition to them. In today’s world, for instance, most right-wing individuals who identify as “classical liberal” as opposed to “conservative” – Rand and Ron Paul, for example – do so in order to make it clear that they favor an isolationist foreign policy, in opposition to conservatives on this very issue.

If we are to conclude, as the author does, that America’s intervention into Iraq and Afghanistan are failures (even if we simultaneously acknowledge that postwar liberalizing of Japan, Germany, Eastern Europe, and Korea are successes), and we therefore conclude that the internationalist position on American hegemony is wrong, then we simply ought to conclude that internationalism has not worked, not that liberal ideals are wrong in general. 

You see, Mr. Hazony goes  further: not only is American military intervention as a general practice wrong, he says, but the very idea that the “virtues” of classical liberalism  — private property, free markets, and individualism — are universal, is wrong, too. This is chucking the baby out with the bathwater. The reason Iraq and Afghanistan failed is because they failed in the end to liberalize Iraq and Afghanistan, not because liberalization as an end is bad. 

The fact that some societies do not easily adopt liberal policies does not mean that liberal policies are not the right ones always to strive for. For what are the alternatives? Dictatorship, oppression, and serfdom. The problem with an interventionist foreign policy might be that, in an effort to liberalize certain nations under the rule of a dictator, say, we create a power vacuum that is filled by something even worse (think about the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt after the toppling of Mubarak). For instance, I am the first to acknowledge that Pinochet was a superior leader of Chile to Allende, despite the fact that the latter was “liberally” elected. This is because I measure a government, always, on the scale of how liberal it is. And despite the despotic nature of Pinochet, society was governed far more liberally under him than under his deposed predecessor.

I do not at all take the (almost) relativist stance, which is advanced in the article, that we shouldn’t hold classical liberal ideals as universal. We absolutely should, even if we are pragmatic about when to urge (or force) other societies to adopt them. Our consideration should be the effectiveness of such policies, not whether the ends of liberalism are the right ones for that particular society. The answer to that question, I think, is always, “Yes. They are.” 

Now, in general, as far as I can tell, the author is somewhat bizarrely categorizing present-day ideological associations as follows (I’ve tried to offer a respective juxtaposition of each of the views):

Conservatism — Empiricism — Religion — Nationalism — International Pragmatism

(Classical) Liberalism — Rationalism — Secularism — Globalism — Interventionism.

Not just one, but every single one of these categories is disputable.

The least debatable is the association between classical liberalism and secularism versus conservatism and religion, which I think has been true historically. But there are plenty of religious classical liberals, and plenty (led by Jillian Becker) of atheist conservatives! 

However, assuming that classical liberalism is less empirical and more rationalist as a rule is wrong. True: Ayn Rand, von Mises, and, to a lesser extent, Hayek, were fairly “philosophical”, “a priori”, or “rationalist” in their reasoning. Milton Friedman, however, was not; he and the “Chicago School” considered themselves to be (and indeed were) very empirical. Meanwhile, many “pragmatic” liberals — Herbert Spencer and William Graham Sumner, for instance, founded the liberal tradition (continued by Hayek) about societal evolution in metaphor with Darwin’s theory of species evolution. This is clearly not a viewpoint that considers values to be unchanging without reference to observed facts. I am also fairly sure that there is significant overlap between American “pragmatists” and American classical liberals of the nineteenth century. “Pragmatists” eschewed general principles on principle. Today, this is something far more associated with the political left than the political right — many on the right think of the left as deeply unprincipled, whereas they are guardians of the classical virtues; the left thinks of the right as doctrinaire, whereas it thinks of itself as pragmatic. 

Indeed, the left thinks (and to a certain extent they are right in this) that the universal “values” upheld by many on the right, stem from the right’s greater religiosity. But then for Hazony to suggest that religion is something founded more on empirical than a priori “rationalist” principles is bizarre. Indeed, religion should be eschewed on both rationalist and empirical grounds — God is an intrinsically incoherent concept, for which there has never been any shred of real-world evidence. And whereas I have seen many a fallacious rationalist justification for God, I have never seen an “empirical” one from any of the “serious” religious propagandists.

To suggest that liberalism, in its “rationalist” adherence to principle, neglects noneconomic forces, is curiously myopic. Hayek considers these institutions at great length – including family, religion, and moral precepts –  particularly in his later writings (see The Fatal Conceit, for example). And finally to suggest that somehow liberalism is associated with globalism and military interventionism, whereas conservatism is (or should be?) associated with nationalism and international pragmatism is, as I’ve described above, rather odd.

“Classical liberalism” and contemporary conservatism 0

We find this essay by Yoram Hazony peculiarly interesting, so we are posting it in full.

It was published in the Wall Street Journal two days ago on October 13, 2017.

We have long assumed that contemporary Western conservatism is “liberal” in the sense that John Locke and Adam Smith used the term. This essay enlightens us about that. We discover that we are not “classical liberals” after all.

And we are surprised to learn from Yoram Hazony that Friedrich Hayek, whom we much admire and often quote, was at one time an advocate for world government. (We have called world government “the ultimate nightmare” in an essay listed under Pages in our margin). The same goes for Ludwig von Mises. And we are less surprised but still concerned to learn that Charles Krauthammer is too.

We offer no criticism, make no comment, except to say that, like Hayek, Milton Friedman, Robert Nozick and Ayn Rand, we still “place religion outside the scope of what is essential to know about politics and government”.

Is ‘Classical Liberalism’ Conservative?

American conservatism is having something of an identity crisis. Most conservatives supported Donald Trump last November. But many prominent conservative intellectuals—journalists, academics and think-tank personalities—have entrenched themselves in bitter opposition. Some have left the Republican Party, while others are waging guerrilla warfare against a Republican administration. Longtime friendships have been ended and resignations tendered. Talk of establishing a new political party alternates with declarations that Mr. Trump will be denied the GOP nomination in 2020.

Those in the “Never Trump” camp say the cause of the split is the president—that he’s mentally unstable, morally unspeakable, a leftist populist, a rightist authoritarian, a danger to the republic. One prominent Republican told me he is praying for Mr. Trump to have a brain aneurysm so the nightmare can end.

But the conservative unity that Never Trumpers seek won’t be coming back, even if the president leaves office prematurely. An apparently unbridgeable ideological chasm is opening between two camps that were once closely allied. Mr. Trump’s rise is the effect, not the cause, of this rift.

There are two principal causes: first, the increasingly rigid ideology conservative intellectuals have promoted since the end of the Cold War; second, a series of events — from the failed attempt to bring democracy to Iraq to the implosion of Wall Street — that have made the prevailing conservative ideology seem naive and reckless to the broader conservative public.

A good place to start thinking about this is a 1989 essay in the National Interest by Charles Krauthammer. The Cold War was coming to an end, and Mr. Krauthammer proposed it should be supplanted by what he called “Universal Dominion” (the title of the essay): America was going to create a Western “super-sovereign” that would establish peace and prosperity throughout the world. The cost would be “the conscious depreciation not only of American sovereignty, but of the notion of sovereignty in general.”

William Kristol and Robert Kagan presented a similar view in their 1996 essay “Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy” in Foreign Affairs, which proposed an American “benevolent global hegemony” that would have “preponderant influence and authority over all others in its domain”.

Then, as now, conservative commentators insisted that the world should want such an arrangement because the U.S. knows best: The American way of politics, based on individual liberties and free markets, is the right way for human beings to live everywhere. Japan and Germany, after all, were once-hostile authoritarian nations that had flourished after being conquered and acquiescing in American political principles. With the collapse of communism, dozens of countries — from Eastern Europe to East Asia to Latin America — seemed to need, and in differing degrees to be open to, American tutelage of this kind. As the bearer of universal political truth, the U.S. was said to have an obligation to ensure that every nation was coaxed, maybe even coerced, into adopting its principles.

Any foreign policy aimed at establishing American universal dominion faces considerable practical challenges, not least because many nations don’t want to live under U.S. authority. But the conservative intellectuals who have set out to promote this Hegelian world revolution must also contend with a problem of different kind: Their aim cannot be squared with the political tradition for which they are ostensibly the spokesmen.

For centuries, Anglo-American conservatism has favored individual liberty and economic freedom. But as the Oxford historian of conservatism Anthony Quinton emphasized, this tradition is empiricist and regards successful political arrangements as developing through an unceasing process of trial and error. As such, it is deeply skeptical of claims about universal political truths. The most important conservative figures — including John Fortescue, John Selden, Montesquieu, Edmund Burke and Alexander Hamilton — believed that different political arrangements would be fitting for different nations, each in keeping with the specific conditions it faces and traditions it inherits. What works in one country can’t easily be transplanted.

On that view, the U.S. Constitution worked so well because it preserved principles the American colonists had brought with them from England. The framework — the balance between the executive and legislative branches, the bicameral legislature, the jury trial and due process, the bill of rights — was already familiar from the English constitution. Attempts to transplant Anglo-American political institutions in places such as Mexico, Nigeria, Russia and Iraq have collapsed time and again, because the political traditions needed to maintain them did not exist. Even in France, Germany and Italy, representative government failed repeatedly into the mid-20th century (recall the collapse of France’s Fourth Republic in 1958), and has now been shunted aside by a European Union whose notorious “democracy deficit” reflects a continuing inability to adopt Anglo-American constitutional norms.

The “universal dominion” agenda is flatly contradicted by centuries of Anglo-American conservative political thought. This may be one reason that some post-Cold War conservative intellectuals have shifted to calling themselves “classical liberals”. Last year Paul Ryan insisted: “I really call myself a classical liberal more than a conservative.” Mr. Kristol tweeted in August: “Conservatives could ‘rebrand’ as liberals. Seriously. We’re for liberal democracy, liberal world order, liberal economy, liberal education.”

What is “classical liberalism,” and how does it differ from conservatism? As Quinton pointed out, the liberal tradition descends from Hobbes and Locke, who were not empiricists but rationalists: Their aim was to deduce universally valid political principles from self-evident axioms, as in mathematics.

In his “Second Treatise on Government” (1689), Locke asserts that universal reason teaches the same political truths to all human beings; that all individuals are by nature “perfectly free” and “perfectly equal”; and that obligation to political institutions arises only from the consent of the individual. From these assumptions, Locke deduces a political doctrine that he supposes must hold good in all times and places.

The term “classical liberal” came into use in 20th-century America to distinguish the supporters of old-school laissez-faire from the welfare-state liberalism of figures such as Franklin D. Roosevelt. Modern classical liberals, inheriting the rationalism of Hobbes and Locke, believe they can speak authoritatively to the political needs of every human society, everywhere. In his seminal work, “Liberalism” (1927), the great classical-liberal economist Ludwig von Mises thus advocates a “world super-state really deserving of the name”, which will arise if we “succeed in creating throughout the world . . . nothing less than unqualified, unconditional acceptance of liberalism. Liberal thinking must permeate all nations, liberal principles must pervade all political institutions”.

Friedrich Hayek, the leading classical-liberal theorist of the 20th century, likewise argued, in a 1939 essay, for replacing independent nations with a world-wide federation: “The abrogation of national sovereignties and the creation of an effective international order of law is a necessary complement and the logical consummation of the liberal program.”

Classical liberalism thus offers ground for imposing a single doctrine on all nations for their own good. It provides an ideological basis for an American universal dominion.

By contrast, Anglo-American conservatism historically has had little interest in putatively self-evident political axioms. Conservatives want to learn from experience what actually holds societies together, benefits them and destroys them. That empiricism has persuaded most Anglo-American conservative thinkers of the importance of traditional Protestant institutions such as the independent national state, biblical religion and the family.

As an English Protestant, Locke could have endorsed these institutions as well. But his rationalist theory provides little basis for understanding their role in political life. Even today liberals are plagued by this failing: The rigidly Lockean assumptions of classical-liberal writers such as Hayek, Milton Friedman, Robert Nozick and Ayn Rand place the nation, the family and religion outside the scope of what is essential to know about politics and government. Students who grow up reading these brilliant writers develop an excellent grasp of how an economy works. But they are often marvelously ignorant about much else, having no clue why a flourishing state requires a cohesive nation, or how such bonds are established through family and religious ties.

The differences between the classical-liberal and conservative traditions have immense consequences for policy. Establishing democracy in Egypt or Iraq looks doable to classical liberals because they assume that human reason is everywhere the same, and that a commitment to individual liberties and free markets will arise rapidly once the benefits have been demonstrated and the impediments removed. Conservatives, on the other hand, see foreign civilizations as powerfully motivated — for bad reasons as well as good ones — to fight the dissolution of their way of life and the imposition of American values.

Integrating millions of immigrants from the Middle East also looks easy to classical liberals, because they believe virtually everyone will quickly see the advantages of American (or European) ways and accept them upon arrival. Conservatives recognize that large-scale assimilation can happen only when both sides are highly motivated to see it through. When that motivation is weak or absent, conservatives see an unassimilated migration, resulting in chronic mutual hatred and violence, as a perfectly plausible outcome.

Since classical liberals assume reason is everywhere the same, they see no great danger in “depreciating” national independence and outsourcing power to foreign bodies. American and British conservatives see such schemes as destroying the unique political foundation upon which their traditional freedoms are built.

Liberalism and conservatism had been opposed political positions since the day liberal theorizing first appeared in England in the 17th century. During the 20th-century battles against totalitarianism, necessity brought their adherents into close alliance. Classical liberals and conservatives fought together, along with communists, against Nazism. After 1945 they remained allies against communism. Over many decades of joint struggle, their differences were relegated to a back burner, creating a “fusionist” movement (as William F. Buckley’s National Review called it) in which one and all saw themselves as “conservatives”.

But since the fall of the Berlin Wall, circumstances have changed. Margaret Thatcher’s ouster from power in 1990 marked the end of serious resistance in Britain to the coming European “super-sovereign”. Within a few years the classical liberals’ agenda of universal dominion was the only game in town — ascendant not only among American Republicans and British Tories but even among center-left politicians such as Bill Clinton and Tony Blair.

Only it didn’t work. China, Russia and large portions of the Muslim world resisted a “new world order” whose express purpose was to bring liberalism to their countries. The attempt to impose a classical-liberal regime in Iraq by force, followed by strong-arm tactics aimed at bringing democracy to Egypt and Libya, led to the meltdown of political order in these states as well as in Syria and Yemen. Meanwhile, the world banking crisis made a mockery of classical liberals’ claim to know how to govern a world-wide market and bring prosperity to all. The shockingly rapid disintegration of the American family once again raised the question of whether classical liberalism has the resources to answer any political question outside the economic sphere.

Brexit and Mr. Trump’s rise are the direct result of a quarter-century of classical-liberal hegemony over the parties of the right. Neither Mr. Trump nor the Brexiteers were necessarily seeking a conservative revival. But in placing a renewed nationalism at the center of their politics, they shattered classical liberalism’s grip, paving the way for a return to empiricist conservatism. Once you start trying to understand politics by learning from experience rather than by deducing your views from 17th-century rationalist dogma, you never know what you may end up discovering.

Mr. Hazony is president of the Jerusalem-based Herzl Institute. His book “The Virtue of Nationalism” will be published next year by Basic.

 

(Hat-tip to our reader and commenter, Cogito)

A bad deal beginning to be undone 1

Here is President Trump delivering his important speech on his decision to decertify Obama’s “deal” with the Iranian regime:

Posted under Iran, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, October 13, 2017

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Pornography is the way, the truth, and the life 2

“Sexual intercourse began in nineteen sixty-three,” said the poet Philip Larkin.

Okay. We won’t dispute it. But we declare that POLITICAL SEX began in 1968.

With the birth of the New Left. That was when the Left gave up “the exploitation of the proletariat” as its excuse for destroying Western civilization, because twenty years after WWII the proletariat in the Western world was making lots of money from its “exploitation” and refusing to complain about it. Instead, the well-off well-educated soft-living New Left leaders picked on non-whites and women to act in the name of. To put an end to the “oppression” of those races and that sex, they wanted to make a revolution and establish a world-controlling communist regime. Ever since then, Racism and Sexism have characterized the Left.

Make Love Not War” was their slogan. The only individual freedom they were for, was sexual freedom.

It was “the dawn of the age of Aquarius“; an age apparently favoring sexual copulation. They made so much love in California’s bay area – especially in San Francisco – that, doctors said, sexually transmitted diseases that had not been known to the medical profession since the middle ages were once more common, mostly among young middle-class men and women – the  revolutionaries.

There was a climate not of rape but of promiscuity – particularly on campus – set off by sex-positive feminism (women could be as aggressive in pursuit of the big O as men).

Women demanded sexual equality with men. The pill helped. Anything men could do, women could do.

Laws making work-place harassment and having “a hostile environment for women”, created a plaintiff bar. Discrimination against women – not hiring and not  promoting – gave rise to a proliferation of  law-suits. Huge class actions.

A lot of women and their lawyers filed suits for extorting settlements, including women for whom the casting couch gambit did not pay off.

Of course, the “casting couch” was used by unscrupulous men and women. It always had been. It was a time-honored tradition. That didn’t begin in the 1960s! But after 1968, women who didn’t get the part they parted their limbs for, could start a new tradition and sue.

Not all did, of course; and not all suits were successful. Had they been, everything might have been different. Marilyn Monroe pointed out that if she had said no, 25 other women would have said yes.

Hollywood is a flesh-peddler. It is not a source of  moral guidance – though it often pretends to be. It is not an oracular shrine where the higher wisdom may be sought – though it often pretends to be that too. Women stars and starlets sell their looks. And since not all great “sex symbols” have acting talent, the casting couch was useful to manipulative people of both sexes. The difference since 1968 is that Hollywood came to think of itself as “on the side of history”. Since promiscuity was IN, the casting couch ceased to be a naughty open secret and became a model of Political Correctness. Or so the arbiters of sexual mores – the Left – chose to believe. And since everyone who was anyone was on the Left, it was okay for a movie mogul – such as Harvey Weinstein – to demand sex from a pretty girl who wanted him to give her a starring role in his next blockbuster.  

That ethos of the sixties, seventies and eighties (especially among educated elites) –  “Make Love, Not War”, no shame in your body, sexual satisfaction is a right, sex is liberating, sex experimentation is mind-expanding, marriage is slavery, conventional prudery is fascism – was a great time for men. All men. (Though not such a good time for professional prostitutes who suddenly had the competition of no-charge, anytime, anywhere princesses.)

Rich, powerful and famous men have always attracted women. They could take their pick among their groupies. They could grow old and fat and still have a glamorous young wife. The difference between groupies and would-be wives is that groupies accept the sex itself as their reward – morally reinforced by “sex-positive” feminism.

The Trophy Wife (always a second or third) started by simply being  younger and more beautiful than the old wives. But the role developed, evolved. She had not only to be younger and more beautiful, she had also to have had a career, or even achieved fame and fortune in her own right. The career aspect of the Executive Woman became a selling point in itself, adding to Her price and His status when He could claim Her as His.

But there is no Big Girl, growing up in the Western world, who does not know the difference between a low status groper and a Big Boy. No Big Girl is incapable of saying no or yes to Mr. Shlub or Mr. Big. Big Girls can throw off a wandering hand without being traumatized. Big Girls know the difference between a grope and rape, a pass and sexual harassment. Big Girls (Jolie, Paltrow) do not have to squawk aloud and publicly denounce sexual harassment or groping.

And so – Big Girls who settle out of court with Mr. Rich Big, getting dollars in exchange for non-disclosure, should abide by that agreement. They have been compensated for their loss of financial opportunity (which is what “loss of face” and “loss of self-esteem” are really all about).  

Are unwanted passes irritating? Yes. Are they blows against the sanctity of women’s bodies?  No. (It was the patriarchal ownership of women that conferred a “don’t touch” taboo on them  – and which still in Islam renders them corrupted, filthy and discardable when used by non-owners. Rape is an artifact of Patriarchy.) Marriage and marriageability made Woman non-violable. What has replaced them for her protection is the politics of identity. A woman now owns herself, but only as one of  the collective of Women.

Women’s major contribution to society is no longer as the bearers of children. They are female economic units (FEUs). Feminism proclaims a battle between women and men for power. Corporations setting quotas, hire and promote women in place of men. Women must be hired as FEUs, and promoted as FEUs, but any hint of behavior that acknowledges their sex can be the basis for a law suit.

How does society know when a woman is sincerely disgusted, ashamed, humiliated, nauseated etc. by a co-worker or boss?  Sincerity is beside the point. How do we know whether the pass was hostile or amatory? It makes no difference which it is. Heterosexual desire is now immoral. The intention of the perp is beside the point. And so we see the erosion of the idea that “rape” is a horrible crime (except on school campuses, where the cry of “rape” from a malicious female can wreck a young man’s career prospects and reputation without his being allowed to defend himself). In the smart world, rape is on the way to becoming a strict liability offense. The more women are “equal”  to men, the less their bodies/persons warrant special protection. Sexual assault is now just one form of common assault – unwanted touching, of varying degrees of force.

Is a man’s exposing himself and masturbating in front of a Big Girl anything more than ludicrousness? The moral outrage at Mr. Big’s years of unwanted touching does not signal virtue. No-one in Hollywood can reclaim that sort of virtue.

No adult anywhere in the West can, thanks to the universal license supplied by the New Left in 1968.

The Left owns the culture. As a matter of ethical correctness, it teaches prurience to infants.

Pornography is the way, the truth, and the life, in fiction and reality, in the Arts and in the News. 

Posted under Cosmology, Ethics, Feminism, Leftism, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, October 12, 2017

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A nest of traitors 1

Why does the State Department work against the United States?

Its treachery even extends to giving tax-payers’ money to assist George Soros’s campaign to destroy democracy in every part of the world his poisonous claws can reach.

(While it complains about Russian interference in American politics.)

We quote from a publication by Judicial Watch: Exposing the Deep State (September 2017).

First example of the State Department partnering with George Soros, in Albania:

In a March 14, 2017 letter to Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, six U.S. Senators … called on the secretary to investigate the relations between USAID and the Soros Foundations and how U.S. tax dollars are being used by the State Department and the USAID to support left-of-center political groups who seek to impose left-leaning policies in countries such as Macedonia and Albania. …

Soros’s association with the State Department in Albania goes back at least to 2011 when Soros urged Hillary Clinton [then secretary of state] to take action over recent demonstrations in the capital Tirana.  Fox news  reported on August 17, 2016 that:

Newly leaked emails and other files from billionaire George Soros’s web of organizations are shedding light on  [his]  extensive influence in political and diplomatic affairs.

One email chain shows [he] … personally wrote then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, urging intervention in Albania’s political unrest. Within days, an envoy he recommended was dispatched to the region.

In May 2016, USAID announced that it was providing $9million for its “Justice for All” project in Albania

Second example, in Macedonia:

In February [2017], Judicial Watch reported:

The U.S. government has quietly spent millions of tax payer dollars to destabilize the democratically elected center-right government in Macedonia by colluding with … George Soros … Barack Obama’s U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia, Jess L. Baily, has worked behind the scenes with Soros’s [misnamed] Open Society Foundation to funnel large sums of American dollars for the cause, constituting an interference of the U.S. Ambassador in domestic political affairs in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.  …

The Open Society Foundation has established and funded dozens of leftwing nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Macedonia to overthrow the conservative government.  … The groups organize youth movements, create influential media outlets and organize violent protests to undermine the institutions and policies implemented by the government. One of Soros’s groups funded the translation and publication of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals …   a tactical manual of subversion … Thanks to Obama’s ambassador, who has not been replaced by President Trump, Uncle Sam keeps the money flowing so the groups can continue operating and recruiting, sources in Macedonia and the U.S. confirm.

Why is this tolerated by the Trump administration?

Posted under Treason, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, October 11, 2017

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