Talk Radio: America’s Voice

I am a huge fan of talk radio.  Indeed, my dream job (other than teaching) is to be a talk radio show host at a local AM or FM news-talk station, maybe doing a morning show (I could at least take Glenn Beck’s sanctimonious nine-to-noon spot).  Strangers often tell me “you sound like you’re on the radio,” and talk-radio is basically everything I like about teaching without the grading.  I’ve guest-hosted online programs before, and have toyed with the idea of doing a weekly TPP podcast, but the real dream is to be on a terrestrial radio station.

As such, I was thrilled to stumble upon an interesting piece on Politico this week about AM radio stations across the country.  The piece, “The Lo-Fi Voices That Speak for America,” gives a brief overview of five broadcasters from across the country (including a Navajo-language broadcaster).  It’s worth taking ten minutes of your Tuesday morning to read through it.

The major takeaway from the piece is this:  listeners value relevant, local, even niche content.  One reason blogs and podcasts are so appealing is because they have the time and space to deal with niche (even fringe) topics in-depth at at-length.

A shortcoming of terrestrial radio, especially commercial radio, is the constraints of advertising.  I did the math once:  Sean Hannity’s program, which I listen to, in part, almost daily, consists of about thirty-two minutes of actual content per hour—and that includes the twice-hourly, one-minute cut-ins between commercial breaks.  An opening segment runs from 3:05-3:20 PM, with a one-minute cut-in at around 3:25.  He doesn’t begin his second segment until 3:35.  That means there’s nearly fifteen minutes of commercials (as well as local news updates, etc.) between segments.

Local programming, however, seems to have more space for topics, and a smidge more flexibility.  Local hosts also have a better “feel” for their communities, and the topics that people want to hear about.  Austin Rhodes has been a fixture in Augusta, Georgia, for thirty-plus years for that very reason.  Ken Ard’s programGood Morning Pee Dee, is hugely popular in Florence, South Carolina (plus, it’s fun to hear a populist good-old-boy run down the news of the day).

There are some crummy local hosts (there’s a local former mayor with a show on Augusta’s news-talk station who sounds like paint-drying), but at least there’s some color.  The downside to nationally-syndicated shows is that they tend to blur together.  The best national programs (besides the king, Rush Limbaugh, whom many imitate) are the wackiest.  That’s why Michael Savage is so fun—he goes from railing against elites to spending half-an-hour talking about what he had for dinner.

I just wish they’d give Gavin McInnes a terrestrial show, but I don’t think he could police his bad language enough.  Thank goodness for podcasts.


Trump’s Economy and 2020

There’s been a spate of good economic news lately, largely thanks to President Trump’s economic policies.  US GPD grew 3.2% for the first quarter of 2019, blowing away economists’ projected 2.5% growth.  Of the 231 companies in the S&P 500 to report their Q1 earnings so far, 77.5% of them have exceeded analysts’ expectationsUS consumer spending increased 0.9% (0.7% when adjusted for inflation) during a quarter that is usually slower after the Christmastime rush.  All of that growth has occurred without a substantial increase in inflation.

That economic news is good for President Trump, but it might not be enough in and of itself.  In better times, any president with those economic numbers would breeze into a second term, but the perception among Democrats (no surprise) and some independents (more troubling) is that the economic growth we’re witnessing isn’t benefiting everyone, but instead favors the rich and powerful.

To be clear, Trump is in a strong position at the moment.  Having emerged battered but unbeaten from the Mueller investigation, he’s bested the greatest existential threat to his presidency.  Construction on the border wall has begun, and even progressive economist Thomas Friedman endorsing a “high wall” on the border.  And loony freshman Congress members like Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez continue to commit bone-headed, unforced errors.

That said, the scuttlebutt on the Dissident Right is that economic success alone won’t secure Trump’s reelection, and that excessive focus on it might actually alienate the blue-collar workers that delivered Trump victory in 2016.  The general argument is that, unless Trump doesn’t come down hard on immigration, even economic growth won’t save him.

I don’t fully buy this argument, but there might be some truth to it.  When the economy is already good, voters begin looking at other issues more closely.  If a worker loses his job to an illegal immigrant, or if the plant moves to Mexico, it doesn’t matter how good the economy as a whole is doing.

One alarming sign of trouble:  former Vice President Joe Biden and Texan weirdo Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke both are competitive against Trump—in Texas!  Granted, it’s very early in this process—the 2020 election is an eternity away, politically speaking—and the media loves to trumpet Democratic victories in historically deep-red States.  But the situation in Texas, like other border and high-growth States, illustrates the importance of the immigration issue.

A quick summary:  ultra-progressive California taxes and regulates its most productive citizens out of the State, while importing cheap labor illegally (supporting it with sanctuary cities, etc.) so the uber-wealthy Silicon Valley tech titans have gardeners and nannies at slave wages.  Enough Lefties bleed out into Arizona, Texas, and other reddish States with low taxes and good law enforcement.  Those States also struggle with illegal immigration, and are demonized for trying to protect their borders.  The result:  the purpling of Texas.

To clarify:  I think President Trump is well-positioned to win in 2020, especially if the Democrats nominate a wacko or a blatant race-baiter (like Kamala Harris).  He’s got a tougher fight against a perceived moderate like Biden or Pete Buttigieg, but momentum and incumbency are on his side.

Regardless, it is vital that President Trump return to his key campaign promise from 2016:  securing the border.  Not only is that crucial for tapping into the populist discontent that catapulted him into the Oval Office, it’s the only way to preserve the United States we know and love.

Lazy Sunday VIII: Conservatism

Today marks the last day of my glorious Spring Break, so it’s back to the races tomorrow.  I’m a bit under-the-weather, so today’s Lazy Sunday is going to be a quick one.

I’ve been mulling over some big questions lately about the state of the conservative movement, and what constitutes “conservatism.”  I’m planning on offering a course this summer called The History of Conservative Thought, and with the current state of flux in politics generally, it seems like a useful exercise.

As the Right continues to define itself, bolster its coalition, and attempt to rollback the seemingly inexorable gains of the Progressive Left, it’s all-the-more critical that conservatives understand who we are, where our ideas come from, and how we can win hearts and minds going forward.

With that, here are three pieces—two directly about the state of the Right, one about the deeper ideas that pulsate through conservative thought—for “Lazy Sunday VIII: Conservatism”:

That’s it for a quick Lazy Sunday (it is lazy, after all).  I’ll be back tomorrow, hopped up on Mucinex.

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Bland and Gay

The Democratic field for 2020 is a circus of tribal interests. Each candidate represents some special interest group in the rainbow coalition of the Democratic Party: Kamala Harris is the Queen of Black Voters; Cory Booker is the closeted, melodramatic homosexual; Elizabeth Warren is the shrill, angry white lady; Joe Biden is the Old Obama Perv; Tulsi Gabbard is the ethnically-ambiguous babe (and the least bad of all of them).

But the candidate that has everyone all a-titter is South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the platitudinous gay man. Everyone seems to love this guy, notably upper-middle class white people and the tech industry. Breitbart‘s Allum Bokhari has a piece attempting to explain Buttigieg’s appeal to Big Tech and the closeted Leftists of the Never Trump movement.

Bokhari’s takeaway is this: Mayor Buttigieg is the kind of bland, copy-cat politician that the Establishments of both parties preferred prior to the 2016 election. He hearkens back to a time when the Establishment dominated politics with impunity.

There’s something to this analysis, I think. I’m continually frustrated with alleged conservatives who say they like President Trump’s policies, but cannot support him “on principle” because he’s “morally reprehensible.”

I recall a conversation with a friend and his wife—both devout Catholics—who dislike President Trump, largely (I perceived) for rhetorical reasons. The husband is given to virtue-signalling to the pieties of the day, but the wife is a bit more based. I pleaded with her to get over her distaste for Trump’s “meanness” and to cast her vote for him in 2020, as he’s the only candidate who is going to fight against abortion and for religious liberty. She told me she did not oppose the president for being a “meanie,” but because she finds him “morally reprehensible.”

I thought about that comment, and realized it’s nonsense. Saying the president is “morally reprehensible”—and, therefore, you’re not going to vote for him—is the same thing as saying you won’t support him because he’s a meanie; it just sounds better to frame it in moral tones.

Yes, yes, President Trump has done some immoral stuff, things many of us would shudder to contemplate. But who among us isn’t a sinner? What I care about are results. Cyrus the Great wasn’t a God-fearing man, but he restored the Jewish people to their homeland and paid to rebuild the Temple.

It’s a shame we have to keep reminding other Christians that a.) God uses all people to achieve His ends and b.) God forgives—and, as Christians, we believe in forgiveness!

But I digress. I intuit that what these cosmopolitan, upper-middle class whites want is, simply, a blandly non-offensive guy to say nice things and to appear “presidential.” In the current mix, the only figure that really fits that “Platonic ideal” of a president is Pete Buttigieg.

Add in a splash of mildly exotic gayness, and he pushes all the right buttons for these folks: they get to virtue-signal their support for a now-acceptable “alternative lifestyle,” while bowing to a vapid, clean-cut nice guy.

Pathetic. In a better age, we’d reject Mayor Pete for his Wildean antics. Instead, we’re elevating a Midwestern mayor with a slim record to presidential heights because it makes country club types feel good about themselves. “He’s nice—oooh, and gay! I like that combination.” Please.

Given the hysterical, limp-wristed lengths to which loafer-lighteners have gone to force their lifestyle on the general public, it seems like we’d want to keep them away from the highest office in the land. Pete Buttigieg’s twisting of God’s Word to endorse his flamboyant lifestyle is far more dangerous than Trump saying his favorite verse is “Two Corinthians.”

Get a grip, folks. MAGA MAGA MAGA!

The State of the Right, Part II: Dissident Right and Civic Nationalists

Last week I wrote a piece about “The State of the Right.”  It’s inspiration were two essays, one from edgelord Gavin McInnes, the other from fellow blogger photog of Orion’s Cold Fire.  photog has done real yeoman’s work on teasing out the strands of the Right today, and he’s followed up that effort with a prescient essay, “Identity Politics and Civic Nationalism – Part 1.”  It’s the first in an interesting series exploring the friction between two major factions of the Right, broadly-defined, too:  the increasingly race realist Dissident Right, and the more traditional “BoomerCon” civic nationalist Right.

The former group has been very active since the 2015-2016 Trump Ascendancy, reading various intentions and motivations into the Trump campaign’s tough stance on immigration and border control.  As photog points out, the Dissident Right is the group that had the guts to call out neocons as Leftists-in-Conservative’s-Clothing.  Essentially, Bush-era neocons were playing into the progressive’s frame:  embrace massive and/or illegal immigration, dole out protections or favors to our preferred tribal interests, and we’ll give token conservatives a few crumbs from the dinner table.

The latter group, which photog defines well in his essay “What’s Right,” is not as active online as the Dissident Right, but is far more numerous.  These are the folks who love God and country, and want to see America strong and secure.  Civic nationalists believe that race and biology are not essential barriers to achieving the American Dream; rather, anyone who works hard, assimilates, and respects the Constitution can do well.  That understanding dominated postwar America, and when Leftists have pushed identity politics too far, the “Silent Majority” has risen up to push back.

In photog’s reading, Trump’s election was not, then, the triumph of the Dissident Right race realists; instead, it was the triumph of the silent CivNats pushing back against progressive tribalism.  Just like Nixon in 1968 and 1972 and Reagan in 1980 and 1984, millions of normal, traditional Americans rose up in 2016 against looming Leftist disorder and chaos.

The argument of the Dissident Right is that all the racial division and social breakdown we’ve seen in America is proof that different races and cultures cannot long function together in a healthy body politic.

Civic Nationalist, on the other hand, argue that government policies like affirmative action and paternalistic welfare systems encourage tribalist, racialist thinking, essentially ghettoizing certain groups (often along racial lines).  America is nation of ideas, not blood.  A key example is how the “post-racialist” Obama Administration exacerbated racial tensions through its policies.

President Obama’s Justice Department, headed by racemonger Attorney General Eric Holder, significantly worsened race relations in the United States every time “police violence” claimed a black man’s life:  rather than treating such incidences on a case-by-case basis, the Obama DOJ aggressively, publicly supported the view that “systemic racism” was the cause of the attacks.  A compliant media spun narratives like “hands up, don’t shoot.”  With cops second-guessing their every interaction with a potential black suspect, many just stopped doing their jobs effectively, breeding more criminality in black neighborhoods—further “proof” that the system was “rigged” against blacks.

Most Americans reacted to these shootings with sympathy, naturally, but as the details began to trickle out, many of them were not as they appeared.  Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri was not the “gentle giant” the media portrayed, but a dangerous felon.  The police shooting in Charleston, however, was a legitimate example where police went too far, though it’s not, logically, proof in and of itself of “systemic racism,” or even individual racism.

Regardless, the CivNat argument is that race is incidental, not a determining factor in one’s ability to participate in the grand experiment in self-government.

So, who is correct?  Like most things, there is truth to be found among both groups.  The Civic Nationalist wing of conservatism is often slow to react and is generally complacent in its slumber, but it won’t abide consistent tomfoolery or wickedness for long.

The Dissident Right, on the other hand, is willing to come out swinging at the myriad problems facing the nation today, particularly immigration.  They argue—I think, correctly—that we can’t swamp our nation with millions of unassimilated Third Worlders from peasant cultures that have no interest in, or even thoughtfulness about, our nation or its values.  Like it or not, Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence came out of, well, Anglo-Saxons, and it took hundreds of years to develop ideas like constitutionalism, rule of law, self-governance, separation of powers, etc.

That said, I don’t think the Dissident Right is correct that only white Anglo-Saxons can enjoy the fruits of the grand British tradition (although such patrimony seems better equipped to avoid tribalism).  The history of America suggests otherwise.  Millions of Americans of every skin color and culture have managed to assimilate into American culture (if anything, black Americans are the biggest example of the failure to assimilate, but that’s for complicated historical and cultural reasons, not to mention persistent legal action to separate blacks from the rest of American society for a hundred years after emancipation).

Tribalism, however, is a very real phenomenon, and a dangerous one.  The Dissident Right gets this correct as well.  If you transported all of El Salvador to Kansas today, the people wouldn’t suddenly become restrained corn farmers participating in quilting bees and box socials; they’d be El Salvadorans, their distinct cultural and national rivalries still playing out in bloody gang violence.  Take ten El Salvadorans, however, and spread them throughout the country, and they’ll have no choice but to assimilate.

What photog and I both reject, then, is the Dissident Right’s solution to our problems, which is, simply, to embrace identity politics and tribalism for whites—use the same tactics of the Left to get carve-outs and special favors for white Americans.  That seems like a surefire way to increase, not decrease, racial tension.

To close out this lengthy, meandering post, here is photog himself, on asking “Are [the Dissident Right] right?”:

I prefer to think that they’re not.  My read on this is that the situation has been exacerbated by Republican “leaders” who actually seem to buy into the fairness of minority identity politics out of some kind of ancestral guilt or because they see electoral advantage in joining the progressives.  The proof of this can be seen in the success of a civic nationalist like Trump who isn’t guilted into kowtowing to illegal immigration out of fear of being called a racist.  Once you disarm the Progressives of that weapon you find out that the majority of Americans, even in Blue States, want immigration laws to be obeyed.

I contend if the Right forcefully advocates for full enforcement of immigration laws and the elimination of reverse discrimination policies by the government and other entities, it will go a long way toward lowering tensions between the various groups living in the United States and will allow people to start thinking of each other as neighbors and not potential enemies.

photog and I, like many Americans, are walking a fine line between the truthful claims of the Dissident Right and the Civic Nationalists.  Both camps have much to offer, and the Dissident Right has been on the front lines of the Culture Wars the past three or four years.  The two factions can work together to reinvigorate conservative thought, to shake it loose from the dogma that’s dominated it since the end of the Second World War.

That said, that dogma, too, contains useful bits.  The point, then, seems to be that we should always be pondering what is truthful, good, and useful.  The neocons tossed fuel to the fire when they endorsed increase immigration and turned a blind eye to illegal immigration.  The Dissident Right and the Civic Nationalists can both agree that rolling back illegal immigration and limiting legal immigration, at least for a time, will be beneficial for the nation as a whole.

TBT: Six Long Years

I’m still indulging in the unrealistic decadence of Spring Break’s unlimited freedom.  After a long Wednesday painting, I decided to go with an unorthodox pick for this week’s TBT.  Indeed, I’ve mined out the best of the old TPP blog; pretty soon I’ll be reposting pieces from this iteration of it, what I call “TPP 3.0.”  The benefit of daily posts is that I have a good bit of windbaggery to pull from.

Today’s TBT hearkens back to the dawn of the TPP 2.0 era, when I relaunched the blog after a six- (in reality, a seven-) year hiatus.  I was down on Fripp Island, a place that always seems to get the literary juices flowing.  There’s something about sitting at a dark, wooden desk in a study at the beach that channels some Pat Conroy-esque inspirado.

Anyway, it was there that I decided to do thrice-weekly posts for the duration of the summer.  The posts then were much longer than the average posts now.  These days, I average around 600 words on a post.  In those days, I was churning out 1200-1500 words three times a week.  There’s a reason I started the TBT weekly feature:  I wrote some quality content back in those days.

The post you’re about to read, “Six Long Years,” was a quick set of reflections on the very eventful years that passed from 2010-2016.  The world changed rapidly during the Obama Administration; we often forget how quickly and how much.  I can still remember, vividly, when many States—including deep blue ones!—voted against legalizing same-sex marriage.  Now, even suggesting what was the norm less than ten years ago would be grounds for deplatforming, doxxing, and SJW Twitter (and real) mobs otherwise destroying your life.

Now, even 2016 seems like an eternity ago.  Trump’s election that November was a “through-the-looking-glass” moment.  Who knows what the next six years might hold?

There’s no way to know.  Regardless, here is 2016’s “Six Long Years“:

A lot can happen in six years.

When I last posted on this blog, I announce that Nikki Haley had been elected Governor of South Carolina.

That was November of 2010.  Think about what was going on at that time:

– Democrats still controlled the Senate, but had just lost the House to the rising T.E.A. Party insurgency.

– The Affordable Care Act had been passed, but would not go into effect until 2013 (2014, as it turned out, due to the executive fiat of the Department of Health and Human Services).

– The Great Recession was, from a technically economic standpoint, over, but the much-vaunted Obama recovery was still frustratingly anemic at best, and virtually invisible to many Americans.

– President Barack Obama hadn’t completely divided the country along race, class, and gender lines, and his disastrous foreign policy hadn’t completely crippled American power and prestige abroad.

What a difference six years make.  Here are some highlights:

– Nikki Haley not only began her first gubernatorial term in 2011; she handily won reelection in 2014 in a landslide victory against her 2010 opponent, Vincent Sheheen.  The relatively unknown upstart from Bamberg made good on her promise to grow the State economically.  She guided the state through the horrible Charleston Nine massacre in 2015; adroitly handled the resultant push to remove the Confederate Flag from the Statehouse grounds; and entered VP buzz for the carnival-like 2015-2016 presidential election season.

– The Democrats lost control of the Senate after an unexpected Republican surge in the 2014 midterm elections, which cemented the gains of 2010 and showed Americans’ growing dissatisfaction with the Affordable Care Act in particular and the Obama administration’s equivocating in general.  This victory came despite an unpopular government shut-down (led by the brilliant Senator Ted Cruz of Texas) in 2013 and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s drubbing in the 2012 presidential election.

– Racial wounds that had mostly scabbed over were ripped open once again–this time with the president dumping plenty of salt on them.  Alleged police misconduct in Ferguson, Missouri and beyond brought out protestors in droves… despite the fact that many of these unfortunate events were not racially motivated (although some, such as the death of Eric Garner in New York City, highlighted the perils of excessive force and regulations).  Baltimore caught fire, Ferguson was ablaze, and the big losers were small black business owners who saw their stores looted amid cries for racial and social justice.

– The American college campus, always a training school for Leftist ideologues, became a breeding ground for illiberal Progressives, those who loudly (and sometimes violently) suppressed freedom of speech if such speech was deemed unacceptable or “hateful” (the latter often taking a rather protean definition).  Dovetailing with the rise in identity politics (see the previous bullet point), campus multiculturalism took on a dangerously Balkanized flavor, one that denounced the First Amendment and, in the process, heterosexual white men in favor of a vague commitment to skin-deep “diversity” (unless you’re transgender, in which case you can be whatever you feel like at any given moment).

– Out of all this craziness came the largest, most talented field of Republican presidential hopefuls in the nation’s history.  With seventeen (!) candidates, Republicans were treated to a wealth of talent—but also a great deal of muckraking, mudslinging, and intense political maneuvering.  From this crowded field emerged an unlikely victor:  business mogul Donald J. Trump.  In one of the biggest twists in American political history, a non-ideological, brash, gutsy-but-not-very-detail-oriented, and always-controversial reality television star won the nomination of an increasingly conservative Republican Party.  Put another way, a thrice-married, formerly-pro-Clinton, formerly-pro-choice New Yorker beat out a born-again, pro-life Texan.

Needless to say, it’s been pretty crazy.

With everything that’s happened, I realized that it’s time to get back into this world of political commentary.  The unique character of the 2016 presidential election alone has me salivating (be on the lookout for my brief overview of the 2015-2016 presidential nomination process).  There are so many questions:  what will become of the Republican Party?  Can Trump win the election (for what it’s worth, I think he can)?  Will Hillary manage to hold off socialist Bernie Sanders?  How will Trump and Clinton go after each other?  Should conservatives support Trump, or back a third-party candidate (for reasons I’ll explain in a future post, I’ll say “yes, with some caveats” to the first part and “no” to the second)?  What would a viable third-party candidacy look like—if such a thing is possible?

There’s a lot to talk about.

So, strap in and brace yourself—it’s going to be one heck of a ride.

All the best,

The Portly Politico


Tonight’s post is one of those self-indulgent entries that has little bearing on what’s happening in the world today, but it’s germane to why this post is so late to arrive.

I spent the day painting in my brother’s finished basement.  He and his wife have this great living area/playroom for their kids down there, but there was a great deal of trim work that needed painting, as well as baseboards.

I spend many of my summers working maintenance at school, which usually involves painting classrooms.  There’s something about slapping a fresh coat of paint on a room that makes it look like there have been major upgrades or improvements, when really you’ve just changed the color.

Of course, everyone loves that fresh paint smell, and new paint does look good.  A change in color can dramatically change the atmosphere of a room—it’s “feel,” if you will.

This post, however, is more about the process of painting.  While I am thankful I do not have to paint for a living, it is an activity that I enjoy on occasion, usually because I’m getting paid to do it (as was the case today—thanks, bro).  Beyond the financial benefits, the act of painting is akin to driving long distances on the Interstate:  it’s a bit tedious, but it clears the mind wonderfully.  I’ve done some of my deepest thinking done while painting walls.

There’s also a tangible pay-off to painting:  the finished product is very satisfying.  What’s more, the process itself is rewarding, as you watch your progress unfold in real time.  There is little in the way of “busy work” in painting a room.

So many jobs today, especially of the clerical sort, seem to be about spinning wheels in an attempt to appear productive.  I’m convinced that huge sectors of our economy consist of such paper-pushing.  Just look at the excessive credentialing that underpins so many fields, like education, without tangibly improving the quality of the professions.

In painting—as in my blue-collar trades—there is little room for such wheel-spinning.  The job either gets done, or it doesn’t.  Unreliable contractors baffle me for this reason (and they are common in the rural South, as I suspect demand drastically outstrips supply), although the problem there is usually getting the project started.

Regardless, the job must be done.  If it’s not done, it’s noticeable, especially when painting.  A missed spot on the wall is like starting at the pirates’ black spot in your hand.

Of course, painting takes its toll.  My entire body is sore from bending and stretching all day (I was switching between trim on the ceiling and baseboards on the floor, as well as some window trim and door frames).  Anecdotally, I’m told that many professional painters are drunks.  I don’t know if that’s true, but I’ve heard it from enough different people that there must be some kernel of truth to it.  What’s the connection?  (Apparently, paint fumes, but that’s not a huge problem, I’ve found, with latex paint in well-ventilated areas.)

That said, I will sleep soundly tonight, and enjoy a sense of serene accomplishment.  Painting today was a wonderful way to refocus my mind and to help me calm down after a busy, extended Easter Weekend.

Happy Wednesday!


New Criterion on Principles in Politics

Principles are, at bottom, what our politics are founded upon.  But that doesn’t mean that principles are inviolate, or that they should come at the cost of common sense or self-preservation.

That seems to be the crux of the debate occurring on the Right at the moment.  A dwindling faction of Never Trumpers argue that “decorum” and principles must be preserved at all costs, even if it means perpetual political defeat, if it means we’re on a higher road than our enemies to the Left.

The Trumpist and Dissident Rights, on the other hand, argue that we should jettison the Marques of Queensbury rules and noodle-wristed, David Frenchian hand-wringing over decorum and process to fight our opponents like backstreet scrappers.  Since the other side doesn’t follow any rules, the argument goes, the Right can at least loosen up a bit, and not stress out so much about policing its own side, when the Left steadfastly refuses to do the same.

This difference in approach suggests, of course, the different philosophies underpinning the Left and the Right.  The Left is motivated by nihilism and lust for power.  The Right is largely motivated by maintaining strong families, strong faith, and a strong nation.  In the West, the Right is, philosophically if not always theologically, Christian, so it’s natural that it treats its ideological opponents with tolerance, respect, restraint.

The progressive Left—ironically descended, in part, from the Puritan impulse to eliminate, rather than hem in, evil—prefers total destruction of its enemies, and constantly redefines what constitutes heresy to achieve ever greater degrees of “social justice” and “purity.”

The New Criterion had a piece I’ve been sitting on for awhile, waiting for a slow news week.  While it’s been eventful, nothing today really caught my eye.  I’m in the middle of my glorious, late-in-coming Spring Break this week, and there’s something about being out of the normal routine that has my mind working more sluggishly than usual.

‘Principle’ Parts” by James Bowman is about the Brexit process, and Theresa May’s disastrous performance thereof.  Rather than just ripping off the Band-Aid—what America did when we declared independence from a frosty, overbearing, overseas power—the Prime Minister has equivocated, betraying the will of the British people, trying to work out a deal rather than a—gasp!—“no deal” Brexit.

As Mark Steyn presciently points out in another piece, “Exit Brexit,” taking a “no deal” Brexit off the table undermines all of Britain’s leverage in negotiations.  Theresa May, like so many other polite “conservatives,” invested more in being the good schoolgirl going through the process than fighting for the interests of her country.  The end result:  selling out to a supranational tyranny that lacks the military ability to enforce its odious bureaucratic despotism.

Principles are important, but they mean nothing if we’re not allowed to defend them out loud in the pubic square.  The state of the battlefield at present requires tooth-and-nail battles.  The Right should spend less effort policing itself—and thereby limiting its effectiveness to a token “loyal opposition”—and should instead doggedly go after Leftists and their nihilistic, lethal ideology.

Sri Lankan Church Bombings

It was a lovely Easter Weekend here in South Carolina, which is, after all, God’s Country.  It was a weekend full of church, colorful clothes, a trip to the movies, and TONS of eating.  If you’ve never celebrated a major holiday (that is, an Easter- or Christmas-level event) in the South, you’re missing out on good eatin’.

Unfortunately, less than a week after the Notre Dame fire, anti-Christian terrorists persecuted fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in three cities in Sri Lanka, the island nation to the south of India.  The death toll is somewhere between 138 and 207, with approximately 450 others injured.

Islamist extremists committed these attacks on hotels and Christian churches, an act all-the-more wicked for its symbolic timing.  As Christians flocked to worship the Resurrection of Christ Jesus, Muslim terrorists callously and opportunistically slaughtered them.

Sadly, these attacks are nothing new.  In the wake of the Notre Dame fire—which was probably an accident, but could have been the result of foul-play—some news outlets quietly began to point to the persistent attacks on French churches that have been going on since February.  Europe is particularly awash in shiftless, military-aged, unassimilated Muslim men, men easily radicalized into supporting and conducting these kinds of attacks.  A shocking percentage of “moderate” Muslims support or condone terrorist attacks as sometimes justified.

I’m not as familiar with the issues Asian Christians face with Islam, but there have been attacks in the Philippines, as well as attacks on Christians of all stripes in North Africa and the Middle East.

Christianity faces twin threats today:  the progressive Left and Islamism.  The former is a more subtle, but increasingly bold, threat, that seeks to destroy Western Civilization from within.  The latter is an external threat that is very upfront about its hatred for non-Muslims, but that also leverages the tolerance of Western societies to its advantage.  The Left and Islam are allies of convenience, despite their many incompatibilities.

My prayers go out to all Christians facing persecution, from the small-scale persecution of mockery to the very real persecutions of death and intimidation.  Christ promised us that, as Christians, the world would reject us, and persecution would be inevitable.  In the United States, especially in the religious South, we’ve been spoiled, and have grown complacent, to threats to our faith.  We should never forget the real men and women who gave their lives—and continue to risk them—to keep the faith.

Here’s hoping for some better news as the week progresses.  Deus Vult!