#MAGAWeek2019: President Trump’s Independence Day Speech

It’s #MAGAWeek2019 here at The Portly Politico.  Each day’s post will be a SubscribeStar exclusive.  For a subscription of $1/month, you gain exclusive to each day’s posts, as well as exclusive content every Saturday throughout the rest of the year.  Visit my SubscribeStar page for more details.

I was not planning on writing about President Trump’s incredible Independence Day speech as part of #MAGAWeek2019, mainly because I try to keep these posts historical.  The speech was so powerful, though, and so educational in a historical sense, it and President Trump have earned a spot (alongside the president’s favorite food) as part of my annual celebration of American greatness.

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TPP Review: First Half of 2019

It’s been a busy week for yours portly as I’ve been on uncle duty.  The little ones are back to their folks, and TPP is wiping away the baby spittle and Cheerios dust—and, hopefully, getting back on schedule.

This Monday, July 1 will kick off #MAGAWeek2019, which will be a SubscribeStar exclusiveJust subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more to get access to these posts about the men, women, and ideas that made America great [again]!  And don’t forget tomorrow is SubscribeStar Saturday, the day of the week subscribers get a post just for them.

July 1 will also mark the halfway point of this year, so I thought I’d use tonight’s post to do a little looking back.  This post will be the 180th consecutive post, which means I have an entire secondary school academic year’s worth of posts in 2019.  I might should start compiling those into a book—the Portly Manifesto, perhaps?

Regardless, here are the five most viewed posts of 2019 up to this point.  Enjoy!

5.) “Nehemiah and National Renewal” – Not only is this post about Nehemiah, the great leader of the Israelites who coordinated the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s dilapidated walls in the face of overwhelming opposition, a reader favorite; it’s one of my favorites as well.  Nehemiah trusted in God, and when God commanded him to rebuild the walls, Nehemiah did so faithfully.  The parallels with the Trumpean program of building a wall and seeking national renewal are hard to miss.  I also wrote a fairly popular follow-up to this post, which explores the spiritual aspects of Nehemiah more thoroughly.

4.) “Hump Day Hoax” – This post garnered a great deal of attention because I linked to it in the “comments” section of GOPUSA, a conservative news and opinion website.  The site featured a piece on my adopted home town’s mayor, who claimed that the heavy pollen on her car was part of a deliberate hate crime.  You can’t make this stuff up.  In the wake of the Jussie Smollett hoax, it seemed at the time like Her Dishonor the Mayor was grasping for some race-based discrimination fame of her own.  I’m pretty sure my mayor reported the story to Newsweek herself, even though county and State law enforcement confirmed that the mystery substance was, indeed, pollen.  Gesundheit!

3.) “Secession Saturday” – This post explored the totalitarian nature of Leftism, particularly the idea that, should our cold cultural civil war ever turn hot, the Left would never allow for a peaceful separation.  Even though they hate us, part of that hate is due to their unwillingness to let us live our lives as we see fit.  As such, there would never be an amicable parting of ways, because progressives can’t stand for people to disagree with them.

2.) “Gay Totalitarianism” – This piece pulled from—as all of my best posts do—the excellent American Greatness website.  It explored a couple of hoaxes involving gays or lesbians concocting incidents of violence to garner media attention and fawning support, all in the service of pushing an increasingly unhinged queer agenda.  Jussie Smollett’s ability to stage a ridiculously clumsy “hate crime” against himself, then to walk scot-free, shows how being gay, black, and famous serves as a talisman against even criminal prosecution.

1.) “The Desperate Search for Meaning” – The most popular post of this year owes its popularity to clicks from Dalrock’s blog.  I posted the link to it in a comment on one of his pieces, and his superior content and traffic spilled over to this piece, which focused on the antics of a New Age charlatan and her female acolytes.  The posts discusses how people (and, in this context, specifically women) are desperately searching for something deeper than empty materialism, to the point that they will endure abuse and slave-like work conditions for the chance to be close to someone offering spiritual fulfillment, even if it’s counterfeit.

So, there you have it.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the blog this year.  Here’s hoping I can keep the momentum going.

Happy Fourth of July!

–TPP

McClay & Sheaffer on American History

It’s been a history-packed week for yours portly.  Tuesday morning my History of Conservative Thought students and I continued our examination of Edmund Burke, the great Member of Parliament and godfather of Anglosphere conservatism.  Burke foresaw the radical nature of the French Revolution well before the guillotining began.

On Thursday, I had the opportunity to substitute a colleague’s summer course, Terror and Terrorism, a popular course he’s run for several summers now.  Students in that course read excerpts from John Jacques Rousseau’s Social Contract (PDF, the same one the students read, in part), a political philosophy perhaps the polar opposite of Burkean traditionalism.

Rousseau’s theory of the “general will” is, I would argue, responsible for the radicalism of the French Revolution—which wrought the Bolshevik (Russian) Revolution, the Maoist revolutions of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, and on and on.  There’s a reason one of my Conservative Thought students claims that “the French Revolution was the first Communist revolution,” by which he means it contained within it the collectivist ideals of Rousseau’s general will.

But I digress.  In the spirit of all that historical musing, I thought I’d recommend two pieces I’ve read recently about the historian’s craft, and the dangers of applying a progressive lens to our understand of the past.

The most recent piece is a post from Practically Historical, entitled “Expunging Our Past.”  Gordon Sheaffer‘s pithy historical posts are enlightening and engaging, and fits with an argument he makes in this post:

“History should be popular.  Our past must be understood by the citizenry- historical studies targeted only at academics cannot be how we measure the discipline.  There is a way to make history insightful and enjoyable.”

Amen!  One of my great frustrations while in graduate school was the ponderous relativism inherent in the jargon-laden, hyper-focused monographs we were forced to read.  I certainly acknowledge the usefulness and necessity of thoroughly researching a small corner of our historical experience, but what happened to the grand, sweeping histories of the eloquent generalist?

When I was a younger man, I relished reading accessible (but, nevertheless challenging) works of history, especially broad overviews of a time period or nation.  It’s fascinating to learn about the minutiae, to be sure, but a good historian should be able to give the broad strokes and the colorful details.

But the real point of Sheaffer’s piece is that the progressive revisionists are attempting to reduce American history to a Marxist (and Manichean) story of class struggle.  That trend dates back to Progressive Era historian Charles Beard, who famously argued that the Constitution was merely an economic arrangement that benefited the wealthy Framers, protecting their wealth and privilege at the expense of the common man.

Archfiend (and political scientist, not historian) Howard Zinn continued that theme in the popular-but-inaccurate A People’s History of the United States, which has sadly been adopted in many school districts across the country as an American history textbook.  Zinn presented American history as a procession of plutocrats exploiting the working people and racial minorities for personal aggrandizement, rather than the rich tapestry of hard-working yeoman and laborers who really built the country under the protective auspices of the Constitution.

Just as Burke was the antidote to Rousseau, so historian Wilfred McClay serves as a corrective to the partisan excesses of Zinn.  He’s written a new textbook, Land of Hope, which strives to be a “well-written and appealing history of the United States that, while being informed by the best scholarship, does not lose sight of the big picture about our nation’s admirable and exceptional history.”

McClay argues that without a proper foundation in our own nation’s history, we are unable to govern ourselves.  Quite true:  I would argue that a large part of our current national discontent and brutal culture war is that we have two very different visions of America.  The one is an America that is strong, liberty-loving, fair-minded, and great; the other is of an America that is exploitative, prejudiced, greedy, and callous.

That’s why I’ve long argued that simply requiring students to take an American history course to graduate from high school and/or college isn’t enough to move the needle.  It does no good if the course is a collection of progressivist pabulum or a crash-course in victim studies.  There’s no guarantee your high school history teacher—likely certified from a progressive education program—will actually teach American history fairly or accurately, much less your community college adjunct.

There are a ton of choice tidbits in this interview McClay gave to Encounter Books, the publisher of Land of Hope, but here’s a good excerpt on Zinn:

Encounter: Howard Zinn said that his goal in writing A People’s History of the United States was to create a “quiet revolution” in our understanding of American history. Did he succeed in that endeavor?

McClay: Yes and no. He succeeded in unsettling many aspects of the consensus in which American historical writing was embedded. He did this to an astonishing degree, particularly since he was not himself a historian. But he did not succeed in providing a substitute account of American history that goes beyond simplistic melodrama. Most honest historians will acknowledge that, even if they are sympathetic to Zinn’s leftist politics.

Encounter: Why was Zinn’s account so popular?

McClay: It is engagingly written, and gives a simple-minded, moralistic, account of the past as the struggle between the white hats and the black hats, the Children of Light and the Children of Darkness. For some people, including many Americans who have felt disillusioned by our national flaws, this has been irresistible.

He also rails against the AP US History exam, which used to the “gold standard,” as he puts it, but which has suffered due to constant “tinkering with the exam, and interjection of themselves into what teachers actually teach in AP courses.”  I teach APUSH, and what McClay writes is absolutely true.  It’s bad enough teaching to a test every year—you don’t have the opportunity to luxuriate in the warm waters of historical detail—and it’s worse when the College Board tries to alter the exam every five minutes.

To close, one more powerful quotation from McClay:

Students should learn that history is not merely an inert account of self-explanatory details, but is a task of reflection that calls to our deepest sense of our humanity. And learning our history, the history of our own country, is part and parcel of learning who we are, and learning about the society of which we are already a part.

Again, I say, amen!

FreeSpeech.TV Lineup Announced

Thanks to my brother for this nocturnal news update:  Gavin McInnes’s new subscription-based service, FreeSpeech.TV, is ready to launch.  Listeners to the excellent, hilarious Get Off My Lawn podcast know that Gavin has been planning this platform for some time now, so it’s exciting to see the lineup.  The most exciting part of that schedule:  the twice-monthly sit-downs with Milo Yiannopoulos to talk about the news.  Talk about throwing gasoline onto a raging fire of awesomeness.

The service is $10 a month, or $100 a year, which is on par with Steven Crowder’s Mug Club or Ben Shapiro’s subscription.  I just don’t think it comes with a Leftist Tears Hot-or-Cold Tumbler, much less a far superior hand-etched mug.  But with McInnes’s crazy, controversial, humorous observations about life and culture, I can live without a drinking vessel tossed in (although it would be hysterical to drink coffee from a mug made to look like McInnes’s bearded mug).

Because of constant censorship from techno-elites and their ever-shifting “terms of services,” conservative and Dissident Right voices have fewer and fewer options to raise funds.  Some sites, like immigration patriot website VDare.com, can’t even use PayPal anymore.  As such, more and more content creators are turning to alternative or free-speech-friendly services, or undertaking the cost of creating their own infrastructure, so they can continue to get their work to fans.

I am definitely a small fry in this game of commentary, but that’s why I’ve setup a page with SubscribeStar.  My goal isn’t too live off of subscriptions, but just to supplement my income slightly to make blogging more on a daily basis more feasible (and to reinvest some of the funds into maintaining and improving the experience).

For guys like Gavin McInnes, who has been hounded from even supposed safe havens like his old employer, CRTV (now BlazeTV), reliable income streams aren’t a passing lark—they’re absolutely crucial.

In a better timeline, McInnes would be hosting Red Eye.  But he’s a fighter, and I have no doubt his new service will continue to deliver the laughs.

Free speech isn’t free.  Support creators like McInness, Crowder, Shapiro, and Milo to the best of your ability to keep their content alive.

If you’d like to support MY content, consider signing up for a subscription to my SubscribeStar page.  New, exclusive content every Saturday, starting at just $1 a month.

Ted Cruz on Ben Shapiro

It was a glorious weekend at Casa de Portly, deep in the heart of Dixie.  It was the kind of weekend that saw a lot of non-blog- and non-work-related productivity; in other words, I loafed a great deal, then did domestic chores around the house.

In case you missed it, on Saturday I released my Summer Reading List 2019.  If you want to read the whole list—and it’s quite good—you have to subscribe to my SubscribeStar page at the $1 level or higher.  There will be new, subscriber-exclusive content there every Saturday, so your subscription will continually increase in value.

Anyway, all that loafing and cleaning meant that I was unplugged from politics.  I did, however, manage to catch the Ben Shapiro Show “Sunday Special” with Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

I was a big fan of Cruz in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, and I voted for him here in South Carolina.  Cruz intuited the populist mood of the electorate the way that President Trump did, and combined it with policy innovation and constitutionalism.

There’s a reason Cruz hung in there as long as he did against Trump:  he’s a canny political operator, but he also knew how to pitch a conservative message that was appealing to many voters.  I sincerely believe that had he clinched the nomination, he would have won the 2016 election (and, perhaps, by an even wider Electoral College margin than did Trump).

Cruz catches a lot of flack because he’s a little dopey and looks odd—a whole meme emerged in 2015-2016 claiming that Cruz was the Zodiac Killer—but he’s been an influential voice in the Senate.  He possesses a supple, clever mind, and has urged Republicans to make some bold, innovative reforms to the Senate (he vocally champions and has proposed a constitutional amendment for congressional term limits).

The hour-long interview with Ben Shapiro—which opens with a question about his alleged identity as the Zodiac Killer—shows how affable and relaxed Cruz really is.  I’ve never seen him appear more relaxed and genuine (and I never took him for a phony—I’ve seen him speak live at least once at a campaign rally in Florence, and spoke very briefly to him afterwards) than in this interview.

Granted, it’s friendly territory—Shapiro was a big supporter of Cruz in the primaries—but Cruz spelled out some important ideas, as well as his projections for 2020.  If you don’t have a full hour, fast forward to about the forty-minute mark for his discussion of Trump’s reelection prospects.

To summarize them briefly:  Cruz thinks it all comes out to turnout, and that Democrats will “crawl over broken glass” to vote against Trump.  He even points out that his own race against Democrat Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke was as close as it was because Beto ran against Trump more than he did against Cruz.  He also thinks Joe Biden is going to flame out, and one of the more radical, progressive Dems will clinch the nomination, making the prospect of a truly socialistic administration terrifyingly possible.

That said, Cruz is optimistic.  Discussing his own narrow victory over Beto in 2018, he points out Beto’s massive fundraising and staffing advantages (Cruz had eighteen paid staffers on his campaign; Beto had 805!), but explains that a barn-burning bus tour of the State of Texas pulled out conservative and middle-class voters in a big way for his reelection.

That points to one of Trump’s strengths:  the relentless pace with which he campaigns.  Trump held three and even four rallies a day in key battleground States in the final days of the 2016 election, which likely made the difference in Michigan, Wisconsin, and the Great White Whale of Republican presidential elections since the 1980s, Pennsylvania.  If Trump can get his pro-growth, pro-American message out there as effectively in 2020 as he did in 2016 and can excite voters who want to protect their nation and their prosperity, he could cruise to reelection.

Cruz’s optimism, tempered by practical challenges ahead for Republicans, really came through in the video.  Really, the entire interview reminded me why I liked Ted Cruz so much the first time.  I’d love to see him remain a major presence throughout the next five years, and to see him run for the presidency again in 2024 (him, or Nikki Haley).

Regardless, I encourage you to listen to this interview.  Take Cruz’s warning to heart:  don’t get complacent, because the Democrats aren’t.

Lazy Sunday XII: Space

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Long-time readers will know that I have a love of and fascination with space.  One of the first calls I ever made to a talk-radio show was back in 2009 to the now-defunct Keven Cohen Show.  The occasion was the fortieth anniversary of the moon landing, and the question was, in the midst of the Great Recession, should the government invest in space exploration and going to the moon (and beyond)?  In my clumsy call, I argued that, yes, it should.

As I noted earlier this week, I lack a strong technical foundation in these matters.  I assume that any practice problems of exploration, colonization, and exploitation of space are, ultimately, technical in nature, and will eventually get figured out.  My interest is more philosophical and political in nature:  what are the possibilities of space?  What benefits could expansion into space offer?

But, really, I’m just a childlike nerd who wants to walk on the moon.  If I’m being totally honest, that’s my primary motivation:  I want to visit the moon.  I also relish the idea of humans partaking in bold space adventures.  Is it any wonder one of my favorite movies of all time is Guardians of the Galaxy?

And I’m not alone.  According to (yet another) Rasmussen poll, 43% of American voters would take a trip to the moon and back given the chance.  That total includes 56% of men, but just 31% of women, so I suppose all those single moms posting on Facebook about loving their children “to the moon and back” is a sentimental expression, not a concrete pledge.

Here’s hoping that the eggheads at NASA and in the private sector take note of all the Americans eager to engage in some lunar tourism.  Market forces are far more likely to incentivize galactic expansion than government programs, so maybe offering affordable round-trip flights to the moon could one day turn a profit.  Who knows?

What I do know is that this Sunday I’m happy to share my various posts on space.  I hope you “love them to the moon and back”:

  • America Should Expand into Space” – this post was the topic of Thursday’s “TBT” feature.  As such, I’ll refrain from lengthy pontificating about it.  Essentially, it looks at the geopolitical reasons for expansion into space.  Short version:  don’t let the Chinese build a death laser on the moon!
  • Breaking: President Trump Creates Space Force” & “Why the Hate for Space Force?” – back in June 2019, President Trump announced the creation of “Space Force” as a separate branch of the armed services.  It’s a bold, visionary idea—and a damn good one.  As “America Should Expand into Space” suggests, space is the next frontier, not just for settlement, but for war.

    I also lament in the latter of these twin pieces that Americans no longer look boldly to the future in space as a new frontier, but instead remain firmly earthbound with various toys and gadgets.

  • To the Moon!” – this brief essay explores the metaphysical and cultural benefits of lunar colonization.  In it, I summarize the ideas of an oddball writer, James D. Heiser.  Heiser is a bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America and a founding member of the Mars Society.

    He wrote a book,  Civilization and the New Frontier:  Reflections on Virtue and the Settlement of a New World, about the colonization of Mars.  In Civilization and the New Frontier, Heiser argues that the strenuous nature of such an endeavor would require and cultivate virtue, thereby reinvigorating our civilization.

    It’s an intriguing idea, and one that rings true:  anything worth doing is (usually) difficult.  The sacrifice that such a mission would require is self-evident, and would require men and women of great virtue and courage to achieve.

  • To the Moon!, Part II: Back to the Moon” – this post discussed NASA’s acceleration of its timetable for another manned mission to the moon.  The goal is to return by 2024, rather than 2028.  It would be the first manned mission to the moon since 1972—a sobering, depressing duration.  When I was a kid, we were told we’d see a manned mission to Mars by the year 2000.  So much for that.

As the preamble to this list demonstrated, there is hunger for holidays on the moon.  I, too, want to ride the mighty moon worm!  Sure, there are huge technical problems to overcome—but those can be overcome.  Let’s worry less about queer studies outreach Islamic countries.  Our destiny is among the stars!

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Somali Shenanigans

Mass immigration and open borders are huge problems, but their costs are sometimes difficult to see.  Generally, Americans take a rosy view of immigration, as it conjures up images of plucky Irishmen crammed onto ships, chuffing past Ellis Island.  We’re the melting pot—people of different creeds and races come here, each contributing some distinct spices to the stew, but ultimately subsuming into the larger cultural heritage and mores of the host country.  Learn English, learn the Constitution, follow the rules, and you’re golden.

Of course, that all assumes the assimilability of the immigrants.  Back in those rose-tinted Ellis Island days, waves of Irish, Italian, and Eastern European immigrants (not to mention Chinese and Japanese migrants to California) caused great consternation, as each ethnic tribe and nationality stuck to its own.  With the National Origins Act of 1924, that great wave of migration trimmed to a trickle, with quotas favoring immigration from Western Europe.  Combined with the national struggles of the Great Depression and the Second World War, those migrants had time to get “baked in” to the national pie, and emerged full Americans.

Consider, too, that these immigrants came to the United States at a time when there was significant friction by doing so.  Many of them would never return to their home countries, or would do so only many decades later.  Lacking the access to mass, global communications networks, many of them never saw or heard from their relatives and families again.

Today, immigrants are able to communicate seamlessly with their relatives back home—a wonderful marvel of our modern-age.  They can also hop a jet plane and be back in hours (or get here quickly).  That same friction is no longer present to the same extent as it was 100 years ago.

Couple that with massive legal and illegal immigration, and the push to assimilate begins to vanish rapidly.  That push becomes more of a gentle nudge, if that.  Why learn English and the local customs when you can be surrounded by your hombres from back home?

Let’s go a step further:  what if your host culture no longer promotes or defends the rightness of its own beliefs and values?  Instead, it promotes multiculturalism and diversity as self-evident goods.  The official and cultural messages are no longer “assimilate” and “respect our laws, values, and God,” but instead become, “do your own thing” and “we’re nothing special—we don’t even really believe this stuff.”  Suddenly, there’s no compelling reason to assimilate into a culture that lacks confidence in itself.

Take all of that and add in a culture that does have some conviction in the rightness—and righteousness—of itself, and you’ve got the makings of a cloistered, insular community of unassimilable immigrants in your midsts.

Such is the situation in Minnesota with the Somali “refugees” living there.  They are, almost universally, devout Muslims.  They are also what the cool kids call “visible minorities”—they’re black—which serves as a further impediment to assimilation.  Islam in its most fundamental form is, essentially, at odds with Western civilization.  The very existence of Sharia law conflicts directly with the Constitution.  It’s all a recipe for disaster.

Indeed, the situation in “Little Mogadishu“—the Somalian neighborhood in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area—is a miniature form of the Islamic migrant crisis Europe has endured for years now.  Like the banlieues of France and Belgium, Somalian Muslims have created their own ethnic enclave in the heart of a State once dominated by Swedes and Germans.

Little Mogadishu is, sadly, following the pattern of other Muslim-dominated areas in the West.  It’s crime rate is through the roof, growing 56% in 2018.  Most of that increase is due to gang violence between competing Somali street gangs.

Minnesota—in a suicidal display of “Upper Midwestern Nice”—has encouraged the accumulation of Somalis into its State, creating a powerful ethnic voting bloc that holds increasing sway over the Democratic-Farm-Labor Party (the technical appellation for the Democratic Party in Minnesota).  Freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who can barely speak English without an anti-Semitic accent, is a troubling figure to have walking the highest corridors of power.  She’s a political figure ripped straight out of sub-Saharan

That’s had lethal consequences, too, such as Somali police officer Mohammed Noor’s fatal shooting of Australian Justine Damond.  That killing drew attention to what was likely an unfortunate diversity-hire.  The Minneapolis Police Department is, apparently, attempting to hire more Somali officers to improve community outreach in Little Mogadishu, but why did the city allow such an alien enclave to develop in the first place?

That incident at least received coverage from the mainstream media.  What didn’t was this piece from InfoWars, which details (with police documents) the antics of a group of eight or ten Somali teens.  It seems these precocious, vibrant youngsters were spreading diversity with hammers and pipes in an attempt to rob elderly white people.

Some of these attacks are, no doubt, the result of typical inner-city gang violence.  But the insidious influence of radical Islamism is alive in well in the environs of this Minneapolis banlieue.  Fox News calls it “the terrorist recruitment capital of the US.”  Ami Horowitz, in a jaw-dropping YouTube video, demonstrates that Somali Americans believe Sharia law is preferable to (and, by implication, should replace) America’s constitutional law.

So, how does the United States avoid replicating the errors of Europe and Minnesota?  Tighter immigration restrictions would be a key first step.

Another would be more drastic, and unlikely politically.  Indeed, were it to succeed, the precedent it established could be destructive in the long-run to religious liberty.  I’ll elaborate:

Article VI of the Constitution states that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust.”  That is a beautiful statement in favor of religious liberty.

That said, Islam may very well be the grand exception.  It is a faith that is fundamentally incompatible with the faith, culture, and laws of the West.  It has no desire to reform (indeed, it may lack the ability to do so), and it contains within it no separation of church and state.  The faith of Islam is the law code.

As such, one could argue it may be necessary to amend the Constitution to ban Muslims from serving in higher office.  That is a bold step, and one that I shrink away from even as I ponder it.  But can there be any guarantee of loyalty from followers of a religion that is so hostile to American and Western values?

Of course, the flaw in this approach is that individual Muslims are, like lapsed Catholics and Protestants, sometimes easygoing about their faith.  At the same time, even lax Muslims have a tendency to radicalize quickly.  Just look at the Boston Marathon bomber, who went from being a pot-smoking loser to killing innocent people in the blink of an eye.

Regardless, the West has to wake itself up to the real, existential threat Islam represents.  We’ve spent nearly 1400 years fighting against its aggressive expansion—the Battle of Tours, the defense at the gates of Vienna, the Reconquista—only now to invite the invaders in with open arms?

A few hundred Muslim immigrants a year is no big shakes.  But if we adopt Europe’s “come one, come all” approach, we’ll lose everything that makes our country great, and free.

More Never Trump Treachery

In the Culture Wars, the Right struggles with a commitment to principles, decorum, and intellectual honesty.  In every area of life, those qualities are virtues, but in the battle against the progressive Left, those virtues quickly become liabilities.

Nowhere is this handicapping more apparent than on the “Never Trump” Right.  In some cases—think neocon loons Max Boot and Bill Kristol—these figures are not even properly part of the “Right.”  In other cases, they’re effete elites—like George Will—who comprise the “loyal opposition” to the dominant Leftist paradigm.

In still others, the Never Trumpers are overly-literal ideologues who can’t accept anything but 100% ideological purity.  These are the Libertarians or “libertarian Republicans” that love 99% of what Trump has accomplished as president, but can’t abide tariffs or border control.  They point to Trump’s seemingly “authoritarian” rhetoric as evidence that the freedom-loving real estate mogul is not-so-secretly an American Mussolini.

Such is the case with Michigan Congressman Justin Amash, the self-styled “libertarian Republican,” who announced on Twitter that President Trump has committed impeachable offenses (without identifying what those offenses may be).

There are also rumors that Amash might run for president in 2020 as a Libertarian.  Given his tenuous but significant popularity in Michigan, he could siphon away enough votes from President Trump to cost him a crucial State and its electoral votes.

And herein rests the problem with so-called “libertarians” like Amash:  they’re willing to sacrifice the good—in Trump’s case, the overwhelmingly great—for the perfect.  “I can’t have Milton Friedman for President, so I’ll make sure the depraved socialists take office.”

Further, Amash has spent his entire career in politics, with the exception of one year working for his father’s company.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it definitely doesn’t fit with the Randian Übermensch ideal of spergy libertarianism.  Libertarianism works great if you’re shielded completely from the vagaries of the real-world job market.

The most generous interpretation is that Amash sincerely believes that the president’s reactions to the Mueller probe constitute what he calls “impeachable conduct” (never mind that the Constitution doesn’t identify “conduct” as worthy of impeachment, just “high crimes and misdemeanors”).  I can accept that Amash has applied his ideology so rigidly—and his distaste for real political brawlers so completely—that he believes the president should be impeached.

On the other hand, given his utter lack of real-world experience, it could be that Amash is attempting to make a name for himself after he leaves Congress (or gets voted out).  There are a number of Never Trumpers who, I’m convinced, are biding their time.  Should Trump lose in 2020—or when he leaves office in 2025—they look forward to resuming their place atop the political ruling class, getting back to their ineffectual, noodle-wristed “opposition” to official, state-sanctioned Leftism.

Regardless, the Right has no room in its ranks for such traitors (the Great One, Mark Levin, characterized Amash as a “Benedict Arnold against the Constitution“).  Fortunately, Michigan State Representative Jim Lower has announced a primary challenge to Amash.  Here’s hoping Lower lowers Amash a peg or two.

Dissident Write II: Dissident Boogaloo

Yesterday I looked back at an old post, “Dissident Write.”  That piece detailed five of my favorite political writers.  Their work is engaging, insightful (occasionally inciteful), and memorable.

Staying power is difficult to achieve in the written word—think of all the famous authors’ books you’ve never heard of—especially when writing about the inherently transient and shifting topic of politics; it’s a testament to those writers’ skill that they achieve it.

With Memorial Day coming up—and summer break hot on its heels—it seemed like a good time to get around—finally!—to another list of excellent writers.  These scribes of Western Civilization’s twilight years possess the intellectual chops and mirthful fun that draw me to them.

Of course, if you like my writing, you can support it over at SubscribeStar.

All shameless plugs aside, here are five more must-read writers (with the usual disclaimer—I do not endorse or believe in everything these or any other writers believe, including other sources to which I link; I’m just intellectually curious and read expansively):

  • Conrad Black – As I was writing today’s post (on Wednesday) night, I searched for Lord Conrad Black and discovered President Trump issued him a full pardon for his egregious 2011 conviction on wire fraud and obstruction of justice charges.  Sheer serendipity.  Lord Black’s writing is robust and sophisticated, like an Arby’s Beefwich with class (a metaphor he would never stoop to employ).  Read his essay on his conviction and pardon—his barely-concealed rage at the rank injustice he suffered at the hands of grandstanding prosecutors and judges never breaks the surface of his polished, exact prose.
    Lord Black remains one of the few National Review contributors I will read.  I’m a conservative firebrand, but I appreciate that Lord Black is conservative in an older, loftier, more sanguine sense, a la William F. Buckley, Jr.  He’s a fan of FDR and Nixon (I am of the latter, but not the former), and has written books about both of them, as well as one about President Trump.  He’s an historian in the mold of the British nobility—a skilled researcher with the funds and time to dig deeply into the archives.  I highly recommend any of his articles, and I hope to read his massive books soon.
  • Dalrock – Dalrock is the pseudonym of an anonymous Texan, a father of two children and devoted husband.  Dalrock is also a traditional Christian, which makes him somewhat unusual as a fixture of the “manosphere,” the universe of writers and modern-day Sophists dedicated to promoting neo-masculinity and Western civilization.

    Dalrock is a bit out of place here because many of those writers—like the recently deplatformed Roissy of Chateau Heartiste—are pick-up artists (PUAs).  One day I’ll have to write an intellectual history of that movement, as it’s a fascinating, often disturbing glimpse into a world that went from giving nervous soyboys tips on how to pick up chicks into a movement that came to reject the sexual nihilism of our age.

    But I digress.  Dalrock is a true traditionalist in the biblical sense:  he actually believes and applies the Word of God.  He also goes hard after other Christians who try to smooth over the very clear teachings of the Bible on issues like homosexuality, marriage, and feminism.  He particularly harps on the heresy of chivalry, a gynocentric cult that wormed its way into Christianity, distorting our faith in inexorable ways (Dalrock rests this argument on no less a scholar than C.S. Lewis).

    Dalrock is probably the best writer to synthesize the social scientific works influential to the red-pilled mansophere with traditional Christian doctrine, and probably presaged the so-called “God Pill” awakening of key figures in that movement.

  • John Derbyshire – John Derbyshire now writes for immigration patriot website VDare.com, and releases a great podcast every Friday night/Saturday morning.  Derb immigrated to the United States from Great Britain in the 1970s; he married one of his Chinese students while teaching there; and he writes about math.  He’s also a cancer survivor.  Clearly, this guy has some interesting stuff to say.
    National Review
     fired a cancerous Derb because of a piece he wrote for Taki’s Magazine back in 2012 entitled “The Talk: Nonblack Version.”  You’ll recall that during that unhappy period there constantly seemed to be incidences of police officers killing young black men.  Most of those incidents were justified—as would always come out after weeks of rioting and white progressive virtue-signalling—but some weren’t.  The mainstream media began featuring stories about black parents giving their kids “The Talk”—how to behave around the police so, presumably, they wouldn’t get shot simply for being black.

    Derb’s controversial piece—still listed first under “Greatest Hits” on Taki’s Magazine—included advice to his half-Asian, half-Caucasian children on how to deal with black Americans they encounter in their lives (treat everyone with respect and as individuals, but keep your head on a swivel, essentially).

    Personally, I don’t think it’s Derb’s best work, but it didn’t warrant his firing.  NR grew excessively cautious and squeamish, so they let Derb go.  He beat his cancer, and continues to write at VDare.com.  His writing is also collected at his personal website, and he meticulously releases transcripts of his podcasts and a monthly diary of miscellany.  Derb’s mind is fecund and curious, so his writing is always lively and far-ranging.

  • Steve Sailer – Regular readers know that I often reference Steve Sailer’s work, especially his book reviews.  From border walls to education to surfing, Sailer writes and thinks creatively across a broad range of topics.  I’m a sucker for the polymathic Renaissance Man, a mold that Sailer shares with Lord Black and John Derbyshire.

    Sailer is a demographer and statistician, and his work on human biodiversity asks tough questions about life in a multiracial, multicultural society.  Sailer and Derb are a bit heavy on the race realism stuff, but Sailer’s deep statistical analyses of biology’s impact on human social development are fascinating (consider:  he has an entire essay on evolution and golf courses).

    Whether you agree with Sailer’s conclusions, he’s an erudite, far-ranging writer.  I always learn something new and intriguing when reading Sailer’s pieces.

  • Taki Theodoracopulos – The “Taki” of Taki’s Magazine, Taki (I’ll refrain from calling him “Theodoracopulos,” because it’s a pain to type, and because no one who works for him calls him that) is, from what I can tell, a super-wealthy journalist who spends his free time attending parties with the Royal Family and skiing in Gstaad, as well as mastering judo.  He also really, really hates Arabs.

    Taki’s writing is sometimes a bit self-indulgent, even for me.  But when you’ve got millions in the bank, you can afford to write free-flowing, semi-autobiographical essays about your karate lessons and attempted womanizing.

    Taki hearkens back to a vanishing breed of unapologetic nobility.  He wistfully yearns for the old New York, for when men wore suits on planes and women were feminine and winsome.  His writing his mirthful and wry, but also contains a hint of melancholic nostalgia for a better, vanished time.

So, there you have it.  Some more of my favorite writers on the Dissident Right (some, naturally, are more dissident than others).  As I wrote immediately before the list, I don’t necessarily agree with any or all of these authors’ conclusions, but I do appreciate their erudition, their style, and their commitment to the pursuit of Truth, wherever the facts take them.

Careful readers will note that many of these writers, as well as those from the first “Dissident Write” listicle, are contributors at Taki’s Magazine (and this list includes the owner!).  That’s no coincidence.  I stumbled upon TM a few years ago after reading about a campus protest against John Derbyshire in National Review (when I still subscribed to and read the print edition cover-to-cover every two weeks).  It’s really brought to my attention some excellent, relatively unknown writers, so I’m thrilled to share them with you.

Check out these writers’ work, and draw your own conclusions.  Have any recommendations?  I’m always looking for new, interesting perspectives.  Share your favorites in the comments.

Happy Reading!

–TPP