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

TBT: Banned! Techno-Elites Deplatform Alex Jones

It now seems like an eternity ago, but Alex Jones’s Infowars was banned from multiple social media platforms last August.  Given Facebook’s freedom-killing decision to deplatform “controversial” right-wing figures like Milo Yiannopoulos, it seemed germane to look back at the Infowars deplatforming, as it was an instructive moment.

Conservatives have been complacent on this issue.  Yes, many conservative bloggers and YouTube personalities have denounced the Facebook deplatforming, but there’s still this sense that, “Well, it’s just Milo and Gavin McInnes, they are pretty outrageous, and so dreadfully lacking in decorum.”  We can’t have that kind of cuckiness in the conversation.  Milo might be outlandish, and McInnes makes some over-the-top, overly general statements, but that’s the whole point of free speech.  Why are we giving these tech companies a pass?

It’s not going to stop at Milo.  Indeed, it’s unclear if it even started with him.  As I detail in the post below, even more mainstream figures like Stephen Crowder have struggled against YouTube demonetization and other “soft” forms of deplatforming.  I know Milo is crass and a bit of a troll—but he’s also right and factually accurate on almost every topic.

Note, too, how Facebook threw in anti-Semitic radical Louis Farrakhan as a clear smokescreen.  “Oh, we’re not just targeting conservatives—here’s a Leftist race-baiter, too!”  Nice try.  Notice that whenever there’s been a controversial conservative figure banned, the Right always points out that Farrakhan is still on [insert social medial platform here].  Facebook couldn’t have missed that, and went for the low-hanging fruit of Farrakhanean craziness.  But even Farrakhan should be able to say his wacky, hateful stuff—“sunlight is the best disinfectant,” as I wrote in August.

As for the cuckier types on the Right, I’m getting so sick of this excessive focus on presentation-as-message.  Milo and McInnes present their ideas in funny ways, but that doesn’t mean the ideas themselves are worthy of condemnation.  Further, we’re almost too good at policing our own on the Right.  Can’t we give Milo some leeway?  The stakes are too high to get caught up on semantics.  “Oh, he texted something mean.”  Who cares?  I’m not Milo’s mom, and Ben Shapiro shouldn’t be either.

This tweet from Dissident Right babe Lauren Southern sums it up nicely:

Free speech isn’t free, and just because Facebook is a “private company” doesn’t mean it should be able to trample our freedoms.  We’re in uncharted territory, but we have to do something to protect speech for all Americans.

So, here is August’s “Banned! Techno-Elites Deplatform Alex Jones,” sadly relevant once again:

The explosive news Monday was that tech giants Facebook, Spotify, YouTube, and Apple banned Alex Jones and Infowars from their respective platforms.  While Jones is a controversial figure who peddles in rumor, conspiracy, and innuendo, the concerted actionfrom separately-owned and -managed Silicon Valley entities is unsettling.

Historian Victor Davis Hanson wrote a piece for National Review arguing that Silicon Valley giants should be regulated—or even busted up—to prevent monopolistic and anti-competitive practices, drawing parallels to the muckraking reformers of the early twentieth century who brought down Standard Oil.   I’m wary of such solutions-by-government, but Hanson was anticipating a problem that has become all-too familiar:  the massive social and cultural clout the unmoored tech giants wield.

Steven Crowder of online late-night show Louder with Crowder often pokes fun at—and complains loudly about—the various murky “terms and services” and “community guidelines” rules that are ever-shifting in continuously updated apps and platforms.  A slight change in a Facebook algorithm—or a Twitter employee having a bad day—can lead to massive reductions in traffic for a YouTuber or blogger.  Reduced—or eliminated—traffic means less revenue.  YouTubers like Crowder who helped build the platform now find their videos demonetized for the most mysterious of reasons.

Candace Owens was kicked from Twitter because she rewrote recent New York Times hire and anti-white racist Sarah Jeong’s tweets by replacing disparaging uses of “white” with “black” or “Jew.”  Razorfirst posted a video some months ago of him literally just talking about nonsense for five minutes… and it was immediately demonetized.

Now Alex Jones is banned across multiple platforms from multiple platforms—which is absolutely chilling.  Jones is certainly not without controversy, and I wouldn’t take his ramblings to heart without a heaping helping of salt, but just because he’s a kinda nutty conspiracy kook who enjoys ripping his shirt off doesn’t make his situation any less terrible.  If we write off Jones because he was “asking for it” by being kooky, then we’re missing the whole point of free speech.

And, yes, the usual objections are inevitable:  “but, TPP, the First Amendment speech protections only apply to the government!  Companies can set whatever guidelines they want!  You can use some other platform!  He still has his website.”  Yes, yes, yes, and yes—all true.  Nevertheless, the arbitrary power we’ve voluntarily—if unwittingly—yielded to these tech elites is staggering.  And this preponderance of power may be where Hanson has a point.

Is not the function of the government to protect the rights of its citizens from threats and violations, both foreign and domestic?  In this case, arbitrary bans—particularly these coordinated attacks on controversial figures—seem to be a powerful means of preventing an individual and/or entity from delivering his message in the public square.  Like the street corner doomsayer, Alex Jones has a right to be heard, even if he’s sometimes insane (for me, the jury is out on Jones; I enjoy the entertainment value of his commentary, and I think he’s probably right about 80% of the time, but then he veers off into crisis actors, etc.—the danger of a man who is charismatic and convincing).

Today, it’s a relatively buffoonish character like Jones.  Tomorrow—who knows?  Do we really want to find out?  “Hate speech” is a code word for silencing conservatives.  It’s better to publish one racist screed from a lonely nut (not referencing Jones here, to be clear) than to muzzle millions because their innocuous, mainstream conservative viewpoint might been interpreted as a “dog-whistle.”

Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and it’s often better to give madmen the rope with which to hang themselves.  When we try to silence them, they only gain in credibility (indeed, when I read the news, I immediately went… to Infowars!).

Sailer and Spotted Toad on Education

Demographer Steve Sailer has a review on Taki’s Magazine of a new book from blogger Spotted Toad.  The book, 13 Ways of Going on a Field Trip: Stories about Teaching and Learning, is a narrative memoir detailing Toad’s decade teaching in public schools in the Bronx.

Sailer, a dedicated statistician in his own right, lauds Spotted Toad’s statistics-laden blog, but points out that his memoir eschews statistics in favor of narrative.  This focus on narrative, as Sailer points out, does not detract from the book’s insights about education, but makes them more viscerally real for the lay reader.

Based on Sailer’s summary of the book (which I plan to purchase and read soon), Spotted Toad’s teaching experience led him to insights similar to my own; that is, that administrators and school boards spend too much time chasing education fads and pushing a romantic narrative about teaching, rather than just getting out of the way and letting teachers… well, teach.

Toad was hired as part of the once-fashionable Teach for America program, which placed young, enthusiastic idealists into poor school districts, usually in tough inner city schools.  The theory was that bad or lazy teachers weren’t engaged enough, so schools needed an injection of Dead Poets’ Society-inspired young’uns who would bend heaven-and-earth to reach urban youths.

Sailer speculates about why Teach for America was so popular in the latter part of the last decade, and suggests that it’s because upper-middle class New York Times readers forwarded glowing articles about TFA to their out-of-work, overly-educated kids.

That somewhat comports with my own experience, as I briefly considered joining TFA upon finishing graduate school at the height of the Great Recession.  I think it’s even more accurate to say it was popular because it promised work during a time when few people could find it, and didn’t require lengthy additional years of education and training.

Sailer pooh-poohs the idea that TFA could create qualified teachers, and he’s not entirely wrong—the program was certainly overly optimistic about its own efficacy—but I think the apprenticeship model of “learning on the job” is one of the better ways to learn the craft.  Most education classes are a joke, and other than a few useful pedagogical insights, my impression is that many of them are indoctrination camps for the latest progressive educational fads.  I’d much rather have a “pure” young teacher learning the ropes with the assistance of battle-hardened veterans in the trenches than to have that teacher languish away in a series of Two-Minute Hates for another couple of years.

Indeed, that’s been my big complaint with the State of South Carolina’s alternative certification program.  We have a teacher shortage, but you want me to shell out cash and three years of my time to teach in a crummy public school?  No thanks.  How about adopt my proposal to grant automatic certification to any private school teacher with three years of teaching experience and a Master’s degree in a relevant field, or with five years and a Bachelor’s?  That would solve the problem more quickly, and would bring a number of qualified teachers into public schools quickly.

My premise is that credentials don’t make a good teacher; classroom experience does.  I’m generally anti-guildist, as I fancy myself a bit of a Renaissance Man.  Of course, that comes from my personal experiences professionally:  out of necessity, I’ve taught a slew of social studies courses, as well as music at different levels, for nearly a decade.  I would have benefited from some education classes to learn solid pedagogical methods in some areas (particularly music education), but I’ve picked up many of these methods through trial-and-error, and sheer force of will.  When you have to get twenty inexperienced middle school musicians to play a Christmas concert, you figure out how to make it work (and sound good).

Regardless, Spotted Toad’s experiences hit upon some common problems in education, particularly education policy.  Toad writes of the coming-and-going educational fads and programs, some supported by big-wigs like Bill Gates, that are championed, implemented hastily (and at great profit to the companies that market and develop these programs), and then abandoned in five years when some new, shiny trend emerges.

Take a moment to read Sailer’s review this morning, as it offers some interesting insights into the push-and-pull of education policy, and an interesting, if sad, retrospective on the bungled federal efforts in the Bush and Obama Administrations to address education in the United States.

That said, for all the doom-and-gloom surrounding discussion of education in America, Sailer ends on a positive note:

For example, as I’ve pointed out over the years, on the international PISA school tests, Asian-Americans do almost as well as Northeast Asian countries, white Americans outscore most white countries other than Finland and few other northern realms, Latino-Americans outperform all Latin American countries, and African-Americans beat the handful of black Caribbean countries that even try the test.

We Americans do spend a lot to achieve these educational results, but our outcomes by global standards are much less terrible than most Americans assume. (In particular, Indian states that have tried the PISA bomb it, scoring at sub-Saharan levels.)

At least we’re beating our peers in other countries—usually.

Distrust in National Media

Longtime readers know that I’m a big fan of Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day feature on Ballotpedia.  These pithy daily posts give a snapshot of the nation’s mood, occasionally with some historical content or relevant tidbits tossed in for good measure.

This week, Rasmussen highlighted two poll figures regarding Americans’ distrust of national news media.  On May 1, Rasmussen reported that only 38% of Americans consider national political news accurate and reliable.  On May 2, he reported that 66% of voters believe national political reporters often get the story wrong.

These figures will come as no surprise to conservatives, who have long distrusted the mainstream media, or “MSM” (Rush Limbaugh calls them the “drive-bys,” for their tendency to spew disinformation before fleeing the scene, then burying corrections or mea culpas on the back pages or in thirty-second sound bites).  The “Great One,” Mark Levin, ran through just a handful of the most recent media hoaxes on his radio program one night this week, and it’s astonishing how frequently the media is either wrong (as in the “hands up, don’t shoot” Michael Brown myth) or outright mendacious.

Indeed, CNN essentially traded its reputation as the “centrist” news network to indulge in anti-Trump hysteria, trumpeting every crumb of the Mueller investigation as manna from impeachment heaven.  The results speak for themselves:  its credibility is utterly in tatters.

The very same media decries President Trump’s attacks on “fake news”—itself a clever appropriation of a slur the MSM attempted to apply to Trump—as an assault on the First Amendment.  Such concerns are hysterically overwrought.  President Trump has done nothing to curtail press freedom; he’s merely had the temerity to call out bad reporting.  The First Amendment is not a magical talisman that protects media outlets from criticism, even from elected officials.

Indeed, that same amendment protects the president’s right to denounce media outlets.  Unless and until he uses the power of the government to silence the media—and he won’t—President Trump is entirely justified in labeling bad, inaccurate, or outright false reporting as “fake news.”

The real danger is that ostensibly objective journalism is anything but.  If anything, opinion programming on the major television and cable news networks is more authentic and reliable, as it doesn’t seek to hide the hosts’ views behind a smokescreen of presumed neutrality.  When biases are stated outright and upfront, it allows viewers to assess a host’s claims in that light.

Of course, increasingly we can’t even agree on the facts, or we’re not allowed to express certain facts aloud.  That’s the real threat to free speech, not President Trump blasting CNN for negative coverage.

TBT: A New Hope

The TBT two weeks ago was about former South Carolina Governor and Congressman Mark Sanford, whose political career was a roller coaster of (often humorous) controversy.  While going through the deep-but-scant archives from the TPP 1.0 era (circa 2009-2010), I came across an old TPP “Two-Minute Update” about Sanford’s successor in the governor’s office:  Nikki Haley.

The post, which dates to 17 June 2009, was about the then-unknown Haley, at the time a State Representative from Bamberg, South Carolina.  I remember reading about Haley and being impressed immediately.  I assumed she was a long-shot—remember, this was before Trump and only shortly after Obama, so political upsets by unlikely outsiders were still considered rare—but I had an inkling that she could win it all.  As is rarely the case when calling elections, I was right.

As I’ve noted many times in these TBT pieces, it’s fascinating looking back to just ten years ago and noting how much the political and cultural landscape has changed.  Nikki Haley would go on to win the South Carolina gubernatorial election in 2010 after a tough primary, in which she suffered a number of malicious, mendacious attacks (one blogger even claimed to have had an “inappropriate physical relationship” with her).

I remember even lifelong Republicans voting for Haley’s Democratic opponent, Vincent Sheheen, in a fairly close election.  I can’t fully remember what the concern was, although the sense I got was that she was perceived as too much of a firebrand.

You have to recall:  these were the early days of the Obama Administration, when people still believed in the possibility of political compromise with the Left.  Ideological conservatives like Sanford and Haley were seen as a bit “tacky” (the same way Trump is by Establishment Republicans now), and I suspect that VP candidate Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Haley probably made her gauche-by-association.  Also, Sheheen cast himself (as a statewide Dem in SC must) as a congenial moderate.

Long-story short:  Haley destroyed Sheheen in a 2014 rematch, and then famously was appointed the United States’ United Nations Ambassador when President Trump took office in 2019.  That elevated Lieutenant Governor Henry McMaster—the first public official in South Carolina to endorse Trump during the campaign—to the governor’s office.

Haley had been opposed to Trump, favoring Florida Senator and robot Marco Rubio in the SC primaries in 2016, but she served as one of our gutsiest UN Ambassadors since Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

After Trump, I’m hoping that Haley throws her hat into the ring for the Republican presidential nominations in 2024.  Isn’t it time we had a woman president?

So, here is 2009’s “Two-Minute Update: A New Hope,” which is shorter by far than this preamble:

I was pleasantly surprised to read about a fresh new face in South Carolina politics, gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley, a State Representative from Bamberg. The daughter of immigrants, Haley appears to be the philosophical heiress-apparent to Governor Mark Sanford’s brand of fiscal conservatism. While it’s still pretty early in the game–the next gubernatorial election isn’t until 2 November 2010–Haley looks to be a promising candidate for supporters of Sanford’s commitment to limited government and political responsibility.

Again, it’s too early for The Portly Politico to give its support to any one candidate, but I will certainly have my eye on Haley’s candidacy over the next seventeen months. Hopefully she will be spared the ire that is so often heaped upon conservative female politicians by the liberal news media (see also: Sarah Palin).

For more information on State Representative Haley, check out this excellent write-up by Moe Lane at www.redstate.com“Speaking with Nikki Haley – (R-CAN, SC-GOV).”

Beto Antoinette

Today’s post is some low-hanging fruit (or free-range chicken?), but it’s too good to pass up:  arm-flailing weirdo and rat-faced rich kid Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, the Democrats’ favorite Hispanic Irishman, when asked about combating poor nutrition in poor rural communities, called for the establishment of trendy farm-to-table restaurants in those communities.

Commentators have been quick to pounce on O’Rourke’s out-of-touch policy prescription, comparing it immediately to Marie Antoinette’s infamous solution for French peasants who couldn’t afford bread:  “let them eat cake.”

The only difference is that the poor, much-maligned Queen of France never said it.  O’Rourke—after a fashion—did.  If there was any doubt that O’Rourke is an out-of-touch pseudo-hippie, this proposal destroys it.  Remember, this presidential candidate literally ate dirt after losing to Senator Ted Cruz.

As I was reading up on this amusing example of elitist cluelessness, I stumbled an interesting, instructive sideshow:  some policing on the Left.  The Washington Examiner piece linked above includes the following tweet from Washington Post reporter Annie Linskey, who live-tweeted O’Rourke’s Nevada town hall:

That’s a perfectly innocuous example of reporting.  O’Rourke said it, Linskey reported it.  Now, notice this tweet from the editor of Wonkette (her Twitter handle is “commiegirl1,” for crying out loud), a far-Left “news” site that seems to favor snark over substance (if you want your stomach to turn, just read through their headlines—these people have lost their way):

Schoenkopf is referencing a tweet from David Weigel (who wrote a great book about prog rock), another Post reporter, who writes vaguely about O’Rourke’s remarks about “food deserts.”  She then follows up with a nasty tweet, writing that “I would literally fire you if you pulled that sh[*]t at Wonkette, about ANYONE.”

So, Linskey accurately—and in more detail than her colleague—tweeted a simple fact, and this Leftist wacko ostentatiously, hysterically said she would fire this poor woman—if only she had the power to do so.

Two takeaways:

1.) That mentality—“I would destroy you given the power”—is indicative of the Left.  It must crush any opposition, perceived or real, which leads to my second observation:

2.) Even the slightest implication of opposition to a Leftist sacred cow (which, it seems, O’Rourke is at the moment) is punished, swiftly and ferociously.  The very fact that Linskey had the gall to report on O’Rourke’s gaffe was enough to condemn her.

I don’t know Linskey’s politics, but if she writes for the Post, she’s probably left-of-center.  Even if that’s true, the progressives won’t hesitate to devour their own.

O’Rourke’s star seems to be falling as Democrats turn to a more flamboyant nobody, but progressives still like him because he could possibly win them Texas.  Hopefully, voters of a populist stripe will realize this man cares nothing for them or their struggles.

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.

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!

Reblog: The joke’s on him (Dalrock Post)

A quick post, re: this morning’s post on moral decline:  Dalrock posted this piece about a sleazy divorce attorney in Dallas pitching divorce as a way to clear up closet space.

Here’s the Tweet with the billboard:

This mentality is why we’re in moral free-fall.