Using the ‘Benedict Option’ to fight Relativism and Secularism

Howard Kainz: By establishing preconditions for dealing with value disagreements, we will arrive at the vestibule of Aquinas’ classical precepts.

We hear much these days about the “Benedict Option,” inspired by Rod Dreher’s book by that name. Some Catholics surrounded by “nones” and liberals – and confronting public schools sexualizing students, local parishes preaching a watered-down hand-holding Catholicism, etc. – are seeking various forms of community as a defense against anti-Christian currents.

Some have changed parishes or neighborhoods, or even moved their families to locations bordering Benedictine monasteries! Some may find TheCatholicThing.org and similar Catholic Internet sites to be their “cyberspace” Benedict Option.

The general idea is to take steps of self-preservation in a world imbued with relativism and secularism, get support from like-minded persons, and keep ourselves and our children from succumbing to a social environment gone berserk.

Rod Dreher got the inspiration for his book from a short final paragraph of Alasdair Macintyre’s 1981 book, After Virtue, where Macintyre concludes, comparing our age with the late Roman Empire of the original Benedict, “this time . . . the barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing us for quite some time. And it is our lack of consciousness of this that constitutes part of our predicament. We are waiting not for a Godot, but for another – doubtless very different – St. Benedict.”

In a later interview, Macintyre confided that he regretted writing that paragraph, thus giving rise to the impression that he was advocating a strategy of withdrawal.

Macintyre’s book received – and deserved – a lot of attention. I came across it at a time when I was doing research for my book Ethics in Context, and was impressed by his brilliant critique of attempts to formulate viable ethical theories in the aftermath of the Enlightenment – especially two theories that still appear in college classrooms in various revisions and reincarnations: utilitarianism and Kant’scategorical imperative.

One thing, however, that Macintyre does not go into: both of these influential theories were Enlightenment attempts to replace natural-law theory, which had previously enjoyed pride of place among Catholic philosophers and also some Protestant philosophers.

Click here to read the rest of Professor Kainz’ column . . .

Howard Kainz

Howard Kainz is emeritus professor of philosophy at Marquette University. His most recent publications include Natural Law: an Introduction and Reexamination (2004), Five Metaphysical Paradoxes (The 2006 Marquette Aquinas Lecture), The Philosophy of Human Nature (2008), and The Existence of God and the Faith-Instinct (2010).

VIDEO: Dinesh D’Souza on ‘The Big Lie About Charlottesville’

Dinesh D’Souza has a new book out, The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left, which I’ll be reviewing later. And considering the violence in Charlottesville, the timing was perfect for him to come on the Glazov Gang, the show hosted by our very own Jamie, to discuss the Big Lie About Charlottesville and how his thesis applies to the latest outbreak of outrage.

Jamie has an extended segment taking a deep dive into The Big Lie and discussing how the left’s lies still drive conflict in this country today.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Poll Shows Lots Of Support For Trump’s Stance On Charlottesville

ProPublica (recipient of Soros $) works with CAIR and SPLC to silence speech

Democrats Launch Website: “I Stand with Maria” After Far Left Lawmaker Calls for Assassination of President Trump

Epidemic? Leftist vandalism of monuments spreads

Calls for Dem State Senator to Resign Surge After Trump Assassination Post; Secret Service Investigates

Division in America: Don’t Blame Donald Trump

The Left and Anti-Americanism

VIDEO: Can You Handle Diversity in Ideas? by Seamus Coughlin

Since I was a little kid, I’ve always loved politics. A few days after I first learned where my family stood on the most pressing issues of the day, I asked my mother a simple question:

Lil Seamus: “Mom… are we right about everything?”

Mom: “Uh….Yes.”

We weren’t.

I mean, MOST things! We were right about most things. But there are a few positions my family held which I no longer agree with. Which means they’re wrong about them. Or… Does it mean I’m wrong about them? Or maybe we’re both wrong about them?

I came from a Conservative Irish Catholic home, but I went to a primary school with students from all sorts of different backgrounds, and we were engaged in dialogue constantly! Yeah, I know most kids aren’t invested in politics, per se, but we all hold strong opinions from an early age and spend a good deal of time defending those views from others. So if we know children can handle exposure to adversarial ideas, why do we insist on protecting college students from them?

See, a few college administrators seem to believe that hearing new points of view can be unsafe or damaging to students on a theoretical level. Ironically, this kind of thinking can actually put people holding whatever view is being demonized in realdanger.

In the end, there are only two possible ways of dealing with disagreement… We can talk to each other, working to peacefully persuade others to our point of view, or we can allow our disagreements to devolve into violence and hurt people who hold a different perspective.

Only one of those is healthy for society.

But then again, who knows? Can you trust any of what I’m saying? I did mention at earlier that I’m not so sure that I’m right about everything. Maybe I’m completely full of it. Maybe I’m just… a little bit full of it. Maybe we’re all a little bit full of it, and we have some ideas that are good and some ideas that are bad.

And maybe the only way we can get to the truth is by exploring as many other views as possible until we arrive at the ones that make the most sense!

The belief in freedom of expression isn’t just a single ideal, it’s the single most important ideal for the functioning of our society. It’s the very cornerstone of our search for truth.

And if we remove that cornerstone — no matter how good our intentions might be — everything else falls. So let’s keep it in place! And keep the conversation going!

Seamus Coughlin

Seamus Coughlin

Seamus Coughlin is a comedy writer and animator with a deep interest in politics and morality. A good deal of his work can be found on the FreedomToons YouTube channel.

Sean Malone

Sean Malone

Sean Malone is the Director of Media at FEE. His films have been featured in the mainstream media and throughout the free-market educational community.

Socialism – Not Oil Prices – Is to Blame for Venezuela’s Woes by Kristian Niemietz

So the Left is finally talking about Venezuela again. That is a good thing. For about a decade, large sections of the Left were in the grip of VenezuelamaniaWe would not hear the end of it. Venezuela’s version of socialism was their shining example, the model which the rest of the world should emulate.

When the country’s meltdown could no longer be denied, they dropped it like a hot potato. And a long period of silence ensued. But recent events have forced the issue back on the agenda again.

The Double Life of Oil Prices

The responses vary. Commentators on the Stalinist Left now sound like a copy of the Pravda from the 1930s, fabulating about saboteurs and counter-revolutionaries undermining the economy. The more media-savvy sections of the Left, however, realise that they are unlikely to win many people over if they sound too much like the villain in a Cold War movie.

So they have adopted a more innocuous-sounding line, blaming Venezuela’s woes primarily on the decline in oil prices. Of course, Venezuela is doing badly, they argue. Any economy that is so dependent on commodity prices would do badly under those circumstances. It has nothing to do with socialism.

It sounds superficially plausible. But do you remember which prominent Chavista said this during the oil price boom:

Of course Venezuela is doing well. Any economy that is so dependent on commodity prices would do well under those circumstances. It has nothing to do with socialism.”

You guessed right: none of them. Oil prices lead a double life in the Chavista-Corbynista mindset. When oil prices skyrocket, the ensuing boom is proof that social works, but when they fall again, the ensuing decline has nothing to do with socialism.

It is true that low oil prices would hurt Venezuela’s economy. But here’s the thing: we don’t currently have low oil prices. We had abnormally high oil prices in the decade leading up to 2014/15. Oil prices have not “collapsed”. They have merely reverted to a level which is more in line with the long-term average. More precisely, they are back (in real terms) to where they were in 2004, about the time when Venezuelamania started. And they are still noticeably higher than they were in the two decades before then.

When Oil Prices Were Peaking

Perhaps more important, though, the problems that we commonly associate with Venezuela, especially shortages of basic essentials like food and medicine, predate the drop in oil prices. Take this description:

…of milk, eggs, sugar and cooking oil there was no sign. Where were they? … Welcome to Venezuela, a booming economy with a difference. Food shortages are plaguing the country at the same time that oil revenues are driving a spending splurge … Milk has all but vanished from shops… eggs and sugar are also a memory.”

This is from a Guardian article, published in 2007 – when oil prices were about to reach their historic all-time peak. Or this one, from a year before the drop in oil prices:

…food shortages in Venezuela have not only peaked but they have lasted longer than ever. … Venezuela’s central bank … has been publishing a scarcity index … [It] puts this year’s figure at [a level which] is similar to countries undergoing civil strife or war-like conditions.”

There are a handful of alternative history novels in which the fall of the Berlin Wall never happens, and the German Democratic Republic still exists today. It is a fascinating thought experiment, but the authors all face a problem in creating that backdrop: when the Wall fell, the GDR was not just politically, but also economically finished. How do you get around this, if you want your alternative history to be at least somewhat plausible?

Two authors have found a simple, but seemingly effective solution: in their version, the GDR regime discovers oil reserves just off the Baltic coast. The GDR is soon swamped with petrodollars; it becomes a socialist, Northern European version of Saudi Arabia.

The authors’ thinking must have been: “Let’s just give them oil reserves. Surely oil revenue can make any economy work, even a socialist one.”

I like the idea. But Venezuela’s experience shows that the authors were over-optimistic.

Oil Isn’t Enough

Socialists have always argued that socialism will eventually work, it just needs the right circumstances. They are now effectively saying:

Of course socialism works. All you need is the world’s largest proven oil reserves, the longest oil price boom in history, and the highest oil price level ever recorded in history. That boom must obviously go on forever. Even then, you will have constant shortages of food, medicines and other basic essentials. But on the plus side, you will have Western intellectuals lining up to tell you how lucky you are.”

It doesn’t quite cut the mustard, does it?

Reprinted from CapX.

Kristian Niemietz

Kristian Niemietz

Dr. Kristian Niemietz is the Institute for Economic Affairs’ Head of Health and Welfare.

RELATED ARTICLE: Venezuela: Wave of Arrests As Government Turns Against Elected Opposition

We are witnessing two extremes in America. Both are fascist.

We are witnessing two extremes in America. Both are fascist.

One is called Alt-Right and the other the Alt Left. Neither is conservative or liberal they both represent the growth of Fascism, Socialism and Communism in America. Unfortunately the liberal media and to a great extent the Democrat Party and Democrats have aligned themselves with the so called Alt-Left.

The removal of statues, pictures or other historical items is comparable to the ‘book burning’ in Nazi Germany during that 1930’s. Hitler was intent on erasing German and Western history and culture. In America today we see a similar movement against the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and other slave owners.

Does this mean we should remove pictures and statures of George Washington and many of our other forefathers who wrote the Constitution. Should we erase George Washington and Thomas Jefferson from Mt. Rushmore with jack hammers? Does this mean we should burn the U.S. Constitution which was written by slave owners? Does this mean we should outlaw the Democrat Party which fought to preserve slavery?

Question: Where does this all end?

Please read an interesting article by Melanie Phillips–“How totalitarianism is winning in the West”.

HOW TOTALITARIANISM IS WINNING IN THE WEST

Credit to the left-leaning Atlantic magazine for running a piece by Peter Beinart, who has actually looked at what is happening in American society and reached an uncomfortable conclusion which would be hard to find elsewhere in the media – and which is all-too pertinent in the wake of Charlottesville.

For Beinart warns that the left is lurching into totalitarianism and violence. “Antifa” purport to be anti-fascist. But they define as fascist anyone they disagree with including mainstream conservatives. Hence their violent suppression of commentators and scholars such as the conservative columnist Ann Coulter, the Breitbart controversialist Milo Yiannopoulos and the political scientist Charles Murray.

What Antifa most certainly do not do is defend democracy, freedom and liberal values. As Beinart observes:

“Since antifa is heavily composed of anarchists, its activists place little faith in the state, which they consider complicit in fascism and racism. They prefer direct action: They pressure venues to deny white supremacists space to meet. They pressure employers to fire them and landlords to evict them. And when people they deem racists and fascists manage to assemble, antifa’s partisans try to break up their gatherings, including by force.”

If this was just a bunch of anarchists, the problem wouldn’t be so bad. What takes this onto a different level altogether is the fact that the mainstream left does not disavow Antifa but tolerates, sanitises and condones it. Referring specifically to the assault last January on the white supremacist Richard Spencer, Beinart continues:

“Such tactics have elicited substantial support from the mainstream left. When the masked antifa activist was filmed assaulting Spencer on Inauguration Day, another piece in The Nation described his punch as an act of ‘kinetic beauty.’ Slate ran an approving article about a humorous piano ballad that glorified the assault. Twitter was inundated with viral versions of the video set to different songs, prompting the former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau to tweet, ‘I don’t care how many different songs you set Richard Spencer being punched to, I’ll laugh at every one.’

“The violence is not directed only at avowed racists like Spencer: In June of last year, demonstrators – at least some of whom were associated with antifa – punched and threw eggs at people exiting a Trump rally in San Jose, California. An article in It’s Going Down celebrated the ‘righteous beatings.’”

As I wrote in The Times (£) yesterday, this has produced an unholy alliance between the left and the far right:

“A white supremacist called Richard Spencer invented the blanket term ‘alt-right’ to associate his ilk with conservatives seeking merely to defend American identity and core values. Through this tactic, Spencer intended to boost the far right and simultaneously smear and thus destroy regular conservatives.

“The left has seized upon this smear with unbridled joy, routinely using the ‘alt-right’ term to try to destroy the national identity agenda by bracketing it with white supremacism. The result is a powerful boost for the far right. From deserved obscurity, they suddenly find the left are transmitting their every utterance to the world. The phrase “useful idiots” comes inescapably to mind.”

Read more.

RELATED ARTICLE: Poll Shows Lots Of Support For Trump’s Stance On Charlottesville

RELATED VIDEO: Connecting-The-Dots Between Charlottesville, Soros, Hillary Clinton and McCain:

First They Came for Confederate Monuments…

It’s a story as old as civilizations passing away, history looping without end…

First they came for the Confederate monuments, because they represented those who fought to maintain slavery.

Then they came for Confederate flags, because banning them would alleviate the hurt of slavery they represented.

Then they came for Confederate names on buildings, on schools and on streets. That which causes offense is not acceptable in our society.

Then they came for the history textbooks, which were revised to avoid causing pain to students confronted with the ugly past in their own country. How could the children endure this?

After a time, they had erased all memories of the Confederacy from the public square and the books — sent them down the memory hole — and all was good with race relations. All would now prosper and feel safe from the offense of history.

But…

Some Founders were slaveholders. And this is intolerable to even think about. So they came for those Founders who owned slaves, most prominent of whom were Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

They came for the Jefferson and Washington Monuments in the nation’s capital and all statues of Washington and Jefferson, for they caused deep offense. Slaveowners looking down on us!

Then they came for schools named after Jefferson and Washington. Then they came after streets and towns named after Jefferson and Washington. That which causes offense is not acceptable in our society.

Then they came for the history textbooks, which were revised to avoid causing pain to students confronted with the slaveholding realities of the nation’s forefathers. How could the children endure this?

And finally they came after the Capital of the United States, because it was named after a slaveholder. How offensive to every citizen!

After a time, they had erased all memories of every founder who was a slaveholder from the public square and the books — sent down the memory hole — and all was good with race relations. All would now prosper and feel safe from the offense of history.

But…

It was soon remembered that all of the Founders agreed to keep women from being able to vote, to treat them as second-class citizens. This included those who were not slaveholders and those who opposed slavery.

So they came after all of the rest of the Founders not already erased, because they were sexist and diminished women. Hated women. Such sexism can never be celebrated!

Then they came for the monuments to Founders such as John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Paine and the rest for they caused offense, they made some women feel “less than.” Sexist males looking down on us!

Then they came for schools named after Adams and Hamilton. Then they came after streets and towns named after Adams and Hamilton. That which causes offense is not acceptable in our society.

Then they came for the history textbooks, which were revised to avoid causing pain to students confronted with the ugly, sexist past of all of the Founders of their own country. How could the children endure this?

After awhile, they had erased all memories of every Founder — racist and sexist — from the public square and the books — all sent down the memory hole — and all was good with race and gender relations. All would now prosper and feel safe from the offense of history.

But…

Oh, there was so much more still to erase! The impurities!

They came for Christopher Columbus because he brought plagues to the natives and stole their lands and resources. Erase him!

They came for U.S. presidents before the Civil War because they appeased the South with compromises, allowing slavery to expand into more new states in the Union. Erase them!

They came for the Presidents who did not uphold treaties with Native Americans. Erase them!

They came for the 19th century building titans who constructed the Transcontinental Railroad because they paid the Chinese slave labor wages for their work. Erase them!

They came for every corporate baron enriched during the industrial revolution, some of which had used child labor, all of whom had mistreated workers. Erase them!

They came for U.S. Supreme Court justices who upheld slavery in the Dred Scott ruling. Erase them!

They came for the once-revered Woodrow Wilson because he was an overt racist and acted colonially when he began the U.S. occupation of Haiti. Erase him!

They came for Franklin Roosevelt because he put Japanese-Americans in internment camps in World War II. What an offense to have to be faced with! Erase him!

They came for Harry Truman because he used atomic weapons against Japanese civilians — but not Germany — showing his bigotry. Erase him!

They came for Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush. None withstood the next wave of erasure. “Erase them all!” they cried in their purifying fever.

Like the great Eraser’s of kingdoms past from Assyrians to Soviets, they took down all predecessors, all remnants that might remind people of the offensive, unacceptable, unauthorized national history. They erased them all.

In the end, they stood around, panting heavily from their long labors and paused. And then they came for themselves, because such was the voracious appetite to purify history from offense that none could meet the test of purity.

Not even the Erasers.

RELATED ARTICLES:

What the Attacks on our Monuments Truly Means: It’s certainly not about history – Huffington Post

Who’s To Blame for the Events in Charlottesville? Charlottesville!

The Imperative of Defending Liberty After Charlottesville

Charlottesville Violence Only The Beginning Unless We End Identity Politics

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act.

Beware the False Reporting on Trump, Charlottesville, and the Need to Erase History By Destroying Statues

The tag line and mission of Bolduc and Bracci is to “Level a Tilted Playing Field.”  This references the well-known fact that there is an extreme leftist-liberal bias in the media.  Presently, the media complex is working in lockstep to destroy President Trump, and is using Charlottesville as its new front.  Through false reporting, the media is working to paint Trump as a white racist bigot, despite his decades-long career in the public eye showing he is anything but that.

It is difficult to put this issue into words, but writer Dov Fischer, self-described as a Jew from Manhattan, does a good job of stepping back and putting today’s issues into perspective, discussing the truth about what Trump actually said in totality, and providing real history references.   His article at Spectator.org  is titled “And Yet President Trump, In His Classically Inartful Way, Was Absolutely Right.”

That article is linked here: (click)

Fischer on Trump’s statements:

I just did something fascinating. I just watched the President’s entire 14-minute impromptu news conference at Trump Tower on Monday that sparked all the latest barrage of anti-Trump screeds from the left media that will criticize him every day, no matter what he does, augmented by the “Never Trump” Republicans and neo-conservatives who will not rest until they can re-conquer the political party they lost because of three terms of two failed Bush presidencies, followed by the two failed Presidential candidacies of Sen. John McCain and of Gov. Mitt Romney.

Not the reportage about the conference, but the entire 14 minutes unedited, uninterrupted. I found myself agreeing with his every word. I did not find his tone or demeanor “unpresidential” in the least. He sharply and explicitly condemned the Nazis and White Supremacists unequivocally. He also condemned the extreme leftists who premeditatedly came armed with weapons to smash up a demonstration that, rightly or wrongly, had been granted a legal permit. (I personally wish that ACLU liberals were not so proactive in advancing the right of Nazis to get permits to rally at public venues, but the demonstration had a permit. Meanwhile, the Antifa Alt-Left thugs came with flame-throwers, bats, and shields, and they came to fight.) All the while, the police did nothing for much too long. Chaos and violence ensued.”

With all of the misreporting about what Trump has actually said, and who actually participated at the Charlottesville protest, articles such as Fischer’s are needed to level the playing field on an issue that continues to be used politically to further gin up public divide in our country, and to isolate our president by creating a false image painting him as a racist.**

**Note:   This isolation tactic is akin to our local Naples Daily News editors and writers who paint Collier County school board member Kelly Lichter as “boisterous” (click for prior report) because Lichter simply wants the school district to focus on education in the classroom — and to eliminate the Superintendent’s mission drift into the collectivist, “collaborative” projects which our community’s so-called “leaders” and “non-profits” find so endearing.  Threatened by Lichter, our local establishment and the media they control seek to destroy her.

Fischer’s article goes beyond Trump into the issue of destroying statues that have stood for decades if not centuries in our country.  Yes, it is understandable how some may find those statues offensive if they take them only as symbols of a southern culture protecting slavery.  But where does this end, and to what extent might those statues be symbols of other things, such as the principle of Federalism wherein state’s rights are paramount to the federal government?  Cannot those states honor soldiers and military officers who fought not for “slavery,” but to defend state’s rights?  If Florida sought to secede from the U.S. today, and an actual war was occurring, would you or your children fight to defend your family, your home, and your neighbors — or would you join the federal army, and seek to destroy your own family members?  This is not to decide one way or another, but to consider the reality of the choices that those citizens of southern states had to make when civil war erupted.  In that context, might there be some understanding of the citizens of those states honoring their own fallen heroes who fought not to protect “slavery,” but to protect their own family members during a time of war?

Not everything deemed “offensive” needs to be cleansed from society.  That is a very dangerous concept.  Free speech is protected not to ensure the “popular” speech, but to preserve “unpopular” speech.  Many important free speech and land use decisions by our U.S. Supreme Court involve protecting the rights of those who society finds least respectable.  (Think the case of Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, 1988 Florida Supreme Court, defending Larry Flynt’s First Amendment free speech rights).  Our U.S. Supreme Court recognizes the rights of these people to speak their minds — not because the Supreme Court agrees with those thoughts, but because it is dangerous to squelch free speech, as to do otherwise will lead to tyranny.

Is the destruction of Civil War statues not the same thing, only in “symbol” or “image” form?

On that point, Fischer states the following:

There is no easy answer for the statue issue. I have seen that issue for years and years, long before it became the Issue du Jour. In my travels for several months through the South and at the great Civil War battlefields, I saw the monuments everywhere: in main thoroughfares along Monument Row in Richmond, at the State Capitol in Nashville, at street corners. At the South Carolina state capitol in Columbia, they have preserved the broken walking stick attached to the monument of George Washington, so as never to forget how Sherman’s men ransacked the state and even desecrated the monument of Washington. Similarly, they have refused to repair Union cannonball damage to the building, preferring instead to cover gaping holes with metal patches that starkly remind visitors of the attack that happened there. I have seen the aesthetic beauty and passion that went into sculpting those monuments, and I have read the inscriptions that breathe not a word about slavery nor the social injustices of the Confederacy but of brave young boys, who never owned a slave — the vast majority of Southerners never owned slaves — but who gave their lives for their communities, for their honor, in some cases even for their women.

As a Jew hailing from the North, whose persecuted East European ancestors did not even arrive in this country from Russia and Poland until a quarter century after the Civil War, I also perceived that those monuments constitute a horrible daily insult and vile dishonor to African Americans and, frankly, an incomprehensible curiosity for a country that had defeated the Confederacy and had reunited. What indeed were all those monuments to the losing side doing all over the place? I came to a sense that perhaps those monuments should be moved to Civil War museums, to the great preserved battlefields at Antietam/Sharpsburg, Chancellorsville, Bull Run/Manassas, Fredericksburg, The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Shiloh, Lookout Mountain, Cold Harbor, Vicksburg, and Petersburg. (Gettysburg already has its full complement.) Perhaps move them to cemeteries where Confederates lie buried.

But I do believe, as President Trump tried to say in his way, that many of those at the demonstrations indeed were decent people motivated solely by wanting peacefully to preserve the heroes of their history, oblivious to the ramifications — that, sadly, their history includes much that is shameful, even if Lee solely was motivated by a soldier’s rules of honor and service, as taught at West Point; even if Jackson was motivated solely by that same code of a soldier’s honor and service, amplified by a religious believer’s sense that he had a duty to country.

President Trump sadly is correct. George Washington owned slaves. So did Thomas Jefferson at Monticello and James Madison at Montpelier. So did many who signed the Declaration of Independence. Shall we take down the Washington Monument? Shall we rename the nation’s capital and the state where the liberal Democrats of Seattle govern? Should we tear down the Jefferson Memorial? Is there now yet another reason to change the name of the Washington Redskins!

And, while at it: How about encouraging some violent street-fighting in Manhattan, tearing down the Peter Stuyvesant statue in Manhattan and renaming that eponymous public school? He was the most vicious anti-Semite of pre-independence America.

As Trump says, where does all this end?  Take, for instance, this report that Vice Magazine now decries “Let’s Blow Up Mr. Rushmore”  (click here):

Vice Magazine’s call to “blow up Mt. Rushmore.”

The racial division presently occurring in this country is indeed worrisome; equally worrisome, however, is the use of that issue to justify the squelching of speech — in oral, written, or symbolic form.  Either of these issues could ultimately lead to the demise of our nation and the symbol of freedom for which it stands.

RELATED ARTICLE:

VIDEO: Rent a Rioter, Inc.

As Saul Alinsky wrote, “Never let a good crisis go to waste!” 

Rioters for hire is a booming business. Just ask Adam Swart, founder of Crowds on Demand.

If you want to tear down a Confederate statue you can rent rioters to help you pull it down. If you need a white, black or gender supremacist, just call and they will be provided in droves. Are you out of a job and want to earn $25 or more an hour, plus expenses, no problem. Need a flash mob? BTW, peaceful protests are “optional.”

Creating jobs for unemployed haters is chic. Bring your own red spray paint for riot specific graffiti, black mask, rocks, Molotov cocktails, baseball bat or car and get on board a train, bus or plane to get to the riot, all expenses paid. Great summer job for college students from UC Berkeley or University of Virginia in Chancellorsville?

Ever heard of the company Crowds on Demand?

In an August 16th article titled “Why Was This ‘Crowd Hire’ Company Recruiting $25 An Hour ‘Political Activists’ In Charlotte Last Week?” ZeroHedge reported:

Trump ignited a political firestorm yesterday during an impromptu press conference in which he said there was “blame on both sides” for the tragic events that occurred in Charlottesville over the weekend.

Now, the discovery of a craigslist ad posted last Monday, almost a full week before the Charlottesville protests, is raising new questions over whether paid protesters were sourced by a Los Angeles based “public relations firm specializing in innovative events” to serve as agitators in counterprotests.

The ad was posted by a company called “Crowds on Demand” and offered $25 per hour to “actors and photographers” to participate in events in the “Charlotte, NC area.”  While the ad didn’t explicitly define a role to be filled by its crowd of “actors and photographers” it did ask applicants to comment on whether they were “ok with participating in peaceful protests.”  Here is the text from the ad:

Actors and Photographers Wanted in Charlotte

Crowds on Demand, a Los Angeles-based Public Relations firm specializing in innovative events, is looking for enthusiastic actors and photographers in the Charlotte, NC area to participate in our events. Our events include everything from rallies to protests to corporate PR stunts to celebrity scenes. The biggest qualification is enthusiasm, a “can-do” spirit. Pay will vary by event but typically is $25+ per hour plus reimbursements for gas/parking/Uber/public transit.

For more information about us, please visit www.crowdsondemand.com

If you’re interested in working with us, please reply to this posting with the following info:

  • Full Name
  • Prior relevant experience (as an actor/performer, photographer, brand ambassador, political activist, etc)
  • When are you usually available for work?
  • Resume (optional)
  • If you’re a photographer, what equipment do you use?
  • Are you ok with participating in peaceful protests (optional)?

And a screenshot of the original post:

Craigslist

Read more.

See capitalism does work. Jobs are being created by Crowds on Demand. The question becomes: Are the outcomes worth the investment? #Charlottesville

RELATED ARTICLE: Left exhumes ‘white nationalist’ label

RELATED PODCAST: Interview with Adam Swart founder of Crowds on Demand

RELATED VIDEO: Company ‘Crowds On Demand’ Provides Clients With Fake Protesters by Golden State Times:

Fearing Trump Haitians heading to Canada found in possession of child porn

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been saying, even before Trump was actually elected, that Canada would take ‘refugees’ the US didn’t want.  So gosh, what did those darn refugee rejects (the Somalis and now the Haitians) do?  They took his word for it and are heading en masse to the land of maple syrup.

From Canada24News (hat tip: Joanne):

Multiple refugee claimants have been found in possession of child pornography at or near the Quebec border crossing where an influx of hundreds of asylum seekers crossing from New York state has led the Canadian government to set up a border camp, Global News has learned.

The reference is to the expiring ‘Temporary Protected Status’ for Haitians who were allowed to stay in the US TEMPORARILY after the Earthquake there in 2010. They are not legitimate refugees escaping persecution.

Watch the video of the Haitians arriving in Canada:

In a memorandum to officers of the Canadian Border Services Agency this week, acting CBSA assistant director Daniel St-Arnaud outlines a set of guidelines for officers at and near the St-Bernard-de-Lacolle crossing to deal with the illicit material. The guidelines will “come into effect immediately” and remain until national guidelines are put in place.

According to a source, officials in St-Bernard-de-Lacolle have in recent months found “four or five” refugee claimants from Haiti in possession of child pornography, which prompted the memorandum.

A spokesperson for Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Ralph Goodale confirmed two cases have resulted in criminal proceedings. “We can confirm that, following an investigation, two people have been charged by the Quebec Direction des Poursuites Criminelles et Pénales with possession and importation of child pornography,” said Dan Brien. “The matter remains under adjudication.”

[….]

Last week, the Canadian government deployed soldiers to set up tents near St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, which sits across the border from Champlain, New York, in order to temporarily house hundreds of asylum seekers, most of which are Haitians who fear deportation by the United States government. The city of Montreal, which is 60 kilometres from the border point, last week said it is receiving between 250 and 300 asylum claimants who crossed the Canada-U.S. border every day — the number is up from 50 per day in the first half of July.

[….]

Rempel [Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel], said the border arrests comprised one part of broader concerns that the opposition has about the government’s management of Canada’s refugee system. Earlier this month, Global News reported on a CBSA document which suggested that Somalis with criminal records, deported by the U.S., have crossed illegally into Canada and made refugee claims under false identities.

“This is a troubling pattern where we’re seeing people with criminal records or involved in criminal activity come across the border,” added Rempel. “I think that Justin Trudeau has been irresponsible in his language around how Canada’s asylum system should be accessed. I think he needs to be much more clear that you shouldn’t be entering Canada illegally and he should be more clear about the expectations that our system has in terms of legitimate claims so that our asylum system can be focused on helping the world’s most vulnerable.”

More here.

See my Canada archive here.

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Good luck getting data on refugee welfare usage when Congress can’t get it!

IOM: Over 1.2 million Syrians have returned home in last two years

Lawsuit Ends in Free Speech/Religious Freedom Victory for the Catholic League

ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, today announces that the closing chapter in a lawsuit has ended with a victory for Bill Donohue and free speech, as the time for appealing TMLC’s win in the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court has passed.

Bill Donohue, President and CEO of the Catholic League, is considered by most Americans as the fiercest defender of the Catholic Church in the world. He is often called to appear on national TV to respond to controversial attacks made against the Church. So, when he asked the Thomas More Law Center to defend him and the Catholic League in a defamation lawsuit filed because of comments in a press release, without hesitation we agreed.

Beginning in 2014, the case wound its way through both the state and federal courts. On April 18, 2017, the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued its opinion affirming a lower court decision which ruled in favor of Bill Donohue and the Catholic League by dismissing all claims in the lawsuit, including the defamation claim. The 90-day window for asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals decision has now lapsed.

You can read the 8th Circuit Court opinion here.

Erin Mersino, who handled the case on behalf of the Thomas More Law Center always contended that lawsuit filed by Jon David Couzens, Jr. lacked legal merit and required dismissal.  Although she no longer works for TMLC, Erin recently commented on the final end of case:

“The plaintiff’s decision not to appeal the case further vindicates this important victory for free speech. The Thomas More Law Center and the Catholic League are two heroic organizations that vigorously fight for religious freedom in our culture today. It has been a true honor representing Bill Donohue, the President and tenacious captain of the Catholic League.”

What is the Catholic League?

The Catholic League is the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. Founded in 1973 by the late Father Virgil C. Blum, S.J., the Catholic League defends the right of Catholics – lay and clergy alike – to participate in American public life without defamation or discrimination.

Motivated by the letter and the spirit of the First Amendment, the Catholic League works to safeguard both the religious freedom rights and the free speech rights of Catholics whenever and wherever they are threatened.

The Catholic League is listed in the Official Catholic Directory and has won the plaudits of many bishops.

Charlottesville ‘Unite the Right’ Organizer Was Occupy Wall St. Activist, CNN Correspondent & Obama Supporter

The plot thickens.

Zero Hedge has this:

Kessler was a CNN Assignment Editor?

Internet sleuths discovered a CNN report on Occupy Wall St. from five years ago submitted by “CNN Assignment Editor Jason Kessler.” Same guy?

BREAKING: Charlotsville “Unite the Right” Organizer Was Occupy Wall St. Activist & Obama Supporter!

Posted on 

Well this is fishy. His name is Jason Kessler. He is the one cited as the organizer of the now infamous “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The thing is, Mr. Kessler’s arrival on the “alt right” and/or “White Nationalist” scene didn’t occur until November 2016.

That’s right – Kessler didn’t start his white nationalist activism until after Donald Trump won the White House. Prior to that it appears he participated in the far left/socialist Occupy Wall Street movement as noted by the far-left, George Soros-funded Southern Poverty Law Center

Rumors abound on white nationalist forums that Kessler’s ideological pedigree before 2016 was less than pure and seem to point to involvement in the Occupy movement and past support for President Obama.

At one recent speech in favor of Charlottesville’s status as a sanctuary city, Kessler live-streamed himself as an attendee questioned him and apologized for an undisclosed spat during Kessler’s apparent involvement with Occupy. Kessler appeared visibly perturbed by the woman’s presence and reminders of their past association.

It also appears Mr. Kessler was actually a CNN on site correspondent during the Occupy protests: (these are being archived as it appears CNN is attempting to scrub its former affiliation with Mr. Kessler:)

HERE IS A CNN STORY WITH JASON KESSLER’S BYLINE

Wall Street protests grow after unions’ endorsement

By Jason Kessler and Michael Martinez, CNN
Updated 2344 GMT (0744 HKT) October 5, 2011

RELATED VIDEO: Dallas Group Forms To Protect Confederate Monuments

RELATED TWEETS BY JASON KESSLER:

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BUSTED: Unite The Right’s, Jason Kessler, Was Paid By CNN

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Geller Report.

Muslim Charged with Threatening to Shoot His Wife the Night before becoming a Minneapolis Police Officer

Mohamed Noor, the Muslim cop who shot an unarmed woman, Justine Damond, had been fast-tracked onto the force so that the Minneapolis police could showcase their “diversity.” Now it looks as if the Minneapolis Police Department was trying to do it again with Ahmed Mohamed Jama. After the shooting of Justine Damond, there was no reevaluation of the wisdom of hiring police officers based on their religion and ethnicity rather than their merit. And so here we go again.

“Rookie Cop Breaks the Law Night Before Swearing-In Ceremony,” by Preya Samsundar, Alpha News, August 12, 2017:

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minneapolis man has been charged with Threats of Violence (Intent to Terrorize), the night before being sworn in as a Minneapolis Police Officer.

Ahmed Mohamed Jama, 29, threatened his wife with bodily harm after an argument on August 1. The criminal complaint, filed on August 4, states authorities to a report of past action domestic assault. Jama’s wife told authorities that he threatened to “shoot her in the head” because he would “get away with it.” Jama denied making the threat.

According to his personnel file, Jama first started working with the Minneapolis Police Department as a Police Cadet.

Jama filed paperwork to become a Police Cadet in August of 2016, a similar training program that Officer Mohamed Noor, the Minneapolis Officer who shot Justine Damond in July….

As Alpha News reported, MPD looked to clear up any confusion regarding time spent training. Noor spent more than a year after going through the police cadet training for the Minneapolis Police Department, while Jama started out as a Community Service Officer before working his way up to officer.

“At this point, the probationary employee you’ve inquired about, who has never worked in the capacity of a Minneapolis Police Officer, is on administrative leave,” Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said in a statement. “I am aware of the serious charges and will take appropriate action when necessary. The Office of Police Conduct Review has opened up a case into this matter.”

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Robert Spencer: Charlottesville Shows How Dangerous the SPLC Really Is

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Charlottesville Shows How Dangerous the Southern Poverty Law Center Really Is

If, post-Charlottesville, the establishment media and the Left are going to embark upon a full-scale jihad (I wouldn’t want to offend Leftists by calling it a “crusade”) against neo-Nazis and white supremacists, they’re going to catch in their net a great many legitimate groups if they rely on the SPLC to direct them to the “hate groups.” My latest in PJ Media:

Charlottesville was a huge victory for the hard-Left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). And that’s not good for anyone who loves freedom.

The driver of the car who plowed into a crowd of Leftist demonstrators in Charlottesville Saturday was a neo-Nazi, and on Monday President Trump denounced the Ku Klux Klan, “neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups,” which he rightly said were “repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

Leftist media outlets are making all they can out of this opportunity to stigmatize and marginalize definitively all “hate groups,” using the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) list of such groups. There’s just one problem: the SPLC’s “hate group” list is an irresponsible and libelous mélange of real hate groups with organizations that simply oppose the SPLC’s hard-Left agenda.

The mainstream media has for years conferred an aura of legitimacy on the SPLC, treating this cynical gang of profiteers as if it were a neutral and reliable arbiter of what constitutes a “hate group” and what does not. Charlotte Allen wrote in The Weekly Standard last March:

It’s hard to say what’s worse: the outrageousness of the Southern Poverty Law Center in pinning the label “white nationalist” and “extremist” on anyone who bucks the prevailing politically correct narrative, or the credulity of the mainstream media in treating the SPLC as a neutral source.

Yet CNN did it again Monday in a story about how GoDaddy had revoked the account of a site called Daily Stormer in the wake of Charlottesville:

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “the Daily Stormer is dedicated to spreading anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism, and white nationalism, primarily through guttural hyperbole and epithet-laden stories about topics like alleged Jewish world control and black-on-white crime.” The SPLC, which tracks hate groups, says the unapologetic hatred on the Daily Stormer — which also takes aim at African-Americans and opponents of President Donald Trump, for example — is a catalyst for division.

Meanwhile, the Huffington Post reminded us:

There are 917 hate groups currently operating across the U.S., according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

And that’s where the SPLC’s hate group listing becomes insidious. If, post-Charlottesville, the establishment media and the Left are going to embark upon a full-scale jihad (I wouldn’t want to offend Leftists by calling it a “crusade”) against neo-Nazis and white supremacists, they’re going to catch in their net a great many legitimate groups if they rely on the SPLC to direct them to the “hate groups.”

Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) wrote in the Washington Post in March:

Since 2007, the Southern Poverty Law Center has methodically added mainstream organizations critical of current immigration policy to its blacklist of “hate groups,” including the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the Immigration Reform Law Institute and Californians for Population Stabilization, among others. In February, my own organization, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), got its turn.

The wickedness of the SPLC’s blacklist lies in the fact that it conflates groups that really do preach hatred, such as the Ku Klux Klan and Nation of Islam, with ones that simply do not share the SPLC’s political preferences. The obvious goal is to marginalize the organizations in this second category by bullying reporters into avoiding them, scaring away writers and researchers from working for them, and limiting invitations for them to discuss their work.

Indeed. That is certainly the objective behind this hard-Left moneymaking and incitement machine’s latest dossier on “Islamophobes,” which says:

Before you book a spokesperson from an anti-Muslim extremist group or quote them in a story, research their background — detailed in this in-depth guide to 15 of the most visible anti-Muslim activists — and consider the consequences of giving them a platform.

They wish to silence those who speak honestly about the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat, blaming us for a supposed rise in “Islamophobia.” If they really want to stamp out suspicion of Islam, of course, they will move against not us, but the likes of Omar Mateen, Syed Rizwan Farook, Tashfeen Malik, Nidal Malik Hasan, Mohammed Abdulazeez, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and the myriad other Muslims who commit violence in the name of Islam and justify it by reference to Islamic teachings.

The SPLC doesn’t do that because its objective is not really to stop “Islamophobia” at all, but to create the illusion of a powerful and moneyed network of “Islamophobes” whom can only be stopped if you write a check to the SPLC. That’s what this is really all about.

In constructing this illusory edifice, the SPLC labeled me and fourteen others “anti-Muslim extremists.”

We are, of course, no more “anti-Muslim” than foes of the Nazis were anti-German, but note the word “extremists.” In what way are we “extremists”? Has anyone on the SPLC’s hit list (and given the SPLC’s track record of inciting violence against its targets, that is exactly what it is) ever blown anything or anyone up? Beheaded anyone? Boasted of our imminent conquest of any territory and the massacre of or enslavement of its people?

No, all we have done is speak critically about jihad terror and Sharia oppression. The SPLC is trying to further the libel that we are the other side of the coin, the non-Muslim bin Ladens and Awlakis. Until we commit any terror attacks or conspire with others to do so, however, the SPLC’s libel is only that: a libel….

Read the rest here.

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Woman who Destroyed Durham Confederate Statue is a Pro-North Korea Marxist

One of the activists who toppled a Confederate statue in Durham, N.C., on Monday night is a member of an extreme leftist group that supports the totalitarian regime in North Korea and wants to abolish capitalism.

Taqiyah Thompson, a student at North Carolina Central University, was arrested Tuesday following a press conference in which she defended the actions of the demonstrators and equated police officers to Confederate soldiers and Ku Klux Klan members.

“I did the right thing,” she said. “Everyone who was there — the people did the right thing. The people will continue to keep making the right choices until every Confederate statue is gone, until white supremacy is gone. That statue is where it belongs. It needs to be in the garbage.”

Thompson is a member of the Worker’s World Party (WWP), a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist group originally formed in 1959 as a hard-line offshoot of the more moderate Socialist Workers Party. In addition to supporting a wide range of far-left causes, the group also defends the North Korean regime of dictator Kim Jong-un against alleged U.S. imperialism.

The Durham Branch of the WWP called for Monday’s demonstration in “solidarity” with local anti-racist and anti-fascist forces, according to the group’s website. The group says it organized the protest in response to events in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday where three people were killed when a white supremacist rally descended into street battles with counter-protesters.

Video of the gathering shows Thompson climbing to the top of the statue and placing a rope around its neck the before fellow protesters pulled it down from its base.

WATCH:

The day after pulling down the statue, Thompson and fellow WWP members gathered at North Carolina Central University to demand that demonstrators receive amnesty from prosecution. Thompson argued that that Durham’s law enforcement officers were agents of white supremacy akin to Confederate soldiers and hate groups.

“If we understand history, we know that those boys who wore the gray, today they wear blue, and they wear sheets over their heads,” she said, referring to Ku Klux Klan garb.

Durham police took Thompson into custody following the press conference. Authorities have charged her with disorderly conduct by injury to a statue, damage to real property, felony participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 and felony inciting others to riot, according to jail records.

In a blog post on the WWP website, party member L.T. Pham said the group would seek to destroy other Confederate monuments.

“This is the first rope of many to pull down the pillars holding up white supremacy and capitalism,” he wrote Tuesday. “The powers that be will crumble under the power of organized people! Down with all statues of the Confederacy! Down with white supremacy!”

Follow Will on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

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In Their Own Words: The Radical Political Goals Of ‘Anti-Fascists’

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Four Perspectives On Removing Confederate Monuments

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EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on Bear Witness Central.

Why Do So Many Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism? by Alberto Mingardi

Following the valuable advice of co-blogger David Henderson, I’ve gotten my hands on Milton Friedman on Freedom, a new collection edited by the Hoover Institution. The book will surprise all of us who never properly appreciated the insights and wisdom of Friedman’s political thinking. His own peculiar blend of classical liberalism comes out all the more as subtle and relevant.

Among the several chapters, I did particularly enjoy a 1974 interview with Reason magazine. Friedman was then interviewed by the editorial trio (Tibor Machan, Joe Cobb, Ralph Raico), who were challenging him from what they considered a more consistent libertarian position.

The interview is rich and interesting in many ways. Friedman defends a negative income tax and school vouchers as “devices for enabling the free market to play a larger role.” He admits that the work of E.G. West made him revisit his own rationale for compulsory education (but not to abandon vouchers as a practical policy proposal), and he discusses inflation and the gold standard.

Friedman also speaks on a matter which has likewise been pondered by many of his contemporaries: why intellectuals oppose capitalism.

To these questions, some have replied that the main reason is resentment (intellectuals expect more recognition from the market society than they actually get); some have pointed out that self-interest drives the phenomenon (intellectuals preach government controls and regulation because they’ll be the controllers and regulators); some have taken the charitable view that intellectuals do not understand what the market really is about (as they cherish “projects” and the market is instead an unplanned order).

Friedman rejects the resentment view and proposes a version of the self-interest thesis by looking at the demand-side, so to speak. And it shows – behind the veil of his civility – very little consideration for the tastes of his fellow intellectuals for complex arguments, which seems to me quite a criticism.

Here’s the passage:

REASON: Perhaps we can go back to your comment about intellectuals. What do you think of the thesis put forth by von Mises and Schoeck, that envy motivates many contemporary intellectuals’ opposition to the free market?

FRIEDMAN: Well, I don’t think we’ll get very far by interpreting the intellectuals’ motivation. Their critical attitudes might be attributed to personal resentment and envy but I would say that a more fruitful direction, or a more fundamental one, is that intellectuals are people with something to sell. So the question becomes, what is there a better market for? I think a major reason why intellectuals tend to move towards collectivism is that the collectivist answer is a simple one. If there’s something wrong pass a law and do something about it. If there’s something wrong it’s because of some no-good bum, some devil, evil and wicked – that’s a very simple story to tell. You don’t have to be very smart to write it and you don’t have to be very smart to accept it. On the other hand, the individualistic or libertarian argument is a sophisticated and subtle one. If there’s something wrong with society, if there’s a real social evil, maybe you will make better progress by letting people voluntarily try to eliminate the evil. Therefore, I think, there is in advance a tendency for intellectuals to be attracted to sell the collectivist idea.

REASON: It’s paradoxical but people might then say that you are attributing to the collectivist intellectual a better feeling for the market.

FRIEDMAN: Of course. But while there’s a bigger market for Fords than there is for American Motors products, there is a market for the American Motors products. In the same way, there’s a bigger market for collectivist ideology than there is for individualist ideology. The thing that really baffles me is that the fraction of intellectuals who are collectivists is, I think, even larger than would be justified by the market.

Reprinted from Library of Economics and Liberty.

Alberto Mingardi

Alberto Mingardi

Alberto Mingardi is Director General of Istituto Bruno Leoni, Italy’s free-market think tank.