At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

Political Judo: Fight Leftist Logic by NOT Fighting BACK

posted by Jack Kerwick

Just days ago, a popular talk radio show host lamented that the attempt on the part of conservatives to fight back against the move to normalize homosexual “marriage” was tantamount to the attempt to fight back the tides of the ocean.

Though he didn’t say it, he may as well have said that it is as impossible to resist most of the left’s whole agenda as it is impossible to resist any force of nature.

And maybe he would have been correct.

Perhaps, then, it is time for those on the right to try a new strategy: continue to fight, but do not fight back. 

Some atheists are painfully aware of the fact that those of their ilk who insist upon combatting theism to the death actually legitimate belief in God, for the concept of God is as essential to their position as it is to that of their opponents: atheism depends upon theism. Similarly, in, let’s say, denying the leftist’s contention that income “inequality” is a pressing problem, those on the right legitimize the concept of income “inequality.”

So, rather than resist the logic of their rivals, those on the right should simply exploit it—that is, give it no more than a shove or two—so that it will be seen for the illogic that it is and, hence, collapse under its own weight.  The subject of income “inequality” supplies a nice illustration as to how this political judo can be implemented in action.

When the left cries about income inequality, those on the right should first note that such “inequality” amounts to inter-personal differences in labor prices.  The price that, say, a janitor can charge an employer for his labor isn’t nearly as much as that which a brain surgeon can charge for his.  Then, rightists should not only agree with their opponents that differences—i.e. “inequalities”—in labor prices should be ameliorated; they should go on to demand that differences—“inequalities”—in all prices should be rectified as well.  After all, if it is “unfair” or “unjust” that the price of a busboy’s labor is unequal, radically unequal, to that of the labor of an astrophysicist, then it is just as unfair and, hence, unjust, that the price of DVD is unequal, radically unequal, to that of, say, a Cadillac.

When the left demands that “we” raise the tax rates of the wealthy, the right should not only agree, but beseech Washington to tax all of the resources of “the wealthiest one percent.”  Why not?  If it is permissible, and even obligatory, for “society” to confiscate any of its citizens’ legally acquired property, to say nothing of the continually increasing portions of it that the government actually does tax, then there is no principled basis for drawing a non-arbitrary limit to what can be taken.  And if the objective is to “help the poor” and/or “the middle class,” then it can’t matter, morally, how much of a citizen’s assets with which he is made to part.

When the left insists upon raising “the minimum wage” to $10.00 an hour, the right should insist upon raising it ten, 100, or 1,000 times that.  Since the left speaks and acts as if there exists a potentially bottomless supply of funds from which to draw in subsidizing their “transformative” agenda, the right simply has to note that neither practically or in principle can there be any justification for placing such an arbitrary cap as $10.00 an hour on the minimum wage.

When the left urges the government to coerce private employers into hiring and serving people, the right should demand of government that it go further and coerce the heads of households to welcome into their homes, or to create new homes with, people with whom they may not wish to associate.  If “social justice” requires that employers use their own property to promote, say, racial diversity, then “social justice” should also require that all citizens use their property to do the same.  What this might very well then mean is that—again, all for the sake of “social justice”—the government will have to “redistribute” children of one race from the homes in which they were born and reared to the homes of members of other races.  What a way to teach them—to teach all of us—of the endless riches of diversity! “Social justice” might also require that the government establish quotas designed to allow only so many intra-racial marriages per year: people would be made to marry members of other races.

When the left goes on about how the only thing that matters in marriage is love, the right should go on to argue for polygamy, polyandry, and whatever other arrangements of which they can imagine.

Whether such a strategy as I here recommend would be successful, or whether it is even, in all truth, desirable, is questionable. But its appeal lies in two causes. First, it reveals the outrageous absurdities in which leftist thought inevitably has to culminate.  Second, it unveils the ominous truth that, in principle, the left has no reason for not aspiring to control every aspect of human existence.

 

 

 

“Academic Justice,” not Academic Freedom, says The Harvard Crimson

posted by Jack Kerwick

Sandra Korn is a Harvard University undergraduate student and a writer for The Harvard Crimson.  In a recent edition of the school’s paper, she argues for abandoning the traditional value of “academic freedom” in favor of what she calls, “academic justice.

Korn may still be but a student, but both the lines along which she thinks as well as the ease with which she articulates her thoughts reveals to all with eyes to see the character of the academic environment in which she’s been reared:  those who she wishes to deprive of academic freedom are just those academics who refuse to endorse the leftist ideology of Korn and her professors.

Korn singles out as instances of teacher-scholars who should have been stripped of their academic freedom just and only those figures who are noted for their penchant for smashing the sacred cows of the left.

Richard J. Herrnstein is one such example.  Herrnstein is probably most distinguished for having co-authored along with Charles Murray the now famous, The Bell Curve.  However, the thesis that IQ differences vary with race and that, to at least some extent, these differences are genetic, is one that he defended two decades earlier, back in 1971.  Because of this position of his, militant student activists disrupted Herrnstein’s classes and demanded that, along with sociologist Christopher Jencks (another thought criminal), he be fired.

Quoting Herrnstein, Korn relays that while claiming to have not been “bothered…personally” by the attacks against him, Herrnstein admitted that he was deeply troubled by the fact it was now “hazardous for a professor to teach certain kinds of views” at Harvard.  Korn replies that this was precisely the point of “the SDS [Students for a Democratic Society] activists—they wanted to make the ‘certain kinds of views’ they deemed racist and classist unwelcome on Harvard’s campus.”

Harvey Mansfield is another person upon whom Korn sets her sights.  She charges Mansfield with “publishing…sexist commentary under the authority of a Harvard faculty position” and avows that she “would happily organize with other feminists on campus to stop him” from continuing to do so.

Korn admits that while it could very well be the case that student activists are guilty of infringing upon the academic freedom of the Herrnsteins and Mansfields of the world, this “obsession with the doctrine of ‘academic freedom’ often seems to bump against something [that] I think [is] much more important: ‘academic justice.’”

The “obsession” with academic freedom Korn thinks is “misplaced,” for “no academic question is ever ‘free’ from [such] political realities” as “racism, sexism, and heterosexism [.]”  After all, since “our university community opposes” such things, “it should ensure that this research…promoting or justifying oppression…does not continue.”  This is in keeping with the demands of “academic justice.”

So too does the craving for “academic justice” account for the decision of the American Studies Association at Harvard to boycott “Israeli academic institutions until Israel ends its occupation of Palestine.”  The ASA, Korn explains, are interested, not in resorting to “the ‘freedom’ game” of “those on the right,” but in achieving “social justice.” Thus, they “take the moral upper hand.”

Korn concludes by reiterating the central thesis of her essay that our “obsessive reliance on the doctrine of academic freedom” prevents us from considering “more thoughtfully what is just.”

In a sane world, a world that hasn’t been subverted by decades of leftism, it would be viewed as nothing less than a scandal that any college student, let alone a student at one of the world’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning, would hold Korn’s views, to say nothing of publishing them. Traditionally, the university had been regarded as among the premiere civilizing institutions, the place where students were educated in just those intellectual and moral habits that would enable them to formulate, articulate, and defend their own convictions while treating those of their opponents with respect and even charity.

The academic world inhabited by the Korns of our world is a radically different kind of place.  Views with which one disagrees are not to be refuted, but condemned, and their proponents demonized.  The university exists not for the sake of acquiring and conveying truth and knowledge, but for the sake of “social justice”—i.e. a totalizing leftist ideology that is to be imposed, “by whichever means necessary,” upon both students and faculty alike.

 

Remembering Ken Hamblin, “the Black Avenger”

posted by Jack Kerwick

It’s “Black History Month”—but black conservatives needn’t apply.

One such black conservative is Ken Hamblin, “the Black Avenger.”  During the 1980’s and ‘90’s, Hamblin, labeled “the black Rush Limbaugh,” was a nationally syndicated radio talk show host heard on roughly 200 stations. He also was a columnist who authored two books, Pick a Better Country and Plain Talk and Common Sense from the Black Avenger. 

It’s a pity that about 10 years or so ago, Hamblin left the media world for a life of anonymity, for at no other time has our country been more in need of his “plain talk and common sense.”

From the perspective of the leftist, even the most pathological of blacks is a victim entitled to government assistance.  In glaring contrast, being the native of the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn and the son of West Indian immigrants that he is, Hamblin knows all too well that while some people really are deserving of compassion, others deserve condemnation.  In the latter group are those who he refers to as “black trash.”  Hamblin says that “the black underclass” that is “at the heart of the black welfare culture today” needs to be called out for what it is: “black trash.”

Against the objection that he “hate[s] black people,” Hamblin’s reply is blunt: If “human trash exists among whites, it also can exist among blacks.”  It is not poverty that distinguishes “human trash,” but, primarily, the “minimal regard for civilized society and the generally accepted rules of humanity” that characterize white and black trash alike.  Hamblin identifies the black teenagers who attacked the Central Park jogger, Reginald Denny’s assailants, and the black adolescent females who harassed and pummeled a white woman at a Detroit festival as examples of “socially and morally deviant black trash.”

The big difference between white trash and black trash is that while the former is called out for what it is, the latter is not only excused but affirmed by “white liberals and black community leaders” alike.  Some “attributes of this [black trash] culture—like its street argot and its high rate of teen pregnancies—are actually extolled…as perhaps worthy of consideration as multicultural counterparts to the values of the white American middle class.”

The legitimation of the black trash subculture has led to the idealization of “black thugs.”  Hamblin is indignant: “These black thugs, these street punks and predators, have been allowed—in some cases, encouraged—to believe that their acts of violence against innocent people and property are merely blows for justice” and “black liberation and black sovereignty.”  In reality, “these boys are a far cry from social crusaders.  These boys are empty vessels.”

There are other “fringe elements” that, when perceived as endangering American civilization, are either “scorned” or, in some instances, “snuffed out.” But the “black gangs”—which places “black trash on the map”—are “not only tolerated but excused by many.”

By romanticizing the black trash subculture, we also encourage and romanticize those young black single mothers who Hamblin refers to as “brood mares.”  The latter are “breeding in unspeakable numbers” with perhaps “more than 90 percent of their babies” being “born out of wedlock.”  While the gang members “are the foot soldiers of the black-trash welfare culture,” these young mothers “are the brood mares whose sole function is to keep replenishing the rank and file, collecting another welfare entitlement for each newborn.”

The glorification of the culture or subculture of “black trash” gives rise to the glorification of, not just “black thugs” and “broodmares,” but “the poverty pimp.”  Hamblin explains: “Poverty pimps are the grossest beneficiaries and purveyors of the Myth of the Hobbled Black,” the ideological narrative that blacks “can’t get ahead in America because white people have kept—and continue to keep—them down.”  Professionally and monetarily, this notion is a win-win for black poverty pimps, for it “is what generates the guilt that produces the dollars for their districts.” Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, California Representative Maxine Waters, and Al Sharpton are among those who Hamblin charges with being “poverty pimps.”

No peddler of the nonsense that has wrought such damage to his country is safe from the Black Avenger—including and especially those suspects to whom he refers as “egg-sucking dog liberals.”  These are “white liberals” who are guilty of “sucking the substance out of the promise America holds for its black citizens [.]”  Along with “black poverty pimps,” white liberals “spread the propaganda that black trash are in their sad predicament only because they are victims of racism [.]”  Their ultimate goal, Hamblin believes, is not to help blacks—they continue to harm them—but to “remake America” by way of a “very anti-American…socialist agenda [that] flies in the face of every piece of the American Dream that got me where I am today.”

At this time, when the left, “by whichever means necessary,” proceeds full steam ahead with the very “socialist agenda” that Hamblin detected back in the 1990’s, we can only long for a return of the Black Avenger.

Another Forgotten Black Conservative: Zora Neale Hurston

posted by Jack Kerwick

February is Black History Month.  As those on the right (and even an increasing number of people elsewhere) know well enough, these four weeks are all too easily used by activists as an opportunity to promote a politics of victimhood congenial to a leftist agenda.

The famed black writer—and conservative—Zora Neale Hurston, frustrates this program.

Born in the early 1890’s in the lower South, Hurston would one day join the ranks of those black writers who became associated with “the Harlem Renaissance.”  Unlike most of her colleagues, however, she staunchly rejected the communism and socialism with which they sympathized.

Hurston resented the efforts made by black and white intellectual alike to make of black Americans a new proletariat, a victim class perpetually in need of an all-encompassing national government to ease the “lowdown dirty deal” that “nature has somehow given them [.]”  Hurston was adamant that she was “not tragically colored.” She insisted that “no great sorrow” lies “damned up in my soul, lurking behind my eyes,” and she placed a world of distance between herself and “the sobbing school of negrohood who hold that nature somehow has given them a lowdown dirty deal and whose feelings are hurt about it [.]”

For what contemporary black commentator Larry Elder refers to as the “victicrats” among us, Hurston had zero use.  “Someone is always at my elbow reminding me that I am the granddaughter of slaves,” she remarked.  Much to their chagrin, though, “it fails to register depression with me.”  Furthermore, she stated bluntly that “slavery is the price I paid for civilization.”

Our increasingly joyless generation is oblivious to another of Hurston’s insights: a sense of humor can bear most, if not all, painful things.  Regarding racial discrimination, she noted that while she “sometimes” feels “discriminated against,” she does not get “angry” about it. Rather, the experience “merely astonishes me,” for how, Hurston asks, “can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.”

As far as foreign policy was concerned, Hurston was of the old right.  She was what today we are inclined to call a “paleoconservative” or “paleolibertarian.”  With the Russell Kirks, Patrick J. Buchanans, and Ron Pauls of the right Hurston had much in common—especially when it came to foreign policy.

Of the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, she spoke contemptuously as she identified what Hurston took as their hypocrisy.  Those “people who claim that it is a noble thing to die for freedom and democracy,” she asserted, “wax frothy if anyone points out the inconsistency of their morals [.]” The fact is that “we” also “consider machine gun bullets good laxatives for heathens who get constipated with toxic ideas about a country of their own.”  Roosevelt “can call names across an ocean” for his “four freedoms,” she added, yet he lacked “the courage to speak even softly at home.”

When Truman dropped “the bomb” on Japan, Hurston referred to him as “the Butcher of Asia.”

But Hurston blasted away at Big Government for domestic purposes as well. She was an adamant critic of the New Deal and jumped at the chance to support presidential candidate Robert A. Taft when the opportunity arose for Republicans to dismantle the house that Roosevelt built.

A big part of FDR’s legacy, Hurston complained, is that “the word ‘liberal’ is now an unstable and devious thing in connotation [.]”  What this means in practice is “Pinkos and other degrees of fellow travelers” have succeeded in convincing large numbers of people that a liberal “is a person who desires greater Government control and Federal handouts.”

Taft, though, could put an end to this, Hurston claimed, for Taft is a real liberal, a Jeffersonian liberal.

Interestingly, Hurston found Taft’s lack of charisma to be among his virtues, for she realized that those presidents who seduced the electorate with their charms were dangerous to liberty.  Taft, she thought, was more like “those men who held high office” before “the mob took over” with “the advent of Jacksonian democracy [.]”

An opponent of segregation, Hurston was just as much of an opponent of federal efforts—like Brown v. Board of Education—to end it.  She was bewildered by the idea that, as a black person, she should take comfort in the fact that there was now “a court order for somebody to associate with me who does not wish me near them [.]”

Race relations in the South, through the “effort and time” of those who live there, “will work out all its problems.”

In short, Hurston was a devotee of liberty. She relished in her individuality while courageously discarding the collectivist, utopian fantasies of which the twentieth century was ridden:

“I have the nerve to walk my own way, however hard, in my search for reality, rather than climb upon the rattling wagon of wishful illusions.”

During this Black History Month, all lovers of liberty would be well served to follow Hurston’s lead.    

 

 

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