At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

A Defender of the Old Right: 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.          




Amnesty: More Proof that Marco Rubio is no Conservative

posted by Jack Kerwick

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is a rapidly rising star within the Republican Party.  Widely touted as a rock-ribbed “conservative” by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, ecstasy can be heard in more than one prominent Republican voice when it muses upon Rubio’s presidential prospects.

All of the hype aside, Rubio is about as conservative as John McCain.

Granted, stylistically speaking, there are dramatic differences between the young, crisp, charismatic Rubio and the aged, debilitated, insipid McCain. And unlike the latter, the former has mastered the kind of rhetoric in which self-avowed “conservatives” of the mainstream variety have been trading for years.

Yet as far as substance is concerned, Rubio isn’t appreciably different from the McCains of the GOP.  On no issue is this more obvious than that of immigration.


Like McCain, Rubio is foolish enough to think that the salvation of the Republican Party lies in its ability to woo Hispanic voters.  And like McCain, Rubio thinks that if only Republicans pander to Hispanics by granting amnesty to the 11 or 15 or 20 million illegal Hispanic immigrants living within the United States, then these newly baptized citizens will flock to the polls to vote straight “R’s.”

Like McCain, Rubio apparently fails to grasp the fact that out-Democrating the Democrats on this issue, or even working with them on it, promises to come at the cost of obliterating his own party.  He is just as gullible as McCain for evidently failing to realize that the Democrats, rightly, have every confidence that amnesty will guarantee their party’s reign for evermore.


Rubio is just like McCain in trying to have his cake and eat it too when it comes to amnesty.  In spite of supporting the latter, he would have us believe that he does so only begrudgingly, and only because the Democrats will see to it that it becomes law anyhow.  So, as long as it is going to happen in any event, Rubio will make sure that its evils are minimized.

This is the position that Rubio conveyed on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show recently.  Rush regularly heaps praise upon Rubio.  This day was no exception.  He lauded Rubio for “recognizing reality,” for recognizing that as long as the Democrats were going to get their way on amnesty, Republicans like himself may as well make the most of it.

As the conservative writer Debbie Schlussel was quick to note, neither Rush nor Rubio can be credited here with peddling conservatism.  There are, however, richly deserving of blame for pulling a con-job.


On her website, Schlussel blasts Rush for “pimping” Rubio’s “Snoop Dogg defense” of his stance on amnesty.  She refers to the rapper’s claim that while he would never force children to smoke marijuana, he wouldn’t hesitate to teach them how to smoke it.  After all, they are going to wind up smoking it anyhow, right?  Mine as well make sure that they do it correctly, safely.  Schlussel writes: “I call it [Rubio’s argument for amnesty] the Snoop Dogg defense because it’s the same old thing we hear from liberals and reprobates time and time again when they want to ease penalties for criminals and those engaged in anti-social, anti-American behavior.”

Schlussel also reminds us that conservatives, including Rush, used to argue tirelessly against this kind of argument, especially as it pertained to youth sex.  When those on the left favored free condom distribution in public schools on the grounds that, since kids were going to have sex anyway, we may as well make sure that they do so “safely,” neither Rush nor many others on the right were having any of it.  But if they gave the left then the same treatment that Rush insists upon giving Rubio now, then, Schlussel remarks, they should be “congratulating schools for teaching young kids how to use condoms and giving them birth control.”


Furthermore, South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham is Lindsay Grahamnesty thanks to Rush.  For years, Graham has argued on behalf of precisely the sort of amnesty plan that Rubio is now pushing.  For his efforts, Rush (rightly) ridiculed him. But now he sings hosannas to Rubio for “recognizing reality.” As Schlussel observes, the only thing that accounts for this inconsistency on his part is that “Rush is in the tank for Rubio [.]”  Along with his colleagues, Rush buys “into the false idea of Rubio as the pristine, ‘conservative,’ great Hispanic hope to rescue the GOP from death.”

Schlussel’s conclusion is blunt: “Marco Rubio is not on our side on this. And neither is Rush.” She warns us against confusing “partisans and personalities” with “principles and those who consistently hold them.” 

Translation: Don’t confuse faux conservatives with real conservatives.  










Amnesty and the Sucker Nation

posted by Jack Kerwick

You are an employer. One of your employees has spent years neglecting the most basic duty of his position.  When you call him on it for the umpteenth time, he reassures you that he will get it right this time. But to do so, he must assume other duties in addition to his original one.

As this person’s employer, would you accept his word?

You are the spouse of a chronic philanderer.  After years of enduring one betrayal after the other, you’ve finally had enough.  He begs you not to leave and promises once more that he will stop his tireless cheating. Only this time, he tells you that for this to happen, he will also put an end to all of his other irritating habits: leaving his socks lying around, leaving his whiskers in the sink, leaving the toiletseat up, etc.


As this person’s spouse, would you accept his word?

These questions are rhetorical: no employer and no spouse with an ounce of sense could fail to see these promises for the worthless gestures that they are.

A person who repeatedly failed to do the job for which he was hired is much more likely than not to find himself without a job.  But even if, for some reason—like tenure, say, or his membership in a union—he isn’t fired, only the most wildly irrational of employers would think that if only this employee has more duties delegated to him will he then shape up.

And while a spouse may stay with her cheating spouse even as he continues to cheat, there is no one so foolish to think that if only he devotes himself to discharging more of the obligations that he has heretofore violated will he then discharge this one obligation.


“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”  In our private relationships, there are fewer statements that more resonate with us than this.  When it comes to our relationship with our government, however, it is as if its meaning was utterly alien to us.

When those in the federal government advocate, as they now do once more, on behalf of amnesty, they are like the derelict employee and the philanderer from these examples.

Our government is useless if it doesn’t secure our nation’s borders.  This task is one of the few responsibilities that the United States Constitution assigns to it, a duty that it has failed miserably to execute.  So, because the government hasn’t done its job, because it hasn’t honored its promise to protect its citizens, we now have what our government assures us is an untenable situation, a crisis that demands immediate attention:


At a minimum, 11 million illegal aliens are living in our midst.

What should be done? Our office holders from both parties, from Barack Obama to Marco Rubio, tell us that these millions of people who entered America illegally and, thus, broke a number of other laws since their arrival, must now be placed on a “pathway to citizenship.” 

They must be granted amnesty.  They must be permitted to stay here.

Read: our elected representatives failed to avail themselves of the endless opportunities that they’ve had to keep their promise and now the rest of us are told that we have to deal with the consequences of their abdication of duty—irrespective of the costs.

Yet there is more.

Not only do we have to suffer the effects of our representatives’ refusal to do the one thing that they pledged to do.  We are now told that the only remedy available for reducing this damage is one that they have already tried before, back in 1986,  a “solution” that actually—and predictably—added to the damage.


But this isn’t the worst of it.

As it turns out, things aren’t looking all that bleak after all, to hear our amnesty apologists in Washington D.C. tell it.  Never again will Americans have to worry about this illegal immigration thing.  Never again will they have to worry about the government doing its job and securing the borders. What will make the future different from the past is that in the future, the government won’t have to worry about fulfilling just this job. It will now have this job and a whole lot of other jobs to do. 

That’s right.

The same federal government that couldn’t just secure America’s borders before is now promising us that it will be able to do this much and everything else that is contained in this latest rendition of “comprehensive immigration reform.” 

Anyone who buys this is a sucker.

Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.

And shame on the federal government that never seems to tire of trying to fool the American citizen—particularly when it comes to the issue of amnesty.







Amnesty: Racial Pandering Is Not the Way for GOP

posted by Jack Kerwick

Because Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to three million mostly Hispanic immigrants in 1986, Republicans feel all but compelled to grant amnesty to eleven million such immigrants in 2013. 

When asked why Republicans are more open to pursuing “a pathway to citizenship” today than they were just a few years back, John McCain offered a reply that is refreshing for its frankness: “Elections.  Elections.”  The Republican senator fromArizona, former presidential candidate, and long-time supporter of amnesty explained: “The Republican Party is losing the support of Hispanic citizens.”

Numerous polls have indicated that McCain’s assessment is flat out wrong, that “Hispanic citizens”—i.e. those Hispanics that are here legally—are about as opposed to illegal immigration as is the average American.  Such polls shouldn’t be necessary, though, to see that amnesty does not promise to be a winning ticket for the GOP. There is one simple fact that should make this plain:


The GOP remains chronically unpopular among Hispanics in spite of the fact that it was a Republican president that granted the one and only amnesty for Hispanic immigrants that this country has had.

But if it isn’t their resistance to amnesty, it may be asked, then why do Hispanics continue to vote overwhelmingly for Democrats?

To answer this question, we need to do something that few politicians from either party are willing to do: speak truthfully.  And the truth is this: the reason that Hispanics, along with blacks and Asians, vote in massive numbers for Democrats has everything to do with racial politics.

Everyone knows this.  Few people are willing to say it.

There aren’t many things in American politics capable of commanding a trans-racial consensus.  That the Democratic Party is the party of entitlements, though, is something that is recognized by Americans of all colors and creeds. And let’s face it: a growing number of Americans, of all races, find the offer of something for nothing irresistible.


Yet for non-whites, the Democrats’ lure is that much more powerful, for the Democratic Party is also universally recognized as the party of so-called “affirmative action,” of endless privileges and benefits for racial minorities.

The professional and monetary benefits to be had from voting Democrat are enough to attract many non-whites.  For others, however, the attraction runs more deeply than this. 

The Republican Party, both its leadership and its rank-and-file, consists primarily of whites.  In our new, multicultural America of which, as TIME magazine said, Barack Obama is both “symbol” and “author,” this alone is enough to render it suspect. But it also consists of whites who repeatedly talk about “personal responsibility,” “individualism,” “capitalism,” “the Founders,” “the Constitution,” “the Declaration of Independence,” etc.—words that, thanks to the tireless labors of race activists, are taken by many non-whites as “code” for racism.


There is no small number of non-whites who don’t so much vote for the Democratic Party as vote against “the racist” Republican Party.

Whether it is 1100 or 11 million Hispanic immigrants who are granted amnesty, it is this many voters who the Democrats can add to their base. Obviously, the Democrats know this, for if not, they would not be leaning on the Republicans to endorse it.  Just as Democrats do Republicans no good turn in telling them which candidates they should run for office, they do them no good turn in telling them that amnesty is the key for Republicans to win future elections!

But let’s play along here for a moment.  If Republicans want to expand their “outreach” efforts, maybe in addition to amnesty, they should consider doing some of the following.


First, they should voluntarily relinquish some of their seats in Congress and hand them over to the Hispanics, blacks, and Asians of their choosing. 

Second, they should become the most unapologetic apologists for socialism, affirmative action, Spanish as our first language, and the end of a “war on drugs” that has left a disproportionately large number of young black and Hispanic males incarcerated and dead. 

Third, they must forswear all talk of a “War on Terror” or “Islamism” or whatever they want to call it, for whatever name they assign to the belligerents upon whom they would have the U.S. military set its sights, those belligerents are non-white.  How can Republicans expect to win elections if they are seen by non-whites as the white party that wishes to go to war with non-whites?


The truth of the matter is that as long as there remains a Democrat Party that non-whites can call home, there will be nothing that Republicans can do to keep them from flocking to it.

A strategy other than racial pandering is in order. 











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