Beliefnet
At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

Just as there is Fake News, so too is there such a thing as “Fake Conservatism,” or the “Fake Right.” And just as Fake News is a vast money-making industry, Fake Conservatism is as well. This is why it is best, I submit, to refer to this counterfeit species of conservatism as Big Conservatism, or “the Big Con.”

One especially salient feature shared by the agents of the Big Con, these fake conservatives, is an insatiable desire to virtue-signal to the left.  However, even while doing so, they convince their constituents that their anti-right, pro-left perspectives are in fact “conservative.”

National Review’s Rich Lowry provides us with the proverbial textbook illustration of this showmanship.

Political violence has returned to the streets of America. Without exception, its antagonists have been leftists, self-described members of “the Resistance.”

Yet Rich Lowry, writing in Politico, decries not Antifa or Black Lives Matter, but “the poisonous allure of right-wing violence.”

Specifically, Lowry singles out Gavin McInnes, founder of “the Proud Boys.”

On the evening of Friday, October 12, street confrontations occurred in New York City between Gavin McInnesProud Boys and several Antifa “protestors” after McInness gave a talk at the New York Metropolitan Republican Club.

Lowry’s condemnation of McInnes is unequivocal. McInnes’ “alt-right affiliation” is established, Lowry insists, by the “rancid” nature of some of the publications for which McInnes has written.  The founder of the Proud Boys is a “fringe-y right-wing” persona with a “cracked vision” who, in contrast to such other “fringe figures” as Milo Yiannopoulos and Richard Spencer, has managed to still get a hearing only because he has schemed to “preserve some credibility, or at least some plausible deniability [.]”

McInnes’ call to battle with Antifa “is…poisonous,” Lowry continues, for it is a threat to our “democratic politics,” a system devised “so [that] political and cultural disputes can be settled without resort to fisticuffs—or firearms and bombs.”  He adds: “You can oppose antifa without brawling with it—one mob does not justify another.”

Lowry concludes by warning conservatives that if their “conservatism is to represent law and order, it must anathematize and exclude advocates of, and practitioners, of violence,” like McInnes and the Proud Boys.

Let’s break this down:

While the case can certainly be made that the Proud Boys used excessive and, thus, morally questionable violence in this instance, this is not the case that Lowry makes.  Quite the contrary: Lowry’s take on McInnes and his group is indistinguishable from that of the left.

The left-wing media, represented by the New York Times, characterize McInnes as a “far right provocateur.” Lowry refers to him as a “right-wing provocateur.”

Lowry doesn’t explicitly say in what respect McInnes remains “credible” or what exactly it is that he has “plausibly” denied, but given Lowry’s use of the “alt-right” label in this connection, as well as his noting that McInnes and his Proud Boys refused to attend the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville last year, it is not difficult to read between the lines:

While he is a “racist” and “white nationalist,” McInnes has managed to largely conceal this to an extent that eluded Milo and Richard Spencer.  This is what Lowry intends to imply.  In so doing, Lowry reinforces, and means to reinforce, the left’s depiction of the Proud Boys as a bunch of dreaded “white nationalists.”

Although at no time and in no place have McInnes and the Proud Boys harmed the hair on the head of a single person that wasn’t a member of a leftist mob intent upon purveying criminal, and criminally violent, activity, Lowry, along with the left, would have readers think that there is moral parity between them and the leftist thugs and terrorists from whom they protect innocents.  “You can oppose antifa without brawling with it—one mob does not justify another.”

You see? The Proud Boys are but the right-wing version of Antifa, a mob that, by implication, is every bit as lawless and destructive as this leftist, anti-American terrorist outfit that routinely ruins property, shuts down speakers with whose speech its members disagree, and intimidates and physically pummels political opponents with all manner of weaponry.

The reality, however, is radically other than the appearance that Lowry and the rest of the leftist media wants to convey. There are two points that need to be expressly stated:

First, those right-leaning street activists who have brawled with leftist agitators used violence defensively, not offensively.  Whether it was in order to protect themselves or others on whom the rabid left set its sights, neither Deplorables nor anyone else who the Fake News media has tried to link to Donald Trump has ever preyed upon their political opponents.

Second, since those instances of right-leaning violence, i.e. self-defense, have been relatively rare, anyone, like Lowry and the New York Times, who speaks of “right-wing violence” deserves to be condemned for his dishonesty, for the language, by design, suggests that it is comparable in motivation, nature, and extent as the violence of the left.

Lowry’s efforts to ingratiate himself to the left may not prove successful, but there can be no denying that he spared no opportunity to prove to his (nominal) opponents that he is a “respectable” conservative whose disgust for those on the right upon whom the left has deemed beyond contempt is second to none.

It should also be noticed that in this endeavor, Lowry says of McInnes and the Proud Boys that their tactics conflict with “our democratic politics.”   The latter, it should be obvious, is language that leftists will immediately recognize as their own.

Yet Lowry manages to do all of this while dressing his PC moral exhibitionism in the veneer of…conservatism!  If “conservatism is to represent law and order, it must anathematize and exclude advocates of, and practitioners, of violence,” like McInnes and the Proud Boys.

What attentive audiences will notice is that there is indeed a Big Con template of sorts that Lowry follows.  There are three steps to it that we saw in Lowry’s critique of Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys.

First, a member of the Big Con in good standing must not only distance himself from those rightists who the left-wing press has chosen to vilify; the men and women of the Big Con must go on the demonization campaign themselves.

Second, in rejecting whatever right-leaning individuals the liberal media has decided to make into Public Enemy Number One, the peddlers of Big Conservatism must do so in the PC parlance of the left.

Third, so as to reduce the risk that he will lose his “conservative” bona fides in the eyes of the base of the conservative movement, it is imperative that those members of the Big Con who adopt an essentially leftist vantage point from which to denounce rightists throw in a touch of GOP boilerplate and reiterate that their position is the only one consistent with (what they call) “conservatism.”

This is the playbook of the Big Con.

 

 

 

While there doubtless exists exceptions to the rule, the Trump era has made it painfully clear to those who are willing to look that, generally speaking, the left is devoid of principle.

For example, during George W. Bush’s tenure in the White House, the American (and European) left was vociferously “anti-war.”  Most Democrats in Congress voted in favor of the invasion of Iraq, but once Americans began to recognize the war for the unmitigated debacle that it was, Democrats, being the crassest of opportunists, not only turned against it; they led the left’s campaign of vilification against Bush.

Now, the Iraq War was indeed a conflagration, one for which every politician and media personality who used their influence to advocate on its behalf should be eternally apologetic. And GW Bush is as richly deserving of the judgment passed upon him by the American public near the end of his second term as any public figure has ever been (and I’m saying this as someone who has always voted Republican and who, to my eternal shame, supported Bush both in 2000 and 2004).

However, Bush and his war’s critics on the left have proven themselves to be unequivocal frauds.

Although “conservative” media personalities and the Republican bureaucrats and politicians for whom they had customarily run cover still speak as if Barack Obama was some kind of pacifist, the truth of the matter is that Obama enjoys the dubious distinction of having used the American military to wage war with more countries and over a longer period of time than any other president in the country’s history:

For eight (long) years, Obama dropped over 100,000 bombs on seven countries.

Yet the left’s “anti-war” stance evaporated overnight once Obama was elected to the presidency.

Now that Donald J. Trump has become the left’s chief villain of choice, Bush and virtually every one of the left’s Republican villains from yesteryear—i.e. those who are either “Never Trump” or who distance themselves from Trump—derive the same benefit that Obama reaped insofar as they now receive a pass for the crimes with which the left once charged them.

One Republican—or is it a former Republican?—who is particularly conspicuous in this regard is the man who once served as a foreign policy adviser for John McCain: Max Boot.

Boot, a neoconservative pundit who describes himself as a “military historian,” is every bit the war monger as was the man whose presidential aspirations he tirelessly endeavored—and failed—to realize.  A one-time star of sorts of Big Conservatism, Boot’s voice could once be heard quite regularly on talk radio, Fox News, and in the pages of The Weekly Standard, Commentary, and other staples of neoconservative media.

Admittedly, though, his voice is not hard to miss, for it belongs to a chorus composed by his fellow ideological travelers, a chorus that, almost without exception, repeats a single song: the call for American hegemony over the planet.

Remarkably, Boot’s voice may have been the loudest.  Even among this crowd, Boot’s crowd, of militarist zealots, Boot’s bellicosity proved itself second to none. This is no mean feat.

Boot was a tireless advocate for the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions, short-term battles, by his lights, in the long-term neocon project to fundamentally remake the Middle East in the image of “Democracy.”  Even after well over a million inhabitants of these Islamic countries were killed, nearly a million children orphaned, and hundreds of thousands more displaced, maimed, and traumatized, Boot was among those who turned his attention away from the bloody mess that he helped to create and toward Syria, the next Middle Eastern Islamic country upon which he wanted to unleash the full might of the American military.

Not only did Boot exercise his influence toward the end of bringing about the incalculable suffering and carnage of massive numbers of Middle Eastern Muslims.  Thousands of American men, soldiers, died for the sake of prosecuting Boot’s crusade for global Democracy, a dream that has been a nightmare for the families of the deceased, as well as for the many more who survived Boot’s wars over there, but who struggle here daily with the varieties of psychological and physical trauma with which the pursuit of Boot’s utopia has burdened them.

This is all worth revisiting, for Boot is now as staunchly “Never Trump” as he has always been staunchly in favor of war. In fact, he is among those Never Trump neoconservatives, lifelong Republicans, who is calling for the defeat of the GOP next month.  This is necessary, Boot insists, in order to “rescue” the party and the conservative movement from the ravages visited upon it by the President and…“white nationalism.”

Not long ago, Boot—who now writes for The Washington Post and who contributes to MSNBC—wrote that he had just discovered the myriad of ways in which has benefitted from his “privilege” as a white male.  His immense arrogance aside, that Boot is the consummate virtue-signaler, ever eager to ingratiate himself to the militantly anti-Trump left, is readily obvious by the fact that in this confessionary essay, Boot doesn’t once so much as hint at the possibility that it is his white male “privilege” that blinded him to the death and devastation of legions of Islamic peoples of color that could result, and that did result, from pursuing his own ends.

Nor, of course, did Boot apologize for any of this mayhem.

And yet this is the same man who now assumes the moral high ground over those like President Trump and his millions of supporters who not only don’t have any of the blood that Boot and his comrades have on their hands, but who want a more peaceful and humble foreign policy.

Max Boot is at least as contemptible, and perhaps even more so, than his new friends on the anti-Trump left.  They truly deserve one another.

Hopefully, the cooked controversy over Brett Kavanaugh will prove to be a watershed moment in the history of our country generally, and that of the so-called “Me Too” movement, specifically.

The national discourse—or, perhaps more accurately, the cluster of talking points and soundbites—to have arisen from this disgrace of a spectacle has reinforced the conspicuous and conspicuously painful absence from it of critical thought.

First, and most fundamentally, the world has gotten the opportunity to see the flagrant contradiction at the very core of “feminism.”

Feminists—who from this point onward we will call, simply, “Feminist Woman”—have been insisting for decades that men and women differ from each other only insofar as their genitalia are concerned. Women are every bit as strong, physically and mentally, and every bit as professionally competent and occupationally capable as their male counterparts. Whatever disparities exist between men and women are “socially constructed,” the legacy of “patriarchal oppression.”

Women don’t need for men to hold doors, help them with their bags, or otherwise engage in any chivalric actions toward them.  Chivalry is itself an instrument of oppression.  Feminist Woman, in other words, claims that it is only equality with men that she desires and to which she is entitled.  And this normative claim that men ought to treat women as their equals in all respects Feminist Woman grounds in the descriptive claim that women are the equals in all respects to men.

However, at one and the same moment, contemporary Feminist Woman reveals herself to be among the weakest and neediest of human beings. Such is the hyper-sensitivity of Feminist Woman that, as was noted in the preceding paragraph, gentlemanly or chivalric gestures, appreciated by both the women from previous generations as well as non-feminist women today, are sufficient to injure her.

And masculine pronouns are even worse, the nuclear bomb, as it were, of the Patriarchy.

In other words, men must watch their language around Feminist Woman, and they must always be on their best behavior, as Feminist Woman understands it.

Feminist Woman demands preferential treatment, i.e. “affirmative action,” for women in business, college admissions, and even politics. Women, you see, need for the government to come to their rescue, for despite being the equal to men in every conceivable regard, somehow men just continue to victimize them.

This, at any rate, is how Feminist Woman depicts the state of women.

Thus, the contradiction should by now be apparent:

Women, who are just as strong, tenacious, and intelligent as men, are perpetual victims of men and, as such, require perpetual protection from (mostly) men in offices of authority and power.

The proverbial Damsel in Distress is a stereotype that Feminist Woman views as a relic from the Bad Old Days of the overt and rampant patriarchal oppression against which Feminist Woman has been waging war and prevailing for decades. And yet it is Feminist Woman who incessantly screams in distress for help. It is Feminist Woman who spares no occasion to wax hysterical as she declares her victimhood.

Feminist logic boils down to the reductio ad absurdum: She is strong, fearless, and independent—even as she is frightened, victimized, and in desperate need of protection against men from (mostly) men in government, business, and virtually everywhere else.

Second, Feminist Woman swears that America’s is a “rape culture.” Make no mistakes about it, the Brett Kavanaugh freak show was great political theater for Feminist Woman, for the idea of an affluent and powerful white man, particularly one who attended one of the world’s most elite academic institutions, raping women is nothing more or less than an ideological fetish for Feminist Woman.

And while this promises to shock the sensibilities of your average person, it is nonetheless true that the younger the white man in question, the more politically titillating it is for Feminist Woman to think that he is guilty of rape.  Anyone who has any doubts about this should recall to mind the Duke Lacrosse Lie from some years back, the Big Lie that a black stripper was gang raped by several affluent young white men, Duke University students who played on their school’s  Lacrosse team.

Feminist Woman, it is crucial to grasp, lives in a Lifetime movie.  Although Hispanic and, especially, black men are significantly more likely than their white counterparts to subject their partners to domestic and sexual abuse, from the perspective of Feminist Woman it is white men, specifically, wealthy, successful white men, and them alone, who are uniquely prone to prey upon and rape women. This is the case for white male physicians, lawyers, CEOs, and politicians, as well as “entitled” young white boys with rich parents who send them to elite schools.

Herein, however, lies another contradiction: If America had always been the bastion of sexual repression and gender oppression, the rape culture, that Feminist Woman says it is, then why is it that rape was a capital crime up until the 1970s?

To repeat, those very same white men who Feminist Woman accuses of having promoted a rape culture enshrined in their laws the penalty of death for those convicted of the crime of rape.

Moreover, it was Feminist Woman, or at least her left-wing allies, who succeeded in rendering the death penalty “cruel and unusual punishment” for rape.

Third, Feminist Woman repudiates Christianity as the religion of the Patriarchy.  In fact, she tends to be quite irreligious, at least as far as traditional religion is concerned.  On the other hand, Feminist Woman sounds profoundly religious in treating her body as a sacred temple of sorts. This, after all, is how she sounds when she screams from the rooftops that no one has any right to tell her how and to what ends she will use her body.

Such is the sacredness with which Feminist Woman sees her own body that an unwanted touch by a man is enough to leave her at once outraged and traumatized.

The verdict: The feminism of Feminist Woman is nonsense. It is logically and ontologically incoherent.

Anyone who is either remotely reasonable or remotely decent will flee from it.

 

To hear numerous GOP and GOP-friendly (“conservative”) commentators tell it, both Christine Ford and Brett Kavanaugh are highly “credible.”

Of course, none of these pundits claim to believe that Ford was telling the truth when she claimed that she was sexually assaulted by Judge Kavanaugh.  What they claim to believe is that she was indeed sexually abused—but by someone else.

Aristotle, the Father of Western logic, identified numerous fallacies. One of these is the fallacy of equivocation.

This is the fallacy of which those of Kavanaugh’s defenders who simultaneously find Ford “credible” stand convicted.

Equivocation occurs when an arguer slides from one meaning of a term to another in order to draw the conclusion that he desires.  A blatantly obvious example of the fallacy of equivocation is something like this: “Joe is a damn good athlete.  Therefore, he must be a damn good human being.”

Clearly, “good” means two different things, depending upon whether it is used to describe an athlete or a person.

Similarly, when Kavanaugh’s Ford-sympathizing defenders assure us that both Ford and Kavanaugh are “credible,” they are guilty of equivocating upon the word credible.

Judge Kavanaugh is credible in that he has articulated a preponderance of exculpatory evidence, i.e. good, coherent reasons vindicating him of the allegation leveled by Ford. Not only have several dozen people, and several dozen women, including ex-girlfriends from the years during which Ford claims he assaulted her, publically attested to his character. Kavanaugh has presented calendars that he kept at the time which, along with the fact that no one who Ford identified as having been present at the party at which the Judge supposedly attacked her has any recollection of the event, decisively establish that he could not have done the act of which he is accused.

“Credibility” in the case of Christine Ford, in contrast, has a dramatically different meaning.

The sex crimes prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, who the Republicans arranged to question Ford released her findings over the weekend.  The facts of which she reminds the public are crucial.

For starters, Mitchell notes that Ford fails to supply a consistent account of that which is most fundamental, i.e. the year in which the event in question is alleged to have occurred.

Repeat this to yourselves: A woman who claims to have been traumatized by someone who sexually attacked her can’t even recollect the year—and, thus, her age—when it transpired.

Mitchell supplies some other insightful observations.

Ford doesn’t remember how she got to and from the party where the event is alleged to have happened, nor does she recall any other details of the night “that could help corroborate her account.”  Such details include the house in which she insists the assault occurred and the location of the house.

Mitchell mentions the fact that when Ford shared with her husband that she had been sexually assaulted, she “changed her description of the incident to become less specific.”

She also points out that Ford “struggled to identify Judge Kavanaugh as the assailant by name.” What Mitchell seems to mean by this is that it evidently took Ford over 30 years before she mentioned to anyone that it was Brett Kavanaugh who supposedly assaulted her. Furthermore, she was married for over ten years before she told her husband that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her.

Mitchell’s conclusion is as powerful as it is inescapable: “The activities of congressional Democrats and Dr. Ford’s attorneys likely affected her account.”

Although the sex crimes prosecutor’s findings exonerate Judge Kavanaugh while exposing Ford for the untruthful person that she is, any remotely honest person who had been paying any attention to this national disgrace of a Senate confirmation hearing knew long before Rachel Mitchell came to D.C. that Ford’s story is most incredible.

Ford’s witnesses—every single one of them—either refute her story directly or, insofar as they deny that they have any recollection of the events that she recounts, indirectly.  And at least one of these witnesses is a person with whom she’s be close friends for most of her life.

Initially, Ford claimed that it was four teenage boys that had her alone in a bedroom (of a mystery house whose location and owners she can’t recall). This, she said, happened to her when she was in her later teenage years sometime in the mid-1980s.  Subsequently, though, Ford changed her story.  The remake takes place in the early 1980s when Ford is a younger teenager and is trapped with only two boys.

Ford initially said that she didn’t want to fly from her home on the west coast to Washington D.C. to testify before the Senate because she had a fear of flying. However, this “fear” never stopped her from flying to many vacation spots.

There are still more reasons that put the lie to Ford’s account:

(1)Ford is a woman of the left;

(2)She refused to allow the Senate Judiciary Committee to see her therapist’s notes concerning the sexual assault that she allegedly suffered at the hands of Kavanaugh;

(3) Ford never uttered a peep about this incident until this past July, nearly four decades after Brett Kavanaugh entered public life and long after he became a visible and influential public figure;

(4)She says that she wished to remain anonymous, and yet Ford had been speaking to the virulently anti-Trump, leftist Washington Post;

(5)Ford says that she always desired anonymity, and yet months before anyone learned of her name, Ford had her entire social media history, her entire internet presence, eradicated—a feat for the accomplishment of which she would have surely needed help.

Yet despite all of the foregoing considerations, many of Kavanaugh’s Ford-sympathizing defenders maintain that Ford is…credible.  What in the world could they mean?

Assuming that they aren’t just virtue-signaling, such Kavanaugh supporters could only mean that Ford strikes them as sincere. 

Period.

Since there is quite literally zero evidence to substantiate her charges, and considerable evidence that militates against it, it can’t be the case that these Kavanaugh defenders find Ford’s testimony defensible—for it most certainly is not anything of the kind.

And precisely because of the numerous inconsistencies and gaps in Ford’s account, it can’t be the case that they think that her account is credible even in the sense of being plausible, for it is most implausible.

That leaves only sincerity.

Christine Ford is “credible,” then, because she sounded like she really believed what she was saying.

However, when it is remembered that actors, the self-delusional, the insane, the wildly irrational, and good liars sound like they too really believe the nonsense that flies from their mouths, it should be that much clearer that “credibility” has a very different meaning in the case of Christine Ford than it has when used in connection with Brett Kavanaugh.