Category Archive 'David Frum'

11 Oct 2017

Fully Automatic Establishment Gun Control Demands

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Matt Purple, managing editor of American Conservative, responds to recent demands for Gun Control from sort-of-conservatives Brett Stephens and David Frum writing respectively for those famous conservative organs The New York Times and the Atlantic.

Stephens and Frum aren’t technocrats calibrating the machine of progress; they’re Wayne Wheeler and Carrie Nation, throwing open our saloon doors and smashing our tumblers. Theirs is a moral crusade against what they perceive to be a national vice. America is sick and only they are enlightened enough to make it better. Perhaps that’s a bit flippant—some of our nation’s best (and worst) work has been done by those who set out to mend grand societal ills—but we should at least stop pretending that the kids-cup prescriptions of a Senator Chris Murphy can ever accomplish his jumbo-size ends. This is a nation with one firearm for every citizen, a thriving outdoorsman culture, a history of violent lawlessness, a frontier, a Second Amendment. Jamming those spokes is going to require a far larger stick than anything that fits through the ludicrously exaggerated “gun show loophole.”

The reason many of us take the (authentically) Madisonian view—in addition to our leeriness over a total government monopoly on arms—is that we reject such a crusade as impractical. We see it as premised on a fundamentally false conception of America, one that glosses over her indelible traditions of individualism and defiance. We worry it will result in more polarization and violence rather than less. We observe, too, that the public has lately grown weary of elite designs on their values, their pronouns, their national anthem—enough to elect Donald Trump in the hopes of making it all stop. Presumably an additional betterment campaign against their guns would be met with the same aggravation and pushback. It’s your move, gentlemen, but is this really where you want to go right now?


23 Oct 2016

“You’re a Patriot? Did You Ever Think Reagan’s Party Would Become Putin’s Poodle?”



David Frum display his intellectual virtuosity by arguing all the possible conservative approaches to this year’s election. He gets mine pretty accurately.

“You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.” So wrote Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, one of this century’s bravest voices for human freedom. Solzhenitsyn defied a police state to speak his truth. All that’s asked of us is to vote our consciences.

Your principles reject Hillary Clinton. Your values are offended by Donald Trump. Why choose either?

People sometimes tell you to vote as if your vote were the only one that mattered. But that’s just silly. Your vote is never the only one that matters, not even in Florida in 2000.

Voting is an expressive act. It’s your opportunity to send information to the political elites. Of course, you’ll usually choose an imperfectly good enough choice over a worse choice. But sometimes the two choices are both so bad that you want to send a message to the whole system: Remember me! In 1912, nearly 1 million Americans voted for Eugene Victor Debs for president. Did they waste their votes? Debs was the only candidate promising unemployment insurance, a minimum wage, a half-day holiday on Saturdays, and old-age pensions. He lost. His ideas won. Did the Americans who voted for John Anderson in 1980 or Ross Perot in 1992 waste their votes? No, they changed politics. The Anderson voters punished the Democrats for nominating a candidate who was not liberal enough; the Perot voters punished the GOP for breaking its word on tax increases. Both parties learned their lessons—and did not repeat their mistakes.

For months, Paul Ryan urged you to swallow your distaste and vote for “the nominee” in order to advance a Republican agenda through Congress. Look at Paul Ryan’s face today. He has learned the hard way that Donald Trump cannot be trusted and will advance no agenda except his own.

Worse, Trump discredits and disgraces everything he touches. There likely won’t be a Republican party after 18 months of a Trump presidency, just a tangle of warring factions soon to be swept away by a Democratic wave in Congress in 2018. President Trump will then start making deals with the new Democratic majority, and probably more happily so—he always was a Democrat at heart, as he has repeatedly said over the past 40 years. His only consistent interest is self-enrichment. Since he’s so incompetent at business, his default mode of self-enrichment has become cheating and bilking people. Think of that in the Oval Office! Think of that at the head of the Republican Party.

Maybe you’re pro-life? Trump obviously isn’t, no matter what his surrogates preposterously assert today.

Maybe you take seriously those things you send back in 1999 and 2000 about restoring dignity to the presidency? You’ll be electing Trump despite his own on-the-record confession that he harasses and gropes women.

You recoil from the Clinton Foundation? Trump’s is sleazier—and penny-ante, too.

You’re a patriot? Did you ever think Reagan’s party would become Putin’s poodle?

The Supreme Court? If there’s one lesson to learn from Trump’s career, it is to never trust his word for anything.

Yet you don’t want to empower Hillary Clinton either! A President Clinton will probably face a Republican Congress. She’ll do a super-Obama: act by executive order, subverting constitutional restraints in order to aggrandize government and advance the social and cultural transformation of America. You can’t assent to that.

What you want to do is send a distinctly conservative protest against both Hillary Clinton’s progressive ideology and Donald Trump’s con-man narcissism. The bigger the protest vote total, the more respect your conservative ideas can demand in future. Hoist the “Don’t Tread on Me” banner, and check out who else is on the ballot: Libertarian, Independent, or Constitution Party.

08 Jan 2016

Not All Media Narratives Are Equal

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18 Feb 2014

Some People Simply Aren’t Sheep

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David Frum (the poor man’s Andrew Sullivan), got a good deal of attention for his tweet last weekend: “Hypothesis: the people who most want to carry are the very last people on earth who should be allowed to carry.”

One of the best rejoinders came from David French.

In my experience, those individuals who carry do so because they very consciously do not want to belong to the class of citizens that is inherently helpless — totally reliant upon the state to protect not just themselves but their family, friends, and neighbors. If the choice is between protectors and protected, they choose to be protectors.

This identity is often inseparable from the notion that there is no set of government policies — no utopia — that can eliminate from human society the need for immediate protection. People can and will try to hurt others — using whatever means immediately available — and it strikes us as utterly reckless to be unprepared for this reality.

The protected class has a different view. The protected class is a dependent class — not economically dependent of course, but dependent on the state in perhaps a more fundamental way (for their very lives) – and like members of other dependent classes, they are terrified of flaws in the state’s protective apparatus. Walled off from gun culture, they read the occasional, aberrant story of (legal) gun-owner stupidity or recklessness and cower in fear of a nonexistent threat. (While of course blithely sending their kids off to far more dangerous activities, like swimming in neighbors’ pools or riding in neighbors’ cars).

To the protected class, private ownership of firearms is the flaw in the system that makes them feel vulnerable. It’s the barrier to the safety they crave but can’t provide.

Thus the irreconcilable cultural divide: The very thing that provides security and safety for the gun-owner and his or her family frightens their non-gun-owning friends and neighbors, but the root of the problem is not the gun but the protected person’s very sense of themselves.

Read the whole thing.

02 Mar 2012

Breitbart’s Death Provided a Character Test Which Lefties Failed

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Jackal feeding on dead lion.

The American left responded with characteristic class yesterday when confronted with the sudden death of prominent conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart.

Twitter erupted with unconcealed expressions of liberal delight at news of the death of a political opponent.

Typical examples:

AlmightyBob ‏ @AlmightyBoob : @AndrewBreitbart haha youre dead and in hell being a gay with hitler

Dave Lartigue ‏ @daveexmachina : Andrew Breitbart has died. Honestly, good riddance. He helped poison the country where I live and we are better off without him.

DAC ‏ @dac2527 : Satan calls Andrew Breitbart home… Good riddance!

The most prominent leftwinger to comment on Twitter was Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias) who contributed: “Conventions around dead people are ridiculous. The world outlook is slightly improved with @AndrewBrietbart dead.”


The response on Twitter was pretty bad, but Rolling Stone’s Nicholas Kamm had a go at topping all that in a gleeful farewell piece titled: Death of a Douche.

So Andrew Breitbart is dead. Here’s what I have to say to that, and I’m sure Breitbart himself would have respected this reaction: Good! Fuck him. I couldn’t be happier that he’s dead.

I say this in the nicest possible way. I actually kind of liked Andrew Breitbart. Not in the sense that I would ever have wanted to hang out with him, or even be caught within a hundred yards of him without a Haz-Mat suit on, but I respected the shamelessness. Breitbart didn’t do anything by halves, and even his most ardent detractors had to admit that he had a highly developed, if not always funny, sense of humor.


Still, in many ways, an even more impressive example of seriously bad form was turned in by the perennial-critic-of-conservatism-pretending-to-reside-within-its-ranks Andrew Frum.

And this is where it becomes difficult to honor the Roman injunction to speak no ill of the dead. It’s difficult for me to assess Breitbart’s impact upon American media and American politics as anything other than poisonous. When one of the leading media figures of the day achieves his success by his giddy disdain for truth and fairness—when one of our leading political figures offers to his admirers a politics inflamed by rage and devoid of ideas—how to withhold a profoundly negative judgment on his life and career?


The oleaginous Frum only really succeeded in lighting Ace’s fuse, and Ace responded by slapping Frum around in print the way Samuel Spade (Humphrey Bogart) handled Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre) in “The Maltese Falcon” (1941)>

Andrew Breitbart died today. But he took David Frum’s last shred of credibility with him. …

David Frum exceeded Andrew Breitbart in one measure only, span of life.

But not in life.

David Frum will die as he lived, gray, timid, small, spiteful, cramped in thought and bent in spirit, slender of talent and obese in self-regard, unloved, unnoticed, unremembered and unread.

03 Aug 2010

Frum Follower Objects To Tea Parties Serving Up Ayn Rand

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Ayn Rand

Former New Republic intern Ellsworth Noah Kristula-Green, writing at Frum Forum (where else?), observes the prominent role that the writings of Ayn Rand are playing in providing intellectual fuel for opposition to the Age of Obama with harrumphing indignation.

Rand’s popularity tells us two things about the state of modern conservatism.

First, it suggests that Rand’s atheism and permissive social views are no longer deal-breakers among conservative thought leaders. Jennifer Burns, the author of Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right, has explored Rand’s influence through the years. She told FrumForum that while religion had been a crucial issue for William F. Buckley and the conservatives of the 1970s, “someone like Glenn Beck isn’t going to argue about the existence of God or the need for religion. Beck and Limbaugh can use the parts of Rand they want to use and not engage the rest.”

Second and more troubling, the conservative rediscovery of Rand signals an increasing conservative divergence from mainstream America. Conservatives falsely assume that because more copies of Rand’s books are being sold, that everyone who reads them agrees with her. Conservatives are buying into Rand’s extreme views without understanding why many people—and not only liberals—revile her.

Contra Kristula-Green, Rand’s strong readership over many decades and the ability of her ideas to make their way and expand their influence in the face of entrenched establishment opposition, and despite an embarrassing personal cult, constitutes good evidence that Rand’s values and political perspective were very much in tune with the American mainstream (if not with its cultural elite), a nation whose soul, in D. H. Lawrence’s critical view was always “hard, isolate, stoic and… unmelted.”

20 Jul 2010

“A Modernized, Reformed Conservatism”

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David Frum

David Frum, guest blogging for Andrew Sullivan, recently proposed the parlor game of writing a one-sentence description of a “modernized, reformed conservatism.”

His own offering went as follows:

A reality-based, culturally modern, socially inclusive and environmentally responsible politics that supports free markets, limited government and a peaceful American-led world order.

In other words, “modernized, reformed” conservatism of the Frumish variety would be:

A conservatism subservient to the opinions of the journalistic and academic establishment (reality-based);

Committed to the aesthetics and favored causes of the community of fashion (culturally modern);

Supportive of the left’s program of conferring official status and special privileges to victim groups (socially inclusive);

And faithful to the Luddite dualist heresy which regards human life and productive activity as intrinsically transgressive, contaminative, and blameworthy (environmentally responsible);

Whenever possible, of course, when not obliged by its commitment to all of the contemporary left’s principal agenda items, MRC (Modern, Reformed Conservatism) would be in favor of free markets and limited government.

Those markets, of course, would inevitably not be all that free, since they would require all sorts of regulating for purposes of environmental protection, redistributivist social justice, socially-engineered diversity, and coercive tolerance, by a government which could hardly be very limited, considering all the matters it would necessarily need to supervise, control, regulate, and direct.

Foreign policy is treated as a rather vague afterthought, but it is similarly couched in oxymoronic, having your conservative cake, though applauding as the left eats your lunch, terms. Mr. Frum refers to a peaceful American-led world order. The “peaceful” reference is obviously intended as a subtle reproach to the policies of the previous Republican Administration which indulged in war.

America ought to lead the world, but it should be obliged to do so using pan-pipes rather than its military. This tag end of a single sentence fails to provide room for an explanation about how the US ought to go about peacefully leading countries which provide bases for terrorist activity directed at American civilians.

I’ll play. What Messrs. Sullivan and Frum would like would be:

A conservatism agreeable to unstable journalists of foreign nationality intent on promoting the homosexual subculture’s political agenda and cultivating personal careers within the media establishment.

01 Apr 2010

Conservatives Liberals Love

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David Frum

R. Emmett Tyrrell is not even a little sad that David Frum lost his job at AEI.

A major proposition that I advance in a book that will be published later this month, After the Hangover: The Conservatives’ Road to Recovery, is that there exists an odious subgroup of conservatives who since the beginning of the conservative movement have made their way to prominence in the mainstream media by a cheap act. They disparage with great melodrama other conservatives. Liberals love it — and for a while love the disparagers. In the late 1990s Arianna Huffington exploited this instrument of self-promotion brazenly. For several years David Frum has been doing it haltingly, even timorously. However, in the last two weeks he has been pulling a Huffington with unusual boldness.

First he smeared Sean Hannity. Then he reproached conservative opponents of the Democrats’ healthcare monstrosity. Now he is claiming martyrdom at the hands of Arthur Brooks, the head of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) that housed him as a resident fellow for seven years, reportedly at a salary of $100,000 a year. Brooks was willing to let him stay on at AEI but without a salary. Very theatrically Frum(p) quit, and the Liberals pronounced him a great man. My thesis is again vindicated, and you will understand my satisfaction in reporting that in Hangover I have embalmed Frum(p) as a perfect example of the conservative hustler, manipulating Liberal approval. I call his type the Reformed Conservatives (RCs).

Of a sudden Frum(p) is in a mad rush to become the Arianna Huffington of the present moment. He smears Hannity, snipes at opponents of Obama care, and calumniates AEI. What will be his next move in pulling an Arianna? Perhaps he will find a rich Texan to marry and fleece of tens of millions of dollars so he can move to California and open a salon for Hollywood pinheads. Maybe he will even affect an unintelligible foreign accent — Dahling.

23 Oct 2008

Me-Too Republicans Are Back

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Back in the days of Dwight Eisenhower, we had Me-Too Republicans who were simply too timid to challenge a conventional liberal orthodoxy for fear of being labeled radical. Tony Blankley finds today a new form of Me-Too Republican motivated by snobbery and misplaced loyalty to the community of fashion.

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