In the old days, people would die for their convictions. Protestants and Catholics alike suffered themselves to be racked, torn with irons, and burned alive to uphold the truth as they perceived it. You can still see scorch marks on the door of Balliol College from the burning of Latimer, Cranmer, and Ridley.
Brendan O’Neill, in National Review, describes how the confrontation between Heresy and Orthodoxy plays out in our own time. No scorch marks for Ian McEwan!
For a worldview that claims to be all about freedom and choice and â€œbeing oneself,â€ transgenderism sure is tetchy and intolerant. Consider what has just happened to the celebrated British novelist Ian McEwan. Last week, during a speech at the Royal Institution in London, McEwan took a genteel swipe at the politics of identity. He said identity politics is becoming increasingly consumerist, where we now pluck a ready-made â€œselfâ€ from â€œthe shelves of a personal-identity supermarket.â€ The making up of oneâ€™s identity has gone so far that â€œsome men in full possession of a penis are identifying as women and demanding entry to women-only colleges,â€ he said. Then came his killer line: â€œCall me old-fashioned, but I tend to think of people with penises as men.â€
Can you guess what happened next? Yes, McEwan was subjected to a Twitch hunt, to that 21st-century bloodsport in which anyone who expresses an unpopular view or makes a less than PC utterance or simply misspeaks a little will be â€œcalled outâ€ (shamed) by the bedroom-bound, Twitter-living, self-styled guardians of correct thinking. Twits went berserk over his apparently perverse linking of penises with maleness. They branded him a bigot, weird, a transphobe. Trans-rights activists put the boot in, too. Stonewall, the LGBT activist group, slammed McEwan for being â€œuninformedâ€ and said his weird worldview doesnâ€™t only â€œdenigrate the trans experience, it denies its very existence.â€ Paris Lees, a trans woman and journalist, scolded McEwan, telling him his â€œideas about penises are outdated.â€ He should apologize, the mob said.
And he did. All the virtual tomato-throwing at this heretic who dared to say that people with penises are men had the desired effect. It elicited a public backtrack. In an open letter in the Guardian, McEwan accused some of his critics of being â€œrighteous and cross,â€ yet he then bowed and scraped before the trans religion. Transgenderism â€œshould be respected,â€ he said. Then, most strikingly, he obediently expressed the key tenet of the trans ideology: â€œBiology is not always destiny.â€ Remarkable. In the space of a few days, he went from raising interesting, awkward questions about trans identity to repeating in a national newspaper the trans mantra that â€œbiology is not destiny.â€ For those of us who believe in freedom of thought, it was an ugly sight, reminiscent of those poor souls dragged before the Inquisition and set free only when they dutifully bought into their inquisitorsâ€™ belief system and publicly declared: â€œI believe in Jesus Christ.â€
In the police van, we can see a nifty Bren gun, a kukri, several swords, a few rifles, some pistols, a bolt-action with a barrel bent 90 degrees, and… (everyone lick his lips) yes, there is a German MG42.
Poor Martin Johnson of Penistone, Yorkshire died young at only 51. He seems to have led a quiet and harmless life, but despite his misfortune of residing in the pussified and socialized Britain of today, he was clearly a sound chap with a keen interest in WWII weapons, who had successfully over the course of a lifetime (despite living under a hoplophobic tyranny) amassed a pretty nice collection.
Not very long after the unlucky fellow’s toes turned up his busybody neighbors were summoning the local constabulary to check in on him. The rozzers inevitably stumbled upon the old boy’s collection, and this being today’s Britain, they all had panic attacks and wet their pants. 100 houses were evacuated, because Yorkshire’s finest somehow convinced themselves that Mr. Johnson’s collection had WMDs. His stash (of doubtless long emptied and defused) WWII mortar rounds were assumed to be loaded with mustard gas!
The Daily Mail shrieked aloud over the “terrifying cache” of “potentially dangerous” trinkets.
Who knows? Certainly not Yorkshire cops or Limey reporters. Mr. Johnson may very possibly have had a completely legal collection of totally deactivated pieces. The odds certainly favor that likelihood.
If any of those rifles or pistols were functional, he would, if caught, have been jugged longer than a Muslim terrorist for mere possession. If those machine guns were not deactivated, why! the government would probably have also fallen.
Despite grudging ackowledgements by officialdom that Johnson’s cache of shells was found to be unloaded, the bomb squad evidently could not resist eliminating some WWII collectibles with a “controlled explosion.”
Note that the Bren gun has been carefully labelled with a red tag reading “CAUTION FIREARM.” After all, someone might have mistaken it for a bicycle!
Republican turncoat Jim Webb, who despite his Marine Corps and redneck backgrounds, who despite serving as Assistant Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan Adminstration, changed sides and ran for the Senate as a democrat opposing the War in Iraq, then in the Senate voted for Obamacare and everything else, all the rest of the way down the line with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, could be observed paying painfully for his treachery last night.
At last night’s “democrat”, read: Socialist Party Presidential Debate, Webb found himself largely ignored by moderator Anderson Cooper. Webb additionally had to pay the price for his infidelity by being obliged to publicly affirm all the sniveling left-wing poppycock that was meat-and-drink to his rivals.
Webb managed to equivocate on Gun Control simultaneously agreeing that we have not done a good job of keeping people “who should be kept from having guns” from obtaining firearms, while also defending the right of ordinary Americans to own guns to defend their families.
But equivocation could only go so far.
I admired Webb’s grit as he ate one very major toad, standing right up and faithfully saluting Affirmative Action and assuring America, right out loud, that African Americans were entitled to a specially-privileged national status on the basis of their history including Slavery and Jim Crow.
Webb is smart enough to know better, but he again carefully followed the Party line on Climate Change, declining to defend coal, citing his Senatorial support for alternative energy and proposing greater reliance on nuclear power.
Inevitably, in certain areas, especially on questions related to foreign policy and defense, Webb sounded like the only adult in the room, and he undoubtedly did himself some good with his answers in those areas.
But Webb finally really paid the price on one particular question.
The British newspaper Independent described the moment from the other side’s perspective.
Jim Webb was responsible for one of the most uncomfortable moments of the Democratic debate on Tuesday evening when his dark sense of humour failed to translate.
Webb served in the Marine infantry as a rifle platoon and company commander during the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star Medal, and other military honours for bravery.
The former Virginia senator was asked to name the enemy he was most proud of making in his political career during the debate.
â€œIâ€™d have to say the enemy soldier that threw the grenade that wounded me, but heâ€™s not around right now to talk to,â€ he said slowly after the other four candidates gave their answers, his mouth gradually breaking into a grin.
A few members of the audience managed an uneasy chuckle, but Moderator Anderson Cooper was keen to move on from his answer and quickly redirected the debate towards closing statements.
How exquisitely painful it must have been to former US Marine Officer James Webb to deliver the kind of line which would have his rivals at a Republican debate laughing appreciatively and the audience leaping to their feet applauding him, yet which, at a democrat party debate, lands on the floor like a dead fish, embarrassing his interlocutors and simply making his intended audience uncomfortable.
Poor Webb! The real price he is obliged to pay for stabbing his own kind in the back, and joining with the enemy, is having to pretend to be one of them and having to endure associating with them.
Andrew McCarthy, in NR, explains that, not only can the Republican majority in Congress stop Barack Obama’s Iran Treaty, on the basis of the terms of last April’s Constitution-reversing Corker Bill, Congress is obliged to.
While maddening, the Corker bill is not an abject congressional surrender to Obama and Tehran. It is a conditional surrender. It would grant Obama grudging congressional endorsement of the deal in the absence of a now unattainable veto-proof resolution of disapproval, but only if Obama fulfills certain basic terms. Obama has not complied with the most basic one: the mandate that he provide the complete Iran deal for Congressâ€™s consideration. Therefore, notwithstanding Washingtonâ€™s frenzied assumption that the 60-day period for a congressional vote is winding down, the clock has never actually started to run. Congressâ€™s obligations under Corker have never been triggered; the Corker process is moot. …
The Corker legislation â€” formally known as the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 â€” is crystal clear. In its very first section, the act requires the president to transmit to Congress â€œthe agreement. . . . including all related materials and annexes.â€ It is too late to do that now: the act dictates that it was to have been done â€œnot later than five days after reaching the agreementâ€ â€” meaning July 19, since the agreement was finalized on July 14. Underscoring the mandate that all relevant understandings in the Iran deal â€” including, of course, the essential understandings â€” must be provided to lawmakers, the act explicitly spells out a definition of the â€œAgreementâ€ in subsection (h)(1). Under it, this is what the administration was required to give Congress over six weeks ago in order to trigger the afore-described Corker review process:
The term â€˜agreementâ€™ means an agreement related to the nuclear program of Iran . . . regardless of the form it takes, . . . including any joint comprehensive plan of action entered into or made between Iran and any other parties, and any additional materials related thereto, including annexes, appendices, codicils, side agreements, implementing materials, documents, and guidance, technical or other understandings, and any related agreements, whether entered into or implemented prior to the agreement or to be entered into or implemented in the future.
The act could not be more emphatic: To get the advantage of the favorable Corker formula that allows him to lift the anti-nuclear sanctions with only one-third congressional support, the president was required to supply Congress with every scintilla of information regarding verification. …
It is not enough to say that Congress has no obligation to proceed with the Corker review process. It would, under the act, be impermissible for Congress to do so.
Of course, the sad reality is the Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are conscious that democrats are wilier and more determined than they are, and have, in everything, the backing of the national media. They have a majority of both houses of Congress and polls show that two thirds of the public opposes the Iran Deal, and they still won’t fight.
Well, it’s happened. The wet ends at the BBC (who obviously think they are administrators at some American college) have declined to renew the contract of Jeremy Clarkson, the principal host of the BBC’s hit automotive program Top Gear.
The BBCâ€™s Director General Tony Hall has confirmed Top Gear host Jeremy Clarksonâ€™s contract will not be renewed after a physical altercation with a producer. The controversial presenter was suspended on March 10, following a â€œfracasâ€ with Oisin Tymon â€” believed to be over catering â€” in a Yorkshire hotel.
â€œIt is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract. It is not a decision I have taken lightly. I have done so only after a very careful consideration of the facts and after personally meeting both Jeremy and Oisin Tymon,â€ said Hall in a statement.
Clarkson was fired because he got into a fracas with his producer on March 4th while filming in chilly Yorkshire. The Top Gear star became angry at learning that no hot meal was being provided, and socked producer Oisin Tymon in the mouth after calling him “a lazy Irish c*nt.”
Following the announcement, Top Gear co-host James May, whose contract is also up at the end of the month, told reporters outside his home, â€œItâ€™s a tragedy. Iâ€™m sorry that what ought to have been a small incident, sorted out easily, turned into something bigâ€¦ I have only known for the past few minutes and if youâ€™ll excuse me, I very desperately have to write the eBay listing for my Ferrari.â€
The lazy Irish c*nt with the swollen lip and his reptilian lawyer were also heard from (Yahoo News):
â€œI respect Lord Hallâ€™s detailed findings and I am grateful to the BBC for their thorough and swift investigation into this very regrettable incident, against a background of intense media interest and speculation.
â€œIâ€™ve worked on Top Gear for almost a decade, a programme I love.
â€œOver that time Jeremy and I had a positive and successful working relationship, making some landmark projects together. He is a unique talent and I am well aware that many will be sorry his involvement in the show should end in this way.â€
Statement from his lawyer Paul Daniels in full:
â€œThis last month has been a nightmare for Oisin, his friends and his family. Through absolutely no fault of his own he found himself at the centre of a massive news story, but despite that he has conducted himself with dignity, restraint and balance.
â€œHe now simply wishes to return to the job he loves at the BBC. He does not intend to make any further media comment and kindly asks that his privacy is respected.
â€œMore generally, this is an important reminder that UK law protects all staff who face bullying, discrimination or violence at work, and all employers are required to protect their staff from such behaviour.â€
Obviously, British television resembles the American education system more than it does Hollywood. Its top priority is preventing bullying or discrimination against the inactive, the Hibernian, and those incapable of defending themselves. In America, the talent, I expect, tends to get hot meals and lots of sucking up from the help.
Personally, I think justice would be done by having the American Fox Network dash in and sign up all three British hosts for a new, and more luxurious, version of an automotive program, combining fast car testing, humor, and political satire.
And, every couple of months, Jeremy Clarkson should punch out some deserving left-wing commentator while his audience in the millions applauds.
Only two weeks after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a strongly worded #JeSuisCharlie statement on the importance of free speech, Facebook has agreed to censor images of the prophet Muhammad in Turkey â€” including the very type of image that precipitated the Charlie Hebdo attack.
Itâ€™s an illustration, perhaps, of how extremely complicated and nuanced issues of online speech really are. Itâ€™s also conclusive proof of what many tech critics said of Zuckerbergâ€™s free-speech declaration at the time: Sweeping promises are all well and good, but Facebookâ€™s record doesnâ€™t entirely back it up.
Just this December, Facebook agreed to censor the page of Russiaâ€™s leading Putin critic, Alexei Navalny, at the request of Russian Internet regulators. (It is a sign, the Postâ€™s Michael Birnbaum wrote from Moscow, of â€œnew limits on Facebookâ€™s ability to serve as a platform for political opposition movements.â€) Critics have previously accused the site of taking down pages tied to dissidents in Syria and China; the International Campaign for Tibet is currently circulating a petition against alleged Facebook censorship, which has been signed more than 20,000 times.
While Facebook doesnâ€™t technically operate in China, it has made several recent overtures to Chinese politicians and Internet regulators â€” overtures that signal, if tacitly, an interest in bringing a (highly censored) Facebook to Chinaâ€™s 648 million Internet-users.
Theodore Dalrymple responds to one of the most prominent editorial advocates of poltroonery in the face of Islamic threats and intimidation.
It took less than four hours for an associate editor of the Financial Times, Tony Barber, to post a piece on the website of his august publication blaming the journalists and cartoonists of the satirical French magazine (and the two policemen as well?) for their own deaths. Here is what he originally wrote and posted, though he later edited out the final clause:
[Charlie Hebdo] has a long record of mocking, baiting and needling French Muslims . . . [This] is merely to say that some common sense would be useful at publications such as Charlie Hebdo . . . which purport to strike a blow for freedom when they provoke Muslims, but are actually just being stupid.
According to this perverted logic, if the relatives of the 12 murdered men were now to storm into the offices of the Financial Times and shoot 12 staff members because of the considerable provocation offered by Tony Barber, it will prove only that Barber had just been stupid.
There is, of course, a relevant difference between the two cases: when he wrote his disgraceful little article, Barber knew perfectly well that the relatives of the murdered men would not behave in this fashion, and that therefore he was not â€œjust being stupid.â€ Hence, he equates prudence with cowardice, a sure way to encourage (though not perhaps to provoke, in his sense of the word) more such attacks.
Thirteen year-old Briar MacLean tackled a knife-wielding bully who was attacking a classmate. Instead of praising MacLean’s intervention, the Calgary school officials admonished him for playing hero. As the National Post reported:
Briar MacLean was sitting in class during a study period Tuesday, the teacher was on the other side of the room and, as Grade 7 bullies are wont to do, one kid started harassing another.
â€œI was in between two desks and he was poking and prodding the guy,â€ Briar, 13, said at the kitchen table of his Calgary home Friday.
â€œHe put him in a headlock, and I saw that.â€
He added he didnâ€™t see the knife, but â€œI heard the flick, and I heard them say there was a knife.â€
I heard the flick, and I heard them say there was a knife
The rest was just instinct. Briar stepped up to defend his classmate, pushing the knife-wielding bully away.
The teacher took notice, the principal was summoned and Briar went about his day. It wasnâ€™t until fourth period everything went haywire.
â€œI got called to the office and I wasnâ€™t able to leave until the end of the day,â€ he said.
Thatâ€™s when Leah Oâ€™Donnell, Briarâ€™s mother, received a call from the vice-principal.
â€œThey phoned me and said, â€˜Briar was involved in an incident today,â€™â€ she said. â€œThat he decided to â€˜play heroâ€™ and jump in.â€
Ms. Oâ€™Donnell was politely informed the school did not â€œcondone heroics,â€ she said. Instead, Briar should have found a teacher to handle the situation.
â€œI asked: â€˜In the time it would have taken him to go get a teacher, could that kidâ€™s throat have been slit?â€™ She said yes, but thatâ€™s beside the point. That we â€˜donâ€™t condone heroics in this school.â€™ â€
Instead of getting a pat on the back for his bravery, Briar was made to feel as if he had done something terribly wrong. The police were called, the teen filed a statement and his locker was searched.
Democratic Western societies have obviously developed a fatal habit of placing people with ideological and personality disorders in positions of authority. Canada has some great hunting & fishing, but I could never live there.
The headlines were filled recently with gleeful liberal accounts of spaghetti-spined members of the GOP, Charles Murray and Rob Portman, advocating surrender to the left on culture issues like Same Sex Marriage.
What we are obviously seeing is the herd mentality of the community of fashion in operation.
The Left controls most engines of opinion-formation in this country. First, revolutionary proposals originate in the left’s radical fringe, then little by little, they are “bravely” embraced by one pillar of the establishment after another. When it becomes apparent that the looney tunes running American education have successfully brainwashed the lumpenstudenten mob of impressionable, emotionally volatile, and fashion-conscious young, what we experience next is the unbecoming spectacle of older non-rugged-individualists scurrying to catch up with the departing bus of fashionable opinion which they perceive as about to motor through the endpoint of success, leaving behind History’s losers.
The truth of the matter is that you do not win culture war contests with the revolutionary Left by surrendering on point after point as soon as the Left appears to be gaining the upper hand. Even when they are going to win this particular battle today, it behooves Republicans and conservatives to recognize that revolutionary victories do not necessarily last forever. People living in France are not counting how many days of VentÃ´se remain before the arrival of Germinal.
Absurd leftist overreach may temporarily gain ascendancy and make entire societies dance to its tune, but the worst and the silliest of the Left’s ideas will always be doomed to fall in the end of their own weight of stupidity and falsehood.
In the meantime, we ought not to be like the French Army, offering the future surplus sale of MAS rifles described as “never fired, and only dropped once.” We ought to face the Left on every culture wars issue the way the doomed Spartans faced the Persians at Thermopylae. We should not cut and run, like Godric at the Battle of Maldon, but should, like Brythold, resist every time on every point to the bitter end.
“Hige sceal Ã¾e heardra,
heorte Ã¾e cenre,
mod sceal Ã¾e mare,
Ã¾e ure mÃ¦gen lytlaÃ°.
“Mind must be the harder,
heart the keener
Spirit shall be greater –
as our strength lessens.”
Young people grow up. The Left’s domination of the Dummer Junger student and recent graduate crowd does not in most cases last forever.
Molly Hemingway, at Ricochet, pointed out just how worthwhile Rob Portman’s analysis really is.
Leaving apart the question of whether marriage law should be changed, this strikes me as a problematic approach. I mean, marriage law should be changed or it shouldn’t be changed — but it shouldn’t hinge on the sexual attractions of one senator’s son, should it?
What if a conservative senator said, “I’m reversing my views on whether abortion should be legal because my daughter got pregnant and wished she weren’t.”
One of the fascinating things about society today is that personal experience trumps everything else in argumentation. Very few people seem to care about fundamental truths and principles while everyone seems to care about personal experience and emotion. It’s the Oprahfication of political philosophy.
Should a conservative determine good policy this way?
Mark Steyn, on Rush Limbaugh’s Show yesterday, read, in the recent school suspension of a 7-year-old in Baltimore for allegedly nibbling his breakfast pop tart into a shape resembling a gun, serious bad news for American civilization.
Youâ€™re doomed America! Youâ€™re done for! No society can survive this level of stupidity! The school counselor is available to meet with any students who are traumatized by hearing reports of some guy four grades below them who nibbles a pop-tart into a gun-like shape.
Iâ€™ve never subscribed to this whole greatest generation thing, you know. But you look at those guys, they werenâ€™t much older than the kids from the school. A lot of them were like seventeen, eighteen years old. And theyâ€™re storming out of these transport ships in the churning waters of the English Channel and the North Sea and theyâ€™re landing on the beaches of Normandy. And their getting out of these and they stomping up the beaches and theyâ€™re taking German gunfire and all the rest.
Do you think if you raised people so that you make a school counselor to available to them in cased theyâ€™ve been traumatized by someone who was nibbled a pop-tart into the shape of a gunâ€¦.do you think if theyâ€™re ever called upon to get out those ships and the storm the beaches of Normandy, do you think theyâ€™re gonna be up to that?
â€˜Oh no look, the Germans, theyâ€™re all holding pop-tarts! AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!â€™
No society can survive this level of stupidity! These small things are not small. They tell you a lot about the institutionalized stupidity of our institutions.
Bret Stephens, in today’s Wall Street Journal, notes that the famous 3 a.m. telephone call scenario that appeared in the most famous ad of the 2008 presidential campaign actually recently occurred.
The hour is 5 p.m., Sept. 11, Washington time, and the scene is an Oval Office meeting among President Obama, the secretary of defense, the national security adviser and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi has been under assault for roughly 90 minutes. Some 30 U.S. citizens are at mortal risk. The whereabouts of Ambassador Stevens are unknown.
What is uppermost on the minds of the president and his advisers? The safety of Americans, no doubt. So what are they prepared to do about it? Here is The Wall Street Journal’s account of the meeting:
“There was no serious consideration at that hour of intervention with military force, officials said. Doing so without Libya’s permission could represent a violation of sovereignty and inflame the situation, they said. Instead, the State Department reached out to the Libyan government to get reinforcements to the scene.”
So it did. Yet the attack was far from over. After leaving the principal U.S. compound, the Americans retreated to a second, supposedly secret facility, which soon came under deadly mortar fire. Time to call in the troops?
“Some officials said the U.S. could also have sent aircraft to the scene as a ‘show of force’ to scare off the attackers,” the Journal reported, noting that there’s a U.S. air base just 450 miles away in Sicily. “State Department officials dismissed the suggestions as unrealistic. ‘They would not have gotten there in two hours, four hours or six hours.'”
The U.S. security detail only left Washington at 8 a.m. on Sept. 12, more than 10 hours after the attacks began. A commercial jet liner can fly from D.C. to Benghazi in about the same time. …
The U.S. ignores warnings of a parlous security situation in Benghazi. Nothing happens because nobody is really paying attention, especially in an election year, and because Libya is supposed to be a foreign-policy success. When something does happen, the administration’s concerns for the safety of Americans are subordinated to considerations of Libyan “sovereignty” and the need for “permission.” After the attack the administration blames a video, perhaps because it would be politically inconvenient to note that al Qaeda is far from defeated, and that we are no more popular under Mr. Obama than we were under George W. Bush. Denouncing the video also appeals to the administration’s reflexive habits of blaming America first. Once that story falls apart, it’s time to blame the intel munchkins and move on.
It was five in the afternoon when Mr. Obama took his 3 a.m. call. He still flubbed it.