Saturday, April 22, 2017

Comrades, Just Say No to Earth Day Denialism!

Do you find it suspicious that the founding of Earth Day -- first celebrated on April 22, 1970 -- coincided with the 100 year anniversary of Vladimir Lenin's birthday? Do you think it's curious that the environmentalist movement that produced it was, and still is, packed with radical marxists dedicated to "fighting capitalism" and saving the planet with command-style economic policies? Are you intrigued by the obviously partisan nature of the "non-partisan" March for Science? If so, then you might be a Earth Day "denialist." Regressive leftists would like you to believe that leftist political positions are the natural culmination of scientific research. To deny pseudo-scientific leftist myths in the social sciences is to deny science itself. How do I know? Because the marchers tell me so...

Just in time for Earth Day, top progressive voices are sounding the alarm. What's the threat ? Science "denial"! According to Billmoyers.com, this threat emanates from "people who don't know much about science denying it and rising to power," which is "a recipe for the complete dismantling of our democracy." That's right, the outcome of the election literally means the sky is falling, as we were all previously assured. Trump, the world's only "climate-denying" world leader, accelerated the "Doomsday Clock" by thirty seconds. Nietzsche may have declared that God is dead, but Trump's election proved it. Trump's plans for the EPA will be a "disaster for science and the environment." His views on science will lead to a planetary disaster. Trump's cabinet selections are the "Four Horsemen for Looming Environmental Apocalypse." And so on, and so forth...

Apparently, Trump's "war on science" isn't just targeting the hard sciences. Anthropologists were encouraged to join the March for Science to avoid a scenario in which "science is only in the service of the powerful at the expense of underrepresented minorities." The University of Massachusetts encourages social scientists to join the march in order to focus participants on "Why Science—all science—is such a fundamental driver of human progress around the world." The "non-partisan" March for Science will help specialists in the social and behavioral sciences "connect and organize": the Linguistic Society of America will hold a contest "to find the best linguistically-themed march signs," the American Psychological Association will hold "in-person and online advocacy training," and the American Sociological Association will hold a breakfast on the morning of the march (see here). Why? Because "All Fields of Social Science are Drivers of Freedom and Prosperity." Of course, the unspoken message is that they, as good progressive Democrats, must take to the streets and "resist" Trump's war on science -- that is, Trump's war on all of the sciences.

For some of the "best," and of course, non-partisan, signs in D.C. and around the world, see here. From the Los Angeles satellite march, see here. (Photo below c/o The Los Angeles Times)
 (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

From Boston, see here. As the signs indicate, this was a decidedly partisan event by design, and was clearly organized around the "resist" motif.

While there are numerous reasons to be skeptical of the claims to impartiality in the hard sciences (see my previous blog post about the plight of climate scientist Judith Curry, here), this post will focus on the increasing likelihood of those in the social sciences making empirical scientific claims as means of promoting a leftist policy agenda. The emphasis in the social sciences in the last decade has been on interdepartmental collaboration. However, the lack of ideological diversity on college and university campuses has, rather than providing meaningful cross-pollination, instead produced a corpus of intersectional literature and studies that suffer from systemic confirmation bias. These "studies" give the illusion that leftist assumptions are, in fact, broadly accepted scientific truths.

The lack of ideological diversity on campus is now a well-documented trend, and particularly in the social sciences -- psychology, history, sociology, anthropology, etc. But it doesn't stop there. Some of the most ardent activist scholars are in the Englishlaw, and the various "studies" departments -- race, class, gender. The causes behind the lack of ideological diversity are not elusive. They are well-known; discriminatory hiring and promotion practices, faculty that routinely belittle conservative students, and, recently, violent attacks on conservative speakers have become the norm.

Consider the case of Black Evangelical Christian sociologist George Yancy, who claims that the bias he has faced as a black male pales in comparison to the persecution he's faced in academia as a result of his religious identity. Yancy conducted a survey that found that 30% of the faculty surveyed admitted to being less likely to support a professorial hiring if they knew the candidate was a Republican. That number jumped to well over 50% in some departments (English, Anthropology) if they discovered that the candidate was an Evangelical Christian. So much for tolerance and diversity.

In recent years, psychological and sociological concepts, such as the stereotype threat, microaggression theory (for an excellent overview of the methodological flaws associated with micro-aggression theory, see here), and privilege theory, have been weaponized and used as a partisan bludgeon against conservative positions in the academy (for an excellent overview, see here). The leftist media never tires of pressing these "studies" into service as click-bait headlines. The net result is the creation of pseudo-scientific cover for the widespread dissemination of sacred liberal myths -- the wage gap, campus rape culture, law-enforcement biases, institutional racism, etc.

As some authors admit in writing, the express purpose of building a corpus of intersectional "research" is ultimately to affect policy changes. Now do you see, cowpoke? This is the academic machinery of "hope and change" -- of progress. There's only one snag -- Hillary lost the election. With Obama out, and Trump in, many of those policy proposals are now wishful thinking that will be shelved for a future progressive administration. But make no mistake, the politicization of academic inquiry provides a pseudo-scientific backbone to claims that Republican policies are unscientific, conservatives are a bunch of science-deniers, and educated people naturally support the policies of progressive Democrats.

The so-called "war on science," as described by regressive leftists, is a bunch of leftist bologna. The truth is that the regressive left is guilty of psychological projection. There's a war on science alright, and the regressive left is the aggressor; it's been slyly and silently waged on reason itself. In this war, science -- like compassion -- has been enlisted and weaponized for the purpose of destroying traditional American culture and institutions. To be clear -- our colleges and universities are "occupied" territory.

- The Cowboy Historian

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Think the Wage Gap is a Myth? You're a "Denier"

"However noble the vision of cosmic justice, arbitrary power and shameless lies are the only paths that even seem to lead in its direction." - Thomas Sowell

Those who don't affirm the unassailable truths of intersectionality run the risk of being labeled "deniers." We are all familiar with how the "denier" refrain began -- climate science. According to NASA, "97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities" (see here). One either accepted that claim, and its many embellishments and exaggerations by politicians and journalists, or one was labeled a "climate change denier" or a "science denier." Critics of this position -- even well-credentialed -- kept their mouths shut, or committed career suicide. Don't believe me? Just ask retired Georgia Tech climate scientist Judith Curry, who recently testified at the House Science Committee (see here). What triggered her shaming as a climate heretic? Her claim that:
It is an empirical fact that the Earth’s climate has warmed overall for at least the past century. However, we do not know how much humans have contributed to this warming and there is disagreement among scientists as to whether human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases is the dominant cause of recent warming, relative to natural causes. (for the citation, and a link to Curry's blog, see here)
Included among the reasons Curry cited for her early retirement was that:
Research and other professional activities are professionally rewarded only if they are channeled in certain directions approved by a politicized academic establishment — funding, ease of getting your papers published, getting hired in prestigious positions, appointments to prestigious committees and boards, professional recognition, etc. (for Curry's full statement on her resignation, see here)
Ultimately, Curry felt she could accomplish more in the private sector (for an interview with Curry, see here). While the point of this post is not to get bogged down in the details of the climate science debate, I would like to draw attention to a few key elements of Curry's case. Curry was a senior, respected university researcher. Yet, her choice to swim against the political current of academia by challenging the master narrative of "human-caused climate change" resulted in Curry being stigmatized by her peers, shamed by the media, and ultimately driven from the university. Curry's case is, unfortunately, not unique. This "denier" template of ostracism is the focus of this post, as it is now being superimposed onto critics of the New Left's sacred cows in the social sciences.

There's sexism-deniers. Closeted Trump-supporters, and those who doubt white privilege, are probably racism-deniers. The Trump team has "a history of flirting" with Holocaust-deniers. The newest addition to the ranks of deniers is the insidious wage/pay gap deniers. The Economic Policy Institute assures us that "You can’t mansplain away the gender pay gap" (see here). "Denying the Wage Gap is Victim-Blaming" (see here). Vice is "Calling Bullshit on the Men Who Think the Pay Gap Is a Myth" (see here). "The gender pay gap actually is because of discrimination, according to yet another study" (see here). Why the fixation on denial? Perhaps, it's because Trump's election denied the story of "progress" that they learned in college. It was supposed to be a woman -- Hillary -- but the evil patriarchy reared it's rust-thatched head instead. But it wasn't Trump, or even Hillary's flaws that defeated her. No. It was "hostility to female ambition" (see here). Get it? -- male privilege.

Dark, unconscious forces are preventing progress. The Huffington Post warns that the wage gap is "well documented, enduring, and racialized," that "women's time and money are valued less," and that "systemic changes" are required to overcome the cognitive and unconscious obstacles women face, such as "college majors and job selections," which "are shaped in childhood by adult biases, stereotypes and stereotype threats, cementing salary paths long before anyone is thinking about them" (see here). The decision to start a family results in a “motherhood penalty” and a “fatherhood bonus.” It is the dismissal of "these realities," which "wage gap deniers deliberately overlook," that perpetuates a gender segregated workplace and pay differentials. Policies must be enacted to monetarily value "work that has traditionally been done by women, including, notably, unpaid care work." How can these "injustices" be fixed? Government intervention -- equal pay policies.

Trump's election is "How Climate Change Deniers Got Their Groove Back"; it's also apparently how pay gap deniers got their groove back (see here). Consider the case of senior advisor to the POTUS, Stephen Miller. Leftist media outlets have recently shifted their scrutiny from Steve Bannon to Miller, as they believe that Bannon's star is fading and Millier's is on the rise. What, you may wonder, is Miller's thought crime? According to the Huffington Post's Emily Peck, Miller is guilty of bringing the ideas of "pay gap deniers" to women's policy issues (see here). What evidence does Peck have that Miller is a "pay gap denier"? She cites excerpts from a 2005 oped he wrote while attending Duke, where he "forcefully argued against paid maternity leave and equal pay legislation" (see here). Peck summarizes Millers "denial" of the pay gap as: "men work longer hours, choose higher-paying jobs and take on more dangerous work." Peck spices her condemnation of Miller with a generous supply of quotes from Miller's oped, which were intended to underscore Miller's grievous denial, including that "the pay gap has virtually nothing to do with gender discrimination," and "the truth is, even in modern-day America, there is a place for gender roles." Scandalous misogyny!

Rather than acknowledge that conservatives, such as Miller, represent a well-informed, although contrary, position, Peck assures the reader that Miller's flawed perspective is due to "a lack of understanding when it comes to decades of research on economics and gender inequality." For Peck, informed analyses that support conservative positions simply do not exist -- Miller's oped is Peck's straw man. In Peck's estimation, Miller can't be taken seriously because he's uninformed. Peck assumes that educated people naturally share her opinion. Miller is an ignorant denier. Why doesn't Miller realize that a cabal of grumpy, old, cigar-chomping, white men want to keep women down?

What's troubling about this type of hatchet piece is that Peck avoids evidence that does not fit her theoretical assumptions. Peck may be surprised to learn that a Senior Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, Thomas Sowell, is the source of many of Miller's oped arguments (for a recent oped on the issue of the "pay gap" by Sowell, see here, for Sowell's website, see here). Sowell would argue that it is Peck, not Miller, that is out of touch with decades of scholarship on the issue of the so-called pay gap; that survey after survey of hard data reveal that women do in fact make rational choices in the market, which are primarily driven by the biological reality of child bearing. This is the crux of the issue -- new wave feminists believe that gender is socially constructed, and fluid; that no real differences exist between men and women other than those created by society...by the patriarchy. The question is, how did Peck come to her unquestioning acceptance of the "truth" of social constructionism, gender fluidity, and institutional misogyny?

In part, the answer may be that Peck simply wasn't exposed to other perspectives. The outside observer may see nothing new about the old nature vs. nurture arguments at play here. The outside observer may also think that both positions are well-represented in academia and that there's nothing controversial about emphasizing the biological determinants of identity, or in questioning the wage gap. However, like many college students in the last couple of decades, Peck was unlikely to encounter a conservative professor in the social sciences, thus ensuring she was fed a steady diet of new wave feminist theory, and without serious comparative reference points. Why is that?

Consider the case of American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Christina Hoff Sommers (for a video presentation by Sommers on the wage gap myth, see here). Sommers argues that modern feminism has been infiltrated by intersectional social justice warriors. They demonize men, marginalize dissenting women, and indoctrinate college students into the wage gap and campus rape culture myths (see here). Sommers denies the existence of an actual wage gap. Instead, she, like Sowell, points to rational choice in the market. Men tend to choose careers that are more dangerous and have demanding schedules. Women tend to choose careers more conducive to family life. These choices lead to different median wage outcomes. The "equal pay for equal work" mantra represents a Marxian maxim, and simply isn't true. Sommers' argument seems reasonable enough, but that didn't stop activists at colleges and universities across the nation from attempting to silence her through pressured disinvitations and protests to disrupt her speeches. Why? Because they interpreted her "dangerous" ideas as as "hate speech" that must be silenced.

Sowell and Sommers account for opposing arguments, and present their own interpretations of the data. Regressive leftists do not engage in this process. There's no need for discussion when one already knows the truth; confession is the only acceptable outcome of discussion. SJWs often invoke Freud when confronted with evidence they find distressing, while simultaneously employing Freudian arguments to explain resistance to the SJW agenda -- critics are unconsciously supporting the oppressive status quo; it's dark, irrational forces holding back the cultural revolution. That's the style of "justicesplaining" that they've been indoctrinated into.

For the rest of us, this tendency to dismiss opposing positions without evidence-based discussions represents a rejection of the scientific method and open inquiry, contempt for the Enlightenment concept of reason, and scorn for the very foundation of self-governance. The regressive left's reliance on normative social influence unmasks a darker, totalizing impulse. As Sowell points out, traditional notions of justice involve "applying the same rules and standards to everyone." In contrast, he writes:
In a sense, proponents of "social justice" are unduly modest.  What they are seeking to correct are not merely the deficiencies of society, but of the cosmos. What they call social justice encompasses far more than any given society is causally responsible for.  Crusaders for social justice seek to correct not merely the sins of man but the oversights of God or the accidents of history.  What they are really seeking is a universe tailor-made to their vision of equality.  They are seeking cosmic justice. (for the full speech, see here)
- The Cowboy Historian

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Nazi Sympathizers Everywhere: The Regressive Left's Unspoken "Evidence"

Deputy Assistant to the POTUS, and former Breitbart editor, Sebastian Gorka, has been labeled a Nazi sympathizer by the regressive left. Why? Simple -- the regressive left hates traditional American values; they classify all expressions of a traditional American national identity as extreme, alt-right, pro-Putin, and ultimately, as Nazism/fascism. What we must recognize, however, is that when regressive leftists say "anti-semitism," what they actually mean is anti-Islamic radicalism. The Trump administration is clearly pro-Israel. Also, consider that Jared Kushner (Trump's son-in-law and a top-advisor), Trump's daughter Ivanka, and their children, are Orthodox Jews. Why, then, do leftists make such patently absurd claims? Despite overtly couching arguments in the context of the Holocaust, leftist charges of "anti-semitism" aren't about Judaism or the Holocaust; leftist allegations of "anti-semitism" are cover for the regressive left's blatant and irrational Islamophilia.

A sane person would ask, what's the evidence against Gorka? Apparently, claims of Gorka's Nazi sympathies originated with a picture of Gorka wearing a medal from a Hungarian military order, Vitezi Rend, at the inaugural ball. The source? A blog post by The Nation's Eli Clifton (for Clifton's blog post, see here, for Clifton's bio in The Nation, see here).  Clifton fancifully speculated that the medal had possibly been awarded to Gorka's grandfather while collaborating with the Nazis during the Second World War. Clifton's conjecture was picked up by the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Hatewatch" page (see here), and distributed widely by the likes of the Talking Points Memo, Chelsea Clinton, The Times of Israel, etc., and was subsequently aired by the cable networks.

Here's the problem with Clifton's claim -- it isn't true.

As noted by Joel B. Pollack, Gorka received the medal from his father, who was recognized for his anti-communist efforts during the 1956 Hungarian uprising, which resulted in the elder Gorka's betrayal, arrest, and torture (see here). Case closed, right? No. Clifton doubled down by looking for other "evidence" that Gorka is a Nazi sympathizer, but not in anything Gorka said or wrote -- that type of hard evidence doesn't exist. Instead, Clifton focused on "indirect" evidence of Gorka's Nazi sympathies, such as what was not said during the White House’s Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, and Gorka's subsequent comments in defense of the statement.

Wait a minute, Cowboy -- are you suggesting that Trump's administration is being called anti-semitic on the basis of something that wasn't said? Yes. That is correct.

The Trump Administration's Holocaust Remembrance Day statement provides a classic case study of what constitutes regressive leftist "evidence" of Nazi sympathies (see here). The statement:
It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror. Yet, we know that in the darkest hours of humanity, light shines the brightest.‎ As we remember those who died, we are deeply grateful to those who risked their lives to save the innocent. In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.
Regressive leftist charges of anti-semitism followed. The Atlantic claimed that not specifically using the word "Jews" in the statement indicated an effort by the administration to "de-Judiaze" the Holocaust narrative -- "classic soft-core denial" (see here). In an interview, Gorka characterized the allegations of anti-semitism as "asinine" and "absurd." Yet, despite repeated clarifications by multiple members of the Trump administration that the statement was not intended to somehow diminish the suffering of the Jewish people, Clifton isolated Gorka's defense of the statement as somehow unique. Additionally, the entire premise of Clifton's allegations relied on the assumption that the statement, by virtue of not including the word "Jews," was anti-semitic. I'll let the reader decide.

This type of "indirect" evidence of the administration's anti-semitism has become a common theme in the regressive leftist's narrative, as shown in the media campaign against Steve Bannon, and more recently, Sean Spicer. Vox has even published "A Brief History of the Trump Administration's Flirtation with Holocaust Denial," which is a compilation of the "dog-whistle" evidence of the administration's "anti-semitism" (see here). What's the common theme in these arguments? No actual evidence of anti-semitism. The charges are a complete fabrication.

Clifton also included other pieces of "indirect" evidence of Gorka's Nazi sympathies while investigating the history of the Vitezi Rend. The Vitezi Rend knightly order -- a Hungarian nationalist organization -- was created after the First World War (see here). Although the Vitezi Rend opposed pro-Nazi paramilitary orders prior to the German occupation, revisionist historians have pointed out that the founder of the order, and Hungary’s interwar governor, admiral Mikl√≥s Horthy, expressed anti-semitism in a private letter; also, the order did not allow those of Jewish ancestry into its ranks. This is as close as Clifton gets to making any substantive connection between Gorka, the medal, and anti-semitism, which falls apart immediately when one considers the lack of any evidence linking the Gorka family to Nazi collaboration, and considering the concrete fact that Gorka's father was knighted in the context of the Cold War Hungarian anti-Soviet resistance movement.      

To summarize: Clifton contends that Gorka's choice to wear his father's medal to the inaugural, combined with the fact that Gorka defended the Trump administration's Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, must be seen as "indirect evidence" of Gorka's, and by association, the Trump administration's, "flirtations with anti-Semitism and the alt-right." Hmm...

So what is the root source of the left's never ending charges of anti-semitism, Nazism, and fascism? The closing comments in the Atlantic article are revealing in this regard, as the piece laments that the president's Holocaust Remembrance Day statement came on the "same day as the order banning refugees." In other words, this isn't at all about the plight of European Jews during the Second World War. It's not about Jewish people, or the state of Israel, in the present. So what is this really about?

It could be born of a concern to prevent atrocities, but where was the left's outrage when radical Islamic terrorists raped and killed Iraqi, Syrian, and Egyptian Christian minorities? Crickets. Perhaps it is a devout concern to preserve the memory of the Holocaust? However, the Holocaust deniers that I'm aware of, such as the Islamic Republic of Iran, are quite open about it, but somehow escape the left's critical gaze. While I'm considering these contradictions -- why can't regressive leftists see the contradiction between condemning the "evil patriarchy" in the West, while hailing the hijab as a symbol of liberation?

Love, you see, can be blind and irrational. The regressive left is upset that the Trump administration intends to thwart the Obama administration's efforts to settle significant numbers of inadequately vetted Syrian refugees in the United States. This is about the regressive left's love affair with Islam, and the potential they once saw for mass immigration to change domestic cultural and electoral dynamics. Once that is understood, the rest comes into focus. It is a story of dashed dreams and thwarted love -- perhaps this is the painful source of the regressive left's grand delusion that Nazis are everywhere.

- The Cowboy Historian

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Steve Bannon and "The Camp of the Saints": Fake News, Take Three, The Huffington Post Edition

“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” - Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals

This is my third post addressing the regressive left's attempts to brand presidential advisor Steve Bannon as a Nazi (for the first two posts, see here and here). This post examines the Huffington Post's "evidence" that Bannon is a racist via selectively-edited references to Jean Raspail's dystopian novel The Camp of the Saints and the use of the classic "guilt by association" tactic. The regressive left's obsession with Trump-Hitler comparisons during the election has since expanded to compensate for the widespread leftist belief that Trump is an idiot, and that Bannon is his "brain." Hitler broadcasted his policy intentions in Mein Kampf. Surely there is a comparable work announcing Trump's policy intentions, right? The comparison demands it! Yet, The Art of the Deal just doesn't fit the narrative. Despite never authoring a manifesto, Bannon -- rich, white, conservative, male, Christian, Republican -- provided an irresistible foil. 

Claiming that Bannon is a Nazi, and hence Trump's immigration policies will be anti-semetic, is a better sell than, say, slamming Bannon as a nationalist who sees mass Muslim immigration as potential Trojan horse security threat (for a short AEI piece on ISIS's use of refugee populations as cover for infiltration operations, see here). The real Steve Bannon -- blue-collar roots, Harvard grad, Naval officer, successful businessman, etc. -- is, above all, a nationalist. Not a "white nationalist." Just a plain old nationalist. Recognizing this might spare us all from yet another round of erroneous media claims. Concerning immigration policy, it would appear that Trump and Bannon intend to build a wall, beef up border security, and introduce extreme vetting procedures. Scandalous! If they've erred, it was on the side of security -- and perhaps for good reason.

Despite the media downplaying the post-911 jihadist terrorist threat (for an example, see here) and hyping the "right-wing extremist" threat, a sober analysis reveals that there's really no comparison. What, you may ask, would a side-by-side comparison of your chances of being killed by a jihadist or by a right-wing extremist in the U.S. since September 11, 2001, actually be? It's not even close. It's 62:1. Yes, you read that correctly -- Americans are sixty-two times more likely to be killed by a jihadist than by a right-wing extremist (for a short article on the the debunking of the think-tank manipulated statistics that claim the opposite, see here, and for the full study, see here). Radical Islamic terrorism poses a significant threat to the U.S. homeland. Perhaps Bannon's concerns about Muslim immigration reflect a real-world security issue.

Try cowboysplaining that to the regressive left, who are now making the case that a few Bannon references to the title of a 1970s dystopian French novel has somehow revealed "how Steve Bannon explains the world."

The Camp of the Saints, originally published in 1972, told an apocalyptic parable of dark-skinned Third World migrant hordes overrunning Western Civilization. The French people remained paralyzed in the face of the invasion as a result of a paralyzing loss of civilizational confidence. This disarming loss of confidence was due to the pervasive spread of "the beast" mentality -- white guilt coupled with anti-racism. Thus, the French, and Western Civilization, are overrun because of the unruly combination of self-blame for world poverty and labeling anyone who resists unbridled immigration as a racist. The novel was hailed by the French right, and vigorously denounced as racist and fascist by the French left. It found renewed interest from time to time, as immigration concerns resurfaced, and has gone through several editions.

Then, in 2011, a wave of migrants from the Middle East poured into Europe as a result of the Obama administration's blundered withdrawal from Iraq and its disastrous support for the so-called Arab Spring, which had particularly tragic consequences for Libyans and Syrians. The years that followed saw a flood of immigrants to Europe, and to a lesser extent to the U.S. Growing interest in the novel among readers of various European languages, as well as American readers, followed. Raspail (for a 2015 interview with Raspail, see here, for an English translation, see here, for Katharine Betts' early-1990s interview of Raspail, see here), a Catholic and self-described royalist, does not consider himself, or his novel, to be racist. He sees it as a patriotic work defending French identity. He does however, recognize that the novel has attracted attention by some on the "extreme right-right." Nevertheless, he laments what he sees as the the inevitable outcome of global demographics and current French immigration policy -- the potential end of a distinctively French national identity.

Why did the European migrant crisis attract so much attention? For starters, there was the sexual assault of at least 1,200 German women by at least 2,000 men (primarily foreign nationals have been identified) in several German cities on New Years Eve, 2015, including 600 attacks in Cologne and 400 in Hamburg (see here). An interpreter working on a documentary on exploited migrant children was raped at knifepoint at the Calais "jungle" migrant camp in France, which is part of a much larger problem of sexual violence in France's migrant camps. Consider the stories of child-rape in Greece's migrant camps. It could be argued that the horror stories involving the sexual exploitation of women and minors, as well as various other criminal activities associated with the European migrant crisis, provided reasonable cause for concern.

It was in this context (2015-2016 European migrant crisis) that Bannon referenced The Camp of the Saints -- literally saying "it's like The Camp of the Saints" -- during several radio appearances. In one radio segment, Bannon acknowledged that when The Camp of the Saints first appeared in print that it was called "racist and nativist." Yet the substance of these discussions focused on what Bannon considered to be the misguided policies of the European nations to take in significant numbers of migrants without regard for the cultural impact or potential security threats such groups might pose. In other words, Bannon's "it's like The Camp of the Saints" references represented passing references by a well-read commentator, which were made in the context of discussing the horrors of the European migrant camps and the unfurling of the Obama administration's plan to settle Syrian refugees in the U.S.

Enter Trump's "surprise" election, Bannon's emergence as an important player in the new administration, and the Huffington Post's attempt to conflate the storyline of Jean Raspail's The Camp of the Saints with Bannon's worldview. Paul Blumanthal and J.M. Rieger's Huffington Post article, "This Stunningly Racist French Novel Is How Steve Bannon Explains The World," introduced the digital frontier to the idea that The Camp of Saints provides the critical backdrop necessary to understand the Trump administration's so-called "Muslim ban" (for the full article, see here).

Blumenthal and Rieger include a brief audio clip with the write-up, which splices together brief edits from several different Bannon radio interviews in which he references The Camp of the Saints. The audio clip jumps from each "it's like The Camp of the Saints" reference, but without including any of the context of the discussion. No critical analysis of Bannon's references to The Camp of the Saints is attempted. Blumanthal and Rieger base the entire premise of the article on the claims made by GOP commentator, and Trump-critic, Linda Chavez, who happened to have reviewed the novel in the 1980s. She claimed that the novel was a "touchstone" of Bannon's thoughts on immigration, and indicative of his desire to "make America white again."

Since the election, Chavez has buried the rhetoric and publicly supports various aspects of Trump's policies, but she's was clearly bothered by Trump's campaign rhetoric on immigration (bad hombres), remains sensitive on immigration issues (particularly the issue of the status of illegal immigrants, see here), and is not a Bannon fan. It would appear that her vitriol toward Bannon, however, may be connected to a workplace dispute over The Camp of the Saints that brought an end to her tenure as the head of U.S. English -- an organization that promoted English as the official language of the U.S -- in the late-1980s. What's clear is that Chavez's comments about Bannon do not involve anything specific that Bannon has written or said that would indicate that Bannon holds racist views, besides the fact that Bannon mentioned the title of Raspail's novel. They do not appear to know one another personally, and Chaves' ire is most likely the result of her suspecting that Bannon opposes amnesty and is influencing Trump in that regard.

Following the Huffington Post's lead, Slate's Ben Mathis-Lilley's "Another Day, Another Report About Steve Bannon's Affection for Nazism," pegs Bannon's "affection" for Nazism to "white advocate" Jared Taylor (for the Mathis-Lilley article, see here). Mathis-Lilley argues that the references Bannon made to The Camp of the Saints must be considered alongside the praise the novel received from Jared Taylor (dubbed a white nationalist/supremacist by the SPLC, for Taylor, see here). The implication is that if Bannon read it, and Taylor read it, then they must share the exact same view of the world. Therefore, Bannon must be a racist/white nationalist/white supremacist by association. Of course, the SPLC -- perhaps at one time a meaningful organization -- now plays a leading role in accusing anyone to the right of Michael Moore of racism and bigotry (see here). Naturally, the SPLC assures us that "Bannon Has No Place in the White House" (see here).

The Huffington Post's Echo Chamber 
Once again, a contextless Bannon citation -- according to the previously used magic formula of the Atlantic and New York Times -- becomes guilt by association and dog-whistle "evidence" of Bannon's racism/Nazism. This time, it's courtesy of the SPLC and the Huffington Post.

For Daily Kos' typically unimaginative string of block quotes, see here.

For bustle.com's regurgitation, replete with Twitter references, see here.

Carbonated.tv -- see here.

Empty Lighthouse Magazine (yes, that's really the name of the publication) on Bannon's "Bible" with "actual quotes" from the Camp of the Saints -- see here.

Alternet, with a nifty photo of Bannon taken at an inopportune moment during a speech so as to make it seem like he is doing the classic Nazi Sieg Heil -- see here.

And the list continues, ad infinitum...

So what's really behind the attempts to connect Bannon to Nazism? Is it to diminish the newly elected president's policies before they are enacted? An attempt to control immigration policy despite Trump winning the election? Despite a Republican controlled Congress with a mandate to enact immigration reform? Is the implication that you are a racist Nazi if you oppose open borders? That you are racist to express security concerns about mass immigration from failed states where jihadist organizations have set up shop? The very premise of national sovereignty is being rebranded by the regressive left as "extreme nationalism" -- Nazism/fascism. And on college campuses, it appears to be working. Some students don't actually know what the term Nazi means, yet it has become the rallying cry of SJWs when shutting down the speech of campus conservatives; it's becoming the SJW catchall; it's becoming meaningless.

The effort to destroy national borders and culture by rebranding those opposing open border policies as "racists" has been used to great effect in Europe (see here). American leftists are currently employing the same strategy. Although General H.R. McMaster has recently taken over Bannon's spot at the NSC, Bannon will probably merit continued attention, as it is widely rumored that he runs an internal White House think-tank called the Strategic Initiatives Group.

A couple cowboy question for my progressive friends: How long can a nation exist without the rule of law and defined borders? Are you, by previously pushing open-border policies through executive fiat, and now through judicial activism and street protests, avoiding the Constitutional process of garnering enough sustained electoral support to change the law through Constitutional means? How about we debate the merits of Trumps policies; the election is over. Your bull-pucky is damaging the quality of the national discourse.

- The Cowboy Historian


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The New Left's Inclusivity Trojan Horse

Regressive leftist journalists, like their social justice warrior (SJW) counterparts, use various terms interchangeably when attacking those they oppose -- racist, Nazi, fascist, reactionary, bigot, misogynist, white supremacist, etc. These attacks are typically shielded by systems of circular logic. Debate is not an option. Only confessions are accepted. Sweeping judgements -- about the past, present, and future -- are routinely made with only the flimsiest appeals to evidence. The theoretical positions of left-wing activists -- critical theory, microaggression theory, gender fluidity -- have been elevated to the position of religious truth. If left unchecked, the implications are staggering...

The question on many minds is, why is this happening, and how do we describe and classify it? The trending term for this strange combination of "anti-fascist" fervor and semantic imprecision is intersectionality. Despite sustained attention, we've only begun a systematic analysis of this emotional contagion. While some analyses focus on a diagnosis of this national movement in the present, my analysis will focus on how this national movement emerged.

The SJW phenomena represents the first-fruits of a long-term, systematic effort by the New Left to dismantle the "intellectual superstructure" -- language, culture, institutions -- of the "exploitative," capitalistic West -- cultural Marxism via the Frankfurt School and French postmodernist intellectuals. SJW irrationality, and the blatantly partisan media coverage that fuels it, can only be understood within the context of a rapid leftward shift in academia over the last decade. The New Left's reframing of historical prototypes central to a traditional understanding of the American national identity represents the most salient feature of this leftward shift, and provides the backdrop necessary for understanding what appears to be religious fervor, ignorance, and semantic imprecision by SJWs, but what is actually the expression of an alternative lexicon and historical consciousness produced by systematic textual indoctrination. Many university history departments now serve as echo chambers for the theoretical positions of the New Left, which have been uncritically applied to the nation's past, normalized in the master narrative, and thereby foisted upon analyses of the present.

To be clear, this isn't your 1960s, free love, anti-War, hippie-protestor Marxism, which appealed to the liberal tradition of free speech (as a survival tactic) and focused primarily on empirical economic arguments -- history dressed up as a hard science. Vulgar Marxism went down the tubes with the Soviet Union.

Cultural marxism, by contrast, represents an attempt at the wholesale rebranding of the American national identity as fundamentally oppressive -- racist, sexist, xenophobic, bigoted. This rebranding process has been conducted under the guise of creating a more inclusive historical narrative -- giving a voice to those previously silenced, conferring agency on the previously powerless -- workers, leftists, women, people of color, LGBTQ, immigrants, etc. Who wouldn't want to right the wrongs of the past, and support a more inclusive and compassionate narrative? Who doesn't want to be on the right side of history? However, the alluring premise of producing an inclusive narrative has allowed the New Left to fly under the radar while packaging the central tenants of cultural Marxism -- and its antipathy for traditional American culture and institutions -- into secondary and college history texts, which traditionally have played an important role in the development of the historical consciousness and national identity of American citizens. Critics of the "activist scholarship" that this new narrative is based upon have been easily marginalized as defending the oppressive structures of the past.

In this manner, the worst aspects of American history are subtly amplified and made to be holistically representative of the national character -- past and present. The New Left tells a history of the United States through the eyes of its enemies and malcontents. Is it any wonder that it's adherents see American society as an oppressive force to be overcome? To be fundamentally changed?

While I find the arguments that focus on the religious nature of the SJW movement worthwhile and intriguing, my next series of posts will focus exclusively on making the case that the New Left's consolidation of control over the production of historical texts, coupled with the progressive-oriented influence of the major grant funding foundations, has produced a situation in which traditional American values are being subverted through a top-down structure of intellectual control. The genius of this intersectional paradigm lies in the built-in assumptions that accompany the "unfurling of historical progress" -- "history" now "says" that capitalism, the patriarchy, and white supremacy are both the structures of past oppression, and the obstacles to an inclusive present. Without being challenged, this distorted image of the past will produce a fractured and self-defeating national identity. As a lonesome cowboy on the digital frontier, I believe that divisive identity politics, which the New Left historical paradigm has made such a substantial contribution to, can only be counteracted by cowboy historians willing to pull up their boot straps and tell a different story -- one that rustles the hucksters, and emphasizes the inclusive ideals that made this country exceptional.

"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past." - George Orwell, 1984

- The Cowboy Historian