Category Archives: Conservatism

Jennifer Rubin Is A Rubbishy Writer

Bush, Conservatism, English, Literature, Neoconservatism

This New York Review of Books reviewer suggests that the tedious neoconservative, Jennifer Rubin, made prominent for her banality, is reminiscent of the late Molly Ivins, who was an old-school, acerbic, liberal columnist.


Ivins coined memorable monikers for George Bush such as “Shrub” and “Dubya.”

Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol was a neoconservative writer, organizer, and theorist for a quarter-century, at the barricades on controversies from health care reform to the Iraq War (he was also the most important promoter of Sarah Palin, who embodied Trumpism before Trump became Trump). Now he regularly issues withering tweets about Trump and is a fixture on the liberal-leaning MSNBC. The foreign policy writer Max Boot was a vocal and at times strident champion of the Bush Doctrine. These days he’s a ferocious and shrewd critic of the president. Washington Post blogger-columnist Jennifer Rubin was, among prominent conservative pundits, probably Mitt Romney’s most aggressive defender in 2012 and aside from that was known for her hard-line foreign policy views, particularly on matters relating to Israel. Now, her columns often read as if they could have been written by the late Molly Ivins. (Two recent Rubin headlines: “Trump Retreats on Iran, and He Will Need to Do So Again”; “The Enablers of the Racist President Are Back at It.”)

David Frum is also a much better writer than Israel Firster, Ms. Rubin.


Donald Trump’s Judicial Appointments: His Most Enduring Legacy

Conservatism, Constitution, Donald Trump, Justice, Law

“Everything else could in theory be reversed. [Trump’s] effect on the law will be profound,” writes The Economist:

.. No president has confirmed more federal appellate judges (12) in his first year than Donald Trump. He has also seen six federal district-court judges confirmed, and one Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch. Another 47 nominees await confirmation; 102 more federal judgeships remain open for Mr Trump to fill. With two of the Supreme Court’s liberal justices, and its one unpredictable member (Anthony Kennedy) aged 79 or older, the president may get to name another justice, cementing the Court’s conservative bent.

Mr Trump’s tax reform, penchant for deregulation and foreign-policy direction could all be reversed by the next president. But because federal judges serve for life, the largely young conservatives whom Mr Trump has placed on the bench will have an impact on American life and law that long outlasts his administration.

The federal judiciary is organised into 12 regional circuits and the nine-member Supreme Court. Around 400,000 cases are filed yearly in the federal system, which has around 1,700 judges. Each of these circuits has several district courts (there are 94 in all), which hear civil and criminal federal cases, and one appellate court (there are 13: one for each circuit and the appellate court for the federal circuit), which hears appeals against decisions made by federal district courts and agencies. Because the Supreme Court hears so few cases, federal appellate courts define most contested matters of federal law.

Every president leaves his mark on the federal bench, but Mr Trump’s will be larger than most, for two reasons. First, Senate Republicans confirmed fewer judges in Barack Obama’s last two years (22) than in any two-year period since 1951-52. Mr Obama left office with 107 federal judgeships still vacant—including Mr Gorsuch’s seat, held open because Senate Republicans refused to give Merrick Garland, Mr Obama’s nominee, a hearing. This was more than twice the number George W. Bush had at his presidency’s end. Second, in 2013 Senate Democrats eliminated the filibuster for lower-court nominees, which means judges can be confirmed with a simple majority vote, rather than the 60 required to break a filibuster. For many conservatives, this opportunity alone—rather than fear of letting Hillary Clinton exploit it—justified their support for Mr Trump.

He has not disappointed. …

… Mr Trump has nominated orthodox conservatives whom the Republican-controlled Senate has happily confirmed.

During his campaign, Mr Trump promised that the judges he nominated would be “all picked by the Federalist Society”, America’s leading organisation of conservative and libertarian lawyers. Many of his nominees have ties to the group, as do Mr Gorsuch and Don McGahn, the president’s counsel. Mr McGahn told a Federalist Society gathering in November that the administration wanted to nominate “strong and smart judges…committed originalists and textualists [who] possess the fortitude to enforce the rule of law”. Mr Trump’s nominees, he crowed, “all have paper trails…there is nothing unknown about them.”

That list of qualities contains subtle digs at the two types of judges conservatives want to avoid. The first, embodied by David Souter, whom George H.W. Bush appointed, is the nominee with a thin record on constitutional issues who turns liberal on the bench. John Roberts, the current chief justice, exemplifies the second type: many conservatives deride him as a squishy institutionalist who caved in to public pressure when he twice voted to uphold the Affordable Care Act.

The maturing of the conservative legal movement, which was in its infancy when Mr Bush picked Mr Souter in 1990, and the strength of its pipeline and networks, has made wild-card nominees less likely, particularly under Mr Trump, who appears happy to be guided by the “Federalist people”. That does not mean, of course, that presidents know how judges will vote on each issue for ever. But Republican judicial nominees share a legal philosophy that is sceptical of executive and federal power and inclined towards “originalism”, which interprets the constitution’s meaning narrowly, as it would have been understood when it was written.

The Economist: “Donald Trump’s judicial appointments may prove his most enduring legacy.”

The Conservative Cult Of Dr. Martin Luther King, Communist, Plagiarist, And Worse

BAB's A List, Communism, Conservatism, Cultural Marxism, Ethics, History, Intellectualism, Left-Liberalism, Morality

I almost lost my lunch listening to a radio rerun of Sean Hannity’s odes to Martin Luther King Jr.  To declare the schmaltzy, sub-intellectual fare of  King Jr.  to be the greatest thinking ever is to kill one’s intellectual credibility and affront the history of thought. I read Plato—yes yes, he was a statist—and I think, “Just wow,”and “what genius.” I listen to the “I Have a Dream” speech, and I think, “Oprah,” and “what kitsch.”

Barley A Blog correspondent Dr. Boyd Cathey fills in the blanks:

For the past thirty-five years (officially since 1986) the third Monday in January has been celebrated as a federal holiday, Martin Luther King Day. Federal and state offices and many businesses either close or go on limited schedules. We are awash with public observances, parades, prayer breakfasts, stepped-up school projects for our unwary and intellectually-abused children, and gobs and gobs of over-the-top television “specials” and movies, all geared to tell us—to shout it in our faces, if we don’t pay strict attention—that Martin Luther King Jr. was some sort of superhuman, semi-divine civil rights leader who brought the promise of equality to millions of Americans, a kind of modern St. John the Baptist ushering in the Millenium. And that he stands just below Jesus Christ in the pantheon of revered and adored historical personages…and in some ways, perhaps above Jesus Christ in the minds of many of his present-day devotees and epigones.

It seems to do no good to issue a demurrer to this veritable religious “cult of Dr. King.” There are, indeed, numerous “Christian” churches that now “celebrate” this day just as if it were a major feast in the Christian calendar. In short, Martin Luther King has received de facto canonization religiously and in the public mind as no other person in American history.

Mention the fact that King plagiarized as much as 40 percent of his Boston University Ph.D. dissertation [cf. Theodore Pappas, Plagiarism and the Culture War: The Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr, and Other Prominent Americans, 1998, and Martin Luther King Jr Plagiarism Story, 1994], or that he worked closely with known Communists throughout his life, or that he advocated American defeat in Vietnam while praising Ho Chi Minh, or that he implicitly countenanced violence and Marxism, especially later in his life [cf., Congressional Record, 129, no. 130 (October 3, 1983): S13452-S13461]—mention any of these accusations confirmed begrudgingly by his establishment biographers David Garrow and Taylor Branch, or mention his even-by-current-standards violent “rough sex” escapades (which apparently involved even under-age children) [cf., Cooper Sterling, January 13, 2018]—and you immediately get labeled a “racist” and condemned by not just the zealous King flame-keepers on the Left, but by such neoconservatives like James Kirchick and Dinesh D’Souza who supposedly are on the Right.

Indeed, in some ways Establishment “conservatives” such as Jonah Goldberg, Rich Lowry (National Review), D’Souza, Glenn Beck, the talking heads on Fox and the furious scribblers at The Weekly Standard, and many others, not only eagerly buy into this narrative, they now have converted King into a full-fledged, card-carrying member of “conservatism inc.”—the (contemporary) “conservative movement,” a “plaster saint” iconized as literally no one else in our history.

Celebrating King becomes a means for these ersatz conservatives to demonstrate their “civil rights” and “egalitarian” bona fides. The neocons, with their philosophical and ideological origins over on the Trotskyite Left of the 1930s and 1940s, when they made their pilgrimage towards conservatism in the 1960s and 1970s, brought with them a fervent believe in a globalist New World Order egalitarianism that characterized Trotskyite Marxist ideology, and the determination to redefine and re-orient the traditional American Rightwing, and to re-write, as well, American history.

Thus, the purges of the old conservative movement in the 1980s and 1990s—there was no room for Southern conservatives like Mel Bradford, no room for traditionalist Catholics like Frederick Wilhelmsen or Brent Bozell Sr., no room for paleolibertarians like Murray Rothbard, no room for Old Right anti-egalitarians like Paul Gottfried, and no room for “America Firsters” like Pat Buchanan … And those traditional conservatives who were too significant in the “pantheon of greats,” like a Russell Kirk, they attempted to simply whitewash and give new, cleaned up images and identities (part and parcel of their “rewriting” of conservatism). Thus, Kirk’s opposition to the civil rights bills of the 1960s and 1970s, his staunch arguments against egalitarianism—are all swept under the carpet or carefully ignored.

In this, in fact, the dominant necons have joined with their cousins on the “farther Left,” to the point that Bush consultant guru and Fox pundit, Karl Rove, could boast that hardcore Marxist/Communist historian Eric Foner (who lamented the collapse of Soviet Communism) was his favorite historian (when examining Reconstruction) [See Dr. Paul Gottfried’s incisive critique of Foner and those “conservatives” who have praised him, “Guilt Trip,” The American Conservative,” May 4, 2009, pp. 21-23].

King Day becomes, then, for the Conservative Movement an opportunity for it to beat its chest, brag about its commitment to civil rights and the American “dream, the unrealized idea of equality (that is, to distort and re-write the history of the American Founding), and to protect its left flank against the ever increasing charges that it could be, just might be, maybe is—“racist.”

And for the “farther Left,” that catapulting cultural Marxist juggernaut that continues to move the societal and political goalposts to the Left, King Day becomes as a major ideological blitzkrieg, a weaponized cudgel used to strike down and silence anyone, anywhere, who might offer the slightest dissent to the latest barbarity and latest “advance” in civil rights, now expanded to include not just everything “racial,” but also same sex marriage, transgenderism and abortion on demand. Martin Luther King–that deeply and irredeemably flawed and fraudulent figure imposed upon us and our consciousness—has become an icon, a totem, who serves in martyred death the purposes of continuing Revolution.

The heavily-documented literature detailing the real Martin Luther King is abundant and remains uncontroverted and uncontested. During the debates over establishing a national “King Day” in the mid-1980s, Senators Jesse Helms and John East (both North Carolinians) led the opposition, supplying the Congress and the nation, and anyone with eyes to read, full accounts of the “King legacy,” from his close association and collaboration with the Communist Party USA to his advocacy of violence and support for the Communists in North Vietnam, to implicit support for Marxist revolution domestically. Ironically, it was Robert Woodson, a noted black Republican, who highlighted, in a lecture given to honor the “conservative virtues of Dr. Martin Luther King” at the Heritage Foundation on November 5, 1993, the difficulties in getting black advocates of the older generation to respect King’s role as a Civil Rights leader. According to Woodson, as quoted in an excellent essay by Paul Gottfried,

“When Dr. King tried to bring the Civil Rights movement together with the [Marxist] peace movement, it was Carl Rowan who characterized King as a Communist, not Ronald Reagan. I remember being on the dais of the NAACP banquet in Darby, Pennsylvania when Roy Wilkins soundly castigated King for this position.” [Paul Gottfried, “The Cult of St. Martin Luther King – A Loyalty Test for Careerist Conservatives?” January 16, 2012]

But not only that, behind the scenes there were voluminous secretly-made FBI recordings and accounts of King’s violent sexual escapades, often times with more than two or three others involved in such “rough sex” trysts; and of his near total hypocrisy when discussing civil rights and other prominent civil rights leaders. It is, to put it mildly, a sorry record, scandalous even by today’s standards…Indeed, King makes Harvey Weinstein look like a meek choirboy in comparison.

But you won’t hear any of that mentioned by the slobbering Mainstream Media or the media mavens on Fox News. In fact, such comments will get you exiled to the far reaches of the Gobi Desert and labeled a “racist,” quicker that my cocker spaniel gobbles down his kibble.



~ DR. BOYD D. CATHEY is an Unz Review columnist, as well as a Barely a Blog contributor, whose work is easily located on this site under the “BAB’s A List” search category. Dr. Cathey earned an MA in history at the University of Virginia (as a Thomas Jefferson Fellow), and as a Richard M Weaver Fellow earned his doctorate in history and political philosophy at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain. After additional studies in theology and philosophy in Switzerland, he taught in Argentina and Connecticut before returning to North Carolina. He was State Registrar of the North Carolina State Archives before retiring in 2011. He writes for The Unz Review, The Abbeville Institute, Confederate Veteran magazine, The Remnant, and other publications in the United States and Europe on a variety of topics, including politics, social and religious questions, film, and music.

Troops In Niger And Norway Now Cheered, As Neoconservatism Is Normalized

Conservatism, Donald Trump, Foreign Policy, Left-Liberalism, Neoconservatism, Republicans, War

Have you noticed that it’s now quite acceptable, on the so-called Left and phony Right, to casually quip about our troops in Niger and Norway? There is hardly any debate, disagreement or daylight, for that matter, on this dangerously united front between the brain-addled, muddled political factions at all.

This is the gift President Trump has given the neoconservatives, which now comfortably encompass neoliberals and all of Conservatism Inc.

Via (as everyone cheers for war or considers it inevitable if we want to flex our muscle):

VAERNES GARRISON, Norway — The stated goals of the Marine Corps’ newest rotational force in Norway are to enhance partnerships with European allies and improve the service’s ability to fight in cold weather.

But on a brief visit to the 300-member unit ahead of Christmas, the commandant and the sergeant major of the Marine Corps both described the strategic role the small unit fills — and the fact that a peacetime mission can be preface to combat if circumstances change.

The Norwegian Home Guard base near Trondheim that houses the Marine rotational force was the first stop on Gen. Robert Neller’s annual Christmas tour. …

… The stop was a new one for the tour. The first Norway rotation, from 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, deployed in January and was replaced by a new unit from 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, in late August.

Neller emphasized to the Marines that they should remain ready to fight at all times, predicting a “big-ass fight” on the horizon.