Category Archives: Conservatism

Trending On Fox News And Among Republicans: Reversion To The Neoconservative, Warmongering Mean

China, Conservatism, Foreign Policy, Iran, Neoconservatism, Russia, War

Mike Waltz, Republican representative from Florida, comfortably fumes against Russia, to applause on both sides of the aisle: “We’re on the edge of a crisis with Russia and Ukraine,” he states formulaically.

That’s the formula. Donald Trump briefly and imperfectly departed from neoconservative foreign-policy dogma to the cheers of the base, which was willing to contemplate “certain national-conservative governments in East Europe” as “natural allies to conservative policy makers, stateside.

Mike Pompeo, a shadow of his former self, having slimmed down to size svelte, swells the chorus on Fox News in advocating muscular threats to Putin, rather than respectful negotiation with a nuclear power with legitimate concerns about the incursion of the US and NATO into its neighborhood. He exhorts the US to “act to make clear to Putin that ‘the cost will be enormous,'” finding the “good” graces to growl against Iran, too.  Starve ’em, sanction them…

Fox is guilty of normalizing the empty-headed, zero-information ditz and ditto-headed split-screen panel in adjudicating matters of life-and-death. It used to be one could expect to hear from deep thinkers on Russia like Stephen Cohen, RIP, or Pat Buchanan, whose foreign-policy knowledge and insights are desperately needed now.

Now it’s Da Idiocracy: Foreign policy “insights” flow on Fox News from Lara Logan (read “No, Lara Logan, Only Simpletons Think Afghanistan Is Simple“), beefcake Rambo types like Pete Hegseth and the deeply dumb Johnny Jones; media writer Howard Kurtz, and from the stoic tabula rasa that is Mollie Hemingway—she’s dour and serious so she must know something, right? Wrong! Humdrum Democratic strategists are a-dime-a-dozen in shouting at the screen about what once used to be the purview of serious, learned people.

Then again, that’s how easy it is to thoughtlessly imbibe the neoconservative-neoliberal, Deep State-stamped foreign policy scrip.

Above all, let us not forget the war porn: For war paint and trashy, tasteless attire, there is no beating Fox News female personalities. The Fox News war porn—females in war paint, bosoms panting and heaving for blood—helped sex-up and sell the offensive against Iraq. (“TUNED-OUT, TURNED-ON, AND HOT FOR WAR“/2003)

UPDATED (12/28): I Met Archbishop Desmond Tutu Twice: Con Inc. Should Just Hush Their Mouths About Him

Christianity, Conservatism, Iraq, Israel, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Judaism & Jews, Neoconservatism, South-Africa

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has died (this BBC “stellar” news report does not “report” whether it was today or yesterday). I had attended the Archbishop’s inauguration with my father, the late Rabbi Ben Isaacson, who had been friendly with Archbishop Tutu.

My father and I also took a gracious (and sumptuous) afternoon tea with the Archbishop decades back in his official residence in Cape Town. (These events are mentioned briefly in my 2011 book, Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa.)

However, the tracts being written about Tutu by American conservatives and neoconservative—and what a resurgence we are witnessing in this reflexive mindset!—are laughable. (Americans must refrain from writing about cultures that are not American; they are simply too insular and chauvinistic to shed anything but darkness on these matters.)

For example, the authors of Black Skin Privilege and the American Dream, reviewed years back by Jack Kerwick on FrontPage Magazine, had picked on Desmond Tutu as an example of black privilege in South Africa! Of all things. Again, this is as laughable as it is to bang on ignorantly and endlessly about Tutu’s criticism of Israel, as if that’s never valid or permissible.

It must be an authorial tic peculiar to neoconservatives, and applied to anyone with an anti-Israel position, for which Archbishop Tutu is famous. He also opposed the Bush travesty that was the war on Iraq. It is also typical of the neoconservative’s ahistoric approach, where a proposition or an idea (black privilege) is applied without context or nuance, to any and all annoying blacks (Tutu became that alright).

In truth, Tutu embodied the old-style, old-school African gentleman. The Archbishop grew up in wretched poverty, received—and gladly accepted—a decent education courtesy of the Church, and worked his ministry so hard as to reap the rewards. (In “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa,” I discuss the wonders done by the white-run churches in South Africa. What good equalizers were some schools in the old South Africa:  Desmond Tutu, myself, and hundreds of thousands of other Africans, belong to the same alma mater: UNISA.)

Sure, Tutu was left-liberal and a critic of Israel and of neoconservative project (God bless him for that). But to me, as I said in “King Tut(u) Not So Terrific,” his impiety stems from never having piped up about the ethnic cleansing of rural whites, Afrikaners mostly, from the land in ways that beggar belief. Saint Mandela certainly remained mum about farm murders that are Shaka-Zulu worthy in grisliness.

And so, by the way, had our conservative and libertarian friends remained silent about farm murders until quite recently when talking about anti-white South Africa has become all the rage.

In any case, my meeting with the Archbishop Tutu was memorable. From that occasion I took away that Desmond Tutu was fond of my father and respectful of dad’s Jewish faith and scholarship. The two had a brief and lively exchange about a philosophical difference between Judaism and Christianity. My father was a redoubtable debater. Ditto Tutu. But both men were far better religious leaders than they were political activists, for which they, alas, became known.

UPDATE (12/28/021): In the tackiest manner, legal scholar Alan Dershowitz, who is currently using his analytical prowess to justify forceful, aggressive vaccination, deployed a visit to a Fox News set on an unrelated matter, to libel the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu. As follows:

“The world is mourning Bishop Tutu, who just died the other day,” hissed Dershowitz. “Can I remind the world that although he did some good things, a lot of good things on apartheid, the man was a rampant antiSemite and bigot,” spewed Dershowitz.

“The man minimized the Holocaust. The man compared Israel to Nazi Germany. When we’re tearing down statues of Jefferson and Lincoln and Washington, let’s not build statues to a deeply, deeply flawed man, like Bishop Tutu. Let’s make sure that history remembers both the goods he did and the awful, awful bads that he did as well.”

Others on the Fox News panel looked on at the Dershowitz train wreck in horror. Aside his uncivilized and boorish timing, Dershowitz’ views are skewed. They are utterly Israel and Jewish-centric. Tutu was indeed pro-Palestinian, but this did not make him an anti-Semite. And he certainly was no “Holocaust minimizer,” what ever that means. As mentioned, I had visited with him with my rabbi father, who was friendly with the archbishop. Tutu was polite, warm and kind.

Far more illuminating and interesting than Dershowitz’ Israel compliance shtick is my account, in “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa,” of Israel’s friendship with Apartheid South Africa. Israel had refused to follow the West in isolating South Africa, and actively and productively—especially militarily—engaged with South Africa. Ronald Reagan tried the meeker form of “constructive engagement” before he was overridden by his Republican party, and told specifically that he was out of step in his wish to engage with South Africa, rather than punish her.

It’s not like Dershowitz ever met Tutu, but wait a sec, I had actually met the Archbishop, and even had the honor of attending his inauguration. Imagine! Mine is a real-life assessment that dares to fail the Israel First test. OMG!

 

Dreary Vs. Dishy: Rod Dreher’s Still As Dull As Ever And … Jealous Of Eric Metaxas (Dah)

Celebrity, Conservatism, Critique, Europe, Globalism, Iraq, Juvenal Early's Archive, Neoconservatism, Paleoconservatism, Populism, Pseudo-intellectualism

By Juvenal Early

Some time back, I did a survey of some particularly ineffective (flaccid, ILANA might say) conservative voices. It’s time to provide an update on one of them: Crunchy superstar Rod Dreher, or Dreary, as I call him, a blogger who needs no introduction—unfortunately. Evidence that there is no justice on this side of the grave: Dreary has one of the most coveted platforms on the right, plus he has a publisher ready to print whatever 90,000 words he can throw together in any given year.

Dreary spent a few months in Budapest earlier this year, and I think he should move there permanently. Or to Paris, which also seems to hold a special place in his heart. No malice or disrespect intended toward either city, holy places of the West, I would say. But Europe does wonders for Dreary’s attitude—and his opinions. He’s actually good writing about Gothic cathedrals and haute cuisine. Europe is right in his wheelhouse.

Plus, a European posting would more or less preclude him from commenting on the local scene. In America, Dreary is the apotheosis of the craven, sniveling, virtue-signaling Conservatism Inc. (Con-Ink) apparatchik.  I think we’d all be a lot happier if we never again had to read his Never-Trumpisms; or his faint and hollow praise of the Founders; or his weaselly approbation of Confederate memorial removal. Or to never again have to see him expound on race and racism in America.

He was doing very well in the land of the Magyars, and near the end of his three-month stay he enthused over Tucker Carlson, who had taken his show to Budapest. Dreary commended Tucker for courage (true) for interviewing Orban and highlighting Hungary’s common sense immigration policy. It was as good as you can expect from the old Crunchy Con.

This was early August. Dreary posted at least one long article in TAC praising Tucker’s efforts. John Derbyshire—of VDARE and “The Talk” fame—praised Dreary’s article, in his own Orban piece. Dreary saw that story reposted in Unz, liked it, and tweeted it out to all his followers, with the message “Good piece by Derb.” Subsequently, he was called out by lite-libertarian Robbie Soave for commending the work of a racist. Dreary, at first disavowed all knowledge of VDARE, claiming that he didn’t know it was a white nationalist site (it’s not, btw). Then he deleted his original tweet.

It brought to mind other times when Dreary virtue-signaled about race. He doesn’t like being associated with anyone on a SPLC list. The trouble is that anyone to the right of Rich Lowry is likely on a SPLC list, and if a conservative wants to stay off the list, he’d better start off conceding about 90% of the playing field (argument) of any given issue to his left-wing opponent.

Back in 2017, Dreary threw a real hissy fit over Pat Buchanan’s post-Charlottesville column. Pugnacious Pat (God bless him) took issue with the Left for labeling enveryone connected with Unite the Right a white supremacist. By present day standards, Pat reminded us, all of the most historically-important Americans were white supremacists. Typical for Pat, he laid out the facts and left it to the reader to decide—although he wasn’t shy about sharing his own conclusions. In this case, the Founders were great men in spite of whatever we think they might have done, and the nation they gifted to their posterity was a generous offering indeed. Read the column and see what you think.

Poor Dreary couldn’t deal with the nuance of it all. His takeaway? “Buchanan is defending white supremacy, straight up.” When I saw that “straight up,” I couldn’t help being reminded of that cutting edge mediocrity Janeane Garofalo on Keith Olbermann’s late, unlamented MSNBC show. That’s not a bad role model for Dreary to emulate, come to think of it.

Dreary, of course, like the rest of the craven horde that is Con-Ink, was quick to point and splutter when it came to Charlottesville. Whereas, Buchanan gathers facts, analyzes, and decides based on firmly-held principles, Dreary is the type to see how the wind’s blowing, then jump on the bandwagon as close to the front as he can. Thus, you had a man of principle being smeared by a drone of the hive mind.

This, of course, was wrong on so many levels. Back in 2003, when Dreary was writing for pro-war National Review, Buchanan was putting his considerable reputation on the line to co-found the American Conservative, a magazine explicitly started to provide a home for anti-war right wingers (with the assiduous exclusion of Mercer, so even that attempt wasn’t an honest reflection of the reality on the right). One of Dreary’s associates at the time, David Frum, wrote a famous article in NR condemning the likes of Buchanan as “unpatriotic conservatives.”

Later, when the Iraq war was exposed for the deceitful quagmire it was, Dreary was able to slink his way over to TAC. By then, Buchanan had left (as had Moneybags Taki), but, let’s face it, there would’ve been no TAC without Pat. Thus, I think Rod Dreher is not only a mediocre dolt, but an ingrate too.

He’s also an ad hominem hit-and-run bandit.

In October, in a particularly egregious case of the pot calling the kettle black, Dreary called out a couple of fellow religious conservatives, John Zmirak and Eric Metaxas, as Beta males, when they backed Donald Trump’s call for a Boycott of the GOP in 2022, should they nominate a lot of RINOs and Never-Trumpers. The tack Dreary took was rather odd, sort of a variation on a theme I first took notice of in a classic Seinfeld episode, “The Outing.” Seinfeld fans will remember the repeated line from that show; “I’m not gay!!!….Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

Dreary took issue with a conversation between the two men on Metaxas’s radio show. Both voiced strident opinions about Never-Trump conservatives, like the truly awful David French. I have no problem with strongly-voiced opinion, especially those I agree with. I’m sure you don’t either, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. But Dreary didn’t think they had a right to attack French, because French had been a soldier (Ooooooooo!), “a manly thing to do.”

Of the Catholic Zmirak, Dreary—in his oft-confusing style, writes:

He is a short middle-aged man with a belly as big and as soft as a beanbag. Hey, I’m not short, but I’m only two years younger than Zmirak, and I have the same belly he does. We are men who make our living writing. Unless you’re Ernest Hemingway, Norman Mailer, … it’s not especially the occupation of badasses.”

Of the objectively handsome Metaxas (author, by the way, of the definitive Dietrich Bonhoeffer biography), Dreary writes:

“Eric is an expensively groomed dandy who lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. This is not a criticism; I like his style! But the idea that Eric Metaxas, of all people, was urging people to give their lives for Donald Trump, is risible.”

Notice what he did there? Dreary basically says, Zmirak is a fat-ass (not that there’s anything wrong with that), so he doesn’t have the right to attack manly-man David French. Metaxas is a fop (though Dreary aspires to that as well), so he should be proscribed from talking tough too.

Incidentally, that “dandy” unkind cut seems particularly misplaced with regard to the urbane Metaxas, who most 58-year-old men wouldn’t mind resembling. Could it be envy on the part of the bedraggled, shirt-out and wispy-goateed Dreary, he of the Mies van der Rohe spectacles? Eric dresses in the stylish manner that at one time was a requirement for grown-up American men, especially those who lived in New York.

In the Who/Whom Era in which we now live, Dreary’s only going to attack the people and ideas he doesn’t like (or can’t understand). If he likes who you are and what you’re peddling, you can conjure up the whiniest hissy-fit in the universe to proclaim it, and he’ll gladly blog it to all the minions who come to his trough for their daily quota of slop.

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This is “Juvenal Early’s” second piece for Barely A Blog. His first was “The Dissident Right Has An Idiocracy Problem.” He now has a BAB archive.

Once upon a time, the epistolary fluff ensconced at The American Conservative was detonated daily by the “pugnacious” Lawrence Auster. When Auster died, a void opened up. The “typically shapeless pieces” coming out of paleoconservative quarters, at once “weird and solipsistic”—Auster’s delicious descriptions—have escaped scrutiny. Going by the pen name “Juvenal Early,” a disillusioned former donor to Chronicles has stepped forward. I’m more than delighted to have launched and to continue to unleashing Juvenal.
Enjoy.
ilana

 

 

South Africa Practiced Good Science And Good Sense: The OMG! Variant

America, Conservatism, COVID-19, EU, Europe, IMMIGRATION, South-Africa, The West

Dr. Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, was first to alert South African epidemiologists to what has now been named the Omicron variant of COVID. Or, as I’ve dubbed it, the “OMG! Variant.”

Dr. Coetzee’s suspected a variant with attendant mild disease in her patients. She quickly alerted South Africa’s skilled and responsible epidemiologists, who, I believe, have been doing the genetic sequencing. The COVID cartel has done the panicking and the banning. With the audacity and equanimity conferred by ignorance did the magical, medical, menagerie of morons stateside claim more knowledge than those medics who were working with the infected. As I write, TV’s bimbos and their house-trained boys are aflutter, speaking with certainty about destructive policies.

READ the good doctor’s summation: “I’ve seen nothing in this variant that warrants Britain’s extreme response to it.”

South Africa has practiced and modeled good science and good sense. The cretins of the COVID cartel recoiled. The West is a disgrace.

The audacity: The magical, medical, menagerie of morons stateside ALREADY knows ALL about new OMG! Covid variant. TV bimbos and their house-trained boys are aflutter.