Friday, January 12, 2018

Yaron Brook's Trump Derangement Syndrome and the Words of Guru

Currently, Yaron Brook is chairman of the board of the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI). He recently stepped down as ARI's CEO, who is now Jim Brown. Despite this change, Brook still remains the public face of ARI and is its most well-known and traveled figure. Not long ago he joined the Blaze "radio network" and still does his other audio uploads such as his Yaron's News Briefs. Sadly, these efforts are largely failures on his part. He often uploads several times a week and never suppresses the temptation to rattle on at great length. He would be more effective simply writing an 800-1000 word weekly column. Writing would be nice in that what he actual thinks on any given topic with be available to interested parties in objective black-and-white. 

I recently watched Brook's 100 minute long bombast (really, there is no other word for this speaking style) on the "year in review" that was uploaded on 2 January 2018. 

This episode was divided into two parts. The first twenty-five minutes was devoted to extolling the virtues of business, most especially that of high-tech. The second half was a nearly one hour long diatribe on Brook's bete noire President Donald Trump. It is difficult to analyze a nearly 100 minute stream-of-consciousness rant. But, I'll give it a try.

The chief intellectual error in this thing, of many, is Brook's gross over-generalizations. The repetition of his delivery is very tiresome. The message is clear within five minutes: multinational corporations (especially tech companies) can do no wrong and Donald Trump is the Devil - he's even worse than Obama. He seems to approach his topics from a Manichean perspective. Complex organizations or individuals are presented as wholly good or evil. There is no grey or people of mixed premises in Brook's world. 

A case in point is Brook's corporation worship. He seems to actually believe that most CEOs and businessmen are giants of productive ability who don't have serious flaws. There are few, if any, Hank Reardens in the American corporate world. At best, most are a amalgamation of Orren Boyle and Mr. Mowen with hopefully a little Dagny Taggart mixed in. Brook doesn't even make the distinction between real entrepreneurs who create new businesses and the top management class of CEOs who basically inherit someone else's creation. 

An example of the latter is the notorious Robert Nardelli who almost managed The Home Depot into the ground. It's a well-known story, except to Brook, so I don't need to go into the details. Nardelli did great damage to the firm, some of which will probably never be undone. But, he represents a familiar pattern. Genuine businessmen have a vision and create a successful enterprise. They eventually retire or die. Then along comes some Nardelli who doesn't share the founders' vision, or is even aware of it. He then causes untold damage by following some generic Harvard Business School playbook. Nardelli accepted a $210 million kiss-off to leave The Home Depot. What man of any integrity or honesty would accept such a sum for complete, utter and disgraceful failure? These types of "businessmen" are far from admirable. And they exist in far greater numbers than Brook would ever want to admit. Incredibly, Nardelli became CEO of Chrysler in 2007. Chrysler filed for bankruptcy in 2009. 

Even real entreprenuers who create successful companies are not necessarily decent or respectable human beings. Silicon (Soviet) Valley that Brook idealizes provides many good examples of this complex reality. The creator (or alleged creator) of Facebook is a case in point. Just today PJ Media posted a story of Facebook banning a bestselling author whose book criticizes Obama. 

Shockingly, Margolis paid for this ad to be "boosted" throughout Facebook using the advertiser program they offer. Facebook had no problem taking his money for this ad but banned him directly after he posted it to several groups. The groups he sent it to were all conservative-friendly groups that normally welcome such announcements and buy conservative books.
Such action is called fraud. But that social media companies violate their own terms of service (arguable breach of contract) is hardly news. Twitter is on fire with outrage over President Trump's alleged "shithole" remark. Meanwhile, this is what Twitter thinks of anyone to the right of Jeb! Bush!  

Olinda Hassan, Policy Manager for Twitter Trust and Safety explains, “we’re trying to ‘down rank’… shitty people to not show up,” “we’re working [that] on right now”   

The issue here is not whether these corporations have the right to be dishonest scum. The issue is why anyone would heap unqualified praise upon such vicious scum. Apparently, Brook has never heard the name James Damore. Some of the people running and working for Google sound certifiable. Clearly, their actions are in violation of numerous employment laws. 

Brook says that the politics of the country's richest people doesn't matter. I don't know if this statement is the result of naivete or evasion. Obviously, the political agenda of the leaders of corporate giants that control much of the world's information flow is of immense importance. What to do about it is another question. 

Another example is Jeffrey Bezos who is reportedly the richest man in the world. Bezos founded Amazon and made it a success. Good for him. He has reaped the rewards of his success. His politics matter. He purchased the Washington Post. The newspaper is now just a purvayor of fake news and Progressive propaganda. Why such a successful businessman is a leading cheerleader for naked fascism is an interesting question. But, Brook will never consider it. One has to seriously wonder about the nature of Bezos' character. One would think that he would be able to at least treat his employees as human beings. But, for some people, the bottom line supersedes common decency. No wonder all these CEOs want to import large numbers of indentured servants, which Brook wholeheartedly supports. Brook's callowness is limitless. Obviously, he has never worked for the nasty people he praises.

Brook also briefly comments on the great work being done by American energy companies. Of course, he gives President Trump no credit for deregulation and reining in the EPA. The last hour of the show is devoted to a diatribe on how President Trump is Satan. In fact, Donald Trump may be the only successful businessman that Brook doesn't uncritically adore. 

Instead he devotes much time to repeating such bon mots as Trump's being "the most mindless administration ... anti-reason administration, ever! Trump is the first post-modern president ... more so than Obama."  After creating a cartoonish image of President Trump, he then ridicules his own cartoon monster. After attacking President Trump as a liar, Brook pulls out this whopper: 

I'm not going to get into an argument with you guys [?] on trade, because there is no argument on trade ... Trade is a settled issue ... Trade with [Red] China's a fantastic thing. Trump announces trade is bad. 
Of course, the president has never said that trade is bad. He has said that certain trade deals have been bad for America and he will renegotiate them. It's not surprising that Brook doesn't want to have an "argument" about trade policy. He apparently believes that sweetheart deals between corrupt cronies on one hand and Red China's People Liberation Army (PLA) on the other are both "free trade" and good for America. Brook doesn't see any downside to funneling more $trillions into the coffers of the PLA.   

Seriously, what could go wrong with financing the ChiComs hegemony in East Asia? Brook sees none. 

After spending the better part of an hour castigating the president as a pathological liar with no concern for truth, Brook goes full Russian conspiracy. By the way, Brook views Russia as the greatest potential threat to American security, not Islam and certainly not his ChiCom pals. Anyways, at nearly the end of the show, Brook provides this bit of wisdom, "Do I buy that Trump colluded with the Russians? Yeah, I believe that ... I don't have any evidence to support this." He then hedges, then concludes, "It doesn't strike me as science fiction." Trump Derangement Syndrome means never having to cite any actual evidence for anything. 

While listening to Brook, the phrase "The Words of Guru" came to mind. It's the title of a science fiction short story by C. M. Kornbluth. Published in 1941, it's more a fantasy story of a young boy who comes under the spell of Guru whose words can alter reality. An old man in the story gives the boy some good advice for the present context, 

"Guru?", he asked. "Who is Guru? Some foreigner, I suppose. Bad business mixing with foreigners, young fellow. Who is Guru?" 

In the present, Brook would like to be a Guru whose endless barrage of verbiage could somehow alter reality. For example, he spends some time on how America is becoming tribal. His evidence is the growing concern over immigration. He views such concerns as being based largely on "racism" and "xenophobia." Financial wizard Brook should reconsider the effectiveness of calling many in his audience "mindless racists." I doubt it is good for business or very convincing to those not already in complete agreement with his dogma.

One can almost observe the hamster wheel spinning in his head: If he says this ad hominem enough, it will become true; All the legitimate concerns over immigration will go away; People will forget the rank hypocrisy of applying the "open immigration" principle to the United States while ignoring the border fortifications of Israel and India; Americans will forget about the massive damage done to their country by "globalism." One can almost see the smoke from overheating ball-bearings as he labors with his denials and evasions.  

In any event, the Ayn Rand Institute would be well served by severing all connection with Brook. A most thorough housecleaning of all Brook's comrades at ARI is also needed. Maybe then, ARI can again become a philosophical organization promoting Objectivism instead of an adjunct to the CATO Institute.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Ayn Rand Institute Speakers Accept False Alternative and Evade the Obvious on the Stealth Jihad

I recently came across this video clip from a much longer discussion from June 2017. It's a discussion on threats to free speech. 

The clip is around ten minutes long and is the panelists' response to a question: "How would you apply the question of free speech to radical Islamic preachers like Anjem Choudary ... should they be silenced or should they be free to say what they feel." Such an artfully presented false alternative

Not one of the three panelists, who all responded to the question, challenged its false premise. The panelists were Dave Rubin of the "Rubin Report," Fleming Rose whose cartoon was an object of the notorious "cartoon jihad," and Steve Simpson of the Ayn Rand Institute. The panel discussion was a presentation during the week long Objectivist Conference (OCON) in June of 2017. 

Each of the panelists address the question in turn beginning with Rubin. Rubin's response is the most predicable and pedestrian. He states that only direct calls to violence are actionable because there's no such thing as "hate speech," thus conflating "hate speech" with sedition, treason and fifth-column conspiracies. They're saying vile things but, "you have to let these people speak." He makes the distinction between jihadists (who commit acts of violence) and "islamists" who are just stealth jihadists using the West's tolerance against us. By the way, "Islamist" is one of the terms made up by Western squishes that actual Moslems never use when referring to themselves.

Flemming Rose's response is downright bizarre. The jihadists "are doing what the Communists did during the Cold War and we managed pretty well ... I think we did pretty well ... In Denmark the Nazi Party also wasn't banned ... I think we have been pretty good at fighting totalitarian ideas...." (Emphasis added) Those Danes tortured and murdered by the Gestapo would probably disagree on how well things worked out. And, what's this we stuff? 

Defeating Totalitarianism in Reality

Denmark was occupied by the Nazis from 1940 to 1945. It was liberated by General Eisenhower's American and British armies. If General Montgomery's forces had not cut-off the Jutland Peninsula from the East, Russian would be Rose's native tongue. Needless to say, Denmark had little to do with the American victory over the Soviets in the Cold War. The unstated premise is "after we give our country away to invading Moslem barbarians, the Americans will come and save us for a third time." Don't count on it. 

To his credit, Steve Simpson gives the most in-depth and sensible answer to the question, but he still evades the elephant pooping on the rug. He correctly observes that European, and the American, Communist parties were agents of a hostile power. He states that they should have been treated as criminal conspiracies - as should various (stealth) jihad organizations in the West. He argues for this analogy by using the example of the mafia and that the government can treat it as a criminal organization - he doesn't mention the propriety of RICO. His use of the "Italian mafia" and not MS-13 is an interesting tell. 

Simpson's analogy is only valid to a limited extent. Communists and Moslem fifth-columnists are far more dangerous than criminal gangs that just seek loot. The political, social and cultural agendas of such seditious enterprises make them far more insidious and threatening. Their avowed purpose is to destroy our way of life, undermine the culture that makes liberty possible and fundamentally transform the USA into some form of police state. These conspiracies do so not by "shaking down" the corner grocer, but by infiltrating, subverting and taking over key social institutions, including government agencies

I think the elephant being ignored in this discussion couldn't be more obvious. The real question is why should civilized Europeans and Americans suffer the likes of Anjem Choudary in their midst? Although an "anchor baby" born in England, the only rational way to deal with the Choudarys is to strip them of their British citizenship and ship them back to Pakistan. In Pakistan the jihadists can exercise their "right" to foment hatred for all infidels. The all too obvious response to the question is "they have to go back if they attempt in any way, shape or form to undermine our liberty and way of life." And, "needless to say, the further immigration of Moslems must be immediately halted." 

The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) would never allow such a question to be raised, much less openly debated, in any venue they control. Any response that conflicts with ARI's no-borders (for Europe and America) dogma will be suppressed, deleted and banned. That's their right. They have the absolute right to be dishonest evaders. And, the rest of us have the right to point out the cowardice at every opportunity. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Review: Richard Grenier, Capturing the Culture, 1991

Capturing the Culture is one of my favorite books. It must have been late 1991 when my good friend Edward Cline recommended that I buy it. It was the best twenty dollars I ever spent. Richard Grenier (1933-2002) had a varied career, which fortunately included that of movie reviewer for Commentary magazine. His insightful, iconoclastic comments on Hollywood's latest offerings were the highlight of the periodical. 

Ostensibly, Capturing the Culture is a collection of movie reviews from the 1980s that should garner little interest today. Actually, as the introduction by Robert Bork makes clear, these reviews are tour de force historical analyses of how the Hollywood left has been corrupting American culture for many decades. The title is in reference to Marxist Antonio Gramsci's famous call for the left to seize Western society's cultural high ground with a "long march through the institutions." Unlike Marx, Gramsci understood that cultural ideas and values are more than just "superstructure." He knew that politics is downstream of culture and sought to poison the culture to make way for his desired Soviet police state. Beginning in America's "Red Decade," leftists of all stripes have been working diligently to fulfill the cultural Marxist agenda. 

Hollywood was, of course, an early, high priority target for the leftist takeover. In the 1930s many successful movies were produced that contained overt political messages from the left. Some of these movies are actually very good and are still entertaining. One interesting aspect of this phenomenon is how low Hollywood's propaganda efforts have sunk. Most of the more recent work examined by Grenier is of much greater artistic merit than such rubbish as The Last Jedi.  

Grenier divides his book into two sections. The first section titled "Feature Films" contains twelve masterful essays that represent some of his best work. The second half "Quick Takes" is thirty-four short reviews on various films and other cultural artifacts. Some of these movies are well-known, popular films that met box office success. Some of the reviews are of lessor known or long-forgotten films that failed to make money. But, these failures make the point that while a business, Hollywood will sacrifice monetary concerns to get their message out. 

One of the "Feature Films" is Grenier's original review of Gandhi. The article "The Gandhi Nobody Knows" was later expanded into a much longer monograph. It's a much needed antidote to ceaseless Gandhi idolatry. In fact, the cultural elites' Gandhi fetish is an excellent example of the left's inculcation of "Other" worship. In this review the gross historical falsehoods on Gandhi, his life and politics, Hinduism and India are cataloged. Grenier uses both wit and the telling anecdote to make his case. There is this example of how media lies become the "conventional wisdom," 

On my second viewing of Gandhi, this time at a public showing, I happened to leave the theater behind three teenage girls, apparently from one of Manhattan's fashionable private schools. "Gandhi was pretty much an FDR" one opined ... "But he was a religious figure, too," corrected one of her friends, adding somewhat smugly, "It's not in our historical tradition to honor spiritual leaders." Since her schoolteachers had clearly not led her to consider Jonathan Edwards and Roger Williams as spiritual leaders, let alone Joseph Smith and William Jennings Bryan, the intimation seemed to be that we are a society with poorer spiritual values than, let's say, India. (p. 101)

I'm willing to bet that these girls, now women, are still smugly ignorant and voted for Obama, twice. 

The best essay in this collection is "The Uniforms That Guard: Kipling, Orwell, and Australia's Breaker Morant." It's a dual review of Bruce Beresford's masterpiece (1980) and the popular Hollywood film Fort Apache: The Bronx (1981) starring Paul Newman. Intertwined in the review are observations on both Kipling's and Orwell's views on the "uniforms that guard you while you sleep." Harry "Breaker" Morant was an Australian officer railroaded and executed by the British for war crimes during the Boer War. Grenier notes the many similarities between it and the war in Vietnam. Grenier observes, 

But, on the most profound level, it is about something even larger. It burns with a white rage against societies as a whole, from military leaders and chiefs of state to (more common in our time) comfortable civilians in easy chairs, who send rough men out to serve their interests brutally, murderously (what is war), and then--when circumstances change and in the exquisite safety and fastidiousness of their living rooms they suddenly find these rough men's actions repugnant--disown them. (pp. 25-26)
The defense attorney's closing remarks at the trial is one of the greatest soliloquies in film history.  

Needless to say, Hollywood's Fort Apache has a different view on the uniforms that guard: 

It must be obvious that what we are dealing with here is nothing less than the full "liberal" doctrine on crime ... Some wealthy Hollywood entertainers, along with many of the tenured professors in our universities, are members of our "permanent and pensioned" opposition, and the quality of their thought has, indeed, deteriorated appallingly. For all I know, the authors of Fort Apache, The Bronx think themselves perfectly capable of making "real" decisions, and even preeminently suited to take over command of New York's Police Precinct 41. (pp. 33, 37)
I recently got into an argument with a couple of leftists who deny that there was any cultural Marxist messaging in The Last Jedi. I suspect that with the propaganda content of "popular culture" being so flagrant, and so awful, that the "it's just a movie" defense will become the Current Truth. Richard Grenier's body of work is an refutation of such nonsense. Read this book for edification and self-defense.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Ayn Rand, Donald Trump and the 1972 Presidential Election

Ayn Rand wrote an insightful series of articles on the 1972 presidential election and its result. These articles were published in her periodical The Ayn Rand Letter. In order of publication, these articles are "The Dead End," "A Preview," "A Nation's Unity" and "The American Spirit." To my knowledge, none of these articles have been anthologized in the several posthumously published collections of Rand's articles. 

Howard Trump Acting on his own Judgement
It is a shame that these articles are not readily available. The Ayn Rand Letter is not cheap and is generally only purchased by serious students of Rand's thought. More casual or impecunious readers are missing out on a treasure trove of some of her best cultural and social analysis. The above listed articles are excellent examples of why the Ayn Rand Institute needs to get its act together and make all of Rand's work much more accessible to readers, students and researchers. 

No short summation will do justice to Ayn Rand's articles on the 1972 election. She did emphatically state her support for the election of Richard Nixon. She did so not because of any special regard for the "pragmatic" (read, unprincipled) Nixon, but because George McGovern was so odious. Besides discussing the dishonest tactics used by the McGovernites to get their candidate nominated at the Democratic convention, Rand recognizes that a historic switch had taken place within the party: 

The real turning point came when the welfare statists switched from economics to physiology: they began to seek a new power base in deliberately fostered racism, the racism of minority groups, then in the hatreds and inferiority complexes of women, of "the young," etc. The significant aspect of this switch was the severing of economic rewards from productive work. Physiology replaced the conditions of employment as the basis of social claims. The demands were no longer for "just compensation," but just for compensation, with no work required. (A Preview, Part II, pp. 100-101. Emphasis in original)
Ayn Rand at her most imaginative could not have envisioned the Left's future policy of virulent anti-white racism and replacement of the American people with "migrants." But, her usual prescience showed with her description of McGovern that word-for-word can be used to describe Bernie Sanders.  

Of course, the appearance of socialist shyster Sanders is not the only parallel between the 1972 and 2016 election. 2016 was the Flight 93 election. Eight years of Hillary Clinton in the White House, supported by the GOP turncoats running Congress, would have killed off what was left of the original American legacy. Even voters who viewed Donald Trump as a dangerous political unknown supported him over the sociopath Clinton. In the summer of 1972, Rand made the same argument:

I am not an admirer of President Nixon, as my readers know. But I urge every able-minded voter, of any race, creed, color, age, sex, or political party, to vote for Nixon - as a matter of national emergency. This is no longer an issue of choosing the lesser of two commensurate evils. The choice is between a flawed candidate representing Western civilization - and the perfect candidate of its primordial enemies. (A Preview, Part III, pg. 110)
Rand was ecstatic over the victory of Richard Nixon mainly because it signified that the American sense of life was not dead. For her, the election meant that the United States was not doomed to continue its downward trajectory. Needless to say, the country was in far more dire straits by 2016. For nearly thirty years the country had been leaderless with "presidents" eager to sell-out the American people at every opportunity. At the end of President Commissar Pen-and-Phone's reign, many Americans had come to understand that their country was being systematically destroyed. Progressives turned to the hard left of Sanders and Clinton who promised to finish the job. Patriotic Americans understood that there was nobody in the Republican Party who could be trusted to change America's course of destruction.

Enter a principled man of action who actually loves America, holds the American people in high regard and doesn't want to "fundamental transform" the nation into a third-world toilet. Donald Trump had been a public figure for four decades prior to the election. His books were best sellers. He is a master builder who can create out of the chaos of the New York real estate business. Until declaring his candidacy, Trump's reputation was that of a successful, "can do," no-nonsense businessman. Even his reality show on business leadership enhanced his reputation. 

As Ayn Rand observed forty-five years ago, in the 1972 election campaign the American people responded to each candidates' sense of life and not necessarily to their policies. To some extent, the same was true in 2016. Some responded by voting for the fascist criminal Hilary Clinton who promised more of the same statism and corruption and treason that was destroying the country. Others more discerning, responded to the representative of a classic American type. 

Americans are men of action; they do not indulge in self-pity, and they do not accept passive resignation to suffering. In the face of hardships or misfortune, their automatic response is to act, to fight, to solve the problem - an attitude for which they are so frequently condemned by the mystics of the intellectual "elite" of European barrooms and basements. To confront Americans with the patronizing "kindness" of a combined social worker and small-town Lord of the Manor, is such an impertinence that a landslide defeat is the least McGovern deserves for it. (A Nation's Unity, Part III, pg. 130) 
The American people went with the successful "man of action" last November. But, the race was far closer than it should have been. One reason is that for decades academia has been indoctrinating America's children to want and need the "kindness" of overbearing authority. The other prong of the pincer movement against the American sense of life is the mass importation of socialists. The American sense of life has been deeply eroded in the last fifty years; but, it's still here. 

Lady MacBeth and Mentor
Donald Trump is not a pragmatist as many have attempted to smear him. For example, he has held consistent views on trade for the last several decades. One can disagree with his trade policy. But, it is based on a thoughtful application of principles to policy reality. The irony is that many of President Trump's most vociferous critics are themselves dogmatists who are incapable of inductive reasoning or re-evaluating an issue when new facts become available.

Last week President Trump presented a Trifecta on his alleged pragmatism. He went to Utah to roll-back the land grabbing of two predecessors. Both presidents Clinton and Obama nationalized millions of acres of Utah territory at the stroke of their pens dipped in the bile of environmentalists. Trump reversed these acts and returned the land to the state of Utah, “I’ve come to Utah to take a very historic action to reverse federal overreach and restore the rights of this land to your citizens.” When was the last time anyone heard the phrase "roll back" in reference to federal acts? Next, President Trump took a step back from the destruction of American national sovereignty by pulling out the United Nation's global compact on refugees.

By far the biggest news of the week was President Trump's announcement that the American embassy in Israel will be moving to Jerusalem. Congress authorized this move in 1995. Since then, "presidents" have been signing waivers every six months in order to prevent the move. On this issue it's clear who the cowardly pragmatists are and who the courageous man of principle is. 

I think the American people have fundamentally turned aganist the welfare state and the Left's rabid hatred for their country. Hopefully, there are enough real Americans to vote in a full slate of Making American Great Again candidates into Congress to continue what President Trump has started. 

Boy Clinton and McGovern: Evil is Multi-Generational

Monday, December 4, 2017

Review: Pamela Geller, Fatwa: Hunted in America, 2017

On 3 May 2015 freeborn Americans held a "Draw Mohammed" contest and free-speech rally in Garland, Texas. The event was organized by Pamela Geller. It was her response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris and previous cartoon jihads. The event was attacked by two freelance jihadists with connections to ISIS. Fortunately, it was only the jihadists who died that day. Security was solid, despite the Obama FBI's refusal to notify event planners of their information regarding the planned attack. In response to this jihad attack on American soil, the media blamed the victims and poorly hid their disappointment that Geller wasn't killed. 

Pamela Geller: Speaking Truth
In her new book, Fatwa: Hunted in America, Pamela Geller provides the "rest of the story" on the Garland jihad attack. Less than a decade ago Geller burst upon the public scene as an indefatigable leader of the counter-jihad movement and a courageous warrior for American values. For this crime she has been mercilessly smeared by the establishment of both parties. More importantly, this book shows the power of one determined, and knowledgeable, individual. One of Geller's purposes for writing this book is to explain why a non-political, successful New York businesswoman transformed herself into a Lion of Western Civilization - and why it's up to private citizens to fight this war.  

As with many people, Geller's life changed dramatically after the 9/11 attacks. She was dissatisfied with the "answers" provided by the mainstream media and Bush administration. She, therefore, engaged in the most subversive act possible: she educated herself on Islam, sharia and jihad. 

As I familiarized myself with the enemy and his motives and goals, I began to see truths that I believed should be stated, and courses of action that I thought should be taken. But few people, if any, were stating these things, and no one was taking these actions. So I began to write and I began to act. (pg. 14)

She created her own website that became a "go to" clearinghouse on the global jihad being waged against civilization. 

Pamela Geller was widely known among counter-jihad activists by 2007. But, it was her campaign against the jihad victory mosque at Ground Zero in 2010-2011 that vaulted her into the public eye. She wasn't aware of the proposed mosque until the New York Times published a gushing puff piece (of course) on it in early December 2009. Like any decent patriotic American, Geller was outraged by this proposal. She also had the voice, connections and sheer guts to fight the powers of the land and helped stopped its construction. 

Unlike fools or worse, Geller understood the mosque's symbolism - as would Moslems around the world. As she succinctly explains: 

These mosques were designed to mark Islam's victory over and superiority to the religions that Islam views as rivals. Everywhere jihad attacks have been successful, triumphal mosques have been established. The most famous are the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the Aya Sofya Mosque in Istanbul, formerly the Hagia Sophia Cathedral, which, for one thousand years, was the grandest church in the Christian world. Historian Sita Ram Goel has estimated that over two thousand mosques in India were built on sites of Hindu temples. (pg. 38) 

It should be of no surprise that the mainstream media, politicians and other pundits are unaware of or evade this history of the jihad. Their mendacity is in full view after ever jihad attack in the West.  

Sadly, there are those posturing as intellectual leaders who defended the "property rights" of the mosque builders. Although, these people have been answered in detail, they still adhere to their world view of floating, out-of-context abstractions. The conceptual opaqueness of these people is/was quite stunning. One "Objectivist philosopher" with a blog went so far as to blame Geller for not respecting the rights of fifth-columnists at war with the USA: "to forcibly block the construction of the mosque by using unjust laws that violate private property rights is morally wrong, not to mention politically dangerous." This deep thinker then goes on to claim that using zoning laws to stop the mosque would lead the country one step closer to the "gulag." (Seriously) This is one type of the bizarre smears that Geller is subjected to on a daily basis. (To his great credit, Leonard Peikoff set the issue straight. Not that any of these people have learned from such a colossal blunder.)

The main theme or thesis of Geller's book is the difficulty in speaking the truth about Islam and jihad in public. She documents the vicious personal attacks directed at her when she was still just an obscure blogger. One of her finest moments was the defense of Rifqa Bary. Bary fled her devout Moslem home in Ohio to avoid becoming another "honor" killing victim. As Geller documents, the media and court system took the side of the parents. The media were gleeful when the court order Bary to return to Ohio with a murderous fatwa hanging over her head. Saving this young girl from the fatwa was one of the counter-jihad's finest moments. 

The treatment of Rifqa Bary and the suppression of news about honor killings in the United States by the media directly led to Geller's next, and most famous, campaign to get the truth about Islam into the public square. 

In 2010, I was in Florida to attend a court hearing in the Rifqa Bary case. While waiting for a red light at an intersection, I saw in the next lane a bus bearing a huge ad calling people to Islam. It made me think: what about the people who want to leave Islam, like Rifqa, but have no help doing so and know their lives would be threatened if their apostasy were made known? (pg. 93)

Thus began Geller's famous ad campaigns on public transportation to get the truth out. Her ads provided hotlines for those attempting to leave Islam who did not want to be murdered as apostates per sharia law. 

And, you guessed it. The political and media establishments were virulently hostile to the ads produced by her organizations American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA). The level of apoplexy exercised by the country's traitorous elites regarding these ads is breathtaking. Geller provides details on how municipalities and transit authorities in many cities pulled out all the stops to prevent the ads from running. Some went so far as to change their ad policy to rejecting all "advocacy advertisements." The establishment's assault on the First Amendment only induced Geller to create more ads on the topic of jihad and Islam. There are still court cases pending on those ads submitted, but not published.

Pamela Geller's focus on free speech, its suppression by the country's ruling elite and forthrightly arguing for effective measures against the jihad have made her public enemy number one. That this women is continually vilified, while Muslim Brotherhood shills are treated as respectable, indicates the magnitude of the evil that animates our age. Her book should be read by every American, and Westerner, as an antidote to the barrage of lies produced daily by the media. She calls them the "enemedia" for good reason. The "Ground Zero" mosque builders found themselves an appropriate ally with the likes of disgraced degenerate Matt Lauer back in 2010. As with Lauer, the media is filled with creatures who shill for the country's enemies and cover up the actions of their perverted colleagues and Democratic politicians. Ruin their day by purchasing and reading Geller's book.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Ayn Rand Institute Returns to Its Vomit

With Progressives, the issue is never the issue. This basic principle holds true for the Obleftivists of the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI). The people running ARI live in the cultural left's world. They're "free market" Progressives. Case in point, their support of deconstruction the USA via massive population transfers. 
Recently, ARI's "Chief Content Officer" (seriously) Onkar Ghate again attacked President Trump for his style, rhetoric and policies using media smears as references. They really really hate the man. As with the Bush Crime Family, ARI never criticized Obama or Clinton in such personal terms. In fact, some of the ARI Brain Trust actually voted for sociopath Hillary. The guy who runs ARI last month ranted on Facebook thus: 

BTW, after 9 months of Trump, I can unequivocally say that he is a cancer on this country. He is a product of the Left. This is what nihilism leads to -- and much worst is yet to come from both left and right. I will stick to Objectivism and the truth. I will defend them with my energy, my mind, my life, against those who would sell out to the lessor of two great evils.
ARI is an embarrassment to a great thinker, Ayn Rand. Brook's comment above is an example of how Progressives always project. He accuses Trump of being "a product of the left." Brook admits to once being a socialist and collectivist, two things Donald Trump has never been. Brook still lives in the cultural left. Hence, his and Ghate's hostility to Trump. 
Trump Derangement Syndrome means never having to examine premises or look at reality. As one blogger observed
What is shocking is that the Ayn Rand Institute and many of its scholars do not think the President has done anything of value. During his short time in office, however, Donald Trump has massively deregulated the economy (especially the energy sector), unapologetically defended Western Civilization, and he has condemned socialism using the tragic results of Venezuela’s example. 
For any Objectivist, such as Onkar Ghate, to say a man is anti-intellectual or the villain of our time despite any of the above mentioned outcomes is not only ridiculous, it also calls into question the motives of the people expressing them.
Ding, ding, ding! I believe that the source of ARI's hatred for successful builder Donald Trump stems from the president's statements and policy about immigration. They also hate his campaign slogan of "America First;" although, Ayn Rand was an America Firster. Brook and Ghate's main problem is with American patriotism and the nation-state as it's existed for the last five hundred years. On the other hand, neither have issued such categorical demands that Israel and India erase their national borders and, therefore, their national existence. I'm sure that's just an oversight and that they will soon issue those policy statements. 

As for Ghate's latest public embarrassment, he has received a most thorough fisking at the Rational Capitalist blog. Ghate justifies his nonsense by invoking Rand's disdain for Ronald Reagan. At her last public address in 1982, Rand said she didn't vote for Reagan and that her main concern about him was his connection to the "religious right." Of course, the Progressives at ARI share the rest of the left's nightmarish, apocalyptic views of the "religious right" bugaboo. The left's hatred of Christianity has now morphed into a hatred of white people. The demonization of white Americans is yet another cultural issue that ARI evades. The rationalists and dogmatists at ARI are simply incapable of admitting that Rand was wrong on a current political figure and move on.

Ayn Rand commented on Reagan after only one year of his first term. It is now obviously clear that Rand was wrong about Reagan. Reagan turned the country around and renewed American pride. That the Reagan Revolution was subsequently murdered by RINOs such as the Bush Crime Family was not Reagan's fault. Ghate is just as wrong about Trump, but with far less excuse. Trump is largely secular. But, he is not hostile to Christianity and doesn't seem like the type to have a conniption over a publicly displayed cross. 
ARI Still Clueless After 30 Years
Needless to say, Ghate's latest rant will do President Trump no harm. The same can't be said for the misnamed Ayn Rand Institute. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

In Which Yaron Brook Reveals His Dead Soul

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, 
Who never to himself hath said, 
    This is my own, my native land! 
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd, 
As home his footsteps he hath turn'd, 
    From wandering on a foreign strand! 
If such there breathe, go, mark him well; 
For him no Minstrel raptures swell; 
High though his titles, proud his name, 
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim; 
Despite those titles, power, and pelf, 
The wretch, concentred all in self, 
Living, shall forfeit fair renown, 
And, doubly dying, shall go down 
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung, 
Unwept, unhonour'd, and unsung. - Sir Walter Scott

Unfortunately, there are many people in the West and the United States that perfectly fit Scott's description of the Dead Souls. The most well-known and trenchant analysis of the Soulless is from Samuel P. Huntington's 2004 essay "Dead Souls: The Denationalization of the American Elite." As Huntington explains,

Yes, the number of dead souls is small but growing among America's business, professional, intellectual and academic elites. Possessing in Scott's words, "titles, power and pelf", they also have decreasing ties with the American nation. Coming back to America from a foreign strand [such as Mongolia], they are not likely to be overwhelmed with deep feelings of commitment to their "native land." Their attitudes and behavior contrast with the overwhelming patriotism and nationalistic identification of the rest of the American public.
Yaron Brook is head of the Ayn Rand Institute. He provides an excellent example of the profound alienation that animates the Dead Souls of the transnational types. Recently, Brook posted a shrill, but mercifully short, video explaining his views on patriotism. It's only around a minute and twenty seconds long, so give it a listen. 

Brook rants, "I'm a patriot only to the extent that this country lives up to its founding principle ... only to the extent that this country protects individual rights." 

Brook views President Trump's civic nationalism as "collectivist garbage." Brook "loves" America because of what it "represents" in the abstract. He makes clear that he has no emotional connection to his fellow Americans. He is the quintessential non-American passport holder who needs to go back. As usual, Brook has nothing to say about the cultural underpinnings of individual rights and the American credo. He actually seems to believe that a nation's adherence to liberty is the result of abstract theory disconnected from fundamental cultural values. Note the anger with which his diatribe is delivered. The very idea of genuine patriotism enrages the man. It is also hard to miss his utter contempt for real patriotic Americans. 

Brook engages in crude reductionism with his claim that the only legitimate source for patriotism is the creed. His view that patriotic feelings result from reciting a few sentences of political philosophy (however noble) is the view of an emotionally repressed rationalist who lives in an ahistorical world of floating abstractions. 

In his indispensable Who Are We?, Samuel P. Huntington analyzes at great length the cultural values that made the creed possible and gave it life. 

Hence there is no validity to the claim that Americans have to choose between a white, WASPish ethnic identity, on the one hand, and an abstract, shallow civic identity dependent on commitment to certain political principles, on the other [the very false alternative that Brook espouses]. The core of their identity is the culture that the settlers created, which generations of immigrants have absorbed, and which gave birth to the American Creed. At the heart of that culture has been Protestantism .... The sources of the Creed include the Enlightenment ideas that became popular among some American elites in the mid-eighteenth century. These ideas, however, found receptive ground in the Anglo-Protestant culture that had already existed in America for over a century. (pp. 62, 68)

Ayn Rand was an atheist. But, as she said, she was not a crusading atheist and had a live and let live attitude towards Christian Americans. Sadly, this is not the case with Brook's mis-named Ayn Rand Institute (ARI). ARI's pathological hostility to Christianity is such that it seeks to erase the historical and cultural context that gave rise to the credo it claims to support.

It is a truism that soldiers fight, and die, for their buddies of their "primary group." Adherence to an abstract creed or cause may motivate young men to join the military in defense of their country. But, it is personal emotional connections to family back home and comrades in the trenches that sees them through to victory or death. The same is true for commitment and loyalty to a country. The fair weather patriots are legend when things are going well. When/if things go south in the USA, and it looks like the country will descend into chaos and tyranny, the Yaron Brook type passport holders will be on the first flight to Thailand. 

Brook doesn't understand this central need for an emotional connection to kin, clan, nation etc. because he was apparently deposited on earth by space aliens. Identifying with such groups seems embedded in human nature. It has obvious survival utility. The utility of patriotism and group loyalty is clear when examining early human societies of pre-literate eras. An isolated individual separated from his family or clan was not long for this world. Survival was a cooperative effort and the only people you could really trust and depend upon were related by blood. In fact, the worst punishment American Indians could inflict on an individual was banishment from the tribe. However attributes of human nature are not "collectivism" (no matter how shrilly argued), they just are. Brook's religious devotion to the thoroughly debunked theory of the "blank slate" leads him into all sorts of conceptual chaos.

Robert A. Heinlein gave an address to the US Naval Academy titled "The Pragmatics of Patriotism" in the early 1970s. Then, as now, patriotism was under attack by the usual suspects. By "pragmatic," Heinlein means necessary and central to survival: 

I propose to prove that that baboon on watch is morally superior to that fat poltroon who made that wisecrack. Patriotism is the most practical of all human characteristics. But in the present decadent atmosphere patriots are often too shy to talk about it - as if it were something shameful or an irrational weakness. But patriotism is NOT sentimental nonsense. Nor is it something dreamed up by demagogues. Patriotism is as necessary a part of man's evolutionary equipment as are his eyes, as useful to the race as eyes are to the individual. A man who is NOT patriotic is an evolutionary dead end. This is not sentiment but the hardest of logic.

The result of normal childhood development and emotional balance is a sense of fellow feeling for one's family - and potentially larger social groupings. Another aspect of patriotism, that is foreign to those with Dead Souls, is a sense of common destiny. If America fails or goes under, so do I. Unlike Brook, America is my one and only country and home. I have nowhere else to go and no desire to go in any event. America means more to me than some amended credo that the Soulless mouth like a quasi religious catechism. The Dead Souls are unable to feel any sense of comradery with their fellow Americans. Instead, they have a thinly veiled contempt for the Deplorables in flyover country. Whether they say they're on the "left" or "right," all "citizens of the world" wish that real Americans would just go away.   

Brook's opening comment on geography in the video is strange. As if loving the land and one's environment (the fruited plains, purple mountains majesty, sea to shining sea) is something beneath him. It is just another example of Brook's extreme rationalism. Good thing the settlers and pioneers who built America - and whose posterity the globalists are at jihad against - had a much more healthy view: 

Even from the earliest records of Captain John Smith, William Bradford, or John Winthrop, the enlarging of knowledge of America was simultaneous with the enlarging of the new American community. We sometimes forget how gradual was the 'discovery' of America: it was a by-product of the occupation of the continent. To act, to move on, to explore meant also to push back the frontiers of knowledge; this inevitably gave a practical and dynamic character to the very idea of knowledge. To learn and to act became one. (Daniel J. Boorstin, The Americans: The Colonial Experience, Vintage Books 1959, pp. 159-160)
Those with Dead Souls are incapable of feeling "love of one's native land" or understanding those who do. The global elite are completely detached from any such experience. Their gated communities and "jet set" life-business style insulates them from any real connections beyond the acquisition of yet more pelf whose main purpose/use is the acquisition of more status and prestige from their ilk. 

Sir Walter Scott and Friends

In the late eighteenth century, Hector Crevecoeur asked the seminal question "what then, is the American, this new man?" In the Federalist #2, John Jay answered this question:

With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people -- a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence. This country and this people seem to have been made for each other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence, that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren, united to each other by the strongest ties, should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties.

One can certainly dispute whether common ancestors are a requirement for being a member of the American people even in the eighteenth century. However, the rest of Jay's list is not contentious either then or now. The attempt to strip the credo from its context will render it inoperative and (ironically) open the door to the ethnic nationalism that Brook so abhors.