A Subtle Catastrophe

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

In the wake of the Afghanistan debacle, which could have been avoided with even a hint of Executive Branch foresight, President Biden needed a win. And how did he chase that much-needed win? He ordered some 80 million American citizens to get vaccinated. This he presented to the country in a condescending temper tantrum broadcast live for all to see. “Our patience is running thin,” he said. “Many of us are frustrated with the nearly 80 million Americans who are still not vaccinated.”

This is not what winning looks like. This looks like yet another President declaring his way to the policy outcomes he wants by executive order, Covid style.

It’s hard to imagine Biden offering a more tone-deaf response. Part of his six-pronged strategy, on the path to universal vaccinations seems clear enough to him and however many people advise him on a daily basis. That makes the difficulties with the plan, and there are difficulties down to the marrow with this ill-conceived mess, all the more incomprehensible.

The Biden plan rests on mutually exclusive premises. First, there is the implicit assertion that the vaccines work. Indeed, they work so well that we should force 80 million people to get vaccinated, whether they want to or not. This, of course, flies in the face of the other presupposition: that we need to vaccinate damn near everyone because people are simply not safe otherwise.

Aren’t those who voluntarily took a vaccine already protected? If not, the vaccines are not all that effective, and mandating them will not make them anymore so. If that’s not the objective, are we really protecting the anti-vaxxers from themselves? Since when is that an appropriate use of government power? Either way, forcing people to submit to a vaccine they don’t want as a condition of their continued employment doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

And then there are the details of the Biden plan, details that should make just about everyone uncomfortable, regardless of vaccination status. First, employers with 100 or more employees must mandate their employees be vaccinated or submit negative tests weekly. It doesn’t stop there. All federal employees are mandated, as are all contractors who do business with the federal government. Additionally, over 17 million health care workers make the list too.

Since when does the United States President have this kind of authority? There is literally nothing in the Constitution that enables anything even close to this sort of thing. The President is tasked with executing the laws passed by the Congress, not writing them himself, and there is nothing in Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution enabling Congress to mandate anything like this either.

Oddly, members of Congress, their staff, and employees of the federal court system are all exempted from the Biden plan. Then again, maybe this isn’t odd at all given who might be inclined to object. Better to win their favor with favors now than have them saying something about the dubious constitutionality of any of this nonsense later.

We are left with a sitting United States President who is willing to do just about anything to make it seem like he is in firm control of a difficult situation. Sadly, being firmly in control also means scolding 100 million Americans like a 19th-century schoolmarm. But maybe it’s the rest of us whose patience should be wearing thin. Where there were once meaningful limits on the exercise of federal power, we now lurch from red to blue, each team waiting its turn to inflict its vision on the other team and the entirety of the country in the bargain.

In the end, people get the government they deserve. So we get a President who either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the constitutional constraints of his office. Either way, it’s unforgivable. But the red and blue teams will just put in their time until the next election, when we will do it all over again, proving we are all to blame to one degree or another.

So which is it? Are the vaccines effective? If so, why do we need to mandate them? Aren’t all those who elected to get vaccinated safe? Or are they somehow ineffective, in which case mandating them serves no purpose? And while we’re at it, how long will immunity last in the vaccinated? Vaccines are clearly effective in the short run, on that we seem to have near-universal agreement. But how will things look in the long term?

These are questions that Biden and his team should have asked before stepping into the deep end of the policy pool. Because they didn’t, we will be left with a quieter, more subtle catastrophe than we saw in Afghanistan, but it will be a catastrophe just the same.

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This article was published on September 11, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from AIER, American Institute for Economic Research.

Arizona Police Recruiting in Washington Days After Vaccine Mandate

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Arizona’s state police force is in the Pacific Northwest in an attempt to bolster its ranks. The push comes on the heels of news that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee isn’t allowing exceptions to his vaccine mandate.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety announced that they would be in Washington from Sept. 7 through Sept. 19 to recruit potential new officers.

Their counterpart, the Washington State Patrol, shared Arizona’s announcement on Twitter.

The recruiting push aimed specifically at Washington state is noticeable since news broke the week prior that Gov. Jay Inslee’s office had issued blanket denials of requests from officers to be exempt from his vaccination mandate.

Emails obtained by KTTH show a response to an inquiry about religious exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

“At this time it has been confirmed that for any public-facing position, there are limited accommodations available,” the email read, adding that “there is no accommodation we can provide for their religious exemption requests.”

The governor’s order says that all state workers, K-12 and public university employees must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or face losing their jobs. Inslee initially said the state would make religious and medical exemptions available.

A public information officer denied that Inslee’s vaccination decree was a factor in their decision to recruit in the state.

“We are not focused on Washington specifically, it’s just our first recruiting trip ahead of other states we intend to visit,” said media specialist Bart Graves. “We don’t have a set number of candidates we intend to recruit. We are hoping to fill numerous sworn and professional staff (civilian) positions.”

Arizona DPS has advertised out-of-state recruitment opportunities earlier in the year, including welcoming lateral moves from other police departments. However, it’s yet to single out a state as it had done in Washington this year.

Gov. Doug Ducey retweeted the Washington State Patrol announcement that Arizona’s police force was recruiting there, saying, “in Arizona we’re funding the police.”

*****

This article was published on September 12, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

Sweden Has Disappeared

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

The entire nation of Sweden seems to have disappeared.

So far as we can tell, no scientific investigation into the disappearance of Sweden has been conducted. In fact, it is among scientists that Sweden seems to have pulled off an amazing vanishing act. Politicians around the world also have lost complete contact with the country. The media is not even aware of the countries existence. However, tourists and geographers have confirmed to us that the country still exists.

Frankly, we don’t know what to believe.

To our best knowledge, Sweden is still in the United Nations and we still have diplomatic relations with them. But being an ambassador to a country that has simply vanished, must be quite an unusual posting. Embassy parties must be quite subdued.

It is not certain how this disappearance act is performed, as Sweden is a rather large country that makes quite good automobiles, trucks, heavy earth moving equipment, arms, and jet airplanes. They produce a substantial amount of pop music ranging from vintage ABBA to First Aid Kit.

Quite a number of Swedes came to the US in the late 19th century and we are told they can be found in the Dakotas. We have met them, and they are nice people. But this only confirms that Sweden did exist at one time and is not proof it exists today.

Now personally, we have been able to completely disappear in front of clerks, bureaucrats, and people at airline ticket counters, but we don’t understand how an entire country can pull this off.

It really is one of the wonders of the world.

The reason we mention this is the chart shown above. The chart shows new cases of Covid in Sweden versus Israel.

Israel has is one of the most vaccinated and face-covered countries on earth while Sweden decided to deal with the Wuhan virus by doing very little if anything.

You would think this chart would be of interest to public officials in the US who are busily re-masking school children and requiring vaccination and revaccination through coercive mandates. But it would seem that evidence is not really required in their decision-making process.

While we make no pretense of being a medical doctor, we can read a chart, and likely so can you. It would seem to us that vaccination and mask-wearing have very little to do with the number of virus cases.  If so, destroying our economy, dividing our people into bitter camps, destroying personal liberty does not seem like a fair trade-off.

Strangely, it appears there may be an inverse relationship. That is to say, the more you do the worse the medical results, and the less you do, the better the results.

It really is a shame that Sweden has disappeared. We read the other day that ABBA was coming out of retirement and was going to cut a new album. We were looking forward to that.

The Experience of a Lifetime, a 9/11 Remembrance

Estimated Reading Time: 12 minutes

This is a reprint of a column published in the Los Angeles Daily News about our experience from twenty years ago on 9/11 and thereafter. It is being re-run with the hope that you will recall what your own experience was that day while contemplating the importance of our goal to win the war against the terrorists.

 

I knew this was going to happen. I had been told and warned it was only a matter of time. I never expected to be part of history in this manner. I certainly did not know it was going to occur on this day, at this time.

I came to Washington with a group of Los Angelenos as part of a tour tied to the national quarterly meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition. We had arrived on Saturday, September 8th, and began what most political junkies would perceive as a dream five days. We had lined up members of the cabinet, the Chief Justice, and others. We had political leaders and policy wonks scheduled higher than the corn in Kansas.

As fate would have it, Monday, the 10th, was our foreign policy day. We started with a briefing by the Israeli Ambassador and his staff and followed that with a briefing from the #2 person at the Jordanian Embassy. We went next to lunch. At the time, I characterized this meeting as one of the high points of the trip.

At lunch we had both Frank Gaffney and Steven Emerson speak to us. Mr. Gaffney is a top expert on missile defense and Mr. Emerson is the preeminent expert on Islamic Terrorism. Anyone would have walked out of the room trembling after hearing their insights. These are the same messages that they have been delivering for years. None of us had the premonition of what was soon to happen.

We went from lunch to a tour of the Pentagon. We entered the building in the area that would soon be destroyed. A tour guide from the army met us; a nice young man hoping to be made a sergeant soon. He was proud of how he had mastered walking backwards and talking to groups. We don’t know whether he is with us today.

Torie Clarke, from the public affairs division, briefed us followed by Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld’s chief deputy. We left with a much greater understanding of the world facing us. We exited the Pentagon with no thought that in 17 fateful hours the area we were leaving would be a fiery deathtrap.

We capped this wonderfully, enlightening day with a private meeting with Attorney General John Ashcroft. The meeting was held in the office of the Solicitor General, Ted Olson. The same man whose wife would call him from the plane that attacked the Pentagon.

By the end of the day, we were worn, but exhilarated.

The next day, Tuesday, we loaded our bus to go to the Capitol. Our plan was a guided tour of the Capitol by a couple of friendly Congressmen, followed by lunch at the Capitol with visits from Senators and other Congressmen. This was to be capped with the highlight of our trip, a guided tour of the Supreme Court by Chief Justice Rehnquist.

We were nearly giddy with anticipation as we were dropped off. On our left was our afternoon destination, the Supreme Court building. On our right was the seat of the free world, the Capitol building. It was just as magnificent as I left it on Inauguration Day.

As we passed through security to begin our tour, a cell phone rang. One of the members of our tour was being notified that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. We proceeded to a small star-like emblem on the floor of the Capitol under the dome. It is recognized as the center point of Washington DC. It was a fateful place to be when you become aware of the most infamous day in American history.

We noted a quickened pace in the steps of the staffers passing us. Some began to move in a trot or near running pass. My wife, showing worry, questioned the guide as to whether this behavior was unusual. The guide, a long-time Capitol staffer, stated in a calming way, “No.” It was only appropriate to say that at this point that all hell broke loose.

A lady officer started running at me screaming “Get out of here.” It is an image burned into my mind forever. As leader of the group, I turned just like a father would to start to get our group out of the building. Before I could take a full step, the same officer yelled, “started running NOW!”

I quickly turned back the other way and made the 75 feet to the door out in a mere moment. I ran down the Capitol steps and kept running until I was out of the line of the building where I turned to start gathering the troops.

That was the instance in time when the severity of what we faced began to become reality. Off behind the Capitol, beyond its flag, we saw a plume of smoke rising from the plane crash into the Pentagon.

We gathered our group and moved them out toward the sidewalk. We faced our now cancelled destination, the Supreme Court building. Guards ringed the steps of the Supreme Court with an ominous officer standing at the pinnacle of the facing.

Gathering our group in a shady place on the grounds of the Capitol we began to assess our situation. The magnitude of what was happening began to come into focus. We now knew both World Trade Center Towers had been hit in addition to the Pentagon. Our staff people were anxiously trying to contact our bus driver with no luck as everyone on the street was attempting to use their cell phones.

We huddled our group to inform them of the facts we had in hand and what we were planning from this point. As I began to explain our challenges ahead, I broke down momentarily. Tears started flowing, as I could not speak of the horrible loss of life, I knew we were facing and the huge challenge to our way of life.

This was the moment that I realized that these sick, demented people had achieved their goal. They wanted to disrupt our way of life and they had. I had a premonition of what was to come.

Our group in synchronized steps moved down the street trying to connect with our bus driver. The streets began to fill with traffic as policemen began to redirect vehicles. It was quite amazing how quickly the entire security plan fell into place. It gave everyone on the streets a sense on calm. Though no one knew if they were safe, they felt safe. People walked in a calm manner and no driver pulled any stunts like driving on the sidewalk.

Our acutely aware bus driver circled around and loaded us up for the trip to safety. Two things became our obstacles; gridlock traffic and news that our hotel had been evacuated. Our staff and I put a plan together to exit the city and head toward Rockville, Maryland. We soon decided on an appropriate place to let for a group of Jews in crisis; Bagel City.

At this point we began to settle into the new challenges that faced us. It had become abundantly clear that our program for the next two days was canceled. We had to figure out what to do with our crew until our planned departure on Thursday morning. We were not even certain we would be able to depart then. After having lunch and calming the nerves of the queasy we reloaded onto the bus knowing that at least we could now enter our hotel and begin to reorient.

At 3:00 P.M. we arrived back at our hotel and disbursed to our rooms with strict orders from me not to go anywhere without clearance. I think everyone was too exhausted at this point to do anything but go and lie down.

It was at this time that we saw the first visuals of the devastation. We had been keeping abreast of events via radio, but we have become a visual society. We had our first taste of the magnitude of destruction in New York and the gapping hole in the Pentagon. There was Torie Clarke, the woman who had briefed us the day before, now briefing the press on the destruction.

Over the next day and a half, we planned and organized. We held everyone together for meals and tried to figure out how we were getting home. We had dinner on Tuesday night with two members of the Republican Jewish Coalition who were at the State Department in training to be Ambassadors to Italy and the Netherlands. We all shared our stories.

By Wednesday it became clear we were not getting out by plane on our regularly scheduled flight from Dulles Airport. We were able to transfer our reservations to Friday and had reached a comfort level that by that time the air system would be back in operation.

We went to dinner on Wednesday night hoping we had resolved our transportation problem and enjoyed what turned out to be our last meal together for awhile.

I awoke early Thursday morning to read in the Washington newpapers very tentative comments by Transportation Secretary Mineta about continuation of normal flights. The banners running along the news channel gave me no greater level of confidence. I decided that it was imperative that we get home to see our 12-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter. Also, no disrespect to the Jewish Community of Washington, but I wanted to have my fanny in a seat at my Temple in Los Angeles for Rosh Hashanah on Monday night.

I called Avis requesting a vehicle. They told me they had a full-size car available at Dulles Airport and we could take it to Los Angeles for some ridiculously low cost of $250 or so. There was no relocation charge and unlimited miles. I booked the car. I then sat back overwhelmed by the humanity of the company. They knew they were going to lose money on this trip as we put 2,700 miles on the car. They just figured they had become a main form of transportation for Americans, and they were going to do their part and relocate all the cars later. I don’t know if the other rental car companies did the same, but this action gave me a greater appreciation for the humanity of our business leaders.

The flurry of action that ensued was blazing. While my wife packed, I contacted remaining members of our group informing them of our plans and making sure they were covered in their plans. Another couple called us back and said they wanted to join us. They too had small children, a seven-year-old and a three-year-old. I called them back and told them they could join us under the following conditions: we were driving straight through with no stops unless our assistant in Los Angeles could arrange us an air flight from a city along the way. The wife said they accepted those conditions and we hung up. She later told me she turned to her husband and asked if he thought I was going to allow bathroom breaks.

We had breakfast and started our exit from the city. While my wife got our luggage down into a cab, I ran around the corner to pick up two essential items – a road atlas and a car cell phone charger. We knew they would now be our lifelines and we could not afford to run out of juice.

By 10:30 A.M. on Thursday we began our journey home. Four people in a Buick LeSabre who knew each other, but not well. Four people who had committed to spend time together in a compact space, but with a common goal – to get back to Los Angeles and to be safe at home.

We started driving on Route 40, the Southern Route. It parallels the old Route 66, which we are all familiar with from the now-famous song. We created a fast appreciation for the national highway system developed under another great American, President Dwight Eisenhower. Our choice to do the southern route became a fateful and fruitful decision.

Our path would take us across eight states, which we completed in 48 hours, including a sleep break in Kingman, Arizona. We went through Virginia, home of many of our forefathers. Having never been in Southern Virginia, I had not realized how lush and green the rolling hills were at this time of year.

By mid-afternoon we entered Tennessee. It now became abundantly clear that driving across America was the right way to get home and end this fateful trip. Seeing flags waving off of buildings and homes, people standing on bridges waving flags made it certain that we needed this experience to complete our sojourn.

We drove through Knoxville and passed by Carthage, the home of our former political
adversary, Al Gore. We also passed by the home of Andy Jackson and thought about how we could use his leadership now. We forged on to Nashville, one of the centers of American life today.

By this time, we were using our cell phones at a furious pace. We had dozens of people following our trek. We spoke with one friend and told her we needed to find the best barbecue in Nashville. If we were going to suffer, we were going to suffer in style. She found Jack’s Bar-b-que on Broadway in the heart of Nashville. We landed there at about 8:00 P.M.

After a sumptuous meal of ribs, beans and potato salad, I went over to thank the manager, Tonia Saxon, a woman in her mid-20’s, who was doing what everyone had been doing the last couple of days, watching the news updates on TV. We engaged in a conversation about our new realities. She informed me her younger brother was in the Marines. I said that he might die because of what we faced. As we both began to tear up, she told me she had just spoken to him.

Her brother said to her “When I joined the Marines, I knew this could happen. I know what is facing me. If I die, I know I will have died for my country.” She told me she said to him “Brother, I was proud of you when you became a corporal, I was even more proud when you became a sergeant and I have never been prouder of you because you have now become a man.”

As we left Jack’s we started to walk down Broadway. We stood there listening to three Nashville Cats wailin’ out a country and western standard in the bar next store.
I began to think of why these people would want to destroy us. After all, nothing has really changed in America since the 1920’s when President Calvin Coolidge said, “The business of America is business.”

All Americans want to do is make some dough, raise their kids, go to church, see a play, watch a baseball game, play bingo on Tuesday night or go to a honky tonk bar. Why don’t they just leave us alone?

But through the sadness, this may be good for America. We have been bickering for the last 35 years, quite often over minutiae. We argue overspending a surplus and whose surplus it is, chads, sexual peccadilloes and such. But for now, the arguing is over. We look at each other differently. We will not soon be hearing about Asian Americans, African Americans or Hispanic Americans. We are once again just Americans.

Back in the car we headed toward Memphis, the home of the King. I thought our enemies must really hate him. I wished he was around to shake his hips in the ultimate act of defiance against these culture madmen. We passed through Memphis and then crossed one of the symbols of American greatness, the Mississippi.

We continued on through the night driving across Arkansas because we had a new destination. We had figured out that we were heading straight for Oklahoma City. The President had named Friday a day of remembrance. What more appropriate place to be at daybreak than at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, formerly the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

We arrived at the memorial at 7:30 A.M. having now completed one-half of our journey home. We went directly to the site. It was listed in their now-outdated brochure as the site of the largest terrorist attack in U.S. history.

It was truly an emotionally overwhelming experience particularly in light of the events of the past Tuesday. They had chairs for each one of the dead, smaller ones for the children. There were mementos hung on the wall. The national park service had truly done a classy job.

An old boy in a cowboy hat walked over to us and handed us brochures about the park. We chatted a little and then he pointed over our shoulders. He said “See that lady over there? Her daughter died in the blast.” We walked over to Doris Jones, a slight woman all of 5’ 3”. I stood there and hugged her and managed to get out “I’m Sorry” through the tears.

We continued on to a local Westin hotel where the staff could not have been nicer. We met a gentleman from Sherman Oaks, California who was doing the same thing we were doing, driving back to Los Angeles. We cleaned up and hopped in the car for the second half of our tour of America.

We had a new purpose. Three members of our group had left on a train the day before and we had a new mission – to beat them home. As it turns out our group ended up getting home in all fashions — trains, planes and automobiles. One couple even came home by truck as their son, a trucker, picked them up and brought them back home.

We headed off leaving Oklahoma and entering Texas. We stopped in Amarillo for a short lunch of Tex-Mex and were greeted by streets with homes all with American Flags in front. It really made you think about why these schmucks thought that they were going to divide us. It was apparent we were never as united as Americans in my lifetime.

We launched on through Texas and into New Mexico. New Mexico is overwhelmingly beautiful. Just as Virginia and Tennessee are gorgeous in their way, so is New Mexico. We continued though New Mexico to stop for dinner in Flagstaff, Arizona. We were only one state from home.

At midnight on Friday night, we finally took a break. We stopped at an inn for five hours of sleep and then up again, shower and on the road. We had breakfast in Barstow at the local IHOP. It felt great to be back in California. Three hours later we exited the 10 freeway and started driving toward our office. There we saw Wilshire Boulevard lined with American flags and we felt proud of our city. In a short time, we were home hugging our children and hanging our own American flags.

I cannot tell you how many times I have cried since Tuesday. I have cried for my country. I cried for the sons and daughters we have lost and the sons and daughters we will lose. But we will prevail.

I keep harking back to what Ronald Reagan said in 1977 about Communism. It is so appropriate about what we face today. Reagan said and I paraphrase “My idea of American policy toward Muslim Extremists is simple, some would say simplistic. It is this: ‘We win, and they lose.’ What do you think of that?”

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This article was published on September 5, 2021 in Flash Report and is reprinted with permission of the author.

Marxist Nature of Black Lives Matter Exposed in New Book

Estimated Reading Time: 11 minutes

America has spent years fighting communism outside its borders, but now a Marxist threat is growing from within the country, Heritage Foundation senior fellow Mike Gonzalez says.

Gonzalez, author of “BLM: The Making of a New Marxist Revolution,” says the Black Lives Matter organization has encouraged Americans, especially young people, to embrace communist ideology.

In 2020, there “were 633 riots … according to the U.S. Crisis Monitor run out of Princeton [University], and 95% of those riots in which we know the identity of the perpetrator … Black Lives Matter members were included,” Gonzalez says.

Virginia Allen: I am so pleased to be joined by Heritage Foundation senior fellow Mike Gonzalez. Mike is the author of the brand new book “BLM: The Making of a New Marxist Revolution.” Mike, the book is out today, congratulations.

Mike Gonzalez: Thank you, Virginia. Yes, I’m very happy.

Allen: You really didn’t mince words with the title of this book: “BLM: The Making of a New Marxist Revolution.” That’s pretty straightforward. But I do want to begin with defining some terms. What exactly do you mean by “new Marxist revolution”?

Gonzalez: When we talk about Marxists, we’re talking about communists. They have tried to take over America for many decades, for many centuries, really. They have always seen America as a rich country, the world leader, at least since World War I. They want to see us as a top target, but they failed miserably.

In all the years as a Soviet Union, they tried to infiltrate us or tried to influence Americans and they failed. This time through Black Lives Matter—and I can get into why—Marxism and Marxist communists have come very close, the closest they’ve ever come, to changing our way of life and that is what is happening right now.

Allen: I found it really fascinating that as you’re going through the book, you’re explaining that very thing, this changing culture and how the Black Lives Matter organization has an agenda. You actually started the book by talking about Frederick Douglass. That fascinated me. Why did you feel the need to give that historical perspective and talk about a figure like Frederick Douglass before diving into this larger conversation about Black Lives Matter?

Gonzalez: Yeah, Chapter 1 starts with Frederick Douglass, the introduction obviously starts with Jan. 6. I explain my understanding of Jan. 6, but I start the book proper on Frederick Douglass because Frederick Douglass really is the best known abolitionist in U.S. history. He was a man of noble character. He was a man of courage. I started with his fight with a sadistic master to whom he had been loaned and how he said he became a man by beating this man who owned them on loan.

I started with him because throughout his life, he was anti-socialist. I describe in the book a meeting in which he spoke and there was a socialist. One of the quirky, weird, odd things about communists and socialists, by the way, [Karl] Marx and [Friedrich] Engels never established a difference between socialism and communism, but they used the terms interchangeably. The socialist speaking with Frederick Douglass really was not putting an emphasis on the abolition of slavery. He was putting an emphasis on the abolition of wage labor.

Communists believed that wage labor—in other words, what we all do—is a continuation of slavery, which is crazy, just as communism is crazy. Frederick Douglass could not stand that this man was saying these things.

To Frederick Douglass, abolition was about one thing: It was about ending slavery, ending this blight upon our country. To communists, abolition is a completely separate thing. They want to abolish the family, the state, and all the institutions. In 1848, when this meeting takes place, Frederick Douglass understood that what we needed to abolish was slavery.

Allen: Yeah. That historical context is so critical for this broader conversation. I loved in the introduction, you really clearly lay out the mission for the book. You say, “This book exists to fill the void in public awareness.” You go on to say, “If journalists will not report on the real nature of the Black Lives Matter organizations and their leaders and if the federal government cannot gather information on First Amendment-protected activities, this book will attempt to correct the record and analyze all the aspects of what transpired in 2020, as well as the historical forces that led up to those events.”

So what then is that real nature of the Black Lives Matter organization and their leaders?

Gonzalez: First of all, I want to make it very clear that I agree with demand on the federal government not being able to collect information on First Amendment-protected activities. I’m saddened by the fact that journalists did not vet, in fact, refuse to vet and did not cover the Black Lives Matter movement.

They covered for them. They de-emphasize or deny the Marxism of their founders—Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and also Melina Abdullah—even though they themselves are quite open about it and make videos saying, “Yeah, I’m a Marxist and I’ve being trained as a Marxist.”

They say this all the time and journalists, when they report on it—which is very, very seldom—they say, I think I quote a PolitiFact fact check, in which he said, “Well, Marxism these days, it’s really considering life through an economic lens.”

No, it isn’t. Marxism is what it is, what it says it is. It’s communism. It is getting rid of the market economy, getting rid of capitalism, which Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors say they want to do. They want to get rid of free markets. They want to get rid of our ability to own property and sell that property or sell our labor for a wage. They don’t even like our system of representative democracy.

Opal Tometi has been very praiseful of the Chavismo in Venezuela. She was photographed with Nicolas Maduro. She believes in this type of direct democracy, which is not a democracy at all. It’s just a dictatorship of one party.

So this is what they want to do. They want to abolish the family. In fact, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation had it on their website that they wanted to really make deep changes to the family system.

I wrote about it with my colleague, Andrew Olivastro, in a piece that was read by over a million people. Within a month, they did what all Stalinists do: They airbrushed that out of their website. All of a sudden that was gone, except that it is in other parts of the literature. They cannot hide this. They want to abolish the American way of life. This is what they’re about.

They hide themselves behind a very good slogan: “Black lives matter.” Who could be against that? If you don’t think that black lives matter, I don’t even want to talk to you. They hide themselves. If they call themselves “Red Ideas Matter,” it would be much more representative of who they are, but of course, like all communists, they hide themselves behind these noble sentiments, like black lives matter.

Allen: That’s really helpful context, Mike. I know you talk about the fact that, for so long, and during the Cold War, America was fighting the Soviet Union and we were fighting communism from afar, but now what we see is that we’re fighting it within our own borders, we’re fighting it from within.

Talk a little bit about how the organization Black Lives Matter is responsible. Are they responsible? Should we blame them for what we see now in this new interest that we see young people having in socialism and in new fascination with communism? Is Black Lives Matter really to blame for that?

Gonzalez: Yeah, let me put it together. First of all, it’s a really sad irony that as we celebrate this year, the 30th anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, that we’re seeing communist ideas gain such currency in our system.

We spent all these resources, all this time and energy and lives fighting socialism, fighting communism, fighting what [former President Ronald] Reagan called the “evil empire,” the Soviet Union, which was finally dissolved on Christmas Day 1991. The significance of the day is underlining the noble and moral character of our crusade against communism.

It is because of what happened in 2020, the year of turmoil and the riots. There were 633 riots, by the way, at least according to the U.S. Crisis Monitor run out of Princeton. And 95% of those riots in which we know the identity of the perpetrator, Black Lives Matter members were included.

It is because of this that critical race theory all of a sudden jumps the university walls and enters K-12 in full force. We’re seeing as a result of last year, our classrooms completely change and teachers. It was happening before, but it really enters into full force.

We see also critical race theory entering the military, the houses of worship. And corporate America has completely surrendered to this ideology. Sports and every aspect of our lives is because of this. It is because of what happened last year.

The manipulation of the tragedy of George Floyd’s death, which is a tragedy, the manipulation of this into making people believe the leaders of all our key institutions that we are systemically racist and that our criminal justice system is systemically racist—they threw in the towel and accepted all of this.

And we’re telling our soldiers to read critical race theory texts, which say that the Constitution is illegitimate. These are people who volunteered to defend the Constitution from enemies, foreign and domestic, and yet, we’re telling them to read Kendi and all these other writers, Ibram X. Kendi, who say the Constitution is an illegitimate document.

This is happening because of the year of unrest that we had the riots and demonstrations, the upheaval, that people want to forget. Nobody wants to talk about it, but we cannot forget what we had after May 2020 for many, many, many months. I’ve written the book just to shine a light on this and say, “We cannot give in.”

In fact, you’ve seen resistance from the American people. I’ve crossed the country and speak to groups from coast to coast and I get hundreds of people, I’m not that electrifying a speaker, and people turn out because they demand information about critical race theory. They want to know what’s going on. They want to have it explained to them.

The resistance is now coming from the grassroots. The American people are standing up and saying, “No, I don’t want these things taught to my children. I don’t want to be trained and go through these reeducation camps at my place of work.” This is a form of workplace harassment, so they’re fighting against what Verizon is trying to do, what American Express is trying to do, and even The Salvation Army has these training programs.

Allen: Well, Mike, I really appreciate the research that you have done on critical race theory. You really are the expert at Heritage on that subject. I encourage all of our listeners, if you want to read Mike’s pieces on this, you can check him out on The Heritage Foundation website.

Mike, you mentioned the riots last year that obviously took the nation by storm and really changed so much in our country. I was fascinated that in the book, you mentioned how Antifa in some ways became a distraction from Black Lives Matter. I was really, really interested in that point. Talk a little bit about that.

Gonzalez: I say that in a way to castigate politicians. Politicians from both parties are not courageous or as courageous as they should be. They don’t want to talk about Black Lives Matter because black lives matter, because of the slogan. They are very shy to talk about these organizations, which are distinct from the concept.

Antifa, which is a much more white phenomenon, these are anarchists. They’re violent anarchists. As I see it, they don’t have a thought-out academic discipline, like Black Lives Matter has critical race theory behind it. They’re all practitioners of critical race theory. Antifa doesn’t have that. Antifa is anarchism and it’s just pure violence, almost for the sake of violence. I think they have goals like overthrowing the state, but they don’t have a well-thought-out program.

Black Lives Matter has bills in Congress. Black Lives Matter has a curriculum that is being taught in many of our children’s schools already. Black Lives Matter has a foreign policy. They came out and supported the communist government of Cuba. As the communist government was rounding up protesters, beating them up, and putting them into prison through kangaroo trials, BLM came out and supported them. BLM came out in support against Israel as Israel was fighting the terrorist group Hamas earlier this year.

So Black Lives Matter has a foreign policy and it has a gazillion dollars. They raised $10 million—well, no, sorry, they raised $100 million last year. It has all these assets that Antifa does not have.

Allen: You mentioned the money and you have a whole chapter in the book specifically titled “Following the Money,” what did you discover as you looked at the money coming into and out of the Black Lives Matter organization?

Gonzalez: There are all these corporations that have gone woke. There are many reasons being given why.

Vivek Ramaswamy, a colleague, he does a lot of [anti-critical race theory] work, has another book out in which he talks about how this is really easy for the CEOs to go woke. This is costless to them, but we’re seeing all these foundations raising money.

A lot of times, as I point out in the chapter devoted to this, these foundations have links, longstanding links, to Marxist groups, such as the Sandinistas. One of these groups is a [pro-People’s Republic of China], pro-Maoism group in San Francisco, the Chinese Progressive Association, which is the financial sponsor of two of the Black Lives Matter affiliates.

The Chinese Progressive Association in San Francisco was founded to support the People’s Republic of China against mainland China, against Taiwan. It was founded in the ’70s for that reason.

Allen: In your writing of this book, in the research that you’ve done on the Black Lives Matter organization and critical race theory, ultimately, in your assessment, what’s the end goal for Black Lives Matter? What are they aiming for? You say that they have public policy, they have bills in Congress. What’s their end-all, be-all?

Gonzalez: Their goal is what Alicia Garza said … in 2019, when she was visiting a group of Maine leftists. She said, “What we want to do is dismantle the organizing principle of society.” She said that, and that’s what they want. They want to dismantle the way we’re organized. They want to dismantle the American system.

They say that we’re systemically, structurally, institutionally racist, because they want to pull out all the institutions and want to change all the institutions, all the structures in the very system of America. That is their goal and they hide behind this good slogan that black lives do matter in order to pursue the complete overhaul of the United States.

Look, we have problems, problems that we need to solve, obviously, but we’re still the fairest, most prosperous country in the world where real human flourishing can take place. That’s the reason why people fall from airplanes out of the sky to come to this country, and there’s no line of people leaving to get out.

There’s a very, very long line of people coming to get in because they see, they understand that America is the land of hope for the working man and woman of the world, of any race. These are people coming of all races. If we were a racist country, systemically racist country, we wouldn’t have so many people of all races wanting to come in here and succeeding here and thank God for that.

Allen: This might be a naive question, but why? You’re saying that they want to fundamentally change America, they want to unravel the traditional structure of the family, of capitalism. Why?

Gonzalez: Well, on the family itself, it was Marx and Engels who put that in “The Communist Manifesto” of 1848 that they wanted to “abolish the family.”

I don’t think anyone embraces evil qua evil. I think that they do believe that this is an oppressive system. Critical race theorists, just like critical legal theorists, just like critical theorists in the 1930s and ’20s, believe that the West has a superstructure that is oppressive. They admit that capitalism produces the goods, but they say that’s what’s bad about capitalism, because it produces material well-being and that it perpetuates a very oppressive system.

They are crazy, and I’m not a psychologist, but you have to believe that Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Melina Abdullah believe that we live in an oppressive society. Obviously, they haven’t traveled, or they haven’t traveled extensively outside of the U.S.

I have lived in at least seven countries, at least a year, as a foreign correspondent. I lived in Kabul for a month. And I can tell you that compared to the rest of the world, not only are we not oppressive, but we’re pretty, pretty good.

Allen: Where do we go from here then and what is really your hope as readers read the book, what do you want them to take from it?

Gonzalez: I want to open people’s eyes. I want to convince people who are either ambivalent about Black Lives Matter or actually believe that this is a noble endeavor and noble organizations, as a concept, of course it’s noble, but as organizations, no they’re not. And I want to convince people of that.

I also want to stiffen up the resolve of the American people that, no, we shouldn’t allow this here. The American people are exceptionally attached to liberty. We have always been. This is something that has been remarked upon by social scientists and foreign visitors for centuries—G. K. Chesterton and before him, Alexis de Tocqueville and Herbert Marcuse, who hated it.

I want the people who already are suspicious of the BLM organizations to stiffen their spine against this and make sure that this does not take hold. I also want to reach out to people who do believe that these are good organizations, who have been misinformed, who have been manipulated into believing that we live in an oppressive system with systemic racism.

Allen: So critical. Well, the book is “BLM: The Making of a New Marxist Revolution.” You can get it on Amazon. Mike, final words, anything you’d like to add before I let you go?

Gonzalez: Yes. As I said, America, I don’t want to pretend that we do not have our faults. No system ever is going to be perfect on earth because it’s dealing with flawed individuals, right? Man is flawed, but this is a good country. I traveled the country, I go everywhere. Americans are good people. We have a good system. So before we think about completely overhauling and pulling out the foundations, we should really think hard: Is this really what we want to do?

Allen: Critical. “BLM: The Making of a New Marxist Revolution,” get it on Amazon. Mike, thank you so much for being here.

Gonzalez: Thank you, Virginia.

*****

This interview was published on September 7, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Daily Signal.

We Must Free Americans to Work

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Established as a federal holiday in the late 1800s, Labor Day marks how American workers have contributed to the country’s successes. It is a holiday to celebrate the dignity of workers—but respecting the dignity of workers demands that we respect the choices they make regarding their careers. But too often, government stands in the way of those choices, tying workers up in unnecessary red tape that prevents them from doing the work they want to do.

That’s why we must free Americans to work. The Goldwater Institute’s Breaking Down Barriers to Work law cuts that red tape and makes it easier for Americans to work in the career of their choice.

At present, around one in four Americans is required to obtain a license in order to be able to do their job—a government permission slip to work in a certain career. These government-imposed barriers exist for a wide range of professions: barbers, plumbers, real estate agents, sign language interpreters, florists, landscapers, coaches, interior designers, and many others. No matter how qualified someone is, Americans must re-apply for permission to work when they move to a new state.

But under Breaking Down Barriers to Work, a new resident of a state is eligible to receive a license to practice their profession, so long as the applicant has held a license in good standing for at least one year and was required to complete testing or training requirements in the initiating state. It’s all about streamlining the licensing process for everyone: State licensing boards don’t have to devote unnecessary time to comparing education or training requirements across all 50 states, and applicants are no longer required to jump through hoops just to continue a career they were already doing safely and productively elsewhere.

Breaking Down Barriers to Work is particularly beneficial for low-income workers—those least able to afford the time and money needed to get re-licensed each time an opportunity across state lines comes up. Having to meet a state’s licensing requirements upon moving there hampers low-income Americans’ ability to take advantage of a job opportunity that arises in another state—in some cases, it may simply be a bridge too far. But Breaking Down Barriers can make it more possible for such a worker to seize an opportunity that comes their way.

Breaking Down Barriers to Work has been garnering bipartisan support in states across the country, because it’s a reform that’s simply common sense. Since Arizona passed Goldwater’s law back in 2019, several states have followed suit: To date, 16 additional states have passed our reform, and you can look for additional states to take up this law in their next legislative session.

And in the states where Breaking Down Barriers is on the books, it’s having real results. So far, nearly 4,000 workers have already benefited from the law in Arizona alone.

This Labor Day, we should keep the dignity of American workers in mind—and in particular, how we can ensure that Americans are free to make a living in the careers they want and need. Breaking Down Barriers is a needed reform to free Americans to work.

*****

This article was published on September 6, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from the Goldwater Institute.

The Economist Is Starting to Get It

Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

I have read the Economist for 40 years. It is perhaps the best international news magazine that actually understands economics, even if we might have different views. It was founded in 1843 by James Wilson, not surprisingly an economist. It is rare that a publication can stay in business that long.  That longevity says things about their quality.

Articles often range widely in subject matter and I concede that if you read just this one magazine, you would be reasonably informed about the world on a variety of subjects. Its companion publication the Financial Times also ranks pretty high in today’s world of diminished journalism.

It was with great disappointment a few years ago I got the weekly magazine with a cover of Donald Trump shouting through a megaphone, that if you looked carefully was a Klan hood. I thought this was so over the top I wrote the editor, telling him I would no longer be a subscriber. One can have disagreements with Trump and know he is not a bigot. Prior to running, he received many awards from civil rights organizations and much of his extended family is Jewish. So, the implication of the cover and much of their coverage, was biased, uninformed about America, and just plain stupid.

Just because one does not agree with open borders, in the age of the welfare state and international terrorism, does not make one a Klansman. The Economist should have known better than to get down in the gutter with the rest of the press. If you do not agree with Trump on the border, make your case for open borders and defend it. Don’t dodge the argument by associating someone with a horrible organization, organized by the way, by Democrats.

I often read views that don’t agree with my own. That is unavoidable with today’s biased journalism. As Dennis Prager has pointed out, Conservatives often read Progressives, but Progressives don’t read Conservatives. They do what the Economist did, fling snarky insults instead of confronting an opposing view.

Conservatives have to swim in the water that flows from the universities, big business, the arts, Hollywood, book publishers, magazines, and the social media giants.  We can’t help but get soaked with their ideas. Progressives however, do not face the same environment as they are now “the establishment.”

Like many publication, The Economist had uncharateristically succumbed to Trump Derangement Syndrome, a very serious mental illness. It was very disappointing. In many important respects, they still don’t understand the MAGA revolt in America as a revolt against Leftist domination of our institutions.

As we have pointed out in the past, even the term “populist” is not very descriptive of MAGA which blends elements of nationalism, Judeo-Christian principles, political conservatism, and libertarianism. Unlike legacy conservatism, MAGA supporters are tired of losing and appreciated Trump’s fighting spirit. They have heard conservative shibboleths since Goldwater, and except for occasional political victories (Reagan), legacy conservatism has presided over the loss of one institution after another to the Left. And unlike traditional liberals, MAGA has been fully aware of the totalitarian instinct in today’s “Progressives.”

Hoping that since Trump was gone, they might regain some of the intellectual composure, I ventured another subscription.

Like many who hated Trump, and thus supported Democrats,  largely because of his often off tone remarks and tweets, there is a degree of buyer’s remorse setting in. There is a difference between rhetoric and actual governing. Trump sometimes said things in a way that made you wince, but other than frequent turnover in cabinet positions, he governed pretty well, considering he was under unrelenting attack.

Polls show the Bidenism is a loser. His failure on the border, the economy, with Covid, in foreign policy, in inflation, race relations, and crime, his deliberate dividing even further the electorate, are starting to hit home for many. Upwards of 20% of Democrats now say they wish they had voted differently. In the all important independent voter sector, which often determines elections when the two major parties are running neck and neck, Biden’s popularity is also falling.

Those individuals associated with Biden are beginning to feel they hitched their wagon to a fading star, and one that is suffering from a touch of dementia as well. But the folks at the Economist are not running for office, so their alarm is coming from another place.

There seems to be a shift in the Economist, even though they are not seeking office. It appears they have discovered (surprise, surprise, surprise), that today’s Progressive is an undemocratic bigot. The Democrat Party has been captured by the gender and race hustlers ensconced in your local university. But the crazy stuff does not stay on campus, it has spread faster than Covid.

I would take this shift at the Economist as important, but not like there is a major quake in the intellectual tectonic plates of the global marketplace of ideas. They still take their swipes at what they call “populist.” But this week’s issue should rattle some windows. In the most recent print issue, there is an important essay which seems to support the idea that they are getting it. What  I mean is the recognition is dawning that the modern Democrat Party is anything but democratic and that so called liberals today, are no longer liberals. They have become Leftists, and nasty ones at that.

Leftists are bullies and historically trended to violence and dictatorship. That is why naive Leftists keep arguing that their “pure” ideas has never been tried, it is always corrupted. They never ask why it is their ideas are always corrupted and end up as Pol Pot or Castro.

How many times does it have to happen before they begin to understand the totalitarian rot comes from within the movement itself?

At any rate, there is a shift in the Economist and it could well mean others are getting the message as well.

Below is a quote from their recent essay:

The attack from the left is harder to grasp, partly because in America “liberal” has come to include an illiberal left. We describe this week how a new style of politics has recently spread from elite university departments. As young graduates have taken jobs in the upmarket media and in politics, business and education, they have brought with them a horror of feeling “unsafe” and an agenda obsessed with a narrow vision of obtaining justice for oppressed identity groups. They have also brought along tactics to enforce ideological purity, by no-platforming their enemies and cancelling allies who have transgressed—with echoes of the confessional state that dominated Europe before classical liberalism took root at the end of the 18th century.

Superficially, the illiberal left and classical liberals like The Economist want many of the same things. Both believe that people should be able to flourish whatever their sexuality or race. They share a suspicion of authority and entrenched interests. They believe in the desirability of change.

However, classical liberals and illiberal progressives could hardly disagree more over how to bring these things about. For classical liberals, the precise direction of progress is unknowable. It must be spontaneous and from the bottom up—and it depends on the separation of powers, so that nobody nor any group is able to exert lasting control. By contrast the illiberal left put their own power at the centre of things, because they are sure real progress is possible only after they have first seen to it that racial, sexual and other hierarchies are dismantled.

This difference in method has profound implications. Classical liberals believe in setting fair initial conditions and letting events unfold through competition—by, say, eliminating corporate monopolies, opening up guilds, radically reforming taxation and making education accessible with vouchers. Progressives see laissez-faire as a pretence which powerful vested interests use to preserve the status quo. Instead, they believe in imposing “equity”—the outcomes that they deem just. For example, Ibram X. Kendi, a scholar-activist, asserts that any colour-blind policy, including the standardised testing of children, is racist if it ends up increasing average racial differentials, however enlightened the intentions behind it.

Mr Kendi is right to want an anti-racist policy that works. But his blunderbuss approach risks denying some disadvantaged children the help they need and others the chance to realise their talents. Individuals, not just groups, must be treated fairly for society to flourish. Besides, society has many goals. People worry about economic growth, welfare, crime, the environment and national security, and policies cannot be judged simply on whether they advance a particular group. Classical liberals use debate to hash out priorities and trade-offs in a pluralist society and then use elections to settle on a course. The illiberal left believe that the marketplace of ideas is rigged just like all the others. What masquerades as evidence and argument, they say, is really yet another assertion of raw power by the elite.

Progressives of the old school remain champions of free speech. But illiberal progressives think that equity requires the field to be tilted against those who are privileged and reactionary. That means restricting their freedom of speech, using a caste system of victimhood in which those on top must defer to those with a greater claim to restorative justice. It also involves making an example of supposed reactionaries, by punishing them when they say something that is taken to make someone who is less privileged feel unsafe. The results are calling-out, cancellation and no-platforming.

Milton Friedman once said that the “society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither”. He was right. Illiberal progressives think they have a blueprint for freeing oppressed groups. In reality theirs is a formula for the oppression of individuals—and, in that, it is not so very different from the plans of the populist right. In their different ways both extremes put power before process, ends before means and the interests of the group before the freedom of the individual.

Let’s hope this is the beginning of a broader understanding of what unhinged Progressives mean to society. That no matter what differences one may have had with Mr. Trump, his opponents are fundamentally more dangerous to liberty. Note we included their gratuitous swipe at the “populist right”, that they still don’t understand. But at least they are getting the message on the Progressives.

The irony here is that it was Trump who truly understood the culture war, and would use his bully pulpit to inveigh against critical race theory, gender bending, and the attacks on free speech by publishers, the government, the press, and social media monopolies. And it is his followers who are standing up at school board meetings and city council meetings and fighting censorship and cancelling social media and big business. It is the Trump followers and a small band of Libertarians that are fighting the totalitarian Progressives. This is now what the Economist is doing.  I wonder if they realize the irony in that.

Even if they don’t, welcome aboard the liberty ship.  We can use more hands, especially as articulate as those at the Economist. Go forth and fight the Progressives. These Marxists are enemies of both old fashioned Liberals and Conservatives.

Covid Deaths In The U.S. Are Higher Than Last Year At Same Time

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Editors’ Note:  There are likely multiple reasons why Trump lost the election (if indeed he actually did). Chief among them was the public concern about Covid and the pledge by Democrats that “they have a plan”, even though the plan is mostly mass vaccination, which began well before under Trump. But perception of the crisis is different, largely because of the press and how its slants things to the advantage of Democrats. However, as the following shows, reality is usually different than that painted by the media.

 

At this time last year, the Wuhan coronavirus was claiming around 1,000 American lives per day. It seemed to me that, absent a sudden and sharp decline in that number, Joe Biden would be our next president.

It must have seemed that way to Biden and his top advisers, as well. During presidential debates that occurred a little less than a year ago, Biden ripped Trump for his handling of the pandemic. The death count was the centerpiece of this attack.

So what’s the daily death count now, more than seven months into the Biden administration and with a majority of Americans vaccinated? It’s higher than a year ago at the same time.

In the past few days, between 1,300 and 1,700 American deaths have been attributed to the virus and its variants. A year ago, the number was between 1,000 and 1,100.

And, as noted, this is after the widespread vaccination of Americans. To be sure, it’s also with considerably more economic activity than was taking place a year ago at this time. Thus, the vaccines, developed during the Trump presidency, with a big assist from his administration, have improved our overall situation, but not the bottom line in terms of covid deaths.

*****

Continue reading this article, published September 4, 2021 at POWERLINE.

Surge in Antisemitism Linked to Spread of Critical Race Theory

Estimated Reading Time: 11 minutes

There’s a strong connection between critical social justice ideology, including critical race theory, and a rising tide of antisemitism around the globe, according to a new report from the Jewish Institute for Liberal Values.

As more businesses and governments adopt initiatives based on critical social justice ideology, antisemitic and other forms of bigotry are flourishing.

“When you hold an ideology that there are really only two kinds of people in the world, those that are oppressed and those that are oppressors, you’re going to end up empowering ideas of antisemitism,” says David Bernstein, a longtime Jewish advocate as well as the founder and CEO of the Gaithersburg, Maryland-based Jewish Institute for Liberal Values.

He joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to discuss his organization’s new report, as well as the implications for continued global acceptance of critical social justice ideologies.

Doug Blair: Our guest today is David Bernstein, a longtime Jewish advocate and founder and CEO of the Jewish Institute for Liberal Values. David, thank you so much for joining us.

David Bernstein: Great to be with you.

Blair: Great. Your organization just released a white paper on how critical social justice ideology has led to an increase in antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment. Before we get into the white paper, would you be able to start by defining for our listeners what exactly critical social justice ideology is?

Bernstein: Sure. Critical social justice ideology is an umbrella term for critical race theory and other critical ideologies that we’re seeing—critical gender ideology, for example. It basically holds that bias and oppression are not just a matter of individual attitudes, as we’ve traditionally thought about them, but are embedded in the systems and structures of society. It also holds, problematic, in my view, that only those who are adversely affected by those systems, only the system’s victims, have standing to define racism or prejudice or bigotry for the rest of society.

That’s what we’re talking about here, is that ideology, which has taken hold in so many institutions in American life in the past several years, and particularly in the past year is producing antisemitism, among other problems, of course.

Blair: Where is this located? Are we finding critical social justice ideology in schools and certain political viewpoints? Where do we find this ideology present in our culture?

Bernstein: Yeah, I mean, it’s pretty much everywhere, or almost everywhere. You’re seeing it in newsrooms now, as you’ve seen it in The New York Times recently. You’re seeing it in health care institutions, in medicine, in scientific institutions quite ominously. Can you imagine how that’s going to corrupt scientific research over time? We’re seeing it in K-12 schools, obviously in universities and schools of education. We’re seeing it in the nonprofit world.

It’s pretty much everywhere. It’s in major corporations that are doing diversity, equity, and inclusion programs that are quite liberal in nature. We’re seeing it really take hold in a vast array of institutions in American life.

Blair: All right. Now, we have a definition of what this ideology is, what critical social justice ideology is. We can dive into your report. Let’s start with the top line. What relationship did your research find between critical social justice ideology and antisemitism?

Bernstein: When you hold an ideology that there are really only two kinds of people in the world, those that are oppressed and those that are oppressors, you’re going to end up empowering ideas of antisemitism. For example, this idea of Jewish privilege, which is an offshoot of white privilege.

When you say that there’s only oppressors and oppressed, then Jews who have succeeded largely in American society are going to be viewed as the oppressor class, and Israel, which has succeeded largely in the Middle East, is going to be viewed as the oppressor country. That, in the most simple form, is the problem, but it gets more complicated and sometimes more ominous as you look into it more.

I mean, the idea, for example, of intersectionality, which I’m sure your listeners are familiar with, this idea that all forms of oppression are related. That’s a multiplier of this idea of Jewish privilege, and makes it very hard for people to identify with Jews or anybody who’s perceived to be part of the privileged classes.

We can go into some of the other findings as well, but let me just add one more before we do that: equity. This idea that Ibram X. Kendi, a professor at Boston University, has popularized, that all disparities are a function of racism and discrimination.

If there are certain groups that are being discriminated against, and that’s what accounts for all their disparities—not just some of their disparities, but all of the disparities—then there must be people who succeed who are complicit in the system that brought the others down, and that’s Jews, that’s Asians, and other successful groups. It can be weaponized and has been weaponized against Jews in a way that’s increasing the level of antisemitism in society.

Blair: Right. You’ve mentioned intersectionality amongst other concepts that exist in a critical social justice ideology. You define in your report intersectionality as the theory that various identities interact in ways that create compounded discrimination or disadvantage constituting an intersecting system of oppression. In the sort of base level of this, where do Jews fit into the system to somebody who believes in this critical social justice ideology? What do Jews have to do in this system?

Bernstein: It’s very hard for people who buy into this ideology to look at American Jews who have been largely successful or are in their eyes white, and they’ve defined us as white, to say that we’re not part of the oppressor class. We must be, because we’re successful and you can only succeed in this worldview by holding other people down, by getting a bigger slice of the pie for yourself.

No matter how hard Jews tried—and we have tried. I tried, by the way, that’s part of what I would try to do in engaging other communities, engaging progressive spaces in my previous work, was to position Jews as being a marginalized group. We’re marginalized, like your groups are marginalized. And we should have our voice in the intersectional club, but that doesn’t work. It didn’t work. They just do not see it that way.

You also have sort of the intersection, if you will, with the Israeli-Palestinian cause. People insisting that Palestinians are the oppressed group and Israel is the oppressor. Then they look at the American Jewish community that is largely but not entirely supportive of Israel and they say, “OK, you must be part of the oppressor class,” and that’s how we’ve been marked.

Blair: One of the things that I’ve kind of been considering as I was reading this paper is it feels like a lot of the time when incidents of antisemitism come up, we’re reacting to a specific incident. It’s reactionary politics as opposed to a sort of ongoing discussion about where this comes from.

For example, when Black Lives Matter or an activist said something that’s pretty blatantly antisemitic, it seems like we’ll focus more on the specific thing that was said as opposed to the root ideology that leads activists to believe the antisemitic thing that they just said. Do you feel that this is sort of a true assessment of what’s going on? Why or why not?

Bernstein: Yeah. If there’s one finding in this paper that represents a wholesale departure from the traditional Jewish community approach to fighting antisemitism, it’s that we believe that the current ideological environment is like fighting antisemitism in a game of whack-a-mole.

The ideology is going to continue to produce incidents of antisemitism. If we continue to go and condemn this person and condemn that person, which we could do and should do, I guess, but without recognizing that the root cause ideology, the wellspring from which this comes is critical social justice ideology, we’re not really fighting the root problem.

There, I would say that we’ve got to take a massive strategic shift in how we think about fighting antisemitism. It doesn’t work to just fight antisemitism. You have to fight the underlying ideology. You have to start challenging people who claim that they have a monopoly on the truth when it comes to racism and race.

You have to say, “No, I’m sorry. We have the right to speak as well.” You’ve got to stick up for liberalism, because if liberalism starts to slip, and liberalism, by the way, I mean small “L” liberalism, and that is the free expression of ideas in society, if that starts to slip and give way to wokeism, then we’re not going to fare well. Jews are not going to fare well, other minorities won’t fare well either.

So we’ve got to start fighting that fundamental underlying ideology that’s giving rise to antisemitism and not just the antisemitic expressions of it.

Blair: One of the things that I’ve also been considering a lot as we were talking about concepts like intersectionality and this sort of focus on race, like in critical race theory, that both in America and worldwide, Jews are ethnically a minority. We’ve talked about the successes of the Jewish people, but how has it become so ingrained in both conspiracy theories and in critical social justice ideology that Jews are oppressors?

Bernstein: Yeah. Jews have always occupied a very strange space in societies where they lived. Jews have a very resilient culture and have been able to largely succeed in almost any society that they’ve been in. They’re perceived as sort of being intermediary. They are, in the eyes of, let’s say, white supremacists in this country, they’re viewed as the people that are bringing in other minorities to pollute the white dominant culture. Right? …

When you hear people with tiki torches say that Jews will not replace us, that’s what they mean. The Jews will have been the intermediaries that have allowed more Mexicans and other people to come in and replace us white people. That occupies a very special place in their imagination.

I think in the intersectional worldview, also, Jews are really confounding, in a way. We claim to have been discriminated against. We had this thing called the Holocaust that happened to us, we’ve been discriminated against, they see the hate crime statistics, and yet we’re white and successful. In a way, we’re a standing contradiction to that worldview and they have to shove us into one of those two boxes, which leads to sort of the erasure of our identity.

Blair: I do think it’s very interesting that Jews kind of occupy this space of simultaneously the oppressor, but like, historically speaking, you can acknowledge that the Jews have been persecuted on a world scale.

Speaking of a world scale, I would like to talk to you a little bit about the upcoming world conference on racism that is set to take place this month. Rather famously, the U.S. has previously boycotted these types of U.N.-backed conferences because they have a very strong anti-Israel bias. These conferences will regularly refer to Israel as an apartheid state and discuss how evil the country is on a variety of levels. With that in mind, is there a difference between antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment? On that note, is it possible to be critical of the state of Israel without wading into antisemitism?

Bernstein: I mean, absolutely. I mean, there’s nobody more critical of Israel than Israelis. You see that every day in any Israeli newspaper you might look at in English or Hebrew.

Many American Jews, myself included … we care about Israel. We love Israel. We might define ourselves as Zionists, people who believe in the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. And yet, we are critical of specific Israeli acts, policies that we think might be counterproductive. Many of us will say so publicly. We’ll say, “We think that’s wrong,” and, “Israel should do ‘X’ instead of ‘Y.’” That is entirely consistent with seeing Israel as a normal country or even caring about the Jewish state.

What’s not normal is when people start to deny the very right of the Jewish people to have a state, which is what you see in places like the World Conference on Racism, or you demonize Israelis as Nazis and judge it by a standard that you would judge no other nation.

That’s where you start to get suspicious and wonder, “Well, maybe there’s something much more sinister behind this than just criticism of a country or its policies.” What you’re really seeing are people who hate the Jewish people and are using that as a kind of a cudgel against the state of the Jewish people, which is the state of Israel.

Blair: It sounds like what you’re saying is that … anti-Israel rhetoric … is being used to disguise antisemitism in a way.

Bernstein: Yeah. By anti-Israel rhetoric, I mean, I would mean not just criticism of Israel, but really vicious criticism of Israel that’s completely out of proportion and irrational. And yeah, I think it disguises it.

I’m not going to say that there aren’t people who are opposed to Zionism that aren’t antisemitic. I think that there probably are. There are ultra-Orthodox Jews who, for a variety of reasons, theological reasons, don’t think there should be a state of Israel. I’m not going to call them antisemites. I think what you can say is that the phenomena of anti-Zionism is a category of antisemitism, even if there are exceptions to the rule.

Blair: OK. Other than this conference, and I’m sure there are other examples, would you be able to list some other things that are international manifestations of antisemitism and anti-Zionism?

Bernstein: Yeah. I mean, we’ve seen over the years, especially in the wake of like a war with Gaza, conflict of Gaza, these massive, very often violent protests.

I remember in Malmo, Sweden, I think it must’ve been around 2006, there were these massive protests against the Jewish community, major threats to synagogues and others. You had the mayor of Malmo blame it on the Jews for their support for Israel.

You see that in some European countries and you see, as we recently saw in the United States, by the way, in LA and New York, during the last Gaza round in May, you saw people beaten on the streets. I mean, literally like stopped and beaten at restaurants. These are manifestations of violent antisemitism that really comes from the left side of the political spectrum.

Blair: You’ve spoken a little bit on the implications for the sort of other oppressed classes. I think you’ve talked a little bit about Asians and other racial groups. Are there larger implications in our American society for the proliferation of critical social justice ideology beyond Judaism and antisemitism?

Bernstein: Absolutely. I would even say my primary critique of critical social justice or the imposition of critical justice is the fact that it’s fundamentally illiberal. It’s meant to try to stifle conversation. It stifles science. It stifles the free exchange of ideas.

It makes it harder to solve problems because how can you solve a problem if you’re not allowed to try to define it? In other words, if the only permissible explanation for disparity in the world is systemic racism, and if you proffer any other possible explanation for it, you’ll be deemed a racist, how are you going to actually solve that problem? Because racism doesn’t account for why there’s disparity in many cases.

I think it is fundamentally illiberal and it will create bad social outcomes and it will prevent people from talking to each other. It will be bad for race relations. I think it has many, many bad outcomes besides just the antisemitism and anti-Asian sentiment and the like.

Blair: Given that we can acknowledge that, obviously, antisemitism is a problem, what advice do you have for our listeners who want to push back against the rising tide of antisemitism and anti-Zionism around the globe today?

Bernstein: Yeah, I think it’s time that they recognize that there is this ideology at its root cause and that we have to start supporting liberalism. There, I’m really advocating for a new coalition.

I think the Jewish community has been very focused on sort of engaging the left and the far left of the American political system so that we can stop it from becoming too anti-Israel or too antisemitic. I don’t think that’s working well.

I think the lion’s share of our resources, our energies have to be to building a new coalition, groups with Asian Americans, and black heterodox thinkers, and Latino business leaders, and the like. A new centrist coalition that, on both sides of the political aisle, stands up for the liberal proposition of a society where people can express ideas and think out loud together.

I think that’s the kind of society we want to live in, and that’s the coalition we ought to create. That means that we have to create new institutions that fight for liberalism, and we have to create new institutions that aren’t captured in some cases by woke ideology that are right now making it hard for these institutions to function effectively.

Blair: Given that, do we have any examples of a positive success story that we can point to and say, “Hey, this is working. This is helping out”?

Bernstein: This is a very new phenomenon. I think, obviously, we’ve been watching critical social justice take over in certain institutions for quite a few years and certainly in the academy, but it was really after George Floyd’s murder that we saw … this racial reckoning really start to take effect. A lot of institutions started implementing new racial justice plans and committees and the like. It’s really been in the last year where you’ve seen this incursion at this level, which has provoked a backlash.

Many of us now are, I mean, we founded our organization only four months ago. There are very few existing institutions in American life, nonprofit advocacy organizations and the like, that were already actively fighting against the incursion of critical social justice ideology.

We’re learning as we go along. We’re making some headway in certain places. There are examples of us being able to get more and more people out of the woodwork and fighting against it. We’ve seen some institutions back off from their previous woke pronouncements and the like. But we’re just getting going and we’re going to have to find what works over time.

Blair: Glad to hear that things are going positively. David, we are running a little bit low on time, but I wanted to give the last word to you. Where can our listeners go to learn more about your organization and the work you’re doing to fight antisemitism?

Bernstein: Sure. We are JILV.org, Jewish Institute for Liberal Values … They can find us on Twitter at @JILVORG. They can also look into a new organization called the Institute for Liberal Values—which is an umbrella of groups, not just Jewish groups, but education groups and the like—and that’s ilvalues.org, and it’s coming into existence as we speak. Check us all out.

Blair: Great. Well, thank you so much. That was David Bernstein, founder and CEO of the Jewish Institute for Liberal Values as well as a longtime Jewish advocate. David, thanks again for joining us.

Bernstein: Great to be with you. Thank you.

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This article was published on September 3, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Daily Signal.

Money Down The Toilet In Afghanistan

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

$2 trillion down the toilet: art teacher exposes Afghans to Dadaist art. America tried to win hearts and minds of Afghans by teaching them to be as stupid and as decadent as we are.

 

This sign of American decadence and stupidity in Afghanistan cannot be improved on. The Spectator columnist Cockburn reports on America’s attempt to turn a nation of medieval goat herders and Islamic hillbillies into penis-possessors and vulva-havers suitable for campus life at some of America’s more elite colleges. Excerpts:

So, alongside the billions for bombs went hundreds of millions for gender studies in Afghanistan. According to US government reports, $787 million was spent on gender programs in Afghanistan, but that substantially understates the actual total, since gender goals were folded into practically every undertaking America made in the country.

A recent report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) broke down the difficulties of the project. For starters, in both Dari and Pastho there are no words for ‘gender’. That makes sense, since the distinction between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ was only invented by a sexually-abusive child psychiatrist in the 1960s, but evidently Americans were caught off-guard. Things didn’t improve from there. Under the US’s guidance, Afghanistan’s 2004 constitution set a 27 percent quota for women in the lower house — higher than the actual figure in America! A strategy that sometimes required having women represent provinces they had never actually been to. Remarkably, this experiment in ‘democracy’ created a government few were willing to fight for, let alone die for.

The initiatives piled up one after another. Do-gooders established a ‘National Masculinity Alliance’, so a few hundred Afghan men could talk about their ‘gender roles’ and ‘examine male attitudes that are harmful to women’.

But all this wasn’t just a stupid waste of money. It routinely actively undermined the ‘nation-building’ that America was supposed to be doing. According to an USAID observer, the gender ideology included in American aid routinely caused rebellions out in the provinces, directly causing the instability America was supposedly fighting. To get Afghanistan’s parliament to endorse the women’s rights measures it wanted, America resorted to bribing them. Soon, bribery became the norm for getting anything done in the parliament.

Cockburn dredges up something so horrible and hilarious that it’s straight out of a Monty Python sketch. In it, the American occupiers attempt to enlighten a group of Afghan women by showing them Marcel Duchamp’s famous urinal-as-museum-piece, and telling them that it’s important art. Cockburn says watch to the 31-second point and see the moment when America failed in Afghanistan:

Read it all. Last night at dinner in Milan, I asked a friend of mine, a veteran Italian foreign correspondent, what he thought of the way America had handled its departure from Afghanistan. “America is a declining power,” he said. “You can’t deny it now.” No, you can’t.

There should be Congressional hearings, but you know there won’t be, because nobody is ever held accountable for anything in this country anymore. Next time you hear one of these people in the American expert class telling you, for example, that Hungary is a fascist state, remember that they are the same geniuses who read Afghanistan and thought they saw a country that was ripe for gender studies and classes on the artistic breakthrough of pissoirs.

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This article was published on September 2, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The American Conservative.