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“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” Mark Twain
For a few cynical wags and critics, Ben Domenech is best known as former “The View” co-host Meghan McCain’s husband. But that is unfair. The soft-spoken, cerebral, and calm Domenech is a celebrated writer and editor in his own right, and as of late, an occasional weekly host on Fox News “Primetime,” including this past week.
Domenech’s day job is serving as publisher of a popular and highly-respected libertarian-conservative website, TheFederalist.com, which features a stable of outstanding fellow journalists, including the estimable Mollie Hemingway. He also authors his own daily newsletter, The Transom, to which I subscribe for the bargain price of $30 annually. He publishes almost every day; it is part of my morning routine.
Having worked in Camden, New Jersey, for 16 years, the 19th-century poet Walt Whitman is ubiquitous. Whitman’s final Camden home – the only one he ever owned – is a National Historic Landmark. Murals honoring or including Whitman are found throughout town. He’s also buried in Camden’s Harleigh Cemetery in an impressive mausoleum. The two leading bridges that connect Camden and Philadelphia are named after Benjamin Franklin and Walt Whitman.
Inscribed over City Hall are the words from a Whitman poem: “In a dream, I saw a city invincible.” Camden’s invincibility has been challenged for much of the last 50 years, which is still recovering from an exodus of people and manufacturing jobs. For a while, it had the nation’s highest murder rate. It continues to suffer high unemployment rates. But it is making an impressive comeback, thanks to a new medical school, its largest employer, Cooper University Hospital, and new corporate investments such as Subaru’s new North American headquarters and a new hotel on the waterfront. Police reforms of nearly a decade ago are a model for the nation.
And through it all, Camden has clung to Whitman and his brilliant career and contributions to American literature.
You there. Yes, you, standing between your pantry and refrigerator. It is time for a “conversation” about race. We’ll start with your food. Open your pantry. Look on the shelf. That one. There.
See that five-pound bag of white granulated sugar? Do you know the racist history of sugar plantations and cultivation in our hemisphere, from Haiti to the southern slaves who were forced to cultivate it?
You may have heard of the thing called The 1619 Project, a series of essays shilled by the New York Times, and loved by woke progressives, that purports to demonstrate that America is a country built on and inextricably bound to slavery. It argues that racism infuses every aspect of our culture, is the unifying ideological foundation of our nation and should be seen as the beating heart and evil soul of America.
It’s widely regarded by real historians as tripe, as faulty and incompetent history, shot through with error and toxic reimagining of the past. I share that view.
I have questions. I’m a straight, white guy, so please bear with me as I couch these questions the only way I know: like a straight, white guy. I know. But you’ve lived in my white guy world for years, so just act like the way you were until three or four months ago.
First question: A request really. Give me one or two concrete examples of “Systemic Racism.” White culture talking here but maybe throw in a place, name, date, or other details such that I can follow you. I’m hoping for facts and logic here — again white culture stuff — but it’s who I am. The media doesn’t explain anything anymore, and I need information to process all this woke cum racist-anti-racist stuff. I’m White!
Second question: What do you expect all of us straight, white guys to do? Let’s say I saw the “I am a racist” light, and now I want to lead the rest of my life as a good, honest, non-racist guy. What would that look like? How would it manifest itself? Maybe a leopard can change its spots. And again, sorry, my whiteness is showing, but can you explain this in plain, clear words from a dictionary printed before last year?
Ayaan talks with Andrew Doyle about the need for comedy in today’s world, how the culture wars affect politics, and the dangers of the social justice movement.
Andrew Doyle is a writer, broadcaster and comedian. He is the author of the new book Free Speech and Why It Matters published this year by Constable. He has also written two books under his satirical persona Titania McGrath – Woke: A Guide to Social Justice (2019) and My First Little Book of Intersectional Activism (2020). He is soon to be joining the presenting team on GB News, Britain’s newest television news channel.
It can’t be easy to be Charles Darwin right now. (I mean, for reasons beyond the obvious.) A meticulous researcher and a serious and deeply respectful man, Mr. Darwin spent years carefully documenting and refining his seminal* theory of evolution through natural selection, delaying its presentation until similar discoveries by fellow British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace prompted him to go public and secure his claim as the father of evolutionary theory.
(And what is it with our British cousins, that they should produce simultaneously two men of such insight?)
Darling Daughter came home from college yesterday. She’ll spend two weeks with dear old dad before zipping off to one of America’s great cities to conduct her junior-senior summer internship doing something in finance. The company she’ll work for is one from whose subsidiaries I occasionally buy electronic components. So it’ll be kind of like […]
“Get Woke, Go Broke” is an apt meme. The news is full of this or that company that is going woke and accommodating its cry-bully workers. There is a lot of talk about boycotting such companies for cultural or political reasons, to try to stem the tide of corporate Marxism from these “Woke Corporations.” Normal […]
I’m pretty much a broken record on the theme of speaking out, arguing that conservatives have to express conservative ideas boldly, and as clearly and with as much grace as we can muster. One common response to this is the claim that we’ve tried that and it hasn’t worked, and that now we have to adopt the techniques of our opponents.
I ran into this just today, when I suggested on another thread that the woke practice of “doxxing” (publishing personal information about private citizens) and getting people fired for the things they say or do on their own time was something we conservatives should not embrace. I’ve tried to make the same point on other occasions about such things as violating people’s first amendment rights, electoral cheating, and lying to further the conservative agenda. These are all things our opponents do. I don’t think that we should do them.
Ayn Rand, for all the often justified criticism she and her Objectivist philosophy receive, deserves credit for her prescient portrayals of the modern institutional and intellectual challenges to western civilization. Her two major works, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, are, in my opinion, required reading for any culturally literate critic of today’s progressive left.
In particular, Rand highlighted the collapse of meritocracy. In Atlas Shrugged, anti-competitive legislation (e.g., the “Anti-dog-eat-dog” bill) captured in caricature the rent-seeking behavior of today’s large and entrenched corporations, as they seek to stymie entry into the sectors they dominate by less well-connected upstarts. This is an expression of simple greed, on both the corporate and political sides.
I’ve changed my mind.
I have long argued, quoting Tim Scott, a Black Republican US Senator from South Carolina, that America is not a racist country. My own view is that “systemic racism” is a social construct detached from reality, divorced from American values, and fatally imbued with lethal doses of atheism and Marxism. It is used mostly as a cudgel for cultural and partisan political purposes. In other words, for political power. It is poorly understood by most Americans but widely taught and practiced in many of our institutions.
Charles Lipson has written a thought-provoking essay about our latest Great
Awakening Awokening. He begins,
One of the most striking features of American history is its periodic waves of religious fervor. We are in the midst of another today, stripped of its references to God but filled with the same passionate desire to be reborn, absolved from past sins.
Simple boycotts alone won’t work. But there is a path. Major League Baseball’s (MLB’s) ill-advised move of its annual All-Star game from Atlanta over Georgia’s perfectly reasonable new election law left plenty of casualties in its wake. Preview Open
We need more safe spaces. No, not the sterile little cubbies that the snowflakes need to avoid being “triggered,” to avoid facing an unpleasant idea or a challenging thought; we have enough of those already. We call those spaces “universities,” and the country is littered with them. No, we need more places where normal Americans can hear and say what they believe without fear of being fired, of their children being ostracized, of their grades being ruined, and of their families being torn apart.
I’ve lived in a lot of America: Kansas City, Denver, Albuquerque, Memphis, Sarasota, Cleveland, Austin, Tucson, rural Missouri, and rural New York. I’ve lived in urban high-rise apartments and on rolling farms, owned homes in lush Florida suburbs and dusty New Mexico river valleys. I’ve met a few people who think America is a racist hellhole full of injustice and oppression, but vastly more who go to church and go to work and make sense and raise their kids and maybe believe too much of what they see on the evening news. Americans aren’t by and large a “woke” people. We’re a gloriously apolitical bunch, a nation of sensible and pragmatic and decent citizens busy making ends meet in an often challenging economy.
There are two things I know about – okay, three – the Republican Party, Corporations, and the US Senate. I’ve toiled in all three vineyards over a 40+ year career – most of it in the corporate world, to be honest. I’ve been involved in 35 GOP US Senate and House campaigns in 25 states; […]
Everyone knows by now that certain Georgia-based companies – Coca-Cola, Delta, Home Depot, and probably others – experienced a public relations train wreck this week after falling under attack from both sides of the Georgia election law reform debate. Both sides? How did that happen? It is the worst-case scenario for any public relations professional. But don’t blame them. At least entirely.