Day: January 6, 2018

The Triumph of the Will Reborn


The city of Nuremberg, Germany is faced with a problem: what to do with the decaying monuments of the Third Reich, including Zeppelinfeld, the huge stadium that saw the Nazi rallies of the 1930s.


Zeppelinfeld in the 1930s.


Zeppelinfeld today.

The restoration of the colossal and wordless testament to Nazism’s power continues to present a dilemma to the citizens of Nuremberg.  Some think the ruins should be preserved as a warning for future generations; others believe that the whole complex should be allowed to disintegrate.

Looking at the ruins of Nuremberg, part of the empire that was to last for a thousand years, it is perhaps difficult to believe the powerfully mesmerizing impact the grand formations of Nazi soldiers and symbols at one time had. 

Perhaps no one documented the effects of Nazism’s intoxicatingly splendiferous grandeur better than filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, whose Triumph of the Will remains a cinematic masterpiece even though 73 years have passed since the fall of the Third Reich.  Students of cinema still study her work.

Riefenstahl’s genius was not limited to technologically advanced camera work and exciting new photographic angles.  Her brilliant cinematography, accompanied by heroically themed music, captured the hypnotic power of Nazi ideology, including its messianic hope that one man could, by the mere power of his will, completely re-order German society and, through it, re-order the entire world.

From the opening scene, which depicts Hitler descending from the clouds in a pictorial reversal of the ascension of Christ, to the stunning shots of the parade grounds packed with rank upon rank of examples of the supposedly perfect Aryan race, and at last to the hypnotizing closing speech of der Führer, the film was a ground-breaking cinematographic masterpiece as well as a triumph of National Socialist propaganda.

William Shirer, author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, was later to comment on the intoxicating effect Nazi rallies had on the masses.  He wrote that “every word dropped by Hitler seemed like an inspired word from on high. Man’s – or at least the German’s – critical faculty is swept away at such moments, and every lie pronounced is accepted as high truth itself.”  Hitler himself declared that the Nazi Party “will be unchangeable in its doctrine, hard as steel in its organization, supple and adaptable in its tactics.  In its entity, however, it will be like a religious order[.]”

It causes great sadness to think back on all that the decaying monuments and buildings of the Third Reich represents.  It is grievous still, almost three quarters of a century later, to see the lingering results of the attempted murder of European civilization. 

It is sadder to recognize the ideology that supported the Third Reich.  Namely, the deeply flawed and essentially falsely religious idea that the power of the unfettered human will can restructure reality continues in the West, albeit in new forms.

The fact is that the belief in the triumph of the human will to power continues to be reformulated in today’s identity politics.  It exhibits itself in the belief that any human being can identify one’s essential being as one wishes and in the idea that society must then be restructured to suit the perception and the will of the self-identified.  To put it another way, fascistic messianism has been rerouted to individuals, including mere children, who supposedly have an infallible inner divine light that gives the right to identify the self and to reorder society to conform to one’s chosen identity. 

That such a pathology migrated to our shores and now is expressed by the American left, now hopefully in its death throes, is a testament to the so-called intellectual flaccidity in academia, including many of the nation’s seminaries.  Too often, orthodox theology concerning mankind as created imago Dei has been sidelined as a specialty with no particular relevance to modernity other than to fight old battles of the past, engage trivialities of the present, or provide a justificatory framework for new “progressive” ideals of modernism and postmodernism.

The new fascistic messianism now available to the masses repudiates both nature and revelation in order to embrace the lies of the ideologies of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, relying on fantasies that have been proved disastrous over and over again in all their multitudinous forms, be they the fantasy of the perfect Aryan or the perfect communist.  The rebirth of the pernicious idea that any human being can redefine being and force the complete restructuring of society in order to reinforce the fantasies conjured in his brain at any given moment is disastrous.

The powers of the human will are intrinsically limited, either by laws of nature or by miraculous intervention and the will of the Almighty.  Free will does not give power to declare oneself the opposite of the sex one is born as any more than free will enables a human to breathe under water.  Free will does not enable humans to change the structure of the universe to accommodate any fantasy conjured from the brain.

As Solzhenitsyn prophetically stated in his Nobel speech of 1970:

One kind of artist imagines himself the creator of an independent spiritual world and shoulders the act of creating that world and the people in it, assuming total responsibility for it – but he collapses, for no mortal genius is able to hold up under such a load [– j]ust as man, who once declared himself the center of existence, has not been able to create a stable spiritual system.  When failure overwhelms him, he blames it on the age-old discord of the world, on the complexity of the fragmented and torn modern soul, or on the public’s lack of understanding.

Solzhenitsyn added that using one’s own personal scale to decide things for everyone always results in the triumph of lies and violence:

Let us not forget that violence does not and cannot flourish by itself; it is inevitably intertwined with lying … and the only way lies can hold out is by violence.  Whoever has once announced violence as his method must inexorably choose lying as his principle.  [The lie] does not always or necessarily go straight for the gullet; usually it demands of its victims only allegiance to the lie, only complicity in the lie.  The simple act of an ordinary courageous man is not to take part, not to support lies!  Let that [lie] come into the world and even reign over it, but not through me.  Once lies have been dispelled, the repulsive nakedness of violence will be exposed – and hollow violence will collapse.

Those who proclaim allegiance to the lies and to the violence of the left will find themselves, as Dostoevsky noted, in “slavery to half-cocked progressive ideas.”

As Solzhenitsyn wrote, “[t]he defense of individual rights has reached such extremes as to make society as a whole defenseless against certain individuals.”  That is because the triumph of the individual human inevitably involves force against those who do not believe in what fascistic messianic figures believe and wish themselves and society to be.  To be opposed to the new messianic left is to be considered hateful and so worthy of punishment.

The triumph of the will is the result of the belief in the autonomy of individual persons from any higher force above them.  It is the very height of anthropocentricity, with the individual at the center of everything that exists.

Solzhenitsyn:

Two hundred or even fifty years ago, it would have seemed quite impossible, in America, that an individual could be granted boundless freedom simply for the satisfaction of his instincts or whims.  Subsequently, however, all such limitations were discarded everywhere in the West; a total liberation occurred from the moral heritage of Christian centuries with their great reserves of mercy and sacrifice[.] … The West [has] ended up by truly enforcing human rights, sometimes even excessively, but man’s sense of responsibility to God and society grew dimmer and dimmer.

The result has been, Solzhenitsyn continued, a moral poverty no none could have imagined even as late as the 19th century.  He added: “I am referring to the calamity of a despiritualized and irreligious humanistic consciousness.  To such consciousness, man is the touchstone in judging everything on earth – imperfect man, who is never free of pride, self-interest, envy, vanity, and dozens of other defects.”

If there are no limitations to the power of individual will, the uncontrolled power of the individual triumph of the will inevitably results in malice toward all and charity toward none, not even toward the anointed Self.

But for many if not most of us, asserting and reasserting what the heart, mind, and soul cannot believe will never succeed.  Messianic fascism failed and continues to fail, no matter how pervasive the lies and the application of force.

That is because the sum of Truth resides not in the will of man, but in the mind and heart of God the Savior, who alone can free the individual from the tyranny of Self.

Fay Voshell holds an M.Div. from Princeton Seminary, which awarded her its prize for excellence in systematic theology.  She is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.  Her thoughts have appeared in many other online magazines.  She may be reached at fvoshell@yahoo.com.

The city of Nuremberg, Germany is faced with a problem: what to do with the decaying monuments of the Third Reich, including Zeppelinfeld, the huge stadium that saw the Nazi rallies of the 1930s.


Zeppelinfeld in the 1930s.


Zeppelinfeld today.

The restoration of the colossal and wordless testament to Nazism’s power continues to present a dilemma to the citizens of Nuremberg.  Some think the ruins should be preserved as a warning for future generations; others believe that the whole complex should be allowed to disintegrate.

Looking at the ruins of Nuremberg, part of the empire that was to last for a thousand years, it is perhaps difficult to believe the powerfully mesmerizing impact the grand formations of Nazi soldiers and symbols at one time had. 

Perhaps no one documented the effects of Nazism’s intoxicatingly splendiferous grandeur better than filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, whose Triumph of the Will remains a cinematic masterpiece even though 73 years have passed since the fall of the Third Reich.  Students of cinema still study her work.

Riefenstahl’s genius was not limited to technologically advanced camera work and exciting new photographic angles.  Her brilliant cinematography, accompanied by heroically themed music, captured the hypnotic power of Nazi ideology, including its messianic hope that one man could, by the mere power of his will, completely re-order German society and, through it, re-order the entire world.

From the opening scene, which depicts Hitler descending from the clouds in a pictorial reversal of the ascension of Christ, to the stunning shots of the parade grounds packed with rank upon rank of examples of the supposedly perfect Aryan race, and at last to the hypnotizing closing speech of der Führer, the film was a ground-breaking cinematographic masterpiece as well as a triumph of National Socialist propaganda.

William Shirer, author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, was later to comment on the intoxicating effect Nazi rallies had on the masses.  He wrote that “every word dropped by Hitler seemed like an inspired word from on high. Man’s – or at least the German’s – critical faculty is swept away at such moments, and every lie pronounced is accepted as high truth itself.”  Hitler himself declared that the Nazi Party “will be unchangeable in its doctrine, hard as steel in its organization, supple and adaptable in its tactics.  In its entity, however, it will be like a religious order[.]”

It causes great sadness to think back on all that the decaying monuments and buildings of the Third Reich represents.  It is grievous still, almost three quarters of a century later, to see the lingering results of the attempted murder of European civilization. 

It is sadder to recognize the ideology that supported the Third Reich.  Namely, the deeply flawed and essentially falsely religious idea that the power of the unfettered human will can restructure reality continues in the West, albeit in new forms.

The fact is that the belief in the triumph of the human will to power continues to be reformulated in today’s identity politics.  It exhibits itself in the belief that any human being can identify one’s essential being as one wishes and in the idea that society must then be restructured to suit the perception and the will of the self-identified.  To put it another way, fascistic messianism has been rerouted to individuals, including mere children, who supposedly have an infallible inner divine light that gives the right to identify the self and to reorder society to conform to one’s chosen identity. 

That such a pathology migrated to our shores and now is expressed by the American left, now hopefully in its death throes, is a testament to the so-called intellectual flaccidity in academia, including many of the nation’s seminaries.  Too often, orthodox theology concerning mankind as created imago Dei has been sidelined as a specialty with no particular relevance to modernity other than to fight old battles of the past, engage trivialities of the present, or provide a justificatory framework for new “progressive” ideals of modernism and postmodernism.

The new fascistic messianism now available to the masses repudiates both nature and revelation in order to embrace the lies of the ideologies of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, relying on fantasies that have been proved disastrous over and over again in all their multitudinous forms, be they the fantasy of the perfect Aryan or the perfect communist.  The rebirth of the pernicious idea that any human being can redefine being and force the complete restructuring of society in order to reinforce the fantasies conjured in his brain at any given moment is disastrous.

The powers of the human will are intrinsically limited, either by laws of nature or by miraculous intervention and the will of the Almighty.  Free will does not give power to declare oneself the opposite of the sex one is born as any more than free will enables a human to breathe under water.  Free will does not enable humans to change the structure of the universe to accommodate any fantasy conjured from the brain.

As Solzhenitsyn prophetically stated in his Nobel speech of 1970:

One kind of artist imagines himself the creator of an independent spiritual world and shoulders the act of creating that world and the people in it, assuming total responsibility for it – but he collapses, for no mortal genius is able to hold up under such a load [– j]ust as man, who once declared himself the center of existence, has not been able to create a stable spiritual system.  When failure overwhelms him, he blames it on the age-old discord of the world, on the complexity of the fragmented and torn modern soul, or on the public’s lack of understanding.

Solzhenitsyn added that using one’s own personal scale to decide things for everyone always results in the triumph of lies and violence:

Let us not forget that violence does not and cannot flourish by itself; it is inevitably intertwined with lying … and the only way lies can hold out is by violence.  Whoever has once announced violence as his method must inexorably choose lying as his principle.  [The lie] does not always or necessarily go straight for the gullet; usually it demands of its victims only allegiance to the lie, only complicity in the lie.  The simple act of an ordinary courageous man is not to take part, not to support lies!  Let that [lie] come into the world and even reign over it, but not through me.  Once lies have been dispelled, the repulsive nakedness of violence will be exposed – and hollow violence will collapse.

Those who proclaim allegiance to the lies and to the violence of the left will find themselves, as Dostoevsky noted, in “slavery to half-cocked progressive ideas.”

As Solzhenitsyn wrote, “[t]he defense of individual rights has reached such extremes as to make society as a whole defenseless against certain individuals.”  That is because the triumph of the individual human inevitably involves force against those who do not believe in what fascistic messianic figures believe and wish themselves and society to be.  To be opposed to the new messianic left is to be considered hateful and so worthy of punishment.

The triumph of the will is the result of the belief in the autonomy of individual persons from any higher force above them.  It is the very height of anthropocentricity, with the individual at the center of everything that exists.

Solzhenitsyn:

Two hundred or even fifty years ago, it would have seemed quite impossible, in America, that an individual could be granted boundless freedom simply for the satisfaction of his instincts or whims.  Subsequently, however, all such limitations were discarded everywhere in the West; a total liberation occurred from the moral heritage of Christian centuries with their great reserves of mercy and sacrifice[.] … The West [has] ended up by truly enforcing human rights, sometimes even excessively, but man’s sense of responsibility to God and society grew dimmer and dimmer.

The result has been, Solzhenitsyn continued, a moral poverty no none could have imagined even as late as the 19th century.  He added: “I am referring to the calamity of a despiritualized and irreligious humanistic consciousness.  To such consciousness, man is the touchstone in judging everything on earth – imperfect man, who is never free of pride, self-interest, envy, vanity, and dozens of other defects.”

If there are no limitations to the power of individual will, the uncontrolled power of the individual triumph of the will inevitably results in malice toward all and charity toward none, not even toward the anointed Self.

But for many if not most of us, asserting and reasserting what the heart, mind, and soul cannot believe will never succeed.  Messianic fascism failed and continues to fail, no matter how pervasive the lies and the application of force.

That is because the sum of Truth resides not in the will of man, but in the mind and heart of God the Savior, who alone can free the individual from the tyranny of Self.

Fay Voshell holds an M.Div. from Princeton Seminary, which awarded her its prize for excellence in systematic theology.  She is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.  Her thoughts have appeared in many other online magazines.  She may be reached at fvoshell@yahoo.com.



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The Post and Spielberg's Problem with the Truth


I have some personal knowledge regarding the movie The Post and its subject matter, the Pentagon Papers.  At the time the Pentagon Papers began to be published in the summer of 1971, my father was highly placed in the Internal Security Division of the Justice Department and participated in the decision-making process regarding prosecution of the Pentagon Papers cases.

I have a specific recollection around that time of my father at the breakfast table with the family, on several mornings, suddenly breaking out in a cursing rage.   I was perplexed by this behavior, but after a while, a pattern emerged.  Whenever Dad broke out in one of these rages, he was always holding the morning edition of the Washington Post.

As I came to discuss it with my father in later years, he was angry and upset not because Ellsberg had released embarrassing details about the Nixon administration.  The revelations contained in the Pentagon Papers were not an indictment of Nixon.  They were an indictment of the one (Kennedy) who started the war and the other (Johnson) who dishonestly dragged us farther into it.  No, my father was angry at the narcissistic arrogance of a mid-level bureaucrat (Ellsberg) who arrogated foreign policy decision-making to himself, circumventing the duly elected and appointed representatives of government and doing so in a way that damaged our foreign policy and our national security.

As noted in the movie, Ellsberg thought he was on a high moral mission to stop an “unwinnable” war.  Hindsight proved him wrong.  In fact, just as in Iraq, we did win the Vietnam War.  But also, as in Iraq, we chose to abandon the place despite having won it.  Whether we should have gone into either of those places in the first place is a separate issue.  Ellsberg’s change of heart came only after we were well committed to the conflict.

Spielberg and those who crafted The Post had their political agenda.  But how to make the message of The Post, an alleged historical drama, about the totalitarianism and the dangers of the right?  Spielberg’s device is some creative parallel editing with some selective but out-of-context Nixon quotes.  So, interspaced with the narrative of Post reporters obtaining a copy of the Pentagon Papers and the anguished discussions by the Post publisher, Katherine Graham (played by Meryl Streep), and her advisers as to whether to publish, are nefarious scenes shot through White House windows with Nixon’s back to the camera while we hear snippets of his vindictive murmurings.  As George Neumayr pointed out in the American Spectator, these are taken out of context.  Never mind that in one of the unredacted conversations, Nixon tells his attorney general that he’s not terribly upset about the publication, since it shows Kennedy and Johnson to be liars.

The important point for the filmmaker is to spread a gloss of Nixonian corruption over the entire narrative.

At one point, the Streep character asks the character playing former defense secretary Robert S. McNamara for his advice as to whether she should publish.  His response leaves no doubt about the villainous intentions of the sinister fellow who occupied the Oval Office in the summer of 1971.  “Nixon is a son of a [b—-]! … The Richard Nixon I know will use the full power of the presidency to destroy your paper!”

Lest the filmmaker leave any doubt about the overarching evil of Nixon, which pervades every crevice of this film, the very last scene of the movie is of the security guard discovering the break-in of the Democrat National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel.  Never mind that the break-in of the DNC was unrelated to the prior restraint case against the Post, which is the subject matter of this film.  The viewer must understand that the true and overriding source of government tyranny is Nixon and his illegitimate spawn. 

In this film it’s all Nixon, and by implication, it’s all Trump.

What Spielberg fails to see is that government overreach and human corruption are not limited to a single political party or a lone person.  These are part of a continuum of human history that began long before Kennedy and Johnson arrived on the scene.  No, corruption didn’t end with Richard Nixon, and it didn’t take a holiday during the Obama years and then suddenly resume again with the election of Donald Trump.

So Daniel Ellsberg is a hero for revealing the lies of our politicians in getting us entangled in the Vietnam War.  How terrible of Nixon and his administration to threaten prosecution of Ellsberg and the brave Post reporters and their sources.  But there was nothing wrong with Obama’s persecution of Edward Snowden and his sources, was there?  It was fine that Obama’s Justice Department labeled Fox News reporter James Rosen a criminal co-conspirator under the Espionage Act.  And Julian Assange – the one who revealed damning evidence showing the absolute corruption of Hillary Clinton and the DNC – must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, too.  No, unlike Ellsberg, there was nothing Snowden or Assuage revealed, as noted by Streep’s character, that would be of “interest” to the “people.”  The 2015 surveillance of Sharyl Attkisson, a former CBS reporter – how could there be anything heavy-handed about that?  All of that occurred a few years ago during the most transparent administration in our history.  Certainly, Obama would never try to exclude a news organization he disagrees with, unlike the draconian Nixon. 

How ironic.  Spielberg and Streep – they revile the former president whom they ridicule in their artful movie, yet, at the recent Washington, D.C. premiere of The Post, they chose to have dinner with Obama, someone who they suggest to us is very different and apart from that other man who occupied the Oval Office in the summer of 1971.  

If Nixon was our Richard III, surely Obama is our Iago.  In fact, when you compare the corruption then to now, I submit that even though Obama’s first name isn’t Richard, Barack is far and away much more deserving of the kingly crown for weaponizing the government in derogation of truth and justice and freedom.

Spielberg sees in another what he fails to see in himself, in distorting truth in service of his “historical” narrative and in the evil in front of his own face across the dinner table.  Check out his interview here.  In recent comments, Spielberg said we are on the verge of a civil war between blue and red because of the inability of both sides to understand the truth as he sees it.  He felt that The Post had to be rushed into production because the fear that pervaded 2017 felt just like 1971.  Apparently, he believes his own propaganda.  As crazy as it seems to any rational thinker, it appears that Spielberg honestly believes that Nixon and Trump are the only threats to freedom and that Obama is the only restorer of it. 

If we are to avoid that civil war Spielberg fears, we must have leaders in government and in academia and yes, in media, who are lovers not of a political ideology, but rather of the truth regardless, of where that truth leads.

Robert Kirk, a retired prosecutor, suffers from a rare malady that afflicts only a tiny percentage of his fellow Californians: commonsense conservative thought.  To contact him or to follow his current politically incorrect project, go to www.alienanthro.com.

I have some personal knowledge regarding the movie The Post and its subject matter, the Pentagon Papers.  At the time the Pentagon Papers began to be published in the summer of 1971, my father was highly placed in the Internal Security Division of the Justice Department and participated in the decision-making process regarding prosecution of the Pentagon Papers cases.

I have a specific recollection around that time of my father at the breakfast table with the family, on several mornings, suddenly breaking out in a cursing rage.   I was perplexed by this behavior, but after a while, a pattern emerged.  Whenever Dad broke out in one of these rages, he was always holding the morning edition of the Washington Post.

As I came to discuss it with my father in later years, he was angry and upset not because Ellsberg had released embarrassing details about the Nixon administration.  The revelations contained in the Pentagon Papers were not an indictment of Nixon.  They were an indictment of the one (Kennedy) who started the war and the other (Johnson) who dishonestly dragged us farther into it.  No, my father was angry at the narcissistic arrogance of a mid-level bureaucrat (Ellsberg) who arrogated foreign policy decision-making to himself, circumventing the duly elected and appointed representatives of government and doing so in a way that damaged our foreign policy and our national security.

As noted in the movie, Ellsberg thought he was on a high moral mission to stop an “unwinnable” war.  Hindsight proved him wrong.  In fact, just as in Iraq, we did win the Vietnam War.  But also, as in Iraq, we chose to abandon the place despite having won it.  Whether we should have gone into either of those places in the first place is a separate issue.  Ellsberg’s change of heart came only after we were well committed to the conflict.

Spielberg and those who crafted The Post had their political agenda.  But how to make the message of The Post, an alleged historical drama, about the totalitarianism and the dangers of the right?  Spielberg’s device is some creative parallel editing with some selective but out-of-context Nixon quotes.  So, interspaced with the narrative of Post reporters obtaining a copy of the Pentagon Papers and the anguished discussions by the Post publisher, Katherine Graham (played by Meryl Streep), and her advisers as to whether to publish, are nefarious scenes shot through White House windows with Nixon’s back to the camera while we hear snippets of his vindictive murmurings.  As George Neumayr pointed out in the American Spectator, these are taken out of context.  Never mind that in one of the unredacted conversations, Nixon tells his attorney general that he’s not terribly upset about the publication, since it shows Kennedy and Johnson to be liars.

The important point for the filmmaker is to spread a gloss of Nixonian corruption over the entire narrative.

At one point, the Streep character asks the character playing former defense secretary Robert S. McNamara for his advice as to whether she should publish.  His response leaves no doubt about the villainous intentions of the sinister fellow who occupied the Oval Office in the summer of 1971.  “Nixon is a son of a [b—-]! … The Richard Nixon I know will use the full power of the presidency to destroy your paper!”

Lest the filmmaker leave any doubt about the overarching evil of Nixon, which pervades every crevice of this film, the very last scene of the movie is of the security guard discovering the break-in of the Democrat National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel.  Never mind that the break-in of the DNC was unrelated to the prior restraint case against the Post, which is the subject matter of this film.  The viewer must understand that the true and overriding source of government tyranny is Nixon and his illegitimate spawn. 

In this film it’s all Nixon, and by implication, it’s all Trump.

What Spielberg fails to see is that government overreach and human corruption are not limited to a single political party or a lone person.  These are part of a continuum of human history that began long before Kennedy and Johnson arrived on the scene.  No, corruption didn’t end with Richard Nixon, and it didn’t take a holiday during the Obama years and then suddenly resume again with the election of Donald Trump.

So Daniel Ellsberg is a hero for revealing the lies of our politicians in getting us entangled in the Vietnam War.  How terrible of Nixon and his administration to threaten prosecution of Ellsberg and the brave Post reporters and their sources.  But there was nothing wrong with Obama’s persecution of Edward Snowden and his sources, was there?  It was fine that Obama’s Justice Department labeled Fox News reporter James Rosen a criminal co-conspirator under the Espionage Act.  And Julian Assange – the one who revealed damning evidence showing the absolute corruption of Hillary Clinton and the DNC – must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, too.  No, unlike Ellsberg, there was nothing Snowden or Assuage revealed, as noted by Streep’s character, that would be of “interest” to the “people.”  The 2015 surveillance of Sharyl Attkisson, a former CBS reporter – how could there be anything heavy-handed about that?  All of that occurred a few years ago during the most transparent administration in our history.  Certainly, Obama would never try to exclude a news organization he disagrees with, unlike the draconian Nixon. 

How ironic.  Spielberg and Streep – they revile the former president whom they ridicule in their artful movie, yet, at the recent Washington, D.C. premiere of The Post, they chose to have dinner with Obama, someone who they suggest to us is very different and apart from that other man who occupied the Oval Office in the summer of 1971.  

If Nixon was our Richard III, surely Obama is our Iago.  In fact, when you compare the corruption then to now, I submit that even though Obama’s first name isn’t Richard, Barack is far and away much more deserving of the kingly crown for weaponizing the government in derogation of truth and justice and freedom.

Spielberg sees in another what he fails to see in himself, in distorting truth in service of his “historical” narrative and in the evil in front of his own face across the dinner table.  Check out his interview here.  In recent comments, Spielberg said we are on the verge of a civil war between blue and red because of the inability of both sides to understand the truth as he sees it.  He felt that The Post had to be rushed into production because the fear that pervaded 2017 felt just like 1971.  Apparently, he believes his own propaganda.  As crazy as it seems to any rational thinker, it appears that Spielberg honestly believes that Nixon and Trump are the only threats to freedom and that Obama is the only restorer of it. 

If we are to avoid that civil war Spielberg fears, we must have leaders in government and in academia and yes, in media, who are lovers not of a political ideology, but rather of the truth regardless, of where that truth leads.

Robert Kirk, a retired prosecutor, suffers from a rare malady that afflicts only a tiny percentage of his fellow Californians: commonsense conservative thought.  To contact him or to follow his current politically incorrect project, go to www.alienanthro.com.



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The Evil that Must Not Be Named on Campus


Academia turns a blind eye to the reality of actual socialism, the ideology practiced by Marxists while they sought the perfection of communism…someday.  Socialism is ruining Venezuela today, and the whitewash pervades elite culture, even when the evil strikes close to home for an elite American small college.

I attended Kenyon College (Gambier, Ohio) in the mid-1970s.  I enjoyed my time there, made some great lifelong friends, and graduated with a sincere appreciation of the benefits of having a liberal arts education as it was practiced at the time.

Over the years, my political perspective has moved well away from the liberal orthodoxy that now prevails at Kenyon.  As a result, I have had a somewhat strained relationship with my alma mater, accentuated by three events that led to dust-ups with the college’s administration:

  1. an embarrassingly inappropriate “welcome back to campus” speech/diatribe at a class dinner by a leftist professor on the occasion of my tenth class reunion;
  2. Kenyon virtually ignoring the 2005 death of matriculate William Rehnquist, while simultaneously displaying his name on its list of “Notable Alumni” on its website; and
  3. an absurd and offensive assertion by a member of the Religious Studies department, published in Kenyon’s alumni bulletin, that “[w]e have fundamentalist Christians in the United States who are just as exclusionary as the more radical Muslims.”

With this as a backdrop, I have been watching with great interest Kenyon’s reporting of the plight of one of our own, Leopoldo López (Class of 1993).  López has led, for many years, the political opposition against Venezuela’s repressive governing regime.


Leopoldo López addresses a crowd, July 10, 2012 (photo: zfigueroa).

In response to his opposition efforts, López was jailed by the Venezuelan government in February 2014.  This imprisonment lasted for three-plus years (until July 2017), when he was transferred to house arrest.  In August 2017, López was imprisoned yet again by the Venezuelan government and remains imprisoned to this day.

Kenyon’s reporting on López’s struggle has been voluminous.  By my count, since 2014, Kenyon’s website and alumni bulletin have published ten articles chronicling his plight, covering over twenty pages and consisting of roughly 10,000 words.  But there is one big problem consistent within the entirety of this reporting: it virtually ignores that fact that the evil government that is cruelly persecuting López (and thousands of other Venezuelans) is a socialist regime.  The words “socialist” and “socialism” appear in only two of the ten articles.  The words are used only three times (combined) in these two articles.

This whitewashing by Kenyon of the ideological nature of López’s tormenters continues unabated.  On December 18, Kenyon’s president, Sean Decatur, posted this item on Kenyon’s website:

Venezuelan opposition leader and @KenyonCollege alum @leopoldolopez has a piece in the @TheAtlantic proposing solutions to Venezuela’s economic troubles: https://t.co/dvx8mELppS

The link included in this post takes the reader to an article, published on The Atlantic’s website, which is described as an adapted excerpt from a forthcoming book co-written by Leopoldo López.  The article, presumably adapted by the editors of The Atlantic, spends over five pages and roughly 1,750 words describing the catastrophic economic and humanitarian collapse suffered by Venezuela over the past decade without once using or referencing the words “socialist” and “socialism.”

Kenyon is not alone among academic institutions in its whitewashing of socialism.  Over the course of the past two years, I have delivered a lecture titled “The Victims of Socialism” at nine colleges and universities across the country and in Canada.  This lecture series, sponsored by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, highlights the death and destruction inflicted upon the populations of the Soviet Union, China, and Cambodia by the brutal imposition of socialism in those countries.  Reference is also made in the lecture to the cumulative (and consistent) socialist death toll of 94 million people, suffered in dozens of countries dotting the timeline of the 20th century, as painstakingly documented in The Black Book of Communism (Harvard University Press, 1999).

The response to these lectures was eye-opening.  Flyers advertising it were torn down or defaced at almost every campus where I spoke.  The last several lectures required the presence of armed guards due to rumblings of threatened disruption by Antifa. 

As to the content, many student-attendees are shocked that they are hearing about these incontrovertible facts for the first time.  This intellectual blind spot is especially telling because these students are well versed in Nazi atrocities, the tragic history of slavery, and the sad treatment of American Indians.

Then there are the students who are aware of what happened in the Soviet Union, China, and Cambodia but who claim that socialism has moved past those bloody chapters and has been perfected in Scandinavian countries.  Despite this claim’s utter absurdity (all Scandinavian countries have market economies, and all have high levels of economic freedom), it reflects the prevailing mindset on most campuses in the age of Bernie Sanders.  These students become agitated and defensive when their academic and intellectual echo chamber is pierced and their inaccurate worldview challenged.

Finally, there are those students who believe that true socialism or communism has never really been correctly implemented and that there can be a disconnect between authoritarianism and properly implemented socialism.  My response to these students has been a recitation of the definition of insanity.

The bottom line: the true, evil nature of socialism is not being taught at most of America’s colleges and universities.  To the contrary, socialism is promulgated as a positive force for “social justice,” “income equality,” and “environmental preservation.”  As such, when the true nature of socialism rears its ugly head (as in present-day Venezuela), the horrific reality must be suppressed.

By all rights, the terms “Nazism” and “socialism” ought to have the same, profoundly hideous connotation.  Both ideologies are brutal totalitarian systems.  Both killed millions of innocent people (socialism far more than Nazism, actually).  Both demand total allegiance to an all-powerful state.  Both extinguish basic human rights.  Both foster state-sanctioned hatred and terror (Nazis toward non-Aryans, socialists against class enemies).  Both are devoid of open political dialogue.

That academics and administrations at Kenyon and other elite colleges and universities across the country continue to whitewash the true nature of socialism or prop it up as a legitimate alternative to our republican form of government and capitalistic economic system is a national disgrace.  In November 2017, a survey conducted by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation showed that a majority (51%) of Millennials would prefer to live in a communist or socialist country.  This statistic is proof positive that what has been taught on college campuses about socialism for the past several decades constitutes nothing short of abject academic malpractice and intellectual dishonesty.

Academia turns a blind eye to the reality of actual socialism, the ideology practiced by Marxists while they sought the perfection of communism…someday.  Socialism is ruining Venezuela today, and the whitewash pervades elite culture, even when the evil strikes close to home for an elite American small college.

I attended Kenyon College (Gambier, Ohio) in the mid-1970s.  I enjoyed my time there, made some great lifelong friends, and graduated with a sincere appreciation of the benefits of having a liberal arts education as it was practiced at the time.

Over the years, my political perspective has moved well away from the liberal orthodoxy that now prevails at Kenyon.  As a result, I have had a somewhat strained relationship with my alma mater, accentuated by three events that led to dust-ups with the college’s administration:

  1. an embarrassingly inappropriate “welcome back to campus” speech/diatribe at a class dinner by a leftist professor on the occasion of my tenth class reunion;
  2. Kenyon virtually ignoring the 2005 death of matriculate William Rehnquist, while simultaneously displaying his name on its list of “Notable Alumni” on its website; and
  3. an absurd and offensive assertion by a member of the Religious Studies department, published in Kenyon’s alumni bulletin, that “[w]e have fundamentalist Christians in the United States who are just as exclusionary as the more radical Muslims.”

With this as a backdrop, I have been watching with great interest Kenyon’s reporting of the plight of one of our own, Leopoldo López (Class of 1993).  López has led, for many years, the political opposition against Venezuela’s repressive governing regime.


Leopoldo López addresses a crowd, July 10, 2012 (photo: zfigueroa).

In response to his opposition efforts, López was jailed by the Venezuelan government in February 2014.  This imprisonment lasted for three-plus years (until July 2017), when he was transferred to house arrest.  In August 2017, López was imprisoned yet again by the Venezuelan government and remains imprisoned to this day.

Kenyon’s reporting on López’s struggle has been voluminous.  By my count, since 2014, Kenyon’s website and alumni bulletin have published ten articles chronicling his plight, covering over twenty pages and consisting of roughly 10,000 words.  But there is one big problem consistent within the entirety of this reporting: it virtually ignores that fact that the evil government that is cruelly persecuting López (and thousands of other Venezuelans) is a socialist regime.  The words “socialist” and “socialism” appear in only two of the ten articles.  The words are used only three times (combined) in these two articles.

This whitewashing by Kenyon of the ideological nature of López’s tormenters continues unabated.  On December 18, Kenyon’s president, Sean Decatur, posted this item on Kenyon’s website:

Venezuelan opposition leader and @KenyonCollege alum @leopoldolopez has a piece in the @TheAtlantic proposing solutions to Venezuela’s economic troubles: https://t.co/dvx8mELppS

The link included in this post takes the reader to an article, published on The Atlantic’s website, which is described as an adapted excerpt from a forthcoming book co-written by Leopoldo López.  The article, presumably adapted by the editors of The Atlantic, spends over five pages and roughly 1,750 words describing the catastrophic economic and humanitarian collapse suffered by Venezuela over the past decade without once using or referencing the words “socialist” and “socialism.”

Kenyon is not alone among academic institutions in its whitewashing of socialism.  Over the course of the past two years, I have delivered a lecture titled “The Victims of Socialism” at nine colleges and universities across the country and in Canada.  This lecture series, sponsored by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, highlights the death and destruction inflicted upon the populations of the Soviet Union, China, and Cambodia by the brutal imposition of socialism in those countries.  Reference is also made in the lecture to the cumulative (and consistent) socialist death toll of 94 million people, suffered in dozens of countries dotting the timeline of the 20th century, as painstakingly documented in The Black Book of Communism (Harvard University Press, 1999).

The response to these lectures was eye-opening.  Flyers advertising it were torn down or defaced at almost every campus where I spoke.  The last several lectures required the presence of armed guards due to rumblings of threatened disruption by Antifa. 

As to the content, many student-attendees are shocked that they are hearing about these incontrovertible facts for the first time.  This intellectual blind spot is especially telling because these students are well versed in Nazi atrocities, the tragic history of slavery, and the sad treatment of American Indians.

Then there are the students who are aware of what happened in the Soviet Union, China, and Cambodia but who claim that socialism has moved past those bloody chapters and has been perfected in Scandinavian countries.  Despite this claim’s utter absurdity (all Scandinavian countries have market economies, and all have high levels of economic freedom), it reflects the prevailing mindset on most campuses in the age of Bernie Sanders.  These students become agitated and defensive when their academic and intellectual echo chamber is pierced and their inaccurate worldview challenged.

Finally, there are those students who believe that true socialism or communism has never really been correctly implemented and that there can be a disconnect between authoritarianism and properly implemented socialism.  My response to these students has been a recitation of the definition of insanity.

The bottom line: the true, evil nature of socialism is not being taught at most of America’s colleges and universities.  To the contrary, socialism is promulgated as a positive force for “social justice,” “income equality,” and “environmental preservation.”  As such, when the true nature of socialism rears its ugly head (as in present-day Venezuela), the horrific reality must be suppressed.

By all rights, the terms “Nazism” and “socialism” ought to have the same, profoundly hideous connotation.  Both ideologies are brutal totalitarian systems.  Both killed millions of innocent people (socialism far more than Nazism, actually).  Both demand total allegiance to an all-powerful state.  Both extinguish basic human rights.  Both foster state-sanctioned hatred and terror (Nazis toward non-Aryans, socialists against class enemies).  Both are devoid of open political dialogue.

That academics and administrations at Kenyon and other elite colleges and universities across the country continue to whitewash the true nature of socialism or prop it up as a legitimate alternative to our republican form of government and capitalistic economic system is a national disgrace.  In November 2017, a survey conducted by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation showed that a majority (51%) of Millennials would prefer to live in a communist or socialist country.  This statistic is proof positive that what has been taught on college campuses about socialism for the past several decades constitutes nothing short of abject academic malpractice and intellectual dishonesty.



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Conservatives Ignore the Obvious


For a long time, it’s been obvious that GOP politicians and media personalities bend backwards to avoid raising what are supposed to be settled social issues, lest they turn off certain voting blocs.  Whether it’s the Supreme Court redefining marriage for all fifty states, the dismantling of Confederate monuments, or wishing to find a “path to citizenship” for various groups that are here illegally, Republican public relations experts try not to notice these issues, except to criticize those who won’t accept “necessary” or “positive” change.  This attitude is partly attributable to the fact that Republicans are trying to capture at least some of the culturally leftist Millennial vote.  What’s more, they’re hoping not to get hammered too badly among racial and ethnic minorities that typically vote for the left (here, in Canada, and in Western Europe).

The Republican establishment and their conspicuously neoconservative advisers, moreover, have their own interests and donor base.  Evangelicals in Texas may contribute votes to Republican victories, but contrary to the prevalent opinion of the Huffington Post and the British Guardian, these pious souls don’t run the party.  GOP operatives in all probability don’t give a rap about overturning the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage to please moral and social traditionalists, but they do favor what their respectable donor base want: a pro-activist foreign policy, tax breaks for corporations, and widening their electoral base among left-leaning blocs.

If any doubt in this matter ever crept into my mind, it was immediately dispelled by a conversation I heard on Fox News on January 3 between Chris Stirewalt and Karl Rove.

The topic these GOP worthies were supposed to be addressing is whether Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has a serious shot at wresting the presidency from Donald Trump.  Both thought this senator is most definitely a serious competitor, who combines Trump’s populist appeal with a flamboyant speaking style.  The question that Rove and Stirewalt couldn’t agree on is whether Warren believes in “markets,” as she said she did at some point in her career.  Stirewalt viewed her as some kind of defender of capitalism despite her attacks on Wall Street, while Rove questioned whether she really meant whatever she once said about “markets.”

Let me make clear that from what I’ve heard her say, for example, at the Woman’s March (against Donald Trump) last year.  It seems that Senator Warren is an agitated feminist, a fervent advocate of Black Lives Matter, and a champion of every demand put forth by LGBQT activists.  Missing in this side of her political persona is a monumental omission, and presumably, Stirewalt and Rove were committing this omission as “professional” Republicans, who are conceding troublesome social issues to the left while focusing on something called “markets.”

Let me say that even if I were an outright Marxist, I would still not vote for Warren, who is not really a socialist, but a crazed warrior against the list of human prejudices she ascribes to everyone who disagrees with her.  Her rant at the Women’s March suggested a cultural Marxist on steroids.  In any case, her attitudes about “markets” would be the last thing I’d worry about if Warren became president.  That would be like judging Castro by whether he was providing enough Band-Aids for health clinics in downtown Havana or Cesar Chávez by how many soccer balls he gave out to needy kids.

This careful sidestepping of the problem of Warren’s true radicalism may tell us something about how Stirewalt and Rove would have a GOP candidate run against her in a presidential race – say, Trump if they condescend to back him in 2020.  This hypothetical candidate would never be allowed to contest any of her social positions or the continuing recriminations leveled by Warren against her opponent as a sexist, misogynist, homophobe, or whatever other slur she raises against the target of her attacks.  They would have to focus on the effect of tax cuts, their greater ability relative to Democrats to intercept domestic terrorists, and saying more often than their competitors that the U.S. is the best country that ever existed.  If forced to choose between the model candidate of Stirewalt and Rove and the perpetually outraged feminist from Massachusetts, I doubt that I could even bring myself to vote.

Having said that, I also believe that the U.S. and most other Western countries have swung so sharply to the left on social issues over the last thirty years that the conflict-avoiding, pro-Wall Street GOP establishment may be right in its strategy even if it gives no evidence of being socially conservative.  For example, although it was unusual to find anyone, outside certain social circles, thirty years ago who thought marriage should be extended to two members of the same sex, by January 2015, 60% of those polled nationwide by CBS considered the redefinition of marriage to be not only admirable, but also a “fundamental human right.”  If someone asked me whether in light of this mass conversion I could conceive of Americans, Canadians, and Germans thirty years hence extending the legal definition of marriage to a father and daughter or to a group “marriage” among three generations of the same family, I would immediately answer, “Why not?”  Providing that the public is made to believe it’s fighting rank bigots who oppose the further discovery of “fundamental rights,” most Americans, Canadians, and (if their country still exists) Germans will be happy to view themselves as standing once again on what for former President Obama is “the right side of history.”

Despite the fact that the left has won the culture wars hands down, with a big assist from public administration and the judiciary, Stirewalt and Rove may well believe that their party can survive by making the right moves.  Republican P.R. experts will have to convince a largely leftward-leaning electorate that it can profit by voting for candidates with the red label rather than the blue one.  Appeals to the pocketbook and physical security may still work for those designated as “conservatives” even if other appeals do not.  That assumes that Republican candidates on the model of Mitt Romney make it appear that they support at least in principle the valiant struggles waged by Senator Warren against “prejudice.”  By then, however, even sane people will have to insist that this self-described warrior for equality really cares about whatever college-educated upwardly mobile voters, particularly women, are supposed to care about.

For a long time, it’s been obvious that GOP politicians and media personalities bend backwards to avoid raising what are supposed to be settled social issues, lest they turn off certain voting blocs.  Whether it’s the Supreme Court redefining marriage for all fifty states, the dismantling of Confederate monuments, or wishing to find a “path to citizenship” for various groups that are here illegally, Republican public relations experts try not to notice these issues, except to criticize those who won’t accept “necessary” or “positive” change.  This attitude is partly attributable to the fact that Republicans are trying to capture at least some of the culturally leftist Millennial vote.  What’s more, they’re hoping not to get hammered too badly among racial and ethnic minorities that typically vote for the left (here, in Canada, and in Western Europe).

The Republican establishment and their conspicuously neoconservative advisers, moreover, have their own interests and donor base.  Evangelicals in Texas may contribute votes to Republican victories, but contrary to the prevalent opinion of the Huffington Post and the British Guardian, these pious souls don’t run the party.  GOP operatives in all probability don’t give a rap about overturning the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage to please moral and social traditionalists, but they do favor what their respectable donor base want: a pro-activist foreign policy, tax breaks for corporations, and widening their electoral base among left-leaning blocs.

If any doubt in this matter ever crept into my mind, it was immediately dispelled by a conversation I heard on Fox News on January 3 between Chris Stirewalt and Karl Rove.

The topic these GOP worthies were supposed to be addressing is whether Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has a serious shot at wresting the presidency from Donald Trump.  Both thought this senator is most definitely a serious competitor, who combines Trump’s populist appeal with a flamboyant speaking style.  The question that Rove and Stirewalt couldn’t agree on is whether Warren believes in “markets,” as she said she did at some point in her career.  Stirewalt viewed her as some kind of defender of capitalism despite her attacks on Wall Street, while Rove questioned whether she really meant whatever she once said about “markets.”

Let me make clear that from what I’ve heard her say, for example, at the Woman’s March (against Donald Trump) last year.  It seems that Senator Warren is an agitated feminist, a fervent advocate of Black Lives Matter, and a champion of every demand put forth by LGBQT activists.  Missing in this side of her political persona is a monumental omission, and presumably, Stirewalt and Rove were committing this omission as “professional” Republicans, who are conceding troublesome social issues to the left while focusing on something called “markets.”

Let me say that even if I were an outright Marxist, I would still not vote for Warren, who is not really a socialist, but a crazed warrior against the list of human prejudices she ascribes to everyone who disagrees with her.  Her rant at the Women’s March suggested a cultural Marxist on steroids.  In any case, her attitudes about “markets” would be the last thing I’d worry about if Warren became president.  That would be like judging Castro by whether he was providing enough Band-Aids for health clinics in downtown Havana or Cesar Chávez by how many soccer balls he gave out to needy kids.

This careful sidestepping of the problem of Warren’s true radicalism may tell us something about how Stirewalt and Rove would have a GOP candidate run against her in a presidential race – say, Trump if they condescend to back him in 2020.  This hypothetical candidate would never be allowed to contest any of her social positions or the continuing recriminations leveled by Warren against her opponent as a sexist, misogynist, homophobe, or whatever other slur she raises against the target of her attacks.  They would have to focus on the effect of tax cuts, their greater ability relative to Democrats to intercept domestic terrorists, and saying more often than their competitors that the U.S. is the best country that ever existed.  If forced to choose between the model candidate of Stirewalt and Rove and the perpetually outraged feminist from Massachusetts, I doubt that I could even bring myself to vote.

Having said that, I also believe that the U.S. and most other Western countries have swung so sharply to the left on social issues over the last thirty years that the conflict-avoiding, pro-Wall Street GOP establishment may be right in its strategy even if it gives no evidence of being socially conservative.  For example, although it was unusual to find anyone, outside certain social circles, thirty years ago who thought marriage should be extended to two members of the same sex, by January 2015, 60% of those polled nationwide by CBS considered the redefinition of marriage to be not only admirable, but also a “fundamental human right.”  If someone asked me whether in light of this mass conversion I could conceive of Americans, Canadians, and Germans thirty years hence extending the legal definition of marriage to a father and daughter or to a group “marriage” among three generations of the same family, I would immediately answer, “Why not?”  Providing that the public is made to believe it’s fighting rank bigots who oppose the further discovery of “fundamental rights,” most Americans, Canadians, and (if their country still exists) Germans will be happy to view themselves as standing once again on what for former President Obama is “the right side of history.”

Despite the fact that the left has won the culture wars hands down, with a big assist from public administration and the judiciary, Stirewalt and Rove may well believe that their party can survive by making the right moves.  Republican P.R. experts will have to convince a largely leftward-leaning electorate that it can profit by voting for candidates with the red label rather than the blue one.  Appeals to the pocketbook and physical security may still work for those designated as “conservatives” even if other appeals do not.  That assumes that Republican candidates on the model of Mitt Romney make it appear that they support at least in principle the valiant struggles waged by Senator Warren against “prejudice.”  By then, however, even sane people will have to insist that this self-described warrior for equality really cares about whatever college-educated upwardly mobile voters, particularly women, are supposed to care about.



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