Paul Krugman’s Indefensible Defense of Barak Obama

October 24, 2014
Readers of Rolling Stone Magazine have long known what to expect from the bi-weekly’s acidulous commentaries:  anarchist screeds from the rather unbalanced Matt Taibbi; thinly researched and often specious investigative pieces from Tim Dickinson;  alarmist jeremiads from environmentalist hound dog Jeff Goodell and apoplectic harangues against Republicans, Tea Party groups and anyone else who espouses a right wing cause.  
 
The question, for those who regularly read genuinely powerful and well balanced commentary from other sources (from either the left OR right)  is: why bother with this stuff?  The unrepentant hippie-chic publication bathed in its love and peace- at-any-cost ethos, is in truth a hate mongering platform of the first order and in its advertising and feature articles on modern music and musicians often betrays a penchant for what used to be known as soft porn.  Can anyone really believe that this chronicle of modern nihilism has anything of importance to say about our national priorities?
 
You better believe it.   Rolling Stone’s influence today is far greater than any conservative gives it credit for and rather than being the standard bearer for long dormant 1960’s agitprop is in fact a mainstream publication, representing the views of a sizeable community within our intellectual classes. 
 
The magazine’s clout was ratcheted up several notches in 2010 when an article spotlighting Afghanistan commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal unveiled his antagonism to the Vice-President and several other senior members of the Obama Administration which in turn resulted in the General’s summary firing.  Since then the words of  such luminaries as Al Gore ( yes, but the man WAS Vice- President of the United States) and best selling authors such as Sebastian Junger and Stephen King have graced the magazine’s pages.  
 
Now comes an article by Nobel Laureate and New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman, which is proudly announced as a defense of Barack Obama. Not content with actually defending Obama’s record, Krugman in the body of his article goes a step further announcing: “Despite bitter opposition, despite having come close to self-inflicted disaster, Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history.”
Hmm. Pretty bold stuff.  After all, this would have Barack Obama one day sipping martinis and chomping cigars with some of the greatest in American history. 
But can Barack Obama truly be spoken of in the same breath  as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln?
Perhaps so, but you would not actually know it from the arguments presented by Paul Krugman.  What you would learn instead  is that Barack Obama is a middling president who did the best he could with the cards he was played; that he was buffeted by an uncooperative Congress but  that he passed revolutionary health care reform legislation anyway- a remarkable success which will leave a lasting imprint on the nation. Then, after a cursory examination of  the President’s record on financial reform, the economy, the environment, national security and social change he concludes, almost with a sigh,  that” the extent of his partial success ranges from the pretty good to the not-so-bad to the ugly.”  In other words, although he might have received an overall “C” on his report card,  it was really not as bad a presidency as it could have been and it really could have been a lot worse.  Not exactly the exalted encomium we had been expecting but, hey, this is Paul Krugman – and when this modern day Oracle declares you mediocre  perhaps it actually means you are destined for greatness.  Mount Rushmore sculptors take heed:  Krugman has spoken; Prepare the mountain for its next great historical retrofit.
No one should mistake Krugman for an objective observer   – although he  has indeed been highly critical of the President in the past, mostly for not being radical enough!   But that doesn’t excuse or explain the crassness of this particular contribution or give anyone confidence that the President is destined to be remembered as the savior of his people.
For now lets bare the truth on this truly execrable piece of writing:  that it is so amatuerly written that it could have been cobbled together by a high school student with only a rudimentary understanding of economics, environmental policy and the social dynamics of a highly complex nation;  that its very self impressed author fails entirely to address foreign relations where Obama’s meandering policies have resulted in disaster upon diplomatic disaster;  that he significantly sidesteps the incessant rise of Islamic terrorism in places where the President only a year before had  declared them snuffed out;  that he refuses to engage in any discussion of  the mounting scandals – the Benghazi sacrifice of an ambassador; the IRS debacle, wherein one of the most important public institutions in the country was revealed to have been thoroughly corrupted by politics; or the Fast and Furious campaign which placed American firearms in the hands of terrorists and gangsters. Also absent from the pen of our Nobel laureate is any commentary on the enormous expansion of executive power which has torn a  deep unconstitutional gash in the fabric of the Presidency;  Nothing on the Administration’s failure  to address our collapsed border and the threat this poses to the lives and livelihoods of millions of citizens in our southern states;  Or on our ballooning national debt – four times the size it stood under George W. Bush; or on immigration, race relations and out-of -control  tortious litigation  – all of which have taken a turn for the worse during the past six years.   And finally no word on Obama’s grandest promise of them all – that he was going to become a consensus president, bridging differences between left and right, black and white, rich and poor  and that he  would exercise his well honed skills in the arts of persuasion. 
These are all missing from the piece because Krugman reveals himself to be quite uninterested in any of them.  For him,  “high office shouldn’t be about putting points on the electoral scoreboard, it should be about changing the country for the better. “
Ah, there it is:   The raw, thumping heart of liberal orthodoxy.   The idea of changing the country, of converting it into something different, something purer and something approximating that great utopian vision of armchair socialists over the centuries, drips through Krugman’s analysis, making it abundantly clear why he avoids uncomfortable topics.  For Krugman  – an economically equitable society, drained of all prejudice and bigotry, where man pays obeisance to Nature and where its abundant resources are distributed equally amongst the world’s citizens – should apparently be the goal of our presidents.  Open borders, multilateralism, military retrenchment, the punishment of successful entrepreneurs, pan-sexuality,  the cosseting of tyrants and campaigns to end the expansion of land use or the excavation of fossil fuels – are all elements that might fit snugly into such a vision. 
One wonders how the three presidents with whom our current  chief executive will one day (in Krugman’s estimation) share the same pantheon might have reacted to the mandate to “change the country.”  Washington, after all, fought to establish it;  Jefferson worked to consolidate it and Lincoln struggled to save it – all worthy enough endeavors for any modern day president.  Changing the country, one would think, requires a level of consensus building coupled with a consistent articulation of a shared vision – skills that even our finest Presidents have experienced some difficulty in mastering.  Abraham Lincoln, after all, did not begin his presidency with the idea of outlawing slavery;  he deflected the issue, fearful of its incendiary potential – and was only led to it by the realization that his nation could not survive without that institution’s eradication.  His genius as a leader was to tap into the vein of righteousness within the citizenry  and to pump that rich resource for all its corpuscular abundance into the heated campaign which produced the Emancipation Proclamation.
Barak Obama, in contrast, has never cast himself as a president who cares all that much about what the citizenry, at its very bedrock, either thinks or feels. He is actually one of the most insular presidents in living memory, whose policies and decisions have been largely driven by superficial poll numbers and a creaking, weathered leftist ideology, rather than an instinctive  grip on the nation’s pulse.  Images of the President’s aloofness are so plentiful as to be embarrassing:  the Presidential motorcade, speeding through the arterial roads of our major cities, delivering the Commander-in-Chief to yet another fundraising event; the photographed fist bump with golfing buddies  just moments after delivering a particularly somber response to the beheading of an American journalist; the constant hobnobbing with the glitterati who gush over his every pronouncement;  and of course the maintenance of a very deliberate distance from  the members of Congress, whom he seems to regard with a singular contempt.  The best that might be said of his feel for the American people is his familiarity with national sports as well as an impressive knowledge of the plot lines of such cable TV series as Homeland and Breaking Bad . The demonstration of that kind of indifference  puts him in league with such 1850s presidents  as Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan, both of whom would undoubtedly welcome him to their lonely outposts as the Presidents, who like Sergeant Schultz in Hogan’s Heroes, both knew nothing and saw nothing.
At his two inaugurations, Barak Obama took an oath of office  specified in Article TwoSection OneClause Eight of the United States Constitution:

 “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

How different would  Krugman’s assessment  have been had he used  that oath to measure Barak Obama’s presidential performance?  Maybe the author will soon recognize the empty spaces he left so glaringly open on the pages of his article and submit a more nuanced view of this presidency. Unlikely, perhaps. But if and when this revised version ever sees the light of day, the last place you can ever expect to find it is in the glossy, celebrity filled pages of Rolling Stone Magazine.   

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance in Los Angeles and blogs at The Intermediate Zone

This article first appeared, in an edited version, in the American Thinker

This article  first appeared, in an edited version in the American Thinker http://americanthinker.com/2014/10/paul_krugmans_indefensible_defense_of_barack_obama_.html


Annie Lennox Tells It Like It Is

October 22, 2014

Finally a major rock star has summoned the courage to reveal one of the
ugly truths of the music business. Last week, the Scottish rock star, Annie
Lennox, one half of the successful 80s duo, The Eurythmics, blasted Beyonce
for her crude, sexually suggestive stage performances and lyrical content.
Asked by Pride Source  whether Beyoncé
recent declaration of herself as “a feminist “rang true to her, Lennox
responded:

“I would call that “feminist lite.” L-I-T-E. I’m sorry. It’s tokenistic to
me. ………… I see a lot of it as them takingthe word hostage and using it to promote themselves, but I don’t think they necessarily represent wholeheartedly the depths of feminism…….I think for many it’s very convenient and it looks great and it looks radical, but I have some issues with it. ….I think it’s a cheap shot. …. What can I tell you? Sex always sell. And there’s nothing wrong with sex selling, but it depends on your audience. If they’re 7-year-old kids, I have issues with it.”

She followed this with this clarification to NPR’s Steve Inskeep on October 21st:

‘The reason why I’ve commented is because I think that this overt sexuality
thrust — literally — at particular audiences, when very often performers
have a very, very young audience, like 7 years older, I find it disturbing
and I think its exploitative. It’s troubling. I’m coming from a perspective
of a woman that’s had children,’ she explained.

Lennox, soon to turn 60, is no conservative. She is an
outspoken advocate for the LGBT agenda and quite a diehard on other issues such as the environment and climate change. But her surprising reaction to the steamy sexualization of our teeny bopper culture should be coming from the mouths of many other exprienced musicians and performers who must see the how live music business has been gradually turning into a platform for the pornographic arts.

She is talking of course about performers such as Nicki Minaj, Rhianna, Kei$ha and former child star, Miley Cyrus.

Of course what they do may be nothing new. Madonna, Britney Spears and  Lady Gaga have been doing much the same thing for years and in the 70s artists such as David Bowie and Lou Reed had few obstacles singing about gay sex and presenting transgendered stage acts.

But Lennox is right. Now even 7-year-olds are exposed to the direct sexual suggestiveness of their favorite pop stars, without fully comprehending what those stage movements and lyrics might even be suggesting.

Perhaps that was why it was so disappointing to read Paul McCartney’s response last year to what he thought about Miley Cyrus’ stage antics . He responded that he didn’t see anything wrong with her “twerks” and any of the other Cyrus lewd acts – which, he must have appreciated, were as sexually explicit as almost anything at a strip club.

Does he really think that this kind of personal exhibitionism in the name of free expression represents a great artistic leap forward? A classy guy, he must surely appreciate the dehumanizing impact of these wildly popular acts have on the same society that hoisted him to such fame in the 1960s.  True it might be that the Beatles were no paragons of virtue ( John Lennon appeared completely naked on the cover of a solo album in 1968; and McCartney, about the same time, wrote the sexually suggestive ” Why Don’t We Do it in the Road? “).   But they didn’t trade in what we used to call smut.

Why do these women do it?   The attention hungry stars on our nation’s stages today apparently feel the need to best one another in outrage – much like Janet Jackson did in 2004 when she bared a breast before millions of viewers during her half time performance at Super Bowl.

It is hard to know what to expect next. Perhaps performing sex live on stage will set the bar to the next level for these women and would of course place them  in a new category – “feminist pop star” as ” porn star”. Except of course, by the time this happens time there will be no essential difference between pop star and porn star at all. They will be one and the same and no one will even blink an eye.


Scotland Takes the Morning After Pill

September 22, 2014
On Friday morning the Scottish people must felt like the failed suicide who awakes in hospital the next day and wonders to himself: ” Now why in the hell did I do a stupid thing like that? “

The convincing drubbing that the independence movement took on Thursday should have made most Scots aware of how facile and threadbare were their ideas of separation.

Without a solid financial structure, with the threat of the U.K. withdrawing the usage of the English pound and with the EU ‘s own President declaring how difficult it would be for Scotland to gain entry into the European Union, there was, in the end, really no doubt about the result. Secession would have brought  economic and political pain beyond endurance.

Suicide averted and now life can move on.

But the foolish Scottish secession movement may be a harbinger of more drastic things to come.  Put simply, the drive to break up great nations has not ended; it has only just begun.

Catalonians and the Basque in Spain, Quebecois in Canada, the Flemish in Belgium, the Faroe Islanders in Denmark, Venetians in Italy and Bavarians in Germany have all contracted something of the same secessionist bug.
Which is not to mention  Wales, Cornwall, Northern Ireland in The United Kingdom, Silesia in Poland, Frisia in Netherlands/ Germany, Corsica in France, Aaland in Finland and Kashmir in India .  These countries all sport incipient movements that call for breaking away from the motherland.  And over time, the movements will only gain in strength as the nation state as we know it comes under relentless pressure to fragment.

One of the causes of this process of dismemberment is the resistance to the intense globalization which has affected the economies, social structures and political climates of all Western oriented nations.  As these countries see more of their jobs outsourced to Asia; as they feel their own wealth drained by supra-national entities or else by heavy taxation from a central government which sends back very little in return or as their distinctive cultural identity is eroded by an invasive English language- based  culture , there is a tendency to wish for the days in which one could claim to actually belong to something other than a nominal state, whose political  and economic frontiers are fast disappearing to the point of invisibility.

There is also no doubt that the emergence of the European Union has significantly sliced away at the distinctive cultural identities of Europe’s nation-states.  In the effort to meld 28 European states into a cohesive economic unit, the Brussels based bureaucracy has gingerly skipped over the significant cultural, political and historical differences that divide its constituent members, imposing a rather bland and impersonal ” “European” identity to which few can truly connect. There is, after all, no distinctively European language  ( the experiments in Esperanto having miserably failed) ; nor is there a universal cultural affiliation which is

uniquely European – and no significant effort to create one either. There is, in short, no such thing as a ‘ European’ – and nor is there likely to be in the near future.

The decline of nationalist spirit, evident throughout the West, is really an issue of collapsing identity.  I discovered this first hand in a walk through southern England in the summer of 2008.  There I met villagers who complained to me that they were mystified about who they were supposed to be – were they British, European or world citizens?  Their pubs were now served by Polish barmaids who barely spoke English;  their cars serviced by Czech mechanics who knew very little about their British made cars and even their parks and wild lands managed by immigrants from Bangladesh.  England, I discovered, was a place where multiculturalism and an attempted integration into Europe was eating into the very fiber of British identity, stripping away centuries the view of Great Britain as one of the great civilizing forces in world history. .

I write these words, of course, at the time of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, a conflict spurred, in large part, by escalating, unfettered nationalism.  The Europeans’ answer to the ‘nationalist’ problems of the 20th Century was to de-emphasize the nation-state in favor of the collective. The irony, of course,  is that in doing so, they have tampered with the basic human need  for paternalistic symbols – whereby one shapes his or her identity – and perhaps even existence – by reference to a defined sovereign entity, which reigns over our individual lives beyond family and beyond our immediate communities.

The problem of failed identity in a world without frontiers will bedevil the citizens of the 21st Century.  The governments of western countries must therefore recognize that the utopian drive towards integration and collective identity – and the inherent emptiness of that enterprise-  will necessarily stir to life the dormant, but very real attachments citizens have to their language, culture and history.  There can be no surprise then when a country such as Scotland, for 300 years a peaceful, if not exactly placid, constituent member of the United Kingdom, suddenly rebels against British dominion and demands independence.  Strengthening the spirit of nationalism, drawing on a nation’s rich history and collective memory, emphasizing national uniqueness and pride as well as the nation’s special mission, is a task worthy of any Western leader.  The question remains whether we have any leaders left worthy of the task.

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance in Los Angeles , the coordinator of the AFA  Identity Crisis Conference in Rome in 2008 and the moderator of the Outbreak of the First World War and its Consequences conference held on September 21, 2014.

The First World War’s Relevance to Our Times

September 6, 2014

WorldWar1
The centenary of the outbreak of the First World War has been greeted with not much more than a yawn

by citizens of the West. Sure, there have been the obligatory documentaries, the reconciliation hugs by

the leaders of France and Germany and the commemorative ceremonies played out on that War’s most ravaged battlefields.

But for most, the war remains not even a distant memory. No man or woman who fought during that time is now alive and the events that took place between August 4,1914 and November 11,1918 have been vastly overshadowed by the outbreak of a far deeper conflict which engulfed the world 21 years later.

Yet to fail to recognize the significance of this date is to ignore what is probably the most cataclysmic event in world history, one that overturned a century of extraordinary human progress and set the political, economic, cultural, and social tone for the remainder of the century. Not a man, woman, or child born in that century or who is alive today remains unaffected by the consequences of the First World War and ignoring what its outbreak has to teach us about our own world is a costly mistake.

The First World War has been called a futile war, one marked by military ineptitude and diplomatic failures in which 10 million lives were sacrificed for no gain. Its most memorable slogans — “Make the World Safe for Democracy” and “Your Country Wants You!” have been regarded with hindsight as just facile and empty propaganda in which no one today much believes.

But what if they were true? What if the war, much like the much more decisively ended conflict which followed it, was really about the defense of a way of life and the shape of human progress? What, in fact, if the militant absolutism the Allied forces found themselves confronting in 1914, finds its mirror in some of the free world’s most significant challenges today?

Not a man, woman, or child born in that century or who is alive today remains unaffected by the consequences of the First World War and ignoring what its outbreak has to teach us about our own world is a costly mistake.

For we should make no mistake: in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the West is looking into the eyes of exactly the kind of unbridled militarism and reckless opportunism it confronted at the beginning of the 20th Century. Failure to meet it with force could bring disaster.

Before getting to the modern day however, it might help to examine the question of how it was possible for Europe to drift into a continent-wide conflagration in the first place, when so many seeming safeguards had been set in place by the Great Powers in order to avoid it?

Since the convention of the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and the establishment of the Concert of Europe — a traditional balance of power arrangement among the leading European nations — a major continental war had been avoided on multiple occasions through advanced statecraft developed by a series of brilliant leaders which included Prince Klemens von Metternich of Austria, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord of France and Lord Castlereagh of Great Britain, to be followed later in the century by others such as Lord Palmerston and Benjamin Disraeli. Together these men enforced a system that allowed no one nation to become too dominant in Europe so as to threaten the continental peace.

Both Palmerston and Disraeli in particular had witnessed the devastations of the American Civil War and well recognized how new technology made modern warfare likely to involve a terrible carnage. With booming economies, expanding trade, and growing colonial empires, there was no stomach among the 19th Century European leaders for the devastations of the Napoleonic Wars which had plagued Europe at the beginning of the century.

The drive toward lasting peace culminated with the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 which produced the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and the Convention with Respect to the Laws and Customs of War on Land — all of which were designed to build safeguards against the outbreak of war or to ensure that in the event of war, military conflict did not descend into barbarism.

This is not to mention the familial ties of the European monarchs themselves. In a remarkable tangle of ancestral roots, the leaders of three of the Five Great Powers were first cousins, grandchildren of Great Britain’s Queen Victoria. They had known each other since childhood, referred to one another by their nicknames and regularly met for family events. Cousins, the conventional wisdom of the time argued, do not go to war against each other.

But there were forces at work which undermined the Concert of Europe and set in motion an inevitable collision of national interests. When we remember that the concept of war in the European mind was always associated with glory, the absence of it created something of a national itch in many European countries which could only be relieved by some exercise of martial spirit. Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, who had ascended the throne in 1888, embodied what he considered to be the protean Prussian legacy of German militarism which hearkened back to Frederick the Great and beyond that to the Teutonic knights and even further to the Huns who had sacked the Eastern Roman Empire. His efforts to build the German navy to a level where it could challenge Britain’s hegemony of the world’s oceans and strengthen Germany against the Slavic menace to the East was greeted with alarm by Britain and France who signed their own pact (the Entente Cordiale of 1904) and which was followed by an alliance with Russia in August 1907 — establishing the formidable Triple Entente.

The undisputed historical trigger for the First World War was the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. But Germany had been aggressively preparing for a wide-scale continental war for at least the previous eighteen months. In 1961, the German historian Fritz Fischer in his book Griff nach der Weltmacht (Germany’s Grab for World Power) sensationally revealed a formerly unknown diary entry of Admiral Georg von Mueller from December 8, 1912 which recorded an informal meeting of the German High Command with the Kaiser in which a continental war within eighteen months was planned. Army Chief of Staff Helmuth Von Moltke was even recorded arguing that “a war is unavoidable and the sooner the better.” Von Moltke, the diary entry concluded, was persuaded to postpone the war in order for the Navy to be better prepared for the outbreak of hostilities. Fischer buttressed his argument with the publication of the September Programme, a formerly unknown document drafted by the staff of the German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg in September 1914, which identified German war aims. These included the disarmament of France, the absorption of large parts of Belgium and all of Luxemburg within the German Empire; the creation of a buffer state of Poland ( which would remain permanently under German sovereignty), the expansion of German colonial assets across Central Africa and the institution of an economic association ostensibly egalitarian but actually dominated by Germany.

No such documents have ever been produced which display an equally self-aggrandizing and militant approach from the other major belligerents of the First World War.

If the Great War was then a German War, it leaves us with us with important questions about its inevitability and what it meant for the rise of Nazism. If Germany was bent on expansion and gaining its rightful place as a world leader and felt confined and hemmed in by the other Great Powers, could anything have stopped the Imperial German Army’s march into Belgium in August,1914 or at any time thereafter?

The answer is almost certainly no. Flushed with military confidence after its defeat of France in 1870; buoyed by the unification of the German states the following year; catapulted into the limelight as a world financial power by the Zollverein — its successful economic union — German nationalism was at a peak and the Germans — hierarchical, determined, autocratic, and with very little interest in the niceties of liberal democracy — saw no reason why their values and attitudes should not compete with Great Britain’s as the dominant values of the world.

The conflict between world views was not lost on Adolf Hitler nor his backers. Indeed, the Nazis seemed to have picked up the fallen banner of the Imperial Germany Army where it lay, advancing a set of values which competed directly with those of the democracies and which were propagated without shame.

The Nazis certainly learned some vital military lessons about subjugating restive populations from the Imperial Germany Army. The Kaiser’s little-remembered campaign against the Herero and Namaqua tribes in South West Africa in 1904-07 was the first true genocide of the 20th Century, executed with a methodicism which would have made the Einsatzgruppen proud.

And should anyone doubt the ideological link between Imperial Germany and the Nazi regime, let them then remember that only weeks after he was forced to abdicate, Wilhelm foreshadowed the moral abyss into which the German state would plunge just 14 years later. In a letter to Field Marshal August von Mackensen, on December 2nd, 1918, he denounced his abdication as the “deepest, most disgusting shame ever perpetrated by a person in history, the Germans have done to themselves… egged on and misled by the tribe of Judah…. let no German ever forget this, nor rest until these parasites have been destroyed and exterminated from German soil!” In the same letter, Wilhelm advocated a “regular international all-worlds pogrom à la Russe” as “the best cure” and further believed that Jews were a “nuisance that humanity must get rid of some way or other. I believe the best thing would be gas!”

Seen in this light, the First World War was a desperate conflict between two diametrically opposed concepts of world advancement. The struggle between these competing ideas and ideals would consume the world for the first half of the 20th Century and then continue into the second on on to the Cold War, the war with communism.

But having ultimately won a 75 year- long -war with fascism/totalitarianism, the West, perhaps exhausted by the toll it has exacted and with its self-confidence and morale significantly shaken, has been unprepared to confront the arrival of a third menace whose militancy threatens its survival. The similarities between Wilhelmine Germany and rise of the Islamic Republic of Iran — and the form of militant Islam it represents, bear review: The same sense of national entitlement; the same sense of deprivation of its rightful stage in world affairs; the same grievances against the dominant world power; the same provocative foreign policy; the same willingness to gamble recklessly on a military confrontation it is unlikely to win and the same determination to have its values replace those of its enemies as the dominant value system of the world.

Today, modern Germany has learned that it can exercise dominance without military conquest and its virtual suzerainty of Europe has been somewhat welcomed as a stabilizing influence on a continent that has otherwise lost its bearings. Iran and the satellite organizations it controls may well have to face total defeat and disarmament before it recognizes that it has the same opportunity.

The First World War, poorly fought, execrably settled, and memorialized for the wrong reasons, should today be recalled for what it was — a necessary war, fought justly over values as much as over territory and leaving us with the conviction that reckless militarism should never be ignored nor laughed off. While millions of our young men should not be condemned to die in muddy, lice-infested trenches, we run the risk of paying a far greater toll if we remain squeamish about recognizing a direct challenge to the value system upon which our civilization was founded and then failing to summon the military will to confront it.

(This article originally appeared in American Thinker.)


Leaving

September 6, 2014

The day of parting with my son grew closer.  He called me one afternoon and told me that he was experiencing some anxiety and that I might help.  I went right over to the house and entered his room. The open suitcases were filled to the brim with clothes, shoes, books.  We spoke and I asked him what he was nervous about.  He couldn’t really tell me.  All he could mutter, quietly was,” I am leaving….”

As I sat on his bed I felt a blanket beneath me, familiar to my touch. Yes, of course it was familiar – it was his childhood blanket. That light blue velvet covering, soft and frayed, received in his first week of life . The same one I would wrap him in as I cradled him to sleep.  The blanket that I had thought lost or discarded years ago.  Then I looked around the room and saw things I had not noticed in years –  the wan, discolored rocking chair, the white teddy bear, the blue and white whale.  All the little mementos of  childhood and adolescence gathered on the upper shelves – a silent jamboree of memories staring down, distraught, at my son’s bulging suitcases.

Leaving, he was leaving. Silly, sentimental father, so caught up in his own memories that he was useless to his son.  Someone had warned me years ago about this parents’  rite of passage, the moment that comes when by necessity we must let go.   I had scoffed at the time, thinking it would never apply to me. But as I sat on that bed, I suddenly saw my own mother and father standing at Melbourne Airport 33 years ago with tears in their eyes as I boarded a plane for London. Brash, flippant, eager for adventure, I was too focused on my own future to truly appreciate their heartbreak.   Somehow they must have known, what I may have already known: I wasn’t coming back – at least not soon.  And I remembered, that as I turned away from them and headed down the ramp, the words of a song I had nearly forgotten, floated through my mind, stinging me then and now with pangs of melancholy and remorse:

  “Leaving home ain’t easy………no, it ain’t ever easy…….on the ones you’re leaving home.”

Now, I too, have crossed the Rubicon.

And it ain’t easy.

00000032


THE EBOLA-LIKE PLAGUE OF ANTISEMITISM SWEEPING THE WEST

August 21, 2014

.
.

 
My parents, who have lived in Jerusalem for 22 years, recently met their new neighbors.  They are French Jews from Paris who describe themselves as refugees. ” We came to the conclusion that there was simply no future for us in France.  Jews are targets there and the government cannot and does not want to protect them. France is lost.”
 
Their message resonated with me as I returned to Israel from a  speaking tour of Southern Africa.  In South Africa I watched as President Jacob Zuma and many of his secondary ministers, fulminated about the international crimes of the Israeli government in Gaza.  In Namibia, a country with only a handful of Jews and with no previous strong record of antisemitic animus, television news programs consistently portrayed a one dimensional view of the conflict, failing entirely to present the context of Operation Protective Edge and castigating the worldwide Jewish support for Israel as the primary culprit.
 
In Ethiopia, where I stayed for two days, almost everyone I met seemed to think that Israeli war crimes deserved international sanction and that Jews should be made to pay reparations for the destruction of Gaza hospitals and educational facilities.
 
 In Australia, a country with a very strong record of governmental support for Israel, a cartoon in one of the country’s leading dailies depicted a hook-nosed Jew reclining in a chair marked with a Star of David casually using a remote to destroy Gazan property.
 
And In Germany, demonstrators in Berlin – and not just Muslims – could be heard yelling “Death to Israel”, and “Zionists are fascists, killing children and civilians!” and a Berlin imam was recorded using his sermons to ask Allah to kill the Jews “to the very last one,”.
In response, the President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumnn said; “We are currently experiencing in this country an explosion of evil and violent hatred of Jews. We would never in our lives have thought it possible any more that anti-Semitic views of the nastiest and most primitive kind can be chanted on German streets. Jews are once again openly threatened in Germany and sometimes attacked.”
 
Throughout the world, Jews have felt the tremors of an upheaval that should be deeply unsettling if not shocking. For it is not simply Israeli policies which have been criticized.  Colleagues in Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, England, Italy and as far away as Iceland have reported unparalleled outbursts of antisemitic activity and sentiment in their countries.
 
The steep rise in antisemitism which has emerged in the streets of  the world’s capitals is a salutary reminder to us all of one of the abiding features of Western history: Antisemitism, despite the denials of governments and citizens – and our own self delusions, is a permanent feature of life in dozens of countries outside Israel that will not die. We fool ourselves into believing that it manifests only as a territorial claim or is some kind of residual spasm of a long cured illness.
 
For surely it is not. The disease is congenital and much like the Ebola Virus now sweeping  Western Africa  –  deadly and incurable. Despite the horrifying lessons of the Holocaust, the supposed safeguards of a powerful international human rights movement and the sanctimonious pronouncements of world leaders, the contagion of antisemitism has not been eradicated but persists in the minds of millions of people who remain convinced of a malevolent Jewish stereotype which threatens the peace of the world. 
 
If this is so, then where is it safe for Jews to live?
That is exactly the question that an Austrian-Jewish journalist reporting in 1895 on the polarizing anti-semitic trial of Alfred Dreyfus in Paris, came to ponder: “if France – bastion of emancipation, progress and universal socialism – [can] get caught up in a maelstrom of antisemitism and let the Parisian crowd chant ‘Kill the Jews!’ Where can they be safe once again – if not in their own country?
 
Theodor Herzl’s words ring in my ears as I sit in Jerusalem and write these words.  Despite whatever you read in the world’s newspapers or hear from sage voices in the commentariat, the Jews of Israel feel safe – a fact which has little to do with the use of advanced technology or the deployment of one of the world’s most sophisticated armies.  United as at no time since perhaps the Six Day War, the Israelis as individuals and as a country seem to have finally grasped the fact that no territorial surrender, no peace agreements and no humanitarian gestures will appease their enemies.  That is because they accept, better than we in the Diaspora ever could, that the war against them extends beyond their borders and beyond the Middle East.  It is an age old  war of extinction, driven by the the most pernicious form of human hatred and if they have to make a stand against it then they will do it in their own land, with their own resources and on their own terms. The determination to defeat the enemy and to make the State of Israel a true place of refuge for the Jewish people has contributed to a remarkable resilience and an unshakable faith in the future which has allowed life in most of the country to continue, to the greatest extent possible, as normal.
 
I had to wonder about this as I perused my emails mid-flight on my way back from Ethiopia.  
Familiar with my somewhat frenetic travel schedule, an Australian friend asked:  “Are you home yet – wherever that might be?”
 
As I touched down at Ben Gurion Airport , saw the Israeli flag fluttering  in the moonlight, watched the cars pass by with blue and white ribbons attached to their antenna and witnessed the bumper stickers and posters declaring an unwavering commitment to victory, without  hesitation I wrote back:
 
” Yes, I am home – and I am safe.”
 
 
Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance in Los Angeles and owns a home in the Old City of Tzfat in Israel. This piece appeared in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal and subsequently in the Australian Jewish News and the Jerusalem Post

Global Governance Utopianism and the Threats to Freedom

June 8, 2012

 

It does not take much to trace the lineage of the global governance movement.  Beginning  with the very first work on international law, written by Herman Grotius in 1623, down through the philosophical writings of Immanuel Kant and Karl Krause and to the mid- 20th century novels of H.G. Wells, a line can be drawn threading together advocacy of intellectuals and political leaders for the establishment of some kind of global authority to be placed in charge of governing mankind’s work and activities.

The growth of this movement springs largely from utopian notions of the perfectibility of the world – that mankind’s tendency towards violent conflict, the inequitable distribution of wealth and the degradation of the environment can only be cured by the pronouncements of a wise council of men who dictate how conflict is to be resolved and the methods by which the world’s assets are to be distributed.

 

The commonalities which bind together advocacy for global governance today are fairly clear:

  • A belief that the nation state is either obsolete or in imminent decline
  • A rejection of capitalist economies and the role of free enterprise
  • A profound distrust of common forms of human organization, including democratic self-government and the nuclear family
  • An acceptance of the idea that an international consensus exists that all nations and all peoples have common goals
  • An abiding contempt for all forms of organized religion
  • An unwillingness to brook opposition of any kind

Such a philosophy has brought the global governance movement into direct confrontation with constitutional democracy in this century.  For constitutional democracy is founded not upon collectivist ideals but upon the virtues of individualism and the ability of human beings to resolve their conflicts in a just and equitable manner. Constitutional democracy is neither statist nor authoritarian. It trusts in human nature, rather than rejects it and has its roots planted deeply in the belief that humanity has an elevated purpose tied to the existence of a force beyond itself.

Global governance advocates paint a pretty picture of a world where human happiness would be assured once differences between peoples – whether they be of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or ability – were eradicated.

But lets be frank.  Differences between human beings cannot be eradicated.  The collectivist  experiments of the 20th Century in the U.S.S.R and its satellite communist regimes failed miserably to create  happiness for anyone  except an elite few and resulted only in  the impoverishment of  once robust economies, the imposition of heavy regulation, the imprisonment of  “enemies of the State” and the mass murder of millions.

Given its provenance in the twisted notions of collectivism and the state control, it is little wonder to see Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the failed Soviet empire, become one of the leading lights of the modern global governance movement. His campaigns for a global environmental regime, based on the UN’s Earth Charter, disguise a more sinister agenda – the implicit overthrow of capitalist economies and the stripping of national sovereign rights.   No one should be surprised then when Gorbachev and his other environmental advocates call for the Earth Charter to replace the Ten Commandments as mankind’s governing moral code. Indeed, it is not beyond exaggeration to refer to Gorbachev’s environmentalism as a new form of religion in itself– but one naturally removed from any notion of the existence of a Supreme Being. 

Gorbachev’s activism is only the tip of the iceberg of a movement which has won supporters in the highest echelons of West’s intelligentsia, media and political classes.  The European Union, for example, today stands as a model of the transference of this ideal into practice. Today power in Europe has become largely centralized in Brussels, representative democracy is treated loosely as an after thought and the growth of a huge bureaucracy regulates everything from the price of tomatoes to day care for toddlers.

The United Nations has its own vital role to play in this growing movement and ideology. Its surreptitious program, Agenda 21, addressed extensively in AFA’s 2011  Big Footprint conference, calls for a range of changes to be made to human conduct and behavior by imposing strict regulation on everything from urban development to the exploitation of energy resources.  It has been adopted, often without a whisper of objection, by thousands of city councils, public schools and public utilities throughout the West.  Proudly promoting a ‘back to nature’ philosophy, it is as direct a threat to the independence of sovereign nation states as any other program or ideology..  .

Non-governmental organizations play significantly supportive roles in many of these developments.   So called humanitarian organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders, hide their profoundly anti-Western, anti-capitalist bias behind advocacy for the imposition of international humanitarian law on Western countries.  Little known to most citizens in the West, is the way international humanitarian law conflicts directly with certain constitutional protections and  how its adoption could significantly trammel the rights and constitutional protections enjoyed by millions around the world.

As this conference takes place, the battle against global governance is being fought most visibly in the struggle over who will regulate the Internet and who will control our seas.  The United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union( ITU) has made a claim that, given the international scope of the Internet, it should be the one  and only agency to monitor and control its access around the world.  But little known is that the drive to harness the Internet is fueled largely by authoritarian governments such as  China and Russia whose interests lie in curtailing information provided on the Internet and not increasing access to it.

In the current struggle over the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the U.S. is faced with intense international pressure to conform to certain international maritime standards which establish guidelines for businesses, the environment and the management of marine natural resources.   This pure example of global governance in action, would severely restrict most modern wealthy nation states from the development of resources close to their own shores in deference to Third World countries who are given a greater share of those resources and opportunities to harvest them.

Lawfare, the manipulation of domestic legal systems to secure political ends, is also becoming deployed as a key weapon in the global governance arsenal.   The movement to establish a universal jurisdiction by which foreign nationals can be sued and brought to court in a country where they have had no prior dealings, provides a view of the kind of world that could exist under a globally governed regime. It would be a world where  independent jurists and outraged citizens in one country would be free to interfere directly in the decision making of sovereign governments in another.  This was brought to light most powerfully when following the Lebanon War of 2006, Israel’s prime minister, military chief of staff and other political and military leaders were issued with summonses in Brussels.  There can be no greater example of the reach of global governance advocacy than this attempt to expand and impose a universal jurisdiction which eclipses the sovereign nation state’s right to self-defense.

 While mentioning Israel it should be noted that underlying global governance advocacy is the determination to bring strong independent nations to heel.  This is no more so than in the way both the United Stares and Israel are targeted for both human rights violations and territorial aggression.  While massacres take place in the Sudan, starvation overcomes the people of North Korea and death and destruction reign in the Congo, it remains these two democratic nations who are recipients of regular excoriation in the United Nations and in the reports of human rights organizations.  This so because  the  exercise of the right of  self-defense of these strong democratic nations stands as a significant obstacle to the imposition of a universal jurisdiction to monitor armed conflict. The demonization and diminishment of both has therefore become a key global governance strategy, often aided and abetted by academics and media personalities within those very same countries.

All of these threats combine to present the most significant challenges to western freedoms that we may have ever known.  The threat is so  because it is largely invisible and carries the imprimatur of an international consensus.  But we should not be gulled.  In truth there is no such thing as an “international consensus.” There are only nations who agree to cooperate, not for some greater global universal good but in their own self interest.   We should be warned that those proposing that nation states surrender their own sovereign rights in the interests of universally agreed upon values and standards are not advancing your interest nor mine, but their own. 

The battle to defend national sovereignty is a long and difficult one but the case can be made succinctly and is done so in brilliant works such as Jeremy Rabkin’s The Case for Sovereignty.  This conference is an attempt to join political leaders, major thinkers and media personalities from around the world in an attempt to thwart the rise of this movement and expose its true orientation and motives. And it stands firm in the belief that democratic representative government and the sovereign rights that accrue to it remains the best system for the management of human affairs ever devised by the human mind. 

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance and the coordinator of the Global Governance vs National Sovereignty Conference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: