Sometimes the good die old

Working the Graveyard Shift as I do, I thought I should mention for the record the passing of two of the all-time great authors. The first is Bernard Lewis, and this is from Roger Franklin at Quadrant Online:

Vale Bernard Lewis

bernard lewis

To reach the age of 101 is by any reckoning a pretty fair innings, but mere longevity was the least of Bernard Lewis’ achievements. The author of some 30 books and hundreds of articles passed away on Saturday (May 19) at an assisted-living home in New Jersey, where he spent his final years. As the Jerusalem Post puts it

Lewis was a leading scholar on Oriental and Middle Eastern studies. His study of antisemitism, Semites and Anti-Semites was a cry against Soviet and Arab attempts to delegitimize Israel … he argued Arab rage against Israel was disproportionate to other tragedies or injustices in the Muslim world.

Quadrant‘s Daryl McCann addressed Lewis’ work and his critics on the Left, not least the late and unlamented Edward Said, in our October, 2012, edition. His essay, Bernard Lewis and the Dangerous Creed of Freedom, can be read via this link.

The other is Tom Wolfe who passed away last week at 88. I had been scouting for someone who sees him as I do, but having begun with The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test in 1968 – and you cannot imagine what a blast it was at the time – and then eventually ended up with his The Kingdom of Speech, his last book, for which I did a rave review* also at Quadrant [November 2016 but, alas, not online], it has been not easy to find someone who covers the terrain. It was not his fiction I truly enjoyed, but “the new journalism”, if you will pardon the expression, since we are talking about something that began fifty years ago. So let me snatch these bits from John Derbyshire’s 2004 review of I am Charlotte Simmons, which fiction though it is, where the right sort of sentiments are struck.

• The political incorrectness. Well, not exactly that. Tom Wolfe takes no point of view, has no bill of goods to sell. He just calmly, coolly records the way things are, the way people look and talk, the commonplace, mostly harmless, prejudices and solidarities that have survived 30 years of relentless media and educational indoctrination against them.

• The class angle. Modern U.S. society is addled with class snobbery. Poor and rural Americans are coarse-looking, ill-dressed, speak in dialect, and have lousy dietary habits. Rich suburban and high-urban Americans would much rather have nothing to do with them. When confrontations do occur, the rustics are insecure but defensive, the rich patronizing but impatient, with a frisson of guilt. Again, these are things known to everyone, but we are not supposed to notice them. Wolfe does notice them, and draws them to a “t.”

• The cold eye. I don’t know how the future will rank Tom Wolfe as a novelist, but he is a simply terrific journalist. Oh, sure, he exaggerates some when writing fiction to get the effects he wants; but you could put a Wolfe novel under a steel-mill press and not squeeze a single drop of sentimentality out of it. Wolfe’s authorial tone to the reader is: You don’t have to like this, and I’m not too crazy about it myself, but this is the way it is, and we both know it. Our society is awash with the grossest kind of sentimentality — in movies and TV, saturating the sappy nostrums of the Sunday magazine-supplements and corporate mission statements, pouring in from self-help cranks, victim-industry moaners and weepers, love-the-world useful-idiot politicians and Oprah-fied pain-feelers. Wolfe is the antidote to all this sugary glop. There isn’t enough of him to have much effect, unfortunately; but when you’re drowning in treacle, the merest squirt of lemon juice is refreshing. Wolfe worships the God Kipling worshipped, The God of Things As They Are.

• Typographical vitality. A copy editor once sent back a manuscript of mine with all the italics, semicolons, dashes, parentheses, and exclamation marks stripped out. She was, I learned later, a disciple of some dogmatic imbecile — was it Strunk? — who had pronounced that the barest text was the best text. Well, the hell with her, and him. Our Tom shares my opinion that every key on the keyboard is there to be used, including the shift key. In I Am Charlotte Simmons he has even ventured a typographic innovation (I think — it is new to me, at any rate): using strings of colons for ellipses in interrupted or disconnected thought. Like this:

::::::trying not to look at him::::::the condom, the ball-peen hammer::::::the undertow again::::::the Doubts::::::more time::::::can’t think spinning like this!::::::Look, Hoyt::::::just wait a second, okay?::::::

• Neat plotting. Wolfe isn’t one of the great plotters — not a Wodehouse, not even a Trollope — but he understands the principles of moral balance and equity that make a novel satisfying to the reader. Virtue need not triumph, but ought at least survive; evil need not be routed, but ought at least be chastened; and there must be a sufficient number of secondary characters we are sufficiently interested in that the author’s giving us some hint of their subsequent fate at the book’s end adds minor satisfactions to the major ones.

* The last para of that review:

In the meantime, I hope there are many who find their way to The Kingdom of Speech which is an amazing read on so many levels, not least of which being how revealing it is about how ideas are formed and sustained across time.

The identity politics juggernaut has a setback!

C’mon, in Canada, in Toronto even, where I grew up and from which I fled. Via Instapundit.

RESOLUTION REJECTED: “BE IT RESOLVED, WHAT YOU CALL POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, I CALL PROGRESS”: Friday night’s Munk debate in Toronto shows that Canadians (in general not exactly a rough bunch) reject political correctness.

Even before Michael Eric Dyson & Michelle Goldberg (FOR THE RESOLUTION) squared off against Stephen Fry & Jordan Peterson (AGAINST THE RESOLUTION), the crowd was already strongly against the resolution (36% FOR vs. 64% AGAINST). But after the debate it was overwhelming (30% FOR vs. 70% AGAINST). The shift of 6% to AGAINST made Fry & Peterson the declared winners of the debate.

Ho hum, right?  It’s not like this is surprising.  Yet the identity politics juggernaut marches forward both in Canada and the USA, aided by a strong and effective ethic of political correctness, which makes open discussion of the issues more difficult than is should be.

The Trump Administration has had only the most marginal effect. There is a special look of terror that comes over the eyes of conservative political leaders when one brings to their attention the opportunity to say or do something that would help. Alas, I have witnessed that look too many times to count.

There are often endless dangers in saying what you think. The left is only looking to run around shouting and to make your life a misery over the slightest word that can be wilfully misinterpreted to others who are always happy and excited to take their side against you. A 70% result in an anonymous poll only shows what everyone should know, and PDT’s election made clear.

Sometimes your enemy’s enemy is your enemy too

Sometime around the 1960s, the left decided to switch sides on its allegiances in the Middle East and since then Israel has been the villain. That Israel, with its majority Jewish population, has been threatened with destruction since it was founded in 1948 is of no mind to the Europeans who had tried to do the same thing a few years before, and is part of the mindset of the national socialists of today who would see the outcome worked towards by the National Socialists of an earlier era. Stalin’s death, among other things, forestalled the “Doctor’s Plot” which would have been a Soviet purge of its Jewish population. And to its last days, if you were a child of or a grandchild of someone who was Jewish, it was stamped on your internal passport even if you were not interested in your own Jewish origins, never mind not being allowed to practise your mandated religious identity even if you had wished to. Hamas and Hezbollah and the rest are just part of an anti-Semitic Israeli ethos that has existed since the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948.

But in siding with Israel’s Islamist enemies, these same leftist fools have not just given them official cover and supported their efforts, they have gone well beyond that, not only pretending that their self-declared ideological enemies are the morally virtuous side, but have allowed, if not actually encouraged, mass migration of Islamists into their own societies as a form of showing their virtue and solidarity with the “oppressed”. Sweden is now the textbook example of civilisational suicide, with Merkel’s Germany right up there with the worst of them. I would be of a mind to say they are getting just what they deserve, but this is also my culture they are putting to the torch. And that they most certainly are. Your enemy’s enemy is not your friend, as they are finding out to their immense regret, but to my immense regret as well.

US opens embassy in Jerusalem

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement on the U.S. embassy opening in Jerusalem:

“Today I am proud to celebrate the opening of the United States Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem. This significant event fulfills a promise made by President Trump. As he proclaimed on December 6, 2017, “Seventy years ago, the United States, under President Truman, recognized the State of Israel. Since then, the State of Israel has made its capital in Jerusalem — the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times. It is therefore appropriate for the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”

“We remain committed to advancing a lasting and comprehensive peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

“I am delighted to have visited Israel on my first trip overseas as Secretary of State. I look forward to returning soon to visit our new US embassy and Ambassador Friedman in Jerusalem.”

Israel turns 70

Me and my buba on Yom Haatzmaut, the actual day, May 14, 1948.

And for some background on the day, this is fascinating: How Harry Truman Crossed His Own State Department to Recognize Israel. One of the few businessmen to have been an American president. Read it through. The Deep State has a long history.

And there is also this. From Instapundit

THE LATE 1940s SAW A LOT OF MAJOR MOVEMENTS OF REFUGEES:  In 1945, there were almost 1 million Jews living in Arab lands.  Within just a few years, that had changed radically.  When India was partitioned, 14 million were displaced. Large centuries-old German settlements in the Soviet Union, Poland and Czechoslovakia disappeared as ethnic Germans, were expelled or deported, fled or died. Only in the case of Palestinians is the refugee issue still alive, says Jeff Jacoby.

As I often ask, but with fewer with each passing year who even understand the question: where is Prussia today?

He just keeps rolling on

From The Diplomad speaking to us on diplomacy with an American perspective but outside the Deep State. All sounds good to me.

Trump Rolls On

OK. Are there any other world leaders out there? If so, they shouldn’t bother coming to work. Take a holiday. Enjoy the coming summer in the northern hemisphere and the coming winter in the south. Just go home. Relax. Trump’s got ya covered.

He does it, yet again.

He has killed the Iran nuclear “deal.”

Trump knows how to do foreign policy.  We’ve had to put up with decades of condescending lectures from the traditional foreign policy “elites” on how difficult foreign policy is; how it’s just more complex than YOU could ever understand; don’t try it at home; and just leave it to the experts. Seems that our President is following in the foot-steps of Ronald Reagan, and even blazing a few paths of his own when it comes to foreign policy. Amazing how a clear articulation of purpose, a demonstration of strength, and a refusal to accept the standard bromides produces different results. What’s that definition of crazy? Shall we say, President Trump is destroying the world order in order to save the world? Sounds good.

The mullahs in Teheran, the murderers in ISIS, Pyongyang and Damascus, as well as the virtue-signaling, pearl-clutching bien pensants in Hollywood, media, academe, and all the capitals of the Far Abroad, now know they’re dealing with a different sort of U.S. President. Thank the Lord this President has followed the Diplomad’s long-standing foreign policy dictum, “Do not listen to the Europeans,”

[T]he surest way to lose American lives and treasure is to listen to the Europeans. Europe has not gotten anything right on the world stage since, well, since . . . well, since at least the French Revolution.

Let’s not forget that since the USA became a significant player, the principal aim of European leaders has been to embroil the USA in Europe’s wars, have the USA fix the messes caused by European leaders, but have the USA take instructions from Europe’s leaders. Even Churchill, whom I admire immensely, was not immune; he desperately wanted the mighty US in WWII, but wanted to dictate the how and the where of the application of US power. We, of course, previously saw the same thing in WWI. In that conflict 100 years ago, the geniuses in the European high commands needed US troops to halt a resurgent Germany after the exit of Russia from the war, but did not want an independent US force. Vietnam and Libya were also two messes in which we became involved to bail out Europe. Pershing successful resisted them. Let us also not forget that the long years of the Cold War involved the US footing the bulk of the bill for defense, allowing Europe to maintain Legoland militaries and spend their own wealth building cradle-to-grave social welfare systems, which, of course, relied on the despised US military for protection.

It goes on and on . . uh, well, not any longer. Just as Reagan did before in rejecting European advice on how to handle the USSR, it seems that Trump has a very clear home-grown idea of how to do things in the interest of the United States. About time.

The “deal” with Teheran was a classic convoluted mess so favored by the Euros and their admirers such as John Kerry. I have written a great deal about that “deal” (hereherehere, and here, for example, and there’s lots more). Don’t want to repeat all I have said before except to restate that this was a classic con job.

Of course, the Iranians and the Europeans are upset over President Trump’s bold announcement that we are walking away from this “deal.” As I have noted before, the “deal” guaranteed Iran’s acquiring a nuclear weapon, while, mostly European and Russian companies make a lot of money off the Iranian regime whose bank accounts became flush with billions of dollars and euros magnanimously provided by the Obama misadministration in the dead of night.

As to American opinion, I conducted my own highly “scientific” poll. Yesterday, I was at my local gun store, doing a little shopping in the wake of having received my concealed carry permit. Four “customers” were siting in the back of the little semi-rural gun store (“Green Acres”!) when the president came on TV to announce the end of the Iran so-called deal. All four broke into spontaneous applause, with one elderly gent wearing a Korean War Vet cap, telling his wife, “The President has done a great thing!”

There the science is settled, and now . . .

Let the fainting begin!

We hear cries of outrage from Obama, Kerry, and Clinton, of course, who see their “legacy” coming apart. The Iranians are running to Russia and Europe trying to save a vestige of the “deal” to make sure the goodies keep flowing. Kerry, of course, is repeating his anti-American antics of decades ago: just as he did with the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong delegations in Paris during the Vietnam War peace talks, he has been in Europe trying to strike some sort of new “deal” with Iran to undermine the US president. Kerry does treason quite well.

Among the many curious things being said is that Trump’s walking away from this “deal,” imperils our ability to reach a deal with North Korea. Well, yes, it does imperil the ability to reach a “deal” like the one with Iran, but that’s what we don’t want! While the fainters fainted, newly minted SecState Pompeo flew into Pyongyang to set up the forthcoming meeting between Kim and Trump, and flew out bringing home three American hostages. Sounds like Kim is more than willing to deal, and Trump has his measure of the man.

Meanwhile, the US Embassy is opening in Jerusalem, and the pearl-clutchers can’t believe that the world has not come to an end, yet again. The Saudis and other Arabs are making friendly noises towards Israel, clearly seeking Israeli support against Iran, and have supported Trump’s move on the faux deal. They know from whence the threat comes, and it’s not from Tel Aviv Jerusalem. The mullahs are rightfully in panic mode.

I can’t wait for President Trump to turn his full attention to the threat on our southern border and put an end to Mexican interference in our politics.

Roll on!

How the Libs can win and where Labor will never follow

There are certain political observers who would have seen Labor elected in 2016 to teach the Libs a lesson, but I have to say the thought still terrifies me. There are then those in the Coalition who believe that their superior economic management will make all the difference, a notion so absurd I cannot believe that they actually believe they have their finger on the pulse of the nation. So let me draw their attention to the above, which I picked up via Steve Hayward on Powerline, who heads his post: Gee – I wonder if it might be immigration?

This is where their winning break can and will come from, and I am at least comforted that Peter Dutton is such an excellent Minister and is supported by the Prime Minister. And on this Labor will never follow, because their strategy is to bring in an entirely new cohort of citizens on whom Labor will be able to depend.

There but for the grace of God

A fascinating and terrifying story: Former NYC media player finds himself living in homeless shelter after life took ‘unfathomable’ downward spiral. The details are all too plausible and the outcome undoubtedly a nightmare. Life has no certainty and security is never guaranteed. Just a bit chosen almost at random:

He was at 30th Street for five weeks. His cell phone was stolen. On his 70th birthday, Sept. 15, Homeless Services staff told him he was moving to another smaller shelter in Brooklyn. They also told him he would have to get there by himself.

“I had two duffel bags,” he said. “I protested. They put me on a bus at 10 that night with three others. One was dropped at Wards Island. They dropped two guys in Queens. They dropped me off at 2 a.m.”

Jackson now found himself living in another dorm room within the 62-bed facility run by the non-profit group Camba. He says they promised he’d be out by Thanksgiving. He’s still there.

He is still sane and seems to have his senses together. Just every option seemed to close and no one could offer him a landing. The article is an attempt for him to find his way out, and there is a book in his experience that might even be more horrific than anyone would ever wish to read purely because there is no reason something like that could happen to everyone. The Count of Monte Cristo spend years in the Chateau D’If but Dumas has no story if he dies there. But in real life many do just that, if not actually most.

If you don’t think this is political genius you don’t know what political genius is

In line with keeping your enemies even closer, think of this: President Trump Wants Colin Kaepernick, Quarterback He Vilified, and Kanye West for Summit on Race. And while there may be votes in it – as there should be if this kind of thing turns out to make progress – the undoubted motivation is to try to alleviate an existing problem.

President Donald Trump has given the green light to multiple meetings with athletes and musical artists to discuss race, Cleveland-based pastor Darrell Scott, an outside adviser to the White House adviser, tells PEOPLE.

“He is 100 percent for it,” says Scott, who spoke with Trump for about 20 minutes in the Oval Office following an outdoor ceremony at the White House for Thursday’s National Day of Prayer. “He was very enthusiastic about it.”

Kanye West, who recently had a Twitter love-fest with Trump, has been invited, says Scott, along with former NFL star Colin Kaepernick and other athletes and musicians of multiple races and ethnicities. . . .

Scott expects Trump will be in attendance. “We don’t want to sanitize it. I want people from the left to attend. I want it to get heated but I want it to be respectful,” says Scott.

“I want them to see and know the Donald Trump I know and they will say, ‘This guy isn’t who I’ve been lead to believe he is.’”

He’s a fixer and a uniter and a problem solver, unlike say another previous president who was none of these.

For Hegel I would not give a bagel!

Born 200 years ago today

Karl Marx 001.jpg

Karl Marx in 1875
Born 5 May 1818
TrierKingdom of Prussia
Died 14 March 1883 (aged 64)
LondonEnglandUK
Resting place Tomb of Karl MarxHighgate Cemetery, London, England, UK
Residence Germany, France, Belgium, UK
Nationality Stateless after 1845
Spouse(s) Jenny von Westphalen (m. 1843d. 1881)
Children 7, including JennyLaura, and Eleanor
Parents
Relatives Louise Juta (sister)
Jean Longuet (grandson)

Philosophy career

Alma mater University of Bonn
University of Berlin
University of Jena
Era 19th-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Continental philosophy
Marxism
Main interests
Politics, economics, philosophy, history
Notable ideas
Marxist terminologysurplus value, contributions to the labour theory of valueclass strugglealienation and exploitation of the worker, materialist conception of history
Signature
Karl Marx Signature.svg

Cannot think of a thing to say. So let me instead suggest you read Lewis Feuer’s brilliant and fun, The Case of the Revolutionist’s Daughter: Sherlock Holmes Meets Karl Marx. And then when you have read that, that you read anything else you can get your hands on written by Lewis Feuer. Feuer was the most outstanding anti-Marxist of my youth and I bring him up because I would rather that his name was remembered instead of Karl Marx’s. But like hurricanes, the only ones you remember are the ones that did the most damage.

From his NYT obit:

His interest in matters philosophical was matched by a fascination with Sherlock Holmes. He condensed it in a historical whimsy of a novel, ”The Case of the Revolutionist’s Daughter: Sherlock Holmes meets Karl Marx” (Prometheus, 1983), which remains in print. In it, Holmes is hired by Marx to investigate the disappearance of his daughter, Eleanor, who actually committed suicide in 1898.

After his own break with Marx, the philosopher, Dr. Feuer, according to his family, adopted a personal mantra, ”For Hegel I would not give a bagel!”