As a nerdy teen, I used to love PBS. Well, I still do, but there are more options now, aren’t there? I enjoyed BridesheadRevisited and I, Claudius and many nature specials, and as a geek with a burgeoning interest in politics – and American politics being of far more interest than Canadian politics to most Canadians (not to mention the world) – I used to enjoy the Mark Russell political comedy/musical shows. If you don’t know who Russell was, he was a satirist who used musical parodies and a piano to mock politicians and headlines. He was very talented and astute and a fun performer, but if you watch this (or look up some other of his clips online) you will really get a sense of how genteel he was and how innocent his commentary could be. I do not mean that as a bad thing – I wish we could dial so much of our nastiness and bite back, and return to this kind of discourse. It’s easy to mock, and many have mocked him (I seem to recall SNL took a rather funny shot at him some years back) and that is fair enough. Still, when I read that he had passed, I felt rather nostalgic for this relative naivete and kindness. (Canuck readers: do we/did we have a Canadian equivalent to this gentleman? I think not.)
By the way, I was such a diehard PBS-watcher as a kid and teen that one night, during one of the public broadcaster’s pleading, desperate fundraising drives, I felt compelled to help. I was watching with my brother, who felt equally moved by their plight. Together, we took my dad’s credit card (he was likely sleeping/passed out) and phoned in quite a pledge. Yes, there was hell to pay, but we did get a tote bag.
This piece by Douglas Murray was written in May, after the leak of the draft decision on Roe v. Wade from the U.S. Supreme Court. I read it then and thought it excellent – just re-read it now and feel the same way.
Yes, Covid is a defining story. But you know what isn’t? Trump vs. Biden. This too shall pass and America will survive because it is a great country. The anger and the loudness don’t make it “the most important election of our lifetime.” Nope.
Here is something that will have a far greater impact – CRISPR.
And frankly, the tragedy of Samuel Paty should be the headline in every Western country, in every Western newspaper. But it is not. We are cowards. We are blithe. I fear it is too late for Europe (as spot-on as Macron was in this speech, he can’t do it alone), but maybe not for North America. I stress the “maybe.”
After the Charlie Hebdo massacres, someone I had thought to be sane-ish, told me I was wrong to view it as a black-and-white issue. Oh no, she said – there are “nuances” and “shades of grey.” Seriously? Slaughtering people because they mocked your faith and slaughtering people because they are Jews are actions that are nuanced? I referenced this person’s nonsense here (column is from 2015 and links may no longer work).
We need moral leaders. Principled leaders. Trump is not one, but anyone who thinks Biden will be one is deluded, and then some. Where are our moral leaders on Paty? The Pope recently made an exciting and positive comment about gay civil unions. Wonderful, of course, but a week after Paty’s murder he has yet to utter the man’s name and yet to issue a condemnation of the murderer and his motivation. I’m not surprised, though: after Charlie Hebdo, Pope Francis said a remarkably stupid thing about the massacres, apparently excusing the crimes (see my column above).
When the President of France is your greatest hope…
One of the things I most admired about Ruth Bader-Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia was their enduring friendship and respect for each other. It is shameful that each has become a symbol for an ideology, a talisman, rather than being held up as a symbol or talisman of decency, civil discourse, considered thought and the utter irrelevence of political disagreements to a meaningful relationship.
In the current chaos, I’ve come to appreciate Marcus Aurelius’s maxim that “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” And I have to say I’m horribly conflicted on some issues. I’m supportive of attempts to interrogate the sins of the past, in particular the gruesome legacy of slavery and segregation, and their persistent impact on the present. And in that sense, I’m a supporter of the motives of the good folks involved with the Black Lives Matter movement. But I’m equally repelled by the insistent attempt by BLM and its ideological founders to malign and dismiss the huge progress we’ve made, to re-describe the American experiment in freedom as one utterly defined by racism, and to call the most tolerant country on the planet, with unprecedented demographic diversity, a form of “white supremacy”. I’m tired of hearing Kamala Harris say, as she did yesterday: “The reality is that the life of a black person in America has never been treated as fully human.” This is what Trump has long defended as “truthful hyperbole” — which is a euphemism for a lie.
But here’s one thing I have absolutely no conflict about. Rioting and lawlessness is evil. And any civil authority that permits, condones or dismisses violence, looting and mayhem in the streets disqualifies itself from any legitimacy. This comes first. If one party supports everything I believe in but doesn’t believe in maintaining law and order all the time and everywhere, I’ll back a party that does. In that sense, I’m a one-issue voter, because without order, there is no room for any other issue. Disorder always and everywhere begets more disorder; the minute the authorities appear to permit such violence, it is destined to grow. And if liberals do not defend order, fascists will.
I love a good political ad – regardless of whether I would vote for the candidate – and I have written about some excellent ads from Democrat candidates here, here and here. Today I give you two more – both Republican.
Rock on, Kim Klacik.
And how about this?
I should really try and find some strong Canadian political ads, but we’re not that good at it.
Readers, I’m in awe of this young guy. I am torn between just wanting to read everything he has written but also being madly jealous that a 24-year-old is this smart. Sheesh! When I was 24 I was still learning the alphabet. Here he is in conversation about current affairs, but you can find other clips and also, check out the link above for City Journal contributions. A special thanks to my clever nephew for introducing me to him.