Several years ago I wrote a lengthy (49 pages) monograph with this title, drawing on non-mainstream historical research which makes the case that President Harry S. Truman, aided and abetted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, facilitated Kim Il-sung's "surprise" invasion of North Korea.
While many historians hold that the genesis of what America faces today from North Korea's nuclear threats began with the 1950 invasion, the fact is that it began at least five years earlier when the Soviet Union--new to the Pacific War--took the Japanese surrender in Manchuria.
A couple years ago I tried, then abandoned, using Twitter, for reasons that no longer apply. Because from time-to-time I have a point to make that doesn't warrant posting an essay on www.henrymarkholzer.blogspot.com, I'm returning to Twitter. I can be followed there @henrymarkholzer.
August 4, 2017 FEATURE ARTICLE The Self-Enforcing Police State Lena Dunham, Celebrity Informant
by Robert Tracinski Lena Dunham had a delayed flight and was walking through the airport when she overheard two American Airlines employees having an unapproved private conversation about transgender children. So she did what you naturally do when you are a well-known "liberal" who believes in free speech and distrusts big corporations: she ratted them out to their employer on Twitter. What took this from being merely bullying and repressive to being creepy and totalitarian in style is that Dunham didn't just make a general complaint. She then posted what looks like direct messages or text message between her and the American Airlines account, in which she enthusiasticallyprovidesdetailed information about exactly where the conversation took place. Saying "I overheard a conversation" but giving no specifics might prompt American Airlines to send out a general notice to its employees to watch what they say while in the terminal--which is a little unsettling in itself. But giving specific information only has one purpose: to help the airline locate, identify, and punish these specific employees for holding Politically Incorrect views. It's the hashtag, #acrossfromthewinebar, that sent chills down my spine. Dunham is acting like an informant working for a totalitarian police state--but boastfully, in public, on social media. With a hashtag. Undoubtedly, someone will point out that this isn't really totalitarianism because these are all voluntary actions by private citizens and organizations, not the government. Lena Dunham isn't a paid stooge of the police, but a citizen acting on her own initiative. American Airlines isn't doing this because the government told them to, but because they're terrified of bad press. (Which they are still going to get, but from the other side.) Yet somehow this makes it all worse, because what it implies is that we are being trained to internalize the ethos of the police state--and to enact it voluntarily, on our own initiative, without having to be coerced. We're building a self-enforcing police state. Recently, I warnedthat the New York Times is trying to rehabilitate Communism. When the left finally succeeds in resuscitating totalitarianism, we will already know all about how to inform on our neighbors by way of Twitter. There are three substantial ways in which this incident shows how we are preparing ourselves for totalitarianism. One of the hallmarks of totalitarianism is that the officially approved truth was capricious and unpredictable, and that was on purpose. They wanted the approved ideology to change so quickly that there was no way to comply with it by sincere personal conviction. The only way to comply with it was out of a habit of obedience. Now, let's apply that to the substance of the conversation Lena Dunham was reporting, which she reports to American Airlines in highly specific and intellectual terms: "I heard 2 females attendants walking talking about how trans kids are a trend they'd never accept a trans child and transness is gross." The idea that "gender identity disorder," which has now been renamed to the more Politically Correct "gender dysphoria," is not a mental illness but is instead a valid lifestyle to be encouraged and humored, is relatively recent, working its way into the mainstream in the past ten years. The idea of transgender children--of taking a child's normal confusion about gender roles, encouraging it, magnifying it, and using it as the basis for irreversible medical treatments--would have been considered a form of child abuse to most people until about last year. For many of us, it still is. But why wait for the process of changing mores and attitudes to work their way through the culture and bring people around to your side? After all, if you wait for people to be convinced, there's a chance that they won't be. It's like what Stalin said about elections: the problem is that you don't know ahead of time who's going to win. Intead, people have to immediately update their views to be consistent with the Current Truth, subject to change without notice. Now let's look at Lena Dunham's reaction. She hears two people saying something she disagrees with, and it never occurs to her to talk to them directly, to attempt to persuade them or to listen to their point of view and engage with it. She might have changed someone's mind or least gotten to understand the reasons for their views. But why wait for persuasion when you can use fear? Why engage individuals directly, as if they are fellow human beings with equal rights, when you can go over their heads and use your fame and influence to pressure their employers? While reading about this story, I was reminded of this scenefrom The Lives of Others, based on life within the oppressive police state of East Germany. Apparently, the same rules apply now. Better watch what you say, or a powerful person might ask for your employee number and your life will be ruined. Finally, consider the role of the employer. When the Czech dissident Vaclav Havel formulated his ideas for how to resist Communist tyranny, he noted the role of the small business or employer who agreed to enforce the rules and post the propaganda of the regime out of fear and conformity. Well, that's exactly what we're up against now. If the proper response for Lena Dunham was to converse with those flight attendants directly (or maybe just to mind her own business), then the proper response of American Airlines was to tell Dunham that it is not in the business of policing the private conversations of its employees. But that's another way we're being prepared for the police state. While the left blustersabout how they don't want big corporations to tell us what we can think, their actions say otherwise. They absolutely do want employers to be responsible for the private views and political activity of their employees--so long as the views they are enforcing are Politically Correct. So all the elements are being put together. We have a dogma propagated from the top down, a cadre of informants who are proud and eager to report their fellow citizens, and private institutions that are cowed and co-opted, ready to deprive dissidents of their livelihoods. It's no mystery why, despite loud protestations that things will be different this time, socialism always ends with the midnight knock on the door. By the time government begins arresting people, the public will already have the mentality needed to accept and cooperate with the police state. When we talk about and celebrate the fall of Communism, we frequently focus on the positive role of "people power." When the oppressed people of Eastern Europe chose to reject and resist Communism en masse, it collapsed seemingly overnight. But we don't like to think too much about the flip side of that coin. Totalitarian regimes came into existence, and maintained their existence, not just because dissenters were killed or kept in a state of terror, but also because the regimes enjoyed the active complicity of a large segment of the population. East Germany's Stasi, after all, had a lot of employees.
The recent exploits of Comrade Lena are a warning that the new police state will have plenty of its own enthusiastic enforcers.
Republicans and the Lost Art of Deterrence8/1/2017 I
n a perfect and disinterested world, when Washington, D.C. is deluged in scandal, a nonpartisan investigator or prosecutor should survey the contemporary rotten landscape. He would then distinguish the likely guilty from the probably falsely accused—regardless of the political consequences at stake.
In the real cosmos of Washington, however, the majority party—the group that controls the House, Senate, presidency, and U.S. Supreme Court—if it were necessary, would de facto appoint the government’s own special investigatory team, and then allow it to follow where leads dictate. Its majority status would assure that there were no political opponents in control of the investigations, keen on turning an inquiry into a political circus. That cynical reality is known as normal D.C. politics.
But in contemporary Republican La-La Land, the party in power with control over all three branches of government allows its minority-status opponents to dictate the rules of special investigations and inquiry—a Jeff Sessions recused, a Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) excused from his investigations of unmasking and leaking, a Robert Mueller appointed as special counsel, friend of to-be-investigated James Comey, and employer of partisan attorneys
Is naiveté the cause of such laxity? Do Republicans unilaterally follow Munich rules because they hope such protocols will create a new “civility” and “bipartisan cooperation” in Washington? Demonizing Resistance
Or is the culprit civil dissension among the ranks, as the congressional leadership secretly has no real incentive to help the despised outsider Trump? When Republicans get re-elected on repealing and replacing Obamacare during the assured Obama veto-presidency, and then flip in the age of surety that Trump would reify their campaign boasts, should we laugh or cry? Is the Republican establishment’s aim to see Trump’s agenda rendered null and void—or does intent even matter when the result is the same anyway?
Or is the empowerment of progressive conspiracy-mongering due to fear of the mainstream media, which demonizes principled resistance to progressivism and lauds unprincipled surrender to it?
Or, lastly, is the cause a bewildering misreading of human nature? I say “bewildering” because conservatives supposedly brag that they are the more astute students of unchanging human nature, while progressives are purportedly naïve believers in therapeutic remedies to perceived human frailties?
If any of the above, the Republicans had better soon wise up. For eight months, progressives have swarmed the media and our politics with false charges of Russian collusion, aimed at delegitimizing both a president and his conservative agenda.
In a logical world in which Republicans enjoy monopolies on political power, they would have dispensed with the progressive strategy of emasculating the Trump administration through endlessly hyped fake news accounts of quid pro quo Russia-Trump subversion. And they would have done so by themselves taking the offensive
Endlessly refuting each week’s new progressive charges—no, Donald Trump did not watch sick sex acts with prostitutes in Moscow; no, Donald Trump did not send his lawyer to Eastern Europe to rig the election; no, three swing states did not have their voting machines rigged; no, the electors will not betray their constitutional responsibilities; no, Trump is not going to be removed through impeachment, the 25th Amendment, or the Emoluments Clause—achieves nothing but to undermine public confidence in the conservative effort to undo the Obama agenda.
They are no more serious stories than the scandal sheet allegations that Trump shorts his guests a scoop of Häagen-Dazs, that his wife is an illegal alien, or that his son is autistic. Apparently, Republicans don’t get it that when a president is smeared as watching urine-porn in Moscow or getting Russian hush money for undermining Hillary’s campaign, then the abyss between such charges and assassination chic in the popular media, is considerably narrowed. Go Full-Bore on Real Scandals
The salvation of both the Trump Administration and the Republican congressional fate in the 2018 elections is to reestablish political deterrence—accomplished by going on a full-fledged offensive against real, not merely perceived or alleged, political scandals. Only that way will the accusers feel the predicament of the accused, especially as there is real merit to Democratic liability in a way that charges of Trump collusion have largely proved a political fraud. Only when deterrence is achieved, will the Democrats be forced to concentrate on agendas, issues, laws, and messages, not on ambushing the president.
The Republicans should announce far more forcefully to the media that Vladimir Putin may have been funneling via shady third-parties millions of dollars to anti-fracking groups. Such collusion, if proven through investigation, really is
treasonous—given that the crashing price of oil, brought about solely due to North American frackers, is about the only check on Putin’s ambitions that the West enjoys. So, to take one example, did the San Francisco-based, family-controlled, and hedge-funded Sea Change Foundation receive laundered Russian money
to help enhance its anti-fracking messaging? If so, when, how, and who?
Secondly, Republicans should go full bore on the most explosive scandal of the age, the House Intelligence Committee’s investigations
into the surveilling, unmasking, and leaking of American citizens by key members of the Obama Administration, likely done for perceived political advantages.
Rather than envisioning the ethical Devin Nunes as a liability to be controlled, the House leadership should see him as an asset to be encouraged to uncover inconvenient truths—especially given that progressives see the unprincipled Rep. Adam Schiff
(D-Calif.) as a resource in hiding a scandal. After all, what in the world was the self-righteous and self-described civil libertarian and humanitarian Samantha Power doing, as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, in allegedly reading, unmasking, and leaking intelligence reports on conservative private citizens during a national campaign?
Thirdly, we forget that Hillary Clinton’s scandals were terminated not by exonerating investigations, but by the fact that she lost a presidential campaign, and thus they were no longer deemed disruptive of an election.
No one has ever really understood exactly why Russian interests paid such lucrative honoraria to Bill Clinton or gave so lavishly to the Clinton Foundation, or why they cut an advantageous deal to acquire substantial interests in North American uranium holdings, but apparently did not prove so generous both before and after Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state and her announced presidential candidacy. When Clinton not only destroyed requested emails, but also lied that they were all neither classified nor connected to government business, and faced no consequences at a time when regular citizens went to jail for such transgressions, then there is no equality under the law left to speak of.
Fourthly, what an Orwellian world it is when progressives allege “obstruction of justice” (which Mueller’s burgeoning team of lawyers is apparently investigating) in the case of Donald Trump’s sloppy, off-handed, and out-loud wishes to FBI Director James Comey that he hoped “good guy” Michael Flynn did not get ruined by a loose investigation.
Yet obstruction is not much pursued even when no one seems to deny that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch met stealthily for private discussions with the spouse of a suspect of a current Justice investigation (subsequently dropped), and when she unapologetically seems to have directed the self-described moralist, Director Comey again, to alter the nomenclature of his ongoing investigation of fellow Democrat and presidential candidate Clinton (and Comey shamelessly acceded to Lynch’s detailed requests).
Fifthly, there is the surreal case of Imran Awan and his tribal clan, the frauds, cheats, and possible blackmailers, who worked as techies for Democratic congressional representatives and in particular for former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Schultz apparently maintained some unfathomable relationship with the disreputable Awan that would force her into utterly untenable positions to protect his skullduggery. And unlike other allegations of collusion, the Florida congresswoman appears on video unapologetically threatening the chief of the U.S. Capitol Police with “consequences” unless he returns computer data concerning possible crimes to Awan. Reestablish Deterrence or Lose
Finally, no one has ever fully gotten to the bottom of the Fusion GPS/Steele dossier
, the fountainhead (thanks to Buzzfeed and CNN) of the entire Russia-Trump collusion mythos.
The much passed-around file was one of the most repugnant episodes in our recent checkered history, with evidence of ethical and perhaps legal wrongdoing on the part of Republican primary candidates, the Clinton campaign, the office of Senator John McCain, the FBI, and the Obama administration, who all at various times trafficked in preposterous and pornographic untruth, in some cases leaked the smears to the toady press, and apparently believed that it was the silver bullet that would put down the Trump werewolf.
Reestablishing deterrence—or what a mellifluous constitutional scholar and recent Nobel Peace Laureate once variously called “taking a gun to a knife fight,” “getting in their faces,” and “punishing our enemies”—is not quite Old Testament eye-for-an-eye, but rather, given human nature, the only way to stop a progressive and media lynch mob. In the old West, a sheriff did not save those falsely accused in his jail by walking outside to the street to calm an armed and frenzied hanging mob through reason and appeals to sobriety.
The Fifth American War
by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review
The country is coming apart, and the advocates of radical egalitarianism are winning.
The wars between Trump, the media, the deep state, and the progressive party — replete with charges and counter-charges of scandal, collusion, and corruption — are merely symptoms of a much larger fundamental and growing divide between Americans that is reaching a dangerous climax.
On four prior occasions in American history the country nearly split apart, as seemingly irreconcilable cultural, economic, political, social, geographical, and demographic fault lines opened a path to hatred and violence.
During the Jacksonian Revolution of the 1830s, factions nearly ripped the country apart over whether the East Coast Founders’ establishment of a half-century would relinquish its monopoly of political power to reflect the new demographic realties of an expanding frontier — and its populist champions often deemed unfit for self-governance. For the most part, the Jacksonians won.
Three decades later the nation divided over slavery, prompting the most lethal war in American history to end it and force the defeated Confederate southern states back into the Union.
The Great Depression, and the establishment’s inept responses to it, left a quarter of the country unemployed for nearly a decade — hungry and desperate to expand government even if it entailed curtailing liberty in a way never envisioned by the Founders. The result was eventually the redefinition of freedom as the right of the individual to have his daily needs guaranteed by the state.
In the 1960s, the hippie movement — fueled by furor over the Vietnam War, civil-rights protests, and environmental activism — turned holistic in a fashion rarely seen before. A quarter of the country went “hip,” grooming, dressing, talking, and acting in a way that reflected their disdain for the silent majority of “straight” or “irrelevant” traditional America. The hipsters lost the battle (most eventually cut their hair and outgrew their paisley tops to join the rat race) but won the war — as the universities, media, foundations, Hollywood, arts, and entertainment now echo the values of 1969 rather than those that preceded it.
Now we are engaged in yet a fifth revolutionary divide, similar to, but often unlike, prior upheavals. The consequences of globalization, the growth of the deep state, changing demographics, open borders, the rise of a geographic apartheid between blue and red states, and the institutionalization of a permanent coastal political and culture elite — and the reaction to all that — are tearing apart the country.
Despite its 21st-century veneer, the nature of the divide is often over ancient questions of politics and society. The Deep State
Technological advances, the entrance of a billion Chinese into the global work force, and the huge growth in the administrative entitlement state have redefined material want. The poor today have access to appurtenances undreamed of just five decades ago by the upper middle classes: one or two dependable cars, big-screen televisions, designer sneakers and jeans, and an array of appliances from air conditioning to microwave ovens. The rub is not that a Kia has no stereo system but that it does not have the same model that’s in the rich man’s Lexus. Inequality does not mean starvation: Obesity is now a national epidemic among the nation’s poor; one in four Californians admitted for any reason to a hospital is found to suffer from diabetes or similar high-blood-sugar maladies due largely to an unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices.
In political terms, the conflict hinges on whether the powers of entrenched government will be used to ensure a rough equality of result — at the expense of personal liberty and free will. The old argument that a wealthy entrepreneurial class, if left free of burdensome and unnecessary government restrictions to create wealth, will enrich all Americans, is now largely discredited. Or rather it is stranger than that. The hyper wealthy — a Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, or Warren Buffett — by brilliant marketing and opportunistic politics are mostly immune from government audit, and from robber-baron and antitrust backlash. Instead, redistributive ire is aimed at the upper middle class, which lacks the influence and romance of the extremely wealthy and is shrinking because of higher taxes, ever-increasing regulations, and globalized trade.
It does not matter that the ossified European social model does not work and leads to collective decline in the standard of living. The world knows that from seeing the implosion of Venezuela and Cuba, or the gradual decline of the EU and the wreckage of its Mediterranean members, or the plight of blue states such as Illinois and California. Instead, it is the near-religious idea of egalitarianism that counts; on the global stage, it has all but won the war against liberty. We are all creatures of the Animal Farm barnyard now.
Indeed, if today’s student actually read Orwell’s short allegorical novel (perhaps unlikely because it was written by a white male heterosexual), he would miss the message and instead probably approve of the various machinations of the zealot pig Napoleon to do whatever he deemed necessary to end the old regime, even if it meant re-creating it under a new correct veneer.
The conservative effort to roll back the entitlement, bureaucratic, and redistributionist state has so far mostly failed. That today, coming off sequestration, we are on target to run up a $700 billion annual deficit, on top of a $20 trillion national debt, goes largely unnoticed. Eighteen trillion dollars in national debt later, Ronald Reagan’s idea of cutting taxes to “starve the beast’ of federal spending has been superseded by “gorge the beast” to ensure that taxes rise on the upper classes. To the degree that there is a residual war over entitlements, it is not over cutting back such unsustainable programs, but instead about modestly pruning the level of annual increases.
The government necessary to ensure such continued state borrowing and spending is now nearly autonomous and transcends politics — and is eager to use its formidable powers against any who threaten it. Identity Politics
On a second front, there is a veritable civil war over race, ethnicity, gender, and identity. Massive immigration, the rise of opportunistic identity politics, and a new tribalism have replaced the old melting pot of assimilation, integration, and intermarriage with salad-bowl separatism. The only obstacle to the tribal state is that there may soon be too many victims with too many claims on too few oppressors.
There are too many incentives — from political spoils and university admissions, to government employment and popular cultural acceptance — to identify with one’s tribe rather than simply as an American.
The problems with such tribal fissuring are threefold. One, the rhetorical disdain for traditional majority culture and values operates in a landscape in which the critic adopts the tropes and lifestyles of all that he demonizes. From what traditions do the Claremont or Berkeley students believe their rights of protest derive? Where do they get their expectations of clean campus water or capital to drop out of the economy for four years of college? Was the technology behind the iPhone a result of a patriarchal, nativist, male culture — and does that therefore make the device tainted and unsuitable for use?
Second, if red-state, traditional America is constantly assaulted with various charges of –isms and —ologies, why would any foreigner wish to enter the United States, or upon entering live in such wretched places as red-state Arizona, Texas, Florida, or Utah? Is schizophrenia thus required: Concretely use and enjoy the legacies of a demonized culture while abstractly damning them?
Third, when tribalism supersedes the individual, then all criteria of merit, character, and ethics recede into identity: Race, gender, and ethnicity replace merit and we begin to have black NASA engineers, white nuclear-plant operators, or brown jet pilots rather than missiles, power, and flights that are overseen and operated by the most skilled among us. When a society operates on a tribal basis — we see it often in Africa and the Middle East — everything from tap water to IVs are a luxury.
In short, will America remain a multiracial nation united in one culture in which superficial physical appearance becomes largely irrelevant (and indeed one’s racial DNA pedigree soon becomes almost undefinable), or will it go the tribal route that ultimately leads to something like the Balkans, Rwanda, Iraq — or Evergreen State, Ferguson, and Middlebury?
Finally, there is a growing rejection of the founding principles of the United States, its traditional Christian-based values, and the old idea of American exceptionalism. Federalism and the idea of a republic, after all, do not necessarily lead to radical egalitarianism or a society of absolute equals. Yet the modern progressive mind is wedded to two principles: that 51 percent of the population at any given moment should have the final say in governance only if it reflects correct progressive principles; and if the population is “fooled” and votes incorrectly, then an elite in government, the courts, and the media will intervene to set in place what hoi polloi should have done to properly advance the correct agendas.
In practical terms, will universities still teach the inductive method and fact-based knowledge, or deductive social activism? Will our past be seen as noble and at times tragic, or melodramatically as exploitive? And will progressives abide by occasional political setbacks in elections, the courts, and popular referenda, or seek to subvert those institutions as unacceptable impediments to their radically egalitarian agendas?
So who is winning this fifth American conflict, and why? Progressivism
It has an insidious appeal to human nature, offering contexts and arguments for dependency — which is defined as the consequence of some sort of prior unethical exploitation (rather than chance, bad luck, or personal pathology, perhaps in addition to exploitation) and therefore deserving of proper recompense. Progressivism promises a transcendence over nature’s limitations through superior education, proper training, and correct reasoning, as if poverty, illness, and inequality were not innate to human nature but results of selfishness and ignorance and so rather easily remedied. It confuses technological progress with a credo that human nature itself evolves in predictably progressive ways, thereby supposedly making obsolete institutions and protocols (from the Constitution itself to ancient ideas such as deterrence) that were once time-honored.
Virtue-signaling among elites who are critical of the very protocols that led to their own success serves as a psychological mechanism to alleviate guilt about privilege. And when an elite deprecates its own culture, the ripple effects widen upon reaching the masses. The combination of market capitalism and personal freedom can enervate a population, misleading people into thinking that their bounty is unending and natural, and giving them the latitude for cynicism, skepticism, and nihilism about the sources of their privilege. In the West, a narcissism follows that oddly manifests itself in thinking that human sins are almost exclusively Westerners’ own.
These age-old observations often led to depressions among Western philosophers who grasped the Western paradox that the success of market capitalism and constitutional government might undermine the ancient virtues essential to their continuance.
In this latest arena of civil dissent, Donald Trump, the renegade liberal and most unlikely traditionalist, squares off against the elite that despises his very being not only for reasons of class and culture, but mostly for attempting to restore a traditional regime of citizenship, individualism, assimilation, territorial sovereignty, recognized borders, strong defense, deterrence abroad, and free-market capitalism.
In sum, behind the daily hysterias over collusions, recusals, obstructions, and nullifications, there is an ongoing, often vicious war over the very nature and future of Western culture in general and America in particular.