Call Me Crazy, But…

Some 43 years ago I arrived at the Homewood Campus of the Johns Hopkins University, enrolled in a Ph.D. program in African history under the tutelage of the then-dean of African historians, Philip Curtin. From an academic perspective, the program was brilliantly conceived. Hopkins had recruited top professors from the Yale University anthropology program with idea of creating an interdisciplinary historical-anthropological approach to studying nations and cultures bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Faculty and grad students gathered in weekly sessions to share insights into the interaction between civilizations as Europe established its primacy over Africans and native Americans. (Bernard Moitt, now a history professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, studied with me under Curtin.)

As intellectually stimulating as the program was in some ways, it was stifling in another. Ideological diversity of the faculty ranged from Marxist to far Left. Virtually all research and inquiry shared the common assumptions that (a) European colonialism was an unequivocal evil and (b) all the problems of the Third World in the early 1970s could be attributed to the legacies of colonialism and neo-imperialism. As the lone political conservative in the program, I stood out like a Christian missionary in the court of Shaka Zulu. When, as a junior-ranking graduate student, I dared express myself, I often inspired astonished disbelief. Colonialism wasn’t all bad, I suggested one time. Sure, it was exploitative in ways, but Great Britain ended the slave trade, quelled predatory African kingdoms, repressed tribal conflict, built roads and railroads, created export industries, and established a rule of law. I might as well have proclaimed that I ate my boogers for lunch.

The end result wasn’t pretty. While I wasn’t kicked out of the program, Curtin yanked my stipend, making it impossible for me to support myself while putting in a minimum of 60 hours of weekly study. In breaking the bad news, he made two suggestions. First, that I wasn’t really cut out for academia; perhaps I should consider a career as a stock broker. Second, that I should see a psychiatrist. Getting psychiatric help wasn’t anything to be ashamed of, he said. It might do me some good.

While Curtin was aloof and indifferent to my travails as a graduate student, he wasn’t deliberately cruel. He was quite sincere about my need for psychiatric help. He never did say exactly what I should seek help for, but I suspect that he thought I had something akin to Tourette’s syndrome — blurting out wildly inappropriate statements. To his mind, the gap in his frame of reference for looking at the world and my frame of reference was so vast that it could not be explained by a simple difference of opinion. There was something wrong with me. Although he never put it this way, I was emotionally or mentally defective.

That’s the baggage I carry with me when I hear politicians and mainstream organizations decry President Donald Trump as clinically insane.

Now, while I support many of his policies, I dislike Trump personally. I did not vote for him. I regard him as a Narcissist — an insecure Narcissist — who takes wildly disproportionate umbrage to insults. He picks needless fights. He is coarse, uncouth, and a misogynist. He is shockingly inarticulate and ignorant at times. He tweets before he thinks, causing needless chaos. And while I doubt that he is a racist, he is indubitably indifferent to the sensibilities of ethnic and racial minorities. In word and deed, he has degraded the dignity of the office of the presidency. 

But is he insane? Is he certifiably wacko, as we have been hearing in a growing crescendo of commentary in the news media? Is he a maniac with his finger on the nuclear button? No. Trump is very sane. His cognitive functioning is fine. He doesn’t have split personalities. He doesn’t hear voices in his head. His real sin is that he entertains a different version of reality than those who detest him the most.

As I learned from personal experience four decades ago, the Left in this country does not simply think that those who do not share their views of the world are simply uninformed, have different values, or have reached illogical conclusions. They are not merely wrong, they are defective as human beings. Either they are motivated by base self-interest and greed, or they are incredibly stupid, or they are clinically insane. Thus, in the formulation of the Left, Ronald Reagan was an amiable dunce; George W. Bush was lampooned as incurious and a non-reader,  and caricatured a chimpanzee; and Trump is a certifiable basket case — a greedy basket case out to enrich himself and overthrow democracy. The Left loves to psycho-analyze those it hates and to find them defective.

The Left scares me. While I disagree with cultural conservatives on many issues, at least they’re not trying to impose their views on me. At least they don’t brand their enemies as psychos — although, given the displays I’ve witnessed of Trump Derangement Syndrome, perhaps they should.

This column was published originally in The Republican Standard.

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56 responses to “Call Me Crazy, But…

  1. I guess I was lucky. A lifetime of public schools – Fairfax County Public Schools, the University of Virginia. I worked though high school pumping gas, I worked through college waiting tables. Sadly, there was only one academic area I really understood. Happily, that area was computers. Turns out that was a pretty good area to understand. My friends from high school are my friends today. They are plumbers who own their small plumbing company, salesmen, accountants, etc. Some are left of center, most are right of center. None are far left or far right. One thing we all agree on – the elite in this country suck out loud. Whether right or left the elitists are assholes who pervert the country for their own personal fame and fortune. The elites enrich themselves by stealing from the common man. They are evil incarnate. From the Koch Brothers to George Soros they must be stopped – preferably through incarcination. Despite his upper class background Donald Trump is willing to tilt directly against the elite. He is hated by elites and their useful idiots from the left and the right. His opponent, Felonia von Pantsuit, was just another elitist asshat who was busy using her position to rob the country blind prior to the campaign. Her husband, also an elitist asshole, is a serial sexual harasser who is excused by America’s elite because he is one of their own.

    While some of my friends are medical doctors and professional engineers, none would have ever contemplated attending Johns Hopkins to study African history. None of us could have afforded such a flight of fantasy and none of us would have seen the benefit of such an endeavor. Such is the mindset of us deplorables, I guess.

    While my friends and I have grown steadily older we remember a youth where fist fights were a normal course of events. All of us own guns and some of us have concealed carry permits. Threaten violence against us at your own risk.

    None of us have any real issue with Donald Trump. In private conversation any of us might have described some countries in Africa as shitholes. This is particularly true if those of my friends who served in the US military and have been to those shitholes.

    The fops and dandies of America’s self-proclaimed elite class may whine and whelp about Donald Trump. We deplorables don’t give a rat’s ass about his politically incorrect commentary. In fact, we think that if we were president we might say many of the same things.

    It’s high time that we deplorables join our president in confronting America’s self serving elite.

  2. well. I JUST KNEW this was going to turn out to be a FUN thread!

    😉

    More! More!

  3. First semester of my first year at The University, my whiter than whitebread roomate and I enrolled in “The Civil War and Reconstruction”. On the first day of Professor Armstead L. Robinson’s class we noticed that we were a minority of two and subsequently informed by Professor Robinson that dropping the class was not an option. Learned some interesting lessons that semester.
    https://content.law.virginia.edu/news/200604/scholars-remember-armstead-robinson%E2%80%99s-intellectual-legacy

  4. I vote psychiatrist

  5. I stumbled into Professor Robinson’s first of 2 courses, Civil War maybe 1961-1963, classroom with mostly white students, and was prepared to hear a biased academic POV. Instead, he delivered over and over again a few I’d never gotten, giving far more weight to the economics of the South vs the North. I wasn’t a history major, this was sheerly a fun elective for me, and I enjoyed it so much I signed up for the next course Civil War maybe 1963 through Reconstruction. One of me best academic experiences at UVA.

    Bacon’s experience is truly noteworthy. While I share his view that Trump is a deplorable human, I cannot dismiss the more important fact that he got people to vote him into office. This is what matters, not his Tweet of the day. And allegations of mental illness are rather routinely leveled at presidents (and deservedly so)–Nixon, Reagan, Clinton each behaved in ways that triggered this question. But the barn door is closed, and the horse has his stall so let’s advance to broader questions of policy over personality. Let’s hope the Republicans seize the opportunity to accomplish something useful, and that Democrats use the period to temper their proposals to garner more support from the center.

    Intereting times!

  6. Thank you, Jim, for that very fine column.

    It brings several events to my mind.

    In my first year dorm at UVA, I heard the radio say that President Kennedy had died. Within moments, I heard laughing, joking, vulgar celebrations. I turned to see outside my door the twisted snarl of 1st year student redneck from West Point, Virginia. A scene from Deliverance, a coming of age, the shocking realization of ugliness in my world, hit me like a slap in my face.

    Two year later, in 1964, the Washington Post told me that Barry Goldwater would blow up the world. So I voted for LBJ, the man who planted that slur in a mushroom cloud behind a little girl holding a daisy in the what had been sunshine, before LBJ’s despicable policies killed my cousin and several friends at UVA in Vietnam. Elections have painful consequences.

    In 1980, the Washington Post also told me that Ronald Reagan would blow up the World. I did not know the man, until the first Presidential debate. Me watching carefully Reagan behind that podium brought a total surprise. So was what happened next. I voted for him.

    Regarding your experience at Johns Hopkins, Jim.

    I fear that what happened to you back then at Hopkins, happens all over the country every day to university students, professors trying to poison their students minds and spirits, and their legacy and culture, professors who are today just as ugly as that redneck from West Point, Va. in 1964. But these professors today are far more dangerous than that redneck back then, given the power those professors hold over the minds and spirits of their students. I have no doubt whatsoever that such professors at UVA played a leading roll in triggering the 2017 spring and summer events in Charlottesville, Va., just as they did in trashing the UVA fraternity house during the Jackie affair, and all of its hysteria back then.

    As I have stated many times in many ways on the Blog:

    This collapse of American Education beginning in the 1960s was concurrent with the rise of the radical left in America, including faculty during these times of social and cultural upheaval generally, on campuses in particular. (Recall 1968 Dem. convention, Weather Underground Organization (WUO), Jesuit Berrigan Bros, for a few of many examples)

    Much of this vast cultural shift within US higher education came to stay, ferment, and grow into a force of dramatic impact. Fueled by the rise of post modernism – relativism, deconstruction, and critical cultural studies – these forces were well on its way by the 1980s to destroying traditional teaching of undergraduate Liberal Arts and Sciences on our campuses. The Western Canon, the best Western scholarship, writings, and traditions built over 2000 years was trashed and discarded, replaced by an ever growing hodgepodge of courses called “NEW KNOWLEDGE that quickly morphed into angry imaginings of maladjusted college professors using their axes to grind up the Canons of Civilizations on the altar of suddenly discovered grievances and injustices. These intellectuals and their acolytes claimed that the ancestors of the students sitting before them in classes had for millennium oppressed and abused peoples of other races, genders, ethic groups, cultures, classes, and others however slightly different. However valid originally, these claims, and the new knowledge theories university professors cooked up to validate them, soon reached the point of parody on the level of the absurd, and obviously so.

    But all this poison took off because it gave professors sudden power. It allowed professors to take on the mantel of all knowing Gods. And this rampant claptrap fueled an explosion of university research whose poisonous fruits these professors taught on the undergraduate level by the mid 1970s. Suddenly the time faculty devoted to research tripled and quadrupled, spawning ever more “New Knowledge courses” that poisons yet more undergraduate education at many American Universities today.

    And, as this research and its teachings became the ascendant and ultimately dominant course taught to our students, the academic demands placed on them and their learning in colleges and universities, plummeted.

    The result was inevitable, and foretold by serious educators as early as 1980. Student skills in reading and writing, and in critical analysis and problem solving, began its drastic decline that continues to this day. So did homework study and testing of classroom learning decline, along with in the quality of courses taught in undergraduate classrooms. Hence, the todays “screaming girl at Yale.” See the U Tubes screaming girl at Yale.

    For more, see for example: https://baconsrebellion.com/college-ranking-virginias-liking/

    • “In the year 455, a horde of Vandals from the Germanic north sacked Rome, (including) the churches and basilicas of the Saints, cemeteries and monasteries …

      During the Reign of Terror in 1789, the statute of Louis XV was torn down in the same square that saw Louis XVI’s execution four years later …

      A few generations later, during the Paris Commune of 1871, France witnessed another round of destruction which culminated in the toppling of the Vendome Column … in a 72 day radical takeover of the city that inspired the “communism” of Lenin and the wholesale demolition of Russian Churches following the 1917 October Revolution …

      The Mughals, the Persians, and the Afghan kings all turned their guns on the Buddhas of Bamiyan in today’s Afghanistan before the Taliban finally obliterated the sixth century Silk Road statues in March 2001 …

      The 9/11 attacks on the US followed six months later … (then came) “the cultural cleansing” of the Roman city of Palmyra, the Assyrian Lamassu sculptures of Mosul, and the irreplaceable churches and Shia mosques … targeted in ISIS Sunni Salafist march across the Levant …

      America’s Confederate monuments, … their destruction or removal has signaled a radical zeal that is not easily contained. This fervor led hundreds of academics to write an open letter last month to Mr. de Blasio’s monument commission urging the elimination of New York’s grand public statues of Christoper Columbus, Theodore Roosevelt and others, each an “embodiment of white supremacy.” (This suggests the) Academics “toxic relationship with the past itself …”

      See “A Brief History of Idol-Smashers, from Moses to de Blasio” is today’s Wall Street Journal.

  7. I’ve always been left-leaning, but I must say that when I was a college student in Boston I was always taken aback by how far left some of the kids and professors were. I had grown up in the border South and while I realize it had many problems, it wasn’t the hate-filled, ignorant and impoverished [email protected]#$hole
    that many there envisioned. The war in Vietnam was still on and while I did not support it, I was startled by how much the military was hated. I grew up in a military family and didn’t see it that way. Most of the people involved, including my father, were highly principled and dedicated people. Dad didn’t support Vietnam either. A WWII vet, he believed that if you choose war, you have to know why you are fighting and then win. Otherwise, it’s just pointless death and damage on all sides.

    When I graduated from college in 1974, I returned to the South where I had a job on a tiny newspaper in North Carolina. In the fall of that year, Boston turned very violent over a judge’s decision over school busing. That unleashed all of the racial tensions that had been pent up in Boston. It was Irish and Italians versus blacks. So much for the “In the Heat of the Night” cartoon my classmates believed.

    • So true. My Dad was a 20 year Navy man with combat time in Korea who also served during Vietnam. My Kentucky born grandfather was a great, self made man but an inveterate racist. No comment was too far over the top for Pop Pop. My Dad would have none of it and threatened my Grandfather with not seeing his grandchildren if he continued to make racist comments in front of the kids. Later in life I asked my Dad how he broke the racist mentality that existed in my family for generation he said something to the effect that having your life saved by a black man changes your outlook. The US military has probably done more for racial equality than any other American institution. Odd that the military never gets credit for that.

    • Haha! Peter, you’re a wild-eyed, left-wing crazy only by Virginia standards. By national standards, you’re quite reasonable!!

    • So Peter sounds like you are 1-year older than me.
      My year was the first year that the student deferment was eliminated so with a draft number of 007 I was almost yanked out as a college freshman for the draft (at Penn State).

  8. I don’t think Republicans and conservatives are mentally deranged. I just don’t speak to them.

    • Every night before I go to sleep I chant the following three times:

      Stone wheat thins
      Wheel of brie
      Keep those snowflakes
      Away from me

      Thank you for your help in this regard.

  9. Well, gentlemen, as long as we are all being candid with one another, I shall admit to casting my first gubernatorial vote for L. Douglas Wilder in 1987 and first presidential primary vote for Jesse Jackson in 1988. I also formed a “Michael Harrington Club” at George Mason University. By ’92, I had “sobered up” and was voting for Buchanan and Perot, along with my family. So, there you have it. Just don’t divulge this information to anyone! ;-))<

    Sincerely,

    Andrew

    • There is no Statute of Limitations applicable to voting for Jesse Jackson. Please assume the position and accept your flogging with raw bacon.

      • But a GMU Professor assured me it would help shake up the country, “Mom”! ;-o< I was one of those P.T. Barnum "born every minute" ones!

        Sincerely,

        Andrew

      • I met Jackson on the House of Delegate floor, told him I was GOP caucus director, and he promptly put his hand on my forehead and said “Heal!” That level of humor is always disarming…and of course I was not healed.

        But vote for him?

  10. The sponsor of the Michael Harrington Club said that his son was a Communist and his advice to him, according to him, was, “whatever you do, buy your suits at Brooks Brothers or no one will take you seriously.” I largely credit Northern Virginia developer, Til Hazel, and his colleagues for my temporary conversion to Democratic Socialism. Their paving over Fairfax County was chiefly responsible for my strong dislike of Capitalism. In this case, the personal was truly political. I couldn’t have cared less what Marx said about what-not.

    Sincerely,

    Andrew

    • Andrew –

      Til Hazel, long ago, was a young associate in my great Uncle’s law firm in Arlington County, Va, starting in the late 1950s. Years later, Til and I put together a deal in the offices of my client in New York City, he on one side of table, I on the other, and very late the first night of negotiations, Til told me that my great uncle Charles Jesse told him to “head for Fairfax County and set up a shop there “cause that’s where our next actions coming, assembling land for a Capital Beltway.”

      Learning that for the first time, I told Til that my only “business dealings” with Great Uncle Charlie was conducted up on the 3th floor of his home on Glebe Road where we worked together as team. By then great Uncle Charlies eyes were failing so every afternoon if I was around, I’d carry up the stairs his rolls of dollar bills, and read off to him their serial numbers, as he with magnifying glass looked for a match to the numbers listed in the newspaper (the Post as I recall), a contest that ran most every day. “One day Uncle Charley’s fist hit the table. A perfect match. $200 Prize?”

      “Charlie spit it with ya?” Til asked.

      Nope, I said. But when my great aunt heard about she gave my mother a hundred buck, saying don’t tell Charlie.

      • Correction:

        “Nope,, I said. But when my great aunt heard about it she gave my mother a hundred bucks, saying don’t tell Charlie.

        A few months later I represented the same New York client in the sale of the Park Fairfax Apartment Project on Interstate 395. To my surprise Charles T. Jesse’s name was all over the original documents. He had represented the same client in the buying of the land and the building its nearly 1700 units in 200+ buildings in the early 1940s. I had no idea.

  11. Somehow I don’t think uber liberal colleges indoctrinating poor Conservatives caused this:

    Seems like if the mission of the Colleges was to “cure” Conservative “thinking” about race.. it failed miserably, eh?

    • Your point, if it can be called that, is fairly ridiculous. Like most liberal theories Black Lives Matter started off in a righteous way. There were too many cases of law enforcement using excessive force against African Americans. The court system, so beloved by liberals, failed to deliver justice for the victims of police excess. However, the rabid anti-police attitude that was spawned from the Black Lives Matter movement has served only to make black lives matter less. Baltimore is a case in point. From police brutality to a miscarriage of justice to riots to the Orioles playing with no fans in the stadium (effectively martial law) to much less aggressive policing in high crime areas to the second worst murder rate in America.

      As usual, liberals detect a legitimate problem but then push a “solution” that only makes matters worse. The real problem in Baltimore was more about a broken urban economy than a systematically racist police department. Ditto St Louis. The real solution was to reform the small minority of misbehaving police officers and, more importantly, restart the stalled economy in Baltimore that is failing to provide a livelihood for its citizens. The liberal city government of Baltimore managed to over-react to the first point while totally missing the second. Fortunately for Baltimore and its underemployed African-American citizens we now have a president who is addressing the core issue of economic stagnation of Americans without world class educations.

      • That’s your view but look at the poll… what does it say about people’s attitudes NOW after supposedly BLM went south?

        Want me to post some more polls about white attitudes about blacks in general and how they align on the liberal/conservative scale? It’s pretty consistent. White guys hate BLM and liberals and independents still support it because they STILL THINK that the criminal justice system still has a problem in how it treats blacks..

        Liberals have NEVER loved the criminal justice system in their treatment of blacks in this country by the way.. It’s actually only been in the last few years that SOME, not all, Conservatives have joined them in calling for reforms. MANY other Conservatives still refuse to believe the criminal justice system discriminates against blacks..

        We don’t have a POTUS address the core issues.. we have an ignoramus who stirs up race animosity even more…

        here’s the truth about black support of Trump

  12. Jim,
    I loved your entertaining (but sad) story of being railroaded out of your PhD program for thinking outside the box. That’s shameful. My own grad experience in economics was the opposite. My professors also gave the appearance of being closed minded in terms of methodology and assumptions. They almost uniformly assumed that everyone was ultra-rational, and that social economics (relationships and emotion) was all hooey. Lucky for me, there were two other grad students who shared my wacky views that ethics mattered and that social bonds were important for economic activity. That’s how I got through, clinging to my friends for emotional support. Needless to say, several Nobel prizes have been awarded since then for exploring social economics and ethics. How would the world have turned out if Jim had gone on to teach and research about Africa?

    I think the bottom line is that all disciplines are inwardly focused. Older established types sit on the review boards and edit the journals. They paid their dues and overturned the injustices of their own time. Hence the famous statement, “Funeral by funeral, the discipline progresses.” Only when the old farts die or retire can the discipline bring in new ideas.

    • Excellent point.

      Like all of us, intellectuals, scholars, and professors, can become great men or awful men. All to0 often, the Academy cannot tell the difference. This is the most frightening aspect of all – how blind, dangerous and bestial the most “educated” among us can be. Modern Germany in first half of 20th century is a case in point, although much of the rest of Europe followed close behind. We see this in history time and time again, repeating itself.

      When I was in college in the 1960s, B. F. Skinner, the American psychologist, behaviorist, author, inventor, and social philosopher, was all the rage in Academia. The Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard University from 1958 until his retirement in 1974, he had the emotional IQ, empathy and competence of a toad. I knew at the time as an undergraduate, given my experience with dogs. Skinner didn’t have a clue. Nor did his many acolyte professors at UVA, as best I could tell.

      The history of academia, and mankind generally, is chock full of these sorts of emotional dwarfs, and many rise to great power. This is why we will always need to teach and take seriously the Humanities. They force those of us who possessed the sensibilities that B. F. Skinner so obviously lacked, to confront the ugliness of history and human nature’s roll in history. This teaches us the valuable lessons we need if we are to have the best chance to avoid our worst instincts, and leverage up our best instincts, given the circumstances at hand, and how they match patterns of history. Here too mentors from history are powerful antidotes.

      Alternatively, science without the humanities always leads to a dead end of death, destruction, and cruelty.

      • Dear Reed,

        When I was reading B.F. Skinner’s _Walden II_ during my first semester at George Mason in 1986, I wanted to hurl that book across the room. The only other book that I have had that kind of visceral reaction to was one by the Massachusetts Puritan, Thomas Shephard, entitled _The Parable of the Ten Virgins_. Both were utterly heartless. Skinner’s vision is totalitarian.

        Sincerely,

        Andrew

        • Boy, your reaction matches mine to a T. Yet Academia could not see it. That is so frightening.

          There is a good article on this subject generally in today’s WSJ journal as it concerns a new book out exposing the treatment of the Jews in the 1930s and 1940s by the Poles and the Ukrainians, the utter banality of that evil. All of us must hold the seed of that potential evil. But for some it seems far closer to the surface, as in Skinner’s case.

          As for others in large groups like the Poles and Ukrainians in the 1930s and 1940s, I can only suspect without knowing that those seeds must have been hidden in their culture, and festering in the long hardships and injustices of those cultures, and then triggered by their terrible circumstances in 1930s and 1940s.

          But it’s always there, in all of us, hidden somewhere. And built so wisely into the foundation of the Bible.

          • Reed Fawell 3rd

            Last weekend’s Michael Roth’s WSJ review of Omer Bartov’s new book “Anatomy of a Genocide” should be our wake up call. Mr Bartow, professor of political science at Brown University, tells how “ideology and ethic tension” combined with war to ignite the Ukrainian’s mass murder of their Jewish neighbors in the town of Buczacz, home to a diverse ethic community for centuries.

            “In the late 1700s, the province (of Galicia) contained about 200,000 Jews and a even greater number of Christians who identified as either Polish or Ukrainian … (In) the 19th century, the region was controlled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire which in 1867 “emancipated” the Jews” (who) could now engage in commerce and own land. As more and more Jew’s took advantage of these freedoms, tensions arose with other groups … (and) the “rules of the game” changed completely after World War I and the Russian Revolution. Intensified religious and ethic identification, along with violent swings in political control, lead to increased violence.”

            “Russia occupied Buczacz for more than a year near the end of the war and fighting among Poles and Ukrainian’s left legacies of resentment and a “competition of atrocities in which there could only be losers. The Poles and Ukrainians seemed to agree on one thing. “That the Jews were the friends of their enemies … so when ever conflicts arose, the Jewish population was vulnerable… Families that had managed to live together peacefully turned on one another with startling ferocity.”

            This story is not unusual. No country has not engaged in and/or experienced genocide as an aggressor and/or victim, and most have been on both sides of the equation. This is what people and groups of people do, when they cannot solve their problems and politics by other means. Indeed violence is typically. In many cases it is their solution of first choice and often it rises to genocide among groups, whole societies, and cultures. Violence is built into our human nature everywhere, in every clime and place, on every continent.

            The best we can do is keep the lid on this horrible instinct and aspect of our being human as best we can. But unfortunately, even in the best of circumstances, hate, violence, and cruelty are never far below the surface of our actions, habits, and lifestyles. Pick any time in history and you will find hate, violence and genocide at play on the surface or close to the surface of human events. Indeed, don’t kid yourself, THIS is what “IDENTITY POLITICS” is all about.

            For example:

            Woodrow Wilson’s virulent racism helped mightily to fuel the resurgence of the Klu Klux Klan in the early 20th century. Identity and race politics, hating the Other, always fuels political warfare. Hence mass torture, assassination, mass rape, and genocide rose to become the key political strategic and tactical building blocks of the Russian Communist State (the Soviet Union).

            And so too was identity politics the key cornerstone and building blocks in Hitler’s Europe and Mao’s China, and indeed the keys to building most nations of the world, including in the 20th century.

            And these forces of evil and destruction are constantly popping up their ugly heads during these times in America, and have been doing so as well on both the left and right of our two political parties throughout the 20th century. So these fundamental urges of human nature are with us still, active players as always in all we do. This is what we are talking about in my comments above and below.

            See for example:

            my comment posted at: January 19, 2018 at 10:01 am –

            my comment posted at January 20, 2018 at 9:15 am –

            my comment posted at January 20, 2018 at 9:15 am –

            my comment posted at January 20, 2018 at 8:34 am –

            my comment posted at January 20, 2018 at 4:10 pm

            my comment posted at January 20, 2018 at 9:25 am

            my comment posted at January 20, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    • I’m glad you had a good graduate-school experience. I will say this: My undergraduate experience at UVa was exceptional.

  13. ‘m … mildly amused that so many feel that they were “abused” in college by evil left-wing mind manipulators posing as professors.

    sounds like the gender-neutral version of the “me too” thing…

    Makes one wonder how liberals aspired to be College Professors and Conservatives not !!!

    • I would doubt you would have been “mildly amused” had you been a Jew living or trying to live in Germany or Eastern Europe, or all of Europe, during the first half of the 20th Century.

      • I thought we were talking about liberal professors in the US ?

        But really do you seriously think “liberal” professors ANYWHERE are usually advocates of discrimination against ANY group now or then?

        I can see how in a totalitarian regime where professors are forced by the govt to teach what the govt wants taught but here in the US.. the drumbeat is that it’s a conspiracy of Liberals who have “taken over” or some such foolishness.

  14. The difference between being personally disagreeable and being insane certainly is something the Establishment (whoever that is) has to acknowledge. Donald Trump is not insane. The 25th Amendment is not a realistic option for shortening the man’s term in office.

    But you observe the harm he has done only in personal terms, i.e., “In word and deed, he has degraded the dignity of the office of the presidency.” I feel more strongly about it than “dignity”; there is institutional harm as well. The attacks on the press, the “fake news” allegations, the heedless misrepresentations of the facts, the deliberate inciting of social division: these are not merely matters of official dignity or incivility but go to basic questions of rule of law.

    Should a man whose views you loathe be allowed to speak them in public? Of course! But there is an ugliness in this President and his team that is also damaging to what holds us together fundamentally; and it makes me ashamed to see politicians I have admired in the past toeing the DT line on such matters. Social bonds are important for economic activity; ethics do matter. Disparage these and how much damage could be done? Consider Venezuala.

    You conclude, “The Left scares me. While I disagree with cultural conservatives on many issues, at least they’re not trying to impose their views on me.” I am with you, up to the last phrase — but, it’s clear that DT would impose his views on me also, if he could. As would the Freedom Caucus, or the Family Research Council. As would the kids who shout down dissent at a campus rally. We must defend the primacy of factual accuracy, and the ability to disagree about, and debate, policy.

    • Acbar –

      I agree with much you suggest, but come at it with a different slant.

      For many years, starting with Reagan, it was the liberal left that concerned me most. For instance, I don’t believe today’s Fairy tale of how ‘Reagan and Tip’ were political helpmates, together always putting the nation first. How quickly we forget the singularly vicious fights that set the stage for so much of the ills we face today, Robert Bork’s character assassination, for example.

      My concerns moderated somewhat during the earlier parts of the Clinton Administration which I considered successful in part by how Clinton worked with the opposition party. His was a government of highly effective moderation. He was a fine President, I thought, until impeachment destroyed all that, raising hate on both sides, weaponizing our politics yet again.

      And despite 9/11, the Bush Administration failed to at least dilute these virulent politics. Nor did the Bush Administration appear at times to really even try. In some cases, it appeared to do the reverse, fuel the rising hated on the left.

      During the Obama administration, my concerns grew to the point of alarm. Any semblance of bipartisan cooperation collapsed. Congressional gridlock ensued. Congress could not even pass a budget. Our president ruled by executive order. And in so doing he ladled regulatory favors along with massive amounts of federal monies to his constituents to buy political power.

      Meanwhile, the Republican were totally ineffective in opposition. And oddly so, as if neutered. The Republicans couldn’t even build an effective message about what was going on and how they proposed to fix the nation’s problems.

      Finally, I came to believe that both parties, on some level, were in cahoots. That somehow they had made Devils’ Bargains one with the other, akin to the devils bargain that universities have made with students. For suddenly whole new and powerful industries arose – the crony capitalists, whether they be High Tech, Government Contractor, University, Health Care Non Profit, Insurance Company, Environmentalists, Scientists, or Teachers Union. And not least, our main Stream Media then were angry sycophants out in the open, plainly serving the President Obama’s agenda and that of his allies. Now they do the reverse.

      We have reached a point where out problems never get fixed. This is because festering and growing problems are too valuable to all sides of all our arguments. Such chronic problems are now weapons deemed essential for winning the next election. Our leaders now manipulate and grow these problems in their quest to build up ever more growing factions of angry voters. These groups of people told that they are aggrieved and abused, whether they be lawful citizens or not, are now being morphed by our cynical leaders into supplicants that are eager to hand political power over those intent on being their masters, so as to gain dominance for one party or other.

      If this nation’s system of governance as it is being operated today keeps on going in its current direction, and is taken to its logical conclusion, this system will destroy our nation’s institutions one by one, and ultimately America. That destruction is on going and plain to see right now.

      Acbar, while I have far more respect for Trump than you do, I fully appreciate how he is lighting up unnecessary and counter productive fires that may well prove to burn him down and our house along with him, if only because he is giving his opponents the very tools that they cannot resist using in their ever more zealous quest to destroy him by whatever means.

      Why?

      Simply because they have grown into ideologues, and the last ten years have turned the Federal Government into their irreplaceable SUGAR DADDY. So Trumps opponents believe they cannot afford for Trump to stay in office. His presence in the Oval Office threatens their very livelihood along with the political power that they believe they must seize to survive. And Trump’s behavior fuels his opponents existential fears and fervent beliefs; namely that their lifestyle and its privileges and its future depend on they alone wielding the power the Trump has wrested from them. They may be right.

      But we are also at a point where their destroying Trump quite likely will destroy the nation. Because his supporters will not accept the outcome his opponents demand.

      In addition, if we step back, land try to look at the big picture from a historical and cultural point of view, one wonders if what exists today is the result that grows inevitably from flaws within Western LIBERALISM ITSELF. This now is being suggested. Does our current gridlock, our incompetence, and our dysfunction grow from the success we have reaped over time from the internal dynamics of classic liberalism and progressive liberalism working within our systems of western governance? Are those systems fatally flawed?

      Does the very success of Liberalism at work in our society, the dynamic of its classic and progressive wings in opposition, brings about it its own destruction at the very point when it reaches the pinnacle of its success?

      This is the point I raised earlier on this blog in a more general context, speaking as to how history abhorred the vacuum of peace and prosperity. And how such vacuums will invariably attract and suck into themselves the acrimony that ultimately tears apart otherwise unchallenged prosperous cultures.

      But not that thought is being taken into the workings of Liberalism itself. There is a good book just out on this subject, published this month called, “Why Liberalism Failed” by Patrick J. Deneen, Associate professor of Political Science at University of Notre Dame. I’m still in its first Chapter. Even so it looks to me to break new ground as it takes this theory in the inter-workings of classic and progressive liberal parties within the governing structures of Western Liberalism here and in Europe.

  15. re: scared of the left – what the “left” does is espouse policy changes in the govt … not electing a “strong man” leader to impose them… like we are
    seeing right now…

    and if folks don’t think his words matter – you’re wrong. It matters to our Allies AND our enemies. It matters to blacks and muslims and hispanics .. it matters to immigrants and scientists ESPECIALLY when he couples those words with specific actions…

    He’s not just an egomaniac blowhard.. he’s literally a bull in the china shop.

    • Of course his words matter. But a “blowhard” is not “insane.” If you want a President with “strong man” tendencies look at Lyndon Johnson or maybe even Andrew Jackson. If you want arguably insane, look at Richard Nixon. Now, if you want to constrain Trump, get out the vote this November to get Congress on his case; but his world view, unfortunately, is neither unique not insane.

      • No.. he’s definitely not insane.. but he’s arrogant and ignorant and while I’d agree about Nixon, not Johnson.. he resigned when it was clear he was not going to have things his way.. Jackson is so far back.. I’m not sure how relevant it would be in today’s 24/7 news cycle and internet.. Jackson would not get near as far..

  16. I agree with Acbar – Trump knows what he is doing. While his behavior is erratic and his tone quite objectionable (to me, at least), he’s attacking the self-appointed elites. The dirt that jumps from government job to private sector lobbyists and back again. The media that consistently doctors the news or refuses to report on developments that don’t fit their position on issues. The political, business, entertainment and media elite that has consistently closed their eyes to Bill Clinton’s sexual abuse and Hillary Clinton’s vicious attacks on the accusers, while attacking others for similar conduct. Keep in mind the WaPo, which did a good job on the Alabama Senate fiasco, endorsed Bill Clinton twice and Hillary once. Look at Tim Kaine. Rather than take a principled stand against the Clintons who used the DNC to harm other Democratic candidates and to keep Joe Biden out of the race, Kaine knelt and kissed the ring. Had another Senator cozied up foundation contributions, his career would be over. But not in the ultra-with people who lacked such character and sold government influence for corrupt world of Washington, D.C.

    I came to Washington some 34 years ago thinking this was a pretty nasty place where people run roughshod over the interests of ordinary Americans. Now I know it’s true. Washington started as swamp land and, despite its beautiful structures and avenues, has remained a swamp.

    • TMT – you are hopelessly anti-Dem… guy.. Tim Kaine and Warner BOTH have among the highest ratings on most Senators. Virginians like them.

      Neither are perfect and have their share of missteps but in the larger scheme of things – they actually do represent MOST Virginians.. and yes.. never the minority that will never like them no matter what because they are D and not GOP.

      • Hillary Clinton called the women who accused her husband of sexual abuse “trailer trash” and later stated and posted that women who accuse men of sexual abuse should be believed. But not her husband and source to power. By the standards governing Bill Cosby and many others, Bill Clinton should never have been nominated for president much less elected. If the Post would have done as much reporting on Clinton that it did on Moore (which was a good thing), Bill Clinton would have never gotten out of Little Rock.

        And can you imagine if any other woman besides Hillary Clinton would have attacked the women who have recently made allegations against powerful men for sex abuse as “trailer trash.” Instead of playing to the post-menopausal crowd, Kaine should have said on principle, “I’m better than that. The people of Virginia and the people of America are better than that. The Clintons were both involved in sexual abuse and cover-up. And I cannot support them. I will not joint the Democratic ticket as the vice presidential candidate.”

        As more residents leave Virginia and others move in, the state is clearly moving to the left. But most of the left are willing to give the Clintons a pass on sex abuse of women because they like their policies. The editorial board of the Post is willing to turn its head to Bill’s and Hillary’s conduct and they are joined by most Democratic voters. And if they don’t mind those who abused, they won’t mind those who publicly accept the abusers – in this case Tim Kaine. The Democratic Party is willing to accept the sexual abuse of women when it’s done by liberal politicians named Clinton.

        Why did the Democrats throw Senator Franken to the wolves, but not Bill Clinton?

        • TMT –

          Your thoughts on this particular subject are mine exactly.

          I am compelled to add that there is no Virginia politician I respect less that Tim Kaine. Perhaps my revulsion rises from the fact that, like Maryland’s Martin O’Malley, Tim Kaine started out so well he had to know better, yet sold his soul so easily to the devil for a mess of pottage.

          In stark contrast, Maryland politicians Spiro Agnew and Parris Glendening, hypocrites of the first order, and political opportunists without any scruples whatever, were so rotten to the core from the beginning, it’s likely they were clinical psychopaths, so didn’t know any better.

  17. Donald Trump is a hard pill to swallow. But I agree with those commentators who say that he is reacting to the arrogance and hypocrisy of our national elites. The national media, in particular, has totally and utterly disgraced itself. So many stories based on off-the-record sources have been retracted and revised that I no longer, when it comes to Trump, believe anything I read or see without conclusive verification. Equally dangerous is the media’s selective reporting of news that fits its narratives and systematically ignoring of news that doesn’t. Finally, there are many documented cases in which the media lies — just as Trump lies — repeating so-called facts over and over until they become regarded as truth.

    Washington is full of liars. Trump might be the most prolific liar. But the biggest lies have come from the media. Historians will look back upon this era and wonder how so many people could have fixated so long on Trump’s “collusion” with the Russians. It’s as if the media had bought into the proposition that Obama’s birth certificate had been forged and then hammered away on the charge day after day after day, month after month, until half the population believed it. It’s that deluded.

    Between Trump on one side and his critics on the other, our politics are more degraded than at any time in living memory.

    • since you did reference the birth certificate.. WHERE did the idea that it is a fake come from if not the media you say lies.. how come a significant number
      of people STILL believe it is a fake – and why?

  18. The man is attacking law enforcement and our intelligence agencies that we depend on to protect the country. He has pissed off most of our allies that we need when confronting bad actors .. He sure looks like he’d go after North Korea if he could..

    He’s appointing judges that have no experience what-so-ever – even the GOP won’t go along.

    He’s pissed off blacks, hispanics, muslims, women, and even people in his own party – that he needs if we is going to govern.

    In a real crisis – I would not trust him from nobody to navigate and get it right. All you need is someone calling him a name and he goes off.

    He has totally divided the country on race.. in essence ..calling black and brown people as coming from shithole countries.

    this is MORE than just “talk”. It has real consequences.. The guy is a Grade A ASSHAT.

    The “elite” stuff is .. basically ignorant.. it’s like saying a brain surgeon is an elite and we need more “common man” surgeons.

    Some occupations ARE actually elite for a real reason.

    You DO NEED people who know how the world actually does work. You can call them what you wish but it’s pretty clear he and his folks are neophytes in the ways of Washington and the World for that matter. And the irony is .. the man himself is an elite who loves his exclusive golf resorts and Lara Largo, Trump resorts, caninos, etc.. geeze.

  19. Dear All,

    The basic problem is that the Liberal Democratic cadres hate God, White Americans, and our constitutional Republic. Their every effort is to defy His will, denigrate and ultimately get rid of Whites, and flattening all barriers to a totalitarian state. Just look at the colleges and universities! How can one possibly compromise with such people? Could the German Jews compromise with Hitler who likened them to rats or the Ukrainians with Stalin who dubbed them “counter-revolutionaries” in need of “liquidation”? How? Don’t think I am exaggerating my pessimism. Those are the eventual stakes. Just look at Zimbabwe and South Africa. http://freewestmedia.com/2018/01/14/south-african-president-in-waiting-wants-to-confiscate-white-farms-without-compensation/

    Sincerely,

    Andrew

  20. The thing is that people KNEW that Clinton was a womanizer BEFORE he was elected – TWICE – and still voted for him.

    But he was far from being the only one….

    Eisenhower was ALSO WIDELY KNOWN to have a mistress and ALSO was still elected twice.

    Ditto Kennedy. Thomas Jefferson not only had a mistress.. he had children with that mistress..

    Trump was KNOWN to womanize and was ALSO elected – in fact his strongest supporters TODAY are evangelicals.

    In ALL these cases would you blame the wives – consistently regardless of left or right politics? Or would you just focus on the ones who have politics you disagree with and ignore the ones whose politics you agree with?

    Ditto with Media… If you think Fox News and WSJ are not guilty of the same behavior of WaPo… you’re not looking. FOX is particularly egregious in my view..

    You basically have 3 choices with media.

    1. Don’t listen to/read ANY media you think “lies” regardless of whether they are “left” or “right” – just one standard…

    2. Listen to/read ONLY media that you “like” because they report things that appeal to your own biases – and just ignore the lies they also tell.

    3 listen to/Read ALL media understanding that they all lie and use your own powers of intelligence to discern the facts/truth – paying particular attention to when both left and right media agree on facts and retain appropriate skepticism with reports that very conveniently appeal to your own biases. Know and understand what conspiracy theories are… don’t be fooled by them.

    Do you want the truth even when it contradicts your own beliefs or do you only want the “truth” that agrees with what you want to believe?

    Anyone who thinks there are media sources that 100% tell the truth – left or right is living in LA LA Land.. Journalism.. just like Science or Higher Ed or any other field – consists of people.. with flaws.. and some of them do lie.. and don’t mind telling thousands of others – blatant lies… cue Rolling Stone, FOX News, and all others.

    Today – we are overrun with Conspiracy theories that are demonstrably false yet people still believe them. WHY? A substantial number of people on the right STILL BELIEVE Obama is not a citizen. how do you explain that?

    Vince Foster and now Seth Rich and some media STILL “report” them… AND some people STILL BELIEVE THEM and those people who believe them complain of Fake News themselves!

    Today – “media” is anyone who wants to “report” anything.. and if it appeals to enough people – whether it’s truth or not – it spreads like wildfire across the web, Facebook, etc.. e.g. child sex ring masquerading as a pizza parlor… or the killing of a DNC staffer reported by FOX NEWS:

    ” The Democratic National Committee staffer who was gunned down on July 10 on a Washington, D.C., street just steps from his home had leaked thousands of internal emails to WikiLeaks, law enforcement sources told Fox News.

    A federal investigator who reviewed an FBI forensic report — generated within 96 hours after DNC staffer Seth Rich’s murder — detailing the contents Rich’s computer said he made contact with WikiLeaks through Gavin MacFadyen, a now-deceased American investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker, and director of WikiLeaks who was living in London at the time.”

    Here’s your FAKE NEWS these days … it specializes in mixing true facts with innuendo from “sources” either not named or that source has a questionable role of supposed investigator who also appears on air as a “contributor” to the same news media claiming him as a investigative source.

    https://www.npr.org/2017/09/19/552133180/fox-news-fights-back-on-lawsuit-filed-over-seth-rich-story

    • Larry, there is a big difference between being a womanizer and being a sex abuser, one claims a rapist. Frankly, I don’t care what goes on in public figures’ marriages. That’s between them and their spouses. I never got worked up over the Monica Lewinsky episode. I thought Bill Clinton was pretty tacky carrying on in the White House, but he wasn’t the first – see Warren Harding and John F Kennedy. And if you count the Little White House, toss in FDR.

      But there is credible evidence Bill Clinton went well beyond cheating on Hillary. There is also credible evidence that considerable pressure was put on his accusers to retract their claims, including the personal attacks by Hillary Clinton. Moreover, its my recollection that the sexual abuse claims, as opposed to those related to non-martial affairs, did not become known to the general public until after Bill Clinton was in the White House. I believe the Paula Jones revelations came around 1994, but the Juanita Broddrick and Kathleen Wiley revelations weren’t until late in Clinton’s second term – 1998-99. The events alleged were earlier, of course.

      The MSM, like the left, made very little of the charges. And when they can find old allegations of sexual misconduct for Roy Moore (which was a good thing) and Bill Cosby, why didn’t the MSM dig up at least the Broddrick story when Bill Clinton was first running for President? They gave Clinton a pass.

      The bottom line is that many Democrats, including Tim Kaine, are more than willing to give the Clintons a pass on sexual abuse claims and even attacking the women making the charges even when they give no one else similar quarter.

      • re: “credible evidence”… you can say that about more than one POTUS guy.

        why do you focus only on one when this problem is wider than one?

        if you were fair – you’d use the same standard for all – and accuse all media and all politicians who gave a “pass” …

        It’s a LONG LONG LIST, guy.. especially since the “me too” thing

        even Oprah Winfrey is accused of looking the other way.. my GOD …

        There have been over time – quite a number of “abusers” in Congress and most in Congress on both sides – looked the other way.. Some of this came out recently – that Congress has been paying hush money to keep those who were abused – quiet…

        It’s bad.. nothing to be proud of on either side – but focusing on one like you’re doing – and using it as a cudgel to go after Kaine and others and Dems in general.. geeze guy..

        Do you blame Melania and others who know Trump including his GOP supporters including the evangelicals. similar to Hillary and the Dems?

        I don’t excuse any of it but looking at it in a biased way is not good either.

  21. “Washington is full of liars. Trump might be the most prolific liar. But the biggest lies have come from the media. Historians will look back upon this era and wonder how so many people could have fixated so long on Trump’s “collusion” with the Russians.”

    Huh? What big media lies? Four people have been charged with crimes involved with the Russian investigation. Flynn pleaded guilty. The intelligence community agrees Russia interfered with the 2016 election.

    This isn’t “fake news.” The problem with conservatives is that couldn’t come up with a strong candidate and we got stuck with Trump whose performance as president defies comprehension.

  22. If you want to see a prime example of this happening today, look up Sociology 119 taught by Sam Richards at Penn State. He bills it as the largest race relations class in America. I spent a good deal of time with Sam, both as a student in his courses and as a brief Marxist activist with the World Workers Party, which he introduced me to. Sam is a nice enough guy, but very full of himself and seems to relish leading naive students into the light. He’s kind of a rock star on campus, especially, it always seemed to me, with young women. He prides himself on being labeled by conservatives as one of the most dangerous college professors in America. That pride is what makes him, in fact, dangerous.

  23. When, as a junior-ranking graduate student, I dared express myself, I often inspired astonished disbelief. Colonialism wasn’t all bad, I suggested one time. Sure, it was exploitative in ways, but Great Britain ended the slave trade, quelled predatory African kingdoms, repressed tribal conflict, built roads and railroads, created export industries, and established a rule of law. I might as well have proclaimed that I ate my boogers for lunch.

    Jim, I wonder ahout something. I recall you once telling me you had never been to Africa. If so, they how do you know these statements to be true.

    I have always been interested in Russia. But I sepnt six years working there, ran a news bureau and dealt with all sorts of things such as taxes, insurance, labor issues, etc.

    Do you see my point? You might have more gravitas is you had spent some time there.

    • Africa is a big place, Peter. Many countries, many ethnicities, many political and economic systems. Say an African history professor spends three years living with a particular tribe in Angola studying the transmission of oral culture in traditional chiefdoms? Does that make him or her more qualified to opine on the continent as a whole than someone who has not been to that particular place?

  24. Gee, Jim, I had no idea that African was big. I learn so much on this blog!

    Actually your example of the African specialist is a little phony. One might assume that if he or she knew enough to conduct extensive research for years might also have traveled throughout the continent and be familiar with it. At least more than a bright, precocious twenty-something who has never set foot in Africa, looks at it through a political prism he learned at home or in a school somewhere and insists on being considered an expert.

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