• Pragerisms

    For a more comprehensive list of Pragerisms visit
    Dennis Prager Wisdom.

    • "The left is far more interested in gaining power than in creating wealth."
    • "Without wisdom, goodness is worthless."
    • "I prefer clarity to agreement."
    • "First tell the truth, then state your opinion."
    • "Being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry."
    • "If you don't fight evil, you fight gobal warming."
    • "There are things that are so dumb, you have to learn them."
  • Liberalism’s Seven Deadly Sins

    • Sexism
    • Intolerance
    • Xenophobia
    • Racism
    • Islamophobia
    • Bigotry
    • Homophobia

    A liberal need only accuse you of one of the above in order to end all discussion and excuse himself from further elucidation of his position.

  • Glenn’s Reading List for Die-Hard Pragerites

    • Bolton, John - Surrender is not an Option
    • Bruce, Tammy - The Thought Police; The New American Revolution; The Death of Right and Wrong
    • Charen, Mona - DoGooders:How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help
    • Coulter, Ann - If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans; Slander
    • Dalrymple, Theodore - In Praise of Prejudice; Our Culture, What's Left of It
    • Doyle, William - Inside the Oval Office
    • Elder, Larry - Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose
    • Frankl, Victor - Man's Search for Meaning
    • Flynn, Daniel - Intellectual Morons
    • Fund, John - Stealing Elections
    • Friedman, George - America's Secret War
    • Goldberg, Bernard - Bias; Arrogance
    • Goldberg, Jonah - Liberal Fascism
    • Herson, James - Tales from the Left Coast
    • Horowitz, David - Left Illusions; The Professors
    • Klein, Edward - The Truth about Hillary
    • Mnookin, Seth - Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media
    • Morris, Dick - Because He Could; Rewriting History
    • O'Beirne, Kate - Women Who Make the World Worse
    • Olson, Barbara - The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House
    • O'Neill, John - Unfit For Command
    • Piereson, James - Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism
    • Prager, Dennis - Think A Second Time
    • Sharansky, Natan - The Case for Democracy
    • Stein, Ben - Can America Survive? The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It
    • Steyn, Mark - America Alone
    • Stephanopolous, George - All Too Human
    • Thomas, Clarence - My Grandfather's Son
    • Timmerman, Kenneth - Shadow Warriors
    • Williams, Juan - Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It
    • Wright, Lawrence - The Looming Tower

President Joe Biden IN ACTION!

The Biggest Liar in American Political History Inspired George Santos

The representative-elect has nothing on our Fabulist-in-Chief in the White House.

by DANIEL J. FLYNN at The American Spectator:

January 3, 2023, 10:57 PM

Joe Biden tells his “Corn Pop” story, Sept. 17, 2019 (WITN Channel 22/YouTube)


The GOP Looks Incapable of Governing



Learning to Read



The Enduring Greatness of Henry Kissinger



In Memory of the Pope Who Made Us Think



When Putin Got Into Reaganomics


The Washington Post dived deep into its archives to find precedent for George Santos, a politician who lied.

It happened 70 years ago. In “The congressman who ‘embellished’ his résumé long before George Santos,” the Post describes the case of Douglas R. Stringfellow, a very real World War II veteran with very real wounds who nevertheless lied about war injuries, secret missions, Nazi torture, medals, and his educational background before election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Utah.

Santos, like Stringfellow, told tall tales about himself. It turns out that the Long Island U.S. representative-elect never worked for Goldman Sachs, graduated from Baruch College, or grew up Jewish (he now says he merely called himself “Jew-ish” — that little, bitty change). He allegedly lied about much else.

It bespeaks the probity of the ruling class that the last time a congressman lied in this way, rock ’n’ roll, Hulk Hogan, the McDonald’s golden arches, and Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine did not exist. Or, alternatively, the story demonstrates that even in shining light on a lie establishment journalists cannot resist their own impulse toward deception.

In deciding to ride the DeLorean even further back than Marty McFly did to find a politician fabulist, the company town’s booster sheet protected a lot of liars in the protected class — something something comfort the comfortable.

A lengthy American Spectator investigation can reveal the truth of the few lies George Santos did not tell (yet?).

George Santos never recounted holding “the great honor of being arrested with our U.N. ambassador on the streets of Soweto trying to get to see” Nelson Mandela.

George Santos never divulged, “I used to drive a tractor trailer, so I know a little bit about driving big trucks.”

George Santos never said that he “had a house burn down with [his] wife in it.”

George Santos never maintained that his son “lost his life in Iraq” when he died of brain cancer six years after his service there in Maryland.

George Santos never plagiarized speeches given by John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Hubert Humphrey.

George Santos never angrily told a voter questioning his credentials, “I think I probably have a much higher IQ than you do,” before rattling off such false accolades as winning “the outstanding student in the political science department” at the University of Delaware, where he “graduated with three degrees,” before going “to law school on a full academic scholarship” and finishing “in the top half.”

George Santos never claimed that he played football for the University of Delaware.

George Santos never slandered a truck driver by saying he “drank his lunch” to fictionalize a very real family tragedy.

George Santos never boasted of confronting, chain in hand, the notorious gang leader Corn Pop after a legendary incident concerning improper diving-board use at the community pool.

George Santos never described himself as having been “raised in the Puerto Rican community at home.”

George Santos never, to cover up courting another man’s wife, concocted a cornball story of a chance sighting of a woman in an airport advertisement leading to a date to see A Man and a Woman, a movie about a widower given a second chance at love, which in turn led to marriage.

George Santos never expropriated the life story of British politician Neil Kinnock by pointing to “my ancestors who worked in the coal mines in northeastern Pennsylvania and would come up after 12 hours and play football for four hours.”

If only George Santos said any of this, then maybe Democrats would quit calling for the congressman-elect’s resignation and instead nominate him for the presidency.


Why Congress Can’t Refuse to Seat Santos

Here’s to You, George Santos!

“Antibodies are proteins that protect you when an unwanted substance enters your body”.

January 4, 2023

It’s Time to Ask Whether Repeated mRNA Vaccine Shots Weaken the Immune Response to COVID-19

By Allan J. Favish at American Thinker:

Once again, the free press has been asleep at the wheel.

Here is another example of how alternative news sources such as internet bloggers are much more useful to the general public than traditional media sources.

A new study out of Germany, funded by the German government, and published in the medical journal Science Immunology, raises the possibility that the so-called vaccine manufactured by BioNTech/Pfizer to fight the mRNA SARS-CoV-2 virus (and possibly the Moderna product), reduces a person’s level of antibodies that fights the virus and increases the level of another kind of antibody that is much less effective at fighting the virus.

First, here are a few basic immunology facts to better understand the new article. 

According to the Cleveland Clinic

Antibodies are proteins that protect you when an unwanted substance enters your body.  Produced by your immune system, antibodies bind to these unwanted substances in order to eliminate them from your system.

Another word for antibody is immunoglobulin.

According to Antoine Azar, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, the body makes 5 major types of immunoglobulins: Immunoglobulin A, Immunoglobulin G, Immunoglobulin M, Immunoglobulin D and Immunoglobulin E:

Immunoglobulin G (IgG) is the most common type.  IgG has 4 different subclasses, IgG1— 4. IgG is always there to help prevent infections.  It’s also ready to multiply and attack when foreign substances get into the body.  When you don’t have enough, you are more likely to get infections.

The new article is entitled “Class Switch Towards Non-Inflammatory, Spike-Specific IgG4 Antibodies After Repeated SARS-Cov-2 mRNA Vaccination” and was written by Pascal Irrgang and 23 additional authors.  It was published on December 22, 2022 in Science Immunology.  The article states that shortly after the initial two shots of the mRNA SARS-CoV-2 Pfizer product, the level of IgG1 and IgG3 antibodies is increased, but that several months later, the levels of those antibodies decreases and the level of IgG4 antibodies significantly increases.  This effect is exacerbated by a third mRNA shot and/or by a breakthrough infection with the SARS-CoV-2 disease.  The article states that “our results clearly demonstrate that a subsequent infection can further boost IgG4 antibody levels, with IgG4 becoming the most dominant among all anti-spike IgG subclasses in some individuals.”

The authors state that in their experiment this increase in IgG4 antibodies did not happen after repeated vaccination with tetanus toxoid or after infection with respiratory syncytial virus.  The authors state: “Generally, IgG4 responses have been rarely observed even after repeated immunizations or infections.  . . .  These findings support the notion that class-switching to IgG4 is not a general consequence of repeated antigen exposure in form of vaccinations or infections.”  The article concludes:

In summary, our study demonstrates an mRNA vaccine-induced antiviral IgG4 antibody response appearing late after secondary immunization.  Further investigations are needed to clarify the precise immunological mechanisms driving this response and to evaluate whether an IgG4-driven antibody response affects subsequent viral infections and booster vaccinations.

In what may be the first analysis of the article, on December 24, 2022, a blogger using the name Rintrah Radagast wrote that the article supports what he has been saying for at least a month:  “After mRNA vaccination the immune response against Spike is shifting to IgG4, which is how your body responds after repeat exposure to stuff it needs to tolerate, like bee venom, pollen or peanut proteins.”  He stated that by using these mRNA vaccines we are “ridding our bodies of the most competent IgG antibody against this virus, replacing it with one we use to tolerate stuff like pollen, peanut proteins or bee venom.”

Igor Chudov, a mathematician and frequent writer about the virus, took notice on December 24, 2022 and wrote that allergy shots cause the immune system to develop non-inflammatory IgG4 antibodies, which mark pollen as a harmless substance to the rest of the immune system and prevent allergic inflammation and nasty symptoms.  Chudov then explained that this is fine because pollen does not replicate, but it is bad to train our immune system to ignore replicating pathogens such as Sars-Cov-2.  Chudov wrote:

The disease [SARS-CoV-2] may seem mild if immune tolerance fails to elicit a strong reaction and stop viral replication.  The virus, proliferating unopposed, damages the cardiovascular system more than in those who can mount a vigorous immune reaction.

Chudov noted that on July 22, 2022 substacker Brian Mowray warned about the mRNA shots increasing IgG4 antibodies to the spike protein.

On Dec. 26, 2022 Attorney Jeff Childers wrote about the new article and observed:

To put it simply, this antibody class shift is bizarre, unprecedented, and a very troubling sign that vaccinated people — especially repeatedly dosed people — are somehow losing their IgG1 and especially IgG3 response in favor of IgG4.  It’s not just the reduction of the two effective neutralizing antibody types, either.  IgG4, since it is designed for allergies, doesn’t remove the foreign proteins so much as teach the body to “tolerate” or “ignore” them.

There’s a good reason for tolerance: allergens don’t replicate like viruses.  Allergens are a totally different kind of threat.  With allergens, the body doesn’t need to go crazy fighting allergens; it can take a slower, more measured response.

Specifically, whereas IgG1 and IgG3 types are “pro-inflammatory,” which means they trigger the body’s immune-system high alert system, the IgG4 type is “anti-inflammatory,” which means it tells the immune system to stand down.  Which is the opposite of what you really want, when you’re fighting an infection.

On Dec. 29, 2022, Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz wrote:

In the case of the COVID shots, what the German study discovered is that over time and with increased doses it actually trains your body to tolerate rather than fight the virus it was designed to destroy.  The other class of blood-based antibodies are designed to neutralize pathogens; however, the IgG4 class was specifically designed to tolerate innocuous cells (that don’t reproduce) that it repeatedly contacts, such as pollen or peanut particles.  They serve an important role and help ensure that people don’t respond with excessive inflammation to everyday encounters with pollen, but to see 20% of the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 (it was as high as 42% in those experiencing infection after boosters) be something that tolerates it is astounding … and dangerous!

Horowitz also wrote that the article “should be the headline story this week.”  Horowitz is right.

Allan J. Favish is an attorney in Los Angeles.  His website is allanfavish.com

“McCarthy is not conservative enough, but compared to Pelosi, he is a fresh start”.

January 4, 2023

Can we tolerate a Speaker McCarthy?

By Howard J. Warner at American Thinker:

As of the writing of this article (Tuesday evening Jan 3, 2023), three votes for the Speaker of the House have been taken.  The last vote, the “no” votes for Kevin McCarthy increased from 19 to 20 members of the Republican Party.  So 202 members still support McCarthy.  The 20 votes were cast for Jim Jordan, who flatly refuses to take the job.  He wants to lead the Judiciary Committee, which he is suited to do.  The few opponents of McCarthy are dividing the party, not uniting It, despite their protestations (as described by Rep. Lauren Boebert).

I must state clearly that I expected a larger Republican wave in November.  Now I accept that our leadership and the most ardent proponents of conservatism within the party are in a death clash.  This is the reason the red wave never occurred.

The swamp (in this case, the bureaucracy) is a threat to our republic.  Clearly, they have impacted several elections.  They work with the aid of Democratic administrations to maintain and extend their control.  The FBI leadership, for instance, do not love Biden, but they know they can manage him, whereas Trump is a loose cannon who would resist their influence.  This is the reason they continue to go after him.

The Democrats seek power at all costs.  They use Marxist approaches to gain the votes of low-information people by offering free things.  Lying to the citizens is no problem for the Democrats.  In this way, they follow the political thesis of The Prince.  They want to secure and maintain power, the rule of a dictator.  They use it to effect changes that will make statism more likely.  In this regard, they are consistent.  For over 100 years, beginning with Woodrow Wilson, they have pursued this approach.  Destroying our constitutional republic is possible, but not their aim.  Their aim is power and all the trappings that result from this such as wealth.  They take our income for their purposes.  Only the Republicans can stop this.

Niccolò Machiavelli also wrote another treatise, rarely discussed, called the “Discourses on Livy,” which argues for a functioning republic.  Certainly, the use of political power for good or evil is determined by the individuals who exercise it.  In the end, having power and not using it wisely would be detrimental to society, according to Machiavelli. 

So how does this impact the process in the House of Representatives?  First, I must say that Kevin McCarthy would not be my first choice for speaker.  That said, he secured all but 31 votes (which went to Biggs) during the party leadership vote last year.  He did lay out his Commitment to America during the midterms, which are favorable.  His opponents argue that they have a consensus candidate to unite the party.  But none has emerged who wants the job.  The last time this occurred, Paul Ryan was unable to get a repeal of Obamacare through the Congress, as the Senate rejected all attempts — a failure to keep the Republicans’ promise in the 2016 elections.  This loss weakened any chance to undo decades of liberalism.  Ryan was a somewhat weak leader, while Nancy Pelosi was a strong (though terrible) one.

The role of the speaker in modern politics is to raise money for campaigns.  In this role, Kevin McCarthy is perfectly suited and successful.  Yes, he has gotten money from Silicon Valley, but that means that people there support our goals or want to buy our votes.  Would you rather they support only Democrats, who will pass worse legislation?

McCarthy will have to guarantee to the holdouts a select committee to examine the fraud, abuse, and corruption within our police agencies, intelligence agencies, and Justice Department.  Further, he will have to ensure that the facts of the January 6, 2020 Capitol riots be revealed, not select information protecting Nancy Pelosi for refusing adequate national guard help and the FBI (involving the bombs at the DNC and RNC never investigated), which cherry-picked information given to the Jan. 6 committee.  He will also likely have to make more compromises to these opponents, beyond the motion to vacate.  In this regard, McCarthy is skilled and capable.

Given the small majority we hold, we need a leader who can navigate the press, the White House, and Senate opposition.  A republic requires compromises — more than I want to see, but necessary to get things accomplished.

Machiavelli would likely say it is time to come together before the Democrats seize more power.  McCarthy is not conservative enough, but compared to Pelosi, he is a fresh start.

Do the conservatives have a plan to fix the problems created by Biden’s administration that he would sign?  Our leverage was wasted by the Republicans in the Senate in December.  This is the reason we did not have a red wave: the people are not inspired by our Republican leaders and don’t trust them.  Incremental deeds that reverse the citizenry’s mistrust must be McCarthy’s goal.

“When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022…….”

Uses & abuses of military history

by Victor Davis Hanson at the New Criterion:

On the value of the discipline and its applications.

War accelerates and intensifies the human experience. The story of dramatic scientific discoveries, technological breakthroughs, and political, economic, and cultural upheavals, as well as radical changes in art and literature, is so often inseparable from the wartime conditions that birthed them, whether atomic bombs or combustion engines.

More practically, military history rests on the hallowed notion that human nature is unchanging over the centuries. The study of wars of the past, then, can offer timeless lessons about why wars in the present and future start, how they proceed and end, and what, if anything, they accomplish. Clausewitz was right about the immutable essential nature of war when he remarked that “War is in no way changed or modified through the progress of civilization.”

Yet for a discipline that is both ancient and relevant, military history is relatively little studied these days. Over the last quarter century, military historians have rued declining college course offerings, and the titles of their lamentations usually are self-explanatory in periodic articles: “Our Elite Schools Have Abandoned Military History” (Peter Berko­witz), “Don’t Let Academia Destroy Military History” (James Carafano and Tom Spoehr), “The Course of Military History in the United States Since World War II” (Edward Coffman), “American Universities Declare War on Military History” (Max Hastings), “The Embattled Future of Academic Military History” (John Lynn), “Why Military History Matters” (Fred Kagan), “The Current State of Military History” (Mark Moyar), “Reimagining Military History in the Classroom” (Carol Reardon), “Military History and the Academic World” (Ron Spector), and “Why Study War?” (my own).

The degreed classes have deprecated military history.

The consensus is that the decline of military history has not been caused by the American people’s innate lack of interest in studying the nature of war, and especially not by the American experience with armed conflict. Rather, the fault is found in the interests and prejudices of our educated civilian elites in higher education, politics, and the media. The degreed classes have deprecated military history, even as they are largely the demographic that has adjudicated when and where the United States goes to war, and the degree to which Americans should aid or oppose other nations that do.

More recently there has been a parallel decline in the historical education of our military elites themselves at the academies. Our highest-ranking officers seem to have few historical referents to ground their policies other than contemporary trends and pressures. In June 2021, Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before Congress and talked grandly about the revised “recommended reading list” in the military academies and training programs, praising especially the “anti-racist” work of Ibram X. Kendi. Under cross-examination, Milley seemed unable to explain how Kendi’s work would make America’s enlisted soldiers more lethal to its enemies or valuable to its allies—or why these latter aims would even be important.

At about the same time, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin testified before Congress, promising to root from the armed forces supposed cadres of white supremacists driven by “white rage.” Yet neither he nor Gen. Milley ever supplied data or evidence that such cells or movements exist in the U.S. military.

That the Pentagon should foster such ungrounded suspicions of white males—one of its most important sources of recruits—is as if the British war ministers had questioned whether there were too many sexist British Gurkhas in the ranks, or Russian generals had wondered whether there were Cossacks that seemed clannish, or the Indian government had fixated on Sikh recruits as religious chauvinists.

Implying that white males collectively are intrinsically suspect of improper behavior seems a near-suicidal U.S. Army policy, given that the group died at a rate double its percentages in the general population in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

In response to woke pressures, the U.S. military was properly to be envisioned more as a social-justice institution, in which progressive racial and gender agendas could be fast-tracked through the chain of command without the Sturm und Drang of congressional haggling. Of course, military history is replete with examples of the advantages of military forces enhanced by emphasis on a cohesive and common national identity, whether in the agrarian and largely middle-class hoplite armies of ancient Greece or with the rise of broad-based people’s armies and nations-in-arms in revolutionary France, Russia, and China.

Historically, the accentuation of difference more often tends to erode battlefield efficacy.

But such fetishization of ethnic and racial identity in a multiracial, multiethnic modern democracy is dangerous business for a military. Historically, the accentuation of difference more often tends to erode battlefield efficacy. Racial and ethnic chauvinism and diversity were no advantage to nineteenth-century Ottoman, Habsburg, and Russian armies, as well as those in modern Lebanon, the former Yugoslavia, and Iraq.

What was not ambiguous was that a subsequent U.S. Army failure to meet recruiting goals, especially among young men of families that traditionally had joined combat units, followed within months of the new agenda’s implementation. Apparently few in the military, despite their recommended lists of authors to be read, had realized that all armed forces historically draw all sorts of soldiers asymmetrically from regions, ethnicities, and classes—and for particular reasons, ranging from patriotism and regional pride to family traditions and economic opportunity.

All these recent symptoms of the decline of military history among our elites reflect in part the lack of cohesive university programs and academic departments. A variety of historians cite the paradoxical absence of institutional support for faculty hiring and graduate-degree offerings by pointing to a huge—and growing—course demand for the few military history classes that are still offered.

Nevertheless, the argument that the status and direction of military history are even in decline remains hotly disputed by a small number of hardworking and prominent military historians. They argue that the health of military history as a discipline is underrated, as shown by the survival of classes on strategy or wars. They are reminiscent of dedicated classicists who cite small but vestigial enrollments in Greek as proof of a robust field of classics.

After all, history itself was born in ancient Greece as the study of war in general.

The real disagreement perhaps rests on the notion that military history should be a major field of university study rather than a current minor one in a survival mode. After all, history itself was born in ancient Greece as the study of war in general, and the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars in particular.

The data of decline can be interpreted in a variety of ways, especially as a departure from what the “normal” role of military history once was or should have been before its present state. For example, the military historians William Hitchcock and Meghan Herwig, in a glass-half-full argument, recently reminded pessimists that military history courses still represent on average some 7 percent of all history course offerings at major universities. And they are taught mostly by tenured and tenure-track professors.

Both, however, concede that military-themed classes—and especially those focused on military history per se—suffered among the greatest decline in history course offerings between 2015 and 2021. So how can military history be declining while at the same time ascendant or at least vigorous? The most likely answer is found in contested definitions arising over what constitutes “military history.”

Many current military history classes emphasize quite narrow social, economic, and cultural themes that only touch tangentially on operational, logistical, tactical, or strategic aspects of armed forces on the battlefield—or for that matter on particular wars at all.

Hitchcock and Herwig note the sort of questions posed by the new, wider military history: “What impact does war have upon social movements, civil liberties, race and gender relations, the environment, and humanitarian attitudes? What ethical questions must the student of war confront?” My own general impression is that such questions are of course important. But to resonate meaningfully in the context of military history, these interests must be grounded in some factual familiarity with war and battle and discussed in the landscape of particular conflicts. For example, to appreciate properly the critical role in World War II of over a thousand American female pilots, in dangerous conditions, ferrying new bombers to forward bases, one would need familiarity with American strategic bombing campaigns, the wartime mobilization of the U.S. aircraft industry, recruitment, the draft, manpower pools, the nature of the B-17, B-24, and B-29 heavy bombers, and the combat-loss and replacement figures for male pilots and their planes.

Again, to use the example of classics, efforts to expand the discipline to include issues of theory, race, class, and gender may enrich the field, as long as the core that grounds all such discussion—instruction in and knowledge of the classical languages and literatures—remains vibrant. By contrast, as the military historian Fred Kagan put it of the new military history,

“War and society,” also sometimes called “new military history” (although it is by now decades old), normally studies everything about war except for war itself: how soldiers are recruited or conscripted, how they feel about war, how they and others write about it, how war affects society, politics and economics, gender and war, and so on.

Perhaps recent military historians rightly have been sensitive to the fact that the discipline is caricatured as too conservative. Thus, they seek to widen its boundaries to encompass more popular contemporary fields of instruction. They have also been careful to emphasize that the study of war reflects no ideological aim other than to ensure that a democratic citizenry is informed about why or why not it should make war. Nearly twenty years ago, at the height of public dissatisfaction with the stalemated Iraq War, Kagan also properly noted,

This problem [of the decline of miliary history] should not be a partisan issue or even an ideological one. Solving it is simply an essential precondition to maintaining a healthy democratic process in a time of danger and conflict.

Again, there are many ways of measuring the decline of “traditional” military history: in the erosion of faculty numbers and course offerings within higher education; in the waning attention of the elite media; in static, government-directed military outreach and training; or, in contrast, in the growth of films and podcasts on military subjects in popular culture. The last point underscores a striking paradox. The more U.S. officials and the foreign-policy elite have resorted to arms, the less they seem to know about historical patterns and innate tendencies of war. But the more the general public has been turned off by seemingly endless armed interventions abroad, the more it has become interested in wars of the past and the rules of conflict.

In a democratic republic, civilians declare wars. Americans are supposed to instruct and audit the military about when and where—and sometimes how—to fight them. Yet such civilian guidance and oversight require some civic awareness of what the responsibility entails. The people’s representatives often order the military to do things it does not wish to do or reject what the military insists a democratic government must do. For example, polls say that Americans wish to protect Taiwan from a Chinese takeover. But to what degree are they first made aware that such commitment involves risks in the nuclear age, such as the likely sinking of a $13 billion, five-thousand-person aircraft carrier (or two) and the loss of a dozen huge C-5 or fifty C-17 transport jets? A Chinese nuclear threat against the West Coast? Tokyo, Seoul, or Melbourne?

Popular knowledge of military affairs can be inculcated by elementary and higher education, the media, and public rituals and commemorations, as well as by members of the military themselves. Only that way, in the modern era of all-volunteer armed forces, can voting citizens—over 90 percent of whom have never served in the military—know something about what wars are and how and why they start, are fought, and end. Yet since World War II, a series of popular ideologies and historical events have discouraged informed civilian oversight of American war-making.

Five years after the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were dropped, and with theories of ending conventional armed forces coming into vogue, the United States was shocked by the North Korean invasion of the south. We quickly rediscovered the need to rearm and rebuild conventional forces and to revisit classical military strategy that was not made obsolete even by terrible new weapons.

In part, the contrast of a prior clear-cut American success in World War II, the indisputable moral need to stop global Nazism, fascism, and militarism, and the dispatch with which the United States helped win the war left as their legacy a nearly impossible ideal for all subsequent American wars, even in the decolonial nuclear age when the rules of intervention and expeditions abroad had vastly changed.

In part, the Vietnam decade of 1965–75—fifty-eight thousand American combat troops dead, massive anti-war protests, draft resistance, and eventual defeat—birthed a widespread antipathy to the idea of any war in general, and in particular to the U.S. military.

As military history struggled in the university throughout the late 1970s, conflict-resolution and peace-studies curricula spread on campuses. By 2022, there were over eighty-seven colleges and universities offering peace-studies and conflict-resolution degrees. (About 1,200 such degrees were completed per year.) In contrast, there were less than half that number of schools that offered either a BA, MA, or Ph.D. in military history. The British military historian Max Hastings recently summed up the scarcity of military history on university and college campuses. “The revulsion from war history may derive not so much from students’ unwillingness to explore the violent past,” he suggested, “but from academics’ reluctance to teach, or even allow their universities to host, such courses.”

Stubborn historians of war and their students naturally became dubious of all conflict. The general anxiety is akin to the suspicion that oncologists who study cancer are ipso facto fond of malignancy, or those who insist on fixed human nature across time and space are faith-based denialists of modern neuroscience, biology, or social science.

Yet it is hard to argue that the United Nations has prevented any more wars than did the short-lived League of Nations, which collapsed on the eve of World War II. What prevented the Soviet Red Army from entering Western Europe after 1949 was not a UN commission but the armed nato alliance and U.S. nuclear deterrence. What saved South Korea was the U.S. military and a rare moment when the United Nations authorized a multilateral armed force to resist Chinese and North Korean aggression.

Deductive peace-studies programs have little record of being more valuable than inductive military history in preparing the citizen to evaluate ongoing wars, prevent future ones, or achieve lasting peace. After the 1960s, certainly, the rise of peace-studies programs did not coincide either with an American avoidance of war or increased success in it. Nonetheless, social science and therapeutic approaches to war insidiously replaced the ancient Thucydidean idea that studying prior conflicts can instruct those in the present to avoid the strategic errors and military fallacies of the past.

In the post–Cold War era, a second series of wars followed, mostly marked by voluntary U.S. interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya. And most ended either in chaos, stalemate, or American defeat. Over seven thousand American soldiers died in wars in Afghanistan and the second war in Iraq—to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis and Afghans—without victory or much clear strategic success in Western nation-building.

War itself grew synonymous among American cultural elites with supposed Western chauvinism, neocolonialism, and oil-driven imperialism.

All these expeditionary wars, some of them decades long, were optional. They only occasionally proved successful in meeting their stated goals. For the most part they were waged within the oil- and terrorist-rich Islamic Middle East. As a result, war itself grew synonymous among American cultural elites with supposed Western chauvinism, neocolonialism, and oil-driven imperialism. It is a truism that when a nation wages optional, costly, and ineffective wars, support for military-history studies usually declines—either due to an instinctual recoil from the very mention of war or from a practical sense that strategists were not aided by their formal studies. And, of course, this causes a vicious cycle as the decline in military-history studies then leads to more poorly thought-out wars.

For the Left, “No blood for oil” was a common anti-war cry during the Iraqi wars, along with “Islamophobia.” To the American Right, such wars did not pencil out in cost-benefit analyses—or they were deemed extraneous to the real American strategic interests in supporting nato against renewed Russian expansionism and in creating a circle of Pacific allies to resist encroaching Chinese power.

The net result was that by 2016, a growing number in the United States believed that a decade and a half of war-making in the Middle East had not made the United States more secure and certainly had not gained it allies, deterrence, or prestige. Contemporary events, recast by elites as further reason to be suspicious of formal military history, helped massage attitudes. The entire idea of “experts” versed in military history and strategic analysis obviously suffered, as if the new generation of the Best and Brightest had learned nothing from Vietnam but simply repeated its mistakes on a smaller scale in the Middle East.

When strategic objectives in Iraq were either poorly spelled out or not met, and as casualties mounted, the public was told repeatedly that the supposed casus belli of “weapons of mass destruction” was a deliberate lie (“Bush lied, thousands died”). Ubiquitous cultural figures openly cheered on the enemy. The documentary filmmaker Michael Moore spouted unhinged historical comparisons: “The Iraqis who have revolted against the occupation are not ‘insurgents’ or ‘terrorists’ or ‘The Enemy.’ They are the revolution, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow—and they will win.” As in the Vietnam era, this second suite of mostly stalemated or stalled operations was seen not as an argument for renewed study of the origins, causes, conduct, and end of wars, but one for general renunciation or rejection of war, as if the enlightened had such unilateral power.

Athird stage in the decline, the so-called woke movement from 2015 to the present, is marked by a fixation on matters of race, often manifesting in mandates for diversity, inclusion, and equity of result. In this regard, prior American or indeed Western wars in general were redefined and reduced to racist-driven exploitation, usually waged by white Europeans and Americans against indigenous peoples or the largely innocent nonwhite abroad.

Melodrama, not tragedy, became the operative methodology of studying the past. “Unfortunately,” the historians Tami Davis Biddle and Robert Citino note, “many in the academic community assume that military history is simply about powerful men—mainly white men—fighting each other and/or oppressing vulnerable groups.” Ironically, the most destructive wars of the twentieth century were intra-ethnic: Asian Japanese against Asian Chinese, Africans against Africans, and, most notably, Europeans fighting each other. It is hard to see any predictive racial patterns among the twentieth century’s most prominent genocidal killers, whether Mao Zedong, Hideki Tojo, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Enver Pasha (the architect of the Armenian genocide), Pol Pot, Kim Il-Sung, Mengistu Haile Mariam, or Yakubu Gowon (the brutal Nigerian dictator during the Biafra War). In any case, the result of the melodramatic, racialist approach was the same: a further erosion of the study of and interest in formal military history.

Yet as has been regularly observed, this half-century-long deprecation of military history coincided with a steadily growing popular interest in wars of the past, both narrative histories and tactical and strategic analyses. Bookstores enlarged their military-history sections. Podcasts on war, ancient and modern, grew. Cable television channels welcomed war documentaries.

As formal elite study has withered, there has grown over the last fifty years a significant popular interest in America’s wars of the past, and especially in the Civil War and World War II. Despite their horrific carnage, perhaps these conventional wars were felt to have solved the problems on account of which they began, since they had seen the entire male population subject to the draft and had ended in victory for the good guys.

Tellingly, studying these wars did not necessarily involve deprecation of ancient ideas of honor, bravery, courage, and patriotism. In the popular culture, successful documentaries such as Ken Burns’s Civil War or blockbuster films such as Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan reflected popular interest in these themes. And even the scattered conflagrations in the post–Cold War era were sometimes presented without overt editorialization.

For every critical film such as Oliver Stone’s Platoon or Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket that focused on disastrous American tactics and strategy, there appeared a Ridley Scott Black Hawk Down, a Peter Berg Lone Survivor, and a Clint Eastwood American Sniper, which all took a tragic rather than a melodramatic approach to America’s more unpopular wars. Such movies recognized the courage and heroism of the American armed forces, often in the most trying of circumstances and amid strategic and operational command stupidity. In popular culture, a full-throated celebration of war such as 300 can score at the box office, in part because its cartoonish characters are unapologetic and, as defenders, felt to occupy the superior moral high ground at the last stand at Thermopylae.

Again, the problem with the decline of military history has not been the American people’s lack of interest in studying the nature of war, which emerged unscathed from the American experience with armed conflict. The fault is found in the interests and prejudices of our educated civilian elites in higher education, politics, and the media.

There are consequences to this ignorance of our officials, in terms of referencing or ignoring history as a benchmark to ground present policy. What follows is a potpourri of current policies and assumptions that might have been enriched or corrected by even a rudimentary knowledge of past wars.

When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, most expert observers predicted a quick Russian victory. Moscow was a nuclear power with a huge, sophisticated arsenal of conventional weapons. Russia enjoyed over three times the population, thirty times the area, and fifteen times the gross national production of Ukraine. Accordingly, in the first hours of the Russian invasion, a shocked U.S. government offered to airlift the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, out of Kyiv—a move that would have effectively ended the heroic Ukrainian resistance and given Russia an immediate victory by default.

The Russian setback eventually led to a more historically typical reboot.

Yet the initial Russian shock-and-awe effort at decapitating the Ukrainian government in Kyiv proved an utter failure before a stunned global televised audience. The Russian setback eventually led to a more historically typical reboot, one of massive artillery and missile pounding of borderlands and rocket attacks on civilian infrastructure in western Ukraine, which rendered the Ukraine war more a World War I battlefield than a blitzkrieg.

By late 2022, those who had initially gone wild in praising the unexpected and ongoing success of the Ukrainian resistance, and urging more billions of dollars in aid, were growing somewhat troubled about the eventual endgame of the conflict. Some cautioned that the war of attrition on Ukraine’s borders was lowering the threshold of confrontation between a nuclear Russia and United States—especially as Vladimir Putin deliberately raised the issue of tactical nuclear weapons. All began to see that Russia’s blunt use of indiscriminate firepower was designed to grind down a smaller Ukraine before its far larger aggressor would run out of steam. Ukraine’s survival depended on whether its allies could match Russian resupply, bomb and shell for bomb and shell—and how many losses in men and matériel an increasingly isolated Putin would be willing to suffer for dubious strategic advantages.

Those familiar with military history, however, might have foreseen just such a transformation of the battlefield. The Russian military, whether Czarist, Soviet, or post–Cold War, has rarely done well in expeditionary efforts beyond its Russian-speaking borders. The Russian wars with Japan (1904–05), the Baltic States (1918–20), Poland (1921–22), Finland (1939–40), and Afghanistan (1979–89)—like the Kyiv shock-and-awe campaign—proved fiascoes. They variously exposed the sloppy logistics, poorly integrated arms, weakness in maritime and air forces, inferior weaponry, faulty reconnaissance of enemy capabilities, and poor morale that has often plagued the Russian military abroad.

Yet the Western giddiness of late February and March at videos of stalled and destroyed Russian expeditionary armored columns, stranded in central Ukraine, erroneously led to the opposite extreme, the belief that the Russian military was incompetent and would shortly lose the war—as if it did not matter where and how the Russian military was deployed to fight.

Again, study of military history likewise suggests that if the Russian military is inept in expeditionary roles, despite these initial setbacks, it has usually proved formidable on its home soil, or at least when operating close to its borders, benefitting from interior lines and the propaganda of foreign violations of Mother Russia. Invaders as diverse as the once-confident Charles XII, Napoleon, the Japanese on the Mongolian border, and the Wehrmacht eventually learned that to their despair. Russians have repeatedly fought and defeated large armies of invasion, or against armies on their immediate borders, when such conflicts became seen as existential crises or invoked patriotism that transcended politics among the general population. For all the Ukrainians’ foreign arms and impressive resistance, it may prove quite difficult for even these heroic and ascendent resistors to expel all Russian forces from majority-Russian-speaking borderlands.

Americans were often shocked as to why Putin chose to invade Ukraine in 2022—or for that matter why at all. Military history, however, might also have reminded us that deterrence or its absence so often proves decisive when threatened hostilities break out into war. Remarks or gestures deemed trivial at the time can send unintended signals that indifference rather than deterrence will meet aggressors. We remember that the Chinese and North Koreans took note of Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s nonchalant remark to the National Press Club in January 1950 that South Korea was outside the American “defensive perimeter,” and they soon acted accordingly. The much-studied remarks of April Glaspie, the American ambassador to Iraq, to Saddam Hussein in 1990 that the United States did not especially concern itself with internal border disputes within the Arab world may have encouraged Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait.

Putin predictably entertains irredentist dreams of emulating Catherine the Great or Peter the Great in his imperial ambitions, especially of reconstituting the former Soviet Empire. What has kept him inside the borders of the Russian Federation is not his politics or agendas, but rather his careful assessments in cost-benefit analyses of when it was profitable or at least possible to invade a former republic and when not.

The United States talked loudly while carrying only a twig.

The Russian expeditionary operations in Georgia (2008), eastern Ukraine and Crimea (2014), and central Ukraine (2022) all met certain Russian criteria. One, Russia was flush with petrodollars from high oil prices; in contrast, the West was vulnerable to oil shortages and price spikes. Two, Russia felt that a current U.S. administration was so encumbered by domestic or overseas burdens that it would not likely respond. The United States talked loudly while carrying only a twig, as it agitated Russia by hinting at Ukrainian nato membership or boasted openly about interfering within the internal politics of Ukraine at the expense of Russian interests.

That paradigm held true for America during the latter Bush administration in 2008, the second-term Obama administration in 2014, and the early Biden administration in 2022. In contrast, periods of petroleum surfeit and low oil prices helped the fuel-hungry West and hurt oil-exporting countries. An administration that seemed unencumbered by foreign wars, had recently raised defense spending, and was deemed unpredictable and even dangerous in its responses seemed to deter Putin. So it was with America in 2017–20 when Putin talked provocatively but stayed quiet within his borders.

Historically, a sudden loss of deterrence vis-à-vis a particular adversary can ignite similar aggressions from a host of belligerents. The flight from Afghanistan and the publicly aired problems in the U.S. military, coupled with the poor deterrent reputation of the Biden administration, did not encourage just Vladimir Putin. China also opportunistically became blunt in its threats to the United States over the visit to Taiwan of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and began sending missiles over the island. Iran announced it would shortly possess a nuclear bomb. North Korea then began launching missiles in any direction it wished. Such aggression was similar to even an ossified Soviet Union invading Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Afghanistan in 1979—at a time of perceived American hesitation and internal economic and cultural upheaval.

Deterrence rests on the certainty of some sort of unpleasant reaction to perceived unwarranted aggression. Even weaker powers become adventurous when stronger ones signal, albeit inadvertently, that they are indifferent or will offer concessions to ensure peace rather than strike back forcefully at any such perceived aggression.

Lack of knowledge about prior wars, their generals, and the nature of command can also mislead presidents. Donald Trump came under intense criticism, often for sounding unduly militaristic, when he nominated at least four army and marine generals as cabinet secretaries or cabinet-level appointments: Gen. Michael Flynn (National Security Advisor), Gen. John Kelly (Homeland Security) Gen. James Mattis (Defense), and Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster (National Security Advisor).

Trump repeatedly defended his penchant for inviting retired generals into his administration with references to his World War II heroes Douglas MacArthur and George S. Patton. He was explicit in his assumptions that modern generals, like those of an earlier generation, are can-do operators. He apparently thought generals were apolitical, or at least nonpartisan men of action—highly patriotic, conservative, traditional, and intensely loyal to their commander-in-chief. Still, in less than two years, all four either resigned, were fired, or had their nominations withdrawn. And in at least two of the four cases, the generals publicly blasted their commander-in-chief in the strongest terms of personal disparagement.

Trump apparently had romanticized the military leadership of World War II and had little idea that since the Civil War, or even since antiquity, top-ranking generals have often been highly political. His appointees were not necessarily conservative, often outspoken rather than reserved, and constantly in the news rather than reticent—precisely those most likely to collide with a controversial president.

Trump’s favorite, Patton, at the pinnacle of his fame and military success, was relieved of his command and humiliatingly reassigned for openly questioning the American–Soviet post-war protocols. MacArthur was fired from his command in Korea for publicly blasting the war policies of his president Harry S. Truman.

Ironically, military history might have reminded Trump that the outspoken generals he admired would have been the most likely to be fired by him, while those who were more administrators than battlefield commanders, such as George S. Marshall and Dwight D. Eisenhower, became extremely effective political operators.

Another misconception insists that military history became sclerotic at the dawn of the nuclear age, and that classical deterrence, balance of power, and doctrines such as preemption and alliances have not applied since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In fact, all that changed for a few generations were the levels of destruction, not the principles of war. We can be assured that the eternal cycle of challenge and counterresponse survives, and thus eras of the offensive giving way to the defensive will follow, as one day lasers or space-based systems will knock down even sophisticated nuclear missiles—that in turn eventually become ever more sophisticated to avoid them.

Military history reminds us of the need for humility, or at least the perspective that no generation is the end of history, but simply a phase, extended or brief, in an endless and unchanging sequence of new weapons and ideologies birthing counter-weapons and antithetical belief systems. And the effort to remind the public of those truths continues. At the Hoover Institution, the Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict, with over forty affiliated scholars (of which I am one), has met for over a decade and continues to publish historical analyses of current wars and threats to peace in its online journal Strategika (now in its eighty-first issue). In addition, Hillsdale College just announced the creation of a new Center for Military History and Grand Strategy to bring the light of the past to strategic decision-making in the present.

In the decades ahead, we will likely see frightening new weapons, revolutionary and unstable foreign aggressors, and ideologies that profess to change the rules of history. But these will all be transport systems—pumps, if you will—that merely accelerate the delivery, but do not alter the essence, of the timeless water of military history, based as it is on unchanging human nature.


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There’s Nothing Wrong With Asking Questions About Damar Hamlin’s Sudden Collapse

BY: SHAWN FLEETWOOD at the Federalist:

JANUARY 03, 2023

Damar Hamlin transported off the field in an ambulance during Monday Night Football

The voices shunning questions about Hamlin’s collapse are the same ones who shunned questions about the government’s Covid response.

Author Shawn Fleetwood profile


During a regularly scheduled Monday Night Football game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, Bills safety Damar Hamlin was transported off the field via ambulance following a sudden collapse.

After completing what appeared to be a routine tackle, Hamlin — a 24-year-old Pennsylvania native who was drafted by the Bills in 2021 — abruptly collapsed roughly halfway through the game’s first quarter. Within minutes, on-the-field health officials administered CPR to the Bills safety and gave him oxygen before he was transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

According to ESPN, Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest and had his heartbeat restarted on the field before being taken away in the ambulance. He currently remains sedated and in critical condition at the hospital.

The incident has prompted the NFL to indefinitely postpone the game, in which the Bengals led 7-3.


What We Know

Since the Monday night tragedy, speculation has rippled across social media about the root cause of Hamlin’s collapse.

Was it the force of the hit? Did Hamlin receive the Covid jab and was it a contributing factor? Or did Hamlin catch Covid and have it weaken his heart? The simple answer is that we don’t know anything concrete at this point.

Among the more common theories cycling throughout the media is that commotio cordis contributed to Hamlin’s cardiac arrest. Such a phenomenon occurs when “a blow to the chest over the region of the heart by a blunt object” causes a “concussion of the heart.” But the situation remains speculative.

What we do know, however, is that Hamlin is far from the only young and healthy athlete to suffer sudden cardiac-related problems over the past few years.

Just last month, a former tight end for the University of Central Florida’s football team died suddenly at the age of 25 after going into cardiac arrest while out on a jog. Separately, a 21-year-old Greek soccer player abruptly died after going into cardiac arrest during a match early last year.

Similar cardiac-related incidents have been reported among other soccer players and high-profile athletes.


Despite the lack of acknowledgment from America’s legacy media and government health “experts,” we also know there are documented side effects pertaining to the Covid shots. Back in October, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo released an analysis detailing “an 84% increase in the relative incidence of cardiac-related death among males 18-39 years old within 28 days following mRNA vaccination.”

As of the result of the study’s findings, Ladapo’s office updated its guidance on the shots, now recommending they not be given to 18-39-year-old males.

In addition to Florida, countries such as Germany, France, and Denmark, among several others, “have all restricted the distribution of the Moderna Covid shots for individuals under the age of 30,” with all of them “citing the documented risk of heart inflammation among young people as justification.”

It Isn’t a Crime to Ask Questions

None of this is to definitively conclude that Hamlin’s collapse or those of the other aforementioned athletes were related to the Covid jabs. As previously mentioned, there is currently no verifiable evidence to confirm such an assertion.

But it’s hard not to notice that the voices shunning questions about the jab’s potential side effects and these athletes’ injuries are the same ones who shunned questions about any aspect of the government’s unscientific Covid response.

Whether it’s been over the efficacy of maskslockdowns, or natural immunity, health “experts” and their media acolytes have repeatedly dismissed any and all challenges to their policies as “conspiracy theories.” Officials such as Anthony Fauci have gone even further, proclaiming that anyone who criticizes his Covid guidance is “actually criticizing science.”

Even if Hamlin’s injury had nothing to do with the Covid vaccine, which very well may be the case, what’s telling is how quickly people have swooped in with faux virtue to smear anyone wondering when we’ll be allowed to talk about the rise in healthy young athletes experiencing freak cardiac issues. What we know about Hamlin’s injury hasn’t proved anything about Covid shots yet, but the scornful pushback against asking simple questions has proved a lot about the fragile, authoritarian bent of our intellectual police and the people who mindlessly parrot them.

(Look no further than America’s left-wing, corporate press, members of which celebrated reports of unvaccinated Americans dying from Covid.)

So, while we should absolutely pray for Hamlin in his time of need, we also shouldn’t be afraid to demand transparency when so many innocent lives are at risk.

“States and cities governed by leftist politicians have seen crime skyrocket.”

DeSantis Goes to War

Thomas D. Klingenstein at the American Mind:

And rightly so.

On election night, I was half-watching Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s victory remarks when something quite extraordinary and encouraging caught my attention. DeSantis evoked Churchill’s “fighting on the beaches” speech, in which Churchill stirred the resolve and patriotism of the British people in anticipation of the invasion of their homeland by the Nazis. DeSantis, of course, was not warning against Nazism: he was warning against wokeism, which he was implicitly equating with Nazism. I had never heard a national political figure treat wokeism with such (deserved) gravity.

Before rephrasing Churchill, DeSantis said:

States and cities governed by leftist politicians have seen crime skyrocket. They’ve seen their taxpayers abused, they’ve seen medical authoritarianism imposed, and they’ve seen American principles discarded. The woke agenda has caused millions of Americans to leave these jurisdictions for greener pastures.

People do not uproot themselves and leave the rhythms of home “for light and transient causes.” These people are not coming to Florida just for the weather. They are fleeing the woke regime of blue America—an abusive, lawless, totalitarian regime which is waging war against American principles and the American way of life.

DeSantis continued:

Now, this great exodus of Americans, for those folks, Florida, for so many of them, has served as the promised land. We have embraced freedom. We have maintained law and order. We have protected the rights of parents. We have respected our taxpayers, and we reject woke ideology. We fight the woke in the legislature. We fight the woke in the schools. We fight the woke in the corporations. We will never, ever surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where woke goes to die.

In evoking Churchill’s speech, DeSantis lets us know that the woke regime is bearing down on America. In the urgent cadences of war, DeSantis tells us that America will not survive unless she defeats the woke regime. He believes this regime is so evil and powerful that he can, without bathos, compare it to the Nazi regime.

Some Unsolicited Advice

DeSantis has made a good start. He has told us that we are at war with a deadly regime, the woke regime. You cannot win a war unless you know you are in one.

But at some point soon, he must go further. He must show a voting majority of Americans that wokeism is the challenge of our generation, as Nazism was the challenge of the WWII generation and Communism for two generations thereafter.

And he must back up his claim. He has given us at least one piece of substantial evidence: in large numbers, people are fleeing their homes. Still, we need more. We shall not address the problem with the right strategies and people or the necessary resolve until we believe the country’s life truly is at stake. DeSantis needs to put America on a war footing.

In today’s environment, where there is a keen and deepening generalized awareness of danger, I think there is a hunger for a reasoned account of that danger. DeSantis’s most important role—the role of any statesman who is to rise to the historic challenge of this crisis—is to give such an account, one that calls a morally indifferent nation back to the principles of the founding.

So far as I can tell, there is no national Republican elected official who fully understands the threat except for Trump and DeSantis. The national figure not in politics who best gets it probably is Tucker Carlson. Night after night, in artful, insightful monologues, Carlson flays some aspect of the woke regime. He is the best we have, but he is not going to lead a major political movement. For that we need a statesman. That could well be DeSantis. And so I presume to offer him advice he hasn’t asked for:

He should make defeating wokeism his central purpose, with the goal of making it the central purpose of the Republican Party (which currently has no central purpose). Presumably DeSantis will run for the presidency. But even if he doesn’t, his first goal should be the mobilization of America. He should make anti-wokeism (and its opposite, pro-Americanism) the theme of the next Republican administration, whether it is his administration or not.

To develop an anti-woke (pro-American) agenda, DeSantis must first help us understand the woke regime, the woke way of life. He must explain that this way of life cannot possibly coexist with the American way of life. The two regimes have utterly irreconcilable understandings of a just society.

For the American regime, a just society is one in which free men and women pursue happiness according to their abilities and according to nature. Such a society is one where merit rules. For the woke regime, on the other hand, a just society is one where the regime imposes identity group quotas based on victimhood rankings. Such a regime makes war on merit.  

It’s one regime or the other. You can’t offer admission to college (or anything else) according to group quotas and, at the same time, offer admission according to merit. I suggest DeSantis frame the debate accordingly: the merit regime vs. the group quota regime (or simply, merit vs. group quotas).

DeSantis should be very clear: woke revolutionaries attempt not to improve our culture, or remake aspects of it, but to destroy it or lead us to destroy it ourselves—not partially but completely. Like (crazed) revolutionaries everywhere, they believe the world must be purified, no matter the cost.

But DeSantis should not overestimate the threat either. The woke regime is a totalitarian regime in the making. Our side is outgunned almost everywhere, but there is still room to maneuver. America is not yet a one-party state; we still have some open communication channels; our intelligence agencies can (conceivably) be reformed; wokeness in the military can probably be reversed by a strong president, and businesses (one must hope!) will come around if they see America gaining the upper hand on woke tyranny. Even in education, where the woke revolutionaries have us tied to a chair, our hands are still free.

In addition to a framing, we need a simple theory or model of the woke regime: its composition, its goals, and the means for achieving those goals. Without a model we cannot anticipate where the woke revolutionaries are going next, and so we are always playing whack-a-mole, each new woke initiative catching us by surprise.

DeSantis might use the 2020 riots as an example of the woke regime in action. Radicals, intellectuals, media, businesses, Democratic politicians, and the criminal justice system conspired to create mayhem. They ignited, justified, hid, funded, fanned the flames of, and freed the rioters. There is no overarching organization. There is some informal coordination among players, but mostly the regime is a revolutionary cabal of the anti-American elite, who want us to believe they are liberating innocent victims.

The objective of the woke regime—group quotas—requires the woke revolutionaries to make Americans deeply ashamed of their past, thereby making them inclined to trade in the merit regime for the group quota regime. This requires a big lie. Every totalitarian regime has one. The woke regime’s big lie is that America is systemically racist and about to be overrun by racists, a.k.a. Trump voters. (That Trump voters are racist is, regrettably, a view also held by many neoconservatives.)  

DeSantis should call this the “Big Lie” and, like Trump, dismiss it without apology or qualification. DeSantis should explain that the phony white guilt of the elite is killing the rest of us, black and white, that racism is low on the list of problems confronting black citizens, and, as Frederick Douglass counseled, the way to help blacks is to encourage them to help themselves.

DeSantis must tell Republicans they should forget about defending themselves against charges of “racism” (it cannot be done). Instead Republicans need to explain that the central problem facing the nation is not racism, but the trumped-up charges of racism that hound us from morning to night. The goal of conservatives should be, as David Azerrad has pointed out, “not to solve the race problem but to prevent the race problem from crushing the country.”

DeSantis needs to explain that the doctrinaire egalitarianism of wokesism denies the natural differences in abilities among people and so is evil. DeSantis should say just that: “evil.” Although the elite will cringe, as it did when Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union “evil,” most Americans will find it both bracing and reassuring.

In addition to telling lies, the woke revolutionaries must, as most everyone knows by now, censor anyone who challenges the lies. In a totalitarian regime there can be no space for dissent. This requires, among many other things, erasing from memory totalitarian regimes and their evil. DeSantis gets it. To his great credit, he signed a bill last year that requires the teaching of “communism and totalitarianism.”

Republicans recognize the Big Lie, censorship, and the corruption of education, but like many pieces of the woke regime, these are not usually seen as part of the larger woke strategy. We see the pieces but not always the picture. That’s DeSantis’s role: to put the pieces together.

DeSantis should make us understand all the woke regime’s actions through this totalitarian lens. Take, for example, Biden’s decision to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. The woke revolutionaries tell us this has to do with climate change, but it is difficult to see how destroying American energy independence can be other than part of an attempt to destroy America. Whether done with conscious intent or simply allowed to happen, the result is the same.

Or take open borders. We usher in millions of illegal immigrants, distribute them around the country, encourage them not to assimilate, and sometimes even allow them to vote. This too is an attempt to destroy our country with the additional benefit for the woke revolutionaries of swelling Democratic voting rolls. Another example is the breaking of the country into identity groups (tribes), each competing for the highest ranking in the victimhood sweepstakes. This will almost certainly lead to tribal warfare. When has it not?

Yes, Republican politicians usually object to such policies. But they don’t generally identify and denounce them as parts of the woke strategy for destroying our country. Unless they do, we will lose our country without even a fight.

A Time for Statesmanship

DeSantis should help us follow the logic of wokeism. For example, if we know group quotas for innocent victims is the goal of the woke regime, then we know that the woke revolutionaries need to bring the black prison population (currently about 33 percent of the total prison population) more in line with blacks’ percentage of the overall population (13 percent). That is the purpose of defunding the police and failing to prosecute certain crimes and other criminal justice “reforms.” For the most part, people with common sense—in particular black Americans who must endure the consequences in their own neighborhoods—see these things simply as very stupid ideas. But DeSantis should keep reminding us that wokeism is not a jumble of stupid ideas but a coherent set of stupid ideas in the service of the group quota regime, one that is completely at odds with the merit regime.

And DeSantis should help us anticipate the woke revolutionaries’ next steps. In the case of prison population, the next step might be disparate sentencing, where blacks get lighter sentences than whites for the same offense, or perhaps the elimination of prison altogether. As loopy as these ideas sound, they are logical extensions of woke theory. Moreover, each has been talked about by leading woke revolutionary intellectuals like Ibram X. Kendi. Sometimes all we have to do is listen.

Very importantly, DeSantis must keep reminding us that war requires different strategies than peace time. War is not a time for trying to persuade the independents, reach across the aisle, or even reach out to the Republican accommodationists. DeSantis knows the best way to get these groups on board is not to woo them but to win the war. He knows as well that any concessions made to the woke revolutionaries will be pocketed, not reciprocated—something even Trump may have failed to fully appreciate.

War also requires different personnel. Trump, an almost unthinkable option at any other time in American history, was the right man for these times, and may still be the right man. Trump was a great war time president. DeSantis must help us understand that Trump’s flaws were not—perhaps are still not—disqualifying.

The easy way out for Republicans, and the temptation for DeSantis, will be to say Trump’s policies were good, but not the rest of him. I think this assessment of Trump is wrong. As I have written elsewhere, Trump advanced many important policies, but the “rest of him” is where one finds the virtues that have inspired a movement. His willingness to fight, his abundant courage, strength, independence, optimism, confidence in America, and absence of white guilt are examples of virtues that made him both effective and dear to patriotic Americans. DeSantis should resist his advisors who tell him he should not speak well of Trump. Now is the time for statesmanship.

And when the Republican establishment dismisses the Trump movement as “populist,” DeSantis should demur and explain to that establishment that when the elite undermines the American way of life, and the voices of ordinary people cannot be heard, populism is not only healthy but vital. Trump’s populist base has just what the Republican Party lacks: purpose, the passion that can match the ideological zeal of the woke revolutionaries, optimism, and confidence in itself and the country. And the base doesn’t have what the party has altogether too much of: white guilt. Trump’s base is a fighting force we cannot afford to lose.

In his election night victory speech DeSantis imagined that he, like Churchill, was a great leader fighting the forces of evil. If DeSantis is to actually follow Churchill (and Lincoln), he must be magnanimous, as they were. Voters will rally to magnanimity coupled with courage and resolution.

DeSantis’s immediate goal is to make America vs. the woke regime (merit vs. group quotas) the central theme of American political discourse. Perhaps that begins with a speech. Like Churchill and Lincoln, DeSantis should appeal to our patriotism in order to stir our resolve. We are still a patriotic people. Where patriotism has waned, I suspect its embers would burst into flames. DeSantis must remind us we are part of a noble and honorable tradition. He must call attention to the great successes of our past. In doing so he reminds us that we are still capable of greatness. As in times before, the future of freedom everywhere rests on our shoulders, a fateful burden we carry as the “almost” chosen people. DeSantis must give us hope but not let us forget the possibility of darkness. As a peroration, he cannot improve on Lincoln who faced a crisis not so dissimilar to the one we face today:


Thomas D. Klingenstein is a principal in a New York investment firm, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Claremont Institute, and a playwright. @tomklingenstein

Lefty GOP War Of Ten Against Kevin McCarthy Leading The House?

January 3, 2023

The House Speaker Vote — Embarrassment, Indeed

By Paul E. Scates at American Thinker:

Yesterday the NY Times printed an op-ed by communications consultant Brendan Buck, who previously worked for former Speakers of the House John Boehner and Paul Ryan.  You think Mr. Buck has a vested interest in seeing Kevin McCarthy named speaker?

Before I comment on Buck’s essay, a word about “communications consultants” — several decades ago I worked for a large southern utility in their Communications Office.  I was among several selected to be a Media Liaison, the person who issued information to the public/media in case of a catastrophic event that impacted the electrical grid, a nuclear plant, etc.  One of the top communication consultant organizations in the nation was brought in to train us in how to communicate with the media.  

The training covered not just the language we used, but heavily emphasized our appearance, our facial expressions, etc.  One point emphasized heavily was that we were to never look at a questioner to our right or left simply by shifting our eyes toward that person, but to turn our head to look directly at the questioner.  To do otherwise, we were told, “makes you look shifty.”

We were given several catastrophic scenarios wherein we practiced using “positive” language in a calm, controlled manner “in order to create the sense that everything is okay.”  I asked a simple question, “What if everything has gone south and things are not okay… are we supposed to lie?”  The trainer (actually, the head man of the famous company) practically exploded, advising me in no uncertain terms that my job had nothing to do with the truth, but everything to do with creating the impression that everything was under control, in order to spread a sense of calm and that public safety was assured.  Being a bit of a hardhead, I insisted “But the truth is what matters most, isn’t it?”  Suffice it to say that I was not this “communication consultant’s” favorite pupil during this three-day session.  He was positively livid that I refused to abandon a concern for the truth in favor of accomplishing the mission of assuring the public that all is well.

So that’s my experience with what was, at the time, one of the most well-known and celebrated “communications consultants,” Buck’s profession.  Buck begins his essay with the admonition that the “fleeting promise that this Congress will work better than the last” would be immediately dashed if the House fails to elect Kevin McCarthy on the first ballot.

Apparently, Buck hasn’t been outside Washington, D.C. much in the past couple of decades, else he’d know that few Americans still have faith in such a “promise.”  But Buck goes on to state that “electing a Speaker is a responsibility given the House by the Constitution,” clearly oblivious to the responsibility that House members have to uphold the oaths they take to said Constitution, which many (dare I say ‘most’) have repeatedly and flagrantly failed to do.  Failing to give the speakership to McCarthy on the first vote would, according to Buck, “destroy Americans’ confidence in the new Congress.”  I know of very few Americans who have confidence or faith in Congress, new or old.

Then Buck has the gall to say that “a self-serving power play by a small group of Republicans threatens to make a mockery of the institution.” (Italics mine) No, Mr. Buck, the self-serving GOP establishment has long since made a mockery of the institution, by denying individual members the ability to legislate by using House (and Senate) rules to place most of the legislative power in the hands of “leadership” such as John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, and, Buck obviously hopes, Kevin McCarthy.  Just look at the items requested by the Freedom Caucus who oppose McCarthy: the right to remove a speaker who is not responsive to the will of the people, the right to have adequate time to read/analyze proposed legislation prior to a floor vote, using stand-alone bills which must pass or fail on their own merits, etc.  The fact that “leadership,” including McCarthy, resists such common sense (and constitutionally intended) positions is exactly why those few brave House members are balking at “just going along in order to get along.”  And it’s high time they did so!

Buck continues that a failed vote would “weaken Mr. McCarthy or whoever the new speaker will be.”  As if that’s a bad thing?  Good grief, we’ve seen exactly what transpires when the House speaker is little more than a despot, dictating to the other elected members what will and will not be done.  The Constitution gives equal power to the House members, and doesn’t place them in servitude to the “leadership,” be it Democrat or Republican.  But that has been the situation for far too long now.

Buck then says a failure to elect McCarthy on the first vote “will make very clear from the outset they cannot be counted on to fulfill the body’s basic responsibilities, such as funding the government or preventing a credit default by lifting the debit ceiling, both of which will be required later this year.”  Oh, my… he said the quiet part out loud here: the basic responsibility of the House of Representatives is to carry out the will of “we, the people,” and not to prioritize funding a government that currently costs almost $2 trillion per year to operate!  And note that Buck, a Washington insider, insinuates that the only way to prevent default on the national debt is by lifting the debt ceiling (i.e., creating even more debt)… that’s exactly how House “leadership” has thought about it for decades now, instead of… oh, I don’t know… how about spending less money!!  

Buck claims that a failure to elect McCarthy on the first ballot would leave the Republican majority hopelessly damaged, “…along with the institution of the House itself.” (Italics mine) Only a confirmed D.C. insider is blind to the fact that the House (and the Senate) are already hopelessly damaged.  But that damage has been done in large part by the “leadership” which has set the rules and the processes by which all manner of unconstitutional legislation is routinely passed, including omnibus spending bills that no member has actually read.  

In the 50s and 60s, House Speaker Mike McCormick used to greet freshmen Congressmen with the admonition, “Boys, in order to get along, you must first go along.”  Meaning they had to kowtow to “leadership” direction and control to show their loyalty; only then would leadership then extend campaign funds, committee assignments, etc., that would help in re-election.  That a few GOP members of the House are finally bucking the “good ol’ boy” GOP establishment is encouraging; but that it’s only about 12 of the over 200 GOP members tells you all you need to know about so-called conservative Republicans.