National Review’s Trump Critique

Against TrumpNational Review, the flagship conservative magazine founded in the 1950s by the late William F. Buckley, has taken a bold stand against the candidacy of Donald Trump. In its new issue, NR has assembled a bevy of conservative commentators and activists who give their reasons why Trump would be a disaster for political and cultural conservatism.

Trump, of course, was quick to respond with his typical response when criticized by anyone—NR, in effect, is a loser. It’s a “dying paper,” he thundered.

The Republican National Committee also was quick to respond. NR was slated to be a co-sponsor for an upcoming February debate. It has now been disinvited. Hmmm, I thought the establishment opposed Trump.

I have been a regular reader of NR since the 1970s. I don’t always agree with every article, primarily because there are various strands of conservatism represented. That’s actually one of its strengths: it draws from every avenue of conservative thought, and even when I disagree, I am given something to think about.

Whittaker Chambers was an editor of NR back in the late 1950s. Ronald Reagan loved to read it. I still do.

Some criticize NR as too neo-conservative or whatever, but it really represents all positions within conservatism.

Against Trump 2Rich Lowry, the editor, appeared last night on The Kelly File on Fox to explain the rationale for this strong stand. He was joined by three of the contributors to the magazine’s Trump critique. None of them can realistically be considered “establishment.” Someone like Brent Bozell, head of the Media Research Center, who also appeared, has fought the conservative fight against the “establishment” all of his life. Any criticism of him or others like him has no credibility on that ground.

Regular readers of this blog know my opposition to a Trump nomination. Let me quickly catalog my reasons:

  • I don’t believe Trump’s recent conversion to conservatism: he has historically been on the liberal side of most policy issues;
  • Specifically, he never has had a problem with abortion, even to the point where he has said he thinks his sister, a pro-abortion judge, would be a great Supreme Court justice; last week, he hinted that former senator Scott Brown, a pro-abortion Republican, would be a wonderful vice president in his administration;
  • He has no real issue with same-sex marriage;
  • He has no understanding of Christian faith, and no matter how much he says he will protect religious liberty, I have no faith in his promises;
  • If you listen to any of his speeches, you will find that they are rambling and fairly incoherent, focused primarily on fanning emotions—the very definition of a demagogue;
  • His constant personal attacks on others, candidates or otherwise, betray a thin skin and a lack of character that would further demean the office of the presidency;
  • He is absolutely full of himself, constantly referring to how much of a winner he is, how much money he has made, and how only he can deal with others.

I could go on, but I promised a quick overview.

I agree with NR’s critique that he is no conservative; neither is he in any way a genuine Christian believer, based on his many comments that provide evidence of only a vague type of understanding of the Christian faith.

Some have asked me if I have any favored candidate in this race. I’ve tried to hold back on making any such pronouncement as I continue to listen and investigate the field.

Realistically, only two others have a chance to derail Trump at this point—Cruz and Rubio. I would support either of these nominations. I have reservations about both men, but there is no perfect candidate. Right now, if forced to choose, I would go with Ted Cruz, but I remain open to more information.

Will NR’s opinion influence anyone? Yes, but the real question is how many. I doubt that a majority of Trump supporters or those who are leaning that way will read the NR essays, but if you are one of those, I strongly urge you to do so and carefully consider the enormity of the decision before us.

We truly are at a crossroads as a nation. Trump is not the answer to our problems; he will, I believe, only add to them.

The All-Out Assault on the Family

Confession time. Until a couple days ago, I had never heard of Melissa Harris-Perry. That’s because I don’t watch MSNBC. I have better things to do with my time than spend it on a network that has been shown, via reputable studies, to be little more than a shill for the Obama administration. Yet my attention was drawn to comments made by Ms. Harris-Perry, who apparently is a weekend host for one of MSNBC’s programs.

According to Rich Lowry of National Review, “MSNBC runs sermonettes from its anchors during commercial breaks. They are like public-service announcements illuminating the progressive mind.” In this case, Harris-Perry devoted 30 seconds to berating our society for not spending enough on public education. In the process of her remarks, she stated,

We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children: your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children. So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the household’s, then we start making better investments.

I see. Does anyone hear the echo of “it takes a village”? We’ve been down this road before with Hillary Clinton. I’m sorry, Ms. Harris-Perry, but children are the responsibility of their parents, not the whole community. The whole community did not give birth to them; they came into this world via their parents. To me, it’s amazing how brazen the Left has become; they can say nearly anything publicly now and expect no backlash. Well, they got one this time. Back to Rich Lowry, who wonders how this slipped past those who decide what airs on this channel:

Her statement wasn’t an aside on live television. She didn’t misspeak. The spot was shot, produced, and aired without, apparently, raising any alarm bells. No one with influence raised his or her hand and said, “Should we really broadcast something that sounds so outlandish?”

The problem, of course, is that compared to what’s already in the public sphere—same-sex marriage is a prime example—statements like this don’t appear so outlandish anymore.  Some on the Left now seem to be competing for the title of “most shocking idea of the week.” Lowry again, exposing the progressive mindset, puts it this way:

As the ultimate private institution, the family is a stubborn obstacle to the great collective effort. Insofar as people invest in their own families, they are holding out on the state and unacceptably privileging their own kids over the children of others. These parents are selfish, small-minded, and backward.

What we are witnessing, be it via abortion, same-sex marriage, or the “it takes a village” mentality, is an all-out assault on the family. If they get their way, family, as defined Biblically and traditionally in our culture, will be no more. The word will lose all meaning since it can mean anything. This is one of those battles that must be fought; we cannot plead weariness or bow to the trend because it seems inevitable. Victories come by the hands of those who remain firm and strong, and we are called to be both.

The Root Cause of All Root Causes

How about a little more commentary on Western blindness today? On this subject, I always like to allow experts to speak. Mark Steyn, in America Alone, provides enough ammunition to carry the day. As many of you know, I’ve been chronicling Steyn’s book over the last few weeks. We’re now up to chapter eight, “The State of the Art Primitive: The Known Unknowns vs. the Knowingly Unknowing.” If that title puzzles you a little, let me—or rather Steyn—shed some light.

Steyn quotes Edward Said, “the New York-based America disparager and author of the bestselling Orientalism,” as deploring what he calls “the tendency of commentators to separate cultures into … ‘sealed-off entities,’ when in reality Western Civilization and the Muslim world are so ‘intertwined’ that it was impossible to ‘draw the line’ between them.” In other words, Westerners have this bad habit of saying there is a clear distinction between the cultures when none really exists.

Steyn responds,

Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, wasn’t impressed by this notion. “The line seems pretty clear,” he said. “Developing mass commercial aviation and soaring skyscrapers was the West’s idea; slashing the throats of stewardesses and flying planes into the skyscrapers was radical Islam’s idea.”

We are neglecting one startling fact: they hate us.

Take the example of the strife between Israel and the Palestinians:

For one side, there is no common humanity, even with people they know well, who provide them with jobs, and much else: Wafa Samir Ibrahim al-Biss, a twenty-one-year-old woman who has received kind and exemplary treatment at an Israeli hospital in Beersheba, packs herself with explosives and sets off to blow apart that hospital and the doctors and nurses who’ve treated her.

We in the West are always looking for the “root causes” of the outrage in the Islamic world. Steyn says there are no root causes to seek, or at least not in the ordinary sense. He notes,

Five days before the slaughter in Bali in 2005, nine Islamists were arrested in Paris for reportedly plotting to attack the Metro. Must be all those French troops in Iraq, right? So much for the sterling efforts of President Chirac and his prime minister, the two chief obstructionists to Bush-Blair-neocon-Zionist warmongering since 2001.

The French continually criticized the United States after 9/11, “yet the jihadists still blew up a French oil tanker. If you were to pick only one Western nation not to blow up the oil tankers of, the French would surely be it.” When asked later, the spokesman for the radical jihadists explained, “‘We would have preferred to hit a U.S. frigate, but no problem because they are all infidels.'”

Now we get down to what might be considered the root cause of all root causes, one that escapes the Western illuminati: they attack us because we are not them. Steyn continues,

When people make certain statements and their acts conform to those statements I tend to take them at their word. As Hussein Massawi, former leader of Hezbollah, neatly put it, “We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you.” The first choice of Islamists is to kill Americans and Jews, or best of all an American Jew like Daniel Pearl, the late Wall Street Journal reporter. Failing that, they’re happy to kill Australians, Britons, Canadians, Swedes, Germans, as they did in Bali. No problem. We are all infidels. You can be a hippy-dippy hey-man-I-love-everybody Dutch stoner hanging out in a bar in Bali, and they’ll blow you up with as much enthusiasm as if you were Dick Cheney.

The Soviet Union and other totalitarian states at least played a game of pretending they weren’t what they were—they would refer to themselves as “People’s Republics,” which was a way to try to paper over their true nature. Radical Islamists don’t bother to pretend.

They say what they mean and they mean what they say—and we choose to stay in ignorance. Blow up the London Underground during a G-8 summit and the world’s leaders twitter about how “tragic” and “ironic” it is that this should have happened just as they’re taking steps to deal with the issues—as though the terrorists are upset about poverty in Africa and global warming. Even in a great blinding flash of clarity, we can’t wait to switch the lights off and go back to fumbling around on the darkling plain.

We continue to pretend that we are all the same, and that we can work together, even when the “other side” clearly states its goals. We wait around for cooperation and wonder why it’s not forthcoming.

We are blind because we have a foundation of spiritual blindness, and spiritual blindness begets all other types of blindness. The radicals condemn the West because it is “Christian civilization.” If only that were the case.