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A Long-Overdue Statement of My Values

9 Jul

To all who can read my words, I have a statement to make and a stand to take. First, I must note that I recognize I’m posting it to a platform for which neither I, nor anyone, has paid to be a member. Consequently, the platform may choose to suspend my “free” membership, or otherwise delete my post or account. As a reminder to all of you, we are on here for “free” not because we are customers, but because we are a product (individually and collectively). This is the case for all social media. Technically, they are not the government and are not necessarily bound by a guarantee of free speech for all. They are a service, a club if you will, for which we have all agreed to be members, subject to their terms and conditions (and their whims). They, along with many other social media platforms (and even Google itself) have been engaged in muting some speech with which they disagree, while amplifying voices they prefer to promote. That, in my opinion, runs contrary to the spirit enshrined in our nation’s founding principles. I expect to pay a price for having said that, as well as for what I am about to say.

I have been many things to many people in my 4 ½ decades, but the most important title I have ever held is Dad. It is for this reason that I wish to explicate my values, so that I might state them succinctly for him and maintain a circle of friends who share them. I am fully aware that many of my “friends” on this forum may disagree with me and I welcome their departure from my page (and my life if they see fit). Indeed, I have recently found that expressing my values will result in others “unfriending” me, or asking me to “unfriend” them. At first, my response was to tell them that they had to do it. Now, I’ve been actively doing it myself. My list of “friends” is dwindling (thankfully) and I’m asking that you all help me continue the trend if my opinions offend you. Recent events have compelled me to take this action. I will now state my values. Should anyone feel compelled to make emotionally derived statements that castigate me for what I’m saying, I must issue the following warning: I speak and write from a position of cautious, calculated, reasoned, and well-researched thought. It is therefore the case that I’m quite capable of responding with facts as well as emotions, but I will emphasize the former punctiliously.

Where I stand on matters:

On race. I do not support the organization known as “Black Lives Matter,” nor do I support the utterance of the phrase. I say this because the organization is rooted in Marxist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Israel principles, which clash with my own values. As for the phrase, it is used in a way that excludes, which would be equivalent to saying “white lives matter” (something I also don’t say). None matter more than any others. What is worse, however, is that the phrase made its way to popular opinion not because of any actual injustice against blacks, but because the fallacious claims of systemic injustice, specifically said to be routinely carried out by the police writ large. Nothing can be further from the truth (well, a few things, but I’ll get into those shortly).

The BLM phraseology is being used by every sector of the economy (e.g., Netflix, Amazon, Chase Bank, etc.), almost overnight, in ways that facilitate their own public relations virtue-signaling needs. That does not negate the fact that it is an irresponsible phrase, which stimulates the need to further distinguish among people on the basis of race. Much like the racism (notice I don’t call it “reverse racism”) of Affirmative Action programs, music that persistently promotes use of the forbidden-to-others “N” word, television shows and channels that are made for one exclusive group’s identity, and other forms of entertainment that highlight victimhood and promote distinctions among us all, I do not condone it. The aim is to promote a false narrative that one group’s suffering is caused by another group. This has not been true for a very long time.

Racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, and anti-gay sentiment all exist. They probably always will. Whenever people come to see themselves in light of the “other,” on the basis of any distinguishing feature (e.g., color, religion, economic class, regional derivation, nationality, etc.) it is quite human, even if very incorrect, to feel that one’s own perceived wrongs have been caused by some external actor(s). It matters little if it is actually true. What matters is that people peddle the myth that it is. When this behavior gains traction, which it has, the alleged aggressor is targeted for vilification. Ask any committed Leftist what is wrong with America, as in “who are the villains?” and they will usually name straight, white, old, men (in combination, or in part). What is missing in all of the discussion about “black lives matter” is that rather than trying to solve the issues of fatherless homes, extreme violence, and an unhealthy disrespect for authority figures that plagues the black community, the “other” is blamed. Nothing beneficial for blacks comes from this. Many, whom I admire deeply have said this with far better brilliance and with superior prose. Indeed, matters only get worse as anarchists and hardcore (often white) Marxists run a campaign to destroy the fabric of society.

Yet before anyone claims I’m being a racist for saying this, I’ll offer a short list (in reality it’s much longer) of black Americans who agree with me. To be clear, I don’t owe anyone a list. I am doing this because some people seem to enjoy labeling others on emotional grounds, so as to advance their own sense of virtue, which understandably (even if fictitiously) makes them feel righteous. I hold the following black Americans in very high regard. I suggest that before picking a fight with me, their many works be considered objectively (links provided). Academics such as Thomas Sowell, Walter E. Williams, Larry Elder,  Carol Swain, Jason D. Hill, and Shelby Steele, to name a few. Commentators such as David Webb, Candace Owens, Jason Riley, CJ Pearson, Herman Cain, Charles V. Payne, Dumisani Washington, Deneen Borelli, and Sonnie Johnson, for starters. Public service professionals such as Allen West, Ben Carson, Clarence Thomas, Mia Love, David Clarke, etc. For the record, I do not admire them because they are black, but because I enjoy reading their work and the effect they have had on the expansion of my own horizons. I don’t judge people on race; that’s the province of Leftists.

On Israel. I’m a Zionist Jew. This means that I support the right of the Jewish people to a Jewish State, but I also support Israeli citizens who are not Jewish (e.g., Druze, Circassians, Arab Muslims, Bahai, etc.). I do not support the so-called Palestinians. The people who, after Israel was established, became known as “Palestinians” and derived their identity from the fact that the failure of the invading and annihilative Arab armies could not deliver them a state devoid of Jews as they promised.

People are entitled to their feelings and opinions about the Palestinians, but facts and history matter. At minimum, before engaging me in an argument about why I am supposedly wrong, the critic may wish to start by reading several books by Efraim Karsh. My favorites include Islamic Imperialism, Empires of the Sand, Arafat’s War, and Fabricating Israeli History (this one really helped me as an undergraduate to clear away the extraordinary bias that was common in textbooks about the Arab-Israeli conflict). For a moral-legal perspective, Alan Dershowitz has written many factual books on the matter. Among my favorites are The Case for Israel, The Case for Peace, and The Case Against Israel’s Enemies. You might just start with the Jewish Virtual Library, or download Mitchell Bard’s Myths and Facts for free.

A robust knowledge of the history of the conflict in the Middle East and a strong cultural attachment to my heritage, guide my sentiment. More importantly, I’m a stickler for facts, especially those that are patently available and tend to overturn narrative fallacies. Lest anyone now endeavor to call me anti-Arab, I’ll offer again a list (which I still don’t owe anyone) of Arab writers whom I have come to admire. For instance, Fouad Ajami, Khaled Abu Toameh (a Palestinian I might add), Raymond Ibrahim, Walid Phares, Walid Shoebat, Brigitte Gabriel, Mohammad Zoabi (an Arab Israeli), Tawfik Hamid, Mohamed Zuhdi Jasser, Nonie Darwish, and so on. For the record, I do not admire them because they are Arabs, but because of their contributions to the greater good of humanity by exposing the lies promoted by Islamists, pan-Arabists, and their (natural) Leftist allies.

On the LGBTQI+ Agenda. I believe that humans should be with whomever it is they choose. Although the normal configuration, according the natural proliferation of our species, would be represented by the combination of a male and a female, I am not opposed to gay marriage. Indeed, I have expressed my opinion about this in the past. I don’t enjoy seeing same-sex couples kiss, but the simple solution is that I turn my head. It happens and my queasiness with it is simply that: my own queasiness.

Having said that, I will not stand for transsexual or transgender lifestyles being normalized. They are an anomaly akin to a mental illness, for which I sympathize with those who are afflicted by wanting to be something they biologically can’t be. I will not go quietly along if my child is being taught that it’s within the realm of normalcy to accept this lifestyle. It is not. There are two sexes (male and female) and genders are categories that have been made to seem elastic when they are, in essence, simply made up. I will also not engage in calling people by made-up pronouns, as some academic institutions and private companies are starting to require. For more on this, it might behoove one to consult Jordan Peterson.

I will likely be accused of being anti-gay, but the tactic doesn’t work on me. I have always known gay friends, family members, coworkers, fellow servicemembers, acquaintances, and neighbors. I have never, nor would I ever, treat them any differently for their sexual preferences. If a short list is required for my support of gay folks, here is a quick one for my detractors to peruse:  Guy Benson, Dave Rubin, Rob Smith (black, if it matters), and Richard Grenell. For the record, I do not admire them because they are gay, but because I agree with their perspectives on many issues.

On the police, military, and the flag. I served in both blue and green uniforms, wore an American flag on my shoulder, and swore a duty to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” For now, I will set aside the fact that bad cops are exceedingly rare, and are less inclined to shoot blacks, which I have addressed elsewhere. However, I will focus on my sense that kneeling for the flag is an affront to the military and the country for which it stands as a last redoubt against tyranny. Many have succumbed to the notion that it is somehow patriotic to kneel for the national anthem, or pledge of allegiance, and to do so at major sporting events. There are men and women, of all races, creeds and sexual orientations, who have fought for what that flag represents (blemishes and all). A good number have died doing so, and we have draped that same flag over their coffins to remind us of that fact.

When a person wears the flag and takes the oath, they do so with the knowledge that they may face debilitating physical injury and death. When someone kneels before the flag, due to some flaws in society they claim exist, they commit an act so misdirected in its intent and so ignorant in its effect. Equally as appalling is that the opportunity to hijack the flag’s significance is made on grounds that seek to highlight our nation’s purported imperfections, which consequently belittles the actual ills of society that had plagued us in generations past. It is as if one is saying we are broken, when in fact we are more fixed than we ever had been. An equivalent analogy would be the popular tact in calling someone Hitler, which cheapens the evil currency of his programmatic extermination of people on the basis of his own ideals. No one was Hitler, but Hitler himself.

On politics, ideology, and discord. For all of the above that I have expressed, one can probably gauge my disdain for the current political and ideological state of affairs. Our country has become more polarized over time and there is a point at which this polarization will give way to something far worse than domestic unrest. By polarization, I mean the variance between political parties and their attendant ideological underpinnings. In my estimation, the Left has moved so far from the center that the opening line (“A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of Communism”) from The Communist Manifesto not only describes Europe in 1848, but the U.S. today as well. Politics has become such a game of teamsmanship that there is a side to take with any given issue. Sides even switch if it appears the “other side” advocates for a certain cause, policy, or preference. The altar of alterity is an encumbrance to democracy and not a means to achieve a more perfect union.

I am a conservative. If that makes your stomach sick, it is likely because you believe what is said about conservatism. Allow me to disabuse you of the falsehoods, by first stating what we’re not. Conservatives are not “afraid of change” as many Leftists claim. We don’t like the specific types of change that so-called Liberals or Progressives advocate. Conservatives are not racists, sexists, or anti-gay. It’s a catchy slogan, but it doesn’t even come close to describing how we think or what we believe in. For the record, White Supremacists like David Duke and Black Supremacists like Louis Farrakhan are equally deserving of moral opprobrium for their racism and anti-Semitism.

So, how do we Conservatives think and what do we believe in? Small government, freedom of the individual, freedom from the tyranny of the Left that has seen their 19th century dreams fall apart in the 20th and 21st centuries, an adherence to the Constitution as the Framers meant it to be used, the free market (capitalism is the best form of this the world has ever known), and some sense of order. What we usually mean by “order” is not blind compliance by all with the rules that are established by the few elites. That’s actually a better description of Leftist ideals. No, what we mean is that in order for a society to function, people have to be able to count on the law coming to their aid when a wrong has been, or is about to be, committed against them. The system of freedom, the essence of conservatism (and libertarianism I might add), does not work under conditions of anarchy.

On liberty. I am a huge supporter of the Bill of Rights, with special affinity for the First and Second Amendments, which have been under attack for some time. On the First Amendment, the Leftists control people’s voices to the best of their ability, both shadow-banning and actually banning Conservatives on social media, in the academy, on news platforms, and in private industry. They shame people until they quit their professions, drop sponsorship for products or policies with which the Leftist mob disagrees, shout people down for their ideas, and cancel their appearances wherever they smell something that doesn’t resemble their Leftist scent.

As for the Second Amendment, it is absolutely untrue to peddle the idea that the citizenry were not meant to be armed. In furtherance of their Leftist mentality, whenever a mass shooting occurs, the blame is nearly always placed on the firearms themselves and not the bad actors (see my analysis of Leftist thoughts below for a better understanding of why that is so). I believe a well-armed citizenry acts as both a bulwark against tyranny and interpersonal criminal activity. The answer to stopping mass shootings in schools is not less guns, but more in the hands of the good folks. I also wrote about that and also the fact that violence in the interest of good is “good violence.” Indeed, I support “Black Guns Matter.”

On the current situation. The present discord one can readily observe is unwarranted, unjustified, and unjustifiable. Pretending the police are at fault for society’s ills, destroying our historic symbols (much like when the Taliban obliterated the statues at Bamiyan), re-writing school books to exclude facts and generate new ones, altering history to suit one’s own preferences, are all happening for a reason. The Left, along with their anarchist Left-ward oriented allies, have been engaging in brushfire battles for decades. They have increasingly been using circumstances that spark immediate outrage to fan their intersectionality (look it up if you’re not familiar) agenda, so that they can quickly push through their list of policy aims. They seem to think that now they are at the gates of what they hope to be a major (winnable) war. I’m here to oppose them during this battle and for the duration of the war.

This isn’t new. Saul Alinksy designed the agitation framework for it long ago. It’s just that the current conditions are most propitious for a revolt, or so they think. One should read John Kingdon’s widely cited book, so as to better understand how policy streams exist in various forms, but they need to take advantage of policy windows, so that they can force them through before the window closes. In the present case, a focusing event transpired (as it falsely did in the past with when criminal Michael Brown was justifiably shot in Ferguson, MO), for which the full range of facts had not yet been shown in a court of law. Multiple agenda setters mobilized, among which were anarchists, Left-wing activists, the media, academics, organized professional protesters, and yes, their Islamist anti-Semitic allies. The favorable circumstances were generated by pandemic lockdown fatigue, but the actors were readily at hand to push the agenda to fruition once the timing seemed appropriate. Protesting for a cause enabled a pathway for some to exit a seemingly endless depressing solitude for a number of purpose-seeking individuals to feel as though they’re part of something important. They picked the wrong battle, but it will rage on nonetheless.

What do Leftists believe in? The psycho-social underpinnings of Leftist thought are quite simple to distill. In short, the further Left one is on the ideological/political spectrum, the more they seek to champion the cause of underdogs; despite whether said underdogs are themselves behaving badly. They adhere to what I term an “underdogmatic” (see Michael Prell’s book for a primer) interpretation of the world, and actively seek victims and villains, often using the accoutrements of power as a proxy for their preferred  victim/villain dichotomy. This explains why you see BLM protesters wearing Palestinian Keffiyehs and making anti-Semitic remarks. It also explains why they automatically overlay a binary good/bad set of values on a variety of issues. If you don’t believe me, try these out: rich/poor, white/people of color, men/women, straight/LGBTQI+, strong/weak, well-armed states/rock-throwing terrorists, Israel/the Palestinians, law enforcement/unarmed or lesser-armed civilians, and so forth. In each instance, the Leftist uses the entity on the left-side of the slash mark as the villain, which is defined by the relationship to the entity on the right-side of the slash mark as a victim. There are variations to this, but generally it is a pretty handy rule to remember when dealing with Leftists.

The other important element is the part about serving as a champion of underdogs, which satisfies the ego and makes people feel like they are on the side of David versus Goliath, the powerless against the powerful, the downtrodden versus the elites. It turns out for them, however, that they often support the wrong people for the wrong reasons. Yet, since it feels good to utter slogans that align with the notion that one is on a mission to even the outcomes, facts do not matter whatsoever. When confronted with discomfiting facts, the Leftist will usually resort to the powered/powerless trope for comfort. They will then regroup around catchy phrases about “the system” being at fault, or arguing that there is a “structural” issue at play. Hogwash. It’s all psychobabble invented by academics and their student sycophants to skirt the hard facts.

Academia and the Media. There have been ample studies that show members of academia and the media overwhelmingly self-identify as Left-of-Center, and this has been accelerating at a rapid rate (somewhere near 90 – 95% claim to be Liberal/Progressive/Left). If you don’t believe me, read a book by a Liberal professor, such as Jonathan Haidt. They act as gatekeepers and they keep those gates guarded at all times. In academia, I’ve seen it in person many times and once I even wrote about it in 2013. I’ve seen a lot more since then and it’s truly sickening. Academia aside, what is typically termed the MSM (Mainstream Media) is tethered quite tightly to both academia and Left-leaning politicians. They truly never let a crisis go to waste and make every effort to frame, set the agenda, and prime their audiences not only with sensationalism, but a warped Leftist take on society. They have aided and abetted their fellow Leftists (and many terrorists) for far too long. (Push me on this issue, I dare you).

For my son, I will teach him to be a decent person who judges people on their merit, not on their skin color, religion, sexual orientation, nor national origin. That being said, I will not subject him to the idea that he must pay a price for his own skin color, religion, sexual orientation, nor national origin. There is no such thing as white privilege, just as there is not such thing as a debt owed by someone who never owned a slave to someone who never was one. Slavery is not a valid causal variable for any modern-day outcomes, no matter how much Leftists would like to claim it is.

For my “friends” on this forum, I’m advising you from this point forward that I am taking my stand on the above points. It was my policy until recently to let others “unfriend” me, but I have taken more recently to a rather proactive approach. Where I have found grave disagreements with others, I have simply unfriended them. I don’t mind disagreement; it is the core of a vibrant democracy. It is time now, however, that I put my foot down and make it known that if I have little in common with another person, there is no “friend” component to be had on a social media platform. I have already unfriended a number of people, some with whom I have served in the military, schoolmates I have not seen in years, distant family members, a Rabbi, and others. I have done so on the grounds that I do not share their values and they have made it known they do not share mine.

I will not stand idly by while the disease of Leftism ruins my beloved country. The alamo has been breached, and, like Davy Crockett, I’m aware that the odds are stacked against me (notice how I harnessed the power of the underdog heuristic). Nonetheless, I know that I am speaking on behalf of those who are too timid to say what’s on their mind for fear of moral outrage masquerading as tolerance, or boycott campaigns parading under the guise of Social Justice Warrior (SJW) lingo. Hence, my chosen weapon is the keyboard. I hope it does not come to pass that I must defend my principles in some other fashion, which I have done in the past, and for which I’m fully capable of doing in the future.

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