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Aurel Kolnai and the Assault on Creation | Daniel J. Mahoney – First Things

As the culture of repudiation takes on pathological forms, aiming to replace Western civilization and American republicanism with a project of pure negation, those who wish to preserve our inheritance might profitably turn to thinkers from the past who can illumine the totalitarian nihilism all around us. One lesser-known thinker who truly belongs in the pantheon of anti-totalitarian thought is Aurel Kolnai (1900-1973), a Hungarian-born Jew who converted to Catholicism in 1926 under the influence of G. K. Chestertons writings.

A phenomenologist and moral and political philosopher of great insight, Kolnai, along with Dietrich von Hildebrand, wrote the first sustained critique of National Socialist ideology in the German-language press, beginning in 1926. His battle against the paganism of the National Socialist regime culminated in a best-selling book,War Against the West, published in Britain and the United States in 1938. Some of the chapter titles and subtitles give one immediate access to the spirit of the book:Tribal Egotism versus Humanity and Objective Standards, The Eros of Militarism, The Revolt against Liberty, The Revival of Elemental Forces, The New Paganism, Lawless Law, and Racial Purity. A lifelong critic of National Socialism, Kolnai self-consciously wrote as a Christian and philosopher defending the soul of the West (as he called it) against the primitivism of National Socialist ideologists.

After the war, Kolnai taught at the University of Laval in Quebec City before his final move to England and the University of Bedford in 1955. While in Quebec City, he concluded that communism, not Nazism, was the most perfected form of totalitarianism. In 1950, he wrote a daring and illuminating essay called Three Riders of the Apocalypse in which he discussed the affinities among Nazism, communism, and what he called progressive democracy. As we shall see, Kolnai saw much truth in democracy and in Chestertons plain man, but opposed the doctrinaire and even revolutionary democratic notions advanced in the name of the common man. In an essay from the same period, The Meaning of the Common Man, Kolnai outlined an alternative to the illusions of progressive democracy. A democracy worth its salt should emphasize its political continuity with Western traditions of constitutionalism and its moral continuity with the high tradition of Antiquity, Christendom, and the half-surviving Liberal cultures of yesterday. True democracy, informed by conservative constitutionalism and the moral law, is rooted in respect for the rule of law and a transcendental support for human liberty and dignity.

Unlike progressive democracy, Kolnai argued, conservative democracy respects the best of the liberal tradition and rests upon a balanced social and political order that limits all social powers and political prerogatives and defers to a Power radically beyond and above Man in his social reality, in his political dignity and in all manifestations of his will. Kolnai was a thoughtful partisan of what Tocqueville once called liberty under God and the law. Progressive democrats see no enemies to the Left. They too often indulge revolutionary regimes and destructive social movementsprecisely because these democrats have distorted and repudiated indispensable Christian categories. At a profoundly spiritual level, Christianity set men free and lifted [them] above the flats of his fallen nature. Modern humanitarianism, the religion of humanity, put forth a new, utopian program whereby angry and impatient human beings construed the automatic workings of [mans] fallen nature into a mirage of self-made heaven. And in the final, metaphysically mad epiphany, to cite a Burkean formulation, revolutionaries engage in destructive totalitarian projects that attack recalcitrant reality, afire with the unholy rage of . . . emancipation and sovereignty. All of this necessarily culminates in what Kolnai never tired of calling the self-enslavement of man.

In a 1972 essay that explored the respective Conservative and Revolutionary Ethos, Kolnai acknowledged that revolutionaries could from time to time constructively challenge the complacency of the rich and the powerful. In this essay, however, Kolnai argued that conservatives, much more than revolutionaries, could appreciate what was just and legitimate in the challenge from the other side. Reform, and appeal to objective and enduring verities, are essential to authentic conservatism. With a conservatism informed by Christian conscience, the table of moral duties remains inviolate in theory, and often in practice. Not so for revolutionaries, cultural and political.

As Kolnai wrote in his 1960 essay The Utopian Mind (he also left an unfinished but now published book by the same name), angry and moralistic revolutionaries make light of the concrete demands of the Ten Commandments and demonize real and imagined enemies of the people. Conscience and moral duties make no claims on their hearts, and are actively dismissed, even mocked, in the name of revolutionary ideology. In the end, Kolnai wrote in the conclusion of Conservative and Revolutionary Ethos, their critique is leveled not at this or that ruler, this or that system of power, nor at Nature, history, or mankind, but atthe world itself, atCreation.

Against the revolution of nihilism in its various permutations, against this project of emancipation-turned-self-enslavement, Christians and all persons of good will must take their stand with the guardians of continuity. If we have confidence in the natural order of things, if we do our civic and moral duties, if we have faith in the goodness of God our father and friend, we will surely outlast our opponents. But that depends on an anti-totalitarian Christian political philosophy worthy of the name, one open to the dual tasks of conservation and reform.

Daniel J. Mahoney holds the Augustine Chair in Distinguished Scholarship at Assumption University.

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Aurel Kolnai and the Assault on Creation | Daniel J. Mahoney - First Things

CHAREN: Who is really burning things down? – Odessa American

My friend David French, one of the most admirable voices in America today, argues that conservatives need not vote against Republican senate candidates in order to send a message about Trumpism. I disagree. He writes, "A rage, fury, and a 'burn it all down' mentality is one of the maladies that brought us to the present moment."

This assumes that the reason some plan to evict Republican senators is simply a matter of anger. But voting against a candidate or even a whole party is not nihilism. It's the legal, Constitutional way to express approval or disapproval. The current Republican Party has chosen to become the burn-it-all-down party. The most demoralizing aspect of the past four years has not been that a boob conman was elected president but that one of the two great political parties surrendered to him utterly.

David suggests that voting against Republican senators ignores that they had bad choices.

It's certainly true that Republicans perceived their options to be limited. If they speak up, they say, they will flush their careers down the drain. Look at what happened to Jeff Flake, Mark Sanford and Bob Corker!

But this overstates things. A number of Republicans have stood up to Trump and maintained their electoral viability -- especially when they challenged him on matters in which he has shown little interest, namely public policy. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., for example, voted against the president's USMCA trade agreement and (gasp) wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal explaining his reasoning.

When the president abruptly announced, following a phone call with Turkish leader Recep Erdogan, that he was withdrawing American troops forthwith from Syria, a number of Republicans voiced horror. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said it would lead to a "slaughter." Sen. Ted Cruz said it would be "DISGRACEFUL." Rep. Liz Cheney called it a "catastrophic mistake that puts our gains against ISIS at risk and threatens America's national security." Senators Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and others weighed in as well.

When the president suggested lifting sanctions on Russia, Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said it would be "horrible" for the United States. And after Gen. James Mattis wrote an op-ed saying that Donald Trump was making a "mockery of the U.S. Constitution," Sen. Lisa Murkowski said: "I was really thankful. I thought General Mattis' words were true, and honest and necessary and overdue."

So, it is possible to speak up about this president and survive. I use that word advisedly, because these Republican officeholders often use words like "kill" or "destroy" or "annihilate" when contemplating what Trump would do to them if they raise their heads too far above the parapet. In fact, all that actually threatened them was the possibility of nasty tweets and the chance that they might lose their seats.

David is right that very few people in any walk of life display courage on anything, though craven Republicans holding House and Senate posts might want to pause from time to time to contemplate the extraordinary valor of protesters in Hong Kong, Iran and Egypt who continue to put their freedom and sometimes their lives at risk by taking to the streets. And should being an elected official really be one's "life work"?

As noted above, Republicans have criticized the president on policy matters, sometimes even harshly. Where they have shrunk into their shells was on matters that are even more critical to the health of our republic. They have, by their silence, given assent to his cruelty, his assaults on truth, his dangerous flirtations with political violence and his consistent demolition of institutions.

Institutions are like scaffolding. When a society's institutions are weakened, the whole edifice can come crashing down.

Donald Trump undermined the institution of the free press, urging his followers to disbelieve everything except what came from the leader. He weakened respect for law enforcement and the courts, suggesting that he was the victim of a "deep state" and that "so-called judges" need not be respected. He scorned allies and toadied to dictators. He has cast doubt on the integrity of elections. He ran the executive branch like a gangster, demanding personal loyalty and abusing officials such as the hapless Jeff Sessions, who merely followed ethics rules. He ignored the law to get his way on the border wall. He violated the most sacred norms of a multiethnic society by encouraging racial hatred. He made the U.S. guilty of separating babies from their mothers.

Elected officials, terrified of their own constituents, have cowered and temporized in the face of a truly unprecedented assault on democratic values. They believed that they were powerless and acted accordingly. Since they were powerless when it counted, perhaps we should make it official?

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CHAREN: Who is really burning things down? - Odessa American

Lou Williams trip to the strip club during a pandemic actually makes sense – SB Nation

Lou Williams made headlines when the Clippers guard was forced into quarantine in the NBA bubble after it was revealed he went to a strip club in Atlanta without notifying anyone, potentially causing a Covid-19 outbreak inside the league. After hearing Williams explain what happened, it actually makes sense, believe it or not.

Williams had approval to go to Atlanta for a family-emergency, the funeral of Paul G. Williams a close friend of the family, and a man he considers a mentor throughout his life. On Tuesday night he spoke of the importance of the man to his life.

I went somewhere after a viewing of somebody I considered a mentor, somebody I looked up to, first black man I seen with legal money in my life.

Williams said he wasnt thinking clearly when he left the funeral and went to get food at one of his favorite restaurants in Atlanta, Magic City, a strip club. Now, before you laugh at that last sentence (and trust me, I laughed too at the idea of the strip club being a premiere restaurant) their food does look pretty amazing.

Williams love of Magic City is more than just an excuse. Its extremely well documented. Not only has he been espousing his love of their wings on social media for over a year, but he frequents the place so often that he even has his own sauce flavor there. If you ever want to eat like Lou Williams at a strip club, just get the Louwill Lemon Pepper BBQ, which sounds like it has a lot going on.

Of course, this was a dumb move. Williams acknowledges that now. He claims he just wasnt thinking clearly when he decided to put himself at risk of contracting Covid to get some wings, but honestly, weve all been there after the death of a loved one. You dont think clearly, theres a certain devil-may-care nihilism that creeps in where you dont care enough about personal safety, and youre looking for personal comfort above all else. I lost my father-in-law this summer, so I get it but of course this doesnt explain why a dancer at Magic City claims she gave Williams a lap dance while he was there. Thats beyond the pale, and clearly a very dumb move. Thankfully he didnt put the league in jeopardy due to his excursion.

I truly was grieving two weeks ago. I was really going through something. I was thrown under the bus, you know what Im saying? ... All the attention turned to Magic City because its a gentlemens club. I feel like if I was at a steakhouse or Hooters or whatever, it wouldnt be half the story.

Williams has a point here. Theres nothing inherently worse about going to a strip club than a restaurant, a casino, or any of the other places athletes have been traveling to during the pandemic it just makes for more salacious headlines. Sex sells, and the only thing a Bloomin Onion turns on is the hardening of your arteries. At the end of the day we can evaluate Williams bad decision for what it was: Leaving the bubble and going anywhere with a crowd during the pandemic, without adding a layer of judgement on for where he went.

Ultimately, things went about as well as anyone could have hoped. Williams didnt contract Covid, he didnt spread it through the league all he got was a 10-day quarantine when he returned to the bubble, where he used his time wisely.

I was able to finish a couple of books. I did some crossword puzzles.

Life is all about balance. Sometimes you need to read your books and do crosswords, sometimes you need wings from a strip club. The NBA dodged a considerable bullet, and Williams learned his lesson. Its important for us to understand why he made a bad decision, and have compassion for someone dealing with grief in his own way.

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Lou Williams trip to the strip club during a pandemic actually makes sense - SB Nation

Opinion: Resolving the Depths of Conflict Through Art – Laguna Beach Local News – Laguna Beach Independent Newspaper

We are at the extremities now. At the end of this tunnel of darkness, however, there is invariably a light, which we already divine, and for which we have only to fight to ensure its coming. All of us, among the ruins, are preparing a renaissance beyond the limits of nihilism.

Albert Camus, The Rebel

We are in the midst of a cultural revolution. On the one hand, we have the neo-fascist movement, telling us we need to return to a mythical past. That things were better then. And to ram home their point, a militarized response to peaceful protests is beginning to look more like Nazi Germany than America.

Of course there are plenty of marauders foisting chaos and vandalism upon the movement, and it sadly trivializes and obscures whats actually going on.

Black Lives Matter is an easily digestible, three-word assertion that has spread around the world. But its become so much more. Its a movement of awakened youth who are facing a nihilistic future of despots, science and climate deniers, health crises, discrimination, seismic wage discrepancies, and a ruthlessly oppressive and individualistic winner-take-all economy. Yes, capitalism has failed them.

How will we resolve these depths of conflict and misery? The same way theyve been conquered for years. Through art. Through a full-throated renaissance of ideas that unite us in the power of brotherhood, sisterhood, equality and love. As the philosopher Herbert Marcuse wrote, In its refusal to accept as final the limitations imposed upon freedom and happiness by society, in its refusal to forget what can be, lies the critical function of the artist.

It was Emerson and Thoreau who first refused to accept slavery and American Imperialism. It was Mark Twains The Gilded Age that predated Teddy Roosevelts attack on the plutocrats. It was Picassos Guernica that expressed the horror of war. And it was Bebop music and beat poetry of the 1950s that led to Bob Dylan and the Civil Rights movement.

Which brings me to the rather milquetoast state of art in Laguna, where saying pretty much nothing is the norm. Take the recent $100,000 grant money allocated by the Arts Commission, where $1,000-8,000 will be awarded to resident artists to create artworks for the benefit, enjoyment and economic revitalization of the community. A noble cause under the title Fostering Creativity in a Time of Crisis.

One would think this was an ideal forum to express a personal vision to reflect back what is happening around us through an artists lens. In fact, Arts Commission Chair Adam Schwerner states in a video, We have an opportunity to be brave, think creatively and do what we do best. But apparently, what we do best is pretty pictures of marine life and landscapes.

Artist Jorg Dubin, who has spent his working life here and has created a multitude of political art (including his last city commission, the award winning 9/11 memorial Semper Memento which was installed in Heisler Park in 2011), was specifically asked to submit something, Anyone who knows Jorg knows he will not shy away from controversy, as he sternly believes that is the role of the artist.

Jorg came back with a sculptured steel silhouette of a man kneeling while a police officer lunges at him with a nightstick and another cop stands by passively. Does that make Jorg anti-police? Of course not. This is the guy who did a portrait of fallen officer Jon Coutchie and donated it to the Laguna PD.

The Commission rejected Jorgs submission, without offering an explanation.

They then asked for another submission, and while irked, Jorg complied, this time sending in a silhouette of five people of all colors from black to white, kneeling with their fists in the air. A striking expression of the solidarity happening everywhere around us. Except here. Rejected, without explanation.

Who are these judges and why are they engaging in censorship? At a time when so many cities are emboldened to stencil giant Black Lives Matter on their streets, we dont have the will to allow one of our most esteemed artists to express his point of view in a temporary installation? Its antithetical to a community that was built on the back of subversive artists who stepped out of the Festival of Arts to create the Sawdust Festival.

The Arts Commission should be ashamed that they are perverting the unique power of art and the role it plays in society. Dont be afraid of the future, commissioners. Embrace it. With real art.

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Opinion: Resolving the Depths of Conflict Through Art - Laguna Beach Local News - Laguna Beach Independent Newspaper

Public apathy is the most powerful enemy of tech regulation – NS Tech

Four years ago, Trump was elected under a fog of accusations and outrage. In November, itll be time to do it all again. His 2016 march on the White House left commentators wondering: if Barack Obama had been the first to really leverage the promise of technology in political campaigning, perhaps Trump was the first to wield its dark side.

Committees in the Commons and the Lords and the Electoral and Information Commissioners have in the past year or so raised the alarm, not to mention voices in the media, in civil society and even in technology itself. Our electoral laws are not fit for purpose.

The ability of Big Tech to understand and sculpt political messaging for the electorate and crucially to be able to communicate with specific groups of voters with specially crafted advertisements, which are not accessible by other voters who may be put off by the same messages is an unprecedented and dangerous power. And yet it is currently subject to far lighter regulation than traditional campaigning mediums like television ads and leaflets, our laws left un-updated from a time when the use and misuse of digital campaigning was in the realm of science fiction, not established fact.

We are at the mercy of the platforms. That Big Tech now plays a pivotal role in our democracies is lost on few, and for the most part, we seem to be ready for change. Whether they are headlines about Russian interference, or whispers about the dangers of Big Data and profiling, the power of technology to shape our politics is now a mainstream worry: the public overwhelmingly back greater regulation of the role of Big Tech in politics. Eight in ten now favour campaigns having to openly publish all advertising materials used and how much they are spending in digital campaigning.

Eight in ten, but not everyone.

The shape of regulation, and who should be leading the way, remain topics of division. And it seems the fight to convince sceptics is against public apathy and nihilism, rather than principles of free speech or faith in democracy.

Thats the key finding of a new report from Demos and the Open Rights Group exploring public attitudes around data driven political campaigning. We used Polis, an open-source tool which allows participants to submit their views in their own words, and to vote as to whether they agree or disagree with each others statements with this project pioneering the use of the tool with a nationally representative sample for the first time. It also maps out how opinions interact, and how different groups of views hang together.

Who, then, is not on board with regulation? Just over half of people think there should be less red tape stopping politicians saying and doing what their voters want, and say authorities shouldnt control what politicians are allowed to say.

But there is more to it than just an irritation with bureaucracy. This group of regulation sceptics, who over-indexed among working class Britons and Leave voters, were remarkably in favour of abolishing political campaigning altogether. More than two thirds of the group agreed to the following statements, submitted by their peers:

Doing this would likely mean more regulation, not less, but it would be wrong to discount this simply as a contradiction. The voices of these regulation-doubters help us understand where they are coming from.

The anti-regulation group were most likely to be distrustful of both politicians and regulators alike. They want change, but dont trust the powers that be with making it happen. The vast majority agreed with the statements I dont trust any of the politicians or their departments to keep my data safe, nor use it for the right purposes and I dont trust the people who regulate campaigns to be unbiased.

They were also the most convinced that political campaigns have no impact on their voting behaviour, with around seven in ten agreeing with each of the following again all submitted by participants:

In other words, regulation of data driven political campaigns is unnecessary bureaucracy itself. Instead, lets abolish political campaigning wholesale. This is anti-regulation not on grounds of freedom of speech or faith in the political system, but through a strong feeling of being fed up. Fed up with the political sphere, fed up with regulators, and fed up with the media.

To win the argument for regulation, sceptics must be convinced of the dangerous power of data driven political campaigning. Most opponents of regulation are convinced that politicians and Big Tech are not to be trusted but they also think the same is true for regulators, and that none of it really matters anyway. The challenge is to persuade them that it does matter that the power of Big Tech represents a far graver threat to democracy than the untrustworthy politicians that have always been fixtures of our lives and to distinguish between political actors and those looking to hold them to account.

Many of the issues around regulating Big Tech are extremely difficult to legislate for, and require radical new ideas to deal with unprecedented new problems. Regulation of data driven political campaigning is not one of them. The same principles as have governed political campaigning for decades can be updated to apply to the modern world: records of online political adverts should be collated and published for everyone to see; political campaigns should have to report how much they are spending using digital advertising, what they are spending it on, and how they are funded; and those who break electoral laws should face harsher penalties rather than a slap on the wrist. The vast majority of the public support each of those changes. An issue will be that whoever has just won an election may feel they have an advantage of the way the system currently works.

November is coming. As we look across the pond, we might allow ourselves a little hope as Biden leads Trump in poll after poll. But lets not get too excited. There are plenty of voters who are still fed up, still sceptical that this political system offers them anything. That same feeling that many realised (too late) was behind Trumps election, that many blamed (too late!) for the Brexit vote, is still alive and well. Many politicians have found success in promising to reinvigorate their democracies: to take back control, to drain the swamp, to get back to the things that matter. If our findings are anything to go by, many of those for whom this sounded like the change they wanted remain outside our democratic fold.

Harry Carr is director of innovation at Demos

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Public apathy is the most powerful enemy of tech regulation - NS Tech

The Blind Oracle of Noonan – The Bulwark

Good news! All of us who are worried about President Trump and the future of the Republican party can pack it up. Peggy Noonan, our cherished Reaganic oracle, has spoken and has the answer to align the Always Trump, Sometimes Trump, and Never Trump factions of the GOP.

In her latest Wall Street Journal column, Noonan enters the Burn It Down debate and argues against voting out all the Trump enablers and sycophants becauseare you ready for this?persuasion will be key to saving the Republic. Ah! We can all rest easy, pour ourselves a cool beverage, and retire early. Our work is done! Praise be to Peggy!

Thats the kind of wistful, head-in-the-clouds analysis Noonan is known for, though. Like, wouldnt everything be better if everyone just played along more nicely? Why all this anger toward a president who lets Russia put bounties on the heads of our soldiers, tear-gases peaceful protesters, and lies and obstructs justice as a way of life? Why on earth should Susan Collins, Martha McSally, and Cory Gardner be sacrificed on the altar of Trump just to prove a point about accountability? Because follow-the-leader Republicans like Collins will surely be the ones to save us from another trillion in deficit spending and finally stop funding for Planned Parenthood! Because Collins, of all people, must have learned lessons from Trump. We should all be so, so very concerned about the future of the GOP without Republicans like Collins.

Noonan concedes that Donald Trump is burning himself down. Yet she thinks we ought to keep voting for the people who handed him a lighter and kerosene.

No thank you. Noonan, however, is free to throw herself on the Trump dumpster pyre. She says Never Trumpers are bloody-minded and encouraging nihilism, but what she proposes is politically suicidal.

Noonan says Never Trumpers should not engage in pyromaniac fantasies but constructive modesty, even humility. More nave, high-minded divinity from the Temple Noonan. Constructive modesty sounds not like a political path to the future but like shapewear for the prudish soul. Maybe she has clothing on the brain. In May, Noonan was busy worrying how the pandemic would influence our outfit choices. (How is that for a priority?) God save me from her sermons because there are no yoga pants comfortable enough to get me to find my humility and prostrate myself before our grab em by the pussy president. Lets pray for those who do.

Noonan sees fashion as a leading indicator of a nations mood. Well, if thats the case, tell me what kind of fashion statement face masks on children make. Because, thanks to our incompetent president, my kids will be wearing one for eight hours a day if they are lucky enough to leave the house and attend school this fall.

Not that going to school will actually happen, or socializing normally will return anytime soon. Trump promised if he was president wed all be able to say Merry Christmas again! Probably not in person to friends and family this year, though. All because too few Republicans could bring themselves to tell Trump last spring that no, coronavirus is nothing like the flu.

Still, Peggy wants me to be more docile and polite while my family shelters in place for the next however many months as President Trump golfs his time away and the GOP lets him do it.

Noonan says that part of Trumps momentary genius in 2016 was that he uniquely spoke to the anxieties of Americans about illegal immigration. Is that what the great Reagan speechwriter thinks about Trumps announcement speech that said Mexico is bringing rapists to America? Genius?

Never Trumpers cant find the pity in their hearts Noonan has for Trump, who came up against his own perfect storm with the pandemic, the lousy economy, and violence in the streets. As if he were a passive observer in his presidency. Oh, what to do!

When the Trump experience is over, the Republican Party will have to be rebuilt, Noonan prophesies. (Duh.) A lot is going to have to be rethought. Simple human persuasion will be key. And then she tries to persuade her readers that we Never Trumpers are really the problem. Never Trumpers never seem to judge themselves, she complains, never once pausing to consider why its okay for her write things like Trump is weak, unserious and avoidant of the big issues while she remains weak, unserious and avoidant of the big issue of how to go about restoring the kind of strong Republican leadership she pines for.

Noonan is too timid to admit that the dismal Trump experience will not end unless some Republicans screw up the nerve to forcefully close the curtains on it. Otherwise, Donald Trump Jr. and a QAnon Congress will carry forth the freak flag of conservatism. Is that what she wants? Because Trump is never going to go gently into the night as a good loser president should. The Trump experience doesnt end unless Never Trumpers finish him Mortal Kombat style.

With all evidence against her, Noonan thinks Trumpism will disappear if Never Trumpers just shut up. Mr. Trump has been very publicly doing himself in, mismanaging his crisessetting himself on fire, she writes. As long as thats clear, his supporters wont be able to say, if he loses, that he was a champion of the people who was betrayed by the party elites, the Never Trumpers and the deep state: He didnt lose, he was the victim of treachery.

As if Trump depicting himself as a victim would be any different than any other day of his presidency. Nobody likes me, he whined last week. Who are the Never Trumpers to disagree?

Noonan tries her best to avoid overtly positioning herself as yet another MAGA enabler, but thats what her column implicitly amounts to.

She squints at Trump through a self-imposed gauzy blindfold instead of looking at him head-on. Noonan imagines another time when Republicans had civil intra-party debates about policy and not the possible psychopathy of the commander-in-chief and those who seek to make his manic authoritarian dreams come true.

She doesnt want Never Trumpers making noise because their critiques will be unhelpful for Republicans, and bad for the country, if thats the background music of the party the next 10 years.

As if Noonan hasnt been dancing to her own outdated tune for decades. Yet, she sings on and on about her unrealistic, nostalgic views on politics from deep inside her walk-in closet of memories from the 1980s.

Enough already.

I, for one, am pressing the mute button on her. While Im at it, someone pass me a match.

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The Blind Oracle of Noonan - The Bulwark

CREATION OF INVESTMENT COURT IN UKRAINE WILL HELP DOING BUSINESS – Ukraine open for business

The creation of an investment court, an idea promulgated by Ukraines Justice Minister Denys Maliuska, could facilitate doing business in Ukraine, Omerta Organized Law Group head Yevhen Fedoseyev has said.The declared creation of an investment court will greatly facilitate doing business in Ukraine, because if investors have a virtually unconditional guarantee that in any case, their property rights and interests are practically not threatened, they will start investing more in our country, he told Interfax-Ukraine.The lawyer noted that this initiative is not new, and similar courts already exist in a number of countries.Investors from all over the world are increasingly turning to investment arbitration as a way of resolving a dispute with the state every year. This mechanism for protecting the rights of an investor has proved to be effective, which is confirmed by both the number of international bilateral and multilateral agreements containing clauses on investment arbitration, and the number of initiated cases, he said.Fedoseyev recalled that a permanent arbitration institute, the International Commercial Arbitration Court at the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has been operating in Ukraine for more than 25 years, however, appeals to him are not too popular, since none of the Ukraine agreements concluded on mutual assistance and protection of foreign investment provides for the ICAC at the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry as an institution for resolving investment disputes, as well as because of general legal nihilism. Of course, the new court in Ukraine will need to develop a practice that has been built in the courts of Western Europe for decades, however, the transparency of the creation of such a body, its competence, objectivity can create a positive image not only for the body itself, but also for the state as a whole, which will ensure inflow of new investors into the country, the lawyer emphasized.As reported, in early July at a meeting with European business representatives, Maliuska announced an initiative to create a concept for creating a separate court that would deal with investors cases arbitration or a separate court that would consider cases with the participation of business.

Related

BUSINESS, INVESTMENT COURT

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CREATION OF INVESTMENT COURT IN UKRAINE WILL HELP DOING BUSINESS - Ukraine open for business

CHAREN: Who is really burning things down? – Odessa American

My friend David French, one of the most admirable voices in America today, argues that conservatives need not vote against Republican senate candidates in order to send a message about Trumpism. I disagree. He writes, "A rage, fury, and a 'burn it all down' mentality is one of the maladies that brought us to the present moment."

This assumes that the reason some plan to evict Republican senators is simply a matter of anger. But voting against a candidate or even a whole party is not nihilism. It's the legal, Constitutional way to express approval or disapproval. The current Republican Party has chosen to become the burn-it-all-down party. The most demoralizing aspect of the past four years has not been that a boob conman was elected president but that one of the two great political parties surrendered to him utterly.

David suggests that voting against Republican senators ignores that they had bad choices.

It's certainly true that Republicans perceived their options to be limited. If they speak up, they say, they will flush their careers down the drain. Look at what happened to Jeff Flake, Mark Sanford and Bob Corker!

But this overstates things. A number of Republicans have stood up to Trump and maintained their electoral viability -- especially when they challenged him on matters in which he has shown little interest, namely public policy. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., for example, voted against the president's USMCA trade agreement and (gasp) wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal explaining his reasoning.

When the president abruptly announced, following a phone call with Turkish leader Recep Erdogan, that he was withdrawing American troops forthwith from Syria, a number of Republicans voiced horror. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said it would lead to a "slaughter." Sen. Ted Cruz said it would be "DISGRACEFUL." Rep. Liz Cheney called it a "catastrophic mistake that puts our gains against ISIS at risk and threatens America's national security." Senators Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and others weighed in as well.

When the president suggested lifting sanctions on Russia, Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said it would be "horrible" for the United States. And after Gen. James Mattis wrote an op-ed saying that Donald Trump was making a "mockery of the U.S. Constitution," Sen. Lisa Murkowski said: "I was really thankful. I thought General Mattis' words were true, and honest and necessary and overdue."

So, it is possible to speak up about this president and survive. I use that word advisedly, because these Republican officeholders often use words like "kill" or "destroy" or "annihilate" when contemplating what Trump would do to them if they raise their heads too far above the parapet. In fact, all that actually threatened them was the possibility of nasty tweets and the chance that they might lose their seats.

David is right that very few people in any walk of life display courage on anything, though craven Republicans holding House and Senate posts might want to pause from time to time to contemplate the extraordinary valor of protesters in Hong Kong, Iran and Egypt who continue to put their freedom and sometimes their lives at risk by taking to the streets. And should being an elected official really be one's "life work"?

As noted above, Republicans have criticized the president on policy matters, sometimes even harshly. Where they have shrunk into their shells was on matters that are even more critical to the health of our republic. They have, by their silence, given assent to his cruelty, his assaults on truth, his dangerous flirtations with political violence and his consistent demolition of institutions.

Institutions are like scaffolding. When a society's institutions are weakened, the whole edifice can come crashing down.

Donald Trump undermined the institution of the free press, urging his followers to disbelieve everything except what came from the leader. He weakened respect for law enforcement and the courts, suggesting that he was the victim of a "deep state" and that "so-called judges" need not be respected. He scorned allies and toadied to dictators. He has cast doubt on the integrity of elections. He ran the executive branch like a gangster, demanding personal loyalty and abusing officials such as the hapless Jeff Sessions, who merely followed ethics rules. He ignored the law to get his way on the border wall. He violated the most sacred norms of a multiethnic society by encouraging racial hatred. He made the U.S. guilty of separating babies from their mothers.

Elected officials, terrified of their own constituents, have cowered and temporized in the face of a truly unprecedented assault on democratic values. They believed that they were powerless and acted accordingly. Since they were powerless when it counted, perhaps we should make it official?

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CHAREN: Who is really burning things down? - Odessa American

Aurel Kolnai and the Assault on Creation | Daniel J. Mahoney – First Things

As the culture of repudiation takes on pathological forms, aiming to replace Western civilization and American republicanism with a project of pure negation, those who wish to preserve our inheritance might profitably turn to thinkers from the past who can illumine the totalitarian nihilism all around us. One lesser-known thinker who truly belongs in the pantheon of anti-totalitarian thought is Aurel Kolnai (1900-1973), a Hungarian-born Jew who converted to Catholicism in 1926 under the influence of G. K. Chestertons writings.

A phenomenologist and moral and political philosopher of great insight, Kolnai, along with Dietrich von Hildebrand, wrote the first sustained critique of National Socialist ideology in the German-language press, beginning in 1926. His battle against the paganism of the National Socialist regime culminated in a best-selling book,War Against the West, published in Britain and the United States in 1938. Some of the chapter titles and subtitles give one immediate access to the spirit of the book:Tribal Egotism versus Humanity and Objective Standards, The Eros of Militarism, The Revolt against Liberty, The Revival of Elemental Forces, The New Paganism, Lawless Law, and Racial Purity. A lifelong critic of National Socialism, Kolnai self-consciously wrote as a Christian and philosopher defending the soul of the West (as he called it) against the primitivism of National Socialist ideologists.

After the war, Kolnai taught at the University of Laval in Quebec City before his final move to England and the University of Bedford in 1955. While in Quebec City, he concluded that communism, not Nazism, was the most perfected form of totalitarianism. In 1950, he wrote a daring and illuminating essay called Three Riders of the Apocalypse in which he discussed the affinities among Nazism, communism, and what he called progressive democracy. As we shall see, Kolnai saw much truth in democracy and in Chestertons plain man, but opposed the doctrinaire and even revolutionary democratic notions advanced in the name of the common man. In an essay from the same period, The Meaning of the Common Man, Kolnai outlined an alternative to the illusions of progressive democracy. A democracy worth its salt should emphasize its political continuity with Western traditions of constitutionalism and its moral continuity with the high tradition of Antiquity, Christendom, and the half-surviving Liberal cultures of yesterday. True democracy, informed by conservative constitutionalism and the moral law, is rooted in respect for the rule of law and a transcendental support for human liberty and dignity.

Unlike progressive democracy, Kolnai argued, conservative democracy respects the best of the liberal tradition and rests upon a balanced social and political order that limits all social powers and political prerogatives and defers to a Power radically beyond and above Man in his social reality, in his political dignity and in all manifestations of his will. Kolnai was a thoughtful partisan of what Tocqueville once called liberty under God and the law. Progressive democrats see no enemies to the Left. They too often indulge revolutionary regimes and destructive social movementsprecisely because these democrats have distorted and repudiated indispensable Christian categories. At a profoundly spiritual level, Christianity set men free and lifted [them] above the flats of his fallen nature. Modern humanitarianism, the religion of humanity, put forth a new, utopian program whereby angry and impatient human beings construed the automatic workings of [mans] fallen nature into a mirage of self-made heaven. And in the final, metaphysically mad epiphany, to cite a Burkean formulation, revolutionaries engage in destructive totalitarian projects that attack recalcitrant reality, afire with the unholy rage of . . . emancipation and sovereignty. All of this necessarily culminates in what Kolnai never tired of calling the self-enslavement of man.

In a 1972 essay that explored the respective Conservative and Revolutionary Ethos, Kolnai acknowledged that revolutionaries could from time to time constructively challenge the complacency of the rich and the powerful. In this essay, however, Kolnai argued that conservatives, much more than revolutionaries, could appreciate what was just and legitimate in the challenge from the other side. Reform, and appeal to objective and enduring verities, are essential to authentic conservatism. With a conservatism informed by Christian conscience, the table of moral duties remains inviolate in theory, and often in practice. Not so for revolutionaries, cultural and political.

As Kolnai wrote in his 1960 essay The Utopian Mind (he also left an unfinished but now published book by the same name), angry and moralistic revolutionaries make light of the concrete demands of the Ten Commandments and demonize real and imagined enemies of the people. Conscience and moral duties make no claims on their hearts, and are actively dismissed, even mocked, in the name of revolutionary ideology. In the end, Kolnai wrote in the conclusion of Conservative and Revolutionary Ethos, their critique is leveled not at this or that ruler, this or that system of power, nor at Nature, history, or mankind, but atthe world itself, atCreation.

Against the revolution of nihilism in its various permutations, against this project of emancipation-turned-self-enslavement, Christians and all persons of good will must take their stand with the guardians of continuity. If we have confidence in the natural order of things, if we do our civic and moral duties, if we have faith in the goodness of God our father and friend, we will surely outlast our opponents. But that depends on an anti-totalitarian Christian political philosophy worthy of the name, one open to the dual tasks of conservation and reform.

Daniel J. Mahoney holds the Augustine Chair in Distinguished Scholarship at Assumption University.

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Aurel Kolnai and the Assault on Creation | Daniel J. Mahoney - First Things

Opinion: Resolving the Depths of Conflict Through Art – Laguna Beach Local News – Laguna Beach Independent Newspaper

We are at the extremities now. At the end of this tunnel of darkness, however, there is invariably a light, which we already divine, and for which we have only to fight to ensure its coming. All of us, among the ruins, are preparing a renaissance beyond the limits of nihilism.

Albert Camus, The Rebel

We are in the midst of a cultural revolution. On the one hand, we have the neo-fascist movement, telling us we need to return to a mythical past. That things were better then. And to ram home their point, a militarized response to peaceful protests is beginning to look more like Nazi Germany than America.

Of course there are plenty of marauders foisting chaos and vandalism upon the movement, and it sadly trivializes and obscures whats actually going on.

Black Lives Matter is an easily digestible, three-word assertion that has spread around the world. But its become so much more. Its a movement of awakened youth who are facing a nihilistic future of despots, science and climate deniers, health crises, discrimination, seismic wage discrepancies, and a ruthlessly oppressive and individualistic winner-take-all economy. Yes, capitalism has failed them.

How will we resolve these depths of conflict and misery? The same way theyve been conquered for years. Through art. Through a full-throated renaissance of ideas that unite us in the power of brotherhood, sisterhood, equality and love. As the philosopher Herbert Marcuse wrote, In its refusal to accept as final the limitations imposed upon freedom and happiness by society, in its refusal to forget what can be, lies the critical function of the artist.

It was Emerson and Thoreau who first refused to accept slavery and American Imperialism. It was Mark Twains The Gilded Age that predated Teddy Roosevelts attack on the plutocrats. It was Picassos Guernica that expressed the horror of war. And it was Bebop music and beat poetry of the 1950s that led to Bob Dylan and the Civil Rights movement.

Which brings me to the rather milquetoast state of art in Laguna, where saying pretty much nothing is the norm. Take the recent $100,000 grant money allocated by the Arts Commission, where $1,000-8,000 will be awarded to resident artists to create artworks for the benefit, enjoyment and economic revitalization of the community. A noble cause under the title Fostering Creativity in a Time of Crisis.

One would think this was an ideal forum to express a personal vision to reflect back what is happening around us through an artists lens. In fact, Arts Commission Chair Adam Schwerner states in a video, We have an opportunity to be brave, think creatively and do what we do best. But apparently, what we do best is pretty pictures of marine life and landscapes.

Artist Jorg Dubin, who has spent his working life here and has created a multitude of political art (including his last city commission, the award winning 9/11 memorial Semper Memento which was installed in Heisler Park in 2011), was specifically asked to submit something, Anyone who knows Jorg knows he will not shy away from controversy, as he sternly believes that is the role of the artist.

Jorg came back with a sculptured steel silhouette of a man kneeling while a police officer lunges at him with a nightstick and another cop stands by passively. Does that make Jorg anti-police? Of course not. This is the guy who did a portrait of fallen officer Jon Coutchie and donated it to the Laguna PD.

The Commission rejected Jorgs submission, without offering an explanation.

They then asked for another submission, and while irked, Jorg complied, this time sending in a silhouette of five people of all colors from black to white, kneeling with their fists in the air. A striking expression of the solidarity happening everywhere around us. Except here. Rejected, without explanation.

Who are these judges and why are they engaging in censorship? At a time when so many cities are emboldened to stencil giant Black Lives Matter on their streets, we dont have the will to allow one of our most esteemed artists to express his point of view in a temporary installation? Its antithetical to a community that was built on the back of subversive artists who stepped out of the Festival of Arts to create the Sawdust Festival.

The Arts Commission should be ashamed that they are perverting the unique power of art and the role it plays in society. Dont be afraid of the future, commissioners. Embrace it. With real art.

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Opinion: Resolving the Depths of Conflict Through Art - Laguna Beach Local News - Laguna Beach Independent Newspaper

Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons: Beast Album Review – Louder Than War

Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons

Beast (Hound Gawd! Records) LP/CD/DL

Released: August 28th, 2020

8/10

Trash punk assault on the senses to unleash the beast

The feline limbed but powerfully voiced Puss Johnson, backed by the quiff heavy guitarist Dirty Jake and the more hirsute drummer Filfy Antz, have been pounding audiences into submission across the nation with their own brand of trash punk rawk n roll since around 2002. When a bands live shows are so volatile and full of power, the recorded output can often be a let down, but the grooves on the bands first three albums have shown they are more than capable of reproducing that raw energy in the studio.

Beast, a twelve track journey through scuzzy blues riffs and garage punk delivers another high octane example of in yer face hard rockin punk blues. Opening track, Lying In My Bed, sets the tone with its deep down heavy blues riff and the battering beat of the drums making up for anything that a missing bass could offer. Theres a manic, paranoid tension to the song, and a Klaus Fluoride guitar like lick, whilst Puss Johnson intones the vocals like a deranged locked up inmate about to explode. Doin It is heavy duty blues with a fuck you Im gonna do it whatever you say punk attitude. Abuser is a song about an abusive ex and those friends who still dont get the #metoo generation, and a demand that abuse should not be diminished. Its got a great drum beat dragging back the rhythm behind the urgent guitar, creating an off-kilter sound with the vocals smoothly moving over the top.

Not Your Baby is driven by a cool driving blues beat with a chorus of screaming anger backed by a drum beat that sounds like a head pounding off the floor. Stale is a song about being stuck in a small town and how it can suck your soul into oblivion. It has a slower groove with a doom-laden feel of wandering through a stultified town, a place festering under grey skies. The guitar is like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. Knee Jerk is an attack on keyboard reactionaries (Caps lock on Im feeling strong!) and starts like a Dr Feelgood song before morphing into The Cramps, and if that aint a great mix I dont know what is. Meat is restrained, holding back with an air of suspense, with a repetition of the descending guitar line, grinding away, with a roll of drums in the background. It sounds like early Banshees. Shes An Orgasm is the imperfect search for the perfect woman; at least the perfect woman that is shoved down our throats by the media. Shit is an all-out punk attack on phonies and fakes. Its a healthy dose of punk nihilism with clashing, fuzzed up guitars overlaying each other and spitting vocals and great beat and fills from the drums. Do Ya Feel Me? is sleazy Mississippi blues guitar, like a sultry bayou. It drips sweat, soaked with heavy blues and desire.

Beast Will Out is full of tension and paranoia, building up like a horror movie soundtrack, as the beast within fights to escape, a modern werewolf tale. The drums create the feeling of tension rising up. The middle section then slows down as the lycanthropic transformation of the beast gradually emerges and the music begins to pound, pound, before the explosion of excess. Album closer Hey Honey has a 50s rock sound, pop punk with a Transvision Vamp sound. Its a closing attack on those people who think they know whats best for you, when really they want to mould you into the person they want you to be.

Beast is an all out assault that shows that this band is still full of creativity and hunger, succeeding in transferring their incendiary live power to the grooves of records.

~

You can find Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons online here, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and on Facebook.

All words by Mark Ray. More writing by Mark Ray can be found at his author archive. And he can be found on Twitter, Instagram and WordPress

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Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons: Beast Album Review - Louder Than War

Public apathy is the most powerful enemy of tech regulation – NS Tech

Four years ago, Trump was elected under a fog of accusations and outrage. In November, itll be time to do it all again. His 2016 march on the White House left commentators wondering: if Barack Obama had been the first to really leverage the promise of technology in political campaigning, perhaps Trump was the first to wield its dark side.

Committees in the Commons and the Lords and the Electoral and Information Commissioners have in the past year or so raised the alarm, not to mention voices in the media, in civil society and even in technology itself. Our electoral laws are not fit for purpose.

The ability of Big Tech to understand and sculpt political messaging for the electorate and crucially to be able to communicate with specific groups of voters with specially crafted advertisements, which are not accessible by other voters who may be put off by the same messages is an unprecedented and dangerous power. And yet it is currently subject to far lighter regulation than traditional campaigning mediums like television ads and leaflets, our laws left un-updated from a time when the use and misuse of digital campaigning was in the realm of science fiction, not established fact.

We are at the mercy of the platforms. That Big Tech now plays a pivotal role in our democracies is lost on few, and for the most part, we seem to be ready for change. Whether they are headlines about Russian interference, or whispers about the dangers of Big Data and profiling, the power of technology to shape our politics is now a mainstream worry: the public overwhelmingly back greater regulation of the role of Big Tech in politics. Eight in ten now favour campaigns having to openly publish all advertising materials used and how much they are spending in digital campaigning.

Eight in ten, but not everyone.

The shape of regulation, and who should be leading the way, remain topics of division. And it seems the fight to convince sceptics is against public apathy and nihilism, rather than principles of free speech or faith in democracy.

Thats the key finding of a new report from Demos and the Open Rights Group exploring public attitudes around data driven political campaigning. We used Polis, an open-source tool which allows participants to submit their views in their own words, and to vote as to whether they agree or disagree with each others statements with this project pioneering the use of the tool with a nationally representative sample for the first time. It also maps out how opinions interact, and how different groups of views hang together.

Who, then, is not on board with regulation? Just over half of people think there should be less red tape stopping politicians saying and doing what their voters want, and say authorities shouldnt control what politicians are allowed to say.

But there is more to it than just an irritation with bureaucracy. This group of regulation sceptics, who over-indexed among working class Britons and Leave voters, were remarkably in favour of abolishing political campaigning altogether. More than two thirds of the group agreed to the following statements, submitted by their peers:

Doing this would likely mean more regulation, not less, but it would be wrong to discount this simply as a contradiction. The voices of these regulation-doubters help us understand where they are coming from.

The anti-regulation group were most likely to be distrustful of both politicians and regulators alike. They want change, but dont trust the powers that be with making it happen. The vast majority agreed with the statements I dont trust any of the politicians or their departments to keep my data safe, nor use it for the right purposes and I dont trust the people who regulate campaigns to be unbiased.

They were also the most convinced that political campaigns have no impact on their voting behaviour, with around seven in ten agreeing with each of the following again all submitted by participants:

In other words, regulation of data driven political campaigns is unnecessary bureaucracy itself. Instead, lets abolish political campaigning wholesale. This is anti-regulation not on grounds of freedom of speech or faith in the political system, but through a strong feeling of being fed up. Fed up with the political sphere, fed up with regulators, and fed up with the media.

To win the argument for regulation, sceptics must be convinced of the dangerous power of data driven political campaigning. Most opponents of regulation are convinced that politicians and Big Tech are not to be trusted but they also think the same is true for regulators, and that none of it really matters anyway. The challenge is to persuade them that it does matter that the power of Big Tech represents a far graver threat to democracy than the untrustworthy politicians that have always been fixtures of our lives and to distinguish between political actors and those looking to hold them to account.

Many of the issues around regulating Big Tech are extremely difficult to legislate for, and require radical new ideas to deal with unprecedented new problems. Regulation of data driven political campaigning is not one of them. The same principles as have governed political campaigning for decades can be updated to apply to the modern world: records of online political adverts should be collated and published for everyone to see; political campaigns should have to report how much they are spending using digital advertising, what they are spending it on, and how they are funded; and those who break electoral laws should face harsher penalties rather than a slap on the wrist. The vast majority of the public support each of those changes. An issue will be that whoever has just won an election may feel they have an advantage of the way the system currently works.

November is coming. As we look across the pond, we might allow ourselves a little hope as Biden leads Trump in poll after poll. But lets not get too excited. There are plenty of voters who are still fed up, still sceptical that this political system offers them anything. That same feeling that many realised (too late) was behind Trumps election, that many blamed (too late!) for the Brexit vote, is still alive and well. Many politicians have found success in promising to reinvigorate their democracies: to take back control, to drain the swamp, to get back to the things that matter. If our findings are anything to go by, many of those for whom this sounded like the change they wanted remain outside our democratic fold.

Harry Carr is director of innovation at Demos

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Public apathy is the most powerful enemy of tech regulation - NS Tech

Privileged profs don mantle of victimhood to rage against Israel and America – JNS.org

(August 3, 2020 / JNS) Ending capitalism, that is the ultimate solution, preached Rabab Abdulhadi, the radical, Israel-hating San Francisco State University associate professor of ethnic studies. Throughout the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israels (USCACBI) June 30 webinar, she and other professors pilloried Israel as an outpost of Western colonial oppression.

Pitzer College anthropology professor and Zoom host Daniel Segals introduction set the stage for the webinars repetitive droning. He began with the now ubiquitous virtue-signaling land acknowledgement that Californias Pitzer College continues the project of settler-colonialism with the occupation of indigenous land. The wider Claremont Colleges must seek to resist, disturb and work through this settler-colonial facet of racial-capitalism, as well as its devaluing of black lives, to reach a future defined by restorative social justice. Pivoting via intersectionality to the webinars topic, he asserted that Pitzer is complicit also in Israeli state apartheid, occupation and ethnic cleansing through an Israel study-abroad program. For good measure, Segal praised college chapters of JVP and its thuggish ally: Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).

Thuggish leftist nihilism also characterized Abdulhadis comments, as when she sputtered that companies should just go out of business, or in her references to Lenins dictum on imperialism. She warned that trying to actually appear that we are conciliatory towards the Zionist project [i.e., Israel] is very problematic. She also praised Americas ongoing riots and Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement as having the makings of an intifada.

Consequently, Abdulhadi lauded the then-upcoming July 1 Day of Rage against Israels possible declaration of sovereignty in the disputed West Bank. Such events ostensibly commemorate the fallen of a racial project encompassing such disparate places as Brazil, Kashmir, Puerto Rico and the wider United States. Adhering to the ideology of intersectionality, she looped in the myth that Michael Brown was killed and martyred by a police officer in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

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Abdulhadis targets included universities, which are also corporations and act like corporations, as indicated by their dismissals of lecturers and junior scholars, actions, she claimed, that threatened to silence activists like her. She ignored widespread shouting down and even violence against conservative speakers in academic cancel culture. Rather, she claimed a de-legitimization of rage, de-legitimization of anger, de-legitimization of emotions in order to kind of rescue a colonialist notion of civility of doing the proper things, Mrs. Emily Post, and the proper etiquette. By contrast, for her militancy is really important, although oftentimes in the academy, there is a construction of activism and commitments as something outside of what we do like a hobby.

Comrade Rabab had a soulmate in her fellow webinar participant, UCLA African-American studies professor Robin D.G. Kelley. We go way back, he said of Abdulhadi, whom he praised for organizing numerous African-American delegations to Israel and thereby linking Israeli apartheid to anti-black racism. Epitomizing the hyperbolic, thin-skinned academic, he claimed that Rabab has faced decades, decades, decades of repression, violent repression within institutions she works win. This astonishingly overlooks that the securely employed Abdulhadi freely speaks and writes without violent repression from any institution.

While Abdulhadi nodded in agreement, Kelley proclaimed that justice is indivisible and global. He praised Palestinian-black solidarity that since the 1960s has been resisting racialized, state-sanctioned violence, a new abolitionist generation, as if Abraham Lincoln would have hated Israel. This has started a post-1967 radical insurgency that moved beyond the nation-state as a path of decolonization that is dedicated to eradicating all forms of oppression.

This insurgencys utopian aims included replacing police, military and prisons with non-carceral paths for safety and justice. Similarly fanciful are freeing the body from the constraints of inherited and imposed normativities, protecting the earth, ending precarity, acknowledging indigenous sovereignty. Staying with this evidence-free cant, he lamented that subjugation of racialized subjects has been foundational to modern finance and industrial capital around the globe.

Kelleys liberation theology did not include Jews in Israels colonial project or in America, for whom the 1960s ghetto rebellions had signaled the demise of the old black-Jewish alliance. Concurring with Abdulhadis support of Jewish Voice for Peaces (JVP, where she is an adviser) Deadly Exchange campaign, he promoted the blood libel of devastating consequences of U.S. and Israeli joint police trainings for American minorities. The knee-to-neck choke hold that [Minneapolis police officer Derek] Chauvin used to murder George Floyd has been used and perfected to torture Palestinians by Israeli occupation forces through seventy-two years of ethnic cleansing and dispassion.

The terrorism-supporting, former SJP member Nerdeen Kiswani, chair of New York Citys unapologetically anti-Zionist organization Within Our Lifetime/United for Palestine, spouted Marxism while sporting a hijab. She maligned Israels ongoing genocide and current nefarious agenda that dates from the initial annexation of Israels very 1948 independence. For her, militancy is principles and not trying to make yourself palatable for white, Western consumption in an America built on white supremacy, and imperialism, and capitalism are laudable traits.

The webinars tiresome, jargon-laden discussion contained not a single original thought; anyone exposed to academia over the past few decades has heard it all before. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced these webinar participants to abandon live events for now. But their universities are already begging Congress, state legislatures and donors for massive bailouts in order to continue indoctrinating students with hate-filled, anti-American, anti-Israel propaganda. To the contrary, taxpayers, alumni and anyone concerned about the growing nihilistic, violent, Marxist far-left should demand the defunding of academe absent serious reform. It is past time for Abdulhadi and her ilk, who use their constitutional liberties to undermine the civilization that makes their lives possible, to lose their publicly supported sinecures.

Andrew E. Harrod is aCampus Watch Fellow, freelance researcher and writer who holds a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a J.D. from George Washington University Law School. He is a fellow with the Lawfare Project. Follow him on Twitter at:@AEHarrod.

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Privileged profs don mantle of victimhood to rage against Israel and America - JNS.org

The Blind Oracle of Noonan – The Bulwark

Good news! All of us who are worried about President Trump and the future of the Republican party can pack it up. Peggy Noonan, our cherished Reaganic oracle, has spoken and has the answer to align the Always Trump, Sometimes Trump, and Never Trump factions of the GOP.

In her latest Wall Street Journal column, Noonan enters the Burn It Down debate and argues against voting out all the Trump enablers and sycophants becauseare you ready for this?persuasion will be key to saving the Republic. Ah! We can all rest easy, pour ourselves a cool beverage, and retire early. Our work is done! Praise be to Peggy!

Thats the kind of wistful, head-in-the-clouds analysis Noonan is known for, though. Like, wouldnt everything be better if everyone just played along more nicely? Why all this anger toward a president who lets Russia put bounties on the heads of our soldiers, tear-gases peaceful protesters, and lies and obstructs justice as a way of life? Why on earth should Susan Collins, Martha McSally, and Cory Gardner be sacrificed on the altar of Trump just to prove a point about accountability? Because follow-the-leader Republicans like Collins will surely be the ones to save us from another trillion in deficit spending and finally stop funding for Planned Parenthood! Because Collins, of all people, must have learned lessons from Trump. We should all be so, so very concerned about the future of the GOP without Republicans like Collins.

Noonan concedes that Donald Trump is burning himself down. Yet she thinks we ought to keep voting for the people who handed him a lighter and kerosene.

No thank you. Noonan, however, is free to throw herself on the Trump dumpster pyre. She says Never Trumpers are bloody-minded and encouraging nihilism, but what she proposes is politically suicidal.

Noonan says Never Trumpers should not engage in pyromaniac fantasies but constructive modesty, even humility. More nave, high-minded divinity from the Temple Noonan. Constructive modesty sounds not like a political path to the future but like shapewear for the prudish soul. Maybe she has clothing on the brain. In May, Noonan was busy worrying how the pandemic would influence our outfit choices. (How is that for a priority?) God save me from her sermons because there are no yoga pants comfortable enough to get me to find my humility and prostrate myself before our grab em by the pussy president. Lets pray for those who do.

Noonan sees fashion as a leading indicator of a nations mood. Well, if thats the case, tell me what kind of fashion statement face masks on children make. Because, thanks to our incompetent president, my kids will be wearing one for eight hours a day if they are lucky enough to leave the house and attend school this fall.

Not that going to school will actually happen, or socializing normally will return anytime soon. Trump promised if he was president wed all be able to say Merry Christmas again! Probably not in person to friends and family this year, though. All because too few Republicans could bring themselves to tell Trump last spring that no, coronavirus is nothing like the flu.

Still, Peggy wants me to be more docile and polite while my family shelters in place for the next however many months as President Trump golfs his time away and the GOP lets him do it.

Noonan says that part of Trumps momentary genius in 2016 was that he uniquely spoke to the anxieties of Americans about illegal immigration. Is that what the great Reagan speechwriter thinks about Trumps announcement speech that said Mexico is bringing rapists to America? Genius?

Never Trumpers cant find the pity in their hearts Noonan has for Trump, who came up against his own perfect storm with the pandemic, the lousy economy, and violence in the streets. As if he were a passive observer in his presidency. Oh, what to do!

When the Trump experience is over, the Republican Party will have to be rebuilt, Noonan prophesies. (Duh.) A lot is going to have to be rethought. Simple human persuasion will be key. And then she tries to persuade her readers that we Never Trumpers are really the problem. Never Trumpers never seem to judge themselves, she complains, never once pausing to consider why its okay for her write things like Trump is weak, unserious and avoidant of the big issues while she remains weak, unserious and avoidant of the big issue of how to go about restoring the kind of strong Republican leadership she pines for.

Noonan is too timid to admit that the dismal Trump experience will not end unless some Republicans screw up the nerve to forcefully close the curtains on it. Otherwise, Donald Trump Jr. and a QAnon Congress will carry forth the freak flag of conservatism. Is that what she wants? Because Trump is never going to go gently into the night as a good loser president should. The Trump experience doesnt end unless Never Trumpers finish him Mortal Kombat style.

With all evidence against her, Noonan thinks Trumpism will disappear if Never Trumpers just shut up. Mr. Trump has been very publicly doing himself in, mismanaging his crisessetting himself on fire, she writes. As long as thats clear, his supporters wont be able to say, if he loses, that he was a champion of the people who was betrayed by the party elites, the Never Trumpers and the deep state: He didnt lose, he was the victim of treachery.

As if Trump depicting himself as a victim would be any different than any other day of his presidency. Nobody likes me, he whined last week. Who are the Never Trumpers to disagree?

Noonan tries her best to avoid overtly positioning herself as yet another MAGA enabler, but thats what her column implicitly amounts to.

She squints at Trump through a self-imposed gauzy blindfold instead of looking at him head-on. Noonan imagines another time when Republicans had civil intra-party debates about policy and not the possible psychopathy of the commander-in-chief and those who seek to make his manic authoritarian dreams come true.

She doesnt want Never Trumpers making noise because their critiques will be unhelpful for Republicans, and bad for the country, if thats the background music of the party the next 10 years.

As if Noonan hasnt been dancing to her own outdated tune for decades. Yet, she sings on and on about her unrealistic, nostalgic views on politics from deep inside her walk-in closet of memories from the 1980s.

Enough already.

I, for one, am pressing the mute button on her. While Im at it, someone pass me a match.

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The Blind Oracle of Noonan - The Bulwark

Why Netflixs The Rain Season 3 Should Be Your Next Dystopian Binge!!! – World Top Trend

It is likely to be an odd suggestion to spend your treasured downtime throughout a world pandemic watching individuals take care of the fallout of a illness thats seemingly succeeding in wiping out most of humanity. However whereas there are actually components of The Rain that may hit a little bit near home right now, it sits simply far sufficient in the world of fantasy that its twists and turns present a pleasant distraction from the very actual risks outdoors of your personal door.

This isnt a tween model of The Walking Dead. In different phrases, it prioritises hope for a possible future over nihilism and the fear of everybody and every thing that isnt a part of your present group that so many of those narratives sink into. Usually the characters are literally too fast to belief others (apart from the token dissenting voice), leaving the viewers screaming at them to be extra suspicious, but it surely lends the series a human high quality lacking from plenty of equally dystopian fiction.

Followers of character-driven exhibits may also discover so much to love in The Rain, because the thriller of how the illness was unleashed and the customarily grim realities of surviving in a world that has given up on humanity most of the time take a again seat to the relationships between the characters. We start with Simone and Rasmus, who spend six years alone earlier than deciding to enterprise out, and its this sibling bond that drives the remainder of the series.

And, after all, there are many romances to go round too. A few of them you may see coming a mile away however others take some time to develop and are genuinely price rooting for. And refreshingly, friendships are given equal significance as {couples} and familial relationships, maintaining all of the characters emotionally related all through.

Characters are developed through Lost-style flashbacks, however these are more like distorted slideshows than narratives in and of themselves. Were provided only a glimpse of their lives earlier than, and the way they particularly acquired to the place the place we meet them.

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Why Netflixs The Rain Season 3 Should Be Your Next Dystopian Binge!!! - World Top Trend

We’re staring into the face of America’s worst political crisis since the civil war – NationofChange

Trump Floats Delaying The Election. It Would Require A Change in Law

~NPR, Thursday, July 30, 2020

A sitting president floats delaying a fast-approachingelection which the polls indicate he will lose and lose decisively. It might not be safe to open the polls in the midst of a pandemic, dont you see? POTUS is only doing his job and protecting us is Job One. Of course, if you believe that youd have to believe that facts are not facts. That there are alternatives. Alternative facts.

What you see when you go to one of the official White House websites is the smiling face of Donald Trump. Its the photo of a congenial mana nice guyand, as such, it is a fake. A fable. A lie. A testament to the alternative reality this White House serves up on a daily basis.

A more realistic photo would be to feature the grimacing orange face of a reckless man intent upon engineering a political crisis. A president determined to win at all costs. To remain in office and do whatever it takes to guarantee that outcome.

The president who is suggesting it might be necessary to postpone the elections for reasons of public safety is the same president who did nothing when the pandemic hit and refused to set an example by social distancing and wearing a mask.

The same president who has demonstrated no inclination to deal with what is clearly the worst public-health crisis in a century.

The same one who has obstructed efforts by governors of blue states and mayors of blue cities to enforce rules and behaviors to flatten the curve.

Who has sought to discredit doctors he appointed and scientists working to find a cure.

Who has pushed to reopen public schools with little regard for local infection rates or adequate testing of teachers, staff, and students.

***************

We have entered into a new phase in the crisis that started with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of this year. The public health crisis was and is real. Its not a conspiracy. Not alternative reality. It is real.

That it happened when it did is not the fault of Donald Trump or, heaven forbid, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Nor is it Chinas fault. The contention that a mad scientist or evil empire has deliberately let a killer pathogen loose in the world is daft and devoid of any factual basis.

One of my favorite writers on the contemporary scene is Masha Gessen, a brilliant observer of life in Russia and America.* The one-line teaser for her latest column in The New Yorker, Why America Feels Like a Post-Soviet State, asserts: The callous nihilism of Russian society is everywhere in the Trump Administrations response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gessen holds both Russian and American citizenship. No journalist on either side of the Atlanta is better qualified to make this harsh judgment.

***************

Trump doesnt give a damn about COVID-19. Or about the death rate. Or the millions of people who have lost their jobs or homes or health insurance.

He only cares about the election. About his money. His power. About staying in the Oval Office. And out of court. Trumps face is baggy and orange. He just needs a matching jumpsuit. Then and only then can we begin the arduous task of making American great again.

*Masha Gessen was born in Russia in 1967 and first came to the U.S. with her parents under the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program in 1981. The family moved back to Moscow in 1991 but she eventually returned to the U.S. in 2013 when the Putin government considered taking children away from gay parents.

FALL FUNDRAISER

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We're staring into the face of America's worst political crisis since the civil war - NationofChange

CREATION OF INVESTMENT COURT IN UKRAINE WILL HELP DOING BUSINESS – Ukraine open for business

The creation of an investment court, an idea promulgated by Ukraines Justice Minister Denys Maliuska, could facilitate doing business in Ukraine, Omerta Organized Law Group head Yevhen Fedoseyev has said.The declared creation of an investment court will greatly facilitate doing business in Ukraine, because if investors have a virtually unconditional guarantee that in any case, their property rights and interests are practically not threatened, they will start investing more in our country, he told Interfax-Ukraine.The lawyer noted that this initiative is not new, and similar courts already exist in a number of countries.Investors from all over the world are increasingly turning to investment arbitration as a way of resolving a dispute with the state every year. This mechanism for protecting the rights of an investor has proved to be effective, which is confirmed by both the number of international bilateral and multilateral agreements containing clauses on investment arbitration, and the number of initiated cases, he said.Fedoseyev recalled that a permanent arbitration institute, the International Commercial Arbitration Court at the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has been operating in Ukraine for more than 25 years, however, appeals to him are not too popular, since none of the Ukraine agreements concluded on mutual assistance and protection of foreign investment provides for the ICAC at the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry as an institution for resolving investment disputes, as well as because of general legal nihilism. Of course, the new court in Ukraine will need to develop a practice that has been built in the courts of Western Europe for decades, however, the transparency of the creation of such a body, its competence, objectivity can create a positive image not only for the body itself, but also for the state as a whole, which will ensure inflow of new investors into the country, the lawyer emphasized.As reported, in early July at a meeting with European business representatives, Maliuska announced an initiative to create a concept for creating a separate court that would deal with investors cases arbitration or a separate court that would consider cases with the participation of business.

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BUSINESS, INVESTMENT COURT

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CREATION OF INVESTMENT COURT IN UKRAINE WILL HELP DOING BUSINESS - Ukraine open for business

The First Reaction To Marilyn Manson’s New Single, We Are Chaos – Kerrang!

Marilyn Manson has often talked of his love for The Beatles. Hes covered The Fab Fours Helter Skelter, talked about the importance of their game-changing White Album, referenced their song Revolution on Disposable Teens, and even wished band members happy birthday by doing a snippet ofBirthday.

Here, we find The God Of Fuck firing the starting pistol on his 11th album We Are Chaos by seemingly doing his own version of Across The Universe, from 1970s Let It Be. After the full-frontal thrust of 2017s Heaven Upside Down, where the naked threat of songs like We Know Where You Fucking Live provided a ballsy energy, its a change of pace. And one Manson does verywell.

Read this: 6 things we want from the new Marilyn Mansonalbum

In the end we all end up in a garbage dump but Ill still be here holding your hand, he croons, before intoning, We are chaos, we cant becured.

But its that anthemic, celebratory, New Years Eve feeling, dancing at the end of the world, that provides the energy on We Are Chaos. The nihilism is pared back in favour of something more romantic? Its sort of like the end of Fight Club with eyeliner and bulging leathertrousers.

As a signpost for the new album, its hard to get a total grip on. Heaven Upside Down was so striking, so definite, that divining Mazzas next move was always going to be to presume a lot about him. And thats always been a foolserrand.

For now, its enough of a clue to know that what Marilyn Manson has in store is going to be something on a grand scale, and with a sense of class only he canunlock.

Continue reading here:

The First Reaction To Marilyn Manson's New Single, We Are Chaos - Kerrang!

Aurel Kolnai and the Assault on Creation | Daniel J. Mahoney – First Things

As the culture of repudiation takes on pathological forms, aiming to replace Western civilization and American republicanism with a project of pure negation, those who wish to preserve our inheritance might profitably turn to thinkers from the past who can illumine the totalitarian nihilism all around us. One lesser-known thinker who truly belongs in the pantheon of anti-totalitarian thought is Aurel Kolnai (1900-1973), a Hungarian-born Jew who converted to Catholicism in 1926 under the influence of G. K. Chestertons writings.

A phenomenologist and moral and political philosopher of great insight, Kolnai, along with Dietrich von Hildebrand, wrote the first sustained critique of National Socialist ideology in the German-language press, beginning in 1926. His battle against the paganism of the National Socialist regime culminated in a best-selling book,War Against the West, published in Britain and the United States in 1938. Some of the chapter titles and subtitles give one immediate access to the spirit of the book:Tribal Egotism versus Humanity and Objective Standards, The Eros of Militarism, The Revolt against Liberty, The Revival of Elemental Forces, The New Paganism, Lawless Law, and Racial Purity. A lifelong critic of National Socialism, Kolnai self-consciously wrote as a Christian and philosopher defending the soul of the West (as he called it) against the primitivism of National Socialist ideologists.

After the war, Kolnai taught at the University of Laval in Quebec City before his final move to England and the University of Bedford in 1955. While in Quebec City, he concluded that communism, not Nazism, was the most perfected form of totalitarianism. In 1950, he wrote a daring and illuminating essay called Three Riders of the Apocalypse in which he discussed the affinities among Nazism, communism, and what he called progressive democracy. As we shall see, Kolnai saw much truth in democracy and in Chestertons plain man, but opposed the doctrinaire and even revolutionary democratic notions advanced in the name of the common man. In an essay from the same period, The Meaning of the Common Man, Kolnai outlined an alternative to the illusions of progressive democracy. A democracy worth its salt should emphasize its political continuity with Western traditions of constitutionalism and its moral continuity with the high tradition of Antiquity, Christendom, and the half-surviving Liberal cultures of yesterday. True democracy, informed by conservative constitutionalism and the moral law, is rooted in respect for the rule of law and a transcendental support for human liberty and dignity.

Unlike progressive democracy, Kolnai argued, conservative democracy respects the best of the liberal tradition and rests upon a balanced social and political order that limits all social powers and political prerogatives and defers to a Power radically beyond and above Man in his social reality, in his political dignity and in all manifestations of his will. Kolnai was a thoughtful partisan of what Tocqueville once called liberty under God and the law. Progressive democrats see no enemies to the Left. They too often indulge revolutionary regimes and destructive social movementsprecisely because these democrats have distorted and repudiated indispensable Christian categories. At a profoundly spiritual level, Christianity set men free and lifted [them] above the flats of his fallen nature. Modern humanitarianism, the religion of humanity, put forth a new, utopian program whereby angry and impatient human beings construed the automatic workings of [mans] fallen nature into a mirage of self-made heaven. And in the final, metaphysically mad epiphany, to cite a Burkean formulation, revolutionaries engage in destructive totalitarian projects that attack recalcitrant reality, afire with the unholy rage of . . . emancipation and sovereignty. All of this necessarily culminates in what Kolnai never tired of calling the self-enslavement of man.

In a 1972 essay that explored the respective Conservative and Revolutionary Ethos, Kolnai acknowledged that revolutionaries could from time to time constructively challenge the complacency of the rich and the powerful. In this essay, however, Kolnai argued that conservatives, much more than revolutionaries, could appreciate what was just and legitimate in the challenge from the other side. Reform, and appeal to objective and enduring verities, are essential to authentic conservatism. With a conservatism informed by Christian conscience, the table of moral duties remains inviolate in theory, and often in practice. Not so for revolutionaries, cultural and political.

As Kolnai wrote in his 1960 essay The Utopian Mind (he also left an unfinished but now published book by the same name), angry and moralistic revolutionaries make light of the concrete demands of the Ten Commandments and demonize real and imagined enemies of the people. Conscience and moral duties make no claims on their hearts, and are actively dismissed, even mocked, in the name of revolutionary ideology. In the end, Kolnai wrote in the conclusion of Conservative and Revolutionary Ethos, their critique is leveled not at this or that ruler, this or that system of power, nor at Nature, history, or mankind, but atthe world itself, atCreation.

Against the revolution of nihilism in its various permutations, against this project of emancipation-turned-self-enslavement, Christians and all persons of good will must take their stand with the guardians of continuity. If we have confidence in the natural order of things, if we do our civic and moral duties, if we have faith in the goodness of God our father and friend, we will surely outlast our opponents. But that depends on an anti-totalitarian Christian political philosophy worthy of the name, one open to the dual tasks of conservation and reform.

Daniel J. Mahoney holds the Augustine Chair in Distinguished Scholarship at Assumption University.

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Aurel Kolnai and the Assault on Creation | Daniel J. Mahoney - First Things

Opinion: Resolving the Depths of Conflict Through Art – Laguna Beach Local News – Laguna Beach Independent Newspaper

We are at the extremities now. At the end of this tunnel of darkness, however, there is invariably a light, which we already divine, and for which we have only to fight to ensure its coming. All of us, among the ruins, are preparing a renaissance beyond the limits of nihilism.

Albert Camus, The Rebel

We are in the midst of a cultural revolution. On the one hand, we have the neo-fascist movement, telling us we need to return to a mythical past. That things were better then. And to ram home their point, a militarized response to peaceful protests is beginning to look more like Nazi Germany than America.

Of course there are plenty of marauders foisting chaos and vandalism upon the movement, and it sadly trivializes and obscures whats actually going on.

Black Lives Matter is an easily digestible, three-word assertion that has spread around the world. But its become so much more. Its a movement of awakened youth who are facing a nihilistic future of despots, science and climate deniers, health crises, discrimination, seismic wage discrepancies, and a ruthlessly oppressive and individualistic winner-take-all economy. Yes, capitalism has failed them.

How will we resolve these depths of conflict and misery? The same way theyve been conquered for years. Through art. Through a full-throated renaissance of ideas that unite us in the power of brotherhood, sisterhood, equality and love. As the philosopher Herbert Marcuse wrote, In its refusal to accept as final the limitations imposed upon freedom and happiness by society, in its refusal to forget what can be, lies the critical function of the artist.

It was Emerson and Thoreau who first refused to accept slavery and American Imperialism. It was Mark Twains The Gilded Age that predated Teddy Roosevelts attack on the plutocrats. It was Picassos Guernica that expressed the horror of war. And it was Bebop music and beat poetry of the 1950s that led to Bob Dylan and the Civil Rights movement.

Which brings me to the rather milquetoast state of art in Laguna, where saying pretty much nothing is the norm. Take the recent $100,000 grant money allocated by the Arts Commission, where $1,000-8,000 will be awarded to resident artists to create artworks for the benefit, enjoyment and economic revitalization of the community. A noble cause under the title Fostering Creativity in a Time of Crisis.

One would think this was an ideal forum to express a personal vision to reflect back what is happening around us through an artists lens. In fact, Arts Commission Chair Adam Schwerner states in a video, We have an opportunity to be brave, think creatively and do what we do best. But apparently, what we do best is pretty pictures of marine life and landscapes.

Artist Jorg Dubin, who has spent his working life here and has created a multitude of political art (including his last city commission, the award winning 9/11 memorial Semper Memento which was installed in Heisler Park in 2011), was specifically asked to submit something, Anyone who knows Jorg knows he will not shy away from controversy, as he sternly believes that is the role of the artist.

Jorg came back with a sculptured steel silhouette of a man kneeling while a police officer lunges at him with a nightstick and another cop stands by passively. Does that make Jorg anti-police? Of course not. This is the guy who did a portrait of fallen officer Jon Coutchie and donated it to the Laguna PD.

The Commission rejected Jorgs submission, without offering an explanation.

They then asked for another submission, and while irked, Jorg complied, this time sending in a silhouette of five people of all colors from black to white, kneeling with their fists in the air. A striking expression of the solidarity happening everywhere around us. Except here. Rejected, without explanation.

Who are these judges and why are they engaging in censorship? At a time when so many cities are emboldened to stencil giant Black Lives Matter on their streets, we dont have the will to allow one of our most esteemed artists to express his point of view in a temporary installation? Its antithetical to a community that was built on the back of subversive artists who stepped out of the Festival of Arts to create the Sawdust Festival.

The Arts Commission should be ashamed that they are perverting the unique power of art and the role it plays in society. Dont be afraid of the future, commissioners. Embrace it. With real art.

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Opinion: Resolving the Depths of Conflict Through Art - Laguna Beach Local News - Laguna Beach Independent Newspaper


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